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Forthcoming slow motion collapse of global neoliberal empire led by the USA

Analogies 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).

As an ideology, consider profit-making to be the final arbiter and essence of democracy. And consumption is the only operable form of citizenship. With the related religious belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations.

As the mode of governance, it 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).

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. From above. Although is  formally only 37 years old (if we could the edge of neoliberalism from the election of Reagan, which means from 1981) neoliberalism as ideology was born in 1947.  And 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 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 solders 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".  They also realized that The Iron Law of Oligarchy  in applicable to the USSR no less that to any Western country. If we 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. Any illusions of global Communist hegemony had evaporated with the collapse of Sino-Soviet relations in 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 U.S. 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 of even half a century (The USSR lasted another 28-46 years depending on the point at which you assume the ideology was completely discredited). But 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 too (with substantial lag).  

Neoliberal society probably has at least the same staying power after 2008 -- when the ideology was discredited and neoliberalism entered zombie stage. If not more, as 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. And that, paradoxically, includes the KGB brass, which was instrumental in transition of the xUSSR space from Brezhnev socialism to neoliberalism (with the first stage of gangster capitalism). 

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 two most notable events after 2008, that undermines "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.

We can envision  the same process of  the growing gap between ideology postulates and 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 nomenklarura in the USSR). Do let's make an unscientific estimate that another 40-50 years of neoliberalism from 2008 are probable. That gives are the estimate of probably disintegration as somewhere in 2050-2060.  "Plato oil" might speed this process up, as neoliberal globalization depends on cheap oil.

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 her promised are fake. Also neoliberalism  is still social system that is dominant globally. Not like Soviet Unit 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. 
  3. While Trump administration remind in its incompetence Brezhnev administration, the gap is still tremendous. While Trump is definitely a third  rate politician, Gorbachov as a politician was a naive idiot, in comparison with whom 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 populate 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-modernisation ):

    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.

  4. 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 are 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. Actually analogies with Marxism are to numerous to list. "Dictatorship of "free markets"" instead of dictatorship of proletariat. With the same idea that 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.

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.

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 -- 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".

 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 niether self-regulating, not really 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 isa 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 probem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achivement, 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 facede.  Like in 20th failure the globalization and unrestrained financial markets (which produced the Great Depression)  the financial crisi of 2008 led to the dramic rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hundary, 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 Franko 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 dissaper, 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 int he 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 concensus 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 lookmore and more 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, Lybia 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 thier final day. 

As Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". having first class military weakns is not everything when you face gurilla resisance 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 int he 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. 

 


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[Apr 25, 2018] How The Globalism Con Game Leads To A 'New World Order' by Brandon Smith

Notable quotes:
"... The ultimate goal of the new world order as an ideology is total centralization of economic and governmental power into the hands of a select and unaccountable bureaucracy made up of international financiers. This is governance according the the dictates of Plato's Republic; a delusional fantasy world in which benevolent philosopher kings, supposedly smarter and more objective than the rest of us, rule from on high with scientific precision and wisdom. It is a world where administrators become gods. ..."
"... Large corporations receive unfair legal protection under limited liability as well as outright legislative protection from civil consequences (Monsanto is a perfect example of this). They also receive immense taxpayer funded welfare through bailouts and other sources when they fail to manage their business responsibly. All this while small businesses and entrepreneurs are impeded at every turn by taxation and legal obstacles. ..."
"... Only massive corporations supported by governments are able to exploit the advantages of international manufacturing and labor sources in a way that ensures long term success. Meanwhile economic models that promote true decentralization and localism become impractical because real competition is never allowed. The world has not enjoyed free markets in at least a century. What we have today is something entirely different. ..."
"... The fact is, globalist institutions and central banks permeate almost every corner of the world. Nations like Russia and China are just as heavily tied to the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements and international financial centers like Goldman Sachs as any western government. ..."
"... The first inclination of human beings is to discriminate against ideas and people they see as destructive and counter to their prosperity. Globalists therefore have to convince a majority of people that the very tribalism that has fueled our social evolution and some of the greatest ideas in history is actually the source of our eventual doom. ..."
"... As mentioned earlier, globalists cannot have their "new world order" unless they can convince the masses to ask for it. Trying to implement such a system by force alone would end in failure, because revolution is the natural end result of tyranny. Therefore, the new world order has to be introduced as if it had been formed by coincidence or by providence. Any hint that the public is being conned into accepting global centralization would trigger widespread resistance. ..."
"... This is why globalism is always presented in the mainstream media as a natural extension of civilization's higher achievement. Even though it was the dangerous interdependency of globalism that helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 and continues to escalate that crisis to this day, more globalism is continually promoted as the solution to the problem. It is spoken of with reverence in mainstream economic publications and political discussions. It receives almost religious praise in the halls of academia. Globalism is socioeconomic ambrosia -- the food of deities. It is the fountain of youth. It is a new Eden. ..."
"... Obviously, this adoration for globalism is nonsense. There is no evidence whatsoever that globalism is a positive force for humanity, let alone a natural one. There is far more evidence that globalism is a poisonous ideology that can only ever gain a foothold through trickery and through false flags. ..."
Apr 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

When globalists speak publicly about a "new world order" they are speaking about something very specific and rather sacred in their little cult of elitism. It is not simply the notion that civilization shifts or changes abruptly on its own; rather, it is their name for a directed and engineered vision - a world built according to their rules, not a world that evolved naturally according to necessity.

There are other names for this engineered vision, including the "global economic reset," or the more general and innocuous term "globalism," but the intention is the same.

The ultimate goal of the new world order as an ideology is total centralization of economic and governmental power into the hands of a select and unaccountable bureaucracy made up of international financiers. This is governance according the the dictates of Plato's Republic; a delusional fantasy world in which benevolent philosopher kings, supposedly smarter and more objective than the rest of us, rule from on high with scientific precision and wisdom. It is a world where administrators become gods.

Such precision and objectivity within human systems is not possible, of course . Human beings are far too susceptible to their own biases and personal desires to be given totalitarian power over others. The results will always be destruction and disaster. Then, add to this the fact that the kinds of people who often pursue such power are predominantly narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths. If a governmental structure of high level centralization is allowed to form, it opens a door for these mentally and spiritually broken people to play out their twisted motives on a global stage.

It is important to remember that sociopaths are prone to fabricating all kinds of high minded ideals to provide cover for their actions. That is to say, they will adopt a host of seemingly noble causes to rationalize their scramble for power, but in the end these "humanitarians" only care about imposing their will on as many people as possible while feeding off them for as long as time allows.

There are many false promises, misrepresentations and fraudulent conceptions surrounding the narrative of globalism. Some of them are rather clever and subversive and are difficult to pick out in the deliberately created fog. The schemes involved in implementing globalism are designed to confuse the masses with crisis until they end up ASKING for more centralization and less freedom.

Let's examine some of the most common propaganda methods and arguments behind the push for globalization and a "new world order"

Con #1: Globalism Is About "Free Markets"

A common pro-globalism meme is the idea that globalization is not really centralization, but decentralization. This plays primarily to the economic side of global governance, which in my view is the most important because without economic centralization political centralization is not possible.

Free markets according to Adam Smith, a pioneer of the philosophy, are supposed to provide open paths for anyone with superior ideas and ingenuity to pursue those ideas without interference from government or government aided institutions. What we have today under globalism are NOT free markets. Instead, globalism has supplied unfettered power to international corporations which cannot exist without government charter and government financial aid.

The corporate model is completely counter to Adam Smith's original premise of free market trade. Large corporations receive unfair legal protection under limited liability as well as outright legislative protection from civil consequences (Monsanto is a perfect example of this). They also receive immense taxpayer funded welfare through bailouts and other sources when they fail to manage their business responsibly. All this while small businesses and entrepreneurs are impeded at every turn by taxation and legal obstacles.

In terms of international trade being "free trade," this is not really the case either. Only massive corporations supported by governments are able to exploit the advantages of international manufacturing and labor sources in a way that ensures long term success. Meanwhile economic models that promote true decentralization and localism become impractical because real competition is never allowed. The world has not enjoyed free markets in at least a century. What we have today is something entirely different.

Con #2: Globalism Is About A "Multipolar World"

This is a relatively new disinformation tactic that I attribute directly to the success of the liberty movement and alternative economists. As the public becomes more educated on the dangers of economic centralization and more specifically the dangers of central banks, the globalists are attempting to shift the narrative to muddy the waters.

For example, the liberty movement has railed against the existence of the Federal Reserve and fiat dollar hegemony to the point that our information campaign has been breaking into mainstream thought. The problem is that globalism is not about the dollar, U.S. hegemony or the so-called "deep state," which in my view is a distraction from the bigger issue at hand.

The fact is, globalist institutions and central banks permeate almost every corner of the world. Nations like Russia and China are just as heavily tied to the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements and international financial centers like Goldman Sachs as any western government.

Part of the plan for the new world order, as has been openly admitted by globalists and globalist publications, is the decline of the U.S. and the dollar system to make way for one world financial governance through the IMF as well as the Special Drawing Rights basket as a mechanism for the world reserve currency. The globalists WANT a less dominant U.S. and a more involved East, while the East continues to call for more control of the global economy by the IMF. This concept unfortunately flies over the heads of most economists, even in the liberty movement.

So, the great lie being promoted now is that the fall of the U.S. and the dollar is a "good thing" because it will result in "decentralization," a "multi-polar" world order and the "death" of globalism. However, what is really happening is that as the U.S. falls globalist edifices like the IMF and the BIS rise. We are moving from centralization to super-centralization. Globalists have pulled a bait and switch in order to trick the liberty movement into supporting the success of the East (which is actually also globalist controlled) and a philosophy which basically amounts to a re-branding of the new world order as some kind of decentralized paradise.

Con #3: Nationalism Is The Source Of War, And Globalism Will End It

If there's one thing globalists have a love/hate relationship with, it's humanity's natural tribal instincts. On the one hand, they like tribalism because in some cases tribalism can be turned into zealotry, and zealots are easy to exploit and manipulate. Wars between nations (tribes) can be instigated if the tribal instinct is weighted with artificial fears and threats.

On the other hand, tribalism lends itself to natural decentralization of societies because tribalism in its best form is the development of many groups organized around a variety of ideas and principles and projects. This makes the establishment of a "one world ideology" very difficult, if not impossible. The first inclination of human beings is to discriminate against ideas and people they see as destructive and counter to their prosperity. Globalists therefore have to convince a majority of people that the very tribalism that has fueled our social evolution and some of the greatest ideas in history is actually the source of our eventual doom.

Nationalism served the globalists to a point, but now they need to get rid of it entirely. This requires considerable crisis blamed on nationalism and "populist" ideals. Engineered war, whether kinetic or economic, is the best method to scapegoat tribalism. Every tragedy from now on must eventually be attributed to ideas of separation and logical discrimination against negative ideologies. The solution of globalism will then be offered; a one world system in which all separation is deemed "evil."

Con #4: Globalism Is Natural And Inevitable

As mentioned earlier, globalists cannot have their "new world order" unless they can convince the masses to ask for it. Trying to implement such a system by force alone would end in failure, because revolution is the natural end result of tyranny. Therefore, the new world order has to be introduced as if it had been formed by coincidence or by providence. Any hint that the public is being conned into accepting global centralization would trigger widespread resistance.

This is why globalism is always presented in the mainstream media as a natural extension of civilization's higher achievement. Even though it was the dangerous interdependency of globalism that helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 and continues to escalate that crisis to this day, more globalism is continually promoted as the solution to the problem. It is spoken of with reverence in mainstream economic publications and political discussions. It receives almost religious praise in the halls of academia. Globalism is socioeconomic ambrosia -- the food of deities. It is the fountain of youth. It is a new Eden.

Obviously, this adoration for globalism is nonsense. There is no evidence whatsoever that globalism is a positive force for humanity, let alone a natural one. There is far more evidence that globalism is a poisonous ideology that can only ever gain a foothold through trickery and through false flags.

We live in an era that represents an ultimate crossroads for civilization; a time of great uncertainty. Will we seek truth in the trials we face, and thus the ability to create our own solutions? Or, will we take a seemingly easier road by embracing whatever solutions are handed to us by the establishment? Make no mistake -- the globalists already have a solution prepackaged for us. They have been acclimating and conditioning the public to accept it for decades now. That solution will not bring what it promises. It will not bring peace, but eternal war. It will not bring togetherness, but isolation. It will not bring understanding, but ignorance.

When globalists eventually try to sell us on a full-blown new world order, they will pull out every conceivable image of heaven on Earth, but they will do this only after creating a tangible and ever present hell.

* * *

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[Apr 24, 2018] The Varieties of Russian Conservatism by Paul Grenier

Notable quotes:
"... Times Literary Supplement ..."
"... sine qua non ..."
"... The common good "cannot be reduced to the goods of individual private parties, and cannot be deduced from them. Just as the sum of the parts does not make up the whole, in the same way the sum of private interests may sometimes work even against itself it is the state that represents the common good." Isn't this something we can learn from in the West today? ..."
"... Russia's "[Christian] Orthodox spirit and the ethic of solidarity ..."
"... Like the Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church has recently forged its own Social Concept of the ROC, which fleshes out this call for fairness as an aspect of human dignity. ..."
"... The City of Man ..."
"... Among Russia's virtues, it must be emphasized, is a far greater freedom of speech than it is typically given credit for. Russian participants in the Kaliningrad conference demonstrated a boldness of imagination, a variety and depth of thought on alternate futures for their country that is by no means always evident in political speech even in the United States. ..."
"... The author would like to thank Dr. Adrian Walker, Matthew Cooper and especially Dr. Matthew Dal Santo for their valuable suggestions and comments on an earlier draft. ..."
"... Paul Grenier is an essayist and translator who writes regularly on political-philosophical issues. ..."
Jun 19, 2015 | www.theamericanconservative.com
A staunchly traditional society grapples with modernity's disruptions, seeking conservatisms far beyond Putinism.

It's a truism that America is a liberal place. Americans emphasize the importance of the individual and tend to reject notions of hierarchy and authority. Russia by contrast is known to be a more conservative society, one where the interests of the group come ahead of those of the individual; and where, for centuries, respect for hierarchy and authority has usually been the norm.

All the same, the "news" of Russia's return to conservatism has hit many observers in the West like the proverbial ton of bricks. The typical response has been to blame the Russian president for steering Russia away from the liberal path, the path of becoming a " normal country" with "Western values."

Others have sought to understand Russian political culture on its own terms. A recent analysis ("The New Eurasians," Times Literary Supplement , May 13, 2015) stands out from the crowd by making a serious effort to read present-day Russian conservatism in its historical context. Lesley Chamberlain dismisses the glib reduction of Russia to its present-day leader. Russia, she writes, is not ruled by Vladimir Putin: to the contrary, "the power that rules Russia is tradition." Far from it being the case that a benighted Russian public is being led to conservatism artificially by its government, the reverse is the case: the vast majority of Russians, perhaps eighty percent "are intensely conservative."

Like most in the commentariat, Chamberlain finds cause for alarm in Russia's return to type. She worries about a Russia seeking to create "an alternative version of the contemporary Christian, or post-Christian, world, contiguous with but distinct from the West."

Chamberlain reduces today's incarnation of Russian conservatism to the more or less vague bundle of geographic and neo-imperial notions that goes by the name Eurasianism, often linked with the name of Alexander Dugin.

To be sure, anti-Western Eurasianism is part of contemporary Russian conservatism. But it is only one part. Excessive focus on this angle has created the impression that Dugin-esque Eurasianism is the only game in town when it comes to Russian conservatism. It isn't. It's not even the only version of what might be called the 'Russian national greatness' school of conservatism.

If we wish to understand Russia in something like its true complexity, we have to take the trouble to listen to it, to let it speak in its own voice instead of constantly projecting onto it all our own worst fears. Precisely because Eurasianism has already hogged all the attention, I won't deal with it here.

... ... ...

Liberal Conservatism

Some participants straddled several categories of conservatism at once. In other cases, for example that of the above-mentioned Makarenko, their thought fit neatly within a single category -- in his case, that of liberal conservatism.

For Makarenko, modern Russian political practice has far too utilitarian an attitude toward rule of law and democracy. If it can be demonstrated that the latter support state sovereignty, then all is well and good; but whenever either are perceived as a threat to the state -- then democracy and rule of law are always the ones that have to suffer. From his perspective, Russia would do better to learn from Burke, who looked not so much to the sovereignty of the state as to the sovereignty of the parliament .

Matveichev, no doubt the most eclectic thinker in the group, on certain subjects occupied the liberal end of the spectrum. For example, in an essay on corruption and the state, he approvingly cites the work of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto to make the point that rule of law -- as it is practiced, nota bene , in the United States -- is the sine qua non of economic prosperity. What I found fascinating about Matveichev's position is that he then takes his argument in a Hegelian and Platonic direction.

It is the state -- not the market on its own -- that provides these all important forms , and bad as the corruption of state institutions may be, a bad form is nonetheless better than no form at all -- including for business. The common good "cannot be reduced to the goods of individual private parties, and cannot be deduced from them. Just as the sum of the parts does not make up the whole, in the same way the sum of private interests may sometimes work even against itself it is the state that represents the common good." Isn't this something we can learn from in the West today?

Left Conservatism

The "left conservatives" at the conference -- represented most prominently by Dr. Alexander Schipkov, an expert on Church-state relations -- are critical of liberal capitalism and indeed are also critical of the current Russian state to the extent that its "conservatism" is reducible merely to "family values" without including the all-important component of economic fairness. His views are close to that of Catholic Distributists as well as to those of "radical orthodox" theologians like William Cavanaugh and John Milbank.

According to Schipkov, Russians of various backgrounds (left and right, secular and religious, red and white) need to forge a common ethic. But in truth, Russia already has such an ethic, one that unifies all the disparate phases in its often tragic and contradictory history. Consciously playing off of Weber, Schipkov refers to Russia's "[Christian] Orthodox spirit and the ethic of solidarity ." In a fascinating essay on this same subject, Schipkov makes clear that his concept of solidarity owes much to the writings of the early 20th century German philosopher Max Scheler, who likewise had such a big impact on the thought of Pope John Paul II.

Though the Russian Church continues to play a defining role in the ethical formation of the nation -- no other pre-1917 institution, after all, still exists -- over time it will be replaced by other institutions, according to Schipkov. Like the Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church has recently forged its own Social Concept of the ROC, which fleshes out this call for fairness as an aspect of human dignity.

Creative Conservatism

Because it tends to evoke the disastrous social and economic effects of "liberalisation" during the 1990s, the term "liberal" has become something of a swear word in today's Russia. But what, exactly, does this much reviled "liberalism" consist in? In my own presentation (English translation forthcoming at SolidarityHall.org ) I suggested that Russians need to define liberalism -- and conservatism -- more carefully, while distinguishing both from their ideological perversions.

To his credit, Oleg Matveichev has taken the trouble to craft a precise definition of the liberal doctrine of human nature in terms worthy of a Pierre Manent ( The City of Man ). According to Matveichev, liberalism reconceives the very essence of man as freedom, self-sufficiency, and self-definition. Seen through this liberal prism, the goal of our existence becomes self-emancipation from the chains of the past and the dead weight of tradition.

Having redefined the meaning of history, Matveichev continues, the "liberals" then set about condemning those who would thwart its "progress," dismissing them as "conservatives" and "reactionaries." Is it not time, Matveichev asks, to throw off the chains of this label invented for us by our adversaries? Why define ourselves as mere "conservatives"? Why not creatively reimagine an alternative 'meaning of history" ourselves?

Can conservatism be "creative?" And if so, how? Mikhail Remizov, president of the National Strategy Institute, answered, in effect, "how can it be anything else?" Critics on the left sometimes attack conservatism by saying, that conservatives do not preserve tradition, they invent it. Remizov dismisses the implied insult, because it demonstrates a misunderstanding of how traditions work: (re)invention " is the normal, creative approach to tradition." Remizov agrees with Hans-Georg Gadamer that sharply contrasting tradition and modernity is a silly and flat-footed way of looking at tradition, because the latter is always in any case a complex creative task of making adjustments and dialectical zig-zags. Such an understanding of culture and tradition as creativity fits, of course, quite nicely with the philosophy of Nicholas Berdyaev. It is hard to think of another thinker for whom creativity plays a more central role.

Alexei Kozyrev, associate dean of the philosophy department at Moscow State University, illustrated the same creative conservative principle when he spoke of the Russian Orthodox Church's Social Concept. The task of modern man, according to that document, is to find creative ways to retrieve the thought of the Church Fathers, for example that of Gregory of Nyssa, who counseled demonstrating our human dignity "not by domination of the natural world but by caring for and preserving it." The Social Concept likewise calls for defending the dignity of the unborn embryo and of the mentally ill. Here, in an unexpected twist, the Western environmental movement meets the pro-Life movement, challenging perhaps our own ideological boundaries.

... ...

Dialogue with Russia?

Lesley Chamberlain claimed that Russia is not a puzzle. In fact that is precisely what it is. As should be clear even from the above very partial survey, Russian conservatism, like Russia itself, embraces a contradictory collection of flaws and virtues. Both the flaws and the virtues are large.

Among Russia's virtues, it must be emphasized, is a far greater freedom of speech than it is typically given credit for. Russian participants in the Kaliningrad conference demonstrated a boldness of imagination, a variety and depth of thought on alternate futures for their country that is by no means always evident in political speech even in the United States.

For Western liberals, it is tempting to present Russian conservatism as always intrinsically dangerous. But I believe the loss is ours. Russian conservatism -- or at any rate important elements of it -- contains something potentially valuable to the West as it seeks to forge a strategy for dealing with the growing disorder in the world. What justifies engagement with Russia is before all else its ability to contribute to solving the problem that all of us face: how to devise a softer version of western modernity, one which allows for the preservation of tradition while simultaneously retaining what is most valuable in the liberal tradition.

The author would like to thank Dr. Adrian Walker, Matthew Cooper and especially Dr. Matthew Dal Santo for their valuable suggestions and comments on an earlier draft.

Paul Grenier is an essayist and translator who writes regularly on political-philosophical issues.


Andrew W June 19, 2015 at 9:03 am

@JonF

The presumption amongst Russian conservatives is not that Russia is perfect as it is but that Russia's foundational values are good. This is something they have in common with American conservatives, British Conservatives like Peter Hitchens, and probably most conservatives in most societies. They would also lament their social ills.

I am not going to accuse you of not having read the article, but that comment of yours could easily have been made by someone who simply read the title and jumped to the comments section.

Joseph Kellner , says: June 19, 2015 at 4:53 pm
The author's point on free speech is an important one – there is a lot of very deep and open discussion in Russia at the moment about the country's direction (including even television debates with ten times the intellectual content of what we find in the States). Putinism is not a clear ideological system, and for the most part there is no official orthodoxy being pressed on scholars or the public, many currents exist. Most of the major viable currents, as this article suggests, are variants of conservatism; Western-style liberal democracy has (at the moment) lost nearly all it's appeal to the intelligentsia and the average person alike.

Re: Jon F's comment – unfortunately, in my view he is right. We shouldn't believe that Russia is a place of thriving family values simply because they say it more often and louder. Statistics are not the best way to see this – I personally believe (from experience in the capital and the provinces) that if Russians divorce less, they cheat more. If they have fewer abortions, they have more children born into undesirable childhoods. Russian conservatism does have its virtues and the country must to admire, but respect for women and children are far from a given.

Cornel Lencar , says: June 21, 2015 at 3:26 pm
The tendency to see Russia in black/white only, with a pre-imposed bias is no different than the tendency to see the US (and sometimes the west) and its values in similar manichean perspectives. Adding depth and colour to the other takes work, and especially the willingness to empathise, even for a little while, in order to gain more understanding, before employing a critical eye. And from this perspective I think the article does a good job.
Paul Grenier , says: June 22, 2015 at 7:21 pm
W. Burns: I don't recall that specific issue raised at the conference, but the Revolution and subsequent experience is much debated, including in other writings by the participants, e.g. by Shchipkov (his preferred spelling btw, not my Schipkov), whose take is much like that of Berdyaev: the communist experience is in partial continuity with aspects of Russia's tradition, e.g. of economic 'fairness' (equalizing plots on the peasant commune, etc.) and privileging the group over the individual. I started with the analysis by L. Chamberlain in part because her wide lens-perspective helps make sense of that experience.
David Naas and Cornel Lencar: I wish there were more who shared your perspective. Thanks.
Regarding Russian values vs. practice, aspirations vs. real-world problems. Who among us is without sin? Is U.S. practice so pristine that we should disdain talking to the Russian side? That is the material point.
Since the conference I have continued reading the work of these (and other conference) attendees meant for a Russian audience. They are very, very far from smug about their internal problems; quite the contrary.
Dave P.: As far as I know, the conference Proceedings so far are only in Russian, but there are pretty detailed English-language abstracts. Try contacting ISEPR (their site, ISEPR.ru, also has an English-language version).

[Apr 24, 2018] Herding Hamsters and Other Cosmic Reflections, by Fred Reed

This is all about hamster herding, as neoliberalism in is crisis both domestically and internationally.
Notable quotes:
"... Whoever wrote Trump's speech for him -- he obviously cannot put together two sentences with dependent clauses without wandering onto the far shores of incoherence -- worked the moral-outrage pump hard. The gas attack, by whomever made, killed, eeek, squeak, seventy civilians and little children. More hamster-herding: git along little furry dogies. On many days in the Mid-East, the United States has killed more civilians than all the gas attacks real or invented in the entire war. The pilots, unprincipled as are all military men, know they are doing it, and don't care. They get paid for their humanitarianism. By us. ..."
"... Assad had won his war and had no need of gassing a few civilians. He would have to know that it would give Washington a pretext for an attack. Which it did. Is Assad so foolish? ..."
"... Similarly with the poisoning of what's-his-spy and his daughter. Russia had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose, as we have seen. It is one thing to believe Mr. Putin capable of bad things. To believe him stupid is quite another. Note that Theresa May became hysterical before it was established that Russia did it, which has still not been established. The orchestrated expulsion of Russian diplomats by all the vassal states, also before anything definitive had been determined, was just too cute. ..."
"... Who had anything to gain by the gaseous adventurism Answer: The American Empire -- not America, not Americans -- and Israel. Both are desperate to keep Syria from surviving. Note that Washington has a history of lying the country into wars. The Maine in 1898, the Gulf of Tonkin, the imaginary WMD in Gulf I. Plus ca change, plus ca doesn't. ..."
"... Because the Empire's hegemony over the Mid-East, Asia, and the world weakens. The Empire totters. Syria is at the heart of the looming demise. ..."
"... If -- when -- America leaves, Pakistan will become an economic client state of China, without a shot being fired. Afghanistan will quickly follow as China invests in its minerals. This is why Washington cannot leave. ..."
"... Washington's approach to hegemony is military, relying on bombing and economic sanctions. This requires huge military expenditures that cripple the domestic economy and produces countless countries that would break with America if they could. By contrast, China's approach is economic, smarter and much cheaper. ..."
"... "Get ready Russia, missiles will be coming at Syria, nice and new and 'smart'!" This is not adult language. It is the taunting of a twelve-year-old. Nya hnya nya! Yet it is classic Trump. This man has absolute power to launch wars whose consequences we will have to bear. Is this not splendid? ..."
"... The strangest thing with Syria is how obsessed the Empire is with destroying it. Various reasons are given such as Israel, gas pipelines, and containing Iran. At the end of the day I think it's primarily psychological. The Empire is outraged that the Assman dares to resist. ..."
"... As to "hamster herding", include "media herding", consenting and dissenting alike. The main reasons for the latter are "bread" writing, and real "believes" of ignorance. Seems the layer, includes second tier politicians, "public intellectuals" alike. A case of "garbage in, garbage out" and a secondary condition of individual middle class jockeying. ..."
"... As to the choice of what can be called "military capitalism" of the US, it has no longer any other options, contrary to Russia and China. Give or take a single percentage point or two, there must be some insiders that fully understand that the global system of economics is now running into the wall, there is no solution to that. Neither is there a venue-way for China, or Russia, economically, outside of global consent. They might have a few cycles more of trade, cleaning the plate, which they choose to do, what looks admirable in the short term to many, but ultimately will equally grind to a standstill. ..."
"... the elites depend on the loot provided by enormous military budgets, and sanctions they can work around .Historically, empires are rarely allowed to shrink until the home country is completely bankrupt. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Only three weapons of mass destruction exist: Nuclear explosives, artillery, and aerial bombing. Think Dresden, Hiroshima, Guernica, Falluja.

Two: Whoever wrote Trump's speech for him -- he obviously cannot put together two sentences with dependent clauses without wandering onto the far shores of incoherence -- worked the moral-outrage pump hard. The gas attack, by whomever made, killed, eeek, squeak, seventy civilians and little children. More hamster-herding: git along little furry dogies. On many days in the Mid-East, the United States has killed more civilians than all the gas attacks real or invented in the entire war. The pilots, unprincipled as are all military men, know they are doing it, and don't care. They get paid for their humanitarianism. By us.

Three: Something smells. The use of toxins, either by Assad in Syria or by Russia in West Pakistan -- England, I meant, England -- makes no sense. Assad had won his war and had no need of gassing a few civilians. He would have to know that it would give Washington a pretext for an attack. Which it did. Is Assad so foolish?

Similarly with the poisoning of what's-his-spy and his daughter. Russia had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose, as we have seen. It is one thing to believe Mr. Putin capable of bad things. To believe him stupid is quite another. Note that Theresa May became hysterical before it was established that Russia did it, which has still not been established. The orchestrated expulsion of Russian diplomats by all the vassal states, also before anything definitive had been determined, was just too cute.

Hamster herding.

Four: Who had anything to gain by the gaseous adventurism Answer: The American Empire -- not America, not Americans -- and Israel. Both are desperate to keep Syria from surviving. Note that Washington has a history of lying the country into wars. The Maine in 1898, the Gulf of Tonkin, the imaginary WMD in Gulf I. Plus ca change, plus ca doesn't.

Five: Syria is of no importance, at all, to America or Americans. It has nothing America wants or needs. It poses no danger to America. It is somewhere else. This lack of vital interest to America it shares with North Korea, Afghanistan, the Ukraine, the Crimea, the South China Sea, and all the other places where the Empire looks for war. Then why does Washington risk nuclear war by accident with Russia, which also poses no danger to America?

Because the Empire's hegemony over the Mid-East, Asia, and the world weakens. The Empire totters. Syria is at the heart of the looming demise.

Things go badly, Empire-wise. Start with the war on Afghanistan, now creeping toward its third decade, and neighboring Pakistan. China invests heavily in infrastructure in Pakistan: The Karakoram Highway, the Karachi reactors, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the IP pipeline, Guadar. If -- when -- America leaves, Pakistan will become an economic client state of China, without a shot being fired. Afghanistan will quickly follow as China invests in its minerals. This is why Washington cannot leave.

Afghanistan borders Iran, which Washington maintains as an enemy at the behest of Israel. Iran borders Iraq, wrecked by the United States and sharing a religion with Iran. Without the threat of American military power, it could easily align itself with Iran and Asia. In Syria, Assad seems to have won unless the Empire doubles or triples down. Thus the contrived gassing of children and Trump's missile attack. Turkey balances between east and west, and could easily decide that Asia is the future.

The Empire totters, wounded and dangerous.

Six: Washington's approach to hegemony is military, relying on bombing and economic sanctions. This requires huge military expenditures that cripple the domestic economy and produces countless countries that would break with America if they could. By contrast, China's approach is economic, smarter and much cheaper. It is China's Belt and Road Initiative to integrate all of Eurasia into one huge trading block, excluding guess who, that has the Empire in a panic. How do you bomb a trade agreement?

Seven: Russia and China have adult leadership. Putin and Xi are stable, intelligent, and competent. Their interests are not Washington's and they will do whatever is in the interest of their countries, but they are not stupid, ignorant, weak, juvenile, or crazy. By contrast, Trump is a loon, ignorant of practically everything, mentally chaotic, and easily modified.

Do you think this excessive? Ponder this luminous tweet

"Get ready Russia, missiles will be coming at Syria, nice and new and 'smart'!" This is not adult language. It is the taunting of a twelve-year-old. Nya hnya nya! Yet it is classic Trump. This man has absolute power to launch wars whose consequences we will have to bear. Is this not splendid?


Thorfinnsson , April 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT

At this stage in the game I'm not one to ramble about "3D Chess", but I get the sense that Trump's tweeting was intended to warn Putin and thus deescalate. Of course on the flip side we have (uncomfirmed) reports that Trump and his bloodthirsty NSC chair Fox Bolton were arguing for a bigger attack than the generals would agree to.

If nothing else it's quite clear that any effort to withdraw from Syria simply immediately results in a false flag attack. Even if chemical weapons were as awful as is supposed (I agree with Mr. Reed), that doesn't make it relevant to American interests.

The strangest thing with Syria is how obsessed the Empire is with destroying it. Various reasons are given such as Israel, gas pipelines, and containing Iran. At the end of the day I think it's primarily psychological. The Empire is outraged that the Assman dares to resist. `

dearieme , April 16, 2018 at 8:38 pm GMT
"Note that Washington has a history of lying the country into wars. The Maine in 1898 ..": add the War of 1812. In fact, presumably add all other American wars until, I suppose, WWII. And even then the US severely provoked Japan, though it seems to me that the blame for the war was Japan's: even the perfidious Yanks couldn't force her to behave with such reckless idiocy in the Pacific.
Si1ver1ock , April 16, 2018 at 11:26 pm GMT
People used to be proud to be Americans. Now many feel ashamed, not only of their leaders, but also their country.

The shame will only grow as more of the Empire's evil acts are committed and revealed.

Yorik , April 17, 2018 at 2:01 am GMT
Re: "It serves nicely, however, to alarm publics with minds of low voltage."

In 1958, I still believed that there was a significant intellectual difference between the American bourgeosie and the cattle one sees peering between the slats of large trucks as they contentedly munch hay on their way to the abattoir.

–Revilo Oliver

Yorik , April 17, 2018 at 2:29 am GMT
@Si1ver1ock

People used to be proud to be Americans.

That was owing to the public's colossal ignorance of its history, its predatory character, and its total faith in the national myths of manifest destiny, etc.

Diversity Heretic , April 17, 2018 at 8:41 am GMT
@Anon

The percentage of gas casualties who died as a result of their wound was much lower than for injuries inflected by other means (shell splinters, explosives, bullets). Taking countermeasures against chemical attacks is possible. To be effective, gas usually has to be delivered by the ton, usually by artillery. Nerve gas is much deadlier, but also very tricky to use.

Not advocating gas warfare, but it's not a death ray.

m___ , April 17, 2018 at 9:37 am GMT
In the whole of the Unz sphere, the only article that makes sense of Syria pot-shots, by adhering to a necessary global scope.

Irrelevant. Trump is a punching bag, that is as much as Obama was a surfboard, these figureheads are actors, better or worse. Putin, Xi, do matter, Putin harnessed a streamlined decision making nucleus out of chaos internally, it again gave meaning to the mention of "Russia". Xi probably does matter, we do not know, neither of us were able to observe one or the other. What matters is that there is rational coherence in both systems, China and Russia. Because of infighting, the West looks ridiculously bloated, and stumbling.

As to "hamster herding", include "media herding", consenting and dissenting alike. The main reasons for the latter are "bread" writing, and real "believes" of ignorance. Seems the layer, includes second tier politicians, "public intellectuals" alike. A case of "garbage in, garbage out" and a secondary condition of individual middle class jockeying.

As to the choice of what can be called "military capitalism" of the US, it has no longer any other options, contrary to Russia and China. Give or take a single percentage point or two, there must be some insiders that fully understand that the global system of economics is now running into the wall, there is no solution to that. Neither is there a venue-way for China, or Russia, economically, outside of global consent. They might have a few cycles more of trade, cleaning the plate, which they choose to do, what looks admirable in the short term to many, but ultimately will equally grind to a standstill.

Our take,

globally, there is some consensus about above, in minimal, stealthy cycles, and the situation in Syria today is to be seen as a proverbial napkin sketch of the architect of project global government. Putin was degraded in his status, his error, to propagate nationalistic posing on the world scene, was offensive to the project of world rule. He got away with a warning and loss of face.

There was, and is, to be seen some experimenting with method (stealth outside the public view), timeliness and international consent. That is hopeful, if one can get from a pot-shot, and not firing back, to addressing the real problems of the world, all and every, only solvable by global consent, and in a timely manner, Syria must be seen as a hopeful experiment of "global collegiate" ruling.

If "real" war, not policing, "real" major shifts of riches, from finite, generational elites to abhorrent masses of commoners and ridiculous attitudes middle classes, results, we humbly retract. The crest of the wave will have an undercurrent: even worse conditions applied to the number of human under-classes, even temporarily more wastelands created, but adhering to collegiate global consent, and sold to the masses as a prime Hollywood style production. That is what the elites seem to strive for.

The important element is they seem to grasp, as only sub-group of humanity, that they are condemned to one another, the "chevalier seul" attitudes are projections to the public.

pyrrhus , April 18, 2018 at 1:51 am GMT
@another fred

Indeed, the people want it very much But the elites depend on the loot provided by enormous military budgets, and sanctions they can work around .Historically, empires are rarely allowed to shrink until the home country is completely bankrupt.

[Apr 22, 2018] One of the signs of an empire that is failing is the increasing disconnect (and cynicism) between the rulers and the ruled - no matter what the system of government may be

Notable quotes:
"... Overall, my impression is that a huge amount of the American populace is entirely disengaged from what's going on because all of it is too upsetting of the accustomed comfortable lifestyle. ..."
"... There's no sense of how random and stupid (and increasing) violence connects to neocon policies over the past 20 plus years or so. The problems leading potentially to very serious war conflict are demonized away in terms of black vs. white terms, America always the righteous. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sid2 | Apr 22, 2018 1:34:57 PM | 11

Just back from a road trip in America where I uncharacteristically watched TV in the evenings. My main impression = appalled at the intellectual decline and I kept saying to myself, "If anyone wants to know why we're stupid, here (TV) is the reason."

Interestingly, what I formerly could not stand, FOX news, showed some dignity and intelligence over what appears to be unraveling in the cover-up of what is now "FBI-gate" versus the old and worn-out Russia-gate stuff. I was amused at FOX news' presentation of the latest DNC lawsuit as more hopeless apologizing for Clinton's loss, and a development which could backfire into disclosure finally, and much more focus on what Clinton was up to with the DNC maligning of Sanders, plus the politicizing of the intelligence agencies, as with Comey, Brennan, and Clapper.

As to Americans generally, a lot of good people, nice and helpful if they can just relax into ordinary relating as with services and restaurants. In meeting with relatives, obvious MSM propaganda layering their opinions. I was struck for example that the homeless problem could be dismissed because some homeless didn't want to take advantage of housing help offered (the specifics of that not offered, nor am I aware of what's meant here). The tendency is to dismiss the troubling into simplification, and get back to what feels good as soon as possible. But this is completely normal human behavior in my 5 decades or so of watching political developments.

Overall, my impression is that a huge amount of the American populace is entirely disengaged from what's going on because all of it is too upsetting of the accustomed comfortable lifestyle.

There's no sense of how random and stupid (and increasing) violence connects to neocon policies over the past 20 plus years or so. The problems leading potentially to very serious war conflict are demonized away in terms of black vs. white terms, America always the righteous.

I do feel, however, that alternative media, such as via MoA here, are very helpful to growing awareness, particularly among young people. I am eager to see new independent political parties, committed to serving the people, but not yet aware of any of these coming about. I would also echo pyschohistorian and others from the previous thread to ask b to be the leader/organizer via emails, should there come a time when this site is attacked and taken out somehow.

Thank you, b, and commenters here for this energetic and hopeful community.

les7 , Apr 22, 2018 2:59:15 PM | 20

@11

Thanks for that snapshot description. One of the signs of an empire that is failing is the increasing disconnect (and cynicism) between the rulers and the ruled - no matter what the system of government may be. Your description provides a graphic picture of that disconnection.

In another vein, Media again posits the SAA as going against the rebel controlled areas in the south. I believe that the SAA will instead consolidate areas around Homs and southern Hama then focus on Deir Ezzour and the cross-river attacks from the US protected eastern shore of the Euphrates.. This action will take us through to mid-June. At that point I anticipate some kind of incidents having to do with the Idlib pocket.

[Apr 21, 2018] The Blight of Ukania

I always thought that Brexit was UK populati0on protest against neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... Then there is of course the ongoing Brexit shambles. The inflexible Eurocrats have always only had one position on Brexit: accept our terms for leaving the EU or you get nothing. ..."
"... Ukania's chief Brexit negotiator, David Davies, is a retired special-services commando who was given the job because he is the Conservative's most dyed-in-the-wool anti-EU ideologue. ..."
"... On the other hand, this Empire 2.0 fantasy also serves a more sinister purpose. The Brexiteer dream is basically a fusion of neo-imperial illusions with a no-holds-barred neoliberalism. ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Tom Nairn coined the phrase "Ukania" to designate the confused and disorganized hotchpotch of an island-nation off the coast of northern Europe, tottering on the nation-state equivalent of varicose-veined and arthritic legs, and further enfeebled by an unproductive nostalgia for Empire (aka Empire 2.0).

... ... ...

"Dilapidation" is the word to describe the UK today. I was last there in November and will be there again in July. Frequent, indeed daily, contact with family and friends confirms that the UK is indeed Nairn's "Ukania".

This week London overtook New York as a "murder capital". Brits were shocked, because this reversed their notion of the US as a place where gun nuts can kill whenever they want.

I tried to reassure my Brit friends and family that the murder statistics for New York don't include police killings of unarmed black men, and that inclusion of the latter statistic in the murder toll would probably tell a somewhat different story.

Ukania has stringent gun laws, but nearly all the killings in London are stabbings. Acid attacks have also become increasingly common.

The causes for this outbreak of knifings and acid-throwing are almost certainly multiple. A decaying social fabric caused by nearly a decade of Tory austerity, high youth unemployment as well as employed youth who nonetheless dominate the precariat, and savage cuts in police numbers (a result of deliberate Tory policy to hand over policing to private security firms, who in turn donate generously to the Tories), are almost certainly key factors here.

The Tories however have "none of the above" on their list of causes for London's crime wave. For them and their allies in the rightwing media, drugs, a form of rap known as UK drill, and social media are to blame!

This ignorance is obviously contrived -- absolutely unlike the social media-illiterate geriatric US senators who questioned Mark Zuckerberg on the issue of Facebook's data leaks, and who in their genuine bafflement were unable to tell the difference between Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, among other things.

Unlike the technologically-senile US senators befuddled by contemporary social media and its associated technologies, the Tories know damn well the underlying conditions for London's stabbing and acid-throwing epidemic.

Then there is of course the ongoing Brexit shambles. The inflexible Eurocrats have always only had one position on Brexit: accept our terms for leaving the EU or you get nothing.

The Ukanians in response alternate hopelessly between faux bravado ("we're prepared to leave with nothing") and conciliatory placation ("please, oh please, can we come to a fresh understanding of what's on the table? ").

The Eurocrats see right through the phony bravado and dismiss it outright, while responding to pleas for a "fresh understanding" with a bored shrug– in effect saying that it is "you deluded Brits who need to understand we are not having negotiations about the terms of your departure, but only about such minutiae as the timetabling of this this or that move that (according to us) needs to be made".

The intransigent Eurocrats thus insist that negotiations can only be about "process", while the Ukanian government persists in thinking the door is somehow still open for negotiations about "substance".

Alas, those who insist on talking about "process" have held all the cards from the beginning. The Ukanians have not helped themselves by sending absolute third-raters to deal with the meritocratic wolves in Brussels. The EU wolves make it to the top by speaking two to three, or more, languages fluently, by graduating from Europe's top schools of international relations and public administration, and by having decades of experience in international diplomacy.

Ukania's chief Brexit negotiator, David Davies, is a retired special-services commando who was given the job because he is the Conservative's most dyed-in-the-wool anti-EU ideologue. Davies sits at the Brussels negotiating table without a piece of paper in front of him, while his guileful and well-schooled EU counterparts consult bulky folders as they take the woefully underprepared and intellectually underwhelming ex-commando to the woodshed. It is, in sporting terms, the equivalent of the lard-encased Donald Trump presuming he can win an Olympic race against Usain Bolt.

Ukania's self-deceptions are not confined to its dealings with the wolves of Brussels. Most of the Brexiteers (not to be confused with Lexiteers, of whom I've always been one) are gripped by nostalgic imperial fantasies. The neo-imperial fantasy of these Brexiteers is that the former members of their Empire will fall in line, dutifully, in order to conclude trading agreements with their ex-imperial master– the Brexiteer hope being that these Empire 2.0 "agreements" will somehow compensate economically for the cessation of trading links with the EU countries. This is simply not going to happen, given the dynamos driving post-imperial economic development.

The EU exists for the purpose of extending and sustaining the European embodiment of the current neoliberal order, and in so doing maintaining the very comfortable livelihoods of its Eurocratic elite. But that, or its equivalent, alas, is also the "mission" of the members of the ex-Empire, who are supposed by the Brexiteers to salute and fall in line when asked to do so by their erstwhile imperial master!

The raison d'etre of such countries as India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc., is precisely to subserve the exigencies of the forms of capitalist of accumulation prevailing in their countries, forms which in turn coincide more or less with the needs of their national elites.

And this post-imperial raison d'etre is clearly not congruent with daydreamed requirements imposed by a post-Brexit Empire 2.0 nostalgia on the part of Ukania. Australia and New Zealand now have their economic systems attuned, profitably, to demand from China and the rest of the Pacific Rim; Canada likewise with regard to the US; and India in relation to the economies of the Gulf States; and so on.

Ukania will get nowhere with Empire 2.0 après Brexit unless it can provide terms of trade and revenues matching or surpassing those now available to its former colonies.

... ... ...

On the other hand, this Empire 2.0 fantasy also serves a more sinister purpose. The Brexiteer dream is basically a fusion of neo-imperial illusions with a no-holds-barred neoliberalism.

The EU at least insists on health and safety standards that are better than India's. But why shouldn't India's standards be good enough for Ukania's pampered workers? The latter's ancestors worked in dark satanic mills, so surely these f*@#ers can work in factories recycling toxic metals from discarded computers and mobile phones? The EU's food inspection standards are better than China's, but why should Ukania hold itself to a standard higher than China's? Milk "supplemented" with de-icer fluid anyone? The EU has minimal standards on bank operations and financial transactions – get rid of these and Ukania can be freed to become the world's premier haven for tax-dodgers and money launderers. Okay, it already holds the latter title, but Ukania will be able to lower the bar even more on money laundering once it gets rid of the EU's regulatory shackles.

... ... ...

[Apr 17, 2018] After Greeks and British, now Italians reject neoliberal EU. Not many ideas what to put in its place. Defend Democracy Press

March 5, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

After Greeks and British, now Italians reject neoliberal EU. Not many ideas what to put in its place. 06/03/2018 Italian election results: How the world's press reacted

Italy's governing centre-left Democratic Party has seen disappointing losses in the election result, while the populist League and Five Star Movement have had remarkable gains. Here's how the world's press reacted to the vote.

Read more at https://www.thelocal.it/20180305/italian-election-results-how-international-press-reacted

Eurosceptic Italy in race to form majority government

Five Star Movement and the League vie to form a coalition, but ultimate decision is held by President Sergio Mattarella

Mon 5 Mar 2018

The two populist parties that won major upsets in the Italian election – the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League (La Liga) – are in a race to be the first to try to form a majority government after the election produced a hung parliament.

The decision will ultimately fall to Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, who could take weeks to determine whether the anti-establishment M5S, which took 32.6% of the vote, or a fragile centre-right alliance led by the League's bombastic Matteo Salvini, with 35.7% of the vote, are better equipped to create a majority government.

Read more at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/05/italy-turns-back-on-europe-as-election-points-to-hung-parliament

[Apr 09, 2018] Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa shut down the US base at Manta. His successor, Lenin Moreno, has proven to be some kind of neoliberal mole

Apr 09, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

PrairieBear , Apr 8, 2018 5:04:50 PM | 17

@11 Yes, Maracutu, shivers are pretty much a daily thing for me in these times. An "accidental" bombing of Latakia was the spark that finally set off WWIII in the old, but still popular, nuclear apocalypse novel Alas Babylon .

@ all Meanwhile, as all the Mad Magazine "Spy vs Spy" nonsense spins out in the UK, the Empire is keeping busy on the other side of the pond. In late March, a couple of nice folks from the US Southern Command paid a courtesy "friendship" visit to Ecuador:

https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/266769-ecuador-funcionarios-comando-sur-eeuu

Also, we apparently have US troops in Ecuador once again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2nClTjCs3I

During his term as President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa had (not very) politely and very firmly invited US military personnel to go home (or at least elsewhere than Ecuador) and he shut down the US base at Manta. His successor, Lenin Moreno, has proven to be some kind of neoliberal mole who wormed himself into the Alianza Pais and has completely betrayed the Citizens' Revolution. In less than a year in office, he has wrecked most of the progress slowly and steadily made under 10 years of Correa's leadership. In the past month or so, there have been three "terrorist" attacks on the Colombian border. These are supposedly connected with FARC. There had been NO troubles with FARC under Correa.

So far, I have not found any English-Language media talking about any of this. I have not found mention of how many US troops are involved. I have seen that there are now 500 additional ones in Peru to help with security for some summit Trump is going to. Of course, the ones in Ecuador are only there to be "helpful" to the country.

Also: RIP Nash Van Drake and his guinea pig siblings (has anyone heard what their names were, if any?). The murder of these pets may just be a weird side story to this madness, or it may have been to cover up and destroy evidence. The explanations for their deaths seem very suspicious to me. Some years ago, I had a male cat whom I let outside sometimes. He got himself shut in the neighbor's garage one afternoon. I looked everywhere, placed want ads, etc. No luck. Having basically given up, I discovered by accident he was in there after a week. I called the neighbor, who came out late at night and opened the garage up and I coaxed him out. Cat was very happy to be home and glad to see his food and water dish, but he was hardly malnourished. He essentially was no worse for wear, physically.

It takes quite a long time without food for a healthy, well-fed house cat to become "severely malnourished," unless perhaps there are some other special health problems already or special needs. I don't know the timeline of when they went in and found him. Two weeks? Three? Even then, look at all the videos out there of sick, malnourished cats rescued and nursed back to health.

I know a lot less about guinea pigs, but similar with them. If they had a bottle waterer mounted on the side of their cage, it was probably kept refilled pretty often. Even if already down by half, it should have lasted a while. How much water would they drink in normal house temperatures in the UK in late winter?

[Apr 08, 2018] The UK and France are in deep economic trouble and need an external enemy such as Russia using an incident such as the Skripal affair to deflect the people from focusing on removing their government leaders

Notable quotes:
"... The UK and France are in deep economic trouble and need an external enemy such as Russia using an incident such as the Skripal affair to deflect the people from focusing on removing their government leaders. If all else fails, the UK Royals will have a couple of weddings and babies to take up the front pages for most of this year. Meanwhile, like the Skripals, several UK/EU agents involved in the HillaryGate Steele dossier trail of evidence such as Christophe Steele, Joseph Mifsid, and Gianni Pittella have disappeared: ..."
"... In the UK case of May and BoJo, any alternative will result in a continuation of the decline of the society. To be honest, much of the decline is baked in structural with the loss of income from former "slave" colonies and the decline of North Sea oil and gas reserves. Staying in the EU against the will of the people will continue to further drain resources to Germany, which has structurally colonialized Western Europe. ..."
"... France, like the UK, has extracted the wealth from their former colonies and facing a reduction in tribute from these sources. Macron has attempted to maintain control of some colonies such as Mali and really wants to conquer Syria. I suspect the meetings between Macron and MbS will result in an agreement for Saudi Arabia to buy French weapons while France getting financial aid to expand French troop bases in Syria. ..."
"... Almost all sectors of the French society are protesting against the neo-feudal policies of Macron, FIRE economy participants and his dwarves in the National Assembly. There are strikes among: ..."
"... The EU is also experiencing internal dissent with the Visegrad four (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) plus Italy and Austria and thus needs an external enemy to distract its members. I suspect that a Ukrainian invasion of DPR/LPR will once again be used as a flash point create "two minutes of hate" against Russia ..."
Apr 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Krollchem , Apr 8, 2018 5:18:42 PM | 18

The UK and France are in deep economic trouble and need an external enemy such as Russia using an incident such as the Skripal affair to deflect the people from focusing on removing their government leaders. If all else fails, the UK Royals will have a couple of weddings and babies to take up the front pages for most of this year. Meanwhile, like the Skripals, several UK/EU agents involved in the HillaryGate Steele dossier trail of evidence such as Christophe Steele, Joseph Mifsid, and Gianni Pittella have disappeared:

https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

https://via.hypothes.is/https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/the-mysterious-professor-at-the-center-of-the-russia-trump?utm_term=.paVe5QKjLR#.imWM6VNRLp

https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/the-mysterious-professor-at-the-center-of-the-russia-trump?utm_term=.paVe5QKjLR#.imWM6VNRLp

In the UK case of May and BoJo, any alternative will result in a continuation of the decline of the society. To be honest, much of the decline is baked in structural with the loss of income from former "slave" colonies and the decline of North Sea oil and gas reserves. Staying in the EU against the will of the people will continue to further drain resources to Germany, which has structurally colonialized Western Europe.

France, like the UK, has extracted the wealth from their former colonies and facing a reduction in tribute from these sources. Macron has attempted to maintain control of some colonies such as Mali and really wants to conquer Syria. I suspect the meetings between Macron and MbS will result in an agreement for Saudi Arabia to buy French weapons while France getting financial aid to expand French troop bases in Syria.

Somehow, the current revolution in France is blacked out in the Western Media. Videos of the current revolution are common on Youtube such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g21_myERteQ

Almost all sectors of the French society are protesting against the neo-feudal policies of Macron, FIRE economy participants and his dwarves in the National Assembly. There are strikes among:

For a schedule of the rolling strikes in France see: http://www.cestlagreve.fr/

Macron has already deployed the CRS assassins and the street war will begin when EU police and military invade to crush to protestors. This will be far more violent than May 1968 and may usher in the 6th Republic. Unfortunately, Macron would prefer the cities to burn rather than resign and turnover the government to the President of the Senate.

The EU is also experiencing internal dissent with the Visegrad four (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) plus Italy and Austria and thus needs an external enemy to distract its members. I suspect that a Ukrainian invasion of DPR/LPR will once again be used as a flash point create "two minutes of hate" against Russia :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4zYlOU7Fpk

These EU conflicts will not end peacefully as the system will fight back rather than step aside.

[Apr 05, 2018] Resurgence of nationalism put neoliberal globalism

This Guardian pressitute can't even mentions the term neoliberalism, to day noting to accept that neoliberalism now experience a crisis (which actually started in 2008)
Globalization blowback will not totally bury neoliberal globalization, but it puts some limits on transnational corporations racket...
Apr 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from The demise of the nation state By Rana Dasgupta

hat is happening to national politics? Every day in the US, events further exceed the imaginations of absurdist novelists and comedians; politics in the UK still shows few signs of recovery after the " national nervous breakdown " of Brexit. France " narrowly escaped a heart attack " in last year's elections, but the country's leading daily feels this has done little to alter the " accelerated decomposition " of the political system. In neighbouring Spain, El País goes so far as to say that "the rule of law, the democratic system and even the market economy are in doubt"; in Italy, "the collapse of the establishment" in the March elections has even brought talk of a "barbarian arrival", as if Rome were falling once again. In Germany, meanwhile, neo-fascists are preparing to take up their role as official opposition , introducing anxious volatility into the bastion of European stability.

But the convulsions in national politics are not confined to the west. Exhaustion, hopelessness, the dwindling effectiveness of old ways: these are the themes of politics all across the world. This is why energetic authoritarian "solutions" are currently so popular: distraction by war (Russia, Turkey); ethno-religious "purification" (India, Hungary, Myanmar); the magnification of presidential powers and the corresponding abandonment of civil rights and the rule of law (China, Rwanda, Venezuela, Thailand, the Philippines and many more).

What is the relationship between these various upheavals? We tend to regard them as entirely separate – for, in political life, national solipsism is the rule. In each country, the tendency is to blame "our" history, "our" populists, "our" media, "our" institutions, "our" lousy politicians. And this is understandable, since the organs of modern political consciousness – public education and mass media – emerged in the 19th century from a globe-conquering ideology of unique national destinies. When we discuss "politics", we refer to what goes on inside sovereign states; everything else is "foreign affairs" or "international relations" – even in this era of global financial and technological integration. We may buy the same products in every country of the world, we may all use Google and Facebook, but political life, curiously, is made of separate stuff and keeps the antique faith of borders.

Yes, there is awareness that similar varieties of populism are erupting in many countries. Several have noted the parallels in style and substance between leaders such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Viktor Orbán and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. There is a sense that something is in the air – some coincidence of feeling between places. But this does not get close enough. For there is no coincidence. All countries are today embedded in the same system, which subjects them all to the same pressures: and it is these that are squeezing and warping national political life everywhere. And their effect is quite the opposite – despite the desperate flag-waving – of the oft-remarked " resurgence of the nation state ".

[Apr 05, 2018] The Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world

Apr 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The future of economic globalisation, for which the Davos men and women see themselves as caretakers, had been shaken by a series of political earthquakes. "Globalisation" can mean many things, but what lay in particular doubt was the long-advanced project of increasing free trade in goods across borders. The previous summer, Britain had voted to leave the largest trading bloc in the world. In November, the unexpected victory of Donald Trump , who vowed to withdraw from major trade deals, appeared to jeopardise the trading relationships of the world's richest country. Forthcoming elections in France and Germany suddenly seemed to bear the possibility of anti-globalisation parties garnering better results than ever before. The barbarians weren't at the gates to the ski-lifts yet – but they weren't very far.

In a panel titled Governing Globalisation , the economist Dambisa Moyo , otherwise a well-known supporter of free trade, forthrightly asked the audience to accept that "there have been significant losses" from globalisation. "It is not clear to me that we are going to be able to remedy them under the current infrastructure," she added. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, called for a policy hitherto foreign to the World Economic Forum : "more redistribution". After years of hedging or discounting the malign effects of free trade, it was time to face facts: globalisation caused job losses and depressed wages, and the usual Davos proposals – such as instructing affected populations to accept the new reality – weren't going to work. Unless something changed, the political consequences were likely to get worse.

The backlash to globalisation has helped fuel the extraordinary political shifts of the past 18 months. During the close race to become the Democratic party candidate, senator Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton on her support for free trade . On the campaign trail, Donald Trump openly proposed tilting the terms of trade in favour of American industry. "Americanism, not globalism, shall be our creed," he bellowed at the Republican national convention last July. The vote for Brexit was strongest in the regions of the UK devastated by the flight of manufacturing. At Davos in January, British prime minister Theresa May, the leader of the party of capital and inherited wealth, improbably picked up the theme, warning that, for many, "talk of greater globalisation means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut." Meanwhile, the European far right has been warning against free movement of people as well as goods. Following her qualifying victory in the first round of France's presidential election, Marine Le Pen warned darkly that "the main thing at stake in this election is the rampant globalisation that is endangering our civilisation."

It was only a few decades ago that globalisation was held by many, even by some critics, to be an inevitable, unstoppable force. "Rejecting globalisation," the American journalist George Packer has written, "was like rejecting the sunrise." Globalisation could take place in services, capital and ideas, making it a notoriously imprecise term; but what it meant most often was making it cheaper to trade across borders – something that seemed to many at the time to be an unquestionable good. In practice, this often meant that industry would move from rich countries, where labour was expensive, to poor countries, where labour was cheaper. People in the rich countries would either have to accept lower wages to compete, or lose their jobs. But no matter what, the goods they formerly produced would now be imported, and be even cheaper. And the unemployed could get new, higher-skilled jobs (if they got the requisite training). Mainstream economists and politicians upheld the consensus about the merits of globalisation, with little concern that there might be political consequences.

Back then, economists could calmly chalk up anti-globalisation sentiment to a marginal group of delusional protesters, or disgruntled stragglers still toiling uselessly in "sunset industries". These days, as sizable constituencies have voted in country after country for anti-free-trade policies, or candidates that promise to limit them, the old self-assurance is gone. Millions have rejected, with uncertain results, the punishing logic that globalisation could not be stopped. The backlash has swelled a wave of soul-searching among economists, one that had already begun to roll ashore with the financial crisis. How did they fail to foresee the repercussions?

[Apr 01, 2018] Globalization by Dan Crawford

Mar 30, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
The story of globalization from a US point of view continues. Here AB reader Denis Drew is highlighted at DeLong's website:

Comment of the Day : Dennis Drew : GLOBALIZATION: WHAT DID PAUL KRUGMAN MISS? : "I'm always the first to say that if today's 10 dollars an hour jobs paid 20 dollars an hour

(Walgreen's, Target, fast food less w/much high labor costs) that would solve most social problems caused by loss of manufacturing (to out sourcing or automation). The money's there. Bottom 40% income take about 10% of overall income. "Mid" take about 67.5%. Top 1%, 22.5%. The instrument of moving 10% more from "mid" to the bottom is higher consumer prices arriving with the sudden reappearance of nationwide, high union density (see below for the easy application). The instrument of retrieving the "mid's" lost 10% is Eisenhower level confiscatory taxes for the top 1%.

Jack Kennedy lowered max income tax rate from 92% to 70% to improve incentives (other cuts followed). But with the top 1% wages now 20X (!) what they were in the 60s while per capita only doubled since, there will be all the incentive in the world left over while we relieve them of the burden of stultifying wealth. ;-)

[Apr 01, 2018] On What We Missed About Globalization

Apr 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

... ... ...

Brad argues that globalization is as good for the USA as Krugman thought in the 1990s. He has three key arguments. One is that the manufacturing employment which has been off shored is unskilled assembly and such boring jobs are not good jobs. The second is that the problems faced by US manufacturing workers are mostly due to electing Reagan and W Bush and not trade. Finally he notes that local economic decline is not new at all and that trade with South Carolina did it to Massachusetts long before China entered the picture. The third point works against his general argument and is partly personal. I won't discuss it except to note that Brad is right.

I have criticisms of Brad's first two arguments. The first is that the boring easy manufacturing jobs were well paid. They are bad jobs in that thinking of doing them terrifies me even more than work in general terrifies me, but they are (or mostly were) well paid jobs. There are still strong forces that make wages paid to people who work near each other at the same firm similar. As very much noted by Dennis Drew, unions used to be very strong and used that strenth to help all employees of unionized firms (and employess of non-union firms whose managers were afraid of unions). I think that, like Krugman, Brad assumes that wages are based on skills importantly including ones acquired on the job. I think this leaves a lot out.

... ... ...

Kaleberg , April 1, 2018 4:03 pm

An argument no one mentions is about comparative advantage. The US had a comparative advantage in manufacturing. It had the engineers, the technicians, the labor, the venture capital and so on. When transportation costs are low and barriers minimal, comparative advantage is something a nation creates, not some natural attribute. The US sacrificed that comparative advantage on the altar of ideological purity. Manufacturing advantage is an especially useful type of advantage since it can permeate the remaining economy. We sacrificed it, and we have been paying for it. Odds are, we will continue to pay.

likbez , April 1, 2018 6:38 pm

The problem here is that neoliberalism and globalization are two sides of the same coin.

If you reject globalization, you need to reject neoliberalism as a social system. You just can't sit between two chairs (as Trump attempts to do propagating "bastard neoliberalism" -- neoliberal doctrine is still fully applicable within the country, but neoliberal globalization is rejected)

Rejection of neoliberal globalization also implicitly suggests that Reagan "quiet coup" that restored the power of financial oligarchy and subsequent dismantling of the New Deal Capitalism was a disaster for common people in the USA.

While this is true, that's a very tough call. That explains DeLong behavior.

[Mar 30, 2018] The Death Of The Liberal World Order by Leonid Savin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped." ..."
"... Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev, who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. ..."
"... Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding ..."
"... Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. ..."
"... america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon. ..."
"... The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators. ..."
"... However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front. ..."
"... So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control. ..."
Mar 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored Leonid Savin via Oriental Review,

A few days ago the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, published an article, titled "Liberal World Order, R.I.P." In it, he states that the current threat to the liberal world order is coming not from rogue states, totalitarian regimes, religious fanatics, or obscurantist governments (special terms used by liberals when referring to other nations and countries that have not pursued the Western capitalist path of development), but from its primary architect -- the United States of America.

Haass writes: " Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence. Even the US is experiencing unprecedented attacks from its own president on the country's media, courts, and law-enforcement institutions. Authoritarian systems, including China, Russia, and Turkey, have become even more top-heavy. Countries such as Hungary and Poland seem uninterested in the fate of their young democracies

"We are seeing the emergence of regional orders. Attempts to build global frameworks are failing."

Haass has previously made alarmist statements , but this time he is employing his rhetoric to point to the global nature of this phenomenon. Although between the lines one can easily read, first of all, a certain degree of arrogance -- the idea that only we liberals and globalists really know how to administer foreign policy -- and second, the motifs of conspiracy.

"Today's other major powers, including the EU, Russia, China, India, and Japan, could be criticized for what they are doing, not doing, or both."

Probably this list could be expanded by adding a number of Latin American countries, plus Egypt, which signs arms deals with North Korea while denying any violation of UN sanctions, and the burgeoning Shiite axis of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.

But Haass is crestfallen over the fact that it is Washington itself that is changing the rules of the game and seems completely uninterested in what its allies, partners, and clients in various corners of the world will do.

" America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The liberal world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike."

Richard Haass's colleague at the CFR, Stewart Patrick, quite agrees with the claim that it is the US itself that is burying the liberal world order . However, it's not doing it on its own, but alongside China. If the US had previously been hoping that the process of globalization would gradually transform China (and possibly destroy it, as happened to the Soviet Union earlier), then the Americans must have been quite surprised by how it has actually played out. That country modernized without being Westernized, an idea that had once been endorsed by the leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Now China is expanding its influence in Eurasia in its own way, and this is for the most part welcomed by its partner countries.

But this has been a painful process for the US, as it is steadily and irrevocably undermining its hegemony.

"Its long-term ambition is to dismantle the U.S. alliance system in Asia, replacing it with a more benign (from Beijing's perspective) regional security order in which it enjoys pride of place, and ideally a sphere of influence commensurate with its power.

China's Belt and Road initiative is part and parcel of this effort, offering not only (much-needed) infrastructure investments in neighboring countries but also the promise of greater political influence in Southeast, South, and Central Asia. More aggressively, China continues to advance outrageous jurisdictional claims over almost the entirety of the South China Sea , where it continues its island-building activities, as well as engaging in provocative actions against Japan in the East China Sea," writes Patrick.

And as for the US:

"The United States, for its part, is a weary titan, no longer willing to bear the burdens of global leadership, either economically or geopolitically.

Trump treats alliances as a protection racket, and the world economy as an arena of zero-sum competition. The result is a fraying liberal international order without a champion willing to invest in the system itself. "

One can agree with both authors' assessments of the changed behavior of one sector of the US establishment, but this is about more than just Donald Trump (who is so unpredictable that he has staffed his own team with a member of the very swamp he was preparing to drain) and North American populism. One needs to look much deeper.

In his book, Nation of Devils: Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Obedience , Stein Ringen, a Norwegian statesman with a history of service in international institutions, notes:

"Today, American democratic exceptionalism is defined by a system that is dysfunctional in all the conditions that are needed for settlement and loyalty...

Capitalism has collapsed into crisis in an orgy of deregulation. Money is transgressing into politics and undermining democracy itself ."

And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped."

Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev, who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. Although it must be conceded that if Hillary Clinton had become president, the US collapse would have been far more painful, particularly for the citizens of that country. We would have seen yet more calamitous reforms, a swelling influx of migrants, a further decline in the nation's manufacturing base, and the incitement of new conflicts. Trump is trying to keep the body of US national policy somewhat alive through hospice care, but what's really needed is a major restructuring, including far-reaching political reforms that would allow the country's citizens to feel that they can actually play a role in its destiny.

These developments have spread to many countries in Europe, a continent that, due to its transatlantic involvement, was already vulnerable and susceptible to the current geopolitical turbulence. The emergence of which, by the way, was largely a consequence of that very policy of neoliberalism.

Stein Ringen continues on that score:

"Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding "

It is interesting that panic has seized Western Europe and the US -- the home of transatlanticism, although different versions of this recipe for liberalism have been employed in other regions -- suffice it to recall the experience of Singapore or Brazil. But they don't seem as panicked there as in the West.

Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. Therefore, the destruction of the current system entails the loss of all those dividends previously enjoyed by the liberal political elites of the West that were obtained by speculating in the stock market, from the mechanisms of international foreign-exchange payments (the dollar system), and through the instruments of supranational organizations (the UN, WTO, and World Bank). And, of course, there are the fundamental differences in the cultural varieties of societies.

In his book The Hidden God, Lucien Goldmann draws some interesting conclusions, suggesting that the foundations of Western culture have rationalistic and tragic origins, and that a society immersed in these concepts that have "abolish[ed] both God and the community [soon sees] the disappearance of any external norm which might guide the individual in his life and actions." And because by its very nature liberalism must carry on, in its mechanical fashion, "liberating" the individual from any form of structure (social classes, the Church, family, society, and gender, ultimately liberating man from his very self), in the absence of any standards of deterrence, it is quite logical that the Western world was destined to eventually find itself in crisis. And the surge of populist movements, protectionist measures, and conservative policies of which Haass and other liberal globalists speak are nothing more than examples of those nations' instinct for self-preservation. One need not concoct conspiracy theories about Russia or Putin interfering in the US election (which Donald Trump has also denied, noting only that support was seen for Hillary Clinton, and it is entirely true that a portion of her financial backing did come from Russia). The baseline political decisions being made in the West are in step with the current crisis that is evident on so many levels. It's just that, like always, the Western elites need their ritual whipping boy(although it would be more accurate to call it a human sacrifice). This geopolitical shake-up began in the West as a result of the implicit nature of the very project of the West itself.

But since alternative development scenarios exist, the current system is eroding away. And other political projects are starting to fill the resultant ideological void -- in both form as well as content.

Thus it's fairly likely that the current crisis of liberalism will definitively bury the unipolar Western system of hegemony.

And the budding movements of populism and regional protectionism can serve as the basis for a new, multipolar world order.

J S Bach Fri, 03/30/2018 - 22:48 Permalink

Oh, Wicked Witch of the West Wing, the cleansing fire awaits thy demise! Those meds can only keep you standing for so long. Keep tripping. Keep stumbling. Satan calls you to him. The day approacheth. Tick tock tick tock. 👹😂

beepbop -> TeamDepends Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:01 Permalink

The Death Of The Liberal World Order

The Re-Birth Of the Neocon World Disorder

Neocons=Bolsheviks=Zionists. Over 100 years of bloodshed and mayhem.

dogsandhoney2 -> J S Bach Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:05 Permalink

hillery-cfr neoliberalism is a right-wing politic, actually.

HedgeJunkie -> carbonmutant Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:04 Permalink

Democracy ultimately melts down into chaos. We have a perfectly good US Constitution, why don't we go back to using it as written? That said, I am for anything that makes the elites become common.

curbjob -> carbonmutant Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:26 Permalink

Democracy is a form of government. Populism is a movement. Populist movements come about when the current form of government is failing ... historically it seems they seldom choose wisely.

Dilluminati Fri, 03/30/2018 - 22:58 Permalink

Ridiculous cunt Hillary thinks after getting REJECTED by the voters in the USA that somehow being asked to "go the fuck away and shut the fuck up" makes her a women's leader. The cocksucker Soros and some of these other non-elected globalist should keep in mind that while everybody has a right to an opinion: it took the Clinton Crime Family and lots of corruption to create the scandals that sets a Clinton Crime Family member aside, and why Soros was given a free pass on election meddling and not others requires congressional investigation and a special prosecutor. And then there is that special kind of legal and ignorant opinion like David Hogg who I just disagree with, making him in my opinion and many fellow NRA members a cocksucker and a cunt. I'd wish shingles on David Hogg, Hillary Clinton, and Soros.

Theos Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:02 Permalink

bullshit

america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon.

all i see is a bunch of fleeting old people who found facebook 10 years late are temporarily empowered since they can now connect with other equally impotent old people.

Posa Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

The usual self-serving swill from the Best and the Brightest of the Predator Class out of the CFR via Haas.

The liberal order aka the New British Empire, was born 70 years ago by firebombing and nuking undefended civilian targets. It proceeded to launch serial genocidal rampages in the Koreas, SE Asia, Latin America until finally burning down a large portion of the Middle East.

The fact that there has not been a catastrophic nuclear war is pure dumb luck. The Deep State came within seconds of engineering a nuclear cataclysm off the waters of Cuba in 1962. When JFK started dismantling the CIA Deep State and ending the Cold War with the USSR, Dulles dispatched a CIA hit-squad to gun down the President. (RFK and Nixon immediately understood the assassination was a CIA-led wet-works operation since they chaired the assassination committees themselves in the past).

The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators.

However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front.

So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control.

Yen Cross Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:17 Permalink

I'll pay extra for a ticket to the George Soros funeral. That's like Game-7 at the Libtard world series!

devnickle Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:22 Permalink

Death to globalism. It is the Satan World Order.

Grandad Grumps Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:30 Permalink

Liberalism is anything but liberal... and I suppose that is the problem with it. It aims to do to the western world what Mao did to China and Stalin did to Russia. Many people were murdered or imprisoned and people had no rights, just obligations to dictators and their cronies.

I think this world is past the point where any benefit is gained from having "owners of the people", benevolent or otherwise. And we certainly do not benefit from perverted demonic entities even if they come bearing technology. The price is too high.

Populism goes along with essential freedoms for the human race.-

Yogizuna Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:30 Permalink

As I told the idiotic retards who argued with me on Prodigy fucking 27 years ago, China will not change because of increased trading and the West making them wealthier. In fact, just the opposite. I wonder if they have caught on yet?

SuzerainGreyMole Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:40 Permalink

One can understand the demise of the West of many levels. Downfall and then Renewal!

... ... ...

[Mar 28, 2018] Britain Has No Clue Why It's Punishing Russia by Mark Galeotti

Firs of all Mark Galeotti is very weak. That's incurable.
I want your money poor Pinocchio -- that the new slogan of May government. Kind of compensation for Brexit losses at Russian oligarchs expense.
What Russophobe Galiotti does not understand is that this another nail in the coffin of neoliberalism. As soon as you start to distriminate between oligarche neoliberalism stops and nationalism starts
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, the irony is that by driving out Russian money, London would in part be doing Putin's work for him ..."
"... He has launched a " de-offshorization " campaign to try to persuade, cajole, and intimidate oligarchs and minigarchs into bringing their money back home. Along with the stabilization of the economy as a whole, this has had some limited success. While more than $31 billion flowed out of the country last year alone, this is a dramatic fall from 2014's $154 billion . ..."
"... The thought that Britain would actually be returning capital into Putin's grasp may be an uncomfortable one. After all, a third possible policy goal would be actively to seek to undermine the regime in Moscow. ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | foreignpolicy.com

This is also a project in which further international cooperation would be crucial. Chasing that money and the influence it buys out of London but seeing it find comfortable new homes in Paris, Frankfurt, and New York is only half the job done and will do little to chasten Moscow. Although it will be difficult to persuade others to turn away tempting business, the unexpected support Britain is receiving from European Union partners in particular suggests this may be an opportune moment to convince them that in its experience this money is too toxic to be safe and that this is a Western, not just a British, problem.

Of course, the irony is that by driving out Russian money, London would in part be doing Putin's work for him . Since 2014, the Russian economy has been in the doldrums. Furthermore, Putin is a man who understands power better than economics, and he is unhappy to see elites stash their money outside his grasp.

Putin is a man who understands power better than economics, and he is unhappy to see elites stash their money outside his grasp.

He has launched a " de-offshorization " campaign to try to persuade, cajole, and intimidate oligarchs and minigarchs into bringing their money back home. Along with the stabilization of the economy as a whole, this has had some limited success. While more than $31 billion flowed out of the country last year alone, this is a dramatic fall from 2014's $154 billion .

The thought that Britain would actually be returning capital into Putin's grasp may be an uncomfortable one. After all, a third possible policy goal would be actively to seek to undermine the regime in Moscow. Overt efforts at regime change would be dangerous and likely counterproductive, but London may feel that it should not pass up opportunities to weaken the Kremlin

London may feel that it should not pass up opportunities to weaken the Kremlin
, in the hope that this may tame its appetite for playing confrontational geopolitics.

... ... ...

Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Affairs Prague and a visiting fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

[Mar 27, 2018] Globalists Admit Defeat, Russia and China Facilitate Rise of Multipolar World by by Dmitry Kosyrev

Notable quotes:
"... The views and opinions expressed by Dmitry Kosyrev are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik. ..."
Mar 27, 2018 | sputniknews.com

The recent German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum, which brought together influential American neocons and trans-Atlantic leaders from Europe, marked the failure of the Western-centered globalist idea, Sputnik political observer Dmitry Kosyrev notes, adding that meanwhile, Russia and China continue to facilitate the emergence of a multi-polar world. Globalists have admitted their defeat by recognizing that neither Russia nor China will dance to their tune, Sputnik political observer Dmitry Kosyrev writes .

"It seems that work has begun to revive the half-dead 'liberal world order'," the observer noted. "It will take quite some time, and it is not necessary that the United States will be its epicenter. However, this 'order' will not be global -- goodbye, illusions. It will involve only part of the countries while China, Russia and some other states won't be affected [by the project]."

The observer referred to the 2018 German Marshall Fund's (GMF) Brussels Forum , citing Josh Rogin of The Washington Post. The Brussels Forum is an annual high-level meeting of influential politicians, corporate leaders and scholars from North America and Europe. The event had the eloquent title "Revise, Rebuild, Reboot: Strategies for a Time of Distrust." The organizers of the forum raised the alarm over "a decline in trust, both in domestic and international spheres."

"We lost sight of what it took to create this international order and what an act of defiance of history and even defiance of human nature this order has been. We have the capacity to push back -- we just need to understand the pushback needs to start occurring," Robert Kagan, neoconservative American historian and husband of former US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told the forum, as quoted by Rogin.

For his part, Senator Chris Murphy bemoaned the fact that US President Donald Trump is not interested in "projecting liberal values" into other countries, let alone trade liberalization. The White House's recent initiative to introduce additional tariffs on aluminum and steel imports has prompted a wave of criticism from the US' global partners and allies.

Furthermore, the US president made it clear that the US will not support numerous international institutions and withdrew from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Murphy called upon the defenders of the liberal world order to team up and "build new alliances within their societies."

On the other hand, the transatlantic bloc has seemingly recognized its failure to impose a Western-style political order on Russia and China.

"We can no longer expect that the principles of liberal democracy will expand across the globe," Rogin wrote. "We can no longer assume the United States will carry the bulk of the burden."

Following Trump's win in 2016, The New York Times called Germany's Angela Merkel the last defender of the trans-Atlantic alliance and liberal values.

However, not everything is rosy in the European garden, Kosyrev noted referring to the rise of right-wing forces in Austria, Italy, Hungary, Poland and other EU member states. Although Merkel still remains at the helm of German politics, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag in September 2017 as the third-largest party.

Given all of the above, the rebuilding of the liberal international order will take years, Kosyrev presumed.

According to the political observer, Russia and China could benefit from the inner struggle in the trans-Atlantic camp. On the other hand, he does not exclude that the West will continue its overseas operations to maintain the status quo. To illustrate his point, Kosyrev referred to Syria: While Washington has virtually no leverage to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it continues its saber-rattling, threatening Damascus with a massive strike.

The failure of globalism means the further rise of a multi-polar order based on the principles of equality and sovereignty with its own norms and regulations, the political observer concluded.

The views and opinions expressed by Dmitry Kosyrev are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

[Mar 26, 2018] The Real Reason for Trump's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs by Martin Feldstein

Mar 15, 2018 | www.project-syndicate.org

The Trump administration's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will target China, but not the way most observers believe. For the US, the most important bilateral trade issue has nothing to do with the Chinese authorities' failure to reduce excess steel capacity, as promised, and stop subsidizing exports.

CAMBRIDGE – Like almost all economists and most policy analysts, I prefer low trade tariffs or no tariffs at all. How, then, can US President Donald Trump's decision to impose substantial tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum be justified? 3

Trump no doubt sees potential political gains in steel- and aluminum-producing districts and in increasing the pressure on Canada and Mexico as his administration renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement. The European Union has announced plans to retaliate against US exports, but in the end the EU may negotiate – and agree to reduce current tariffs on US products that exceed US tariffs on European products.

But the real target of the steel and aluminum tariffs is China. The Chinese government has promised for years to reduce excess steel capacity, thereby cutting the surplus output that is sold to the United States at subsidized prices. Chinese policymakers have postponed doing so as a result of domestic pressure to protect China's own steel and aluminum jobs. The US tariffs will balance those domestic pressures and increase the likelihood that China will accelerate the reduction in subsidized excess capacity.

Because the tariffs are being levied under a provision of US trade law that applies to national security, rather than dumping or import surges, it will be possible to exempt imports from military allies in NATO, as well as Japan and South Korea, focusing the tariffs on China and avoiding the risk of a broader trade war. The administration has not yet said that it will focus the tariffs in this way; but, given that they are being introduced with a phase-in period, during which trade partners may seek exemptions, such targeting seems to be the likeliest scenario.

For the US, the most important trade issue with China concerns technology transfers, not Chinese exports of subsidized steel and aluminum. Although such subsidies hurt US producers of steel and aluminum, the resulting low prices also help US firms that use steel and aluminum, as well as US consumers that buy those products. But China unambiguously hurts US interests when it steals technology developed by US firms.

Until a few years ago, the Chinese government was using the Peoples Liberation Army's (PLA) sophisticated cyber skills to infiltrate American companies and steal technology. Chinese officials denied all wrongdoing until President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping met in California in June 2013. Obama showed Xi detailed proof that the US had obtained through its own cyber espionage. Xi then agreed that the Chinese government would no longer use the PLA or other government agencies to steal US technology. Although it is difficult to know with certainty, it appears that such cyber theft has been reduced dramatically.

The current technology theft takes a different form. American firms that want to do business in China are often required to transfer their technology to Chinese firms as a condition of market entry. These firms "voluntarily" transfer production knowhow because they want access to a market of 1.3 billion people and an economy as large as that of the US.

These firms complain that the requirement of technology transfer is a form of extortion. Moreover, they worry that the Chinese government often delays their market access long enough for domestic firms to use their newly acquired technology to gain market share. 1

The US cannot use traditional remedies for trade disputes or World Trade Organization procedures to stop China's behavior. Nor can the US threaten to take Chinese technology or require Chinese firms to transfer it to American firms, because the Chinese do not have the kind of leading-edge technology that US firms have.

So, what can US policymakers do to help level the playing field?

This brings us back to the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. In my view, US negotiators will use the threat of imposing the tariffs on Chinese producers as a way to persuade China's government to abandon the policy of "voluntary" technology transfers. If that happens, and US firms can do business in China without being compelled to pay such a steep competitive price, the threat of tariffs will have been a very successful tool of trade policy.

[Mar 26, 2018] Brexit: UK Capitulates

Notable quotes:
"... The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea. ..."
"... The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a "third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is firmed up. ..."
"... On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves today. ..."
"... I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a transition agreement is central to this. ..."
"... I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in her position. ..."
"... -- and I mean no -- ..."
Mar 26, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A reader was kind enough to ask for a Brexit update. I hadn't provided one because truth be told, the UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of negotiations.

It is a mystery as to why the hard core Brexit faction and the true power brokers, the press barons, have gone quiet after having made such a spectacle of their incompetence and refusal to compromise. Do they not understand what is happening? Has someone done a whip count and realized they didn't have the votes if they tried forcing a crisis, and that the result would probably be a Labour government, a fate they feared far more than a disorderly Brexit?

As we've pointed out repeatedly, the EU has the vastly stronger negotiating position. The UK could stomp and huff and keep demanding its super special cherry picked special cake all it wanted to. That was a fast track to a crash-out Brexit. But it seems out of character for the Glorious Brexit true believers to sober up suddenly.

Some observations:

The transition deal is the much-decried "vassal state ". As we and others pointed out, the only transition arrangement feasible was a standstill with respect to the UK's legal arrangements with the EU, save at most some comparatively minor concessions on pet issues. The UK will remain subject to the authority of the ECJ. The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget. As we'd predicted, the transition period will go only until the end of 2020.

The UK couldn't even get a break on the Common Fisheries Policy. From the Guardian :

For [fisherman Tony] Delahunty's entire career, a lopsided system of quotas has granted up to 84% of the rights to fish some local species, such as English Channel cod, to the French, and left as little as 9% to British boats. Add on a new system that bans fishermen from throwing away unwanted catch and it becomes almost impossible to haul in a net of mixed fish without quickly exhausting more limited quotas of "choke" species such as cod .

Leaving the EU was meant to change all that .Instead, growing numbers of British fishermen feel they have been part of a bait-and-switch exercise – a shiny lure used to help reel in a gullible public. Despite only recently promising full fisheries independence as soon as Brexit day on 29 March 2019, the UK government this week capitulated to Brussels' demand for it to remain part of the common fisheries system until at least 2021, when a transition phase is due to end. Industry lobbyists fear that further cave-ins are now inevitable in the long run as the EU insists on continued access to British waters as the price of a wider post-Brexit trade deal.

The one place where the UK did get a win of sorts was on citizen's rights, where the transition deal did not make commitments, much to the consternation of both EU27 and UK nationals. Curiously, the draft approved by the EU27 last week dropped the section that had discussed citizens' rights. From the Express :

Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, demands EU citizens' rights be protected after Brexit .

The comments from Italy's foreign minister come after the draft Brexit agreement struck between Britain and the EU on Monday was missing "Article 32", which in previous drafts regulated the free movement of British citizens living in Europe after Brexit.

The entire article was missing from the document, which goes straight from Article 31 to Article 33.

MEPs from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru have written to Brexit Secretary David Davis for clarification about the missing article, while citizens' group British in Europe said the document failed to provide them with "legal certainty".

A copy of the letter sent to Mr Davis seen by the Independent said: "As UK MEPs we are deeply worried about what will happen to British citizens living in EU27 member states once we leave the EU.

This issue has apparently been pushed back to the April round of talks. I have not focused on the possible points of contention here. However, bear in mind that EU citizens could sue if they deem the eventual deal to be too unfavorable. Recall that during the 2015 Greece-Troika negotiations, some parties were advocating that Greece leave the Eurozone. A counterargument was that Greek citizens would be able to sue the Greek government for their loss of EU rights.

The UK is backing into having to accept a sea border as the solution for Ireland. As many have pointed out, there's no other remedy to the various commitments the UK has already made with respect to Ireland, as unpalatable as that solution is to the Unionists and hard core Brexiters. The UK has not put any solutions on the table as the EU keeps working on the "default" option, which was included in the Joint Agreement of December. The DUP sabre-rattled then but was not willing to blow up the negotiations then. It will be even harder for them to derail a deal now when the result would be a chaotic Brexit.

The UK is still trying to escape what appears to be the inevitable outcome. The press of the last 24 hours reports that the UK won't swallow the "backstop" plan that the EU has been refining, even though it accepts the proposition that the agreement needs to have that feature . The UK is back to trying to revive one of its barmy ideas that managed to find its way into the Joint Agreement, that of a new super special customs arrangement.

Politico gives an outline below. This is a non-starter simply because the EU will never accept any arrangement where goods can get into the EU without there being full compliance with EU rules, and that includes having them subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the various relevant Brussels supervisory bodies. Without even hearing further details, the UK's barmy "alignment" notions means that the UK would somehow have a say in these legal and regulatory processes. This cheeky plan would give the UK better rights than any EU27 member. From Politico :

The key issues for debate, according to one senior U.K. official, is how the two sides can deliver "full alignment" and what the territorial scope of that commitment will be -- the U.K. or Northern Ireland.

The starting point of the U.K.'s position will be that "full alignment" should apply to goods and a limited number of services sectors, one U.K. official said.

On the customs issue, the proposal that Northern Ireland is subsumed into the EU's customs territory is a non-starter with London

The alternative would be based on one of the two customs arrangements set out by the government in August last year and reaffirmed by May in her Mansion House speech. They are either a customs partnership -- known as the "hybrid" model internally -- or the "highly streamlined customs arrangement" known by officials as "max-fac" or maximum facilitation.

The hybrid model would mean the U.K. continuing to police its border as if it were the EU's customs border, but then tracking imports to apply different tariffs depending on which market they end up in -- U.K. or EU. Under this scenario, because Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would share an external EU customs border, as they do now, it would remove the need for checks on the land border between the two.

The complexity and unprecedented nature of this solution has led to accusations from the Brussels side that it amounts to "magical thinking."

The "max-fac" model is simpler conceptually but would represent a huge logistical effort for U.K. customs authorities. It would involve the use of technological and legal measures such as electronic pre-notification of goods crossing the border and a "trusted trader" status for exporters and importers, to make customs checks as efficient as possible.

While the U.K. will present both customs arrangements as possible ways of solving this aspect of the Irish border problem, one senior official said that the "hybrid" model was emerging as the preferred option in London.

The UK is already having trouble getting its customs IT upgrade done on time, which happens to be right before Brexit. As we wrote early on, even if the new programs are in place, they won't be able to handle the increased transactions volume resulting from of being outside the EU, and I haven't seen good figures as to what the impact would be of the UK becoming a third country but having its transition deal in place. In other words, even if the "mac-fac" scheme were acceptable to the EU (unlikely), the UK looks unable to pull off getting the needed infrastructure in place. Even for competent shops, large IT projects have a high failure rate. And customs isn't looking like a high capability IT player right now.

So the play for the EU is to let the UK continue to flail about and deliver Ireland "solutions" that are dead on arrival because they violate clearly and consistently stated EU red lines. The UK will then in say September be faced with a Brexit deal that is done save Ireland, and it then have to choose between capitulating (it's hard to come up with any way to improve the optics, but we do have a few months for creative ideas) or plunging into a chaotic Brexit.

The EU27 reaffirmed the EU's red lines in the most unambiguous language possible . F rom their "Guidelines" published March 23 :

6.The approach outlined below reflects the level of rights and obligations compatible with the positions stated by the UK

7. In this context, the European Council reiterates in particular that any agreement with the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and ensure a level playing field. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member.

The European Council recalls that the four freedoms are indivisible and that there can be no "cherry picking" through participation in the Single Market based on a sector-by-sector approach, which would undermine the integrity and proper functioning of the Single Market.

The European Council further reiterates that the Union will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making, which excludes participation of the United Kingdom as a third-country in the Union Institutions and participation in the decision-making of the Union bodies, offices and agencies. The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union will also be fully respected.

8. As regards the core of the economic relationship, the European Council confirms its readiness to initiate work towards a balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) insofar as there are sufficient guarantees for a level playing field. This agreement will be finalised and concluded once the UK is no longer a Member State.

The EU also reaffirmed the obvious, "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

The EU nevertheless has relented in its negotiating tactics . The EU's initial approach was to put the most contentious issues up front: the exit tab, Ireland, freedom of movement. You will notice it has achieved closure only only one of those issues where the EU's initial position had been that they had to be concluded before the two sides would discuss "the future relationship," as in trade. This is the opposite of the approach that professional negotiators use, that of starting with the least contentious issues first to establish a working relationship between both sides and create a sense of momentum, and then tackling the difficult questions later. The EU has now allowed the UK to defer resolving the messy issue of Ireland twice, and it is not clear if any progress has been made on the citizens' rights matter.

The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea.

As we've pointed out, coming up with the wording of the referendum question took six months. In the snap elections last year, the Lib Dems set forth the most compact timeline possible for a Brexit referendum redo which presupposed that the phrasing had been settled. That was eight months. And you'd have to have a Parliamentary approval process before and a vote afterwards (Parliament is sovereign; a referendum in and of itself is not sufficient to change course).

Spain has been making noises about Gibraltar but they aren't likely to mean much . I could be proven wrong, but I don't see Spain as able to block a Brexit deal. Article 50 says that only a "qualified majority" vote is required to approve a Brexit agreement. Spain as a lone holdout couldn't keep a deal from being approved. And I don't see who would join Spain over the issue of Gibraltar. In keeping, Spain joined with the rest of the EU27 in approving the latest set of texts.

The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a "third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is firmed up.

Like it or not, May is the ultimate survivor . Politico described the method in her seeming madness :

May has lasted in office longer than many pundits predicted she would because, weak as her grip on power may have been since she lost her parliamentary majority last year, she has timed her surrenders cleverly.

It looks chaotic and undignified, but the prime minister has hunkered down and let pro- and anti-Brexit factions in her party shout the odds in the media day and night, squabble publicly about acceptable terms for a deal, leak against each other and publish Sunday newspaper columns challenging her authority.

Then in the few days before a European summit deadline for the next phase of a deal, she has rammed the only position acceptable to Brussels through her Cabinet and effectively called the hard Brexiteers' bluff.

But what kind of leader marches her country into at worst an abyss and at best a future of lower prosperity, less clout, and no meaningful increase in autonomy? Like it or not, the UK is a small open economy, and its leaders, drunk on Imperial nostalgia, still can's stomach the idea that the UK did better by flexing its muscle within the EU that it can ever do solo.


Which is worse - bankers or terrorists , March 26, 2018 at 5:55 am

I'm curious as to the ramifications of the Northern Ireland sea border. Is reunification possible with the ROI, given that the Unionists have been completely castrated?

I'm a Californian so am not one that is tuned into the history.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 6:29 am

Theoretically, there is no fundamental problem with a NI sea border and NI remaining within the UK. Northern Ireland already has its own Assembly and its own laws (the Assembly is suspended at the moment), so it can, if the EU agreed, stay within the EU (albeit without a separate vote or voice at the table). There are precedents for this, such as the dependant territories of France . It would be constitutionally messy, but if authorized by Parliament in London and in the EU itself, it would likely be legally watertight so far as I am aware.

Hardline Unionists oppose this partly because they are ideologically opposed to the EU anyway (although its highly likely many of their constituents don't agree), but also because they see this as a 'thin end of the wedge' leading to a United Ireland. More thoughtful Unionists realise that a sort of 'foot in both camps' approach might actually be an economic boon to Northern Ireland – it could attract a lot of investment from companies wishing easy access to both the internal UK market and Europe.

Colonel Smithers , March 26, 2018 at 6:26 am

Thank you, Yves.

"The UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of negotiations." The MSM, corporate or government (BBC and Channel 4), are under orders to go quiet. In any case, it's easier and more fun to cover the anti-semites and anti-transgender whatever in the Labour Party, Trump's extra-marital goings-on and whatever dastardly plot Putin has come up with.

On my 'phone's news feed yesterday and today, the Corbyn's anti-Semitism is not shifting from the top line. The only change is from where the latest article is sourced.

On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves today.

How are things playing out locally, Buckinghamshire in my case? The economy is slowing down. More shops are closing. Some IT contractors report contracts not being renewed and having to look for business outside the UK. East Europeans working in farming, care and social services have been replaced in many, but not all, cases by immigrants from south Asia. An cabbie and restaurateur report the worst festive season and first quarter of the year for many, many years.

At Doncaster races last Saturday, the opening day of the flat season, some bookies were offering odds of Tory victory in 2022, if not an earlier khaki one. It seems that May is a survivor and Corbyn's Labour has peaked. All very depressing.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 6:41 am

I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a transition agreement is central to this. I've also been puzzling over the relative acquiescence of the hard Brexiteers – I think they've been told by their paymasters that accepting a lousy transitional deal is the key to a 'clean' and firm Brexit. I believe the phrase Gove was reported as using was that they should 'keep their eye on the prize'. I think, as Yves says, the Tory establishment fears a move against May will precipitate a Corbyn government, so they see it as a strategic necessity to keep her in position, and postpone the main Brexit fallout for later.

Of lesser importance, but also I think a relevant consideration given the strong support given by Merkel, Barnier and Tusk to the Irish PM, Varadkar, is that he is rumoured to be planning a snap election in the autumn. His stance on Brexit has proven popular and he sees the time as ripe to go for an overall majority (he is currently leading a minority government). He is very much an EU establishment favourite, so I don't doubt that some of the motivation is to help his domestic politics by giving him what are perceived as 'wins' over Brexit.

If this is the case, then barring an unexpected event, I think there will be a strong political push on both sides to sign off a transition deal which would be both a complete surrender by the UK, but with sufficient spin by a supportively dim witted UK press will allow her to push the whole Brexit issue politically to one side for a year or two. The Tories will be hoping that this can be sold to the public as a success for long enough for them to work out how to stop Corbyn.

David , March 26, 2018 at 8:22 am

I'm taking the liberty of re-posting a comment I made yesterday on one of the links – a Richard North piece – to which none of the usual Brexit scholars responded (Sunday .). It bears very much on this discussion and echoes a number of points made above.

"Richard North's Brexit article is well informed as one would expect, but I think that, like a lot of other commentators, he's missing something. May is a post-modern politician, ie there is no particular link between what she says and does, and her understanding of its impact on the real world. Only her words and actions actually count, and, whether it's threatening Russia or threatening Brussels, real-world consequences don't form part of the calculation, insofar as they actually exist. Her only concern (and in this she is indeed post-modernist) is with how she is perceived by voters and the media, and as a consequence whether she can hang onto her job. I think May has decided that she will have an agreement at any cost, no matter if she has to surrender on every single issue, and throw Northern Ireland to the wolves. She wants to be seen as the Prime Minister who got us "out of Europe," just as Ted Heath got us in. The content of the final deal is secondary: not that she wouldn't prefer to please the City and the Brexit ultras if she could, but if there's a choice she will sacrifice them for a picture of her shaking hands with Barnier and waving the Union Jack with the other hand. The resulting chaos can then be blamed on a treacherous Europe. Indeed, if May can stick it out until next year, I think she'll keep her job. What a thought." I think many of the hardline Brexiters have the same idea – the political prize is exiting the EU: the damage is a secondary consideration. Any deal, no matter how humiliating, can be spun in the end as a triumph because we will have broken the shackles of Brussels.

I'd add that the EU's emphasis on the priority to give to NI was an each-way bet, as I argued at the time. Either the Tory government collapsed, and something more reasonable took its place, or May gave way on everything else, in the hope of surviving and somehow finding a NI solution later. This has indeed proved to be the case.

Finally, I wouldn't put too much store by the imperial nostalgia argument, not least because few Brexiters were even alive then. The real nostalgia is for an independent Britain capable of playing a role on the world stage, perhaps at the head of a coalition of likeminded nations. The idea of a Commonwealth Free Trade area, for example, was raised in the 1975 EU referendum debate, and has its ultimate origins in the ideas of Mill and others in the 19th century for a kind of British superstate, incorporating Australia, New Zealand, Canada and perhaps South Africa. Its ghost still walks.

Finally, let's not get too carried away with the small size of the British economy. It's the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, depending on how you calculate it, ahead of Russia, India, Italy and Spain.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 9:12 am

Thanks for that, David.

I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in her position. Whether or not she does a good deal (or any other good policy work) has become irrelevant. Its all about survival, and keeping Corbyn at bay.

Michael KILLIAN , March 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

Who are the 'wolves' to whom NI may be thrown? More interesting, who are the strange Tory Brexiteers, not exactly in sync with the needs and expectations of the City of London, big business in Britain, etc? The people for whom an imperial past is still a ghost that walks? A possible answer here:
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n05/william-davies/what-are-they-after

templar555510 , March 26, 2018 at 9:33 am

Thank you David. I agree with your definition of the present Brexit set-up and May herself as post-modernist . The same could be said even more so about Trump . They have in their very different ways taken politics to a place beyond policies and even identities ( it's most recent iteration ) to this very new place where the public ( translation : American people ) simply roll over and get out of bed the next day to whatever is new and move on whether it be bombing in Syria, or Trump and a prostitute . I think the technology of the smart phone and everything that emanates from it is the handmaiden to this change . The speed of daily life as orchestrated by the smart phone has brought us all , whether we like it or not, to this post-modern , everything is a cultural construct , position which is possibly the most terrifying reality the West has ever had to face and yet it barely registers .

vlade , March 26, 2018 at 9:45 am

On your last point – it used to be larger. It would have been inconcievable even 50 years ago that the UK's economy could be compared with Spain's.

The point being that the correlation of physical closeness and trade is about as close as you get in economics to a natural law. The UK is now spurning (wilfully limiting its access to) the closest and the richest markets it has. That will have impact – and no amount of Brexiter's wishful thinking will replace it – if for nothing else, the likelyhood of the UK SMEs suddenly wanting to export to China/India/NZ/whatever is not going to grow with Brexit. Those who wanted and could, already do. The other don't want and are unlikely to want to in a new world.

Olivier , March 26, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Vlade, 50 years ago Africa still started at the Pyrenées, as the saying was in France. It is not that the UK has shrunk so much as that Spain has dramatically improved its position. So, unhelpful comparison. How the UK fared over those 50 years relative to, say, France and Germany or even Italy, would be more instructive.

Marlin , March 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm

In relation to France it stayed roughly the same. But actually the share of British GDP to world GDP is much smaller and international specialisation and globalisation is much increased. For the question if the UK can act as a "big" economy in relation to economic policy the latter is more important.

The Rev Kev , March 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

You watch. About the same time that the British wake to find that the elites have sold them down the river through devastating incompetence and sheer bloodymindedness, they will find that in the transition to Brexit that the government would have voted themselves all sorts of laws that will give them authoritarian powers. And then it will be too late.
It won't matter how bad May is at that point and she might just resign and let somebody else deal with all the fallout over the new regulations at which time she will be kicked upstairs to the House of Lords. Isn't the way that it works in practice? Don't make any preparations, tell the people that they have got it all organized, then when it all hits they start pumping out emergency orders and the like.

Anonymous2 , March 26, 2018 at 10:44 am

It all seems quite curious does it not (curiouser and curiouser?). I wonder if I smell a rat? Forgive me; I have a suspicious nature. I was thinking partly of the role of Gove, which prompted some idle musings.

Gove is reportedly telling people who support Brexit to keep their eyes on the prize, by which he is said to mean letting the clock run down to 29 March 2019 at which time the UK is officially out of the EU. When I read Gove, I tend to think Murdoch, who pulls Gove's strings. Yves quite rightly asks what the press barons are about; that is generally worth knowing when it comes to UK politics. Is Murdoch playing a longer game?

The argument goes that once the UK is out of the EU it will be much harder to get support for it to go back in again as the UK would only be allowed back in without the special privileges it had negotiated for itself over the decades : opt out from Euro, Schengen, various justice issues, the budget rebate. Is this determining Murdoch's approach at the moment – ensure that the UK is outside the EU at almost any cost before proceeding to the next stage, when Ministers will be largely unable to call Brussels in to help them against him and his allies?

Why might Murdoch want to do that? There is talk that May will be ditched once she does a deal. If it is seen as a bad deal then she becomes the scapegoat (and Gove steps in to her shoes?). Post March 2019, it might then be the plan to seek to undercut the effect of any deal struck now by, for example, pulling out of the Good Friday Agreement if that proves to be an obstacle to the trade deals Fox is so keen to sign (is he expecting kickbacks?). At that point the UK might declare that with the demise of the GFA it was no longer constrained by the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement with regards to the Irish Border and with one leap the UK would be free. I have seen cynics suggest that the men of violence in Northern Ireland might be encouraged to go on a bit if a spree to justify claims that the GFA had failed.

I hope I am wrong but as I said I have a suspicious nature and, having watched more of Murdoch's machinations than I have ever wished, know that he is very capable of playing a long game.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

I'm loath to indulge in conspiracy theorising, but when it comes to Brexit (and Northern Ireland) conspiracies are legion and real.

I'm sure in any spiders web Murdoch will be found in the middle of it, and there is certainly something up, thats the only explanation for the low key response of the hard Brexiters. It wouldn't surprise me if he has realised that a tanking UK economy isn't exactly good for his investments (its also worth noting that it seems to have belatedly been realised by the UK media economy that many of them will have to up sticks to Europe if they are to keep broadcasting rights).

My guess is that they 'have a plan' which will involve Gove playing middle man, but actually working for a decisive Brexit doing his duty for the country at some stage to step into Mays shoes. All sorts of behind the scenes promises (mostly jobs, no doubt) have probably been made. I suspect a centre piece of it would be a dramatic repudiation of any deal, supposedly on the UK's terms.

As for Northern Ireland, anything is possible. Several of the Loyalist terrorist groups have been shown over the years to be little more than puppets of the security forces, they will do what they are told. And there have long been rumours that at least one of the fringe Republican groups is so completely infiltrated that they are similarly under control. There have been nearly 50 years of shady assassinations and bombings in NI and the Republic which have the fingerprints of intelligence services, so quite literally, I could believe almost anything could happen if it was in their interest. People who c ould maintain a boys home as the centre of a paedophile ring for political purposes are capable of almost anything.

Clive , March 26, 2018 at 11:56 am

Oh yes, this is a big part of the history of "the troubles". So much of what went on in that conflict was beneficial to the U.K. government. Budget, manpower, little oversight, draconian powers and a lot more besides was enabled merely because of the paramilitary activities. It's not hard to look for well documented examples -- such as the mass warrantless surveillance of all U.K.- Republic telecommunications http://www.lamont.me.uk/capenhurst/original.html by the U.K. security services.

And virtually everyone in the dissident republican movement was under constant monitoring which was put down to "luck" https://www.independent.co.uk/news/how-ira-plotted-to-switch-off-london-1266533.html when schemes were foiled. And even then, there was so much self licking ice creams going on with the RUC effectively knowing about and even setting up IRA hits which were carried out by informants https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_McGartland .

And, there's more, a lot of provisional activity was just your common or garden organised crime -- protection rackets, kidnapping and bribery.

To say that the troubles were merely to do with republicanism and unionism is like saying US Civil War was only about racism and ignoring the politics and the economics.

David , March 26, 2018 at 12:37 pm

I think that we should remember how much the anti-EU fraternity in politics and the media have had a symbiotic, if not downright parasitic, relationship with the EU itself. Much of their commerce depended on us being members, and so being able to strike poses and make cheap cracks about Europe and Brussels. I have a feeling that reality is starting to dawn, and they are standing to understand that politics will be a great deal more complicated, and probably nastier, after Brexit than even it is now.They'll have to find something else to complain about for easy applause instead of just bashing Brussels.
As for conspiracy theories, well I have the same skepticism about them of most people who've worked in government, and I happen to have been reasonably close to a number of people who had to deal with these issues in the 1970s and 1980s. There was certainly complicity in some cases, and some of the actors involved broke the rules badly , but it's a stretch from that to talk of conspiracies. With what objective? And what objective would such conspiracies have today, and how could they be implemented? The universal refrain among everyone I knew involved in the security forces at the time was Get Us Out of Here.

Anonymous2 , March 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

To avoid confusion, I was not so much thinking conspiracy as trying to get inside Murdoch's head.

What might his objectives be? Well, the first of course is more power and wealth for himself, but he is not above making mischief.

Clive , March 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm

It'll put a cat amongst the pigeons and no mistake. If I may put in a word from the deplorables who voted Brexit, there's a lot which -- for both the UK and the EU -- was made a whole lot easier because a problem issue could simply be labelled as the British complaining and not understanding The Project.

Take energy. It was probably energy supply as much as Greece and the Ukraine which tipped me over into Brexit. At the behest of the U.K., the European energy industry became, at least in theory, a pan-continental endeavour free from national restrictive practices. Well, a fat lot of good that turned out to be. As exemplified by the recent cold weather snap, UK wholesalers when faced with a shortfall in natural gas supplies spiked the offer price into the stratosphere http://mip-prod-web.azurewebsites.net/PrevailingViewGraph/ViewReport?prevailingViewGraph=ActualPriceGraph&gasDate=2018-03-26 . No -- and I mean no -- EU suppliers made any bids. Now, it's either a Single Market or it isn't. It either looks and acts like it's subject to market forces or it doesn't. The rules are either enforced properly amongst all participants or they aren't. Irony's of irony's, when the U.K. needed an augmented natural gas input to match system demand, the only country to answer their doorbell was Russia. That, and some U.K. big capacity users releasing stocks from storage.

Now, the smell of the nationalist pulling up the drawbridge in energy supply is causing the Commission to try to document how in fact the Single Market sometimes isn't a market at all but just a token gesture and is working on the usual eurofudge http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.032.01.0052.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:032:TOC (the contortions of which did genuinely have me laughing out loud). There's going to be a lot more of this to come once the U.K. can't be the donkey this kind of tail is routinely pinned on.

And it'll be the same in the U.K. of course. Without the EU ready to play it's role of perpetual bogeyman, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves. And I still cannot, in all honesty, say anything other than bring it on.

(ask me in 5 years if I still think the same..!)

Ape , March 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm

People have avoided the difficulty of reciprocal citizen's rights. How can the UK reciprocate with all the EU countries? Simultaneously? Where UK non-citizen residents can relocate for 30 years to an EU country then relocate back in the same way that a Brit in France can move to Germany for 30 years and then move back under current rules? It's even worse if you consider reciprocity to include the rights of all people outside their citizenship country's right to relocate.

The only obvious solution is to reduce Brits to the same status of any immigrant to a EU country. That means not being able to shift your permanent residency without applying for immigration.

Unless you are blue card eligible that's non-trivial.

[Mar 26, 2018] [neo]Liberal World Order, RIP by Richard N. Haass

This guy is a neoliberal stooge. Still some of his observations are interesting
Neoliberalism emerged in late 70th, not after WWII (althouth this ideology existed since late 30 in some smaa think tanks). First couple of decades after WWII were the triumph of New Deal Capitalism -- the gold age for the US workers, and the USA as a country. Only with Reagan neoliberal coup d'état, the dismantling of the New Deal and reemergence of financial oligarchy as the "owners" of the country begin in full force. Traitors of his class and party such as Clinton (who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street, converting it into yet another party of financial capital) and Obama just ended the process which started in full force under Reagan.
Notable quotes:
"... After a run of nearly one thousand years, quipped the French philosopher and writer Voltaire, the fading Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Today, some two and a half centuries later, the problem, to paraphrase Voltaire, is that the fading [neo]liberal world order is neither [neo]liberal nor worldwide, nor orderly. ..."
"... [neo]Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence ..."
"... Attempts to build global frameworks are failing. Protectionism is on the rise; the latest round of global trade talks never came to fruition. There are few rules governing the use of cyberspace. ..."
"... The rise of populism is in part a response to stagnating incomes and job loss, owing mostly to new technologies but widely attributed to imports and immigrants. Nationalism is a tool increasingly used by leaders to bolster their authority, especially amid difficult economic and political conditions. And global institutions have failed to adapt to new power balances and technologies. ..."
"... the US is not just another country. It was the principal architect of the [neo]liberal world order and its principal backer. It was also a principal beneficiary. ..."
"... America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The [neo]liberal world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. ..."
Mar 26, 2018 | www.project-syndicate.org

America's decision to abandon the global system it helped build, and then preserve for more than seven decades, marks a turning point, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike.

After a run of nearly one thousand years, quipped the French philosopher and writer Voltaire, the fading Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Today, some two and a half centuries later, the problem, to paraphrase Voltaire, is that the fading [neo]liberal world order is neither [neo]liberal nor worldwide, nor orderly.

The United States, working closely with the United Kingdom and others, established the [neo]liberal world order in the wake of World War II. The goal was to ensure that the conditions that had led to two world wars in 30 years would never again arise.

... ... ...

All this and more was backed by the economic and military might of the US, a network of alliances across Europe and Asia, and nuclear weapons, which served to deter aggression. The [neo]liberal world order was thus based not just on ideals embraced by democracies, but also on hard power. None of this was lost on the decidedly illiberal Soviet Union, which had a fundamentally different notion of what constituted order in Europe and around the world.

The [neo]liberal world order appeared to be more robust than ever with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. But today, a quarter-century later, its future is in doubt. Indeed, its three components – [neo]liberalism, universality, and the preservation of order itself – are being challenged as never before in its 70-year history.

[neo]Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence . Even the US is experiencing unprecedented attacks from its own president on the country's media, courts, and law-enforcement institutions. Authoritarian systems, including China, Russia, and Turkey, have become even more top-heavy. Countries such as Hungary and Poland seem uninterested in the fate of their young democracies.

It is increasingly difficult to speak of the world as if it were whole. We are seeing the emergence of regional orders – or, most pronounced in the Middle East, disorders – each with its own characteristics. Attempts to build global frameworks are failing. Protectionism is on the rise; the latest round of global trade talks never came to fruition. There are few rules governing the use of cyberspace.

At the same time, great power rivalry is returning...

There are several reasons why all this is happening, and why now. The rise of populism is in part a response to stagnating incomes and job loss, owing mostly to new technologies but widely attributed to imports and immigrants. Nationalism is a tool increasingly used by leaders to bolster their authority, especially amid difficult economic and political conditions. And global institutions have failed to adapt to new power balances and technologies.

But the weakening of the [neo]liberal world order is due, more than anything else, to the changed attitude of the US. Under President Donald Trump, the US decided against joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. It has threatened to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. It has unilaterally introduced steel and aluminum tariffs, relying on a justification (national security) that others could use, in the process placing the world at risk of a trade war. It has raised questions about its commitment to NATO and other alliance relationships. And it rarely speaks about democracy or human rights. "America First" and the [neo]liberal world order seem incompatible.

My point is not to single out the US for criticism. Today's other major powers, including the EU, Russia, China, India, and Japan, could be criticized for what they are doing, not doing, or both. But the US is not just another country. It was the principal architect of the [neo]liberal world order and its principal backer. It was also a principal beneficiary.

America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The [neo]liberal world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike.

[Mar 21, 2018] An insane anti-Putin propaganda campaign in the West helped Russian people to learn their lesson: another Yeltsin or Gorbachev in Russia are now highly unlikely. In fact, the West will regret the day Putin is gone.

Mar 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

yurivku , Next New Comment March 21, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

" As far as we all know now are quite hard times to Russia and to the world as a whole. "

Why do we have these hard times ?
Could it be globalisation, western greed, and western aggression ?

Well, probably it can be more clear for those who are attacking and humiliating Russia in all directions? The West-ZUS-UK

But I think it's just an agony of Empire seeing the world order is about to change. And yes it's "western greed" which have a "western aggression" as a consequence.

The "globalisation" actually IS that world order which the West trying to establish. Russia in all times in all its internal structure was a subject of annexation and submission. But we never agreed and never will do it, until alive. The West is too stupid to get that simple thing to know and leave us to live as we are about to.

[Mar 18, 2018] Globalists Or Nationalists Who Owns The Future by Patrick Buchanan

Mar 13, 2018 | Buchanan.org

Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: "There shall be open borders."

Bartley accepted what the erasure of America's borders and an endless influx or foreign peoples and goods would mean for his country.

Said Bartley, "I think the nation-state is finished."

His vision and ideology had a long pedigree.

This free trade, open borders cult first flowered in 18th-century Britain. The St. Paul of this post-Christian faith was Richard Cobden, who mesmerized elites with the grandeur of his vision and the power of his rhetoric.

In Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Jan. 15, 1846, the crowd was so immense the seats had to be removed. There, Cobden thundered:

"I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe -- drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonisms of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace."

Britain converted to this utopian faith and threw open her markets to the world. Across the Atlantic, however, another system, that would be known as the "American System," had been embraced.

The second bill signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Said the Founding Father of his country in his first address to Congress: "A free people should promote such manufactures as tend to make them independent on others for essential, particularly military supplies."

In his 1791 "Report on Manufactures," Alexander Hamilton wrote, "Every nation ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitat, clothing and defence."

This was wisdom born of experience.

At Yorktown, Americans had to rely on French muskets and ships to win their independence. They were determined to erect a system that would end our reliance on Europe for the necessities of our national life, and establish new bonds of mutual dependency -- among Americans.

Britain's folly became manifest in World War I, as a self-reliant America stayed out, while selling to an import-dependent England the food, supplies and arms she needed to survive but could not produce.

America's own first major steps toward free trade, open borders and globalism came with JFK's Trade Expansion Act and LBJ's Immigration Act of 1965.

By the end of the Cold War, however, a reaction had set in, and a great awakening begun. U.S. trade deficits in goods were surging into the hundreds of billions, and more than a million legal and illegal immigrants were flooding in yearly, visibly altering the character of the country.

Americans were coming to realize that free trade was gutting the nation's manufacturing base and open borders meant losing the country in which they grew up. And on this earth there is no greater loss.

The new resistance of Western man to the globalist agenda is now everywhere manifest.

We see it in Trump's hostility to NAFTA, his tariffs, his border wall.

We see it in England's declaration of independence from the EU in Brexit. We see it in the political triumphs of Polish, Hungarian and Czech nationalists, in anti-EU parties rising across Europe, in the secessionist movements in Scotland and Catalonia and Ukraine, and in the admiration for Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin.

Europeans have begun to see themselves as indigenous peoples whose Old Continent is mortally imperiled by the hundreds of millions of invaders wading across the Med and desperate come and occupy their homelands.

Who owns the future? Who will decide the fate of the West?

The problem of the internationalists is that the vision they have on offer -- a world of free trade, open borders and global government -- are constructs of the mind that do not engage the heart.

Men will fight for family, faith and country. But how many will lay down their lives for pluralism and diversity?

Who will fight and die for the Eurozone and EU?

On Aug. 4, 1914, the anti-militarist German Social Democrats, the oldest and greatest socialist party in Europe, voted the credits needed for the Kaiser to wage war on France and Russia. With the German army on the march, the German socialists were Germans first.

Patriotism trumps ideology.

In "Present at the Creation," Dean Acheson wrote of the postwar world and institutions born in the years he served FDR and Truman in the Department of State: The U.N., IMF, World Bank, Marshall Plan, and with the split between East and West, NATO.

We are present now at the end of all that.

And our transnational elites have a seemingly insoluble problem.

To rising millions in the West, the open borders and free trade globalism they cherish and champion is not a glorious future, but an existential threat to the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries they love. And they will not go gentle into that good night.

[Mar 15, 2018] One strong indication that Skripal case is used for a preplanned propaganda campaign against Russia that specialists in the UK who know their stuff no longer get airtime while people like Luke Harding, who plainly don t, are all over the media

First Steele dossier. Now Skripals.. What's next ?
Notable quotes:
"... But even to an outsider, and even if we take it all at face value, that official account of the Wiltshire poisoning is nowhere near solid enough to justify the steps taken. "If you have a weak argument, shout louder" is sufficient therefore to explain the surprising volume of anti-Russian PR coming out of London just now. ..."
"... I think they're probably shouting loud enough to gain their point. A sufficient number of us in the UK public will accept that Wiltshire incident as further proof of Putin's malevolence. We will therefore accept further anti-Russian measures. ..."
"... For the Westminster bubble all our eggs are in the American neocon basket. One could say that the respective swamps are inextricably connected. What's in it for our politicians is nothing less than the maintenance of a comfortable and familiar status quo. There's therefore no choice but to be more Roman that Rome when it comes to pursuing neocon objectives. ..."
"... As ever therefore it all centres around Trump. Is he getting dragged along by his neocons? Or is he now one of them? ..."
"... Trump is not only up against his own establishment. He's up against the European establishment as well. Hence the hammering he's getting from our European press and politicians. Hence also the dossier scandal, which for my part I now see for certain as a joint attempt by the American/UK status quo supporters to weaken or unseat Trump. ..."
Mar 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

English Outsider -> kooshy... 15 March 2018 at 08:52 AM

Kooshy - I should have checked down-thread before submitting my comment. Then I'd have seen that "London Bob" (87) had given a brief account of what is happening in Westminster.

"London Bob" explains something that puzzles some in the UK (and bothered me a lot over Syria). Why isn't Corbyn, the opposition leader in the House of Commons and now stronger than he was, coming out with all guns firing against the present anti-Russian hysteria? He'd have plenty of ammunition, that's for sure.

As that brief account explains, he's in no position to do so. He's leading a divided party. He has some support from within his party rank and file but not from many of his own colleagues in the House. We now see, incidentally, some of his colleagues making public statements that are only a hair's breadth away from disavowing Corbyn or his spokesmen.

In addition Corbyn is already suspected of being anti-patriotic and doesn't want to give his opponents a bigger stick to beat him with on that.

Therefore resistance to the current Russophobia from within the Westminster bubble is likely to be weak.

Also in this thread DH is casting a sceptical eye over the Wiltshire poisoning. It's an indication of how far down public discussion in the UK has gone that specialists in the UK who know their stuff no longer get airtime while people like Luke Harding, who plainly don't, are all over the media. This blanking out of the voice of reasoned criticism in the UK media is, I suspect, already proving counterproductive for the status quo. It merely reinforces that general public feeling, evident to some extent in the Brexit vote, that we do at least know we're being conned even if we don't always know how. I don't know how widespread that feeling is in this case.

But even to an outsider, and even if we take it all at face value, that official account of the Wiltshire poisoning is nowhere near solid enough to justify the steps taken. "If you have a weak argument, shout louder" is sufficient therefore to explain the surprising volume of anti-Russian PR coming out of London just now.

I think they're probably shouting loud enough to gain their point. A sufficient number of us in the UK public will accept that Wiltshire incident as further proof of Putin's malevolence. We will therefore accept further anti-Russian measures.

What's in it for us? As you perhaps indicate, bent money will be running like the devil away from London, which one would think can't be good news for the City or for the London property market. Hence the repeated calls for European and American solidarity; if the Russian expatriates can simply move their fortunes to other Western boltholes that's going to leave Westminster looking ineffectual.

I don't accept the argument I sometimes see put forward that we, and the East Europeans for that matter, are at present dragging the Americans along with us. However weak the American economy is or is said to be, there's no question but that ours is considerably more fragile. For the Westminster bubble all our eggs are in the American neocon basket. One could say that the respective swamps are inextricably connected. What's in it for our politicians is nothing less than the maintenance of a comfortable and familiar status quo. There's therefore no choice but to be more Roman that Rome when it comes to pursuing neocon objectives.

So when it comes to the various neocon establishments, the little dogs can kick up more racket but it's still the big dog running the show.

As ever therefore it all centres around Trump. Is he getting dragged along by his neocons? Or is he now one of them?

If the first, then it's accurate to see this as many of us here have seen it from the start. Trump is not only up against his own establishment. He's up against the European establishment as well. Hence the hammering he's getting from our European press and politicians. Hence also the dossier scandal, which for my part I now see for certain as a joint attempt by the American/UK status quo supporters to weaken or unseat Trump.

If the second then all is still not lost. Better to have the cronies falling out amongst themselves - and it's evident at least that that's happening - than have them as united as they were before Trump.

[Mar 14, 2018] If Putin is so diabolical and his information operations so elegant and effective he should execute one that breaks the chain of zionist influence on the US polity. That would prevent Armageddon and the world would be thankful.

Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

14 March 2018 at 04:12 AM

What is US interest in the Middle East? I don't see any. We've got plenty of oil. And the Canadians will happily sell us more.

The millenia old conflicts there are really no business of ours. The possibility that we'll go to war with Russia and risk our own population to further Israeli perceptions shows how far down the rabbit hole we've gone. The zionists "own" our political, media, governmental establishments lock stock and barrel for this possibility to exist.

If Putin is so diabolical and his information operations so elegant and effective he should execute one that breaks the chain of zionist influence on the US polity. That would prevent Armageddon and the world would be thankful.

Honestly I have no idea what the firing of Tillerson and his replacement by Pompeo means. Maybe it's because Tillerson called Trump a moron and Pompeo is an ass licker. Hillary, Rubio, etc al wanted a no-fly-zone over Syria. That would have brought instant conflict with Russia. If Nikki Haley's threats come to pass we'll get there.

Trump is attempting to change many past arrangements. One being trade where the US has bled for decades running massive trade deficits. How the GOP does in the mid-terms will influence his position on many issues.

[Mar 12, 2018] Brussels is turning into Moscow in an ever increasing pace, only the tanks have been replaced by banks

Notable quotes:
"... As of leaving the EU, we have fought long and hard (sometimes each other) to be independent and free. 45 years of communism (with the obligatory internationalism) does not fade out unnoticed. I have written a long essay some two years ago here on SST about 'if it looks like a duck'. ..."
"... human rightsism has turned into a full fledged monotheistic religion, with a credo, an instutionalized church, and a serious hate against unbelievers. All that in the name of tolerance and progress. ..."
Mar 12, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Balint Somkuti, PhD -> LeaNder... , 12 March 2018 at 03:22 AM

I can't speak for the whole V4 as czechs and slovaks have been sneaky in diplomacy in the last century, and even as V4 members. We Hungarians and our Polish brothers were usually stupid enough to say what we meant (and damn the consequences) and not hide away behind ambigous terms or actions. While I can understand their cautiousness (Sp?), we 'dwa bratinki' usually say yes or no. For the czech/slovaks it is usually abstain, even if everybody knows what their stand is.

As of leaving the EU, we have fought long and hard (sometimes each other) to be independent and free. 45 years of communism (with the obligatory internationalism) does not fade out unnoticed. I have written a long essay some two years ago here on SST about 'if it looks like a duck'.

We have sensors for unsaid intentions becuase of that oppression, and for us (V4) Brussels is turning into Moscow in an ever increasing pace, only the tanks have been replaced by banks, as a late hungarian politician has said. Of course everybody welcomes free money (EU funds), but as

  1. Most of it flows back to german/french/italian/austrian companies anyway
  2. The previously hidden internationalist and centralized agenda is slowly turning into reality, not to mention the intended connection between the two (funds and internationalist policies).

It is more and more seen as Judas Iskariotes' 30 silver pieces. None wants war again in Europe, and none wants to leave the EU unless forced to do it. There has been a more or less functioning proto-EU, the Austro-Hungarian Empire that is. A similar EU, where none really can and should question German French leadership is viable, with the following terms.

  1. Internal policies are handled locally from education, to justice system, from internal affairs to other local issues etc. No human rights meddling in partner countries, no SJW pushing to accept economical migrants to poor countires etc.
  2. ONLY foreign affairs and military affairs are handled centrally, but no typical french meddling in ex colonies or R2P. European army CAN be exclusively used abroad, with all parliaments giving consent (In the age of IT this should not be a problem) or in case of foreign attack against or own soil.
  3. ONLY money to finance the above two are handled centrally. euro can stay, but no pressure to join it. And V4 will definitely want a say in it how it used.
  4. Dismantling of the social justice warrior turned, democratically deficited, internationalist, and non-transparent bureaucracy in Brussels/Strasbourg.
Balint Somkuti, PhD -> Babak Makkinejad... , 12 March 2018 at 03:24 AM
Exactly. I always say to my students, that like it or not, agree or not, human rightsism has turned into a full fledged monotheistic religion, with a credo, an instutionalized church, and a serious hate against unbelievers. All that in the name of tolerance and progress.

[Mar 12, 2018] There is no democracy without economic democracy by Jason Hirthler

Highly recommended!
Like many high demand cults neoliberalism is a trap, from which it is very difficult to escape...
Notable quotes:
"... A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism. ..."
"... Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged. ..."
"... The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy. ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

Part 3 - A False Promise

This 'Washington Consensus' is the false promise promoted by the West. The reality is quite different. The crux of neoliberalism is to eliminate democratic government by downsizing, privatizing, and deregulating it. Proponents of neoliberalism recognize that the state is the last bulwark of protection for the common people against the predations of capital. Remove the state and they'll be left defenseless .

Think about it. Deregulation eliminates the laws. Downsizing eliminates departments and their funding. Privatizing eliminates the very purpose of the state by having the private sector take over its traditional responsibilities.

Ultimately, nation-states would dissolve except perhaps for armies and tax systems. A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism.

Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged.

The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy.

What matters to the one percent and the media conglomerates that disseminate their worldview is that the official definitions are accepted by the masses. The real effects need never be known. The neoliberal ideology (theory) thus conceals the neoliberal reality (practice). And for the masses to accept it, it must be mass produced. Then it becomes more or less invisible by virtue of its universality.

Source, links:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/02/colonizing-the-western-mind/
[ 1 ] [ 2 ]

[Mar 11, 2018] Washington s Century-long War on Russia by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
The crisis of neoliberalism is at the core of current anti-Russian campaign.
Notable quotes:
"... So, as long as Russia remained open to the West's political maneuvering and wholesale thievery, every thing was hunky-dory. But as soon as Vladimir Putin got his bearings (during his second term as President) and started reassembling the broken state, then western elites became very concerned and denounced Putin as an "autocrat" and a "KGB thug." ..."
"... As the Western countries' elites were implementing a policy of political and economic containment of Russia, old threats were growing and new ones were emerging in the world, and the efforts to do away with them have failed. I think that the main reason for that is that the model of "West-centric" globalization, which developed following the dismantling of the bipolar architecture and was aimed at ensuring the prosperity of one-seventh of the world's population at the expense of the rest, proved ineffective. It is becoming more and more obvious that a narrow group of "chosen ones" is unable to ensure the sustainable growth of the global economy on their own and solve such major challenges as poverty, climate change, shortage of food and other vital resources . ..."
"... The American people need to look beyond the propaganda and try to grasp what's really going on. Russia is not Washington's enemy, it's a friend that's trying to nudge the US in adirection that will increase its opportunities for peace and prosperity in the future. Lavrov is simply pointing out that a multipolar world is inevitable as economic power becomes more widespread. This emerging reality means the US will have to modify its behavior, cooperate with other sovereign nations, comply with international law, and seek a peaceful settlement to disputes. It means greater parity between the states, fairer representation in global decision-making, and a narrower gap between the world's winners and losers. ..."
"... Admit it: The imperial model has failed. It's time to move on. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

The United States has launched a three-pronged offensive on Russia. First, it's attacking Russia's economy via sanctions and oil-price manipulation. Second, it's increasing the threats to Russia's national security by arming and training militant proxies in Syria and Ukraine, and by encircling Russia with NATO forces and missile systems. And, third, it's conducting a massive disinformation campaign aimed at convincing the public that Russia is a 'meddling aggressor' that wants to destroy the foundation of American democracy. (Elections)

In response to Washington's hostility, Moscow has made every effort to extend the olive branch. Russia does not want to fight the world's biggest superpower any more than it wants to get bogged down in a bloody and protracted conflict in Syria. What Russia wants is normal, peaceful relations based on respect for each others interests and for international law. What Russia will not tolerate, however, is another Iraq-type scenario where the sovereign rights of a strategically-located state are shunted off so the US can arbitrarily topple the government, decimate the society and plunge the region deeper into chaos. Russia won't allow that, which is why it has put its Airforce at risk in Syria, to defend the foundational principle of state sovereignty upon which the entire edifice of global security rests.

The majority of Americans believe that Russia is the perpetrator of hostilities against the United States, mainly because the media and the political class have faithfully disseminated the spurious claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. But the allegations are ridiculous and without merit. Russia-gate is merely the propaganda component of Washington's Full Spectrum Dominance theory, that is, disinformation is being used to make it appear as though the US is the victim when, in fact, it is the perpetrator of hostilities against Russia. Simply put, the media has turned reality on its head. Washington wants to inflict as much pain as possible on Russia because Russia has frustrated its plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors in Central Asia and the Middle East. The Trump administration's new National Defense Strategy is quite clear on this point. Russia's opposition to Washington's destabilizing interventions has earned it the top spot on the Pentagon's "emerging rivals" list. Moscow is now Public Enemy#1.

Washington's war on Russia has a long history dating back at least 100 years to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Despite the fact that the US was engaged in a war with Germany at the time (WW1), Washington and its allies sent 150,000 men from 15 nations to intervene on behalf of the "Whites" hoping to staunch the spread of communism into Europe. In the words of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the goal was "to strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib."

According to Vasilis Vourkoutiotis from the University of Ottawa:

" the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War.. was a failed attempt to eradicate Bolshevism while it was still weak .As early as February 1918 Britain supported intervention in the civil war on behalf of the Whites, and in March it landed troops in Murmansk. They were soon joined by forces from France, Italy, Japan, the United States, and ten other nations. Eventually, more than 150,000 Allied soldiers served in Russia

The scale of the war between the Russian Reds and Whites, however, was such that the Allies soon realized they would have little, if any, direct impact on the course of the Civil War unless they were prepared to intervene on a far grander scale. By the end of April 1919 the French had withdrawn their soldiers .British and American troops saw some action in November 1918 on the Northern Front but this campaign was of limited significance in the outcome of the Civil War. The last British and American soldiers were withdrawn in 1920. The main Allied contributions to the White cause thereafter were supplies and money, mostly from Britain .

The chief purpose of Allied intervention in Soviet Russia was to help the Whites defeat the Reds and destroy Bolshevism." (Allied Intervention in the Russian Revolution", portalus.ru)

The reason we bring up this relatively unknown bit of history is because it helps to put current events into perspective. First, it helps readers to see that Washington has been sticking its nose in Russia's business more than a century. Second, it shows that– while Washington's war on Russia has ebbed and flowed depending on the political situation in Moscow– it has never completely ended. The US has always treated Russia with suspicion, contempt and brutality. During the Cold War, when Russia's global activities put a damper on Washington's depredations around the world, relations remained stretched to the breaking point. But after the Soviet Union collapsed in December, 1991, relations gradually thawed, mainly because the buffoonish Boris Yeltsin opened the country up to a democratization program that allowed the state's most valuable strategic assets to be transferred to voracious oligarchs for pennies on the dollar. The plundering of Russia pleased Washington which is why it sent a number of prominent US economists to Moscow to assist in the transition from communism to a free-market system. These neoliberal miscreants subjected the Russian economy to "shock therapy" which required the auctioning off of state-owned resources and industries even while hyperinflation continued to rage and the minuscule life savings of ordinary working people were wiped out almost over night. The upshot of this Washington-approved looting-spree was a dramatic uptick in extreme poverty which intensified the immiseration of tens of millions of people. Economist Joseph Stiglitz followed events closely in Russia at the time and summed it up like this:

"In Russia, the people were told that capitalism was going to bring new, unprecedented prosperity. In fact, it brought unprecedented poverty, indicated not only by a fall in living standards, not only by falling GDP, but by decreasing life spans and enormous other social indicators showing a deterioration in the quality of life ..

(Due to) the tight monetary policies that were pursued firms didn't have the money to even pay their employees . they didn't have enough money to pay their pensioners, to pay their workers .Then, with the government not having enough revenue, other aspects of life started to deteriorate. They didn't have enough money for hospitals, schools. Russia used to have one of the good school systems in the world; the technical level of education was very high. (But they no longer had) enough money for that. So it just began to affect people in every dimension of their lives .

The number of people in poverty in Russia, for instance, increased from 2 percent to somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, with more than one out of two children living in families below poverty. The market economy was a worse enemy for most of these people than the Communists had said it would be. It brought Gucci bags, Mercedes, the fruits of capitalism to a few .But you had a shrinking (economy). The GDP in Russia fell by 40 percent. In some (parts) of the former Soviet Union, the GDP, the national income, fell by over 70 percent. And with that smaller pie it was more and more unequally divided, so a few people got bigger and bigger slices, and the majority of people wound up with less and less and less . (PBS interview with Joseph Stiglitz, Commanding Heights)

So, as long as Russia remained open to the West's political maneuvering and wholesale thievery, every thing was hunky-dory. But as soon as Vladimir Putin got his bearings (during his second term as President) and started reassembling the broken state, then western elites became very concerned and denounced Putin as an "autocrat" and a "KGB thug." At the same time, Washington continued its maniacal push eastward using its military catspaw, NATO, to achieve its geopolitical ambitions to control vital resources and industries in the most populous and prosperous region of the coming century, Eurasia. After promising Russian President Gorbachev that NATO would never "expand one inch to the east", the US-led military alliance added 13 new countries to its membership, all of them straddling Russia's western flank, all of them located, like Hitler, on Russia's doorstep, all of them posing an existential threat to Russia's survival. NATO forces now routinely conduct provocative military drills just miles from the Russian border while state-of-the-art missile systems surround Russia on all sides. (Imagine Russia conducting similar drills in the Gulf of Mexico or on the Canadian border. How would Washington respond?)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an excellent summary of post Cold War history at a gathering of the Korber Foundation in Berlin in 2017. Brainwashed Americans who foolishly blame Russia for meddling in the 2016 elections, should pay attention to what he said.

LAVROV– "Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall we have shown our cards, trying to do our best to assert the values of equal partnership in international affairs .Back in the early 1990s, we withdrew our troops from Eastern and Central Europe and the Baltic states and dramatically downsized our military capacity near our western borders

When the cold war era came to an end, Russia was hoping that this would become our common victory – the victory of both the former Communist bloc countries and the West. The dreams of ushering in shared peace and cooperation seemed near to fruition. However, the United States and its allies decided to declare themselves the sole winners, refusing to work together to create the architecture of equal and indivisible security. They made their choice in favor of shifting the dividing lines to our borders – through expanding NATO and then through the implementation of the EU's Eastern Partnership program

As the Western countries' elites were implementing a policy of political and economic containment of Russia, old threats were growing and new ones were emerging in the world, and the efforts to do away with them have failed. I think that the main reason for that is that the model of "West-centric" globalization, which developed following the dismantling of the bipolar architecture and was aimed at ensuring the prosperity of one-seventh of the world's population at the expense of the rest, proved ineffective. It is becoming more and more obvious that a narrow group of "chosen ones" is unable to ensure the sustainable growth of the global economy on their own and solve such major challenges as poverty, climate change, shortage of food and other vital resources .

The latest events are clear evidence that the persistent attempts to form a unipolar world order have failed .The new centers of economic growth and concomitant political influence are assuming responsibility for the state of affairs in their regions. Let me reiterate that the emergence of multipolar world order is a fact and a reality. Seeking to hold back this process and keep the unfairly gained privileged positions is going to lead nowhere. We see increasing examples of nations raising their voice in defense of their right to decide their own destiny ." (Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister)

The American people need to look beyond the propaganda and try to grasp what's really going on. Russia is not Washington's enemy, it's a friend that's trying to nudge the US in adirection that will increase its opportunities for peace and prosperity in the future. Lavrov is simply pointing out that a multipolar world is inevitable as economic power becomes more widespread. This emerging reality means the US will have to modify its behavior, cooperate with other sovereign nations, comply with international law, and seek a peaceful settlement to disputes. It means greater parity between the states, fairer representation in global decision-making, and a narrower gap between the world's winners and losers.

Who doesn't want this? Who doesn't want to see an end of the bloody US-led invasions, the countless drone assassinations, the vast destruction of ancient civilizations, and the senseless slaughter of innocent men, women and children? Who doesn't want to see Washington's wings clipped so the bloodletting stops and the millions of refugees and internally displaced can return to their homes?

Lavrov offers a vision of the future that all peace-loving people should welcome with open arms.

Admit it: The imperial model has failed. It's time to move on.

[Mar 11, 2018] I often think that, a the machinery of surveillance and repression becomes so well oiled and refined, the ruling oligarchs will soon stop even paying lip service to 'American workers', or the "American middle class" and go full authoritarian

Highly recommended!
Are powerful intelligence agencies compatible even with limited neoliberal democracy, or democracy for top 10 or 1%?
Notable quotes:
"... I recall during the George II administration someone in congress advocating for he return of debtor's prisons during the 'debat' over ending access to bankruptcy ..."
"... Soros, like the Koch brothers, heads an organization. He has lots of "people" who do what he demands of them. ..."
"... Let's give these guys (and gals, too, let's not forget the Pritzkers and DeVoses and the Walton Family, just among us Norte Americanos) full credit for all the hard work they are putting in, and money too, of course, to buy a world the way they want it -- one which us mopes have only slave roles to play... ..."
Mar 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> Harry... 10 March 2018 at 06:25 PM

You have a good point, but I often think that, a the machinery of surveillance and repression becomes so well oiled and refined, the ruling oligarchs will soon stop even paying lip service to 'American workers', or the "American middle class" and go full authoritarian. Karl Rove's dream to return the economy to the late 19th Century standard.

The Clintonoid project seems set on taking it to the late 16th century. Probably with a return of chattel slavery. I recall during the George II administration someone in congress advocating for he return of debtor's prisons during the 'debat' over ending access to bankruptcy

JTMcPhee -> to steve... 11 March 2018 at 12:56 PM
Soros, like the Koch brothers, heads an organization. He has lots of "people" who do what he demands of them.

Do you really contend that Soros and the Koch brothers, and people like Adelson, aren't busily "undermining American democracy," whatever that is, via their organizations (like ALEC and such) in favor of their oligarchic kleptocratic interests, and going at it 24/7?

The phrase "reductio ad absurdam" comes to mind, for some reason...

Let's give these guys (and gals, too, let's not forget the Pritzkers and DeVoses and the Walton Family, just among us Norte Americanos) full credit for all the hard work they are putting in, and money too, of course, to buy a world the way they want it -- one which us mopes have only slave roles to play...

[Mar 08, 2018] Kleptocracy the most typical form of corruption under neoliberalism, where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the financial oligarchy at the expense of the wider population, now even without pretense of honest service

Notable quotes:
"... he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations). ..."
"... Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible. ..."
"... The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/ ..."
"... Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party. ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Valissa -> jsn... , 01 March 2018 at 07:44 PM

jsn @16 & 40, in complete agreement with you. Great comments! T he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations).

Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible.

Back when I used to subscribe to STRATFOR, founder George Friedman always made a point of evaluating the elites of whatever country he was analyzing and how they operated amongst themselves and relative to the people and how effective they were or were not in governing a country. But he never did that for the US. I would have paid extra for that report! But of course he could not stay in business if he did such a thing as those people are his clients.

I think Mike Krieger over at Liberty Blitzkrieg nails it from another perspective with this post:

The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/

Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.

By throwing every problem in Putin's lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn't really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one's own failures. It's always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.

That said, there's a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they're terrified that -- unlike Obama -- he's a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

... Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.

Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn't provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He's simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.

------------

I can't stand Kushner's smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince's fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don't think he's a stupid idiot either. He's probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all.

My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg

[Mar 06, 2018] The U.S. Is a Failed State

Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. cannot and will not protect its citizens against attacks by violent armed assailants, especially as politicians are being bought off by gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association. ..."
"... The U.S. will not provide jobs or a living wage to a significant proportion of its population, especially youth and racial minorities. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
Mar 06, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Author's note: This article contains over 100 hyperlinks. It is suggested that you read the text of the article first then go back and explore the linked sources at your leisure.

Social Collapse

The U.S. cannot and will not protect its citizens against attacks by violent armed assailants, especially as politicians are being bought off by gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association.

The U.S. will not provide jobs or a living wage to a significant proportion of its population, especially youth and racial minorities.

The refusal of Congress to pass national single-payer health insurance is genocidal for the poor, the young, the elderly, and the underprivileged.

U.S. industry is poisoning the natural environment as the bee population is killed off by glyphosate and fungicides and the food supply is degraded with GMOs and GE foods.

Chronic disease is skyrocketing due to rising economic stress, unaffordable health care, and food supply degradation.

The pharmaceutical industry gets rich as it kills millions of people annually by facilitating misuse, overuse, and abuse of prescription medication.

The economy has become genocidal to the elderly by eliminating pensions for most and eroding the value of Social Security and other sources of fixed income .

Addiction to drugs and alcohol and an associated growth in crime is a major effect of the collapse of job and income security.

Life expectancy is less than that of many other developed countries and is falling.

Militarism and Foreign Policy

The U.S. military constantly wants more money to further its aims to conquer the globe while society at home disintegrates.

American weapons of mass destruction have the power to destroy all life on earth many times over, yet the military wants bigger and better weapons .

The military thrives on war and has no interest in promoting peace with other nations.

The military must always come up with new and more frightening enemies to justify its bloated budgets .

The "War on Terror" was an excuse for the U.S. military to engage in multiple wars of conquest.

The military is developing new secret weapons to wage war in space .

The elevated position of the military and its immunity from political control propagate the falsehood that force and violence are the legitimate way to solve problems.

Influence on Hollywood by the military exploits and glorifies violence and is a major propaganda tool.

Video games , supported by the military and corporate interests, teach young people that killing is fun.

The military cares nothing for the excessive national resources it consumes at the expense of socially beneficial uses.

The U.S. military is one of the world's largest environmental polluters .

A major purpose of the military is to provide the muscle for stealing other nations' resources .

The stealing of resources began with the assault by white Americans on Native Americans and the theft of their lands and continues today in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and around the world.

The U.S. military and police are conditioned to regard reformers and protesters as enemies of the state, not people exercising their rights.

War is being waged against Russia and other countries through economic sanctions and military threats without any constitutional declaration by Congress.

U.S. foreign and military policy is based on a gigantic lie -- 9/11 .

Economics

The U.S. is an oligarchy where the economy, politics , and media are controlled by the rich .

Tax policies favor the rich over working people.

Working people are no longer readily allowed to organize through labor unions for fair wages and working conditions.

The minimum wage is too low for people to live on.

Wall Street creates and destroys businesses for the sake of financial profits regardless of the impact on individuals, families, and society.

The U.S. economy is not driven by honest business enterprise such as manufacturing but is kept afloat artificially by bank and government-created bubbles , including the debt-driven bubble of military spending.

The elimination of the gold standard in favor of bank-controlled fiat currency debased the national currency and has led to a half-century of inflation.

Panic has set in as other nations steer away from the use of inflated U.S. dollars in the petroleum markets and as a reserve currency .

Student, housing, and consumer debt are creating a society of debt-slaves .

People are being sent to jail for non-payment of debt. Some with out-of-control debt commit suicide.

The federal government's national debt is a growing burden to society that can never be paid off. George W. Bush with his wars doubled the national debt in eight years. It doubled again during the Obama eight-year war period.

The lack of decent jobs drives huge numbers of people into cybercrime, drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal pastimes simply as a mode of survival.

The court system unfairly targets the poor.

The Deep State and Government

Agencies of the Deep State , starting with the CIA, are instruments used by the oligarchy to control the government and society and ultimately take over the rest of the world .

Lying and concealment are a way of life for all levels of government, especially the Deep State.

The government has never come clean about crimes of the past committed by the Deep State , including 9/11 and the assassinations of JFK , RFK, and MLK.

The Deep State continues to engage in targeted assassinations against U.S. citizens and people of other nations.

The CIA and other agencies of the Deep State work in secrecy to undermine other nations abroad and eliminate honest dissent at home.

The Deep State seeks to maintain total electronic surveillance of all individuals.

The Deep State tries to overthrow any government abroad that undertakes to reform itself in the direction of greater fairness to its own population.

Secretive government vastly increased its powers by setting up the Department of Homeland Security and passing the Patriot Act after the false flag of 9/11.

One of the CIA's major abuses is its self-admitted role in the international drug trade .

The Deep State, the media, and the military foment hatred of countries like Russia and China in order to conceal their own abuses and consolidate their power.

The Deep State controls government at all levels -- federal, state, and local.

The government seeks to foster Nazi-like practices in raising a cult to worship the flag , and by promoting wars abroad and oppressive police practices at home.

The government has militarized local police forces in order to oppress the poor and racial minorities.

All levels of government, including the police, are corrupted by political contributions, payoffs, bribes, and special privileges.

The Media

The media destroy freedom of thought by using its powers, including those of advertising, to regiment, control, and censor public opinion.

Government uses the media to deliver its own constant propaganda messages .

The media spew forth hatred and lies through such outlets as Fox News .

The media are controlled by a handful of oligarchic interests that suppress honest news reporting while attacking independent journalism at every turn.

The corporate-orchestrated attack on net neutrality seeks to eliminate independent opinion on the internet as was done in the past on cable TV.

Major media outlets such as the New York Times , Washington Post , CNN , and the national TV broadcast networks are controlled by the oligarchy and Deep State which use them as propaganda organs for their pro-war, corporate agendas.

The media-driven lie of the U.S. as " the exceptional nation " is a particularly pernicious piece of propaganda that has been used to justify abuses inflicted on other countries.

Political Parties

The Republican Party , which at present controls the federal government along with a majority of state and local governments, has become a racist/genocidal cult funded by oligarchs .

The Republican Party and its base blame the victims of economic collapse for their inability to find jobs and earn a decent living.

The Republican Party could not exist as it does at present without the support of fundamentalist Christian churches that support war and racism.

The Democratic Party lost touch with its historic populist mission by being taken over by the pro-corporate Clinton wing in the 1990s.

The Democratic Party has been manipulating people by frantically pushing the myth that the Russians got Donald Trump elected president in 2016.

The Democratic Party, including its so-called progressive wing , is as pro-war and controlled by the Deep State as the Republican.

The U.S. electoral system prevents any effective third-party reform movement from arising.

No politician has a chance who wants fundamental reform such as reducing military spending , terminating the policy of endless wars, changing the monetary system , or basic economic fairness for all levels of society.

Social Life

The oligarchy, the media, the government, the political parties, and the Deep State all foster hatred and division among segments of society in order to preserve their rule.

Racism against people of color and other nationalities remains deeply lodged in the national psyche and is used by the oligarchy as a means of control.

The higher educational establishment is controlled by the corporate/military state and offers little or no resistance.

The nation's churches have been co-opted or cowed into silence and likewise offer no meaningful alternatives.

The drift to create a totalitarian American police state is well-advanced.

Conclusion

Can the U.S. survive as a nation for another generation? It seems doubtful without a major reform movement dedicated to correcting ALL the above-mentioned abuses. But before the U.S. destroys the planet it may simply collapse from its internal failures or through its policies of endless war and the guilt this has produced.

Yet none of this report is to denigrate the millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide who are awake to the present peril and are praying and working for a better future.

At present a major war between the American empire and the Eurasian nations seems a real possibility, though it would be much better if the U.S., Russia , and China came together in a positive alliance.

Miracles do happen if, paradoxically, people work for them.

*

Paul Yesse is the pen-name of a former U.S. government analyst.

[Mar 02, 2018] Fatal Delusions of Western Man by Pat Buchanan

Highly recommended!
At the core of Trumpism is the rejection of neoliberalism
Pat Buchanan does not understand neoliberalism well and mixes apples with oranges, but the key idea expressed here stands: " Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history."
Notable quotes:
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

"I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. We regard Marshal Stalin's life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us."

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, "I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government."

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of "ending tyranny in our world."

... ... ...

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia. If Putin's Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down -- or face a nuclear confrontation. Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

likbez , March 2, 2018 at 6:47 am GMT

Pat Buchanan does not understand neoliberalism well and mixes apples with oranges, but the key idea expressed here stands:

" Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history."

The truth is that now Trump does not represent "Trumpism" -- the movement that he created which includes the following:

– rejection of neoliberal globalization;
– rejection of unrestricted immigration;
– fight against suppression of wages by multinationals via cheap imported labor;
– fight against the elimination of meaningful, well-paying jobs via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing;
– rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in the Middle East;
– détente with Russia;
– more pragmatic relations with Israel and suppression of Israeli agents of influence;
– revision of relations with China and addressing the problem of trade deficit.
– rejection of total surveillance on all citizens;
– the cut of military expenses to one third or less of the current level and concentrating on revival on national infrastructure, education, and science.
– abandonment of maintenance of the "sole superpower" status and global neoliberal empire for more practical and less costly "semi-isolationist" foreign policy; closing of unnecessary foreign military bases and cutting aid to the current clients.

Of course, the notion of "Trumpism" is fuzzy and different people might include some additional issues and disagree with some listed here, but the core probably remains.

Of course, Trump is under relentless attack (coup d'état or, more precisely, a color revolution) of neoliberal fifth column, which includes Clinton gang, fifth column elements within his administration (Rosenstein, etc) as well from remnants of Obama administration (Brennan, Comey, Clapper) and associated elements within corresponding intelligence agencies. He probably was forced into some compromises just to survive. He also has members of the neoliberal fifth column within his family (Ivanka and Kushner).

So the movement now is in deep need of a new leader.

Miro23, March 3, 2018 at 7:55 am GMT
@likbez

That's a good summary of what the public voted for and didn't get.

And whether Trump has sold out, or was blackmailed or was a cynical manipulative liar for the beginning is really irrelevant. The fact is that he is not doing it – so he is just blocking the way.

At some point the US public are going to have to forget about their "representatives" (Trump and Congress and the rest of them) and get out onto the street to make themselves heard. The population of the US is 323 million people and if just 1/2 of 1% (1,6 million) of them decided to visit Congress directly the US administration might get the message.

pyrrhus, March 3, 2018 at 2:15 am GMT

@anon

Finally, Pat understands that the American [Neoliberal] Empire and habit of intervention all over the world is a disaster.

[Mar 01, 2018] What is the vision, what is the historic goal our elites offer to inspire and enlist our people?

Notable quotes:
"... The globalists envision the earth as a plantation with oligarchs (stateless corporate monopolists) as planters, former national governments as overseers and the people of earth as niggers. ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

WorkingClass , February 27, 2018 at 12:24 pm GMT

what is the vision, what is the historic goal our elites offer to inspire and enlist our people?

The globalists envision the earth as a plantation with oligarchs (stateless corporate monopolists) as planters, former national governments as overseers and the people of earth as niggers.

[Mar 01, 2018] The USA is far less socially and culturally cohesive than it were back in days of Color War with Soviets

Mar 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

RadicalCenter , February 24, 2018 at 6:03 pm GMT

@Faker

I'm an American and proud of it. But compare us to the country we had when the Soviets were predicting our downfall: we now have VASTLY higher levels of government debt, private household debt, opioid addiction, disability real and exaggerated, children born to people who never marry or even live together consistently, long-term underemployment of intelligent hardworking qualified people, infrastructure decay (failing roads and bridges), long-term welfare dependency, open hatred and intimidation or worse against whites, a Mexican "fifth column" that is being led to separatism and hostility against us (and is attaining the number to take political power and eventually secede), and more.

We are far less socially and culturally cohesive than we were back then, in substantial part due to the suicidal decision to admit tens of millions of people of different races to settle here who do not share enough of our values, traditions, expectations, and do not have loyalty to us or our NATION.

This includes one racial group (jewish people) and one religious group (Muslims) that are inherently untrustworthy because of their conception of non-members / goyim / infidels as inferior human beings to be manipulated, harmed, exploited, and subjugated. This will make a critical difference in times of real scarcity and deprivation, let alone a major war.

Whether or not it made sense to predict the usa's collapse or impoverishment 30 or 60 years ago, it is an altogether too plausible prediction these days.

RadicalCenter , February 24, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT

@Fran Macadam

Superbly stated, Fran. The people excoriating all "capitalism" typically are not talking about real free enterprise, fair competition, and a system where big corporations and subsidy-seeking leeches aren't favored over smaller & family businesses.

There are several very different systems that are being carelessly called capitalism without distinction.

I don't want the current western system of crony-capitalist / fascist sort-of-welfare-State, either.

The "capitalism" that we largely used to have, the one I support, does NOT involve Privileges, subsidies, bailouts, or even lower effective tax rates for wealthy "connected" people, corporations, and paper-shuffling brokers and bankers who create little of tangible value and profit from deliberately confusing complex "financial instruments" at our expense.

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-made Discord by AMANDA TAUB and MAX FISHER

Highly recommended!
Very weak analysis The authors completely missed the point. Susceptibility to rumors (now called "fake new" which more correctly should be called "improvised news") and high level of distrust to "official MSM" (of which popularity of alternative news site is only tip of the iceberg) is a sign of the crisis and tearing down of the the social fabric that hold the so social groups together. This first of all demonstrated with the de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite.
As such attempt to patch this discord and unite the US society of fake premises of Russiagate and anti-Russian hysteria look very problematic. The effect might be quite opposite as the story with Steele dossier, which really undermined credibility of Justice Department and destroyed the credibility o FBI can teach us.
In this case claims that "The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan " are just s a sign of rejection of neoliberalism by voters. Nothing more nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made. ..."
"... A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

That these efforts might have actually made a difference, or at least were intended to, highlights a force that was already destabilizing American democracy far more than any Russian-made fake news post: partisan polarization.

"Partisanship can even alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgment," the political scientists Jay J. Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira wrote in a recent paper . "The human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news" -- a danger cited by political scientists far more frequently than orchestrated meddling -- "poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning."

It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made.

... ... ...

A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption.

Americans, it said, sought out stories that reflected their already-formed partisan view of reality. This suggests that these Russians efforts are indicators -- not drivers -- of how widely Americans had polarized.

That distinction matters for how the indictment is read: Though Americans have seen it as highlighting a foreign threat, it also illustrates the perhaps graver threats from within.

An Especially Toxic Form of Partisanship

... ... ...

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In taking this approach, the Russians were merely riding a trend that has been building for decades. Since the 1980s , surveys have found that Republicans and Democrats' feelings toward the opposing party have been growing more and more negative. Voters are animated more by distrust of the other side than support for their own.

This highlights a problem that Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political scientist, said had left American democracy dangerously vulnerable. But it's a problem driven primarily by American politicians and media outlets, which have far louder megaphones than any Russian-made Facebook posts.

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

[Feb 18, 2018] Unfortunately, These Atrocities Aren't Going to Stop by Patrick J. Buchanan

Those shootings is a sign of the crisis of the US society caused by neoliberalization. Collapse of moral norms. When a person is assumed to be a wolf to other person and greed is good.
Notable quotes:
"... it seems a common denominator of the atrocities to which we have been witness in recent years is that the perpetrators are nobodies who wish to die as somebodies. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
In a society of advanced decomposition and moral depravity, these perpetrators are nobodies who wish to die as somebodies

.... ... ...

In his case, the conscience was dead, or was buried beneath hatred, rage or resentment at those succeeding where he had failed. He had been rejected, cast aside, expelled. This would be his revenge, and it would be something for Douglas High and the nation to see -- and never forget.

Indeed, it seems a common denominator of the atrocities to which we have been witness in recent years is that the perpetrators are nobodies who wish to die as somebodies.

... ... ...

Some of these individuals who seek to "go out" this way take their own lives when the responders arrive, or they commit "suicide by cop" and end their lives in a shootout. Others, Cruz among them, prefer to star in court, so the world can see who they are. And the commentators and TV cameras will again give them what they crave: massive publicity.

And we can't change this. As soon as the story broke, the cameras came running, and we watched another staging of the familiar drama -- the patrol cars, cops in body armor, ambulances, students running in panic or walking in line, talking TV heads demanding to know why the cowards in Congress won't vote to outlaw AR-15s.

... ... ...

Another factor helps to explain what happened Wednesday: We are a formerly Christian society in an advanced state of decomposition.

Nikolas Cruz was a product of broken families. He was adopted. Both adoptive parents had died. Where did he get his ideas of right and wrong, good and evil? Before the Death of God and repeal of the Ten Commandments, in those dark old days, the 1950s, atrocities common now were almost nonexistent.


Steve S. February 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Here's a twist on the commentary: Not every ill-formed, life-hating psychopath in this country can go to Harvard School of Law, the halls of Congress or the Pentagon. Some are stuck in the lower classes.

The past, callous destruction by drones of whole wedding parties in Waziristan AND their rescuers raised no eyebrows under the Obama administration yet we we are appalled at a dozen and a half Americans getting wasted. When a culture shows that it does not value life, everyone 'gets it' eventually and incorporates that view into their own lives and communities. Ours is a culture of death. Banning guns won't change that. The psychopaths who own our media establish the narrative of what our culture is. The narrative is nihilism.

EarlyBird , says: February 16, 2018 at 6:52 pm
This has much to do with our culture of narcissism and spiritual hollowing out. It is the idea that I am The Most Important Human On Earth, the center of the universe, and any insult or injury to me simply can not be tolerated.

Narcissists are fragile. They have no coping mechanism when life doesn't give them what it "should" give them, or metes out tragedy or sadness, as it has a way of doing.

I am reminded of Christopher Dorner, the ex-LAPD officer who killed his instructor and his wife after having failed an exam, and going on a shooting spree, ending up being killed by SWAT in a cabin in the mountains above LA. He was not "insane." The letter he left behind exposed him as a narcissist who simply could not bear the insult to his "honor" for having been failed on an exam he had the "right" to pass.

I doubt this Cruz monster is a howling lunatic, either, but a spiritually dead ego-zombie whose only sense of meaning comes from anger and a sense of not being granted all he wanted and "deserved."

James , says: February 16, 2018 at 8:29 pm
I've read that there were enough red flags surrounding Nicholas Cruz to fill up Moscow's Red Square on parade day. In the face of multiple warnings, local law enforcement, the FBI, and the DOJ all failed to perform their due diligence in preventing this miscreant from falling through the cracks. You can have all the laws you want, stacked high and thick, but if you're not going to follow through on them, then what is the point?

You can ban guns and abolish the second amendment, but that will not address the moral sickness that is permeating the culture and giving shade to the depraved heart of human darkness or the sense of despair and hopelessness that life is at its material root, meaningless and hollow. We insist on calling out racism, bigotry, sexism, and violence, but if not grounded in God those values are not grounded in anything other than subjective emotion and preference. They are no more right, or good, or true than any inverse value and enforced only by those with the bigger gun. Indeed, this is the logical conclusion of progressive atheism with all its secular post-modern, post-truth, post-ethics moral relativism. Each person becomes a law unto themselves. And once we start shredding the Constitution in the name of safety and welfare, what then? Some slippery slopes are real. The only safe place without crime is a police state also without freedom of thought, conscience, expression, or movement.

Germany was the most educated country in Europe prior to WW 2. In the 19th century, European universities had driven God from their classrooms and were expounding the atheistic ideologies of Marxism, socialism, communism, anarchism, nihilism, Darwinism, etc In the slow march of time, these ideas came to fruition in the 20th making it the bloodiest century of the common era.

It was faith in God that gave us science, the enlightenment, and the foundation of democratic values. It was faith in God that ended slavery, racism, fought for civil rights, and founded almost all of our institutions of higher learning. It was faith in God that grounded our belief in human dignity and the value of life. Sure, great evil has been done by hypocrites in the name of Christianity but who is also first on the scene of a natural disaster with aid and relief, or working for improved medical care and clean water in third world countries, or working to end human trafficking? It is the true Christ followers who put their faith where their mouth is not some slimly politician or charlatan wearing a Christian mask. I would argue that America has become one of the most Biblically illiterate people in western civilization because we have pushed god from the public square, the school room, the university campus, much of the government and the military, as well as the board room, concomitant with an agenda to make those who believe in God a cultural exotica a bunch of anti-reason, anti-science, and anti-intellectual retrogrades to be treated with skeptical curiosity if not outright suspicion and hostility. Media touts every negative example and ignores all the good that doesn't fit the narrative.

We do this with great peril because we've seen what happens when this is done in history. The arc of history that visited ruin on Europe will surely bring it here in a hundred years' time or sooner. We're on the same path.

Geoff Guth , says: February 16, 2018 at 8:32 pm
Pearlbuck, who is going to pay for your school vaults? Republicans?

Do you seriously think Donald Trump is going to give back any of his tax cut to make schools safer?

Well, let's ask our President, shall we? Let's see. 9.2 billion in cuts for the Department of Education . Well that's sure going to fund your school vaults.

You strip mine the schools to hand assets to vultures and then blame the schools for not being secure enough. Rightist logic!

Firearm homicide rate per 100,000 in :

France: 0.21
USA: 3.60

That's 17 times as many people murdered in the US by firearms as France. 17 freaking times.

But by all means, carry on with your WHATABOUT WHATABOUT WHATABOUT!!!!!!!11111!!!!

JeffK , says: February 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm
I am a hunter and gun owner. I have more than one gun. I am not anti-gun. I even own an AR-style rifle.

I believe mass shooting atrocities will never go away completely. However .. I believe the onus of proposing a viable solution to REDUCE the number of mass shootings rests squarely on the Republican party and the NRA.

They are always the coalition of 'We offer our sincere prayers and condolences', 'Now is not the time to politicize this tragedy', and 'That shooting last week is old news, time to move on'.

This is a warning to The Republicans and the NRA. I believe the American public has just about had it with lack of legislation to address this horrible problem. The Republicans must develop proposals for real solutions. Some of these proposals will not sit well with a part of it's base. So be it.

These proposals must be sold to all American citizens and be followed up with legislation that is effective on achieving what was proposed. The Democrats will certainly join if workable solutions are proposed.

Right now The Democrats are incredibly energized. The last thing The Republicans need at this time is to energize them even more, and turn even more Independents against them. They also should be very concerned about stirring up the 50% of eligible voters that do not vote. And they should be really concerned about the Republican brand with the 18-25 year olds. Among them the Republicans are increasing seen as the party that caters to unreasonable gun nuts, and not the population in general.

Howlvis , says: February 17, 2018 at 7:43 pm
Pat is sinking deeper and deeper into dementia. Or he is simply a moron. No other developed country has this level of mass shootings, no other developed country has a rate of gun violence anywhere near what we have in this country. And yet not a word about reasonable gun restrictions, instead Pat the Righteous tells us about moral decay. If pornography can be regulated, restricted or banned, why not AK-15s?

[Feb 16, 2018] The Pathetic Inadequacy of the Trump Opposition The American Conservative by Paul Brian

Notable quotes:
"... Dancing With The Stars ..."
"... The Washington Post. ..."
"... Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com . ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The hawks and internationalists who set our house on fire don't now deserve the contract to rebuild it.

While it may have significant popular support, much of the anti-Trump "Resistance" suffers from a severe weakness of message. Part of the problem is with who the Resistance's leading messengers are: discredited neoconservative poltroons like former president George W. Bush, unwatchable alleged celebrities like Chelsea Handler, and establishment Republicans who routinely slash and burn the middle class like Senator Jeff Flake. Furthermore, what exactly is the Resistance's overriding message? Invariably their sermonizing revolves around vague bromides about "tolerance," diversity, unrestricted free trade, and multilateralism. They routinely push a supposed former status quo that was in fact anything but a status quo. The leaders of the Resistance have in their arsenal nothing but buzzwords and a desire to feel self-satisfied and turn back to imagined pre-Trump normality. A president like Donald Trump is only possible in a country with opposition voices of such subterranean caliber.

Remember when Trump steamrolled a crowded field of Republicans in one of the greatest electoral upsets in American history? Surely many of us also recall the troupes of smug celebrities and Bushes and Obamas who lined up to take potshots at Trump over his unacceptably cruel utterances that upset their noble moral sensibilities? How did that work out for them? They lost. The more that opposition to Trump in office takes the same form as opposition to him on the campaign trail, the more hypocritical and counterproductive it becomes. Further, the resistance to Trump's policies is coming just at the moment when principled opposition most needs to up its game and help turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock. It's social conservatives who are also opposed to war and exploitation of the working class who have the best moral bona fides to effectively oppose Trump, which is why morally phrased attacks on Trump from the corporate and socially liberal wings of the left, as well as the free market and interventionist conservative establishment, have failed and will continue to fail. Any real alternative is going to have to come from regular folks with hearts and morals who aren't stained by decades of failure and hypocrisy.

A majority of Democrats now have favorable views of George W. Bush, and that's no coincidence. Like the supposedly reasonable anti-Trump voices on their side, Bush pops up like a dutiful marionette to condemn white supremacy and "nativism," and to reminisce about the good old days when he was in charge. Bush also lectures about how Russia is ruining everything by meddling in elections and destabilizing the world. But how convincing is it really to hear about multilateralism and respect for human rights from Bush, who launched an unnecessary war on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left thousands of American servicemen and women dead and wounded? How convincing is it when former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who famously remarked that an estimated half a million Iraqis dead from our 1990s sanctions was "worth it," haughtily claims that she's "offended" by Trump's travel ban ? "Offended" -- is that so, Madame Secretary? I have a feeling millions of Muslims in the Middle East may have also been "offended" when people like you helped inflame their region and turned it into an endless back-and-forth firestorm of conflict between U.S.-backed dictators and brutal jihadists, with everyone else caught in between.

Maybe instead of being offended that not everyone can come to America, people like Albright, Kerry, and Bush shouldn't have contributed to the conditions that wrecked those people's homes in the first place? Maybe the U.S. government should think more closely about providing military aid to 73 percent of the world's dictatorships? Sorry, do excuse the crazy talk. Clearly all the ruthless maneuvering by the U.S. and NATO is just being done out of a selfless desire to spread democratic values by raining down LGBT-friendly munitions on beleaguered populations worldwide. Another congressman just gave a speech about brave democratic principles so we can all relax.

Generally, U.S. leaders like to team up with dictators before turning on them when they become inconvenient or start to upset full-spectrum dominance. Nobody have should been surprised to see John Kerry fraternizing in a friendly manner with Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad and then moralistically threatening him with war several years later, or Donald Rumsfeld grinning with Saddam Hussein as they cooperated militarily before Rumsfeld did an about-face on the naïve dictator based on false premises after 9/11. Here's former president Barack Obama shaking Moammar Gaddafi's hand in 2009 . I wonder what became of Mr. Gaddafi?

It's beyond parody to hear someone like Bush sternly opine that there's "pretty clear evidence" Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Even if that were deeply significant in the way some argue, Bush should be the last person anyone is hearing from about it. It's all good, though: remember when Bush laughed about how there hadn't been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2004? It's all just a joke; don't you get it? (Maybe Saddam Hussein had already used all the chemical weapons the U.S. helped him get during the 1980s on Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, which killed over one million people by the time the coalition of the willing came knocking in 2003). That's the kind of thing people like Bush like to indirectly joke about in the company of self-satisfied press ghouls at celebratory dinners. However, when the mean man Mr. Trump pals around with Russian baddie Vladimir Putin, mistreats women, or spews out unkind rhetoric about "shitholes," it's far from a joke: it's time to get out your two-eared pink hat and hit the streets chanting in righteous outrage.

To be fair, Trump is worthy of opposition. An ignorant, reactive egotist who needs to have his unfounded suppositions and inaccuracies constantly validated by a sycophantic staff of people who'd be rejected even for a reality show version of the White House, he really is an unstable excuse for a leader and an inveterate misogynist and all the other things. Trump isn't exactly Bible Belt material despite his stamp of approval from Jerry Falwell Jr. and crew; in fact he hasn't even succeeded in getting rid of the Johnson Amendment and allowing churches to get more involved in politics, one of his few concrete promises to Christian conservatives. He's also a big red button of a disaster in almost every other area as commander-in-chief.

Trump's first military action as president reportedly killed numerous innocent women and children (some unnamed U.S. officials claim some of the women were militants) as well as a Navy SEAL. Helicopter gunships strafed a Yemeni village for over an hour in what Trump called a "highly successful" operation against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A senior military official felt differently, saying that "almost everything went wrong." The raid even killed eight-year-old American girl Nawar al-Awlaki, daughter of previously killed extremist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, whose other innocent child, 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was also droned while eating outdoors at a restaurant in 2010 (with several friends and his 17-year-old cousin). The Obama administration dismissed Abdulrahman's death at the time as no big deal .

The list goes on with the Trump administration, a hollow outfit of Goldman Sachs operatives and detached industry and financier billionaires helping out their hedge fund friends and throwing a small table scrap to the peasants every now and then. As deformed babies are born in Flint, Michigan , Ivanka grandstands about paid parental leave . Meanwhile, Trump and Co. work to expand the war in Afghanistan and Syria. It's a sad state of affairs.

So who are the right voices to oppose the mango man-child and his cadre of doddering dullards? Not degenerate celebrities, dirty politicians of the past, or special interest groups that try to fit everyone into a narrow electoral box so mainline Democrats can pass their own version of corporate welfare and run wars with more sensitive rhetoric and politically correct messaging. Instead, the effective dissidents of the future will be people of various beliefs, but especially the pro-family and faith-driven, who are just as opposed to what came before Trump as they are to him. The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies. It's possible, for example, to be socially conservative, pro-worker, pro-environment, and anti-war. In fact, that is the norm in most countries that exist outside the false political paradigm pushed in America.

If enough suburbanite centrists who take a break from Dancing With The Stars are convinced that Trump is bad because George W. Bush and Madeleine Albright say so, it shows that these people have learned absolutely nothing from Trump or the process that led to him. These kind of resistors are the people nodding their heads emphatically as they read Eliot Cohen talk about why he and his friends can't stomach the evil stench of Trump or Robert Kagan whine about fascism in The Washington Post. Here's a warning to good people who may not have been following politics closely prior to Trump: don't get taken in by these charlatans. Don't listen to those who burned your town down as they pitch you the contract to rebuild it. You can oppose both the leaders of the "Resistance" and Trump. In fact, it is your moral duty to do so. This is the End of the End of History As We Know It, but there isn't going to be an REM song or Will Smith punching an alien in the face to help everyone through it.

Here's a thought for those finding themselves enthusiastic about the Resistance and horrified by Trump: maybe, just maybe , the water was already starting to boil before you cried out in pain and alarm.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com .


Fran Macadam February 16, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Trump is definitely a castor oil antidote. But if not him, then them.
Frank , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Now this is TAC material!
Kent , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm
"The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies."

They will have to lose their faith in "Free Market God" first. I don't believe that will happen.

Aaron Paolozzi , says: February 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm
I enjoyed the heat. The comments made are on point, and this is pretty much what my standard response to reactionary trump dissidents are. Trump is terrible, but so is what came before him, he is just easier to dislike.

Keep it coming.

One Guy , says: February 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm
Even with inadequate opposition, Trump has managed to be the most unpopular president after one year, ever. I'm guessing this speaks to his unique talent of messing things up.
RVA , says: February 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm
Wow! Paul! Babylon burning. Preach it, brother! Takes me back to my teenage years, Ramparts 1968, as another corrupt infrastructure caught fire and burned down. TAC is amazing, the only place to find this in true form.

Either we are history remembering fossils soon gone, or the next financial crash – now inevitable with passage of tax reform (redo of 2001- the rich got their money out, now full speed off the cliff), will bring down this whole mass of absolute corruption. What do you think will happen when Trump is faced with a true crisis? They're selling off the floorboards. What can remain standing?

And elsewhere in the world, who, in their right mind, would help us? Good riddance to truly dangerous pathology. The world would truly become safer with the USA decommissioned, and then restored, through honest travail, to humility, and humanity.

You are right. Be with small town, front porch, family and neighborhood goodness, and dodge the crashing embers.

The Flying Burrito Brothers: 'On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain '

God Bless.

Donald , says: February 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm
I agree with Frank. This was great.

The depressing thing to me is how hard it is to get people to see this. You have people who still think Trump is doing a great job and on the other side people who admire the warmongering Resistance and think Hillary's vast experience in foreign policy was one of her strengths, rather than one of the main reasons to be disgusted by her. Between the two categories I think you have the majority of American voters.

[Feb 15, 2018] The oligarchy's desire to turn the clock back to 'the good old days' knows no bounds -- they want it all and they want it know; they're absolute ideal state for all us ordinary types would be a return to feudalism, so I guess bringing back slavery, all be it with a shiny new coat of point, is pretty much to be expected...

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rich | Feb 14, 2018 9:33:46 AM | 9

The oligarchy's desire to turn the clock back to 'the good old days' knows no bounds  --  they want it all and they want it know; they're absolute ideal state for all us ordinary types would be a return to feudalism, so I guess bringing back slavery, all be it with a shiny new coat of point, is pretty much to be expected...

Once upon a time many, many years ago in the land of Anywhere, in a world long since forgotten, there was, at one time, a kind of Golden Age. It was not, it has to be said, an age that was Perfect but it was agreed by almost all that it was an age that was much, much better than That Which Had Gone Before. That time is best described by quoting from a well-known article historical document contemporaneous to the period

' after Generations Of Struggle against Social Injustice and two Catastrophic And Immensely Bloody Wars with the nearby land of Anotherplace, in which the Ordinary Folk had died and suffered to a catastrophic degree, it was decided by all except the Rapaciously Rich that Things Had To Change.

From that point on, Ordinary Folk were given access to Free Education, Free Healthcare, Pensions, Benefits to help those who fell upon Hard Times and all the advantages of what you would know in your world as a Welfare System. New taxes were introduced to redistribute some of the vast sums of money accumulated (mostly from Stealing, Cheating and Aggressive Tax Avoidance) by the Wealthy and the Aristocracy (known in the land of Anywhere as The Greedy One Percent) over the years and Political Reforms introduced to break their stranglehold over the Political And Economic Life of the country. Additionally, the Right to Vote was given to all.

And the land of Anywhere blossomed, for it was found that a populace Free From Hunger And Illness, that was properly Educated and Cared For, produced huge numbers of Talented men and women who previously had Languished due to Poverty And Lack of Opportunity. These Talented men and women drove the land of Anywhere to new heights of success, founding businesses, employing people, making a mark in the worlds of politics, science, medicine and culture. Slowly but surely, the Dead Grip of The Greedy One Percent, who had dominated and controlled the land of Anywhere for as long as anyone could remember, was broken.'

And the psychopathic Greedy One Percent, the Devil's Children, hated this new world, this New Bargain and Better Society, and all it stood for. They vowed to destroy it

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078L8K9H3

[Feb 15, 2018] Some people think major cities are controlled by the Globalists.

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump lost in large cities.
May lost in major cities, the Anti-Brexit folks won instead.
The globalists have their tight grip on virtually every major city in the world.
They want megacities, logistic cities etc. in the world.

The globalists have had enough with America. (Trump wasn't happy so he wants to make it great again) The globalists made their money through capitalism, now they need Bitnation, blockchain (as a state, govt, you can no longer own citizens and print money because they'll be the citizens of Bitnation and they'll mine their own money) there will be home-made gold soon, they want middlemen eliminated, they sell you products without owning any stores (Amazon, Alibaba) they can transport you a-b without owning any vehicles (Uber) they control the media without employing any correspondents (facebook, youtube, twitter, instagram etc.) they don't need any banknotes (Trump=dollar), they want AI, they want Human 2.0, (first one was created by God and the new one will be fathered by the globalists) they want transhumanism, IOT, they want robots and female/male robots and marriage with robots, they want to produce economy and technology but they are not interested in the hearts and minds of the human beings, when you are thirsty they'll give you filtered seawater, hungry? they'll give you GMO food, the Chinese had sweatshops but now they have workshops manufacturing electronics, nothing has changed for them really, now they have 1 belt 1 road via logistic cities, trains to Tibilisi, then to the world's largest airport in Istanbul, people need peace and tranquility but the globalists have sold you the idea of 'happiness', they want LGBT, children with 2-3 mothers, Trump hates Obama's toilets, they want covert ops and proxies (Katie Perry has 60 million followers mostly fake and why is that? Because she's rigged for a future suicide bombing case, she'll say "I have seen a UFO" or "I made millions out of BTC" or whatever role is assigned to her) but Trump is conventional, he wants the US armed forces mobilized and wants them to face the country A-B-C straightforward like in the olden days, he has the soldiers and oil barons with him, a war cabinet... And the story goes on and on...

We are in 21st century.

Trump = Guns+Oil, KKK, Evangelists (Zionist Christians)...
The real America however belongs to = Finance capital + Technology = Globalists

We have to take all those above to see what's going on around us.

IMHO

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 13, 2018 5:41:15 PM | 64

[Feb 07, 2018] When the rest of the world's wages go up to six dollar per hour and the USA come down to six dollar per hour, globalization will end

Notable quotes:
"... Things "should" be made locally. There's no reason, especially with declining energy resources, that a toaster should be shipped from thousands of miles away by boat, plane, truck, rail. That's simply ridiculous, never mind causing a ton of extra pollution. We end up working at McDonald's or Target, but, yay, we just saved $5.00 on our toaster. ..."
"... I don't know how you know about the so-called safety net. I know because I had to use it while undergoing treatment for 2 types of stage 4 breast cancer the past 4 years. It is NOT what people think. It beats the already vulnerable into the ground -- -- this is not placating -- -- it is psychological breaking of human minds until they submit. The paperwork is like undergoing a tax audit -- - every 6 months. "Technicians" decide one's "benefits" which vary between "technicians". ..."
"... Food stamps can be $195 during one period and then $35 the next. The technicians/system takes no responsibility for the chaos and stress they bring into their victims' lives. It is literally crazy making. BTW: I am white, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, have a masters' degree, formerly owned my own business and while married lived within the top 10%. ..."
"... In addition, most of those on so-called social programs are children, the elderly, chronically ill, veterans. You are correct that the middle class is falling into poverty but you are not understanding what poverty actually looks like when the gov holds out its beneficial hand. It is nothing short of cruelty. ..."
Feb 07, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Cold N. Holefield , February 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Yes, but increasingly there is no "working class" in America due to outsourcing and automation.

I hear that Trump wants to reverse all of that and put children to work in forward-to-the-past factories (versus back-to-the-future) and mines working 12 hours a day 7 days a week as part of his Make America Great Again initiative.

With all the deregulation, I can't wait to start smoking on airplanes again. Those were great times. Flying bombs with fifty or more lit fuses in the form of a cigarette you can smoke. The good old days.

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Cold N. Holefield -- it's like Ross Perot said re NAFTA and globalization: "When the rest of the world's wages go up to $6.00/hour and our's come down to $6.00/hour, globalization will end." That's what's happening, isn't it? Our wages are being held down, due in large part to low-skilled labor and H-1B's flooding into the country, and wages in Asia are rising. I remember Ross Perot standing right beside Bill Clinton when he said this, and I also remember the sly smile on Bill Clinton's face. He knew.

Our technology was handed to China on a silver platter by the greedy U.S. multinationals, technology that was developed by Western universities and taxpayer dollars, technology that would have taken decades for China to develop on their own.

Trump is trying desperately to bring some of these jobs back. That's why he handed them huge corporate tax breaks and cut some regulations.

Things "should" be made locally. There's no reason, especially with declining energy resources, that a toaster should be shipped from thousands of miles away by boat, plane, truck, rail. That's simply ridiculous, never mind causing a ton of extra pollution. We end up working at McDonald's or Target, but, yay, we just saved $5.00 on our toaster.

Trump is trying to cut back on immigration so that wages can increase, but the Left want to save the whole world, doing themselves in in the process. He wants to bring people in with skills the country can benefit from, but for that he's tarred and feathered.

P.S. I remember sitting behind a drunk on a long flight, and I saw him drop his cigarette. It rolled past me like it knew where it was going, and I couldn't find it. I called the stewardess, and she and I searched for a few anxious seconds until we found it. Yes, the good old days.

Diana Lee , February 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm

I don't know how you know about the so-called safety net. I know because I had to use it while undergoing treatment for 2 types of stage 4 breast cancer the past 4 years. It is NOT what people think. It beats the already vulnerable into the ground -- -- this is not placating -- -- it is psychological breaking of human minds until they submit. The paperwork is like undergoing a tax audit -- - every 6 months. "Technicians" decide one's "benefits" which vary between "technicians".

Food stamps can be $195 during one period and then $35 the next. The technicians/system takes no responsibility for the chaos and stress they bring into their victims' lives. It is literally crazy making. BTW: I am white, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, have a masters' degree, formerly owned my own business and while married lived within the top 10%.

In addition, most of those on so-called social programs are children, the elderly, chronically ill, veterans. You are correct that the middle class is falling into poverty but you are not understanding what poverty actually looks like when the gov holds out its beneficial hand. It is nothing short of cruelty.

backwardsevolution , February 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

Diana Lee -- I hope you are well now. It breaks my heart what you went through. No, I cannot imagine.

I didn't mean the lower class were living "well" on food stamps and welfare. All I meant was that it helped, and without it all hell would break loose. If you lived in the top 10% at one point, then you would surely notice a difference, but for many who have been raised in this environment, they don't notice at all. It becomes a way of life. And, yes, you are right, it is cruelty. A loss of life.

[Feb 07, 2018] Due to automation, offshoring and transnational communications/internet, the elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers to artificially lower wages

Feb 07, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Due to automation, offshoring and transnational communications/internet, the elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers to artificially lower wages. That is likely the reason that every Administration since Slick Willy have sought to reduce illegal immigration.

After all, it was the Obama Administration that deported more undocumented immigrants than any other in history, and it was in those years after the 2008 economic crash that saw net migration from Mexico hit zero, or even negative numbers.

What the MSM is telling us is that the Trump Administration is more draconian in carrying out practices that have been US policy for decades. That might even be true.

backwardsevolution , February 6, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Daniel -- " the elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers to artificially lower wages."

Oh, sure, that's why corporations and the Chambers of Commerce are fighting so hard to keep chain migration, legal and illegal immigration numbers up! Because they don't need them. Yeah, right.

And technology companies are clamoring for more H-1B's so they can pay them less.

Come on, Daniel.

Daniel , February 7, 2018 at 12:22 am

backward,
Please provide evidence that the "Chambers of Commerce are fighting so hard.." Please try to keep your rebuttal to my statement that "elitists no longer need a large domestic underclass of undocumented workers" and not various forms of legal migration. Because I do agree that there is a market for "skilled labor" who are legal. Part off the reason for this labor market is the drop in STEM-educated USAmericans.

Meanwhile, I spent 30 seconds to find proof that what I wrote about net migration was true in 2012 and 2015.
h
http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/

http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/11/19/more-mexicans-leaving-than-coming-to-the-u-s/h

Cold N. Holefield , February 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm

I'm afraid the population has been so thoroughly incapacitated via a Dumbing Down Education System coupled with 24/7 Media Misinformation and the Stultifying Effects of Social Media that there will be no Revolution. Instead, it looks like it will be a steady capitulation and acquiescence of personal sovereignty all the way to the Gas Chambers and no doubt when or if that time comes, there will be an a nifty Application from Silicon Valley to guide you through your Final Processing.

backwardsevolution , February 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Cold N. Holefield -- a "Dumbing Down Education System", but also lots of benefits on the lower end: food stamps, disability, subsidized housing, free cell phones, etc. If these things were removed (no, I'm not saying they should be), things would be completely different. There'd be a riot in a fortnight.

If your stomach is empty, it doesn't really matter how dumbed down you've become, you are going to feel fear and react. That's why they keep the lower end placated.

It is the middle class who is slipping down into the lower class, and these are the people who are getting angry and fearful, mainly for their children. Those people have actually lost something.

[Jan 28, 2018] "Globalism", so called, is the opening of doors in target nations to predatory capitalism, disaster capitalism, the economic part of the John Perkins playbook

Jan 28, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Concerning the discussion on "globalism" - and please excuse me if I've missed prior discussion, I wasn't following that point back in the last thread - this word as used today essentially is referring to neoliberal economic policies, which are the handmaiden of neocon "war & plunder" policies. Both doctrines walk hand in hand. The so-called "free trade agreements" remove barriers not so much against free trade as against corporate regulation - this is the whole point of them. The TPP agreement that Trump withdrew from was the most vile such agreement ever yet proposed.

"Globalism", so called, is the opening of doors in target nations to predatory capitalism, disaster capitalism, the economic part of the John Perkins playbook. As corporatism gains strength in a nation, fascism as Mussolini defined it (i.e. as corporatism) becomes the reality. Maybe the word meant something good once, I don't know. But it stands for everything bad now.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 27, 2018 8:11:18 PM | 19


Peter AU 1 , Jan 27, 2018 8:22:23 PM | 21

@ Grieved
Globalism is also blogs like this.
Globalism has been turned into a dirty word as it has been used, same as colour revolutions ect, but I suspect it will also help bring down corporate globalism.
For me, in the latter part of my life, it has brought great interest for cultures and people that are different to my own upbringing.
dh , Jan 27, 2018 8:44:45 PM | 23
@21 Nationalism is seen as narrow, regressive and responsible for conflict. It's only acceptable at sporting events. (Turks and Kurds haven't got the message yet.) Globalism is seen as progressive. One world government is supposed to bring peace and prosperity to all. Of course there are all kinds of racial and religious contradictions but the basic choice is looking backwards or forwards.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 27, 2018 9:00:24 PM | 24
dh 23

Nationalism, globalism, sovereignty.
There is a word missing. Sovereignty does not seem to cover it but is the closest I can find.

This is the wikipedia definition of sovereignty.. "Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.[1] It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation."

Also similar to nationalism.

What is the correct word or term for full sovereignty plus respect for other countries and cultures?


Peter AU 1 , Jan 27, 2018 9:38:22 PM | 28
globalisation - the information highway (apart from road blocks) - a place where a shitkicker from the mad monks anglosphere (oz) can converse or argue with people from all round the world.
bevin , Jan 27, 2018 9:42:05 PM | 29
"Well, with regard to Germany, the EU project was the longest period of peace for the last 200 years. Same for France." somebody writes.

France and Germany have both been at war several times since the EU came into being. Of course being US satraps, under NATO, they haven't fought each other.

As to Germany its existence, as a state, begins in 1870 and, in the past 150 years has gone through several revolutionary changes, such as Anschluss, the Allied Occupation regime and the Bundesrepublik-Democratic Republic interlude.
And then there are the border changes which, over the period are dramatic.
The point is that this cant apology for the EU is cheap and demagogic.
Any defence of the EU has to begin with a justification of its two cardinal objects: Wall St forged neoliberalism and Pentagon directed policies designed to advance US geo-strategy

Grieved , Jan 27, 2018 9:43:14 PM | 30
Seems like a discussion on semantics - rocky ground.

Putin once set up two words to explain a thing. He said that patriotism was love of one's country. Nationalism was hatred of other countries. Great set of concepts, but there's no real consensus of the meaning of those two words, in any group of people you could assemble at random.

Important to agree on concepts and be wary of words when they're not solidly established in a broad and functional consensus.

My apologies. I thought "globalism" as I described it was commonly held ground, but it's not. I respectfully withdraw from the discussion, leaving disaster capitalism as the great enemy, and global fraternity and exchange as the great friend of the ordinary people of the whole world.

The words for all this I leave to others to establish. My apologies again for butting in.

dh , Jan 27, 2018 9:52:41 PM | 32
@30 Nothing to apologize for Grieved. The term 'globalism' means different things to different people. Some see is as paradise on earth ....some see it as a subtle form of hegemony.
les7 , Jan 27, 2018 10:39:47 PM | 38
@33 So many of the terms we use today are profoundly affected by the dilemma that Nietzsche described in his statement (I paraphrase): 'God is dead, we have killed him. And no amount of water can wash the blood from our hands'

This was not a statement of triumph, rather of despair. In the loss of the divine as the source of morality, Nietzsche anticipated that people would invest that authority in other structures - including the state (Nazi-ism, Marxism), the military, economics ('free-market' capitalism) etc.

The loyalists in each of those 'causes' would see all their associated terms positively, just like all adherents of religious systems. Those outside, or those who suffered abuse at their hands, see those terms quite differently.

So Nationalism can be positive (as in pride in the legitimate achievements of your country) or negative (where the people ascribe to the state/nation/race the right to define what is morally right) where the nation has God-like authority to remove from whole classes of people all their rights - even the right to life.

Wikipedia (under types of government) slices and dices your options when it comes to political terms for the ruling elite. Two stand out to me, with the second suffering from an unrecognisable name:

Plutocracy: Rule by the wealthy; a system wherein governance is indebted to, dependent upon or heavily influenced by the desires of the rich

Ochlocracy: Rule by the crowd; a system of governance where mob rule is government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities. As a pejorative for majoritarianism, it is akin to the Latin phrase mobile vulgus meaning "the fickle crowd", from which the English term "mob" was originally derived in the 1680s. Ochlocratic governments are often a democracy spoiled by demagoguery, "tyranny of the majority" and the rule of passion over reason; such governments can be as oppressive as autocratic tyrants. Ochlocracy is synonymous in meaning and usage to the modern, informal term "mobocracy".

Personally, when it comes to describing the state of affairs in the empire, I lean toward a despotic corporatism as being the best description. Others may prefer militarism over corporatism, but when the two forces (the corporate and the military) unify you get fascism.

Again, this is just how I, at this time, understand it.

Jonathan , Jan 27, 2018 10:42:38 PM | 40
@36 Peter AU 1,

Liberal democracy is not democratic. Let us stop lying, and dispense with the false narrative that granting anyone a term of office in which they can steal from the commons and not be immediately fired or even killed is anything remotely "cratic". It's feudalism, plain and simple, and those who defend it are typically of a class long known to be problematic.

les7 , Jan 27, 2018 10:42:44 PM | 41
the wiki link
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_forms_of_government
james , Jan 28, 2018 12:03:23 AM | 45
interesting conversation on globalism and etc....

i think the big challenge for the world is letting economics trump the environment... until that changes, we're in trouble.. maybe it doesn't have to be an either/or thing... i do think corporate power and the various trade deals (tpp - canada has bought into this with mexico, so tpp is still happening, although the usa is not presently a part of it) are mostly about ignoring local or national laws or trying to over-ride them so that corporations can have all the power.. les7 calls something like this "despotic corporatism", but i mostly think of it as just plain corporatism.. it is all despotic...

well, i feel the same way about the accumulation of ridiculous amounts of wealth in the hands of a few as well.. how can this happen when people are struggling to survive on the planet? do these people have no sense of shame? apparently not! they go about their business accruing wealth oblivious to the pain and suffering they are directly, or indirectly inflicting on others.. then there are those types who realize what they have done and try to make amends by changing their ways and staring foundations - gates foundation and etc. etc... to me, why not just not fuck people over, instead of thinking you have to trample on others to get ahead and that the universe can only be seen as a dog eat dog universe? well, i can't change others, i can only change myself and do what i feel good about and can live with.. thanks for the conversation..

@ 42 john gilberts.. canada continues to go down the wrong road, being sucked into the made in the us bs.. freeland is a warmonger, with undisclosed financial support from soros to continue the war on russia and etc. etc.. i can't believe we are that stupid to have such a women is such a prominent role here in canada... anyone would be better..

nottheonly1 , Jan 28, 2018 1:18:37 AM | 46
Needless to say that there is only one me and I am grateful that b has deleted the fake ones. Although it is known in car design that plagiarism is a form of admiration, in
my case it was the cheap attempt to soil my name. Ironically, the only people that believe that they could succeed with this kind of gas lighting have an IQ that is surpassed by the
shoe size of their little feet.

Allow me to contribute in regards to Nationalism. Having been born in a country that was once ruled by a "National Socialist" party, I needed to find out more about what had caused Nationalism to go rogue and destroy the Nation it emanated from.

Stories by family members did provide some answers, but we're insufficient at best, since no one had seen it coming this way.

Then I discovered the lecture by J. Krishnamurti about Nationalism. My own parents were toddlers when Krishnamurti spoke about Nationalism in Argentina in 1935.

The time spent listening to this speech was the best spent time ever in regards to finding answers. While I have the speech on my computer, I will link here to the Krishnamurti repository where all of his speeches can be found.

Krishnamurti">http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teachings/view-text.php?tid=271&chid=4601&w=nationalism">Krishnamurti on Nationalism.

In an extremely ironic and the saddest way, his words about Nationalism were absolutely prophetic. The transition from 'National Identity' to deadly Nationalism is fleeting.

Humanity has not been able to overcome Nationalism and struggles with the concept of 'sovereignty', as it appears to be dependent on Nationalism and not National identity.

Imo, sovereignty can only arise from Interdependence. The acknowledgement of Interdependence at the root of sovereignty will allow for a National identity, that would not resort to Nationalism and its cancerous degeneration into a murderous, inhumane tragedy.

nottheonly1 , Jan 28, 2018 1:27:59 AM | 47
My comment was dismembered. This is the correct link:

Krishnamurti on Nationalism

Auto correct is sabotage...

V. Arnold , Jan 28, 2018 2:00:56 AM | 48
nottheonly1 | Jan 28, 2018 1:27:59 AM | 47

Thanks for the Krishnamurti link.
I've read 7 or 8 of his books.
I've found his teachings to be profound.

[Jan 28, 2018] Trump Makes Nice With Elites He Previously Scorned at Davos Critic's Notebook by Frank Scheck

Notable quotes:
"... We support free trade, but it needs to be fair," he chided. "It needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal." He went on to announce his support for "mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries, ..."
Jan 28, 2018 | www.hollywoodreporter.com

The president tries to sell business tycoons and world leaders on his "America First" policy and sounds like a small-town mayor wooing Walmart to open a store in his community.

... ... ...

"I'm here to represent the interests of the American people," he began, ignoring the fact that the majority of the American people don't want him representing their interests. "America hopes for a future in which everyone can prosper," he said, describing the American dream as "a great job, a safe home and a better life for their children." All true, but right now there are also plenty of Americans dreaming of a president who won't embarrass them.

... ... ...

Trump naturally brought his patented "America First" routine to the august gathering, but he was less belligerent about it than usual, almost conciliatory. "As president of the United States I will always put America first," he said. "But America first does not mean America alone," he added, as the audience of business tycoons and international leaders breathed a sigh of relief. Of course, Trump wasn't yet done rebuking them. " We support free trade, but it needs to be fair," he chided. "It needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal." He went on to announce his support for "mutually beneficial, bilateral trade agreements with all countries, " even hinting at rejoining TPP. That Donald, he's such a tease.

[Jan 14, 2018] Trump Stumped As Bannon-Backed Roy Moore Wins Alabama Republican Primary By Landslide

Bannon backed candidate later lost. So much for this Bannon "success".
This idea of Trump playing 6 dimensional chess is a joke. It's the same explanation that was pushed for Obama disastrous neocon foreign policy. Here is one very apt quote: "What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan..." What 6-dimetional chess?
According to Occam razor principle the simplest explanation of Trump behaviour is probably the most correct. He does not control foright policy, outsourcing it to "generals" and be does not pursue domestic policy of creating jobs as he promised his electorate. In other words, both in foreign policy and domestic policy, he became a turncoat, betraying his electorate, much like Obama. kind of Republican Obama.
And as time goes by, Trump looks more and more like Hillary II or Republican Obama. So he might have problems with the candidates he supports in midterm elections. His isolationism, if it ever existed, is gone. Promise of jobs is gone. Detente with Russia is gone. What's left?
Note the level disappointment of what used to be Trump base in this site comment section...
Notable quotes:
"... In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide ..."
"... The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted... ..."
"... These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. ..."
"... Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole. ..."
"... I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included. ..."
"... The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger. ..."
"... Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" ..."
"... A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office. ..."
"... When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population. ..."
"... Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope. ..."
"... In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless. ..."
"... I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports... ..."
"... Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that. ..."
"... What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan... ..."
"... It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America ..."
"... YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER. ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!

In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide

The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted...

... ... ...

However, as Politco reported this evening, President Donald Trump began distancing himself from a Luther Strange loss before ballots were even cast, telling conservative activists Monday night the candidate he's backing in Alabama's GOP Senate primary was likely to lose ! and suggesting he'd done everything he could do given the circumstances.

Trump told conservative activists who visited the White House for dinner on Monday night that he'd underestimated the political power of Roy Moore, the firebrand populist and former judge who's supported by Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to three people who were there.

And Trump gave a less-than full-throated endorsement during Friday's rally.

While he called Strange "a real fighter and a real good guy," he also mused on stage about whether he made a "mistake" by backing Strange and committed to campaign "like hell" for Moore if he won.

Trump was encouraged to pick Strange before the August primary by son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as well as other aides, White House officials said. He was never going to endorse Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, who has at times opposed Trump's agenda, and knew little about Moore, officials said.

... ... ...

Déjà view -> Sanity Bear •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

AIPAC HAS ALL BASES COVERED...MIGA !

On Sept. 11, the Alabama Daughters for Zion organization circulated a statement on Israel by Moore, which started by saying the U.S. and Israel "share not only a common Biblical heritage but also institutions of representative government and respect for religious freedom." He traced Israel's origin to God's promise to Abram and the 1948 creation of modern Israel as "a fulfillment of the Scriptures that foretold the regathering of the Jewish people to Israel."

Moore's statement includes five policy positions, including support for U.S. military assistance to Israel, protecting Israel from "Iranian aggression," opposing boycotts of Israel, supporting Israel at the United Nations, and supporting direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without outside pressure. He added, "as long as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority wrongly refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, such negotiations have scant chance of success."

While those views would give Moore common ground with much of the Jewish community regarding Israel, most of the state's Jewish community has been at odds with Moore over church-state issues, such as his displays of the Ten Commandments in courthouses, and his outspoken stance against homosexuality, both of which led to him being ousted as chief justice.

http://www.sjlmag.com/2017/09/alabama-senate-candidates-express.html?m=1

justa minute -> Déjà view •Sep 27, 2017 2:53 AM

moore misreads the Bible as most socalled christians do. they have been deceived, they have confused the Israel of God( those who have been given belief in Christ) with israel of the flesh. They cant hear Christs own words, woe is unto them. they are living in their own selfrighteousness, not good. they are going to have a big surprise for not following the Word of God instead following the tradition of men.

They were warned over and over in the Bible but they cant hear.

I Claudius -> VinceFostersGhost •Sep 27, 2017 6:27 AM

Forgive? Maybe. Forget? NEVER!! He tried to sell "US" out on this one. We now need to focus on bringing "Moore" candidates to the podium to run against the RINO's and take out McConnell and Ryan. It's time for Jared and Ivanka to go back to NYC so Jared can shore up his family's failing empire. However, if his business acumen is as accurate as his political then it's no wonder the family needed taxpayer funded visas to sell the property. Then on to ridding the White House of Gen Kelly and McMaster - two holdover generals from the Obama administration - after Obama forced out the real ones.

Clashfan -> Mycroft Holmes IV •Sep 26, 2017 11:33 PM

Rump has hoodwinked his supoprt base and turned on them almost immediately. Some refuse to acknowledge this.

"Ha! Your vote went to the Israel first swamp!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gdw_MVY1Vo

Déjà view -> Clashfan •Sep 27, 2017 1:00 AM

MIGA !

These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) came to Bannon's defense and accused the ADL of a "character assassination" against Bannon.

http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.807776

The Wizard -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:12 PM

Trump should figure out the Deep State elites he has surrounded himself with, don't have control of the states Trump won. Trump thought he had to negotiate with these guys and his ego got the best of him. Bannon was trying to convince him he should have stayed the course and not give in.


Theosebes Goodfellow -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

~"American politics gets moore strange by the day..."~

Technically speaking OhRI, with Moore's win politics became less Strange, or "Strange less", or "Sans Luther", depending on how one chose to phrase it [SMIRK]

Adullam -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar •Sep 26, 2017 11:05 PM

Trump needs to fire Jared! Some news outlets are saying that it was his son in law who advised him to back Strange. He has to quit listening to those who want to destroy him or ... they will.

overbet -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:41 PM

Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole.

Juggernaut x2 -> overbet •Sep 26, 2017 10:07 PM

Trump better pull his head out of his ass and quit being a wishy-washy populist on BS like Iran- the farther right he goes the greater his odds of reelection because he has pissed off a lot of the far-righters that put him in- getting rid of Kushner, Cohn and his daughter and negotiating w/Assad and distancing us from Israhell would be a huge help.

opport.knocks -> Juggernaut x2 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Distancing us from Israel... LOLOLOLOL

https://youtu.be/tm5Je73bYOY

The whole Russiagate ploy was a diversion from (((them)))

NoDebt -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:42 PM

I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included.

Oldwood -> NoDebt •Sep 26, 2017 10:08 PM

I think it was a setup.

Bannon would not oppose Trump that directly unless there was a wink and a nod involved.

Trump is still walking a tightrope, trying to appease his base AND keep as many establishment republicans at his side (even for only optics). By Trump supporting Strange while knowing he was an underdog AND completely apposed by Bannon/his base he was able to LOOK like he was supporting the establishment, while NOT really. Trump seldom backs losers which makes me think it was deliberate. Strange never made sense anyway.

But what do I know?

Urahara -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 12:20 AM

Bannon is hardcore Isreal first. Why are you supporting the zionist? It's an obvious play.

general ambivalent -> Urahara •Sep 27, 2017 2:23 AM

People are desperate to rationalise their failure into a victory. They cannot give up on Hope so they have to use hyperbole in everything and pretend this is all leading to something great in 2020 or 2024.

None of these fools learned a damn thing and they are desperate to make the same mistake again. The swamp is full, so full that it has breached the banks and taken over all of society. Trump is a swamp monster, and you simply cannot reform the swamp when both sides are monsters. In other words, the inside is not an option, so it has to be done the hard way. But people would prefer to keep voting in the swamp.

Al Gophilia -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 3:58 AM

Bannon as president would really have those swamp creatures squirming. There wouldn't be this Trump crap about surrounding himself with likeminded friends, such as Goldman Sachs turnstile workers and his good pals in the MIC.

Don't tell me he didn't choose them because if he didn't, then they were placed. That means he doesn't have the clout he pretends to have or control of the agenda that the people asked him to deliver. His backing of Stange is telling.

Lanka -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 26, 2017 11:07 PM

McMaster and Kelly have Trump under house arrest.

Bobbyrib -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 27, 2017 5:38 AM

He will not fire Kushner or Ivanka who have become part of the swamp. I'm so sick of these 'Trump is a genius and planned this all along.'

To me Trump is a Mr. Bean type character that has been very fortunate and just goes with the flow. He has nearly no diplomacy, or strategic skills.

NoWayJose •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

Dear President Trump - if you like your job, listen to these voters. Borders, Walls, limited immigrants (including all those that Ryan and McConnell are sneaking through under your very nose), trade agreements to keep American jobs, and respect for our flag, our country, and the unborn!

nevertheless -> loveyajimbo •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

I had hope for Trump, but as someone who reads ZH often, and does not suffer from amnesia (like much of America), I knew he was way too good to be true.

We all know his back tracking, his flip flops...and while the media and many paid bloggers like to spin it as "not his fault", it actually is.

His sending DACA to Congress was the last straw. Obama enacted DACA with a stroke of his pen, but Trump "needed to send it to Congress so they could "get it right". The only thing Congress does with immigration is try and get amnesty passed.

Of course while Trump sends DACA to Congress, he does not mind using the military without Congress, which he actually should do.

Why is it when it's something American's want, it has to go through the "correct channels", but when its something the Zionists want, he does it with the wave of his pen? We saw the same bull shit games with Obama...

Dilluminati •Sep 26, 2017 11:02 PM

Anybody surprised by this is pretending the civility at the workplace isn't masking anger at corporate America and Government. I'll go in and put in the 8 hours, I'm an adult that is part of the job. However I'm actually fed up with allot of the stupid shit and want the establishment to work, problem is that we are witnessing failed nations, failed schools, failed healthcare, even failed employment contracts, conditions, and wages.

The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger.

You haven't seen anything yet in Catalonia/Spain etc, Brexit, or so..

This is what failure looks like: That moment the Romanovs and Louis XVI looked around the room seeking an understanding eye, there was none.

Pascal1967 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Dear Trump:

Quit listening to your moron son-in-law, swamp creature, Goldman Sachs douchebag son-in-law Kushner. HE SUCKS!! If you truly had BALLS, you would FIRE his fucking ass. HE is The Swamp, He Is Nepotism! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HATE HIM.

MAGA! LISTEN TO BANNON, DONALD.

DO NOT FUCK THIS UP!

ROY MOORE, 100%!!!!

You lost, Trump ... get your shit together before it is too late!

ElTerco •Sep 26, 2017 11:28 PM

Bannon was always the smarts behind the whole operation. Now we are just left with a complete idiot in office.

Also, unlike Trump, Bannon actually gives a shit about what happens to the American people rather than the American tax system. At the end of the day, all Trump really cares about is himself.

samsara •Sep 26, 2017 11:25 PM
I think most people get it backwards about Trump and the Deplorables.

I believed in pulling troops a from all the war zones and Trump said he felt the same

I believed in Legal immigration, sending people back if here illegal especially if involved in crime, Trump said he felt the same.

I believed in America first in negotiating treaties, Trump said he felt the same.

I didn't 'vote' for Trump per se, he was the proxy.

We didn't leave Him, He left us.

BarnacleBill •Sep 26, 2017 11:31 PM

Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" It's high time he turned back to the job he promised to do, and drain that swamp.

napper •Sep 26, 2017 11:47 PM

A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office.

America is doomed from top (the swarm) to bottom (the brainless voters).

Sid Davis •Sep 27, 2017 1:40 AM

When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population.

Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope.

In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless.

nevertheless -> pfwed •Sep 27, 2017 7:33 AM

I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports...

LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 2:56 AM

Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that.

nevertheless -> LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 7:16 AM

What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan...

But most treasonous of all was his sending DACA to "get it right", really? Congress has only one goal with immigration, amnesty, and Chump knows dam well they will send him legislation that will clearly or covertly grant amnesty for millions and millions of illegals, dressed up as "security".

Obama enacted DACA with the stroke of a pen, and while TRUMP promised to end it, he did NOT. Why is it when it's something Americans want, it has to be "Constitutional", but when it comes form his banker pals, like starting a war, he can do that unilaterally.

archie bird -> nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 7:45 AM

Bernie wants to cut aid to Israel https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/09/25/bernie-sanders-yeah-i...

nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 8:04 AM

It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America, and loyalty to Zionism.

Trump should always have been seen as a likely Zionist shill. He comes form Jew York City, owes everything he is to Zionist Jewish bankers, is a self proclaimed Zionist...

YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER.

Either Zero Hedge is over run with Zionist hasbara, giving cover to their boy Chump, or Americans on the "right" have become as gullible as those who supported Obama on the "left".

[Jan 06, 2018] Selling Out Argentina's Future -- Again naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By lan Cibils and Mariano Arana, Political Economy Department, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Originally published at Triple Crisis ..."
"... desendeudamiento ..."
"... desendedudamiento ..."
"... Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina. ..."
"... World Economic Outlook ..."
"... The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going. ..."
"... Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it. ..."
Jan 06, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Selling Out Argentina's Future -- Again Posted on January 5, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. While you were busy watching Trump and the Middle East, and maybe Brexit and China once in a while, some supposed neoliberal success stories are likely to be anything but that.

By lan Cibils and Mariano Arana, Political Economy Department, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Originally published at Triple Crisis

In Argentina's 2015 presidential run-off election, the neoliberal right-wing coalition "Cambiemos" (literally, "lets change"), headed by Mauricio Macri, defeated the populist Kirchnerista candidate by just two percentage points. Macri's triumph heralded a return to the neoliberal policies of the 1990s and ended twelve years of heterodox economic policies that prioritized income redistribution and the internal market. The ruling coalition also performed well in the October 2017 mid-term elections and has since begun implementing a draconian set of fiscal, labor, and social security reforms.

One of the hallmarks of the Cambiemos government so far has been a fast and furious return to international credit markets and a very substantial increase in new public debt. Indeed, since Macri came to power in 2015, Argentina has issued debt worth more than $100 billion. This marks a clear contrast to the Kirchner administrations, during which the emphasis was debt reduction.

The Kirchner Years: Debt Reduction?

Both Néstor and Cristina Kirchner pointed to desendeudamiento -- debt reduction -- as one of the great successes of their administrations. To what extent was debt reduced during the twelve years of Kirchnerismo?

Figure 1 shows the evolution of Argentina's public debt stock and the debt/GDP ratio between 2004-2017. One can see that there was a substantial reduction in the debt to GDP ratio between 2004-2011 -- the first two Kirchner terms -- due primarily to: a) the 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring offers, b) a deliberate policy of desendedudamiento (debt cancellation), and c) high growth rates. Indeed, debt/GDP dropped from 118.1% in 2004 to 38.9% in 2011. One can also see that the actual stock of public debt fell after the 2005 debt restructuring process, and then remained relatively stable until 2010. In 2011, it began a slow upward trend, due to the re-appearance of the foreign exchange constraint once the commodity bubble burst and capital flight increased.

Figure 1: Public Debt Stock (millions of dollars) and Debt/GDP ratio

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

An additional, fundamental change occurred during the first two Kirchner administrations: the change in currency composition of Argentina's public debt. Indeed, as Figure 2 shows, peso-denominated public debt reached 41% of total debt after the 2005 debt-restructuring process. Between 2005 and 2012 it remained relatively stable, and then, after 2012, dollar-denominated public debt began to grow again although never reaching pre-2005 debt-restructuring levels. The currency composition change is key, since it reduces considerably the pressure on the external accounts.

Figure 2: Currency Composition of Argentina's Public Debt (as a % GDP)

Source: Ministry of Finance, Argentina.

Fast and Furious

Since Macri became president in December 2015, there has been a dramatic change in official public debt strategy, radically reversing the process of debt reduction of the previous decade. As shown in Figure 1, there was a substantial jump in the stock of public debt in 2016, and it has continued to grow in 2017.The result to date has been a substantial increase in the stock of Argentina's dollar-denominated public debt, as well as an increase of the debt service to GDP ratio. New debt has been used to cover the trade deficit, pay off the vulture funds, finance capital flight, and meet debt service payments. All of this has resulted in growing concerns about Argentina's future economic sustainability, not to mention any possibility of promoting economic development objectives.

Upon taking office, the Macri Administration rapidly implemented a series of policies to liberalize financial flows and imports, and a 40% devaluation of the Argentine peso. [1] In this context, it also went on a debt rampage, increasing dollar denominated debt considerably. Between December 2015 and September 2017, Argentina's new debt amounts to the equivalent of $103.59 billion. [2] This includes new debt issued by the Treasury (80%), provincial governments (11%), and the private sector (9%). While Argentina's debt had been increasing slowly since 2011, the jump experienced in 2016 was unlike any other in Argentina's history.

If the increase in debt is alarming, the destination of those funds is also cause of concern. Data from Argentina's Central Bank (Banco Central de la República Argentina or BCRA) show that during the first eight months of 2017, net foreign asset accumulation of the private non-banking sector totaled $13.32 million, 33% more than all of 2016, which itself was 17% more than all of 2015. This means that since December 2015, Argentina has dollarized assets by approximately $25.29 billion.

According to the BCRA, during the same period there was a net outflow of capital due to debt interest payments, profits and dividends of $8.231 billion. Additionally, the net outflow due to tourism and travel is calculated at roughly $13.43 billion between December 2015 and August 2017.

In sum, the dramatic increase in dollar-denominated debt during the two first Macri years served to finance capital flight, tourism, profit remittances, and debt service, all to the tune of roughly $50 billion.

Where is This Headed?

Argentina's experience since the 1976 military coup until the crash of 2001 has shown how damaging is the combination of unfavorable external conditions and the destruction of the local productive structure. The post-crisis policies of the successive Kirchner administrations reversed the debt-dependent and deindustrializing policies of the preceding decades. However, since Macri took office in December 2015, Argentina has once again turned to debt-dependent framework of the 1990s. Not only has public debt grown in absolute terms, but the weight of dollar-denominated debt in total debt has also increased. Despite significant doubts regarding the sustainability of the current situation, the government has expressed intentions of continuing to issue new debt until 2020.

What are the main factors that call debt-sustainability into question? First, capital flight, which, as we have said above, is increasing, is compensated with new dollar-denominated public debt. Second, Argentina's trade balance turned negative in 2015 and has remained so since, with a total accumulated trade deficit between 2015 and the second quarter of 2017 of $6.53 billion. Import dynamics proved impervious to the 2016 recession, therefore it is expected that the deficit will either persist as is or increase if there are no drastic changes. Furthermore, in the 2018 national budget bill sent to Congress, Treasury Secretary Nicolás Dujovne projects that the growth rate of imports will exceed that of exports until at least 2021, increasing the current trade deficit by 68%.

Finally, according to the IMF's World Economic Outlook (October 2017), growth rate projections for industrialized countries increase prospects of a US Federal Reserve interest rate increase. This would make Argentina's new debt issues more expensive, increasing the burden of future debt service and increasing capital flight from Argentina (in what is generally referred to as the "flight to safety").

The factors outlined above generate credible and troublesome doubts about the sustainability of the economic policies implemented by the Macri administration. While there are no signs of a major crisis in the short term (that is, before the 2019 presidential elections), there are good reasons to doubt that the current level of debt accumulation can be sustained to the end of a potential second Macri term (2023). In other words, there are good reasons to believe that Argentines will once again have to exercise their well-developed ability to navigate through yet another profound debt crisis. This is not solely the authors' opinion. In early November 2017 Standard & Poor's placed Argentina in a list of the five most fragile economies. [3] It looks like, once again, storm clouds are on the horizon.

_______
[1] For details, see " Macri's First Year in Office: Welcome to 21 st Century Neoliberalism ."

[2] Observatorio de la Deuda Externa, Universidad Metropolitana para la Educación y el Trabajo (UMET).

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/06/these-are-now-the-5-most-fragile-countries-exposed-to-higher-interest-rates-according-to-sp.html

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Jim Haygood , January 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

'What are the main factors that call debt sustainability into question? First, capital flight.'

Capital flees Argentina whenever the opportunity arises because successive governments -- whether leftist or conservative -- refuse to control inflation and maintain a stable currency.

Since 2001, the Argentine peso has slid from one-to-one with the US dollar to about 19 to the dollar today. With Argentine inflation running in the low to mid twenties (according to INDEC and Price Stats), the peso can be expected to carry on weakening against the dollar indefinitely.

A hundred years during which the peso has lopped off thirteen (13) zeros owing to chronic inflation shows that Argentina is politically and culturally incapable of responsibly managing its own currency.

Argentines know this. Unfortunately, only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country. The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation, not to mention the large quantities of counterfeit pesos in circulation.

Letting Argentines play with fiat currency is like handing out loaded pistols to rowdy 5-year-olds. In both these sad cases, adult supervision is urgently needed.

Jon S , January 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

The grand history of Latin America: borrow billions of $$$ from U.S. banks, hand the money to the wealthy who immediately deposit it right back in American banks, and let the poor pay back the principal and interest. Hmmm . seems more and more the way this country is going.

Tim Smyth , January 5, 2018 at 11:53 am

The fixed exchange rate under Kirchner was totally unsustainable. One difference between Macri's neoliberalism and his predecessors is Macri is allowing much more of a floating currency than in the pre 2001 time period (We can debate how much it is actually is floating and clearly a lot of this debt issuance is for currency stablization that I personally don't approve of).

Anonimo2 , January 5, 2018 at 1:05 pm

And who are the adults? Let me guess, bankers and bondholders?

Joel , January 5, 2018 at 2:12 pm

I'm not an expert in this at all, but in Peru, you could hold bank accounts in either national currency or dollars. The national currency accounts spared you currency exchange fees and also had higher interest rates. Most people who could hedged their bets by putting money in both accounts.

It seems like a happy medium between abandoning national currencies and letting savers get ravaged? No?

Wukchumni , January 5, 2018 at 11:14 am

While not as spectacular of a return as Bitcoin, but impressive nonetheless, the escape route for an Argentinean @ the turn of the century was the golden rule, an ounce of all that glitters was 300 pesos then and now around 25,000 pesos, a most excellent 'troy' horse.

MisterMr , January 5, 2018 at 11:31 am

So, is austerity good or is austerity bad? And in what conditions?

I'm for expansionary government expense (and direct government ownership of some industries, such as with an NHS) balanced by taxes on high incomes.

So in my view the problem happens when the government lowers taxes on the rich, as seems likely in this case.
On the other hand taxes on the rich are likely to cause capital flight.

a different chris , January 5, 2018 at 12:41 pm

So why did Macri get elected to do this? Yeah he didn't win by much, but he won.

>The hand-to-mouth poor will continue being ravaged by inflation

Which is freaking weird. Argentina has cropland. They have energy sources (and I won't bore everybody ok, I will with the observation that the Industrial Age is generously a 300/8000 year ratio part of human history).

And doesn't the below need some unpacking?:

>only the richer ones have assets they can move to safety outside the country

What are these assets? Why are said assets mobile? How did they come to "own" them? What percentage of the population is encompassed by "the richer ones" phrasing?

nonsense factory , January 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Question: why doesn't MMT thinking work for countries like Argentina?

As wikipedia notes:

"The key insight of MMT is that "monetarily sovereign government is the monopoly supplier of its currency and can issue currency of any denomination in physical or non-physical forms. As such the government has an unlimited capacity to pay for the things it wishes to purchase and to fulfill promised future payments, and has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors. Thus, insolvency and bankruptcy of this government is not possible. It can always pay."

Is this a general flaw in MMT? Does MMT only apply to dominant nation-states like the U.S., who can use foreign military and financial pressures to protect the currency, aka the petrodollar? Is the petrodollar a true 'fiat currency' or is it somehow based on control of commodities (especially oil)? Is there something peculiar about Argentina and other countries facing currency devaluation that MMT doesn't handle well? Any ideas on this?

JohnnyGL , January 5, 2018 at 6:21 pm

That wikipedia write up isn't wrong, but it could be better. Probably need to hammer home the point that the sovereign can always pay IN THE CURRENCY THAT IT ISSUES.

Most of the MMT related conversations on this site, and the posts that are written up on the subject are mostly about explaining how there are constraints that many people THINK exist in the USA, but don't actually exist, at least in economic terms (political constraints notwithstanding). A country cannot be forced to default on a currency it issues. If the USA had significant debts in EUR or JPY, then it'd be a very different conversation.

External constraints are a big deal for most countries, especially developing countries that depend on exports of primary commodities. Chile, for instance, is constrained by balance of payments problems when the price of copper declines. Also, developed countries that are relatively smaller have much more limited sovereignty. The Swiss Central Bank has to follow what the ECB does, to a large degree.

On the other hand, there's episodes where some countries have found room for maneuver when they give up their sovereign currency. I didn't expect that Ecuador's economy would perform quite as well as it has in recent years. But, they've shown that you can find ways to get creative to compensate for loss of monetary sovereignty. Of course, the fiscal constraints are real since Ecuador can't print USD.

Brazil's recent neoliberal turn was frustrating for a variety of reasons, but being a big, diverse economy, they've got more sovereignty than their neighbors. However, the business and political elites in Brazil decided to hammer through austerity (spending cuts and interest rate hikes) because they WANTED to, not because external forces made them do it.

No doubt an MMT prescription for Argentina would advice them to lay off the $ denominated debt and stick to pesos as much as possible. I'd imagine Stephanie Kelton or any of the UMKC crew would advise curtailing imports or doing some import substitution in order to take pressure off balance of payments issues. They'd also take a look at what was driving inflation domestically and try to find ways to relieve it with a targeted approach, instead of risking recession and unemployment. Neoliberal/Washington Consensus type economists would say hike interest rates, cut government spending in order to curtail demand. They'd argue that the private sector will make the best decisions about where to reign in spending to reduce inflation.

[Jan 05, 2018] Trump the Eradicator, by Eric Margolis - The Unz Review

Jan 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

Trump's campaign to return manufacturing to America and repatriate profits held overseas makes good business sense. The ravaging of America's once mighty industrial base to boost corporate profits was a crime against the nation by unscrupulous Wall Street bankers and short-sighted, greedy CEO's.

The basis of industrial power is the ability to make products people use. Shockingly, US manufacturing has shrunk to only 14% of GDP. Today, America's primary business has become finance, the largely non-productive act of paper-passing that only benefits a tiny big city parasitic elite.

Trump_vs_deep_state is a natural reaction to the self-destruction of America's industrial base. But the president's mania to wreck international trade agreements and impose tariff barriers will result in diminishing America's economic and political influence around the globe.

Access to America's markets is in certain ways a more powerful political tool than deployment of US forces around the globe. Lessening access to the US markets will inevitably have negative repercussions on US exports.

Trump has been on a rampage to undo almost every positive initiative undertaken by the Obama administration, even though many earned the US applause and respect around the civilized world. The president has made trade agreements a prime target. He has targeted trade pacts involving Mexico, Canada, the EU, Japan, China and a host of other nations by claiming they are unfair to American workers. However, a degree of wage unfairness is the price Washington must pay for bringing lower-cost nations into America's economic orbit.

This month, the Trump administration threatened new restrictions against 120 US trade partners who may now face much higher tariffs on their exports to the US.

Trump is in a hurry because he fears he may not be re-elected. He is trying to eradicate all vestiges of the Obama presidency with the ruthlessness and ferocity of Stalinist officials eradicating every trace of liquidated commissars, even from official photos. America now faces its own era of purges as an uneasy world watches.

[Jan 03, 2018] Pope Francis Only Those Who 'Acknowledge Their Faults' Receive Forgiveness

Notable quotes:
"... Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter ..."
Jan 03, 2018 | www.breitbart.com

The reception of God's mercy in dependent upon a person's acknowledgement of his sins, Pope Francis said Wednesday, because "the proud person is unable to receive forgiveness."

"What can the Lord give to those whose hearts are full of themselves and their own success?" the Pope asked the thousands of pilgrims gathered in the Vatican for his General Audience . "Nothing, because the presumptuous person is unable to receive forgiveness, since he is full of his supposed justice."

The Pope called to mind Jesus's parable of the Pharisee and the publican, where only the publican, or tax collector, receives forgiveness for his sins and returns home justified.

"Those who are aware of their own miseries and lower their eyes with humility, feel the merciful gaze of God resting on them," Francis said. "We know from experience that only those who can acknowledge their faults and ask forgiveness receive the understanding and pardon of others."

In his catechesis, Pope Francis has been reflecting on the different parts of the celebration of the Eucharist, and on Wednesday considered the penitential act, when Catholic examine their consciences and ask for God's mercy.

This act favors the correct attitude to worthily celebrate the holy mysteries, he said, by "recognizing our sins before God and our brothers, recognizing that we are sinners."

At the beginning of Mass, "everyone confesses to God and to his brothers and sisters 'to have greatly sinned in thoughts, words, deeds and omissions,'" Francis said.

Omissions matter too, the Pope insisted, by neglecting to do the good we could do. "We often feel good because we say 'I didn't hurt anyone,'" he said. "In reality, it is not enough not to harm others; it is necessary to choose to do good by seizing the opportunities to give good testimony that we are disciples of Jesus."

A public confession that we are sinners before God and our brethren "helps us understand the dimension of sin that, while it separates us from God, also divides us from our brothers and sisters, and vice versa," he said.

Out of fear or shame, we often point our finger to accuse others, Francis continued. "It's hard to admit to being guilty, but it is good to confess it with sincerity."

The Pope also held up biblical examples of penitence that are models for today's Christians.

He mentioned King David, with his Psalms of repentance after his great sins, as well as the parable of the Prodigal Son and the petition of tax payer: "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

He went on to speak of other biblical penitents, such as St. Peter, Zaccheus and the Samaritan woman, suggesting that acknowledging our personal weakness and sins strengthens us while disposing us to receive God's mercy and forgiveness.

Pope Francis has made the gospel message of mercy and forgiveness a central point of his pontificate, and declared the year 2016 to be a Holy Year of Mercy.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome

[Jan 02, 2018] Who Is the Real Enemy by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
Money quote: "And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation."
Notable quotes:
"... And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation. ..."
"... Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council. But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times ..."
"... Both Cohen-Watnick and Harvey share the neoconservative belief that the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and Iraq need to be confronted by force, an opportunity described by Foreign Policy ..."
"... What danger to the U.S. or its actual treaty allies an Iranian influenced land corridor would constitute remains a mystery but there is no shortage of Iran haters in the White House. Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar sees "unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration" towards Iran and notes "cherry-picking" of the intelligence to make a case for war, similar to what occurred with Iraq in 2002-3. And even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have pushed back against the impulsive Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, their objections are tactical as they do not wish to make U.S. forces in the region vulnerable to attacks coming from a new direction. Otherwise they too consider Iran as America's number one active enemy and believe that war is inevitable. Donald Trump has unfortunately also jumped directly into the argument on the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which would like to see Washington go to war with Tehran on their behalf. ..."
"... You forgot the third significant potential threat from a friendly nation, i.e. Israel. Israel will sabotage any effort to normallize relations with Russia or even Iran. They will resort to false flag operations to start a war with Iran. ..."
"... The problem with this White House, as well as the previous ones, is that none of the so-called experts really understand the Middle East. The US is not interested in having friendly relations with all nations. All her efforts are towards one goal, the world domination. Even if President Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia, the MSM, the democrats, as well as, his republican opponents will not let him. ..."
"... That is why the constan drumbeat of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election despite the fact that no proof has been given so far. Similarly, the "Iran has nuclear weapons" narrative is constantly repeated, the reports by IAEA and the 17 Intelligence Agencies to the contrary not withstanding. ..."
"... The elevation of Muhammad bin Salman to the Crown Prince position will only make the Middle East situation worse. Israel will be able to manipulate him much more easily than the old guard. ..."
"... The titanic elephant in the room -- that US foreign policy is not governed by "rationality" but by "special interests" seems .missing ..."
"... Trump has no control of most government functions, particularly foreign affairs. The Deep State takes care of that for him. The Deep State has been calling the shots for decades and all Presidents who weren't assassinated have complied. Democracies never work and ours quit long ago. ..."
"... I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this. I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security. Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US? ..."
"... The BIGGEST threat to the USA is from within, as we are nothing more than an occupied colony of Apartheid Israel, paying that bastard state tributes each year in the form of free money and weapons, political backing at the UN, and never tire of fighting her wars of conquest. ..."
"... The also have a choke-hold on Congress, which is always eager to wag their tail and hope their Yid Overlord gives them a treat and not a dressing-down in the Jew MSM, which is a career killer. ..."
"... Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them. ..."
"... There's no alternative to Saudi royal family rule of the peninsula. Who's there to replace them? Any other group, assuming there might be one somewhere waiting in the wings, would probably be anti-American and not as compliant as the Saudis. They've spent gigantic sums in the endless billions buying military equipment from the US, weapons they can't even fully use, as a way of making themselves indispensable customers. Many other billions of petrodollars find their way westward into our financial systems. They collaborate with the US in various schemes throughout the Muslim world using their intelligence services and money in furtherance of US goals. ..."
"... Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential. ..."
"... Iran is US enemy #1 not only because it is against that country smaller than New Jersey with less people (Israel) but also because Iran has been a model for other countries to follow because of its intransigence to US oppression and attacks, financial political and cyber. As the world becomes multi-polar, Iran's repeated wise reactions to the world hegemon have been an inspiration to China and others to go their own way. The US can't stand that. ..."
"... Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves. USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw. It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance. ..."
"... And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country. ..."
"... The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud. Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans. ..."
Jul 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

It is one of the great ironies that the United States, a land mass protected by two broad oceans while also benefitting from the world's largest economy and most powerful military, persists in viewing itself as a potential victim, vulnerable and surrounded by enemies. In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so the US has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation.

Also, I would characterize international terrorism as a faux threat at a national level, though one that has been exaggerated through the media and fearmongering to such an extent that it appears much more dangerous than it actually is. It has been observed that more Americans are killed by falling furniture than by terrorists in a year but terrorism has a particularly potency due to its unpredictability and the fear that it creates. Due to that fear, American governments and businesses at all levels have been willing to spend a trillion dollars per annum to defeat what might rationally be regarded as a relatively minor problem.

So if the United States were serious about dealing with or deflecting the actual threats against the American people it could first of all reduce its defense expenditures to make them commensurate with the actual threat before concentrating on three things. First, would be to establish a solid modus vivendi with Russia and China to avoid conflicts of interest that could develop into actual tit-for-tat escalation. That would require an acceptance by Washington of the fact that both Moscow and Beijing have regional spheres of influence that are defined by their interests. You don't have to like the governance of either country, but their national interests have to be appreciated and respected just as the United States has legitimate interests within its own hemisphere that must be respected by Russia and China.

Second, Washington must, unfortunately, continue to spend on the Missile Defense Agency, which supports anti-missile defenses if the search for a modus vivendi for some reason fails. Mutual assured destruction is not a desirable strategic doctrine but being able to intercept incoming missiles while also having some capability to strike back if attacked is a realistic deterrent given the proliferation of nations that have both ballistic missiles and nukes.

Third and finally, there would be a coordinated program aimed at international terrorism based equally on where the terror comes from and on physically preventing the terrorist attacks from taking place. This is the element in national defense that is least clear cut. Dealing with Russia and China involves working with mature regimes that have established diplomatic and military channels. Dealing with terrorist non-state players is completely different as there are generally speaking no such channels.

It should in theory be pretty simple to match threats and interests with actions since there are only a handful that really matter, but apparently it is not so in practice. What is Washington doing? First of all, the White House is deliberately turning its back on restoring a good working relationship with Russia by insisting that Crimea be returned to Kiev, by blaming Moscow for the continued unrest in Donbas, and by attacking Syrian military targets in spite of the fact that Russia is an ally of the legitimate government in Damascus and the United States is an interloper in the conflict. Meanwhile congress and the media are poisoning the waters through their dogged pursuit of Russiagate for political reasons even though nearly a year of investigation has produced no actual evidence of malfeasance on the part of U.S. officials and precious little in terms of Moscow's alleged interference.

Playing tough to the international audience has unfortunately become part of the American Exceptionalism DNA. Upon his arrival in Warsaw last week, Donald Trump doubled down on the Russia-bashing, calling on Moscow to "cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran." He then recommended that Russia should "join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself."

The comments in Warsaw were unnecessary, even if the Poles wanted to hear them, and were both highly insulting and ignorant. It was not a good start for Donald's second overseas trip, even though the speech has otherwise been interpreted as a welcome defense of Western civilization and European values. Trump also followed up with a two hour plus discussion with President Vladimir Putin in which the two apparently agreed to differ on the alleged Russian hacking of the American election. The Trump-Putin meeting indicated that restoring some kind of working relationship with Russia is still possible, as it is in everyone's interest to do so.

Fighting terrorism is quite another matter and the United States approach is the reverse of what a rational player would be seeking to accomplish. The U.S. is rightly assisting in the bid to eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq but it is simultaneously attacking the most effective fighters against that group, namely the Syrian government armed forces and the Shiite militias being provided by Iran and Hezbollah. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that at least some in the Trump Administration are seeking to use the Syrian engagement as a stepping stone to war with Iran.

As was the case in the months preceding the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003, all buttons are being pushed to vilify Iran. Recent reports suggest that two individuals in the White House in particular have been pressuring the Trump administration's generals to escalate U.S. involvement in Syria to bring about a war with Tehran sooner rather than later. They are Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey, reported to be holdovers from the team brought into the White House by the virulently anti-Iranian former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council. But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times that "wants to use American spies to help oust the Iranian government," a comment that reflects complete ignorance, both regarding Iran and also concerning spy agency capabilities. His partner in crime Harvey, a former military officer who advised General David Petraeus when he was in Iraq, is the NSC advisor on the Middle East.

Both Cohen-Watnick and Harvey share the neoconservative belief that the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and Iraq need to be confronted by force, an opportunity described by Foreign Policy magazine as having developed into "a pivotal moment that will determine whether Iran or the United States exerts influence over Iraq and Syria." Other neocon promoters of conflict with Iran have described their horror at a possible Shiite "bridge" or "land corridor" through the Arab heartland, running from Iran itself through Iraq and Syria and connecting on the Mediterranean with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

What danger to the U.S. or its actual treaty allies an Iranian influenced land corridor would constitute remains a mystery but there is no shortage of Iran haters in the White House. Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar sees "unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration" towards Iran and notes "cherry-picking" of the intelligence to make a case for war, similar to what occurred with Iraq in 2002-3. And even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have pushed back against the impulsive Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, their objections are tactical as they do not wish to make U.S. forces in the region vulnerable to attacks coming from a new direction. Otherwise they too consider Iran as America's number one active enemy and believe that war is inevitable. Donald Trump has unfortunately also jumped directly into the argument on the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which would like to see Washington go to war with Tehran on their behalf.

The problem with the Trump analysis is that he has his friends and enemies confused. He is actually supporting Saudi Arabia, the source of most of the terrorism that has convulsed Western Europe and the United States while also killing hundreds of thousands of fellow Muslims. Random terrorism to kill as many "infidels and heretics" as possible to create fear is a Sunni Muslim phenomenon, supported financially and doctrinally by the Saudis. To be sure, Iran has used terror tactics to eliminate opponents and select targets overseas, to include several multiple-victim bombings, but it has never engaged in anything like the recent series of attacks in France and Britain. So the United States is moving seemingly inexorably towards war with a country that itself constitutes no actual terrorist threat, unless it is attacked, in support of a country that very much is part of the threat and also on behalf of Israel, which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.

Realizing who the real enemy actually is and addressing the actual terrorism problem would not only involve coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia rather than Iran, it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go. Saudi financing and Washington's propensity to go to war and thereby create a deep well of hatred just might be the principal causative elements in the rise of global terrorism. Do I think that Donald Trump's White House has the courage to take such a step and change direction? Unfortunately, no.

Jake, July 11, 2017 at 4:12 am GMT

The title of the article tells it all.

Saudi Arabia is THE worst nation in the Middle East.

Why does the US follow along blindly? Well, it is a WASP thing. We are the new Brit Empire. By the height of the Victorian era, virtually all English Elites were philoSemitic. Roughly half of the UK WASP Elite philoSemitism was pro-Jewish and half was pro-Arabic/Islamic. And by the time of WW1, the English Elite pro-Arabic/Islamic faction came to adore the house of Saud. So, our foreign policy is merely WASP culture continuing to ruin most of the rest of the world, including all the whites ruled by WASP Elites.

Priss Factor, Website , July 11, 2017 at 4:41 am GMT
US foreign policy is simple. Zionist Emperor goes thumbs up or thumbs down on whatever nation based on his own interests. That's about it.

Priss Factor, July 11, 2017 at 4:49 am GMT

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

No, the only threats are the following three:

Too many Meso-Americans invading from the border. These people have totally changed the SW and may drastically alter parts of US as well. This is an invasion. Meso-Americans are lackluster, but Too Many translates into real power, especially in elections.

The other threat is Hindu-Indian. Indians are just itching to unload 100s of millions of their kind to Anglo nations. Unlike Chinese population that is plummeting, Indian population is still growing.

The other threat, biggest of all, is the Negro. It's not Russian missiles or Chinese troops that turned Detroit into a hellhole. It is Negroes. And look at Baltimore, New Orleans, Selma, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, South Side Chicago, etc.

Afromic Bomb is more hellish than atomic bomb. Compare Detroit and Hiroshima.

Also, even though nukes are deadly, they will likely never be used. They are for defensive purposes only. The real missiles that will destroy the West is the Afro penis. US has nukes to destroy the world, but they haven't been used even during peak of cold war. But millions of Negro puds have impregnanted and colonized white wombs to kill white-babies-that-could-have-been and replaced them with mulatto Negro kids who will turn out like Colin Kapernick.

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2017/07/pattern-recognition-great-sin-than.html

The real missile gap is the threat posed by negro dong on white dong. The negro dong is so potent that even Japanese women are going Negroid and having kids with Negro men and raising these kids as 'Japanese' to beat up real Japanese. So, if Japan with few blacks is turning like this, imagine the threat posed by Negroes on whites in the West.

Look at YouTube of street life and club life in Paris and London. Negro missiles are conquering the white race and spreading the savage genes.

Look how Polish women welcomed the Negro missile cuz they are infected with jungle fever. ACOWW will be the real undoing of the West.

Replies: @Z-man

Besides what Priss Factor said above the following is to be reinforced with every real American man, woman and child.

Israel , which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.
Israel, the REAL enemy! , @K India is looking to unload hindus to U.S? Quite the opposite. India is 'losing' its best brains to the U.S so its trying to attract them back to their country. For eg: The chief- architect of IBM's Watson is a Hindu Indian and so is the head of IBM's neuro-morphic computing. These people are advancing western technology.... civilian and also defense (IBM is collaborating with the American defense organization DARPA) instead of helping India achieve technological competence. And most of other super intelligent Indians also India is losing them to the west.

(i dont hate the west for doing that. Any country in amercia's place would have done the same. It is india's job to keep its best brains working for it and not for others. And india is trying its best to do that albeit unsuccessfully.)

Wally, July 11, 2017 at 5:02 am GMT

The US govt. does what "that shitty little country" tells them to do.

The True Cost of Parasite Israel. Forced US taxpayers money to Israel goes far beyond the official numbers. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

How to Bring Down the Elephant in the Room: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/how-to-bring-down-the-elephant-in-the-room/

RobinG, July 11, 2017 at 5:49 am GMT

100 Words #UNRIG adds AMERICA FIRST, NOT ISRAEL to Agenda. ."A.I.P.A.C.. you're outta business!"

Due to slanderous attacks by a Mossad internet psy-op, Steele now prioritizes Israeli malign influence on US. Also, check out Cynthia McKinney's twitter.

#UNRIG – Robert David Steele Weekly Update

@Durruti Nice action approach to cure ills of society.

Enclosing copy of flier we have distributed - with a similar approach at a cure.

*Flier distributed is adjusted & a bit more attractive (1 sheet - both sides).

The key is to Restore the Republic, which was definitively destroyed on November 22, 1963.

Feel free to contact.

Use this, or send me a note by way of a response.

For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal 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 abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963 , when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965, the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala .

In the 1970s, the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion. This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled, and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder , Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

MEexpert, July 11, 2017 at 5:50 am GMT

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

You forgot the third significant potential threat from a friendly nation, i.e. Israel. Israel will sabotage any effort to normallize relations with Russia or even Iran. They will resort to false flag operations to start a war with Iran.

The problem with this White House, as well as the previous ones, is that none of the so-called experts really understand the Middle East. The US is not interested in having friendly relations with all nations. All her efforts are towards one goal, the world domination. Even if President Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia, the MSM, the democrats, as well as, his republican opponents will not let him.

That is why the constan drumbeat of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election despite the fact that no proof has been given so far. Similarly, the "Iran has nuclear weapons" narrative is constantly repeated, the reports by IAEA and the 17 Intelligence Agencies to the contrary not withstanding.

The elevation of Muhammad bin Salman to the Crown Prince position will only make the Middle East situation worse. Israel will be able to manipulate him much more easily than the old guard.

jilles dykstra, July 11, 2017 at 6:59 am GMT
The western world is dependent on oil, especially ME oil. Saudi Arabia was made the USA's main oil supplier at the end of 1944. The Saud dynasty depends on the USA. That the Saudis would sponsor terrorism, why would they ? And which terrorism is Muslim terrorism ?

Sept 11 not, Boston not, Madrid and London very questionably. We then are left with minor issues, the Paris shooting the biggest. That Saudi Arabia is waging war in Yemen certainly is with USA support. The Saudi army does what the USA wants them to do.

Ludwig Watzal > Website , July 11, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT
Mr. Giraldi, you forgot to mention Israel as one of America's biggest liabilities besides Saudi Arabia. But with such amateur dramatics in the White House and on the Security Council, the US is destined for war but only against the wrong enemy such as Iran. If the Saudis and the right-wing Netanyahu regime want to get after Iran they should do it alone. They surely will get a bloody nose. Americans have shed enough blood for these rascal regimes. President Trump should continue with his rapprochement towards Russia because both nation states have more in common than expected.
animalogic, July 11, 2017 at 7:32 am GMT
I'm a little disappointed in this article. Not that it's a bad article per se: perfectly rational, reasonable, academic even. But unfortunately, it's simply naive.

"Realizing who the real enemy actually is and addressing the actual terrorism problem would not only involve coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia rather than Iran, it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Realize who the real enemy is ? Come down hard on the Saud's ? No -- really ?

The titanic elephant in the room -- that US foreign policy is not governed by "rationality" but by "special interests" seems .missing. Israel, the Saudi's themselves, the MIC & so on & so forth ARE the special interests who literally "realise" US Policy.

Paul, July 11, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.)

Replies:

@Wizard of Oz

I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? ,

Realist, July 11, 2017 at 8:24 am GMT

"The White House is targeting Iran but should instead focus on Saudi Arabia"

Trump has no control of most government functions, particularly foreign affairs. The Deep State takes care of that for him. The Deep State has been calling the shots for decades and all Presidents who weren't assassinated have complied. Democracies never work and ours quit long ago.

Chad, July 11, 2017 at 8:28 am GMT
I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this. I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security. Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US?

Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves.

USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw.

It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance.

And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country.

So what's the answer? Well, props to Phillip as he understood – "it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Bingo.

Replies:

@Jake

Your analysis starts too late. The US supports Wahhabism and the House of Saud because the pro-Arabic/Islamic English Elites of 1910 and 1920 and 1935 supported Wahhabism and the House of Saud.

The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud,

Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans.

Anonymous, July 11, 2017 at 9:33 am GMT

@Priss Factor

US foreign policy is simple. Zionist Emperor goes thumbs up or thumbs down on whatever nation based on his own interests.

That's about it. That's most of unz.com summed up in a single sentence!

Johnny Smoggins, July 11, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT

The casus belli of America's hostility towards Iran is the 3000 year old grudge that the Jews have been holding against Persia.
Z-man, July 11, 2017 at 11:22 am GMT
@Priss Factor

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

No, the only threats are the following three:

Too many Meso-Americans invading from the border. These people have totally changed the SW and may drastically alter parts of US as well. This is an invasion. Meso-Americans are lackluster, but Too Many translates into real power, especially in elections.

The other threat is Hindu-Indian. Indians are just itching to unload 100s of millions of their kind to Anglo nations. Unlike Chinese population that is plummeting, Indian population is still growing.

The other threat, biggest of all, is the Negro. It's not Russian missiles or Chinese troops that turned Detroit into a hellhole. It is Negroes. And look at Baltimore, New Orleans, Selma, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, South Side Chicago, etc.

Afromic Bomb is more hellish than atomic bomb. Compare Detroit and Hiroshima.

Also, even though nukes are deadly, they will likely never be used. They are for defensive purposes only. The real missiles that will destroy the West is the Afro penis. US has nukes to destroy the world, but they haven't been used even during peak of cold war. But millions of Negro puds have impregnanted and colonized white wombs to kill white-babies-that-could-have-been and replaced them with mulatto Negro kids who will turn out like Colin Kapernick.

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2017/07/pattern-recognition-great-sin-than.html

The real missile gap is the threat posed by negro dong on white dong. The negro dong is so potent that even Japanese women are going Negroid and having kids with Negro men and raising these kids as 'Japanese' to beat up real Japanese. So, if Japan with few blacks is turning like this, imagine the threat posed by Negroes on whites in the West.

Look at youtube of street life and club life in Paris and London. Negro missiles are conquering the white race and spreading the savage genes.

Look how Polish women welcomed the Negro missile cuz they are infected with jungle fever. ACOWW will be the real undoing of the West.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yB69UkJGwk

Besides what Priss Factor said above the following is to be reinforced with every real American man, woman and child.

Israel , which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.

Israel, the REAL enemy!

eah, July 11, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT
The WH should focus on the USA.
Replies: @Sowhat And what grudge is that? The only two I can find are connected. The deposing of our puppets, the Assads and the nationalization of their natural resources. I have the impression that it removes around future hegemon and the rich gas reserves off their coast and the decades long desire to run a pipeline west to the Mediterranean.

Greg Bacon > Website , July 11, 2017 at 11:41 am GMT

The BIGGEST threat to the USA is from within, as we are nothing more than an occupied colony of Apartheid Israel, paying that bastard state tributes each year in the form of free money and weapons, political backing at the UN, and never tire of fighting her wars of conquest.

You won't see Israeli troops in the streets, since their confederates control the economy thru their control of the FED and US Treasury and most of those TBTF banks, which we always bail out, no matter the cost.

The also have a choke-hold on Congress, which is always eager to wag their tail and hope their Yid Overlord gives them a treat and not a dressing-down in the Jew MSM, which is a career killer.

The WH is also Israeli territory, especially now with a Jew NYC slumlord now Trump's top adviser and his fashion model faux Jew daughter egging Daddy on to kill more Arab babies, since she can't stand the sight of dead babies

Wizard of Oz, July 11, 2017 at 11:50 am GMT

@Paul Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.) I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report?

Replies:

@Sowhat

https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/former-nist-employee-speaks-out-on-wtc-investigation/

@NoseytheDuke

A better question: Have YOU read The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Phillip Shenon?

Sowhat, July 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm GMT

@eah The WH should focus on the USA. And what grudge is that? The only two I can find are connected. The deposing of our puppets, the Assads and the nationalization of their natural resources. I have the impression that it removes around future hegemon and the rich gas reserves off their coast and the decades long desire to run a pipeline west to the Mediterranean.
anarchyst, July 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT
Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them.

The point that everybody seems to miss is the fact that Judaism and Islam are inextricably linked. In fact, one could safely argue that Islam is an arabicized form of Judaism.

1. Both Judaism and Islam promote their own forms of supremacy, relegating non-adherents as "lesser human beings", or in Judaism's take "no better than livestock, albeit with souls, to be used for the advantage of the jew".

2. Both systems proscribe lesser (or no) punishment for those of each respective "tribe" who transgress against "outsiders" -- goyim or infidels. Both systems proscribe much harsher punishments against "outsiders" who transgress against those of each respective "tribe".

3. When it comes to "equality under law", Israel is no better than Saudi Arabia, as a jew who has a disagreement with an "outsider" will always have the advantage of a judicial system which almost always rules for the jew.

4. Both Judaism and Islam have taken it upon themselves to be arbiters of what the rest of the world should follow, demanding that "outsiders" conform to what THEY believe, thinking that they know what is best (for the rest of us). Just look at the demands moslems (who are guests in western Europe) make of local non-moslem populations.

Read the jewish Talmud and islamic Koran you will find virtually identical passages that demonize and marginalize those of us who are "goyim" or "infidels".
A pox on both their houses

Replies:

@ThreeCranes

Now before I say what I'm going to say I want to say that Israel has the right to define and defend her interests just as China, Russia and USA do, as Geraldi says above. No nation or people can be denied this (without force).

Having said that, I am grateful to you, anarchyst, for having pointed out the familial similarities between Islam and Judaism. In addition to what you say there is the fact that the Jewish genome is virtually identical to that of the Palestinians--except for that of Ashkenazi Jews who are more than half European.

As far as I can see, Ashkenazi Jews have an existential choice. They can identify with their European half whereby they acknowledge that the Greeks and not Moses made the greatest contributions to humanity (and more particularly, their humanity) or they can go with their atavistic Semitic side and regress to barbarism. Science, Logic, Math, History, Architecture, Drama and Music or blowing up Buddhas and shrouding your women. Take your pick.

Of course, this is sorta unfair in as much as they were kicked out of Europe and now dwell in the ME where if they try to act like Europeans they will be persecuted by their neighbors as apostates. The Jews do indeed have a tough row to hoe. , @bjondo Jews/Judaism bring death, destruction, misery.

Muslims/Islam (minus Western creation of "Muslim"terrorists) brought golden ages to many areas.

Christianity and Islam elevate the human spirit. Judaism degrades.

bjondo, July 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT

SA is the tail wagged by US. US is the tail wagged by internal Jew. Israel/Jewry the enemy of all.

Terrorism is Israeli weapon to take down Sunnis and Shias.

US is Israel's go-to donkey.

Sauds gone tomorrow if wished. And they may be with Arabia broken into pieces. Yinon still active.

Agent76, July 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm GMT
June 7, 2017 We Have Met the Evil Empire and It Is Us

Life in America was pure injustice, the lash and the iron boot, despite the version of history we have been given by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations who "re-invented" America and its history through taking control of public education in the late 1940s. You see, the multi-generational ignorance we bask in today is not unplanned. The threat represented by advances in communications and other technology was recognized and dealt with, utterly quashed at birth.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/06/07/we-have-met-the-evil-empire-and-it-is-us/

ThreeCranes, July 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT
@anarchyst Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them.
The point that everybody seems to miss is the fact that Judaism and Islam are inextricably linked. In fact, one could safely argue that Islam is an arabicized form of Judaism.

1. Both Judaism and Islam promote their own forms of supremacy, relegating non-adherents as "lesser human beings", or in Judaism's take "no better than livestock, albeit with souls, to be used for the advantage of the jew".

2. Both systems proscribe lesser (or no) punishment for those of each respective "tribe" who transgress against "outsiders"--goyim or infidels. Both systems proscribe much harsher punishments against "outsiders" who transgress against those of each respective "tribe".

3. When it comes to "equality under law", Israel is no better than Saudi Arabia, as a jew who has a disagreement with an "outsider" will always have the advantage of a judicial system which almost always rules for the jew.

4. Both Judaism and Islam have taken it upon themselves to be arbiters of what the rest of the world should follow, demanding that "outsiders" conform to what THEY believe, thinking that they know what is best (for the rest of us). Just look at the demands moslems (who are guests in western Europe) make of local non-moslem populations.

Read the jewish Talmud and islamic Koran...you will find virtually identical passages that demonize and marginalize those of us who are "goyim" or "infidels".
A pox on both their houses... Now before I say what I'm going to say I want to say that Israel has the right to define and defend her interests just as China, Russia and USA do, as Geraldi says above. No nation or people can be denied this (without force).

Having said that, I am grateful to you, anarchyst, for having pointed out the familial similarities between Islam and Judaism. In addition to what you say there is the fact that the Jewish genome is virtually identical to that of the Palestinians–except for that of Ashkenazi Jews who are more than half European.

As far as I can see, Ashkenazi Jews have an existential choice. They can identify with their European half whereby they acknowledge that the Greeks and not Moses made the greatest contributions to humanity (and more particularly, their humanity) or they can go with their atavistic Semitic side and regress to barbarism. Science, Logic, Math, History, Architecture, Drama and Music or blowing up Buddhas and shrouding your women. Take your pick.

Of course, this is sorta unfair in as much as they were kicked out of Europe and now dwell in the ME where if they try to act like Europeans they will be persecuted by their neighbors as apostates. The Jews do indeed have a tough row to hoe.

Sowhat, July 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/former-nist-employee-speaks-out-on-wtc-investigation/
virgile, July 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm GMT
Trump is torn between Israel's permanent need to weaken its powerful neighbors (Iraq, Iran) and the necessity to protect the USA from terrorists attacks.

Iran is an hypothetical threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia has proven to be a threat to the world.

SolontoCroesus, July 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm GMT
Saudi Arabian Manal al-Sharif is the latest (((MSM))) media darling; she wrote a book about being imprisoned for driving in Saudi Arabia. She is attempting to expand a movement to strike down the Saudi ban on women driving. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/09/opinion/sunday/saudi-arabia-women-driving-ban.html

At the same time, (((MSM))) gleefully focuses on Iranian women who are wearing white hijab in protest of restrictions on women's attire in Iran. http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/05/24/why-women-and-some-men-in-iran-are-wearing-white-headscarves-on-wednesdays/

I think these women ought to get together.

In Iran, women drive.

In Tehran and other Iranian cities including Iran's holiest, that is, most conservative cities like Mashad. there are taxi companies owned and run by women.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/turnstyle/iranian-women-take-the-wh_b_879041.html

Tehran traffic makes NYC look like Mayberry RFD; many Iranians use small motorcycles to commute and take care of daily chores. It's not at all uncommon to see an Iranian woman in full chador driving a motorcycle with a child and parcels in tow.

Iranian women could offer to teach the women of Saudi Arabia to drive.

What could Saudi women teach Iranian women?

NoseytheDuke, July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? A better question: Have YOU read The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Phillip Shenon?

siberiancat, July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

Why is is so difficult to avoid this ugly term 'regime'? Does it really add anything to the discourse?
anonymous, July 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT
There's no alternative to Saudi royal family rule of the peninsula. Who's there to replace them? Any other group, assuming there might be one somewhere waiting in the wings, would probably be anti-American and not as compliant as the Saudis. They've spent gigantic sums in the endless billions buying military equipment from the US, weapons they can't even fully use, as a way of making themselves indispensable customers. Many other billions of petrodollars find their way westward into our financial systems. They collaborate with the US in various schemes throughout the Muslim world using their intelligence services and money in furtherance of US goals.

They live the royal life thanks to being able to use the money from their nation's resource wealth as their own personal kitty, living in palaces, buying obscene amounts of jewelry and other luxury goods, and so on. They'll never give that up and being a close ally of the US affords them protection which of course they pay for. They may be seen as an enemy by the average person but not at the elite level with whom they all consort and roll around in the money with.

LondonBob, July 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm GMT
http://mihsislander.org/2017/06/full-transcript-james-mattis-interview/

Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential.

Don Bacon, July 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
Iran is US enemy #1 not only because it is against that country smaller than New Jersey with less people (Israel) but also because Iran has been a model for other countries to follow because of its intransigence to US oppression and attacks, financial political and cyber. As the world becomes multi-polar, Iran's repeated wise reactions to the world hegemon have been an inspiration to China and others to go their own way. The US can't stand that.
Corvinus, July 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT
@Paul Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.) "Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag."

Adjust tin foil hat accordingly.


Father O'Hara, July 11, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Jake The title of the article tells it all.

Saudi Arabia is THE worst nation in the Middle East.

Why does the US follow along blindly? Well, it is a WASP thing. We are the new Brit Empire. By the height of the Victorian era, virtually all English Elites were philoSemitic. Roughly half of the UK WASP Elite philoSemitism was pro-Jewish and half was pro-Arabic/Islamic.

And by the time of WW1, the English Elite pro-Arabic/Islamic faction came to adore the house of Saud.

So, our foreign policy is merely WASP culture continuing to ruin most of the rest of the world, including all the whites ruled by WASP Elites. SECOND worst,my friend.

Jake, July 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm GMT
@Chad I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this.

I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security.

Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US?

Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves. USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw. It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance.

And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country.

So what's the answer? Well, props to Phillip as he understood - "it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Bingo. Your analysis starts too late. The US supports Wahhabism and the House of Saud because the pro-Arabic/Islamic English Elites of 1910 and 1920 and 1935 supported Wahhabism and the House of Saud.

The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud. Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans.

Durruti, July 11, 2017 at 4:25 pm GMT

1,000 Words @RobinG #UNRIG adds AMERICA FIRST, NOT ISRAEL to Agenda.
..................."A.I.P.A.C.. you're outta business!"

Due to slanderous attacks by a Mossad internet psy-op, Steele now prioritizes Israeli malign influence on US. Also, check out Cynthia McKinney's twitter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxcnaNND4XM

#UNRIG - Robert David Steele Weekly Update Nice action approach to cure ills of society.

Enclosing copy of flier we have distributed – with a similar approach at a cure.

*Flier distributed is adjusted & a bit more attractive (1 sheet – both sides).

The key is to Restore the Republic, which was definitively destroyed on November 22, 1963.

Feel free to contact.

Use this, or send me a note by way of a response.

For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal 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 abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963 , when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965, the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala .

In the 1970s, the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion. This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled, and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder , Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

SolontoCroesus, July 11, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT

Scholars at Mercatus Center, George Mason Univ. https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings

are studying US states and ranking them according to financial stability measures. The states with biggest problems -- Illinois, California, New Jersey, Connecticut -- are in the mess they are in largely because of pension liability issues: some pensions are unfunded or underfunded.

I recall that ten years ago about a dozen Jewish organizations formed the "Iran Task Force," ** whose primary activity was to persuade managers of State pension funds to divest from Iran-connected companies; that is, corporations & banks, etc. that did business with Iran. I recall very clearly that Arnold Schwartznegger was the poster child for California's vanguard role in divesting from such nasty nasty companies, in accord with the wishes of Jewish Israel-firsters.

Perhaps the Mercatus scholars could prepare an exercise in alternative financial history: What shape would the US economy, and the various States's economies, be in if the US were NOT so overwhelmingly influenced by Israel firsters, and were NOT persuaded, Against Our Better Judgment, to entangle themselves in Israel's nefarious activities?

____
** The 2007 Iran Task Force is NOT the same as the group formed in 2015 or so, embedded in US House/Senate, with Joe Lieberman and Michael Hayden playing prominent roles in attempting to influence the Iran Deal.

The 2007 initiative was sponsored by groups such as ZOA, RJC, AIPAC, etc., and / or spun off groups such as Foundation for Defense of Democracy, United Against Nuclear Iran.

[Dec 26, 2017] Evangelii Gaudium Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World (24 November 2013)

Highly recommended!
Nov 23, 2013 | w2.vatican.va

... ... ...

CHAPTER TWO: AMID THE CRISIS OF COMMUNAL COMMITMENT

50. Before taking up some basic questions related to the work of evangelization, it may be helpful to mention briefly the context in which we all have to live and work. Today, we frequently hear of a "diagnostic overload" which is not always accompanied by improved and actually applicable methods of treatment. Nor would we be well served by a purely sociological analysis which would aim to embrace all of reality by employing an allegedly neutral and clinical method. What I would like to propose is something much more in the line of an evangelical discernment. It is the approach of a missionary disciple, an approach "nourished by the light and strength of the Holy Spirit". [53]

51. It is not the task of the Pope to offer a detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality, but I do exhort all the communities to an "ever watchful scrutiny of the signs of the times". [54] This is in fact a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse. We need to distinguish clearly what might be a fruit of the kingdom from what runs counter to God's plan. This involves not only recognizing and discerning spirits, but also – and this is decisive – choosing movements of the spirit of good and rejecting those of the spirit of evil. I take for granted the different analyses which other documents of the universal magisterium have offered, as well as those proposed by the regional and national conferences of bishops. In this Exhortation I claim only to consider briefly, and from a pastoral perspective, certain factors which can restrain or weaken the impulse of missionary renewal in the Church, either because they threaten the life and dignity of God's people or because they affect those who are directly involved in the Church's institutions and in her work of evangelization.

I. Some challenges of today's world

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say "thou shalt not" to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a "throw away" culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society's underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the "exploited" but the outcast, the "leftovers".

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: "Not to share one's wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs". [55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called "end of history", since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today's economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an "education" that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Some cultural challenges

61. We also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise. [56] On occasion these may take the form of veritable attacks on religious freedom or new persecutions directed against Christians; in some countries these have reached alarming levels of hatred and violence. In many places, the problem is more that of widespread indifference and relativism, linked to disillusionment and the crisis of ideologies which has come about as a reaction to any-thing which might appear totalitarian. This not only harms the Church but the fabric of society as a whole. We should recognize how in a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions.

62. In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional. What is real gives way to appearances. In many countries globalization has meant a hastened deterioration of their own cultural roots and the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to other cultures which are economically advanced but ethically debilitated. This fact has been brought up by bishops from various continents in different Synods. The African bishops, for example, taking up the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis , pointed out years ago that there have been frequent attempts to make the African countries "parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel. This is often true also in the field of social communications which, being run by centres mostly in the northern hemisphere, do not always give due consideration to the priorities and problems of such countries or respect their cultural make-up". [57] By the same token, the bishops of Asia "underlined the external influences being brought to bear on Asian cultures. New patterns of behaviour are emerging as a result of over-exposure to the mass media As a result, the negative aspects of the media and entertainment industries are threatening traditional values, and in particular the sacredness of marriage and the stability of the family". [58]

63. The Catholic faith of many peoples is nowadays being challenged by the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which tend to fundamentalism while others seem to propose a spirituality without God. This is, on the one hand, a human reaction to a materialistic, consumerist and individualistic society, but it is also a means of exploiting the weaknesses of people living in poverty and on the fringes of society, people who make ends meet amid great human suffering and are looking for immediate solutions to their needs. These religious movements, not without a certain shrewdness, come to fill, within a predominantly individualistic culture, a vacuum left by secularist rationalism. We must recognize that if part of our baptized people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems, be they simple or complex, in the lives of our people. In many places an administrative approach prevails over a pastoral approach, as does a concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelization.

64. The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change. As the bishops of the United States of America have rightly pointed out, while the Church insists on the existence of objective moral norms which are valid for everyone, "there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals. In this view, the Church is perceived as promoting a particular prejudice and as interfering with individual freedom". [59] We are living in an information-driven society which bombards us indiscriminately with data – all treated as being of equal importance – and which leads to remarkable superficiality in the area of moral discernment. In response, we need to provide an education which teaches critical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values.

65. Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need. Again and again, the Church has acted as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defence of life, human and civil rights, and so forth. And how much good has been done by Catholic schools and universities around the world! This is a good thing. Yet, we find it difficult to make people see that when we raise other questions less palatable to public opinion, we are doing so out of fidelity to precisely the same convictions about human dignity and the common good.

66. The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born "of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life". [60]

67. The individualism of our postmodern and globalized era favours a lifestyle which weakens the development and stability of personal relationships and distorts family bonds. Pastoral activity needs to bring out more clearly the fact that our relationship with the Father demands and encourages a communion which heals, promotes and reinforces interpersonal bonds. In our world, especially in some countries, different forms of war and conflict are re-emerging, yet we Christians remain steadfast in our intention to respect others, to heal wounds, to build bridges, to strengthen relationships and to "bear one another's burdens" ( Gal 6:2). Today too, various associations for the defence of rights and the pursuit of noble goals are being founded. This is a sign of the desire of many people to contribute to social and cultural progress.

[Dec 26, 2017] Pope Francis denounces trickle-down economics by Aaron Blake

Highly recommended!
This "apostolic exhortation" is probably the most sharp critique of neoliberalism by a church leader.
Notable quotes:
"... "In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the pope wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting." ..."
"... In his exhortation, the pope also attacked economic inequality, suggesting Christians have a duty to combat it to comply with the Ten Commandments -- specifically the prohibition on killing. ..."
Nov 26, 2013 | www.washingtonpost.com

Pope Francis delivers a speech March 15, 2013, during a meeting of the world's cardinals. (Osservatore Romano/EPA)

Pope Francis has released a sharply worded take on capitalism and the world's treatment of its poor, criticizing "trickle-down" economic policies in no uncertain terms.

In the first lengthy writing of his papacy -- also known as an "apostolic exhortation" -- Francis says such economic theories naively rely on the goodness of those in charge and create a "tyranny" of the markets.

"In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," the pope wrote. "This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."

While popes have often warned against the negative impact of the markets, Francis's verbiage is note-worthy because of its use of the phrase "trickle-down" -- a term that came into popular usage as a description for former president Ronald Reagan's economic policies. While the term is often used pejoratively, it describes an economic theory that remains popular with conservatives in the United States today.

The theory holds that policies benefiting the wealthiest segment of society will also help the poor, by allowing money to "trickle down" from the top income levels into the lower ones. Critics, including President Obama, say the policies, usually focused on tax cuts and credits that primarily benefit upper-income Americans, concentrate wealth in the highest income levels and that the benefits rarely trickle down to the extent proponents suggest.

In his exhortation, the pope also attacked economic inequality, suggesting Christians have a duty to combat it to comply with the Ten Commandments -- specifically the prohibition on killing.

"Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality," the pope wrote. "Such an economy kills."

The pope also likened the worship of money to the biblical golden calf .

"We have created new idols," Francis wrote. "The worship of the ancient golden calf ... has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."

The pope also attacks "consumerism": "It is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric."

Here is the entire passage:

I. SOME CHALLENGES OF TODAY'S WORLD

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say "thou shalt not" to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a "disposable" culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society's underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the "exploited" but the outcast, the "leftovers".

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people's pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else's responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: "Not to share one's wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs". [55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called "end of history", since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today's economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an "education" that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

[Dec 22, 2017] Latin America The Pendulum Swings to the Right, by James Petras

Argentina is essentially the case of neoliberalism renaissance after 2008 debacle. So this is about strange non-death of neoliberalism after 2008. This is not traditional right wing regime (which usually isolationalist for smaller countries and suspicious of the USA and international financial capital)
Notable quotes:
"... populism for the plutocrats' ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Clearly the pendulum has swung to the right in the past few years. Numerous questions arise. What kind of right? How far right? How did they gain power? What is their appeal? How sustainable are the right wing regimes? Who are their international allies and adversaries? Having taken power, how have the rightist regimes performed and by what criteria is success or failure measured?

While the left has been in retreat, they still retain power in some states. Numerous questions arise. What is the nature of the left today? Why have some regimes continued while others have declined or been vanquished? Can the left recover its influence and under what conditions and with what programmatic appeal.

We will proceed by discussing the character and policies of the right and left and their direction. We will conclude by analyzing the dynamics of right and left policies, alignments and future perspectives.

Right-Radicalism: The Face of Power

The right wing regimes are driven by intent to implement structural changes: they look to reordering the nature of the state, economic and social relations and international political and economic alignments.

Radical right regimes rule in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras and Chile.

In several countries extreme right regimes have made abrupt changes, while in others they build on incremental changes constituted over time.

The changes in Argentina and Brazil represent examples of extreme regressive transformations directed at reversing income distribution, property relations, international alignments and military strategies. The goal is to redistribute income upwardly, to re-concentrate wealth, property-ownership upward and externally and to subscribe to imperial doctrine. These pluto-populist regimes are run by rulers, who openly speak to and for very powerful domestic and overseas investors and are generous in their distribution of subsidies and state resources – a kind of ' populism for the plutocrats' .

The rise and consolidation of extremist right regimes in Argentina and Brazil are based on several decisive interventions, combining elections and violence, purges and co-optation, mass media propaganda and deep corruption.

Mauricio Macri was backed by the major media, led by the Clarin conglomerate, as well as by the international financial press (Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.). Wall Street speculators and Washington's overseas political apparatus subsidized his electoral campaign.

Macri, his family, cronies and financial accomplices, transferred public resources to private accounts. Provincial political bosses and their patronage operations joined forces with the wealthy financial sectors of Buenos Aires to secure votes in the Capital.

Upon his election, the Mauricio Macri regime transferred five billion dollars to the notorious Wall Street speculator, Paul Singer, signed off on multi-billion dollar, high interest loans, increased utility fees six fold, privatized oil, gas and public lands and fired tens of thousands of public sector employees.

Macri organized a political purge and arrest of opposition political leaders, including former President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner. Several provincial activists were jailed or even assassinated.

Macri is a success story from the perspective of Wall Street, Washington and the Porteño business elite. Wages and salaries have declined for Argentine workers. Utility companies secured their highest profits ever. Bankers doubled interest rate returns. Importers became millionaires. Agro-business incomes skyrocketed as their taxes were reduced.

From the perspective of Argentina's small and medium business enterprises President Macri's regime has been a disaster: Many thousands have gone bankrupt because of high utility costs and harsh competition from cheap Chinese imports. In addition to the drop in wages and salaries, unemployment and under employment doubled and the rate of extreme poverty tripled

The economy, as a whole, floundered. Debt financing failed to promote growth, productivity, innovation and exports. Foreign investment experienced easy entry, big profits and fast departure. The promise of prosperity was narrowly based around a quarter of the population. To weaken the expected public discontent – the regime shut down independent media voices, unleashed thugs against critics and co-opted pliable gangster trade union bosses to break strikes.

Public protests and strikes multiplied but were ignored and repressed. Popular leaders and activists are stigmatized by the Macri-financed media hacks.

Barring a major social upheaval or economic collapse, Macri will exploit the fragmentation of the opposition to secure re-election as a model gangster for Wall Street. Macri is prepared to sign off on US military bases, EU free trade agreements, and greater police liaison with Israel's sinister secret police, Mossad.

Brazil has followed Macri's far right policies.

Seizing power through a phony impeachment operation, the mega-swindler Michel Temer immediately proceeded to dismantle the entire public sector, freeze salaries for twenty years, and extend retirement age for pensioners by five to ten years. Temer led over a thousand bribe-taking elected officials in the multi-billion dollar pillage of the state oil company and every major public infrastructure project.

Coup, corruption and contempt were hidden by a system granting Congressional impunity until independent prosecutors investigated, charged and jailed several dozen politicians, but not Temer. Despite 95% public disapproval, President Temer remains in power with the total backing of Wall Street, the Pentagon and Sao Paolo bankers.

Mexico, the long-standing narco-assassin state, continues elect one thieving PRI-PAN political regime after another. Billions in illicit profits flows to the overseas tax havens of money laundering bankers, US and Canadian mine owners. Mexican and international manufacturers extracted double digit profits sent, to overseas accounts and tax havens. Mexico broke its own miserable record in elite tax avoidance, while extending low wage-tax 'free trade zones'. Millions of Mexicans have fled across the border to escape predatory gangster capitalism. The flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of profits by US and Canadian multi-nationals were a result of the 'unequal exchange' between US capital and Mexican labor, held in place by Mexico's fraudulent electoral system.

In at least two well-known presidential elections in 1988 and 2006, left of center candidates, Cuahtemoc Cardenas and Manuel Lopez Obrador, won with healthy margins of victory, only to have their victories stolen by fraudulent vote counts.

Peru's rightist mining regimes, alternated between the overtly bloody Fujimori dictatorship and corrupt electoral regimes. What is consistent in Peruvian politics is the handover of mineral resources to foreign capital, pervasive corruption and the brutal exploitation of natural resources by US and Canadian mining and drilling corporations in regions inhabited by Indian communities.

The extreme right ousted elected left-of-center governments, including President Fernando Lugo in Paraguay (2008-2012) and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras (2006-2009), with the active support and approval of the US State Department. Narco-presidents now wield power by means of repression, including violence against popular movements and the killing of scores of peasant and urban activists. This year, a grossly rigged election in Honduras ensured the continuity of narco-regimes and US military bases.

The spread of the extreme right from Central America and Mexico to the Southern Cone provides the groundwork for the re-assertion of US centered military alliances and regional trade pacts.

The rise of the extreme right ensures the most lucrative privatizations and the highest rates of return on overseas bank loans. The far right is quick to crack down on popular dissent and electoral challenges with violence. At most the far right allows a few rotating elites with nationalist pretensions to provide a façade of electoral democracy.

The Shift from the Center-Left to the Center-Right

The political swings to the far right have had profound ripple effects – as nominal center-left regimes have swung to the center-right.

Two regimes have moved decisively from the center-left to the center-right: Uruguay under Tabare Vazquez of the 'Broad Front' and Ecuador with the recent election of Lenin Moreno of PAIS Alliance. In both cases the groundwork was established via accommodations with oligarchs of the traditional right parties. The previous center-left regimes of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica succeeded in pushing for public investments and social reforms. They combined their leftist rhetoric while capitalizing on the global high prices and high demand for agro-mineral exports to finance their reforms. With the decline in world prices and the public exposure of corruption, the newly elected center-left parties nominated and elected center –right candidates who turned anti-corruption campaigns into vehicles for embracing neoliberal economic policies. The center-right presidents rejected economic nationalism, encouraged large scale foreign investment and implemented fiscal austerity programs appealing to the upper middle class and ruling class.

The center-right regimes marginalized the leftist sectors of their parties. In the case of Ecuador, they split the party, with the newly elected president realigning international policies away from the left (Bolivia, Venezuela) and toward the US and the far right– while shedding the legacy of their predecessor in terms of popular social programs.

With the decline in export prices the center-right regimes offered generous subsidies to foreign investors in agriculture and forestry in Uruguay, and mine owners and exporters in Ecuador.

The newly converted center-right regimes joined with their established counterparts in Chile and joined the Trans Pacific Partnership with Asian nations, the EU and the US.

The center-right sought to manipulate the social rhetoric of the previous center-left regimes in order to retain popular voters while securing support from the business elite.

The Left Moves to the Center Left

Bolivia, under Evo Morales, has demonstrated an exceptional capacity for sustaining growth, securing re-election and neutralizing the opposition by combining a radical left foreign policy with a moderate, mixed public-private export economy. While Bolivia condemns US imperialism, major oil, gas, metals and lithium multi-nationals have invested heavily in Bolivia. Evo Morales has moderated his ideological posture shifting from revolutionary socialism to a local version of liberal democratic cultural politics.

Evo Morales' embrace of a mixed economy has neutralized any overt hostility from the US and the new far-right regimes in the region

Though remaining politically independent, Bolivia has integrated its exports with the far right neoliberal regimes in the region. President Evo Morales's moderate economic policies, diversity of mineral exports, fiscal responsibility, incremental social reforms, and support from well-organized social movements has led to political stability and social continuity despite the volatility of commodity prices.

Venezuela's left regimes under President Hugo Chavez and Maduro have followed a divergent course with harsh consequences. Totally dependent on extraordinary global oil prices, Venezuela proceeded to finance generous welfare programs at home and abroad. Under President Chavez leadership, Venezuela adopted a consequential anti-imperialist policy successfully opposing a US centered free trade agreement (LAFTA) and launching an anti-imperialist alternative, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

Advancing social welfare and financing overseas allies without diversifying the economy and markets and increasing production was predicated on continuous high returns on a single volatile export – oil.

Unlike Bolivia under President Evo Morales, who built his power with the support of an organized, class conscious and disciplined mass base, Venezuela counted on an amorphous electoral alliance, which included slum dwellers, defectors from the corrupt traditional parties (across the spectrum) and opportunists intent on grabbing office and perks. Political education was reduced to mouthing slogans, cheering the President and distributing consumer goods.

Venezuelan technocrats and political loyalists occupied highly lucrative positions, especially in the petroleum sector and were not held to account by workers' councils or competent state auditors. Corruption was rampant and billions of dollars of oil wealth was stolen. This pillage was tolerated because of the huge influx of petro-dollars due to historic high prices and high demand. This led to a bizarre situation where the regime spoke of socialism and funded massive social programs, while the major banks, food distributers, importers and transportation operators were controlled by hostile private oligarchs who pocketed enormous profits while manufacturing shortages and promoting inflation. Despite the problems, the Venezuelan voters gave the regime a series of electoral victories over the US proxies and oligarch politicians. This tended to create overconfidence in the regime that the Bolivarian socialist model was irrevocable.

The precipitous drop of oil prices, global demand, and export earnings led to the decline of imports and consumption. Unlike Bolivia, foreign reserves declined, the rampant theft of billions was belatedly uncovered and the US-backed rightwing opposition returned to violent 'direct action' and sabotage while hoarding essential food, consumer goods and medicine. Shortages led to widespread black marketeering. Public sector corruption and hostile opposition control of the private banking, retail and industrial sectors, backed by the US, paralyzed the economy. The economy has been in a free-fall and electoral support has eroded. Despite the regime's severe problems, the majority of low income voters correctly understood that their chances of surviving under the US-backed oligarchic opposition would be worse and the embattled left continued to win gubernatorial and municipal elections up through 2017.

Venezuela's economic vulnerability and negative growth rate led to increased indebtedness. The opposition of the extreme right regimes in Latin America and Washington's economic sanctions has intensified food shortages and increased unemployment.

In contrast, Bolivia effectively defeated US-elite coup plots between 2008-10. The Santa Cruz-based oligarchs faced the clear choice of either sharing profits and social stability by signing off on social pacts (workers/peasants, capital and state) with the Morales government or facing an alliance of the government and the militant labor movement prepared to expropriate their holdings. The elites chose economic collaboration while pursuing low intensity electoral opposition.

Conclusion

Left opposition is in retreat from state power. Opposition to the extreme right is likely to grow, given the harsh, uncompromising assault on income, pensions, the rise in the cost of living, severe reductions in social programs and attacks on private and public sector employment. The extreme right has several options, none of which offer any concessions to the left. They have chosen to heighten police state measures (the Macri solution); they attempt to fragment the opposition by negotiating with the opportunist trade union and political party bosses; and they reshuffle degraded rulers with new faces to continue policies (the Brazilian solution).

The formerly revolutionary left parties, movements and leaders have evolved toward electoral politics, protests and job action. So far they do not represent an effective political option at the national level

The center-left, especially in Brazil and Ecuador, is in a strong position with dynamic political leaders (Lula DaSilva and Correa) but face trumped up charges by right-wing prosecutors who intend to exclude them from running for office. Unless the center-left reformers engage in prolonged large-scale mass activity, the far right will effectively undermine their political recovery.

The US imperial state has temporarily regained proxy regimes, military allies and economic resources and markets. China and the European Union profit from optimal economic conditions offered by the far right regimes. The US military program has effectively neutralized the radical opposition in Colombia, and the Trump regime has intensified and imposed new sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba.

The Trump regimes 'triumphalist' celebration is premature – no decisive strategic victory has taken place, despite important short term advances in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. However large outflows of profits, major transfers of ownership to foreign investors, favorable tax rates, low tariff and trade policies have yet to generate new productive facilities, sustainable growth and to ensure economic fundamentals. Maximizing profits and ignoring investments in productivity and innovation to promote domestic markets and demand has bankrupted tens of thousands of medium and small local commercial and manufacturing firms. This has led to rising chronic unemployment and underemployment. Marginalization and social polarization without political leadership is growing. Such conditions led to 'spontaneous' uprisings in Argentina 2001, Ecuador 2000 and Bolivia 2005.

The far right in power may not evoke a rebellion of the far left but its policies can certainly undermine the stability and continuity of the current regimes. At a minimum, it can lead to some version of the center left and restoration of the welfare and employment regimes now in tatters.

In the meantime the far right will press ahead with their perverse agenda combining deep reversals of social welfare, the degradation of national sovereignty and economic stagnation with a formidable profit maximizing performance.

Jason Liu , December 19, 2017 at 7:04 pm GMT

I think this author is on the wrong site. None of those countries have "radical right" governments. Right wing radicals believe in social hierarchy regardless of wealth distribution.
Miro23 , December 20, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT

In contrast, Bolivia effectively defeated US-elite coup plots between 2008-10. The Santa Cruz-based oligarchs faced the clear choice of either sharing profits and social stability by signing off on social pacts (workers/peasants, capital and state) with the Morales government or facing an alliance of the government and the militant labor movement prepared to expropriate their holdings. The elites chose economic collaboration while pursuing low intensity electoral opposition.

This is an intelligent form of Bolivia First, looking for good relations with International Capital, but putting the wellbeing of all Bolivians first.

And interestingly it works.

According to a report by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, "Bolivia has grown much faster over the last eight years than in any period over the past three and a half decades." The benefits of such growth have been felt by the Bolivian people: under Morales, poverty has declined by 25% and extreme poverty has declined by 43%; social spending has increased by more than 45%; the real minimum wage has increased by 87.7%; and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean has praised Bolivia for being "one of the few countries that has reduced inequality". In this respect, the re-election of Morales is really very simple: people like to be economically secure – so if you reduce poverty, they'll probably vote for you.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/14/evo-morales-reelected-socialism-doesnt-damage-economies-bolivia

Turns out the difference between Bolivia and Venezuela has nothing to do with abstract ideological labels, and everything to do with fiscal prudence.
I know, I know, fiscal prudence sounds deadly dull, but it makes an enormous difference in real people's lives. While Venezuela's reckless socialists were impoverishing the country's once thriving middle class, Bolivia's socialists were creating an entirely new indigenous middle class, even spawning a whole new style of architecture along with it. Why? Because newly affluent Bolivians can afford it: Per capita GDP more than tripled from just $1,000 a year to over $3,200 over a decade. At the same time, new government social programs designed to help older people, mothers and other at-risk groups saw to major improvements in social indicators. To take just one, consider this: Thirty-two percent of Bolivians were chronically malnourished in 2003. By 2012, just 18 percent were.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/01/05/as-socialist-venezuela-collapses-socialist-bolivia-thrives-heres-why/?utm_term=.9f988144dca4

The "CONSERVATIVE SOCIALISM" of Bolivia's Evo Morales

https://panampost.com/editor/2017/05/10/conservative-bolivia-evo-morales/

Lemurmaniac , December 20, 2017 at 10:03 am GMT
Oligarchic regimes pursuing the factional, plutocratic, trans-national good are merely an older form of the liberal left.

They're a cargo cult of the true hierarchical expressions of a right wing order in the realm of gross materialism.

The post-liberal right is interested in securing the COMMON GOOD.

[Dec 16, 2017] Brexit, Trump, and the Dangers of Global 'Jihad' HuffPost by Ben Railton

For 1995 the book Jihad vs. McWorld was really groundbreaking.
Also the concept of "Neoliberal jihad is valid, but it is better to call it Neoliberal World revolution as it was borrowed from Trotskyism
Notable quotes:
"... Jihad vs. McWorld ..."
"... In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. ..."
"... Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. ..."
"... Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. ..."
Dec 11, 2017 | www.huffingtonpost.com

In his ground-breaking 1995 book Jihad vs. McWorld , political scientist Benjamin Barber posits that the global conflicts of the early 21st century would be driven by two opposing but equally undemocratic forces: neoliberal corporate globalization (which he dubbed "McWorld") and reactionary tribal nationalisms (which he dubbed "Jihad"). Although distinct in many ways, both of these forces, Barber persuasively argues, succeed by denying the possibilities for democratic consensus and action, and so both must be opposed by civic engagement and activism on a broad scale.

In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. Case in pitch-perfect point: the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet despite his use of the Arabic word Jihad, Barber is clear that reactionary tribalism is a worldwide phenomenon -- and in 2016 we're seeing particularly striking examples of that tribalism in Western nations such as Great Britain and the United States.

Britain's vote this week in favor of leaving the European Union was driven entirely by such reactionary tribal nationalism. The far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and its leader Nigel Farage led the charge in favor of Leave , as exemplified by a recent UKIP poster featuring a photo of Syrian refugees with the caption " Breaking point: the EU has failed us ." Farage and his allies like to point to demographic statistics about how much the UK has changed in the last few decades , and more exactly how the nation's white majority has been somewhat shifted over that time by the arrival of sizeable African and Asian immigrant communities.

It's impossible not to link the UKIP's emphases on such issues of immigration and demography to the presidential campaign of the one prominent U.S. politician who is cheering for the Brexit vote : presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. From his campaign-launching speech about Mexican immigrant "criminals and rapists" to his proposal to ban Muslim immigration and his "Make American Great Again" slogan, Trump has relied on reactionary tribal nationalism at every stage of his campaign, and has received the enthusiastic endorsement of white supremacist and far-right organizations as a result. For such American tribal nationalists, the 1965 Immigration Act is the chief bogeyman, the origin point of continuing demographic shifts that have placed white America in a precarious position.

The only problem with that narrative is that it's entirely inaccurate. What the 1965 Act did was reverse a recent, exclusionary trend in American immigration law and policy, returning the nation to the more inclusive and welcoming stance it had taken throughout the rest of its history. Moreover, while the numbers of Americans from Latin American, Asian, and Muslim cultures have increased in recent decades, all of those communities have been part of o ur national community from its origin points . Which is to say, this right-wing tribal nationalism isn't just opposed to fundamental realities of 21st century American identity -- it also depends on historical and national narratives that are as mythic as they are exclusionary.

Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. Although Trump rallies have featured troubling instances of violence, and although the murderer of British politican Jo Cox was an avowed white supremacist and Leave supporter, the right-wing Islamic extremism of groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram rely far more consistently and centrally on violence and terrorism in support of their worldview and goals. Such specific contexts and nuances are important and shouldn't be elided.

Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. From ISIS to UKIP, Trump to France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, such reactionary forces have become and remain dominant players across the world, influencing local and international politics, economics, and culture. Benjamin Barber called this trend two decades ago, and we would do well to read and remember his analyses -- as well as his call for civic engagement and activism to resist these forces and fight for democracy.

Ben Railton Professor & public scholar of American Studies, Follow Ben Railton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmericanStudier

[Dec 15, 2017] Rise and Decline of the Welfare State, by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Petras did not mention that it was Carter who started neoliberalization of the USA. The subsequent election of Reagan signified the victory of neoliberalism in this country or "quite coup". The death of New Deal from this point was just a matter of time. Labor relations drastically changes and war on union and atomization of workforce are a norm.
Welfare state still exists but only for corporation and MIC. Otherwise the New Deal society is almost completely dismanted.
It is true that "The ' New Deal' was, at best, a de facto ' historical compromise' between the capitalist class and the labor unions, mediated by the Democratic Party elite. It was a temporary pact in which the unions secured legal recognition while the capitalists retained their executive prerogatives." But the key factor in this compromise was the existence of the USSR as a threat to the power of capitalists in the USA. when the USSR disappeared cannibalistic instincts of the US elite prevailed over caution.
Notable quotes:
"... The earlier welfare 'reforms' and the current anti-welfare legislation and austerity practices have been accompanied by a series of endless imperial wars, especially in the Middle East. ..."
"... In the 1940's through the 1960's, world and regional wars (Korea and Indo-China) were combined with significant welfare program – a form of ' social imperialism' , which 'buy off' the working class while expanding the empire. However, recent decades are characterized by multiple regional wars and the reduction or elimination of welfare programs – and a massive growth in poverty, domestic insecurity and poor health. ..."
"... modern welfare state' ..."
"... Labor unions were organized as working class strikes and progressive legislation facilitated trade union organization, elections, collective bargaining rights and a steady increase in union membership. Improved work conditions, rising wages, pension plans and benefits, employer or union-provided health care and protective legislation improved the standard of living for the working class and provided for 2 generations of upward mobility. ..."
"... Social Security legislation was approved along with workers' compensation and the forty-hour workweek. Jobs were created through federal programs (WPA, CCC, etc.). Protectionist legislation facilitated the growth of domestic markets for US manufacturers. Workplace shop steward councils organized 'on the spot' job action to protect safe working conditions. ..."
"... World War II led to full employment and increases in union membership, as well as legislation restricting workers' collective bargaining rights and enforcing wage freezes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs in the war economy but a huge number were also killed or wounded in the war. ..."
"... So-called ' right to work' ..."
"... Trade union officials signed pacts with capital: higher pay for the workers and greater control of the workplace for the bosses. Trade union officials joined management in repressing rank and file movements seeking to control technological changes by reducing hours (" thirty hours work for forty hours pay ..."
"... Trade union activists, community organizers for rent control and other grassroots movements lost both the capacity and the will to advance toward large-scale structural changes of US capitalism. Living standards improved for a few decades but the capitalist class consolidated strategic control over labor relations. While unionized workers' incomes, increased, inequalities, especially in the non-union sectors began to grow. With the end of the GI bill, veterans' access to high-quality subsidized education declined ..."
"... With the election of President Carter, social welfare in the US began its long decline. The next series of regional wars were accompanied by even greater attacks on welfare via the " Volker Plan " – freezing workers' wages as a means to combat inflation. ..."
"... Guns without butter' became the legislative policy of the Carter and Reagan Administrations. The welfare programs were based on politically fragile foundations. ..."
"... The anti-labor offensive from the ' Oval Office' intensified under President Reagan with his direct intervention firing tens of thousands of striking air controllers and arresting union leaders. Under Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton cost of living adjustments failed to keep up with prices of vital goods and services. Health care inflation was astronomical. Financial deregulation led to the subordination of American industry to finance and the Wall Street banks. De-industrialization, capital flight and massive tax evasion reduced labor's share of national income. ..."
"... The capitalist class followed a trajectory of decline, recovery and ascendance. Moreover, during the earlier world depression, at the height of labor mobilization and organization, the capitalist class never faced any significant political threat over its control of the commanding heights of the economy ..."
"... Hand in bloody glove' with the US Empire, the American trade unions planted the seeds of their own destruction at home. The local capitalists in newly emerging independent nations established industries and supply chains in cooperation with US manufacturers. Attracted to these sources of low-wage, violently repressed workers, US capitalists subsequently relocated their factories overseas and turned their backs on labor at home. ..."
"... President 'Bill' Clinton ravaged Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Somalia and liberated Wall Street. His regime gave birth to the prototype billionaire swindlers: Michael Milken and Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff. ..."
"... Clinton converted welfare into cheap labor 'workfare', exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable and condemning the next generations to grinding poverty. Under Clinton the prison population of mostly African Americans expanded and the breakup of families ravaged the urban communities. ..."
"... President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street, and another trillion to the Pentagon to pursue the Democrats version of foreign policy: from Bush's two overseas wars to Obama's seven. ..."
"... Obama was elected to two terms. His liberal Democratic Party supporters swooned over his peace and justice rhetoric while swallowing his militarist escalation into seven overseas wars as well as the foreclosure of two million American householders. Obama completely failed to honor his campaign promise to reduce wage inequality between black and white wage earners while he continued to moralize to black families about ' values' . ..."
"... Obama's war against Libya led to the killing and displacement of millions of black Libyans and workers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The smiling Nobel Peace Prize President created more desperate refugees than any previous US head of state – including millions of Africans flooding Europe. ..."
"... Forty-years of anti welfare legislation and pro-business regimes paved the golden road for the election of Donald Trump ..."
"... Trump and the Republicans are focusing on the tattered remnants of the social welfare system: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. The remains of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society -- are on the chopping block. ..."
"... The moribund (but well-paid) labor leadership has been notable by its absence in the ensuing collapse of the social welfare state. The liberal left Democrats embraced the platitudinous Obama/Clinton team as the 'Great Society's' gravediggers, while wailing at Trump's allies for shoving the corpse of welfare state into its grave. ..."
"... Over the past forty years the working class and the rump of what was once referred to as the ' labor movement' has contributed to the dismantling of the social welfare state, voting for ' strike-breaker' Reagan, ' workfare' Clinton, ' Wall Street crash' Bush, ' Wall Street savior' Obama and ' Trickle-down' Trump. ..."
"... Gone are the days when social welfare and profitable wars raised US living standards and transformed American trade unions into an appendage of the Democratic Party and a handmaiden of Empire. The Democratic Party rescued capitalism from its collapse in the Great Depression, incorporated labor into the war economy and the post- colonial global empire, and resurrected Wall Street from the 'Great Financial Meltdown' of the 21 st century. ..."
"... The war economy no longer fuels social welfare. The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations. Profits rise while wages fall. Low paying compulsive labor (workfare) lopped off state transfers to the poor. Technology – IT, robotics, artificial intelligence and electronic gadgets – has created the most class polarized social system in history ..."
"... "The collaboration of liberals and unions in promoting endless wars opened the door to Trump's mirage of a stateless, tax-less, ruling class." ..."
"... Corporations [now] are welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up ..."
"... Corporations not only continuously seek monopolies (with the aid and sanction of the state) but they steadily fine tune the welfare state for their benefit. In fact, in reality, welfare for prols and peasants wouldn't exist if it didn't act as a money conduit and ultimate profit center for the big money grubbers. ..."
"... The article is dismal reading, and evidence of the failings of the "unregulated" society, where the anything goes as long as you are wealthy. ..."
"... Like the Pentagon. Americans still don't readily call this welfare, but they will eventually. Defense profiteers are unions in a sense, you're either in their club Or you're in the service industry that surrounds it. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state.

Between the mid 1970's to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing have been gutted. ' Workfare' (under President 'Bill' Clinton) ended welfare for the poor and displaced workers. Meanwhile the shift to regressive taxation and the steadily declining real wages have increased corporate profits to an astronomical degree.

What started as incremental reversals during the 1990's under Clinton has snowballed over the last two decades decimating welfare legislation and institutions.

The earlier welfare 'reforms' and the current anti-welfare legislation and austerity practices have been accompanied by a series of endless imperial wars, especially in the Middle East.

In the 1940's through the 1960's, world and regional wars (Korea and Indo-China) were combined with significant welfare program – a form of ' social imperialism' , which 'buy off' the working class while expanding the empire. However, recent decades are characterized by multiple regional wars and the reduction or elimination of welfare programs – and a massive growth in poverty, domestic insecurity and poor health.

New Deals and Big Wars

The 1930's witnessed the advent of social legislation and action, which laid the foundations of what is called the ' modern welfare state' .

Labor unions were organized as working class strikes and progressive legislation facilitated trade union organization, elections, collective bargaining rights and a steady increase in union membership. Improved work conditions, rising wages, pension plans and benefits, employer or union-provided health care and protective legislation improved the standard of living for the working class and provided for 2 generations of upward mobility.

Social Security legislation was approved along with workers' compensation and the forty-hour workweek. Jobs were created through federal programs (WPA, CCC, etc.). Protectionist legislation facilitated the growth of domestic markets for US manufacturers. Workplace shop steward councils organized 'on the spot' job action to protect safe working conditions.

World War II led to full employment and increases in union membership, as well as legislation restricting workers' collective bargaining rights and enforcing wage freezes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs in the war economy but a huge number were also killed or wounded in the war.

The post-war period witnessed a contradictory process: wages and salaries increased while legislation curtailed union rights via the Taft Hartley Act and the McCarthyist purge of leftwing trade union activists. So-called ' right to work' laws effectively outlawed unionization mostly in southern states, which drove industries to relocate to the anti-union states.

Welfare reforms, in the form of the GI bill, provided educational opportunities for working class and rural veterans, while federal-subsidized low interest mortgages encourage home-ownership, especially for veterans.

The New Deal created concrete improvements but did not consolidate labor influence at any level. Capitalists and management still retained control over capital, the workplace and plant location of production.

Trade union officials signed pacts with capital: higher pay for the workers and greater control of the workplace for the bosses. Trade union officials joined management in repressing rank and file movements seeking to control technological changes by reducing hours (" thirty hours work for forty hours pay "). Dissident local unions were seized and gutted by the trade union bosses – sometimes through violence.

Trade union activists, community organizers for rent control and other grassroots movements lost both the capacity and the will to advance toward large-scale structural changes of US capitalism. Living standards improved for a few decades but the capitalist class consolidated strategic control over labor relations. While unionized workers' incomes, increased, inequalities, especially in the non-union sectors began to grow. With the end of the GI bill, veterans' access to high-quality subsidized education declined.

While a new wave of social welfare legislation and programs began in the 1960's and early 1970's it was no longer a result of a mass trade union or workers' "class struggle". Moreover, trade union collaboration with the capitalist regional war policies led to the killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of workers in two wars – the Korean and Vietnamese wars.

Much of social legislation resulted from the civil and welfare rights movements. While specific programs were helpful, none of them addressed structural racism and poverty.

The Last Wave of Social Welfarism

The 1960'a witnessed the greatest racial war in modern US history: Mass movements in the South and North rocked state and federal governments, while advancing the cause of civil, social and political rights. Millions of black citizens, joined by white activists and, in many cases, led by African American Viet Nam War veterans, confronted the state. At the same time, millions of students and young workers, threatened by military conscription, challenged the military and social order.

Energized by mass movements, a new wave of social welfare legislation was launched by the federal government to pacify mass opposition among blacks, students, community organizers and middle class Americans. Despite this mass popular movement, the union bosses at the AFL-CIO openly supported the war, police repression and the military, or at best, were passive impotent spectators of the drama unfolding in the nation's streets. Dissident union members and activists were the exception, as many had multiple identities to represent: African American, Hispanic, draft resisters, etc.

Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, the EPA and multiple poverty programs were implemented. A national health program, expanding Medicare for all Americans, was introduced by President Nixon and sabotaged by the Kennedy Democrats and the AFL-CIO. Overall, social and economic inequalities diminished during this period.

The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the American militarist empire. This coincided with the beginning of the end of social welfare as we knew it – as the bill for militarism placed even greater demands on the public treasury.

With the election of President Carter, social welfare in the US began its long decline. The next series of regional wars were accompanied by even greater attacks on welfare via the " Volker Plan " – freezing workers' wages as a means to combat inflation.

Guns without butter' became the legislative policy of the Carter and Reagan Administrations. The welfare programs were based on politically fragile foundations.

The Debacle of Welfarism

Private sector trade union membership declined from a post-world war peak of 30% falling to 12% in the 1990's. Today it has sunk to 7%. Capitalists embarked on a massive program of closing thousands of factories in the unionized North which were then relocated to the non-unionized low wage southern states and then overseas to Mexico and Asia. Millions of stable jobs disappeared.

Following the election of 'Jimmy Carter', neither Democratic nor Republican Presidents felt any need to support labor organizations. On the contrary, they facilitated contracts dictated by management, which reduced wages, job security, benefits and social welfare.

The anti-labor offensive from the ' Oval Office' intensified under President Reagan with his direct intervention firing tens of thousands of striking air controllers and arresting union leaders. Under Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton cost of living adjustments failed to keep up with prices of vital goods and services. Health care inflation was astronomical. Financial deregulation led to the subordination of American industry to finance and the Wall Street banks. De-industrialization, capital flight and massive tax evasion reduced labor's share of national income.

The capitalist class followed a trajectory of decline, recovery and ascendance. Moreover, during the earlier world depression, at the height of labor mobilization and organization, the capitalist class never faced any significant political threat over its control of the commanding heights of the economy.

The ' New Deal' was, at best, a de facto ' historical compromise' between the capitalist class and the labor unions, mediated by the Democratic Party elite. It was a temporary pact in which the unions secured legal recognition while the capitalists retained their executive prerogatives.

The Second World War secured the economic recovery for capital and subordinated labor through a federally mandated no strike production agreement. There were a few notable exceptions: The coal miners' union organized strikes in strategic sectors and some leftist leaders and organizers encouraged slow-downs, work to rule and other in-plant actions when employers ran roughshod with special brutality over the workers. The recovery of capital was the prelude to a post-war offensive against independent labor-based political organizations. The quality of labor organization declined even as the quantity of trade union membership increased.

Labor union officials consolidated internal control in collaboration with the capitalist elite. Capitalist class-labor official collaboration was extended overseas with strategic consequences.

The post-war corporate alliance between the state and capital led to a global offensive – the replacement of European-Japanese colonial control and exploitation by US business and bankers. Imperialism was later 're-branded' as ' globalization' . It pried open markets, secured cheap docile labor and pillaged resources for US manufacturers and importers.

US labor unions played a major role by sabotaging militant unions abroad in cooperation with the US security apparatus: They worked to coopt and bribe nationalist and leftist labor leaders and supported police-state regime repression and assassination of recalcitrant militants.

' Hand in bloody glove' with the US Empire, the American trade unions planted the seeds of their own destruction at home. The local capitalists in newly emerging independent nations established industries and supply chains in cooperation with US manufacturers. Attracted to these sources of low-wage, violently repressed workers, US capitalists subsequently relocated their factories overseas and turned their backs on labor at home.

Labor union officials had laid the groundwork for the demise of stable jobs and social benefits for American workers. Their collaboration increased the rate of capitalist profit and overall power in the political system. Their complicity in the brutal purges of militants, activists and leftist union members and leaders at home and abroad put an end to labor's capacity to sustain and expand the welfare state.

Trade unions in the US did not use their collaboration with empire in its bloody regional wars to win social benefits for the rank and file workers. The time of social-imperialism, where workers within the empire benefited from imperialism's pillage, was over. Gains in social welfare henceforth could result only from mass struggles led by the urban poor, especially Afro-Americans, community-based working poor and militant youth organizers.

The last significant social welfare reforms were implemented in the early 1970's – coinciding with the end of the Vietnam War (and victory for the Vietnamese people) and ended with the absorption of the urban and anti-war movements into the Democratic Party.

Henceforward the US corporate state advanced through the overseas expansion of the multi-national corporations and via large-scale, non-unionized production at home.

The technological changes of this period did not benefit labor. The belief, common in the 1950's, that science and technology would increase leisure, decrease work and improve living standards for the working class, was shattered. Instead technological changes displaced well-paid industrial labor while increasing the number of mind-numbing, poorly paid, and politically impotent jobs in the so-called 'service sector' – a rapidly growing section of unorganized and vulnerable workers – especially including women and minorities.

Labor union membership declined precipitously. The demise of the USSR and China's turn to capitalism had a dual effect: It eliminated collectivist (socialist) pressure for social welfare and opened their labor markets with cheap, disciplined workers for foreign manufacturers. Labor as a political force disappeared on every count. The US Federal Reserve and President 'Bill' Clinton deregulated financial capital leading to a frenzy of speculation. Congress wrote laws, which permitted overseas tax evasion – especially in Caribbean tax havens. Regional free-trade agreements, like NAFTA, spurred the relocation of jobs abroad. De-industrialization accompanied the decline of wages, living standards and social benefits for millions of American workers.

The New Abolitionists: Trillionaires

The New Deal, the Great Society, trade unions, and the anti-war and urban movements were in retreat and primed for abolition.

Wars without welfare (or guns without butter) replaced earlier 'social imperialism' with a huge growth of poverty and homelessness. Domestic labor was now exploited to finance overseas wars not vice versa. The fruits of imperial plunder were not shared.

As the working and middle classes drifted downward, they were used up, abandoned and deceived on all sides – especially by the Democratic Party. They elected militarists and demagogues as their new presidents.

President 'Bill' Clinton ravaged Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Somalia and liberated Wall Street. His regime gave birth to the prototype billionaire swindlers: Michael Milken and Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff.

Clinton converted welfare into cheap labor 'workfare', exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable and condemning the next generations to grinding poverty. Under Clinton the prison population of mostly African Americans expanded and the breakup of families ravaged the urban communities.

Provoked by an act of terrorism (9/11) President G.W. Bush Jr. launched the 'endless' wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and deepened the police state (Patriot Act). Wages for American workers and profits for American capitalist moved in opposite directions.

The Great Financial Crash of 2008-2011 shook the paper economy to its roots and led to the greatest shakedown of any national treasury in history directed by the First Black American President. Trillions of public wealth were funneled into the criminal banks on Wall Street – which were ' just too big to fail .' Millions of American workers and homeowners, however, were ' just too small to matter' .

The Age of Demagogues

President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street, and another trillion to the Pentagon to pursue the Democrats version of foreign policy: from Bush's two overseas wars to Obama's seven.

Obama's electoral 'donor-owners' stashed away two trillion dollars in overseas tax havens and looked forward to global free trade pacts – pushed by the eloquent African American President.

Obama was elected to two terms. His liberal Democratic Party supporters swooned over his peace and justice rhetoric while swallowing his militarist escalation into seven overseas wars as well as the foreclosure of two million American householders. Obama completely failed to honor his campaign promise to reduce wage inequality between black and white wage earners while he continued to moralize to black families about ' values' .

Obama's war against Libya led to the killing and displacement of millions of black Libyans and workers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The smiling Nobel Peace Prize President created more desperate refugees than any previous US head of state – including millions of Africans flooding Europe.

'Obamacare' , his imitation of an earlier Republican governor's health plan, was formulated by the private corporate health industry (private insurance, Big Pharma and the for-profit hospitals), to mandate enrollment and ensure triple digit profits with double digit increases in premiums. By the 2016 Presidential elections, ' Obama-care' was opposed by a 45%-43% margin of the American people. Obama's propagandists could not show any improvement of life expectancy or decrease in infant and maternal mortality as a result of his 'health care reform'. Indeed the opposite occurred among the marginalized working class in the old 'rust belt' and in the rural areas. This failure to show any significant health improvement for the masses of Americans is in stark contrast to LBJ's Medicare program of the 1960's, which continues to receive massive popular support.

Forty-years of anti welfare legislation and pro-business regimes paved the golden road for the election of Donald Trump

Trump and the Republicans are focusing on the tattered remnants of the social welfare system: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. The remains of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society -- are on the chopping block.

The moribund (but well-paid) labor leadership has been notable by its absence in the ensuing collapse of the social welfare state. The liberal left Democrats embraced the platitudinous Obama/Clinton team as the 'Great Society's' gravediggers, while wailing at Trump's allies for shoving the corpse of welfare state into its grave.

Conclusion

Over the past forty years the working class and the rump of what was once referred to as the ' labor movement' has contributed to the dismantling of the social welfare state, voting for ' strike-breaker' Reagan, ' workfare' Clinton, ' Wall Street crash' Bush, ' Wall Street savior' Obama and ' Trickle-down' Trump.

Gone are the days when social welfare and profitable wars raised US living standards and transformed American trade unions into an appendage of the Democratic Party and a handmaiden of Empire. The Democratic Party rescued capitalism from its collapse in the Great Depression, incorporated labor into the war economy and the post- colonial global empire, and resurrected Wall Street from the 'Great Financial Meltdown' of the 21 st century.

The war economy no longer fuels social welfare. The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations. Profits rise while wages fall. Low paying compulsive labor (workfare) lopped off state transfers to the poor. Technology – IT, robotics, artificial intelligence and electronic gadgets – has created the most class polarized social system in history. The first trillionaire and multi-billionaire tax evaders rose on the backs of a miserable standing army of tens of millions of low-wage workers, stripped of rights and representation. State subsidies eliminate virtually all risk to capital. The end of social welfare coerced labor (including young mother with children) to seek insecure low-income employment while slashing education and health – cementing the feet of generations into poverty. Regional wars abroad have depleted the Treasury and robbed the country of productive investment. Economic imperialism exports profits, reversing the historic relation of the past.

Labor is left without compass or direction; it flails in all directions and falls deeper in the web of deception and demagogy. To escape from Reagan and the strike breakers, labor embraced the cheap-labor predator Clinton; black and white workers united to elect Obama who expelled millions of immigrant workers, pursued 7 wars, abandoned black workers and enriched the already filthy rich. Deception and demagogy of the labor-

Issac , December 11, 2017 at 11:01 pm GMT

"The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations."

"The collaboration of liberals and unions in promoting endless wars opened the door to Trump's mirage of a stateless, tax-less, ruling class."

A mirage so real, it even has you convinced.

whyamihere , December 12, 2017 at 4:24 am GMT
If the welfare state in America was abolished, major American cities would burn to the ground. Anarchy would ensue, it would be magnitudes bigger than anything that happened in Ferguson or Baltimore. It would likely be simultaneous.

I think that's one of the only situations where preppers would actually live out what they've been prepping for (except for a natural disaster).

I've been thinking about this a little over the past few years after seeing the race riots. What exactly is the line between our society being civilized and breaking out into chaos. It's probably a lot thinner than most people think.

I don't know who said it but someone long ago said something along the lines of, "Democracy can only work until the people figure out they can vote for themselves generous benefits from the public treasury." We are definitely in this situation today. I wonder how long it can last.

Disordered , December 13, 2017 at 8:41 am GMT
While I agree with Petras's intent (notwithstanding several exaggerations and unnecessary conflations with, for example, racism), I don't agree so much with the method he proposes. I don't mind welfare and unions to a certain extent, but they are not going to save us unless there is full employment and large corporations that can afford to pay an all-union workforce. That happened during WW2, as only wartime demand and those pesky wage freezes solved the Depression, regardless of all the public works programs; while the postwar era benefited from the US becoming the world's creditor, meaning that capital could expand while labor participation did as well.

From then on, it is quite hard to achieve the same success after outsourcing and mechanization have happened all over the world. Both of these phenomena not only create displaced workers, but also displaced industries, meaning that it makes more sense to develop individual workfare (and even then, do it well, not the shoddy way it is done now) rather than giving away checks that probably will not be cashed for entrepreneurial purposes, and rather than giving away money to corrupt unions who depend on trusts to be able to pay for their benefits, while raising the cost of hiring that only encourages more outsourcing.

The amount of welfare given is not necessarily the main problem, the problem is doing it right for the people who truly need it, and efficiently – that is, with the least amount of waste lost between the chain of distribution, which should reach intended targets and not moochers.

Which inevitably means a sound tax system that targets unearned wealth and (to a lesser degree) foreign competition instead of national production, coupled with strict, yet devolved and simple government processes that benefit both business and individuals tired of bureaucracy, while keeping budgets balanced. Best of both worlds, and no military-industrial complex needed to drive up demand.

Wally , Website December 13, 2017 at 8:57 am GMT
"President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street " That's twice the amount that Bush gave them.
jacques sheete , December 13, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT

The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state.

Wrong wrong wrong.

Corporations [now] are welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up, and welfare for them started before 1935. In fact, it started in America before there was a USA. I do not have time to elaborate, but what were the various companies such as the British East India Company and the Dutch West India Companies but state pampered, welfare based entities? ~200 years ago, Herbert Spencer, if memory serves, pointed out that the British East India Company couldn't make a profit even with all the special, government granted favors showered upon it.

Corporations not only continuously seek monopolies (with the aid and sanction of the state) but they steadily fine tune the welfare state for their benefit. In fact, in reality, welfare for prols and peasants wouldn't exist if it didn't act as a money conduit and ultimate profit center for the big money grubbers.

Den Lille Abe , December 13, 2017 at 11:09 am GMT
Well, the author kind of nails it. I remember from my childhood in the 50-60 ties in Scandinavia that the US was the ultimate goal in welfare. The country where you could make a good living with your two hands, get you kids to UNI, have a house, a telly ECT. It was not consumerism, it was the American dream, a chicken in every pot; we chewed imported American gum and dreamed.

In the 70-80 ties Scandinavia had a tremendous social and economic growth, EQUALLY distributed, an immense leap forward. In the middle of the 80 ties we were equal to the US in standards of living.

Since we have not looked at the US, unless in pity, as we have seen the decline of the general income, social wealth fall way behind our own.
The average US workers income has not increased since 90 figures adjusted for inflation. The Scandinavian workers income in the same period has almost quadrupled. And so has our societies.

The article is dismal reading, and evidence of the failings of the "unregulated" society, where the anything goes as long as you are wealthy.

wayfarer , December 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm GMT

Between the mid 1970's to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing have been gutted. 'Workfare' (under President 'Bill' Clinton) ended welfare for the poor and displaced workers. Meanwhile the shift to regressive taxation and the steadily declining real wages have increased corporate profits to an astronomical degree.

source: http://www.unz.com/jpetras/rise-and-decline-of-the-welfare-state/

What does Hollywood "elite" JAP and wannabe hack-stand-up-comic Sarah Silverman think about the class struggle and problems facing destitute Americans? "Qu'ils mangent de la bagels!", source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake

... ... ...

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm GMT
@Greg Fraser

Like the Pentagon. Americans still don't readily call this welfare, but they will eventually. Defense profiteers are unions in a sense, you're either in their club Or you're in the service industry that surrounds it.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 2:43 pm GMT
As other commenters have pointed out, it's Petras curious choice of words that sometimes don't make too much sense. We can probably blame the maleable English language for that, but here it's too obvious. If you don't define a union, people might assume you're only talking about a bunch of meat cutters at Safeway.

The welfare state is alive and well for corporate America. Unions are still here – but they are defined by access and secrecy, you're either in the club or not.

The war on unions was successful first by co-option but mostly by the media. But what kind of analysis leaves out the role of the media in the American transformation? The success is mind blowing.

America has barely literate (white) middle aged males trained to spout incoherent Calvinistic weirdness: unabased hatred for the poor (or whoever they're told to hate) and a glorification of hedge fund managers as they get laid off, fired and foreclosed on, with a side of opiates.

There is hardly anything more tragic then seeing a web filled with progressives (management consultants) dedicated to disempowering, disabling and deligitimizing victims by claiming they are victims of biology, disease or a lack of an education rather than a system that issues violence while portending (with the best media money can buy) that they claim the higher ground.

animalogic , December 13, 2017 at 2:57 pm GMT
@Wally

""Democracy can only work until the people figure out they can vote for themselves generous benefits from the public treasury." We are definitely in this situation today."

Quite right: the 0.01% have worked it out & US democracy is a Theatre for the masses.

Reg Cæsar , December 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

They elected militarists and demagogues as their new presidents.

Wilson and FDR were much more militarist and demagogic than those that followed.

Reg Cæsar , December 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
@whyamihere

I don't know who said it but someone long ago said something along the lines of, "Democracy can only work until the people figure out they can vote for themselves generous benefits from the public treasury."

Some French aristocrat put it as, once the gates to the treasury have been breached, they can only be closed again with gunpowder. Anyone recognize the author?

phil , December 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT
The author doesn't get it. What we have now IS the welfare state in an intensely diverse society. We have more transfer spending than ever before and Obamacare represents another huge entitlement.

Intellectuals continue to fantasize about the US becoming a Big Sweden, but Sweden has only been successful insofar as it has been a modest nation-state populated by ethnic Swedes. Intense diversity in a huge country with only the remnants of federalism results in massive non-consensual decision-making, fragmentation, increased inequality, and corruption.

HallParvey , December 13, 2017 at 4:57 pm GMT
@Anonymous

The welfare state is alive and well for corporate America. Unions are still here – but they are defined by access and secrecy, you're either in the club or not.

They are largely defined as Doctors, Lawyers, and University Professors who teach the first two. Of course they are not called unions. Access is via credentialing and licensing. Good Day

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 4:57 pm GMT
@Linda Green

Bernie Sanders, speaking on behalf of the MIC's welfare bird: "It is the airplane of the United States Air Force, Navy, and of NATO."

Elizabeth Warren, referring to Mossad's Estes Rockets: "The Israeli military has the right to attack Palestinian hospitals and schools in self defense"

Barack Obama, yukking it up with pop stars: "Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming."

It's not the agitprop that confuses the sheep, it's whose blowhole it's coming out of (labled D or R for convenience) that gets them to bare their teeth and speak of poo.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT
@HallParvey

What came first, the credentialing or the idea that it is a necessary part of education? It certainly isn't an accurate indication of what people know or their general intelligence – although that myth has flourished. Good afternoon.

Logan , December 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT
@Realist

For an interesting projection of what might happen in total civilizational collapse, I recommend the Dies the Fire series of novels by SM Stirling.

It has a science-fictiony setup in that all high-energy system (gunpowder, electricity, explosives, internal combustion, even high-energy steam engines) suddenly stop working. But I think it does a good job of extrapolating what would happen if suddenly the cities did not have food, water, power, etc.

Spoiler alert: It ain't pretty. Those who dream of a world without guns have not really thought it through.

Logan , December 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm GMT
@phil

It has been pointed out repeatedly that Sweden does very well relative to the USA. It has also been noted that people of Swedish ancestry in the USA do pretty well also. In fact considerably better than Swedes in Sweden

[Dec 15, 2017] Neoliberalism undermines workers health not only via the financial consequences of un/under employment and low wages, but also through chronic exposure to stress due to insecurity

Neoliberalism as "Die-now economics." "Embodiment into lower class" or "the representation as a member the lower class" if often fatal and upper mobility mobility is artificially limited (despite all MSM hype it is lower then in Europe). So just being a member of lower class noticeably and negatively affects your life expectancy and other social metrics. Job insecurity is the hazard reserved for lower and lower middle classes destructivly effect both physical and mental health. Too much stress is not good for humans. Neoliberalism with its manta of competition uber alles and atomization of the workforce is a real killer. also the fact that such article was published and the comments below is a clear sign that the days of neoliberalism are numbered. It should go.
Notable quotes:
"... In our new book , we draw on an extensive body of scientific literature to assess the health effects of three decades of neoliberal policies. Focusing on the social determinants of health -- the conditions of life and work that make it relatively easy for some people to lead long and healthy lives, while it is all but impossible for others -- we show that there are four interconnected neoliberal epidemics: austerity, obesity, stress, and inequality. They are neoliberal because they are associated with or worsened by neoliberal policies. ..."
"... Neoliberalism operates through labor markets to undermine health not only by way of the financial consequences of unemployment, inadequate employment, or low wages, as important as these are, but also through chronic exposure to stress that 'gets under your skin' by way of multiple mechanisms. Quite simply, the effects of chronic insecurity wear people out over the life course in biologically measurable ways . ..."
"... Oh, and "beyond class" because for social beings embodiment involves "social production; social consumption; and social reproduction." In the most reductive definition of class -- the one I used in my crude 1% + 10% + 90% formulation -- class is determined by wage work (or not), hence is a part of production (of capital), not social consumption (eating, etc.) or social reproduction (children, families, household work ). So, even if class in our political economy is the driver, it's not everything. ..."
"... "Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. ..."
"... Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve." ..."
"... As opposed to being champions of "self-actualization/identity" and "absolute relativism", I always got the impression that they were both offering stark warnings about diving too deeply into the self, vis-a-vis, identity. As if, they both understood the terrifying world that it could/would create, devoid of common cause, community, and ultimately empathy. A world where "we" are not possible because we have all become "I". ..."
"... Wonks like Yglesias love to mock working class concerns as "economic anxiety," which is at once belittling (it's all about f-e-e-e-lings ..."
"... "we have measurable health outcomes from political choices" So True!!! ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

...Neoliberal epidemics are particular pathways of embodiment. From Ted Schrecker and Clare Bambra in The Conversation :

In our new book , we draw on an extensive body of scientific literature to assess the health effects of three decades of neoliberal policies. Focusing on the social determinants of health -- the conditions of life and work that make it relatively easy for some people to lead long and healthy lives, while it is all but impossible for others -- we show that there are four interconnected neoliberal epidemics: austerity, obesity, stress, and inequality. They are neoliberal because they are associated with or worsened by neoliberal policies. They are epidemics because they are observable on such an international scale and have been transmitted so quickly across time and space that if they were biological contagions they would be seen as of epidemic proportions.

(The Case-Deaton study provides an obvious fifth: Deaths of despair. There are doubtless others.) Case in point for one of the unluckier members of the 90%:

On the morning of 25 August 2014 a young New Jersey woman, Maria Fernandes, died from inhaling gasoline fumes as she slept in her 13-year-old car. She often slept in the car while shuttling between her three, low-wage jobs in food service; she kept a can of gasoline in the car because she often slept with the engine running, and was worried about running out of gasoline. Apparently, the can accidentally tipped over and the vapours from spilled gasoline cost her life. Ms Fernandes was one of the more obvious casualties of the zero-hours culture of stress and insecurity that pervades the contemporary labour market under neoliberalism.

And Schrecker and Bambra conclude:

Neoliberalism operates through labor markets to undermine health not only by way of the financial consequences of unemployment, inadequate employment, or low wages, as important as these are, but also through chronic exposure to stress that 'gets under your skin' by way of multiple mechanisms. Quite simply, the effects of chronic insecurity wear people out over the life course in biologically measurable ways .

... ... ...

Oh, and "beyond class" because for social beings embodiment involves "social production; social consumption; and social reproduction." In the most reductive definition of class -- the one I used in my crude 1% + 10% + 90% formulation -- class is determined by wage work (or not), hence is a part of production (of capital), not social consumption (eating, etc.) or social reproduction (children, families, household work ). So, even if class in our political economy is the driver, it's not everything.

nonclassical , December 11, 2017 at 8:30 pm

L.S. reminiscent of Ernst Becker's, "The Structure of Evil" – "Escape from Evil"? (..not to indicate good vs. evil dichotomy) A great amount of perspective must be agreed upon to achieve "change" intoned. Divide and conquer are complicit, as noted .otherwise (and as indicated by U.S. economic history) change arrives only when all have lost all and can therefore agree begin again.

There is however, Naomi Klein perspective, "Shock Doctrine", whereby influence contributes to destabilization, plan in hand leading to agenda driven ("neoliberal"=market fundamentalism) outcome, not at all spontaneous in nature:

"Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve."

Amfortas the Hippie , December 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Well done, as usual.

On Case-Deason: Sounds like home. I keep the scanner on(local news) ems and fire only since 2006(sheriff got a homeland security grant). The incidence of suicide, overdose and "intoxication psychosis" are markedly increased in the last 10+ years out here in the wilderness(5K folks in whole county, last I looked). Our local economy went into near depression after the late 90's farm bill killed the peanut program then 911 meant no hunting season that year(and it's been noticeably less busy ever since) then drought and the real estate crash(we had 30 some realtors at peak..old family land being sold off, mostly). So the local Bourgeoisie have had less money to spend, which "trickles down" onto the rest of us.:less construction, less eating out even at the cheap places, less buying of gas, and on and on means fewer employees are needed, thus fewer jobs. To boot, there is a habit among many employers out here of not paying attention to labor laws(it is Texas ) the last minwage rise took 2 years to filter out here, and one must scrutinize one's pay stub to ensure that the boss isn't getting squirrelly with overtime and witholding.
Geography plays into all this, too 100 miles to any largish city.

... ... ...

Rosario , December 11, 2017 at 10:55 pm

I'm not well versed in Foucault or Lacan but I've read some of both and in reading between the lines of their writing (the phantom philosophy?) I saw a very different message than that often delivered by post-modern theorists.

As opposed to being champions of "self-actualization/identity" and "absolute relativism", I always got the impression that they were both offering stark warnings about diving too deeply into the self, vis-a-vis, identity. As if, they both understood the terrifying world that it could/would create, devoid of common cause, community, and ultimately empathy. A world where "we" are not possible because we have all become "I".

Considering what both their philosophies claimed, if identity is a lie, and the subject is always generated relative to the other, then how the hell can there be any security or well being in self-actualization? It is like trying to hit a target that does not exist.

All potentially oppressive cultural categorizations are examples of this (black, latino, gay, trans, etc.). If the identity is a moving target, both to the oppressor and the oppressed, then how can it ever be a singular source of political action? You can't hit what isn't there. This is not to say that these groups (in whatever determined category) are not oppressed, just that formulating political action based strictly on the identity (often as an essential category) is impossible because it does not actually exist materially. It is an amalgamation of subjects who's subjectivity is always relative to some other whether ally or oppressor. Only the manifestations of oppression on bodies (as brought up in Lambert's post) can be utilized as metrics for political action.

... ... ...

Lambert Strether Post author , December 11, 2017 at 11:20 pm

I thought of a couple of other advantages of the "embodiment" paradigm:

Better Framing . Wonks like Yglesias love to mock working class concerns as "economic anxiety," which is at once belittling (it's all about f-e-e-e-lings *) and disempowering (solutions are individual, like therapy or drugs). Embodiment by contrast insists that neoliberalism (the neoliberal labor market (class warfare)) has real, material, physiological effects that can be measured and tracked, as with any epidemic.

... ... ...

oaf , December 12, 2017 at 7:11 am

"we have measurable health outcomes from political choices" So True!!!

Thank you for posting this.

[Dec 12, 2017] Who can control the post-superpower capitalist world order? by Slavoj Žižek

Highly recommended!
This is three years old article. What changed ? The USA is still the center of the global neoliberal empire.
Slavoj Žižek develops a false premise but with real mastery of the language. he is definitely talanted writer, but not so much a thinker. He completely missed the gorth of nationalism as a reaction to neoliberalism. So comments are more interesting then that article and some of them proved to be prophetic.
This guy does not even use the term "neoliberalism", probably because he himself is part of neoliberal consensus. and that's why he can get to Guardian pages. So much for the value of this philosopher... From comments: "Here Zizek encourages a kind of liberal naiveté, astonishing for a guy who pretends to be comfortable with Lenin's no-nonsense revolutionary analytic approach. Yes, a global world democracy would be nice. But it's hardly the case that in not having it we have only chaos. Global capital doesn't want world democracy. They want the TransPacific Partnership G8, etc. They want elite enrichment and militarized police. They've got it, or are in the process of getting it.. Instead of the pap he wrote, Zizek should be talking about the creation of a world-wide opposition to those political structures."
Notable quotes:
"... The stabilisation of society under the Putin reign is largely because of the newly established transparency of these unwritten rules. ..."
"... the US stands for neoliberal capitalism, Europe for what remains of the welfare state, China for authoritarian capitalism, Latin America for populist capitalism. ..."
"... This is why our times are potentially more dangerous than they may appear. ..."
"... the next stage of a geopolitical struggle for control in a nonregulated, multicentred world. ..."
"... the impossibility of creating a global political order that would correspond to the global capitalist economy. ..."
"... In politics, age-old fixations, and particular, substantial ethnic, religious and cultural identities, have returned with a vengeance ..."
"... Capitalism is a system engineered to ensure that the psychopaths get to the top. Ruthlessness, selfishness, blind pursuit of profit, manipulation and coercion of others, believing your own lies - these are the necessary qualities for success, which have been elevated into desirable qualities. If you don't have them, you're a loser. ..."
"... To get to the top, you have to be a psychopath. If you're at the top, you're a psychopath. ..."
"... The oligarchs, of course. ..."
"... The current Ukrainian problem may have more in common with Georgia, than Syria, Libya and Iraq, but they all have the US squaring off against Russia. ..."
"... What might be more worrying is when the current FRB resuscitation of the US economy fails to show the promise anticipated and the debt to China becomes a political problem. What then? Does Washington send warships to Beijing? ..."
"... Most likely Ukraine would be a quasi-independent, bankrupt state heavily indebted to the West, with NATO bases, folklore instead of real politics, large emigration (mostly illegal), and desperate population ..."
"... The rest of the population would be slowly dropping to substance level, no jobs, no money, no futures. ..."
"... So having Russia - as a savior, boogeyman or a distraction - immensely help all Ukrainians. It makes them important enough to have to be bought out. It forces a competition for their affection and thus bids up any rewards. ..."
"... This is an end-of-days party for those who seem to have no place in the neo-liberal world, either EU or the Russian version. ..."
"... Most power gets dissipated with over-reach, so I am not sure capitalizing faster would have been better for US. Most power is also always local, and the world is a big place. ..."
"... US neo-con dreamers tend to see the world as a map. It is not a "map". It is a much more complex environment with local dynamics, histories, and lots and lots of people. Who want stuff. Moving in, or "capitalizing" as you call it, creates heightened expectations and inevitable disappointments. My advise is to chill and keep it small. Over-reach and too much ambition never work in the long run. ..."
"... and kill left and right for 'freedoms'. ..."
"... Therein is another contradiction. Globalists cannot focus on their national economy. ..."
"... Our predicament TOMORROW will be defined by an intensifying scarcity of finite resources, with the additional whammy of climate change. ..."
"... My own gut-feeling is that globalisation is already beginning to decline and disintegrate due to economic, political, resource and environmental constraints. ..."
"... My guess is Bankers and big corporations will control the post capitalist world. ..."
"... the US stands for neoliberal capitalism, Europe for what remains of the welfare state, China for authoritarian capitalism, Latin America for populist capitalism ..."
"... First and foremost; perturbations we are witnessing are processes of reversing the globalisation-effect that in its core value destroys centralised global-powers control. ..."
"... There's no such thing as your fantasy version of Capitalism; where all the markets are "free" and there are no assholes and sociopaths trying to manipulate and screw people. ..."
"... ALL the ISM words are worthless labels used by people with economic morality OCD. ..."
"... Zizek's analysis is once again spot on and would be accepted as self-evident (Ukraine a proxy war between superpowers) were it not for our twisted corporate controlled media. ..."
"... Seems very obvious here in the USA we are controlled (owned) by the multi-national corporations. ..."
"... Governments now exist to funnel wealth to the .01% who own the corporations. ..."
"... or the corporate elite more likely !! ..."
"... will involve the nation state recapturing its power and the diminishing authority of the corporate elite who of course are hell bent on taking over everything affecting our lives ..."
"... The 'corporate elite' already OWN our governments. The nation state is disappearing at the same rate as democratic representation. ..."
"... Something I find interesting is the transnational nature of modern capital, and labour. This is making geo control difficult for modern superpowers, not impossible, but increasingly difficult. As revenue is increasingly tied to transnational enterprises, the paradox is that state interests are tied to cross border peace and stability. Not a goal helped by upsetting regional stability. ..."
"... Our predicament today is defined by this tension: the global free circulation of commodities is accompanied by growing separations in the social sphere. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of the global market, new walls have begun emerging everywhere, separating peoples and their cultures. Perhaps the very survival of humanity depends on resolving this tension. ..."
"... Consider that there may be an elite group of power-mongers who, through the control of global mega-institutions, wield the power to mobilize e.g the military might of the U.S. and of Britain and of other puppet nations ..."
"... Actually, even Obama himself, could be a proxy! ..."
"... Global corporations appear to be the new weapon of war, ..."
"... most power and influence in any country comes from its wealth holders and in many cases these are faceless suits in big business and high finance all protected by a blag legal system set up to protect companies and 'their' assets. ..."
"... The transnational entity called the United Nations has long passed its use-by date. The US government is in thrall to Wall Street, corporations and their lobby groups and is over-extended in numerous wars and conflicts across the planet. Americans are tired of fighting, they are sinking into Third World poverty, their jobs are disappearing and more of them are ending up in prisons operated by private firms for profit. ..."
"... It is definitely time to teach the superpowers, old and new, some manners, but who will do it? ..."
"... All gringos have done in their century of greatness ("the land of 'the' 'free' and 'the' 'brave'") is abusing people who can't defend themselves on an equal basis, mess with the environment and (very successfully I would admit) brainwash many, many people by selling them very stupid and unsustainable illusions ..."
"... Monied interests will control the 'post-superpower capitalist world order.' During the past few years, they quietly used their power to force governments austerity policies in both the US and Europe and hack away at their social safety nets. ..."
"... Communism at least gave social liberalism in the West a chance, as an alternative to deprive the Soviets of sympathizers. Once communism collapsed in Eastern Europe, the monied interests felt they could dispense with liberalism and pursue more extreme aims. ..."
"... We exist in a world where might makes right. ..."
"... These few percent, consciously or not, create, enforce, and change all the rules; it is for the rest of us to find some way to survive under them. Good luck all. ..."
"... Otherwise, the US was pretty much entirely indifferent to Russia's national interests and preferences ..."
"... Far more accurate to say that the US simply treated Russia as the loser of the Cold War ..."
"... and as such should simply roll over and accept all edicts from Washington. ..."
"... Gangs are the most primitive form of government and within neo-liberalism all governments are merely gangs. ..."
"... neo-liberalism's excessive division is dehumanising hence the institutional collapse. ..."
"... Super-rich people and large corporations, are a luxury we can no longer afford. ..."
"... 'Survival in numbers' is a prime survival mechanism in our species. Cooperation trumps competition most of the time. Neo-liberalism has made far too much division for our species to survive it. Cooperating with neo-liberalism is the biggest mistake. ..."
"... What if, for structural reasons, and not only due to empirical limitations, there cannot be a worldwide democracy or a representative world government? ..."
"... since Consumerism is nothing more than a superstitious belief in Perpetual Motion ..."
"... Here Zizek encourages a kind of liberal naiveté, astonishing for a guy who pretends to be comfortable with Lenin's no-nonsense revolutionary analytic approach. ..."
"... Global capital doesn't want world democracy. They want the TransPacific Partnership G8, etc. They want elite enrichment and militarized police. ..."
"... Slavoj Žižek develops a false premise with great ease. ..."
"... The USA is subconsciously aware of this problem and its inevitable endpoint. It is thus armed to the teeth and will remain so. ..."
"... Only an economic collapse can disarm the USA. ..."
"... The problem could be tempered by the citizenry, but the public is cowed by fears of terrorism, real and imagined. ..."
May 06, 2014 | The Guardian

In a divided and dangerous world, we need to teach the new powers some manners

To know a society is not only to know its explicit rules. One must also know how to apply them: when to use them, when to violate them, when to turn down a choice that is offered, and when we are effectively obliged to do something but have to pretend we are doing it as a free choice. Consider the paradox, for instance, of offers-meant-to-be-refused. When I am invited to a restaurant by a rich uncle, we both know he will cover the bill, but I nonetheless have to lightly insist we share it – imagine my surprise if my uncle were simply to say: "OK, then, you pay it!"

There was a similar problem during the chaotic post-Soviet years of Yeltsin's rule in Russia. Although the legal rules were known, and were largely the same as under the Soviet Union, the complex network of implicit, unwritten rules, which sustained the entire social edifice, disintegrated. -[ It's he is completely detached from reality; that was a neoliberal revolution, nothing more nothing less -- NNB] In the Soviet Union, if you wanted better hospital treatment, say, or a new apartment, if you had a complaint against the authorities, were summoned to court or wanted your child to be accepted at a top school, you knew the implicit rules. You understood whom to address or bribe, and what you could or couldn't do.

After the collapse of Soviet power, one of the most frustrating aspects of daily life for ordinary people was that these unwritten rules became seriously blurred. People simply did not know how to react, how to relate to explicit legal regulations, what could be ignored, and where bribery worked. (One of the functions of organized crime was to provide a kind of ersatz legality. If you owned a small business and a customer owed you money, you turned to your mafia protector, who dealt with the problem, since the state legal system was inefficient.)

The stabilisation of society under the Putin reign is largely because of the newly established transparency of these unwritten rules. Now, once again, people mostly understand the complex cobweb of social interactions.

In international politics, we have not yet reached this stage. Back in the 1990s, a silent pact regulated the relationship between the great western powers and Russia. Western states treated Russia as a great power on the condition that Russia didn't act as one.--[ That' beyong naive -- the USA treated Yeltisn Russia as a vassal, it actually was a time --NNB] But what if the person to whom the offer-to-be-rejected is made actually accepts it? What if Russia starts to act as a great power? A situation like this is properly catastrophic, threatening the entire existing fabric of relations – as happened five years ago in Georgia. Tired of only being treated as a superpower, Russia actually acted as one.

How did it come to this? The "American century" is over, and we have entered a period in which multiple centres of global capitalism have been forming. In the US, Europe, China and maybe Latin America, too, capitalist systems have developed with specific twists: the US stands for neoliberal capitalism, Europe for what remains of the welfare state, China for authoritarian capitalism, Latin America for populist capitalism.

After the attempt by the US to impose itself as the sole superpower – the universal policeman – failed, there is now the need to establish the rules of interaction between these local centres as regards their conflicting interests.

This is why our times are potentially more dangerous than they may appear. During the cold war, the rules of international behaviour were clear, guaranteed by the Mad-ness – mutually assured destruction – of the superpowers. When the Soviet Union violated these unwritten rules by invading Afghanistan, it paid dearly for this infringement. The war in Afghanistan was the beginning of its end. Today, the old and new superpowers are testing each other, trying to impose their own version of global rules, experimenting with them through proxies – which are, of course, other, small nations and states.

Karl Popper once praised the scientific testing of hypotheses, saying that, in this way, we allow our hypotheses to die instead of us. In today's testing, small nations get hurt and wounded instead of the big ones – first Georgia, now Ukraine. Although the official arguments are highly moral, revolving around human rights and freedoms, the nature of the game is clear. The events in Ukraine seem something like the crisis in Georgia, part twothe next stage of a geopolitical struggle for control in a nonregulated, multicentred world.

It is definitely time to teach the superpowers, old and new, some manners, but who will do it? Obviously, only a transnational entity can manage it – more than 200 years ago, Immanuel Kant saw the need for a transnational legal order grounded in the rise of the global society. In his project for perpetual peace, he wrote: "Since the narrower or wider community of the peoples of the earth has developed so far that a violation of rights in one place is felt throughout the world, the idea of a law of world citizenship is no high-flown or exaggerated notion."

This, however, brings us to what is arguably the "principal contradiction" of the new world order (if we may use this old Maoist term): the impossibility of creating a global political order that would correspond to the global capitalist economy.

What if, for structural reasons, and not only due to empirical limitations, there cannot be a worldwide democracy or a representative world government? What if the global market economy cannot be directly organised as a global liberal democracy with worldwide elections?

Today, in our era of globalisation, we are paying the price for this "principal contradiction." In politics, age-old fixations, and particular, substantial ethnic, religious and cultural identities, have returned with a vengeance. Our predicament today is defined by this tension: the global free circulation of commodities is accompanied by growing separations in the social sphere. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of the global market, new walls have begun emerging everywhere, separating peoples and their cultures. Perhaps the very survival of humanity depends on resolving this tension.

GreeneGrasshopper -> Strummered, 06 May 2014 10:05pm

Capitalism is a system engineered to ensure that the psychopaths get to the top. Ruthlessness, selfishness, blind pursuit of profit, manipulation and coercion of others, believing your own lies - these are the necessary qualities for success, which have been elevated into desirable qualities. If you don't have them, you're a loser.

To get to the top, you have to be a psychopath. If you're at the top, you're a psychopath.

Whitt, 06 May 2014 9:22pm

"Who can control the post-superpower capitalist world order?"
*
Is this a trick question?

The oligarchs, of course.

Silvertown Swedinburgh, 06 May 2014 11:24pm

For the 1948 Italian General Election the US fleet was in Italian ports with the US Marines on board just so the electorate would get the message and as one CIA agent said "We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets," according to CIA operative F. Mark Wyatt. and they kept interfering in Italian elections into the 1970s

MsrOboulot Malkatrinho, 07 May 2014 1:19pm

Northern Cyprus was annexed by Turkey. Many commentators would also argue that Croatia and Slovenia were effectively annexed by the EU, if not Austria and Germany. Commentators such as Pilger would argue that 80% of Latin America was annexed by the US a long time ago, but let's not go there. Of course, we can also talk about the Occupied Territories, how would you describe them? As I said, it's a matter of political views we disagree on, not one of terminology.

StephenStafford, 06 May 2014 9:39pm

Though the article deals with countries and geographic areas, much might be equivalently true of companies which may be likened to countries especially when some have larger revenues than many countries which they may tend to be able. individually or as a group, to dominate.

The Obama regime is calling fo sanctions on the Putin regime, whilst ExxonMobil seems unfazed and is busily investing with a Russian oil company Rosneft.

After Yeltsin, Putin very obviously searched for ways to reclaim State assets sold off on the cheap and whereas he could manage to deal with one (Yukos), his Government was obviously too impaired to go after many other Oligarchs, so for the moment they and their ill-gotten assets are 'safe' .

The current Ukrainian problem may have more in common with Georgia, than Syria, Libya and Iraq, but they all have the US squaring off against Russia. In Ukraine, Russia acted decisively over Crimea and left the US in a quandary as to what their next move could be, other than backing their puppet regime.

The US has shown little wish to be directly involved after Iraq in many of these local skirmishes apart from 'drones'. Russia has not turned up in any war zone using drones so far, though Iran and Hezbollah seem to see in their next conflicts, the use of drones will be very important.

What might be more worrying is when the current FRB resuscitation of the US economy fails to show the promise anticipated and the debt to China becomes a political problem. What then? Does Washington send warships to Beijing?

Putin told Bush a long while ago that Russia appreciated the US interest in its natural resources, but no thank you.

Beckow -> StephenStafford, 06 May 2014 11:50pm

"Ukrainian problem may have more in common with Georgia, than Syria, Libya and Iraq, but they all have the US squaring off against Russia."

I agree that Georgia was a mini-version of this, but because of its size the Ukraine problem is in a class of its own. In other words, this is truly new and almost anything can happen.

When trying to understand the reality around us it helps to do a few logical games, and Zizek does that, just not fully. For example, let's say there was no Russia, or only an absolutely powerless Russia (like Yeltsin in the 90's). What would happen?

Most likely Ukraine would be a quasi-independent, bankrupt state heavily indebted to the West, with NATO bases, folklore instead of real politics, large emigration (mostly illegal), and desperate population. It would be run by Western approved oligarchs who would share all local resources with Western "investors". It would not be in EU, although a small layer of Kiev intelligentsia would be heavily subsidized by the West, given do-nothing cushy NGO positions, offered frequent trips and humored as needed. The nationalists would be changing public holidays, tearing down and putting up statues, and occasionally venting their anger at minorities and at football games. The rest of the population would be slowly dropping to substance level, no jobs, no money, no futures. In other words just like some of the poorer EU countries, except without the accumulated wealth, euro currency and access to EU as an escape valve.

So having Russia - as a savior, boogeyman or a distraction - immensely help all Ukrainians. It makes them important enough to have to be bought out. It forces a competition for their affection and thus bids up any rewards. All Ukrainians do better (except the killed ones): the NGO crowd in Kiev gets more grants, oligarchs get more deals, nationalists get more respect, Russians in the south-east will get a veto power, so they will also have to be compensated. This is a win-win and on the ground the people engaged sense it: so they will keep it going, they will escalate. What are the alternatives? Greece without the Aegean islands? Or a dumpy provincial life?

This is locally driven and not any longer by super-powers, indispensable one, aspiring one, or any other kind. It will go on and will be quite entertaining. That's what Zizek missed, he is too globally focused. This is about a unique place, strange and desperate people, and no resources to pay for the entertainment. This is an end-of-days party for those who seem to have no place in the neo-liberal world, either EU or the Russian version.

StephenStafford -> Beckow, 07 May 2014 2:12pm

Good synopsis of the problem in Ukraine.

re

What would happen?

The weakness of Russia wasn't immediately capitalised upon by the USA, though the Clinton foreign policy increasingly reflected this, particularly with the interference in the Balkans. The PNAC on the other hand did see the advantage that the USA could take and that was obvious in the Afghanistan attack and more especially with Iraq.

Arguably in this post 1990 period, the USA acted relatively slowly to capitalise on the dissolution of the USSR.

Beckow StephenStafford, 07 May 2014 7:54pm

Most power gets dissipated with over-reach, so I am not sure capitalizing faster would have been better for US. Most power is also always local, and the world is a big place.

US neo-con dreamers tend to see the world as a map. It is not a "map". It is a much more complex environment with local dynamics, histories, and lots and lots of people. Who want stuff. Moving in, or "capitalizing" as you call it, creates heightened expectations and inevitable disappointments. My advise is to chill and keep it small. Over-reach and too much ambition never work in the long run.

WhatIsWhat -> StephenStafford

The US has shown little wish to be directly involved after Iraq in many of these local skirmishes apart from 'drones'.

For the sake of the truth, little correction:

The US has shown little wish to be openly and visibly involved after Iraq in many of these local skirmishes apart from 'drones'. They prefer to be invisible and remotely control 'human drones' who 'peacefully protest' and kill left and right for 'freedoms'.

Rialbynot, 06 May 2014 9:47pm

What if the global market economy cannot be directly organised as a global liberal democracy with worldwide elections?

Today, in our era of globalisation, we are paying the price for this "principal contradiction."

Some are paying the price; others are benefitting. That's the first thing we need to recognise.

Having done so, we can then start "solving" the contradiction by re-focussing attention on our national economies, while also seeking to make the global market economy a little more people-friendly (the aim being a global social market economy).

Perhaps the EU's principle (or concept) of subsidiarity, which, unfortunately, the EU itself so often fails to apply, could be used to identify at which level decisions should be taken.

Brigitte Bernadotte -> Rialbynot, 07 May 2014 12:43pm

A "global democracy" is a nightmare per se, because it's a global government. The US is a democracy, and Germany was a democracy in the 20's, too. However, it turned into one of the most terrible dictatorships ever. Hell-bent on removing borders actually.

Any kind of global government, as friendly and benevolent it might be, could turn into a global dictaorship, like in Star Wars the Republic was turned into the Empire. Which country would fight the golbal dictorship? To which country wold whistleblowers and refugees go? Ivory tower left-wing populist academics like Zizek, who conveniently blames "capitalism" (the right to own property) as the root of all evil - as if the Soviet Union and Mao's China had been bastions of liberty - fail to deal with this aspect. I am not surprised, the EU welfare state is the reason for the euro debt mountain (in the US it's military overstretch), which is the reason for the EU's misery, and he failed to even mention that, too.

That's also why the EU is dangerous, it reduces political diversity, which helped Europe to overcome dictatorships in the past. Several EU countries grounding Morales' plane on American orders was a taste of that. As for subsidiarity, the EU is based on "ever closer union", which is an euphemism for centralist power grab.

Brian o'Cualain -> Brigitte Bernadotte, 07 May 2014 1:51pm

The US is no more a Democracy than Russia and probably not much less than what passes for democracies in most countries. He who pays the piper calls the tune. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html

When looking at the EU welfare debt mountain it's worth looking who exactly benefits from the welfare, not only in terms of the generally recognized view of welfare but also the whole notion of corporate welfare, subsidies, tax-breaks etc. I think you'll find the scales will tend to tip where they tip for everything else.

Avi Unobtaniumstein -> Rialbynot, 08 May 2014 11:36am

Therein is another contradiction. Globalists cannot focus on their national economy.

michaelmichael, 06 May 2014 9:58pm

"Our predicament today is defined by this tension: the global free circulation of commodities is accompanied by growing separations in the social sphere. "

The tension lies primarily between those who have and those who haven't. As far as the corporations are concerned, its business as usual.

Our predicament TOMORROW will be defined by an intensifying scarcity of finite resources, with the additional whammy of climate change.

Luismdv, 06 May 2014 10:25pm

"What if the global market economy cannot be directly organised as a global liberal democracy with worldwide elections?"

There seems to be some plausibility in that hypothesis. If this was true, both the left and the right will have to check their political premises because the "democratic consensus" is shared across the whole political specter (except, both political extremes, largely irrelevant).

But unlike classic Marxism, which made the (socio-cultural) superstructure dependent on the (economic) structure, there is no evidence that this is true now. The implication could be that the economic structure remains in place (supported by basic human needs) while the democratic superstructure falls apart. This is not what I want, but is a possibility.

TransReformation , 06 May 2014 10:32pm

What if, for structural reasons, and not only due to empirical limitations, there cannot be a worldwide democracy or a representative world government? What if the global market economy cannot be directly organised as a global liberal democracy with worldwide elections?

Today, in our era of globalisation, we are paying the price for this "principal contradiction.

A rather strange and unsatisfying article from Zizek. I partly agree with him but feel he needs to spell out what these 'structural reasons' to which he alludes. Why it's dissatisfying is that he appears to lament the impossibility of a world government or liberal democratic order. I consider that a blessing though, whatever shape or form it takes - not least liberal democratic - structurally it could only be oppressive.

I also find it strange that Zizek appears to accept 'this era of (economic) globalisation' as something natural and permanent rather than as contingent and transient - only a manifestation of a certain stage in the development of capitalism. My own gut-feeling is that globalisation is already beginning to decline and disintegrate due to economic, political, resource and environmental constraints.

While I'd certainly agree that this is a very dangerous time, in the long-run there's no point in lamenting the absence of a global order/government - it's in fact our last, best hope of freedom and equality. If the oligarchs and plutocrats across the globe were ever able to overcome their differences and unite behind a single global order or government it would inherently have to be highly authoritarian and undemocratic to maintain control.

NOTaREALmerican -> TransReformation, 06 May 2014 10:37pm

Re: If the oligarchs and plutocrats across the globe were ever able to overcome their differences and unite behind a single global order or government it would inherently have to be highly authoritarian and undemocratic to maintain control.

Well, not if it was run by the nice guys in Brussels. Didn't the people of the EU vote to consolidate power in Brussels because of their hope that a United States of Europe would be as democratic and freedom-loving as the United States of Merica?

DailyMailHatesMe, 06 May 2014 10:38pm

In the discipline of international relations, constructivism is the claim that significant aspects of international relations are historically and socially constructed, rather than inevitable consequences of human nature or other essential characteristics of world politics.

Philosophish, 06 May 2014 10:42pm

Though geopolitics qua content change all the time in history the age old dictum stands strong as ever: he with the money makes the rules!

The question is not who can control the 'superpowers', the question is who controls the money suppy.

sadhu, 06 May 2014 10:47pm

My guess is Bankers and big corporations will control the post capitalist world. Forget the political and moral arguments. The top layer will do everything in their power to control. But the dilemma is if 'they' have the power and 'free will' to control the 'we' the underdog should have the 'free will' as well to counter their control. However, as interesting as this article is, it still argues in political, economic and super power terms, where as a more realistic approach would be to look at this in biological and natural terms.

For example in plate tectonics, what controls what. Or does the matter of control even come into plate. In the past they attributed volcanoes to the power of Gods and Devils, where as through scientific analysis (as apposed to social and particularly religious ones) we have come to view volcanoes and plate tectonics as intricate natural processes.

Therefore, instead of speaking of controls how long will it take us to speak in terms of natural processes. How does it come about that one strata of society much like some particular genes, hormones and possibly bacteria and viruses take over the processes of a particular life form. It happens through natural processes and not political and moral arguments.

Bucky Fuller used to say that in order to have true democracy we should learn/discover its true principles just as we discovered the principles of gravity and electricity.

Here is a good place to mention John McMurtry and his 'Cancer Stage of Capitalism', downloadable from his info in Wikipedia.

I am so grateful to the Guardian and Cif for it was in such discussions where a kind soul introduced me to McMurtry.

EarlyVictoria, 06 May 2014 10:53pm

the US stands for neoliberal capitalism, Europe for what remains of the welfare state, China for authoritarian capitalism, Latin America for populist capitalism

Liking this neat formulation.

Laserlurk, 06 May 2014 10:56pm

First and foremost; perturbations we are witnessing are processes of reversing the globalisation-effect that in its core value destroys centralised global-powers control.

Second; humans as a race have lost momentum of the discovery and are pretty much bound to the known territories, continents and practices.
Without drive we are lost in a consumption and quite retarded innovation of the things and technologies that cause auto-dumb effect.
As understanding all of which is written above eases consequences of a post-Lacan society, we are generally unhappy about everything, but we lost the crying shoulder.
So, one might say we also live post- mutually assured destruction, as everyone is inflicting it slowly on themselves.

Then again, one can be rather nihilistic and write as well: Who cares?

NOTaREALmerican -> Laserlurk , 06 May 2014 11:01pm

Re: Then again

Or, one can be pathologically optimist and keep consolidating power in the hope that - eventually - the nice people WILL eventually run things.

taxhaven, 06 May 2014 11:08pm

...multiple centres of global capitalism have been forming. In the US, Europe, China and maybe Latin America, too, capitalist systems have developed with specific twists: the US stands for neoliberal capitalism, Europe for what remains of the welfare state, China for authoritarian capitalism, Latin America for populist capitalism...

Funny...everywhere I look I see authoritarian socialism, not "capitalism". I see manipulated markets, manipulated prices, crony favourites, insolvent public sectors, rigged wages and prices and zillions of regulations.

NOTaREALmerican -> taxhaven, 06 May 2014 11:19pm

There's no such thing as your fantasy version of Capitalism; where all the markets are "free" and there are no assholes and sociopaths trying to manipulate and screw people.

You live in the same fantasyland the Socialists and Libertarians do. None of the economic ISM's work according to moral rules when you've got lots of smart-n-savvy assholes and sociopaths.

The morals are for the children, and the adults are out trying to figure out how to screw the children (which - it turns out - is pretty easy).

taxhaven -> NOTaREALmerican, 06 May 2014 11:45pm

There's no such thing as your fantasy version of Capitalism (?)

So what IS there? It sure isn't anything close to "capitalism", is it...

NOTaREALmerican -> taxhaven, 06 May 2014 11:52pm

Re: So what IS there?

ALL the ISM words are worthless labels used by people with economic morality OCD. The assholes and sociopaths could care less what "the systems" is, because from an asshole and sociopath's perspective there is only one system: how much can I take NOW and how can I screw people to take more later.

What ELSE exists or has EVER existed? These dumbasses ISM's are worthless to even talk about; they exists only in a fantasyland of no assholes and manipulative sociopaths who confidently take what they want and have no morals.

GiulioSica, 06 May 2014 11:13pm

Zizek's analysis is once again spot on and would be accepted as self-evident (Ukraine a proxy war between superpowers) were it not for our twisted corporate controlled media.

But, unfortunately, he offers no solutions, only questions. As a result, it can be summed up in a short sentence: "Things are bad. What is to be done?"

ID1812901, 06 May 2014 11:16pm

Big banks rule the world, don't they?

NOTaREALmerican ID1812901, 06 May 2014 11:22pm

When ya think about, a bank creates money from nothing and is protected by the state. How could they NOT rule the world.

WillShirley, 06 May 2014 11:24pm

Seems very obvious here in the USA we are controlled (owned) by the multi-national corporations. They control our government, therefor they control our military and that makes them extremely dangerous.

They do not see killing tens of thousands of people as troubling in the slightest. Look at our invasion of Iraq. Look at the other little wars we started to protect the corporations. They own most of the so-called civilized world and plan to retain that control. They can't control the sunlight so we have almost NO solar power plants. They know clean water is going to be a problem... it is now... so they sell us bottles of what they say is clean water.... and we buy it happily.

Governments now exist to funnel wealth to the .01% who own the corporations. We exist for the same reason cattle are found at a dairy farm. Until the herd decides to act like adult men and women instead of domesticated animals we will continue to allow the corporate takeover of our world. Until we stop worshiping the dollar and acting as if only money can make us happy we will be in thrall to the capitalists/fascists who currently run the whole show.


North10, 06 May 2014 11:29pm

Sorry Zizek .far too sloppy .first Georgia, now Ukraine, well no, the US has interfered militarily with 75 countries since WW2 and currently has military bases in 135 sovereign nations ..so hardly first Georgia and now Ukraine .just watch four star US General Wesley Clark discussing in 2007 the US plans to topple seven countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, coincidence with real events, hardly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAWzvtVJA5A

So, hardly first Georgia and now Ukraine...

Vatslav Rente, 06 May 2014 11:30pm

Strange, abstract thinking Mr. Zizek.
What is this nonsense about Georgia and Ukraine. In Georgia, Russia prevented the genocide against Ossetians. In Eastern Ukraine supported ethnic Russians. What is the problem?
The rules never change. Money and Power are everything. Democracy, dictatorship, the international community - fiction for outsiders, words which superpower cover their interests. Of course Russia is holding its geopolitics. It's not like the state Department. Is this news? Maybe Mr. Zizek doubts in competence of the American President? Don't worry, the U.S. can't win all the time, this is normal. Moreover, to be "the world's policeman" ungrateful