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Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Atomization of workforce and establishment of national security state after 9/11 so far prevented large organized collective actions (recent riots were not organized, and with the current technical capabilities of the three letter agencies any organization is difficult or impossible). I think that conversion of the state into national security state was the key factor that saved a couple of the most notorious neoliberals from being hanged on the electrical posts in 2008 although I remember slogan "Jump suckers" on the corner of Wall Street.

But neoliberal attacks on organized labor started much earlier with Ronald Reagan and then continued under all subsequent presidents with bill Clinton doing the bulk of this dirty job. his calculation in creating "New labor" (read neoliberal stooges of Wall Street masked as Democratic Party) was right and for a couple of elections voters allow Democrats to betray them after the elections. But eventually that changes. Vichy left, represented by "Clintonized" Democratic Party got a crushing defeat in 2016 Presidential elections. Does not mean that Trump is better or less neoliberal, but it does suggest that working class does not trust Democratic Party any longer. 

2008 was the time of the crush of neoliberal ideology, much like Prague string signified the crush of Communist ideology. but while there was some level of harassment, individual beatings of banksters in 2008 were non-existent. And in zombie stage (with discredited ideology) neoliberalism managed to continue and even counterattack in some countries. Brazil and Argentina fall into neoliberal hands just recently.   Neoliberals actually managed to learn Trotskyites methods of subversion of government and playing on population disconnect in case of economic difficulties as well if not better as Trotskyites themselves.

Neoliberalism is based on unconditional domination of labor by capital ("socialism for the rich, feudalism for labor"). American scholar and cultural critic Henry Giroux alleges that neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life. In labor relations neoliberalism promotes a social darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs. A new class of workers lost "good" jobs in the  USA since arly 90th. They all, especially, "over 50" caterory, facing acute socio-economic insecurity, There is no a special tern for such people. They are called  'precariat'. 

The imposition of neoliberalism in the United States arose from a the political counterrevolution led by financial oligarchy in the 1970s. It was their reaction on the falling rate of profitability in manufacturing industry as well as the emergence of strong competitors both in Europe and Asia, competitors which no longer were hampered by WWII decimation of industrial potential and in some way even manage to benefit from reconstruction getting newer better factories then in the USA.

Neoliberalism doesn't shrink government, but instead convert it into a national security state, which provides little governmental oversight over large business and multinationals, but toughly control the lower classes, the smacks -- including mass incarceration those at the bottom. With the inmates along with illegal immigrants slowly becoming an important  source of low-wage labor for some US corporations. Essentially a new incarnation of slave labor. 

Neoliberal policies led to the situation in the US economy in which 30% of workers earn low wages (less than two-thirds of the median wage for full-time workers), and 35% of the labor force is underemployed; only 40% of the working-age population in the U.S. is adequately employed. The Center for Economic Policy Research's (CEPR) Dean Baker (2006) argued that the driving force behind rising inequality in the US has been a series of government step to impose on the society deliberate, neoliberal policy choices including anti-inflationary bias, anti-unionism, and profiteering in the health industry

It can not be hidden. Redistribution of wealth up is all the neoliberalism is about. Simplifying, neoliberalism can be defined as socialism for the rich and feudalism for poor.

So forms of brutal exploitation when people work 12 hours a day (as many "contractors" do now, as for them labor laws do not apply) or when even bathroom breaks are regulated now are more common.  Amazon, Uber and several other companies have shown that neoliberal model can be as brutal as plantation slavery.

In a way, we returned to the brutality of the beginning of XX century on a new level characterized by much higher level of instability of employment. This is not disputed  even for neoliberal stooges in economic departments of major universities. As interesting question arise: "What form the backlash might take, if any ?"

I think it is an observable fact that the US neoliberal elite is now is discredited and entered political crisis in which it can't govern "as usual": defeat of Hillary Clinton and ability to Trump to win nomination from Republican Party and then managed to win them despite opposition from intelligence agencies and attempt to discredit him by trying him to Russia national elections. Tump victory signifies the start of discreditation of the neoliberal political elite. The sma is true for the success of Sunders in Democratic Party primaries and the fact that DNC needed to resort to dirty tricks to derail his candidacy signifies the same. Even taking into account his betrayal of his voters.

If this does not suggest the crisis of neoliberal governance, I do not know what is. Neoliberal Democrats ("Clintonized" Democratic Party) by and large lost workers and lower middle class votes. It became "Republicans light", the second War Party in Washington and now rely of "CIA-democrats" (candidates with background in intelligences serves or military) to win the seats in Congress much like Republicans in the past.  There was even (quickly suppressed) revolt against Pelosi in the House of Representatives, as it is clear that Pelosi represents the "Party of Davos" in the Congress, not American people.  

The crisis of neoliberalism created conditions for increased social protest which at stage mostly result in passive "f*ck you" to neoliberal elite.  In 2016 that led to election of Trump, but it was Sanders who captures social protest voters only to be derailed by machinations of DNC and Clinton clan.  At the same time, the efficiency with which Occupy Wall Street movement was neutered means that the national security state is still pretty effective in suppressing of dissent, so open violence probably will be suppressed brutally and efficiently.  "Color revolution" methods of social protest are not effective in  the USA sitution, as the key factor that allow "color revolutionaries" to challenge existing government. It is easy and not so risky to do when you understand that  the USA and its three letter agencies, embassies and NGOs stand behind and might allow you to emigrate, if you cause fail.  No so other significant power such as China or Russia can stand behind the protesters against neoliberalism in the USA. Neoliberals controls all braches of power. And internationally they are way too strong to allow Russia or China to interfere in the US election the way the USA interfered into Russian presidential election.   


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[Aug 07, 2020] The New Puritans by Israel Shamir

Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

Paolo Roberto, 50, a native of Sweden (his father was an Italian), had made a name for himself: a well-known boxer, he had his own TV show, he appeared in many programmes; Swedish girls loved to dance with him in Dancing with the Stars ; he also had a profitable business: he imported Italian olive oil and gastronomic products sold in the large Swedish supermarket chain CO-OP. All that glory vanished in a moment. Swedish police trapped him as he visited a girl of dubious character and then paid her for her services. It was a honey-trap. The policemen appeared from their hiding places and whisked Roberto off to the local precinct where he was booked and the nation alerted. He didn't deny a thing; he expressed extreme remorse.

In Sweden, it is perfectly legal to be engaged in prostitution. Today no one in Sweden can tell a woman what to do with her own body, be it abortion, sex change or prostitution. Yet it is a crime for a man to pay a woman for sex.

It is not sane; it is as though selling crack were legal while buying crack is the only crime. Usually it is other way around, a casual user goes free while the pusher is arrested. But it does not matter; Sweden is not the only country in the world with such a strange law on her books.

Roberto was charged for this crime. It could be worse: Sweden has some extraordinary crimes in its law book, one of them is Rape by Misadventure or Careless Rape which is committed by a man who has sex with a woman who ostensibly agrees to or even solicits sex but inwardly she is not willing. She may be doing it for money, or boredom, but not for pleasure, and the man carelessly overlooked her conflicting emotions. It is Swedish Rape. Pity they never apply the same logic to working people; we often do even less pleasant things for money, to buy food or pay rent, but the landlord is not punished for raping his tenants.

This new definition of rape deserves Victor Hugo's pen. It is Swedish Rape to have sex without a condom. It is Swedish Rape if the next day, or a few days later, the woman feels she may have been raped. Or cheated, or underpaid, or mistreated. For this ill-defined offence, Julian Assange has already spent ten years in various detention halls. If he would have killed the girl he would be free by now. Note that you may be guilty of Swedish Rape if you claim to be infertile and your partner becomes pregnant. Are you guilty of rape if you claim to be a Jew but aren't? This is an Israeli contribution to the concept of rape. But I digress.

Paolo Roberto is charged with paying a woman for sex, the crime Judah, son of Jacob, committed with Tamar (Genesis 38). The 25-year-old girl consented, but that does not matter. She came from a rather poor South European country, so probably her consent doesn't mean much. Or perhaps she consented just in order to entrap the guy and this is how Swedish justice works. Swedish prisons would be empty if police weren't allowed to entice and entrap Swedes.

The consequences for Paolo were terrible: he hasn't been tried yet; he hasn't been found guilty; his likely punishment is little more than a fine; but he was dropped like a hot potato by Swedish TV, by Swedish sports, by the Swedish chain that marketed his olive oil. His company was bankrupted overnight. The man was crushed like a bug. It was not Swedish law that crushed him. In the eyes of Swedish law he is still innocent until proven guilty. Swedish law did not force the supermarkets to remove his olive oil (actually, a very good one, I used to buy it) from its shelves. Paolo was lynched by the New Puritan spirit that is part and parcel of the New Normal.

Once upon a time, Sweden was an extremely liberal and free country. Swedes were known, or even notorious for free sexual mores. Independent and brave Swedish girls weren't shy, and they were comfortable with very unorthodox 'family' unions. But, while the US has always espoused its own brand of politically-correct Puritanism, the global media is now dragging along the other Western states in its wake. France and even Sweden participated in their own renditions of the American BLM protests, called for #MeToo, and seem eager to trade in their own cultures for the New Puritanism.

This rising Puritanism is a contrarian response to the personal freedom we enjoyed since the 1960's, and a jaded weariness with the excessive commercial sexuality of the mass media. The media sells everything with a lot of sex. You cannot turn a TV on, daytime or night, without seeing an implied or explicit act of copulation. They sell cars, snacks and sneakers by displaying naked bodies. This flood of pornography is turning the public mood against sex. Who should we blame for this blatant exploitation of sex? Men.

The Old Puritanism was hard on women; the witches were burned, and the whores were evicted from their homes. The New Puritanism is hard on men. Men are being taught that hanky-panky can have serious consequences. On the site of one of their destroyed statues of Jefferson, the Americans should erect a statue of Andrea Dworkin, the obese lying feminist who famously said that every intercourse is rape, and Penetration is Violation . She is an icon of New Puritan America.

They could not outlaw sex per se, so they invent sordid stories of incestuous sex, of paedophilia, of abusing priests, each storyteller trying to outdo the last. The vast majority of these stories are sheer inventions, like the witchcraft stories of the 17 th century in Old Puritan New England. We are in the midst of a global media campaign, and men are the targets. The Patriarchy will be diminished by the systematic demonization of boys and men.

In the current media frenzy I cannot trust any story, any accusation of a man involved in a sordid sexual crime: these media campaigns are too often employed to unseat a commercial competitor or destroy the popularity of a political rival. Often the man is not even accused of any crime, but only of frivolous behaviour: a touch, or an immodest proposal; natural acts celebrated in the days of my youth. Yes, my young readers, in the 1970's you could touch a woman's knee and suggest she accompany you on a passionate weekend at a seaside resort, and she would often agree. This libertine era is over completely. Even to me, it now seems mythical, like Atlantis. It is gone.

The US is the media's inspirational model of the New Puritanism. Remember the women who lined up to claim that the future Supreme Court judge tried to kiss or even rape them when they were kids in college? The most credible of them would not even allege he behaved criminally; just immorally according to New Puritan standards. Now every relationship must be re-evaluated in the light of the New Puritanical historical revisionism. Women who pose for a picture with a presidential candidate now have a certain amount of power over him. During a media campaign the allegations come fast and furious, but upon investigation they turn out to be spurious and motivated by self-interest or politics.

It is good to see that sometimes, quite rarely, a man can still escape a close encounter with his life intact. Former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond had been accused of all the usual sexual sins and was fully cleared by the court . No less than ten women were recruited (apparently with the knowledge of Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond's successor); they came forward and claimed that they were sexually attacked by Salmond. They were rather sloppy with their proofs, and it turns out that they claimed they were attacked at times and places where Salmond could not have been present. The case was dismissed and Salmond was found not guilty . Scottish prosecutors had spent years of labour trying to condemn Salmond, and it spectacularly failed.

You might ask, why have these perjurers (who are well-connected women close to the centre of power of the ruling SNP party) not been prosecuted for their attempt to frame the man? Well, the very idea of these trials is that the accusing woman can't lose. If she wins, she can collect millions, and if she loses, even her name remains secret. These ten perjurers are exempt from legal consequence; nor are they required pay expenses and damages. The women are protected. Who pays? Our colleague, the excellent writer and former HM Ambassador Craig Murray , that's who. Murray was reporting on the trial of Alex Salmond for the public's benefit, published onto his own blog, when he was charged with disclosing the identities of some of the perjuring women. A conscientious man, Craig wasn't guilty of naming names, but even his vague description of "an SNP politician, a party worker and several current and former Scottish government civil servants and officials" was considered by the court to be a monstrous breach of confidentiality.

The public was well prepared for this onslaught on mankind by the poisonous #MeToo culture, a massive wave of carefully coordinated media hysteria. Women in communes and nunneries are known to menstruate at the same time when living in close proximity. #MeToo was a similar mass event. It was designed to push women's buttons. They even offered up an appropriately grotesque scapegoat: Harvey Weinstein, a movie producer with 386 Hollywood production credits under his belt.

The actresses that accused Weinstein (over eighty women) would still be unknowns if he had not given them parts in his movies. And they repaid him with such cruel ingratitude. Actresses have a certain psychological setup that makes them extremely untrustworthy. They have many other qualities to offset this deficiency, but you can't just accept the words of a lady who plays today Lady Macbeth and tomorrow Madam Butterfly as solid truth. They are acting, in life as well as in their line of work.

Consider the beautiful Angelina Jolie. She is mad as a hatter. Even her own father said that she had "serious mental problems." Her long history of violent self-abuse culminated with her choice to cut off her breasts because of a DNA test that indicated risk for breast cancer. She has had a long line of boyfriends and husbands, and a lot of kids adopted out of Africa, taken away from their natural parents. Is she a reliable witness? She would say anything that is fashionable. The woman wants to be adored as the model of an excellent person; this is a honourable goal, but she is extremely unsuitable for it.

Weinstein's eighty accusers collected millions; the great producer went to a life-long jail sentence. The public, the great American public was eager to lynch the man who gave them True Romance and Pulp Fiction . Was he guilty as charged? Even the charges were a travesty of justice. Men of his generation (and of mine, too) routinely propositioned women. We are all guilty, though not many of us racked up Weinstein's numbers. Yet every woman was free to refuse. No police reports against Weinstein appeared until the #MeToo media campaign was in full swing. Did he harass them? You and me are harassed daily by offers to take another credit card or bank loan; we are free to refuse this definitely harassing offer. Every unsolicited proposal is harassment; and we receive daily hundreds of proposals of various nature. What is so different about a sexual proposal to a woman? Weinstein may or may not have committed a crime, but in the poisonous air of #MeToo there is no need to prove any accusation, and the man was lynched.

Perhaps now I am going to lose your tentative sympathy, but I do not believe the allegations against Jeffrey Epstein and Ms Ghislaine Maxwell, either. And the attack on Prince Andrew is similarly unbelievable. Chapeau for Mr Trump who dared to express sympathy to Ms Maxwell. This was an act of incredible bravery, to step out of line and to say a few kind words to her and about her. The cowardly Clinton and Obama, who were close friends with Epstein and Maxwell, were mum. Trump who was not particularly close to the couple, spoke up for them. He really deserves being re-elected, despite his many faults. Such a man is a master of his own mind, and this is a very rare quality.

I may mull over a proposal to buy the Brooklyn Bridge, but how possibly can one believe the stories of the disturbed woman who claims that she had to be forced to have sex with fabulously wealthy Mr Epstein or to meet glamorous Prince Andrew, let alone that she suffered "extreme distress, humiliation, fear, psychological trauma, loss of dignity and self esteem and invasion of her privacy" on his island retreat? The complete absence of evidence and the complete lack of objectivity could only prevail in the midst of a media campaign. It is believable what Ms Maxwell said in a deposition, that Ms Giuffre was "totally lying." Indeed all these gold diggers are totally lying.

Like this one : An anonymous accuser says she'll testify that 'evil' Ghislaine Maxwell raped her '20-30 times' starting from when she was 14 and claims she was forced to abort Jeffrey Epstein's baby. Honest and reputable men like Prince Andrew are forced into the demeaning and impossible position of having to argue and justify themselves against wild accusations. There are no reasonably believable accusations of crime against these people. A woman had a photo of her taken with Prince Andrew. She was at least 17; at this age girls in England are perfectly entitled to have an affair with a man. Other girls in other photos were apparently of age, too. Young, yes, but not criminally young. Furthermore, a posed photo does not always indicate a sexual relationship. Some women claim they were babies and they were raped, but there are no proofs of anything except their greed.

Mike Robeson who investigated the claims came to conclusion that they were often initiated by big business to rip off rich Jews. New Puritanism is the Joker card that can trump the antisemitism ace. He wrote:

I've read Whitney Webb's investigative articles on Epstein, which are often cited by the alternative and leftist crowd as evidence of his Mossad connections and blackmailing activities. But Webb's articles are actually full of unsubstantiated rumors, possible immoral or illegal activities between high level people based on coincidental social or business connections and potentially damning rumors corroborated mainly by her previous articles and posts. She has done some fine reporting on other issues. But on the Epstein case, she is part of what Israel rightly refers to as the New Puritanism.

Supposed evidence of Frau Maxwell's salacious involvement is the famous photo of Prince Andrew below. This is all the New Puritans need to justify believing the rumors and drawing their "I told ya' so!" conclusions. But hobnobbing has long been a sport played by the wannabes with the tacit collusion of the rich and/or famous.

Take a look at the fun couple under Prince Andrew and his alleged squeeze. You may recognize Rosalynn Carter, then First Lady of the US. Standing next to her is none other than William Gacy , a few months before he was arrested as a serial killer and cannibal of those he'd butchered. Are we to draw certain conclusions from this photo?

Below Rosalynn Carter is another photo, this one showing then President George Bush being hobnobbed by political has-been George Wallace and by young political wannabe Bill Clinton. What conclusions can be drawn from this? Was George already then grooming Billy Boy for higher things in life? Or is it merely more photographic evidence of how wannabes crawl up the ladder of personal and career advancement? For it is clear that the rich and/or famous, like Rosalynn Carter and Prince Andrew, have to put up with photo ops, sometimes to their later discredit.

Very little about the Epstein case makes sense – not his social and financial connections and especially not his alleged links with the Mossad. Every rich Jew in the US is sayanim, but that doesn't mean they are running blackmail ops. And the pedo accusations are ridiculous. His 'victims', none of whom were less than 16 (legal to marry in most European countries and many American states) were willing, well paid and well taken care of gals who got lucky to catch a good-looking sugar daddy. Whatever he knew about his rich and famous clients that may have gotten him killed may have had something to do with what he knew about them, sure. He probably shared his largesse with his friends and possible donors and contributors. But if he had been sexually blackmailing them over the years, why did they keep going back to him?

The blackmail angle doesn't make sense. It makes more sense that a lot of famous people may have preferred him dead to testifying about his activities. Who, famous or not famous, would want to get dragged through the mud by the overzealous New Puritan prosecution teams that had already destroyed the lives of innocent defendants of sexual accusations like Jerry Sandusky and Larry Nasser, as well as hundreds of others in the past decades of America's sexual abuse/devil worship hysteria. The Pizzagate fiasco is a demonstration of how mobs can be raised, aimed and defused by an orchestrated media campaign.

From what I see of Epstein's photos, he was an intelligent, good lucking, confident, fun loving guy. If he was nailing more hot chicks than I ever did, more power to him.

Another motivation for the liquidation of Epstein's empire is the collaboration between the media and the unknown figures behind the scenes who are likely to walk away with Epstein's millions. Are you familiar with the story of Howard Hughes and the destruction of his Las Vegas empire? It happened to him. Something similar has happened in the past few years to other wealthy Jews like Donald Sterling , who was first falsely accused of being a racist and then forced to relinquish his ownership of an NBA team. Other examples? Richard Fuld of Lehmann Bros. and Bernie Madoff were taken down by their Wall Street rivals and then used as scapegoats to expiate the sins of corporate raiders. Harvey Weinstein was the sacrificial schwein to absolve the sick Hollywood culture. Now that Weinstein has been destroyed, Hollywood can go back to business as usual.

But what about the intimidation faced by hundreds of girls victimized on Epstein's private island? Why do they claim to be afraid of retribution even after his death? The girls were treated well. They admit that they cooperated in finding more girls who would massage Epstein, even supposedly knowing that they too would be 'horribly abused' by the 'monster'. The reporters and the interviewed women are perfect examples of New Puritans. I feel dirty after watching them perform. None of their emotional anecdotes reach evidentiary standards and any court would dismiss their cases out of hand.

As for the source of Epstein's fortune, here is a plausible investigation . It is interesting that no one can really agree on the amount nor the source of his millions.

Justice, or what is passing under that name, gets screwed whenever the law is used to empower a person with a personal grudge, either on his own behalf or to benefit a media consortium. Emotional appeals could never been considered in the better world of Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington. Perhaps they had slaves, but they would not have condemned a man, free or slave, on the basis of empty accusations. Physical evidence is still required in the legal courts. Only on TV can people be destroyed by edited testimony.

I am very tolerant of anti-Jewish rhetoric. So tolerant that I am often accused of it myself. Still, the accusations against Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, and let's not forget poor Mr Harvey Weinstein, are often marked by cliché characters such as the crass foul-mouthed Jew and the innocent girl he despoils. Meanwhile, the facts of each case are monotonously repeated: one man's career is destroyed while dozens of girls become famous; millions of dollars are suddenly difficult to track and soon begin to evaporate; the man is demonized and the women are sainted.

Can the New Puritanism overturn the Jews and their unstoppable juggernaut cry of antisemitism? Leo Frank was lynched by the mob and the ADL was formed to make sure it never happened again, no matter what the crime. Is New Puritanism the new mob violence? Perhaps mob violence is the only way our rulers can overwhelm the paralyzing effects of being called antisemitic. Perhaps the New Puritanism is an opening salvo in a larger war between shadow forces.

But I could never believe that Maxwell and Epstein were connected with the Israeli Intelligence agency, the Mossad. With all my sympathy to our esteemed colleagues Philip Giraldi and Whitney Webb , there is not a single shred of evidence for such connection. Conjecture, yes; evidence, no. Even the father of Ghislaine, the late Mr Maxwell, who was not a saintly person by any means, might be with better evidence accused of collaborating with Soviet Intelligence, the KGB, than with the Israelis. A person of his standing probably connected with Israelis, too, but he was no Mossad agent.

I can understand my American friends. There never was a time worse for American men, when the statues and memorials of their great ancestors have been uprooted, when their wives and daughters are queuing to press their pink lips upon the boots of black ghetto dwellers, when their manhood is defined as "toxic" and their sons are dreaming of a same-sex union with a glorious black buck. If the US were occupied by the Communists as Amerika envisaged, it wouldn't be as bad as what you've got now. You have been humiliated thoroughly. I understand that in such a situation you might jump at the chance to break the bones of rich Liberal Jews like Epstein and Weinstein. I wouldn't refuse you this comfort. They are anyway already lynched.

However, if you want ever to walk free, you'd better deal with the New Puritan takeover. Women are wonderful creatures, but often they can be manipulated and do what they are asked to do. They are also excellent actors and are not troubled by honour. Men are more independent and solitary by nature; that is why our Masters want to suppress masculinity. It is easier to shepherd a flock of cows than so many bulls. Women love to be the victims, to blame men for their failings; add social distance and fear of viral infection; add the mask (the New Western Burka); add lockdown, and the problem of how to send the children to school might just solve itself. No children. The New Puritans are currently purging Hollywood of the most relentlessly heterosexual men, but when they run out of rich Jews, they just might come after you.

The New Normal is the New Puritan. The pandemic fit into it tight as a glove. Under millions of cameras and tracing applications, privacy shrinks and disappears. New Puritanism erases the gap between public and private realms. In the world we knew, there was a difference between the twain. A man having an affair with a woman (or with another man) was in a private realm. Do whatever you wish in privacy of your home; just don't frighten the horses, Victorians once said. Now there can be no privacy. Sex is already more of a political opinion than a physical act. You might be lionized as a homosexual or despised as a breeder, your choice. Any affair, or even the attempt to start an affair could be deadly in the post #MeToo world. In an era of socialized medicine, sex is seen as a dangerous weakness that might endanger lives and imperil the global healthcare system.

Much of the severity of New Puritanism can be sourced directly to American culture. America was founded by the Old Puritans of Mayflower in 1620 and has periodically been subject to hysterical outbursts, from witches to Red scares. Nowhere has the use of sex for advertising and commerce been so widely spread as in the US. As the US has become the model for the world, an epidemic of American hysteria is starting to infect countries all around the world. #MeToo reached even Russia, but it is still only a minor phenomenon, mainly to be found among only the most woke of hipsters.

Orwell imagined a future of "state-enforced repression and celibacy" while Huxley predicted "deliberate, narcotising promiscuity". The New Puritans have chosen Orwell's world. I grew up in something more akin to Huxley's, and I can tell you which one is better. Communist Russia was very permissive in the private sphere. People had a lot of sex, with their girl/boy friends, with spouses, with neighbours, with wives of their friends, with their colleagues, with their teachers and students. The Soviets had none of the restrictions we have now against sexual relations in the University between teachers and students; in fact, no restrictions against sex with coworkers, something that now we would call abusive and then call the police. As religion had little influence in Soviet society, adultery was frequent, and unless connected with a public scandal, had no consequences.

Russians as well as the French could not understand why Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky made waves in the US that blew into an impeachment trial and ended with the bombardment of Belgrade. Bill was unfaithful to Hillary? That's not nice, but it is their private affair. President Clinton lied? Well, he was not in the confession booth. Traditional religions, be it Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, are quite tolerant of venial sin. Puritanism, the Old as well as its New offspring are deadly serious in everything, and are unafraid of killing or bullying a sinner to death. They may have begun with witches, but they are ending up targeting ordinary folk.

Currently their targets have a lot of wampum, for it is no fun to bully a person for no material gain. Us, impecunious men, we have nothing to be afraid of yet. But it might be wise to save society before the New Puritans bring down disaster onto all of us. In my opinion, America's influence on the world should be reversed, or at least limited. Let America get influenced by Europe for a change. Mercifully, Europe is suffering from a very light case of New Puritanism that may be entirely cured with a healthy dose of Anti-Americanism. I hear the vaccine is under development.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review .


Svevlad , says: August 2, 2020 at 11:52 am GMT

Nordoids are the most totalitarian people – it's just that they are told to be woke

anon [501] Disclaimer , says: August 2, 2020 at 12:38 pm GMT

Picture two is not proof, it's illustration. In fact Cord Meyer recruited Clinton as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, feathered his wife's nest with a ridiculous bonanza of commodity trading top-ticks, then appointed Bill to run the CIA covert ops slush fund at Mena airfield. That picture is junior secret agent Bill Clinton at the office picnic with his big boss the DCI.

As for picture number one, I'll be forever grateful for the heartwarming thought that Rosalyn also puts on a clown costume, handcuffs boys, buttfucks them, strangles them, and buries them in the crawlspace.

Jack McArthur , says: August 2, 2020 at 2:38 pm GMT

Virtually all you wrote is true but with "Very little about the Epstein case makes sense – not his social and financial connections and especially not his alleged links with the Mossad" you seem to have quite deliberately blown your cover as another lying judaizer to those who think Jews are normally incapable of true conversion and that your role in creation is to show what bad is compared to good.

Parsnipitous , says: August 2, 2020 at 4:04 pm GMT
@Jack McArthur

Indeed, it appears so: a very incisive first half of the article, describing a real phenomenon (used to manipulate public opinion and society) seems designed to drop the Epstein turd into.

Epstein is no Puritan witch hunt: Robert Maxwell gets something akin to a state funeral in Israel, his daughter pimps for guy who uses lavish Wexner money for beehives of celebrities into which a steady supply of young female flesh is injected and this guy is telling us we just need to relax a bit.

Israel Shamir is being dishonest here.

ThreeCranes , says: August 2, 2020 at 4:21 pm GMT

" then First Lady of the US. Standing next to her is none other than William Gacy, a few months before he was arrested as a serial killer and cannibal of those he'd butchered. Are we to draw certain conclusions from this photo?"

Yes. That she wasn't to his taste.

ThreeCranes , says: August 2, 2020 at 4:52 pm GMT

Thanks, Israel. Well reasoned and well presented. Although some or many may not agree with you, it's refreshing to read a straight forward exposition. At least you're laying it out there for others to take a crack at it.

"Women are wonderful creatures, but often they can be manipulated and do what they are asked to do. They are also excellent actors and are not troubled by honour. "

I've never met a woman who wasn't a bald-faced liar about anything that concerned her personally. (And no, I'm not an Incel. Far from it)

"Much of the severity of New Puritanism can be sourced directly to American culture. America was founded by the Old Puritans of Mayflower in 1620 and has periodically been subject to hysterical outbursts, from witches to Red scares."

So true. The country was settled by all manner of religious zealots, each and every one of them forming some sort of utopian colony here–almost all of which went down in flames.

Dumbo , says: August 2, 2020 at 5:01 pm GMT

The Old Puritanism was hard on women; the witches were burned, and the whores were evicted from their homes. The New Puritanism is hard on men.

Well, it is particularly hard on "beta" men. Their idea is basically to let "alphas" have harems but all other men to become incels or worse. Just look at this guy, punished for visiting a whore (in their view anyone who pays for sex is by definition not an alpha, so it makes sense to punish johns but allow or even celebrate whores)

Yes, Feminism is a kind of inverted puritanism. But being hard on sluts and whore makes sense if you want to preserve society's order and families. Feminist rules against men only help to destroy society.

So there's a very big difference between the Old Puritanism and the New Puritanism.

From what I see of Epstein's photos, he was an intelligent, good lucking, confident, fun loving guy. If he was nailing more hot chicks than I ever did, more power to him.

Come on. No one knows how this guy made money. For all purposes he was a nobody. Yet he was seen with Elon Musk, Woody Allen, Trump, Clinton, Bill Gates, Prince Andrew, anyone who was "someone" dined with him and maybe one of his girls. There's something very fishy about this. I don't know, maybe he and Maxwell were just the preferred pimp of the elites, or maybe there's something else. Robert Maxwell (Ghislaine's dad) was an Israeli spy and a media magnate, just that is very suspicious.

I mean, of course I don't trust the little whore Giuffre (whoever trusts whores or actresses, but I repeat myself, is an idiot). But there is something very strange and rotten about Epstein and the fact that he met with almost everybody in the so-called elite.

Dumbo , says: August 2, 2020 at 5:08 pm GMT

Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond's successor

Salmon(d) and Sturgeon? Who was the next one, Sardine?

Fidelios Automata , says: August 2, 2020 at 5:24 pm GMT

Much of this article makes sense, though I can't buy the defense of Epstein and Maxwell. It's absurd to call him a "pedophile" as many journalists do. He was a pimp for the Deep State's extortion racket.

Curmudgeon , says: August 2, 2020 at 5:36 pm GMT

Thanks for this. I have been criticized by many for observing holes in the narrative and objecting to trial by media.
I have, since the start of the last Epstein narrative questioned the "intelligence" connection. Not because it wasn't possible, rather that Virginia Roberts narrative about escaping was implausible. If Epstein was doing his alleged blackmail routine for Mossad or any other intelligence service, Roberts would have been suicided long ago. Loose ends like that are a danger to the operation.
That doesn't mean that Epstein wasn't diddling underage girls nor does it mean that Maxwell wasn't recruiting girls to massage Epstein. In Maxwell's case, she may, or may not have known Epstein was diddling them as alleged. I have yet to see a reasonable explanation of how these underage girls got passports without parental consent, and if they did, who was the guarantor? Apparently, all of these accusers had parents who were uninterested in their underage daughters traveling with a male more than twice their age, on his private jet.
As for Weinstein, Shirley Temple's mother complained people in the studio were trying to get into her daughter's pants and she had to be vigilant. Marilyn Monroe, on marrying Joe DiMaggio, is reported to have said that she`d never have to suck another cock. The casting couch stories have been rampant for as long as I have been alive, yet I am supposed to believe that none of Weinstein`s accusers knew that it was the price of admission. That does not mean I approve of taking advantage of women, that has always been done in many ways. Post war turned millions of German and Italian women into prostitutes, for occupying soldiers, in order to feed themselves and their families. Apparently that was ok, but young actresses being turned into millionaires is not.

Anon [252] Disclaimer , says: August 2, 2020 at 5:58 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Not true at all, the majority of people who settled the USA were regular Anglos, especially in the South.

And Anglo DNA is something like 25% of the USA. This country is full of immigrants from other stocks, and you know what? They are far more likely to be Democrat-voting liberals, while the Anglo Americans are more likely to be rural Republicans who think things like MeToo and BLM are crazy.

Get a new theory.

anon [313] Disclaimer , says: August 2, 2020 at 6:06 pm GMT

If the US were occupied by the Communists as Amerika envisaged, it wouldn't be as bad as what you've got now.

Yes, the Commie occupiers had the good sense to execute the entire US Congress.

sarz , says: August 2, 2020 at 6:37 pm GMT

What a total crock of shit. I have long maintained that Shamir is Mossad and a pretend convert to Christianity. This is the guy who argued with passion that those who say that Muslims did not do 9/11 are depriving them of credit for their rare success. It's nevertheless surprising to see him cashing in his chips in such a stupid and lazy way. It's in fact so stupid that it brings to mind Gordon Duff, himself an intelligence figure, alerting me to the hugely disparate quality of Shamir emissions with the explanation that the persona "Israel Shamir" is the work of a committee. It looks like desperate times for the big Jews. The big satanic game -- implicating the Rothschilds, the British royals, and a whole gaggle of Jews and crypto-Jews including Trump and Bill Gates, and all their attendant goys such as the Clintons -- could all fall apart.

Israel Adam pretend-Christian Shamir, who is Moloch and why was there a temple to him on Epstein's island?

Anyone who finds Shamir's protestations of Jewish innocence plausible need look no farther than Maria Farmer's interview with Whitney Webb. Maria doesn't mention Moloch, but she keeps wondering what happened to all those girls. Thousands seem to have just disappeared.

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , says: August 2, 2020 at 6:37 pm GMT

innocent defendants of sexual accusations like Jerry Sandusky and Larry Nasser,

I agree with most of the article, but do you have any proof that Jerry Sandusky and Larry Nasser are innocent?

Prince Andrew fooling around with a consenting 17 year old does not compare with what Jerry Sandusky and Larry Nasser were accused and convicted of doing.

ThreeCranes , says: August 2, 2020 at 7:01 pm GMT
@Anon

How much have you seen, first hand, of America? The East Coast and Midwest is littered with former religious communes. Okay, I may have indulged in a little hyperbole, but nevertheless, there were a lot of them. And I don't know what you're going on about Democrats, Anglos and such. Seems off topic to me.

From Wiki

[MORE]
Chris Moore , says: Website August 2, 2020 at 7:14 pm GMT

I have long maintained that Shamir is Mossad and a pretend convert to Christianity. This is the guy who argued with passion that those who say that Muslims did not do 9/11 are depriving them of credit for their rare success. It's nevertheless surprising to see him cashing in his chips in such a stupid and lazy way.

It's hard to imagine an authentic Christian would defend the deep state and Zionist Hebrew pedophile operative Epstein. Hebrew-supremacist blood is thicker than any ideology, I guess. His big Hebrew ego just can't let go of it's delusions of being forged by sacred, primeval forces. I'm sure a rat would have a huge ego if it could speak, too.

Anonymous [247] Disclaimer , says: August 2, 2020 at 7:30 pm GMT

Yes, the anti-Semitic trope of the Jew despoiling the innocent. The only stereotype I can read here is that of the eternal victim. So Madoff didn't steal millions from elderly pensioners. And Epstein wasn't linked to the former head of Israeli intelligence or invest in security companies run by former Unit 8200 types. And Wexner (of Mega Group) didn't gift him a multimillion dollar surveillance lair. And Maxwell was trolling the parking lot of Groton School and Philips Andover after the kiddies got released from their chemistry AP test, not preying on broken girls from broken homes. F#ck you Shamir.

traducteur , says: August 2, 2020 at 7:51 pm GMT

Leo Frank was lynched by the mob

He had murdered the girl, don't forget, and had been convicted by the courts, despite a protracted and lavishly financed Jewish effort to pin the crime on a Black man who had not committed it. The mob dragged Frank out of prison and lynched him only after his death sentence had been commuted by the Governor of Georgia.

Beb , says: August 2, 2020 at 8:04 pm GMT

Sir, you have the touch! A most amusing article.

israel shamir , says: August 2, 2020 at 8:13 pm GMT
@traducteur

Some people deserve lynching. "Was lynched" is not a synonym of "innocent".

sarz , says: August 2, 2020 at 8:19 pm GMT
@traducteur

He had murdered the girl, don't forget

All of us regulars at Unz Review know fully well that speaking of Leo Frank being lynched by the mob as the main story just won't do. Whoever is handling the Israel Shamir persona at Herzliya these days doesn't have all that much interest in what Ron and others here have been discussing.

sarz , says: August 2, 2020 at 8:21 pm GMT
@israel shamir

Damage control.

sarz , says: August 2, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
@Beb

Who are you, Beb, and why are you saying such silly stuff?

Mike Robeson , says: August 2, 2020 at 9:03 pm GMT

Here is additional support for Shamir's take on Epstein's primary accuser –
"Virginia Roberts . claimed to have met him when she was fifteen and to have been forced to work as his sex slave. In reality, she was seventeen, which is still below the age of consent in Florida, but does materially alter her claim that she had sex with Prince Andrew when she was under age because the age of consent in England is sixteen, something of which she was almost certainly unaware .

Among her lurid claims, many of which are demonstrably false, she admits she recruited other, genuinely underage girls for Epstein, yet she has been given a free pass on this. Roberts travelled to Thailand on Epstein's dollar, and while there she had a change of heart, breaking with him. She experienced no adverse consequences for this. Now she is back, regretting her past, sordid life and eager to cash in on it. In what sense can this woman be claimed to be a victim?"
https://theduran.com/victim-narratives-in-the-news/?ml_subscriber=1479058990255051922&ml_subscriber_hash=i0d9&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_duran_daily&utm_term=2020-08-02

Mike Robeson , says: August 2, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT

Edward J.Epstein, a long time investigative journalist including on the JFK assassination, recently published his own angle on the sources of Jeffrey Epstein's riches, and they have nothing to do with sexual blackmail –

"An extremely savvy financier and philanthropist told me after Epstein's death about a proposition Epstein had once made him: that he could save more than $40 million in US taxes if he gave him $100 million to manage.

Epstein claimed the money would be concealed in a maze of offshore non-profits he controlled so that part of the profits would be transferred to the financier's own philanthropic foundation, with the balance retained offshore and out of the reach of the taxman.

When the financier told him that the scheme amounted to illicit tax evasion, Epstein said it was highly unlikely the Internal Revenue Service would unravel it, and, if it did, he would protect the financier from any criminal exposure.

The financier asked him how? Epstein said the financier would have to sign over the funds to him, thus giving him total discretion over where and how the money was invested. This piece of paper, he said, would provide an alibi to the US tax authorities.

The financier turned down Epstein's proposition, but others – Arab princes, Russian oligarchs and those interested in hiding some part of their wealth – might have accepted it.

Indeed, shortly before his arrest last year, Epstein told an associate that he was going into the business of hiding funds for billionaires who were contemplating divorcing their wives – for a hefty commission, of course.

He also claimed to be in the final stages of buying a property in Morocco, one of four countries in the world not to have an extradition treaty with the US.

So perhaps the mystery of Epstein's fortune is not how he made his millions, but to whom the money ultimately belongs.

Many very powerful people may have had cause to rue Epstein's incarceration on sex charges – and, given the fact that they were hiding their assets from the authorities, it's highly unlikely they will ever publicly come forward to try to recover their investments."

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8537413/EDWARD-JAY-EPSTEIN-investigates-seemingly-unsolvable-mystery-Jeffrey-Epstein-fortune.html?ito=native_share_article-masthead

anonymous [245] Disclaimer , says: August 2, 2020 at 9:15 pm GMT

The column seems intended to discomfit and/or discredit as many different people around here as possible. (I just checked Wikipedia to see how Mr. Multiname is being curated these days, and noticed that the first of the "RELATED ARTICLES" is Gilad Atzmon.) The oddest yet from this website's oddest writer.

hobo , says: August 2, 2020 at 9:30 pm GMT

" Even the father of Ghislaine, the late Mr Maxwell, might be with better evidence accused of collaborating with Soviet Intelligence, the KGB, than with the Israelis. "

Of course. This makes perfect sense. It explains why the Israeli's gave him a state funeral attended by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli President Chaim Herzog, and "no less than six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence" .. because, after all, he was KGB Right.

Mike Robeson , says: August 2, 2020 at 10:04 pm GMT
@Anonymous in the Nasser case, a number of public figures have come forward in Sandusky's defence. The most active is John Ziegler who maintains a website full of articles showing that the case against Sandusky and Penn State was and is a sham and money grab. ( http://johnziegler.com/ )
There is also the well known author Mark Pendergrast who wrote a book on the case. Here are links to two video interviews of both –

https://www.youtube.com/embed/wDcpk2m1zsk?feature=oembed

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dFu2zLiliy4?feature=oembed

Anon [143] Disclaimer , says: August 2, 2020 at 11:15 pm GMT
@Anonymous likely that Nassar was sacrificed to atone for all the sex abuse that happens in kids sports. Now that he is destroyed then child sporting can go back to business as usual because the monster was vanquished. Note that the Nassar story could have been spun to criticize the families who hand their children over to strangers, or to attack child sports in general. But it wasn't. It was aimed directly at one man, and when he was gone the story was gone. That makes him the sacrificial lamb.

On the other hand, the Sandusky story was immediately expanded into the Pedo Rings story, indicating it was part of this long term project.

Haruto Rat , says: August 2, 2020 at 11:22 pm GMT
@Mike Robeson

&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the_duran_daily&utm_term=2020-08-02

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter!

No, seriously. Are people still clicking links in their mail?

Ann Nonny Mouse , says: August 3, 2020 at 1:45 am GMT

This use of "Puritan" as a swear-word looks simplistic, beyond simplistic, to me. Like brain-washed Americans using "Socialist" as a swear-word in just the same way.

They might have been bible-fundamentalists, they might have been creationists, they might have thought the world was flat, but was every witch ever burned in Germany burned by Puritans? Was witchcraft a solely Puritan fantasy? The first ever mention of a witch was by them?

But thanks for reminding me of the mad hatter. I'll get a copy of Alice In Wonderland and compare it with what you write.

PS PC has a very different origin, a different so-called religion.

Jack McArthur , says: August 3, 2020 at 2:45 am GMT
@Mike Robeson nd his supporters an advantage by putting their argument adroitly – if dishonestly – before the public first. Not until David Martin responded with Wilderness of Mirrors was an opposing view presented coherently."
http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/5195-edward-j-epstein-legend-the-secret-world-of-lee-harvey-oswald/#comments

"JFK Assassination ~ Edward J Epstein Not a Shred of Conspiracy"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cQc4whcSVVg?feature=oembed

Jefferson Temple , says: August 3, 2020 at 3:06 am GMT
@Mike Robeson

And this excuses Prince Andrew for fucking teenagers how? A man born into royalty with every advantage but apparently unable to handle actual mature women. So that makes it cool for him to partake of sleazy Jeff's procured girls?

No decent guy thinks of doing stuff like that. If that's what having money does to men, I'll happily remain relatively poor.

ivan , says: August 3, 2020 at 3:13 am GMT

Thanks Mr Shamir. What you wrote sounds about right. I do not like the fact that rich and powerful men got their way with young girls. But this has been the way of the world since time immemorial. It was all done in the open, and for decades, right under the noses of the NYT. But neither they nor the New Puritans thought it fit to investigate, since their focus was elsewhere, namely to tame the Catholic Church through grinding it in the pedophile mill over alleged crimes largely committed in the 70s. Only now that the Pavlovian Dog known as Public Opinion can't get any further stimulus from allegations concerning the Papists, they have turned to Epstein and the Jews with a Royal thrown in instead. But at the end of it, it would make no difference to the men, women and children trafficked for sex, since the New Puritans would have turned their focus elsewhere. And for what it is worth I don't think this a Mossad operation either. I mean how good are these guys? And is it not the responsibility of politicians holding or aspiring to high office to keep themselves clear of such people and places?

Jefferson Temple , says: August 3, 2020 at 3:24 am GMT

You're right, you lost my sympathy with this robust defense of Jeffrey Epstein. I appreciate that it's good to be skeptical of what is reported as well as of the mob mentality but there is no real defense of this guy based on what I've seen and heard over the past two years.

All of his residences with surveillance cameras covering every room.

The source of his money being very murky.

His willingness to share his paid-for harem with the most powerful and connected. Out of the goodness of his heart? No.

The 100% implausible jail suicide.

Isn't that enough red flags?

Even swine like Bret Kavanaugh deserve to not be lynched but Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaineare in a whole other rarefied class of scum. Why bother to make excuses for them? Do you really believe that Trump wished Maxwell well out of magnanimity? More like he's hoping that none of their dirt on him will see daylight.

Priss Factor , says: Website August 3, 2020 at 4:48 am GMT

Puerile puritans or Pueritans

sarz , says: August 3, 2020 at 5:05 am GMT

Xymphora is also having none of it. (It's an indication of Ron Unz's good editorial judgment that Shamir's article is not listed on the main page.)

Xymphora (from the website) :

"The New Puritans" (Shamir). Besides being completely clueless about #metoo – it's about power relationships, not flirting – he has a list of completely innocent people: Jerry Sandusky, Larry Nasser, Donald Sterling, Richard Fuld, Bernie Madoff and, of course, Harvey Weinstein, goyim. Then he tell us that the Mossad has nothing to do with Epstein-Maxwell. I'm starting to think Shamir's history of being an 'anti-Semite' was just producing credibility for this important career-defining moment when the operations of the Mossad and the MEGA Group required protection.

Aristotle1 , says: August 3, 2020 at 6:30 am GMT

As clear and intelligent as ever. "It is easier to shepherd a flock of cows than so many bulls".

I suspect the Epstein ring may be linked to Mossad. It is clearly some sort of Jewish influencing network so seems like an Israeli soft power operation. Having said that Shamir is spot on about all the pearl-clutching even by sensible alt-right figures.

ivan , says: August 3, 2020 at 7:30 am GMT
@Jefferson Temple

Stupid idiot. What did Kavanaugh do at sixteen that other boys his age did not?

The Alarmist , says: August 3, 2020 at 8:33 am GMT

Given what happens daily in Sweden, it would seem the only thing Roberto did wrong was to have a family that came from the wrong side of the Med.

The Alarmist , says: August 3, 2020 at 8:49 am GMT

President Clinton lied? Well, he was not in the confession booth.

Clinton lied under oath in a deposition submitted in a judicial proceeding. He also coached other witnesses to support his story. These were crimes more serious than any that could have been charged against Nixon, who was hounded out of office. Clinton took serious charges and spun them into a story of a harmless peccadillo. Utter brilliance. And while the Judge in the case tried to sweep these actual crimes under the rug as immaterial to the case, it nevertheless cost the President his law licence.

Thomas Faber , says: August 3, 2020 at 10:56 am GMT

How a society views sexuality has a tremendous influence on it's long-term structure and stability.

I do not agree that the Epstein/MOSSAD-blackmail angle makes no sense, but I think that Mr. Shamir makes some good points. Excessively strict public morals is a ripe breeding ground for sanctimonious hypocrisy, and hidden rot, and can have frigthening consequences, and it would not surprise me to learn that the damnable Jesuit Order has a hidden yet decisive influence on this "New Puritanism" that the article traces the tentative outlines of.

On the other hand, too loose sexual morals fosters dissipation – as seen in the lives of highly promiscuous people, or on a larger scale, societies such as Soviet Russia, or various empires after they lost their moral vigour – such as much of contemporary America. Some amount of discipline and self-restraint is needed – this seems to be a moral law of nature.

These waters call for good personal judgment, fairness and balance, and wisdom.

israel shamir , says: August 3, 2020 at 11:06 am GMT

Today, more of the same in Daily Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/07/30/former-tory-mp-charlie-elphicke-guilty-sexually-assaulting-two/
The woman complained that Elphicke sexually assaulted her after inviting her for a drink at his London home in 2007.
She was in her early 30s and said Elphicke – who had recently become a father for the second time – proceeded to kiss her, grope her breast and then chase her round his house trying to slap her bottom, chanting: "I'm a naughty Tory".
The woman came close to selling her story to The Mirror newspaper for £30,000 around a decade later, but instead went to police.
She broke down as she gave evidence to the court. She cannot be identified for legal reasons. END QUOTE.
Is not it typical. The guy had a try 14 years ago. Why didn't she report it to police same day? Why wait for so long? Act now, or forget. She tried to make money of this allegation. Still she can't be identified for legal reasons. So she can try it again, with another victim who made a pass at her some time or another during last thirty years. This is incredible!

Brás Cubas , says: August 3, 2020 at 11:19 am GMT

I haven't read the entire article yet, so this comment applies only to its initial part.

Shamir is not very persuasive. He has the merit of explaining the situation clearly, but, by doing so, he makes his criticism of Swedish law somewhat misdirected. As he explains it, the legal punishment is very mild. The biggest punishment, he tells us, comes from private entities. But doesn't that imply that, even if that law did not exist, things would happen almost exactly as they did?

So, the problem, if it exists, is one of societal codes of moral. I, for one, think that Sweden is autonomous to decide which codes of moral are best to itself. It's not society which reflects the law, but the other way around. It is the law which reflects the wish of the majority of Swedes, which is normal in a healthy democracy.

Kali , says: August 3, 2020 at 12:09 pm GMT
@israel shamir

The woman came close to selling her story to The Mirror newspaper for £30,000 around a decade later, but instead went to police.

She tried to make money of this allegation.

This is incredible!

Indeed!

Anonymous [247] Disclaimer , says: August 3, 2020 at 12:10 pm GMT
@The Alarmist

And Clinton bombed an aspirin factory and killed some poor schmuck to take the attention away from his lying.

Bemildred , says: August 3, 2020 at 12:36 pm GMT

I don't find Shamir persuasive either. He has a point, women are not particularly more moral or ethical than men, they need to be watched just like anybody, but OTOH regular witch-hunts for politicians and plutocrats of both genders who cannot resist exploiting their positions financially or keep their hands off the staff could be a good thing, overall.

He comes across as somebody with skin in the game here too.

israel shamir , says: August 3, 2020 at 12:48 pm GMT
@Anonymous

This is stated in the quote from Mike Robeson, so it is better he will respond to the items mentioned in his quote (signposted on the webpage). I have too little knowledge about these details.

The Alarmist , says: August 3, 2020 at 1:23 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Sure, but Americans especially American Presidents are exempted from international laws governing war crimes and crimes against humanity. It's why they can sanction entire populations with impunity.

The irony of America bombing an aspirin factory in another country, however, is that much of America's asprin needs are met with imports.

MarkM66 , says: August 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT

https://www.bitchute.com/video/LQ8EHCBlm8w/

This is an interesting analysis. If the data is correct, how much is just bs and how much is actually verifiable?

anonymous [245] Disclaimer , says: August 3, 2020 at 1:47 pm GMT
@israel shamir

I have too little knowledge about these details.

Then why did you write it? And who is your wingman "Mike Robeson"?

Further indication that you're a disingenuous weasel and provocateur.

israel shamir , says: August 3, 2020 at 1:50 pm GMT
@sarz

I commented on Xymphora: Regarding the New Puritans: " Jerry Sandusky, Larry Nasser, Donald Sterling, Richard Fuld, Bernie Madoff and, of course, Harvey Weinstein, goyim." – these are words of Mike Robeson I quote. It is even signposted as the quote. I hardly know these names (excepting Weinstein). So I think you may correct your post.

Jefferson Temple , says: August 3, 2020 at 2:10 pm GMT
@ivan

His horny boyhood is not what I was referring to, Yvonne. Talking about his record with Ken Starr and the "suicide" of Vince Foster.

Justvisiting , says: August 3, 2020 at 2:31 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

I've never met a woman who wasn't a bald-faced liar about anything that concerned her personally.

They do exist, but they are always at least moderate on the Asperger's scale.

Jefferson Temple , says: August 3, 2020 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Thomas Faber

Yes. I'm not sure how it is puritanical to not want middle aged rich men to buy the services of even one minor girl for any sexual purposes. I thought that was just a civilized notion of protecting the young.

I think Shamir is being a bit duplicitous.

anon [327] Disclaimer , says: August 3, 2020 at 4:13 pm GMT

Perhaps now I am going to lose your tentative sympathy, but I do not believe the allegations against Jeffrey Epstein and Ms Ghislaine Maxwell, either. And the attack on Prince Andrew is similarly unbelievable. Chapeau for Mr Trump who dared to express sympathy to Ms Maxwell.

Trump's "sympathy" to Maxmossad was political noncommitment. Being a gentleman.

How clean and uninvolved are Wexner and Ehud?

You have lost more than sympathy.

Rev. Spooner , says: August 3, 2020 at 5:12 pm GMT
@Brás Cubas

"It's not society which reflects the law, but the other way around. It is the law which reflects the wish of the majority of Swedes, which is normal in a healthy democracy. "
One of us is an idiot.

Curmudgeon , says: August 3, 2020 at 5:38 pm GMT
@Jefferson Temple Unless you have inside information, his apparent inability to handle actual mature women is conjecture, and open ended. Some women are mature at 20, others are not mature at 50.
Jeff's procured girls, beyond them having been employed by him, are unproven allegations. Curious the parents were seemingly disinterested in their daughters traveling with a male more than twice the age of their daughter.

That does not mean girls were not procured for illicit purposes or that Andrew may be morally bankrupt, regardless of whatever happened between him and Giuffre.

Curmudgeon , says: August 3, 2020 at 5:47 pm GMT
@Mike Robeson

Even the thoroughly unlikable Dershowitz is begging for the release of all documents around this. He claims Giuffre is hiding stuff and has told several whoppers.
https://www.foxnews.com/transcript/alan-dershowitz-joins-tucker-carlson-to-respond-to-accusations-in-unsealed-ghislaine-maxwell-documents

Begging the FBI to investigate would be an odd defense, unless of course there was a fix already in.

Dumbo , says: August 3, 2020 at 7:00 pm GMT
@Chris Moore That said, I disagree with the two main points of the article. One, this is not a "new puritanism", it's something else, the comparison is patently false. How "puritan" is modern society if there's porn everywhere?

Two, there's no way to defend Epstein and say that he was just a "normal, rich, intelligent guy". The guy was, at best, a pervert and a well-connected pimp for politicians (but how did he get there?). At worst , well, there are many theories and I won't dwell into that. No way to defend that Jewish scum (sorry, but, he was Jewish, and he was scum).

brabantian , says: August 3, 2020 at 7:02 pm GMT
@Jack McArthur 'Arrest of Julian Assange is Just Theatre – Assange is a Rothschild-Israeli Operative'
https://www.henrymakow.com/2019/04/Julian-Assange-Arrest-is-Theatre.html
'Assange & Snowden are CIA 'Rat Traps'
https://www.henrymakow.com/2018/11/assange-snowden-rat-traps.html
[MORE]
Jake , says: August 3, 2020 at 7:14 pm GMT

If the US were occupied by the Communists as Amerika envisaged, it wouldn't be as bad as what you've got now.

And that's the horrifying truth. For non-rich white Americans, Stalinism, as evil as it was, would not have been as bad as what we now have under Anglo-Zionist Capitalist Globalism.

Rich , says: August 3, 2020 at 7:26 pm GMT

In my Catholic family, putting your hands on a female relatives' body in any unwanted way, would result in a visit from one of her brothers or cousins and a serious beating. It's also interesting to see that my old parish priests were right when they spoke about the immorality of the godless communists in that apparently adultery was common and accepted in the Soviet Union.

The older I get, the more respect I gain for the moral teachings of the Christian Faith, adhering to it will keep any young man out of the trouble Mr Shamir writes about.

Thomas Faber , says: August 3, 2020 at 8:03 pm GMT
@brabantian

That Mr. Shamir believes that Assange is legit is hardly evidence for him being a Mossad operative.

More likely, he is a big-hearted man, who wishes to believe the best about people. This is also what gives his writings their warm quality.

That it is sometimes the cynical view that is the correct one, and especially so in these days, should not make us too hasty in our judgments.

Jefferson Temple , says: August 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon ext">

Using Mick Jagger as a yardstick for acceptable behavior? Is that really what you meant?

I'm thinking that at least some of those girls actually were responsible for their choices but under the law, I don't think they can be held responsible. No character flaw or selfish motive changes the fact that they were minors. A full grown man and woman is a different story. They get the full advantages that society affords to adults as well as the accountability. I don't care who rich guys want to fuck. If they target my daughter, they're going to need an ambulance.

sarz , says: August 3, 2020 at 8:16 pm GMT
@israel shamir

You quoted a big passage from Mike Robeson without reservation. So what if it's signposted as a quote? One assumes from the context that you are endorsing his views. It does make you look ridiculous, and I can understand your subsequent eagerness to dissociate yourself from the quote. But there it is.

anon [327] Disclaimer , says: August 3, 2020 at 9:12 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon

Fix or snake belching fire to deceive.

Sollipsist , says: August 3, 2020 at 10:03 pm GMT

I don't think you quite understand Catholics if you think we have a healthy and casual outlook on sex

("We" in my case is cultural and geographic history. I haven't been actually practicing nor even much of a believer for a long time. But the culture tends to stick with you for life, no matter what you do)

For one thing, we are probably only second to Jews when it comes to being guilt-ridden from birth about sex (among most other things). The jury is still out whether this drives more of us toward sin than away from it. Catholics are infamously indiscriminately promiscuous (Zappa wrote a song about it) and somewhat less good at learning from their mistakes as many others

The incidence of priestly abuse may be exaggerated for Puritanical effect, but it's by no means an unfounded myth; we were joking about altar boys at least as far back as the 70s when I took First Communion. BTW we had a Father Chester and, whatever the truth was, his nickname rhymed

Ivan , says: August 3, 2020 at 11:53 pm GMT
@Jefferson Temple

My sincere apologies. I am not upto speed on those.

SaneClownPosse , says: August 4, 2020 at 12:00 am GMT
@anon a, Arkansas to run drugs into the USA. Must of have had some local pull.

An early image of William Jefferson Clinton seated next to George Herbert Walker Bush may shed light on the Intelligence connections of Bill, besides the two spook schools Yale and Oxford.

Then there is Hillary's lesbianism. Why would a supposed hetero male marry a lesbian? Bill did not need her political connections, nor her family connections. Chelsea looks like Bill, not. Possible that Bill's taste was never a Monica, nor a Hillary, nor a 16 year old Lolita. Bill and Hill, a match made in Langley.

Dr. Robert Morgan , says: August 4, 2020 at 12:35 am GMT

Israel Shamir: "Currently their targets have a lot of wampum, for it is no fun to bully a person for no material gain. Us, impecunious men, we have nothing to be afraid of yet."

This isn't true at all, at least in America, and I suspect it's the same elsewhere. Here, so-called sexual harassment has been a cause of action since at least the 1980s. As someone who was metooed way back then, before it became a thing, I can tell you that poverty is no guarantee you won't be targeted. People are scum and really get a kick out of victimizing each other. They'll do it just for the fun of it. Financial incentives aren't the cause of this; it's just the icing on the cake for the so-called victim. Also, there is an absurd culture of chivalry toward women in the matriarchal West that has lingered long past its expiration date, such that a certain type of man enjoys "white knighting" for women who make such claims. For such men, and they are very numerous, all a woman has to do is turn on the water works, start crying and acting hysterical, and she'll be believed. Often it won't even take that. From my point of view, when I see guys at the top, like Weinstein and Epstein, having now to deal with it too, I have to confess to a certain degree of shadenfreude. During my own tribulations with this, they were the ones getting away with it, and often even the enforcers and enablers of it.

I see it as yet another unintended side effect of two fundamental, revolutionary technological changes. These changes were first thought by almost everyone concerned to be wonderful, a sign of Progress at last, but nobody was looking down the road far enough. First, due to the advent and widespread use of scientific birth control and abortion, women were given for the first time in history complete control over their own fertility. This led directly to sexual liberation and modern feminism, both of which would be impossible without this development. Second, a change in the political technology, namely the extension of the vote to women. Why, you might ask, did an all-male government ever pass such laws, or in America, empower its enforcement arm, the EEOC? Because of the woman's vote, of course. No politician today can hope to succeed without it.

Exile , says: August 4, 2020 at 2:26 am GMT

But I could never believe that Maxwell and Epstein were connected with the Israeli Intelligence agency, the Mossad. With all my sympathy to our esteemed colleagues Philip Giraldi and Whitney Webb, there is not a single shred of evidence for such connection.

Is this one of C.J. Hopkins "I'm a Russian Asset" parodies? Are you serious?

How many Mossad heads attended "Robert Maxwell's" funeral, Shamir?

Weinstein did nothing wrong?

What do they have on you, Izzy? Blink three times fast in your next video appearance to let us know they got to you.

No one with their head north of their colon believes anything you just said here. So that's a plus.

Reg Cæsar , says: August 4, 2020 at 3:55 am GMT

The Old Puritanism was hard on women; the witches were burned

Where? Not here.

Jefferson Temple , says: August 4, 2020 at 4:09 am GMT
@Ivan

Thanks. I didn't take it personally. But it seems that Kavanaugh is dirty, and so is Trump. Makes me wonder about the operations to take them down. Russia gate for Trump and Blasey Ford gate for Kavanaugh. Both so ridiculous that it is almost as if their foes couldn't use the real dirt without self-incriminating.

Ann Nonny Mouse , says: August 4, 2020 at 5:06 am GMT
@Sollipsist l, impossible for little children to doubt what the big person says, whether Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Rabbit, anything. So easy to indoctrinate. And it's continued to the present day, the only denomination that has it's own elementary schools everywhere. Everywhere. All about capturing the children.

But going back to "Puritan", Wikipedia on Savonarola, in 1494 "he instituted an extreme puritanical campaign "

So, Ha! Ha!, Roman "Catholic" Puritans of the Fifteenth Century! Didn't molest children back then, but have ever since!

Adûnâi , says: Website August 4, 2020 at 8:22 am GMT
@Dr. Robert Morgan ds benevolent, Christian causes.

Feel free to check out how these egalitarian English men have in 10 min permanently banned my 6 year old Wikipedia account over a comment I made three years ago – proclaiming that marriage is between a man and a woman is considered homophobic now. (It's a self-plug, but it's also Christian psychology in real-time, you might appreciate it.)

http://archive.vn/AjJRF

Does this homosexual psychosis stem from technology, too? The most industrialized nations on the planet are not sodomitic at all. It all seems to me like an American cultural thing.

anon [327] Disclaimer , says: August 4, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
@SaneClownPosse

You mean Beelzebubba didn't spawn pointless, baby Hagwitch?

Who would get near cackling Hagwitch?

Rich , says: August 4, 2020 at 2:11 pm GMT
@SaneClownPosse

The portrait of Bill Clinton in a blue cocktail dress that was hanging on the wall in Epstein's house says it all.

Dr. Robert Morgan , says: August 4, 2020 at 3:10 pm GMT

Adûnâi: "Are you not confusing the cause and effect?"

Certainly there is an interplay between the two factors I mentioned that magnifies their societal effects. They strengthen and support each other.

Adûnâi: "But why did women get the vote to begin with? You don't explain.

From what I know, they were first employed in WW1, and it was a "symbol of gratitude"? Sounds quite cucked and Christian."

Technology develops according to its own internal logic, often with unpredictable and sometimes even catastrophic effects on human societies. It is deeply hostile to natural distinctions of race, sex, and culture that impede its efficient operation. Technological change drives cultural change, and war stimulates technological change.

Adûnâi: "Why then have the Eastern countries not faced it? Neither the USSR nor modern China?"

I'd say they have, in their own way. There are, for example, plenty of female professionals in both countries, who function in their jobs as the equivalent of men. This would be impossible if they were constantly pregnant and caring for children. Then too, there is the low birth rate, which is only possible with scientific birth control. They also participate equally with men in politics, AFAIK, and have equal rights as citizens. N.b. too that in China, at least, this happened without Christianity -- although, as has been said by Spengler and others, Marxism can itself be regarded as a form of Christianity.

Adûnâi: "Does this homosexual psychosis stem from technology, too?"

Efficiency is the god of technology, and that is unquestionably true all over the world. To the extent that cultural factors impede the efficient operation of technology, they have to change, or all that results is inferior technology. Man's increasing dependence on technology is why a kind of global culture is emerging now, instead of earlier in history. Cultural distinctions are being destroyed at an accelerating pace, and also races are being mixed as an unintended and unforeseen consequence of this dependence.

Because of this, I suspect the decadence you notice today in the West will eventually show up in the East as well. It's just that because they were relative late comers to technology and industrialization, it may take a little longer, that's all. There's a certain cultural inertia that needs to be overcome.

israel shamir , says: August 4, 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT

Russian method
In a far away Russian village, gals have heard of the Western way to deal with men, and they brought their rape complaints to local police. Police checked the claims, found them without merit, and both ladies were fined 5000 ruble ($80) each. How neat!
https://pervo.info/v-achite-eshhyo-odno-lozhnoe-iznasilovanie/

Adûnâi , says: Website August 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm GMT
@Dr. Robert Morgan d partially in the latter. WW3 > world-wide NatSoc.

Even without technology, give humans enough time, and one race will emerge triumphant. Whereas the high tide of Islam failed to conquer Anatolia, the Seljuks came to the Aegean, and the Ottomans reached Vienna. Failures are weeded out, and those remain who are strong, not who can make money most efficiently.

@Israel Shamir

And yet, the rural folk of Russia is dying out. Natural change (2018): -3 per 1000 rural vs -1 per 1000 urban.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Russia#After_WWII

76239 , says: August 4, 2020 at 6:44 pm GMT

The Old Puritanism is Yankee through and through.

America has a Yankee problem. Its inexorably opposed to the notion of "live and let live."

Dr. Robert Morgan , says: August 4, 2020 at 7:35 pm GMT

Adûnâi: "Everything indeed will be shown in due time. What else are we doing here but trying to predict the future?"

Yes, I agree with most of what you wrote in this comment. All I'm doing is pointing to the trend, the way the technological system tends to grind away cultural differences. Of course, some cultural differences may not affect the efficiency of the system, and those might remain. Western "decadence" might or might not be one of those things. Ted Kaczynski says something relevant about this in ISAIF:

29. Here is an illustration of the way in which the oversocialized leftist shows his real attachment to the conventional attitudes of our society while pretending to be in rebellion against it. Many leftists push for affirmative action, for moving black people into high-prestige jobs, for improved education in black schools and more money for such schools; the way of life of the black "underclass" they regard as a social disgrace. They want to integrate the black man into the system, make him a business executive, a lawyer, a scientist just like upper-middle-class white people. The leftists will reply that the last thing they want is to make the black man into a copy of the white man; instead, they want to preserve African American culture. But in what does this preservation of African American culture consist? It can hardly consist in anything more than eating black-style food, listening to black-style music, wearing black-style clothing and going to a black-style church or mosque. In other words, it can express itself only in superficial matters. In all ESSENTIAL respects more leftists of the oversocialized type want to make the black man conform to white, middle-class ideals. They want to make him study technical subjects, become an executive or a scientist, spend his life climbing the status ladder to prove that black people are as good as white. They want to make black fathers "responsible." they want black gangs to become nonviolent, etc. But these are exactly the values of the industrial-technological system. The system couldn't care less what kind of music a man listens to, what kind of clothes he wears or what religion he believes in as long as he studies in school, holds a respectable job, climbs the status ladder, is a "responsible" parent, is nonviolent and so forth. In effect, however much he may deny it, the oversocialized leftist wants to integrate the black man into the system and make him adopt its values.

A corollary of this would seem to be that only trivial differences will remain between cultures as different cultures fully adapt themselves to the global technological system. The urging of "oversocialized leftists" isn't actually necessary, as the system itself contains its own rewards for compliance and punishments for failure to comply. There's also nothing particularly tied to naturally-occurring races in that system of values; at least, not obviously so. The system is hostile to natural race distinctions precisely because it is necessarily race-neutral. Might it create its own artificial race of genetically engineered humans in order to maximize efficiency? That could be. Certainly, genetic changes to man have been a side effect of civilization itself. E.g., human beings are much less violent than they used to be. Obedience, non-violence (at least on a personal level), and conformity has been bred into us modern humans.

Adûnâi: "Are you of the view that collapse is imminent, even without Unabombers? And if it is, there will be no going back to high technology?"

It's probably a mistake to underestimate the resilience of the system. Anyone interested in trying to preserve the status quo as to race will have to act fast to bring the system down, or it will be too late. Whether high tech can be rebuilt after a global collapse would depend on a lot of factors impossible to know without knowing at least the method used to cause the collapse, as that would have an effect on how long any ensuing "Dark Age" would last.

ivan , says: August 4, 2020 at 9:51 pm GMT
@Jefferson Temple

Yes its kind of strange. Kavanaugh is not an ideological conservative in the mould of Scalia or Thomas. Makes one wonder what the fuss was all about. I must revisit what you wrote about earlier on his earlier judgements.

Sollipsist , says: August 4, 2020 at 9:58 pm GMT
@Ann Nonny Mouse

I'm not disagreeing, but don't forget it was 19th Century "Great Awakening" Protestants who were responsible for creating the public school system in the US. Can we question their motives?

israel shamir , says: August 5, 2020 at 2:45 pm GMT

In England, a struggle to dismiss a parliamentarian because of a vague complaint
Chief whip Mark Spencer today stood by his decision not to suspend the senior Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape.
The party is under mounting pressure, including from the alleged victim, to strip the ex-minister of the Conservative whip.
But Mr Spencer said it was right to allow the police to conclude their investigation before taking any action, while also stressing the need to protect the identity of the accuser.
The former parliamentary researcher in her 20s has alleged she was assaulted and forced to have sex.
What does "forced to have sex" means?

Adûnâi , says: Website August 5, 2020 at 8:14 pm GMT
@Dr. Robert Morgan , it's "a triumph of the Natural, Racial Order" that confuses the plans of the globo. The very globohomo is contingent upon the qualities of the Nordic race. It has evolved to seek efficiency, and now – under the guidance of Christianity – it is employing it in its own self-destruction. But as they near the end, their efforts become discordant, muffled, inefficient.

> "Ted Kaczynski"

By the way, why do you prefer calling him his real name instead of "the Unabomber"? "Ted" is so much more boring, and the in "Kaczynski" is mispronounced as by Americans while it should be in Polish. The Unabomber has a ring to it.

GoyRightActivist , says: August 5, 2020 at 8:46 pm GMT
@israel shamir

Shamir now confesses to be a Mossad Psyop who pretended to be a hero of the Goyim. The choosen ones raping and pimping gentile children and women is nothing to him. Criticism is New Puretanism. A surrogate for the word Antisemitism as Derschowitz uses it for his accuser? Calling Robert Maxell a KGB Agent i and other are struggling to understand if you are trolling or trutly a Mossad apologet. The worst is you are friends with Gilad Atzmon hopefully he is as bluffed by your (new?) behaviour and views as we are.

Ann Nonny Mouse , says: August 5, 2020 at 11:51 pm GMT
@Sollipsist

Hmm. Secular schooling is bad?

Anyway, just noticed more ammo lying on the ground right here at UR. Andy Flick-Chick, his 2020-02-13 article, The Philippines Are Choosing New Allies: Pres. Duterte, hugely popular there, "sexually molested by a priest when he was a child, he holds a grudge against Christianity."

Adûnâi , says: Website August 6, 2020 at 11:22 am GMT
@Dr. Robert Morgan he principle of the pursuit of individual happiness trumps any search for the efficiency of the collective.

I would concede that the history of technological intelligent life on this planet has been aimed at the discovery of the correct proportion between efficiency and race. But not more. Simply put, what I am observing to-day is the death of race-denialists in the Occident and the triumph of racists in the Orient. The latter are more efficient, too.

A little video celebrating the unity of the Man and the Machine. Those visions are not Checharian and not bucolic.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zhk9FJR_OGY?feature=oembed

Dr. Robert Morgan , says: August 6, 2020 at 4:45 pm GMT

Adûnâi: "If it were indeed calculating the most efficient society, it would probably try to mix and match, and as homosexualism is not exactly important, it would be discounted as a Western obstacle." I would say, if there is no reason ruling the system, it turns into idiocracy."

You have to keep in mind that the focus of technique when evaluating efficiency is necessarily quite narrow. For instance, having a horse is more efficient (in some ways) than walking, while having an automobile is still more efficient than having a horse. So an evaluation of efficiency is both relative and contextual. Someone might object, for example, that automobiles aren't really more efficient than walking, because by using automobiles, you have to accept that tens of thousands of people are going to die annually in car accidents. That's true, but still, the judgement of society (i.e., the "group mind" that I've referred to) has been that using automobiles is worth it, i.e., more "efficient". And there can be little doubt that, overall, a society that has the technology necessary to produce and use automobiles would defeat a society at a more primitive technological level in the contest of survival between them.

But generally, one cannot determine in advance "the most efficient society" any more than one can determine in advance "the fittest animal". Whatever form of social organization is most efficient must emerge gradually, as man does his dance of death with technology. Humanity is like a blind man groping his way down a corridor. Nobody knows where technological development will lead, and its development cannot be steered. Attempts to allow ideology to steer technology only result in inferior technology.

As for "homosexualism", thinking about it some more, I'd say it's just another side effect of female empowerment. Due to the development of scientific birth control methods women are now participating in work and politics on equal footing with men, and there are social consequences that weren't foreseen: e.g., more men are raised without a father in the home; more men who, in their work life, will necessarily have a woman as their "boss"; decoupling sex from its natural function of reproduction leads to regarding sexuality as a matter of "lifestyle choice". Given basic human psychology, I'd say these trends favor an increase in "homosexualism". Certainly they are quite destructive of patriarchy.

Adûnâi: "A lack of will is a lack of life. I emphasise the role of the individual in history. If the system is so smart, why does it allow the vector to turn towards disorder* for a period?"

Individual will has nothing to do with technique. It can't control it. Just to stick with the example of birth control technologies, you cannot "will" away the fact that they empower women, and at the same time disempower men. To use the technique at all, you just have to accept this, just as with the use of automobiles, a society accepts that the cost is tens of thousands of lives every year.

Disorder arises, and empires fall, precisely because all the consequences of a given technological configuration aren't foreseen; in fact, they're not even foreseeable. Shit happens, as the saying goes.

Adûnâi: "By the way, why do you prefer calling him his real name instead of "the Unabomber"? "

Because it's his ideas that are important, not his relatively ineffectual bombs.

Dr. Robert Morgan , says: August 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm GMT

Adûnâi: "Simply put, what I am observing to-day is the death of race-denialists in the Occident and the triumph of racists in the Orient. The latter are more efficient, too."

This is the question to be decided in the future, by the result. I agree that the West, precisely because of its Christian worldview, tends to confuse what it regards as moral superiority with technological superiority. But then, if the prize is survival itself, morals can change. Also, there's a time honored Christian tradition of hypocrisy that must be taken into account. Only the event of the matter will show which form of technological organization is more efficient.

Sollipsist , says: August 6, 2020 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Ann Nonny Mouse /p>

Kinda sad that people are so often especially motivated by childhood trauma; the simplicity, irrationality and disproportionate responses that are understandable in the childish mind are unnaturally preserved throughout adulthood. A little girl gets abused by a pervert uncle, and years later her supposed reason and free will convinces her that men are evil, old men especially, traditional families and patriarchal society are the enemy, and she was "born" a lesbian. So pretty much everybody in her sphere of influence ends up paying for the act of one degenerate.

Parsnipitous , says: August 7, 2020 at 2:51 am GMT
@sarz

Up to this article, I took him to be honest, regardless of how muddy his background was. Maybe he's testing his audience, but this is laughable.

Of course, if you're opposed to a superficially feminized, #metoo, gotcha culture, you may sympathize at first.

But he's covering up for a zio-criminal entity that hasn't yet been unraveled. He's actually trying the line that Epstein was some cavalier 70s Don Juan simply born a bit too late.

Big Chutzpah, Israel!

Parsnipitous , says: August 7, 2020 at 2:53 am GMT
@anonymous

Because he's full of shit

Parsnipitous , says: August 7, 2020 at 3:06 am GMT
@Curmudgeon

Whores will be whores. Don't care about them, as they squirmed around Weinstein and Epstein. Pretending Epstein is all about whores however, just turned Israel Shamir into a whore in his own right. Pat yourself on the back, but we still don't know shit about Epstein, the intelligence angle that is.

Maybe Israel can get his friend Assange on the ball?

[Jul 30, 2020] Building an Inclusive Post-Pandemic American Workforce by Michele Steeb Michele Steeb

Jul 30, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

>

ll eyes are on the declining number of unemployed. The May and June jobs reports chronicle the reabsorption of 5.3 million who lost their jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve million jobs to go to reach pre-pandemic employment.

Yet prior to the pandemic, there were 18 million Americans missing from the economy. These persons were neither employed nor seeking employment -- nor retirees, students or in-home caregivers -- and therefore were excluded from the Bureau of Labor Statistics count of the workforce. In order that America emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, a concerted initiative by federal and state governments to move them back into the economy -- using existing resources -- must begin now.

...

Research on the social determinants of health finds that employment has a very strong correlation with positive health outcomes. To exist as a non-participant in the economy is thus an invitation to dire health outcomes including premature death.

What's more, these individuals are needed as contributors to our national commonweal, fueling increased economic and social progress. And people engaged in productive activities are much less likely to engage in negative and destructive behaviors.

... The USDA's food stamp program has a robustly funded, though underutilized, employment and training grant. States use the excuse of USDA's partial match requirement as a reason to opt out.

[Jul 26, 2020] Return of the -Made in USA- brand- talk_politics -- LiveJournal

Jul 26, 2020 | talk-politics.livejournal.com

Political Climate Preventing 62% Of Americans From Sharing Their Views Profile picture for user Tyler Durden by Tyler Durden Thu, 07/23/2020 - 17:10 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Ivan Pentchoukov via The Epoch Times,

A growing number of Americans feel that the political climate is preventing them from sharing their views, according to a new survey by the Cato Institute.

The institute surveyed 2,000 Americans and found that 62 percent are reluctant to share their views due to the political climate. In 2017, 58 percent of people surveyed expressed the same opinion.

me title=

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.398.1_en.html#goog_1550063135 Mountain View's Red Rock Coffee on the brink of closing due to pandemic

Republicans are much more likely to be afraid to share their opinions than Democrats and independents, the survey found. More than 3 in 4 Republicans -- 77 percent -- said they are afraid to share their views compared to 52 percent of the Democrats and 59 percent of the independents.

The reluctance to share one's views appears to grow as respondents shift right on the political spectrum, the survey found.

Compared to 2017, the reluctance to share one's views increased across the political spectrum. Liberals, moderates, and conservatives were all 7 percent more likely to be afraid to express their opinions.

The increase in reluctance was more pronounced among strong liberals, rising 12 points to 42 percent, compared to 2017. Reluctance to share their views among strong conservatives notched up 1 point to 77 percent.

"This suggests that it's not necessarily just one particular set of views that has moved outside of acceptable public discourse," Emily Ekins, research fellow and director of polling at the Cato Institute, wrote about the survey.

"Instead these results are more consistent with a 'walking on eggshells' thesis that people increasingly fear a wide range of political views could offend others or negatively impact themselves."

The self censorship cut across demographic groups as well, with roughly 2 in 3 Latino Americans and white Americans and nearly half of African Americans holding views they are afraid to share. More men (65 percent) than women (59 percent) said the political climate prevents them from speaking their mind.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

The Cato Institute also polled respondents on whether they would support firing someone if they had donated to President Donald Trump or presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

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The cancel culture manifested stronger among staunch liberals than staunch conservatives. Half of all the people who identified as staunch liberals said they would support firing Trump donors, compared to 36 percent of staunch conservatives who would support firing someone who donated to Biden.

Nearly a third of Americans said they are afraid that their political views may cost them their jobs or career opportunities. In line with the results on cancel culture, the fear was slightly stronger among conservatives (34 percent) than liberals (31 percent).

me name=


mikeyxw

April 30 2013, 01:02:27 UTC

While this certainly isn't a bad thing, I'm still not sure why we're looking for manufacturing to drive employment. It worked well up until the middle of the last century, but it's been decades since this was the case. Currently, manufacturing in the US is so automated that it produces far fewer jobs than services per unit of GDP. It can produce a great return on capitol, but not a lot of jobs. If we're really serious about wanting to create jobs, maybe our elected officials should put as much focus on promoting labor intensive services instead of highly automated manufacturing.

abomvubuso

April 30 2013, 06:03:50 UTC

True, manufacturing is no longer supposed to be the main factor that drives employment. All the services and infrastructure that serves it, is.

[Jul 17, 2020] No Masks, No Coughs: Robots Can Be Just What the Doctor Ordered in Time of Social Distancing

July 8, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

The Washington Post
Simon Denyer; Akiko Kashiwagi; Min Joo Kim
July 8, 2020

In Japan, a country with a long fascination with robots, automated assistants have offered their services as bartenders, security guards, deliverymen, and more, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan's Avatarin developed the "newme" robot to allow people to be present while maintaining social distancing during the pandemic.

The telepresence robot is essentially a tablet on a wheeled stand with the user's face on the screen, whose location and direction can be controlled via laptop or tablet. Doctors have used the newme robot to communicate with patients in a coronavirus ward, while university students in Tokyo used it to remotely attend a graduation ceremony.

The company is working on prototypes that will allow users to control the robot through virtual reality headsets, and gloves that would permit users to lift, touch, and feel objects through a remote robotic hand.

Full Article

[Jul 11, 2020] This MIT robot combats COVID-19 and may soon be in your grocery store

This is essentially revamped robotic vacuum clener.
Jul 11, 2020 | finance.yahoo.com

A robot that neutralizes aerosolized forms of the coronavirus could soon be coming to a supermarket near you. MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory team partnered with Ava Robotics to develop a device that can kill roughly 90% of COVID-19 on surfaces in a 4,000-square-foot space in 30 minutes.

"This is such an exciting idea to use the solution as a hands-free, safe way to neutralize dorms, hallways, hospitals, airports -- even airplanes," Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, told Yahoo Finance's "The Ticker."

The key to disinfecting large spaces in a short amount of time is the UV-C light fixture designed at MIT . It uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light that eliminates microorganisms by breaking down their DNA. The UV-C light beam is attached to Ava Robotic's mobile base and can navigate a warehouse in a similar way as a self-driving car.

"The robot is controlled by some powerful algorithms that compute exactly where the robot has to go and how long it has to stay in order to neutralize the germs that exist in that particular part of the space," Rus said.

This robot can kill roughly 90% of COVID-19 on surfaces in a 4,000 square foot space in 30 minutes. (Courtesy: Alyssa Pierson, MIT CSAIL)
More

Currently, the robot is being tested at the Greater Boston Food Bank's shipping area and focuses on sanitizing products leaving the stockroom to reduce any potential threat of spreading the coronavirus into the community.

"Here, there was a unique opportunity to provide additional disinfecting power to their current workflow, and help reduce the risks of COVID-19 exposure," said Alyssa Pierson, CSAIL research scientist and technical lead of the UV-C lamp assembly.

But Rus explains implementing the robot in other locations does face some challenges. "The light emitted by the robot is dangerous to humans, so the robot cannot be in the same space as humans. Or, if people are around the robot, they have to wear protective gear," she added.

While Rus didn't provide a specific price tag, she said the cost of the robot is still high, which may be a hurdle for broad distribution. In the future, "Maybe you don't need to buy an entire robot set, you can book the robot for a few hours a day to take care of your space," she said.

McKenzie Stratigopoulos is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @mckenziestrat

[Jul 10, 2020] Sonoma Hotel Employs Robot For Contactless Room Service

Jul 10, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

During the pandemic, readers may recall several of our pieces describing what life would be like in a post corona world.

From restaurants to flying to gambling to hotels to gyms to interacting with people to even housing trends - we highlighted how social distancing would transform the economy.

As the transformation becomes more evident by the week, we want to focus on automation and artificial intelligence - and how these two things are allowing hotels, well at least one in California, to accommodate patrons with contactless room service.

Hotel Trio in Healdsburg, California, is surrounded by wineries and restaurants in Healdsburg/Sonoma County region, recently hired a new worker named "Rosé the Robot" that delivers food, water, wine, beer, and other necessities, reported Sonoma Magazine .

"As Rosé approaches a room with a delivery, she calls the phone to let the guest know she's outside. A tablet-sized screen on Rosé's head greets the guest as they open the door, and confirms the order. Next, she opens a lid on top of her head and reveals a storage compartment containing the ordered items. Rosé then communicates a handful of questions surrounding customer satisfaction via her screen. She bids farewell, turns around and as she heads back toward her docking station near the front desk, she emits chirps that sound like a mix between R2D2 and a little bird," said Sonoma Magazine.

Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Atmospheric Research Group in San Francisco, said robots would be integrated into the hotel experience.

"This is a part of travel that will see major growth in the years ahead," Harteveldt said.

Rosé is manufactured by Savioke, a San Jose-based company that has dozens of robots in hotels nationwide.

The tradeoff of a contactless environment where automation and artificial intelligence replace humans to mitigate the spread of a virus is permanent job loss .

[Jul 09, 2020] Who belongs to working class and who to manageria class

I think the difference is owning of stock. If a person owns anough money to maintin the current standard of living without employment this person belong to upper middle class.
In this sense Steven Johnson comment are bunk.
Jul 09, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Chetan Murthy 07.06.20 at 6:45 am (
48
)

likbez @ 39:

Without working class votes they can't win. And those votes are lost

It's helpful that you told us who you were, in so few words. The Dems didn't lose working-class votes in 2016: the median income of a Hillary voter was less than that of a Trump voter [or maybe it was average? In any case, not much difference.] What the Dems lost, was "white non-college-educated" voters. They retained working class voters of color.

But hey, they don't count as working-class voters to you. Thanks for playing.

MisterMr 07.06.20 at 8:21 am ( 49 )

Two points:

1) White collar are, by definition, working class, because they don't own the means of production. What I see is an opposition between blue collars and white collars, that are two wings of the working class, not that democrats are going against the working class.
For some reason, the main divide in politics today is a sort of culture war, and republicans and other right wing parties managed to present the traditionalist side of the culture war as the "working class" one, and therefore the other side as the evil cosmopolitan prosecco sipping faux leftish but in reality very snobbish one, so that they pretend that they are the working class party because of their traditionalist stance.
But they aren't: already the fact that they blame "cosmopolitans" shows that they think in terms of nationalism (like Trump and his China virus), which is a way to deflect the attention from class conflict.
So comparatively the Dems are still the working class party, and the fact that some working class guys vote for trump sows that they suffer from false consciousness, not that the Dems are too right wing (the dems ARE too right wing, but this isn't the reason some working class guys are voting Trump).

2) Neoliberalism and free markets are not the same thing, and furthermore neoliberalism and capitalism are not the same thing; at most neoliberalism is a form of unadultered capitalism. However since neoliberalism basically means "anti new deal", and new deal economies were still free market and still capitalist (we can call them social democratic, but in this sense social democracy is a form of controlled capitalism), it follows that the most economically succesful form of capitalism and free markets to date is not neoliberalism.

Orange Watch 07.06.20 at 5:40 pm (
59
)

Chetan Murthy@48:

It's helpful that you told us who you were, in so few words. 43% of the US are non-voters. The median household income of non-voters is less than half of the median income of a Clinton voter (which was higher than the overall US median, albeit by less than the Trump median was). Clinton didn't lose in 2016 because of who voted as much as who didn't ; every serious analysis (and countless centrist screeds) since Trump's installation has told us that. Losing the working class doesn't require that the Republicans gain them; if the working class drops out, that shifts the electoral playing field further into the favor of politics who cater to the remaining voting blocks. Democrats playing Republican-lite while mouthing pieties about how they're totally not the party of the rich will always fare worse in that field than Republicans playing Republicans while mouthing pieties about how they ARE the party of the rich, but also of giving everyone a chance to make themselves rich. I know it's been de rigour for both Dems and the GOP to ignore the first half of Clinton's deplorable quote, but it truly was just as important as the half both sides freely remember. The Democrats have become a party of C-suite diversity, and they have abandoned the working class. And when their best pick for President's plenty bold plan for solving police violence is to encourage LEOs to shoot people in the leg instead of the chest (something that could only be said by a grifter or someone with more knowledge of Hollywood than ballistics or anatomy), the prospect of keeping the non-white portions of the working class from continuing to drop out is looking bleak.

MisterMr@49:

The traditional threading of that needle is to expand class-based analysis to more accurately reflect real-world political and economic behavior. In the past (and in some countries who updated the applicable definitions, still), the most relevant additional class was the petty bourgeoisie; in the modern US, however, the concept of the professional-managerial class is the most useful frame of reference.

MisterMr 07.07.20 at 12:06 pm (
76
)

Orange Watch 59

"The traditional threading of that needle is to expand class-based analysis to more accurately reflect real-world political and economic behavior. In the past (and in some countries who updated the applicable definitions, still), the most relevant additional class was the petty bourgeoisie; in the modern US, however, the concept of the professional-managerial class is the most useful frame of reference."

Sure, but one has to adopt a logicwhen building "class" groups. One relrvant dimension is educational attainment, which is IMHO where the "professional-managerial" class comes from.
But, not everyone with a degree is a manager, and "professional" normally implies a level of income that is higher that that of an average rank and file white collar.

So the question is whether this "new class" is really managers, or just white collar workers who work in services instead than in industrial production.
Furthermore, as technology increases, it is natural that a larger share of people will work in services and a smaller share in industry, for the same reason that increased agricultural productivity means less agricultural jobs.

Orange Watch 07.08.20 at 11:01 pm (
105
)

steven t johnson@98:

There are a great many unstated assumptions baked into this comment, but I'll take a shot at a foundational one. You suggest PMC is a distinction without difference vis a vis middle class appears to suggest that you've bought into a commonly accepted "truth" that can't withstand close scrutiny, and your claim that economic status is not a useful distinguisher only further drives it home. What is the cutoff between middle class and rich? I've seen far too many well-educated idiots with professional degrees make ridiculous claims like $150k household income representing a solidly middle-class income. That's in the upper 15% of national incomes, but it's being called middle class. 240% of the national median household income, but it's "middle class". And to pre-empt cost-of-living arguments, it's 175% of the median household income in Manhattan. So when you say PMC is not a useful concept, and that income is not a useful class distinction, I need to ask you where you draw your lines, or if you're asserting that class has no economic aspect at all. If you're arguing that households in the upper quintile and bottom quintile don't have different concerns, outlooks, values, and lifestyles – that someone in either could be working class or middle class (but I assume not upper class? Arguments like what yours appears to be typically don't start the upper class anywhere below the 1% ) is hard to treat as serious. If that is an assertion you'd stand by, what that tells me is that you're using private definitions of working and middle class, and they're essentially unintelligible.

Gorgonzola Petrovna 07.09.20 at 10:13 am (
113
)

@MisterMr
White collar are, by definition, working class, because they don't own the means of production

That's not the definition. For example: despite not owning any means of production, lumpenproletariat is not part of the working class.

What I see is an opposition between blue collars and white collars, that are two wings of the working class

If this is the way you feel, that's fine. It is, however, a controversial view. An alternative (and quite convincing, imo) view is that "white collars" belong to the 'professional-managerial class', with entirely different interests.

Anyhow, a bourgeois democracy (aka 'dictatorship of the bourgeoisie') does not and can not represent interests of the working class; this is indeed "by definition". Any benefits encountered by the working class are coincidental.

And in the current circumstance, the struggle between the remains of domestic bourgeoisie and global finance capitalism, the former faction is definitely – obviously – better aligned with interests of the domestic working class.

Orange Watch 07.08.20 at 11:01 pm (no link)

steven t johnson@98:

There are a great many unstated assumptions baked into this comment, but I'll take a shot at a foundational one. You suggest PMC is a distinction without difference vis a vis middle class appears to suggest that you've bought into a commonly accepted "truth" that can't withstand close scrutiny, and your claim that economic status is not a useful distinguisher only further drives it home. What is the cutoff between middle class and rich? I've seen far too many well-educated idiots with professional degrees make ridiculous claims like $150k household income representing a solidly middle-class income. That's in the upper 15% of national incomes, but it's being called middle class. 240% of the national median household income, but it's "middle class". And to pre-empt cost-of-living arguments, it's 175% of the median household income in Manhattan. So when you say PMC is not a useful concept, and that income is not a useful class distinction, I need to ask you where you draw your lines, or if you're asserting that class has no economic aspect at all. If you're arguing that households in the upper quintile and bottom quintile don't have different concerns, outlooks, values, and lifestyles – that someone in either could be working class or middle class (but I assume not upper class? Arguments like what yours appears to be typically don't start the upper class anywhere below the 1% ) is hard to treat as serious. If that is an assertion you'd stand by, what that tells me is that you're using private definitions of working and middle class, and they're essentially unintelligible.

[Jul 06, 2020] I don't want to return to normal

Notable quotes:
"... That is the reality of 'normal', where everything has been devalued to its lowest denominator – its cold, hard, economic value of cash. Yes, devalued – because our society demands that everything has only a cash figure. ..."
"... For the working class, these narratives of 'the middle', of being mediocre, do not work for us, because we start from a position of disadvantage and our narrative around success starts with change. Because who we are is never good enough – we are instead told and taught to 'aspire' to join the ranks of the middle class and achieve the things its members take as theirs. Property. Profits. Expensive wine. Insider knowledge of which brand of jam makes them a better person. ..."
May 15, 2020 | www.rt.com

... ... ..

That is the reality of 'normal', where everything has been devalued to its lowest denominator – its cold, hard, economic value of cash. Yes, devalued – because our society demands that everything has only a cash figure. Therefore 'normal' is always framed by the middle classes, because they have power, and language, and education – and yes, money – which allows what appears normal to them to be considered normal for everyone. If you are working class, you don't get to frame your interpretation of normal; normal sits in the middle and becomes mediocre, never radical or challenging.

That 'normal' works for the middle classes because it's theirs – most of them are living their lives today the same ways they were eight weeks ago, before Covid struck. Many are existing in even more comfortable contentedness than usual.

I hate this mediocre position. It speaks to me of having no aspirations to challenge, to think differently, to shake things up. It is the thought process, and actions, of the middle class – who see no benefit in change because they are doing okay.

For the working class, these narratives of 'the middle', of being mediocre, do not work for us, because we start from a position of disadvantage and our narrative around success starts with change. Because who we are is never good enough – we are instead told and taught to 'aspire' to join the ranks of the middle class and achieve the things its members take as theirs. Property. Profits. Expensive wine. Insider knowledge of which brand of jam makes them a better person.

ALSO ON RT.COM Mishandling of Black Death 640 years ago led to the Peasants' Revolt. It's time we modern-day peasants rebelled over Covid-19

... ... ...

Covid-19 has shown us VERY CLEARLY that it is the working class whose lives are in such precarity and who are always first in line to be killed or thrown onto the dole queues. It is the working class who suffer most from anything that is negative – whether it's man-made, like a rotten economic system, or a health pandemic – and benefit least from anything positive.

ALSO ON RT.COM If the UK government brings in a new round of austerity to pay for Covid-19, it'll spark civil unrest that will see cities burn

As governments and bosses all over the world try to tempt us back into the "old normal" and whisper snake-oil encouragements such a s "Don't worry, it won't all be the same things will improve," let us grab that message with both hands, our feet and our heads. Let's appropriate it and tell them clearly: no, it bloody well won't be the same. We don't want that 'normal'. As it was never normal for us – it was a living nightmare.

--

Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners' strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of 'Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.' She's a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa .

[Jul 06, 2020] Britain's working class need a New Deal that overhauls housing, education and benefits to see them through the post-Covid crisis by Dr Lisa McKenzie

Notable quotes:
"... The consequences of the short-sighted politics and policies of the Thatcher era have been profound in those communities that suffered, and have shaped the narrative of the working class over the past 40 years, as people who are slow to change and are left behind. ..."
"... The consequence of this has been that the social, political and cultural influence of the working class has also diminished. Working-class people are now barely represented outside of low-paid, low-skilled work centered in the limited space of the service sector, healthcare, retail and distribution centers. ..."
"... Even the government's own appointed Social Mobility Commission acknowledges that class inequality and class prejudice is entrenched in our society. But it has no real solutions, and simply trots out the usual unimaginative tropes of raising aspiration for young working-class people. ..."
"... Working-class people need their own 'New Deal', which not only recognises the even greater inequalities caused by Covid-19 and the economic disaster that is on its way, but acknowledges the economic, social, political and cultural attack they have sustained for over 40 years. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | www.rt.com

... ...

The consequences of the short-sighted politics and policies of the Thatcher era have been profound in those communities that suffered, and have shaped the narrative of the working class over the past 40 years, as people who are slow to change and are left behind.

Even former chancellors are warning of a return to a 1980s level of unemployment and recession – although none of them accepts responsibility for the structures they defended that caused that unemployment. Nor do they take responsibility for their inability to think honestly or even creatively about the failure of capitalism.

... ... ...

The consequence of this has been that the social, political and cultural influence of the working class has also diminished. Working-class people are now barely represented outside of low-paid, low-skilled work centered in the limited space of the service sector, healthcare, retail and distribution centers.

Even the government's own appointed Social Mobility Commission acknowledges that class inequality and class prejudice is entrenched in our society. But it has no real solutions, and simply trots out the usual unimaginative tropes of raising aspiration for young working-class people.

ALSO ON RT.COM I don't want to return to normal when this is all over... Normal is s**t

So I'll help it out. Working-class people need their own 'New Deal', which not only recognises the even greater inequalities caused by Covid-19 and the economic disaster that is on its way, but acknowledges the economic, social, political and cultural attack they have sustained for over 40 years.

The New Deal for working-class people would recognise that access to good, safe and affordable housing is needed immediately.

It would recognise that the welfare-benefits system that's supposed to catch those who need support is cruel, humiliating and keeps people in poverty, rather than lifting them out.

... ... ...

--

Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners' strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of 'Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.' She's a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa .

[Jul 05, 2020] Trump used looted Venezuelan public money to build border wall with Mexico

Jul 05, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL July 2, 2020 at 4:36 am

The Grey Zone: Trump used looted Venezuelan public money to build border wall with Mexic

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/06/29/trump-stolen-venezuelan-money-border-wall-mexico/

An estimated $24 billion of Venezuelan public money has been looted, and the Trump administration has used at least $601 million of it to construct a militarized wall on the US-Mexico border.

By Ben Norton

In his new book "The Room Where It Happened," former Trump administration national security advisor John Bolton boasted that the British government "was delighted to cooperate on steps they could take" to assist in Washington's coup efforts, "for example freezing Venezuelan gold deposits in the Bank of England, so the regime could not sell the gold to keep itself going."..
####

Remember that Juan Guan is recognized by 50 UN states as interim President of Venezuela. But it's not the number that counts, but who those countries are. It is an effective loading of more votes per country though the unofficial Law of the Jungle system that the democratic West employs.

[Jun 30, 2020] Older Workers Targeted in Trump's Lawsuit to End Obamacare by DEAN BAKER

Notable quotes:
"... This would be bad news for anyone with a serious health condition, but it would be especially bad news for the oldest pre-Medicare age group, people between the ages of 55 and 64. This group currently faces average premiums of close to $10,000 a year per person for insurance purchased through the ACA exchanges. Insurers could easily charge people with serious health conditions two or three times this amount if the Trump administration wins its case. ..."
"... The 55 to 64 age group will also be hard hit because they are far more likely to have serious health issues than younger people. Just 18 percent of the people in the youngest 18 to 34 age group have a serious health condition, compared to 44 percent of those in the 55 to 64 age group, as shown in the figure above. ..."
Jun 30, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Anne , June 30, 2020 12:49 pm

https://cepr.net/older-workers-targeted-in-trumps-lawsuit-to-end-obamacare/

June 30, 2020

Older Workers Targeted in Trump's Lawsuit to End Obamacare
By DEAN BAKER

The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit which seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety. The implication is that a large share of the older workers now able to afford health insurance as a result of the ACA will no longer be able to afford it if the Trump administration wins its lawsuit.

Furthermore, if the suit succeeds it will both end the expansion of Medicaid, which has insured tens of millions of people, and again allow discrimination against people with serious health conditions. Ending this discrimination was one of the major goals of the ACA. The issue is that insurers don't want to insure people who are likely to have health issues that cost them money. While they are happy to insure healthy people with few medical expenses, people with heart disease, diabetes, or other health conditions are a bad deal for insurers.

Before the ACA, insurers could charge outlandish fees to cover people with health conditions, or simply refuse to insure them altogether. The ACA required insurers to cover everyone within an age bracket at the same price, regardless of their health. If the Trump administration has its way, we would go back to the world where insurers could charge people with health issues whatever they wanted, or alternatively, just deny them coverage.

This would be bad news for anyone with a serious health condition, but it would be especially bad news for the oldest pre-Medicare age group, people between the ages of 55 and 64. This group currently faces average premiums of close to $10,000 a year per person for insurance purchased through the ACA exchanges. Insurers could easily charge people with serious health conditions two or three times this amount if the Trump administration wins its case.

And, since a Trump victory would eliminate the ACA subsidiaries, people in this age group with health conditions could be looking to pay $20,000 to $30,000 a year for insurance, with no help from the government. That will be especially hard since many people with serious health conditions are unable to work full-time jobs, and some can't work at all.
[Graph]

The 55 to 64 age group will also be hard hit because they are far more likely to have serious health issues than younger people. Just 18 percent of the people in the youngest 18 to 34 age group have a serious health condition, compared to 44 percent of those in the 55 to 64 age group, as shown in the figure above.

The ACA has many inadequacies, but it has allowed tens of millions to get insurance who could not otherwise. Donald Trump wants to take this insurance away.

[Jun 28, 2020] Restaurant Of The Future - KFC Unveils Automated Store With Robots And Food Lockers

Jun 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"Restaurant Of The Future" - KFC Unveils Automated Store With Robots And Food Lockers by Tyler Durden Fri, 06/26/2020 - 22:05 Fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has debuted the "restaurant of the future," one where automation dominates the storefront, and little to no interaction is seen between customers and employees, reported NBC News .

After the chicken is fried and sides are prepped by humans, the order is placed on a conveyor belt and travels to the front of the store. A robotic arm waits for the order to arrive, then grabs it off the conveyor belt and places it into a secured food locker.

KFC Moscow robotic-arm takes the order off the conveyor belt

Customers use their credit/debit cards and or the facial recognition system on the food locker to retrieve their order.

KFC Moscow food locker

A KFC representative told NBC News that the new store is located in Moscow and was built months before the virus outbreak. The representative said the contactless store is the future of frontend fast-food restaurants because it's more sanitary.

KFC Moscow storefront

Disbanding human cashiers and order preppers at the front of a fast-food store will be the next big trend in the industry through 2030. Making these restaurants contactless between customers and employees will lower the probabilities of transmitting the virus.

Automating the frontend of a fast-food restaurant will come at a tremendous cost, that is, significant job loss . Nationwide (as of 2018), there were around 3.8 million employed at fast-food restaurants. Automation and artificial intelligence are set displace millions of jobs in the years ahead.

As for the new automated KFC restaurant in Moscow, well, it's a glimpse of what is coming to America - this will lead to the widespread job loss that will force politicians to unveil universal basic income .

[Jun 24, 2020] Can the USA stop strip-mining the human capital of other countries?

Jun 24, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

JohnnyGL , June 22, 2020 at 6:25 pm

You inspired me to peruse the website of Current Affairs. I bumped into this https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/04/should-we-just-open-the-borders

A bit off topic, but, personally, I'd really appreciate it if the Current Affairs-Jacobin crowd would drop the childish open-borders fantasy stuff.

Marx himself figured out what the immigration game was all about back in the mid-1800s, why do those who purport to represent the working class seem so intent on unlearning what was patently obvious back then and continues to be so, today?

Yes, I get we all like to meet different people, learn up close about different cultures, cuisines, and all that, but let's be clear-eyed that there's a cost to those things. It comes in the form of rising rents/property prices and gentrification, disinvestment in the labor force (why train workers when you can just import replacements?), degradation in local environment.

Also, can we stop strip-mining the human capital of other countries?

Let's focus more on creating a right to 'stay in place' instead of 'freedom of movement' fantasy stuff which sounds more like a right to tourism or something weird like that.

Anyway, rant over

WJ , June 22, 2020 at 7:04 pm

We need fewer Nathan Robinsons and a lot more Angela Nagles and Amber A'Lee Frosts

JohnnyGL , June 22, 2020 at 11:47 pm

Nathan Robinson on June 15th: "I don't believe the American left has lost its mind"

Also Nathan Robinson, June 19th:

https://twitter.com/NathanJRobinson/status/1274112979819278342

"I have regretfully come to the conclusion that The Hill, owned by one of Trump's close personal friends, puts on Rising mainly for the purpose of trying to trick leftists into softening on Trump & see nationalist racists as preferable to moderate Democrats"

Wow that is flat out ridiculous how stupid does he think people are?

Mr. House , June 23, 2020 at 9:27 am

Have you talked to people in public lately? They can't understand how you can be against both republicans and democrats. Then spend the next hour trying to convince you to vote democrat. Orrrrr they storm off in a fit.

casino implosion , June 23, 2020 at 5:55 am

And Aimee Tereses and Anna Khachiyans.

JBird4049 , June 22, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Neoliberalism's support of very open boarders for both finance and labor arbitrage is assumed to be always good because the American and English nomenklatura and their apparatchiks implicitly. very often without any real thought, believe in the ideology of neoliberalism. So, while there is often manipulation by whatever hidden authority is doing it, most of the time there is no need. The writers have brainwashed themselves into ignorance. 2+2=5

anon in so cal , June 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm

One of the groups that suffers most from open borders is African Americans. If Blacks in Los Angeles, for example, lacked a college degree, they could nevertheless earn decent wages in various sectors including construction and janitorial work, as two examples. Illegal immigration ended that.

https://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1756&context=key_workplace

Daniel Raphael , June 22, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Borders are a problem only when capitalism prevails. Note the problems/objections you cited having to do with wages, property prices, and other "market" features that would not apply under socialism. When people rule themselves cooperatively and share the wealth that presently is stolen from them and used against them, the problem of borders will cease to be a problem.

WJ , June 22, 2020 at 9:29 pm

The problem I have is that, even assuming you're correct, the utopian socialist crew somehow thinks that open borders is compatible, in the actual capitalist world we live in, with forwarding the interests of the working class. It's just not.

Anarcissie , June 22, 2020 at 10:34 pm

Certainly 'open borders' are not compatible with anyone's interests because they're a contradiction in terms. The capitalists see the border (the real border, not the mythical 'open border') as a kind of valve which can be opened or shut as their interests require. It also provides for ways of further disadvantaging certain portions of the working class and thus reducing their wages and eliminating their rights. So the institution of the border turns out to be a kind of variable form of coercion, as well as a myth to build racist and classist politics on.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 23, 2020 at 3:55 am

> So the institution of the border turns out to be a kind of variable form of coercion

Has it occurred to you that coercion works because it causes real harms?

GettingTheBannedBack , June 22, 2020 at 10:05 pm

The media is more fascinating by the day if you try not to take it seriously. Really.

Trying to deconstruct who is the real audience, what is the underlying message (aka dog whistle), how is the media doing plausible deniability, who is the real source (who is the piece written to serve) and what is the motivation for the piece could take whole PhDs to figure out sometimes.

And it's hard because I have biases, like everyone I guess, which can get in the way. Every few days I get a lightbulb moment on something and that is fascinating.

But at the bottom of every media pronouncement is the money, so follow the money and the power. Not so easy sometimes because the real hallmark of the powerful is the ability to pay for invisibility. My CEO used to say that he had no real power. Now, he knew how to operate.

Clive , June 23, 2020 at 4:05 am

Yes, this is now my approach. I still watch and read widely, but never (or hardly ever) in the expectation that I'll either learn something or get told anything even vaguely related to the unvarnished truth.

Much more interesting (but as you say, requiring adroit mental gymnastics and prone to all sorts of misdirection) is trying to work out the answers to the inevitable questions:

-- Why am I being shown this at this time ?
-- What narratives are intended to be constructed by this "story"?
-- Who is trying to influence me and why, into doing (or refraining from doing) what?
-- Is it a false-flag or should it be taken at face value?
-- Is it supportive of existing norms or trying to change them (or, the old favourite stand-by "controlled opposition")?
-- Is it organic (highly, highly unlikely) or is it the latest exciting instalment of the ongoing oligarch v. oligarch grudge match?
-- What messaging / influencing technique is being employed (fear, guilt, appeal to ethics, tribalism, family values et. al.)?

The last is usually the most intriguing. Is this the family-favourite Soros v. Putin title fight? A Bill Gates v. Trump proxy war? The Clinton Democrats-in-name-only leftist faction v. whoever Sanders constituency actually is? Globalist Internationalism capitalists v. disaster capitalists?

I was going to write the following sentence at this point:

"Someone should publish " Top Trumps " (no irony intended) so we can all work our way around who's who in all this

But then, can you believe it, reality trumped me because some wisecracker beat me to it . Of course, the political power players Top Trumps pack really needs additional categories to make it realistic. "Number of SuperPACs", "$Billions Grifted", "Brown People in Far Away Places Blown to Pink Mist Total in Office", "Media Outlets Owned", "MSM Actors on the Payroll" etc. etc. etc.

Off The Street , June 23, 2020 at 9:58 am

+1
Your inevitable questions should be in school curricula.

Tom Finn , June 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Thank you Clive for enunciating and listing so clearly the mental editing of reporting that I too have been doing for decades.
My only addition: __'Who profits from this being accepted.'

arielle , June 23, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Cui bono?

Polar Socialist , June 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

There's a lot more recent papers on the issue than Marx. To put it shortly, it's almost impossible to separate the effect of immigration on wages from the effects of "free trade" and automatisation.

For example, in "The impact of massmigration on the Israeli labor market" in 2001 R.M. Friedberg concluded that wages actually went up, when Russians migrated en masse to Israel, though they did not migrate to seek employment.

Ottaviano and Peri in "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the theory and the empirics" and Card in "Immigration and inequality" state that the models used to estimate the wages are mostly too simple and very sensitive to how education levels are defined.

All economists seem to agree that in the least skilled or educated "class" the effect of migration is lower wages or raising unemployment, if wages are the only way for the economy to adjust.

I just don't think the issue is as clear cut as people make it to be.

Fireship , June 23, 2020 at 3:46 am

Robinson is continuing a great British tradition where mediocrities from the Mother country head for the colonies to wow the gullible colonists with their fancy ways. The guy is such a lightweight, like fellow grifting Brits Niall Ferguson or Louise Mensch.

Off The Street , June 23, 2020 at 8:24 am

Robinson could refer not to Fox, but to Fox Butterfield . That has a quaint, somewhat British-sounding aspirational upper class twit aspect that seems fitting. /s

geoff , June 23, 2020 at 11:20 am

Per wikipedia, Robinson moved with his family from the U.K. to the U.S. in 1995; he was born in 1989. He's almost entirely the product of an American upbringing and education. He hasn't dropped the accent because he doesn't want to. Frankly he's more of a Florida Man than a Brit imo. (I say this as an admirer.)

Donald , June 23, 2020 at 8:42 am

I generally like Nathan Robinson -- most of the time he writes long detailed heavily linked arguments that are worth reading and which I think most people here would agree with. He is not liked by mainstream Democrats.

I was very disappointed with his Taibbi piece. But I tend to be disappointed by nearly everyone at one point or another. When Robinson says he likes Taibbi, I think he is telling the truth. He just thinks Taibbi is wrong in this case, while I think it is Robinson who is wrong.

Fergus Hashimoto , June 23, 2020 at 2:15 pm

Why is everyone ignoring one of the most bizarre aspects of the Bernie Sanders campaign? That his campaign staff and most prominent supporters were mostly members and supporters of a small religious sect that comprises 1% of the US population, and they were not typical members of this sect, but instead the most extremist ones.
Moreover this small religious sect that comprises 1% of the US population causes one half of US terrorism deaths. Proof:
According to Wikipedia, between 2008 and 2016
 right-wing terrorists caused 79 deaths
 left-wing terrorists caused 7 deaths
 jihadi terrorists caused 90 deaths
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States# Recent trends
Therefore Islamic terrorists actually killed MORE people than right-wing terrorists. Furthermore, if we assume that right-wingers make up 10% of the US population, and Muslims make up 1% of the US population, then per capita, Muslims accounted for TEN TIMES as many terrorism deaths as right-wingers did. Furthermore Muslims accounted for ONE HUNDRED TIMES as many terrorism deaths as non-Muslims did.
Bernie Sanders' campaign was run by Muslim extremists Faiz Shakir and Matt Duss.
But nobody seems to mind. Anyone who criticizes Islam is called a bigot. But Islam's holy book says: "Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are ruthless to unbelievers, merciful to one another." (Qur'an 48:29) Is that bigotry or is that not bigotry?
In 1946 the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, praised Amin al-Husseini, the leader of the Palestinian national movement, in the following words:
Germany and Hitler are no more, but Amin el-Husseini will fight on!
Source: Die Welt, Hamburg
https://www.welt.de/kultur/history/article107737611/Von-Deutschland-lernen-heisst-erinnern-lernen.html
Bernie Sanders represents left-wing ideas and programs that are ANATHEMA to this small sect and ESPECIALLY to its extremist wing. Ideas like sexual freedom and religious freedom, freedom to criticize religions, equality among religions and non-religions, and equality between sexes, the idea that laws must be made by human beings elected by majorities through democratic elections instead of by some divinity who is obviously merely a social construct invented in order to exert tyrannical power over society. Those are all principles that flatly contradict Islam and its legal code, sharia law, which CAIR has been doing its utmost to protect from anti-sharia lagislation.
All of Bernie Sanders' most prominent supporters opposed ALL of his leftist ideas, because they want a theocratic state where binary sexuality is the norm and criticism of their sect is verboten.
They hopped onto the Sanders bandwagon and took control of it out of sheer opportunism, because they see Sanders as the path firstly to liquidating Israel and thus achieving one of the primary goals of the worldwide Islamist movement, namely to turn the Middle East into a homogeneous Muslim region, and secondly in order to seize key political positions in the political system of the US, DESPITE BEING SUCH A TINY MINORITY.
Matt Duss, Bernie Sanders' foreign policy adviser, is tightly linked through his family to World Vision, a Christian charity that for decades has funded the FDLP, a Palestinian terrorist group that is nominally secular, but in reality is Islamist. This is proved by the fact that when some of its members killed 4 rabbis in Jerusalem a few years ago, they yelled Allahu akbar. It was recently discovered that World Vision has financed Hamas with US government money. Moreover Matt Duss together with Faiz Shakir, Sanders' Islamist campaign manager, have campaigned in favor of sharia law, a legal system that claims divine authority and is a product of 7th century Arabian society.
By contrast, 20% of Americans are secularists who -- at least in theory -- strongly oppose the reactionary and obscurantist program of Bernie Sanders' principal supporters. But no prominent secularist appeared among Sanders' most important backers. Now why is it that Sanders relied principally on people who wholeheartedly oppose his program and ignored the vastly greater number of Americans who support freedom and equality?

HotFlash , June 23, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Whut?

clarky90 , June 22, 2020 at 5:06 pm

"(The Era) Of McRevolutions and Bugmen "

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEE2AZo4hDo

When your movement is sponsored by transnational corporations ..

Aumua , June 23, 2020 at 12:32 am

proto-fascism?

JBird4049 , June 23, 2020 at 3:10 am

Proto -fascism? I rather think it might be here already, but in an American guise.

(Sorry, I just couldn't decide where the sentences and paragraphs should be. Semicolons were the solution.)

As the United States is its own unique blend; utopian, socialistic, religious, fascistic, authoritarian or totalitarian, dysfunctional, increasingly hourglass shaped (oligarchy with skilled workers, tiny middle class, and massive poor class) like any very corrupt Third-World country; an increasingly oppressive police state trying to control a very diverse, well educated, skilled "rightsized" people, often armed and getting more so, with a large number retire military; everyone is angry or afraid and most know that it was laziness or stupidity or the race/social group/Russians/Chinese/Space Elves that turned the prosperity, power, and general competence of fifty into the economic hellscape, weakness, and near complete incompetence of today; it is increasingly obvious that it was the wealthy with the help of their courtiers and servants of the apparatchiks, and the intelligentsia/punditocracy.

Fear and self righteousness facing anger and desperation. What a situation to have.

anon in so cal , June 22, 2020 at 5:35 pm

Bookmarked for later. Nathan Robinson manages to insidiously smuggle Cold War propaganda into articles that ostensibly argue against Russiagate. He appears to be the most dangerous kind of propagandist.

Rod , June 22, 2020 at 5:47 pm

hooked by the headline

Read that Taibbi piece and boy does he have links -- to back his sound and clear narrative.
It seems like he always has a lot of research, way more than he makes his case with

Drawing fire, as a tactic for the well prepared, can be useful.

Carolinian , June 22, 2020 at 5:57 pm

If NC wants to add a Media Whores Online section to Links or Water Cooler we won't object. Of course this would probably inspire PropOrNot part deux. Those MSM journalists can dish it out but not take it.

As I seem to recall MWO somewhat got the stuffing knocked out of it after 9/11. But when it was really rolling it seemed to embodied what the internet was for and why many of us took it up. Monica-gate followed by Bush v Gore offered a TINA media landscape begging to be debunked.

norm de plume , June 23, 2020 at 6:57 am

MWO published what might have been my first blog comment, really just an email, and it was on the Kaus affair, piling on with sarc mode set to high, another example of the 'hate' we were apparently guilty of. It was the daily visit then that NC is now. It was important. The creator remains a mystery, though Bartcop seems to deserve favouritism.

Looking at some of the MWO Wayback pages from 2002 took me back (though the whole of July when the Kaus thing blew is missing). Lots of familiar names – digby, Alterman, Marshall, Conason, Lyons, Pierce et al, all of whom I just stopped reading at some point, probably about the same time I ceased to have any respect for the Clintons.

Mel , June 22, 2020 at 5:59 pm

No "spook", huh? Then it's "secret squirrel", except they're hardly secret sitting there on NBC and CNN.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 23, 2020 at 3:48 am

> No "spook", huh? Then it's "secret squirrel",

I encountered "Secret Squirrel" in my travels, but I am a big Rocky and His Friends fan (or, rather, I stan Rocky and His Friends (?)).

shinola , June 22, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Thank you Lambert for the link to Taibbi's article Definitely worth a read.

EOH , June 22, 2020 at 6:06 pm

Color me skeptical when it comes to the wonders of Mr. Taibbi's observations. I find his narratives full of sound and fury as often as they are sound and clear. But, like Craig Murray or Glenn Greenwald, he can be a good read on the right topic. Sy Hersh and Thomas Frank, however, I have a lot of time for.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 22, 2020 at 8:44 pm

By contrast I've always found that Taibbi always signifies something, but tries to do so in a way that might enable him to avoid being cancelled or deplatformed. Sy Hersh has no such concern. And last time I checked Thomas Frank was trying to signify to me that "maybe there is a case for Joe Biden". With more than 40 years' experience of the man, I utterly disagree.

ANTHONY WIKRENT , June 22, 2020 at 9:32 pm

"maybe there is a case for Joe Biden" is the headline and most of the article. It's deception. Read to the last paragraph if you want to see what Frank actually thinks of Biden. Quite a sucker punch! Though that does not fully capture the sticking and twisting of Frank's shiv.

EOH , June 23, 2020 at 11:53 am

But Frank says he came to assess Joe's mystique, not to bury it.

As for Joe Biden, consider the alternative of four more years of Mr. Trump's "malevolent incompetence" and intentional destruction.

integer , June 22, 2020 at 11:34 pm

Yes I think Taibbi knows a lot more than he puts forward in his articles. How could he not? Same with Frank, probably. Even Hersh censors himself, as evidenced by that recorded phone conversation about Seth Rich.

Chris , June 22, 2020 at 8:58 pm

The wonder of Mr. Taibbi's observations is that he's brave enough to keep making them. Real journalism is rare these days because our corporate organizations have removed journalists from the protected species list. Mr. Taibbi is just documenting the fallout from the officially sanctioned behavior that leads to people canceling those who are discussing actual injustice and real problems in our country. He's also trying, and failing, to show Team Blue fans that their inability to accept reality hurts their electoral chances. For example, the many attempts to scrub Hillary's problems from the media lead to a sense of complacency in likely Democrat voters and made people voting for her opponent highly motivated to turn out at the polls. Taking something like her "basket of deplorables" comment and not discussing why it was just as problematic as Mitt Romney's "48% of people who are voting for Obama don't pay income tax" comments was journalistic and political malpractice. It remains to be seen whether the many attempts to shield Biden using similar tactics will help or hurt him. Personally I think the Democrats will lose because they have rubber stamped the reduction of voting access so much in so many states that the people who would like to vote for them won't be able to vote. Which is a legitimately awful problem.

There are so many issues that Mr. Taibbi has discussed which bear repeating because unless you're getting your news from sites like NC you just don't see it. A recent Useful Idiots podcast episode that Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper did with Shahid Buttar noted that an interview that Mr. Buttar gave which mentioned corporate democrats supporting the re-approval of the Patriot Act under Trump was removed from YouTube and no reasons were given as to why that occurred. Stuff like that makes me think we're living on a spectrum between Brave New World and 1984, with class largely determining where you fall, and we have Cancel Culture people in media running around playing the role of Fireman from Fahrenheit 451 to keep the wrong people from asking too many questions regardless of class. As Mr. Buttar pointed out during his UI podcast interview, the algorithms that FB and YouTube use to remove content without due process catch all the videos of violent acts AND video evidence police abusing citizens. That's by design. But you wouldnt even know about it without reporters like Matt Taibbi.

Rod , June 22, 2020 at 10:18 pm

Yes, thanks for taking the time to encapsulate what Taibbi represents for me.
I admire his relentless pursuit of the 'how' our world is being spun out of control.

Lunker Walleye , June 22, 2020 at 11:28 pm

Yes! Completely agree. Thanks. I heard the interview with Shahid Buttar. I'm hoping for more courageous journalists like Matt.

wol , June 23, 2020 at 8:45 am

Yesterday I heard the Useful Idiots interview with Cornell West. At the end I was spontaneously fist pumping.

Michael , June 22, 2020 at 6:43 pm

That is a very interesting story. Call me paranoid, but IMO we are witnessing the collapse of American society, where every institution is losing it's credibility for various reasons. Personally, I think it is a combination of increased oppression from the threatened rulers, resulting in increased conformity by its victims ((journalists and the public) This combined with the privatization of information, ( ie everything becoming paywalled) is aimed at the reduction of important information by making it unavailable. I fear all of this ends in a veil of tears. This can only lead to fascism, where only the current accepted narrative is permitted.

Jeremy Grimm , June 23, 2020 at 1:40 am

We face the criminal persecution and torture of Assange; the criminal persecution of Craig Murray; the recent debacle at TruthDig; the demise of the Weatherunderground, the growing numbers of pay walls and pop-ups pleading for money and email addresses all suggesting a most unhappy outcome for the future. The consolidation and control of the major media is old history. Reporters are becoming extinct. And there's the pollution of youtube, search engines, and social media. Our society is devolving -- it is being dismantled, vivisected before our eyes to no end but the end of social order.

I am not sure fascism is the result. We already live in what is technically a fascism where State and Business share the same bed.

I still haven't read Talbi's critique but will.

norm de plume , June 23, 2020 at 7:11 am

'The consolidation and control of the major media is old history. Reporters are becoming extinct. And there's the pollution of youtube, search engines, and social media'

There should be a public option for the provision of information (surely up there with food, water and shelter as an essential public good) that is not polluted. Of course it would be derided (and feared) by the wingnuts, the Borg and finance capital as a vehicle for progressive propaganda. Which it could well be given consistent polling indicating majority support for many if not most progressive positions. That of course means that the Democrats would hate it too.

Which segues into my next pipe dream: Abolish parties!

Waking Up , June 22, 2020 at 6:56 pm

Ellsberg, like, Seymour Hersh and Thomas Frank, has been drummed out of town.

Interesting that those with a conscience are the ones "drummed out of town". Guess that tells you everything you need to know about that "town".

As for Matt Taibbi, he is one of the VERY RARE journalists that I give the benefit of the doubt is actually telling the truth (even though I still verify) as I usually assume most "journalists" are lying (or trying to sell a particular story) and go from there. I also find his podcast with Katie Halper entertaining and informative.

Synoia , June 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm

where every institution is losing it's credibility for various reasons

They had credibility, when?

Before the Committee of UnAmericam Activities?

Before the Korean War?

Before the Dulles Brothers?

Before the Monroe Doctrine?

Manifest Destiny?

elspeth ham , June 22, 2020 at 7:09 pm

I read that article. I thought it was one of the best of his I've read. Hats off Matt Taibbi. As far as I'm concerned once we lose the complexity that inhabits a serious regard for the truth, we're done. I always appreciate being brought up short by my 'enemies.' It means they might not be as hideous as I'd thought.

EH , June 22, 2020 at 7:15 pm

ditto

farmboy , June 22, 2020 at 7:38 pm

being consistently lied to by TV reporters, print media, and politicians not only breeds cynicism, it births, welps, nurses, and rears. the limitation of news outlets until the explosion of social media meant they could be parsed out in narrow sets of ideas and language. Today big media is laid bare, McLuhan was so right, Today it is crucial to know ones own biases, allow opinion and research in opposition into my field of view. As a trader, I always searched for the refuting argument, chart, analysis that would tell me i was wrong, saved me a lot of money. Inflaming passions today is crucial to getting buy-in, not just voting, which is the tail trying to wag the dog. Taibbi has earned his stripes, fields critics on twitter at least, faithfully and honestly.

Sutter Cane , June 22, 2020 at 7:45 pm

I have been reading Taibbi since the eXiled. Robinson and Current Affairs I only found out about more recently.

I view Taibbi as a real journalist with a proven track record. Current Affairs often has some entertaining and thoughful content, but Robinson frankly seems to be more of a lightweight, especially in comparison to Taibbi.

He specializes in "takedowns" of right wing grifters like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson. Not exactly difficult targets. His turning on Taibbi, and more recently Krystal Ball and Rising, has been interesting to see. I don't know if he just grew tired of writing about only right wing types, or if he's trying to raise his own profile by attacking better-known left media figures (probably a bit of both). Either way, Robinson's shitck has gotten decidedly old.

bob , June 22, 2020 at 8:49 pm

But he has a hat and that oh so wonderful accent! How can you say that?

funemployed , June 22, 2020 at 8:53 pm

Robinson's not really an investigative reporter. More like a pundit for the over-educated left. So it's not really fair to compare him to people like Greenwald and Taibbi. He's also quite young, and every one his age has some big blind spots and youthful hubris that will (hopefully) shrink in time.

And of course his shtick got tired. Anyone who's job consists of basically writing 2-3 op-eds a week is gonna run out of new material real fast. In a marginally more sane world he'd have a nice job as the regular NYT lefty op-ed guy, and be pretty good at it I think.

In any case, he's a sincere young man who does seem to listen and learn. I mostly side with Taibbi in this kerfuffle, but maybe I wouldn't have 10 years ago. Given the large number of truly horrible people in the public eye these days, the vitriol towards young Nate seems a bit excessive. Frankly, if there's anyone who could get the PMC+DSA crowd to start questioning identitarianism, it's probably him (as I believe they constitute the near entirety of his readership), so lets work on helping him "recognize his own privilege" re: the working class instead of bashing him or questioning his motives.

Donald , June 23, 2020 at 8:49 am

I forgot about the attack on Krystal Ball. I didn't like that either, but another person I generally like, Adam Johnson, did the same.

I have just gotten used to the fact that there aren't going to be people I agree with on every important issue 100 percent of the time. This isn't irony or sarcasm -- I really am disappointed when otherwise smart and (IMO) clearly well intentioned people have opinions I think are wrong. But it is possible I am wrong. ( This is all painfully earnest, as corny as it sounds. )

PlutoniumKun , June 23, 2020 at 9:50 am

I think you have the correct approach. People are far too hair triggered about certain topics. A journalist has to churn out lots of copy, even the best will occasionally get it wrong, or just happen to express beliefs that don't match up with what i or anyone else believes. It is I think the sort of trap that IdPol people fall into – insisting on increasing levels of purity from those on their side, and immediately casting them out if they dare shift one inch from the narrative.

It should be possible to read and learn from good writers, even if you disagree with them. And it's very important that progressives learn and develop by listening to those who have respectful and intellectually coherent reasons not to buy into every precious shibboleth. I think its very important to have voices like Taibbi and Stoller, people who aren't afraid to make even fellow left progressives angry by taking strong positions.

Mammoth Jackstock , June 22, 2020 at 8:30 pm

As seen on TV, Frank Figliuzzi x Greenwald mistaking Figliuzzi's shingle advertising body-man services, for a Wurlitzer. "Figliuzzi" is "small son" in Italian, a euphemism for abandoned orphans, also known for working on behalf of the parents that raised them: The State. Perhaps Figliuzzi's booking agency has insight into clandestine media control. It's hard to decipher whether Taibbi's beef is that journalists' ethical lapses are not properly coordinated or whether the lapses are not authentic enough. Which is the same criticism leveled at the street demonstrators without acknowledging that higher levels of coordination and authentic anger potentiate more physical harm. Spontaneity is the x-factor in both pursuits. Last point. When the surveillance state is conceptualized as the ever-vigilant eyes of BLM and the feverish archiving of Journos, rather than the underworld of the Police State, the surveillance state-less becomes a mode for positive change. Vindication by security camera. Can one be baffled by hope?

Off The Street , June 23, 2020 at 8:29 am

That Mighty Casio has such a tinny little speaker anyway.

Briny , June 22, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Put simply, I refuse to be schooled by the ethically challenged MSM. Matt's doing important work here.

Edward , June 22, 2020 at 8:50 pm

"What the heck is the correct pejorative for a member of the intelligence commumity? "

The intelligence communities must have there own terms for these people. "Agents of influence"? Psychological warfare specialists? Propagandists? Minitrue Goodthinker?

I think the United States needs a mandatory high school class in "How to read propaganda". Americans are probably the most propagandized people on the planet.

Acacia , June 22, 2020 at 10:33 pm

I have heard the term "analyst", though it's far too neutral for their activities. "Operatives" or "henchmen" seems more fitting.

ChrisPacific , June 23, 2020 at 1:22 am

Praetorians, perhaps?

Edward , June 23, 2020 at 6:16 am

They are the president's secret army. They have avoided congressional oversight by securing their funding from the drug trade.

Edward , June 23, 2020 at 6:13 am

Some of the CIA are analysts, like Ray McGovern, albeit politicized ones. The CIA has different departments. The best word for the CIA is probably "disgrace" or "national shame".

Fazal Majid , June 23, 2020 at 3:56 am

Oxymoron

Donald , June 23, 2020 at 8:52 am

"Lying scum" works, but applies to others as well, so we need something more targeted.

Berto , June 22, 2020 at 9:17 pm

Would love to hear Taibbi explain why the NY Times spent the summer of 2016 pretending to care that Republicans pretended to care about Clinton's email protocols.

anon in so cal , June 22, 2020 at 10:25 pm

Speaking of the fake news NY Times, here is a good 2017 analysis of its decades-long mendacity and war propagandizing. Here is a snippet:

"The CIA's brazen intervention in the electoral process in 2016 and 2017 broke new ground in the agency's politicization. Former CIA head Michael Morell announced in an August 2016 op-ed in the Times: "I Ran the C.I.A. Now I'm Endorsing Hillary Clinton," and former CIA boss Michael Hayden published an op-ed in the Washington Post just days before the election, entitled "Former CIA Chief: Trump is Russia's Useful Fool." Morell had yet another op-ed in the Times on January 6, now openly assailing the new president. These attacks were unrelievedly insulting to Trump and laudatory to Clinton, even portraying Trump as a traitor; they also made clear that Clinton's more pugnacious stance toward Syria and Russia was preferable by far to Trump's leanings toward negotiation and cooperation with Russia."

https://monthlyreview.org/2017/07/01/fake-news-on-russia-and-other-official-enemies/

Off The Street , June 23, 2020 at 10:04 am

Note where so many seemingly-disreputable people end up, and why. There is money , whether to reward for past services, or to transfer in anticipation of legal defenses needed.

Money shows up in novel ways, like book deals and in plain old propagandizing ways, like pundit spots.

McWatt , June 22, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Matt Taibbi is a God that Walks the Planet!!!

Stay the course Matt. When this is all over, you'll be the last intelligent reporter standing.

Along with Katie!!!

.Tom , June 22, 2020 at 11:00 pm

Pejorative suggestion: apparatchik

integer , June 22, 2020 at 11:43 pm

And of course there really is such a thing as "Left Wing Hate" (for some definition of "left," I admit).

Glad to see this qualifier added. I suspect the language that is necessary to have meaningful discussions about political ideologies with people from different political tribes is purposely corrupted by the conservative and liberal media establishments, probably at the behest of the CIA.

Charlie , June 23, 2020 at 2:30 am

New (But really not new) Pejorative: American Nomenklatura.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 23, 2020 at 3:14 am

Einstein's definition of madness "Doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result"

Do you remember the last time you let the robber barons and reckless bankers run riot in the 1920s?
No.
Do you remember the last time you used neoclassical economics in the 1920s?
No.
Do you remember how bad it was in the 1970s?
Yes.
Do you remember how bad it was in the 1930s?
No.

During the 1920s there was a great consolidation of US businesses into often single companies that dominated every sector.
This time this has happened in the media.
About six corporations control the US media, and they make sure you hear, what they want you to hear.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 23, 2020 at 3:53 am

A trip down memory lane.

We stepped onto an old path that still leads to the same place.
1920s/2000s – neoclassical economics, high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase
1929/2008 – Wall Street crash
1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, trade wars, austerity, rising nationalism and extremism
1940s – World war.
We forgot we had been down that path before.

I remembered where this path goes.

When the US needed an FDR, it got an Obama.
Now they've got Trump.
They've taken a more European approach this time.
Trying to maintain the status quo is not a good idea, they needed a New Deal.

bwilli123 , June 23, 2020 at 3:46 am

Somewhat relevant. Don't threaten the narrative.
"Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex (@slatestarcodex deletes his blog after a @nytimes
reporter threatens to doxx him, which could ruin his career as a psychiatrist and raises serious safety concerns."

https://slatestarcodex.com/2020/06/22/nyt-is-threatening-my-safety-by-revealing-my-real-name-so-i-am-deleting-the-blog/

https://twitter.com/SwipeWright/status/1275318412051275782

Fazal Majid , June 23, 2020 at 4:07 am

Wow, that's truly despicable!

That said, anyone who believes the NYT was ever respectable, as in worthy of respect, not as in "mainstay of the establishment", needs only harken back to Pulitzer's role in fanning the Spanish-American War to understand how fundamentally depraved an institution it really is.

Off The Street , June 23, 2020 at 8:37 am

His name was known to many readers of Slate Star Codex, and they were too polite to repeat it. There is a decency and brilliance that would be sorely missed with any permanent silencing of his unique voice and views.

PlutoniumKun , June 23, 2020 at 9:44 am

Absolutely, its a brilliant blog, on so many levels. Its beyond belief that the NY would insist on publishing his real name, when there is absolutely no reason or public interest in doing so.

Off The Street , June 23, 2020 at 10:12 am

The NYT fancies itself an empire, dispensing and dispatching at will. Here is a Star Wars quote from Obi-Wan applicable to those that the Grey Lady targets, or even purposefully ignores:

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Ignacio , June 23, 2020 at 5:23 am

It is quite interesting, and positive, should I say, that nobody resorted to the argument of "lefty" thinkers destroying themselves as the perennial malaise of the left. Regarding the confrontation between Taibbi and Robinson it looks clear they do not represent 2 variations of the same camp: They inhabit completely different camps though, as an outsider, I am not able to establish clearly the limits between their audiences and their supporting platforms.

It strikes me, as very well pointed, the similarities that Lambert brougth from Taibbi in the ADDENDUM about the, IMO very likely, Trump reelection and the 2016 elections: he can easily run away with his errors and the liberals look poised to make similar mistakes in 2020 as they did in 2016. They learnt nothing and forgot nothing.

On this I really would like a well informed discussion on some news pieces that have seen linked here before indicating that Trump very much dislikes voting by mail "because of fraud" though my opinion is that he just wants the election turnout to be the smaller the better.

Philbq , June 23, 2020 at 7:21 am

Regarding the vast U.S. media propaganda machine, Chomsky famously said long ago that propaganda was MORE necessary in democratic societies. In a totalitarian regime, the government can control the public with force and violence, imprisoning or executing dissidents. But in a democratic society, citizens have the power to vote and change the government. Therefore, it is more necessary in a democratic society to control how the public thinks. Thus propaganda is the very essence of democracy. Propaganda ids thought control in democratic societies.

Philbq , June 23, 2020 at 7:24 am

That last line should have read: "Propaganda is thought control in democratic societies. "

David , June 23, 2020 at 9:21 am

There was a time when I went to the established media to learn things. Now, it feels more like checking in on an evolving soap opera with a baffling plot and inconsistent characters. There's a certain grim amusement in seeing the latest plot twist but that's about all. I get my actual information from sites like NC and specialist sites and newsletters by experts. I'm afraid that my gut reaction to clicking on a MSM story these days is: why is this bast**d lying to me?

PlutoniumKun , June 23, 2020 at 9:43 am

Likewise. The thing is, as a teenager back in the 1980's I'd read my Chomsky and a number of radical media writers. My eyes had been opened when I was around 15, home on holidays and bored watching afternoon TV when a particular incident occurred in NI. I remember watching open mouthed as the narrative was completely twisted around 180 degrees by the time of the evening news (I won't go into the details, but it started as 'brave mourners tackle terrorists who drove a car into a crowd saving many lives' into 'barbaric Republicans lynch two innocent soldiers who had lost their way' over the course of about 4 hours of reporting. But I still, up to a few years ago, as a default tended to believe what I read in the newspapers or watched on TV, unless I had a reasonably good reason not to do so. But no more. I don't really know whether things have gotten much worse, or I've just become more educated/cynical.

Ignacio , June 23, 2020 at 10:28 am

Fast forward to 2003, very much like the terrorist attacks in Atocha train station when Aznar phoned all the media to say "it is certain it was ETA" and so the publications in Spain went with this story. Thereafter, only the conservative media went on with a conspiracy theory with the Spanish police in collusion with ETA to maintain their narrative even when it was crystal clear it was a yihaddist attack.

So, regarding the media, it is the narrative what goes first and much more important than facts. No matter if it is a conservative or a liberal outlet, they will stick to their narrative. This has worsened with time.

larry , June 23, 2020 at 9:47 am

I love this quote, so let me be a stickler. The actual question is: Why is this lying bastard lying to me?. It was originally atributed to Louis Heron of the Times and channeled by Paxman in an interview at the end of his Newsnight career. Otherwise, I am depressed to say that I can do nothing other than agree with your view of the MSM in general, although there are a few journalists who appear to be doing what they should be doing even if they may not doing it as well as they probably could. As for the rest, some of them can't even write.

David , June 23, 2020 at 11:12 am

Yes, I'm not sure whether Heron actually said that (accounts differ) but I remember thinking when I first read it decades ago that it was silly: I spent a good part of my life preparing politicians for interviews, and, at least then, you made sure they were briefed to put the best spin on things, which is not the same as lying. But on subjects I was familiar with, I used to reckon that most jobbing journalists (ie not the deep specialists) would get things factually accurate about 50% of the time, and that the problems were more related to ignorance and preconceptions than active attempts to mislead. I don't think that's the case now. Journalists today, by contrast, actively tell lies, often for political reasons or to conform to groupthink.

John Mc , June 23, 2020 at 10:00 am

Taibbi is a national treasure. He is a funny, engaging writer who knows where the boundaries are involving spin, humor and articulating a precise message. The fact that he has been so clairvoyant about hundreds of issues (Political futility, Financial Crisis, Policing, and changes in Media) is due to his unique willingness to talk to people in all walks of life to understand the complexity of what he is writing about. And when he does not know something, he owns it. Connectivity to people, and his marriage to journalism all breed more and more trust (as well as puts a target on his back).

We live in a time of fracture (capital/labor, institutional decay, and the indelible scars of markets taking over our lives at every level) means we need people to cut through the noise, effectively -- reminding us of our fantastic thinking and proffering uncomfortable truths. And nowhere has this been more apparent than the NL core of the democratic party on the Left:

1. Russiagate Maddowers versus Mate-Blumenthal
2. Syria/Bolivia/Venezuela/Chile CIA media engineers vs The Grayzone and Greenwald
3. The Warren/Sanders rift. The Warren/Warren rift.
4. The night of 1000 Knives.
5. BLM and Democratic Party.
6. And left media puts out a hit against Taibbi – with very little serious discussion of Hate Inc..
7. Leftist Fractures – N Robinson vs Krystal Ball, Lee Fang, Taibbi and an academic accused of "bad research"
8. Attack on the show Rising – why would the left talk to the populist right canard.

The left are playing a role in their own demise -- often at the behest of the NL center or in concert to a more individualistic lens, separate of that to ordinary people. Kyle Kulinski just did a 30 minutes on this too.

All in all, the group who needs to be shattered into a thousand pieces in the wind (the NL core of both parties) just got stronger this election cycle -- and in my mind the fractures on the left are just starting.

It did not have to be that way. Sickening to consider when you think about the opportunity we had in January.

Thanks Lambert for this article

Bruce , June 23, 2020 at 10:59 am

To add to the lists of questions to be asked when reading the "news" .

"What is not being reported here?" or, more colloquially, "What dog isn't barking?".

Bruce , June 23, 2020 at 11:08 am

Over the years I have asked many people about press coverage of subjects they knew well. I asked if, from their perspective, the press got all, most, some or none of the story right. The long run average response is between some and none.

Then I ask, "Why, if your personal experience says the press rarely gets it right concerning something you know a lot about, do you believe they get it right concerning things you know little about?"

Roquentin , June 23, 2020 at 11:54 am

Taibbi is correct in that piece, undeniably so, but more than that it's the entire Sanders-based social democratic movement that's coming apart. The media is mostly a reflection of that. I had always hoped that the movement towards social democracy Sanders fostered could survive beyond him as a viable candidate, but I must confess I no longer think that likely. The whole movement is imploding in on itself, and people lashing out against Taibbi is, to me at least, just more evidence of how much of his criticism hit the mark.

Even if the current left can survive the end of Sanders as a political figure on the national stage, I see even less of a path for it once Trump is gone. Rabid anti-Trump sentiment is the only adhesive that keeps the different parts of it together. They saw a boom when Trump was elected, and I can only conclude there will be a big bust when he goes away. If they put a lot of effort into publicly shilling for Biden, then it's even more likely, because on some level they'll be bound to carry water for him while he's in office because they advocated for him as a leader in the first place. No, it's not just the press that's destroying itself it's also practically all of the liberal class and most of what flies under the banner of the left too.

Waking Up , June 23, 2020 at 3:27 pm

I have to disagree with your assessment about the movement towards social democracy. There isn't a specific "leader" at present, but just the sheer number of people who protested in the streets around the country (during a pandemic I might add) in regards to police brutality, economic inequality, a better healthcare system such as Medicare For All, are all fighting for social justice and democracy. This is coming from people who recognize what our system is doing to them and others.

"Rabid anti-Trump sentiment is the only adhesive that keeps the different parts of it together."

Once again, I have to disagree. The supposed "liberal" media, many "liberal" politicians, and supporters who base their personal opinion on whatever is popular that particular day may have "rabid anti-Trump sentiment".

But there are plenty of people who recognize we are going through a major "social collapse".

Some people may not want to discuss these issues because they don't want to change the current system (they would rather attack Matt Taibbi and others than discuss the legitimate problems we have). These problems, including an economic collapse, are not going to disappear the day Donald Trump is out of office nor will it improve with a "more of the same" Joe Biden administration.

At this point, I tend to believe our country will either

a) become even more authoritarian where the citizens just accept they have no civil rights and view police and military brutality as part of "everyday life" or

b) we continue on this trajectory of collapse with a very small percentage of people doing quite well and the vast majority wondering or already in circumstances which lead them to question how long it will be before they are homeless, without a job, how they will feed their family and whether they can get any healthcare if they need it or

c) we finally wake up as a majority of citizens and demand a government (executive, congressional, and judicial) responsive to the citizens which deals with social and economic collapse. All of those with the current ideologies of the Democratic/Republican parties need to go as they represent either their careers or moneyed interests. Then again, maybe the level of corruption and greed is so far gone in this country that the only trajectory is collapse.

Glen , June 23, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Taibbi has been doing good work on this. This would seem to be another example. Krystal and Saagar: CNN viewers REVOLT after journalist correctly says 'Biden is a flawed candidate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jofo1ybjqIY

[Jun 23, 2020] It is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get so many working class voters to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple. ..."
"... It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. ..."
"... Joe Biden is a crook and a con man. He has been lying his whole life. Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class. Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TG , Mar 3 2020 22:02 utc | 56

Yet another circus. The proles get to scream and holler, and when all is done, the oligarchy gets the policies it wants, the public be damned. Our sham 'democracy' is a con to privatize power and socialize responsibility.

Although it is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get substantial numbers of people to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

The issue is not (for me) his creepiness (I wouldn't much mind if he was on my side), nor even his Alzheimer's, but his established track record of betrayal and corruption.

From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple.

It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. Heck, he makes Calvin Coolidge look like Trotsky.

Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:01 utc | 55

Ian56:

Joe Biden is a crook and a con man. He has been lying his whole life. Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class. Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class.

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1234914227963518977

[Jun 21, 2020] How Workers Can Win the Class War Being Waged Against Them by Richard D. Wolff

Notable quotes:
"... Mass unemployment will bring the United States closer to less-developed economies. Very large regions of the poor will surround small enclaves of the rich. Narrow bands of "middle-income professionals," etc., will separate rich from poor. Ever-more rigid social divisions enforced by strong police and military apparatuses are becoming the norm. Their outlines are already visible across the United States. ..."
"... In this context, U.S. capitalism strode confidently toward the 21st century. The Soviet threat had imploded. A divided Europe threatened no U.S. interests. Its individual nations competed for U.S. favor (especially the UK). China's poverty blocked its becoming an economic competitor. U.S. military and technological supremacy seemed insurmountable. ..."
"... Amid success, internal contradictions surfaced. U.S. capitalism crashed three times. The first happened early in 2000 (triggered by dot-com share-price inflation); next came the big crash of 2008 (triggered by defaulting subprime mortgages); and the hugest crash hit in 2020 (triggered by COVID-19). ..."
"... Second, we must face a major obstacle. Since 1945, capitalists and their supporters developed arguments and institutions to undo the New Deal and its leftist legacies. They silenced, deflected, co-opted, and/or demonized criticisms of capitalism. ..."
"... Third, to newly organized versions of a New Deal coalition or of social democracy, we must add a new element. We cannot again leave capitalists in the exclusive positions to receive enterprise profits and make major enterprise decisions. ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Organized labor led no mass opposition to Trump's presidency or the December 2017 tax cut or the failed U.S. preparation for and management of COVID-19. Nor do we yet see a labor-led national protest against the worst mass firing since the 1930s Great Depression. All of these events, but especially the unemployment, mark an employers' class war against employees. The U.S. government directs it, but the employers as a class inspire and benefit the most from it.

Before the 2020 crash, class war had been redistributing wealth for decades from middle-income people and the poor to the top 1 percent. That upward redistribution was U.S. employers' response to the legacy of the New Deal. During the Great Depression and afterward, wealth had been redistributed downward. By the 1970s, that was reversed. The 2020 crash will accelerate upward wealth redistribution sharply.

With tens of millions now a "reserve army" of the unemployed, nearly every U.S. employer can cut wages, benefits, etc. Employees dissatisfied with these cuts are easily replaced. Vast numbers of unemployed, stressed by uncertain job prospects and unemployment benefits, disappearing savings, and rising household tensions, will take jobs despite reduced wages, benefits, and working conditions. As the unemployed return to work, most employees' standards of consumption and living will drop.

Germany, France, and other European nations could not fire workers as the United States did. Strong labor movements and socialist parties with deep social influences preclude governments risking comparable mass unemployment; it would risk deposing them from office. Thus their antiviral lockdowns keep most at work with governments paying 70 percent or more of pre-virus wages and salaries.

Mass unemployment will bring the United States closer to less-developed economies. Very large regions of the poor will surround small enclaves of the rich. Narrow bands of "middle-income professionals," etc., will separate rich from poor. Ever-more rigid social divisions enforced by strong police and military apparatuses are becoming the norm. Their outlines are already visible across the United States.

Only if workers understand and mobilize to fight this class war can the trends sketched above be stopped or reversed. U.S. workers did exactly that in the 1930s. They fought -- in highly organized ways -- the class war waged against them then. Millions joined labor unions, and many tens of thousands joined two socialist parties and one communist party. All four organizations worked together, in coalition, to mobilize and activate the U.S. working class.

Weekly, and sometimes daily, workers marched across the United States. They criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies and capitalism itself by intermingling reformist and revolutionary demands. The coalition's size and political reach forced politicians, including FDR, to listen and respond, often positively. An initially "centrist" FDR adapted to become a champion of Social Security, unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, and a huge federal jobs program. The coalition achieved those moderate socialist reforms -- the New Deal -- and paid for them by setting aside revolutionary change.

It proved to be a good deal, but only in the short run. Its benefits to workers included a downward redistribution of income and wealth (especially via homeownership), and thereby the emergence of a new "middle class." Relatively well-paid employees were sufficient in number to sustain widespread notions of American exceptionalism, beliefs in ever-rising standards of working-class living across generations, and celebrations of capitalism as guaranteeing these social benefits. The reality was quite different. Not capitalists but rather their critics and victims had forced the New Deal against capitalists' resistance. And those middle-class benefits bypassed most African Americans.

The good deal did not last because U.S. capitalists largely resented the New Deal and sought to undo it. With World War II's end and FDR's death in 1945, the undoing accelerated. An anti-Soviet Cold War plus anti-communist/socialist crusades at home gave patriotic cover for destroying the New Deal coalition. The 1947 Taft-Hartley Act targeted organized labor. Senate and House committees spearheaded a unified effort (government, mass media, and academia) to demonize, silence, and socially exclude communists, socialists, leftists, etc. For decades after 1945 -- and still now in parts of the United States -- a sustained hysteria defined all left-wing thought, policy, or movement as always and necessarily the worst imaginable social evil.

Over time, the New Deal coalition was destroyed and left-wing thinking was labeled "disloyal." Even barely left-of-center labor and political organizations repeatedly denounced and distanced themselves from any sort of anti-capitalist impulse, any connection to socialism. Many New Deal reforms were evaded, amended, or repealed. Some simply vanished from politicians' knowledge and vocabulary and then journalists' too. Having witnessed the purges of leftist colleagues from 1945 through the 1950s, a largely docile academic community celebrated capitalism in general and U.S. capitalism in particular. The good in U.S. society was capitalism's gift. The rest resulted from government or foreign or ideological interferences in capitalism's wonderful invisible hand. Any person or group excluded from this American Dream had only themselves to blame for inadequate ability, insufficient effort, or ideological deviancy.

In this context, U.S. capitalism strode confidently toward the 21st century. The Soviet threat had imploded. A divided Europe threatened no U.S. interests. Its individual nations competed for U.S. favor (especially the UK). China's poverty blocked its becoming an economic competitor. U.S. military and technological supremacy seemed insurmountable.

Amid success, internal contradictions surfaced. U.S. capitalism crashed three times. The first happened early in 2000 (triggered by dot-com share-price inflation); next came the big crash of 2008 (triggered by defaulting subprime mortgages); and the hugest crash hit in 2020 (triggered by COVID-19). Unprepared economically, politically, and ideologically for any of them, the Federal Reserve responded by creating vast sums of new money that it threw at/lent to (at historically low interest rates) banks, large corporations, etc. Three successive exercises in trickle-down economic policy saw little trickle down. No underlying economic problems (inequality, excess systemic debts, cyclical instability, etc.) have been solved. On the contrary, all worsened. In other words, class war has been intensified.

What then is to be done? First, we need to recognize the class war that is underway and commit to fighting it. On that basis, we must organize a mass base to put real political force behind social democratic policies, parties, and politicians. We need something like the New Deal coalition. The pandemic, economic crash, and gross official policy failures (including violent official scapegoating) draw many toward classical social democracy. The successes of the Democratic Socialists of America show this.

Second, we must face a major obstacle. Since 1945, capitalists and their supporters developed arguments and institutions to undo the New Deal and its leftist legacies. They silenced, deflected, co-opted, and/or demonized criticisms of capitalism. Strategic decisions made by both the U.S. New Deal and European social democracy contributed to their defeats. Both always left and still leave employers exclusively in positions to (1) receive and dispense their enterprises' profits and (2) decide and direct what, how, and where their enterprises produce. Those positions gave capitalists the financial resources and power -- politically, economically, and culturally -- repeatedly to outmaneuver and repress labor and the left.

Third, to newly organized versions of a New Deal coalition or of social democracy, we must add a new element. We cannot again leave capitalists in the exclusive positions to receive enterprise profits and make major enterprise decisions. The new element is thus the demand to change enterprises producing goods and services. From hierarchical, capitalist organizations (where owners, boards of directors, etc., occupy the employer position) we need to transition to the altogether different democratic, worker co-op organizations. In the latter, no employer/employee split occurs. All workers have equal voice in deciding what gets produced, how, and where and how any profits get used. The collective of all employees is their own employer. As such an employer, the employees will finally protect and thus secure the reforms associated with the New Deal and social democracy.

We could describe the transition from capitalist to worker co-op enterprise organizations as a revolution. That would resolve the old debate of reform versus revolution. Revolution becomes the only way finally to secure progressive reforms. Capitalism's reforms were generated by the system's impacts on people and their resulting demands for change. Capitalism's resistances to those reforms -- and undoing them after they happened -- spawned the revolution needed to secure them. In that revolution, society moves beyond capitalism itself. So it was in the French Revolution: demands for reform within feudal society could only finally be realized by a social transition from feudalism to capitalism.

This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Richard D. Wolff

Richard Wolff is the author of Capitalism Hits the Fan and Capitalism's Crisis Deepens . He is founder of Democracy at Work .

[Jun 19, 2020] The Police Weren t Created to Protect and Serve. They Were Created to Maintain Order. A Brief Look at the History of Police

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's a commonplace to say the primary job of police is to "protect and serve," but that's not their goal in the way it's commonly understood -- not in the deed, the practice of what they daily do, and not true in the original intention, in why police departments were created in the first place. "Protect and serve" as we understand it is just the cover story. ..."
"... Urban police forces in America were created for one purpose -- to "maintain order" after a waves of immigrants swept into northern U.S. cities, both from abroad and later from the South, immigrants who threatened to disturb that "order." The threat wasn't primarily from crime as we understand it, from violence inflicted by the working poor on the poor or middle class. The threat came from unions, from strikes, and from the suffering, the misery and the anger caused by the rise of rapacious capitalism. ..."
"... What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. Who's being served? Owners, their property, and the sources of their wealth, the orderly and uninterrupted running of their factories. The goal of police departments, as originally constituted, was to keep the workers in line, in their jobs, and off the streets. ..."
"... In most countries, the police are there solely to protect the Haves from the Have-Nots. In fact, when the average frustrated citizen has trouble, the last people he would consider turning to are the police. ..."
"... Jay Gould, a U.S. robber baron, is supposed to have claimed that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half. ..."
"... I spent some time in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. This area was the hot bed of labor unrest during the 1890's. Federal troops controlled the area 3 separate times,1892, 1894 and 1899. Twice miners hijacked trains loaded them with dynamite and drove them to mining company stamping mills that they then blew up. Dozens of deaths in shoot outs. The entire male population was herded up and placed in concentration camps for weeks. The end result was the assassination of the Governor in 1905. ..."
"... Interestingly this history has been completely expunged. There is a mining museum in the town which doesn't mention a word on these events. Even nationwide there seems to be a complete erasure of what real labor unrest can look like.. ..."
"... Straight-up fact: The police weren't created to preserve and protect. They were created to maintain order, [enforced] over certain subjected classes and races of people, including–for many white people, too–many of our ancestors, too.* ..."
Jun 18, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Tom mentions in passing the role of Pinkertons as goons for hire to crush early labor activists. Some employers like Ford went as far as forming private armies for that purpose. Establishing police forces were a way to socialize this cost.

By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

One version of the "thin blue line" flag, a symbol used in a variety of ways by American police departments , their most fervent supporters , and other right-wing fellow travelers . The thin blue line represents the wall of protection that separates the orderly "us" from the disorderly, uncivilized "them" .

[In the 1800s] the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization, by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class.
-- Sam Mitrani here

It's a commonplace to say the primary job of police is to "protect and serve," but that's not their goal in the way it's commonly understood -- not in the deed, the practice of what they daily do, and not true in the original intention, in why police departments were created in the first place. "Protect and serve" as we understand it is just the cover story.

To understand the true purpose of police, we have to ask, "What's being protected?" and "Who's being served?"

Urban police forces in America were created for one purpose -- to "maintain order" after a waves of immigrants swept into northern U.S. cities, both from abroad and later from the South, immigrants who threatened to disturb that "order." The threat wasn't primarily from crime as we understand it, from violence inflicted by the working poor on the poor or middle class. The threat came from unions, from strikes, and from the suffering, the misery and the anger caused by the rise of rapacious capitalism.

What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. Who's being served? Owners, their property, and the sources of their wealth, the orderly and uninterrupted running of their factories. The goal of police departments, as originally constituted, was to keep the workers in line, in their jobs, and off the streets.

Looking Behind Us

The following comes from an essay published at the blog of the Labor and Working-Class History Association, an academic group for teachers of labor studies, by Sam Mitrani, Associate Professor of History at the College of DuPage and author of The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894 .

According to Mitrani, "The police were not created to protect and serve the population. They were not created to stop crime, at least not as most people understand it. And they were certainly not created to promote justice. They were created to protect the new form of wage-labor capitalism that emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century from the threat posed by that system's offspring, the working class."

Keep in mind that there were no police departments anywhere in Europe or the U.S. prior to the 19th century -- in fact, "anywhere in the world" according to Mitrani. In the U.S., the North had constables, many part-time, and elected sheriffs, while the South had slave patrols. But nascent capitalism soon created a large working class, and a mass of European immigrants, "yearning to be free," ended up working in capitalism's northern factories and living in its cities.

"[A]s Northern cities grew and filled with mostly immigrant wage workers who were physically and socially separated from the ruling class, the wealthy elite who ran the various municipal governments hired hundreds and then thousands of armed men to impose order on the new working class neighborhoods ." [emphasis added]

America of the early and mid 1800s was still a world without organized police departments. What the Pinkertons were to strikes , these "thousands of armed men" were to the unruly working poor in those cities.

Imagine this situation from two angles. First, from the standpoint of the workers, picture the oppression these armed men must have represented, lawless themselves yet tasked with imposing "order" and violence on the poor and miserable, who were frequently and understandably both angry and drunk. (Pre-Depression drunkenness, under this interpretation, is not just a social phenomenon, but a political one as well.)

Second, consider this situation from the standpoint of the wealthy who hired these men. Given the rapid growth of capitalism during this period, "maintaining order" was a costly undertaking, and likely to become costlier. Pinkertons, for example, were hired at private expense, as were the "thousands of armed men" Mitrani mentions above.

The solution was to offload this burden onto municipal budgets. Thus, between 1840 and 1880, every major northern city in America had created a substantial police force, tasked with a single job, the one originally performed by the armed men paid by the business elites -- to keep the workers in line, to "maintain order" as factory owners and the moneyed class understood it.

"Class conflict roiled late nineteenth century American cities like Chicago, which experienced major strikes and riots in 1867, 1877, 1886, and 1894. In each of these upheavals, the police attacked strikers with extreme violence, even if in 1877 and 1894 the U.S. Army played a bigger role in ultimately repressing the working class. In the aftermath of these movements, the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization , by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class. This ideology of order that developed in the late nineteenth century echoes down to today – except that today, poor black and Latino people are the main threat, rather than immigrant workers."

That "thin blue line protecting civilization" is the same blue line we're witnessing today. Yes, big-city police are culturally racist as a group; but they're not just racist. They dislike all the "unwashed." A recent study that reviewed "all the data available on police shootings for the year 2017, and analyze[d] it based on geography, income, and poverty levels, as well as race" revealed the following remarkable pattern:

" Police violence is focused overwhelmingly on men lowest on the socio-economic ladder : in rural areas outside the South, predominately white men; in the Southwest, disproportionately Hispanic men; in mid-size and major cities, disproportionately black men. Significantly, in the rural South, where the population is racially mixed, white men and black men are killed by police at nearly identical rates."

As they have always been, the police departments in the U.S. are a violent force for maintaining an order that separates and protects society's predator class from its victims -- a racist order to be sure, but a class-based order as well.

Looking Ahead

We've seen the violence of the police as visited on society's urban poor (and anyone else, poor or not, who happens to be the same race and color as the poor too often are), and we've witnessed the violent reactions of police to mass protests challenging the racism of that violence.

But we've also seen the violence of police during the mainly white-led Occupy movement (one instance here ; note that while the officer involved was fired, he was also compensated $38,000 for "suffering he experienced after the incident").

So what could we expect from police if there were, say, a national, angry, multiracial rent strike with demonstrations? Or a student debt s trike? None of these possibilities are off the table, given the economic damage -- most of it still unrealized -- caused by the current Covid crisis.

Will police "protect and serve" the protesters, victims of the latest massive transfer of wealth to the already massively wealthy? Or will they, with violence, "maintain order" by maintaining elite control of the current predatory system?

If Mitrani is right, the latter is almost certain.


MK , June 19, 2020 at 12:31 am

Possible solutions? One, universal public works system for everyone 18-20. [Avoiding armed service because that will never happen, nor peace corp.] Not allow the rich to buy then or their children an out. Let the billionaires children work along side those who never had a single family house or car growing up.

Two, eliminate suburban school districts and simply have one per state, broken down into regional areas. No rich [or white] flight to avoid poor systems. Children of differing means growing up side by side. Of course the upper class would simply send their children to private schools, much as the elite do now anyway.

Class and privilege is the real underlying issue and has been since capital began to be concentrated and hoarded as the article points out. It has to begin with the children if the future is to really change in a meaningful way.

timbers , June 19, 2020 at 8:06 am

I would add items targeted as what is causing inequality. Some of these might be:

1). Abolish the Federal Reserve. It's current action since 2008 are a huge transfer of wealth from us to the wealthy. No more Quantitative Easing, no Fed buying of stocks or bonds.

2). Make the only retirement and medical program allowed Congress and the President, Social Security and Medicare. That will cause it to be improved for all of us.

3). No stock ownership allowed for Congress folk while serving terms. Also, rules against joining those leaving Congress acting as lobbyists.

4). Something that makes it an iron rule that any law passed by Congress and the President, must equally apply to Congress and the President. For example, no separate retirement or healthcare access, but have this more broadly applied to all aspects of legislation and all aspects of life.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:11 am

Abolish the Fed and/or abolish the police?

Inbetween, there is

Defund Wall Street
Abolish banking
Abolish lending
Abolish cash
Defund fossil fuel subsidies

Etc.

Broader, more on the economic side, and perhaps more fundamental???

TiPs , June 19, 2020 at 8:34 am

I think you'd also have to legalize drugs and any other thing that leads creation of "organized ciminal groups." Take away the sources that lead to the creation of the well-armed gangs that control illegal activities.

David , June 19, 2020 at 9:32 am

Unfortunately, legalising drugs in itself, whatever the abstract merits, wouldn't solve the problem. Organised crime would still have a major market selling cut-price, tax-free or imitation drugs, as well, of course, as controlled drugs which are not allowed to be sold to just anybody now. Organised crime doesn't arise as a result of prohibitions, it expands into new areas thanks to them, and often these areas involve smuggling and evading customs duties. Tobacco products are legal virtually everywhere, but there's a massive criminal trade in smuggling them from the Balkans into Italy, where taxes are much higher. Any time you create a border, in effect, you create crime: there is even alcohol smuggling between Sweden and Norway. Even when activities are completely legal (such as prostitution in many European countries) organised crime is still largely in control through protection rackets and the provision of "security."

In effect, you'd need to abolish all borders, all import and customs duties and all health and safety and other controls which create price differentials between states. And OC is not fussy, it moves from one racket to another, as the Mafia did in the 1930s with the end of prohibition. To really tackle OC you'd need to legalise, oh, child pornography, human trafficking, sex slavery, the trade in rare wild animals, the trade in stolen gems and conflict diamonds, internet fraud and cyberattacks, and the illicit trade in rare metals, to name, as they say, but a few. As Monty Python well observed, the only way to reduce the crime rate (and hence the need for the police) is to reduce the number of criminal offences. Mind you, if you defund the police you effectively legalise all these things anyway.

km , June 19, 2020 at 11:48 am

I dunno, ending Prohibition sure cut down on the market for bootleg liquor. It's still out there, but the market is nothing like what it once was.

Most people, even hardcore alcoholics, aren't going to go through the hassle of buying rotgut of dubious origin just to save a few dimes, when you can go to the corner liquor store and get a known product, no issues with supply 'cause your dealer's supplier just got arrested.

For that matter, OC is still definitely out there, but it isn't the force that it was during Prohibition, or when gambling was illegal.

As an aside, years ago, I knew a guy whose father had worked for Meyer Lansky's outfit, until Prohibition put him and others out of a job. As a token of his loyal service, the outfit gave him a (legal) liquor store to own and run.

David , June 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Yes, but in Norway, for example, you'd pay perhaps $30 for a six-pack of beer in a supermarket, whereas you'd pay half that to somebody selling beers out of the back of a car. In general people make too much of the Prohibition case, which was geographically and politically very special, and a a stage in history when OC was much less sophisticated. The Mob diversified into gambling and similar industries (higher profits, fewer risks). These days OC as a whole is much more powerful and dangerous, as well as sophisticated, than it was then, helped by globalisation and the Internet.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 12:25 pm

I think ending prohibitions on substances, would take quite a bite out of OC's pocketbook. and having someone move trailers of ciggarettes of bottles of beer big deal. That isn't really paying for the lifestyle.and it doesn't buy political protection. An old number I saw @ 2000 . the UN figured(guess) that illegal drugs were @ 600 billion dollars/year industry and most of that was being laundered though banks. Which to the banking industry is 600 billion in cash going into it's house of mirrors. Taking something like that out of the equation EVERY YEAR is no small thing. And the lobby from the OC who wants drugs kept illegal, coupled with the bankers who want the cash inputs equals a community of interest against legalization
and if the local police forces and the interstate/internationals were actually looking to use their smaller budgets and non-bill of rights infringing tactics, on helping the victim side of crimes then they could have a real mission/ Instead of just abusing otherwise innocent people who victimize no one.
so if we are looking for "low hanging fruit" . ending the war on drugs is a no brainer.

flora , June 19, 2020 at 1:36 am

Thanks for this post.

"What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. " – Neuberger

In the aftermath of these movements, the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization, by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class. – Mitrani

I think this ties in, if only indirectly, with the way so many peaceful recent protests seemed to turn violent after the police showed up. It's possible I suppose the police want to create disorder to frighten not only the protestors with immediate harm but also frighten the bourgeois about the threate of a "dangerous mob". Historically violent protests created a political backlash that usually benefited political conservatives and the wealthy owners. (The current protests may be different in this regard. The violence seems to have created a political backlash against conservatives and overzealous police departments' violence. ) My 2 cents.

John Anthony La Pietra , June 19, 2020 at 2:20 am

Sorry, but the title sent my mind back to the days of old -- of old Daley, that is, and his immortal quote from 1968: "Gentlemen, let's get the thing straight, once and for all. The policeman isn't there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder."

Adam1 , June 19, 2020 at 7:39 am

LOL!!! great quote. Talk about saying it the way it is.

It kind of goes along with, "Police violence is focused overwhelmingly on men lowest on the socio-economic ladder: in rural areas outside the South, predominately white men; in the Southwest, disproportionately Hispanic men; in mid-size and major cities, disproportionately black men. Significantly, in the rural South, where the population is racially mixed, white men and black men are killed by police at nearly identical rates."

I bang my head on the table sometimes because poor white men and poor men of color are so often placed at odds when they increasingly face (mostly) the same problems. God forbid someone tried to unite them, there might really be some pearl clutching then.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 8:07 am

yeah, like Martin Luther King's "poor people's campaign". the thought of including the poor ,of all colors .. just too much for the status quo to stomach.
The "mechanism" that keeps masses in line . is one of those "invisible hands" too.

run75441 , June 19, 2020 at 8:23 am

Great response! I am sure you have more to add to this. A while back, I was researching the issues you state in your last paragraph. Was about ten pages into it and had to stop as I was drawn out of state and country. From my research.

While not as overt in the 20th century, the distinction of black slave versus poor white man has kept the class system alive and well in the US in the development of a discriminatory informal caste system. This distraction of a class level lower than the poorest of the white has kept them from concentrating on the disproportionate, and growing, distribution of wealth and income in the US. For the lower class, an allowed luxury, a place in the hierarchy and a sure form of self esteem insurance.

Sennett and Cobb (1972) observed that class distinction sets up a contest between upper and lower class with the lower social class always losing and promulgating a perception amongst themselves the educated and upper classes are in a position to judge and draw a conclusion of them being less than equal. The hidden injury is in the regard to the person perceiving himself as a piece of the woodwork or seen as a function such as "George the Porter." It was not the status or material wealth causing the harsh feelings; but, the feeling of being treated less than equal, having little status, and the resulting shame. The answer for many was violence.

James Gilligan wrote "Violence; Reflections on A National Epidemic." He worked as a prison psychiatrist and talked with many of the inmates of the issues of inequality and feeling less than those around them. His finding are in his book which is not a long read and adds to the discussion.

A little John Adams for you.

" The poor man's conscience is clear . . . he does not feel guilty and has no reason to . . . yet, he is ashamed. Mankind takes no notice of him. He rambles unheeded.

In the midst of a crowd; at a church; in the market . . . he is in as much obscurity as he would be in a garret or a cellar.

He is not disapproved, censured, or reproached; he is not seen . . . To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable ."

likbez, June 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm

That's a very important observation.

Racism, especially directed toward blacks, along with "identity wedge," is a perfect tool for disarming poor white, and suppressing their struggle for a better standard of living, which considerably dropped under neoliberalism.

In other words, by providing poor whites with a stratum of the population that has even lower social status, neoliberals manage to co-opt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalist social protection network.

This is a pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme if you ask me. In a way, "Floydgate" can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality, and social protection for low-income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks.

This is another way to explain "What's the matter with Kansas" effect.

John Anthony La Pietra, June 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

I like that one! - and I have to admit it's not familiar to me, though I've been a fan since before I got to play him in a neighboring community theater. Now I'm having some difficulty finding it. Where is it from, may I ask?

run75441, June 20, 2020 at 7:56 am

JAL:

Page 239, "The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States."

Read the book "Violence: Reflections of A National Epidemic" . Not a long read and well documented.

Carla , June 19, 2020 at 12:39 pm

MLK Jr. tried, and look what happened to him once he really got some traction. If the Rev. William Barber's Poor People's Campaign picks up steam, I'm afraid the same thing will happen to him.

I wish it were only pearl-clutching that the money power would resort to, but that's not the way it works.

JacobiteInTraining , June 19, 2020 at 9:20 am

Yeah – that quote struck me too, never seen it before. At times when they feel so liberated to 'say the quiet part out loud', then as now, you know the glove is coming off and the vicious mailed fist is free to roam for victims.

Those times are where you know you need to resist or .well, die in many cases.

That's something that really gets me in public response to many of these things. The normal instinct of the populace to wake from their somnambulant slumber just long enough to ascribe to buffoonery and idiocy ala Keystone Cops the things so much better understood as fully consciously and purposefully repressive, reactionary, and indicating a desire to take that next step to crush fully. To obliterate.

Many responses to this – https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/1273809160128389120 – are like, 'the police are dumb', 'out of touch', 'a lot of dumb gomer pyles in that room, yuk yuk yuk'. Or, 'cops/FBI are so dumb to pursue this antifa thing, its just a boogieman' thinking that somehow once the authorities realize 'antifa' is a boogieman, their attitudes towards other protesters will somehow be different 'now that they realize the silliness of the claims'.

No, not remotely the case – to a terrifyingly large percentage of those in command, and in rank & file they know exactly where it came from, exactly how the tactics work, and have every intention of classifying all protesters (peaceful or not) into that worldview. The peaceful protesters *are* antifa in their eyes, to be dealt with in the fully approved manner of violence and repression.

km , June 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

In most countries, the police are there solely to protect the Haves from the Have-Nots. In fact, when the average frustrated citizen has trouble, the last people he would consider turning to are the police.

This is why in the Third World, the only job of lower social standing than "policeman" is "police informer".

cripes , June 19, 2020 at 3:35 am

The anti-rascist identity of the recent protests rests on a much larger base of class warfare waged over the past 40 years against the entire population led by a determined oligarchy and enforced by their political, media and militarized police retainers. This same oligarchy, with a despicable zeal and revolting media-orchestrated campaign–co-branding the movement with it's usual corporate perpetrators– distorts escalating carceral and economic violence solely through a lens of racial conflict and their time-tested toothless reforms. A few unlucky "peace officers" may have to TOFTT until the furor recedes, can't be helped.

Crowding out debt relief, single payer health, living wages, affordable housing and actual justice reform from the debate that would benefit African Americans more than any other demographic is the goal.

The handful of Emperors far prefer kabuki theater and random ritual Seppuku than facing the rage of millions of staring down the barrel of zero income, debt, bankruptcy, evictions and dispossession. The Praetorians will follow the money as always.

I suppose we'll get some boulevards re-named and a paid Juneteenth holiday to compensate for the destruction 100+ years of labor rights struggle, so there's that..

Boatwright , June 19, 2020 at 7:51 am

Homestead, Ludlow, Haymarket, Matewan -- the list is long

Working men and women asking for justice gunned down by the cops. There will always be men ready to murder on command as long as the orders come from the rich and powerful. We are at a moment in history folks were some of us, today mostly people of color, are willing to put their lives on the line. It's an ongoing struggle.

MichaelSF , June 19, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Jay Gould, a U.S. robber baron, is supposed to have claimed that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

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

rob , June 19, 2020 at 7:58 am

So how can a tier of society(the police) . be what a society needs ? When as this story and many others show how and why the police were formed. To break heads. When they have been "the tool" of the elite forever. When so many of them are such dishonest, immoral, wanna be fascists. And the main direction of the US is towards a police state and fascists running the show . both republican and democrat. With technology being the boot on the neck of the people and the police are there to take it to the streets.

Can those elusive "good apples" turn the whole rotten barrel into sweet smelling apple pie? That is a big ask.

Or should the structure be liquidated, sell their army toys. fill the ranks with people who are not pathological liars and abusers and /or racists; of one sort or another. Get rid of the mentality of overcompensation by uber machismo. and make them watch the andy griffith show. They ought to learn that they can be respected if they are good people, and that they are not respected because they seek respect through fear and intimidation.

Is that idiot cry of theirs, .. the whole yelling at you; demanding absolute obedience to arbitrary ,assinine orders, really working to get them respect or is it just something they get off on?

When the police are shown to be bad, they strike by work slowdown, or letting a little chaos loose themselves. So the people know they need them So any reform of the police will go through the police not doing their jobs . but then something like better communities may result. less people being busted and harassed , or pulled over for the sake of a quota . may just show we don't need so much policing anyway. And then if the new social workers brigade starts intervening in peoples with issues when they are young and in school maybe fewer will be in the system. Couple that with the police not throwing their family in jail for nothing, and forcing them to pay fines for breaking stupid laws. The system will have less of a load, and the new , better cops without attitudes will be able to handle their communities in a way that works for everyone. Making them a net positive, as opposed to now where they are a net negative.
Also,

The drug war is over. The cops have only done the bidding of the organized criminal elements who make their bread and butter because of prohibition.

Our representatives can legally smoke pot , and grow it in their windowboxes in the capital dc., but people in many places are still living in fear of police using possession of some substance,as a pretext to take all their stuff,throw them in jail. But besides the cops, there are the prosecutors . they earn their salaries by stealing it from poor people through fines for things that ought to be legal. This is one way to drain money from poor communities, causing people to go steal from others in society to pay their court costs.

And who is gonna come and bust down your door when you can't pay a fine and choose to pay rent and buy your kids food instead . the cops. just doing their jobs. Evil is the banality of business as usual

Tom Stone , June 19, 2020 at 8:20 am

The late Kevin R C O'Brien noted that in every case where the Police had been ordered to "Round up the usual suspects" they have done so, and delivered them where ordered. It did not matter who the "Usual suspects" were, or to what fate they were to be delivered. They are the King's men and they do the King's bidding.

The Rev Kev , June 19, 2020 at 10:10 am

To have a reasonable discussion, I think that it should be recognized that modern police are but one leg of a triad. The first of course is the police who appear to seem themselves as not part of a community but as enforcers in that community. To swipe an idea from Mao, the police should move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. Not be a patrolling shark that attacks who they want at will knowing that there will be no repercussions against them. When you get to the point that you have police arresting children in school for infractions of school discipline – giving them a police record – you know that things have gotten out of hand.

The next leg is the courts which of course includes prosecutors. It is my understanding that prosecutors are elected to office in the US and so have incentives to appear to be tough on crime"" . They seem to operate more like 'Let's Make a Deal' from what I have read. When they tell some kid that he has a choice of 1,000 years in prison on trumped up charges or pleads guilty to a smaller offence, you know that that is not justice at work. Judges too operate in their own world and will always take the word of a policeman as a witness.

And the third leg is the prisons which operate as sweatshops for corporate America. It is in the interest of the police and the courts to fill up the prisons to overflowing. Anybody remember the Pennsylvania "kids for cash" scandal where kids lives were being ruined with criminal records that were bogus so that some people could make a profit? And what sort of prison system is it where a private contractor can build a prison without a contract at all , knowing that the government (California in this case) will nonetheless fill it up for a good profit.

In short, in sorting out police doctrine and methods like is happening now, it should be recognized that they are actually only the face of a set of problems.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

How did ancient states police? Perhaps Wiki is a starting point of this journey. Per Its entry, Police, in ancient Greece, policing was done by public owned slaves. In Rome, the army, initially. In China, prefects leading to a level of government called prefectures .

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 10:54 am

I spent some time in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. This area was the hot bed of labor unrest during the 1890's. Federal troops controlled the area 3 separate times,1892, 1894 and 1899. Twice miners hijacked trains loaded them with dynamite and drove them to mining company stamping mills that they then blew up. Dozens of deaths in shoot outs. The entire male population was herded up and placed in concentration camps for weeks. The end result was the assassination of the Governor in 1905.

Interestingly this history has been completely expunged. There is a mining museum in the town which doesn't mention a word on these events. Even nationwide there seems to be a complete erasure of what real labor unrest can look like..

rob , June 19, 2020 at 11:58 am

Yeah, labor unrest does get swept under the rug. Howard zinn had examples in his works "the peoples history of the United States" The pictched battles in upstate new york with the Van Rennselear's in the 1840's breaking up rennselearwyk . the million acre estate of theirs . it was a rent strike.

People remembering , we have been here before doesn't help the case of the establishment so they try to not let it happen.

We get experts telling us . well, this is all new we need experts to tell you what to think. It is like watching the footage from the past 100 years on film of blacks marching for their rights and being told.. reform is coming.. the more things change, the more things stay the same. Decade after decade. Century after century. Time to start figuring this out people. So, the enemy is us. Now what?

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 11:01 am

Doubtless the facts presented above are correct, but shouldn't one point out that the 21st century is quite different from the 19th and therefore analogizing the current situation to what went on before is quite facile? For example it's no longer necessary for the police to put down strikes because strike actions barely still exist. In our current US the working class has diminished greatly while the middle class has expanded. We are a much richer country overall with a lot more people–not just those one percenters–concerned about crime. Whatever one thinks of the police, politically an attempt to go back to the 18th century isn't going to fly.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

Perhaps we are more likely to argue among ourselves, when genetic fallacy is possibly in play.

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

" the 21st century is quite different from the 19th "

From the Guardian: "How Starbucks, Target, Google and Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations"

More than 25 large corporations in the past three years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report says.

These foundations receive millions of dollars a year from private and corporate donors, according to the report, and are able to use the funds to purchase equipment and weapons with little public input. The analysis notes, for example, how the Los Angeles police department in 2007 used foundation funding to purchase surveillance software from controversial technology firm Palantir. Buying the technology with private foundation funding rather than its public budget allowed the department to bypass requirements to hold public meetings and gain approval from the city council.

The Houston police foundation has purchased for the local police department a variety of equipment, including Swat equipment, sound equipment and dogs for the K-9 unit, according to the report. The Philadelphia police foundation purchased for its police force long guns, drones and ballistic helmets, and the Atlanta police foundation helped fund a major surveillance network of over 12,000 cameras.

In addition to weaponry, foundation funding can also go toward specialized training and support programs that complement the department's policing strategies, according to one police foundation.

"Not a lot of people are aware of this public-private partnership where corporations and wealthy donors are able to siphon money into police forces with little to no oversight," said Gin Armstrong, a senior research analyst at LittleSis.

Maybe it is just me, but things don't seem to be all that different.

Bob , June 19, 2020 at 11:40 am

If we made America Great Again we could go back to the 18th century.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 12:11 pm

While it is true, this is a new century. Knowing how the present came to be, is entirely necessary to be able to attempt any move forward.
The likelihood of making the same old mistakes is almost certain, if one doesn't try to use the past as a reference.
And considering the effect of propaganda and revisionism in the formation of peoples opinions, we do need " learning against learning" to borrow a Jesuit strategy against the reformation, but this time it should embrace reality, rather than sow falsehoods.
But I do agree,
We have never been here before, and now is a great time to reset everything. With all due respect to "getting it right" or at least "better".
and knowing the false fables of righteousness, is what people need to know, before they go about "burning down the house".

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm

You know it's not as though white people aren't also afraid of the police. Alfred Hitchcock said he was deathly afraid of police and that paranoia informed many of his movies. Woody Allen has a funny scene in Annie Hall where he is pulled over by a cop and is comically flustered. White people also get shot and killed by the police as the rightwingers are constantly pointing out.

And thousands of people in the streets tell us that police reform is necessary. But the country is not going to get rid of them and replace police with social workers so why even talk about it? I'd say the above is interesting .not terribly relevant.

Mattski , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

Straight-up fact: The police weren't created to preserve and protect. They were created to maintain order, [enforced] over certain subjected classes and races of people, including–for many white people, too–many of our ancestors, too.*

And the question that arises from this: Are we willing to the subjects in a police state? Are we willing to continue to let our Black and brown brothers and sisters be subjected BY such a police state, and to half-wittingly be party TO it?

Or do we want to exercise AGENCY over "our" government(s), and decide–anew–how we go out our vast, vast array of social ills.

Obviously, armed police officers with an average of six months training–almost all from the white underclass–are a pretty f*cking blunt instrument to bring to bear.

On our own heads. On those who we and history have consigned to second-class citizenship.
Warning: this is a revolutionary situation. We should embrace it.

*Acceding to white supremacy, becoming "white" and often joining that police order, if you were poor, was the road out of such subjectivity. My grandfather's father, for example, was said to have fled a failed revolution in Bohemia to come here. Look back through history, you will find plenty of reason to feel solidarity, too. Race alone cannot divide us if we are intent on the lessons of that history.

[Jun 16, 2020] How Woke Politics Keeps Class Solidarity Down by GREGOR BASZAK

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for corporations that ultimately take workers for granted. ..."
"... Today, we find Lincoln statues desecrated . Neither has the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry , one of the first all-black units in the Civil War, survived the recent protests unscathed. To many on the left, history seems like the succession of one cruelty by the next. And so, justice may only be served if we scrap the past and start from a blank slate. As a result, Lincoln's appeal that we stand upright and enjoy our liberty gets lost to time. ..."
"... Ironically, this will only help the cause of Robert E. Lee -- and the modern corporations who rely on cheap, inhumane labor to keep themselves going. ..."
"... Before black slaves did this work, white indentured servants had. (An indentured servant is bound for a number of years to his master, i.e. he can't pack up and leave to find a new opportunity elsewhere.) ..."
"... But in the eyes of the Southern slavocracy, the white laboring poor of the North also weren't truly human. Such unholy antebellum figures as the social theorist George Fitzhugh or South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond urged that the condition of slavery be expanded to include poor whites, too. Their hunger for a cheap, subservient labor source did not stop at black people, after all. ..."
"... Always remember Barbara Fields's formula: The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss. ..."
"... Michael Lind argues in his new book The New Class War that many powerful businesses in America today continue to rely on the work of quasi indentured servants. Hungry for unfree, cheap workers, corporations in Silicon Valley and beyond employ tens of thousands of foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. These workers are bound to the company that provided them with the visa. If they find conditions at their jobs unbearable, they can't switch employers -- they would get deported first. In turn, this source of cheap labor effectively underbids American workers who could do the same job, except that they would ask for higher pay. ..."
"... We're getting turned into rats. Naturally, this is no fertile soil for solidarity. And with so many jobs precarious and subcontracted out on a temporary basis, there is preciously little that most workers can do to fight back this insidious managerial control. Free labor looks different. ..."
"... It's hard to come out of the 2020 primaries without realizing that the corporations that run our mainstream media will do anything to protect their right to abuse cheap labor. ..."
"... At this point in history, to the extent that black people suffer any meaningful oppression at all, its down to disproportionate poverty rates, not their racial background. ..."
"... I agree one hundred percent with your take on Biden. Let me add something else: he is a war hawk who not only voted for the Iraq war but used his position as the chairman of an important committee to promote it. ..."
"... Because of slavery alot of bad political policy was incorporated in the founding documents. If a police officer is about to wrongly arrest you because you are black , you do not care if his hatred stems from 400 years of discrimination against blacks. Rather you care that he won't kill you in this encounter because of his racism. ..."
"... Baszak believes racism has no life of its own, it exists only as a tool of the bosses. This is vulgar Marxism. At least since the decades after Bacon's Rebellion ended in 1677, poor whites have invested in white supremacy as a way of boosting their social status. Most Southern families owned no slaves, yet most joined the Civil War cause. ..."
"... They made a movie that beautifully touches this in the 1970s with Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor called " Blue Collar ." ..."
"... "That's exactly what the company wants: to keep you on their line," says Smokey, the coolest and most strategically minded of the crew. "They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white -- everybody -- to keep us in our place." ..."
"... The core thesis in this piece is the animating foundation of The Hill's political talk show "Rising." Composed of a populist Bernie supporter (Krystal Ball) and populist conservative (Saagar Enjeti) as hosts, they frequently highlight the purpose of woke cultural battles is to distract everyone for their neoliberal economic models ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for corporations that ultimately take workers for granted.

Former injured Amazon employees join labor organizers and community activists to demonstrate and hold a press conference outside of an Amazon Go store to express concerns about what they claim is the company's "alarming injury rate" among warehouse workers on December 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On April 2, 1865, in the dying days of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wandered the streets of burnt out Richmond, the former Confederate capital. All of a sudden, Lincoln found himself surrounded by scores of emancipated men and women. Here's how the historian James McPherson describes the moving episode in his magisterial book Battle Cry of Freedom :

Several freed slaves touched Lincoln to make sure he was real. "I know I am free," shouted an old woman, "for I have seen Father Abraham and felt him." Overwhelmed by rare emotions, Lincoln said to one black man who fell on his knees in front of him: "Don't kneel to me. That is not right. You must kneel to God only, and thank Him for the liberty you will enjoy hereafter."

Lincoln's legacy as the Great Emancipator has survived the century and a half since then largely intact. But there have been cracks in this image, mostly caused by questioning academics who decried him as an overt white supremacist. This view eventually entered the mainstream when Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote misleadingly in her lead essay to the "1619 Project" that Lincoln "opposed black equality."

Today, we find Lincoln statues desecrated . Neither has the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry , one of the first all-black units in the Civil War, survived the recent protests unscathed. To many on the left, history seems like the succession of one cruelty by the next. And so, justice may only be served if we scrap the past and start from a blank slate. As a result, Lincoln's appeal that we stand upright and enjoy our liberty gets lost to time.

Ironically, this will only help the cause of Robert E. Lee -- and the modern corporations who rely on cheap, inhumane labor to keep themselves going.

***

The main idea driving the "1619 Project" and so much of recent scholarship is that the United States of America originated in slavery and white supremacy. These were its true founding ideals. Racism, Hannah-Jones writes, is in our DNA.

Such arguments don't make any sense, as the historian Barbara Fields clairvoyantly argued in a groundbreaking essay from 1990. Why would Virginia planters in the 17th century import black people purely out of hate? No, Fields countered, the planters were driven by a real need for dependable workers who would toil on their cotton, rice, and tobacco fields for little to no pay. Before black slaves did this work, white indentured servants had. (An indentured servant is bound for a number of years to his master, i.e. he can't pack up and leave to find a new opportunity elsewhere.)

After 1776 everything changed. Suddenly the new republic claimed that "all men are created equal" -- and yet there were millions of slaves who still couldn't enjoy this equality. Racism helped to square our founding ideals with the brute reality of continued chattel slavery: Black people simply weren't men.

But in the eyes of the Southern slavocracy, the white laboring poor of the North also weren't truly human. Such unholy antebellum figures as the social theorist George Fitzhugh or South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond urged that the condition of slavery be expanded to include poor whites, too. Their hunger for a cheap, subservient labor source did not stop at black people, after all.

Always remember Barbara Fields's formula: The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss.

The true cause of the Civil War -- and it bears constant repeating for all the doubters -- was whether slavery would expand its reach or whether "free labor" would reign supreme. The latter was the dominant ideology of the North: Free laborers are independent, self-reliant, and eventually achieve economic security and independence by the sweat of their brow. It's the American Dream. But if that is so, then the Civil War ended in a tie -- and its underlying conflict was never really settled.

***

Michael Lind argues in his new book The New Class War that many powerful businesses in America today continue to rely on the work of quasi indentured servants. Hungry for unfree, cheap workers, corporations in Silicon Valley and beyond employ tens of thousands of foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. These workers are bound to the company that provided them with the visa. If they find conditions at their jobs unbearable, they can't switch employers -- they would get deported first. In turn, this source of cheap labor effectively underbids American workers who could do the same job, except that they would ask for higher pay.

America's wealth rests on this mutual competition between workers -- some nominally "free," others basically indentured -- whether it be through unjust visa schemes or other unfair managerial practices.

Remember that the next time you read a public announcement by the Amazons of this world that they remain committed to "black lives matter" and similar identitarian causes.

Fortunately, very few Americans hold the same racial resentments in their hearts as their ancestors did even just half a century ago. Rarely did we agree as much than when the nation near unanimously condemned the death of George Floyd at the hands of a few Minneapolis police officers. This is in keeping with another fortunate trend: Over the last 40 years, the rate of police killings of young black men declined by 79% percent .

But anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for our corporations, even despite the evidence that people in this country have grown much less bigotted than they once were: As a management tool, anti-racism sows constant suspicion among workers who are encouraged to detect white supremacist sentiments in everything that their fellow workers say or do.

We're getting turned into rats. Naturally, this is no fertile soil for solidarity. And with so many jobs precarious and subcontracted out on a temporary basis, there is preciously little that most workers can do to fight back this insidious managerial control. Free labor looks different.

And so, through a surprising back door, the true cause for which Robert E. Lee chose to betray his country might still be coming out on top, whether we remove his statues or not -- namely, the steady supply to our ruling corporations of unfree workers willing to hustle for scraps.

It's time to follow Abraham Lincoln's urging and get off our knees again. We should assert our rights as American citizens to live free from economic insecurity and mutual resentment. The vast majority of us harbor no white supremacist views, period. Instead, we have so many more things in common, and we know it.

Another anecdote from the last days of the Civil War, also taken from Battle Cry of Freedom, might prove instructive here: The surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 essentially ended the Civil War. The ceremony was held with solemn respect for Lee, though one of Grant's adjutants couldn't help himself but have a subtle dig at Lee's expense:

After signing the papers, Grant introduced Lee to his staff. As he shook hands with Grant's military secretary Ely Parker, a Seneca Indian, Lee stared a moment at Parker's dark features and said, "I am glad to see one real American here." Parker responded, "We are all Americans."

Gregor Baszak is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a writer. His articles have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, Spectator USA, Spiked, and elsewhere. Follow Gregor on Twitter at @gregorbas1.


Megan S 15 hours ago

It's a bit off-topic but this is a big reason I supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary this year, he was the only candidate talking about how businesses demand that cheap labor, illegal labor, replace American labor. For this, the corporate media called him a racist, an anti-semite, a dangerous radical. None of his opponents aside from Elizabeth Warren had anything to run on aside from pseudo-woke touchy-feely bs. And somehow, with the media insisting that Joe Biden was the only one who could beat Trump, we ended up with the one candidate who was neither good on economics, good for American workers, or offering platitudes about wokeness.

It's hard to come out of the 2020 primaries without realizing that the corporations that run our mainstream media will do anything to protect their right to abuse cheap labor.

JonF311 Victor_the_thinker 8 hours ago

Racism is very real. If it weren't it couldn't be used to "divide and conquer" the working calss. we can walk and chew gum and the same time: oppose racism, and also oppose exploitive labor practices.

Bureaucrat Victor_the_thinker an hour ago • edited

What kind of polemic, unsupported statement is "black fast food workers are the ones who gave us the fight for $15"? How about it was a broad coalition of progressives (of all colors)? Moreover, $15 minimum wage is a poor, one-size-fits-all band-aid that I doubt even fits ONE scenario. Tackling the broader shareholder capitalism model of labor arbitrage (free trade/mass immigration), deunionization, and monopolistic hurdles drafted by corporations is where it actually matters. And on that, we are seeing the inklings of a populist left-right coalition -- if corporate-funded race hustlers could only get out of the way.

Bureaucrat JonF311 2 hours ago • edited

That's the problem. We CAN'T chew gum and walk at the same time. Every minute focusing on racial friction is a minute NOT talking about neoliberal economics. What's the ratio of air time, social media discussion, or newspaper inches are devoted to race vis-a-vis the economic system that has starved the working class -- which is disproportionately black and brown? 10 to 1? 100 to 1? 1000 to 1? If there are no decent working class jobs for young black and brown men, then it makes it nearly impossible to raise families. Let's be clear: Systemic racism is real, but it is far less impactful than economic injustices and family dissolution.

Selvar Victor_the_thinker 33 minutes ago • edited

Class really isn't the primary issue for black people.

That's a frankly ridiculous statement. At this point in history, to the extent that black people suffer any meaningful oppression at all, its down to disproportionate poverty rates, not their racial background. No one--except a few neurotic, high-strung corporate HR PMC types--cares about "microaggressions". Even unjust police shootings of blacks are likely down to class and not race--despite the politically correct narrative saying otherwise.

Putting racial identity politics as an equal (or even greater) priority than class-based solidarity creates an absurd system where an upper-middle class black woman attending Yale can act as if a working class white man is oppressing her by not acknowledging his "white privilege", and not bowing to her every demand. It's utterly delusional to think that sort of culture is going to create a more just or equal world.

joeo Megan S 9 hours ago shiva

Biden is a Rorschach test, people see whatever they want in a party apparatchik. Trump has been Shiva, the destroyer of the traditional Republican party. How else do you explain the support among Multi-Billionaires for the Democratic party. Truly ironic.

Jessica Ramer Megan S 8 hours ago

I agree one hundred percent with your take on Biden. Let me add something else: he is a war hawk who not only voted for the Iraq war but used his position as the chairman of an important committee to promote it. I understand that he still wants to divide Iraq into three separate countries--a decision for Iraqis to make and not us. If we try to implement that policy, it would doubtless lead to more American deaths--to say nothing of Iraqi deaths.

So not only is he not good for American workers, he is not good for the American soldier who is disproportionately likely not to be from the elite classes but rather from the working and lower-middle class.

The only other Democratic candidate who opposed war-mongering besides Sanders was Tulsi Gabbard. I watched CNN commentary after a debate in which she participated. While the other participants received lots of commentary from CNN talking heads. she got almost nothing. She was featured in a video montage of candidates saying "Trump"; other than that, she was invisible in the post-debate analysis.

Megan S Jessica Ramer 7 hours ago

I don't know how far it travelled outside of Democratic primary voters, but I recall Biden's campaign saying that they were planning to be sort of a placeholder that would pass the torch to the next generation. He's insinuated that he only wants to serve one term and saw jumping into the race as the only way to beat Trump. Not the most exciting platform for the Democrats to run on.

As depressing as this primary was, it's good to see that the rising generation of Democrats was resistant to platitudes and demanded actual policy proposals.

Shame the party elders fell for the same old tricks yet again. I just hope that once there are more of us, we can have a serious policy debate in both major parties about free trade, immigration, inequality. The parties' voters aren't all that far apart on economics, yet neither of us is being given what we want. Whichever party sincerely takes a stand for the American working class stands to dominate American politics for a generation.

kouroi Megan S 5 hours ago

"Shame the party elders fell for the same old tricks yet again."

Oops, they tripped, poor oldies, not good in keeping their balance, eh?!

Bureaucrat Megan S 2 hours ago • edited

The problem with Biden's "placeholder" comments is that he specifically mentioned it for Pete Buttigeig, the McKinsey-trained career opportunist who believes in his bones the same neoliberal economics and interventionist foreign policies as the last generation. Same bad ideas, new woke packaging.

Megan S Bureaucrat 2 hours ago

On the bright side, young people despise Buttigieg and his attempt to cast us all as homophobic didn't really catch on outside of corporate media.

Bureaucrat Megan S an hour ago

Kamala Harris and Susan Rice, both tops on the VP list, will do just fine in place of Buttigieg - he's slated to revive TPP as the new USTR cabinet lead.

kouroi 14 hours ago

And just like that Mr. Baszak has become the second favorite writer here at TAC, after Mr. Larison...

stephen pickard 9 hours ago

Because of slavery alot of bad political policy was incorporated in the founding documents. If a police officer is about to wrongly arrest you because you are black , you do not care if his hatred stems from 400 years of discrimination against blacks. Rather you care that he won't kill you in this encounter because of his racism.

To me, I have always thought that America's original sin was slavery. Its stain can not be completely wiped out.

And I further believe that if Native Americans would have enslaved the newly arrived Europeans, and remained the ruling majority, white people would be discriminated against today.

So the problem is not that white people are inherently evil, or other races are inherently good. It is that because of slavery black people are bad, white people are good.

As a nation we have never been able to wash out the stain completely. Never will. Getting closer to the promised land is the best we are going to do. Probably take another 400 years.

In everyday encounters no one cares how discrimination began, just treat me like you want to be treated. Pretty simple.

Randolph Bourne 2 hours ago

"As a management tool, anti-racism sows constant suspicion among workers who are encouraged to detect white supremacist sentiments in everything that their fellow workers say or do."

The author does not offer one smidgen of proof that any company uses antiracism to divide workers. It might be plausible that it's happened, but Baszak has no data at all.

Over the last 40 years, the rate of police killings of young black men declined by 79% percent.

You think this is an accident? It came about through intense pressure on the police to stop killing Black people -- exactly the sort of racial emphasis the author seems to be decrying. Important to note that the non-fatal mistreatment has remained high.

The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss

Baszak believes racism has no life of its own, it exists only as a tool of the bosses. This is vulgar Marxism. At least since the decades after Bacon's Rebellion ended in 1677, poor whites have invested in white supremacy as a way of boosting their social status. Most Southern families owned no slaves, yet most joined the Civil War cause. The psychological draw of racism, its cultural strength, are obviated by Barszak. And I bet Barbara Fields does not consider racism an epiphenomenon of economics.

Bureaucrat 2 hours ago

They made a movie that beautifully touches this in the 1970s with Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor called "Blue Collar."

"That's exactly what the company wants: to keep you on their line," says Smokey, the coolest and most strategically minded of the crew. "They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white -- everybody -- to keep us in our place."

Bureaucrat an hour ago

The core thesis in this piece is the animating foundation of The Hill's political talk show "Rising." Composed of a populist Bernie supporter (Krystal Ball) and populist conservative (Saagar Enjeti) as hosts, they frequently highlight the purpose of woke cultural battles is to distract everyone for their neoliberal economic models -- a system that actually has greater deleterious impact on black communities.

This video is one recent example of what you'll rarely see in mainstream media:

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

[Jun 16, 2020] "That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." by George Carlin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job. ..."
"... A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business. ..."
"... There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost ..."
"... Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Dave C , 4 days ago

"That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." -George Carlin

Robert Schupp , 4 days ago

You can't just move to American cities to pursue opportunity; even the high wages paid in New York are rendered unhelpful because the cost of housing is so high.


Dingo Jones
, 3 days ago

@JOHN GAGLIANO Cost of living is ridiculous too.

Dirtysparkles , 4 days ago

Our country has become the American Nightmare

Jean-Pierre S , 4 days ago

Martin Luther King, Jr. was vilified and ultimately murdered when he was helping organize a Poor People's Campaign. Racial justice means economic justice.

John Sanders , 3 days ago

Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job.

Adriano de Jesus , 4 days ago

A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business.

Ammon Weser , 4 days ago

There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost

crazyman8472 , 4 days ago

Night Owl: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"

Comedian: "What happened to the American Dream? It came true! You're looking at it."

-- Watchmen

David Tidwell , 4 days ago

Nailed it. As a millennial, I'm sick of being told to just "deal with it" when the cards have always been stacked against me. Am I surviving? Yes. Am I thriving? No.

D dicin , 4 days ago

When the reserve status of the American dollar goes away, then it will become apparent how poor the US really is. You cannot maintain a country without retention of the ability to manufacture the articles you use on a daily basis. The military budget and all the jobs it brings will have to shrink catastrophically.

farber2 , 4 days ago

American trance. The billionaires hypnotized people with this lie.

Michael D , 4 days ago (edited)

...and sometimes you CAN'T afford to move. You can't find a decent job. You certainly can't build a meaningful savings. You can't find an apartment. And if you have kids? That makes it even harder. I've been trying to move for years, but the conditions have to be perfect to do it responsibly. The American Dream died for me once I realized that no matter the choices I made, my four years of college, my years of saving and working hard....I do NOT have upward mobility. For me, the American Dream is dead. I've been finding a new dream. The human dream.

B Sim , 3 days ago

This is a very truncated view. You need to expand your thinking. WHY has the system been so overtly corrupted? It's globalism that has pushed all this economic pressure on the millennials and the middle class. It was the elites, working with corrupt politicians, that rigged the game so the law benefited them.

This is all reversible. History shows that capitalism can be properly regulated in a way that benefits all. The answer to the problem is to bring back those rules, not implement socialism.

Trump has:

The result? before COVID hit the average American worker saw the first inflation adjusted wage increase in over 30 years!

This is why the fake news and hollywood continue to propagandize the masses into hating Trump.

Trump is implementing economic policies good for the people and bad for the elites

Sound Author , 3 days ago

The dream was never alive in the first place. It was always bullshit.

Julia Galaudet , 4 days ago

Maybe it's time for a maximum wage.

Scott Clark , 4 days ago

Private equity strips the country for years! It's the AMERICAN DREAM!!!

Siri Erieott , 4 days ago

A dream for 1%, a nightmare for 99%.

andrew kubiak , 4 days ago

Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money.

[Jun 16, 2020] Krystal Ball: The American dream is dead, good riddance

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Debt-free is the new American dream ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Krystal Ball exposes the delusion of the American dream.

About Rising: Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen.

It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.

Owen Cousino , 4 days ago

Debt-free is the new American dream

poppaDehorn , 4 days ago

Got my degree just as the great recession hit. Couldn't find real work for 3 years, not using my degree... But it was work. now after 8 years, im laid off. I did everything "right". do good in school, go to college, get a job...

I've never been fired in my life. its always, "Your contract is up" "Sorry we cant afford to keep you", "You can make more money collecting! but we'll give a recommendation if you find anything."

Now I'm back where i started... only now I have new house and a family to support... no pressure.

[Jun 04, 2020] The Gig Economy: WTF? Precarity and Work under Neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
"The gig economy is just a way for corporations to cut the cost of employees, by turning them into subcontractors. They blur the line between employee and subcontractors by having tight rules like an employer, and since most people have a employee mentality, the company nurtures the idea that they somehow are more like employees, then they get mostly good workers, working hard for very little compensation. The Gig economy is just another sign of our failing way of life."
Notable quotes:
"... The gig economy would be great if we lived in a society where health care is free, food is cheap, housing is common, and nobody suffers from economic Issues Which is not what we are living in ..."
"... Neo-liberals - we support freedom and stuff. Removes mask Is actually corporation lapdogs. ..."
Jun 04, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Unlike most developments in the employment market, the Gig Economy has received a great deal of press attention and established itself firmly as a point of reference in the popular consciousness. In recent years, increasing numbers of people have turned to services such as Uber, Lyft, Deliveroo, Just Eat, TaskRabbit and Fiverr as either a side hustle or their main source of income.

Following on from my video on neoliberalism and neoliberal capitalism, in today's episode of What the Theory?, we look deeper into how the gig economy (or sharing economy) works and what differentiates it from the rest of the economy. We ask whether the gig economy is truly an opportunity for those wanting a more flexible work arrangement or whether it is simply a means for multinational corporations to circumvent hard-won workers rights and labour laws.

Finally, we also consider whether there might be some historical precedents to the sharing economy in the early industrial period and look at some of the challenges facing those attempting to organise Deliveroo riders, Uber drivers and other gig economy workers into trade unions in order to negotiate for better rates of pay and conditions.

If you'd like to support my channel then please do check out my Patreon page at http://patreon.com/tomnicholas


Simple Things , 5 months ago

Unregulated capitalism? You mean like child labor and passing the hat when a worker dies in an accident? They don't want workers. They want people who are desperate.

Tom Nicholas , 5 months ago

Well, how far it all goes is something that remains to be seen. I don't think we'll get as far as child labour but the curation of dependence is something that's definitely in progress.

memeoverlord 2010 , 5 months ago

They don't want people who are desperate, they want slaves.

Tyler Potts , 4 months ago

Tom Nicholas but if they could they would have kids gigging. The gig economy is a scam, I'd rather pay more for an Uber and have unionized drivers.

Tyler Potts , 4 months ago

Daxton Lyon except the majority of entrepreneurs and business owners didn't come Into their business ownership via merit. You are forgetting that most of these people are born into a situation where they have access to capital, access to legal services and education. Sure there are a minority of people who make it from nothing but that number is diminishingly small.

John Jourdan , 3 months ago

I notice not one of you mentioned immigrants. lol

EYTPS , 2 months ago

Daxton Lyon "You don't like the gig? Do something else." Too bad the economy is currently setup to where around half of individuals are limited to gig and don't have the resources and money to do anything else.

EYTPS , 2 months ago

Daxton Lyon "If any of you did, your panzy responses regarding corporate greed would be squashed!" No, they wouldn't, but keep performing those red herrings and hasty, extremely-worshipping generalizations about entrepreneurship to distract from the point; I'm sure they'll catch on.

Justin Goretoy , 5 months ago

Neoliberalism is the religious belief that markets are magical and will regulate themselves.

User Name , 4 months ago

The gig economy would be great if we lived in a society where health care is free, food is cheap, housing is common, and nobody suffers from economic Issues Which is not what we are living in

memeoverlord 2010 , 5 months ago

Neo-liberals - we support freedom and stuff. Removes mask Is actually corporation lapdogs.

[Jun 02, 2020] Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge

Jun 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

  1. anne , May 31, 2020 4:48 pm

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge

    May 30, 2020

    Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge
    By KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR – Los Angeles Times

    What was your first reaction when you saw the video of the white cop kneeling on George Floyd's neck while Floyd croaked, "I can't breathe"?

    If you're white, you probably muttered a horrified, "Oh, my God" while shaking your head at the cruel injustice. If you're black, you probably leapt to your feet, cursed, maybe threw something (certainly wanted to throw something), while shouting, "Not @#$%! again!" Then you remember the two white vigilantes accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood in February, and how if it wasn't for that video emerging a few weeks ago, they would have gotten away with it. And how those Minneapolis cops claimed Floyd was resisting arrest but a store's video showed he wasn't. And how the cop on Floyd's neck wasn't an enraged redneck stereotype, but a sworn officer who looked calm and entitled and devoid of pity: the banality of evil incarnate.

    Maybe you also are thinking about the Karen in Central Park who called 911 claiming the black man who asked her to put a leash on her dog was threatening her. Or the black Yale University grad student napping in the common room of her dorm who was reported by a white student. Because you realize it's not just a supposed "black criminal" who is targeted, it's the whole spectrum of black faces from Yonkers to Yale.

    You start to wonder if it should be all black people who wear body cams, not the cops.

    What do you see when you see angry black protesters amassing outside police stations with raised fists? If you're white, you may be thinking, "They certainly aren't social distancing." Then you notice the black faces looting Target and you think, "Well, that just hurts their cause." Then you see the police station on fire and you wag a finger saying, "That's putting the cause backward."

    You're not wrong -- but you're not right, either. The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness -- write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change -- the needle hardly budges.

    But COVID-19 has been slamming the consequences of all that home as we die at a significantly higher rate than whites, are the first to lose our jobs, and watch helplessly as Republicans try to keep us from voting .

Bert Schlitz , May 31, 2020 7:14 pm

The protests are self centered crap blacks do year after year. Considering 370 whites over 100 Latinos were killed by cops, many as bad as that guy in minnie. Blacks have a Trumptard mentality. We have a ecological disaster, a economic disaster and pandemic(when th they are spreading). Yet let's whine about one bad cop related homicide.

This may begin the breakup of the Democratic party and the blacks. The differences are just to large.

Kaleberg , May 31, 2020 9:40 pm

It's rather sad that it takes a massive civil disturbance to get the authorities to arrest a man videotaped killing another. You'd think that would just happen as a matter of course, but that's how it works in this country.

Denis Drew , June 1, 2020 10:17 am

THE WAY BACK -- THE ONLY WAY BACK -- BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND POLITICALLY (pardon me if I take up a lot of space -- almost everyone else has said most of what they want to say)

EITC shifts only 2% of income while 40% of American workers earn less that what we think the minimum wage should be -- $15/hr.
http://fortune.com/2015/04/13/who-makes-15-per-hour/

The minimum wage itself should only mark the highest wage that we presume firms with highest labor costs can pay* -- like fast food with 25% labor costs. Lower labor cost businesses -- e.g., retail like Walgreens and Target with 10-15% labor costs can potentially pay north of $20/hr; Walmart with 7% labor costs, $25/hr!

That kind of income can only be squeezed out of the consumer market (meaning out of the consumer) by labor union bargaining.

Raise fast food wages from $10/hr to $15/hr and prices go up only a doable 12.5%. Raise Walgreens, Target from $10/hr to $20/hr and prices there only go up a piddling 6.25%. Keeping the math easy here -- I know that Walgreens and Target pay more to start but that only reinforces my argument about how much labor income is being left on the (missing) bargaining table.

Hook up Walmart with 7% labor costs with the Teamsters Union and the wage and benefit sky might be the limit! Don't forget (everybody seems to) that as more income shifts to lower wage workers, more demand starts to come from lower wage workers -- reinforcing their job security as they spend more proportionately at lower wage firms (does not work for low wage employees of high end restaurants -- the exception that actually proves the rule).

Add in sector wide labor agreements and watch Germany appear on this side of the Atlantic overnight.
* * * * * *

If Republicans held the House in the last (115th) Congress they would have passed HR2723-Employee Rights Act -- mandating new union recertification/decertification paper ballots in any bargaining unit that has had experienced "turnover, expansion, or alteration by merger of unit represented employees exceeding 50 percent of the bargaining unit" by the date of the enactment -- and for all time from thereafter. Trump would have signed it and virtually every union in the country would have experienced mandated recert/decert votes in every bargaining unit.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2723/text

Democrats can make the most obvious point about what was lacking in the Republican bill by pretending to be for a cert/recert bill that mandates union ballots only at places where there is no union now. Republicans jumping up and down can scream the point for us that there is no reason to have ballots in non union places and not in unionized workplaces -- and vice versa.
* * * * * *

Biggest problem advocating the vastly attractive and all healing proposal of federally mandated cert/recert/decert elections seems to be that nobody will discuss it as long as nobody else discusses it -- some kind of innate social behavior I think, from deep in our (pea sized) midbrains. How else can you explain the perfect pitch's neglect. I suspect that if I waved a $100 bill in front of a bunch of progressives and offered it to the first one would say the words out loud: "Regularly scheduled union elections are the only way to restore shared prosperity and political fairness to America", that I might not get one taker. FWIW.

Another big problem when I try to talk to workers about this on the street -- just to get a reaction -- is that more than half have no idea in the world what unions are all about. Those who do understand, think the idea so sensible they often think action must be pending.

Here is Andrew Strom's take:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

[see just below for last link -- can't lay more than three at a time :-)]

Denis Drew , June 1, 2020 10:17 am

*1968 federal minimum was $12/hr – indicating that consumer support was there at half today's per capita income.
https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=1.60&year1=196801&year2=202001

rick shapiro , June 1, 2020 10:46 am

econ101 should tell you that the eitc is a subsidy to the corporations that hire droves of low-paid workers, with meagre spillover to the workers themselves. More effective and persistent improvements to social justice would come from significant increases to the minimum wage, societal support to unionization, and other efforts to increase the threshold of what is considered by society to be the bare minimum of compensation for work.
The concomitant decline in the value of the dollar and the terms of trade would be small compared to the reduction in inequality.

Bernard , June 1, 2020 5:21 pm

such a third world country as America , riots are the only way to get heard for some. the Elite have been looting us blind for decades, the Covid bail outs to Corporations by the Elites in DC as the latest installment of Capitalist theft know as Business as Usual.
it's all about the money.
sick,sick country praising capitalism over everything else.
the comfortable white people are afraid of losing what they have. Divide and Conquer is the Republican and now Democratic way they run America.

to the rich go the spoils. the rest, well. screw them .

the Lee Atwater idea to use coded language when St. Reagan implemented the destruction of America society, coincided with St. Thatcher's destruction of England.

the White elites post Civil War in the South knew how to divide the poor whites and the poor blacks.

that is how we got to where we are now.

Did you see any of the bankers go to jail for the 2008 ripoff?
not one and they got bonuses for their "deeds."

America, such a nation of Grifters, Thieves and Scam artist. like Pelosi , McConnel and all the people in DC and the Business men who sold out our country and the American people for "small change".

God forbid Corporations should ever have to pay for the damage they have done to America and its" people. My RIGHT to Greed trumps your right to clean air, water, safe neighborhoods, says Capitalism!

the Rich get richer and the poor get poorer, Everybody Knows!!!

But let's not focus on things lest some uncomfortable truths.

and wonder why riots happen, Not at All!

[Jun 02, 2020] It didn t happen overnight by Ken Melvin

Under neoliberalism (and generally under any form of capitalism without countervailing force) the wages tend to deteriorate to the starvation level
Jun 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Sound too familiar? Sometime in the late 80s (??) Americans began to see day labors line up at Home Depot and Lowe's lots in numbers not seen since The Great Depression. Manufacturing Corporations began subbing out their work to sub-contractors, otherwise known as employees without benefits; Construction Contractors subbed out construction work to these employees without benefits; Engineering Firms subbed out engineering to these employees without benefits; Landscapers' workers were now sub-contractors/independent contractors; Here, in the SF Bay Area, time and again, we saw vans loads of undocumented Hispanics under a 'Labor Contractor' come in from the Central Valley to build condos; the white Contractor for the project didn't have a single employee; none of the workers got a W-2. Recall watching, sometime in the 90s (??), a familiar, well dressed, rotund guest from Wall Street, on the PBS News Hour, forcefully proclaiming to the TV audience:

American workers are going to have to learn to compete with the Chinese; Civil Service employees, factory employees, are all going to have to work for less

All this subcontracting, independent contractors, was a scam, a scam meant to circumvent paying going wages and benefits, to enhance profit margins; a scam that transferred more wealth to the top. Meanwhile back at The Ranch, after the H1B Immigration Act of 1990, Microsoft could hire programmers from India for one-half the cost of a citizen programmer. Half of Bill Gates' fortune was resultant these labor savings; the other half was made off those not US Citizens. Taking a cue, Banks, Bio-Techs, some City and State Governments began subcontracting out their programming to H1Bs. Often, the subcontractors/labor contractors (often themselves immigrants) providing the programmers, held the programmers' passports/visas for security.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, friends of Bush/Cheney made fortunes on clean up contracts they subbed out for next to nothing; the independent/subcontractor scam was now officially governmentally sanctioned.

By about 2000 we began to hear the term gig-workers applied to these employees without benefits. Uber appeared in 2007 to be followed by Lift. Both are scams based on paying less than prevailing wages, on not providing worker benefits,

These days, the nightly news, when talking about the effect of the pandemic on the populace in America, shows footage of Food Banks in California with lines 2! miles long. Many of those waiting in these lines didn't have a real job before; they were gig-workers; they can't apply for Unemployment Benefits. It is estimated that 1.6 million American workers (1% of the workforce) are gig-workers; they don't have a real job. That 1% is in addition to the 16 million American workers (10% of the workforce) that are independent contractors. Of the more than 40 million currently unemployed Americans, some 17 million are either gig-workers or subcontractors/independent contractors. All of these are scams meant to transfer more wealth to the top. All of these are scams with American Workers the victims; scams, in a race to the bottom.


Denis Drew , May 31, 2020 10:51 am

Ken,

Read this by the SEIU counsel Andrew Strom -- and tell me what you think:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

Democrats in the so called battle ground states would clean up at the polls with this. Why do you think those states strayed? It was because Obama and Hillary had no idea what they really needed. Voters had no idea what they SPECIFICALLY needed either -- UNIONS! They had been deunionized so thoroughly for so long that they THEMSELVES no long knew what they were missing (frogs in the slowly boiling pot).

In 1988 Jesse Jackson took the Democratic primary in Michigan with 54% against Dukakis and Gephardt. Obama beat Wall Street Romney and red-white-and-blue McCain in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. But nobody told these voters -- because nobody seems to remember -- what they really needed. These voter just knew by 2016 that Democrats had not what they needed and looked elsewhere -- anywhere else!

Strom presents an easy as can be, on-step-back treatment that should go down oh, so smoothly and sweetly. What do you think?

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:04 pm

Denis

Thanks for your comment and the link. Wow! Where to start, huh?

SEIU was a player from the get go, but I don't want to go there just now.

Before Reagan, there was the first rust belt move to the non-union south. Why was the south so anti-union? I think this stuff is engendered from infancy and most of us are incapable of thinking anew when it comes to stuff our parents 'taught' us. MLK was the best thing that ever happened to the dirt-road poor south, yet they hated him and they hated the very unions that might have lifted them up. They did seem to take pleasure in the yanks' loss of jobs.

I think the Reagan era was prelude to what is going on now, i.e., going backward while yelling whee look at me go. No doubt, Reagan turned union members against their own unions. But, the genesis of demise probably lay with automation and the early offshoring to Mexico. By Reagan, the car plants were losing jobs to Toyota and Honda and automation. By 1990, car plants that had previously employed 5,000, now automated, produced more cars employing only 1200. At the time, much of the nation's wealth was still derived from car production.

Skipping forward a bit, the democrats blew it for years with all their talk about the 'middle-class' without realizing it was the 'disappearing middle-class'. They ignored the poor working-class vote and lost election after election.

I've come to not like the term labor, think it affords capital an undeserved status, though much diminished, I think thought all workers would be better off in a union. Otherwise, as we are witnessing, there is no parity between workers and wealth; we are in a race to the bottom with the wealth increasingly go to the top.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:15 pm

Matthew – thanks for your comment

I think that we are into a transition (about 45 yrs into) as great as the industrial revolution. We, as probably those poor souls of the 18th and 19th centuries did, are floundering, unable to come to terms with what is going on.

I also think that those such as the Kochs have a good grasp of what is going on and are moving to protect themselves and their class.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:21 pm

EMichael, thanks for the comment

Are you implying that the politicians are way behind the curve? If so, I think that you are right.

Let me share what I was thinking last night about thinking:

Descartes' problem was that he desperately wanted to make philosophy work within the framework of his religion, Catholicism. Paul Krugman desperately wants to make economics all work within the Holy Duality of Capitalism and Free Markets. Even Joe Stiglitz can't step out of this text. All things being possible, it is possible that either could come up with a solution to today's economic problems that would fit within the Two; but the odds are not good. Better to think anew.

We see politicians try and try to find solutions for today's problems from within their own dogmas/ideologies. Even if they can't, they persist, they still try to impose these dogmas/ideologies in the desperate hope they might work if only applied to a greater degree. How else explain any belief that markets could anticipate and respond to pandemics? That markets could best respond to housing demand?

  1. Interesting and fine writing.
anne , May 31, 2020 1:49 pm

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1267060950026326018

Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

Glad to see Noah Smith highlighting this all-too-relevant work by the late Alberto Alesina 1/

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-30/racism-is-the-biggest-reason-u-s-safety-net-is-so-weak

Racism Is the Biggest Reason the U.S. Safety Net Is So Weak
Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, who died last week, found that ethnic divisions made the country less effective at providing public goods.

7:50 AM · May 31, 2020

The Alesina/Glaeser/Sacerdote paper on why America doesn't have a European-style welfare state -- racism -- had a big impact on my own thinking 2/

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

For a long time anyone who pointed out that the modern GOP is basically a party that serves plutocratic ends by weaponizing white racism was treated as "shrill" and partisan. Can we now admit the obvious? 3/

  1. a long, long time. Possibly forever.
anne , May 31, 2020 1:56 pm

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

September, 2001

Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?
By Alberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

European countries are much more generous to the poor relative to the US level of generosity. Economic models suggest that redistribution is a function of the variance and skewness of the pre-tax income distribution, the volatility of income (perhaps because of trade shocks), the social costs of taxation and the expected income mobility of the median voter. None of these factors appear to explain the differences between the US and Europe. Instead, the differences appear to be the result of racial heterogeneity in the US and American political institutions. Racial animosity in the US makes redistribution to the poor, who are disproportionately black, unappealing to many voters. American political institutions limited the growth of a socialist party, and more generally limited the political power of the poor.

rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:07 pm

This dynamic is not limited to low-skill jobs. I have seen it at work in electronics engineering. When I was a sprat, job shoppers got an hourly wage nearly twice that of their company peers, because they had no benefits or long-term employment. Today, job shoppers are actually paid less than company engineers; and the companies are outsourcing ever more of their staffing to the brokers.
Without labor market frictions, the iron law of wages drives wages to starvation levels. As sophisticated uberization software eliminates the frictions that have protected middle class wages in the recent past, we will all need to enlist unionization and government wage standards to protect us.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:29 pm

Rick

The big engineering offices of the 70s were decimated and worse by the mid-90s; mostly by the advent of computers w/ software. One engineer could now do the work of 10 and didn't need any draftsman.

rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:40 pm

I was speaking of engineers with equal skill in the same office. Many at GE Avionics were laid off, and came back as lower paid contract employees.

[Jun 02, 2020] So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

Trump's threat to deploy the military here is an excessive and dangerous one. Mark Perry reports on the reaction from military officers to the president's threat:
Jun 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Senior military officer on Trump statement: "So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

-- Mark Perry (@markperrydc) June 2, 2020

Earlier in the day yesterday, audio has leaked in which the Secretary of Defense referred to U.S. cities as the "battlespace." Separately, Sen. Tom Cotton was making vile remarks about using the military to give "no quarter" to looters. This is the language of militarism.

It is a consequence of decades of endless war and the government's tendency to rely on militarized options as their answer for every problem. Endless war has had a deeply corrosive effect on this country's political system: presidential overreach, the normalization of illegal uses of force, a lack of legal accountability for crimes committed in the wars, and a lack of political accountability for the leaders that continue to wage pointless and illegal wars. Now we see new abuses committed and encouraged by a lawless president, but this time it is Americans that are on the receiving end. Trump hasn't ended any of the foreign wars he inherited, and now it seems that he will use the military in an llegal mission here at home.

Megan San hour ago

The military is the only American institution that young people still have any real degree of faith in, it will be interesting to see the polls when this is all over with.

[Jun 02, 2020] Cornel West America Is A Failed Social Experiment, Neoliberal Wing Of Democratic Party Must Be Fought

See also End of empire Blueprint or scramble — RT Renegade Inc. Of the many important interviews you've done, this is one of the most important and best.
Notable quotes:
"... our culture so market-driven, everybody for sale, everything for sale, you can't deliver the kind of really real nourishment for soul, for meaning, for purpose. ..."
"... The system cannot reform itself. We've tried black faces in high places ..."
"... You've got a neoliberal wing of the Democratic party that is now in the driver's seat with the collapse of brother Bernie and they really don't know what to do because all they want to do is show more black faces -- show more black faces. ..."
"... So when you talk about the masses of black people, the precious poor and working-class black people, brown, red, yellow, whatever color, they're the ones left out and they feel so thoroughly powerless, helpless, hopeless, then you get rebellion. ..."
May 29, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com
Dr. Cornel West said on Friday we are witnessing the failed social experiment that is the United States of America in the protests and riots that have followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. West told CNN host Anderson Cooper that what is going on is rebellion to a failed capitalist economy that does not protect the people. West, a professor, denounced the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party that is all about "black faces in high places" but not actual change. The professor remarked even those black faces often lose legitimacy because they ingriatiate themselves into the establishment neo-liberal Democratic party.

"I think we are witnessing America as a failed social experiment," West said. "What I mean by that is that the history of black people for over 200 and some years in America has been looking at America's failure, its capitalist economy could not generate and deliver in such a way people can live lives of decency. The nation-state, it's criminal justice system, it's legal system could not generate protection of rights and liberties."

From commentary delivered on CNN Friday night:

DR. CORNEL WEST: And now our culture so market-driven, everybody for sale, everything for sale, you can't deliver the kind of really real nourishment for soul, for meaning, for purpose.

So when you get this perfect storm of all these multiple failures at these different levels of the American empire, and Martin King already told us about that...

The system cannot reform itself. We've tried black faces in high places. Too often our black politicians, professional class, middle class become too accommodated to the capitalist economy, too accommodated to a militarized nation-state, too accommodated to the market-driven culture of celebrities, status, power, fame, all that superficial stuff that means so much to so many fellow citizens.

And what happens is we have a neofascist gangster in the White House who doesn't care for the most part. You've got a neoliberal wing of the Democratic party that is now in the driver's seat with the collapse of brother Bernie and they really don't know what to do because all they want to do is show more black faces -- show more black faces.

But often times those black faces are losing legitimacy too because the Black Lives Matter movement emerged under a black president, a black attorney general, and a black Homeland Security [Secretary] and they couldn't deliver.

So when you talk about the masses of black people, the precious poor and working-class black people, brown, red, yellow, whatever color, they're the ones left out and they feel so thoroughly powerless, helpless, hopeless, then you get rebellion.

... ...

[Jun 02, 2020] There is increasing evidence that certain gangs and other nefarious outside agitators are engaged in deliberate property damage and vandalism during the recent protests against police brutality--demonstrating that they are trying to hijack these protests

Organized crime in the USA is not a myth and its connections to law enforcement also is not a myth. They are ideal provocateurs for riots. Also they want their piece of action too ;-)
Jun 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
ak74 , Jun 2 2020 0:49 utc | 132
News Flash!!!

There is increasing evidence that certain gangs and other nefarious outside agitators are engaged in deliberate property damage and vandalism during the recent protests against police brutality--demonstrating that they are trying to hijack these protests and are not sincerely concerned about the issue of racism against African Americans/minorities in the US or police repression.

I wonder if William Barr or the American Regime will now finally declare these groups as "terrorists"?

Police at Protests All Over the Country Caught Destroying Property

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/police-at-protests-all-over-the-country-caught-destroying-property/

[Jun 02, 2020] Two goons who work at a fancy nightclub (aka Mob Headquarters) and one ends up dead. Smells like a mob hit; ordered and paid for by who is the right question

Jun 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Jun 1 2020 19:10 utc | 37

It is my informal observation that riots tend to collapse from exhaustion after about three days. That's not happening this time, as every new day sees more and more house arrest orders (called "curfew", a nice antiseptic term) across the country.

Current events bring to mind the 1933 failed fascist coup d'etat exposed by General Smedley "War is a Racket" Butler. Instead of organizing half a million war veterans by the VFW, today's "Business Plot" organizers would have at their disposal one million already trained and equipped paramilitary police forces.

In such a scenario there is no reason for local cops to know who is pulling strings; all they have to do is follow orders, which they are more than willing to do, especially with commanders giving them football-style pep talks before going out to break heads.

It's well-documented that the spooks have been trying to get rid of Trump since the election, first with "Russia-gate", then arresting and/or driving out all his trusted staff, then the impeachment. Why should anyone think the spooks have given up? How many times did they try to kill Castro?

If the idea that a spook-led coup d'etat is in progress really has merit (I have "medium confidence"), it will be enforced by the police, not the Army or even National Guard units. So far, Guard units have not fired on protesters and many are not armed. I strongly suspect the army is not reliable, and commanders know it :

In Denver, Guard troops are carrying nonlethal weapons, including batons, tasers, and pepper spray. "They were fully embedded with Denver PD," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Loh, Colorado's adjutant general. "The Denver police chief Paul Pazen said if we have to use deadly force and I want my police officers to do it , and I want you to be in support."

National Guard are recruited with boatloads of TV ads all promoting how Guardsmen are used to help their neighbors during natural disasters. Those ads never feature Guardsmen facing down or shooting angry protesters, and Guardsmen want to believe they are there "to help". The police, however, are under no such illusions and affirm their willingness to kill civilians every time they strap on their side-arm.

If Guardsmen get itchy trigger fingers and shoot civilians without orders, well that just happens sometimes, not a big deal. But if commanders give the order to shoot and they don't, that is a huge crisis which I assume commanders would want to avoid.

--------
From the BBC timeline :

During this attempt [to put Floyd in the patrolcar], at 20:19, Mr Chauvin pulled Mr Floyd out of the passenger side, causing him to fall to the ground, the report said.

He lay there, face down, still in handcuffs.

This suggests he was pulled out of the car by Chauvin for the express purpose of killing him. His cool demeanor is striking. He knows he is openly killing Floyd while being filmed but remains confident he is protected.

Two goons who work at a fancy nightclub (aka Mob Headquarters) and one ends up dead. Smells like a mob hit; ordered and paid for by who is the right question.


Alpi , Jun 1 2020 20:28 utc | 55

The death of George Floyd was ruled a HOMICIDE by independent autopsy.

https://www.rt.com/usa/490441-george-floyd-died-asphyxia-neck/

This report, combined with the fact that Derek Chauvin knew and worked with the victim, makes this homicide premeditated or at the very least a 2nd degree murder.

The fact that the other officers did not intervene makes them complicit in the act and should be brought up on manslaughter charges and accessory to commit murder.

Charging the other officers will help slightly in tamping down the riots, although it may be too late. The wheels have been placed in motion and this is morphing into something bigger than George Floyd.

RJPJR , Jun 1 2020 20:33 utc | 57
Look closely at the film of the end of the murder when the ambulance came for the victim:

https://twitter.com/littllemel/status/1266393141906726912

First responders immediately examine the victim for any signs of life, and they come prepared with equipment to resuscitate the victim if possible. Not these men.

They got out of the ambulance and moved in fast, picked up his body like it was a huge sack of potatoes, and THREW him on to the gurney. Obviously, they knew that he was dead, knew that he was supposed to be dead.

They were NOT first responders in any sense, but openly armed and uniformed policemen.

Consider...

[Jun 02, 2020] As the world watches the US being confronted with massive riots, looting, chaos and heightened violence, US officials, instead of reflecting on the systematic problems in their society that led to such a crisis, have returned to their old 'blame game' against left-wingers, 'fake news' media and 'external forces....

Jun 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 1 2020 17:14 utc | 15

It's True how this analysis sees and describes what's occurring within the Outlaw US Empire, more than validating Cornel West's assessment, except it misses the major component--Class--while seeing lizard's list:

"As the world watches the US being confronted with massive riots, looting, chaos and heightened violence, US officials, instead of reflecting on the systematic problems in their society that led to such a crisis, have returned to their old 'blame game' against left-wingers, 'fake news' media and 'external forces....'

"[O]bservers see a weak, irresponsible and incompetent leadership navigating the country into a completely opposite direction, with all-out efforts to deflect public attention from its own failure.

"Mass protests erupted in a growing numbers of cities in the US over the weekend, and at least 40 cities have imposed curfews, while the National Guard has been activated in 14 states and Washington DC, according to US media reports ... [P]rotests across the country continued into a sixth straight night.

"More Americans have slammed the US president for inciting hatred and racism, and US officials, who turn a blind eye to the deep-seated issues in American society, including racial injustice, economic woes and the coronavirus pandemic, began shifting the blame to the former US president, extremists, and China for inflaming the social unrests."

Blaming Chinese, Russians and/or Martians isn't going to help Trump. Without doing a thing, Biden has risen to a lead of 8-10% in the most recent polling. Trumps many mistakes have dug him a hole that now seems to be collapsing in upon him. He's cursed worse than Midas as everything he attempts turns out a big negative and only worsens the situation.

[Jun 02, 2020] How you define "oppression" ?

Jan 03, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

soru 12.31.19 at 6:39 pm 21 ( 21 )

The problem is in how you define "oppression".

For example if you take a marxian definition of l class, it means people who don't own the means of production, that easily means the bottom 80% of the population. However a large part of this group is usually considered middle class, and is not really seen as oppressed.

I don't think this is right; unlike 'exploited', Marx doesn't use the word 'oppression' in any technical or unusual way, just in it's usual sense.

So a prosperous middle class person in a liberal democracy is not oppressed. A Marxist would merely point out that they would be in a more capitalist society; one without a universal franchise that requires the rich to seek political allies.

people of the working class don't feel they are working class, but rather identify as blue collars

If you look into the actual details of vote tallies; you find more or less the precise opposite. There are a key block of people who, objectively speaking, earn most of their income from stocks that they own, in the form of pension funds. Up until recently, this block was the victim of false consciousness; they identified as something like 'blue collar', based on the jobs they used to do, and the communities they they used to belong to. As of the last few elections, political activity by the Republicans and Tories has managed to overcome that, so they now vote based on their objective class interests. Those who rely on a small lump of capital have mostly the same class interests as those in possession of more; fewer environmental regulations, lower minimum wages, and so forth.

Meanwhile, most of the current working class don't get to vote, because they lack citizenship in the countries in question.

[Jun 01, 2020] It's all true simultaneously...

Jun 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

by lizard

hauled from a comment

I think this relevant to how fractured the discourse is. it's a repost from my litter watering hole.

I know it's going to be difficult to accept what I'm about to say because people get very invested in their chosen narratives, but it's important that you at least be exposed to the notion that it's all true.

It's true that now is the time to realize what's at stake, but instead of acting collectively for our mutual benefit, the cognitive challenge of accepting that all these things can be true at the same time will keep us tied to one of these things to the exclusion of all the others.

It's hard work, I know. But I have faith in you.

Posted by b on June 1, 2020 at 16:08 UTC | Permalink

[Jun 01, 2020] While the murder of George Floyd was both unjust and tragic, his death was the catalyst that lit a powder keg of dissension, which has simmered beneath the headlines for over a decade

Notable quotes:
"... As we detailed last night, what's happening to America right now : rioting, looting, pillaging, Americans fighting other Americans and while the media is spinning self-serving narratives that frame the bad guy as Trump, or China, or Russia, or this political party, or that, or some social movement , hides the truth that the culprit behind the upcoming collapse of the US is just one thing, the same one that Thomas Jefferson warned the brand new nation about more than two centuries ago : ..."
"... "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. The issuing power of currency shall be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. ..."
"... While we focus on events that fill our media streams, it is worth remembering Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Manuel Diez, Kimini Gray, and Michael Brown. These events, and many others throughout history, show civil unrest has deeper roots. Pew Research made a note of this in 2017: ..."
"... "The U.S. economy is in much better shape now than it was in the aftermath of the Great Recession. It cost millions of Americans, their homes, and jobs. It led him to push through a roughly $800 billion stimulus package as one of his first business orders. Since then, unemployment has plummeted from 10% in late 2009 to below 5% today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has more than doubled. ..."
"... "The one lesson that we have clearly learned since the 2008 "Great Financial Crisis," is that monetary and fiscal policy interventions do not lead to increased levels of economic wealth or prosperity. What these programs have done, is act as a wealth transfer system from the bottom 90% to the top 10%. ..."
"... "The rise in debt, which in the last decade was used primarily to fill the gap between incomes and the cost of living, has contributed to the retardation of economic growth." ..."
"... 50% of American workers did not have the ability to tap additional "savings" to offset financial hardships during the pandemic. ..."
"... It's no wonder they are in the streets rioting. ..."
"... The lack of economic improvement is clearly evident across all demographic classes. However, it has been the very policies of the Federal Reserve which created a wealth transfer mechanism from the poor to the rich. The ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve propelled asset prices higher, but left the majority of American families behind. ..."
Jun 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

As we detailed last night, what's happening to America right now : rioting, looting, pillaging, Americans fighting other Americans and while the media is spinning self-serving narratives that frame the bad guy as Trump, or China, or Russia, or this political party, or that, or some social movement , hides the truth that the culprit behind the upcoming collapse of the US is just one thing, the same one that Thomas Jefferson warned the brand new nation about more than two centuries ago :

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. The issuing power of currency shall be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered."

And as RealInvestmentAdvice.com's Lance Roberts notes, while the murder of George Floyd was both unjust and tragic, his death was the catalyst that lit a powder keg of dissension, which has simmered beneath the headlines for over a decade.

While we focus on events that fill our media streams, it is worth remembering Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Manuel Diez, Kimini Gray, and Michael Brown. These events, and many others throughout history, show civil unrest has deeper roots. Pew Research made a note of this in 2017:

"The U.S. economy is in much better shape now than it was in the aftermath of the Great Recession. It cost millions of Americans, their homes, and jobs. It led him to push through a roughly $800 billion stimulus package as one of his first business orders. Since then, unemployment has plummeted from 10% in late 2009 to below 5% today, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has more than doubled.

But by some measures, the country faces serious economic challenges: A steady hollowing of the middle class and income inequality reached its highest point since 1928."

Look at the faces of those rioting. They are of every race, religion, and creed. What they all have in common is they are of the demographic most impacted by the current economic recession. Job losses, income destruction, financial pressures, and debt create tension in the system until it explodes.

It has been the same in every economy throughout history. While the rich eat cake, the rest beg on street corners for scraps. Eventually, those most disenfranchised and oppressed storm the castle walls with "pitchforks and torches."

The Root Of The Problem

A recent article by MagnifyMoney hit on this issue.

"As the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the economy, many Americans are decreasing their retirement contributions, but some are raiding their retirement accounts to pay for essentials. A new survey found 3-in-10 Americans dipped into the funds meant for their golden years -- and the majority of those who have done so spent their nest egg on groceries."

America was not prepared financially for the downturn caused by the pandemic. They are angry, financially stressed, and the visible face of their ire has become Wall Street and the Fed.

Since the "Financial Crisis," the role of the Federal Reserve shifted from its dual mandate of "full employment" and "price stability" to a seeming inclusion of a "third mandate" supporting consumer confidence via the inflation of asset prices. As Ben Bernanke stated in 2010:

"This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. Stock prices rose, and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action.

Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending."

Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.

Unintended Consequences

As with all things, there are always the unintended consequences which follow. For the vast majority of Americans:

Instead, as discussed previously, the Fed's policies led to a growing divergence between the stock market and the economy. To wit:

"The one lesson that we have clearly learned since the 2008 "Great Financial Crisis," is that monetary and fiscal policy interventions do not lead to increased levels of economic wealth or prosperity. What these programs have done, is act as a wealth transfer system from the bottom 90% to the top 10%.

Since 2008 there have been rising calls for socialistic policies such as universal basic incomes, increased social welfare, and even a two-time candidate for President who was a self-admitted socialist.

Such things would not occur if "prosperity" was flourishing within the economy. "

This is simply because the stock market is not the economy.

Stocks Are Not The Economy

The Fed's interventions and suppressed interest rates have continued to have the opposite effect of which was intended. I have shown the following chart below previously to illustrate this point.

From Jan 1st, 2009 through the end of March, the stock market rose by an astounding 159%, or roughly 14% annualized. With such a large gain in the financial markets, one would expect a commensurate growth rate in the economy.

After 3-massive Federal Reserve driven "Quantitative Easing" programs, a maturity extension program, bailouts of TARP, TGLP, TGLF, etc., HAMP, HARP, direct bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, GM, bank supports, etc., all of which totaled more than $33 Trillion, cumulative real economic growth was just 5.48%.

While monetary interventions are supposed to be supporting economic growth through increases in consumer confidence, the outcome has been quite different.

Low, to zero, interest rates have incentivized non-productive debt, and exacerbated the wealth gap. The massive increases in debt has actually harmed growth by diverting consumptive spending to debt service.

"The rise in debt, which in the last decade was used primarily to fill the gap between incomes and the cost of living, has contributed to the retardation of economic growth."

Financial Shortcomings

The recent economic downtown caused by the pandemic has once again exposed the financial weakness that plagues the broader economy. The report by MagnifyMoney shows nearly 50% of Americans made changes to their plans within the first month of the pandemic for basic necessities.

What this tells you is that individuals could not survive more than ONE MONTH before tapping retirement savings. But what about the 50-60% of individuals that didn't have a plan to start with?

"A 2018 report from the non-profit National Institute on Retirement Security which found that nearly 60% of all working-age Americans do not own assets in a retirement account."

Here are some findings from that report:

Read those finding again.

If we use a more optimistic number of 50%, then 50% of American workers did not have the ability to tap additional "savings" to offset financial hardships during the pandemic.

It's no wonder they are in the streets rioting.

Only The Few

While the "savings rate" suggests that individuals are "hoarding money" due to the downturn, the reality is quite different. If American's had savings they would not be tapping into 401k plans and begging for checks. However, Deutsche Bank recently showed the savings rate for 90% of Americans is negative.

This is far different than the Governmental statistics suggesting the average American is saving 33% of their income.

In actuality, if you aren't in the "Top 20%" of income earners, you probably aren't saving much, if any, money.

The problem for the Fed is their own policies are what created the "wealth gap" to begin with. As noted by the WSJ.

"As of December 2019 -- before the shutdowns -- households in the bottom 20% of incomes had seen their financial assets, such as money in the bank, stock and bond investments or retirement funds, fall by 34% since the end of the 2007-09 recession , according to Fed data adjusted for inflation. Those in the middle of the income distribution have seen just 4% growth." – WSJ

This isn't surprising. A recent research report by BCA confirms one of the causes of the rising wealth gap in the U.S. The top-10% of income earners owns 88% of the stock market, while the bottom-90% owns just 12%.

The Fed Did It

The lack of economic improvement is clearly evident across all demographic classes. However, it has been the very policies of the Federal Reserve which created a wealth transfer mechanism from the poor to the rich. The ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve propelled asset prices higher, but left the majority of American families behind.

The problem is the Fed has become trapped by its policies, and consequently, started taking direction from Wall Street. Such has led the Federal Reserve to become a "hostage" of its own making.

If the Fed removes any monetary accommodation, the market declines. The Fed is forced to subsequently increase support for the financial markets, which exacerbates the wealth gap.

It's a virtual spiral from which the Fed can not extricate itself. It's a great system if you are rich and have money invested. Not so much if you are any one else.

As we are witnessing, the United States is not immune to social disruptions. The source of these problems is compounding due to the public's failure to appreciate "why" it is happening. Eventually, as has repeatedly occurred throughout history, the riots will turn their focus toward those in power.

That, as they say, is when "s*** gets real."

[Jun 01, 2020] Riots underline the need for systemic social change. An end to vulture capitalism which has caused most of the problems associated with extreme income inequity.

Jun 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Nancy O'Brien Simpson , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 2:09 pm GMT

@mark green It is interesting how both sides think they know the other side. Liberals think that Deplorables are redneck Nascar people with zero education. Rightists think the left are deluded commie pinkos, radical queers and pink pussy hatted idiots.

To help with your education I have protested the death of George Floyd in Cincinnati for two days. The protests were mostly young persons and half were white. About two thousand were in our park yesterday to hear speeches. The speeches were about systemic social change. An end to vulture capitalism which has caused most of the problems associated with extreme income inequity.

Also, an end to the endless insane wars fought for profit and American hegemony in places we do not belong. No one is horrified at the violence, we are surprised it did not begin sooner. Desperate people act in desperate ways. The system needs to change.

[Jun 01, 2020] Class struggle and the reaction of the neoliberal society to riots in the USA

Notable quotes:
"... It's also true that the oligarchy will continue to preserve the system it's created in the U.S. through all available means, using its militarized police forces as its loyal street level enforcers. Change would happen very quickly if enough police turned and join with the "mobs". ..."
Jun 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

by lizard

hauled from a comment

I think this relevant to how fractured the discourse is. it's a repost from my litter watering hole.

I know it's going to be difficult to accept what I'm about to say because people get very invested in their chosen narratives, but it's important that you at least be exposed to the notion that it's all true.

It's true that now is the time to realize what's at stake, but instead of acting collectively for our mutual benefit, the cognitive challenge of accepting that all these things can be true at the same time will keep us tied to one of these things to the exclusion of all the others.

It's hard work, I know. But I have faith in you.

Posted by b on June 1, 2020 at 16:08 UTC | Permalink

this analysis sees and describes what's occurring within the Outlaw US Empire, more than validating Cornel West's assessment, except it misses the major component--Class--while seeing lizard's list:

"As the world watches the US being confronted with massive riots, looting, chaos and heightened violence, US officials, instead of reflecting on the systematic problems in their society that led to such a crisis, have returned to their old 'blame game' against left-wingers, 'fake news' media and 'external forces....'

"[O]bservers see a weak, irresponsible and incompetent leadership navigating the country into a completely opposite direction, with all-out efforts to deflect public attention from its own failure.

"Mass protests erupted in a growing numbers of cities in the US over the weekend, and at least 40 cities have imposed curfews, while the National Guard has been activated in 14 states and Washington DC, according to US media reports ... [P]rotests across the country continued into a sixth straight night.

"More Americans have slammed the US president for inciting hatred and racism, and US officials, who turn a blind eye to the deep-seated issues in American society, including racial injustice, economic woes and the coronavirus pandemic, began shifting the blame to the former US president, extremists, and China for inflaming the social unrests."

Blaming Chinese, Russians and/or Martians isn't going to help Trump. Without doing a thing, Biden has risen to a lead of 8-10% in the most recent polling. Trumps many mistakes have dug him a hole that now seems to be collapsing in upon him. He's cursed worse than Midas as everything he attempts turns out a big negative and only worsens the situation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 1 2020 17:14 utc | 15

It's also true that the oligarchy will continue to preserve the system it's created in the U.S. through all available means, using its militarized police forces as its loyal street level enforcers. Change would happen very quickly if enough police turned and join with the "mobs". Otherwise any positive change in the prevailing structure will be extremely incremental if at all, and will be resisted at every level until it collapses because there is nothing left worth to exploit.

Posted by: krypton | Jun 1 2020 17:24 utc | 18


Posted by: Noirette | Jun 1 2020 17:26 utc | 19

Imho the present protests, social 'unrest,' in the USA will just die out as usual, nothing will be accomplished - what are the politcal demands? zero.. - on to the next chapter of misery and oppression.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 1 2020 17:26 utc | 19

Indeed, and there was no other goal by stirring up these protest to the public murder of Floyd in plain daylight, after decades of deideologization of the US masses by brainwashing through US education system, TV, Hollywood, and so on.

Provocate the poor masses to find no way than to emotionally revolt through a brute action broadcasted to the four corners of the US through the media, to then show the rightful protesters as disorganized anarchist riotters without any vison or idea ( with unestimable help by white supremacists and cops infiltrated, and even by rich blonde boys stealing surf boards as if there was no tomorrow...)so as to show the middle and upper classes that this will be the aspect of the country in case socialist policies would be put in practice. This is to appeal once again, and possibly the last one, to the greedy individualist allegevd "winner" to once more vote against its own interest, as after the elections all what would not be looted by the poor would be looted by the state. Then it will come the gnashing of teeth and regrets on not having suppoorted those poor people when they were being murdered in the streets.

But, may be, some would even be grateful of being quirurgically robed by the state ( thorugh their bank accounts and propieties value going down the hole...) instead of by these obviously majority of needed people....needed at least of respect....

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Jun 1 2020 17:42 utc | 20

"Antifa" only shows up and exists when it is needed, then magically disappears; same as Ali Queada and ISIS ...

This!

<> <> <> <> <>

Reposting my earlier comment on the Open Thread:

ZH reports that 6 people have died in the protests. Dozens of protesters and police have been injured. Tens of millions of dollars in property damage, police overtime, and cost of the likely spread of coronavirus ('second wave' now being blamed on the protesters).

All because the authorities will not appropriately charge the killers of George Floyd.

Instead, Trump and MSM turn the focus to "antifa". How convenient. MSM says nothing of the killing of 26-year old Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia weeks before and the attempted cover-up of his killing.

How many more have to die before the authorities act appropriately? How much more destruction and silent spread of coronavirus?

<> <> <> <> <>

The protesters say that a manslaughter charge against Chauvin is an injustice. Chauvin was a veteran officer who KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING when he remained on Floyd for more than 3 minutes after he had become non-responsive.

The protesters say that the other officers are accessories to murder because they did nothing to stop it.

Every reasonable person understands that the protesters have valid points. I would say that there's a consensus that Chauvin should be charged with Second-degree murder and the other officers charged as accessories. But the authorities drag their feet - while America burns.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 1 2020 17:44 utc | 21

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 1 2020 17:49 utc | 22

a)refrain from looting and that specifically the the small properties is a stupidity that will backfire quickly!
b) the demonstrations leaders must organize their own security
squads to prevent provocateurs from outside.
Fm these tasks the 1st one is rather difficult to reach, yes.The second one is much easier.

Posted by: augusto | Jun 1 2020 16:43 utc | 6

[Jun 01, 2020] It didn't happen overnight

Jun 01, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Dan Crawford | May 31, 2020 9:12 am

US/Global Economics by Ken Melvin

3 rd World

--

It didn't happen overnight.

The nightly news, when talking about the effect of the pandemic on the populace in, say, Southeast Asian, African, South American, countries, invariably refer to the tenuous hold on life of their working poor; they don't really have a job. Each day they rise and go forth looking for work that pays enough that they and their family can continue to subsist. It is, in some countries, a long-standing problem.

Sound too familiar? Sometime in the late 80s (??) Americans began to see day labors line up at Home Depot and Lowe's lots in numbers not seen since The Great Depression. Manufacturing Corporations began subbing out their work to sub-contractors, otherwise known as employees without benefits; Construction Contractors subbed out construction work to these employees without benefits; Engineering Firms subbed out engineering to these employees without benefits; Landscapers' workers were now sub-contractors/independent contractors; Here, in the SF Bay Area, time and again, we saw vans loads of undocumented Hispanics under a 'Labor Contractor' come in from the Central Valley to build condos; the white Contractor for the project didn't have a single employee; none of the workers got a W-2. Recall watching, sometime in the 90s (??), a familiar, well dressed, rotund guest from Wall Street, on the PBS News Hour, forcefully proclaiming to the TV audience:

American workers are going to have to learn to compete with the Chinese; Civil Service employees, factory employees, are all going to have to work for less

All this subcontracting, independent contractors, was a scam, a scam meant to circumvent paying going wages and benefits, to enhance profit margins; a scam that transferred more wealth to the top. Meanwhile back at The Ranch, after the H1B Immigration Act of 1990, Microsoft could hire programmers from India for one-half the cost of a citizen programmer. Half of Bill Gates' fortune was resultant these labor savings; the other half was made off those not US Citizens. Taking a cue, Banks, Bio-Techs, some City and State Governments began subcontracting out their programming to H1Bs. Often, the subcontractors/labor contractors (often themselves immigrants) providing the programmers, held the programmers' passports/visas for security.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, friends of Bush/Cheney made fortunes on clean up contracts they subbed out for next to nothing; the independent/subcontractor scam was now officially governmentally sanctioned.

By about 2000 we began to hear the term gig-workers applied to these employees without benefits. Uber appeared in 2007 to be followed by Lift. Both are scams based on paying less than prevailing wages, on not providing worker benefits,

These days, the nightly news, when talking about the effect of the pandemic on the populace in America, shows footage of Food Banks in California with lines 2! miles long. Many of those waiting in these lines didn't have a real job before; they were gig-workers; they can't apply for Unemployment Benefits. It is estimated that 1.6 million American workers (1% of the workforce) are gig-workers; they don't have a real job. That 1% is in addition to the 16 million American workers (10% of the workforce) that are independent contractors. Of the more than 40 million currently unemployed Americans, some 17 million are either gig-workers or subcontractors/independent contractors. All of these are scams meant to transfer more wealth to the top. All of these are scams with American Workers the victims; scams, in a race to the bottom.


Denis Drew , May 31, 2020 10:51 am

Ken,

Read this by the SEIU counsel Andrew Strom -- and tell me what you think:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

Democrats in the so called battle ground states would clean up at the polls with this. Why do you think those states strayed? It was because Obama and Hillary had no idea what they really needed. Voters had no idea what they SPECIFICALLY needed either -- UNIONS! They had been deunionized so thoroughly for so long that they THEMSELVES no long knew what they were missing (frogs in the slowly boiling pot).

In 1988 Jesse Jackson took the Democratic primary in Michigan with 54% against Dukakis and Gephardt. Obama beat Wall Street Romney and red-white-and-blue McCain in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. But nobody told these voters -- because nobody seems to remember -- what they really needed. These voter just knew by 2016 that Democrats had not what they needed and looked elsewhere -- anywhere else!

Strom presents an easy as can be, on-step-back treatment that should go down oh, so smoothly and sweetly. What do you think?

  • Matthew young , May 31, 2020 10:51 am

    Not overnight, but a few days in 1972 when Nixon fouled the defaults and none of us knew how badly at the time.

    Reseting prices takes a long time, it is not magic and Nixon had fouled the precious metals market, overnight. That and all the commodities market needed a restructure to adapt to our new regime.

    Our way out was to export price instability to Asia. My suggestion this time is to think through the math a bit before we all suddenly freak and do another over nighter. Think about how one might spread the partial default over a 15 year period.

    All of us, stuck with 40 years of flat earth economic planning without a clue. Now we have a year at best to nail down the Lucas criteria and get a default done with some science behind it.

    I doubt it. I figure we will all go to monetary meetup with our insurance contracts ready to be confirmed. That is impossible and Trump will be stuck doing a volatile, overnight partial default, like Nixon.,

  • EMichael , May 31, 2020 12:02 pm

    Dennis,

    The states you mentioned have overwhelmingly voted Rep for the last 3 decades in their state races. One of them has instituted right to work laws, and the other two have come very close to doing the same.

    The white working class cares nothing about unions at all. They have been voting against them for decades. It's why union rights and membership has deteriorated for 5 decades.

    run75441 , May 31, 2020 12:32 pm

    EM:

    Notably, I had posted the 2016 presidential election numbers numbers for MI, PA, and WI which resulted in an "anyone but Trump or Clinton vote" and gave th election to Trump. The "anyone but Trump or Clinton vote" resulted in a historical high for the "others" category and was anywhere from 3 to 6 times higher than previously experienced in other presidential elections. It also resulted in those three states casting Electoral votes for a Republican presidential candidate since 1992 – MI, 1988 – PA, and 1988 – WI. While this does defeat your comment above on those states voting Republican, it does not take away from your other comment on Sarandon. People punished themselves with Trump in spite of every obvious clue he demonstrated of being a loon. In this case the white working class voted against themselves for Trump and those of Sarandon's ilk helped them along by voting for "others."

  • EMichael , May 31, 2020 12:45 pm

    Run, I stated in "state elections".

    Y'know one other thing I have seen in MI voting is that the amount of people who voted did not cast a voted for President also was the highest ever. Thinking these are the same people like Sarandon. It was close to 90,000 in MI.

    "87,810: Number of voters this election who cast a ballot but did not cast a vote for president. That compares to 49,840 undervotes for president in 2012.

    5 percent: Proportion of voters who opted for a third-party candidate in this election, compared to 1 percent in 2012."

    https://www.mlive.com/politics/2016/11/michigans_presidential_electio.html

    run75441 , May 31, 2020 1:58 pm

    EM:

    I am going to put the numbers out here for Presidential Election 2012 and 2016. It is easier to look at them and the percentages.

    Michigan Presidential Vote 2012 and 2016

    In this site, you can look year to year on the vote. US Election Atlas

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:04 pm

    Denis

    Thanks for your comment and the link. Wow! Where to start, huh?

    SEIU was a player from the get go, but I don't want to go there just now.

    Before Reagan, there was the first rust belt move to the non-union south. Why was the south so anti-union? I think this stuff is engendered from infancy and most of us are incapable of thinking anew when it comes to stuff our parents 'taught' us. MLK was the best thing that ever happened to the dirt-road poor south, yet they hated him and they hated the very unions that might have lifted them up. They did seem to take pleasure in the yanks' loss of jobs.

    I think the Reagan era was prelude to what is going on now, i.e., going backward while yelling whee look at me go. No doubt, Reagan turned union members against their own unions. But, the genesis of demise probably lay with automation and the early offshoring to Mexico. By Reagan, the car plants were losing jobs to Toyota and Honda and automation. By 1990, car plants that had previously employed 5,000, now automated, produced more cars employing only 1200. At the time, much of the nation's wealth was still derived from car production.

    Skipping forward a bit, the democrats blew it for years with all their talk about the 'middle-class' without realizing it was the 'disappearing middle-class'. They ignored the poor working-class vote and lost election after election.

    I've come to not like the term labor, think it affords capital an undeserved status, though much diminished, I think thought all workers would be better off in a union. Otherwise, as we are witnessing, there is no parity between workers and wealth; we are in a race to the bottom with the wealth increasingly go to the top.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:15 pm

    Matthew – thanks for your comment

    I think that we are into a transition (about 45 yrs into) as great as the industrial revolution. We, as probably those poor souls of the 18th and 19th centuries did, are floundering, unable to come to terms with what is going on.

    I also think that those such as the Kochs have a good grasp of what is going on and are moving to protect themselves and their class.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:21 pm

    EMichael, thanks for the comment

    Are you implying that the politicians are way behind the curve? If so, I think that you are right.

    Let me share what I was thinking last night about thinking:

    Descartes' problem was that he desperately wanted to make philosophy work within the framework of his religion, Catholicism. Paul Krugman desperately wants to make economics all work within the Holy Duality of Capitalism and Free Markets. Even Joe Stiglitz can't step out of this text. All things being possible, it is possible that either could come up with a solution to today's economic problems that would fit within the Two; but the odds are not good. Better to think anew.

    We see politicians try and try to find solutions for today's problems from within their own dogmas/ideologies. Even if they can't, they persist, they still try to impose these dogmas/ideologies in the desperate hope they might work if only applied to a greater degree. How else explain any belief that markets could anticipate and respond to pandemics? That markets could best respond to housing demand?

  • anne , May 31, 2020 1:48 pm

    Ken Melvin,

    Interesting and fine writing.

  • anne , May 31, 2020 1:49 pm

    https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1267060950026326018

    Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

    Glad to see Noah Smith highlighting this all-too-relevant work by the late Alberto Alesina 1/

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-30/racism-is-the-biggest-reason-u-s-safety-net-is-so-weak

    Racism Is the Biggest Reason the U.S. Safety Net Is So Weak
    Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, who died last week, found that ethnic divisions made the country less effective at providing public goods.

    7:50 AM · May 31, 2020

    The Alesina/Glaeser/Sacerdote paper on why America doesn't have a European-style welfare state -- racism -- had a big impact on my own thinking 2/

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

    For a long time anyone who pointed out that the modern GOP is basically a party that serves plutocratic ends by weaponizing white racism was treated as "shrill" and partisan. Can we now admit the obvious? 3/

  • EMichael , May 31, 2020 1:53 pm

    Ken,

    Half the politicians are behind the curve. When George Wallace showed the GOP how to win elections (Don't ever get outniggerred) the Dem Party failed to see and react to it. Then the Kochs of the world stepped in with the John Birch society (fromerly the KKK) and started playing race against class, which resulted in the white working class supporting anti-labor pols and legislation.

    The election of Obama caused the racists to go totally off the reservation with the Tea Party (formerly the KKK and the John Birch Society) and lead us to where we are now.

    Of course, the corporate world followed the blueprint.

    Way past time for the Dem Party to start attacking on a constant basis the racist GOP. And also to start appealing more to workers, though the 2016 platform certainly did that to a large degree, and the 2020 platform looks to be mush more supportive of labor than ever.

    "It's a detailed and aggressive agenda that includes doubling the minimum wage and tripling funding for schools with low-income students. He is proposing the most sweeping overhaul of immigration policy in a generation, the biggest pro-union push in three generations, and the most ambitious environmental agenda of all time.

    If Democrats take back the Senate in the fall, Biden could make his agenda happen. A primary is about airing disagreements, but legislating is about building consensus. The Democratic Party largely agrees on a suite of big policy changes that would improve the lives of millions of Americans in meaningful ways. Biden has detailed, considered plans to put much of this agenda in place. But getting these plans done will be driven much more by the outcome of the congressional elections than his questioned ambition.

    A big minimum wage increase

    Biden's commitment to raising the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $15 an hour is one of the least talked-about plans at stake in the 2020 election.

    In the 2016 cycle when Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders disagreed about raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, the debate was the subject of extensive coverage. By the 2020 cycle, all the major Democratic candidates were on board, so it didn't come up much. But it's significant that this is no longer controversial in Democratic Party circles. If the party is broadly comfortable with the wage hike as a matter of both politics and substance, Democrats in Congress are likely to make it happen if it's at all possible.
    Noji Olaigbe, left, from the Fight for $15 minimum wage movement, speaks during a McDonald's workers' strike in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on May 23, 2019. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

    The $15-an-hour minimum wage increase is also a signature issue for Biden. He endorsed New York's version of it in the fall of 2015, back when he was vice president and his boss Barack Obama was pushing a smaller federal raise.

    A big minimum wage hike polls well, it aligns with Biden's thematic emphasis on "the dignity of work," and it's a topic on which he's genuinely been a leader. It reflects his political sensibilities, which are moderate but in a decidedly more populist mode than Obama's technocratic one.

    Biden has a big Plan A to support organized labor, and a Plan B that's still consequential and considerably more plausible politically.

    Beyond a general disposition to be a good coalition partner to organized labor, the centerpiece of his union agenda is support for the PRO Act, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this year.

    That bill, were it to become law, would be the biggest victory for unions and collective bargaining since the end of World War II -- overriding state "right to work" laws, barring mandatory anti-union briefings from management during organizing campaigns, imposing much more meaningful financial penalties on companies that illegally fire workers for pro-union activity, and allowing organizing through a streamlined card check process. Separately, Biden and House Democrats have lined up behind a Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act that would bolster public sector workers' collective bargaining rights. "

    https://www.vox.com/2020/5/26/21257648/joe-biden-climate-economy-tax-plans

    One of the big issues here is Biden not committing to killing the filibuster, in addition to Dem Senators not in agreement either. That would be a disaster for any legislation.

    Makes sense not to run on ending the filibuster now, as there is a chance trump can win and teh GOP keeps the Senate. But if the opposite happens and Biden wins and Dems take the Senate, they will have to pivot quickly to getting rid of the filibuster. Apply any and all possible pressure to those Dem Senators who do not agree with that. Threaten them with losing committee posts; primary opponents; the kitchen sink.

    Yes, it poses a risk in the event the Reps get a trifecta again, but it is time to flood progressive legislation into law, and getting rid of the filibuster is the only way.

    And if they can hit the trifecta and bring this platform to fruition, they won't have to worry about a GOP trifecta for a long, long time. Possibly forever.

  • anne , May 31, 2020 1:56 pm

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

    September, 2001

    Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?
    By Alberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote

    Abstract

    European countries are much more generous to the poor relative to the US level of generosity. Economic models suggest that redistribution is a function of the variance and skewness of the pre-tax income distribution, the volatility of income (perhaps because of trade shocks), the social costs of taxation and the expected income mobility of the median voter. None of these factors appear to explain the differences between the US and Europe. Instead, the differences appear to be the result of racial heterogeneity in the US and American political institutions. Racial animosity in the US makes redistribution to the poor, who are disproportionately black, unappealing to many voters. American political institutions limited the growth of a socialist party, and more generally limited the political power of the poor.

  • rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:07 pm

    This dynamic is not limited to low-skill jobs. I have seen it at work in electronics engineering. When I was a sprat, job shoppers got an hourly wage nearly twice that of their company peers, because they had no benefits or long-term employment. Today, job shoppers are actually paid less than company engineers; and the companies are outsourcing ever more of their staffing to the brokers.
    Without labor market frictions, the iron law of wages drives wages to starvation levels. As sophisticated uberization software eliminates the frictions that have protected middle class wages in the recent past, we will all need to enlist unionization and government wage standards to protect us.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:29 pm

    Rick

    The big engineering offices of the 70s were decimated and worse by the mid-90s; mostly by the advent of computers w/ software. One engineer could now do the work of 10 and didn't need any draftsman.

  • rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:40 pm

    I was speaking of engineers with equal skill in the same office. Many at GE Avionics were laid off, and came back as lower paid contract empoyees.

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:46 pm

    Rick

    Die biden

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:52 pm

    beiden

    The both

  • ken melvin , May 31, 2020 3:05 pm

    EMichael

    Minimum wage, the row about the $600, all such things endanger the indentured servant economic model so favored in the south. Keep them poor and hungry and they will work for next to nothing. 'Still they persist.' On PBS, a black woman cooking for a restaurant said that she was being paid less than $4/hr.

  • anne , May 31, 2020 4:48 pm

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge

    May 30, 2020

    Don't understand the protests? What you're seeing is people pushed to the edge
    By KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR – Los Angeles Times

    What was your first reaction when you saw the video of the white cop kneeling on George Floyd's neck while Floyd croaked, "I can't breathe"?

    If you're white, you probably muttered a horrified, "Oh, my God" while shaking your head at the cruel injustice. If you're black, you probably leapt to your feet, cursed, maybe threw something (certainly wanted to throw something), while shouting, "Not @#$%! again!" Then you remember the two white vigilantes accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood in February, and how if it wasn't for that video emerging a few weeks ago, they would have gotten away with it. And how those Minneapolis cops claimed Floyd was resisting arrest but a store's video showed he wasn't. And how the cop on Floyd's neck wasn't an enraged redneck stereotype, but a sworn officer who looked calm and entitled and devoid of pity: the banality of evil incarnate.

    Maybe you also are thinking about the Karen in Central Park who called 911 claiming the black man who asked her to put a leash on her dog was threatening her. Or the black Yale University grad student napping in the common room of her dorm who was reported by a white student. Because you realize it's not just a supposed "black criminal" who is targeted, it's the whole spectrum of black faces from Yonkers to Yale.

    You start to wonder if it should be all black people who wear body cams, not the cops.

    What do you see when you see angry black protesters amassing outside police stations with raised fists? If you're white, you may be thinking, "They certainly aren't social distancing." Then you notice the black faces looting Target and you think, "Well, that just hurts their cause." Then you see the police station on fire and you wag a finger saying, "That's putting the cause backward."

    You're not wrong -- but you're not right, either. The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness -- write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change -- the needle hardly budges.

    But COVID-19 has been slamming the consequences of all that home as we die at a significantly higher rate than whites, are the first to lose our jobs, and watch helplessly as Republicans try to keep us from voting .

    run75441 , May 31, 2020 9:39 pm

    anne:

    If you rcomments are not appearing they are going to spam, Just let me know and I will fish them out of spam. Just approved 4 of yours.

  • Bert Schlitz , May 31, 2020 7:14 pm

    The protests are self centered crap blacks do year after year. Considering 370 whites over 100 Latinos were killed by cops, many as bad as that guy in minnie. Blacks have a Trumptard mentality. We have a ecological disaster, a economic disaster and pandemic(when th they are spreading). Yet let's whine about one bad cop related homicide.

    This may begin the breakup of the Democratic party and the blacks. The differences are just to large.

  • Kaleberg , May 31, 2020 9:40 pm

    It's rather sad that it takes a massive civil disturbance to get the authorities to arrest a man videotaped killing another. You'd think that would just happen as a matter of course, but that's how it works in this country. Post Comment Leave a Reply Cancel reply

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    [May 31, 2020] Eye-catching advances in some AI fields are not real Science AAAS

    May 31, 2020 | www.sciencemag.org

    Just_Super/iStock.com
    Eye-catching advances in some AI fields are not real

    By Matthew Hutson May. 27, 2020 , 12:05 PM

    Artificial intelligence (AI) just seems to get smarter and smarter. Each iPhone learns your face, voice, and habits better than the last, and the threats AI poses to privacy and jobs continue to grow. The surge reflects faster chips, more data, and better algorithms. But some of the improvement comes from tweaks rather than the core innovations their inventors claim -- and some of the gains may not exist at all, says Davis Blalock, a computer science graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Blalock and his colleagues compared dozens of approaches to improving neural networks -- software architectures that loosely mimic the brain. "Fifty papers in," he says, "it became clear that it wasn't obvious what the state of the art even was."

    The researchers evaluated 81 pruning algorithms, programs that make neural networks more efficient by trimming unneeded connections. All claimed superiority in slightly different ways. But they were rarely compared properly -- and when the researchers tried to evaluate them side by side, there was no clear evidence of performance improvements over a 10-year period. The result , presented in March at the Machine Learning and Systems conference, surprised Blalock's Ph.D. adviser, MIT computer scientist John Guttag, who says the uneven comparisons themselves may explain the stagnation. "It's the old saw, right?" Guttag said. "If you can't measure something, it's hard to make it better."

    Researchers are waking up to the signs of shaky progress across many subfields of AI. A 2019 meta-analysis of information retrieval algorithms used in search engines concluded the "high-water mark was actually set in 2009." Another study in 2019 reproduced seven neural network recommendation systems, of the kind used by media streaming services. It found that six failed to outperform much simpler, nonneural algorithms developed years before, when the earlier techniques were fine-tuned, revealing "phantom progress" in the field. In another paper posted on arXiv in March, Kevin Musgrave, a computer scientist at Cornell University, took a look at loss functions, the part of an algorithm that mathematically specifies its objective. Musgrave compared a dozen of them on equal footing, in a task involving image retrieval, and found that, contrary to their developers' claims, accuracy had not improved since 2006. "There's always been these waves of hype," Musgrave says.

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    Gains in machine-learning algorithms can come from fundamental changes in their architecture, loss function, or optimization strategy -- how they use feedback to improve. But subtle tweaks to any of these can also boost performance, says Zico Kolter, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who studies image-recognition models trained to be immune to " adversarial attacks " by a hacker. An early adversarial training method known as projected gradient descent (PGD), in which a model is simply trained on both real and deceptive examples, seemed to have been surpassed by more complex methods. But in a February arXiv paper , Kolter and his colleagues found that all of the methods performed about the same when a simple trick was used to enhance them.

    Old dogs, new tricks

    After modest tweaks, old image-retrieval algorithms perform as well as new ones, suggesting little actual innovation.

    Contrastive (2006) ProxyNCA (2017) SoftTriple (2019) 0 25 50 75 100 Accuracy score Original performance Tweaked performance
    (GRAPHIC) X. LIU/ SCIENCE ; (DATA) MUSGRAVE ET AL ., ARXIV: 2003.08505

    "That was very surprising, that this hadn't been discovered before," says Leslie Rice, Kolter's Ph.D. student. Kolter says his findings suggest innovations such as PGD are hard to come by, and are rarely improved in a substantial way. "It's pretty clear that PGD is actually just the right algorithm," he says. "It's the obvious thing, and people want to find overly complex solutions."

    Other major algorithmic advances also seem to have stood the test of time. A big breakthrough came in 1997 with an architecture called long short-term memory (LSTM), used in language translation. When properly trained, LSTMs matched the performance of supposedly more advanced architectures developed 2 decades later. Another machine-learning breakthrough came in 2014 with generative adversarial networks (GANs), which pair networks in a create-and-critique cycle to sharpen their ability to produce images, for example. A 2018 paper reported that with enough computation, the original GAN method matches the abilities of methods from later years.

    Kolter says researchers are more motivated to produce a new algorithm and tweak it until it's state-of-the-art than to tune an existing one. The latter can appear less novel, he notes, making it "much harder to get a paper from."

    Guttag says there's also a disincentive for inventors of an algorithm to thoroughly compare its performance with others -- only to find that their breakthrough is not what they thought it was. "There's a risk to comparing too carefully." It's also hard work : AI researchers use different data sets, tuning methods, performance metrics, and baselines. "It's just not really feasible to do all the apples-to-apples comparisons."

    Some of the overstated performance claims can be chalked up to the explosive growth of the field, where papers outnumber experienced reviewers. "A lot of this seems to be growing pains ," Blalock says. He urges reviewers to insist on better comparisons to benchmarks and says better tools will help. Earlier this year, Blalock's co-author, MIT researcher Jose Gonzalez Ortiz, released software called ShrinkBench that makes it easier to compare pruning algorithms.

    Researchers point out that even if new methods aren't fundamentally better than old ones, the tweaks they implement can be applied to their forebears. And every once in a while, a new algorithm will be an actual breakthrough. "It's almost like a venture capital portfolio," Blalock says, "where some of the businesses are not really working, but some are working spectacularly well."

    [May 30, 2020] The best time for the American working and lower middle class was the 30 years after WWII, les trente glorieuses, at the height of the American empire.

    May 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    lysias , May 30 2020 0:26 utc | 129

    The time of greatest equality for Athens and greatest prosperity for the Athenian poor was the height of Athens's empire, under Pericles. And the Athenian elite hated it, for that very reason. You can read about it in Plato, or in pseudo-Xenophon aka The Old Oligarch.

    Just as the best time for the American working and lower middle class was the 30 years after WWII, les trente glorieuses, at the height of the American empire.

    It may well be that empire eventually spoiled things for American democracy, by giving too much power to the rich, but Athenian democracy declined and died not because of Athenian empire, but because external forces killed it, military defeat at the hands of greater powers, Macedon and Rome.

    [May 30, 2020] Infiltration of protest movements by agent provocateurs posing as protesters goes back at least as far as COINTELPRO and was a key tactic in dismantling OWS.

    May 30, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    Big River Bandido , May 29, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Eagerly awaiting links and your take on Minneapolis.

    I have been struck by the appropriateness of the protesters' targets: a store in a chain owned by the former governor (a Democrat) where they prototyped racist "security measures", and the police precinct that caused all this. Those were exceptional choices for sending the message.

    We are seeing the corrupt Democrat party's electoral coalition fray before our eyes, one group at a time. First the left, then women, now AA voters. What's next for these clowns?

    Carolinian , May 29, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    They also burned down an Aldi and an Autozone. Muddying the message?

    Maybe it was less about messages and more about availability.

    Big River Bandido , May 29, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Police precincts are not usually "available" targets.

    And the AutoZone hit was started by a now-IDd undercover cop provocateur.

    ambrit , May 29, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    What do the local cops have against Auto Zone? Bad coffee?
    These 'riots' are not a real threat yet. When the 'insurgents' get organized and begin attacking ten percent suburbs, then the Status Quo can worry.

    Big River Bandido , May 29, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Infiltration of protest movements by agent provocateurs posing as protesters goes back at least as far as COINTELPRO and was a key tactic in dismantling OWS.

    If a crowd goes along (instead of questioning his actions, like the man in the pink tank top) and joins in the melee, the cops have their evidence.

    Alternate Delegate , May 29, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Appropriateness of targets went out the window at some point after this started. Talked to a neighbor whose small business on Minneapolis' Lake Street got hit. Says the video just showed skinny kids looking for money. Was not happy the cops vacated the area and didn't even pretend to protect anything.

    It might have been better if people could have confined their attention to the abusive Target chain (by the way, Target is no longer owned by the Dayton family, cf. former governor Mark Dayton), or to CVS chain pharmacies. Instead we lost institutions like century-old independent pharmacies burned to the ground.

    There's a lack of understanding. People don't understand who did this to them. They get frustrated and they go out and break things. Maybe they grab things. But I wish they could figure out who their enemies really are.

    Massinissa , May 29, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    "But I wish they could figure out who their enemies really are."

    When you're poor, the authorities don't care about you, you have minimal education and limited access to information, and when the mainstream media is out and out propaganda for the upper classes, that is much easier said than done.

    Its not like there's a genuine workers or even genuine modern civil rights movement to help tell them who said enemies are.

    The Rev Kev , May 29, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    To be fair, the Minneapolis police just don't kill black people and try to get away with it. They have been known to kill blonde, white women as well and try to get away with it-

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

    Reply

    JBird4049 , May 29, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    That's one shooting I've never understood. Shooting the unarmed blonde Australian woman with the muzzle (blast) inches from the face/eyes/ear of your partner while inside a car is an excellent way to permanently scar/blind/deafen them and maybe damage your own hearing, too. WTF?

    Into the night the protests grew and took on a socialist tone when people started to communalize the goods offered at a local Target market known for its extensive survival.

    That's a funny way of describing a group of thugs smashing then burning a Target store after stealing every single piece of high price electronics, clothing, jewelry and furniture from a place that had absolutely nothing to do with the murder crime whatsoever. I wonder how the McDonald's was guilty, did its poor working class staff cheer the cop on and celebrate as they lost their only source of income in an economically shaky time?

    Are we gonna talk about the "peaceful protesters" who assaulted an old lady in wheelchair by trying to rip her out of it before they cried knife and emptied a fire extinguisher into her face when she tried to defend herself? Or is that just not worth bring up?

    You know, I'm tired of this leftist BS, I'm tired of how blacks get a free ride to riot, loot and commit race crimes every goddamn day of the week. None of you seem to give two f**ks whenever blacks commits a drive by shooting that gets a little girl killed or when some teen walks into a place and empties an uzi down a crowded street that leaves several injured and dead.

    Brings back memories of the leftist protests in Hamburg against the gathering of the bilderburg group, protests I might add that include burning down working class stores, working class cars, vandalizing working class homes and stealing everything not on fire or nailed down from working class peoples workplaces. (Thank commie pigs for victimizing the working class to protect your overprivileged upper class champagne socialist lifestyle.)

    Its almost as if communists and blacks don't care about black lives or police violence but were just looking for an excuse to riot and commit crimes like arson, theft and assault like beating up every white person in sight like they did in Baltimore. Again I already know you don't give a f**k when its a white person since not a single one o you got up in arms over an unarmed Dillon Taylor getting gunned down by a black cop. https://thefederalistpapers.org/usf/unarmed-white-man-killed-by-black-cop-heres-how-the-media-reacted

    But if your endgame is to pull a Charles Manson and kickstart Helter Skelter, well congrats, you are getting your wish. Keep doing this stuff, the more your side rampage and calls for whites to be killed, the more black pilled whites there are with guns and the needed fear to use them preemptively.

    Posted by: Mighty Whitey | May 30 2020 0:00 utc | 122

    My point was that, if what I read in the Washington Post about Floyd initially resisting arrest is correct -- and the truth is likely to come out in trials of the policemen -- the white working and middle classes will not support a revolution over his killing. My further point was that, if you want a revolution, you should wait a month or two until there are mass evictions.

    Posted by: lysias | May 30 2020 0:13 utc | 126

    There has been many studies done looking at police brutality and shootings. Black officers kill whites and blacks. White officers kill whites and blacks. But dealing with urban blacks is no cakewalk and probably the hardest beat in policing bar none.

    Anyone been to Baltimore lately or south-side Chicago. Didn't think so.

    Bring these cops to justice, that is fine. But their faces...pure evil? I think not.

    Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 30 2020 1:05 utc | 134

    It is worth noting that the two coppers who brought down the arsehole Christchurch mosque butcher, did so without guns. There was footage of the unarmed takedown on the web shortly after it happened, but that no longer seems to be available, all the available vids now show the prick being held down while other armed coppers late to the scene surround them pointing guns. afaik the pair of off duty (they had come to town for a training course) coppers who performed the unarmed arrest haven't been awarded honours.

    Yes it is in the interests of elites to keep us divided, but that doesn't mean we must ignore these police shooting outrages, what is required is concerted effort to raise awareness among amerika's whitefellas that being scared of another human just because he/she is a different colour, is palpably stupid. It is mostly fright that causes this race hatred in amerika.

    Over the course of my existence I have noticed that the most racist of humans are those who have had the least amount of contact with other races.

    Posted by: A User | May 30 2020 1:07 utc | 135

    psychohistorian @132--

    Well, The Class War's been ongoing for 3,000 years, and the US Treasury's undergone a continuous robbing since 1913. We both know and agree the #1 enemy are the Financial Parasites wherever they may reside along with their Neoliberal Doctrine. Friedman, Reagan and Thatcher are all dead, so we can't try them for their crimes, but weren't they merely carrying out the wishes of those who put them into office? Aren't those Parasites the ones we need to deal with?

    Just finished watching Four Horsemen , which asks the right questions in its closing 10 minutes if you don't have the time to watch all 90.

    Posted by: karlof1 | May 30 2020 1:07 utc | 136

    George Floyd died Monday. Monday night protests began, cops fired on protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets,
    people called for arrest of 4 police that murdered Floyd.

    Wednesday 2 men shot in the head with rubber bullets more tear gas no cop arrests. https://twitter.com/bengarvin/status/1265793808991768578

    2 shot at a pawn shop near 3rd Precinct building, 1 dead, shooter arrested (not a cop but pawn shop connected)

    Predator Drone 20K feet over Minneapolis St Paul usually used on the NoDak/MN/Canada border. https://twitter.com/jason_paladino/status/1266399916978507779


    Only 500 Nation Guard mobilized the rest in Middle East killing for the empire.

    George Floyd and cop Derek Chavin both worked security at a Minneapolis night club https://kstp.com/news/george-floyd-fired-officer-overlapped-security-shifts-at-south-minneapolis-club-may-28-2020/5743990/
    Was this murder because of that?

    Partial list of burned/looted businesses/apartments https://www.startribune.com/these-minneapolis-st-paul-buildings-are-damaged-looted-after-george-floyd-protests/569930671/

    Some homes broken into in St. Paul Cathedral Hill district.

    Protests/damage/looting were not just a few blocks but many miles long, spanned N. to S. and East to West in St. Paul and included some suburbs. Not just a few areas but many.

    Many media shot with rubber bullets.

    May 26 (day George Floyd died) Minnesota National Guard had members posting racist social media postings. https://twitter.com/MNNationalGuard/status/1265335418817589252

    Posted by: Johnny Law | May 30 2020 2:35 utc | 151

    List of cities rioting:

    https://twitter.com/auroraintel/status/1266569835414200323?s=21

    Its all over the place..

    Posted by: Lozion | May 30 2020 3:28 utc | 157

    [May 29, 2020] It s not a civil war until the *other* civilians start shooting at the rioters

    May 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Richard Steven Hack , May 29 2020 13:54 utc | 18

    It's not a civil war until the *other* civilians start shooting at the rioters. At this point, it's just the usual police repression.

    Now given that thousands of people who previously never owned a firearm have now acquired them - although it is unclear how many of them will be concealed carriers, given the variance in state laws - it's only a matter of time before some people start shooting. Like the Korean shop owners in LA notably did during the Rodney King riots IIRC.

    But it won't be a civil war until a significant number of people on both sides are actually shooting.

    There's a guy named Selco Begovic who survived the civil war in Bosnia. He writes articles for prepper Web sites and he has book out. He has vividly described conditions of life in a civil war. Most people in the US are not going to handle that sort of thing well. Try this one as it pertains to b's post.

    How the SHTF in Bosnia: Selco Asks Americans, "Does this sound familiar?"

    Trisha , May 29 2020 15:02 utc | 32

    The true enemies of humanity are corporations, so the violence is not a "civil war", but revolt. Along those lines, it's not "looting" but sabotage. And the "police" are not peace-keepers but militarized enforcers.

    It's a complete waste of time engaging in electoral "politics." Politicians are corporate whores doing their master's bidding, as are the "police."

    Thanks b, for another incisive post.

    Nemesiscalling , May 29 2020 16:07 utc | 44
    Blacks occupy a disproportionate piece of those in poverty.

    Poverty breeds a lot of different evils and many of them are self-defeating cycles.

    ... ... ...

    karlof1 , May 29 2020 21:26 utc | 90
    Just finished listening to the latest interview given by Michael Hudson , "Defining a Tyrant," whose focus is on the necessity of applying debt forgiveness to those residing within the Outlaw US Empire as the economic affects of COVID-19 will be much worse than we've already seen. Those who want to get to the current moment can begin listening at the 40 minute mark (yes, it's just audio). You'll need to note that the unemployment numbers as I've been writing for awhile now are greatly understated, although the host Gary Null does allude to that reality as NYC itself is emptying out--imagine Wall Street sitting in the middle of a ghost metropolis. As you'll learn, Trump's MAGA Mantra is 100% hollow without enacting a wide ranging debt write-off--even if factories could be put back into business, the Outlaw US Empire's economy would still remain very uncompetitive because of the issue of debt service and privatized health care--issues I've written about before.

    And so the main topic: Civil War. Or, is it? Reality demands it be named Class War, for that's what it is in reality. Hudson maps out how its done and by whom while naming the abettors. The Popular Forces number 280 million, not including those too young/old/infirm to bear arms. The Forces of Reaction minus the paid forces of coercion number well under 100,000. Even adding in police and military, it's still 280 million to perhaps 10 million. And even if only half of the 280 million stand up, that's 140 million. The rallying cry ought to be It's better to die standing up for your rights versus groveling on your knees. Too bad all of the above's too large for one Tweet.

    willie , May 29 2020 21:31 utc | 91
    The way they provoked the violence on smashing shop windows with forehammer is exactly what was witnessed inParis when apparent "black block" types did the same and then got back in their policevan.
    I note that in France Riot police is clad in robocop armour and that this armour is a weapon in itself,it deshumanizes the man inside to himself,and to others.A strike of his arm is much more powerful than if he were dressed as your american cop on patrol,probably they give them steroid or something to be able to move rapidly with all the weight.They must feel like the Hulk!

    Now it would be a sign of peaceful government if just any political party would make a ban on those outfits.

    vinnieoh , May 29 2020 21:51 utc | 93
    So the medical examiner concluded that there was no evidence of choking or suffocation, and instead was the result of his "restraint" exacerbating underlying conditions, and suggesting there was the possibility of intoxication or drugs, which is the basis for the pre-determination that Chauvin will only be charged with 3rd degree murder, which of course they'll try to whittle down to manslaughter (the coincidental charge.)

    Let me see if I've got this straight: a man that is being restrained by the neck, who eventually dies from no other action, who repeatedly pleads that "I can't breath," who onlookers see and record that the man can not in fact breath, and the medical examiner finds no evidence of choking or strangulation.

    Further, Officer Chauvin, in close physical contact with the eventual corpse of his victim, must surely have felt the life ebbing from George Floyd. No way no how this mother fucker gets charged with anything other than 1st degree murder. His accomplices get charged with accessory to 1st degree murder.

    Dr Wellington Yueh , May 29 2020 21:59 utc | 97
    Note to peaceful protestors: CAPTURE THE PROVOCATEUR!!!!!

    If you see somebody doing this shit, don't wag your finger at him, get that fucker and firmly-but-peacefully eject him from the crowd.

    CitizenX , May 29 2020 22:10 utc | 102
    Do yourself a favor and read-

    "War is a Racket" -Smedley Butler 1933
    "Beyond Vietnam - Time to Break the Silence" -MLK 1967
    "Art Truth and Politics" -Harold Pinter 2005

    What has changed in 100 yrs of uSSa Empire? Foreign policy? Domestic policy?
    Economic policy? All have become worse.

    The u$$a Regime lies, cheats, steals, rapes, murders, tortures, overthrows, bombs,
    invades, destroys, and loots with impunity Global wide.
    How a citizen of this Rogue nation can feel good about that is beyond hypocrisy.

    This Regime and the humans behind this sickening system must be replaced.
    The Military Surveilance Police state must end. The Humans behind this system must be replaced
    by any means necessary. Both the safety of the world and domestically rely on their removal.

    When finished "Entertaining Ourselves to Death" and coming to terms with the truly Evil nature of the human beings operating and supporting this system- perhaps you will becomea full human being. Get Up Stand Up.

    The difference between ignorance and delusions are substantial.
    Ignorance being the lack of knowledge. Delusion being the presence of false
    knowledge. Where do you stand?

    I don't need protection from the police.
    But We ALL need protection FROM the police state.
    Will you fight to defend yourself, your family, your neighbor or fellow human being
    against a cruel vile corrupt system? Selfishness and greed are no excuse for complacency.
    What is worth defending- your property or your virtues?

    I have long been disgusted by the u$$a regimes domestic and foreign policies. Which means I have long been disgusted by my fellow citizens (human beings) which support and operate this vile system.

    Revolution-
    Complacency and passive complicit citizens Or values, humaneness and justice?

    Where do you stand? When do you stand for a meaningful life of society?

    lysias , May 29 2020 22:24 utc | 106
    The white working and lower middle classes will not support violent rioting by blacks over a black issue. This is not a way to start a revolution.

    What's more, the latest reporting I read in the Washington Post is that Floyd initially resisted arrest. The early reporting that he did not resist arrest was apparently incorrect.

    Moreover, the medical evidence suggests that he died not from asphyxiation or a broken neck, but because of comorbidities.

    Floyd had a lengthy criminal record.

    If you want a revolution in the U.S., wait a month or two until there are mass evictions.

    H.Schmatz , May 29 2020 22:30 utc | 108
    It seems that the revolution will not happen after all, just has been declared curfew...

    This is a warning to anybody who would dare to revolt against the coming misery conditions of life while the oligarchs continue enriching themselves and looting every penny available.

    This is a secondary gain from the pandemic, as we were accustomed to multiple declared state of alarm throughout the world, they thinks that going a step further would not cause any shock....

    There have been equally violent revolts in France and Chile continuously during the past year, and in France again in the banlieus, and then curfew was not declared...

    This is the land of the free....There you have your fascist state turning on yourselves...
    When they came for the Venezuelans, seized their assets and embassies, I did nothing; when they came for the Iranians and murdered Soleimani, I said nothing; when they came for the communists in the Odessa House of Unions, I did not move a finger; when they slaughtered people at the four cardinal points of the world, I did continue living my "American Dream" as if the thing would not go with me...until I did awaken to find myself in the same nightmare....

    https://twitter.com/edukabak/status/1266055032883023872/photo/1

    Do you think that were not for the riots of the last nights, Chauvin would had been detained and charged?

    Richard Steven Hack , May 29 2020 22:50 utc | 112
    I've suggested in the past that civil war was unlikely in the US because that would requires a significant percentage of the electorate to actually take sides and shoot someone - and most of the population is so anti-gun these days that such a scenario was unlikely, especially over political issues that aren't usually considered as *directly* adversely affecting most of the population, at least in their minds. It would also require some direct organization on both sides and I don't see anyone capable of that on the national scene.

    What I can easily see happening, however, is the sort of multi-city, large-scale rioting that occurred in the Sixties and in other parts of the world, leading to a declaration of martial law in at least some, possibly many, larger cities, if not nation-wide (a lot of rural areas would likely not be affected.) Economic issues and issues of social repression are usually the causes of large-scale violence historically in most countries. Most "political" issues usually boil down to either ethnic or economic or repression issues.

    The US doesn't have really that much ethnic issues, except in the Southwest over Latino immigration. The US has racial, economic and repression issues, however. Most of the time they just simmer, with local limited outbreaks of violence. But in cases of blatant repression, or under severe economic pressure, they can explode into wider-scale violence.

    And we've got both on the horizon. The impact of the pandemic (and the government's clueless response, thanks to Trump and previous Presidents) on the economy is likely to produce extreme economic pressure, especially on the middle class and the poor. Adding the extreme militarization of the US police over the last several decades, and this is a recipe for large-scale violence that continues for more than a few days or a week. Once police over-reaction and the appearance of the National Guard to control rioting results in the sort of deaths like in the well-known Kent State incident, then like in Ukraine we could start to see cops and National Guard fatalities from snipers. Next we could see things like the 1985 Philadelphia police bombing of the MOVE headquarters and the use of armed drones (Connecticut has a law banning armed drones - but not for police.) The next step beyond that is curfew, and the next step beyond that is martial law.

    The next step beyond that is not civil war - it's explicit fascism. And that ends in revolution - which then usually recycles into either more fascism or "modified: fascism (see France in the 1800's.)

    Bottom line: It's not going to get better. One of the many things preppers have been warning against is national repression. They warned against natural disasters like hurricanes and no one listened until Katrina. They warned against pandemics and no one listened - until today. They've been warning against national repression - like the Selco article I linked to. Better listen this time.

    The US government has been preparing for some time:
    Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

    Maybe you should: How To Prepare for Civil Unrest: 30 Steps You Can Take Now

    [May 26, 2020] There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning

    Highly recommended!
    May 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    likbez , May 25 2020 18:58 utc | 102

    @vk | May 25 2020 15:19 utc | 83

    Please understand that communism is a utopia, a religious dogma, completely discredited by the history.

    While Marx critique of capitalism and the idea of class struggle survived the test of time, the idea of communism with its central postulate about future hegemonic role of proletariat proved to be false. Which means the communism is yet another utopia, a religious cult, if you wish.

    Bolshevism as it existed in the USSR in a form of Stalinism and than "Brezhnev developed socialism" was really a cruel and bloodthirsty religious cult (less bloodthirsty in the latter form, but still). No questions about it.

    Although I do not understand details, it look like China Communist Party also degenerated into hypocritical religious cult, not that dissimilar from CPSU. That might well makes Chinese society somewhat unstable and vulnerable to the color revolution. As soon as intelligence services change flag like KGB did, that would be it.

    On the contrary neoliberalism (which probably should be understood as Trotskyism for the rich -- financial oligarchy of all countries unite) is the only derivative of Marxism that survived as a widespread social system. It managed to survive the major crisis of 2008 as a social system almost intact, despite the fact that the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited. Its resilience after 2008 is simply amazing.

    Moreover, Neoliberalism does enjoy unweaving support of probably 20% of the USA society -- PMC or "professional and managerial class" which IMHO includes a part of brainwashed working class and small business owners. Which is a factor that essentially guarantees its longevity and survival after the current shock, despite all our wishes for the contrary. In other words, class struggle does exist, but it is almost always uphill battle, and the max achievable are some watered down reforms. That essentially the idea of social democracy and the USA the New Deal.

    As Warren Buffett aptly said "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

    And we should not mix Trump "national neoliberalism" with fascism. It is a completely different social phenomena, a social system that does not require mass mobilization and a mass Party. It does has some common features (the role on intelligence agencies, the role of propaganda, etc,) but still the differences are more prononced then similarities. Sheldon Wolin called it "inverted totalitarism" ( https://www.truthdig.com/articles/sheldon-wolin-and-inverted-totalitarianism/ )


    Wolin lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls "inverted totalitarianism."

    Wendy Brown, a political science professor at UC Berkeley and another former student of Wolin's, said in an email to me: "Resisting the monopolies on left theory by Marxism and on democratic theory by liberalism, Wolin developed a distinctive -- even distinctively American -- analysis of the political present and of radical democratic possibilities. He was especially prescient in theorizing the heavy statism forging what we now call neoliberalism, and in revealing the novel fusions of economic with political power that he took to be poisoning democracy at its root."

    Wolin throughout his scholarship charted the devolution of American democracy and in his last book, "Democracy Incorporated," details our peculiar form of corporate totalitarianism. "One cannot point to any national institution[s] that can accurately be described as democratic," he writes in that book, "surely not in the highly managed, money-saturated elections, the lobby-infested Congress, the imperial presidency, the class-biased judicial and penal system, or, least of all, the media."

    [May 23, 2020] Who are serfs

    Money quote: ""Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd." -- that's definition of a serf -- a neoliberal serf
    I feel a lot of people just use the term neoliberalism as a term of a specific abuse of labor via debt slavery. .
    May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

    TenTribesofTexas , 11 Apr 2019 01:15

    2 simple points that epitomize neo liberalism.

    1. Hayek's book 'The Road to Serfdom' uses an erroneous metaphor. He argues that if we allow gov regulation, services and spending to continue then we will end up serfs. However, serfs are basically the indentured or slave labourers of private citizens and landowners not of the state. Only in a system of private capital can there be serfs. Neo liberalism creates serfs not a public system.

    2. According to Hayek all regulation on business should be eliminated and only labour should be regulated to make it cheap and contain it so that private investors can have their returns guaranteed. Hence the purpose of the state is to pass laws to suppress workers.

    These two things illustrate neo-liberalism. Deception and repression of labour.

    marshwren , 10 Apr 2019 22:29
    As a matter of semantics, neo-liberalism delivered on the promise of freedom...for capitalists to be free of ethical accountability, social responsibility, and government regulation and taxes. And people can't understand why i'm a socialist.

    [May 19, 2020] If the American Dream is alive and well, why would MSM need to repeat it again and again?

    Notable quotes:
    "... 1978 was the last year real wages showed significant growth in real terms in the USA. After that, came the great stagnation of the neoliberal era (1978-2008), 30 consecutive years of frozen earns for the American working classes. This era is not marked by a slow down in consumption, though. On the contrary: consumption continued to rise, but, this time, it was mainly debt-fueled. Americans wages stagnated, but they didn't want to give up their hyperconsumption privileges, so they contracted debt after debt. ..."
    "... As the timeline shows, it is a myth neoliberalism begun in the USA only with Reagan's election in 1980. Most neoliberal reforms begun during Jimmy Carter's second half of his lonely term (1978-1980). It was Jimmy Carter, for example, who hired (nominated) Paul Volcker to the Fed. Other essential Acts that paved the way to neoliberalism were also passed during Jimmy Carter's later part of the reign. ..."
    "... I heard some politician suggest that while many of the jobs will never come back that people can learn to code. We need drug testing for our politicians. I 'code' and I'm wetting my pants. It's not because I think that it's so easy I an be easily replaced but but we still need demand. If everyone is losing their jobs ... terrifies me. ..."
    May 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
    If it were true why would they need to repeat it again and again?

    vk , May 19 2020 13:22 utc | 21

    If it were true why would they need to repeat it again and again? The American Dream died in 1969 - the last year of the post-war miracle in the USA. For the following five years, the country continued to flourish, but at a clear slower pace. With the oil crisis of 1974-5, the American Dream definitely died, albeit some indicators (e.g. real wages) still showed some improvements.

    1978 was the last year real wages showed significant growth in real terms in the USA. After that, came the great stagnation of the neoliberal era (1978-2008), 30 consecutive years of frozen earns for the American working classes. This era is not marked by a slow down in consumption, though. On the contrary: consumption continued to rise, but, this time, it was mainly debt-fueled. Americans wages stagnated, but they didn't want to give up their hyperconsumption privileges, so they contracted debt after debt.

    As the timeline shows, it is a myth neoliberalism begun in the USA only with Reagan's election in 1980. Most neoliberal reforms begun during Jimmy Carter's second half of his lonely term (1978-1980). It was Jimmy Carter, for example, who hired (nominated) Paul Volcker to the Fed. Other essential Acts that paved the way to neoliberalism were also passed during Jimmy Carter's later part of the reign.


    Jen , May 19 2020 10:58 utc | 6

    Not only does the headline "The American Dream is Alive and Well" need to be repeated ad nauseam but also the narrative it promotes, of the immigrant family that succeeds through sheer hard work and dedication and nothing else - no help from government subsidies or relatives already in the country, no dependence on bank loans that help start a business or put teenagers through college, no discrimination whatsoever - has to be hammered constantly over and over, even when everyone can see that the story template no longer has any legs if it ever had any.

    For all the sophisticated techniques and tools of propaganda that the likes of Edward Bernays and his followers in the PR industry bequeathed to the US, the elites and their mass media lackeys can't even get the repetition to look and sound more than banal and one-dimensional.

    William Gruff , May 19 2020 12:58 utc | 18
    Jen @6: "For all the sophisticated techniques and tools of propaganda that the likes of Edward Bernays and his followers in the PR industry bequeathed to the US, the elites and their mass media lackeys can't even get the repetition to look and sound more than banal and one-dimensional."

    Nice observation that incompetence is pervasive even among the empire's most important servants. It must be asked, though, if better talent is really necessary? The propaganda and brainwashing may be ham fisted and blunt as a hammer, but it does seem to work nonetheless.

    Anyway, the more sophisticated brainwashing is not in the infotainment field but rather in the supposedly pure entertainment domain. Redneck dynasties built upon the monster retail bonanza from selling duck lures, for example. Those implant "The American Dream" directly into the subconscious without the need for awkward capitalist ideological exposition, bypassing any potential bullshit filters that the typical media consumers might possess.

    lizard , May 19 2020 12:56 utc | 17
    I wonder what America would have become if sociopaths like Allen Dulles hadn't relocated to Nazi braintrust after WWII. maybe it was inevitable that we would become the 4th reich.

    David Talbot's book The Devil's Chessboard should be required reading for all Americans.

    William Gruff , May 19 2020 12:58 utc | 18
    Jen @6: "For all the sophisticated techniques and tools of propaganda that the likes of Edward Bernays and his followers in the PR industry bequeathed to the US, the elites and their mass media lackeys can't even get the repetition to look and sound more than banal and one-dimensional."

    Nice observation that incompetence is pervasive even among the empire's most important servants. It must be asked, though, if better talent is really necessary? The propaganda and brainwashing may be ham fisted and blunt as a hammer, but it does seem to work nonetheless.

    Anyway, the more sophisticated brainwashing is not in the infotainment field but rather in the supposedly pure entertainment domain. Redneck dynasties built upon the monster retail bonanza from selling duck lures, for example. Those implant "The American Dream" directly into the subconscious without the need for awkward capitalist ideological exposition, bypassing any potential bullshit filters that the typical media consumers might possess.

    Linda Amick , May 19 2020 12:59 utc | 19
    We all know these main stream media outlets do little more than pump out propaganda to the ignorant masses who need someone to tell them what they want to hear.
    Christian J Chuba , May 19 2020 13:01 utc | 20
    May 2020, seriously???

    Wow, those guys were phoning it in. 1. Their dreamland pieces were identical to the ones in 2015, 2. the bottom 20% who they claim either don't have it so bad or can easily improve their lot, have been gutted like a fish and left out to dry. Did people write these opinion pieces or robots, robots could easily replace their jobs, pity their jobs won't be automated but I really don't see why they couldn't be. Actually Neocons could be replaced by automatons.

    Recent contributions, burger flippers => code slingers

    I heard some politician suggest that while many of the jobs will never come back that people can learn to code. We need drug testing for our politicians. I 'code' and I'm wetting my pants. It's not because I think that it's so easy I an be easily replaced but but we still need demand. If everyone is losing their jobs ... terrifies me.

    Richard Steven Hack , May 19 2020 12:02 utc | 15
    As an aside that is nonetheless relevant, dealing as it does with issues of the responsibility that banks have for the mess in this world, I recommend watching the TV series, "Devils", described here on Wikipedia:

    Devils (TV series)
    https://tinyurl.com/yb8cbwsq


    Plot

    London, 2011. The Italian Massimo Ruggero is the head of trading at the banking giant American New York - London Bank (NYL). While the financial crisis is raging across Europe, Massimo is making hundreds of millions thanks to speculation. His mentor is Dominic Morgan, the American CEO of NYL and the closest thing to a father Massimo has ever had. He fully supports it, the talented trader seems to be the first choice in the run for vice-CEO. But when Massimo is unwillingly involved in a scandal that sees his ex-wife implicated as an escort, Dominic denies him the promotion, instead choosing the old school banker Edward Stuart.

    Massimo is amazed: his father turns his back on him. Convinced that he has been set up, Massimo is determined to bring out the truth, but when Edward suddenly dies, Massimo realizes that something bigger is at stake. With the help of his team and a group of hackers, Massimo will discover the plot hidden behind apparently unrelated events such as the Strauss-Kahn scandal, the war in Libya and the PIIGS crisis. Finding himself in front of the Devils who pull the ropes of the world, Massimo will have to choose whether to fight them or join them.

    The series is well-written and well-acted. If you have access to it (I get it off the Internet, but it does not appear to be available in the US market yet), it's well worth watching. It is in some ways better than "Deep State", the spy series that was on a season or two ago. It has already been renewed for a second season.

    [May 16, 2020] Reopening Isn't only about Reopening -- It's also about forcefully removing people from unemployment insurance by Peter Dorman

    May 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    By Peter Dorman, professor of economics at The Evergreen State College. Originally published at Econospeak

    Donald Trump, cheering on his "warriors" who demand that states lift their lockdown and distancing orders (where they have them), would have you believe this is about bringing the economy back to life so ordinary people can get their jobs and normal lives back. Elitist liberals who work from home and have country estates to retreat to don't care, but "real" people do.

    The reality is different. The shuttering of stores, restaurants, hotels and workplaces didn't begin with government orders and won't end with them. If the rate of new infection and death is too high, a lot of people won't go along. Not everyone, but enough to make a huge economic difference. Ask any small business owner what it would mean for demand to drop by 25-50%. Lifting government orders won't magically restore the economic conditions of mid-winter. So what's it about? Even as it makes a big PR show of supporting state by state "liberation" in America, the Trump administration is advising state governments on how to remove workers from unemployment insurance once orders are lifted. Without government directives, employers can demand workers show up, and if they refuse they no longer qualify. And why might workers refuse? Perhaps because their workplaces are still unsafe and they have vulnerable family members they want to keep from getting infected? Not good enough -- once the state has been "liberated".

    How should we respond to this travesty? First, of course, by telling the truth that an anti-worker, anti-human campaign is being conducted under the guise of defending workers. If the Democrats weren't themselves such a tool of business interests we might hear that narrative from them, but the rest of us are free to speak out and should start doing it, loudly, wherever we can.

    Second, one of the laws of the land is the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which gives workers the right to refuse imminently hazardous work. This hasn't been used very often, nor is there much case law around it, but the current pandemic is a good reason to pull it out of storage.

    If there are public interest law firms looking for something useful to do during distancing, they could advertise their willingness to defend workers who need to stay home until work is safe -- while still getting their paycheck. If employers thought the choice was between public support for workers sitting out the pandemic or their support for them we might hear less about "liberation".


    none , May 14, 2020 at 10:30 am

    They want to throw people off of unemployment while using the virus threat to stop any serious protests against that. It is literally biological warfare against working people. Same class war as before, but now with CBW.

    Rod , May 14, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Taught it for years. This is the biggest net and is the # 1 Cited Violation for 1910/1926 and MSHA–ever.

    OSHA 654 5(a)1 The General Duty Clause.

    OSHA Laws & Regulations OSH Act of 1970
    OSH Act of 1970
    Table of Contents
    General Duty Clause
    Complete OSH Act Version ("All-in-One")
    SEC.
    5.
    Duties
    (a)
    Each employer --
    (1)
    29 USC 654
    shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
    (2)
    shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
    (b)
    Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.

    And 'Recognized' totes a lot of water.

    Rod , May 14, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Quick Take –Two way street.
    Employers mus t mitigate hazards. Employees must comply with mitigation.
    No Employer Mitigation=Breaking the Law=No Employee requirement to work in Unsafe Conditions.

    L , May 14, 2020 at 11:16 am

    "Lifting all boats" was always a lie. It was simply a way to sell trickle down by claiming that the objectively observable inequality it produced would somehow help everyone, eventually, sort of. There was not and has never been a plan by the Conservative Movement to lift all boats. Only a plan to feign interest in doing so.

    Librarian Guy , May 15, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    I agree with most of your comment except the "smarter" part.

    They don't seem smart to me, they openly plunder and loot and spit in the populace's faces. They don't even pretend to believe in or work for a "common good" anymore, really. That is the story of the 21st Century in the US, starting with Baby Bush II. (Okay, I get that the Obama crew seemed "smart" or sophisticated to the PMC and comfortable liberals, but how smart were they if they led to the open Kleptocratic Disruption of Trumpism and the God Emperor?)

    What the Elites have that the proles don't is in-group solidarity. (And a captured Media establishment.) They protect their own, while the hoi polloi fight one another for scraps.

    Hoppy , May 14, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    What is the death rate among the working age population?

    Seem like a tough hill to die on given the curve has flattened, hospitals are not overflowing, and the economy is teetering on the edge of depression.

    No one has a vaccine, this isn't going away any time soon. It's time to focus on protecting the most vulnerable instead of pretending this effects everyone equally.

    Allow states to cut benefits? Come on, UI benefits are taxed for pete's sake. 'Available to work' basically means you have start at 8am the next day which is doesn't align with any reality of hiring except in low end service sector jobs.

    campbeln , May 14, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    > and the economy is teetering on the edge of depression

    This was baked in the cake already, COVID was simply the spark that ignited all that dead wood on the forest floor.

    cripes , May 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

    campbeln:

    Yes.

    I thought the quiet transfer of trillions in helicopter money to the banksters in the last half of 2019, way before the covid craze was telling.

    How convenient.

    Wally , May 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    The other really significant thing is that 're-opening' doesn't necessarily mean returning to business. For example, Musk insists on re-opening Tesla the assumption being that sales are there to be had if they re-open. But if not no sales, no need for employees back down the drain we go.
    Same for restaurants. retail, hotels, transit and white collar jobs – attorneys, architects, CPAs

    DHG , May 14, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Yup, the smart and shrewd will conceal themselves as much as possible and live, the stupid will rush out and most likely die.

    JBird4049 , May 15, 2020 at 1:20 am

    The poorest and the most desperate actually. Some people still have not received any money from the state or federal governments. The quarantine started about two months ago. So no job, no income, no money, and no joke. No matter how shrewd or smart you are sometimes you are not making the decisions. Reality makes them for you.

    KFritz , May 14, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    There's another possible reason to reopen. If the country officially reopens, there's no need for any more federal stimulus!

    campbeln , May 14, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Bankers got their TRILLIONS?

    Pack it up, boys! We're done here.

    J.k , May 14, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Well till the markets crashes again and they need to save the assets of the wealthiest.

    I just got a text from a buddy who is an electrician. His company just told him they are not expecting to take any major work till second quarter of next year. They will only be taking emergency calls. This is in Chicago.

    LawnDart , May 14, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Your buddy might be able to use this link:

    https://wepoweramerica.org/hotjobs.cgi

    Granted, it's a union site, but one point that they make is how union saturation raises the wages for all workers within a given region.

    In Appalachia, I was offered $15hr. to work as an electrician. In Chicagoland, starting wages were close to or more than double that. Guess where I went in order to establish a salary history? And no, the cost of living is really not too different between those two places, but opportunities sure were.

    (moderators: in response to an "Eat the Rich!" comment, I posted a link with recipes: I apologize for this. Admittedly, it was in poor taste.)

    [May 15, 2020] US Unemployment Update

    Notable quotes:
    "... @apenultimate ..."
    May 15, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

    apenultimate on Thu, 05/14/2020 - 9:50am The past week's unemployment claims came out today, and add another 2.98 million to the pile. This brings total unemployment claims for the past 8 weeks (two months or so) to 36.5 million.

    Determining unemployment percentages depends on what data you use. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the employment numbers for the United States in August 2019 as ~157 million ( https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat08.htm ). Admittedly, that's not March 2020 statistics, but employment numbers would not change all that much in half of a year.

    The St. Louis Federal Reserve has a different set of statistics that show 205.5 million Americans employed in March 2020 ( https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LFWA64TTUSM647S ). (They show the August 2019 period with employment at 206 million.)

    Why the huge difference? I have no idea. But going forward, I'll use both to determine unemployment numbers. Remember that in early March 2020, unemployment was already around 3%.

    Using the BLS statistics, we get an unemployment rate of 23.16% for the past 8 weeks. Add on the previous 3% of people unemployed, and you reach 26.16% unemployment.

    Using the St. Louis Fed statistics, we get an unemployment rate of 17.76% for the past 8 weeks. Add on the previous 3% of people unemployed, and you reach 20.76% unemployment.

    The peak rate of unemployment during The Great Depression was 24.9%. The peak rate of unemployment during the the Great Recession in 2008 was 10%.

    According to BLS statistics, we are already greater than Great Depression unemployment numbers.

    According to the St. Louis Fed, we are already more than double Great Recession numbers and only about 4 percentage points away from Great Depression peaks.

    The Labor Department last week reported April unemployment for the United states at 14.7%, but this according to their own admission was undercounting the real rates. Be careful of any numbers coming out of the mainstream media or government sources.

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Coronavirus-job-loss-Weekly...

    Some jobs will definitely come back, but many will not. For example, JC Penny's reported that they are permanently closing 200 of their 850 nationwide stores. Those jobs will not be coming back. There are weekly reports of many cafes, restaurants, and small businesses shuttering their doors for good. Those jobs will not be coming back.

    Even for the companies that do not shut down, it may be a long haul before economic activity has picked up enough to bring workers back. In most cases, it will not be a quick recovery.

    Hang on for a very rough ride. 2 users have voted.

    ggersh on Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:52am
    This is the place to go for stats

    @apenultimate and like everything else our govt does, the unemployment number is just pure BS

    http://www.shadowstats.com/article/csfu1435

    • Headline April 2020 Unemployment Really Was Around 20%, Not 15%
    • Bureau of Labor Statistics Disclosed Erroneous Unemployment Surveying for a Second Month
    • About 7.5 Million People in the April Household Survey Were Misclassified as Employed Instead of Unemployed, per the BLS
    • Headline April U.3 Unemployment at 14.7%, Should Have Been 19.5%
    • The BLS Had Disclosed the Same Surveying Error Last Month; Where Headline March 2020 U.3 Was 4.4%, It Should Have Been 5.3%
    • Per the BLS, Headline Data Will Not Be Corrected: "To maintain data integrity, no ad hoc actions are taken to reclassify survey responses."
    • Nonetheless, Headline April Unemployment Soared to Historic Highs from March: U.3 from 4.4% to 14.7%, U.6 from 8.7% to 22.8% and ShadowStats from 22.9% to 35.4%
    • More Realistic, Those Same Unemployment Numbers, Corrected: U.3 from 5.3 % to 19.5%, U.6 from 9.6% to 27.7% and ShadowStats from 23.7% to 39.6%
    • April 2020 Payrolls Collapsed by an Unprecedented 20.5 Million Jobs
    • Annual Growth in April 2020 Money Supply Measures Soared to Historic Highs
    • U.S. Economic Activity Has Collapsed to Great Depression Levels, with the Federal Reserve Creating Unlimited Money

    apenultimate on Thu, 05/14/2020 - 10:58am
    Nice

    @ggersh

    Thanks for that. Seems like a large percentage of the difference is that BLS says 7.5 million were mis-classified as employed.

    At the very least, it seems the BLS does a bit of correcting, whereas the Fed does not.

    gulfgal98 on Thu, 05/14/2020 - 1:13pm
    Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell

    stated in the very beginning of this video, that of people who were employed in February of this year, nearly 40% of those earning $40,000 or less have become unemployed. This is an unprecedented human tragedy that Congress in all their bailouts now totalling about $8 Trillion have seen fit to throw a one time pittance of $1,200. With mountains of cash going to corporations and lobbyists, Congress insultingly gave real suffering Americans a few pennies and in effect told them that their lives do not matter to Washington DC.

    //www.youtube.com/embed/AROXMTDOkjw?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

    [May 12, 2020] 'Immediate danger' Half of world's workforce could lose livelihood due to Covid-19, UN agency warns

    www.defenddemocracy.press
    The International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned that around half of the world's workforce, or 1.6 billion workers, are at imminent risk of losing their livelihood because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In its latest report, the UN agency stated that those hardest hit by the financial effects of the Covid-19 outbreak have been 'informal economy' workers, including the self-employed and those on a short-term contract.

    "The first month of the crisis is estimated to have resulted in a drop of 60 percent in the income of informal workers globally," the ILO said of the economic damage already caused by the pandemic.

    The deepening crisis in many parts of the world has left more than 436 million businesses facing financial hardship and possible closure, the ILO stated, which will inevitably hurt workers. The report listed the worst-hit sectors as manufacturing, accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate.

    "For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future," ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said of the stark impact of an economic dip.

    He added that, according to ILO data, there is expected to be a "massive" rise in poverty levels worldwide, unless governments recognize the need to reconstruct their economies around better working practices and "not a return to the pre-pandemic world of precarious work for the majority."

    Since the novel coronavirus emerged in China late last year, over 3.1 million cases have been confirmed around the world, and more than 216,000 people have died. Drastic lockdowns to limit its spread have taken a dire toll on the global economy, prompting market turmoil and numerous projections of the heavy recession to strike this year.

    [May 10, 2020] Lockdowns May Aggravate America's Next Health Crisis An Explosion Of Deaths Of Despair, Study Finds

    Notable quotes:
    "... Polls of life satisfaction taken since the outbreak began have reflected a rapid erosion as 33 million Americans have joined the unemployment rolls over the last months. NY Gov Andrew Cuomo said during a recent daily briefing that NY is seeing a spike in drug and alcohol abuse as people sit around all day with nothing to do and nowhere to go. ..."
    "... But of course the tremendous levels of financial uncertainty coupled with the unique characteristics of this crisis make it pretty much impossible to model - any research is really an educated guess, at best. ..."
    "... "Unemployment is going to have a very important impact on deaths of despair." ..."
    "... His proposed strategies including investing more resources in helping unemployed people find meaningful work, and/or training the armies of contact tracers that de Blasio has now promised to hire to spot people at risk of self-harm. ..."
    May 10, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

    Doctors , scientists policymakers and even 'non-experts' posting on social media have argued that shuttering the health-care system to all non-emergency care risks sparking other public health crises from a spike in heart attacks and advanced cancer diagnoses, to so-called "deaths of despair."

    In some areas, a spike in suicides has already been recorded since the start of the outbreak. And now, a newly published paper released Friday has attempted to quantify deaths that might occur because of the mental-health ramifications of widespread economic chaos caused by the crisis. The research - which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed - found the isolation, grief and economic hardship related to COVID-19 are conspiring to supercharge America's already-burgeoning mental-health crisis, likely setting the stage for tens of thousands of suicides down the line.

    Specifically, the researchers tabulated that as many as 75k additional "deaths of despair" could be caused by the outbreak and the economy-crushing measures implemented to stop the spreads. "Deaths of despair" typically refer to suicides and substance-abuse-related deaths, according to Bloomberg .

    The research was carried out by the Well Being Trust and researchers affiliated with the American Academy of Family Physicians. One of the report's authors said he hopes the research is eventually proven to be incorrect.

    "I hope in 10 years people look back and say, 'Wow, they way overestimated it,'" said John Westfall, director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, who co-wrote the report.

    But the sizable spike in suicides, overdoses etc since the last major crisis (the financial crisis) is reason to be concerned.

    Even as the American economy rebounded after the last recession, suicides and overdoses cut into Americans' life expectancy. Mental health experts worry that the economic uncertainty and social isolation of the pandemic will make things worse at a time when the health care system is already overwhelmed. The suicide rate in the US has already been rising for two decades, and in 2018 hit its highest level since 1941, Bloomberg reported, citing a piece published by JAMA Psychiatry (a prestigious medical journal) back in April.

    "There's a paradox," said Jeffrey Reynolds, president of a Long Island-based nonprofit social services agency, the Family and Children's Association. " Social isolation protects us from a contagious, life-threatening virus, but at the same time it puts people at risk for things that are the biggest killers in the United States: suicide, overdose and diseases related to alcohol abuse."

    Polls of life satisfaction taken since the outbreak began have reflected a rapid erosion as 33 million Americans have joined the unemployment rolls over the last months. NY Gov Andrew Cuomo said during a recent daily briefing that NY is seeing a spike in drug and alcohol abuse as people sit around all day with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

    "One of the main things people should take away from this paper is that employment matters," said Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer at the Well Being Trust and a clinical psychologist who worked on the paper. "It matters for our economic livelihood, and for our mental and emotional health."

    But of course the tremendous levels of financial uncertainty coupled with the unique characteristics of this crisis make it pretty much impossible to model - any research is really an educated guess, at best.

    Still, the researchers believe it's a useful warning, and something important for policy makers to keep in mind.

    "It's useful to have a wake-up call," said Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. "Unemployment is going to have a very important impact on deaths of despair."

    Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer at the Well Being Trust and a clinical psychologist who worked on the paper, proposed several solutions that could be enacted to, uh, depress the number of suicides.

    His proposed strategies including investing more resources in helping unemployed people find meaningful work, and/or training the armies of contact tracers that de Blasio has now promised to hire to spot people at risk of self-harm.

    [May 06, 2020] Deaths of Despair

    May 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    c1ue , May 6 2020 15:54 utc | 86

    I'm sure this has been mentioned, but Angus Deaton talking about his "Deaths of Despair" work Boston review article

    JC: In the book you focus on these deaths of despair: 158,000 in 2018, about 100,000 of which are above and beyond what we would normally expect, an excess that is almost entirely among white non-Hispanic men and women without a college degree. The category covers three different causes of death: alcohol, opioids, and suicide. Could you talk about why you group them together?

    AD: Initially, "deaths of despair" was a label of convenience. It helped express the sense that these deaths were sort of caused by your own hand -- unlike COVID-19, say.

    ...

    these previous drug epidemics -- in the United States after the Civil War, or in China when the empire was disintegrating -- tended to arise during periods of social disintegration. The simplified story is that some bad Big Pharma manufacturers started pushing opioids on all of us. But in reality, Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other companies went to places where there was already lots of despair. They were looking for despair. They were looking for regions where you could harass doctors into prescribing these drugs.

    Our claim in the book is that without this underlying despair -- pain, morbidity, people not going to church, people's lives coming apart -- there wouldn't have been this open field for opioids. On the other hand, if the FDA had not been so much in the hands of the industry, and if we were not operating a rent-seeking, capitalistic health care system, then we wouldn't have got those efforts to capitalize on the despair. Other countries didn't get them to anything like the same extent.

    ...

    JC: One of the issues that you emphasize in the book is the generational aspect of deaths of despair: how it keeps getting worse for younger generations. The idea that this is a process that is worsening over time resonates strongly with Raj Chetty's account of the fading American dream. I am thinking of the study by Chetty and colleagues about absolute mobility, guided by the question: Are you going to do better than your parents? When I was born in 1951, there was a 90 percent chance of doing better than your parents. If you were born in 1980, chances had fallen to 50 percent.

    ...

    The Democrats largely decided to abandon the working class and build a coalition of educated elites and minorities (including working-class minorities), and the Republicans basically followed business and religious organizations.

    And the health care crises make things worse. Health care costs were 5 percent of GDP back in 1970, and now they're 18 percent of GDP. Everything is heaping up on these people.

    ...

    The pillars that structured working-class life seem to have gone, or at least been eroded. And we see the fundamental force of that in the labor market. Decent wages and jobs help to bring respectability and meaning into life. We're not against some of the explanations that focus more on social norms. I think the birth control pill was very important, changing the norms about when and whether you could have children, whether you'd live together without being married. We write about how the pill was very socially divisive. For women who could get educated, it enormously enhanced opportunities to have relationship fulfilment and children as well as really good jobs. But for many working-class women for whom college was not an option, it did the opposite.

    But declining wages were an incredibly important part of the loss.

    ...

    But there's a much more negative scenario, too, which economic historian Robert Allen writes about. In the early nineteenth century in Britain, real wages stagnated for fifty years. Handloom weavers were being replaced by machines in factories in the Industrial Revolution, and wages could only rise when they were all gone, and the way of life and around handloom weaving had been destroyed.

    [c1ue note: the putting out system was a major cause of the above]

    ...

    A lot of evidence suggests that in recessions, mortality rates typically go down. The Great Depression was a very good time for life expectancy. But suicides do go up. It's not a simple story. They say in New York that what would normally be filling hospital beds would normally be filling with traffic and construction accidents, and there aren't any.

    [May 06, 2020] Richard Wolff US jobless totals are about to get WORSE than during the Great Depression. It's time for a RADICAL new approach

    May 06, 2020 | www.rt.com

    By Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, NYC. Wolff's weekly show, Economic Update, is syndicated on over 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV and his two recent books with Democracy at Work are Understanding Marxism and Understanding Socialism both available at democracyatwork.info . We are entering an even Greater Depression than the 1930s, with hundreds of millions thrown out of work across the world. Capitalism is a broken, unstable system that is beyond repair – but there are alternatives. Ninety-one years after the start of the Great Depression (capitalism's worst downturn until now), we are entering an even Greater Depression. The 1930s were so awful that leaders of capitalist economies ever since have said they had learned how to avoid any future depressions. All promised to take the steps needed to avoid them. Those promises have all been broken. Capitalism remains intrinsically unstable. Read more Richard D. Wolff: Viruses like Covid-19 are a part of nature we must accept. But Capitalism-2020 must be destroyed Richard D. Wolff: Viruses like Covid-19 are a part of nature we must accept. But Capitalism-2020 must be destroyed

    That instability is revealed in its recurring cycles, recessions, downturns, depressions, crashes, etc. They have plagued capitalism wherever it has settled in as the prevailing economic system. Now that the whole world's prevailing economic system is capitalism, we suffer global instability. To date, capitalist instability has resisted every effort (monetary and fiscal policies, Keynesian economics, privatization, deregulation, etc.) to overcome or stop it. And now it is here yet again.

    Across the world, hundreds of millions of workers are unemployed. The tools, equipment, and raw materials in their factories, offices and stores sit idle, gathering dust and rust. The goods and services they might have produced do not now emerge to help us through these awful times. Perishable plants and animals that cannot now be processed are destroyed even as scarcities multiply.

    Workers lose their jobs if and when employers – mostly private capitalists – fire them. Employers hire workers when workers add more value to what the employer sells than the value of those workers' wages. Hiring then adds to profits. Employers fire workers when they add less than the value of the wages paid to them. Firing then reduces losses. Employers protect and reproduce their enterprises by maximizing profits and minimizing losses.

    Profit, not the full employment of workers nor of means of production, is "the bottom line" of capitalists, and thus of capitalism. That is how the system works. Capitalists are rewarded when their profits are high and punished when they are not.

    No-one wants unemployment. Workers want their jobs back; employers want the workers back producing profitable output; governments want the tax revenues that depend on workers and capitalist employers actively collaborating to produce.

    Yet the capitalist system has regularly produced economic downturns everywhere for three centuries – on average, every four to seven years. We have had three crashes so far this century: 'dot.com' in 2000, 'sub-prime mortgage' in 2008, and now 'corona' in 2020. That averages out at one crash just under every seven years – capitalism's 'norm'. Capitalists do not want unemployment, but they regularly generate it. It is a basic contradiction of their system.

    Read more ONE IN SEVEN Americans would avoid Covid-19 treatment for fear of cost, even as pricey new pill shows promise against virus ONE IN SEVEN Americans would avoid Covid-19 treatment for fear of cost, even as pricey new pill shows promise against virus

    Today's massive US capitalist crisis – over 30 million unemployed and counting, a quarter of the workforce – shows dramatically that maximizing profit is not maximizing society's well-being. First and foremost, consider that the unemployed millions continue much of their consumption while ceasing much of their production. A portion of the wealth produced by those still employed must be redistributed to sustain the unemployed. Society thus suffers the usually intense struggles over the shares of profits versus wages that will be redistributed to the unemployed. These struggles, both public – over tax structures, for example – and private – for instance, over household budgets – can be profoundly destabilizing for societies.

    Redistribution struggles could be alleviated if, for example, public employment replaced private unemployment. If the state became the employer of last resort, those fired by private employers could immediately be rehired by the state to do useful social work.

    Then any government paying unemployment benefits would instead pay wages, obtain in return real goods and services, and distribute them to the public. The 1930s New Deal did exactly that for millions fired by private employers in the US. A similar alternative (not part of the New Deal) would be to organize the unemployed into worker co-ops performing socially useful work under contract with the government.

    This last alternative is the best, because it would develop a new worker co-op sector of the US economy. That would provide the US public with direct experience in comparing the capitalist with the worker co-op sector in terms of working conditions, product quality and price, civic responsibility, etc.

    On that concrete, empirical basis, societies could offer people a real, democratic choice as to what mix of capitalist and worker co-op sectors of the economy they prefer.

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

    [Apr 28, 2020] The Meditations, by a Roman emperor who died in a plague named after him, has much to say about how to face fear, pain, anxiety and loss by Donald Robertson

    Notable quotes:
    "... First of all, because Stoics believe that our true good resides in our own character and actions, they would frequently remind themselves to distinguish between what's "up to us" and what isn't. Modern Stoics tend to call this "the dichotomy of control" and many people find this distinction alone helpful in alleviating stress. What happens to me is never directly under my control, never completely ..."
    "... Marcus likes to ask himself, "What virtue has nature given me to deal with this situation?" That naturally leads to the question: "How do other people cope with similar challenges?" Stoics reflect on character strengths such as wisdom, patience and self-discipline, which potentially make them more resilient in the face of adversity. They try to exemplify these virtues and bring them to bear on the challenges they face in daily life, during a crisis like the pandemic. They learn from how other people cope. Even historical figures or fictional characters can serve as role models. ..."
    "... fear does us more harm than the things of which we're afraid. ..."
    "... Finally, during a pandemic, you may have to confront the risk, the possibility, of your own death. Since the day you were born, that's always been on the cards. Most of us find it easier to bury our heads in the sand. Avoidance is the No1 most popular coping strategy in the world. We live in denial of the self-evident fact that we all die eventually. ..."
    "... "All that comes to pass", he tells himself, even illness and death, should be as "familiar as the rose in spring and the fruit in autumn". Marcus Aurelius, through decades of training in Stoicism, in other words, had taught himself to face death with the steady calm of someone who has done so countless times already in the past. ..."
    Apr 25, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
    T he Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. The Antonine Plague, named after him, was probably caused by a strain of the smallpox virus. It's estimated to have killed up to 5 million people, possibly including Marcus himself.

    ss="rich-link tone-feature--item rich-link--pillar-arts">

    ="rich-link__link u-faux-block-link__overlay" aria-label="'What it means to be an American': Abraham Lincoln and a nation divided" href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/11/abraham-lincoln-verge-book-ted-widmer-interview">

    From AD166 to around AD180, repeated outbreaks occurred throughout the known world. Roman historians describe the legions being devastated, and entire towns and villages being depopulated and going to ruin. Rome itself was particularly badly affected, carts leaving the city each day piled high with dead bodies.

    In the middle of this plague, Marcus wrote a book, known as The Meditations, which records the moral and psychological advice he gave himself at this time. He frequently applies Stoic philosophy to the challenges of coping with pain, illness, anxiety and loss. It's no stretch of the imagination to view The Meditations as a manual for developing precisely the mental resilience skills required to cope with a pandemic.

    First of all, because Stoics believe that our true good resides in our own character and actions, they would frequently remind themselves to distinguish between what's "up to us" and what isn't. Modern Stoics tend to call this "the dichotomy of control" and many people find this distinction alone helpful in alleviating stress. What happens to me is never directly under my control, never completely up to me, but my own thoughts and actions are – at least the voluntary ones. The pandemic isn't really under my control but the way I behave in response to it is.

    Much, if not all, of our thinking is also up to us. Hence, "It's not events that upset us but rather our opinions about them." More specifically, our judgment that something is really bad, awful or even catastrophic, causes our distress.

    This is one of the basic psychological principles of Stoicism. It's also the basic premise of modern cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the leading evidence-based form of psychotherapy. The pioneers of CBT, Albert Ellis and Aaron T Beck, both describe Stoicism as the philosophical inspiration for their approach. It's not the virus that makes us afraid but rather our opinions about it. Nor is it the inconsiderate actions of others, those ignoring social distancing recommendations, that make us angry so much as our opinions about them.

    Many people are struck, on reading The Meditations, by the fact that it opens with a chapter in which Marcus lists the qualities he most admires in other individuals, about 17 friends, members of his family and teachers. This is an extended example of one of the central practices of Stoicism.

    Marcus likes to ask himself, "What virtue has nature given me to deal with this situation?" That naturally leads to the question: "How do other people cope with similar challenges?" Stoics reflect on character strengths such as wisdom, patience and self-discipline, which potentially make them more resilient in the face of adversity. They try to exemplify these virtues and bring them to bear on the challenges they face in daily life, during a crisis like the pandemic. They learn from how other people cope. Even historical figures or fictional characters can serve as role models.

    With all of this in mind, it's easier to understand another common slogan of Stoicism: fear does us more harm than the things of which we're afraid. This applies to unhealthy emotions in general, which the Stoics term "passions" – from pathos , the source of our word "pathological". It's true, first of all, in a superficial sense. Even if you have a 99% chance, or more, of surviving the pandemic, worry and anxiety may be ruining your life and driving you crazy. In extreme cases some people may even take their own lives.

    In that respect, it's easy to see how fear can do us more harm than the things of which we're afraid because it can impinge on our physical health and quality of life. However, this saying also has a deeper meaning for Stoics. The virus can only harm your body – the worst it can do is kill you. However, fear penetrates into the moral core of our being. It can destroy your humanity if you let it. For the Stoics that's a fate worse than death.

    Finally, during a pandemic, you may have to confront the risk, the possibility, of your own death. Since the day you were born, that's always been on the cards. Most of us find it easier to bury our heads in the sand. Avoidance is the No1 most popular coping strategy in the world. We live in denial of the self-evident fact that we all die eventually. The Stoics believed that when we're confronted with our own mortality, and grasp its implications, that can change our perspective on life quite dramatically. Any one of us could die at any moment. Life doesn't go on forever.

    We're told this was what Marcus was thinking about on his deathbed. According to one historian, his circle of friends were distraught. Marcus calmly asked why they were weeping for him when, in fact, they should accept both sickness and death as inevitable, part of nature and the common lot of mankind. He returns to this theme many times throughout The Meditations.

    "All that comes to pass", he tells himself, even illness and death, should be as "familiar as the rose in spring and the fruit in autumn". Marcus Aurelius, through decades of training in Stoicism, in other words, had taught himself to face death with the steady calm of someone who has done so countless times already in the past.

    Donald Robertson is cognitive behavioural therapist and the author of several books on philosophy and psychotherapy, including Stoicism and the Art of Happiness and How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

    [Apr 22, 2020] Replacing Workers Has Many Costs by Cheryl Carleton

    Apr 22, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    It goes without saying that the consequences to workers are damaging to catastrophic. Normally, being unemployed for more than six months is a near-insurmountable barrier to getting hired again. Perhaps coronavirus will create a better new normal on this front, of companies taking a more understanding view of crisis-induced resume gaps.

    By Cheryl Carleton, Assistant Professor of Economics, Villanova University. Originally published at The Conversation

    The labor market is changing rapidly with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Many organizations are laying off almost all of their workers , while others are considering which workers to lay off, which to furlough and which to keep. Alternatively, some are expanding their labor forces .

    When the economy starts to open up again, employers will need to consider rehiring or replacing workers, or hiring workers with a different mix of skills. The cost of replacing an employee is high for employers, and being out of work is harmful for workers, who may be replaced with artificial intelligence or contractors and risk losing their skills.

    I'm an expert in labor economics , and my work with a colleague investigates the increase in people engaging in alternative work arrangements such as contract or gig work, along with the implications such jobs have for all workers' well-being .

    There is no denying that the U.S. was experiencing a tight labor market and a low rate of unemployment before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. For some fields, particularly health care and services deemed essential by local governments, the labor market continues to be tight.

    A sudden massive loss of demand for their goods and services is forcing companies to make quick decisions, and some employers may underestimate the cost to replace good employees. Knowing these costs may encourage them to keep more of their workers on the payroll.

    Where Are the Costs?

    There are costs involved in losing a worker and replacing them, such as completing paperwork when they leave, advertising the open position, reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates and training the new worker.

    Once a new worker is hired, others must also spend time training them, and it will take some time for the new worker to achieve the same level of productivity as the worker who left.

    Another cost is the loss in social capital . Social capital is the relationships between individuals at work that take time to build and add to the productivity of the firm.

    The Society for Human Resource Management found that departures cost about one-third of a worker's annual earnings .

    The Center for American Progress drilled in deeper. They found the costs of replacing workers who earn less than US$30,000 per year to be 16% of annual salary, or $3,200 for an individual earning $20,000 per year.

    For those earning $30,000 to $50,000 per year, it is estimated to cost about 20% of annual salary, or $8,000 for an individual earning $40,000. For highly educated executive positions, replacement costs are estimated to be 213% of annual salary – $213,000 for a CEO earning $100,000 per year.

    The much higher cost for replacing CEOs is partly due to the fact that they require higher levels of education, greater training, and firms may lose clients and institutional knowledge with such turnovers.

    Employee Alternatives

    This high cost of losing and replacing workers has important implications for organizations, consumers and workers, especially now with an estimated 15 million unemployed .

    For those workers where the costs to replace them are high, firms will try to accommodate them. Strategies may include maintaining pay, increasing benefits and retraining. These actions are also costly, so firms will weigh them against the cost of simply hiring new workers .

    This means businesses face high costs to replace workers in the future, and high costs to retain current workers, leading to higher costs for consumers who buy the firms' goods and services.

    While the above consequences might sound great for workers that organizations choose to keep, these are not the only ways in which firms can respond.

    The high cost of replacing workers, along with the increased uncertainty about the economy may cause businesses to use more automation and robots . Though such switches may entail a significant upfront cost, once they are made the firms then have more control over their production processes.

    Another alternative for firms is to hire fewer permanent employees and turn instead to contract workers . With contract workers, employers are not responsible for benefits, and they can more simply increase or decrease the number of workers as needed.

    While this may increase employment for some workers, it will decrease it for others and it has serious implications for the availability of health and pension benefits as well as unemployment benefits, as the current crisis has revealed.

    Businesses might also consider limiting the scope of what some workers do to limit the cost of replacing them. If the scope of a worker's job is limited, then fewer areas will be impacted by the individual leaving, and the costs to train a replacement will be lower. For workers, however, it means fewer opportunities to gain experience.

    For example, instead of training workers on several or all parts of the production process, the business may limit them to one specific aspect. It will then be less costly for the firm to replace them and the worker will have less experience to add to their resume. This also means less bargaining power for employees.

    Some Win, But Others Lose

    The high cost of losing and then hiring new workers along with increased restrictions on hiring nonresidents might mean higher wages and increased benefits for some workers.

    However, the high degree of uncertainty in the current labor market, along with the potential increase in contract workers and automation means that some workers will not realize these potential gains, and all of us as consumers will most likely end up paying higher prices for the goods and services we buy.

    [Apr 21, 2020] In Continental Europe the 'all together' theme is barely holding, and momentum is in the opposite direction In fact migrant communities are growing afraid of backlash and eventual anti-migrant campaigns, even eventual quasi-ethnic-cleansing

    Apr 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

    brabantian , says: Show Comment April 15, 2020 at 9:14 am GMT

    In Continental Europe the 'all together' theme is barely holding, and momentum is in the opposite direction In fact migrant communities are growing afraid of backlash and eventual anti-migrant campaigns, even eventual quasi-ethnic-cleansing

    With social welfare systems strained to the breaking point given lockdown unemployment, there is regret and anger building about public funds spent on migrant waves in recent years

    The lockdowns are often barely being enforced in migrant communities, for fear of riotous explosion by youthful troublemakers if enforcement is attempted, as noted in the first comment above by jbwilson24 re France French officials have explicitly said so, in effect 'just leave migrant areas alone'

    Last weekend in Belgium, an age-19 youth of migrant heritage, confronted by police when with others, tried to speed away on a scooter but in his haste hit a police vehicle head-on and died, leading to two days of rioting and 100 or so arrests When a police vehicle was attacked by a mob, at least one police firearm was removed by a rioter

    As people watch these videos of migrant-origin youths rioting, whilst local people receive heavy monetary fines for lockdown violations, emotions run high as lockdowns continue, or with another wave in the autumn, it may get quite dramatic politically

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/LTF1Om-IA3c?feature=oembed

    This is sad for those of us with migrant-heritage friends, who think positively of a certain degree of 'organic' (not forced or induced or manipulated) immigration

    [Apr 19, 2020] The number one rule of any migrant is to adapt the new country and culture and not the other way round.

    Apr 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

    Dino , says: Show Comment April 19, 2020 at 5:23 am GMT

    I am amazed that how many immigrants who migrated from a nation state, still love their nation but hate when us nationalist. It's such a hypocrisy. The number one rule of any migrant is to adapt the new country and culture and not the other way round. This whole PC culture is going out of hands everywhere. I think every one should be forced to watch the southpark to understand the irony of what we are becoming.

    [Apr 13, 2020] Believe all women: New York Times only remembers its journalistic skepticism when it's Biden in the crosshairs

    Metoo witch hunt has limited shelf-life and eventually will run its course. But the damage to credibility of accusations is done.
    Apr 13, 2020 | www.rt.com
    For anyone running for office in modern America, accusations of sexual assault are par for the course. But when it comes to weighing up these accusations, the US’ mainstream paper of record applies some very uneven standards.

    Take Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee. If doubts weren’t already raised by his fondness for sniffing women, the emergence last month of a sexual assault allegation against the former vice president could have caused a major headache for his campaign.

    Yet amid the coronavirus pandemic, and given the political leanings of most media outlets, the scandal barely registered.

    The Intercept ran a story in March on how Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer, claimed that in 1993 Biden pushed her against a wall, groped her, and penetrated her with his fingers. Reade had spoken up about the alleged incident a year earlier, but was met with accusations that she was doing Russia’s bidding. The US media was still doing ‘Russiagate’ back then, remember?

    .

    [Apr 12, 2020] We Are Living Nineteen Eighty-Four... by Victor Davis Johnson

    Sep 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

    Authored by Victor Davis Johnson via NationalReview.com,

    Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.

    George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is no longer fiction. We are living it right now.

    Google techies planned to massage Internet searches to emphasize correct thinking. A member of the so-called deep state, in an anonymous op-ed, brags that its "resistance" is undermining an elected president. The FBI, CIA, DOJ, and NSC were all weaponized in 2016 to ensure that the proper president would be elected -- the choice adjudicated by properly progressive ideology. Wearing a wire is now redefined as simply flipping on an iPhone and recording your boss, boy- or girlfriend, or co-workers.

    But never has the reality that we are living in a surreal age been clearer than during the strange cycles of Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

    In Orwell's world of 1984 Oceania, there is no longer a sense of due process, free inquiry, rules of evidence and cross examination, much less a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead, regimented ideology -- the supremacy of state power to control all aspects of one's life to enforce a fossilized idea of mandated quality -- warps everything from the use of language to private life.

    Oceania's Rules

    Senator Diane Feinstein and the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had long sought to destroy the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. Much of their paradoxical furor over his nomination arises from the boomeranging of their own past political blunders, such as when Democrats ended the filibuster on judicial nominations, in 2013. They also canonized the so-called 1992 Biden Rule, which holds that the Senate should not consider confirming the Supreme Court nomination of a lame-duck president (e.g., George H. W. Bush) in an election year.

    Rejecting Kavanaugh proved a hard task given that he had a long record of judicial opinions and writings -- and there was nothing much in them that would indicate anything but a sharp mind, much less any ideological, racial, or sexual intolerance. His personal life was impeccable, his family admirable.

    Kavanaugh was no combative Robert Bork, but congenial, and he patiently answered all the questions asked of him, despite constant demonstrations and pre-planned street-theater interruptions from the Senate gallery and often obnoxious grandstanding by "I am Spartacus" Democratic senators.

    So Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed unless a bombshell revelation derailed the vote. And so we got a bombshell.

    Weeks earlier, Senator Diane Feinstein had received a written allegation against Kavanaugh of sexual battery by an accuser who wished to remain anonymous. Feinstein sat on it for nearly two months, probably because she thought the charges were either spurious or unprovable. Until a few days ago, she mysteriously refused to release the full text of the redacted complaint , and she has said she does not know whether the very accusations that she purveyed are believable. Was she reluctant to memorialize the accusations by formally submitting them to the Senate Judiciary Committee, because doing so makes Ford subject to possible criminal liability if the charges prove demonstrably untrue?

    The gambit was clearly to use the charges as a last-chance effort to stop the nomination -- but only if Kavanaugh survived the cross examinations during the confirmation hearing. Then, in extremis , Feinstein finally referenced the charge, hoping to keep it anonymous, but, at the same time, to hint of its serious nature and thereby to force a delay in the confirmation. Think something McCarthesque, like "I have here in my hand the name . . ."

    Delay would mean that the confirmation vote could be put off until after the midterm election, and a few jeopardized Democratic senators in Trump states would not have to go on record voting no on Kavanaugh. Or the insidious innuendos, rumor, and gossip about Kavanaugh would help to bleed him to death by a thousand leaks and, by association, tank Republican chances at retaining the House. (Republicans may or may not lose the House over the confirmation circus, but they most surely will lose their base and, with it, the Congress if they do not confirm Kavanaugh.)

    Feinstein's anonymous trick did not work. So pressure mounted to reveal or leak Ford's identity and thereby force an Anita-Hill–like inquest that might at least show old white men Republican senators as insensitive to a vulnerable and victimized woman.

    The problem, of course, was that, under traditional notions of jurisprudence, Ford's allegations simply were not provable. But America soon discovered that civic and government norms no longer follow the Western legal tradition. In Orwellian terms, Kavanaugh was now at the mercy of the state. He was tagged with sexual battery at first by an anonymous accuser, and then upon revelation of her identity, by a left-wing, political activist psychology professor and her more left-wing, more politically active lawyer.

    Newspeak and Doublethink

    Statue of limitations? It does not exist. An incident 36 years ago apparently is as fresh today as it was when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford 15.

    Presumption of Innocence? Not at all. Kavanaugh is accused and thereby guilty. The accuser faces no doubt. In Orwellian America, the accused must first present his defense, even though he does not quite know what he is being charged with. Then the accuser and her legal team pour over his testimony to prepare her accusation.

    Evidence? That too is a fossilized concept. Ford could name neither the location of the alleged assault nor the date or time. She had no idea how she arrived or left the scene of the alleged crime. There is no physical evidence of an attack. And such lacunae in her memory mattered no longer at all.

    Details? Again, such notions are counterrevolutionary. Ford said to her therapist 6 years ago (30 years after the alleged incident) that there were four would-be attackers, at least as recorded in the therapist's notes.

    But now she has claimed that there were only two assaulters: Kavanaugh and a friend. In truth, all four people -- now including a female -- named in her accusations as either assaulters or witnesses have insisted that they have no knowledge of the event, much less of wrongdoing wherever and whenever Ford claims the act took place. That they deny knowledge is at times used as proof by Ford's lawyers that the event 36 years was traumatic.

    An incident at 15 is so seared into her lifelong memory that at 52 Ford has no memory of any of the events or details surrounding that unnamed day, except that she is positive that 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, along with four? three? two? others, was harassing her. She has no idea where or when she was assaulted but still assures that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were drunk, but that she and the others (?) merely had only the proverbial teenage "one beer." Most people are more likely to know where they were at a party than the exact number of alcoholic beverages they consumed -- but not so much about either after 36 years.

    Testimony? No longer relevant. It doesn't matter that Kavanaugh and the other alleged suspect both deny the allegations and have no memory of being in the same locale with Ford 36 years ago. In sum, all the supposed partiers, both male and female, now swear, under penalty of felony, that they have no memory of any of the incidents that Ford claims occurred so long ago. That Ford cannot produce a single witness to confirm her narrative or refute theirs is likewise of no concern. So far, she has singularly not submitted a formal affidavit or given a deposition that would be subject to legal exposure if untrue.

    Again, the ideological trumps the empirical. "All women must be believed" is the testament, and individuals bow to the collective. Except, as in Orwell's Animal Farm, there are ideological exceptions -- such as Bill Clinton, Keith Ellison, Sherrod Brown, and Joe Biden. The slogan of Ford's psychodrama is "All women must be believed, but some women are more believable than others." That an assertion becomes fact due to the prevailing ideology and gender of the accuser marks the destruction of our entire system of justice.

    Rights of the accused? They too do not exist. In the American version of 1984 , the accuser, a.k.a. the more ideologically correct party, dictates to authorities the circumstances under which she will be investigated and cross-examined: She will demand all sorts of special considerations of privacy and exemptions; Kavanaugh will be forced to return and face cameras and the public to prove that he was not then, and has never been since, a sexual assaulter.

    In our 1984 world, the accused is considered guilty if merely charged, and the accuser is a victim who can ruin a life but must not under any circumstance be made uncomfortable in proving her charges.

    Doublespeak abounds. "Victim" solely refers to the accuser, not the accused, who one day was Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant jurist and model citizen, and the next morning woke up transformed into some sort of Kafkaesque cockroach. The media and political operatives went in a nanosecond from charging that she was groped and "assaulted" to the claim that she was "raped."

    In our 1984, the phrase "must be believed" is doublespeak for "must never face cross-examination."

    Ford should be believed or not believed on the basis of evidence , not her position, gender, or politics. I certainly did not believe Joe Biden, simply because he was a U.S. senator, when, as Neal Kinnock's doppelganger, he claimed that he came from a long line of coal miners -- any more than I believed that Senator Corey Booker really had a gang-banger Socratic confidant named "T-Bone," or that would-be senator Richard Blumenthal was an anguished Vietnam combat vet or that Senator Elizabeth Warren was a Native American. (Do we need a 25th Amendment for unhinged senators?) Wanting to believe something from someone who is ideologically correct does not translate into confirmation of truth.

    Ford supposedly in her originally anonymous accusation had insisted that she had sought "medical treatment" for her assault. The natural assumption is that such a term would mean that, soon after the attack, the victim sought a doctor's or emergency room's help to address either her physical or mental injuries -- records might therefore be a powerful refutation of Kavanaugh's denials.

    But "medical treatment" now means that 30 years after the alleged assault, Ford sought counseling for some sort of "relationship" or "companion" therapy, or what might legitimately be termed "marriage counseling." And in the course of her discussions with her therapist about her marriage, she first spoke of her alleged assault three decades earlier. She did not then name Kavanaugh to her therapist, whose notes are at odds with Ford's current version.

    Memory Holes

    Then we come to Orwell's idea of "memory holes," or mechanisms to wipe clean inconvenient facts that disrupt official ideological narratives.

    Shortly after Ford was named, suddenly her prior well-publicized and self-referential social-media revelations vanished, as if she'd never held her minor-league but confident pro-Sanders, anti-Trump opinions . And much of her media and social-media accounts were erased as well.

    Similarly, one moment the New York Times -- just coming off an embarrassing lie in reporting that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had ordered new $50,000 office drapes on the government dime -- reported that Kavanaugh's alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, had confirmed Ford's allegation. Indeed, in a sensational scoop, according to the Times , Judge told the Judiciary Committee that he does remember the episode and has nothing more to say. In fact, Judge told the committee the very opposite: that he does not remember the episode . Forty minutes later, the Times embarrassing narrative vanished down the memory hole.

    The online versions of some of the yearbooks of Ford's high school from the early 1980s vanished as well. At times, they had seemed to take a perverse pride in the reputation of the all-girls school for underage drinking, carousing, and, on rarer occasions, "passing out" at parties. Such activities were supposed to be the monopoly and condemnatory landscape of the "frat boy" and spoiled-white-kid Kavanaugh -- and certainly not the environment in which the noble Ford navigated. Seventeen-year-old Kavanaugh was to play the role of a falling-down drunk; Ford, with impressive powers of memory of an event 36 years past, assures us that as a circumspect 15-year-old, she had only "one beer."

    A former teenage friend of Ford's sent out a flurry of social-media postings, allegedly confirming that Ford's ordeal was well known to her friends in 1982 and so her assault narrative must therefore be confirmed. Then, when challenged on some of her incoherent details (schools are not in session during summertime, and Ford is on record as not telling anyone of the incident for 30 years), she mysteriously claimed that she no longer could stand by her earlier assertions, which likewise soon vanished from her social-media account. Apparently, she had assumed that in 2018 Oceania ideologically correct citizens merely needed to lodge an accusation and it would be believed, without any obligation on her part to substantiate her charges.

    When a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, followed Ford seven days later to allege another sexual incident with the teenage Kavanaugh, at Yale 35 years ago, it was no surprise that she followed the now normal Orwellian boilerplate : None of those whom she named as witnesses could either confirm her charges or even remember the alleged event. She had altered her narrative after consultations with lawyers and handlers. She too confesses to underage drinking during the alleged event. She too is currently a social and progressive political activist. The only difference from Ford's narrative is that Ramirez's accusation was deemed not credible enough to be reported even by the New York Times , which recently retracted false stories about witness Mark Judge in the Ford case, and which falsely reported that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had charged the government for $50,000 office drapes.

    As in 1984 , "truths" in these sorts of allegations do not exist unless they align with the larger "Truth" of the progressive project. In our case, the overarching Truth mandates that, in a supposedly misogynist society, women must always be believed in all their accusations and should be exempt from all counter-examinations.

    Little "truths" -- such as the right of the accused, the need to produce evidence, insistence on cross-examination, and due process -- are counterrevolutionary constructs and the refuge of reactionary hold-outs who are enemies of the people. Or in the words of Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono:

    Guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, "Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change."

    The View 's Joy Behar was more honest about the larger Truth: "These white men, old by the way, are not protecting women," Behar exclaimed. "They're protecting a man who is probably guilty." We thank Behar for the concession "probably."

    According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17. And that reality reminds us that we are no longer in America . We are already living well into the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.


    NiggaPleeze , 10 seconds ago

    National Review? Really? Does it get more evil than them?

    Debt Slave , 16 seconds ago

    According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17.

    Well half the country are idiots but the important thing to remember in our democracy is that the idiots have the right to vote. And here we are today.

    No wonder the founders believed that democracy was a stupid idea. But we know better than they did, right?

    Jkweb007 , 37 seconds ago

    It is hard for me to believe 50% when in America you are presumed innocent till proven guilty. Is this the spanish inquizition or salem witch trials. If he floats he was innocent. I am shocked that people in congress would make statements, she must be believed, I believe he is guilty. These are people who represent and stand for the constitution that many died in the defense of life liberty and the persuit of happiness. It may be time for that mlilitia that our founding fathers endorsed. If Kavanaugh is rebuked for these accusation our freedom, free speech may be next.

    herbivore , 1 minute ago

    Peter Griffin knows what's what:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jiog8hrzigk

    GOSPLAN HERO , 4 minutes ago

    Just another day in USSA.

    THORAX , 6 minutes ago

    One more confirmation that the so called "social justice warriors" -like last night's goons' who shamefully interrupted Senator Cruz's night out with his wife at a private restaurant- are Orwell's projected fascists!

    opport.knocks , 20 minutes ago

    Bush 2 was in the big chair when he and his cabinet started the USA down the full Orwellian path (Patriot Act, post 911). Kavanaugh and his wife were both members of that government team.

    If there is any reason to dismiss him, that would be it, not this post-pubescent sex crap.

    If I was a cynical person, I would say this whole exercise is to deflect attention away from that part of his "swampy" past.

    Aubiekong , 23 minutes ago

    We lost the republic when we allowed the liberals to staff the ministry of education...

    CheapBastard , 15 minutes ago

    My neighbor is a high school teacher. I asked her if she was giving students time off to protest this and she looked at me and said, "Just the opposite. I have given them a 10 page seminar paper to write on the meaning of Due Process."

    So there IS hope.

    my new username , 23 minutes ago

    This is criminal contempt for the due lawful process of the Congress.

    These are unlawful attempts and conspiracies to subvert justice.

    So we need to start arresting, trying, convicting and punishing the criminals.

    BlackChicken , 23 minutes ago

    Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.

    This needs to end, not later, NOW.

    Be careful what you wish for leftists, I'll dedicate my remaining years to torture you with it.

    Jus7tme , 22 minutes ago

    >>the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.

    I think Orwell was in 1949 was warning about a fascist totalitarian hell, not a socialist one, but nice try rewriting history.

    Duc888 , 29 minutes ago

    WTF ever happened to "innocent until PROVEN guilty"?

    CheapBastard , 19 minutes ago

    Schumer said before the confirmation hearings even began he would not let Kavanaugh become SC justice no matter what.

    Dems are so tolerant, open minded and respectful of due process, aren't they.

    [Apr 12, 2020] Unintended consequences #MeToo movement causing gender segregation on Wall Street

    Notable quotes:
    "... Two female reporters for Bloomberg interviewed 30 Wall Street executives and found that while it's true that women might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their careers, men are also so afraid of being falsely accused that they won't even have dinner, or even one-to-one business meetings with a female colleague. They worry that a simple comment or gesture could be misinterpreted. "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," one Morgan Stanley executive said. ..."
    "... Bloomberg dubbed the phenomenon the 'Pence Effect' after the US vice president who previously admitted that he would never dine alone with any woman other than his wife. ..."
    "... All these extreme strategies being adopted by men to avoid falling victim to an unjust #MeToo scandal are creating a kind of "gender segregation" on Wall Street, the reporters say. ..."
    "... hiring a woman on Wall Street has become an "unknown risk," according to one wealth advisor, who said there is always a concern that a woman might take something said to her in the wrong way. ..."
    "... The unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement on Wall Street could be the stifling of women's progress and a sanitization of the workplace to the point of not even being able to have a private meeting with the door closed. ..."
    "... Another irony is that while men may think they are avoiding one type of scandal, could find themselves facing another: Discrimination complaints. ..."
    "... "A Wall Street rule for the #MeToo era: Avoid women at all cost." https://t.co/TCGk9UzT4R "Secular sharia" has arrived, as I predicted here: https://t.co/TTrWY6ML34 pic.twitter.com/YpEz78iamJ ..."
    "... "If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison told Bloomberg. ..."
    Dec 09, 2018 | www.rt.com

    Two female reporters for Bloomberg interviewed 30 Wall Street executives and found that while it's true that women might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their careers, men are also so afraid of being falsely accused that they won't even have dinner, or even one-to-one business meetings with a female colleague. They worry that a simple comment or gesture could be misinterpreted. "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," one Morgan Stanley executive said.

    Bloomberg dubbed the phenomenon the 'Pence Effect' after the US vice president who previously admitted that he would never dine alone with any woman other than his wife. British actor Taron Egerton recently also said he now avoided being alone with women for fear of finding himself in #MeToo's crosshairs.

    I remember when a woman I was friendly/kind with perceived me as someone who wanted "more." She wrote me a message about how she was uncomfortable. I'm gay. https://t.co/7z0X7Dwzkp

    -- Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) December 4, 2018

    All these extreme strategies being adopted by men to avoid falling victim to an unjust #MeToo scandal are creating a kind of "gender segregation" on Wall Street, the reporters say.

    Hurting women's progress?

    The most ironic outcome of a movement that was supposed to be about women's empowerment is that now, even hiring a woman on Wall Street has become an "unknown risk," according to one wealth advisor, who said there is always a concern that a woman might take something said to her in the wrong way.

    Also on rt.com #MeToo's Alyssa Milano accused of hypocrisy over links to 'Sharia law-supporting' Muslim activist

    With men occupying the most senior positions on Wall Street, women need male mentors who can teach them the ropes and help them advance their careers, but what happens when men are afraid to play that role with their younger female colleagues? The unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement on Wall Street could be the stifling of women's progress and a sanitization of the workplace to the point of not even being able to have a private meeting with the door closed.

    Another irony is that while men may think they are avoiding one type of scandal, could find themselves facing another: Discrimination complaints.

    "A Wall Street rule for the #MeToo era: Avoid women at all cost." https://t.co/TCGk9UzT4R "Secular sharia" has arrived, as I predicted here: https://t.co/TTrWY6ML34 pic.twitter.com/YpEz78iamJ

    -- Niall Ferguson (@nfergus) December 3, 2018

    "If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison told Bloomberg.

    Not all men are responding to the #MeToo movement by fearfully cutting themselves off from women, however. "Just try not to be an asshole," one said, while another added: "It's really not that hard."

    It might not be that simple, however. It seems there is no escape from the grip of the #MeToo movement. One of the movements most recent victims of the viral hashtag movement is not a man, but a song -- the time-honored classic 'Baby It's Cold Outside' -- which is being banished from American radio stations because it has a "rapey" vibe.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

    [Apr 11, 2020] NY's Cuomo pleases crowds with 'Hero Compensation Fund' for healthcare workers - after 9 years of hospital cuts by Helen Buyniski

    Notable quotes:
    "... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a fund to support sick healthcare workers and their families, but some blame him for the dire working conditions facing the state's caregivers after nine years of hospital budget cuts. Cuomo announced the state is working on a "Covid-19 Heroes Compensation Fund" to support healthcare workers and their families who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus during his daily briefing on Friday. It was heralded by his growing Democratic fan club as a generous, thoughtful move from a politician who cares about the "frontline workers." ..."
    Apr 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a fund to support sick healthcare workers and their families, but some blame him for the dire working conditions facing the state's caregivers after nine years of hospital budget cuts. Cuomo announced the state is working on a "Covid-19 Heroes Compensation Fund" to support healthcare workers and their families who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus during his daily briefing on Friday. It was heralded by his growing Democratic fan club as a generous, thoughtful move from a politician who cares about the "frontline workers."

    Absent from the lovefest was any mention of how the governor had - just the previous day - deferred 2 percent pay raises to some 80,000 state workers for 90 days, and potentially for longer. Many of those affected are healthcare workers in the state's prisons and mental health facilities.

    Union leaders were outraged. "It's inexcusable to require our workers to literally face death to ensure the state keeps running and then turn around and deny those very workers their much-deserved raise in this time of crisis, " Civil Service Employees Association president Mary Sullivan told the Times Union, while NY Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association chief Michael Powers called the postponement a "slap in the face" to workers facing "some of the most dangerous conditions in the state."

    While Cuomo is being praised for his leadership amid the coronavirus outbreak, the problems he is scrambling to solve are largely of his own making. Although aware of a 2015 report highlighting the desperately-depleted state stockpile of ventilators, he didn't take any actions on it, and has spent his tenure shuttering and downsizing hospitals across the state, mostly those serving low-income clients. The state has eliminated 20,000 hospital beds in the last two decades, at least half under his leadership.

    The New York state budget passed at the beginning of the month included deep cuts to Medicaid and may have rendered the state ineligible for $6 billion in federal aid, infuriating liberal lawmakers who were less enchanted with the new #Resistance hero. State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) told the New York Daily News that Cuomo's latest budget "only offered harsh austerity for the poorest and most vulnerable" New Yorkers.

    The state's Democrat-controlled senate called on Cuomo to tax the wealthy - New York has the highest economic inequality in the country, and a tax on the richest .01 percent has upwards of 90 percent approval among voters - only to be turned down by the politician who has earned the nickname "Governor One Percent."

    The latest cost-cutting moves resulted in New York City deprived on $200 million in sales tax revenue when the big apple is at the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak.

    The pandemic has hospitals so understaffed that NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation has apparently been reduced to contracting dodgy medical-temp agencies - one, Kansas-based disaster-staffing group Krucial Staffing, was sued earlier this week for luring out-of-state medical professionals to work in city hospitals under false pretenses, promising them cushy posts with ample protective equipment and no Covid-19 exposure - to fill vacancies. The suit alleges Krucial's misrepresentation of working conditions placed healthcare workers' medical licenses and lives in danger.

    It's unclear how many medical workers have contracted and died of the disease in the state, as New York, along with several other states, does not tract infections among medical staff. According to a BuzzFeed News review of the reports by 12 states, which made their data public, at least 5,400 nurses and doctors tested positive nationwide, while dozens have succumbed to the lethal illness. Among them, Kious Kelly, an assistant nurse manager at Mount Sinai West, whose death from the coronavirus on March 24 sparked protests among the personnel and led to the hospital eventually allowing workers to receive tests – but only those already showing symptoms.

    Some 7,887 New Yorkers have died with coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak, the majority of them - 5,820 - in New York City.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

    [Mar 24, 2020] Welcome to Sweatshop Amerika! by Mike Whitney

    Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

    The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media User Settings: Version? Social Media? Read Aloud w/ Show Word Counts No Video Autoplay No Infinite Scrolling
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    ← The Fed Reopens Its Landfill for Distre... Blogview Mike Whitney Archive Blogview Mike Whitney Archive Welcome to Sweatshop Amerika! The next bailout will be our last Mike Whitney March 22, 2020 1,400 Words 75 Comments Reply Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS

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    Imagine if the congress approved a measure to form a public-private partnership between the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Can you imagine that?

    Now imagine if a panicky and ill-informed Congress gave the Fed a blank check to bail out all of its crooked crony corporate and Wall Street friends, allowing the Fed to provide more than $4.5 trillion to underwater corporations that ripped off Mom and Pop investors by selling them bonds that were used to goose their stock prices so fatcat CEOs could make off like bandits. Imagine if all that red ink from private actors was piled onto the national debt pushing long-term interest rates into the stratosphere while crushing small businesses, households and ordinary working people.

    Now try to imagine the impact this would have on the nation's future. Imagine if the Central Bank was given the green-light to devour the Treasury, control the country's "purse strings", and use nation's taxing authority to shore up its trillions in ultra-risky leveraged bets, its opaque financially-engineered ponzi-instruments, and its massive speculative debts that have gone pear-shaped leaving a gaping black hole on its balance sheet?

    Well, you won't have to imagine this scenario for much longer, because the reality is nearly at hand. You see, the traitorous, dumbshit nincompoops in Congress are just a hairs-breadth away from abdicating congress's crucial power of the purse, which is not only their greatest strength, but also allows the congress to reign in abuses of executive power by controlling the flow of funding. The power of the purse is the supreme power of government which is why the founders entrusted it to the people's elected representatives in congress. Now these imbeciles are deciding whether to hand over that authority to a privately-owned banking cartel that has greatly expanded the chasm between rich and poor, incentivized destructive speculation on an industrial scale, and repeatedly inflated behemoth asset-price bubbles that have inevitably blown up sending stocks and the real economy into freefall. The idea of merging the Fed and the Treasury first appeared in its raw form in an article by former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen in the Financial Times. Here's a short excerpt from the piece:

    "The Fed could ask Congress for the authority to buy limited amounts of investment-grade corporate debt The Fed's intervention could help restart that part of the corporate debt market, which is under significant stress. Such a programme would have to be carefully calibrated to minimize the credit risk taken by the Fed while still providing needed liquidity to an essential market." ( Financial Times )

    The Fed is not allowed to buy corporate debt, because it is not within its mandate of "price stability and full employment". It's also not allowed to arbitrarily intervene in the markets to pick winners and losers, nor is it allowed to bailout poorly-managed crybaby corporations who were gaming the system to their own advantage when the whole deal blew up in their faces. That's their problem, not the Fed's and not the American taxpayer's.

    But notice how Bernanke emphasizes how "Such a programme would have to be carefully calibrated to minimize the credit risk taken by the Fed". Why do you think he said that?

    He said it because he anticipates an arrangement where the new Treasury-Fed combo could buy up to "$4.5 trillion of corporate debt" (according to Marketwatch and BofA). And the way this will work, is the Fed will select the bonds that will be purchased and the credit risk will be heaped onto the US Treasury. Apparently Bernanke and Yellen think this is a "fair" arrangement, but others might differ on that point.

    Keep in mind, that in the last week alone, investors pulled a record $107 billion out of corporate bonds which is a market which has been in a deep-freeze for nearly a month. The only activity is the steady surge of redemptions by frantic investors who want to get their money back before the listing ship heads for Davey Jones locker. This is the market that Bernanke wants the American people to bail out mainly because he doesn't want to submerge the Fed's balance sheet in red ink. He wants to find a sucker who will take the loss instead. That's where Uncle Sam comes in, he's the target of this subterfuge. This same theme pops up in a piece in the Wall Street Journal. Check it out:

    "At least Treasury has come around to realizing it needs a facility to provide liquidity for companies. But as we write this, Mr. Mnuchin was still insisting that Treasury have control of most of the money to be able to ladle out directly to companies it wants to help. This is a recipe for picking winners and losers, and thus for bitter political fights and months of ugly headlines charging favoritism. The far better answer is for Treasury to use money from Congress to replenish the Exchange Stabilization Fund to back the Fed in creating a facility or special-purpose vehicles under Section 13(3) to lend the money to all comers. "( "Leaderless on the Econom" , Wall Street Journal)

    I can hardly believe the author is bold enough to say this right to our faces. Read it carefully: They are saying "We want your money, but not your advice. The Fed will choose who gets the cash and who doesn't. Just put your trillions on the counter and get the hell out."

    Isn't that what they're saying? Of course it is. And the rest of the article is even more arrogant:

    "The Fed can charge a non-concessionary rate, but the vehicles should be open to those who think they need the money, not merely to those Treasury decides are worthy." (Huh? So the Treasury should have no say so in who gets taxpayer money??) The looming liquidity crisis is simply too great for that kind of bureaucratic, politicized decision-making. (Wall Street Journal)

    Get it? In other words, the folks at Treasury are just too stupid or too prejudiced to understand the subtleties of a bigass bailout like this. Is that arrogance or what?

    This is the contempt these people have for you and me and everyone else who isn't a part of their elitist gaggle of reprobates. Here's a clip from another article at the WSJ that helps to show how the financial media is pushing this gigantic handout to corporate America:.

    "The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and banking regulators deserve congratulations for their bold, necessary actions to provide liquidity to the U.S. financial system amid the coronavirus crisis. But more remains to be done. We thus recommend: (1) immediate congressional action . to authorize the Treasury to use the Exchange Stabilization Fund to guarantee prime money-market funds, (2) regulatory action to effect temporary reductions in bank capital and liquidity requirements (NOTE–So now the banks don't need to hold capital against their loans?) .. additional Fed lending to banks and nonbanks .(Note -by "nonbanks", does the author mean underwater hedge funds?)

    We recommend that the Fed take further actions as lender of last resort. First, it should re-establish the Term Auction Facility, used in the 2008 crisis, allowing depository institutions to borrow against a broad range of collateral at an auction price (Note–They want to drop the requirement for good Triple A collateral.) Second, it should consider further exercising its Section 13(3) authority to provide additional liquidity to nonbanks, potentially including purchases of corporate debt through a special-purpose vehicle" ( "Do More to Avert a Liquidity Crisis" , Wall Street Journal )

    This isn't a bailout, it's a joke, and there's no way Congress should approve these measures, particularly the merging of the US Treasury with the cutthroat Fed. That's a prescription for disaster! The Fed needs to be abolished not embraced as a state institution. It's madness!

    And look how the author wants to set up an special-purpose vehicle (SPV) so the accounting chicanery can be kept off the books which means the public won't know how much money is being flushed down the toilet trying to resuscitate these insolvent corporations whose executives are still living high on the hog on the money they stole from credulous investors. This whole scam stinks to high heaven!

    Meanwhile America's working people will get a whopping $1,000 bucks to tide them over until the debts pile up to the rafters and they're forced to rob the neighborhood 7-11 to feed the kids. How fair is that?

    And don't kid yourself: This isn't a bailout, it's the elitist's political agenda aimed at creating a permanent underclass who'll work for peanuts just to eek out a living.

    Welcome to Sweatshop Amerika!


    anachronism , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:03 am GMT

    In 2008-2009, the Federal Reserve bailed out the global banking system to the tune of $16 Trillion. But American citizens were left to pay usurious rates of interest on $1 Trillion of credit card debt. And American students had lost years of economic opportunity but their $1 Trillion dollars of debt could not be discharged through bankruptcy.

    This time the banks should stand behind the debtors at the government troth.

    anachronism , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:06 am GMT
    It's hard to understand how holiday cruise shipping can be regarded as an essential business.

    It is almost as hard to understand why a "Globalist Enterprise" should be spared its fate through the generosity of of one country. Even harder to understand, why would that one country should bail out a business, which had employed both tax-avoidance schemes as well as strategy import substitution and foreign investment to improve its profits at the expense of that country.

    Nationalism is better that globalism. The current crisis was not caused by globalism; but globalism has drained from our country the means to respond to the crisis with the medicines and equipment that would reduce its severity.

    Not a single cent of government aid should go toward a person or an entity outside the United States and it territories. Conditions should be placed upon such aid, so that the companies receiving it, must domesticate their supply chains, and must produce and develop their products within the United States.

    Kim , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:38 am GMT
    @anachronism Make the universities discharge the student debt. It was their scam all along. They can begin by retrenching their schools of the humanities and at least halving their administrative staff. And end building and sports programs. The fat hangs heavy on that particular pig.
    anachronism , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 7:19 am GMT
    @Kim I agree with you up to a point.

    The student and the university should share responsibility equally. In the future, the institution should be made a co-signor on any student loan; and the obligation to repay the loan should be joint and several for both the institution and the student.

    Bankruptcy provides the ex-student with the chance to start over and to escape the burden; but not without consequences. This will discourage the ex-student, who is doing well financially and has the means to service the debt, from just walking away.

    [Mar 15, 2020] The Companies Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health

    Mar 14, 2020 | www.nytimes.com

    As the coronavirus spreads, the public interest requires employers to abandon their longstanding resistance to paid sick leave.

    By The Editorial Board

    The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values . It is separate from the newsroom.

    Most American restaurants do not offer paid sick leave. Workers who fall sick face a simple choice: Work and get paid or stay home and get stiffed. Not surprisingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2014 that fully 20 percent of food service workers had come to work at least once in the previous year " while sick with vomiting or diarrhea ."

    As the new coronavirus spreads across the United States, the time has come for restaurants, retailers and other industries that rely on low-wage labor to abandon their parsimonious resistance to paid sick leave. Companies that do not pay sick workers to stay home are endangering their workers, their customers and the health of the broader public. Studies show that paying for sick employees to stay home significantly reduces the spread of the seasonal flu. There's every reason to think it would help to check the new coronavirus, too.

    [Mar 06, 2020] Palliative Liberalism Can't Cure Our Ailing Working Class

    Mar 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    Class-neutral, race-based policies in the United States include affirmative action in hiring, government set-asides for specified groups in contracting, and gerrymandering of congressional districts to create majority-minority districts likely to elect a member of a racial minority as a representative. In most cases the beneficiaries of these policies tend to be members of the affluent elite within a particular racial or ethnic group. For technocratic neoliberalism, the goal is to ensure that there is the proper racial and gender balance within the overclass, the balance that presumably would result from a perfect meritocracy. If pure meritocracy does not yet exist, then a simulacrum will be created. But as the British socialist thinker Ralph Miliband put it, "access to positions of power by members of the subordinate classes does not change the fact of domination; it only changes the personnel."

    The assumption that contemporary North America and Europe already have near-classless societies, to be made perfectly classless by a few low-cost policy interventions, also compels neoliberals to attribute the problems of the native white Western working class not to the class system but rather to personal shortcomings, which a number of unfortunate individuals are alleged to share.

    The most important personal shortcoming is alleged to be a lack of adequate job skills. The theory of skill-biased technological change (SBTC) was popular during the bubble years before the Great Recession. SBTC theory explained rising inequality by asserting that the "left-behind" members of the working class had inferior and outmoded skills not needed by the "creative class" or the "digital elite" in the new "global knowledge economy."

    The premise has been that U.S. corporations like Apple did not offshore production to China to take advantage of low-wage, unfree workers and state subsidies of various kinds. No, it is often implied, the poor Chinese workers migrating from rural areas to make iPhones in sweatshop factories in southern China in degrading conditions for a pittance had superior STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills unmatched among ignorant American or European workers. Provide these "left-behind" workers in the West with appropriate skills ("human capital" in the pseudoeconomic jargon of neoliberalism) and their earnings will increase.

    On the basis of SBTC theory, school curricula in the U.S. and elsewhere have been reconfigured to focus on STEM skills. For a generation, the conventional wisdom has held that the "jobs of the future" are "knowledge economy" jobs like software coding. But is this really true?

    For working-class Americans and Europeans, the jobs of the future are mostly low-wage jobs, many of them in health care. In most of these jobs, the low wages are caused not by a lack of university education, which is not needed, nor by a lack of vocational skills, but by a lack of bargaining power on the part of workers.

    ♦♦♦

    Somewhat bolder proposals to help the working class, which also avoid any heretical questioning of the labor market effects of deunionization, offshoring, and mass immigration, include more redistribution of income in the form of cash transfers or tax breaks and more opportunities for working-class citizens to start their own businesses.

    Redistributionist proposals range from expanding tax subsidies to wage earners, like America's earned income tax credit (EITC), to the old but periodically revived idea of a universal basic income (UBI), which would allow all citizens to live at a minimally adequate level without working. While some minor forms of enhanced redistribution to mollify discontented voters will undoubtedly be tried in many Western countries, proposals for massive cash transfers are doomed for a number of reasons.

    Purchasing political acquiescence from workers who have stagnant or declining incomes with substantial amounts of cash requires an economically dynamic sector of the economy to make the bribes affordable. In some versions, radical redistributionism posits the permanent existence of high intellectual-property rents flowing from the rest of the world to tech tycoons, along with global financial rents flowing to money managers. These rents, it is assumed, will be so high and sustainable that the tycoons and money managers will gladly share them with the rest of the population in the nation-states in which they happen to reside.

    At the local level, something like this system has long existed in tech centers like San Francisco and financial entrepôts like New York and London. Local rentier interests are coddled by governments in return for their contribution to revenues. But while it may work in a few hub cities, the policy cannot be scaled up to the level of the ordinary nation-state, much less a continental nation-state like the United States, with a third of a billion inhabitants.

    It is no coincidence that Reaganism-Clintonism and Thatcherism-Blairism flourished in an era of prolonged asset bubbles. For a time, it is possible for stock market booms and real estate bubbles to fund public services and redistribution while allowing the wealthy to keep most of their gains. But the financial industry is volatile and global innovation rents quickly disappear, as a result of lapsing patents, intellectual property theft, foreign success in indigenous innovation, and the commoditization of former cutting-edge industries.

    ♦♦♦

    Recently a rival approach to reform, antimonopolism, has attracted growing attention and support among American progressives. Based on a revival of the long-moribund small-producer republicanism of William Jennings Bryan, Louis Brandeis, and Wright Patman, this school blames inequality and a host of other social ills on increasing "concentration" or "monopoly" and proposes a radical antitrust policy as a panacea. Breaking up large firms into smaller ones, it is claimed, will increase opportunities for Americans to exit the labor market by transitioning from wage earners to small business owners. Those who continue to sell their labor for wages will have their bargaining power increased, and the monopsony wage-setting power of employers reduced, by a government policy of breaking up big employers into a greater number of smaller ones -- so it is said.

    Praising small business is certain to be an applause line in most Western democracies, given popular nostalgia for old-fashioned small-town and rural life. But multiplying the number of small firms will not help the wage-earning majority, because small firms pay poorly. In the U.S., large firms with over five hundred workers in 2007 employed 44 percent of all workers but only 28 percent of low-wage workers. Firms with fewer than ten workers employed only 20 percent of the workforce but 42 percent of low-wage workers.

    Some of the new antimonopolists have suggested that breaking up big firms can increase the bargaining power of workers. But the idea that janitors will be in a better position to bargain for higher wages if Facebook is broken into three or four or five giant successor firms is implausible, to say the least.

    ♦♦♦

    The cure-alls of education, redistribution, and antimonopolism enjoy broad elite support from the center-left to the center-right, in part, no doubt, because they do not question the commitment of post-1970s neoliberalism to liberalized policies about trade, immigration, and organized labor. Redistribution, for example, is not necessarily a left-wing idea. On the contrary, labor liberals and social democrats have usually opposed proposals for post-tax transfers of cash to individuals, in favor of measures that increase the ability of workers to bargain for higher pretax wages, like limits on immigration and offshoring, collective bargaining at the firm or sectoral level, and public job guarantees and socialized in-kind benefits like universal health care ("de-commodification").

    Conversely, cash transfers and ideas of universal capitalism have a long and distinguished pedigree on the free market right. From Milton Friedman in the 1960s to Charles Murray in the 1990s, libertarians have proposed using some form of a basic income as a substitute, not a supplement, for most or all other social insurance and antipoverty programs.

    But like the panaceas of education and redistribution, anti-monopolism does not question the premises of economic neoliberalism. Indeed, the antimonopolists claim, with some justification, that they are even more fervent devotees of markets than conventional neoliberals.

    Worst of all, three of these schools of thought seek to respond to working-class populist rebellions by offering workers the chance to become something other than workers, as though there were something shameful and retrograde about being an ordinary wage earner. Many champions of education as a panacea want to turn wage earners into professionals. Advocates of universal capitalism want to turn wage earners into investors. Antimonopolists want to turn wage earners into small business owners.

    In the 1930s, Keynes speculated about the euthanasia of the rentier class. These reformers propose the euthanasia of the working class. The neoliberal utopia is a workerless paradise.

    ♦♦♦

    What about socialism -- the genuine kind with state ownership of the means of production? In theory, the option of democratic socialism need not be discredited by the horrors wrought by Marxist-Leninist dictatorships in rural nations like twentieth-century Russia and China.

    Democratic socialism is discredited for other reasons. One is the greater track record of the mixed economy, with a blend of markets, public enterprises, and nonprofit provision, over both the pure free market economy and state socialism. A case can be made for socializing some enterprises or industries, but socializing everything can only be justified by dogmatic ideology.

    The other argument against democratic socialism is the fact that socializing most or all of the economy by itself would not address the problem of checking the power of the managerial elite, which mere elections, however free, would be unlikely to constrain. Empowering organized labor by means like tripartite business-labor-government bargaining can provide real checks on the managerial overclass, without sacrificing the dynamism of the mixed economy.

    ♦♦♦

    The American writer Daniel McCarthy has aptly called approaches like the ones I have criticized in this essay "palliative liberalism." However popular these miracle cures may be among the managerial elite and the overclass intelligentsia, as remedies for working-class distress in the deindustrialized heartlands of the Western world the panaceas of redistributionism, education, and antimonopolism are like prescriptions of aspirin for cancer. They may ameliorate the symptoms, but they do not cure the disease -- the imbalance of power, within Western nation-states, between the overclass and the working class as a whole, including many exploited immigrant workers who labor for the affluent in the metropolitan hubs.

    If banana republicanism is to be avoided as the fate of the Western democracies, reformers in America and Europe will have to do far more than buy off the population with a subsidy here or an antitrust lawsuit there. Indeed, if a package of minor, ameliorative reforms is handed down from the mountaintops of Davos or Aspen by a claque of benevolent billionaires and the technocrats and the politicians and intellectuals whom the billionaires subsidize, with little or no public participation or debate, the lack of voice and agency of most citizens will be made apparent in the most humiliating way.

    What the racially and religiously diverse working-class majorities in the Western nations need is what they once possessed and no longer have: countervailing power. In the absence of mass-membership institutions comparable to the older grassroots parties, labor unions, and religious organizations, which can provide ordinary citizens with the collective power to check the abuses of the managerial elite, palliative reform at most can create oligarchy with a human face.

    Michael Lind is a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. This essay is adapted from his most recent book, The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite , published on January 21st by Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. © 2020 by Michael Lind.

    [Mar 04, 2020] Class: The Little Word the Elites Want You to Forget

    Mar 02, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

    Aristotle, Niccolò Machiavelli, Alexis de Tocqueville, Adam Smith and Karl Marx grounded their philosophies in the understanding that there is a natural antagonism between the rich and the rest of us. The interests of the rich are not our interests. The truths of the rich are not our truths. The lives of the rich are not our lives. Great wealth not only breeds contempt for those who do not have it but it empowers oligarchs to pay armies of lawyers, publicists, politicians, judges, academics and journalists to censure and control public debate and stifle dissent. Neoliberalism , deindustrialization, the destruction of labor unions, slashing and even eliminating the taxes of the rich and corporations, free trade, globalization, the surveillance state, endless war and austerity -- the ideologies or tools used by the oligarchs to further their own interests -- are presented to the public as natural law, the mechanisms for social and economic progress, even as the oligarchs dynamite the foundations of a liberal democracy and exacerbate a climate crisis that threatens to extinguish human life.

    The oligarchs are happy to talk about race. They are happy to talk about sexual identity and gender. They are happy to talk about patriotism. They are happy to talk about religion. They are happy to talk about immigration. They are happy to talk about abortion. They are happy to talk about gun control. They are happy to talk about cultural degeneracy or cultural freedom. They are not happy to talk about class. Race, gender, religion, abortion, immigration, gun control, culture and patriotism are issues used to divide the public, to turn neighbor against neighbor, to fuel virulent hatreds and antagonisms. The culture wars give the oligarchs, both Democrats and Republicans, the cover to continue the pillage. There are few substantial differences between the two ruling political parties in the United States. This is why oligarchs like Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg can switch effortlessly from one party to the other. Once oligarchs seize power, Aristotle wrote, a society must either accept tyranny or choose revolution.

    The United States stood on the cusp of revolution -- a fact President Franklin Roosevelt acknowledged in his private correspondence -- amid the breakdown of capitalism in the 1930s. Roosevelt responded by aggressively curbing the power of the oligarchs. The federal government dealt with massive unemployment by creating 12 million jobs through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), making the government the largest employer in the country. It legalized unions, many of which had been outlawed, and through the National Labor Relations Act empowered organizing. It approved banking regulations, including the Emergency Banking Act, the Banking Act and the Securities Act, all in 1933, to prevent another stock market crash. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration provided the equivalent in today's money of $9.88 billion for relief operations in cities and states. The Democratic president heavily taxed the rich and corporations. (The Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s was still taxing the highest earners at 91%.) Roosevelt's administration instituted programs such as Social Security and a public pension program. It provided financial assistance to tenant farmers and migrant workers. It funded arts and culture. It created the United States Housing Authority and instituted the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established the minimum wage and set a limit on mandatory work hours. This heavy government intervention lifted the country out of the Great Depression. It also made Roosevelt, who was elected to an unprecedented fourth term, and the Democratic Party wildly popular among working and middle-class families. The Democratic Party, should it resurrect such policies, would win every election in a landslide.

    But the New Deal was the bête noire of the oligarchs. They began to undo Roosevelt's New Deal even before World War II broke out at the end of 1941. They gradually dismantled the regulations and programs that had not only saved capitalism but arguably democracy itself. We now live in an oligarchic state. The oligarchs control politics, the economy, culture, education and the press. Donald Trump may be a narcissist and a con artist, but he savages the oligarchic elite in his long-winded speeches to the delight of his crowds. He, like Bernie Sanders, speaks about the forbidden topic -- class. But Trump, though an embarrassment to the oligarchs, does not, like Sanders, pose a genuine threat to them. Trump will, like all demagogues, incite violence against the vulnerable, widen the cultural and social divides and consolidate tyranny, but he will leave the rich alone. It is Sanders whom the oligarchs fear and hate.

    The Democratic Party elites will use any mechanism, no matter how nefarious and undemocratic, to prevent Sanders from obtaining the nomination. The New York Times interviewed 93 of the more than 700 superdelegates, appointed by the party and permitted to vote in the second round if no candidate receives the required 1,991 delegates to win in the first round. Most of those interviewed said they would seek to prevent Sanders from being the nominee if he did not have a majority of delegates in the first count, even if it required drafting someone who did not run in the primaries -- Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio was mentioned -- and even if it led to Sanders' supporters abandoning the party in disgust. If Sanders fails to obtain 1,991 delegates before the convention, which appears likely, it seems nearly certain he will be blocked by the party from becoming the Democratic candidate. The damage done to the Democratic Party, if this happens, will be catastrophic. It will also all but ensure that Trump wins a second term.

    As I wrote in my Feb. 17 column , "The New Rules of the Games," "Sanders' democratic socialism is essentially that of a New Deal Democrat. His political views would be part of the mainstream in France or Germany, where democratic socialism is an accepted part of the political landscape and is routinely challenged as too accommodationist by communists and radical socialists. Sanders calls for an end to our foreign wars, a reduction of the military budget, for 'Medicare for All,' abolishing the death penalty, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and private prisons, a return of Glass-Steagall , raising taxes on the wealthy, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, canceling student debt, eliminating the Electoral College, banning fracking and breaking up agribusinesses. This does not qualify as a revolutionary agenda."

    "Sanders, unlike many more radical socialists, does not propose nationalizing the banks and the fossil fuel and arms industries," I continued. "He does not call for the criminal prosecution of the financial elites who trashed the global economy or the politicians and generals who lied to launch preemptive wars, defined under international law as criminal wars of aggression, which have devastated much of the Middle East, resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead and millions of refugees and displaced people, and cost the nation between $5 trillion and $7 trillion. He does not call for worker ownership of factories and businesses. He does not promise to halt the government's wholesale surveillance of the public. He does not intend to punish corporations that have moved manufacturing overseas. Most importantly, he believes, as I do not, that the political system, including the Democratic Party, can be reformed from within. He does not support sustained mass civil disobedience to bring the system down, the only hope we have of halting the climate emergency that threatens to doom the human race. On the political spectrum, he is, at best, an enlightened moderate."

    The Democratic Party leaders are acutely aware that in a functioning democracy, one where the rich do not buy elections and send lobbyists to Washington and state capitals to write laws and legislation, one where the danger of oligarchic rule is understood and part of the national debate, they would be out of a job.

    The Democrats, like the Republicans, serve the interests of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. The Democrats, like the Republicans, serve the interests of the defense contractors. The Democrats, like the Republicans, serve the interests of the fossil fuel industry. The Democrats, along with the Republicans, authorized $738 billion for our bloated military in fiscal 2020. The Democrats, like the Republicans, do not oppose the endless wars in the Middle East. The Democrats, like the Republicans, took from us our civil liberties, including the right to privacy, freedom from wholesale government surveillance, and due process. The Democrats, like the Republicans, legalized unlimited funding from the rich and corporations to transform our electoral process into a system of legalized bribery. The Democrats, like the Republicans, militarized our police and built a system of mass incarceration that has 25% of the world's prisoners, although the United States has only 5% of the world's population. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are the political face of the oligarchy.

    The leaders of the Democratic Party -- the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tom Perez -- would rather implode the party and the democratic state than surrender their positions of privilege. The Democratic Party is not a bulwark against despotism. It is the guarantor of despotism. It is a full partner in the class project. Its lies, deceit, betrayal of working men and women and empowering of corporate pillage made a demagogue like Trump possible. Any threat to the class project, even the tepid one that would be offered by Sanders as the party's nominee, will see the Democratic elites unite with the Republicans to keep Trump in power.

    What will we do if the oligarchs in the Democratic Party once again steal the nomination from Sanders? Will we finally abandon a system that has always been gamed against us? Will we turn on the oligarchic state to build parallel, popular institutions to protect ourselves and to pit power against power? Will we organize unions, third parties and militant movements that speak in the language of class warfare? Will we form community development organizations that provide local currencies, public banks and food cooperatives? Will we carry out strikes and sustained civil disobedience to wrest power back from the oligarchs to save ourselves and our planet?

    In 2016 I did not believe that the Democratic elites would permit Sanders to be the nominee and feared, correctly, they would use him after the convention to herd his followers into the voting booths for Hillary Clinton. I do not believe this animus against Sanders has changed in 2020. The theft this time may be more naked, and for this reason more revealing of the forces involved. If all this plays out as I expect and if those on the left continue to put their faith and energy into the Democratic Party, they are not simply willfully naive but complicit in their own enslavement. No successful political movement will be built within the embrace of the Democratic Party, nor will such a movement be built in one election cycle. The struggle to end oligarchic rule will be hard and bitter. It will take time. It will require self-sacrifice, including sustained protest and going to jail. It will be rooted in class warfare. The oligarchs will stop at nothing to crush it. Open, nonviolent revolt against the oligarchic state is our only hope. Oligarchic rule must be destroyed. If we fail, our democracy, and finally our species, will become extinct.

    Related Articles
    The World Is Now the Property of the 1 Percent by Nomi Prins / TomDispatch

    America's Egregious Economic Inequality in a Single Statistic by Jacob Sugarman

    Bernie Sanders Is the Only Candidate Who Can Save America by Juan Cole

    [Feb 29, 2020] The problem with the idea of privilege is that very few people are really privileged, a white male dude certainly isn t privileged just because he is white and male

    Jan 01, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

    MisterMr 12.31.19 at 12:29 pm

    An addendum to my previous comment:

    The problem with the idea of privilege is that very few people are really privileged, a white male dude certainly isn't privileged just because he is white and male, although a black dudette could be in a worse position.

    It is important to stress that actual privilege starts quite high on the totem pole, most people are not privileged.

    [Feb 24, 2020] The new class war did a liberal elite pave the way for rise of Trump US news by

    Notable quotes:
    "... Between an oligarchy in technocratic form and outsider populism, Lind predicts that oligarchs with money and connections will win nine times out of 10. But as they turn narrow and nepotistic, the ruling class will further lose their connection to reality. ..."
    Feb 02, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

    [Feb 19, 2020] On Michael Lind's "The New Class War" by Gregor Baszak

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. ..."
    "... Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt. ..."
    "... Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists." ..."
    "... To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration. ..."
    "... Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages. ..."
    "... This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up. ..."
    "... But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself. ..."
    "... American parties are not organized parties built around active members and policy platforms; they are shifting coalitions of entrepreneurial candidate campaign organizations. Hence, the Democratic and Republican Parties are not only capitalist ideologically; they are capitalistically run enterprises. ..."
    "... In the epigraph to the book, Lind cites approvingly the 1949 treatise The Vital Center by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who wrote that "class conflict, pursued to excess, may well destroy the underlying fabric of common principle which sustains free society." Schlesinger was just one among many voices who believed that Western societies after World War II were experiencing the "end of ideology." From now on, the reasoning went, the ideological battles of yesteryear were settled in favor of a more disinterested capitalist (albeit New Deal–inflected) governance. This, in turn, gave rise to the managerial forces in government, the military, and business whose unchecked hold on power Lind laments. The midcentury social-democratic thinker Michael Harrington had it right when he wrote that "[t]he end of ideology is a shorthand way of saying the end of socialism." ..."
    "... A cursory glance at the recent impeachment hearings bears witness to this, as career bureaucrats complained that President Trump unjustifiably sought to change the course of an American foreign policy that had been nobly steered by them since the onset of the Cold War. In their eyes, Trump, like the Brexiteers or the French yellow vest protesters, are vulgar usurpers who threaten the stability of the vital center from polar extremes. ..."
    Jan 08, 2020 | lareviewofbooks.org

    A FEW DAYS AFTER Donald Trump's electoral upset in 2016, Club for Growth co-founder Stephen Moore told an audience of Republican House members that the GOP was "now officially a Trump working class party." No longer the party of traditional Reaganite conservatism, the GOP had been converted instead "into a populist America First party." As he uttered these words, Moore says, "the shock was palpable" in the room.

    The Club for Growth had long dominated Republican orthodoxy by promoting low tax rates and limited government. Any conservative candidate for political office wanting to reap the benefits of the Club's massive fundraising arm had to pay homage to this doctrine. For one of its formerly leading voices to pronounce the transformation of this orthodoxy toward a more populist nationalism showed just how much the ground had shifted on election night.

    To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. The title of Lind's new book, The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite , leaves no doubt as to where his sympathies lie, though he's adamant that he's not some sort of guru for a " smarter Trumpism ," as some have labeled him.

    Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt.

    The New Class War is a breath of fresh air. Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists."

    To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration.

    The strategy has since been successfully repeated in the United Kingdom by Boris Johnson, and it looks, for now, like a foolproof way for conservative parties in the West to capture or defend their majorities against center-left parties that are too beholden to wealthy, metropolitan interests to seriously attract working-class support. Berating the latter as irredeemably racist certainly doesn't help either.

    What happened in the preceding decades to produce this divide in Western democracies? Lind's narrative begins with the New Deal, which had brought to an end what he calls "the first class war" in favor of a class compromise between management and labor. This first class war is the one we are the most familiar with: originating in the Industrial Revolution, which had produced the wretchedly poor proletariat, it soon led to the rise of competing parties of organized workers on the one hand and the liberal bourgeoisie on the other, a clash that came to a head in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages.

    This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up.

    But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself.

    Likewise, only it can contain this backlash by returning to the bargaining table and reestablishing the tripartite system it had walked away from. According to Lind, the new class peace can only come about on the level of the individual nation-state because transnational treaty organizations like the EU cannot allow the various national working classes to escape the curse of labor arbitrage. This will mean that unskilled immigration will necessarily have to be curbed to strengthen the bargaining power of domestic workers. The free-market orthodoxy of the Club for Growth will also have to take a backseat, to be replaced by government-promoted industrial strategies that invest in innovation to help modernize their national economies.

    Under which circumstances would the managerial elites ever return to the bargaining table? "The answer is fear," Lind suggests -- fear of working-class resentment of hyper-woke, authoritarian elites. Ironically, this leaves all the agency with the ruling class, who first acceded to the class compromise, then canceled it, and is now called on to forge a new one lest its underlings revolt.

    Lind rightly complains all throughout the book that the old mass-membership based organizations of the 20th century have collapsed. He's coy, however, about who would reconstitute them and how. At best, Lind argues for a return to the old system where party bosses and ward captains served their local constituencies through patronage, but once more this leaves the agency with entities like the Republicans and Democrats who have a combined zero members. As the third-party activist Howie Hawkins remarked cunningly elsewhere ,

    American parties are not organized parties built around active members and policy platforms; they are shifting coalitions of entrepreneurial candidate campaign organizations. Hence, the Democratic and Republican Parties are not only capitalist ideologically; they are capitalistically run enterprises.

    Thus, they would hardly be the first options one would think of to reinvigorate the forces of civil society toward self-rule from the bottom up.

    The key to Lind's fraught logic lies hidden in plain sight -- in the book's title. Lind does not speak of "class struggle ," the heroic Marxist narrative in which an organized proletariat strove for global power; no, "class war " smacks of a gloomy, Hobbesian war of all against all in which no side truly stands to win.

    In the epigraph to the book, Lind cites approvingly the 1949 treatise The Vital Center by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who wrote that "class conflict, pursued to excess, may well destroy the underlying fabric of common principle which sustains free society." Schlesinger was just one among many voices who believed that Western societies after World War II were experiencing the "end of ideology." From now on, the reasoning went, the ideological battles of yesteryear were settled in favor of a more disinterested capitalist (albeit New Deal–inflected) governance. This, in turn, gave rise to the managerial forces in government, the military, and business whose unchecked hold on power Lind laments. The midcentury social-democratic thinker Michael Harrington had it right when he wrote that "[t]he end of ideology is a shorthand way of saying the end of socialism."

    Looked at from this perspective, the break between the postwar Fordist regime and technocratic neoliberalism isn't as massive as one would suppose. The overclass antagonists of The New Class War believe that they derive their power from the same "liberal order" of the first-class peace that Lind upholds as a positive utopia. A cursory glance at the recent impeachment hearings bears witness to this, as career bureaucrats complained that President Trump unjustifiably sought to change the course of an American foreign policy that had been nobly steered by them since the onset of the Cold War. In their eyes, Trump, like the Brexiteers or the French yellow vest protesters, are vulgar usurpers who threaten the stability of the vital center from polar extremes.

    A more honest account of capitalism would also acknowledge its natural tendencies to persistently contract and to disrupt the social fabric. There is thus no reason to believe why some future class compromise would once and for all quell these tendencies -- and why nationalistically operating capitalist states would not be inclined to confront each other again in war.

    Gregor Baszak is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His Twitter handle is @gregorbas1.

    Stourley Kracklite 20 days ago • edited ,

    Reagan was a free-trader and a union buster. Lind's people jumped the Democratic ship to vote for Reagan in (lemming-like) droves. As Republicans consolidated power over labor with cheap goods from China and the meth of deficit spending Democrats struggled with being necklaced as the party of civil rights.
    The idea that people who are well-informed ought not to govern is a sad and sick cover story that the culpable are forced to chant in their caves until their days are done, the reckoning being too great.

    [Feb 18, 2020] Automation Armageddon: a Legitimate Worry? reviewed the history of automation, focused on projections of gloom-and-doom by Michael Olenick

    Relatively simple automation often beat more complex system. By far.
    Notable quotes:
    "... My guess is we're heading for something in-between, a place where artisanal bakers use locally grown wheat, made affordable thanks to machine milling. Where small family-owned bakeries rely on automation tech to do the undifferentiated grunt-work. The robots in my future are more likely to look more like cash registers and less like Terminators. ..."
    "... I gave a guest lecture to a roomful of young roboticists (largely undergrad, some first year grad engineering students) a decade ago. After discussing the economics/finance of creating and selling a burgerbot, asked about those that would be unemployed by the contraption. One student immediately snorted out, "Not my problem!" Another replied, "But what if they cannot do anything else?". Again, "Not my problem!". And that is San Josie in a nutshell. ..."
    "... One counter-argument might be that while hoping for the best it might be prudent to prepare for the worst. Currently, and for a couple of decades, the efficiency gains have been left to the market to allocate. Some might argue that for the common good then the government might need to be more active. ..."
    "... "Too much automation is really all about narrowing the choices in your life and making it cheaper instead of enabling a richer lifestyle." Many times the only way to automate the creation of a product is to change it to fit the machine. ..."
    "... You've gotta' get out of Paris: great French bread remains awesome. I live here. I've lived here for over half a decade and know many elderly French. The bread, from the right bakeries, remains great. ..."
    "... I agree with others here who distinguish between labor saving automation and labor eliminating automation, but I don't think the former per se is the problem as much as the gradual shift toward the mentality and "rightness" of mass production and globalization. ..."
    "... I was exposed to that conflict, in a small way, because my father was an investment manager. He told me they were considering investing in a smallish Swiss pasta (IIRC) factory. He was frustrated with the negotiations; the owners just weren't interested in getting a lot bigger – which would be the point of the investment, from the investors' POV. ..."
    "... Incidentally, this is a possible approach to a better, more sustainable economy: substitute craft for capital and resources, on as large a scale as possible. More value with less consumption. But how we get there from here is another question. ..."
    "... The Ten Commandments do not apply to corporations. ..."
    "... But what happens when the bread machine is connected to the internet, can't function without an active internet connection, and requires an annual subscription to use? ..."
    "... Until 100 petaflops costs less than a typical human worker total automation isn't going to happen. Developments in AI software can't overcome basic hardware limits. ..."
    "... When I started doing robotics, I developed a working definition of a robot as: (a.) Senses its environment; (b.) Has goals and goal-seeking logic; (c.) Has means to affect environment in order to get goal and reality (the environment) to converge. Under that definition, Amazon's Alexa and your household air conditioning and heating system both qualify as "robot". ..."
    "... The addition of a computer (with a program, or even downloadable-on-the-fly programs) to a static machine, e.g. today's computer-controlled-manufacturing machines (lathes, milling, welding, plasma cutters, etc.) makes a massive change in utility. It's almost the same physically, but ever so much more flexible, useful, and more profitable to own/operate. ..."
    "... And if you add massive databases, internet connectivity, the latest machine-learning, language and image processing and some nefarious intent, then you get into trouble. ..."
    Oct 25, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    By Michael Olenick, a research fellow at INSEAD who writes regularly at Olen on Economics and Innowiki . Originally published at Innowiki

    Part I , "Automation Armageddon: a Legitimate Worry?" reviewed the history of automation, focused on projections of gloom-and-doom.

    "It smells like death," is how a friend of mine described a nearby chain grocery store. He tends to exaggerate and visiting France admittedly brings about strong feelings of passion. Anyway, the only reason we go there is for things like foil or plastic bags that aren't available at any of the smaller stores.

    Before getting to why that matters – and, yes, it does matter – first a tasty digression.

    I live in a French village. To the French, high-quality food is a vital component to good life.

    My daughter counts eight independent bakeries on the short drive between home and school. Most are owned by a couple of people. Counting high-quality bakeries embedded in grocery stores would add a few more. Going out of our way more than a minute or two would more than double that number.

    Typical Bakery: Bread is cooked at least twice daily

    Despite so many, the bakeries seem to do well. In the half-decade I've been here, three new ones opened and none of the old ones closed. They all seem to be busy. Bakeries are normally owner operated. The busiest might employ a few people but many are mom-and-pop operations with him baking and her selling. To remain economically viable, they rely on a dance of people and robots. Flour arrives in sacks with high-quality grains milled by machines. People measure ingredients, with each bakery using slightly different recipes. A human-fed robot mixes and kneads the ingredients into the dough. Some kind of machine churns the lumps of dough into baguettes.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/O22jWIjcdaY?feature=oembed


    Baguette Forming Machine: This would make a good animated GIF

    The baker places the formed baguettes onto baking trays then puts them in the oven. Big ovens maintain a steady temperature while timers keep track of how long various loaves of bread have been baking. Despite the sensors, bakers make the final decision when to pull the loaves out, with some preferring a bien cuit more cooked flavor and others a softer crust. Finally, a person uses a robot in the form of a cash register to ring up transactions and processes payments, either by cash or card.

    Nobody -- not the owners, workers, or customers -- think twice about any of this. I doubt most people realize how much automation technology is involved or even that much of the equipment is automation tech. There would be no improvement in quality mixing and kneading the dough by hand. There would, however, be an enormous increase in cost. The baguette forming machines churn out exactly what a person would do by hand, only faster and at a far lower cost. We take the thermostatically controlled ovens for granted. However, for anybody who has tried to cook over wood controlling heat via air and fuel, thermostatically controlled ovens are clearly automation technology.

    Is the cash register really a robot? James Ritty, who invented it, didn't think so; he sold the patent for cheap. The person who bought the patent built it into NCR, a seminal company laying the groundwork of the modern computer revolution.

    Would these bakeries be financially viable if forced to do all this by hand? Probably not. They'd be forced to produce less output at higher cost; many would likely fail. Bread would cost more leaving less money for other purchases. Fewer jobs, less consumer spending power, and hungry bellies to boot; that doesn't sound like good public policy.

    Getting back to the grocery store my friend thinks smells like death; just a few weeks ago they started using robots in a new and, to many, not especially welcome way.

    As any tourist knows, most stores in France are closed on Sunday afternoons, including and especially grocery stores. That's part of French labor law: grocery stores must close Sunday afternoons. Except that the chain grocery store near me announced they are opening Sunday afternoon. How? Robots, and sleight-of-hand. Grocers may not work on Sunday afternoons but guards are allowed.

    Not my store but similar.

    Dimanche means Sunday. Aprés-midi means afternoon.

    I stopped in to get a feel for how the system works. Instead of grocers, the store uses security guards and self-checkout kiosks.

    When you step inside, a guard reminds you there are no grocers. Nobody restocks the shelves but, presumably for half a day, it doesn't matter. On Sunday afternoons, in place of a bored-looking person wearing a store uniform and overseeing the robo-checkout kiosks sits a bored-looking person wearing a security guard uniform doing the same. There are no human-assisted checkout lanes open but this store seldom has more than one operating anyway.

    I have no idea how long the French government will allow this loophole to continue. I thought it might attract yellow vest protestors or at least a cranky store worker – maybe a few locals annoyed at an ancient tradition being buried – but there was nobody complaining. There were hardly any customers, either.

    The use of robots to sidestep labor law and replace people, in one of the most labor-friendly countries in the world, produced a big yawn.

    Paul Krugman and Matt Stoller argue convincingly that it's the bosses, not the robots, that crush the spirits and souls of workers. Krugman calls it "automation obsession" and Stoller points out predictions of robo-Armageddon have existed for decades. The well over 100+ examples I have of major automation-tech ultimately led to more jobs, not fewer.

    Jerry Yang envisions some type of forthcoming automation-induced dystopia. Zuck and the tech-bros argue for a forthcoming Star Trek style robo-utopia.

    My guess is we're heading for something in-between, a place where artisanal bakers use locally grown wheat, made affordable thanks to machine milling. Where small family-owned bakeries rely on automation tech to do the undifferentiated grunt-work. The robots in my future are more likely to look more like cash registers and less like Terminators.

    It's an admittedly blander vision of the future; neither utopian nor dystopian, at least not one fueled by automation tech. However, it's a vision supported by the historic adoption of automation technology.


    The Rev Kev , October 25, 2019 at 10:46 am

    I have no real disagreement with a lot of automation. But how it is done is another matter altogether. Using the main example in this article, Australia is probably like a lot of countries with bread in that most of the loaves that you get in a supermarket are typically bland and come in plastic bags but which are cheap. You only really know what you grow up with.

    When I first went to Germany I stepped into a Bakerie and it was a revelation. There were dozens of different sorts and types of bread on display with flavours that I had never experienced. I didn't know whether to order a loaf or to go for my camera instead. And that is the point. Too much automation is really all about narrowing the choices in your life and making it cheaper instead of enabling a richer lifestyle.

    We are all familiar with crapification and I contend that it is automation that enables this to become a thing.

    WobblyTelomeres , October 25, 2019 at 11:08 am

    "I contend that it is automation that enables this to become a thing."

    As does electricity. And math. Automation doesn't necessarily narrow choices; economies of scale and the profit motive do. What I find annoying (as in pollyannish) is the avoidance of the issue of those that cannot operate the machinery, those that cannot open their own store, etc.

    I gave a guest lecture to a roomful of young roboticists (largely undergrad, some first year grad engineering students) a decade ago. After discussing the economics/finance of creating and selling a burgerbot, asked about those that would be unemployed by the contraption. One student immediately snorted out, "Not my problem!" Another replied, "But what if they cannot do anything else?". Again, "Not my problem!". And that is San Josie in a nutshell.

    washparkhorn , October 26, 2019 at 3:25 am

    A capitalist market that fails to account for the cost of a product's negative externalities is underpricing (and incentivizing more of the same). It's cheating (or sanctioned cheating due to ignorance and corruption). It is not capitalism (unless that is the only reasonable outcome of capitalism).

    Tom Pfotzer , October 25, 2019 at 11:33 am

    The author's vision of "appropriate tech" local enterprise supported by relatively simple automation is also my answer to the vexing question of "how do I cope with automation?"

    In a recent posting here at NC, I said the way to cope with automation of your job(s) is to get good at automation. My remark caused a howl of outrage: "most people can't do automation! Your solution is unrealistic for the masses. Dismissed with prejudice!".

    Thank you for that outrage, as it provides a wonder foil for this article. The article shows a small business which learned to re-design business processes, acquire machines that reduce costs. It's a good example of someone that "got good at automation". Instead of being the victim of automation, these people adapted. They bought automation, took control of it, and operated it for their own benefit.

    Key point: this entrepreneur is now harvesting the benefits of automation, rather than being systematically marginalized by it. Another noteworthy aspect of this article is that local-scale "appropriate" automation serves to reduce the scale advantages of the big players. The availability of small-scale machines that enable efficiencies comparable to the big guys is a huge problem. Most of the machines made for small-scale operators like this are manufactured in China, or India or Iran or Russia, Italy where industrial consolidation (scale) hasn't squashed the little players yet.

    Suppose you're a grain farmer, but only have 50 acres (not 100s or 1000s like the big guys). You need a combine – that's a big machine that cuts grain stalk and separate grain from stalk (threshing). This cut/thresh function is terribly labor intensive, the combine is a must-have. Right now, there is no small-size ($50K or less) combine manufactured in the U.S., to my knowledge. They cost upwards of $200K, and sometimes a great deal more. The 50-acre farmer can't afford $200K (plus maint costs), and therefore can't farm at that scale, and has to sell out.

    So, the design, production, and sales of these sort of small-scale, high-productivity machines is what is needed to re-distribute production (organically, not by revolution, thanks) back into the hands of the middle class.

    If we make possible for the middle class to capture the benefits of automation, and you solve 1) the social dilemmas of concentration of wealth, 2) the declining std of living of the mid- and lower-class, and 3) have a chance to re-design an economy (business processes and collaborating suppliers to deliver end-user product/service) that actually fixes the planet as we make our living, instead of degrading it at every ka-ching of the cash register.

    Point 3 is the most important, and this isn't the time or place to expand on that, but I hope others might consider it a bit.

    marcel , October 25, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Regarding the combine, I have seen them operating on small-sized lands for the last 50 years. Without exception, you have one guy (sometimes a farmer, often not) who has this kind of harvester, works 24h a day for a week or something, harvesting for all farmers in the neighborhood, and then moves to the next crop (eg corn). Wintertime is used for maintenance. So that one person/farm/company specializes in these services, and everybody gets along well.

    Tom Pfotzer , October 25, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Marcel – great solution to the problem. Choosing the right supplier (using combine service instead of buying a dedicated combine) is a great skill to develop. On the flip side, the fellow that provides that combine service probably makes a decent side-income from it. Choosing the right service to provide is another good skill to develop.

    Jesper , October 25, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    One counter-argument might be that while hoping for the best it might be prudent to prepare for the worst. Currently, and for a couple of decades, the efficiency gains have been left to the market to allocate. Some might argue that for the common good then the government might need to be more active.

    What would happen if efficiency gains continued to be distributed according to the market? According to the relative bargaining power of the market participants where one side, the public good as represented by government, is asking for and therefore getting almost nothing?

    As is, I do believe that people who are concerned do have reason to be concerned.

    Kent , October 25, 2019 at 11:33 am

    "Too much automation is really all about narrowing the choices in your life and making it cheaper instead of enabling a richer lifestyle." Many times the only way to automate the creation of a product is to change it to fit the machine.

    Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Some people make a living saying these sorts of things about automation. The quality of French bread is simply not what it used to be (at least harder to find) though that is a complicated subject having to do with flour and wheat as well as human preparation and many other things and the cost (in terms of purchasing power), in my opinion, has gone up, not down since the 70's.

    As some might say, "It's complicated," but automation does (not sure about "has to") come with trade offs in quality while price remains closer to what an ever more sophisticated set of algorithms say can be "gotten away with."

    This may be totally different for cars or other things, but the author chose French bread and the only overall improvement, or even non change, in quality there has come, if at all, from the dark art of marketing magicians.

    Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    / from the dark art of marketing magicians, AND people's innate ability to accept/be unaware of decreases in quality/quantity if they are implemented over time in small enough steps.

    Michael , October 25, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    You've gotta' get out of Paris: great French bread remains awesome. I live here. I've lived here for over half a decade and know many elderly French. The bread, from the right bakeries, remains great. But you're unlikely to find it where tourists might wander: the rent is too high.

    As a general rule, if the bakers have a large staff or speak English you're probably in the wrong bakery. Except for one of my favorites where she learned her English watching every episode of Friends multiple times and likes to practice with me, though that's more of a fluke.

    Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    It's a difficult subject to argue. I suspect that comparatively speaking, French bread remains good and there are still bakers who make high quality bread (given what they have to work with). My experience when talking to family in France (not Paris) is that indeed, they are in general quite happy with the quality of bread and each seems to know a bakery where they can still get that "je ne sais quoi" that makes it so special.

    I, on the other hand, who have only been there once every few years since the 70's, kind of like once every so many frames of the movie, see a lowering of quality in general in France and of flour and bread in particular though I'll grant it's quite gradual.

    The French love food and were among the best farmers in the world in the 1930s and have made a point of resisting radical change at any given point in time when it comes to the things they love (wine, cheese, bread, etc.) , so they have a long way to fall, and are doing so slowly; but gradually, it's happening.

    I agree with others here who distinguish between labor saving automation and labor eliminating automation, but I don't think the former per se is the problem as much as the gradual shift toward the mentality and "rightness" of mass production and globalization.

    Oregoncharles , October 26, 2019 at 12:58 am

    I was exposed to that conflict, in a small way, because my father was an investment manager. He told me they were considering investing in a smallish Swiss pasta (IIRC) factory. He was frustrated with the negotiations; the owners just weren't interested in getting a lot bigger – which would be the point of the investment, from the investors' POV.

    I thought, but I don't think I said very articulately, that of course, they thought of themselves as craftspeople – making people's food, after all. It was a fundamental culture clash. All that was 50 years ago; looks like the European attitude has been receding.

    Incidentally, this is a possible approach to a better, more sustainable economy: substitute craft for capital and resources, on as large a scale as possible. More value with less consumption. But how we get there from here is another question.

    Carolinian , October 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    I have been touring around by car and was surprised to see that all Oregon gas stations are full serve with no self serve allowed (I vaguely remember Oregon Charles talking about this). It applies to every station including the ones with a couple of dozen pumps like we see back east. I have since been told that this system has been in place for years.

    It's hard to see how this is more efficient and in fact just the opposite as there are fewer attendants than waiting customers and at a couple of stations the action seemed chaotic. Gas is also more expensive although nothing could be more expensive than California gas (over $5/gal occasionally spotted). It's also unclear how this system was preserved–perhaps out of fire safety concerns–but it seems unlikely that any other state will want to imitate just as those bakeries aren't going to bring back their wood fired ovens.

    JohnnyGL , October 25, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    I think NJ is still required to do all full-serve gas stations. Most in MA have only self-serve, but there's a few towns that have by-laws requiring full-serve.

    Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    I'm not sure just how much I should be jumping up and down about our ability to get more gasoline into our cars quicker. But convenient for sure.

    The Observer , October 25, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    In the 1980s when self-serve gas started being implemented, NIOSH scientists said oh no, now 'everyone' will be increasingly exposed to benzene while filling up. Benzene is close to various radioactive elements in causing damage and cancer.

    Oregoncharles , October 26, 2019 at 1:06 am

    It was preserved by a series of referenda; turns out it's a 3rd rail here, like the sales tax. The motive was explicitly to preserve entry-level jobs while allowing drivers to keep the gas off their hands. And we like the more personal quality.

    Also, we go to states that allow self-serve and observe that the gas isn't any cheaper. It's mainly the tax that sets the price, and location.

    There are several bakeries in this area with wood-fired ovens. They charge a premium, of course. One we love is way out in the country, in Falls City. It's a reason to go there.

    shinola , October 25, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Unless I misunderstood, the author of this article seems to equate mechanization/automation of nearly any type with robotics.

    "Is the cash register really a robot? James Ritty, who invented it, didn't think so;" – Nor do I.

    To me, "robot" implies a machine with a high degree of autonomy. Would the author consider an old fashioned manual typewriter or adding machine (remember those?) to be robotic? How about when those machines became electrified?

    I think the author uses the term "robot" over broadly.

    Dan , October 25, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Agree. Those are just electrified extensions of the lever or sand timer. It's the "thinking" that is A.I.

    Refuse to allow A.I.to destroy jobs and cheapen our standard of living. Never interact with a robo call, just hang up. Never log into a website when there is a human alternative. Refuse to do business with companies that have no human alternative. Never join a medical "portal" of any kind, demand to talk to medical personnel. Etc.

    Sabotage A.I. whenever possible. The Ten Commandments do not apply to corporations.

    https://medium.com/@TerranceT/im-never-going-to-stop-stealing-from-the-self-checkout-22cbfff9919b

    Sancho Panza , October 25, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    During a Chicago hotel stay my wife ordered an extra bath towel from the front desk. About 5 minutes later, a mini version of R2D2 rolled up to her door with towel in tow. It was really cute and interacted with her in a human-like way. Cute but really scary in the way that you indicate in your comment.

    It seems many low wage activities would be in immediate risk of replacement. But sabotage? I would never encourage sabotage; in fact, when it comes to true robots like this one, I would highly discourage any of the following: yanking its recharge cord in the middle of the night, zapping it with a car battery, lift its payload and replace with something else, give it a hip high-five to help it calibrate its balance, and of course, the good old kick'm in the bolts.

    Sancho Panza , October 26, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Here's a clip of that robot, Leo, bringing bottled water and a bath towel to my wife.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXygNznHSs0

    Barbara , October 26, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Stop and Shop supermarket chain now has robots in the store. According to Stop and Shop they are oh so innocent! and friendly! why don't you just go up and say hello?

    All the robots do, they say, go around scanning the shelves looking for: shelf price tags that don't match the current price, merchandise in the wrong place (that cereal box you picked up in the breakfast aisle and decided, in the laundry aisle, that you didn't want and put the box on a shelf with detergent.) All the robots do is notify management of wrong prices and misplaced merchandise.

    The damn robot is cute, perky lit up eyes and a smile – so why does it remind me of the Stepford Wives.

    S&S is the closest supermarket near me, so I go there when I need something in a hurry, but the bulk of my shopping is now done elsewhere. Thank goodness there are some stores that are not doing this: The area Shoprites and FoodTown's don't – and they are all run by family businesses. Shoprite succeeds by have a large assortment brands in every grocery category and keeping prices really competitive. FoodTown operates at a higher price and quality level with real butcher and seafood counters as well as prepackaged assortments in open cases and a cooked food counter of the most excellent quality with the store's cooks behind the counter to serve you and answer questions. You never have to come home from work tired and hungry and know that you just don't want to cook and settle for a power bar.

    Carolinian , October 25, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    A robot is a machine -- especially one programmable by a computer -- capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be guided by an external control device or the control may be embedded

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

    Those early cash registers were perhaps an early form of analog computer. But Wiki reminds that the origin of the term is a work of fiction.

    The term comes from a Czech word, robota, meaning "forced labor";the word 'robot' was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti – Rossum's Universal Robots) by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek

    shinola , October 25, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Perhaps I didn't qualify "autonomous" properly. I didn't mean to imply a 'Rosie the Robot' level of autonomy but the ability of a machine to perform its programmed task without human intervention (other than switching on/off or maintenance & adjustments).

    If viewed this way, an adding machine or typewriter are not robots because they require constant manual input in order to function – if you don't push the keys, nothing happens. A computer printer might be considered robotic because it can be programmed to function somewhat autonomously (as in print 'x' number of copies of this document).

    "Robotics" is a subset of mechanized/automated functions.

    Stephen Gardner , October 25, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    When I first got out of grad school I worked at United Technologies Research Center where I worked in the robotics lab. In general, at least in those days, we made a distinction between robotics and hard automation. A robot is programmable to do multiple tasks and hard automation is limited to a single task unless retooled. The machines the author is talking about are hard automation. We had ASEA robots that could be programmed to do various things. One of ours drilled, riveted and sealed the skin on the horizontal stabilators (the wing on the tail of a helicopter that controls pitch) of a Sikorsky Sea Hawk.

    The same robot with just a change of the fixture on the end could be programmed to paint a car or weld a seam on equipment. The drilling and riveting robot was capable of modifying where the rivets were placed (in the robot's frame of reference) based on the location of precisely milled blocks build into the fixture that held the stabilator.

    There was always some variation and it was important to precisely place the rivets because the spars were very narrow (weight at the tail is bad because of the lever arm). It was considered state of the art back in the day but now auto companies have far more sophisticated robotics.

    Socal Rhino , October 25, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    But what happens when the bread machine is connected to the internet, can't function without an active internet connection, and requires an annual subscription to use?

    That is the issue to me: however we define the tools, who will own them?

    The Rev Kev , October 25, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    You know, that is quite a good point that. It is not so much the automation that is the threat as the rent-seeking that anything connected to the internet allows to be implemented.

    *_* , October 25, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Until 100 petaflops costs less than a typical human worker total automation isn't going to happen. Developments in AI software can't overcome basic hardware limits.

    breadbaker , October 25, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    The story about automation not worsening the quality of bread is not exactly true. Bakers had to develop and incorporate a new method called autolyze ( https://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2017/09/29/using-the-autolyse-method ) in the mid-20th-century to bring back some of the flavor lost with modern baking. There is also a trend of a new generation of bakeries that use natural yeast, hand shaping and kneading to get better flavors and quality bread.

    But it is certainly true that much of the automation gives almost as good quality for much lower labor costs.

    Tom Pfotzer , October 25, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    On the subject of the machine-robot continuum

    When I started doing robotics, I developed a working definition of a robot as: (a.) Senses its environment; (b.) Has goals and goal-seeking logic; (c.) Has means to affect environment in order to get goal and reality (the environment) to converge. Under that definition, Amazon's Alexa and your household air conditioning and heating system both qualify as "robot".

    How you implement a, b, and c above can have more or less sophistication, depending upon the complexity, variability, etc. of the environment, or the solutions, or the means used to affect the environment.

    A machine, like a typewriter, or a lawn-mower engine has the logic expressed in metal; it's static.

    The addition of a computer (with a program, or even downloadable-on-the-fly programs) to a static machine, e.g. today's computer-controlled-manufacturing machines (lathes, milling, welding, plasma cutters, etc.) makes a massive change in utility. It's almost the same physically, but ever so much more flexible, useful, and more profitable to own/operate.

    And if you add massive databases, internet connectivity, the latest machine-learning, language and image processing and some nefarious intent, then you get into trouble.

    :)

    Phacops , October 25, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Sometimes automation is necessary to eliminate the risks of manual processes. There are parenteral (injectable) drugs that cannot be sterilized except by filtration. Most of the work of filling, post filling processing, and sealing is done using automation in areas that make surgical suites seem filthy and people are kept from these operations.

    Manual operations are only undertaken to correct issues with the automation and the procedures are tested to ensure that they do not introduce contamination, microbial or otherwise. Because even one non-sterile unit is a failure and testing is destructive process, of course any full lot of product cannot be tested to state that all units are sterile. Periodic testing of the automated process and manual intervention is done periodically and it is expensive and time consuming to test to a level of confidence that there is far less than a one in a million chance of any unit in a lot being non sterile.

    In that respect, automation and the skills necessary to interface with it are fundamental to the safety of drugs frequently used on already compromised patients.

    Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Agree. Good example. Digital technology and miniaturization seem particularly well suited to many aspect of the medical world. But doubt they will eliminate the doctor or the nurse very soon. Insurance companies on the other hand

    lyman alpha blob , October 25, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Bill Burr has some thoughts on self checkouts and the potential bonanza for shoppers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxINJzqzn4w

    TG , October 26, 2019 at 11:51 am

    "There would be no improvement in quality mixing and kneading the dough by hand. There would, however, be an enormous increase in cost." WRONG! If you had an unlimited supply of 50-cents-an-hour disposable labor, mixing and kneading the dough by hand would be cheaper. It is only because labor is expensive in France that the machine saves money.

    In Japan there is a lot of automation, and wages and living standards are high. In Bangladesh there is very little automation, and wages and livings standards are very low.

    Are we done with the 'automation is destroying jobs' meme yet? Excessive population growth is the problem, not robots. And the root cause of excessive population growth is the corporate-sponsored virtual taboo of talking about it seriously.

    [Feb 14, 2020] The trouble with Artificial Intelligence

    Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 12 2020 6:36 utc | 43

    Posted by: juliania | Feb 12 2020 5:15 utc | 39
    (Artificial Intelligence)

    The trouble with Artificial Intelligence is that it's not intelligent.
    And it's not intelligent because it's got no experience, no imagination and no self-control.

    [Feb 09, 2020] US troops have stolen tens of millions in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Many of these crimes grew out of shortcomings in the military's management of the deployments that experts say are still present: a heavy dependence on cash transactions, a hasty award process for high-value contracts, loose and harried oversight within the ranks, and a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there.
    Notable quotes:
    "... "this thing going on" ..."
    "... a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there. ..."
    May 09, 2015 | slate.com

    The Fraud of War: U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have stolen tens of millions through bribery, theft, and rigged contracts.

    U.S. Army Specialist Stephanie Charboneau sat at the center of a complex trucking network in Forward Operating Base Fenty near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that distributed daily tens of thousands of gallons of what troops called "liquid gold": the refined petroleum that fueled the international coalition's vehicles, planes, and generators.

    A prominent sign in the base read: "The Army Won't Go If The Fuel Don't Flow." But Charboneau, 31, a mother of two from Washington state, felt alienated after a supervisor's harsh rebuke. Her work was a dreary routine of recording fuel deliveries in a computer and escorting trucks past a gate. But it was soon to take a dark turn into high-value crime.

    She began an affair with a civilian, Jonathan Hightower, who worked for a Pentagon contractor that distributed fuel from Fenty, and one day in March 2010 he told her about "this thing going on" at other U.S. military bases around Afghanistan, she recalled in a recent telephone interview.

    Troops were selling the U.S. military's fuel to Afghan locals on the side, and pocketing the proceeds. When Hightower suggested they start doing the same, Charboneau said, she agreed.

    In so doing, Charboneau contributed to thefts by U.S. military personnel of at least $15 million worth of fuel since the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. And eventually she became one of at least 115 enlisted personnel and military officers convicted since 2005 of committing theft, bribery, and contract-rigging crimes valued at $52 million during their deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a comprehensive tally of court records by the Center for Public Integrity.

    Many of these crimes grew out of shortcomings in the military's management of the deployments that experts say are still present: a heavy dependence on cash transactions, a hasty award process for high-value contracts, loose and harried oversight within the ranks, and a regional culture of corruption that proved seductive to the Americans troops transplanted there.

    Charboneau, whose Facebook posts reveal a bright-eyed woman with a shoulder tattoo and a huge grin, snuggling with pets and celebrating the 2015 New Year with her children in Seattle Seahawks jerseys, now sits in Carswell federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, serving a seven-year sentence for her crime.

    [Feb 09, 2020] What Separates Sanders From Warren (and Everybody Else)

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities. ..."
    "... The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity." ..."
    Jan 16, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
    In America, the term "middle class" has long been used to describe the majority of wage and salary earners, from those receiving a median annual income of around $50,000 to those who earn three or four times that amount. Whether Democrat or Republican, politicians from across the political aisle claim to represent the middle class -- that vast-yet-amorphous segment of the population where the managers and the managed all seem to fit together.

    The term has always been somewhat problematic when it comes to politics. As Joan C. Williams observes in her 2017 book, "White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America," a "central way we make class disappear is to describe virtually everyone as 'middle class.' " The majority of Americans see themselves as middle class, including those in the top 10% earning several times the average income. According to Williams, a close friend of hers who "undoubtedly belonged to the top 1%" once referred to herself as middle class, a perspective that the author describes as "class cluelessness."

    This cluelessness was also evident in a New York Times article last summer titled "What Middle Class Families Want Politicians to Know," which included interviews with a number of purportedly middle class families with household incomes of up to $400,000 (only one of the interviewees earned less than $100,000, with the average around $200,000).

    The fact that people who earn a quarter-million dollars annually place themselves in the same category as those earning $70,000 tells us just how politically useless the term "middle class" has become in contemporary America. Even when we take into account geographic factors and fluctuations in the cost of living, there is little rational justification for categorizing a $60,000-a-year blue-collar worker with a lawyer or doctor earning in excess of $200,000.

    Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities.

    One's class consciousness (or lack thereof) has important implications for one's political attitudes, and in America class consciousness has always been somewhat lacking compared to other countries. The United States has never had a true aristocratic class or feudal property relations like those in Europe, and in the 19th century, the "middle class" essentially stood for small capitalists and propertied farmers. Between the mid-19th century and mid-20th century, the country was transformed, in Mills' analysis, from a "nation of small capitalists into a nation of hired employees" -- a trend that sociologists call "proletarianization."

    In the post-World War II era, thanks to the struggle of labor and the policies of the New Deal, which aimed to reduce inequality and mediate class tensions, many in the working class became comfortably middle class. In other words, the proletariat turned into a kind of "petty bourgeois," adopting the same values and attitudes as their employers, while accepting the status quo after a few adjustments. Ironically, this ended up undercutting more radical labor movements while preserving the economic system, which eventually came back to bite working people and their children.

    The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity."

    The proletarianization of the middle class over the past 50 years has had an enormously detrimental effect on communities across the country, but it has taken quite a while for many working people in America to recognize their new situation in terms of consciousness and outlook. The enduring popularity of the term "middle class" reflects this state of affairs.

    In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has deliberately chosen to use "working class" over "middle class." Not surprisingly, that candidate is Sen. Bernie Sanders. "I am a candidate of the working class," Sanders recently declared on Facebook. "I come from the working class. That is my background, that's who I am. I fought for the working class as a mayor, a Congressman and a Senator. And that is the kind of president that I will be." Sanders, whose campaign is 100% grassroots-funded, wrote in a column last week for the Des Moines Register, " our campaign is focused on making sure the government stops representing billionaires and start representing us -- the working class of this country."

    Though it may seem like a somewhat trivial distinction, when we look at the rest of the Democratic field, it's clear that Sanders has indeed distinguished himself from the other top candidates. For example, Sanders' opponent Joe Biden frequently speaks of the middle class but rarely the working class. "This country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers and CEOs and hedge fund managers. It was built by the American middle class," Biden declares on his campaign website, where he says that the middle class "isn't a number," but a "set of values." (In a way this is correct, but not in the sense that Biden seems to think.)

    On the more progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren's website, where she lists her numerous plans, one searches in vain for any references to the working class, though there are plenty to the middle class.

    How much this actually matters is, of course, debatable, but the term "working class" undoubtedly has far more implications and political significance than "middle class," which, like many overused words in the political lexicon, has lost all meaning. By using "working class" instead, Sanders appears to be trying to increase class consciousness in America, where those in the ruling class have often demonstrated the highest level of class consciousness (never failing to use their abundant resources to protect and advance their own interests).

    The more young and working-class people come to recognize their own situation and place in the 21st century American economy, the more they seem to embrace "socialist" policies that are rejected by "middle class" sensibilities.

    In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has made raising levels of class consciousness part of his campaign strategy, and in an election that could very well be determined by working-class voters, this may be the strategy to defeat Trump.

    [Jan 12, 2020] US has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying.

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population. ..."
    Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Likklemore , Jan 11 2020 17:48 utc | 201

    At 2016, here is the long bombing list of the 32 countries by the late William Blum. Did I mention sanctions is an Act of War?

    Little u.s. has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying. Albright thought the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it. !!! it was worth killings and maiming.

    Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population.

    The u.s. will leave Iraq and Syria aka Saigon 1975 or horizontal. It's over.

    2020: u.s. Stands Alone.

    Searching for friends. Now, after Russiagate here is little pompous: "we want to be friends with Russia." Sanctions much excepting we need RD180 engines, seizure of diplomatic properties. Who are you kidding?

    "we seek a constructive and productive relationship with the Russian Federation".

    What a bunch of hypocrites? How dare you criticize commenters who see little u.s. in the light of day, not a shining beacon on the hill..

    [Jan 11, 2020] Atomization of workforce as a part of atomization of society under neoliberalism

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. ..."
    "... And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves. ..."
    "... The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling. ..."
    "... Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. ..."
    "... So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church. ..."
    Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:09 am
    Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what's wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

    George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness.

    A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

    But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven't seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don't have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

    And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

    That's why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper's, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women's March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

    Katharine , April 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I particularly liked this point:

    In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

    With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

    DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation.

    So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

    [Jan 02, 2020] The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It s Usefulness Happiness as an achievable goal is an illusion, but that doesn t mean happiness itself is not attainable by Darius Foroux

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." ..."
    "... Recently I read Not Fade Away by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. It's about Peter Barton, the founder of Liberty Media, who shares his thoughts about dying from cancer. ..."
    Aug 22, 2019 | getpocket.com

    For the longest time, I believed that there's only one purpose of life: And that is to be happy. Right? Why else go through all the pain and hardship? It's to achieve happiness in some way. And I'm not the only person who believed that. In fact, if you look around you, most people are pursuing happiness in their lives.

    That's why we collectively buy shit we don't need, go to bed with people we don't love, and try to work hard to get approval of people we don't like.

    Why do we do these things? To be honest, I don't care what the exact reason is. I'm not a scientist. All I know is that it has something to do with history, culture, media, economy, psychology, politics, the information era, and you name it. The list is endless.

    We are who are.

    Let's just accept that. Most people love to analyze why people are not happy or don't live fulfilling lives. I don't necessarily care about the why .

    I care more about how we can change.

    Just a few short years ago, I did everything to chase happiness.

    But at the end of the day, you're lying in your bed (alone or next to your spouse), and you think: "What's next in this endless pursuit of happiness?"

    Well, I can tell you what's next: You, chasing something random that you believe makes you happy.

    It's all a façade. A hoax. A story that's been made up.

    Did Aristotle lie to us when he said:

    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence."

    I think we have to look at that quote from a different angle. Because when you read it, you think that happiness is the main goal. And that's kind of what the quote says as well.

    But here's the thing: How do you achieve happiness?

    Happiness can't be a goal in itself. Therefore, it's not something that's achievable. I believe that happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness. When I talk about this concept with friends, family, and colleagues, I always find it difficult to put this into words. But I'll give it a try here. Most things we do in life are just activities and experiences.

    Those things should make you happy, right? But they are not useful. You're not creating anything. You're just consuming or doing something. And that's great.

    Don't get me wrong. I love to go on holiday, or go shopping sometimes. But to be honest, it's not what gives meaning to life.

    What really makes me happy is when I'm useful. When I create something that others can use. Or even when I create something I can use.

    For the longest time I foud it difficult to explain the concept of usefulness and happiness. But when I recently ran into a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the dots connected.

    Emerson says:

    "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

    And I didn't get that before I became more conscious of what I'm doing with my life. And that always sounds heavy and all. But it's actually really simple.

    It comes down to this: What are you DOING that's making a difference?

    Did you do useful things in your lifetime? You don't have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than you were born.

    If you don't know how, here are some ideas.

    That's just some stuff I like to do. You can make up your own useful activities.

    You see? It's not anything big. But when you do little useful things every day, it adds up to a life that is well lived. A life that mattered.

    The last thing I want is to be on my deathbed and realize there's zero evidence that I ever existed.

    Recently I read Not Fade Away by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. It's about Peter Barton, the founder of Liberty Media, who shares his thoughts about dying from cancer.

    It's a very powerful book and it will definitely bring tears to your eyes. In the book, he writes about how he lived his life and how he found his calling. He also went to business school, and this is what he thought of his fellow MBA candidates:

    "Bottom line: they were extremely bright people who would never really anything, would never add much to society, would leave no legacy behind. I found this terribly sad, in the way that wasted potential is always sad."

    You can say that about all of us. And after he realized that in his thirties, he founded a company that turned him into a multi-millionaire.

    Another person who always makes himself useful is Casey Neistat . I've been following him for a year and a half now, and every time I watch his YouTube show , he's doing something.

    He also talks about how he always wants to do and create something. He even has a tattoo on his forearm that says "Do More."

    Most people would say, "why would you work more?" And then they turn on Netflix and watch back to back episodes of Daredevil.

    A different mindset.

    Being useful is a mindset. And like with any mindset, it starts with a decision. One day I woke up and thought to myself: What am I doing for this world? The answer was nothing.

    And that same day I started writing. For you it can be painting, creating a product, helping elderly, or anything you feel like doing.

    Don't take it too seriously. Don't overthink it. Just DO something that's useful. Anything.

    Darius Foroux writes about productivity, habits, decision making, and personal finance. His ideas and work have been featured in TIME, NBC, Fast Company, Inc., Observer, and many more publications. Join his free weekly newsletter.

    More from Darius Foroux

    This article was originally published on October 3, 2016, by Darius Foroux, and is republished here with permission. Darius Foroux writes about productivity, habits, decision making, and personal finance.

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    [Nov 14, 2019] Neoliberalism Paved the Way for Authoritarian Right-Wing Populism by Henry A. Giroux

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. ..."
    "... This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair. ..."
    "... Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ." ..."
    "... As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. ..."
    Sep 26, 2019 | truthout.org

    Part of the Series The Public Intellectual

    Talk of a looming recession is heating up as the global economy slows and President Trump's tiff with China unsettles financial markets. As world trade contracts, stock markets drop, the manufacturing sector in the United States is in decline for the first time in a decade , and farmers and steel workers continue losing their income and jobs.

    Rumors of a coming recession accentuate fears about the further deterioration of conditions faced by workers and the poor, who are already suffering from precarious employment, poverty, lack of meaningful work and dwindling pensions. A global economic slump would make living standards for the poor even worse. As Ashley Smith points out , levels of impoverishment in the United States are already shocking, with "four out of every ten families [struggling] to meet the costs of food, housing, health care, and utilities every month."

    Just as the 2008 global economic crisis revealed the failures of liberal democracy and the scourge of neoliberalism, a new economic recession in 2019 could also reveal how institutions meant to serve the public interest and offer support for a progressive politics now serve authoritarian ideologies and a ruling elite that views democracy as the enemy of market-based freedoms and white nationalism.

    What has not been learned from the 2008 crisis is that an economic crisis neither unites those most affected in favor of a progressive politics nor does it offer any political guarantees regarding the direction of social change. Instead, the emotions that fueled massive public anger toward elites and globalization gave rise to the celebration of populist demagogues and a right-wing tsunami of misdirected anger, hate and violence toward undocumented immigrants, refugees, Muslims and people of color.

    The 2008 financial crisis wreaked havoc in multiple ways. Yet there was another crisis that received little attention: a crisis of agency. This crisis centered around matters of identity, self-determination and collective resistance, which were undermined in profound ways, giving rise to and legitimating the emergence of authoritarian populist movements in many parts of the world, such as United States, Hungary, Poland and Brazil.

    At the heart of this shift was the declining belief in the legitimacy of both liberal democracy and its pledges about trickle-down wealth, economic security and broadening equal opportunities preached by the apostles of neoliberalism. In many ways, public faith in the welfare state, quality employment opportunities, institutional possibilities and a secure future for each generation collapsed. In part, this was a consequence of the post-war economic boom giving way to massive degrees of inequality, the off-shoring of wealth and power, the enactment of cruel austerity measures, an expanding regime of precarity, and a cut-throat economic and social environment in which individual interests and needs prevailed over any consideration of the common good. As liberalism aligned itself with corporate and political power, both the Democratic and Republican Parties embraced financial reforms that increased the wealth of the bankers and corporate elite while doing nothing to prevent people from losing their homes, being strapped with chronic debt, seeing their pensions disappear, and facing a future of uncertainty and no long-term prospects or guarantees.

    Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality.

    In an age of economic anxiety, existential insecurity and a growing culture of fear, liberalism's overheated emphasis on individual liberties "made human beings subordinate to the market, replacing social bonds with market relations and sanctifying greed," as noted by Pankaj Mishra. In this instance, neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. The latter was the outcome of a growing cultural and political polarization that made "it possible for haters to come out from the margins, form larger groups and make political trouble." This toxic polarization and surge of right-wing populism produced by casino capitalism was accentuated with the growth of fascist groups that shared a skepticism of international organizations, supported a militant right-wing nationalism, and championed a surge of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-democratic values.

    This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair.

    At the same time, they enacted policies that dismantled civic culture and undermined a wide range of democratic institutions that extended from the media to public goods such as public and higher education. Under such circumstances, democratic narratives, values and modes of solidarity, which traded in shared responsibilities and shared hopes, were replaced by a market-based focus on a regressive notion of hyper-individualism, ego-centered values and a view of individual responsibility that eviscerated any broader notion of social, systemic, and corporate problems and accountability.

    Ways of imagining society through a collective ethos became fractured, and a comprehensive understanding of politics as inclusive and participatory morphed into an anti-politics marked by an investment in the language of individual rights, individual choice and the power of rights-bearing individuals.

    Under the reign of neoliberalism, language became thinner and more individualistic, detached from history and more self-oriented, all the while undermining viable democratic social spheres as spaces where politics bring people together as collective agents and critically engaged citizens. Neoliberal language is written in the discourse of economics and market values, not ethics. Under such circumstances, shallowness becomes an asset rather than a liability. Increasingly, the watered-down language of liberal democracy, with its over-emphasis on individual rights and its neoliberal coddling of the financial elite, gave way to a regressive notion of the social marked by rising authoritarian tendencies, unchecked nativism, unapologetic expressions of bigotry, misdirected anger and the language of resentment-filled revolt. Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ."

    The ultimate consequence was to produce later what Wolfgang Merkel describes as "a rebellion of the disenfranchised." A series of political uprisings made it clear that neoliberalism was suffering from a crisis of legitimacy further accentuated by the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump, support for the National Rally ( formerly known as the National Front ) in France, and the emergence of powerful right-wing populist movements across the globe.

    What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists.

    As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. In this instance, power was removed from the social sphere and placed almost entirely in the hands of corporate and political demagogues who used it to enrich themselves for their own personal gain.

    Power was now used to produce muscular authority in order "to secure order, boundaries, and to divert the growing anger of a declining middle and working-class," Wendy Brown observes . Both classes increasingly came to blame their economic and political conditions that produced their misery and ravaged ways of life on "'others': immigrants, minority races, 'external' predators and attackers ranging from terrorists to refugees." Liberal-individualistic views lost their legitimacy as they refused to indict the underlying structures of capitalism and its winner-take-all ethos.

    Functioning largely as a ruthless form of social Darwinism, economic activity was removed from a concern with social costs, and replaced by a culture of cruelty and resentment that disdained any notion of compassion or ethical concern for those deemed as "other" because of their class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. This is a culture marked by gigantic hypocrisies, "the gloomy tabulation of unspeakable violent events," widespread viciousness, "great concentrations of wealth," "surveillance overkill," and the "unceasing despoliation of biospheres for profit."

    George Monbiot sums up well some of the more toxic elements of neoliberalism, which remained largely hidden since it was in the mainstream press less as an ideology than as an economic policy. He writes :

    Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimized, public services should be privatized. The organization of labor and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

    In the neoliberal worldview, those who are unemployed, poor consumers or outside of the reach of a market in search of insatiable profits are considered disposable. Increasingly more people were viewed as anti-human, unknowable, faceless and symbols of fear and pathology. This included undocumented immigrants in the United States and refugees in Europe, as well as those who were considered of no value to a market society, and thus eligible to be deprived of the most basic rights and subject to the terror of state violence.

    Marking selected groups as disposable in both symbolic and material forms, the neoliberal politics of disposability became a machinery of political and social death -- producing spaces where undesirable members are abused, put in cages , separated from their children and subject to a massive violation of their human rights. Under a neoliberal politics of disposability, people live in spaces of ever-present danger and risk where nothing is certain; human beings considered excess are denied a social function and relegated to what Étienne Balibar calls the "death zones of humanity." These are the 21st century workstations designed for the creation and process of elimination; a death-haunted mode of production rooted in the "absolute triumph of irrationality."

    Economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine.

    Within this new political formation, older forms of exploitation are now matched, if not exceeded, by a politics of racial and social cleansing, as entire populations are removed from ethical assessments, producing zones of social abandonment. In this new world, there is a merging of finance capital and a war culture that speaks to a moral and political collapse in which the welfare state is replaced by forms of economic nationalism and a burgeoning carceral state .

    Furthermore, elements of this crisis can be seen in the ongoing militarization of everyday life as more and more institutions take on the model of the prison. Additionally, there is also the increased arming of the police, the criminalization of a wide range of behaviors related to social problems, the rise of the surveillance state, and the ongoing war on youth, undocumented immigrants, Muslims and others deemed enemies of the state.

    Under the aegis of a neoliberal war culture, we have witnessed increasing immiseration for the working and middle classes, massive tax cuts for the rich, the outsourcing of public services, a full-fledged attack on unions, the defunding of public goods, and the privatization of public services extending from health and education to roads and prisons. This ongoing transfer of public resources and services to the rich, hedge fund managers, and corporate elite was matched by the corporate takeover of the commanding institutions of culture, including the digital, print and broadcast media. What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists and its flip side, which amounts to a full-fledged political attack on independent digital, online and oppositional journalists.

    While it is generally acknowledged that neoliberalism was responsible for the worldwide economic crisis of 2008, what is less acknowledged is that structural crisis produced by a capitalism on steroids was not matched by subjective crisis and consequently gave rise to new reactionary political populist movements. As economic collapse became visceral, people's lives were upended and sometimes destroyed. Moreover, as the social contract was shredded along with the need for socially constructed roles, norms and public goods, the "social" no longer occupied a thick and important pedagogical space of solidarity, dialogue, political expression, dissent and politics.

    As public spheres disappeared, communal bonds were weakened and social provisions withered. Under neoliberalism, the social sphere regresses into a privatized society of consumers in which individuals are atomized, alienated, and increasingly removed from the variety of social connections and communal bonds that give meaning to the degree to which societies are good and just.

    Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

    People became isolated, segregated and unable " to negotiate democratic dilemmas in a democratic way " as power became more abstract and removed from public participation and accountability. As the neoliberal net of privilege was cast wider without apology for the rich and exclusion of others, it became more obvious to growing elements of the public that appeals to liberal democracy had failed to keep its promise of a better life for all. It could no longer demand, without qualification, that working people should work harder for less, and that democratic participation is exclusively about elections. What could not be hidden from many disenfranchised groups was that ruling elites produced what Adam Tooze describes as "a disastrous slide from the hypocrisies and compromises of the previous status quo into something even [more dangerous]."

    As the global crisis has intensified since 2008, elements of a political and moral collapse at the heart of an authoritarian society are more obvious and find their most transparent expression of ruthlessness, greed and unchecked power in the rule of Donald Trump. As Chris Hedges points out :

    The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military "virtues" are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch . Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages.

    The slide into authoritarianism was made all the easier by the absence of a broad-based left mass movement in the United States, which failed to provide both a comprehensive vision of change and an alignment of single-issue groups and smaller movements into one mass movement. Nancy Fraser rightly observes that following Occupy, "potential links between labour and new social movements were left to languish. Split off from one another, those indispensable poles of a viable left were miles apart, waiting to be counterposed as antithetical."

    Since the 1970s, there has been a profound backlash by economic, financial, political and religious fundamentalists and their allied media establishments against labor, an oppositional press, people of color and others who have attempted to extend the workings of democracy and equality.

    As the narrative of class and class struggle disappeared along with the absence of a vibrant socialist movement, the call for democracy no longer provided a unifying narrative to bring different oppressed groups together. Instead, economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine. Under such circumstances, politics is imagined as a form of war, repelling immigrants and refugees who are described by President Trump as "invaders," "vermin" and "rapists." The emergence of neoliberalism as a war machine is evident in the current status of the Republican Party and the Trump administration, which wage assaults on anything that does not mimic the values of the market. Such assaults take the form of fixing whole categories of people as disposable, as enemies, and force them into conditions of extreme precarity -- and in increasingly more instances, conditions of danger. Neoliberal capitalism radiates violence, evident in its endless instances of mass shooting, such as those that took place most recently in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. This should not be surprising for a society that measures power by the speed that it removes itself from any sense of ethical and social responsibility. As Beatrix Campbell puts it ,

    The richest society on the planet is armed. And it invests in one of the largest prison systems in the world. Violence circulates between state and citizen. Drilled to kill, doomed to die: mastery and martyrdom is the heartbreaking dialectic of the manufacture of militarized, violent masculinity . The making and maintaining of militarised masculinities is vital to these new modes of armed conflict that are proliferating across the flexible frontiers of globalized capitalism, between and within states.

    What has become clear is that the neoliberal agenda has been a spectacular failure . Moreover, it has mobilized on a global level the violent political, social, racial and economic energies of a resurgent fascist politics. Across the globe, right-wing modes of governance are appearing in which the line collapses between "outside foreign enemies" such as refugees and undocumented immigrants, on the one hand, and on the other, inside "dangerous" or "treasonous" classes such as critical journalists, educators and dissidents.

    As neoliberal economies increasingly resort to violence and repression, fear replaces any sense of shared responsibilities, as violence is not only elevated to an organizing principle of society, but also expands a network of extreme cruelty. Imagining politics as a war machine, more and more groups are treated as excess and inscribed in an order of power as disposable, enemies, and [forced] into conditions of extreme precarity. This is a particularly vicious form of state violence that undermines and constrains agency, and subjects individuals to zones of abandonment, as evident in the growth of immigrant jails and an expanding carceral complex in the United States and other countries, such as Hungary.

    As neoliberalism's promise of social mobility and expanding economic progress collapsed, it gave way to an authoritarian right-wing populism looking for narratives on which to pin the hatred of governing elites who, as Paul Mason notes , "capped health and welfare spending, [imposed] punitive benefit withdraws [that] forced many families to rely on food banks [and] withdraw sickness and disability benefits from one million former workers below retirement age."

    Across the globe, a series of uprisings have appeared that signal new political formations that rejected the notion that there was no alternative to neoliberal hegemony. This was evident not only with the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but also with the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and support for popular movements such as the National Rally in France. Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

    In the United States, both major political parties were more than willing to turn the economy over to the bankers and hedge fund managers while producing policies that shaped radical forms of industrial and social restructuring, all of which caused massive pain, suffering and rage among large segments of the working class and other disenfranchised groups. Right-wing populist leaders across the globe recognized that national economies were in the hands of foreign investors, a mobile financial elite and transnational capital. In a masterful act of political diversion, populist leaders attacked all vestiges of liberal capitalism while refusing to name neoliberal inequities in wealth and power as a basic threat to their societies. Instead of calling for an acceleration of the democratic ideals of popular sovereignty and equality, right-wing populist leaders, such as Trump, Bolsonaro and Hungary's Viktor Orbán defined democracy as the enemy of those who wish for unaccountable power. They also diverted genuine popular anger into the abyss of cultural chauvinism, anti-immigrant hatred, a contempt of Muslims and a targeted attack on the environment, health care, education, public institutions, social provisions and other basic life resources. As Arjun Appadurai observes , such authoritarian leaders hate democracy, capture the political emotions of those treated as disposable, and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

    In this scenario, we have the resurgence of a fascist politics that capitalizes on the immiseration, fears and anxieties produced by neoliberalism without naming the underlying conditions that create and legitimate its policies and social costs. While such populists comment on certain elements of neoliberalism such as globalization, they largely embrace those ideological and economic elements that concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a political, corporate and financial elite, thus reinforcing in the end an extreme form of capitalism. Moreover, right-wing populists may condemn globalization, but they do so by blaming those considered outside the inclusive boundaries of a white homeland even though the same forces victimize them . At the same time, such leaders mobilize passions that deny critical understanding while simultaneously creating desires and affects that produce toxic and hypermasculine forms of identification.

    Authoritarian leaders hate democracy and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

    In this instance, an oppressive form of education becomes central to politics and is used as a tool of power in the struggle over power, agency and politics. What is at stake here is not simply a struggle between authoritarian ideas and democratic ideals, but also a fierce battle on the part of demagogues to destroy the institutions and conditions that make critical thought and oppositional accounts of power possible. This is evident, for example, in Trump's constant attack on the critical media, often referring to them as "'the enemy of the people' pushing 'Radical Left Democrat views,'" even as journalists are subject to expulsion, mass jailing and assassination across the world by some of Trump's allies.

    Waging war on democracy and the institutions that produce it, neoliberalism has tapped into a combination of fear and cathartic cruelty that has once again unleashed the mobilizing passions of fascism, especially the historically distinct registers of extreme nationalism, nativism, white supremacy, racial and ethnic cleansing, voter suppression, and an attack on a civic culture of critique and resistance. The result is a new political formation that I have called neoliberal fascism, in which the principles and practices of a fascist past and neoliberal present have merged, connecting the worst dimensions and excesses of gangster capitalism with the fascist ideals of white nationalism and racial supremacy associated with the horrors of a fascist past.

    Neoliberal fascism hollows out democracy from within, breaks down the separation of power while increasing the power of the presidency, and saturates cultural and social life with its ideology of self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, and regressive notions of freedom and individual responsibility.

    What needs to be acknowledged is that neoliberalism as an extreme form of capitalism has produced the conditions for a fascist politics that is updated to serve the interest of a concentrated class of financial elite and a rising tide of political demagogues across the globe.

    The mass anger fueling neoliberal fascism is a diversion of genuine resistance into what amounts to a pathology, which empties politics of any substance. This is evident also in its support of a right-wing populism and its focus on the immigrants and refugees as "dangerous outsiders," which serves to eliminate class politics and camouflage its own authoritarian ruling class interests and relentless attacks on social welfare.

    A new economic slump would further fuel forces of repression and strengthen the forces of white supremacy.

    In the face of