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Neoliberalism as a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

Neoliberalism = Casino Capitalism = "Transnational elites, Unite!"
(It is a neoTrotskyism with the word "proletarians" substituted by the word "elites"
 in famous "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" slogan
and "Color revolutions" instead of Communist  "Permanent revolution"  )

Version 6.1

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News An introduction to Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberalism war on organized labor Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Globalization of Financial Flows
Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura Neoliberalism and Christianity Key Myths of Neoliberalism Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Anti-globalization movement
Zombie state of neoliberalism and coming collapse of neoliberalism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism  Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Definitions of neoliberalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories  US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocons New American Militarism Casino Capitalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism War is Racket Inverted Totalitarism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Neoliberal corruption Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Corruption of Regulators "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries   Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization
Alternatives to Neo-liberalism Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions  Key Myths of Neoliberalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Gangster Capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump The Deep State Predator state Disaster capitalism Harvard Mafia Small government smoke screen Super Capitalism as Imperialism
The Great Transformation Monetarism fiasco Neoliberalism and Christianity Republican Economic Policy  In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few YouTube on neoliberalism History of neoliberalism Humor Etc


Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. “There’s class warfare, all right, "Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

- New York Times

Make no mistake, the neo-Liberal fuckers are just as bad as the Stalinists

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

GB: once a great cultured nation, now a poorly-educated gangster mafia state, ruled by oligarchs and inhabited by soccer hooligans

The Kremlin Stooge

Neoliberalism is a very interesting social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and socialism (and facilitated the dissolution of the USSR). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow is prohibited by MSM to mention.  It is also unstable social system which led to impoverishment of lower 80% of the society and the rise of far right nationalism. After approximately 40 years of global dominance is shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became really strong and demonstrated itself in Brexis, election of Trump is defeat of Italian referendum.

It can be defined as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich"("Elites of all countries unite !"  instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...). Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page --  Neoliberalism: an Introduction


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(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2017 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2016 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Jun 22, 2017] Playing Games with Drugs at the Wall Street Journal

Jun 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , June 21, 2017 at 05:02 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/playing-games-with-drugs-at-the-wall-street-journal

June 20, 2017

Playing Games with Drugs at the Wall Street Journal

A column * in the Wall Street Journal by Dana P. Goldman and Darius N. Lakdawalla presents a case for high drug prices by making an analogy to the salaries of major league baseball players. They ask what would happen if the average pay of major league players was cut from $4 million to $2 million. They hypothesize that the current crew of major leaguers would continue to play, but that young people might instead opt for different careers, leaving us with a less talented group of baseball players. Their analogy to the drug market is that we would see fewer drugs developed, and therefore we would end up worse off as a result of paying less for drugs.

This analogy is useful because it is a great way to demonstrate some serious wrong-headed thinking. It also leads those of us who had the privilege of seeing players like Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Henry Aaron, and Willie Mays in their primes to wonder if there somehow would have been better players 50 years ago if the pay back then was at current levels.

But the issue is not just how much we should for developing drugs, but how we should pay. Suppose that we paid fire fighters at the point where they came to the fire. They would assess the situation and make an offer to put out the fire and save the lives of those who are endangered. We could haggle if we want. Sometimes we might get the price down a bit and in some occasions a competing crew of firefighters may show up and offer some competition. Most of us would probably pay whatever the firefighters asked to rescue our family members.

This could lead to a situation where firefighters are very highly paid, since at least the ones who came to rich neighborhoods could count on payouts in the millions or even tens of millions of dollars. Suppose someone suggested that we were paying too much for firefighters' services and argued that there we could drastically reduce what we pay for a service we all recognize as tremendously important. Well, Goldman and Lakdawalla would undoubtedly respond with a Wall Street Journal column telling us that fewer people will want to be firefighters.

But this is really beside the point. Just about everyone agrees that it does not make sense to be determining firefighters' pay when they show up at the fire. We pay them a fixed salary. While they sit around waiting most of the time, occasionally they provide an incredibly valuable service saving valuable properties from destruction or even more importantly saving lives.

No one thinks that firefighters get ripped off because they don't walk away millions of dollars when they save an endangered family. They get paid their salary (which we can argue whether too high or too low) for work that we recognize as dangerous, but which will occasionally result in enormous benefits to society.

In the case of developing drugs, we are now largely in the situation of paying the firefighters when they show up at the burning house. As a result of historical accident, we rely on a relic of the medieval guild system, government granted patent monopolies, to finance most research into developing new drugs. These monopolies allow drug companies to charge prices that are several thousand percent ** above the free market price.

This leads to all the corruption and distortion that one would expect from a trade tariff of 1000 or even 10,000 percent. These markups lead drug companies to expend vast resources marketing their drugs. They also frequently misrepresent the safety and effectiveness of their drugs to maximize sales. They make payoffs to doctors, politicians, and academics to enlist them in their sales efforts. And, they use the legal system to harass potential competitors, often filing frivolous suits to dissuade generic competitors.

This system also leads to a large amount of wasted research spending. This is in part because competitors will try to innovate around a patent to share in the patent rents. In a world of patent monopolies it is generally desirable to have competing drugs, however if the first drug was selling at its free market price, it is unlikely that it would make sense to spend large amounts researching the development of a second, third, and fourth drug for a condition for which an effective treatment already exists, rather than researching drugs for conditions for which no effective treatment exists.

Patent monopolies also encourage secrecy in research, as drug companies disclose as little information as possible so that they prevent competitors from benefiting from their research. This also slows the research process.

The obvious alternative would upfront funding, just like firefighters are paid a fixed salary for their work. Under this system a condition of the funding would be that all the research findings are posted on the web as quickly as practical to maximize the ability of the scientific community to benefit. We already do this to some extent with the $32 billion a year that goes to the National Institutes of Health, although this amount would likely have to be doubled or even tripled to make up for the research currently supported by government granted patent monopolies. (I outline a system for this in my book "Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Have Been Structured to Make the Rich Richer" *** - it's free.)

Anyhow, it would be good if we could be having a debate about how we finance drug research rather than just telling silly stories about baseball players salaries. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Sherrod Brown and thirteen other senators have already introduced a bill that would have the government pick up the tab on some clinical trials and then putting the rights to successful drugs in the public domain so they can be sold at generic prices. The bill also has a patent buyout fund that would accomplish the same goal.

It is absurd that we charge people hundreds of thousands of dollars for life-saving drugs that cost a few hundred dollars to produce. Too bad the Wall Street Journal has so little creativity that it cannot even imagine an alternative to a grossly antiquated institution when it comes to financing prescription drug development.

* https://www.wsj.com/articles/take-me-out-to-the-pill-game-1497913367

** http://www.thebodypro.com/content/78658/1000-fold-mark-up-for-drug-prices-in-high-income-c.html

*** https://deanbaker.net/images/stories/documents/Rigged.pdf

-- Dean Baker

[Jun 22, 2017] These are dark times for neoliberal free marketeers.

Jun 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H., June 21, 2017 at 06:56 AM

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/06/free-markets-need-equality.html

June 21, 2017

FREE MARKETS NEED EQUALITY
by Chris Dillow

These are dark times for free marketeers. Voters are only lukewarm about the virtues of capitalism; the Grenfell disaster is widely regarded as showing the case for greater regulation; and, as Sam Bowman says, even the Tories "have totally failed to make a broad-brush case for free markets."

I share some of their disquiet. Flawed as they are, markets have virtues as selection and information-aggregation mechanisms.

What, then, can be done to strengthen the case for markets?

There's one thing that's crucial – equality of power. For free markets to have public acceptance, the worst-off must have bargaining power. Without this, "free" markets merely become a device for exploitation.

Imagine, for example, that we had overfull employment and/or high out-of-work benefits. Workers would then be able to reject low wages and bad working conditions. Market forces would then deliver higher wages and good, safer, conditions simply because employers that didn't offer these wouldn't have any workers. Equally – though it's harder to imagine – if we had an abundance of housing, landlords who offered shoddy or dangerous accommodation would either have to refurbish their property to acceptable standards or suffer a lack of tenants.

We wouldn't, therefore need "red tape." The market would raise working and living standards.

We don't need thought experiments to see this. We have empirical evidence too.

Philippe Aghion and colleagues have shown that there's a negative correlation across countries between unions density and minimum wage laws. Countries with strong unions have less stringent minimum wage laws – because greater bargaining power reduces the need for such laws. Remember that the UK adopted minimum wages in the 1990s, when unions had been emasculated. In the 60s and 70s, when unions were strong, the market raised wages.

Also, there is a negative correlation across developed countries between inequality (as measured, imperfectly, by Gini coefficients) and business freedom. Egalitarian Denmark and Sweden, for example, score better on the Heritage Foundation's index of freedom than the unequal US. There's a simple reason for this. Working people want what they regard as a fair deal. If they can't get it through bargaining in free markets, they'll seek it through politics and regulation.

The inference here is, for me, obvious. If you are serious about wanting free markets you must put in place the conditions which are necessary for them – namely, greater bargaining power for tenants, customers and workers. This requires not just strong anti-monopoly policies but also policies such as a high citizens income, full employment and mass housebuilding.

In short, free markets require egalitarian policies. Free marketeers who don't support these are not the friends of freedom at all, but are merely shills for exploiters.

Christopher H. -> Christopher H.... , June 21, 2017 at 07:02 AM
"Egalitarian Denmark and Sweden, for example, score better on the Heritage Foundation's index of freedom than the unequal US. There's a simple reason for this. Working people want what they regard as a fair deal. If they can't get it through bargaining in free markets, they'll seek it through politics and regulation."

Hillary Clinton famously said "we're not Denmark" to distinguish herself from the "unserious" Bernie Sanders in the primary debates.

She was trying to appeal to meritocratic Democrats and Republicans. As Josh Marshall wrote of yesterday's special election:

"The district is relatively diverse for a GOP district and educated and affluent. In other words, it's made up of just the kind of Republicans who proved most resistant to Trump."

Hillary was trying to appeal to the affluent and indoctrinated and educated meritocrats. The "non-deploreables."

And she lost. Corbyn running on an anti-austerity platform and a manifesto that pointed more in the direction of Denmark pulled off a biggest swing in votes since 1945.

Of course the center left, PGL and Krugman were silent about Corbyn's great showing and complained about people who wanted to discuss it. But it's okay to discuss the disappointing outcome in yesterday's special election.

RGC -> Christopher H.... , June 21, 2017 at 07:18 AM
Free markets need "a comprehensive socialization of investment":

"In some other respects the foregoing theory is moderately conservative in its implications. For whilst it indicates the vital importance of establishing certain central controls in matters which are now left in the main to individual initiative, there are wide fields of activity which are unaffected. The State will have to exercise a guiding influence on the propensity to consume partly through its scheme of taxation, partly by fixing the rate of interest, and partly, perhaps, in other ways. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that the influence of banking policy on the rate of interest will be sufficient by itself to determine an optimum rate of investment. I conceive, therefore, that a somewhat comprehensive socialisation of investment will prove the only means of securing an approximation to full employment; though this need not exclude all manner of compromises and of devices by which public authority will co-operate with private initiative. But beyond this no obvious case is made out for a system of State Socialism which would embrace most of the economic life of the community. It is not the ownership of the instruments of production which it is important for the State to assume. If the State is able to determine the aggregate amount of resources devoted to augmenting the instruments and the basic rate of reward to those who own them, it will have accomplished all that is necessary. Moreover, the necessary measures of socialisation can be introduced gradually and without a break in the general traditions of society"

-J M Keynes

https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/keynes/general-theory/ch24.htm

Paine -> RGC... , June 21, 2017 at 06:09 PM
Caution
The path to Keynesian futures turned out to have a long back traverse
From 1973 to 2008 and beyond

As yet we have not moved forward
but at least the power
driving the back traverse is over
We can recommence the advance toward greater socialization of net investment

[Jun 22, 2017] Americans have a blind spot on the actions of the USA. That's natural. But that blindness produces pretty idiotic comments even from commenters that are able to discuss intelligently other topics

Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

DrDick -> Paine ... , June 21, 2017 at 08:33 AM

Also historically moronic, since China had become increasingly isolationist from the 16th century on. This is not to say that China has not been deliberately annoying their neighbors lately, especially in the South China Sea, however. Clearly China has been extending its influence, mostly economically, around the world, especially in Africa, for a couple of decades now, but I do not see this as any different from what we do in the same regions. It is certainly not nearly as troubling as what Russia has been doing under Putin.
libezkova said in reply to DrDick... , June 21, 2017 at 09:09 PM
Compare your viewpoint with Forbes:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2017/06/16/in-final-oliver-stone-interview-putin-predicts-when-russia-us-crisis-ends/


In Final Oliver Stone Interview, Putin Predicts When Russia-US Crisis Ends

Jun 20, 2017 | www.forbes.com

But with Trump in the White House, the Trump-Putin conspiracy theory is one reality TV show the news media can't shake. Stone's love for foreign policy intrigue at least makes him a Putin kindred spirit here. America's age old fear of the Russians, has made Putin public enemy number one and Stone his sounding board. For some unhappy campers, like John McCain, Putin has " no moral equivalent " in the United States. He's a dictator , a war criminal and tyrant .

"You've gone through four U.S. presidents: Clinton, Bush, Obama and now Trump. What changes?" Stone asks him.

"Almost nothing. Your bureaucracy is very strong and it is that bureaucracy that rules the world," he says. Then, solemnly, "There is change...when they bring us to the cemetery to bury us."

In the last installment of the Putin interviews, the Russian leader admitted to liking Trump. "We still like him because he wants to restore relations. Relations between the two countries are going to develop," he said. It's a sentence very few in congress would say, and almost no big name politicians outside of Trump would imagine saying on television. On Russia, you scold. There is no fig leaf.

In a recent sanctions bill in the senate, only Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee voted against it, making for a 97-2 landslide in favor of extra-territorial sanctions against Russian companies, namely oil and gas.

Stone asked him why did he bother hacking the Democratic National Committee's emails if he believed nothing would change on the foreign policy front.

STONE: Our political leadership and NATO all believe you hacked the election.

PUTIN: We didn't hack the election at all. It would be hard to imagine any country, even Russia, being capable of seriously influencing the U.S. election. Someone hacked the DNC, but I don't think it influenced the election. What came through was not a lie.

They were not trying to fool anybody. People who want to manipulate public opinion will blame Russia. But Trump had his finger on the pulse of the Midwest voter and knew how to pull at their hearts. Those who have been defeated shouldn't be shifting blame to someone else....We are not waiting for any revolutionary changes.

Just then, editors cut to a video of Trump talking about Putin.

TRUMP: I hope I get along with Putin. I hope I do. But there is a good chance that I won't.

PUTIN: It almost feels like hatred of a certain ethnic group, like antisemitism. They are always blaming Russians, like antisemites are always blaming the Jews.

The editors then flashed to footage of John McCain on the floor of the Senate ranting and raving about Putin. Then Joseph Biden in the Ukrainian parliament, ranting about Russia. Putin tells Stone all of this is unfortunate. He thinks their view is"old world." He reminds Stone that Russia and the U.S. were allies in World War I and World War II. It was Winston Churchill that started the Cold War from London, despite having respect for Russia's strongman leader at the time, the real dictator, Joseph Stalin.

libezkova -> libezkova... , June 21, 2017 at 09:13 PM
The point is the Americans have a blind spot on the actions of the USA.

That's natural. But that produced pretty idiotic comments in this blog even from commenters that are able to discuss intelligently other topics.

[Jun 22, 2017] Neocons influence on US foreign policy

Equating critique of Israel with anti-Semitism is like equating critique of Nazi Germany with with denigrating everything German.
Jun 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier Website June 21, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

@Sam J. "...In the end, it is the American people who decide whether Israel is to be or not to be a vital American ally and friend..."

To make informed decisions you have to have information. The American people don't have that. So they really haven't made a decision at all. They've been tricked into doing things that are covered up in lies. The American people are responsible even if they are being manipulated by the MSM.

Too many Americans are woefully ignorant about the world, particularly about the extent that Jewish interests have manipulated so many aspects of our government and our culture. If you even bring this issue up you are immediately branded a hater and your arguments dismissed.

In short, many Americans are happy to drink the kool aid.

It is a much deeper problem than simply our American Pravda.

Many of us have chosen to be blind, refusing to even consider the possibility that we are being manipulated, and in the process fail as responsible citizens.

One can choose to be red pilled today. This is ultimately the choice to go through life with an open mind and to have a high regard for reality, however uncomfortable that reality may be.

annamaria June 21, 2017 at 12:34 pm GMT

@Sam J. "...The source of Jewish power in the US is their brokerage of voter bias and federal entitlements between the federal government and the public..."

There may be a little bit of that but it's not the main reason. The main reasons are:
1. They own practically all media in the US.
2. They own the FED providing almost limitless cash to their preferred people.
3. They're blackmailing huge numbers of our Representatives with little Boys and little Girls.
4. They'll kill you if they don't get their way.

So if you run against them in the primary you will have extremely well funded opponents and the press will savage you. If that doesn't work they will try to redistrict you out of a job. If that doesn't work they will frame or kill you like they did to Ohio Congressman James Traficant. "1. They own practically all media in the US.
2. They own the FED providing almost limitless cash to their preferred people.
3. They're blackmailing huge numbers of our Representatives with little Boys and little Girls.
4. They'll kill you if they don't get their way."

And this has been leading the States – and Israel along with the States – to the demise. The US governing institutions have lost their ability to respond to reality and instead they respond to personal desires only. Hence the approaching danger of a hot war.

annamaria June 21, 2017 at 2:53 pm GMT

@Sam Shama

Don't look for the exchange with Colbert on YouTube. CBS deleted it from its broadcast and website, demonstrating once again that the "I" word cannot be disparaged on national television.
Is this the one?

http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/tRfgCC966_LEXj4URvqwisoUugDosea4/oliver-stone-spent-two-years-interviewing-vladimir-putin/

If so, you'll need to issue a retraction of your statement and all the other insinuations you derived from it. If it is not the video, I issue my apologies in advance.

......he was assassinated, which was a lucky break for Israel, particularly as Kennedy was replaced by the passionate Zionist Lyndon Baines Johnson.
With this slander which others commented on earlier, it does deserve repeating emphatically, you've submerged yourself in conspiracies for reasons which appear to be occult Jew hatred impossible to contain just under the surface. It beggars belief that statement was written tongue in cheek; excessive cheek, tongue impossible to pry unstuck. An attempt at humour? Poor taste, really.
The Israelis know what is going on all the time.
Pure nonsense at some level. At another level, it is well-known we know more about our allies than their respective governments do and vice versa.
......but it also included an astonishingly large number of Democrats who describe themselves as progressive, including Corey Booker and Kamila Harris,
So they are progressives, what of it? You fail to understand most Americans view Iranians as a nation of people which took hostage American diplomats. These congressmen are doing no more than what their constituents want.

The readership of UR, a collection of a few excellent thinkers, overwhelmed by a larger group of lunatics, do not reflect the sentiment of the vast majority. They could not care what you or I think of Iranians. They remember Nov 1979.

And there's still more. Bill HR 672 Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017 was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on June 14th.
Antisemitism is a serious matter and it is well for it to bear scrutiny in some cases where through their actions overzealous elements[some in the judiciary] trivialise its intent. But you seem to favour an environment where mere vigilance through a bill deserves defeat. Unanimously.
President Donald Trump traveled to the Middle East claiming to be desirous of starting serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but it was all a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu took him aside and came out with the usual Israeli bullshit about the Palestinians "inciting" violence and hatred of Jews and Trump bought into it
It's comical to behold the "select" group which voted for Trump now complain on these pages of the UR about what the man said he was going to do from the very beginning on the Israel-Palestine issue. It is not a sham. Trump never believed the "bullshit" coming from the U.N. [a body which has over 40 Muslim and Arab members] on the contrary, attacking the solitary Jewish nation state. He required no "taking aside" by Bibi. One needn't travel to the West Bank to find Jew hatred; a few months' worth of reading your columns being quite sufficient.

I might note in passing that there has been no Senate resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bravery exhibited by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty as they were being slaughtered by the Israelis at the same time as Jerusalem was being "liberated"
Such a Senate resolution requires convincing senators of its necessity. No one is stopping anyone.

I understand you feel Jerusalem is better in the hands of Palestinians and Arabs. We disagree.

A gem of an article all things considered.

"You fail to understand most Americans view Iranians as a nation of people which took hostage American diplomats."

You feign ignorance of the USSLiberty. The American servicemen were not just hostages for Israel – American servicemen were murdered by Israelis: https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/
Most Americans are also aware that the US Congress has become Israel-occupied Congress, with the horrific consequences for the global insecurity.
"Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years:" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-19/israel-has-been-secretly-funding-syrian-rebels-years
"The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow:" https://consortiumnews.com/2017/03/15/the-kagans-are-back-wars-to-follow/
There was an enormous sympathy for Jewish victims of the WWII; the sympathy and goodwill for Israel have been completed squandered by the bloody ziocons. Only opportunists stay loyal to Israeli agenda, whereas honest people look with horror on the transformation of a victim into an amoral villain.

[Jun 21, 2017] Neoliberalism and opioids abuse

Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova, June 21, 2017 at 07:25 PM

Over 33K people in US died of opiates overdoses in 2015 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not only unemployed abuse opioids, but more and more college students and recent graduates are abusing the opioids as well, according to a survey of 1200 college aged adults commissioned the same year by Christie foundation.

Federal law does not require colleges to report drug death unless they are deemed criminal. But fatal overdoses have been rising at schools nationwide underscoring and horrifying reality of for administrators: in addition to binge drinking and marijuana, they have another crisis firmly entrenched on campus.

Now losing 30K people in one year is like small scale civil war (like the one they have in Ukraine) and in a way it is: war of wealthy and medical industrial complex against those in difficult circumstances, with dreams crashed and, especially, unemployed.

https://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2016-06-14/opioids-linked-with-deaths-other-than-overdoses-study-says

== quote ==

CHICAGO (AP) - Accidental overdoses aren't the only deadly risk from using powerful prescription painkillers - the drugs may also contribute to heart-related deaths and other fatalities, new research suggests.

Among more than 45,000 patients in the study, those using opioid painkillers had a 64 percent higher risk of dying within six months of starting treatment compared to patients taking other prescription pain medicine. Unintentional overdoses accounted for about 18 percent of the deaths among opioid users, versus 8 percent of the other patients.

"As bad as people think the problem of opioid use is, it's probably worse," said Wayne Ray, the lead author and a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University's medical school. "They should be a last resort and particular care should be exercised for patients who are at cardiovascular risk."

His caution echoes recent advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trying to stem the nation's opioid epidemic. The problem includes abuse of street drugs like heroin and overuse of prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, codeine and morphine.

The drugs can slow breathing and can worsen disrupted breathing that occurs with sleep apnea, potentially leading to irregular heartbeats, heart attacks or sudden death, the study authors said.

In 2014, there were more than 14,000 fatal overdoses linked with the painkillers in the U.S. The study suggests even more have died from causes linked with the drugs, and bolster evidence in previous research linking them with heart problems.

The study involved more than 45,000 adult Medicaid patients in Tennessee from 1999 to 2012. They were prescribed drugs for chronic pain not caused by cancer but from other ailments including persistent backaches and arthritis.

Half received long-acting opioids including controlled-release oxycodone, methadone and fentanyl skin patches. Fentanyl has been implicated in the April death of Prince, although whether the singer was using a fentanyl patch, pills or other form of the drug hasn't been publicly revealed.

Long-acting opioids remain in the body longer. The study authors noted that the body's prolonged exposure to the drugs may increase risks for toxic reactions.

The remaining study patients had prescriptions for non-opioid drugs sometimes used to treat nerve pain, including gabapentin; or certain antidepressants also used for pain.

There were 185 deaths among opioid users, versus 87 among other patients. The researchers calculated that for every 145 patients on an opioid drug, there was one excess death versus deaths among those on other painkillers.

The two groups were similar in age, medical conditions, risks for heart problems and other characteristics that could have contributed to the outcomes.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association .

The study involved only Medicaid patients, who include low-income and disabled adults and who are among groups disproportionately affected by opioid abuse.

Ray noted that the study excluded the sickest patients and those with any evidence of drug abuse. He said similar results would likely be found in other groups.

Dr. Chad Brummett, director of pain research at the University of Michigan Health System, said the study highlights risks from the drugs in a novel way and underscores why their use should be limited.

[Jun 21, 2017] People are thinking of locating solar panels to provide shade to irrigation canals or to bike lanes. Car roofs are a good spot too. There are so many two-fers out there - why are we missing all these opportunities?

Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

pgl, June 21, 2017 at 01:36 AM

Re: Fisticuffs Over the Route to a Clean-Energy Future - NYTimes

"It is critically important to bring this debate into the open. For too long, climate advocacy and policy has been inflected by a hope that the energy transformation before us can be achieved cheaply and virtuously - in harmony with nature. But the transformation is likely to be costly. And though sun, wind and water are likely to account for a much larger share of the nation's energy supply, less palatable technologies are also likely to play a part."

Eduardo Porter on the debate as to whether 100% of our energy needs can be met by renewables. OK - it may involve certain costs increasing this from a mere 10% to something closer to 100% even if we do not entirely get to 100%. But not trying would be very costly.

reason, June 21, 2017 at 02:17 AM
One thing that certainly annoys me about this, is that to me the incentives must be wrong.

I see the German railway building solar banks on perfectly good land (which could for instance grow trees), and the railways rolling past large numbers of houses with south-facing roofs and no solar panels.

I see electric cars being built without solar panels on the roof, parked in the sun. I sort of wonder - something is wrong here, why?

I read in the scientific American that people are thinking of locating solar panels to provide shade to irrigation canals. Or we could use solar panels to provide weather protection to bike lanes (shade + rain + snow protection). There are so many two-fers out there - why are we missing all these opportunities?

reason -> reason ... , June 21, 2017 at 02:26 AM
Think of another possibility (a sliding solar on the roof of an electric car - so it could provide windscreen shade when parked and have extra collecting area as well).

Ok, ok it is summer and 34 degrees C here today, so solar energy is everywhere.

libezkova -> reason ... , June 21, 2017 at 08:26 PM
One thing that certainly annoys me about this, is that to me the incentives must be wrong.

I see the german railway building solar banks on perfectly good land (which could for instance grow trees), and the railways rolling past large numbers of houses with south-facing roofs and no solar panels.

I see electric cars being built without solar panels on the roof, parked in the sun. I sort of wonder - something is wrong here, why?

I read in the scientific American that people are thinking of locating solar panels to provide shade to irrigation canals. Or we could use solar panels to provide weather protection to bike lanes (shade + rain + snow protection). There are so many two-fers out there - why are we missing all these opportunities?

That's a great comment !!!

Thank you so much.

[Jun 21, 2017] We Are Inches From A New World War, And Clintonists Are To Blame

Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

RGC Reply , June 21, 2017 at 06:52 AM

We Are Inches From A New World War, And Clintonists Are To Blame

Published June 20, 2017 by Caitlin Johnstone

"This is your fault, Clinton Democrats. You created this, and if our species is plunged into a new world war or extinction via nuclear holocaust, it will be your fault. You knuckle-dragging, vagina hat-wearing McCarthyite morons made this happen."

https://counterpropa.com/inches-new-world-war-clintonists-blame/

RGC - , June 21, 2017 at 07:46 AM
Five takeaways from Iran's missile strike in Syria

Tehran's strike was targeted at Islamic State but it also puts US bases in the region on notice and exposes the flimsiness of the Trump Administration's Middle East policy
........................
From all accounts, the missiles hit their target with devastating precision. Simply put, Iran has notified the US that its 45,000 troops deployed in bases in Iraq (5,165), Kuwait (15,000), Bahrain (7,000), Qatar (10,000), the UAE (5,000) and Oman (200) are highly vulnerable.

http://www.atimes.com/article/five-takeaways-irans-missile-strike-syria/

RGC, June 21, 2017 at 07:58 AM
Unlike the US military, Iran appears to put effectiveness ahead of private profit.
Paine, June 21, 2017 at 03:51 PM
No. Iran is hardly foolish

Hell truck bombs aimed at marine barracks aren't any longer on Iran's to do list . Even thru their junior partners Hezbollah
Assad might want them to clobber a syrian Kurd stronghold. But not even that gets the green light by the mad mullahs of Teheran

Paine, June 21, 2017 at 03:54 PM
Uncle is the clear aggressor against Iran. Just as he is against Venezuela. The Shia Arabs are a strategic target for uncles containment horse play. Iran is their steadfast ally
ilsm, June 21, 2017 at 04:29 PM
The Wahhabi coalition funded, armed and equipped by Uncle Sam killed 300 women and children last month in its quest to use ISIS as an excuse to give Syria and upper Iraq to al Qaeda.

It also shot down a Syria jet trying to push US' jihadis who are making Turley mad back toward ISIS to fight them rather than occuoy Syria.

Paine, June 21, 2017 at 05:57 PM
The Saud family are up there with the Walton's. And they outnumber the Walton's ten thousand to 4. There will be an awful reckoning....some day
ilsm - , June 21, 2017 at 06:43 PM
US presidents since Nixon have not committed one (1.0) of the US' 2.5 planned wars to the welfare of the Saudi family's palaces.
RGC - , June 21, 2017 at 08:12 AM
The Growing U.S.-Iran Proxy Fight in Syria. The scramble for Islamic State territory is raising the risks of escalation

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/iran-syria-trump-saudi-arabia-escalation-isis/530844/

ilsm - , June 21, 2017 at 04:34 PM
While we are talking about the Wahhabi invasions of Syria:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daraa_offensive_(February%E2%80%93June_2017)

The Syrian government is pushing against the Israeli supported branch of al Qaeda in the Daraa governate. Israelis interest is the Golan which it grabbed in 1973.

While in al Tanf, Syria in the middle of no where related to fighting ISIS US F-15E shot down an armed drone allegedly attacking the US run training center for future jihadis who will go after the US and Europe like bin Laden. All the conditions for US tied down supporting evil like 1964..........

Paine - , June 21, 2017 at 03:46 PM
I like johnstone. She wrote a lot on Serbia v croatia. And then Bosnia Kosovo. The national elements of deliquescent Yugoslavia. That former hot spot of humanist outrage. But keep your pants on girl

Nothing anywhere now threatens catastrophic collisions between great powers. Uncles just too strong

ilsm, June 21, 2017 at 04:37 PM
The legacy of Sarajevo and the East German armor US facilitated to Croatia is the US maintains an oversized "NATO" mechanized brigade plus extras in Camp Bonesteel......

Keeping dissected Kosovo county free unlike Iraq......

ilsm, June 21, 2017 at 04:40 PM
"Uncles just too strong"

not really, it is less. risky to do Vietnams..... Syria has the potential to make Vietnam type counter insurgency experiments look new again. Until US runs out of lenders!

too strong......puleeeze

Paine , June 21, 2017 at 06:00 PM
Of course. Vietnams are always possible. In fact they keep great powers busy. Bleeding each other by proxy
ilsm , June 21, 2017 at 06:38 PM
Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Djibouti, Sudan are all Vietnams sans draftees and no hippy music. What is Neil Young and Joani Mitchell up to?
libezkova - , June 21, 2017 at 07:53 PM
There is probably a silver lining in the alliance of neocons and liberal interventionists (which actually are the same as DemoRats -- Clinton's wing of Democratic party) attempt to impeach Trump on faked charges.

It might delay the war. Looks like Trump is hell bent to crush Iran.

Which is a theocratic state, but still not as bad as KAS and some other US allies in the region.

[Jun 21, 2017] If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003

Jun 21, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier June 21, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

@Pissedoffalese

Disgusted "liberal". Am I even a "liberal" anymore? I loathe the I-word and the J-word now with a purple passion. If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003. What the hell AM I? I despise Republicans, but the Dems didn't oppose their wars. Now I despise the Dems, and the right-wingnuts are starting to make sense. Is this cognitive dissonance? Bizzaro-world? I am one CONFUSED puppy.

Thank you PG Thoughtful comment.

The Democrats are every bit as much on board with the wars and the destruction of the working class as are the Republicans.

Where are the respectable liberals in this country?

I despise Democrats as you despise Republicans.

Now I despise them both. I have little loyalty for my government and do not trust anything that they do.

Our Republic is on life support.

[Jun 21, 2017] Unions in Decline Some International Comparisons

Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova , June 21, 2017 at 11:55 AM
" This pattern suggests that existence of unions, one way or another, may be less important for economic outcomes than the way in which those unions function. "

This is a typical neoliberal Newspeak. Pretty Orwellian.
In reality atomization of workforce and decimation of unions is the explicit goal of neoliberal state.

Neoliberalism war on organized labor started with Reagan.

Neoliberalism is based on unconditional domination of labor by capital ("socialism for rich, feudalism for labor").

American scholar and cultural critic Henry Giroux alleges neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life, and promotes a social Darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs.

That means maintaining the unemployment level of sufficiently high level and political suppression of workers rights to organize.

A new class of workers, facing acute socio-economic insecurity, emerged under neoliberalism. It is called 'precariat'.

Neoliberal policies led to the situation in the US economy in which 30% of workers earn low wages (less than two-thirds 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 deliberate, neoliberal policy choices including anti-inflationary bias, anti-unionism, and profiteering in the health industry.

Amazon, Uber and several other companies have shown that neoliberal model can be as brutal as plantation slavery.

Central to the notion of the skills agenda as pursued by neoliberal governments is the concept of "human capital."

Which involves atomization of workers, each of which became a "good" sold at the "labor market". Neoliberalism discard the concept of human solidarity. It also eliminated government support of organized labor, and decimated unions.

Under neoliberalism the government has to actively intervene to clear the way for the free "labor market." Talk about government-sponsored redistribution of wealth under neoliberalism -- from Greenspan to Bernanke, from Rubin to Paulson, the government has been a veritable Robin Hood in reverse.

[Jun 21, 2017] The CIAs principal house organ, the New York Times, published a lead editorial Sunday on the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election that is an incendiary and lying exercise in disinformation aimed at whipping up support for war with Russia.

Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

RGC

, June 21, 2017 at 06:44 AM
The New York Times steps up its anti-Russia campaign
21/06/2017

The CIA's principal house organ, the New York Times, published a lead editorial Sunday on the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election that is an incendiary and lying exercise in disinformation aimed at whipping up support for war with Russia.
....................

Not a single one of the reports in the Times or Post is the product of a genuine investigation by journalists. Instead, the main reporting on the "Russian hacking" affair consists of taking dictation from unidentified intelligence officials. In not a single case did these officials offer evidence to substantiate their claims, invariably made in the form of ambiguous phrases like "we assess," "we believe," "we assess with high confidence," etc. Such claims are worth no more than previous assertions that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction-a lie used to justify a war that has killed more than one million people.

http://www.defenddemocracy.press/the-new-york-times-steps-up-its-anti-russia-campaign/

RGC -> RGC... , June 21, 2017 at 06:47 AM
Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul Buck Party Consensus on Russia and Iran Sanctions


Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal explains that these sanctions punish Russia and Iran and unnecessarily intensifies the conflict between the US and these countries

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=19337

sanjait -> RGC... , June 21, 2017 at 10:55 AM
Dead wrong about Bernie:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/bernie-sanders-donald-trump-russia-blackmail-links-vladimir-putin-nice-things-democratic-senator-a7647546.html

Nice try though!

RGC -> sanjait... , June 21, 2017 at 11:26 AM
Thursday, June 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, June 15 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Thursday after he voted against a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran and Russia:

"I am strongly supportive of the sanctions on Russia included in this bill. It is unacceptable for Russia to interfere in our elections here in the United States, or anywhere around the world. There must be consequences for such actions. I also have deep concerns about the policies and activities of the Iranian government, especially their support for the brutal Assad regime in Syria. I have voted for sanctions on Iran in the past, and I believe sanctions were an important tool for bringing Iran to the negotiating table. But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015. That is not a risk worth taking, particularly at a time of heightened tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies. I think the United States must play a more even-handed role in the Middle East, and find ways to address not only Iran's activities, but also Saudi Arabia's decades-long support for radical extremism."

https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/sanders-statement-on-iran-and-russia-sanctions

anne -> RGC... , June 21, 2017 at 07:25 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/opinion/mr-trumps-dangerous-indifference-to-russia.html

June 17, 2017

Mr. Trump's Dangerous Indifference to Russia

anne -> anne... , June 21, 2017 at 01:21 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/opinion/mr-trumps-dangerous-indifference-to-russia.html

June 17, 2017

Mr. Trump's Dangerous Indifference to Russia

A rival foreign power launched an aggressive cyberattack on the United States, interfering with the 2016 presidential election and leaving every indication that it's coming back for more - but President Trump doesn't seem to care.

The unprecedented nature of Russia's attack is getting lost in the swirling chaos of recent weeks, but it shouldn't be. American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia took direct aim at the integrity of American democracy, and yet after almost five months in office, the commander in chief appears unconcerned with that threat to our national security. The only aspect of the Russia story that attracts his attention is the threat it poses to the perceived legitimacy of his electoral win.

If not for the continuing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians - and whether Mr. Trump himself has obstructed that investigation - the president's indifference would be front-page news.

So let's take a moment to recall the sheer scope and audacity of the Russian efforts.

Under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, hackers connected to Russian military intelligence broke into the email accounts of...

ilsm -> anne... , June 21, 2017 at 04:22 PM
Not to worry Trump is doing all Obama did and more to sell Syria to al Qaeda.

Too busy keeping the Wahhabis happy to want to mess with Russia over a few millions Balts' desires.

The US is not offering the last drop of US soldiers' blood to the Balts it is already committed to the Wahhabis.

anne -> anne... , June 21, 2017 at 01:24 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/opinion/mr-trumps-dangerous-indifference-to-russia.html

Under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, hackers connected to Russian military intelligence broke into the email accounts of...

[ Interesting passage. ]

Paine -> RGC... , June 21, 2017 at 08:45 AM
Why critique this campaign against Russia
As if the kremlin may to have interfered and even collaborated with trump operatives to do it

Anything less would be dereliction of duty by a great powers leadership

Point out the motivation

Which is indeed a new forward policy on Russian containment by the deep state
As we now call the corporate planted cultivated and coddled security apparatus
With its various media cut thrus cut outs and compadres

Yes the NYT and the WP

Both are working with the deep state
Once called the invisible government
Much as they have in he past

Why I like he color revolution analogy

These media titans are working with the DS
Because they want to topple trump like they wanted to topple Nixon
And to a lesser extent wobble Reagan

Paine -> Paine ... , June 21, 2017 at 08:47 AM
Typo hazard

Russia is obviously tampering as much as optimal

Nothing new

Hence my suggesting putin is jut acting like all great powers must act to be great powers

ilsm -> Paine ... , June 21, 2017 at 04:23 PM
It would have been appeasement for Putin to stand by and let the Hillary neocon take over America and offer the last drop of US soldiers' blood to the Balts.

Ignoring Clinton was like letting Hitler have Prague!

Paine -> ilsm... , June 21, 2017 at 04:37 PM

Indeed
anne -> Paine ... , June 21, 2017 at 09:08 AM
Important, incisive perspective or argument, but a direction seldom taken. A Cold War sort of atmosphere makes us wary of using any such argument, and we have been forming a Cold War environment for several years now. This atmosphere by the way involves the way in which China is generally regarded, and I believe colors economic analysis even among academics.

[Jun 21, 2017] An Assault on Language Extremism by Gregory Barrett

Notable quotes:
"... The wealthy and powerful forces which control both of those influential centers in the formation of public opinion were desperate to regain control of the narrative, which has been slipping away from them at an increasing velocity since the advent of social media, and since the parallel growth of a broad spectrum of information networks with absolutely no interest in currying favor with the mighty, or in defending the status quo. ..."
"... As soon as the term "Fake News" appeared, Barack Obama pounced on it, and in a joint appearance in 2016 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, used his worldwide microphone and bully pulpit – if only he had done so occasionally to sound the alarm about the approaching environmental crisis, or to express outrage about racism or police brutality, or to challenge war profiteers! – to announce his deep concern that "Fake News" was making it "difficult to govern" (for more on this and the struggle against corporate/government presstitute propaganda, see my article "Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome"). ..."
"... This clumsy and panicky maneuver has deservedly met with far less success than Obama's incredibly successful propaganda sally against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which has captivated the paranoid fantasies of many millions of Americans and Europeans who desperately want to believe that NATO countries are virtuous and innocent, and are threatened by ruthless and aggressive foreigners who are responsible for the spreading chaos in the West. ..."
"... As one of his final acts in office, President Chameleon slapped new sanctions on Russia and deported Russian diplomats: after eight years, his transformation from Nobel Laureate and supposed apostle of peace to McCarthyite New Cold Warrior was complete, and vast numbers of angry Hillaroids were quickly on board the Blame Russia Express, full of self-righteous anger and the conviction that someone had stolen the election and that the usual suspects were obviously the guilty party. ..."
"... Things haven't gone so well for the "Fake News" campaign, however. Too many people could and can see disturbing patterns that ring true, if they spend enough time looking at truthful, objective analysis of the world around us, and there is quite a lot of it available via the internet. ..."
"... More people are spending more and more time on the internet and social media, where presstitute media lose the natural advantages they once had in a world dominated by government-regulated, corporate-financed TV, radio, and print news. ..."
"... It turns out that many of the best-informed writers see the world utterly differently than do the corporate and government shills who determine the "news" content in mainstream media. ..."
"... Social Democrats ..."
"... Christian Democrats ..."
"... The US military is by far the greatest polluter on Earth. ..."
"... I consider that an Orwellian assault on language. "Extremism" is what I oppose. Extreme wealth. Extreme greed. Extreme militarism. Extreme suicidal and ecocidal environmental destruction. Extreme governmental authority. Extreme stupidity. ..."
Jun 19, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

We have had a certain amount of success in exposing the amorphous and mendacious term "Fake News" for what it is: a tool in a major campaign of propaganda against dissenting independent journalism and political writing, a campaign perpetrated by governments and corporate media. The wealthy and powerful forces which control both of those influential centers in the formation of public opinion were desperate to regain control of the narrative, which has been slipping away from them at an increasing velocity since the advent of social media, and since the parallel growth of a broad spectrum of information networks with absolutely no interest in currying favor with the mighty, or in defending the status quo.

As soon as the term "Fake News" appeared, Barack Obama pounced on it, and in a joint appearance in 2016 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, used his worldwide microphone and bully pulpit – if only he had done so occasionally to sound the alarm about the approaching environmental crisis, or to express outrage about racism or police brutality, or to challenge war profiteers! – to announce his deep concern that "Fake News" was making it "difficult to govern" (for more on this and the struggle against corporate/government presstitute propaganda, see my article "Hope Is Our Enemy: Fighting Boiling Frog Syndrome").

This clumsy and panicky maneuver has deservedly met with far less success than Obama's incredibly successful propaganda sally against Russia and Vladimir Putin, which has captivated the paranoid fantasies of many millions of Americans and Europeans who desperately want to believe that NATO countries are virtuous and innocent, and are threatened by ruthless and aggressive foreigners who are responsible for the spreading chaos in the West.

As one of his final acts in office, President Chameleon slapped new sanctions on Russia and deported Russian diplomats: after eight years, his transformation from Nobel Laureate and supposed apostle of peace to McCarthyite New Cold Warrior was complete, and vast numbers of angry Hillaroids were quickly on board the Blame Russia Express, full of self-righteous anger and the conviction that someone had stolen the election and that the usual suspects were obviously the guilty party.

Things haven't gone so well for the "Fake News" campaign, however. Too many people could and can see disturbing patterns that ring true, if they spend enough time looking at truthful, objective analysis of the world around us, and there is quite a lot of it available via the internet.

More people are spending more and more time on the internet and social media, where presstitute media lose the natural advantages they once had in a world dominated by government-regulated, corporate-financed TV, radio, and print news.

It turns out that many of the best-informed writers see the world utterly differently than do the corporate and government shills who determine the "news" content in mainstream media.

Which brings us to one of the latest victims in the assault on language by the 1% and their pawns in the presstitute media: the word "extremism".

Here in the European Union where I live, this word is currently heard so often in the traditional media – along with another victimized word being brutalized almost non-stop, "populist" – that even poorly-educated persons who aren't sure exactly what is meant can understand that they must mean something very, very bad.

If any such confused persons should take the time to pay closer attention and attempt to ascertain what it is that makes these "extremists" and "populists" so deplorable and dangerous, they may soon notice that at least one of these words, "extremist", has a pretty nebulous field of application. According to major sources of conventional wisdom in the EU, terrorists are "extremists". But "extremism", more generally, is also applied casually to nearly any political parties and interest groups to the Left and the Right of the large (if shrinking in some countries like France) parties called "people's parties" (Volksparteien) here in Germany: the no-longer-socialist Social Democrats who are allegedly center-left, the pseudo-Christian Christian Democrats who portray themselves as center-right, and even the thoroughly compromised and faded-to-brown Green Party , which has gone to great lengths and engaged in stupendous contortions of deliberate conformism to achieve its modern status as a pillar of the established order, a long journey from its radical roots in the 1980s.

As you may have deduced from my snarky tone, I find myself firmly ensconced among the so-called "extremists" of the Left.

What, one may legitimately ask, are the views which have led to this branding as a dangerous individual? Do I advocate keeping a stock of Molotov Cocktails handy for quick use when the shit starts to fly? I do not.

Okay I guess I'll have to come clean. Here are the radical, dangerous, "extremist" positions I support when I advocate more influence for this political party:

In addition, there is my allegedly "extreme" position on the environment, which is not so much a priority for "Die Linke" but is the most important issue of all for me personally. I am convinced that only a radical transformation of the world economy can save this planet, including most life on Earth. I believe this can only come about through an end to industrial capitalism: a ban on most fossil fuels, an end to the production of most plastics, an end to most beef production and strict organic regulation of all meat production, and worldwide mandatory measures to clean up the poisonous residue of the current system which is killing the planet. This will necessarily involve huge cuts in most military structures and war-making as well. The US military is by far the greatest polluter on Earth.

For these views, and my concomitant rejection of the large political parties in the EU and the USA which have done almost nothing to save the planet that was not outweighed by massive destruction – parties which thus, in the name of "realism", have sold our future to the rich and may have doomed all life on this planet, as scientific opinion is near unanimous that time is short – for these views I am labeled an "extremist".

I consider that an Orwellian assault on language. "Extremism" is what I oppose. Extreme wealth. Extreme greed. Extreme militarism. Extreme suicidal and ecocidal environmental destruction. Extreme governmental authority. Extreme stupidity.

[Jun 20, 2017] What the Romans Did for Us On the Age-Old Art of Propaganda

Notable quotes:
"... By Jemimah Steinfeld, deputy editor of Index on Censorship magazine. This article appeared in the summer issue of the magazine. Click here for more information on Index . Cross posted from Open Democracy ..."
"... "Augustus is probably the supreme master of the art of propaganda in the entire history of the West. No one has rivalled him and everyone has since been in his shadow," said historian Tom Holland, author of bestselling books on Rome, in an interview with Index on Censorship magazine. ..."
"... Augustus perfected propaganda and his influence can be seen clearly in Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler. The careful crafting of Mao's image – clad in a simple "Mao suit", with sunbeams resonating off his body – was straight out of the Roman ruler's playbook. ..."
"... "At the heart of authoritarian propaganda is the manipulating of reality. The authoritarian must undermine this," said Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley , author of How Propaganda Works, in an interview with Index. ..."
"... Propaganda once again changed with the advent of the internet as information, or misinformation, could be spread with a simple click. Yet even though the game has moved on, the rules remain the same. Whether it's a fabricated blog post, a viral video of North Korea bombing Washington or tirades of tweets telling everyone you're going to Make America Great Again, these are all timeless tactics repackaged for the modern day. ..."
"... There are various sites , some tending toward tin-foil territory and others closer to what used to be thought of as journalism, where inquirers may learn more about what is not being presented in our media. The public may be deceived by the Grey Lady and her fellow-travelers, but there are still those who seek the truth. ..."
"... Good point about the CIA. Propaganda benefits greatly from surveillance providing feedback, so having both in one agency sounds like amazing public sector efficiency. The links didn't get me anywhere much so I still don't know how Augustus got his feedback – the acclaim of the mob? That's important considering the failure of the similar Julian personality cult just prior. ..."
"... In the Cold War, the ends justified the means. Not that Communist regimes weren't a threat, but making a big deal about them, certainly served those who wanted to act on "the ends justify the means". The fascist elements in the US weren't gone by 1945 .. they were just getting started. ..."
"... Thanks for sharing the link Carla. Resisting corporate power in any way possible is now the duty of every citizen. That cognitive shift is the main tipping point to bring about social change. What is good for corporations is not good for citizens. ..."
"... It may be a feckless effort, given the ubiquity of DYSinformation: "our" the CIA has been at it, on the massive offense against honesty and decency, via all the mechanisms we mopes, or too many of us, have thought worthy of "trust." Here's a telling review of a long form book on the subject of "Who Paid The Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War," https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/CIAcultCW.pdf ..."
"... Always, there are the Fifth Columnists (like Krauthammer and Krugman and the rest), and subtle little Iagos who infiltrate any kind of decency-based collective action (Occupy, NoDAPL, etc.) who will happily troll with Shakespearean "subtility" and betray and work full time to fiddle the rest of us, short-circuiting and defeating any efforts at collective action that might promote "the general welfare " ..."
"... The Obama Presidency: His cult tells us that he is a selfless community organizer and constitutional lawyer who will make America a post-racial society. He is a speaker who is very persuasive and charismatic. Any criticism of His Presidency is racism by the ignorant. Of course in reality the man had sold out to Wall Street from the start and America may as well have elected Bill Clinton for 2 more terms. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton proved unable to fool people in her cult. She is apparently a selfless experienced politician who will break glass ceilings. The reality? Her economic policies are little more than the typical neoliberalism, which will create ceilings for working and middle class Americans, outright kicking the poor down. She loves going to war. She is not charismatic at all. Her supporters tried to portray all criticism of Clinton as sexism unsuccessfully. The lesson here is that if you want any personality cult, it has to be believable and your candidate has to be likeable. ..."
"... I think that like Rome, the US is going to come apart. Let's face the reality. It is largely an empire. It relies on its military dominance to get its way and enrich its already obscenely wealthy. Much like Rome or the USSR, internal contradictions could bring it down. ..."
"... An example, the US claims that it is the land of opportunity, yet social mobility is better in Canada, Australia, and the Nordic Nations which have far more egalitarian cultures. It claims to be number 1 at everything, yet when you look at standards of living, it usually is a competition between the Nordic nations. There are other nations that do well. Japanese women for example have very long life expectancies. Healthcare is said to be the top, yet other nations spend less and live longer. I could go on, but the point is that propaganda can only go so far. ..."
"... Yet it is the costs of war and the greed of the rich that will eventually bring these contradictions to an end. How this will end, I don't know. I think that it could end up like the Soviet Union. We have am elite class that is literally looting everything from the rest of us. The only question is, can we avoid a total collapse like the Romans? ..."
"... His supporters tried to portray all criticism of Obama as racism. ..."
"... Goebbels had at least one thing right. Understanding the human psyche is key in shaping human society. Too bad for us all that current leaders have such limited visions of what human society could be. Or should that be shame on us all for allowing such a condition to arise in the first place. It seems a negative approach is always used to exploit human weakness. The reigning morality is find a weakness and exploit it. ..."
"... Propaganda is devoid of morality. It is just the roadmap to where you would like to go. All the talk of fake news, the sharing economy, public/private enterprises, privatization, fighting terrorism, the Russian menace, and TINA are attempts to obfuscate the fact that the morality brought about by capitalism no longer functions. ..."
"... Propaganda and ideology are one in the same, they are belief systems. Neither can be found in the physical world; rather, they reside in our chosen identities. Thus, the ideologues must persuade each of us to willingly submit our personal power to them and become their compliant subject. The ideologues are not 'in' power but 'hold' the collectives' power until the individual chooses to break away and regain their individual power. ..."
"... Louis Althusser's "Ideological State Apparatuses" is a good read. For Althusser, ideology was not a passive relation between the economic base and superstructure, but a pervasive set of dynamic conditions suffusing the institutional apparatus of the state and shaping not just the idea of the person as subject, but clarifying in structural terms the idea of a subject position; wherein, political and psychological forces converge to define possibilities of action and forces of constraint and repression. ..."
"... ideology has no history since it is carried in the material, institutional forms of social life, and is always submerged back into them (reification). ..."
"... The Roman Senate was nominally responsible for paying soldiers but by the time the republic was in it's waning days the coinage had become debased and devalued. The Roman soldier then looked to his individual commander as his meal ticket. ..."
"... Raised with the fear of The Big Lie, what is interesting today is corporate media's propaganda omissions. The 20% decline in the number of middle class families. Earlier deaths. The transfer of enormous wealth to a very few very rich families. ..."
"... The fall of the Soviet Union is recent enough that those who lived through it to say to us that the reason for the collapse was USSR's propaganda didn't match reality. When Boris Yeltsin's counter coup took place, Russians didn't take to the streets to defend the Communist Party and the economic system. Perhaps 5% of Americans are doing well servicing the oligarchs. That is far too few to defend predatory capitalism when the global economy crashes; which it will, due to spreading wars, climate change, fading democracy and social unrest. Survivors will say good riddance to the Hamptons. They had it coming. ..."
Jun 20, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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By Jemimah Steinfeld, deputy editor of Index on Censorship magazine. This article appeared in the summer issue of the magazine. Click here for more information on Index . Cross posted from Open Democracy

People see propaganda as a modern problem – manipulation by mass media. But the story is far older, and the tactics are timeless. While the game has moved on, the rules remain the same.

The EU's police agency, Europol, recently revealed evidence that Isis is creating its own social media platform for the purpose of disseminating propaganda. It may be connected to Facebook and Google ramping up efforts to curb extremist material and "fake news". In May, according to Reuters, Europol director Rob Wainwright said it showed "some members of Daesh, at least, continue to innovate in this space". But while technological innovation might still be possible, will there be anything original on this new platform?

Until the reign of Augustus, no one in Rome had come close to creating a personality cult.

A striking image, a catchy phrase, shocking material – these are the bread and butter of propaganda. It turns out these tactics stretch right the way back through history. From etchings in caves to the Bayeux Tapestry, pushing out messages that seek to persuade and influence – the basic definition of propaganda – is as old as mankind. There was one figure, though, who really cracked it.

"Augustus is probably the supreme master of the art of propaganda in the entire history of the West. No one has rivalled him and everyone has since been in his shadow," said historian Tom Holland, author of bestselling books on Rome, in an interview with Index on Censorship magazine.

Until the reign of Augustus, no one in Rome had come close to creating a personality cult. Rome was built on the idea that it was a republic and that no single man should dominate all others. When Caesar's vanity led to his face appearing on coins, his demise quickly followed. Augustus, coming straight after Caesar, used hindsight to his advantage. He cast himself as essentially a normal person, even adopting the title princeps (first citizen), and would partake in entertainment with the masses, like racing, boxing and watching gladiators. But he also positioned himself as exceptional, using the title divi filius (son of the god), and his portraits echoed those of Apollo. Augustus's face was everywhere, from statues, friezes and coins to writings and poems, and most famously in his appearance in Virgil's Aeneid.

"He promotes himself with absolute genius," Holland said. "He is simultaneously a figure who is an everyday guy and a figure of supernatural potency he appeals to every aspect."

Augustus perfected propaganda and his influence can be seen clearly in Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler. The careful crafting of Mao's image – clad in a simple "Mao suit", with sunbeams resonating off his body – was straight out of the Roman ruler's playbook.

The Bayeux tapestry: the death of King Harold of England at the Battle of Hastings, 1066. Trevor Huxham/Flickr. Some rights reserved.

So Augustus provided the template, but technological change has undoubtedly improved the means. The birth of the modern printing press was a godsend for propaganda. It was during World War I, when there was a need to recruit, that Wellington House in London established a secret propaganda bureau, and from this the political poster was born. Driven by similar motives, President Woodrow Wilson in the USA formed the Committee of Public Information, which produced posters, films and other material that sought to champion home security and democracy against a foreign enemy. The committee attempted to convince millions of people that they should support the war, and those that still rallied against it, such as socialist publications, were silenced in the process.

The demands of the Russian Revolution quickly gave birth to a whole new genre, socialist realism or constructivism ("production art"), in which smiling peasants and strident factory workers were portrayed in bold colours and geometric shapes, pithy slogans slapped on top. Anatoly Lunacharsky, who was in charge of the People's Commissariat for Education shortly after the Bolsheviks took charge, believed that by depicting the perfect Soviet man, art could create perfect Soviets.

Propaganda did not work just on what was shown; it worked also on what was omitted. Stalin was a master of this. Long before the advent of Photoshop, technicians in Russia manipulated photos so much that they became outright lies. David King, in The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia, wrote that during the Great Purges, in the 1930s, "a new form of falsification emerged. The physical eradication of Stalin's political opponents at the hands of the secret police was swiftly followed by their obliteration from all forms of pictorial existence". The book highlights classic cases of "now you see me, now you don't". It includes a series of images featuring the same backdrops but with rotating casts, depending on who was or wasn't in favour at the time.

"At the heart of authoritarian propaganda is the manipulating of reality. The authoritarian must undermine this," said Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley , author of How Propaganda Works, in an interview with Index.

The birth of mass media meant that propaganda didn't need to confine itself to unmoving imagery. Instead, people's minds could be influenced in a far more interactive way. Lenin called the radio "a newspaper without paper and without boundaries" and used it to promote the Bolshevik message. And the revolution was televised, first at the cinema and then on TV. Sergei Eisenstein's most famous films – October , Battleship Potemkin and Alexander Nevsky – were huge successes precisely because they fused technical brilliance with politically correct storylines.

The myriad possibilities of propaganda were not lost on Hitler, either. He devoted two chapters of Mein Kampf to it and, once in power, recruited a minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who declared that with enough repetition and understanding of the human psyche, people could be convinced that a square was a circle.

Propaganda once again changed with the advent of the internet as information, or misinformation, could be spread with a simple click. Yet even though the game has moved on, the rules remain the same. Whether it's a fabricated blog post, a viral video of North Korea bombing Washington or tirades of tweets telling everyone you're going to Make America Great Again, these are all timeless tactics repackaged for the modern day.

"Everything you read in the newspapers, it's age-old," said Stanley, who added that "tech people" see this as a modern problem that they can solve. People are misinformed about the past, he said.

Misinformed, yes, but also manipulated by people and industries that can look to history's masterminds for best practice when it comes to propaganda.

Synoia , June 18, 2017 at 12:28 pm

The Roman propaganda machine included their version of TV, the Theater, and the head of household imposing the propaganda on the whole household.

Attending Theater was a head-of-household privilege, and attendance also identified exactly where you were in the Civic Strata, based on the position of one's seat in the Theater. No pressure there, no, none at all.

For_Christ's_Sake , June 17, 2017 at 6:58 am

The photo of the Syrian boy in the back of the ambulance is one example of the power of media coverage. It, in istself, wasn't the most striking or compelling of the myriad photo coverage to date, yet it received a disproportionete amount of coverage in the media, and at a crucial time when the Syrian forces loyal to Bashar al Assad were making considerable gains in the Aleppo area.

Enquiring Mind , June 17, 2017 at 11:37 am

There are various sites , some tending toward tin-foil territory and others closer to what used to be thought of as journalism, where inquirers may learn more about what is not being presented in our media. The public may be deceived by the Grey Lady and her fellow-travelers, but there are still those who seek the truth.

integer , June 18, 2017 at 1:06 am

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son

thoughtful person , June 17, 2017 at 9:16 am

I remember reading a copy of the Pike Report (1976, spokesman books). What impressed me was that most of the CIA budget appeared to be going to propaganda around the world – manipulation of reality as it were. Including a hot topic right now, spending millions on influencing elections. History certainly rhymes. Thanks for the article, will check out the links!

Willem , June 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm

The pharmaceutical industry does a similar thing: it spends millions on drug trials that cannot be replicated by doctors, because such trials are too expensive to be conducted by independent doctors. And then the pharma even spends more millions on advertisements (propaganda) to convince doctors and patients alike that the new drug works better than the old one. What would be more rational than spending money on PR is when the pharma would replicate their studies, preferably by independent researchers, but they seldom do this, or only at the time when their 'new' drug runs out of patent and they need yet a newer drug to compare to the 'new' drug. Etc, etc.

It is time that people see through this propaganda, but unfortunately those who should see through this first (doctors in pharma, journalists in news, economists in banking) often have a conflict of interest that makes them deaf blind and stupid. Either because they receive money from corporations or information, or titles, or it could be as simple as receiving a penn from a company that people with a conflict of interest sincerely start to believe that these companies can't be that bad.

And those who do not have a conflict of interest are seldom heard in corporate media.

But fortunately there are other channels too.

rfdawn , June 17, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Good point about the CIA. Propaganda benefits greatly from surveillance providing feedback, so having both in one agency sounds like amazing public sector efficiency. The links didn't get me anywhere much so I still don't know how Augustus got his feedback – the acclaim of the mob? That's important considering the failure of the similar Julian personality cult just prior.

Procopius , June 19, 2017 at 1:01 am

As I understand it he had quite a large secret police machine.

Mike , June 17, 2017 at 9:21 am

I have no proof, but isn't it propaganda when a weak argument upholding the governments position gets commented upon by "cranks", "crackpots", and wild "conspiracy theories" that can easily be used a straw men to be assaulted whenever "proof" of the governments side can't be presented? We have seen countless websites and blogs arise around the 9-11 story, spouting holograms, energy waves, and scientifically hazy plot lines. When "conspiracy theory" has to be kicked, these are the ones presented, while building science and physics are truly denied in the official explanation, and needs no proof because the "nuts" are the only argument against.

Is it possible that the spurious or questionable postings/books/articles are MEANT to obfuscate, meant to create rejection, or at least doubt as to the reality of any position? I don't wish to attribute more power to this than necessary, but we have been hoodwinked before by more and less.

Also, as a side note, Stalin sure did his job is discrediting Communism. Love those monastery students turned apparatchiks

Disturbed Voter , June 17, 2017 at 9:33 am

You took the wrong pill. You know too much. Is Alex Jones COINTELPRO?

In the Cold War, the ends justified the means. Not that Communist regimes weren't a threat, but making a big deal about them, certainly served those who wanted to act on "the ends justify the means". The fascist elements in the US weren't gone by 1945 .. they were just getting started.

Basically we little people will never know, even people closer to the events probably have contextual bias that prevents real knowing. Whether 9/11, or the death of Meriwether Lewis. Traditional and PC historical narrative is propaganda too. Even about Washington and Lincoln.

Procopius , June 19, 2017 at 1:09 am

I guess I've always been contrarian. When I was in high school (the McCarthy years) I noticed our school library did not have one single book that described Communism. Not one that reported what Marx and Engels had said. Not one copy of a speech by Lenin. Not even a description of the famine caused by Stalin's collectivization of the farms. Nor was there a single such book in the town public library. I think the Detroit Public Library had a copy of Kapital, but it was in the locked section, and you had to have academic credentials to access the material there. On the other hand, our library had two copies of Mein Kampf. I suppose the owners decided that danger was already passed, and Nazis would automatically hate Communists (Prussian Socialism was something very different).

JTMcPhee , June 17, 2017 at 10:31 am

In case any of us missed it, "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt" (FUD) is a "thing," and one can read up on, and take classes in, how to generate and use FUD to promote any dishonorable and deceptive notion or product, or denigrate any decent thought or thing: "How to Market with FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt," https://strategypeak.com/fud-fear-uncertainty-doubt/

Norb , June 17, 2017 at 12:31 pm

After reading your link, there is no mention as to whether the new computer software was able to actually achieve the stated goal of backwards compatibility. The lost trust was regained by a bold claim playing on the clients fears and desires.

The article has a self-congratulatory tone that clearly shows what is wrong with current social relations. A clever marketing guy figures out a way to "beat" a competitor with lies and deceit. ( no evidence is given contrary) The executives making the decision are probably well paid either way with no downside for failure.

My wife is an ER nurse, and even in that environment, they are given coaching by management to repeat certain phrases to patients during treatment to ensure positive perception. It's really quite disturbing when you consider the ubiquitous nature of the brainwashing by corporate powers. You can refuse to cooperate, but then you are branded as a troublemaker- not a team player.

Carla , June 17, 2017 at 11:45 pm

"My wife is an ER nurse, and even in that environment, they are given coaching by management to repeat certain phrases to patients during treatment to ensure positive perception."

This is tragic. The profound element of the tragedy is that we all kinda know this goes on, in every area of our lives, including the most intimate ones, and yet we do nothing. Of course, we feel completely overwhelmed and inadequate in the naked face of this POWER.

Norb, honestly, the main things that help me get through the day are Naked Capitalism and the Move to Amend the Constitution with a 28th amendment abolishing corporate personhood and money as speech.

Last November 8, we had local citizen petition initiatives on the ballot in two suburbs of Cleveland: Shaker Heights and South Euclid, Ohio. Both had similar ballot language, stating that the electorates of those communities support and want to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating that only human beings are entitled to constitutional rights; and money is not equivalent to speech, and therefore money spent on election campaigns can be regulated.

These local initiatives passed, with 78% voting yes in South Euclid and 82% voting yes in Shaker Heights. They were the 10th and 11th cities to pass such ballot measures in Ohio.

For a look at the 28th amendment we support, see:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48/text?r=19

Also just search on Move to Amend (I'm trying to avoid moderation by giving another link).

Norb , June 18, 2017 at 8:53 am

Thanks for sharing the link Carla. Resisting corporate power in any way possible is now the duty of every citizen. That cognitive shift is the main tipping point to bring about social change. What is good for corporations is not good for citizens.

That point has to be repeated over and over.

The message is getting through.

Blennylips , June 17, 2017 at 11:17 am

Thank you Mr. Snowden: The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations

And thank you WashingtonsBlog: How to Spot – and Defeat – Disruption on the Internet

But what have the romans done for us, lately ? Aside from the aquaduct, sanitation, and the roads

Angry Panda , June 17, 2017 at 10:01 am

Aaaaaand the article falls apart the moment it veers into actual history. Or, rather, a highly distorted picture thereof. The old Internet-debate principle of why should I listen to your argument if you're getting some tangential facts wrong. [And the fun bit, I'd be the first to agree with the premise that propaganda dates back to at least Sumer and Egypt, which are the first civilizations we have any writings from so far as I know.]

For example, specifically to Rome, before Caesar there was Sulla, for example. And Caesar wasn't killed for his "vanity" but rather by the "wealthy conservative" faction that wasn't happy he, Caesar, cut them off from power and was finally getting stuff done, including for the poor, and wanted to get back to the "good old days" (explicitly saying as much). And even the early-middle Republic saw plentiful propaganda, but especially late Republic when you had a whole conservatives-vs.-demagogues dynamic for many election cycles straight.

I realize that this is meant to be a brief excursus to prove a point ( which could have been expressed in three sentences in lieu of a whole "article", but whatever), however that isn't really an excuse. Also, too, the whole "printing press" to "World War I" segue feels at best rushed (what, no propaganda in the 1500s-1600s? the 1700s? Franklin owned what again?), and at worst misleading (as in – the printing press must have been invented just before World War I ). Also, too, again, fun that the Russian Bolsheviks get top billing while the Nazis get a footnote. Although curiously there is a bit more accuracy in the Russian Bolshevik paragraphs than in the Roman ones.

DJG , June 17, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Angry Panda: Maybe. I tend to doubt that Sulla qualifies as a personality cult. He was a brute during the brutal Roman civil wars.

Julius Caesar may qualify as the first personality cult, regardless of his end. The Gallic Wars and the subsequent "book contract." The symbolic crossing of the Rubicon. Then there is the episode that may seem more bizarre now but was remarkable for its social / religious significance: Mark Anthony, naked from participating in the sacred races of Lupercalia, offering the crown to Julius Caesar, who turned it away three times. That's personality cult! (Although, admittedly, some of the Persian kings had had even more mythical rises to power.)

But only Augustus Caesar, the former Octavian, succeeded in some minor propaganda efforts like renaming the months, eh–and we still use the names July and August (for his putative father Julius Caesar and himself).

Another aspect of the perfection of propaganda under Augustus Caesar: The mystery of why the poet Ovid was sent into exile. Unlike Virgil, who was more flexible about his patriotism, Ovid was genuinely disruptive, and Ovid wrote erotic poetry that didn't fit well with official sexuality. And off he went to farthest Romania, living out his days unhappily.

Synoia , June 18, 2017 at 12:33 pm

And off he went to farthest Romania Dacia, living out his days unhappily.

Susan the other , June 17, 2017 at 10:05 am

Also recently revealed by Erdogan himself is a "platform" of sorts which Turkey is promoting across Europe. It is meant to disseminate Islam's political views and influence elections. And it is very interesting that Europol is referring to something similar and calling it propaganda, with an intent to censorship. No? How did Isis get the headline and not Erdogan? It's all propaganda, that's how.

JTMcPhee , June 17, 2017 at 10:19 am

The vector of despair that is propaganda rot is old news, though always, always topical, And still interesting and informative, for those wanting to try to armor themselves against DYSinformation and aim to "try to make things better in the world."

It may be a feckless effort, given the ubiquity of DYSinformation: "our" the CIA has been at it, on the massive offense against honesty and decency, via all the mechanisms we mopes, or too many of us, have thought worthy of "trust." Here's a telling review of a long form book on the subject of "Who Paid The Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War," https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/CIAcultCW.pdf

Who would have thought that all those organs of public thought and the writers and artists that fed "content" into the public consciousness, people lionized for their "progressive" and/or "liberal" credentials, were actually, both consciously and in so many cases for pay out of CIA Secret Funds, filling the public mind and channels of political and "cultural" thought and debate with a particularly ancient and murderous set of poisons?

So it is left up to each of us individuals, as Promethean actors and consumers and sorters and selectors of "information," to try to render ourselves sufficiently perceptive and skeptical and disbelieving and wise, to be discerning enough to separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the polished turds from the real gems of insight and event. Because NOTHING and NO ONE can be trusted to tell the truth, when even the concept of "truth" has been rendered meaningless in the Bernays Bouillabaisse of "ideas" and "information" that sloshes about and seeps and leaks into every corner and crevice of "our" political economy.

Always, there are the Fifth Columnists (like Krauthammer and Krugman and the rest), and subtle little Iagos who infiltrate any kind of decency-based collective action (Occupy, NoDAPL, etc.) who will happily troll with Shakespearean "subtility" and betray and work full time to fiddle the rest of us, short-circuiting and defeating any efforts at collective action that might promote "the general welfare "

Interesting that in so many of the pop cultural video dreck I waste time viewing, so many of the plots involve a supposedly Trustworthy Character warning the protagonist to "Trust no one." And we discover that the TC's phrase included an arch and covert warning that the protagonist should not have trusted the corrupt or murderous TC, who is actually part of the category "No one."

But of course the CIA manipulators and masters know that some public awareness and knowledge of their shenanigans on behalf of corporate globalism, and the CIA as its own fortress of advancement and career and corruption, and the REAL Neos (-liberalism and -conservatism, both sic), only helps build the myth, and reality, of the agency's reach and clout and invulnerability and impunity. So they let us bloggers talk and fulminate about what they have done, to increase the sense of futility and debility that all of us have to feel, in some measure, about the nature and reach of the Deep REAL state They don't even have to put a lot of active, positive effort into pushing onto our consciousnesses the phrase "Resistance is futile," made iconic via Star Trek (that set of glimmering promises of Wonderful Technology and the triumph of the human spirit and innovation even in seemingly hopeless circumstances - if only we hold to the Federation's principles http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Kobayashi_Maru_scenario

lyman alpha blob , June 17, 2017 at 10:36 am

Same it it ever was with propaganda and with political smears as well. The Romans were pretty good at those too with a favorite being that a political figure had buggered one of his family members. Even the contemporary historians had no idea if these rumors were true, but modern historians are still talking about them.

Back then it was Nero screwing his mother, today we have the Trump 'dossier' and piddling prostitutes.

glib , June 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

The Romans also imposed wheat on the Empire, to the point of killing those who refused. Many reasons, some related to propaganda: wheat was the fuel of war, so it was good to have it everywhere (not related), but also due to the opioids in wheat and the poorer health of the citizens, they had figured out that wheat eating populations were easier to conquer and hold. Totally unlike the Germans, the Scots and other tribes originating from the steppes.

John , June 17, 2017 at 11:18 am

You fail to mention one of the biggest purveyors and origin of the use of the word the Congregatio Propaganda Fide established by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

Yves Smith Post author , June 17, 2017 at 11:25 am

As Edward Bernays pointed out in his 1926 book Propaganda, the word once had positive connotations precisely because it was seen as being about the legitimate spreading of the religious word. Bernays in his book tried hard, and unsuccessfully, to depict propaganda as positive and benign.

Altandmain , June 17, 2017 at 11:28 am

Closer to home, all the recent American Presidents and candidates have created their own cults of personality.

The Obama Presidency: His cult tells us that he is a selfless community organizer and constitutional lawyer who will make America a post-racial society. He is a speaker who is very persuasive and charismatic. Any criticism of His Presidency is racism by the ignorant. Of course in reality the man had sold out to Wall Street from the start and America may as well have elected Bill Clinton for 2 more terms.

Trump is of course the business man and deal maker who will turn America around. This cult relies heavily on the right-wing propaganda that business is superior to government and that Trump is a capable businessman. In reality, Trump inherited his wealth, went bankrupt several times, and I have read underperformed compared to an index fund. He also has a history of abusing the people he does business with and apparently women too.

Hillary Clinton proved unable to fool people in her cult. She is apparently a selfless experienced politician who will break glass ceilings. The reality? Her economic policies are little more than the typical neoliberalism, which will create ceilings for working and middle class Americans, outright kicking the poor down. She loves going to war. She is not charismatic at all. Her supporters tried to portray all criticism of Clinton as sexism unsuccessfully. The lesson here is that if you want any personality cult, it has to be believable and your candidate has to be likeable.

I think that like Rome, the US is going to come apart. Let's face the reality. It is largely an empire. It relies on its military dominance to get its way and enrich its already obscenely wealthy. Much like Rome or the USSR, internal contradictions could bring it down.

An example, the US claims that it is the land of opportunity, yet social mobility is better in Canada, Australia, and the Nordic Nations which have far more egalitarian cultures. It claims to be number 1 at everything, yet when you look at standards of living, it usually is a competition between the Nordic nations. There are other nations that do well. Japanese women for example have very long life expectancies. Healthcare is said to be the top, yet other nations spend less and live longer. I could go on, but the point is that propaganda can only go so far.

Yet it is the costs of war and the greed of the rich that will eventually bring these contradictions to an end. How this will end, I don't know. I think that it could end up like the Soviet Union. We have am elite class that is literally looting everything from the rest of us. The only question is, can we avoid a total collapse like the Romans?

Bullwinkle , June 18, 2017 at 8:17 am

I would like to take a sentence from your Hillary Clinton paragraph, revise it and add it to your Obama paragraph: His supporters tried to portray all criticism of Obama as racism.

Procopius , June 19, 2017 at 1:35 am

The "Roman collapse" wasn't actually a sudden event that you can pin down. It was a million collapses and failures and successes by new people and strangers moving in next door and somebody you never heard of being elected to the town council.

The Eastern Empire lasted until Crusaders conquered Constantinople in 1204, and arguably made a partial comeback in 1261 until the Turks captured the city in 1453.

Even in the Western Empire some of the forms were still followed, legal precedents were followed, the ancient taxes were still collected. I think the collapse of the American Empire is going to be more spectacular, but you could argue, I think, that America actually "fell" when we entered World War I.

Norb , June 17, 2017 at 11:52 am

Goebbels had at least one thing right. Understanding the human psyche is key in shaping human society. Too bad for us all that current leaders have such limited visions of what human society could be. Or should that be shame on us all for allowing such a condition to arise in the first place. It seems a negative approach is always used to exploit human weakness. The reigning morality is find a weakness and exploit it.

What human society SHOULD be has always been the problem faced by the left. The history of human societies has always been the balance of what is and what should be. These are moral questions that find no place for discussion in a modern world busy consuming the planet.

Somehow, we need to stop consuming and find the strength to reconsider the relationship and bonds we have formed with one another and the rest of the world. It is an approach understanding the fragility of the human psyche and attempting to strengthen that weakness instead of exploiting it.

Propaganda is devoid of morality. It is just the roadmap to where you would like to go. All the talk of fake news, the sharing economy, public/private enterprises, privatization, fighting terrorism, the Russian menace, and TINA are attempts to obfuscate the fact that the morality brought about by capitalism no longer functions.

Deciding what is right and wrong bring about revolutions.

rps , June 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Propaganda and ideology are one in the same, they are belief systems. Neither can be found in the physical world; rather, they reside in our chosen identities. Thus, the ideologues must persuade each of us to willingly submit our personal power to them and become their compliant subject. The ideologues are not 'in' power but 'hold' the collectives' power until the individual chooses to break away and regain their individual power.

Louis Althusser's "Ideological State Apparatuses" is a good read. For Althusser, ideology was not a passive relation between the economic base and superstructure, but a pervasive set of dynamic conditions suffusing the institutional apparatus of the state and shaping not just the idea of the person as subject, but clarifying in structural terms the idea of a subject position; wherein, political and psychological forces converge to define possibilities of action and forces of constraint and repression.

Religion is one example in the mechanisms of ideology, explaining how the subject is "called" or "hailed", known as interpellation, which has been transferred to the political domain. In Althusser's thesis, ideology has no history since it is carried in the material, institutional forms of social life, and is always submerged back into them (reification).

The analytical problem is to preserve a critical focus on the moment of "calling," as the interpellated subject is both created as a subject by being called, and subsumed by the very acknowledgement that, as he puts it, "It is I" who is being called. In this sense, one is always dealing with ideologies, and not a monolithic doctrine, that may be applied in any arena of social life including: family, schools, churches, political parties, governments, and so forth.

By reading Marx expansively, Althusser had recontextualized Marxist theories by releasing it from the dogmas of doctrine or limitations of subject matter through the next step up of connecting the ranking of the subject to the institutional apparatus that at once sustains and vexes identity. One characteristic of his analytical approach lies in the fact that it does not insist on a barrier between the political and the psychoanalytic, instead, pointing the way to the praxis of ideology within one's identity and participation.

OffgassingWaddler , June 18, 2017 at 11:19 am

A relevant "quote"

Ariel: You ever heard of the Masada? For two years, 900 Jews held their own against 15,000 Roman soldiers. They chose death before enslavement. The Romans? Where are they now?

Tony Soprano: You're looking at them, a–hole.

Oguk , June 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Wondering if people are familiar with Jacques Ellul's book Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes (1962)? I read it a long time ago. My take from it was: (1) propaganda is everywhere, is almost the same as what we might call culture; (2) the case that propaganda is not as much about spreading falsehoods as the selective use of truth, and (3) propaganda is an essential technique of mass politics and the modern state. He traces modern propaganda to the French Revolution, where it was essential to mobilize large parts of the population on behalf of the revolution.

Personality cults seem to me like a vary narrow understanding of propaganda.

Alan , June 17, 2017 at 1:33 pm

The Roman Senate was nominally responsible for paying soldiers but by the time the republic was in it's waning days the coinage had become debased and devalued. The Roman soldier then looked to his individual commander as his meal ticket.

A competent and generous general commanded loyalty above that of the state itself because it was upon his generalship and good fortune his soldiers depended. Caesar, apart from being the Michael Jordan of his day, was exceedingly generous in doling out plunder to his victorious legionnaires.

Caesar's rivals also put their faces on coins, of course vanity played a role but it was much more that that. Troops could often be seduced into transferring allegiance if they believed they could get a better deal. Octavian (Augustus) while a competent general himself did not possess anything close to the skill of Caesar and ultimately owes his success to the tenth legion, Caesar's most loyal and skilled troops.

These men transferred their allegiance to Octavian instead of Marc Antony because Octavian manipulated his men's aversion to what they perceived as the weakness and effeminacy of the East (Antony's relationship with Cleopatra and his subsequent appropriation of Eastern dress and manners). So this then was the beginning of propaganda, Augustus portrayed himself as fighting for traditional Roman virtue against that of the soft and corruptible East. Augustus made a point to always appear in public dressed in humble garb and forbade conspicuous consumption among Rome's patrician class. He further enshrined this commitment to Roman modesty by commissioning Virgil to compose an epic myth of Rome's founding, which masterfully echoed many of the themes Augustus sought to reinforce.

Procopius , June 19, 2017 at 1:49 am

Do you have a reference for the claim that Roman coinage was debased and devalued? I understood that under the Republic generals were always responsible for distributing their pay to the troops. In fact, as I understood it, Caesar was deeply in debt, to the point where he had to cross the Rubicon and prevail in a civil war or have his head chopped off (I think the actual punishment was to be thrown into the Tiber River, but would need to look it up). Anyway, that was a systemic problem throughout the Empire, as well. I don't think that debasement of coinage can actually be demonstrated, although I know it's a favorite claim of far right wing gold bugs (the Roman monetary system was based on silver, not gold - originally based on iron, but that goes way back).

arte , June 17, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

JTMcPhee , June 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Some pretty good models from the Romans, for big effing standing armies, and looting colonies, and marking a very few very rich, and a whole lot of lesser people very very dead It's called "civilization

VietnamVet , June 17, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Raised with the fear of The Big Lie, what is interesting today is corporate media's propaganda omissions. The 20% decline in the number of middle class families. Earlier deaths. The transfer of enormous wealth to a very few very rich families.

The fall of the Soviet Union is recent enough that those who lived through it to say to us that the reason for the collapse was USSR's propaganda didn't match reality. When Boris Yeltsin's counter coup took place, Russians didn't take to the streets to defend the Communist Party and the economic system. Perhaps 5% of Americans are doing well servicing the oligarchs. That is far too few to defend predatory capitalism when the global economy crashes; which it will, due to spreading wars, climate change, fading democracy and social unrest. Survivors will say good riddance to the Hamptons. They had it coming.

[Jun 19, 2017] Republicans are embarrassing Democrats by showing them how legislation gets passed with a bare majority, when Democrats failed with a filibuster proof majority

Jun 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH, June 19, 2017 at 06:48 AM

Republicans are embarrassing Democrats by showing them how legislation gets passed with a bare majority...when Democrats could barely get anything done with a filibuster proof majority!

Moral of the story? Democrats under Obama didn't really want to get much done. Rather, they preferred to do nothing and blame Republicans instead. Worse, now that Republicans want to destroy what precious little Democrats managed to accomplish, Democrats are just standing around, frozen like deer in the headlights, clueless as to how to use their 48 votes.

How pathetic can Democrats get?

libezkova, June 19, 2017 at 06:40 PM
"Republicans are embarrassing Democrats by showing them how legislation gets passed with a bare majority...when Democrats could barely get anything done with a filibuster proof majority!"

Not only that.

Neoliberal stooges like Krugman now shed crocodile tears after pushing Sanders under the bus.

They essentially gave us Trump and now have an audacity to complain. What a miserable hypocritical twerp this Nobel laureate is!

Where is the DemoRats "Resistance" now? Are they fighting against the war in Syria on behave of Israel and Gulf states? Protesting sanctions against Cuba? Complaining about the record arms sale with Saudi Arabia (with its possible 9/11 links ?)

No, they are all on MSNBC or CNN dragging out a stupid investigation all the while pushing Russia to war. And congratulating themselves with the latest Russian sanctions designed to block supplies of Russian gas to Western Europe...

I want to repeat this again: Neoliberal Democrats created Trump and brought him to the victory in the recent Presidential elections.

[Jun 19, 2017] The Politics of Lying by Henry A. Giroux

The author mixed Trump with Clinton political machine and his characterization are applicable first of all to Clinton political machine, and only secondarily to Trump,
Notable quotes:
"... As important as the Trump-Comey affair is, it runs the risk of both exacerbating the transformation of politics into theater ..."
"... You belong by affirming. To win, you don't need reasons anymore, only power." ..."
"... This is especially important at a time when the United States is no longer a functioning democracy and is in the presence of what Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis refer to in their book Liquid Evil as "the emergence of modern barbarity." ..."
"... Note: This is an expanded version of a piece that originally appeared on Ragazine . ..."
Jun 15, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

...Trump cannot be trusted because he not only infects political discourse with a language of hate, bigotry and lies, but also because he has allowed an ideology built on the use of disinformation to take over the White House. Under the Trump administration, the truth is distorted for ideological, political and commercial reasons. Lying has become an industry and tool of power. All administrations and governments lie, but under Trump lying has become normalized. It is a calling card for corruption and lawlessness, one that provides the foundation for authoritarianism.

Trump is a salesman and a bully. He constantly assumes the macho swagger of a used car salesman from a TV commercial while at the same time, as Rebecca Solnit observes, he bullies facts and truths as well as friends and acquaintances. He is obsessed with power and prides himself on the language of command, loyalty and humiliation. He appears fixated on the fear that the United States could still act on the memory, if not the ghosts, of a real democracy.

... ... ...

A democracy cannot exist without informed citizens and public spheres and educational apparatuses that uphold standards of truth, honesty, evidence, facts and justice. Under Trump, disinformation masquerading as news -- often via his Twitter account -- has become a weapon for legitimating ignorance and civic illiteracy. Not only has Trump lied repeatedly, he has also attacked the critical media, claimed journalists are enemies of the American people and argued that the media is the opposition party. There is more at stake here than the threat of censorship or the normalization of lying; there is also an attack on long-valued sources of information and the public spheres that produce them. Trump's government has become a powerful disimagination machine in which the distinction between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy are erased.

... ... ...

Berkowitz's piece is worth citing at length. He writes :

The reason fact-checking is ineffective today -- at least in convincing those who are members of movements -- is that the mobilized members of a movement are confounded by a world resistant to their wishes and prefer the promise of a consistent alternate world to reality. When Donald Trump says he's going to build a wall to protect our borders, he is not making a factual statement that an actual wall will actually protect our borders; he is signaling a politically incorrect willingness to put America first. When he says that there was massive voter fraud or boasts about the size of his inauguration crowd, he is not speaking about actual facts, but is insisting that his election was legitimate. 'What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part.' Leaders of these mass totalitarian movements do not need to believe in the truth of their lies and ideological clichés. The point of their fabrications is not to establish facts, but to create a coherent fictional reality. What a movement demands of its leaders is the articulation of a consistent narrative combined with the ability to abolish the capacity for distinguishing between truth and falsehood, between reality and fiction.

As important as the Trump-Comey affair is, it runs the risk of both exacerbating the transformation of politics into theater and reinforcing what Todd Gitlin refers to as Trump's support for an "apocalyptic nationalism, the point of which is to belong, not to believe. You belong by affirming. To win, you don't need reasons anymore, only power." Trump values loyalty over integrity. He lies, in part, to test the loyalty of those who both follow him and align themselves with his power. The Trump-Comey affair must be understood within a broader attack on the fundamentals of education, critical modes of agency and democracy itself.

This is especially important at a time when the United States is no longer a functioning democracy and is in the presence of what Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis refer to in their book Liquid Evil as "the emergence of modern barbarity." Trump's discourse of lies, misrepresentations and fakery makes it all the more urgent for us to acknowledge that education is at the center of politics because it is crucial in the struggle over consciousness, values, identity and agency. Ignorance in the service of education targets the darkness and reinforces and thrives on civic illiteracy. Trump's disinformation machine is about more than lying. It is about using all of the tools and resources for education to create a dystopia in which authoritarianism exercises the raw power of ignorance and control.

Artists, educators, young people, journalists and others need to make the virtue of truth-telling visible again. We need to connect democracy with a notion of truth-telling and consciousness that is on the side of economic and political justice, and democracy itself. If we are all going to fight for and with the most marginalized people, there must be a broader understanding of their needs. We need to create narratives and platforms in which those who have been deemed disposable can identify themselves and the conditions through which power and oppression bear down on their lives.

This is not an easy task, but nothing less than justice, democracy and the planet itself are at risk.

Note: This is an expanded version of a piece that originally appeared on Ragazine . Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission of the author.

Henry A. Giroux Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books are America's Addiction to Terrorism (Monthly Review Press, 2016) and America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017). He is also a contributing editor to a number of journals, including Tikkun, the Journal of Wild Culture and Ragazine. Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His website is www.henryagiroux.com .

[Jun 19, 2017] George Washington: Special Prosecutor Mueller Is a Political Hack

Notable quotes:
"... One of the lessons of the Brazilian soft coup is that you don't need the prez to commit a crime or even evidence of one. Just drive down popularity until the public finds it palatable. Dilma Rouseff lost her base and then was toast. ..."
"... As you've pointed out, yves, trump MUST hold his base to survive. ..."
"... The One party, governing class of Democrats/Republicans made itself well known when it voted 97 to 2 in the Senate for S. 722. Statement of Purpose: To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation and to combat terrorism and illicit financing. ..."
"... New sanctions on Russia is a highly bipartisan, one governing class result. ..."
"... It would be nice if the country learned the lesson that running a country* is nothing like running a business (something shallow concept of "leadership" you read about in airport bookstores - and does it remind us of something? - erases). ..."
"... When I voted for Trump, I thought he would be a fighter. I was wrong. He's not fighting for anything. Maybe his highest priority is simply avoiding assassination. ..."
"... I don't think any of us knew what Trump would be. But while he certainly hasn't helped himself with the tweets and pettish behavior you can really blame him for failing to drain a swamp that also includes lots of members of his own administration (Pence, Haley etc). The elite groupthink on foreign policy in particular is overwhelming. So where would he find subordinates to enact a change of course? And on domestic matters a well bribed Congress is determined to maintain failed GOP Reaganomics. ..."
"... Trump's only real accomplishment may be the defeat of Clinton which has shaken the political world. Now they are seeking to undo that as well. It's the ongoing soft coup that must be resisted or we will turn into Brazil. ..."
"... No one else wanted the slot. It was considered political suicide. Haley turned him down. Joni Ernst turned him down. Ted Cruz said no. Pence only relented because he thought it would give him some national exposure when he sought the presidential nomination in 2020. ..."
"... Good god, had no idea Mueller was the one in charge of the anthrax investigation. That was one of the most ham-handed idiotic things I've ever read about. ..."
"... So what evidence did the FBI have against Hatfill? There was none, so the agency did a Hail Mary, importing two bloodhounds from California whose handlers claimed could sniff the scent of the killer on the anthrax-tainted letters. These dogs were shown to Hatfill, who promptly petted them. When the dogs responded favorably, their handlers told the FBI that they'd "alerted" on Hatfill and that he must be the killer. ..."
"... You'd think that any good FBI agent would have kicked these quacks in the fanny and found their dogs a good home. Or at least checked news accounts of criminal cases in California where these same dogs had been used against defendants who'd been convicted - and later exonerated. As Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times investigative reporter David Willman detailed in his authoritative book on the case, a California judge who'd tossed out a murder conviction based on these sketchy canines called the prosecution's dog handler "as biased as any witness that this court has ever seen." ..."
"... Instead, Mueller, who micromanaged the anthrax case and fell in love with the dubious dog evidence, personally assured Ashcroft and presumably George W. Bush that in Steven Hatfill the bureau had its man. Comey, in turn, was asked by a skeptical Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz if Hatfill was another Richard Jewell - the security guard wrongly accused of the Atlanta Olympics bombing. Comey replied that he was "absolutely certain" they weren't making a mistake. ..."
"... The Year of Voting Dangerously ..."
Jun 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

As Lambert pointed out via e-mail:

There's so much bad history that's been normalized we become numb, and this is an impressive parade of horribles.

By George Washington. Originally published at his website

The New York Times characterizes special prosecutor Robert Mueller as being independent and fair:

Robert S. Mueller III managed in a dozen years as F.B.I. director to stay above the partisan fray, carefully cultivating a rare reputation for independence and fairness.

Let's fact-check the Times

Anthrax Frame-Up

Mueller presided over the incredibly flawed anthrax investigation.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office says the FBI's investigation was "flawed and inaccurate" . The investigation was so bogus that a senator called for an "independent review and assessment of how the FBI handled its investigation in the anthrax case."

The head of the FBI's anthrax investigation says the whole thing was a sham . He says that the FBI higher-ups "greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation", that there were "politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters".

Moreover, the anthrax investigation head said that the FBI framed scientist Bruce Ivins. On July 6, 2006, the FBI's anthrax investigation FBI Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI's Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303, which noted:

(j) the FBI's fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer ; and, (k) the FBI's subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence .

Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins' guilt . These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions .

In other words, Mueller presided over the attempt to frame an innocent man (and see this ).

Unsure About Assassination of U.S. Citizens Living On U.S. Soil

Rather than saying "of course not!", Mueller said that he wasn't sure whether Obama had the right to assassinate Americans living on American soil . Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley commented at the time:

One would hope that the FBI Director would have a handle on a few details guiding his responsibilities, including whether he can kill citizens without a charge or court order.

***

He appeared unclear whether he had the power under the Obama Kill Doctrine or, in the very least, was unwilling to discuss that power. For civil libertarians, the answer should be easy: "Of course, I do not have that power under the Constitution."

Spying on Americans

Mueller participated in one of the greatest expansions of mass surveillance in human history. As we noted in 2013:

NBC News reports :

NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.

On March 2011, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee:

We put in place technological improvements relating to the capabilities of a database to pull together past emails and future ones as they come in so that it does not require an individualized search .

Remember, the FBI – unlike the CIA – deals with internal matters within the borders of the United States.

On May 1st of this year, former FBI agent Tim Clemente told CNN's Erin Burnett that all present and past phone calls were recorded :

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation . It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the ainvestigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not ."

The next day, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that "all digital communications in the past" are recorded and stored :

NSA whistleblowers say that this means that the NSA collects "word for word" all of our communications .

FBI special agent – and a 2002 Time Person of the Year – Colleen Rowley writes :

Mueller's FBI was also severely criticized by Department of Justice Inspector Generals finding the FBI overstepped the lhttp://www.washingtonsblog.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=68066&action=editaw improperly serving hundreds of thousands of "national security letters" to obtain private (and irrelevant) metadata on citizens, and for infiltrating nonviolent anti-war groups under the guise of investigating "terrorism."

Torture

FBI special agent Colleen Rowley points out :

Mueller was even okay with the CIA conducting torture programs after his own agents warned against participation. Agents were simply instructed not to document such torture, and any "war crimes files" were made to disappear. Not only did "collect it all" surveillance and torture programs continue, but Mueller's (and then Comey's) FBI later worked to prosecute NSA and CIA whistleblowers who revealed these illegalities.

Iraq War

Rowley notes :

When you had the lead-up to the Iraq War Mueller and, of course, the CIA and all the other directors, saluted smartly and went along with what Bush wanted, which was to gin up the intelligence to make a pretext for the Iraq War. For instance, in the case of the FBI, they actually had a receipt, and other documentary proof, that one of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had not been in Prague, as Dick Cheney was alleging. And yet those directors more or less kept quiet. That included CIA, FBI, Mueller, and it included also the deputy attorney general at the time, James Comey.

Post 9/11 Round-Up

FBI special agent Rowley also notes :

Beyond ignoring politicized intelligence, Mueller bent to other political pressures. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mueller directed the " post 9/11 round-up " of about 1,000 immigrants who mostly happened to be in the wrong place (the New York City area) at the wrong time. FBI Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seemed to be essentially P.R. purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for FBI press releases about FBI "progress" in fighting terrorism. Consequently, some of the detainees were brutalized and jailed for up to a year despite the fact that none turned out to be terrorists .

9/11 Cover Up

Rowley points out :

The FBI and all the other officials claimed that there were no clues, that they had no warning [about 9/11] etc., and that was not the case. There had been all kinds of memos and intelligence coming in. I actually had a chance to meet Director Mueller personally the night before I testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee [he was] trying to get us on his side, on the FBI side, so that we wouldn't say anything terribly embarrassing.

But overwhelming evidence shows that 9/11 was foreseeable . Indeed, Al Qaeda crashing planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was itself foreseeable . Even the chair of the 9/11 Commission said that the attack was preventable .

Rowley also said says :

TIME Magazine would probably have not called my own disclosures a " bombshell memo " to the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry in May 2002 if it had not been for Mueller's having so misled everyone after 9/11.

In addition, Rowley says that the FBI sent Soviet-style "minders" to her interviews with the Joint Intelligence Committee investigation of 9/11, to make sure that she didn't say anything the FBI didn't like. The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Official Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 confirmed that government "minders" obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses (and see this ).

Mueller's FBI also obstructed the 9/11 investigation in many other ways. For example, an FBI informant hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000. Specifically, investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location . And see this .

And Kristen Breitweiser – one of the four 9/11 widows instrumental in forcing the government to form the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 2001 attacks – points out :

Mueller and other FBI officials had purposely tried to keep any incriminating information specifically surrounding the Saudis out of the Inquiry's investigative hands. To repeat, there was a concerted effort by the FBI and the Bush Administration to keep incriminating Saudi evidence out of the Inquiry's investigation. And for the exception of the 29 full pages, they succeeded in their effort.

Conclusion

Rather than being "above the fray", Mueller is an authoritarian and water-carrier for the status quo and the powers-that-be.

As Coleen Rowley puts it :

It seems clear that based on his history and close "partnership" with Comey, called "one of the closest working relationships the top ranks of the Justice Department have ever seen," Mueller was chosen as Special Counsel not because he has integrity but because he will do what the powerful want him to do.

Mueller didn't speak the truth about a war he knew to be unjustified. He didn't speak out against torture. He didn't speak out against unconstitutional surveillance. And he didn't tell the truth about 9/11. He is just "their man."

Furzy , June 17, 2017 at 10:26 am

Excellent run down of the 9/11 coverup:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ342GueSUg&feature=youtu.be

15 Years Later: Never Forget 9/11 crimes were never thoroughly investigated

911InsideOut

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Published on Aug 30, 2016
After 15 years of meticulous research and analysis into the events and theories surrounding 9/11, this is a collection of all the best facts and evidence proving who had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crimes we witnessed on September 11th, and who ought to be investigated if we ever hope to get to the bottom of it.
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UserFriendly , June 17, 2017 at 4:02 am

Well of course he's an evil SOB who has done horrible things in the name of this country, but he has done them for both parties; hence the 'above the partisan fray' line. You can't be a partisan hack if you are hacking up dead bodies for both sides.

integer , June 17, 2017 at 4:43 am

Sigh. Yet another of the empire's eunuchs steps up to the plate. Trump will prevail.

Yves Smith Post author , June 17, 2017 at 6:35 am

I would not bet on that. The play seems to be to bait him into obstruction of justice or pressure him into a health crisis.

johnnygl , June 17, 2017 at 7:41 am

One of the lessons of the Brazilian soft coup is that you don't need the prez to commit a crime or even evidence of one. Just drive down popularity until the public finds it palatable. Dilma Rouseff lost her base and then was toast.

As you've pointed out, yves, trump MUST hold his base to survive.

RenoDino , June 17, 2017 at 10:44 am

Driving down his popularity per se won't harm him. Even the elites who want him out could care less about the vox populi. They need to remind congressional Republicans there is only one party, the governing class, and supporting Trump makes them guilty by association of colluding with Russia and obstructing justice. The end game is making Republicans fall in line with the establishment thus making way for impeachment. It's their only hope and a long shot because the Republicans will be committing suicide.

Art Eclectic , June 17, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Republicans are on a Bataan Death March either way. They either embrace the alt-right and make that the new party standard or the alt-right destroys them. Trumps campaign was about burning down the governing class without respect for party. Not that he will be allowed to do any such thing on a grand scale, there's too much money at stake from donors who bought the governing apparatus fair and square.

Forcing the Republicans to engage in internecine warfare is destroying them. Democrats are doing the job on their own without much help from Trump's team. Both parties are under siege, which is not a bad thing. The bad thing is the destruction of education, energy, environmental, and financial policy. Instead of draining the swamp Trump has introduced swamp sharks to the predator mix.

RenoDino , June 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Totally agree and I like introduction of swamp sharks as a new predator class. I envision them as a football with fins. The policies you mentioned were already bad to begin with. Trump's tampering may make them worse at the margins.

Waking Up , June 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm

The One party, governing class of Democrats/Republicans made itself well known when it voted 97 to 2 in the Senate for S. 722. Statement of Purpose: To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation and to combat terrorism and illicit financing.

New sanctions on Russia is a highly bipartisan, one governing class result.

Arizona Slim , June 17, 2017 at 8:58 am

Pressure him into a health crisis? Hmmm, where have we seen that one before?

Point of history: A few months after he left office (in disgrace), Nixon had a phlebitis attack and nearly died.

And he wasn't in the best of shape before he left the White House.

Lambert Strether , June 17, 2017 at 7:01 am

It would be nice if the country learned the lesson that running a country* is nothing like running a business (something shallow concept of "leadership" you read about in airport bookstores - and does it remind us of something? - erases).

It's going to be an expensive lesson though, and the political class might even double down on it; what we need is a virtuous CEO; like Zuckerberg, for example.

* I suppose the counter-argument would be Bloomberg. Perhaps there's a scale issue.

Lambert Strether , June 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

> Zuckerberg or bloomberg are virtuous? I hope you are joking or being sarcastic.

I ladle my irony out with a shovel these days. It's the only way to cope.

EndOfTheWorld , June 17, 2017 at 5:14 am

When I voted for Trump, I thought he would be a fighter. I was wrong. He's not fighting for anything. Maybe his highest priority is simply avoiding assassination.

Sometimes he will get on Twitter and say some belligerent stuff, but doesn't he realize that he has the authority to hire and fire who he wants?

Carolinian , June 17, 2017 at 8:53 am

I don't think any of us knew what Trump would be. But while he certainly hasn't helped himself with the tweets and pettish behavior you can really blame him for failing to drain a swamp that also includes lots of members of his own administration (Pence, Haley etc). The elite groupthink on foreign policy in particular is overwhelming. So where would he find subordinates to enact a change of course? And on domestic matters a well bribed Congress is determined to maintain failed GOP Reaganomics.

Trump's only real accomplishment may be the defeat of Clinton which has shaken the political world. Now they are seeking to undo that as well. It's the ongoing soft coup that must be resisted or we will turn into Brazil.

EndOfTheWorld , June 17, 2017 at 9:22 am

Right, when he selected Pence as veep you could already see he was giving in to the establishment. But he had to: otherwise they would never have let him leave the convention with the nomination.

I would have preferred to see him select somebody like Jesse Ventura or Nomi Prins or Alex Jones as veep and let the chips fall where they may. It's not like he needs the job anyway.

edmondo , June 17, 2017 at 10:59 am

" when he selected Pence as veep you could already see he was giving in to the establishment.".

No one else wanted the slot. It was considered political suicide. Haley turned him down. Joni Ernst turned him down. Ted Cruz said no. Pence only relented because he thought it would give him some national exposure when he sought the presidential nomination in 2020.

EndOfTheWorld , June 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm

They turned him down only because they believed he had no chance of winning. But he had to choose somebody entrenched with the Republican establishment, because as it was he barely made it out of Cleveland still the nominee.

There were a lot of Republicans like Romney and Kasich who went to Cleveland but did not attend the convention. Obviously hoping for some kind of coup which would kick out The Donald.

Kim Kaufman , June 17, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Chris Christie would have done it in a heartbeat. The establishment did sort of force or trick Trump into Pence as I recall.

Disturbed Voter , June 17, 2017 at 6:41 am

People who want to be liked/loved are insecure demagogues. People who obey illegal orders or who initiate them, are no friend of the People. And yes, the real Deep State is bipartisan. Partisanship we see is kabuki.

And most coverups aren't Bourne Identity, they are just an incompetent bureaucracy covering its tracks.

RRH , June 17, 2017 at 7:46 am

"Hope" is not "You Will" when it comes to Flynn.

Asking organizations that knew there was no connection to make it public is not "obstruction of justice," it is exposing the deep state's intense effort to keep the level of the swamp high. Telling Comey to get on with the investigation is not obstruction, but an effort to expedite the witch hunt to it's logical conclusion so that the Administration can get on with it's agenda. Deep state's leaks are all against Trump. Statistically impossible.

cocomaan , June 17, 2017 at 8:15 am

Good god, had no idea Mueller was the one in charge of the anthrax investigation. That was one of the most ham-handed idiotic things I've ever read about.

Good to see George Washington around these parts again, there's few people as passionate about politics as him!

Katniss Everdeen , June 17, 2017 at 9:14 am

Here's an interesting run through of mueller's handling of the anthrax investigation, among other things. A fun bit:

So what evidence did the FBI have against Hatfill? There was none, so the agency did a Hail Mary, importing two bloodhounds from California whose handlers claimed could sniff the scent of the killer on the anthrax-tainted letters. These dogs were shown to Hatfill, who promptly petted them. When the dogs responded favorably, their handlers told the FBI that they'd "alerted" on Hatfill and that he must be the killer.

You'd think that any good FBI agent would have kicked these quacks in the fanny and found their dogs a good home. Or at least checked news accounts of criminal cases in California where these same dogs had been used against defendants who'd been convicted - and later exonerated. As Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times investigative reporter David Willman detailed in his authoritative book on the case, a California judge who'd tossed out a murder conviction based on these sketchy canines called the prosecution's dog handler "as biased as any witness that this court has ever seen."

Instead, Mueller, who micromanaged the anthrax case and fell in love with the dubious dog evidence, personally assured Ashcroft and presumably George W. Bush that in Steven Hatfill the bureau had its man. Comey, in turn, was asked by a skeptical Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz if Hatfill was another Richard Jewell - the security guard wrongly accused of the Atlanta Olympics bombing. Comey replied that he was "absolutely certain" they weren't making a mistake.

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/05/21/comey-mueller-bungled-big-anthrax-case-together/

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the fix is in. BTW, Hatfill got $5+ million in taxpayer money thanks to mueller / comey's dogged yet severely flawed pursuit of truth, justice and the american way.

Alex Morfesis , June 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Hold on had to open another roll to triple layer my tf hat there that's better

If hatfill might lead to others, one has to work hard to create the legend and backstory to divert attention

Mueller is the typical insider designed to insure only the unwashed and uninitiated are thrown into the grinder to keep the news folks busy with filling the hole between the ads

Hatfill might not have been the direct person, but the south afrikans and boeremag around and associated with him

And those wondrous apartheidistas were allowed to keep their toys after most of them had their "matter" dismissed

Mueller is there to keep trump in check the investigation will go on and on and on feeding tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to a group of "approved" insiders who will occasionally on a late friday, burp out some pdf report before some major sporting event or just after some massive news story on a thursday

"Bungling" a case is the best way to cover it up when it might lead to unexpected further investigation

Back to the funny papers yellow kid strikes again

teejay , June 17, 2017 at 8:59 am

Washington Blog forgot to mention Mueller slow walking the BCCI investigation.

https://saboteur365.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/special-prosecutor-mueller-is-the-consummate-deep-state-insider/

http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=4304

lyman alpha blob , June 17, 2017 at 10:52 am

Good catch – thanks for pointing that out.

Mueller was also head of the FBI when post 9-11 it began framing impressionable young men by handing them phony weapons and then arresting them as 'terrorists' in an attempt to make it look like the spooks were keeping the country safe or some such nonsense.

I would imagine Trump can expect the same treatment.

Charles Yaker , June 17, 2017 at 9:59 am

Just for the record Trump is being Trump just like Obama did what Obama wanted despite Progressive self denial.

David Carl Grimes , June 17, 2017 at 10:33 am

Does the obstruction of justice issue have any merit? I thought it was a nothingburger according to posts here in the NC

Yves Smith Post author , June 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Of all people, Alan Dershowitz says no because in the US the DoJ and the FBI report to the President. He can fire anyone he wants to. According to Dershowitz, he can also tell them to stop an investigation. He can also pardon anyone, including himself! The idea that they are independent is a canard the media has been selling and civics-challenged Americans have been buying.

This is also not at all comparable to Watergate. There was an actual crime, as opposed to a protracted "Trump won when he shouldn't have! Evil Rooskies must have engineered it! And on top of that, they must have a secret handshake with Trump!" that has yet to do anything beyond hyperventilate about Trump officials knowing and meeting some Russians. And the reason firing the Watergate special prosecutor was obstruction of justice was that that that investigator, Archibald Cox, had been appointed by Congress and therefore really was independent.

Lambert Strether , June 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm

To my simple mind, the charge of obstruction of justice implies that there is justice to be obstructed, i.e. that the charges of Russian collusion of Trump were made in good faith with an evidentiary basis. Dubious, at best. Anonymous leaks from "intelligence officials" are not enough. Nor is the Steele report, such as it is.

Parker Dooley , June 17, 2017 at 2:56 pm

"To my simple mind, the charge of obstruction of justice implies that there is justice to be obstructed, i.e. that the charges of Russian collusion of Trump were made in good faith with an evidentiary basis"

Lambert, that is not how it works for the little people. Based on the gossip about Trump's actual net worth, perhaps he has been pegged as one of "us".

Plenue , June 17, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Democrats have gone from "Russia did something AND WE HAVE PROOF!" to Maxine Waters admitting they don't even have evidence that any crime was committed, but they all believe that something happened, so they just have 'connect the dots' and find actual evidence. This is some real presuppositional crap here; this is the type of 'thinking' that liberals are always mocking Creationists for. Over half of year with no evidence that anything even happened isn't an investigation: it's a fishing expedition.

Bobby Gladd , June 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm

So many Bright Shiny Things out there for our distraction pleasure (golden shower hookers, Russian anti-Clinton email and election hacking, dirty money, Jared ). How about keeping Eyes on the Prize. General Flynn was conducting an illegal rogue solo privatized ad hoc foreign policy shop, for which he was getting handsomely compensated by foreign entities. Trump either knew it since the beginning of their relationship (and either didn't care, or winky-winky greenlighted it), or suborned it when he later found out. Then he incontrovertibly started leaning on the investigations. Obstruction of Justice, if the phrase is to have any rational meaning. Whether the only remedy for that is impeachment is a separate issue (and is probably the case where Trump is concerned, notwithstanding that he'll probably pardon Flynn and bet on not getting convicted by the Senate).

Lambert Strether , June 17, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Since the whole thing is such a mass of confusion and conjecture, I don't see how it's clear what can have been "obstructed" or indeed what "justice" might mean. (Rhe "Russian hacking" of votes, for example, is so ludicrous it's pointless to discuss it, even if around half of Clinton's voters believe it)

On Flynn, who Trump heaved over the side, the alternative theory is that Flynn was opening an independent channel to the Russians, and The Blob hates that, because they want to go to war with Russia. As far as "inconvertibly," I always look adverbs like that. All I can tell is that great legal minds differ.

Steven , June 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

What the country and the world needs is someone who is actually serious about 'Draining the swamp' in Washington – and the editorial offices at the New York Times!

P.S. I'm still reading Maureen Dowd's The Year of Voting Dangerously . In a 2014 article Dowd provides a catalogue of sellouts by major Democratic Party players to Hillary and the Clintons, e.g. Elizabeth Warren, when it looked like the 2016 election was going to be a sure thing for HRC. The catalogue was so precise and devastating most likely the only thing that saved Dowd's job at the NYT was the reverence for HRC's ruthless pursuit of power with which she concluded the chapter (and, of course, Dowd's prodigious talent as a writer) .

Art Eclectic , June 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Draining the swamp in Washington would require removal of all sitting members of Congress. Those people ARE the swamp. They're duly elected and funded by the donor class to make business decisions that will impact revenue for the winners. We hold elections to decide which businesses we want to win. The FIRE sector famously buys both sides of the table to hedge.

JEHR , June 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

A fine description!

Michael , June 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

How crazy is the idea that Paul Ryan becomes Prez after the investigations conclude? We haven't done that yet if I recall correctly. Would Pence be any good as a Prez? Or would the R party clean house and force him out? Could he select a new VP then? (I don't know the answer to that one either) .

Yves Smith Post author , June 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Completely batshit but the Democrats keeping the upset dialed to 11 may get us there.

Pence was not a very good governor but he'd be celebrated for looking Presidential and not being Trump. He's also way more conservative and would get far more bills passed.

The Dems have a much better chance with Trump in in 2018 than out. They are best served by keeping him on the defensive rather than actually succeeding in driving him out. Pence would be a much less powerful fundraising hook than Trump, for instance.

Left in Wisconsin , June 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Dems want to make same mistake nationally they made here with Walker. Instead of giving voters til the next election to make up their mind, they prematurely instigated a recall, leading to the recall election being in the middle of summer instead of Nov 2012, and they lost because a majority of voters didn't like the process.

If they succeed in getting Trump out before 2018, there is likely to be a huge sympathy vote for Repubs when 2018 rolls around.

gepay , June 17, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Such is the state of political affairs that one has to wonder what, if anything, is true. Did Trump select (?) Pence as VP in order to get some cooperation from the mainsteam Republicans? If he had picked someone like Ron Paul one might have thought there was a good chance he would "drain the swamp". Goldman Sachs alumni, billionaires, and generals in his cabinet are not exactly "draining the swamp". One couldn't submit to HBO a series script with some general (affectionately lol) known as "Mad Dog" being the Sec of Def. So what part of the Powers That Be does Mueller work for? The part of which Soros is a visible element was not happy with Trump. It is possible that this whole circus is just a distraction rather than two different elements of the people who really decide things fighting. One clue is if damaging evidence comes out about either side. it is possible that the DNC and Podesta leaks were just from disillusioned Democrat (Bernie suppporters). Or they could be the evidence there is a real split.Did the revelations of former CFR (?ostracized) Steve Pieczenik of Trump being a counter coup to ;the Clintonistas have any value? FDR said, if it happens in the political world, it was planned, The only thing clear to me is when you get this kind hall of mirrors head confusion, then the CIA is at work.

Bernard , June 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Trump is a businessman out to make a profit. Hillary is a con artist out to grift. otherwise, there isn't that much difference betwixt the two. Hillary is straight forward with her "scam." Trump uses Market strategy to con others . Hillary uses whatever it takes to "get" and "enjoy" Power.

Trump's kind of business "men" hire media who enable the "Right kind" of Calvanism/American "Thinking" which has bought Congress. These grifters "use" whatever it takes to get what they want. Since everything has a price, Everything is for sale to the highest bidder . outright theft, looting and pillaging legalized by Congress. Lies, mispeaking, and others means. "Whatever it takes!," as someone said.

we could not foresee exactly what kind of "Grifter in Chief" Trump would turn out to be until in office . The Blob has now 'ensnared" Trump as blowback for "stealing" the Presidency. Hillary as the rightful heir is doing her part with her morally indignant, empty and vacuous righteousness, as if she possessed "morals" to begin with.

Hillary has continued to play her part in the subterfuge, though it's all out in the open, which lost her the deplorables' vote she didn't care about but she needed.

watching people show surprise at either of these two actors shows how Americans are so easily "led/fooled" by the PR. Goebbels was just ahead of his time . St. Reagan, a Hollywood Actor, who played his "Role," proved how easy it was to "sell' us out to Big Business. Before St. Reagan, due to losing so many elections, the Republican Party just laid low and built the groundwork for the absolute oligarchy we 'enjoy" courtesy of a bought and sold highest bidder Congress we see today.

we cant be nice or respectful to those who despoil our country or planet, for profit. a profit the 99% pay. not calling a spade a spade is how we got to this despicable situation, and allows the Scam to continue. Vichy Democrats and Corporate Republicans need to be jailed. Polite criticism wont cut it.

"For the many, not the few" is a belief we need here in America, too. though Americans are still buying the self-hating PR so-called Leaders Thatcher, St. Reagan sold. the young don't, however, which could promise a hopeful future in England. maybe Bernie can help reconnect the Youth here in America. Obama destroyed that "Dream" in America for the Poor and Young, thank you,very much.

Kent St. shows how the Blob responded to the Youth 50 years ago.
power cedes nothing without unyielding force in America.

Don Lowell , June 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Nothing will happen until we get rid of fixed elections. Suppression, kicking voters off the list, gerrymandering, no paper trail voting machine's. We are screwed.

dcblogger , June 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Mueller also play a notorious role in the Starr Chamber Whitewater witch hunt. Mueller is really truly awful. In some ways it is satisfying to see all the Republican hacks turn on one another.

Bobby Gladd , June 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Busted for my typo. Fair enough. :)

Flynn broke laws, repeatedly. I dimly recall some long ago "3rd rate burglary."

Trump is minimally trying to interfere with justice in regard to Flynn, for whatever reasons.

witters , June 17, 2017 at 7:58 pm

"Robert S. Mueller III managed in a dozen years as F.B.I. director to stay above the partisan fray, carefully cultivating a rare reputation for independence and fairness."

So he was independent and fairness? Clearly laughable nonsense.
So he was "cultivating a rare reputation" as such?
OK: Does that mean for the NYT that "cultivating a rare reputation for X" is what is it TO BE X?
In that case reality has collapsed into and become mere appearance.

(No wonder listening to Putin on Stone's movie is like listening to a different world.)

[Jun 18, 2017] Economic bungee jumping without cord: Comment on Simon Wren-Lewis on 'Raising the inflation target'

Notable quotes:
"... The argument for a higher inflation target is NOT straightforward, once you understand two things. First interest theory is axiomatically false.#1 Because of this monetary policy never had sound scientific foundations. Second the same holds for fiscal policy.#2 ..."
"... The argument AGAINST higher inflation is that it REDUCES employment. Given the overall situation, the ONLY sensible policy is to increase the average wage rate, such that the rate of change of the wage rate is greater than the rate of change of productivity, because this increases employment. This is a SYSTEMIC necessity and has NOTHING to do with social policy. Employment is co-determined by the relationship between average wage rate, price and productivity. This relationship should automatically produce full employment but does not. ..."
Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke, June 17, 2017 at 08:31 AM

Economic bungee jumping without cord: Comment on Simon Wren-Lewis on 'Raising the inflation target'

You say: "The argument for a higher inflation target is straightforward, once you understand two things. First the most effective and reliable monetary policy instrument is to influence the real interest rate in the economy, which is the nominal interest rate less expected inflation. Second nominal short term interest rates have a floor near zero (the Zero Lower Bound, or ZLB)."

The argument for a higher inflation target is NOT straightforward, once you understand two things. First interest theory is axiomatically false.#1 Because of this monetary policy never had sound scientific foundations. Second the same holds for fiscal policy.#2

Let us assume for a moment that, for whatever reasons, neither monetary nor fiscal policy is applicable. So, given investment expenditures of the business sector and the expenditure ratio of the household sector, the only alternative left is to directly influence the macroeconomic price mechanism.#3

The argument AGAINST higher inflation is that it REDUCES employment. Given the overall situation, the ONLY sensible policy is to increase the average wage rate, such that the rate of change of the wage rate is greater than the rate of change of productivity, because this increases employment. This is a SYSTEMIC necessity and has NOTHING to do with social policy. Employment is co-determined by the relationship between average wage rate, price and productivity. This relationship should automatically produce full employment but does not.

Standard employment theory is false.#4 The proposal to get the economy going by increasing price inflation is the direct result of the complete lack of understanding how the market economy works.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 See 'The Emergence of Profit and Interest in the Monetary Circuit'
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1973952

#2 See 'Austerity and the utter scientific ignorance of economists'
http://axecorg.blogspot.de/2015/12/austerity-and-utter-scientific.html

#3 For more details see 'Think deeper'
http://axecorg.blogspot.de/2017/06/think-deeper.html

#4 For details of the bigger picture see cross-references Employment
http://axecorg.blogspot.de/2015/08/employmentphillips-curve-cross.html

[Jun 18, 2017] Economist's View Links for 06-17-17

Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne , June 17, 2017 at 12:01 PM
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/06/19/are-china-and-the-united-states-headed-for-war

June 19, 2017

Are China and the United States Headed for War?
Professors, pundits, and journalists weigh in on a heated topic.
By Ian Buruma

Overheated topics invariably produce ill-considered books. Some people will remember the time, in the late nineteen-eighties, when Japan was about to buy up America and conquer the world. Many a tidy sum was made on that premise. These days, the possibility of war with China is stirring emotions and keeping publishers busy. A glance at a few new books suggests what scholars and journalists are thinking about the prospect of an Asian conflagration; the quality of their reflections is, to say the least, variable.

The worst of the bunch, Graham Allison's "Destined for War," may also be the most influential, given that its thesis rests on a catchphrase Allison has popularized, "Thucydides's Trap." Even China's President, Xi Jinping, is fond of quoting it. "On the current trajectory," Allison contends, "war between the U.S. and China in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than currently recognized." The reason, he says, can be traced to the problem described in the fifth century B.C.E. in Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War. Sparta, as the established power, felt threatened by the rising might of Athens. In such conditions, Allison writes, "not just extraordinary, unexpected events, but even ordinary flashpoints of foreign affairs, can trigger large-scale conflict."

Allison sees Thucydides' Trap in the wars between a rising England and the established Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, a rising Germany versus Britain in the early twentieth century, and a rising Japan versus the United States in the nineteen-forties. Some historical tensions between rising powers and ruling ones were resolved without a catastrophic war (the Soviet challenge to U.S. dominance), but many, Allison warns, were not. And there's no disputing China's steep military and economic rise in recent decades. Its annual military budget has, for most of the past decade, increased by double digits, and the People's Liberation Army, even in its newly streamlined form, has nearly a million more active service members than the United States has. As recently as 2004, China's economy was less than half that of the United States. Today, in terms of purchasing-power parity, China has left the United States behind. Allison is so excited by China's swift growth that his prose often sounds like a mixture of a Thomas Friedman column and a Maoist propaganda magazine like China Reconstructs. Rome wasn't built in a day? Well, he writes, someone "clearly forgot to tell the Chinese. By 2005, the country was building the square-foot equivalent of today's Rome every two weeks."

Allison underrates the many problems that could slow things down quite soon...

Paine - , June 17, 2017 at 01:58 PM
This thesis assumes its conclusion

However we all can act to diffuse this arms race hype

ilsm - , June 17, 2017 at 02:57 PM
Thucydides trap* is foggy bottom 'soft porn'!

Besides in 30 years the "power balance" between China and US will not favor the sea power.

*even less foundation in logic than applying the 'prisoner dilemma' to the war room in "Fail Safe".

Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 09:06 AM
This is great game higgly piggly

Nothing more

The MIC has trump punctured with the sap can

Budgets for sharp toys will rise
With or without
Alt news on People's China

Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 09:09 AM
The congress is supine at the feet of the MIC

Only a POTUS can hope to restrain the MIC
With the minimal help of a less then stalwart house progressive caucus

And a few dove lobby groups

With Trump we have MIC goon in chief

anne , June 17, 2017 at 12:01 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/books/review/everything-under-the-heavens-howard-french-destined-for-war-graham-allison.html

June 16, 2017

America's Collision Course With China
By JUDITH SHAPIRO

EVERYTHING UNDER THE HEAVENS
How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power
By Howard W. French

DESTINED FOR WAR
Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
By Graham Allison

The Chinese superpower has arrived. Could America's failure to grasp this reality pull the United States and China into war? Here are two books that warn of that serious possibility. Howard W. French's "Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power" does so through a deep historical and cultural study of the meaning of China's rise from the point of view of the Chinese themselves. Graham Allison's "Destined for War: Can American and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?" makes his arguments through historical case studies that illuminate the pressure toward military confrontation when a rising power challenges a dominant one. Both books urge us to be ready for a radically different world order, one in which China presides over Asia, even as Chinese politicians tell a public story about "peaceful rise." The books argue persuasively that adjusting to this global power shift will require great skill on both sides if conflagration is to be avoided.

French says in his exhaustively researched and fascinating account of geopolitics, China style, that the Chinese era is upon us. But, he asks, "How will the coming China-driven world look?" To what extent will China support the international order that emerged when it was suffering humiliation at the hands of foreign powers? What are the drivers and motivations for the new ways China projects its power? How best should its neighbors and its rival North American superpower respond?

French, a former reporter for The Washington Post and The New York Times, argues that China's historical and cultural legacy governs its conduct of international relations, a legacy that sits uncomfortably with the Western notions of equality and noninterference among states. China's relations with its neighbors in Japan and Southeast Asia were for millenniums governed by the concept of tian xia, which held that everything "under the heavens" belonged to the empire. A superior civilization demanded deference and tribute from vassal neighbors and did not hesitate to use military force. China's testy relationship with Vietnam became fraught whenever a Vietnamese leader dared to demand equal footing with a Chinese emperor; the Japanese claim to divine origins was unacceptable....

anne - , June 17, 2017 at 12:05 PM
American and British writing about China now, strikes me as writing about a country that is invented rather than the country I would like to think I know. I find the writing distressing, nonetheless there are the articles from the New Yorker and New York Times.
Paine - , June 17, 2017 at 02:07 PM
The book purporting to see the world thru chineses history conditioned eyes is
Patently ridiculous nastiness

One might ask who today
is actively trying to contain the other
Who today is trying to maintain its mandate as global hegemon

But really the problem is the clash of roving corporate sociopaths RCSs

Let us control ours and urge the Chinese to control theirs even as we know
Both states are drastically influenced by these RCSs

[Jun 18, 2017] Amazon is monopolist which just became bigger

Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , June 17, 2017 at 01:59 AM

(Is this anything?)

The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern
Economy https://nyti.ms/2sxhIkx via @UpshotNYT
NYT - Neil Irwin - June 16

With Amazon buying the high-end grocery chain Whole Foods, something retail analysts have known for years is now apparent to everyone: The online retailer is on a collision course with Walmart to try to be the predominant seller of pretty much everything you buy.

Each one is trying to become more like the other - Walmart by investing heavily in its technology, Amazon by opening physical bookstores and now buying physical supermarkets. But this is more than a battle between two business titans. Their rivalry sheds light on the shifting economics of nearly every major industry, replete with winner-take-all effects and huge advantages that accrue to the biggest and best-run organizations, to the detriment of upstarts and second-fiddle players.

That in turn has been a boon for consumers but also has more worrying implications for jobs, wages and inequality.

To understand this epic shift, you can look not just to the grocery business, but also to my closet, and to another retail acquisition announced Friday morning. ...

Walmart to Buy Bonobos, Men's Wear Company, for $310 Million https://nyti.ms/2tuGhf9

paine - , June 17, 2017 at 08:10 AM
When you lose confidence in your
existing biz you buy bizes
Fred C. Dobbs - , June 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM
It turns out Neil Irwin has
a thing for fine dress shirts.
pgl - , June 17, 2017 at 10:41 AM
WTF? Amazon has not lost confidence in creating a monopsony for buying and selling stuff. It just expanded their empire to groceries.
Paine - , June 17, 2017 at 12:35 PM
Cornering as many markets as possible
is a fools mission

The problem
corporations get to keep their cash flow

Review the nonsense oil companies got into when rolling in cash
Thanks to OPEC

pgl - , June 17, 2017 at 02:38 PM
WTF? You clearly never looked at Amazon's income statement.
JohnH - , June 17, 2017 at 04:28 PM
Amazon's business model is to become the dominant intermediary between producers and consumers.

Whole Foods positions it to ideally serve this role in every local market in America...one stop shopping, whether you're buying from China or from the local Chinatown.

When a company like Amazon is capturing market share, profits don't matter, as its stock price shows.

And Bezos ownerships of the Washington Post gives him a powerful bully pulpit against anyone with thoughts about anti-trust...that and his deep pockets.

cm - , June 17, 2017 at 12:38 PM
I wouldn't call it confidence. Any line or mode of business can be grown only to a certain size. At some point S-curve effects and scale complexity lead to diminishing returns, even if the business is managed as well as it can be. Also in some cases there may simply not be enough demand for the one or few things the company does.

Then companies have to branch out into other ways of business, typically outside their current activities. Sometimes there is synergy, sometimes not, and it's just about buying market and revenue with the imagination one can manage it better to a higher rate of profit.

Paine - , June 17, 2017 at 01:31 PM
Or

They can turn into passive cash cows

cm - , June 17, 2017 at 04:40 PM
Yes, though usually there is a growth mandate imposed by management or "investors".
Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 07:11 AM
Now we are in the heart of darkness

Growth mandates
Where growth is earnings
Or revenues or market shares or

And indeed too often
management v stock holders mandates overt or tacit obtain

Gibbon1 - , June 17, 2017 at 10:19 PM
Comment over brunch: Must be getting late in the cycle. Amazon shrewdly using it's internet valuation to buy tangible things.
Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 07:11 AM
True

[Jun 18, 2017] Even raising wages can be the way to squeeze workforce

Notable quotes:
"... The Fed should initiate a campaign: 'Patriotism is paying your workers more." ..."
Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH - , June 17, 2017 at 11:27 AM

The Fed should initiate a campaign: 'Patriotism is paying your workers more." It worked for Henry Ford. And it would work to restore robust economic growth.

Strangely, most economists want to REDUCE workers' purchasing power, which makes sense for individual firms but is bad for the economy as a whole.

pgl - , June 17, 2017 at 11:54 AM
Henry Ford - progressive? Seriously? He did this in order to get workers to put in more effort. In other words - good for the bottom line. Something call efficiency wages. We would provide you with a reading list but we know you would not actually read any of it. You never do.
Christopher H. - , June 17, 2017 at 12:40 PM
If the Fed wanted tighter labor markets where workers had more bargaining power, they wouldn't have started tightening monetary policy in 2013.

No need to start a PR campaign aimed at employers.

Funny how it was only a George W. Bush guy, Neel Kashkari, who dissented on raising rates.

djb - , June 18, 2017 at 06:16 AM
dean baker once pointed out that fiscal policy is problematic if it is just going to be reversed by monetary policy

monetary policy focuses on not having unemployment levels get lower than nairu,

and thus no matter what the fiscal interventions, we can never get unemployment below a certain level

believing that nairu is some "natural phenomenon" that is where the universe will always tend to

puts monetary policy, otherwise theoretically sound, in the way of achieving true full employment
not helping achieve it

so you don't just need fiscal, you need policies that work on the actual value of nairu and the amount of inflation that occurs when unemployment is low than nairu

apparently this guy William vickery has a lot of ideas on how to accomplish that

Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 07:19 AM
Lerners map

Market anti inflation policy

This is he answer to market power of firms
Old man Galbraith wanted the state
to administer the prices of the oligoplistic corporate core of the economy

MAP is the mechanism to impose

Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 08:54 AM
A report by David colander abba Lerners partner on map

https://www.jec.senate.gov/reports/97th%20Congress/Incentive%20Anti-Inflation%20Plan%20(1034).pdf

anne - , June 18, 2017 at 09:10 AM
https://www.jec.senate.gov/reports/97th%20Congress/Incentive%20Anti-Inflation%20Plan%20(1034).pdf

APRIL 28, 1981.

INCENTIVE ANTI-INFLATION PLANS
By David Colander

I. INTRODUCTION

How can something as simple as inflation be so difficult to solve? If inflation were simply a matter of "too much money chasing too few goods," then one would expect that the government could control the money supply and consequently control the inflation. The government has failed to act in this way and unless one subscribes to a sadistic theory of government, its failure suggests that there are non-monetary or "real` causes embedded in our political and economic institutions.

This study provides some insight into the nature of those real causes, and develops a strategy to combat inflation. Part of that strategy includes monetary restraint; however. to be politically acceptable, monetary restraint must be made more efficient. Some method must be developed to translate quickly a decrease in the growth of the money supply into a decrease in the price level, not into a decrease in employment and output.

The method suggested by this report is an incentive based incomes policy or incentive anti-inflation plan. These policies minimize government intervention in the market economy while channeling restrictive monetary policy into anti-inflation incentives rather than into anti-production incentives. They provide the necessary supply side incentives to stop inflation.

Incentive anti-inflation plans take various forms. Many of the arguments for and against such policies have incorrectly interpreted the methodology and goals of these policies. Specifically, these policies are not designed to solve inflation by themselves, but instead must function as complements to, rather than substitutes for, the appropriate monetary and fiscal policy. These proposals are not meant to replace the market with government regulation; they recognize the market's advantages and use market incentives to check inflation programs as strong as, and no stronger than, the pressures for inflation.

To function properly, incentive anti-inflation plans must be supported by an effective legal structure, an enforcement mechanism and a general public acceptance that the plans are fair. These are difficult requirements but all markets need these foundations. There is a fundamental difference between the government's role in establishing a legal framework and its role in directly regulating market decisions. Anti-inflation incentive plans require only the former....

djb - , June 18, 2017 at 11:52 AM
"If inflation were simply a matter of "too much money chasing too few goods," then one would expect that the government could control the money supply and consequently control the inflation"

first off, they should NOT be looking at it as money supply paying for the goods

they should be looking at it as income paying for the goods

money times velocity of money

cm - , June 17, 2017 at 12:45 PM
Ford paid workers more to be able to squeeze more assembly line output from them with limited risk of turnover, as leaving for another job would mean a pay cut. He also had ideas about intervening in their home lives.

[Jun 18, 2017] What we see is a set of steps taken directly from Gene Sharp textbook on the subject.

Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova - June 18, 2017 at 04:24 PM "I like your use of color revolution analogy; it enrages liberal interventionists"

Thank you !

But is not an analogy. What we see is a set of steps taken directly from Gene Sharp textbook on the subject.

I'm not saying the Russians didn't try to tamper with the election, by discrediting already discredited neoliberal establishment (Although, as any patriotic American, I strongly doubt they can tamper as well as we can.)

But the set of steps we observed was the plot to appoint a Special Prosecutor, who later is expected to sink Trump. After the Special Prosecutor was appointed Russia changes does not matter, and more "elastic" charge of "obstruction of justice" can be used instead.

Also note the heavy participation of two heads of intelligence agencies (Clapper and Brennan) and State Department officials in the plot.

[Jun 18, 2017] Turning to Occupied Syria.

Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm , June 17, 2017 at 02:51 AM

Turning to Occupied Syria.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/saudi-qatar-crisis-puts-syria-rebels-in-tricky-position/articleshow/59188782.cms

The outsider Sunni insurgency looks like Yemen 1963 as the Saudi terror sponsors are backed into the corner.

The Wahhabis, and Trump pursuing Obama's plot, in Riyadh are supporting radical Sunnis not blushing at their al Qaeda links.

Opposing the Wahhabis are Russia an ally to a loose confederation of legitimate government, moderated radicals, and minorities whom would be cut off by the Sunnis, as playing Nasser/Egypt in Yemen.

Doha's sin against Wahhab is criticizing the Sunni demolition of Arab Spring and Egypt's military dictatorship.

While as in 1964 the Wahhabis are on the same pole as Israel.

ilsm - , June 17, 2017 at 03:06 PM
Given 37 years of US blundering in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean region, China don't need to worry if the dominant power [and its pentagon trough filler] were to decide to get violent.

I read a lot of "Thucydides Trap" type fiction emanating from novelists purporting to "analyze" aspects of US foreign policy issues.

Fiction many deliberate obfuscations and cherry picked evidence.

I now read such tracts to sharpen my skill at observing and naming types of logical fallacy.

Case studies, the world is not in the image of the HBS universe.

ilsm - , June 17, 2017 at 06:54 PM
There are problems in the world, and they suggest Einstein's observation:

to the effect: "you cannot solve problems with the mind that created them".

The hegemon is misguided on many levels: errant goals, strategies (cannot be good if goals wrong), and expensive tactics which goatherd can defeat. Worse the allies kept.

[Jun 17, 2017] Trostyism and cultural marxism

Jun 12, 2017 | en.wikipedia.org
which sees the Frankfurt School as part of an ongoing movement to take over and destroy Western society . [53] [54] [55] [56]

Originally the term 'cultural Marxism' had a niche academic usage within cultural studies where it referred to the Frankfurt School's critiques of the culture industry , an industry they claimed was able to reify an individual's self-interests, diverting individuals away from developing a more authentic sense of human values . [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [ excessive citations ] British theorists such as Richard Hoggart of The Birmingham School developed a working class sense of 'British Cultural Marxism' which objected to the "massification" and "drift" away from local cultures, a process of commercialization Hoggart saw as being enabled by tabloid newspapers, advertising , and the American film industry . [62]

However, the term remained niche and rarely used until the late 1990s when it was appropriated by paleoconservatives as part of an ongoing Culture War in which it is claimed that the very same theorists who were analysing and objecting to the "massification" and mass control via commercialization of culture were in fact in control and staging their own attack on Western society , using 1960s counter culture , multiculturalism , progressive politics and political correctness as their methods. [55] [63] [64] This conspiracy theory version of the term is associated with American religious paleoconservatives such as William S. Lind , Pat Buchanan , and Paul Weyrich , but also holds currency among alt-right / white nationalist groups and the neo-reactionary movement. [64] [56] [65]

Weyrich first aired his conception of Cultural Marxism in a 1998 speech to the Civitas Institute's Conservative Leadership Conference , later repeating this usage in his widely syndicated Culture War Letter . [64] [66] [67] At Weyrich's request William S. Lind wrote a short history of his conception of Cultural Marxism for The Free Congress Foundation ; in it Lind identifies the presence of homosexuals on television as proof of Cultural Marxist control over the mass media and claims that Herbert Marcuse considered a coalition of "blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals" as a vanguard of cultural revolution. [55] [63] [68] Lind has since published his own depiction of a fictional Cultural Marxist apocalypse. [69] [70] Lind and Weyrich's writings on this subject advocate fighting what they perceive as Cultural Marxism with "a vibrant cultural conservatism " composed of "retroculture" fashions from the past, a return to rail systems as public transport and an agrarian culture of self-reliance modeled after the Amish . [55] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [ excessive citations ] Paul Weyrich and his protégé Eric Heubeck later openly advocated for a more direct form of "taking over political structures" by the "New Traditionalist Movement" in his 2001 paper The Integration of Theory and Practice written for Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation . [76] [77] [78]

In 1999 Lind led the creation of an hour-long program entitled "Political Correctness: The Frankfurt School" . [53] Some of Lind's content went on to be reproduced by James Jaeger in his YouTube film "CULTURAL MARXISM: The Corruption of America" . [79]

The intellectual historian Martin Jay commented on this phenomenon saying that Lind's original documentary:

"... spawned a number of condensed textual versions, which were reproduced on a number of radical right-wing sites. These in turn led to a welter of new videos now available on YouTube, which feature an odd cast of pseudo-experts regurgitating exactly the same line. The message is numbingly simplistic: all the ills of modern American culture, from feminism, affirmative action, sexual liberation and gay rights to the decay of traditional education and even environmentalism are ultimately attributable to the insidious influence of the members of the Institute for Social Research who came to America in the 1930's." [53]

Dr. Heidi Beirich likewise claims the conspiracy theory is used to demonize various conservative "bêtes noires" including "feminists, homosexuals, secular humanists, multiculturalist, sex educators, environmentalist, immigrants, and black nationalists." [80]

According to Chip Berlet , who specializes in the study of extreme right-wing movements , the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory found fertile ground within the Tea Party movement of 2009, with contributions published in the American Thinker and WorldNetDaily highlighted by some Tea Party websites. [81] [82] [83]

The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that William S. Lind in 2002 gave a speech to a Holocaust denial conference on the topic of Cultural Marxism. In this speech Lind noted that all the members of The Frankfurt School were "to a man, Jewish", but it is reported that Lind claims not to "question whether the Holocaust occurred" and suggests he was present in an official capacity for the Free Congress Foundation "to work with a wide variety of groups on an issue-by-issue basis". [84] [85]

Adherents of the theory often seem to mean that the existence of things like modern feminism , anti-white racism, and sexualization are dependent on the Frankfurt School, even though these processes and movements predate the 1920s. Although the theory became more widespread in the late 1990s and through the 2000s, the modern iteration of the theory originated in Michael Minnicino's 1992 essay "New Dark Age: Frankfurt School and 'Political Correctness'", published in Fidelio Magazine by the Schiller Institute . [53] [86] [87] The Schiller Institute, a branch of the LaRouche movement , further promoted the idea in 1994. [88] The Minnicino article charges that the Frankfurt School promoted Modernism in the arts as a form of Cultural pessimism , and shaped the Counterculture of the 1960s (such as the British pop band The Beatles ) after the Wandervogel of the Ascona commune . [86] The Larouche movement is otherwise mostly known for believing that the British Empire still exists, is trying to take control of the world (mostly, but not exclusively by economical means), and, among other things, also controls the global drug trade . [89] [90]

More recently, the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik included the term in his document "2083: A European Declaration of Independence" , which along with The Free Congress Foundation 's "Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology" was e-mailed to 1,003 addresses approximately 90 minutes before the 2011 bomb blast in Oslo for which Breivik was responsible. [91] [92] [93] Segments of William S. Lind's writings on Cultural Marxism have been found within Breivik's manifesto. [94]

Philosopher and political science lecturer Jérôme Jamin has stated, "Next to the global dimension of the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, there is its innovative and original dimension, which lets its authors avoid racist discourses and pretend to be defenders of democracy". [54] Professor and Oxford Fellow Matthew Feldman has traced the terminology back to the pre-war German concept of Cultural Bolshevism locating it as part of the degeneration theory that aided in Hitler's rise to power . [95] William S. Lind confirms this as his period of interest, claiming that "It [Cultural Marxism] is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I." [85]

[Jun 17, 2017] Jeremy Corbyns leadership offered an end to austerity, a commitment to the public good, the faith that generosity is more powerful than greed

Notable quotes:
"... According to what I saw, the only high profile economists to support Corbyn were Stiglitz, Piketty, and Dillow. These rest of the librul commentariat shunned Corbyn, apparently hoping that his progressive campaign would just disappear. ..."
"... Tutition used to be free in the UK. Then they decided that those lazy students needed to have some skin in the game and suddenly tuition was 1000 pounds. Then a few years later it was 9000 pounds and all the college grads there now have US-level student debt. ..."
"... A big reason Corbyn's a commie is because he wants to abolish tuition to bring the UK back to its communist past of 1997 and give young people the same deal all the people in charge had. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
JohnH - June 09, 2017 at 12:19 PM

Maria Margaronis writing in The Nation: "Labour's Near-Triumph Brings a New Morning to British Politics...

Jeremy Corbyn's leadership offered an end to austerity, a commitment to the public good, the faith that generosity is more powerful than greed."
https://www.thenation.com/article/labours-near-triumph-brings-a-new-morning-to-british-politics/

Someone finally brought the dreaded dragon of austerity and neoliberalism to its knees. Conservatives are holding onto power by a thread. Tony B.liar has been repudiated. Time for joy!

Or is it? Instead of exulting, austerity-hating libruls here are reacting with sullen silence. At the New York Times, it is not morning, but time for mourning. They still seem still barely able to include the word 'Corbyn' in the 'fit to print' category.

pgl, who never had a nice thing to say about Corbyn, claimed yesterday that he favored him...but only after the exist polls showed the inevitability of his success.

According to what I saw, the only high profile economists to support Corbyn were Stiglitz, Piketty, and Dillow. These rest of the librul commentariat shunned Corbyn, apparently hoping that his progressive campaign would just disappear.

As for Krugman, Jeffrey Sachs noted two years ago: "It is truly odd to read Paul Krugman rail, time and again, against the British government. His latest screed begins with the claim that "Britain's economic performance since the financial crisis struck has been startlingly bad." He excoriates Prime Minister David Cameron's government for its "poor economic record," and wonders how he and his cabinet can possibly pose "as the guardians of prosperity."

Hmm. In recent months, Krugman has repeatedly praised the US economic recovery under President Barack Obama, while attacking the United Kingdom's record. But when we compare the two economies side by side, their trajectories are broadly similar, with the UK outperforming the United States on certain indicators." Opposition to austerity seemed to have a distinctly partisan character.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/krugman-us-uk-recovery-contradiction-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-2015-04?barrier=accessreg

All this changed after Corbyn became Labour leader. Krugman's attacks on Conservatives suddenly stopped. Austerity seemed to have lost its toxicity. Krugman had absolutely no comment on this UK election, refusing to talk at all about the anti-austerity candidate. It is probably just as well, since support from a compromised librul commentariat could only have damaged Corbyn's credibility.

As Robert Kuttner said 20 years ago, "Krugman is the conservatives ideal liberal." It appears that he has a lot of company...libruls who claim to oppose austerity but can't muster the courage to support an anti-austerity candidate.

Christopher H., June 09, 2017 at 01:35 PM
Oh look, Atrios blogged something. I guess he didn't get the memo from PGL and the establishment Democrats.

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/06/the-kids-are-alright.html

FRIDAY, JUNE 09, 2017

The Kids Are Alright

No actual figures, but presumably there was big yute turnout in the UK Everyone will now claim that a non-commie Labour leader like that nice Ed Miliband would OF COURSE have done as well as Joseph Stalin Lenin Marx Corbyn, and in fact BETTER, but that's bullshit.

That nice Ed Miliband couldn't do in 2015, and I'm not sure who the "unnamed generic normal Labour candidate" would otherwise be. Theresa May's incompetent evil helped, but Corbyn staved off what was supposed to have been a Labour extinction election and while there will still likely be a Tory-led government, it will be pretty fragile. A coalition with a bunch of bigoted religious nutters from Northern Ireland who aren't on board with May's Brexit plans.

Labour went after The Kids Today and got them to the polls. Wasn't enough to win, but the polling outfit predicting a likely hung parliament was considered to be "insane" even just a few days ago.

Tutition used to be free in the UK. Then they decided that those lazy students needed to have some skin in the game and suddenly tuition was 1000 pounds. Then a few years later it was 9000 pounds and all the college grads there now have US-level student debt.

A big reason Corbyn's a commie is because he wants to abolish tuition to bring the UK back to its communist past of 1997 and give young people the same deal all the people in charge had.

In 2015, Miliband said he'd cut them. To just SIX THOUSAND POUNDS. Maybe if he'd gone all the way...

by Atrios at 08:30

[Jun 17, 2017] If Obama administration had accomplished something worthwhile, Trump would not be in power.

Notable quotes:
"... Here in Canada I got into an argument with a Trudeau/Obama admirer when I categorically stated that Obama did nothing. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Here in Canada I got into an argument with a Trudeau/Obama admirer when I categorically stated that Obama did nothing. My argument being that if Obama (& co.) had accomplished something worthwhile, Trump would not be in power. A little too radical?

[Jun 17, 2017] Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to Medicate U.S. Crisis of Governance Black Agenda Report

Jun 17, 2017 | blackagendareport.com
Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to "Medicate" U.S. "Crisis of Governance"

Submitted by Nellie Bailey a... on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 00:10

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https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/327874351&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false

The U.S. is engulfed in a "crisis of governance" that has been "intentionally misunderstood" by the corporate media and the political elite, said Danny Haiphong , a contributing political analyst at BAR.

Anti-Russian hysteria has been whipped up "to medicate political consciousness." "They don't want to discuss how Russia has absolutely nothing to do with the millions of incarcerated people in the U.S., or the fact that it is the U.S. monopoly capitalist economy, not the emerging capitalist economy of Russia, which has automated many of the jobs and siphoned much of the wealth that once belonged to a privileged sector of U.S. workers," said Haiphong. "This system has run its course. War is all the system has left."

[Jun 17, 2017] Varoufakis explains why economics is not science

Notable quotes:
"... Russell Brand discusses with Yanis Varoufakis what happens when you take on the political, financial and media elite, and how radical reform can occur. Through accounts of his confrontations with the IMF, European institutions and the German government they examine where true power lies and how it is wielded. ..."
"... The 'gurus' of the dominant economic system 'teach' us how economy should be treated, based on mathematical models that assume standard conditions that, essentially, do not exist in the real world. This kind of peculiar 'determinism' in economics is already considered obsolete in other scientific fields. ..."
"... Mainstream economics, dominated by the neoliberal perception, is full of assumptions that are not applicable in the real world, yet being used to justify the satisfaction of the interests of the elites. ..."
"... Almost everywhere, neoliberal policies imposed through IMF have brought unprecedented disaster. Despite the obvious failure, financial technocrats assume that all cases are similar, imposing the same recipe in every region. Their models are full of assumptions in every level and that's why the fail miserably. Yet, despite the obvious disaster, the neoliberal priesthood demands from societies to adopt its models through simple faith. ..."
Jun 17, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr
globinfo freexchange

Russell Brand discusses with Yanis Varoufakis what happens when you take on the political, financial and media elite, and how radical reform can occur. Through accounts of his confrontations with the IMF, European institutions and the German government they examine where true power lies and how it is wielded.

In a particular part of the interview, Varoufakis explains simply why economics is not science:

I call it organized religion with equations, superstition. The only way to become free of superstition is through overcoming. But you need to study. I've always pissed off my academic colleagues and other economists who actually believe that is real science what they are doing.

Our mathematical models of the weather can be judged by objective reality. If I am a meteorologist and come up with a prediction that tomorrow there is going to be a heatwave in Leicester square, all we have to do is to wait until tomorrow to see if I'm right or wrong. The weather will either confirm or junk my theories about it.

And by the way, this is exactly the process of how real science progress. Try – fail - come with an improved idea, and so on. Real scientists abolish old theories even if they work well with new ones that explain better the nature, the world, etc.

Varoufakis continues:

Let's say that I have the same kind of computer model and actual machine and data mining that the meteorologist does, but instead of using it to predict the weather I use it to predict the stock exchange. And suppose that I was somebody very highly respected as a predictor of stock exchange changes and let's say that today, I were to predict that tomorrow is going to be a major crash in the stock exchange. There might be because I predicted it! In society and in the economy, our beliefs about the phenomenon under study are part of the phenomenon under study.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/BX7JDLkYMWc

The last paragraph above depicts soundly why mainstream economics are far from the concept of modern science. The 'gurus' of the dominant economic system 'teach' us how economy should be treated, based on mathematical models that assume standard conditions that, essentially, do not exist in the real world. This kind of peculiar 'determinism' in economics is already considered obsolete in other scientific fields.

In Quantum Mechanics, for example, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle not only acknowledges that the observer affects the final situation of a physical system but also embeds this interference mathematically. As a consequence, the final situation of a physical system can be determined only in statistical terms.

Mainstream economics, dominated by the neoliberal perception, is full of assumptions that are not applicable in the real world, yet being used to justify the satisfaction of the interests of the elites.

Almost everywhere, neoliberal policies imposed through IMF have brought unprecedented disaster. Despite the obvious failure, financial technocrats assume that all cases are similar, imposing the same recipe in every region. Their models are full of assumptions in every level and that's why the fail miserably. Yet, despite the obvious disaster, the neoliberal priesthood demands from societies to adopt its models through simple faith.

Which shows that the only and real target of the mainstream economics, is simply retain the domination of a small elite on the top of the economic hierarchy, at the expense of the majority of the people.

[Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
"... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
"... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
"... American Psycho ..."
"... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
"... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
"... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
"... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
"... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
"... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
"... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
"... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
"... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
"... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
"... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
"... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
"... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
"... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
"... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
"... "Four Futures" ..."
"... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
"... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
-Paul Buchheit, Alternet

"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
-NBC News, June 14, 2017

"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
-ABC7News, June 14, 2017

"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
-MarianneW via Twitter

"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
-SamT via Twitter

"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
- Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

"If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

"Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

"What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

There's a social contract? Who knew?

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

" Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

[Jun 16, 2017] Future of Unions in Balance as Trump Prepares to Reshape National Labor Board

Notable quotes:
"... NLRB v. Noel Canning ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

The NLRB is the administrative agency that is tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act , the federal statute that gives employees the right to unionize and collectively bargain. The NLRB consists of five members who are appointed to five-year terms by the president upon the advice and consent of the Senate.

Right now, there are two vacancies on the board that President Donald Trump will fill. Once the Senate confirms President Trump's nominees, Republicans will control the board for the first time since 2007 .

The background of the three candidates reportedly under consideration suggests that the board will in fact be much friendlier to business interests under the Trump administration. One of the potential nominees, Doug Seaton , has made a career of being a " union-buster ," the term used to describe a consultant brought in by employers to beat a unionization campaign. Another, William Emanuel , is a partner at Littler Mendelson, one of the largest and most successful anti-labor law firms in the country. Less is known about the third potential candidate, Marvin Kaplan, but his history as a Republican staffer suggests he may also represent employers' interests.

Many observers assume that this new board will overturn many Obama-era precedents that favored unions. These precedents include questions such as how to define bargaining units, at issue at both Yale and Elderwood.

But the new board could go even further and roll back pro-union decisions dating back decades. This could be devastating to already weakened unions. With private sector union membership hovering at a dismal 6.4 percent -- down from about 17 percent in 1983 -- nothing short of the end of the labor movement could be at stake.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics )

How Politics Intruded on the NLRB

The composition of the NLRB is important because most claims regarding the right to organize and collectively bargain are decided by the agency.

Unlike other employment statutes, such as Title VII and the Fair Labor Standards Act , individuals and unions cannot file claims in federal court and instead must participate in the administrative process set up by the National Labor Relations Act. While aggrieved parties can appeal board rulings to federal appeals courts, judges grant a high degree of deference to NLRB decisions.

In other words, three board members -- a bare majority of the board -- have an enormous ability to influence and shape American labor policy.

Given the amount of power these three individuals can wield, it is no wonder that the NLRB has become highly politicized in the decades since its creation in the 1930s. Ironically, the board was originally established as a way to try to insulate labor policy from political influences.

The drafters of the labor act believed that the federal courts were hostile to labor rights and would chip away at the protections in a way that would be bad for unions. Instead, the board has become a political battlefield for the two parties who hold very different views about labor policy.

This politicization came to a head during the Obama administration, when it became impossible to confirm anyone to serve on the NLRB. In response, Obama appointed several members using his recess appointment power, which allows the president to avoid Senate confirmation of nominees when Congress is in recess.

Employers challenged the move, and the Supreme Court eventually invalidated the recess appointments as executive overreach in NLRB v. Noel Canning . After the decision, Obama and the Senate finally agreed on five members that were confirmed. This new board, with a Democratic majority, then decided many of the precedents that employers hope the new members will overturn.

Flaws in the National Labor Relations Act

So what will happen if Elderwood and Yale bet wrong and lose their appeals in front of the new Republican-controlled board?

In all likelihood, not much. The board process is long and cumbersome. It often takes years from the filing of a charge for failure to bargain to the board's decision. In the meantime, employers hope that unions will have turnover in their membership, become disorganized and lose support.

Moreover, the penalties available under the National Labor Relations Act are weak . If an employer is found to have violated the act, the board can issue a "cease-and-desist" letter and require the employer to post a notice promising not to engage in further violations. These penalties hardly encourage employers to comply with their obligations, especially when they have so much to gain from obstructing attempts to unionize and collectively bargain.

If the labor movement is to survive, the National Labor Relations Act needs to be reformed to fix these problems. Instead, a few years of a Republican-controlled NLRB could be organized labor's death knell .

[Jun 16, 2017] Political Disorder Syndrome - Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal

Notable quotes:
"... It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Endgame Napoleon - Stuck on Zero , Jun 15, 2017 10:10 PM

A lot of the debate by the MSM focuses on the careerist power struggle of elites at the top. That is not what brought Trump to power, nor is ideological purity of any kind the reason, although college students at elite universities may be motivated by ideology.

Many people who voted for Trump said they had not bothered to vote since Perot. That was the last time serious economic issues were addressed head-on. There were many cross-over voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere, voting for Trump because their party, when not focused on one more layer of welfare/taxfare for single moms, focuses on racism, sexism and xenophobia.....

....in a "racist" era with a twice-elected Black president, where many government agencies have 80% Black staff and managers

.....in a "sexist"' era where more than half of the MDs are women, as are half of the managers, in general, when wealth has never been more concentrated due to assortative mating

....in a "xenophobic" era, where even illegal immigrants are treated much better than millions of citizens, leading to $113 billion per year in welfare/taxfare expenditures for the illegal immigrants alone, not counting all of the freebies for 1 million legal immigrants admitted per year, particularly for those who reproduce

CRM114 - Killtruck , Jun 15, 2017 9:08 PM

When do you think it was crossed?

End of the Cold War, I reckon. That's the last point when politicians being vaguely competent mattered.

VWAndy - nmewn , Jun 15, 2017 8:56 PM

Its a big club. An you and me aint in it. The left vs right thing is just a trick.

Kyddyl , Jun 15, 2017 8:44 PM

As I said in response to another article I've been off on a kick of reading about the American unCivil War. The heated rhetoric led up to violence far before either "side" was ready. It proved to be a messy disaster. Very few thought ahead far enough to even have their own families survive it. Be very careful of what you wish for. John Michael Greer's "Twilight's Last Gleaming" and "Retrotopia" should give us serious pause for thought. Our just in time grocery supply system would fail, fuel delivery from the few states with refineries would crawl and with all those nuclear power plants needing constant baby sitting everybody needs to settle down and really think this mess out. Inter US civil divisions would need careful and peaceful negotiations.

Forbes , Jun 15, 2017 8:53 PM

The messaging Henninger identifies was rampant for eight years of Obama ("Get in their faces!" and the Chicago Way--"They bring a knife, you bring a gun.") Social media is/was no different. Remember the Rodeo Clown wearing an Obama mask who was summarily fired. Any critique of Obama was automatically racist. I could go on and on with examples. The Left never policed its own, was constantly on-guard against the Right, with enforcement of political correctness job #1.

The ankle-biting mainstream media is part and parcel the opposition and the resistence--and the Establishment Republicans at the WSJ are just now noticing?? Someone alert Captain Renault...

Let it Go , Jun 15, 2017 9:00 PM

In reality no intelligent plans have been written or are moving through the halls of Congress. It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets.

http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/06/polarized-america-taking-course-of.html

TeethVillage88s , Jun 15, 2017 9:05 PM

But, But, ... that sounds like RINOs, DINOs, NeoCons, Neoliberals, those that think Economics is a Hard Science... Sounds like Propaganda by the Most Powerful Corporations and Family Dynasties...

"Political Disorder Syndrome - "Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal"

PDS - won't get traction since TPTB have to approve of this kind of thing!

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/jimmy-buffett/banana-republics.html

- Borders Are Destroyed to Attack the US Labor Rate (Deserved or Undeserved) - Globalism, CAFTA, NAFTA, Fast-Track by Bill Clinton, deployed to destroy US Labor Rate & US Jobs & US Middle Class = PROOF that Democrats are Treasonous, are working against the Worker (Either Communist Worker or Other worker) - US National Security is destroyed by the cost of MIC, $1 Trillion Annually - US Constitutional Republic is Destroyed, replaced by Globalism Ideology & Propaganda Deep Program to hide this Fact from Middle Class, from Workers, from Job Losers, from Voters, from Students, from Youth who will not see the entry level jobs...

IT IS A REAL MESS, Propaganda is the name of the Problem! We all know the history of Propaganda. We know that Hillary Clinton engaged in an INFO-War long, long ago. 1971 William Renquist Memo pointed out to Republicans that they must gear up for Foundations to fight Democrats who were much stronger in Political Organizations at this time.

Makes you think.

ElTerco , Jun 15, 2017 10:26 PM

I think main street has been extremely patient. I think after three decades of being slowly and consistently shit on though, enough is enough, and they are starting to lose it.

[Jun 15, 2017] Was Comeys second thought announcement after Hillary email investigation a naked political gambit?

Notable quotes:
"... And what about his very strange announcement about Wiener computer containing Hillary classified emails? ..."
Jun 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Libezkova, June 11, 2017 at 06:07 PM

"When you have a former head of the FBI, a deeply respected person"

That's funny. Can you spell 9/11. He served as President George W. Bush's deputy attorney general (D.A.G.), in the aftermath of 9/11. So he is the the one who got Saudi officials off the hook.

Former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who in 2002 chaired the congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, maintains the FBI is covering up a Saudi support cell in Sarasota for the hijackers. He says the al-Hijjis' "urgent" pre-9/11 exit suggests "someone may have tipped them off" about the coming attacks.

Graham has been working with a 14-member group in Congress to urge President Obama to declassify 28 pages of the final report of his inquiry which were originally redacted, wholesale, by President George W. Bush.

"The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier," he said, adding, "I am speaking of the kingdom," or government, of Saudi Arabia, not just wealthy individual Saudi donors.

Sources who have read the censored Saudi section say it cites CIA and FBI case files that directly implicate officials of the Saudi Embassy in Washington and its consulate in Los Angeles in the attacks - which, if true, would make 9/11 not just an act of terrorism, but an act of war by a foreign government.

– From the New York Post article: How the FBI is Whitewashing the Saudi Connection to 9/11

Was Comey's "second thought" announcement after Hillary email investigation a naked political gambit?

And what about his very strange announcement about Wiener computer containing Hillary classified emails?

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/politics/james-comey-hearing-huma-abedin-forwarding-classified-information/index.html

[Jun 15, 2017] Liars Lying About Nearly Everything by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the U.S. picked up the pieces of a dying Spanish Empire in a war that was driven by American imperialists and the yellow dog reporting of the Hearst Newspaper chain. And then came World War 1, World War 2, and Korea, all avoidable and all enabled by deliberate lying coming out of Washington. ..."
"... More recently, we have seen Vietnam with its Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, Granada and Panama with palpably ridiculous pretexts for war, Iraq with its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan with its lies about bin Laden, Libya and its false claims about Gaddafi, and most recently Syria and Iran with allegations of an Iranian threat to the United States and lies about Syrian use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. And if one adds in the warnings to Russia over Ukraine, a conflict generated by Washington when it brought about regime change in Kiev, you have a tissue of lies that span the globe and bring with them never-ending conflict to advance the American imperium. ..."
"... So lies go with the American Way of War, but the latest twist and turns in the Middle East are bizarre even by Washington's admittedly low standards of rectitude. ..."
"... The Saudis also have considerable blood on their hands by way of their genocidal assault on neighboring Yemen. In addition, the Saudi Royal House has served as the principal propagator of Wahhabism, the virulently fundamentalist version of Islam that provides a form of religious legitimacy to terror while also motivating many young Muslims to join radical groups. ..."
"... The falling out of two Gulf Arab regimes might be a matter of relatively little importance but for the unnecessary intervention of President Donald Trump in the quarrel. ..."
"... Trump's tweets might well be regarded as simply maladroit, driven by ignorance, but they could also provide a glimpse of a broader agenda. While in the Middle East, Trump was bombarded with anti-Iranian propaganda coming from both Israel and the Saudis. An escalation of hostilities with the intention of starting an actual war involving the United States to take down Iran is not unimaginable, particularly as the Israelis, who have already endorsed the Saudi moves, have been arguing that option and lying about the threat posed by Tehran for a number of years. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.unz.com
Terrorism supporters in Washington and Riyadh close ranks against Qatar

The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the U.S. picked up the pieces of a dying Spanish Empire in a war that was driven by American imperialists and the yellow dog reporting of the Hearst Newspaper chain. And then came World War 1, World War 2, and Korea, all avoidable and all enabled by deliberate lying coming out of Washington.

More recently, we have seen Vietnam with its Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, Granada and Panama with palpably ridiculous pretexts for war, Iraq with its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan with its lies about bin Laden, Libya and its false claims about Gaddafi, and most recently Syria and Iran with allegations of an Iranian threat to the United States and lies about Syrian use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. And if one adds in the warnings to Russia over Ukraine, a conflict generated by Washington when it brought about regime change in Kiev, you have a tissue of lies that span the globe and bring with them never-ending conflict to advance the American imperium.

So lies go with the American Way of War, but the latest twist and turns in the Middle East are bizarre even by Washington's admittedly low standards of rectitude. On the 5th of June, Saudi Arabia led a gaggle of Arab and Muslim nations that included the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to cut off all diplomatic, commercial and transport links with Qatar, effectively blockading it. Qatar is currently isolated from its neighbors, subject to sanctions, and there have even been Saudi threats of going to war against its tiny neighbor. Salman al-Ansari, the president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, even tweeted: "To the emir of Qatar, regarding your alignment with the extremist government of Iran and your abuse of the Custodian of the two sacred mosques, I would like to remind you that Mohammed Morsi [of Egypt] did exactly the same and was then toppled and imprisoned."

It is the second time the Saudis have moved against Qatar. Two years ago, there was a break in diplomatic relations, but they were eventually restored. This time, the principal allegation being directed against Qatar by Riyadh is that it supports terrorism. The terrorist groups that it allegedly embraces are Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's affiliation. Hezbollah and Hamas are close to Iran which is perhaps the real reason for their being singled out as many would call them resistance movements or even legitimate political parties rather than terrorists. And the Iran connection is critical as Qatar has been under fire for allegedly saying nice things about trying to respect and get along with Tehran, undoubtedly somewhat motivated by its joint exploitation with Iran of a vast gas field in the Persian Gulf.

Qatar's ownership of al-Jazeera also has been a sore point with the Saudis and other Gulf states as its reporting has often been critical of developments in the region, criticisms that have often rankled the Saudi monarchy and the Egyptians. It has been accused of spreading propaganda for "militant groups." One of the Saudi demands to permit Qatar to again become a "normal" Arab Gulf state would be to close down the network.

The terrorism claims by the Saudis are, of course, hypocritical. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are well known as sponsors of Salafist terrorism, including the funding and arming of groups like ISIS and the various al-Qaeda franchises, to include al-Nusra. Much of the money admittedly comes from private individuals and is often channeled through Islamic charities, but both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been extremely lax in their enforcement of anti-terror and money laundering regulations. In a 2009 State Department memo signed off on by Hillary Clinton it was stated that "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide." Qatar, meanwhile, has been described as a "permissive environment for terrorist financing."

The Saudis also have considerable blood on their hands by way of their genocidal assault on neighboring Yemen. In addition, the Saudi Royal House has served as the principal propagator of Wahhabism, the virulently fundamentalist version of Islam that provides a form of religious legitimacy to terror while also motivating many young Muslims to join radical groups.

The falling out of two Gulf Arab regimes might be a matter of relatively little importance but for the unnecessary intervention of President Donald Trump in the quarrel. He has taken credit for the burgeoning conflict, implying that his recent visit to the region set the stage for the ostracizing of Qatar. His twitter on the affair, posted on June 6 th , read ""So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" And he again came down on Qatar on June 9 th during a press conference.

Trump's tweets might well be regarded as simply maladroit, driven by ignorance, but they could also provide a glimpse of a broader agenda. While in the Middle East, Trump was bombarded with anti-Iranian propaganda coming from both Israel and the Saudis. An escalation of hostilities with the intention of starting an actual war involving the United States to take down Iran is not unimaginable, particularly as the Israelis, who have already endorsed the Saudi moves, have been arguing that option and lying about the threat posed by Tehran for a number of years.

[Jun 15, 2017] Neocons are after Trump, managed to appoint special procecutor by subterfuge and Trump now losing...

Jun 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs, June 14, 2017 at 08:17 PM

Special-counsel probe is examining whether Trump obstructed justice
https://www.wsj.com/articles/mueller-probe-examining-whether-donald-trump-obstructed-justice-1497490897

WSJ - Del Quentin Wilber, Shane Harris and Paul Sonne - June 14, 2017

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey is now a subject of the federal probe being headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, which has expanded to include whether the president obstructed justice, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Mueller is examining whether the president fired Mr. Comey as part of a broader effort to alter the direction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether associates of Mr. Trump colluded with Moscow, the person said.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Mr. Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, denounced the revelation in a statement. "The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal," Mr. Corallo said.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mr. Mueller, declined to comment. The special counsel's pursuit of an obstruction of justice probe was first reported Wednesday by the Washington Post. Mr. Mueller's team is planning to interview Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers as part of its examination of whether Mr. Trump sought to obstruct justice, the person said. The special counsel also plans to interview Rick Ledgett, who recently retired as the deputy director of the NSA, the person added.

While Mr. Ledgett was still in office, he wrote a memo documenting a phone call that Mr. Rogers had with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. During the call, the president questioned the veracity of the intelligence community's judgment that Russia had interfered with the election and tried to persuade Mr. Rogers to say there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russian officials, they said. Russia has denied any government effort to meddle in the U.S. election. Mr. Ledgett declined to comment, and officials at the NSA didn't respond to a request for comment. An aide to Mr. Coats declined to comment.

Mr. Coats and Mr. Rogers told a Senate panel June 7 that they didn't feel pressured by Mr. Trump to intervene with Mr. Comey or push back against allegations of possible collusion between Mr. Trump's campaign and Russia. But the top national security officials declined to say what, if anything, Mr. Trump requested they do in relation to the Russia probe.

"If the special prosecutor called upon me to meet with him to ask his questions, I said I would be willing to do that," Mr. Coats said June 7. Mr. Rogers said he would also be willing to meet with the special counsel's team.

Mr. Comey told a Senate panel on June 8 that Mr. Trump expressed "hope" in a one-on-one Oval Office meeting that the FBI would drop its investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned under pressure for making false statements about his conversations with a Russian diplomat. Mr. Trump has denied making that request.

Mr. Comey said during the testimony that it was up to Mr. Mueller to decide whether the president's actions amounted to obstruction of justice. The former FBI director also said he had furnished the special counsel with memos he wrote documenting his interactions with the president on the matter.

At a June 13 hearing at a House of Representatives panel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein declined to say who asked him to write a memo justifying Mr. Comey's firing. The White House initially cited that memo as the reason for the termination, and Mr. Trump later said in an NBC interview that he also was influenced by the Russia investigation. Mr. Rosenstein said he wasn't at liberty to discuss the matter.

"The reason for that is that if it is within the scope of Director Mueller's investigation, and I've been a prosecutor for 27 years, we don't want people talking publicly about the subjects of ongoing investigations," Mr. Rosenstein said.

libezkova - , June 14, 2017 at 09:00 PM
Fred,

"Mr. Comey said during the testimony that it was up to Mr. Mueller to decide whether the president's actions amounted to obstruction of justice."

Comey probably lied. This was probably the plan hatched from the very beginning of this color revolution by Comey and other members of anti-trump conspiracy such as Brennan: to raise Russiagate or anything else to the level which allow to appoint special prosecutor and to sink Trump using this mechanism, because digging by itself produces the necessary result.

Obstruction of justice is the easiest path to remove Trump, a no-brainer so to speak, the charge which can be used to remove any any past and future US president with guaranteed result. The other, more Trump-specific, is of financial deals within the Trump empire. Especially his son-in-law deals. In this sense Trump is now hostage like Clinton previously was. He can fight for survival, by unleashing some war, like Clinton did with Yugoslavia.

Which probably is OK for neocons because war for them is the first, the second and the third solution to any problem. But as a result the US standing in the globe probably will be further damaged.

BTW, in your zeal to republish this neocon propaganda, do you understand that Hillary was a head of one of those 17 intelligence agencies in the past?

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) has ties to the Office of Strategic Services from World War II, but was transferred to State after the war. INR now reports directly to the Secretary of State, harnessing intelligence from all sources and offering independent analysis of global events and real-time insight.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : This agency serves as the Secretary of State's primary advisor on intelligence matters, and gives support to other policymakers, ambassadors, and embassy staff.

Budget : $49 million in 2007, according to documents obtained by FAS.

This all drama makes no sense for me. Trump folded. He proved to be not a fighter. The attempt to bring members of his family close to White house is a huge liability for him now in view of possible digging of the past of his son in law by the special Prosecutor. Who is recruiting the most rabid Hillary hacks for the job ;-).

But the key question is what DemoRats will gain with the current vice president elevated to the new level?

Other then a blowback from the remaining part of Trump supporters. Pat Buchanan was talking about civil war recently, which is probably exaggeration, but the probably direction of reaction is probably right:

http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/patrick-j-buchanan/are-we-nearing-civil-war

Not that I trust him with such a prediction, but still this is a danger.

EMichael - , June 14, 2017 at 09:26 PM
troll/bot
libezkova - , June 15, 2017 at 05:29 PM
You are a typical retired "frustrated underachiever". Nothing new here and your replies fits the pattern perfectly well.

You probably should not comment things that you have no formal training. I do believe that you are unable to define such terms as "neocon", "Bolshevism", "Trotskyism" and "jingoism" without looking into the dictionary. Judging from your comments this is above your IQ. Of cause, such twerps as you are always lucking in Internet forums, so you are just accepted here as the necessary evil. But you do no belong here. No way. Neither in economic or political discussions.

You can add nothing to the discussion. Actually your political position is the position of a typical neocons and as such is as close to betrayal of American Republic as one can get. If the American people had their way, all our "Neocon overlords" would be in federal prison or Guantanamo Bay, and all their assets seized to pay down the heinous 20 trillion debt their lies and wars have created. Because interests of neocons are not interests of the 300 million of US population. That's why people elected Trump with all his warts.

It is sleazy idiots like you who get us into the current mess. And please tell your daughters that you betrayed them as well -- you endanger them and their children, if they have any. Of course for retired idiots like you nuclear holocaust does not matter. But it does matter for other people. Is it so difficult to understand?

im1dc - , June 15, 2017 at 05:14 AM
Trump/Putin Spin.
JF - , June 15, 2017 at 07:50 AM
Agree, add JohnH and you see a disinformation team. One goal is to undermine the credibility of this blog, so skipping over their entries is what I recommend, unless you want to learn fifth column techniques. Quess that is interesting, but it is trolldpm!
JohnH - , June 15, 2017 at 08:05 AM
The choir of losers continues to sing: 'Putin and Trump colluded' ...just like the right wing sang that Bill Clinton was guilty of all sorts of heinous crimes. And what did they finally get on Bill? Monica.
Christopher H. - , June 15, 2017 at 09:43 AM
They're just lone cranks. If you think they're a disinformation team, you're paranoid. There are a lot of crazy people out there. If you don't understand that fact you need to get out more.

EMichael and PGL love to scold the cranks as much as possible b/c it makes their establishment line sound reasonable. I agree with you. I just ignore them. At least they're keeping busy instead of harassing people offline.

Christopher H. - , June 15, 2017 at 09:54 AM
BTW, now I think Trump is probably going down. He floats idea of firing Mueller. Mueller tells press they're investigating Trump. Meanwhile the Republicans are passing Trumpcare. Trump is moving to replace Yellen. So Mueller will have this list of things Trump and his campaign did. Will Republicans vote to remove Trump? Will it depend upon how the public reacts?
RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 15, 2017 at 09:57 AM
Perhaps they are just attempting to hasten the descent of the Democratic Party establishment consensus towards its inevitable rock bottom, the condition at which all addicts must finally arrive before they are forced to admit that they are the authors of their own failure and the only ones capable of their own rescue.
Christopher H. - , June 15, 2017 at 10:53 AM
To my eyes the Democratic Party establishment consensus doesn't really need much in the way of help. It's pushing on an open door.

Their candidate for Virginia's governor voted for George W. Bush twice?

Their candidate for New Jersey governor is a Goldman Sachs guy?

Way to read the room.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 15, 2017 at 12:59 PM
Exactly! I am in total agreement with you. We are both meaning the same thing, just framing it differently.
libezkova - , June 15, 2017 at 05:30 PM
My God, way too many neocons here.

[Jun 15, 2017] Just 35 percent of the fleet – mostly large bulkers, tankers and container ships – is responsible for 80 percent of shipping's fuel consumption

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc, June 14, 2017 at 03:54 PM

The Reducing Ocean Shipping CO2 Paradox

Hey, maybe they should go back to sails...

http://maritime-executive.com/article/big-ships-account-for-most-of-shippings-co2

"Big Ships Account for 80 Percent of Shipping's CO2"

By Paul Benecki...2017-06-13...20:16:44

"At Nor-Shipping 2017, researchers with DNV GL released a study that points to the difficulty of reducing the industry's CO2 output below current levels. The problem is structural: big cargo vessels emit 80 percent of shipping's greenhouse gases, but they're also the industry's most efficient ships, and squeezing out additional improvements may be a challenge.

Just 35 percent of the fleet – mostly large bulkers, tankers and container ships – is responsible for 80 percent of shipping's fuel consumption, according to Christos Chryssakis, DNV GL's group leader for greener shipping. Unfortunately, these are already the fleet's most efficient vessels per ton-mile. "This is a paradox, but if we want to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we actually have to improve the best performers," Chryssakis says."...

libezkova - , June 14, 2017 at 05:58 PM
That's a valid observation.

Similar situation with trucking, but in the USA around one half of gas consumption goes into private cars. So by improving efficiency of private fleet by 100% you can cut total consumption only by 25%. All this talk about electrical cars like Tesla Model 3 right now is mostly cheap talk. They by-and-large belong to the luxury segment.

[Jun 15, 2017] Keynes point. Cut the deficit in the good times, spend money in the bad times. Austerity doesnt work, and this was proved as Keynes economics brought the US out of the great depression

Notable quotes:
"... "This legislation takes a small but important step toward eliminating the tremendous regulatory burden imposed on financial institutions One principal reason banks are unable to make loans is the bewildering array of statutory and regulatory restrictions and paperwork requirements imposed by Congress and the regulatory agencies. While a case can certainly be made that every law and regulation is intended to serve a laudable purpose, the aggregate effect of the rapidly increasing regulatory burden imposed on banks is to cause them to devote substantial time, energy and money to compliance rather than meeting the credit needs of the community." ..."
Jun 15, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al , June 14, 2017 at 10:52 am
Successive Conservative governments have forced significant cuts on county/city councils who have passed them on by reducing or stopping services. Looking at the news on Google Nudes UK we find out that there have long been significant concerns about the fire worthiness of many council run (though often privately managed) tower blocks and state housing. This will only be bad for the Conservatives however they try to spin it. It's clear proof that ass-terity kills.

I came across a couple of articles in The London Economic that pointed out the last Labor government public spending was at a record low of 37% of GDP, the lowest of any government since 1945 and also perforating Conservative propaganda about spending. Found it:

The London Economic: Next time someone says 'Money Tree' send them this
http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/tle-pick/next-time-someone-says-money-tree-send/05/06/

This underlines Keynes point. Cut the deficit in the good times, spend money in the bad times. Austerity doesn't work, and this was proved as Keynes economics brought the US out of the great depression .

####

And don't forget to click through to the linked '5 Tory Narratives that simply aren't true' : http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/economics/five-labour-narratives-simply-arent-true/31/05/

As for Russia, it stockpiled cash from high energy sales that allowed it to weather financial crises and sanctions. So, who are the morons now?

marknesop , June 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm
Well, for starters, John McCain is a moron who argued strenuously , in the initial slide of the global financial crisis, for further banking-industry deregulation.

"This legislation takes a small but important step toward eliminating the tremendous regulatory burden imposed on financial institutions One principal reason banks are unable to make loans is the bewildering array of statutory and regulatory restrictions and paperwork requirements imposed by Congress and the regulatory agencies. While a case can certainly be made that every law and regulation is intended to serve a laudable purpose, the aggregate effect of the rapidly increasing regulatory burden imposed on banks is to cause them to devote substantial time, energy and money to compliance rather than meeting the credit needs of the community."

You know, I don't believe the great majority of people are aware just what simpletons their leaders are. We tend to think they have benefited from the very best educations – which, in the main, they have – and that consequently they are a great deal smarter than everyone else; that's why they're leaders. I'm sure each has a certain sector or subject in which they are unusually bright and in which their counsel is wise and informed. But overall, they are no smarter than you or I and every bit as prone to listen to bad advice or partisan gossip if it suits what they already believe. Our statues have feet of clay.

Speaking of McCain, remember when he exuberantly tweeted "Dear Vlad; the Arab Spring is coming to a neighbourhood near you"?

I liked Adajo's response, albeit it came three years later: "Dear John, let's recap: Russia is stronger than ever, and Mr. Vlad dominates. You destroyed Ukraine for nothing."

[Jun 14, 2017] America Last instead of Amerca first by Tom Engelhardt

Notable quotes:
"... Meanwhile, at home, despite all that wealth, despite billionaires galore , including the one running for president, despite the transnational corporate heaven inhabited by Google and Facebook and Apple and the rest of the crew, parts of this country and its infrastructure were starting to feel distinctly (to use a word from another universe) Third Worldish. He sensed that, too. He regularly said things like this: "We spent six trillion dollars in the Middle East, we got nothing And we have an obsolete plane system. We have obsolete airports. We have obsolete trains. We have bad roads. Airports." And this : "Our airports are like from a third-world country." And on the nation's crumbling infrastructure , he couldn't have been more on the mark. ..."
"... Admittedly, that other superpower of the Cold War era, the Soviet Union, imploded in 1991, which was about the fastest way imaginable to leave the global stage. Still, despite the " evil empire " talk of that era, the USSR was always the secondary, the weaker of the two superpowers. It was never Rome, or Spain, or Great Britain. ..."
"... It wasn't he, after all, who gave the U.S. heartland an increasingly Third World feel. It wasn't he who spent those trillions of dollars so disastrously on invasions and occupations, dead-end wars, drone strikes and special ops raids, reconstruction and deconstruction in a never-ending war on terror that today looks more like a war for the spread of terror. It wasn't he who created the growing inequality gap in this country or produced all those billionaires amid a population that increasingly felt left in the lurch. It wasn't he who hiked college tuitions or increased the debt levels of the young or set roads and bridges to crumbling and created the conditions for Third World-style airports. ..."
"... If both the American global and domestic systems hadn't been rotting out before Donald Trump arrived on the scene, that "again" of his wouldn't have worked. Thought of another way, when the U.S. was truly at the height of its economic clout and power, American leaders felt no need to speak incessantly of how "indispensable" or "exceptional" the country was. It seemed too self-evident to mention. Someday, some historian may use those very words in the mouths of American presidents and other politicians (and their claims , for instance, that the U.S. military was "the finest fighting force that the world has ever known") as a set of increasingly defensive markers for measuring the decline of American power. ..."
"... Mr. Trump made it clear that he loves the military and loves his generals. Oh well. When it takes up over 60% of the annual budget, what's not to love. The 1% won't be homeless or hungry, the tax code for which they lobbied is in place and secure. Individuals below them continue to take on debt. The nation continues to do the same. I sincerely desire that this country does go to hell in a handbasket even though I love the country. ..."
"... I don't like Capitalist Imperialists. I don't like usury. Like all "Great World Powers before them, the U.S. is set up to fail. As someone wrote here, before. Most Generals don't have good records. My guess is that same lacking may be pervasive. Every government program has failed. Every war they have created for the U.S. to fight in has failed. Every "reform " has been another fleecing of the worker. In recent decades, the money Exchangers have been given free license to steal from those who gambled for a better life. They would put the great J.P. Morgan to shame with their computer-generated theft schemes. "Now you see it. Now, you dont!" That will become America, land that I love. ..."
Jun 14, 2017 | www.unz.com

In its own inside-out, upside-down way, it's almost wondrous to behold. As befits our president's wildest dreams, it may even prove to be a record for the ages, one for the history books. He was, after all, the candidate who sensed it first. When those he was running against, like the rest of Washington's politicians, were still insisting that the United States remained at the top of its game, not an - but the - " indispensable nation ," the only truly " exceptional " one on the face of the Earth, he said nothing of the sort. He campaigned on America's decline, on this country's increasing lack of exceptionality, its potential dispensability. He ran on the single word "again" - as in "make America great again " - because (the implication was) it just isn't anymore. And he swore that he and he alone was the best shot Americans, or at least non-immigrant white Americans, had at ever seeing the best of days again.

In that sense, he was our first declinist candidate for president and if that didn't tell you something during the election season, it should have. No question about it, he hit a chord, rang a bell, because out in the heartland it was possible to sense a deepening reality that wasn't evident in Washington. The wealthiest country on the planet, the most militarily powerful in the history of well, anybody, anywhere, anytime (or so we were repeatedly told ) couldn't win a war, not even with the investment of trillions of taxpayer dollars, couldn't do anything but spread chaos by force of arms.

Meanwhile, at home, despite all that wealth, despite billionaires galore , including the one running for president, despite the transnational corporate heaven inhabited by Google and Facebook and Apple and the rest of the crew, parts of this country and its infrastructure were starting to feel distinctly (to use a word from another universe) Third Worldish. He sensed that, too. He regularly said things like this: "We spent six trillion dollars in the Middle East, we got nothing And we have an obsolete plane system. We have obsolete airports. We have obsolete trains. We have bad roads. Airports." And this : "Our airports are like from a third-world country." And on the nation's crumbling infrastructure , he couldn't have been more on the mark.

In parts of the U.S., white working-class and middle-class Americans could sense that the future was no longer theirs, that their children would not have a shot at what they had had, that they themselves increasingly didn't have a shot at what they had had. The American Dream seemed to be gaining an almost nightmarish sheen, given that the real value of the average wage of a worker hadn't increased since the 1970s; that the cost of a college education had gone through the roof and the educational debt burden for children with dreams of getting ahead was now staggering; that unions were cratering ; that income inequality was at a historic high ; and well, you know the story, really you do. In essence, for them the famed American Dream seemed ever more like someone else's trademarked property.

Indispensable? Exceptional? This country? Not anymore. Not as they were experiencing it.

And because of that, Donald Trump won the lottery. He answered the $64,000 question . (If you're not of a certain age, Google it, but believe me it's a reference in our president's memory book.) He entered the Oval Office with almost 50% of the vote and a fervent base of support for his promised program of doing it all over again, 1950s-style .

It had been one hell of a pitch from the businessman billionaire. He had promised a future of stratospheric terrificness , of greatness on an historic scale. He promised to keep the evil ones - the rapists , job thieves, and terrorists - away, to wall them out or toss them out or ban them from ever traveling here. He also promised to set incredible records, as only a mega-businessman like him could conceivably do, the sort of all-American records this country hadn't seen in a long, long time.

And early as it is in the Trump era, it seems as if, on one score at least, he could deliver something for the record books going back to the times when those recording the acts of rulers were still scratching them out in clay or wax . At this point, there's at least a chance that Donald Trump might preside over the most precipitous decline of a truly dominant power in history, one only recently considered at the height of its glory. It could prove to be a fall for the ages. Admittedly, that other superpower of the Cold War era, the Soviet Union, imploded in 1991, which was about the fastest way imaginable to leave the global stage. Still, despite the " evil empire " talk of that era, the USSR was always the secondary, the weaker of the two superpowers. It was never Rome, or Spain, or Great Britain.

When it comes to the United States, we're talking about a country that not so long ago saw itself as the only great power left on planet Earth, "the lone superpower." It was the one still standing, triumphant, at the end of a history of great power rivalry that went back to a time when the wooden warships of various European states first broke out into a larger world and began to conquer it. It stood by itself at, as its proponents liked to claim at the time, the end of history .

Applying Hard Power to a Failing World

....While, in the Trump era, a drive to cut domestic spending of every sort is evident, more money is still slated to go to the military, already funded at levels not reached by combinations of other major powers.

Given the last 15 years of history , it's not hard to imagine what's likely to result from the further elevation of military power: disaster. This is especially true because Donald Trump has appointed to key positions in his administration a crew of generals who spent the last decade and a half fighting America's catastrophic wars across the Greater Middle East. They are not only notoriously incapable of thinking outside the box about the application of military power, but faced with the crisis of failed wars and failing states , of spreading terror movements and a growing refugee crisis across that crucial region, they can evidently only imagine one solution to just about any problem: more of the same. More troops , more mini-surges , more military trainers and advisers, more air strikes , more drone strikes more .

After a decade and a half of such thinking we already know perfectly well where this ends - in further failure, more chaos and suffering, but above all in an inability of the U.S. to effectively apply its hard power anywhere in any way that doesn't make matters worse. Since, in addition, the Trump administration is filled with Iranophobes, including a president who has only recently fused himself to the Saudi royal family in an attempt to further isolate and undermine Iran, the possibility that a military-first version of American foreign policy will spread further is only growing .

... ... ...

The First American Laster?

If a Trump presidency achieves a record for the ages when it comes to the precipitous decline of the American global system, little as The Donald ever cares to share credit for anything, he will undoubtedly have to share it for such an achievement. It's true that kings, emperors, and autocrats, the top dogs of any moment, prefer to take all the credit for the "records" set in their time. When we look back, however, it's likely that President Trump will be seen as having given a tottering system that necessary push. It will undoubtedly be clear enough by then that the U.S., seemingly at the height of any power's power in 1991 when the Soviet Union disappeared, began heading for the exits soon thereafter, still enwreathed in self-congratulation and triumphalism.

Had this not been so, Donald Trump would never have won the 2016 election. It wasn't he, after all, who gave the U.S. heartland an increasingly Third World feel. It wasn't he who spent those trillions of dollars so disastrously on invasions and occupations, dead-end wars, drone strikes and special ops raids, reconstruction and deconstruction in a never-ending war on terror that today looks more like a war for the spread of terror. It wasn't he who created the growing inequality gap in this country or produced all those billionaires amid a population that increasingly felt left in the lurch. It wasn't he who hiked college tuitions or increased the debt levels of the young or set roads and bridges to crumbling and created the conditions for Third World-style airports.

If both the American global and domestic systems hadn't been rotting out before Donald Trump arrived on the scene, that "again" of his wouldn't have worked. Thought of another way, when the U.S. was truly at the height of its economic clout and power, American leaders felt no need to speak incessantly of how "indispensable" or "exceptional" the country was. It seemed too self-evident to mention. Someday, some historian may use those very words in the mouths of American presidents and other politicians (and their claims , for instance, that the U.S. military was "the finest fighting force that the world has ever known") as a set of increasingly defensive markers for measuring the decline of American power.

So here's the question: When the Trump years (months?) come to an end, will the U.S. be not the planet's most exceptional land, but a pariah nation? Will that "again" still be the story of the year, the decade, the century? Will the last American Firster turn out to have been the first American Laster? Will it truly be one for the record books?

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture . He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com . His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World .

restless94110 June 13, 2017 at 9:56 pm GMT

This lunatic keeps on coming up with new insanities. He appears to be saying that because Trump is withdrawing from the globalist agenda, that makes him a bad guy, and furthermore, it puts America last. Because we will lose our "soft" influence, Trump is making America "last."

Well, I swan! In all my days, I never thought I would live to see a liberal spout such utter, misguided horseshit.

Tom, the lunatic, seems to believe that if America has no soft power anymore, then all they will have is hard power. Message to Tom: what has been being used in the World by the United States in the past 15 years, hell, in the past 65 years? Ever hear of world events, Tom? This guy. He's so old he's sounding like John McCain. Are you ok, buddy? Maybe you should get an MRI to check for brain rot.

I'll save you the funds. You do have brain rot. And this stuff you write is rotten to the core.

Renoman June 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm GMT

I can't quite see how getting out of shitty trade deals and cutting back on that giant wad of goo that is NATO is going to wreck America? Increasing military spending seems stupid to me but it may be a stop gap to maintain the economy during the transition to a Public Works phase which the Country badly needs. As to the Wall and immigration in general how can anyone not see the turmoil it is causing pretty well everywhere else and not want to keep that from coming here? In an era of decreasing employment we do not need more of the great unwashed? If we must import help let's choose the ones with the brains and some cash! The last twenty years of globalism have taken a big bite out of everyone but the very rich, enough of this crap, make the changes or there will be a civil war! Naa, I think the author is dead wrong.

Sowhat June 14, 2017 at 12:21 am GMT

One third of the population, the "experts" estimate, are mentally ill. I don't have an incling whether the restless expat lives in a glass house or not but maturity or, rather, immaturity OR tequila may be in his soupy criticism. Throwing stones in the form of personal insult toward a writer? I don't know. Thanks to Mr. Unz, many writers get a shot at making their point, as I have read, here. I would disagree with restless and Tom, but not completely.

Mr. Trump made it clear that he loves the military and loves his generals. Oh well. When it takes up over 60% of the annual budget, what's not to love. The 1% won't be homeless or hungry, the tax code for which they lobbied is in place and secure. Individuals below them continue to take on debt. The nation continues to do the same. I sincerely desire that this country does go to hell in a handbasket even though I love the country.

I don't like Capitalist Imperialists. I don't like usury. Like all "Great World Powers before them, the U.S. is set up to fail. As someone wrote here, before. Most Generals don't have good records. My guess is that same lacking may be pervasive. Every government program has failed. Every war they have created for the U.S. to fight in has failed. Every "reform " has been another fleecing of the worker. In recent decades, the money Exchangers have been given free license to steal from those who gambled for a better life. They would put the great J.P. Morgan to shame with their computer-generated theft schemes. "Now you see it. Now, you dont!" That will become America, land that I love.

[Jun 14, 2017] Secret societies, Emperor's New Clothes, obvious lies, crimes

Notable quotes:
"... The US is a literal rogue state empire led by neocolonial looting liars. ..."
"... Rogue state empire ..."
Jun 14, 2017 | www.washingtonsblog.com

The societies try to be "secret," but their lies and crimes are Emperor's New Clothes obvious for anyone caring to apply a high school level of education to look:

[Jun 14, 2017] Stock bubble? Shiller PE Ratio is around 30 while annual mean is less then 17

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne June 14, 2017 at 03:07 PM

June 14, 2017

Valuation

The Shiller 10-year price-earnings ratio * is currently 29.86, so the inverse or the earnings rate is 3.35%. The dividend yield is 1.90%. So an expected yearly return over the coming 10 years would be 3.35 + 1.90 or 5.25% provided the price-earnings ratio stays the same and before investment costs.

Against the 5.25% yearly expected return on stock over the coming 10 years, the current 10-year Treasury bond yield is 2.13%.

The risk premium for stocks is 5.25 - 2.13 or 3.12%.

* http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/data.htm

anne, June 14, 2017 at 03:08 PM
http://www.multpl.com/shiller-pe/

Ten Year Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings Ratio, 1881-2017

(Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

June 14, 2017 - PE Ratio ( 29.86)

Annual Mean ( 16.76)
Annual Median ( 16.12)

-- Robert Shiller

anne - , June 14, 2017 at 03:08 PM
http://www.multpl.com/s-p-500-dividend-yield/

Dividend Yield, 1881-2017

(Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

June 14, 2017 - Div Yield ( 1.90)

Annual Mean ( 4.38)
Annual Median ( 4.32)

-- Robert Shiller

libezkova -> anne... June 14, 2017 at 03:35 PM

Low oil prices might have been the factor here.

[Jun 14, 2017] Brad Delong is peddling his insane neoliberal nonsense again.

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Paine , June 14, 2017 at 08:26 AM

Btw

Brad has a fine little logic ox calculation
This is his best side
The deflection point in his zero lower bound graph
That shows a fed helpless as the real rate climbs as the deflation rate climbs ...
and his little set of equations that generate
A run away deflation
Using a Harmless looking Taylor rule
with too low...for his logic toy system...
(2%) A target inflation rate

If

The neutral rate of the system is dwelling down around one percent

Paine - , June 14, 2017 at 08:29 AM
Brad has his uses for sure

Recall the similar logical toy system he built and manipulated for his mentor Larry Summers

That showed
The benefits of public investment in a period of private doldrums

Paine - , June 14, 2017 at 08:32 AM
Delong, J. Bradford, and Lawrence H. Summers. 2012. "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 44 (1)


Very much a fun little gadget

Paine - , June 14, 2017 at 08:36 AM
Abstract

In a depressed economy, with short-term nominal interest rates
at their zero lower bound, ample cyclical unemployment, and excess capacity,
increased government purchases would be neither offset by the monetary
authority raising interest rates nor neutralized by supply-side bottlenecks.
Then even a small amount of hysteresis-even a small shadow cast on future
potential output by the cyclical downturn-means, by simple arithmetic, that
expansionary fiscal policy is likely to be self-financing. Even if it is not, it is
highly likely to pass the sensible benefit-cost test of raising the present value
of future potential output. Thus, at the zero bound, where the central bank
cannot or will not but in any event does not perform its full role in stabilization
policy, fiscal policy has the stabilization policy mission that others have
convincingly argued it lacks in normal times. Whereas many economists
have assumed that the path of potential output is invariant to even a deep
and prolonged downturn, the available evidence raises a strong fear that
hysteresis is indeed a factor. Although nothing in our analysis calls into question
the importance of sustainable fiscal policies, it strongly suggests the need
for caution regarding the pace of fiscal consolidation.

Yes yes my fellow home makers
If macro conditions are right ...
even a small Amount of hysteresis can turn the project into a self financing gig

anne - , June 14, 2017 at 11:36 AM
https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/fiscal-policy-in-a-depressed-economy/

March, 2012

Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy
By J. Bradford DeLong and Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

In a depressed economy, with short-term nominal interest rates at their zero lower bound, ample cyclical unemployment, and excess capacity, increased government purchases would be neither offset by the monetary authority raising interest rates nor neutralized by supply-side bottlenecks. Then even a small amount of hysteresis-even a small shadow cast on future potential output by the cyclical downturn-means, by simple arithmetic, that expansionary fiscal policy is likely to be self-financing. Even if it is not, it is highly likely to pass the sensible benefit-cost test of raising the present value of future potential output. Thus, at the zero bound, where the central bank cannot or will not but in any event does not perform its full role in stabilization policy, fiscal policy has the stabilization policy mission that others have convincingly argued it lacks in normal times. Whereas many economists have assumed that the path of potential output is invariant to even a deep and prolonged downturn, the available evidence raises a strong fear that hysteresis is indeed a factor. Although nothing in our analysis calls into question the importance of sustainable fiscal policies, it strongly suggests the need for caution regarding the pace of fiscal consolidation.

anne - , June 14, 2017 at 11:46 AM
Thus, at the zero bound, where the central bank cannot or will not but in any event does not perform its full role in stabilization policy, fiscal policy has the stabilization policy mission that others have convincingly argued it lacks in normal times....

-- DeLong and Summers

[ I find such a rationale for fiscal policy to foster growth only convincing in a limited and possible even politically self-defeating way, and would argue the rationale importantly undervalues fiscal policy as a growth driver. The paper is clear and important though as a beginning rationale for fiscal policy use. ]

anne - , June 14, 2017 at 11:52 AM
Correcting:

I find such a rationale for fiscal policy to foster growth only convincing in a limited and possibly even politically self-defeating way, and would argue the rationale importantly undervalues fiscal policy as a growth driver. The paper is clear and important though as a beginning rationale for fiscal policy use.

Tom aka Rusty - , June 14, 2017 at 09:20 AM
Brad is peddling his insane nonsense again.

http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/06/no-it-is-really-not-harder-to-make-the-case-for-free-trade-these-days.html#more

Both members of a family must be injured by trade for there to be an injury - stupid.

Poorly paid service workers are ok because they can buy cheap Chinese merchandise (like that makes up for poor benefits and no retirement).

His neoliberal freak flag is showing some wear - and even Krugman knows better.

[Jun 14, 2017] In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc, June 14, 2017 at 08:59 AM

Timely Thought of the Day:

"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

George Orwell

anne , June 14, 2017 at 11:49 AM
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

There is no reason to think that this passage, however interesting, was written or spoken by George Orwell.

Fred C. Dobbs - , June 14, 2017 at 12:21 PM
More on this:

In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling
the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/02/24/truth-revolutionary/

im1dc - , June 14, 2017 at 02:27 PM
Hey, "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" remains a great thought for today, whoever said it.
ilsm - , June 14, 2017 at 02:59 PM
orwell also did not actually say 'we should love those rough men in the night who slaughter for us so we can sleep in 68 degree air conditioning bc the Saudi remain in power........'

And GC Scott's Patton's speech was a compilation.......

im1dc - , June 14, 2017 at 02:26 PM
My copy of Barlett's does not list this Orwell quote and Fred's link pretty well dispells it from being definitively an Orwell quote, although not absolutely.

It is possible that he did SAY IT to some group or other in England, rather than write it in one of his books, essays, or articles and that is how it survives today with his attribution.

Such attribution is not unheard of for older English authors. Apparently they drank a lot in pubs and clubs.

Keep in mind that even today the English don't 100% agree that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's plays or poems, at least not without help from another.

libezkova - , June 14, 2017 at 03:21 PM
A similar saying was used by Ron Paul in 2008-"Truth is treason in the empire of lies."

http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/in_a_time_of_universal_deceit_telling_the_truth_is_a_revolutionary_act/

== quote==
Entry from August 15, 2011

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act"


"In a time/state of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" is a statement often attributed to author George Orwell (1903-1950). The saying doesn't appear in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1948), his essay "Politics and the English Language" (1946), or any other of Orwell's writings. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1984 (when it was attributed to George Orwell).

A similar saying was used by author and presidential candidate Ron Paul in 2008-"Truth is treason in the empire of lies."

[Jun 14, 2017] Krugman as a less then necessary additional singer in the shrill liberal chorus

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , June 13, 2017 at 12:18 PM

https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/macroeconomics-the-simple-and-the-fancy/

June 12, 2017

Macroeconomics: The Simple and the Fancy
By Paul Krugman

Noah Smith has a nice summation * of his critique of macroeconomics, which mainly comes down, as I read it, as an appeal for researchers to stay close to the ground. That's definitely good advice for young researchers.

But what about economists trying to provide useful advice, directly or indirectly, to policy makers, who need to make decisions based on educated guesses about the whole system? Smith says, "go slow, allow central bankers to use judgment and simple models in the meantime." That would be better than a lot of what academic macroeconomists do in practice, which is to castigate central bankers and other policymakers for not using elaborate models that don't work. But is there really no role for smart academics to help out in this process? And if so, what does this say about the utility of what the profession does?

The thing is, those simple models have done pretty darn well since 2008 - and central bankers who used them, like Ben Bernanke, did a lot better than central bankers like Jean-Claude Trichet who based their judgements on something else. So surely at least part of the training of macroeconomists should prepare them to be helpful in applying simple models, maybe even in making those simple models better.

Reading Smith, I found myself remembering an old line ** from Robert Solow in defense of "fancy" economic theorizing:

"In economics I like a man to have mastered the fancy theory before I trust him with simple theory because high-powered economics seems to be such an excellent school for the skillful use of low-powered economics."

OK, can anyone make that case about modern macroeconomics? With a straight face? In practice, it has often seemed that expertise in high-powered macroeconomics - mainly meaning dynamic stochastic general equilibrium - positively incapacitates its possessors from the use of low-powered macroeconomics, largely IS-LM and its derivatives.

I don't want to make a crude functional argument here: research that advances knowledge doesn't have to provide an immediate practical payoff. But the experience since 2008 has strongly suggested that the research program that dominated macro for the previous generation actually impaired the ability of economists to provide useful advice in the moment. Mastering the fancy stuff made economists useless at the simple stuff.

A more modest program would, in part, help diminish this harm. But it would also be really helpful if macroeconomists relearned the idea that simple aggregate models can, in fact, be useful.

* http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.fr/2017/06/summing-up-my-thoughts-on-macroeconomics.html

** https://books.google.com/books?id=7ABgM8-ExXsC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=solow+simple+fancy+economics+trust&source=bl&ots=XflZaM5HLV&sig=vsqDgLLShG5gBda-NBTxyjmclI0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSxZ6ShLnUAhVMNT4KHW9VBIUQ6AEIOjAE#v=onepage&q=solow%20simple%20fancy%20economics%20trust&f=false

Christopher H. - , June 13, 2017 at 12:20 PM
I don't understand why you feel the need to put a link from today's link list into a comment, without any comment from you.
Paine - , June 13, 2017 at 02:05 PM
Often we can't activate the articles because we don't have a NYT sub
Or have used up our free monthly quota

Besides this blog post on macro
Is a gem !

Worth a thousand copies

Christopher H. - , June 13, 2017 at 02:58 PM
fair enough.
$mart $$$$ Behind The Curve - , June 14, 2017 at 04:37 AM
https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Bills/AB/AB374_EN.pdf
anne - , June 13, 2017 at 12:50 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_stochastic_general_equilibrium

Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium modeling is a branch of applied general equilibrium theory that is influential in contemporary macroeconomics. The DSGE methodology attempts to explain aggregate economic phenomena, such as economic growth, business cycles, and the effects of monetary and fiscal policy, on the basis of macroeconomic models derived from microeconomic principles.

Paine - , June 13, 2017 at 02:11 PM
Too general

some variants include different assumptions
But common assumptions include

No banks
No nominal prices
Micro founding with a single representative agent
An infinite time horizon
A fixed inter temporal fiscal budget
Continuous market clearance
No private debt

On and on one must go

anne - , June 13, 2017 at 04:15 PM
DGSE:

Too general

some variants include different assumptions
But common assumptions include

No banks
No nominal prices
Micro founding with a single representative agent
An infinite time horizon
A fixed inter temporal fiscal budget
Continuous market clearance
No private debt

[ Perfect. ]

anne - , June 13, 2017 at 12:51 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IS%E2%80%93LM_model

The IS–LM model, or Hicks–Hansen model, is a macroeconomic tool that demonstrates the relationship between interest rates and real output, in the goods and services market and the money market (also known as the assets market). The intersection of the "investment–saving" (IS) and "liquidity preference–money supply" (LM) curves is the "general equilibrium" where there is simultaneous equilibrium in both markets. Two equivalent interpretations are possible: first, the IS–LM model explains changes in national income when the price level is fixed in the short-run; second, the IS–LM model shows why the aggregate demand curve shifts. Hence, this tool is sometimes used not only to analyse the fluctuations of the economy but also to find appropriate stabilisation policies.

The model was developed by John Hicks in 1937, and later extended by Alvin Hansen, as a mathematical representation of Keynesian macroeconomic theory. Between the 1940s and mid-1970s, it was the leading framework of macroeconomic analysis. While it has been largely absent from macroeconomic research ever since, it is still the backbone of many introductory macroeconomics textbooks.

anne - , June 13, 2017 at 02:00 PM
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/is-lmentary/

October 9, 2011

IS-LMentary
By Paul Krugman

A number of readers, both at this blog and other places, have been asking for an explanation of what IS-LM is all about. Fair enough – this blogosphere conversation has been an exchange among insiders, and probably a bit baffling to normal human beings (which is why I have been labeling my posts "wonkish").

[IS-LM stands for investment-savings, liquidity-money -- which will make a lot of sense if you keep reading.]

So, the first thing you need to know is that there are multiple correct ways of explaining IS-LM. That's because it's a model of several interacting markets, and you can enter from multiple directions, any one of which is a valid starting point.

My favorite of these approaches is to think of IS-LM as a way to reconcile two seemingly incompatible views about what determines interest rates. One view says that the interest rate is determined by the supply of and demand for savings – the "loanable funds" approach. The other says that the interest rate is determined by the tradeoff between bonds, which pay interest, and money, which doesn't, but which you can use for transactions and therefore has special value due to its liquidity – the "liquidity preference" approach. (Yes, some money-like things pay interest, but normally not as much as less liquid assets.)

How can both views be true? Because we are at minimum talking about *two* variables, not one – GDP as well as the interest rate. And the adjustment of GDP is what makes both loanable funds and liquidity preference hold at the same time....

Paine - , June 13, 2017 at 02:04 PM
Yes yes yes

U admonished my humble self
For blasting krugman as a less then necessary additional singer in the shrill liberal chorus

But here is where he belongs

This is a giant strike at the last generation
Of the on going macro theorist academic clique

Mr and ms university
Tear down that model


That is the new classical model and it's pitiful off spring new Keynesianism

anne - , June 13, 2017 at 02:10 PM
Agreed completely.
Julio - , June 14, 2017 at 07:21 AM
my humble self

[links?]

EMichael - Julio ... , June 14, 2017 at 07:27 AM
hehehehehe
Julio - , June 14, 2017 at 09:24 AM
Yes, this is PK at his best, clear and understandable, and with his professional standing backing up his explanations. Being a layman, I have learned a lot about economics, and its use to analyze proposed legislation, from his columns and blogs.

[Jun 14, 2017] Economist's View Links for 06-09-17

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne - , June 12, 2017 at 03:01 PM
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/is-lmentary/

October 9, 2011

IS-LMentary
By Paul Krugman

A number of readers, both at this blog and other places, have been asking for an explanation of what IS-LM is all about. Fair enough – this blogosphere conversation has been an exchange among insiders, and probably a bit baffling to normal human beings (which is why I have been labeling my posts "wonkish").

[IS-LM stands for investment-savings, liquidity-money -- which will make a lot of sense if you keep reading.]

So, the first thing you need to know is that there are multiple correct ways of explaining IS-LM. That's because it's a model of several interacting markets, and you can enter from multiple directions, any one of which is a valid starting point.

My favorite of these approaches is to think of IS-LM as a way to reconcile two seemingly incompatible views about what determines interest rates. One view says that the interest rate is determined by the supply of and demand for savings – the "loanable funds" approach. The other says that the interest rate is determined by the tradeoff between bonds, which pay interest, and money, which doesn't, but which you can use for transactions and therefore has special value due to its liquidity – the "liquidity preference" approach. (Yes, some money-like things pay interest, but normally not as much as less liquid assets.)

How can both views be true? Because we are at minimum talking about *two* variables, not one – GDP as well as the interest rate. And the adjustment of GDP is what makes both loanable funds and liquidity preference hold at the same time.

Start with the loanable funds side. Suppose that desired savings and desired investment spending are currently equal, and that something causes the interest rate to fall. Must it rise back to its original level? Not necessarily. An excess of desired investment over desired savings can lead to economic expansion, which drives up income. And since some of the rise in income will be saved – and assuming that investment demand doesn't rise by as much – a sufficiently large rise in GDP can restore equality between desired savings and desired investment at the new interest rate.

That means that loanable funds doesn't determine the interest rate per se; it determines a set of possible combinations of the interest rate and GDP, with lower rates corresponding to higher GDP. And that's the IS curve.

Meanwhile, people deciding how to allocate their wealth are making tradeoffs between money and bonds. There's a downward-sloping demand for money – the higher the interest rate, the more people will skimp on liquidity in favor of higher returns. Suppose temporarily that the Federal Reserve holds the money supply fixed; in that case the interest rate must be such as to match that demand to the quantity of money. And the Fed can move the interest rate by changing the money supply: increase the supply of money and the interest rate must fall to induce people to hold a larger quantity.

Here too, however, GDP must be taken into account: a higher level of GDP will mean more transactions, and hence higher demand for money, other things equal. So higher GDP will mean that the interest rate needed to match supply and demand for money must rise. This means that like loanable funds, liquidity preference doesn't determine the interest rate per se; it defines a set of possible combinations of the interest rate and GDP – the LM curve.

And that's IS-LM:

[Graph]

The point where the curves cross determines both GDP and the interest rate, and at that point both loanable funds and liquidity preference are valid.

What use is this framework? First of all, it helps you avoid fallacies like the notion that because savings must equal investment, government spending cannot lead to a rise in total spending – which right away puts us above the level of argument that famous Chicago professors somehow find convincing. And it also gets you past confusions like the notion that government deficits, by driving up interest rates, can actually cause the economy to contract.

Most spectacularly, IS-LM turns out to be very useful for thinking about extreme conditions like the present, in which private demand has fallen so far that the economy remains depressed even at a zero interest rate. In that case the picture looks like this:

[Graph]

Why is the LM curve flat at zero? Because if the interest rate fell below zero, people would just hold cash instead of bonds. At the margin, then, money is just being held as a store of value, and changes in the money supply have no effect. This is, of course, the liquidity trap.

And IS-LM makes some predictions about what happens in the liquidity trap. Budget deficits shift IS to the right; in the liquidity trap that has no effect on the interest rate. Increases in the money supply do nothing at all.

That's why in early 2009, when the Wall Street Journal, the Austrians, and the other usual suspects were screaming about soaring rates and runaway inflation, those who understood IS-LM were predicting that interest rates would stay low and that even a tripling of the monetary base would not be inflationary. Events since then have, as I see it, been a huge vindication for the IS-LM types – despite some headline inflation driven by commodity prices – and a huge failure for the soaring-rates-and-inflation crowd.

Yes, IS-LM simplifies things a lot, and can't be taken as the final word. But it has done what good economic models are supposed to do: make sense of what we see, and make highly useful predictions about what would happen in unusual circumstances. Economists who understand IS-LM have done vastly better in tracking our current crisis than people who don't.

anne - , June 12, 2017 at 03:02 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_stochastic_general_equilibrium

Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium modeling is a branch of applied general equilibrium theory that is influential in contemporary macroeconomics. The DSGE methodology attempts to explain aggregate economic phenomena, such as economic growth, business cycles, and the effects of monetary and fiscal policy, on the basis of macroeconomic models derived from microeconomic principles.

Paine - , June 13, 2017 at 01:50 PM
This on academic macro since the seventies
Is the Paul krugman I respect

His hysterics about the trump menace ?

Not so useful

Paul leave that rote tub thumping to hacks

Paine - , June 13, 2017 at 01:50 PM
"expertise in high-powered macroeconomics - mainly meaning dynamic stochastic general equilibrium - positively incapacitates its possessors from the use of low-powered macroeconomics, largely IS-LM and its derivatives."

Amen

[Jun 14, 2017] A 21st-Century Marxism: The Revolutionary Possibilities of the "New Economy"

Jun 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

RGC , June 13, 2017 at 08:42 AM

June 13, 2017

A 21st-Century Marxism: The Revolutionary Possibilities of the "New Economy"

by Chris Wright

" Marx was mainly an analyst of capitalism, not a prophet or planner of socialism or communism. He did, however, predict socialist revolution, even arguing that it was inevitable and would inevitably take the form of a "dictatorship of the proletariat."

This dictatorship, supposedly, would implement total economic and social reconstruction even in the face of massive opposition from the capitalist class, in effect drawing up blueprints to plan out a "new society" that would, somehow, on the basis of sheer political will, overcome the authoritarian and exploitative legacies of capitalism.

Through necessarily coercive means, the government would somehow plan and establish economic democracy, in the long run creating the conditions for a "withering away of the state." How such a withering away would actually happen was left a mystery; and none of Marx's followers ever succeeded in clearing the matter up."

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/13/a-21st-century-marxism-the-revolutionary-possibilities-of-the-new-economy/

[Jun 14, 2017] Comeys memos was shrewd political game

Jun 14, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

fresno dan , June 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

"Comey's memos were not contemporaneous notes done in the ordinary course of business. These were exceptions to his standard operating procedure being created as part of a deliberate plan to generate self-serving material for him to use against the president. Their "revelations" should be accorded extreme skepticism rather than evidentiary weight. He did not inform his superiors after any of the meetings or memos, because, contrary to his testimony, he knew they would have immediately created more distance between him and the president, and that would have ended the game he was playing" [Mark Penn, The Hill]. One of the more entertaining features of the current zeitgeist is that people I heartily dislike keep coming up with perceptive, well-reasoned arguments.
====================================================
Inside baseball thing here about the rules and regulations about official notes to the file. In FDA the rules on note taking are under 21 CFR (code of federal regulation) 10.70 and I am sure they would be the same for any other Federal agency OR even much more strict in the DoJ BECAUSE it is just common sense that the other person gets to see if what you have written is correct. Indeed, I have always thought the idea that FBI notes should be accorded some special deference because FBI note takers are better or more honest is JUST ABSURD. Sorry for the rant

21 CFR Sec. 10.70 Documentation of significant decisions in administrative file.
(a) This section applies to every significant FDA decision on any matter under the laws administered by the Commissioner, whether it is raised formally, for example, by a petition or informally, for example, by correspondence.

(b) FDA employees responsible for handling a matter are responsible for insuring the completeness of the administrative file relating to it. The file must contain:

(1) Appropriate documentation of the basis for the decision, including relevant evaluations, reviews, memoranda, letters, opinions of consultants, minutes of meetings, and other pertinent written documents; and

(2) The recommendations and decisions of individual employees, including supervisory personnel, responsible for handling the matter.

(i) The recommendations and decisions are to reveal significant controversies or differences of opinion and their resolution.

(ii) An agency employee working on a matter and, consistent with the prompt completion of other assignments, an agency employee who has worked on a matter may record individual views on that matter in a written memorandum, which is to be placed in the file.

(c) A written document placed in an administrative file must:

(1) Relate to the factual, scientific, legal or related issues under consideration;

(2) Be dated and signed by the author;

(3) Be directed to the file, to appropriate supervisory personnel, and to other appropriate employees, and show all persons to whom copies were sent;

(4) Avoid defamatory language, intemperate remarks, undocumented charges, or irrelevant matters (e.g., personnel complaints);

(5) If it records the views, analyses, recommendations, or decisions of an agency employee in addition to the author, be given to the other employees ; and

(6) Once completed (i.e., typed in final form, dated, and signed) not be altered or removed. Later additions to or revisions of the document must be made in a new document.

(d) Memoranda or other documents that are prepared by agency employees and are not in the administrative file have no status or effect.

(e) FDA employees working on a matter have access to the administrative file on that matter, as appropriate for the conduct of their work. FDA employees who have worked on a matter have access to the administrative file on that matter so long as attention to their assignments is not impeded. Reasonable restrictions may be placed upon access to assure proper cataloging and storage of documents, the availability of the file to others, and the completeness of the file for review.

==========================================
For example, I now HAVE IN MY HAND, a written list from Lambert saying he will send me 205 cases of beer, and good Russian beer, not Budweiser. I wrote it – it MUST be true!!!! SHOW ME THE BEER!!!!!!!!!!!!

[Jun 14, 2017] The disproportionate power of intelligence agencies demonstrated in Russiagate

Jun 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova , June 10, 2017 at 10:15 AM

JohnH,

"By shunning candidates like Bernie and Corbyn, the American librul commentariat has been exposed for what it is--corrupted by wealthy, powerful interests."

And what do you expect? DemoRats are just different marketing of Republican Party platform, not a different product.

The problem is the neoliberals control MSM and control the government, including FBI and all intelligence agencies. So it is an uphill battle.

And taking into account how swiftly intelligence agencies dismantled "Occupy Wall Street" movement by branding them as "domestic terrorists" I am not optimistic. Any viable opposition will be like a bug under microscope.

Please note that the working hypothesis about the recent elections is that "change we can believe in" Obama (who has had remarkably good relations with the CIA, unlike several other presidents) spied on Trump and bugged Trump Tower using British intelligence agencies capabilities to avoid detection after the elections. Later some of this material was leaked to damage Trump and Obama have spent several months outside the USA just in case.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2012/12/23/fbi-investigated-occupy-movement-domestic-terrorists-criminals

libezkova - , June 10, 2017 at 10:33 AM
Neoliberalism is a flavor of corporatism (corporate socialism) and George Orwell remark applies to it, especially in regard to the disproportionate power of intelligence agencies demonstrated in Russiagate:

"By bringing the whole of life under the control of the State, Socialism necessarily gives power to an inner ring of bureaucrats, who in almost every case will be men who want power for its own sake and will stick at nothing in order to retain it."

That also means that the USA on world arena is a reactionary force which represents a genuine threat to democracy in any smaller or less powerful country, as it interferes in domestic politics to pursue its hegemonic aspirations.

In this sense the rise of economic power of China, which might provide some counterbalance to the USA and independent foreign policy of Russia under Putin, who refuses to act as the USA vassal (which Russia was under Yeltsin), are positive developments.

That's why the USA neocons and their stooges in MSM hate Russia so much. To hate China the same way would less politically incorrect as this is as close to racism as we can get :-).

But Russians are OK. Very convenient scapegoats.

[Jun 14, 2017] Bloomberg tried to keel Russian hacking story hot

Is Mossad for some reasons also interested in fueling Russiagate ;-) ?
Notable quotes:
"... That's an extremely weak story from Bloomberg. The article itself doesn't actually refer to evidence on its own; rather, it comes from anonymous sources. ..."
"... That's a maddening thing about this subject as it's treated by most mainstream news – it's called "Russian hacking" when, at best, it's an assumption that Russians, or at least the Russian government, were involved. ..."
"... It's become the identifier for this issue, IOW, it's "Russian hacking", not "hacking of DNC" or "attempted phishing of voting machine administrators". ..."
"... If the FBI is investigating these incidents, then its possible there actually is evidence we'll hear about eventually, but so far all we've see or heard is baseless assertions by the intel community. ..."
Jun 14, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

voteforno6 , June 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Re: "Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known" [Bloomberg].

That's an extremely weak story from Bloomberg. The article itself doesn't actually refer to evidence on its own; rather, it comes from anonymous sources.

Also, it keeps attributing the source of the hacks to Russia, without even attempting to provide evidence of that. The closest it gets is mentioning that investigators attributed them to certain IP addresses.

That's not all that convincing, as source IPs can be easily masked, which is one of the reasons why attribution is extremely difficult.

There's much less in the story than meets the eye, particularly when it comes to placing blame on Russia (assuming that these hacks in fact took place, of course).

Cujo359 , June 13, 2017 at 4:41 pm

That's a maddening thing about this subject as it's treated by most mainstream news – it's called "Russian hacking" when, at best, it's an assumption that Russians, or at least the Russian government, were involved.

It's become the identifier for this issue, IOW, it's "Russian hacking", not "hacking of DNC" or "attempted phishing of voting machine administrators".

If the FBI is investigating these incidents, then its possible there actually is evidence we'll hear about eventually, but so far all we've see or heard is baseless assertions by the intel community.

John k , June 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm

There's a history of that

[Jun 14, 2017] Oliver Stone interview is further evidence of hostile press, but he manages to rise above it.

Jun 14, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Carolinian , June 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm

If not already linked

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/12/oliver-stone-reveals-a-vulnerable-putin/

At one point Stone watches Dr. Strangelove with Putin

After watching the movie with Stone, Putin reflects on its enduring message. "The thing is that since that time little has changed," Putin says. "The only difference is that the modern weapon systems have become more sophisticated, more complex. But this idea of retaliatory weapons, and the inability to control such weapon systems still hold true to this day. It has become even more difficult, more dangerous."

Stone then gives Putin the movie's DVD case, which Putin carries into an adjoining office before realizing that it is empty. He reemerges, holding the empty case with the quip, "Typical American gift."

Montanamaven , June 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Oliver Stone interview is further evidence of hostile press, but he manages to rise above it. Oliver Stone Interview

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Perhaps Nixon was not so paranoid about resisting the media, which has grown ever more powerful in the last 40 plus years, since Watergate.

To the extent they are thought of as guarding the nation's health, who will guard the guards, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

This battle between Trump and the media is long overdue, I believe.

Will we see a swing back by the media toward the middle? We will see.

John , June 13, 2017 at 3:52 pm

The media is a privatized neoliberal corporate parasite. It has only one function extracting money from the host. It is amoral and pragmatically political. It will say anything to make money.

Huey Long , June 13, 2017 at 6:14 pm

To the extent they are thought of as guarding the nation's health, who will guard the guards, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I nominate George Smiley.

Annotherone , June 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm

We accidentally caught Stephen Colbert interviewing Oliver Stone last evening on a Late Show – I was disgusted by Colbert's treatment of Stone – also disgusting was the audience (obviously coached and organised to jeer and boo). No doubt Colbert was under orders from his corporate bosses – though maybe that's being too kind to him. Controlling the minds of the masses!

lyman alpha blob , June 13, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Just watched that and it was awful, but also very clarifying. Colbert's selling out just like Maddow did – she was actually pretty good on Air America a decade ago when she had a show with Daily Show creatrix Liz Winstead.

Colbert and the audience just assume demonization of Putin is justified while being oblivious to the log (or forest might be more apt) in Uncle Sugar's eye. Wonder how they would describe him if Russian domestic security forces routinely gunned down hundreds or thousands of Russian citizens every year. Some might consider that a sign of a very oppressive government .

Frustrating to watch people fall for this villain du jour schtick every single time.

Plenue , June 13, 2017 at 10:26 pm

I haven't paid attention to Colbert since 2013, when he played a role in the attempt to resuscitate Kissinger's public image (he later allowed Kissinger onto his show for a friendly interview). Oddly I can't seem to find the full video itself, but here's an ABC report on it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaqhA5qTf7I

So he had already sold out before he even left Comedy Central.

Roger Smith , June 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

I saw a preview of this on twitter recently. There is the analogous "President" of a country, driving himself, a body guard, and Oliver Stone down the highway. It was such a typical scene, no black limos, no cargo helicopters, no long walks and slow camera pans, just some dudes in traffic. I was wondering if Seinfeld was in the back.

[Jun 13, 2017] Bait and switch artist as Barack Obama authentic self

Notable quotes:
"... I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?). ..."
"... Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
clarky90 , , , June 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I believe that Hillary Clinton IS being, and broadcasting her authentic self. I support her 100% in this . I am not being snide. The curtains are being pulled aside on The Incompetent, Wizards of Oz (The Corrupt Over-class). Hillary C will be remembered as the Foolish Wizard who could not keep her curtain drawn! We got a glimpse into the innards of the Heath Robinson, Control Booth, Political Contraption. (George Soros playing with himself!)

I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?).

Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent.

References

(1) "One-third of world now overweight, with US leading the way"
?????????????????? ..
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/health/global-obesity-study/index.html

Tvc15 , , June 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Clarky90 said, " We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent." Exactly!

And the only solace I have from the Trump show is that the curtains will be pulled back completely to expose the puppeteers of this charade they call a democracy.

OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL , , June 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Which should make it much easier to generate authentic opposition, doncha think? Trump was The Great Reveal, next up is The Great Reveal for Dems: that they too love War and Billionaire Corporo-Fascism

roxy , June 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

"Everybody Needs to Stop Telling Hillary Clinton to Shut Up"

Throughout the campaign, culminating in the mindbogglingly stupid "deplorables" remark, Clinton's contempt for anyone who questioned her was clear. Her post election tour brings more of the same. So yeah, people are sick of hearing it, and have every right to say so.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 12, 2017 at 6:31 pm

She should be grateful that there are still people who bother to tell her to be quiet.

Me? I have ears but do not hear when it comes to her. Her spells can never penetrate my thick skull.

[Jun 13, 2017] Democrats hope to parlay the latest furor surrounding the Russia investigations into political victory in the Midwest

Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
New Cold War

"National Democrats hoping to parlay the latest furor surrounding the Russia investigations into political victory in the Midwest may want to take a different tack" [ NBC ]. "The party has targeted Iowa's 1st Congressional District, currently represented by Republican Rod Blum, as a battleground in the 2018 house race. But in the days leading up to former FBI Director James Comey's blockbuster testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, residents made it clear that while news of the scandal billowing around President Donald Trump's White House was impossible to avoid, it was far from their biggest concern. Most constituents interviewed by NBC News said that they need to see fire before they come to any conclusions about the Russia investigation and added that they are beginning to tune out news connected to it because of fatigue. Voters here are more concerned about issues like health care, veterans' benefits, Planned Parenthood and infrastructure."

"A Shining Comey on a Hill" [ Foreign Policy ]. Help me.

UPDATE "Virginia governor says Russia was helped by 'treasonous' Americans who gave 'these people a roadmap'" [ The Week ]. Making it all the more remarkable that some kind soul in the intelligence community hasn't risked their career to expose the traitors by coming forward with evidence (Reality Winner seems to be a kind soul, and she did risk her career, but the evidence part ) We really do need more than the word of a corrupt Clintonite - sorry for the redundancy - blowhard on this.

Our Famously Free Press

"And then there's the dirty little secret that every journalist knows - Trump stories drive ratings and clicks. The word 'Trump' in a headline vastly increases its chances of getting attention. (We're all guilty; see above.)" [Margeret Sullivan, WaPo ]. After shredding the notion of "balance," Sullivan considers what the press should do. For example:

Do news sites give serious, sustained attention to policy issues as well as publishing innumerable hot takes about the ­personality-driven dust-up of the moment?

Harvard professor Thomas E. Patterson, the study's author, sees trouble on that last point.

"The press is focusing on personality, not substance," he said recently on public radio's "On the Media" program. And that reflects "not a partisan bias but a journalistic bias," the tendency to seek out conflict. (No mystery there - it's more interesting.)

Trump stories are cheap to produce, because they generally don't require reporting. Or editing, apparently:

[Jun 13, 2017] Reality Winner throw away her career and life for nothing

Notable quotes:
"... The NSA document was very important. It basically proved, according to Scott Ritter, that the NSA had no real evidence of any Russian involvement, and relied on speculation from a single source: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, which recently had to retract a similar claim about Russian hacking of Ukrainian artillery. The real story behind 'Reality Winner' remains, I am sure, unknown. This might well be a ploy to undermine the anti-Russia hype, though the media cartel has trumpeted it uncritically for the short-term rush of goosing the Comey spectacle. ..."
"... This makes the refusal of the DNC to let the FBI examine those servers even more suspect. OTOH, one can see the thought processes in the DNC: A breach was discovered. If we blame the Russians not only do we further the neo-con agenda, but we also get to call anyone who publishes or cites the material taken from the servers a Russian tool. ..."
"... In fact, if they knew they had internal leakers, it would still be worth claiming to have been hacked by the Russians, so that internally leaked material could be 'poisoned' as part of a Russian plot. Talking points to this effect were ubiquitous and apparently well coordinated, turning virtually every MSM discussion of the content of the leaks into a screed about stolen documents and Russian hackers. It also put a nice fresh coat of paint on the target painted on Assange, turning the undiscerning left against a once valuable ally. ..."
"... He is lying about this and more because he needs a cover to avoid going after Clinton. Comey is a pathetic creature desperate to cover for someone who could have owed him a huuuuuge favor or that he could blackmail. ..."
"... He just simply lacked the political and theatrical acumen to pull it off and was undone by the court jester – Gowdey. The shame of it all – to be annihilated by a fool and sacked by a mobsters tool. ..."
"... I don't think he's lying. It's worse in that he believes the Russian hacking as presented to him by his subordinates and peers as true. Similar to Colin Powell believing in WMD evidence as found and presented to him. These "rational/reasonable/respected" people by their lack of critical skepticism cause more problems than the obvious and self aware snake oil salesmen. ..."
"... Comey's testimony actually amounted to saying Trump was correct all those weeks he was insisting the FBI wasn't investigating him when he fired Comey. But the media is just barreling on ahead as if Trump hasn't been vindicated. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

XXX

Reality Winner throw away her career and life for nothing--as that NSA memo wasn't a smoking gun and added nothing new (and further evidence that the intelligence community would label a Wikipedia article as "Top Secret")

And Reality had awful/naive "operational security." Anyone who read a few John LeCarre/Tom Clancy novels would've done better at avoiding detection.

JTMcPhee , June 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Hey, another gal took a big risk and wound up reasonably comfortable - what was her name, oh yeah, Monica Lewinski or something

Quentin , June 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

She ended up 'reasonably comfortable'? Your source?

RUKidding , June 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm

What? Monica has not had an easy time of it. Yes, her choice, but still.

I don't see how you come by comparing what Monica Lewinsky did (which in no way compromised state secrets) with what Reality Winner did (I don't think she compromised state secrets, but she published what I thought was called a "Top Secret" document).

Two entirely different things. What's the connection? That they both have lady parts?

Seems like weird slut shaming to me.

Alex Morfesis , June 12, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Her father was a fairly large bundler of donations for the democratic party and her step dad was former head of voice of america she did not grow up in a family with any real financial stress and there has been no suggestion anywhere she has had to wait tables one does not get internships at the wh without some pull

RUKidding , June 12, 2017 at 6:39 pm

What does that have to do with what Reality Winner did? The initiating email in this thread discusses Reality Winner and the issue about her release of a top secret document.

Somehow that devolves into some weird slut shaming of Monica Lewinsky? WTF?

Again: why are we even discussing Monica Lewinsky in a thread that is about Reality Winner?

Very strange vibe going on here, imo.

Skip Intro , June 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm

The NSA document was very important. It basically proved, according to Scott Ritter, that the NSA had no real evidence of any Russian involvement, and relied on speculation from a single source: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, which recently had to retract a similar claim about Russian hacking of Ukrainian artillery. The real story behind 'Reality Winner' remains, I am sure, unknown. This might well be a ploy to undermine the anti-Russia hype, though the media cartel has trumpeted it uncritically for the short-term rush of goosing the Comey spectacle.

This makes the refusal of the DNC to let the FBI examine those servers even more suspect. OTOH, one can see the thought processes in the DNC: A breach was discovered. If we blame the Russians not only do we further the neo-con agenda, but we also get to call anyone who publishes or cites the material taken from the servers a Russian tool.

In fact, if they knew they had internal leakers, it would still be worth claiming to have been hacked by the Russians, so that internally leaked material could be 'poisoned' as part of a Russian plot. Talking points to this effect were ubiquitous and apparently well coordinated, turning virtually every MSM discussion of the content of the leaks into a screed about stolen documents and Russian hackers. It also put a nice fresh coat of paint on the target painted on Assange, turning the undiscerning left against a once valuable ally.

Kim Kaufman , June 12, 2017 at 6:08 pm

And yet Comey said it was definitely hacked by Russians. Odd. No evidence anywhere yet. Is he lying about this? Why?

uncle tungsten , June 12, 2017 at 8:29 pm

He is lying about this and more because he needs a cover to avoid going after Clinton. Comey is a pathetic creature desperate to cover for someone who could have owed him a huuuuuge favor or that he could blackmail.

He just simply lacked the political and theatrical acumen to pull it off and was undone by the court jester – Gowdey. The shame of it all – to be annihilated by a fool and sacked by a mobsters tool.

YY , June 12, 2017 at 8:36 pm

I don't think he's lying. It's worse in that he believes the Russian hacking as presented to him by his subordinates and peers as true. Similar to Colin Powell believing in WMD evidence as found and presented to him. These "rational/reasonable/respected" people by their lack of critical skepticism cause more problems than the obvious and self aware snake oil salesmen.

Plenue , June 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm

"especially the explosive testimony of former FBI director James Comey"

I find this downright amazing. Comey's testimony actually amounted to saying Trump was correct all those weeks he was insisting the FBI wasn't investigating him when he fired Comey. But the media is just barreling on ahead as if Trump hasn't been vindicated.

[Jun 13, 2017] Education Failure is the New Success

Jun 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Happily, an alternative exists to the billion dollar "don't blame kids" approach, one that has historically proven itself and will cost far less than $16,000 per pupil to impart adequate academic skills. It is simple: pressure laggards to shape up and punish those who disrupt the learning of classmates. Just return to an earlier era when students themselves were held responsible for learning their lessons.

Junk the Rousseauian fantasy that children naturally have a thirst for acquiring knowledge so "educators" need only let nature take its course. Yes, Homo sapiens relish learning, but youngsters are not innately disposed to sit quietly for long periods and dutifully suffer failure. Learning may be natural; schooling is not. The corollary is that school for the cognitively weak will be the most painful. Thus, for many African Americans cultivating self-esteem is anathema to academic achievement.

Fortunately, the repertoire to impose this necessary discipline is well-known and requires only modest skill to implement. High-priced rocket science it is not. This is almost forgotten educational world of shame, stigma, humiliation, dunce caps, browbeating even corporal punishment where teachers forcefully exert authority over the little savages who refuse to learn while impeding the progress of others. Further require teachers to impose clear, grammatically correct English to those with slurred speech and reflexively use profanity. If the teacher's efforts fail, the little miscreants can immediately be sent out for discipline to be monitored by a wicked witch. Conceivably, some retired discipline-skilled Nuns from Catholic schools or a retired Marine drill sergeant could offer three-day workshops on how to manage the classroom

Students can practice sitting still and being quiet for longer and longer times, marching in step when changing classes, mastering polite conversation when addressing authority figures ("Thank you Mr. Smith" not 'hey teach'") memorizing famous orations, and build the habits of punctuality, restraint and patience.

Anonymous June 13, 2017 at 9:06 am GMT

Cheapest offer of "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools "
by Robert Weissberg, used,
is $ 46.00 + $ 3.99 S&H, is

https://www.amazon.com/dp/141281345X/?tag=unco037-20

AngloBerserkerJew , June 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm GMT

I run a large AP program in a what is euphemistically called a "priority" neighbourhood in a major Canadian city. Although most of our students are East Asian and South Asian and come from outside our catchment area, the majority of the local community is black.

After twenty years of our program offering completely subsidized AP exams, after-class tutorials, and massive promotion efforts emphasizing the advantages of taking AP directed to our black students, still less that 5% of the population of our AP classes consists of blacks.

And we have never had a black AP National Scholar. Not one. The local school board would LOVE to see such an event, and I can't imagine it ever happening

Dr. X , June 13, 2017 at 12:58 pm GMT

Are you suggesting that our alien, Third-World, clan-based minority populations adopt the values of discipline, accountability, punctuality, and rule-following typical of the majority's beyond-kin, altruistic-based culture from northern Europe in the hope of achieving similar social, academic, technical, and economic outcomes?

There's an extent to which this does work. Parochial schools with strict discipline policies have always gotten more out of black students than public schools. African students, who do not typically have a race card to play and are products of Euro-colonial school systems, in my experience are nearly always better students than black Americans.

Imagine a Venn diagram, in which one circle represents cognitive ability (IQ) and the other circle represents discipline and culture. The overlapping area represents "educational achievement." The overall black cognitive ability circle, by itself, will always be smaller than a corresponding white circle, but it is possible to gain more achievement with more structure and discipline. There is a limit to how far you can go with this approach, but you can make some gains.

Of course, public schools and colleges practically kiss blacks on the ass for misbehavior rather than discipline them. Blacks are fully aware that the black teachers and administrators are incompetent frauds, that liberal whites are easily pushed around or manipulated, that they can always play the "racism" card, and that Afrocentric curricula is pure bullshit and that it was the white man who invented their iPhones, space flight, etc.

One aspect of the black personality is that blacks respond to, and generally respect, a show a force. You see this in sports, for instance, in prison, and the military. Some of the most competent and useful blacks you will encounter are in the military, where there is a set of expectations, a white chain of command, and punishment for failure.

Blacks wouldn't necessarily become geniuses if you applied a military structure to education, but you'd see some improvement.

Agent76 , June 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm GMT

Jan 23, 2017 Why Good Teachers Want School Choice

Can every child receive a good education? With school choice and competition, yes. The problem? Powerful teachers unions oppose school choice. Rebecca Friedrichs, a public school teacher who took her case against the teachers union all the way to the Supreme Court, explains why school choice is the right choice.

https://youtu.be/PnQu8iRiVYU

Diversity Heretic , June 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm GMT

@Njguy73 There's no need to racially segregate schools. The solution has already been implemented. It's called having a school district where the housing prices do the discrimination, so the schools don't have to. An awfully expensive solution that consigns white working class children to the tender mercies of the snarling black underclass.

anon , June 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm GMT

The plight of black students in black schools became especially dire when the education establishment and the media pulled a slight of hand and started labeling lazy ( a personal fault) students as unmotivated (and therefore the fault of society not motivating them.)

What hasn't been pointed out is while public schools in poor areas have been failing for decades, Catholic schools located in the same areas have continued to turn out hundred of thousands of literate, well behaved black students.

The real tragedy is that these very productive ghetto Catholics schools have been closing at an increasing rate despite their successes because of economic problems. Vouchers would help them to stay open,

THE ACLU however, would make sure that they wouldn't get them.

Simon in London , June 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

I'm always impressed by the quality of my black African postgrad students, who mostly come from lower middle/upper working class backgrounds in cities like Laos. They are clearly decently educated, by methods the exact opposite of what is advocated in the USA – strict discipline, uniforms, regulation, a decent amount of rote memorisation (but not the passivity of the Middle East/South Asia).

US educationists could learn a lot from Nigeria, or even Jamaica, but are clearly far too arrogant to do so.

Greg Schofield , June 14, 2017 at 12:13 am GMT

I am an old Australian teacher, run out of my profession by managers embracing the American system of de-education.

Your understanding of education is deplorable, and the results of it are horrific, here are a few points that should be carefully considered together.

[Hide MORE]

IQ tests are nonsense.

Testing and teaching are incompatible to one another, less tests and more teaching.

Primary school is NOT the most important time, a few essential skills, a wide and rambling exposure to general knowledge, and some actual fun will do.

Primary school should produce a student capable of writing coherent sentences, reading 80-120 words per minute (well written texts only with unusual words), general knowledge of science, the general framework of modern world history, and enough maths to do simple algebra - anything more is a bonus, but not essential to secondary school.

Secondary school is the secondary level of knowledge - it has nothing much in common with Primary education.

Secondary school is about the development of concepts in different subjects - and the study of literature (a self-contained concept), is foundational to all the other higher subjects.

Literature is about concepts, not morals, slogans, good behaviour or anything else. They are complete, honest works supremely well written world view of the author. The quality of literature is it most important feature - the best and only the best.

The conceptual integrity of literature, not a particular style of language is critical. Literature should not be chosen because it is reverent, but because it is good and great. Confession I hate reading Jane Austin, a girly book of all girly books, but when I finish her work I understand the world were being good is not just a virtue, but an aspiration. For many reasons she was one of the most read authors in the trenches of World War I.

The quality of text books (books of text not pictures) is ESSENTIAL there is no choice in this, no leeway. They must be coherent, the work of the best minds in the subject, comprehensive, and clearly written - only a true expert can make things simple without also making it stupid.

Text books of quality do not have to be up-to-date, but they have to be conceptually complete and clear - a good textbook is not necessarily a recent one.

Textbooks are the last resort, which is the reason they have to be good - it is where the student goes to understand what they do not understand - that is always hard and they need a reliable source material - only the best textbooks will do.

Textbooks are not teaching material, they are reference material.

Standard tests are rubbish, written examinations twice a year are best - this is why text books are important - hitting the books is not easy, I say it again, they therefore need to be the very best - not the normal US textbook - which is CRAP.

The best mark of a substantial work should be the grade, not the average mark - students who learn have to be brave and need to push things - a good student tries and fails long before they try and succeed (the order is sometimes in the reverse).

A student's progress is marked by their best mark, their highest achievement that counts, all the rest are run-offs. A student can be lazy, a student might rest on their laurels, that does not matter, what they achieved, not how they went about it is what examination should do.

It does not matter what a teacher is called by students, but that teacher actually knows their area, is enthusiastic about their knowledge, is supported by the school, encouraged to do more and occasionally make mistakes in trying.

Micro-management, in fact management in general, and good teaching are incompatible.

School discipline is simple and only breaks down because of mismanagement.

Heads and deputies are not there to attend meetings, they must be seen, patrol the halls, greet the students and be known.

Teachers need only have a disruptive student leave the class room and stand in the hall. The deputies need to take them to detention where they sit and do nothing until the next lesson.

Do not trap students behind files of bad behaviour. Boys especially do stupid things, often and repeatedly, only the mean acts should be recorded in detail.

Stop trying to get kids to apologise, girls will do it, and the better boys won't.

Make sure the kids get food, and have fun exercise (competitive sport should be an elective).

Running education is not hard, the fundamentals have been known for hundreds of years. What exists now has been made, it is a policy of de-education and it is working all too well.

[Jun 13, 2017] I'm just wondering if a collapse of Uber might trigger the next bubble pop? Sky high silly valuation, lots of debt, lots of venture capital invested

Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jess , June 12, 2017 at 7:05 pm

I'm just wondering if a collapse of Uber might trigger the next bubble pop? Sky high silly valuation, lots of debt, lots of venture capital invested, and what about all those car loans so drivers could buy cars? We already know that auto loan defaults have been steadily climbing, so what happens to the car market, the banks and finance companies behind those Uber loans (and the car market in general)? Could this kill the confidence fairy and imperil the stock market first, then the whole financial house of cards?

Elizabeth , June 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm

I don't know about popping the bubble, but there'd be many people out of work (SF Bay). I never understood why vulture capital firms continuously give Uber money. They've never made a profit and as of late, the company image is in tatters. What is the VC's end game? I always thought it was to someday do an IPO, but who in the world would invest in this FAMILY BLOG company?

different clue , June 12, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Perhaps the VCs have a deeply ideologically and esthetically rooted desire to see millions of cab drivers put out of work all over the world . . . as part of their devotion to the Great Anti Proletarian Revolution. Perhaps they just want to keep Uber in operation long enough to exterminate every cab driving job there is. And after that happens, they won't care any more.

If so, we need a CounterUber movement to exterminate Uber from existence beFORE cab drivers are exterminated from existence.

[Jun 13, 2017] Can anyone make the case doe neoclassical macroeconomics? With a straight face?

Notable quotes:
"... the experience since 2008 has strongly suggested that the research program that dominated macro for the previous generation actually impaired the ability of economists to provide useful advice in the moment. Mastering the fancy stuff made economists useless at the simple stuff. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne, June 12, 2017 at 03:23 PM

https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/macroeconomics-the-simple-and-the-fancy/

June 12, 2017

Macroeconomics: The Simple and the Fancy
By Paul Krugman

Noah Smith has a nice summation * of his critique of macroeconomics, which mainly comes down, as I read it, as an appeal for researchers to stay close to the ground. That's definitely good advice for young researchers.

But what about economists trying to provide useful advice, directly or indirectly, to policy makers, who need to make decisions based on educated guesses about the whole system? Smith says, "go slow, allow central bankers to use judgment and simple models in the meantime." That would be better than a lot of what academic macroeconomists do in practice, which is to castigate central bankers and other policymakers for not using elaborate models that don't work. But is there really no role for smart academics to help out in this process? And if so, what does this say about the utility of what the profession does?

The thing is, those simple models have done pretty darn well since 2008 - and central bankers who used them, like Bernanke, did a lot better than central bankers like Trichet who based their judgements on something else. So surely at least part of the training of macroeconomists should prepare them to be helpful in applying simple models, maybe even in making those simple models better.

Reading Smith, I found myself remembering an old line ** from Robert Solow in defense of "fancy" economic theorizing:

"In economics I like a man to have mastered the fancy theory before I trust him with simple theory because high-powered economics seems to be such an excellent school for the skillful use of low-powered economics."

OK, can anyone make that case about modern macroeconomics? With a straight face? In practice, it has often seemed that expertise in high-powered macroeconomics - mainly meaning dynamic stochastic general equilibrium - positively incapacitates its possessors from the use of low-powered macroeconomics, largely IS-LM and its derivatives.

I don't want to make a crude functional argument here: research that advances knowledge doesn't have to provide an immediate practical payoff. But the experience since 2008 has strongly suggested that the research program that dominated macro for the previous generation actually impaired the ability of economists to provide useful advice in the moment. Mastering the fancy stuff made economists useless at the simple stuff.

A more modest program would, in part, help diminish this harm. But it would also be really helpful if macroeconomists relearned the idea that simple aggregate models can, in fact, be useful.

* http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.fr/2017/06/summing-up-my-thoughts-on-macroeconomics.html

** https://books.google.com/books?id=7ABgM8-ExXsC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=solow+simple+fancy+economics+trust&source=bl&ots=XflZaM5HLV&sig=vsqDgLLShG5gBda-NBTxyjmclI0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSxZ6ShLnUAhVMNT4KHW9VBIUQ6AEIOjAE#v=onepage&q=solow%20simple%20fancy%20economics%20trust&f=false

anne, June 12, 2017 at 03:24 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_stochastic_general_equilibrium

Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium modeling is a branch of applied general equilibrium theory that is influential in contemporary macroeconomics. The DSGE methodology attempts to explain aggregate economic phenomena, such as economic growth, business cycles, and the effects of monetary and fiscal policy, on the basis of macroeconomic models derived from microeconomic principles.

libezkova -> anne... , June 12, 2017 at 09:39 PM
Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium is a pseudoscience.

The problem with most neoclassical economics is that they are very bad mathematicians :-)

See, for example an interesting discussion at:

Why Neoclassical Economists Didnt See the Great Recession Coming by Prof Steve Keen

Uploaded on Jul 12, 2011

Mainstream "Neoclassical" Economists famously did not see the Great Recession coming, and when you look at their theories, it's no wonder. Their favourite model prior to the crisis goes by the name of "Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium", or DSGE. These models imagined that the entire economy could be modeled as a single individual. Yet neoclassical researchers proved decades ago that even a single market can't be modeled that way. I explain this proof while outlining the fundamental truth that "Neoclassical Economists Don't Understand Neoclassical Economics".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L6-loOZYLc

anne, June 12, 2017 at 03:25 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IS%E2%80%93LM_model

The IS–LM model, or Hicks–Hansen model, is a macroeconomic tool that shows the relationship between interest rates and real output, in the goods and services market and the money market (also known as the assets market). The intersection of the "investment–saving" (IS) and "liquidity preference–money supply" (LM) curves is the "general equilibrium" where there is simultaneous equilibrium in both markets. Two equivalent interpretations are possible: first, the IS–LM model explains changes in national income when the price level is fixed in the short-run; second, the IS–LM model shows why the aggregate demand curve shifts. Hence, this tool is sometimes used not only to analyse the fluctuations of the economy but also to find appropriate stabilisation policies.

[Jun 13, 2017] Donald has morphed. He is now part neocon and part Wall St. errand-boy.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump has been captured by the Deep State and the mainstream Zio-media. First, the implacable Left-Hollywood-Zionist axis unnerved, abused, and punked Trump out. Then they and their minions harassed and spooked him. Insurrection was in the air–ever as the President was being sworn into office! ..."
"... Has any newly-elected president has ever been treated so disdainfully and with such widespread contempt? It was very unsettling. Then Trump blinked. After that he caved. Now he is moving rapidly 'towards the center'. Unfortunately, this 'centrism' will require a Mideast war. The Donald has morphed. He is now part neocon and part Wall St. errand-boy. ..."
"... The hysteria over 'Russian interference' is a complete fabrication. This very accusation turns reality upside down. But it persists. What's going on? These illusions are pure Zionist subterfuge. Trump's now their boy. ..."
"... First up: Israel's foes. (Syria, Iran and Russia.) But who cares? Why should this matter? As Bibi Netanyahu observed: "America can be moved". And Bibi's quite right. Therefore, Trump's pro-Zionist militancy is being sold as something else ('war on terror') even though it is being championed by the usual Zionist cheerleaders in media and in government. Pro-Zionist alliances however radiate in odd directions. This explains Washington's (and our news media's) rising love affair with the House of Saud. Note that the Saudi Royals 1) have totally accepted Israel, 2) have absolutely nothing negative to say (or do) regarding Israel's subjugation of Palestine, 3) are hostile to Iran (like Israel), and 4) are willing also to accept the Kingdoms's second-tier military status vis-a-vis Israel. ..."
"... For these reasons, the authoritarian, undemocratic, and terror-funding Royal Saudi family is totally 'in sync' with Zio-Washington. The Saudis are even safe from any potential US-Israeli destabilization campaign. (At least for now.) ..."
"... In any case, US aid will flow immensely, unconditionally and without interruption to glorious 'democratic' Israel. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Mark Green, June 13, 2017 at 9:49 am GMT

Trump has been captured by the Deep State and the mainstream Zio-media. First, the implacable Left-Hollywood-Zionist axis unnerved, abused, and punked Trump out. Then they and their minions harassed and spooked him. Insurrection was in the air–ever as the President was being sworn into office!

Has any newly-elected president has ever been treated so disdainfully and with such widespread contempt? It was very unsettling. Then Trump blinked. After that he caved. Now he is moving rapidly 'towards the center'. Unfortunately, this 'centrism' will require a Mideast war. The Donald has morphed. He is now part neocon and part Wall St. errand-boy.

Trump–who campaigned on a populist, pro-American, non-interventionist platform–has his new, improved sights set on toppling/destabilizing Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Haven't we seen this song and dance before?

Yes we have, despite the fact that these distant, non-nuclear states do not threaten US interests and do not threaten US security in any way, shape, or form.

Huge lies have become 'facts'.

Russia's alleged influence in our presidential election, for instance, is not even a fraction of what Israel can impose almost effortlessly.

The hysteria over 'Russian interference' is a complete fabrication. This very accusation turns reality upside down. But it persists. What's going on? These illusions are pure Zionist subterfuge. Trump's now their boy.

The wall with Mexico will just have to wait; as will Trump's infrastructure build. Gotta take out Assad first! After all, Syria shares a disputed border with Israel. That's important!

First up: Israel's foes. (Syria, Iran and Russia.) But who cares? Why should this matter? As Bibi Netanyahu observed: "America can be moved". And Bibi's quite right. Therefore, Trump's pro-Zionist militancy is being sold as something else ('war on terror') even though it is being championed by the usual Zionist cheerleaders in media and in government. Pro-Zionist alliances however radiate in odd directions. This explains Washington's (and our news media's) rising love affair with the House of Saud. Note that the Saudi Royals 1) have totally accepted Israel, 2) have absolutely nothing negative to say (or do) regarding Israel's subjugation of Palestine, 3) are hostile to Iran (like Israel), and 4) are willing also to accept the Kingdoms's second-tier military status vis-a-vis Israel.

For these reasons, the authoritarian, undemocratic, and terror-funding Royal Saudi family is totally 'in sync' with Zio-Washington. The Saudis are even safe from any potential US-Israeli destabilization campaign. (At least for now.)

But alliances can change rapidly, especially when anti-Zionist regimes rise and persist. Then they get targeted. (See: 'Saddam's Iraq'. See: 'Gadaffi's Libya'.) Up next: Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

In any case, US aid will flow immensely, unconditionally and without interruption to glorious 'democratic' Israel.

BTW- while it's widely known (and continuously recalled) that Hearst and his newspapers promoted the Spanish-American war (as Mr. Giraldi notes above) what's been mostly forgotten is that Hearst and his newspapers largely opposed Washington's entry into both WWI and WWII. 'Citizen Kane' and the endless array of Hearst-bashing references ignore this neglected yet significant fact. In fact, it was none other than Joseph Pulitzer (for whom the pretentious and politicized journalistic prizes are named) whose newspapers helped spearhead the international campaign for America's unnecessary and tragic entry into WWI.

Pulitzer was as influential as Hearst – and every bit as sensational. But Pulitzer was both anti-German and very pro-US-intervention in Europe. Unlike Hearst, Pulitzer demonized Imperial Germany long before the Great War began and it was Pulitzer – not Hearst–who helped sanitize America's pre-war efforts (before WWII) to aid the British and violate laws that sought to preserve US neutrality.

Like Hearst, Pulitzer was an artful media demagogue; but it was Pulitzer – not Hearst – who used his skills and power to steer America into the two greatest political conflicts ever seen. Joseph Pulitzer was also Jewish.