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Anti-globalization movement

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Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Neoliberalism Bookshelf Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Greenspan humor Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on crisis of  neoliberalism Etc

From Wikipedia:

Many critics of trade liberalization, such as Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Susan George, and Naomi Klein, see the Washington Consensus as a way to open the labor market of underdeveloped economies to exploitation by companies from more developed economies. The prescribed reductions in tariffs and other trade barriers allow the free movement of goods across borders according to market forces, but labor is not permitted to move freely due to the requirements of a visa or a work permit. This creates an economic climate where goods are manufactured using cheap labor in underdeveloped economies and then exported to rich First World economies for sale at what the critics argue are huge markups, with the balance of the markup said to accrue to large multinational corporations. The criticism is that workers in the Third World economy nevertheless remain poor, as any pay raises they may have received over what they made before trade liberalization are said to be offset by inflation, whereas workers in the First World country become unemployed, while the wealthy owners of the multinational grow even more wealthy.

Anti-globalization critics further claim that First World countries impose what the critics describe as the consensus's neoliberal policies on economically vulnerable countries through organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and by political pressure and bribery. They argue that the Washington Consensus has not, in fact, led to any great economic boom in Latin America, but rather to severe economic crises and the accumulation of crippling external debts that render the target country beholden to the First World.

Many of the policy prescriptions (e.g., the privatization of state industries, tax reform, and deregulation) are criticized as mechanisms for ensuring the development of a small, wealthy, indigenous elite in the Third World who will rise to political power and also have a vested interest in maintaining the local status quo of labor exploitation.

Some specific factual premises of the critique as phrased above (especially on the macroeconomic side) are not accepted by defenders, or indeed all critics, of the Washington Consensus. To take a few examples,[29] inflation in many developing countries is now at its lowest levels for many decades (low single figures for very much of Latin America). Workers in factories created by foreign investment are found typically to receive higher wages and better working conditions than are standard in their own countries' domestically-owned workplaces. Economic growth in much of Latin America in the last few years has been at historically high rates, and debt levels, relative to the size of these economies, are on average significantly lower than they were several years ago.

Despite these macroeconomic advances, poverty and inequality remain at high levels in Latin America. About one of every three people - 165 million in total- still live on less than $2 a day. Roughly a third of the population has no access to electricity or basic sanitation, and an estimated 10 million children suffer from malnutrition. These problems are not, however, new: Latin America was the most economically unequal region in the world in 1950, and has continued to be so ever since, during periods both of state-directed import-substitution and (subsequently) of market-oriented liberalization.[30]

Some socialist political leaders in Latin America are vocal and well-known critics of the Washington Consensus, such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Cuban ex-President Fidel Castro, Bolivian President Evo Morales, and Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador. In Argentina, too, the recent Peronist party government of Néstor Kirchner undertook policy measures which represented a repudiation of at least some Consensus policies (see Continuing Controversy below). However, with the exception of Castro, these leaders have maintained and expanded some successful policies commonly associated with the Washington Consensus, such as macroeconomic stability and property rights protection.

Others on the Latin American left take a different approach. Governments led by the Socialist Party of Chile, by Alan García in Peru, by Tabaré Vázquez in Uruguay, and by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, have in practice maintained a high degree of continuity with the economic policies described under the Washington Consensus (debt-paying, protection to foreign investment, financial reforms, etc.). But governments of this type have simultaneously sought to supplement these policies by measures directly targeted at improving productivity and helping the poor, such as education reforms and subsidies to poor families conditioned on their children staying in school.


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Old News ;-)

[Dec 09, 2018] The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations

Notable quotes:
"... Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MobyAhab , 31 Oct 2018 00:09

Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged.

Yeah! Philip Morris comes to mind. "The cost to taxpayers of the Australian government's six-year legal battle with the tobacco giant Philip Morris over plain packaging laws can finally be revealed, despite the government's efforts to keep the cost secret.

The commonwealth government spent nearly $40m defending its world-first plain packaging laws against Philip Morris Asia, a tobacco multinational, according to freedom of information documents.

Documents say the total figure is $38,984,942.97."

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/02/revealed-39m-cost-of-defending-australias-tobacco-plain-packaging-laws

[Dec 09, 2018] BREAKING: UK exhausted from endless stream of Brexit bollocks so here's a picture of some puppies.

Dec 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Have I Got News For You @haveigotnews

BREAKING: UK exhausted from endless stream of Brexit bollocks so here's a picture of some puppies.

Theresa May told to quit by Cabinet ministers if her Brexit deal falls and she fails to get better terms from EU Telegraph

No-deal Brexit: Disruption at Dover 'could last six months' BBC. I have trouble understanding why six months. The UK's customs IT system won't be ready and there's no reason to think it will be ready even then. I could see things getting less bad due to adaptations but "less bad" is not normal

The Great Brexit Breakdown Wall Street Journal. Some parts I quibble with, but generally good and includes useful historical detail.

British MP suggests threatening Ireland with food shortages over Brexit, Twitter outrage follows RT (kevin W)

It's crunch time for Labour. Empty posturing on Brexit will no longer do Guardian. Shreds the Corbyn op-ed we criticized yesterday.

[Dec 08, 2018] America's act against China borders on military aggression

Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

spudski , Dec 6, 2018 12:56:44 PM | link

Michael Hudson's comment on Naked Capitalism:

December 6, 2018 at 9:47 am

I think that America's act against China borders on military aggression. The US is saying, "Don't deal with any country that we're imposing sanctions on. We want to grab Iran's oil. That's why we overthrew Mossedegh. That's why we installed the Shah and his police state. We want Saudi Arabia's money, and they told us we have to support the Sunni against Shi'ites, so our foreign policy is that of Saudi Arabia when it comes to the fate of who can and who cannot trade with Iran. China must follow our orders or we will do everything we can to stop its own development. It need only look at how we treated Iran to see what may be in store for it."
This raises the Cold Wa to a new dimension.


karlof1 , Dec 6, 2018 4:18:27 PM | link

dh @99--

Yes, guilty as charged. I expect a major challenge to the illegality of the Outlaw US Empire's attempts at Extraterritoriality which has yet to be attempted but now must be done. China has a very distinctive history regarding such treatment and will not let it pass. The Trade War will escalate and the Empire's top tier of oligarchs will lose billions.

Circe , Dec 6, 2018 4:21:24 PM | link
Blue peacock Walrus must be Boltonnnn! He just parrotted exactly the same bull about stolen property except with the caveat that it's not the reason for her arrest!!! 😉😎 It's about doing business with Iran! F.U. AMERICA!

ARREST MBS INSTEAD, DAMN YOU EFFING HYPOCRITES! I can't get over Trudeau was a pasty to this woman's arrest! THIS IS INSANE.

[Dec 08, 2018] The incident shows that the US and some other countries that follow the US didn't abide by the bottom line of international law at all. From now on, we should reduce or cancel important people's visits to the US, Canada and some other countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Notable quotes:
"... The incident shows that the US and some other countries that follow the US didn't abide by the bottom line of international law at all. From now on, we should reduce or cancel important people's visits to the US, Canada and some other countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The warning applies to not only Chinese citizens, but also citizens of any other country. ..."
"... Given the extreme risks of the political struggle in the US, Chinese scientists and technological experts in the West, particularly in the UKUSA countries (the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) are advised to make some risk prevention arrangements for their own sake and the sake of their children. ..."
"... Unlike China's State-owned enterprises, Huawei is a genuine private firm. But the severe political discrimination and repulsion from the US reflect an undeniable fact - the political gap between China and the US and a few other Western nations is too wide to bridge. ..."
Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Dec 7, 2018 5:04:01 PM | link

Avoided a knee-jerk response, did some chores, read some other items, then went looking for English language Chinese reactions, like this one provided by Global Times , which said several different things to different audiences, although toward its bottom we find this:

" The incident shows that the US and some other countries that follow the US didn't abide by the bottom line of international law at all. From now on, we should reduce or cancel important people's visits to the US, Canada and some other countries like the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The warning applies to not only Chinese citizens, but also citizens of any other country.

" Given the extreme risks of the political struggle in the US, Chinese scientists and technological experts in the West, particularly in the UKUSA countries (the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) are advised to make some risk prevention arrangements for their own sake and the sake of their children. "

Global Times also published this editorial with its emphasis on the entire affair being an attack on Huawei's competitiveness, although suddenly in the middle it says this:

" Unlike China's State-owned enterprises, Huawei is a genuine private firm. But the severe political discrimination and repulsion from the US reflect an undeniable fact - the political gap between China and the US and a few other Western nations is too wide to bridge. "

A bit of a bombshell that seems to contradict what came before and after, which is an exploration of how "the political gap" can be narrowed. This line says:

"Meanwhile, China needs to ease its geopolitical and ideological tensions with the US and the West through expanding its opening-up to the world."

Unfortunately, the Outlaw US Empire has no interest in "eas[ing] its geopolitical and ideological tensions" with China, Russia or any other nation as its unelected helmsmen want everything for themselves a la Monopoly winners, thus rendering Chinese attempts at appeasement vacuous--Real Men want it all; sharing--Win-Win--is for wussies.

[Dec 08, 2018] Opinion Huawei bust reveals the real US-China trade war - Livemint

Export restrictions, and threats of restrictions, are thus probably not just about sanctions -- they're about making life harder for the main competitors of US tech companies
Dec 08, 2018 | www.livemint.com
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was mainly about tariffs, especially on items like automobiles.

But the startling arrest in Canada of a Chinese telecom company executive should wake people up to the fact that there's a second U.S.-China trade war going on -- a much more stealthy conflict, fought with weapons much subtler and more devastating than tariffs. And the prize in that other struggle is domination of the information-technology industry.

The arrested executive, Wanzhou Meng, is the chief financial officer of telecom-equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co. (and its founder's daughter). The official reason for her arrest is that Huawei is suspected of selling technology to Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions. It's the second big Chinese tech company to be accused of breaching those sanctions -- the first was ZTE Corp. in 2017. The U.S. punished ZTE by forbidding it from buying American components -- most importantly, telecom chips made by U.S.-based Qualcomm Inc.

Those purchasing restrictions were eventually lifted after ZTE agreed to pay a fine, and it seems certain that Huawei will also eventually escape severe punishment. But these episodes highlight Chinese companies' dependence on critical U.S. technology. The U.S. still makes -- or at least, designs -- the best computer chips in the world. China assembles lots of electronics, but without those crucial inputs of U.S. technology, products made by companies such as Huawei would be of much lower-quality.

Export restrictions, and threats of restrictions, are thus probably not just about sanctions -- they're about making life harder for the main competitors of U.S. tech companies. Huawei just passed Apple Inc. to become the world's second-largest smartphone maker by market share (Samsung Electronics Co. is first). This marks a change for China, whose companies have long been stuck doing low-value assembly while companies in rich countries do the high-value design, marketing and component manufacturing. U.S. moves against Huawei and ZTE may be intended to force China to remain a cheap supplier instead of a threatening competitor.

The subtle, far-sighted nature of this approach suggests that the impetus for the high-tech trade war goes far beyond what Trump, with his focus on tariffs and old-line manufacturing industries, would think of. It seems likely that U.S. tech companies, as well as the military intelligence communities, are influencing policy here as well.

In fact, more systematic efforts to block Chinese access to U.S. components are in the works. The Export Control Reform Act, passed this summer, increased regulatory oversight of U.S. exports of "emerging" and "foundational" technologies deemed to have national-security importance. Although national security is certainly a concern, it's generally hard to separate high-tech industrial and corporate dominance from military dominance, so this too should be seen as part of the trade war.

A second weapon in the high-tech trade war is investment restrictions. The Trump administration has greatly expanded its power to block Chinese investments in U.S. technology companies, through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. CFIUS has already canceled a bunch of Chinese deals:

The goal of investment restrictions is to prevent Chinese companies from copying or stealing American ideas and technologies. Chinese companies can buy American companies and transfer their intellectual property overseas, or have their employees train their Chinese replacements. Even minority stakes can allow a Chinese investor access to industrial secrets that would otherwise be off-limits. By blocking these investors, the Trump administration hopes to preserve U.S. technological dominance, at least for a little while longer.

Notably, the European Union is also moving to restrict Chinese investments. The fact that Europe, which has opposed Trump's tariffs, is copying American investment restrictions, should be a signal that the less-publicized high-tech trade war is actually the important one.

The high-tech trade war shows that for all the hoopla over manufacturing jobs, steel, autos and tariffs, the real competition is in the tech sector. Losing the lead in the global technology race means lower profits and a disappearing military advantage. But it also means losing the powerful knowledge-industry clustering effects that have been an engine of U.S. economic growth in the post-manufacturing age. Bluntly put, the U.S. can afford to lose its lead in furniture manufacturing; it can't afford to lose its dominance in the tech sector.

The question is whether the high-tech trade war will succeed in keeping China in second place. China has long wanted to catch up in semiconductor manufacturing, but export controls will make that goal a necessity rather than an aspiration. And investment restrictions may spur China to upgrade its own homegrown research and development capacity.

In other words, in the age when China and the U.S. were economically co-dependent, China might have been content to accept lower profit margins and keep copying American technology instead of developing its own. But with the coming of the high-tech trade war, that co-dependency is coming to an end. Perhaps that was always inevitable, as China pressed forward on the technological frontier. In any case, the Trump administration's recent moves against Chinese tech -- and some similar moves by the EU -- should be seen as the first shots in a long war.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed)

[Dec 08, 2018] The trade war targets the entire Chinese high tech industry, especially the Made in China 2030 proj. Huawei in less than 30 years it has displaced CISCO as the world's no 1 network supplier, presently gunning Samsung for top spot in mobile phone preeminence

Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

denk , Dec 8, 2018 12:12:43 AM | link

b

This is 'eight nations alliance' [1] mark2 no less. The military encirclement of China is in place, to be sprung if necessary. The trade war targets the entire Chinese high tech industry, especially the Made in China 2030 proj. Huawei is the crown jewel of emerging Chinese high tech, its rise is nothing less than astounding. In less than 30 years it has displaced CISCO as the world's no 1 network supplier, presently gunning Samsung for top spot in mobile phone preeminence.

It makes lots of people scare. [2]

They use false pretext to wage wars OF terror, now they use false pretext to launch a trade war, hyping up Huawei's 'security risk'. But nsa has been 'monitoring' Huawei since 2007, even hacked into its Shenzhen HQ, to look for incriminating evidence of CCP collaboration, it turned out naught. There'r absolutely No Evidence Huawei Spies on Americans, [3]

Just like the lack of evidence didn't prevent fukus attack on 'terrorist' countries, it sure doesn't stop Washington from mounting a frontal assault on Huawei. Huawei is currently shut out of the 5lies markets plus SK, JP, courtesy of Washington. The 'battle' has extended to the Pacifics isles,
where Washington/Oz joint force to arm twist Solomon isle to drop a undersea cable contract with Huawei.

They tried that again with PNG, asking them to renege on their contract with Huawei, but the PNG PM is made of sterner stuff, lecturing fukus on the importance of integrity and law, no less.

hhhhh

When the Meng kidnap news broke, my jaw dropped in amazement, ....They'r really getting really desperate now.

... ... ...


[1]

http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/attachments/japanese-militaria/925359d1452969003-evolution-imperial-japan-s-war-medals-1875-1945-a-17.troops_of_the_eight_nations_alliance_1900.jpg

[2]
Huawei's U.S. competitors among those pushing for scrutiny of Chinese tech firm
It was long thought that we were the number-one economy and China just supplied cheap labor,"

Guthrie said. "Now it is clear that China has lot to offer in terms of innovation and Industrial policy and state investment, and now people are scared

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/huaweis-us-competitors-among-those-pushing-for-scrutiny-of-chinese-tech-firm/2012/10/10/b84d8d16-1256-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_story.html?utm_term=.9a08c5b5a9bb


Watch out Cisco. Huawei's coming!

https://etherealmind.com/watch-out-cisco-huaweis-coming/

China's Huawei takes aim at Cisco with SDN programmable switch Huawei Technologies is bringing its own "software-defined networking" switch globally in a bid to raise its profile and expand in a market dominated by Cisco.
https://www.computerworld.com/article/2484793/networking/china-s-huawei-takes-aim-at-cisco-with-sdn-programmable-switch.html

[3]
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/59w49b/huawei-surveillance-no-evidence

[Dec 08, 2018] Huawei's Meng Snagged Due to US Bank Sanctions

Games in US intelligence agencies are one thing, but the fact that this arrest is a severe blow, almost knockdown for neoliberalism is another.
From comments: "Spot on with your comment. As you point out, this event will cast a dark shadow over executive travel for a long time to come, including those American executives who will now be fearful of countermeasures."
Dec 08, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Moreover, John Bolton is the sort who'd love to collect a high profile scalp like the arrest of Meng, so it's credible that he would find a way to go ahead whether or not the China trade negotiation team was on board.

Meng has her bail hearing in Vancouver today, so we will probably learn more about the expected process and timetable.


Alex V , December 7, 2018 at 3:56 am

Wondering why US dollars would ever be involved in transactions between a Chinese supplier, a UK bank, and Iranian customers Assuming usage of correspondent banks in NYC? Would also be a reason for where the indictment was filed.

The conspiracy theorist in me says that transactions are being routed through the US not for any practical reason, or due to customer wishes, but only to expose them to US jurisdiction for potential prosecution. An alternative to SWIFT is desperately needed

A. A. , December 7, 2018 at 4:13 am

The FCPA is extremely expansive: a non U.S. company doing business in the U.S. must not do business with Iran directly or indirectly if it knows or has reason to suspect the business is related to Iran. So if they have the evidence it all looks like a slam dunk.

As to SWIFT, doesn't the U.S. have access to all SWIFT transactions, even those not touching U.S. banks? They'd certainly have the Five Eyes SWIFT data.

Plus apparently the U.S. has (or had) access to Huawei's email traffic.

Yves Smith Post author , December 7, 2018 at 5:26 am

Not correspondent banks. HSBC has a New York branch, as does pretty much every foreign bank with an international business. Dollar transactions clear though the US because no bank is going to run intraday balances with other banks without the end of day settlement ultimately being backstopped by the Fed. That means running over Fedwire.

Alex V , December 7, 2018 at 5:53 am

Ah, thanks for the technical detail on why it would be cleared through the US. The Masters of the Universe really are unwilling to take any risk unless it's socialized in some way. Still curious why they would ever let it touch US jurisdiction, but I guess the details of the case will eventually reveal that.

William Bowles , December 7, 2018 at 4:21 am

See Voltaire Net for the reasons: Huawei's unbreakable encryption:

http://www.voltairenet.org/article204264.html

"The heart of the problem is that the Chinese firm uses a system of encryption that prevents the NSA from intercepting its communications. A number of governments and secret services in the non-Western world have begun to equip themselves exclusively with Huawei materials, and are doing so to protect the confidentiality of their communications."

laodan , December 7, 2018 at 9:03 am

There is also this other article on Voltaire Network " Behind the US attack on Chinese Smartphones " by Manlio Dinucci. 2018-10-05

"The struggle centred around Huawei illustrates the way in which economic and military preoccupations inter-connect. Already, many States have observed that Washington is so far unable to decode this technology. Thus, as they did in Syria, they have entirely re-equipped their Intelligence services with Huawei material, and forbid their civil servants to use any others."

Taking into account this story from Syria the following dismissal, by China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying of a report in The New York Times, could be understood differently than it was initially

"China on Thursday denounced a U.S. newspaper report that it is listening to Donald Trump's phone calls as "fake news," and suggested he exchange his iPhone for a cellphone made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei".
in AP, 2018-10-26, "China denies spying on Trump's phone, suggests he use Huawei".

The Rev Kev , December 7, 2018 at 5:08 am

So I turned on the local TV network to see how the story would be spun to find out what the official line would be. There was no mention of the fact in the story that Meng was just not the CFO of Huawei but also the daughter – the daughter – of the founder. More to the point, nearly every scene showing Meng was when she was on-stage with Putin somewhere so there is your guilt by association right there. They even used close-ups of the two together though the stage was full of people seated there.
Something else in that story that I noticed. It featured the last day of the G-20 when the American and Chinese delegation were facing each other over a conference table. On the right was Trump and a bit further down was John Bolton. Now Trump has said he had no idea that this arrest was taking place but Bolton said that he know beforehand. Does it not seem strange that Bolton would not have pulled Trump aside beforehand and said 'Hey boss, we are going to do something never done before and arrest a high-level Chinese citizen which could blow up your whole agreement. You know, just so you know.'
With this is mind, it may be fairer to say that this was more a case of 'Huawei's Meng Targeted using US Bank Sanctions'. The pity is that the US Justice Department finds no trouble with targeting a corporation nearly 7,000 miles away but just can't seem to target Wall Street which is only about 200 miles away from their headquarters. And I am afraid that I am not too impressed with that internal Huawei memo as probably most international corporations want to know where they can push the envelope. Personally I would be more interested on a memo from the Clinton Foundation listing the amounts needed to gain access the SecState and how much could be purchased for that amount. Both memos would amount to the same thing.
This is new this development. The US has targeted individuals with sanctions but for the first time they are attempting the extraterritorial rendition of a foreign citizen in connection with sanctions violations meaning extraterritorial jurisdiction which means that American laws apply all over the world. Could you imagine if this became standard practice? The chill it would put on executive travel? The possibilities of tit for tat arrests? US tech execs have already been warned on China travel. Do they really want to go there? This is nothing less that a US declaration of war on firms competing with US business interests like they have done with Russia.
I would be also wary of this massive 'coincidence' in the timing of her arrest. The US Justice Department would probably know Meng's travel schedule better that she would – Bolton with his contacts would see to that. It may be that events in her calendar were pre-arranged for her. The Justice Department has a long history of setting up people. Canada's involvement is simply another member of the Five Eyes group doing active participation. It has not escaped my notice that all the countries rejecting Huawe's 5G technology – Australia, the UK, New Zealand – are also members of the Five Eyes. Not looking good.

Yves Smith Post author , December 7, 2018 at 5:33 am

This is not a rendition. Meng's extradition is all being done by the book. She is still in Canada, and will have a bail hearing today. She will have the opportunity to contest her extradition in Canada. Assuming she loses, she then goes to the US to face charges.

And I'm not keen about the CT. A top Chinese tech company like Huawei which knows it's on America's shit list would have a very well protected Intranet. The US does not have access to Chinese telcoms to locate or steal the data of Chinese citizens. Get real.

Thuto , December 7, 2018 at 6:13 am

I'm not sure I embrace the notion of all this being done by the book as much as you Yves. After all, even charades can have the appearance of procedural compliance and the following of by the book rules, in fact, perhaps the incentive to create the appearance of following the rules is even more pronounced in a high profile case such as this. As to whether she will have a fair opportunity to defend herself, this is a watershed moment for Canada and she's is in the spotlight here and no matter which way it goes, the decision to extradite or not will have irrevocable implications on her international relations.

Yves Smith Post author , December 7, 2018 at 8:08 am

This is not a rendition. Canada isn't the UK. It's not going to bend its court processes, particularly since Chinese have become big investors in Canada and Trump has been astonishingly rude to Trudeau. And it has an independent judiciary.

Marshall Auerback , December 7, 2018 at 9:00 am

I was pretty unimpressed by Trudeau's pusillanimity. He tried to give the impression that Canada was just an innocent bystander in this whole process. Get real. If there's an extradition treaty, the US has to make a formal request to the Canadian government. The idea that the PM wasn't consulted on this is nonsensical. Justin engaging in his own version of "cakeism". Wants to stay on the good side of both Beijing and Washington, which is an impossible thing to do. Trudeau is already on Trump's sh*t list, and I'm sure Xi is taking his measure of the man as well. Probably not terribly impressed with him either.

rd , December 7, 2018 at 10:07 am

I have family and friends in Canada. Trust me, Canadians would be REALLY pissed if they thought that the Canadian judiciary was rolling over for Trump and Bolton.Trump is not making Canadian friends by running around throwing tantrums over NAFTA given that US-Canada trade is one of the most balanced trade relationships in the world with very little net trade deficit for either side.

I think this is very much being done by the book. Is there a viable law that is not, by itself, a human rights violation? Is there credible evidence that this person broke this law? Those are the basic questions that will need to be answered in a Canadian court room to have an extradition move forward.

Canadians want the big powers to have coherent rational laws and treaties related to trade etc. and then follow them. They also want to have rational, coherent international plans on addressing conflicts and have historically been very strong supporters of the UN and routinely have blue helmet troops all around the world on peace-keeping missions. Canada can do this safely because it has balanced relationships with most countries around the world. It will not do these types of arrests and extraditions on a whim because that would upset Canada's role in the world.

William Bowles , December 7, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Judging from what I've read, the US are claiming she committed fraud by alleging that a company, Skycom that allegedly did business with Iran was not separate from Huawei. Here's the BBC's take:

"On Friday, US prosecutors told the Supreme Court of British Columbia that Ms Meng had used a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014 .

"They said she had publicly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company." – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46490053

Note the dates!!!! This is surely a setup!

Thuto , December 7, 2018 at 5:52 am

Spot on with your comment. As you point out, this event will cast a dark shadow over executive travel for a long time to come, including those American executives who will now be fearful of countermeasures.

rd , December 7, 2018 at 10:10 am

Sounds like a good reason for executives not to break laws

JTMcPhee , December 7, 2018 at 11:05 am

Whose laws, one might ask? The US says ITS laws rule the world. ISDS says corporate right to profit (by their accounting methods that discount externalities to zero) outweighs ALL national and local laws.

And having spent some years as a lawyer, and observing several different kinds of courts in operation, I would dare to challenge the assertion that "courts have to follow rules." Like they have done in the foreclosure mess, maybe? Like the shenanigans displayed via Chicago's "Operation Greylord" prosecutions? Or in traffic courts in small towns in Flyover Country? how about the US bankruptcy courts, where shall we say "bad decisions" are endemic? Remember Julius Hoffman? how about Kimba Woods, who sua sponte curtailed Michael Milken's jail term for his junk bond racket? Even FISA, of course?

And the assertion that Canadian judges are beyond political maneuvering runs up against a whole lot of reports and studies that cast the integrity of the Canadian bar into not insignificant doubt. Look to "corruption in canadian courts" for a nice assortment, like this one, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jj-mccullough/canada-judicial-appointments_b_5264567.html , and this, http://www.waterwarcrimes.com/canadian-legal-and-judicial-corruption.html , for example, and other more scholarly views.

Yes, let us wait and see how this plays out, and then we can study what history's actors have done, judiciously as we must

Lynne , December 7, 2018 at 11:29 am

Good luck with that. It's almost impossible in the US never to break the law in some way. It just takes a cop or prosecutors motivated enough. I find it hard to believe it's not the same in China, let alone Russia or the UK, to name a few.

Geoff _S , December 7, 2018 at 1:47 pm

This law school lecture is 45mins long but really fun (it's got 2.5 million views). You should never talk to the police – one reason being that, as Lynne says, there are SO many possible offences, that you can never be sure you are not guilty of something .

Don't Talk to the Police!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

RMO , December 7, 2018 at 7:58 pm

"Sounds like a good reason for executives not to break laws "

Yeah, I remember when all those HSBC executives were arrested, tried and thrown in jail. Good times The U.S. government really believes in the rule of law. Remember when the Chief Executive was sent to prison for life for committing "the supreme war crime" and shredding the U.S. Constitution?

Rules are for little people Meng isn't big enough to be unprosecutable apparently.

adrena , December 7, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Exactly. America is acting as the world's police.

And Trudeau has no spine.

Thuto , December 7, 2018 at 5:31 am

So the US DOJ, according to "people familiar with the matter", has been investigating Huawei for at least two years. My math tells me this is roughly since the signing of the deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries in 2016, a deal subsequently incorporated into international law by the UN. Now a bank that has run a laundry service for dirty money is suddenly thrust into victimhood and (with Uncle Sam's boot on its neck no doubt) is "cooperating" with the investigation? You couldn't make this more surreal if you tried.

If this isn't the final act in peeling off the rose tinted glasses from countries that still consider the US a trusted friend and loyal ally, one wonders how much more evidence they need to see it for what it really is, a duplicitous, hypocritical, tyrannical imperialist. The irony of this charade being undertaken by the department of "justice" makes this even more egregious. Expect development of an alternative system to Swift to go into overdrive after this.

W , December 7, 2018 at 9:38 am

The point isn't "Is the US acting legally/by the book in enforcing the law", it's "Why is the US legally enforcing the law in this case and not the million other cases equally deserving of enforcement?" When the law isn't enforced evenly, then the law just becomes a cover story for dishing out and withholding punishment by authorities.

lawrence j silber , December 7, 2018 at 10:16 am

Very interesting-actually mystifying. The powers that are- from their pronouncements,haven't a clue about modern money, and in that framework the benefits of the reserve currency they print. Maybe they do, but why, for what appears a minimal foreign corporate compliance offence, would we want China, Russia, and a host of others to find enough cause to continue their effort on a replacement reserve? Why are we so hell bent on militarising the dollar? Save it for really big fish. Sure, its extremely difficult under the current political framework for the world to organise and opt away from our dollar , but the stability and leadership America has offered since the end of ww11, maybe appears diminishing. Given Trump just made a deal with Xi, at the same time his vip citizen was being targeted- obviously kind of humiliating-,as well as the administration turning a blind eye to the murderous soprano fiefdom of Saudi Arabia; from any rational standpoint prioritising human rights over crooked bank compliance issues , this looks keystone cop like! Sure we only have a little info, but it still smells of hypocritical, imperialistic, one hand doesnt know what the other hand is doing idiots in charge. Mike Hudson sees nefarious purposes,maybe hes a bit hawkish, but this just seems so obtuse given the g20 hand shakes. Going to be very interesting watching China's response. Then again maybe this lady is a criminal.

makedoanmend , December 7, 2018 at 5:40 am

" the US Justice Department finds no trouble with targeting a corporation nearly 7,000 miles away but just can't seem to target Wall Street which is only about 200 miles away from their headquarters "

This.

Having power over others seems to be a standard condition of our species. How one uses or abuses power reveals the inner nature of the one(s) wielding the power. There need not be a conspiracy of the powerful, just a consensus of how power should be used so that the sum total exercises of the powerful reveal where their interests intersect. The rest of us just got get out of the way.

If one wants to know what interesting times look like, well, we have front row seats. And its in 3-D.

I must admit that President Trump is doing a better job than former President Obama in ramping up a new theatre of economic warfare across the globe. Former President Obama was rather crude, what with his drones. I'm thinking we have to update von Clausewitz's dictum: "War is the continuation of politics by other means." to something along the lines of "Economics is a continuation of war by other means."

The USA polity is certainly making it up close and personal.

timbers , December 7, 2018 at 8:13 am

Indeed. The possibilities for China to retaliate are seemingly endless though they won't have the long arm the U.S. has.

Perhaps China should respond by trying to arrest and indicting some of the Wall Street big wigs Obama never indicted. I'm sure China could come up with reasons why fraud Wall Street committed violated Chinese law and damaged China.

Of course, being an exporter to the U.S. I'm sure China would much rather this go away, than to retaliate.

lawrence j silber , December 7, 2018 at 10:35 am

Very interesting-actually mystifying. The powers that are- from their pronouncements,haven't a clue about modern money, and in that framework the benefits of the reserve currency they print. Maybe they do, but why, for what appears a minimal foreign corporate compliance offence, would we want China, Russia, and a host of others to find enough cause to continue their effort on a replacement reserve? Why are we so hell bent on militarising the dollar? Save it for really big fish. Sure, its extremely difficult under the current political framework for the world to organise and opt away from our dollar , but the stability and leadership America has offered since the end of ww11, maybe appears diminishing. Given Trump just made a deal with Xi, at the same time his vip citizen was being targeted- obviously kind of humiliating-,as well as the administration turning a blind eye to the murderous soprano fiefdom of Saudi Arabia; from any rational standpoint prioritising human rights over crooked bank compliance issues , this looks keystone cop like! Sure we only have a little info, but it still smells of hypocritical, imperialistic, one hand doesnt know what the other hand is doing idiots in charge. Mike Hudson sees nefarious purposes,maybe hes a bit hawkish, but this just seems so obtuse given the g20 hand shakes. Going to be very interesting watching China's response. Then again maybe this lady is a criminal.

NotTimothyGeithner , December 7, 2018 at 11:14 am

Why are we so hell bent? The U.S. hyper power status started in 1991. This is a generation where they knew nothing else, coming off 45 years where allies did what they were told.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grand_Chessboard

Whether its throwing around terms such as "American exceptionalism" or "indispensable nation", there is a religious fervor around the U.S. among American foreign policy elites.

Then there is imperial rot. The tenures in the U.S. Senate are longer than the Soviet Politburo. At a practical level the Bushes and Clintons (not exactly great people) have been responsible for who gets promoted in Washington and who develops marketable connections since 1986 with Reagan's alzheimers kicking in big time if not longer.

JTMcPhee , December 7, 2018 at 11:21 am

In many places in the US, if I jaywalk, I am a criminal. What corporate executive is not a criminal, given the mass of laws that apply (until said criminals can bribe the legislatures into de-criminalizing the bad behaviors)? Not to mention persuading the executive branch to not prosecute, for all kinds of "political" reasons? Ask Wells Fargo and the other Banksters how that works. Selective or non-prosecution for me, "the full weight of the law," that fraudulent notion, for thee, I guess. And none of that is in any way new.

Speaking of Chinese criminals, I would add an anecdote. I have not been able to find the episode, but one of the formerly investigative programs (20-20 or 60 Minutes, I believe) took part in a sting of a Chinese corp that sells counterfeit medicines. This was maybe 8-10 years ago. A very pretty if somewhat English-challenged young woman met with a bunch, maybe 10, men and women who she thought were buyers for distributors and Pharma corps in the US and I believe Canada. This meeting took place in a West Coast S city as I recall.

She offered that her company produced counterfeit meds using "latest technology" that from the shape and color and texture and markings of the pills and package inserts, right down to the packaging, holograms and all, could not be distinguished from the original. The products were touted as being biologically inactive and "safe." She averred that her company could deliver any quantity, from cartons to container loads, at very reasonable and attractive price.

But that is a little different case from what appears at this point (barring correction as the "case" develops) from the Huawei matter.

John k , December 7, 2018 at 9:15 pm

Not easy for another entity to take over the reserve currency.
China Germany etc want a trade surplus with us, so they must accept and store dollars. Very similarly. Many individuals want to save dollars because they don't trust their own currency. And some countries actually use dollars as their currency.
So the desire to accept or save dollars in exchange for their goods means the dollar is the reserve currency. This won't change until something else becomes more attractive to savers and mercantilists.

cbu , December 7, 2018 at 11:20 am

I agree that "done by the book" is irrelevant here. Selective enforcement is the issue. Wall Street crooks have committed greater sins yet none of them is really punished.

Anyone could have written an "internal memo" like that. Proving its authenticity is a different matter. After all, the biggest "smoking gun" I have ever seen in my life was the "evidence" of Iraqi WMD.

Another interesting aspect of the case is that as I suspected, it might be difficult to prove that Huawei sold Iran some specific American technologies that still have valid patents in effect.

Synoia , December 7, 2018 at 11:25 am

I personally know IBM and others breached the US arms control export laws by exporting Cryptography to Apartheid South Africa, and believe that Shell Oil has broken nearly all environmental laws in the Niger Delta for decades.

Where is the equity?

Eclair , December 7, 2018 at 11:43 am

Fascinating discussion, Yves and commenters.

Is this what happens when a government is sliding rapidly down the slope of loss of legitimacy?' We become acutely aware of the selective enforcement of its laws; a situation that our poor and black and brown citizens have known for decades.

We have even become aware that the laws themselves are not always enacted for the public good, but for the enrichment of certain small segments of the population.

This is not a good place to be. I mean this state of mind, not the NC site, which, as always, provides the opportunity for much thoughtful and creative discussion.

Carolinian , December 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Don't forget that the US ambassador to Germany threatened secondary sanctions against Germany if they went ahead with Nordstream2. Trump then walked that back. But as for this latest move, we know that Bolton at least was informed of the impending arrest so it's fair to say that such a sensitive action would not have happened without some form of White House approval–even if it wasn't Trump himself. It's probably not a CT therefore to say that there's more going on here than a prosecutor making a routine request. The administration hawks are firing a shot over the bow of anyone who defies them on Iran (the place "real men" go to). Given what we know about Bolton's Iran obsession it may not even have much to do with China.

And this bully boy approach to the rest of the world isn't only coming from Trump's neocons since sanctions bills are a bipartisan favorite of our Congress. Apparently being bribed on domestic matters isn't enough (unless you consider foreign policy to only be about MIC profits). Doing the bidding overseas actors and their supporters taps a whole other vein.

thepanzer , December 7, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Link to Moon of Alabama for "B"'s take on the situation.

Carolinian , December 7, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Corrected link

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/12/neocons-sabotage-trumps-trade-talks-huawei-cfo-taken-hostage-to-blackmail-china.html#more

Carolinian , December 7, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Just to add: B pretty much buys the hostage CT.

Todde , December 7, 2018 at 2:18 pm

The US doesn't apply the law equally.

Color me surprised

Harrold , December 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Flights that over fly US airspace are required to submit their manifests and passenger names are bounced against the National Crime Information Center databases by CBP.

I would venture that her flight overflew Alaskan airspace and that is how they found out she was on board.

[Dec 07, 2018] Brexit Theresa May Goes Greek! by Brett Redmayne

Highly recommended!
" The Fleeting Illusion of Election Night Victory." that phrase sums up the situation very succinctly
Notable quotes:
"... " A Brexit Lesson In Greek: Hopes and Votes Dashed on Parliamentary Floors," ..."
"... "Brexit means Brexit!" ..."
Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

It has become all too easy for democracy to be turned on its head and popular nationalist mandates, referenda and elections negated via instant political hypocrisy by leaders who show their true colours only after the public vote. So it has been within the two-and-a-half year unraveling of the UK Brexit referendum of 2016 that saw the subsequent negotiations now provide the Brexit voter with only three possibilities. All are a loss for Britain.

One possibility, Brexit, is the result of Prime Minister, Theresa May's negotiations- the "deal"- and currently exists in name only. Like the PM herself, the original concept of Brexit may soon lie in the dust of an upcoming UK Parliament floor vote in exactly the same manner as the failed attempt by the Greeks barely three years ago. One must remember that Greece on June 27, 2015 once voted to leave the EU as well and to renegotiate its EU existence as well in their own "Grexit" referendum. Thanks to their own set of underhanded and treasonous politicians, this did not go well for Greece. Looking at the Greek result, and understanding divisive UK Conservative Party control that exists in the hearts of PMs on both sides of the House of Commons, this new parliamentary vote is not looking good for Britain. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek! "deal" -- would thus reveal the life-long scars of their true national allegiance gnawed into their backs by the lust of their masters in Brussels. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

Ironically, like a cluster bomb of white phosphorous over a Syrian village, Cameron's Brexit vote blew up spectacularly in his face. Two decades of ongoing political submission to the EU by the Cons and "new" labour had them arrogantly misreading the minds of the UK voter.

So on that incredible night, it happened. Prime Minister David Cameron the Cons New Labour The Lib- Dems and even the UK Labour Party itself, were shocked to their core when the unthinkable nightmare that could never happen, did happen . Brexit had passed by popular vote!

David Cameron has been in hiding ever since.

After Brexit passed the same set of naïve UK voters assumed, strangely, that Brexit would be finalized in their national interest as advertised. This belief had failed to read Article 50 - the provisos for leaving the EU- since, as much as it was mentioned, it was very rarely linked or referenced by a quotation in any of the media punditry. However, an article published four days after the night Brexit passed, " A Brexit Lesson In Greek: Hopes and Votes Dashed on Parliamentary Floors," provided anyone thus reading Article 50, which is only eight pages long and double-spaced, the info to see clearly that this never before used EU by-law would be the only route to a UK exit. Further, Article 50 showed that Brussels would control the outcome of exit negotiations along with the other twenty-seven member nations and that effectively Ms May and her Tories would be playing this game using the EU's ball and rules, while going one-on-twenty-seven during the negotiations.

In the aftermath of Brexit, the real game began in earnest. The stakes: bigger than ever.

Forgotten are the hypocritical defections of political expediency that saw Boris Johnson and then Home Secretary Theresa May who were, until that very moment, both vociferously and very publicly against the intent of Brexit. Suddenly they claimed to be pro- Brexit in their quest to sleep in Cameron's now vacant bed at No. 10 Downing Street. Boris strategically dropped out to hopefully see, Ms May, fall on her sword- a bit sooner. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

So, the plucky PM was left to convince the UK public, daily, as the negotiations moved on, that "Brexit means Brexit!" A UK media that is as pro-EU as their PM chimed in to help her sell distortions of proffered success at the negotiating table, while the rise of "old" Labour, directed by Jeremy Corbyn, exposed her "soft" Brexit negotiations for the litany of failures that ultimately equaled the "deal" that was strangely still called "Brexit."

Too few, however, examined this reality once these political Chameleons changed their colours just as soon as the very first results shockingly came in from Manchester in the wee hours of the morning on that seemingly hopeful night so long ago: June 23, 2016. For thus would begin a quiet, years-long defection of many more MPs than merely these two opportunists.

What the British people also failed to realize was that they and their Brexit victory would also be faced with additional adversaries beyond the EU members: those from within their own government. From newly appointed PM May to Boris Johnson, from the Conservative Party to the New Labour sellouts within the Labour Party and the Friends of Israel , the quiet internal political movement against Brexit began. As the House of Lords picked up their phones, too, for very quiet private chats within House of Commons, their minions in the British press began their work as well.

Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

jim jones , says: December 5, 2018 at 4:55 am GMT

Government found guilty of Contempt of Parliament:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/12/04/uk-govt-forced-to-publish-full-brexit-legal-documents-after-losing-key-vote/

Brabantian , says: December 5, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT
This article by Brett Redmayne is certainly right re the horrific sell-out by the Greek government of Tsipras the other year, that has left the Greek citizenry in enduring political despair the betrayal of Greek voters indeed a model for UK betrayal of Brexit voters

But Redmayne is likely very mistaken in the adulation of Jeremy Corbyn as the 'genuine real deal' for British people

Ample evidence points to Corbyn as Trojan horse sell-out, as covered by UK researcher Aangirfan on her blogs, the most recent of which was just vapourised by Google in their censorship insanity

Jeremy Corbyn was a childhood neighbour of the Rothschilds in Wiltshire; with Jeremy's father David Corbyn working for ultra-powerful Victor Rothschild on secret UK gov scientific projects during World War 2

Jeremy Corbyn is tied to child violation scandals & child-crime convicted individuals including Corbyn's Constituency Agent; Corbyn tragically ignoring multiple earnest complaints from child abuse victims & whistleblowers over years, whilst "child abuse rings were operating within all 12 of the borough's children's homes" in Corbyn's district not very decent of him

And of course Corbyn significantly cucked to the Israel lobby in their demands for purge of the Labour party alleged 'anti-semites'

The Trojan Horse 'fake opposition', or fake 'advocate for the people', is a very classic game of the Powers That Be, and sadly Corbyn is likely yet one more fake 'hero'

niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 9:13 am GMT
My theory is, give "capitalism" and financial interests enough time, they will consume any democracy. Meaning: the wealth flows upwards, giving the top class opportunity to influence politics and the media, further improving their situation v.s. the rest, resulting in ever stronger position – until they hold all the power. Controlling the media and therefore the narrative, capable to destroy any and all opposition. Ministers and members of parliaments, most bought and paid for one way or the other. Thankfully, the 1% or rather the 0.1% don't always agree so the picture can be a bit blurred.

You can guess what country inspired this "theory" of mine. The second on the list is actually the U.K. If a real socialist becomes the prime minister of the U.K. I will be very surprised. But Brexit is a black swan like they say in the financial sector, and they tend to disrupt even the best of theories. Perhaps Corbin is genuine and will become prime minister! I am not holding my breath.

However, if he is a real socialist like the article claims. And he becomes prime minister of the U.K the situation will get really interesting. Not only from the EU side but more importantly from U.K. best friend – the U.S. Uncle Sam will not be happy about this development and doesn't hesitate to crush "bad ideas" he doesn't like.

Case in point – Ireland's financial crisis in 2009;

After massive expansion and spectacular housing bubble the Irish banks were in deep trouble early into the crisis. The EU, ECB and the IMF (troika?) met with the Irish government to discuss solutions. From memory – the question was how to save the Irish banks? They were close to agreement that bondholders and even lenders to the Irish banks should take a "haircut" and the debt load should be cut down to manageable levels so the banks could survive (perhaps Michael Hudson style if you will). One short phone call from the U.S Secretary of the treasury then – Timothy Geithner – to the troika-Irish meeting ended these plans. He said: there will be no haircut! That was the end of it. Ireland survived but it's reasonable to assume this "guideline" paved the road for the Greece debacle.

I believe Mr. Geithner spoke on behalf of the financial power controlling – more or less-our hemisphere. So if the good old socialist Corbin comes to power in the U.K. and intends to really change something and thereby set examples for other nations – he is taking this power head on. I think in case of "no deal" the U.K. will have it's back against the wall and it's bargaining position against the EU will depend a LOT on U.S. response. With socialist in power there will be no meaningful support from the U.S. the powers that be will to their best to destroy Corbin as soon as possible.

I hope I am wrong.

niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 10:07 am GMT
My right wing friends can't understand the biggest issue of our times is class war. This article mentions the "Panama papers" where great many corporations and wealthy individuals (even politicians) in my country were exposed. They run their profits through offshore tax havens while using public infrastructure (paid for by taxpayers) to make their money. It's estimated that wealth amounting to 1,5 times our GDP is stored in these accounts!

There is absolutely no way to get it through my right wing friends thick skull that off-shore accounts are tax frauds. Resulting in they paying higher taxes off their wages because the big corporations and the rich don't pay anything. Nope. They simply hate taxes (even if they get plenty back in services) and therefore all taxes are bad. Ergo tax evasions by the 1% are fine – socialism or immigrants must be the root of our problems. MIGA!

Come to think of it – few of them would survive the "law of the jungle" they so much desire. And none of them would survive the "law of the jungle" if the rules are stacked against them. Still, all their political energy is aimed against the ideas and people that struggle against such reality.

I give up – I will never understand the right. No more than the pure bread communist. Hopeless ideas!

jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
" This is because the deal has a provision that would still keep the UK in the EU Customs Union (the system setting common trade rules for all EU members) indefinitely. This is an outrageous inclusion and betrayal of a real Brexit by Ms May since this one topic was the most contentious in the debate during the ongoing negotiations because the Customs Union is the tie to the EU that the original Brexit vote specifically sought to terminate. "

Here I stopped reading, maybe later more.
Nonsense.

What USA MSM told in the USA about what ordinary British people said, those who wanted to leave the EU, I do not know, one of the most often heard reasons was immigration, especially from E European countries, the EU 'free movement of people'.
"Real' Britons refusing to live in Poland.
EP member Verhofstadt so desperate that he asked on CNN help by Trump to keep this 'one of the four EU freedoms'.
This free movement of course was meant to destroy the nation states

What Boris Johnson said, many things he said were true, stupid EU interference for example with products made in Britain, for the home market, (he mentioned forty labels in one piece of clothing), no opportunity to seek trade without EU interference.
There was irritation about EU interference 'they even make rules about vacuum cleaners', and, already long ago, closure, EU rules, of village petrol pumps that had been there since the first cars appeared in Britain, too dangerous.
In France nonsensical EU rules are simply ignored, such as countryside private sewer installations.

But the idea that GB could leave, even without Brussels obstruction, the customs union, just politicians, and other nitwits in economy, could have such ideas.
Figures are just in my head, too lazy to check.
But British export to what remains of the EU, some € 60 billion, French export to GB, same order of magnitude, German export to GB, far over 100 billion.
Did anyone imagine that Merkel could afford closing down a not negligible part of Bayern car industry, at he same time Bayern being the Land most opposed to Merkel, immigration ?

This Brexit in my view is just the beginning of the end of the illusion EU falling apart.
In politics anything is connected with anything.
Britons, again in my opinion, voted to leave because of immigration, inside EU immigration.
What GB will do with Marrakech, I do not know.

Marrakech reminds me of many measures that were ready to be implemented when the reason to make these measures no longer existed.
Such as Dutch job guarantees when enterprises merged, these became law when when the merger idiocy was over.
The negative aspects of immigration now are clear to many in the countries with the imagined flesh pots, one way or another authorities will be obliged to stop immigration, but at that very moment migration rules, not legally binding, are presented.

As a Belgian political commentator said on Belgian tv 'no communication is possible between French politicians and French yellow coat demonstrators, they live in completely different worlds'.
These different worlds began, to pinpoint a year, in 2005, when the negative referenda about the EU were ignored. As Farrage reminded after the Brexit referendum, in EP, you said 'they do not know what they're doing'
But now Macron and his cronies do not know what to do, now that police sympathises with yellow coat demonstrators.

For me THE interesting question remains 'how was it possible that the Renaissance cultures manoevred themselves into the present mess ?'.

jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 11:40 am GMT
@Digital Samizdat Corbyn, in my opinion one of the many not too bright socialists, who are caught in their own ideological prison: worldwide socialism is globalisation, globalisation took power away from politicians, and gave it to multinationals and banks.
jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:27 pm GMT
@niceland The expression class war is often used without realising what the issue is, same with tax evasion.
The rich of course consume more, however, there is a limit to what one can consume, it takes time to squander money.
So the end of the class war may make the rich poor, but alas the poor hardly richer.

About tax evasion, some economist, do not remember his name, did not read the article attentively, analysed wealth in the world, and concluded that eight % of this wealth had originated in evading taxes.
Over what period this evasion had taken place, do not remember this economist had reached a conclusion, but anyone understands that ending tax evasion will not make all poor rich.

There is quite another aspect of class war, evading taxes, wealth inequality, that is quite worrying: the political power money can yield.
Soros is at war with Hungary, his Open University must leave Hungary.
USA MSM furious, some basic human right, or rights, have been violated, many in Brussels furious, the 226 Soros followers among them, I suppose.
But since when is it allowed, legally and/or morally, to try to change the culture of a country, in this case by a foreigner, just by pumping money into a country ?
Soros advertises himself as a philantropist, the Hungarian majority sees him as some kind of imperialist, I suppose.

Tyrion 2 , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
@Simon in London 90% Labour party members supported remain, as did 65% of their voters and 95% of their MPs.
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT
For me THE interesting question remains 'how was it possible that the Renaissance cultures manoevred themselves into the present mess ?'.

Well , I am reading " The occult renaissance church of Rome " by Michael Hoffman , Independent History and research . Coeur d`Alene , Idaho . http://www.RevisionistHistory.org
I saw about this book in this Unz web .

I used to think than the rot started with protestantism , but Hoffman says it started with catholic Renaissance in Rome itself in the XV century , the Medici , the Popes , usury

Mike P , says: December 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm GMT
This whole affair illustrates beautifully the real purpose of the sham laughingly known as "representative democracy," namely, not to "empower" the public but to deprive it of its power.

With modern means of communication, direct democracy would be technically feasible even in large countries. Nevertheless, practically all "democratic" countries continue to delegate all legislative powers to elected "representatives." These are nothing more than consenting hostages of those with the real power, who control and at the same time hide behind those "representatives." The more this becomes obvious, the lower the calibre of the people willing to be used in this manner – hence, the current crop of mental gnomes and opportunist shills in European politics.

Wizard of Oz , says: December 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm GMT
I would only shout this rambling ignoramus a beer in the pub to stop his mouth for a while. Some of his egregious errors have been noted. and Greece, anyway, is an irrelevance to the critical decisions on Brexit.

Once Article 50 was invoked the game was over. All the trump cards were on the EU side. Now we know that, even assuming Britain could muster a competent team to plan and negotiate for Brexit that all the work of proving up the case and negotiating or preparing the ground has to be done over years leading up to the triggering of Article 50. And that's assuming that recent events leave you believing that the once great Britain is fit to be a sovereign nation without adult supervision.

As it is one has to hope that Britain will not be constrained by the total humbug which says that a 51 per cent vote of those choosing to vote in that very un British thing, a referendum, is some sort of reason for not giving effect to a more up to date and better informed view.

Stebbing Heuer , says: Website December 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat Erm Varoufakis didn't knuckle under. He resigned in protest at Tsipras' knuckling under.
anon [108] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat Hypothesis: The British masses would fare better without a privatized government.

"Corbyn may prove to be real .. .. old-time Labour platform [leadership, capable to].. return [political, social and financial] control back to the hands of the UK worker".. [but the privateers will use the government itself and mass media to defeat such platforms and to suppress labor with new laws and domestic armed warfare]. Why would a member of the British masses allow [the Oligarch elite and the[ir] powerful business and foreign political interests restrain democracy and waste the victims of privately owned automation revolution? .. ..

[Corbyn's Labour platform challenges ] privatized capitalist because the PCs use the British government to keep imprisoned in propaganda and suppressed in opportunity, the masses. The privateers made wealthy by their monopolies, are using their resources to maintain rule making and enforcement control (via the government) over the masses; such privateers have looted the government, and taken by privatization a vast array of economic monopolies that once belonged to the government. If the British government survives, the Privateers (monopoly thieves) will continue to use the government to replace humanity, in favor of corporate owned Robots and super capable algorithms.

Corbyn's threat to use government to represent the masses and to suppress or reduce asymmetric power and wealth, and to provide sufficient for everyone extends to, and alerts the masses in every capitalist dominated place in the world. He (Corbyn) is a very dangerous man, so too was Jesus Christ."

There is a similar call in France, but it is not yet so well led.

Michael Kenny , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm GMT
This sounds like a halfway house between hysterical panic and sour grapes. The author clearly believes that Brexit is going to fail.
T.T , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:32 pm GMT
Every working Dutch person is "owed" 50k euro from the bailout of Greece, not that Greece will ever pay this back, and not as if Greece ever really got the money as it just went straight to northern European banks to bail them out. Then we have the fiscal policy creating more money by the day to stimulate the economy, which also doesn't reach the countries or people just the banks. Then we have the flirting with East-European mobsters to pull them in the EU sphere corrupting top EU bureaucrats. Then we have all of south Europe being extremely unstable, including France, both its populations and its economy.

It's sad to see the British government doesn't see the disaster ahead, any price would be cheaper then future forced EU integration. And especially at this point, the EU is so unstable, that they can't go to war on the UK without also committing A kamikaze attack.

Brett Redmayne-Titley , says: Website December 6, 2018 at 2:36 pm GMT
@Brabantian Thank you for your comment and addition to my evaluation of Corbyn. I do agree with you that Corbyn has yet to be tested for sincerity and effectiveness as PM, but he will likely get his chance and only then will we and the Brits find out for sure. The main point I was hoping to make was that: due to the perceived threat of Labour socialist reform under Corbyn, he has been an ulterior motive in the negotiations and another reason that the EU wants PM May to get her deal passed. Yes, I too am watching Corbyn with jaundiced optimism. Thank you.

[Dec 07, 2018] Globalism is about moving capital to the benefit of the haves. Migrants/immigrants are a form of capital.

Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 10:07 am GMT

My right wing friends can't understand the biggest issue of our times is class war. This article mentions the "Panama papers" where great many corporations and wealthy individuals (even politicians) in my country were exposed. They run their profits through offshore tax havens while using public infrastructure (paid for by taxpayers) to make their money. It's estimated that wealth amounting to 1,5 times our GDP is stored in these accounts!

There is absolutely no way to get it through my right wing friends thick skull that off-shore accounts are tax frauds. Resulting in they paying higher taxes off their wages because the big corporations and the rich don't pay anything. Nope. They simply hate taxes (even if they get plenty back in services) and therefore all taxes are bad. Ergo tax evasions by the 1% are fine – socialism or immigrants must be the root of our problems. MIGA!

Come to think of it – few of them would survive the "law of the jungle" they so much desire. And none of them would survive the "law of the jungle" if the rules are stacked against them. Still, all their political energy is aimed against the ideas and people that struggle against such reality.

I give up – I will never understand the right. No more than the pure bread communist. Hopeless ideas!

Curmudgeon , says: December 6, 2018 at 4:35 pm GMT
@niceland Your friends are not "right wing". The left/right paradigm is long dead. Your friends are globalists, whether they realize it or not. Globalism is about moving capital to the benefit of the haves. Migrants/immigrants are a form of capital. Investing in migration/immigration lowers the long term costs and increases long term profit. The profit (money capital) is then moved to a place where it best serves its owner.

[Dec 07, 2018] An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

Che Guava , says: December 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm GMT

I agree Jilles, and with many other of the commenters.

Read enough to see that the article has many errors of fact and perception. It is bad enough to suspect *propaganda* , but Brett is clearly not at that level.

An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

Yet strangely, to say anything about it only became acceptable when some numbers of the immigrants were fellow Europeans from within the EU, and most having some compatibility with existing ethnicity and previous culture.

Even people living far away notice such forced false consciousness.

As for Corbyn, he is nothing like the old left of old Labour. He tries to convey that image, it is a lie.

He may not be Blairite-Zio New Labour, and received some influence from the more heavily Marxist old Labour figures, but he is very much a creature of the post-worst-of-1968 and dirty hippy new left, Frankfurt School and all that crap, doubt that he has actually read much of it, but he has internalised it through his formal and political education.

By the way, the best translation of the name of North Korea's ruling party is 'Labour Party'. While it is a true fact, I intend nothing from it but a small laugh.

[Dec 06, 2018] Huawei CFO arrested 'Gloves are now fully off,' says Eurasia Group

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

The arrest of Huawei's global chief financial officer in Canada, reportedly related to a violation of U.S. sanctions, will corrode trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing, risk consultancy Eurasia Group said Thursday.

"Beijing is likely to react angrily to this latest arrest of a Chinese citizen in a third country for violating U.S. law," Eurasia analysts wrote.

In fact, Global Times -- a hyper-nationalistic tabloid tied to the Chinese Communist Party -- responded to the arrest by posting on Twitter a statement about trade war escalation it attributed to an expert "close to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce."

"China should be fully prepared for an escalation in the #tradewar with the US, as the US will not ease its stance on China, and the recent arrest of the senior executive of #Huawei is a vivid example," said the statement, paired with a photo of opposing fists with Chinese and American flags superimposed upon them.

[Dec 06, 2018] Trump-Xi trade deal What Chinese state media is saying

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met over a dinner during the G-20 summit in Argentina after months of increasing trade tensions between the two countries. The U.S. has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while Beijing has retaliated with duties on $110 billion of U.S. goods.

The White House's latest round of tariffs on $200 billion goods was set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent on Jan. 1, 2019, but Trump agreed at the G-20 meeting not to do so.

The catch is, however, that Xi and Trump must find resolution on "forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture" within 90 days, according to the White House press secretary's statement.

That gives the leaders until early March -- past Christmas, New Year's and Chinese New Year -- to find a way to keep tariffs from rising.

However, official online statements about Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's briefing on the meeting did not discuss the technology transfers or the 90-day condition.

The timeframe and details on areas of disagreement also did not appear in online reports from China's state news agency Xinhua , People's Daily -- the official Communist Party paper -- and CGTN -- the English-language version of state broadcaster CCTV.

The articles did note the U.S. and China agreed to work towards mutual benefits, and generally indicated Beijing would increase purchases of U.S. goods. The state media also said the two parties discussed North Korea denuclearization. The Chinese press also said Trump upheld a "One-China Policy" regarding Taiwan -- something not mentioned in the White House statement.

On top of that, Trump tweeted late Sunday evening that "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%."

Prior to that Twitter post, there had not been any mention of such an agreement in Chinese sources.

[Dec 06, 2018] Canada arrests Huawei CFO, who is wanted by US authorities

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

The arrest is related to violations of U.S. sanctions, a person familiar with the matter said. Reuters was unable to determine the precise nature of the violations. Meng Wanzhou, who is one of the vice chairs on the Chinese technology company's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on Dec. 1 and a court hearing has been set for Friday, a Canadian Justice Department spokesman said.

[Dec 06, 2018] UK spy chief raises questions over China's 5G rollout

Dec 06, 2018 | www.cnbc.com

The U.K.'s spy chief said that decisions still had to be made on China's role in building Britain's 5G network.

... ... ...

Last week, New Zealand banned Huawei from providing tech for its 5G rollout -- the third member of the Five Eyes security alliance to do so. At the time, New Zealand's government said it had identified a "significant network security risk."

Fellow members Australia and the U.S. have also excluded Chinese telecoms firms from providing 5G equipment for their domestic networks, leaving Canada and the U.K. as the only members not to rule out using the telecoms giant.

All three nations cited national security fears as the reason for excluding Chinese companies from their 5G rollouts, with Younger's Australian counterpart referring to them as "high-risk vendors."

... ... ...

Huawei and ZTE – another Chinese firm blocked from the U.S. 5G market – have repeatedly denied that their involvement in the rollouts would give China's government access to international networks. Warning to Russia China wasn't the only country raising security questions for MI6. Younger told his audience the U.K. faced many adversaries who regarded themselves as being in a state of "perpetual confrontation" with the nation -- including Russia.

"I urge Russia or any other state intent on subverting our way of life not to underestimate our determination and our capabilities, or those of our allies," he said.

"I should emphasize that even as the Russian state seeks to destabilize us, we do not seek to destabilize Russia. We do not seek an escalation. If we see a change in Russian behavior, we will respond positively. But we will be implacable in defense of our people and our vital interests."

... ... ...

[Dec 03, 2018] The problem with giving any novel political idea a really extended trial is that you have to try it out on live human beings.

Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MatthewBall -> Rainborough , 8 Jun 2013 14:19

@Rainborough -

How many alternative economic systems would you say have been given a fair trial under reasonably favorable circumstances?

A good question. Answer: admittedly, not a huge number - but not none either. Feudalism held sway in the middle ages and mercantilism in the 18th century, before both fell out of fashion. In the 20th century Russia stuck with communism for 74 years, and many other countries tried it for a while. At one time (around 1949-89) there were enough countries in the communist block for us to be able to say that they at least had a fair chance to make it work - that is, if it didn't work, they can't really blame it on the rest of the world ganging up on them.

Lately, serious challengers to the global economic order have been more isolated (Venzuela, Cuba, North Korea?) - so maybe you could argue that, if they are struggling, it is because they have been unfairly ganged up on. But then again, aren't they pursuing a version of socialism that has close affinities to that tried in the Soviet Union?

The problem with giving any novel political idea a really extended trial is that you have to try it out on live human beings. This means that, once a critical mass of data has built up that indicates a political idea doesn't work out as hoped, then people inevitably lose the will to try that idea again.

So my question is: are critics of the current world economic order able to spell out exactly how their proposed alternative would differ from Soviet-style socialism?

[Nov 27, 2018] Will Trump bring America down

Nov 27, 2018 | www.atimes.com

Why US allies are pushing back

US allies in Europe and Asia did not expect to be treated like vassal states, at least not openly. Succumbing to Trump's demands is an admission of being a lapdog.

US allies in Europe and Asia have no choice but to push back against Trump's bullying and condescending stances. They are elected by their citizens to protect the countries' sovereignty and interests, after all. Too, these leaders must save face and protect their legacies.

One of the first European leaders having the courage to defy Trump is French President Emmanuel Macron, calling for the establishment of a European Union army independent of the US to defend itself against Russia, China and possibly America itself. His proposal is supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Asian allies, particularly India, also seem to have pushed back , buying Iranian oil whether the US likes it or not.

Washington's attempt to revive the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprising itself and soulmates Australia, India and Japan may be losing support. Instead of joining with the US to contain China, India and Japan are seeking rapprochement with the Asian giant. Even "deputy sheriff" Australia is apparently having second thoughts, as one of its states is officially joining China's Belt and and Road Initiative.

In short, these three allies might finally realize that joining the US in containing China is harmful to their national interests. Fighting that nuclear power on their own soil might not be a good idea.

No country treats the US 'unfairly'

The fact of the matter is no country treats the US "unfairly" or is "eating its lunch." On the contrary, it could be argued that it is the other way around.

Having emerged as the world's strongest nation during and after World War II, US foreign policies have one goal: Shape the world to its image. That process began at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, insisting on using the US dollar as the world reserve currency and writing the trade rules. In this way, the US has accumulated a very powerful tool, printing as much money as it wants without repercussions to itself. For example, when a country wants to cash its US Treasury holdings, all America has to do is print more greenbacks.

To that end, the US is clearly "eating other countries' lunch." Indeed, a major reason the US can afford to build so many weapons is that other countries are paying for them.

US trade practices

On trade, the US in 1950 rejected the UK's proposal of forming an International Trade Organization (ITO) modeled after the International Monetary Fund and World Bank because it feared the ITO might have harmed American manufacturing. In its place, the US proposed and succeeded in forming the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) framework to negotiate tariff rates on goods.

Being the world's most powerful economy and biggest trading nation at that time, the US dominated the world trading system and wrote its rules. For example, it was the US that invented and implemented non-tariff trade barriers such as anti-dumping duties and national-security concerns to block imports. For example, the US imposed tariffs on Canadian, EU, Mexican and other countries' steel and aluminum from entering its market for security reasons.

It is laughable for the US to accuse Canada, the EU and Mexico of posing a national-security threat. They are, in fact, America's most staunch allies.

US foreign direct investment abroad

US companies bring with them ideas and technology (for which they charge exorbitant prices) when investing in a foreign market such as China and elsewhere. The capital needed to build factories is largely funded by the host country or other partners. For example, it is Taiwanese and Japanese investors that built Foxconn factories in China to assemble American electronic gadgets such as the iPad.

What's more, US companies charge huge prices for the products they make in China. According to the Asian Development Bank and other research organizations, Chinese labor, for example, receives a small percentage of the profits Apple takes in from gadgets it produces in China. This lopsided profit distribution raises the question: Who is "eating whose lunch?"

America has itself to blame

The US cannot blame China or any other country for its declining global influence and dominance – America, particularly under Donald Trump, did that to itself. Chinese President Xi Jinping, indeed, has advocated cooperation and dialogue as ways to defuse conflicts and attain a better world.

No country has ever even hinted at attacking the US; it is after all the world's most powerful nation, armed with enough conventional and nuclear weapons to blow up the world. The "threats" are exaggerated or invented by US neoconservatives and vested interests to scare Americans into supporting huge defense spending.

'Fake news' can only go so far

Using "fake news" to pressure countries into submission might work with those unable to fight back, but could be extremely costly against powers such as China and Russia. For example, Trump's escalating trade tensions with China are already adversely affecting the US economy, as seen in falling GDP growth, decreasing stock prices, a huge agricultural inventory, and rising poverty.

According to United Nations, the impoverished American population is being hit the hardest under the Trump administration. The US Federal Reserve and others are projecting significant economic decline in the foreseeable future if the trade war does not end.

One can only imagine what a nuclear war would bring.

Donald Trump is probably no less bullying than his predecessors (perhaps with the exception of George W Bush), but he is more open about it. Bush's outburst, "You are either with us or against us," earned America a bad reputation when he demanded that allies join him to invade Iraq.

Trump has bullied or offended everyone, friends and foes alike. Unless he shifts gear, he could alienate friends as well as foes, which could erode US geopolitical influence and economic growth or might even bring the country down. He cannot threaten sovereign nations without incurring huge costs to America.

[Nov 25, 2018] Beside relevling Hillary as a sociopath, we came we saw, he dies was a bad idea. So now Hillary flop-flopped

The rule is: if you can't handle refugees, dont destroy countries https://t.co/i5NVP2LIxj
Notable quotes:
"... populists on the right ..."
"... hired members of Ukraine's two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties ..."
Nov 25, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

span y snoopydawg on Fri, 11/23/2018 - 12:27am

Maybe if Hillary and her NATO buddies hadn't overthrown Ghadaffi, they wouldn't have this migrant crisis.

Before Libya, being the richest African country, provided refuge to huge number of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa.

If you can't handle refugees,dont destroy countries https://t.co/i5NVP2LIxj

-- Esha & (@eshaLegal) November 22, 2018

Can she be any more tone deaf or say something more stupid than that?

Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists

"I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame," Clinton said, speaking as part of a series of interviews with senior centrist political figures about the rise of populists, particularly on the right, in Europe and the Americas.

"I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message – 'we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support ' – because if we don't deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic."

Hillary still can't admit to herself that she lost the election because she was a horrible candidate and people refused to vote for her.

Clinton urged forces opposed to rightwing populism in Europe and the US not to neglect the concerns about race and i dentity issues that she says were behind her losing key votes in 2016. She accused Trump of exploiting the issue in the election contest – and in office.

"The use of immigrants as a political device and as a symbol of government gone wrong, of attacks on one's heritage, one's identity, one's national unity has been very much exploited by the current administration here," she said.

"There are solutions to migration that do not require clamping down on the press, on your political opponents and trying to suborn the judiciary, or seeking financial and political help from Russia to support your political parties and movements."

Let's recap what Obama's coup in Ukraine has led to shall we? Maybe installing and blatantly backing Neo Nazis in Ukraine might have something to do with the rise of " populists on the right " that is spreading through Europe and this country, Hillary.

America's criminal 'news' media never even reported the coup, nor that in 2011 the Obama regime began planning for a coup in Ukraine . And that by 1 March 2013 they started organizing it inside the U.S. Embassy there . And that they hired members of Ukraine's two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties , Right Sector and Svoboda (which latter had been called the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine until the CIA advised them to change it to Freedom Party, or "Svoboda" instead). And that in February 2014 they did it (and here's the 4 February 2014 phone call instructing the U.S. Ambassador whom to place in charge of the new regime when the coup will be completed), under the cover of authentic anti-corruption demonstrations that the Embassy organized on the Maidan Square in Kiev, demonstrations that the criminal U.S. 'news' media misrepresented as 'democracy demonstrations ,' though Ukraine already had democracy (but still lots of corruption, even more than today's U.S. does, and the pontificating Obama said he was trying to end Ukraine's corruption -- which instead actually soared after his coup there).

[Nov 12, 2018] France The Incredible Shrinking President by Guillaume Durocher

Nov 12, 2018 | www.unz.com

I personally don't understand the French electorate on these matters. Macron in particular did not promise anything other than to deliver more of the same policies, albeit with more youth and more vigor, as a frank globalist. Who, exactly, was excited at his election but is disappointed now? People with a short attention span or susceptibility to marketing gimmicks, I assume.

It is hard to talk about the French media without getting a bit conspiratorial, at least, I speak of "structural conspiracies." Macron's unabashed, "modernizing" globalism certainly corresponds to the id of the French media-corporate elites and to top 20% of the electorate, let us say, the talented fifth. He was able to break through the old French two-party system, annihilating the Socialist Party and sidelining the conservatives. The media certainly helped in this, preferring him to either the conservative François Fillon or the civic nationalist Marine Le Pen.

However, the media have to a certain extent turned on Macron, perhaps because he believes his "complex thoughts" cannot be grasped by journalists with their admittedly limited cognitive abilities . Turn on the French radio and you'll hear stories of how the so-called "Youth With Macron," whose twenty- and thirty-somethings were invited onto all the talk shows just before Macron became a leading candidate, were actually former Socialist party hacks with no grass roots. Astroturf. I could have told you that.

Macron has made a number of what the media call "gaffes." When an old lady voiced concern about the future of her pension, he answered : "you don't have a right to complain." He has also done many things that anyone with just a little sense of decorum will be disgusted by. The 40-year-old Macron, who has a 65-year-old wife and claims not to be a homosexual, loves being photographed with sweaty black bodies.

... ... ...

So there's that. But, in terms of policies, I cannot say that the people who supported Macron have any right to complain. He is doing what he promised, that is to say, steaming full straight ahead on the globalist course with, a bit more forthrightness and, he hopes, competence than his Socialist or conservative predecessors.

Link Bookmark In truth there are no solutions. There is nothing he can do to make the elitist and gridlocked European Union more effective, nothing he can do to improve the "human capital" in the Afro-Islamic banlieues , and not much he can do to improve the economy which the French people would find acceptable. A bit more of labor flexibility here, a bit of a tax break there, oh wait deficit's too big, a tax hike in some other area too, then. Six of one, half a dozen in the other. Oh, and they've also passed more censorship legislation to fight "fake news" and "election meddling" and other pathetic excuses the media-political class across the West have come up with for their loss of control over the Narrative.

Since the European Central Bank has been printing lending hundreds of billions of euros to stimulate the Eurozone economy, France's economic performance has been decidedly mediocre, with low growth, slowly declining unemployment, and no reduction in debt (currently at 98.7% of GDP). Performance will presumably worsen if the ECB, as planned, phases out stimulus at the end of this year.

There is a rather weird situation in terms of immigration and diversity. Everyone seems to be aware of the hellscape of ethno-religious conflict which will thrive in the emerging Afro-Islamic France of the future. Just recently at the commemoration of the Battle of Verdun, an elderly French soldier asked Macron : "When will you kick out the illegal immigrants? . . . Aren't we bringing in a Trojan Horse?"

More significant was the resignation of Gérard Collomb from his position as interior minister last month to return to his old job as mayor of Lyon, which he apparently finds more interesting. Collomb is a 71-year-old Socialist politician who has apparently awakened to the problems of ethnic segregation and conflict. He said in his farewell address :

I have been in all the neighborhoods, the neighborhoods of Marseille-North to Mirail in Toulous, to the Parisian periphery, Corbeil, Aulnay, Sevran, the situation has deteriorated greatly. We cannot continue to work on towns individually, there needs to be an overarching vision to recreate social mixing. Because today we are living side by side, and I still say, me, I fear that tomorrow we will live face-to-face [i.e. across a battle lines].

It is not clear how much Collomb tried to act upon these concerns as interior minister and was frustrated. In any case, he dared to voice the same concerns to the far-right magazine Valeurs Actuelles last February. He told them: "The relations between people are very difficult, people don't want to live together" (using the term vivre-ensemble , a common diversitarian slogan). He said immigration's responsibility for this was "enormous" and agreed with the journalist that "France no longer needs immigration." Collomb then virtually predicted civil war:

Communities in France are coming into conflict more and more and it is becoming very violent . . . I would say that, within five years, the situation could become irreversible. Yes, we have five or six years to avoid the worst. After that . . .

It's unclear why "the next five or six years" should be so critical. From one point of view, the old France is already lost as about a third of births are non-European and in particular one fifth are Islamic . The patterns of life in much of France will therefore likely come to reflect those of Africa and the Middle-East, including random violence and religious fanaticism. Collomb seems to think "social mixing" would prevent this, but in fact, there has been plenty of social and even genetic "mixing" in Brazil and Mexico, without this preventing ethno-racial stratification and extreme levels of violence.

I'm afraid it's all more of the same in douce France , sweet France. On the current path, Macron will be a one-termer like Sarkozy and Hollande were. Then again, the next elections will be in three-and-a-half years, an eternity in democratic politics. In all likelihood, this would be the Right's election to win, with a conservative anti-immigration candidate. A few people of the mainstream Right are open to working with Le Pen's National Rally and some have even defended the Identitarians. Then again, I could even imagine Macron posing as a heroic opponent of (illegal . . .) immigration if he thought it could help get him reelected. Watch this space . . .


utu , says: November 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm GMT

How many immigrants from Africa come to Europe depends only on political will of Europeans. The demography of African has nothing to do with it. Europe has means to stop immigration legal and illegal. Macron talking about how many children are born in Africa is just another cop out.
utu , says: November 8, 2018 at 11:04 pm GMT
Armed force 'led by former MAFIA boss' causing dramatic reduction in migrants to Italy

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/844213/italy-close-migrant-shut-down-mafia-libya-Sabratha-un-election-eu-tripoli-summer-turkey

Italy passes sea rescue of 1,000 to Libya as EU nations hold informal talks on migration

https://www.thejournal.ie/migrants-italy-eu-spain-meeting-4089279-Jun2018/

FKA Max , says: Website November 9, 2018 at 8:07 pm GMT
@Dieter Kief I love Macron, too!

A few months ago I claimed that Emmanuel Macron has/holds an ""Alt Right" worldview" due to him having had interactions with an influential member of the French Protestant Huguenot minority in France: http://www.unz.com/article/collateral-damage/#comment-1955020
[...]
Macron : Germany is different from France. You are more Protestant, which results in a significant difference. Through the church, through Catholicism, French society was structured vertically, from top to bottom. I am convinced that it has remained so until today. That might sound shocking to some – and don't worry, I don't see myself as a king. But whether you like it or not, France's history is unique in Europe. Not to put too fine a point on it, France is a country of regicidal monarchists. It is a paradox: The French want to elect a king, but they would like to be able to overthrow him whenever they want. The office of president is not a normal office – that is something one should understand when one occupies it. You have to be prepared to be disparaged, insulted and mocked – that is in the French nature. And: As president, you cannot have a desire to be loved. Which is, of course, difficult because everybody wants to be loved. But in the end, that's not important. What is important is serving the country and moving it forward.

http://www.unz.com/article/the-elites-have-no-credibility-left/#comment-2042622

French army band medleys Daft Punk following Bastille Day parade

notanon , says: November 9, 2018 at 8:25 pm GMT

Who, exactly, was excited at his election but is disappointed now? People with a short attention span or susceptibility to marketing gimmicks, I assume.

people controlled by the media

the media are the main problem

[Nov 08, 2018] Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

Gold age of the USA (say 40 years from 1946 to approximately 1986 ) were an in some way an aberration caused by WWII. As soon as Germany and Japan rebuilt themselves this era was over. And the collapse of the USSR in 1991 (or more correct Soviet nomenklatura switching sides and adopting neoliberalism) only make the decline more gradual but did not reversed it. After 200 it was clear that neoliberalism is in trouble and in 2008 it was clear that ideology of neoliberalism is dead, much like Bolshevism after 1945.
As the US ruling neoliberal elite adopted this ideology ad its flag, the USA faces the situation somewhat similar the USSR faced in 70th. It needs its "Perestroika" but with weak leader at the helm like Gorbachov it can lead to the dissolution of the state. Dismantling neoliberalism is not less dangerous then dismantling of Bolshevism. The level of brainwashing of both population and the elite (and it looks like the USA elite is brainwashed to an amazing level, probably far exceed the level of brainwashing of Soviet nomenklatura) prevents any constructive moves.
In a way, Neoliberalism probably acts as a mousetrap for the country, similar to the role of Bolshevism in the USSR. Ideology of neoliberalism is dead, so what' next. Another war to patch the internal divisions ? That's probably why Trump is so adamant about attacking Iran. Iran does not have nuclear weapons so this is in a way an ideal target. Unlike, say, Russia. And such a war can serve the same political purpose. That's why many emigrants from the USSR view the current level of divisions with the USA is a direct analog of divisions within the USSR in late 70th and 80th. Similarities are clearly visible with naked eye.
Notable quotes:
"... t is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all. ..."
"... "Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls. ..."
"... A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.' ..."
"... The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people. ..."
"... please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back ..."
"... America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work ..."
"... It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem. ..."
"... And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? ..."
"... The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class... ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

by Tyler Durden Wed, 11/07/2018 - 23:25 13 SHARES Authored by Raja Murthy via The Asia Times,

"The only wealth you keep is wealth you have given away," said Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), last of the great Roman emperors. US President Donald Trump might know of another Italian, Mario Puzo's Don Vito Corleone, and his memorable mumble : "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Forgetting such Aurelian and godfather codes is propelling the decline and fall of the American empire.

Trump is making offers the world can refuse – by reshaping trade deals, dispensing with American sops and forcing powerful corporations to return home, the US is regaining economic wealth but relinquishing global power.

As the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika (restructuring) led to the breakup of its vast territory(22 million square kilometers). Gorbachev's failed policies led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and independent countries, and the end of a superpower.

Ironically, the success of Trump's policies will hasten the demise of the American empire: the US regaining economic health but losing its insidious hold over the world.

This diminishing influence was highlighted when India and seven other countries geared up to defy Washington's re-imposition of its unilateral, illegal sanctions against Iran, starting Monday.

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station.

The law of cause and effect unavoidably delivers. The Roman Empire fell after wars of greed and orgies of consumption. A similar nemesis, the genie of Gorbachev, stalks Pennsylvania Avenue, with Trump unwittingly writing the last chapter of World War II: the epilogue of the two rival superpowers that emerged from humanity's most terrible conflict.

The maverick 45th president of the United States may succeed at being an economic messiah to his country, which has racked up a $21.6 trillion debt, but the fallout is the death of American hegemony. These are the declining days of the last empire standing.

Emperors and mafia godfathers knew that wielding great influence means making payoffs. Trump, however, is doing away with the sops, the glue that holds the American empire together, and is making offers that he considers "fair" but instead is alienating the international community– from badgering NATO and other countries to pay more for hosting the US legions (800 military bases in 80 countries) to reducing US aid.

US aid to countries fell from $50 billion in fiscal year 2016, $37 billion in 2017 to $7.7 billion so far in 2018. A world less tied to American largesse and generous trade tarrifs can more easily reject the "you are with us or against us" bullying doctrine of US presidents. In the carrot and stick approach that largely passes as American foreign policy, the stick loses power as the carrot vanishes.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather. Big payoffs needed for big influence. A presidential lesson for Don Trump

More self-respecting leaders will have less tolerance for American hypocrisy, such as sanctioning other countries for nuclear weapons while having the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet.

They will sneer more openly at the hysteria surrounding alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, pointing to Washington's violent record of global meddling. They will cite examples of American hypocrisy such as its sponsorship of coups against elected leaders in Latin America, the US Army's Project Camelot in 1964 targeting 22 countries for intervention (including Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia), its support for bloodthirsty dictators, and its destabilization of the Middle East with the destruction of Iraq and Libya.

Immigrant cannon fodder

Trump's focus on the economy reduces the likelihood of him starting wars. By ending the flood of illegal immigrants to save jobs for US citizens, he is also inadvertently reducing the manpower for illegal wars. Non-citizen immigrants comprise about 5% of the US Army. For its Iraq and Afghanistan wars, US army recruiters offered citizenship to lure illegal immigrants, mostly Latinos.

Among the first US soldiers to die in the Iraq War was 22-year old illegal immigrant Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, an orphan from the streets of Guatemala City. He sneaked across the Mexican border into the US six years before enlisting in exchange for American citizenship.

On March 21, 2003, Gutierrez was killed by friendly fire near Umm Qasr, southern Iraq. The coffin of this illegal immigrant was draped in the US flag, and he received American citizenship – posthumously.

Trump policies targeting illegal immigration simultaneously reduces the availability of cannon fodder for the illegal wars needed to maintain American hegemony.

Everything comes to an end, and so too will the last empire of our era.

The imperial American eagle flying into the sunset will see the dawn of an economically healthier US that minds its own business, and increase hopes for a more equal, happier world – thanks to the unintentional Gorbachev-2 in the White House.


PeaceForWorld , 3 minutes ago link

I am sure that many of us are OK with ending American Empire. Both US citizens and other countries don't want to fight un-necessary and un-ending wars. If Trump can do that, then he is blessed.

Condor_0000 , 23 minutes ago link

Imperialism and the State: Why McDonald's Needs McDonnell Douglas

By Paul D'Amato

http://www.isreview.org/issues/17/state_and_imperialism.shtml

Excerpt:

The modern nation-state was necessary as a means of creating a single, unified market that could facilitate commerce. But the state was also crucial in providing necessary infrastructure, and sometimes the pooling of capital resources, necessary for national capitalists to operate and compete effectively.

But the state as a bureaucratic institution had another, more fundamental function. Lenin, citing Engels, defined the essence of the state as "bodies of armed men, prisons, etc.," in short, an instrument for the maintenance of the rule of the exploiting minority over the exploited majority.

As capitalism burst the bounds of the nation-state, the coercive military function of the state took on a new dimension--that of protecting (and projecting) the interests of the capitalists of one country over those of another. As capitalism developed, the role of the state increased, the size of the state bureaucracy increased, and the size of its coercive apparatus increased.

Lenin was soon to refine this conception in light of the world's descent into the mass slaughter of the First World War. He argued that capitalism had reached a new stage--imperialism--the struggle between the world's "great powers" for world dominance. The central feature of imperialism was the rivarly between the great powers--whose economic competition gave way to military conflict.

Another Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, put it this way:

The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries. The whole globe, the land and the sea, the surface as well as the interior, has become one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected with each other. This work was accomplished by capitalism. But in accomplishing it the capitalist states were led to struggle for the subjection of the world-embracing economic system to the profit interests of the bourgeoisie of each country...

But the way the governments propose to solve this problem of imperialism is not through the intelligent, organized cooperation of all of humanity's producers, but through the exploitation of the world's economic system by the capitalist class of the victorious country; which country is by this War to be transformed from a great power into a world power.5

Golden Showers , 32 minutes ago link

See a pattern here? Raja Murthy, you sound like a pro-American Empire shill. 1964 Project Camelot has nothing to do with the current administration. Raja, you forgot to wear your satirical pants.

The idea and catchy hook of 2016 was Make America Great Again, not wasting lives and resources on the American Empire. You point out the good things. Who might have a problem with the end of the American Empire are Globalists. What is wrong with relinquishing global power and not wasting lives and money?

"The only lives you keep is lives you've given away" That does not ring true. The only lies you keep are the lies you've given away. What? You're not making any sense, dude. How much American Empire are you vested in? Does it bother you if the Empire shrinks its death grip on Asia or the rest of the world? Why don't you just say it: This is good! Hopefully Trump's policies will prevent you from getting writers' cramp and being confusing--along with the canon fodder. Or maybe you're worried about job security.

America is a super power, just like Russia. Just like England. However, whom the US carries water for might change. Hope that's ok.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 33 minutes ago link

Trump is saving the US by destroying the empire. Both the US and the world will be happier for that.

Condor_0000 , 29 minutes ago link

No he's not.

Trump is an empirial president, just like every other US president. In fact, that's what the article is describing. MAGA depends upon imperialist domination. Trump and all of US capitalism know that even if the brain-dead MAGA chumps don't.

Capitalism can't help but seek to rule the world. It is the result of pursuing capitalism's all-important growth. If it's not US capitalism, it will be Chinese capitalism, or Russian capitalism, or European capitalism that will rule the world.

The battle over global markets doesn't stop just because the US might decide not to play anymore. Capitalism means that you're either the global power who is ******* the royal **** out of everyone else, or you're the victim of being fucked up the *** by an imperialist power.

FBaggins , 25 minutes ago link

The only thing which makes the US different from the rest of the world is its super concentration of power, which in effect is a super concentration of corruption.

ebworthen , 33 minutes ago link

Quite entertaining to be living in the modern Rome.

Condor_0000 , 28 minutes ago link

It's a cross between ancient Rome and Nazi Germany. And you're right. It's fascinating.

Condor_0000 , 34 minutes ago link

Another day and another ZeroHedge indictment of American capitalism.

And how refreshing that the article compares US capitalism to gangsterism. It's a most appropriate comparison.

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

Al Capone on Capitalism

It is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all.

In 1930, Cockburn, then a correspondent in America for the Times newspaper, interviewed Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, when Capone was at the height of his power. He recalls that except for 'the sub-machine gun...poking through the transom of a door behind the desk, Capone's own room was nearly indistinguishable from that of, say, a "newly arrived" Texan oil millionaire. Apart from the jowly young murderer on the far side of the desk, what took the eye were a number of large, flattish, solid silver bowls upon the desk, each filled with roses. They were nice to look at, and they had another purpose too, for Capone when agitated stood up and dipped the tips of his fingers in the water in which floated the roses.

I had been a little embarrassed as to how the interview was to be launched. Naturally the nub of all such interviews is somehow to get round to the question "What makes you tick?" but in the case of this millionaire killer the approach to this central question seemed mined with dangerous impediments. However, on the way down to the Lexington Hotel I had had the good fortune to see, I think in the Chicago Daily News , some statistics offered by an insurance company which dealt with the average expectation of life of gangsters in Chicago. I forget exactly what the average was, and also what the exact age of Capone at that time - I think he was in his early thirties. The point was, however, that in any case he was four years older than the upper limit considered by the insurance company to be the proper average expectation of life for a Chicago gangster. This seemed to offer a more or less neutral and academic line of approach, and after the ordinary greetings I asked Capone whether he had read this piece of statistics in the paper. He said that he had. I asked him whether he considered the estimate reasonably accurate. He said that he thought that the insurance companies and the newspaper boys probably knew their stuff. "In that case", I asked him, "how does it feel to be, say, four years over the age?"

He took the question quite seriously and spoke of the matter with neither more nor less excitement or agitation than a man would who, let us say, had been asked whether he, as the rear machine-gunner of a bomber, was aware of the average incidence of casualties in that occupation. He apparently assumed that sooner or later he would be shot despite the elaborate precautions which he regularly took. The idea that - as afterwards turned out to be the case - he would be arrested by the Federal authorities for income-tax evasion had not, I think, at that time so much as crossed his mind. And, after all, he said with a little bit of corn-and-ham somewhere at the back of his throat, supposing he had not gone into this racket? What would be have been doing? He would, he said, "have been selling newspapers barefoot on the street in Brooklyn".

He stood as he spoke, cooling his finger-tips in the rose bowl in front of him. He sat down again, brooding and sighing. Despite the ham-and-corn, what he said was probably true and I said so, sympathetically. A little bit too sympathetically, as immediately emerged, for as I spoke I saw him looking at me suspiciously, not to say censoriously. My remarks about the harsh way the world treats barefoot boys in Brooklyn were interrupted by an urgent angry waggle of his podgy hand.

"Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls.

"This American system of ours," he shouted, "call it Americanism, call it Capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it." He held out his hand towards me, the fingers dripping a little, and stared at me sternly for a few seconds before reseating himself.

A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.'

LetThemEatRand , 52 minutes ago link

This article was obviously written by someone who wants to maintain the status quo.

America would be much stronger if it were not trying to be an empire. The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people.

hardmedicine , 41 minutes ago link

exactly, please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back and screw the rest of the world, America First

LetThemEatRand , 39 minutes ago link

I truly believe that "America First" is not selfish. America before it went full ****** was the beacon of freedom and success that other countries tried to emulate and that changed the world for the better.

America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work.

HopefulCynical , 26 minutes ago link

Empire is a contrivance, a vehicle for psychopathic powerlust. America was founded by people who stood adamantly opposed to this. Here's hoping Trump holds their true spirit in his heart.

If he doesn't, there's hundreds of millions of us who still do. We don't all live in America...

Posa , 15 minutes ago link

It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem.

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

JSBach1 called you a 'coward', for being EXACTLY LIKE THESE TRAITOROUS SPINELESS VERMIN who simply just step outside just 'enough' the comfort zone to APPEAR 'real'. IMHO, I concur with JSBach1 ...your're a coward indeed, when you should know better ..... shame you you indeed!

pitz , 55 minutes ago link

There is little evidence, Trump's propaganda aside (that he previously called Obama dishonest for) that the US economy is improving. If anything, the exploding budget and trade deficits indicate that the economy continues to weaken.

Posa , 12 minutes ago link

Correct. The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class...

the US can't even raise an army... even if enough young (men) were dumb enough to volunteer there just aren't enough fit, healthy and mentally acute recruits out there.

[Nov 05, 2018] Europe and America clash over Washington s economic war on Iran - World Socialist Web Site by Keith Jones

Notable quotes:
"... As of today, the US is embargoing all Iranian energy exports and freezing Iran out of the US-dominated world financial system, so as to cripple the remainder of its trade and deny it access to machinery, spare parts and even basic foodstuffs and medicine. ..."
"... In doing so, American imperialism is once again acting as a law unto itself. The sanctions are patently illegal and under international law tantamount to a declaration of war. They violate the UN Security Council-backed 2015 Iran nuclear accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... Those developing the SPV are acutely conscious of this and have publicly declared that it is not Iran-specific. ..."
"... The strategists of US imperialism are also aware that the SPV is a challenge to more than the Trump administration's Iran policy. Writing in Foreign Affairs ..."
"... With its drive to crash Iran's economy and further impoverish its people, the Trump administration has let loose the dogs of war. Whatever the sanctions' impact, Washington has committed its prestige and power to bringing Tehran to heel and making the rest of the world complicit in its crimes. ..."
"... The danger of another catastrophic Mideast war thus looms ever larger, while the growing antagonism between Europe and America and descent of global inter-state relations into a madhouse of one against all is setting the stage ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Washington's imposition of sweeping new sanctions on Iran -- aimed at strangling its economy and precipitating regime change in Tehran -- is roiling world geopolitics.

As of today, the US is embargoing all Iranian energy exports and freezing Iran out of the US-dominated world financial system, so as to cripple the remainder of its trade and deny it access to machinery, spare parts and even basic foodstuffs and medicine.

In doing so, American imperialism is once again acting as a law unto itself. The sanctions are patently illegal and under international law tantamount to a declaration of war. They violate the UN Security Council-backed 2015 Iran nuclear accord, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement that was negotiated at the behest of Washington and under its duress, including war threats.

All the other parties to the JCPOA (Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the EU) and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is charged with verifying Iranian compliance, are adamant that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the accord to the letter. This includes dismantling much of its civil nuclear program and curtailing the rest.

Yet, having reneged on its support for the JCPOA, Washington is now wielding the club of secondary sanctions to compel the rest of the world into joining its illegal embargo and abetting its regime-change offensive. Companies and countries that trade with Iran or even trade with those that do will be excluded from the US market and subject to massive fines and other penalties. Similarly, banks and shipping insurers that have any dealings with companies that trade with Iran or even with other financial institutions that facilitate trade with Iran will be subject to punishing US secondary sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who like US President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran and ordered military strikes on Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria, has hailed the US sanctions as "historic." Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two other US client states, are pledging to ramp up oil production to make up for the shortfalls caused by Washington's embargoing of Iranian oil exports.

But America's economic war against Iran is not just exacerbating tensions in the Middle East. It is also roiling relations between the US and the other great powers, especially Europe.

On Friday, the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini issued a statement reaffirming their support for the JCPOA and vowing to circumvent and defy the US sanctions. "It is our aim," they declared, "to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231."

They declared their commitment to preserving "financial channels with" Iran, enabling it to continue exporting oil and gas, and working with Russia, China and other countries "interested in supporting the JCPOA" to do so.

The statement emphasized the European powers' "unwavering collective resolve" to assert their right to "pursue legitimate trade" and, toward that end, to proceed with the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will enable European businesses and those of other countries, including potentially Russia and China, to conduct trade with Iran using the euro or some other non-US dollar medium of exchange, outside the US-dominated world financial system.

Friday's statement was in response to a series of menacing pronouncements from Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top administration officials earlier the same day. These fleshed out the new US sanctions and reiterated Washington's resolve to crash Iran's economy and aggressively sanction any company or country that fails to fall into line with the US sanctions.

In reply to a question about the European SPV, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said he had "no expectation" it will prove to be a conduit for "significant" trade. "But if there are transactions that have the intent of evading our sanctions, we will aggressively pursue our remedies."

Trump officials also served notice that they will sanction SWIFT, the Brussels-based network that facilitates secure inter-bank communications, and the European bankers who comprise the majority of its directors if they do not expeditiously expel all Iranian financial institutions from the network.

And in a step intended to demonstratively underscore Washington's disdain for the Europeans, the Trump administration included no EU state among the eight countries that will be granted temporary waivers on the full application of the US embargo on oil imports.

Germany, Britain, France and the EU are no less rapacious than Washington. Europe's great powers are frantically rearming, have helped spearhead NATO's war build-up against Russia. Over the past three decades they have waged numerous wars and neocolonial interventions in the Middle East and North Africa, from Afghanistan and Libya to Mali.

But they resent and fear the consequences of the Trump administration's reckless and provocative offensive against Iran. They resent it because Washington's scuttling of the nuclear deal has pulled the rug out from under European capital's plans to capture a leading position in Iran's domestic market and exploit Iranian offers of massive oil and natural gas concessions. They fear it, because the US confrontation with Iran threatens to ignite a war that would invariably set the entire Mideast ablaze, triggering a new refugee crisis, a massive spike in oil prices and, last but not least, a repartition of the region under conditions where the European powers as of yet lack the military means to independently determine the outcome.

To date, the Trump administration has taken a haughty, even cavalier, attitude to the European avowals of opposition to the US sanctions. Trump and the other Iran war-hawks like Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton who lead the administration are buoyed by the fact that numerous European businesses have voted with their feet and cut off ties with Iran, for fear of running afoul of the US sanctions.

The Financial Times reported last week that due to fear of US reprisals, no European state has agreed to house the SPV, which, according to the latest EU statements, will not even be operational until the new year.

The European difficulties and hesitations are real. But they also speak to the enormity and explosiveness of the geopolitical shifts that are now underway.

Whilst European corporate leaders, whose focus is on maximizing market share and investor profit in the next few business quarters, have bowed to the US sanctions threat, the political leaders, those charged with developing and implementing imperialist strategy, have concluded that they must push back against Washington.

This is about Iran, but also about developing the means to prevent the US using unilateral sanctions to dictate Europe's foreign policy, including potentially trying to thwart Nord Stream 2 (the pipeline project that will transport Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea and which Trump has repeatedly denounced.)

As Washington's ability to impose unilateral sanctions is bound up with the role of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency and US domination of the world banking system, the European challenge to America's sanctions weapon necessarily involves a challenge to these key elements of US global power.

The European imperialist powers are taking this road because they, like all the great powers, are locked in a frenzied struggle for markets, profits and strategic advantage under conditions of a systemic breakdown of world capitalism. Finding themselves squeezed between the rise of new powers and an America that is ever more reliant on war to counter the erosion of its economic might and that is ruthlessly pursing its own interests at the expense of foe and ostensible friend alike, the Europeans, led by German imperialism, are seeking to develop the economic and military means to assert their own predatory interests independently of, and when necessary against, the United States.

Those developing the SPV are acutely conscious of this and have publicly declared that it is not Iran-specific.

Speaking last month, only a few weeks after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker used his State of the EU address to called for measures to ensure that the euro plays a greater global role, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire declared the "crisis with Iran" to be "a chance for Europe to have its own independent financial institutions, so we can trade with whomever we want." The SPV, adds French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Agnes Von der Muhl, "aims to create an economic sovereignty tool for the European Union that will protect European companies in the future from the effect of illegal extraterritorial sanctions."

The strategists of US imperialism are also aware that the SPV is a challenge to more than the Trump administration's Iran policy. Writing in Foreign Affairs last month, former Obama administration official Elizabeth Rosenberg expressed grave concerns that the Trump administration's unilateral sanctions are causing the EU to collaborate with Russia and China in defying Washington, and are inciting a European challenge to US financial dominance. Under conditions where Russia and China are already seeking to develop payments systems that bypass Western banks, and the future promises further challenges to dollar-supremacy and the US-led global financial system, "it is worrying," laments Rosenberg, "that the United States is accelerating this trend."

With its drive to crash Iran's economy and further impoverish its people, the Trump administration has let loose the dogs of war. Whatever the sanctions' impact, Washington has committed its prestige and power to bringing Tehran to heel and making the rest of the world complicit in its crimes.

The danger of another catastrophic Mideast war thus looms ever larger, while the growing antagonism between Europe and America and descent of global inter-state relations into a madhouse of one against all is setting the stage...

[Nov 01, 2018] The 2018 Globie Crashed by Joseph Joyce

Notable quotes:
"... Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World ..."
"... Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History ..."
"... Global Inequality ..."
"... Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry ..."
"... The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned–and Have Still to Learn–from the Financial Crisis ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Each year I choose a book to be the Globalization Book of the Year, i.e., the "Globie". The prize is strictly honorific and does not come with a check. But I do like to single out books that are particularly insightful about some aspect of globalization. Previous winners are listed at the bottom.

This year's choice is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze of Yale University . Tooze, an historian, traces the events leading up to the crisis and the subsequent ten years. He points out in the introduction that this account is different from one he may have written several years ago. At that time Barak Obama had won re-election in 2012 on the basis of a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. Europe was further behind, but the emerging markets were growing rapidly, due to the demand for their commodities from a steadily-growing China as well as capital inflows searching for higher returns than those available in the advanced economies.

But the economic recovery has brought new challenges, which have swept aside established politicians and parties. Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump, who promised to restore America to some form of past greatness. His policy agenda includes trade disputes with a broad range of countries, and he is particularly eager to impose trade tariffs on China. The current meltdown in stock prices follows a rise in interest rates normal at this stage of the business cycle but also is based on fears of the consequences of the trade measures.

Europe has its own discontents. In the United Kingdom, voters have approved leaving the European Union. The European Commission has expressed its disapproval of the Italian government's fiscal plans. Several east European governments have voiced opposition to the governance norms of the West European nations. Angela Merkel's decision to step down as head of her party leaves Europe without its most respected leader.

All these events are outcomes of the crisis, which Tooze emphasizes was a trans-Atlantic event. European banks had purchased held large amounts of U.S. mortgage-backed securities that they financed with borrowed dollars. When liquidity in the markets disappeared, the European banks faced the challenge of financing their obligations. Tooze explains how the Federal Reserve supported the European banks using swap lines with the European Central Bank and other central banks, as well as including the domestic subsidiaries of the foreign banks in their liquidity support operations in the U.S. As a result, Tooze claims:

"What happened in the fall of 2008 was not the relativization of the dollar, but the reverse, a dramatic reassertion of the pivotal role of America's central bank. Far from withering away, the Fed's response gave an entirely new dimension to the global dollar" (Tooze, p. 219)

The focused policies of U.S. policymakers stood in sharp contrast to those of their European counterparts. Ireland and Spain had to deal with their own banking crises following the collapse of their housing bubbles, and Portugal suffered from anemic growth. But Greece's sovereign debt posed the largest challenge, and exposed the fault line in the Eurozone between those who believed that such crises required a national response and those who looked for a broader European resolution. As a result, Greece lurched from one lending program to another. The IMF was treated as a junior partner by the European governments that sought to evade facing the consequences of Greek insolvency, and the Fund's reputation suffered new blows due to its involvement with the various rescue operations.The ECB only demonstrated a firm commitment to its stabilizing role in July 2012, when its President Mario Draghi announced that "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."

China followed another route. The government there engaged in a surge of stimulus spending combined with expansionary monetary policies. The result was continued growth that allowed the Chinese government to demonstrate its leadership capabilities at a time when the U.S. was abandoning its obligations. But the ensuing credit boom was accompanied by a rise in private (mainly corporate) lending that has left China with a total debt to GDP ratio of over 250%, a level usually followed by some form of financial collapse. Chinese officials are well aware of the domestic challenge they face at the same time as their dispute with the U.S. intensifies.

Tooze demonstrates that the crisis has let loose a range of responses that continue to play out. He ends the book by pointing to a similarity of recent events and those of 1914. He raises several questions: "How does a great moderation end? How do huge risks build up that are little understood and barely controllable? How do great tectonic shifts in the global world order unload in sudden earthquakes?" Ten years after a truly global crisis, we are still seeking answers to these questions.

Previous Globie Winners:

[Nov 01, 2018] Angela Merkel Migrates Into Retirement The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism. ..."
"... Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world. ..."
"... "We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold." ..."
"... The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult. ..."
"... Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question. ..."
"... In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Her refugee blunder changed the European continent in irreversible ways for decades to come. By Scott McConnellNovember 1, 2018

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Drop of Light/Shutterstock Whatever her accomplishments as pathbreaking female politician and respected leader of Europe's dominant economic power, Angela Merkel will go down in history for her outburst of naivete over the issue of migration into Europe during the summer of 2015.

Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism.

She had seen the vote share of her long dominant party shrink in one regional election after another. The rebuke given to her last weekend in Hesse, containing the Frankfurt region with its booming economy, where she had campaigned extensively, was the final straw. Her CDU's vote had declined 10 points since the previous election, their voters moving toward the further right (Alternative fur Deutschland or AfD). Meanwhile, the further left Greens have made dramatic gains at the expense of Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partners.

Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world.

One can acknowledge that while Merkel never admitted error for her multiculti summer fling (beyond wishing she had communicated her goals better), she did manage to adjust her policies. By 2016, Germany under her watch was paying a healthy ransom to Turkey to keep would-be migrants in camps and preventing them from sailing to Greece. Merkel's departure will make the battle to succeed her one of the most watched political contests in Europe. She has turned migration into a central and quite divisive issue within the CDU and Germany, and the party may decide that it has no choice but to accommodate, in one way or another, the voters who have left them for the AfD.

Related to the issue of who should reside in Europe (objectively the current answer remains anyone who can get there) is the question of how are such questions decided. In July 2015, five years after asserting in a speech that multiculturalism has "utterly failed" in Germany (without addressing what policies should be pursued in an increasingly ethnically diverse society) and several weeks after reducing a young Arab girl to tears at a televised forum by telling her that those whose asylum claims were rejected would "have to go back" and that "politics is hard," Merkel changed course.

For those interested in psychological studies of leadership and decision making, it would be hard to imagine a richer subject. Merkel's government first announced it would no longer enforce the rule (the Dublin agreement) that required asylum claimants to be processed in the first country they passed through. Then she doubled down. The migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war, along with those who pretended to be Syrian, and then basically just anyone, could come to Germany.

"We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold."

The Angela Merkel Era is Coming to an End The Subtle Return of Germany Hegemony

Her words traveled far beyond those fleeing Syria. Within 48 hours of the "no limit" remark, The New York Times reported a sudden stirring of migrants from Nigeria. Naturally Merkel boasted in a quiet way about how her decision had revealed that Germany had put its Nazi past behind it. "The world sees Germany as a land of hope and chances," she said. "That wasn't always the case." In making this decision personally, Merkel was making it for all of Europe. It was one of the ironies of a European arrangement whose institutions were developed in part to transcend nationalism and constrain future German power that 70 years after the end of the war, the privately arrived-at decision of a German chancellor could instantly transform societies all over Europe.

The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult.

Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question.

In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. Her public approval rating plunged from 75 percent in April 2015 to 47 percent the following summer. The first electoral rebuke came in September 2016, when the brand new anti-immigration party, the Alternative fur Deutschland, beat Merkel's CDU in Pomerania.

In every election since, Merkel's party has lost further ground. Challenges to her authority from within her own party have become more pointed and powerful. But the mass migration accelerated by her decision continues, albeit at a slightly lower pace.

Angela Merkel altered not only Germany but the entire European continent, in irreversible ways, for decades to come.

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars .

[Nov 01, 2018] Lame Duck Merkel Has Only Her Legacy On Her Mind

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide. ..."
"... But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here). ..."
"... Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea. ..."
"... Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party she has led for nearly two decades. Yesterday's election in Hesse, normally a CDU/SPD stronghold was abysmal for them.

She had to do something to quell the revolt brewing against her.

Merkel knew going in what the polls were showing. Unlike American and British polls, it seems the German ones are mostly accurate with pre-election polls coming close to matching the final results.

So, knowing what was coming for her and in the spirit of trying to maintain power for as long as possible Merkel has been moving away from her staunch positions on unlimited immigration and being in lock-step with the U.S. on Russia.

She's having to walk a tightrope on these two issues as the turmoil in U.S. political circles is pulling her in, effectively, opposite directions.

The globalist Davos Crowd she works for wants the destruction of European culture and individual national sovereignty ground into a paste and power consolidated under the rubric of the European Union.

They also want Russia brought to heel.

On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide.

So, if she rejects that role and the chaos U.S. policy engenders, particularly Syria, she's undermining the flow of migrants into Europe.

This is why it was so significant that she and French President Emmanuel Macron joined this weekend's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

It ended with an agreement on Syria's future that lies in direct conflict with the U.S.'s goals of the past seven years.

It was an admission that Assad has prevailed in Syria and the plan to atomize it into yet another failed state has itself failed. Merkel has traded 'Assad must go' for 'no more refugees.'

To President Trump's credit he then piggy-backed on that statement announcing that the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria very soon now. And that tells me that he is still coordinating in some way with Putin and other world leaders on the direction of his foreign policy in spite of his opposition.

But the key point from the Istanbul statement was that Syria's rebuilding be prioritized to reverse the flow of migrants so Syrians can go home. While Gilbert Doctorow is unconvinced by France's position here , I think Merkel has to be focused on assisting Putin in achieving his goal of returning Syria to Syrians.

Because, this is both a political necessity for Merkel as well as her trying to burnish her crumbling political throne to maintain power.

The question is will Germans believe and/or forgive her enough for her to stay in power through her now stated 'retirement' from politics in 2021?

I don't think so and it's obvious Davos Crowd boy-toy Macron is working overtime to salvage what he can for them as Merkel continues to face up to the political realities across Europe, which is that populism is a natural reaction to these insane policies.

Merkel's job of consolidating power under the EU is unfinished. They don't have financial integration. The Grand Army of the EU is still not a popular idea. The euro-zone is a disaster waiting to happen and its internal inconsistencies are adding fuel to an already pretty hot political fire.

On this front, EU integration, she and Macron are on the same page. Because 'domestically' from an EU perspective, Brexit still has to be dealt with and the showdown with the Italians is only just beginning.

But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here).

And Macron should stop looking in the mirror long enough to see he's standing on a quicksand made of blasting powder.

This points to the next major election for Europe, that of the European Parliament in May where all of Merkel's opposition are focused on wresting control of that body and removing Jean-Claude Juncker or his hand-picked replacement (Merkel herself?) from power.

The obvious transition for Merkel is from German Chancellor to European Commission President. She steps down as Chancellor in May after the EPP wins a majority then to take Juncker's job. I'm sure that's been the plan all along. This way she can continue the work she started without having to face the political backlash at home.

But, again, how close is Germany to snap elections if there is another migrant attack and Chemnitz-like demonstrations. You can only go to the 'Nazi' well so many times, even in Germany.

There comes a point where people will have simply had enough and their anger isn't born of being intolerant but angry at having been betrayed by political leadership which doesn't speak for them and imported crime, chaos and violence to their homes.

And the puppet German media will not be able to contain the story. The EU's speech rules will not contain people who want to speak. The clamp down on hate speech, pioneered by Merkel herself is a reaction to the growing tide against her.

And guess what? She can't stop it.

The problem is that Commies like Merkel and Soros don't believe in anything. They are vampires and nihilists as I said over the weekend suffused with a toxic view of humanity.

Oh sure, they give lip service to being inclusive and nice about it while they have control over the levers of power, the State apparatus. But, the minute they lose control of those levers, the sun goes down, the fangs come out and the bloodletting begins.

These people are vampires, sucking the life out of a society for their own ends. They are evil in a way that proves John Barth's observation that "man can do no wrong." For they never see themselves as the villain.

No. They see themselves as the savior of a fallen people. Nihilists to their very core they only believe in power. And, since power is their religion, all activities are justified in pursuit of their goals.

Their messianic view of themselves is indistinguishable to the Salafist head-chopping animals people like Hillary empowered to sow chaos and death across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.

Add to this Merkel herself who took Hillary's empowerment of these animals and gave them a home across Europe. At least now Merkel has the good sense to see that this has cost her nearly everything.

Even if she has little to no shame.

Hillary seems to think she can run for president again and win with the same schtick she failed with twice before. Frankly, I welcome it like I welcome the sun in the morning, safe in the knowledge that all is right with the world and she will go down in humiliating defeat yet again.

Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea.

Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia.

And Angela Merkel's legacy will be chaos.

* * *

Join my patreon because you hate chaos.

[Oct 29, 2018] If I understood correctly his attack was against the Jewish organisation that brings immigrants. Because he sees that as the enemy action

Oct 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Oct 28, 2018 3:22:09 PM | link

NemesisCalling - LMAO. Srsly? Ok, I'll bite.

Trump represents himself and expects the little people (IE, everyone except him and his children) to exist only for him, the spoiled daddy-created globalist so-called billionaire who doesn't have a clue WTF he's doing as POTUS besides infotaining and enflaming his racist base, plus giving into the GOP party line on all substantive issues with the result being more of the same as Barry-O, only worse.

Personally, I enjoy him from an infotainment perspective. We are all only infotaining ourselves to death anyway, so Trump's just added comedic grist to enliven our time in hospice care.

Did you expect or hope for another in the globalist class, maybe as slick as Barry-O, who appealed to the edumacated coastal elites in his incredibly pompous and phony addresses?

I expected a globalist (either Trump or Hillary) but hoped for Bernie.

Trump is not antithesis. This is where you are most mistaken. If he were the truth (as you state), there would be stronger social security, Medicare and Medicaid for his base, no tax cuts favouring corporations, LLCs and the very rich.

There would be newly created infrastructure and improved healthcare.

The trade war would already be won and the wealth equality gap would be well on the road to closure.


Yonatan , Oct 28, 2018 4:04:53 PM | link

The Pittsburgh attack was conveniently timed to distract US media from another murderous onslaught by Israel on Gaza. The IDF targets included a Gaza hospital.

Pittsburgh - qui bono?

Vitaliy , Oct 28, 2018 6:08:07 PM | link
There are mass shooters and there are mass bombers...
There are just babies compare with our old friend Mr. Kissinger.
Jay , Oct 28, 2018 6:18:11 PM | link
@john wilson:

"The Jews are murdering unarmed Palestinians with abandon,"

That's an ugly conflation of Jews and Israel.

Pft , Oct 28, 2018 6:36:52 PM | link
Assuming this was not another psyops it seems amazing to me that people cant distinguish between the Israeli government and their lobby which influences policy and elections in the US and the average Jew attending a synagogue.

As with any event I always look at who benefits. Certainly the anti-gun lobby. Zionists have always benefitted from such acts as they use them to get more protection against criticism of their policies (eg legislation to define antisemitism as hate speech which would include criticism of Israel). Remember the NY bombing threats a couple of years ago were coming from an individual said to be working alone in Israel)

Be interesting to learn more about this Bowers. I am skeptical its a psyops at this point because he was taken alive, but who knows.

hopehely , Oct 28, 2018 6:53:30 PM | link
Posted by: Pft | Oct 28, 2018 6:36:52 PM | 39
Assuming this was not another psyops it seems amazing to me that people cant distinguish between the Israeli government and their lobby which influences policy and elections in the US and the average Jew attending a synagogue.

If I understood correctly his attack was against the Jewish organisation that brings immigrants. Because he sees that as the enemy action.

[Oct 22, 2018] There will be no Brexit in economic or political reality. It isn't even remotely possible, even in the unlikely event the EU collapses in the short term. There may be a pseudo "Brexit" for political face-saving purposes

Oct 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Oct 21, 2018 11:17:43 AM | link

Noirette @ 3

Not to worry. Brexit is rather a textbook example of the political/economic dichotomy to which I speak @ 5.

There will be no Brexit in economic or political reality. It isn't even remotely possible, even in the unlikely event the EU collapses in the short term. There may be a pseudo "Brexit" for political face-saving purposes, true, which will consist of a similar sales effort as Trump is making to hold onto his own age-depressed plebes in flyover USArya.

"Brexit is coming! Brexit is coming! Tariffs are easy! Tariffs are easy! Hold on a bit longer, we are just trying to get it right for you little people not to suffer anymore." Lol.


dh , Oct 21, 2018 10:58:45 AM | link

@6 "Sadly many left wing ppl prefer EU neoliberal anti democratic, corrupt rule over their own sovereign democratic institutions."

I see it more as a neoliberal desire to belong to some vague bigger global entity. Plus the fact that since WW2 nationalism has become equated with fascism.

Britain has never been totally part of Europe....geographically or politically.

DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , Oct 21, 2018 10:16:20 AM | link
@dh-mtl: True that. Sadly many left wing ppl prefer EU neoliberal anti democratic, corrupt rule over their own souvereign democratic institutions. It was the national state (with its additional regional democratic institutions) that brought us democracy, not the neolibs EU. But that truth hurts, and many prefer empty slogans against the evil national state over a honest analysis.

@B: Inoreader cant find new feeds for some days, something is broken!

dh-mtl , Oct 21, 2018 9:36:55 AM | link
@2 Noirette wrote: 'England prefers a return to some mythical sovereignity / nationalism'.

The alternative to sovereignty is dictatorship from abroad. And a foreign dictatorship is never good for a country or its people.

You only need to look at Greece to see the results of 'dictatorship' by the EU. And Italy is currently fighting this dictatorship (see https://gefira.org/en/2018/10/19/the-european-financial-establishment-has-just-declared-war-on-italy/), in order to arrest the continuing destruction of Italy and the impoverishment of its citizens under E.U. rule.

With Brexit, the U.K. is trying to save itself before it collapses to a state similar to Greece.

The E.U., because it is essentially a financially based dictatorship, and is fatally flawed, will break apart. And, in this sense, I agree with you that the U.K. is ahead of the curve.

laserlurk , Oct 21, 2018 9:36:46 AM | link
Abandoning nuclear treaty is just a diversion to steer away eyes off Khashoggi case, latter being even more important as it wedges in the very depth of an internal US political demise.
UK barks there on Russia to steer its own downfall into spotlight of an importance on a world stage that is close to null. UK didn't even sign anything with Russia as basically nobody else did from within NATO, so one can render that INF as outdated and stale.
Will they come up with a new one that suits all or we will just let it go and slip into unilateral single polarity downfall of West? Answers are coming along real soon.

Right now US and a few vasal allies left are getting into dirty set of strategic games opposing far more skilled opponents and it will come around at a really high price. EU has lost many contracts lately in mid east due to America First, so a lots of sticks in US wheels are coming up. It is going to be a real fun watching all that and reading b. and others on MoA..

Noirette , Oct 21, 2018 8:41:29 AM | link
The UK will most likely crash out of the EU. Of course, one can't exclude that some last minute holding action, temp. solution, or reversal can be found - but I doubt it.

Northern Ireland will break away. The analysis of the vote has been very poor, and based on an 'identity politics' and slice-n-dice views. Pensioners afraid to lose their pension, deplorables, victims of austerity, lack of young voter turnout, etc.

NI and Scotland are ruled by a tri-partite scheme: 'home rule', 'devolution' - Westminster - and the EU. The two peripheral entities prefer belonging to and participating in the larger group (see also! reasons historical and of enmity etc.) which has on the whole been good for them. England prefers a return to some mythical sovereignity / nationalism, getting rid of the super-ordinate power, a last desperate stab at Britannia (hm?) rules the waves or at least some bloody thing like traffic on the Thames, labor law, etc. The UK had no business running that referendum - by that I mean that in the UK pol. system Parliament rules supreme, which is antithetical to the referendum approach (in any case the result is only advisory) and running it was a signal of crack-up. By now, it is clear that the UK political / Gvmt. system is not fit for handling problems in the years 2000.

Why NI and not Scotland (which might split as well ..)? From a geo-political pov, because geography bats last - yes. And also because NI is the much weaker entity. EU has stated (Idk about texts etc.): if and when a EU member conquers, annexes, brings into the fold some 'other' territory, it then in turn becomes part of the EU. Ex. If Andorra chose to join Spain it would meld into Eurolandia, with time to adjust to all the rules. Perhaps Macron would no longer be a Prince!

However, Catalonia *cannot* be allowed to split from Spain (affecting Spanish integrity and the EU) and if it did it would crash out of the EU, loosing all, so that doesn't work. Scotland is not Catalonia. NI has had a special status in many ways for a long time so it is easier to tolerate and imagine alternatives. The EU will pay for NI...

The UK is losing power rapidly and indulging in its own form of 're-trenchment' (different from the Trumpian desired one) - both are nostalgic, but the British one is more suicidal.

The only alternative interpretation I can see (suggested by John Michael Greer) is that the UK is ahead of the curve: a pre-emptive collapse (rather semi-collapse) now would put it in a better position than others 20 years or so hence. That would also include a break-up into parts.

[Oct 19, 2018] Brexit Knives Out for Theresa May (Again) Over Extending Transition Period

UK as US hand grenade tossed at EU ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Another year wouldn't be enough additional time to achieve a trade agreement unless the UK capitulated to EU terms. And a big motivation for this idea seemed to be to try to kick the Irish border can down the road. ..."
"... Theresa May is facing the most perilous week of her premiership after infuriating all sections of her party by making further concessions to Brussels. Her offer to extend the transition period after Brexit -- made without cabinet approval -- enraged Remain and Leave Tory MPs alike. ..."
"... DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has rejected calls for the post-Brexit transition period to be extended, claiming it would cost the UK billions and not break the Irish border deadlock . ..."
"... Theresa May has conceded the Irish backstop cannot have an end date, risking the threat of fresh Cabinet resignations. The PM told Leo Varadkar she accepted Brussels' demands that any fallback border solution cannot be "time-limited". ..."
"... Merkel's effort at an intervention came off like a clueless CEO telling subordinates who have been handed a nearly-impossible task that they need to get more creative ..."
"... Emmanuel Macron, the French president, struck a more uncompromising tone. "It's not for the EU to make some concessions to deal with a British political issue. I can't be more clear on this," he said. "Now the key element for a final deal is on the British side, because the key element is a British political compromise." ..."
"... Article 50 – Treaty on European Union (TEU) 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. ..."
"... It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements – an Assembly in Northern Ireland , a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland – are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other. ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Another year wouldn't be enough additional time to achieve a trade agreement unless the UK capitulated to EU terms. And a big motivation for this idea seemed to be to try to kick the Irish border can down the road.

As we'll get to later in this post, the press has filed more detailed reports on the EU's reactions to May's "nothing new" speech at the European Council summit on Wednesday. The reactions seem to be more sober; recall the first takes were relief that nothing bad happened and at least everyone was trying to put their best foot forward. Merkel also pressed Ireland and the EU to be more flexible over the Irish border question but Marcon took issue with her position. However, they both then went to a outdoor cafe and had beers for two hours .

May's longer transition scheme vehemently criticized across Tory factions and by the DUP . Even pro-Remain Tories are opposed. The press had a field day. From the Telegraph :

Theresa May was on Thursday evening increasingly isolated over her plan to keep Britain tied to the EU for longer as she was savaged by both wings of her party and left in the cold by EU leaders

The move enraged Brexiteers who said it would cost billions, and angered members of the Cabinet who said they had not formally agreed the plan before she offered it up as a bargaining chip. Mrs May also faced a potential mutiny from Tory MPs north of the border, including David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, who said the proposal was "unacceptable" because it would delay the UK's exit from the hated Common Fisheries Policy.

From The Times, Revolt grows over Theresa May's handling of Brexit talks :

Theresa May is facing the most perilous week of her premiership after infuriating all sections of her party by making further concessions to Brussels. Her offer to extend the transition period after Brexit -- made without cabinet approval -- enraged Remain and Leave Tory MPs alike.

And Politics Home, DUP reject moves to extend Brexit transition period in fresh blow for Theresa May Politics Home:

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has rejected calls for the post-Brexit transition period to be extended, claiming it would cost the UK billions and not break the Irish border deadlock .

His comments came after Tory MPs on all wings of the party also rejected extending the transition period.

Former minister Nick Boles, who campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum, told the Today programme: "I'm afraid she's losing the confidence now of colleagues of all shades of opinion – people who've been supportive of her throughout this process – they are close to despair at the state of this negotiation."

Brexiteer MP Andrea Jenkyns tweeted: "Back in July, myself and 36 colleagues signed a letter to the Prime Minister setting out our red lines – and that was one of them. It's completely ridiculous."

Scottish Tories say they would veto an extension to the Brexit transition period in support of their fisherman.

And apparently the European Council didn't take the extension idea seriously. City AM reported that European Council president Donald Tusk said it wasn't discussed after May left .

And members of the hard-core Brexit faction are also up in arms about May conceding that an Irish border backstop can't be time limited. From The Sun :

Theresa May has conceded the Irish backstop cannot have an end date, risking the threat of fresh Cabinet resignations. The PM told Leo Varadkar she accepted Brussels' demands that any fallback border solution cannot be "time-limited".

But a fudge could cost Mrs May two eurosceptic Cabinet ministers, with Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom threatening to resign if there's not a set end date.

Merkel pushes for more Brussels-Ireland flexibility while Macron disagrees . I am at risk of seeming unduly wedded to my priors, but Merkel's effort at an intervention came off like a clueless CEO telling subordinates who have been handed a nearly-impossible task that they need to get more creative . While Merkel is correct to point out that no-deal = hard Irish border, an outcome no one wants, she does not appear to comprehend that the "sea border," which is politically fraught for the UK, is the only alternative that does not create ginormous problems for the EU. Merkel's seeming lack of comprehension may reflect the fact that EU nations don't handle trade negotiations. From the Financial Times :

At an EU summit dinner and in later public remarks, the German chancellor expressed concerns about the bloc's stand-off with the UK over the Irish "backstop", a fallback measure intended to ensure no hard border divides Ireland if other solutions fail. This has become the biggest outstanding issue in the talks.

Three diplomats said that at the Wednesday night dinner Ms Merkel indicated that the EU and the Republic of Ireland should rethink their approach on Northern Ireland to avoid a fundamental clash with London.

Ms Merkel also signaled her concerns in a press conference on Thursday, highlighting that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal a hard border for Northern Ireland could be inevitable.

"If you don't have an agreement you don't have a satisfactory answer [to the border issue] either," she said, noting that on Northern Ireland "we all need an answer" .

Diplomats said the German chancellor was more forceful about the issue at the Brexit dinner, although some other leaders remained puzzled about the chancellor's intentions.

The Financial Times also said that the UK and Germany would meet Thursday to "discuss a way out of the Brexit impasse." Given that Barnier has offered a lot of new ideas in last month, it is hard to see how anything new could be cooked up, unless the UK hopes to sell Germany on its already-rejected techno vaporware idea.

Macron made clear he was not on the same page. Again from the Financial Times:

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, struck a more uncompromising tone. "It's not for the EU to make some concessions to deal with a British political issue. I can't be more clear on this," he said. "Now the key element for a final deal is on the British side, because the key element is a British political compromise."

Vardakar also made a statement after the dinner that reaffirmed the importance of the EU affirming the principles of the single market. From The Times :

The European Union would have "huge difficulties" in agreeing to extend the Northern Irish backstop to the rest of the UK, the taoiseach has warned. Leo Varadkar said he did not think "any country or union" would be asked to sign up to an agreement that would give the UK access to the single market while also allowing it to "undercut" the EU across a range of areas including state aid competition, labour laws and environmental standards.

"I would feel very strongly about this, as a European as well as an Irishman: you couldn't have a situation whereby the UK had access to the single market -- which is our market -- and at the same time was able to undercut us in terms of standards, whether they were environmental standards, labour laws, or state aid competition. I don't think any country or any union would be asked to accept that," Mr Varadkar said in Brussels.

Robert Peston deems odds of crash out high; sees only escape route as "customs union Brexit" . Robert Peston, who is one of the UK's best connected political reporters, described in a new piece at ITV how May has at best a narrow path to avoiding a disorderly Brexit, and that is what he calls a "customs union" Brexit. I am sure if Richard North saw that, he'd be tearing his hair, since he has been describing for months why a customs union does not solve the problem that virtually everyone who talks in up in UK thinks it solves, namely, conferring "frictionless trade".

One key point in his analysis is that the UK will also have to accept "a blind Brexit," meaning a very fuzzy statement of what the "future relationship" will be. The EU had offered that in the last month or so, presumably as a fudge to allow May to get the various wings of her coalition to agree to something. But Peston says it's too late to do anything else. From ITV :

Hello from Brussels and the EU Council that promised a Brexit breakthrough and delivered nothing.

So on the basis of conversations with well-placed sources, this is how I think the Brexit talks are placed (WARNING: if you are fearful of a no-deal Brexit, or are of a nervous disposition, stop reading now):

1) Forget about having any clue when we leave about the nature and structure of the UK's future trading relationship with the EU. The government heads of the EU27 have rejected Chequers. Wholesale. And they regard it as far too late to put in place the building blocks of that future relationship before we leave on 29 March 2019. So any Political Declaration on the future relationship will be waffly, vague and general. It will be what so many MPs detest: a blind Brexit. The PM may say that won't happen. No one here (except perhaps her own Downing St team) believes her.

Erm, that alone may be a deal killer. We quoted this section of a Politico article on October 10 :

5. Future relationship – Blind Brexit

Opposed: Brexiteers, Tory Remainers, the Labour Party, Theresa May

I'll let our astute readers give their reactions to Peston's recommendation to May:

3) There is no chance of the EU abandoning its insistence that there should be a backstop – with no expiry date – of Northern Ireland, but not Great Britain, remaining in the Customs Union and the single market. That would involve the introduction of the commercial border in the Irish Sea that May says must never be drawn.

4) All efforts therefore from the UK are aimed at putting in place other arrangements to make it impossible for that backstop to be introduced.

5) Her ruse for doing this is the creation of another backstop that would involve the whole of the UK staying in something that looks like the customs union.

6) But she feels cannot commit to keeping the UK in the customs union forever, because her Brexiter MPs won't let her. So it does not work as a backstop. And anyway the Article 50 rules say that the Withdrawal Agreement must not contain provisions for a permanent trading relationship between the whole of the UK and the EU. Which is a hideous Catch 22.

7) There is a solution. She could ignore her Brexiter critics and announce the UK wanted written into the Political Declaration – not the Withdrawal Agreement – that we would be staying permanently in the customs union. This is one bit of specificity the rest of the EU would allow into the Political Declaration. And it could be nodded at in the Withdrawal Agreement.

8) But if she announces we are staying in the Customs Union she would be crossing her reddest of red lines because she would have to abandon her ambition of negotiating free trade deals with non-EU countries. Liam Fox would be made redundant.

9) She knows, because her Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins has told her, that her best chance – probably her only chance of securing a Brexit deal – is to sign up for the customs union.

10) In its absence, no-deal Brexit is massively in play.

11) But a customs-union Brexit deal would see her Brexiter MPs become incandescent with fury.

12) Labour of course would be on the spot, since its one practical Brexit policy is to stay in the Customs Union.

13) This therefore is May's Robert Peel moment. She could agree a Customs Union Brexit and get it through Parliament with Labour support – while simultaneously cleaving her own party in two.

Finally, in an elegiac piece, Richard North contends that the UK didn't need to wind up where it is:

A reader takes me to task for making comparisons between the Brexit negotiations and the Allied invasion of Normandy

Yet it is precisely because Mrs May seems to have chosen an adversarial route rather than a consensual process that I have projected her failings in militaristic terms..

In reality, it would have been best to approach the Brexit process not so much as the end of a relationship as a redefinition, where the need to continue close cooperation continues, even if it is to be structured on a different basis

Here, though, lies the essential problem. The EU, as a treaty-based organisation, does not have the flexibility to change its own rules just to suit the needs of one member, and especially one which is seeking to leave the Union. Yet, on the other hand, the UK government has political constraints which prevent it making concessions which would allow the EU to define a new relationship

But, having put herself in a position where she is demanding something that the EU cannot give, she herself has no alternative but to adopt an adversarial stance – if for no other reason than to show her own political allies and critics that she is doing her best to resolve an impossible situation.

If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, it sure looks like the headlight of an oncoming train, the Brexit end date bearing down on the principals.


PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 6:49 am

I can't help but wonder whether the proposed time extension was proposed mischievously by EU negotiators precisely to set off divisions among the Tories. While Barniers no.1 aim is a deal, the close to no.2 aim must surely be to ensure that in the event of no deal (or a clearly clapped together bad interim deal), 100% of the blame goes to London. So far, they are doing a good job with that.

Its a little concerning that Merkel was so off-message, even though she is obviously correct that a no-deal means a hard border, which is a failure by any standard. I'm pretty sure we won't see any overt disagreements among the EU 27 as they won't want to give the UK the satisfaction of having sown dissent. However, that doesn't mean there won't be frantic background pressure from some (probably pushed by business) to do some sort of deal, even a bad one. That will inevitable mean leaning heavily on Dublin, if it is seen as the last obstacle. Any such pressure will be private, not public I'm sure.

vlade , October 19, 2018 at 7:33 am

The damage limitation is there, for sure, but it's always aimed on rest of the world (i.e. all but the UK, where the EU will be target in any outcome). TBH, I'm not sure how much that's needed now..

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:10 am

I wonder if the various negotiating teams are reminded of that nursery rhyme I learned as a child -- "and the wheels on the bus go round and round ".

As line one of section one of Article 50 explicitly states (and would therefore be given substantial weight in any reading of the Article itself):

Article 50 – Treaty on European Union (TEU)
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

The U.K. government cannot change the constitutional settlement for Northern Ireland without the agreement of the people of the six counties and the Republic and the rest of the U.K. "Nothing about us, without us" in popular parlance. And Republicans need to give their consent for any change affecting devolved matters (which is enforceable via a Petition of Concern). EU laws and directives are devolved matters. Constitutionally, no one can force anything on anyone in the province.

What the EU is asking the U.K. to do is impossible.

What the U.K. is asking the EU to do is impossible.

A hard border is also impossible, both as an outcome of treaty obligations and also as a practical matter.

Therefore a no-deal Brexit is inevitable. Therefore, so is a hard border. Which is an impossibility -- politically and operationally.

No wonder this can got kicked down the road last December. But now we have, oh, look, what's this here? Who left this can lying around?

David , October 19, 2018 at 7:27 am

I'm not sure. I had always read that sentence as meaning "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements for withdrawing from treaties in general" ie much more narrowly focused. Normally, any government has a sovereign right to withdraw from treaties, but it could be the case, for example, that in some countries parliament has to be informed, debates have to be held etc, and that's the case that's being covered here. Not to say that my interpretation (if correct) makes the situation any easier.
I posted a long comment on the French media reporting of Wednesday's talks yesterday. If I have a moment, I'll look to see if there's anything fresh today. One thing to look out for will be signs of tension between Paris and Brussels.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:41 am

I would need a lawyer well versed in international treaty interpretations to give a proper opinion and ultimately a court to rule on this.

What the wording definitely does not say (we can all read it for ourselves) is anything along the lines of " may initiate " or " may invoke its right to withdraw " or suchlike followed by the bit about constitutional adherences. Thus the requirements to act constitutionally must likely be expected to apply to Article 50 in their entirety. Apart from any lawyerly parsing, this is also common sense.

The section says a Member State may withdraw and it has to (this is so stating the obvious the treaty drafting must have had this specifically in mind to mention it) be constitutional about it. The EU cannot ask a Member State to conduct its withdrawal unconstitutionally.

disillusionized , October 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

No, that's not what it means – what it means is that as far as EU law is concerned, EU law ends there. It's wholly up to the withdrawing state to define and consider.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:50 am

Yes, and the Member State can't act unconstitutionally in respect of its own withdrawal proceedings. The EU is reserving the right not to accept any instruction in the matter of a withdrawal from the EU from the said Member State which is unconstitutional for that Member State. Nor can the EU foist unconstitutional acts onto a Member State in respect of the withdrawal. Its a basic principle of any legal system and any law and any jurisprudence that Party A cannot induce Party B to break the law as a result of an agreement between them and for that agreement to then remain valid.

As a simpler example, I draw up an agreement that says you'll pay me £100 in a week's time and you must get the money by whatever means possible. Fast forward a week and you don't have the £100. I can't use our agreement as an excuse for you to commit an unlawful act (say, go and steal someone's wallet) "because we've got an agreement you'll pay me, so that makes it okay no matter what, so long as you give me the money". Nor can you use your being party to the agreement to say "sorry, I don't have the money, but you can steal it from my Aunt Flossie, she's never gonna know you took it".

David , October 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

I have a suspicion we are (nearly) saying the same thing. See the separate thread below. A country that signs the Lisbon Treaty accepts that any decision to withdraw will have to be taken according to its own constitutional arrangements. This is a national obligation, but I don't see how the EU could refuse to accept the notification on the basis that it had been unconstitutionally arrived at, or what standing they would have. I've never heard of anything similar happening elsewhere.
To rephrase your example. My partner and I lend you £100 and you say that we can have it back any time we want. I ask for it back, and you refuse to give it to me on the basis that, in your view, this has to be a joint request from my partner and me.

vlade , October 19, 2018 at 7:32 am

I buy this only partially, as Scotland has some freedom to set taxes, and NI has also diverged from other UK laws (the infamous abortion rights).

Of course, from that, to staying in single market is quite a jump, but one could argue that since majority of the NI voted "remain" (by some margin) they clearly DO wish to stay in the single market.

Also the "the rest of the UK" is dubious – it's really "without the say so from the Westminster Parliament". See Scottish Indy referendum – I didn't notice they run it in England as well? (if they did, I suspect Scots could have been independend by now).

That said, even the above can still be done by a single poll that NI republicans actually already called for i.e. if there's a hard-border Brexit, NI should get a reunification vote.

TBH, that's MY suggestion to the impasse. The backstop becomes a reunification referendum. Not time limited – once the transition period is done, it's done, nor really challengable. You want SM, you go European, or you stay within the UK. I'd like to see DUP to froth on that..

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:57 am

It's stated right at the top of the Good Friday Agreement absolutely explicitly:

It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements – an Assembly in Northern Ireland , a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland – are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other.

Treaty texts rarely get so unarguably clear.

This is why I suspect there was such a push in February to get Stormont up and running again. Without it, everything was stuck in constitutional limbo and lacking any possibility of constitutionally-authenticated approvals. Similar any possibility of a border poll. Without a vote in the Assembly, how can the U.K. government have any pretence (that would withstand a UKSC challenge) that it was responding to a democratic imperative issued by NI?

Of course, the U.K. government could do whatever the heck it likes by a reintroduced Direct Rule. At which point the Good Friday Agreement is toast (and the Republic would have to explicitly buy-in to Direct Rule being initiated). This must be one of the DUP's main game plans. They really don't care that much about borders in the Irish Sea if they can get rid of the Good Friday Agreement. The DUP would be quite happy to paint the Garvaghy Road emerald green from end to end if they could rip that up for good.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

An additional complication to this though is the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference , which explicitly gives the Irish government a say in non-devolved matters, including the Common Travel area and EU matters. So at least in theory, the British government must (if the Irish government insists on reconstituting the Council, which they haven't so far) engage with the Irish government for any change – including Brexit – to be constitutional.

Its been speculated here that Varadkar has not called for the BIIC to be held in order not to inflame matters with the DUP.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 8:28 am

Yes, I think this holds a lot of water. Especially since the Republic amended its constitution to facilitate the GFA, it shows how seriously it took the matter. While politically it may be gruesome for the U.K. to contemplate that it would not be possible to leave the EU without as a minimum consulting the Republic, I too think there is at least a possibility it was in fact legally obligated via the GFA to do exactly that.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:11 am

I read that entirely differently again – my (completely laymans) interpretation is that it means a countries request for withdrawal must be internally constitutionally based. In other words, a rogue leader can't simply say 'I'm launching A.50' in defiance of his own Parliament or courts. Or put another way – the EU can refuse to accept an A.50 application if it can be argued that it was not generated legally in the first place.

David , October 19, 2018 at 8:44 am

I think that's right, though most treaties like this contain some ambiguity in their wording. Interestingly, the French text gives a slightly different impression.
"Tout État membre peut décider, conformément à ses règles constitutionnelles, de se retirer de l'Union," which would be translated as "Any member state may decide, in accordance with its constitutional provisions, to leave the Union." The commas make it clear that, in French at least, the only decision that has to be taken constitutionally under the Treaty, is the decision to leave (alinea 1). Once that decision is taken the states has to inform the EU (alinea 2). Of course, there's a standing general requirement on governments to behave constitutionally, but that would be a matter for the domestic courts, not the EU. It must also be true that they should respect their constitutional rules during the negotiation process. Interestingly, Art 46 of the Vienna Convention on Treaties deals exactly with your point from the other end – what happens if a state signs a treaty without going through the proper procedures. I've seen some suggestions on specialist blogs that Art 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was inspired by the arguments about this point.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:57 am

Agreed, except it would be a matter for the CJEU if it was the EU (e.g. the Commission) which was doing the asking (or telling) of the Member State.

jabbawocky , October 19, 2018 at 8:24 am

The answer to your question has to be those that voted Leave in the referendum left the can lying around.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:06 am

Rubbish. The U.K. government had every right to hold a referendum. It was advisory of course. But Parliament had every right to invoke A50 as a result of the result.

What the U.K. government had no right whatsoever to do was to pretend that the Good Friday Agreement obligations could or should be fudged away. Nor that the EU or the Republic should tolerate this or go along with it. The fact that they did is, well, their bad. I'm still shaking my head as to why Barnier et al were dumb enough to go along with it at the time. There's probably a good reason we're not privy to.

Phillip Allen , October 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

There's probably a good reason we're not privy to.

Now there's some optimism and faith. Our erstwhile leaders have done very little to justify it, in my completely jaded and cynical option.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

I was being perhaps overly generous -- there's also an awful lot of bad reasons I can think of, too.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 10:46 am

A year or so ago there was a little discussion of this in some parts of the Irish media. The thinking seemed to be that the government at the time (pre-Varadkar) had calculated that it was too divisive (in terms of the potential impact on NI politics) to be seen to be taking too aggressive a stance over Brexit (with hindsight, this was very naive, the DUP don't need outside help to be divisive).

FG was also very worried about giving any electoral help to Sinn Fein.

With hindsight, I think this was a major miscalculation on a number of levels – I don't think they anticipated that the stupidity of the London government would force them to take such a strong stance on the border issue, they thought it could be finessed by way of taking a more neutral stance.

begob , October 19, 2018 at 11:22 am

I think these are May's options:
1. Canada+++ with backstop – the DUP say NO! and she loses a vote of confidence.
2. EFTA + EEA without CU – she comes back in triumph – "No CU!" – but she loses DUP and Ultras so needs Corbyn, who will probably cry "No CU!" with contrary sentiment.
3. CU with backstop – Labour says it fails test #2 (at least), but she hopes their remainers defy the whip.

Peston is at option 3, but omits the backstop.

bold'un , October 19, 2018 at 7:22 am

Labour could help vote through a {blind brexit' with an extended Transition} in exchange for a post-deal General Election. This could suit May in that it would be risky for the Tories to change leaders in an election atmosphere. The British Public can then decide WHO best can negotiate the future Trade relationship (though sadly not the WHAT as it must be negotiated).

The Rev Kev , October 19, 2018 at 7:50 am

You wonder what is in it for May to stay in her job as Prime Minister. All indications are that she is a perfect example of the Peter Principle which is how she ended up with the job. You think too that she would be tempted to chuck the whole business and say "Here Boris – it's all yours!" with all the joy of throwing a live grenade. Maybe, in the end, it is like Milton had Satan say once – "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven".

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:14 am

An Irish politician once said that she was advised by an experienced colleague 'your worst day in government is better than your best day in opposition' . This is why politicians are so often incapable of turning down offers of coalition.

I don't believe it has occurred to May for one minute to resign or step aside. Power is what drives people like her (i.e. almost all politicians). Its the nature of the beast.

David , October 19, 2018 at 9:13 am

Macron's official statement after the European Council is here Interestingly, only about a third of the text was devoted to Brexit, and much of that was in turn a restatement of EU priorities – especially unity and the Single Market – and confidence in Barnier. All the technical solutions are known, said Macron, and it is for the UK to come up with some new ideas for compromises. The hope was to reach an agreement in the next few weeks, including "necessary guarantees for Ireland." The French media has essentially confined itself to reporting what Macron said.
What this shows, I think, is an increasing irritation among European leaders that Brexit, which should have been sorted out long ago, has been taking up the time that should really have been devoted to more important subjects, like migration and the deepening of economic and financial cooperation The British are regarded as a major irritant, incapable of behaving like a great power, paralysed by internal political splits and capable of doing a lot of collateral damage. The EU seems increasingly unwilling to devote any more time to Brexit until the UK comes up with some genuinely useful ideas – hence the cancellation of the November summit.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 10:42 am

Thats probably true, but if so, its very shortsighted. If the UK crashes out, for several months there will be nothing else on the plate of western Europe to deal with, there will be deep implications certainly from Germany to Spain. And if it causes more wobbles in the already very wobbly Italian banks, it'll be even more of a headache, to put it mildly.

David , October 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I agree, but I think it's at least partly the UK's doing. A modicum of common sense and political realism could have avoided this situation. The problem is that Brexit, as a subject, has the nasty twin characteristics of being at once extremely complicated and politically lunatic. I think EU leaders are focusing on the second, and in some ways May has become almost light relief. But jokes stop being funny after a while, and I think Macron is reflecting a wider belief among national leaders that only the UK can sort this out: you broke it, you fix it.

If there were issues which, whilst difficult, were potentially fixable then I think a lot more effort would have gone into the negotiations from EU leaders. But they must feel they are trapped in some Ionesco farce or (to vary the metaphor) trying to negotiate with the Keystone Cops.

Except the Keystone Cops happen to be playing with hand grenades. There's no doubt that European leaders are taking a crash-out seriously (the French have published a draft bill giving the government emergency powers to deal with such a situation) but I think there's a also widespread sense of helplessness. What can the EU actually do that it hasn't already done? All they can hope for is an outbreak of common sense in London, and I think we all know how likely that is. In the circumstances, you might as well concentrate on subjects where progress is actually possible.

MichaelSF , October 19, 2018 at 12:46 pm

A reader takes me to task for making comparisons between the Brexit negotiations and the Allied invasion of Normandy

Would Dunkirk be a better comparison?

[Oct 09, 2018] Brexit Crunch Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself Is That Even Possible

Oct 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Brexit Crunch: Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself? Is That Even Possible? Posted on October 8, 2018 by Yves Smith The UK press is all over the map on the state of Brexit. That makes making sense of things even harder than usual.

At a minimum, it show that the EU's thumping of May at last month's Salzburg conference has led to an uptick in activity, as the EU27 leaders set an earlier deadline for the UK to serve up something realistic than the UK had previously thought it had (October versus November).

But it's far from clear that all the thrashing around and messaging amounts to progress. As we'll discuss, some press reports claim the EU is showing more flexibility, but the changes appear to be almost entirely cosmetic. If so, it would represent a cynical calculation that MPs are so illiterate about technical details that adept repackaging will get the dog to eat the dog food.

Another thing to keep in mind is that negotiators are always making progress until a deal is dead. The appearance of momentum can create actual momentum, or at least buy time. But here, time is running out, so the question is whether either side has made enough of a shift so as to allow for a breakthough.

One thing that may have happened, and again this is speculative, is that more key players in the EU are coming to realize that a crash out will inflict a lot of damage on the EU. A transition period is actually much more beneficial to the EU than the UK. It would not only allow the EU more time to prepare, but also enable it to better pick the UK clean of personnel and business activities that can move to the Continent in relatively short order.

By contrast (and not enough people in the UK appear to have worked this out), the UK will crash out with respect to the EU in either March 2019 or the end of December 2020. There's no way the UK will have completed a trade deal with the EU by then, unless it accedes to every EU demand. Recall that the comparatively uncomplicated Canada trade agreement took seven years to negotiate and another year to obtain provisional approval. And Richard North points out another impediment to negotiations: " .the Commission has to be re-appointed next year and, after Brexit, it will not be fully in operation until the following November." Now there are still some important advantages to securing a transition agreement, and they may be mainly political (who wants to be caught holding that bag?) but the differences may not be as significant for the EU as the UK. The UK will wind up having the dislocations somewhat spread out, first having to contend with falling out of all the trade deals with third countries that it now has through the EU in March 2019, and then losing its "single market" status with the EU at the end of 2020. But will the UK also be so preoccupied with trying to stitch up deals with the rest of the world that it loses its already not great focus on what to do with the EU?

That isn't to say there won't be meaningful benefits to the UK if it can conclude a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and win a transition period. For instance, it has a dim hope of being able to get its border IT systems upgraded so as to handle much greater transaction volumes, a feat that seems pretty much unattainable by March 2019.

Two more cautionary note regarding these divergent news stories. The first is that we've seen this sort of thing before and generally, the optimistic reports have not panned out. However, they have generally ben from unnamed sources. While we do have a very thin BBC article with Jean-Claude Junkcer saying the odds of a deal had improved and Tusk making cautiously optimistic noises, Leo Vardarkar was more sober and the piece even admitted, "However, there is still no agreement on some issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Irish border."

Second, they appear to be mainly about claimed progress or deadlocks on the trade front. Recall that Article 50 makes only a passing reference to "the future relationship," which is only a non-binding political declaration. However, these issue seems to have assumed more importance than it should on the UK end, because it has become a forcing device for the coalition to settle on what sort of Brexit it wants .and it remains fundamentally divided, as demonstrated by last week's Conservative Party conference. By contrast, there seems to be little news on the real sticking point, the Irish border.

So to the rumors:

The EU has offered the UK a "Canada plus plus plus" deal . Even if you take the Guardian story at face value, there is less there there than the breathless reactions in the UK would lead you to believe.

First, recall that "Canada plus plus plus" has long been derided by the EU as yet another way for the UK to try to cherry pick among the possible post-Brexit arrangements. Boris Johnson nevertheless talked it up as a preferred option to May's too-soft Chequers scheme at the Tory conference . and May did not mention Chequers . Did EU pols take that to mean May had abandoned Chequers to appease the Ultras?

However, as we read things (and we need to watch our for our priors), Donald Tusk appears to be mouthing a pet UK expression to convey a different idea:

Tusk said the EU remained ready to offer the UK a "Canada-plus-plus-plus deal" – a far-reaching trade accord with extra agreements on security and foreign policy.

That reads as a Canada style free trade agreement plus additional pacts on non-trade matters. That is not what "Canada plus plus plus" signified on the UK side: it meant the UK getting a free trade deal with other (typically not specified) goodies so as to make it "special" and more important, reduce friction.

The Ultras were over the moon to have Tusk dignify Johnson's blather, even as the very next paragraph of the Guardian story revealed the outtrade over what "Canada plus plus plus" stands for:

Boris Johnson and other hard Brexit Tories seized on Tusk's remarks, arguing they showed it was time for May to immediately switch tack and abandon her Chequers proposals for remaining in a customs union for food and goods. "Tusk's Canada-plus-plus-plus offer shows there is a superb way forward that can solve the Irish border problem and deliver a free-trade-based partnership that works well for both sides of the channel," Johnson said.

If you managed to get further into the story, it sounded more cautionary notes:

Some Brexiters overlook that the EU's version of a so-called Canada deal incorporates a guarantee to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, which would keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and single market. "Canada plus-plus-plus" is also a fuzzy concept that has no formal status in EU negotiating documents. Michel Barnier, the bloc's chief negotiator, mentioned the idea in an interview with the Guardian and other papers last year.

"I don't know what Canada-plus-plus-plus means, it is just a concept at this stage," Varadkar said, adding that it did not negate the need for a "legally binding backstop" – a guarantee to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if there is no agreement on the future trading relationship.

EU to let UK super fudge on "future relationship." Another Guardian story reported that the EU might let the UK sign an even less committal version of the "future relationship" section , allowing the UK to "evolve" [gah] its position during the transition period. Frankly, this seems to be allowing for a change in government. I don't see this as that meaningful a concession, since this statement was never legally binding. However, given that Parliament must ratify the final agreement, formally registering that that section isn't set in stone probably would facilitate passage as well as any future change in direction. And if you suspect this is a big dog whistle to Labour, you be right:

An EU source said: "The message to Labour is that the UK could move up Barnier's stairs if the British government changes its position in the transition period. Voting in favour of the deal now would not be the last word on it."

May whips Labour for Chequers . You thought May gave up on Chequers? Silly you! She just had the good sense to go into her famed submarine mode while Boris was having yet another turn in the limelight. From the Telegraph :

Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal risking open warfare with the party's own MPs.

The Government's whips' office has spent recent months making contact with the MPs as a back-up option for when Theresa May's Brexit deal is put to a vote in Parliament in early December, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

News of the wooing operation has infuriated Eurosceptic Tory MPs who are now threatening to vote against elements of the Budget and other "money bills" to force Mrs May to drop her Chequers plan.

If true, this is very high stakes poker. Brexit Central says there are 34 Tory MPs who have already declared they will oppose any "deal based on Chequers". And, to change metaphors, they appear ready to go nuclear if they have to. From the Times:

Brexiteers have issued a last-ditch threat to vote down the budget and destroy the government unless Theresa May takes a tougher line with Brussels -- amid signs that she is on course to secure a deal with the European Union.

Leading members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) last night vowed to vote down government legislation after it was claimed the prime minister will use Labour MPs to push her plan through the Commons.

I turned to Richard North's site after I had pretty much finished this post, and he finds the Telegraph story as peculiar as I do :

Reporting of the key issue of our times gets more bizarre by the day. The latest contribution to the cacophony is the Telegraph, telling us that Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs "to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal".

That approaches are being made to Labour MPs is not news, but the idea that attempts to sell them the Chequers deal confounds recent indications that the prime minister is preparing to roll out "Chequers II", with enough concessions to all the Commission to conclude a withdrawal agreement.

If we are looking at such a new deal, then it cannot be the case that anyone is attempting to convince Labour MPs of the merits of the old deal. And, even if Ministers succeeded in such a task, it would be to no avail. Chequers, as such, will never come to parliament for approval because it will never form the basis of a deal that can be accepted by Brussels.

That should consign the Telegraph story to the dustbin now piled high with incoherent speculation, joining the steady flow of reports which are struggling – and failing – to bring sense to Brexit.

EU to announce "minimalist" no-deal emergency plans . Interestingly, the Financial Times has not had any articles in the last few days on the state of UK/EU negotiations. It instead depicted the EU as about to turn up the heat on the UK by publishing a set of "no deal" damage containment plans. I've never understood the line of thought, which seems to be taken seriously on both sides of the table, that acting like a responsible government and preparing for a worst-case scenario was somehow an underhanded negotiation ploy. 1 The pink paper nevertheless pushes that notion:

Brussels is planning to rattle the UK by unveiling tough contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit that could force flight cancellations and leave exporters facing massive disruption if Britain departs the EU without an exit agreement in March.

Subtext: it's the EU's fault all those bad things could happen .when it is the UK that is suing for divorce. Back to the story:

Against expectations in London, the plan is likely to encompass a limited number of initiatives over a maximum of eight months, diplomats who have seen the document told the Financial Times.

Notably, the EU is not planning special arrangements for customs or road transport and only limited provisions for financial services -- a decision that, if seen through, would cause long queues and operational difficulties at ports and airports.

The minimalist emergency plan, designed to be rolled out should there be no breakthrough in Brexit talks, would increase the pressure over already fraught negotiations between the UK and the EU ahead of a summit on 17 October. EU plans would then be firmed up by December .

The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated

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The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated.

And then we have the stories that are head-scratchers. The Sun reports that Barnier says a deal is nigh .based on:

Hopes of progress have been fuelled by expectations that Theresa May has come forward with a compromise solution to the Irish border.

The PM will propose keeping the whole of the UK in a customs union as a final fallback but allowing Northern Ireland to stick to EU regulations.

The EU has rejected having the UK collect EU customs post Brexit. Moreover, a customs union, as we've said repeatedly, does not give the UK its keenly-sounght frictionless trade. Making Northern Ireland subject to EU regulations means accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ, since compliance is not a matter of having a dusty rule book, but of being part of the same regulatory apparatus. Aside from the fact that this solution won't be acceptable to the DUP, it would also result in a hard land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. So are we to take this as incomprehension on the part of the Sun's reporters, or that the Government's negotiators continue to be as thick as a brick? Sadly, the Guardian tells a similar tale :

Ministers expect to discuss Brexit in a week's time when some hope that officials will have clarified how the UK proposes to handle cross-border regulatory checks if no progress is made on agreeing a free trade deal with the EU.

There has been speculation that this solution could involve the whole of the UK agreeing to be part of a common customs area with the EU in order to avoid the possibility of an invisible border separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain, in the event that no long-term deal is signed.

Richard North has the best take. He points the rumors from the UK side come from people who present themselves as being on the inside but probably aren't, or not enough to have a good feel, and continues :

Yet nothing seems to be leaking from No.10, with officials saying merely that proposals would emerge "soon". Says the Guardian, these are likely to form the basis of technical negotiations with Brussels "as officials scramble to find a form of words for the withdrawal agreement that the UK proposes to sign with the EU".

Any such timing will, of necessity, rule out any formal consideration by the October European Council. Those who understand the detail will know that, before anything can be considered by the European Council, it must first be agreed by the General Affairs Council, meeting as 27.

Currently, this is scheduled for 16 October (Tuesday week) – a day before the Article 50 European Council which starts its two-day session on the 17th. On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be enough time to factor in any last-minute proposals from London, especially as details must first be circulated to Member State capitals for comment.

This does nothing, though, but confirm that which we already know – that if there is to be a final showdown, then it is going to come at the special meeting in November (if this actually happens), or even the meeting scheduled for 13-14 December.

Even the rumor mills don't give much reason to think there is a solution to the Irish border. If May really hasn't abandoned Chequers, all the fudging to come up with a content-free "future relationship" section will be to the detriment of UK citizens, since the Government will keep holding on to a Brexit plan that the EU will never accept. But the best interests of ordinary people have gotten short shrift all along.

[Oct 08, 2018] I have been meeting more and more Americans abroad who permanently left the US and told me it was the best thing they did, or that they never want to go back. Why is that so? Is it due to POTUS?

Oct 08, 2018 | www.quora.com

Jason Perno , Cyber Security Specialist and Forensic Analyst at NNIT A/S (2017-present)

Answered 17h ago

I left the United States because I married a Danish woman. We tried living in New York, but we struggled a lot. She was not used to being without the normal help she gets from the Danish system. We... (more) Loading

I left the United States because I married a Danish woman. We tried living in New York, but we struggled a lot. She was not used to being without the normal help she gets from the Danish system. We made the move a few years ago, and right away our lives started to improve dramatically.

Now I am working in IT, making a great money, with private health insurance. Yes I pay high taxes, but the benefits outweigh the costs. The other things is that the Danish people trust in the government and trust in each other. There is no need for #metoo or blacklivesmatter, because the people already treat each other with respect.

While I now enjoy an easier life in Denmark, I sit back and watch the country I fiercely love continue to fall to pieces because of divisive rhetoric and the corporate greed buying out our government.

Trump is just a symptom of the problem. If people could live in the US as they did 50 years ago, when a single person could take care of their entire family, and an education didn't cost so much, there would be no need for this revolution. But wages have been stagnant since the 70's and the wealth has shifted upwards from the middle class to the top .001 percent. This has been decades in the making. You can't blame Obama or Trump for this.

Meanwhile, I sit in Denmark watching conservatives blame liberalism, immigrants, poor people, and socialism, while Democrats blame rednecks, crony capitalism, and republican greed. Everything is now "fake news". Whether it be CNN or FOX, no one knows who to trust anymore. Everything has become a conspiracy. Our own president doesn't even trust his own FBI or CIA. And he pushes conspiracy theories to mobilize his base. I am glad to be away from all that, and living in a much healthier environment, where people aren't constantly attacking one another.

Maybe if the US can get it's healthcare and education systems together, I would consider moving back one day. But it would also be nice if people learned to trust one another, and trust in the system again. Until then, I prefer to be around emotionally intelligent people, who are objective, and don't fall for every piece of propaganda. Not much of that happening in America these days. The left has gone off the deep end playing identity politics and focusing way too much on implementing government mandated Social Justice. Meanwhile the conservatives are using any propaganda and lying necessary to push their corporate backed agenda. This is all at the cost of our environment, our free trade agreements, peace treaties, and our European allies. Despite how much I love my country, I breaks my heart to say, I don't see myself returning any time soon I'm afraid.

[Oct 02, 2018] >A Rational Backlash Against Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... By Lubos Pastor, Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pietro Veronesi, Roman Family Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor. ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 28, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. Haha, Lambert's volatility voters thesis confirmed! They are voting against inequality and globalization. This important post also explains how financialization drives populist rebellions.

By Lubos Pastor, Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pietro Veronesi, Roman Family Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Originally published at VoxEU

The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality.

The ongoing pushback against globalization in the West is a defining phenomenon of this decade. This pushback is best exemplified by two momentous 2016 votes: the British vote to leave the EU ('Brexit') and the election of a protectionist, Donald Trump, to the US presidency. In both cases, rich-country electorates voted to take a step back from the long-standing process of global integration. "Today, globalization is going through a major crisis" (Macron 2018).

Some commentators question the wisdom of the voters responsible for this pushback. They suggest Brexit and Trump supporters have been confused by misleading campaigns and foreign hackers. They joke about turkeys voting for Christmas. They call for another Brexit referendum, which would allow the Leavers to correct their mistakes.

Rational Voters

We take a different perspective. In a recent paper, we develop a theory in which a backlash against globalization happens while all voters are perfectly rational (Pastor and Veronesi 2018). We do not, of course, claim that all voters are rational; we simply argue that explaining the backlash does not require irrationality. Not only can the backlash happen in our theory; it is inevitable.

We build a heterogeneous-agent equilibrium model in which a backlash against globalization emerges as the optimal response of rational voters to rising inequality. A rise in inequality has been observed throughout the West in recent decades (e.g. Atkinson et al. 2011). In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. Over time, global growth exacerbates inequality, which eventually leads to a pushback against globalization.

Who Dislike Inequality

Agents in our model like consumption but dislike inequality. Individuals may prefer equality for various reasons. Equality helps prevent crime and preserve social stability. Inequality causes status anxiety at all income levels, which leads to health and social problems (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009, 2018). In surveys, people facing less inequality report being happier (e.g. Morawetz et al. 1977, Alesina et al. 2004, Ferrer-i-Carbonell and Ramos 2014). Experimental results also point to egalitarian preferences (e.g. Dawes et al. 2007).

We measure inequality by the variance of consumption shares across agents. Given our other modelling assumptions, equilibrium consumption develops a right-skewed distribution across agents. As a result, inequality is driven by the high consumption of the rich rather than the low consumption of the poor. Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

Besides inequality aversion, our model features heterogeneity in risk aversion. This heterogeneity generates rising inequality in a growing economy because less risk-averse agents consume a growing share of total output. We employ individual-level differences in risk aversion to capture the fact that some individuals benefit more from global growth than others. In addition, we interpret country-level differences in risk aversion as differences in financial development. We consider two 'countries': the US and the rest of the world. We assume that US agents are less risk-averse than rest-of-the-world agents, capturing the idea that the US is more financially developed than the rest of the world.

At the outset, the two countries are financially integrated – there are no barriers to trade and risk is shared globally. At a given time, both countries hold elections featuring two candidates. The 'mainstream' candidate promises to preserve globalization, whereas the 'populist' candidate promises to end it. If either country elects a populist, a move to autarky takes place and cross-border trading stops. Elections are decided by the median voter.

Global risk sharing exacerbates US inequality. Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions. The agents holding the most aggressive positions benefit disproportionately from global growth. The resulting inequality leads some US voters, those who feel left behind by globalization, to vote populist.

Why Vote Populist?

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents. After a move to autarky, US agents can no longer borrow from the rest of the world to finance their excess consumption. But their inequality drops too, because the absence of cross-border leverage makes their portfolio positions less disperse.

As output grows, the marginal utility of consumption declines, and US agents become increasingly willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for more equality. When output grows large enough -- see the vertical line in the figure below -- more than half of US agents prefer autarky and the populist wins the US election. This is our main result: in a growing economy, the populist eventually gets elected. In a democratic society that values equality, globalization cannot survive in the long run.

Figure 1 Vote share of the populist candidate

Equality Is a Luxury Good

Equality can be interpreted as a luxury good in that society demands more of it as it becomes wealthier. Voters might also treat culture, traditions, and other nonpecuniary values as luxury goods. Consistent with this argument, the recent rise in populism appears predominantly in rich countries. In poor countries, agents are not willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for nonpecuniary values.

Globalization would survive under a social planner. Our competitive market solution differs from the social planner solution due to the negative externality that the elites impose on others through their high consumption. To see if globalization can be saved by redistribution, we analyse redistributive policies that transfer wealth from low risk-aversion agents, who benefit the most from globalization, to high risk-aversion agents, who benefit the least. We show that such policies can delay the populist's victory, but cannot prevent it from happening eventually.

Which Countries Are Populist?

Our model predicts that support for populism should be stronger in countries that are more financially developed, more unequal, and running current account deficits. Looking across 29 developed countries, we find evidence supporting these predictions.

Figure 2 Vote share of populist parties in recent elections

The US and the UK are good examples. Both have high financial development, large inequality, and current account deficits. It is thus no coincidence, in the context of our model, that these countries led the populist wave in 2016. In contrast, Germany is less financially developed, less unequal, and it runs a sizable current account surplus. Populism has been relatively subdued in Germany, as our model predicts. The model emphasises the dark side of financial development – it spurs the growth of inequality, which eventually leads to a populist backlash.

Who are the Populist Voters?

The model also makes predictions about the characteristics of populist voters. Compared to mainstream voters, populist voters should be more inequality-averse (i.e. more anti-elite) and more risk-averse (i.e. better insured against consumption fluctuations). Like highly risk-averse agents, poorer and less-educated agents have less to lose from the end of globalization. The model thus predicts that these agents are more likely to vote populist. That is indeed what we find when we examine the characteristics of the voters who supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum and Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The model's predictions for asset prices are also interesting. The global market share of US stocks should rise in anticipation of the populist's victory. Indeed, the US share of the global stock market rose steadily before the 2016 Trump election. The US bond yields should be unusually low before the populist's victory. Indeed, bond yields in the West were low when the populist wave began.

Backlash in a booming economy

In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. The model helps us understand why the backlash is occurring now, as the US economy is booming. The economy is going through one of its longest macroeconomic expansions ever, having been growing steadily for almost a decade since the 2008 crisis.

This study relates to our prior work at the intersection of finance and political economy. Here, we exploit the cross-sectional variation in risk aversion, whereas in our 2017 paper, we analyse its time variation (Pastor and Veronesi 2017). In the latter model, time-varying risk aversion generates political cycles in which Democrats and Republicans alternate in power, with higher stock returns under Democrats. Our previous work also explores links between risk aversion and inequality (Pastor and Veronesi 2016).

Conclusions

We highlight the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. In our model, a pushback against globalization arises as a rational voter response. When a country grows rich enough, it becomes willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for a more equal society. Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model. Our formal model supports the narrative of Rodrik (1997, 2000), who argues that we cannot have all three of global economic integration, the nation state, and democratic politics.

If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world.

See original post for references


JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 10:34 am

"rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. " For which definition of growth? Or maybe, observing that cancer is the very model of growth, for any definition?

Nice model and graphs, though.

What kind of political economy is to be discerned, and how is one to effectuate it with systems that would have to be so very different to have a prayer of providing lasting homeostatic functions?

The Rev Kev , September 28, 2018 at 10:50 am

And what happens in a world where, due to depleted resources, growth is no longer an option and we start living in a world of slow contraction?

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Starvation pain and death absent some kind of (fair) rationing mechanisms.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Actually, I can hardly wait. If nothing else will get folks motivated to effect change – this could (let's hope).

drumlin woodchuckles , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

The global overclass can hardly wait too. They think they are in position to guide the change to their desired outcome. Targeted applied Jackpot Engineering, you know.

joey , September 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

hoping for an alpha test tube environment or better soma in my next go round?

Bobby Gladd , September 28, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Frase's "Quadrant IV" – Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (see "Four Futures")

d , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

At some point if the majority dont think they get any benefit from the economy, they will put a stake through it, and replace it with some thing that works?now that could be some thing very different, but it will happen

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

I had the same thought – growth as defined in the current, neoliberal model. There is nothing inevitable about inequality – it is caused by political choices.

Tony Wikrent , September 28, 2018 at 10:44 am

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

Not from my perspective. Or from the perspectives of the work force or the industrial base replacing themselves. Or the perspective of a 4 to 5 trillion dollar shortfall in infrastructure funding.

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

Well, that simply did not happen 1946 to 1971.

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

REALLY? Consumption of WHAT? Designer handbags and jeans? What about consumption of mass public transit and health care services? I'm very confident that a populist government that found a way to put a muzzle on Wall Street and the banksters would increase consumption of things I prefer while also lessening inequality.

Reading through this summary of modeling, it occurred to me that the operative variable was not inequality so much as "high financial development."

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

Agreed, BS but likely to be skewered as the comment section picks up steam.

There's a lot of skeptics lurking here.

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for pointing out the weaknesses in the article.

a different chris , September 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Posting doesn't apply "acceptance" at NC. I think that has been made pretty darn clear on a number of occasions.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Yes and also, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. These days, just saying that globalisation leads to inequality and people act rationally, when they push back – even though choices are limited – is pretty revolutionary. We need other analyses along those lines, maybe with a few corrections. Thanks for posting!

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

That's nice. But in what universe do these "frictionless, complete-markets" actually exist?

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm

" In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. "

Yes to the above comments. This sentence really stuck in my throat. A strong economy to me is one that achieves balanced equality. Somehow this article avoids the manner in which the current economy became "strong". Perhaps a better word is "corrupt". (No 'perhaps' really; I'm just being polite.)

Otherwise some good points being made here.

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:41 pm

I also didn't like that the anti-neoliberalists are being portrayed as not having sympathy for the poor. Gosh, we are a hard-hearted lot, only interested in our own come-uppance and risk-adversity.

Robert Valiant , September 28, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Isn't equality just a value?

A "strong" economy is one that is growing as measured by GDP – full stop. Inequality looks to me like a feature of our global economic value system, not a bug.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Inequality is a problem of distribution. Is a strong economy one that provides the most to a few or a fair share to the many?

High GDP growth could reflect either but which is most important?

If your neighbor is out of work it looks like a recession, if you're out of work it feels like a depression.

Synoia , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Friction-less Markets exist in where there is much lube.

Trump is probably an expert in that area.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:30 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

This is complete BS. So is your model.

Kit , September 28, 2018 at 5:36 pm

A universe with spherical consumers of uniform size and density.

Economics is like physics, or wants to be. If you want practicality, you need something more like engineering.

Andrew Watts , September 28, 2018 at 5:56 pm

I only read these articles to see what the enemy is thinking. The vast majority of economists are nothing more than cheerleaders for capitalism. I imagine anybody who strays too far from neoliberal orthodoxy is ignored.

Patrick , September 28, 2018 at 10:56 am

the Trump/Brexit populist thinking has nothing to do with equality. it has do do with who should get preferential treatment and why -- it's about drawing a tight circle on who get's to be considered "equal".

not sure how you can pull a desire for equality from this (except through statistics, which can be used to "prove" anything).

Outis Philalithopoulos , September 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I'm confused – so the evidence of statistics should be discounted, in favor of more persuasive evidence? Consisting of your own authoritative statements about the motives of other people?

In the future, please try to think about what sorts of arguments are likely to be persuasive to people who don't already agree with you.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

In the Trump/neoliberal world we get what we "deserve". Or do we deserve what we get?

The majority of the population believes the losers didn't try hard enough.

In a world full of Einsteins the bottom 20% would still live in poverty. Life is graded on a curve.

Louis Fyne , September 28, 2018 at 10:57 am

If you consider yourself an "environmentalist," then you have to be against globalization.

(From the easiest to universally agree upon) the multi-continental supply chain for everything from tube socks to cobalt to frozen fish is unsustainable, barring Star Trek-type transport tech breakthroughs.

(to the less easily to universally agree upon) the population of the entire developed (even in the US) would be stablized/falling/barely rising, but for migration.

mass migration-fueled population growth/higher fertility rates of migrants in the developed world and increased resource footprint is bad for both the developed world and developing world.

Jeremy Grimm , September 28, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The long, narrow, and manifold supply lines which characterize our present systems of globalization make the world much more fragile. The supply chains are fraught with single points of systemic failure. At the same time Climate Disruption increases the risk that a disaster can affect these single points of failure. I fear that the level of instability in the world systems is approaching the point where multiple local disasters could have catastrophic effects at a scale orders of magnitude greater than the scale of the triggering events -- like the Mr. Science demonstration of a chain-reaction where he tosses a single ping pong ball into a room full of mousetraps set with ping pong balls. You have to be against globalization if you're against instability.

The entire system of globalization is completely dependent on a continuous supply of cheap fuel to power the ships, trains, and trucks moving goods around the world. That supply of cheap fuel has its own fragile supply lines upon which the very life of our great cities depends. Little food is grown where the most food is eaten -- this reflects the distributed nature of our supply chains greatly fostered by globalization.

Globalization increases the power and control Corporate Cartels have over their workers. It further increases the power large firms have over smaller firms as the costs and complexities of globalized trade constitute a relatively larger overhead for smaller firms. Small producers of goods find themselves flooded with cheaper foreign knock-offs and counterfeits of any of their designs that find a place in the market. It adds uncertainty and risk to employment and small ventures. Globalization magnifies the power of the very large and very rich over producers and consumers.

I believe the so-called populist voters and their backlash in a "booming" economy are small indications of a broad unrest growing much faster than our "booming" economies. That unrest is one more risk to add to the growing list of risks to an increasingly fragile system. The world is configured for a collapse that will be unprecedented in its speed and scope.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Actually, the way I see it – if one considers oneself an environmentalist, one has to be against capitalism, not just globalization. Capitalism is built on constant growth – but on a planet, with limited resources, that simply cannot work. Not long term unless we're prepared to dig up and/or pave over everything. Only very limited-scale, mom-and-pop kind of capitalism can try to work long term – but the problem is, it would not stay that way because greed gets in the way every time and there's no limiting greed. (Greed as a concept was limited in the socialist system – but some folks did not like that.)

tagyoureit , September 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm

"Capitalism is built on constant growth." I have a 'brand new' view of photosynthesis. Those plants (pun intended) are 'capitalist pigweeds'

John Wright , September 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

The paper posits:

" Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions."

That low risk aversion could be driven by the willingness of the US government to provide military/diplomatic/trade assistance to US businesses around the word. The risk inherent in moving factories, doing resource extraction and conducting business overseas is always there, but if one's government lessens the risk via force projection and control of local governments, a US agent could appear to be "less risk averse" because the US taxpayer has "got their back".

This paper closes with

"If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world."

Ah yes, to EVENTUALLY lower inequality, the USA needs to "improve the financial systems of less-well developed countries"

Perhaps the USA needs to improve its OWN financial system first?

Paul Woolley has suggested, the US and UK financial systems are 2 to 3 times they should be.

And the USA's various financial industry driven bubbles, the ZIRP rescue of the financial industry, and mortgage security fraud seem all connected back to the USA financial industry.

Inequality did not improve in the aftermath of these events as the USA helped preserve the elite class.

Maybe the authors have overlooked a massive home field opportunity?

That being that the USA should consider "improving" its own financial system to help inequality.

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:17 pm

In my model, eventually, we are all equally dead.

Lee , September 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

I'm glad to see that issues and views discussed pretty regularly here in more or less understandable English have been translated into Academese. Being a high risk averse plebe, who will not starve for lack of trade with China, but may have to pay a bit more for strawberries for lack of cheap immigrant labor, I count myself among the redistributionist economic nationalists.

jrs , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

I suspect strawberries would be grown elsewhere than the U.S., without cheap immigrant labor (unless picking them is somehow able to be automated).

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Yes, it's called u-pickum @ home ..

Right now I'm making raisins from the grapes harvested here at home .. enough to last for a year, or maybe two. Sure, it's laborous to some extent, but the supply chain is very short .. the cost, compared to buying the same amount at retait rates, is minuscule, and they're as 'organic' as can be. The point I'm trying to make is that wth some personal effort, we can all live lighter, live slower, and be, for the most part, contented.
Might as well step into collapse, gracefully, and avoid the rush, as per J. M. Greer's mantra.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 12:45 pm

The UK had become somewhat dependent on Switzerland for wristwatches prior to WW2, and all of the sudden France falls and that's all she wrote for imports.

Must've been a mad scramble to resurrect the business, or outsource elsewhere.

My wife and I were talking about what would happen if say the reign of error pushes us into war with China, and thanks to our just in time way of life, the goods on the shelves of most every retailer, would be plundered by consumers, and maybe they could be restocked a few times, but that's it.

Now, that would shock us to our core consumerism.

Inode _buddha , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

People might actually start learning how to fix stuff again, and value things that can be fixed.

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:39 pm

I recently purchased a cabinet/shelf for 20 tubmans, from a repurposing/recycling business, and, after putting a couple of hundred moar tubmans into it .. some of which included recycled latex paints and hardware .. transformed it into a fabulous stand-alone kitchen storage unit. If I were to purchase such at retail, it would most likely go for close to $800- $1000.00 easy !!
With care, this 'renewed' polecat heirloom will certainly outlive it's recreator, and pass on for generations henceforth.

Duck1 , September 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm

I thought a Tubman was a double sawbuck, or at least a Hamilton. Otherwise, you're doing it right kid.

HotFlash , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Oh well, Canada not on any of the charts. Again. We are most certainly chopped moose liver. Wonder what the selection criteria were?

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Yes, thank goodness there was no mention of Canada's failure to negotiate a trade treaty with our best friend. All of a sudden, Canadians seem to be the target of a lot of ill will in other articles.

JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm

I think it's just ill- informed jealousy. Us US mopes think Canadians are much better off than we Yanks, health care and such. You who live there have your own insights, of course. Trudeau and the Ford family and tar sands and other bits.

And some of us are peeved that you don't want us migrating to take advantage of your more beneficent milieu.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm

It's a different vibe up over, their housing bubble crested and is sinking, as the road to HELOC was played with the best intentions even more furiously than here in the heat of the bubble.

Can Canada bail itself out as we did in the aftermath, and keep the charade going?

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Do they have a sovereign currency, and as yet not exhausted real world extractable resources?

And I guess by "Canada" you are talking about the elite and the FIRE, right? "There are many Canadas " https://www.youtube.com/user/RedGreenTV

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Feel free to fill out that 8 inch high pile of Canadian immigration documentation, so ya'all can come on up and join the party. Or just jump on your pony and ride North into the Land of the Grandmother. Trudeau wants more people and has failed to offer proper sacrifice to the god Terminus, the god of borders, so .

Just don't move to "Van" unless you have a few million to drop on a "reno'ed" crack shack. When the god Pluto crawls back into the earth, the housing bubble will burst, and it's not going to be pretty.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

That's funny as our dam here is called the Terminus Reservoir, if the name fits

I'm just looking for an ancestral way out of what might prove to be a messy scene down under, i'd gladly shack up in one of many of my relatives basements if Max Mad breaks out here.

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Handwriting's been on the wall. Canada's very nice, not perfect, but what place is? And: It's not the imperial homeland.

JerryDenim , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Great article, interesting data points, but besides placing tariffs on Chinese imports there is nothing populist about Trump, just empty rhetoric. Highly regressive tax cuts for the wealthy, further deregulation, wanton environmental destruction, extremist right-wing ideologues as judges, a cabinet full of Wall Street finance guys, more boiler-plate Neo-Lib policies as far as I can tell.

I fear Trump and the Brexiters are giving populism a bad name. A functioning democracy should always elect populists. A government of elected officials who do not represent the public will is not really a democracy.

feox , September 28, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

That's ridiculous. Indeed, the Brexit campaign was all about othering the poor and powerless immigrants, as well as the cultural, artistic, urban and academic elites, never the the moneyed elites, not the 1%. The campaign involved no dicussion what's so ever of the actual numbers of wealth inequality.

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents.

How can anyone possibly write such a thing? The multi-trillion tax cut from Donald Trump represents a massive long time rise in inequality. Vis-à-vis Brexit, the entire campaign support for that mad endeavor came from free-trader fundamentalists who want to be free to compete with both hands in the global race-to-the-bottom while the EU is (barely) restraining them.

Trump and Brexit voters truly are irrational turkeys (that's saying a lot for anyone who's met an actual turkey) voting for Christmas.

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Some of us mopes who voted for Trump did so as a least-bad alternative to HER, just to try to kick the hornet's nest and get something to fly out: So your judgment is that those folks are "irrational turkeys," bearing in mind how mindless the Christmas and Thansgiving turkeys have been bred to be?

Better to arm up, get out in the street, and start marching and chanting and ready to confront the militarized police? I'd say, face it: as people here have noted there is a system in place, the "choices" are frauds to distract us every couple of years, and the vectors all point down into some pretty ugly terrain.

Bless those who have stepped off the conveyor, found little places where they can live "autarkically," more or less, and are waiting out the Ragnarok/Gotterdammerung/Mad Max anomie, hoping not to be spotted by the warbands that will form up and roam the terrain looking for bits of food and fuel and slaves and such. Like one survivalist I spotted recently says as his tag-line, "If you have stuff, you're a target. If you have knowledge. you have a chance–" this in a youtube video on how to revive a defunct nickel-cadmium drill battery by zapping it with a stick welder. (It works, by the way.)He's a chain smoker and his BMI must be close to 100, but he's got knowledge

precariat , September 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm

The papers's framing of the issues is curious: the populace has 'envy' of the well-off; and populism (read envy) rises when the economy is strong and inequality rises (read where's my yaht?).

The paper lacks acknowledgement of the corruption, fraud, and rigging of policy that rises when an overly financialized economy is 'good.' This contributes to inequality. Inequality is not just unequal, but extremely disproportionate distributions which cause real suffering and impoverishment of the producers. It follows (but not to the writer of this paper) that the citizens take offense at and objection to the disproprtionate takings of some and the meager receipts of the many. It's this that contributes to populism.

And the kicker: to save globalization, let's financialize the less developed economies to mitigate cross-border inequalities. Huh? Was not the discussion about developed nations' voters to rising inequality in face of globalization? The problem is not cross-border 'envy.' It's globalization instrinsically and how it is gamed.

Mark Pontin , September 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Short version: It's the looting, stupid.

Agreed.

knowbuddhau , September 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

I'm with Olga. It's good to see that voting "wrong" taken seriously, and seen as economically rational. Opposing globalization makes sense, even in the idiosyncratic usage of economics.

The trouble, of course, is that the world of economics is not the world we live in.

Why does the immigrant cross the border? Is it only for "pecuniary interests," only for the money? Then why do so many send most of it back across the border, in remittances?

If people in poor countries aren't willing to sacrifice for "luxuries," like a dignified human life, who was Simon Bolivar, Che Guevara, or more recently, Berta Cáceres?

Seems to be a weakness of economic models in general: it's inconceivable that people do things for other than pecuniary interests. In the reductionist terms of natural science, we're social primates, not mechanical information engines.

If this model were a back patio cart, like the one I'm building right now, I wouldn't set my beer on it. Looks like a cart from a distance, though, esp when you're looking for one.

Darthbobber , September 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm

To the extent that the backlash has irrational aspects in the way it manifests, I would suspect that it relates to the refusal of the self-styled responsible people to participate in opening more rational paths to solutions, or even to acknowledge the existence of a problem. When the allegedly responsible and knowledgeable actors refuse to act, or even see a need to act, it's hardly surprising that the snake oil vendors grow in influence.

Charlie , September 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

I'm always leery of t-test values being cited without the requisite sample size being noted. You need that to determine effect size. While the slope looks ominously valid for the regression model, effects could be weak and fail to show whether current account deficits are the true source. Financialization seems purposely left out of the model.

[Sep 27, 2018] Why Not a Merit-Based Immigration System by Scott McConnell

Notable quotes:
"... Salam's case is that America's legal immigration system needs be reformed on lines roughly similar to what the Trump administration now and others before it have long advocated: changing the rules to place a greater emphasis on the economic skills of immigrants while deemphasizing the role played by family "reunification" would ensure both that new immigrants are an economic plus to the economy and, more importantly, that they are more likely to integrate into the American cultural mainstream. ..."
"... First of all, Salam reminds us, an alarming number of recent immigrants and their families are poor. This does not mean that almost all of them have not improved their economic status by migration: they have. ..."
"... Salam explains that under the current system, most visas are doled out according to family ties -- not skills or education. And the larger the number of immigrants is from a given country, the lower their average earnings and educational outcomes will be in the U.S. Conversely, the harder it is for a given group to enter the United States, the more likely it is that immigrants will be drawn from the top of their country's pecking order. ..."
Sep 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Why Not a Merit-Based Immigration System? Reihan Salam's latest book makes the case for an overhaul along Trumpian lines.

It's hard to imagine a more needed contribution to America's immigration debate than Reihan Salam's civil, sober, and penetrating Melting Pot or Civil War? At a moment when the major dueling discourses revolve around lurid depictions of immigrant crime by one side, and appeals to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty and accusations of racism by the other, Salam's data-driven argument about the future consequences of today's immigration choices could not be more timely.

While Salam is the child of middle-class professionals from Bangladesh who settled in New York at a time when there were virtually no Bengali speakers in the city (there are now tens of thousands), apart from a few personal anecdotes, his book could have been written by an author of any ethnicity. Yet in our increasingly racialized debate, an argument made by a "son of immigrants" (as the book's subtitle announces) may be less likely to face summary dismissal from the centrist liberals and moderates who are its most important audience.

Salam's case is that America's legal immigration system needs be reformed on lines roughly similar to what the Trump administration now and others before it have long advocated: changing the rules to place a greater emphasis on the economic skills of immigrants while deemphasizing the role played by family "reunification" would ensure both that new immigrants are an economic plus to the economy and, more importantly, that they are more likely to integrate into the American cultural mainstream. This would put the U.S. more in line with the generally politically popular systems in place in Canada and Australia. The proposal is tempered, or balanced, by measures to shore up the condition of the American working poor and an amnesty giving long-term resident illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, as well as ambitious measures to enhance economic development in the Third World.

But the meat of Melting Pot or Civil War? is not in the proposal but in the getting to it -- a route which passes through numerous nuggets gleaned from contemporary research and a depressing if persuasive analysis of the consequences if America stays on its present course.

First of all, Salam reminds us, an alarming number of recent immigrants and their families are poor. This does not mean that almost all of them have not improved their economic status by migration: they have. A low-skilled job in the United States pays several times better than such work in many countries, so low-skilled migration is, without a doubt, a benefit to low-skilled migrants. Recent immigrants grateful for the opportunity to live in America may accept living in poverty, though Salam is right to remind us of the miserable conditions, redolent of the teeming tenements of the early 20th century, in which their lives often unfold. He makes the subtle point that part of the current appeal of America's major cities to upper middle-class professionals is the presence of a politically docile service class of low-skilled immigrants, many of them undocumented.

But the families such immigrants form tend to be poor as well: today's immigrants face headwinds to upward mobility that the storied Ellis Island generations did not. There was much more need in 1900 for unskilled labor than there is now, and no substantive gap then existed in education level between the immigrants and the general American population. The data Salam deploys is not overly dramatic but decisive nonetheless: children of immigrants now make up 30 percent of all low-income children (where they are 24 percent of the whole); roughly half of immigrant families have incomes within 200 percent of the poverty line; nearly a third of immigrant children grow up in families headed by someone without a high school diploma; the average Mexican immigrant has 9.4 years of schooling, rising to 12 in the second generation but flatlining after that.

As the gap between the earnings of American college graduates and others has grown in the past two generations, this means that the social problem of the intergenerational transmission of poverty is being intensified by the ever continuing flow of poor, unskilled immigrants, both legal and illegal. And while such immigrants may well be politically quiescent, their children are unlikely to be.

Why We Want Immigrants Who Add Value How to Resolve the Conservative Split Over Immigration

These somber facts are balanced, and in many ways veiled, by the immigrant success stories which Americans rightly celebrate. But while it may be unkind to say so, immigrants don't arrive as blank slates, mysteriously sorted out upon reaching these shores so that some become doctors and software entrepreneurs.

As Salam makes clear, successful immigrants tend to come from relatively rich and urbanized societies. The parents of Google founder Sergey Brin were accomplished scholars. An astounding 45 percent of immigrants from India -- who make up the latest version of a high-achieving "model minority" -- are Brahmins, members of the tiny Indian hereditary upper caste. Indians who come here tend to be "triple selected": most enter the country by way of high-skilled worker visas, which means they are products of India's highly competitive education system, which serves only a fraction of India's population. Similarly, Chinese immigrants tend to come from that country's college-educated elite.

Salam explains that under the current system, most visas are doled out according to family ties -- not skills or education. And the larger the number of immigrants is from a given country, the lower their average earnings and educational outcomes will be in the U.S. Conversely, the harder it is for a given group to enter the United States, the more likely it is that immigrants will be drawn from the top of their country's pecking order.

One might conceive of this as a stable system -- after all, there are many jobs for low-skilled immigrants. But of course immigrants have children, at rates far higher than the native born, and the children of lower-skilled immigrants make up a continually growing share of Americans at or near the poverty level. "The children of elite immigrants make their way into America's elite, where they add a much needed dash of superficial diversity, enough to make us forget their inconvenient working class counterparts." The result, of which there is already ample evidence among the Millennial cohort of immigrant children, is a growing population which has grown up in poverty, isn't doing especially well in income or education, and perceives the American dream cynically, as a kind of whites-only sham. This divide will influence our politics for the foreseeable future. The question is how much.

♦♦♦

While much of Salam's analysis is a deep dive into statistics of intergenerational poverty, educational outcomes, and the growing achievement gap, he doesn't shy from the ominous implications of the racialization of the immigration debate. There is ample evidence that college-educated Americans of all ethnicities marry one another at reasonable and growing rates, producing a fair number of mixed-race people who feel themselves part of the cultural mainstream. As scholars have long reminded us, "white" is a broad and fungible category in American history, and there is a fair prospect that the college-educated and middle classes will intermarry enough to produce a 21st-century version of the storied melting pot.

But that isn't the case with poorer immigrants, even as their children learn English. Current family unification statutes encourage poor, non-white immigrant communities to continually replenish their new arrivals. Thus there are two competing processes going on -- amalgamation, in which more educated immigrant families are joining the middle-class mainstream, intermarrying with whites and with one another, and racialization, in which a new immigrant group finds itself ghettoized and cut out of the mainstream. This latter phenomenon is most pronounced in some Mexican-American communities, which are demographically the largest immigrant groups, but exists in many immigrant communities.

It is in this subset, for example, where ISIS has found recruits, and where -- on a less dramatic level -- the Marxist Left is able to make inroads. As America's demography grows less white, the political salience of radical immigrants of color is likely to grow. While Salam exercises great restraint describing the phenomenon, his foreboding is unmistakable: "The danger, as I see it, is that as the logic of the melting pot fails to take hold, and as more newcomers are incorporated into disadvantaged groups, the level of interethnic tension will skyrocket, and we'll look back wistfully on the halcyon politics of the Trump years." Or again, "Imagine an America in which wealthy whites and Asians wall themselves off from the rest of society and low wage immigrants and their offspring constitute a new underclass."

Of course it is not merely racial minority immigrants who are tempted by political radicalism. The current extremist white backlash is widely noted by scholars and journalists. But among the liberal establishment it is viewed not as problem to be alleviated but a social development to be crushed. Salam observes immigration scholars who are scrupulous about reporting the ways immigration is making America less united, threatening social cohesion, "leading to greater divisions and tensions," while never considering reducing or reforming immigration (with greater emphasis on skills) as a possible answer to the problems. They hope -- against considerable social science evidence that political instability is endemic to multicultural societies -- that greater diversity will somehow bury ethnic conflict. This Salam calls the Backlash Paradox: while mass immigration contributes to bigotry and polarization, the only acceptable option among elites is to double down and hope the storm passes, as slowing the pace of immigration is considered a "callow surrender to bigotry."

I have focused on the social and political elements, but Salam's argument also relies a great deal on economics, much of it focused on economic choices molded by a relatively high-skilled or low-skilled labor force. His major point is that labor shortages spur technological innovation, while loose labor markets discourage it. Labor scarcity, Salam observes, has been the historical secret to American prosperity, spurring one labor-saving innovation after another. A high-immigration economy, with a completely elastic number of workers willing to work for a minimum wage or less, is an economy under a completely different calculus. There is no question we should prefer the first.

♦♦♦

I have only minor caveats with this outstanding book. It might be a necessary concession to the immigrationist lobby to maintain the raw number of immigrants as high as it is at present, but it seems likely that lowering it to, say, half a million a year, roughly the number urged by the Clinton administration's task force on immigration, would break the fever more quickly and lead to far more rapid assimilation of recent immigrants.

I find Salam's earnest plea for the United States to dramatically raise its spending to accelerate economic development in the Third World well intended, but likely futile. An answer which comes to mind is one that diplomat George F. Kennan suggested a quarter of a century ago, that the single greatest benefit the United States can deliver to the world's poor is to maintain itself as a relatively high civilization able to inspire by example, and provide help and insight to others seeking answers to their problems.

And though it is a subject in itself, I wish Salam had directly addressed the new leftist ideology built around the fighting of "white privilege" -- which now includes under its rubric everything from getting rid of standardized tests to delegitimizing police departments, railing against the First Amendment to ripping down statues of long-admired white Americans. This largely white-led phenomenon does far more to intensify nativist dread about being reduced to minority status than any racist agitation leveled against immigrants of color, however lamentable the latter might be.

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars .

[Sep 23, 2018] European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed Theresa May appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/22/euro-s22.html

From the Super Schadenfreude Press:

"UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered political humiliation in Salzburg, when European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed her appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

May was given only 10 minutes to address EU heads of state Wednesday, after dinner at the informal summit, during which she appealed to her audience, "You are participants in our debate, not just observers."

She said she had counted on at least supportive noises for her "serious and workable" plan, given that she was seeking to head off a potential challenge from the "hard-Brexit"/Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. She warned that the UK could be torn apart -- with respect to Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as by social tensions; that if her government fell, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party could win a general election; and cited the potential damage to the EU itself of lost trade, investment and military support from the UK.

Instead, her address was met with silence and her implied threats were stonewalled, as the main players within the EU combined the next day to declare her proposals to be "unworkable.

No matter how these conflicts play out, Britain and the whole of Europe face a worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU apart. The growth of both inter-imperialist and social antagonisms found dramatic form in Brexit, which the dominant sections of the City of London, big business, all the major parties and Britain's allies in the US and Europe all opposed. Yet two years later, May is fighting a desperate struggle against her anti-EU "hard-Brexit" faction, the US is led by a president who has declared his support for the breakup of the EU, and numerous far-right governments have taken power in part by exploiting popular hostility to EU-dictated austerity."

"worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU-(and hence NATO)- apart. " .

:O)

[Sep 22, 2018] The implications of US-China trade war - World Socialist Web Site

18 September 2018
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Popularity of National Socialism in capitalist country like Germany was exactly due to that process of corruption of working class who embassy stoped to question system as long as provided them with goods. ..."
"... Henceforth, most goods manufactured for US consumption were to be produced abroad, from Mexico to China. Once US based multinationals started down this road, European and even Japanese ones followed. This did not mean an increase in productive forces but a substitution of one labour force for another. ..."
"... Thus the rise of Chinese industry was as much a part of this process as the deindustrialisation of formerly prosperous parts of the US and the UK. This has nothing to do with the evolution of our species and everything to do with the evolution of capitalism. This is what I mean by globalisation. ..."
"... It has not eradicated national borders but is a major factor in the recent development of far right nationalism in Europe. It is a strong contributor to the restructuring of western economies so that only a minority of British workers have full time permanent jobs. It is also used as leverage to drive down wages in western economies. ..."
"... I do not believe what I mean by globalisation is progressive at all. It has been pushed by the most reactionary political forces in western societies as an integral part of what the WSWS calls a social counter revolution. As the WSWS again points out it makes the preservation of national welfare states or a decent standard of living for working class people impossible. I am not calling for this to be reversed under capitalism. ..."
"... "...globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries." ..."
"... As if domestic production were not the same thing. The author is essentially arguing for "lesser evil" exploitation in the interests of society as a whole. Reformists always do. ..."
"... "The crisis also exposed in full glare another of the central myths of the capitalist order -- that the state is somehow a neutral or independent organisation committed to regulating social and economic affairs in the interests of society as a whole." - Ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers ..."
"... "Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people." ..."
"... The most important theoretical source of his thinking is his own work "The General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest" which is available to read or download free online. ..."
"... The US wants to reinforce it's declining global hegemonic position at any cost. Now they started with economic war against countries they see as not cooperating to their demands, but under current conditions this could easily transform into Global war at some point in future. ..."
Sep 22, 2018 | www.wsws.org

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis ten years ago, the leaders of the world's major powers pledged that never again would they go down the road of protectionism which had such disastrous consequences in the 1930s -- deepening the Great Depression and contributing to the outbreak of world war in 1939.

Yesterday US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in what the Washington Post described as "one of the most severe economic restrictions ever imposed by a US president."

A levy of 10 percent will be imposed starting from September 24 and will be escalated to 25 percent in 2019 if the US does not receive what it considers to be a satisfactory agreement. The new tariffs, which will cover more than 1,000 goods, come on top of the 25 percent tariff already imposed on $50 billion worth of industrial products. Trump has threatened further measures on the remaining Chinese exports to the US totalling more than $250 billion.

China has threatened retaliatory action including tariffs and other, as yet unspecified measures, against the US, meaning that the world's number one and number two economies are locked into a rapidly escalating trade war that will have global consequences.

Announcing the decision, Trump called on China to take "swift action" to end what he called its "unfair trade practices" and expressed the hope that the trade conflict would be resolved.

But there is little prospect of such an outcome because, while the US is demanding that the trade deficit with China be reduced, the conflict does not merely centre on that issue. China has made offers to increase its imports from the US, all of which have been rejected. The key US demand is that the Chinese government completely abandon its program of economic development and remain subservient to the US in high-tech economic sectors.

As the position paper issued by Washington in May put it: "China will cease providing market-distorting subsidies and other types of government support that can contribute to the creation or maintenance of excess capacity in industries targeted by the Made in China 2025 industrial plan."

In other words, China must completely scrap the foundational structures of its economy so that it presents no threat to the economic dominance of US capitalism, a dominance which the US intends to maintain, if it considers necessary, by military means. This was made clear earlier this year when Washington designated China as a "strategic competitor," that is, a potential military enemy. This is the inherent, objective, logic of the latest trade war measures.

Their full significance can only be grasped when viewed with the framework of the historical development of the global capitalist economy.

After the disastrous decade of the 1930s, and as the world plunged into war, leading figures within the Roosevelt administration recognised that this situation was due in no small measure to the division of the world into rival trade and economic blocs which tariff and other trade restrictions had played a major role in creating.

Post-war planning centred on trying to overcome this contradiction between the global economy and its division into rival great powers and blocs through the development of a mechanism that ensured the expansion of world trade. This was the basis of the series of measures set in place in the immediate aftermath of the war: the Bretton Woods monetary system which tied major currencies to the dollar in fixed exchange rates, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that sought to bring down tariff barriers and the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to ensure international economic collaboration.

These measures, however, did not overcome the inherent contradictions of capitalism, above all between the global economy and the nation-state system. Rather, they sought to contain and mitigate them within a system based on the overwhelming economic dominance of the US.

But the growth of the world capitalist economy and the strengthening of the other major powers undermined the very foundations on which they were based -- the absolute dominance of the US. Within the space of a generation, the weakening of the US position was revealed in August 1971 when it scrapped the Bretton Woods monetary system declaring that the dollar would no longer be redeemable for gold.

The period since then has seen the ongoing weakening of the position of the US, which was graphically revealed in the financial meltdown ten years ago when the US financial system was shown to be a house of cards based on rampant speculation and outright criminal activity. This situation has continued in the subsequent decade, threatening, another, even more disastrous, financial crisis.

The US is now not only confronted with the economic power of its European rivals but a major new one in the form of China. It is striving to reverse this situation. As Leon Trotsky explained some eighty years ago, the hegemony of the US would assert itself most powerfully not in conditions of boom but above all in a crisis when it would use every means -- economic and military -- against all rivals to maintain its position.

The trade war measures against China are only one expression of this process. The US has already carried out protectionist measures against Europe and Japan through the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium and has threatened tariffs on cars and auto parts, which will be invoked unless they join its push on China.

And as the China tariffs are imposed, top officials of the European Union are meeting to discuss how they might overcome the financial sanctions the US will impose against European companies if they maintain economic ties with Iran after November 4 following the unilateral abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal.

The deal was not overturned because Iran had breached the agreement -- international agencies found that it had fully complied. Rather, the United States unilaterally abrogated the treaty in order to strengthen the strategic position of the US in the Middle East by countering the influence of Iran, and because European corporations stood to benefit from the opening up of new economic opportunities in that country at the expense of their US rivals.

Now the State Department has warned that European companies are "on the railroad tracks" if they defy US sanctions and firms that deal with the "enemy" will be barred from access to the US financial system.

Writing in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky explained that the interdependence of every country in the global economy meant that the program of economic nationalism, of the kind now being practised by the Trump administration, was a reactionary "utopia" insofar as it set itself the task of harmonious national economic development on the basis of private property.

"But it is a menacing reality insofar as it is a question of concentrating all the economic forces of the nation for the preparation of a new war," he wrote five years before the outbreak of World War II.

This "menacing reality" is now once again expressed in the fact that the trade war measures against China, as well as those against Europe and Japan, have all been invoked on "national security" grounds. Just as the US prepares for war, so too do all the other major powers. This drive does not arise from the heads of the capitalist politicians -- their actions are only the translation into politics of the objective logic and irresolvable contradictions of the capitalist system over which they preside.

But there is another more powerful logic at work. The very development of globalised production, which has raised the contradiction of the outmoded nation-state system with its rival great powers to a new peak of intensity, has laid the foundations for a planned world socialist economy. And it has created in the international working class, unified at an unprecedented level, the social force to carry it out.

The latest Trump trade war measures underscore the urgency for the political and theoretical arming of the working class with the program of world socialist revolution, fought for by the International Committee of the Fourth International, if civilisation is to go forward and the plunge into barbarism averted.

Nick Beams

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Warren Duzak4 days ago

Beams excellent piece included:
"As the position paper issued by Washington in May put it: "China will
cease providing market-distorting subsidies and other types of government support that can contribute to the creation or maintenance of excess capacity in industries targeted by the Made in China 2025 industrial plan."

This issue of "government support" in China is reflected in the U.S. but in a different way. Nashville and Tennessee governments alone have given hundreds of millions of dollars in "tax incentives," payment for worker training and outright "grants" to corporations in "government support."
Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) got millions for, of all things, furniture for new offices which included thousands of dollars for a guitar-shaped table.
Gaylord's Opryland Resort got almost $14 million from the city to build a $90 million hotel Waterpark that would only be open to hotel guests!
The state and its capitol are prepared to give Amazon more than $1.5 billion to have the corporation move is second U.S. headquarters here.
Like the Chinese government and oligarchs, neither state nor city will reveal the details or total amount.
As the WSWS has so correctly observed before, "the hypocrisy is breathtaking."

Jerome_Stern5 days ago
I should say I do not agree that globalised production is a beneficial or positive economic development. I accept that as a by product there is a positive political result namely the creation and expansion of the international working class. But the only reason for globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries. If the cost of labour, taking into account currency exchange rates as well as wage levels, were the same in every country and region, there would be no advantage in producing most commodities in Asia for sale in North America or Europe (or vice versa). Also, I do not accept that free trade is in everyone's interest. The only argument ever advanced in it's favour by economists, the comparative advantage argument, is spurious. Even its originators, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, accepted that the benefits would only apply if capital was immobile across national boundaries, which hardly applies today. The US economy's industrial growth, though the result of several factors, was only possible because the US rejected free trade in favour of protective tariffs which protected its infant industries from foreign competition. What is the central fallacy in the comparative advantage argument is that the prosperity of the majority of a country's citizens under capitalism depends on a strong, capital intensive, manufacturing sector, but which also requires a large labour input. Only those jobs can pay a sufficiently high wage to workers. Their spending power also invigorates the whole economy.
Kalen Jerome_Stern4 days ago
Your quite reasonable concerns are partially addressed here with Quasi-Marxist analysis:

FALLACY OF FREE MARKET AND FREE TRADE: A THEORETICAL VIEW.
https://contrarianopinion.w...

Thy major point about this issue global or local is often completely missed namely that this dispute have nothing to do with Workers Socialist Revolution but to perhaps see ways how to save capitalism in a way of sharing more wealth with working class, how to suppress class struggle with Bread and Games or War, an old Roman method of divide and conquer.

Hence, capital controls, tarrifs , barriers, subsidies are instruments of having any possibility of real social policies in capitalism system making it more livable and longer lasting than in case of intensified pressure on working class and class struggle of globalism versus nationalism.

Popularity of National Socialism in capitalist country like Germany was exactly due to that process of corruption of working class who embassy stoped to question system as long as provided them with goods.

Little did they know, that they were in 1930 confronted with no permanent political solution to their class issues via improvement of standard of living and importance of their labor on the propaganda spectrum,but with dead end politics of submission to one political sellouts or another since their forced unity was just subordinated to capitalist imperative of ufettered economic and military growth via extreme exploitation.

And that is what's wrong with nationalism namely it is shutting down paths of class struggle toward class liberation, as it neuters this struggle.

Jerome_Stern Joe Williams4 days ago
There is a difference between the growth of global productive capacity and globalisation. Prior to the latter process, manufacturing capacity was increased including by western investment in developing countries, especially in Latin America. But production in those countries was for local regional and national markets.

The US accepted competition from the German economy as a price to be paid for avoiding the postwar threat of socialism. But the Japanese export driven model of growth was eventually unacceptable. The US demanded the Japanese destroy this model by raising their own currency to a level which made their exports much less competitive. The Japanese rich were given financial opportunities in the US as compensation.

However, when the South Koreans and other nations copied the Japanese model, the US government and US multinationals radically changed their economic policy. A conscious choice was made by the Reagon administration to export manufacturing jobs en masse to developing countries as well as attacking the incomes of US workers who had jobs.

Henceforth, most goods manufactured for US consumption were to be produced abroad, from Mexico to China. Once US based multinationals started down this road, European and even Japanese ones followed. This did not mean an increase in productive forces but a substitution of one labour force for another.

Thus the rise of Chinese industry was as much a part of this process as the deindustrialisation of formerly prosperous parts of the US and the UK. This has nothing to do with the evolution of our species and everything to do with the evolution of capitalism. This is what I mean by globalisation.

It has not eradicated national borders but is a major factor in the recent development of far right nationalism in Europe. It is a strong contributor to the restructuring of western economies so that only a minority of British workers have full time permanent jobs. It is also used as leverage to drive down wages in western economies.

Of course in recent years the Chinese and Indian economies have grown under these policies so that there is now an increase of global capacity. Nor do I believe this process has led to a genuinely more efficient system of production and distribution. To produce products in one part of the world for distribution to another part half way around the world is very inefficient, if the product could be made nearer to the point where it would be used. It however becomes profitable if the labour used to produce it is much cheaper than that available where the the object is to be sold.

I do not believe what I mean by globalisation is progressive at all. It has been pushed by the most reactionary political forces in western societies as an integral part of what the WSWS calls a social counter revolution. As the WSWS again points out it makes the preservation of national welfare states or a decent standard of living for working class people impossible. I am not calling for this to be reversed under capitalism.

That seems impossible. Only the overthrow of capitalism offers the possibility of positive change. But under international socialism, globalised production chains will finally be seen for what they are, an unnecessary and inefficient encumbrance on humanity.

Joe Williams Jerome_Stern3 days ago
I think you are largely confusing globalisation with imperialism. I think you are also misunderstanding the wsws position. The wsws does not call for xenophobic or nationalist policies to close borders and keep workers imprisoned in their home countries to be used as a captive labor force by the domestic bourgeoisie. The wsws calls for an internationalist and proletarian socialist movement in conformity with that advocated by the workers movement ever since the publication of the communist manifesto.
Hermit Crab Jerome_Stern3 days ago
profitability =/= efficiency
Hermit Crab Jerome_Stern2 days ago
I really could not care less what you call it. I just want people to start treating each other better. What makes those with sticky fingers think that they are so G.D. better than everyone else that they can condemn whole segments to poverty and even death, all for the sake of their bits of imaginary ego-boosts?

ALL of the "isms" in the world have never worked out a justification for greed and the lust for power. No matter what the system, crooked people always try to exploit others, and blame justify it all on their "good genes". (edited)

Capitalism is no better or worse because it just doesn't matter what the system is, the crooks will always cheat that system to get more than everyone else.

denis ross Joe Williams4 days ago
An interesting theory to describe what is essentially creation of a world customs union based on the model that created Germany in 1871, the Zollverein. Spreading the customs union (Zollverein) worldwide was the reason for the two world wars--instead of maintaining a world federation politically and economically. The United Nations was designed to be a federation, but under post-1945 changes in the USA and subsequent pressures on the UN and its member states, it began developing into a union, not a federation. This was accompanied with creation of a global Zollverein, tariff free borders and free trade.

The difference politically between a union and a federation is that in a federation the member states award limited operating powers to a central coordinating body which does what the members want; in a union the central body holds all the powers and tells the members what to do.

sumwunyumaynotno denis ross4 days ago
The United Nations "holds all the powers and tells the members what to do" ? That's news to me. As far as I can tell, the members do what they damn well please. The UN is more like a fractured federation with a nearly impotent central body - the so-called "Security Council" - which issues edicts but has no enforcement power. Same with the World Court.
Hermit Crab sumwunyumaynotnoa day ago
The UN was designed by the victors of WWII to be "crippled", mere window-dressing as a calming salve for the developing nations. From the start, it was meant to be largely ineffective as the world's policeman and justice system .

All the nation states with any significant power are still more interested in preserving as much their own power and hegemonic control as possible.

Greg Jerome_Stern4 days ago
"...globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries."

As if domestic production were not the same thing. The author is essentially arguing for "lesser evil" exploitation in the interests of society as a whole. Reformists always do.

"The crisis also exposed in full glare another of the central myths of the capitalist order -- that the state is somehow a neutral or independent organisation committed to regulating social and economic affairs in the interests of society as a whole." - Ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers

Hermit Crab Greg3 days ago
I suppose the determination of what constitutes the "interests of society as a whole" depends on which end of the stick one's "society" is holding.
Greg Jerome_Sterna day ago
"However my fundamental advocacy of policy would be that of international socialism the result of which would be the handing of power to the working class to be exercised democratically ."

The "handing of power" from whom exactly?

As it is now, the minority holds the power. So it's reasonable to think you mean they would hand the power over to the majority.

Which would be silly. But whether or not that was your meaning, "the handing of power to the working class to be exercised democratically" besides being exactly backwards, is an opportunist "understanding" of Marxism. It implies a perspective where the state does not need to be destroyed.

"The crucial question for Marx was what was the social material force -- the class -- created by capitalist society itself, which would be the agency, the driving force, of this transformation." - A promotion of the "life-style" politics of the pseudo-left

It's a version of the frequently and historically repeated goal of replacing one petty bourgeoisie minority with another, betraying the material interests of the working class and the revolution every time.

It seems like you might have just mentioned that phrase as an aside but it might indicate the deeper problem.

Before you start analyzing which policies might be recommended (which seems to be mainly what interests you) you have to understand the class nature of the problem. That doesn't come down only to understanding that there are two classes in struggle in society and then applying your everyday petty bourgeois thinking to it.

Have you read David North's Lenin, Trotsky and the Marxism of the October Revolution ? It was written back in March yet it's still posted on the wsws main page--for a reason.

It provides a concise explanation of some of the fundamental ideas and way of thinking you have to understand if you want to have any kind of intelligent conversation about socialism.

sumwunyumaynotno Jerome_Stern4 days ago
Nick Beams did not say that "globalised production chains employed represent a genuinely beneficial development in some deep sense." He said that such an outcome is impossible under capitalism and the system of competing nation-states.

The only "deep sense" is that he said it would be possible for globalization to have a positive effect for humanity if the international working class were able to abolish capitalism, the pursuit of private profit, warring nation-states, and institute socialism.

imaduwa5 days ago
Thank you comrade Nick Beams. US's century is 20th and a bygone one. You finely point out on the basis of Trotskysm the mortal danger that humanity faces resulting from the inter-imperialist rivalry that is escalating by the day.

Besides, the US's taking up of its rival China, the second biggest economy, in trade war pose a military confrontation to which Russia could be attracted on to China side.

Also Russia has been taken up by American imperialism independently as a target. Brexit hard or soft would also confound economic nationalism that is gathering momentum hugely. US sanctions on Iran is bound to sharpen the conflict between European imperialists. Also India appears to be in crisis on whether to abide by US dictats as per its Iranian economic connection especially on oil purchase. US's increasing protectionism has already gone out of control as per its implications to global polity and military activity. In view of this critical situation the role of the working class, national and international, should determine the future of humanity. Role of the revolutionary triumvirate, ICFI/SEP/IYSSE, is of paramount importance. I appeal to national working classes to build SEP as your national party of the socialist revolution. I appeal to youth and students to build your national chapters of the IYSSE in schools, universities etc. as quickly as possible. World war is haunting. Very existannce of the humanity on this palnet is uncertain, if we unitedly as workers, youth and students fail to empower the party of the world revolution, ICFI. Victory to international socialist revolution. Death to protectionism whose major advocate is US capitalism/imperialism. Down with the psudo left and the trade unions.

Jerome_Stern5 days ago
Keynes, who designed the Bretton Woods system, also proposed an international banking system and currency (called the Bancor). The purpose was to prevent the kind of unbalanced world trade which now dominates the global economy. Under his proposed system, countries with chronic trade surpluses would be penalised, thus preventing a situation like the present with some nations being massive exporters and others massive importers. Instead, all countries would hover around balanced trade where their imports equaled their exports in value. The US government told Keynes to shut up about this plan or they would cancel their promised postwar loans to the UK. The reason was that at the time the US planned to be a net exporter. Incidentally, Keynes warned that if the system of managed currency exchange rates were abandoned, the financial markets would become a "virtual senate" which would have the power to dictate economic policies to nation states.
Greg Jerome_Stern4 days ago
"Keynes, who designed the Bretton Woods system, also proposed an international banking system and currency (called the Bancor). The purpose was to prevent the kind of unbalanced world trade which now dominates the global economy."

Perpetually caught in a "lesser evil" loop of some variety or another from which the reformist never escapes, applying the same failed (ruling class) logic over, and over and over and over...

"But this solves nothing because, as Marx's analysis showed, the crises of capitalism cannot be overcome by reforms to the monetary system because, while they necessarily express themselves there, they were rooted in the very foundations of the capitalist economy, in its DNA so to speak -- that is, in the social relations based on profit and the market system." -Ten years after Lehman: New financial crises in the making

Jerome_Stern Greg4 days ago
Keynes' suggestion would have "solved" or rather prevented one problem, but not every problem of capitalism. Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people.

He was consciously trying to save capitalism from itself and said so. But you rightly point out there is a major problem with this thinking, namely that it ignores the self interest of governments and capitalists alike, who ignore such concepts of "enlightened" self interest in favour of short term advantage.

Political reality intruded in Keynes' well-intentioned designs immediately as I've mentioned and the whole Bretton Woods edifice was knocked down as soon as it proved inconvenient for US interests.

Similarly, I strongly suspect Keynes would have disapproved of financial deregulation, but the underlying development of US capitalism led to unstoppable political pressure for its implementation.

Greg Jerome_Stern3 days ago
"Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people."

For the life of me I can't figure why you'd praise a policy that more effectively persuades or controls the masses to their own detriment and to the economic benefit of a minority--other than to conclude that like Keynes and the rest of the petty bourgeoisie, you're a reformist.

Jerome_Stern Warren Duzak4 days ago
The most important theoretical source of his thinking is his own work "The General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest" which is available to read or download free online.

I only recently learned of his Bancor proposal in an article by George Monbiot originally published in the Guardian. I read it on the Znet website, but I can't remember when.

As for his quote about the financial markets becoming a virtual senate, I read that in some article about finance but don't remember the source. Sorry I can't be more helpful. There could be other books on his theories but he is somewhat unfashionable as mainstream economics has mostly reverted to a more ideologically driven right wing position.

Charlotte Ruse5 days ago
"In January, while Trump was requesting Congress to allocate funds for the US-Mexico border wall, China sent delegates to Chile, inviting Latin American leaders to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. Months later, as Trump bullied US allies at the NATO summit, China was wrapping up the "16+1 summit" in Bulgaria, where Chinese investment and diplomatic relations were marketed to Central and Eastern European leaders. And most recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his travels throughout Africa, where he was visiting with heads of state and deepening China's relationships with the continent of the future, while America picks a one-sided trade fight with Rwanda."

The US "makes war" while China makes business deals. Pick your poison--two capitalists countries controlled by oligarchs which can only offer the working-class continued exploitation.

https://www.geopoliticalmon...

Sebouh805 days ago
An Excellent piece of article that explains clearly the trajectory that got us into US-China trade war, and what this means for the Global Capitalist System going forward. If we remember when trade war topic was first brought into picture Trump administration officials were saying imposing tariffs on China and Europe were the only way to correct the unfair trade balances. However, as the months progressed it quickly became known that US officials were using unfair trade practices of China as a scapegoat to demand further concessions from the Chinese authorities. These concessions include complete dismantlement of Made in China 2025 program and put a hold to their Silk Road initiative. In other words, Donald Trump and the entire American ruling circles see China as an existential long term threat and they are using trade war as a weapon to contain China's rising political and economical ambitions.

For now Trump is increasing the tariffs so as to force the Chinese leadership to acquiesce to his conditions. Of course, I would expect in the coming days Chinese authorities to rebuff this latest round of sanctions and that they would retaliate their own tariffs.

On the other hand, the Trump administration has put Iran under severe sanctions, and they also warned all big European Multinational corporations like Total and others to stop doing business with Iran after November. So as we can see we are in a very precarious Global situation right now due to rising contradictions between the needs of Global economy and nation states.

The US wants to reinforce it's declining global hegemonic position at any cost. Now they started with economic war against countries they see as not cooperating to their demands, but under current conditions this could easily transform into Global war at some point in future.

[Sep 22, 2018] A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington

Sep 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Euractiv with AFP: Belgian inquest implicates UK in phone spying
https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/belgian-inquest-implicates-uk-in-phone-spying/

A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington, it was revealed on Thursday (20 September).

The report, which summarises a five-year judicial inquiry, is almost complete and was submitted to the office of Justice Minister Koen Geens, a source close to the case told AFP, confirming Belgian press reports

The matter will now be discussed within Belgium's National Security Council, which includes the Belgian Prime Minister with top security ministers and officials.

Contacted by AFP, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office and the cabinet of Minister Geens refused to comment .
####

NO. Shit. Sherlock.

So the real question is that if this has known since 2013, why now? BREXIT?

[Sep 21, 2018] On Brexit, UK Negotiators Have Adopted a Hard Bargaining Strategy

Notable quotes:
"... The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success. ..."
"... The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). ..."
"... You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf ..."
"... The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor. ..."
"... I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium. ..."
"... The NATO establishment is about "making war," ..."
"... All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers. ..."
"... In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way ..."
"... The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. ..."
"... I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum. ..."
"... Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something. ..."
"... Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers. ..."
"... The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway). ..."
"... The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil. ..."
"... I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. ..."
"... I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer. ..."
"... But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem. ..."
"... A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically . ..."
"... British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal. ..."
"... Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states. ..."
"... As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess? ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. While the specific observations in this post will be very familiar to readers (you've said the same things in comments!), I beg to differ with calling the Government's Brexit negotiating stance a strategy. It's bad habit plus lack of preparation and analysis.

And the UK's lack of calculation and self-awareness about how it is operating means it will be unable to change course.

By Benjamin Martill, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum where he focuses on Europe after Brexit. He is based at LSE IDEAS, the London School of Economics's foreign policy think tank. The Dahrendorf Forum is a joint research venture between LSE and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Originally published at openDemocracy

But is this the best strategy for advancing British interests? Here is the argument based on the findings of a recent Dahrendorf Forum working paper .

All eyes in British politics are on the negotiations between the UK and the EU over the terms of the forthcoming British withdrawal from the Union, or Brexit. Surprisingly, questions of bargaining strategy – once the preserve of diplomats and niche academic journals – have become some of the most defining issues in contemporary British politics.

The New Politics of Bargaining

Cabinet disagreements over the conduct of the negotiations led to the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson in early July 2018 and the issue continues to divide the ruling Conservative party. Theresa May's most recent statements have all addressed the question of how hard she has pushed Brussels in the talks.

But is the hard bargaining strategy appropriate, or will it ultimately harm the UK? The salience of this question should occasion deeper analysis of the fundamentals of international bargaining, given the extent to which the course of British politics will be determined by the government's performance (or perceived performance) in the Brexit talks.

Driving a Hard Bargain

A hard-bargaining strategy isn't necessarily a poor one. To the extent it is workable, it may even represent the sensible option for the UK.

Hard bargaining is characterised by negative representations of negotiating partners, unwillingness to make concessions, issuance of unrealistic demands, threats to damage the partner or exit the negotiations, representations of the talks in zero-sum terms, failure to provide argumentation and evidence, and withholding of information. From diplomats' portrayal of the EU as an uncooperative and bullying negotiating partner to a set of demands recognised as unrealistic in Brussels and Britain alike, the UK's approach to the Brexit negotiations scores highly on each of these measures.

The consensus in the academic literature is generally that hard bargaining works only where a given party has a relative advantage . Powerful states have an incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since by doing so they will be able to extract greater concessions from weaker partners and maximise the chance of achieving an agreement on beneficial terms.

But weaker actors have less incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since they stand to lose more materially if talks break down and reputationally if they're seen as not being backed by sufficient power,

So which is Britain?

Power Distribution

The success of hard bargaining depends on the balance of power. But even a cursory examination would seem to confirm that the UK does not hold the upper hand in the negotiations. Consider three standard measures of bargaining power: a country's economic and military capabilities, the available alternatives to making a deal, and the degree of constraint emanating from the public.

When it comes to capabilities, the UK is a powerful state with considerable economic clout and greater military resources than its size would typically warrant. It is the second-largest economy in the EU (behind Germany) and its GDP is equal to that of the smallest 19 member states. And yet in relative terms, the combined economic and military power of the EU27 dwarves that of the UK: the EU economy is five times the size of the UK's.

Next, consider the alternatives. A 'no deal' scenario would be damaging for both the UK and the EU, but the impact would be more diffuse for the EU member states. They would each lose one trading partner, whereas the UK would lose all of its regional trading partners. Moreover, the other powers and regional blocs often cited as alternative trading partners (the US, China, the Commonwealth, ASEAN) are not as open as the EU economy to participation by external parties, nor are they geographically proximate (the greatest determinant of trade flows), nor will any deal be able to replicate the common regulatory structure in place in the EU. This asymmetric interdependence strongly suggests that the UK is in greater need of a deal than the EU.

Finally, consider the extent of domestic constraints. Constraint enhances power by credibly preventing a leader from offering too generous a deal to the other side. On the EU side the constraints are clear: Barnier receives his mandate from the European Council (i.e. the member states) to whom he reports frequently. When asked to go off-piste in the negotiations, he has replied that he does not have the mandate to do so. On the UK side, by contrast, there is no such mandate. British negotiators continually cite Eurosceptic opposition to the EU's proposals in the cabinet, the Conservative party, and the public, but they are unable to guarantee any agreement will receive legislative assent, and cannot cite any unified position.

Perceptions of Power

But the real power distribution is not the only thing that matters. While the EU is the more powerful actor on objective criteria, a number of key assumptions and claims made by the Brexiteers have served to reinforce the perception that Britain has the upper hand.

First, on the question of capabilities, the discourse of British greatness (often based on past notions of power and prestige) belies the UK's status as a middle power (at best) and raises unrealistic expectations of what Britain's economic and military resources amount to. Second, on the question of alternatives, the oft-repeated emphasis on 'global Britain' and the UK's stated aim to build bridges with its friends and allies around the globe understates the UK's reliance on Europe, the (low) demand for relations with an independent Britain abroad, and the value of free trade agreements or other such arrangements with third countries for the UK. Third, on the question of domestic constraint, the post-referendum discourse of an indivisible people whose wishes will be fulfilled only through the implementation of the Brexit mandate belies the lack of consensus in British politics and the absence of a stable majority for either of the potential Brexit options, including the 'no deal', 'hard', or 'soft' variants of Brexit. Invoking 'the people' as a constraint on international action, in such circumstances, is simply not credible.

Conclusion

Assumptions about Britain's status as a global power, the myriad alternatives in the wider world, and the unity of the public mandate for Brexit, have contributed to the overstatement of the UK's bargaining power and the (false) belief that hard bargaining will prove a winning strategy.

Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power. This is not 'treasonous', as ardent Brexiteers have labelled similar nods to reality, but is rather the only way to ensure that strategies designed to protect the national interest actually serve this purpose. Power is a finite resource that cannot be talked into existence. Like a deflating puffer fish, the UK's weakness will eventually become plain to see. The risk is that before this occurs, all bridges will be burned, all avenues exhausted, and all feathers ruffled.

The arguments in this blog are based on the findings of a Dahrendorf Forum working paper by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger titled ' Cultures of Negotiation: Explaining Britain's Hard Bargaining in the Brexit Negotiations '.

The opinions expressed in this blog contribution are entirely those of the author and do not represent the positions of the Dahrendorf Forum or its hosts Hertie School of Governance and London School of Economics and Political Science or its funder Stiftung Mercator.


larry , September 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

I tend to agree that there is no real strategy on the UK's part. May resembles a broken record, where she says much the same thing over and over again, seemingly expecting a different response each time. Although Einstein said that he probably never made the claim about what insanity consists of, it is often attributed to him -- doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. How the government expects that this sort of behavior will bring desirable results is beyond me.

Schofield , September 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

Both UK and EU politicians are talking past each other. Neither side understands there are two key issues. Firstly, not understanding the economic effects stemming from the failure to understand how money is created and how it can be manipulated for global trading advantage. Secondly, that the UK is high up the list for "cultural tightness" and the reasons for this.

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6df109_a5da34d6a9ae4114be82ccf4b024a2b2.pdf

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 10:37 am

The other element of course of a negotiation is getting potential allies to roll up behind you. At the start of this the UK had a series of potential 'friends' it could call on – eurosceptics governments in Eastern Europe, close historic friends and political like minded governments in Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. And of course non-EU countries like India or the US with historic links.

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those though its heavy handed negotiations or laughable lack of political empathy.

It must be emphasised that the current Irish government is ideologically and instinctively very pro-London. And yet, today RTE is reporting about the latest meeting between May and Varadkar:

The source said there was "an open exchange of views" between both sides, with the Irish delegation emphasising that the time was short and "we need to get to the stage where we can consider a legal text" on the backstop.

The source described British proposals so far as "only an outline, and we haven't seen specific proposals from the British side."

This can only be translated as 'what the hell are they playing at?'

The Indians of course were amusedly baffled by the British assumption that they would welcome open trade (without lots of new visas for Indian immigrants). Trump just smelt the blood of a wounded animal. The Russians are well

Jim A. , September 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

"an open exchange of views" Which is a diplomat's way of saying that there was a shouting match and no agreement.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm

I imagine it as being a little like this (not work safe if you have audio on).

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

Mercy! I will save and share this. Thank you, Pu-kun.

Fazal Majid , September 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

The British cited the EU's inability to conclude a free-trade agreement with India as one example of the EU's failings a revitalized Global Britain would no longer be shackled by. That's quite rich considering the FTA was torpedoed when the British Home Secretary vetoed increased visas for the Indians. Her name was Theresa May.

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm

True? Comedy gold!

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 5:20 am

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those

Somehow?

The brits basically said: We are special people, much, much better, richer and stronger than you sorry lot of Peons to Brussels(tm), so now you shall see sense and give us what we want this week; you can call it your tribute if you like (because we don't care what you like :)

Half the Danes are fed up with the whole thing and the other half would be egging on a hard Brexit if only they could – knowing it will likely take out at least some of the worst and most overleveraged (and gorged with tax-paid subsidies) Anti-Environmentalist Danish industrial farmers, their bankers too. And diminish the power of their lobbyists: "Landbrug & Fødevarer"!

The good part is that: the British and the Danish governments have managed to make "being ruled by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels" look like a pretty much OK & decent deal, considering the alternative options: Being ruled by our local crazies, straight-up nutters and odious nincompoops (a word i like), half of whom, to top it up, are probably mere soulless proxies for those ghouls that are running Washington DC.

Tom Stone , September 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

Always bet on stupid.
Because human stupidity is infinite.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

Though it often fits neatly into one of four categories, described here:

"The basic laws of human stupidity,"

http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

Seems we humans are pretty good at inventing negative-sum games that we belieeeve are zero-sum

Watt4Bob , September 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

It seems more and more to me, that never ending class warfare, and its current emphasis on austerity, leaves us unable to envision alternate routes to economic health.

The neo-liberal consensus mandates that our ruling class never questions its own tactics, ie dog-whistle racism to distract and divide the lower classes to enable all the looting.

So on both sides of the Atlantic, the rulers of English speakers stir up resentment amongst those at the bottom in order to secure votes, and maintain power, while never intending to follow through on promises to provide tangible material benefits to their constituents.

The looting goes on, the trail of broken promises grows longer, and the misery deepens.

The issue being ignored is that the folks at the bottom have reached the limit of their ability to maintain life and limb in the face of downward economic pressure.

We've finally reached the end game, we in America have been driven to Trumpism, and in Britain they've been driven to Brexit by the clueless efforts of pols to maintain power in the face of electorates who have decided they have had enough, and will absolutely not take the SOS anymore.

So we have the nonsensical situation of pols on both sides of the Atlantic flirting with economic collapse, and even civil war rather than moderate their irrational fixation on making the insanely rich even richer.

In both cases we have a cast of alternating villains robbing and beating us while waving flags and loudly complaining that we aren't showing the proper level of enthusiasm.

Which leaves me with one question for those villains;

Where you gonna hide.

Hayek's Heelbiter , September 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Yup.

Why no one, especially the punditocracy seems to realize this, is astonishing.

I also cannot believe the Old Gray Lady killing millions of trees in its shrill efforts to prove the Russians cost Hilary the election and nary a word about how totally fed up and voiceless (with the exception of a single presidential vote) are those in the Great Flyover.

Also find it amazing that the Beeb with rudimentary linguistic forensic analysis identified Mike Pence as almost certainly the author of the scathing anti-Trump memo the NYT published anonymously, without a single mention of this now widely-known fact.

disillusionized , September 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
That's what determines UK negotiating strategy, the ones who don't want to play hardball can't see the point in leaving, and the ones who wan't to leave, can't see the point of negotiating.
for all intents and purposes this is a accession negotiation in reverse, "then Sir Con O'Neill, the chief negotiator at official level in 1970-2, who commented that the only possible British approach to existing Community body of rules was 'Swallow the lot, and swallow it now'."

On a related note, while this was about the tactics of leaving, there has been some movement on the end state front, though not by the UK. Rather it seems that the EU has made up it's mind, and in my mind definitively scrapped the EEA option.
Several EU leaders (Pms of Malta and the Czech republic) have clearly stated that they wish to see a new referendum, and Macron said the following:
"Brexit is the choice of the British people pushed by those who predicted easy solutions. Those people are liars. They left the next day so they didn't have to manage it," Macron said on Thursday, vowing to "never" accept any Brexit deal, which would put the EU's integrity at risk.

I think the bridges have been burned, now it's surrender or revocation that's left to the UK, or stepping off the cliff edge.

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
from a very great distance this does seem to be the case

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

It is astonishing to see that the UK still does not accept that the EU doesn't want it to go on principle more than for practical reasons. May and the others cling to the notion that without Great Britain, the EU will collapse or something. This is the same nation that has been foot-dragging on everything about Europe and slagging off the continent at every turn while pretending they are a Great Power and the BFF of the US. Trump does not care about Great Britain unless he needs some sort of zoning permission for his gold course, in which case he will cut a deal on trade or arms with May.

The Irish Border, assuming it remains open, is a massive concession and likely to lead to future problems as other EU nations try to have open borders or trade with their pet countries.

Brits on the Continent are worried about many things ranging from driver's licenses to residency visas! Not every Brit wants to live on that damp little island! Some like the sun and Continental cuisine.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Is the EU a Great Idea to be Protected and Advanced, one that will inexorably result in ever greater benefits for the common people of the fainting nations that have been cat-herded into submitting to the "political union" that many very personally interested parties are always working toward? Like NATO is a Great Idea, not just a mechanism for global mischief and chaos? NATO gives "warfighters" a place to sit and play their games. Brussels gives "rules," at least some of which are sort of for public benefit, until the regulatory capturers work their magic. Profit and impunity, always for the few.

What is the organizing principle in all this? Likely can't be stated. Just a lot of interested parties squabbling over gobbets from the carcass torn from the planet

Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all? If one looks in "A Distant Mirror" at it, given where humanity seems to be, on the increasingly fleshed-out timeline of collapse?

OF course, one can always summon up the demoness TINA, to trump any efforts to take different paths

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 1:09 pm

NATO was created to make war. The EU was created to make peace and prosperity. Comparing one to the other is unjust.

The EU is not some sacrosanct construct that must be worshiped, but it has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). It has also promoted trade and prosperity. Europe has been even farther ahead of economic and regulatory integration than the US (phones and credit cards come to mind). Free movement of labor and travel have dropped costs for businesses and individuals immensely.

Now, whether or not human foibles enter into it is really another discussion. Is Brussels at times a giant Interest Machine and Bureaucratic Nightmare? Yes, but that is the negative face we see portrayed by anti-Europeans like the Brexiteers. The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their lives. Perhaps the EU is afraid of drawing attention to itself. But the people making up the EU are not extraterrestrials; they are Europeans who make the same mistakes and commit the same fraud on a national level.

Many Americans criticize Europe while vaunting their own Federation. Why should California and Alabama share a currency, a passport and a Congress? There are more differences between those states than between France and Belgium or Italy and Spain.

The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm

The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful).

You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf

The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor.

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

If you want to start accounting for economic death by economic war, we can look at the US as recently as the financial crisis, though I doubt there are studies on the Homeland of this sort. Or US embargoes of vital medication and food in Iraq which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. And so on.

My point is not that the EU is perfect, but there has not been a war in Western Europe since 1945. You are welcome to spin and fiddle and search for anything you like (Gosh, all that free travel led to increases in traffic deaths! Ban the EU!). Of course, we would also need to examine what the EU has done for Europe and how many lives have been saved by improved infrastructure and exchange of information.

I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. Let's see how Great Britain does and then we can discuss this in a few years.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium.

The NATO establishment is about "making war," largely now displaced to other Woggish and Hajji places where the huge number of refugees that are moving into Eurospace are coming from (as a result of the largely economically driven (oil and other extraction interests) and Israeli and Saudi-enhanced large scale destabilizing war prosecution.

All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers.

Yes, the EU notion of reducing the conflict generators of the past seems to be a good one. But surprise! In practice, you got your German hegemon and your French strutters and now of course the British bomb throwers pointing out, along with the renascent nationalism triggered in part by the hegemon's bleeding of other nations via Brussels and EU institutions, like Greece and Spain and Italy and so forth.

And of course the warring that the seamless economies of the EU (that includes their particpation in NATO) foster and participate in that drives the exodus of mopes from the Mideast and Africa. And how about the fun and games, with possible nuclear war consequences, that are playing out with EU and NATO and of course US Imperial Interests activity in Ukraine? And I see that the Krupp Werks has delivered a bunch of warships to various places (hasn't that happened a couple of times in the past? Thinking how particularly of Dolphin-class submarines paid for by Uncle Sucker, as in the US, and delivered to the Israel -ites who have equipped them with many nuclear-warhead cruise missiles? And thanks to the French, of course, and other Great Nations, the Israelis have nuclear weapons in the first place.

It's nice that the science parts of the EU structure are sort of working to keep US-made toxins and genetically modified crap and other bad stuff out of the Holy EU Empire. But hey, how many VW diesel vehicles on the road (thanks to some combination of corruption and incompetence on the part of the EU?) equals how much glyphosate and stacked-GM organisms barred by EU regulations? Lots of argument possible around the margins and into the core of the political economy/ies that make up the EU/NATO, and the Dead Empire across the Channel, and of course the wonderful inputs from the empire I was born into.

I guess the best bet would be to program some AI device to create a value structure (to be democratically studied and voted on, somehow?) and measure all the goods and bads of the EU, according to some kind of standard of Goodness to Mope-kind? Naw, power trumps all that of course, and "interests" now very largely denominated and dominated by supranational corporations that piss on the EU when not using its institutions as a means to legitimize their looting behaviors that sure look to me like an expression of a death wish from the human species.

There are always winners and losers in any human game, because at anything larger than the smallest scale, we do not appear wired to work from comity and commensalism. You sound from the little one can see of you from your comment as a person among the winners. Which is fine, all well and good, because of that "winners and losers" thing. Until either the mass vectors of human behavior strip the livability out of the biosphere, or some provocation or mischance leads to a more compendious and quicker, maybe nuclear, endpoint. Or maybe, despite the activities of the Panopticon and the various powers with forces in the polity to tamp it down, maybe there will be a Versailles moment, and "Aux Armes, Citoyens" will eventuate.

In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm

a worthy parlimentarian rant if I ever heard one

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:07 am

I suggest you read up on your recent European history. Czechoslovakia split entirely peacefully and it had exactly zero to do with either NATO or USA.

Yugoslavia had its problems ever since it was Yugoslavia in early 20th century – all Tito managed was to postpone it, and once he was gone, it was just a question of when, and how violent it would be. Serbian apologistas like to blame NATO, conveniently ignoring any pre-existing tensions between Croats and Serbs (not to mention ex-Yugoslavian muslims). Did NATO help? No. But saying it was the cause of the Serbo-Croat war and all the Yugoslavian fallout is ignorance.

What gets my goat is when someone blames everything on CIA, USA, NATO (or Russia and China for the matter), denying the small peoples any agency. Especially when that someone tends to have about zilch understanding of the regions in question, except from a selective reading.

Yep, CIA and NATO and the Illuminati (and Putin, to put it on both sides) are the all-powerful, all seeing, all-capable forces. Everyone else is a puppet. Right.

Lambert Strether , September 21, 2018 at 4:37 am

> I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:34 am

The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. From your lofty armchair, they might be the same but then again, perhaps you blame the socialists when your caramel latte is cold.

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 10:19 am

Lofty armchair? I actually volunteered and got the opportunity to go be a soldier in an actual war, the Vietnam one. So I have a darn good idea what War is in actuality and from unpleasant personal experience. And I don't have either the taste or the wealth for lattes. And forgive my aging failure of typing Czech instead of Yugo -- my point, too, is that the nations and sets of "peoples" living and involved in United Europe do in fact have "agency," and that is part of the fractiousness that the proponents of a federated Europe (seemingly under mostly German lead) are working steadily at suppressing. Not as effectively as a Federalist might want, of course.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm

TheScream wrote: I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it.

Wake up. I'm talking about what the European elite in the real world deliberately chose to do.

They chose to do a backdoor bailout of German and French banks specifically so Merkel, Sarkozy and Hollande and the governments they led didn't have to go to their electorates and tell them the truth. Thereby, they maintained themselves in power, and German and French wealth structures -- the frickin', frackin banks -- as they were. And they did this in the real world knowing that innocent people in Greece would die in substantial numbers consequently.

This is not a counterfactual. This happened.

There's a technical term for people who plan and execute policies where many thousands of people die so they themselves can benefit. That term is 'scum.'

Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum.

Don't get me started on people who defend such scum with threadbare waffle about 'I am not defending poor governance per blah blah it is facile and fun to criticize blah blah.' Nor interested in whataboutery about US elites, who as the main instigators of this 21st century model of finance as warfare are also scum.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:30 am

Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something.

My point is not that EU leaders are charming people working exclusively for the good of the people. My point is that the EU is not as bad as most of you believe and no worse than most other governments. It is simply an easy target because it is extra or supra-national. We can get all frothy at the mouth blaming Nazis and Frogs for our woes and ignore our personal failures.

I would love to insult you personally as you have insulted me, but I sense you are just ranting out of frustration. You hate the EU (are you even European or just some right-wing nutcase from America involving yourself in other's business?) and take it out on me. Go for it. Your arguments are irrelevant and completely miss the point of my comments.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 7:09 am

The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their live

The EU is, very simplistically, set up like a shared Civil Service. Civil Services are to be seen rarely and never heard, less they take shine and glamour from the Government they serve.

What "Bruxelles" can do is to advise and create Directives, which are instructions to local government to create and enforce local legislation. The idea is that the legislation and enforcement will be similar in all EU member states.

Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers.

The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway).

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm

"Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all?"

Hopefully sarcastic?

Dude -- black plague! 75 to 200 million dead! At a tie with a world population of 400 million, and 40 million of those may as well have been on Mars! China, ME, North Africa and Europe depopulated!

Time to really reconsider one's assumptions when one wonders whether the 14th century was "that bad".

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Dude, yes, sarcastic. And ironic. Doesn't change the horribleness of the present, does it now? Or the coming horrors (say some of us) that may have been inevitably priced in to the Great Global Market, does it

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

And in todays news:

Chequers Plan is Dead, says Tusk as Macron calls Brexiters Liars.

Donald Tusk, the European council president, has ratcheted up the pressure on Theresa May by rejecting the Chequers plan and warning of a breakdown in the Brexit talks unless she delivers a solution for the Irish border by October – a deadline the British prime minister had already said she will not be able to meet.

The stark threat to unravel the talks came as the French president, Emmanuel Macron, broke with diplomatic niceties and accused those of backing Brexit of being liars. "Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be all right, and that it's going to bring a lot of money home are liars," he said.
"It's even more true since they left the day after so as not to have to deal with it."

The comments came at the end of a leaders' summit in Salzburg, where May had appealed for the EU to compromise to avoid a no-deal scenario. She had been hoping to take warm words over Chequers into Conservative party conference.
Tusk, who moments before his comments had a short meeting with the prime minister, told reporters that he also wanted to wrap up successful talks in a special summit in mid-November.

But, in a step designed to pile pressure on the prime minister, he said this would not happen unless the British government came through on its commitment to finding a "precise and clear" so-called backstop solution that would under any future circumstances avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"Without an October grand finale, in a positive sense of this word, there is no reason to organise a special meeting in November," Tusk said. "This is the only condition when it comes to this possible November summit."

It seems the EU leaders aren't even pretending anymore. Its pretty clear they have run out of patience, and May has run out of options. I wonder if they'll even bother with having the November summit.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

He didn't call May a liar, so we'll have to see how her life support algo in the Daily Mail responds to this new input.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

If there's no November summit (which would make no-deal Brexit almost certainty), then the game becomes fast a and furious, as sterling will drop like a stone – with all sorts of repercussions. TBH, that can already be clear after the Tory party conference, it's entirely possible that that one will make any October Brexit discussions entirely irrelevant.

I think that EU overestimated May in terms of sensibility, and now accept that there's no difference between May and Johnson (in fact, with Johnson or someone like that, they will get certainy, so more time to get all ducks in row. Entirely cynically, clear no-deal Brexit Johnson would be better for EU than May where one has no idea what's going to happen).

Either way, this crop of politicians will make history books. Not sure in the way they would like to though.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Announced post-summit in Salzburg: no November summit absent a binding exit deal on the table by the end of October. So no: no November dealing.

I don't know that EU politicos overestimated May. She is what they had, and all they had, so they did their absolute best to prop up Rag Sack Terry as a negotiating partner, hoping that they could coax her to toddle over their red lines with enough willingness to listen to her hopeless twaddle first. She just shuffled and circled in place. So they've given up on her ability to deliver anything of value to them. One could see this coming in June, when she couldn't even get the sound of one hand clapping to her chipper nonsense over dinner.

I think that deciding heads in Europe have accepted the probability that crashout is coming. That was clear also in June. If something better happens, I suppose that they would leap at it. Nothing in the last two years engenders any hope in that regard, so hard heads are readying the winches to hoist the drawbridge on We're Dead to You Day.

If the Tories fall, which I think and have long thought is probable, it would be up to a 'unity government' to either initial a settlement surrender and keep the sham going, or flinch. My bet has been on pulling together some kind of flinch mechanism on aborting exit. It's the kind of year, as I model these, where wild swings of such kind are possible, but I couldn't predict the outcome anymore than anyone else.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

My feeling for a while is that the government would never fall, whatever happened, simply because the Tories (and DUP) fear a Corbyn government too much, so would never, ever pull the trigger, no matter how bad things got. But if May falls at the Party Conference and is replaced with a hard Brexiter, I don't think its impossible that there may be a temptation that to see if they could whip up a nationalistic mood for a snap election. Some of them are gamblers by instinct. Anything could happen then.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm

I think Tory Remainers bolt, choosing keeping their own wallets rather than handing those over to the worst of their lot with everything else. But they would find a unity coalition more palatable than passing the microphone to Jerry the Red, yeah, so that's a bit sticky. A snap election is the worst kind of crazy town, and wolldn't improve negotiating or decision outcomes in the slightest -- so of course that may be the likeliest near term course! Won't get settled in a few weeks. Probably not until 20 March 2019.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:06 pm

This is just wowsers. Tusk, Macron, and Merkel baldly state that Chequers is mated -- "unacceptable" -- and furthermore gave the Tories a drop-dead date of 31 October to initial the divorce settlement. The process is a flat abandonment of Theresa May, concluding the obvious, that she and her government are incapable of negotiating exit. Going over her head to Parliament and public, in fact if not in pre-consisdered intent. -- And about time. I was worried that the EU would eat fudge in November with the Brits again on another pretend-to-agree accord like that of December 2017, which, as we have seen did nothing to induce the Tories to negotiate a viable outcome.

What was May's reaction? That she's perfectly prepared to lead Britain over the crashout cliff if the EU doesn't see fit to capitulate. I'd roll on the floor laughing but I can't catch my breath.

The next two weeks are going to be lively times in Britain indeed. I can't see how 'Suicide Terry's' government can survive this situation. -- And about high time. Put the poor brute out of her misery; she's delusional, can't they see how she's suffering? Push has come, so it's time to shove. Crashout or Flinch, those are the outcomes, now plainer than ever. All May can do is thrash and fabulate, so time to bag the body and swear in another fool; lesser or greater, we shall see.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Yes, I wonder was that planned, or (as is suggested in the latest Guardian articl e), motivated by anger at Mays criticism of Barnier?

EU sources said the move had been made on the bidding of Macron, who urged taking a hard line over lunch. The French president had been infuriated by May's warning earlier in the day to Varadkar that she believed a solution on the issue could not be found by October, despite previous promises to the contrary.

The tone of the prime minister's address to the EU leaders on Wednesday night, during which she attacked Michel Barnier, is also said by sources to have been the cause of irritation.

This obviously makes her very vulnerable at the party conference. Its hard to see what she can do now. She is toast I think.

I can only think of two reasons that they've closed the door firmly in her face. Either they have simply lost patience and now accept there is nothing can be salvaged, or they have lost patience with May personally, and hope that a new leader might do a deal out of desperation. The latter seems highly unlikely – a sudden Tory challenge is more likely to bring a hardliner into power.

Whichever way you look at it, things look certain to come to a head very soon now. The EU may have a hope that the UK will blink when staring into the abyss and agree to the backstop, but I don't see how politically this a capitulation is possible, at least with the Tories in power.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm

The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil.

I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. Macron looked at his watch and the date said, non on that. Just looking at his ambitions and how he operates, I would think he wanted to go this route quite some time ago, but the 'softly, softly' set such as the Dutch and Merkel wouldn't back that, and he was too smart to break ranks alone. That the Germans have given up on May is all one really needs to know. This was May's no confidence vote by the European Council, and she lost it over lunch.

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:19 am

I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer.

But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem.

ChrisPacific , September 20, 2018 at 5:20 pm

At this point it might actually be a blessing if that happened. There is likely to be a great deal of practical difference between a no-deal Brexit with six months of planning and preparation and a no-deal Brexit that takes everyone by surprise at the very last minute. (Yes, they will both be a nightmare, but some nightmares are worse than others). All this pretense that the other side is bluffing and will roll over at the 11th hour is starting to look like a convenient excuse for not facing reality. I don't think either side is bluffing.

Comments like "Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power" might very well be true, but they're also irrelevant at this point. Certainly it would have been very useful if it had happened two years ago. Right now it's time to break out the life jackets.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Most Brits don't seem capable of mentally accepting how irrelevant they actually are internationally. They are NOT a 'power' in any other respect than that they have nuclear weapons under their launch authority (which they are never going to use). They have no weight. The City is, really other people's money that predominantly foreign nationals at trading desks play with, loose, steal, hide, and occasionally pay out. The UK economy isn't of any international consequence. Brits are embedded in the international diplomatic process, in a dead language speakers kind of way, which makes them seem important. But they are not.

So there was never going to be a reassessment of the weaknesses of Britain's negotiating position, nor will there be now exactly, because most in Britain cannot get their heads around the essential premise to such a discussion, the Britain is now essentially trivial on the power scale rather than of any real consequence. The Kingdom of Saud has more real power. Turkey is a more consequential actor. Mexico has more people. &etc.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

If one is to accept the convictions of master bloviator Niall Ferguson and other Brexiteers, the issue is issue. Brexit is about immigration, period. The EU claims it will not bend on free movement of people, Brexiteers will not accept anything less. There was such a huge outcry when May mentioned the possibility of 'preferential' treatment for EU citizens back in July she threatened any further public dissent in the party would result in sackings. The EU insists there can be no trade deals, no freed movement of goods without free movement of people, for good reasons. Hard to imagine them climbing down.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

No.

There's about as many reasons why people voted Brexit as there's different Brexits they wanted. Immigration is just one of the convenient scapegoats peddled by both sides, although for different reasons.

If you want a better (but still not complete) reason, try decreasing real income.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm

I'd like to know what those "many different reasons" are. Sovereignty? Well, that rolls off the tongue more easily than "immigration" which, leavers know, sounds a bit racist. "Control of borders" works for leavers like Nigell, although he went on at great length about how it's all about immigration, after talking to all the 'real' folks in the provinces.

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:08 am

I don't do other people's homework – the unwilligness to do so tends to be a reliable indicator of not being open to aruments in the first place.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm

My Irish/Brit family's Own Private Brexit: the grandparents are entitled to naturalisation and voted Leave, the children are subjects/citizens and voted Remain (and almost all vote Tory), the grandchildren are compromised subjects/citizens and didn't have a vote. Everyone's happy to be entitled to an EU passport. The Pakistan offshoot has a less complex variation (fewer rights), but I believe their family voted Leave on balance. Life.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:31 pm

A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically .

Mike Barry , September 21, 2018 at 3:37 am

Not that immigration has anything to do with that,

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 8:27 am

Majority of the drop in real income is NOT driven by immigration. You may find it surprising, but there were times with large (relatively speaking) immigration and the real incomes going up.

orange cats , September 21, 2018 at 10:25 am

I don't believe it is either, you seem to think these views are my own. I am speculating, with some basis, that a majority of leavers think so. Anti-immigration attitudes are entrenched and growing. Just the other day a teacher, no less, spouted off about how immigrants were causing crime and stealing jobs. This is in a blue city in a blue state. I was shocked.

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm

People come up with fantasy explanations when they've been reduced from realistic assessments to fantastic ideologies. If there's a clear answer but you are ideologically constrained from considering it, you need to invent some answer, the nuttier the better.

Detlef , September 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I think a major part of the problem is that British politicians and media seem to believe that Brexit is mainly (or exclusively) a British topic.
One British politician publishes one proposal, another British politician shoots it down. With the British media reporting about it gleefully for days. Newspaper articles, opinion pieces. Without even mentioning what the EU might think about it. The EU seems to not exist in this bubble.

Just remember the more than 60 "notices to stakeholders" published by the EU months ago. And freely available for reading on the Internet. I´ve read British media online for a long time now but somehow these notices never made any impact. It was only when the first British impact assessments were published (not that long ago) that British media started to report about possible problems after a no-deal Brexit. Problems / consequences that were mentioned in the EU notices months ago.
It´s almost unbelievable. It looks like if something isn´t coming from London (or Westminster) then it doesn´t exist in the British media.

And it´s the same with British politicians.

David Davis and the back-stop deal in late 2017?. He agreed with it during the negotiations, returned home and then said that it wasn´t binding, just a letter of intent. Or Michael Gove a few days ago? Regardless of what agreement PM T. May negotiates now with the EU, a new PM can simply scrap it and negotiate a new deal? Or send government members to the EU member states to try and undermine Barnier as reported in British media? How exactly is that building trust?

Have they never heard about the Internet? And that today even foreigners might read British media?

Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg might be the MP for the 18th century but surely they know that today there are faster methods for messages than using pigeons?

What about foreign investment in the UK? The gateway to the EU? Japanese car companies?
The drop in foreign investment was reported, to be sure. But after a few days it was immediately forgotten.

T. May according to British media articles apparently developed her Brexit strategy (and her red lines) together with her two closest political advisers back in late 2016 / early 2017. No cabinet meeting to discuss the strategy, no ordering of impact assessments which might have influenced the strategy (and the goals). And apparently – in my opinion – no detailed briefing on how the EU actually works. What might be realistically possible and what not.

The resignation of Ivan Rogers seems to support my speculations. Plus the newspaper articles in early 2017 which mentioned that visitors to certain British government ministries were warned not to criticize Brexit or warn about negative consequences. Such warnings would result in no longer being invited to visit said ministry and minister.

If they actually went through with that policy they created an echo chamber with no dissenting voices allowed.

Which might explain why they had no plan to deal with the EU.

British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal.

And now when the EU hasn´t followed the script they don´t know what to do?

I´m not an expert but it was pretty clear to me that the Chequers deal would never work. It was pretty obvious even when EU politicians were somewhat polite about it when T. May proposed it.

It might have been a good starting point for negotiations if she had introduced it in 2017. But in July 2018? Just a few months before negotiations were supposed to be concluded? And then claiming it´s the only realistic proposal? It´s my way or the highway?

It was obvious.

Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states.

I really think the EU member states have finally concluded that T. May is incapable of producing (and getting a majority in the House of Commons) for any realistic solution. Therefore helping her with statements to keep her politically alive doesn´t make sense any longer. The EU would probably really, really like a solution that gives them at least the transition period. Another 21 months to prepare for Brexit. But fudging things only get you that far .

The UK apparently never understood that it´s one thing to bend rules or fudge things to get the agreement of a member state. It´s quite another thing with a soon -to-be ex-member state.

I am a German citizen, living in Germany.
The (German weekly printed newspaper) Zeit Online website did have three articles about Brexit in the last few days. Which is noteworthy since they normally have 1-2 articles per month.

And the comments were noteworthy too.

Almost all of them now favor a hard-line approach by the EU.

The UK lost a lot of sympathy and support in the last two years. Not because of the referendum result itself but because of the actions and speeches of British politicians afterwards.

The UK had a rebate, opt-outs and excemptions. All because successive British governments pointed to their EU-sceptic opposition. Now the population voted for Brexit the British want a deal that gives them all (or most) of the advantages of EU membership without any of the obligations. To reduce the economic consequences of their decision.

No longer. Actions have consequences. And if it means we´ll have to support Ireland, we´ll do it. The German commentators quite obviously have lost their patience with the UK.

Anonymous2 , September 21, 2018 at 3:22 am

As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess?

Yves Smith Post author , September 21, 2018 at 3:25 am

Yes, Nicola Sturgeon has comported herself vastly better than anyone in the Tory or Labour leadership not that this is a high bar.

VietnamVet , September 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm

This is the first article that I have seen that talks about power. The ability to influence or outright control the behavior of people. Money has power. It is needed to eat, heal and shelter in the West. But, it is never talked about. This is because it would raise inconvenient truths. The wealthy are accumulating it and everyone else in the West is losing it. The neo-liberal/neo-conservative ideologies are the foundation of this exploitation. It is the belief that markets balance and there is no society. "Greed is good. Might is right." Plutocrats rule the west. Democracy died. There are two versions of similar corporate political parties in the USA. The little people matter not. Politicians are servants of the oligarchs. Global trade is intertwined and not redundant. What will happen will be to the benefit of the very few in power. Donald Trump is raising the price of all Chinese goods shipped into the USA and sold at Walmart and Amazon. A Brexit crash seems inevitable.

Buckeye , September 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Amen! It is ALWAYS about power. And the only way to deal with the elites is "Lord of the Rings" style:
their money must be cast into a financial version of Mount Doom, breaking their power once and for all. You folks in the UK need to make douchebag Brexiteers like Nigel Farrage suffer total loss of power for forcing this disaster on you.

RBHoughton , September 20, 2018 at 10:47 pm

There is a huge source of wealth that UK monopolises from Treasure Islands that operate the City's tax havens. That money goes straight back to City banks and flows into the market economy, independently of trade and commerce. It underwrites the derivatives biz that keeps the market economy afloat, paying pensions and profits and Directors' options.

Leaving the EU might have an effect but not a big one. Is that why UK seems so blithely unconcerned?

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:13 am

The offshore wealth is certainly why the core hard Brexiters are unconcerned, because thats where they store their cash. They don't care if the UK goes down.

But in the longer term, they are under threat – within the EU the UK consistently vetoed any attempts to crack down on internal tax havens. The internal political balance of the EU is now much more firmly anti tax avoidance with the UK gone, so there would be little to stop a series of Directives choking off the Channel Island/Isle of Man option for money flows.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 8:59 am

Split Brain Syndrome: They seem think that the EU is Lucifer's Army Incarnate and then they apparently also think at the same time, that "The Army of Darkness" once unleashed from the responsible British leadership into the hands of those per-definition also demonic French and Germans will still "play cricket" and not come after their tax-havens ASAP, like in 2020 or so.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

May now demanding that the EU respect Great Britain. We are back to the beginning again. May has no leverage beyond the EU wanting Britain to stay in . But if Britain goes out, then it's out. The only way for May to get any concessions would be to offer to stay in! And even then I am not sure the EU would accept since it would simply open the way for any member to have a tantrum and demand better terms.

GB should leave, wallow in their loneliness a while and then ask to come back. I suspect that the EU would reinstate them fully without the usual processes. Check back here in 24-36 months.

[Sep 21, 2018] Michael Hart's THE RISE AND FALL OF THE UNITED STATES by James Kirkpatrick

Notable quotes:
"... The Rise And Fall Of The United States ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

... ... ..

Dr. Hart's book is invaluable because it highlights some of the basic truths about America that modern-day histories simply conceal. For example, he writes: "America is much younger than most European nations . It did not exist at all prior to 1600 AD but was created in the ' colonial era .'"

This alone is a shot across the bow of Politically Correct histories that regard "America" simply as a geographic location. As Dr. Hart knows, "America" did not exist in any meaningful sense before the English settlement that created it -- our eponymous Virginia Dare's Roanoke Colony being the prototype. English settlers didn't "invade" a country that belonged to " Native Americans ," English settlers created one where none existed.

Dr. Hart provides a basic history of America's development, including highlighting specific incidents that ultimately proved critical to the future of the polity. One of the more interesting was the Zenger trial, a colonial case in which a journalist criticized the local governor and was charged with libel. A grand jury refused to indict Zenger, accepting his defense that the things he printed were true. Thanks to this case, Americans can claim truth as an absolute defense in libel cases, something our British cousins lack .

A highlight of Dr. Hart's history is his careful attention to demographic issues. For example, he scoffs at the claim sometimes heard within the dimmer quarters of the American Conservative Movement that the Constitution was a "miracle." Instead, Dr. Hart shows that the authors of America's governing document shared linguistic, cultural, racial, and experiential factors that allowed them to work together. (Contemporary American statesmen possess no such unanimity.) Dr. Hart is also not blind to the Constitution's faults, especially its failure to designate how and who has the power to interpret it -- specifically, not necessarily the Kritarchs on the Supreme Court.

Dr. Hart is also clearsighted regarding immigration. He does not accept the now de rigueur analysis that immigration from widely disparate regions was always a feature of American life. "Before 1849, immigrants to the Untied States came mostly from the Protestant regions of northwest Europe, including Holland , Sweden, Norway , Germany and Great Britain," he observes. He also provides an honest assessment of the difficulties Irish immigration presented for 19 th century America and argues that despite speaking English, "they assimilated very slowly."

Dr. Hart argues the "Golden Age" of the United States extended from 1865 to 1991. "During that interval the United States stood out for its wealth, for its military might, and for its unprecedented set of practical inventions and scientific discoveries," he argues. Indeed, one of the best parts of the book is when Dr. Hart recounts the numerous inventions and scientific advances America has given to the world.

However, Dr. Hart's most invaluable contribution is in detailing what he sees as the symptoms of America's decline after the Cold War. America's indebtedness, relatively poor military performance , loss of Constitutional liberties, and collapse of artistic standards are all covered. Two other issues highly relevant to immigration patriots are what Dr. Hart calls "political problems" and "loss of confidence and national pride."

Dr. Hart details how Democratic politicians have diligently opposed any efforts to implement common-sense voter ID laws to prevent election fraud. Media bias is another major political problem, one an increasing number of Americans are awakening to. Finally, Dr. Hart identifies the "increase in racial hostilities" as both a symptom and a cause of America's increasing political problems. "Black hostility towards whites is constantly being stirred up by 'race hustlers' such as Al Sharpton , who deny any good faith on the part of whites," he writes. "Many people deny that any progress has been made in the status and treatment of black Americans -- a blatant untruth which increases black suspicions and hostilities."

Similarly, the decline in national pride is partially a product of how the charge of "racism" has delegitimized our entire national history. "According to many of these critics, our Constitution was produced by a group of 'Dead White European Males' (DWEMs, for short) who do not deserve any respect," he writes. As a result of internalizing this poisonous attack on America's heritage, some advocate Open Borders as a kind of historical reparations of punishment for a "racist" country.

Dr. Hart writes:

One result of these attitudes is that many Americans find it unreasonable for the United States to defend its borders. (After all, since we stole the country from the Indians, we have no real claim on our land.) Sometimes these views lead to people suggesting that non-citizens should be permitted to vote in American elections. In any disagreement or conflict between the United States and a foreign group, many of these critics tend to blame America first. Many of these critics do not even pretend to be patriotic.

Dr. Hart identifies a host of causes to explain the emergence of these symptoms. Though they are too many to cover here, two very much worth mentioning are

Dr. Hart points out that for all the talk about white racism, the vast majority of interracial crime is committed by blacks against whites. Hatred of whites is not only mainstream but cultivated by the Main Stream Media, the education system, and even some Democratic politicians -- a coalition that Dr. Hart judges is too powerful to break.

Similarly, Dr. Hart details the disastrous consequences of the 1965 Immigration Act and explicitly calls for its repeal, but he is pessimistic about the prospects for doing so.

The most explosive part of the book is its concluding chapter, in which Dr. Hart discusses the various scenarios by which the United States could "fall," either by breaking up, being extinguished, or losing its political independence and being subsumed into a larger polity. All of these terrible scenarios have vastly increased in likelihood because of the destabilizing and destructive effects of mass immigration.

The "fall" of the United States may even occur without most people even noticing it at the time. "Without any foreign conquest, and without any sharp break, the USA might be transformed into a multinational state without any loyalty to our English origin," he writes. "In fact, such a process may already be in process."

During his discussion of causes for American decline, Dr. Hart identifies the most important "by far" as the "loss of pride and confidence." He blames this on the relentless hate campaign waged against "our ancestors" by educators and the Main Stream Media, leading to a situation in which Americans feel "ashamed of their country." In other words, Dr. Hart is really talking about a loss of identity.

With his history of the United States, and his frank discussion of the issues endangering its existence, Dr. Hart has performed a valuable service for Americans seeking to reclaim their national identity. For anyone curious about their country's past and concerned about its future, The Rise And Fall Of The United States (full disclosure: A VDARE book -- who else would publish it?) is well worth purchasing.

anonymous , [469] Disclaimer says: September 8, 2018 at 8:39 pm GMT

No mention of white slavery in Plantation America?
mark green , says: September 8, 2018 at 9:20 pm GMT
If/when America does break apart, it will not be a result of conventional war. The attack/upheaval will come from within.

Ironically, the trillions spent by Washington on our global MIC will not, in the end, protect the American people from what is now our greatest threat: internal treason against Historic America and its core people.

Ironically, instead of returning home to protect US borders when the cold war ended, American troops were dispersed around the world to fight phantom threats and protect non-essential foreign entities and extra-national interests.

This ongoing waste of US resources abroad continues to serve the interests of globalists, militarists, and Zionists. Meanwhile, our domestic security, our Main Street economy, and the continuity of white, European-derived culture and people inside America gets short shrift. This glaring disconnect may be our nation's undoing.

The 'proposition nation' concept was a fraud from the start since it ignores the vital significance of race, culture, language, and IQ.

The engine for America's coming implosion is demographic: uninterrupted, illegal, non-white immigration by Third World refugees. Hostile elites who now dominate America are also key. They refuse to acknowledge the perils of 'diversity'. Many want America changed, irreversibly so.

Meanwhile, white identity and white cohesion have been demonized in our schools as well as by our dominant mass media. This campaign has undermined white identity, white cohesion and white interests in general.

Numerous, politically-correct expressions of anti-white hatred are now in wide circulation. These hate-terms are, ironically, protected from criticism even though they are applied selectively to target whites. Those few who contest these double-standards (including Pres. Trump) are routinely defamed by comparisons to 'Hitler' or references to the KKK. The basic translation comes down to this: Shut up.

This unhealthy and insidious paradigm is here by design. It is used to not only justify anti-white animus, but to legitimize anti-white violence whenever and wherever whites try to assemble and express their grievances and/or aspirations. This very sinister double-standard has taken deep root. It is nurtured by biased reporting and coverage. It has spawned 'antifa'.

Modern speech rules and penalties favor privileged 'minorities' just as they cleary disfavor and penalize white advocacy.

Among the popular terms that lend support to anti-white bigotry are: 'racist', 'nativist', 'white supremacy', 'Islamophobia', and 'anti-Semitism'.

These shame-inducing memes have 1) contaminated the American mind and 2) empowered our race-conscious adversaries. They must be deconstructed and deligimized if we are to protect our interests and preserve America's demographic core.

Resistance, cohesion and self-defense are not fascistic sentiments. They are legitimate expressions of democratic self-determination.

[Sep 18, 2018] Neoliberal EU faces the same crisis as the USA -- rejection of globalization by the majority of population

Neoliberalism like Bolshevism in 60 tries to crush dissenters.
Sep 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

the obligatory four freedoms of the EU are free movement of goods, services, persons and capital throughout the Union. Open borders. That is the essence of the European Union, the dogma of the Free Market.

The problem with the Open Border doctrine is that it doesn't know where to stop. Or it doesn't stop anywhere. When Angela Merkel announced that hundreds of thousands of refugees were welcome in Germany, the announcement was interpreted as an open invitation by immigrants of all sorts, who began to stream into Europe. This unilateral German decision automatically applied to the whole of the EU, with its lack of internal borders. Given German clout, Open Borders became the essential "European common value", and welcoming immigrants the essence of human rights.

Very contrasting ideological and practical considerations contribute to the idealization of Open Borders. To name a few:

This combination of contrasting, even opposing motivations does not add up to a majority in every country. Notably not in Hungary.

It should be noted that Hungary is a small Central European country of less than ten million inhabitants, which never had a colonial empire and thus has no historic relationship with peoples in Africa and Asia as do Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. As one of the losers in World War I, Hungary lost a large amount of territory to its neighbors, notably to Romania. The rare and difficult Hungarian language would be seriously challenged by mass immigration. It is probably safe to say that the majority of people in Hungary tend to be attached to their national identity and feel it would be threatened by massive immigration from radically different cultures. It may not be nice of them, and like everyone they can change. But for now, that is how they vote.

In particular, they recently voted massively to re

Like the Soviet Union, the European Union is not merely an undemocratic institutional framework promoting a specific economic system; it is also the vehicle of an ideology and a planetary project. Both are based on a dogma as to what is good for the world: communism for the first, "openness" for the second. Both in varying ways demand of people virtues they may not share: a forced equality, a forced generosity. All this can sound good, but such ideals become methods of manipulation. Forcing ideals on people eventually runs up against stubborn resistance.

There are differing reasons to be against immigration just as to be for it. The idea of democracy was to sort out and choose between ideals and practical interests by free discussion and in the end a show of hands: an informed vote. The liberal Authoritarian Center represented by Verhofstadt seeks to impose its values, aspirations, even its version of the facts on citizens who are denounced as "populists" if they disagree. Under communism, dissidents were called "enemies of the people". For the liberal globalists, they are "populists" – that is, the people. If people are told constantly that the choice is between a left that advocates mass immigration and a right that rejects it, the swing to the right is unstoppable.


Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website September 17, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT

Orban's reputation in the West as dictator is unquestionably linked to his intense conflict with Hungarian-born financier George Soros

And not only Soros, of course:

'I know that this battle is difficult for everyone. I understand if some of us are also afraid. This is understandable, because we must fight against an opponent which is different from us. Their faces are not visible, but are hidden from view; they do not fight directly, but by stealth; they are not honourable, but unprincipled; they are not national, but international; they do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs.' -- Viktor Orbán

Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 18, 2018 at 4:30 am GMT
Watch the great Hungarian foreign minister repel attacks by the BBCs arrogant open borders propagandist, rudely treating him like an ignorant child and calling him a racist for defending his nation.
Anonymous , [224] Disclaimer says: September 18, 2018 at 5:34 am GMT

Economic liberals maintain that because Europe is aging, it needs young immigrant workers to pay for the pensions of retired workers.

Not gonna happen. Their 80 IQ skills are uncompetitive and useless in Europe even before Automation erases those low-skilled positions in the coming decade or two. Meanwhile, (real) European youth unemployment rate is 20%. Young Europeans are not making babies because they don't have a stable future. This can only get worse as the hostile invaders get preferential, Affirmative Action treatment, in schools and workplaces. None of this is accidental.

... ... ...

jilles dykstra , says: September 18, 2018 at 7:19 am GMT
There are, in my opinion, two reasons for letting the mass immigration happen:
- the Brussels belief, expressed in a 2009 official document, not secret, that the EU needs 60 million immigrants.
- a Merkel belief dat the Germans are bad, they caused two world wars and perpetrated the holocaust, so the German people must be changed through mass immigration.

The Brussels belief seems to be based mainly on the increasing average age in the EU.
It is incomprehensible to me, at the same time fear that robots slowly will do all simple jobs.

The Merkel belief, on the other side of the Atlantic, where few understand German, and cannot or do not watch German tv, I wonder how many understand that the 20th century propaganda of the victors still is decisive in German daily life and politics.
The danger of neonazi's and fascism is everywhere.
Nationalism, the equivalent of building gas chambers.

The EU also is based on the 20th century fairy tales, only the EU prevented wars in Europe after WWII.
The idea that Germans were victims in two world wars, and, until Hitler became power in 1933, also between the world wars, in unthinkable.
The idea that Endlösung meant deportation to Madagaskar, even more unthinkable.

That jews, as one Rothschild wrote to another around 1890, have and had but one enemy, themselves, the world unthinkable is too weak.
Yet
'From prejudice to destruction', Jacob Katz, 1980, Cambridge MA
explains it, things as 'close economic cooperation, intermarriage, ostentious behaviour'.
In this respect
'Christianity and the Holocaust of the Hungarian Jewry', Moshe Y Herclz, 1993 New York University press
also is a very interesting book, after jews in the thirties had been banned from many intellectual professions not a single Hungarian newspaper could be published any more.

Soros trying to force Muslim immigrants on deeply catholic Hungary, he was born in Hungary, experienced anti semitism, revenge ?

John Siman , says: September 18, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
I was recently in Budapest on business and will likely be returning soon: It is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, with stunning architectural restoration projects, almost non-existent police and military presence, food and wines that rival those of Paris, and a very friendly, non-bureaucratic and non-obsese (as opposed to the USA) population. I would like to hear from others who have recently visited and have knowledge of the country. Viszlát! -- John
Felix-Culpa , says: September 18, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
When the fort of folly that Globalism is finally falls, Diana Johnstone's article will be cited as exemplary in exposing its hidden grammar. That fall cannot be far off now given that psy-ops can only work if people are ignorant of the manipulation afoot.

Great opening, Diana. For forty years the presstitude media have leaned on the use of implication as argument to have the ninety-nine percent buy what they are selling. What was not pointed out very well until now, is that their implications are all false. Now, only a dummy among the dumbed-down cannot see it.

Buzz Mohawk , says: September 18, 2018 at 11:46 am GMT
For those who have the patience to read the English subtitles, here is an excellent speech given by Orbán in July. Here he outlines his thinking on the issues facing Hungary and the world.

Viktor Orbán is a very intelligent leader, and he has the vast majority of the Hungarian people behind him. History has taught those people many things, and they have had enough. They are not fools. Look to them as an example for all of us.

https://youtu.be/RfU-SVsGpsc

Hans Vogel , says: September 18, 2018 at 12:36 pm GMT
@John Siman I was recently in Budapest on business and will likely be returning soon: It is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, with stunning architectural restoration projects, almost non-existent police and military presence, food and wines that rival those of Paris, and a very friendly, non-bureaucratic and non-obsese (as opposed to the USA) population. I would like to hear from others who have recently visited and have knowledge of the country. Viszlát! -- John Wherever US influence is not yet overwhelming (and such places are becoming fewer every day, unfortunately), you will still find "old-fashioned" ways of interaction, few fatties, and decent food and drink.

People may become fat for many reasons, but most fatties these days in the Anglosphere belong to the underclass. These wretches get fat from eating expensive trash at McDonald's and other fast food outlets, and drinking Coca Cola and similar sugar-saturated garbage. Their behavior may seem strange because their brains have largely withered away through endless TV watching (mainly US or US-inspired visual trash), their hearing impaired by ear- and mind numbing noise passing for music.

I am afraid the way out of that prison is long and tortuous for all victims of US neoliberalism.

Michael Kenny , says: September 18, 2018 at 1:44 pm GMT
The usual anti-EU propaganda that Ms Johnstone has been peddling for at least a dozen years, although she has recently moved from claiming to be a far-leftist to claiming to be a far-rightest. Whatever pretext "proves" the EU to be evil is trotted out! However, she points out very clearly Viktor Orban's dilemma. The choice for Hungary is between the EU and Putin's tanks. After 40 years of occupation by a Soviet Union in which the ethnic Russians acted as colonial overlords and the general contempt which Hungarians have for Slavs, choosing the latter option would be political suicide for any Hungarian leader. Thus, Orban is stuck with the EU whether he likes it or not and the other Member States are stuck with Orban whether they like it or not. In addition, two of Ms Johnstone's factual claims need to be corrected. The "EU" is taking no step whatsoever to strip Hungary of its political rights. The (according to Ms Johnstone, "largely rubber stamp") European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the Member States to sanction Hungary. The EP always does something attention-grabbing in the run up to elections and since Ms Johnstone once worked for the European Parliament (as a far-leftist!), I'm sure she knows that. Imposing sanctions, as always in the EU, is a matter for the sovereign Member States and the decision has to be unanimous. Poland has already said it will not vote for sanctions, so the whole thing is a dead letter. Secondly, the claim that Hungary "never had a colonial empire" is untrue. It never had a colonial empire outside Europe but before 1918, it ruled over Slovakia, most of Croatia, Transylvania, now part of Romania, and the Vojvodina, now part of Serbia (so much for Ms Johnstone's supposed "expertise" on ex-Yugoslavia!). In general, the frantic, almost hysterical, tone of the article suggests that Ms Johnstone doesn't believe that Viktor Orban is going to be the cause of the imminent and inevitable demise of the hated EU that she has been predicting for as long as I have been reading her articles (and that goes back at least 14 years!).
Hans Vogel , says: September 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny The usual anti-EU propaganda that Ms Johnstone has been peddling for at least a dozen years, although she has recently moved from claiming to be a far-leftist to claiming to be a far-rightest. Whatever pretext "proves" the EU to be evil is trotted out! However, she points out very clearly Viktor Orban's dilemma. The choice for Hungary is between the EU and Putin's tanks. After 40 years of occupation by a Soviet Union in which the ethnic Russians acted as colonial overlords and the general contempt which Hungarians have for Slavs, choosing the latter option would be political suicide for any Hungarian leader. Thus, Orban is stuck with the EU whether he likes it or not and the other Member States are stuck with Orban whether they like it or not. In addition, two of Ms Johnstone's factual claims need to be corrected. The "EU" is taking no step whatsoever to strip Hungary of its political rights. The (according to Ms Johnstone, "largely rubber stamp") European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the Member States to sanction Hungary. The EP always does something attention-grabbing in the run up to elections and since Ms Johnstone once worked for the European Parliament (as a far-leftist!), I'm sure she knows that. Imposing sanctions, as always in the EU, is a matter for the sovereign Member States and the decision has to be unanimous. Poland has already said it will not vote for sanctions, so the whole thing is a dead letter. Secondly, the claim that Hungary "never had a colonial empire" is untrue. It never had a colonial empire outside Europe but before 1918, it ruled over Slovakia, most of Croatia, Transylvania, now part of Romania, and the Vojvodina, now part of Serbia (so much for Ms Johnstone's supposed "expertise" on ex-Yugoslavia!). In general, the frantic, almost hysterical, tone of the article suggests that Ms Johnstone doesn't believe that Viktor Orban is going to be the cause of the imminent and inevitable demise of the hated EU that she has been predicting for as long as I have been reading her articles (and that goes back at least 14 years!). Judging by your name, you are not a European, but an Englishman, or from somewhere else in the Anglosphere. It is a good thing for England and especially the English to be leaving the EuSSR, which is more of a prison than commonly realized. Ruled by a greedy class of corrupt and, to make it worse, utterly mediocre, politicians, incompetent and stupid bureaucrats (yes, I know this is an oxymoron) in the exclusive interest of ruthless big corporations, human rights do not exist in the EuSSR.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe has seen a wave of privatizations on a scale only comparable to what happened in the former USSR. Nevertheless, taxation has increased to a point where today, the average EuSSR "citizen" pays between 75% and 80% taxes on every Euro he earns. The middle class is on its way to extinction. The judiciary is a joke, education has been dismantled or stupidified, health care is a disaster, save in Southern Europe where many doctors and nurses still have a sense of humanity.

The piece by Mrs. Johnstone may not be flawless, but it says what needs to be said.

anonymous , [739] Disclaimer says: September 18, 2018 at 3:26 pm GMT
Lots of important things switch sides.

70 years ago the Democrat party in the American South was the party of regular working class White Southerners and promoted Southern heritage and Southern history including Confederate history.

Then things change.

Now the national Democrat party and the Democrat party in the South hates Whites Southerners, hates Southern heritage and Southern history and are promoting the desecration of Confederate monuments and confederate graves.

60 years ago Hungarian was under Soviet Communist domination and Hungarian patriots looked to the West – especially American and Great Britain to help them achieve some personal freedom from Communism.

Now things have completely changed. It's the Wester (EU) UK BBC, American mass media that restricts freedom and National Christianity in Hungary and pretty much everywhere else. Russia is once again a health European Christian nation. Nobody in Hungary, Eastern Europe or Russia wants to allow their countries to be invaded by millions of 3rd world Muslim rapists.

So I living in Chicago IL (Obama was my neighbor) look to Hungary, Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe for any small dose of freedom.

Things change.

[Sep 02, 2018] Most of the premises of traditional imperialist power politics including forced globalization are simply blown away

Notable quotes:
"... At least neither Russia nor China are bombing hospitals, schools and bus full of children for oil ..."
Sep 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Jim in MN -> Majestic12 Fri, 08/31/2018 - 20:30 Permalink

Not Pepe's best sauce, but always worth a read. He's best when he's reporting from the field. His armchair geopolitics aren't that much better than anyone else's.

That said, Eurasian integration, Western Hemispheric energy independence, the populist revolt against forced globalization/sovereignty elimination/kleptocracy and the outbreak of global peace are all changing the chessboard profoundly. Most of the premises of traditional imperialist power politics are simply blown away. Instead, a new 'Chinese Peace with Russian Muscle' is the de facto hegemony in the vast bulk of the world, including parts of South American and most of Africa. With the Brits and French too slow and stupid to react, the Germans as weaselly and venal as ever, and the Japanese comatose, the hulk known as the G7 is heeling over into full capsize mode. And, good riddance.

Now the G20 has to either stand up or collapse. Much depends on which outcome develops.

However it works out, we can all stand and cheer that it is not a US dependent historical course any more. We've ceded our moral and military leadership. Perhaps we can reform, even if by bloody revolution, and re-emerge with something to give the rest of the world. Free markets, liberty, democracy, freedom of thought......the future is now really a question of whether any of these ideas will have a chance in a remade global order dominated, so far, by dictatorship, corruption, and moral crime.

So, we tend to our own house now. Anyone got a pack of matches?

Ace006 -> Jim in MN Sat, 09/01/2018 - 03:36 Permalink

** We've ceded our moral and military leadership **

Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, NATO expansion, the Clintoons, the Bush dynasty of mediocrity, our open border, offshoring, Muslim ass kissing, free-ranging Antifa filth, media monopoly and lies, foreigners taking university slots, sexual confusion, ass kissing homosexuals, groveling before bat shit crazy feminists, destruction of our basic legal document through judicial usurpation, diseased leftists spouting lies and delusion, excusing black dysfunction, fiscal incontinence, unaddressd monopolies, attacks on free speech, criminal immunity for elites, a president who won't exercise his authority and tolerates insubordination, an unaccountable bureaucracy, a loose cannon prosecutor, Jewish political domination, slobbering over Israel as though Jerusalem is our capitol not Washington, denigration of the white majority culture, celebration of miscegenation, degradation of marriage, our diseased educational establishment, rampant vote fraud, illegal and unconstitutional wars, chest beating about "exceptionalism," and a generally crap culture all say you're right.

DEDA CVETKO -> Majestic12 Fri, 08/31/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

There will be no sudden and dramatic collapse. There will only be a slow, painful, never-ending, degrading decay into nothingness, a death from one million pundits, a process readily apparent (literally) all around us. Tune in to CNN, see for yourself.

hongdo -> Conscious Reviver Sat, 09/01/2018 - 15:37 Permalink

I see your point, but I am not convinced bankers work independently. Bankers do not have a monopoly on psychotics. The psychotics in gov have as much greed and craving for power as the bankers and I believe they work around, with, and against each other for various reasons just like everything else in the world works. Thus a one dimensional theory will not be complete - and maybe that is what you are arguing: to include bankers in geopolitics. I agree the bankers are a big part of the rotten problem but like when I am overseas - I watch the guys with the guns.

sarz -> shuckster Sat, 09/01/2018 - 05:59 Permalink

Most of the planet has put up with a lot of shit from America It's good that it's finally coming to an end.

"We have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population... Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction... We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

George Kennan, State Department memo, 1948

America never gave up on the idealistic slogans -- the figleaf for the Empire of Chaos. Finally shutting the fuck up after the game is over will be welcome.

me or you Fri, 08/31/2018 - 20:14 Permalink

At least neither Russia nor China are bombing hospitals, schools and bus full of children for oil.

[Sep 02, 2018] Escobar- Get Ready For A Major Geopolitical Chessboard Rumble

Notable quotes:
"... No wonder one of the side effects of progressive Eurasia integration will be not only a death blow to Bretton Woods but also to "democratic" neoliberalism. ..."
Sep 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Alastair Crooke took a great shot at deconstructing why Western global elites are terrified of the Russian conceptualization of Eurasia.

It's because "they 'scent' a stealth reversion to the old, pre-Socratic values: for the Ancients the very notion of 'man', in that way, did not exist. There were only men: Greeks, Romans, barbarians, Syrians, and so on. This stands in obvious opposition to universal, cosmopolitan 'man'."

So it's Heraclitus versus Voltaire – even as "humanism" as we inherited it from the Enlightenment, is de facto over.

Whatever is left roaming our wilderness of mirrors depends on the irascible mood swings of the Goddess of the Market.

No wonder one of the side effects of progressive Eurasia integration will be not only a death blow to Bretton Woods but also to "democratic" neoliberalism.

What we have now is also a remastered version of sea power versus land powers. Relentless Russophobia is paired with supreme fear of a Russia-Germany rapprochement – as Bismarck wanted, and as Putin and Merkel recently hinted at. The supreme nightmare for the U.S. is in fact a truly Eurasian Beijing-Berlin-Moscow partnership.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has not even begun; according to the official Beijing timetable, we're still in the planning phase. Implementation starts next year. The horizon is 2039.

[Sep 02, 2018] Trump Drops the Value of the EU as an Ally -- to Zero by ALASTAIR CROOKE

Notable quotes:
"... " One of the worst things that can happen to our country, is when Russia ever gets driven to China. We have driven them together – with the big oil deals that are being made. We have driven them together. That's a horrible thing for this country. We have made them friends because of incompetent leadership. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin – okay? And, I mean [that] where we [the US] have the strength. I don't think we need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well." ..."
"... Art of the Deal ..."
"... Identify a big goal (tax cuts, balanced trade, the wall, etc.). ..."
"... Identify your leverage points versus anyone who stands in your way (elections, tariffs, jobs, etc.). ..."
"... Announce some extreme threat against your opponent that uses your leverage. ..."
"... If the opponent backs down, mitigate the threat, declare victory and go home with a win. ..."
"... If the opponent fires back, double down. If Trump declares tariffs on $50 billion of good from China,and China shoots back with tariffs on $50 billion of goods from the U.S., Trump doubles down with tariffs on $100 billion of goods, etc. Trump will keep escalating until he wins." ..."
"... Eventually, the escalation process can lead to negotiations with at least the perception of a victory for Trump (North Korea) -- even if the victory is more visual than real. ..."
"... "The position of Europe is clear. It isn't a coincidence that Trump, while enumerating the enemies of the US (the EU, China, and Russia), made it clear that he considers Russia to be a smaller problem [than the EU], because there are practically no economic contradictions ("Nord Stream-2" doesn't count) with it. It's not China, with which the US has the biggest negative trade balance, but the EU, which Trump fairly defined as the main trade competitor, receiving unjustified economic benefits from political agreements with the US, and which is the main 'foe' of the US. ..."
"... "[Thus Trump] resolves his military-political contradictions with Russia, [and consequently] reduces the value of the EU as an ally for Washington, to zero Europe was accustomed to (and hoped to continue to use) its role of a springboard for the fight against Russia as [the primordial] argument that was supposed to keep Trump away from making the last step (complete separation with the EU). ..."
"... In recent days, Merkel, after the NATO summit, started talking literally [that Trump's hostility towards Europe is unjustified], because Europe battles with Russia for the interests of the US. ..."
"... "For the EU it was crucial that this argument continued to work. Otherwise, Washington indeed, would have more common ground with Moscow than with Brussels. And Europe isn't ready for a sharp confrontation with the US. Having rested on its laurels [i.e. on its conviction that it occupied, as it were, some 'moral high ground of values']. Europe wasn't engaged (in difference, for example, from China), in the diversification of economic ties and appeared to be strongly dependent on access to the American market. ..."
"... "Without having risked to be ahead of Trump in the question of normalising relations with Russia, EU leaders were fatally afraid that Trump and Putin, despite all difficulties, will do the impossible and reach an agreement, especially as both proved to be people who are ready to instantly make decisions that change the destiny of the world. ..."
"... "The position taken by the EU raised the value of the summit for Russia too. Moscow can wait until Washington is ready for reconciliation. But, taking into account the obvious intention of Europe to manoeuvre between Russia and the US, trying to preserve the geopolitical configuration that is profitable for itself, but doesn't suit either Trump nor Putin, Russia was also interested in showing to the whole world the success of the summit and good prospects for achieving definitive and comprehensive agreements." ..."
"... The latent hatred for Russia is unmistakeably revealed. This animosity will not be a surprise to Putin – though the extremity of the elite language used towards Trump will make Russians aware of their ..."
"... What does such language portend? The roots of American Russo-phobia go deep. It starts with American Trotskyist activists' on ground participation in the initial Trotskyist Bolshevik revolution – largely financed, and orchestrated by Wall Street. ..."
"... Of course, what rankles most in America, and amongst European liberal elites, is the apparent according of moral equivalence of Putin to America, and to America's intelligence capabilities. America believes it WON – it won the Cold War culturally, and in terms of its systems of government and economics. ..."
"... The western Establishment anger stems ultimately from Russia's refusal to acquiesce to their merited 'defeatism' (in this view): Putin rejected to merge Russia into the American-led global order, preferring Russia to remain somehow 'Russian', in its own Russian cultural way. ..."
"... And for Trump? The 'smart money' says that he will be indicted, or impeached, after the midterms. I doubt it. For all John Brennan's talk of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" (the precise legal language of impeachment), there is no crime. If any, crimes per se ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Maybe we are misreading things. Not a small number of commentaries have suggested that President Trump intended for Helsinki to re-set the Kissinger-esque triangulation between the US, Russia and China. And there are good grounds for making such a hypothesis. At a 2015 press conference, Trump, himself, took the Kissinger line -- that the US should always try to keep Russia and China divided, and never allied together against America):

" One of the worst things that can happen to our country, is when Russia ever gets driven to China. We have driven them together – with the big oil deals that are being made. We have driven them together. That's a horrible thing for this country. We have made them friends because of incompetent leadership. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin – okay? And, I mean [that] where we [the US] have the strength. I don't think we need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well."

This makes a lot of sense, but maybe in Helsinki Trump was doing something a little less strategic and more down-to-earth – something more in line with his Art of the Deal philosophy.

We have, over the decades, developed a fairly precise mental model of how "Presidents are supposed to behave; and how the policymaking process is supposed to be carried out. Obviously, Trump does not fit their model", Jim Rickards writes . "[GW] Bush and Obama were totally process-driven. You could see events coming a mile away as they wound their way through the West Wing and Capitol Hill deliberative processes." With Trump, Rickards continues, "there is a process, but it does not adhere to a timeline or existing template. Trump seems to be the only process participant most of the time. No one else in Washington thinks this way. Washington insiders try to avoid confrontation, avoid escalation, compromise from the beginning, and finesse their way through any policy process."

"Here's the Trump process:

Eventually, the escalation process can lead to negotiations with at least the perception of a victory for Trump (North Korea) -- even if the victory is more visual than real.

So, if we reframe the Helsinki meeting through this Art of the Deal lens, what do we get? Seeing that thedivergencies of vision between Russia and the US are so substantial, and the common ground is so small, there is very little prospect for a 'strategic global deal'. In fact, President Trump has little that he can offer Russia: sanctions relief is not in his gift (it is in the maw of Congress), and he could not – at this stage – relinquish Ukraine, even if Trump understands that the US and Europe bought a 'pig in a poke' with its Maidan coup in Kiev.

"So", as Russian commentator, Rostislav Ishchenko, writes (in Russian, translation here ): "We have a situation where both parties even prior to negotiations, knew that they wouldn't be able to come to some arrangement, and they didn't even prepare for such a thing (it wasn't planned to sign anything following the results of negotiations). At the same time, both parties needed the event to be successful". Ishchenko continues: "Trump obviously blackmails the European Union with a possible agreement with Russia. But Putin also needs to show Europe that there are other fish in the sea besides them."

"The position of Europe is clear. It isn't a coincidence that Trump, while enumerating the enemies of the US (the EU, China, and Russia), made it clear that he considers Russia to be a smaller problem [than the EU], because there are practically no economic contradictions ("Nord Stream-2" doesn't count) with it. It's not China, with which the US has the biggest negative trade balance, but the EU, which Trump fairly defined as the main trade competitor, receiving unjustified economic benefits from political agreements with the US, and which is the main 'foe' of the US.

"[Thus Trump] resolves his military-political contradictions with Russia, [and consequently] reduces the value of the EU as an ally for Washington, to zero Europe was accustomed to (and hoped to continue to use) its role of a springboard for the fight against Russia as [the primordial] argument that was supposed to keep Trump away from making the last step (complete separation with the EU).

In recent days, Merkel, after the NATO summit, started talking literally [that Trump's hostility towards Europe is unjustified], because Europe battles with Russia for the interests of the US.

"For the EU it was crucial that this argument continued to work. Otherwise, Washington indeed, would have more common ground with Moscow than with Brussels. And Europe isn't ready for a sharp confrontation with the US. Having rested on its laurels [i.e. on its conviction that it occupied, as it were, some 'moral high ground of values']. Europe wasn't engaged (in difference, for example, from China), in the diversification of economic ties and appeared to be strongly dependent on access to the American market.

"Without having risked to be ahead of Trump in the question of normalising relations with Russia, EU leaders were fatally afraid that Trump and Putin, despite all difficulties, will do the impossible and reach an agreement, especially as both proved to be people who are ready to instantly make decisions that change the destiny of the world.

"The position taken by the EU raised the value of the summit for Russia too. Moscow can wait until Washington is ready for reconciliation. But, taking into account the obvious intention of Europe to manoeuvre between Russia and the US, trying to preserve the geopolitical configuration that is profitable for itself, but doesn't suit either Trump nor Putin, Russia was also interested in showing to the whole world the success of the summit and good prospects for achieving definitive and comprehensive agreements."

In short, Trump was using Helsinki to leverage "an extreme threat against your opponent" (Europe), by voiding the European 'card' of its 'usefulness' to America through its constant battling against Russia. Indeed the recent NATO final comunique, reads almost precisely as an legal indictment of Russia and its behavior.

Both Trump and Putin took a big political risk by staging this 'end to Cold War – coup de théâtre'. Trump has unleashed extraordinary hysteria in parts of the US, provoking numerous Washington Post op-eds to language such as characterising Trump's words (at the press conference) as 'apostasy' and 'a cancer amongst us'. (Apostasy is the language used by violent jihadists against non-believers.)

The latent hatred for Russia is unmistakeably revealed. This animosity will not be a surprise to Putin – though the extremity of the elite language used towards Trump will make Russians aware of their risks – what might ensue were Trump somehow be removed from office?

What does such language portend? The roots of American Russo-phobia go deep. It starts with American Trotskyist activists' on ground participation in the initial Trotskyist Bolshevik revolution – largely financed, and orchestrated by Wall Street.

Not only did New York bankers provide money, they also facilitated safe passage to Russia for revolutionaries such as Trotsky and others. Stalin's ultimate killing of the Trotskyist killers in the 1930s (and many others) is at the root of the Russian 'thuggery' language still circulating in US (even if some have forgotten its origins). Stalin's cleansing has never been forgiven by certain circles in the US.

Of course, what rankles most in America, and amongst European liberal elites, is the apparent according of moral equivalence of Putin to America, and to America's intelligence capabilities. America believes it WON – it won the Cold War culturally, and in terms of its systems of government and economics. This 'End to History' hubris voided – in this ecstatic state – the need to treat Russia as other than a psychologically 'defeated people', (which they were not).

The western Establishment anger stems ultimately from Russia's refusal to acquiesce to their merited 'defeatism' (in this view): Putin rejected to merge Russia into the American-led global order, preferring Russia to remain somehow 'Russian', in its own Russian cultural way.

What are the implications for Europe? For Europe this is a catastrophe. It means that US dialogue with Putin will continue. Where to run for the EU – to Washington or to Moscow? To remain loyal to an old suzerain or to try to adhere to a new one, before others get there first?

Moreover, unlike Russia, Europe can't wait. By meeting Putin, Trump brought the US out of zugzwang, having handed over to the European Union the right to make this same move, which only risks complicating Euro politics – beyond its existing challenges.

And for Trump? The 'smart money' says that he will be indicted, or impeached, after the midterms. I doubt it. For all John Brennan's talk of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" (the precise legal language of impeachment), there is no crime. If any, crimes per se may emerge out from a very different quarter. And Trump likely will survive the current hysterics.

Tags: European Union

[Aug 31, 2018] The globalists would find use for a Trump presidency, more so in fact than a Clinton presidency

Notable quotes:
"... I was not sure whether Trump was controlled opposition or simply a useful scapegoat for the economic crisis that globalists are clearly engineering. Now it appears that he is both. ..."
"... Many businessmen end up dealing with elitist controlled banks at some point in their careers. But when Trump entered office and proceeded to load his cabinet with ghouls from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, the Council on Foreign Relations and give Wilber Ross the position of Commerce Secretary, it became obvious that Trump is in fact a puppet for the banks. ..."
"... If one examines the history of fake coups, there is ALWAYS an element of orchestrated division, sometimes between the globalists and their own puppets. This is called 4th Generation warfare, in which almost all divisions are an illusion and the real target is the public psyche. ..."
"... the overall picture is not as simple as "Left vs. Right." Instead, we need to look at the situation more like a chess board, and above that chess board looms the globalists, attempting to control all the necessary pieces on BOTH sides. Every provocation by leftists is designed to elicit a predictable response from conservatives to the point that we become whatever the globalists want us to become. ..."
"... Therefore it is not leftists that present the greatest threat to individual liberty, but the globalist influenced Trump administration. A failed coup on the part of the left could be used as a rationale for incremental and unconstitutional "safeguards." And conservatives may be fooled into supporting these measures as the threat is overblown. ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

At that time I was certain that the globalists would find great use for a Trump presidency, more so in fact than a Clinton presidency. However, I was not sure whether Trump was controlled opposition or simply a useful scapegoat for the economic crisis that globalists are clearly engineering. Now it appears that he is both.

Trump's history was already suspicious. He was bailed out of his considerable debts surrounding his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City in the early 1990s by Rothschild banking agent Wilber Ross , which saved him from embarrassment and possibly saved his entire fortune . This alone was not necessarily enough to deny Trump the benefit of the doubt in my view.

Many businessmen end up dealing with elitist controlled banks at some point in their careers. But when Trump entered office and proceeded to load his cabinet with ghouls from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, the Council on Foreign Relations and give Wilber Ross the position of Commerce Secretary, it became obvious that Trump is in fact a puppet for the banks.

Some liberty movement activists ignore this reality and attempt to argue around the facts of Trump's associations. "What about all the media opposition to Trump? Doesn't this indicate he's not controlled?" they say. I say, not really.

If one examines the history of fake coups, there is ALWAYS an element of orchestrated division, sometimes between the globalists and their own puppets. This is called 4th Generation warfare, in which almost all divisions are an illusion and the real target is the public psyche.

This is not to say that leftist opposition to Trump and conservatives is not real. It absolutely is. The left has gone off the ideological deep end into an abyss of rabid frothing insanity, but the overall picture is not as simple as "Left vs. Right." Instead, we need to look at the situation more like a chess board, and above that chess board looms the globalists, attempting to control all the necessary pieces on BOTH sides. Every provocation by leftists is designed to elicit a predictable response from conservatives to the point that we become whatever the globalists want us to become.

... ... ...

As this is taking place, conservatives are growing more sensitive to the notion of a leftist coup, from silencing of conservative voices to an impeachment of Trump based on fraudulent ideas of "Russian collusion."

To be clear, the extreme left has no regard for individual liberties or constitutional law. They use the Constitution when it suits them, then try to tear it down when it doesn't suit them. However, the far-left is also a paper tiger; it is not a true threat to conservative values because its membership marginal, it is weak, immature and irrational. Their only power resides in their influence within the mainstream media, but with the MSM fading in the face of the alternative media, their social influence is limited. It is perhaps enough to organize a "coup," but it would inevitably be a failed coup.

Therefore it is not leftists that present the greatest threat to individual liberty, but the globalist influenced Trump administration. A failed coup on the part of the left could be used as a rationale for incremental and unconstitutional "safeguards." And conservatives may be fooled into supporting these measures as the threat is overblown.

I have always said that the only people that can destroy conservative principles are conservatives. Conservatives diminish their own principles every time they abandon their conscience and become exactly like the monsters they hope to defeat. And make no mistake, the globalists are well aware of this strategy.

Carroll Quigley, a pro-globalist professor and the author of Tragedy and Hope, a book published decades ago which outlined the plan for a one world economic and political system, is quoted in his address ' Dissent: Do We Need It ':

"They say, "The Congress is corrupt." I ask them, "What do you know about the Congress? Do you know your own Congressman's name?" Usually they don't. It's almost a reflex with them, like seeing a fascist pig in a policeman. To them, all Congressmen are crooks. I tell them they must spend a lot of time learning the American political system and how it functions, and then work within the system. But most of them just won't buy that. They insist the system is totally corrupt. I insist that the system, the establishment, whatever you call it, is so balanced by diverse forces that very slight pressures can produce perceptible results.

For example, I've talked about the lower middle class as the backbone of fascism in the future. I think this may happen. The party members of the Nazi Party in Germany were consistently lower middle class. I think that the right-wing movements in this country are pretty generally in this group."

Is a "failed coup" being staged in order to influence conservatives to become the very "fascists" the left accuses us of being? The continuing narrative certainly suggests that this is the game plan.

* * *

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[Aug 31, 2018] Big Money refuses to return to reality as its addicted to Smoke Mirrors since that s what was used to gain its power and will now double-down

Notable quotes:
"... For dessert today, I offer Russia's Grand Strategy Revisited published on the 24th. The Outlaw US Empire is in the midst of a Seldon Crisis but lacks the means to even recognize the spectacular mess its made for itself, much of which is quite visibly articulated in its NDS I linked to above. ..."
"... By every metric I've observed, the USA's citizenry from all political POVs wants a return to Reality for that's the only basis from which to address and solve the many domestic problems. ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 30, 2018 5:38:27 PM | 34

Too Funny! Trump whines, threatens pullout from WTO again! After decades of bullying nations and impoverishing their people, other nations are using the Outlaw US Empire's WTO as a weapon against it, so Trump cries Unfair! As I wrote above, Big Money's trapped within its own web.

The "Softies" are yet another entity in the Smoke & Mirrors Fun House designed to fool and gain citizenry's consent to be robbed blind.

Russians already went through that and are very wary as illustrated by the very sensitive nature of the recent Pension System Reform Debate and legislation that Putin had to solve using his political capital.

As with all politicians, you won't know what you elected until you learn how your rep votes issues, although some can be anticipated by examining their past behavior as with our pseudo Democrat-Socialist.

For dessert today, I offer Russia's Grand Strategy Revisited published on the 24th. The Outlaw US Empire is in the midst of a Seldon Crisis but lacks the means to even recognize the spectacular mess its made for itself, much of which is quite visibly articulated in its NDS I linked to above.

By every metric I've observed, the USA's citizenry from all political POVs wants a return to Reality for that's the only basis from which to address and solve the many domestic problems.

Big Money refuses as its addicted to Smoke & Mirrors since that's what was used to gain its power and will now double-down.

[Aug 24, 2018] The establishment are shocked that the ordinary people want out of the European Union (EU). They just don't realize that people are fed up being used, abused, dictated to, lied to, manipulated

Aug 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Stephen J. , August 18, 2018 at 9:57 am

The powerful always want more power.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
June 26, 2016

"Brexit: Are The Serfs Finally Rebelling"?

The establishment are shocked that the ordinary people want out of the European Union (EU). They just don't realize that people are fed up being used, abused, dictated to, lied to, manipulated, and forced into an EU dictatorship by treacherous politicians.

These are some of the same politicians who scurry to the meetings of the so-called elites in Davos, and also attend Bilderberg meetings. And many of them, when they leave politics, finish up on the boards of banks and multi-national corporations with the rest of the money-manipulating bandits that got bailed out with taxpayers' dollars, some of whom, I believe, should be in jail .

[much more info at link below]

https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2016/06/brexit-are-serfs-finally-rebelling.html

[Aug 19, 2018] End of "classic neoliberalism": to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare. This global trade war is spearheaded by the Trump White House, which sees trade sanctions and tariffs, such as the onslaught it launched against Turkey, as an integral component of its drive to secure the United States' geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of friend and foe alike. ..."
"... But while they are deeply divided as to their economic and geo-political objectives, the capitalist ruling classes are united on one essential question. However the next stage of the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism proceeds, they will all strive by whatever means considered necessary to make the working class the world over pay for it. ..."
"... In 2008, capitalist governments around the world, above all in the US, derived enormous benefit from the decades-long suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the parties of the political establishment. The rescue operation they carried out on behalf of parasitic and criminal finance capital would not have been possible without it ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/16/pers-a16.html

"But to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare. This global trade war is spearheaded by the Trump White House, which sees trade sanctions and tariffs, such as the onslaught it launched against Turkey, as an integral component of its drive to secure the United States' geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of friend and foe alike.

The character of world economy has undergone a major transformation in the past decade in which economic growth, to the extent it that it occurs, is not driven by the development of production and new investments but by the flow of money from one source of speculative and parasitic activity to the next."

"But while they are deeply divided as to their economic and geo-political objectives, the capitalist ruling classes are united on one essential question. However the next stage of the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism proceeds, they will all strive by whatever means considered necessary to make the working class the world over pay for it.

This is the lesson from the past decade which, in every country, has seen a deepening attack on wages, social conditions and living standards as wealth is redistributed up the income scale, raising social inequality to unprecedented heights.

In 2008, capitalist governments around the world, above all in the US, derived enormous benefit from the decades-long suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the parties of the political establishment. The rescue operation they carried out on behalf of parasitic and criminal finance capital would not have been possible without it."

[Aug 15, 2018] Talking Turkey: In essence this is an emerging market financial crisis, much like the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis

Notable quotes:
"... So why should you care? Why does that matter to you or me? Well, like most emerging market financial crisis there is the danger of contagion . ..."
"... Turkey's economy is four times the size of Greece, and roughly equal in size to Lehman Brothers circa 2008. ..."
"... Turkey's other borders face six nations: Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, and Nakhchivan, a territory affiliated with Azerbaijan. Five of those are involved in ongoing armed conflicts or outright war. ..."
"... NATO has long outlived its' usefulness. Cancel its' stipend and bring our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen and women home! Put them to work here. Fighting fires. ..."
"... NATO only seems to be useful to the hegemony that supports it. Peace is not it's mission. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:46pm

By now you've probably heard that Turkey is having a financial crisis, and Trump appears to be pouring gasoline on it.
But you may not understand what is happening, or you may not know why it's important.
So let's do a quick recap .

Turkey's currency fell to a new record low today. Year to date it's lost almost half its value, leading some investors and lenders inside and outside of Turkey to lose confidence in the Turkish economy.
...
"Ninety percent of external public and private sector debt is denominated in foreign currencies," he said.

Here's the problem. Because of the country's falling currency, that debt just got a lot more expensive.
A Turkish business now effectively owes twice as much as it did at the beginning of the year. "You are indebted in the U.S. dollar or euro, but your revenue is in your local currency," explained Lale Akoner, a market strategist with Bank of New York Mellon's Asset Management business. She said Turkey's private sector currently owes around $240 billion in foreign debt.

In essence this is an emerging market financial crisis, much like the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis.

This is all about hot money that has been washing around in a world of artificially low interest rates, and now, finally, an external shock happened. As it always happens .

The bid-ask spread, or the difference between the price dealers are willing to buy and sell the lira at, has widened beyond the gap seen at the depth of the global financial crisis in 2008, following Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s collapse.

So why should you care? Why does that matter to you or me? Well, like most emerging market financial crisis there is the danger of contagion .

The turmoil follows a similar currency crash in Argentina that led to a rescue by the International Monetary Fund. In recent days, the Russian ruble, Indian rupee and South African rand have also tumbled dramatically.

Investors are waiting for the next domino to fall. They're on the lookout for signs of a repeat of the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis that began when the Thai baht imploded.

A minor currency devaluation of the Thai baht in 1997 eventually led to 20% of the world's population being thrust into poverty. It led to Russia defaulting in 1998, LTCM requiring a Federal Reserve bailout, and eventually Argentina defaulting in 2001.

Turkey's economy is four times the size of Greece, and roughly equal in size to Lehman Brothers circa 2008.

The markets want Turkey to run to the IMF for a loan, but that would require a huge interest rate hike and austerity measures that would thrust Turkey into a long depression. However, that isn't the biggest obstacle .

The second is that Erdogan would have to bury his hatchet with the United States, which remains the IMF's largest shareholder. Without U.S. support, Turkey has no chance of securing an IMF bailout program.

There is another danger, a political one and not so much an economic one, that could have dramatic implications.
If Erdogan isn't overthrown, or humbled, then there is an ironclad certainty that Turkey will leave NATO and the West.

Turkey, unlike Argentina, does not seem poised to turn to the International Monetary Fund in order to stave off financial collapse, nor to mend relations with Washington.

If anything, the Turkish President looks to be doubling down in challenging the US and the global financial markets -- two formidable opponents.
...
Turkey would probably no longer view the US as a reliable partner and strategic ally. Whoever ends up leading the country, a wounded Turkey would most likely seek to shift the center of gravity away from the West and toward Russia, Iran and Eurasia.

It would make Turkey less in tune with US and European objectives in the Middle East, meaning Turkey would seek to assert a more independent security and defense policy.

Erdogan has warned Trump that Turkey would "seek new friends" , although Russia and China haven't yet stepped up to the plate to bat for him.
Russia, Iran and China do have a common interest when in comes to undermining the petrodollar . Pulling Turkey into their sphere of influence would be a coup.

Turkey lies at a historic, strategic crossroad. The bridge between the peaceful West and the war-ridden dictatorships of the East that the West likes to bomb.

On its Western flank, Turkey borders Greece and Bulgaria, Western-facing members of the European Union. A few years ago, Turkey -- a member of NATO -- was preparing the join Europe as a full member.

Turkey's other borders face six nations: Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, and Nakhchivan, a territory affiliated with Azerbaijan. Five of those are involved in ongoing armed conflicts or outright war.

Losing Turkey would be a huge setback for NATO, the MIC, and the permanent war machine.

QMS on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:59pm

IMF = Poison

more struggling economies are starting to get it. Trade wealth for the rulers (IMF supporters) to be paid by the rest of us. Fight back. Squeeze the bankers balls. Can't have our resources, now way, no how, without a fight.

enhydra lutris on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 6:26pm
Can the BRICS get by without Brazil, perhaps by pulling

in a flailing Turkey? Weren't there some outside potential takers encouraging China when it floated its currency proposal?

Nastarana on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:41pm
NATO has long outlived its' usefulness. Cancel its' stipend and bring our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen and women home! Put them to work here. Fighting fires.

Patrolling our shores for drug running and toxic dumping. Teaching school, 10 kids per class maximum. Refurbishing buildings and housing stock. Post Cold War, an military alliance with Turkey makes no sense.

QMS on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:22pm
NATO only seems to be useful to the hegemony that supports it. Peace is not it's mission.

[Aug 15, 2018] Lira Surges After Turkey Crushes Shorts, Imposes New US Sanctions, Denies Brunson Appeal For Release

Aug 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Meanwhile going back to the ongoing escalation in political tensions between the US and Turkey, one day after Erdogan vowed to boycott US electronics products, including the iPhone, Ankara slapped an additional tax on imports of a broad range of American goods. Turkey announced it would impose an additional 50% tax on U.S. rice, 140% on spirits and 120% on cars.

There are also additional charges on U.S. cosmetics, tobacco and some food products. The was Erdogan's latest retaliation for the Trump administration's punitive actions over the past few weeks to pressure Turkey into releasing an American pastor.

Bloomberg calculated that the items listed in the decree accounted for $1 billion of imports last year, similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminum exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by President Donald Trump last week.

The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to American "attacks" on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in tweets this morning.

[Aug 14, 2018] No matter how globalism is repackaged, it always smells the same way in the end.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,

No matter how globalism is repackaged, it always smells the same way in the end.

For decades, the globalists have subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) been moving us toward a world in which national borders have essentially been made meaningless . The ultimate goal, of course, is to merge all the nations of the world into a "one world socialist utopia" with a global government, a global economic system and even a global religion.

The European Union is a model for what the elite hope to achieve eventually on a global scale . The individual nations still exist, but once inside the European Union you can travel wherever you want, economic rules have been standardized across the Union, and European institutions now have far more power than the national governments.

Liberty and freedom have been greatly restricted for the "common good", and a giant horde of nameless, faceless bureaucrats constantly micromanages the details of daily life down to the finest details.

With each passing day the EU becomes more Orwellian in nature, and that is why so many in Europe are completely fed up with it.

Rich Monk Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

The (((Money Changers))) have always been Humanity's greatest threat!

taketheredpill Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

I would support TERM LIMITS on Congress and Senate...

[Aug 14, 2018] Trump's Trade War with China Undermining China's Dependence on Neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Trump in fact was not the consensus candidate of the American capitalist class back to the 2016 election. So with respect to these economic policies, especially about his trade protectionist measures, these new tariffs imposed on the Chinese goods, let's put it this way: These are not, certainly not the traditional kind of neoliberal economic policy as we know it. So some sections of the American manufacturing sector [capitalists] may be happy about this. But I would say the majority of the American capitalists probably would not approve this kind of trade war against China. ..."
"... So on the Chinese part, ironically, China very much depends on these overall what Martin Wolf called liberal global order, which might better be called the model of global neoliberal capitalism. So China actually much more depends on that. ..."
"... despite whatever happened to the U.S., China would still be committed to the model of openness, committed to privatization and the financial liberalization. The Chinese government has declared new measures to open up a few economic sectors to foreign investment. ..."
"... for China to rearrange towards this kind of domestic consumption-led model of economic development, the necessary condition is that you have income, wealth redistribution towards the workers, towards poor people. And that is something that the Chinese capitalists will resist. And so that is why and so far China has not succeeded in transforming itself away from this export-led model based on exploitation of cheap labor. ..."
"... first of all, China is not socialist at all today. So income of economic sector, the [space] sector accounts for a small number, a small fraction of the overall economy, by various measurements. ..."
"... And so it's expected China will also become the world's largest importer of natural gas by the year 2019. So you are going to have China to be simultaneously the largest importer of oil, natural gas, and coal. ..."
"... let's say the Chinese government right now, even though is led by the so-called Communist Party, is actually much more committed to the neoliberal global order that the Trump administration in the U.S. ..."
"... The Trump administration of this trade protectionist policy, although not justified, it reflects fundamental social conflicts within the U.S. itself, and that probably cannot be sorted out by the Americans' current political system. ..."
"... So the overall neoliberal regime has become much more unstable. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | therealnews.com

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.

The Financial Times chief economic columnist Martin Wolf has called Trump's trade wars with Europe and Canada, but obviously the big target is China, he's called this a war on the liberal world order. Well, what does this mean for China? China's strategy, the distinct road to socialism which seems to take a course through various forms of state hypercapitalism. What does this mean for China? The Chinese strategy was developed in what they thought would be a liberal world order. Now it may not be that at all.

Now joining us to discuss what the trade war means for China, and to have a broader conversation on just what is the Chinese model of state capitalism is Minqi Li, who now joins us from Utah. Minqi is the professor, is a professor of economics at the University of Utah. He's the author of The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy, and the editor of Red China website. Thanks for joining us again, Minqi.

MINQI LI: Thank you, Paul.

PAUL JAY: So I don't think anyone, including the Chinese, was expecting President Trump to be president Trump. But once he was elected, it was pretty clear that Trump and Bannon and the various cabal around Trump, the plan was twofold. One, regime change in Iran, which also has consequences for China. And trade war with China. It was declared that they were going to take on China and change in a fundamental way the economic relationship with China and the United States. And aimed, to a large extent, trying to deal with the rise of China as an equal, or becoming equal, economy, and perhaps someday in the not-too-distant future an equal global power, certainly as seen through the eyes of not just Trumpians in Washington, but much of the Washington political and economic elites.

So what does this mean for China's strategy now? Xi Jinping is now the leader of the party, leader of the government, put at a level virtually equal to Mao Tse-tung. But his plan for development of the Chinese economy did not, I don't think, factor in a serious trade war with the United States.

MINQI LI: OK. As you said, Trump was not expected. Which meant that Trump in fact was not the consensus candidate of the American capitalist class back to the 2016 election. So with respect to these economic policies, especially about his trade protectionist measures, these new tariffs imposed on the Chinese goods, let's put it this way: These are not, certainly not the traditional kind of neoliberal economic policy as we know it. So some sections of the American manufacturing sector [capitalists] may be happy about this. But I would say the majority of the American capitalists probably would not approve this kind of trade war against China.

Now, on the Chinese part, and we know that China has been on these parts, there was capitalist development, and moreover it has been based on export-led economic growth model and with exploitation of cheap labor. So on the Chinese part, ironically, China very much depends on these overall what Martin Wolf called liberal global order, which might better be called the model of global neoliberal capitalism. So China actually much more depends on that.

And so you have, indeed there are serious trade conflicts between China and U.S. that will, of course, undermine China's economic model. And so far China has responded to these new threats of trade war by promising that China, despite whatever happened to the U.S., China would still be committed to the model of openness, committed to privatization and the financial liberalization. The Chinese government has declared new measures to open up a few economic sectors to foreign investment.

Now, with respect to the trade itself, at the moment the U.S. has imposed tariffs on, 25 percent tariffs on the worth of $34 billion of Chinese goods. And then Trump has threatened to impose new tariffs on the additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. But this amount at the moment is still a small part of China's economy, about 3 percent of the Chinese GDP. So the impact at the moment is limited, but certainly has created a lot of uncertainty for the global and the Chinese business community.

PAUL JAY: So given that this trade war could, one, get a lot bigger and a lot more serious, and/or even if they kind of patch it up for now, there's a lot of forces within the United States, both for economic and geopolitical reasons. Economic being the discussion about China taking American intellectual property rights, becoming the new tech sector hub of the world, even overpassing the American tech sector, which then has geopolitical implications; especially when it comes to the military. If China becomes more advanced the United States in artificial intelligence as applied to the military, that starts to, at least in American geopolitical eyes, threaten American hegemony around the world.

There are a lot of reasons building up, and it's certainly not new, and it's not just Trump. For various ways, the Americans want to restrain China. Does this start to make the Chinese think that they need to speed up the process of becoming more dependent on their own domestic market and less interested in exporting cheap labor? But for that to happen Chinese wages have to go up a lot more significantly, which butts into the interests of the Chinese billionaire class.

MINQI LI: I think you are right. And so for China to rearrange towards this kind of domestic consumption-led model of economic development, the necessary condition is that you have income, wealth redistribution towards the workers, towards poor people. And that is something that the Chinese capitalists will resist. And so that is why and so far China has not succeeded in transforming itself away from this export-led model based on exploitation of cheap labor.

PAUL JAY: You know, there's some sections of the left in various parts of the world that do see the Chinese model as a more rational version of capitalism, and do see this because they've maintained the control of the Chinese Communist Party over the politics, and over economic planning, that do see this idea that this is somehow leading China towards a kind of socialism. If nothing else, a more rational planned kind of capitalism. Is that, is there truth to this?

MINQI LI: Well, first of all, China is not socialist at all today. So income of economic sector, the [space] sector accounts for a small number, a small fraction of the overall economy, by various measurements.

And then regarding the rationality of China's economic model, you might put it this way: The Chinese capitalists might be more rational than the American capitalists in the sense that they still use most of their profits for investment, instead of just financial speculation. So that might be rational from the capitalist perspective. But on the other hand, regarding the exploitation of workers- and the Chinese workers still have to work under sweatshop conditions- and regarding the damage to the environment, the Chinese model is not rational at all.

PAUL JAY: My understanding of people that think this model works better, at least, than some of the other capitalist models is that there's a need to go through this phase of Chinese workers, yes, working in sweatshop conditions, and yes, wages relatively low. But overall, the Chinese economy has grown by leaps and bounds, and China's position in the world is more and more powerful. And this creates the situation, as more wealth accumulates, China is better positioned to address some of the critical issues facing China and the world. And then, as bad as pollution is, and such, China does appear to be out front in terms of developing green technologies, solar, sustainable technology.

MINQI LI: OK. Now, Chinese economy has indeed been growing rapidly. It used to grow like double-digit growth rate before 2010. But now China's growth rate has slowed down just under 7 percent in recent years, according to the official statistics. And moreover, a significant part of China's growth these days derives rom the real estate sector development. And so there has been this discussion about this growing housing market bubble. And it used to be that this housing price inflation was limited to a few big cities. But for the first half of 2018, according to the latest data, the national average housing price has grown by 11 percent compared to the same period last year. And that translates into a pace of doubling every six years.

And so that has generated lots of social resentment. And so not only the working class these days are priced out of the housing market. Moreover, even the middle class is increasingly priced out of the housing market. So that is the major concern. And in the long run, I think that China's current model of accumulation will also face the challenge of growing social conflicts. Worker protests. As well as resources constrained and environmental damage. And regarding the issue of China's investment in renewable energy, it is true. China is the largest investor in renewable energy development, in the solar panels. And although China is of all the largest investor in about everything.

And so China is still the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, accounting for almost 30 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the world every year. And then China's own oil production in decline, but China's oil consumption is still rising. So as a result, China has become the world's largest oil importer. That could make the Chinese economy vulnerable to the next major oil price shock.

PAUL JAY: And how seriously is climate change science taken in China? If one takes the science seriously, one sees the need for urgent transformation to green technology. An urgent reduction of carbon emission. Not gradual, not incremental, but urgent. Did the Chinese- I mean, it's not, it's so not taken seriously in the United States that a climate denier can get elected president. But did the Chinese take this more seriously? Because you don't get the same, any sense of urgency about their policy, either.

MINQI LI: Well, yeah. So like many other governments, the Chinese government also pays lip service to the obligation of climate stabilization. But unfortunately, with respect to policy, with respect to mainstream media, it's not taken very seriously within China. And so although China's carbon dioxide emissions actually stabilized somewhat over the past few years, but is starting to grow again in 2017, and I expect it will continue to grow in the coming year.

PAUL JAY: I mean, I can understand why, for example, Russia is not in any hurry to buy into climate change science. Its whole economy depends on oil. Canada also mostly pays lip service because the Alberta tar sands is so important to the Canadian economy. Shale oil is so important to the American economy, as well as the American oil companies own oil under the ground all over the world. But China is not an oil country. You know, they're not dependent on oil income. You'd think it'd be in China's interest to be far more aggressive, not only in terms of how good it looks to the world that China would be the real leader in mitigating, reducing, eliminating the use of carbon-based fuels, but still they're not. I mean, not at the rate scientists say needs to be done.

MINQI LI: Not at all. Although China does not depend on all on oil for income, but China depends on coal a lot. And the coal is still something like 60 percent of China's overall energy consumption. And so it's still very important for China's energy.

PAUL JAY: What- Minqi, where does the coal mostly come from? Don't they import a lot of that coal?

MINQI LI: Mostly from China itself. Even though, you know, China is the world's largest coal producer, on top of that China is either the largest or the second-largest coal importer in the world market as well. And then on top of that, China is also consuming an increasing amount of oil and natural gas, especially natural gas. And so although natural gas is not as polluting as coal, it's still polluting. And so it's expected China will also become the world's largest importer of natural gas by the year 2019. So you are going to have China to be simultaneously the largest importer of oil, natural gas, and coal.

PAUL JAY: The Chinese party, just to get back to the trade war issue and to end up with, the idea of this Chinese nation standing up, Chinese sovereignty, Chinese nationalism, it's a powerful theme within this new Chinese discourse. I'm not saying Chinese nationalism is new, but it's got a whole new burst of energy. How does China, if necessary to reach some kind of compromise with the United States on the trade war, how does China do that without looking like it's backing down to Trump?

MINQI LI: Well, yes, difficult task for the Chinese party to balance. What they have been right now is that on the one hand they promise to the domestic audience they are not going to make concessions towards the U.S., while in fact they are probably making concessions. And then on the other hand the outside world, and they make announcement that they will not change from the reform and openness policy, which in practice means that they will not change from the neoliberal direction of China's development, and they will continue down the path towards financial liberalization. And so that is what they are trying to balance right now.

PAUL JAY: I said finally, but this is finally. Do the Americans have a case? Does the Trump argument have a legitimate case that the Chinese, on the one hand, want a liberal world order in terms of trade, and open markets, and such? On the other hand are not following intellectual property law, property rights and law, the way other advanced capitalist countries supposedly do. Is there something to that case?

MINQI LI: Well, you know, let's say the Chinese government right now, even though is led by the so-called Communist Party, is actually much more committed to the neoliberal global order that the Trump administration in the U.S. - but I don't want to make justifications for the neoliberal global order. But let's put it this way: The Trump administration of this trade protectionist policy, although not justified, it reflects fundamental social conflicts within the U.S. itself, and that probably cannot be sorted out by the Americans' current political system.

PAUL JAY: So the crisis- you know, when you look at the American side and the Chinese side, including the deep debt bomb people talk about in China, there really is no sorting out of this crisis.

MINQI LI: So the overall neoliberal regime has become much more unstable.

PAUL JAY: All right. Thanks for joining us, Minqi. I hope we can pick this up again soon.

MINQI LI: OK. Thank you.

PAUL JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

[Aug 14, 2018] Trump s Creative Vision for a New, Sensible, RealPolitik American Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Financial Times ..."
"... raison d'état ..."
"... balance of power ..."
"... Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, "Does the United States Have a Future?" was published on 12 October 2017. Both paperback and e-book versions are available for purchase on http://www.amazon.com and all affiliated Amazon websites worldwide. See the recent professional review http://theduran.com/does-the-united-states-have-a-future-a-new-book-by-gilbert-doctorow-review/ For a video of the book presentation made at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on 7 December 2017 see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciW4yod8upg ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Tharoor quotes from New York Times columnist David Brooks who concluded that Trump's behavior was that "of a man who wants the alliance to fail." He quotes extensively from Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and leader of the Liberal political fraction in the European Parliament fighting for a much more integrated EU, who sees Trump as the enemy of liberal internationalism and ally of his own alt right enemies in Europe.

Tharoor also brings into play Martin Wolf of the Financial Times , who delivered a scathing attack on Trump for his rejection of the West: " today the U.S. president appears hostile to core American values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law; he feels no loyalty to allies; he rejects open markets; and he despises international institutions."

In the 23 July issue of "Today's World View," Tharoor takes advantage of the time gone by since Helsinki to refine the conclusions. He offers a pithy commentary from Susan Glasser of The New Yorker : "We are witnessing nothing less than the breakdown of American foreign policy."

In the same issue, Tharoor notes that public reaction to Trump in Helsinki is less pronounced than one might suppose from reading the pundits. He offers the following remarks of colleagues on the results of a recent poll: "Most Americans do not feel Trump went 'too far' in supporting Puitn, and while more Americans say U.S. leadership has gotten weaker than stronger under Trump, his ratings on this question are slightly improved from last fall."

If we go back in time to the days following Trump's visit to the NATO gathering in Brussels, we find in the headlines of the 11 July issue another take on what Trump is doing:

"Trump's NATO trip shows 'America First' is 'America Alone.'"

Here we read about Trump's insistence that America "stop footing Europe's bill" for its defense, namely his demand that all NATO allies pay up 2% of GDP at once, not in the remote future; and that they prepare to double that to 4% very quickly. By intentional abrasiveness, these moves by Trump are, Tharoor tells us, "undercutting the post-World War II order in pursuit of short-term, and likely illusory, wins."

All of these comments address the question of what Trump opposes. However, Tharoor is unable to say what, if anything, Trump stands for. There are only hints: continued US hegemony but without the ideological cover; might makes right; nationalism and the disputes that lead to war.

Does this make sense? Or is it just another way of saying that Trump's foreign policy stance is an inconsistent patchwork, illogical and doomed to fail while causing much pain and destruction along the way?

I fully agree with the proposition that Donald Trump is ripping up the post-Cold War international order and is seeking to end NATO and the rest of the alliance system by which the United States has maintained its global hegemony for decades. But I believe this destructive side is guided by a creative vision of where he wants to take US foreign policy.

This new foreign policy of Donald Trump is based on an uncompromising reading of the teachings of the Realist School of international affairs, such as we have not seen since the days of President Teddy Roosevelt, who was its greatest practitioner in US history.

This is not isolationism, because Trump is acting to defend what he sees as US national interests in foreign trade everywhere and in geopolitics in one or another part of the world. However, it is a world in which the US is cut free from the obligations of its alliances which entail maintenance of overseas bases everywhere at the cost of more than half its defense budget. He wants to end the risks of being embroiled in regional wars that serve our proxies, not core US national interests. And he is persuaded that by a further build-up of military might at home, by adding new hi-tech materiel the US can secure its interests abroad best of all.

I reach these conclusions from the snippets of Trump remarks which appear in the newspapers of daily record but are intentionally left as unrelated and anecdotal, whereas when slotted together they establish the rudiments of an integrated worldview and policy.

For example, I take his isolated remark that the United States should not be prepared to go to war to defend Montenegro, which recently passed NATO accession, because Montenegro had been a trouble-maker in the past. That remark underwent virtually no analysis in the media, though it could be made only by someone who understood, remarkably, the role of Montenegro at the Russian imperial court of Nicholas II precisely as "troublemaker," whose dynastic family aided in their own small way the onset of WWI.

Donald Trump is not a public speaker. He is not an intellectual. We cannot expect him to issue some "Trump Doctrine" setting out his Realist conception of the geopolitical landscape. All we get is Tweets. This inarticulate side of Trump has been used by his enemies to argue he has no policy.

In fact, Trump is the only Realist on the landscape.

Going back to 2016, I thought he was being guided by Henry Kissinger during the campaign and then in the first months of his presidency, I misjudged entirely. Trump is true to the underlying principles of Realism without compromise, whereas Henry K. made his peace with the prevailing Wilsonian Idealism of the American Establishment a couple of decades ago in order to remain welcome in the Oval Office and not to be entirely marginalized.

Trump's vision of Realism draws from the source in the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648 with its guiding concept of sovereign nation-states that do not intervene in others' domestic affairs. It further draws on the notions of raison d'état or national interest developed by the French court of Louis XIV and then taken further by "perfidious Albion" in the eighteenth century, with temporary and ever changing combinations of states in balance of power realignments of competitors. The history of the Realist School was set out magnificently by Kissinger in his 1994 work Diplomacy . It is a pity that the master himself strayed from true and narrow.

In all of this, you have the formula for Trump's respect, even admiration for Putin, since that also is now Vladimir Vladimirovich's concept of Russia's way forward: as a strong sovereign state that sets its own course without the constraints of alliances and based on its own military might.

The incredible thing is how a man with such poor communication skills, a man who does not read much came to such an integrated vision that outstrips the conceptual abilities of his enemies, his friends and everyone in between.

We are tempted to look for a mentor, and one who comes to mind is Steve Bannon, who is very articulate, razor-sharp in his intellect and who provided Trump with much of the domestic content of his 2016 campaign from the alt right playbook. And though Bannon publicly broke with Trump in their falling out over his ever diminishing role in the Administration, Bannon's ongoing project, in particular his Movement to influence European politics and shift it to the Right by coordinating activities across the Continent during the parliamentary elections of May 2019, very closely parallel what Trump's ambassador in Berlin seems to be doing in Trump's name.

It may well be that the President and his confidantes find it prudent for him to play the hapless fool, the clueless disrupter of the global political landscape until he has the support in Congress to roll out the new foreign policy that is now in gestation.

The logical consequence of such a Realist approach to foreign policy will be to reach an understanding with the world's other two principal military powers, Russia and China, regarding respective spheres of influence in their geographic proximity. But I do not believe we will see a G-3 succeeding America's unipolar moment. Given the predispositions of both Russia and China, we are more likely to see a broader board of governors of global policy in the form of the G-20, ushering in the multipolar age. In such a formulation, regional conflicts will be settled locally by the interested parties and with the major powers involved only as facilitators, not parties to conflict. That promises a much more stable and peaceful future, something which none of Donald Trump's detractors can begin to imagine as his legacy.


Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, "Does the United States Have a Future?" was published on 12 October 2017. Both paperback and e-book versions are available for purchase on http://www.amazon.com and all affiliated Amazon websites worldwide. See the recent professional review http://theduran.com/does-the-united-states-have-a-future-a-new-book-by-gilbert-doctorow-review/ For a video of the book presentation made at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on 7 December 2017 see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciW4yod8upg

[Aug 08, 2018] US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.

Aug 08, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

DancehallStyle -> AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 20:02

US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.
DancehallStyle -> AnthonyFlack , 6 Aug 2018 19:57
IT tech and even intricate clothing are too fiddly for automata.

Americans view is if other countries like China make too much money and will overtake them then they will take it all back.

They did that with Japan. They also destroyed Soviet's economy.

ID4355982 , 6 Aug 2018 19:52
trump has wrecked environmental policy, trade policy and domestic social policy....the upshots will be: 1- a much more toxic environment & much higher level of respiratory disease and cancerous related ailments; overall poorer health & health care for the average citizen 2- higher prices for imported goods, lower level of trade exports, fewer US based jobs and more off-shoring of US jobs 3- a substantial increase in the homeless population in the urban areas of this country; increased rates of poverty for the poor, lower economic prosperity for the lower and lower middle class income brackets; wage stagnation for the middle & upper middle income brackets; less advanced education & lower worker productivity and innovation to name just a few of the impacts created by this idiot....in simple in English, Trump and his so-called initiatives are shafting this country in almost every way possible
Ilya Grushevskiy -> RepaTea , 6 Aug 2018 19:17
What part of international law is not just pissed on toiler paper strewn over the floors of a urinal? Which post WWII president respected this law?

None.

International law, since WWII failed. It failed in '47 when no referendum was held in Palestine - against Chapter 1, Article 1 paragraph 2 of the UN Charter. It failed in Crimea, when the results of such a referendum was spat on by the previous war criminal to sit in the Oval Office. It fails now as sanctions are used unilaterally - being equivalent to the use of force in result, they should be

But then let's not stop at after the war. The US is the only country to nuke civilians. 6/7 US four star generals at the time said the action had no strategic or tactical purpose whatsoever.

The US is what ISIS dreams to be, the sooner it falls into obscurity the better.

Brian Black -> bobthebuilder2017 , 6 Aug 2018 19:13
Pure nonsense. The Great Depression began on October 29, 1929. FDR was inaugurated on March 4, 1933 nearly 4 years after it began. Hoover had actually only been in office for just over 6 months before Black Tuesday. GDP began growing and unemployment began falling in 1933 shortly after FDR took office. The Depression officially came to an end in 1939 when GDP returned to pre-Depression levels.
Ilya Grushevskiy , 6 Aug 2018 19:09
There is no long term US growth. There is a debt default after people realize the fact that the top of the whole US government is incompetent. That it has chained itself to such astronomic liabilities for useless wars (as the Empire has not succeeded in world hegemony), is even sadder. It coould have spent the $5tn of Iraq and Afghanistan on building shit, but instead it bombed shit.

Trump doesn't matter for US long run - in 5-10 years time the country will be only found in history books.

gmiklashek950 , 6 Aug 2018 17:59
Remember Kruschev's (sp?) last words on leaving office, and I'm paraphrasing: "Don't worry about America, they'll spend themselves to death (just like we have)". Continued economic growth is a wet dream of Wall Street origin. We are massively overpopulated and rapidly using up earth's natural resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate. We must begin to reduce our growth, not keep increasing it. Population density stress is killing us now and only increasing every day along with the 220,000 new mouths to feed that we are turning out into a world that has no room for 28,000,000 homeless migrants already. Just how crazy are we really. If this article is to be believed, we are nuts. E.F. Schumacher is rolling in his grave! Stress R Us
AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 16:56
Trump/the US is attempting to renegotiate globalisation.

It is time for the rest of the western world to follow suit.

Levente Tanka -> plakias , 6 Aug 2018 16:34
The contribution of a president to the national debt depends a bit on how you calculate it. You could simply look at rhe dates of inauguration or go a step further and look at the fiscal years. For the latter see :

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

In absolute terms Obama is indeed at the top of the list, percentagewise his predecessor played a larger part. No matter how you look at it or what the causes were, under Bush and Obama the U.S. debt seems to have spiralled out of of control and Trump is doing bugger all to stop that trend.

[Aug 07, 2018] Pat Buchanan Are Globalists Plotting A Counter-Revolution

Aug 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

For consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years : the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency.

To maintain a belief in the superiority of free trade to economic patriotism, in the face of such results, is to recognize that this belief system is impervious to contradictory proof.


Brazen Heist II -> brushhog Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

The sad reality that I see all around is that Western civilization has been hijacked by degenerate hyenas like Rome was sacked from within first before being sacked externally. The institutions that once made the West a leader and a model, have been corrupted, tainted and filled with anti-humanists and crony corporatists. Greed is out of control and "popular culture" is spreading decay. The hollowing out will continue until these parasites find another host to leech off. Will it be China? Will it be a global government? Will it be another planet? Who knows.

Once upon a time figures like Rosenstein, Mueller, Brennan, Browder, Clapper, Clinton etc would be just fucking taken out or punished. Instead of that, they get to wander their toxic asses around like protected peacocks, all on tax payers dime, with their shitty agendas, and their shitty handlers cheering on the degeneracy and assault on the truth and the people.

If this is what "civilization" has boiled down to, count me the fuck out of it. The 5000 year old human farming experiment is merely switching straight jackets. Its the same old story that ever was, ever since we gave up the nomadic lifestyle. In a way, its probably an inevitability, given our flawed human nature, and the size of the population....and average intellect. The desire to be 'lead' by some ruling class, no matter what flavour of 'ism' it is, eventually all turns to the same end result....shit. Unless this global awakening can muster into a force to be reckoned with, and not be swayed by divide and conquer tactics, nothing will change. So far with the toxic Left vs Right divide, and countless other divides, the only beneficiaries of this are the ones at the top of the pyramid.

sarcrilege -> Brazen Heist II Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:12 Permalink

nature will take care of all this in due time...we just may not like the outcome

HopefulCynical -> sarcrilege Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:28 Permalink

Pat Buchanan: Are Globalists Plotting A Counter-Revolution?

HopefulCynical : Is the sky blue? Is water wet? Is fire hot?

FFS, look at the goddamn purge on (((Social media))). Of COURSE the (((globalists))) are attempting a counter-revolution.

We all need to move to alt-tech: Minds , Gab , Bitchute . Even if you don't have a (((social media))) presence, consider getting an alt-media presence. We've been wondering when the next phase would begin, whewn it would be time to take further action. Well, it's here.

First step in this next phase is to set up multiple lines of communication not under (((establishment))) control. Even if you seldom use them, set up accounts; advise those you know to do likewise. Wanna see the establishment panic? If they see the subscriber count for the alt-tech sites suddenly quadruple (or more) in response to their purge, they'll shit themselves. They'll probably attempt to pull domain registrars and financial processing services from those sites.

Then - the motherfucking games begin, bitchez.

[EDIT:] According to Styx, the alt-tech sites are already seeing a surge in membership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZP1fwkdupg Let the (((establishment))) diaper-filling begin!

Endgame Napoleon -> Big Creek Rising Tue, 08/07/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

But will "negotiations" and regulatory loosening on issues like the environment and worker safety, which have gotten out of hand in the US to the disadvantage of underemployed citizens, offset the extremely low wages offered to Asian and Latin American workers in the countries where American-owned companies shipped over 6 million jobs, canceling out the SS-retirement fund contributions that would have been made by American workers [and] employers if the jobs had been kept here?

Cheap labor seems to TRUMP everything with US employers.

Running from the SS trust fund might be another reason for their abandonment of America.

Cheap labor Trumps everything here in the USA, too, and the cheap-labor pool is aided and abetted by the welfare system. That is why US employers prefer an often extremely absentee welfare and progressive-tax-code-subsidized labor market, receiving .gov-financed monthly bills and up to $6,431 in refundable child-tax-credit cash for US-born instant-citizen kids.

Contrary to myth, hard work, daily and all-day attendance and even work productivity, like every-month quota meeting, is NOT preferred by American employers for most of the jobs left here in the USA.

The welfare-eligible 42 million are (on the books) not hard workers, but part-time workers, staying under the income limits for welfare programs. I KNOW that from working at the Department of Human Services, where single moms and the womb-productive girlfriends of illegal and legal immigrants MUST submit proof of a single-breadwinner's part-time, traceable earnings to get the free stuff.

The earnings must fall below the income limits for welfare programs that ALWAYS reward part-time work in womb-productive single-breadwinner households of citizens and noncitizens. You cannot work full time in a minimum-wage job while meeting the income limits. When I worked at DHS, both the EBT and monthly cash assistance income limits were BELOW $900 per month......

Even if Trump eventually lures US corporations back here with looser regulations and tax cuts, rather than just unleashing a stock buy-back spree, it will not matter to the 101 million American citizens of working age who are out of the labor force and the 78 million gig pieceworkers, not if this welfare-rigged labor market of citizens and noncitizens continues to be the norm.

You cannot compete with a bigly labor market full of welfare-fetching citizens & noncitizens who do not need pay sufficient to cover rent due to their womb production.

Only a Deplorables First immigration reform would address that issue, including a big reduction in the number of welfare-eligible legal immigrants let in each year. The number 1.5 million is too many. This -- no more and no less than illegal immigration -- keeps wages down, but the illegal immigration has the added bonus of making America more dangerous.

The impasse on the immigration issue is the reason why I am skeptical of the value of current trade-war maneuvering, even though I am glad that Trump is addressing that general issue.

The other thing that complicates this trade war is the way that globalist elites have sold America out over the years, not just destroying the middle class with all of this offshoring and welfare-supported illegal labor, but also getting the US economy 1) waist-deep in debt, 2) dependent on foreign investment and 3) subject to getting jerked around by Machiavellian currency manipulation that non-math people, like me, really don't understand.

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3463-trade-war-provides-perfect-cover-for-the-elitist-engineered-global-reset

It sounds kind of dangerous, though, even just the argument that Stockman makes about China being a house of cards that, if it came down, could have unintended consequences for the US.

I have no idea. But I do know that many of the people who voted for Trump are pretty adamant about the immigration issue, first and foremost, regarding it as an easier and less risky thing to get done as well.

Maybe, the children-at-the-border Movie of the Week has convinced most Trump voters to stay on the train, thinking something permanent has been done to contain the flow of welfare-rewarded illegal immigration.

I think many of the teenagers, released into the country to live with extended family or in foster care, will, in a few years, be entering the labor force as part-time workers, producing instant-citizen kids and getting free monthly bills and refundable child-tax-credit cash from .gov, while citizens like me will still face rent that eats up over half of our monthly, earned-only income from low-wage churn jobs.

As much of an enthusiastic Trump voter as I have been, going back a long way, I am not sure that I am going to vote in the mid-term general election. I am not going to vote for this Tammany Hall II Democratic Party, but I may just stay home.

There are many populists out there, not just on the right either, who are disgruntled for very real reasons, like this interesting article explains, so there will likely be wave after wave of non-centrist populism until globalism's shoreline has been redefined.

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/07/26/centrism-is-dead-and-it-never-really-existed/

Hmmm, weird, when I loaded the other link, it conformed to the format of this text box, but then when I loaded the link above this last paragraph, it reverted to cutting off the text on the side. Until I post it, I cannot see the full text after links are added.

Chupacabra-322 -> Brazen Heist II Tue, 08/07/2018 - 12:36 Permalink

@ Brazen,

"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on it favors that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantages...will bear its burden without complaint and perhaps without suspecting that the system is inimical to their best interests."

-Rothschild Brothers of London communique' to associates in New York June 25th, 1863.

The Difference.

J. Speer-Willams

June 16, 2010.

New-Cons. Love War & torture, increased regulations, tyranny and taxes; with our taxes going to the plutocrats of the private banking community. They support governmental destruction of our environment, under the pretender of protecting it. They, also, overtly support corporatism (Fascism for Oligarchs) and any measures supported by the Republican Party that enrich the private International Monetary / Banking Cartel at the expensive of the. American People.

New- Libs. Love War & torture, increased regulations, tyranny and taxes; with our taxes going to the plutocrats of the private banking community. They support governmental destruction of our environment, under the pretender of protecting it. They, also, overtly support corporatism (Socialism for Oligarchs) and any measures supported by the Democratic Party that enrich the private International Monetary / Banking Cartel at the expensive of the. American People.

Batman11 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:08 Permalink

Neoliberalism was just one huge debt fuelled boom, which was replicated across the UK, the US, the Euro-zone, Japan and China.

At 25.30 mins we can see the super imposed the debt-to-GDP ratios.

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

The damage is done.

The economics of the neoliberal era had a fundamental flaw.

The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.

Same economics, same problem, globally.

TeethVillage88s -> Batman11 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:55 Permalink

I think Pat also gets this sentence wrong and if so I say he misses details we would like to see

This is truly economics uber alles, economy before country.

The University Economist programs/studies were more oriented toward people in the old days. Economics today is used to justify Wall Street type finance and ideology. Economic study was hijacked to serve only those looking to get rich any way they can. CFR agenda comes to mind. Globalism comes to mind also and is an attack on all nations constitutions.

Batman11 -> TeethVillage88s Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

The Americans have been discovering the problems of running an economy with bad economics.

Economics was always far too dangerous to be allowed to reveal the truth about the economy.

The Classical economist, Adam Smith, observed the world of small state, unregulated capitalism around him.

"The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

How does this tie in with the trickledown view we have today?

Somehow everything has been turned upside down.

The workers that did the work to produce the surplus lived a bare subsistence existence.

Those with land and money used it to live a life of luxury and leisure.

The bankers (usurers) created money out of nothing and charged interest on it. The bankers got rich, and everyone else got into debt and over time lost what they had through defaults on loans, and repossession of assets.

Capitalism had two sides, the productive side where people earned their income and the parasitic side where the rentiers lived off unearned income. The Classical Economists had shown that most at the top of society were just parasites feeding off the productive activity of everyone else.

Economics was always far too dangerous to be allowed to reveal the truth about the economy.

How can we protect those powerful vested interests at the top of society?

The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and they conflated "land" with "capital". They took the focus off the cost of living that had been so important to the Classical Economists to hide the effects of rentier activity in the economy.

The landowners, landlords and usurers were now just productive members of society again.

It they left banks and debt out of economics no one would know the bankers created the money supply out of nothing. Otherwise, everyone would see how dangerous it was to let bankers do what they wanted if they knew the bankers created the money supply through their loans.

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

The powerful vested interests held sway and economics was corrupted.

Now we know what's wrong with neoclassical economics we can put the cost of living back in.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

Employees want more disposable income (discretionary spending)

Employers want to pay lower wages for higher profits

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

The neoliberals obsessed about reducing taxes, but let the cost of living soar.

The economists also ignore the debt that is papering over the cracks and maintaining demand in the economy. This can never work in the longer term as you max. out on debt.

Felix da Kat Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:12 Permalink

The problem is the US has lost citizenry-control. A shadow-government along with media operatives work unseen to manipulate sentiment and events in-line with an overall globalist, world-government objective (Neo-Marxism). The so-called elites behind the curtain are after total control which is why we will continue toward totalitarian dictatorship. It will not be a one-man show nor will it be readily recognizable as such, rather there will be a secretive Cabal of select ultra-wealthy liberals who will negotiate with each other as to which levers to pull and valves to turn in order to "guide" culture and civilization. But the tightknit Cabal has more work to do to infiltrate deeper into US (and world) government. The EU's Parliament is a proto-type test to tweak how they must proceed. As the Cabal coalesces their power, more draconian rulership will become apparent. The noose will tighten slowly so as to be un-noticeable and unstoppable. Certain events are planned that will cause citizenry to demand totalitarianism (for safety reasons). For the Cabal, it'll be like taking candy from a baby. This, in a nutshell, is the outline of how the US (and Western civilization) loses its democracy.

Winston Smith 2009 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:22 Permalink

"...consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years..."

The point is that THAT is not "free trade," you idiot. Globalists just incorrectly call it that intentionally. HERE is what it is:

The Myth of Modern "Global Markets"

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/08/16/the-myth-of-modern-glob

Understanding how trillions of trade dollars influence geopolitical policy we begin to understand the three-decade global financial construct they seek to protect.

That is, global financial exploitation of national markets. FOUR BASIC ELEMENTS :

♦Multinational corporations purchase controlling interests in various national outputs and industries of developed industrial western nations.

♦The Multinational Corporations making the purchases are underwritten by massive global financial institutions, multinational banks.

♦The Multinational Banks and the Multinational Corporations then utilize lobbying interests to manipulate the internal political policy of the targeted nation state(s).

♦With control over the targeted national industry or interest, the multinationals then leverage export of the national asset (exfiltration) through trade agreements structured to the benefit of lesser developed nation states – where they have previously established a proactive financial footprint.

SJ158 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:34 Permalink

Pat must suffer from some kind of cognitive dissonance. There is no free trade, nor there was before Trump. In a world of flexible exchange rates and central banking backed-inflationary credit trade wars are the status quo. He willfully ignores all the effects of credit inflation, unsound money, tax structures, subsidies, regulatory burdens created internally and by those "trade deals" and last but not least the reserve status of the fiat dollar which basically turned the US in a huge nothing-for-something economy relative to its imports.

[Aug 07, 2018] Trump To Slap $16 Billion In New Tariffs On Chinese Imports Starting August 23

Aug 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Completing the latest round of tariffs pledged against China, the US Trade Representative announced on Tuesday (after the close of course) it will impose 25% tariffs on $16 billion-worth of Chinese imports starting August 23. The new round of tariffs completes Trump's previously disclosed threat to impose $50 billion of import taxes on Chinese goods. The first $34 billion-worth went into effect on July 6th.

According to the USTR statement, customs will collect duties on 279 product lines, down from 284 items on the initial list; as Bloomberg notes, this will be the second time the U.S. slaps duties on Chinese goods in about the past month, overruling complaints by American companies that such moves will raise business costs, tax US consumers and raise prices.

On July 6, the U.S. levied 25% duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods prompting swift in-kind retaliation from Beijing.

Of course, China will immediately retaliate, having vowed before to strike back again, dollar-for-dollar, on the $16 billion tranche.

The biggest question is whether there will be a far bigger tariff in the near future: as a reminder, the USTR is currently also reviewing 10% tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese imports, and may even raise the rate to 25%. Those tariffs could be implemented after a comment period ends on Sept. 5. President Donald Trump has suggested he may tax effectively all imports of Chinese goods, which reached more than $500 billion last year.

Over the weekend, Trump boasted that he has the upper hand in the trade war, while Beijing responded through state media by saying it was ready to endure the economic fallout. Judging by the US stock market, which has risen by $1.3 trillion since Trump launched his trade war with China, which has crushed the Shanghai Composite, whose recent drop into a bear market has been duly noted by Trump, the US president is certainly ahead now, even if the market's inability, or unwillingness, to push US stocks lower has led many traders and analysts to scratch their heads.

[Aug 05, 2018] Canadians Begin Boycotting US Goods

Aug 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Exposing the growing backlash against Trump's trade policies, the WSJ writes that "ticked-off Canadians", angered by U.S. metals tariffs and Trump's harsh words for their prime minister, are boycotting American products and buying Canadian.

Take Garland Coulson, a 58-year-old Alberta entrepreneur, who admits that while usually he doesn't pay much attention to where the goods he buys are coming from, saying that "you tend to buy the products that taste good or you buy the products that are low in price where taste isn't an issue", he believes the tariffs from Canada's neighbor are a "slap in the face," and added that in recent he has put more Canadian products into his shopping cart.

Or take Calgary resident Tracy Martell, who "replaced her Betty Crocker brownie mix with a homemade recipe and hasn't visited the U.S. since shortly after President Trump's inauguration."

Or take Ontario resident Beth Mouratidis is trying out Strub's pickles as a replacement for her longtime favorite, Bick's.

The push to " boycott America" and buy more Canadian products gained strength after the U.S. levied 25% tariffs on Canadian steel and 10% on aluminum starting June 1 and President Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "Very dishonest & weak" on Twitter following a Group of Seven meeting the following week. Canada in turn imposed retaliatory tariffs on some U.S. products, including foodstuffs such as ketchup, orange juice and yogurt.

"People sort of feel that we're getting a raw deal from the U.S. and we have to stick up for ourselves," said Tom Legere, marketing manager for Ontario-based Kawartha Dairy Ltd., which has seen more interest in its ice cream recently. "And this is their way at the supermarket of trying to do so."

However, in their attempt to exclude US produce, Canadians have run into a problem: what is American, and what is really Canadian ?

The logistical spiderweb of global supply chains has made even something as simple as a boycott surprisingly complex. It shouldn't be: after all, Canada is the U.S.'s top export market, taking a little more than 18% of all U.S. exports. According to some estimates, roughly 40% to 60% of food on Canada's grocery shelves is from the US, while closely linked production chains make it tough to determine how much of any given item was produced domestically.

That has left would-be boycotters scratching their heads as they untangle how much of a given product was made or grown outside the country.

The confusion has led to a mini cottage industry: tracing the origins of Canadian products. "I'll swear up and down something is 100% Canadian," said Mouratidis, who curates a Facebook list of Canadian household goods, food products and other items. Occasionally, she runs into surprises: she was convinced Old Dutch chips were all-Canadian until she found out Old Dutch Foods Ltd. is a subsidiary. The parent company, Old Dutch Foods Inc., is based in Minnesota.

This leads to occasional exclusions on the boycott list: the Old Dutch snack food remains on Ms. Mouratidis's list because the Canadian company makes its chips in Canada.

It has also led to a sales boost for companies whose products are not "diluted" with traces of American influence. A social-media post promoting Kawartha Dairy over "American" Haagen-Dazs ice cream was criticized by a Facebook user who pointed out that Haagen-Dazs products sold in Canada are made at a Canadian plant. The plant also uses Canadian dairy, Nestlé Canada Inc. confirmed.

Kawartha Dairy, which wasn't involved in the original post, received more than a hundred emails and Facebook messages in recent weeks from Canadians asking where they could find the company's ice cream.

Another product getting a boost from the "Buy Canadian" push: Hawkins Cheezies, a corn snack that looks like a denser and crunchier version of Cheetos that is made with Canadian cheddar. W.T. Hawkins Ltd., which makes the snack, said two large grocery-store chains recently increased their orders.

The growing animosity to "Made in America" has made some traditional staples non-grata: Kraft Heinz has been a frequent target for Canadians since Heinz stopped producing ketchup in Ontario in 2014.

A list circulating online recently that ranked consumers' best options for Canadian products puts French's ketchup ahead of Heinz because it is manufactured in Canada.

Then again, unlike the Chinese where a boycott really means a boycott , one wonder if for all the clamor, Canada's revulsion to US products is merely just another example of virtue signaling. After all, one sector where the boycott efforts are failing miserably, is travel. Although some people are deliberately staying away from the U.S., the WSJ notes that according to official Canadian data, overall cross-border car trips by Canadians were up 12.7% in June from the same month last year .

snblitz -> skbull44 Sat, 08/04/2018 - 14:59 Permalink

Trade is sadly not a simple concept when it comes to national security.

I am a big proponent of buy local:

https://www.finitespaces.com/2018/03/20/protectionism-vs-why-buying-locally-makes-you-wealthy/

It is the best solution out there.

Foreign trade can be mutually beneficial. For the most part it has not been beneficial for the US for the last 40 years.

Much of the problem centers around US politicians simply selling out to foreign interests through family, friends, and foundations. The US worker has been left to dry up and die.

https://www.finitespaces.com/2018/02/15/taxes-and-trade-wars/

Brazen Heist II -> Yukon Cornholius Sat, 08/04/2018 - 15:18 Permalink

Nassim Taleb explains this in Skin in the game.

Basically,

A Kosher (or halal) eater will never eat nonkosher (or nonhalal) food , but a nonkosher eater isn't banned from eating kosher.

Full chapter here, or you can guess by the title:

The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority

https://medium.com/incerto/the-most-intolerant-wins-the-dictatorship-of

[Aug 03, 2018] China says it wants to resolve differences with U.S. on equal footing by Christian Shepherd

Notable quotes:
"... The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NASDAQ, Inc. ..."
Aug 03, 2018 | m.nasdaq.com

China is willing to resolve differences with the United States on an equal footing, the Chinese government's top diplomat said on Friday after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but added they did not address their trade war too specifically.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday instructed his trade officials to look at increasing tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion in Chinese imports into the United States.

Trump, who has accused China and others of exploiting the United States in global trade, has demanded that Beijing make a host of concessions to avoid the new duties, which could be imposed in the weeks after a comment period closes on Sept. 5.

China, however, shows no sign of bending to Washington's pressure.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Pompeo on the sidelines of a regional summit in Singapore, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said Pompeo told him he was "was willing to maintain constructive contact".

"As two members of the U.N. Security Council and the world's largest two economies, we should of course maintain talks at all times," Wang said.

"Cooperation is the only correct choice for the United States and China. It's the universal expectation of the international community. Opposition can only bring dual loss and will hurt the peaceful and stable development of the world," he added.

"We are willing to resolve the concerns of both sides via talks on the basis of an equal footing and mutual respect. He (Pompeo) was accommodating on this as a direction, and said that he does not want current frictions to continue," Wang said.

Answering a question about what was specifically said on trade, Wang said: "We did not speak in such details. But actually, as journalists have noted, how can talks take place under this pressure?"

Wang, who is also China's foreign minister, urged the United States on Thursday to calm down and "carefully listen to the voices of U.S. consumers".

So far, the United States has imposed duties on $34 billion of imports from China as part of a first tranche of sanctions on $50 billion of goods.

It wants China to stop stealing U.S. corporate secrets, abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America's expense and stop subsidising Chinese companies with cheap loans that enable them to compete unfairly.

China says the United States is trying to stop the rise of a competitor and it has imposed its own tariffs on U.S. goods. The rising tensions have weighed on stock and currency markets, with the Chinese yuan falling against the dollar.

The two countries have not had formal talks on their trade dispute since early June.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NASDAQ, Inc.

[Aug 03, 2018] Donald Trump might be a symptom that neoliberal system is about to collapse

Amazing interview.
We are in the point when capitalist system (which presented itself as asocial system that created a large middle class) converted into it opposite: it is social system that could not deliver that it promised and now want to distract people from this sad fact.
The Trump adopted tax code is a huge excess: we have 40 year when corporation paid less taxes. This is last moment when they need another gift. To give them tax is crazy excess that reminding Louis XV of France. Those gains are going in buying of socks. And real growth is happening elsewhere in the world.
After WW2 there were a couple of decades of "golden age" of US capitalism when in the USA middle class increased considerably. That was result of pressure of working class devastated by Great Depression. Roosevelt decided that risk is too great and he introduced social security net. But capitalist class was so enraged that they started fighting it almost immediately after the New Deal was introduced. Business class was enrages with the level of taxes and counterattacked. Tarp act and McCarthyism were two successful counterattacks. McCarthyism converting communists and socialists into agents of foreign power.
The quality of jobs are going down. That's why Trump was elected... Which is sad. Giving your finger to the neoliberal elite does not solve their problem
Notable quotes:
"... Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction. ..."
"... When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. ..."
"... Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade. ..."
"... The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears. ..."
Jul 10, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

In another interesting interview with Chris Hedges, Richard Wolff explains why the Trump presidency is the last resort of a system that is about to collapse:

Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction.

So, absent that counter force we are going to see this system spinning out of control and destroying itself in the very way its critics have for so long foreseen it well might.

When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. If we hadn't been a country with two or three decades of a middle class - working class paid really well - maybe we could have gotten away with this. But in a society that has celebrated its capacity to do what it now fails to do, you have an explosive situation.

Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade.

The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears.

In France, it was said 'Aprčs moi, le déluge' (after me the catastrophe). The storm will break.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/60FrsWm9OAc

[Aug 02, 2018] Trump threatens to 'shut down' government if Dems don't support border measures

Notable quotes:
"... "would be willing to 'shut down'" ..."
"... "I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security," the president tweeted, "which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc." ..."
"... "based on MERIT!," ..."
"... "great people." ..."
Aug 02, 2018 | www.rt.com

The Sunday morning tirade saw the president claim he "would be willing to 'shut down'" the federal government if members of Congress from the opposition party didn't row in behind Republicans in voting for his immigration reform package, which includes releasing funds for the US-Mexico border wall that formed the cornerstone of his election campaign.

"I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security," the president tweeted, "which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc."

I would be willing to "shut down" government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018

He also called for an immigration system "based on MERIT!," adding that immigrants wanted by the USA needed to be "great people."

[Aug 01, 2018] Trump threatens to 'shut down' government if Dems don't support border measures -- RT US News

Notable quotes:
"... "would be willing to 'shut down'" ..."
"... "I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security," the president tweeted, "which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc." ..."
"... "based on MERIT!," ..."
"... "great people." ..."
Aug 01, 2018 | www.rt.com

The Sunday morning tirade saw the president claim he "would be willing to 'shut down'" the federal government if members of Congress from the opposition party didn't row in behind Republicans in voting for his immigration reform package, which includes releasing funds for the US-Mexico border wall that formed the cornerstone of his election campaign.

"I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security," the president tweeted, "which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc."

I would be willing to "shut down" government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018

He also called for an immigration system "based on MERIT!," adding that immigrants wanted by the USA needed to be "great people."

[Jul 28, 2018] HARPER TRUMP'S EU DEAL AND THE CONTINUING TRADE WAR WITH CHINA

Jul 28, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

In the long run, the US has two distinct advantages that offset some of the vulnerabilities in the US economy, brought about by 40 years of outsourcing. The US is energy independent to a very large extent, where China is greatly dependent on energy imports, largely priced in dollars. The US has a global military advantage that will persist for the next decade or more.

Hard to say where this will lead. Best option is for the US and China to resume the trade talks that broke off months ago. Economic mutually assured destruction is not a pleasant outcome, particularly at a moment when even the IMF is worrying about emerging market debt, corporate debt defaults and other signs of another global financial crisis.


kao_hsien_chih , 10 hours ago
My sense is that the whole issue of trade disputes is not so much about trade and economics as much as politics and sovereignty. Not a whole lot will have changed in economic terms when the dust clears, but the underlying politics will have been altered unrecognizably. The whole idea of creating international bureaucratic bodies to oversee and regulate international trade (e.g. WTO) was to bypass the "normal" politics in the states involved. Long ago, the weaker countries cried "modern day imperialism" over these because they felt (not entirely without justification) that these arrangements took trade policy out of the hands of their domestic politics and unresponsive to their needs, interests, and demands--and, in a sense, this was exactly the point, since protectionism, even economically undesirable varieties, are product of "good" domestic politics. But since 1980s and 90s, the pendulum seems to have swung in the opposite direction where reclaiming a share of sovereignty over trade policy is preferred by many over trusting international bureaucracy. While not exactly "trade" policy (but it is economic), the experiences of the less well off countries in EU (as well as segments of the publics even in better off countries) has to be a fairly widespread worldview in many countries these days--certainly enough that it should make good politics to try to address them in some fashion, not try to override them by fiat (the latter seeming to be the preferred approach of the cosmopolitan elite)
English Outsider -> kao_hsien_chih , 9 hours ago
"My sense is that the whole issue of trade disputes is not so much about trade and economics as much as politics and sovereignty."

That has to be right, and it certainly applies to small countries. Small countries must always be aware that there is a loss of sovereignty implicit in the very act of trading with larger ones. The greater weight of the large country can enable it to impose trading terms that are sometimes disadvantageous to the smaller.

Tough. That's how it is. But the smaller country must always be on its guard against the very real danger of allowing that to extend to loss of political sovereignty.

What I don't see is how this applies to the US. The US is not a small country and need not fear any loss of political sovereignty attendant upon any lack of size or power. Therefore one could perhaps see the current US trade negotiations in a different light.

That is, that Trump is not defending his country against any such threat. He is merely attempting to level the playing field. For far too long that playing field has been tilted against the US worker and, ultimately, the US economy. He was elected to rectify that and will, I believe, be judged by his success in doing so.

If, in attempting that, he ruffles a few feathers - well, if he went the asking nicely route they'd walk all over him.

That quibble aside, I couldn't agree more with your note.

kao_hsien_chih -> English Outsider , an hour ago
I don't think the size of the country is the decisive factor.

International trade always produces winners and losers. Depending on the particulars, the gains might be more widely spread than losses, or vice versa. Both sides want to play the political game to shape the terms of the trade in their favor. Generally, those who are in favor of more protection tend to do well in domestic politics, while those who tend to gain more by opening up trade don't. This is why international bureaucracy regulating trade winds up being set up, to bypass the domestic political process in favor of the free traders.

I don't think there is a fundamental relationship between the size of the country and the political conflict over free trade. It may be that smaller countries tend to be predisposed more towards protectionist policies, but counterexamples are found easily (e.g. Singapore). The real issue is that creation of and deference to international bureaucracy is a mechanism through which the winners from free trade shift the venue of politics from the domestic to the international and, in a sense, unfairly disadvantage their political enemies by depriving them of the means to affect trade policy easily. Or, in other words, international trade bureaucracy is NOT just a solution for trade conflict between nations, but a political weapon directed at the skeptics at home. If the winners of free trade were willing to share their gains with the losers, the conflict would not need to be so sharp. This has not been the case in US: more than in most other developed countries, the winners of free trade kept the gains only to themselves, claiming moral absolute of the free trade and their Mammon-given right to hold on to everything. Those who lose from the free trade are not only aggrieved, but find themselves at the wrong end of the political game specifically rigged to deprive them of influence. They don't want to play by its rules if they can--and Trump is providing them this option.

In this sense, Trump's actions are re-domesticalizing the politics of free trade, making trade policy responsive to domestic interests that were shunted side formerly. The internationalists have only their own short-sightedness to blame: if they were willing to build up a broader coalition, or at least, appease their domestic opponents better, the opposition to free trade detached from domestic politics would not have become so acrimonious.

Personally, I think it's not a good development: walking back from free trade is not easy, if at all possible--too many linkages have been built, too many sectors are dependent on access to foreign inputs or markets, that actual protectionism will be near impossible to bring back without major costs. Still, if you are creating international bureaucracy to bypass domestic politics, you'd better not piss off folks back home enough that they'd start with pitchforks, and this is among the many mistakes internationalists have made.

Jack , 13 hours ago
This interview of Sir James Goldsmith by Charlie Rose frames his debate with Laura Tyson, Clinton's trade representative. Well worth watching to understand the trade debate. Play Hide
SurfaceBook , 6 hours ago
The analyst in the link below explained the myth US energy independence. Although it is not as severe as china's need for foreign energy supply , but she got russian energy export via landline as opposed as sealane gulf imports.

There also this constant propaganda of better unemployment statistic , because of the way the data was processed to make it looks better (cooked)

-- -- -- -- --

From Srsroccoreport :

While the Mainstream media and the Whitehouse continue with the energy independent mantra, the U.S. is still highly reliant upon a great deal of foreign oil. Ahttps://d3hxt1wz4sk0za.clo... , why would the U.S. import 8 million barrels of oil per day if its shale oil production has surged over the past decade?

Well, it's quite simple. The U.S. Shale Oil Industry is producing way too much light tight oil, with a high API Gravity, for our refineries that are designed for a lower grade. So, as U.S. shale oil production exploded , the industry was forced to export a great deal more of this light oil overseas.

https://srsroccoreport.com/...

N.M> Salamon , 10 hours ago
Thanks for your exposition.
Some observations:
China's import of oil in US funds is about equal to USA's net import in US$ - the rest is in ruble/yuan.
The armed force imbalance is of no value, as attack on China is certain to get A-bombs into play [aside form danger to US ships both naval and other due to Chinese/Russian made anti ship missiles]
The USA can not maintain 25% duties on consumer goods for the simple reason that 75% of population can not afford to be consumer -debt levels are too high.
The USA can not maintain high tariffs as such would greatly increase the inflation rate applicable to the "deplorables" who are already on ropes [homelessness, welfare, food subsidies etc.] Notably the Fed would have to raise rates if inflation increases with dire result for the bond market and the federal deficit due to increased interest costs.
That the European satraps have bowed under US pressure is nothing new... there will be more changes in governments in the next cycle - the present bunch is too ripe [or rotten].
I do not imply by the above that China will not suffer, however they have a trillion dollar kitty to balance the external trade problems.
Fred -> N.M> Salamon , 9 hours ago
"75% of population can not afford to be consumer..."
They are in debt because they are consuming beyond thier income. "the Fed would have to raise rates if inflation increases" The Fed has already raised rates twice this year. It was less than ten days ago that Trump based the Fed for raising rates. The losers in that have always been Americans at the bottom.
http://thehill.com/policy/f...

[Jul 21, 2018] Either Trump Fires These People Or The Borg Will Have Won

Notable quotes:
"... The borg, financed and sworn to the agenda of globalists and the military-industrial-media complex, has its orders and is acting on them. The globalists want more free trade agreements, no tariffs and more immigration to prevent higher wages. Capital does not have a national attachment. It does not care about the 'deplorables' who support Trump and his policies: ..."
"... Nearly three-fourths, or 73 percent, of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who responded to a Pew Research survey out this week said they felt increased tariffs would benefit the country. ..."
"... Donald Trump is, indeed, a kind of traitor to the Washington Consensus, a hyper-militarized capitalist utopia of corporate dominated global supply chains that doubled the international wage-slave workforce in the last two decades of the 20th century and herded these desperate billions into a race to the bottom. The leadership of both corporate parties conspired to force U.S. workers into the global meat-grinder. ..."
"... The weapon industry and the military recognize that the 'war of terror' is nearing its end. To sell more they need to create an new 'enemy' that looks big enough to justify large and long-term spending. Russia, the most capable opponent the U.S. could have, is the designated target. A new Cold War will give justification for all kinds of fantastic and useless weapons. ..."
"... Trump grand foreign policy is following a realist assessment . He sees that previous administrations pushed Russia into the Chinese camp by aggressive anti-Russian policies in Europe and the Middle East. He wants to pull Russia out of the alliance with China, neutralize it in a political sense, to then be able to better tackle China which is the real thread to the American (economic) supremacy. ..."
Jul 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

President's Trump successful summit with President Putin was used by the 'resistance' and the deep state to launch a coup-attempt against Trump. Their minimum aim is to put Trump into a (virtual) political cage where he can no longer pursue his foreign policy agenda.

One does not have to be a fan of Trump's policies and still see the potential danger. A situation where he can no longer act freely will likely be worse. What Trump has done so far still does not add up to the disastrous policies and crimes his predecessor committed.

The borg, financed and sworn to the agenda of globalists and the military-industrial-media complex, has its orders and is acting on them. The globalists want more free trade agreements, no tariffs and more immigration to prevent higher wages. Capital does not have a national attachment. It does not care about the 'deplorables' who support Trump and his policies:

[P]olls show that Trump appears to still have the support of the bulk of Republican voters when it comes to tariffs. Nearly three-fourths, or 73 percent, of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who responded to a Pew Research survey out this week said they felt increased tariffs would benefit the country.

His 'isolationist' economic policies make Trump an enemy of the globalists :

Donald Trump is, indeed, a kind of traitor to the Washington Consensus, a hyper-militarized capitalist utopia of corporate dominated global supply chains that doubled the international wage-slave workforce in the last two decades of the 20th century and herded these desperate billions into a race to the bottom. The leadership of both corporate parties conspired to force U.S. workers into the global meat-grinder.

The weapon industry and the military recognize that the 'war of terror' is nearing its end. To sell more they need to create an new 'enemy' that looks big enough to justify large and long-term spending. Russia, the most capable opponent the U.S. could have, is the designated target. A new Cold War will give justification for all kinds of fantastic and useless weapons.

Trump does not buy the nonsense claims of 'Russian meddling' in the U.S. elections and openly says so. He does not believe that Russia wants to attack anyone. To him Russia is not an enemy.

Trump grand foreign policy is following a realist assessment . He sees that previous administrations pushed Russia into the Chinese camp by aggressive anti-Russian policies in Europe and the Middle East. He wants to pull Russia out of the alliance with China, neutralize it in a political sense, to then be able to better tackle China which is the real thread to the American (economic) supremacy.

This week was a prelude to the coup against Trump :

Former CIA chief John Brennan denounced Trump as a "traitor" who had "committed high crimes" in holding a friendly summit with Putin.

It can't get more seditious than that. Trump is being denigrated by almost the entire political and media establishment in the US as a "treasonous" enemy of the state.

Following this logic, there is only one thing for it: the US establishment is calling for a coup to depose the 45th president. One Washington Post oped out of a total of five assailing the president gave the following stark ultimatum: "If you work for Trump, quit now".

Some high ranking people working for Trump followed that advice. His chief of staff John Kelly rallied others against him:

According to three sources familiar with the situation, Kelly called around to Republicans on Capitol Hill and gave them the go-ahead to speak out against Trump. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan held televised press conferences to assert that Russia did meddle in the election.

Others who attacked Trump over his diplomatic efforts with Russia included the Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats who used an widely distributed interview for that:

The White House had little visibility into what Coats might say. The intelligence director's team had turned down at least one offer from a senior White House official to help prepare him for the long-scheduled interview, pointing out that he had known Mitchell for years and was comfortable talking with her.

Coats was extraordinarily candid in the interview, at times questioning Trump's judgment -- such as the president's decision to meet with Putin for two hours without any aides present beyond interpreters -- and revealing the rift between the president and the intelligence community.

FBI Director Wray also undermined his boss' position:

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday defended Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a "straight shooter," and said the Russia investigation is no "witch hunt."

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Wray said he stood by his view that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in some capacity and that the threat remained active.

A day latter Secretary of Defense Mattis also issued a statement that contradicted his president's policy:

Secretary of Defense James Mattis took his turn doing the implicit disavowing in a statement about new military aid to Ukraine:

"Russia should suffer consequences for its aggressive, destabilizing behavior and its illegal occupation of Ukraine. The fundamental question we must ask ourselves is do we wish to strengthen our partners in key regions or leave them with no other options than to turn to Russia, thereby undermining a once in a generation opportunity to more closely align nations with the U.S. vision for global security and stability."

Pat Lang thinks that Trump should fire Coats, Wary and Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General who is overseeing the Mueller investigation.

My advice is to spare Rosenstein, for now, as firing him would lead to a great uproar in Congress. The Mueller investigation has not brought up anything which is dangerous to Trump and is unlikely to do so in the immediate future. He and Rosenstein can be fired at a latter stage.

But Wray and Coats do deserve a pink slip and so do Kelly and Mattis. They are political appointees who work 'at the pleasure of the President'.

The U.S. has the legislative and the judicative as a counterweight to the president who leads the executive. The 'deep state' and its moles within the executive should have no role in that balance. The elected president can and must demand loyalty from those who work for him.

Those who sabotage him should be fired, not in a Saturday night massacre but publicly, with a given reason and all at the same time. They do not deserve any warning. Their rolling heads will get the attention of others who are tempted by the borg to act against the lawful policy directives of their higher up.

All this is not a defense of Trump. I for one despise his antics and most of his policies. But having a bad president of the United States implementing the policies he campaigned on, and doing so within the proper process, is way better than having unaccountable forces dictating their policies to him.

It will be impossible for Trump to get anything done if his direct subordinates, who work 'at his pleasure', publicly sabotage the implementation of his policies. Either he fires these people or the borg will have won.

[Jul 21, 2018] Migrants, Pro-Globalization Leftists, and the Suffocating Middle Class by Outis Philalithopoulos

Notable quotes:
"... By Enrico Verga, a writer, consultant, and entrepreneur based in Milan. As a consultant, he concentrates on firms interested in opportunities in international and digital markets. His articles have appeared in Il Sole 24 Ore, Capo Horn, Longitude, Il Fatto Quotidiano, and many other publications. You can follow him on Twitter @enricoverga . ..."
"... Continuing flows of low-cost labor can be useful for cutting costs. West Germany successfully absorbed East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but the dirty secret of this achievement is the exploitation of workers from the former East, as Reuters reports . ..."
"... The expansion of the EU to Poland (and the failed attempt to incorporate the Ukraine) has allowed many European businesses to shift local production to nations where the average cost of a blue or white collar worker is much lower ( by 60-70% on average ) than in Western European countries. ..."
"... The middle class is a silent mass that for many years has painfully digested globalization, while believing in the promises of globalist politicians," explains Luciano Ghelfi, a journalist of international affairs who has followed Lega from its beginnings. Ghelfi continues: ..."
"... I think unrestrained globalization has taken a hit. In Italy as well, as we have seen recently, businesses are relocating abroad. And the impoverished middle class finds itself forced to compete for state resources (subsidies) and jobs which can be threatened by an influx of economic migrants towards which enormous resources have been dedicated – just think of the 4.3 billion Euros that the last government allocated toward economic migrants. ..."
"... In all of this, migrants are more victims than willing actors, and they become an object on which the fatigue, fear, and in the most extreme cases, hatred of the middle class can easily focus. ..."
"... If for the last twenty years, with only occasional oscillation, the pro-globalization side has been dominant in the West, elections are starting to swing the balance in a new direction. ..."
"... "Klein analyzes a future (already here to some degree) in which multinational corporations freely fish from one market or another in an effort to find the most suitable (i.e. cheapest) labor force." ..."
"... never export their way out of poverty and misery ..."
Jul 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Enrico Verga, a writer, consultant, and entrepreneur based in Milan. As a consultant, he concentrates on firms interested in opportunities in international and digital markets. His articles have appeared in Il Sole 24 Ore, Capo Horn, Longitude, Il Fatto Quotidiano, and many other publications. You can follow him on Twitter @enricoverga .

International commerce, jobs, and economic migrants are propelled by a common force: profit.

In recent times, the Western middle class (by which I mean in particular industrial workers and office employees) has lost a large number of jobs and has seen its buying power fall. It isn't true that migrants are the source of all evil in the world. However, under current conditions, they become a locus for the exasperation of the population at twenty years of pro-globalization politics. They are tragically placed in the role of the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Western businesses have slipped jobs overseas to countries with low labor costs, while the middle class has been pushed into debt in order to try to keep up. The