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Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2018

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[Feb 03, 2019] Neoliberalism and Christianity

Highly recommended!
Money quote: " neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large, and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism."
Notable quotes:
"... ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. ..."
"... neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism. ..."
"... They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ..."
"... Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc. ..."
"... The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries. ..."
"... Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course. ..."
"... In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans. ..."
May 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 1, 2018 2:27:06 PM | 13

Just finished reading the fascinating Michael Hudson interview I linked to on previous thread; but since we're discussing Jews and their religion in a tangential manner, I think it appropriate to post here since the history Hudson explains is 100% key to the ongoing pain us humans feel and inflict. My apologies in advance, but it will take this long excerpt to explain what I mean:

"Tribes: When does the concept of a general debt cancellation disappear historically?

"Michael: I guess in about the second or third century AD it was downplayed in the Bible. After Jesus died, you had, first of all, St Paul taking over, and basically Christianity was created by one of the most evil men in history, the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria. He gained power by murdering his rivals, the Nestorians, by convening a congress of bishops and killing his enemies. Cyril was really the Stalin figure of Christianity, killing everybody who was an enemy, organizing pogroms against the Jews in Alexandria where he ruled.

"It was Cyril that really introduced into Christianity the idea of the Trinity. That's what the whole fight was about in the third and fourth centuries AD. Was Jesus a human, was he a god? And essentially you had the Isis-Osiris figure from Egypt, put into Christianity. The Christians were still trying to drive the Jews out of Christianity. And Cyril knew the one thing the Jewish population was not going to accept would be the Isis figure and the Mariolatry that the church became. And as soon as the Christian church became the establishment rulership church, the last thing it wanted in the West was debt cancellation.

"You had a continuation of the original Christianity in the Greek Orthodox Church, or the Orthodox Church, all the way through Byzantium. And in my book And Forgive Them Their Debts, the last two chapters are on the Byzantine echo of the original debt cancellations, where one ruler after another would cancel the debts. And they gave very explicit reason for it: if we don't cancel the debts, we're not going to be able to field an army, we're not going to be able to collect taxes, because the oligarchy is going to take over. They were very explicit, with references to the Bible, references to the jubilee year. So you had Christianity survive in the Byzantine Empire. But in the West it ended in Margaret Thatcher. And Father Coughlin.

"Tribes: He was the '30s figure here in the States.

"Michael: Yes: anti-Semite, right-wing, pro-war, anti-labor. So the irony is that you have the people who call themselves fundamentalist Christians being against everything that Jesus was fighting for, and everything that original Christianity was all about."

Hudson says debt forgiveness was one of the central tenets of Judaism: " ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. "

Looks like I'll be purchasing Hudson's book as he's essentially unveiling a whole new, potentially revolutionary, historical interpretation.

psychohistorian , May 1, 2018 3:31:50 PM | 26
@ karlof1 with the Michale Hudson link....thanks!!

Here is the quote that I really like from that interview
"
Michael: No. You asked what is the fight about? The fight is whether the state will be taken over, essentially to be an extension of Wall Street if you do not have government planning. Every economy is planned. Ever since the Neolithic (era), you've had to have (a form of) planning. If you don't have a public authority doing the planning, then the financial authority becomes the planners. So globalism is in the financial interest –Wall Street and the City of London, doing the planning, not governments. They will do the planning in their own interest. So neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism.
"

karlof1, please email me as I would like to read the book as well and maybe we can share a copy.

And yes, it is relevant to Netanyahoo and his ongoing passel of lies because humanity has been told and been living these lives for centuries...it is time to stop this shit and grow up/evolve

james , May 1, 2018 10:30:01 PM | 96
@13 / 78 karlof1... thanks very much for the links to michael hudson, alastair crooke and the bruno maraces articles...

they were all good for different reasons, but although hudson is being criticized for glossing over some of his talking points, i think the main thrust of his article is very worthwhile for others to read! the quote to end his article is quite good "The question is, who do you want to run the economy? The 1% and the financial sector, or the 99% through politics? The fight has to be in the political sphere, because there's no other sphere that the financial interests cannot crush you on."

it seems to me that the usa has worked hard to bad mouth or get rid of government and the concept of government being involved in anything.. of course everything has to be run by a 'private corp' - ie corporations must run everything.. they call them oligarchs when talking about russia, lol - but they are corporations when they are in the usa.. slight rant..

another quote i especially liked from hudson.. " They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ." that sounds about right...

@ 84 juliania.. aside from your comments on hudsons characterization of st paul "the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria" further down hudson basically does the same with father coughlin - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin.. he gets the anti-semite tag as well.. i don't know much about either characters, so it's mostly greek to me, but i do find some of hudsons views especially appealing - debt forgiveness being central to the whole article as i read it...

it is interesting my own view on how money is so central to the world and how often times I am incapable of avoiding the observation of the disproportionate number of Jewish people in banking.. I guess that makes me anti-semite too, but i don't think of myself that way.. I think the obsession with money is killing the planet.. I don't care who is responsible for keeping it going, it is killing us...

WJ | May 1, 2018 10:48:58 PM | 100

James @96,

Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc.

The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries.

Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course.

WJ , May 1, 2018 8:23:40 PM | 88
Juliana @84,

I too greatly admire the work of Hudson but he consistently errs and oversimplifies whenever discussing the beliefs of and the development of beliefs among preNicene followers of the way (as Acts puts is) or Christians (as they came to be known in Antioch within roughly eight or nine decades after Jesus' death.) Palestinian Judaism in the time of Jesus was much more variegated than scholars even twenty years ago had recognized. The gradual reception and interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls in tandem with renewed research into Phili of Alexandria, the Essenes, the so-called Sons of Zadok, contemporary Galilean zealot movements styles after the earlier Maccabean resistance, the apocalyptism of post exilic texts like Daniel and (presumably) parts of Enoch--all paint a picture of a highly diverse group of alternatives to the state-Church once known as Second Temple Judaism that has been mistaken as undisputed Jewish "orthodoxy" since the advent of historical criticism.

The Gospel of John, for example, which dates from betweeen 80-120 and is the record of a much earlier oral tradition, is already explicitly binitarian, and possibly already trinitarian depending on how one understands the relationship between the Spirit or Advocate and the Son. (Most ante-Nicene Christians understood the Spirit to be *Christ's* own spirit in distributed form, and they did so by appeal to a well-developed but still largely under recognized strand in Jewish angelology.)

The "theological" development of Christianity occurred much sooner that it has been thought because it emerged from an already highly theologized strand or strands of Jewish teaching that, like Christianity itself, privileged the Abrahamic covenant over the Mosaic Law, the testament of grace over that of works, and the universal scope of revelation and salvation as opposed to any political or ethnic reading of the "Kingdom."

None of these groups were part of the ruling class of Judaean priests and levites and their hangers on the Pharisees.

In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans.

So the anti-Judaism/Semiti of John's Gispel largely rests on a mistranslation. In any event, everything is much more complex than Hudson makes it out to be. Christian economic radicalism is alive and well in the thought of Gregory of Nysa and Basil the Great, who also happened to be Cappadocian fathers highly influential in the development of "orthodox" Trinitarianism in the fourth century.

I still think that Hudson's big picture critique of the direction later Christianity took is helpful and necessary, but this doesn't change the fact that he simplifies the origins, development, and arguably devolution of this movement whenever he tries to get specific. It is a worthwhile danger given the quality of his work in historical economics, but still one has to be aware of.

[Sep 18, 2018] The Minsky Moment Ten Years After

Sep 18, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Barkley Rosser | September 18, 2018 6:01 am

Taxes/regulation US/Global Economics The Minsky Moment Ten Years After These days are the tenth anniversary of the biggest Minsky Moment since the Great Depression. While when it happened most commentators mentioned Minsky and many even called it a "Minsky Moment," most of the commentary now does not use that term and much does not even mention Minsky, much less Charles Kindleberger or Keynes. Rather much of the discussion has focused now on the failure of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2017. A new book by Lawrence Ball has argued that the Fed could have bailed LB out as they did with Bear Stearns in February of that year, with Ball at least, and some others, suggesting that would have resolved everything, no big crash, no Great Recession, no angry populist movement more recently, heck, all hunky dory if only the Fed had been more responsible, although Ball especially points his finger at Bush's Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, for especially pressuring Bernanke and Geithner at the Fed not to repeat Bear Stearns. And indeed when they decided not to support Lehman, the Fed received widespread praise in much of the media initially, before its fall blew out AIG and brought down most of the pyramid of highly leveraged derivatives of derivatives coming out of the US mortgage market ,which had been declining for over two years.

Indeed, I agree with Dean Baker as I have on so many times regarding all this that while Lehman may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, it was the camel's back breaking that was the problem, and it was almost certainly going to blow big time reasonably soon then. It it was not Lehman, it was going to be something else. Indeed, on July 12, 2008, I posted here on Econospeak a forecast of this, declaring "It looks like we might be finally reaching the big crash in the US mortgage market after a period of distress that started last August (if not earlier)."

I drew on Minsky's argument (backed by Kindleberger in his Manias, Panics, and Crashes ) that the vast majority of major speculative bubbles experience periods of gradual decline after their peaks prior to really seriously crashing during what Minsky labeled the "period of financial distress," a term he adopted from the corporate finance literature. The US housing market had been falling since July, 2006. The bond markets had been declining since August, 2007, the stock market had been declining since October, 2007, and about the time I posted that, the oil market reached an all-time nominal peak of $147 per barrel and began a straight plunge that reached about $30 per barrel in November, 2008. This was a massively accelerating period of distress with the real economy also dropping, led by falling residential consumption. In mid-September the Minsky Moment arrived, and the floor dropped out of not just these US markets, but pretty much all markets around the world, with world economy then falling into the Great Recession.

Let me note something I have seen nobody commenting on in all this outpouring on this anniversary. This is how the immediate Minsky Moment ended. Many might say it was the TARP or the stress tests or the fiscal stimulus, All of these helped to turn around the broader slide that followed by the Minsky Moment. But there was a more immediate crisis that went on for several days following the Lehman collapse, peaking on Sept. 17 and 18, but with obscure reporting about what went down then. This was when nobody at the Board of Governors went home; cots made an appearance. This was the point when those at the Fed scrambled to keep the whole thing from turning into 1931 and largely succeeded. The immediate problem was that the collapse of AIG following the collapse of Lehman was putting massive pressure on top European banks, especially Deutsches Bank and BNP Paribas. Supposedly the European Central Bank (ECB) should have been able to handle this But along with all this the ECB was facing a massive run on the euro as money fled to the "safe haven" of the US dollar, so ironic given that the US markets generated this mess.

Anyway, as Neil Irwinin The Alchemists (especially Chap. 11) documented, the crucial move that halted the collapse of the euro and the threat of a fullout global collapse was a set of swaps the Fed pulled off that led to it taking about $600 billion of Eurojunk from the distressed European banks through the ECB onto the Fed balance sheet. These troubled assets were gradually and very quietly rolled off the Fed balance sheet over the next six months to be replaced by mortgage backed securities. This was the save the Fed pulled off at the worst moment of the Minsky Moment. The Fed policymakers can be criticized for not seeing what was coming (although several people there had spotted it earlier and issued warnings, including Janet Yellen in 2005 and Geithner in a prescient speech in Hong Kong in September, 2006, in which he recognized that the housing related financial markets were highly opaque and fragile). But this particular move was an absolute save, even though it remains today very little known, even to well-informed observers.

Barkley Rosser


run75441 , September 18, 2018 7:07 am

Barkley:

A few days ago, it was just a housing bubble to which a few of us pointed out an abnormal housing bubble created by fraud and greed on Wall Street. The market was riddled with false promises to pay through CDS, countering naked-CDS both of which had little if any reserves in this case to back up each AIG CDS insuring Goldman Sachs securities. When Goldman Sachs made that call to AIG, there were few funds to pay out and AIG was on the verge of collapse.

And today, some of those very same created banks under TARP which were gambling then and some of which had legal issues are free from the stress testing Dodd – Frank imposed upon banks with assets greater than $50 billion. Did the new limit need to be $250 billion? Volcker thought $100 billion was adequate and Frank argued for a slightly higher limit well under $250 billion. The fox is in the chicken coop again with Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, UBS, and Credit Suisse not being regulated as closely and 25 of the largest 38 banks under less regulation. These are not community banks and they helped to bring us to our knees. Is it still necessary for American Express to be a bank and have access to low interest rates the Fed offers? I think not; but, others may disagree with me. It is not a bank.

You remember the miracle the Fed pulled off as detailed in The Alchemists which I also read at your recommendation. I remember the fraud and greed on Wall Street for which Main Street paid for with lost equity, jobs, etc. I remember the anger of Wall Street Execs who were denied bonuses and states who had exhausted unemployment funding denying workers unemployment. We were rescued from a worse fate; but, the memory of the cure the nation's citizenry had to take for Wall Street greed and fraud leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

EMichael , September 18, 2018 8:39 am

This never ending meme about Tarp saving the banks is really starting to aggravate me. The Fed saved the banking system(on both sides of the Atlantic) before Tarp issued one dollar, and they did so with trillions, not billions, of loans and guarantees that stopped the run on the banks and mutual funds on both sides of the Atlantic.

Just look at the amounts. Tarp gave out $250 billion to the banks. Do people seriously think this saved the banking system? Or that Wells goes under without their $25 billion loan?

Tarp was window dressing and pr, not a solution by any stretch of the imagination.

"Bloomberg ran quite a story, yesterday. It stems from a Freedom of Information Act Request that yielded the details of previously secret borrowing from the federal government to the biggest banks.

The bottom line, reports Bloomberg, by March of 2009, the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion "to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year." The lending began in August of 2007.

The reporting from Bloomberg Markets Magazine is spectacular, so we hope you click over and give the exhaustive piece a read."

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2011/11/28/142854391/report-fed-committed-7-77-trillion-to-rescue-banks

run75441 , September 18, 2018 11:57 am

EM:

If you pick up The Alchemist, I believe you will see all of this ($7 trillion) explained in there. TARP was used to buy up junk MBS from banks by the Treasury and separate from the FED. It was also used to buy up bank stock to give them reserves. It saved two of the three OEMs too.

Ken Houghton , September 18, 2018 11:52 am

The general U.S. mortgage market died on Hallwe'en 2006. By the first quarter of 2007, it was dead even for IBs who owned originators.

There were two IBs who were dependent on MBS for their profits: Bear and Lehmann. Doesn't mean they didn't have other businesses, but their earnings would go from a V-8 to a 3-cylinder.

Bear went first, and ShitforBrains Fuld & Co. had six months after that to shore up capital, find a buyer, or go under.

We all knew that the reason Bear was saved wasn't out of generosity, but because it really would have had a systemic effect had it gone through bankruptcy proceedings. But THAT was because Bear had two core businesses, and the other one was Custodial Services.

Had Bear gone through bankruptcy, those Customer funds would have been inaccessible for at least 30 days.

Lehmann had no similar function; failure of Lehmann was failure of Lehmann.

Fuld knew all of this and still fucked around for six months pretending he was driving a 911 instead of a Geo Metro.

Lawrence Ball is a brain-dead idiot if he thinks saving that firm would have in any way made things better.

likbez , September 18, 2018 12:41 pm

My take on Minsky moment is that banking introduces positive feedback loop into the system, making it (as any dynamic system with strong positive feedback loop) unstable.

To compensate you need to introduce negative feedback loop in a form of regulation and legal system that vigorously prosecute financial oligarchy "transgressions," instilling fear and damping its predatory behavior and parasitic rents instincts. In a way number of bankers who go to jail each year is metric of stability of the system. Which was a feature (subverted and inconsistent from the beginning and decimated in 70th) of New Deal Capitalism.

As neoliberalism is essentially revenge of financial oligarchy which became the ruling class again, this positive feedback loop is an immanent feature of neoliberalism.

Financial oligarchy is not interesting in regulation and legal framework that suppresses its predatory and parasitic "instincts." So this is by definition is an unstable system prone to periodic financial "collapses." In which the government needs to step in and save the system.

So the question about the 2008 financial crisis is when the next one commences and how destructive it will be. Not why it happened.

likbez , September 18, 2018 12:47 pm

In a perverse way the percentage of financial executives who go to jail each year might be viewed as a metric of stability of the financial system ;-)

[Sep 18, 2018] Michael Hudson talks maintream economics

Sep 18, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Dan Crawford | September 16, 2018 3:20 pm

US/Global Economics Mainstream Economics become the celebration of the wealthy rentier class

To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone complains about inequality, but nobody does anything about it.

What they do is to use "inequality" as a takeoff point to project their own views on how to make society more prosperous and at the same time more equal. These views largely depend on whether they view the One Percent as innovative, smart and creative, making wealth by helping the rest of society – or whether, as the great classical economists wrote, the wealthiest layer of the population consist of rentiers, making their income and wealth off the 99 Percent as idle landlords, monopolists and predatory bankers.

urban legend , September 17, 2018 3:59 pm

False choice. There's no either/or heare. Many are innovative, smart and creative, but they are just using political power to grab too much of the revenue others help them generate. I have yet to see any proposals suggesting that the 1%'s wealth should be confiscated. They do say to take more of the marginal dollar in taxes -- usually proposing relatively modest increases to 42% or 45% or even 50% on incomes above $1 million or so -- and propose various ways of increasing the bargaining power of workers.

Then again, those born on 3rd base and living off their wealth -- whether they think they hit a triple or know they were just lucky -- are rentiers.

[Sep 18, 2018] The declining US fights for human rights as declining Serena fights for women's rights. Both invoke exceptionalism and higher principles and go nuclear when they cannot win any more under the established international rules

Sep 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kiza , Sep 17, 2018 8:33:14 AM | link

A quick observation and a fascinating parallele. Serena Williams and the US global hyperpower.

Serena at 36 got bitten fair and square at US open by a girl of 20, almost half her age. So she throws up a nuclear tantrum, publicly calling the referee a thief, threatening that he will never referee again, obviously thanks to her money, power and gender.

During her post-game interview, Serena told a news conference, "I'm here, fighting for women's rights, for women's equality, and for all kind of stuff it made me think that it was a sexist remark [referring to the penalty the referee Ramos awarded her]."

The declining US fights for human rights as declining Serena fights for women's rights. Both invoke exceptionalism and higher principles and go nuclear when they cannot win any more under the established international rules. The irony of killing the Yemenis en mass whilst "fighting" for the human rights of terrorists in Syria is just like Serena fighting for women's rights against another younger and more capable woman.

donkeytale , Sep 17, 2018 9:21:31 AM | link

Kiza - interesting point. Yes clearly Serena retrofitted the women's movement to justify what was an old-fashioned Connors/McEnroe male tennis tantrum, although extremely mild comapred to some of the crap those two pulled back in the day.

What goes without saying is the behaviour is as repulsive when Serena does it as when McEnroe/Connors did.

Serena at 36 is no longer the dominant force just as America is no longer. However, it is fair to say the winner is where she is because she trained extensively and I believe lives in America so really she is an example of globalism and racial diversity, if not American exeptionalism.

Women's tennis post Serena will not be dominated by Americans, but by American training of the best players regardless of their origination

[Sep 18, 2018] Liberals love to lampoon the Prophet Muhammad, but hands off Serena Williams by Robert Bridge

Notable quotes:
"... "I'm here, fighting for women's rights, for women's equality, and for all kind of stuff it made me think that it was a sexist remark [referring to the penalty Ramos awarded her] ..."
"... "I don't believe it's a good idea to apply a standard of 'If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too,' ..."
"... "Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?" ..."
"... "we cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court." ..."
"... "visual imperialism," ..."
"... "a black grotesque seeming natural." ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | www.rt.com

After being penalized for calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief," Williams summoned up the evil spirits of political correctness to plead her case. She was heard telling officials that many male tennis players have done "much worse" without any sort of retribution. In other words, Ramos was a cave-dwelling "sexist" put on earth to thwart the progress of womanhood.

During her post-game interview, Serena told a news conference, "I'm here, fighting for women's rights, for women's equality, and for all kind of stuff it made me think that it was a sexist remark [referring to the penalty Ramos awarded her] .

There were faint echoes of Oprah Winfrey's famous speech at the Golden Globes in that it was the right message delivered at exactly the wrong time and place.

Read more Steph Curry says Serena Williams showed 'grace & class' in US Open final, internet raises eyebrows

So now, America's dethroned tennis queen, playing the gender card game instead of tennis, is acting spokesperson for downtrodden women everywhere. Yet certainly Williams has heard of John McEnroe, the former American tennis star whose on-court temper tantrums are now legendary. In 1990, for example, this loudmouthed male was tossed out of the Australian Open – not just penalized – for verbally abusing the chair umpire, much like Williams did.

Since it may come off as chauvinistic for me – a burly male – to criticize Serena, perhaps it would be more appropriate to quote Martina Navratilova, 61, one of the greatest female tennis players of all time.

"I don't believe it's a good idea to apply a standard of 'If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too,' Navratilova wrote in a New York Times op-ed regarding Williams' epic meltdown. "Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?"

The Czech-born American went on to comment that "we cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court."

Eureka! Navratilova – who hails from a bygone era when the vision of political correctness, 'virtue signaling' and 'social justice warriors' was just a flash in the pan – nailed it. Instead of looking to some external other to explain our life circumstances – like losing a tennis match, for example, or a presidential election (wink, wink) – people should look to themselves as the agents for proactive and positive change. Such a message, however, would quickly sink the Liberal ship, which is predicated upon the idea that the world is forever divided between oppressor and oppressed. What the Liberals fail to appreciate, however, is that they are becoming the real oppressors as they continue to sideline anybody who does not think and act exactly as they do.

Following Serena's epic meltdown, the Melbourne-based Herald Sun published a cartoon by Mark Knight that shows the American tennis star as she proceeds to stomp on her racket, mouth open and hair going straight up. It was not a flattering or subtle drawing, but given the circumstances, that should probably come as no surprise.

2015: 12 Charlie Hebdo illustrators shot dead for depiction of prophet Muhammad - thousands line streets demonstrating for freedom of sattire & humour

2018: Mark Knight draws caricature of Serena Williams - thousands shout racist & demand his removal from Twiter and the media pic.twitter.com/NDpFrbigca

-- Danny Armstrong (@DannyWArmstrong) September 12, 2018

The Liberal outrage came fast and heavy as critics slammed the caricature as racist and offensive. It would take hundreds of pages to recite them all, but as one example, CNN columnist Rebecca Wanzo labeled the cartoon as an example of – wait for it – "visual imperialism," which is manifest by "a black grotesque seeming natural."

Never mind that the behavior of Serena Williams was "grotesque," which is what inspired Knight's unflattering drawing of her in the first place. That is what is meant by a 'caricature', where the artist attempts to convey the essence of an event through imagery. Yes, sometimes brutal imagery.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. Former Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News, he is author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' released in 2013.

[Sep 17, 2018] Bill Browder Strikes Back In Europe

Sep 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/17/2018 - 09:34 27 SHARES Authored by Tom Luongo,

"I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."
-- The Empire Strikes Back

Since Vladimir Putin brought up Bill Browder's name in Helsinki, events have escalated to a fever pitch. Russia is under extreme attack the U.S./European financial and political establishment.

And part of that push is coming from Browder himself. In July, just a week after Helsinki, Browder opened up a money laundering complaint against Denmark's largest bank, Danske , alleging over $8 billion in money 'laundered' from Russia, Moldova and Azerbaijan through its Estonian Branch.

The details here are important so bear with me.

Danske's report on these allegations are due on Wednesday.

No matter what they say, however, the die has been cast.

Danske is being targeted for termination by the U.S. and possible takeover by the European Central Bank.

There's precedent for this but let me lay out some background first.

The Oldest Trick

Browder's complaint says the money laundered is in connection with the reason why he was thrown out of Russia and the $230 million in stolen tax money which Browder's cause célèbre , the death of accountant Sergei Magnitsky, hangs on.

That crusade got the Magnitsky Act passed not only in the U.S. but all across the West, with versions on the books in Canada, Australia the EU and other places.

Danske's shares have been gutted in the wake of the accusation.

The U.S. is now investigating this complaint and that shouldn't come as much of a shock.

The Treasury Department can issue whatever findings it wants, and then respond by starving Danske of dollars, known as the "Death Blow" option the threat of which was plastered all over the pages of the Wall St. Journal on Friday.

Note this article isn't behind the Journal's pay-wall. They want everyone to see this.

Browder filed complaints both in Demmark and in Estonia, and the Estonian government was only too happy to oblige him.

The Devil Played

To see the whole picture I have to go back a littler further.

Back in March, Latvian bank, ABLV, was targeted in a similar manner, accused of laundering money. Within a week the ECB moved in to take control of the bank even though it wasn't in danger of failing.

It was an odd move, where the ECB exercised an extreme response utilizing its broader powers given to it after the 2008 financial crisis, like it did with Spain's Banco Popular in 2017.

Why? The U.S. was looking for ways to cut off Russia from the European banking system. And the ECB did its dirty work.

I wrote about this back in May in relation to the Treasury demanding all U.S. investors divest themselves of Russian debt within thirty days.
It threw the ruble and Russian debt markets into turmoil since Russian companies bought a lot of euro-denominated debt after the Ruble Crisis of 2014, having been shut off from dollars.

ABLV was a conduit for many Russian entities to keep access to Europe's banks, having been grandfathered in as clients when the Baltics entered the Euro-zone.

So, now a replay of ABLV's seizure is playing out through Browder's money laundering complaint against Danske.

Was Convincing Everyone

The goal of this lawsuit is two-fold.

The first is to undermine the faith in the Danish banking system. Dutch giant ING is also facing huge AML fines.

This is a direct attack on the EU banking system to being it under even more stringent government control.

The second goal, however, is far more important. As I said, the U.S. is desperate to cut money flow between the European Union and Russia, not just to stop the construction of Nordstream 2, but to keep Russia's markets weak having to scramble for euros to make coupon payments and create a roll-over nightmare.

Turkey is facing this now, Russia went through it in 2014/15.

In response to the Ruble's sharp drop this year on improving fundamentals, the Bank of Russia finally had to raise rates on Friday .

So, attacking a major bank like Danske for consorting with dirty Russians and using Mr. Human Rights Champion Browder to file the complaint is pure power politics to keep the EU itself from seeking rapprochement with Russia.

Anti-Money Laundering laws are tyrannical and vaguely worded. And with the Magnitsky Act and its follow-up, CAATSA, in place, they help support defining money laundering to include anything the U.S. and the EU deem as supporting 'human rights violations.'

Seeing the trap yet?

Now all of it can be linked through simple accusation regardless of the facts. The bank gets gutted, investors and depositors get nervous, the ECB then steps in and there goes another tendril between Russia and Europe doing business.

And that ties into Browder's minions in the European Parliament, all in the pay of Open Society Foundation, issued a threat of invoking Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty to Cyprus over assisting Russia investigate Browder's financial dealings there.

Why? Violations of Mr. Browder's human rights because, well, Russia!

What's becoming more obvious to me as the days pass is that Browder is an obvious asset of the U.S. financial and political oligarchy, if not U.S. Intelligence. They use his humanitarian bona fides to visit untold misery on millions of people simply to:

1) cover up their malfeasance in Russia

2) wage hybrid war on anyone willing to stand up to their machinations.

He Didn't Exist

Because when looking at this situation rationally, how does this guy get to run around accusing banks of anything and mobilize governments into actions which have massive ramifications for the global financial system unless he's intimately connected with the very people that operate the top of that system?

How does this no-name guy in the mid-1990's, fresh 'off the boat' as it were, convince someone to give him $25 million in CASH to go around Russia buying up privatization vouchers at less than pennies on the dollar?

It simply doesn't pass a basic sniff test.

Danske is the biggest bank in Denmark and one of the oldest in Europe. The message should be clear.

If they can be gotten to this way, anyone can.

Just looking at the list of people named in the Magnitsky Act, a list given to Congress by Browder and copied verbatim without investigation, and CAATSA as being 'friends of Vladimir' it's obvious that the target isn't Putin himself for his human rights transgressions but anyone in Russia with enough capital to maintain a business bigger than a chain of laundromats in Rostov-on-Don.

Honestly, even some in the U.S. financial press said it looked like they just went through the Moscow phone book.

But, here the rub. In The Davos Crowd's single-minded drive to destroy Russia, which has been going on now for close to two generations in various ways, they are willing to undermine the very institutions on which a great deal of their power rests.

The more Browder gets defended by people punching far above his weight, the more obvious it is that there is something wrong with his story. Undermining the reputation of the biggest bank in Denmark is a 'playing-for-keeps' moment.

But, it's one that can and will have serious repercussions over time.

It undermines the validity of government institutions, exposing corruption that proves we live in a world ruled by men, not laws. That the U.S. and EU are fundamentally no different in their leadership than banana republics.

And that's bad for currency and debt markets as capital always flows to where it is treated best.

But, it's one that can and will have serious repercussions over time. The seizure of ABLV and 2017's liquidation of Spain's Banco Popular were rightly described by Martin Armstrong as defining moments where no one in their right mind would invest in a European banks if there was the possibility of losing all of your capital due to a change in the political winds overnight.

Using the European Parliament to censure Cyprus via Article 7 over one man's financial privacy, which no one is guaranteed in this world today thanks to these same AML and KYC laws, reeks of cronyism and corruption of the highest degree.

If you want to know what a catalyst for the collapse of the European banking system looks like, it may well be what happens this week if Danske tries to fight the spider's web laid down by Bill Browder and his friends in high places.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z_s5cRp5Ikk

* * *

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hanekhw , 1 minute ago

Browder, the Clintons, Soros and the EU were made for each other weren't they? They've been screwing us publicly for what, over two generations? And without a condom! We've gotten how many FTDs (financially transmitted diseases) from these people? They never unzip their flys.

geno-econ , 1 hour ago

According to Browder, Putin is worth over $100 Billion most of it stashed away in foreign banks through intermediates and relatives. If true, it will bring down Putin and many western banks. Perhaps a Red Swan is about to take off exposing an unsustainable .financial system and corrupt political enterprise on both sides of the divide sur to cause chaos. Ironically, Putin who represents Nationalism in Russia is under attack by Globalists accusing Putin of Capitalistic Greed utilizing western banks Suicidal !

hanekhw , 16 minutes ago

Browder, the Clintons, Soros and the EU were made for each other weren't they? They've been screwing us publicly for what, over two generations? And without a condom! We've gotten how many FTDs (financially transmitted diseases) from these people? They never unzip their flys.

zeroboris , 24 minutes ago

They use his humanitarian bona fides

Browder's bona fides? LOL

monad , 8 minutes ago

Minion (((Browder))) snitches on his masters. Nowhere to hide.

Vanilla_ISIS , 18 minutes ago

Someone should just kill this dude. Browder has certainly earned it.

roadhazard , 14 minutes ago

But what about the money laundering.

Panic Mode , 15 minutes ago

You better run. Your buddy McCain is gone and see who else will fight for you.

pndr4495 , 42 minutes ago

Somehow - Mnuchkin's desire to sell his Park Ave. apartment fits into this tale of intrigue and bullshit.

markar , 47 minutes ago

Send this guy Browder a polonium cocktail. It's on me.

TahoeBilly2012 , 1 hour ago

((Browder)) ??

Clogheen , 37 minutes ago

Yes. Did you really need to ask?

geno-econ , 1 hour ago

According to Browder, Putin is worth over $100 Billion most of it stashed away in foreign banks through intermediates and relatives. If true, it will bring down Putin and many western banks. Perhaps a Red Swan is about to take off exposing an unsustainable .financial system and corrupt political enterprise on both sides of the divide sur to cause chaos. Ironically, Putin who represents Nationalism in Russia is under attack by Globalists accusing Putin of Capitalistic Greed utilizing western banks Suicidal !

Max Cynical , 1 hour ago

I watch the banned documentary...The Magnitsky Act - Behind the Scenes.

Here's a link... https://seed02.bitchute.com/40940/lQ3qEwX66pIL.mp4

Browder seems like a real scumbag.

LA_Goldbug , 1 hour ago

Only the slimiest rats get into the club of "Can Do No Wrong" and these types of gigs.

Thaxter , 1 hour ago

This documentary is first class, a really absorbing look into the mind of the sociopath Browder, a pathological, absolutely shameless liar and a very stupid and weak person. To understand the influence that this insignificant invertebrate yields, look to his father, Earl Russell Browder, who was the leader of the Communist Party in the United States during the 1930s and the first half of the 1940s.

blindfaith , 22 minutes ago

Look no further than our own political circus to see that mighty hands pull the strings. Like all strings, they will fray and break...eventually.

Jim in MN , 1 hour ago

Yes well the Big Question for us now is the degree to which the President is in control of any of this.

Recall, dear ZH fighters, how we worked out a sound strategy for the Trump Administration in the early days. Key aspects were to leave the generals and the bankers alone for a couple of years. This would allow immigration, trade, health care and deregulation including tax reform to form the early core wins, along with Supreme Court nominees of course.

Lo, cometh the Deep State and its frantic attempts to both save and conceal itself.

One key tentacle was to rouse the intelligence community into an active enemy of the POTUS. This partially fouled up the 'leave the generals alone' strategy.

Another is to try to force war with the emergent Eurasian hegemony comprised of China and Russia. This is seen all across the 'hinterland' of Russia.

The USA has no vital strategic interests in Eurasia at this juncture of history. Everyone should be clear on that.

The USA's logical and sane policy stance is to support peace, free and fair trade, and stable democracy, including border controls and the rule of law through LEADING BY EXAMPLE.

So for Trump to continue to allow the financial sector Deep State traitors to operate against a peaceful Eurasia is becoming increasingly intolerable.

Where to from here?

BandGap , 1 hour ago

Keep opening it up to scrutiny.

This article opened my eyes, I did not fully understand why Russia was all over Browder except the stealing aspect, but bigger yet, why he was being protected by the EU/US.

No wonder Putin wants to work with the Donno. Taking Browder out and exposing this manipulation works for both sides.

LA_Goldbug , 40 minutes ago

If Browder is a surprise to you then look at Khodorkovsky (there is more of these types from he came from).

Good start is here,

http://thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Economics&Finance/+Doc-Economics&Finance-GovernmentInfluence&Meddling/BankstersInRussiaAndGlobalEconomy.htm

I am a Man I am Forty , 1 hour ago

This guy is so shady. He's playing some dangerous games.

gmak , 1 hour ago

Huh? Could this be written more poorly?

TheBigOldDog , 1 hour ago

Houston, we have a problem..

akrainer , 1 hour ago

The twice banned book, "Grand Deception" deconstructing Browder's very dangerous game is here, since Amazon delisted its two previous editions:

Pdf / Kindle / Nook

Paperback

LA_Goldbug , 1 hour ago

"He Didn't Exist

Because when looking at this situation rationally, how does this guy get to run around accusing banks of anything and mobilize governments into actions which have massive ramifications for the global financial system unless he's intimately connected with the very people that operate the top of that system?"

Exactly. He was sent by the Anglo-Zionist Tribe otherwise he would be a nobody.

JacquesdeMolay , 1 hour ago

Also, a very good book on the topic: "suppressed and banned by the CIA's supplier, Amazon, The Grand Deception: The Browder Hoax is a highly intelligent, frank and entertaining take-down of one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the US public and the world – The Magnitsky Act. Krainer's study of Bill Browder's book and actions is a riveting, unflinching expose of what might end up being pivotal in revealing one of this decade's big hoaxes."

https://thirdalliance.ch/product/grand-deception-the-browder-hoax/

JacquesdeMolay , 2 hours ago

Skullduggery: Confessions of a CIA Asset Bill Browder

[Sep 17, 2018] The declining US fights for human rights as declining Serena fights for women's rights. Both invoke exceptionalism and higher principles and go nuclear when they cannot win any more under the established international rules

Sep 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kiza , Sep 17, 2018 8:33:14 AM | link

A quick observation and a fascinating parallele. Serena Williams and the US global hyperpower.

Serena at 36 got bitten fair and square at US open by a girl of 20, almost half her age. So she throws up a nuclear tantrum, publicly calling the referee a thief, threatening that he will never referee again, obviously thanks to her money, power and gender.

During her post-game interview, Serena told a news conference, "I'm here, fighting for women's rights, for women's equality, and for all kind of stuff it made me think that it was a sexist remark [referring to the penalty the referee Ramos awarded her]."

The declining US fights for human rights as declining Serena fights for women's rights. Both invoke exceptionalism and higher principles and go nuclear when they cannot win any more under the established international rules. The irony of killing the Yemenis en mass whilst "fighting" for the human rights of terrorists in Syria is just like Serena fighting for women's rights against another younger and more capable woman.

donkeytale , Sep 17, 2018 9:21:31 AM | link

Kiza - interesting point. Yes clearly Serena retrofitted the women's movement to justify what was an old-fashioned Connors/McEnroe male tennis tantrum, although extremely mild comapred to some of the crap those two pulled back in the day.

What goes without saying is the behaviour is as repulsive when Serena does it as when McEnroe/Connors did.

Serena at 36 is no longer the dominant force just as America is no longer. However, it is fair to say the winner is where she is because she trained extensively and I believe lives in Amerikkka so really she is an example of globalism and racial diversity, if not Amerikkkan exeptionalism.

Women's tennis post Serena will not be dominated by Amerikkkans but by Amerikkkan training of the best players regardless of their origination

[Sep 16, 2018] The Guardian is a blatant example of the turnaround from "reasonably reliable" to "paid shill"

Notable quotes:
"... Another example is the Danish newspaper "Information" founded during WWII, as very leftist it has today morphed, in the dark, into a center right neo- liberal rag, full of no- news and idiotic scribbles by irrelevant formerly known peoples talent-less sons and daughters. ..."
"... Wel thanks b, for telling the truth and letting me start my Sunday moderately depressed, I guess news that Washington D.C had been swallowed by a giant sink-hole, would cheer me partly up. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Den Lille Abe , Sep 16, 2018 12:47:49 AM | 49 ">link

Thank you b, for yet another good article!

Your article made me reflect the situation in general. While it is good the The White Frauds have been called out as an Empire front and as Western propaganda psy-op, I do thing the real Enemy is the MSM. These crimes by our governments, the White Frauds, Isil, ect,ect, would not be possible without the control of the MSM. But I am completely at a loss how to fight them, or just diminish their influence.

The Guardian s a blatant example, and its turnaround from "reasonable reliable" to "paid shill" was clumsily and obviously executed. Looking at the UK for real news , there is only the blogoshere left, all opposition has been subverted. And it is not only in the UK.

Another example is the Danish newspaper "Information" founded during WWII, as very leftist it has today morphed, in the dark, into a center right neo- liberal rag, full of no- news and idiotic scribbles by irrelevant formerly known peoples talent-less sons and daughters.

The situation in Sweden is even more depressing (it is!) the newspapers here are on level with the Sun and the Daily Heil.

Wel thanks b, for telling the truth and letting me start my Sunday moderately depressed, I guess news that Washington D.C had been swallowed by a giant sink-hole, would cheer me partly up.

[Sep 16, 2018] After the iron curtain fell, there was a big demand for Russian-trained programmers because they could program in a very efficient and light manner that didn't demand too much of the hardware, if I remember correctly

Notable quotes:
"... It's a bit of chicken-and-egg problem, though. Russia, throughout 20th century, had problem with developing small, effective hardware, so their programmers learned how to code to take maximum advantage of what they had, with their technological deficiency in one field giving rise to superiority in another. ..."
"... Russian tech ppl should always be viewed with certain amount of awe and respect...although they are hardly good on everything. ..."
"... Soviet university training in "cybernetics" as it was called in the late 1980s involved two years of programming on blackboards before the students even touched an actual computer. ..."
"... I recall flowcharting entirely on paper before committing a program to punched cards. ..."
Aug 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Bill Herschel 2 days ago ,

Very, very slightly off-topic.

Much has been made, including in this post, of the excellent organization of Russian forces and Russian military technology.

I have been re-investigating an open-source relational database system known as PosgreSQL (variously), and I remember finding perhaps a decade ago a very useful whole text search feature of this system which I vaguely remember was written by a Russian and, for that reason, mildly distrusted by me.

Come to find out that the principle developers and maintainers of PostgreSQL are Russian. OMG. Double OMG, because the reason I chose it in the first place is that it is the best non-proprietary RDBS out there and today is supported on Google Cloud, AWS, etc.

The US has met an equal or conceivably a superior, case closed. Trump's thoroughly odd behavior with Putin is just one but a very obvious one example of this.

Of course, Trump's nationalistic blather is creating a "base" of people who believe in the godliness of the US. They are in for a very serious disappointment.

kao_hsien_chih Bill Herschel a day ago ,

After the iron curtain fell, there was a big demand for Russian-trained programmers because they could program in a very efficient and "light" manner that didn't demand too much of the hardware, if I remember correctly.

It's a bit of chicken-and-egg problem, though. Russia, throughout 20th century, had problem with developing small, effective hardware, so their programmers learned how to code to take maximum advantage of what they had, with their technological deficiency in one field giving rise to superiority in another.

Russia has plenty of very skilled, very well-trained folks and their science and math education is, in a way, more fundamentally and soundly grounded on the foundational stuff than US (based on my personal interactions anyways).

Russian tech ppl should always be viewed with certain amount of awe and respect...although they are hardly good on everything.

TTG kao_hsien_chih a day ago ,

Well said. Soviet university training in "cybernetics" as it was called in the late 1980s involved two years of programming on blackboards before the students even touched an actual computer.

It gave the students an understanding of how computers works down to the bit flipping level. Imagine trying to fuzz code in your head.

FarNorthSolitude TTG a day ago ,

I recall flowcharting entirely on paper before committing a program to punched cards. I used to do hex and octal math in my head as part of debugging core dumps. Ah, the glory days.

Honeywell once made a military computer that was 10 bit. That stumped me for a while, as everything was 8 or 16 bit back then.

kao_hsien_chih FarNorthSolitude 10 hours ago ,

That used to be fairly common in the civilian sector (in US) too: computing time was expensive, so you had to make sure that the stuff worked flawlessly before it was committed.

No opportunity to seeing things go wrong and do things over like much of how things happen nowadays. Russians, with their hardware limitations/shortages, I imagine must have been much more thorough than US programmers were back in the old days, and you could only get there by being very thoroughly grounded n the basics.

[Sep 16, 2018] Amazon Employees Investigated Over Suspected Black Market For Information, Favors by Tyler Durden

So your information and private data can be traded for some small amount of money to God knows whom
Notable quotes:
"... Considering that Amazon employees in the US are some of the most poorly paid in tech and retail (Jeff Bezos was recently booed by his own employees over low wages), perhaps the WSJ' s theory holds water. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Amazon has launched an investigation to track down a sophisticated network of employees running a "black market" of confidential information and favors, illegally sold through intermediaries to site merchants in order to give them a competitive advantage over other sellers, reports the Wall Street Journal .

In addition to providing sales metrics, search keywords and reviewers' email addresses, bribed Amazon employees would delete negative feedback for around $300 per review, with middleman brokers typically demanding a five-review minimum from merchants looking to game the system.

Employees of Amazon, primarily with the aid of intermediaries , are offering internal data and other confidential information that can give an edge to independent merchants selling their products on the site, according to sellers who have been offered and purchased the data, brokers who provide it and people familiar with internal investigations.

...

In exchange for payments ranging from roughly $80 to more than $2,000 , brokers for Amazon employees in Shenzhen are offering internal sales metrics and reviewers' email addresses, as well as a service to delete negative reviews and restore banned Amazon accounts , the people said.

...

Amazon is investigating a number of cases involving employees, including some in the U.S., suspected of accepting these bribes , according to people familiar with the matter. -WSJ

The data brokers primarily operate ion China, as the number of new Amazon sellers in the country has been skyrocketing. The Journal speculates that " Amazon employees in China have relatively small salaries, which may embolden them to take risks. "

Considering that Amazon employees in the US are some of the most poorly paid in tech and retail (Jeff Bezos was recently booed by his own employees over low wages), perhaps the WSJ' s theory holds water.

The internal probe was launched after a tip over the practice in China was sent to Eric Broussard, an Amazon VP in charge of overseeing global marketplaces. The company has since moved key executives into different positions in China to try and "root out the bribery," reports the Journal .

"We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties," an Amazon spokeswoman said of the situation, confirming that the company is investigating the claims. The same applies to sellers: "We have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them ," she said.

Merchant network

A major component of Amazon's success is its massive network of third-party merchants, where the company derives the majority of merchandise sales. Over two million merchants now offer an estimated 550 million products over Amazon, which constitutes over half of all units sold on the site. Third party sales constituted an estimated $200 billion in gross merchandise volume last year, according to estimates by FactSet.

As such, "Sellers must aggressively compete to get their products noticed on the first page of search results, where customers typically make most of their purchase decisions," notes the Journal .

Evolving manipulations

Merchants have long sought competitive advantages over each other - first gaming Amazon's automated ranking system, by paying people to leave fake reviews and drive traffic to products.

After some time, the black market for internal information emerged, as bribed employees began providing data and access to various benefits, according to a person who has facilitated by brokers.

Brokers are the middlemen between Amazon employees and sellers who want negative reviews deleted or access to internal sales information. Brokers search for Amazon employees on Chinese messaging platform WeChat and send messages asking them if they would like to provide these services in exchange for cash , according to brokers and sellers who say they have been approached by brokers.

The going rate for having an Amazon employee delete negative reviews is about $300 per review , according to people familiar with the practice. Brokers usually demand a five-review minimum, meaning that sellers typically must pay at least $1,500 for the service, the people said. -WSJ

For a lower fee, merchants can pay Amazon employees for the email addresses of verified reviewers, giving them the opportunity to reach out to those who have left negative reviews for the opportunity to persuade them to adjust or delete their comment - sometimes bribing the reviewer with a free or discounted product.

Also offered for sale is proprietary sales information, "such as the keywords customers typically use to search for items on Amazon's site, sales volume and other statistics about buyers' habits, according to the people," enabling Amazon sellers to better craft product descriptions in a manner which will boost their search result rankings.

At a recent conference hosted for sellers -- which wasn't run by Amazon -- a broker pulled up internal keyword results on his laptop. The broker said $80 can buy information on sales data, the number of times users searched for a certain product and clicked on a product page, which sellers are bidding for advertisements and how much those cost, according to the person who viewed the results. -WSJ

One seller in China told the Journal that competition on the website had become so intense that he needs to cheat in order to gain a competitive advantage. " If I don't do bad things I will die ," he said.

If all else fails in rooting out the black market, perhaps Bezos will simply release the hounds:


surf@jm , 9 minutes ago

China's motto......

Who needs Christian morality, when lying, cheating and stealing is our religion.....

surf@jm , 9 minutes ago

China's motto......

Who needs christian morality, when lying, cheating and stealing is our religion.....

Suicyco , 44 minutes ago

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys

Last of the Middle Class , 44 minutes ago

Just like Wal Mart charging by the inch for shelf space. Same game different monkeys.

Normal , 44 minutes ago

Prime example of how the US is a fascist state: the corporation gets government to enforce law on poor people.

DoctorFix , 1 hour ago

When Amazon opened the flood gates of corruption and scams by allowing Chinese sellers to compete with Americans on the US site... well, the locals were fucked! Lying, scamming Chinese fuckers don't care who or how they screw you. And Amazon doesn't give a shit so long as it makes money. Fuck Amazon! That's why I cancelled any prime membership and haven't bought a damn thing from them in ages.

803Mastiff , 1 hour ago

And the Pentagon farmed out their servers to AWS.....What are Amazon employees getting paid for military intel?

richsob , 1 hour ago

If local retailers have a crappy inventory and the stores are staffed with surly Millennials, then why shouldn't I buy stuff on Amazon at a better price? I support local businesses that deserve being supported. The rest of them sound like a bunch of whiny liberals who feel "entitled" to my money.

cornflakesdisease , 2 minutes ago

Everything on Amazon can be found online somewhere else cheaper. You check out the item on Amazon and then buy it elsewhere. Any seller has to mark up on Amazon to pay Amazon. Logically, then, from his direct website, he would be slightly cheaper.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Hardware-S758-305-Chest-Handle/dp/B000FKF1NQ/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1537135278&sr=8-16&keywords=chest+handles

https://www.midlandhardware.com/185512.html

Cardinal Fang , 1 hour ago

I'm sorry, did I miss the part where Disgruntled Amazon employees sell access to the CIAs web farms?

Being Free , 1 hour ago

I have a letter from a woman who used to work with Bezos at a McDonalds restaurant when they were both in high school in Miami. She says Bezos walked her home from McDonalds one day after work and sexually attacked her in her home. He tried to rip her clothes off her but she managed to escape his evil clutches. She was and is so distraught over this incident that she is still afraid especially now that he is such a wealthy and powerful man.

just the tip , 44 minutes ago

well played.

JoeTurner , 1 hour ago

Oligarchs bitchez ! it's their country....you just pay the taxes...

ZD1 , 1 hour ago

"A major component of Amazon's success is its massive network of third-party merchants, where the company derives the majority of merchandise sales. Over two million merchants now offer an estimated 550 million products over Amazon, which constitutes over half of all units sold on the site. Third party sales constituted an estimated $200 billion in gross merchandise volume last year, according to estimates by FactSet."

Mostly Chicom sweatshop shit.

abgary1 , 1 hour ago

Giving away our privacy for convenience sake is inane and insane.

Have we become that lazy and ignorant?

Without privacy and thus freedom we have nothing.

Midas , 37 minutes ago

Give me convenience or give me death!

--Jello Biafra

pitz , 1 hour ago

That's nothing. Amazon has access to the business data of a large number of businesses that use AWS. The possibilities of abuse there are nearly endless.

bluebird100 , 1 hour ago

Get fucked Amazon, that's what you get for doing business in China.

ExplodingEntropy , 1 hour ago

tiny dick chicom down-voted you

http://www.auricmedia.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/the_matrix_deciphered.pdf

wetwipe , 1 hour ago

Fuckin' sick of people moaning about Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc, yet spending half their life on there and buying shit from them.

Personally I can't stand what Amazon has become and would never spend £1 with them.

Facebook is evil shit designed to re-wire the brain to make you a self conscious narcissist which will ultimately end in misery.

Google are a million miles away from 'do no evil' but TBH they have a very good product however they are evil scumbags.

These companies literally believe they are gods, that they control the world.... just like the big banks did before 2008.

I hope the crash comes soon.

-WetWipe

mrtoad , 1 hour ago

Banks do control the world

MARDUKTA , 1 hour ago

President will destroy them soon/CIA.

MedicalQuack , 1 hour ago

Heck, this is not just China being solicited, a couple weeks ago I had 4 voicemails, all the same recording stating "making $17.00 to $35.00 an hour posting reviews to Amazon. I didn't answer the calls and saw that they were junk and didn't run upon them until I checked my voicemail for a real message I had missed and there they were.

They all had a different number to call and a different company name, but it was the same recorded message on all 4 of them and this happened in a couple days, 2 on one day, and another 2 the next day. I guess they figured I was not going to respond and took me off attempt #5:)

Why wouldn't folks in the inside go after a scam like this, look at their CEO, a big fat quant from Wall Street..and of course we have all heard and read the stories about how Amazon pays...

This being said, I don't think this scam was just limited to China..if I remember correctly, this was promoted as part time work with posting reviews to Amazon and work as many hours as you like. I deleted all of them so I can't go back and listen again as they were just nuisance calls like others that I just get rid of.

MARDUKTA , 1 hour ago

Bezos partnered with some tribal chieftain in Nigeria who is CEO of Scams-R-Us.

RafterManFMJ , 1 hour ago

Everything's a lie, and the lie is everything

[Sep 16, 2018] Challenging Freedom: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democratic Education by Robert Karaba

"Teaching to the test" is a perversion of education. Excessive quantification is bad. Both are primary features of neoliberal education.
Notable quotes:
"... If we care about the prospects of democratic education, we must take neoliberalism's success seriously, for it is a philosophical framework in which freedom and democratic education are mutually exclusive. ..."
"... We must intentionally challenge the neoliberal notion of the value freedom and the usefulness of its associated philosophical assumptions. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | democracyeducationjournal.org

Goodlad, et al. (2002) rightly point out that a culture can either resist or support change. Schein's (2010) model of culture indicates observable behaviors of a culture can be explained by exposing underlying shared values and basic assumptions that give meaning to the performance. Yet culture is many-faceted and complex. So Schein advised a clinical approach to cultural analysis that calls for identifying a problem in order to focus the analysis on relevant values and assumptions. This project starts with two assumptions:

  1. The erosion of democratic education is a visible overt behavior of the current U.S. macro-culture, and
  2. This is a problem.

I intend to use this problem of the erosion of democratic education as a basis for a cultural analysis. My essential question is: What are the deeper, collective, competing value commitments and shared basic assumptions that hinder efforts for democratic education? The purpose of this paper is to start a conversation about particular cultural limitations and barriers we are working with as we move toward recapturing the civic mission of education.

... ... ...

Neoliberalism's success in infiltrating the national discourse shuts out alternative discourses and appears to render them irrelevant in everyday American culture (R. Quantz, personal communication, Summer 2006). If we care about the prospects of democratic education, we must take neoliberalism's success seriously, for it is a philosophical framework in which freedom and democratic education are mutually exclusive. Dewey (1993), in all his wisdom, warned:

And let those who are struggling to replace the present economic system by a cooperative one also remember that in struggling for a new system of social restraints and controls they are also struggling for a more equal and equitable balance of powers that will enhance and multiply the effective liberties of the mass of individuals. Let them not be jockeyed into the position of supporting social control at the expense of liberty [emphasis added]. (p. 160)

Yet, that is exactly the situation in which we find ourselves today. Democratic education is viewed as a social control policy, as an infringement on the supremacy of the [neoliberal] freedom. We witness a lack of democratic citizenship, moral, and character education in our schools. We see a lack of redistributing resources for equality of educational opportunity. We observe a lack of talk about education's civic mission, roles, and goals. Democratic education is viewed as tangential, secondary, and mutually exclusive from the prioritized value of "liberty." How can we foster alternative notions of freedom, such as Lincoln's republican sense of liberty as collectively inquiring and deciding how we rule ourselves?

We must intentionally challenge the neoliberal notion of the value freedom and the usefulness of its associated philosophical assumptions.

[Sep 16, 2018] Conservatism as an ideology of protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes

Sep 16, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Z 09.14.18 at 2:49 pm ( 54 )

Thomas Beale prohibition of abortion, support for 'the family' (usually code for banning gay marriage etc) and/or economic disciplinarian

Leaving aside the new social circumstances that I think nowadays prevail (and which make the terms "conservative" equivocal at best, if not meaningless), someone who supports a prohibition of abortion wants to take the decision of carrying a pregnancy out of the hands of the woman experiencing the pregnancy; someone who supports "the family" under your interpretation wants to take the decision of entering an existing legal arrangements between loving couples out of the hands of certain loving couples; someone who supports economic "discipline" (I'm guessing this means supporting policies that favor upward redistribution rather than policies that favor downward redistribution) wants the currently poor to have even less choices and opportunities in the ways to go on about their material lives than they do now (hard to defend as something promoting individual freedom, unless this discussion takes place in a country where the poor already have plenty of such opportunities already whereas the burden placed on the rich is already considerable, which seems to me hard to argue at least for the UK, US and Brazil).

So I find these political choices quite in agreement with the thesis of "conservatism as animus against the agency of the subordinate classes", myself. And I think a consistent conservative would have to agree (and say for instance that yes, he wants to deny the agency of a pregnant woman because he gives a higher value to the sanctity of life or that yes, he wants to deny the agency of the poor, because the agency of the rich is much more valuable, perhaps because they have demonstrated that they have higher creative powers, or are morally superior or whatever )

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.18 at 12:14 pm (no link)
"Protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" could be a good first pass at describing the Wittgensteinian family resemblance of all conservatisms. In the mid-18th Century the final public inversion of theories of dispensation from the Absolute (i.e. the Great Chain of Being), inverted in the face of increasing scientific knowledge and technological advance, served to overthrow the privileges of aristocracy and divine right, and brought forward the question of the will of the rabble as a new, constant norm in the political process (i.e. "democracy"). The left-right divide blossomed.

We may still be living in an era of shadow cast from that event. It could be that some "language games" perpetuate as dialogical, rhetorical, antiphonal, oppositional. Yet the referents can change, as in any emotional argument. In the case of a language game emerging to the immediate concerns of property ownership and political power, it might persist over time in the emotional shadow of the ancien regime, yet it would transmute over time in response to change and contingency, and use varying political issues of the moment to stay alive. So we have a sort of dialogic meta-organism with an autopoietic (i.e. self-maintaining) social ontogeny, leaving behind itself the tracks of a dialectical history.

In our present moment, the "protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" has transmuted to "protection of the free market as a way for any subordinate person to ascend by personal effort into the modern open aristocracy".

But this could be the end of that game. Yes, it is a clever trick: it perpetuates the belief in individualism, because anyone can try to do it. But it is also fatally flawed. Not everyone can do it because there are formal limitations: over long periods of time some few people invent new goods and services and achieve success, but at any one moment there is a lot of unemployed and underpaid. In addition some members of the modern open aristocracy are pushing programs that increase inequality and environmental destruction, and these results become more visible to the public.

"Protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" moved historically to "protection of the free market as a way for anyone to become one of the aristocrats" -- and now may finally be eclipsed, because that is not believable. It would be the end of the pro-hierarchic bent of conservatism. Mainstream conservatives won't have much to distinguish themselves from progressives, who otherwise believe in individualism and personal achievement. The social-conservative varieties would spin off to single-issue advocacies. We may see a book entitled, Varieties of Conservatism Against One Another.

[Sep 16, 2018] Neoliberal nomenklatura

Sep 16, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Stephen 09.16.18 at 4:11 pm

Peter T: contrariwise, if it is that as you say "There's surely a reasoned case to be made that hierarchies are essential to complex societies" and "someone has to be at the top and therefore someone else at the bottom", is it legitimate to suspect that a fair proportion (not all, of course) of those advocating progressive change believe that after the defeat of the evil conservative forces, there will still be an essential hierarchy, only they will be on top?

See nomenklatura, etc.


Sebastian H 09.16.18 at 5:27 pm ( 83 )

"is it legitimate to suspect that a fair proportion (not all, of course) of those advocating progressive change believe that after the defeat of the evil conservative forces, there will still be an essential hierarchy, only they will be on top?"

Usually yes, but they will be benevolent so we don't have to worry about them. That is why there are a lot of naïve progressive rule proposals that make me want to scream "what if someone less pure than the purest person you ever met gets a hold of it"? Though I usually just say "what if Ralph Nader were in charge ?", but that is admittedly trolling. For the most current example see the EU copyright rules. The same people who complain about conservative twitter mobs think that telling facebook, twitter, and google to automatically screen out copyright violations and somehow automatically allow fair use of copyright is going to work out well.
I suck at guessing at malignant uses of technology and I can already see the Russian copyright upload experts getting prominent left wing voices tied up in interminable litigation over political speeches. Or some troll reporting the entire internet as copyrighted in one paragraph increments. Or the speech censorship discussions. Dissolving free speech norms is 1000% more likely to be used against left wing voices than right wing ones if they get mainstreamed.

likbez 09.16.18 at 9:16 pm ( 84 )
@Lee A. Arnold 09.15.18 at 12:14 pm (66)

In our present moment, the "protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" has transmuted to "protection of the free market as a way for any subordinate person to ascend by personal effort into the modern open aristocracy."

That is a very deep observation. Thank you!

Protection of inequality as a "natural human condition" is the key to understanding both conservatism and neoliberalism. The corresponding myth of social mobility based on person's abilities under neoliberalism (as Napoleon Bonaparte observed "Ability is of little account without opportunity" and the opportunity is lacking under neoliberal stagnation -- the current state of neoliberalism ) is just icing on the cake.

As soon as you accept Hayek sophistry that the term "freedom" means "the freedom from coercion" you are both a neoliberal and a conservative. And if you belong to Democratic Party, you are a Vichy democrat ;-)

likbez 09.16.18 at 9:50 pm ( 85 )
@Stephen 09.16.18 at 4:11 pm (82)

"is it legitimate to suspect that a fair proportion (not all, of course) of those advocating progressive change believe that after the defeat of the evil conservative forces, there will still be an essential hierarchy, only they will be on top?"

In a way yes ;-)

Neoliberalism/conservatism means that the state enforces the existing hierarchy and supports existing aristocracy ("socialism for rich"). If you deny the existence of a flavor of the Soviet nomenklatura (aristocracy in which position in social hierarchy mainly depends on their role in the top management of government or corporations, not so much personal fortune) in the USA, you deny the reality.

So the question is not about hierarchy per se, but about the acceptable level of "corporate socialism" and inequality in the society.

The progressive change means the creation of the system of government which serves as a countervailing force to the private capital owners, curbing their excesses. I would say that financial oligarchy generally should be treated as a district flavor of organized crime.

The key issue is how to allow a decent level of protection of the bottom 90% of the population from excesses of unfettered capitalism and "market forces" and at the same time not to slide into excessive bureaucracy and regulation ("state capitalism" model).

For a short period after WWII the alliance of a part of state apparatus, upper-level management, and trade unions against owners of capital did exist in the USA (New Deal Capitalism). In an imperfect form with multiple betrayals and quick deterioration, but still existed for some time due to the danger from the USSR

Around 80th the threat from USSR dissipate, and the upper-level management betrayed their former allies and switched sides which signified the victory of neoliberalism and dismantling of the New Deal Capitalism.

After the USSR collapse (when Soviet nomenklatura switched to neoliberalism) the financial oligarchy staged coup d'état in the USA (aka "Quiet Coup") and came to the top.

We need depose this semi-criminal gang. Of course, the end of "cheap oil" will probably help.

Peter T 09.16.18 at 11:40 pm ( 86 )
Stephen

Some, but a "fair proportion"? Probably not. Advocacy of progressive causes usually involves punching up – an inherently more dangerous occupation than punching down. People forget that the older nomenklatura won their positions in World War II, when being a commissar meant leading from the front, being shot out of hand by the Germans, rallying the partisans in mountain villages to another desperate defence and similar. Survivor bias – we don't see the dead.

In more genteel times, the outspoken progressive will often face social ostracism, lack of promotion, attacks in the conservative press

Human motives are complex – no doubt there were confederates who genuinely believed the fight was for states rights, and no doubt there are libertarians who genuinely believe that the poor will have it much better in a free market utopia. I doubt the proportion, either counting individuals or in the swirl inside minds, is very large, but there's always some.

Faustusnotes 09.16.18 at 11:45 pm ( 87 )
Now we're making progress Thomas. The Berkowitz definition is sleazy, and sets up anyone not conservative as an amoral lump in need of guidance, or worse still as dangerous to society. Perhaps that's why Hayek (a supposedly type b conservative) had his opponents thrown out of helicopters. Or was that Friedman?

The appeal of conservatism and it's electoral success is easily explained. Because their real ideology is just treachery, theft and rape they need to hide these ideas from normal people, who already in general support the moral ideas fundamental to civilized society regardless of their politics. So they hide their true agenda through appeals to racism, or by cloaking themselves in the type b definition (isn't this robins point?!) In doing this they benefit from the work of yeomen like you, who insist that conservatism is a real moral project rather than banditry. In most countries they also only win when the left is divided, and only when their elite friends are pouring money into corrupt media. If they didn't have these advantages, these lies, and help from people like you they would never succeed.

I focus on Trump et Al because they are the leaders of your sect,the people who sell your ideas (manafort was a campaign manager ffs), and the people who turn the ideology into action. Didn't you learn in primary school to judge people by their actions, not their words? And why would I ignore these particular conservatives because they're "vulgar clowns"? You're all dangerous, vulgar clowns.

[Sep 16, 2018] Challenging Freedom: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democratic Education

Sep 16, 2018 | democracyeducationjournal.org

Goodlad, et al. (2002) rightly point out that a culture can either resist or support change. Schein's (2010) model of culture indicates observable behaviors of a culture can be explained by exposing underlying shared values and basic assumptions that give meaning to the performance. Yet culture is many-faceted and complex. So Schein advised a clinical approach to cultural analysis that calls for identifying a problem in order to focus the analysis on relevant values and assumptions. This project starts with two assumptions:

(1) The erosion of democratic education is a visible overt behavior of the current U.S. macro-culture, and

(2) this is a problem.

I intend to use this problem of the erosion of democratic education as a basis for a cultural analysis. My essential question is: What are the deeper, collective, competing value commitments and shared basic assumptions that hinder efforts for democratic education? The purpose of this paper is to start a conversation about particular cultural limitations and barriers we are working with as we move toward recapturing the civic mission of education.

[Sep 16, 2018] Spygate Operative Nellie Ohr To Testify Before Congress This Week About Work For Fusion GPS

Sep 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Nellie Ohr will sit for an interview with Congress next week, according to Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX).

Ohr, an expert on Russia who speaks fluent Russian, is a central figure in the nexus between Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce the "Steele Dossier " - and the Obama Justice Department - where her husband, Bruce Ohr, was a senior official. Bruce was demoted twice after he was caught lying about his extensive involvement with Fusion's activities surrounding the 2016 US election.

Notably, the Ohrs had extensive contact with Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 spy who authored the salacious anti-Trump dossier used to justify spying on the Trump campaign during the election, and later to smear Donald Trump right before he took office in 2017. According to emails turned over to Congress and reported in late August, the Ohrs would have breakfast with Steele on July 30 at the downtown D.C. Mayflower hotel - days after Steele had turned in several installments of the infamous dossier to the FBI . The breakfast took place one day before the FBI/DOJ launched operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the codename for the official counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

"Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce," Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. " Let's keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help," referring to Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.

No stranger to the US intelligence community, Nellie Ohr represented the CIA's "Open Source Works" group in a 2010 " expert working group report on international organized crime" along with Bruce Ohr and Glenn Simpson .


Nayel , 56 minutes ago

I'd bet she gets up there and denies everything, lust like Strozk. And the DOJ does nothing, and even allows the perjury to slide.

Sessions is clearly complicit. Loretta Lynch might as well be still running the show...and perhaps she is...

Seeing as how the Shadow Government seems to be running the "Collusion Investigation" on themselves...

thebriang , 1 hour ago

Is she going to name the 3 "journalists" that Fusion paid to start pushing the Russia narrative in the MSM?

I want names, goddammit.

samsara , 1 hour ago

Thread by Thread the garment is unraveled for all to see

" Needless to say, Congress will have no shortage of questions to ask Nellie. "

Like why did she get a ham radio? I guess she didn't trust the NSA?

[Sep 16, 2018] Ending the Secrecy of the Student Debt Crisis

Pervasive racketeering rules because we allow it to, especially in education and medicine. Both are self-destructing under the weight of their own money-grubbing schemes.
Notable quotes:
"... Because of the loans' disgracefully high interest rates, my family and I have paid more or less the equivalent of my debt itself in the years since I graduated, making monthly payments in good faith -- even in times of unemployment and extreme duress -- to lenders like Citigroup, a bank that was among the largest recipients of federal bailout money in 2008 and that eventually sold off my debt to other lenders. This ruinous struggle has been essentially meaningless: I now owe more than what I started out owing, not unlike my parents with their mortgage . ..."
"... By Daniela Senderowicz. Originally published in Yes! Magazine ..."
"... Activists are building meaningful connections among borrowers to counter the taboo of admitting they can't pay their bills. ..."
"... Gamblers and reality TV stars can claim bankruptcy protections when in financial trouble, but 44 million student loan borrowers can't. Unemployed, underpaid, destitute, sick, or struggling borrowers simply aren't able to start anew. ..."
"... With a default rate approaching 40 percent , one would expect armies of distressed borrowers marching in the streets demanding relief from a system that has singled out their financial anguish. Distressed student debtors, however, seem to be terror-struck about coming forward to a society that, they say, ostracizes them for their inability to keep up with their finances. ..."
"... When we spoke to several student borrowers, almost none were willing to share their names. "I can't tell anyone how much I'm struggling," says a 39-year-old Oregon physician who went into student loan default after his wife's illness drained their finances. He is terrified of losing his patients and reputation if he speaks out about his financial problems. ..."
"... Debtors are isolated, anxious, and in the worst cases have taken their own lives . Simone confirms that she has "worked with debtors who were suicidal or had psychological breakdowns requiring psychiatric hospitalization." ..."
"... "Alienation impacts mental health issues," says New York mental health counselor Harriet Fraad. "As long as they blame themselves within the system, they're lost." ..."
"... A recent manifesto by activist and recent graduate Eli Campbell calls for radical unity among borrowers. "Young people live in constant fear that they'll never be able to pay off their debt. We're not buying houses or able to afford the hallmarks of the American dream," he explains. ..."
"... Do a little research on car selling and you will see the pressures on the dealer sales force to suck the vast majority of buyers into long term debt. Car loans are now five or six years, routinely. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. This article describes how the stigma of struggling to pay student debt is a burden in and of itself. I wish this article had explained how little it take to trigger an escalation into default interest rates and how punitive they are. The piece also stresses the value of activism as a form of psychological relief, by connecting stressed student debt borrowers with people similarly afflicted.

But the bigger issue is the way indebtedness is demonized in a society that makes it pretty much impossible to avoid borrowing. One reader recounted how many (as in how few) weeks of after tax wages it took to buy a car in the 1960s versus now. Dealers don't want to talk to buyers who want to pay in full at the time of purchase. And if you don't have installment credit or a mortgage, the consumer credit agencies ding you!

It goes without saying that the sense of shame is harder to endure due to how shallow most people's social networks are, which is another product of neoliberalism.

In keeping, the New York Times today ran an op-ed by one of its editors on how student debtors are also victims of the crisis, reprinted from a longer piece in The Baffler (hat tip Dan K). Key sections :

Because of the loans' disgracefully high interest rates, my family and I have paid more or less the equivalent of my debt itself in the years since I graduated, making monthly payments in good faith -- even in times of unemployment and extreme duress -- to lenders like Citigroup, a bank that was among the largest recipients of federal bailout money in 2008 and that eventually sold off my debt to other lenders. This ruinous struggle has been essentially meaningless: I now owe more than what I started out owing, not unlike my parents with their mortgage .

Many people have and will continue to condemn me personally for my tremendous but unexceptional student debt, and the ways in which it has made the recession's effects linger for my family. I've spent quite a lot of time in the past decade accepting this blame. The recession may have compounded my family's economic insecurity, but I also made the conscious decision to take out loans for a college I couldn't afford in order to become a journalist, a profession with minimal financial returns. The amount of debt I owe in student loans -- about $100,000 -- is more than I make in a given year. I am ashamed and embarrassed by this, but as I grow older, I think it is time that those profiting from this country's broken economic system share some of my guilt

[At my commencement in 2009] Mrs. Clinton then echoed a fantasy of boundless opportunity that had helped guide the country into economic collapse, deceiving many of the parents in attendance, including my own, into borrowing toward a future that they couldn't work hard enough to afford. "There is no problem we face here in America or around the world that will not yield to human effort," she said. "Our challenges are ones that summon the best of us, and we will make the world better tomorrow than it is today." At the time, I wondered if this was accurate. I now know how wrong she was.

By Daniela Senderowicz. Originally published in Yes! Magazine

Activists are building meaningful connections among borrowers to counter the taboo of admitting they can't pay their bills.

Gamblers and reality TV stars can claim bankruptcy protections when in financial trouble, but 44 million student loan borrowers can't. Unemployed, underpaid, destitute, sick, or struggling borrowers simply aren't able to start anew.

With a default rate approaching 40 percent , one would expect armies of distressed borrowers marching in the streets demanding relief from a system that has singled out their financial anguish. Distressed student debtors, however, seem to be terror-struck about coming forward to a society that, they say, ostracizes them for their inability to keep up with their finances.

When we spoke to several student borrowers, almost none were willing to share their names. "I can't tell anyone how much I'm struggling," says a 39-year-old Oregon physician who went into student loan default after his wife's illness drained their finances. He is terrified of losing his patients and reputation if he speaks out about his financial problems.

"If I shared this with anyone they will look down upon me as some kind of fool," explains a North Carolina psychologist who is now beyond retirement age. He explains that his student debt balance soared after losing a well-paying position during the financial crisis, and that he is struggling to pay it back.

Financial shame alienates struggling borrowers. Debtors blame themselves and self-loathe when they can't make their payments, explains Colette Simone, a Michigan psychologist. "There is so much fear of sharing the reality of their financial situation and the devastation it is causing in every facet of their lives," she says. "The consequences of coming forward can result in social pushback and possible job -- related complications, which only deepen their suffering."

Debtors are isolated, anxious, and in the worst cases have taken their own lives . Simone confirms that she has "worked with debtors who were suicidal or had psychological breakdowns requiring psychiatric hospitalization."

With an average debt of just over $37,000 per borrower for the class of 2016 , and given that incomes have been flat since the 1970s , it's not surprising that borrowers are struggling to pay. Student loans have a squeaky-clean reputation, and society tends to view them as a noble symbol of the taxpayers' generosity to the working poor. Fear of facing society's ostracism for failure to pay them back has left borrowers alienated and trapped in a lending system that is engulfing them in debt bondage.

"Alienation impacts mental health issues," says New York mental health counselor Harriet Fraad. "As long as they blame themselves within the system, they're lost."

Student debtors can counter despair by fighting back through activism and political engagement, she says. "Connection is the antidote to alienation, and engaging in activism, along with therapy, is a way to recovery."

Despite the fear of coming forward, some activists are building a social movement in which meaningful connections among borrowers can counter the taboo of openly admitting financial ruin.

Student Loan Justice, a national grassroots lobby group, is attempting to build this movement by pushing for robust legislation to return bankruptcy protections to borrowers. The group has active chapters in almost every state, with members directly lobbying their local representatives to sign on as co-sponsors to HR 2366. Activists are building a supportive community for struggling borrowers through political agitation, local engagement, storytelling, and by spreading a courageous message of hope that may embolden traumatized borrowers to come forward and unite.

Julie Margetaa Morgan , a fellow at The Roosevelt Institute, recently noted that student debt servicers like Navient have a powerful influence on lawmakers. "Student loan borrowers may not have millions to spend on lobbying, but they have something equally, if not more, powerful: millions of voices," she says.

A recent manifesto by activist and recent graduate Eli Campbell calls for radical unity among borrowers. "Young people live in constant fear that they'll never be able to pay off their debt. We're not buying houses or able to afford the hallmarks of the American dream," he explains.

In his call for a unified national boycott of student loan payments, inevitably leading to a mass default on this debt, Campbell hopes to expose this crisis and instigate radical change. In a recent interview he explained that the conditions for borrowers are so bad already that debtors may not join the boycott willingly. Instead, participation may simply happen by default given the lack of proper work opportunities that lead to borrowers' inability to pay.

While a large-scale default may not happen through willful and supportive collective action, ending the secrecy of the crisis through massive national attention may destigmatize the shame of financial defeat and finally bring debtors out of the isolation that causes them so much despair.

Activists are calling for a significant conversation about the commodification of educating our youth, shifting our focus toward investing into the promise of the young and able, rather than the guarantee of their perpetual debt bondage. In calling for collective action they soothe the hurt of so many alienated debtors, breaking the taboos that allow them to say, "Me, too" and admit openly that in this financial climate we all need each other to move forward.


Jane , September 16, 2018 at 4:15 am

How much are the interest rates on student loans there in the USA? Here in India its 11.5% if you want to finance studies abroad. 8.5 for some select institutions.

JVR , September 16, 2018 at 5:36 am

I wonder if the media's obsession with "millenials" isn't primarily a way to try to divide people with shared interests, above all around the topics of student debt and the job market and to make the problems seem like they have shallower roots than they really do. The individuals mentioned here are older than that 24-37 age cohort, one of them much older.

Epistrophy , September 16, 2018 at 6:42 am

Dealers don't want to talk to buyers who want to pay in full at the time of purchase.

Yes Yes. Car manufacturers are actually finance houses selling products manufactured by subcontractors – such is the state of American industry – but their dream is to move to a SaaS model where ownership, of anything, becomes a relic of the past (except for the overlords and oligarchs).

This could not be possible without government corruption and revolving-door regulation. Maybe these PAYG vehicles will contain built-in body scanners too; for our own security, of course.

In his call for a unified national boycott of student loan payments, inevitably leading to a mass default on this debt, Campbell hopes to expose this crisis and instigate radical change.

Default, or radical change, would bring the economy to it's knees. But when there is another economic downturn, this is going to happen anyway. Terrible situation; negative real interest rates destroying the pensions of the elderly, student loan servitude destroying the youth and the middle class being squeezed to oblivion. What can be done to fix it, I ask?

Yet they are doing God's work, are they? Well, this is not a God I choose to worship.

JTMcPhee , September 16, 2018 at 8:33 am

Well good for you. How many cars, of what age, have you bought, for your anecdote to rate as anything vaguely resembling the wide reality, and how does your personal financial situation let you just write checks for $30 or $70,000?

Do a little research on car selling and you will see the pressures on the dealer sales force to suck the vast majority of buyers into long term debt. Car loans are now five or six years, routinely.

And one wonders what the investment is in trying to impeach the points of this report, wth such an unlikely and atypical claim.

UserFriendly , September 16, 2018 at 6:57 am

NYT ran the same story , interesting they edited out his total debt and major though.

JTMcPhee , September 16, 2018 at 8:39 am

Maybe a little traction, then, for the notion, and increasingly the inescapable reality, of #juststoppaying on those "remember Joe Biden" virtually non-dischargeable, often fraudulently induced, "student loan" debt shackles?

[Sep 16, 2018] These Four Predicted The Global Financial Crisis; Here's What They Think Causes The Next One

Notable quotes:
"... Rajan turned out to be a party pooper, questioning whether "advances" in the financial sector actually increased, rather than reduced, systemic risk . Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called him a Luddite . " I felt like an early Christian who had wandered into a convention of half-starved lions ," he wrote. But though delivered in genteel academic lingo, his paper was powerful and prescient. ..."
"... "There has been a shift of risk from the formal banking system to the shadow financial system." He also told me the post-crisis reforms did not address central banks' role in creating asset bubbles through accommodative monetary policy, which he sees as the financial markets' biggest long-term challenge. ..."
"... 99% of all people should invest in themselves first. That means having no debt and also having a small company that you only put sweat equity into to make it work starting out as a side business and keeping it as a side business even if it grows bigger. That also means going to college and earning a money making degree that is in demand. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"The ultimate thing that brings down financial markets is excess leverage So, you look where's the big leverage, and right now I think it's in emerging markets."

Shilling is particularly worried about the $8 trillion in dollar-denominated emerging-market corporate and sovereign debt, especially as the U.S. dollar rises along with interest rates. "The problem is as the dollar increases," he said, "it gets tougher and tougher for them to service [that debt] because it takes more and more of their local currency to do so." Of that, $249 billion must be repaid or refinanced through next year , Bloomberg reported.

... ... ...

That housing-related stocks "saw a parabolic run-up" in 2016-17, but in January his index "peaked and now it's coming down hard." And this spells "bad news on the housing market looking 12 months down the road."

Per Howard Gold's interview :

But the biggest danger, Stack told me, is from low-quality corporate debt. Issuance of corporate bonds has "gone from around $700 billion in 2008 to about two and a half times that [today]."

And, he added, more and more of that debt is subprime . Uh-oh.

In 2005, he pointed out, companies issued five times as much high-quality as subprime debt, but last year "we had as much subprime debt, poor quality-debt issued, as quality debt on the corporate level," he said, warning "this is the kind of debt that does get defaulted on dramatically in an economic downturn."

Per Howard Gold:

Rajan turned out to be a party pooper, questioning whether "advances" in the financial sector actually increased, rather than reduced, systemic risk . Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called him a Luddite . " I felt like an early Christian who had wandered into a convention of half-starved lions ," he wrote. But though delivered in genteel academic lingo, his paper was powerful and prescient.

His predictions pre-2008:

"Managers have greater incentive to take risk because the upside is significant, while the downside is limited."

"Moreover, the linkages between markets, and between markets and institutions, are now more pronounced. While this helps the system diversify across small shocks, it also exposes the system to large systemic shocks "

"The financial risks that are being created by the system are indeed greater [potentially creating] a greater (albeit still small) probability of a catastrophic meltdown."

What he says now:

"There has been a shift of risk from the formal banking system to the shadow financial system." He also told me the post-crisis reforms did not address central banks' role in creating asset bubbles through accommodative monetary policy, which he sees as the financial markets' biggest long-term challenge.

"You get hooked on leverage. It's cheap, it's easy to refinance, so why not take more of it? You get lulled into taking more leverage than perhaps you can handle."

And what might be coming:

Rajan also sees potential problems in U.S. corporate debt, particularly as rates rise, and in emerging markets, though he thinks the current problems in Turkey and Argentina are "not full-blown contagion."

"But are there accidents waiting to happen? Yes, there are."

What he says now:

"I think the choice of Europe is going to have to put [all the debt] on the balance sheet of the European Central Bank. If they don't, then the euro zone breaks apart and we're going to get a 50% valuation collapse."

"Greece...is a rounding error. Italy is not . And Brussels and Germany are going to have to allow Italy to overshoot their persistent debt, and the ECB is going to have to buy that debt."

"If it doesn't happen, the debt triggers a crisis in Europe, [and] that triggers the beginning of a global recession" but... "there are so many little dominoes, if they all start falling, one leads to the next."

Comments Howard Gold ,

Mauldin estimates the world has almost "half a quadrillion dollars," or $500 trillion, in debt and unfunded pension and other liabilities, which he views as unsustainable.

But the flashpoint for the next crisis is likely to be in Europe, especially Italy, he maintains.


Fed-up with being Sick and Tired , 3 minutes ago

It is an interesting piece. I do recall seeing A. Gary Shilling speaking back then when I watched mainstream financial news which I no longer do. It would be interesting now to hear what these four would have to see to actually see de-leveraging occur, and a reset put in motion. I am tiring of the shenanigans of Central Bankers who clearly are trying everything to keep this mess propped up.

Iskiab , 21 minutes ago

These guys are all right in their risk assessments but are being cautious on saying how it will play out. Debt is one factor; but protectionism, demographic changes, and dedollarization are the other threats.

The truth is no one knows how things will unfold, but I'm betting stagflation will be in the works for the US for an extended period soon.

smacker , 1 hour ago

The 2008 financial crash was fundamentally caused by excessive DEBT.

That excessive debt was in the hands of: government, corporates and private individuals and the banksters were making huge profits out of it, so they had no incentive to rein it in. Clowns like UK Chancellor Gordoom Brown went on record claiming that he'd abolished boom & bust, so the borrow/spend culture went on. ho-ho.

But borrowers eventually got to the point where they simply couldn't take on any more debt, so the economy crashed, given that it was based on rising never-ending debt.

All of the labels given to this debt mountain such as: sub-prime mortgages, derivatives, excessive leverage etc are all valid for analysts to analyse but the common connection between them all was excessive DEBT.

That is what I concluded at the time and it has been confirmed 1,000,000 times since then.

I am on record saying that this huge debt pile would take a generation to work its way thru the economy which implied a long recession or depression.

I also predicted there'd likely be a BIG RESET to speed up the adjustment process. Despite central banks irresponsibly printing vast amounts of fiat to alleviate the consequences for their friends the banksters (but in reality to create new asset price bubbles) and dropping interest rates to near zero to encourage more debt and mal-investment, nothing that has happened has changed my mind.

The situation today, 10 years later, is that debt levels are hugely higher than in 2008 and the solution which existed then remains on the table. It's just that central banks falsely believe their money-printing actions will solve the problem whereas in truth they are in denial.

You cannot solve a debt problem by printing more money and taking on more debt. Central banks and the likes of Krugman think otherwise.

The day of reckoning is on the horizon: either there will be a huge long recession/depression to work debt out of the system with all of its implications to asset values and social cohesion AND/OR a BIG RESET will be enacted. The latter will destroy the wealth of vast numbers of ordinary people with their savings and investments going down the flusher.

Neither solution will be a pretty sight.

Prepare accordingly.

Cincinnatuus , 1 hour ago

I think you are spot on with your assessment of the situation, and it seems a great many other knowledgeable people agree with you. In fact, many market prognosticators are openly talking about a RESET as a result of the dollar value collapsing and a resulting hyper-inflation. Too many people think this.

The Contrarian in me says because everybody is expecting that, it's not going to play out that way. I too, talk about the value of the dollar getting cut in half from here. Instead of a RESET, I expect the collapse of the value of the dollar to usher in a deflationary implosion as all that unpayable debt and financial obligations collapses and gets marked down to zero. Likely the Banksters try some sort of money printing orgy along the way... Never let a good crisis go to waste.

smacker , 1 hour ago

This article from Robert Prechter dating back to 2010 predicted the:

" US economy is heading for systemic collapse into hyperinflation "

Prechter wasn't wrong, he just couldn't predict when it would happen. He understood that the only solution to the huge debt crises was to clear it by letting it work its way thru the economy (a generation or so to do) or by a BIG RESET.

Nothing has changed. Except that in the last 10 years, central banks have taken actions to kick the can down the road because they're in denial and think they know better.

What the central banks never took into account in 2008 was that ((other things)) have changed in the past 10 years, most notably the waning power of the USD as the Global Reserve Currency which can only have negative consequences.

Fed-up with being Sick and Tired , 3 minutes ago

It is an interesting piece. I do recall seeing A. Gary Shilling speaking back then when I watched mainstream financial news which I no longer do. It would be interesting now to hear what these four would have to see to actually see de-leveraging occur, and a reset put in motion. I am tiring of the shenanigans of Central Bankers who clearly are trying everything to keep this mess propped up.

Iskiab , 21 minutes ago

These guys are all right in their risk assessments but are being cautious on saying how it will play out. Debt is one factor; but protectionism, demographic changes, and dedollarization are the other threats.

The truth is no one knows how things will unfold, but I'm betting stagflation will be in the works for the US for an extended period soon.

bunkers , 1 hour ago

Greg Hunter, on YouTube, interviews Catherine Austin Fitts in an early Sunday morning release. It's excellent.

turkey george palmer , 1 hour ago

Ha, good times bad times like the song says

But when I whispered in her ear, I lost another friend, oooh.

smacker , 1 hour ago

The 2008 financial crash was fundamentally caused by excessive DEBT.

That excessive debt was in the hands of: government, corporates and private individuals and the banksters were making huge profits out of it, so they had no incentive to rein it in. Clowns like UK Chancellor Gordoom Brown went on record claiming that he'd abolished boom & bust, so the borrow/spend culture went on. ho-ho.

But borrowers eventually got to the point where they simply couldn't take on any more debt, so the economy crashed, given that it was based on rising never-ending debt.

All of the labels given to this debt mountain such as: sub-prime mortgages, derivatives, excessive leverage etc are all valid for analysts to analyse but the common connection between them all was excessive DEBT.

That is what I concluded at the time and it has been confirmed 1,000,000 times since then.

I am on record saying that this huge debt pile would take a generation to work its way thru the economy which implied a long recession or depression.

I also predicted there'd likely be a BIG RESET to speed up the adjustment process. Despite central banks irresponsibly printing vast amounts of fiat to alleviate the consequences for their friends the banksters (but in reality to create new asset price bubbles) and dropping interest rates to near zero to encourage more debt and mal-investment, nothing that has happened has changed my mind.

The situation today, 10 years later, is that debt levels are hugely higher than in 2008 and the solution which existed then remains on the table. It's just that central banks falsely believe their money-printing actions will solve the problem whereas in truth they are in denial.

You cannot solve a debt problem by printing more money and taking on more debt. Central banks and the likes of Krugman think otherwise.

The day of reckoning is on the horizon: either there will be a huge long recession/depression to work debt out of the system with all of its implications to asset values and social cohesion AND/OR a BIG RESET will be enacted. The latter will destroy the wealth of vast numbers of ordinary people with their savings and investments going down the flusher.

Neither solution will be a pretty sight.

Prepare accordingly.

U. Sinclair , 1 hour ago

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results".

Cincinnatuus , 1 hour ago

I think you are spot on with your assessment of the situation, and it seems a great many other knowledgeable people agree with you. In fact, many market prognosticators are openly talking about a RESET as a result of the dollar value collapsing and a resulting hyper-inflation. Too many people think this.

The Contrarian in me says because everybody is expecting that, it's not going to play out that way. I too, talk about the value of the dollar getting cut in half from here. Instead of a RESET, I expect the collapse of the value of the dollar to usher in a deflationary implosion as all that unpayable debt and financial obligations collapses and gets marked down to zero. Likely the Banksters try some sort of money printing orgy along the way... Never let a good crisis go to waste.

smacker , 1 hour ago

This article from Robert Prechter dating back to 2010 predicted the:

" US economy is heading for systemic collapse into hyperinflation "

Prechter wasn't wrong, he just couldn't predict when it would happen. He understood that the only solution to the huge debt crises was to clear it by letting it work its way thru the economy (a generation or so to do) or by a BIG RESET.

Nothing has changed. Except that in the last 10 years, central banks have taken actions to kick the can down the road because they're in denial and think they know better.

What the central banks never took into account in 2008 was that ((other things)) have changed in the past 10 years, most notably the waning power of the USD as the Global Reserve Currency which can only have negative consequences.

Wahooo , 56 minutes ago

Got the collapse right, but not the hyperinflation.

smacker , 51 minutes ago

Time will tell... if the huge debt problem is resolved correctly by actions intended to clear it and the USD loses its GRC status, deflation followed by hyperinflation will likely follow as USDs flood back into the US economy.

CoCosAB , 16 minutes ago

The simple solution is - an old fashion I know - a DEBT JUBILEE !

The last time some schmuck tried to make the millennia tradition return he got himself crucified!

There's NO OTHER SOLUTION in the present status of the MONETARY SYSTEM to re-balance it. Of course that the OWNERS of the SYSTEM and the WEALTH (DEBT) don't wont to see their WEALTH disappear in a click of a button...

So, the next Great Transference of Wealth (1st in 2007/8 and so on) its about to start!

The example given above its just a peanut " Paulson, of course, loaded up on CDS's and made $4 billion in what has been called "the greatest trade ever." "We made 15 times our money," Shilling says. "...

Keep it up SLAVES... "WORK, DEBT, CONSUME"

smacker , 7 minutes ago

A "debt jubilee" is equal to a BIG RESET. I believe this will be enacted but for .govs to get away with it, there'll have to create a huge distraction so they can blame it on someone else.

That distraction will almost certainly be WAR or some other major event on a big enough scale to distract attention away from what they're doing.

Push , 2 hours ago

I guess Tyler has never heard of Lyndon LaRouche? He accurately predicted the 2008 crash, and others previously. The fact is that monetary policy is not economics, and when you look at the inter-connectivity of human labor from the perspective of scientific progress it's easy to see where the financial system is heading, for a huge collapse.

If you study what the United States did coming out of the Revolutionary War to build this nation, then the subsequent dismantling of Hamilton's system by Andrew Jackson, the the re-implementation of Hamilton's system by Carey and Clay through Lincoln, you can see that what people today consider "economics" has nothing to do with the productive powers of the labor force. British Free Trade, floating exchange rates, the offshore banking industry, Wall Street, and the City of London are subverting economic fortitude in favor of the consolidation of power in a process to build a new kind of empire.

The Real Tony , 2 hours ago

Eventually America will run out of lies to tell. This will be the catalyst for the next crises.

truthalwayswinsout , 2 hours ago

No reason to listen to any of this or even care. Do not invest in the stock market; it is a scam and will always be a scam.

99% of all people should invest in themselves first. That means having no debt and also having a small company that you only put sweat equity into to make it work starting out as a side business and keeping it as a side business even if it grows bigger. That also means going to college and earning a money making degree that is in demand.

Everyone in our family has no mortgages. Everyone in our family has small companies that because they have no debt churn out cash like ATMs from $6K to $170K per year. And when the markets crash or assets become extremely cheap we buy assets. We bought homes in the last fiasco, did minor fixes, rented them, and sold them all 3 years ago. We made a 220% return in 6 years.

We are going to do it again with homes because they will again fall off dramatically and this time we can pay cash for all the purchases. We will also be looking at unique food companies that are over leveraged that we can buy at 10 cents on the dollar. (One of our family is a chef and makes all kinds of stuff that can be packaged and sold but we have no market access).

Batman11 , 3 hours ago

Problem solving involves two steps.

  1. Understand the problem
  2. Find a solution

Post 2008 - "It was a black swan". We didn't complete step 1, so we couldn't learn anything. The Chinese have now completed step one and have seen their Minsky moment on the horizon. The indicators of financial crises are over inflated asset prices and the private debt-to-GDP ratio. Debt is being used to inflate asset prices.

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

They are called Minsky moments. Too late for Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway and Hong Kong as they've been inflating their real estate markets with mortgage lending. Wall Street leverages up the asset price bubble to make the bust much worse.

"It's nearly $14 trillion pyramid of super leveraged toxic assets was built on the back of $1.4 trillion of US sub-prime loans, and dispersed throughout the world" All the Presidents Bankers, Nomi Prins.

Leverage is just a profit and loss multiplier. The bankers take the bonuses on the way up and taxpayers cover the losses on the way down.

Batman11 , 3 hours ago

Bankers only have one real product and that's debt. When they are messing about you can see it in the private debt-to-GDP ratio. It's that simple. They are clever and hide what they are doing on the surface, you just look underneath.

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

It's easy to see when you know where to look. Even the FED should be able to understand it. Well, we can just tell them where to look anyway; Harvard PhDs aren't what they used to be.

Batman11 , 2 hours ago

How can bankers use their debt products to create real wealth and increase GDP for growth? The UK:

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth. After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don't result in GDP growth. The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.

Richard Werner was in Japan in the 1980s when it went from a very stable economy and turned into a debt fuelled monster. He worked out what happened and had all the clues necessary to point him in the right direction. Bank credit (lending) creates money.

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

The three types of lending:

  1. Into business and industry - gives a good return in GDP and doesn't lead to inflation
  2. To consumers – leads to consumer price inflation
  3. Into real estate and financial speculation – leads to asset price inflation and gives a poor return in GDP and shows up in the graph of debt-to-GDP

Bank credit has been used for all the wrong things during globalisation.

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

Inflating asset prices with debt (type 3 lending).

Batman11 , 56 minutes ago

Economic liberalism – the fundamental flaw. Everyone looks to make as much money as possible, doing as little as possible. Asset stripping, activist shareholders being a very good example. Real wealth creation involves making real goods and providing real services, and involves real work.

It doesn't look very attractive; there are easier ways to make money.

hillwalker , 3 hours ago

The Parasites! No mention of the over $600 TRILLION opaque OFF BALANCE SHEET derivatives market!

Nelbev , 5 hours ago

I think these guys miss the obvious.

1.) There is a housing bubble in London, OZ, Canada in Vancouver and Toronto. US prices have bounced back nominally, but financing better than prior. The banking crisis will start with housing bubble abroad.

2.) US deficits and debts are at a stage where inflation will lead to higher rates. The amount to service the public and private debt load will increase with interest rates. You cannot just print money forever and expect it never to catch up, or excess reserves not to escape the banking system blowing air on the fire. The debt load publicly is dangerously high and will trigger a fiscal crisis when add about $200+ billion a year to fiscal budget.

3.) The EU will disintegrate over next few years, global recession will just accelerate that and be a feedback, could be a bit of a buffer on US with flight to quality. Think about when UK contribution to EU budget drys up in March 2019, will EU raise taxes on rest by 20% to pay for Eurocrats salaries?, and what if Italy has a referendum? EU is mess in making.

4.) Next recession, which could be triggered by stochastic shock of a trade war (err ... gov managing economy always f*cks it up), the monetary authorities have no buffer to lower interest rates due to policy since housing bubble, only more useless QE, little stimulus, just inflation in works.

5.) Last was housing bubble, next is bond bubble . 30 yr tb at 3.13 - you have to be idiot (or PBC which cannot unload their trill $ portfolio of US toilet paper without depressing prices) to hold and expect inflation next 30 years at less. You think magically a trillion dollar year federal deficit will shrink under DT? It really does not matter what the fed does, stuck in a hard space, print more money to keep ponzi scheme going or neutralize federal with higher rates and try to shrink balance sheet. You cannot keep interest rates low when commodity futures arbitrage during inflation offer an alternate return. Easy money will just fuel fire.

Md4 , 3 hours ago

The Fed can, and does, manipulate some interest rates, and it's balance sheet, all the time.

But, as I see it, (hyper) inflation isn't just a money supply issue.

It's also a vote of confidence...

Ballooning deficits, and rising debt loads are not elements of fundamentally healthy economies.

Rather than disappearing dumped U.S. debt, the Fed may just add it to it's "holdings", and therefore, ensure there's always a "buyer".

Theoretically, perhaps.

But, it can't buy all U.S. debt, lest there be no real "market".

So, that means debt issued won't be free.

It also means there's a real limit to just how much the Fed can manage inflation...

Normalisation of Deviance , 4 hours ago

Excellent comment. Reminds me of the good old days when the comments at ZH were more more informative and well written than the articles, (which were also informative and well written).

Also Gold Bitchezz!

Superlat , 4 hours ago

Whether or not this matters, the housing bubble in Seattle has peaked, if not completely popped. However, it's gone far enough that just about everyone including the media is admitting a downturn is happening. Whether it persists is anyone's guess.

Maybe the next crisis is just cumulative, not one big thing.

The Real Tony, 2 hours ago

More like the Chinese buying up everything in Seattle has peaked.

The Real Tony , 2 hours ago

The Pakis in Brampton and Mississauga Ontario, Canada will throw their last welfare cheque towards housing before losing their home/homes to the bank. It might take longer than you think.

ZIRPdiggler , 5 hours ago

Sorry to rain all over your doom porn ZH'ers but I don't think we are going to have an "economic collapse". Also, I just heard a new Lindsay Williams.....he says the Trump election changed everything for the dark cabal's plans lol. Says they're gonna take the DOW over 40,000. Of course, Armstrong has been predicting that for a long long time. So go figure. Maybe cycles are bullet proof, regardless of who's trying to do the manipulation. keep buying that gold though....maybe your great grand children can benefit from it.

Md4 , 5 hours ago

"If it doesn't happen, the debt triggers a crisis in Europe, [and] that triggers the beginning of a global recession" but... "there are so many little dominoes, if they all start falling, one leads to the next."

What people don't seem to understand yet, is that this is no longer just an economic or even a debt problem ex parte.

The non-solution of the last ten years have now made this a human quality of life problem.

The loss of so many middle class income opportunities over the now-near 50 years of outsourcing, has not only caused more insurmountable debt loads to form, but the chronic income insufficiency is hammering even first-world social psyches as never before.

After all, rising debt is rising for a reason.

It's a big mistake to automatically assume a financial collapse has to precede a social calamity.

It can easily be the other way around...

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 3 hours ago

You have to design financial systems for human needs, taking into account human characteristics. There are no "laws" of social sciences that "must" be followed. Physics is the only constraint.

Fred box , 6 hours ago

Bottom line folks,this party is over done.One of many different things can cause at the least a 20% correction(-5000pts) as well as bigger.The TBTF are now To Humungous To Fail.We live in interesting times!

TRN , 6 hours ago

Likely 40% correction.

LeftandRightareWrong , 6 hours ago

Public pension systems and unfettered illegal immigration.

Normal , 6 hours ago

$500 trillion, in debt. That means that some kind of system had it to lend. Makes me want to puke and then go start a revolution.

Bricker , 7 hours ago

All 3 in common...Debt bomb. 1929 Debt, 2008 Debt, 20?? debt; IMO its student loans wrapped up as commercial paper and bonds.

Someone is going to miss an interest payment after tranches are bet on with student loans

GoldHermit , 7 hours ago

Watch the Big Short. Those guys came as close as anyone IMO

daedon , 7 hours ago

No, READ The Big Short.

Erwin643 , 7 hours ago

Yeah, try making a movie based on a book. You have to take a lot of shortcuts. I think The Big Short was one of the very best films ever made, based on a book. The actors played their real-life counterparts perfectly.

daedon , 7 hours ago

Forget (broken clock) Schiff, I read a great book in 1993, The Great Reckoning: Protect Yourself in the Coming Depression. That was 25 years ago, I'm getting impatient. French president Charles de Gaulle saw this shit coming in 1968 and he died waiting for it.

The Roman Empire lasted 500 years, so be patient, Trump's bosses have an armada of think tanks staffed with Aspies that have IQs well above low earth orbit at their disposal, so they could drag this out another 1000 years.

So don't worry, be happy !

TeethVillage88s , 3 hours ago

Four Horsemen - Feature Documentary - Official Version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU

[Sep 16, 2018] What is neoliberalism

Sep 16, 2018 | anotherangryvoice.blogspot.com

Origins

The economic model that the word "neoliberalism" was coined to describe was developed by Chicago school economists in the 1960s and 1970s based upon Austrian neoclassical economic theories, but heavily influenced by Ayn Rand's barmy pseudo-philosophy of Übermenschen and greed-worship .

The first experiment in applied neoliberal theory began on September 11th 1973 in Chile , when a US backed military coup resulted in the death of social-democratic leader Salvador Allende and his replacement with the brutal military dictator General Pinochet (Margaret Thatcher's friend and idol). Thousands of people were murdered by the Pinochet regime for political reasons and tens of thousands more were tortured as Pinochet and the "Chicago boys" set about implementing neoliberal economic reforms and brutally reppressing anyone that stood in their way. The US financially doped the Chilean economy in order to create the impression that these rabid-right wing reforms were successful. After the "success" of the Chilean neoliberal experiment, the instillation and economic support of right-wing military dictatorships to impose neoliberal economic reforms became unofficial US foreign policy.

The first of the democratically elected neoliberals were Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US. They both set about introducing ideologically driven neoliberal reforms, such as the complete withdrawal of capital controls by Tory Chancellor Geoffrey Howe and the deregulation of the US financial markets that led to vast corruption scandals like Enron and the global financial sector insolvency crisis of 2007-08 .

By 1989 the ideology of neoliberalism was enshrined as the economic orthodoxy of the world as undemocratic Washington based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the US Treasury Department signed up to a ten point economic plan which was riddled with neoliberal ideology such as trade liberalisation, privatisation, financial sector deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy. This agreement between anti-democratic organisations is misleadingly referred to as "The Washington Consensus".

These days, the IMF is one of the most high profile pushers of neoliberal economic policies. Their strategy involves applying strict "structural adjustment" conditions on their loans. These conditions are invariably neoliberal reforms such as privatisation of utilities, services and government owned industries, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, the abandonment of capital controls, the removal of democratic controls over central banks and monetary policy and the deregulation of financial industries.

[Sep 16, 2018] I m delighted we can see the true face of American exceptionalism on display everyday. The last thing I want to see is back to normal.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Most here voted for or supported Obama whose record of incarcerating and persecuting journalists, punishing whistle-blowers, extra-judicial executions including citizens of the United States, placing children in cages, violent regime change abroad, spying on citizens, and expanding the security state was as bad or worse as that of Bush and Trump, in some cases by some margin. ..."
"... The current heroes of the 'resistance' lied America into Iraq or Libya, hacked into the computers of the elected representatives/lied about it, and support torture/enhanced interrogations, all under Obama. 'Liberals' lionize these clown criminals along with 'responsible' republicans whilst embracing open bigots such as Farrakhan. And, yes, if one is willing to share the podium with Farrakhan that's tacit support of his views. ..."
Sep 16, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Thomas Beale 09.13.18 at 9:58 am ( 16 )

I'd suggest that the two strains of 'conservatism' that matter are:

a) maintaining oppression/rule over subordinate classes to prevent them up-ending the status quo (the Robin view) and

b) maintaining philosophical +/- cultural values fundamental to a civilised society, typically so-called enlightenment values, freedom of mind, body and property etc. These are understood in a wide spectrum of concrete interpretations, from free-market purists to social democrats, and don't therefore correspond to one kind of on-the-ground politics.

Progressives tend attack a) (a non-philosophical form of conservatism – it's just about preserving a power structure), and usually claim that b) (the one that matters) doesn't exist or isn't 'conservative', or else ignore it.

We have the basic problem of same term, variable referents

Lobsterman 09.13.18 at 10:27 pm ( 40 )

(b) doesn't exist. Conservatives are, as a group, in eager favor of concentration camps for toddlers, the drug war, unrestrained surveillance, American empire, civil forfeiture, mass incarceration, extrajudicial police execution, etc. etc. They have internal disagreements on how much to do those things, but the consensus is for all of them without meaningful constraint. And they are always justified in terms of (a).

ph 09.14.18 at 11:50 am ( 58 )

@40

Most here voted for or supported Obama whose record of incarcerating and persecuting journalists, punishing whistle-blowers, extra-judicial executions including citizens of the United States, placing children in cages, violent regime change abroad, spying on citizens, and expanding the security state was as bad or worse as that of Bush and Trump, in some cases by some margin.

The current heroes of the 'resistance' lied America into Iraq or Libya, hacked into the computers of the elected representatives/lied about it, and support torture/enhanced interrogations, all under Obama. 'Liberals' lionize these clown criminals along with 'responsible' republicans whilst embracing open bigots such as Farrakhan. And, yes, if one is willing to share the podium with Farrakhan that's tacit support of his views.

Conservative as a political category post 1750 works and the basic argument of the OP holds. The comments not so much.

[Sep 15, 2018] A shyster attorney that I had the unfortunate experience in working with, did tell the truth once when he said that there is no such thing as a justice system but there is a legal industry.

Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer September 14, 2018 at 9:16 am

If not always fair or flexible, it seems efficient – attorneys collecting large fees in a justice system designed to enrich attorneys.

A shyster attorney that I had the unfortunate experience in working with, did tell the truth once when he said that there is no such thing as a justice system but there is a legal industry.

[Sep 15, 2018] The key goal of the USA two party system since 1980th is the protection of neoliberal aristocracy against plebs

Sep 15, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.18 at 12:14 pm 66

"Protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" could be a good first pass at describing the Wittgensteinian family resemblance of all conservatisms. In the mid-18th Century the final public inversion of theories of dispensation from the Absolute (i.e. the Great Chain of Being), inverted in the face of increasing scientific knowledge and technological advance, served to overthrow the privileges of aristocracy and divine right, and brought forward the question of the will of the rabble as a new, constant norm in the political process (i.e. "democracy"). The left-right divide blossomed.

We may still be living in an era of shadow cast from that event. It could be that some "language games" perpetuate as dialogical, rhetorical, antiphonal, oppositional. Yet the referents can change, as in any emotional argument. In the case of a language game emerging to the immediate concerns of property ownership and political power, it might persist over time in the emotional shadow of the ancien regime, yet it would transmute over time in response to change and contingency, and use varying political issues of the moment to stay alive. So we have a sort of dialogic meta-organism with an autopoietic (i.e. self-maintaining) social ontogeny, leaving behind itself the tracks of a dialectical history.

In our present moment, the "protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" has transmuted to "protection of the free market as a way for any subordinate person to ascend by personal effort into the modern open aristocracy".

But this could be the end of that game. Yes, it is a clever trick: it perpetuates the belief in individualism, because anyone can try to do it. But it is also fatally flawed. Not everyone can do it because there are formal limitations: over long periods of time some few people invent new goods and services and achieve success, but at any one moment there is a lot of unemployed and underpaid. In addition some members of the modern open aristocracy are pushing programs that increase inequality and environmental destruction, and these results become more visible to the public.

"Protection of aristocracy against the agency of the subordinate classes" moved historically to "protection of the free market as a way for anyone to become one of the aristocrats" -- and now may finally be eclipsed, because that is not believable. It would be the end of the pro-hierarchic bent of conservatism. Mainstream conservatives won't have much to distinguish themselves from progressives, who otherwise believe in individualism and personal achievement. The social-conservative varieties would spin off to single-issue advocacies. We may see a book entitled, Varieties of Conservatism Against One Another.

James Wimberley 09.15.18 at 12:59 pm ( 67 )

In Robin's theory of conservatism, do the lower orders have to be human? Will an army of robot slaves do? If the objective of the ruling class is simply "more freedom to do what I want", robots are actually better than serfs, who may always potentially answer back or rebel. But what if it is in part to enjoy the submission of the serfs to their will? That is the pattern of sexual predation: the wife (or another man's wife) beaten or tricked into subservience is more gratifying a sexual object to Valmont than the prostitute who provides the same services under a dick's-length contract.
likbez 09.15.18 at 9:58 pm ( 69 )
I think it is impossible to discuss modern conservatism, especially its neocon variety without discussing neoliberalism. Too many people here concentrate on superficial traits, while the defining feature of modern conservatives is the unconditional support of "hard neoliberalism." There is also a Vichy party which supports "soft neoliberalism"

See Monbiot at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan "there is no alternative." But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet's Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism." The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining mean the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

The other important area is the attitude to the existence and maintenance of the global US empire and the level of indoctrination into "American exceptionalism" which I view as a flavor of far-right nationalism. But here we need to talk not about conservatism but neofascism.

In a way, the current crisis of neoliberalism in the USA (one of the features of which was de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite which led to the election of Trump) develops strange similarities with the events of 1920-1935 in Europe.

[Sep 15, 2018] What is the meaning of the term "US conservative"

Sep 15, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

these days.


Thomas Beale 09.13.18 at 9:58 am ( 16 )

I'd suggest that the two strains of 'conservatism' that matter are:

a) maintaining oppression/rule over subordinate classes to prevent them up-ending the status quo (the Robin view) and

b) maintaining philosophical +/- cultural values fundamental to a civilised society, typically so-called enlightenment values, freedom of mind, body and property etc. These are understood in a wide spectrum of concrete interpretations, from free-market purists to social democrats, and don't therefore correspond to one kind of on-the-ground politics.

Progressives tend attack a) (a non-philosophical form of conservatism – it's just about preserving a power structure), and usually claim that b) (the one that matters) doesn't exist or isn't 'conservative', or else ignore it.

We have the basic problem of same term, variable referents

Heshel 09.13.18 at 10:59 am ( 17 )
Lumpers over splitters!
oldster 09.13.18 at 11:26 am ( 18 )
What unifies my friends is their noblest common aspirations.

What unifies my enemies is their lowest common denominator.

Donald 09.13.18 at 11:34 am ( 19 )
I think Thomas Beale is correct, though like him, I haven't done the work either. But one does come across conservatives who seem genuinely motivated by principles other than keeping the peasantry in line. I am thinking, for instance, of Larison over at the American Conservative, whose views on the evils of US foreign policy are determined in part by his sense of moral outrage at the suffering we cause.

That said, he seems to be a member of a fairly small minority, so Corey is probably right most of the time.

Donald 09.13.18 at 11:54 am ( 20 )
Probably a better example would be Burke, who obviously felt moral outrage about British actions in India. I haven't read Corey's book, so I don't know how that fits into his thesis. And I will also stop posting after this.
Lee A. Arnold 09.13.18 at 12:19 pm ( 21 )
The level between the ideal and the history is where the action is!

Contemporary conservatism is premised on the fiction that everyone can move up into the modern open aristocracy, by their personal effort in the free market.

However, this doesn't happen. When globalism took the jobs away, the people did not invent new goods and services to get back in the market game. Why not?

Instead of dealing with the failure of the premise that there are endless goods and services to invent, conservatives (and libertarians) find other ideas to explain, or to blame: the people are naturally unequal, or they are failing to live up to past cultural standards, or immigrants are overwhelming the system, or government gets in the way.

Round and round they go. The drama might be called Waiting for Rando.

Mike Huben 09.13.18 at 12:28 pm ( 22 )
> "Why would anybody bother trying to find that red herring?" Do you wonder this generally about political philosophy? That is, consistency/coherence is never interesting? Or is it just dull in the case of conservatism?

After roughly 40 years of opposing libertarianism , I have come to agree with the idea that people choose a position and then make justifications post hoc. Because no single justification works for everything, you get this flowering of innumerable excuses for what is basically an emotional choice .

In the USA, the keystone libertarian (and maybe conservative) influence as best I can tell is the Kochtopus . Those organizations exploit the efflorescence of justifications and steer them to the central goals of the Kochs.

>How can you tell what counts as a member of the species?

I'm a biological systemacist, and it is obvious that species can have fuzzy edges, no matter which concept of species you use (and several are used depending on the group you are studying.)

Alex SL 09.13.18 at 12:40 pm ( 23 )
J-D,

Looking from outside of the USA, I have always been puzzled by the contemporary insistence of boxing everybody into liberal or conservative (with potentially an "independent" box in the middle). Some people seem to go as far as to characterise liberal and conservative mindsets with the implication that they are generalisable across all of human history and the whole globe, as opposed to a parochially American dichotomy. I just did a quick Google search, and the third hit was already an exasperating "Scientists have studied the brains of conservatives and liberals and ".

For starters, 'liberal' has a very different meaning in many countries. In my country of citizenship it means what an American would call moderate libertarian. Any country with a proportional representation system would find the idea of having only two political science boxes to sort people into a complete non-starter. And that is before asking whether such a question would have made sense to the ancestors of today's Americans 300 or, say, 10,000 years ago.

Of course it makes sense to ask what defines the conservative intellectual tradition in Europe and the Anglosphere, but the way that category is treated by many pollsters and journalists feels odd.

Sebastian H 09.13.18 at 1:10 pm ( 24 )
"The form of the objection is weird. "But, Socrates, how can you say that all triangles have three sides? That implies that all triangles are the same. But we all know that there are blue ones and red ones, big ones and little ones "

The problem with Robin's book (and really large parts of his project as seen on his writings here and elsewhere) is that Robin is the one implying that because all triangles have three sides, that all triangles are big and red based on the fact that he can point to at least one or two triangles that are red and has heard of one that was big. He does this by selectively using analytic techniques in grossly tribal ways -- by applying leaps in the argument that would never be applied to members of his own tribe. He applies these Jonah Goldberg style leaps both backwards and forwards in time, erases distinctions between people with whom he disagrees while drawing hyper tight distinctions on behalf of people on his own side. He does it by looking at cherry picked outcomes which cut against his enemies, while limiting talk to stated desires without respect to outcomes of his friends. I'm broadly on his side of a lot of arguments, but my upbringing in an evangelical church has left me highly allergic to that kind of preaching to the choir.

Sebastian H 09.13.18 at 1:25 pm ( 25 )
"Instead of focusing on "freedom", I think, Robin has chosen to focus on "obedience". If conservativism is basically in the business of legitimating a certain kind of obedience, then you have an organizing principle that works better than family resemblence to identify the varieties of conservativism.."

This is precisely the type of problem I'm talking about. You can only get that from an analytic frame where you ignore huge swaths of conservative thought as propaganda and by cherry picking the real world outcomes of movements you label conservative. But if you apply that exact same technique to huge swaths of leftist thought and get to cherry pick into the gulags or even just hyper vigilant policing of thoughtcrimes or purity politics on the left, you can find the same type of enforced obedience that he wants to criticize on the right. So he doesn't. Leftists get a completely different analytic treatment. They get to keep their rhetorical gestures toward the importance of freedom, their cherry picked outcomes are Sweden not Venezuela.

The problem with that is that he claims to be discovering something particular about conservatives. But he isn't. He is drawing with such a broad brush that he would implicate a large portion of leftism if we were applying his techniques in the same way to them. So his insights don't help us understand what makes conservatives and non conservatives different.

Z 09.13.18 at 1:27 pm ( 26 )
@Stephen Does it follow that Remainers, or opponents of Trump, saying such things are in fact conservatives?

I wrote my comment before yours could be read, but as I wrote, conservatism is a specific reaction to a specific moment, or to a specific series of moments. That series is now finished, so I generally see little point in trying to fit contemporary political movements in squares belonging to a previous socio-political epoch. Trump, Brexit, Macron, AOC, Salvini, Merkel are cases in point.

Mrmr 09.13.18 at 1:41 pm ( 27 )
I'm in a similar place to Matt @12. I'd just add the following: as someone who has neither read the book nor is a scholar of the relevant area, my far off estimation of scholarship based on social epistemic cues, and, in this case, they are all giant red flags. The ONE uniting idea of conservatism is obviously perfidious? It's just so convenient. And then to hear -- well, sure, the project is of a special kind where the account isn't really beholden to historical details (too messy) or to doing best justice to the arguments (too diverse), it's unified at some intermediate level it's easy just to assume that this level was chosen precisely because underdefined and slippery, and that it's probably a polemical, highly motivated account that's not worth paying much attention to. And then it doesn't help that I see people citing the book in public discourse in a very incautious way. And it's worth emphasizing that these indirect cues are essential for managing how we approach a world full of way too much info to directly evaluate, and that they are often highly reliable.

This is admittedly all weak. I haven't read it. But it's some explanation for the purely sociological suggestion that many commenters may be going in extremely suspicious. And if they go in very suspicious, it's not that surprising that they're going to be less charitable to the intermediate level project described above.

bob mcmanus 09.13.18 at 1:43 pm ( 28 )
13: Gonna really miss Anderson and Jameson. From the cited piece:

'war is the concern of the rich and powerful, that the poor should have nothing to do with it " Marc Bloch

'Morocco is not and has never been an Arab country.' Marcel Mauss

Also reading Adolph Reed on Dubois, and his principled progressive elitism;also a book on Lenin walking back his "cooks can run governments"

Liberals love hierarchies; the battles between conservatives and liberals involve only which elite should rule the masses, and has more to do with Pareto's foxes and lions than any general egalitarianism; the built-in enthusiastic hierarchies liberal capitalism automatically generates are it's point, and why actual leftists like Anderson and Jameson spend so much time attacking the center and left-center ( as essentially a variant of conservatism) and barely bother with the Right. I like Robin, and believe he gets it; I just really don't understand him.

It's about factions, power and opportunism; rising demographics in transition.

Kaepernick and BLM Cash In BLM got a freakish 100 million from Ford Foundation, with stipulations of course. They'll behave. Meanwhile, black men keep getting killed by cops, Dallas, manslaughter instead of murder. BLM can commission a tv ad produced by their friends. That's power. That's hierarchy. But that's fine because we like them.

Resisting Trump is easy. Resisting BLM or Clinton is really hard, which is why leftists focus there. Cause otherwise it's just out with the old boss, in with the new, and the war goes on.

mpowel 09.13.18 at 1:48 pm ( 29 )
Since there are a lot of reasonable ways to approach the classification problem, I think one of the most important questions to ask is how useful any particular approach is. And it depends on your goals. I can think of 3 broad categories of goals in this case: 1) persuade the undecided, 2) rally the troops, 3) improve academic understanding. There is maybe a 4th: advance your position in a political fight on your own side, but that's a little trickier to analyze. I view Robin's approach to be mainly aimed at 2). I think it's effective for that purpose, but it's not that high of a target to aim for either.
CDT 09.13.18 at 2:47 pm ( 30 )
@Thomas Beale 16 and John @ 11:

At least in the U.S., since Reagan "conservatives" in category a have repeatedly tried to characterize their craven interest in dominance as category b, "principled conservativism," even as conservative principles like balanced budgets, non-intervention, and personal liberty against government intrusion are abandoned. Paul Ryan will somehow still retire as a perceived committed deficit hawk. U.S. political conservatives have worked for decades to dress up their ideology of dominance with some faux intellectual rigor. This purported intellectual rigor is used as a mask for mean-spirited policies–for instance, "I regret having to cut social welfare programs, but I am a principled budget balancer and the math demands it" See The National Review. That's why there are so many leftish critics who puncture this pretense. The vast majority of U.S. conservatives who claim to belong to category b are really just providing intellectual cover for the obvious category a political actors.

Lobsterman 09.13.18 at 10:27 pm (no link)
(b) doesn't exist. Conservatives are, as a group, in eager favor of concentration camps for toddlers, the drug war, unrestrained surveillance, American empire, civil forfeiture, mass incarceration, extrajudicial police execution, etc. etc. They have internal disagreements on how much to do those things, but the consensus is for all of them without meaningful constraint. And they are always justified in terms of (a).
CDT 09.14.18 at 5:33 am (no link)
I actually thought of mentioning Daniel Larison as an examle of a principled, paleoconservative. Few of his ilk survived the arrival of the neocons.

Anonymousse, since you contend we are being unduly harsh about the conservative intellectual project, please tell us which principled conservatives with influence and courage we are ignoring. I'm stumped.

ph 09.15.18 at 2:17 am (no link)
@55 You make a fair point.

I suspect you don't really understand what I think, but that's cool, too!

I believe Bill Clinton and Trump are twins separated at birth, that the US presidency is a corporation masquerading as an individual, and that nothing brings Americans together like killing brown people. I also believe Labour in the UK supports pretty much all the scummy activities we see from US presidents, as do the Socialists in France. And that's my point. I'm delighted we can see the true face of American 'exceptionalism' on display everyday. The last thing I want to see is 'back to normal.'

What I really like about your stance on Trump and 'not us' is that you've evidently convinced yourself that finding the worst in others is the path to virtue.

Good luck with that!

Faustusnotes 09.15.18 at 3:01 am ( 59 )
That Berkowitz quote is a special kind of slimy, and illustrates the problem of arguing with these slippery traitors. He suggests that conservatives are interested in preserving "the manners, mores, and principles of a self-governing people" as if leftists don't want this basic moral outcome; and he juxtaposes the conservative quest for total personal autonomy as if leftists don't want that. And, since by now conservatives are a minority, essentially he does exactly what Robin accuses all conservatives of doing: sets conservatives up as an elite with special insight and autonomy that must be defended against a lunpen mass that don't understand or care for these things. Beale above makes the same gross little error when he says conservatives aim at "maintaining philosophical +/- cultural values fundamental to a civilised society", presumably juxtaposing them with the broad mass of society who don't want this rarified moral good.

We can see the moral and cultural values that conservatives consider to be fundamental to a civilized society in the behaviour of Trump and his enablers. It's theft, sexual assault, dishonesty, racism and treachery. The Berkowitz s and Beales of the world want us to judge conservatives by the words of a few of their "thinkers" (Milo, perhaps, or Tucker Carlson?) But we can see the moral values in their actions far more clearly than their words. Everyone of these scum has a mistress he will pay to have an abortion, and bribe politicians to hide; every one of these scum will sell out their country and any moral value for money; they will allgo to great lengths to cover up each others' rapes and robberies. Yet the Beales and Berkowitz s of the world want us to think that they stand for anything except murder, rape and theft, and worse still that they are the only defenders of the moral values fundamental to civilized society. Why would we believe them, when by their actions they show that their only interest is to hold power so that they can keep taking, killing and stealing?

Thomas Beale 09.15.18 at 7:52 am (no link)
Z @ 54
I don't agree with people who are against abortion or gay marriage either; but it's easy enough to find people in society who take one or both of those stances (usually because of faith, or being part of an older generation) who are pro universal healthcare, taxes on the rich / corporations, and live modest lives.

The problem is that for us who live in pluralist societies, the full set of opinions held by most individuals don't sort cleanly into the boxes we'd like to sort the individuals into. A good concrete example is Brazil: Christian faith is very strong there, in standard and evangelical varieties, across all socio-economic levels; separately, many in the middle class want a better deal for poor people (10s of millions), and are in favour of better economic distribution rather than concentration (why? Because they see what a raw deal the poor have, it's in your face in Brazil; they also know about Petrobras, Odebrecht corruption sucking the life out of the economy). if you ask them about abortion and universal healthcare, you are likely to get answers that don't fit into your preferred political categories.

So while you might be able to show that opposition to legal abortion is philosophically of a piece with far more egregious kinds of deprivation of liberty and dignity, the reality is that most people holding the former kind of opinion don't hold the latter. As long as they respect democracy, we all get to live in peace.

[Sep 15, 2018] The way you decieve the voters is by blank-screening yourself and letting the electors project onto you, by presenting yourself as Conservative even though you're Labour (as Blair did), or conversely presenting yourself as radical even though you're a straight-down-the-line tax-cutting defense-budget-ballooning Republican.

Sep 15, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Adam Roberts 09.13.18 at 5:30 pm ( 35 )

'Hypocrisy', though a tendentious sort of word, is the key, I think. In electoral politics 40% on either side are going to vote the way they vote regardless of how persuasive the electoral campaign of candidate A, or the unfittedness of candidate B; so the game is: persuading those 20% who used to be called 'floating voters'.

And the way you do that is by blank-screening yourself and letting the electors project onto you, by presenting yourself as Conservative even though you're Labour (as Blair did), or conversely presenting yourself as radical even though you're a straight-down-the-line tax-cutting defense-budget-ballooning Republican.

Trump's campaign persuaded many that he would in no way 'conserve', but would rather tear down the establishment.

Brexit was masterminded by a group of elite hard right wingers who somehow managed to persuade a large tranche of the electorate that it Remain were all metropolitan elites and that they were the true voice of the people.

The real challenge is not finding a definition of conservatism that can bracket a genius like Burke with a moron like Sarah Palin; it's finding a definition that enables a billionaire playboy to define himself as a man of the people; that allows him to promise eg free healthcare for all and kicking Wall Street out of politics on the campaign trail without losing his Conservative bona fides.

[Sep 15, 2018] How To Think About Conservatism

Sep 15, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 69

I think it is impossible to discuss modern conservatism, especially its neocon variety without discussing neoliberalism. Too many people here concentrate on superficial traits, while the defining feature of modern conservatives is the unconditional support of "hard neoliberalism." There is also a Vichy party which supports "soft neoliberalism" ...

See Monbiot at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan "there is no alternative." But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet's Kabaservice Contra Corey -- Thoughts About How To Think About Conservatism -- Crooked Timber Chile -- one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied -- "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism." The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining mean the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

The other important area is the attitude to the existence and maintenance of the global US empire and the level of indoctrination into "American exceptionalism" which I view as a flavor of far-right nationalism. But here we need to talk not about conservatism but neofascism.

In a way, the current crisis of neoliberalism in the USA (one of the features of which was de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite which led to the election of Trump) develops with strange similarities with the events of 1920-1935 in Europe.

[Sep 15, 2018] Why the US Seeks to Hem in Russia, China and Iran by Patrick Lawrence

Highly recommended!
The root of the current aggressive policy is the desire to preserve global neoliberal empire the US role as the metropolia with the rest of the world as vassals.
Notable quotes:
"... The crisis of U.S. foreign policy -- a series of radical missteps -- are systemic. Having little to do with personalities, they pass from one administration to the next with little variance other than at the margins. ..."
"... It began with that hubristic triumphalism so evident in the decade after the Cold War's end ..."
"... There was also the "Washington consensus." The world was in agreement that free-market capitalism and unfettered financial markets would see the entire planet to prosperity. ..."
"... The neoliberal economic crusade accompanied by neoconservative politics had its intellectual ballast, and off went its true-believing warriors around the world. ..."
"... Failures ensued. Iraq post–2003 is among the more obvious. Nobody ever planted democracy or built free markets in Baghdad. Then came the "color revolutions," which resulted in the destabilization of large swathes of the former Soviet Union's borderlands. The 2008 financial crash followed. I was in Hong Kong at the time and recall thinking, "This is not just Lehman Brothers. An economic model is headed into Chapter 11." One would have thought a fundamental rethink in Washington might have followed these events. There has never been one. ..."
"... Midway through the first Obama administration, a crucial turn began. What had been an assertion of financial and economic power, albeit coercive in many instances, particularly with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, took on further strategic and military dimensions. ..."
"... The NATO bombing campaign in Libya, ostensibly a humanitarian mission, became a regime-change operation -- despite Washington's promises otherwise. Obama's "pivot to Asia" turned out to be a neo-containment policy toward China. The "reset" with Russia, declared after Obama appointed Hillary Clinton secretary of state, flopped and turned into the virulent animosity we now live with daily ..."
"... The U.S.-cultivated coup in Kiev in 2014 was a major declaration of drastic turn in policy towards Moscow. So was the decision, taken in 2012 at the latest , to back the radical jihadists who were turning civil unrest in Syria into a campaign to topple the Assad government in favor of another Islamist regime. ..."
"... In 2015, the last of the three years I just noted, Russia intervened militarily and diplomatically in the Syria conflict, in part to protect its southwest from Islamist extremism and in part to pull the Middle East back from the near-anarchy then threatening it as well as Russia and the West. ..."
"... Meanwhile, Washington had cast China as an adversary and committed itself -- as it apparently remains -- to regime change in Syria. Three months prior to the treaty that established the EAEU, the Americans helped turn another case of civil unrest into a regime change -- this time backing not jihadists in Syria but the crypto-Nazi militias in Ukraine on which the government now in power still depends. ..."
"... If there is a president to blame -- and again, I see little point in this line of argument -- it would have to be Barack Obama. To a certain extent, Obama was a creature of those around him, as he acknowledged in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Think of Russia, China, and Iran, the three nations now designated America's principal adversaries. Each one is fated to become (if it is not already) a world or regional power and a key to stability -- Russia and China on a global scale, Iran in the Middle East. But each stands resolutely -- and this is not to say with hostile intent -- outside the Western-led order. They have different histories, traditions, cultures, and political cultures. And they are determined to preserve them. ..."
"... If you valued this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one. ..."
"... You don't mention corruption and profiteering, which go hand-in-hand with American Exceptionalism and the National Security State (NSS) formed in 1947. The leader of the world which is also an NSS requires enemies, so the National Security Strategy designates enemies, a few of them in an Axis of Evil. Arming to fight them and dreaming up other reasons to go to war, including a war on terror of all things, bring the desired vast expenditures, trillions of dollars, which translate to vast profits to those involved. ..."
"... How many Americans were against the assault by the Coalition of the Willing upon Iraq? Very few. ..."
"... Even in the lead up the war when the public was force fed a diet comprised entirely of State Dept. lies about WMDs by a sycophantic media, there was still a significant 25-40 percent of the public who opposed the war. ..."
"... "Conformism and its consequences, probably derived in part from Puritanism and further cemented by the alternating racisms of anti-indigenous and anti black attitudes- the history of the lynch mob and various wars against the poor which ended up in the anti-communist frenzies of the day before yesterday constitute the backbone of American history- is the disease which afflicts Washington." ..."
"... I have often wondered why the US was unable to accept the position of first among equals. Why does it have to rule the World? I know it believes that its economic and political systems are the best on the planet, but surely all other nations should be able to decide for themselves, what systems they will accept and live under? Who gave the US the right to make those decisions for everyone else? The US was more than willing to kill 20 million people either directly or indirectly since the end of WWII to make its will sovereign in all nations of the World! ..."
"... That is why I invariably raise JFK's Assassination as a logical starting point. If a truly independent commission would fix the blame, we could move on from there. Sam F., on this forum, has mentioned a formal legal undertaking many times on this site, but now is the time to begin the discussion for a formal Truth And Reconciliation Commission in America Let's figure out how to begin. ..."
"... A very good article. Spoiler and bully describe US foreign policy, and foreign policy is in the driver's seat while domestic policy takes the pickings, hardly anything left for the hollowed-out society where people live paycheck to paycheck, homelessness and other assorted ills of a failing society continue to rise while oligarchs and the MIC rule the neofeudal/futile system. ..."
"... When are we going to make that connection of the wasteful expenditure on military adventurism and the problem of poverty in the US? ..."
"... To substantiate this "crucial turn," Lawrence makes the unwarranted assumption that the goal post Soviet Union was simply worldwide free-market capitalism, not global domination: "Failures ensued. Iraq post–2003 is among the more obvious. Nobody ever planted democracy or built free markets in Baghdad"; and the later statement that the US wanted the countries it invaded to be "Just like us." ..."
"... Though he doesn't mention (ignores) US meddling in Russia after the collapse of the USSR, I presume from its absence that he attributes that, too, to the expansion of capital. Indeed, it was that, but with the more malevolent goal of control. "Just like us" is the usual "progressive" explanation for failures. "Controlled by us" was more like it, if we face the history of the country squarely. ..."
"... Is it really so wise to be speaking in terms of nationhood after we've undergone 50 years of Kochian/libertarian dismantlement of the nation-state in favor of bank and transnational governance? Remember the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski: ..."
"... "The "nation-state" as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state." ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970 ..."
"... Globalists themselves are drawn together by an ideology. They have no common nation, they have no common political orientation, they have no common cultural background or religion, they herald from the East just as they herald from the West. They have no true loyalty to any mainstream cause or social movement. ..."
"... What do they have in common? They seem to exhibit many of the traits of high level narcissistic sociopaths, who make up a very small percentage of the human population. These people are predators, or to be more specific, they are parasites. They see themselves as naturally superior to others, but they often work together if there is the promise of mutual benefit." ..."
"... Yet there is a thread that leads through US foreign policy. It all started with NSC 68. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSC_68 . Already in the 1950's, leading bankers were afraid of economic depression which would follow from a "peace dividend" following the end of WWII. ..."
"... To avoid this, and to avoid "socialism", the only acceptable government spending was on defense. This mentality never ended. Today 50% of discretionary govenmenrt spending is on the military. http://www.unz.com/article/americas-militarized-economy/ . ..."
"... The "why" behind the US foreign policies was spoken with absolute honest clarity in the "Statement of A. Wess Mitchell Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs" to the Senate on August 21 this year. The transcript is at : https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/082118_Mitchell_Testimony.pdf ..."
"... Quote the esteemed gentleman (inter alia): "It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration's foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundamentals of American power. " ..."
"... Patrick Lawrence's essay makes perfect sense only when it is applied to US foreign policy since the end of WW2. It is conventional wisdom that the US is now engaged in Cold War 2.0. In fact, Cold War 2.0 is an extension of Cold War 1.0. There was merely a 20 year interregnum between 1990 and 2010. ..."
"... Most analysts think that Cold War 1.0 was an ideological war between "Communism" and "Democracy". The renewal of the Cold War against both Russia and China however shows that the ideological war between East and West was really a cover for the geopolitical war between the two. ..."
"... Russia, China and Iran are the main geopolitical enemies of the US as they stand in the way of the global, imperialist hegemony of the US. In order to control the global periphery, i.e. the developing world and their emerging economies, the US must contain and defeat the big three. This was as true in 1948 as it is in 2018. Thus, what's happening today under Trump is no different than what occurred under Truman in 1948. Whatever differences exist are mere window dressing. ..."
"... There is no Cold War 2.0. It's a fallacy to create a false flag for regime change in Russia. Ms. Clinton, the Kagan family, the MIC, etc., figure if we can take out Yanukovich and replace him with Fascists/Nazis, what could stop us from doing the same to Russia. The good news: all empires fail. ..."
"... Mr. Lawrence is much too accommodating with his analysis. Imagine, linking US "foreign policy" in the same thought as "global stability", as if the two were somehow related. On the contrary, "global instability" seems to be our foreign policy goal, especially for those regions that pose a threat to US hegemony. Why? Because it is difficult to extract a region's wealth when its population is united behind a stable government that can't be bought off. ..."
"... I agree, Gerald. Enforcing the petro-dollar system seems to be the mainspring for much of our recent foreign policy militarism. If it were to unravel, the dollar's value would tank, and then how could we afford our vast system of military bases. Death Star's aren't cheap, ya know. ..."
"... +1 Gerald Wadsworth. It's not necessarily "Oil pure and simple" but "Currency Pure and Simple." If the US dollar is no longer the world's currency, the US is toast. ..."
"... And note (2) that Wall Street is mostly an extension of The City; the UK still thinks it owns the entire world, and the UK has been owned by the banks ever since it went off tally sticks ..."
"... Putin said years ago, and I cannot quote him, but remember most of it, that it doesn't matter who is the candidate for President, or what his campaign promises are, or how sincere he is in making them, whenever they get in office, it is always the same policy. ..."
"... Anastasia, I saved it: From Putin interview with Le Figaro: "I have already spoken to three US Presidents. They come and go, but politics stay the same at all times. Do you know why? Because of the powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones. These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes. This is what happens with every administration." ..."
"... Pres. Putin explained this several times when he was asked about preferring Trump to Hillary Clinton, and he carefully said that he would accept whoever the US population chose, he was used to dealing with Hillary and he knew that very little changed between Administrations. This has been conveniently cast aside by the Dems, and Obama's disgraceful expulsion of Russian diplomats started the avalanche of Russiagate. ..."
"... Many of the people involved in JFK's murder are now dead themselves, yet the "system" that demands confrontation rather than cooperation continues. These "personalities" are shills for that system, and if they are not so willingly, they are either bribed or blackmailed into compliance. ..."
"... Remember when "Dubya" ran on a "kinder and gentler nation" foreign policy? Obama's "hope and change" that became "more of the same"? And now Trump's views on both domestic and foreign policy seemingly also doing a 180? There are "personalities" behind this "system", and they are embedded in places like the Council on Foreign Relations. The people that run our banking system and the global corporate empire demand the whole pie, they would rather blow up the world than have to share. ..."
"... Bob and Joe, here's a solid review of Woodward's book Fear that points out his consistent service to the oligarchy, including giving Trump a pass for killing the Iran deal. Interesting background on Woodward in the comments as well. https://mondoweiss.net/2018/09/woodward-national-security/ ..."
"... "America's three principal adversaries signify the shape of the world to come: a post-Western world of coexistence. But neoliberal and neocon ideology is unable to to accept global pluralism and multipolarity, argues Patrick Lawrence." ..."
Sep 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

... ... ..

The bitter reality is that U.S. foreign policy has no definable objective other than blocking the initiatives of others because they stand in the way of the further expansion of U.S. global interests. This impoverished strategy reflects Washington's refusal to accept the passing of its relatively brief post–Cold War moment of unipolar power.

There is an error all too common in American public opinion. Personalizing Washington's regression into the role of spoiler by assigning all blame to one man, now Donald Trump, deprives one of deeper understanding. This mistake was made during the steady attack on civil liberties after the Sept. 11 tragedies and then during the 2003 invasion of Iraq: namely that it was all George W. Bush's fault. It was not so simple then and is not now.

The crisis of U.S. foreign policy -- a series of radical missteps -- are systemic. Having little to do with personalities, they pass from one administration to the next with little variance other than at the margins.

Let us bring some history to this question of America as spoiler. What is the origin of this undignified and isolating approach to global affairs?

The neoliberal economic crusade accompanied by neoconservative politics had its intellectual ballast, and off went its true-believing warriors around the world.

Failures ensued. Iraq post–2003 is among the more obvious. Nobody ever planted democracy or built free markets in Baghdad. Then came the "color revolutions," which resulted in the destabilization of large swathes of the former Soviet Union's borderlands. The 2008 financial crash followed. I was in Hong Kong at the time and recall thinking, "This is not just Lehman Brothers. An economic model is headed into Chapter 11." One would have thought a fundamental rethink in Washington might have followed these events. There has never been one.

The orthodoxy today remains what it was when it formed in the 1990s: The neoliberal crusade must proceed. Our market-driven, "rules-based" order is still advanced as the only way out of our planet's impasses.

A Strategic and Military Turn

Midway through the first Obama administration, a crucial turn began. What had been an assertion of financial and economic power, albeit coercive in many instances, particularly with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, took on further strategic and military dimensions.

The NATO bombing campaign in Libya, ostensibly a humanitarian mission, became a regime-change operation -- despite Washington's promises otherwise. Obama's "pivot to Asia" turned out to be a neo-containment policy toward China. The "reset" with Russia, declared after Obama appointed Hillary Clinton secretary of state, flopped and turned into the virulent animosity we now live with daily.

The U.S.-cultivated coup in Kiev in 2014 was a major declaration of drastic turn in policy towards Moscow. So was the decision, taken in 2012 at the latest , to back the radical jihadists who were turning civil unrest in Syria into a campaign to topple the Assad government in favor of another Islamist regime.

Spoilage as a poor excuse for a foreign policy had made its first appearances.

I count 2013 to 2015 as key years. At the start of this period, China began developing what it now calls its Belt and Road Initiative -- its hugely ambitious plan to stitch together the Eurasian landmass, Shanghai to Lisbon. Moscow favored this undertaking, not least because of the key role Russia had to play and because it fit well with President Vladimir Putin's Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), launched in 2014.

In 2015, the last of the three years I just noted, Russia intervened militarily and diplomatically in the Syria conflict, in part to protect its southwest from Islamist extremism and in part to pull the Middle East back from the near-anarchy then threatening it as well as Russia and the West.

Meanwhile, Washington had cast China as an adversary and committed itself -- as it apparently remains -- to regime change in Syria. Three months prior to the treaty that established the EAEU, the Americans helped turn another case of civil unrest into a regime change -- this time backing not jihadists in Syria but the crypto-Nazi militias in Ukraine on which the government now in power still depends.

That is how we got the U.S.-as-spoiler foreign policy we now have.

If there is a president to blame -- and again, I see little point in this line of argument -- it would have to be Barack Obama. To a certain extent, Obama was a creature of those around him, as he acknowledged in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic toward the end of his second term. From that "Anonymous" opinion piece published in The New York Times on Sept. 5, we know Trump is too, to a greater extent than Obama may have feared in his worst moments.

The crucial question is why. Why do U.S. policy cliques find themselves bereft of imaginative thinking in the face of an evolving world order? Why has there been not a single original policy initiative since the years I single out, with the exception of the now-abandoned 2015 accord governing Iran's nuclear programs? "Right now, our job is to create quagmires until we get what we want," an administration official told The Washington Post 's David Ignatius in August.

Can you think of a blunter confession of intellectual bankruptcy? I can't.

Global 'Equals' Like Us?

There is a longstanding explanation for this paralysis. Seven decades of global hegemony, the Cold War notwithstanding, left the State Department with little to think about other than the simplicities of East-West tension. Those planning and executing American diplomacy lost all facility for imaginative thinking because there was no need of it. This holds true, in my view, but there is more to our specific moment than mere sclerosis within the policy cliques.

As I have argued numerous times elsewhere, parity between East and West is a 21st century imperative. From Woodrow Wilson to the post-World War II settlement, an equality among all nations was in theory what the U.S. considered essential to global order.

Now that this is upon us, however, Washington cannot accept it. It did not count on non-Western nations achieving a measure of prosperity and influence until they were "just like us," as the once famous phrase had it. And it has not turned out that way.

Think of Russia, China, and Iran, the three nations now designated America's principal adversaries. Each one is fated to become (if it is not already) a world or regional power and a key to stability -- Russia and China on a global scale, Iran in the Middle East. But each stands resolutely -- and this is not to say with hostile intent -- outside the Western-led order. They have different histories, traditions, cultures, and political cultures. And they are determined to preserve them.

They signify the shape of the world to come -- a post-Western world in which the Atlantic alliance must coexist with rising powers outside its orbit. Together, then, they signify precisely what the U.S. cannot countenance. And if there is one attribute of neoliberal and neoconservative ideology that stands out among all others, it is its complete inability to accept difference or deviation if it threatens its interests.

This is the logic of spoilage as a substitute for foreign policy. Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us. Support his work via www.patreon.com/thefloutist .

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bevin , September 14, 2018 at 6:32 pm

This really is an excellent analysis. I would highlight the following point:
"There is a longstanding explanation for this paralysis. Seven decades of global hegemony, the Cold War notwithstanding, left the State Department with little to think about other than the simplicities of East-West tension. Those planning and executing American diplomacy lost all facility for imaginative thinking because there was no need of it. This holds true, in my view, but there is more to our specific moment than mere sclerosis within the policy cliques "

Conformism and its consequences, probably derived in part from Puritanism and further cemented by the alternating racisms of anti-indigenous and anti black attitudes- the history of the lynch mob and various wars against the poor which ended up in the anti-communist frenzies of the day before yesterday constitute the backbone of American history- is the disease which afflicts Washington.

Don Bacon , September 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm

You don't mention corruption and profiteering, which go hand-in-hand with American Exceptionalism and the National Security State (NSS) formed in 1947. The leader of the world which is also an NSS requires enemies, so the National Security Strategy designates enemies, a few of them in an Axis of Evil. Arming to fight them and dreaming up other reasons to go to war, including a war on terror of all things, bring the desired vast expenditures, trillions of dollars, which translate to vast profits to those involved.

This focus on war has its roots in the Christian bible and in a sense of manifest destiny that has occupied Americans since before they were Americans, and the real Americans had to be exterminated. It certainly (as stated) can't be blamed on certain individuals, it's predominate and nearly universal. How many Americans were against the assault by the Coalition of the Willing upon Iraq? Very few.

Homer Jay , September 14, 2018 at 10:09 pm

"How many Americans were against the assault by the Coalition of the Willing upon Iraq? Very few."

Are you kidding me? Here is a list of polls of the American public regarding the Iraq War 2003-2007;

https://www.politifact.com/iraq-war-polls/

Even in the lead up the war when the public was force fed a diet comprised entirely of State Dept. lies about WMDs by a sycophantic media, there was still a significant 25-40 percent of the public who opposed the war. You clearly are not American or you would remember the vocal minority which filled the streets of big cities across this country. And again the consent was as Chomsky says "manufactured." And it took only 1 year of the war for the majority of the public to be against it. By 2007 60-70% of the public opposed the war.

Judging from your name you come from a country whose government was part of that coalition of the willing. So should we assume that "very few" of your fellow country men and women were against that absolute horror show that is the Iraq war?

Don Bacon , September 14, 2018 at 11:05 pm

You failed to address my major point, and instead picked on something you're wrong on.

Iraq war poll –Pew Research: http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/old-assets/publications/770-1.gif

PS: bevin made approximately the same point later (w/o the financial factor).

"Conformism and its consequences, probably derived in part from Puritanism and further cemented by the alternating racisms of anti-indigenous and anti black attitudes- the history of the lynch mob and various wars against the poor which ended up in the anti-communist frenzies of the day before yesterday constitute the backbone of American history- is the disease which afflicts Washington."

Archie1954 , September 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm

I have often wondered why the US was unable to accept the position of first among equals. Why does it have to rule the World? I know it believes that its economic and political systems are the best on the planet, but surely all other nations should be able to decide for themselves, what systems they will accept and live under? Who gave the US the right to make those decisions for everyone else? The US was more than willing to kill 20 million people either directly or indirectly since the end of WWII to make its will sovereign in all nations of the World!

Bob Van Noy , September 14, 2018 at 9:54 pm

Archie 1954, because 911 was never adequately investigated, our government was inappropriately allowed to act in the so-called public interest in completely inappropriate ways; so that in order for the Country to set things right, those decisions which were made quietly, with little public discussion, would have to be exposed and the illegalities addressed. But, as I'm sure you know, there are myriad other big government failures also left unexamined, so where to begin?

That is why I invariably raise JFK's Assassination as a logical starting point. If a truly independent commission would fix the blame, we could move on from there. Sam F., on this forum, has mentioned a formal legal undertaking many times on this site, but now is the time to begin the discussion for a formal Truth And Reconciliation Commission in America Let's figure out how to begin.

So,"Who gave the US the right to make those decisions for everyone else?", certainly not The People

Jessika , September 14, 2018 at 1:36 pm

A very good article. Spoiler and bully describe US foreign policy, and foreign policy is in the driver's seat while domestic policy takes the pickings, hardly anything left for the hollowed-out society where people live paycheck to paycheck, homelessness and other assorted ills of a failing society continue to rise while oligarchs and the MIC rule the neofeudal/futile system.

When are we going to make that connection of the wasteful expenditure on military adventurism and the problem of poverty in the US? The Pentagon consistently calls the shots, yet we consistently hear about unaccounted expenditures by the Pentagon, losing amounts in the trillions, and never do they get audited.

nondimenticare , September 14, 2018 at 12:18 pm

I certainly agree that the policy is bereft, but not for all of the same reasons. There is the positing of a turnaround as a basis for the current spoiler role: "What had been an assertion of financial and economic power, albeit coercive in many instances, particularly with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, took on further strategic and military dimensions."

To substantiate this "crucial turn," Lawrence makes the unwarranted assumption that the goal post Soviet Union was simply worldwide free-market capitalism, not global domination: "Failures ensued. Iraq post–2003 is among the more obvious. Nobody ever planted democracy or built free markets in Baghdad"; and the later statement that the US wanted the countries it invaded to be "Just like us."

Though he doesn't mention (ignores) US meddling in Russia after the collapse of the USSR, I presume from its absence that he attributes that, too, to the expansion of capital. Indeed, it was that, but with the more malevolent goal of control. "Just like us" is the usual "progressive" explanation for failures. "Controlled by us" was more like it, if we face the history of the country squarely.

That is the blindness of intent that has led to the spoiler role.

Unfettered Fire , September 14, 2018 at 11:15 am

Is it really so wise to be speaking in terms of nationhood after we've undergone 50 years of Kochian/libertarian dismantlement of the nation-state in favor of bank and transnational governance? Remember the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski:

"The "nation-state" as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state." ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970

"Make no mistake, what we are seeing in geopolitics today is indeed a magic show. The false East/West paradigm is as powerful if not more powerful than the false Left/Right paradigm. For some reason, the human mind is more comfortable believing in the ideas of division and chaos, and it often turns its nose up indignantly at the notion of "conspiracy." But conspiracies and conspirators can be demonstrated as a fact of history. Organization among elitists is predictable.

Globalists themselves are drawn together by an ideology. They have no common nation, they have no common political orientation, they have no common cultural background or religion, they herald from the East just as they herald from the West. They have no true loyalty to any mainstream cause or social movement.

What do they have in common? They seem to exhibit many of the traits of high level narcissistic sociopaths, who make up a very small percentage of the human population. These people are predators, or to be more specific, they are parasites. They see themselves as naturally superior to others, but they often work together if there is the promise of mutual benefit."

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3504-in-the-new-qmultipolar-worldq-the-globalists-still-control-all-the-players

Unfettered Fire , September 14, 2018 at 1:43 pm

"In our society, real power does not happen to lie in the political system, it lies in the private economy: that's where the decisions are made about what's produced, how much is produced, what's consumed, where investment takes place, who has jobs, who controls the resources, and so on and so forth. And as long as that remains the case, changes inside the political system can make some difference -- I don't want to say it's zero -- but the differences are going to be very slight." ~ Noam Chomsky

Giants: The Global Power Elite – A talk by Peter Phillips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np6td-wzDYQ

The Elite World Order in Jitters Review of Peter Phillips' book Giants: The Global Power Elite: https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/09/the-elite-world-order-in-jitters/

backwardsevolution , September 14, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Unfettered Fire – good posts. Thank you. Peter Phillips is definitely worth listening to.

Jon Dhoe , September 14, 2018 at 11:02 am

Israel, Israel, Israel. When are we going to start facing facts?

Daniel Good , September 14, 2018 at 9:59 am

Yet there is a thread that leads through US foreign policy. It all started with NSC 68. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSC_68 . Already in the 1950's, leading bankers were afraid of economic depression which would follow from a "peace dividend" following the end of WWII.

To avoid this, and to avoid "socialism", the only acceptable government spending was on defense. This mentality never ended. Today 50% of discretionary govenmenrt spending is on the military. http://www.unz.com/article/americas-militarized-economy/ .

We live in a country of military socialism, in which military citizens have all types of benefits, on condition they join the military-industrial-complex. This being so, there is no need for real "intelligence", there is no need to "understand" what goes on is foreign countries, there no need to be right about what might happen or worry about consequences. What is important is stimulate the economy by spending on arms. From Korean war, when the US dropped more bombs than it had on Nazi Germany, through Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc etc the US policy was a winning one not for those who got bombed (and could not fight back) but for the weapons industry and military contractors. Is the NYTimes ever going to discuss this aspect? Or any one in the MSM?

Walter , September 14, 2018 at 9:26 am

The "why" behind the US foreign policies was spoken with absolute honest clarity in the "Statement of A. Wess Mitchell Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs" to the Senate on August 21 this year. The transcript is at : https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/082118_Mitchell_Testimony.pdf

Quote the esteemed gentleman (inter alia): "It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration's foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundamentals of American power. "

Tellingly the "official" State Department copy is changed and omits the true spoken words

See yourself: https://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/2018/285247.htm

This is the essence of MacKinder's Thesis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Geographical_Pivot_of_History and was the underlying reason for both world wars in the 20th century.

An essay on this observed truth https://journal-neo.org/2018/09/11/behind-the-anglo-american-war-on-russia/

A deeper essay on the same subject https://www.silkroadstudies.org/resources/pdf/Monographs/1006Rethinking-4.pdf

I would propose that the Zionism aspect exists due to the perceived necessity of "Forward Operating Base Israel" look it a map, Comrade The ISIS?Saudi?Zionist games divides the New Silk Road and the Eurasian land mass and exists to throttle said pathways.

Interestingly the latter essay is attributed to Eldar Ismailov and Vladimir Papava

Brother Comrade Putin knows the game. The US has to maintain the fiction for the public that it does not know the game, and is consequently obliged to maintain a vast public delusion, hence "fake news" and all the rest.

OlyaPola , September 14, 2018 at 1:49 pm

"I would propose that the Zionism aspect exists due to the perceived necessity of "Forward Operating Base Israel" lookit a map, Comrade"

Some have an attraction to book-ends. Once upon a time the Eurasian book-ends were Germany and Japan, and the Western Asian book-ends Israel and Saudi Arabia. This "strategy" is based upon the notion that bookend-ness is a state of inertia which in any interactive system is impossible except apparently to those embedded in "we the people hold these truths to be self-evident".

Consequently some have an attraction to book-ends.

Dennis Etler , September 13, 2018 at 9:05 pm

Patrick Lawrence's essay makes perfect sense only when it is applied to US foreign policy since the end of WW2. It is conventional wisdom that the US is now engaged in Cold War 2.0. In fact, Cold War 2.0 is an extension of Cold War 1.0. There was merely a 20 year interregnum between 1990 and 2010.

Most analysts think that Cold War 1.0 was an ideological war between "Communism" and "Democracy". The renewal of the Cold War against both Russia and China however shows that the ideological war between East and West was really a cover for the geopolitical war between the two.

Russia, China and Iran are the main geopolitical enemies of the US as they stand in the way of the global, imperialist hegemony of the US. In order to control the global periphery, i.e. the developing world and their emerging economies, the US must contain and defeat the big three. This was as true in 1948 as it is in 2018. Thus, what's happening today under Trump is no different than what occurred under Truman in 1948. Whatever differences exist are mere window dressing.

Rob Roy , September 15, 2018 at 12:16 am

Mr. Etler,

I think you are mostly right except in the first Cold War, the Soviets and US Americans were both involved in this "war." What you call Cold War 2.0 is in the minds and policies of only the US. Russian is not in any way currently like the Soviet Union, yet the US acts in all aspects of foreign attitude and policy as though that (very unpleasant period in today's Russians' minds) still exists. It does not. You says there was "merely a 20 year interregnum" and things have picked up and continued as a Cold War. Only in the idiocy of the USA, certainly not in the minds of Russian leadership, particularly Putin's who now can be distinguished as the most logical, realistic and competent leader in the world.

Thanks to H. Clinton being unable to become president, we have a full blown Russiagate which the MSM propaganda continues to spread.

There is no Cold War 2.0. It's a fallacy to create a false flag for regime change in Russia. Ms. Clinton, the Kagan family, the MIC, etc., figure if we can take out Yanukovich and replace him with Fascists/Nazis, what could stop us from doing the same to Russia. The good news: all empires fail.

Maxwell Quest , September 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

"This is the logic of spoilage as a substitute for foreign policy. Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability."

Mr. Lawrence is much too accommodating with his analysis. Imagine, linking US "foreign policy" in the same thought as "global stability", as if the two were somehow related. On the contrary, "global instability" seems to be our foreign policy goal, especially for those regions that pose a threat to US hegemony. Why? Because it is difficult to extract a region's wealth when its population is united behind a stable government that can't be bought off.

Walter , September 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm

US is attempting to stop a process, to prevent Change see https://www.fort-russ.com/2017/10/v-golstein-end-of-cold-war-and/

Conjuring up Heraclitus..Time is a River, constantly changing. And we face downstream, unable to see the Future and gazing upon the Past.

The attempt has an effect, many effects, but it cannot stop Time.

The Russian and the Chinese have clinched the unification of the Earth Island, "Heartland" This ended the ability to control global commerce by means of navies – the methods of the Sea Peoples over the last 500 years are now failed. The US has no way of even seeing this fact other than force and violence to restore the status quo ante .

Thus World War, as we see

Recollecting Heraclitus again, the universe is populated by opposites as we see, China and Russia represent a cathodic opposite to the US

Jeff Harrison , September 13, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I guess I missed this one, Patrick. Great overview but let me put it in a slightly different context. You start with the end of the cold war but I don't. I could go all the way back to the early days of the country and our proclamation of manifest destiny. The US has long thought that it was the one ring to rule them all. But for most of that time the strength of individual members of the rest of the world constrained the US from running amok. That constraint began to be lifted after the ruling clique in Europe committed seppuku in WWI. It was completely lifted after WWII. But that was 75 years ago. This is now and most of the world has recovered from the world wide destruction of human and physical capital known as WWII. The US is going to have to learn how to live with constraints again but it will take a shock. The US is going to have to lose at something big time. Europe cancelling the sanctions? The sanctions on Russia don't mean squat to the US but it's costing Europe billions. This highlights the reality that the "Western Alliance" (read NATO) is not really an alliance of shared goals and objectives. It's an alliance of those terrified by fascism and what it can do. They all decided that they needed a "great father" to prevent their excesses again. One wonders if either the world or Europe would really like the US to come riding in like the cavalry to places like Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. Blindly following Washington's directions can be remarkably expensive for Europe and they get nothing but refugees they can't afford. Something will ultimately have to give.

The one thing I was surprised you didn't mention was the US's financial weakness. It's been a long time since the US was a creditor nation. We've been a debtor nation since at least the 80s. The world doesn't need debtor nations and the only reason they need us is the primacy of the US dollar. And there are numerous people hammering away at that.

Gerald Wadsworth , September 13, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Why are we trying to hem in China, Russia and Iran? Petro-dollar hegemony, pure and simple. From our initial deal with Saudi Arabia to buy and sell oil in dollars only, to the chaos we have inflicted globally to retain the dollar's rule and role in energy trading, we are finding ourselves threatened – actually the position of the dollar as the sole trading medium is what is threatened – and we are determined to retain that global power over oil at all costs. With China and Russia making deals to buy and sell oil in their own currencies, we have turned both those counties into our enemies du jour, inventing every excuse to blame them for every "bad thing" that has and will happen, globally. Throw in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and a host of other countries who want to get out from under our thumb, to those who tried and paid the price. Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and more. Our failed foreign policy is dictated by controlling, as Donald Rumsfeld once opined, "our oil under their sand." Oil. Pure and simple.

Maxwell Quest , September 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm

I agree, Gerald. Enforcing the petro-dollar system seems to be the mainspring for much of our recent foreign policy militarism. If it were to unravel, the dollar's value would tank, and then how could we afford our vast system of military bases. Death Star's aren't cheap, ya know.

Maxwell Quest , September 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm

I agree, Gerald. Along with ensuring access to "our" off-shore oil fields, enforcing the petro-dollar system is equally significant, and seems to be the mainspring for much of our recent foreign policy militarism. If this system were to unravel, the dollar's value would tank, and then how could we afford our vast system of military bases which make the world safe for democracy? Death Star's aren't cheap, ya know.

Anonymous Coward , September 13, 2018 at 10:40 pm

+1 Gerald Wadsworth. It's not necessarily "Oil pure and simple" but "Currency Pure and Simple." If the US dollar is no longer the world's currency, the US is toast. Also note that anyone trying to retain control of their currency and not letting "The Market" (private banks) totally control them is a Great Devil we need to fight, e.g. Libya and China.

And note (2) that Wall Street is mostly an extension of The City; the UK still thinks it owns the entire world, and the UK has been owned by the banks ever since it went off tally sticks

MichaelWme , September 13, 2018 at 12:18 pm

It's called the Thucydides trap. NATO (US/UK/France/Turkey) have said they will force regime change in Syria. Russia says it will not allow regime change in Syria. Fortunately, as a Frenchman and an Austrian explained many years ago, and NATO experts say is true today, regime change in Russia is a simple matter, about the same as Libya or Panamá. I forget the details, but I assume things worked out well for the Frenchman and the Austrian, and will work out about the same for NATO.

Anastasia , September 13, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Putin said years ago, and I cannot quote him, but remember most of it, that it doesn't matter who is the candidate for President, or what his campaign promises are, or how sincere he is in making them, whenever they get in office, it is always the same policy.

Truer words were never spoken, and it is the reason why I know, at least, that Russia did not interfere in the US elections. What would be the point, from his viewpoint, and it is not only just his opinion. You cannot help but see at this point that that he said is obviously true.

TJ , September 13, 2018 at 1:47 pm

What an excellent point. Why bother influencing the elections when it doesn't matter who is elected -- the same policies will continue.

Bart Hansen , September 13, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Anastasia, I saved it: From Putin interview with Le Figaro: "I have already spoken to three US Presidents. They come and go, but politics stay the same at all times. Do you know why? Because of the powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones. These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes. This is what happens with every administration."

rosemerry , September 14, 2018 at 8:02 am

Pres. Putin explained this several times when he was asked about preferring Trump to Hillary Clinton, and he carefully said that he would accept whoever the US population chose, he was used to dealing with Hillary and he knew that very little changed between Administrations. This has been conveniently cast aside by the Dems, and Obama's disgraceful expulsion of Russian diplomats started the avalanche of Russiagate.

James , September 13, 2018 at 9:24 am

Great to see Patrick Lawrence writing for Consortium News.

He ends his article with: "This is the logic of spoilage as a substitute for foreign policy. Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability. "

Speaking of consequences, how about the human toll this foreign policy has taken on so many people in this world. To me, the gravest sin of all.

Bob Van Noy , September 13, 2018 at 8:46 am

I agree with Patric Lawrence when he states "Personalizing Washington's regression into the role of spoiler by assigning all blame to one man, now Donald Trump, deprives one of deeper understanding." and I also agree that 'Seven decades of global hegemony have left the State Department, Cold War notwithstanding, left the State Department with little to think about other than the simplicities of East-West tension.' But I seriously disagree when he declares that: "The crisis of U.S. foreign policy -- a series of radical missteps -- are systemic. Having little to do with personalities, they pass from one administration to the next with little variance other than at the margins.'' Certainly the missteps are true, but I would argue that the "personalities" are crucial to America's crisis of Foreign Policy. After all it was likely that JFK's American University address was the public declaration of his intention to lead America in the direction of better understanding of Sovereign Rights that likely got him killed. It is precisely those "personalities" that we must understand and identify before we can move on

Skip Scott , September 13, 2018 at 9:35 am

Bob-

I see what you're saying, but I believe Patrick is also right.

Many of the people involved in JFK's murder are now dead themselves, yet the "system" that demands confrontation rather than cooperation continues. These "personalities" are shills for that system, and if they are not so willingly, they are either bribed or blackmailed into compliance.

Remember when "Dubya" ran on a "kinder and gentler nation" foreign policy? Obama's "hope and change" that became "more of the same"? And now Trump's views on both domestic and foreign policy seemingly also doing a 180? There are "personalities" behind this "system", and they are embedded in places like the Council on Foreign Relations. The people that run our banking system and the global corporate empire demand the whole pie, they would rather blow up the world than have to share.

Bob Van Noy , September 13, 2018 at 2:42 pm

You're completely right Skip, that's what we all must recognize and ultimately react to, and against.
Thank you.

JWalters , September 13, 2018 at 6:46 pm

I would add that human beings are the key components in this system. The system is built and shaped by them. Some are greedy, lying predators and some are honest and egalitarian. Bob Parry was one of the latter, thankfully.

JWalters , September 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Skip, very good points. For those interested further, here's an excellent talk on the bankers behind the manufacutured wars, including the role of the Council on Foreign Relations as a front organization and control mechanism.
"The Shadows of Power; the CFR and decline of America"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6124&v=wHa1r4nIaug

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 9:42 am

Bob, you are right. I find it most interesting and sad at the same time that in Woodward's new book 'Fear' that he describes a pan 'almost tragic incident' whereas Trump wanted to sign a document removing our missiles and troops out of S Korea, but save for the steady hand of his 'anonymous' staffers who yanked the document off his presidential desk . wow, close one there we almost did something to enforce a peace. Can't have that though, we still have lots to kill in pursue of liberty and freedom and the hegemonic way.

Were these 'anonymous' staffers the grandchildren of the staffers and bureaucracy that undermined other presidents? Would their grandparents know who the Gunmen were on the grassy knoll? Did these interrupters of Executive administrations fudge other presidents dreams and hopes of a peaceful world? And in the end were these instigators rewarded by the war industries they protected?

The problem is, is that this bureaucracy of war has out balanced any other rival agency, as diversity of thought and mission is only to be dealt with if it's good for military purposes. Too much of any one thing can be overbearingly bad for a person, and likewise too much war means your country is doing something wrong.

Bob Van Noy , September 13, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Many thanks Joe, I admire your persistence. Clearly Bob Woodward has been part of the problem rather than the solution. The swamp is deep and murky

JWalters , September 13, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Bob and Joe, here's a solid review of Woodward's book Fear that points out his consistent service to the oligarchy, including giving Trump a pass for killing the Iran deal. Interesting background on Woodward in the comments as well. https://mondoweiss.net/2018/09/woodward-national-security/

O Society , September 13, 2018 at 6:21 pm

The document Gary Cohen removed off Trump's desk – which you can read here – states an intent to end a free trade agreement with South Korea.

"White House aides feared if Trump sent the letter, it could jeopardize a top-secret US program that can detect North Korean missile launches within seven seconds."

Sounds like Trump wanted to play the "I am such a great deal maker, the GREATEST deal maker of all times!" game with the South Koreans. Letter doesn't say anything about withdrawing troops or missiles.

Funny how ***TOP-SECRET US PROGRAMS*** find their way into books and newspapers these days, plentiful as acorns falling out of trees.

O Society , September 14, 2018 at 1:38 pm

You're welcome, Joe. These things get confusing. Who knows anymore what is real and what isn't?

Trump did indeed say something about ending military exercises and pulling troops out of South Korea. His staff did indeed contradict him on this. It just wasn't in relation to the letter Cohn "misplaced," AFAIK.

Nobody asked me, but if they did, I'd say the US interfered enough in Korean affairs by killing a whole bunch of 'em in the Korean War. Leave'em alone. Let North and South try to work it out. Tired of hearing about "regime change.'

Republicans buck Trump on Korea troop pullout talk

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm

Here's what I wrote:

Bob, you are right. I find it most interesting and sad at the same time that in Woodward's new book 'Fear' that he describes a pan 'almost tragic incident' whereas Trump wanted to sign a document removing our missiles and troops out of S Korea, but save for the steady hand of his 'anonymous' staffers who yanked the document off his presidential desk . wow, close one there we almost did something to enforce a peace. Can't have that though, we still have lots to kill in pursue of liberty and freedom and the hegemonic way.

Were these 'anonymous' staffers the grandchildren of the staffers and bureaucracy that undermined other presidents? Would their grandparents know who the Gunmen were on the grassy knoll? Did these interrupters of Executive administrations fudge other presidents dreams and hopes of a peaceful world? And in the end were these instigators rewarded by the war industries they protected?

The problem is, is that this bureaucracy of war has out balanced any other rival agency, as diversity of thought and mission is only to be dealt with if it's good for military purposes. Too much of any one thing can be overbearingly bad for a person, and likewise too much war means your country is doing something wrong.

Kiwiantz , September 13, 2018 at 8:20 am

Spoiler Nation of America! You got that dead right! China builds infrastructure in other Countries & doesn't interfere with the citizens & their Sovereignty. Contrast that with the United Spoiler States of America, they run roughshod over overs & just bomb the hell out of Countries & leaves devastation & death wherever they go! And there is something seriously wrong & demented with the US mindset concerning, the attacks on 9/11? In Syria the US has ended up arming & supporting the very same organisation of Al QaedaTerrorists, morphed into ISIS, that hijacked planes & flew them into American targets! During 2017 & now in 2018, it defies belief how warped this US mentality is when ISIS can so easily & on demand, fake a chemical attack to suck in the stupid American Military & it's Airforce & get them to attack Syria, like lackeys taking orders from Terrorist's! The US Airforce is the airforce of Al Qaeda & ISIS! Why? Because the US can't stomach Russia, Syria & Iran winning & defeating Terrorism thus ending this Proxy War they started! Russia can't be allowed to win at any cost because the humiliation & loss of prestige that the US would suffer as a Unipolar Empire would signal the decline & end of this Hegemonic Empire so they must continue to act as a spoiler to put off that inevitable decline! America can't face reality that it's time in the sun as the last Empire, is over!

Sally Snyder , September 13, 2018 at 7:57 am

Here is what Americans really think about the rabid anti-Russia hysteria coming from Washington:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/08/americans-on-russia-will-of-people.html

Washington has completely lost touch with what Main Street America really believes.

Waynes World , September 13, 2018 at 7:37 am

Finally some words of truth about how we want our way not really democracy. A proper way to look at the world is what you said toward the end a desire to make people's lives better.

mike k , September 13, 2018 at 7:14 am

Simply put – the US is the world's biggest bully. This needs to stop. Fortunately the bully's intended victims are joining together to defeat it's crazy full spectrum dominance fantasies. Led by Russia and China, we can only hope for the success of the resistance to US aggression.

This political, economic, military struggle is not the only problem the world is facing now, but is has some priority due to the danger of nuclear war. Global pollution, climate disaster, ecological collapse and species extinction must also be urgently dealt with if we are to have a sustainable existence on Earth.

OlyaPola , September 13, 2018 at 4:39 am

Alpha : "America's three principal adversaries signify the shape of the world to come: a post-Western world of coexistence. But neoliberal and neocon ideology is unable to to accept global pluralism and multipolarity, argues Patrick Lawrence."

Omega: "Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability."

Framing is always a limiter of perception.

Among the consequences of the lateral trajectories from Alpha to Omega referenced above, is the "unintended consequence" of the increase of the principal opponents, their resolve and opportunities to facilitate the transcendence of arrangements based on coercion by arrangements based on co-operation.

Opening Pandora's box was/is only perceived as wholly a disadvantage for those seeking to deny lateral process.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , September 13, 2018 at 4:32 am

Yes, I certainly agree with author's view.

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/john-chuckman-comment-empire-corrupts-all-the-principles-of-economics-as-well-as-principles-of-ethics-and-good-government-there-is-nothing-good-to-say-about-empire-and-the-american-one-is-no-excep/

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/john-chuckman-comment-how-american-politics-really-work-why-there-are-terrible-candidates-and-constant-wars-and-peoples-problems-are-ignored-why-heroes-like-julian-assange-are-persecuted-and-r/

HomoSapiensWannaBe , September 13, 2018 at 8:23 am

John Chuckman,

Wow. Thanks! I have just begun reading your commentaries this week and I am impressed with how clearly you analyze and summarize key points about many topics.

Thank you so much for writing what are often the equivalent of books, but condensed into easy to read and digest summaries.

I have ordered your book and look forward to reading that.

Cheers from Southeast USA!

[Sep 15, 2018] This is bad for Trump but not unexpected. Despite the fig leaf of 'Russian collusion' the main brief of Mueller was 'find out bad stuff about Trump and his associates' and of course it was almost inevitable that he would find such stuff because Trump and his cronies are scumbags who exist to break the law

In a way Pence is a guarantee that Trump will not be impeached no matter what ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... The Republican elite (and the Democratic elite) have always wanted Pence for President, and they may yet get their wish. But not yet. ..."
"... In terms of the current situation, Manafort is simply irrelevant. Cohen is relevant, but paying a porn start off because you are worried your wife might find out that you are a philanderer: it seems a stretch to interpret that as 'trying to influence an election' although I can sort of see the logic (I suppose Bill Clinton's behaviour vis a vis Monica Lewinsky was ultimately political too). ..."
"... It also seems weird to conceptualise hush money to a porn star as 'campaign finance violations'. But what do I know. ..."
"... Cohen is a serious problem. He has implicated Trump in criminal conduct. ..."
"... Presumably one of the key reasons that Clinton lied about the Lewinsky affair was because he thought it would make him look bad and therefore lose him votes in the 2000 elections. And in a sense it did (although others presumably voted for him 'cos they felt sorry for him). But that seems like a weird way to conceptualise his activities. ..."
"... To further clarify your statement, the issue is that the payment was transparently not to keep Ms. Trump from finding out about Ms. Cliffords or Ms. McDougal – the timing of the payment/catch-and-kill story, well after the incidents but immediately before the election, make that clear: their purpose was to avoid extramarital affairs with adult entertainers from turning into October Surprises. ..."
"... It's intentionally vague . It should be noted that when Johnson was impeached , one of the eleven articles was "Bringing disgrace and ridicule to the presidency by his aforementioned words and actions." ..."
"... And I don't see impeachment as a very useful strategy for the Ds to pursue. Even if successful at removing Trump, that just gets you Pence -- just as public policy irrational, only less politically disorganized. ..."
"... Maybe impeachment comes up as a tactic, to facilitate some other plan of action, but I don't see conviction on impeachment as a useful means of even control of Trump behavior, much less removal. ..."
Aug 24, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Hidari 08.22.18 at 7:55 am 1

This is bad for Trump but not unexpected. Despite the fig leaf of 'Russian collusion' the main brief of Mueller was 'find out bad stuff about Trump and his associates' and of course it was almost inevitable that he would find such stuff because Trump and his cronies are scumbags who exist to break the law. This is the reality of capitalism (as has been pointed out 'crony capitalism' is the only kind of capitalism that has ever existed or ever will exist). Congress might or might not accept it, but the Senate (even more viciously 'gerrymandered' albeit de facto) won't yet. So Trump won't go down, not yet.

The only way that Trump will go down, IMHO is if and when the Republican establishment decide that they have got everything out of him that they're going to get, which means after the next Presidential election. Assuming he wins it, he may be ditched quickly. The Republican elite (and the Democratic elite) have always wanted Pence for President, and they may yet get their wish. But not yet.

In terms of the current situation, Manafort is simply irrelevant. Cohen is relevant, but paying a porn start off because you are worried your wife might find out that you are a philanderer: it seems a stretch to interpret that as 'trying to influence an election' although I can sort of see the logic (I suppose Bill Clinton's behaviour vis a vis Monica Lewinsky was ultimately political too).

It also seems weird to conceptualise hush money to a porn star as 'campaign finance violations'. But what do I know.

J. Bogart 08.22.18 at 12:13 pm ( 3 )

Manaforte is a publicity problem, which will get worse with his second trial, and, if the US Attorney decides to proceed on the hung counts, a third trial.

None of it ties to Trump; it suggests he hangs out with criminals and does not notice or care about their conduct. That is a publicity issue. Cohen is a serious problem. He has implicated Trump in criminal conduct.

As he is still facing a state investigations, there is high risk that he will exchange information for leniency in that investigation. Which will result in more, at least potentially, statements incriminating Trump. It is not clear to me what the status is relative to the Mueller investigation -- only that his current deal does not require cooperation with Mueller.

Having taken this step, I would expect him to work with Mueller as a way to further leniency in sentencing and to insure no further prosecutions. (I can't tell from news coverage whether the deal includes all federal investigations or not.) Cohen seems a credible witness and too close to Trump on the direct political issues for any very successful effort to wall him off.

His statement also is a big problem for the lawsuits by Daniels, and others, as it shreds Trump's defenses to date. But none of it will mean that significant numbers of Republicans in the Congress will back away from Trump. Nixon held most Republicans until he resigned. I don't see a reason to think the team loyalty now will be less.

Lawfare has good analysis of these issues.

J.Bogart 08.22.18 at 12:15 pm ( 4 )

Watch what Lanny Davis, Cohen's attorney, says and does. He is not a Giuliani. He is clearly telling prosecutors his client has valuable information and is willing to provide it (if not already disclosed).

Hidari 08.22.18 at 12:40 pm ( 6 )

'The Republicans simply don't care, and nothing will make them care.'

To be fair, I don't care either, and nothing will make me care. Anyway, back in the real world .

'Michael Cohen, who spent a decade as a lawyer for Trump, told a judge Tuesday that he was directed by Trump to coordinate payments to two women designed to prevent them from disclosing alleged affairs with the real estate mogul before the presidential election, in violation of campaign finance law.

Such an explosive assertion against anyone but the president would suggest that a criminal case could be in the offing, but under long-standing legal interpretations by the Justice Department, the president cannot be charged with a crime.

The department produced legal analyses in 1973 and 2000 concluding that the Constitution does not allow for the criminal indictment of a sitting president.

In comments to reporters after Cohen pleaded guilty to eight felony counts in federal court in Manhattan, Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami said prosecutors were sending a message that they are unafraid to file charges when campaign finance laws are broken. But he did not mention Trump or offer any indication that his office planned to pursue action against the president.'

(Washington Post)

'Despite impeachment talk, it's no easy task to remove a president in such a way. Both Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson were impeached, but both were acquitted by the Senate. President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be removed from office.

There are three impeachable offenses: treason, bribery and the more opaque "high crimes and misdemeanors," but the House of Representatives has the responsibility to accuse the president of one of those things. If a majority in the House agrees, a president is then impeached. The Senate then votes on impeachment, which under the U.S. Constitiution requires a two-thirds majority.

In Trump's case, starting the impeachment process would currently require a mass revolt by Republicans against him in the House of Representatives -- controlled by the GOP -- an event even less likely than normal with midterm elections on the horizon.'

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/22/trump-impeachment-not-likely-despite-manafort-and-cohen-trials.html

I am not sure that hush money being paid to the porn star the President was banging in order that his pregnant wife not find out was precisely what the Founding Fathers had in mind by 'High crimes and misdemeanors,'

But again, what do I know.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/22/trump-impeachment-not-likely-despite-manafort-and-cohen-trials.html

Hidari 08.22.18 at 1:15 pm ( 7 )

'I am no lawyer, but apparently if you spend that much money covering up your adultery to avoid damage to your political campaign, that is a crime'.

I sort of see what you are saying, and of course, in a certain sense, what you say is not only true but self-evidently and obviously true. Any politician engages in activities to gain him or herself votes. All I am saying is that it doesn't seem like the most obvious way to conceptualise these activities. CF Bill Clinton.

Presumably one of the key reasons that Clinton lied about the Lewinsky affair was because he thought it would make him look bad and therefore lose him votes in the 2000 elections. And in a sense it did (although others presumably voted for him 'cos they felt sorry for him). But that seems like a weird way to conceptualise his activities.

Does it not seem more likely that Trump's main concern in paying the hush money was to avoid his wife, who had just given birth, finding out? Obviously the effect on votes would be of benefit to him, but I'm not sure that was his main concern.

Would it be yours, in his position?

Orange Watch 08.22.18 at 1:22 pm ( 9 )

Donald@5

I too agree with most of what Hidari said here (and there), except for their last paragraph here.

To further clarify your statement, the issue is that the payment was transparently not to keep Ms. Trump from finding out about Ms. Cliffords or Ms. McDougal – the timing of the payment/catch-and-kill story, well after the incidents but immediately before the election, make that clear: their purpose was to avoid extramarital affairs with adult entertainers from turning into October Surprises.

These functioned as (unreported) in-kind donations, insofar as they were third-party resources expended to for the explicit purpose of providing electoral support to the candidate.

Orange Watch 08.22.18 at 1:35 pm ( 12 )

Hidari@

I am not sure that hush money being paid to the porn star the President was banging in order that his pregnant wife not find out was precisely what the Founding Fathers had in mind by 'High crimes and misdemeanors,'

It's intentionally vague . It should be noted that when Johnson was impeached , one of the eleven articles was "Bringing disgrace and ridicule to the presidency by his aforementioned words and actions."

Again, though, the idea that the payoffs to Ms. Cliffords and Ms. McDougal were made to prevent Ms. Trump from learning of the affairs defies all credibility when considering that they occurred in the fall of 2016 rather than ten years earlier.

Fergus 08.22.18 at 2:22 pm ( 15 )

@Hidari

It would be a strange way to conceptualise the activity if it was based purely on the fact that the hush money was politically helpful. But:

"He told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the payments to the women were made "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office," implicating the president in a federal crime.

"I participated in this conduct, which on my part took place in Manhattan, for the principal purpose of influencing the election" for president in 2016, Mr. Cohen said."

So I don't really know how you can keep insisting this is an issue of conceptual analysis

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/nyregion/michael-cohen-plea-deal-trump.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Glen Tomkins 08.22.18 at 2:37 pm ( 17 )

I don't think that a Congressional majority, and certainly not the 2/3 Senate majority needed for removal, is going to feel much ethical pressure to impeach based on the list of wrongdoing we know about so far, or that are at all likely to emerge. Quite aside from the lack of gravity of the crimes on that list, none of them are a clear betrayal of the electorate that decided he should be president. That electorate already knew he was a Russophile, had even invited Russians to hack D computers, they knew that he was a pussy-grabber, and that his privately-owned business was ethically challenged -- yet an electoral majority voted him in anyway. Removal on impeachment involves the legislature asserting its will and its judgment over that of the people. Of course the legislature is also elected by the people to accomplish duties that include holding the president to certain standards. But I don't see even a 2/3 D Senate (which we would only get by the Rs losing every race up this year, plus about 15 of them party-switching) having the cojones for such an assertion, certainly not when the electorate already knew about the crimes when they voted for the criminal. The Rs have cojones for such enterprises, and in spades, but not our beloved Ds.

And I don't see impeachment as a very useful strategy for the Ds to pursue. Even if successful at removing Trump, that just gets you Pence -- just as public policy irrational, only less politically disorganized.

Maybe impeachment comes up as a tactic, to facilitate some other plan of action, but I don't see conviction on impeachment as a useful means of even control of Trump behavior, much less removal.

If the Ds do have control of either house after the election, of course the usual that we can expect of them is not very much. Even if they control both chambers, they couldn't possibly have the 2/3 in both needed to run the govt by overriding the vetoes that any actual program of theirs would be sure to attract from the president. Even with 2/3, because this is a D 2/3 we're talking about, we can most likely discount the possibility that they would even try to exercise any oversight over what the govt does in opposition to the president's control.

An actual political party in this situation of even controlling a bare majority of just the House could do a whole lot to not only thwart Trump, but to at least make a credible effort at asserting control over the govt. They could of course block any new legislation, or the repeal of any existing law, and even the actual Ds are probably up to that. But to go further, to control or limit how Trump runs the govt under existing law, this D majority of the House would have to be willing to boldly set sail on the sea of political hardball and take up a career of budgetary hostage-taking -- so right off we should say that this is political fanfic, and not even canonic fanfic.

But a girl can dream, can't he, so let's pursue this alternate reality just a bit. Who knows, if Trump's misrule makes things sufficiently dire, maybe even the Ds will be motivated to find their inner pirate.

To take ICE as an example, it would go something like this. The House only agrees to pass the annual appropriations on a 30-day continuing resolution basis, so that their assent is needed every 30-days to the govt doing anything. They pass all the spending except for the ICE funding (keeping the funding for whatever ICE spends on housing and otherwise caring for people already apprehended -- that funding goes with the funding of the rest of the govt), which they hold back until and unless Senate and president agree to ICE funding that includes new law that keeps ICE from doing family separations, and whatever else the Ds find objectionable. After success getting control of ICE abuses, next month when the CRs come due, they do the same maneuver on their next target of Trump misrule.

The risk is that the Rs, Senate and president, just refuse to agree to the omnibus that funds everything else the govt does until the Ds let loose the ICE funding. There is a govt shutdown, and the Ds run the risk of being blamed. It turns into a game of legislative chicken. Of course, this has to be anti-canon fanfic for such a game to end other than by the Ds swerving first, so the real world Ds will never actually even start the game, because whatever their faults, they know their limitations.

Lee A. Arnold 08.22.18 at 2:58 pm ( 18 )

Hidari #13: " they 'all' want to get rid of him now?"

The Republican Senate would be happy to throw him overboard tomorrow. His voters are the problem. They won't wait for his voters to turn on him however, if the Senate receives a lengthy bill of impeachment from a Democratic House and Mueller has signed off on some of the charges.

They'd rather have Pence do the sanctimonious messaging and go into 2020 trying to reconstruct the party with an open primary.

After all, the GOP stands to lose Senate seats in 2020 anyway, just due to the map (the same problem they have this year, with the House). If the election in 76 days puts the Democrats in charge of the House, Trump won't make it to the end of his term.

Hidari 08.22.18 at 3:17 pm ( 19 )

'To further clarify your statement, the issue is that the payment was transparently not to keep Ms. Trump from finding out about Ms. Cliffords or Ms. McDougal – the timing of the payment/catch-and-kill story, well after the incidents but immediately before the election, make that clear: their purpose was to avoid extramarital affairs with adult entertainers from turning into October Surprises. '

Oh ok, I didn't really understand that. I haven't to be honest, been following the Stormy Daniels story too closely for the good reason that I don't care.

So one infers that the FL did in fact know about these things. Could we conceptualise it thus, then: Trump paid the hush money to ensure that Melania was not publicly humiliated by these things (I mean, humiliated even more than simply being married to Donald Trump)?

But obviously, in that case, Trump not wanting this to be a big story in the run up to the election was obviously a 'thing'.

[Sep 15, 2018] Dershowitz Says Manafort Plea Big Win For Mueller; White House Should Be Alarmed

Notable quotes:
"... That said, many - including Yahoo News's Michael Isikoff (the guy whose article containing info fed to him by Christopher Steele was used by the FBI to obtain Carter Page's FISA warrant) - have pointed to potential targets on the left. ..."
"... Those people include former Manafort associates Tony Podesta, Vin Weber and Greg Craig - all of whom failed to register as foreign agents in connection with work outside the United States, as well as members of the Obama administration . Of course, the thought of Mueller going after "the untouchables" seems a bit far fetched. ..."
"... The FSB ambition: to choose the least competent Presidential candidate and, unbeknownst to him, smooth his way to the White House. Thus Robert Meuller's inconvenient truth: If Donald Trump were competent enough to be entrusted with collusion, then he would be too competent for the FSB to achieve its ambitions! I bet the FSB people in charge are gobsmacked that The Donald hasn't been impaled on the 25th Amendment yet! ..."
"... I don't understand Dershowitz here. What could Manafort say that Papadopoulos and Flynn haven't already told Mueller? He was Trump's campaign manager for what three months? ..."
"... If anyone had something juicy on Trump it'd be Michael Flynn since he was in the Trump administration if just for a short time. This is about keeping this farce of a charade going as long as humanly possible. ..."
"... My guess -- a guess -- is that Mueller is under a lot of pressure from the Clinton Family including Brennan, Clapper et al to find something, anything, on enough people to make the last 2 years look legit to the Americans who watch CNN. ..."
"... My guess is that the CF has gone from supporting Mueller to making him scared. ..."
"... That should work for continuing the Conspiracy theory... It is all the DOJ, FBI, Sessions and now newcomer Manafort trying to BRING Down the POTUS. All of this is happening to such a great guy like Trump... Sad huh... ..."
"... Jesus you Trumptards are delusional. The average American is no more likely to take up arms against his masters than the North Koreans are. ..."
Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Harvard Law professor and prominent liberal Alan Dershowitz - who has been shunned by the liberal elite of late for defending President Trump - now says that the White House should be alarmed over Paul Manafort's plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller.

" Well of course they should be ," replied Dershowitz - though he added the rather large caveat that Mueller is "not a credible witness," and would be at best be a corroborating witness against Trump.

"There's nothing he can testify to that would probably lend weight to impeachment because he didn't have close contact with President Trump while he was president," said Dershowitz. " What they are looking for is self-corroborating information that can be used against Trump if they can make him sing and then there's the possibility of him composing, elaborating on the story ."

Dershowitz added that there is "no doubt" Mueller is trying to flip Manafort against Trump.

" Once he agrees to cooperate, he has to cooperate about everything , said Dershowitz. "There's no such thing as partial cooperation."

As for Trump pardoning Manafort? That's now "off the table," and that flipping on the President "opens up a lot of doors that probably haven't been opened before."

It's a "big win" for Mueller, Dershowitz concludes.

That said, many - including Yahoo News's Michael Isikoff (the guy whose article containing info fed to him by Christopher Steele was used by the FBI to obtain Carter Page's FISA warrant) - have pointed to potential targets on the left.

Those people include former Manafort associates Tony Podesta, Vin Weber and Greg Craig - all of whom failed to register as foreign agents in connection with work outside the United States, as well as members of the Obama administration . Of course, the thought of Mueller going after "the untouchables" seems a bit far fetched.


quintus.sertorius , 19 minutes ago

The Tribe plays both sides: Dershowitz the plant in Trump team has the same real loyalty as fellow tribesman Haim Saban or Sheldon Adelson. They want to blackmail Trump into fighting Israel's war in Syria.

radbug , 55 minutes ago

The FSB ambition: to choose the least competent Presidential candidate and, unbeknownst to him, smooth his way to the White House. Thus Robert Meuller's inconvenient truth: If Donald Trump were competent enough to be entrusted with collusion, then he would be too competent for the FSB to achieve its ambitions! I bet the FSB people in charge are gobsmacked that The Donald hasn't been impaled on the 25th Amendment yet!

ZazzOne , 1 hour ago

"Big Win For Mueller"? Only if he plans on going after the founders of the Red Shoe "Pedo" Club.....John and Tony Podesta! Though I highly doubt he'll ever go down that rabbit hole!!!!!

Straddling-the-fence , 2 hours ago

Once he agrees to cooperate, he has to cooperate about everything , said Dershowitz. "There's no such thing as partial cooperation.

That's asinine. There are terms to a plea agreement. Unless those terms encompass what is claimed above, then that is simply false.

KekistanisUnite , 3 hours ago

I don't understand Dershowitz here. What could Manafort say that Papadopoulos and Flynn haven't already told Mueller? He was Trump's campaign manager for what three months?

George Papadopoulos I don't know how long he was there but if really has nothing of value to offer then neither would Manafort.

If anyone had something juicy on Trump it'd be Michael Flynn since he was in the Trump administration if just for a short time. This is about keeping this farce of a charade going as long as humanly possible.

Econogeek , 3 hours ago

My guess -- a guess -- is that Mueller is under a lot of pressure from the Clinton Family including Brennan, Clapper et al to find something, anything, on enough people to make the last 2 years look legit to the Americans who watch CNN.

My guess is that the CF has gone from supporting Mueller to making him scared.

ThePhantom , 4 hours ago

i like to think Mueller is on the plate too, and this is his chance to save his own ass. Greg Craig and Podesta's names are out in all the papers .... they worked with manafort first and foremost....

no idea what dershowitz is talking about.. none.

Calvertsbio , 4 hours ago

Yea sure he is, the SPECIAL Counsel running the show to bring down corruption is "ON THE PLATE" yea, ok...

That should work for continuing the Conspiracy theory... It is all the DOJ, FBI, Sessions and now newcomer Manafort trying to BRING Down the POTUS. All of this is happening to such a great guy like Trump... Sad huh...

Doesn't make much difference how much of this BS is posted, no one is buying it anymore... Even FAUX news has basically given up on him... Everyone know that once it all comes out, it will be labelled by HIS SHEEPLE that it is all made up BS to take him down...

Hillary did it... no ! Sessions did it, nope, it was RYAN ? McConnell... lets keep the guessing game going... The Dossier did it...

BigJim, 4 hours ago

"The swamp critters better stop ignoring the Hillary/DNC side of this or the population is going to be marching in with pitchforks and guillotines."

Jesus you Trumptards are delusional. The average American is no more likely to take up arms against his masters than the North Koreans are.

[Sep 15, 2018] Kerry Trashes Trump Amidst Iran Row 8-Year Old Boy With The Insecurity Of A Teenage Girl

It's really difficult rationally explain Trump obsession with Iran. may be Israeli lobby influence would be the most appropriate instead of "The Insecurity Of A Teenage Girl"
Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

At the end of a week in which former Secretary of State John Kerry's unauthorized meetings with top Iranian officials have taken center stage, and in which both President Trump and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have publicly thrashed Kerry's "unheard of" and "illegal meetings" with Iran that "undercut" the White House, Kerry has gone on his own anti-Trump rant .

Appearing on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night, Kerry slammed the president as having "the maturity of an 8-year-old boy with the insecurity of a teenage girl" in remarks that are sure to continue the ongoing war of words. Previously in the week upon news of John Kerry's Wednesday Hugh Hewitt Show radio interview in which he admitted meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif "three or four times" since Donald Trump took office, President Trump slammed the "illegal meetings" as serving to "undercut" White House diplomatic dealings with Iran .

Trump further hinted that Kerry violated the Logan Act by rhetorically asking whether Kerry is officially registered as a foreign agent .

The president tweeted: John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!

When asked about the White House's potential threats of legal inquiry into the meetings, Kerry dismissed: "There's nothing unusual about it. The conversation he really ought to be worrying about is Paul Manafort with Mueller."

"Unfortunately, we have a president, literally, for whom the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is three different things, and you don't even know what they are," Kerry added.

We can only imagine how Trump is going to respond, whether on Twitter, or perhaps by announcing a legal inquiry over Kerry possibly breaking the Logan Act and failing to register as a foreign agent, as Trump's Thursday evening tweet suggested.

[Sep 15, 2018] BBC is skanky state propaganda

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The myth of BBC being some standard for news reporting died with the advent of the availability of international and independent news in Western countries ..."
"... Ironic when the BBC has been ceaselessly pushing fake news for at least 15 years, with disastrous results. (Iraq; Libya; what caused the deficit and who should be forced to pay it down; Russia/Syria false flags; Corbyn A/S.) ..."
"... I find it impossible to watch BBC News, primarily because most of the editorial staff and senior correspondents seem to be working for MI5/6 and are more interested in disseminating Geo-political propaganda than upholding their journalistic responsibilities as defined in the BBC charter. ..."
"... The book is obviously part of a propaganda campaign. It seems hugely fortuitous that Mark Urban should have had "hours" of interviews with Skripal before the poisoning incident. ..."
"... Isn't it much more likely that the Urban "interviews" would have happened after the event? But Urban can't say that because that would lead to demands from other journalists or news bodies to have access to Skripal. ..."
"... I'm open to alternative hypotheses but right now I think the most likely explanation for Urban's pre-poisoning contact with Sergei Skripal is that, at the time, it was assumed the Orbis dossier would be a key component of the successful takedown of Trump and Urban was putting together a mutually flattering account by interviewing the main players. ..."
"... With regard to your tongue-in-cheek point. Urban could have interviewed Skripal anytime after Trump was gone, unless he believed Skripal might be unavailable (for some reason). The fact he interviewed Skripal before does indicate foresight. If Urban really did interview Skripal before the event then he would be wiser to pull the book and burn every copy in existence (as well as all his notes). ..."
"... Urban pretends to research a book exposing Russia and part of his research is to interview Skripal. His objective is to find dirt on Putin in order to swing the war in Syria in favour of USUKIS bombing Assad to smithereens, bayonets bums etc. ..."
"... Interestingly Mark Urbans' book on Sergei Skripal was available to purchase on Amazon in July. I added it to my Amazon wishlist on 28/7/18. I've just looked at my wishlist and was rather surprised to find it is no longer available. It has been pulled. ..."
"... Can't help thinking that the answer to all this lies in Estonia. Sergei went to Estonia in June 2016, Pablo was in Estonia, the Estonians passed on sigint about Trump-Russian collusion in the summer of 2016. A Guardian article of 13 April 2017 said: ..."
"... No doubt in my mind that the Skripal affair is a planned operation carried out by US/UK intelligence. What has actually taken place is still to be determined, but the propaganda operation itself is clear. ..."
"... I know about Ireland, and I agree, it was NOT a nerve agent. That said, I don't believe anyone was 'attacked', including the Skripals. ..."
"... All foreign correspondents of major newspapers too work with MI6. Nobody who is close to them has any kind of doubt about this. ..."
"... I despise everyone who says that free markets are the solution for the problems of the third world. What they mean is mass starvation and an enormous population cull. There are international "foundations" that pay academics and politicians large amounts of money to spout this obscene line. One of them is called the John Templeton Foundation. They have had their fangs in to British universities for a long time. ..."
"... When the Tories talk about 'free markets', they are talking about markets free from democracy. ..."
Aug 30, 2018 | craigmurray.org.uk

Dave , August 28, 2018 at 17:41

BBC is skanky state propaganda. The myth of BBC being some standard for news reporting died with the advent of the availability of international and independent news in Western countries. The main thing that BBC used to have which propped up the illusion of it being a respectable news source is that there was no competition or alternative to compare its narratives against. Since that time is over, so is BBC's masquerading as an impartial or accurate news source.

Xavi , August 28, 2018 at 18:40

Agree, Dave. That's what's informing the push to rubbish dissenting sites as fake news and eventually have them removed.

Ironic when the BBC has been ceaselessly pushing fake news for at least 15 years, with disastrous results. (Iraq; Libya; what caused the deficit and who should be forced to pay it down; Russia/Syria false flags; Corbyn A/S.)

Ken Kenn , August 28, 2018 at 21:49

Well I was convinced of fake BBC news during 9/11 and not for the reasons of building 7 coming down too early but the fact that the female journalist was facing a camera standing in front of a glass window and there was no reflection of her or the camera person from the glass. Not even a faint shadow.

That's when I knew the BBC were employing vampires and have been ever since.

Green Screen technology I discovered later. All the On the spot reporters are at it apparently. Or repeating Reuters or PA.

Deb O'Nair , August 28, 2018 at 00:52

I find it impossible to watch BBC News, primarily because most of the editorial staff and senior correspondents seem to be working for MI5/6 and are more interested in disseminating Geo-political propaganda than upholding their journalistic responsibilities as defined in the BBC charter. People should not only boycott the BBC but refuse to pay the license fee on the grounds that it's a compulsory political subscription.

frankywiggles , August 28, 2018 at 09:48

Careful, Craig

BBC world affairs editor 'fed up' with complaints directed at the corporation's news output

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/aug/28/bbc-news-is-not-biased-in-brexit-reporting-says-john-simpson

D_Majestic , August 28, 2018 at 14:35

Of course BBC News is not biased. Most of the time it is not even factual.

Brendan , August 28, 2018 at 10:34

Dear Mark,
In a BBC article on 4 July 2018, you wrote: "I have not felt ready until now to acknowledge explicitly that we had met, but do now that the book is nearing completion."

Could you please explain that comment? I do not see why your acknowledgement of your meetings with Sergei Skripal should be delayed until your book is nearing completion.

If you felt that it was right to reveal those meetings in July, then why was it not right to do so in March, soon after the poisoning occurred? What difference would it have made if you had done so four months earlier?

I cannot think of any negative consequences of an earlier acknowledgement of the meetings. In fact, disclosures of any possible conflict of interest are generally considered to be desirable in journalism, regardless of whether the conflict of interest is real.

ADHD , August 28, 2018 at 11:00

The book is obviously part of a propaganda campaign. It seems hugely fortuitous that Mark Urban should have had "hours" of interviews with Skripal before the poisoning incident.

Isn't it much more likely that the Urban "interviews" would have happened after the event? But Urban can't say that because that would lead to demands from other journalists or news bodies to have access to Skripal.

And that can't happen because either Skripal would be asked about what happened on the day of the poisoning, or can't be guaranteed to stick to the script, or is no longer alive. And that leads to a suspicion that whatever Skripal is supposed to have said in his interviews with Urban has really just been made up by the British security services.

Kay , August 28, 2018 at 14:42

I'm open to alternative hypotheses but right now I think the most likely explanation for Urban's pre-poisoning contact with Sergei Skripal is that, at the time, it was assumed the Orbis dossier would be a key component of the successful takedown of Trump and Urban was putting together a mutually flattering account by interviewing the main players.

Tongue in cheek, it'd be worth asking Urban if his decision to cover the Skripal poisoning in his new book was made before or after the Skripals were actually poisoned.

ADHD , August 28, 2018 at 15:59

The consensus seems to be that it was an anti-Russia book, but that doesn't conflict with what you say (there is overlap, your view is just more specific). But, I just find it hard to believe that Urban and the conspirators would waste their time "counting their chickens ". Not least because such a book would form a handy list of traitors (together with confessions) if Trump were to prevail and it fell into the right hands. This is "101 – How to Organise a Revolution" (secrecy / don't put anything in writing); surely British security services know that?

With regard to your tongue-in-cheek point. Urban could have interviewed Skripal anytime after Trump was gone, unless he believed Skripal might be unavailable (for some reason). The fact he interviewed Skripal before does indicate foresight. If Urban really did interview Skripal before the event then he would be wiser to pull the book and burn every copy in existence (as well as all his notes).

Regardless, it looks like the master of the universe are losing their ability to create reality.

Brendan , August 28, 2018 at 10:37

Last month, Mark Urban was promoting the reports that the Russian assassins had been identified from CCTV footage:

"There are now subjects of interest in the police Salisbury investigation. ( ) analytic and cyber techniques are now being exploited against the Salisbury suspects by people with a wealth of experience in complex investigations."
https://twitter.com/MarkUrban01/status/1020366761848385536

That story originated with a report by PA, which Security Minister Ben Wallace called "ill informed and wild speculation". https://mobile.twitter.com/BWallaceMP/status/1019906962786484225

Or as Craig Murray put it, "Unnamed source close to unnamed British police officers tells unnamed Press Association journalist Britain knows the unnamed Russian agents ".
https://twitter.com/CraigMurrayOrg/status/1019854966327005184

Even Urban's colleagues had to admit that "The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the story."
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44883803

Still, that didn't stop Mark Urban from reporting the story almost as fact.

Tom , August 28, 2018 at 10:38

The BBC relies on it's interpretation of the Act because it is held for the purposes of 'journalism, art or literature.' but this relies on a usually unrelated precedent and the opinions of a number of Judges which contradict this view. I'm in the process of challenging this with ICO but don't expect anything will change until another supreme court ruling:

https://medium.com/@tomcoady/bbc-foi-exemption-for-the-purposes-of-art-journalism-or-literature-c39e4fa3e36

Ian Fantom , August 28, 2018 at 10:41

I've put in a Freedom of Information request regarding meetings with Skripal other than any that were for the purpose of BBC news journalism. (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mark_urbans_non_journalistic_mee )

Made By Dom , August 28, 2018 at 11:04

Can I play Devil's Advocate ?

I can see the value in asking writers, journalists and artists to pose exactly the same questions as Eccles' original letter but I'm not convinced about Craig's email.

A quick google shows me that a man named Mark Urban has written a book on the Skripals. Isn't it likely that Urban was keeping the interviews to himself in order to keep his book alive?

It wouldn't surprise me if Urban cares far more about his writing career than his job at the BBC. I'm sure most journalists would rather be authors. He's written a number of books on war and military intelligence. If his sources have nothing to do with the BBC then why should he answer to an on line mob?

craig Post author , August 28, 2018 at 11:18

" Isn't it likely that Urban was keeping the interviews to himself in order to keep his book alive?"
No, entirely unlikely. a chance to plug his forthcoming book and his Skripal contacts to a massive worldwide televion audience was eschewed.
The book is now about the Skripal attack. Presumably that was not the original subject he was researching, as it hadn't happened yet. The book will just be a rehash of the "noble defector – Putin revenge" line and none of the questions I asked about the genesis of his involvement will be answered in it.

SA , August 28, 2018 at 11:29

"Presumably that was not the original subject he was researching, as it hadn't happened yet." Or it was prescience ie that it was part of the planning for the incident?

Chris Hemmings , August 28, 2018 at 14:41

@BBC, Summer 2017, in an executive office:
"Hey Mark, why don't you go down to have a chat with this guy in Salisbury. I have a hunch that a story might be going to happen involving him, you know, as an ex-Soviet spy. Spend time with him, get to know him, be able to write in depth about him. Say it's for a book ."

giyane , August 28, 2018 at 11:46

Urban is never one-sided in his BBC reports on the Middle East. I would rather have him as Foreign Secretary than a bumbling idiot like Hubris Johnson or a Tory racketeer Hunt, because however clunky the formula of BBC balance Urban is at least pretending to be governed by normal rules. After Thatcher went anyone with half a brain left the Conservative party, leaving dolts like Johnson and nasties like May and Cameron to pick up the pieces after Blair and Brown.

There's money to be made from Russian billionaires and tory shit will follow the money like flies on d**t**d.

Urban pretends to research a book exposing Russia and part of his research is to interview Skripal. His objective is to find dirt on Putin in order to swing the war in Syria in favour of USUKIS bombing Assad to smithereens, bayonets bums etc.

Tory shit Hubris Johnson finds this political research floating around the Foreign Office and decides to twist it into Russia murders Skripal by Novichok. Unfortunately Johnson is already known to be a liar and gravy-trainer Tory and nobody believes him at all. Mrs May , realising that Johnson, Fox, Rees-Mogg and Hunt are completely bonkers, does Chequers her own way.

ZigZag Wanderer , August 28, 2018 at 12:26

Interestingly Mark Urbans' book on Sergei Skripal was available to purchase on Amazon in July. I added it to my Amazon wishlist on 28/7/18. I've just looked at my wishlist and was rather surprised to find it is no longer available. It has been pulled.

From memory the books description said that Mark had interviewed Skripal 'extensively' during 2017 and also mentioned the 'new' spying war now happening between Britain and Russia.

A quick search revealed a new version of the book ( with an altered title ) will be available in early October .. details here. https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/mark-urban/the-skripal-files

Oh dear . panic stations !

Sharp Ears , August 28, 2018 at 11:16

Salisbury poisoning: Skripals 'were under Russian surveillance'
Mark Urban Diplomatic and defence editor, Newsnight

4 July 2018

'My meetings with Sergei Skripal

I met Sergei on a few occasions last summer and found him to be a private character who did not, even under the circumstances then prevailing, wish to draw attention to himself.

He agreed to see me as a writer of history books rather than as a news journalist, since I was researching one on the post-Cold War espionage battle between Russia and the West.

Information gained in these interviews was fed into my Newsnight coverage during the early days after the poisoning. I have not felt ready until now to acknowledge explicitly that we had met, but do now that the book is nearing completion.

As a man, Sergei is proud of his achievements, both before and after joining his country's intelligence service.

He has a deadpan wit and is remarkably stoical given the reverses he's suffered in his life; from his imprisonment following conviction in 2006 on charges of spying for Britain, to the loss of his wife Liudmila to cancer in 2012, and the untimely death of his son Alexander (or Sasha) last summer.'

...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44717835

Agent Green , August 28, 2018 at 12:27

Laughable given that the whole world and virtually all heads of State were under US surveillance by the NSA – at least until Edward Snowden made all his revelations.

KEVIN GLENNIE , August 28, 2018 at 11:18

I have pasted and copied your Email regarding the above with a few slight alterations, it will be interesting to see the response I receive if any being just a concerned citizen of the U.

Niki Henry , August 28, 2018 at 11:21

Is this not a matter for the Police? (Even if you're not too sure if they'd do anything about it) These would be files that are to do with an attempted murder case. And definitely not Journalism if the story is fabricated.

Paul Baker , August 28, 2018 at 11:28

It feels as if you are moving in the right direction in linking Sergei to Steele. I'm intrigued by the very early media references to Sergei wanting to return home to see his elderly mother for perhaps the last time. He had apparently written to Putin making his request but again according to newspapers hadn't received a reply.

I would suggest Julia was bringing the answer via her own secret services contacts, her boyfriend and his mother, apparently Senior in the Russian Intelligence Agency. Perhaps a sentimental man Sergei was aware his mother couldn't travel so the plea to Putin was his best bet.

Such a request must have disturbed MI6 if Sergei had anything at all to do with the Steele dossier because inevitably if he returned to Russia he'd be debriefed by his old colleagues. But how can you rely on a mercenary double agent? If he decided he might want to stay in Russia with his family that might well have been attractive, away from the lonely existence in a Salisbury cul de sac with only spies for company. But the Steele dossier has great potential to turn sour on the British.

It's author was a Senior spy and Head of the Russian Desk for some years. It is – perhaps you'd agree? – inconceivable that he didn't require permission to prepare it, especially as much of it was based on his experience as a spy in Russia. Yet it's equally inconceivable that the Agency bosses didn't know the identity of the commissioners or the use to which it would be put in the US election – to boost Clinton's bid. If she'd won everything would have been fine but as it is any discussion of foreign interference in that election would have to include MI6 leading the list (they probably didn't tell any politician?) To have Sergei supporting and highlighting that embarrassment would be problematic for US-UK relations. Of course Sergei may have had other nuggets to expose as well as Steele.

Soon after Julia's arrival the pair fell ill. They both survived but are now locked away, presumably for life and never able to explain their side of the story.

It was a bodged job with a poor cover story from the start and could only be carried because of D Notices and media complicity. Is his mother still alive? Would he still like to see her before she dies? Would Russia allow it? Would MI6 allow it? I think that's 3 yeses and a resounding No.

Sharp Ears , August 28, 2018 at 11:39

Following the deaths of 55 Palestinians on the Gaza 'border' and the wounding of thousands, in this video, Urban asks the questions but the Israeli government spokesman, David Keyes, is allowed to spout all the usual propaganda against Hamas.

Gaza deaths: Who's to blame? – BBC Newsnight
Published on 15 May 2018
Subscribe 256K
Fresh protests against Israel are expected in the Palestinian territories, a day after Israeli troops killed 58 people in the Gaza Strip.
David Keyes is the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mark Urban asked him whether it was appropriate for the US to open their embassy on the 70th anniversary of Israel's creation, a day that is hugely controversial for the Palestinian people.

Newsnight is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.
Website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsnight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1dec5XO53k

Mr Keyes' pronounced American accent was heard. The Occupation was not mentioned. A Palestinian voice was not heard.

This is another of his videos. On the same subject and on the opening of the Israeli Embassy in Jerusalem. This time, Jonathan Conricus spoke for the IDF.

Israel says. Same old. Same old. BBC. ZBC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WdqoPKKkD8

Charles Bostock , August 28, 2018 at 15:58

"Urban asks the questions but the Israeli government spokesman, David Keyes, is allowed to spout all the usual propaganda against Hamas."

Yes indeed : Urban asked the questions and allowed the interviewee to answer. Perhaps you would have preferred him to interrupt the interviewee continually 'a la Today programme, or to have shouted at him similarly to the way I understand some people shout at customers inside or outside supermarkets?

Peter , August 28, 2018 at 11:39

This may or may not be relevant regarding Russia, chemical weapons and BBC/MSM bovine effluent:

"US Poised to Hit Syria Harder: The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement on Aug. 25 stating that the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham militants had brought eight containers of chlorine to Idlib in order to stage a false-flag attack with the help of UK intelligence agencies. A group of Tahrir al-Sham fighters trained to handle chemical warfare agents by the UK private military company Olive arrived in the suburbs of the city of Jisr ash-Shugur, Idlib, 20 km. from the Turkish border."

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/27/us-poised-to-hit-syria-harder.html

Jeremn , August 28, 2018 at 11:42

Can't help thinking that the answer to all this lies in Estonia. Sergei went to Estonia in June 2016, Pablo was in Estonia, the Estonians passed on sigint about Trump-Russian collusion in the summer of 2016. A Guardian article of 13 April 2017 said:

"Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump's inner circle and Russians, sources said. The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland."

Perhaps not the Dossier, as such, but some material on collusion?

Paul Greenwood , August 28, 2018 at 12:00

John Paul Jones also fought for the Russians and was a Rear-Admiral. He was buried in Paris 1792 and disinterred 1905 and relocated to USA

wonky , August 29, 2018 at 10:29

..then he met Jimmy Page in the 1960s and the rest is history..

Agent Green , August 28, 2018 at 12:11

No doubt in my mind that the Skripal affair is a planned operation carried out by US/UK intelligence. What has actually taken place is still to be determined, but the propaganda operation itself is clear.

Paul Carrom , August 28, 2018 at 12:12

Definitely done by the UK.

Doodlebug , August 28, 2018 at 14:53

What did the UK have against Dawn and Charlie? (Please don't say you subscribe to all that bottle-finding bullshit).

mark golding , August 28, 2018 at 17:40

Catch my last post Doodlebug, sadly MI6 diabolical elements can be traced back to Ireland in the 70's early 80's assassinations theRealTerror (theRealElvis) understands.

Doodlebug , August 28, 2018 at 18:06

I know about Ireland, and I agree, it was NOT a nerve agent. That said, I don't believe anyone was 'attacked', including the Skripals.

Jo , August 29, 2018 at 11:59

Being used as practice and to establish more "evidence"

N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:24

Often it's been open. There was the BBC monitoring station at Caversham Park. The BBC's Foreign Broadcast Information Service split the world into two parts with the CIA.

All foreign correspondents of major newspapers too work with MI6. Nobody who is close to them has any kind of doubt about this.

N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:20

Theresa May says a no deal Brexit "wouldn't be the end of the world".

  1. This is not a negotiating strategy. This is not a pantomime where one giant on the stage can wink to his supporters (using the British media) without his opponent (EU27) noticing.
  2. The subconscious doesn't work well with negation. Whatever you do, please DON'T imagine an elephant at this time.
  3. I would love to know what the preparations are at Trinity College, Cambridge, for food shortages. They own the port of Felixstowe, which handles more than 40% of Britain's containerised trade. They also own a 50% stake in a portfolio of Tesco stores. Soon food distribution will be what everyone is talking about. I am never going to stop making the point that the god of the Tory party is Thomas Malthus.
N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:38

Oh dear.. Theresa May in Africa:

" As a Prime Minister who believes both in free markets and in nations and businesses acting in line with well-established rules and principles of conduct, I want to demonstrate to young Africans that their brightest future lies in a free and thriving private sector. "

I despise everyone who says that free markets are the solution for the problems of the third world. What they mean is mass starvation and an enormous population cull. There are international "foundations" that pay academics and politicians large amounts of money to spout this obscene line. One of them is called the John Templeton Foundation. They have had their fangs in to British universities for a long time.

They are keen on Prince Philip, the guy who said he wanted to come back as a virus so he could kill a large part of the population. Never trust anyone who has received a Templeton scholarship or prize or who has anything to do with these people or with the message that free markets and the private sector are the key to "development"

Nuno Strybes , August 28, 2018 at 12:43

When the Tories talk about 'free markets', they are talking about markets free from democracy.

May's rhetoric is laughable .basically all her speeches read : 'the sky is green, the snow is black etc etc' -- totally detached from reality and a spent political force, as their recent membership numbers showed, with more revenues from legacies left in wills than from actual living members.

Ros Thorpe , August 28, 2018 at 12:30

I agree with the Skripal relatives that Sergei is dead. He hasn't been seen or heard of and would have called his mother. Mind boggling deception at all levels and I struggle to believe any of it.

N_ , August 28, 2018 at 12:47

Sergei Skripal could be in US custody, either in the US itself or in a US facility somewhere.

If he is dead, then the rehospitalisation of Charlie Rowley may be to assist with the narrative. "Once you've had a drop of Novvy Chockk, you may recover but you can fall down ill at any time, and here's an Expert with a serious voice to confirm it."

Nuno Strybes , August 28, 2018 at 12:38

I follow this blog closely, particularly in relation to the Skripal case, but this is my first comment. I just watched Sky News piece on 'super recognisers' and couldn't help but wonder why, in an age of powerful facial recognition technology, the police and security services seem to have drawn such a blank. The surveillance state in the UK is known to be one of the most advanced in the world but when it comes to this highly important geopolitical crisis our technological infrastructure seems to be redundant to the point where 'human eyes' are deemed to be more accurate than the most powerful supercomputers available. Psychologically, all humans have an inherent facial recognition ability from a very young age, but the idea that some police officers have this ability developed to such an extent that they supercede computer recognition is, i feel, laughable. To me this announcement through the ever subservient Sky News reeks of desperation on the part of the ;official story'. Are we about to be shown suspects who, although facial recognition technology fails to identify them, a 'super recogniser' can testify that it actually is person A or person B and we are all supposed to accept that? Seems either a damning indictment of the judicial process, or a damning indictment of the £££££'s of taxpayers money that is spent on places like GCHQ etc whose technology is now apparently no better than a highly perceptive human brain. Give me a break !

Trowbridge H. Ford , August 28, 2018 at 13:08

Why no interest in how the Coopers died in Egypt? We will soon be told by HMG that the Russians somehow dd it too., thanks to Urban's research?

giyane , August 28, 2018 at 13:49

People do die Trowbridge. I know you haven't, but you have the motivation of outliving your persecutors. With Muckin about with Isis gone and covert operations isn't social work Kissinger looking as though he's on daily blood transfusions, you have rejected Trump for some reason. But Trump has undone much of John McCain's worst mischief in one year. If McCain was an example of a politician, we don't need politicians.

Trowbridge H. Ford , August 28, 2018 at 14:16

Give me an example, other than the Coopers. of a healthy couple one day that is found dying the next day like the Skripals.

And while i tried on another site to be generous about McCain. he got Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr. to scare the Soviets for prevailing in the Vietnam War so much about what NATO was up to in the fallout from shooting Swedish PM Olof Palme that Moscow gave up the competition for fear that it would blow up the world, helping bring on the crappy one we have.

McCain was a continuing Cold Warrior who we don't need since we still have Trump who is just trying to do it another way.

Trowbridge H. Ford , August 28, 2018 at 15:03

Oh, I forget that couple in Amesbury. Looks like the Porton Down Plague is spread overseas.

Posting on this site in like playing bridge online – the cards are stacked against you.

Doodlebug , August 28, 2018 at 15:26

"Give me an example, other than the Coopers. of a healthy couple one day that is found dying the next day like the Skripals."

Will a 17 year old and his step-father do?

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6918378/brit-lad-17-in-a-coma-on-family-holiday-in-spain-may-have-been-poisoned-by-cockroach-pesticide/

They both survived, but one or other (quite possibly both) would have died without medical intervention.

[Sep 15, 2018] Clapper lied on national TeeeVeee, to the American public with a straight face

Clapper and Brennan as MSM pundits are also kind of "insurance" against Trump, very true.
Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

nmewn ,

All up to their beady little eyeballs in it...

CHUCK TODD TROTSKY: Yeah, I was just going to say, if the F.B.I., for instance, had a FISA court order of some sort for a surveillance, would that be information you would know or not know?

CLAPPER: Yes.

CHUCK TODD TROTSKY: You would be told this?

CLAPPER: I would know that.

CHUCK TODD TROTSKY: If there was a FISA court order–

CLAPPER: Yes.

CHUCK TODD TROTSKY: –on something like this.

CLAPPER: Something like this, absolutely.

CHUCK TODD TROTSKY: And at this point, you can't confirm or deny whether that exists?

>>>CLAPPER: I can deny it.<<<

The head of ObaMao's intelligence, the DNI ...(Clapper)...just lied on national TeeeVeee, to the American public, with a straight face, something we all now know to be absolutely, verifiably, true.

Something as blatantly deceptive as this needs something special in return. Like a noose.

FreedomWriter ,

Yeah, lying on CNN, apparently you can be arrested for that, it's almost as bad as lying to Congress under oath..... oh wait...

nmewn ,

They are twisted, seditious, criminal , lying, bastards.

In a nutshell: Hillary Clinton paid a foreign agent (Christopher Steele, via two entities to wipe her fingerprints, those being Perkins Coie & Fusion GPS) to fabricate the pretext of FISA warrants... which her cronies then dutifully introduced into a secret court ...and were granted FISA warrants (not once but FOUR TIMES) for US government intelligence agencies to spy on her political opponents.

Its unprecedented, a scandal more vast and all encompassing than Watergate.

And...having found NOTHING (again, four times) to charge Carter Page with, they leak to their cronies in the Alinsky Press that US government intelligence agencies do in fact have an active spying operation going on against American citizens to damage the reputations and careers having failed to find any evidence of "Russian collusion" which (again) was the pretext for the FISA warrants.

Now that those among us with a fully functional brain know FOR SURE that there are TWO SETS of laws in this nation we can go about our individual activities and businesses with total disregard to "their laws" without any self imposed moral or ethical trepidation.

herbivore ,

There's just one set of laws, but they're selectively enforced, depending on whether you're one of the little people or you're among the elite. Must be nice to be one of the elite, not having to worry about laws and stuff.

[Sep 15, 2018] Carter Paige? You mean the guy this time last year was a Russian spy? The guy who hasn't been charged with anything? The guy that the original FISA warrants were issued against in order to spy on the trump campaign? Oh yeah that guy.

Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

indaknow ,

Carter Paige? You mean the guy this time last year was a Russian spy? The guy who hasn't been charged with anything? The guy that the original FISA warrants were issued against in order to spy on the trump campaign? Oh yeah that guy.

Is he connected to the Papadopoulos guy? You know... The guy that got 14 days for lying to meathead?

And now Manafort. Somehow hes bringing Trump down for sure. Even if it doesn't have anything to do with the Trump campaign.

As looney would say... Looney

Dilluminati ,

From my understanding the unmasking of a national security investigation does make liable to suit the press by Carter Page, additionally I'm still amazed that people are seeing this through their preconceptions. How NSL (national security letters) and FISA material made it consistently from the top echelons of government needs people asking some genuine questions. If you have followed this carefully, it is evident that despite the non-related charges brought forth by Mueller that this was a politicized prosecution by the establishment. The questioning of the narrative of this gets people called all types of names.

Talking about establishment behaving badly:

I finally came across an article where the establishment is calling people "Satan" and the article was accurate from the standpoint of an "establishment analysis" but of course left out the actual details of the ongoing criminal racketeering.

https://www.weeklystandard.com/jonathan-v-last/vigano-letter-mccarrick-wuerl-and-pope-francis-are-breaking-the-catholic-church

I had a person say that they "felt sorry for me" Pity being an expression of disrespect that I no longer attended Church, and I thought to myself that it wasn't worth the reply that saying sorry or asking forgiveness cuts it, or that the decision or another or your belief yourself guarantees you are saved if your repeated heinous crimes boil down to asking "forgiveness" a mistake, bad judgement.

And the abuse was SEVERE again the details are slowly coming out but you see how the Demonization process works. The response in both cases identical.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pennsylvania-grand-jury-report-details-disturbing-abuse-allegations/

And remember that none of this is new.. simply signs of very corrupt people feeling non-accountable to anything. I fully expect the abuse at the Church to continue, I expect the Star Chamber establishment to become more bold.. and in summation I'm predicting very cleanly and accurately this ends badly. No escaping this.. it ends badly

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7260306/vatican-photo-pope-francis-cardinals-laughing-sex-abuse-scandal-meeting/

[Sep 15, 2018] If there really were an insurance policy against Trump, it might include having ex-intel officials getting hired at national news outlets where they'd monitor and influence news organizations, and be invited to give daily spin on controversies surrounding their own actions.

Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

MuffDiver69 ,

If this insurance policy were actually true, it also could include tactics memorialized in a memo, written in 2009 by a Democratic strategist working at the time for the liberal smear group Media Matters.

>It described how to fight a "well funded, presidential-style campaign to discredit and embarrass" targets. Private eyes would probe into their personal lives, courts would be used for lawsuits. "Massive demonstrations" would be organized, Michael Moore would make a negative documentary and "a team of trackers" would stake out targets at events. "Opposition research" would be collected.

The targets would be attacked on social media, yard signs posted in their neighborhoods, and a "mole" placed inside their organization.

If there really were an insurance policy against Trump, it might include having ex-intel officials getting hired at national news outlets where they'd monitor and influence news organizations, and be invited to give daily spin on controversies surrounding their own actions.

Figures such as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Comey aide Josh Campbell and others could get hired by CNN; former CIA Director John Brennan and ex-Mueller/Comey aide Chuck Rosenberg could get hired by NBC and MSNBC.

But all that would never really happen. Or if it did, it's downright silly to think of it as part of an organized insurance policy.

http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/401116-what-would-the-intelligence-communitys-insurance-policy-against-trump

[Sep 15, 2018] Strzok never went to FBI school , he was just a CIA employee inserted at FBI>

Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Albertarocks ,

Peter Strzok has single-handedly provided Webster's with an entirely new and upgraded example of "dirty cop".

neidermeyer ,

Strzok never went to "FBI school" ,, just a CIA employee inserted at FBI.

[Sep 15, 2018] Strzok Wanted To Hunt Down Trump Ties Using FBI Steele Dossier Report Leaked To CNN

Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Newly revealed text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page reveal that Strzok wanted to use CNN's report on the infamous "Steele Dossier" to justify interviewing people in the Trump-Russia investigation, reports CNN . " Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out ," Strzok texted to Page on Jan. 10, 2017, following CNN's report.

"Hey let me know when you can talk. We're discussing whether, now that this is out, we use it as a pretext to go interview some people ," Strzok continued.

Recall that CNN used the (leaked) fact that former FBI Director James Comey had briefed then-President-Elect Donald Trump on a two-page summary of the Steele Dossier to justify printing their January report .

This is a troubling development in light of a May report that the FBI knew that CNN was " close to going forward " with the Steele Dossier story, and that " The trigger for them is they know the material was discussed, " clearly indicating active communications between CNN and the FBI.

Weeks later, as the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross notes, the FBI approached former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos "under the guise of interviewing him about his contacts with an alleged source for the dossier."

In short, knowledge of the Comey-Trump briefing was leaked to CNN, CNN printed the story, Strzok wanted to use it as a pretext to interview people in the Trump-Russia investigation, and weeks later George Papadopoulos became ensnared in their investigation.

And when one considers that we learned of an FBI " media leak strategy " this week, it suggests pervasive collusion between Obama-era intelligence agencies and the MSM to defeat, and then smear Donald Trump after he had won the election.

Text messages discussing the "media leak strategy" were revealed Monday by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). The messages, sent the day before and after two damaging articles about former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, raise " grave concerns regarding an apparent systematic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at the FBI and DOJ related to ongoing investigations."

A review of the documents suggests that the FBI and DOJ coordinated efforts to get information to the press that would potentially be "harmful to President Trump's administration." Those leaks pertained to information regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant used to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page.

The letter lists several examples:

Recall that Strzok's boss, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, was fired for authorizing self-serving leaks to the press.

Also recall that text messages released in January reveal that Lisa Page was on the phone with Washington Post reporter Devlin Barrett , then with the New York Times , when the reopening of the Clinton Foundation investigation hit the news cycle - just one example in a series of text messages matching up with MSM reports relying on leaked information, as reported by the Conservative Treehouse .

♦Page: 5:19pm "Still on the phone with Devlin . Mike's phone is ON FIRE."

♥Strzok: 5:29pm "You might wanna tell Devlin he should turn on CNN, there's news on."

♦Page: 5:30pm "He knows. He just got handed a note."

♥Strzok: 5:33pm "Ha. He asking about it now?"

♦Page: 5:34pm "Yeah. It was pretty funny. Coming now."

At 5:36pm Devlin Barrett tweets:

Meadows says that the texts show " a coordinated effort on the part of the FBI and DOJ to release information in the public domain potentially harmful to President Donald Trump's administration. "

Revisiting the FBI-CNN connection

Going back to the internal FBI emails revealed in May by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), we find that McCabe had advance knowledge of CNN's plans to publish the Steele Dossier report.

In an email to top FBI officials with the subject "Flood is coming," McCabe wrote: " CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story ... The trigger for them is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment." McCabe does not reveal how he knew CNN's "trigger" was Comey's briefing to Trump.

McCabe shot off a second email shortly thereafter to then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates along with her deputy, Matthew Alexrod, with the subject line "News."

" Just as an FYI, and as expected ," McCabe wrote , " it seems CNN is close to running a story about the sensitive reporting. " Again, how McCabe knew this is unclear and begs investigation.

Johnson also wanted to know when FBI officials " first learned that media outlets, including CNN, may have possessed the Steele dossier. "

As The Federalist noted in May, "To date, there is no public evidence that the FBI ever investigated the leaks to media about the briefing between Trump and Comey. When asked in a recent interview by Fox News Channel's Bret Baier , Comey scoffed at the idea that the FBI would even need to investigate the leak of a secret briefing with the incoming president."

" Did you or your subordinates leak that? " Baier asked .

" No ," Comey responded. " I don't know who leaked it. "

" Did you ever try to find out? " Baier asked.

" Who leaked an unclassified public document? " Comey said, even though Baier's question was about leaking details of a briefing of the incoming president, not the dossier. " No ," Comey said.

And now it looks like we have an answer for why the FBI never investigated the leak...


k3g ,

Tell me again how Watergate was impeachable and this - Obamagate, Spygate, Framegate, ReverseCollusionGate, whatever ya wanna call it - is not .

Watergate was nothing next to this. And Obama's prints are all over it. The guy used govt resources - FBI, US intel, foreign partner intel - to try to destroy a candidate in order to throw a US POTUS election, and upon failing continued to try to take the guy out. Methinks that's why Obama's been looking so gaunt and wan of late. The guy looks terminal.

herbivore ,

There is only one agency in the U.S. government that can put people in prison and it's called the DOJ. Not only that, there are only a handful of people at the top of the DOJ who can decide who and who not to prosecute. Therefore, if you're the Clinton/Obama crime family, you only need a few loyalists at the top of the DOJ and you can get away with pretty much anything. Clearly, the Clinton/Obama crime family had and STILL have those loyalists on their side. Trump has done a pathetic job of changing that.

BendGuyhere ,

The good news, if you noticed, is the big swamp creatures (Comey, McCabe, Brennan, et al), that were SO loud and proud just a few months ago seem to have gotten really quiet lately.

This could mean that SHIT IS GETTING REAL and their lawyers are telling them to STFU.

So maybe the keebler elf grandpa Sessions is in fact orchestrating a legal checkmate on all these fuckers as the drip=drip becomes a deluge.

The deep state may try to manufacture a distraction-any ideas?

Anunnaki ,

Since 9/11 the Permanent government is immune from legal responsibility and accountability

if we lived by the same Laws we used against Chelsea Manning, Snowden, Assange and the rest Obama, Hellary, Huma, Lynch. Comey, Mueller, Yates, Rice, Jarrett, McCabe, the Ohrs, Strzok and Page, Glenn Simpson would all get serious jail time

CNN should lose their broadcast license over this

Alas, Rip Van Sessions continues to do nothing and all the Crying Cheetolini can do is bitch tweet like a eunuch

urhotdogs ,

Obama must be panicking. He is all of a sudden "out of retirement" and campaigning to get Dems elected to take back the house and the Senate. If that happens, all the corruption from his Administration can be swept back under the rug and Trump impeached and his ass saved.

G-R-U-N-T ,

The ObamaSpy ring to frame Trump, his family, his campaign and the American people is a hell of a lot more extensive than most people think. The web not only extends domestically but internationally, the FVEY's, mainly Great Britain and Australia would appear to have their hand in this as well.

Yes, treason and espionage, all for a few pieces of silver and the illusion of power. All the 'gas lighting' propaganda and contempt with NO evidence was and is all a set-up by those nefarious forces that used to run the cesspool.

'They never thought she would lose' , like Hilary allegedly said: "If that fucking bastard wins we all hang from nooses", do tell, do tell.

We elected Trump to take back our country and I believe that's exactly what he's doing!

StarGate ,

Fact that Obama used Britain's GHCQ to spy on the Republican candidate he was trying to prevent win as Prez - recall Obama said emphatically "Trump will never be President" - so now we know WHY Obama was so certain;

And fact that UK/ Aussie Ambassador Downer coordinated with FBI conspirators against the Republican candidate; (recall that the Aussie Prez call with Trump was made public probably by Aussie Prez Turnbull himself)...

And fact that Obama RENEWED the British GHCQ spy op against Trump as he was Prez; puts the FBI British spy Dossier caper and all the FBI agents into the TREASON category because they were working AGAINST USA interests WITH foreign countries - Britain and Australia.

Dan'l ,

So much for the highly anticipated internal FBI investigation by that clown Horowitz, the Inspector General who said there was "no evidence" of political influence by the FBI investigators. He said that with a straight face.

thinkmoretalkless ,

Politics is the only thing forestalling swift justice in this sordid mess. The media has exposed itself as ridiculously complicit in a seditious conspiracy by a group of narcissistic elite establishment underlings. I am as impatient as anyone else who see the blatant corruption and little in the way of prosecutorial response, but if this is as some portend a sophisticated attempt to drain the swamp then there is some hope a significant and honest reckoning awaits. I don't blame those not optimistic, but personally I'm trying Trumps power of positive thinking.

Marketing Consultant ,

What a bunch of bad people.

True swamp rats that don't deserve a position in government.

MK ULTRA Alpha ,

Another angle we must consider, the CIA was deeply involved. I believe it was the CIA managing the coup, the FBI was taking orders from the CIA who was planning and leading the overthrow of Trump.

Brennan and his WH coordinator Clapper are guilty. The FBI is just an attack dog of what the CIA set up with help from MI6. Clapper contacted MI6 for electronic intercept, the WH couldn't use NSA, there would have been a paper trail. And NSA would have told. Clapper is the one who contacted and used UK MI6 assets. (Steele a former MI6 agent? No, Steele is working for MI6.)

Everything leads back to Brennan and Clapper from the beginning. Brennan was deep into the election and re-election of Obama supplying intelligence data during the campaign.

It was Brennan who set up the game plan for the coup. Even his statements from the beginning indicated this. Will Brennan fall on his sword for Obama? Will Clapper fall on his sword for Obama? Brennan is a hard core communist, he may take the bullet for Obama, but not Clapper.

We don't get MSM stating this, is it fear of the CIA. Or is it fear there will be no more anonymous sources. Remember FBI agents were taking bribes for leaking data to the MSM. I doubt they're still working for the FBI. There has been a secret purge at the top. It was stated on MSM several FBI have left the FBI.

Interesting CNN has a former homosexual CIA officer who stated the CIA would kill Trump. He's a regular CNN employee. It was CNN, the FBI used to leak data to set Trump up.

Should CNN be sued? Should the NYT be sued? It's better to hit them in the pocket book.

Another point, remember General Flynn? I believe the CIA wanted to take him out. It was said he didn't lie by the FBI who did the interview, later higher ups, Comey and the like said he lied.

I believe the CIA wanted to pay him back for exposing Brennan's unlawful operations in Syria.

Also, remember the Las Vegas hit on Trump kind of supporters, could this have been a message by the CIA to the WH to expect a hit if Brennan was exposed. Just saying, we have to review every angle to the equation because the level of corruption in the government is beyond the belief of the average American. These players are above the law, perhaps this was a reminder.

Is the FBI going to accept their fate of being the fall guy for the CIA?


freedommusic ,

GCHQ had back door into NSA...

1970SSNova396 ,

The head of GCHQ resigned days before The Don took the keys to the white house so he could spend more time with the children. The Don knows the deal. Get the new guy on the SC and then shit will hit the fan. Trump has zero to lose going forward and he is going to rock the house.

chrbur ,

The Mueller Investigation is a international embarrassment. The search for a Trump/Russia connection by Inspector Clouseau is turning up over do jaywalking tickets while the glaringly obvious crimes of the Clinton Crime Family, aka, the Democrat party are ignored. I have to tell everyone that I am Canadian and I voted for Justin Trudeau.....hey.....it is less shameful.....

StarGate ,

Those who set up the Mueller Special Counsel (Rosenstein who used to perhaps still does, work for Hillary) did so, not only to create a false impeachment process against Trump but also to undermine any of his efforts to take America back for Americans.

Are they succeeding? Yes and No.

Trump already stopped the TTP, Paris nonAccord, Iran nuclear delay, set ups. Trump began the world Peace engine with outreach to North Korea and Russia. He began an adjustment to the tax system and regulatory small business chokers. He has made inroads to curb corruption at the FBI;

But without a Congress that is on the side of America, he has not been able to stop the not-legal alien criminal inflow and "sanctuary-mafia" protection system - as yet.

1970SSNova396 ,

Trump is up against the NWO/Globalist/Jewish Bankers/Jewish MSM Cabal 24/7/365. He has cost them billions in his two years. Trump has few friends in congress because they're owned by the above as well.

There is no doubt Trump has /is bringing everybody out onto the stage and you can see just how fuking corrupt this country is and has been for 40 years. This is the last chance.

urhotdogs ,

Ryan, McConnell and many Rinos complicit in all of this. Notice they've never come out and condemn the FBI or DOJ involvement in all this. Only a few Republicans keeping this going

Thom Paine ,

ALSO those given immunity by Meuller may not have immunity , and could have it reversed, if it can be shown the only reason immunity was given them was to protect them against future prosecution.

Immunity requires that the person have important evidence for a trial and that they could be implicating themselves in a criminal act by providing that evidence, ie they were somehow involved in the commission of the crime, in some relate-able way. Immunity gives them protection against being prosecuted for related crimes.

You cannot give somebody immunity against Tax Fraud prosecution when they are providing evidence of a car accident they saw.

Providing immunity for all unrelated crimes is the same power as the POTUS power of pardon.

SO the DOJ could at some future time challenge the immunity given by Mueller on the basis that is given only to protect them, and in exchange for nothing tangible. i.e. a fraud.

Which may mean Mueller could be prosecuted for prevision of justice.

[Sep 15, 2018] So now CNN is complicit in illegal leaking, disinformation laundering

Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Newly revealed text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page reveal that Strzok wanted to use CNN's report on the infamous "Steele Dossier" to justify interviewing people in the Trump-Russia investigation, reports CNN .


911bodysnatchers322 ,

So now CNN is complicit in illegal leaking, (dis)information laundering, citizen targetting, conspiracy against rights, subversion, sedition and treason?

No wonder it's a nonstop Trump hate fest. They aren't just trying to get Trump impeached in the court of public opinion, they're desperate to get rid of him before he 100% destroys him

Well it's too late. Impeach away. But we'll still hold CNN for treason. The two things aren't related. You can't steal from a store just because Trump set the one next to it on fire

BGO ,

Fatigue is setting in with this charade. Soon the (((pundits))) will respond with the obligatory ***yawn*** troll to all future allegations.

If Trump cannot or is unable to respond to this non-sense in the harshest terms possible, he should not be president. It's amazing no one in this drama has met their maker Hitlery style. If that cunt was in charge and dealing with this shit, bodies would have already hit the floor.

J Mahoney ,

This whole situation has to piss off anyone that is even 10% objective. How could any elected representative or senator still spew shit like "Leave Mueller Alone"

BOTTOM LINE -- If we do not get to work quickly to elect non establishment republicans in the midterms NOTHING will EVER be done and Trump may be forced out if Dems make gains

apocalypticbrother ,

All old news. No one in jail except Manafort. It really seems like Trump is powerless against agencys. He must hate being a powerless president.

squid ,

If, and I do mean IF, the GOP holds onto both houses of congress.....

Everyone of these fucks has to be indited with sedition, PERIOD.

its slam dunk. And, if the elected houses ever wants to get hold of the CIA, FBI and NSA and gain some control over those rogue agencies 20-50 agents from each will have to go down to spend the rest of their lives in Leavenworth.

These uncollected asshats have tried to change the government of the United States.

The only person on the left that appears to understand this is Glen Greenwald.

Squid

Save_America1st ,

the problem is that in my opinion the majority of the GOP is also so fucking corrupt that I don't think most of them actually want to hold control of the House. They never even wanted Trump to win in the first place. On top of that, I would say many of those treasonous scumbags probably actually wanted Hitlery to win the fucking thing even if Trump wasn't going to be her opponent!

Look at all the resignations. Never seen before in history. Why? Two reasons...Trump is using the evidence to push many of them out or they end up in Guantanamo for life. And others in the beginning were quitting in order to give up part of the majority in order to flip the House to the even more evil, treasonous Demoscums so that it would restrict Trump's full majority.

Just look how "No Name" McStain acted when voting down against repealing O-Fuck-You-Care, right???

He was a traitor, plain and fucking simple. We all know it. Fuck their bullshit funeral. That was a cathedral full of traitors to this country. Psychopaths and sociopaths. Except for General Kelly and General Mattis keeping a close eye on that room full of demons.

... ... ...

[Sep 15, 2018] Who runs this color revolution against Trump ?

If Trump did anything positive this is unmasking the Deep State and its actors
Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

William Dorritt ,

"Strzok CERTAINLY wasn't the only one... Obozo, Hitlery, Lynch, Comey, Rice, Kerry, DOJ, FBI, CIA, MSM, et alia!" McCain, Shummer, Pelosi, Ryan, McConnell and lots of other are co-conspirators in the overthrow of the elected Govt.

And a large portion, if not the Majority, of the Oligarchs including the Owners of the 5 Media Companies and Big Tech which may have the same exact owners as the Media Companies.

Shemp 4 Victory ,

This is particularly damning in light of revelations of FBI-MSM collusion against the Trump campaign

Collusion of big government and big media? That's textbook fascism. (Of course, nobody reads textbooks, so...)

"Hey let me know when you can talk. We're discussing whether, now that this is out, we use it as a pretext to go interview some people," Strzok continued.

"Because any pretext that provides even the flimsiest plausibility means we can play our little power games and ride the gravy train to easy money instead of pretending to do the work that taxpayers think they are paying us to do."

Above the law, like they all are.

Creative_Destruct ,

"...pervasive collusion between Obama-era intelligence agencies and the MSM to defeat, and then smear Donald Trump after he had won the election. "

Yes, it was (and is) a concerted effort at collusion to politically assassinate Trump. But remember, this is a rigged game. The campaign's (non) "collusion" will be crammed into whatever "legitimate", "legal" mold it will fit; the conspiracy to "find a crime" for Trump within the Deep/In-You-Face State is simply "oversight" and "investigation."

[Sep 15, 2018] The Mueller investigation has been going on for a very long time - if he had found anything of any real value it would be out there already, trying to reduce Trump popularity and hit the GOP mid-terms

Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Thom Paine ,

The Mueller investigation has been going on for a very long time - if he had found anything of any real value it would be out there already, trying to reduce Trump popularity and hit the GOP mid-terms.

The Mid Terms are very important to Deep State. The Dems must at least get the House back in order to stop Trump.

That Mueller and Co have virtually have found nothing to put out there to stop Trump and the GOP means they have fuck all, and are now clutching at Straws.

They are going to have to go the Bullshit path....start inventing. OH and all sorts of False Flags between now and Mid Terms are guaranteed. ALSO will the neocons dupe Trump into a Syria mistake that causes the death of many US soldiers? We know Deep State don't care who or how many they kill, so long as they get what they want.

One wonders if the Censoring of Conservative media, and Political Sites is because Deep State are planning to Assassinate President Trump , as is stated on Alex Jone's site.

BANNED VIDEOS – PENTAGON INTEL SAYS GLOBALISTS WANT TRUMP DEAD BY MARCH 2019

Watch the clips censored by over one hundred websites

https://www.infowars.com/banned-videos-pentagon-intel-says-globalists-want-trump-dead-by-march-2019/

StarGate ,

There have probably been several Trump assassination attempts since he was elected. Knowing what happened to Lincoln when he vetoed the National Bank / Fed Reserve of his time;

And what happened to JFK when he stated he would shut down the CIA;

Trump is fully aware he performs a death defying act daily. There may be others out there willing to make the Trump-JFK-Lincoln sacrifice, to take back America, but not Pence, not Sanders, not any current Democrat prez wanna be.

Thom Paine ,

It would be impossible, or an exercise in suicide by the GOP and or Democrats if they actually impeached Trump.

There has to be a legally provable breach of Federal law outside the POTUS exercise of powers. Extraordinary prosecution requires extraordinary evidence.

You cannot remove a President elected by 62 million people on flimsy hearsay, or 'he said she said' evidence, or pure circumstantial evidence. It would also set a precedence where Presidents could be impeached on the drop of a hat.

At the moment the Dems and Deep State want to impeach Trump because he beat Clinton and fucked up the last step in their plan to own America.

If Trump beat Sanders not many would be whining right now, they wouldn't care.

StarGate ,

Your premise legally appears to be accurate, that the Supreme Court is a failsafe against a retaliatory political impeachment, based primarily on fact Hillary lost.

However, that means the Supreme Court would have to been beyond corruption and Trump would have to bring a case.

j0nx ,

No. All the Dems and deep state need to know is that a lot of the deplorable would riot like mofos if they tried. No dem would be safe. You think they don't know that? Sociology 101.

Saying the deplorables wouldn't riot is like saying Obama's minions wouldn't have if the shoe were reversed 7 years ago and there was an open coup against him like there is Trump.

Withdrawn Sanction ,

Sorry to nit pick, but there are 2 steps here: the first is impeachment by the House. Akin to an indictment. Then there is a trial in the Senate which is presided over by the Chief Justice of the SC. THEN a 2/3s affirmative vote is required for conviction and removal from office.

An impeachment just like an indictment is meaningless w/o a conviction. You see how much "damage" an impeachment did to Slick Willy. Didn't skip a beat

[Sep 15, 2018] Definition_of_sedtion

Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

hooligan2009 ,

sedition =

"Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports, or false statements, . . . or incite insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct . . . the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, or . . . shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States . . . or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully . . . urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production . . . or advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both...."

or sedition = this

" A review of the documents suggests that the FBI and DOJ coordinated efforts to get information to the press that would potentially be "harmful to President Trump's administration. "

[Sep 15, 2018] It was Rosenstein's official recommendation to Trump to terminated Comey because Rosenstein was trying to install Mueller as FBI director, a professional "yes man" and cover up specialist. So when Trump wouldn't make Mueller FBI director, then Rosenstein had to destroy Trump to cover up. He appointed Mueller to special council

That means that Russiagate is links to 911 in more then one way...
Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

MK ULTRA Alpha ,

There is one small point everyone seems to be over looking. It was Rosenstein's official recommendation to Trump to terminated Comey because Rosenstein was trying to install Mueller as FBI director, a professional "yes man" and cover up specialist. So when Trump wouldn't make Mueller FBI director, then Rosenstein had to destroy Trump to cover up. He appointed Mueller to special council.

The cover ups go all the way back to 9/11.

missionshk ,

missed that they are all tied to 911 conspirators, brennan, mueller, comey

missed the satanists dems.drinking the blood of children, weiners laptop, and pakistani spies

missed the clinton bribery foundation, and failed one world government

and missed continued demonization of russia, the social paid antifa soros treason

[Sep 15, 2018] Another issue is that Williams deliberately puts on a tantrum and then claims the tantrum is normal emotional behaviour. On top of that, she tries to pass off this spoilt-brat outburst as characteristic of how strong, feminist women behave

Female sociopaths are very skillful in playing identity politics.
Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

James lake September 10, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I agree with Martina Navratilova on Serena Williams conduct

" Navratilova went so far as to write an editorial for the New York Times in which she claimed that, in complaining post-match that Ramos would not have reacted the same way to an argumentative male player, Williams was "missing the point" and would have been better served conducting herself with "respect for the sport we love so dearly."

"I don't believe it's a good idea to apply a standard of 'If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too,' " Navratilova said of Williams in her editorial. "Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?"

Serena Williams behaviour ruined the experience of victory for Naomi Osaka, if you get a chance to see film of the whole debacle with the booing crowd! She looked like the most miserable winner in ever.

Jen September 11, 2018 at 3:58 am
Another issue is that Williams deliberately puts on a tantrum and then claims the tantrum is normal emotional behaviour. On top of that, she tries to pass off this spoilt-brat outburst as characteristic of how strong, feminist women behave. All done as much to deny Osaka the joy of winning her first major championship as to attack the umpire.

And people who should know better swallow Williams' idiocy hook, line and sinker.

[Sep 15, 2018] Ten Misconceptions About Financial Crisis on 10-Year Anniversary

Sep 15, 2018 | www.bloomberg.com

One of the most intriguing aspects of the 2007-09 financial crisis is how little understanding there is of what actually occurred. Some of this has to do with the complexities of the event, as well as how hard it is to identify forces lurking below the surface that had built up over the years.

Even a decade later, many people still cling to false ideas about the underlying causes (there wasn't just one, folks!) of the crisis. What follows are my 10 favorite flawed memes, misunderstandings and just outright falsehoods about the financial crisis and its aftermath:

No. 1. Lehman's collapse caused the crisis : "If only we had saved Lehman Brothers, we could have avoided the crisis," goes a popular lament. This reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the scale of the dislocations. To accept this premise -- former Lehman employees are some of the loudest apostles of this theory -- then one has to pretend an entire universe of other issues didn't exist.

Lehman, like Bear Stearns before it, suffered from many of the same issues that afflicted most of the U.S.'s other big banks and brokers: too much junk paper, too much leverage, too little capital and deficient risk controls. Lehman was simply among the most overleveraged and undercapitalized of the lot.

No. 2. If not for X, we would have been OK: Take your pick of things to insert here, but it's important to understand that this was not a single event , but rather the result of many factors that came together over time. These include: the Federal Reserve's ultralow interest rates, a fundamentally weak recovery from the dot-com collapse, the housing boom and bust, huge amounts of financial leverage, securitization of mortgages, the embrace of derivatives and reckless deregulation of the financial industry that enabled much of the above, and more. I depicted these elements via this graphic in " Bailout Nation ."

No. 3. Repeal of Glass-Steagall : The argument is that in the decades after Glass-Steagall was enacted during the Great Depression, Wall Street crises were confined to Wall Street and didn't spill onto Main Street. See as examples the 1987 stock-market crash or the Mexican peso crisis of 1994. But the causative issue we run into to is the but-for test. Would we have had a crisis if Glass-Steagall were still in place? I don't see how we can make that claim. Perhaps had Glass-Steagall not been repealed, the crisis might have been smaller, but it is very hard to say it wouldn't have occurred anyway.

No. 4. Bailouts were the only option : There were many other options, but they would have been very painful and required considerable foresight. I believed then (and still believe) that the best course of action would have been prepackaged bankruptcies for all the insolvent institutions instead of bailouts. I would have had the federal government provide debtor-in-possession financing, allowed qualified private institutional investors to bid on the assets thereby letting markets set the valuations, with the government picking up the rest. It would have been more difficult in the short term, but the economy would have rebounded much sooner.

No. 5. Taxpayers were repaid in full and even made a profit : There are two major issues with this claim: The first is that the Troubled Asset Relief Program and most other loans and bailouts were all (or almost all) repaid. But to make that happen, the federal government in a move questioned by tax experts allowed failed American International Group to carry forward the net operating losses for use to offset future earnings; this was a stealth bailout worth tens of billions of dollars that didn't appear to "cost" anything. Meanwhile the Federal Reserve kept rates at zero for almost a decade. This resulted in a huge transfer from savers to bailed-out lenders.

The federal government also took a huge amount of risk during a period when financial markets tripled. And that is before we account for all of the collateral losses and moral hazards we created.

https://cdn.iframe.ly/le122fY?app=1

No. 6. No one went to jail because stupidity isn't a crime : This one is laugher, from the behavior of the executives at Lehman Brothers to all of the foreclosure fraud that took place. Jesse Eisinger, author of " The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives ," explained how the white-collar defense bar successfully lobbied and undercut the Department of Justice during the years before the crisis. You can't convict a criminal if you don't have the personnel, intellectual firepower or stomach to prosecute in the first place.

No. 7. Borrowers were as blameworthy as lenders : First, we know that for huge swaths of the banking industry, the basis for lending changed in the run-up to the crisis. For most of financial history, credit was granted based on the borrower's ability to repay . In the years before the crisis, the incentive to lend shifted: It was based not on the likelihood of repayment but on whether a loan could be sold to someone else, often a securities firm, which would repackage the loan with other loans to create a mortgage-backed security. Selling 30-year mortgages with a 90-day warranty changes the calculus for who qualifies: just find a warm body that will make the first three payments; after that it's someone else's problem.

Second, we know that if you offer people free money, they will take it. This is among the reasons we have banking regulations in the first place. We expect the banking professionals to understand risk better than the unwashed masses.

No. 8. Poor people caused the crisis : This is another intellectually dishonest claim. If any U.S. legislation such as the Community Reinvestment Act was the actual cause of the crisis, then the boom and bust wouldn't have been global. Second, if poor people and these policies were the cause, then the crisis would have been centered in South Philadelphia; Harlem, New York; Oakland, California; and Atlanta instead of the burgeoning suburbs of Las Vegas, Southern California, Florida and Arizona. The folks making this argument seem to have questionable motivations.

No. 9. The Fed made a mistake by stepping in when Congress refused: Congress is the governmental entity that should have done more in response to the crisis. But it didn't, and all of those members who opposed efforts to repair the economy and financial system should have been thrown out of office. The Fed gave cover to Congress, creating congressional moral hazard and allowing it to shirk its responsibilities . We don't know how the world would have looked if that hadn't happened, but I imagine it would be significantly different than it does today -- and not necessarily better.

No. 10. Lehman could have been saved : This is perhaps the most delusional of all the claims. Lehman was insolvent . We know this from an accounting sleight-of-hand it performed called Repo 105, in which it which "sold" $50 billion in holdings to an entity it owned, booked a profit just before quarterly earnings, then repurchased the holdings. The sleuthing done by hedge-fund manager David Einhorn reached the same conclusion about Lehman's solvency long before the collapse ; the Fed itself also made clear that it couldn't take on Lehman's losses.

When people stubbornly refuse to acknowledge facts, when they insist on staying married to their own faulty belief system, it becomes very challenging to respond with sound policies. As a society, the sooner we reckon with reality, the sooner we can begin to avoid disasters like the financial crisis.

[Sep 15, 2018] Serena Williams Serves Tantrum, Scores for Identity Politics by David Masciotra

Very apt: "So we excuse the rules and condemn their application---but only for certain people"
I suspect nationalism or ethnocentrism were also factors, not only identity politics. Selena has ungly history of tantrum thouth and that might point to poriblems with performance enhancing drags (she did have a unexplained meltdown in Wimbledon 2014)
Notable quotes:
"... Drama and literature at their best offer illustrative anecdotes -- small stories that represents larger truths. The absurdist theater of the women's U.S. Open tennis final, along with the mania it provoked, has become just such an anecdote. It illustrates the bleak assessment Edward Ward, my former philosophy professor and friend, once uttered over cheese sandwiches in the campus cafeteria: "We live in a society where we excuse the rules, and condemn their application." ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Serena Williams Serves Tantrum, Scores for Identity Politics So we excuse the rules and condemn their application---but only for certain people

Drama and literature at their best offer illustrative anecdotes -- small stories that represents larger truths. The absurdist theater of the women's U.S. Open tennis final, along with the mania it provoked, has become just such an anecdote. It illustrates the bleak assessment Edward Ward, my former philosophy professor and friend, once uttered over cheese sandwiches in the campus cafeteria: "We live in a society where we excuse the rules, and condemn their application."

Indifference to behavioral regulations and standards of practice had become common to the point of banality, Ward argued, subjecting anyone who attempted to enforce the rules to vilification.

For those who do not closely follow professional tennis, here's a review of the controversy. Serena Williams, undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the history of the game, was facing a rising superstar from Japan, Naomi Osaka. Williams is only one grand slam championship away from tying the all-time record, but has recently struggled to triumph over her younger opponents (most tennis players retire in their early to mid-thirties; Williams is 37). Osaka had already defeated Williams with ease at the Miami Open in March.

It appeared that the U.S. Open was headed for a repeat early in the match, with Osaka asserting swift dominance. Early in the first set, however, the linesman, Carlos Ramos, called a court violation on Williams' coach because he was signaling her -- an illegal activity in the sport of tennis. Rather than accept the warning, Williams unleashed a reality TV-style tirade on Ramos, excoriating him for "misreading" her coach's hand gestures and making bizarre reference to her daughter: "I never cheat I have a daughter, and I stand for what is right for her."

(Immediately following the match, in a rare and refreshing moment of honesty, Williams' coach admitted that he was signaling her the entire time, making Williams look both deceitful and foolish. Most post-match commentary has conveniently omitted the coach's confession from the record.)

After Williams lost the opening set's fifth game, she slammed her racket into the ground, causing its frame to bend. Intentional damage to a racquet is a code violation, and Ramos penalized her a point, the standard punishment for a second offense. Osaka quickly won the next game, making her the winner of the first set with a lopsided score of 6-2.

Williams then began screaming at Ramos, telling him that he was wrong to penalize her and protesting that the warning she received should not count as a violation because she was not cheating. Ramos sat silently as Williams ridiculed his performance as linesman and demanded that he apologize.

The second set advanced quickly with Osaka continuing to make fast work of Williams. During every break in play, Williams continued to badger Ramos, indicating that she would not stop until he announced over his microphone that he was sorry for what he did to her. He ignored her expressions of anger.

What Ever Happened to the Rule of Law? The Darker Implications of Trump's Vulgarity

After Osaka pulled ahead 4-3, Williams again berated Ramos for his monstrous failures as a human being. Bringing her rant to a climax, she called him a "liar" and a "thief."

To impugn the character of a linesman violates the code of conduct governing play in professional tennis. Ramos flagged her for the third time, issuing the penalty of a forfeited game, making the set score 5-3. Williams pleaded with supervising officials of the tournament -- one man, one woman -- to overturn Ramos' calls, and they refused. She then made the contemptible claim that excited countless social media users and political commentators around the country: "I've seen men get away with his all the time. Just because I'm a woman, you are going to take this away from me."

Osaka won the second set, 6-4, and in doing so, became the first Japanese champion of the U.S. Open. The audience loudly booed and jeered throughout the awards ceremony, and the commissioner of the U.S. Open disgraced herself by saying, on air and in front of the rightful champion, "This isn't the end we were looking for." Williams made an attempt to recover some dignity by instructing her vulgar fans to stop heckling, but the entire event had already transformed into an ugly American extravaganza. Most infuriating was that Osaka looked dejected, unable to enjoy her first grand slam victory.

The next day, USA Today ran an opinion piece with the headline "Sexism Cost Serena Williams Tennis Title." Many other writers and TV analysts, none of whom seemed to know anything about tennis rules or history, began reciting from the same fatuous and phony script. A few have even tried to racialize the story, though given that Osaka's father is Haitian, that narrative has failed to gain traction.

Acting as though Ramos were self-evidently a misogynist, most media mouthpieces ignored that throughout the U.S. Open, male players have been called for 86 violations and women only 22. Nine of the 10 largest fines in tennis history for on-court violations have gone to men. Ramos himself has earned the wrath of men's champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer for making calls they felt were too rigid and punitive.

The mob has also compared Williams' tantrum with the boorish imbecility of 1980s tennis stars John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. While it's true that both players often acted with disrespect more reminiscent of barroom drunks than professional athletes, they also benefitted from terribly lenient regulations of professional tennis. The ATP did not standardize the rules or crack down on outlandish player conduct until the late 1980s. Not coincidentally, McEnroe was ejected from the 1990 Australian Open after his fourth violation in a single match.

And yet arguing about the rules and pointing to the score of the match -- it is almost certain that Osaka would have won regardless -- feels oddly archaic. Many of Williams' desperate defenders are acting in emotional accordance with some strange, eschatological commitment to identity politics, and no amount of factual information will dissuade them. Another term my friend was fond of using was "biased apperception." The critics who call Ramos sexist without giving him the opportunity to defend himself have adopted a position and are working backwards to validate it. To pull this off, they have no choice but to excuse the rules and condemn their application. There is no debate that Williams broke three different rules, yet the lineman is sexist because he chose to apply them.

Rebecca Traister, a leading feminist writer for New York , begins her boring and predictable interpretation of the events with the following admission (which negates all the subsequent sentences in her essay):

I don't care much about the rules of tennis that Serena Williams was accused of violating at Saturday night's U.S. Open final. Those rules were written for a game and for players who were not supposed to look or express themselves or play the game as beautifully and passionately as either Serena Williams or the young woman who eventually beat her, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, do.

Overlooking Traister's weird disparagement of every women's champion who proceeded Williams and Osaka as ugly and impassive, and her incoherent grammar (how is a game supposed to "express themselves"?), it is revealing that she prefaces her entire argument by saying that rules do not matter if the right people did not author them. The crime is not the transgression, but the enforcement.

The "excuse the rules, condemn the application" mentality is a societal sickness responsible for much that troubles our body politic.

To begin with an example that will interest those who practice identity politics, President Donald Trump has thrived on condemning those who enforce the rules. Though he regularly demonstrates a daunting pattern of dishonesty, is an unnamed co-conspirator in a criminal indictment, has seen several of his associates indicted or convicted of crimes, and continually makes a mockery of decorum and etiquette, whenever he is caught in an act of wrongdoing, his immediate response is to spit a venomous stream of clichés: "fake news," "deep state," "witch hunt."

Another example is the bailout of the big banks that followed the 2008 financial crisis. Few disagreed that the world's major financial institutions violated the rules, but the idea of accountability was suddenly radical and unthinkable.

If a connection between corporate malfeasance, presidential malpractice, and a tennis champion's childish outburst seems tenuous, consider that in all three cases the get-out-of-jail-free card is an appeal to ideology. Rules, we are asked to believe, are irrelevant, and even themselves infringements on belief systems like populism and feminism that are regarded as more important.

The self-involvement and extreme subjectivity necessary for such a destructive belief permeates into non-ideological aspects of culture. Grade inflation in higher education, as any instructor can attest, exists largely because students cannot fathom suffering consequences for lazy or mediocre work. The issuance of assignments and exams is fine, but to actually grade them according to an objective standard is evil.

America needs a serious dose of Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative. One should act only in such a way that one would approve of everyone else acting in a given situation.

Writing for The New York Times , retired tennis champion Martina Navratilova wisely states, "We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with. In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court. There have been many times when I was playing that I wanted to break my racket into a thousand pieces. Then I thought about the kids watching. And I grudgingly held on to that racket."

Obvious to anyone but the willfully ignorant, this is a far better formula for a healthy society than "I don't care about the rules."

David Masciotra is the author of four books, including Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky) and Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing).

Kurt Gayle September 13, 2018 at 11:26 pm

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) released the following statement relating to umpiring decisions during the 2018 US Open Women's final:

"Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis. Mr. Ramos' decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the US Open's decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences. It is understandable that this high profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate. At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity."

"The Grand Slam Rule Book can be found here. Player on site offences including the point penalty schedule used in this instance can be found in Article III."

ARTICLE III: PLAYER ON-SITE OFFENCES -- pages 36-48

https://www.itftennis.com/media/277968/277968.pdf

Martin Gomez, September 14, 2018 at 10:22 pm

I follow tennis and am not a feminist. There were two things the ump should have done. First, everyone knows that all players in tennis are getting coached. If ump was going to call it, he should have warned both players and coaches before the match.

Second, when Serena was mouthing off during the changeover, he should have told her: "you've made your point, one more insult and you're going to get a penalty" and then, just ignore her. If she keeps it up then you dick her.

As for Serena, she is a brand. Which is why she blew up for being caught cheating. It was more important for her to defend her image than to win the match

Kalmia, September 15, 2018 at 9:17 am

Serena Williams is not unusual in being a world-class athlete/competitor who is also a very very bad loser. Her behavior wasn't that unusual and the punishment in the game was appropriate, it should have ended with that. In my view, it's the crowd and her supporters who are the real villains here for letting their bias towards her (and identity politics) warp their sense of justice and fairness. Poor Osaka deserved much better than the booing and rash of hot takes.

Jeeves, September 15, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Rat: Williams was livid because she was getting her tutu kicked all over the court. Desperate and depraved gamesmanship was all it was.

Although you'd never know it from the terrible reporting in this article, following the game-penalty imposed by Ramos, Osaka intentionally gave Serena the next game by missing returns of Serena's serve -- I suppose hoping to calm down the woman who was her tennis idol growing up. It didn't work, though, because Serena was unappeased–and outplayed. (To top it off, the stupid TV commentators wanted to give Serena kudos for her quieting of her booing fans at the awards presentation. No-class athlete, no-class fans.)

Sisera, September 15, 2018 at 10:16 pm

@WorkingClass

Agreed & isn't it funny how in the world of many centrist 'apologist' types, fighting back against identity politics, entitlement of elites, etc. is in and of itself identity politics?

I mean it's like the grade school insult of 'I know you are but what am I'….and many (albeit not this author) say it with all the smugness and gotchaness in the world.

They adhere to identity politics and have no self awareness and hence can't recognize it.

Ivo Olavo Castro da Silva, September 16, 2018 at 12:31 am

The fact that Serena's fans and the media supported her disgusting actions only confirm their total absence of any moral standard.

Tennis Fan, September 16, 2018 at 10:05 am

In response to "Rat says…Why did the judge decide that the final was the time to start applying an otherwise-ignored rule? Sure, it would have been preferable for her to keep her cool, but it's understandable why Williams was livid."

It may be that coaches get away with coaching quite often, however, IMHO the umpire happened to actually catch the coach right in the act of coaching (and if you see the video of the supposed incident, her coach, Patrick, actually gives two head-nods in that very brief moment and to me, the head-nods acknowledge that they made eye contact-my personal opinion only).

The umpire immediately decided to call it out... Who knows, maybe in that very moment, he felt it wasn't fair for her to be getting coaching, he actually caught the coaching, and his gut instinct was to make the call on it. I don't fault the umpire one bit. Had Serena accepted the call and moved on, the entire tide of the match may have taken a different turn.

[Sep 15, 2018] The PC drones are rather mentally deficient. They respond to trigger phrases and not to concepts or principles.

Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

kirill September 10, 2018 at 6:48 pm

As commented elsewhere, all her screeching about double standards for women are utter BS. She broke the rules while playing against another woman and not a man. The men's tennis league is utterly irrelevant since she may as well have compared her league to men's football. She failed by the standards of her league and not those of another. It was clear that she was breaking the rules of her league and she was the one that escalated the conflict. It has nothing to do with women's rights.

The PC drones are rather mentally deficient. They respond to trigger phrases and not to concepts or principles.

Jen September 10, 2018 at 6:49 pm
Australian cartoonist Mark Knight is in trouble with J K Rowling and other self-styled guardians of who may portray Serena Williams in meltdown and who may not. The offending drawing below:

[Sep 14, 2018] English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte s Bought Journalists Suppressed

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... My guess is that this book is just too dangerous to allow it to become part of the debate on "fake news" and "Russiagate." Of course now the CIA doesn't even have to exclusively – "own"- journalists as fronts when ex-CIA heads are being hired outright by MSM as pundits. I just wish someone with access would post an English language PDF version online. It would be a real contribution to free thought and free speech to do so. ..."
"... Western elites realize what they could have, what they could do and what they could get away with, but only if they reinvent the political system Hitler created. If they defeat every enemy abroad who might stop them, next they'll do to their own people what the Nazis did to those they didn't want alive ..."
"... Journos have long been pliant enablers for Intel agencies. It's strange how Dr. Ulfkotte's revelations have been taken as some signifier of further Western moral decay/decadence. ..."
"... The real story here, which the media pretends not to notice, is that if Intelligence services and corporations did not finance newspapers they would cease to exist. The old business model whereby newspapers covered their costs by selling advertising and paid circulation is finished. Under that model there were, to an extent, incentives for the publisher to preserve a modicum of credibility in order to keep readership, as well as reasons to publish sensational stories to beat competition. ..."
"... The days that Ulfkotte recalled were times when it took lots of money and careful preparation to put spooks into the newsroom, nowadays the papers are only too happy to publish the CIA's PR and very grateful if the government pays their journalists' salaries. ..."
"... To understand how journalism is bought, go analyze the output of the Uk's Daily Telegraph. They literally sell space to lobbyists and for several years outraged BTL comment would tear the articles to shreds. The whole UK Press prostitutes itself whenever there is a US war on i.e. all the time. It really is about time the CIA were unmasked – they do not serve our interests, they serve only their own . ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | off-guardian.org

intergenerationaltrauma says February 11, 2018

The rather obvious suppression of the English version of what was a "best seller" in Germany suggests that the Western system of thought manipulation and consent manufacture sees itself as weaker and more vulnerable than one might at first imagine.

We can see from a year+ of "Russiagate" that Western media is a clown-show, much of so called "alternative media" included.

My guess is that this book is just too dangerous to allow it to become part of the debate on "fake news" and "Russiagate." Of course now the CIA doesn't even have to exclusively – "own"- journalists as fronts when ex-CIA heads are being hired outright by MSM as pundits. I just wish someone with access would post an English language PDF version online. It would be a real contribution to free thought and free speech to do so.

Google Talpiot Program says January 30, 2018
Just like "200 years together" by Solzhenitsyn which was never officially published in English despite Andrei having authored many works which were big sellers. Just an example of other private business and corporations are often fully responsible for pro-establishment censorship.
Harry Stotle says January 15, 2018
The treatment of the book aroused suspicion because of its content – ie supine news outlets forever dancing to the tune of western military imperatives.

Ongoing support for illegal wars tell us that the MSM has hardly been at the forefront of informing readers why war criminals like Hilary and Obama keep getting away with it. In fact Obama, just like Kissinger was awarded a peace prize – so obviously something has gone very wrong somewhere.

It may be, although it seems unlikely that the mis-handling of an important theme like this is simply due to oversight by the publisher (as Matt claims) but neither is it beyond the realms of possibility that somebody has had a word with someone in the publishing world, perhaps because they are not overly keen on the fact Udo Ulfkotte has deviated from the media's mono-narrative about why it is necessary for the US to destabilise countries and kill so many of their citizens.

Lets face it – it would be harder for the pattern to be maintained if the MSM was not so afraid of telling the truth, or at least be more willing to hold to account politicians as the consequences of their disastrous policies unfold for all to see.

Maybe you want to have a go at answering the obvious question begged by such self evident truths – why are the MSM usually lying?

Marcus says January 20, 2018
The book was never published in English. It was advertised, and then withdrawn. That is suppression...
Michael McNulty says January 14, 2018
Somebody said banning books is the modern form of book burning, and like Heinrich Heine said two centuries ago, "Where they burn books, in the end, they start burning people."

Western elites realize what they could have, what they could do and what they could get away with, but only if they reinvent the political system Hitler created. If they defeat every enemy abroad who might stop them, next they'll do to their own people what the Nazis did to those they didn't want alive. If enough water sources are lost to fracking, and enough food sources lost through poisoned seas and forest fires, many people will go to their camps as refuge but few will survive them. This ecological destruction is for future population reduction.

In the US they use newspeak to say what the Nazis described with more honesty. Their master race became the indispensable nation, their world domination became full spectrum dominance, and Totalerkrieg became the global war on terror. There will be others.

jones says January 12, 2018
Farzad Basoft anyone ? Journos have long been pliant enablers for Intel agencies. It's strange how Dr. Ulfkotte's revelations have been taken as some signifier of further Western moral decay/decadence.
summitflyer says January 15, 2018
Maybe I am taking what you wrote out of context but I don't find it strange at all .It is just that someone, Udo, on the inside has become a whistle blower , and confirmed what most suspected .The establishment can't have that.

See John Swinton on the independence of the press at http://constitution.org/pub/swinton_press.htm

Connect says January 12, 2018
As the economy growth has this so-called invisible hand, journalism also has an 'invisible pen'. One of the questions that need an answer: how come feminists are so anti-Putin and anti-Russia? Easy to connect to dots?
bevin says January 11, 2018
The real story here, which the media pretends not to notice, is that if Intelligence services and corporations did not finance newspapers they would cease to exist. The old business model whereby newspapers covered their costs by selling advertising and paid circulation is finished. Under that model there were, to an extent, incentives for the publisher to preserve a modicum of credibility in order to keep readership, as well as reasons to publish sensational stories to beat competition.

Those days are gone: none of the newspapers make financial profits, they now exist because they have patrons. They always did, of course, but now they have nothing else- the advertisers have left and circulation is diminishing rapidly.

The days that Ulfkotte recalled were times when it took lots of money and careful preparation to put spooks into the newsroom, nowadays the papers are only too happy to publish the CIA's PR and very grateful if the government pays their journalists' salaries.

As to competition that is restricted to publishers competing to demonstrate their loyalty to the government and their ingenuity in candy coating its propaganda.

Anyone doubt that Luke Harding will be in the running for a Pulitzer? Or perhaps even the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Serge Lubomudrov says January 11, 2018
For those whose German is not good enough (like me, unfortunately), but know Russian, there's a Russian translation: https://www.litres.ru/udo-ulfkotte/prodazhnye-zhurnalisty-lubaya-pravda-za-vashi-dengi/
vexarb says January 9, 2018
For what it's worth, I skimmed through this very long link by Matt, and could find no mention of poison gas -- certainly no denunciation -- just horrific conventional arms : Der Spiegel 1984: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13508659.html

Also for what it's worth, the German publisher's blurb which I got Google to translate above, says there is much more to the book than old Soddem: the author names names and points to organizations.

Now, without any evidence, based only on my faulty memory and highly biased interpretation of events strung together on a timeline, here is my conspiracy story about a very nice country called Iraq and a very nasty Iraqi called Saddam who came to a very nasty end at the hands of his much more nasty friends, who first gave him a boost and then put in the boot.

George Cornell says January 9, 2018
That is more than plausible. Unfortunately. Hard not to sympathize with the Iraqis and feel shame for what has been done in the name of the US and UK. Rotten to the core, and sanctimonious to boot.
rtj1211 says January 9, 2018
To understand how journalism is bought, go analyze the output of the Uk's Daily Telegraph. They literally sell space to lobbyists and for several years outraged BTL comment would tear the articles to shreds. The whole UK Press prostitutes itself whenever there is a US war on i.e. all the time. It really is about time the CIA were unmasked – they do not serve our interests, they serve only their own .
Carrie says January 9, 2018
The Guardian sells space to lobbyists too. Not ad space – article space. It's literally hiring itself out to whomever wants to buy the right to publish an article under its name.
Brian Steere says January 8, 2018
Well one things stands out in bold and that is the fear that such a revelation is associated with. 'Broad spectrum dominance' of a central intelligent agency is a reversal of the wholeness of being expressing through all its parts.

Fake intelligence is basically made up to serve a believed goal. The terrorism of fear generates the goal of a self-protection that sells true relationship to 'save itself'.

This goes deep into what we take to be our mind. The mind that thinks it is in control by controlling what it thinks.

If I can observe this in myself at will, is it any surprise I can see it in our world?

What is the fear that most deeply motivates or drives the human agenda?
I do not ask this of our superficial thinking, but of a core self-honesty that cannot be 'killed' but only covered over with a thinking-complex.

And is it insane or unreal to be moved by love?

We are creatures of choice and beneath all masking, we are also the creator of choice.
But the true creative is not framed into a choosing between, but feeling one call as the movement of it.

When the 'intelligence' of a masking narrative no longer serves, be the willingness for what you no longer claim to have, and open to being moved from within.

candideschmyles says January 8, 2018
I am so tired of the simmering fury that lives inside me. This bubbling cauldron brim full of egregious truths, images and accounts accumulated over nearly 40 years of looking behind the headlines. I disagree that the usurpation of journalists and media organisations is in any way a recent phenomena. It certainly predates my emergent mind. And even the most lauded of anti-establishment hacks and film makers self-censored to some degree. True, the blatant in your face propaganda and thought control agenda has accelerated, but it was always there. I do not believe Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Pilger and their like could have done much more than they have, that is to guide us in a direction counter to the official narrative. And to insinuate they are gatekeepers, when our heads never stretch above the parapet, is really just a reflection of our own frustration that despite their work the only change remains for the worse.
Yet I fear worse is to come. Our safe bitching in glorious anonymity has been all that we have had as solace to the angst that pervades us, the other 1%. But the the thumbscrew is tightening. We may be as little as months away from any dissent being entirely removed from the internet by AI algorithms. I have already been receiving warnings on several sites anyone here would call legitimate that have had their security certificates removed and the statement that the site may contain malicious code etc. How prepared are we for blackout?
Serge Lubomudrov says January 8, 2018
The publisher even removed the 2 year old news announcement about the book! Though the twit is still there. Probably, overlooked.

https://twitter.com/saumacus/status/950468330086858757

summitflyer says January 8, 2018
A foundation should be set up in remembrance of Udo and sponsored by all true journalists and truth seekers. Maybe some day there will be a Udo Ulfkotte award to the bravest journalist of the year .Wouldn't that be something .Udo's work would not have been in vain . That would throw a monkey wrench into orgs like the Guardian and their ilk .Just dreaming out loud maybe , but with good intentions.
Alun Thomas says January 8, 2018
Original German version can be found here: http://gen.lib.rus.ec/book/index.php?md5=ABA05365ABE35FD446D6F83B149A32A2
Unfortunately no english version, but other controversial texts have sometimes been crowd-translated, maybe something like this may happen
Chris G says January 8, 2018
Thank you Alun for the link to the German edition, which I have managed to download (naughty me!) I think the suggestion of retranslating important sections and dressing these in some commentary for (presumably legitimate) publication on e.g. Off-G would be a good idea. I'm quite fluent in German and would be glad to help.
Mods: do you see any legal pitfalls?
Admin says January 8, 2018
That depends on who holds the rights to the English language version and the original and whether they would want to take issue. If it's Ulfkotte's family they may be happy to see his work get some sort of airing in English. If it's his publishers we can imagine they will see things differently – as indeed would whoever it is that seems to want the book buried.
Martin Read says January 8, 2018
Tried to get to that site and was told that I couldn't via my Virgin provider because of a High Court order. Somebody moved a bit quickly.
Carrie says January 8, 2018
Me too! My Broadband provider is blocking access due to a High Court injunction.

@ChrisG & @Alun Thomas – can you guys still get there? It might be a country or region thing.

Alun Thomas says January 8, 2018
I heard it is blocked in many western countries, as the site is well known for its disregard for copyright. Fortunately not the case where I am (NZ). If you're technically inclined, a VPN or anonymising application may help, although a VPN that 'exits' in a western area won't get you any further ahead.
George Cornell says January 8, 2018
I had no problem, but provider in Canada
Arrby says January 11, 2018
One hopes. I also hold out hope for F. William Engdahl's "Geheimakte NGOs." Here's a Dissident Voice article in which Engdahl discusses the role of NGOs in aiding and abetting the US regime change program:

https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/07/the-us-empire-the-cia-and-the-ngos/

I also recommend, highly, Stephen Gowans's article about social networking in the service of the US regime change program:

"Overthrow Inc.: Peter Ackerman's quest to do what the CIA used to do, and make it seem progressive" by Stephen Gowans
https://gowans.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/overthrow-inc-peter-ackerman%E2%80%99s-quest-to-do-what-the-cia-used-to-so-and-make-it-seem-progressive/

Frank says January 8, 2018
Yes, it has also been interesting to note that in 2015 the Guardian published a review of Richard Sakwa's book 'Frontline Ukraine' in which the author was critical of both NATO and the EU, in fomenting this crisis. The 2014 'coup' which was carried out in February 2014 was, according to the independent geopolitical publication, Strator, 'the most blatant in history.' The appraisal which was carried out by Guardian journalist Jonathon Steele was generally favourably disposed to Sakwa's record of events; however, Mr Steele now rarely publishes anything in the Guardian. Read into this what you like.

As to Sakwa's latest book,'' Russia Against the Rest'', – nothing, not a peep, it doesn't exist, it never existed, it never will exist. It would appear to be the case that the Guardian is now fully integrated into the military/surveillance/media-propaganda apparatus. The liberal gatekeeper as to what is and what isn't acceptable. Its function is pure to serve the interests of the powerful, in much the same way as the church did in the middle ages. The media doesn't just serve the interests power it is also part of the same structure of dominance, albeit the liberal wing of the ruling coalition.

During the British war against the Boers in South Africa, at the turn of the 19/20 century, the then Manchester Guardian took a brave and critical stand against the UK government. This lead to its offices in Manchester being attacked by jingoistic mobs, as was the home of the then editor C.P.Scott, whose family needed police protection. In those days 'Facts were Sacred', unlike the present where opposing views are increasingly ignored or suppressed.

Hugh O'Neill says January 8, 2018
Having just watched the documentary film tribute to I.F. Stone, "All Governments Lie", I was struck by the fact that no-one mentioned Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone journalist (who outed General McChrystal, but whose Mercedes went mysteriously out of control, hit a tree and exploded, throwing the engine 200 yards clear of the wreck ). Here was a film about control and self-censorship, yet no-one even breathed the acronyms C.I.A. or FBI. Matt Taibbi referred to a silent coup, but none dared to mention the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK. These doyens of Truth included the thoroughly dodgy Noam Chomsky. Finally, the Spartacus website suggests that the saintly I.F. Stone was in the pay of the CIA. Other terms unspoken were CIA Operation Mockingbird or Operation Northwoods. There was a clip of 9/11, but zero attempt to join up all the dots.
RIP Udo Ulfkotte. CIA long ago developed a dart to induce all the signs of a heart attack, so one is naturally somewhat suspicious. Lies and assassinations are two sides of the same coin.
Harry Stotle says January 8, 2018
The only thing harder to find than Udo Ulfkotte's book is a Guardian review of it.

I daresay any mention of this book, BTL, would immediately be moderated (i.e censored) followed by a yellow or red card for the cheeky commentator.
The level of pretence on this forum has now reached epic proportions, and seems to cuts both ways, ie. commentators pretending that there are not several subjects which are virtually impossible to discuss in any depth (such as media censorship), and moderators pretending that 'community standards' is not simply a crude device to control conversational discourse, especially when a commentators point of view stray beyond narrow, Guardian approved borders.

Books, such as 'Bought Journalists' (which expose the corruption at the heart of western media) are especially inconvenient for the risible 'fake news' agenda currently being rammed down the readerships throat – some of these people at the Guardian have either absolutely no insight, or no shame.

Harry Stotle says January 8, 2018
This piece put me in mind of Daniele Gansers seminal book, 'NATOs secret armies' Of course Off-G picked up on it but I can't find any commentary from the Guardian
https://off-guardian.org/2015/07/17/natos-secret-armies-gladio-in-western-europe/

Ulfkotte and Ganser in their ways are both telling a similar story – NATO, i.e an arm of the US military industrial complex are mass murderers and sufficiently intimidating to have most western journalists singing from the same hymn sheet.

Since the Guardian follows the party line it is only possible to send coded or cryptic messages (BTL) should commentators wish to deviate from the approved narrative.
For example, I was 'pre-moderated' for having doubts about the veracity of the so called 'Parsons Green tube bomb', especially the nature of the injuries inflicted on a young model who looked like she was suffering from toothache.
https://www.thenational.ae/image/policy:1.628812:1505494262/wo16-web-parsons-green.JPG?f=16Χ9&w=1024&$p$f$w=e135eda

My guess is NATO's secret army are still in full swing but there is no chance the Guardian will pick up on it – they're too busy whipping up antipathy towards Iran.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/05/west-ignores-iranian-people-power-peril#comments

George Cornell says January 8, 2018
Been there, done that. What ordinarily happens if the submission is proper and cannot be censored on the basis of impropriety or foulmouthedness or any other good reason, but exposes a Guardian sacred cow in an embarrassing light, is that it is said to be off topic. Now this is really unaccountable, and truly subjective.

The community in community standards is "them" and has close ties to the 1%, if I hazard a guess.

[Sep 13, 2018] Today we live in a world of predatory educators

Notable quotes:
"... Interesting article on and comments by Thomas Frank, touching on the cognitive elite as a unified class and war on the middle class (my words not his) ..."
"... "Today we live in a world of predatory bankers, predatory educators, even predatory health care providers, all of them out for themselves . Liberalism itself has changed to accommodate its new constituents' technocratic views. Today, liberalism is the philosophy not of the sons of toil but of the 'knowledge economy' and, specifically, of the knowledge economy's winners: the Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign . They are a 'learning class' that truly gets the power of education......." ..."
Sep 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Sep 13, 2018 2:38:42 AM | link

Interesting article on and comments by Thomas Frank, touching on the cognitive elite as a unified class and war on the middle class (my words not his)

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/09/read-book-itll-make-radical-conversation-thomas-frank.html

".....the ongoing dissolving and crumblingand sinking -- all his metaphors -- of our society. And with such metaphors Frank describes the "one essential story" he is telling in Rendezvous with Oblivion: "This is what a society looks like when the glue that holds it together starts to dissolve. This is the way ordinary citizens react when they learn that the structure beneath them is crumbling. And this is the thrill that pulses through the veins of the well-to-do when they discover that there is no longer any limit on their power to accumulate" "

And this

"Today we live in a world of predatory bankers, predatory educators, even predatory health care providers, all of them out for themselves . Liberalism itself has changed to accommodate its new constituents' technocratic views. Today, liberalism is the philosophy not of the sons of toil but of the 'knowledge economy' and, specifically, of the knowledge economy's winners: the Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign . They are a 'learning class' that truly gets the power of education......."

[Sep 12, 2018] UK ruling elite looks evil and stupid: Skriplas affair as a new Zinoviev letter forgery

UK neoliberal press like Guardian looks evil and stupid as well...
Sep 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc , Sep 12, 2018 5:33:25 PM | link

... hilariously, UK security minister Wallace asserted the Novichok was assuredly in a perfume bottle, got into the country because of poor baggage checks, had the capability "to kill or injure hundreds and hundreds of people", but was not a health risk to persons on the plane or public transit used by the suspects. ????

TJ , Sep 12, 2018 6:10:54 PM | link

@jayc 28

...yes, HMG is a source of continuing amusement, assuming they don't get us all killed in a Global Thermonuclear war.

Tom , Sep 12, 2018 8:28:39 PM | link
Article over at the Stalker Zone on the forged letter that brought down the first UK Labour government of Ramsey McDonald in 1924.

"The frank forgery that is the "Zinoviev's letter" came to London from the Riga department of the Secret Intelligence Service of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of Britain (or SIS, nowadays better known as MI-6) with an assurance that the authenticity of the document "does not raise doubts" (the most ancient form of "highly likely") The Labour government was doomed. Rectifying the situation in such a short period of time before elections didn't seem to be possible."

Mark Twain's truism still holds today, "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." And the media is little different except for sites like this. Thanks B and keep up the good fight. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Vladimir Kornilov: The Prequel to the Skripal Affair – Britain Investigates the "Great Forgery"

[Sep 12, 2018] Panic And Dismay Leaked Video Reveals Distraught Google Execs Grappling With Hillary Clinton's Loss

So Google is highly political entity and a close contacts to US intelligence agencies of you created and managed by intelligence agencies)
Sep 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Wed, 09/12/2018 - 16:45 1.2K SHARES

Days after Google was exposed trying to help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election, a leaked "internal only" video published by Breitbart Senior Tech correspondent Allum Bokhari reveals a panel of Google executives who are absolutely beside themselves following Hillary Clinton's historic loss.

The video is a full recording of Google's first all-hands meeting following the 2016 election (these weekly meetings are known inside the company as "TGIF" or "Thank God It's Friday" meetings). Sent to Breitbart News by an anonymous source, it features co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, VPs Kent Walker and Eileen Naughton, CFO Ruth Porat, and CEO Sundar Pichai . - Breitbart

In the video, Brin can be heard comparing Trump supporters to fascists and extremists - arguing that like other extremists, Trump voters suffered from "boredom" which has, he claims, historically led to fascism and communism.

He then asks his company what they can do to ensure a "better quality of governance and decision-making."

And according to Kent Walker, VP for Global Affairs, those who support populist causes like the MAGA movement are motivated by "fear, xenophobia, hatred and a desire for answers that may or may not be there."

He later says that Google needs to fight to ensure that populist movements around the world are merely a "blip" and a "hiccup" in the arc of history that "bends towards progress."

The video can be seen below, however scroll down for a list of timestamped segments to note, courtesy of Breitbart .

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/TYgVGuSC-o73dHpYz.html

me title=


outofnowhere ,

Google and it's execs seem to be a collective of Dr. Frankenstein's whose creation unknowingly or knowingly practices evil against innocence.

Little Girl Scene from 1931 Frankenstein and 1974 Young Frankenstein

We saw the scene in 1931 Frankenstein where the creature meets a young girl. Although a little afraid, she accepts him and plays games with him. After they throw all the petals from a flower into the lake, he looks around for something else to throw. He picks her up and throws her in. Until recently, the actual toss was cut from presentations of the film, because it is just too painful.

DeadFred ,

I have a friend who was there that night with the election coverage crew. He's a secret conservative trying not to lose his good paying job so I won't give details. But he described a scene to me that would be comical if it wasn't so pathetic. It was pretty much how it is described here and he had to just grit his teeth and try to keep from laughing or crying. "Just keep repeating, $190,000 per year"

uhland62 ,

When the Emperor (google) doesn't like his people he must go and find himself another people.

Thebighouse ,

SOMEHOW GOOGLE FACEBOOK TWITTER NEED TO PAY US FOR USING OUR PERSONAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION WITHOUT

"REAL" CONSENT.

Ever gone googling? They need to pay you for selling you information. It is blatant theft. You are ENTITLED TO YOUR MONEY.

I got that word entitled from Warren and obummers micky and barry. Oh and sharpton too.

bobdog54 ,

First, they may have a reasonably good, not high, IQ but it's clear the stark reality of the real world and its people are completely unknown to them or they have little to no integrity.

Second, maybe they are completely brain dead to support a clear criminal over 4 decades or they themselves are essentially of the criminal mind.

[Sep 12, 2018] State AGs to Step Up Enforcement Against Tech Companies

Sep 12, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Such separate priorities may also extend to areas in which the federal government regulates extensively, such as securities law (or at least did in the not-so-distant past), as I discussed in this post, Mary Jo White Leaves Behind a Weakened SEC for Trump to Weaken Further :

During the administration of President George W. Bush, state attorneys general used state authority to prosecute securities and financial transgressions. Notably, former New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer relied on authority provided by the state's 1910 Martin Act, which predates the federal securities law, to take legal action actions against insurance firms for brokerage practices, hedge funds for improper trading practices in mutual fund shares, and investment banks for conflicts of interest that distorted the investment research they provided, to name some of the most significant initiatives. Spitzer's successors as attorney general, current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and current Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, have not had the impact that Spitzer had when he was lauded as the Sheriff of Wall Street.

Another New York regulator, Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York's Department of Financial Services used the threat of denying a NY state banking charter to force tougher terms on settlements in which the Eric Holder/Loretta Lynch DoJ and other federal regulators had rolled over (see this post by Yves for a summary: Wall Street's Nemesis, Benjamin Lawsky, to Resign in June .).Other states, such as California, have their own expansive statutes– though now-US Senator Kamala Harris demonstrated when she served as California's AG that she more interested in virtue-signalling than taking scalps.

Crusading state AGs are not just Democrats. As I wrote in New EPA Lawsuit Policy Advances Trump's Deregulatory Agenda , Scott Pruitt– who recently stepped down as EPA administrator:

has been a longstanding bugbear of environmentalists. In his previous role as attorney general for the state of Oklahoma– a major producer of oil and natural gas– he either filed or joined lawsuits that sought to stymie the modest pro-regulatory environmental and climate change agenda the EPA previously espoused.

Like-minded Republicans AGs often joined him in these efforts.

So, What's On the Agenda for These AGs?

The most immediate threat to the tech industry might arise in the area of antitrust enforcement– which, shall we say, has not been a major priority for recent administrations, although the European Union has investigated and fined Google over competition concerns. Yet as recently as the Clinton administration, Microsoft was a target of an major antitrust action instigated by multiple state AGs in conjunction with the DoJ

Over to the WSJ again:

The [Sessions meeting ] announcement -- released amid last week's congressional hearings into the practices of Facebook and Twitter -- shed little light on who was raising the concerns or what remedies might be under consideration. But recent comments by several of the state attorneys general suggest they are actively exploring an antitrust investigation and hope to enlist Washington.

"I think the companies are too big, and they need to be broken up," Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Thursday in a radio interview.

There is some evidence that party politics are driving this potential enforcement initiative:

Republicans' allegations that the tech companies suppress conservative voices has bubbled up for months in conservative media and was amplified by Mr. Trump late last month . Democrats have said that is the issue -- more than antitrust policy -- behind the coming Justice Department meeting, with Republicans hoping to stir their conservative base ahead of November elections

All the attorneys general who are expected to attend this month's meeting in Washington are Republicans, with Democratic officials saying they have yet to be invited.

Although it's too soon to say where these preliminary discussions between the DoJ and the the state AGs may lead, I want to draw attention to another development– the weakening of the hold of corporate Democrats on the direction of the party. David Sirota published an interesting piece in Monday's Guardian, Yes, let's wipe out Trump. But take neoliberal Democrats with him, too .

Sirota's piece wasn't especially concerned about Big Tech per se, and focused on a percolating progressive policy agenda. He mentions regulation, but only as it affects financial firms and pharmaceutical companies and where so far, corporate Democrats have successfully insulated their paymasters from any significant increase in legal liability.

But if progressives start to wield greater influence on the Democratic side– and Republican AGs follow through with a tougher approach to enforcement– the future might shape up to be a less comfortable operating environment for US internet companies. Or at least we might hope. /n

TS , September 12, 2018 at 8:31 am

I can understand antitrust and data-privacy violations but with regard to "stifling the free exchange of ideas" on their platforms, what legal statutes are being violated even if these companies were found to be supressing conservative speech?

Mark , September 12, 2018 at 1:46 pm

The OLG Munich recently decided that Facebook violated the right to free speech of a politician by deleting her post. Facebook gave their community rules as a reason for the deletion. The court ruled that Facebook could not rely on their rights a privat entity to do as they please in their own place (Hausrecht in German) but rather had to uphold the right to free spreech granted by the German constitution. This is a new interpretation of the law by a significant court and possibly transfers some of the burden ususally only placed on the state (uphold free speech) unto a privat company. The reason given is that Facebook is a controlling, monopolistic entity in the realm of social interaction and has therefore more responsibilties. The OLG Munich is the highest court in its court-district, Southern Bavaria, only below the federal court (BGH) and the ruling sets a binding precedent in its district and serves as an interesting opinion for the rest of Germany. Mind you precedent is of a lot less important in Germany than in the case-law US system and there are many differing rulings out there.

I suppose the arguments for supressing conservative speech or something like that might go a similar route in the US.

source: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180907/00455240595/german-court-tells-facebook-it-cant-delete-comments-even-though-german-law-says-it-must-delete-comments.shtml

PS: Please excuse the rambling source it is the only one in English I could find; also take my reasoning regarding the court ruling with a pinch of salt since I am not an attorney. At least the apparent confusion between forced deletion on one hand and forced non-deletion on the other hand mentioned in the source is easily explained. Free speech has its limits and violating those is in some cases a criminal offence, e.g. criminal insults, incitement to violance against people, etc.. A recent law in Germany requires sites like Facebook or Twitter to take obvious cases of such posts down, instead of waiting for the police or prosecution to act. This is worthy of a discussion in itself but it still leaves room between what Facebook arbitrarily deems acceptable based in its guidelines and what is acceptable under free speech in Germany, and here the court made their ruling.

[Sep 12, 2018] The Recovery Threw the Middle-Class Dream Under a Benz by Nelson D. Schwartz

Notable quotes:
"... By cutting interest rates to near zero and pumping trillions -- yes, you read that right -- into the economy, the Federal Reserve essentially put a trampoline under the stock market. ..."
"... Only about half of American households have any exposure to the stock market, including 401(k)'s and retirement plans, and ownership of the shares of individual companies is clustered among upper-income families. ..."
Sep 12, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

A decade ago this week, Wall Street imploded. Read our special coverage .

Once a year or so, the economist Diane Swonk ventures into the basement of her 1891 Victorian house outside Chicago and opens a plastic box containing the items that mean the most to her: awards, wedding pictures, the clothes she was wearing at the World Trade Center on the day it was attacked. But what she seeks out again and again is a bound diary of the events of the financial crisis and their aftermath.

"It's useful to go back and see what a chaotic time it was and how terrifying it was," she said. "That time is seared in my mind. I looked at it again recently, and all the pain came flooding back."

A decade later, things are eerily calm. The economy, by nearly any official measure, is robust . Wall Street is flirting with new highs . And the housing market, the epicenter of the crash, has recovered in many places. But like the diary stored in Ms. Swonk's basement, the scars of the financial crisis and the ensuing Great Recession are still with us, just below the surface.

The most profound of these is that the uneven nature of the recovery compounded a long-term imbalance in the accumulation of wealth. As a consequence, what it means to be secure has changed. Wealth, real wealth, now comes from investment portfolios, not salaries. Fortunes are made through an initial public offering, a grant of stock options, a buyout or another form of what high-net-worth individuals call a liquidity event.

Data from the Federal Reserve show that over the last decade and a half, the proportion of family income from wages has dropped from nearly 70 percent to just under 61 percent. It's an extraordinary shift, driven largely by the investment profits of the very wealthy. In short, the people who possess tradable assets, especially stocks, have enjoyed a recovery that Americans dependent on savings or income from their weekly paycheck have yet to see. Ten years after the financial crisis, getting ahead by going to work every day seems quaint, akin to using the phone book to find a number or renting a video at Blockbuster.

The financial crisis didn't just kill the dream of getting rich from your day job. It also put an end to a fundamental belief of the middle class: that owning a home was always a good idea because prices moved in only one direction -- up. The bubble, while it lasted, gave millions in the middle class a sense of validation of their financial acumen, and made them feel as if they had done the Right Thing.

In theory, if you lost your job, or suffered some other kind of financial setback, you could always sell into a real estate market that was forever rising. Ever-higher home prices became a steam valve, and the "greater fool" theory substituted for any conventional measure of value.

The kindling for the fire that consumed Wall Street and nearly the entire economy was mortgages that should never have been taken out in the first place. Homeowners figured the more house the better, whether or not their income could support the monthly payment, while greedy banks and middlemen were all too happy to encourage them.

Ten years ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed. Everything changed.
Read more in our series "

When the bubble burst, the bedrock investment for many families was wiped out by a combination of falling home values and too much debt. A decade after this debacle, the typical middle-class family's net worth is still more than $40,000 below where it was in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve. The damage done to the middle-class psyche is impossible to price, of course, but no one doubts that it was vast.

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Banks were hurt, too, but aside from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the pain proved transitory. Bankers themselves were never punished for their sins. In one form or another -- the Troubled Asset Relief Program, quantitative easing, the Fed's discount window -- the financial sector was supported in spectacular fashion.

Like the bankers, shareholders and investors were also bailed out. By cutting interest rates to near zero and pumping trillions -- yes, you read that right -- into the economy, the Federal Reserve essentially put a trampoline under the stock market. The subsequent bounce produced a windfall, but only for a limited group of beneficiaries. Only about half of American households have any exposure to the stock market, including 401(k)'s and retirement plans, and ownership of the shares of individual companies is clustered among upper-income families.

For homeowners, there wasn't much of a rescue package from Washington, and eight million succumbed to foreclosure. Sometimes, eviction came in the form of marshals with court orders; in other cases, families quietly handed over the keys to the bank and just walked away. Although home prices in hot markets have fully recovered, many homeowners are still underwater in the worst-hit states like Florida, Arizona and Nevada. Meanwhile, more Americans are renting and have little prospect of ever owning a home.

Worsening the picture, the post-crisis era has been marked by an increased disparity in wealth between white, Hispanic and African-American members of the middle class. That's according to an analysis of Fed data by the Pew Research Center, which found that families in the latter two groups were more dependent on housing as their principal form of investment. Not only were both minority groups harder hit by foreclosures, but Hispanics were also twice as likely as other Americans to be living in Sun Belt states where the housing crash was most severe.

In 2016, net worth among white middle-income families was 19 percent below 2007 levels, adjusted for inflation. But among blacks, it was down 40 percent, and Hispanics saw a drop of 46 percent. For many, old-fashioned hard work has simply not been a viable path out of this hole. After unemployment peaked in the fall of 2009, it took years for joblessness to return to pre-recession levels. Slack in the labor market left the employed and unemployed alike with little leverage to demand raises, even as corporate profits surged.

Maybe it was inevitable that when half the population watches its wages stagnate while the other half gets rich in the market, the result is President Donald Trump and Brexit.

"It peeled away the facade and revealed an anger that had been building for decades," said Ms. Swonk, who is chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago. "The crisis was horrific, but its legacy pushed us over the edge in terms of the discontent."

It also made inequality and the One Percent an urgent topic, and made unlikely celebrities of wonky intellectuals such as the economist Thomas Piketty. His best seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," published in 2013, was 816 data-laden pages that laid out a grim diagnosis. Mr. Piketty argued that the decades after World War II, when the divisions between the classes narrowed and opportunities to move up the economic ladder expanded -- that is, when the middle class as we knew it was formed -- may actually have been an aberration. Society, Mr. Piketty wrote, risks a return to the historical norm of a yawning gap between rich and poor.

Whether or not he is right, the concentration of wealth that is a legacy of the financial crisis will make itself felt far into the future. Younger Americans, in particular, will be marked by the experience of 2008 much as the Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression haunted the generations who lived through it in the last century. Not only were they unable to accumulate assets in the lean years of the early recovery, but they also missed out on the recent stock market rally that benefited their older and richer peers.

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that while all birth cohorts lost wealth during the Great Recession, Americans born in the 1980s were at the "greatest risk for becoming a lost generation for wealth accumulation."

For those fortunate enough to still possess wealth after the crisis, the future looks very different. With the security provided by assets, rather than just income, they and especially their children are on a glide path for a gilded financial future.

"Over and over, you see that family wealth is an important determinant of opportunity for the next generation, over and above income," said Fabian T. Pfeffer, a sociologist at the University of Michigan. "Wealth serves as a private safety net that allows you to behave differently and plan differently."

A wealthy person who loses a job can afford to be more choosy and wait for an opportunity suited to his or her skills and experience. The risk of going to an expensive college and taking on debt is lower when there is parental wealth to fall back on.

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Timothy Smeeding, who teaches public affairs and economics at the University of Wisconsin, put it more bluntly. "You can see dynasties starting to form," he said.

Ten years have passed since the trauma of 2008, the nerves are still raw, and the pain still has a way of flaring up. Every time she goes down into the basement and peruses her diary, Diane Swonk feels it anew.

"It is the diary of an economist, as well as a mother and a human being," Ms. Swonk said. It includes her published writings for clients, as well as her feelings, thoughts and fears as the crisis unfolded. She also recorded her impression of key figures she met during those fateful months, including Lawrence H. Summers, a top White House economic official at the time, and Ben S. Bernanke, then the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

"The financial crisis became a delineator," she said. "There were those who could recoup their losses and those who could not. Some people have amnesia, but we are still living with the wounds."

Nelson D. Schwartz has covered economics since 2012. Previously, he wrote about Wall Street and banking, and also served as European economic correspondent in Paris. He joined The Times in 2007 as a feature writer for the Sunday Business section.

[Sep 12, 2018] If You Read This Book, It'll Make You a Radical A Conversation with Thomas Frank by John Siman

Notable quotes:
"... "Let us linger over the perversity," he writes in "Why Millions of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump," one of the seventeen component essays in Rendezvous with Oblivion : "Let us linger over the perversity. Left parties the world over were founded to advance the fortunes of working people. But our left party in America -- one of our two monopoly parties -- chose long ago to turn its back on these people's concerns, making itself instead into the tribune of the enlightened professional class, a 'creative class' that makes innovative things like derivative securities and smartphone apps ..."
"... And the real bad news is not that this Creative Class, this Expert Class, this Meritocratic Class, this Professional Class -- this Liberal Class, with all its techno-ecstasy and virtue-questing and unleashing of innovation -- is so deeply narcissistic and hypocritical, but rather that it is so self-interestedly parasitical and predatory. ..."
Sep 11, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Thomas Frank's new collection of essays: Rendezvous with Oblivion: Reports from a Sinking Society (Metropolitan Books 2018) and Listen, Liberal; or,Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? (ibid. 2016)

To hang out with Thomas Frank for a couple of hours is to be reminded that, going back to 1607, say, or to 1620, for a period of about three hundred and fifty years, the most archetypal of American characters was, arguably, the hard-working, earnest, self-controlled, dependable white Protestant guy, last presented without irony a generation or two -- or three -- ago in the television personas of men like Ward Cleaver and Mister Rogers.

Thomas Frank, who grew up in Kansas and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, who at age 53 has the vibe of a happy eager college nerd, not only glows with authentic Midwestern Nice (and sometimes his face turns red when he laughs, which is often), he actually lives in suburbia, just outside of D.C., in Bethesda, where, he told me, he takes pleasure in mowing the lawn and doing some auto repair and fixing dinner for his wife and two children. (Until I met him, I had always assumed it was impossible for a serious intellectual to live in suburbia and stay sane, but Thomas Frank has proven me quite wrong on this.)

Frank is sincerely worried about the possibility of offending friends and acquaintances by the topics he chooses to write about. He told me that he was a B oy Scout back in Kansas, but didn't make Eagle. He told me that he was perhaps a little too harsh on Hillary Clinton in his brilliantly perspicacious "Liberal Gilt [ sic ]" chapter at the end of Listen, Liberal . His piercing insight into and fascination with the moral rot and the hypocrisy that lies in the American soul brings, well, Nathaniel Hawthorne to mind, yet he refuses to say anything (and I tried so hard to bait him!) mean about anyone, no matter how culpable he or she is in the ongoing dissolving and crumbling and sinking -- all his metaphors -- of our society. And with such metaphors Frank describes the "one essential story" he is telling in Rendezvous with Oblivion : "This is what a society looks like when the glue that holds it together starts to dissolve. This is the way ordinary citizens react when they learn that the structure beneath them is crumbling. And this is the thrill that pulses through the veins of the well-to-do when they discover that there is no longer any limit on their power to accumulate" ( Thomas Frank in NYC on book tour https://youtu.be/DBNthCKtc1Y ).

And I believe that Frank's self-restraint, his refusal to indulge in bitter satire even as he parses our every national lie, makes him unique as social critic. "You will notice," he writes in the introduction to Rendezvous with Oblivion, "that I describe [these disasters] with a certain amount of levity. I do that because that's the only way to confront the issues of our time without sinking into debilitating gloom" (p. 8). And so rather than succumbing to an existential nausea, Frank descends into the abyss with a dependable flashlight and a ca. 1956 sitcom-dad chuckle.

"Let us linger over the perversity," he writes in "Why Millions of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump," one of the seventeen component essays in Rendezvous with Oblivion : "Let us linger over the perversity. Left parties the world over were founded to advance the fortunes of working people. But our left party in America -- one of our two monopoly parties -- chose long ago to turn its back on these people's concerns, making itself instead into the tribune of the enlightened professional class, a 'creative class' that makes innovative things like derivative securities and smartphone apps " (p. 178).

And it is his analysis of this "Creative Class" -- he usually refers to it as the "Liberal Class" and sometimes as the "Meritocratic Class" in Listen, Liberal (while Barbara Ehrenreich uses the term " Professional Managerial Class ,"and Matthew Stewart recently published an article entitled "The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy" in the Atlantic ) -- that makes it clear that Frank's work is a continuation of the profound sociological critique that goes back to Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) and, more recently, to Christopher Lasch's The Revolt of the Elites (1994).

Unlike Veblen and Lasch, however, Frank is able to deliver the harshest news without any hauteur or irascibility, but rather with a deftness and tranquillity of mind, for he is both in and of the Creative Class; he abides among those afflicted by the epidemic which he diagnoses: "Today we live in a world of predatory bankers, predatory educators, even predatory health care providers, all of them out for themselves . Liberalism itself has changed to accommodate its new constituents' technocratic views. Today, liberalism is the philosophy not of the sons of toil but of the 'knowledge economy' and, specifically, of the knowledge economy's winners: the Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign . They are a 'learning class' that truly gets the power of education. They are a 'creative class' that naturally rebels against fakeness and conformity. They are an ' innovation class ' that just can't stop coming up with awesome new stuff" ( Listen, Liberal , pp. 27-29).

And the real bad news is not that this Creative Class, this Expert Class, this Meritocratic Class, this Professional Class -- this Liberal Class, with all its techno-ecstasy and virtue-questing and unleashing of innovation -- is so deeply narcissistic and hypocritical, but rather that it is so self-interestedly parasitical and predatory.

The class that now runs the so-called Party of the People is impoverishing the people; the genius value-creators at Amazon and Google and Uber are Robber Barons, although, one must grant, hipper, cooler, and oh so much more innovative than their historical predecessors. "In reality," Frank writes in Listen, Liberal ,

.there is little new about this stuff except the software, the convenience, and the spying. Each of the innovations I have mentioned merely updates or digitizes some business strategy that Americans learned long ago to be wary of. Amazon updates the practices of Wal-Mart, for example, while Google has dusted off corporate behavior from the days of the Robber Barons. What Uber does has been compared to the every-man-for-himself hiring procedures of the pre-union shipping docks . Together, as Robert Reich has written, all these developments are 'the logical culmination of a process that began thirty years ago when corporations began turning over full-time jobs to temporary workers, independent contractors, free-lancers, and consultants.' This is atavism, not innovation . And if we keep going in this direction, it will one day reduce all of us to day laborers, standing around like the guys outside the local hardware store, hoping for work. (p. 215).

And who gets this message? The YouTube patriot/comedian Jimmy Dore, Chicago-born, ex-Catholic, son of a cop, does for one. "If you read this b ook, " Dore said while interviewing Frank back in January of 2017, "it'll make y ou a radical" (Frank Interview Part 4 https://youtu.be/JONbGkQaq8Q ).

But to what extent, on the other hand, is Frank being actively excluded from our elite media outlets? He's certainly not on TV or radio or in print as much as he used to be. So is he a prophet without honor in his own country? Frank, of course, is too self-restrained to speculate about the motives of these Creative Class decision-makers and influencers. "But it is ironic and worth mentioning," he told me, "that most of my writing for the last few years has been in a British publication, The Guardian and (in translation) in Le Monde Diplomatique . The way to put it, I think, is to describe me as an ex-pundit."

Frank was, nevertheless, happy to tell me in vivid detail about how his most fundamental observation about America, viz. that the Party of the People has become hostile to the people , was for years effectively discredited in the Creative Class media -- among the bien-pensants , that is -- and about what he learned from their denialism.

JS: Going all the way back to your 2004 book What's the Matter with Kansas? -- I just looked at Larry Bartels's attack on it, "What's the Matter with What's the Matter with Kansas?" -- and I saw that his first objection to your book was, Well, Thomas Frank says the working class is alienated from the Democrats, but I have the math to show that that's false. How out of touch does that sound now?

TCF: [laughs merrily] I know.

JS: I remember at the time that was considered a serious objection to your thesis.

TCF: Yeah. Well, he was a professor at Princeton. And he had numbers. So it looked real. And I actually wrote a response to that in which I pointed out that there were other statistical ways of looking at it, and he had chosen the one that makes his point.

JS: Well, what did Mark Twain say?

TCF: Mark Twain?

JS: There are lies, damned lies --

TCF: [laughs merrily] -- and statistics! Yeah. Well, anyhow, Bartels's take became the common sense of the highly educated -- there needs to be a term for these people by the way, in France they're called the bien-pensants -- the "right-thinking," the people who read The Atlantic, The New York Times op-ed page, The Washington Post op-ed page, and who all agree with each other on everything -- there's this tight little circle of unanimity. And they all agreed that Bartels was right about that, and that was a costly mistake. For example, Paul Krugman, a guy whom I admire in a lot of ways, he referenced this four or five times. He agreed with it . No, the Democrats are not losing the white working class outside the South -- they were not going over to the Republicans. The suggestion was that there is nothing to worry about. Yes. And there were people saying this right up to the 2016 election. But it was a mistake.

JS: I remember being perplexed at the time. I had thought you had written this brilliant book, and you weren't being taken seriously -- because somebody at Princeton had run some software -- as if that had proven you wrong.

TCF: Yeah, that's correct . That was a very widespread take on it. And Bartels was incorrect, and I am right, and [laughs merrily] that's that.

JS: So do you think Russiagate is a way of saying, Oh no no no no, Hillary didn't really lose?

TCF: Well, she did win the popular vote -- but there's a whole set of pathologies out there right now that all stem from Hillary Denialism. And I don't want to say that Russiagate is one of them, because we don't know the answer to that yet.

JS: Um, ok.

TCF: Well, there are all kinds of questionable reactions to 2016 out there, and what they all have in common is the faith that Democrats did nothing wrong. For example, this same circle of the bien-pensants have decided that the only acceptable explanation for Trump's victory is the racism of his supporters. Racism can be the only explanation for the behavior of Trump voters. But that just seems odd to me because, while it's true of course that there's lots of racism in this country, and while Trump is clearly a bigot and clearly won the bigot vote, racism is just one of several factors that went into what happened in 2016. Those who focus on this as the only possible answer are implying that all Trump voters are irredeemable, lost forever.

And it comes back to the same point that was made by all those people who denied what was happening with the white working class, which is: The Democratic Party needs to do nothing differently . All the post-election arguments come back to this same point. So a couple years ago they were saying about the white working class -- we don't have to worry about them -- they're not leaving the Democratic Party, they're totally loyal, especially in the northern states, or whatever the hell it was. And now they say, well, Those people are racists, and therefore they're lost to us forever. What is the common theme of these two arguments? It's always that there's nothing the Democratic Party needs to do differently. First, you haven't lost them; now you have lost them and they're irretrievable: Either way -- you see what I'm getting at? -- you don't have to do anything differently to win them.

JS: Yes, I do.

TCF: The argument in What's the Matter with Kansas? was that this is a long-term process, the movement of the white working class away from the Democratic Party. This has been going on for a long time. It begins in the '60s, and the response of the Democrats by and large has been to mock those people, deride those people, and to move away from organized labor, to move away from class issues -- working class issues -- and so their response has been to make this situation worse, and it gets worse, and it gets worse, and it gets worse, and it gets worse! And there's really no excuse for them not seeing it. But they say, believe, rationalize, you know, come up with anything that gets then off the hook for this, that allows them to ignore this change. Anything. They will say or believe whatever it takes.

JS: Yes.

TCF: By the way, these are the smartest people! These are tenured professors at Ivy League institutions, these are people with Nobel Prizes, people with foundation grants, people with, you know, chairs at prestigious universities, people who work at our most prestigious media outlets -- that's who's wrong about all this stuff.

JS: [quoting the title of David Halberstam's 1972 book, an excerpt from which Frank uses as an epigraph for Listen, Liberal ] The best and the brightest!

TCF: [laughing merrily] Exactly. Isn't it fascinating?

JS: But this gets to the irony of the thing. [locates highlighted passage in book] I'm going to ask you one of the questions you ask in Rendezvous with Oblivion: "Why are worshippers of competence so often incompetent?" (p. 165). That's a huge question.

TCF: That's one of the big mysteries. Look. Take a step back. I had met Barack Obama. He was a professor at the University of Chicago, and I'd been a student there. And he was super smart. Anyhow, I met him and was really impressed by him. All the liberals in Hyde Park -- that's the neighborhood we lived in -- loved him, and I was one of them, and I loved him too. And I was so happy when he got elected.

Anyhow, I knew one thing he would do for sure, and that is he would end the reign of cronyism and incompetence that marked the Bush administration and before them the Reagan administration. These were administrations that actively promoted incompetent people. And I knew Obama wouldn't do that, and I knew Obama would bring in the smartest people, and he'd get the best economists. Remember, when he got elected we were in the pit of the crisis -- we were at this terrible moment -- and here comes exactly the right man to solve the problem. He did exactly what I just described: He brought in [pause] Larry Summers, the former president of Harvard, considered the greatest economist of his generation -- and, you know, go down the list: He had Nobel Prize winners, he had people who'd won genius grants, he had The Best and the Brightest . And they didn't really deal with the problem. They let the Wall Street perpetrators off the hook -- in a catastrophic way, I would argue. They come up with a health care system that was half-baked. Anyhow, the question becomes -- after watching the great disappointments of the Obama years -- the question becomes: Why did government-by-expert fail?

JS: So how did this happen? Why?

TCF: The answer is understanding experts not as individual geniuses but as members of a class . This is the great missing link in all of our talk about expertise. Experts aren't just experts: They are members of a class. And they act like a class. They have loyalty to one another; they have a disdain for others, people who aren't like them, who they perceive as being lower than them, and there's this whole hierarchy of status that they are at the pinnacle of.

And once you understand this, then everything falls into place! So why did they let the Wall Street bankers off the hook? Because these people were them. These people are their peers. Why did they refuse to do what obviously needed to be done with the health care system? Because they didn't want to do that to their friends in Big Pharma. Why didn't Obama get tough with Google and Facebook? They obviously have this kind of scary monopoly power that we haven't seen in a long time. Instead, he brought them into the White House, he identified with them. Again, it's the same thing. Once you understand this, you say: Wait a minute -- so the Democratic Party is a vehicle of this particular social class! It all makes sense. And all of a sudden all of these screw-ups make sense. And, you know, all of their rhetoric makes sense. And the way they treat working class people makes sense. And they way they treat so many other demographic groups makes sense -- all of the old-time elements of the Democratic Party: unions, minorities, et cetera. They all get to ride in back. It's the professionals -- you know, the professional class -- that sits up front and has its hands on the steering wheel.

* * *

It is, given Frank's persona, not surprising that he is able to conclude Listen, Liberal with a certain hopefulness, and so let me end by quoting some of his final words:

What I saw in Kansas eleven years ago is now everywhere . It is time to face the obvious: that the direction the Democrats have chosen to follow for the last few decades has been a failure for both the nation and for their own partisan health . The Democrats posture as the 'party of the people' even as they dedicate themselves ever more resolutely to serving and glorifying the professional class. Worse: they combine self-righteousness and class privilege in a way that Americans find stomach-turning . The Democrats have no interest in reforming themselves in a more egalitarian way . What we can do is strip away the Democrats' precious sense of their own moral probity -- to make liberals live without the comforting knowledge that righteousness is always on their side . Once that smooth, seamless sense of liberal virtue has been cracked, anything becomes possible. (pp. 256-257).

[Sep 12, 2018] Apple Unveils New iPhone XS Max, 4th-Gen Apple Watch

Sep 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

ThunderStruck ,

I don't give a fuck about the next new iPhones that will not deliver any improvements in technology. Bigger is just bigger, not better. How about Apple fix the problems that really irritate people; 1) Siri sucks, fix the fucking thing, 2) Speech to text sucks, fix the fucking thing, 3) Apple has never been able to maintain a reliable Bluetooth connection to a headset, fix the fucking thing. That's just a the beginning. Stop blowing it out about your wonderful amazing new OLED screens, it's already old technology, Samsung phones have had OLED screens for years. How about Apple do what Jobs did and come up with products that change the way people do things. The iPhone changed the way people communicate. The iPod changed the way people listened to and purchased music. Invent something we haven't seen before and don't even know we need it until it's introduced. Or...., just shut the fuck up...

alfbell ,

The new iPhone allows the CIA and NSA to keep better track of you and your activities. Don't worry though, this is for your safety and protection.

TalkToLind ,

I only buy inexpensive, unlocked phones with removable batteries and I pay cash for them.

Dr. Winston O'boogie ,

I prefer to keep my Galaxy S8. It is more than enough for my liking. I also have managed to be perfectly satisfied with my 10 year old pc (with a few minor upgrades). The only Apple product I use is my trusty, old Ipod.

This continued obsession with the masses to get their hands on the latest Apple product is ridiculous.

AnonymousCitizen ,

Faster, thinner, more pixels, better camera. Okay, got it.

[Sep 10, 2018] >Trump and Bernie: A Match Made in Tech Hell by Generally Risk

Sep 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Remember a few editions ago when I wrote in celebration of the cross-aisle cooperation between Senator Elizabeth Warren and President Donald Trump with respect to the re-engineering of the equity complex? After all, it was only a month ago. However, for those who fail this recall test, the gist of it was as follows. Senator Warren introduced a bill to regulate large corporations in a manner that de-emphasizes profits as a corporate objective, and the President sought to soften the blow by suggesting a reduction in the frequency at which company chieftains would be required to announce the certain-to-be bad news to the investing public.

At the time, I was deeply touched by the prospect of narrowing the gap between two schools of economic thought -- so deeply at odds with one another, to such deep annoyance and detriment to the well-being of the masses. However, I feared it was a "one-off".

So it brings me great pleasure to report upon the happy news that the divide continues to close. As my readers are probably aware, everyone's favorite Socialist Senior Citizen Senator: Bernie Sanders, took to the airwaves this past week to denounce the evils of what by many accounts is everyone's favorite publicly traded corporation. In live television interviews, and, of course, on Twitter, Bro Bernie entered into a full-throated denouncement of Amazon, going so far as to include a series of ad-hominem attacks on its fabulously infallible founder: one Jeff Bezos.

In doing so, Sen. Sanders joins a critical chorus led by the President, who for months has been throwing shade at the erstwhile bookseller that would take over the world. Bernie is passionately (if questionably) upset about the unfair treatment of Amazon workers. Trump is presumably most peeved at the temerity of Bezos at having taken ownership/control over the Washington Post. But both agree on one thing: the great unwashed are getting a raw deal with respect to the business arrangement between the Company and the

U.S. Postal Service.

I've looked into these matters, and objectively as I can determine, this is not an open and shut case against Amazon. Yes, they're getting a government (and therefore a taxpayer) subsidy, but they are arguably performing services that would be difficult and more expensive for the post office to undertake without them – rain, sleet, snow and gloom of night notwithstanding.

Meanwhile, to their everlasting credit, both Amazon and its shareholders reacted to the rhetorical pummeling with characteristic equanimity:


It's not as though they didn't feel the sting a bit, and here, the sentimental can be forgiven if they lament the timing. Sharp-eyed observers will note a slight down-tick in the price at the more immediate, right end portion of the graph. This reversal is all the more unfortunate because on Tuesday, the day after our traditional holiday celebrating the working class, the Company's valuation joined that of Apple's as the only business enterprise ever to surpass the lofty and heretofore unimaginable $1T threshold.

But that was then; as of Friday's close, Amazon's market capitalization fell to the beggarly-by- comparison level of $952B.

It says here that Amzonians of every stripe should keep that stiff upper lip demeanor at the ready, as I suspect they may face a string of challenges before the inevitable happens, and the Company achieves full global hegemony.

Because, while the following edict did not make the cut on my "10 Commandments of Risk Management", it probably should have: any enterprise that has found itself in the cross-hairs of both Trump and Bernie has reason to worry.

And if Amazon is staring into the face of a political spit storm, so, too, perhaps, are those other lovable Tech Titans whose stock performance have so deeply enriched us in the post-crash era. Consider, if you will, the recent pricing action of a couple of other tech darlings: Facebook and Twitter, linked not only by the social media stranglehold they collectively command, but also by the fact that each company sent one of their gods down from their heavenly Silicon Valley Olympus, to earthly Washington, where each faced full-on Capitol Hill roasting:

Facebook Defacing:

Twitter De-Tweeting:

Now, this is a Dickensian Tale of Two Stocks if ever there was one. With Zuck presumably hiding under his desk, Sheryl Sandberg taking the Congressional heat this round. In the wake of all that, Facebook managed to breach the lows registered after its historic July tanking of earnings, and is knocking on the door of breaking the bottoms recorded when Zuck had to explain away to hostile legislatures the pimping out of user data to sketchy organizations like Cambridge Analytica. By contrast, the long-besieged Twitter, which had been on an improbable profit upswing of late, managed to give back all and then-some in the wake of Jack Dorsey's Capitol Hill Star Chamber Inquisition.

Anybody notice a pattern here? Well, for me, what we're witnessing is the early innings of what I expect to be a slowly unfolding, populist/political undermining of the flower of the American Tech industry. Now, I don't expect anything overly nasty to transpire in the short term; more likely than not, the garroting of Silicon Valley high-flyers will be a multi-year proposition. Rather, I suspect that the TMT/big dogs of the NDX will more than likely reach new highs – perhaps material ones – before they face the prospect of careening, Icarus-like, to terra firma.

But if the prevailing tone – taking place as it is under a presumably business-friendly political paradigm -- is any indication, I shudder to think about what happens when the progressive elements re-assert their mojo and take hold of the control panel. And trust me, they will: if not immediately then eventually.

Of course, one cannot help but admire the way that West Coast Tech monsters – from San Diego to Seattle – have anticipated this, and attempted, and with some success, to brand themselves as torch carriers for the progressive mindset. I believe is that this will work for a while, but not into perpetuity. Eventually, they will be unmasked and vilified as the filthy, profit-seeking capitalists that they are.

And here, perhaps, is the main (if most obvious) point: as Tech goes, so goes the stock market. I don't have the exact figures handy, but I can assure you that if you review index gains over the last, say, five years, and remove the contribution of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google from the equation, you're looking at a chart that, best case, is flat as a pancake. As such, I don't think that the unfolding Madam Defarge (villainess of Tale of Two Cities, known most prominently for knitting at the guillotine) dynamic that I fear may be emerging in Tech-land is much cause for celebration.

The shortened week brought a small taste of the look and feel of the new-age vibe that awaits us. Equity indices retreated, but only modestly, and in manner that failed to capture the carnage that lies beneath. I may be connecting dots too far flung to merit they're linkage, but it is not lost on me that all of the above transpired against the backdrop of a deteriorating geopolitical sneaker fire (Nike?). I won't waste much space here, but between the editorial stylings of Anonymous, the absolute (if unsuccessful) effort to turn the Kavanaugh hearings into a pig circus, the breathless anticipation of another Bob Woodward political workover, and the unfortunate ramping up of trade skirmishes, it's hard not to look at the world with a glaze in one's eyes and a growing pit in one's stomach.

But of course and as always the news by no means all bad. The Jobs Report pretty much checks every bling box, so much so that slumbering holders of longer-term U.S. debt, and sold down some of their holdings. Factset is projecting another boffo quarter at about ~+20%.

Equities, though, remain a quandary nonetheless (as do Commodities), but my hunch is that the indices will gather themselves a bit over the next few sessions, before breaking everyone's heart – yet again -- later in the month. Moreover, if the months-long pattern holds (Trump offsetting domestic political bludgeons with accretive policy actions), I would expect some happy noise from the front of the trade wars over the next several days. There'd better be, because the long knives are out against the current administration, and the only defensive weapon at their disposal is one that involves playing offense on the economy.

I'm more than willing to do my share, so, as I sign off, know that I'm logging into my Amazon Prime account to purchase a holy document called "The Art of the Deal", along with "Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In", written by one Bernie Sanders, and released on November 15, 2016, exactly one week after the author of the former book, against all odds, won the presidential election.

Who knows? Maybe Donnie and Bernie have more common ground than they realize, and if I find anything of this sort, I'll be sure to pass it along – to them, and, of course, to you.

TIMSHEL

This post is brought to you by General Risk Advisors, a full service risk solutions group. For more information, visit genriskadvisors.com .

[Sep 10, 2018] US Says Assad Has Approved Gas Attack In Idlib, Setting Stage For Major Military Conflict

Sep 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
At this point there's not even so much as feigning surprise or suspense in the now sadly all-too-familiar Syria script out of Washington.

The Wall Street Journal has just published a bombshell on Sunday evening as Russian and Syrian warplanes continue bombing raids over al-Qaeda held Idlib, citing unnamed US officials who claim " President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has approved the use of chlorine gas in an offensive against the country's last major rebel stronghold."

And perhaps more alarming is that the report details that Trump is undecided over whether new retaliatory strikes could entail expanding the attack to hit Assad allies Russia and Iran this time around .

That's right, unnamed US officials are now claiming to be in possession of intelligence which they say shows Assad has already given the order in an absolutely unprecedented level of "pre-crime" telegraphing of events on the battlefield .

And supposedly these officials have even identified the type of chemical weapon to be used: chlorine gas .

The anonymous officials told the WSJ of "new U.S. intelligence" in what appears an eerily familiar repeat of precisely how the 2003 invasion of Iraq was sold to the American public (namely, "anonymous officials" and vague assurances of unseen intelligence) -- albeit posturing over Idlib is now unfolding at an intensely more rapid pace :

Fears of a massacre have been fueled by new U.S. intelligence indicating Mr. Assad has cleared the way for the military to use chlorine gas in any offensive, U.S. officials said . It wasn't clear from the latest intelligence if Mr. Assad also had given the military permission to use sarin gas , the deadly nerve agent used several times in previous regime attacks on rebel-held areas. It is banned under international law.

It appears Washington is now saying an American attack on Syrian government forces and locations is all but inevitable .

And according to the report, President Trump may actually give the order to attack even if there's no claim of a chemical attack, per the WSJ:

In a recent discussion about Syria, people familiar with the exchange said, President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib , the northwestern province that has become the last refuge for more than three million people and as many as 70,000 opposition fighters that the regime considers to be terrorists.

And further :

The Pentagon is crafting military options , but Mr. Trump hasn't decided what exactly would trigger a military response or whether the U.S. would target Russian or Iranian military forces aiding Mr. Assad in Syria , U.S. officials said.

Crucially, this is the first such indication of the possibility that White House and defense officials are mulling over hitting "Russian or Iranian military forces" in what would be a monumental escalation that would take the world to the brink of World War 3.

me title=

The WSJ report cites White House discussions of a third strike -- in reference to US attacks on Syria during the last two Aprils after chemical allegations were made against Damascus -- while indicating it would "likely would be more expansive than the first two" and could include targeting Russia and Iran .

The incredibly alarming report continues :

During the debate this year over how to respond to the second attack, Mr. Trump's national-security team weighed the idea of hitting Russian or Iranian targets in Syria , people familiar with the discussions said. But the Pentagon pushed for a more measured response, U.S. officials said, and the idea was eventually rejected as too risky.

A third U.S. strike likely would be more expansive than the first two, and Mr. Trump would again have to consider whether or not to hit targets like Russian air defenses in an effort to deliver a more punishing blow to Mr. Assad's military.

Last week the French ambassador, whose country also vowed to strike Syria if what it deems credible chemical allegations emerge, said during a U.N. Security Council meeting on Idlib : "Syria is once again at the edge of an abyss."

With Russia and Iran now in the West's cross hairs over Idlib, indeed the entire world is again at the edge of the abyss.

developing...


Jack Oliver ,

You must read this - Bolton is definitely FUCKING insane !

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.rt.com/usa/438023-icc-dead-war-crimes-bolton/amp/

Zero Point ,

LOL Wall Street Journal citing unnamed sources again. Anyone that gives this more than 0.0003 seconds worth of attention is a barely functional retard. Haha, looking at the comments below, we have a bunch of Charley Brown's running up to kick a football held by Lucy. Fuckin moron cunts.

Bokkenrijder ,

Trump has already written and signed the order for the attack, the only thing that needs to be added is the appropriate date for when Israel gives the green light

Wake up Trumptards!

Citium ,

Ok after all those thumbs down when I called Trump part of the swamp? You guys still agree that he wants to help the American people?

Get a grip. Y'all are getting Hoodwinked like Obama's first term. Increasing debt, increasing military expansion to police the globe, stimulus in he form of tax cuts to corporations who barely pay taxes, his inability to control Jeff sessions, his increase in deficits, expanded the surveillance state and takes credit for the Federal reserve all time high fake market.

Are you guys fucking delusional? Q is mossad, Alex Jones is mossad. Wake up. Both parties hate you and this is all Kabuki theater.

[Sep 10, 2018] Should Assad subsequently fall - and that is the actual aim of intervention - then Syria will become another anarchic wasteland ruled over by fundamentalist warlords.

Notable quotes:
"... We know the proceeds will go unmentioned into offshore havens and the London property market. Britain would derive no geopolitical benefit as a whole. The benefits would accrue only to a kleptocracy who think they have a right to use our country as a loan shark's leg-breaker. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Vermithrax , 13 Apr 2018 15:39

Freedland recently put this argument on Newsnight.

It is flawed to the point of dishonesty.

He talks of removing assets as if the process was being conducted under laboratory conditions. There are ten nations enmeshed in a warzone with numerous factions under no one's control. It is magical thinking that cannot be achieved and will only result in rapid, uncontrolled escalation. The idea that there will be no collateral damage is laughable and I regret to suggest that it is deliberately misleading.

Moreover, in engaging Assad when he is on the brink of victory, the Syrian Civil War will be extended. The Syrian people will then pay the price.

Should Assad subsequently fall - and that is the actual aim of intervention - then Syria will become another anarchic wasteland ruled over by fundamentalist warlords. The spiral of migration will be renewed bringing loons wrapped in the dispossessed to our own streets. Worse, the militants next stop will be Lebanon and then Israel will be directly involved. Freedland advocates acting against Assad without even attempting to predict the consequences. At the very least I would expect the usual misdirection 'of course this time we must have a plan for rebuilding Syria', secure in the knowledge that by that time there will be another crisis and Syria can be left in entropy.

No good can come from military intervention. The satisfaction of commentators that the right thing has been done is an irrelevance. The right thing is always just public relations. Every bit of ruthless geopolitics has to have a casus belli to make the killing all righteous and unavoidable. It has always been thus. For resources to be expended on this kind of scale there has to be a rock solid bit of bankable realpolitik. In this case its the struggle for regional hegemony between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Syria can either be part of a supply chain selling Sunni gas/oil to Europe or Shi'a gas/oil to Europe. This is about killing Syrians for the glory of Saudi Arabia. You can see why there has to be a casus belli because thats not something that can be sold. We know the proceeds will go unmentioned into offshore havens and the London property market. Britain would derive no geopolitical benefit as a whole. The benefits would accrue only to a kleptocracy who think they have a right to use our country as a loan shark's leg-breaker.

It is therefore my contention that Freedland is promoting an immoral act that will have serious consequences without offering any serious improvement in the situation. This is arguably the most dangerous situation since the Cuban Missile crisis and an analysis that advocates pouring oil on the flames is either ridiculously stupid or calculatedly duplicitous.

thousandautumns -> balancedman , 13 Apr 2018 15:39
"Up to" 13,000 "opponents" killed over five years during a period of war. I'm assuming that number of "opponents" includes a large number of out and out terrorists who have thrown the country into chaos.
Brianto , 13 Apr 2018 15:39
What is Porton Down manufacturing?
oldeborr , 13 Apr 2018 15:38
The UK and France bares a heavy responsibility for the current situation in Syria. The cavalier attitude that the ConDems took to international law during the Arab spring encouraged the Saudi s and their proxies to distablise the recognised Govt. Assad is no paragon of virtue, but prior to the insurgency steps were in place to make the country a better place for its citizens, and whilst its true political dissent was not allowed, people could live their lives and go about their business in safety.

[Sep 10, 2018] Pigs Want To Feed at the Trough Again: Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Use Crisis Anniversary to Ask for More Bailout Powers

Sep 10, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

After a decade of writing about the crisis, we are now subjected to an orgy of yet more chatter with not much insight. It speaks volumes that the likes of Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and Hank Paulson are deemed fit to say anything about it, let alone pitch the need for the officialdom to have more bank bailout tools in a New York Times op-e titled What We Need to Fight the Next Financial Crisis .

The fact that they blandly depict crises that demand extraordinary interventions as to be expected confirms that greedy technocrats like them are a big part of the problem. Their call for more help for financiers confirms that they have things backwards. How about doing more to make sure that future crises aren't meteor-killing-the-dinosaurs level events, and foisting more costs and punishments on the financiers who got drunk and rich on too much risk-taking? The first line of defense should be stronger regulations, including prohibition of certain activities.

As the Financial Times' Martin Wolf pointed out in a recent crisis retrospective , the response of central bankers and financial regulators to the crisis was to restore the status quo ante, and not engage in root and branch reform, as took place in the Great Depression. But as we've pointed out, the response to the crisis represented the greatest looting of the public purse in history. The post-crisis era of super-low interest rates represented an additional transfer of income from savers to the financial system. In the US, the so-called "get out of massive mortgage securitization liability for almost free" card otherwise known as the National Mortgage Settlement represented a not-widely recognized second bailout of banks and mortgage servicers. No wonder banksters are seeking a rinse and repeat.

An overfinancialized economy is good for no one save banksters and their paid retainers. Economists in recent years have been describing how larger financial systems hurt growth. For instance, the IMF found that the optimal development of a financial system was roughly where Poland is. The IMF conceded that it might be possible to have a larger banking system not drag down the economy if it were well regulated. Other studies have found that economies with large financial sectors typically have more inequality, and inequality is separately seen as a negative for growth. So there's no sound policy reason to coddle banks rather than cut them down to size.

But the winners get to write the histories, and the friends of Big Finance came out on top. Despite the press occasionally listing the economists like Michael Hudson and Steve Keen who saw the crisis coming, they have only marginally higher profiles now than they did a decade ago. Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote bestsellers, yet his blistering descriptions of how financial risk analysts and managers are intellectual frauds has had virtually no impact on practice.

Similarly, Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's executive director of financial stability, is often called one of the most creative and insightful economists of his generation, but his studies and speeches on what went wrong and what might be done, like forcing more specialization and diversity among financial firms, are regularly praised in academia and the press and ignored as guides for reform. 1

And none other than the New York Fed's William Dudley came up with a way to bring partnership-type incentive structures back to big banks by requiring executives and producers to have a high percentage of their bonuses retained in the firms as a type of junior equity to be the first funds tapped in the event of losses or large legal settlements. Not only would this lead key players to be far more concerned about risk, but as Dudley pointed out, it would also lead everyone to be far more concerned if they saw another business unit engaged in dodgy practices that they might wind up paying for, and apply pressure to have them shut down. Predictably, this idea made far too much sense to get any traction.

By contrast, Bernanke was a true believer in the Great Moderation, the mid-2000s self-congratulatory mainstream economist view that they had produced the best of all possible worlds. Bernanke in fact continued the so-called Greenspan put which incentivized investors and bankers to take on financial risks, since they knew if anything bad happened, the Fed would rush to their rescue. The Fed, and Bernanke in particular, were badly behind the curve. In May 2007, Bernanke said that subprime was contained , and in July 2008, gave Fannie and Freddie clean bills of health.

Geithner, when he was head of the New York Fed, did acknowledge that the brave new world of slicing, dicing, and distributing risk might make it more difficult to manage a crisis, but then insisted that there was no way to roll the clock back. Linear projections of trends is naive but a great excuse for inaction. Geithner said nary a peep when banks who had just been bailed out gave a raised middle finger to the American public by paying their executives and staffs record bonuses in 2009 and 2010 rather than rebuilding their balance sheets. The Bush Administration considerately left $75 billion of TARP monies unspent for the Obama Administration to use to fund mortgage modifications. Funny how the Treasury never took that up. Instead, Geithner instituted supposed mortgage assistance programs like HAMP whose purpose, as Geithner put it to SIGTARP head Neil Barofsky, was to "foam the runway" for banks by spreading out when foreclosures would happen rather than preventing them. Recall that 9 million homes were foreclosed upon. Many had missed only a payment or two due to job loss or hours cutbacks; some were victims of bad servicing. Giving borrowers with viable levels of income mortgage modifications would have been a win for investors too. But the Treasury never cared about borrowers and convinced itself that taking care of banks would help the real economy, in a Wall Street variant of trickle-down theory.

And Paulson? Although he wasn't on the scene as long as Bernanke and Geithner, recall that Treasury staffer Neel Kashkari whipped up a 50,000 foot "How do we deal with a crisis" think piece that Paulson & Co. deemed to be just terrific and tossed in a drawer. Recall that Paulson's first TARP proposal was a mere 3 pages demanding $700 billion, more than the hard costs of the Iraq War, and even worse, put the Treasury beyond the rule of law with this provision:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

At the time, we called it a financial coup d'etat .

So the bailer-outers-in-chief are keen to prescribe more of what they foisted on the American public. It should come as no surprise that they didn't pump for stronger financial reforms, were perfectly content to allow the Fed to authorize banks subject to stress tests to pay dividends and bonuses rather than have them build up much bigger capital cushions, and in Bernanke's case, call for a resumption of austerity policies in 2012.

Each one of this terrible trio has a much longer rap sheet. But the mere fact that they have the temerity to subject the public to their cronyistic blather, and worse, the New York Times dignifies it, shows that, as Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, that policymakers and pundits have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

____

1 Haldane, with former Bank of England governor Mervyn King and Adair Turner at the FSA, did fight hard for a Glass-Steagall type bank breakup, but the UK Treasury succeeded in watering down their proposal to mere ring-fencing.

Darius , September 10, 2018 at 7:39 am

Geithner cured me of calling myself a Democrat. That little pipsqueak is worse than Paulson. To be fair, his boss was famous for his awesome awesomeness.

[Sep 10, 2018] Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important forces working against classic neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value. ..."
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

EarlyBird September 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value.

Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important energies. But being Trump, he's poisoned these issues for a couple of generations. No serious leader will be able to touch these things.

Add this to all the institutional and political ruin he has created.

[Sep 10, 2018] This Is A Coup, Okay Bannon Weighs In On Anonymous Anti-Trump Op-Ed

Sep 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Responding to an anonymous Op-Ed in the New York Times detailing an active resistance within the Trump White House, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told Reuters that President Trump is facing a "coup" the likes of which haven't been seen since the American Civil War.

... ... ...

" This is a crisis . The country has only ever had such a crisis in the summer of 1862 when General McClellan and the senior generals, all Democrats in the Union Army, deemed that Abraham Lincoln was not fit and not competent to be commander in chief ," said Bannon - whose departure from the White House was in large part over a fallout with Trump's "establishment" advisers. Bannon said at the time that the "Republican establishment" sought to nullify the results of the 2016 election and effectively neuter Trump.

"There is a cabal of Republic establishment figures who believe Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. This is a crisis," Bannon said in Rome.

Anonymous IX ,

The naivete of so many astounds me. Do you really think that Trump cannot get the name of the person who wrote the op-ed? In the old days, you sent your operatives to break into the Watergate. With today's computers and backdoors everywhere into any computer system [open your reading horizons... https://www.rt.com/op-ed/437895-privacy-five-eyes-encryption/ ], anyone can obtain this information if they so desire. Why is Trump being portrayed as a poor "rich guy" who only wants the best for the country while valiantly fighting a nefarious coup...whose members, by the way, are so clever and clandestine that they write an op-ed in the friggin' New York Times! Sorry...don't have much time to continue discussing op-eds in the NYT, gotta go re-insert ourselves into an independent sovereign nation, called Syria, where our 1%-ers have deemed we need to go!

I like Trump's bravado and I like his partner, Melania. Designers should definitely bring back slits in skirts! Scroll down. Here's a lady with class and style. She doesn't have to show you her entire bosom for you to get the idea that she's hot! https://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2018/09/03/melania-trump-labor-day-looks/

thebigunit ,

Silicon Valley comes full circle:

Apple's famous "1984" ad.

How ironic.

The guy on the TV screen is Tim Cook. He's saying "WE MUST SUPPRESS ALEX JONES!"

https://youtu.be/2zfqw8nhUwA

buenoshun ,

The anonymous leaker might not exist. Maybe the oped was written by someone at the new york times. The reason for lying such might be to make Trump start hunting for his own subordinates, that could turn some of his subordinates against him who then become an actual leaker. I think this is their plan.

Moe Howard ,

Of course it is a coup in progress. So obvious it is beyond a question.

The fake op-ed was just the latest shot.

Seems to me that we need to break up and destroy these MSM and interweb monopolies.

No more dual national control over media outlets.

DEDA CVETKO ,

Yes, Steve Bannon. This is a coup. And it is a bad, bad, bad nazi-style, beer-putsch kind of coup, the night of long knives and all.

But this is the coup you and your party (as well as your technical adversaries, but friends in real life - the "democrats" - have been preparing for decades . This is the coup you have been paving the way for with bombbombbomb Iran, with "export of democracy" to Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Russia (and pretty much everywhere else); with weaponization of dollar and global finance and militarization of media and the police, with colored and rosey and khaki revolutions, with vulture hedge funds as the primary instrument of the foreign policy and with 1% distribution of the 99% of national wealth.

Yes. Steve Bannon. These are all proud accomplishments of the Republican and Democratic party.

This is the coup your party (as well as the other one) has been funding for almost three decades by voting for $1 trillion-per-year war budgets and never-ending wars across the globe and by vigorously bankrolling the nazi merchants of death a/k/a/ military-industrial-financial-academic-media complex. And now you are shocked to learn that nazis have fondness for putcshes? No kiddin', Sherlock!

This is the coup your party ideologically, theologically and morally justified in terms of divine national exceptionalism, messianic narcissism, arrogant group-think and never-ending pursuit of national might-makes-right and peace-through-strength.

Yes, Steve Bannon, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was right when he said that the chickens are coming home to roost, er...roast. But this time, they are not coming home as McDonalds' Chikken McNuggets or Kentucky Fried Chicken Shit. This time they are returning as chicken guts'n'bones for the gigantic globalist chicken soup called New World Order.

You and your party should be rejoicing, not bemoaning. For, after all, this is your proudest achievement and your finest hour.

God is The Son ,

Bannon is a retard, Trump is a retard, both Zionists. The only hope is Mattias to a Order Coup De Ta. Military General needs to recognize that how Israel, Jews, Rothschilds have taken over Banking Politics and Media in US and have hijacked US and are looting it. He also needs to realize that they run the Left and the Right of Politics's. Arrest Trump, Alex Jones, Zionists, ABC, FOX, Re-Investigate 9/11 findings will probably come to that the CIA and Zionists did it, and that JFK killing was also CIA and Zionists. The CIA gets destroyed into Thousand pieces and Israeli influence is removed entirely from all parts of American Society. Federal Reserve, gets taken and turned into Public Central Bank of America under eye of US Military. Rothschilds then told to leave or Arrested.

Peter41 ,

Well, correct up to a point. The established world order elites "saved" the system in 2007-08, by propping up the moribund banks (Citibank, JP Morgan, and others) by massive injections of liquidity. Rather than removing this liquidity after the debacle, the Fed kept the accelerator to the floor with continued "quantitative easing." Now presiding over a $4Trillion balance sheet, the Fed is in the famous "liquidity trap" which Lord Keynes avoided describing a solution for, by opining, "in the long run we are all dead."

Well, the elites are now in the position of watching the whole shitteree come unglued as the Fed's policies framed by the elites will soon come unwound. Then, the elites will be exposed as powerless.

Griffin ,

The old world order was not so organised, and the main ideology the ruling elites had in common was transfer of wealth and wealth control,.

Using ideas like privatisation to get control of strategic assets like natural resources, energy etc.

Using scams like pump and dump to suck wealth out of economies and then investing outside the economy or planting it in a tax haven.

In Iceland there was roughly a 5 year interval between crashes. I called it the bubble crash machine.

The msm and bank analysts were a important tool for politicians to keep this scam running, but its dead now.

The new world order was supposed to be far more advanced and more organised, a tool to eliminate all kinds of problems for large corporations, like the sovereign rights of states for instance.

This was supposed to be a fusion between the superstate in Europe, where Merkel was at the helm, and the liberal globalist friendly USA where Hillary was supposed to lead.

The TTIP was one of key elements in this plan.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/13/ttip-trade-deal-transatlantic-trade-investment-treaty

If this would have materialised it would have enabled multinational corporations to sue nation states for imposing inconvenient laws that could suppress hopes of future profits for instance, giving the corporations a indirect control over state politics, overriding democracy and constitutions.

Abraxas ,

Coup, my ass. These guys turn everything upside-down. What a bunch of hyaenas.

Just look, these are the people that will drag us all down to the depths of hell with them, telling us how nice and prosperous ride we'll have getting there. Stop this train, I want to get off!

shortonoil ,

Having worked around DC I can tell you that the place collects nutcases, screwballs, and sociopaths like fresh dog fresh shit collects flies. The Deep State is not the problem, the problem is the DC State! DC is the epicenter of power hungry, greedy, self centered, self serving, backstabbing, backbiting lunatics, and every one of them is looking for a gimmick to advance their own personal agenda. The welfare of the nation is number 101 on their list of 100. Too much money, in too small a place with too many people trying to climb the same ladder at the same time leads to anarchy. Give the power to collect money, and regulate back to the States where it belongs, and let DC sink back into the swamp it was built on. The Federal Government is out of control. The States have the Constitutional power, and responsibility to regulate, and control the Federal government, and they had better start using it before this dog and pony show breaks down into a lynching party.

Herdee ,

U.S. under Trump interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela. The CIA goes around the world overthrowing governments. American hypocrisy is so phony, especially their Washington NeoCon/NeoNazi politicians:

https://www.rt.com/usa/437978-us-democracy-venezuela-coup-plotters/

DingleBarryObummer ,

Trump gives CIA authority to conduct drone strikes: WSJ | Reuters

MuffDiver69 ,

These uniparty hacks are the same who claim Trump has disemboweled the Obama agenda, which he has. Some nutcase... doing what he ran on. The only things he can't get done are because of the career uniparty hacks.The op-ed was nothing more then carryover from the McCain funeral. It's all transparent and meaningless, but a useful tool for Trump now.

DingleBarryObummer ,

"To some people the notion of consciously playing power games-no matter how indirect-seems evil, asocial, a relic of the past. They believe they can opt out of the game by behaving in ways that have nothing to do with power. You must beware of such people, for while they express such opinions outwardly, they are often among the most adept players at power. They utilize strategies that cleverly disguise the nature of the manipulation involved. These types, for example, will often display their weakness and lack of power as a kind of moral virtue. But true powerlessness, without any motive of self-interest, would not publicize its weakness to gain sympathy or respect. Making a show of one's weakness is actually a very effective strategy, subtle and deceptive, in the game of power" -Robert Greene '48 Laws of Power'

chumbawamba ,

What results though? So far, the results are in and the swamp is still pretty full.

As Dinglebutt pondered: deception, but for what purpose? Have you considered that you might be being lulled into a safe landing right into the heart of totalitarianism?

Don't think for one moment Trump isn't capable of selling you out for his own interests.

-chumblez.

Dilluminati ,

correction demonic coup (re-posted) but the Pizza gate it seems to be real, all the fake news for generatons and the one story the globalists couldn't get to uncovering ~~~ YOU MUST DECIDE!!

Sweden tonight.. Europe tomorrow. The left lives in fantasy land. Where Kapernick is some NFL hero and the guy sucked at QB, I mean looking at the record, he sucked, he didn't win anything. He ran like Mike Vick and that is about that.. and like Mike he suddenly realized that EVERYBODY runs fast in the NFL unlike college. Then there is IMMIGRATION notice how the globalists love three things above all others: profits for the 1%, paying no taxes, and they love them some open borders and immigrant cheap labor. Take for example the imaginary op-ed fake news from the NYT, or the CNN fake news story with leftist Lanny Davis, or lets drag that whore Stormy out on stage for another trailer park runway dollar bill, or how about the hearings on SCOTUS and Spartacus? Pocahontas? Abolishing Ice to fight crime, getting rid of the 2nd amendment to make us safer, Or more gun legislation in Chicago or Baltimore doubling down on stupid.. And now the ghouls who run the Democratic party have to go and try and sell the Obama myth, talk about fantasy.. what the fuck was Obamacare? Where was the $ saved and could people keep their doctor if they wanted? Each and every idea the Democrats and left have come up with is proof that what the left doesn't fuck up it shits upon instead, and now.. after being globally discredited the GLOBALISTS cocksuckers are done. Name a single promise that the Globalists kept to any but the 1% the cocksuckers!

But turn on any globalist media, the NFL, ESPN, CNN, and of the Globalist monopoly news or media outlets, the same lies are told. These Globalist cocksuckers cannot stop telling these lies so instead they need to be removed by ballot, laws, and if need be FORCE!

The rudeness and desperation of the 1% is astonishing, but their boldness is like that of the Pedophile Catholic Church! They get up on stage and do their empty virtue signalling and then rape their communities cynically and with methodical efficiency, yes they are the 1% and they do not care, yes they are the 1% and there is now no laws to confront them. There is only the ballot. They intend to run to New Zealand as they know their days are numbered, they skip the hearings like Google when called to account by Congress, and still you turn on the media and see:

https://www.thewrap.com/miss-america-contestant-slams-trump-division-madeline-collins-west-virginia/

I'm sure Madeline has brokered some deal to service some 1% benefactor somewhere. But again the rudeness, they come into your home under the guise of sports, under the guise of a legitimate news source, and then they spread their LIES and distortions.

Watch Brexit and Google pissing in the face of Congress.. they do not respect the ballot though they clamor about democracy, they but care about the 1% like the Pedophile Catholic Church and do not care about your laws, they want to abolish Ice, they want to disarm you so that they can more efficiently abuse you. That is your globalists not some loser on a Nike ad, who has less of a career than say Tim Tebow (who could run) but wasn't the apologist and hate America first Cunt stooge of the globalists. Watch Brexit and Google as they piss in the face of democracy and remember.

When asked if he would accept the result of the upcoming presidential election if he lost , Republican nominee Donald Trump told the audience in Las Vegas and the millions watching at home: "I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense."

This brief comment became the biggest headline news to come out of the third debate, as many saw it as Mr Trump threatening to shatter a 240-year-old electoral tradition, one of the cornerstones of US democracy: the losing candidate must always concede defeat, regardless of the result.

Presidential rival Hillary Clinton called his stance "horrifying", saying it "was not the way our democracy works".

Barack Obama labelled Trump's comments as "dangerous", and damaging to democracy.

You see how that works? The left is like the Pedophile Catholic Church all worked up about the plastic in the ocean, one set of laws and democracy for you, and another for them..

The lies, the globalist lies.. vote for your freedom.. What does the NFL and the Pedophile Catholic Church have in common? NEITHER PAYS TAXES! Them globalists them silly globalists: love three things above all others: profits for the 1%, paying no taxes, and they love them some open borders and immigrant cheap labor.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6147245/Five-sisters-abused-Catholic-priest-Pennsylvania.html

The real PIZZA GATE my friends is the Globalists. The 1% with their laws, unaccountable to ours which they twist against us.

I'm watching Bob Woodward being pimped by the Globalists media this morning, and I have to think that in this guy's lifetime the largest scandal in the Church, the global abuse and coverup, never warranted an op-ed. Need I say more? When you look at the fabled globalist Bob Woodward, remember that he missed the abuse, the cover-up, the complete and orchestrated abuse of power globally, he missed that story!

It took the state of Pennsylvania and a Grand Jury to tell that story that the globalist and Bob Woodward would not, instead he peddled rumors, similar to Stormy trotted out for a dollar bill on the trailer park runway.

notfeelinthebern ,

Been nothing but a coup since before day one even.

iinthesky ,

Started right after the Trump stepped off the escalator

Jim in MN ,

If the globalist elite neolibcon blackmail files ever see the light of day a lot of folks are going to swing from nooses...where have I heard that phrase before....

This is still our last peaceful chance for change.

iinthesky ,

I think most historically competent folks quickly come to the conclusion that ''Kompramat" as the Russians call it is without a doubt how the government governs itself.. hence an 'outsider' is rarely ever seen and never allowed to govern

[Sep 10, 2018] A Diabolic False Flag Empire Is The American Trajectory Divine Or Demonic

Sep 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

A Diabolic False Flag Empire: Is The American Trajectory Divine Or Demonic?

by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/10/2018 - 02:00 25 SHARES Authored by Edward Curtin via EdwardCurtin.com,

The past is not dead; it is people who are sleeping . The current night and daymares that we are having arise out of murders lodged deep in our past that have continued into the present. No amount of feigned amnesia will erase the bloody truth of American history, the cheap grace we bestow upon ourselves.

We have, as Harold Pinter said in his Nobel address, been feeding on "a vast tapestry of lies" that surrounds us, lies uttered by nihilistic leaders and their media mouthpieces for a very long time. We have, or should have, bad consciences for not acknowledging being active or silent accomplices in the suppression of truth and the vicious murdering of millions at home and abroad.

But, as Pinter said,

"I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory."

No one is more emblematic of this noble effort than David Ray Griffin, who, in book after book since the attacks of 11 September 2001, has meticulously exposed the underside of the American empire and its evil masters. His persistence in trying to reach people and to warn them of the horrors that have resulted is extraordinary. Excluding his philosophical and theological works, this is his fifteenth book since 2004 on these grave issues of life and death and the future of the world.

In this masterful book, he provides a powerful historical argument that right from the start with the arrival of the first European settlers, this country, despite all the rhetoric about it having been divinely founded and guided, has been "more malign that benign, more demonic than divine." He chronologically presents this history, supported by meticulous documentation, to prove his thesis. In his previous book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World , Griffin cataloged the evil actions that flowed from the inside job/false flag attacks of September 11th, while in this one -- a prequel -- he offers a lesson in American history going back centuries, and he shows that one would be correct in calling the United States a "false flag empire."

The attacks of 11 September 2001 are the false flag fulcrum upon which his two books pivot. Their importance cannot be overestimated, not just for their inherent cruelty that resulted in thousands of innocent American deaths, but since they became the justification for the United States' ongoing murderous campaigns termed "the war on terror" that have brought death to millions of people around the world. An international array of expendable people. Terrifying as they were, and were meant to be, they have many precedents, although much of this history is hidden in the shadows. Griffin shines a bright light on them, with most of his analysis focused on the years 1850-2018.

As a theological and philosophical scholar, he is well aware of the great importance of society's need for religious legitimation for its secular authority, a way to offer its people a shield against terror and life's myriad fears through a protective myth that has been used successfully by the United States to terrorize others. He shows how the terms by which the U.S. has been legitimated as God's "chosen nation" and Americans as God's "chosen people" have changed over the years as secularization and pluralism have made inroads. The names have changed, but the meaning has not. God is on our side, and when that is so, the other side is cursed and can be killed by God's people, who are always battling el diabalo.

He exemplifies this by opening with a quote from George Washington's first Inaugural Address where Washington speaks of "the Invisible Hand" and "Providential agency" guiding the country, and by ending with Obama saying "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being." In between we hear Andrew Jackson say that "Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number" and Henry Cabot Lodge in 1900 characterize America's divine mission as "manifest destiny." The American religion today is American Exceptionalism, an updated euphemism for the old-fashioned "God's New Israel" or the "Redeemer Nation."

At the core of this verbiage lies the delusion that the United States, as a blessed and good country, has a divine mission to spread "democracy" and "freedom" throughout the world, as Hilary Clinton declared during the 2016 presidential campaign when she said that "we are great because we are good," and in 2004 when George W. Bush said, "Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." Such sentiments could only be received with sardonic laughter by the countless victims made "free" by America's violent leaders, now and then, as Griffin documents.

Having established the fact of America's claim to divine status, he then walks the reader through various thinkers who have taken sides on the issue of the United States being benign or malign. This is all preliminary to the heart of the book, which is a history lesson documenting the malignancy at the core of the American trajectory.

"American imperialism is often said to have begun in 1898, when Cuba and the Philippines were the main prizes," he begins. "What was new at this time, however, was only that America took control of countries beyond the North American continent."

The "divine right" to seize others' lands and kill them started long before, and although no seas were crossed in the usual understanding of imperialism, the genocide of Native Americans long preceded 1898. So too did the "manifest destiny" that impelled war with Mexico and the seizure of its land and the expansion west to the Pacific. This period of empire building depended heavily on the "other great crime against humanity" that was the slave trade, wherein it is estimated that 10 million Africans died, in addition to the sick brutality of slavery itself. "No matter how brutal the methods, Americans were instruments of divine purposes," writes Griffin. And, he correctly adds, it is not even true that America's overseas imperialistic ventures only started in 1898, for in the 1850s Commodore Perry forced "the haughty Japanese" to open their ports to American commerce through gunboat diplomacy.

Then in 1898 the pace of overseas imperial expansion picked up dramatically with what has been called "The Spanish-American War" that resulted in the seizure of Cuba and the Philippines and the annexing of Hawaii. Griffin says these wars could more accurately be termed "the wars to take Spanish colonies." His analysis of the brutality and arrogance of these actions makes the reader realize that My Lai and other more recent atrocities have a long pedigree that is part of an institutional structure, and while Filipinos and Cubans and so many others were being slaughtered, Griffin writes, "Anticipating Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's declaration that 'we don't do empire,' [President] McKinley said that imperialism is 'foreign to the temper and genius of this free and generous people.'"

Then as now, perhaps mad laughter is the only response to such unadulterated bullshit, as Griffin quotes Mark Twain saying that it would be easy creating a flag for the Philippines:

We can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.

That would have also worked for Columbia, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, and other countries subjugated under the ideology of the Monroe Doctrine; wherever freedom and national independence raised its ugly head, the United States was quick to intervene with its powerful anti-revolutionary military and its financial bullying. In the Far East the "Open Door" policy was used to loot China, Japan, and other countries.

But all this was just the beginning. Griffin shows how Woodrow Wilson, the quintessentially devious and treacherous liberal Democrat, who claimed he wanted to keep America out of WW I, did just the opposite to make sure the U.S. would come to dominate the foreign markets his capitalist masters demanded. Thus Griffin explores how Wilson conspired with Winston Churchill to use the sinking of the Lusitania as a casus belli and how the Treaty of Versailles's harsh treatment of Germany set the stage for WW II.

He tells us how in the intervening years between the world wars the demonization of Russia and the new Soviet Union was started. This deprecation of Russia, which is roaring at full-throttle today, is a theme that recurs throughout The American Trajectory. Its importance cannot be overemphasized. Wilson called the Bolshevik government "a government by terror," and in 1918 "sent thousands of troops into northern and eastern Russia, leaving them there until 1920."

That the U. S. invaded Russia is a fact rarely mentioned and even barely known to Americans. Perhaps awareness of it and the century-long demonizing of the U.S.S.R./Russia would enlighten those who buy the current anti-Russia propaganda called "Russiagate."

To match that "divine" act of imperial intervention abroad, Wilson fomented the Red Scare at home, which, as Griffin says, had lasting and incalculable importance because it created the American fear of radical thought and revolution that exists to this very day and serves as a justification for supporting brutal dictators around the world and crackdowns on freedom at home (as is happening today).

He gives us brief summaries of some dictators the U.S has supported, and reminds us of the saying of that other liberal Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, who famously said of the brutal Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, that "he may be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch." And thus Somoza would terrorize his own people for 43 years. The same took place in Cuba, Chile, Iran, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, etc. The U.S. also supported Mussolini, did nothing to prevent Franco's fascist toppling of the Spanish Republic, and supported the right-wing government of Chiang-Kai Shek in its efforts to dominate China.

It is a very dark and ugly history that confirms the demonic nature of American actions around the world.

Then Griffin explodes the many myths about the so-called "Good War" -- WW II. He explains the lies told about the Japanese "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor; how Roosevelt wished to get the U.S. into the war, both in the Pacific and in Europe; and how much American economic self-interest lay behind it. He critiques the myth that America selflessly wished to defend freedom loving people in their battles with brutal, fascist regimes. That, he tells us, is but a small part of the story:

This, however, is not an accurate picture of American policies during the Second World War. Many people were, to be sure, liberated from terrible tyrannies by the Allied victories. But the fact that these people benefited was an incidental outcome, not a motive of American policies. These policies, as [Andrew] Bacevich discovered, were based on 'unflagging self-interest.'

Then there are the conventional and atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nothing could be more demonic, as Griffin shows. If these cold-blooded mass massacres of civilians and the lies told to justify them don't convince a reader that there has long been something radically evil at the heart of American history, nothing will. Griffin shows how Truman and his advisers and top generals, including Dwight Eisenhower and Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman's Chief of Staff, knew the dropping of the atomic bombs were unnecessary to end the war, but they did so anyway.

He reminds us of Clinton's Secretary of State Madeline Albright's response to the question whether she thought the deaths of more than 500, 000 Iraqi children as a result of Clinton's crippling economic sanctions were worth it: "But, yes, we think the price is worth it." (Notice the "is," the ongoing nature of these war crimes, as she spoke.) But this is the woman who also said, "We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall "

Griffin devotes other chapters to the creation of the Cold War, American imperialism during the Cold War, Post-Cold War interventions, the Vietnam War, the drive for global dominance, and false flag operations, among other topics.

As for false flag operations, he says, "Indeed, the trajectory of the American Empire has relied so heavily on these types of attacks that one could describe it as a false flag empire." In the false flag chapter and throughout the book, he discusses many of the false flags the U.S. has engaged in, including Operation Gladio, the U.S./NATO terrorist operation throughout Europe that Swiss historian Daniele Ganser has extensively documented, an operation meant to discredit communists and socialists. Such operations were directly connected to the OSS, the CIA and its director Allen Dulles, his henchman James Jesus Angleton, and their Nazi accomplices, such as General Reinhard Gehlen. In one such attack in 1980 at the Bologna, Italy railway station, these U.S. terrorists killed 85 people and wounded 20 others. As with the bombs dropped by Saudi Arabia today on Yemeni school children, the explosive used was made for the U.S. military. About these documented U.S. atrocities, Griffin says:

These revelations show the falsity of an assumption widely held by Americans. While recognizing that the US military sometimes does terrible things to their enemies, most Americans have assumed that US military leaders would not order the killing of innocent civilians in allied countries for political purposes. Operation Gladio showed this assumption to be false.

He is right, but I would add that the leaders behind this were civilian, as much as, or more than military.

In the case of "Operation Northwoods," it was the Joint Chiefs of Staff who presented to President Kennedy this false flag proposal that would provide justification for a U.S. invasion of Cuba. It would have involved the killing of American citizens on American soil, bombings, plane hijacking, etc. President Kennedy considered such people and such plans insane, and he rejected it as such. His doing so tells us much, for many other presidents would have approved it. And again, how many Americans are aware of this depraved proposal that is documented and easily available? How many even want to contemplate it? For the need to remain in denial of the facts of history and believe in the essential goodness of America's rulers is a very hard nut to crack. Griffin has written a dozen books about 11 September 2001, trying to do exactly that.

If one is willing to embrace historical facts, however, then this outstanding book will open one's eyes to the long-standing demonic nature of the actions of America's rulers. A reader cannot come away from its lucidly presented history unaffected, unless one lives in a self-imposed fantasy world. The record is clear, and Griffin lays it out in all its graphic horror. Which is not to say that the U.S. has not "done both good and bad things, so it could not sensibly be called purely divine or purely demonic." Questions of purity are meant to obfuscate basic truths. And the question he asks in his subtitle -- Divine or Demonic? -- is really a rhetorical question, and when it comes to the "trajectory" of American history, the demonic wins hands down.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out one place where Griffin fails the reader. In his long chapter on Vietnam, which is replete with excellent facts and analyses, he makes a crucial mistake, which is unusual for him. This mistake appears in a four page section on President Kennedy's policies on Vietnam. In those pages, Griffin relies on Noam Chomsky's terrible book -- Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture (1993), a book wherein Chomsky shows no regard for evidence or facts -- to paint Kennedy as being in accord with his advisers, the CIA, and the military regarding Vietnam. This is factually false. Griffin should have been more careful and have understood this. The truth is that Kennedy was besieged and surrounded by these demonic people, who were intent on isolating him, disregarding his instructions, and murdering him to achieve their goals in Vietnam. In the last year of his life, JFK had taken a radical turn toward peace-making, not only in Vietnam, but with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and around the globe. Such a turn was anathema to the war lovers. Thus he had to die. Contrary to Chomsky's deceptions, motivated by his hatred of Kennedy and perhaps something more sinister (he also backs the Warren Commission, thinks JFK's assassination was no big deal, and accepts the patently false official version of the attacks of 11 September 2001), Griffin should have emphatically asserted that Kennedy had issued NSAM 263 on October 11, 1963 calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, and that after he was assassinated a month later, Lyndon Johnson reversed that withdrawal order with NSAM 273. Chomsky notwithstanding, all the best scholarship and documentary evidence proves this. And for Griffin, a wonderful scholar, to write that with the change from Kennedy to Johnson that "this change of presidents would bring no basic change in policy" is so shockingly wrong that I imagine Griffin, a man passionate about truth, simply slipped up and got sloppy here. For nothing could be further from the truth.

Ironically, Griffin makes a masterful case for his thesis, while forgetting the one pivotal man, President John Kennedy, who sacrificed his life in an effort to change the trajectory of American history from its demonic course.

It is one mistake in an otherwise very important and excellent book that should be required reading for anyone who doubts the evil nature of this country's continuing foreign policy. Those who are already convinced should also read it, for it provides a needed historical resource and impetus to help change the trajectory that is transporting the world toward nuclear oblivion, if continued.

If -- a fantastic wish! -- The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic ? were required reading in American schools and colleges, perhaps a new generation would arise to change our devils into angels, the arc of America's future moral universe


CHX13 ,

For many decades, the US has been preying upon the ROTW via the petro-$. The late $trength will prove it$ ultimate downfall, IMHO. The world is imploding as we speak. Too much bad debt all over, tens if not hundred of trillions in the US and the ROTW combined. US debt 21T plus (21T that is unaccounted for) plus 100+ T unfunded liabilities and a totally pension system on the verge of collapse etc etc etc and this is the "good ol' U S(S) of A... No need to pull China or Europe through the meat grinder, there's plenty of unsolved (read "unsolvable") problems at home already. No finger pointing needed, the US is a wolf in sheepskin, that's for sure. There's a lot of good-natured folk in the US though that simply have no clue whatsoever about what is about to be going down. I feel sorry for them, they really believe in "their duty for the country", in "liberty and justice for all" et al. Things that once made the US indeed great, but that was lost many many many moons ago. So I'd say divinely diabolic. #So sad.

Adolfsteinbergovitch ,

A country is exceptional, until it isn't any longer.

khnum ,

Reuters has just run a story International criminal court judges at the Hague will face heavy sanctions if they investigate American war crimes in Afghanistan,lawlessness next stop perdition.

The matrix has u ,

That would be right. Americunt "Exceptionalism" still at work.

[Sep 09, 2018] Financial interests dominate politics at least since 1902

Sep 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

alley cat , says: September 9, 2018 at 2:48 pm GMT

These great businesses -- banking, brokering, bill discounting, loan floating, company promoting -- form the central ganglion of international capitalism. United by the strongest bonds of organization, always in closest and quickest touch with one another, situated in the very heart of the business capital of every state, controlled, so far as Europe is concerned, chiefly by men of a single and peculiar race , who have behind them many centuries of financial experience, they are in a unique position to manipulate the policy of nations. No great quick direction of capital is possible save by their consent and through their agency. Does anyone seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European state, or a great state loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it? . There is not a war, a revolution, an anarchist assassination, or any other public shock, which is not gainful to these men; they are harpies who suck their gains from every new forced expenditure and every sudden disturbance of public credit . These men are the only certain gainers from the [Boer] war, and most of their gains are made out of the public losses of their adopted country or the private losses of their fellow-countrymen.

Prescient words written by J.A. Hobson in his classic study of imperialism in 1902. In over a century, little has changed. If anything, the power of these harpies has grown. They are currently orchestrating a concerted attack on democracy itself in both Britain and the U.S. The assault is being spearheaded not by the IDF, but by a captured, weaponized, news media and corrupt politicians. If the Zionists are successful in their campaign to criminalize the truth, who will heed their cries for help if ever the tables are turned?

[Sep 09, 2018] Revisiting Privatization s Claims

Notable quotes:
"... Fourth, privatization was supposed to reduce public sector monopolies, but there is often little evidence of significant erosion of the monopolies enjoyed by privatized SOEs. Arguably, technological change and innovation, e.g., in telecommunications, were far more significant in eroding privatized monopolies and reducing costs to consumers, than privatization per se. ..."
"... Also, natural monopolies (such as public utilities) are often deemed inefficient due to the monopolistic nature of the industry or market. The question which arises then is whether private monopoly is better, even with regulation intended to protect the public interest. ..."
Sep 06, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Jerri-Lynn here. This short post usefully debunks arguments advanced to promote the privatization fairy. The author's reminds us that state ownership, when done properly, as in Singapore, can offer its own benefits and " is recognized there as the reason for public accountability, better governance and management."

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development. Originally published at Inter Press Service

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Sep 4 2018 (IPS) – Several arguments have been advanced to justify privatization since the 1980s. Privatization has been advocated as an easy means to:

  1. Reduce the government's financial and administrative burden, particularly by undertaking and maintaining services and infrastructure;
  2. Promote competition, improve efficiency and increase productivity in providing public services;
  3. Stimulate private entrepreneurship and investment to accelerate economic growth;
  4. Help reduce the public sector's presence and size, with its monopolistic tendencies and bureaucratic support.

Moot case for privatization

First, privatization is supposed to reduce the government's financial and administrative burdens, particularly in providing services and infrastructure. Earlier public sector expansion was increasingly seen as the problem, rather than part of the solution. Thus, reducing the government's role and burden was expected to be popular.

Second, privatization was believed by some to be a means to promote competition, improve efficiency and increase productivity in service delivery. This belief was naοve, confusing the question of ownership with that of promoting competition.

It was believed that privatization would somehow encourage competition, not recognizing that competition and property rights are distinct, and not contingent issues. Associated with this was the presumption that competition would automatically result in greater efficiency as well as improved productivity, not recognizing economies of scale and scope in many instances.

Third, privatization was expected to stimulate private entrepreneurship and investment. There is also a popular, but naοve belief that privatization was going to stimulate private entrepreneurship when, in fact, the evidence is strong, in Malaysia and elsewhere, that privatization often crowds out the likelihood of small and medium-sized enterprises actually emerging to fill the imagined void, presumed to exist following privatization.

Admittedly, there is scope for new entrepreneurship with privatization as new ways and ideas offered by the private sector are considered – or reconsidered – as the new privatized entity seeks to maximize the profits/rents to be secured with privatization.

However, the private purchase of previously public property, in itself, does not augment real economic assets. Private funds are thus diverted, to take over SOEs, and consequently diminished, rather than augmented. Hence, private funds are less available for investing in the real economy, in building new economic capacities and capabilities.

Fourth, privatization was supposed to reduce public sector monopolies, but there is often little evidence of significant erosion of the monopolies enjoyed by privatized SOEs. Arguably, technological change and innovation, e.g., in telecommunications, were far more significant in eroding privatized monopolies and reducing costs to consumers, than privatization per se.

From the 1980s, if not before, various studies have portrayed the public sector as a cesspool of abuse, inefficiency, incompetence and corruption. Books and articles, often with clever titles such as 'vampire state', 'bureaucrats in business' and so on, provided the justification for privatization.

Undoubtedly, there were some real horror stories, which have been conveniently and frequently cited as supposedly representative of all SOEs. But other experiences can also be cited to show that SOEs can be run quite efficiently, even on commercial bases, confounding the dire predictions of the prophets of public sector doom.

Has privatization improved efficiency?

Although some SOEs have been better run and are deemed more efficient after privatization, the overall record has hardly been consistent. Thus, it is important to ascertain when and why there have been improvements, or otherwise. It is also important to remember that better-run privatized SOEs, in and of themselves, do not necessarily serve the national or public interest better.

Undoubtedly, most SOEs can be better run and become more efficient. But this is not always the case as some SOEs are indeed already well run. For instance, very few privatization advocates would insist that most SOEs in Singapore are poorly run.

As its SOEs are generally considered well-run, public ownership is not used there to explain poor governance, management or abuse; instead, public ownership is recognized there as the reason for public accountability, better governance and management.

Principal-agent managerial delegation dilemma

Hence, in different contexts, with appropriately strict supervision, SOEs can be and have indeed been better run. Privatization, in itself, does not solve managerial delegation problems, i.e., the principal-agent problem, as it is not a problem of public ownership per se.

With SOEs, the principal is the state or the government while the agents are the managers and supervisors, who may -- or may not -- pursue the objectives intended by the principal.

This is a problem faced by many organizations. It is also a problem for private enterprises or corporations, especially large ones, especially where the principal (shareholders) may not be able to exercise effective supervision or control over the agent.

Also, natural monopolies (such as public utilities) are often deemed inefficient due to the monopolistic nature of the industry or market. The question which arises then is whether private monopoly is better, even with regulation intended to protect the public interest.

The answer needs to be ascertained analytically on the basis of evidence, and cannot be presumed a priori. If an industry is a natural monopoly, what does privatization achieve? Often, it means a transfer to private hands, which can be problematic and possibly dangerous for the public interest.

[Sep 07, 2018] The Russian minority in the Baltics live under 'apartheid' states OffGuardian by Admin