Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 will in 40-50 years lead to the collapse of USA-led global neoliberal empire

Analogy exists between collapse of neoliberalism and dissolution of the USSR. When ideology became discredited, the social system based on it enters zombie state. Neoliberalism which entered zombie state in 2008 now is more cruel and bloodthirsty then before

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  Recommended Links Brexit Casino Capitalism Secular Stagnation Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism Gangster Capitalism Anti-globalization movement Psychological Warfare and the New World Order Key Myths of Neoliberalism Globalization of Corporatism Greenwald US
Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions The Great Transformation Right to protect If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths
Super Capitalism as Imperialism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism America’s Financial Oligarchy Inverted Totalitarism Disaster capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Harvard Mafia Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen The Decline of the Middle Class
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberalism Bookshelf John Kenneth Galbraith Globalization of Financial Flows Humor Etc

Introduction

As the most recent transformation of capitalism, neoliberalism is a broad economic and political project of restoring class power of financial oligarchy it enjoyed in 20th of XX century (financial revanchism). It involved  consolidation, globalization and rapid concentration of financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014). Both neoliberal  governments and authoritarian societies share one important self-destructive trait: They care only about consolidating power in the hands of the financial elite, common people be damned.  As such it  is not a sustainable social system, although this does not mean that the replacement will be better. It well can be worse.

As an ideology, neoliberalism consider profit-making to be the final arbiter and essence of democracy ("market fundamentalism"). Like Fascism and Bolshevism neoliberalism relies on the power of the state for pushing neoliberal "reforms".  So democracy under neoliberalism is just a fig leaf covering dictatorship of financial oligarchy ("inverted totalitarism'). Despite smoke screen of "free market" rhetoric neoliberal are statists  par excellence. But this is covered by thick smoke screen  of propaganda, which in its intensity, penetration and the level of deception outdo Bolsheviks propaganda by an order of magnitude approaching the level described in Brave New World dystopia. In other word neoliberal population is a thorously brainwashed population.

There no surprise that most people now hate it which in this USA resulted in the election of Trump and is GB in Brexit. Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history".

From the late 1980s to 2016, neoliberal ideas held hegemonic sway among both the Democratic elite and the Republican elite in the USA. Election of Trump is the first sign of the crack in the neoliberal facade. And it was caused by the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008, but by Russian interference in the USA election like deceptively Clinton's wing of the Democratic Party with the help of intelligence agencies is trying to present it 

Unlike fascism and bolshevism which both relied on population mobilization, neoliberalism tried to emasculate citizens suppressing political activity by treating them as just a consumers. In other words it promote political passivity and replacement of real political struggle by colorful spectacle like wrestling in WWE. Consumption is the only legitimate form of activity of citizens under neoliberalism and exercising of their choice during this consumption is the only desirable political activity.  With the related religious belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations (the  idea of "self-regulating market," to use Karl Polanyi's phrase.) Grinding mass unemployment — with only tiny remnants of New Deal protection mechanisms to soften the blow — created political instability that destroyed any chances of Clinton Wing of Dems for reelection in 2016.

As the mode of governance, neoliberalism produces the ways of life driven by a survival-of-the fittest ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, predatory individual in economic jungles. And it declared the morality of the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power ignoring issues of ethics and social costs (variant of "might is right" mentality).  This set of economic policies  tend to produce an economy with highly unequal incomes, prevalence of monopolies and high business concentration, unstable booms, and long, painful busts.

As the political project, it involves the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection of private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, liberalization of trade in goods and capital investment, the eradication of government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, the destruction of the welfare state and unions, and the complete "marketization" and "commodification" of social relations.

Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one’s individual needs and self-interests.

Matters of mutual caring, respect, and compassion for the other have given way to the limiting orbits of privatization and unrestrained self-interest, just as it has become increasingly difficult to translate private troubles into larger social, economic, and political considerations. As the democratic public spheres of civil society have atrophied under the onslaught of neoliberal regimes of austerity, the social contract has been either greatly weakened or replaced by savage forms of casino capitalism, a culture of fear, and the increasing use of state violence.

One consequence is that it has become more difficult for people to debate and question neoliberal hegemony and the widespread misery it produces for young people, the poor, middle class, workers, and other segments of society — now considered disposable under neoliberal regimes which are governed by a survival-of-the fittest ethos, largely imposed by the ruling economic and political elite.

That they are unable to make their voices heard and lack any viable representation in the process makes clear the degree to which young people and others are suffering under a democratic deficit, producing what Chantal Mouffe calls “a profound dissatisfaction with a number of existing societies” under the reign of neoliberal capitalism (Mouffe 2013:119). This is one reason why so many youth, along with workers, the unemployed, and students, have been taking to the streets in Greece, Mexico, Egypt, the United States, and England.

Neoliberalism is the second after Marxism social system that was "invented" by a group of intellectuals (although there was not a single dominant individual among them) and implemented via coup d'état. ( Installed from above by a "quite coup") Although is  formally only around 40 years old (if we could the edge of neoliberalism from the election of Reagan, which means from 1981) neoliberalism as ideology was born much earlier, around in 1947.  And the first neoliberal US president was not Reagan, but  Jimmy Carter.

In any case in 2008 it already reached the stage of discreditation of its ideology. When ideology became discredited, the social system based on it enters zombie state. That happened with Bolshevism after its victory on the WWII when it became evident that the working class does not represent the new dominant class and communist party is unable to secure neither higher productivity of economics, nor higher standard of living for people then the advanced capitalist societies. Soviet soldiers in 1944-1945 saw the standard of living in Poland (which was Russian province before the revolution, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria and started to suspect the dream of building communist society was just another "opium for the people", the secular religion which hides the rule of "nomenklatura". 

Later the Soviet intelligencia realized that The Iron Law of Oligarchy  in applicable to the USSR no less that to any Western country. We probably can  assume that Soviet ideology entered zombies state in 1945, or may be later in 1963 (with  Khrushchev Thaw) when it became clear that the USSR will never match the standard of living of the USA population and most of Western European countries (which paradoxically was the result of the existence of the USSR and which entered the decline after the USSR dissolution) .  Illusions of the possibility of global Communist hegemony had evaporated with the collapse of Sino-Soviet relations (also the 1960s.) Around 1975, the Soviet Union entered a period of economic stagnation from which it  never emerged.  Due to this the USSR looked to Europe, primarily West Germany, to provide hard currency financing through massive loans, while the US became a major supplier of grain.

All in all the story of the USSR collapse suggests that after the ideology was discredited the society, which was based on it,  can last  several decades, or even half a century (The USSR lasted another 28-46 years (depending on the point at which you assume the ideology was completely discredited).  The sad story of the USSR after 1963 does suggests that if the ideology is "man made" like is both the case with Marxism and neoliberalism, the collapse of ideology is the prolog to the subsequent collapse of the society (even if with a substantial lag). The collapse  of such a society is inevitable. It is just a matter of time.

Neoliberal society probably has at least the same staying power as Bolshevism. Probably more. So we can expect that  after 2008 -- when the ideology was discredited and neoliberalism entered zombie stage it will last around 50 years. If not more. The key fact that might speed up the collapse of neoliberalism is the end of cheap oil. As soon as the price of one barrel of oil exceeds some magic number (different researchers cite figures from $70 to $120; let's assume $100 per barrel) the USA like the USSR will enter the period of stagnation from which it might never emerge without dismantling neoliberalism first.

So the crisis of neoliberalism as ideology doers not signify the death of neoliberal as a social system. It will continue to exist in zombie state for some time. A development that some will indeed see as a curse, others as a blessing. Many people after 2008 declared that neoliberalism is dead or seen to be in its death throes. Many obituaries of finance capitalism and global free trade were written in 2008-2012. Nevertheless, neoliberalism has shown itself to be resilient and remains the dominant social system around the world( this resilience was called by Colin Crouch "the strange non-death of neoliberalism".)

The USSR managed to survive in a very hostile international environment more then 40 years (1945-1991) after Bolshevism was dead as an ideology. Absence of hostile environment, as well as the lack of alternative social system might prolong the life of neoliberalism. Also one advantage neoliberalism enjoyed is that collapse of the USSR was prompted by the ascendance of neoliberalism and betrayal of Soviet nomenklatura (which correctly decided that they will be better off under neoliberalism, then under Brezhnev socialism) is that socialism was discredited.   Also unlike KGB brass, which was instrumental in transition of the xUSSR space from Brezhnev socialism to neoliberalism (with the first stage of gangster capitalism) the USA and GB intelligence agencies (actually all five eyes intelligence agencies) still is ready to defend neoliberalism, as color revolution against Trump had shown.  

However, Brexit (and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as head of Labour) and the movements surrounding Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States are each in their own way symptomatic of a turning of the political tide against neoliberalism, especially such features as hyper-globalization and deregulation of financial markets. The benefits of free trade – of goods, services and capital – and outsourcing of labor to low-cost destinations are now being challenged across the political spectrum.

That means that the crisis of neoliberalism turned from from the stage of purely intellectual  problems (collapse and discreditation of the ideology) to the stage of rising political challenges. Under Trump the effectiveness of neoliberal propaganda declined nd start approaching the effectiveness of Societ propaganda under Brezhnev. Neoliberal MSM are viewed by trhe majority of population of "fake news" -- the label in popularization of which Trump played an important role. Even "leading neoliberal economists" like Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Jeffrey Sachs and Thomas Piketty started voicing concerns.  Rising inequality lessen the cohesion of neoliberal societies and  and created social tensions within them as we see in Marcon France. Even top economist from the IMF have recently acknowledged that neoliberalism has been “oversold”.

But we still do not see social system that will replace neoliberalism yet.  And that might prolog the life neoliberalism to the upper limit of the suggested range Meantime the crisis of neoliberalism created preconditions for the rise of far right movements and switch to "national neoliberalism" (or neoliberalism without globalization). Much like Stalinism was socialism within one given country with Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution till final victory of socialism sent to the dustbin). It is an interesting theoretical question if "national neoliberalism" promoted by Trump can be viewed as a flavor of neoliberalism or a flavor of neofascism. If the latter then neoliberalism already died around 2016 and existed in its classic form just 30 years or so.   I doubt  that we can do such equivalence.

At the current stage collapse of neoliberalism, if we can use this word, is still very slow and almost invisible.  Brexit and election of Trump in the USA are probably the first two most notable events after 2008 that can be interpreted as such. Both undermined "neoliberal globalization" -- one of the key components of neoliberalism, because like Communism before it is about building a global neoliberal empire (led by the USA financial oligarchy in close cooperation of other western oligarchies), without state borders.

Still "Great recession" which  started in 2008 is the fact of life. Nations took various roads out of the Great Depression and that's probably will be true for the Great Recession.  Some used deficit spending and the abandonment of the gold standard, which had to overcome resistance from business. In Germany, fascism removed "capitalist objections to full employment," wrote economist Michal Kalecki, by routing all deficit spending into rearmament and by keeping labor quiescent with political repression and permanent dictatorship.

We can envision  the same process of  the growing level of repression in the USA due to the growing gap between ideology postulates and the real life conditions, especially falling standard of living for most of the people (let's say, lower 80% in the USA. Top 20% including large part of "professional" class are doing just fine, much like nomenklatura in the USSR).

In the United States, the replacement ideology for unregulated capitalism on the early 20th was the New Deal. After some initial failed experimentation with planning, New Dealers settled on a framework of stimulus, regulation, unionization, progressive taxation, and anti-trust, heavily influenced by Louis Brandeis. To get people back to work and prime the economic pump, vast new public works were built, and millions were directly employed by the state. Business — especially finance — was regulated, above all to prevent concentration. Unions were protected under a new legal regime created by the National Labor Relations Act. Taxes on the rich were sharply increased, both to raise revenue and to deliberately prevent the accumulation of vast fortunes. Finally, world trade was managed under the Bretton-Woods system. New Deal ideology did not win at once and in 1937, FDR reversed the course and went back to austerity, instantly throwing millions out of work, and forcing him to return to deficit spending. It took the WWII war spending in 1941-1945 to entrench the New Deal and to eliminate mass unemployment. War also created the political space for Roosevelt to raise the top tax bracket to 94%. Think about it. Less then a century ago the top tax bracket in the USA was 94%. The erosion of the New Deal started almost immediately. For example, in 1847 trade union power was undercut by Taft–Hartley Act.

The New Deal framework held for about three decades after the end of the war — during which time the country also had the greatest economic boom in American history. Critically, this time the fruits of growth were also broadly shared. For all the many faults in the New Deal, in this period America was reformed from a country which functioned mostly on behalf of a tiny elite into one which functioned on behalf of a sizable chunk of population.

In this sense ascendance of neoliberalism was a counter-revolution against New Deal staged by financial elite:  fundamental economic bedrock is quite similar: deregulation, tax and spending cuts, union busting, and free trade. Its adherents resurrected the idea of the self-regulating market, creating an elaborate mathematic model in which depressions were always the result of structural problems, the economy is always at full employment, and nothing could be changed without making someone else worse off. Once again, the political message was that regulations and taxation should be kept as low as possible.

A generation of economists centered around the Chicago School, including Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Robert Lucas, provided the intellectual backbone, gaining strength in the 1950s and '60s. They argued that New Deal structures were a drag on economic growth, and that taxes, regulation, and social insurance needed to be cut. America simply couldn't afford the strangling red tape and high taxes of the New Deal. And this time, they assured everyone, things would be different — no 1929-style crash would be in the cards. That was all a very clever deception,  propaganda design at restoring the power of financial oligarchy undermined by the New Deal capitalism and increasing the rate of profits via financilization of everything. Plus a dream of world neoliberal revolution  taken directly from Trotskyite books (Neoliberalism can be viewed as a Trotskyism for the rich)

Neoliberals' opportunity came in the 1970s, when the world economy ran into difficulties and at the center of those difficulties was the rising price of oil. War spending, the baby boom coming of age, and the oil shocks created serious inflation and pushed the USA into a trade deficit, which broke the Bretton-Woods system. Profits declined and big business mobilized against labor and trade unions. The first wave of de-industrialization in the USA and offshoring of factories to Asia hit manufacturing.

I wonder if oil can serve as the grave digger of neoliberalism this time.

The limits of analogy between the collapse of neoliberalism and the collapse of the USSR

Like all analogies it far from being perfect.  Here are major objections:

  1. When the USSR collapsed neoliberal ideology was a clear alternative and the collapse of the USSR coincided with "triumphal march" of neoliberalism around the globe.  In a sense the USSR simply fall on the rails of the neoliberal train.
  2. Right now we do not see such a prominent alternative to the dominant neoliberal ideology, although it is clear that it is wrong and that neoliberal promise that high inequality speeds up economic development and "rising tide lifts all bots" proved to a fake. But right now  neoliberalism  is still social system that is dominant globally (BTW this is true not only for the USA and Western Europe, but also for Russia and China).
  3. Neoliberalism exists without  major geopolitical threat, unlike Soviet Union which existed in the hostile surrounding of major Western powers with their three letter agencies directly targeting this society, with huge money resources of Western financial system and the burning desire (especially by the US neoliberal elite, which came to power in 1980 ) to get rid of competition by any means possible. 
  4. While Trump administration reminds in its incompetence Brezhnev administration, the gap is still tremendous. While Trump is definitely a third  rate politician, Gorbachov as a politician was simply a naive (and probably bought) idiot. In comparison with him Trump looks like a shrewd statesman (or, at least, a staunch nationalist.) Unless we assume that "Gorby" (cultivated by his handler Margaret Thatcher) was a traitor (the version that became increasingly popular in post Soviet space after 1991). But the complete absence of political talent (Gorbachov came to power as a protégé of Andropov)  is still the primary suspect, because you should not assume sinister motives when incompetence is enough for the explanation of the events (  The Soviet collapse Contradictions and neo-modernization ):

    The main charge that may be laid against Gorbachev as leader is that he lacked an effective strategy of statecraft: the mobilization of resources to make a country more self-confident, more powerful, more respected and more prosperous. Instead, Gorbachev frittered away the governmental capital accumulated by the Soviet regime, and in the end was unable to save the country which he had attempted to reform.

  5. Despite all difficulties the USA remains the owner of world reserve currency and the center of technological innovation (although in the later role it somewhat slipped). It military spending (which stimulate fundamental research) remains the largest in the world. The country still remains the magnet for immigration from other countries.

Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

There one, especially deep analogy between any neoliberal society and the USSR. Neoliberalism borrowed large part of its strategy and tactic of acquiring and maintaining power directly from  Marxism, specifically from the  flavor of Marxism, which partially originated (and remained popular until late 1940th) in the USA, and called Trotskyism (which Trotsky was a Russia émigré, he spend  his formative years in the USA).  Actually analogies with Marxism are to numerous to list.

The first notable analogy is the slogan "Dictatorship of "free markets"" instead of "dictatorship of proletariat."  With the same idea that the driving force of this social transformation is the intellectual "vanguard" recruited mainly from "Intelligentsia" (mainly right wing economists and philosophers of the  Mont Pelerin Society  created in `947 with the explicit goal to oppose socialism and Bolshevism) will drive steeple to the "bright future of all mankind" -- global neoliberal empire led by the USA. And that the end justifies the means.

In short, neoliberalism is a kind of "Trotskyism for rich." And it uses the same subversive tactics to get and stay in power, which were invented by Bolsheviks/Trotskyites. Including full scale use of intelligence agencies (during WWII Soviet intelligence agency -- NKDV -- rivaled the primary intelligence agencies of Nazi Germany -- Abwehr; CIA was by-and-large modeled on Abwehr  with Abwerh specialists directly participating in its creation ).  It also process the ideal of World Revolution -- with the goal of creating the global neoliberal empire. The neoliberal USA elite is hell-bent on this vision.

Like Trotskyism neoliberalism generally needs a scapegoat. Currently this role is served by Islamic fundamentalist movements. But recently Russia emerged like more convenient scapegoat, at least for "CIA democrats" like Obama and  Hillary Clinton.

Also like Bolshevism before, neoliberalism created its own "nomenklatura" -- the privileged class which exists outside the domain of capital owners. Which along with high level management and professionals include neoclassical academic economists. Who guarantee the level of brainwashing at the universities necessary for maintaining the neoliberal system.  This "creator class" fight for its self-preservation and against any challenges. Often quite effectively.

 Deification of markets (free market fundamentalism) like the idea of "dictatorship of proletariat" is "fools gold"

Yet another strong analogy is that the deification of markets much like the idea of "dictatorship of proletariat" is "fools gold". This fact was clearly established after the Great Recession, and one of the most succinct explanation of the stupidity of the idea of self-regulating market remains Karl Polanyi's famous book The Great Transformation.  Polanyi argued that the development of the modern state went hand in hand with the development of modern market economies and that these two changes were inextricably linked in history. And all talk about small state, state as "night watchman" are pure hypocrisy.  Like Marxism, neoliberalism really provides "the great transformation" because it both changes the human institutions and human morality. The latter in a very destructive way.  The book postulated that and "free market society" (where the function of social regulation is outsourced to the market forces)  is unsustainable because it is fatally destructive to human nature and the natural social contexts humans need to survive and prosper. 

Polanyi attempted to turn the tables on the orthodox liberal account of the rise of capitalism by arguing that “laissez-faire was planned”, whereas social protectionism was a spontaneous reaction to the social dislocation imposed by an unrestrained free market. He argues that the construction of a "self-regulating" market necessitates the separation of society into economic and political realms. Polanyi does not deny that the self-regulating market has brought "unheard of material wealth", but he suggests that this is too narrow a focus. The market, once it considers land, labor and money as "fictitious commodities" (fictitious because each possesses qualities that are not expressed in the formal rationality of the market), and including them "means to subordinate the substance of society itself to the laws of the market. This, he argues, results in massive social dislocation, and spontaneous moves by society to protect itself. In effect, Polanyi argues that once the free market attempts to separate itself from the fabric of society, social protectionism is society's natural response, which he calls the "double movement." Polanyi did not see economics as a subject closed off from other fields of enquiry, indeed he saw economic and social problems as inherently linked. He ended his work with a prediction of a socialist society, noting, "after a century of blind 'improvement', man is restoring his 'habitation.

But when 50 years passed and generation changed they manage to shove it down throat. Because the generation which experienced horrors of the Great Depression at this point was gone (and that include cadre of higher level management which still have some level of solidarity with workers against capital owners).

They were replaced with HBS and WBS graduates -- ready made neoliberals. Quit coup (in Simon Johnson terms) naturally  followed ( https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/ ) and we have hat we have.  In a sense neoliberalism and Managerialism ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managerialism ) are closely related.  Here is how  he "reinvents" the concept  of "Minsky moment" in the new conditions of neoliberal globalization"

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders. When a country like Indonesia or South Korea or Russia grows, so do the ambitions of its captains of industry. As masters of their mini-universe, these people make some investments that clearly benefit the broader economy, but they also start making bigger and riskier bets. They reckon—correctly, in most cases—that their political connections will allow them to push onto the government any substantial problems that arise.

Neoliberalism in zombie state (which it entered after 2008) remains dangerous and is able to counterattack

Unlike Bolshevism after 1945, neoliberalism in zombie state (which it entered after 2008) remains dangerous and is able to counterattack -- the US sponsored efforts of replacement of left regimes in LA with right wing neoliberal regimes were by-and-large successful. I two key LA countries neoliberalism successfully counterattacked and won political power deposing more left regimes (Brazil and Argentina ). That happened despite that this phase of neoliberal era has been marked by slower growth, greater trade imbalances, and deteriorating social conditions. In Latin America the average growth rate was lower by 3 percent per annum in the 1990s than in the 1970s, while trade deficits as a proportion of GDP are much the same. Contrary to neoliberal propaganda the past 25 years (1980–2005) have also characterized by slower progress on social indicators for the vast majority of low- and middle-income countries [compared with the prior two decades ( https://monthlyreview.org/2006/04/01/neoliberalism-myths-and-reality/ ) :

In an effort to keep growing trade and current account deficits manageable, third world states, often pressured by the IMF and World Bank, used austerity measures (especially draconian cuts in social programs) to slow economic growth (and imports). They also deregulated capital markets, privatized economic activity, and relaxed foreign investment regulatory regimes in an effort to attract the financing needed to offset the existing deficits. While devastating to working people and national development possibilities, these policies were, as intended, responsive to the interests of transnational capital in general and a small but influential sector of third world capital. This is the reality of neoliberalism.

The danger of the end of "cheap oil" for neoliberalism

The Soviet Union collapsed partially due to the fact that collapse of oil prices (which might be engineered event) deprived it of the ability to buy the necessary goods from the West (which at this point included grain, due to inefficiency of Soviet model of  large centralized state owned agricultural complexes).

In case of the USA an opposite situation might also serve as a trigger: as soon as oil cross, say, $80 dollar per barrel mark most Western economies slide in "secular stagnation" and that means growing discontent of lower 80% of population. Also as  globalization is inherently dependent on cheap hydrocarbons and disappearance of cheap oil will male the current international patterns of flow of goods across countries with China as world manufacture  open to review.  

This is the situation when the irresistible force of globalization hits the brick wall of high oil prices. Also high cost of hydrocarbons means "end of growth" (aka permanent stagnation), and neoliberalism financial schemes based on cheap credit automatically implode in the environment of slow of zero growth. So expect that the next financial crisis will shake neoliberalism stronger then the crisis of 2008.

A lot of debt becomes unplayable, if growth stagnates. That makes manipulation of GDP numbers the issue of political and economic survival because this is the method of "inspiring confidence".  And the temptation to inspire confidence is too great to resists. Exactly like it was in the USSR. 

It might well be that the consistent price of oil, say, over $120 is a direct threat to neoliberal project in the USA. Even with prices over $100 the major neoliberal economics  tend to enter the stage of "secular stagnation". It also makes the US military which is a large consumer of oil in the USA much more expensive to run and virtually doubles the costs of  neoliberal "wars for regime change", essentially curtailing neoliberal expansion.

Election of Trump is just testament that some part of the US elite is ready for "Hail Mary" pass just to survive.  The same is true about financiering of color revolutions, which as a new type of neoliberal conquests of other countries, also require a lot of cash, although not at the scale of "boots on the ground".

 More on "zombie stage" of neoliberalism: the consequences of the situation when neoliberal ideology is already discredited

The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades. It signified the end of Washington Consensus.

At this point ideology of neoliberalism was completely discredited in a sense that promise prosperity for all via "free market" mechanisms. The whole concept of "free markets" is from now on is viewed as fake. Much like happened with bolshevism in the USSR.

It actually was viewed as fake after the Great Depression too, but the generation that remembered that died out and neoliberalism managed to perform its major coup d'état  in the USA in 1981. After trail balls in Chile and GB. 

Also its fake nature became evident to large part of global elite (which probably never have any illusions from the very beginning) as well, which is even more dangerous, a large part of upper middle class in many developing countries, the social strata from which "fifth column of neoliberal globalization" is typically recruited. 

Global neoliberal empire still is supported by pure military and financial power of the USA and its Western (and some Asian, such as Japan) allies as well as technological superiority of the West in general. So right now mainly ideological postulates of neoliberalism, especially as its "free market absolutism", started to be questioned.  And partially revised (the trend which is visible in increase financial regulation in most Western countries). So "self-regulation free market model proved to be neither self-regulating, not really free -- it just transferred the cost of its blunders on the society at large.  This form of neoliberalism with the core ideology intact but with modified one of several postulates can be called post-neoliberalism or zombie neoliberalism. 

Rule of financial oligarchy like the rule of "nomenklatura" in the USSR is under increasing scrutiny

While indoctrination now reached almost all adult population,  there are some instances of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism is an act of violence against them and destruction of their future. And if it does not come to an end, what we might experience a mass destruction of human life if not  the planet itself. 

Both Obama and Trump proved to be masters of the "bait and switch" maneuver, but the anger of population did not dissipated and at some point still can explode.

Rule of financial oligarchy also gradually comes under some (although very limited) scrutiny in the USA. Some measures to restrict appetites of financial oligarchy were recently undertaken in Europe (bank bonuses limitations).

HFT and derivatives still remain off-reach for regulators despite JP Morgan fiasco in May 2012 in London branch. Trade loss was around two billions, decline of bank value was around $13bn (The Guardian) At this stage most people around the world realized that as Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger quipped in his CNBC interview Trusting banks to self-regulate is like trusting to self-regulate heroin addicts. At the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) heads of states in the spring of 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the death of “the Washington Consensus” — the famous list of market-liberalizing policy prescriptions that guided the previous 20 or 30 years of neoliberal expansion into third world countries  (Painter 2009).

Prominent economists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that after decades of reform, market-liberalizing policies had not produced the promised benefits for either economic growth or social welfare of countries were those policies were applied (Stiglitz 2002, 2006; Rodrik 2006). These criticisms further undermined the legitimacy of neoliberal governance, exactly the same way as similar criticism undermined socialist model of the USSR and Eastern Europe. the problem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achievement, here there is no alternative model with which to compare.

Still a backlash directed at the USA is mounting even from the former loyal vassals. Even the UK elite starts to display the behavior that contradict its role of the US poodle. The atmosphere is which the USA is considered "guilty" of pushing though the throats of other countries a utopia that harmed them is a different atmosphere for the US oligarchy that the role of it accustomed to.

Everybody is now aware of the substantial costs that the modern financial system has imposed on the real economy and no amount of propaganda and brainwashing can hide this simple fact. It is questionable that the "financial innovations" of the last three-four decades can compensate for those huge costs and that they warrants those costs. Shocks generated within the financial system and transformation of economies imposed by international financial oligarchy as the core of neoliberal elite, implies that the rule of financial oligarchy creates negative externalities for societies and that some types of financial activities and some financial structures should be treated like an organized crime (as purely parasitic, extortionist type of players).

Still this stage preserves several attributes of previous stage and first of all push for globalization and aggressive foreign policy. While economic crisis of 2008 destroyed legitimacy of ideology of neoliberalism, neoliberalism as an ideology continue to exists as a cult, much like communism as an ideology continues to exist, despite the failure of the USSR. And being phony ideology from the very beginning, a smokescreen for  the revanchism of financial oligarchy, it still can be promoted by unrelenting propaganda machine of the same forces which put it into mainstream albeit with les efficiency.  

Rise of nationalism as the reaction on neoliberal globalization
much like it was a reaction on Brezhnev's stagnation in the USSR

While no viable alternatives emerged, and inertia is still strong, and G7 block with the USA as the head is still the dominant world power, the crash are now visible in the global neoliberalism façade.  Like in 20th failure the globalization and unrestrained financial markets (which produced the Great Depression)  the financial crisis of 2008 led to the dramatic rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hungary, Ukraine). In some countries, such as Ukraine, the net result of neoliberal revolution was establishing  far right regime which has uncanny similarities to the régimes which came to power in 30th such as Franco regime in Spain.  The global neoliberal dominance as a social system still continues, it is just the central idea of neoliberalism, the fake idea of self-regulating market that was completely discredited by the crisis (it was discredited before during Great Depression, but the generation the remembered the lesson is now extinct (it looks like it takes approximately 50 years for humanity to completely forget the lessons of history ;-).

This rise of nationalism was also a feature of the USSR political space in 80th. Formally it was nationalist sentiments that buried the USSR.

Around the world, economists and policymakers now come to consensus that excessive reliance on unregulated financial markets and the unrestrained rule of financial oligarchy was the root cause of the current worldwide financial crisis. That created a more difficult atmosphere for the USA financial institutions to operate abroad. Several countries are now trying to limit role of dollar as the world currency (one of the sins Saddam Hussein paid the price).

Also internal contradictions became much deeper and the neoliberal regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Like any overstretched empire it became hollow within with stretches on potholes ridden roads and decaying infrastructure visible to everyone. Politically, the Republican Party became a roadblock for any meaningful reform (and its radical wing -- the tea party even sending its representatives to Congress), the Party that is determined to rather take the USA the road of the USSR, then change its ideology. All this points to the fact that neoliberalism as an socio-economic doctrine is following the path of Bolshevism.

Neoliberal propaganda gradually lost effectiveness,
 and now  invokes internal protest and rejection much like Marxist propaganda in the USSR

Neoliberalism failed to fulfill its promises for the bottom 80% of population. They became more poorer, job security deteriorated, good jobs disappear, and even McJobs are scare judging from the fact that Wall Mart and McDonalds are able to fully staff their outlets.  McJobs are jobs that does not provide a living wages.  Opiod epidemics reminds me epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR during Brezhnev period.  Cannabis legalization belong to the same trend.

But its media dominance of neoliberalism paradoxically continues unabated. And this is despite the fact that after the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. We can expect that like was the case with Catholicism in middle ages and Bolshevism in the USSR, zombie phase of neoliberalism can last many decades (in the USSR, "zombie" state lasted two decades, say from 1970 to 1991, and neoliberalism with its emphasis on low human traits such as greed and supported by military and economic power of the USA, is considerably more resilient then Bolshevism). As of 2013 it is still supported by elites of several major western states (such as the USA, GB, Germany, France), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation. That means that is it reasonable to expect that its rule in G7 will continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite probably interrupted by bursts of social violence (Muslim immigrants in Europe are once such force).

In the US, for example, income and wealth inequality continue to increase, with stagnating middle-class earnings, reduced social mobility, and an allegedly meritocratic higher education system, generously supported by tax exemptions, has been turned into the system whose main beneficiaries are the children of the rich and successful. Superimposed on this class divide is an increasingly serious intergenerational divide, and increases level of unemployment of young people, which make social atmosphere somewhat similar to the one in Egypt, although the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists is absent.

More and more neoliberalism came to be perceived as a ruse intended to safeguard the interests of a malignantly narcissistic empire (the USA) and of rapacious multinationals. It is now more and more linked with low-brow cultural homogeneity, social Darwinism, encroachment on privacy, mass production of junk, and suppression of national sentiments and aspiration in favor of transnational monopolies. It even came to be associated with a bewildering variety of social ills: rising crime rates, unemployment, poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, organ trafficking, and other antisocial forms of conduct.

While ideology of neoliberalism is by-and-large discredited, the global economic institutions associated with its rise are not all equally moribund. For example, the global economic crisis of 2008 has unexpectedly improved the fortunes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization long famous for the neoliberal policy conditions attached to its loans that served to incorporate countries into a global neoliberal economic system. In 2008, a cascade of financial crises in Eastern Europe and Iceland fattened the IMF’s dwindling loan portfolio.

World Trade Organization (WTO), the key US-used and abused universal opener of markets to US corporations and investments is in worse shape then IMF, but still is able to enforce Washington consensus rules. The Doha round of negotiations is stalled, mostly due to irresolvable disputes between developed and developing countries. Consequently, the current crisis of neoliberalism raises many important questions about the future path of the current international institutions promoting the neoliberal order. But still Russia joined WTO in 2012 which means that this organization got a new lease of life.

The slide to "Neoliberalism in name only" under Trump

When ideology collapses the elite often reports to corporatism (and in extreme case to neo-fascism) That happened briefly in the USSR under Andropov, but he did not last long enough to establish a trend.

Trumps "bastard neoliberalism (neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization) mixed with economic nationalism can be called "neoliberalism in name only". Trump foreign economic policies look more and more like an economic aggression, economic racket, then a an economic platform. Nonetheless, that "neoliberalism in name only" is still a powerful global "brand" which the U.S. seeks to maintain at all costs for macro geopolitical reasons (The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West , Foreign Affairs)

The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the United States.

A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective under the circumstances.

This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts the tenets of modern capitalism.

Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding.

The USSR war in Afghanistan and the rampant militarism of the US neoliberal empire:
you can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them

The USSR occupation of Afghanistan was actually a trap created by Carter administration in order to weaken and possibly destroy  the USSR. They wanted that the USSR experienced its own Vietnam-style defeat.  As a side effect they created political Islam and Islam fundamentalist movement (exemplified by former CIA asset Osama bin Laden) that later bite them in the back.

The US elite got into this trap voluntarily after 9/11: first via occupations of  Afghanistan (the war continues to this day), then occupation of Iraq, Libya and initiating "color revolution" (and train and supply Sunni Islam fundamentalists, along with KSA and Turkey) to depose Assad government in Syria.

The USA still remains the most powerful country in the world with formidable military, and still can dictate it will military for small countries in a classic sense --  in a sense that "might makes right". It still can afford to behave as a word hegemon and the only source of justice ignoring the UN and other International organization, unless it is convenient to them.

But there are costs attacked and in case of Iraq war they are already substantial (to the tune of several trillion dollars). While effects on the USA economy of those set of wars of managing and expanding its neoliberal empire (and repartitioning ME, securing oil access and repartitioning the region in favor of Israel regional interests)  are still in the future, military adventurism was a gravestone on many previous empires, which tend to overstretch themselves and this fasten their final day. 

As Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". having first class military weakens is not everything when you face guerilla resistance in occupied country. Running aggressive foreign policy on a discredited ideology and relying on blunt propaganda and false flag operations is a difficult undertaking as resistance mounts and bubble out in un-anticipated areas.

Ukraine is one recent example, when neoliberal color revolution, which was performed by few thousands trained by the West far right militants, including openly neo-fascist squads, led to civil war in the country. Syria is another case of unanticipated effects, as Russia did not want to repeat experience of Libya and intervened, interfering with the USA goal of establishing Sunni-based Islamist regime, subservant to KSA and Turkey, and/or dismembering the country and creating   several weak Sunny dominated statelets with jihadists in power, the situation which greatly  benefit Turkey and Israel.  Israel correctly consider secular Assad régime as a greater threat and major obstacle in annexation of Golan Heights and eliminating Hezbollah in Lebanon.  It would prefer weak islamist regimes, hopefully engaged in protracted civil war to Assad regime any time.

Unfortunately, the recent troika of "neoliberalized" countries -- Libya, Syria  and Ukraine --  were not probably a swan song of muscular enforcement of neoliberal model on other countries. While sponsored by the USA and allies anti-Putin putsch in Russia (aka "white revolution") failed, events in Libya and, especially,  Ukraine prove the neoliberalism still can launch and win offensives at relatively low, acceptable cost (via color revolutions mechanism ). The main cost carry the population of the target country which is plunged  into economic and political chaos, in most cases including the civil war.  

But in the USA those wars also somewhat backfire with broken domestic infrastructure, decaying bridges and angered, restless, and partially drugged by opioids  population.  As well as thousands of crippled young men healthcare for whom till end of their lives will cost large amount of money.

In such circumstances chances of raising to power of an openly nationalistic leader substantially increase. Which was already demonstrated quite convincingly by the election of Trump.

Conclusions

Analogy of current crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and the USSR collapse is demonstrably far from perfect. The USSR was always in far less favorable conditions   then USA, operating is a hostile environment encircled by Western powers interested in its demise; also the collapse of the USSR happened during "triumphal march of neoliberalism" which provided ready-made alternative to Brezhnev's socialism and stimulated the betrayal of Soviet nomenklatura of their old ideology and "switching ideological camps").  But the key to collapse of the USSR was   the collapse of Bolshevik's ideology, which has happened some time from 1945 to 1963.

Still it allows to point out some  alarming similarities. Which does not bode well for the USA future, if the hypothesis that the same fundamental forces are in play in both cases. In this sense the collapse of neoliberal ideology ("free market fundamentalism"), which happened in  2008 is a bad sign indeed. .

There is still a chance that the US elite proves to be flexible and manage to escape this "ideological mousetrap" by switching to some new ideology, but they are pretty weak, if we look at the quality of Trump administration and the personalities in the USA Congress. Some of them too closely correspond to the depiction of sociopaths to stay comfortable.  The same was true about certain parts of Soviet "nomenklatura", especially leaders of Komsomol (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League ), from which such questionable post-communist figures such a Khodorkovsky, in Russia (of "pipes and corpses" film fame), and Turchinov in Ukraine  later emerged.

The recent humiliation of the US representative in the UN Nikki Haley by Bolivian representative also suggest that neoliberal propaganda lost large part of its effectiveness and unilateral military actions by the USA are now questioned more effectively: Bolivian UN Rep Sacha Llorenti Blasts U.S. for Attacking Syria, Educates Nikki Haley on Iraq, UN & U.S. History

Llorenti’s fourteen minute address to the UNSC was a tour de force – a critique of unilateral military action by the U.S. (it violates the UN charter), an analysis of previous emotional appeals for urgent action (think Colin Powell in 2003), as well as a reminder of the United States’ long history of interventionism in Latin America. Llorenti also called the UNSC to task for its internal structure, which grants considerably more power upon its five permanent members than it does its ten non-permanent members.

It was a remarkable anti-imperialist display. Read a partial transcript and/or watch the full video below.

That closely corresponds to what had happened with Bolshevism ideology around 1980 -- when it became the source of jokes both inside the USSR and abroad.  Or a little bit later, if we remember "Tear down this wall!" -- a line from a speech made by US President Ronald Reagan in West Berlin on June 12, 1987. When  Paul Craig Roberts  claims that It Has Become Embarrassing To Be An American  that is a symptom of a problem, yet another symptom of the demise of neoliberal propaganda,  despite obvious exaggeration.

It would be  too much stretch to state that neoliberal and especially globalist propaganda is now rejected both by population within the USA (which resulted in defeat of Hillary Clinton -- an establishment candidates and election of the  "wild card" candidate  -- Donald Trump -- with clearly nationalistic impulses) and outside the USA. 

 


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jul 21, 2019] On the alleged Arendt´s banality of evil, well, some more evil than others, if not because of their clearly over the top ambitions

Notable quotes:
"... If you believe the US media if they just removed Putin, Russia would go back to being a good little puppet state just like under Yeltins. Which is a shockingly naïve way to look at international relations. ..."
"... It is not just Chinese but Asian in general. Watch several seasons of the Japanese cartoon "Gundam" and get back to me about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are in it. ..."
"... People always suffer when they allow corrupt sociopaths to gain power. That is as true today as it was in Germany in 1930's and 40's. ..."
"... According to news reports since the moron in charge announced that he had signed an executive order 'blacklisting' Huawei, those lovely humans at Google are denying Huawei phones access to gmail and playstore. The android operating system is open source and still available to Huawei. ..."
"... Doubtless FB and M$ will follow suit. Getting rid of all the nasty stuff that spies on users 24/7/365 now means that Huawei phones have all the advantages with none of the disadvantages. ..."
"... In Games of Thrones, the good characters are regularly disembowled, choked and drowned to death. Or turn evil. The evil characters grow in power and menace and rarely perish. The overwhelming message is that all people and all power are evil. There is no good in the world or what good there is will be quickly stomped out. Resistance is useless. ..."
"... The main message is really that resistance is futile . If the powers that be can condition the contemporary (and naturally idealistic) Western youth to accept that hypothesis, any threat to their depredations and financial tyranny is rendered impotent. If resistance is futile, said youth will simply have to accept how things are and try to stay out of the way of tyrannical kings, rapacious queens, brutal captains of the guards and wanton dragons. I.e. sit down and shut up while HRC, John Bolton, John Brennan and James Clapper ruin the planet. ..."
"... In the US 33% supported unilateral action, 70% of congress voted for the unilateral military action ..."
"... Thomas Jefferson said: "I tremble for my countrymen because I know God is just..." ..."
"... "The powerful do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." ..."
"... The movies Hollywood produced are often telling psychological conflicts as the central story. Each character has a certain fixed attitude and the interacting of the characters create the story. It does not matter if the setting is in antic times or in the far future. In the end there are always the bad and the good guy slamming it out in a fistfight. ..."
"... The historic Chinese drama which I currently favor are based on sociological storytelling. As they develop the stories form their characters. Their attitudes change over time because the developing exterior circumstances push them into certain directions. Good becomes bad and again good. The persons change because they must, not because the are genetically defined. I find these kind of movies more interesting. ..."
"... The take away quote "Wang also reiterated the principled stand against the "long-arm jurisdiction" imposed by the United States." Empire is having its hand slapped back in Venezuela, Iran, Syria, ??? ..."
"... I see empire as a war junkie and they are starting to twitch in withdrawals which is dangerous but a necessary stage. Trumps latest tweets show that level of energy. The spinning plates of empire are not wowing the crowds like before.....what is plan Z? ..."
"... My own view is that, as with everything the US has done lately, it already lost the war before it even stepped into battle in the theater. ..."
"... Strangest thing of all that the US itself would do the forcing out of itself from the world's trust. ..."
"... As I've written previously, the political philosophers of the nascent USA thought they would have a Natural Aristocracy ( here and here ) somewhat based on a meritocratic system instead of the Old World's Inherited Aristocracy based on blood relations and closed to anyone not within a very small circle. Yet it was still an Aristocracy with all it inherent evils, and it is that vast assortment of evils the US citizenry has yet to overcome in its supposed--idealized--quest for self-government. ..."
"... If you are interested in watching a film with a sociological approach to telling a story and you are close to a cinema, Mike Leigh's "Peterloo" just started screening last Thursday in Australia. The film is an exploration of British society during the Regency period (in the early 19th century), the class attitudes and opinions prevalent then, and the conditions and events that led to 60,000 - 100,000 labouring class people gathering at St Peter's Field in Manchester in August 1819, and how it was viciously broken up by cavalry and foot soldiers acting on orders of the aristocracy. ..."
"... The culture I am immersed in (USA) is heavily weighted toward the dramatic and two dimensional. Simply put, mass perspective engineering is geared to over simplify and reinforce these views with media imprinting via hollywood, madison ave. etc. The lenses through which impressions from the "outside world" pass through engineered to give the desired results rather than expand consciousness or engender critical thinking. In short, we are breeding for weakness and gullibility. ..."
"... If it is Hollywood, then you can be certain the intention is to manipulate the younger generation to supporting and idolising their permanent wars. On the face of it, that indeed appears to be the case. ..."
May 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Oliver K , May 19, 2019 3:32:24 PM | 5

" Why The Takedown Of Heinz-Christian Strache Will Strengthen The Right | Main May 19, 2019 The story in the American Conservative is very weak: that "the Americans" have already won the war is just due to the built-in superiority: the "land of the free" against "communist dictatorship" (so everybody knows who has to win). Or, a variation, "free market" against "state-owned".

A typical statement of that article: "China views commercial relations with other countries as an extension of the political conflict between Western democracies and itself -- that is, an extension of war." -- a very defining element of the "American" character, to project the own aggression onto others.

There was another opinion-piece somewhere, can't find it anymore, where the author argued that hopefully that "trade-war" will do really good for the Chinese economy -- forget about the US, and develop the home market.

As I believe that the sanctions are a great gift to Russia, I also believe that this "trade-war" is a (potential) great gift to China.

Kadath , May 19, 2019 4:21:27 PM | 0

That was an interesting article on psychological vs sociological storytelling and it makes a good companion piece when thinking about how the US media personalizes US geo-political conflicts with the heads of rival state (Putin, Xi, Castro, Kim Jong-un, Khomeini, Gaddafi).

If you believe the US media if they just removed Putin, Russia would go back to being a good little puppet state just like under Yeltins. Which is a shockingly naïve way to look at international relations. States have permanent interests and any competent head of State will always represent those interests to the best of their ability. True, you could overthrow the government and replace every senior government figure with a compliant puppet (which the US always tries to do), but the permanent interests that arise from the inhabitants of the State will always rise up and (re)assert themselves. When the State leadership is bribed or threatened into ignoring or acting against these needs it ultimately creates a failed State.

Even the US media seems to subconsciously understand this, when they talk of "overly ambitious US goals of remaking societies", however, they never make the logical next step of investigating why these States do not wish to be remade as per the US imagined ideal, what the interests of these actually are and how diplomacy can resolve conflicts.

According to the US media everything boils down to the US = good, anyone who disagrees with our policies = bad and diplomacy is just a measure of how vulgar our threats are during talks. I'm specifically thinking of the US Ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman's boast of a US aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean as being 100,000 tons of diplomacy to Russia - of all the ridiculous and stupid things to says to Russia when supposedly trying to "ease" tensions (I still can't believe Huntsmen, former Ambassador to China under Obama, is regarded a "serious" professional ambassador within the State departments when compared to all the celebrity ambassadorships the US President for fundraiser).

KC , May 19, 2019 4:31:39 PM | 1
@WJ #8 - That's probably a daily occurrence there anyway.
KC , May 19, 2019 4:35:35 PM | 2
Somewhat on-topic, China's state media is broadcasting Anti-American movies .
William Gruff , May 19, 2019 4:43:17 PM | 4
Cresty @9

It is not just Chinese but Asian in general. Watch several seasons of the Japanese cartoon "Gundam" and get back to me about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are in it.

The whole notion that the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are set in stone is antithetical to any worldview founded in Buddhism/Confucianism, or influenced by the same. Can you imagine western children's programming teaching ambiguity between good and evil? That which is which depends upon the observer's perspective? This is the sort of concept that few western people get exposed to until graduate level ethics and philosophy courses.

Or maybe not. I have never seen a single episode of "Game of Thrones" and maybe that delves into ethical complexities that typical western mass media avoids. I wouldn't know. What I do know is that this moral and ethical complexity is something that most Asian children are introduced to before they hit their teens.

Kadath , May 19, 2019 4:59:33 PM | 5
Trump just tweeted "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!". Needless to say, more ridiculousness, Trump is pretty close to plagiarizing himself with his prior comments regarding North Korean "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the "Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times." Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!". I think Trump is getting desperate now waiting by the phone for the Iranians to call him. Trump is certainly still smarting after the failed Venezuela coup and wants to avoid a second embarrassing defeat, however I doubt the Iranians will care that much about his latest threat by tweet.
Nemesiscalling , May 19, 2019 5:18:09 PM | 6
GOT was jarring this season. In the penultimate episode, a dragon wreaks havoc on a western capital city, brutally murdering most of its inhabitants.

It is impossible not to make the correlation of the dragon as China and kings landing (The city) as Washington d.c.

From this one can glean that they were attempting to show the ascendancy of China and the utter destruction of the U.S. With shades of gray thrown about as to if the people of the city deserved to be burned alive and as to whether the dragon and its rider, China, have become what they originally set out to vanquish. The old Nietzsche maxim...those who fight with monsters...

It was indeed unsettling because there are no moral winners. It is well realised for this reason but poorly written and produced in other aspects as noted above by other posters.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 5:26:49 PM | 7
On the alleged Arendt´s banality of evil, well, some more evil than others, if not because of their clearly over the top ambitions:

Interesting comment linking some sources and articles on US military strategy from decades ago , some of which I am not able to get to anymore, as the article at ICH numbered 3011:

"First published From Parameters, Summer 1997, pp. 4-14: US Army War College: "There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing."

"Excerpts From Pentagon's Plan: 'Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival':

"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.

This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia.

There are three additional aspects to this objective: First, the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.
Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role. An effective reconstitution capability is important here, since it implies that a potential rival could not hope to quickly or easily gain a predominant military position in the world."

... access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil"

Jackrabbit , May 19, 2019 6:01:23 PM | 9
Nemesiscalling @16

GOT is an allegory that explores the nature of power. If you see China's destruction of Washington it says more about you than the show. Firebombing of Dresden might be a more apt analogy.

People always suffer when they allow corrupt sociopaths to gain power. That is as true today as it was in Germany in 1930's and 40's.

The complaints about poor writing are just fan sadness at unexpected horrors that actually make sense for the show. Loose ends created by these horrors will likely be resolved in the last episode tonight.

Maximus , May 19, 2019 6:09:55 PM | 1
Link not working above here it is: https://twitter.com/realgollumtrump?lang=en
Roy G , May 19, 2019 7:12:22 PM | 3
WJ @13 thanks for the link, I am eternally hopeful that this particular thread gets pulled on until it unravels.

One of my distinct memories of the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (I lived in NYC at the time), was the trumpeting of the Post and other tabloids about 'the Dancing Arabs,' which obviously fanned the flames of hatred towards the designated villains. Once it was revealed that they were actually Israelis, then crickets until the whole thing was shoved down the memory hole.

Dolores P Candyarse , May 19, 2019 7:30:47 PM | 4
I'm going out today to buy a couple of Huawei 'phones'.

According to news reports since the moron in charge announced that he had signed an executive order 'blacklisting' Huawei, those lovely humans at Google are denying Huawei phones access to gmail and playstore. The android operating system is open source and still available to Huawei.

Doubtless FB and M$ will follow suit. Getting rid of all the nasty stuff that spies on users 24/7/365 now means that Huawei phones have all the advantages with none of the disadvantages.

They put their own chips in newer models and I have no doubt will find enough bright sparks to take over apps integration meaning that this divergence point will become a boon not a hurdle. Even better a Huawei costs 60% of a comparable korean model and half the price of the fbi backdoored american shit.
I really like thinking expressed by an un-named english politician in a Henry Jackson Society report: ""Huawei has long been accused of espionage" – a claim repeatedly denied by the firm – and notes that "while there are no definitely proven cases", a precautionary principle should be adopted."

All politicians are crooks and liars, everybody says so, lets lock em all up right now, no need for evidence or trial or any of that due process nonsense, the precautionary principle should apply.

Uncoy , May 19, 2019 7:32:02 PM | 5
William Gruff wrote:
I have never seen a single episode of "Game of Thrones" and maybe that delves into ethical complexities that typical western mass media avoids. I wouldn't know.

Having suffered through four seasons of Game of Thrones, after a degree in philology and literature, I'd be happy to share my impressions with you. In Games of Thrones, the good characters are regularly disembowled, choked and drowned to death. Or turn evil. The evil characters grow in power and menace and rarely perish. The overwhelming message is that all people and all power are evil. There is no good in the world or what good there is will be quickly stomped out. Resistance is useless.

The main message is really that resistance is futile . If the powers that be can condition the contemporary (and naturally idealistic) Western youth to accept that hypothesis, any threat to their depredations and financial tyranny is rendered impotent. If resistance is futile, said youth will simply have to accept how things are and try to stay out of the way of tyrannical kings, rapacious queens, brutal captains of the guards and wanton dragons. I.e. sit down and shut up while HRC, John Bolton, John Brennan and James Clapper ruin the planet.

Despite impressive production values, excellent acting (for the most part) and majestic locations, Game of Thrones is truly the most evil large scale creative work I've ever seen. On a philosophical level, Game of Thrones has no redeeming features. At best an impressionable mind might come away with a hedonist mindset, i.e. the traditional salve of weak spirits, carpe diem .

PS. There's some very good comments at the tail end of the Takedown of Heinz-Christian Strache including one of my own covering in some depth the Austrian political background to this event. Worth revisiting if you only saw the early comments.

Colin , May 19, 2019 7:39:27 PM | 6
Analysis from a poll sometimes cited by Chomsky.

See Gallup International poll pg 134
https://www.circap.org/uploads/1/8/1/6/18163511/pollsoniraq-nonus15.pdf

Using populations per country from '03 we get the following conclusions:

of the 36 countries outside the US we get 33% of the world population where less than 8% supported unilateral military action by American and her allies and 57% supported under no circumstances

this list excludes 42 additional countries with another 40% of world population who have had their governments overthrown or attempted to be overthrown by the US since WWII

In the US 33% supported unilateral action, 70% of congress voted for the unilateral military action

Being that the invasion was illegal and unpopular, the Bush admin invented a 'coalition of the willing to give the appearance of support.

The Trump admin needed to create a similar type of facade for the Venezuelan coup. Such things are needed specifically because the move is so unpopular and illegal.

KC , May 19, 2019 8:21:46 PM | 0
At least the alternative media is taking notice of the warmongering tactics of John Bolton .
NemesisCalling , May 19, 2019 9:03:28 PM | 4
@ Jen 29

I suppose that is a valid theory. But as the viewer we know the motivations of Dany and why in some small regard the people in King's Landing deserve a little roughing up.

Thomas Jefferson said: "I tremble for my countrymen because I know God is just..."

The difference here is that we judge Assad even though we don't see what he is truly doing.

Here we see what Dany has done, mass slaughter, and think to ourselves...we kinda had it coming.

NemesisCalling , May 19, 2019 9:21:34 PM | 5
@25 uncoy

Concerning your take on GoT: Isn't this really the thesis of Thucydides through and through reflected in GoT almost to a T?

"The powerful do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." GoT is not disturbing to be nihilistic and shocking. It is holding up a mirror to history. But the quality of the show has declined since they have come to the end of the road in adapting the source material. The show has overtaken the books.

psychohistorian , May 19, 2019 9:51:22 PM | 7
Below is a link from Xinhuanet about the China financial sector opening up China to further open up financial sector: central bank

The take away quote
"
As of the end of March, overseas investors bought a net of 1.77 trillion yuan (about 260.3 billion U.S. dollars) of bonds at the country's interbank bond market, up 31 percent from a year earlier, and held 5.4 trillion yuan of yuan-denominated financial assets, up 19 percent year on year, according to the central bank.
"
What us peasants don't know is the extent to which China will let foreign investment influence their socialistic ways. That said, China is the new empire, private or public is yet to be determined but guess where all the "smart" money in the world is going? The money movements are a giant sucking sound that will leave America under the global economic bus.

Or not and China maintains its socialistic ways including projecting them around the world.

vk , May 19, 2019 10:06:03 PM | 8
The movies Hollywood produced are often telling psychological conflicts as the central story. Each character has a certain fixed attitude and the interacting of the characters create the story. It does not matter if the setting is in antic times or in the far future. In the end there are always the bad and the good guy slamming it out in a fistfight.

The historic Chinese drama which I currently favor are based on sociological storytelling. As they develop the stories form their characters. Their attitudes change over time because the developing exterior circumstances push them into certain directions. Good becomes bad and again good. The persons change because they must, not because the are genetically defined. I find these kind of movies more interesting.

That's the difference between materialism (marxism) and idealism (kantism, hegelianism and noekantism). Besides, an idealist tv series helps selling more merch and doing more sequels, hence the capitalist preference for idealism.

S , May 19, 2019 10:50:33 PM | 3
@KC #12:
China's state media is broadcasting Anti-American movies.

How are these movies "anti-American"? These movies are simply the truth.

psychohistorian , May 19, 2019 10:55:01 PM | 6
Below is my final Xinhuanet link about China/US relations

Chinese FM urges U.S. to avoid further damage of ties in phone call with Pompeo

The take away quote "Wang also reiterated the principled stand against the "long-arm jurisdiction" imposed by the United States." Empire is having its hand slapped back in Venezuela, Iran, Syria, ???

Where are they going to get their war on?

I see empire as a war junkie and they are starting to twitch in withdrawals which is dangerous but a necessary stage. Trumps latest tweets show that level of energy. The spinning plates of empire are not wowing the crowds like before.....what is plan Z?

ben , May 19, 2019 10:58:49 PM | 7
Hot tip, GOT is just a movie. Please, no more psychological insights. What fans really need, is some REAL WORLD justice, something that's noticeably missing in today's world.
Grieved , May 19, 2019 11:21:32 PM | 8
@5 Oliver K

I agree that the American Conservative article was weak - as b obviously thought. It has the US trade war against China completely wrong. I side with b in his hunch that China will win. My own view is that, as with everything the US has done lately, it already lost the war before it even stepped into battle in the theater.

And let's counter the author's point, in the weak article, that China needs the US trade surplus more than the US needs the imports from China. The author says that China has no way to substitute for exports to the US. There's abundant recent analysis on this, showing the relatively small part of China's economy that hinges on this trade, but here's a good Sputnik interview that illustrates how easily China can simply absorb goods into its own domestic market:

Trade War: US to Pay Heavy Price for Underestimating China – Chinese Businessman

I especially liked this part:

"...we have our colossal domestic market, which has no competitors throughout the world. Our consumer and innovation markets provide us with a large number of advantages and room, giving China an opportunity to make a manoeuvre. Therefore, their blockage gives China a chance to become even stronger. We must express our appreciation to our mentor, Trump, for this, for this lesson and for forcing China to figure out how to withstand the threats on its own."

The US used to be an important nation to do business with - commercial, diplomatic, military. But as it has become "agreement incapable", nations are forced to replace it. This takes a little time and readjustment, but then the change is permanent.

Strangest thing of all that the US itself would do the forcing out of itself from the world's trust.

ben , May 19, 2019 11:24:01 PM | 9
For those with a penchant for movie dissection, I offer this from Truthdig;

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/game-of-thrones-an-american-parable/

Zack , May 19, 2019 11:50:54 PM | 0
Trump, Saudi Arabia warn Iran against Middle East conflict
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed regional developments, including efforts to strengthen security and stability, in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudi Media Ministry tweeted on Sunday.

"We want peace and stability in the region but we will not sit on our hands in light of the continuing Iranian attack," Jubeir said. "The ball is in Iran's court and it is up to Iran to determine what its fate will be."

He said the crew of an Iranian oil tanker that had been towed to Saudi Arabia early this month after a request for help due to engine trouble were still in the kingdom receiving the "necessary care". The crew are 24 Iranians and two Bangladeshis .

Is this a veiled threat on the lives of these crew members?

Kadath , May 20, 2019 12:41:41 AM | 2
Re@ 51 James, well Sputniknews is reporting that the Saudi's claim that the Houthis are planning to attack 300 critical infrastructure facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the coming weeks so that might be the instigating event your concerned about
karlof1 , May 20, 2019 12:45:56 AM | 3
Grieved @44--

Thanks for your kudos! As I've written previously, the political philosophers of the nascent USA thought they would have a Natural Aristocracy ( here and here ) somewhat based on a meritocratic system instead of the Old World's Inherited Aristocracy based on blood relations and closed to anyone not within a very small circle. Yet it was still an Aristocracy with all it inherent evils, and it is that vast assortment of evils the US citizenry has yet to overcome in its supposed--idealized--quest for self-government.

Recall that George Washington was deemed safe to become the first president because he could be trusted not to proclaim himself king --something often forgotten by students of US History.

I've often lamented on the nature of the 1787 Constitution because it allows any POTUS to become a king with almost zero hindrances on the power wielded. Sure, compared with other systems of government at the time, the USA's was revolutionary, but only down to the waist to borrow a phrase from Gilbert & Sullivan. Madison's theory, IMO, was--other than being Aristocratic--okay until his most important check/balance was removed--that of the "dueling oval office" where the losing POTUS candidate was awarded the Vice-Presidency--imagine Hillary Clinton as Veep with Trump in the driver seat! IMO, the 12th Amendment fatally wounded Madison's construction of a government that arrived at great decisions based on a consensus of genuine national interests instead of partisanship.

Arguing that action is the great fault that must be corrected doesn't get much play nowadays. Indeed, it's very difficult to debate Constitutional Reform given the engineered political climate since the current situation suits the Ruling Oligarchy just fine.

I hope everyone had an opportunity to click the link I provided to the series of paintings known as The Course of Empire . ICYMI, here it is again . Please note which Empire's being copied and compare that with the predominant architectural theme in the Outlaw US Empire's Imperium. Creditors ruled and eventually destroyed that Empire. That's one historical lesson that's totally omitted from the historiography of the USA.

By and large, we know what and where the problems are. The fundamental question is, will we ever get the opportunity to fix them?

somebody , May 20, 2019 1:26:48 AM | 5
Posted by: Grieved | May 19, 2019 11:21:32 PM | 48

Their disadvantage is that they have to import energy. So they need export if they do not wish to run a trade deficit. They do not necessarily need the US for this though if they can trade in Yuan.

TJ , May 20, 2019 5:16:46 AM | 1
Speaking of Chinese stories, here in the UK I grew up watching The Water Margin , from the opening titles 'The ancient sages said "do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?" So may one just man become an army.' and also Monkey , the opening titles gave us "The irrepressible spirit of Monkey" .
Thirsty , May 20, 2019 7:55:53 AM | 5
b, it is generally fund raising time during this time for some publishers (i.e. counterpunch etc) and I would like to send you something as well. Can you please post the payment information. Thanks.
Jen , May 20, 2019 8:28:59 AM | 6
Peter AU 1 @ 62:

If you are interested in watching a film with a sociological approach to telling a story and you are close to a cinema, Mike Leigh's "Peterloo" just started screening last Thursday in Australia. The film is an exploration of British society during the Regency period (in the early 19th century), the class attitudes and opinions prevalent then, and the conditions and events that led to 60,000 - 100,000 labouring class people gathering at St Peter's Field in Manchester in August 1819, and how it was viciously broken up by cavalry and foot soldiers acting on orders of the aristocracy.

The film is at least 150 minutes long and is a highly immersive experience. There is not much plot in the Hollywood sense of the term. I believe reviews have been mixed with most film critics complaining about the film being too long and boring. But if you are prepared to watch a film that uses a sociological approach to telling a narrative, then you'll agree with me that the film actually isn't long enough.

Chevrus , May 20, 2019 9:19:33 AM | 0
@Hmpf-59

Very interesting studies and the ideas that they might spawn. The near parallels of the micro and macro as well as the flow patterns.

The culture I am immersed in (USA) is heavily weighted toward the dramatic and two dimensional. Simply put, mass perspective engineering is geared to over simplify and reinforce these views with media imprinting via hollywood, madison ave. etc. The lenses through which impressions from the "outside world" pass through engineered to give the desired results rather than expand consciousness or engender critical thinking. In short, we are breeding for weakness and gullibility.

In regard to large scale dynamics resembling the physics of things like the laws of thermodynamics, I am wondering if phenomena like those alluded to above might be engulfed and influenced by these kinds of natural patterns. So for example: Looking past the drama of sanctions, trade wars, and good guys vs. bad guys, wont the large scale movements caused by these things begin to move according to a kind of physics?

I keep wondering what the result of this latest round of economic warfare will lead to. If the USA continues to sanction, embargo and blockade (at the behest of banking cartels?) will this not cause a mass exodus from dollar reserves, SWIFT, BIS and the like? I hear all sorts of opinions, bushels of dis-info and I'm mostly at a loss as to what to think. We are clearly nearing the end of the Bretton-Woods era so a reset is in order. The USA is a mere 6% of the world population and some would say at the end of it's due date as far an being an "international influencer".

So if they and their EU poodles go ahead and sanction every nation who refuses to bend the knee what's stopping these nations from simply bypassing these decrees and going about their business? I get the sense that this is already happening quietly. Russia, China and various partner nations are creating alternatives in many forms, be they interweb servers, financial networks, OBOR, SCO and more I have never heard of.

Perhaps the ratcheting up of tensions could also be swept up in the turbulence of thermodynamics? If sanctions become embargoes and then blockades, what happens to the "compressions ratios in the Straits of Hormuz?

BM , May 20, 2019 9:26:11 AM | 1
Re: Game of Thrones

Well, I've come across a few advertisements, but I always thought it was some kind of children's video game. I cannot imagine why anyone other than a socially stunted and mis-developed American or Americanised adolescent could want to watch such infantile deranged garbage.

If it is Hollywood, then you can be certain the intention is to manipulate the younger generation to supporting and idolising their permanent wars. On the face of it, that indeed appears to be the case.

OK, I've got that off my chest now!

[Jul 20, 2019] Warren's Weaknesses

Jul 20, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Take yer pick. These and more are linked all over the innertubes and growing in number and breath of issues everyday:

Why the Differences Between Sanders and Warren Matter https://jacobinmag.com/2019/01/elizabeth-warren-bernie-sanders-socialism...

That Time Warren Cheered Trump. Well, this was disappointing... Elizabeth Warren stands up and applauds Trump's promise that "America will never be a socialist country." https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=416898935744430

Elizabeth Warren hates money in politics, keeps taking campaign donations from rich lobbyists and corporate executives https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/elizabeth-warren-hates-money-...

Elizabeth Warren ripped Joe Biden's big Philly fund-raiser. Last year, she did an event with some of the same rich donors. https://www.inquirer.com/news/elizabeth-warren-joe-biden-presidential-fu...

Leftover PAC money funneled into Warren's campaign https://www.gloucestertimes.com/election/leftover-pac-money-funneled-int...

Elizabeth Warren's 'big money' rejection doesn't apply to general https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/feb/26/elizabeth-warrens-big-m...

Elizabeth Warren's Campaign Turned To A Big Donor To Pay For The DNC Voter Database, Despite Her Fundraising Pledge https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/rubycramer/elizabeth-warren-fundrai...

Warren has a plan for Wall Street -- and Wall Street isn't panicking https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/18/elizabeth-warren-wall-street-e...

Why Wall Street prefers Warren to Sanders https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-money/2019/07/18/why-wall-s...

Elizabeth Warren on Bernie Sanders: "He's a socialist, and I believe in markets." https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rubycramer/elizabeth-warren-bernie-...

Elizabeth Warren decided to specifically stand up and applaud Trump when he said "America will never be a socialist country." https://twitter.com/HammerMtPress/status/1094369068063358976 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6B_MYpByUs&feature=youtu.be&t=3753

snoopydawg on Fri, 07/19/2019 - 5:06pm

[Jul 20, 2019] Escobar Western Intellectuals Freak Over Frankenstein China

Jul 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Decoupling

Assuming the decoupling would take place, that could be easily perceived as "strategic blackmail" imposed by the Trump administration. Yet what the Trump administration wants is not exactly what the US establishment wants – as shown by an open letter to Trump signed by scores of academics, foreign policy experts and business leaders who are worried that "decoupling" China from the global economy – as if Washington could actually pull off such an impossibility – would generate massive blowback.

What may actually happen in terms of a US-China "decoupling" is what Beijing is already, actively working on: extending trade partnerships with the EU and across the Global South.

And that will lead, according to Li, to the Chinese leadership offering deeper and wider market access to its partners. This will soon be the case with the EU, as discussed in Brussels in the spring.

Sun Jie, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that deepening partnerships with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will be essential in case a decoupling is in the cards.

For his part Liu Qing, an economics professor at Renmin University, stressed the need for top international relations management, dealing with everyone from Europe to the Global South, to prevent their companies from replacing Chinese companies in selected global supply chains.

And Wang Xiaosong, an economics professor at Renmin University, emphasized that a concerted Chinese strategic approach in dealing with Washington is absolutely paramount.

All about Belt and Road

A few optimists among Western intellectuals would rather characterize what is going on as a vibrant debate between proponents of "restraint" and "offshore balancing" and proponents of "liberal hegemony". In fact, it's actually a firefight.

Among the Western intellectuals singled out by the puzzled Frankenstein guy, it is virtually impossible to find another voice of reason to match Martin Jacques , now a senior fellow at Cambridge University. When China Rules the World , his hefty tome published 10 years ago, still leaps out of an editorial wasteland of almost uniformly dull publications by so-called Western "experts" on China.

Jacques has understood that now it's all about the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative:

"BRI has the potential to offer another kind of world, another set of values, another set of imperatives, another way of organizing, another set of institutions, another set of relationships."

Belt and Road, adds Jacques, "offers an alternative to the existing international order. The present international order was designed by and still essentially privileges the rich world, which represents only 15% of the world's population. BRI, on the other hand, is addressing at least two-thirds of the world's population. This is extraordinarily important for this moment in history."

[Jul 18, 2019] Dmitry Orlov offers a highly-pertinent review of a current report to the US Congress about the severe degradation of the US's capacity to produce ANY heavy industrial goods

Jul 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rhisiart Gwilym , Jul 17 2019 22:35 utc | 66

@ Trailer Trash 23

Dmitry Orlov offers a highly-pertinent review of a current report to the US Congress about the severe degradation of the US's capacity to produce ANY heavy industrial goods - including advanced weapons such as replacement aircraft carriers, cruisers, tanks and all the rest - within its own borders, independent of (exceedingly vulnerable) global supply networks:

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/07/war-profiteers-and-demise-of-us.html#more

Also, the US only has 'plenty' of fossil-hydrocarbon fuel on cloud-cuckoo-land paper. In reality, it has quite a lot of such stuff which it will never access, and will never be able to access, because of the non-negotiable, iron logic of EROEI and EROCI (the second acronym relating to energy returned on financial capital invested; currently a long way red-ink negative across the whole US fracking ponzi). EROEI refers to the even more intractable, terminally-insoluble problem of energy returned on ENERGY invested. When this gets down to around 4 to 1 or thereabouts, it's game over for actually being able to maintain an industrial hitech society that can hope - credibly - to do fossil-hydrocarbon mining in any seriously challenging conditions - which most of the world's remaining pools of such fuels now exhibit.

These predicaments are qualitatively different from problems; problems, by definition, can hope to be solved; predicaments, inherently, can't be, and can only be endured. The world is now close to the edge of a decisive non-availability of sufficient fossil-hydrocarbon fuels to keep even a skeleton semblance of modern hitech industrial society operating - at all. That's the predicament that is already staring us in the face, and that will soon be trampling us into the ground. Doesn't mean that hopeless political inadequates such as PompousHippo and The Insane Geriatric Walrus won't attempt to trigger such insanity as an aggression against Iran, though, they being too stupid, too delusional, and too morally-degenarate, to know any better.

This is the overall situation which insists that the US has literally zero chance of attacking Iran, and actually getting anything remotely resembling a 'win' out of it. Read Dmitry's piece to get a more detailed outline of why this is so.

PS: The above considerations apply just as decisively to the US's nuclear weapon capacity as they do to all the other hitech industrial toys which USAmerica is now barely able to produce on its own - at all.

[Jul 18, 2019] Most of the lost US manufacturing jobs in recent decades probably are not coming back

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, correlation is not causation, and there is no shortage of alternative explanations for the decline in U.S. manufacturing. Globalization, offshoring, and skills gaps are just three frequently cited causes. Moreover, some researchers, like MIT's David Autor, have argued that workers are benefiting from working alongside robots. ..."
"... Yet the evidence suggests there is essentially no relationship between the change in manufacturing employment and robot use. Despite the installation of far more robots between 1993 and 2007, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 1996 and 2012 compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States. (We introduce a three-year time lag to allow for robots to influence the labor market and continued with the most recent data, 2012). ..."
"... Korea, France, and Italy also lost fewer manufacturing jobs than the United States even as they introduced more industrial robots. On the other hand, countries like the United Kingdom and Australia invested less in robots but saw faster declines in their manufacturing sectors. ..."
Jan 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : January 28, 2017 at 01:49 PM , 2017 at 01:49 PM
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2015/04/29/dont-blame-the-robots-for-lost-manufacturing-jobs/

Don't blame the robots for lost manufacturing jobs

Scott Andes and Mark Muro

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

a recent blog we described new research by George Graetz and Guy Michaels that shows the impact of automation technology in productivity statistics. So now there is good evidence that robots are a driver of economic growth.

However, this new evidence poses a question: Has productivity growth from robots come at the cost of manufacturing jobs?

Between 1993 and 2007 (the timeframe studied by Graetz and Micheals) the United States increased the number of robots per hour worked by 237 percent. During the same period the U.S. economy shed 2.2 million manufacturing jobs. Assuming the two trends are linked doesn't seem farfetched.

Of course, correlation is not causation, and there is no shortage of alternative explanations for the decline in U.S. manufacturing. Globalization, offshoring, and skills gaps are just three frequently cited causes. Moreover, some researchers, like MIT's David Autor, have argued that workers are benefiting from working alongside robots.

So is there a relationship between job loss and the use of industrial robots?

The substantial variation of the degree to which countries deploy robots should provide clues. If robots are a substitute for human workers, then one would expect the countries with much higher investment rates in automation technology to have experienced greater employment loss in their manufacturing sectors. Germany deploys over three times as many robots per hour worked than the United States, largely due to Germany's robust automotive industry, which is by far the most robot-intensive industry (with over 10 times more robots per worker than the average industry). Sweden has 60 percent more robots per hour worked than the United States thanks to its highly technical metal and chemical industries.

Yet the evidence suggests there is essentially no relationship between the change in manufacturing employment and robot use. Despite the installation of far more robots between 1993 and 2007, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 1996 and 2012 compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States. (We introduce a three-year time lag to allow for robots to influence the labor market and continued with the most recent data, 2012).

Korea, France, and Italy also lost fewer manufacturing jobs than the United States even as they introduced more industrial robots. On the other hand, countries like the United Kingdom and Australia invested less in robots but saw faster declines in their manufacturing sectors.

...

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 28, 2017 at 02:12 PM
"Despite the installation of far more robots between 1993 and 2007, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 1996 and 2012 compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States. "

Yes the U.S. and Germany have a similar pattern. So what.

Peter K. : , January 28, 2017 at 02:07 PM
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-28/why-factory-jobs-are-shrinking-everywhere

Why Factory Jobs Are Shrinking Everywhere
by Charles Kenny

April 28, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT

A report from the Boston Consulting Group last week suggested the U.S. had become the second-most-competitive manufacturing location among the 25 largest manufacturing exporters worldwide. While that news is welcome, most of the lost U.S. manufacturing jobs in recent decades aren't coming back. In 1970, more than a quarter of U.S. employees worked in manufacturing. By 2010, only one in 10 did.

The growth in imports from China had a role in that decline–contributing, perhaps, to as much as one-quarter of the employment drop-off from 1991 to 2007, according to an analysis by David Autor and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But the U.S. jobs slide began well before China's rise as a manufacturing power. And manufacturing employment is falling almost everywhere, including in China. The phenomenon is driven by technology, and there's reason to think developing countries are going to follow a different path to wealth than the U.S. did-one that involves a lot more jobs in the services sector.

Pretty much every economy around the world has a low or declining share of manufacturing jobs. According to OECD data, the U.K. and Australia have seen their share of manufacturing drop by around two-thirds since 1971. Germany's share halved, and manufacturing's contribution to gross domestic product there fell from 30 percent in 1980 to 22 percent today. In South Korea, a late industrializer and exemplar of miracle growth, the manufacturing share of employment rose from 13 percent in 1970 to 28 percent in 1991; it's fallen to 17 percent today.

...

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 28, 2017 at 02:11 PM
In the United States, manufacturing employment went from 25 percent in 1970 to 10 percent in 2010, 40 years later.

In Germany, manufacturing's share of GDP went from 30 percent in 1980 to 22 percent today (2014, 34 years later).

Yes there's a similar pattern, as DeLong points out.

How does that support his argument?

[Jul 18, 2019] People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised efficiency and flexibility to communities, but discomfort and misery by Van Badham

Notable quotes:
"... People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history". ..."
Dec 25, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

For 40 years, the ideology popularly known as "neoliberalism" has dominated political decision-making in the English-speaking west.

People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history".

It wasn't, as even he admitted later . And given some of the events of the contemporary political moment, it's possible to conclude from auguries like smoke rising from a garbage fire and patterns of political blood upon the floor that history may be hastening neoliberalism towards an end that its advocates did not forecast.

Three years ago, I remarked that comedian Russell Brand may have stumbled onto a stirring spirit of the times when his "capitalism sucks" contemplations drew stadium-sized crowds. Beyond Brand – politically and materially – the crowds have only been growing.

Is the political zeitgeist an old spectre up for some new haunting? Or are the times more like a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "the combination of inequality and low wage growth is fuelling discontent. Time to sing a new song."

In days gone past, they used to slice open an animal's belly and study the shape of its spilled entrails to find out. But we could just keep an eye on the news.

Here are my seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse:

... ... ...

5. The reds are back under the beds

... ... ...

6. Tony Abbott becomes a fan of nationalising assets

... How else to explain the earthquake-like paradigm shift represented by the sixth sign? Since when do neoliberal conservatives argue for the renationalisation of infrastructure, as is the push of Tony Abbott's gang to nationalise the coal-fired Liddell power station?

It may be a cynical stunt to take an unscientific stand against climate action, but seizing the means of production remains seizing the means of production, um, comrade.

"You know, nationalising assets is what the Liberal party was founded to stop governments doing," said Turnbull, even as he hid in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains to weather – strange coincidence – yet another Newspoll loss.

... ... ...

• Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist

[Jul 17, 2019] The Heirs Of MAGA -- Who Will Lead Historic American Nation After Trump by James Kirkpatrick

Jul 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Tucker Carlson

The real leader of the American Right today is not President Donald Trump. It's Tucker Carlson.

He's the best communicator in the country, he's talking about the most important issues, and he has a platform the Left hasn't been able to take away ( yet ). And they're getting desperate, even to the point of doxxing his home address and attacking his house .

Meanwhile, journalists/ enforcers have launched repeated campaigns to get him fired -- but he keeps dominating the ratings. [ Fox News' Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson enjoy ratings surge , by Lynn Elber, Washington Times, June 25, 2019]

Tucker recognizes Mexico is a hostile foreign power . He may have single-handedly saved Trump from ruining his Administration by launching a war on Iran . He also defended VDARE.com -- by name -- from Big Tech censorship, and warned about the danger to democracy from Big Tech . He's directly attacked the Koch Brothers and explained to his viewers " why the Republican Party often seems completely out of sync with its own voters ."

Tucker is preaching unwanted truths from within Conservatism Inc. I'm sure the top executives of the nonprofits clustered in Northern Virginia are furious he's on the air. Certainly, any lowly staffer at any Conservatism Inc. organization who raised his arguments would be fired.

Perhaps the most revealing exchange of the last year came a few months ago when Carlson spoke at the Turning Point USA conference [ Betrayal: American Conservatives and Capitalism , by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, January 28, 2019]. While Charlie Kirk desperately tried to convince the young crowd to support tax cuts for Big Tech, Carlson had them laughing at conservatism's "inflexible theories ."

He's speaking to those "Market Skeptical Republicans" who constitute a huge part of the GOP base . He's the voice of Americans who think there's nothing wrong with defending our civic national identity. That's the path forward for the American Right.

Tucker Carlson is sparking the intellectual renaissance the GOP desperately needs.

Could he run for office? Some Leftists are afraid he will -- Jeet Heer suggested he might be the "competent & effective Trump" that could come after the current president. But Carlson might be stronger where he is.

The pessimist in me says the journofa will get his scalp eventually over some stupid thing . The Beltway Right wants him gone, so it can get back to the same old slogans [ The Right Should Reject Tucker Carlson's Victimhood Populism , by ( of course!! ) David French, National Review, January 4, 2019].

Perhaps then Carlson should take his case to the people. [ Tucker Carlson for president , by Damon Linker, The Week, June 7, 2019] He's certainly a better spokesperson for Trump than Trump himself.

KenH , says: July 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm GMT

Tom Cotton wanted to "slash" legal immigration to 700K which is still at race replacement levels. We need a complete moratorium or the next best thing. Cotton is also as much a proponent of MIGA, if not more so, than Trump so an asterisk must be placed by his name.

If Trump were really a 4D chessmaster he should have asked Jeff Sessions to stay in the Senate, where he commanded the respect of both parties, to help shepherd through restrictionist immigration legislation. Then he should have appointed Kobach to DHS while he had momentum right after taking office. Instead we got Kirsten Nielsen who was a supporter of DACA.

Ted Cruz is capable of winning the Republican nomination but he doesn't have the appeal to win working class white Democrats as Trump did. His religious fundamentalism could annoy some independents.

incredibly citing smears from the Southern Poverty Law Center. This defamation is arguably what dissuaded Trump from appointing him.

And we voted for Trump to fight the corrupt establishment and entrenched (((special interests))). Not shrink from them.

I think Tucker Carlson could probably beat Trump in the Republican primaries. Tucker's problem is that he thinks if he can keep preaching race blindness and anti-identity politics every night and that it will eventually resonate with the Jewish led left. It won't and it never will and identity politics is here to stay so it's time whites start engaging in it. Tucker is also fine and dandy with the country becoming 90% non-white as long as those non-whites adhere to race blindness and the Constitution. I'd say the early returns tell us that they adhere to third world/non-white tribalism.

But at the end of the day none of these men will mount a racial defense of white Americans as it's either against their religion or their ideology. Whites are being attacked as a race so must be defended as a race and not simply as "Americans".

The demographic situation will be even worse in 2024, so unless the Republican candidate can secure at least 65-68% of the white vote (instead of the usual 59-60%) then this is all an exercise in futility. Then the discussion should turn to secession by any means necessary to secure a future for white people in North America. The (((status quo))) ensures white genocide.

[Jul 17, 2019] A major problem with US neoliberalism: unbelievably shallow people run for the highest office in the US

Degeneration of the USA elite really is getting speed.
Notable quotes:
"... I've been watching in complete dismay for more than two decades now how many unbelievably empty people run for the highest office in the US. These people are empty. No substance, no soul, no brain or heart. Nothing. ..."
Jul 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Hrant , 3 days ago

I've been watching in complete dismay for more than two decades now how many unbelievably empty people run for the highest office in the US. These people are empty. No substance, no soul, no brain or heart. Nothing.

[Jul 17, 2019] It is neoliberalism since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks

Notable quotes:
"... The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss. ..."
Dec 17, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

msTOmsTO -> AsDusty 23 Aug 2016 00:43

Marx, Engels and Gramsci all died before the second world war began. I doubt they had much to say about what caused it.

Regarding the posited failure of "neoliberalism", if you want to know what real failure of a political and economic system looks like, have a look at the consequences of Marxism for every country where it held sway in the 20th century.

A recession followed by a few years of sluggish growth is hardly catastrophic

ShaunNewman -> Ohcolowisc , 23 Aug 2016 00:25
Democratic socialism must take the place of this capitalist system where 50% of the global economy is owned by just 1% of the population, patently unfair for billions of people. To have 1% having more than they could possibly spend in a lifetime is ludicrous while we have others starving and millions of "people" living below the poverty line.
ShaunNewman -> RobertKlahn , 23 Aug 2016 00:21
RobertKlahn

The capitalist (USA) system diverts huge amounts of money via corporations 50% of the global economy to just 1% of the global population, which is patently unfair. The 1% ownership grows every day because these 1% people have a mental illness called insatiable greed, where enough is never enough. Yes 'fair trade' would help, but what must be broken is the compliance of conservative governments around the world who fail to tax these corporations a 'fair share' of taxation to help "the people" to raise their living standards. We must adopt democratic socialism with million of USA citizens voted for with Bernie Sanders, and as is practiced in the Nordic countries, who tax corporations fairly and obtain a good standard of living for "their people."

Matthew Kilburn , 23 Aug 2016 00:03
What comes next? Hopefully some kind of neo-nationalistic Westernism in which the societies that, up until the turmoil of the 60s and 70s shaped the course of global affairs, rediscover their roots and identifies.

If "neoliberalism" seems to be in retreat, perhaps the simplest explanation is that the cultures that gave rise to it - western, Christian, often English-speaking cultures - most certainly ARE in retreat.

How can we answer questions like "what is happening to us?" or "How should we react?" When we can't even identify the "us" or the "we"?

ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:58
We need government that will restrain capitalism and use the system for the benefit of "the people" not the corporations. Which in practice means "don't vote conservative."
ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:56
martinusher

Yes, the point is that unrestrained capitalism does wreck lives, but continues to feed the 1% with mare more than they could ever spend. This is precisely why we need a system of democratic socialism as practiced on the Nordic countries, where "the people" come first and the corporations run a distant second.

However if the UK continues to elect conservative governments the reverse will always be the case, with "the people" running a distant second.

ShaunNewman -> Roger Elliott , 22 Aug 2016 23:47
Globalization, capitalist society in the 70s quickly became ownership of 50% (and continuing to grow) of the global economy by just 1% of the population. We need to change to democratic socialism as practiced by the Nordic countries.
ShaunNewman -> CopBase , 22 Aug 2016 23:43
The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss.
ShaunNewman -> tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 23:31
How we got here was via the capitalist system whereby 50% of the global economy is now owned bt just 1% of the global population. A collection of individuals who are filthy rich but who also have the mental illness of insatiable greed, and who won't be satisfied until they own 60% and so on. They avoid paying tax, and conservative governments help them by providing loop holes in taxation legislation so their corporations can avoid paying tax or pay up to 5% of their huge incomes in a token gesture. In Australia out of 1,500 corporations surveyed 579 have not paid a cent since at least 2013. The Australian people should be marching in the streets for a 'fair go' but the apathy prevents that. They probably won't get angry until such time as they realize that the 1% own 70% of the global economy and they are being squeezed even harder into 14 hour days without a break, only then will they crack, if at all.
ciaofornow -> Citizen0 , 22 Aug 2016 22:58
Quantitative easing first upped the stock market and therefore the retirement portfolios of the US middle class as well as the portfolios of the wealthy, and now the US economy is finally producing middle class jobs (recent report, NY Times) and not just the upper middle class.
------------------
Rubbish!
QE is just the creation of trillions more in debt. Artificially raising asset prices is not a free market. A free market depends on people being able to pay the prices. But today in the UK, people require three loans to buy a house the price of which has been artificially raised by QE. That enriches the homeowner, the bank, and estate agent. but in equal measure, it impoverishes the house buyer.

the blowing up of asset prices will have to go on forever (still, not one penny of QE has been repaid), or the system will collapse. But that is impossible. It will destroy the value of money. See what happens to stock prices each time the US "threatens" to raise interest rates and stop QE programmes. And just check out personal debt levels in the UK and US. It is unsustainable.

The basic problem of neoliberalism is that it demands low pay as a competitive measure. But that means people have less money to spend in the consumer economy. So neoliberalism requires deregulated banking, pushing up asset prices, so people feel wealthy and take on more debt with which to compensate their low pay, and so they can shop. But that in turn leads to higher debts until the debts are not likely to be repaid. Banks collapse.

The bailouts and money printing has raised asset prices as you say. So now they are at record highs. And if the system demands they go higher while keeping down pay. Who the Fuck is going to pay?

The system is designed to collapse. It only exists today thanks to the creation of money that does not really exist. We may as well adopt grass as money as keep this system going.
The flipside of artificial growth in asset prices is the falling value of earnings.

in 1996, UK average pay equalled 30-35% of a typical house. Today, it is only 10% of a house, and in London, 7%. And for the system to function, that percentage must fall.

AsDusty -> msTOmsTO , 22 Aug 2016 22:41
No, quite a lot of people have been writing about it. Marx, Engels and Gramski all discussed the tendency of free market economics to lead to conflict. More recently you could look at the work of Galbraith, Sachs and Frank Stilwell, just off the top of my head.
ciaofornow -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:35
You failed to understand the article. It says the post war period (1945-70s) was the longest and most successful economic run, especially for working classes, in history.

It is "neoliberalism" since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks. And ever since the whole economic show has only been kept alive with life-saving drugs (QE which is basically pretending there is a cash flow rather than reality of a solvency crisis, govt set zero interest rates, bailouts). But we have merely got stagnation.

And your last point is a straw man. Hardly anyone wants to replace this failing system with Stalinism.

We have had two contrasting economic systems in the West since the War. The one had far more regulation, and stronger wage growth for workers, the latter since 1979 has been neoliberalism.

The first collapsed in the stagnation of the 70s. The latter died in 2008, and has been kept going through state support and printing trillions more in debt. But the bailouts are failing. They are failing because it was never a cash flow crisis. It was a solvency crisis. Now the debts are even greater.

tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 22:34
Selective description posing as analysis and allowing the emotional triggers of a couple of key phrases to justify the selectiveness. It sounds magisterial but it ain't and, as others have pointed out, it gives us little on where do we go from here. This is precisely because he has really not told us what he thinks here is, how we got here, and why we got here.
Ohcolowisc -> RobertKlahn , 22 Aug 2016 22:25
The last thing a capitalist corporation wants is to compete (i.e. having actual competition). What they want is monopoly. That's why they "rig" the markets - among others by merging with and acquiring their competitors until they reach near monopoly in their industry (or industries).

That's the essence of the statement that "there never have been free markets, only rigged markets". And there never will be. "Free markets" are transient phenomena that exist only for relatively short time periods during which the leading players do the rigging. The only factor that could keep free markets "free" is government - and that's why it is hated so much by corporations and is rendered practically toothless in the US. It limits their ability to rig and to loot.

The only form the phrase "free markets" exist for prolonged periods of time is when it is used as a propaganda slogan by neoliberal ideologues (even though it is the exact opposite of what really happens).

ciaofornow , 22 Aug 2016 22:20
And why has it taken so long for such an article to be published? Many of the points in this article should have been apparent to intelligent commentators right after the 2008 crisis.

Why has it taken so long for political fallout?

The major reason is cited: Parties such as New Labour, supposedly of the Left that continued to support this failing system. Gordon Brown bailed out the banks, claimed to save the world, and then let it all go on as before. A Disgrace of a leader that history will condemn as a fool. And how many commentators of the time lauded him for it? Far too many. And many of them still in the jobs. Jesus Wept!

What the writer understands and too many are in denial about is this. New Labour is dead. It died in 2007-8 with the collapse of the banks.

Then the amazing coincidence that the third party (the Lib Dems) was taken over by the neoliberals just before the Financial Crisis brought the neoliberal age to an end, and which went onto support the True Neoliberal party (the Tories). In the US, a man who ran on a candidacy of Change only for the world to find out it was bluster and rhetoric! Obama will not go down as a Great President at all. He tried to bail out a failing system. He will be a footnote in history.

Then those bloody bailouts. They not only bailed out the bankers and the rich. They bailed out millions of largely older voters, artificially pumping up house prices. The old vote. And they voted to back this grand theft against Reason, and the younger generations. The result of the bailouts will be a far greater Financial Crisis than 2008. The disconnect between people's debts and wages is worse today than in 2006. That can mean only one thing. Collapse is coming. And now the debts are even bigger. Bailouts are wrong, have failed, and will not be politically acceptable again.

Conservative parties will be repositories for those afraid of change, and those happy to be bailed out until the crisis explodes again. On the change side, if we do not have Left Populism, we will get nationalism.

AsDusty -> candeesays , 22 Aug 2016 22:16
In terms of stronger border controls there is no doubt this is happening. The US, Europe and here in Australia the governments grip on border entries has only got tighter. As for international labour migration, Trump, Brexit and the European refugee crisis will see increasing pressure on lowering the numbers of migrant workers.
Increasing labour migration has been a ploy by government to try and make globalisation work, as globalisation requires the free flow of labour across international borders. The political pressure to reduce migrant numbers will be too much to resist, and greater controls will be put in place.
CivilityPlease -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:07
This is not a choice between A or B. Stop fighting yesterday's battles. Its over, just as the article declares. What is developing as we speak will steer tomorrow's civilization and it will be neither of the old paradigms. We have to come to a consensus about where we want to go. What principles do we have faith in to inform our assessments of what we keep or alter? What roles will we play? What will our purpose(s) be? That is the business we need to be about to arrive at an orderly, deliberate future, prepared for a long journey to a better world. Or we push and pull in all different directions and go round and round the same old ground making the same old mistakes until the world moves on and leaves us behind. We will need to work together or fail each alone. Are you ready?
candeesays -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:02
It is theory without politics or economics.

The period from GATT was predicated on strong welfare states and national industries trading. Not privatising societies and globalising capital.

[Jul 15, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Has Made Her Story America's Story

Highly recommended!
Jul 15, 2019 | www.thenation.com

Looks like Warren weakness is her inability to distinguish between key issues and periferal issues.

While her program is good and is the only one that calls for "structural change" (which is really needed as neoliberalism outlived its usefulness) it mixes apple and oranges. One thing is to stop neoliberal transformation of the society and the other is restitution for black slaves. In the latter case why not to Indians ?

I'd argue that Warren's newly tight and coherent story, in which her life's arc tracks the country's, is contributing to her rise, in part because it protects her against other stories -- the nasty ones told by her opponents, first, and then echoed by the media doubters influenced by her opponents. Her big national-stage debut came when she tangled with Barack Obama's administration over bank bailouts, then set up the powerhouse Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). But she was dismissed as too polarizing, even by some Democrats, and was passed over to run it. In 2012, Massachusetts's Scott Brown mocked Warren as "the Professor," a know-it-all Harvard schoolmarm, before she beat him to take his Senate seat. After that, Donald Trump began trashing her as "Pocahontas" in the wake of a controversy on the campaign trail about her mother's rumored Native American roots. And Warren scored an own goal with a video that announced she had "confirmed" her Native heritage with a DNA test, a claim that ignored the brutal history of blood-quantum requirements and genetic pseudoscience in the construction of race.

When she announced her presidential run this year, some national political reporters raised questions about her likability , finding new ways to compare her to Hillary Clinton, another female candidate widely dismissed as unlikable. A month into Warren's campaign, it seemed the media was poised to Clintonize her off the primary stage. But it turned out she had a plan for that, too.

I n the tale that is captivating crowds on the campaign trail, Warren is not a professor or a political star but a hardscrabble Oklahoma "late-in-life baby" or, as her mother called her, "the surprise." Her elder brothers had joined the military; she was the last one at home, just a middle-schooler when her father had the massive heart attack that would cost him his job. "I remember the day we lost the station wagon," she tells crowds, lowering her voice. "I learned the words 'mortgage' and 'foreclosure' " listening to her parents talk when they thought she was asleep, she recalls. One day she walked in on her mother in her bedroom, crying and saying over and over, " 'We are not going to lose this house.' She was 50 years old," Warren adds, "had never worked outside the home, and she was terrified."

RELATED ARTICLE

This part of the story has been a Warren staple for years: Her mother put on her best dress and her high heels and walked down to a Sears, where she got a minimum-wage job. Warren got a private lesson from her mother's sacrifice -- "You do what you have to to take care of those you love" -- and a political one, too. "That minimum-wage job saved our house, and it saved our family." In the 1960s, she says, "a minimum-wage job could support a family of three. Now the minimum wage can't keep a momma and a baby out of poverty."

That's Act I of Warren's story and of the disappearing American middle class whose collective story her family's arc symbolizes. In Act II, she walks the crowd through her early career, including some personal choices that turned her path rockier: early marriage, dropping out of college. But her focus now is on what made it possible for her to rise from the working class. Warren tells us how she went back to school and got her teaching certificate at a public university, then went to law school at another public university. Both cost only a few hundred dollars in tuition a year. She always ends with a crowd-pleaser: "My daddy ended up as a janitor, but his baby daughter got the opportunity to become a public-school teacher, a law professor, a US senator, and run for president!"


Warren has honed this story since her 2012 Senate campaign. Remember her "Nobody in this country got rich on his own" speech ? It was an explanation of how the elite amassed wealth thanks to government investments in roads, schools, energy, and police protection, which drew more than 1 million views on YouTube. Over the years, she has become the best explainer of the way the US government, sometime around 1980, flipped from building the middle class to protecting the wealthy. Her 2014 book, A Fighting Chance , explains how Warren (once a Republican, like two of her brothers) saw her own family's struggle in the stories of those families whose bankruptcies she studied as a lawyer -- families she once thought might have been slackers. Starting in 1989, with a book she cowrote on bankruptcy and consumer credit, her writing has charted the way government policies turned against the middle class and toward corporations. That research got her tapped by then–Senate majority leader Harry Reid to oversee the Troubled Assets Relief Program after the 2008 financial crash and made her a favorite on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart . Starting in the mid-2000s, she publicly clashed with prominent Democrats, including Biden , a senator at the time, over bankruptcy reforms, and later with then–Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner over the bank bailouts.

Sanders, of course, has a story too, about a government that works for the "millionaires and billionaires." But he has a hard time connecting his family's stories of struggle to his policies. After his first few campaign events, he ditched the details about growing up poor in Brooklyn. In early June, he returned to his personal story in a New York Times op-ed .

W arren preaches the need for "big structural change" so often that a crowd chanted the phrase back at her during a speech in San Francisco the first weekend in June. Then she gets specific. In Act III of her stump speech, she lays out her dizzying array of plans. But by then they're not dizzying, because she has anchored them to her life and the lives of her listeners. The rapport she develops with her audience, sharing her tragedies and disappointments -- questionable choices and all -- makes her bold policy pitches feel believable. She starts with her proposed wealth tax: two cents on every dollar of your worth after $50 million, which she says would raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years. (She has also proposed a 7 percent surtax on corporate profits above $100 million.)

Warren sells the tax with a vivid, effective comparison. "How many of you own a home?" she asks. At most of her stops in Iowa, it was roughly half the crowd. "Well, you already pay a wealth tax on your major asset. You pay a property tax, right?" People start nodding. "I just want to make sure we're also taxing the diamonds, the Rembrandts, the yachts, and the stock portfolios." Nobody in those Iowa crowds seemed to have a problem with that.

Then she lays out the shocking fact that people in the top 1 percent pay roughly 3.2 percent of their wealth in taxes, while the bottom 99 percent pay 7.4 percent.

That "big structural change" would pay for the items on Warren's agenda -- the programs that would rebuild the opportunity ladder to the middle class -- that have become her signature: free technical school or two- or four-year public college; at least partial loan forgiveness for 95 percent of those with student debt; universal child care and prekindergarten, with costs capped at 7 percent of family income; and a pay hike for child-care workers.

"Big structural change" would also include strengthening unions and giving workers 40 percent of the seats on corporate boards. Warren promises to break up Big Tech and Big Finance. She calls for a constitutional amendment to protect the right to vote and vows to push to overturn Citizens United . To those who say it's too much, she ends every public event the same way: "What do you think they said to the abolitionists? 'Too hard!' To the suffragists fighting to get women the right to vote? 'Too hard!' To the foot soldiers of the civil-rights movement, to the activists who wanted equal marriage? 'Give up now!' " But none of them gave up, she adds, and she won't either. Closing that way, she got a standing ovation at every event I attended.

R ecently, Warren has incorporated into her pitch the stark differences between what mid-20th-century government offered to black and white Americans. This wasn't always the case. After a speech she delivered at the Roosevelt Institute in 2015, I heard black audience members complain about her whitewashed version of the era when government built the (white) middle class. Many black workers were ineligible for Social Security; the GI Bill didn't prohibit racial discrimination ; and federal loan guarantees systematically excluded black home buyers and black neighborhoods. "I love Elizabeth, but those stories about the '50s drive me crazy," one black progressive said.

The critiques must have made their way to Warren. Ta-Nehisi Coates recently told The New Yorker that after his influential Atlantic essay "The Case for Reparations" appeared five years ago, the Massachusetts senator asked to meet with him. "She had read it. She was deeply serious, and she had questions." Now, when Warren talks about the New Deal, she is quick to mention the ways African Americans were shut out. Her fortunes on the campaign trail brightened after April's She the People forum in Houston, where she joined eight other candidates in talking to what the group's founder, Aimee Allison, calls "the real Democratic base": women of color, many from the South. California's Kamala Harris, only the second African-American woman ever elected to the US Senate, might have had the edge coming in, but Warren surprised the crowd. "She walked in to polite applause and walked out to a standing ovation," Allison said, after the candidate impressed the crowd with policies to address black maternal-health disparities, the black-white wealth gap, pay inequity, and more.



G Jutson says:

July 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Well here we are in the circular firing squad Obama warned us about. Sander's fan boys vs. Warren women. Sanders has been our voice in DC on the issues for a generation. He has changed the debate. Thank you Bernie. Now a Capitalist that wants to really reform it can be a viable candidate. Warren is that person. We supported Sanders last time to help us get to this stage. Time to pass the baton to someone that can beat Trump. After the Sept. debates I expect The Nation to endorse Warren and to still hear grumbling from those that think moving on from candidate Bernie somehow means unfaithfulness to his/our message .

Kenneth Viste says: June 27, 2019 at 5:52 am

I would like to hear her talk about free college as an investment in people rather than an expense. Educated people earn more and therefore pay more taxes than uneducated so it pays to educate the populous to the highest level possible.

Jim Dickinson says: June 26, 2019 at 7:11 pm

Warren gets it and IMO is probably the best Democratic candidate of the bunch. Biden does not get it and I get depressed seeing him poll above Warren with his tired corporate ideas from the past.

I have a different take on her not being progressive enough. Her progressive politics are grounded in reality and not in the pie in the sky dreams of Sanders, et al. The US is a massively regressive nation and proposing doing everything at once, including a total revamp of our healthcare system is simply unrealistic.

That was my problem with Sanders, who's ideas I agree with. There is no way in hell to make the US into a progressive dream in one election - NONE.

I too dream of a progressive US that most likely goes well beyond what most people envision. But I also have watched those dreams collapse many, many times in the past when we reach too far. I hope that we can make important but obtainable changes which might make the great unwashed masses see who cares about them and who does not.

I hope that she does well because she has a plan for many of the ills of this nation. The US could certainly use some coherent plans after the chaos and insanity of the Trump years. Arguing about who was the best Democratic candidate in 2016 helped put this schmuck in office and I hope that we don't go down that path again.

Caleb Melamed says: June 26, 2019 at 2:13 pm

I had a misunderstanding about one key aspect of Warren's political history. I had always thought that she was neutral in 2016 between Sanders and Hillary Clinton. On CNN this morning, a news clip showed that Warren in fact endorsed Hillary Clinton publicly, shouting "I'm with her," BEFORE Sanders withdrew from the race. This action had the effect of weakening Sanders' bargaining position vis a vis Clinton once he actually withdrew. Clinton proceeded to treat Sanders and his movement like a dish rag. I am now less ready to support Warren in any way.

Robert Andrews says: June 26, 2019 at 12:17 pm

I have three main reasons I do not want Senator Warren nominate which are:

Not going all out for a single payer healthcare system. This is a massive problem with Warren. With her starting out by moving certain groups to Medicare is sketchy at best. Which groups would be graced first? I am sure whoever is left behind will be thrilled. Is Warren going to expand Medicare so that supplemental coverages will not be needed anymore? Crying about going too far too fast is a losing attitude. You go after the most powerful lobby in the country full bore if you want any kind of real and lasting changes.

With Warren's positions and actions with foreign policy this statement is striking, "Once Warren's foreign policy record is scrutinized, her status as a progressive champion starts to wither. While Warren is not on the far right of Democratic politics on war and peace, she also is not a progressive -- nor a leader -- and has failed to use her powerful position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to challenge the status quo" - Sarah Lazare. She is the web editor at In These Times. She comes from a background in independent journalism for publications including The Intercept, The Nation, and Tom Dispatch. She tweets at @sarahlazare.

Lastly, the stench with selling off her integrity with receiving corporate donations again if nominated is overpowering.

For reference, she was a registered Republican until the mid 1990's.

Joan Walsh, why don't you give congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard any presence with your articles? Her level of integrity out shines any other female candidate and Gabbard's positions and actions are progressive. I don't want to hear that she isn't a major player, because you have included Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Gabbard's media blackout has been dramatic, thank you for your contribution with it also.

Robert Andrews says: June 27, 2019 at 8:29 am

I was impressed with Warren on the debate, especially since she finally opened her arms to a single payer healthcare system.

Caleb Melamed says: June 26, 2019 at 2:35 pm

Gabbard is playing a very important role in this race, whatever her numbers (which are probably higher than those being reported and are sure to go up after tonight). In some ways, her position in 2020 resembles that of Sanders in 2016--the progressive outlier, specifically on issues relating to the U.S. policy of endless war. Gabbard makes Sanders look more mainstream by comparison on this issue (though their difference is more one of emphasis than substance), making it much harder for the DNC establishment to demonize and ostracize Sanders. (Third Way really, really wants to stop Sanders--they have called him an "existential threat.") Gabbard's important role in this respect is one reason the DNC and its factotums are expending such effort on sliming her.

By the way, Nation, you have now reprinted my first comment to this article five (5) times!

Clark Shanahan says: June 26, 2019 at 1:19 pm

Tulsi,
Our most eloquent anti-military-interventionism candidate, hands down.

Richard Phelps says: June 26, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Unfortunately EW doesn't beat Trump past the margin of error in all the polls I have seen. Bernie does in most. The other scary factor is how so many neoliberals are now talking nice about her. They want anyone but the true, consistent progressive, Bernie. And her backing away from putting us on a human path on health care, like so many other countries, is foreboding of a sellout to the health insurance companies, a group focused on profits over health care for our citizens. A group with no redeeming social value. 40,000+ people die each year due to lack of medical care, so the company executives can have their 8 figure salaries and golden parachutes when they retire. Also don't forget they are adamantly anti union. Where is Warren's fervor to ride our country of this leach on society? PS I donated $250 to her last Senate campaign. I like her. She is just not what we need to stop the final stages of oligarchic take over, where so much of our resources are wasted on the Pentagon and unnecessary wars and black opps. It is not Bernie or bust, it is Bernie or oligarchy!!!

Walter Pewen says: June 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

Frankly, having family from Oklahoma I'd say Warren IS a progressive. Start reading backwards and you will find out.

Clark Shanahan says: June 26, 2019 at 1:24 pm

You certainly shall never see her call out AIPAC.
She has since tried to shift her posture.. but, her original take was lamentable.

https://theintercept.com/2014/08/28/elizabeth-warren-speaks-israelgaza-sounds-like-netanyahu/

Clark Shanahan says: June 26, 2019 at 10:29 pm

You really need to give Hillary responsibility for her loss, Andy
Also, to Obama, who sold control of the DNC over to Clinton Inc in Sept, 2015.
I'll vote for Warren, of course.
Sadly, with our endless wars and our rogue state Israel, Ms Warren is way too deferential; seemingly hopeless.

Walter Pewen says: June 28, 2019 at 11:22 am

I don't want to vote for Biden. And if he gets the nomination I probably won't. And I've voted the ticket since 1976. I DO NOT like Joe Biden. Contrary to the media mind fuck we are getting in this era. And I'll wager a LOT of people don't like him. He is a dick.

Karin Eckvall says: June 26, 2019 at 10:50 am

Well-done article Ms. Walsh. Walter, I want to vote for her but can't because although she has plans to deal with the waste and corruption at the Pentagon, she has not renounced our endless militarism, our establishment-endorsed mission to police the world and to change regimes whenever we feel like it.

[Jul 14, 2019] Putin as an old fashioned liberal who opposes neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net ..."
Jul 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

If you have ever traveled in Russia outside of Moscow, you certainly have some horrible stories to tell about its atrocious roads, food and lodging or rather lack thereof. Things have changed greatly, and they keep changing. Now there are modern highways, plenty of cafés and restaurants, a lot of small hotels; plumbing has risen to Western standards; the old pearls of architecture have been lavishly restored; people live better than they ever did. They still complain a lot, but that is human nature. Young and middle-aged Russians own or charter motor boats and sail their plentiful rivers; they own country houses ("dachas") more than anywhere else. They travel abroad for their vacations, pay enormous sums of money for concerts of visiting celebrities, ride bikes in the cities – in short, Russia has become as prosperous as any European country.

This hard-earned prosperity and political longevity allows President Putin to hold his own in the international affairs. He is one of a few experienced leaders on the planet with twenty years at the top job. He has met with three Popes of Rome, four US Presidents, and many other rulers. This is important: 93-years old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who ruled his Malaysia for 40 years and has been elected again said the first ten years of a ruler are usually wasted in learning the ropes, and only after first twenty does he becomes proficient in the art of government. The first enemy a ruler must fight is his own establishment: media, army, intelligence and judges. While Trump is still losing in this conflict, Putin is doing fine – by his Judoka evasive action.

Recently a small tempest has risen in the Russian media, when a young journalist was detained by police, and a small quantity of drugs was allegedly discovered on his body. The police made many mistakes in handling the case. Perhaps they planted the evidence to frame the young man; perhaps they had made the obvious mistakes to frame the government. The response has been tremendous, as if the whole case had been prepared well in advance by the opposition hell-bent to annoy and wake up the people's ire against the police and administration. Instead of supporting the police, as Putin usually does, in this case he had the journalist released and senior police officers arrested. This prompt evasive action undid the opposition's build-up by one masterly stroke.

Recently he openly declared his distaste for liberalism in the interview for the FT . This is a major heresy, like Luther's Ninety-five Theses. "The liberals cannot dictate Their diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population." Putin condemned liberals' drive for more immigration. He called Angela Merkel's decision to admit millions of immigrants a "cardinal mistake"; he "understood" Trump's attempt to stop the flow of migrants and drugs from Mexico.

Putin is not an enemy of liberalism. He is rather an old-fashionable liberal of the 19 th century style. Not a current 'liberal', but a true liberal, rejecting totalitarian dogma of gender, immigration, multiculturalism and R2P wars. "The liberal idea cannot be destroyed; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But it has no right to be the absolute dominating factor."

In Putin's Russia liberalism is non-exclusive, but presents just one possible line of development. Homosexuals are not discriminated against nor promoted. There are no gay parades, no persecution of gays, either. Russian children aren't being brainwashed to hate their fathers, taken away from their families and given to same-sex maniacs, as it happened in the recent Italian case . Kids aren't being introduced to joys of sex in primary schools. People are not requested to swear love to transgenders and immigrants. You can do whatever you wish, just do not force others to follow you – this is Putin's first rule, and this is true liberalism in my book.

There is very little immigration into Russia despite millions of requests: foreigners can come in as guest workers, but this does not lead to permanent residency or citizenship. The Police frequently check foreign-looking people and rapidly deport them if found in breach of visa rules. Russian nationalists would want even more action, but Putin is a true liberal.

... ... ...

Why does Putin care about the US? Why can't he just stop taking dollars? This means he is an American stooge! – an eager-for-action hothead zealot would exclaim. The answer is, the US has gained a lot of power; much more than it had in 1988, when Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev. The years of being the sole superpower weren't wasted. American might is not to be trifled with.

New York Times insinuated.

True, Russia is big enough to survive even that treatment, but Russians have got used to a good life, and they won't cherish being returned to the year 1956. They took action to prevent these worst-case scenarios; for instance, they sold much of their US debt and moved out of Microsoft , but these things are time-consuming and expensive. Putin hopes that eventually the US will abandon its quest for dominance and assume a live-and-let-live attitude as demanded by the international law. Until it happens, he is forced to play by Washington rules and try to limit antagonism.

An experienced broker came in, promising to deliver the deal. It is the Jewish state, claiming to have the means to navigate the US in the desired direction. This is a traditional Jewish claim, used in the days of the WWI to convince the UK to enter the deal: you give us Palestine; we shall bring the US into the European war on your side. Then it worked: the Brits and their Aussie allies stormed Gaza, eventually took over the Holy Land, issued the Balfour declaration promising to pass Palestine to the Jews, and in return, fresh American troops poured into the European theatre of war, causing German surrender.

This time, the Jewish state proposed that Putin should give up his ties with Iran; in return, they promised to assist in general warming of Russo-American relations. Putin had a bigger counter-proposal: Let the US lift its Iran sanctions and withdraw its armed forces from Syria, and Russia will try to usher Iranian armed forces out of Syria, too. The ensuing negotiations around Iran-Syria deal would lead to recognition of the US and Israel interests in Syria, and further on it could lead to negotiations in other spheres.

This was a clear win-win proposal. Iran would emerge free of sanctions; Israel and the US would have their interests recognised in Syria; the much-needed dialogue between Russia and the US will get a jump-start. But Israel does not like win-win proposals. The Jewish state wants clear victories, preferably with their enemy defeated, humiliated, hanged. Israel rejected the proposal, for it wanted Iran to suffer under sanctions.

... ... ...

Russia certainly wants to live in peace with the US, but not at the price Mr Netanyahu suggested. Mr Patrushev condemned the US sanctions against Iran. He said that Iran shot down the giant American drone RQ-4A Global Hawk worth more than a hundred million dollars over Iranian territory, not in the international airspace as the Pentagon claimed. He stated that American "evidence" that Iran had sabotaged tankers in the Persian Gulf was inconclusive. Russia demanded that the United States stop its economic war against Iran, recognize the legitimate authorities of Syria, led by President Bashar Assad, and withdraw its troops from Syria. Russia expressed its support for the legitimate government in Venezuela. Thus, Russia showed itself at this difficult moment as a reliable ally and partner, and at the same time assured the staggering Israeli leadership of its friendship.

The problem is that the drive for war with Iran is not gone. A few days ago, the Brits seized an Iranian super-tanker in the Straits of Gibraltar. The tanker was on its way to deliver oil to Syria. Before that, the United States had almost launched a missile attack on Iran. At the last moment, when the planes were already in the air, Trump stopped the operation. It is particularly disturbing that he himself unambiguously hinted that the operation was launched without his knowledge . That is, the chain of commands in the US is now torn, and it is not clear who can start a war. This has to be taken into account both in Moscow and in Tehran.

... ... ...

Russia wants to help Iran, not out of sheer love to the Islamic Republic, but as a part of its struggle for multi-polar world, where independent states carry on the way they like. Iran, North Korea, Venezuela – their fight for survival is a part and parcel of Russia's struggle. If these states will be taken over, Russia can become the next victim, Putin feels.

... ... ...

In this situation, Putin tries to build bridges to the new forces in Europe and the US, to work with nationalist right. It is not the most obvious partner for this old-fashioned liberal, but they fit into his idea of multi-polarity, of supremacy of national sovereignty and of resistance to the world hegemony of Atlantic powers. His recent visit to Italy, a country with strong nationalist political forces, had been successful; so was his meeting with the Pope.

In the aftermath of the audience with the Pope, Putin strongly defended the Catholic Church, saying that "There are problems, but they cannot be over-exaggerated and used for destroying the Roman Catholic Church itself. I get the feeling that these liberal circles are beginning to use certain problems of the Catholic Church as a tool for destroying the Church itself. This is what I consider to be incorrect and dangerous. After all, we live in a world based on Biblical values and traditional values are more stable and more important for millions of people than this liberal idea, which, in my opinion, is really ceasing to exist". For years, the Europeans haven't heard this message. Perhaps this is the right time to listen.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net


anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: July 6, 2019 at 1:16 pm GMT

"President Trump seems to have some positive ideas, but his hands are tied up."

Pitifully naive.

Al Moanee , says: July 6, 2019 at 8:27 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The author is referring to WWI and the Balfour Declaration of Nov 1917 which indeed was drafted on behalf of Jewish Zionist interests who in return did their level best in bringing Wilson, who was long backed by NYC banking interests (hence the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 enacted on his watch), into the war which materially changed its dynamics and outcome.

A123 , says: July 6, 2019 at 10:32 pm GMT

The Ukraine in all this? I would think it a far bigger concern for Russia in any trilateral meeting.

Do not expect anything on the Ukraine in the near future. Trump wants the DNC to nominate guaranteed loser Biden. Then he can beat him senseless using 'Ukrainian tampering with U.S. elections' via Biden's family business interests (1).
_____

Now that the Mueller exoneration is complete, the door is open to improved U.S. – Russia relations. The important thing is looking at Putin's and Trump's actions , more so than their words.

Trump's words sound 'officially concerned' about Crimea. However, this is primarily for EU consumption. What actions has the Trump administration taken about Crimea? Little or nothing depending on how you score the matter. So tacit acknowledgement pending a quid pro quo .

Putin administration words (but not Putin himself) have said strong sounding things about Iran. However, there are no actions that support a deep relationship.
-- Russia sells munitions to Iran on a 'cash & carry' basis along with many other nations including Turkey. Russia and Israel have much stronger ties on the military equipment basis. Look at their recent joint sale of AWACS to India (2).
-- Russia continues to let the Israeli air force freely strike Iranian al'Hezbollah and al'Quds targets in Syria.

It looks like the quid pro quo arrangement will be Crimea for an Iranian exit from Syria. It's a deal that would help peace throughout the region.

PEACE
______

(1) https://www.thenation.com/article/joe-biden-ukraine-burisma-holdings/

(2) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-to-buy-2-more-awacs-worth-rs-5-7k-crore-from-israel/articleshow/67765253.cms

Priss Factor , says: July 6, 2019 at 10:33 pm GMT

Was Pat Robertson right about World War I?

https://israelpalestinenews.org/rothschild-reveals-crucial-role-ancestors-played-balfour-declaration-creation-israel/

A123 , says: July 6, 2019 at 11:08 pm GMT

But he is hampered by his "deep state", by Pompeo and Bolton; about the latter, Trump himself said that he wants to fight with the whole world. Presidents can't always remove the ministers from whom they want to get rid of – even the absolute monarchs of the past did not always succeed.

Actually, Trump is using Bolton against the deep state.

First and foremost, it is and advanced and skillful form of ' Good Cop – Bad Cop '. When Bolton says something and Trump openly disagrees, it places the Fake Steam Media complex in an untenable position. If they treat the story fairly, they embrace the anathema of saying positive things about Trump. But they do not have any options to twist the facts into their desired anti-American propaganda.

Secondarily, it also cleverly drives a wedge between two DNC factions:

-1- The true Clintonista believer, stricken by Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS], will not accept anything less than Impeachment. Preferably followed by turning him over to the Fascist Stormtroopers of Antifa.
-2- Those with a less deranged view realise that a successful Impeachment process would generate President Pence. And, he would be much more likely to accept Bolton's advice. Perhaps Pence would pick Bolton to be Vice President.

Look at the circular firing squad that is forming up in the DNC nomination process to see how Trump's deliberate agitation of various factions is working in his favor. The TDS faction is winning and as a result the eventual DNC candidate will be unelectable.

PEACE

Rabbitnexus , says: July 7, 2019 at 2:49 am GMT
@AghaHussain sts plans have failed to materialise in Syria. The author here does a very good job of explaining Russia's position and between his and Saker's analyses your argument is kaput and only fools would buy it.

The Zionists went away empty handed with their visits to Russia and President Putin and if anything Russia's resistance to the Zionists has hardened lately.

People who have two dimensional thinking and a limited box of clues seem to think it is as simple as just saying no and digging their heels in but that way makes wars. Russia does not have the sort of power nor an insane leadership that it would take for that.

A123 , says: July 7, 2019 at 2:39 pm GMT
@animalogic to be rebuilt.

The best hope for an internal Iranian solution is IRGC enlightened self interest. A fairly bloodless replacement of Khameni with a general from the IRGC. It worked in Egypt and the world welcomed that military solution. One can be 99% certain that replacing Khameni would be just as welcome.

The new 'General Ayatollah in Chief' would have a free hand to disengage from Khameni's extremism. The economic recovery from ending sanctions would guarantee internal popularity. Think of it as MIGA, Make Iran Great Again , though they are unlikely to use that exact phrase.

PEACE

iendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website July 13, 2019 at 1:48 pm GMT

It's ludicrous to imagine that Russians are so wedded to the good life that they do not dare antagonise Amerikastan. What "good life" is this? Ask the pensioners struggling on a few thousand rubles a month how the hell they are supposed to manage. The luxuries enjoyed by the yuppies in Moscow (most of whom, fluently English speaking and firmly pro-Amerikastani, are a fifth column of Quislings) are not the life that the factory worker in Volgograd or the farmer outside St Petersburg will recognise.

Che Guava , says: July 13, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT

Pres. Putin seems to be a pretty good person.

I want to sidetrack the thread to the matter of Edward Snowden.

Putin made a comment early on 'a strange young man'.

I understand exactly what he was saying. I am the same. No leaks. ht is a matter of honour.

OTOH, confronted by wall-to-wal evil bullshit as he was, I think he was not in the wrong (but have a little internal conflict on that, since the secrets 4 have to keep now are ooly technical and at times commercial, such a dilemna never arises.

In no situation would such be ethical.

he was sorry for Sowden's girlfriend, he dumped her. but, not long after, she was with him. Very romantic. Doubtless, Russian secret services had some role.

I like the happy ending there, it is very romantic.

Would make a great movie, but not possible from Hollywood, perhaps Russia could revive its moribund film industry?

Republic , says: July 13, 2019 at 3:44 pm GMT
@Malacaay

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/10-ways-russia-better-than-usa/

Anatoly Karlin published this two years ago:

10 ways Russia is better than the US

Agent76 , says: July 13, 2019 at 4:29 pm GMT

Oct 20, 2018 Putin: Russia Getting Rid Of US Dollar Matter Of National Security

Russian president Vladimir Putin: "That's what our American friends are doing. They're undermining trust in the dollar as a universal payment instrument and the main reserve currency."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4fECrSQ9ifM?feature=oembed

Jun 8, 2018 Putin hints at end of dollar system – Direct Line 2018

Vladimir Putin has held his 16th Direct Line Q&A on June 7th.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/z01S7lOq-qI?feature=oembed

AnonFromTN , says: July 13, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AmRusDebate t in 2014, and had gone so deep that there is no light at the end of the tunnel now. It is still used by the Empire as an annoying sore right next to Russia, but that's all it can be. It did not and could not deliver what the Empire was hoping for. The imperial planners never take into account the critical condition for their "color revolutions" to bring US-friendly compradores to power anywhere: the country in question must be rotten through and through. Thus, instead of useful sharp tools they get worthless pieces of shit. They are still trying to use an inevitable stink for their purposes, but that's the only use shit is good for.
AnonFromTN , says: July 13, 2019 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist

It's not just Moscow yuppies. Visit any provincial city in Russia today and you'd see that it looks way better than it ever did in the USSR. There are cafes everywhere and lots of people in them spending serious money, because they can afford that. Drive on any road, in or between the cities, and you can see that the roads are in a better shape than they ever were, and there are lots of gas stations, cafes, and hotels along them, all doing brisk business. Russians have ten times more cars now than they had in the USSR, and they drive a lot.

RadicalCenter , says: July 13, 2019 at 7:04 pm GMT
@A123 be deployed right on Russia's border on yet another side. Russia would be readily bottled up and be denied the freedom to navigate through the surrounding waters. And it would be more vulnerable to land invasion from more points.

Russia should continue disentangling itself from US and US-Controller financial systems and institutions. Keep becoming more able to sustain its people without so many imports of foodstuffs and manufactured goods alike.

Far from giving up Crimea, Russia should bide its time and wait to retake the Donbass region or more when Ukraine collapses, breaks up, and/or is outright occupied by the US.

Ace , says: July 13, 2019 at 7:19 pm GMT
@A123

I rather doubt you're in any position to judge whether Khameni is a sociopath.

And your fixation on regime change is noted. The ultimate expression of Western arrogance: You, you benighted, retrograde, sociopathic worm, are not a fit chief executive of your nation so we have decided you must go. If we have to kill hundreds of thousands of your people that's just an unavoidable cost of our being the excellent people we are.

RadicalCenter , says: July 13, 2019 at 7:25 pm GMT
@Twodees Partain

Trump should put the warmongering establishment on the back foot by firing Bolton and hiring Tulsi Gabbard.

Watch the media contort itself deciding how to slander and attack a partly nonwhite "progressive" "pro-choice" woman who is also a veteran, LOL.

What if trump did this a month BEFORE the election?

Beefcake the Mighty , says: July 13, 2019 at 9:55 pm GMT
@Harbinger

Liberalism in the West today is similar to communism in the SU in the late 80's: a decrepit ideology that offers nothing to ordinary people and whose adherents are incapable of anything but mouthing the same rubbish over and over. It will similarly die a well-deserved death.

[Jul 13, 2019] The saddest thing of all is that the Dems' fixation on Russia and Putin is now coming back to bite them in the ass. Trump could not have asked for a better gift.

Notable quotes:
"... You can bet that the likes of Rachel Maddow will never change their tune on the subject of Russiagate. ..."
Jul 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Rob , July 12, 2019 at 12:27

You can bet that the likes of Rachel Maddow will never change their tune on the subject of Russiagate.

However, with the election season heating up, it might seem wise for them to start singing a different tune altogether, such as Sanders and Warren are too radical to have any chance of defeating Trump.

The saddest thing of all is that the Dems' fixation on Russia and Putin is now coming back to bite them in the ass. Trump could not have asked for a better gift.

[Jul 13, 2019] The return of Weimar Berlin - Lawlessness, Inequality, Extremism, Divisiveness and Crime

Notable quotes:
"... You hypocrites! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors , we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of His messengers ..."
"... this entire Russian collusion meme seems as though it is an hysterical reaction to the spin put out by the Clinton political faction and their neoliberal enablers after their shocking loss in the 2016 Presidential election. ..."
"... the financial corruption and private pilfering using public power, money laundering and the kind of soft corruption that is rampant amongst our new elite is all there ..."
"... We are reassured and misled by the same kinds of voices that have always served the status quo and the monied interests, the think tanks, the so-called 'institutes,' and the web sites and former con men who offer a constant stream of thinly disguised propaganda and misstatements of principle and history. We are comforted by their lies. ..."
"... We wish to strike a deal with the Lord, and a deal with the Devil -- to serve both God and Mammon as it suits us. It really is that cliché. And it is so finely woven into the fabric of our day that we cannot see it; we cannot see that it is happening to us and around us. ..."
"... It has always been so, especially in times of such vanity and greed as are these. Then is now. There is nothing new under the sun. And certainly nothing exceptional about the likes of us in our indulgent self-destruction. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"He drew near and saw the city, and he wept for it saying, 'If you had only recognized the things that make for peace. But now you are blinded to them. Truly, the days will come when your enemies will set up barriers to surround you, and hem you in on every side. Then they will crush you into the earth, you and your children. And they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the way to your salvation.'"

Luke 19:41-44

"You hypocrites! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of His messengers.'"

Matthew 23:29-30

...the results of the Senate GOP finding no evidence of 'collusion' with Russia by the Trump Administration to influence the results of the presidential election..

This last item is not surprising, because this entire Russian collusion meme seems as though it is an hysterical reaction to the spin put out by the Clinton political faction and their neoliberal enablers after their shocking loss in the 2016 Presidential election.

Too bad though, because the financial corruption and private pilfering using public power, money laundering and the kind of soft corruption that is rampant amongst our new elite is all there. And by there we mean on both sides of the fence -- which is why it had to take a back seat to a manufactured boogeyman.

... ... ...

There is a long road ahead before we see anything like a resolution to this troubling period in American political history.

We look back at other troubled periods and places, and either see them as discrete and fictional, a very different world apart, or through some rosy lenses of good old times which were largely benign and peaceful. We fail to see the continuity, the similarity, and the commonality of a dangerous path with ourselves. As they did with their own times gone by. Madness blinds its acolytes, because they wish it so. They embrace it to hide their shame.

We are reassured and misled by the same kinds of voices that have always served the status quo and the monied interests, the think tanks, the so-called 'institutes,' and the web sites and former con men who offer a constant stream of thinly disguised propaganda and misstatements of principle and history. We are comforted by their lies.

People want to hear these reassuring words of comfort and embrace it like a 'religion,' because they do not wish to draw the conclusions that the genuine principles of faith suggest (dare we say command in this day and age) in their daily lives. They blind themselves by adopting a kind of a schizoid approach to life, where 'religion' occupies a discrete, rarefied space, and 'political or economic philosophy' dictates another set of everyday 'practical' observances and behaviors which are more pliable, and pleasing to our hardened and prideful hearts.

We wish to strike a deal with the Lord, and a deal with the Devil -- to serve both God and Mammon as it suits us. It really is that cliché. And it is so finely woven into the fabric of our day that we cannot see it; we cannot see that it is happening to us and around us.

And so we trot on into the abyss, one exception and excuse and rationalization for ourselves at a time. And we blind ourselves with false prophets and their profane theories and philosophies.

As for truth, the truth that brings life, we would interrupt the sermon on the mount itself, saying that this sentiment was all very well and good, but what stocks should we buy for our portfolio, and what horse is going to win the fifth at Belmont? Tell us something useful, practical! Oh, and can you please fix this twinge in my left shoulder? It is ruining my golf game.

"Those among the rich who are not, in the rigorous sense, damned, can understand poverty, because they are poor themselves, after a fashion; they cannot understand destitution. Capable of giving alms, perhaps, but incapable of stripping themselves bare, they will be moved, to the sound of beautiful music, at Jesus's sufferings, but His Cross, the reality of His Cross, will horrify them. They want it all out of gold, bathed in light, costly and of little weight; pleasant to see, hanging from a woman's beautiful throat."

Léon Bloy

No surprise in this. It has always been so, especially in times of such vanity and greed as are these. Then is now. There is nothing new under the sun. And certainly nothing exceptional about the likes of us in our indulgent self-destruction.

Are you not entertained?

[Jul 12, 2019] Nine Consequences of the Upcoming US-China Trade War by Renaud Anjoran

Highly recommended!
This author really knows what he is talking about
Notable quotes:
"... When tariffs went up from 0 to 10% on some product categories last year, many suppliers agreed to absorb half that amount (5%) in exchange for larger orders. The logic was as follows: higher orders lead to better deals with component suppliers and to higher production efficiencies, which means lower costs. ..."
"... Do you ship American wood for processing in China and re-exporting to the US? You might have issues getting that material into China as smoothly as before. And then, the US Customs office might give you a hard time when you bring the goods in, too! ..."
"... Who knows what non-monetary barriers the Chinese will erect. One can count on their creativity ..."
"... Several US companies asked our company to look for assembly plants in Vietnam and, in those cases where we found some options, they were much more expensive than China. There is a reason why China's share of hard goods production in Asia has kept growing in recent years -- competition is often non-existent. ..."
"... Now, with China's products suddenly much more expensive, what are these competing countries going to do? Won't they take advantage of it and push wages further up, at least for the export manufacturing sector? ..."
"... Mexico should be the clear winner of this trade war. They are next to the US, their labor cost is comparable to that of China, and many American companies have long had extensive operations there. ..."
May 09, 2019 | qualityinspection.org

https://qualityinspection.org/9-consequences-us-china-trade-war/

Based on all the articles I have read about the current geopolitical situation, I am not optimistic about the affect of the US-China trade war on American importers. Dan Harris, who wrote " the US-China Cold War start now, " announced that a "mega-storm" might be coming, and he may be right.

Now, if things turn out as bad as predicted, and if tariffs apply on more goods imported from China to the US -- and at higher rates -- what does it mean for US importers?

What will the damage from the US-China trade war look like?

These are my thoughts about who or what is going to be hit hard by the ongoing 'trade war:'

1. Small importers will be hit much harder than larger ones

If you work with very large Chinese manufacturers, many of them have already started to set up operations outside of mainland China, for the simple reason that most of their customers have been pushing for that.

They are in Vietnam, Malaysia, etc. And this is true in most industries -- from apparel to electronics.

Do they still have to import most of their components from China? It depends on their footprints. As I wrote before :

You set up a mammoth plant and you don't want your high-value component suppliers to be more than 1 hour away from you, for just-in-time inventory replenishment? They can be requested to set up a new manufacturing facility next to you.

2. A higher total cost of goods purchased from China

This one is obvious. If you have orders already in production, they will cost you more than expected.

The RMB might slide quite a bit, and that might alleviate the total cost. I hope you have followed my advice and started paying your suppliers in RMB , to benefit from it automatically.

Beijing might also give other forms of subsidies to their exporters. They might be quite visible (e.g. a higher VAT rebate) or totally 'under the table'.

3. Difficult negotiations with Chinese suppliers

Can you say the tariffs are Beijing's fault, and so your suppliers should absorb the tariffs? That's not going to work.

When tariffs went up from 0 to 10% on some product categories last year, many suppliers agreed to absorb half that amount (5%) in exchange for larger orders. The logic was as follows: higher orders lead to better deals with component suppliers and to higher production efficiencies, which means lower costs.

When tariffs go from 10% to 35%, what else can US buyers give their counter-parties? Payments in advance? Lower quality standards? I don't believe that.

4. Difficulties at several levels in the supply chain

Do you ship American wood for processing in China and re-exporting to the US? You might have issues getting that material into China as smoothly as before. And then, the US Customs office might give you a hard time when you bring the goods in, too!

Who knows what non-monetary barriers the Chinese will erect. One can count on their creativity

5. Short-term non-elasticity of alternative sources

There are a finite number of Vietnamese export-ready manufacturers that can make your orders. And, chances are, their capacity is already full. If you haven't prepared this move for months (or years), other US companies have. The early bird gets the worm

Same thing with Thailand, Indonesia, India, and so on, with the exception of apparel and (maybe) footwear.

Several US companies asked our company to look for assembly plants in Vietnam and, in those cases where we found some options, they were much more expensive than China. There is a reason why China's share of hard goods production in Asia has kept growing in recent years -- competition is often non-existent.

6. Faster cost increases in other low-cost Asian countries

As I wrote before, since China announced their 5-year plan to increase wages, other Asian countries adopted similar plans . That's how we got to this upward trend across the board:

Minimum wage comparison

Now, with China's products suddenly much more expensive, what are these competing countries going to do? Won't they take advantage of it and push wages further up, at least for the export manufacturing sector?

There could be some 'silver linings' due to the trade war

It is not all bad news though. We may see these benefits caused by China and the USA slugging it out too:

7. Many opportunities for Mexico

Mexico should be the clear winner of this trade war. They are next to the US, their labor cost is comparable to that of China, and many American companies have long had extensive operations there.

8. Rapid consolidation in the Chinese manufacturing sector

The fittest will survive. Many uncompetitive manufacturers and traders will fold. Consolidation will accelerate. I often look at what happened in Japan and South Korea . Each of these countries developed very fast and, when the going got tough, the export manufacturing sector got devastated. Only the most competitive survived.

9. Relaxed enforcement of anti-pollution regulations in China?

I'd bet that, if the tariffs hit hard, far fewer operations will get closed for environmental reasons. Preserving employment and social peace will prevail.

[Jul 12, 2019] The British welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the Scandinavian social model are not replacements for capitalism. They are forms of capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... There are two problems with storming the Winter Palace. First, you won't have a decisive majority of Americans behind you. Second, you have no idea what you'd do if somehow did seize the Winter Palace. You could conceivably solve the first problem by going balls out demagogue a la Hugo Chavez; but, like Chavez, you'd have to dispense with democracy to keep power because you have no solution to the second problem. For my money, a decent social democracy-universal healthy care, more progressive taxes, a higher minimum wage, more affordable college education, etc.- is plenty hard enough to secure. ..."
"... Before the long-decline began in the 70s, a large fraction of the UK's economic activity was chartered, regulated, and/or managed for the people. That's not capitalism, by definition. ..."
Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
yuan -> Jim Harrison ... , February 10, 2017 at 12:34 PM
"Does anybody around here have anything useful to suggest"

both demonstration and general strikes are powerful ways to express popular outrage. one is planned on for the 17th (too soon) and another more organized one is being planned for march.

http://f17strike.com/

"but you have no more of an idea of a global replacement for capitalism"

so the British welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the Scandinavian social model are impossible pipe dreams because...

Jim Harrison -> yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 01:46 PM
"the British welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the Scandinavian social model are" not replacements for capitalism. They are forms of capitalism. And the sorts of policies that go with these versions of conventional social democracy are...pretty much the platform articles that Clinton ran on. Which is the serious reason the American right despised Hillary. They, at least, didn't have any trouble telling the candidates apart.

There are two problems with storming the Winter Palace. First, you won't have a decisive majority of Americans behind you. Second, you have no idea what you'd do if somehow did seize the Winter Palace. You could conceivably solve the first problem by going balls out demagogue a la Hugo Chavez; but, like Chavez, you'd have to dispense with democracy to keep power because you have no solution to the second problem. For my money, a decent social democracy-universal healthy care, more progressive taxes, a higher minimum wage, more affordable college education, etc.- is plenty hard enough to secure.

yuan -> Jim Harrison ... , February 10, 2017 at 04:50 PM
"They are forms of capitalism."

Before the long-decline began in the 70s, a large fraction of the UK's economic activity was chartered, regulated, and/or managed for the people. That's not capitalism, by definition. (Socialism was a market/trade-based system at its inception. The tendencies with alternative economic models came later.)

Some history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clause_IV

And Corbyn has returned labor to its socialist roots: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-to-bring-back-clause-four-contender-pledges-to-bury-new-labour-with-commitment-to-10446982.html


"And the sorts of policies that go with these versions of conventional social democracy are...pretty much the platform articles that Clinton ran on."

I guess I missed Clinton advocating for the nationalization of health care, education, energy production, and transportation.

And the "welfare state" has little to do with "social democracy" (whatever that recent nonsense phrase means), all of them were developed by socialist movements.

[Jul 06, 2019] Neoliberal democrats for profit love of minorities

Nov 10, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

JamesWonnacott , 10 Nov 2016 11:18

"And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women."

Muslims, of course, never degrade women do they?

[Jul 06, 2019] It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.

Notable quotes:
"... The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs. ..."
"... It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying. ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

zephirine -> josephinireland

The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs.

This view has taken hold in the UK too, where the tabloids peddle the view that anyone who claims state benefits must be a fraud. But at least, people here and in mainland Europe have the direct experience of war within living memory and we understand that you can lose everything through no fault of your own. In the US, even when there's a natural disaster like Katrina it seems to be the poor people's fault for not having their own transport and money to go and stay somewhere else.

It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.

[Jul 06, 2019] Neoliberalism start collapsing as soon as considerable part of the electorate has lost hope that thier standard of living will improve

Pretty superficial article, but some points are interesting. Especially the fact that the collapse of neoliberalism like collapse of Bolshevism is connected with its inability to raise the standard of living of population in major Western countries, despite looting of the USSR and Middle eastern countries since 1991. Spoils of victory in the Cold War never got to common people. All was appropriated by greedy "New Class" of neoliberal oligarchs.
The same was true with Bolshevism in the USSR. The communist ideology was dead after WWII when it became clear that "proletariat" is not a new class destined to take over and the "iron law of oligarchy" was discovered. Collapse happened in 45 years since the end of WWII. Neoliberal ideology was dead in 2008. It would be interesting to see if neoliberalism as a social system survives past 2050.
The level of degeneration of the USA elite probably exceeds the level of degeneration of Nomenklatura even now.
Notable quotes:
"... A big reason why liberal democracies in Europe have remained relatively stable since WWII is that most Europeans have had hope that their lives will improve. A big reason why the radical vote has recently been on the rise in several European countries is that part of the electorate has lost this hope. People are increasingly worried that not only their own lives but also the lives of their children will not improve and that the playing field is not level. ..."
"... As a result, the traditional liberal package of external liberalisation and internal redistribution has lost its appeal with the electorate, conceding ground to the alternative package of the radical right that consists of external protectionism and internal liberalisation ..."
"... Mr Mody said the bottom half of German society has not seen any increase in real incomes in a generation. ..."
"... The reforms pushed seven million people into part-time 'mini-jobs' paying €450 (£399) a month. It lead to corrosive "pauperisation". This remains the case even though the economy is humming and surging exports have pushed the current account surplus to 8.5pc of GDP." ..."
"... "British referendum on EU membership can be explained to a remarkable extent as a vote against globalisation much more than immigration " ..."
"... As an FYI to the author immigration is just the flip side of the same coin. Why were immigrants migrating? Often it's because they can no longer make a living where they left. Why? Often globalization impacts. ..."
"... The laws of biology and physics and whatever else say that the host that is being parasitised upon, cannot support the endless growth of the parasites attached upon it. The unfortunate host will eventually die. ..."
"... "negative effects of globalisation: foreign competition, factory closures, persistent unemployment, stagnating purchasing power, deteriorating infrastructures and public services" ..."
"... he ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people. ..."
"... One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future. ..."
"... "If you're not willing to kill everybody who has a different idea than yourself, you cannot have Frederick Hayek's free market. You cannot have Alan Greenspan or the Chicago School, you cannot have the economic freedom that is freedom for the rentiers and the FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) sector to reduce the rest of the economy to serfdom." ~ Michael Hudson ..."
"... I'm surprised more people don't vote for neo-fascist parties like the Golden Dawn. Ordinary liberal politics has completely failed them. ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The more a local economy has been negatively affected by the two shocks, the more its electors have shifted towards the radical right and its policy packages. These packages typically combine the retrenchment against international openness and the liberalisation of the internal market and more convincingly address the demand for protection by an electorate that, after the austerity following the Crisis, no longer trusts alternatives based on more liberal stances on foreign relations and the parallel promise of a stronger welfare state.

A big reason why liberal democracies in Europe have remained relatively stable since WWII is that most Europeans have had hope that their lives will improve. A big reason why the radical vote has recently been on the rise in several European countries is that part of the electorate has lost this hope. People are increasingly worried that not only their own lives but also the lives of their children will not improve and that the playing field is not level.

On the one hand, despite some progress in curtailing 'tax havens' in recent years, there has never been as much wealth in tax havens as there is today (Zucman 2015). This is seen as unfair because, if public goods and services (including those required to help the transition to a 'green economy') have to be provided in the regions where such hidden wealth comes from, lost tax revenues have to be compensated for by higher taxes on law-abiding households.

On the other hand, fairness is also undermined by dwindling social mobility. In the last decades, social mobility has slowed down across large parts of the industrialised world (OECD 2018), both within and between generations. Social mobility varies greatly across regions within countries, correlates positively with economic activity, education, and social capital, and negatively with inequality (Güell at al. 2018). Renewed migration from the South to the North of Europe after the Crisis (Van Mol and de Valk 2016) is a testimony of the widening relative lack of opportunities in the places that have suffered the most from competition from low-wage countries.

Concluding Remarks

Globalisation has come accompanied by the Great Convergence between countries around the world but also the Great Divergence between regions within several industrialised countries. The same holds within the EU. In recent years, redistributive policies have had only a very limited impact in terms of reversing growing regional inequality.

As a result, the traditional liberal package of external liberalisation and internal redistribution has lost its appeal with the electorate, conceding ground to the alternative package of the radical right that consists of external protectionism and internal liberalisation.

This is both inefficient and unlikely to lead to more regional convergence. What the political and policy debate in Europe is arguably missing is a clearer focus on two of the main underlying causes of peoples' growing distrust in national and international institutions: fiscal fairness and social mobility.

See original post for references


Jesper , July 3, 2019 at 12:37 pm

When did this traditional liberal package mentioned in the concluding remarks ever happen?

the traditional liberal package of external liberalisation and internal redistribution has lost its appeal with the electorate

Maybe if it was clear who got it, what it was, when it was done, how it happened then people might find this liberal package appealing.

flora , July 3, 2019 at 11:26 pm

Right. It would be better to say "the traditional New Deal liberal package " has not lost its appeal, it was killed off bit by bit starting with NAFTA. From a 2016 Thomas Frank essay in Salon:

That appeal to [educated credentialed] class unity gives a hint of what Clintonism was all about. To owners and shareholders, who would see labor costs go down as they took advantage of unorganized Mexican labor and lax Mexican environmental enforcement, NAFTA held fantastic promise. To American workers, it threatened to send their power, and hence their wages, straight down the chute. To the mass of the professional-managerial class, people who weren't directly threatened by the treaty, holding an opinion on NAFTA was a matter of deferring to the correct experts -- economists in this case, 283 of whom had signed a statement declaring the treaty "will be a net positive for the United States, both in terms of employment creation and overall economic growth."

The predictions of people who opposed the agreement turned out to be far closer to what eventually came to pass than did the rosy scenarios of those 283 economists and the victorious President Clinton. NAFTA was supposed to encourage U.S. exports to Mexico; the opposite is what happened, and in a huge way. NAFTA was supposed to increase employment in the U.S.; a study from 2010 counts almost 700,000 jobs lost in America thanks to the treaty. And, as feared, the agreement gave one class in America enormous leverage over the other: employers now routinely threaten to move their operations to Mexico if their workers organize. A surprisingly large number of them -- far more than in the pre-NAFTA days -- have actually made good on the threat.

Twenty years later, the broader class divide over the subject persists as well. According to a 2014 survey of attitudes toward NAFTA after two decades, public opinion remains split. But among people with professional degrees -- which is to say, the liberal class -- the positive view remains the default. Knowing that free-trade treaties are always for the best -- even when they empirically are not -- seems to have become for the well-graduated a badge of belonging.

https://www.salon.com/2016/03/14/bill_clintons_odious_presidency_thomas_frank_on_the_real_history_of_the_90s/

The only internal redistribution that's happened in the past 25 – 30 yearsis from the bottom 80% to the top 10% and especially to the top 1/10th of 1 %.

Not hard to imagine why the current internal redistribution model has lost its appeal with the electorate.

Sound of the Suburbs, , July 3, 2019 at 1:50 pm

UK policymakers had a great plan for globalisation.

Everyone needs to specialise in something and we will specialise in finance based in London.

That was it.

rd , , July 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm

I think there are two different globalizations that people are responding to.

1. Their jobs go away to somewhere in the globe that has lower wages, lower labor protections, and lower environmental protections. So their community largely stays the same but with dwindling job prospects and people slowly moving away.

2. The world comes to their community where they see immigrants (legal, illegal, refugees) coming in and are willing to work harder for less, as well as having different appearance, languages, religion, and customs. North America has always had this as we are built on immigration. Europe is much more focused on terroire. If somebody or something has only been there for a century, they are new.

If you combine both in a community, you have lit a stick of dynamite as the locals feel trapped with no way out. Then you get Brexit and Trump. In the US, many jobs were sent overseas and so new people coming in are viewed as competitors and agents of change instead of just new hired help. The same happened in Britain. In mainland Europe with less inequality and more job protection, it is more of just being overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of newcomers in a society that does not prize that at all.

Sound of the Suburbs, , July 3, 2019 at 2:04 pm

I saw the warning signs when Golden Dawn appeared in Greece

The liberals said it was just a one off, as they always do, until it isn't.

How did successful Germany turn into a country where extremism would flourish?
The Hartz IV reforms created the economic hardship that causes extremism to flourish.

"Germany is turning to soft nationalism. People on low incomes are voting against authority because the consensus on equality and justice has broken down. It is the same pattern across Europe," said Ashoka Mody, a former bail-out chief for the International Monetary Fund in Europe.

Mr Mody said the bottom half of German society has not seen any increase in real incomes in a generation. The Hartz IV reforms in 2003 and 2004 made it easier to fire workers, leading to wage compression as companies threatened to move plants to Eastern Europe.

The reforms pushed seven million people into part-time 'mini-jobs' paying €450 (£399) a month. It lead to corrosive "pauperisation". This remains the case even though the economy is humming and surging exports have pushed the current account surplus to 8.5pc of GDP."

This is a successful European country, imagine what the others look like.

Adam1 , July 3, 2019 at 2:20 pm

"British referendum on EU membership can be explained to a remarkable extent as a vote against globalisation much more than immigration "

As an FYI to the author immigration is just the flip side of the same coin. Why were immigrants migrating? Often it's because they can no longer make a living where they left. Why? Often globalization impacts.

Summer , July 3, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Another recap about that really just mourns the lack of trust in the establishment, with no answers. More "I can't believe people are sick to death of experts of dubious skills but networking "

What it is just admitted that a system that can only work great for 20% of any given population if they are born in the right region with the right last name just simply not work except as an exercise in extraction?

And about the EU as if it could never be taken over by bigger authoritatians than the ones already populating it. Then see how much those who think it is some forever bastion of liberalism over sovereignity likes it .

Which is worse - bankers or terrorists , July 4, 2019 at 7:21 am

"Another recap about that really just mourns the lack of trust in the establishment, with no answers."

Usually it involves replacing the establishment or creating an internal threat to reinstate compliance in the establish (Strauss and Howe).

Strategies for initiate the former may be impossible in this era where the deep state can read your thoughts through digital media so you would like it would trend to the latter.

stan6565 , July 3, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Mmmmm, yes, migration, globalisation and such like.

But, unregulated migration into an established environment, say a country, say, UK, on one hand furthers profits to those benefiting from low labour wages (mainly, friends of people working for governments), but on the other leads to creation of parallel societies, where the incoming population brings along the society they strived to escape from. The Don calls these sh***hole societies. Why bring the f***ing thing here, why not leave it where you escaped from.

But the real betrayal of the native population happens when all those unregulated migrants are afforded immediate right to social security, full access to NHS and other aspects of state support, services that they have not paid one penny in support before accessing that particular government funded trough. And then the parasitic growth of their "family and extended family" comes along under the banner of "human rights".

This is the damnation of the whole of Western Civilisation which had been hollowed out from within by the most devious layer of parasitic growth, the government apparatus. The people we pay for under the auspices that they are doing some work for us, are enforcing things that treat the income generators, the tax paying society as serfs whose primary function in life is to support the parasites (immigrants) and parasite enablers (government).

The laws of biology and physics and whatever else say that the host that is being parasitised upon, cannot support the endless growth of the parasites attached upon it. The unfortunate host will eventually die.

Understanding of this concept is most certainly within mental capabilities of all those employed as the "governing classes " that we are paying for through our taxes.

Until such time when legislation is enacted that each and every individual member of "government classes " is made to pay, on an indemnity basis, through financial damages, forced labour, organs stripping or custodial penalties, for every penny (or cent, sorry, yanks), of damage they inflict on us taxpayers, we are all just barking.

Skip Intro , July 3, 2019 at 4:49 pm

This piece does an admirable job conflating globalisation and the ills caused by the neoliberal capture of social democratic parties/leaders. Did people just happen to lose hope, or were they actively betrayed? We are left to guess.

"negative effects of globalisation: foreign competition, factory closures, persistent unemployment, stagnating purchasing power, deteriorating infrastructures and public services"

Note that these ills could also be laid at the feet of the austerity movement, and the elimination/privatisation of National Industrial Policy, both cornerstones of the neoliberal infestation.

Summer , July 3, 2019 at 5:56 pm

Not only is globalization not new, all of the issues that come with it are old news.
All of it.

Part of the problem is that the global economic order is still in service to the same old same old. They have to rebrand every so often to keep the comfortable even more comfortable.

Those tasked with keeping the comfortable more comfortable have to present this crap as "new ideas" for their own careerism or actually do not realize they haven't espoused a new idea in 500 years.

K Lee , July 5, 2019 at 9:12 am

Putin's recent interview with Financial Times editor offers a clear-eyed perspective on our changing global structure:

"What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the US? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people.

Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.

You know, it seems to me that purely liberal or purely traditional ideas have never existed. Probably, they did once exist in the history of humankind, but everything very quickly ends in a deadlock if there is no diversity. Everything starts to become extreme one way or another.

Various ideas and various opinions should have a chance to exist and manifest themselves, but at the same time interests of the general public, those millions of people and their lives, should never be forgotten. This is something that should not be overlooked.

Then, it seems to me, we would be able to avoid major political upheavals and troubles. This applies to the liberal idea as well. It does not mean (I think, this is ceasing to be a dominating factor) that it must be immediately destroyed. This point of view, this position should also be treated with respect.

They cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades. Diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics. But why?

For this reason, I am not a fan of quickly shutting, tying, closing, disbanding everything, arresting everybody or dispersing everybody. Of course, not. The liberal idea cannot be destroyed either; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But you should not think that it has the right to be the absolute dominating factor. That is the point. Please." ~ Vladmir Putin

https://www.ft.com/content/878d2344-98f0-11e9-9573-ee5cbb98ed36

He's talking about the end of neoliberalism, the economic fascism that has gripped the world for over 40 years:

"If you're not willing to kill everybody who has a different idea than yourself, you cannot have Frederick Hayek's free market. You cannot have Alan Greenspan or the Chicago School, you cannot have the economic freedom that is freedom for the rentiers and the FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) sector to reduce the rest of the economy to serfdom." ~ Michael Hudson

Let's get back to using fiscal policy for public purpose again, to granting nations their right to self-determination and stopping the latest desperate neoliberal attempt to change international norms by installing fascist dictators (while pretending they are different) in order to move the world backwards to a time when "efforts to institutionalize standards of human and civil rights were seen as impingements on sovereignty, back to the days when no one gave a second thought to oppressed peoples."

http://tothepointanalyses.com/making-progressives-the-enemy/?fbclid=IwAR0ebXAngJpSZY0-WdB-zOgfqWnGsmYzqkYMP4A69kqbHrTI6WqjSpWM4Ow

kristiina , July 4, 2019 at 2:47 am

Very interesting article, and even more interesting conversation! There is a type of argument that very accurately points out some ills that need addressing, and then goes on to spout venom on the only system that might be able to address those ills.

It may be that the governing classes are making life easy for themselves. How to address that is the hard and difficult issue. Most of the protection of the small people comes from government. Healthcare, schools, roads, water etc.(I'm in scandinavia).

If the government crumbles, the small people have to leave. The most dreadful tyranny is better than a failed state with warring factions.

The only viable way forward is to somehow improve the system while it is (still) running. But this discussion I do not see anywhere.

If the discussion does not happen, there will not be any suggestions for improvement, so everything stays the same. Change is inevitable – it what state it will catch us is the important thing. A cashier at a Catalonian family vineyard told me the future is local and global: the next level from Catalonia will be EU. What are the steps needed to go there?

SteveB , July 4, 2019 at 5:54 am

Same old, Same old. Government is self-corrupting and is loath to change. People had enough July fourth 1776.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

FWIW: The fireworks we watch every Fourth of July holiday are symbolic!!!!

John , July 4, 2019 at 5:43 pm

The cashier seems to be envisioning a neoliberal paradise where the nation-state no longer exists. But who, then, collects the taxes that will pay for infrastructure, healthcare, education, public housing, and unemployment insurance? The European Parliament?

Will Germans and Finns be willing to pay high taxes in order to pay for those services for Greeks and Spaniards?

Look at the unemployment rate in Greece the Germans would simply say that the Greeks are lazy parasites and don't want to work (rather than understand that the economic conditions don't allow for job creation), and they would vote for MEPs that vote to cut taxes and welfare programs.

But maybe this was the plan all along you create this neoliberal paradise, and slowly but surely, people will dismantle all but the bare bones of the welfare state.

John , July 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm

I believe that one of the fundamental flaws in the logic behind the EU is this assumption of mobility. Proponents of the EU imagine society to be how it is described in economics textbooks: a bunch of individual actors seeking to maximize their incomes that don't seem to exist in any geographic context. The reality is that people are born into families and communities that speak a language. Most of them probably don't want to just pack up all of their things, relocate, and leave their family and home behind every time they get a new job. People throughout history have always had a very strong connection to the land on which they were raised and the society into which they were brought up; more accurately, for most of human history, this formed the entire existence, the entire universe, of most people (excluding certain oppressed groups, such as slaves or the conquered).

Human beings are not able to move as freely as capital. While euros in Greece can be sent to and used instantly in Germany, it is not so easy for a Greek person to leave the society that their ancestors have lived in for thousands of years and move to a new country with a new culture and language. For privileged people that get to travel, this doesn't sound so bad, but for someone whose family has lived in the same place for centuries and never learned to speak another language, this experience would be extremely difficult. For many people over the age of 25, it might not even be a life worth living.

In the past, economic difficulties would lead to a depreciation of a nation's currency and inflation. But within the current structure of the Eurozone, it results in deflation as euros escape to the core countries (mainly Germany) and unemployment. Southern Europeans are expected to leave everything they have ever known behind and move to the countries where there is work, like Germany or Holland. Maybe for a well-educated worldly 18 year old, that's not so bad, but what about a newly laid-off working class 35 year-old with a wife and kids and no college degree? He's supposed to just pick up his family and leave his parents and relatives behind, learn German, and spend the rest of his life and Germany? His kids now have to be German? Would he even be able to get a job there, anyway? Doing what? And how is he supposed to stop this from happening, how is he supposed to organize politically to keep jobs at home? The Greek government can hardly do anything because the IMF, ECB, and European Commission (all unelected officials) call the shots and don't give them any fiscal breathing room (and we saw what happened the last time voters tried to assert their autonomy in the bailout deal referendum), and the European Parliament doesn't have a serious budget to actually do anything.

I'm surprised more people don't vote for neo-fascist parties like the Golden Dawn. Ordinary liberal politics has completely failed them.

[Jul 06, 2019] Neoliberalism has had its day. So what happens next- - Martin Jacques - Opinion - The Guardian

Notable quotes:
"... “‘Populism’ is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don’t like.” Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both. ..."
Aug 21, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

... ... ...

The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation .

Worse, because the recovery has been so weak and fragile, there is a widespread belief that another financial crisis may well beckon. In other words, the neoliberal era has delivered the west back into the kind of crisis-ridden world that we last experienced in the 1930s. With this background, it is hardly surprising that a majority in the west now believe their children will be worse off than they were. Second, those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s.

A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been a massive seller. His work and that of Tony Atkinson and Angus Deaton have pushed the question of the inequality to the top of the political agenda. In the UK, Ha-Joon Chang , for long isolated within the economics profession, has gained a following far greater than those who think economics is a branch of mathematics.

Meanwhile, some of those who were previously strong advocates of a neoliberal approach, such as Larry Summers and the Financial Times 's Martin Wolf, have become extremely critical. The wind is in the sails of the critics of neoliberalism; the neoliberals and monetarists are in retreat. In the UK, the media and political worlds are well behind the curve. Few recognise that we are at the end of an era. Old attitudes and assumptions still predominate, whether on the BBC's Today programme, in the rightwing press or the parliamentary Labour party.

As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot, as graphically illustrated by the support for Trump and Sanders in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK. This popular revolt is often described, in a somewhat denigratory and dismissive fashion, as populism. Or, as Francis Fukuyama writes in a recent excellent essay in Foreign Affairs: “‘Populism’ is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don’t like.” Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both.

[Jul 06, 2019] US is a Classic Empire and Is Becoming a Repressive Police State at Home by DAVE LINDORFF

Notable quotes:
"... The US today is a global empire. Our country's military, ballooning to some 2.1 million in uniform at a time that there is really no significant war underway. US military spending, greater in constant dollars than at any time since WWII, represents 34% of all global military spending, and the US military budget, depending on how one counts it, is larger than the next largest eight-to-ten countries' military budgets combined. ..."
"... And remember -- US empire and militarism is and has always been supported by both political parties. ..."
"... only 32% of Americans say they are "proud" (forget "extremely proud"!) of America's vaunted political system. In a close second for popular disgust, only 37% said they are "proud" of the US health care system. ..."
"... In my view, my country has become the world's leading "rogue" nation, dismissive of all international laws and codes of conduct, actively attacking many countries on its own authority, without the support of UN Security Council resolutions, exonerating war crimes committed by its soldiers, and committed to the first use of nuclear weapons, both as a first strike against major power rivals like Russia and China, and against non-nuclear nations like Iran, and equally dismissive of all efforts, large and small, to respond to the crisis of catastrophic global heating. ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

... ... ...

The US today is a global empire. Our country's military, ballooning to some 2.1 million in uniform at a time that there is really no significant war underway. US military spending, greater in constant dollars than at any time since WWII, represents 34% of all global military spending, and the US military budget, depending on how one counts it, is larger than the next largest eight-to-ten countries' military budgets combined.

To show how ridiculously huge the US military is, consider that at $220 billion for fiscal year 2020, the US budget for Veterans Affairs alone (that's the agency that provides assistance of all kinds, including medical, to those who served in the military, not counting career soldiers who receive a pension that is counted separately) this one military budget line item is larger than the entire military budget of China, and is more than three times as large as the entire military budget of Russia, considered by many to be our primary "adversary"!

And remember -- US empire and militarism is and has always been supported by both political parties.

... ... ...

I read that a recent Gallup Organization poll shows a significant drop in the percentage of US Americans who are "extremely proud" of their country. True, 45% still say they are "proud" of America, but normally that is how many say they are "extremely proud" to be Americans. That's a significant fall-off. Even among normally super-patriotic Republicans the percentage of those saying they are "extremely proud" this July 4 of this country was down to 76%, a 10% drop from 2003, and close to the 68% low point reached at one point during the Obama administration.

The main cause of the loss of patriotic ardor appears to be dismay or disgust with the US political system. According to the poll, only 32% of Americans say they are "proud" (forget "extremely proud"!) of America's vaunted political system. In a close second for popular disgust, only 37% said they are "proud" of the US health care system.

So I guess I'm in pretty good company. I won't be oohing and aaahing at the local fireworks display this year. It's basically a glorification of US war-making anyhow, and there's nothing at all to be proud of in that regard, particularly with the US in the midst of a $1.5-trillion upgrade of its nuclear arsenal, threatening war with Iran, pulling out of a Reagan-era treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear missiles, and embarking in a new arms race both in space and in virtually unstoppable hypersonic cruise missiles.

In my view, my country has become the world's leading "rogue" nation, dismissive of all international laws and codes of conduct, actively attacking many countries on its own authority, without the support of UN Security Council resolutions, exonerating war crimes committed by its soldiers, and committed to the first use of nuclear weapons, both as a first strike against major power rivals like Russia and China, and against non-nuclear nations like Iran, and equally dismissive of all efforts, large and small, to respond to the crisis of catastrophic global heating. [

At home, the US legal system has become a supine supporter of virtually unlimited executive power, of unchecked police power, and of repressive actions against the supposedly constitutionally protected free press.

It's tempting to hope that the decline noted by Gallup in the percent of Americans expressing "extreme pride" and even of "pride" in the US, but support for the US among the country's citizens still remains shamefully high in the face of all these negatives.

Anyhow, count me among those who won't be celebrating today's July 4 national holiday.

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: DAVE LINDORFF

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening! , an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Jul 06, 2019] The Antiwar Movement No One Can See by Allegra Harpootlian

Notable quotes:
"... "Each successor generation is less likely than the previous to prioritize maintaining superior military power worldwide as a goal of U.S. foreign policy, to see U.S. military superiority as a very effective way of achieving U.S. foreign policy goals, and to support expanding defense spending. At the same time, support for international cooperation and free trade remains high across the generations. In fact, younger Americans are more inclined to support cooperative approaches to U.S. foreign policy and more likely to feel favorably towards trade and globalization." ..."
"... Last year, for the first time since the height of the Iraq war 13 years ago, the Army fell thousands of troops short of its recruiting goals. That trend was emphasized in a 2017 Department of Defense poll that found only 14 percent of respondents ages 16 to 24 said it was likely they'd serve in the military in the coming years. This has the Army so worried that it has been refocusing its recruitment efforts on creating an entirely new strategy aimed specifically at Generation Z. ..."
"... These days, significant numbers of young veterans have been returning disillusioned and ready to lobby Congress against wars they once, however unknowingly, bought into. Look no further than a new left-right alliance between two influential veterans groups, VoteVets and Concerned Veterans for America, to stop those forever wars. Their campaign, aimed specifically at getting Congress to weigh in on issues of war and peace, is emblematic of what may be a diverse potential movement coming together to oppose America's conflicts. Another veterans group, Common Defense, is similarly asking politicians to sign a pledge to end those wars. In just a couple of months, they've gotten on board 10 congressional sponsors, including freshmen heavyweights in the House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. ..."
"... In February 2018, Sanders also became the first senator to risk introducing a war powers resolution to end American support for the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen. In April 2019, with the sponsorship of other senators added to his, the bill ultimately passed the House and the Senate in an extremely rare showing of bipartisanship, only to be vetoed by President Trump. That such a bill might pass the House, no less a still-Republican Senate, even if not by a veto-proof majority, would have been unthinkable in 2016. So much has changed since the last election that support for the Yemen resolution has now become what Tara Golshan at Vox termed "a litmus test of the Democratic Party's progressive shift on foreign policy." ..."
"... And for the first time ever, three veterans of America's post-9/11 wars -- Seth Moulton and Tulsi Gabbard of the House of Representatives, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg -- are running for president, bringing their skepticism about American interventionism with them. The very inclusion of such viewpoints in the presidential race is bound to change the conversation, putting a spotlight on America's wars in the months to come. ..."
"... In May, for instance, Omar tweeted , "We have to recognize that foreign policy IS domestic policy. We can't invest in health care, climate resilience, or education if we continue to spend more than half of discretionary spending on endless wars and Pentagon contracts. When I say we need something equivalent to the Green New Deal for foreign policy, it's this." ..."
"... It is little recognized how hard American troops fought from 1965 to 1968. Our air mobile troops in particular made a great slaughter of NVA and VC while also taking heavy casualties. ..."
"... We were having such success that no one in the military thought the enemy could keep up the fight. Then, the Tet offensive with the beaten enemy attacking every city in the South. ..."
"... Perhaps there is no open anti-war movement because the Democratic party is now pro-war. ..."
"... President Obama, the Nobel peace prize winner, started a war with Libya, which had neither attacked nor threatened the US and which, by many accounts, was trying to improve relations with the US. GW Bush unnecessarily attacked Iraq and Clinton destroyed Haiti and bombed Yugoslavia, among other actions. ..."
Jul 02, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: TomDispatch.com

Peace activism is rising, but that isn't translating into huge street demonstrations, writes Allegra Harpootlian.

W hen Donald Trump entered the Oval Office in January 2017, Americans took to the streets all across the country to protest their instantly endangered rights. Conspicuously absent from the newfound civic engagement, despite more than a decade and a half of this country's fruitless, destructive wars across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, was antiwar sentiment, much less an actual movement.

Those like me working against America's seemingly endless wars wondered why the subject merited so little discussion, attention, or protest. Was it because the still-spreading war on terror remained shrouded in government secrecy? Was the lack of media coverage about what America was doing overseas to blame? Or was it simply that most Americans didn't care about what was happening past the water's edge? If you had asked me two years ago, I would have chosen "all of the above." Now, I'm not so sure.

After the enormous demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the antiwar movement disappeared almost as suddenly as it began, with some even openly declaring it dead. Critics noted the long-term absence of significant protests against those wars, a lack of political will in Congress to deal with them, and ultimately, apathy on matters of war and peace when compared to issues like health care, gun control, or recently even climate change .

The pessimists have been right to point out that none of the plethora of marches on Washington since Donald Trump was elected have had even a secondary focus on America's fruitless wars. They're certainly right to question why Congress, with the constitutional duty to declare war, has until recently allowed both presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump to wage war as they wished without even consulting them. They're right to feel nervous when a national poll shows that more Americans think we're fighting a war in Iran (we're not) than a war in Somalia ( we are ).

But here's what I've been wondering recently: What if there's an antiwar movement growing right under our noses and we just haven't noticed? What if we don't see it, in part, because it doesn't look like any antiwar movement we've even imagined?

If a movement is only a movement when people fill the streets, then maybe the critics are right. It might also be fair to say, however, that protest marches do not always a movement make. Movements are defined by their ability to challenge the status quo and, right now, that's what might be beginning to happen when it comes to America's wars.

What if it's Parkland students condemning American imperialism or groups fighting the Muslim Ban that are also fighting the war on terror? It's veterans not only trying to take on the wars they fought in, but putting themselves on the front lines of the gun control , climate change , and police brutality debates. It's Congress passing the first War Powers Resolution in almost 50 years. It's Democratic presidential candidates signing a pledge to end America's endless wars.

For the last decade and a half, Americans -- and their elected representatives -- looked at our endless wars and essentially shrugged. In 2019, however, an antiwar movement seems to be brewing. It just doesn't look like the ones that some remember from the Vietnam era and others from the pre-invasion-of-Iraq moment. Instead, it's a movement that's being woven into just about every other issue that Americans are fighting for right now -- which is exactly why it might actually work.

An estimated 100,000 people protested the war in Iraq in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15, 2007 (Ragesoss, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Veteran's Antiwar Movement in the Making?

During the Vietnam War of the 1960s and early 1970s, protests began with religious groups and peace organizations morally opposed to war. As that conflict intensified, however, students began to join the movement, then civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. got involved, then war veterans who had witnessed the horror firsthand stepped in -- until, with a seemingly constant storm of protest in the streets, Washington eventually withdrew from Indochina.

You might look at the lack of public outrage now, or perhaps the exhaustion of having been outraged and nothing changing, and think an antiwar movement doesn't exist. Certainly, there's nothing like the active one that fought against America's involvement in Vietnam for so long and so persistently. Yet it's important to notice that, among some of the very same groups (like veterans, students, and even politicians) that fought against that war, a healthy skepticism about America's 21st century wars, the Pentagon, the military industrial complex, and even the very idea of American exceptionalism is finally on the rise -- or so the polls tell us.

"Arlington West of Santa Monica," a project of Veterans for Peace, puts reminders of the costs of war on the beach in Santa Monica, California. (Lorie Shaull via Flickr)

Right after the midterms last year, an organization named Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness reported mournfully that younger Americans were "turning on the country and forgetting its ideals," with nearly half believing that this country isn't "great" and many eyeing the U.S. flag as "a sign of intolerance and hatred." With millennials and Generation Z rapidly becoming the largest voting bloc in America for the next 20 years, their priorities are taking center stage. When it comes to foreign policy and war, as it happens, they're quite different from the generations that preceded them. According to the Chicago Council of Global Affairs ,

"Each successor generation is less likely than the previous to prioritize maintaining superior military power worldwide as a goal of U.S. foreign policy, to see U.S. military superiority as a very effective way of achieving U.S. foreign policy goals, and to support expanding defense spending. At the same time, support for international cooperation and free trade remains high across the generations. In fact, younger Americans are more inclined to support cooperative approaches to U.S. foreign policy and more likely to feel favorably towards trade and globalization."

Although marches are the most public way to protest, another striking but understated way is simply not to engage with the systems one doesn't agree with. For instance, the vast majority of today's teenagers aren't at all interested in joining the all-volunteer military. Last year, for the first time since the height of the Iraq war 13 years ago, the Army fell thousands of troops short of its recruiting goals. That trend was emphasized in a 2017 Department of Defense poll that found only 14 percent of respondents ages 16 to 24 said it was likely they'd serve in the military in the coming years. This has the Army so worried that it has been refocusing its recruitment efforts on creating an entirely new strategy aimed specifically at Generation Z.

In addition, we're finally seeing what happens when soldiers from America's post-9/11 wars come home infused with a sense of hopelessness in relation to those conflicts. These days, significant numbers of young veterans have been returning disillusioned and ready to lobby Congress against wars they once, however unknowingly, bought into. Look no further than a new left-right alliance between two influential veterans groups, VoteVets and Concerned Veterans for America, to stop those forever wars. Their campaign, aimed specifically at getting Congress to weigh in on issues of war and peace, is emblematic of what may be a diverse potential movement coming together to oppose America's conflicts. Another veterans group, Common Defense, is similarly asking politicians to sign a pledge to end those wars. In just a couple of months, they've gotten on board 10 congressional sponsors, including freshmen heavyweights in the House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.

And this may just be the tip of a growing antiwar iceberg. A misconception about movement-building is that everyone is there for the same reason, however broadly defined. That's often not the case and sometimes it's possible that you're in a movement and don't even know it. If, for instance, I asked a room full of climate-change activists whether they also considered themselves part of an antiwar movement, I can imagine the denials I'd get. And yet, whether they know it or not, sooner or later fighting climate change will mean taking on the Pentagon's global footprint, too.

Think about it: not only is the U.S. military the world's largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels but, according to a new report from Brown University's Costs of War Project, between 2001 and 2017, it released more than 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (400 million of which were related to the war on terror). That's equivalent to the emissions of 257 million passenger cars, more than double the number currently on the road in the U.S.

A Growing Antiwar Movement in Congress

One way to sense the growth of antiwar sentiment in this country is to look not at the empty streets or even at veterans organizations or recruitment polls, but at Congress. After all, one indicator of a successful movement, however incipient, is its power to influence and change those making the decisions in Washington. Since Donald Trump was elected, the most visible evidence of growing antiwar sentiment is the way America's congressional policymakers have increasingly become engaged with issues of war and peace. Politicians, after all, tend to follow the voters and, right now, growing numbers of them seem to be following rising antiwar sentiment back home into an expanding set of debates about war and peace in the age of Trump.

In campaign season 2016, in an op-ed in The Washington Post , political scientist Elizabeth Saunders wondered whether foreign policy would play a significant role in the presidential election. "Not likely," she concluded. "Voters do not pay much attention to foreign policy." And at the time, she was on to something. For instance, Sen. Bernie Sanders, then competing for the Democratic presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton, didn't even prepare stock answers to basic national security questions, choosing instead, if asked at all, to quickly pivot back to more familiar topics. In a debate with Clinton, for instance, he was asked whether he would keep troops in Afghanistan to deal with the growing success of the Taliban. In his answer, he skipped Afghanistan entirely, while warning only vaguely against a "quagmire" in Iraq and Syria.

Heading for 2020, Sanders is once again competing for the nomination, but instead of shying away from foreign policy, starting in 2017, he became the face of what could be a new American way of thinking when it comes to how we see our role in the world.

In February 2018, Sanders also became the first senator to risk introducing a war powers resolution to end American support for the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen. In April 2019, with the sponsorship of other senators added to his, the bill ultimately passed the House and the Senate in an extremely rare showing of bipartisanship, only to be vetoed by President Trump. That such a bill might pass the House, no less a still-Republican Senate, even if not by a veto-proof majority, would have been unthinkable in 2016. So much has changed since the last election that support for the Yemen resolution has now become what Tara Golshan at Vox termed "a litmus test of the Democratic Party's progressive shift on foreign policy."

Nor, strikingly enough, is Sanders the only Democratic presidential candidate now running on what is essentially an antiwar platform. One of the main aspects of Elizabeth Warren's foreign policy plan, for instance, is to "seriously review the country's military commitments overseas, and that includes bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq." Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel have joined Sanders and Warren in signing a pledge to end America's forever wars if elected. Beto O'Rourke has called for the repeal of Congress's 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force that presidents have cited ever since whenever they've sent American forces into battle. Marianne Williamson , one of the many (unlikely) Democratic candidates seeking the nomination, has even proposed a plan to transform America's "wartime economy into a peace-time economy, repurposing the tremendous talents and infrastructure of [America's] military industrial complex to the work of promoting life instead of death."

And for the first time ever, three veterans of America's post-9/11 wars -- Seth Moulton and Tulsi Gabbard of the House of Representatives, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg -- are running for president, bringing their skepticism about American interventionism with them. The very inclusion of such viewpoints in the presidential race is bound to change the conversation, putting a spotlight on America's wars in the months to come.

Get on Board or Get Out of the Way

When trying to create a movement, there are three likely outcomes : you will be accepted by the establishment, or rejected for your efforts, or the establishment will be replaced, in part or in whole, by those who agree with you. That last point is exactly what we've been seeing, at least among Democrats, in the Trump years. While 2020 Democratic candidates for president, some of whom have been in the political arena for decades, are gradually hopping on the end-the-endless-wars bandwagon, the real antiwar momentum in Washington has begun to come from new members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Ilhan Omar who are unwilling to accept business as usual when it comes to either the Pentagon or the country's forever wars. In doing so, moreover, they are responding to what their constituents actually want.

As far back as 2014, when a University of Texas-Austin Energy Poll asked people where the U.S. government should spend their tax dollars, only 7 percent of respondents under 35 said it should go toward military and defense spending. Instead, in a "pretty significant political shift" at the time, they overwhelmingly opted for their tax dollars to go toward job creation and education. Such a trend has only become more apparent as those calling for free public college, Medicare-for-all, or a Green New Deal have come to realize that they could pay for such ideas if America would stop pouring trillions of dollars into wars that never should have been launched.

The new members of the House of Representatives, in particular, part of the youngest, most diverse crew to date , have begun to replace the old guard and are increasingly signalling their readiness to throw out policies that don't work for the American people, especially those reinforcing the American war machine. They understand that by ending the wars and beginning to scale back the military-industrial complex, this country could once again have the resources it needs to fix so many other problems.

In May, for instance, Omar tweeted , "We have to recognize that foreign policy IS domestic policy. We can't invest in health care, climate resilience, or education if we continue to spend more than half of discretionary spending on endless wars and Pentagon contracts. When I say we need something equivalent to the Green New Deal for foreign policy, it's this."

Ilhan Omar @IlhanMN

We have to recognize that foreign policy IS domestic policy. We can't invest in health care, climate resilience or education if we continue to spend more than half of discretionary spending on endless wars and Pentagon contracts. http://www. startribune.com/rep-ilhan-omar -with-perspective-of-a-foreigner-sets-ambitious-global-agenda/510489882/?om_rid=3005497801&om_mid=317376969&refresh=true

7,176 3:24 PM - May 28, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy Rep. Ilhan Omar, with 'perspective of a foreigner,' sets ambitious global agenda

From her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and with a growing international reputation, the former refugee is wading into debates over various global hot spots and controversies.

startribune.com

2,228 people are talking about this

A few days before that, at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing, Ocasio-Cortez confronted executives from military contractor TransDigm about the way they were price-gouging the American taxpayer by selling a $32 "non-vehicular clutch disc" to the Department of Defense for $1,443 per disc. "A pair of jeans can cost $32; imagine paying over $1,000 for that," she said. "Are you aware of how many doses of insulin we could get for that margin? I could've gotten over 1,500 people insulin for the cost of the margin of your price gouging for these vehicular discs alone."

And while such ridiculous waste isn't news to those of us who follow Pentagon spending closely, this was undoubtedly something many of her millions of supporters hadn't thought about before. After the hearing, Teen Vogue created a list of the "5 most ridiculous things the United States military has spent money on," comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted out the AOC hearing clip to her 12.6 million followers, Will and Grace actress Debra Messing publicly expressed her gratitude to AOC, and according to Crowdtangle, a social media analytics tool, the NowThis clip of her in that congressional hearing garnered more than 20 million impressions.

Ocasio-Cortez calling out costs charged by military contractor TransDigm. (YouTube)

Not only are members of Congress beginning to call attention to such undercovered issues, but perhaps they're even starting to accomplish something. Just two weeks after that contentious hearing, TransDigm agreed to return $16.1 million in excess profits to the Department of Defense. "We saved more money today for the American people than our committee's entire budget for the year," said House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings.

Of course, antiwar demonstrators have yet to pour into the streets, even though the wars we're already involved in continue to drag on and a possible new one with Iran looms on the horizon. Still, there seems to be a notable trend in antiwar opinion and activism. Somewhere just under the surface of American life lurks a genuine, diverse antiwar movement that appears to be coalescing around a common goal: getting Washington politicians to believe that antiwar policies are supportable, even potentially popular. Call me an eternal optimist, but someday I can imagine such a movement helping end those disastrous wars.

Allegra Harpootlian is a media associate at ReThink Media , where she works with leading experts and organizations at the intersection of national security, politics, and the media. She principally focuses on U.S. drone policies and related use-of-force issues. She is also a political partner with the Truman National Security Project . Find her on Twitter @ally_harp .

This article is from TomDispatch.com .


Edwin Stamm , July 5, 2019 at 10:40

"How Obama demobilized the antiwar movement"
By Brad Plumer
August 29, 2013
Washington Post

"Reihan Salam points to a 2011 paper by sociologists Michael T. Heaney and Fabio Rojas, who find that antiwar protests shrunk very quickly after Obama took office in 2008 -- mainly because Democrats were less likely to show up:

Drawing upon 5,398 surveys of demonstrators at antiwar protests, interviews with movement leaders, and ethnographic observation, this article argues that the antiwar movement demobilized as Democrats, who had been motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments, withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success, if not policy success in ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Heaney and Rojas begin by puzzling over a paradox. Obama ran as an antiwar candidate, but his first few years in office were rather different: "As president, Obama maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan. The antiwar movement should have been furious at Obama's 'betrayal' and reinvigorated its protest activity. Instead, attendance at antiwar rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement dissipated.""

Rob , July 4, 2019 at 14:20

The author may be too young to realize that the overwhelming driving force in the anti-Vietnam War movement was hundreds of thousands of young men who were at risk of being drafted and sent to fight, die and kill in that godforsaken war. As the movement grew, it gathered in millions of others as well. Absent the military draft today, most of America's youth don't seem to give half a damn about the current crimes of the U.S. military. As the saying goes: They have no skin in the game.

bardamu , July 3, 2019 at 20:21

There has again been some shift in Sanders' public positions, while Tulsi Gabbard occupies a position that was not represented in '16, and HR Clinton was more openly bent on war than anyone currently at the table, though perhaps because that much of her position had become so difficult to deny over the years.

That said, Clinton lost to Obama in '08 because she could not as effectively deny her militarism. There was at the time within the Democratic Party more and clearer movement against the wars than there is now. One might remember the run for candidacy of Dennis Kucinich, for example. The 8 years of the Obama regime were a consistent frustration and disappointment to any antiwar or anticorporate voice within the Democratic Party, but complaints were muted because many would not speak against a Blue or a Black president. More than at any prior time, corporate media spokespersons could endorse radically pro-corporate positions and imply or accuse their opposition of racism.

That leaves it unclear, however, what any antiwar voices have to do with the Democratic Party itself, particularly if we take "the party" to mean the political organization itself as opposed to the people whom it claims to represent. The Party and the DNC were major engines in the rigging of the 2016 Democratic nomination–and also, lest we forget, contributors to the Donald Trump nomination campaign.

It should not escape us, as we search for souls and soulfulness among these remnants of Democratic Parties Past, that any turn of the party against war is surely due to Hillary Clinton's loss to presumed patsy candidate Donald Trump in 2016–the least and second-least popular major presidential contenders in history, clearly, in whichever order one wishes to put them.

There is some value in realism, then. So as much as one hates to criticize a Bernie Sanders in anything like the present field that he runs in, his is not a consistently antiwar position: he has gone back and forth. Tulsi Gabbard is the closest thing to an antiwar candidate within the Party. And under even under the most favorable circumstances, 2020 is at best not her year.

Most big money says war. scorched earth, steep hierarchy, and small constitution. Any who don't like it had best speak up and act up.

Jim Glover , July 3, 2019 at 17:43

I am for Tulsi, a Senator from Hawaii not a rep as this article says. Folk Music was in when the peace movement was strong and building, the same for Folk Rock who songs also had words you could get without Google.

So my way of "hoping" for an Anti-War/Peace Movement is to have a Folk Revival in my mind.

Nathan Mulcahy , July 3, 2019 at 14:11

The answer to the question why anti war movement is dead is so simple and obvious but apparently invisible to most Dems/libs/progressives (excuse my inability to discern the distinctions between labels). The answer points to our onetime "peace" president Obama. As far as foreign interventions go (and domestic spying, among other things) Obama had continued Baby Bush's policy. Even worse, Obama had given a bipartisan seal of approval (and legality) to most of Baby Bush's crimes. In other words, for 8 years, meaning during the "peace" president's reign, the loyal "lefty" sheeple have held their mouth when it came to war and peace.

Obama and the Dems have very effectively killed the ant war movement

P.Brooks , July 3, 2019 at 12:54

No More War

Don Bacon , July 3, 2019 at 12:29

The establishment will always be pro-war because there's so much money in it. Street demonstrations will never change that, as we recently learned with Iraq. The only strategy that has a chance of working is anti-enlistment. If they don't have the troops they can't invade anywhere, and recruitment is already a problem. It needs to be a bigger problem.

Anonymot , July 3, 2019 at 11:51

Sorry, ALL of these Democrat wannabes save one is ignorant of foreign affairs, foreign policy and its destruction of what they blather on about – domestic vote-getting sky pies. Oh yes, free everything: schools, health care, social justices and services. It's as though the MIC has not stolen the money from the public's pockets to get rich by sending cheap fodder out there to get killed and wounded, amputated physically and mentally.

Hillary signed the papers and talked the brainless idiocy that set the entire Middle East on fire, because she couldn't stand the sight of a man with no shirt on and sitting on the Russian equivalent of a Harley. She hates men, because she drew a bad one. Huma was better company. Since she didn't know anything beyond the superficial, she did whatever the "experts" whispered in her ears: War! Obama was in the same boat. The target, via gaining total control of oil from Libya to Syria and Iran was her Putin hate. So her experts set up the Ukraine. The "experts" are the MIC/CIA and our fearless, brainless, corrupt military. They have whispered the same psychotic message since the Gulf of Tonkin. We've lost to everyone with whom we've crossed swords and left them devastated and America diminished save for the few.

So I was a Sanders supporter until he backed the warrior woman and I, like millions of others backed off of her party. It's still her party. Everyone just loves every victim of every kind. They all spout minor variations on the same themes while Trump and his neocons quietly install their right wing empire. Except for one who I spotted when she had the independence to go look for herself in Syria.

Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate to be the candidate who has a balance of well thought through, realistic foreign policy as well as the domestic non-extremist one. She has the hurdle of being a too-pretty woman, of being from the remotest state, and not being a screamer. Even this article, written about peace by a woman fails to talk about her.

Tulsi has the registered voter count and a respectable budget, but the New York Times which is policy-controlled by a few of Hillary's billionaire friends has consistently shut her out, because Tulsi left the corrupt Hillary-owned DNC to back Sanders and Hillary never forgave her.

If you want to know who is against Trump and war, take 5 minutes and listen to what she really said during the 1st debate where the CBS folks gave her little room to talk. It will change your outlook on what really is possible.

https://www.tulsi2020.com/a/first-democratic-debate

P.Brooks , July 3, 2019 at 13:53

Hi Anonymot; I also exited my Sanders support after over 100 cash donations and over a years painful effort. I will never call him Bernie again; now it is Sanders, since Bernie makes him sound cute and cute was not the word that came into my mind as Mr. Sanders missed his world moment at the democratic election and backed Hillary Clinton (I can not vote for EVIL). Sanders then proceeded to give part of my money to the DNC & to EVIL Hillary Clinton.

So then what now? Easy as Pie; NO MORE DEMOCRATS EVER. The DNC & DCCC used Election Fraud & Election Crimes blatantly to beat Bernie Sanders. Right out in the open. The DNC & DCCC are War Mongering more then the Republicans which is saying allot. The mass media and major Internet Plateforms like Goggle & Facebook are all owned by Evil Oligarchs that profit from WAR and blatantly are today suppressing all dissenting opinions (anti Free Speech).

I stopped making cash donation to Tulsi Gabbard upon the realization that the Democrats were not at all a force for Life or Good and instead were a criminal organization. The voting for the lessor of two EVILs is 100% STUPID.

I told Tim Canova I could not support any Democrat ever again as I told Tulsi Gabbard. Tulsi is still running as a criminal democrat. If she would run independent of the DNC then I would start to donate cash to her again. End of my story about Tulsi. I do like her antiwar dialog, but there is no; so called changing, the DNC from the inside. The Oligarchs own the DNC and are not supportive of "We The People" or the Constitution, or the American Republic.

The end of Tim Canova's effort was he was overtly CHEATED AGAIN by the DNC's Election Fraud & Election Crimes in his 2018 run for congress against Hillary Clinton's 100% corrupt campaign manager; who congress seated even over Tim's asking them not to seat her until his law suites on her election crimes against him were assessed. Election crimes and rigged voting machines in Florida are a way of life now and have been for decades and decades.

All elections must be publicly funded. All votes must be on paper ballots and accessible for recounts and that is just the very minimums needed to start changing the 100% corrupted election system we Americans have been railroaded into.

The supreme Court has recently ruled that gerrymandering is OK. The supreme court has proven to be a political organization with their Bush Gore decision and now are just political hacks and as such need to be ELECTED not appointed. Their rulings that Money is Free Speech & that Corporations are People has disenfranchised "We the People". That makes the Supreme Court a tool to be used by the world money elite to overturn the constitution of the United States of America.

No More War. No More War. No More War.

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 16:40

Absolutely spot-on, superb comment, P .Brooks.

DW

Nathan Mulcahy , July 3, 2019 at 18:08

I saw the light (with what the Dems are really about) after Kucinich's candidacy. That made me one of the very few lefties in my circle not to have voted for Obama even the first time around. I hear a lot of talk about trying to reform the party from inside. Utter bu** sh**. "You cannot reform Mafia".

Ever since Kucinich, I have been voting Green. No, this is not a waste of my vote. Besides, I cannot be complicit to war crimes – that's what it makes anyone who votes for either of the two parties.

Steven , July 3, 2019 at 13:56

Wow you said a mouthful. It's worse than that its a cottage industry that includes gun running, drug running and human trafficking netting Trillions to the MIC, CIA and other alphabet agencies you can't fight the mark of the beast.

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 14:01

I fully back/endorse Gabbard, but

The battering of Bernie is not fair. He is NOT a Democrat, therefore him being able to get "inside" that party to run AS a Dem put him in a tenuous situation. He really had no option other than to support HRC lest his movement, everyone's movement, would get extra hammering by the neocons and status quo powers. He wouldn't be running, again, had he not done this. Yeah, it's a bad taste, I get it, but had he disavowed HRC would the outcome -Trump- been any different? The BLAME goes fully on the DNC and the Clintons. Full stop.

I do not see AOC as a full progressive. She is only doing enough to make it appear so. The Green New Deal is stolen from the Green Party and is watered down. Think of this as "Obama Care" for the planet. As you should know, Gabbard's Off Fossil Fuels Act (OFF) actually has real teeth in it: and is closer to the Green Party's positions.

I support movements and positions. PRIMARY is peace. Gabbard, though not a pacifist, has the right path on all of this: I've been around long enough to understand exactly how she's approaching all of this. She is, however, taking on EVERYONE. As powerful a person as she is (she has more fortitude than the entire lot of combined POTUS candidates put together) going to require MASSIVE support; sadly, -to this point- this article doesn't help by implying that people aren't interested in foreign policy (it perpetuates the blockout of it- people have to be reeducated on its importance- not something that the MIC wants), people aren't yet able to see the connections. The education will occur will it happen in a timely way such that people would elect Gabbard? (things can turn on a dime, history has shown this; she has the makeup that suggests that she's going to have a big role in making history).

I did not support Bernie (and so far have not- he's got ample support; if it comes down to it he WILL get my vote- and I've held off voting for many years because there's been no real "peace" candidate on the plate). Gabbard, however, has my support now, and likely till the day I die: I've been around long enough to know what constitutes a great leader, and not since the late 60s have we had anyone like her. If Bernie gets the nomination it is my prediction that he will have Gabbard high on his staff, if not as VP: a sure fire way to win is to have Gabbard as VP.

I'm going to leave this for folks to contemplate as to whether Gabbard is real or not:

http://www.brasilwire.com/holy-war/

[excerpt:]

In a context in which Rio de Janeiro's evangelical churches have been accused of laundering money for the drug trafficking gangs, all elements of Afro-Brazilian culture including caipoeira, Jango drumming, and participation in Carnaval parades, have been banned by the traffickers in many favelas.

[end excerpt]

"caipoeria," is something that Gabbard has practiced:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw-njAmvZ80

"I trained in different martial arts since I was a kid including Capoeira -- an amazing art created by slaves in Brazil who were training to fight and resist against their slave masters, disguising their training with music, acrobatics, and dance. Yesterday I joined my friends Mestre Kinha and others at Capoeira Besouro Hawai'i for their batizado ceremony and some fun! " – Tulsi Gabbard December 9, 2018

The GOAL is to get her into the upper halls of governing power. If the people cannot see fit to it then I'll support Sanders (in the end) so that he can do it.

Harpootlian claims to see what's going on, but, unfortunately, she's not able to look close enough.

Anonymot, thank you for leading out here with Gabbard and her message.

michael , July 4, 2019 at 08:10

If Gabbard had the MSM coverage Buttigieg has received she probably be leading in the polls. It is surprising(?) that this supposedly anti-war author mentions corporatist Mayor Pete but not Gabbard.

David , July 4, 2019 at 19:55

She DOES (briefly)mention Gabbard, but she missed the fact that Gabbard is the most strongly anti-war candidate. She gets it entirely wrong about Buttigieg, who is strikingly pro-war, and supports getting in to a war with Iran.

Robert Harrow , July 3, 2019 at 15:54

And sadly, Ms. Gabbard is mired at the 1% mark in the polls, even after having performed so well in the debate.
This seems to me an indication of the public's lack of caring about our foreign wars.

antonio Costa , July 3, 2019 at 19:06

The reason she's "mired" is because a number of polls don't include her!! However they include, Marianne Williamson.

How's that for inverse totalitarianism par excellence .

Skip Scott , July 4, 2019 at 07:05

I did see one poll that had her at 2%. And given the reputation of many polling outfits, I take any professed results with a grain of salt. Tulsi's press coverage (what little she gets) has been mostly defamatory to the point of being libelous. If her strong performance continues in the primary debates despite all efforts to sabotage her, I think she could make a strong showing. That said, at some point she will have to renounce the DNC controlled democratic party and run as an Independent if she wants to make the General Election debates for 2020.

Piotr Berman , July 3, 2019 at 21:15

"Hillary signed the papers and talked the brainless idiocy that set the entire Middle East on fire, because she couldn't stand the sight of a man with no shirt on and sitting on the Russian equivalent of a Harley. She hates men "

If I were to psychologize, I would conjecture more un-gendered stereotype, namely that of a good student. He/she diligently learns in all classes from the prescribed textbooks and reading materials, and, alas, American education on foreign affairs is dominated by retirees from CIA and other armchair warriors. Of course, nothing wrong about good students in general, but I mean the type that is obedient, devoid of originality and independent thinking. When admonished, he/she remembers the pain for life and strives hard not to repeat it. E.g. as First Lady, Hillary kissed Arafat's wife to emulate Middle East custom, and NY tabloids had a feast for months.

Concerning Tulsi, no Hillary-related conspiracy is needed to explain the behavior of the mass media. Tulsi is a heretic to the establishment, and their idea is to be arbiters of what and who belongs to the "mainstream", and what is radical, marginal etc. Tulsi richly deserves her treatment. Confronted with taunts like "so you would prefer X to stay in power" (Assad, Maduro etc.) she replies that it should not be up to USA to decide who stays in power, especially if no better scenario is in sight. The gall, the cheek!

Strangely enough, Tulsi gets this treatment in places like The Nation and Counterpunch. As the hitherto "radical left" got a whiff of being admitted to the hallowed mainstream from time to time, they try to be "responsible".

Mary Jones-Giampalo , July 4, 2019 at 00:39

Yes! Thank You I was gritting my teeth reading this article #Tulsi2020

Eddie , July 3, 2019 at 11:42

The end of the anti-war movement expired when the snake-oil pitchman with the toothy smile and dark skin brought his chains we could beleive in to the White House. The so-called progressives simply went to sleep while they never criticized Barack Obama for escalating W. Bush's wars and tax cuts for the rich.

The fake left wing in the US remained silent when Obama dumped trillions of dollars into the vaults of his bankster pals as he stole the very homes from the people who voted him into office. Then along came the next hope and change miracle worker Bernie Sanders. Only instead of working miracles for the working class, Sanders showed his true colors when he fcuked his constituents to support the hated Hillary Clinton.

Let's start facing reality. The two-party dictatorship does not care about you unless you can pony up the big bucks like their masters in the oligarchy and the soulless corporations do. Unless and until workers end to the criminal stranglehold that the big-business parties and the money class have on the government, things will continue to slide into the abyss.

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 11:33

An informed awareness of imperialism must also include an analysis of how "technology" is used and abused, from the use of "superior" weaponry against people who do not have such weapons, from blunderbuss and sailing ships, to B-52s and napalm, up to and including technology that may be "weaponized" against civilian populations WiTHIN a society, be it 24/7 surveillance or robotics and AI that could permit elites to dispense with any "need", on the part of the elites, to tolerate the very existence of a laborung class, or ANY who earn their wealth through actual work, from maids to surgeons, from machine operators to professors.

Any assumption, that any who "work", even lawyers or military officers, can consider their occupation or profession as "safe", is to assume that the scapegoating will stop with those the highly paid regard as "losers", such comfortable assumption may very well prove as illusory and ephemeral as an early morning mist before the hot and merciless Sun rises.

The very notions of unfettered greed and limitless power, resulting in total control, must be recognized as the prime drivers of endless war and shock-doctrine capitalism which, combined, ARE imperialism, unhinged and insane.

michael , July 3, 2019 at 11:06

This article is weak. Anyone who could equate Mayor Pete or the eleven Democrat "ex"-military and CIA analysts who gained seats in Congress in 2018 as anti-war is clueless. Tulsi Gabbard is anti-regime change war, but is in favor of fighting "terrorists" (created mostly by our CIA and Israel with Saudi funding). Mike Gravel is the only true totally anti-war 'candidate' and he supports Gabbard as the only anti-War of the Democrats.
In WWI, 90% of Americans who served were drafted, in WWII over 60% of Americans who served were drafted. The Vietnam War "peace demonstrations" were more about the Draft, and skin-in-the-game, than about War. Nixon and Kissinger abolished the Draft (which stopped most anti-war protests), but continued carpet bombing Vietnam and neighboring countries (Operations Menu, Freedom Deal, Patio, etc), and Vietnamized the War which was already lost, although the killing continued through 1973. The abolition of the Draft largely gutted the anti-war movement. Sporadic protests against Bush/ Cheney over Afghanistan and Iraq essentially disappeared under Obama/ Hillary in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. Since their National Emergency proclamations no longer ever end, we are in a position to attack Venezuela (Obama), Ukraine (Obama), South Sudan (Obama), Iran (Carter, Clinton), Libya (Obama), Somalia (Obama), Yemen (Obama), Nicaragua (Trump) and even Burundi (Obama) and the Central African Republic (Obama). The continuing support of death squads in Honduras and other Latin American countries ("stability is more important than democracy") has contributed to the immigration crises over the last five years.
As Pelosi noted about Democratic progressives "there are like five of them". Obama not only failed to reverse any of the police state and warmongering of Bush/Cheney, he expanded both police state (arresting and prosecuting Chelsea Manning for exposing war crimes, as well as more whistleblowers than anyone in history), and wars in seven Arab Muslim countries. Black Americans, who had always been an anti-War bloc prior to Obama, converted to the new America. The Congressional Democrats joined with Republicans to give more to the military budget than requested by Trump. (Clinton squandered the Peace Dividend when the Soviet Union fell, and Lee Camp has exposed the $21 TRILLION "lost" by the Pentagon.)
The young author see anti-war improvements that are not there. The US is more pro-war in its foreign policies than at any time in its history. When there was a Draft, the public would not tolerate decades of war (lest their young men died). Sanctions are now the first attack (usually by National Emergencies!); the 500,000 Iraqi children killed by Clinton's sanctions (Madeline Albright: "we think it was worth it!") is just sadism and psychopathy at the top, which is necessary for War.

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 11:38

Superb comment, michael, very much agreed with and appreciated.

DW

Anonymot , July 3, 2019 at 12:06

You are absolutely right. Obama and Hillary were the brilliant ideas of the MIC/CIA when they realized that NO ONE the Republicans put up after Bush baby's 2nd round. They chose 2 "victims" black & woman) who would do what they were told to do in order to promote their causes (blacks & get-filthy rich.) The first loser would get the next round. And that's exactly what happened until Hillary proved to be so unacceptable that she was rejected. We traded no new war for an administration leading us into a neo-nazi dictatorship.

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 14:04

Thank you for this comment!

Mickey , July 3, 2019 at 10:47

Tulsi Gabbard is the only peace candidate in the Democratic Party

Mary Jones-Giampalo , July 4, 2019 at 00:41

Absolutely! #Tulsi2020

peter mcloughlin , July 3, 2019 at 10:43

Many current crises have the potential to escalate into a major confrontation between the nuclear powers, similar to the Cuban missile crisis, though there is no comparable sense of alarm. Then, tensions were at boiling point, when a small military exchange could have led to nuclear annihilation. Today there are many more such flashpoint – Syria, the South China Sea, Iran, Ukraine to name a few. Since the end of the Cold War there has been a gradual movement towards third world war. Condemnation of an attack on Iran must include, foremost, the warning that it could lead the US into a confrontation with a Sino-Russian alliance. The warning from history is states go to war over interests, but ultimately – and blindly – end up getting the very war they need to avoid: even nuclear war, where the current trend is going.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 10:36

Many truly superb, well-informed, and very enlightening comments on this thread.

My very great appreciation to this site, to its authors, and to its exceptionally thoughtful and articulate commenters.

DW

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 10:20

I appreciate this author's perspective, research, and optimism.

Clearly, the young ARE far more open to embracing a future less warlike and hegemonic, while far too many of my generation are wedded to childish myth and fantasy around U$ driven mayhem.

However, I would suggest that vision be broadened beyond opposition to war, which opposition, while important, must be expanded to opposition to the larger issue of imperialism, itself.

Imperialism is not merely war, it includes economic warfare, both sanctions, internationally, and predatory debt loads, domestically, in very many nations of the world, as well as privatization of the commons (which must be understood to include all resources necessary to human existence).

Perpetual war, which profits only the few, is driven by precisely the same aims as pitting workers against each other, worldwide, in a "game" of "race to the bottom", creating "credit" rather than raising wages, thus creating life-long indebtedness of the many, which only benefits monopolized corporate interests, as does corporate ownership of such necessities as water, food production, and most channels of communication, which permits corporations to easily shape public perception toward whatever ends suit corporate purposes while also ensuring that deeper awareness of what is actually occurring is effectively stifled, deplatformed, or smeared as dangerous foreign fake news or as hidden, or even as blatant, racial or religious hatred.

Above all, it is critically important that all these interrelated aspects of deliberate domination, control, and diminishment, ARE talked about, openly, that we all may have better grasp of who really aligns with creating serious systemic change, especially as traditionally assumed "tendencies" are shifting, quickly and even profoundly.

For example, as many here point out, the Democrats are now as much a war party as the Republicans, "traditionally" have been, even as there is clear evidence that the Republican "base" is becoming less willing to go to war than are the Democratic "base", as CNN and MSNBC media outlets strive to incite a new Cold War and champion and applaud aggression in Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

It is the elite Democratic "leadership" and most Democratic Presidential hopefuls who now preach or excuse war and aggression, with few actual exceptions, and none of them, including Tulsi Gabbard, have come anywhere near openly discussing or embracing, the end of U$ imperialism.

Both neoliberal and neocon philosophies are absolutely dedicated to imperialism in all its destructive, even terminal, manifestations.

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 14:16

Exactly!

Gabbard has spoken out against sanctions. She understands that they're just another form of war.

The younger generations won't be able to financially support imperialist activities. And, they won't be, as the statements to their enlistment numbers suggest, able to "man the guns." I'm thinking that TPTB are aware of this (which is why a lot of drone and other automation of war machinery has been stepped up).

The recent alliance of Soros and Charles Koch, the Quincy Institute, is, I believe, a KEY turning point. Pretty much everything Gabbard is saying/calling for is this institute's mission statement: and people ought to note that Gabbard has been in Charles Koch's circle- might very well be that Gabbard has already influenced things in a positive way.

I also believe that all the great independent journalists, publishers (Assange taking the title here) and whistleblowers (Manning taking the title here) have made a HUGE impact. Bless them all.

O Society , July 3, 2019 at 09:48

The US government consistently uses psychological operations on its own citizens to manufacture consent to kill anyone and everyone. Meaningless propaganda phrases such as "Support Our Troops" and "National Security" and "War on Terror" are thrown around to justify genocides and sieges and distract us from murder. There is no left wing or in American politics and there has not been one since the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. All we have is neoconservatives and neoliberals representing the business party for four decades. Killing is our business and business is good. Men are as monkeys with guns when it comes to politics and religion.

http://osociety.org/2019/07/03/the-science-of-influencing-people-six-ways-to-win-an-argument/

jmg , July 3, 2019 at 13:55

Seen on the street:

Support Our Troops
BRING THEM HOME NOW

https://media.salon.com/2003/03/the_billboard_bush_cant_see.jpg

Bob Van Noy , July 3, 2019 at 08:39

New

Bob Van Noy , July 3, 2019 at 08:42

New and better link here:
https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/_cache/files/7/e/7ebd2b61-aa29-49ac-9991-53a53da6a57f/3163D991E047042C0F52C929A2F60231.israel-syria-letter-5-21.pdf

Gregory Herr , July 3, 2019 at 21:40

One might be hard-pressed to find more outright perversions of reality in a mere two pages of text. Congratulations Congress, you have indeed surpassed yourself.

So it's those dastardly Russians and Iranians who are responsible for the destabilization of the Middle East, "complicating Israel's ability to defend itself from hostile action emanating from Syria." And apparently, it's the "ungoverned space" in Syria that has "allowed" for the rise of terrorist factions in Syria, that (we must be reminded) are ever poised to attack "Western targets, our allies and partners, and the U.S. homeland."

Good grief.

Bob Van Noy , July 3, 2019 at 08:29

Thank you Joe Lauria and Consortiumnews.

There is much wisdom and a good deal of personal experience being expressed on these pages. I especially want to thank IvyMike and Dao Gen. Ivy Mike you're so right about our troops in Vietnam from 1965 to 1968, draftees and volunteers, they fought what was clearly an internal civil war fought valiantly, beyond that point, Vietnam was a political mess for all involved. And Dao Gen all of your points are accurate.

As for our legislators, please read the linked Foreign Affairs press release signed by over 400 leglislators On May 20th., 2019 that address "threats to Syria" including the Russia threat. Clearly it will take action by the People and Peace candidates to end this travesty of a foreign policy.

https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/2019/5/nearly-400-lawmakers-call-on-trump-to-address-threats-in-syria

Is your legislator a signee of this list? All of mine are

James Clooney , July 3, 2019 at 10:11

Vietnam a war triggered by the prevention of a mandated election by the USA which Ho Chi Minh was likely to win, who had already recently been Premier of a unified Vietnam.

Sorry, being courageous in a vicious cause is not honorable.

Speaking a true history and responsibility is honorable.

Bob Van Noy , July 3, 2019 at 11:07

No need to be sorry James Clooney. I did not mention honor in my comment, I mentioned valiant (courage and determination). American troupes ultimately fight honorably for each other not necessarily for country. This was the message and evaluation of Captain Hal Moore To General Westmorland And Robert McNamera after the initial engagement of US troops and NVA and can be viewed as a special feature of the largely inaccurate DVD "We Were Soldiers And Young).

Karen , July 3, 2019 at 07:59

The veterans group About Face is doing remarkable work against the imperial militarization that threatens to consume our country and possibly the world. This threat includes militarization of US police, a growing nuclear arms race, and so-called humanitarian wars. About Face is also working to train ordinary people as medics to take these skills into their communities whose members are on the front lines of police brutality.
Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate with a strong, enlightened understanding of the costs of our many imperial wars Costs to ourselves in the US and costs to the people we invade in order to "save" them. I voted for McGovern in 1972. I would vote for Tuldi's Gabbard in 2020 if given the chance.

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 14:35

Vote for her now by supporting her*! One cannot wait until the DNC (or other party) picks the candidate FOR us. Anyone serious about peace ought to support her, and do it now and far into the future. I have always supported candidates who are champions for peace, no matter their "party" or whatever: I did not, though I wish that I had, support Walter Jones -of Freedom Fries fame- after he did a 180 (Gabbard knew Jones, and respected him); it took a lot of guts for him to do this, but his honest (like Ron Paul proved) was proven and his voters accepted him (and likely shifted their views along with him).

* Yeah, one has to register giving money, but for a lousy $1 She has yet to qualify for the third debate (need 130k unique donations): and yet Yang has! (nothing against him, but come on, he is not "Commander in Chief" material [and at this time it is, as Gabbard repeats, the single most important part of being president]).

Mary Jones-Giampalo , July 4, 2019 at 00:43

Strongly agree Only Tulsi

triekc , July 3, 2019 at 07:14

Not surprising there was little or no antiwar sentiment in the newfound civic engagement after Trump's election, since the majority of those participating were supporters of the war criminals Obama, Clinton, and their corporate, war mongering DEM party. Those same people today, support Obama-chaperone Biden, or one of the other vetted corporate DEMs, including socialist-in-name-only Sanders, who signed the DEM loyalty oath promising to continue austerity for the poor, socialism for rich, deregulation, militarism, and global war hegemony. The only party with an antiwar blank was the Green Party, which captured >2% of the ~130 million votes in the rigged election- even though Stein is as competent as Clinton, certainly more competent than Trump, and the Green platform, unlike Sanders', explained how to pay for social and environmental programs by ending illegal wars in at least 7 countries, closing 1000 military command posts located all over earth, removing air craft carrier task forces from every ocean, cutting defense spending.

James Clooney , July 3, 2019 at 10:22

I believe the CIA operation "CARWASH" was under Obama, which gave us Ultra fascism in one of the largest economies in the world, Brazil.

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 12:02

Superb comment, trieke, and I especially appreciate your mention of Jill Stein and the Green Party.

It is unfortunate that the the Green New Deal, championed by AOC is such a pale and intentionally pusillanimous copy of the Green New Deal articulated by Stein, which pointedly made clear that blind and blythe economic expansion must cease, that realistic natural constraints and carrying capacity be accepted and profligate energy squandering come to an end.

That a sane, humane, and sustainable economic system, wholly compatible with ecological responsibility can provide neaningful endeavor, justly compensated, for all, as was coherently addressed and explained to any who cared to examine the substance of that, actual, and realistic, original, GND.

Such a vision must be part of successfully challenging, and ending, U$ imperialism.

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 14:53

And Trump likely signed a GOP pledge. It's all superficial crap, nothing that is really written in stone.

I LOVE Stein. But for the sake of the planet we have little time to wait on getting the Green Party up to speed (to the clasp the levers of power). Unless Gabbard comes out on top (well, the ultimate, and my favorite, long-shot would be Gravel, but reality is something that I have to accept) it can only really be Sanders. I see a Sanders nomination as being the next best thing (and, really, the last hope as it all falls WAY off the cliff after that). He would most certainly have Gabbard along (if not as VP, which is the best strategy for winning, then as some other high-ranking, and meaningful cabinet member). Also, there are a lot of folks that would be coming in on his coattails. It is THESE people that will make the most difference: although he's got his flaws, Ro Kana would be a good top official. And, there are all the supporters who would help push. Sanders is WAY better than HRC (Obama and, of course, Trump). He isn't my favorite, but he has enough lean in him to allow others to help him push the door open: I'll accept him if that's what it take to get Gabbard into all of this.

Sometimes you DO have to infiltrate. Sanders is an infiltrator (not a Dem), though he treads lightly. Gabbard has already proven her intentions: directly confronted the DNC and the HRC machine (and her direct attack on the MIC is made very clear); and, she is indirectly endorsed by some of the best people out there who have run for POTUS: Jill Stein; Ron Paul; Mike Gravel. We cannot wait for the Dems (and the MIC) to disarm. We need to get inside "the building" and disarm. IF Sanders or Gabbard (and no Gravel) don't get the nomination THEN it is time to open up direct "warfare" and attack from the "outside" (at this time there should be enough big defectors to start swinging the tide).

Eddie S , July 3, 2019 at 23:34

Yes trieke, I voted for Stein in 2016, and I plan on voting Green Party again in 2020. I see too many fellow progressives/liberals/leftists (whatever the hell we want to call ourselves) agonizing about which compromised Democrat to vote-for, trying to weigh their different liabilities, etc. I've come to believe that my duty as a voter is to vote for the POTUS candidate/party whose stances/platform are closest to my views, and that's unequivocally the Green Party. My duty as a voter does NOT entail 'voting for a winner', that's just part of the two-party-con that the Dems & Reps run.

jmg , July 3, 2019 at 07:06

The big difference is that, during the Vietnam years, people could *see* the war. People talked a lot about "photographs that ended the Vietnam war", such as the napalm girl, etc.

The government noticed this. There were enormous pressures on the press, even a ban on returning coffin photos. Now, since the two Iraq wars, people *don't see* the reality of war. The TV and press don't show Afghanistan, don't show Yemen, didn't show the real Iraq excepting for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, who are in prison because of this.

And the wars go on:

"The US government and military are preventing the public from seeing photographs that depict the true horror of the Iraq war."

Dan Kennedy: Censorship of graphic Iraq war photographs -- 29 Jul 2008
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/jul/29/iraqandthemedia.usa

jmg , July 3, 2019 at 18:36

For example, we all know that mainstream media is war propaganda now, itself at war on truth and, apart from some convenient false flags to justify attacks, they very rarely let the very people suffering wars be heard to wake viewers up, and don't often even show this uncensored reality of war anymore, not like the true images of this old, powerful video:

Happy Xmas (War Is Over! If You Want It)

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
-- John Lennon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY7gPcDFwQc

Dao Gen , July 3, 2019 at 05:20

mbob -- thank you -- has already put this very well, but it is above all the Dems, especially Obama and the Clintons, who killed the antiwar movement. Obama was a fake, and his foreign policy became even more hawkish after Hillary resigned as SoS. His reduction of Libya, the richest state in Africa, to a feudal chaotic zone in which slavery is once more prominent and his attempt to demonize Syria, which has more semi-democracy and women's rights than any of the Islamic kingdoms the US supports as its allies, and turn Syria into a jihadi terrorist hell, as well as Obama's bombing of other nations and his sanctions on still other nations such as Venezuela, injured and killed at least as many people as did GW Bush's invasion of Iraq. Yet where was the antiwar movement? In the 21st century the US antiwar movement has gained most of its strength from anti-Repub hatred. The current uptick of antiwar feeling is probably due mostly to hatred of Trump. Yet Trump is the first president since Carter not to invade or make a major attack on a foreign country. As a businessman, his policy is to use economic warfare instead of military warfare.

I am not a Trump supporter, and strong sanctions are a war crime, and Trump is also slow to reduce some of Obama's overseas bombing and other campaigns, yet ironically he is surely closer to being a "peace president" than Obama. Moreover, a major reason Trump won in 2016 was that Hillary was regarded as the war and foreign intervention candidate, and in fact if Hillary had won, she probably would have invaded Syria to set up her infamous "no-fly zone" there, and she might have bombed Iran by now. We might even be in a war with Russia now. At the same time, under Trump the Dem leadership and the Dem-leaning MSM have pursued an unabashedly neocon policy of attacking from the right Trumps attempts at detente with Russia and scorning his attempts to negotiate a treaty with N Korea and to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan. The main reason why Trump chose dangerous neocons like Bolton and Pompeo as advisors was probably to shield himself a little from the incessant and sometimes xenophobic attacks from the Dem leadership and the MSM. The Dem leadership seems motivated not only by hatred of Trump but also, and probably more importantly, by a desire to get donations from the military-industrial complex and a desire to ingratiate itself with the Intel Community and the surveillance state in order to get various favors. Look, for example, at Adam Schiff, cheerleader-in-chief for the IC. The system of massive collusion between the Dem party elite and the US deep state was not as advanced during the Vietnam War era as it is now. 2003 changed a lot of things.

The only Dem presidential candidates who are philosophically and securely antiwar are Gabbard and Gravel. Even Bernie (and even more so, Warren) can't be trusted to stand up to the deep state if elected, and anyway, Bernie's support for the Russiagate hoax by itself disqualifies him as an antiwar politician, while the Yemen bill he sponsored had a fatal loophole in it, as Bernie well knew. I love Bernie, but he is neither antiwar nor anti-empire. As for Seth Moulton, mentioned in the article, he is my Rep, and he makes some mild criticisms of the military, but he is a rabid hawk on Syria and Iran, and he recently voted for a Repub amendment that would have punished Americans who donate to BDS organizations. And as for the younger generation of Dems, they are not as antiwar as the article suggests. For every AOC among the newly elected Dems in 2018, there were almost two new Dems who are military vets or who formerly worked for intel agencies. This does not bode well. As long at the deep state, the Dem elite, and the MSM are tightly intertwined, there will be no major peace movement in the near future, even if a Dem becomes president. In fact, a Dem president might hinder the formation of a true antiwar movement. Perhaps when China becomes more powerful in ten or twenty years, the unipolar US empire and permanent war state will no longer look like a very good idea to a large number of Americans, and the idea of a peace movement will once again become realistic. The media have a major role to play in spreading truthful news about how the current US empire is hurting domestic living standards. Rather than hopey-hope wish lists, no-holds-barred reporting will surely play a big role.

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 12:05

Absolutely superb comment, Dao Gen.

DW

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 15:07

Another fine example of why I think there is hope! (some very sharp commentators!)

A strong leader can make all the difference. The example gets set from the top: not that this is my preference, just that it's the reality we have today. MLK Jr. was such a leader, though it was MANY great people that were in his movement/orbit that were the primary architects. I suppose you could say it's a "rally around the flag" kind of deal. Just as Trump stunned the System, I believe that it can be stunned from the "left" (the ultimate stunning would be from a Gravel win, but I'm thinking that Gabbard would be the one that has what it takes to slip past).

I really wish that people would start asking candidates who they think have been good cabinet members for various positions. This could help give an idea of the most important facet of an administration: who the POTUS selects as key cabinet members tells pretty much everything you need to know. Sadly, Trump had a shot at selecting Gabbard and passed on her: as much as I detest Trump, I gave him room in which to work away from the noecon/neolib death squads (to his credit he's mostly just stalemated them- for a rookie politician you could say that this has been an impressive feat; he's tried to instigate new wars but has, so far, "failed" [by design?]).

geeyp , July 3, 2019 at 01:19

"We saved more money today for the American people ." – Elijah Cummings. Yea? Well then, give it to us!! You owe us a return of our money that you have wasted for years.

mark , July 3, 2019 at 00:17

Same old, same old, same old, same old. Prospective candidates spewing out the same tired old hot air about how, this time, it really, really, really, really will be different. There won't be any more crazy multitrillion wars for Israel.
Honest. Just like Dubya. Just like Obomber. Just like the Orange Baboon. Whilst simultaneously begging for shekels from Adelson, Saban, Singer, Marcus.

And this is the "new anti war movement." Yeah.

Tom Kath , July 3, 2019 at 00:04

Every extreme elicits an extreme response. Our current western pacifist obsession is no exception. By prohibiting argument, disagreement, verbal conflict, and the occasional playground "dust up" on a personal level, you seem to make the seemingly less personal war inevitable.

Life on earth is simply not possible without "a bit of biff".

James Clooney , July 3, 2019 at 09:38

An aware person may not react extremely to a extreme. USA slaughtered 5 to 10 million Vietnamese for no apparent reason other than projection of power yet the Vietnamese trade with the USA today.

Who prohibits argument? Certainly not those with little power; it's the militarily and politically powerful that crush dissent, (Tinamen Square , Occupy Wall Street). How much dissent does the military allow? Why is Assange being persecuted?

I believe even the most militant pacifist would welcome a lively debate on murder, death and genocide, as a channel for education and edification.

Antonio Costa , July 2, 2019 at 20:53

Weak essay. AOC hops from cause to cause. She rarely/ever says anything about US regime change wars, and the bombing of children. She's demonstrated no anti-war bona fides.

Only Tulsi Gabbard has forthright called for an end to regime change wars, the warmongers and reduction in our military.

The power is with the powerful. We'll not see an end to war, nor Medicare for All or much of anything regarding student debt. These are deep systemic problems calling for systemic solutions beginning with how we live on the planet(GND is a red herring), the GDP must become null and void if we are to behave as if plundering the planet is part of "progress". It needs to be replaced to some that focuses on quality of life as the key to prosperity. The geopolitics of the world have to simply STOP IT. It's not about coalitions between Russia and China and India to off-set the US imperialists. That's an old game for an empty planet. The planet is full and exceeding it capacity and is on fire. Our geopolitics must end!

Not one of these candidates come close to focusing on the systemic problem(s) except Gabbard's focus on war because it attacks the heart of the American Imperial Empire.

Maxime , July 3, 2019 at 09:24

I agree with you that you americans will probably not see the end of your system and the end of your problems any time soon.

BUT I disagree on that you seems to think it's inevitable. I'm not american, I'm french, and reading you saying you think medicare for all, no student debt and end to endless wars are systemic problems linked to GDP and the current economic system is well, amusing. We have medicare for all, in fact even better than your medicare, we have no student cost for our educating system, and still in both cases often better results than yours, even if we are behind some of our northern neighbors, but they don't pay for these either. And we don't wage endless wars, even if we have ourselves our own big war problems, after all we were in Lybia, we are in Syria, we are in Mali and other parts of Africa.

We also have a big militaro-industrial complex, in fact very alike the american one. But we made clear since much longer than we would not accept as much wars, in part because the lesson we got from WW2 and Cold War was to learn to live together with our hated neighbor. You know, the one the other side of the Rhine. Today France is a diplomatic superpower, often the head of the european spear onthe subject, we got feared elite military, and we are proud of that, but we would not even accept more money (in proportion) given to our military complex.

And you know the best news (for the americans)? we have an history of warmongering going back millenias. We learn to love Caesar and the "Guerre des Gaules", his invasion of Gauls. We learn how Franks invaded their neighbors and built the first post-roman Empire. We learn how crusaders were called Franks, how we built our nation and his pride on ashes of european continental english hopes and german holy empire aspirations. We learn how Napolean nearly achieved to built a new continental Empire, how we never let them passed at Verdun, and how we rose in the face of a tyran in 1944.

All of this is still in our history books, and we're still proud of it. But today, if most of us were to be asked what we were proud about recent wars France got into, it would be how our president vetoed USA when they tried to got UN into Irak and forced them to invade illegally, and without us.
I think my country's revelation was Algeria's independance war. One bloody and largely filled with war crimes and crimes against humanity. We're ashamed of it, and I think we, as a nation, learned from it that stopping wars on our soil wasn't enough. I still don't understand how americans can still wage wars after Vietnam, but I am not american. Still, even the most warmongering nation can learn. Let's hope you will be quicker than us, because we got millennias of bloody history before even the birth of USA.

Eddie S , July 3, 2019 at 23:15

Thanks Maxime for a foreign perspective! I'm often curious what people in foreign countries think of our current politics in the US,especially when I read analysis/commentaries by US writers (even ones I respect) who say "Oh most of our allies think this or that" -- - maybe they're right or maybe they're wrong or somewhere in-between, but it's interesting getting a DIRECT opinion from a fellow left-of-center citizen from a foreign state.

I agree with your points that European countries like France almost all have their own bloody history including an imperial period, but the two big World Wars that killed SO many people and destroyed so many cities in Europe were so tragic and wasteful that I suspect they DO continue to act as a significant deterrent to the saber-rattling that the US war mongers are able to engage-in. For too many US citizens 'war' is just something that's mentioned & sometimes displayed on a screen, just like a movie/TV program/video-game, and there's a non-reality to it because it's so far away and seldom directly affects them. Geography has famously isolated us from the major death & destruction of war and enables too many armchair warriors to talk boldly and vote for politicians who pander to those conceits. In a not-so-subtle way, the US IS the younger offspring of Europe, where Europe has grown-up due to some hard lessons, while the US is going through its own destructive stage of 'lesson-learning'. Hopefully this learning stage will be over soon and won't involve a world war.

DW Bartoo , July 3, 2019 at 12:48

Tulsi Gabbard is, indeed,pointing at part of a major organ of imperialism, Antonio Costa, yet habeas corpus, having the whole body of imperialism produced is necessary for the considered judgement of a people long terrorized by fictitious "monsters" and "demons", if they are to understand that shooting warfate is but one part of the heart, while the other is economic warfare. Both brutally destructive, even if the second is hidden from public awareness or dismissed as "a price worth paying". Imperialism pays no price (except "blow-back", which is merely "religious extremism" as explained by a fully complicit MSM).

And the "brain" behind it all?

That is corporate/military/political/deep state/media greed – and their desperate need/ambition for total, and absolute, control.

Only seeing the whole body may reveal the true size of the threat and the vicious nature of the real danger.

Some may argue that it is "too soon", "too early", or "too costly", politically, for Gabbard, even if she, herself, might see imperialism as the real monster and demon, to dare describe the whole beast.

Frankly, this time, Tulsi's candidacy, her "run" for President, is not likely to see her become the Dem nominee, most likely that will be Kamala Harris (who will happily do the bidding of brute power), rather, it is to lay the firm and solid foundation of actual difference, of rational perspective, and thoughtful, diplomatic international behavior.

To expose the whole, especially the role of the MSM, in furthering all the rest of the lumbering body of Zombie imperialism, would be far more effective in creating an substantial "opening" for alternative possibilities, even a new political party, next time.

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 15:31

I'm figuring that Warren and Harris will take one another out. Climbing to the top requires this. But, Gabbard doesn't stop fighting, and if there's a fighter out there it is her: mentally and physically she is the total package.

Sanders' 2016 campaign was ignored, he wasn't supposed to go anywhere, but if not for the DNC's meddling he would be POTUS right now (I have zero doubt over that). So too was Obama's climb from nowhere: of course, Obama was pushed up by the System, the System that is NOT behind Gabbard. And then there's the clown at the helm (Trump). I refuse to ignore this history.

Gababard is by no means out. Let's not speak of such things, especially when her campaign, and message, is just starting to burst out: the MSM is the last to admit the state of things unfavorable to the wealthy, but out on the Internet Gabbard is very much alive. She is the best candidate (with the best platform of visibility) for peace. She has all the pieces. One comment I read out on the internet (someone, I believe, not in the US) was that Gabbard was a gift to the Americans. Yes, I believe this to be the case: if you really look closely you'll see exactly how this is correct. I believe that we cannot afford to treat this gift with other than the utmost appreciation. Her sincerity when she says that she was/is willing to die for her fellow soldiers (in reference to LBGT folks, though ALL apply) is total. She is totally committed to this battle: as a warrior in politics she's proven herself with her support, the loyalty, for Sanders (at risk to her political career- and now look, she's running for POTUS, she continues to come out on top!).

IvyMike , July 2, 2019 at 20:14

I burned my draft card, grew my hair out, and smoked pot and was anti war as heck. But the peace demonstrations (and riots) in the 60's and 70's did not have much effect on how the U.S. Government prosecuted the Vietnam War. It is little recognized how hard American troops fought from 1965 to 1968. Our air mobile troops in particular made a great slaughter of NVA and VC while also taking heavy casualties.

We were having such success that no one in the military thought the enemy could keep up the fight. Then, the Tet offensive with the beaten enemy attacking every city in the South.

Then the politicians and Generals knew, given the super power politics surrounding the war, that we had lost. We had failed to recognize that we had not intervened in a Civil War, in truth Vietnam as a whole was fighting for freedom from Imperialism and we had no friends in the South, just a corrupt puppet government. Instead of getting out, Nixon made the unforgivable choice to slowly wind the war down until he could get out without losing, Peace With Honor the ultimate triumph of ego over humanity. Americans had a chance to choose a peace candidate in 1972, instead Nixon won with a big majority.

The military has never been able to admit they were defeated on the battlefield by North Vietnam, blaming it instead on the Liberal Media and the Anti War movement. Believing that lie they continue to fight unwinnable wars in which we have no national interest at stake. The media and the people no longer fight against war, but it never really made a difference when we did.

Realist , July 3, 2019 at 05:17

I too hoped for a miracle and voted for George. But then I always voted for the loser in whatever state I happened to be living in at the particular time. I think Carter was a rare winning pick by me but only once. I got disgusted with voting and sat out the Clinton campaigns, only returning to vote against the Bush juggernaut. In retrospect, Perot should have won to make a real difference. I sided with the winner in Obama, but the loser turned out to be America getting saddled with that two-faced hypocrite. Nobel Peace Prize winner indeed! (What did he spend the money on?) When you listen to their campaign promises be aware they are telegraphing how they plan to betray you.

triekc , July 3, 2019 at 07:45

American people in mass need to hit reset button. A yellow vest-like movement made up of tens of millions of woke people, who understand the democrats and republicans are the left and right wing of the oligarch party,

US elections have been and continue to be rigged, and the US constitution was written to protect the property (such as slaves) of oligarchs from the people, the founding oligarchs feared real democracy, evident by all the safeguards they built into our government to protect against it, that remain in tact today.

We need a new 21st century constitution. Global capitalism needs to be greatly curtailed, or ended out right, replaced by ecosocialism, conservation, restoration of earth focussed society

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 15:38

And just think that back then there was also Mike Gravel. The CIA did their work in the 60s to kill the anti-war movement: killing all the great social leaders.

Why wars are "lost" is because hardly is there a time when there's an actual "mission statement" on what the end of a given war will look like. Tulsi Gabbard has made it clear that she would NOT engage in any wars unless there was a clear objective, a clear outcome lined out, and, of course, it was authorized by THE PEOPLE (Congress).

All wars are about resources. We cannot, however, admit this: the ruling capitalists won't allow that to be known/understood lest they lose their power.

Realist , July 3, 2019 at 04:59

Ya got all that right, especially the part about the analysts essentially declaring the war lost after Tet. I remember that offered a lot of hope on the campuses that the war would soon end (even though we lost), especially to those of us near graduation and facing loss of that precious 2S deferment. Yet the big fool marched on, getting my generation needlessly slaughtered for four or five more years.

And, yes, the 2 or 3 million dead Vietnamese did matter, to those with a conscience. Such a price to keep Vietnam out of Russia's and China's orbit. Meanwhile they set an independent course after kicking us out of their land and even fought a war with China. We should still be paying reparations for the levels of death and destruction we brought to a country half a world away with absolutely no means or desire to threaten the United States. All our wars of choice, starting with Korea, have been similar crimes against humanity. Turkey shoots against third world societies with no way to do us any harm. But every one of them fought ferociously to the death to defend their land and their people. Inevitably, every occupier is sent packing as their empire crumbles. Obviously, Americans have been too thick to learn this from mere history books. We will only learn from our tragic mistakes. I see a lot of lessons on the upcoming schedule.

James Clooney , July 3, 2019 at 08:36

USA did not "intervene" in a civil war. USA paid France to continue it's imperial war and then took over when France fled defeated. USA prevented a mandated election Ho Chi Minh would win and then continued western imperial warfare against the Vietnamese ( even though Vietnamese was/is bulwark against China's territorial expansion).

mauisurfer , July 2, 2019 at 20:12

The Watson study says: "Indeed, the DOD is the world's largest institutional user of petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.4"

This is a gross UNDERcount of emissions. It includes ONLY petroleum burned.
It does NOT count explosions from bombs, missiles, rockets, rifles, etc.

Perhaps someone could provide an estimate of this contribution to greenhouse gases???

triekc , July 3, 2019 at 07:25

US military contribution to ecocide: https://climateandcapitalism.com/2015/02/08/pentagon-pollution-7-military-assault-global-climate/

Seer , July 3, 2019 at 16:35

Don't worry, Elizabeth Warren has a plan to operate the military on renewables! (she can continue to make sure her constituency, which is Raytheon, is well served)

From https://www.mintpressnews.com/shes-hot-and-shes-cold-elizabeth-warren-and-the-military-industrial-complex/253542/

Raytheon, one of the biggest employers in Warren's state, where it's headquartered, "has a positive relationship with Sen. Warren, and we interact with her and her staff regularly," Michael Doble, a spokesman for the company, said.

jo6pac , July 2, 2019 at 20:12

This awful news for the merchants of death and I'm sure they're working overtime to stop silliness;-). I do hope this isn't killed by those that love the endless wars.

Thanks AH

mbob , July 2, 2019 at 20:10

Perhaps there is no open anti-war movement because the Democratic party is now pro-war. Rather than support President Trump's efforts to end the Korean War, to reduce our involvement in the Middle East and to pursue a more peaceful path with Russia, the Democratic party (with very, very few exceptions) is opposed to all these things.

The Democratic party places its hatred for Trump above its professed love of peace.

President Obama, the Nobel peace prize winner, started a war with Libya, which had neither attacked nor threatened the US and which, by many accounts, was trying to improve relations with the US. GW Bush unnecessarily attacked Iraq and Clinton destroyed Haiti and bombed Yugoslavia, among other actions.

From a peace perspective, Trump looks comparatively great (provided he doesn't attack Iraq or invade Venezuela). But, since it's impossible to recognize Trump for anything positive, or to support him in any way, it's now impossible for Democrats to promote peace. Doing so might help Trump. It would, of necessity, require acknowledging Trump's uniqueness among recent US Presidents in not starting new wars.

Realist , July 3, 2019 at 03:28

I agree. mbob makes perfect sense in his analysis.

The Democrats must be brought back to reality with a sound repudiation by the voters, otherwise they are of no use to America and will have no long-term future.

James Clooney , July 3, 2019 at 09:56

Obama escalated Afghanistan when he had a popular mandate to withdraw. He facilitated the the Syrian rebellion in conjunction with ISIS funding Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He instigated the Zalaya (primarily Hillary) and the Ukraine rebellion.

Trump supports the Yemeni genocide.

But yes citizens have been directed to hate Trump the man/symptom rather than the enduring Imperial predatory capitalistic system.

James Clooney , July 3, 2019 at 10:02

Opps sorry; so many interventions and invasions, under Obama, special forces trained Malian general overthrew the democratically elected president of Mali, result, more war,death and destruction.

Robert , July 3, 2019 at 10:48

You are correct in your analysis. Allegra Harpootlian is searching for the peace lobby among Democrat supporters, where it no longer resides.

As a result of corporate-controlled mainstream media and their support for Democrat elites, Democrat supporters have largely been brainwashed into hatred for Donald Trump and everything he stands for. This hatred blinds them to the far more important issue of peace.

Strangely, there is huge US support to remove troops from the ME, but this support resides with the overwhelming majority of Donald Trump voters. Unfortunately, these are not individuals who typically go to peace demonstrations, but they are sincere in bringing all US troops home from the ME. Donald Trump himself lobbied on this, and with the exceptions of his anti-Iranian / pro-Israel / pro-Saudi Arabia stance and withdrawal from JCPOA, he has not only backed down from military adventurism, but is the first President since Eisenhower to raise the issue of the influence of the military-industrial complex.

In the face of strong opposition, he is the first President ever to enter North Korea and meet with Kim Jong Un to discuss nuclear weapons. Mainstream media continues its war-mongering rhetoric, attacking Trump for his "weakness" in not retaliating against Iran, or in meeting "secretly" with Putin.

Opposition to Trump's peace efforts are not limited to MSM, however, but are entrenched in Democrat and Republican elites, who attack any orders he gives to withdraw from the ME. It was not Trump, but Democrat and Republican elites who invited NATO's Stoltenberg to speak to Congress in an attempt to spite Trump.

In essence, you have President Trump and most of his supporters trying to withdraw from military engagements, with active opposition from Democrats like Adam Schiff, and Republican elites, actively promoting war and military spending.

DJT is like a less-likeable Inspector Clouseau. Sometimes ineptitude is a blessing. You also have a few Republicans, like journalist Tucker Carlson of Fox News, and Democrats, like Tulsi Gabbard, actively pushing the message of peace.

Erelis , July 3, 2019 at 20:45

I think you got it. The author is right in the sense that there is an anti-war movement, but that movement is in many ways hidden. As bizarre as it may seen counter to CW wisdom, and in some way ironically crazy, one of the biggest segments of anti-war sentiment are Trump supporters. After Trump's decision not to attack Iran, I went to various right wing commentators who attacked Trump, and the reaction against these major right wing war mongers was to support Trump. And with right wing commentators who supported Trump, absolute agreement. These is of course based on my objective reading reading and totally subjective. But I believe I am right.

This made me realize there is an untapped anti-war sentiment on the right which is being totally missed. And a lack of imagination and Trump derangment syndrome which blocks many on the anti-war Left to see it and use it for an anti-war movement. There was an article in The Intercept that looked research on the correlation between military deaths and voting preference. Here is the article:

STUDY FINDS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HIGH MILITARY CASUALTIES AND VOTES FOR TRUMP OVER CLINTON
https://theintercept.com/2017/07/10/study-finds-relationship-between-high-military-casualties-and-votes-for-trump-over-clinton/

And the thing is that Trump was in many ways the anti-war candidate. And those areas that had high military death rates voted for Trump. I understand the tribal nature of political affiliation, but it seems what I have read and this article, there may be indeed an untapped anti-war stance with Trump supporters.

And it really just challenges my own beliefs that the major obstacle to the war mongers are Trump supporters.

Helga I. Fellay , July 3, 2019 at 11:09

mbob – I couldn't have said it better myself. Except to add that in addition to destroying Libya, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama, ably assisted by Hillary Clinton, also destroyed Honduras and the Ukraine.

Anarcissie , July 3, 2019 at 11:55

Historically, the Democratic Party has been pro-war and pro-imperialism at least since Wilson. The hatred for Trump on their part seems to be based entirely on cultural issues -- he is not subservient enough to their gods.

But as for antiwar demonstrations, it's been proved in the streets that they don't accomplish anything. There were huge demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, but it ground on until conservatives got tired of it. At least half a million people demonstrated against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and no one important cared. Evidently more fundamental issues than the war of the moment are involved and I think that is where a lot of people are turning now. The ruling class will find this a lot harder to deal with because it's decentralized and widely distributed. Hence the panic about Trump and the seething hatred of Sanders.

mbob , July 3, 2019 at 18:15

I attempted to make three points in my post. First, Democrats are now pro-war. Second, solely regarding peace, Trump looks better than all other recent Presidents because he hasn't started any new wars. Third, the inability of Democrats (or the public as a whole) to give Trump the benefit of a doubt, or to support him in any way, is contrary to the cause of peace.

Democrats should, without reservation, support Trump's effort to end the Korean War. They should support Trump's desire to improve relations with Russia. They don't do either of those things. Why? Because it might hurt them politically.

Your comment does not challenge the first two points and reinforces the third.

As for Yemen, yes, Trump is wrong. Democrats rightly oppose him on Yemen -- but remarkably tepidly. Trump is wrong about a lot of things. I don't like him. I didn't vote for him. But I will vote for him if Democrats nominate someone worse than him, which they seem inclined to do. (Gabbard is better than Trump. Sanders probably. Maybe Warren. Of the three, only Warren receives positive press. That makes me skeptical of her.)

Trump stood up to his advisors, Bolton and Pompeo, regarding both Iran and Venezuela. Obama, on the other hand, did not. He followed the advice of his advisors, with disastrous consequences.

Piotr Berman , July 4, 2019 at 07:02

Trump standing up to his nominees:

>>In addition to Tuesday's sanctions, the Treasury Department issued an advisory to maritime shipping companies, warning them off transporting oil to Syria or risking their property and money seized if kept with financial institutions that follow U.S. sanctions law.

"The United States will aggressively seek to impose sanctions against any party involved in shipping oil to Syria, or seeking to evade our sanctions on Iranian oil," said Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a release. "Shipping companies, insurers, vessel owners, managers, and operators should all be aware of the grave consequences of engaging in sanctionable conduct involving Iranian oil shipments."<<

Today British marines seized a tanker near Gibraltar for the crime of transporting oil to Syria. And Trumpian peaceful military seized Syrian oil fields. Traditional war is increasingly augmented by piracy, which is less bloody, but trades outright carnage for deprivation of civilians. Giving "measured praise" for that makes me barf.

[Jul 05, 2019] Who Won the Debate? Tulsi Gabbard let the anti-war genie out of the bottle by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
The problem here is that the US population is too brainwashing with jingoism and Exceptionalism to value Tulsi message. The US army is mercenary army and unlike situation with the draft people generally do not care much when mercenaries die. That makes any anti-war candidate vulnerable to "Russiagate" smear.
He/she need to have a strong domestic program to appeal to voters, So far Warren is in better position in this area then Tulsi.
Notable quotes:
"... The Drudge Report website had its poll running while the debate was going on and it registered overwhelmingly in favor of Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Likewise, the Washington Examiner , a right-wing paper, opined that Gabbard had won by a knockout based on its own polling. Google's search engine reportedly saw a surge in searches linked to Tulsi Gabbard both during and after the debate. ..."
"... On the following day traditional conservative Pat Buchanan produced an article entitled "Memo for Trump: Trade Bolton for Tulsi," similar to a comment made by Republican consultant Frank Luntz "She's a long-shot to win the presidency, but Tulsi Gabbard is sounding like a prime candidate for Secretary of Defense." ..."
"... In response to a comment by neoliberal Congressman Tim Ryan who said that the U.S. has to remain "engaged" in places like Afghanistan, she referred to two American soldiers who had been killed that very day, saying "Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? Well, we just have to be engaged? As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable." ..."
"... Tulsi also declared war on the Washington Establishment, saying that "For too long our leaders have failed us, taking us into one regime change war after the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned tax payer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end." ..."
"... Blunt words, but it was a statement that few Americans whose livelihoods are not linked to "defense" or to the shamelessly corrupt U.S. Congress and media could disagree with, as it is clear that Washington is at the bottom of a deep hole and persists in digging ..."
"... In the collective judgment of America's Establishment, Tulsi Gabbard and anyone like her must be destroyed. She would not be the first victim of the political process shutting out undesirable opinions. One can go all the way back to Eugene McCarthy and his opposition to the Vietnam War back in 1968. ..."
"... And the beat goes on. In 2016, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, fixed the nomination process so that Bernie Sanders, a peace candidate, would be marginalized and super hawk Hillary Clinton would be selected. Fortunately, the odor emanating from anything having to do with the Clintons kept her from being elected or we would already be at war with Russia and possibly also with China. ..."
"... Tulsi Gabbard has let the genie of "end the forever wars" out of the bottle and it will be difficult to force it back in. She just might shake up the Democratic Party's priorities, leading to more questions about just what has been wrong with U.S. foreign policy over the past twenty years. ..."
"... Yes, to some critics, Tulsi Gabbard is not a perfect candidate . On most domestic issues she appears to be a typical liberal Democrat and is also conventional in terms of her accommodation with Jewish power, but she also breaks with the Democratic Party establishment with her pledge to pardon Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. ..."
"... She also has more of a moral compass than Elizabeth Warren, who cleverly evades the whole issue of Middle East policy, or a Joe Biden who would kiss Benjamin Netanyahu's ass without any hesitation at all. Gabbard has openly criticized Netanyahu and she has also condemned Israel's killing of "unarmed civilians" in Gaza. As a Hindu, her view of Muslims is somewhat complicated based on the historical interaction of the two groups, but she has moderated her views recently. ..."
"... To be sure, Americans have heard much of the same before, much of it from out of the mouth of a gentleman named Donald Trump, but Tulsi Gabbard could well be the only genuine antiwar candidate that might truly be electable in the past fifty years. ..."
Jul 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

Last Wednesday’s debate among half of the announced Democratic Party candidates to become their party’s nominee for president in 2020 was notable for its lack of drama. Many of those called on to speak had little to say apart from the usual liberal bromides about health care, jobs, education and how the United States is a country of immigrants. On the following day the mainstream media anointed Elizabeth Warren as the winner based on the coherency of her message even though she said little that differed from what was being presented by most of the others on the stage. She just said it better, more articulately.

The New York Times’ coverage was typical, praising Warren for her grasp of the issues and her ability to present the same clearly and concisely, and citing a comment "They could teach classes in how Warren talks about a problem and weaves in answers into a story. She's not just wonk and stats." It then went on to lump most of the other candidates together, describing their performances as "ha[ving] one or two strong answers, but none of them had the electric, campaign-launching moment they were hoping for."

Inevitably, however, there was some disagreement on who had actually done best based on viewer reactions as well as the perceptions of some of the media that might not exactly be described as mainstream. The Drudge Report website had its poll running while the debate was going on and it registered overwhelmingly in favor of Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Likewise, the Washington Examiner , a right-wing paper, opined that Gabbard had won by a knockout based on its own polling. Google's search engine reportedly saw a surge in searches linked to Tulsi Gabbard both during and after the debate.

On the following day traditional conservative Pat Buchanan produced an article entitled "Memo for Trump: Trade Bolton for Tulsi," similar to a comment made by Republican consultant Frank Luntz "She's a long-shot to win the presidency, but Tulsi Gabbard is sounding like a prime candidate for Secretary of Defense."

Tulsi, campaigning on her anti-war credentials, was indeed not like the other candidates, confronting directly the issue of war and peace which the other potential candidates studiously avoided. In response to a comment by neoliberal Congressman Tim Ryan who said that the U.S. has to remain "engaged" in places like Afghanistan, she referred to two American soldiers who had been killed that very day, saying "Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? Well, we just have to be engaged? As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable."

At another point she expanded on her thinking about America's wars, saying "Let's deal with the situation where we are, where this president and his chickenhawk cabinet have led us to the brink of war with Iran. I served in the war in Iraq at the height of the war in 2005, a war that took over 4,000 of my brothers and sisters in uniforms' lives. The American people need to understand that this war with Iran would be far more devastating, far more costly than anything that we ever saw in Iraq. It would take many more lives. It would exacerbate the refugee crisis. And it wouldn't be just contained within Iran. This would turn into a regional war. This is why it's so important that every one of us, every single American, stand up and say no war with Iran."

Tulsi also declared war on the Washington Establishment, saying that "For too long our leaders have failed us, taking us into one regime change war after the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned tax payer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end."

Blunt words, but it was a statement that few Americans whose livelihoods are not linked to "defense" or to the shamelessly corrupt U.S. Congress and media could disagree with, as it is clear that Washington is at the bottom of a deep hole and persists in digging. So why was there such a difference between what ordinary Americans and the Establishment punditry were seeing on their television screens? The difference was not so much in perception as in the desire to see a certain outcome. Anti-war takes away a lot of people's rice bowls, be they directly employed on "defense" or part of the vast army of lobbyists and think tank parasites that keep the money flowing out of the taxpayers' pockets and into the pockets of Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Lockheed Martin like a perpetual motion machine.

In the collective judgment of America's Establishment, Tulsi Gabbard and anyone like her must be destroyed. She would not be the first victim of the political process shutting out undesirable opinions. One can go all the way back to Eugene McCarthy and his opposition to the Vietnam War back in 1968. McCarthy was right and Lyndon Johnson and the rest of the Democratic Party were wrong. More recently, Congressman Ron Paul tried twice to bring some sanity to the Republican Party. He too was marginalized deliberately by the GOP party apparatus working hand-in-hand with the media, to include the final insult of his being denied any opportunity to speak or have his delegates recognized at the 2012 nominating convention.

And the beat goes on. In 2016, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, head of the Democratic National Committee, fixed the nomination process so that Bernie Sanders, a peace candidate, would be marginalized and super hawk Hillary Clinton would be selected. Fortunately, the odor emanating from anything having to do with the Clintons kept her from being elected or we would already be at war with Russia and possibly also with China.

Tulsi Gabbard has let the genie of "end the forever wars" out of the bottle and it will be difficult to force it back in. She just might shake up the Democratic Party's priorities, leading to more questions about just what has been wrong with U.S. foreign policy over the past twenty years. To qualify for the second round of debates she has to gain a couple of points in her approval rating or bring in more donations, either of which is definitely possible based on her performance. It is to be hoped that that will occur and that there will be no Debbie Wasserman Schultz hiding somewhere in the process who will finagle the polling results.

Yes, to some critics, Tulsi Gabbard is not a perfect candidate . On most domestic issues she appears to be a typical liberal Democrat and is also conventional in terms of her accommodation with Jewish power, but she also breaks with the Democratic Party establishment with her pledge to pardon Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

She also has more of a moral compass than Elizabeth Warren, who cleverly evades the whole issue of Middle East policy, or a Joe Biden who would kiss Benjamin Netanyahu's ass without any hesitation at all. Gabbard has openly criticized Netanyahu and she has also condemned Israel's killing of "unarmed civilians" in Gaza. As a Hindu, her view of Muslims is somewhat complicated based on the historical interaction of the two groups, but she has moderated her views recently.

To be sure, Americans have heard much of the same before, much of it from out of the mouth of a gentleman named Donald Trump, but Tulsi Gabbard could well be the only genuine antiwar candidate that might truly be electable in the past fifty years. It is essential that we Americans who are concerned about the future of our country should listen to what she has to say very carefully and to respond accordingly.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

[Jul 05, 2019] Globalisation- the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world - World news by Nikil Saval

Highly recommended!
Globalization was simply the politically correct term for neocolonialism.
Jul 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

... ... ...

Over the last two years, a different, in some ways unrecognizable Larry Summers has been appearing in newspaper editorial pages. More circumspect in tone, this humbler Summers has been arguing that economic opportunities in the developing world are slowing, and that the already rich economies are finding it hard to get out of the crisis. Barring some kind of breakthrough, Summers says, an era of slow growth is here to stay.

In Summers's recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a "responsible nationalism". Now he argues that politicians must recognise that "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good".

One curious thing about the pro-globalisation consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, and its collapse in recent years, is how closely the cycle resembles a previous era. Pursuing free trade has always produced displacement and inequality – and political chaos, populism and retrenchment to go with it. Every time the social consequences of free trade are overlooked, political backlash follows. But free trade is only one of many forms that economic integration can take. History seems to suggest, however, that it might be the most destabilising one.

... ... ...

The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years – especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) – set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place.

The key to the system's viability, in Rodrik's view, was its flexibility – something absent from contemporary globalisation, with its one-size-fits-all model of capitalism. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar. Gatt consisted of rules governing free trade – negotiated by participating countries in a series of multinational "rounds" – that left many areas of the world economy, such as agriculture, untouched or unaddressed. "Gatt's purpose was never to maximise free trade," Rodrik writes. "It was to achieve the maximum amount of trade compatible with different nations doing their own thing. In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful."

Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. When nations contravened the agreement's terms on specific areas of national interest, they found that it "contained loopholes wide enough for an elephant to pass", in Rodrik's words. If a nation wanted to protect its steel industry, for example, it could claim "injury" under the rules of Gatt and raise tariffs to discourage steel imports: "an abomination from the standpoint of free trade". These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs – duties imposed on particular imports. Meanwhile, from 1948 to 1990, world trade grew at an annual average of nearly 7% – faster than the post-communist years, which we think of as the high point of globalisation. "If there was a golden era of globalisation," Rodrik has written, "this was it."

Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. These countries eventually created their own system, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD). Under this rubric, many countries – especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia – adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places – India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced – but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up. Though many later economists and commentators would dismiss the achievements of this model, it theoretically fit Larry Summers's recent rubric on globalisation: "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good."

The critical turning point – away from this system of trade balanced against national protections – came in the 1980s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. The elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal, putting free-market radicals in charge of two of the world's five biggest economies and ushering in an era of "hyperglobalisation". In the new political climate, economies with large public sectors and strong governments within the global capitalist system were no longer seen as aids to the system's functioning, but impediments to it.

Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well. Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The WTO's appellate court intervened relentlessly in member nations' tax, environmental and regulatory policies, including those of the United States: the US's fuel emissions standards were judged to discriminate against imported gasoline, and its ban on imported shrimp caught without turtle-excluding devices was overturned. If national health and safety regulations were stricter than WTO rules necessitated, they could only remain in place if they were shown to have "scientific justification".

The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the 1980s. Known as the "Washington consensus", this model usually involved loans from the IMF that were contingent on those countries lowering trade barriers and privatising many of their nationally held industries. Well into the 1990s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. In an influential 1995 paper, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner wrote: "We find no cases to support the frequent worry that a country might open and yet fail to grow."

But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in 2002 , precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms. Argentina's revolt presaged a left-populist upsurge across the continent: from 1999 to 2007, leftwing leaders and parties took power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all of them campaigning against the Washington consensus on globalisation. These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today.


Rodrik – perhaps the contemporary economist whose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events – was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. His father's ballpoint pen company was sheltered under tariffs, and achieved enough success to allow Rodrik to attend Harvard in the 1970s as an undergraduate. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation.

"I never felt that my ideas were out of the mainstream," Rodrik told me recently. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics. "The economics profession is strange in that the more you move away from the seminar room to the public domain, the more the nuances get lost, especially on issues of trade." He lamented the fact that while, in the classroom, the models of trade discuss losers and winners, and, as a result, the necessity of policies of redistribution, in practice, an "arrogance and hubris" had led many economists to ignore these implications. "Rather than speaking truth to power, so to speak, many economists became cheerleaders for globalisation."

In his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox , Rodrik concluded that "we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalisation." The results of the 2016 elections and referendums provide ample testimony of the justness of the thesis, with millions voting to push back, for better or for worse, against the campaigns and institutions that promised more globalisation. "I'm not at all surprised by the backlash," Rodrik told me. "Really, nobody should have been surprised."

But what, in any case, would "more globalisation" look like? For the same economists and writers who have started to rethink their commitments to greater integration, it doesn't mean quite what it did in the early 2000s. It's not only the discourse that's changed: globalisation itself has changed, developing into a more chaotic and unequal system than many economists predicted. The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out.

Statistics from Global Inequality , a 2016 book by the development economist Branko Milanović, indicate that in relative terms the greatest benefits of globalisation have accrued to a rising "emerging middle class", based preponderantly in China. But the cons are there, too: in absolute terms, the largest gains have gone to what is commonly called "the 1%" – half of whom are based in the US. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries.

Barring some political catastrophe, in which rightwing populism continued to gain, and in which globalisation would be the least of our problems – Wolf admitted that he was "not at all sure" that this could be ruled out – globalisation was always going to slow; in fact, it already has. One reason, says Wolf, was that "a very, very large proportion of the gains from globalisation – by no means all – have been exploited. We have a more open world economy to trade than we've ever had before." Citing The Great Convergence, Wolf noted that supply chains have already expanded, and that future developments, such as automation and the use of robots, looked to undermine the promise of a growing industrial workforce. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers , as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.

Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. For him, this slowdown has something to do with what he calls "premature deindustrialisation". In the past, the simplest model of globalisation suggested that rich countries would gradually become "service economies", while emerging economies picked up the industrial burden. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising. Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity.

For both Rodrik and Wolf, the political reaction to globalisation bore possibilities of deep uncertainty. "I really have found it very difficult to decide whether what we're living through is a blip, or a fundamental and profound transformation of the world – at least as significant as the one that brought about the first world war and the Russian revolution," Wolf told me. He cited his agreement with economists such as Summers that shifting away from the earlier emphasis on globalisation had now become a political priority; that to pursue still greater liberalisation was like showing "a red rag to a bull" in terms of what it might do to the already compromised political stability of the western world.

Rodrik pointed to a belated emphasis, both among political figures and economists, on the necessity of compensating those displaced by globalisation with retraining and more robust welfare states. But pro-free-traders had a history of cutting compensation: Bill Clinton passed Nafta, but failed to expand safety nets. "The issue is that the people are rightly not trusting the centrists who are now promising compensation," Rodrik said. "One reason that Hillary Clinton didn't get any traction with those people is that she didn't have any credibility."

Rodrik felt that economics commentary failed to register the gravity of the situation: that there were increasingly few avenues for global growth, and that much of the damage done by globalisation – economic and political – is irreversible. "There is a sense that we're at a turning point," he said. "There's a lot more thinking about what can be done. There's a renewed emphasis on compensation – which, you know, I think has come rather late."

[Jul 05, 2019] Globalization's Wrong Turn by Dani Rodrik

As Noam Chomsky says, the term globalisation has been appropriated by a narrow sector of power and privilege to refer to their version of international integration and it makes sense for them to own the term because anyone who is opposed to their version becomes anti-globalisation -- someone who is primitive and wants to go back to the stone age and that everyone likes international integration but not the investor rights version of it.
In reality globalization was a politically correct term for neocolonialism
Notable quotes:
"... In finance, the change was marked by a fundamental shift in governments' attitudes away from managing capital flows and toward liberalization ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.foreignaffairs.com

Globalization is in trouble. A populist backlash, personified by U.S. President Donald Trump, is in full swing. A simmering trade war between China and the United States could easily boil over. Countries across Europe are shutting their borders to immigrants. Even globalization's biggest boosters now concede that it has produced lopsided benefits and that something will have to change .

Today's woes have their roots in the 1990s, when policymakers set the world on its current, hyperglobalist path, requiring domestic economies to be put in the service of the world economy instead of the other way around. In trade, the transformation was signaled by the creation of the World Trade Organization, in 1995. The WTO not only made it harder for countries to shield themselves from international competition but also reached into policy areas that international trade rules had not previously touched: agriculture, services, intellectual property, industrial policy, and health and sanitary regulations. Even more ambitious regional trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, took off around the same time.

In finance, the change was marked by a fundamental shift in governments' attitudes away from managing capital flows and toward liberalization. Pushed by the United States and global organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, countries freed up vast quantities of short-term finance to slosh across borders in search of higher returns.

At the time, these changes seemed to be based on sound economics. Openness to trade would lead economies to allocate their resources to where they would be the most productive. Capital would flow from the countries where it was plentiful to the countries where it was needed. More trade and freer finance would unleash private investment and fuel global economic growth.

But these new arrangements came with risks that the hyperglobalists did not foresee, although economic theory could have predicted the downside to globalization just as well as it did the upside.

... ... ...

[Jul 05, 2019] The UK public finally realized that the Globalist/Open Frontiers/ Neoliberal crowd are not their friends

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The key point, is that this happened in the 1980's – 90's. Vast profit possibilities were opening up through digitalization, corporate outsourcing, globalization and the internet. The globalists urgently wanted that money, and had to have political compliance. They found it in Neoliberalism and hijacked both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, creating "New Labour" (leader Tony Blair) through classless "modernization" following Margaret Thatcher's lead. ..."
"... Great blast by Jonathan Cook – I feel as if he has read my thoughts about the political system keeping the proles in an Orwellian state of serfdom for plunder and abuse under the guise of “democracy” and “freedom”. ..."
"... But the ideas of the Chicago School in cohorts with the Frankfurters and Tavistockers were already undermining our hopeful vision of the world while the think tanks at the foundations, councils and institutes were flooding the academies with the doctrines of hardhead uncompromising Capitalism to suck the blood off the proles into anaemic immiseration and apathetic insouciance. ..."
"... With the working class defeated and gone, where is the spirit of resistance to spring from? Not from the selfishness of the new generation of smartphone addicts whose world has shrunk to the atomic MEism and who refuse to open their eyes to what is staring in their face: debt slavery, for life. Maybe the French can do it again. Allez Gilets Jaunes! ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Miro23 says: July 5, 2019 at 11:09 am GMT 400 Words

This is a very good article on UK politics, but I would have put more emphasis on the background. Where we are today has everything to do with how we got here.

The UK has this basic left/right split (Labour/Conservative) reaching far back into its class based history. Sad to say, but within 5 seconds a British person can determine the class of the person they are dealing with (working/ middle/ upper) and act accordingly – referencing their own social background.

Margaret Thatcher was a lower middle class grocer's daughter who gained a rare place at Oxford University (on her own high intellectual merits), and took on the industrial wreckers of the radical left (Arthur Scargill etc.). She consolidated her power with the failure of the 1984-85 Miner's Strike. She introduced a new kind of Conservatism that was more classless and open to the talents, adopting free market Neoliberalism along with Ronald Reagan. A large section of the aspirational working class went for this (many already had middle class salaries) and wanted that at least their children could join the middle class through the university system.

The key point, is that this happened in the 1980's – 90's. Vast profit possibilities were opening up through digitalization, corporate outsourcing, globalization and the internet. The globalists urgently wanted that money, and had to have political compliance. They found it in Neoliberalism and hijacked both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, creating "New Labour" (leader Tony Blair) through classless "modernization" following Margaret Thatcher's lead.

The story now, is that the UK public realize that the Globalist/Zionist/SJW/Open Frontiers/ Neoliberal crowd are not their friends . So they (the public) are backtracking fast to find solid ground. In practice this means 1) Leave the Neoliberal/Globalist EU (which has also been hijacked) using Brexit 2) Recover the traditional Socialist Labour Party of working people through Jeremy Corbyn 3) Recover the traditional Conservative Party ( Britain First) through Nigel Farage and his Brexit movement.

Hence the current and growing gulf that is separating the British public from its Zio-Globalist elite + their media propagandists (BBC, Guardian etc.).


Digital Samizdat , says: July 5, 2019 at 12:43 pm GMT

@Miro23

She introduced a new kind of Conservatism that was more classless …

Or just plain anti-working class.

It was actually Thatcher who started the neo-liberal revolution in Britain. To the extent that she refused to finish it, the elites had Tony Blair in the wings waiting to go.

Parfois1 , says: July 5, 2019 at 1:18 pm GMT

Great blast by Jonathan Cook – I feel as if he has read my thoughts about the political system keeping the proles in an Orwellian state of serfdom for plunder and abuse under the guise of “democracy” and “freedom”. Under this system if anyone steps out of line is indeed sidelined for the “anti-semitic” treatment, demonized, vilified and, virtually hanged and quartered on the public square of the mendacious media.

In the good old days, when there was a militant working class and revolting (!) unionism, we would get together at meetings, organize protests and strikes and confront bosses and officialdom. There was camaraderie, solidarity, loyalty and confident defiance that we were fighting for a better world for ourselves and our children – and also for people less fortunate than us in other countries.

But the ideas of the Chicago School in cohorts with the Frankfurters and Tavistockers were already undermining our hopeful vision of the world while the think tanks at the foundations, councils and institutes were flooding the academies with the doctrines of hardhead uncompromising Capitalism to suck the blood off the proles into anaemic immiseration and apathetic insouciance.

... ... ... .

With the working class defeated and gone, where is the spirit of resistance to spring from? Not from the selfishness of the new generation of smartphone addicts whose world has shrunk to the atomic MEism and who refuse to open their eyes to what is staring in their face: debt slavery, for life. Maybe the French can do it again. Allez Gilets Jaunes!

Harbinger , says: July 5, 2019 at 1:47 pm GMT
@Miro23 ic get pissed off and vote in the conservatives who then privatise everything. And this game continues on and on. The British public are literally headless chickens running around not knowing what on earth is going on. They’re not interested in getting to the bottom of why society is the way it is. They’re all too comfortable with their mortgages, cars, holidays twice a year, mobile phones, TV shows and football.

When all of this disappears, then certainly, they will start asking questions, but when that time comes they will be utterly powerless to do anything, as a minority in their own land. Greater Israel will be built when that time comes.

Miro23 , says: July 5, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat itants and win – which she did.

No one at the time had much idea about Neoliberalism and none at all about Globalization. This was all in the future.

And it was the British working class who were really cutting their own throats, by wrecking British industry (their future employment), with constant political radicalism and strikes.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goodbye-Great-Britain-1976-Crisis/dp/0300057288

[Jul 05, 2019] The neoliberal elites the policymaking business and financial elites are increasingly hated by common people

Notable quotes:
"... That distrust of the establishment has had highly visible political consequences: Farage, Trump, and Le Pen on the right; but also in new parties on the left ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

In the years that followed, the crash, the crisis of the eurozone and the worldwide drop in the price of oil and other commodities combined to put a huge dent in global trade. Since 2012, the IMF reported in its World Economic Outlook for October 2016 , trade was growing at 3% a year – less than half the average of the previous three decades. That month, Martin Wolf argued in a column that globalisation had "lost dynamism", due to a slackening of the world economy, the "exhaustion" of new markets to exploit and a rise in protectionist policies around the world. In an interview earlier this year, Wolf suggested to me that, though he remained convinced globalisation had not been the decisive factor in rising inequality, he had nonetheless not fully foreseen when he was writing Why Globalization Works how "radical the implications" of worsening inequality "might be for the US, and therefore the world".

Among these implications appears to be a rising distrust of the establishment that is blamed for the inequality. "We have a very big political problem in many of our countries," he said. "The elites – the policymaking business and financial elites – are increasingly disliked . You need to make policy which brings people to think again that their societies are run in a decent and civilised way."

That distrust of the establishment has had highly visible political consequences: Farage, Trump, and Le Pen on the right; but also in new parties on the left, such as Spain's Podemos, and curious populist hybrids, such as Italy's Five Star Movement . As in 1997, but to an even greater degree, the volatile political scene reflects public anxiety over "the process that has come to be called 'globalisation'".

If the critics of globalisation could be dismissed before because of their lack of economics training, or ignored because they were in distant countries, or kept out of sight by a wall of police, their sudden political ascendancy in the rich countries of the west cannot be so easily discounted today.

[Jul 04, 2019] There are rumors that Tucker might replace Bolton

In any case Tucker role during Trump visit to Korea was an interesting deviation from the protocol
Jul 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

follyofwar says: July 2, 2019 at 4:29 pm GMT 200 Words

I heard this on the Anti-Zionist Christian station TruNews, which may not be the most reliable source. But their correspondent, who just returned from the G-20, is reporting that there is some scuttlebutt afoot that Tucker Carlson may replace John Bolton as Trump's NSA. This may have arisen as Bolton was dispatched to Mongolia while Trump was meeting Kim Jong-un at the DPRK border, with Tucker on hand to view it all up close. Then Tucker had a cordial interview with Trump which is appearing in installments on his show. It's no secret that Trump has about had it with Bolton's constant war mongering.

It was further reported that Carlson has ambitions to run for the presidency in 2024. Tucker knows that he is on a short leash at Fox, and must pull his punches somewhat if he wants to keep his job. Only his high ratings may be saving him. I would not rule out that he may be looking for new worlds to conquer. It's nice to see Mr. Trump apparently throwing war hawk Hannity under the bus in favor of Tucker. If nothing else, Trump is a master at keeping everyone guessing.

[Jul 01, 2019] Biden was a strong backer of a 2005 bankruptcy "reform" law that made it harder for people to file personal bankruptcy and to wipe out all of their debts by Keith Hoeller

Jul 01, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Just in time for the 2020 presidential election, the Democrats have discovered that there is real economic inequality in the United States. But they have not yet fully addressed the role that the Democratic party and its leaders have played in creating this vast inequality that led to the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

The presidential candidates have been slow to fully recognize the role that former President Bill Clinton's globalization policies (NAFTA and WTO) played in the outsourcing of American jobs or the lowering of wages for workers.

As the Democratic presidential debates have shown, Vice President Biden is having a hard time defending his long public record, especially as an opponent of federally mandated "forced" busing to integrate our public schools decades after the Supreme Court's overturning of racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). As a Senator Joe Biden was a free trade advocate as well.

But Senator Biden played a large role in creating inequality in two additional realms. He was a strong backer of a 2005 bankruptcy "reform" law that made it harder for people to file personal bankruptcy and to wipe out all of their debts. Given that perhaps as many as fifty percent of all personal bankruptcies in America are caused by debt incurred from health care not covered by insurance, this was an especially cruel blow to those seeking relief from their heavy debt loads.

Senator Warren has already criticized Biden for his support of this bill (" The Twenty Year Argument Between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren Over Bankruptcy, Explained ")

In "' Lock the S.O.B.s Up: Joe Biden and the Era of Mass Incarceration ," The New York Times documents his decades-long support of tough on criminals legislation, culminating in the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This bill, signed into law by President Clinton, has been blamed for the jailing of high numbers of African Americans and other minorities, in particular.

Unlike the Republicans whose goal is to increase inequality by lowering taxes on the wealthy, at least the Democrats seem sincere about reducing it. To do this, they have fallen all over themselves to offer free college tuition and to reduce student loan debt. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently proposed to eliminate all student loans entirely .

Why have Democrats focused on college as a means of solving economic inequality? Statistics have shown that in general the more education you have, the higher your lifetime earnings will be. For example, men with bachelor's degrees earn nearly a million more dollars in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates.

[Jul 01, 2019] Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Jul 1 2019 5:38 utc | 114

Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Neoliberals contrary to popular opinion do not believe in self-regulating markets as autonomous entities. They do not see democracy as necessary for capitalism.

The neoliberal globalist world is not a borderless market without nations but a doubled world (economic -global and social- national) . The global economic world is kept safe from democratic national demands for social justice and equality, and in return each nation enjoys cultural freedom.

Neoliberals see democracy as a real problem. Democracy means the unwashed masses can threaten the so called market economy (in fact manipulated and protected markets) with worker demands for living wages and equality and consumer demands for competitive pricing and safe products. Controlling both parties with money prevents that.

In fact, neoliberal thinking is comparable to that of John Maynard Keynes in one respect : "the market does not and cannot take care of itself".

The neoliberal project did not liberate markets so much as protect them by protecting capitalism against the threat of democracy and to reorder the world where borders provide a captive market

Neoliberals insulate the markets by providing safe harbor for capital, free from fear of infringement by policies of progressive taxation or redistribution. They do this by redesigning government, laws, and other institutions to protect the market.

For example the stock market is propped up by the Feds purchases of futures, replacing the plunge protection teams intervention at an even more extreme level. Manipulation of economic statistics by the BLS also serve a similar purpose.

Another example is getting government to accept monopoly capitalism over competitive capitalism and have appointed judges who believe illegal collusion is nothing more than understandable and legal "conscious parallelism"

Now it seems to me the Koch-Soros think tank is an attempt to unify the neoliberal globalist forces which represent factions from international greenies to nationalist protectionists . In other words to repackage and rename neoliberal globalism while keeping its essence. Be interesting to see what they come up with.

As for China opening to private international finance. They already did that but this takes it to a new level. Like I said. Fake wrestling. This was one of the demands in the trade negotiations by Trump. Why take one of your chips off the table if the game is for real?

China was Made in USA (includes the City of London) like the EU and Putins neoliberal Russia.
One day they will get around telling us they are all buddies, or maybe not. I suspect they have a lot of laughs playing us like they do.

I could be wrong but this is more interesting than the official and semi official narratives.


[Jul 01, 2019] Globalism is the transnational, mainly financial and legal architecture (or "system" if you will) through which neliberalim functions

Notable quotes:
"... if the US ever held unipolar control in reality it was briefly during the period after the downfall of the USSR and up until the conquest of Iraq. ..."
"... An economic system, of which the financial system is a part of, is one of the fundamental structures of any society. Societies in today's world are defined at the sovereign state level, and the economic systems are defined by the governments of these states ..."
"... 'Globalism' as discussed in these blogs, in opposition to 'multi-polarity' is not about global commerce, but rather about an effort by a certain group of wealthy elites, primarily centered in London and New York, and commonly referred to as 'Globalists' to transfer the authority for the definition and control of economic systems from sovereign states to a set of international institutions under their control. ..."
"... In doing so they strip the sovereignty from sovereign states, as as already happened with the EU, and create a global dictatorship, under the control of the 'Globalists' and completely isolated from any democratic oversight. A fascist project in the purest sense of fascism. ..."
"... The 'Multi-polar' group of nations are those nations who oppose this fascist project and who are working to maintain and restore the sovereignty of nations. ..."
Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 1:38:21 PM | 15

Gzon @ 10 and james @ 1

Stating "globalism" is antithetical to "multipolarity" is a non-sequitor.

Globalism is the financial structure (or "system" if you will) through which capitalist enterprises function. This is complex of course and includes capital markets, corporations, multinational corporations, currency markets, commodities markets, trading agreements. Politicians intervene in the functioning of globalism so there is seldom if ever anything like a globalism free of political influence.

OTOH, "multipolarity" has no structure that I can see. It is an empty vessel, purely a political, statist-inspired idea (whereas globalism is a "thing" which contains political and economic ideas of course but those ideas may or may not be statist in concept depending on the context) which can mean anything to anyone at any point in time.

I guess I would say the term is purely Orwellian. Thus, without reading anything other than James's comment I would guess the author's idea is either nonsensical or propagandistic in nature.

For me, the world became "multipolar" the minute the US invaded Iraq in 2003. The idea that the US wishes to maintain its "unipolar" leadership of the world may be true in the wishful sense of some neocons, however if the US ever held unipolar control in reality it was briefly during the period after the downfall of the USSR and up until the conquest of Iraq.

Today, I view the world as both multipolar and globalist. While many of the political and economic tensions we see result from the disconnects between national political and global economic conditions, I think we must admit if we are honest that many of the more recent tensions are simply the result of Trump's presidency, which has the intended affect of being "a bull in the china shop" of the globalist system.

This is not necessarily a bad thing in theory. Sadly, however, Trump is a geopolitical and foreign policy moron who doesn't know what he is doing beyond enriching himself and creating daily fake news headlines in hopes of being re-elected on behalf of the same global elites he playacts at combatting for his worshipful audience of true believers.

dh-mtl | Jun 30, 2019 3:51:11 PM | 29

gzon , Jun 30, 2019 4:25:58 PM | 33

@donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 1:38:21 PM | 15 says:

'Globalism is the financial structure (or "system" if you will) through which capitalist enterprises function.'

What B.S.!!

An economic system, of which the financial system is a part of, is one of the fundamental structures of any society. Societies in today's world are defined at the sovereign state level, and the economic systems are defined by the governments of these states , which are supposed to function on behalf of the population of each state, and in democratic states, are also supposed to be under the control of the overall population through their democratic institutions. International institutions are there to coordinate commerce between the different economic systems of sovereign states.

'Globalism' as discussed in these blogs, in opposition to 'multi-polarity' is not about global commerce, but rather about an effort by a certain group of wealthy elites, primarily centered in London and New York, and commonly referred to as 'Globalists' to transfer the authority for the definition and control of economic systems from sovereign states to a set of international institutions under their control.

In doing so they strip the sovereignty from sovereign states, as as already happened with the EU, and create a global dictatorship, under the control of the 'Globalists' and completely isolated from any democratic oversight. A fascist project in the purest sense of fascism.

The 'Multi-polar' group of nations are those nations who oppose this fascist project and who are working to maintain and restore the sovereignty of nations.

@ donkeytale 15

I think the world has always been multipolar, the differences that give the definition coming to (being presented to) the forefront, or being dissimilated, according to choice and circumstance. The globalist direction aims to interweave or merge these differences (cultural and historic, religion, philosophy and so on), or at least bring them under a common control. So the idea that multipolarity represents anything more than increased recognition of various regional power as opposed to recognition of one regional power (say western) as more visible, is not much more than an indication of how global policy will be conducted, i.e. with an emphasis on regional responsibility.

Recent US policy is not aimed at destroying the globalist order, it is a result of the failure of one format of the globalist order, where the global financial order no longer fitted into national or regional economic sense. This was the gfc, and there is simply no way to continue the flow of trade and finance as it existed for the previous decades. The easing of rates across the globe is paliative, it is no solution, you only have to look at national debt levels to understand this, or in Eurozone try target2 differences. The world is now partly funded by negative yielding debt. All of this works contrary to capitalist (in its basic honest philosophy) understanding. In short "something" is going to happen to readjust this circumstance, planned or otherwise. I have watched how in EU the single currency has been used to takeover the traditional national hierarchies (banking, political and to a degree social), but we don't have that sort of framework accepted at global level, only various currency pegs, bilateral arrangements and so on. The IMF and sdr is not much liked. What I have noted is virtual central bank currency is being promoted in several ways, be it the bis just announcing it may become a necessity face to cryptocurrency or similar (with a caveat of harmonising monetary policy) , EU organising a parallel payment system that avoids commercial banks, even Instex is along these lines. Where the US and some others truly stand with regard to this is a different question, as for now it (et al) still enjoy a financial hegemony that is both organised and profitable. Interesting times, I just hope that a major event is not the catalyst for reform, that the various parties can agree to withdraw to more localised structure and agreement if any grand plans meet the resistance or failure that is already partly visible. I doubt that will be allowed though, by the time people really want to take part, there won't be much option left and circumstance will already be already confused and conflictive.

james , Jun 30, 2019 4:27:54 PM | 34
@31 donkeytale.. well, if the usa didn't commit as much paper money as it does to the military complex it runs, i suppose the financial complex where the us$ can be printed ad nauseam might come into question.. the sooner oil isn't pegged to the us$ and etc. etc. happens, the better off the world will be... and, i don't blame the usa people for this.. they are just being used as i see it - much the same here in canada with our politicians thinking the prudent thing to do is to support the status quo.. the problem is the status quo can only go on for so long, before a change inevitably happens...

as for swift - they went along with usa sanctions back in 2011 on iran, but then it was brought to court in europe and overturned... but again - they are back in the same place bowing down to usa exceptionalism... call it what you want.. another system needs to get made if this one that exists is beholden to a special interest group - usa-uk-europe, where others are 2nd rate citizens of the world... same deal imf... these world financial institutions need to be changed to reflect the changes that are taking place... the voting rights of the developed countries are skewed to favour the ones who have been raping and pillaging africa, and etc. etc.. you may not think it matters, but i personally do.. and i don't blame the usa for it..but they are being used as a conduit to further an agenda which is very unbalanced and unfriendly to the world as i see it..

dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 5:25:13 PM | 41
donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 4:17:38 PM | 32

I am afraid that I cannot agree with much of what you said.

Dictatorship, as a governance system, has always failed, and will always fail. The 'Globalists' who grabbed power, and imposed an effective oligarchic dictatorship, in the U.S. in 1980 and the EU since 1990, have clearly demonstrated this fact through the destruction of the economies of the U.S. and much of Europe and the impoverishment of their populations. And since 2001, they have used the U.S. and British military and intelligence services and NATO as their personal bludgeon in order to force the submission of any state that did not voluntarily submit to their project of a 'Global' dictatorship.

Resistance to this 'Globalist' project is at the root of almost all conflicts in the world today. The 'Multi-Polar' nations resisting the 'Globalists', in Ukraine, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. is one front in this resistance. The other front is the resistance of 'Nationalists' (such as Trump, the Brexiteers, the Yellow Vests, and populists across Europe) to the 'Globalists.

The Trump Presidency is not the cause of tensions in the world today, as you suggest, but rather the symptom. Trump understands that without an industrial base, the U.S. is condemned to becoming the 'India' of the Americas'. The central theme of his actions is to restore the U.S. industrial base and U.S. sovereignty, which have largely been destroyed by the 'Globalists' and their 'Deep State' machine over the past 40 years. The 'Globalists' need only the U.S. military and intelligence services, and care nothing for its population and less for its sovereignty, and thus are fighting Trump every step of the way.

Trump may be coarse and a buffoon, and he may be completely wrong in carrying Israel's water with respect to Iran, but he is just about the only American politician that I see that is working on behalf of the U.S. population rather than on behalf of the 'Globalists'.

Reversing the 'Globalization' that has savaged the U.S. and Europe over the past several decades will not come easily, nor without pain and tensions, and winners and losers. However failure to do so guarantees the likely rapid and long term decline and impoverishment of all populations under 'Globalist' control.

wagelaborer , Jun 30, 2019 5:47:02 PM | 48
dh-mtl @29 explained it well, I thought, but some still don't seem to get it.
It is the difference between the UN, which has a law-based charter which upholds the national sovereignty of each nation and forbids aggression against any sovereign country, and
the WTO, which is a rules-based agreement which forbids any national government to pass laws which interfere in the profits of corporations.
Globalism is the project in which capital has complete freedom to do as it will, while humans and national governments are forbidden such freedom.
Putin and Lavrov frequently point to the difference between international law, which they support, and the "rules-based order" which the US and its partners-in-crime support, in which the rules are used to destroy sovereign countries and enrich the multi-national corporations which strip the planet at will, and go to the cheapest labor countries, with no environmental laws, for their global production lines.
A multi-polar world is one with many sovereign countries, ruled by international law, respected by all, with peaceful relations between all countries.
Globalism is when corporations rule the world, and we continue on the path of destruction of all the natural wealth of the world in the turning of nature into commodities and then trash.
psychohistorian , Jun 30, 2019 6:04:02 PM | 49
@ wagelaborer who wrote
"
Globalism is the project in which capital has complete freedom to do as it will, while humans and national governments are forbidden such freedom.
"
Perfectly stated!

I appreciate you, dh-mtl, bevin and others responding to donkeytale. I have not read the comment because donkeytale is on bypass for me but it is nice to read other commenters taking on donkeytale BS for others to see....thanks

Alexander P , Jun 30, 2019 6:06:09 PM | 50
@41 dh-mtl

Sorry if I need to pick your resopnse to donkeytale apart but there are a lot of inconsistencies in your argument.

The 'Globalists' who grabbed power, and imposed an effective oligarchic dictatorship, in the U.S. in 1980 and the EU since 1990, have clearly demonstrated this fact through the destruction of the economies of the U.S. and much of Europe and the impoverishment of their populations.

You seem to imply that the 'globalists' (illuminati, Zionist bankers etc., etc.) did not exist or had power before the 1980s, which could not be further from the truth. There are several reasons why neo-liberalism took hold in the 1980s, creating the economic narrative and agenda of today, none of which, are related to some kind of power grab by people that did not hold any power beforehand. The threat of the cold war was waning in the 1980s and elites felt less pressured by local populations potentially becoming 'too' sympathetic to communism anymore. So they began rolling back social policies implemented in the post-war years to counter communism's appeal. Computer technology going mainstream, creating all sorts of economic spillovers to be harnessed by increased open and international trade was another reason, there were many more. But the people you call 'globalists' controlled matters much, much earlier than the 1980s.

The other front is the resistance of 'Nationalists' (such as Trump, the Brexiteers, the Yellow Vests, and populists across Europe) to the 'Globalists.

If there truly were such politicians as 'nationalists' who somehow only hold the best interest of their native people at heart, then why is that most European populists cosy up to Israel? None of them have tried to reclaim control over their Central Banks and in the case of i.e. Italy, do they try to break free from the Euro? Why are Polish nationalists rabidly supporting the build up of US arms on their territory? I think it is about time to see beyond this silly dichotomy of 'Globalist' vs 'Nationalist', at least while these Nationalists do nothing substantial to actually help their lot and further squeeze the lower classes of their countries in good neo-liberal fashion, same as their Globalist political 'opponents' they claim to oppose.

Trump may be coarse and a buffoon, and he may be completely wrong in carrying Israel's water with respect to Iran, but he is just about the only American politician that I see that is working on behalf of the U.S. population rather than on behalf of the 'Globalists'.

So you admit that Trump is essentially a controlled zionist buffoon but at the same time he is working towards restoring US sovereignty on behalf of the people? You mean he worked for the US people when he lowered taxes for the rich even further, creating an ever larger US public debt, and throwing Americans further into debt servitude of private finance? Or do you mean his still open promise to invest large sums in the US crumbling infrastructure? Oh right, he has instead opted to increase defence spending to combat the US many imaginary enemies around the globe.

Look, I agree with you that global neo-liberalism is bad for the vast majority of people on this planet but don't go looking for help from false prophets, such as Trump or other 'nationalists', you will only find yourself completely disappointed before long.

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 6:48:21 PM | 58 dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 6:50:23 PM | 59
@50 Alexander P

Response to a few of your criticisms.

1. You say 'You seem to imply that the 'globalists' (illuminati, Zionist bankers etc., etc.) did not exist or had power before the 1980s'.

Not at all. They lost power from the mid-1930s to 1980. They regained power with Reagan, followed by Clinton, W, and Obama. You only need to look at any graph that shows when income inequality in the U.S. began to ramp up. The date is clear - 1980.

2. You say. 'If there truly were such politicians as 'nationalists' who somehow only hold the best interest of their native people at heart'.

I didn't say that these 'Nationalists' or 'Populists' hold the best interests of their native peoples at heart. Usually they are only interested in what they see as best for themselves. But there is no doubt that they are resisting the 'Globalists' push to strip their countries of their sovereignty, to transfer their wealth to the 'Globalist' elites, to transfer their industries to wherever labor is the cheapest. I said that this was a 'second front' against the 'Globalists'. And there is no doubt, from the fight that the 'Globalists' are waging against Trump, 'Brexit' and populists and nationalists across Europe, that the 'Globalists' take this 'front' seriously.


3. You say. 'don't go looking for help from false prophets, such as Trump'.

You are right. It is unlikely that Trump will be able to 'Make America Great Again'. At best he may be able to break the 'Globalists' hold on power in the U.S. However, this is a necessary first step if the U.S. is ever to recover wealth and power that it had during the middle of the last century, but which today is rapidly evaporating.

gzon , Jun 30, 2019 7:04:55 PM | 61
I agree with Alexander P that nationalist and populist presentation is often either controlled opposition or a method of splintering and isolating influence. That is not to say there are a lot of public in many countries who are sincere in their sentiment.

Sorry no link, recent :

"As he arrived at the Kempinski hotel lobby last December, journalists scuffled with bodyguards as they tried to get their microphones and cameras close. Despite being jostled, Zanganeh remained calm and waited to deliver a simple message: Iran can’t participate in OPEC’s production cuts as long as it remains under U.S. sanctions and won’t allow other members to steal its rightful market share."

I.E. approval for continued reduced opec oil supply to support prices depends on Iran (?), lower prices otherwise affecting all other producers, and/or Iran is making the case that sanctions are a theft of market share by other producers. The latter has been a part of the cause of hostility in the gulf.

In Germany

"The 2018 report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Germany (Bundesmat fur Verfassungsschutz, BfV), which was released on June 27, 2019 by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer and Thomas Haldenwang, head of the organization, examines the activities of the intelligence services of the Iranian regime in Germany....

The BfV annual report states: "The central task of the Iranian intelligence services is to spy against opposition movements and confront these movements. In this regard, evidences of state-sponsored terrorism in Europe, which originates in Iran, have intensified during 2018." " etc

is being used by ncr (the article source) to the effect of calling for closure of the Iranian embassy. That aside, the report does show Germany is moving towards, or is willing to, apply pressure on Iran now. France has also given indication that it is not fully behind Iran (reprimand and warning on not respecting jcpoa etc.)


karlof1 , Jun 30, 2019 7:11:31 PM | 65
dh-mtl @59--

You are correct to say inequality began rising again in 1980; however, the rise must be attributed to Carter and Volker--Reagan just continued the process. It seemed odd the GHW Bush initially opposed it as "Voodoo Economics" but readily championed it all as VEEP, making it just a political posture in the nomination race.

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 7:44:26 PM | 72
gzon @ 33

Thanks for the excellent response. One thing I failed to take into account is the difference between the EU and the US financial systems so thanks for that corrective explanation.

The Euro represents the biggest failure of the EU from where I sit. Centralised control of the currency and banking systems is a grave error in that construct and the "European Parliament" just seems too silly for me to even contemplate, although I'm sure there is some logical explanation for its existence that I'm missing.

And you bet, I'm also sure the day of reckoning for the global debt overload is fast approaching. What I don't understand is how one form of capitalism (neoliberal) versus another (state managed) makes any difference in how this debt overload developed. China, for instance, has used similar stimulus methods more frequently even than the US since 2008 to keep its economic growth chugging along and certainly way more than the EU, which under stimulated its own economy in response to the recession.

IMHO, Brexit is a forced over the top politicised reaction to this conservative German-led response in light of the fact the UK kept its own currency and banking systems separate and had the means to provide stimulus but didn't under the Tory buffoons in charge.

Grexit made much more sense to me than Brexit for many reasons. I was dismayed when the Greek people failed in their courage after voting in Syriza follow through and tell the Germans to take the Euro and their debt and put it where the sun don't shine.

What I believe people are tending to forget or overlook, such as wagelabourer @ 48 and dh-mtl elsewhere, that while these postwar international re-orderings such as NATO, the UN and the EU are nowhere near perfect, they are also not purely NWO conspiratorial constructs. Rather they were created for a very specific purpose stemming from a lesson of history which seems to have been rather easily tossed aside because of the relative success of these same institutions: that is, clashing nationalisms inevitably lead to major conflict and devastating wars, especially among the major imperialist states.

[Jul 01, 2019] The cover story is that foreign exchange controls and purchases of U.S. securities keep the renminbi's exchange rate low, artificially spurring its exports. The reality, of course, is that these controls protect China from U.S. banks creating free 'keyboard credit' to buy out Chinese companies to buy out Chinese companies or load down its economy with loans to be paid off in renminbi whose value will rise against the deficit-ridden dollar

Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 30, 2019 8:50:06 PM | 83

A while ago we discussed the obfuscation of classical economics in order to elevate the Junk Economics of Randian Neoliberalism. And with Trump's Trade War and the 2020 election cycle's start, I think it wise to revisit what's proven to be a timeless Michael Hudson essay from 2010, "America's China Bashing: A Compendium of Junk Economics" , which provided the ground work for the subsequent book he published on the topic.

The following excerpt remains the underlying issue prompting Trump's Trade War with China:

"The cover story is that foreign exchange controls and purchases of U.S. securities keep the renminbi's exchange rate low, artificially spurring its exports. The reality, of course, is that these controls protect China from U.S. banks creating free 'keyboard credit' to buy out Chinese companies to buy out Chinese companies or load down its economy with loans to be paid off in renminbi whose value will rise against the deficit-ridden dollar. It's the Wall Street arbitrage opportunity of the century that banks are pressing for, not the welfare of American workers ."

As the years between have shown, the Chinese aren't fools and probably know more about economics than their politicized US counterparts, Trump especially included.

psychohistorian , Jun 30, 2019 9:12:34 PM | 85

@ William Gruff with the dh-mtl update about "control" during the early part of last century....I agree and thanks

@ karlof1 with the Michael Hudson link.....I put a comment up last night with a quote from Xinhuanet
"
BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- China on Sunday rolled out revised negative lists for foreign investment market access, introducing greater opening-up and allowing foreign investors to run majority-share-controlling or wholly-owned businesses in more sectors.
"
It makes me worry about how much of "China" will be allowed to be bought/controlled by the private finance folk. I have been wondering about this since 2008 when the US started running the "printing presses" bigly enough to double the deficit in less than 10 years.....I didn't get any of those trillions, did you? At some point I expect there to be a meeting of global "big wigs" who say they own this or that and wonder how that meeting will turn out relative to Bretton Woods.

I still see China throwing out a faux lifeline to the private finance folk that will be reeled in after the transition to a China led world.....want to make it look like the Koch brothers and Soros with their new peace tank are leading the parade.....

[Jun 30, 2019] Trump Invites Debates over Omnivorous Crony Capitalism> by Ralph Nader

Notable quotes:
"... Sanders and Warren are not what they claim to be. They are both updating Roosevelt's New Deal and more closely resemble the Social Democrats that have governed western European democracies for years, delivering higher standards of living than that experienced by Americans. ..."
"... In May 2009, the moderate Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, said: "The banks – hard to believe when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created – are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place." ..."
"... In the new book, Banking on the People , by Ellen Brown, readers can get an idea of the way large banks, insurers, and the giant shadow banking system – money market funds, hedge funds, mortgage brokers, and other unregulated financial intermediaries – speculate and shift deep risk and their failures onto Uncle Sam. These corporate predators gouge customers, and, remarkably, show a deep aversion for productive investment as if people matter. ..."
"... Control of our political economy is not a conservative/liberal or red state/blue state issue. When confronted with the specifics of the corporate state or corporate socialism, people from all political persuasions will recognize the potential perils to our democracy. No one wants to lose essential freedoms or to continue to pay the price of this runaway crony capitalism. ..."
"... The gigantic corporations have been built with the thralldom of deep debt – corporate debt to fund stock buybacks (while reporting record profits), consumer debt, student loan debt, and, of course, government debt caused by drastic corporate and super-rich tax cuts. Many trillions of dollars have been stolen from future generations. ..."
Jun 28, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

Trump Invites Debates over Omnivorous Crony Capitalism

Donald J. Trump's 2020 election strategy is to connect his potential Democratic opponents with "socialism." Trump plans to use this attack on the Democrats even if Senator Bernie Sanders, who proudly calls himself a "democratic socialist," doesn't become the presidential nominee (Sanders has been decisively re-elected in Vermont).

Senator Elizabeth Warren is distancing herself from the socialist "label." She went so far as to tell the New England Council "I am a capitalist to my bones."

Sanders and Warren are not what they claim to be. They are both updating Roosevelt's New Deal and more closely resemble the Social Democrats that have governed western European democracies for years, delivering higher standards of living than that experienced by Americans.

The original doctrine of socialism meant government ownership of the means of production – heavy industries, railroads, banks, and the like. Nobody in national politics today is suggesting such a takeover. As one quipster put it, "How can Washington take ownership of the banks when the banks own Washington?"

Confronting Trump on the "socialism" taboo can open up a great debate about the value of government intervention for the good of the public. Sanders can effectively argue that people must choose either democratic socialism or the current failing system of corporate socialism. That choice is not difficult. Such an American democratic socialism could provide almost all of the long overdue solutions this country needs: full more efficient Medicare for all; tuition-free education; living wages; stronger unions; a tax system that works for the people; investments in infrastructure and public works; reforms for a massive, runaway military budget; the end of most corporate welfare; government promotion of renewable energies; and the end of subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power.

In my presidential campaigns I tried to make corporate socialism – also called corporate welfare or crony capitalism – a major issue. Small business is capitalism – free to go bankrupt – while corporate capitalism – free to get bailouts from Washington – is really a form of corporate socialism. This point about a corporate government was documented many years ago in books such as America, Inc. (1971) by Morton Mintz and Jerry Cohen.

Now, it is even easier to make the case that our political economy is largely controlled by giant corporations and their political toadies. Today the concentration of power and wealth is staggering. Just six capitalist men have wealth to equal the wealth of half of the world's population.

The Wall Street collapse of 2008-2009 destroyed eight million jobs, lost trillions of dollars in pension and mutual funds, and pushed millions of families to lose their homes. Against this backdrop, the U.S. government used trillions of taxpayer dollars to bail out, in various ways, the greedy, financial giants, whose reckless speculating caused the collapse.

In May 2009, the moderate Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, said: "The banks – hard to believe when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created – are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place."

Is there a single federal government agency or department that can say its most powerful outside influence is NOT corporate? Even the Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board are under more corporate power than union power.

Who better than Trump, on an anti-socialist fantasy campaign kick, can call attention to the reality that Big Business controls the government and by extension controls the people? In September 2000, a Business Week poll found over 70 percent of people agreeing that big business has too much control over their lives (this was before the horrific corporate crimes and scandals of the past two decades). Maybe that is why support in polls for "socialism" against "capitalism" in the U.S. is at a 60 year high.

People have long experienced American-style "socialism." For example, the publicly owned water and electric utilities, public parks and forests, the Postal Service, public libraries, FDIC guarantees of bank deposits (now up to $250,000), Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, etc.

What the public is not sufficiently alert to is that Big Business has been profitably taking over control, if not outright ownership, of these public assets.

In the new book, Banking on the People , by Ellen Brown, readers can get an idea of the way large banks, insurers, and the giant shadow banking system – money market funds, hedge funds, mortgage brokers, and other unregulated financial intermediaries – speculate and shift deep risk and their failures onto Uncle Sam. These corporate predators gouge customers, and, remarkably, show a deep aversion for productive investment as if people matter.

Moreover, they just keep developing new, ever riskier, multi-tiered instruments (eg. derivatives) to make money from money through evermore complex, abstract, secret, reckless, entangled, globally destabilizing, networks. Gambling with other people's money is a relentless Wall Street tradition.

The crashes that inevitably emerge end up impoverishing ordinary people who pay the price with their livelihoods.

Will the Democrats and other engaged people take Trump on if he tries to make "socialism" the big scare in 2020? Control of our political economy is not a conservative/liberal or red state/blue state issue. When confronted with the specifics of the corporate state or corporate socialism, people from all political persuasions will recognize the potential perils to our democracy. No one wants to lose essential freedoms or to continue to pay the price of this runaway crony capitalism.

The gigantic corporations have been built with the thralldom of deep debt – corporate debt to fund stock buybacks (while reporting record profits), consumer debt, student loan debt, and, of course, government debt caused by drastic corporate and super-rich tax cuts. Many trillions of dollars have been stolen from future generations.

No wonder a small group of billionaires, including George Soros, Eli Broad , and Nick Hanauer, have just publicly urged a modest tax on the super wealthy. As Hanauer, a history buff and advocate of higher minimum wages, says – "the pitchforks are coming."

Ralph Nader is a leading consumer advocate, the author of Unstoppable The Emerging Left Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State (2014), among many other books, and a four-time candidate for US President. Read other articles by Ralph , or visit Ralph's website .

[Jun 28, 2019] How Russia's President Putin Explains The End Of The '[neo]liberal' Order

You can read the transcript without firewall at: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60836
From Unz comment: "Tangentially related, but check out this great interview with Putin: https://www.ft.com/content/878d2344-98f0-11e9-9573-ee5cbb98ed36 The man's intelligence and seriousness is always impressive. The contrast with the nauseating rubbish that comes out of Western politicians could not be more striking, no wonder they hate the guy."
Notable quotes:
"... "One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future ." ..."
"... Putin has recognized the influence of our "regime change" wars on the immigrant problem in Europe. He addressed it forcefully in his UN General Assembly speech in 2015 where he asks NATO "Do you know what you've done?" with regards to creating the immigration problems in Europe. Watch here https://youtu.be/q13yzl6k6w0. ..."
"... From Putin's 2007 Munich speech to this 2015 UN speech and many interviews along the way, I've learned to pay attention to what Putin says. He seems to have an extremely good handle on world events and where they are leading. ..."
"... The neoliberal economic plan is to suck the wealth out of the working class and funnel it up to the top 10%, especially the 1%. How to keep the working class from noticing the theft? ..."
"... neo-liberalism (aka "crony capitalism") is about compromising the state and the society that it protects in favor of wealthy, powerful interests. Thus, at it's core, it's against the people. ..."
"... Look at the whine ass, crying, warmongering. narcissist psychopathic bullies we get. I am envious of the Russians having a leader they can be proud of. ..."
"... Been about 60 years since I have had a president to be proud of, back when America WAS great,,, and they killed him. ..."
Jun 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

How Russia's President Putin Explains The End Of The '[neo]Liberal' Order

Today the Financial Times published a long and wide ranging interview with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

A full transcript is currently available through this link .

The talk is making some waves:

From the last link:

Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times Friday that the "[neo]liberal idea has become obsolete," and referred to Germany's decision to welcome more than one million refugees -- many fleeing savage urban warfare in Syria -- as a "cardinal mistake."

It is only the last part of the very long interview, where Putin indeed speaks of the 'obsolesce' of the '[neo]liberal idea', that seems to be of interest to the media. Most of the interview is in fact about other issues. The media also do not capture how his 'obsolete' argument is ingrained in the worldview Putin developed, and how it reflects in many of his answers.

Here are excerpts that show that the gist of Putin's 'obsolete' argument is not against the '[neo]liberal idea', but against what may be best called 'international (neo-)[liberalism'.

Putin explains why U.S. President Donald Trump was elected:

Has anyone ever given a thought to who actually benefited and what benefits were gained from globalisation, the development of which we have been observing and participating in over the past 25 years, since the 1990s?

China has made use of globalisation, in particular, to pull millions of Chinese out of poverty.

What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies -- the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners -- made use of these benefits. [..] The middle class in the US has not benefited from globalisation; it was left out when this pie was divided up.

The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump's victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference.

On Syria:

Primarily, this concerns Syria, we have managed to preserve Syrian statehood, no matter what, and we have prevented Libya-style chaos there. And a worst-case scenario would spell out negative consequences for Russia.
...
I believe that the Syrian people should be free to choose their own future.
...
When we discussed this matter only recently with the previous US administration, we said, suppose Assad steps down today, what will happen tomorrow?

Your colleague did well to laugh, because the answer we got was very amusing. You cannot even imagine how funny it was. They said, "We don't know." But when you do not know what happens tomorrow, why shoot from the hip today? This may sound primitive, but this is how it is.

On 'western' interventionism and 'democracy promotion':

Incidentally, the president of France said recently that the American democratic model differs greatly from the European model. So there are no common democratic standards. And do you, well, not you, but our Western partners, want a region such as Libya to have the same democratic standards as Europe and the US? The region has only monarchies or countries with a system similar to the one that existed in Libya.

But I am sure that, as a historian, you will agree with me at heart. I do not know whether you will publicly agree with this or not, but it is impossible to impose current and viable French or Swiss democratic standards on North African residents who have never lived in conditions of French or Swiss democratic institutions. Impossible, isn't it? And they tried to impose something like that on them. Or they tried to impose something that they had never known or even heard of. All this led to conflict and intertribal discord. In fact, a war continues in Libya.

So why should we do the same in Venezuela? ...

Asked about the turn towards nationalism and more rightwing policies in the U.S. and many European countries, Putin names immigration as the primary problem:

What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the US? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people .

Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.

There is also the so-called [neo]liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the [neo]liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.

When the migration problem came to a head, many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered. Although those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well. That is great, but what about the interests of their own population when the number of migrants heading to Western Europe is not just a handful of people but thousands or hundreds of thousands?
...
What am I driving at? Those who are concerned about this, ordinary Americans, they look at this and say, Good for [Trump], at least he is doing something, suggesting ideas and looking for a solution.

As for the [neo]liberal idea, its proponents are not doing anything. They say that all is well, that everything is as it should be. But is it? They are sitting in their cosy offices, while those who are facing the problem every day in Texas or Florida are not happy, they will soon have problems of their own. Does anyone think about them?

The same is happening in Europe. I discussed this with many of my colleagues, but nobody has the answer. The say they cannot pursue a hardline policy for various reasons. Why exactly? Just because. We have the law, they say. Well, then change the law!

We have quite a few problems of our own in this sphere as well.
...
In other words, the situation is not simple in Russia either, but we have started working to improve it. Whereas the [neo]liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected. What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment.

So, the [neo]liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. Or take the traditional values. I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia as it is. But we have no problems with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us.

They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. I cannot even say exactly what genders these are, I have no notion. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.

While Putin says that [neo]liberalism is 'obsolete' he does not declare it dead. He sees it as part of a spectrum, but says that it should not have a leading role:

You know, it seems to me that purely [neo]liberal or purely traditional ideas have never existed. Probably, they did once exist in the history of humankind, but everything very quickly ends in a deadlock if there is no diversity. Everything starts to become extreme one way or another.

Various ideas and various opinions should have a chance to exist and manifest themselves, but at the same time interests of the general public, those millions of people and their lives, should never be forgotten. This is something that should not be overlooked.

Then, it seems to me, we would be able to avoid major political upheavals and troubles. This applies to the [neo]liberal idea as well. It does not mean (I think, this is ceasing to be a dominating factor) that it must be immediately destroyed. This point of view, this position should also be treated with respect.

They cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades. Diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics. But why?

For this reason, I am not a fan of quickly shutting, tying, closing, disbanding everything, arresting everybody or dispersing everybody. Of course, not. The [neo]liberal idea cannot be destroyed either; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But you should not think that it has the right to be the absolute dominating factor. That is the point. Please.

There is much more in the interview - about Russia's relations with China, North Korea, the Skripal incident, the Russian economy, orthodoxy and the [neo]liberal attack on the Catholic church, multilateralism, arms control and the G-20 summit happening today.

But most '[neo]liberal' media will only point to the 'obsolete' part and condemn Putin for his rallying against immigration. They will paint him as being in an alt-right corner. But even the Dalai Lama, held up as an icon by many [neo]liberals, says that "Europe is for Europeans" and that immigrants should go back to their own countries.

Moreover, as Leonid Bershidsky points out , Putin himself is, with regards to the economy and immigration, a staunch [neo]liberal:

Putin's cultural conservatism is consistent and sincere.
...
On immigration, however, Putin is, in practice, more [neo]liberal than most European leaders. He has consistently resisted calls to impose visa requirements on Central Asian countries, an important source of migrant labor. Given Russia's shrinking working-age population and shortage of manual workers, Putin isn't about to stem that flow, even though Central Asians are Muslims – the kind of immigrants Merkel's opponents, including Trump, distrust and fear the most.

What Putin is aiming at, says Bershidsky, is the larger picture:

[W]hat Putin believes has outlived its usefulness isn't the [neo]liberal approach to migration or gender, nor is it [neo]liberal economics – even though Russia has, in recent months, seen something of a shift toward central planning. It is the [neo]liberal world order. Putin wants to keep any talk of values out of international politics and forge pragmatic relationships based on specific interests.
...
Putin's drive to put global politics on a more transactional basis isn't easy to defeat; it's a siren song, and the anti-immigrant, culturally conservative rhetoric is merely part of the music.

There is in my view no 'siren-song' there and nothing that has to be defeated. It is just that Putin is more willing to listen to the people than most of the western wannabe 'elite'.

The people's interest is simply not served well by globalization, [neo]liberal internationalism and interventionism. A transactional approach to international policies, with respect for basic human decency, is in almost every case better for them.

Politicians who want the people's votes should listen to them, and to Vladimir Putin.

Posted by b on June 28, 2019 at 01:50 PM | Permalink


pretzelattack , Jun 28, 2019 2:05:48 PM | 1

he makes a lot of sense on neo]liberalism. i guess this makes me a Russian agent.
ROBERT SYKES , Jun 28, 2019 2:15:18 PM | 2
It is hard to exaggerate Putin's accomplishments. He almost single-handedly saved Russia from the chaos of the Yeltsin era and near collapse. He has reestablished Russia as a major power. In the face of the American world rampage, he has helped stabilize MENA. By merging Russia's Eurasian Union with China's OBOR, he has helped to set Eurasia on a road to peaceful economic development. He has even managed to get China, India, and Pakistan talking to one another and cooperating in a variety of Eurasian projects.

I doubt he has more than 10 years left as a Russian leader, and maybe not even that. When he finally passes, he will be remembered as another Churchill or Bismarck.

Barovsky , Jun 28, 2019 2:16:21 PM | 3
Hmmm... Putin says the problem is 'multi-culturalism', 'migrants'? What kind of bullshit is this?

Putin doesn't mention that the migrant crisis was caused by Western resource wars, in Syria, Libya and elsewhere. That neoliberalism's impact on the poor countries has led to the vast exodus into Europe and N. America.

I have a feeling that Putin is playing the 'RT game', targeting those disaffected people, who have, in turn been the target of racist, islamaphobic propaganda by Western states, states that for obvious reasons (self-incrimination) won't state the real reasons for the exodus.

Alexander P , Jun 28, 2019 2:17:47 PM | 4
The page on [neo]liberalism in the classic sense the way it was envisioned in the late 18th and 19th century has long been passed. [neo]liberalism as in nurturing the human soul and intellect and allowing each individual to draw on their qualities and contribute to society with their fullest potential has been supplanted by material and physical liberties alone (Gender, Sexuality, Free Trade, Free Migration aka Free Movement of Slave Labor etc). What today is called [neo]liberalism, which I like to equate with neo-[neo]liberalism and social 'progressivism', are both parts of post-modernism, a societal model that is falling and failing under its own weight of hubris and inconsistencies.

The 'Do as thou wilt' mindset pushed on the people by the elites is deliberate with the only end goal of creating their 'ideal' world. A world not based on morality, spirituality and absolute truths, but relativism, materialism, loss of basic notions such as gender, family, belonging, in short loss of identity and purpose for mankind to obtain ever greater control over the masses. People are beginning to notice it, however, even if only subconsciously and start to push back against it. Putin knows this, and that is what he is laying out in his interview.

robjira , Jun 28, 2019 2:20:55 PM | 5
It is just that Putin is more willing to listen to the people than most of the western wannabe 'elite'.
Right on target, b; many thanks again. I'll be sure to read the entire transcript.
Joe Nobody , Jun 28, 2019 2:23:07 PM | 6
"They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. I cannot even say exactly what genders these are, I have no notion. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.'

It has become la la land in the West in regards to gender...if a person wants to be gay, be gay, but let's not force everyone else to pretend reality is not reality..nature choose (dichotomy) for you to be male or female, sucks if that doesn't match your preferences but better luck next life...accept the reality you are in and let's not force everyone one else to pander to your delusions..

See also:

'Sex change' is biologically impossible," said McHugh. "People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."

https://newspunch.com/john-hopkins-transgenderism-mental-illness/

karlof1 , Jun 28, 2019 2:27:19 PM | 7
I'm reading the Kremlin's transcript I linked to at the Gabbard thread where I posted a very short excerpt. I continue to read it but stopped to post another very short excerpt IMO is very important:

"One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future ." [My Emphasis]

Back to reading!

pretzelattack , Jun 28, 2019 2:27:47 PM | 8
@ 3--remind me who was fighting the west in syria, again?
vk , Jun 28, 2019 2:30:47 PM | 9
Here are excerpts that show that the gist of Putin's 'obsolete' argument is not against the '[neo]liberal idea', but against what may be best called 'international (neo-)liberalism'.

Just a matter of academic rigour: liberalism is extinct; neoliberalism is literally the "new liberalism", it's successor doctrine. Therefore, when we speak of "liberalism" after 1945, we're automatically referring to neoliberalism.

neoliberalism was created at Mont Pelerin in the 1930s, and its founding narrative states that everything that happened between/since the death of liberalism (1914-1918) and their own hegemony (1974-75) was an abortion of History and should've never happened. Hence the name "neoliberalism": the new liberalism (adapted to the system of fiat currency instead of the gold standard); the revival of liberalism; the return of liberalism (the [neo]liberals).

It's also important to highlight that neoliberalism is not an ideology, but a doctrine (which encompass mainly policies, but may also encompass ideals). It is wrong, for example, to compare socialism with neoliberalism (socialism as anti-neoliberalism): socialism is a scientific theory, and, as a social theory, encompasses a new socioeconomic system, a new set of ideologies, a new set of cultures and a new set of political doctrines.

Neoliberalism, therefore, is just one aspect with which the capitalist elites engage against socialism historically (in the doctrinal "front").

Zachary Smith , Jun 28, 2019 2:40:29 PM | 10
Generic question: How many of the 2020 candidates for US President could hold up their end of an interview with such knowledge and style?

Personally I was impressed by Putin's bluntness in stating Merkel had made a "cardinal mistake" when she opened the borders to the hundreds of thousands of illegals. And also this:

And we set ourselves a goal, a task -- which, I am certain, will be achieved -- to adjust pensions by a percentage that is above the inflation rate.

Compare that to the deliberate US policy if doing the exact opposite.

Alan McLemore , Jun 28, 2019 2:44:48 PM | 11
Can you imagine Trump writing like this? Or Obama, for that matter? Or Bush the Dimmer, or Clinton, or Bush the Spook, or Reagan, or Carter...Hell, you'd have to go back to JFK to find this sort of skill with language and deep analysis. And maybe not then. "They" say you get the leaders you deserve. In that case the Russians have been nice and we Americans have been very, very naughty.
dh , Jun 28, 2019 2:45:31 PM | 12
So now we wait for MSM 'analysts' to accuse Putin of disrupting the status quo and fomenting revolution.
lgfocus , Jun 28, 2019 2:47:56 PM | 13
Barovsky @3

Putin has recognized the influence of our "regime change" wars on the immigrant problem in Europe. He addressed it forcefully in his UN General Assembly speech in 2015 where he asks NATO "Do you know what you've done?" with regards to creating the immigration problems in Europe. Watch here https://youtu.be/q13yzl6k6w0.

From Putin's 2007 Munich speech to this 2015 UN speech and many interviews along the way, I've learned to pay attention to what Putin says. He seems to have an extremely good handle on world events and where they are leading.

Sally Snyder , Jun 28, 2019 2:48:51 PM | 14
If we really want to know who is interfering in the world's politics, particularly in Russia, we need look no further than this:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-national-endowment-for-democracy.html

American-style bought-and-paid-for democracy is not what the world needs.

JDL , Jun 28, 2019 2:53:21 PM | 15
In the west our governments call Mr Putin a thug, a gangster. But, I've never seen any of our politicians sit down and frankly and comprehensively lay out there views, goals, thoughts and musings. To be a good leader or politician you have do have vision, but in the west here i just see talking heads and soundbites, no soul.
wagelaborer , Jun 28, 2019 3:00:50 PM | 16
Oh, yeah, the "[neo]liberals" are indignant over his pointing out that mass migration causes social disruption.

He racist!

The neoliberal economic plan is to suck the wealth out of the working class and funnel it up to the top 10%, especially the 1%. How to keep the working class from noticing the theft?

How about divide and conquer? That seems to work. Take the native working class and divide it any way that works in that society. In the US, traditionally, it was race, but they added sex a couple of decades ago, then opened the doors to immigration and threw in national origin, and now, just for kicks and giggles, everybody gets to define their own gender and sexual preferences. Awesome. The US is now divided into 243,000,000 separate categories of specialness. And if you don't accept everything someone else tells you as gospel, you are a bigot of some sort (depending on their self identification. It varies.)

They divided up Yemen and Libya by tribes, Iraq and Yugoslavia by religion, it works the same in every country. When the US blows, it's going to be spectacular.

Norbert Salamon , Jun 28, 2019 3:03:51 PM | 17
You can read the transcript without firewall at: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60836
karlof1 , Jun 28, 2019 3:08:13 PM | 18
I'm always impressed with Putin's grasp and breadth a la Chirac, whom he admires and emulates.

I posted a few excerpts I felt very important to this and the Gabbard threads; and at the latter I now insist this interview be read, not just suggested. That BigLie Media chose to pounce on Putin's critique of the [neo]liberal Idea displays its agenda and its extremely sorry attempt to discredit/smear Putin yet again. IMO, such media smeared itself. The give-and-take was very productive and informative, containing many lessons, a few of which I pointed to.

Putin's now at the G-20 and has already had one bilateral meeting with TrumpCo.

Sputnik offers this recap that includes links to its additional articles published during the day. Much has occurred, and Trump has yet to storm out. Some of the photos are priceless, the May/Putin handshake perhaps being the most telling.

AriusArmenian , Jun 28, 2019 3:10:18 PM | 19
That there is a Putin that today leads a great country like Russia seems like a miracle and he appeared at the very moment that Russia needed him.

Part of the West elite hate of Putin is that compared to them he gives off an aura of honesty and truthfulness that is absent from leaders in the West.

anon , Jun 28, 2019 3:17:57 PM | 20
The "multi-cultural" issue, to the extent that it is an issue, is only an issue as an effect of the actual problem. It is effectively a scapegoat. No one would care about "multiculturalism" if there was a fair economic order in which living standards were increasing.

The problem is that western capitalism wants it both ways, it sees the demographic problem it faces and it wants the labor of migrants but it does not want to improve society, it wants to keep its slice of the pie. Hence things will get economically worse while migrants will be an easy "cause" at which to point for the unthinking person. In that sense it becomes a problem insofar as it contributes to fascism, nothing else changing.

Putin is right about China utilizing globalization to the benefit of society while the west is only interested in globalization insofar as it opens markets and creates profit for those who own social production. But of course Marx predicted this all long ago, so it is not perhaps surprising that the Chinese Communist Party would be more intelligent here. There is nothing more symptomatic or demonstrative here than the fact that, while western countries debate over a few tens of thousands of immigrants being "too many", China is capable of such feats as eradicating poverty and building incredible and modern infrastructure while being a land of over a billion people.

wagelaborer , Jun 28, 2019 3:18:53 PM | 21
Reading over the Gabbard comments, I was reminded of another big divide in the US by party. Americans treat their parties like their tribes and viciously attack heretics of other tribes. The media fans the flames and keeps the "elections" going for years, without a break.

Meanwhile, our ruling overlords pick their next puppet, let us all "vote" on computerized machines, and then the talking heads announce the "winner".
And it all starts over.

Jackrabbit , Jun 28, 2019 3:26:44 PM | 22
neo-liberalism (aka "crony capitalism") is about compromising the state and the society that it protects in favor of wealthy, powerful interests. Thus, at it's core, it's against the people.

To compensate and distract from this corruption, the people are presented with the 'fruits' of a [neo]liberal society: quasi"-freedoms" like gender rights, civil rights, and human rights. I say "quasi-" because these rights are abridged by the powerful elite as they see fit (witness rendition and torture, pervasive surveillance, and Assange).

We fight among ourselves about walls and bathrooms as elites destroy the Commons. In this way, they pick our pockets and kneecap our ability to fight back at the same time.

DM , Jun 28, 2019 3:28:20 PM | 23
Generic question: How many of the 2020 candidates for US President could hold up their end of an interview with such knowledge and style?

You beat me to the punch. And the answer to your rhetorical question is, of course, NONE! Luckily for Americans, Ignorance is Bliss.

ken , Jun 28, 2019 3:31:05 PM | 24
Boy did Russia luck out. Yeltsin was smart picking this man.... Look at the whine ass, crying, warmongering. narcissist psychopathic bullies we get. I am envious of the Russians having a leader they can be proud of.

Been about 60 years since I have had a president to be proud of, back when America WAS great,,, and they killed him.

[Jun 27, 2019] 300,000 demonstrate in Prague against right-wing Czech government by Markus Salzmann

Jun 26, 2019 | www.wsws.org

300,000 demonstrate in Prague against right-wing Czech government

An estimated 300,000 people protested in the Czech capital of Prague last Sunday against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Andrei Babiš. At what was the biggest demonstration in the Czech Republic since the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989, protesters demanded the resignation of the billionaire founder of the right-wing neo-liberal party ANO.

After the approximately 750-meter-long Wenceslas Square was determined to be too small to hold the protest, the demonstration was moved to the Letná Plateau on the banks of the Vltava, the site of the mass protests against the Stalinist regime 30 years ago. Three decades later it has become clear that the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe has not brought the promised prosperity and freedom. Instead, unprecedented levels of social inequality are being overseen by a thoroughly corrupt, authoritarian elite.

For seven weeks, thousands of Czechs have protested against Babiš, who is accused of corruption and of using his political power for private, business purposes. The protests are also directed against Czech Justice Minister Marie Benešova, who is accused of obstructing investigations against Babiš. According to Forbes magazine, the assets of the Czech Prime Minister are estimated at around 3.3 billion euros, making him the second richest man in the country.

The participants in Sunday's demonstration were overwhelmingly workers, youth and pensioners, the majority of whom have suffered from the incessant attacks on social rights and benefits carried out by successive Czech governments. Posters at the demo read "Disappear" and "Babiš resign." Further protests have been announced for August, and could continue up to the date planned to celebrate the toppling of the former Stalinist regime in 1989.

The mass protests in the Czech Republic are yet another indication of the international resurgence of the class struggle. Particularly in Eastern Europe, more and more people have taken to the streets or gone on strike in recent months to protest against catastrophic living conditions, poor wages and corrupt governments. The recent strike by Polish teachers was the largest in Poland in 30 years, and a strike by Hungarian auto workers nearly paralysed European production at Volkswagen. In Serbia and Albania thousands have taken to the streets to vent their opposition to their corrupt right-wing governments.

While the Czech and European press crows about continuing economic growth and low unemployment, the reality for ordinary people is very different. Rapidly rising rents in the cities and price increases for food, electricity and gasoline are driving many families to desperation. Prague is already one of the most expensive cities in Europe. In 2018, around 17 percent of Czechs lived in poverty.

The precarious economic reality becomes clear once one examines the increase in private indebtedness. As Radio Praha reported, around ten percent of the population can no longer pay their debts and must forfeit their property and possessions. This total includes around 10,000 persons aged between 18 and 29, and around 400 debtors under 18. Against such a background of social misery the Babiš government has pledged to implement further social cuts.

A number of right-wing, pro-European Union forces are seeking to exploit the legitimate protests against the hated billionaire for their own purposes. These forces are opposed to toppling the government and any expansion of the protests. Several representatives of these organisations have openly declared they do not seek to reverse the outcome of the 2017 election, which resulted in Babiš's party as frontrunner. Instead they would be satisfied instead with his removal as head of government.

In particular, the organizers of "One Million Moments for Democracy," who are close to social-democratic and conservative pro-EU forces, want to force the government to adopt a stronger pro-European policy. "We are not making a revolution, but rather returning to the legacy and values of 1989," said one of the initiators, Benjamin Roll.

These forces base themselves entirely on the criticism of Babiš made by Brussels. A recent European Commission audit report concluded that Babiš exerted huge influence over his holding, Agrofert, which he officially outsourced to two trust funds. On the basis of numerous examples, the 71-page report explained how EU subsidies finished up in the coffers of Babis' company. A demand has been raised for the return of over 17 million euros.

Babiš responded by calling the Brussels report an "attack on the Czech Republic," raising the prospect that the Czech Republic may prove to be as difficult for the EU as Hungary under its right-wing Prime Minister Victor Orban.

The Babiš government typifies all those forces that committed themselves to capitalism thirty years ago and shamelessly plundered the economy at the expense of the people. The son of a functionary of the Communist Party, Babiš studied in Paris and Geneva. From 1985 to 1991 he was head of the Czechoslovak commercial agency in Morocco.

During this time, he is said to have worked under the code name "Bures" for the Stalinist secret service, a claim Babiš denies. The files kept in the Slovakian capital Bratislava have been falsified, he argues. What is clear is that he had close contacts to the former state leadership and in the early 1990s used his links to consolidate Agrofert into a billion-dollar company.

Babiš entered politics in 2011 with the ANO party, which is completely geared to his person and interests. Babiš founded the party after both the social-democratic and conservative parties had become increasingly discredited. He won the 2017 general election with a clear majority but less than two years later he faces the protest of hundreds of thousands.


basilisk10 hours ago

Sorry, but this is very inaccurate. The government is not right-wing, but sort of a weird centrist muddle. CSSD is by no means a "successor to the Stalinist state party" – in fact, it was banned under the previous regime and its members exiled or imprisoned. And the protests, most importantly, are not against the government as such, but specifically against the prime minister and the minister of justice. The organisers keep repeating they consider the government to be legitimate but that these two people specifically should resign.

Source: I am Czech.

Kalena day ago
I see those developments in Czech Republic along lines of that of Hungary, Romania or Poland where right wing nationalist parties are forming some sort of united front of anti EU block against policies of more EU independence from US spreading broadly in western EU.

Such anti EU submission to US politics is publicly peddled mostly under anti-Russian political stand of national security, that still resonate strongly on Eastern Europe while old existential imperative of accommodation with Russia is still entrenched within western establishment.

All that is a part of US meddling into EU to assert direct and overwhelming control over EU in sociopolitical and financial realm and weaken orbcutting them from economic relations with Russia and China, both targets of US frontal imperial assault for the same reason of direct subjugation to US dictate.

But all that is not as much aimed at removal of local oligarchic elites but to demand class discipline, to make them realize that close coordination and integration of global counterrevolutionary offensive led by US is critical to suppressing of exploding global class struggle worldwide that severely threatens them all.

Make no mistake. The revealed supposed acute conflicts among global elites are solely based on mistrust of how to deal with exploding class struggle best, in most effective ways while assuring that their power and position among global ruling elite is enhanced or remain unchanged while they are all solidly united against international working class.

This time is no different than in last millennium when despite seemingly mortal conflicts among ruling elites they always united and supported each other in one united political/economic/military block to defeat working class revolution.

лидияa day ago
By the way, so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989 was for capitalism. They got it.

[Jun 27, 2019] Putin Eviscerates [neo]liberalism, Calling It Obsolete, In Wide-Ranging Interview Ahead Of G-20

Notable quotes:
"... Putin said: "[neo]liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades." ..."
"... Putin said: "What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies -- the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners -- made use of these benefits. The middle class hardly benefited from globalization. The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump's victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference." ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

In an exclusive interview with FT on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin touted the growth of national populism in Europe and America while saying that [neo]liberalism is "spent" as an ideology. He spoke on numerous issues at length, which we have broken down here by topic.

[neo]liberal Governments

On the eve of the G20 summit, Putin said that the "[neo]liberal idea" had "outlived its purpose" as the public has turned against immigration and multiculturalism. His push back on [neo]liberalism aligns Putin with leaders like US president Donald Trump, Hungary's Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini in Italy, and the Brexit insurgency in the UK.

Putin said: "[neo]liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades."

Immigration and Refugees

He said that Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to admit over 1 million refugees to German was a "cardinal mistake" and praised President Trump for trying to stop migrants and drugs from Mexico.

Putin said: "This [neo]liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected. Every crime must have its punishment. The [neo]liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population."

On Election Interference

While Putin has been targeted in the U.S., namely for attempting to intervene in the country's elections, Putin denied it and called the idea "mythical interference".

Putin said: "What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies -- the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners -- made use of these benefits. The middle class hardly benefited from globalization. The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump's victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference."

The China/U.S. Trade War

With regard to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, Putin called the situation "explosive", blaming the issue on American unilateralism.

"Our relations with China are not motivated by timeserving political or any other considerations. China is showing loyalty and flexibility to both its partners and opponents. Maybe this is related to the historical features of Chinese philosophy, their approach to building relations," Putin said.

A New Nuclear Arms Race

He also expressed concern about a new nuclear arms race.

"The cold war was a bad thing . . . but there were at least some rules that all participants in international communication more or less adhered to or tried to follow. Now, it seems that there are no rules at all," Putin said.

... ... ...

The Russian Economy

Speaking about his own country, Putin said: "Real wages are not in decline in Russia. On the contrary, they are starting to pick up. The macroeconomic situation in the country is stable. As for the central bank, yes, it is engaged in a gradual improvement of our financial system: inefficient and small-capacity companies, as well as semi-criminal financial organizations are leaving the market, and this is large-scale and complicated work."

... ...

[Jun 27, 2019] The Ongoing Restructuring of the Greater Middle East by C.J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If I were a particularly cynical analyst, it might look to me like global capitalism, starting right around 1990, freed by the collapse of the U.S.S.R. to do whatever the hell it wanted, more or less immediately started dismantling uncooperative power structures throughout the Greater Middle East. My cynical theory would kind of make sense of the "catastrophic policy blunders" that the United States has supposedly made in Iraq, Libya, and throughout the region, not to mention the whole "Global War on Terror," and what it is currently doing to Syria, and Iran. ..."
"... Take a look at that map again. What you're looking at is global capitalism cleaning up after winning the Cold War. And yes, I do mean global capitalism, not the United States of America (i.e., the "nation" most Americans think they live in, despite all evidence to the contrary). I know it hurts to accept the fact that "America" is nothing but a simulation projected onto an enormous marketplace but seriously, do you honestly believe that the U.S. government and its military serve the interests of the American people? If so, go ahead, review the history of their activities since the Second World War, and explain to me how they have benefited Americans not the corporatist ruling classes, regular working class Americans, many of whom can't afford to see a doctor, or buy a house, or educate their kids, not without assuming a lifetime of debt to some global financial institution. ..."
"... OK, so I digressed a little. The point is, "America" is not at war with Iran. Global capitalism is at war with Iran. The supranational corporatist empire. Yes, it wears an American face, and waves a big American flag, but it is no more "American" than the corporations it comprises, or the governments those corporations own, or the military forces those governments control, or the transnational banks that keep the whole show running. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

If I were a particularly cynical analyst, it might look to me like global capitalism, starting right around 1990, freed by the collapse of the U.S.S.R. to do whatever the hell it wanted, more or less immediately started dismantling uncooperative power structures throughout the Greater Middle East. My cynical theory would kind of make sense of the "catastrophic policy blunders" that the United States has supposedly made in Iraq, Libya, and throughout the region, not to mention the whole "Global War on Terror," and what it is currently doing to Syria, and Iran.

Take a good look at this Smithsonian map of where the U.S.A. is "combating terrorism." Note how the U.S. military (i.e., global capitalism's unofficial "enforcer") has catastrophically blundered its way into more or less every nation depicted. Or ask our "allies" in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and so on. OK, you might have to reach them in New York or London, or in the South of France this time of year, but, go ahead, ask them about the horrors they've been suffering on account of our "catastrophic blunders."

See, according to this crackpot conspiracy theory that I would put forth if I were a geopolitical analyst instead of just a political satirist, there have been no "catastrophic policy blunders," not for global capitalism. The Restructuring of the Greater Middle East is proceeding exactly according to plan. The regional ruling classes are playing ball, and those who wouldn't have been regime-changed, or are being regime-changed, or are scheduled for regime change.

Sure, for the actual people of the region, and for regular Americans, the last thirty years of wars, "strategic" bombings, sanctions, fomented coups, and other such shenanigans have been a pointless waste of lives and money but global capitalism doesn't care about people or the "sovereign nations" they believe they live in, except to the extent they are useful. Global capitalism has no nations. All it has are market territories, which are either open for business or not.

Take a look at that map again. What you're looking at is global capitalism cleaning up after winning the Cold War. And yes, I do mean global capitalism, not the United States of America (i.e., the "nation" most Americans think they live in, despite all evidence to the contrary). I know it hurts to accept the fact that "America" is nothing but a simulation projected onto an enormous marketplace but seriously, do you honestly believe that the U.S. government and its military serve the interests of the American people? If so, go ahead, review the history of their activities since the Second World War, and explain to me how they have benefited Americans not the corporatist ruling classes, regular working class Americans, many of whom can't afford to see a doctor, or buy a house, or educate their kids, not without assuming a lifetime of debt to some global financial institution.

OK, so I digressed a little. The point is, "America" is not at war with Iran. Global capitalism is at war with Iran. The supranational corporatist empire. Yes, it wears an American face, and waves a big American flag, but it is no more "American" than the corporations it comprises, or the governments those corporations own, or the military forces those governments control, or the transnational banks that keep the whole show running.

This is what Iran and Syria are up against. This is what Russia is up against. Global capitalism doesn't want to nuke them, or occupy them. It wants to privatize them, like it is privatizing the rest of the world, like it has already privatized America according to my crackpot theory, of course.


peterAUS , says: June 25, 2019 at 10:08 pm GMT

if I were a geopolitical analyst, I might be able to discern a pattern there, and possibly even some sort of strategy.

Sounds good.
Some other people did it before, wrote it down etc. but it's always good to see that stuff.

it might look to me like global capitalism, starting right around 1990, freed by the collapse of the U.S.S.R. to do whatever the hell it wanted, more or less immediately started dismantling uncooperative power structures throughout the Greater Middle East.
.there have been no "catastrophic policy blunders," not for global capitalism. The Restructuring of the Greater Middle East is proceeding exactly according to plan. The regional ruling classes are playing ball, and those who wouldn't have been regime-changed, or are being regime-changed, or are scheduled for regime change.
Sure, for the actual people of the region, and for regular Americans, the last thirty years of wars, "strategic" bombings, sanctions, fomented coups, and other such shenanigans have been a pointless waste of lives and money but global capitalism doesn't care about people or the "sovereign nations" they believe they live in, except to the extent they are useful. Global capitalism has no nations. All it has are market territories, which are either open for business or not.

Spot on.

Now .there IS a bit of oversight in the article re competing groups of people on top of that "Global capitalist" bunch.
It's a bit more complicated than "Global capitalism".

Jewish heavily influenced, perhaps even controlled, Anglo-Saxon "setup" .. or Russian "setup" or Chinese "setup".
Only one of them can be on the top, and they don't like each other much.
And they all have nuclear weapons.

"Global capitalism" idea is optimistic. The global overwhelming force against little players. No chance of MAD there so not that bad.NOPE IMHO.
There is a chance of MAD.

That is the problem . Well, at least for some people.

WorkingClass , says: June 26, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
Globalists are not Capitalists. There is no competition. Just a hand full of monopolies. These stateless corporate monopolists are better understood as Feudalists. They would have everything. We would have nothing. That's what privatization is. It's the Lords ripping off the proles.

I was a union man in my youth. We liked Capitalism. We just wanted our fair share of the loot. The working class today knows nothing about organizing. They don't even know they are working class. They think they are black or white. Woke or Deplorable.

ALL OF US non billionaires are coming up on serious hard times. Serious enough that we might have to put aside our differences. The government is corrupt. It will not save us. Instead it will continue to work to divide us.

Reparations anyone?

animalogic , says: June 26, 2019 at 10:06 am GMT
Another great article by C J Hopkins.
Hopkins (correctly) posits that behind US actions, wars etc lies the global capitalist class.
"Global capitalism has no nations. All it has are market territories, which are either open for business or not"
This is correct -- but requires an important caveat.
Intrinsic to capitalism is imperialism. They are the head & tail of the same coin.
Global capitalists may unite in their rapacious attacks on average citizens the world over. However, they will disunite when it comes to beating a competitor to a market.
The "West" has no (real) ideological differences with China, Russia & Iran. This is a fight between an existing hegemon & it's allies & a rising hegemon (China) & it's allies.
In many ways it's similar to the WW I situation: an established imperial country, the UK, & it's allies against a country with imperial pretensions -- Germany (& it's allies)
To put it in a nice little homily: the Capitalist wolves prefer to eat sheep (us) -- but, will happily eat each other should they perceive a sufficient interest in doing so.
Digital Samizdat , says: June 26, 2019 at 11:49 am GMT
@WorkingClass

Globalists are not Capitalists. There is no competition. Just a hand full of monopolies.

In most key sectors, competition ends up producing monopolies or their near-equivalent, oligopolies. The many are weeded out (or swallowed up) by the few . The situation is roughly the same with democracy, which historically has always resulted in oligarchy, as occurred in ancient Rome and Athens.

Parfois1 , says: June 27, 2019 at 11:01 am GMT
@WorkingClass

Globalists are not Capitalists. There is no competition. Just a hand full of monopolies. These stateless corporate monopolists are better understood as Feudalists. They would have everything. We would have nothing. That's what privatization is. It's the Lords ripping off the proles.

You are right in expecting that in Capitalism there would be competition – the traditional view that prices would remain low because of competition, the less competitive removed from the field, and so on. But that was primitive laisser-faire Capitalism on a fair playing field that hardly existed but in theory. Occasionally there were some "good" capitalists – say the mill-owner in a Lancashire town who gave employment to the locals, built houses, donated to charity and went to the Sunday church service with his workers. But even that "good" capitalist was in it for the profit, which comes from taking possession for himself of the value added by his workers to a commodity.

But modern Capitalism does not function that way. There are no mill-owners, just absentee investor playing in, usually rigged, stock market casinos. Industrial capitalism has been changed into financial Capitalism without borders and loyalty to worker or country. In fact, it has gone global to play country against country for more profit.

Anyway, the USA has evolved into a Fascist state (an advanced state of capitalism, a.k.a. corporatocracy) as Chomsky stated many years ago. Seen from abroad here's a view from the horse's mouth ( The Guardian is official organ of Globalist Fascism).

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment

[Jun 27, 2019] Crisis of neoliberalism hits the US military industrial complex by Matt Stoller and Lucas Kunce

Notable quotes:
"... This story of lost American leadership and production is not unique. In fact, the destruction of America's once vibrant military and commercial industrial capacity in many sectors has become the single biggest unacknowledged threat to our national security. Because of public policies focused on finance instead of production, the United States increasingly cannot produce or maintain vital systems upon which our economy, our military, and our allies rely. Huawei is just a particularly prominent example. ..."
"... Higher budgets would seem to make sense. According to the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the United States is shifting away from armed conflicts in the Middle East to "great power" competition with China and Russia, which have technological parity in many areas with the United States. As part of his case for higher budgets, Mattis told Congress that "our military remains capable, but our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare -- air, land, sea, space, and cyber." ..."
"... And yet, the U.S. military budget, even at stalled levels, is still larger than the next nine countries' budgets combined. So there's a second natural follow-up question: is the defense budget the primary reason our military advantage is slipping away, or is it something deeper? ..."
"... The loss of manufacturing capacity has been devastating for American research capacity. "Innovation doesn't just hover above the Great Plains," Mottl said. "It is built on steady incremental changes and knowledge learned out of basic manufacturing." Telecommunications equipment is dual use, meaning it can be used for both commercial and military purposes. The loss of an industrial base in telecom equipment meant that the American national security apparatus lost military capacity. ..."
"... "The middle-class Americans who did the manufacturing work, all that capability, machine tools, knowledge, it just became worthless, driven by the stock price," he said. "The national ability to produce is a national treasure. If you can't produce you won't consume, and you can't defend yourself." ..."
"... In the commercial sector, rebuilding the industrial base will require an aggressive national mobilization strategy. This means aggressive investment by government to rebuild manufacturing capacity, selective tariffs to protect against Chinese or foreign predation, regulation to stop financial predation by Wall Street, and anti-monopoly enforcement to block the exploitation of market power. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Wall Street's short-term incentives have decimated our defense industrial base and undermined our national security.

Early this year, U.S. authorities filed criminal charges -- including bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft of technology -- against the largest maker of telecommunications equipment in the world, a Chinese giant named Huawei. Chinese dominance in telecom equipment has created a crisis among Western espionage agencies, who, fearful of Chinese spying, are attempting to prevent the spread of Huawei equipment worldwide, especially
in the critical 5G next-generation mobile networking space.

In response to the campaign to block the purchase of Huawei equipment, the company has engaged in a public relations offensive. The company's CEO, Ren Zhengfei, portrayed Western fears as an advertisement for its products, which are, he said, "so good that the U.S. government is scared." There's little question the Chinese government is interested in using equipment to spy. What is surprising is Zhengfei is right about the products. Huawei, a relatively new company in the telecom equipment space, has amassed top market share because its equipment -- espionage vulnerabilities aside -- is the best value on the market.

In historical terms, this is a shocking turnaround. Americans invented the telephone business and until recently dominated production and research. But in the last 20 years, every single American producer of key telecommunication equipment sectors is gone. Today, only two European makers -- Ericsson and Nokia -- are left to compete with Huawei and another Chinese competitor, ZTE.

This story of lost American leadership and production is not unique. In fact, the destruction of America's once vibrant military and commercial industrial capacity in many sectors has become the single biggest unacknowledged threat to our national security. Because of public policies focused on finance instead of production, the United States increasingly cannot produce or maintain vital systems upon which our economy, our military, and our allies rely. Huawei is just a particularly prominent example.

When national security specialists consider preparedness, they usually think in terms of the amount of money spent on the Pentagon. One of President Donald Trump's key campaign promises was to aggressively raise the military budget, which he, along with Congress, started doing in 2017. The reaction was instant. "I'm heartened that Congress recognizes the sobering effect of budgetary uncertainty on America's military and on the men and women who provide for our nation's defense," then-defense secretary Jim Mattis said. Budgets have gone up every year since.

Higher budgets would seem to make sense. According to the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the United States is shifting away from armed conflicts in the Middle East to "great power" competition with China and Russia, which have technological parity in many areas with the United States. As part of his case for higher budgets, Mattis told Congress that "our military remains capable, but our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare -- air, land, sea, space, and cyber."

In some cases, our competitive edge has not just been eroded, but is at risk of being -- or already is -- surpassed. The Chinese surge in 5G telecom equipment, which has dual civilian and military uses, is one example. China is making key investments in artificial intelligence, another area of competition. They even seem to be able to mount a rail gun on a naval ship , an important next generation weapons technology that the U.S. Navy has yet to incorporate.

And yet, the U.S. military budget, even at stalled levels, is still larger than the next nine countries' budgets combined. So there's a second natural follow-up question: is the defense budget the primary reason our military advantage is slipping away, or is it something deeper?

Why the Regulators Went Soft on Monopolies The Conservative Case for Antitrust

The story of Huawei, and many others, suggests the latter.

♦♦♦

For over a century, America led the world in producing telecommunications equipment. The American telecom industry, according to Zach Mottl of Atlas Tool Works, a subcontractor in the industry, used to be a "crown jewel of American manufacturing." Mottl's company had been a manufacturing supplier to AT&T and its Bell Labs from the early 1900s until the early 2000s. "The radar system was invented here. The transistor came out of Bell Labs. The laser. I mean all of these high-tech inventions that have both commercial and military applications were funded out of the research," Mottl told TAC . More than just the sexy inventions, there was a domestic industrial sector which could make the equipment. Now, in a strategic coup for our adversaries, that capability is gone.

Yet it wasn't one of those adversaries that killed our telecommunications capacity, but one of our own institutions, Wall Street, and its pressure on executives to make decisions designed to impress financial markets, rather than for the long-term health of their companies. In 1996, AT&T spun off Bell Labs into a telecom equipment company, Lucent Technologies, to take advantage of investors' appetite for an independent player selling high-tech telecom gear after Congress deregulated the telecommuncations space. At the time, it was the biggest initial public offering in history, and became the foundation of a relationship with financial markets that led to its eventual collapse.

The focus on stock price at Lucent was systematic. The stock price was posted daily to encourage everyone to focus on the company's relationship with short-term oriented financial markets. All employees got a small number of "Founder's Grant Share Options," with executives offered much larger slugs of stock to solidify the connection. When Richard McGinn became CEO in 1997, he focused on financial markets.

Lucent began to buy up companies. According to two scholars , "The perceived need to compete for acquisitions became a 'strategic' justification for keeping stock prices high. This in turn demanded meeting or exceeding quarterly revenue and earnings targets, objectives with which Lucent top executives, led by the hard-driving McGinn, became obsessed."

Lucent got even more aggressive. McGinn's subordinate, an executive named Carly Fiorina, juiced returns with a strategy based on lending money to risky startups who would then turn around and buy Lucent equipment. Fiorina collected $65 million in compensation as the stock soared. And then, when the dot-com boom turned to bust, the company, beset by accounting scandals designed to impress shareholders and the financial markets, embarked on massive layoffs. CEO McGinn was among those laid off, but with a $12.5 million severance package -- royal compensation for taking one of America's strategic industrial assets down the road toward total destruction.

In the early 2000s, the telecom equipment market began to recover from the recession. Lucent's new strategy, as Mottl put it, was to seek "margin" by offshoring production to China, continuing layoffs of American workers and hiring abroad. At first, it was the simpler parts of the telecom equipment, the boxes and assembly, but soon contract manufacturers in China were making virtually all of it. American telecom capacity would never return.

Lucent didn't recover its former position. Chinese entrants, subsidized heavily by the Chinese state and using Western technology, underpriced Western companies. American policymakers, unconcerned with industrial capacity, allowed Chinese companies to capture market share despite the predatory subsidies and stolen technology. In 2006, French telecom equipment maker Alcatel bought Lucent, signifying the end of American control of Bell Labs. Today, Huawei, with state backing, dominates the market.

The erosion of much of the American industrial and defense industrial base proceeded like Lucent. First, in the 1980s and 1990s, Wall Street financiers focused on short-term profits, market power, and executive pay-outs over core competencies like research and production, often rolling an industry up into a monopoly producer. Then, in the 2000s, they offshored production to the lowest cost producer. This finance-centric approach opened the door to the Chinese government's ability to strategically pick off industrial capacity by subsidizing its producers. Hand over cash to Wall Street, and China could get the American crown jewels.

The loss of manufacturing capacity has been devastating for American research capacity. "Innovation doesn't just hover above the Great Plains," Mottl said. "It is built on steady incremental changes and knowledge learned out of basic manufacturing." Telecommunications equipment is dual use, meaning it can be used for both commercial and military purposes. The loss of an industrial base in telecom equipment meant that the American national security apparatus lost military capacity.

This loss goes well beyond telecom equipment. Talking to small manufacturers and distributors who operate in the guts of our industrial systems offers a perspective on the danger of this process of financial predation and offshoring. Bill Hickey, who headed his family's metal distributor, processor, and fabricator, has been watching the collapse for decades. Hickey sells to "everyone who uses steel," from truck, car, and agricultural equipment manufacturers to stadiums and the military.

Hickey, like many manufacturers, has watched the rise of China with alarm for decades. "Everyone's upset about the China 2025 plan," he told TAC , referencing the current Chinese plan causing alarm among national security thinkers in Washington. "Well there was a China 2020 plan, 2016 plan, 2012 plan." The United States has, for instance, lost much of its fasteners and casting industries, which are key inputs to virtually every industrial product. It has lost much of its capacity in grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel, a specialized metal required for highly efficient electrical motors. Aluminum that goes into American aircraft carriers now often comes from China.

Hickey told a story of how the United States is even losing its submarine fleet. He had a conversation with an admiral in charge of the U.S. sub fleet at the commissioning of the USS Illinois , a Virginia-class attack submarine, who complained that the United States was retiring three worn-out boats a year, but could only build one and a half in that time. The Trump military budget has boosted funding to build two a year, but the United States no longer has the capacity to do high quality castings to build any more than that. The supply chain that could support such surge production should be in the commercial world, but it has been offshored to China. "You can't run a really high-end casting business on making three submarines a year," Hickey said. "You just can't do it." This shift happened because Wall Street, or "the LBO (leveraged buy-out) guys" as Hickey put it, bought up manufacturing facilities in the 1990s and moved them to China.

"The middle-class Americans who did the manufacturing work, all that capability, machine tools, knowledge, it just became worthless, driven by the stock price," he said. "The national ability to produce is a national treasure. If you can't produce you won't consume, and you can't defend yourself."

The Loss of the Defense Industrial Base

But it's not just the dual-use commercial manufacturing base that is collapsing. Our policy empowering Wall Street and offshoring has also damaged the more specialized defense base, which directly produces weaponry and equipment for the military.

How pervasive is the loss of such capacity? In September 2018, the Department of Defense released findings of its analysis into its supply chain. The results highlighted how fragile our ability to supply our own military has become.

The report listed dozens of militarily significant items and inputs with only one or two domestic producers, or even none at all. Many production facilities are owned by companies that are financially vulnerable and at high risk of being shut down. Some of the risk comes from limited production capability. Mortar tubes, for example, are made on just one production line, and some Marine aircraft parts are made by just one company -- one which recently filed for bankruptcy.

At risk is everything from chaff to flares to high voltage cable, fittings for ships, valves, key inputs for satellites and missiles, and even material for tents. As Americans no longer work in key industrial fields, the engineering and production skills evaporate as the legacy workforce retires.

Even more unsettling is the reliance on foreign, and often adversarial, manufacturing and supplies. The report found that "China is the single or sole supplier for a number of specialty chemicals used in munitions and missiles . A sudden and catastrophic loss of supply would disrupt DoD missile, satellite, space launch, and other defense manufacturing programs. In many cases, there are no substitutes readily available." Other examples of foreign reliance included circuit boards, night vision systems, batteries, and space sensors.

The story here is similar. When Wall Street targeted the commercial industrial base in the 1990s, the same financial trends shifted the defense industry. Well before any of the more recent conflicts, financial pressure led to a change in focus for many in the defense industry -- from technological engineering to balance sheet engineering. The result is that some of the biggest names in the industry have never created any defense product. Instead of innovating new technology to support our national security, they innovate new ways of creating monopolies to take advantage of it.

A good example is a company called TransDigm. While TransDigm presents itself as a designer and producer of aerospace products, it can more accurately be described as a designer of monopolies. TransDigm began as a private equity firm, a type of investment business, in 1993. Its mission, per its earnings call , is to give "private equity-like returns" to shareholders, returns that are much higher than the stock market or other standard investment vehicles.

It achieves these returns for its shareholders by buying up companies that are sole or single-source suppliers of obscure airplane parts that the government needs, and then increasing prices by as much as eight times the original amount . If the government balks at paying, TransDigm has no qualms daring the military to risk its mission and its crew by not buying the parts. The military, held hostage, often pays the ransom. TransDigm's gross profit margins using this model to gouge the U.S. government are a robust 54.5 percent. To put that into perspective, Boeing and Lockheed's profit margins are listed at 13.6 percent and 10.91 percent. In many ways, TransDigm is like the pharmaceutical company run by Martin Shkreli, which bought rare treatments and then price gouged those who could not do without the product. Earlier this year, TransDigm recently bought the remaining supplier of chaff and one of two suppliers of flares, products identified in the Defense Department's supply chain fragility report.

TransDigm was caught manipulating the parts market by the Department of Defense Inspector General in 2006 , again in 2008 , and finally again this year. It is currently facing yet another investigation by the Government Accountability Office .

Yet, Trandigm's stock price thrives because Wall Street loves monopolies, regardless of who they are taking advantage of. Take this analysis from TheStreet from March 2019, published after the latest Inspector General report and directly citing many of the concerning facts from the report as pure positives for the investor:

The company is now the sole supplier for 80% of the end markets it serves. And 90% of the items in the supply chain are proprietary to TransDigm. In other words, the company is operating a monopoly for parts needed to operate aircraft that will typically be in service for 30 years . Managers are uniquely motivated to increase shareholder value and they have an enviable record, with shares up 2,503% since 2009.

Fleecing the Defense Department is big business. Its executive chairman W. Nicholas Howley, skewered by Democrats and Republicans alike in a May 2019 House Oversight hearing for making up to 4,000 percent excess profit on some parts and stealing from the American taxpayer, received total compensation of over $64 million in 2013 , the fifth most among all CEOs, and over $13 million in 2018 , making him one of the most highly compensated CEOs no one has ever heard of . Shortly after May's hearing, the company agreed to voluntarily return $16 million in overcharges to the Pentagon, but the share price is at near record highs.

L3 Technologies, created in 1997, has taken a different, but also damaging, approach to monopolizing Defense Department contracts. Originally, it sought to become "the Home Depot of the defense industry" by going on an acquisition binge, according to its former CEO Frank Lanza. Today, L3 uses its size, its connections within the government, and its willingness to offer federal employees good-paying jobs at L3, to muscle out competitors and win contracts, even if the competitor has more innovative and better priced products . This practice attracted the ire of two Republican congressmen from North Carolina, Ted Budd and the late Walter Jones, who found in 2017 that L3 succeeds, in part, due to "blatant corruption and obvious disregard of American foreign interest in the name of personal economic profit."

Like TransDigm, this isn't L3's first brush with trouble. It was temporarily suspended from U.S. government contracting for using "extremely sensitive and classified information" from a government system to help its international business interests. It was the subject of a scathing Senate Armed Services Committee investigation for failing to notify the Defense Department that it supplied faulty Chinese counterfeit parts for some of its aircraft displays. And it agreed to pay a $25.6 million settlement to the U.S. government for knowingly providing defective weapon sights for years to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet, also like TransDigm, L3 has thrived despite its troubles. When the company was granted an open-ended contract to update the Air Force's electronics jamming airplane in 2017, Lieutenant General Arnold Bunch outlined the Air Force's logic at a House Armed Services Subcommittee meeting. L3, he said, is the only company that can do the job. "They have all the tooling, they have all the existing knowledge, and they have the modeling and all the information to do that work," he said.

In other words, because L3 has a monopoly, there was no one else to pick. The system -- a system designed by the financial industry that rewards monopoly and consolidation at the expense of innovation and national security -- essentially made the pick for him. It is no wonder our military capacities are ebbing, despite the large budget outlays -- the money isn't going to defense.

♦♦♦

In fact, in some ways, our own defense budgets are being used against us when potential adversaries use Wall Street to take control of our own Pentagon-developed technologies.

There's no better example than China's takeover of the rare earth metal industry, which is key to both defense and electronics. The issue has frequently made the front page during the recent trade war, but the seldom-discussed background to our dependence on China for rare earths is that, just like with telecom equipment, the United States used to be the world leader in the industry until the financial sector shipped the whole thing to China.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Defense Department invested in the development of a technology to use what are known as rare-earth magnets. The investment was so successful that General Motors engineers, using Pentagon grants, succeeded in creating a rare earth magnet that is now essential for nearly every high-tech piece of military equipment in the U.S. inventory, from smart bombs and fighter jets to lasers and communications devices. The benefit of DARPA's investment wasn't restricted to the military. The magnets make cell phones and modern commercial electronics possible.

China recognized the value of these magnets early on. Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping famously said in 1992 that "The Middle East has oil, China has rare earth," to underscore the importance of a rare earth strategy he adopted for China. Part of that strategy was to take control of the industry by manipulating the motivations of Wall Street.

Two of Xiaoping's sons-in-law approached investment banker Archibald Cox, Jr. in the mid-1990s to use his hedge fund as a front for their companies to buy the U.S. rare-earth magnet enterprise. They were successful, purchasing and then moving the factory, the Indiana jobs, the patents, and the expertise to China. This was not the only big move, as Cox later moved into a $12 million luxury New York residence . The result is remarkably similar to Huawei: the United States has entirely divested of a technology and market it created and dominated just 30 years ago. China has a near-complete monopoly on rare earth elements, and the U.S. military, according to U.S. government studies, is now 100 percent reliant upon China for the resources to produce its advanced weapon systems.

Wall Street's outsized control over defense contracting and industry means that every place a foreign adversary can insert itself into American financial institutions, it can insert itself into our defense industry.

At an Armed Services Committee hearing in 2018, Representative Carol Shea-Porter talked about how constant the conflict between financial concentration and patriotism had been in her six years on the committee. She recounted a CEO once telling her, in response to her concern about the outsourcing of defense industry parts, that he "[has] to answer to stockholders."

Who are these stockholders that CEOs are so compelled to answer to? Oftentimes, China. Jennifer M. Harris , an expert in global markets with experience at the U.S. State Department and the U.S. National Intelligence Council, researched a recent explosion of Ch