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Neoliberalism

The ideology that dare not speak it's name is actually a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism. This "religion of freedom" (redefinition of the meaning of the word "freedom" and sophisticated speculation on it is at the center of neoliberal religion) is a coercive cult enforced by corrupt, deceitful elite with the explicit goal of milking the adherents

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Skepticism and Pseudoscience > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News An introduction to Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberalism war on 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
Neocon stooge formerly known as Anti-Globalist and Trump betrayal of his voters Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies 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
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocons New American Militarism Media domination strategy Libertarian Philosophy Frederick Von Hayek Neoliberal Deregulation
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few YouTube on neoliberalism History of neoliberalism PseudoScience Related Humor Politically Incorrect Humor 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]

Neoliberal ideology acted as a smokescreen that enabled the financially powerful to rewrite the rules and place themselves beyond the law.

Church , 10 Jun 2013 17:21


Introduction

The terms Neoliberalism and Casino Capitalism are used interchangeably. They define the same phenomenon. The term "Casino Capitalism" stresses that neoliberalism glorifies stock market, promotes "financialization" of the economy and creates powerful incentives for financial speculation and excessive risk-taking on the part of the public ("Greed is good"). By a masterstroke of introducing 401K large part of the US population became stock owners are mercilessly fleeced by bog and small financial intermediaries. Mass ownership of stock 401K plans created stable rent rest for financial intermediaries, which increase in size and importance in the economy approximately 100 times. Add to this introduction of "gambling style" financial instruments such as derivatives, "naked" commodity futures (settled in dollars, not in product), currency speculations, intentional blowing of bubbles and even talking public "no-profit" Main Street entrepreneurs (dot-com crisis on 2000). That's why neoliberalism is also "casino capitalism" as markets, especially stock market play in it outsize role.

Like feudalism neoliberalism stipulate existence of three main classes (under feudalism they were aristocracy, merchants and serfs). simplifying we can defined them as billionaires, millionaires and the rest:

  1. "Inner party" members (aka the "New Class" -- neoliberal Nomenklatura similar to Busheviks nomenklatura. Inner party consists of mostly consists of billionaires and bought by them politicians. They are a kind of unlanded gentry, if you will. To the New Class the law "protects but does not apply." They are above the law like aristocracy was under feudalism. Catholic church hierarchs  and Clintons family are  both good examples here (Clinton cash, Bill Clinton sexapades, Hillary email scandal, etc). Other notable examples include McCain (member of Keating Five), Lloyd Blankfein (financial crash of 2018), and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein (of Lolita Express fame). Amorality and criminality of the US neoliberal elite became a political issue in 2016 campaign (Podesta personality exposed in his emails as well as suppressed PizzaGate scandal). Looks like Church is also affected by  neoliberalism: just look at pedophile scandal in Catholic church, in Great Britain and Scandinavian countries.

    Like USSR Nomenklatura the The "Inner Party" consists of several subgroups. While it is dominated by financial oligarchs, several new groups are added to the elite as well. Among them are intelligence agencies brass (with intelligence agencies becoming the real political force, the core of the Deep State) and Silicon Valley moguls, including those who are still short of becoming billionaires, but who run important companies (with top firms became interconnected with surveillance apparatus of the state and Wall Street), The news class also includes top managers of multinationals and military-industrial complex companies (MIC under neoliberalism includes intelligence agencies and top Wall Street firms (who often are major shareholders of old MIC companies), so it became more diverse). As political power under neoliberalism is connected with your position in government or corporate hierarchy, losing the official position often means to be excluded from the New Class. So most rich retires do not belong here, even if they enjoy sizable 401K accounts and complete financial security. 

  2. The upper 10% who represent the class of people who do benefit from neoliberal globalization, hold important positions, and on whom neoliberalism rely for its support and defense.  As the majority of those people vote, and the majority in other groups do not, they represent powerful voting block. Along with top 1% they are the group which enjoyed increased (at least nominally) income since 1980th, although in much lesser scale then for financial oligarchy. They consist mostly of top level professionals (so called "creative class" in neoliberal New Speak): lawyers, top sportsmen, programmers, doctors, engineers, actors, successful entrepreneurs, "lesser" politicians, MSM personalities, top journalists, scientists, university professors, upper military brass, etc. 

    They can be tentatively called the class of millionaires as their net worth often exceeds one million dollars (in 2019 dollars). They also can be considered the upper middle class. The them law apply but with exceptions and sentences are usually very lenient. Here are the data for 2016 How Many Millionaires Are There in America Decamillionaires -DQYDJ

    We estimate that there are 14,814,453 millionaires in the United States. Our estimate puts the millionaire net worth goal at the 88.24% wealth bracket in the US in 2016, or 11.76% of all households.

  3. The bottom 90% of population so called deplorables. The income and standard of living of this group decreased under neoliberalism. Social security net (especially job security) evaporated. There is definitely a switch to less-paying, less secure temporary and contract jobs in this segment, which make their situation even worse. Unemployment is running high with U6 measure above 10% most of the time. In other words they are the main loser of neoliberal globalization. Too them the law applies, but does not protect...

The key social goal of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up (Neoliberalism is "accumulation by dispossession" ~David Harvey) at the expense of the working class and lower middle class (the bottom 90% of population). It was a political project designed to curb the power of labor and it managed to completely dismantle a more fair model of capitalism -- the New Deal capitalism  (see Neoliberalism war on labor). So stagnation of wages and deterioration of the standard of living of the majority of population is not an aberration, but a key feature of neoliberalism.

Typically, the suppression of wages is done under the false flag of austerity. Important for neoliberals sectors such FIRE (FIRE brass bonuses, and tax cuts for rich are not affected by austerity) and MIC (especially intelligence community) as well as the  law enforcement are not affected by austerity, only worker wages and social programs are.

The key social goal of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up. So stagnation of wages and deterioration of the standard of living is not an aberration, but a key feature of neoliberalism.

A new secular religion

Neoliberalism positions itself as a secular religion (which in its core is hostile to Christianity, much like Bolshevism) with the compliance enforced by the state. Somewhat similar God-Building trend in Marxism.  For example, the prominent member of Bolsheviks party -- Lunacharsky "saw Marxism as having religious components, including its faith in the inevitable victory of socialism."; according to Trotsky(1923) in some of the southern republics around 15% percent of party members were believers in Islam. Developing this insight Erich Voegelin’s on his controversial Political Religions (1938, see discussion at Stalinist Ritual and Belief System- Reflections on ‘Political Religion’) suggested that ideologies can function as secular religions.  Any person who lived in the Soviet block instantly would recognize elements of this secular religion and corresponding elements of security apparatus that enforces it in the USA( Andre Vltchek, Sep 03, 2019):  

What the West used to accuse the Soviet Union of, is now actually clearly detectable in the United States and the United Kingdom themselves: surveillance is at every step, these days; in New York, London, Sydney, and even in the countryside. Every move a person makes, every purchase, every computer click, is registered; somewhere, somehow. And this monitoring is, mostly, not even illegal.

Speech is controlled by political correctness. Someone behind the scenes decides what is acceptable and what is not, what is desirable or not, and even what is permissible. You make one 'mistake' and you are out; from the teaching positions at the universities, or from the media outlets.

...No punches can be administered intuitively. Everything has to be calculated in advance. No 'outrageous' political fiction can pass the 'invisible censorship' ...

Both neoliberalism and Bolshevism are deficient in terms of empirical evidence that supports their postulates (or symbols of faith, to be more correct) and had to be accepted on faith.  The difference is that Bolshevism (as well as national socialism) generated a sense of devotion and mass mobilization with the emphasis on the personal sacrifice, reminiscent of religious zeal. This is not the case for neoliberalism which adopted "inverted totalitarism" model that demobilize the citizens to the level of consumers. dissidence are not physically repressed and send to the GULAG, but just ostracized, isolated and deprived of their usual sources of income. The enforcement of ideology is no less rigid than under bolshevism with MSM, but the idea is to capture academy first and spread those false, reactionary idea with the veneer of academic respectability. 

The "market" under neoliberalism is a kind of "all powerful deity"

Gramsci stands vindicated: just capture the academies and the rest of us follow, often willingly. Nothing competes with  the coalition of universities and MSM as neoliberalism indoctrination tools ( Andre Vltchek, Sep 03, 2019):

While Hollywood and the mass media keep producing, relentlessly, all sorts of highly insulting and stereotypical racist junk (mainly against the Chinese, Russians, Arabs, Latinos and others), great writers and filmmakers who want to ridicule the Western [neoliberal] regime and its structure, have already been silenced.

You can only humiliate non-Westerners in a way that is approved (again: somewhere, somehow), but God forbid, you dare to criticize the pro-Western [neoliberal] elites who are ruining their countries on behalf of London and Washington, in the Gulf, Southeast Asia or Africa – that would be 'patronizing' and 'racist'... The Cold War era appears to be relatively 'tolerant', compared to what is taking place now.

Social media constantly represses 'uncomfortable' individuals, 'unacceptable' media outlets, and too 'unorthodox' thoughts.

... ... ...

... 'they' will use double-speak to let you know that all this is for your own good. It will not be pronounced, but you would be made to sense it: 'you are being protected from those horrible Third World monsters, madmen, perverts.' ... The [neoliberal]  regime is fighting for you, it cares for you, it is protecting you.

In other words neoliberals proved to be very creative followers of Academician Lysenko. That fact that their theories were false (and they were constructed as false from the beginning)  did not bother them one bit. The ability to capture the academy, and then via power of the state to enforce them on the population in the only thing that matters for them. They demonstrated this very convincingly convincingly in Chile's neoliberal coupe detat. Milton Freidman's "Chicago boys" played a prominent role in this CIA sponsored and directed regime change effort.  

Thereafter, Chilean economic policy “deregulated and privatized,” including the breakdown of state-controlled pension systems, state industries, and state banks (sound familiar, Southern Europe?) And, of course, taxes were reduced. Forthwith, Chile unfettered itself from state control and turned the economy lose into the lair of “the freedom of the markets.”

Thereafter, Milton Friedman never stopped grinning, and Henry Kissinger smiled for the first time ever, he once remarked: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” (Source: Timothy David Clark, Dept. of Political Science, Putting the Horse Before the Cart: Neoliberalism and Post-Neoliberalism in Chile, York University, June 15, 2012.

Like Stalinists who protected their narrow interpretation of Marxism from any challenges by power of the intelligence agencies, neoliberals are people who believe that “the market does not and cannot take care of itself,” and indeed the state under neoliberalism takes the form of the national security state — one in which power of the state intelligence agencies insulates the unregulated markets (and financial oligarchy which those markets enrich) from democratic attempts to regulate them, as well as from economic nationalism, which threatens neoliberal globalization. As such neoliberalism can be viewed as a dictatorship of financial oligarchy with the key difference that the role of enforcer of the will of financial oligarchy is performed by intelligence agencies (which at birth were closely connected to Wall Street; look at Allen Dulles biography.) And as soon as the USA and other western states absolved their secret police from accountability, they naturally became subservient to their power.  This is the same dynamics that happened with KGB in the USSR.  Intelligence agencies play the role of enforcers of neoliberalism both at home and abroad (often via color revolutions coup d'état ).  From this point of view the real father of neoliberalism was Truman who created CIA and NSA.

Neoliberals are people who believe that “the market does not and cannot take care of itself,”  and indeed the state under neoliberalism takes the form of the national security state — one in which power of the state intelligence agencies insulates the unregulated markets (and financial oligarchy which those markets enrich) from democratic attempts to regulate them, as well as from economic nationalism, which threatens neoliberal globalization. Intelligence agencies play the role of enforcers of neoliberalism both at home and abroad (often via color revolutions coup d'état ).

At the center of neoliberalism as a civic religion is a pretty vile and, at the same time, shrewd  redefinition of the word "freedom" as freedom from any kind of coercion (compare with FDR four freedoms). That sophistry resonated very well within Americans and British people and became a "universal opener" using which neoliberal elite opens the door for any harmful for population actions/legislation, including but not limited to the restoration of the power of financial oligarchy. All in the name of freedom ;-). Dirty, but a very effective trick.

Those guys are real masters of deception and elevated it into the art form. In a way society under neoliberalism is the society that is living in one giant illusion. In a way neoliberalism can be called the "religion of freedom," a yet anther coercive cult (not that dissimilar for the Church of Scientology) enforced by corrupt, deceitful elite with the explicit goal of milking the adherents.

Neoliberal ideology is offering a closed, coherent belief system explaining the whole world via unverifiable and unsubstantiated by scientific testing system of dogmas, beliefs and rituals. Deification of markets is just slightly less fantastic then the idea of Paradise. Obviously, neoclassical economics are far removed from what is ordinarily regarded as valid scientific procedure. It is, essentially, a pseudo theory, and it was this way from the very beginning. In this sense neoclassical economics  which constitute an important part of neoliberal ideology (along with Randism as the philosophy and Neoconservatism in foreign policy) is a new flavor of Lysenkoism, if you wish.

As core dogmas of neoliberalism are indefensible from scientific point of view if stated openly, neoliberalism has always been surrounded by an aura of secrecy and "esoteric teaching" (for elite only) which reminds Scientology. Even the name is suppressed in neoliberal MSM (US neoliberal MSMs rarely, if at all, mention this term "neoliberalism"; In UK the only exception is probably Guardian). To protect deplorables from discovering the ugly truth, elaborate pseudo theoretical smoke screen including mathiness was created. Exactly like in Marx famous quote "Religion is the opium of the people." This is actually the first instance when ideology conceived as a secular religion uses perverted mathematics (mathiness, Number racket) to justifies itself (I think Ancient Egypt priests might be the only analogy). As such this is a blatantly dishonest ideology. Like Bolshevism in the past, it also plays dirty tricks with the language in best 1994 style, creating neoliberal NewSpeak: compare for example how "economic freedom" is defined by neoliberals ("freedom of entrepreneurs and financial speculators from coercion and regulation") and how it was defined by FDR ("freedom [of working people and lower middle class] from want"). Indoctrination into "neoliberal newspeak" is done at the Universities using for brainwashing neoclassical economy and "business courses." Much like Soviet students were brainwashed with Marxism-Leninism and Marxist political economy. In both cases you can't graduate without passing mark for those courses. Again like Marxism neoliberalism is hostile to Christianity; some postulates of neoliberalism are closer to Judaism (entrepreneurs and financiers as a higher caste of the society, the inner party), some to Satanism.

Like Bolshevism neoliberalism is striving to rewrite history in the favorable light, or, even better, create conditions that people do not know the history at all. Neoliberalism even more then Bolshevism in the past is profoundly hostile to history. Which is actually a feature of all new cults. But the method neoliberalism uses is suppressing of education and coverage in MSM -- which is methods that characterize it as "inverted totalitarism". How many Us citizens know who Sheldon Wolin was? probably one in hundred or less. But most know who this corrupt stooge of financial oligarchy, "Chicago boy" Milton Friedman was because he is a saint of the church of neoliberalism. Or who was this plagiarist of Nietzschean philosophy, a Russia emigrant Ann Rand was?

Neoliberalism redistributes wealth up, justifying it with another key neoliberal myth -- the so called "trickle down economics" voodoo: the idea is that if the State directly helps the rich by redistributing wealth up, enforcing "market discipline", opening markets were they never existed (healthcare, education), as well as privatizing state assets, the poor will be better off as a by-product. Or as John Kenneth Galbraith quipped: “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” In other words, neoliberalism is welfare for the top 1% or 0.1% of entrepreneurs and parasitic financial oligarchy (which state protects), and, at the same time, the "free market" jungle for the rest ("socialism for rich").

It is both an ideological assault, but also an economic assault on the power of labor (and especially organized labor) a political project to squash labor wages. On intuitive level neoliberalism emerged as the result of thinking like “We gotta crush labor, how do we do it?” And they found that neoliberalism can be a legitimizing theory for such a squash. Which again makes it similar to Bolshevism, which despite noble slogans kept working class wages at a very low level (which was noted by Orwell in his Animal Farm parable, and famous John Kenneth Galbraith quote "Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite")

And, again, like Bolshevism, this is a self-reassuring, self-gratifying and self-explanatory high demand cult -- a pretty sophisticated and very deceptive ideological rosy glasses, which creates (and then enforces on lemmings) a distorted image of reality. Important part of "reproduction" mechanism if this ideology is that it is deliberately propagated by neoliberal MSM and in neoliberal universities And neoliberal MSM (which are the only game in town in many countries now) as neoliberalism eliminated other forms of press via monopolization mechanism. In the USA lion share of MSM is owned by just six corporations. Along with domination in MSM, neoliberalism creates sophisticated and effective system of indoctrination of population which rivals the same under Bolsheviks in the USSR.

 The cult of greed and the denial of tenets of Christian morality

At the same time the cult of greed and denial of tenets of Christian morality like in case of Bolshevism tend to produce monsters. In the absence of a moral filter, as Martha Stout observed in her book The Sociopath Next Door (2006) "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths... That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow -- but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one." Recent information about child abuse among the neoliberal elite suggests that the proportion of sociopaths among neoliberal politicians is much higher that it was under the New Deal Capitalism. Such neoliberal politicians as Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton (sexscapades , connection to Jeffrey Epstein's Lolita Express, "Clinton Cash" Scandal), Hillary Clinton ("We came, we saw, he died"), Dick "Vice" Cheney, Donald Trump might well be malignant narcissists. Discovery of pedophilia rings that involve politicians in several Western countries (such as Britain, Vatican, Norway ) is just another manifestation of the same trend: Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite. And this is not a bug, this is a feature of neoliberalism, connected with neoliberalism core value "personal gratification above everything else". There is no cure for the infiltration of malignant narcissists and outright sociopaths into high echelons of government until moral character is valued by the society and is once again assessed before key promotion decisions are made. Typical for narcissists megalomania, the idea that after the collapse of the USSR the USA can and should rule the globe was a decisive force in the USA foreign policy (which was at the core a neocon foreign policy) since 1990th and precipitates the current decline of the USA as the world power due to overextension typical for all empires.

The neoliberal state justifies its decisions, policies, and rules by deification of the markets and by perversion of the meaning of the term the "freedom". In this Hayek inspired sophistry the negative definition is used as in "freedom from coercion" and interpreted mainly in economic space ( as the freedom of unlimited enrichment of talented and/or ruthless entrepreneurs.) Compare with "Four Freedoms" definition used Roosevelt administration during the New Deal: "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear" are not included in neoliberal definition. Those freedoms are simply denied under neoliberalism for everybody, but the top 10% of population.

Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles to the level of state religion. Or more correctly the techniques of elevation of market principles to the level of state-endorsed norms and state-sponsored secular religion which displaces Christianity (aka neoliberal rationality). This theological dimension of neoliberalism is very important (some researchers called neoliberalism "perverted Buddhism" in institualized suffering of lower classes ) and like in Marxism, the economics (in the form of neoclassical economics) is used for indoctrination on university students into this ideology. Neoliberals (in a form of adherents to neoclassical economics) dominate economics departments of major universities and not by some chance -- this is result of deliberate policy (borrowed from Trotskyism) of acquiring and maintaining the political power ("Quite coup").

This secular religion in which "market" and "competition" are new deities ("market fundamentalism") is especially visible in university education, were alternative approaches were mercilessly crushed. It is not an exaggeration to say that the main goal of teaching of economics in universities is the indoctrination, and it has very little in common with teaching economic as a complex and contradictory science. Mathematics serves as powerful smoke screen for hiding the neoliberal ideological core (mathiness)

Like neofascism, neoliberalism radically transforms the "welfare state" which was created by the New Deal, prioritizing big corporations over common people.  The idea of welfare that was the core of New Deal Capitalism is not completely abolished. But under neoliberalism only corporations are desirable welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up. But at the same time neoliberalism and neofascism are mortal enemies: neofascism is at its core a flavor of far right nationalism (cultural or ethnic), while neoliberalism is based on globalism. Only in imperial nations like the USA they can partially merge and intervene (Trump's national neoliberalism is one example).

Neoliberalism explicitly reject Christian moral norms, replacing it with the cult of personal enrichment "Greed is good" and making competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The value of the person under neoliberalism is by-and-large defined by the assets it controls plus his social position (which also implicitly provides access to accepts).  In a way neoliberalism revived Soviet Nomenkatura system. In this sense to speak about the USA as Christian country is a cruel joke: it sees to be such from the moment neoliberal came to power.

The cult of competition gave a rise of various (often stupid) "performance metrics" and proliferation of  "performance reviews".

From political standpoint neoliberalism redefines citizens as consumers, who exercise they political power mainly buying and selling, the process which supposedly rewards merit (producing market winners) and punishes inefficiency. It postulates a primitive (and wrong) dogma that “the market” always delivers benefits that are superior and could never be achieved by planning or via government programs.

Which is definitely untrue for military contractors (which represent that ultimate case of "corporate socialism" within the neoliberal system). 

As the "market" under neoliberalism is a kind of "all powerful deity" making neoliberalism, like Marxism before, is hostile to Christianity. And while Marxism absolutize the power of human compassion and redefines paradise as a social system that supposedly can be built on Earth (communism), neoliberalism denigrates the power of human compassion and enforces "greed is good" and "homo homini lupus est" morale. Which turns into law of jungle for lower and middle class. In this sense it is more like a branch of Satanism, with greed as a virtue ("Greed is good"), speculation as a noble activity (while according to Chris Hedges "Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged." ) and the slogan "Homo homini lupus est" as one of the key Commandments. See Neoliberalism and Christianity

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations, and greed as a virtue

This social system can be viewed as dialectical denial of socialism and represents the other extreme in classic triad "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". We do not know yet what the synthesis will be like, but neoliberalism as a social system after 2008 shows definite cracks. Much like the USSR after the WWII when people serving in Red Army discovered what the standard of living in Central and Eastern Europe for workers was far superior that existed in the USSR and start to understand that "state socialism" as practiced in the USSR can't deliver promised higher standard of living for ordinary citizens and that Soviet "nomenklatura" is not that different from the capitalist class in appropriation in Marx terms of "surplus value of labor".

 

Crashing by neoliberals of most New Deal Capitalism regulations directed against financial oligarchy, staunch anti-union stance is not accidental -- it is the core of "neoliberal rationality"

Neoliberalis if the  dictatorship of financial oligarchy, covered by a fig leaf by "participative democracy." Like in the USSR elections are sill regularly held, but candidates are vetted by the financial oligarchy which serve as a proxy for the Soveit Politburo.  Political power under liberalism belongs to Wall Street and is exercised via the Deep State, and first of all intelligence agencies. If necessary, the intelligence agencies are ready to stage color revolution against "accidentally elected" leader, like happened with Trump.

In labor relations neoliberal pursue a staunch anti-union stance. In this sense neoliberal is complete reversal of the New Deal Capitalism which legitimized the unions and gave them a place at negotiating table.

Under neoliberalism labor is successfully atomized, unions suppressed and individuals put on the market "naked" on conditions dictated by employees. Which means squeezing goo paying job in favor of terms and contractors, outsourcing and other anti--labor measure designed to preserve falling profitability in the market condition characterized by falling consumer demand (due to lower standard of living for the majority of population). And this is done at any cost. Even at the cost of human life. That situation gave rise to the term "naked capitalism".

The idea of welfare is not abolished. But under neoliberalism only corporations are desirable welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up.

Inverted totalitarism and the political power of intelligence agencies under neoliberalism

Recent spy scandals demonstrated that neoliberal elite (like financial oligarchy in general) is aware of the loss of power of neoliberal ideology and is afraid of losing power. They no longer fully believe in the power brainwashing of population (at least after 2008). Neoliberal ideology started losing its grip on the population, much like Marxism in the USSR in1960th.

So they switched to coercion innovating in this area too: by introducing so called "inverted totalitarism" template of social coercion. This term was introduced by Professor Sheldon Wolin in his famous book ( see kettering.org which provides an introduction to the book for free).

This template updates Bolsheviks-style repressive mechanisms by relying more the power of intelligence agencies as an enforcement squad of neoliberal agenda and the power of MSM for brainwashing of the population. Dissidents are no longer jailed or killed; they allow them to linger in obscurity carefully "cutting the oxygen" -- and access to media for popularization of their ideas and money for a decent standard of living. You can be a dissident under neoliberalism but prepare to end your life in poverty. So the explicit censorship by the state used under Bolshevism is replaced by a more several private censorship of MSM controlled by neoliberal oligarchs, who provided to be as good in this area if not better as Bolsheviks (six corporations in the USA control all major MSM).

This development reveals another (and pretty alarming) commonality with Bolshevism -- historically Cheka (OGPU/NKVD/KGB) played prominent, if not decisive, role in defending and ensuring the survival of Bolsheviks' regime. It was betrayal of KCB brass that doomed the USSR in late 1991 -- starting from Andropov they switched sides and started to propagate the conversion of the country to neoliberalism. This negative trend is amplified by appointment, "not so bright", deeply conformist "ladder climbers" as the heads of intelligence agencies. For example, Brennan and Clapper represent the same category of people as a typical Soviet bureaucrat -- a ruthless (and most often corrupt and amoral) careerist with limited intellectual capacities, but devoted to the defense of the ruling oligarchy. Such people understand very well from which side his bread is buttered. Neoliberalism operates differently and does not require, or support mobilization of population. That's why it is viewed by some political scientists as a new mutation of corporatism called "inverted totalitarism" (the term introduced by Sheldon Wolin in his magnificent book and further developed by Wendy Brown in her essay Neoliberalism and the end of liberal democracy and the book Undoing the Demos- Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (2017). Internet as a distributed and democratic system supports mobilization of population. It also makes more difficult to control information flow and free flow of information and existence of critical to neoliberalism websites which summarize and presents in readable form the available information is a threat to neoliberalism. Which, being a secular religion, flourished on ignorance and brainwashing. That's why there is systematic propaganda campaign to associate critics of neoliberalism with Russians (which were chosen as a very convenient scapegoat due to Cold War past). That's why neo-McCarthyism witch hunt was launched after Trump elections with such fierce force.

Like Bolsheviks neoliberals are statists par excellence, using state to enforce and support the neoliberal dogma. In other words, neoliberals believe that "the market does not and cannot take care of itself" In this sense we can view neoliberalism is a form of state enforced regulation -- one that insulates the markets from challenges of democratic forces (with the ideological smoke screen of neoclassical economy, which is pure sophistry) as well as from economic nationalism. The recent Deep State attack on Trump is typical, classic neoliberal reaction on such a challenge from economic nationalism.

While hypocritically shouting "free market", "free market"... neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past conspire to achieve power via iether by deceiving electorate with "carrots" in regular election mechanism (which after they came to power is neutered ) or by stealth coup d'état (or regime change via color revolution in weaker countries, first in Latin America (Chile, Brazil, Argentina) and then post Soviet republics (Baltic republics, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia) as well as infiltrating and subverting key institutions of the state via IMF and World Bank ("debt slavery") and, especially, intelligence agencies. CIA considered neoliberalism as a useful tool for their "fight against communism" and was onboard with neoliberalism starting with Pinochet coup in Chile in 1973 done using fifth column of USA educated (read indoctrinated) "Chicago boys".

After coming to power neoliberals behave like Bolsheviks and openly and blatantly use government as an enforcer of their ideology and intelligence agencies as the ultimate repressive apparatus that help to keep the power and to crush any dissent. Intelligence agencies are also instrumental in controlling MSM (directly but placing operatives posing as journalist -- typical for foreign correspondents, especially is such countries as Russia and China, and indirectly buying and/or threatening journalists as was documented  in the book Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte), which under neoliberalism are strictly limited to regurgitation of neoliberal propaganda. In a way they are more tightly controlled then in the USSR.

Financial oligarchy of all countries unite: Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

Neoliberals are statist par excellence which is not surprising as neoliberalism can be defined as Troskyism for the rich. The role of state in support of neoliberalism includes bailing out financial oligarchy to prevent of meltdown of financial system during Minsky moments. Which are inevitable under neoliberalism as decimation of regulation (especially for financial sector) eliminated the negative feedback loop introduced by the New Deal, while financial institutions create a strong positive feedback loop in economics gradually sliding to more and more reckless behaviour as more time from the previous crisis elapses until the new financial crash hits them (and the society as whole) in the head ("stability is destabilizing" as quipped Minsky). At this point neoliberal state bails then our at the expense of ordinary taxpayers and traditional manufactures ("socialism for the financial oligarchy") who bare the main blunt of the crisis.

Like Trotskyites and Bolsheviks in the USSR they exaggerate threats to the USA sovereignty in order to cement the cracks in the neoliberal regime. Russiagate can be viewed as a page borrowed from the Stalinist period of the USSR. In the USSR people were accused being British spies. Now in the USA dissidents from neoliberal ideology (even such highly placed as Trump ;-) are, by definition, Russian intelligence service collaborators, or assets.

This primitive witch hunt is very useful for defenders of the neoliberal regime and the level of paranoia now extends even to contacts with the Ambassador of Russia by any US official which bring us to the set of behaviors at the peak of the USSR Great Terror. In a sense Mueller looks exactly like one of Stalin's henchmen -- he tried to justify the view that is almost totally misguided, for the sake of defense of declining neoliberal ideology and protecting officials in the Democratic Party from their political fiasco with Hillary.  In other words he perform political functions that are not that different from functions performed by the head of Gestapo or Stasi -- suppression of the political dissent to neoliberalism.

Like in the USSR for intelligence officials it is safer to flow with the neo-McCarthyism trend: the current atmosphere of paranoia makes it difficult for remnants of honest service members in the intelligence agencies to present the evidence that contradicts Russian spymania vision. The essence of which is identical to the vision of Stalinist Russia: that the USA is surrounded by two hostile powers (Russia and China) hell-bent on creating political crisis in the country and/or "regime change" and salivating to steal or dismantle the US global neoliberal empire. Which are engaged in stealing technological and military secrets.

Like Soviets, neoliberal policymakers are deeply troubled by the specter of the enemy at the gate, not realizing that the current social crisis in the USA is ultimately connected with the crisis of neoliberalism both as an ideology and the system of governance. Add to this faulty, ideologically distorted system of intelligence gathering and ruthless but intellectually second-rate careerists at the agencies (just look at Strzok, Brennan and Clapper). Like with the discovery of British spies in the USSR, the most obvious motive for Russiagate witch hunt is to cement cracks in neoliberal faced which appeared after 2008 by using for this purpose the external threat.

While many think about neoliberalism as "Ubercapitalism" or return to "Robber Barons" era on a new level, I would like to stress that ideologically Neoliberalism is much closer to Trotskyism ( and thus can be called Neo-Trotskyism ). It stresses the role of state as the enforcement power, the solidarity of neoliberal elite across the countries, with the dominant role of Anglo-Saxon elite. As well as the role of subversive methods and intelligence agencies in instituting the "regime change" (Trotskyite idea of permanent revolution mutated under neoliberalism into the idea of "permanent color revolution") . In the famous slogan "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" neoliberalism substituted the word "proletarians" with the word "elites" (as in "Transnational elites, Unite!" ).

The slogan "All Power to [Workers] Councils" is replaced with "All power to financial oligarchy councils", and such clubs as Bilderberg Group, US Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and similar organization are playing the role of hidden centers of power of the neoliberal regime.

Like Trotskyism neoliberalism in the ideology of "permanent expansion", ideology of neo-colonialism. The idea of "Permanent Revolution" was substituted with the idea of permanent "Color revolutions." Methods used remain a variation and enhancement of methods used by Trotskyites for destabilizing the government, with a special emphasis on use of the students, acquiring the control of mass media, implanting NGO (especially in the area various polls and "control over the legitimacy of elections". ) The latter is pretty nasty trick as people tend to believe the rumors that elections were hijacked. Stalin dictum: it does not matter how they vote, what matters is who is counting the votes is used here in a pretty innovative way. The neoliberal version sounds like: It does not matter how that vote, if elections are close all that matter is who is performing exit polls and cries louder about "irregularities" in the elections in the MSM.

Add to this various financial injection to "dissidents" via network of NGO and you get the picture. Caste of "professional revolutionaries" now consists of well-paid functionaries sitting in comfortable chairs in various, lavishly financed think tanks and NGO. In the USA they constitute the core of both parties which cares very little about the interest of rank-and-file members with "bait and switch" maneuver as the major tool for election success (Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump). Marx is probably rolling in his grave.

Despite being a flavor of Trotskyism, Neoliberalism is still a very interesting, unique social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and various flavors of socialism (as well as facilitated the dissolution of the USSR by buying out Soviet nomenklatura, including KGB brass). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow prohibited by MSM to mention. In this system, like under Stalin's version of socialism, the state play the leading role in enforcing the social system upon the people, brainwashing them with wall-to-wall 24 x 7 USSR-style propaganda an, if necessary, by state violence (As Sheldon Wolin mentioned neoliberalism tries to use violence selectively, as overuse of state violence undermines the social system, see Inverted Totalitarism).

Neoliberalism is the only social system in which the name of the system is prohibited (or at least suppressed) in MSM.

Like Bolshevism and national socialism neoliberalism lifted intelligence services into full fledged political player (which means that later stage of neoliberal state always evolves into the national security state). They also almost completely control the MSM , major commerce (Amazon), search (Google). and social sites (Facebook). For example, Google was created with the help of intelligence agencies at the initial state. Which means that the regime of total electronic surveillance, reminiscent of STASI is the "new normal" (see, Privacy is dead, get over it).

As we can see in color revolution launched by them against Trump (Trump is the proponent of a newer version of neoliberalism, which can be called "national neoliberalism" or "neocolonization instead of globalization") intelligence agencies now position themselves as "king makers" or Praetorian Guard that de-facto controls the election of the President of the USA. And the color revolution against Trump is not the isolated case when the USA intelligence agencies have gone rogue. It is just a step in natural evolution of neoliberalism and along with total surveillance is a "new normal".

Like Bolshevism and national socialism neoliberalism lifted intelligence services into full fledged political player,
no less important politically then judiciary, or legislative branch.

Instead of regulating predatory tendencies of capitalism like under New Deal, state under neoliberalism became just a corrupt policeman that serve interests of the large corporations and financial institutions (especially the latter) and, in most cases, at the expense of the standard of living of the common people. Standard of living of working class and lower middle class typically slides under neoliberalism (this fact is never accepted by neoliberals and hotly disputed).

Standard of living of working class and lower middle class typically slides under neoliberalism. In the USA this is the case since 1980th (this face is not accepted by neoliberals and hotly disputed). But this is a direct result of redistribution of wealth up, which is sine qua non of neoliberalism. Like Feudalism before neoliberalism promotes the notion of aristocracy masqueraded by the smoke screen on "creative class", but in essence consisting mainly of financial oligarchy, with substantial role of inheritance.

In this sense any neoliberal country is to a certain extent is an "occupied country", and the neoliberal regime is the occupying regime, much like Bolsheviks (with their theocratic state) were in USSR space. Or like the return on the new level to the Robber Barons era, when the state helped to squash West Virginia miner upraising in 1912-21 by military force.

Foreign policy under neoliberalism is marked by rampant militarism and constant wars for expanding of the global, USA-led neoliberal empire. Neocons dominate the USA foreign policy since early 70th (Chilean putsch and then Carter administration support of mujahedeen against Soviets).

Neoliberal "permanent revolution" as new version of Trotsky idea of Permanent revolution

It is important to understand that under neoliberalism the key priority is the maintenance of global neoliberal empire for the benefits of multinationals (with the associated idea of Global Neoliberal Revolution which, as we mentioned before, makes is similar to Trotskyism). Opening new markets is vital for the interests of transnational corporations and that means that the USA government supports the war for the expansion of the USA-led global neoliberal empire at the expense of interests of regular US citizens. Outsourcing and atomization of the US workforce (squeezing unions) means that neoliberal government has an adversarial attitude towards its common citizenry. They are, by definition, the second class citizens (Undermensch, or as Hillary Clinton elegantly coined it "basket of deplorables" ) . While neoliberal themselves ("creative class") are new Ubermench and like old aristocracy are above the law. So the idea of the "nomenklatura" as a ruling class in the USSR is now replayed on a new level. The fact the Ann Rand was a Soviet émigré tells you something ;-)

On "lesser" countries level IMF and World banks does the heavy lifting of converting countries into debt-slaves. Sometimes with the help of Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs. Organizing and financing the "death squads" also helps ( moonofalabama.org ):

Under international law, a state is accountable for the unlawful actions of a proxy only if an organ of the state ordered the proxy to commit the act. It is not sufficient simply to have provided material support or even encouraged the unlawful act. For example, in the 1980s, the International Court of Justice found the United States not liable for Contra violations of international humanitarian law, even after concluding that the United States had “financed, organized, trained, supplied, equipped and armed” the Contras, even to the point of providing training materials that discussed “shoot civilians attempting to leave a town, neutralize local judges and officials, hire professional criminals to carry out ‘jobs,’ and provoke violence at mass demonstrations to create ‘martyrs’.”

Like Trotskyism, neoliberalism is a militaristic creed. The only difference is that dream of global Communist empire led from Moscow was replaced by the dream of global neoliberal empire led by Washington. that's why in the foriegn policy neoliberals morph into neocons --" neoliberals with the gun" as in Al Capone maxim "You Can Get Much Further with a Kind Word and a Gun than with a Kind Word Alone" ;-). This "institualized gangsterism" of the US neocons represents probably the greatest threat to the survival of modern civilization.

In this sense neoliberals are as "internationalists" as communists were at their time, and may be even more (the term "globalism" is commonly used instead of "internationalism".) And like "Communist International", the "Neoliberal International" accepts the elite from any country, but only a very narrow strata of the elite and only on a certain conditions, with the leading role reserved for the USA elite and a part of G7 elite. Much like in Comintern the role of Moscow as a leader was something that can't be even discussed. Only taken for granted. Although spying capabilities of "Neoliberal International" via "five eyes" are tremendously more powerful then the rudimentary capabilities of Comintern. And the technology of staging "color revolutions" is more polished then Trotskyite approach to staging proletarian revolutions.

As a proverb say "One is a bad student, if he can't exceed the level of his teacher". Or "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires" (William Arthur Ward). Neoliberals proved to be a very good students of Trotskyite methods of subversion of elected governments, as many of them were actually former Trotskyites.

Neoliberals also have more money and that matters. This fact alone allows them to create a powerful "fifth column" in countries other then G7 who are on the receiving end of neoliberal expropriation of wealth to the top countries of Neoliberal International. Like in Comintern, "all pigs are created equal, but some pigs are more equal then others."

The key idea of obtaining power by training the cadre of "professional revolutionaries" introduced by social-democratic parties and, especially, Bolsheviks are replaced with no less effective the network of neoliberal think tanks. In other words neoliberalism borrowed and perverted almost all major ideas of social-democratic parties. Including the existence of a paid "party core" typical for Bolsheviks, and instrumental to the success of their coup d'état in October 1917 against Provisional government by Kerensky. Under neoliberalism this idea transformed into the network of think tanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored.

Monte Perelin society (the initial neoliberal think tank) explicitly tried to adapt successful idea of western social democratic parties and Bolsheviks to neoliberal doctrine. One such "appropriations" is the level of secrecy and existence of "underground" part of the party along with "legal" parliamentary faction, a set of figureheads who are controlled by "invisible hand" (honorable politician is the one who after he was bought stays bought). Some important theoretical work in this direction was done USA renegade Trotskyites (aka neoconservatives, especially by James Burnham as well as staunch neoliberals like James Buchanan (The Guardian)

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”.

Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”...

Gradually they would build a [well-paid] “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.

The control of MSM is another idea borrowed from Bolsheviks.

Neoliberal Newspeak as a variation of Bolshevism Newspeak. Perversion of the word freedom

Like Bolshevism, neoliberalism created it's own Neoliberal newspeak and a set of myths ("greed is good", "invisible hand", "the efficient markets hypothesis", "rational expectations scam", Shareholder value scam, supply side voodoo aka "rising tide lifts all boats", etc).

In "neoliberal newspeak" the term "freedom" is used as the excuse for ripping down public protections on behalf of the very rich. For example, "free market" means the market free from any coercion by the state (read "free from regulations") which makes it the corporate jungle where the most powerful corporation dictate the rules of the game and eat alive small fish with complete impunity. In no way neoliberal "free market" is fair. Actually neoliberals try to avoid to discuss the issue of farness of the market. This is anathema for them. As such neoliberalism has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed

In no way neoliberal "free market" is fair. Actually neoliberals try to avoid to discuss the issue of farness of the market. This is anathema for them. As such neoliberalism has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed

As neoliberalism inherited consumerism of the New Deal Capitalism, it adapted it for it own purposes. One distinct feature is trying to get into dent the majority of the population of the country as well as "lesser" countries (neo-colonialism)/

On the individual workers levels neoliberalism has sophisticated mechanisms of enforcing excessive debt on unsuspecting population with such mechanisms as credit card companies, mortgages, student debt, etc. And a worker with a large debt is, essentially, a debt-slave. Atomization (neoliberalism is openly and forcefully anti-union) and enslavement of the workforce is exactly what neoliberalism is about: recreation of the plantation economy on a new technological and social levels. Not that unions are without problems in their own right, but crushing the union is the goal of every neoliberal government starting with Thatcher and Reagan. The same model that is depicted in famous song Sixteen Tons. With replacement of the company store debt and private corporate currencies with credit card debt.

Neoliberalism elevates of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms. The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of neoliberal economics (and economists). When this authority collapses the eventual collapse of neoliberalism is imminent. This is a classic "the castle built of sand story. "

 

Neoliberalism as an unstable social system with a strong built-in positive feedback loop;
the coming crisis and possible collapse of neoliberalism

Systems with a strong positive feedback loop are known to be unstable. So bailing out private institutions using public money (like happened in the US and Europe in 2008-2010) is not an aberration, but a quintessential feature of neoliberalism -- the result of stron positive feedback loops that  exit within the financial system.

And the crisis of 2008 which caused the regime of "secular stagnation" in Western societies will probably be repeated on a new level in 2020th (we can only guess about possible triggers; might the price of oil, or the size of derivatives market). Simplifying, we can call neoliberalism "Banks uber alles" regime and as such it is unstable social system prone to periodic devastating financial crisis. Like Bolshevism before it, neoliberalism proved to be unstable social system and the collapse of neoliberalism is not question of "if", but "when". A utopian system which is unable to deliver promised benefits to the common people, and which destabilizes capitalism in comparison with New Deal capitalism, producing periodic financial crisis with increasing severity. The first of such crisis was "savings and loans" crisis, followed by dot com bubble burst, and the financial crisis in 2008. The latter led to the Great Recession from which the USA never fully recovered.

The economic inefficiency of the USSR "state capitalism" model (one state -- one giant corporation) helped to undermine the validity and effectiveness of communist propaganda. And once the ideology is undermined, the elite can't restore the trust of population, which start viewing it with suspicion and contempt. The process of irreversible deterioration started and proceed rather slowly. After WWII Bolshevism survived for another 40 years or so, but eventually failed as the elite (aka Soviet nomenklatura) changed sides and joined neoliberal camp.

Neoliberal elite now experience similar "crisis of legitimacy" which already demonstrated itself in two major events: Brexit in the UK and election of Trump in the USA. That did not mean that neoliberalism became completely toothless. It managed to stage comeback in several Latin American countries (the USA backyard) such as Argentina and Brazil.  But in 2016 it led to the election of Trump who managed to defeat establishment candidate, neocon warmonger Hillary Clinton despite all the efforts of the neoliberal/neocon establishment to derail him. Trump pursues the version of neoliberalism which can be called "national neoliberalism" -- neoliberalism limited to the USA with implicit rejection of globalization (or at least large part of it). Which makes Trumpism somewhat similar to Stalinism. Unlike Trotsky, Stalin did not believe in the "World Revolution" mantra.

In 2008 the large banks, which are the core of neoliberal economics, were saved from facing consequences of their "transgressions" only by massive state intervention. All powerful market was unable to save those sick puppies. The consequences of 2008 crisis did buried neoliberal ideology which from this point looks like cruel and primitive hypocrisy designed to restore the power of financial oligarchy to the level the latter enjoyed in 1930th.

At the same time like theocratic regimes based on other religions (for example, Bolshevism before WWII and Islam in Iran after Islamic revolution ) neoliberalism had shown great resilience after 2008 crisis. Even in the situation when its ideology is completely discredited, neoliberalism managed somewhat recover after 2008 debacle, and even successfully counterattacked in some Latin American and European countries (Argentina, Brazil, Greece).

But the Great Recession still left of huge and ugly scar on the neoliberal face. In any case, the glory days of triumphal march of neoliberalism all over globe are over. Crisis of neoliberalism also logically led to increase of share of "guard labor" in economics. On state level this resulted in hypertrophied growth of repressive apparatus including intelligence agencies. So when in 2016 neoliberalism in the USA experienced its first political crisis (when electorate rejected Hillary Clinton and elected Trump, creating the legitimacy crisis of the USA ruling neoliberal elite) the Deep State (the core of which consists of intelligence agencies and "Wall Street" ) launched a "color revolution" to depose him. Fake changes of falling under Russian control concocted by intelligence agencies in order to depose Trump which collectively are called "Russiagate" (which properly should be called Intelligence-gate) is the defining feature of this "color revolution".

With lower standard of living of the middle class is no longer possible to hide that "it 's not enough cookies for everybody" under neoliberal and the myth that rising tide lifts all boats" ( Trickle-down economics ) is not applicable.

The economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that "trickle-down economics" had been tried before in the United States in the 1890s under the name "horse and sparrow theory", writing:

Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy—what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: 'If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.'

Resentment of working class and lower middle class reached in 2016 unprecedented level, creating a real political crisis in the USA. Which was not unexpected. As Pope Francis aptly noted:

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

Outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing in the USA -- the citadel of neoliberalism led to epidemic of opiod abuse similar to epidemic of alcoholism among workers in the late USSR. Among the more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with nearly 30,000 overdose deaths ( Overdose Death Rates National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (

Impoverishment of lower 20% of the society (those who have so called McJobs) reached the level when we can talk about a third world country within the USA.

All those factors created pre-conditions for a sharp rise of far right nationalism. In a way neoliberalism naturally generated far right nationalism splash much like Gilded Age and the market crash of Sept 4, 1929 capitalism created precondition for the rise of national socialism. Reading NDSAP 25 points program (adopted in 1920) we can instantly feel that many problem that existed then are now replayed on the new level. After approximately 40 years of global dominance neoliberalism facade shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became strong enough to provide upsets, albeit temporary, which demonstrated itself in Brexit, and election of Trump. Who, despite his election-time claims to be a fighter against neoliberal globalization, for restoration of local jobs, and against the wars for expanding neoliberal empire, he essentially folded in two-or three months after the inauguration.

Like Soviet version of Communism before it, Neoliberalism failed to meet its promises of rising standard of living (and the key idea of justifying of raising of inequality and redistribution of wealth up under neoliberalism was "rising water lifts all boats" mantra, or as Kenneth Galbraith famously defined it “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” ). We can stress again, that the current opiod epidemics in the USA is not that different from epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR under Brezhnev's "well developed socialism" and has the same social roots.

Evolution of classic neoliberalism into Trump's "National neoliberalism"

Like all other social systems neoliberalism evolved with time ( much like Bolshevism evolved from Leninism to Stalinism, then to Brezhnev's socialism and at last to Gorbachov's  "perestroika" ). Recently in the USA it morphed into "national neoliberalism" (neoliberalism that stresses the colonial model and direct economic and military pressure of vassals, instead of treaties based globalization model used in "classic" neoliberalism) which has uncanny similarities with "national socialism". This flavor was not well accepted by the current US neoliberal elite and attempts to stage the color revolution against Trump followed (Russiagate).

It can morph into slightly different "regimes", despite the common "market fundamentalism" core. But in all cases it is "socialism for the upper strata of population and corporations, especially transnationals". It favors professionals (programmers, lawyers, doctors, university professors, etc), upper level managers and capital owners, so this social system acts strictly in the interests of top 10% of population, with the special emphasis on interests of top 1% or even top .01%. For the rest of population it serves austerity as the only available dish. That's why it is often compared with feudalism.

Currently in the USA we can observe morphs of neoliberalism into what can be called National neoliberalism. The latter rejects classic neoliberal globalization in favor of bilateral relations (which in  case of the USA means highly favoring the bigger country) with the total rejection of the United Nations as the key international institution, and open gangsterism in foreign policy ("might makes right").

It is personified by Trump with his low level understanding of international affair, impulsivity, permanent bulling and threats as the negotiation tactics, and apparent narcissism. 

Many observers are appalled by the fact that it looks like the USA  (and it's allies in United Neoliberal Zombies of Europe) are indeed led by the stupid, corrupt, and ignorant.

A more "in-depth" look into neoliberalism

This is the end of the introduction. Due to the size the main article was moved to a separate page -- Neoliberalism in depth


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[Nov 14, 2019] Neocon US Ambassador tells impeachment panel what they want to hear about Trump-Ukraine Quid Pro Quo

This is how filthy neocon fifth column typically works: "The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine said Tuesday he was told release of military aid was contingent on public declarations from Ukraine that it would investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election, contradicting President Trump’s denial that he used the money as leverage for political gain." Who told him? Some State Dept. apparatchik? Unless it was directly from Trump it's just a hearsay and evidence of nothing whatsoever.
He clearly belongs to people described in Caitlin Johnstone famous 2017 article Neoconservatism Is An Omnicidal Death Cult, And It Must Be Stopped
"It’s absolutely insane that neoconservatism is still a thing, let alone still a thing that mainstream America tends to regard as a perfectly legitimate set of opinions for a human being to have. As what Dr. Paul Craig Roberts rightly calls “the most dangerous ideology that has ever existed,” neoconservatism has used its nonpartisan bloodlust to work with the Democratic party for the purpose of escalating tensions with Russia on multiple fronts, bringing our species to the brink of what could very well end up being a world war with a nuclear superpower and its allies."
This is not okay. Being a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester, but neocon pundits are routinely invited on mainstream television outlets to share their depraved perspectives.
Oct 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Taylor notably expressed his concerns in a Sept. 9 text message to US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, saying: " I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. "

To which Sondland replies " Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind, " adding "I suggest we stop the back and forth by text."

On Tuesday, Mr. Taylor directly addressed accusations surrounding Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that employed Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., one of the leading Democratic candidates for president.

He "drew a very direct line in the series of events he described between President Trump's decision to withhold funds and refuse a meeting with Zelensky unless there was a public pronouncement by him of investigations of Burisma and the so-called 2016 election conspiracy theories," Ms. Wasserman Schultz said. - New York Times

As the Washington Post notes, Taylor said "By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelenskyy wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma," the Ukrainian gas firm which employed Hunter Biden, "and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections."


HoserF16 , 24 seconds ago link

He's a Liar. There's no QPQ. We have the transcript of the call. No QPQ. This Frail looking Douche Bag is lying. He's obviously on the Ukrainian-Take like the rest of them. DNC kept Servers in the Ukraine. Why would they do that??? (wink, wink)

Jackprong , 3 minutes ago link

Democrats have called the testimony the most damaging account yet, as Taylor provided an "excruciatingly detailed" opening statement, according to the New York Times .

And they have Zero, Zilch, Nada!

Largebrneyes1 , 3 minutes ago link

Taylor was a democratic appointee from the Obama administration...shocker. And he was the only one suggesting this was politically motivated. Sondland corrected him immediately. Nobody else, including the Ukrainians, agree with his "interpretation".

south40_dreams , 8 minutes ago link

JOE BIDEN IN 1998;

"Even if the President should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching..."

He said a dirty word

slickrick , 9 minutes ago link

Schiff's bitch said it like he was told to. Nothing to see folks.

Bobzilla. Do not piss him off , 12 minutes ago link

Wasn't creepy uncle joe doing a quid pro quo when he said no billion $ unless you fir the prosecutor?? Seems the demonrats have two sets of rules. ******* hypocrites.

The Persistent Vegetable , 21 minutes ago link

Manaforts in prison

Cohens in prison

Stone? arrested

Flynn? convicted

Rudy? Soon to be arrested

Whose next in the most transparent administration in history? An administration which only arrests its own and lets the Dems skate?

William Dorritt , 10 minutes ago link

Trump forgot to fire 10,000 Obama Political Appointees

when he took office

Trump created this mess

he actually stiff armed conservatives who offered to help him

doubt many would now.

McConnell has systemically undermined Trump

blocking Trump's appointments and

blocking Trump from making recess appointments

KY needs to do the US a favor and retire McConnell

Rest Easy , 25 minutes ago link

Ex ******* scuse me, but didn't obumer and company start a civil war in Ukraine?

Ukraine is right next to ******* Russia. A nuclear power.

People have died here. Whatever else these ******* fuckers were up to, this seems pretty clearly criminally insane.

Let's cut the crap journalists. Start doing your jobs.

Dept. Of whatever Justice. And congress. This is unacceptable. And beyond irresponsible.

TahoeBilly2012 , 22 minutes ago link

That's right, I followed everything Ukraine in detail in 2013, so did my Mom who is 81. She knows more Ukraine than any of my dirtbag Democrat friends. Hunter Biden corruption old news.

Son of Loki , 25 minutes ago link

I definitely believe the neocon anti-Trumper.

He's so brave to come forward.

He even talked in a little gurl's voice!

#MeToo!

estradagold , 34 minutes ago link

Yet the average Ukrainian makes $300 a month and we have zero qualms about robbing their country blind. Some friend we are.

joego1 , 36 minutes ago link

First of all Ukraine had already started to investigate Biden and Burisma in March, second of all the aid was turned over to them already and there is no resolution to the investigation yet. Third, the Ukrainians have gone on the record saying there was no pressure. Last, the president has a responsibility to look into corruption even if it was a Demonrat.

[Nov 14, 2019] Fake news content seems very close to what a lynch party seeking to get up the never to hang an innocent slave for a criminal act "done by one of their kind" would do.

Oct 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

I am sorry but I c/n remember if was the guy at the far end of the bar down near to the bathroom in the boots, bathing suit, and top hat, or the guy at the seat nearest to the front door, in the grey flannel suit with polished boots, but it was one of them who gave the bar, a few evenings back, much of what it needs to be coherent. It was hierarchy of elements that propagandist use to install and support false narratives in their written and spoken words. It was system of analysis, given to us here at the bar, to establish the gosh awful truth hidden within an intentionally wrong narrative.

That evening I had too much bar juice, so this all I can recall, 8 elements could be applied to the propaganda to diagnose and debunk and discover the false in wrongful, misleading propaganda.. see the following.

1. EN always the propagandist must establish the general narrative God turned the blue sky, red.
2. WR the propagandist must make great wrongs into powerful strong rights.. The devil made him do it.
3. PE profession propagandists cherry pick the facts; include in the narrative only those facts that support the proposition.
The devil was seen talking to God on more than one occasion.
4. IS ignore damning or off point stuff that challenge or defeat the narrative or transform it into a positive
The fact that God had killed the devil two years before is ignored.
5. BV blame the victim.. don't give the victim a chance to speak.. The victim (God) did it..
6. MU make stuff up to support the narrative. A person on Jupitor saw God practising every evening He watched as God turned blue seas red and red seas blue
7. AC Attack all challengers allow no one to intercede in the attack. The Pope said God could not show him that he could turn Blue seas to red, or vice a versa
8. RL Repeat, and repeat and repeat the lie.. until it becomes embedded in the mind of the innocent. We are all tired of hearing this story..

After sobering up and thinking about this list, I realized its content seems very close to what a lynch party seeking to get up the never to hang an innocent slave for a criminal act "done by one of their kind" would do. The party would pretty much go through the 8 things, attempting to convince itself that the slave was guilty, until finally one of the members of the lynching party would swat the horse and the party would watch the victim swing..

We must develop a technology suitable to encoding these things, and to find other such things to add to this debunk the propaganda list of 8 items; so that no one can pass off on us wrongful narrative?

Its ok to be innocently wrong, in fact, we all learn when we discover a wrong, but intentional wrong should be against the rules of the bar.

We should adopt these 8 things and use them in our analysis..

[Nov 14, 2019] Neoliberalism Paved the Way for Authoritarian Right-Wing Populism by Henry A. Giroux

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. ..."
"... This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair. ..."
"... Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ." ..."
"... As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. ..."
Sep 26, 2019 | truthout.org

Part of the Series The Public Intellectual

Talk of a looming recession is heating up as the global economy slows and President Trump's tiff with China unsettles financial markets. As world trade contracts, stock markets drop, the manufacturing sector in the United States is in decline for the first time in a decade , and farmers and steel workers continue losing their income and jobs.

Rumors of a coming recession accentuate fears about the further deterioration of conditions faced by workers and the poor, who are already suffering from precarious employment, poverty, lack of meaningful work and dwindling pensions. A global economic slump would make living standards for the poor even worse. As Ashley Smith points out , levels of impoverishment in the United States are already shocking, with "four out of every ten families [struggling] to meet the costs of food, housing, health care, and utilities every month."

Just as the 2008 global economic crisis revealed the failures of liberal democracy and the scourge of neoliberalism, a new economic recession in 2019 could also reveal how institutions meant to serve the public interest and offer support for a progressive politics now serve authoritarian ideologies and a ruling elite that views democracy as the enemy of market-based freedoms and white nationalism.

What has not been learned from the 2008 crisis is that an economic crisis neither unites those most affected in favor of a progressive politics nor does it offer any political guarantees regarding the direction of social change. Instead, the emotions that fueled massive public anger toward elites and globalization gave rise to the celebration of populist demagogues and a right-wing tsunami of misdirected anger, hate and violence toward undocumented immigrants, refugees, Muslims and people of color.

The 2008 financial crisis wreaked havoc in multiple ways. Yet there was another crisis that received little attention: a crisis of agency. This crisis centered around matters of identity, self-determination and collective resistance, which were undermined in profound ways, giving rise to and legitimating the emergence of authoritarian populist movements in many parts of the world, such as United States, Hungary, Poland and Brazil.

At the heart of this shift was the declining belief in the legitimacy of both liberal democracy and its pledges about trickle-down wealth, economic security and broadening equal opportunities preached by the apostles of neoliberalism. In many ways, public faith in the welfare state, quality employment opportunities, institutional possibilities and a secure future for each generation collapsed. In part, this was a consequence of the post-war economic boom giving way to massive degrees of inequality, the off-shoring of wealth and power, the enactment of cruel austerity measures, an expanding regime of precarity, and a cut-throat economic and social environment in which individual interests and needs prevailed over any consideration of the common good. As liberalism aligned itself with corporate and political power, both the Democratic and Republican Parties embraced financial reforms that increased the wealth of the bankers and corporate elite while doing nothing to prevent people from losing their homes, being strapped with chronic debt, seeing their pensions disappear, and facing a future of uncertainty and no long-term prospects or guarantees.

Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality.

In an age of economic anxiety, existential insecurity and a growing culture of fear, liberalism's overheated emphasis on individual liberties "made human beings subordinate to the market, replacing social bonds with market relations and sanctifying greed," as noted by Pankaj Mishra. In this instance, neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. The latter was the outcome of a growing cultural and political polarization that made "it possible for haters to come out from the margins, form larger groups and make political trouble." This toxic polarization and surge of right-wing populism produced by casino capitalism was accentuated with the growth of fascist groups that shared a skepticism of international organizations, supported a militant right-wing nationalism, and championed a surge of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-democratic values.

This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair.

At the same time, they enacted policies that dismantled civic culture and undermined a wide range of democratic institutions that extended from the media to public goods such as public and higher education. Under such circumstances, democratic narratives, values and modes of solidarity, which traded in shared responsibilities and shared hopes, were replaced by a market-based focus on a regressive notion of hyper-individualism, ego-centered values and a view of individual responsibility that eviscerated any broader notion of social, systemic, and corporate problems and accountability.

Ways of imagining society through a collective ethos became fractured, and a comprehensive understanding of politics as inclusive and participatory morphed into an anti-politics marked by an investment in the language of individual rights, individual choice and the power of rights-bearing individuals.

Under the reign of neoliberalism, language became thinner and more individualistic, detached from history and more self-oriented, all the while undermining viable democratic social spheres as spaces where politics bring people together as collective agents and critically engaged citizens. Neoliberal language is written in the discourse of economics and market values, not ethics. Under such circumstances, shallowness becomes an asset rather than a liability. Increasingly, the watered-down language of liberal democracy, with its over-emphasis on individual rights and its neoliberal coddling of the financial elite, gave way to a regressive notion of the social marked by rising authoritarian tendencies, unchecked nativism, unapologetic expressions of bigotry, misdirected anger and the language of resentment-filled revolt. Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ."

The ultimate consequence was to produce later what Wolfgang Merkel describes as "a rebellion of the disenfranchised." A series of political uprisings made it clear that neoliberalism was suffering from a crisis of legitimacy further accentuated by the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump, support for the National Rally ( formerly known as the National Front ) in France, and the emergence of powerful right-wing populist movements across the globe.

What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists.

As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. In this instance, power was removed from the social sphere and placed almost entirely in the hands of corporate and political demagogues who used it to enrich themselves for their own personal gain.

Power was now used to produce muscular authority in order "to secure order, boundaries, and to divert the growing anger of a declining middle and working-class," Wendy Brown observes . Both classes increasingly came to blame their economic and political conditions that produced their misery and ravaged ways of life on "'others': immigrants, minority races, 'external' predators and attackers ranging from terrorists to refugees." Liberal-individualistic views lost their legitimacy as they refused to indict the underlying structures of capitalism and its winner-take-all ethos.

Functioning largely as a ruthless form of social Darwinism, economic activity was removed from a concern with social costs, and replaced by a culture of cruelty and resentment that disdained any notion of compassion or ethical concern for those deemed as "other" because of their class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. This is a culture marked by gigantic hypocrisies, "the gloomy tabulation of unspeakable violent events," widespread viciousness, "great concentrations of wealth," "surveillance overkill," and the "unceasing despoliation of biospheres for profit."

George Monbiot sums up well some of the more toxic elements of neoliberalism, which remained largely hidden since it was in the mainstream press less as an ideology than as an economic policy. He writes :

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimized, public services should be privatized. The organization of labor and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

In the neoliberal worldview, those who are unemployed, poor consumers or outside of the reach of a market in search of insatiable profits are considered disposable. Increasingly more people were viewed as anti-human, unknowable, faceless and symbols of fear and pathology. This included undocumented immigrants in the United States and refugees in Europe, as well as those who were considered of no value to a market society, and thus eligible to be deprived of the most basic rights and subject to the terror of state violence.

Marking selected groups as disposable in both symbolic and material forms, the neoliberal politics of disposability became a machinery of political and social death -- producing spaces where undesirable members are abused, put in cages , separated from their children and subject to a massive violation of their human rights. Under a neoliberal politics of disposability, people live in spaces of ever-present danger and risk where nothing is certain; human beings considered excess are denied a social function and relegated to what Étienne Balibar calls the "death zones of humanity." These are the 21st century workstations designed for the creation and process of elimination; a death-haunted mode of production rooted in the "absolute triumph of irrationality."

Economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine.

Within this new political formation, older forms of exploitation are now matched, if not exceeded, by a politics of racial and social cleansing, as entire populations are removed from ethical assessments, producing zones of social abandonment. In this new world, there is a merging of finance capital and a war culture that speaks to a moral and political collapse in which the welfare state is replaced by forms of economic nationalism and a burgeoning carceral state .

Furthermore, elements of this crisis can be seen in the ongoing militarization of everyday life as more and more institutions take on the model of the prison. Additionally, there is also the increased arming of the police, the criminalization of a wide range of behaviors related to social problems, the rise of the surveillance state, and the ongoing war on youth, undocumented immigrants, Muslims and others deemed enemies of the state.

Under the aegis of a neoliberal war culture, we have witnessed increasing immiseration for the working and middle classes, massive tax cuts for the rich, the outsourcing of public services, a full-fledged attack on unions, the defunding of public goods, and the privatization of public services extending from health and education to roads and prisons. This ongoing transfer of public resources and services to the rich, hedge fund managers, and corporate elite was matched by the corporate takeover of the commanding institutions of culture, including the digital, print and broadcast media. What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists and its flip side, which amounts to a full-fledged political attack on independent digital, online and oppositional journalists.

While it is generally acknowledged that neoliberalism was responsible for the worldwide economic crisis of 2008, what is less acknowledged is that structural crisis produced by a capitalism on steroids was not matched by subjective crisis and consequently gave rise to new reactionary political populist movements. As economic collapse became visceral, people's lives were upended and sometimes destroyed. Moreover, as the social contract was shredded along with the need for socially constructed roles, norms and public goods, the "social" no longer occupied a thick and important pedagogical space of solidarity, dialogue, political expression, dissent and politics.

As public spheres disappeared, communal bonds were weakened and social provisions withered. Under neoliberalism, the social sphere regresses into a privatized society of consumers in which individuals are atomized, alienated, and increasingly removed from the variety of social connections and communal bonds that give meaning to the degree to which societies are good and just.

Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

People became isolated, segregated and unable " to negotiate democratic dilemmas in a democratic way " as power became more abstract and removed from public participation and accountability. As the neoliberal net of privilege was cast wider without apology for the rich and exclusion of others, it became more obvious to growing elements of the public that appeals to liberal democracy had failed to keep its promise of a better life for all. It could no longer demand, without qualification, that working people should work harder for less, and that democratic participation is exclusively about elections. What could not be hidden from many disenfranchised groups was that ruling elites produced what Adam Tooze describes as "a disastrous slide from the hypocrisies and compromises of the previous status quo into something even [more dangerous]."

As the global crisis has intensified since 2008, elements of a political and moral collapse at the heart of an authoritarian society are more obvious and find their most transparent expression of ruthlessness, greed and unchecked power in the rule of Donald Trump. As Chris Hedges points out :

The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military "virtues" are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch . Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages.

The slide into authoritarianism was made all the easier by the absence of a broad-based left mass movement in the United States, which failed to provide both a comprehensive vision of change and an alignment of single-issue groups and smaller movements into one mass movement. Nancy Fraser rightly observes that following Occupy, "potential links between labour and new social movements were left to languish. Split off from one another, those indispensable poles of a viable left were miles apart, waiting to be counterposed as antithetical."

Since the 1970s, there has been a profound backlash by economic, financial, political and religious fundamentalists and their allied media establishments against labor, an oppositional press, people of color and others who have attempted to extend the workings of democracy and equality.

As the narrative of class and class struggle disappeared along with the absence of a vibrant socialist movement, the call for democracy no longer provided a unifying narrative to bring different oppressed groups together. Instead, economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine. Under such circumstances, politics is imagined as a form of war, repelling immigrants and refugees who are described by President Trump as "invaders," "vermin" and "rapists." The emergence of neoliberalism as a war machine is evident in the current status of the Republican Party and the Trump administration, which wage assaults on anything that does not mimic the values of the market. Such assaults take the form of fixing whole categories of people as disposable, as enemies, and force them into conditions of extreme precarity -- and in increasingly more instances, conditions of danger. Neoliberal capitalism radiates violence, evident in its endless instances of mass shooting, such as those that took place most recently in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. This should not be surprising for a society that measures power by the speed that it removes itself from any sense of ethical and social responsibility. As Beatrix Campbell puts it ,

The richest society on the planet is armed. And it invests in one of the largest prison systems in the world. Violence circulates between state and citizen. Drilled to kill, doomed to die: mastery and martyrdom is the heartbreaking dialectic of the manufacture of militarized, violent masculinity . The making and maintaining of militarised masculinities is vital to these new modes of armed conflict that are proliferating across the flexible frontiers of globalized capitalism, between and within states.

What has become clear is that the neoliberal agenda has been a spectacular failure . Moreover, it has mobilized on a global level the violent political, social, racial and economic energies of a resurgent fascist politics. Across the globe, right-wing modes of governance are appearing in which the line collapses between "outside foreign enemies" such as refugees and undocumented immigrants, on the one hand, and on the other, inside "dangerous" or "treasonous" classes such as critical journalists, educators and dissidents.

As neoliberal economies increasingly resort to violence and repression, fear replaces any sense of shared responsibilities, as violence is not only elevated to an organizing principle of society, but also expands a network of extreme cruelty. Imagining politics as a war machine, more and more groups are treated as excess and inscribed in an order of power as disposable, enemies, and [forced] into conditions of extreme precarity. This is a particularly vicious form of state violence that undermines and constrains agency, and subjects individuals to zones of abandonment, as evident in the growth of immigrant jails and an expanding carceral complex in the United States and other countries, such as Hungary.

As neoliberalism's promise of social mobility and expanding economic progress collapsed, it gave way to an authoritarian right-wing populism looking for narratives on which to pin the hatred of governing elites who, as Paul Mason notes , "capped health and welfare spending, [imposed] punitive benefit withdraws [that] forced many families to rely on food banks [and] withdraw sickness and disability benefits from one million former workers below retirement age."

Across the globe, a series of uprisings have appeared that signal new political formations that rejected the notion that there was no alternative to neoliberal hegemony. This was evident not only with the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but also with the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and support for popular movements such as the National Rally in France. Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

In the United States, both major political parties were more than willing to turn the economy over to the bankers and hedge fund managers while producing policies that shaped radical forms of industrial and social restructuring, all of which caused massive pain, suffering and rage among large segments of the working class and other disenfranchised groups. Right-wing populist leaders across the globe recognized that national economies were in the hands of foreign investors, a mobile financial elite and transnational capital. In a masterful act of political diversion, populist leaders attacked all vestiges of liberal capitalism while refusing to name neoliberal inequities in wealth and power as a basic threat to their societies. Instead of calling for an acceleration of the democratic ideals of popular sovereignty and equality, right-wing populist leaders, such as Trump, Bolsonaro and Hungary's Viktor Orbán defined democracy as the enemy of those who wish for unaccountable power. They also diverted genuine popular anger into the abyss of cultural chauvinism, anti-immigrant hatred, a contempt of Muslims and a targeted attack on the environment, health care, education, public institutions, social provisions and other basic life resources. As Arjun Appadurai observes , such authoritarian leaders hate democracy, capture the political emotions of those treated as disposable, and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

In this scenario, we have the resurgence of a fascist politics that capitalizes on the immiseration, fears and anxieties produced by neoliberalism without naming the underlying conditions that create and legitimate its policies and social costs. While such populists comment on certain elements of neoliberalism such as globalization, they largely embrace those ideological and economic elements that concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a political, corporate and financial elite, thus reinforcing in the end an extreme form of capitalism. Moreover, right-wing populists may condemn globalization, but they do so by blaming those considered outside the inclusive boundaries of a white homeland even though the same forces victimize them . At the same time, such leaders mobilize passions that deny critical understanding while simultaneously creating desires and affects that produce toxic and hypermasculine forms of identification.

Authoritarian leaders hate democracy and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

In this instance, an oppressive form of education becomes central to politics and is used as a tool of power in the struggle over power, agency and politics. What is at stake here is not simply a struggle between authoritarian ideas and democratic ideals, but also a fierce battle on the part of demagogues to destroy the institutions and conditions that make critical thought and oppositional accounts of power possible. This is evident, for example, in Trump's constant attack on the critical media, often referring to them as "'the enemy of the people' pushing 'Radical Left Democrat views,'" even as journalists are subject to expulsion, mass jailing and assassination across the world by some of Trump's allies.

Waging war on democracy and the institutions that produce it, neoliberalism has tapped into a combination of fear and cathartic cruelty that has once again unleashed the mobilizing passions of fascism, especially the historically distinct registers of extreme nationalism, nativism, white supremacy, racial and ethnic cleansing, voter suppression, and an attack on a civic culture of critique and resistance. The result is a new political formation that I have called neoliberal fascism, in which the principles and practices of a fascist past and neoliberal present have merged, connecting the worst dimensions and excesses of gangster capitalism with the fascist ideals of white nationalism and racial supremacy associated with the horrors of a fascist past.

Neoliberal fascism hollows out democracy from within, breaks down the separation of power while increasing the power of the presidency, and saturates cultural and social life with its ideology of self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, and regressive notions of freedom and individual responsibility.

What needs to be acknowledged is that neoliberalism as an extreme form of capitalism has produced the conditions for a fascist politics that is updated to serve the interest of a concentrated class of financial elite and a rising tide of political demagogues across the globe.

The mass anger fueling neoliberal fascism is a diversion of genuine resistance into what amounts to a pathology, which empties politics of any substance. This is evident also in its support of a right-wing populism and its focus on the immigrants and refugees as "dangerous outsiders," which serves to eliminate class politics and camouflage its own authoritarian ruling class interests and relentless attacks on social welfare.

A new economic slump would further fuel forces of repression and strengthen the forces of white supremacy.

In the face of a looming global recession, it is crucial to understand the connection between the rise of right-wing populism and neoliberalism, which emerged in the late 1970s as a commanding ideology fueling a punitive form of globalization. This historical moment is marked by unique ideological, economic and political formations produced by ever-increasing brutal forms of capitalism, however diverse.

Governing economic and political thinking everywhere, neoliberalism's unprecedented concentration of economic and political power has produced a toxic state modeled after the models of finance and unchecked market forces. It has also produced a profound shift in human consciousness, agency and modes of identification. The consequences have become familiar and include cruel austerity measures, adulation of self-regulating markets, the liberating of capital from any constraints, deregulation, privatization of public goods, the commodification of everyday life and the gutting of environmental, health and safety laws. It has also paved the way for a merging of extreme market principles and the sordid and mushrooming elements of white supremacy, racial cleansing and ultranationalism that have become specific to updated forms of fascist politics.

Such policies have produced massive inequities in wealth, power and income, while further accelerating mass misery, human suffering, the rise of state-sanctioned violence and ever-expanding sites of terminal exclusion in the forms of walls, detention centers and an expanding carceral state. An impending recession accentuates the antagonisms, instabilities and crisis produced by the long history and reach of neoliberal ideologies and policies.

A new economic slump would further fuel forces of repression and strengthen the forces of white supremacy, Islamophobia, nativism and misogyny. In the face of such reactionary forces, it is crucial to unite various progressive forces of opposition into a powerful anti-capitalist movement that speaks not only to the range of oppressions exacerbated by neoliberalism, but also to the need for new narratives that speak to overturning a system steeped in the machineries of war, militarization, repression and death.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books include: Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education (Haymarket 2014), The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights 2014), Dangerous Thinking in the Age of the New Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2015), America's Addiction to Terrorism (Monthly Review Press, 2016), America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017), The Public in Peril (Routledge, 2018) and American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism (City Lights, 2018) and The Terror of the Unforeseen (LARB Books, 2019). Giroux is also a member of Truthout 's Board of Directors.

[Nov 14, 2019] In 2019, the bottom 99% of families will pay 7.2% of their wealth in taxes, while the top 0.1% of households will pay just 3.2%.

Nov 14, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Nomad Money said in reply to Buscar Mañana... , November 11, 2019 at 09:08 AM

"In 2019, the bottom 99% of families will pay 7.2% of their wealth in taxes, while the top 0.1% of households will pay just 3.2%."
~~Elizabeth Warren~

do you see how EW has finally opened our eyes?

sure! poor people think about wealth as being income. they think about Wealth as being their salary. from the perspective of a wealthy senator wealth is a function of assets. EW had the guts to share this perspective with us, to open our eyes to reality.

we should not be taxing the payroll we should not be taxing the capital gains and other income. we should be taxing non productive assets, assets which cannot be hidden which cannot be taken off shore.

the Swiss have such a tax. all of their real estate is taxed at a rate of 0.3% per annum. it would be easy for us to stop all local taxes All County taxes all state taxes and all federal tax then initiate a 1% tax on all real property unimproved and on all improved real property. we should continue this tax until our federal debt is completely discharged. such a taxation shift would revv up our productive activity and increase our per capita GDP. as usual there would be winners and there would be losers. the losers would be those who want more inequality and the winners would be

those who want more
equality
.!

[Nov 14, 2019] Opinion Attack of the Wall Street Snowflakes by Paul Krugman

Notable quotes:
"... Cliff Asness, another money manager, would fly into a rage at Warren adviser Gabriel Zucman for using the term "revenue maximizing" -- a standard piece of economic jargon -- describing it as "disgustingly immoral." ..."
"... Objectively, Obama treated Wall Street with kid gloves. In the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis, his administration bailed out collapsing institutions on favorable terms. He and Democrats in Congress did impose some new regulations, but they were very mild compared with the regulations put in place after the banking crisis of the 1930s. He did, however, refer on a few occasions to "fat cat" bankers and suggested that financial-industry excesses were responsible for the 2008 crisis because, well, they were. And the result, quite early in his administration, was that Wall Street became consumed with " Obama rage ," and the financial industry went all in for Mitt Romney in 2012. ..."
Nov 14, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

No, the really intense backlash against Warren and progressive Democrats in general is coming from Wall Street . And while that opposition partly reflects self-interest, Wall Street's Warren hatred has a level of virulence, sometimes crossing into hysteria, that goes beyond normal political calculation.

What's behind that virulence?

First, let's talk about the rational reasons Wall Street is worried about Warren. She is, of course, calling for major tax increases on the very wealthy, those with wealth exceeding $50 million, and the financial industry is strongly represented in that elite club. And since raising taxes on the wealthy is highly popular , it's an idea a progressive president might actually be able to turn into real policy.

Warren is also a big believer in stricter financial regulation; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was highly effective until the Trump administration set about gutting it, was her brainchild.

So if you are a Wall Street billionaire, rational self-interest might well induce you to oppose Warren. Rationality does not, however, explain why a money manager like Leon Cooperman -- who just two years ago settled a suit over insider trading for $5 million, although without admitting wrongdoing -- would circulate an embarrassing, self-pitying open letter denouncing Warren for her failure to appreciate all the wonderful things billionaires like him do for society.

Nor does it explain why Cliff Asness, another money manager, would fly into a rage at Warren adviser Gabriel Zucman for using the term "revenue maximizing" -- a standard piece of economic jargon -- describing it as "disgustingly immoral."

The real tell here, I think, is that much of the Wall Street vitriol now being directed at Warren was previously directed at, of all people, President Barack Obama.

Objectively, Obama treated Wall Street with kid gloves. In the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis, his administration bailed out collapsing institutions on favorable terms. He and Democrats in Congress did impose some new regulations, but they were very mild compared with the regulations put in place after the banking crisis of the 1930s. He did, however, refer on a few occasions to "fat cat" bankers and suggested that financial-industry excesses were responsible for the 2008 crisis because, well, they were. And the result, quite early in his administration, was that Wall Street became consumed with " Obama rage ," and the financial industry went all in for Mitt Romney in 2012.

I wonder, by the way, if this history helps explain an odd aspect of fund-raising in the current primary campaign. It's not surprising that Warren is getting very little money from the financial sector. It is, however, surprising that the top recipient isn't Joe Biden but Pete Buttigieg , who's running a fairly distant fourth in the polls. Is Biden suffering from the lingering effects of that old-time Obama rage?

In any case, the point is that Wall Street billionaires, even more than billionaires in general, seem to be snowflakes, emotionally unable to handle criticism.

I'm not sure why that should be the case, but it may be that in their hearts they suspect that the critics have a point.

What, after all, does modern finance actually do for the economy? Unlike the robber barons of yore, today's Wall Street tycoons don't build anything tangible. They don't even direct money to the people who actually are building the industries of the future. The vast expansion of credit in America after around 1980 basically involved a surge in consumer debt rather than new money for business investment.

Moreover, there is growing evidence that when the financial sector gets too big it actually acts as a drag on the economy -- and America is well past that point .

Now, human nature being what it is, people who secretly wonder whether they really deserve their wealth get especially angry when others express these doubts publicly. So it's not surprising that people who couldn't handle Obama's mild, polite criticism are completely losing it over Warren.

What this means is that you should beware of Wall Street claims that progressive policies would have dire effects. Such claims don't reflect deep economic wisdom; to a large extent they're coming from people with vast wealth but fragile egos, whose rants should be discounted appropriately. The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We'd like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here's our email: letters@nytimes.com .

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram .

[Nov 14, 2019] Never ask for permission, always ask for forgiveness. The Silicon Valley-Wall Street motto

"You've got no place else to go" is a unifying ethos of Silicon Valley and the liberal class.
Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Louis Fyne , November 12, 2019 at 8:43 am

Never ask for permission, always ask for forgiveness. The Silicon Valley-Wall Street motto.

eg, Uber-Lyft and jitney laws, AirBnB/local zoning.

[Nov 14, 2019] the Caribbean investment also illustrates how dramatically U.S. health care is changing. In its rapid-fire evolution, Ascension has become a leading example of a nonprofit health system that often acts like a for-profit, blurring the line between businesses and charities.

Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Krystyn Walentka , November 13, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Please look into Ascention healthcare if you want to know how completely effed up this whole situation is!

https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/how-a-st-louis-based-health-care-system-became-one/article_c07ada87-ab74-5175-a0b0-5219dd7b95f1.html

That dramatic growth culminates Tuesday with the grand opening in the Cayman Islands of the first phase of a $2 billion "health city" complex -- a project that seems far removed from the nonprofit health system's humble origins and its Catholic mission to serve the poor and vulnerable.

Ascension executives say they hope through this joint venture with a for-profit, India hospital chain to learn ways to reduce medical costs.

But the Caribbean investment also illustrates how dramatically U.S. health care is changing. In its rapid-fire evolution, Ascension has become a leading example of a nonprofit health system that often acts like a for-profit, blurring the line between businesses and charities. Its health ministry has drawn criticism for risk-taking and its ties to Wall Street. And some critics have raised questions about its tax-exempt status.

[Nov 14, 2019] You know what will be the next big headline with Google and health services? It will be the discovery that Google has secretly purchased access to people's DNA from Ancestry or 23andMe and now they will link your DNA with all those health records. Can't tell me that they are not negotiating for it.

Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , November 12, 2019 at 9:18 am

I've seen this movie before. After a lot of legal wrangling, Google will admit they they might have bent the rules a bit and will have to pay a few billion in fines which they will proceed to claim back on their next tax form. They will ensure, however, that they do not admit doing something illegal in court and so no executives will go to the slammer to stop this happening again. Google will also promise to delete that data.

Meanwhile, a copy of all these files will have gone to a set of their servers in a country that the US legal system cannot access where it will be analyzed further. Perhaps Google techs will be able to access it in California on a secured line. Non Disclosure Agreements will ensure that nobody talks about this work.

You know what will be the next big headline with Google and health services? It will be the discovery that Google has secretly purchased access to people's DNA from Ancestry or 23andMe and now they will link your DNA with all those health records. Can't tell me that they are not negotiating for it.

petal , November 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

Google is a minority investor in 23andMe. I don't have time to go digging about data sharing/purchasing, though. Maybe someone else can?

The Rev Kev , November 12, 2019 at 9:52 am

Thanks for that petal. Looks like it is going to be 23andMe and not Ancestry. Want a fun fact that I have just discovered? And I quote-

Sergey Brin, president of technology and a co-founder of Google is the husband of 23andMe Co-founder Anne Wojcicki. He previously invested around $10 million of his own money in 23andMe's convertible debt financing, which was converted into Series B preferred stock as part of 23andMe's Series B round.

How about that! Article at-

https://www.genomeweb.com/dxpgx/google-invests-another-26m-23andme

petal , November 12, 2019 at 10:13 am

Oh yes, was aware of that for quite a while now. The companies have been attached at the hip from the beginning. Pillow talk? They are no longer together(Brin and Wojcicki). She was linked with ARod for awhile haha. Interesting group of characters involved.

Krystyn Walentka , November 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm

My one regret was using 23andme, but I have to say it helped me so much it tempers the fact that I know parts of my "unidentifiable" genome is flying around out there somewhere. I think using gmail is more of a risk in reality. There is a lot more regulation risk pertaining to DNA data already on the books. Not saying it would stop them.

I was already degoogled before this Ascension news, but I just told my friends that I will not email them if they have a gmail address. A total boycott of google from me.

Otis B Driftwood , November 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

I work in healthcare IT, and I can certainly attest to the fact that insurance companies are keenly interested in acquiring clinical data. The term of art for this is "chart chasing", and right now it is pretty much a manual process wherein the patient data is gathered by insurance company workers or their subcontractors reaching out to medical facilities for the patient data residing in file cabinets or computers.

It should come as no surprise that healthcare IT companies see a business opportunity in making this work more efficiently for payers – to suck in data at a rate that is orders of magnitude faster than currently possible. And you can be certain they are working on this right now.

What Google may or may be up to with patient data is another issue entirely.

Under HIPAA, a covered entity may acquire access to patient data under a so-called "purpose of use" that include Treatment, Payment or Operations.

The purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to introduce restrictions on the allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information, stipulating when, with whom, and under what circumstances, health information could be shared. Another important purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to give patients access to their health data on request. The purpose of the HIPAA Security Rule is mainly to ensure electronic health data is appropriately secured, access to electronic health data is controlled, and an auditable trail of PHI activity is maintained.

Full article here: https://www.hipaajournal.com/purpose-of-hipaa/

If Google is developing software to analyze data on behalf of Ascension, that's one thing. They should not have access to the data itself. It's an important distinction. And I don't trust Google to do the right thing.

As a patient, I would advise anyone who is worried about their data being shared with third parties to contact their doctor and ask them about their policy with respect to release of their data. You may find that the facility is releasing your information as they have an "opt-out" policy. If so, demand that your data not be shared without your explicit consent.

Google tried their hand at healthcare about 10 years ago with their failed Google Health project. They staffed the team with people who had no background in healthcare, but were otherwise the best and the brightest.

See https://www.mobihealthnews.com/11480/10-reasons-why-google-health-failed/

Incidentally, Microsoft's Healthvault project only faired somewhat better. MS shutdown the project this month.

Finally, as someone who has worked in healthcare interoperability I disagree strongly that digitizing health data has been a one-sided disaster. On the contrary, giving clinicians access to health information about patients across different settings of care has in fact improved the quality of care and saved lives. I'm proud of my work in helping make this happen.

I should also note that making de-identified healtchare data available for population-based analytics is also a good thing. It's not always about squeezing more $$$ out of patients.

Carolinian , November 12, 2019 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the post. The Affordable Care Act was an IT mess too. Perhaps Obama should have paid more attention during those meetings with what he called his "propeller heads" instead of playing with his Blackberry. But Al "streamlining government" Gore comes in for some blame too. These days we seem to barely regulate anything (except consumers trying to bring in drugs from overseas).

Some of us used to defend Google around here but that's long gone. Bezos has talked about trying to get involved in health care as well. Perhaps Google felt they had to beat him to the punch.

David Carl Grimes , November 12, 2019 at 10:13 am

Google also bought Fitbit giving them access to our exercise records

[Nov 14, 2019] Google Collecting Medical Data on Millions Without Informing Patients or Doctors

Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Yves Smith The Wall Street Journal has broken an important story on Google's foray into the medical arena . Without notifying patients or doctors, much the less obtaining their consent, the search giant has obtained the medical records of "tens of millions of people" in 21 states, all patients of Ascension, a St. Louis-based chain of 2600 hospitals.

Moreover, you can see that the effort is aggressive, with the aim of generating patient medical histories, linking individuals to family members, and making staffing and treatment suggestions .as well as identifying opportunities for upcoding and other ways to milk patients.

... ... ...

However, Journal readers (at least as far as I read, and I got pretty far into the hundreds of comments) were without exception very upset about the prospect of Google having access to their medical data. Given that Big Tech is in the crosshairs of more than a few Congresscritters, one can hope that Google and Ascension officials will soon have to 'splain themselves.

A few examples:

stuart jenner

NO. I use Google AdWords They provide the data that they need in order to sell us .

No, I don't trust Google with my information. They will set their systems to disadvantage patients, they will jerk partners around & and they will take away info people rely on in order to raise their prices -- examples galore.

David Kessinger

Who will Google sell this information to? If they can't sell it in some form they wouldn't bother with it. Google at it's core has no ethics beyond how to get money – to heck with who gets hurts.

STEVEN FRANKEL

This is not comforting. Rest assured this most personal information will be accessed by people you do not want anywhere near your personal information at some time. What would it take for Google or any other company or government employee to allow unauthorized people to your information? Probably not very much. And even a subpoena, how tough is that to obtain with the flimsiest of pretexts, especially with government employees not accountable for perjury, even to a FISA court? I would not give my doctor any information if it goes into a computer; I would rather pay cash and have no records other than the ones I would keep on flash drive.

It's not hard to understand some of the motives for an initiative like this. As we've repeatedly posted, relying on the considerable work of the Health Care Renewal blog, electronic health records are a train wreck. They are designed around billing, not around doctor needs. Health Care Renewal has stressed that they if anything have made matters worse for doctors by diverting attention from patients and making it harder to find relevant information to the degree that they undermine care . They have been cited as a contributor to doctor burnout and even the reason some doctors stop practicing . An authoritative body, the ECRI Institute, even listed health care information technology as its number one patient risk in large health care organizations .

They are also often designed by relatively small players, so not only are they kludgy, but they are seldom compatible across health care organizations.

So you can see why there would be demand for a health care information system that is actually about health care. But given that Ascension has explicit upcoding and upselling motives, will that really result, or will this just be a less terrible, more portable version of the current EHRs?

Oh, and if you believe Google, this won't just be about EHRs and helping organizations like
Ascension pull in more revenues (which translates into making health care an even bigger percentage of GDP), but bring techno hocus pocus to medicine. We quoted this section earlier:

Google in this case is using the data in part to design new software, underpinned by advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, that zeroes in on individual patients to suggest changes to their care.

Notice that this is vaporware: Google hopes to do all of this but it remains to be seen what it can do. And it's not clear that even with data on so many patients that it could develop decent AI for medical purposes. Bias in studies is already a big problem with medical research. One problem is that some populations are very much under-represented. Women are under-treated for heart disease in part because doctors see men as being at more risk, which is reinforced by studied being done mainly on men. Similarly, women have more trouble with hip replacements than men do because the studies were done on men but women are not small men. They load their hips differently.

[Nov 13, 2019] The End of Neoliberalism and the Rebirth of History by Joseph E. Stiglitz

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The credibility of neoliberalism's faith in unfettered markets as the surest road to shared prosperity is on life-support these days. And well it should be. The simultaneous waning of confidence in neoliberalism and in democracy is no coincidence or mere correlation. Neoliberalism has undermined democracy for 40 years. ..."
"... The effects of capital-market liberalization were particularly odious: If a leading presidential candidate in an emerging market lost favor with Wall Street, the banks would pull their money out of the country. Voters then faced a stark choice: Give in to Wall Street or face a severe financial crisis. It was as if Wall Street had more political power than the country's citizens. 1 ..."
"... Even in rich countries, ordinary citizens were told, "You can't pursue the policies you want" – whether adequate social protection, decent wages, progressive taxation, or a well-regulated financial system – "because the country will lose competitiveness, jobs will disappear, and you will suffer." 1 ..."
"... How can wage restraint – to attain or maintain competitiveness – and reduced government programs possibly add up to higher standards of living? Ordinary citizens felt like they had been sold a bill of goods. They were right to feel conned. ..."
"... If the 2008 financial crisis failed to make us realize that unfettered markets don't work, the climate crisis certainly should: neoliberalism will literally bring an end to our civilization. But it is also clear that demagogues who would have us turn our back on science and tolerance will only make matters worse. ..."
"... The sad truth is, human nature is selfish, and the elites will always do whatever it takes to protect their own interests. With this being the basis of all political systems, it only comes down to how the elites can best serve their own interests. In democracies, it relies on creating an illusion of people's power. ..."
Nov 04, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?

NEW YORK – At the end of the Cold War, political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a celebrated essay called " The End of History? " Communism's collapse, he argued, would clear the last obstacle separating the entire world from its destiny of liberal democracy and market economies. Many people agreed.

Today, as we face a retreat from the rules-based, liberal global order, with autocratic rulers and demagogues leading countries that contain well over half the world's population, Fukuyama's idea seems quaint and naive. But it reinforced the neoliberal economic doctrine that has prevailed for the last 40 years.

The credibility of neoliberalism's faith in unfettered markets as the surest road to shared prosperity is on life-support these days. And well it should be. The simultaneous waning of confidence in neoliberalism and in democracy is no coincidence or mere correlation. Neoliberalism has undermined democracy for 40 years.

The form of globalization prescribed by neoliberalism left individuals and entire societies unable to control an important part of their own destiny, as Dani Rodrik of Harvard University has explained so clearly , and as I argue in my recent books Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited and People, Power, and Profits . The effects of capital-market liberalization were particularly odious: If a leading presidential candidate in an emerging market lost favor with Wall Street, the banks would pull their money out of the country. Voters then faced a stark choice: Give in to Wall Street or face a severe financial crisis. It was as if Wall Street had more political power than the country's citizens. 1

Even in rich countries, ordinary citizens were told, "You can't pursue the policies you want" – whether adequate social protection, decent wages, progressive taxation, or a well-regulated financial system – "because the country will lose competitiveness, jobs will disappear, and you will suffer." 1

In rich and poor countries alike, elites promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. To get there, though, workers would have to accept lower wages, and all citizens would have to accept cutbacks in important government programs.

The elites claimed that their promises were based on scientific economic models and "evidence-based research." Well, after 40 years, the numbers are in: growth has slowed, and the fruits of that growth went overwhelmingly to a very few at the top. As wages stagnated and the stock market soared, income and wealth flowed up, rather than trickling down.

How can wage restraint – to attain or maintain competitiveness – and reduced government programs possibly add up to higher standards of living? Ordinary citizens felt like they had been sold a bill of goods. They were right to feel conned.

We are now experiencing the political consequences of this grand deception: distrust of the elites, of the economic "science" on which neoliberalism was based, and of the money-corrupted political system that made it all possible.

The reality is that, despite its name, the era of neoliberalism was far from liberal. It imposed an intellectual orthodoxy whose guardians were utterly intolerant of dissent. Economists with heterodox views were treated as heretics to be shunned, or at best shunted off to a few isolated institutions. Neoliberalism bore little resemblance to the "open society" that Karl Popper had advocated. As George Soros has emphasized , Popper recognized that our society is a complex, ever-evolving system in which the more we learn, the more our knowledge changes the behavior of the system. 2

Nowhere was this intolerance greater than in macroeconomics, where the prevailing models ruled out the possibility of a crisis like the one we experienced in 2008. When the impossible happened, it was treated as if it were a 500-year flood – a freak occurrence that no model could have predicted. Even today, advocates of these theories refuse to accept that their belief in self-regulating markets and their dismissal of externalities as either nonexistent or unimportant led to the deregulation that was pivotal in fueling the crisis. The theory continues to survive, with Ptolemaic attempts to make it fit the facts, which attests to the reality that bad ideas, once established, often have a slow death. 3

If the 2008 financial crisis failed to make us realize that unfettered markets don't work, the climate crisis certainly should: neoliberalism will literally bring an end to our civilization. But it is also clear that demagogues who would have us turn our back on science and tolerance will only make matters worse.

The only way forward, the only way to save our planet and our civilization, is a rebirth of history. We must revitalize the Enlightenment and recommit to honoring its values of freedom, respect for knowledge, and democracy.

Follow Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia University, is the co-winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize, former chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, and former Chief Economist of the World Bank. His most recent book is People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent .

[Nov 13, 2019] Confirmed - Obama Is Zbigniew Brzezinski Puppet by Webster Tarpley

Nov 13, 2019 | rense.com

Any lingering doubts about Obama's status as an abject puppet of Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Rockefeller Trilateral Commission ended this morning when the withered mummy of imperialism himself appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe* to campaign for Obama, urged on by his own moronic daughter, Mika Brzezinski, an Obama groupie and sycophant.

Zbigniew, a low-level Polish aristocrat whose life has been devoted to hatred for Russia, lauded Obama for his 2002 speech opposing the Iraq war, saying that he himself was the source of Obama's arguments back then - thus confirming Obama's long-term status as his puppet, which probably began in 1981-1983, when Obama was a student at Columbia University, and Zbig was directing the anti-Russian institute.

The aging revanchist showed all the misogynism of his szachta origins with a scurrilous attack on Sen. Clinton as a mere housewife, a Mamie Eisenhower running against charismatic a JFK played by Zbig's own Manchurian candidate, and as a woman whose foreign policy experience was worth as much as that of Zbig's own travel agent.

Zbig, who was kept in the closet for many months during the Carter administration because of his hideous Dr. Strangelove persona, portrayed Obama as a peace candidate who wanted to end the Iraq war and usher in peace in the Middle East. Zbig is an infamous Cold War hawk who has managed to re-invent himself in the eyes of some dupes by opposing the Iraq adventure, mainly because it is bad for imperialism.

Zbig did not mention that the reason he wants to downplay certain aspects of US aggression in the Middle East is to free up resources for use in the much bigger and more dangerous adventures which the Trilateral Commission is now directing.

Zbig is the mastermind of the Kosovo secession under KLA terrorist auspices, a gambit against Serbia and Russia to prepare a coming Operation Barbarossa II against Moscow. With the help of his son Mark Brzezinski, another top foreign policy controller of Obama, Zbig is also behind the new Euromissiles crisis involving US ABM installations in Poland. Zbig is the enforcer for the new CIA policy of killing Pakistanis (as "terrorists") without consulting the government of that country, a nuclear power twice as big as Iran.

Most dangerous of all, Zbig is the obvious mastermind of the massive destabilization of China now ongoing, starting with the CIA/MI-6 Tibet insurrection, which has placed the US on a collision course with China, a superpower with 1.4 billion people and thermonuclear weapons which can strike US cities, a far cry from the helpless and defenseless targets preferred by the neocons. It is an open secret that Zbig intends to attempt a color revolution or CIA people power coup in China under the cover of the Beijing Olympics later this year. He may also make the Taiwan crisis explode. The dangers of these lunatic policies are infinitely worse than anything that could ever come out of the Middle East.

Senator Jay Rockefeller and Trilateral/BIlderberger boss Joseph Nye are also actively campaigning for Obama. Nye is the theoretician of "soft power," a new form of imperialist aggression based on economic warfare, subversion, deception, and people power coups. They want Obama to mobilize soft power to give a face lift to US imnperialism.

Brzezinski's goal is confrontation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the main world center for resistance to US-UK global domination.

Anti-war activists are still fixated on Iran, but not Brzezinski is not - his target is China, TWENTY times bigger than Iran, with ICBMs ready to launch, followed by Russia, the world's biggest nuclear power. Such confused activists need to focus on stopping the next war - the final global showdown with Pakistan, China, and Russia. That means rejecting Brzezinski's puppet candidate Obama.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23726367#23726367

[Nov 13, 2019] Zbigniew Brzezinski Death of an anti-Russian terrorist

Notable quotes:
"... The Polish born Brzezinski put the historic blood-feud of his mother country ahead of the interests of the United States. He openly opposed Nixon and Ford's policy of detente and orchestrated the use American power to arm and fund all those who sought to undermine the Soviet Union. ..."
"... This became most apparent when he decided to use US might to fund, arm and train the Arab Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Among the fighters Brzezinski's policy helped to arm was Osama bin-Laden, the founder of the Salafist terrorist group al-Qaeda. The group was later blamed for orchestrating and executing the September 11 terrorist atrocities in the United States. ..."
"... Brzezinski was happy to ally with blood soaked jihadists in order to topple the secular, modern government of Afghanistan, for the simple reason that the government was a Soviet ally. ..."
"... Brzezinski's jihadists took over the country in the 1990s and famously executed and then mutilated the corpse of Afghanistan's pro-Soviet President Dr. Mohammad Najibullah in 1996. Many blame the Brzezinski authored policies in Afghanistan for unleashing the plague of jihadist terrorism throughout the wider world. ..."
"... Brzezinski's time in the White House was limited to the single term of Jimmy Carter, but many of his policies lived long after his formal period in power. ..."
May 27, 2017 | theduran.com

by Adam May 27, 2017 11.9k Views

Richard Nixon had more foreign policy achievements that just about any modern American President. These achievements however, have generally been overshadowed by Nixon's scandal plagued White House.

Among his most important achievements was engaging in detente with the Soviet Union. Nixon's de-escalation of tensions with Moscow penultimately led to the signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975, wherein America and its allies and also non-aligned states of Europe agreed to respect the borders and sovereignty of existing states, including that of the Soviet Union and her allies. The Helsinki Accords affirmed a renunciation of violence as a means of settling disputes and forced signatories to respect the right of self-determination among peoples.

This was a rare moment when the US admitted that the Cold War could not be won and that engagement and peaceful dialogue was preferable to threats against the Soviet superpower.

READ MORE: The importance of the Helsinki Accords: The last time the West respected Russia

In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected the President of the United States after Nixon's former Vice-President Gerald Ford, failed to win an America hungry for change on the domestic front.

While Jimmy Carter is often remembered as a man of peace, his Presidency was anything but peaceful. The reason for this was the power behind the throne, Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

The Polish born Brzezinski put the historic blood-feud of his mother country ahead of the interests of the United States. He openly opposed Nixon and Ford's policy of detente and orchestrated the use American power to arm and fund all those who sought to undermine the Soviet Union.

This became most apparent when he decided to use US might to fund, arm and train the Arab Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Among the fighters Brzezinski's policy helped to arm was Osama bin-Laden, the founder of the Salafist terrorist group al-Qaeda. The group was later blamed for orchestrating and executing the September 11 terrorist atrocities in the United States.

Brzezinski was happy to ally with blood soaked jihadists in order to topple the secular, modern government of Afghanistan, for the simple reason that the government was a Soviet ally.

Brzezinski's jihadists took over the country in the 1990s and famously executed and then mutilated the corpse of Afghanistan's pro-Soviet President Dr. Mohammad Najibullah in 1996. Many blame the Brzezinski authored policies in Afghanistan for unleashing the plague of jihadist terrorism throughout the wider world.

Brzezinski's time in the White House was limited to the single term of Jimmy Carter, but many of his policies lived long after his formal period in power.

Throughout the rest of his life, Brzezinski continued to vocally advocate for policies designed to cripple Russia, including the expansion of NATO into eastern Europe.

He was a strong supporter of the 2014 coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government and more recently said that the Russian Federation would break up. Furthermore, he said that the US must help those wanting to break it up, irrespective of who they are. He continued to advocate sanctions against Russia until his dying day, in spite of the fact that the sanctions ended up hurting his native Poland more than the Russian Federation he sought to destroy.

Brzezinski was a deeply violent and hateful man. He was also dishonest, he told the last Shah of Iran that the US would give him America's full backing, knowing well that the White House was divided on the issue.

He was a man who brought ancient hatreds, hatreds which long pre-dated the existence of the United States, into the heart of American policy making.

At the age of 89, Brzezinski is dead. Even if he lived another hundred years, he would never see his dream, the death of Russia. Russia remains alive and well and in this sense, perhaps he died knowing that his entire reason for being was a failure.

[Nov 13, 2019] Our famously free and objective press: the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.

Nov 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Biden Helped Reform Ukraine. Trump Pushed to Make Ukraine Corrupt Again." [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine ].

[Nov 13, 2019] Neocon vipers nest in the State Department wants to destory Trump

Our wonderful "pro-democracy" diplomats and Ukrainian far right. An interesting alliance...
Nov 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The ambassadors' testimony:

"Meet the witnesses: Diplomats start off impeachment hearings" [Associated Press]. "Diplomats and career government officials, they're little known outside professional circles, but they're about to become household names testifying in the House impeachment inquiry . The witnesses will tell House investigators -- and Americans tuning into the live public hearings -- what they know about President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine First up will be William Taylor, the charge d'affaires in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau, both testifying on Wednesday." • You can read the full article for the bios. First, William Taylor:

"Op-Ed in Novoye Vremya by CDA Taylor: Ukraine's Committed Partner" [ U.S. Embassy in Ukraine ]. From November 10, 2019, the penultimate paragraph. I've helpfully underlined the dogwhistles:

But as everyone who promotes democracy knows, strengthening and protecting democratic values is a constant process, requiring persistence and steady work by both officials and ordinary citizens. As in all democracies, including the United States, work remains in Ukraine, especially to strengthen rule of law and to hold accountable those who try to subvert Ukraine's structures to serve their personal aims, rather than the nation's interests .

It's kind of Taylor to let the Ukrainians know who's really in charge of foreign policy, isn't it? Now, Kent–

"George Kent Opening Statement At Impeachment Hearing: Concerned About "Politically-Motivated Investigations" [ RealClearPolitics ]. From the full text as prepare for delivery:

Ukraine's popular Revolution of Dignity in 2014 forced a corrupt pro-Russian leadership to flee to Moscow.

By analogy, the American colonies may not have prevailed against British imperial might without help from transatlantic friends after 1776. In an echo of Lafayette's organized assistance to General George Washington's army and Admiral John Paul Jones' navy , Congress has generously appropriated over $1.5 billion over the past five years in desperately needed train and equip security assistance to Ukraine.

Similar to von Steuben training colonials at Valley Forge, U.S. and NATO allied trainers develop the skills of Ukrainian units at Yavoriv near the Polish border, and elsewhere.

Are these people out of their minds? See, e.g., "America's Collusion With Neo-Nazis" [ The Nation ]:

Not even many Americans who follow international news know the following, for example:

That the snipers who killed scores of protestors and policemen on Kiev's Maidan Square in February 2014, thereby triggering a "democratic revolution" that overthrew the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and brought to power a virulent anti-Russian, pro-American regime -- it was neither democratic nor a revolution, but a violent coup unfolding in the streets with high-level support -- were sent not by Yanukovych, as is still widely reported, but instead almost certainly by the neofascist organization Right Sector and its co-conspirators.

§ That the pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa shortly later in 2014 reawakened memories of Nazi extermination squads in Ukraine during World War II has been all but deleted from the American mainstream narrative even though it remains a painful and revelatory experience for many Ukrainians.

(To be fair, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis we supported weren't slaveholders, unlike to many of our own Founders. So there's that.)

Off The Street , November 13, 2019 at 2:26 pm

The Hearings should be in a room that lets in sunlight, that universal disinfectant. Make the Front Row Kid Careerists sit by the windows.

Thus far, my main reaction is that the State Department needs to be shaken up to get rid of those entrenched FRK'ing Careerists and to bring in some accountability. Inspector General positions and functions should not be optional at the whim of some SoS or other.

Not change for its own sake, just bringing things out of the shadows. In keeping with my light theme, a Sunset Provision would help, too. That is one step toward eliminating the hearsay, innuendo and nonsense suppression of Due Process as that is anti-Constitutional. The people, including back-row, dropouts and all, deserve better from their government.

[Nov 13, 2019] The Impeachment Pantomime - A Primer

Notable quotes:
"... Will the Democratic Party, this time in open collusion with the intelligence apparatus, succeed in its second attempt to depose President Donald Trump in what might fairly be called a bloodless coup? Whatever the outcome of the thus-far-farcical impeachment probe, which is to be conducted publicly as of Wednesday, did the president use his office to pressure Ukraine in behalf of his own personal and political interests? Did Trump, in his fateful telephone conversation last July 25 with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's president, put U.S. national security at risk, as is alleged? ..."
"... All good questions. Here is another: Will Joe Biden, at present the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, get away with what is almost certain to prove his gross corruption and gross abuse of office when he carried the Ukraine portfolio while serving as vice president under Barack Obama? ..."
"... Ciaramella has previously worked with Joe Biden during the latter's days as veep; with Susan Rice, Obama's recklessly hawkish national security adviser; with John Brennan, a key architect of the Russiagate edifice; as well as with Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-born Democratic National Committee official charged during the 2016 campaign season with digging up dirt on none other than candidate Donald Trump. ..."
"... Here we come to another question. If everyone knows the whistleblower's identity, why have the corporate media declined to name him? There can be but one answer to this question: If Ciaramella's identity were publicized and his professional record exposed, the Ukrainegate narrative would instantly collapse into a second-rate vaudeville act -- farce by any other name, although "hoax" might do, even if Trump has made the term his own. ..."
"... There is another half to this burlesque. While Schiff and his House colleagues chicken-scratch for something, anything that may justify a formal impeachment, a clear, documented record emerges of Joe Biden's official interventions in Ukraine in behalf of Burisma Holdings, the gas company that named Hunter Biden to its board in March 2014 -- a month, it is worth noting, after the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kiev. ..."
"... There is no thought of scrutinizing Biden's activities by way of an official inquiry. In its way, this, too, reflects upon the pantomime of the impeachment probe. Are there sufficient grounds to open an investigation? Emphatically there are. Two reports published last week make this plain by any reasonable measure. ..."
Nov 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Now that "Russiagate" has failed and " Ukrainegate " neatly takes its place, many questions arise.

Will the Democratic Party, this time in open collusion with the intelligence apparatus, succeed in its second attempt to depose President Donald Trump in what might fairly be called a bloodless coup? Whatever the outcome of the thus-far-farcical impeachment probe, which is to be conducted publicly as of Wednesday, did the president use his office to pressure Ukraine in behalf of his own personal and political interests? Did Trump, in his fateful telephone conversation last July 25 with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's president, put U.S. national security at risk, as is alleged?

All good questions. Here is another: Will Joe Biden, at present the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, get away with what is almost certain to prove his gross corruption and gross abuse of office when he carried the Ukraine portfolio while serving as vice president under Barack Obama?

Corollary line of inquiry: Will the corporate media, The New York Times in the lead, get away with self-censoring what is now irrefutable evidence of the impeachment probe's various frauds and corruptions? Ditto in the Biden case: Can the Times and the media that faithfully follow its lead continue to disregard accumulating circumstantial evidence of Biden's guilt as he appears to have acted in the interest of his son Hunter while the latter sat on the board of one of Ukraine's largest privately held natural gas producers?

Innuendo & Interference

It is not difficult to imagine that Trump presented Zelensky with his famous quid pro quo when they spoke last summer: Open an investigation into Biden père et fils and I will release $391 million in military aid and invite you to the White House. Trump seems to be no stranger to abuses of power of this sort. But the impeachment probe has swiftly run up against the same problem that sank the good ship Russiagate: It has produced no evidence. Innuendo and inference, yes. Various syllogisms, yes. But no evidence.

There is none in the transcript of the telephone exchange. Zelensky has flatly stated that there was no quid pro quo. The witnesses so far called to testify have had little to offer other than their personal opinions, even if Capitol Hill Democrats pretend these testimonies are prima facie damning. And the witnesses are to one or another degree of questionable motives: To a one, they appear to be Russophobes who favor military aid to Ukraine; to a one they are turf-conscious careerists who think they set U.S. foreign policy and resent the president for intruding upon them. It is increasingly evident that Trump's true offense is proposing to renovate a foreign policy framework that has been more or less untouched for 75 years (and is in dire need of renovation).

Ten days ago Real Clear Investigations suggested that the "whistleblower" whose "complaint" last August set the impeachment probe in motion was in all likelihood a CIA agent named Eric Ciaramella. And who is Eric Ciaramella? It turns out he is a young but seasoned Democratic Party apparatchik conducting his spookery on American soil.

Ciaramella has previously worked with Joe Biden during the latter's days as veep; with Susan Rice, Obama's recklessly hawkish national security adviser; with John Brennan, a key architect of the Russiagate edifice; as well as with Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-born Democratic National Committee official charged during the 2016 campaign season with digging up dirt on none other than candidate Donald Trump.

For good measure, Paul Sperry's perspicacious reporting in Real Clear Investigations reveals that Ciaramella conferred with the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Democrat leading the impeachment process, a month prior to filing his "complaint" to the CIA's inspector general.

This information comes after Schiff stated on the record that the staff of the House Intelligence Committee, which he heads, had no contact with the whistleblower. Schiff has since acknowledged the Ciaramella connection.

Phantom in Plain Sight

No wonder no one in Washington will name this phantom in plain sight. The impeachment probe starts to take on a certain reek. It starts to look as if contempt for Trump takes precedence over democratic process -- a dangerous priority. Sperry quotes Fred Fleitz, a former National Security Council official, thus: "Everyone knows who he is. CNN knows. The Washington Post knows. The New York Times knows. Congress knows. The White house knows . They're hiding him because of his political bias."

Here we come to another question. If everyone knows the whistleblower's identity, why have the corporate media declined to name him? There can be but one answer to this question: If Ciaramella's identity were publicized and his professional record exposed, the Ukrainegate narrative would instantly collapse into a second-rate vaudeville act -- farce by any other name, although "hoax" might do, even if Trump has made the term his own.

There is another half to this burlesque. While Schiff and his House colleagues chicken-scratch for something, anything that may justify a formal impeachment, a clear, documented record emerges of Joe Biden's official interventions in Ukraine in behalf of Burisma Holdings, the gas company that named Hunter Biden to its board in March 2014 -- a month, it is worth noting, after the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kiev.

There is no thought of scrutinizing Biden's activities by way of an official inquiry. In its way, this, too, reflects upon the pantomime of the impeachment probe. Are there sufficient grounds to open an investigation? Emphatically there are. Two reports published last week make this plain by any reasonable measure.

'Bursimagate'

John Solomon, a singularly competent follower of Russiagate and Ukrainegate, published a report last Monday exposing Hunter Biden's extensive contacts with the Obama State Department in the early months of 2016. Two developments were pending at the time. They lie at the heart of what we may well call "Burismagate."

One, the Obama administration had committed to providing Ukraine with $1 billion in loan guarantees. In a December 2015 address to the Rada, Ukraine's legislature, V–P Biden withheld an apparently planned announcement of the credit facility.

Two, coincident with Hunter Biden's numerous conferences at the State Department, Ukraine's prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was swiftly advancing a corruption investigation into Burisma's oligarchic owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was by early 2016 living in exile. Just prior to Biden's spate of visits to Foggy Bottom, Shokin had confiscated several of Zlochevsky's properties -- a clear sign that he was closing in. Joe Biden wanted Shokin fired. He is, of course, famously on the record boasting of his threat [starts at 52.00 in video below]to withhold the loan guarantee as a means to getting this done. Shokin was in short order dismissed, and the loan guarantee went through.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q0_AqpdwqK4

Solomon documents his report with memos he obtained via the Freedom of Information Act earlier this year. These add significantly to the picture. "Hunter Biden and his Ukrainian gas firm colleagues had multiple contacts with the Obama State Department during the 2016 election cycle," he writes, "including one just a month before Vice President Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating his son's company for corruption."

Last Tuesday, a day after Solomon published his report, Moon of Alabama , the much-followed web publication, posted a granularly researched and well-sourced timeline of the events surrounding Shokin's dismissal at Vice President Biden's request. This is the most complete chronology of the Burismagate story yet available.

In an ethical judicial system, it or something like it would now sit on a prosecutor's desk. There is no suggestion in the Moon of Alabama's timeline that Shokin had shelved his investigation into Burisma by the time Biden exerted pressure to get him sacked, as Biden's defenders assert. Just the opposite appears to be the true case: The timeline indicates Shokin was about to pounce. Indeed Shokin said so under oath in an Austrian court case, testifying that he was fired because of Biden's pressure not to conduct the probe.

It is important to note that there is no conclusive evidence that Joe Biden misused his office in behalf of his son's business interests simply because there has been no investigation. Given what is beginning to emerge, however, the need for one can no longer be in doubt. Can Democrats and the media obscure indefinitely what now amounts to very strong circumstantial evidence against Biden?

We live in a time when the corporate media make as much effort to hide information as they do to report it. But as in the case of Ciaramella's identity, it is unlikely these myriad omissions can be sustained indefinitely -- especially if Biden wins the Democratic nomination next year. Forecast: If only because of Burismagate, Joe Biden will never be president.

As everyone in Washington seems to understand, it is highly unlikely Trump will be ousted via an impeachment trial: The Republican-controlled Senate can be counted on to keep him in office. Whatever Trump got up to with Zelensky, there is little chance it will prove sufficient to drive him from office. As to the charge that Trump's dealings with the Ukrainian president threatened national security, let us allow this old chestnut to speak for itself.

Price of Irresponsible Theatrics

This leaves us to reckon the price our troubled republic will pay for months of irresponsible theatrics that are more or less preordained to lead nowhere.

More questions. What damage will the Democrats have done when Ukrainegate draws to a close (assuming it does at some point)? What harm has come to U.S. political institutions, governing bodies, judiciary and media? The corporate press has been profligately careless of its already questionable credibility during the years of Russiagate and now Ukrainegate. Can anyone argue there is no lasting price to pay for this?

More urgently, what do the past three years of incessant efforts to unseat a president tell us about the power of unelected constituencies? The CIA is now openly operating on American soil in clear breach of its charter and U.S. law. There is absolutely no way this can be questioned. We must now contemplate the frightening similarities Russiagate and Ukrainegate share with the agency's classic coup operations abroad: Commandeering the media, stirring discontent with the leadership, pumping up the opposition, waving false flags, incessant disinformation campaigns: Maybe it was fated that what America has been doing abroad the whole of the postwar era would eventually come home.

What, at last, must we conclude about the ability of any president (of any stripe) to effect authentic change when our administrative state -- "deep," if you like -- opposes it?

USAllDay , 35 seconds ago link

Impeachment less than year before an election is a bitch move and everybody knows it.

[Nov 13, 2019] Ilargi Vindman, the Expert

Notable quotes:
"... I might have to disagree with Vindman being labelled 'a bureaucrat among bureaucrats'. I would judge that his allegiances lay elsewhere and by that I do not mean the dual loyalty to the Ukraine, even though he appears to be acting in the roll of Kiev's man in Washington. I suppose that you would say that he is a member of the deep state and the policies that they formulate with little regard to who is in power. ..."
"... Burisma is just one of numerous examples of the payoffs and shady deals that poison the American political system and disgust citizens. Schiff has been given the impossible task of trying to defend that against mounting evidence of corruption. How can he or anyone else rationalize that little gas board activity, or countless others including those benefiting those people related to elected officials across the aisle. ..."
"... One of the wonderful aspects of Empire is that you get to house all the right-wing exiles from around the world. Whether it's Batista-ites from Cuba, Curveballs from Iraq, rich, right-wing "refugees" from Chavismo in South America or Ukrainians like Vindman. They're happy to use the host country to further a color revolution back home, and the CIA is happy to use them as cover for another Empire resource grab. ..."
Nov 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Ilargi: Vindman, the Expert Posted on November 13, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. While the main source for this piece on Alexander Vindman is Byron York of the Washington Examiner, bear in mind that the Examiner is a non-crazy right-leaning site and has even broken some important stories. It is telling that there are so few people on the left who have the patience and constitutional fortitude to pick through the impeachment evidence carefully, see what it amounts to and withstand the vitriol if what they find is not what Team Dem insists is there.

And that's before we get to our regular lament: why are the Dems choosing a line of inquiry which is a hairball (albeit less of one than Russiagate) and also has the Dems taking the position that the President is not in charge of foreign policy, and should defer to the CIA and other non-accountable insiders? Why not go after emoluments, which is in the Constitution as a Presidential no-no, where Trump has clearly abused repeatedly (you need go no further than the guest list in his DC hotel) and therefore easy to prove, and would have the added benefit of allowing Team Dem to rummage around in his finances?

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor of Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

Let's see what shape I can give this. I was reading a piece by Byron York that has the first good read-out I've seen of the October 29 deposition by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, self-labeled no. 1 Ukraine expert at the National Security Counsel, and I want to share that in a summarized form, with my comments. There'll be some longer quotes though. And I know there are people who may not like York, but just skip his opinions and focus on the facts then.

Overall, Vindman comes across to me as a bureaucrat among bureaucrats, who also appears to be on the edge what we think of when we mention the Deep State. And who seems to think his views and opinions trump Trump's own. ".. his greatest worry was that if the Trump-Zelensky conversation were made public, then Ukraine might lose the bipartisan support it currently has in Congress."

A US President is elected to determine foreign policy, but Vindman doesn't like things that way. He wants the policy to be set by people like him. It brings to mind Nikki Haley saying that Tillerson and Kelly wanted her to disobey the President, because they felt they knew better. That slide is mighty slippery. And unconstitutional too.

And the suspicion that Vindman's report of the call may be what set off "whistleblowing" CIA agent Eric Ciaramella is more alive after the testimony than before. But, conveniently, his name may not be spoken. For pete's sake, Vindman Even Testified He Advised Ukrainians to Ignore Trump .

Here's Byron York:

Democrats Have A Colonel Vindman Problem

House Democrats conducted their impeachment interviews in secret, but Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman still emerged as star of the show. Appearing at his Oct. 29 deposition in full dress uniform, the decorated Army officer, now a White House National Security Council Ukraine expert, was the first witness who had actually listened to the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the heart of the Democratic impeachment campaign. Even though lawmakers were forbidden to discuss his testimony in public, Vindman's leaked opening statement that "I did not think it was proper [for Trump] to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen" exploded on news reports.

Here are four problems with the Vindman testimony:

1) Beyond his opinions, he had few new facts to offer.

[..] Indeed, Vindman attested to the overall accuracy of the rough transcript, contrary to some impeachment supporters who have suggested the White House is hiding an exact transcript that would reveal everything Trump said to the Ukrainian president. As one of a half-dozen White House note-takers listening to the call, Vindman testified that he tried unsuccessfully to make a few edits to the rough transcript as it was being prepared. In particular, Vindman believed that Zelensky specifically said the word "Burisma," the corrupt Ukrainian energy company that hired Hunter Biden, when the rough transcript referred only to "the company." But beyond that, Vindman had no problems with the transcript, and he specifically said he did not believe any changes were made with ill intent.

"You don't think there was any malicious intent to specifically not add those edits?" asked Republican counsel Steve Castor. "I don't think so." "So otherwise, this record is complete and I think you used the term 'very accurate'?" "Yes," said Vindman. Once Vindman had vouched for the rough transcript, his testimony mostly concerned his own interpretation of Trump's words. And that interpretation, as Vindman discovered during questioning, was itself open to interpretation. Vindman said he was "concerned" about Trump's statements to Zelensky, so concerned that he reported it to top National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg. (Vindman had also reported concerns to Eisenberg two weeks before the Trump-Zelensky call, after a Ukraine-related meeting that included Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.)

Vindman said several times that he was not a lawyer and did not know if Trump's words amounted to a crime but that he felt they were "wrong." That was when Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, tried to get to the root of Vindman's concerns. What was really bothering him? "I'm trying to find out if you were reporting it because you thought there was something wrong with respect to policy or there was something wrong with respect to the law," Ratcliffe said to Vindman. "And what I understand you to say is that you weren't certain that there was anything improper with respect to the law, but you had concerns about U.S. policy. Is that a fair characterization?"

"So I would recharacterize it as I thought it was wrong and I was sharing those views," Vindman answered. "And I was deeply concerned about the implications for bilateral relations, U.S. national security interests, in that if this was exposed, it would be seen as a partisan play by Ukraine. It loses the bipartisan support. And then for -- " "I understand that," Ratcliffe said, "but that sounds like a policy reason, not a legal reason." Indeed it did.

Elsewhere in Vindman's testimony, he repeated that his greatest worry was that if the Trump-Zelensky conversation were made public, then Ukraine might lose the bipartisan support it currently has in Congress. That, to Ratcliffe and other Republicans, did not seem a sufficient reason to report the call to the NSC's top lawyer, nor did it seem the basis to begin a process leading to impeachment and a charge of presidential high crimes or misdemeanors.

So Vindman was so concerned that he contacted the National Security Council (NSC) top lawyer, John Eisenberg. However, when John Ratcliffe asked Vindman: "I'm trying to find out if you were reporting it because you thought there was something wrong with respect to policy or there was something wrong with respect to the law.." , it turns out, it was about policy, not the law. So why did he contact Eisenberg? He doesn't know the difference, or pretends he doesn't know? Moreover, Eisenberg's not the only person Vindman contacted. There were lots of others. And remember, this is sensitive material. Vindman was listening in on the President's phone call with a foreign leader, in itself a strange event. Presidents and PM's should be able to expect confidentiality.

2) Vindman withheld important information from investigators.

Vindman ended his opening statement in the standard way, by saying, "Now, I would be happy to answer your questions." As it turned out, that cooperation did not extend to both parties.

The only news in Vindman's testimony was the fact that he had twice taken his concerns to Eisenberg. He also told his twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, who is also an Army lieutenant colonel and serves as a National Security Council lawyer. He also told another NSC official, John Erath, and he gave what he characterized as a partial readout of the call to George Kent, a career State Department official who dealt with Ukraine. That led to an obvious question: Did Vindman take his concerns to anyone else? Did he discuss the Trump-Zelensky call with anyone else? It was a reasonable question, and an important one. Republicans asked it time and time again. Vindman refused to answer, with his lawyer, Michael Volkov, sometimes belligerently joining in. Through it all, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff stood firm in favor of keeping his committee in the dark.

[..] Vindman openly conceded that he told other people about the call. The obvious suspicion from Republicans was that Vindman told the person who became the whistleblower, who reported the call to the Intelligence Community inspector general, and who, in a carefully crafted legal document, framed the issue in a way that Democrats have adopted in their drive to remove the president from office. Vindman addressed the suspicion before anyone raised it. In his opening statement, he said, "I am not the whistleblower I do not know who the whistleblower is and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower."

Fine, said Republicans. We won't ask you who the whistleblower is. But if your story is that you were so concerned by the Trump-Zelensky issue that you reported it to Eisenberg, and also to others, well, who all did you tell? That is when the GOP hit a brick wall from Vindman, his lawyer Volkov, and, most importantly, Schiff. As chairman of the Intelligence Committee, charged with overseeing the intelligence community, Schiff might normally want to know about any intelligence community involvement in the matter under investigation. But in the Vindman deposition, Schiff strictly forbade any questions about it. "Can I just caution again," he said at one point, "not to go into names of people affiliated with the IC in any way." The purpose of it all was to protect the identity of the whistleblower, who Schiff incorrectly claimed has "a statutory right to anonymity."

Schiff's role is beyond curious. Sometimes you think he's the boy with his finger in the dike, mighty fearful that it could break at any moment. But then Vindman's lawyer jumps in as well:

That left Republicans struggling to figure out what happened. "I'm just trying to better understand who the universe of people the concerns were expressed to," said Castor. "Look, the reason we're objecting is not -- we don't want -- my client does not want to be in the position of being used to identifying the whistleblower, okay?" said Volkov. "And based on the chair's ruling, as I understand it, [Vindman] is not required to answer any question that would tend to identify an intelligence officer."

[..] Vindman's basic answer was: I won't tell you because that's a secret. After several such exchanges, Volkov got tough with lawmakers, suggesting further inquiries might hurt Vindman's feelings. "Look, he came here," Volkov said. "He came here. He tells you he's not the whistleblower, okay? He says he feels uncomfortable about it. Try to respect his feelings at this point." An unidentified voice spoke up. "We're uncomfortable impeaching the president," it said. "Excuse me. Excuse me," Volkov responded. "If you want to debate it, we can debate it, but what I'm telling you right now is you have to protect the identity of the whistleblower. I get that there may be political overtones. You guys go do what you got to do, but do not put this man in the middle of it."

Castor spoke up. "So how does it out anyone by saying that he had one other conversation other than the one he had with George Kent?" "Okay," said Volkov. "What I'm telling you right now is we're not going to answer that question. If the chair wants to hold him in contempt for protecting the whistleblower, God be with you. You don't need this. You don't need to go down this. And look, you guys can -- if you want to ask, you can ask -- you can ask questions about his conversation with Mr. Kent. That's it. We're not answering any others." "The only conversation that we can speak to Col. Vindman about is his conversation with Ambassador Kent?" asked Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin. "Correct," said Volkov, "and you've already asked him questions about it."

"And any other conversation that he had with absolutely anyone else is off limits?" "No," said Volkov. "He's told you about his conversations with people in the National Security Council. What you're asking him to do is talk about conversations outside the National Security Council. And he's not going to do that. I know where you're going." "No, actually, you don't," said Zeldin. "Oh, yes, sir," said Volkov. "No, you really don't," said Zeldin. "You know what?" said Volkov. "I know what you're going to say. I already know what you're going to do, okay? And I don't want to hear the FOX News questions, okay?"

[..] It should be noted that Volkov was a lawyer, and members of Congress were members of Congress. The lawyer should not be treating the lawmakers as Volkov did. Volkov was able to tell Republicans to buzz off only because he had Schiff's full support . And Republicans never found out who else Vindman discussed the Trump-Zelensky call with.

Looking at this, you get to wonder what the role is of GOP lawmakers, and why anyone would want to be one. Their peers across the aisle pretend they can tell them exactly what and what not to do or say. Is that why they are elected? I couldn't find one question or even word in here that would be labeled unfitting, or out of place, or aggressive or anything like that. But even then, they hit a brick wall.

So what makes Vindman the expert on Ukraine? I get the idea that it's his compliance with whatever anyone says is the desired and required policy, and in this case, what is not. He certainly doesn't appear to know everything. Maybe that's because he left the country at age three.

3) There were notable gaps in Vindman's knowledge.

Vindman portrayed himself as the man to see on the National Security Council when it came to issues involving Ukraine. "I'm the director for Ukraine," he testified. "I'm responsible for Ukraine. I'm the most knowledgeable. I'm the authority for Ukraine for the National Security Council and the White House." Yet at times there were striking gaps in Vindman's knowledge of the subject matter. He seemed, for instance, distinctly incurious about the corruption issues in Ukraine that touched on Joe and Hunter Biden.

Vindman agreed with everyone that Ukraine has a serious corruption problem. But he knew little specifically about Burisma, the nation's second-largest privately owned energy company, and even less about Mykola Zlochevsky, the oligarch who runs the firm. "What do you know about Zlochevsky, the oligarch that controls Burisma?" asked Castor. "I frankly don't know a huge amount," Vindman said. "Are you aware that he's a former Minister of Ecology"? Castor asked, referring to a position Zlochevsky allegedly used to steer valuable government licenses to Burisma. "I'm not," said Vindman.

"Are you aware of any of the investigations the company has been involved with over the last several years?" "I am aware that Burisma does have questionable business dealings," Vindman said. "That's part of the track record, yes." "Okay. And what questionable business dealings are you aware of?" asked Castor. Vindman said he did not know beyond generalities. "The general answer is I think they have had questionable business dealings," Vindman said.

[..] Vindman had other blind spots, as well. One important example concerned U.S. provision of so-called lethal aid to Ukraine, specifically anti-tank missiles known as Javelins. The Obama administration famously refused to provide Javelins or other lethal aid to Ukraine, while the Trump administration reversed that policy, sending a shipment of missiles in 2018. On the Trump-Zelensky call, the two leaders discussed another shipment in the future. "Both those parts of the call, the request for investigation of Crowd Strike and those issues, and the request for investigation of the Bidens, both of those discussions followed the Ukraine president saying they were ready to buy more Javelins. Is that right?" asked Schiff.

"Yes," said Vindman. "There was a prior shipment of Javelins to Ukraine, wasn't there?" said Schiff. "So that was, I believe -- I apologize if the timing is incorrect -- under the previous administration, there was a -- I'm aware of the transfer of a fairly significant number of Javelins, yes," Vindman said. Vindman's timing was incorrect. Part of the entire Trump-Ukraine story is the fact that Trump sent the missiles while Obama did not. The top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council did not seem to know that.

York goes on to explain just how much of a bureaucrat Vindman is, as exemplified by things like "..there's a fairly consensus policy within the interagency towards Ukraine," . The "interagency" doesn't set -foreign- policy, the President does.

4) Vindman was a creature of a bureaucracy that has often opposed President Trump.

One of his favorite words is "interagency," by which he means the National Security Council's role in coordinating policy among the State Department, Defense Department, the Intelligence Community, the Treasury Department, and the White House. [..] He says things such as, "So I hold at my level sub-PCCs, Deputy Assistant Secretary level. PCCs are my boss, senior director with Assistant Secretaries. DCs are with the deputy of the National Security Council with his deputy counterparts within the interagency." He believes the interagency has set a clear U.S. policy toward Ukraine. "You said in your opening statement, or you indicated at least, that there's a fairly consensus policy within the interagency towards Ukraine," Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman said to Vindman.

"Could you just explain what that consensus policy is, in your own words?" "What I can tell you is, over the course of certainly my tenure there, since July 2018, the interagency, as per normal procedures, assembles under the NSPM-4, the National Security Policy [sic] Memorandum 4, process to coordinate U.S. government policy," Vindman said. "We, over the course of this past year, probably assembled easily a dozen times, certainly at my level, which is called a subpolicy coordinating committee -- and that's myself and my counterparts at the Deputy Assistant Secretary level -- to discuss our views on Ukraine."

The "interagency" doesn't set policy, the President does -and with him perhaps the House and Senate. But not an alphabet soup of agencies.

I've said it before, and I fear I may have to say it again, this is a show trial. And no, it's not even a trial, that happens next in the Senate. Jonathan Turley said the other day that he thinks Nancy Pelosi wants a quick -before Christmas- resolution to the House part, but I'm not convinced.

The reason is that the Democrats lose the director's chair once this moves to the Senate. They can't silence the Republicans there the same way Adam Schiff does it in the House. Pelosi herself said in March that impeachment MUST be a bipartisan effort. It's unclear why she abandoned that position in August, but I think it could be panic, and that it was the worst move she could have made.

Because this thing in its present shape is unwinnable. To impeach Trump, the Dems would need Republican votes. But how could they possibly get those when they lock out the Republicans of the entire process?


Eustache de Saint Pierre , November 13, 2019 at 4:45 am

I certainly have no legal expertise & knowledge relating to what it takes to impeach a president, but it does all strike be as being pretty threadbare & if it it all falls apart only likely to strengthen Trump's support. I get the feeling that the only truly smart thing about these people is in their ability to constantly fill their rice bowls & perhaps we need an extra definition for that word.

Smart :

adj. Having or showing intelligence; bright. synonym: intelligent.
adj. Canny and shrewd in dealings with others.

IMO, I also don't believe that the above applies to gadgets, apps or whatever.

Ignacio , November 13, 2019 at 5:13 am

I always think of something similar to your second definition when I hear/read that someone is smart. It is a subclass of self-serving intelligence. If I put myself in Vindman's position, what would I do? What would be smart and what would be on the general interest?. His actions reflect where he feels his obligations belong and it shows clearly he was "obligued" to the interagency, not to the President. It is not clear to me if he thougth that the interagency represents, better than the president, the interest of the US or if he was being smart and thinking of his own career within the interagency.

The Rev Kev , November 13, 2019 at 5:12 am

I might have to disagree with Vindman being labelled 'a bureaucrat among bureaucrats'. I would judge that his allegiances lay elsewhere and by that I do not mean the dual loyalty to the Ukraine, even though he appears to be acting in the roll of Kiev's man in Washington. I suppose that you would say that he is a member of the deep state and the policies that they formulate with little regard to who is in power. That is the thing about these hearings. The moment that the Republicans pull at a loose thread of this narrative, the Democrats stomp on it before it goes any further. But the connections are all there on record and can be followed up. Here are some examples.

Burisma, who is at the heart of this whole matter, has been giving the Atlantic Council $100,000 a year for the past three years which is deep state central. You can see their name in the $100,000 – $249,999 section at https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/support-the-council/honor-roll-of-contributors/ and is just below the British Consulate General Istanbul and two entries above CNN. Burisma "also reimbursed speaker travel and event costs, which amounted to around [$50,000 to $70,000] per year." One of the staffers that went there was Thomas Eager who worked for Schiff's Intelligence Committee, and the group at one point met with Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. Bill Taylor is now one of the main witnesses.
If any sort of proper investigations start then it will open up all these people and their connections and the lucrative payments that they have been receiving from places like Burisma. Maybe when this case first came up the DNC thought that this was an impeachment case to die for but they may very well get their wish. It is all there online and it does not take much to find a very dubious group of people, organizations and companies with it seems the Atlantic Council acting as some sort of clearing house. Below is just one article talking about some of this stuff as an example-

https://sports.yahoo.com/ukrainian-energy-company-tied-to-hunter-biden-supported-american-think-tank-paid-for-trips-015132322.html

Off The Street , November 13, 2019 at 9:13 am

Burisma is just one of numerous examples of the payoffs and shady deals that poison the American political system and disgust citizens. Schiff has been given the impossible task of trying to defend that against mounting evidence of corruption. How can he or anyone else rationalize that little gas board activity, or countless others including those benefiting those people related to elected officials across the aisle.

That defense of the widespread corruption permeating the DC culture is the real subject of Schiff's fool's errand. When he fails, that will set back whatever good works the Dems have been trying to accomplish, and undermine what remains of an alleged two-party system. That is the Hill upon which he has been sent to die.

divadab , November 13, 2019 at 5:18 am

How can the Party that inflicted Christine Blasey Ford on us and turned a Supreme Court nomination into a Jerry Springer show demean the institutions of the Republic further into disrepute? With this going nowhere piece of political theater.

What a crock of Schiff.

voteforno6 , November 13, 2019 at 5:42 am

I have a hard time believing that any Lieutenant Colonel could be sufficiently high enough in the food chain to have any impact on policy. I wonder if people are focusing on him too much, at the expense of what's really going on here.

This isn't just a matter of the bureaucracy at odds with the President – it's also Congress. Despite what many people seem to think, the President does not have carte blanche in the conduct of foreign policy. Congress passed legislation to provide military assistance to Ukraine. The President does not have the authority to decide on his own on whether to execute that legislation or not. Unless there are conditions attached to that legislation, or previously existing, the President cannot attach conditions of his own to that legislation.

The U.S. system of government, as clearly envisioned by the founders, was set up with the legislative branch to have more power than either the executive or judicial. Only Congress can initiate legislation, and if the President vetoes it, Congress has the power to override that veto. You can argue the merits of providing military assistance to the Ukraine (which I personally think is a bad idea), but Congress did approve of it in accordance with the Constitution. Trump withholding that assistance most likely did not. There are a lot of bad actors on both sides of this controversy, but that doesn't mean that there aren't certain principles worth defending. In my mind, Congress reasserting itself over the President is an important enough principle to support impeachment (assuming they make their case). Long term, such a position could also be used to reign in the blob.

Lambert Strether , November 13, 2019 at 5:44 am

I'm Alexander, this is my brother, Yevgeny, and this is my other brother, Yevgeny.

Henry Moon Pie , November 13, 2019 at 6:08 am

One of the wonderful aspects of Empire is that you get to house all the right-wing exiles from around the world. Whether it's Batista-ites from Cuba, Curveballs from Iraq, rich, right-wing "refugees" from Chavismo in South America or Ukrainians like Vindman. They're happy to use the host country to further a color revolution back home, and the CIA is happy to use them as cover for another Empire resource grab.

Trump has been getting in the way.

David , November 13, 2019 at 7:07 am

What I find amusing about all this is that there is an influential school of American political science writing going back to Huntington and Janowitz which shows an almost paranoid distrust of career military officers and their potential impact on policy, and advocates their close "control" by civilian political authorities to prevent them influencing government too much. Now, suddenly, every General who ever led a military coup because they feared that the government was doing things that were bad for the country will be feeling retrospectively justified. The position in any democracy is quite clear: the government makes the decisions in the context of existing laws, including the Constitution. Government officials, in uniform or not, are not there to substitute their judgement of the interests of the country for the judgement of the political leadership.

Carolinian , November 13, 2019 at 9:03 am

One might even entertain the suspicion that the reason so many keep accusing Trump of fascism is that they keep flirting with it themselves. That "interagency consensus" thing is much scarier than Trump and indeed some of his more despicable moves –Venezuela, Bolivia(?)–may track back to that very source. Some of us have long thought that what the USG does in Latin America is what they would like to do here if they could get away with it. The previous Clinton impeachment, Bush v Gore, the media's lockstep approval of imperialistic militaristic "narratives," the wild, over the top rejection of Trump's defeat of Hillary–all show a deep contempt for the democratic process by both parties. Letting military or IC figures opine on policy is part of this. How long before some general tells Trump he should resign to "restore order"?

Watt4Bob , November 13, 2019 at 8:44 am

These Deep-Staters, who aren't so deep anymore, remind me of those Japanese theatre stage hands that dress in black and by convention, are invisible to the audience, even though they move about the stage in plain sight.

They've gradually become more and more visible, what with color revolutions abroad, and election fraud at home, and finally, one would hope, they are throwing a tantrum, insisting not only that they are still ' invisible' but that their efforts to pull off regime change here at home are legitimate.

Which reminds me of a good friend's definition of a politician;

"A politician is a person who would try to steal a red-hot stove with their bare hands."

[Nov 13, 2019] It is not a mercy to tolerate incompetence in officers, think of the poor men

Nov 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Ap Bu Nho - A Remembrance for Veteran's Day

Garryowen in Glory, the 7th Cavalry Regiment at Ap Bu Nho

By a quirk of fate, "D" 2/7 Cavalry, was given the chance to demonstrate the plausibility of Spinoza's despair several weeks later. A Montagnard agent reported that the 141 st NVA Regiment was temporarily in position just to the west of the Montagnard resettlement village of Ap (village) Bu Nho about 20 kilometers southwest of Song Be. This village, like several others in Phuoc Long province, had been created in the course of earlier years of war and migration throughout Indochina. It was perfectly rectangular, three streets wide and five hundred feet long with the long axis running east-west, with a dirt road extending to the tar two lane road connecting Song Be with the south. The Song Be River passed north-south to the west of the village. There was a roughly circular patch of woods just northwest of the village. The wood was about one kilometer in diameter. The river ran along the west side of the wood. On the eastern side of the wood, there was a large open "field" covered with grass nearly hip high. The field extended along the whole northern side of the village out to the tar road and beyond. The inhabitants were three or four hundred in number, living in tribal style in long houses and other small flimsily built shacks. They had originally lived in the area of Camp Roland in the northeastern corner of PhuocLongProvince, and had moved or been moved to this site during the First Indochina War. They were S'tiengan people. The agent was one of them and lived in Bu Nho.

I drove to Landing Zone "Buttons" with this information to visit the command post of the Second Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, then operating out of the landing zone. In the underground facility, I talked to the S-2 (Intelligence Staff Officer) of the battalion. I had been providing this officer with information for some time. An example had been the information that led to the BDA mission mentioned above. While we two intelligence officers were discussing the report, the lieutenant colonel commanding 2/7 Cav entered the command post. He was new, having arrived in country within the previous month, and having joined the battalion the week before. In his late thirties, blond, and in his new found dignity, he had a "lean and hungry look." The S-2 introduced me to him, told him how valuable the detachment's information had been in the past. The Bn. CO seemed to have a hard time understanding who I was. In talking to me he seemed to be more interested in "showing off" for his operations staff who had followed him into the bunker than in listening. The idea of an intelligence officer resident in the province who had brought him information seemed more than he could handle. After a few minutes, he tired of the whole thing, and asked to be shown on the map. After a glance, he asked the S-3, another superior being and soi-disant tactical virtuoso, what "D" Company was doing the next day. The major said that "D" was in LZ "Buttons" resting and refitting. The CO casually said "Well, put'em in there at first light." His finger indicated the big, grassy clearing in the angle between Bu Nho and the round woods to the west. The S-2 looked at me, opened his mouth and then said nothing.

I thought What the hell! I don't work for this man.. "Colonel," I began, "there is at least a battalion of the 141 st NVA Regiment in that wood. They are the best troops in the 7 th NVA Division, which is the best in their army. They have been in that wood for at least two weeks. They will be ready." The CO was irritated. "That's all right, Captain," he said. "You are really a captain, aren't you? We'll take it from here. Most of these reports are untrue. Why, when I was here as an adviser in the Delta, none of the stuff we got from you people was true." So, the man didn't believe the report and was just looking for something for "D" Company to do. This was a delicate situation. "I must protest, sir," I began. "I would be negligent..." "That will be all!" the CO barked. "Good Day!" The sycophants on the staff bristled in the hope that their master would recognize them as the good dogs they were.

I drove back to Song Be and called my higher headquarters to tell them that a disaster was about to occur. The foreseeable reply from 525 th MIG in Saigon was that they would not attempt to interfere with the exercise of command by a line officer in command of troops in the field. I then asked for a helicopter to come to Song Be to be at my disposal the next day. This was agreed. The "Huey" showed up early and I was sitting in the thing at 3,000 feet listening to the 1 st Cavalry Division when the fire preparation of Ap Bu Nho commenced.

" They will not grow old, as we who are left grow old,

Age will not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the mornings,

We shall remember them.."

A.E. Housman - inscribed in Washington Arch at VMI

First, there was a lot of fire from corps heavy artillery batteries, including the one at Victor 241 airfield. Then, there were Tacair fighter strikes with bombs and rockets, then there was a massive fire preparation by armed helicopters, of which the 1 st Cavalry Division had many. The bombs, shells, and rockets searched the round wood and the big, grassy field. While the armed helicopters were still working on the patch of forest, the twenty odd "Huey Slicks", (transports unarmed except for a machine gun on each side), swooped onto the scene from the east, having picked up "D" Company at LZ "Buttons." Throughout the preparation, there had not been a shot fired from the area under bombardment. I could hear the Cavalry Division talking about it on the air. Their opinion was that this would be a "cold" LZ, and that the enemy were not present. With mixed feelings, I watched the assault unfold. The landing was in two columns of helicopters, which were perhaps fifty yards apart. There were about ten helicopters in each column. The cavalry troops scrambled out and headed for the round wood.

The 141 st NVA Infantry Regiment had held its fire throughout the preparatory bombardment, a remarkable display of fire discipline. Now, as the helicopters lifted in unison, they opened fire in a roaring, ripping demonstration of just how much firepower a well trained and disciplined light infantry force can possess. Four "Slicks" were shot down on the LZ. All four exploded. It was not likely that anyone lived. The fire balls killed a number of "D" Company men nearby. Several more helicopters were badly damaged and departed smoking. The NVA had organized the defense of the wood in such a way that interlocking bands of machine gun fire from log and earth bunkers cris-crossed out in the field. The guns appeared to have been laid so that the fire was about two to three feet above the ground. The inevitable dips in the ground (dead space) were filled with the fires of mortars shooting from positions behind the bunker line. A general in the War Between the States remarked on a similar occasion that "not even a chicken could live under that fire." It was thus. The NVA were all in the round wood. The bunkers themselves, as later inspected, were solid with two layers of hardwood logs separated by a foot of packed earth and with another layer of earth on top. They had firing embrasures six inches high, were sited for mutual support and were staggered in depth. "D" Company 2/7 Cavalry was "dead meat" out in that field in the bright sunlight. They could not move forward and to move back meant rising which was certain death.

The fighters and armed helicopters returned to repeatedly bomb and rocket the woods. Corps artillery joined in whenever the aircraft left off.. It did not help. 12.7 mm heavy machine guns and RPG-7 teams engaged the aircraft from within the NVA position. The iron grip of the 141 st NVA held "D" Company fast. Everyone was pinned flat on the LZ, face to the dirt.

Additional Cavalry troops began to be inserted into the fight. The rest of 2/7 Cav landed to the east of "D" Company, 1/5 Cav landed north of the round wood, and 2/12 Cav landed to the west of the Song Be river, west of the round wood. All these insertions were by helicopter. What they discovered, as they closed on the wood, was that the 141 st had organized the position for a 360 degree, all around defense. The fire and bunkers were just as solid on the other sides as on the east. The position was so large and so well put together that it may well have contained the whole 141 st Regiment. The reinforcements got nowhere. The only difference between their situations and that of "D" Company was that they were not pinned down at close quarters. All of these units took substantial losses in this fight.

Wounded from "D" Company crawled toward the eastern side of the clearing, toward the earthen "dike" that carried the main north-south road. They could be seen with the naked eye from the air. As some got across the road, Med-evac helicopters (Dustoffs) began landing in the fire shadow of the road to pick them up. The warrant officer flying the 525 th MIG "Huey" told me he intended to land to pick up wounded. Altogether, the strange helicopter with the blue boomerang insignia on the tail boom, made four trips from LZ "Buttons" to Ap Bu Nho carrying 2/7 Cav's wounded. After a while, the floor of the bird was slippery, and everyone in back was busy trying to keep some of them alive long enough to deliver them to the medics. The helicopter took a number of hits.

About four in the afternoon, the CO of 2/7 Cav made a fatal error. He requested a napalm strike on the round wood. December was the height of the dry season, and the wind was blowing steadily from the west. This could be seen by the direction that smoke was drifting across the battlefield. The napalm strike went in, delivered by two F-4s. It may have done some damage to the NVA, but what it did for certain was to light a grass fire that swept toward the east, toward "D" Company. The Company now faced an ancient dilemma. My great-grandfather had spoken of having faced the same problem in the Wilderness in 1864. The choice was to lie prone and burn or stand and be shot. According to the medics, most preferred to be shot. In the course of this process, "D" Company's commander, a young captain, who happened to be a Citadel man, decided he had had enough. With his pockets full of grenades, he crawled as close as possible to the nearest machine gun bunker, and with half a dozen of his men firing in support he rushed the bunker throwing grenades, jumped down into the position and killed all within with his pistol. With this crack in the enemy position, "D" Company moved forward behind him and by nightfall had broken the outer defense perimeter of the 141 st . They held half a dozen bunkers. The sun went down. The fight ended. All night long the Cavalry Division moved forces into the area to finish the 141 st the next morning.

" Good! Whenever you find a real bastard, especially a dumb bastard

make sure you stake'em down, through the heart, through the heart!"

LTC (Ret.) Walter P. Lang to his son, June, 1969

"It is not a mercy to tolerate incompetence in officers , think of the poor men.."

Robert E. Lee , thinking of Bristoe Station

In the morning, the enemy had gone, departed, taking their dead and wounded with them. They had slipped out through some gap in the surrounding lines and simply vanished. "D" Company was extracted and mustered at LZ "Buttons" that afternoon. There were 12 men in the ranks. 52 killed and over 70 wounded was the "Butcher's Bill" at Ap Bu Nho. This may have been the worst single day's bloodletting in the Seventh Cavalry since the Little Big Horn in 1876. There too, they had been commanded by a fool. At the muster, the company commander, who was unscathed, stood dry eyed before his remnant while strong men wept, among them, me. I asked the battalion commander and the S-3 how they spelled their names and left. I would have happily killed them both with my own hand, and they seemed to know that.

I sent a report of the action disguised as an intelligence report on the performance of the 141 st . It went to every echelon of command above 2/7 Cavalry. Under investigation by division headquarters, the lieutenant colonel later claimed that the agent's report had been a "provocation" intended to lure him into an ambush. The Division commander was not deceived. 525 th MIG saw through my subterfuge and I was admonished for responding to the Operations side's attempt to scapegoat Intelligence for its own failure. This was the first instance in which I saw this syndrome of the leadership of the intelligence community. I continued to see it for the rest of my government career." from the memoir of W. Patrick Lang



turcopolier , 24 May 2015 at 01:01 PM
All

There were 93 US KIA in the two battles of Ramadi. pl

mbrenner said in reply to turcopolier ... , 24 May 2015 at 02:30 PM
Pat

What normally is the ratio of killed to wounded in combat such as this these days?

Aka said in reply to mbrenner... , 25 May 2015 at 10:24 AM
mbrenner,

I remember CNN saying that it is 1500:1 in 2001 or 2003 (in the beginning of the war on terror). May be they have revised it by now.

Haralambos , 24 May 2015 at 03:11 PM
Colonel Lang,

This description brings tears to my eyes as well yours in that battle. It graphically demonstrates the difference between auctoritas and podestas as well as much more. Thank you for sharing, remembering, and reminding us.

Booby , 24 May 2015 at 03:17 PM
Col.

I found the NVA to be a very worthy foe. I learned of the "hold them by the belt buckle" tactic the hard way. Just south of the DMZ one of our companies stumbled into a Regimental CP. The Marines were driven back by AK & MG fire. The Marines laid down in the elephant grass about 50m in front of the forward bunkers while we ran air support "danger close". After 3 flights of snake & napalm, the company assaulted again just before dark and was met again with heavy fire. We evacuated our wounded & settled in for the night. When we moved forward the next morning the scorched bunkers were empty. Trails in the grass showed that when the Marines pulled back 50m, the NVA had crawled forward about 35m. After observing a very close air strike, the NVA had crawled back into their buckers & thwarted our second assault. Discipline & guts.

Happy Memorial Day

Aka said in reply to Booby... , 25 May 2015 at 07:13 AM
Booby,
I would say they were desperate. Did whatever they thought would get a edge over the US troops. Considering the number of casualties they took, they never had a easy life.
Patrick Bahzad -> Aka... , 25 May 2015 at 02:44 PM
desperate ? Think you're living in a parallel universe ... Maybe it's a consolation to you and It does something for your ego, but not sure it's of any help when analyzing why that war was lost.
Medicine Man , 24 May 2015 at 03:26 PM
Thank you, Col. It is our loss that you never intend to release all of your memoirs, but reading this I can understand your reluctance.

Jesus wept, 52 killed and 70 maimed all because one man was a self-regarding asshole.

turcopolier , 24 May 2015 at 03:53 PM
mbrenner

Military medicine got steadily better throughout the 20th Century so the ratio of killed to wounded became lower and lower. Medevac helicopters and forward surgical hospitals made a big difference, but the 52 KIA here in tis one company were killed outright on the field of battle. I do not know how many of the WIA died of their wounds. Remember there were a lot of casualties in the other units of our encirclement. The NVA had a widely distributed system of underground hospitals supplied through the Laos/Cambodia corridor (HCM Trail) but they had to live long enough to be carried to them. I agree with Booby that the NVA were a remarkably tough and dedicated enemy. pl

turcopolier , 24 May 2015 at 04:01 PM
All

BTW, I have looked at this place in Google Earth. The Vietnamese government has built a widespread network of hydroelectric dams in the highlands since the war. As a result the site of this combat is buried under a prosperous Vietnamese town. This is one of the few instances of the outright defeat of US forces in the field in the war, along with the loss of Lang Vei SF camp and LZ Albany. At Song Be a few miles away there are actual memorials to the protracted battle in February-March 1969 but not at this place. pl

SteveG , 24 May 2015 at 04:06 PM
Just finished watching an hour PBS episode
about James "Maggie" Magellas the most
decorated soldier in the history of the 82nd
Airborne. To paraphrase" How could I send
young 18 and 19 year olds to lead and I stay
in the rear. " A remarkable man for anytime,
he is still alive at 98. That we would have more
like him in all fields of endeavor.
FND , 24 May 2015 at 04:41 PM
Thank you Colonel. That story really brings it home to me. I was on a somewhat similar disastrous mission during the 1972 NVA Easter offensive. The NVA had taken Quang Tri City, and we were inserting South Vietnamese soldiers at key points around the city of Quang Tri to cut off supplies. Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about the tactical situation on this particular mission. I was but a WO1 front seat co-pilot gunner in a Cobra gunship at the time. On this particular mission, we (about 10 gunships as I recall) were gun cover for a US Marine insertion of South Vietnamese marines. There were I think about 15 CH-54 Jolly Greens full of the marines. At that time, because of the SA-7 heat-seekers, we had to fly low level. We took massive fire beginning at least 8 or 10 klicks out from the LZ, and then the LZ was hot. The US Marine pilots told us at least half of the troops were dead or wounded from ground fire before they ever got to the LZ. Two of the Jolly Greens went down. Actually, I never made it to the LZ. About 3 kicks out my pilot was hit and the command ship directed us back to the staging area for the pilot to be attended to. His wound turned out to be superficial and he was ok. Like I said, I don't know anything about the tactical situation, but surely there must have been an intelligence failure. Either that, or they felt the risk was worth the prize. They eventually re-took Quang Tri, but it was several months later.
FND said in reply to FND... , 24 May 2015 at 05:25 PM
Oops. That's the CH-53 Jolly Green, not CH-54, which was the heavy lift cargo helicopter. Old age is hell.
LeaNder said in reply to FND... , 25 May 2015 at 09:39 AM
"I was but a WO1 front seat co-pilot gunner in a Cobra gunship at the time."

WO1? Would there be backseat gunners too.

"At that time, because of the SA-7 heat-seekers, we had to fly low level. We took massive fire beginning at least 8 or 10 klicks out from the LZ, and then the LZ was hot."

My guess at klicks or kicks, which you use later suggests a distance from a battlefield LZ to an LZ with a slightly longer "life-span" then the battlefield LZ.

Got that completely wrong. Kicks, klicks?

Sounds like a dangerous missing anyway. You have to be low to target MANPAD's or whatever it was, but this also endangers you heavily.

Did I get this wrong too, completely?

FND said in reply to LeaNder... , 25 May 2015 at 05:30 PM
WO1 = Warrant Officer grade 1. After grade 1 they are called Chief Warrant officers, or CW-2,3,and 4. 4 is the highest grade. About half the U.S. Army helicopter pilots were warrant officers, and half commissioned officers. The warrants flew pretty much full time with no other command duties, other than flight related command duties.

You can fly the Cobra from either seat, but the primary duty of the front seat is to man the turret weapons. The back seat primary duty is to fly the aircraft and shoot the wing store weapons which shoot in the same direction that the aircraft is pointing. The wing store weapons are rockets and/or 20mm gatling gun. The turret weapons are the 6.62 gatling gun and the 40mm grenade gun. You can shoot any of the weapons from either seat and fly the aircraft from either seat, but those are the primary duties. The back seat cannot move the turret but only fire it in the direction of the aircraft.

Its klicks, not kicks. Sorry for the typo. Its just slang for a kilometer.

When flying a few yards above the ground, tree tops, or buildings, it is more difficult for a heat seeker to lock on to the heat. Of course then one is more vulnerable to small arms, but they are the lesser of two evils. Our company commander and his crew were lost to an SA-7 a few weeks prior to that particular mission.

FND said in reply to LeaNder... , 25 May 2015 at 07:16 PM
That's 7.62, not 6.62.
LeaNder said in reply to FND... , 26 May 2015 at 07:07 AM
Thanks FND, I realized at one point I may have read this not carefully enough: You really made it quite clear with your "because of the FA-7 heat-seekers" - BECAUSE

In other words the Jolly Greens in your story above while higher where a good target for the heat-seekers, while your mission partly was to ideally find and destroy them before they could hit them. ...

The problem with trying to understand this as a layman is that there is a high chance you misunderstand details in context.

FND said in reply to LeaNder... , 26 May 2015 at 04:48 PM
Almost right, except the Jolly Green Giants had to fly ground level with us. They would be dead meat at altitude.
Old Gun Pilot said in reply to FND... , 30 May 2017 at 12:43 PM
What a great bird the Cobra was. The Marines didn't get the Cobra until '69.
When I was there (67-68)we had the huey gunships, and I first saw the Cobra being flown by the 101st whose AO was next to ours in Northern I Corp. I was fortunate to fly it for over 2000 hours in the National Guard but never got to fly it in combat.
ex-PFC Chuck , 24 May 2015 at 06:20 PM
Thank you for posting this. Never having been in combat it is humbling to read what others have endured, and in this as in many other situations having done so under incompetent leadership.
Aka , 25 May 2015 at 01:12 AM
all,
found this article that described the life of a VC (I think he may have joined to fight the french ) fighter who joined the fight in 1950s and fought until the end.

Although the article has been written with a sense of humor in mind, I thought it was a worthy read.

http://kenmoremoggillrsl.org/viet-cong-soldier-describes-life-in-war/

LeaNder said in reply to Aka... , 25 May 2015 at 09:20 AM
Indeed interesting, Aka. But strictly no surprise. ...

I encountered the same respect as Pat's shows here for his "battle counterpart", for loss of a better term, among war correspondents for the ones killed reporting for the other side. ...

FND's comment above triggered memories of their stories and images combined with Pat's story.

Were Jolly Green's the type of helicopters that did not only carry materials but also journalists occasionally?

I may be mistaken but that was my basic google impression while looking into military terms.

LeaNder said in reply to LeaNder... , 25 May 2015 at 01:52 PM
Anyway, just in case someone is interested in who I was referring to concerning war war correspondents (images).

Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina

RIP Horst Faas, it sure was a pleasure to meet you:
http://www.amazon.com/Requiem-Photographers-Died-Vietnam-Indochina/dp/0679456570/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Does this count as a contribution that should be deleted or banned?

confusedponderer -> LeaNder... , 26 May 2015 at 07:21 AM
LeaNder
Re: 'Jolly Green Giant'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_S-61R

The bigger CH-53 then was the 'Super Jolly Green Giant'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_MH-53

As for the name:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Giant

LeaNder said in reply to confusedponderer ... , 26 May 2015 at 08:55 AM
Yes, thanks, now I see something FND mentioned above. Although it leaves me at an odd as to why it makes sense to be able to fly the type of helicopters he flew from both the front and back-seat. Supposing the design was somewhat meant to help the crew.

Apparently, when I saw some photos years ago my attention was somewhere else. Or it wasn't the focus of the image. And I cannot ask Horst anymore. Seems bigger then the one I had in mind, anyway.

turcopolier , 25 May 2015 at 10:30 AM
LeAnder

A "click" is US Army slang for a kilometer. A "WO1" is a warrant officer. That is a rank between the enlisted ranks and the commissioned officers, lieutenants and up. The US Army and US Marine Corps have warrant officer pilots as well as commissioned officer pilots. These last are normally the commanders. "LZ" means "Landing Zone." This is the place where the south Vietnamese Marines in this story were to be landed. pl

LeaNder said in reply to turcopolier ... , 25 May 2015 at 11:15 AM
Thanks Pat.

I looked up LZ. But I understand that LZ could have both a longer existence, or exist for a slightly longer time then a single LZ for a specific battle. In which case the first type of LZ would be the starting base? Like LZ "Buttons"?

More specifically were only "2/5 Cav" based at "Buttons" and the others were "inserted (?)/were brought in" later, as support? Or was the whole 5 cav, I understand, located there?

Booby , 25 May 2015 at 11:03 AM
FND

In the late '60's a Marine LtCol., William Corson, published a book "The Betrayal" criticizing US strategy & tactics in VN. In the final chapter he hypothesized that the Soviet Union could dramatically change the helicopter war in VN any time they wished by giving the NVA the Strela shoulder fired AA missile. In the Easter Offensive, the Soviets played that card. Helo & OV-10 losses in the Quang Tri area were devastating & forced an immediate change of helo tactics. Fly low or die. It took us a decade to develop effective counter-measures to these missiles.

Years later I had a SNCO who worked for me who had crewed a CH-46 inserting VN Marines along the coast north of Quang Tri during '72. The LZ brief warned of a "dead" NVA tank in the LZ. As his AC landed beside the "dead" tank, he saw the turret turn & he was looking down the barrel. The tank fired; but, either it was too close to the helo or the thin aluminum skin of the helo didn't activate the fuse & the round went through his AC as a solid shot.

FND said in reply to Booby... , 25 May 2015 at 05:42 PM
The SA-7s were indeed deadly. We would rather take our chances flying ground level. The guy whose helicopter took the tank round is very lucky. I'm glad he and the others made it.
William R. Cumming -> Booby... , 26 May 2015 at 01:52 PM
William Corson a very interesting person and I met him long after RVN days.

I had a 10 week course at Ft.Bliss on the REDEYE MANPAD after completing OCS and all my classmates could do was think about these in the context of AirCav units.

turcopolier , 25 May 2015 at 11:11 AM
booby

I was in VN in '72 and remember the advent of the SA-7. as an immediate expedient defense we threw thermite grenades out the doors when we saw one fired. I don't know if that worked well, but I am still here. I also remember seeing an NVA team fir an RPG at a Cobra. The missile did not arm and went right through the boom. pl

FND said in reply to turcopolier ... , 25 May 2015 at 05:35 PM
They also put what we called toilet bowles on the engine exhaust to direct the exhaust up to the rotors so that the heat would be dispersed, but I don't think it worked that well.
turcopolier , 25 May 2015 at 11:39 AM
LeAnder

In the largely helicopter transported war an LZ could be either a semi-permanent base for aircraft as well as a convenient place where troops could be billeted and supplied or the place where troops would be landed by air in a single operation as in the Quang Tri story. LZ Buttons was named for some officer's girl friend. I think she was a Red Cross girl in Saigon. 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment just happened to be based at LZ Buttons just then. During the VN period US Army infantry and cavalry fighting as infantry were organized by battalions. The regiment, as in this case, 5th Cavalry, only existed as a tradition. Armored Cavalry sxisted as a whole regiment and the 11th Cavalry in VN (the Black Horse) were a formidable group. The US Marines, who, I am sure you know are not part of the Army still had regimental formations. pl

LeaNder said in reply to turcopolier ... , 25 May 2015 at 12:14 PM
Thanks for the patience Pat, or more patience then the ones asking me to shut up would have anyway.

apparently more "LZ Buttons" memories here:
http://usastruck.com/tag/lz-buttons/

not sure if you take me for a ride concerning the naming of buttons, but then, it's not really important.

LeaNder said in reply to turcopolier ... , 25 May 2015 at 01:40 PM
Don't worry about answering any of my questions. In case I added another one. E.g. whatever caused "Buttons" to be called "Buttons". ;)

Guess I first have to look into the traces of "victor 241 airfied":
http://tinyurl.com/victor-241-airfield

Yes that puzzled me too, since you started out with locating the later battlefield ground.

Booby , 25 May 2015 at 12:48 PM
turcopolier

One lucky Cobra crew. Usually when a helo & an RPG met, it was catastrophic for the helo. I hated being shot at with RPG's because the projectile moved slow enough that you could see them coming. Time moves real slowly when you see one coming. I've had them pass through my rotor disc & still don't understand how the projectile could make it through without hitting or being hit by a rotor blade.

A CH-46 from my squadron became a part of Marine Corps history after being hit by an RPG on Mutter's Ridge, just below the DMZ. The climax of the novel "Matterhorn" was based on this incident. A Company was assaulting a hill that was an abandoned Marine LZ. The NVA were fighting from the old Marine bunkers. The CH-46 was departing a neighboring hill with Medevacs when it was hit in the aft pylon by an RPG & burst into flames. The pilot saw a LZ directly below him & shot an emergency landing. The pilot was unaware that the NVA held the hill & the Marines were assaulting the hill & engaged in close combat. The NVA were startled by a flaming CH-46 crashing on them & their defense was disrupted. Some NVA climbed aboard the burning helo & were trying to take the 50 caliber machine guns. There was a gunfight between the crew & the NVA in the cabin of the helo. The Marines won & the NVA abandoned the hill. The Grunts gave our squadron credit for capturing the hill - a 1st & only in Marine Corps history.

Tyler , 25 May 2015 at 01:38 PM
This was a good remembrance. I'm sure the men there appreciated what you did for them.

Enjoy your Memorial Day, folks.

turcopolier , 25 May 2015 at 02:20 PM
LeAnder

Rumor was that it had to do with the woman's anatomy. I don't know. I didn't know her. At Dien Bien Phu the French strongpoints were all named for De Castries' mistresses. Isabelle, etc. V- 241 was a Japanese built airfield from WW2. pl

Patrick Bahzad -> turcopolier ... , 25 May 2015 at 03:25 PM
My oldest uncle was at Dien Bien Phu with "8e bataillon parachutiste de choc". He was one of the few men in his unit to have survived the battle. I flew back with him to DBP in 2004 and we visited the battlefield with an former viet Minh vet as a tour guide.
my uncle and him had fought against each other some 50 years earlier, in muddy trenches, using grenades, flame throwers and bayonets and there they were, two old men, talking to each other in broken french and broken Vietnamese, remembering those who had not been worn down by age.
The Vietnamese were very gracious hosts to us, and my uncle had no hard feelings against them. However, he never forgave the French army generals who had designed the battle plan, totally underestimating the viet Minh. It is something he has passed onto me and its been quite useful a reminder sometimes.
Thx for this piece PL !
LeaNder said in reply to turcopolier ... , 26 May 2015 at 08:34 AM
thanks Pat, appreciated.

Patrick's comment reminds me of my limits not only concerning the military but also suggested by Patrick's comment below: the larger historical context during and after WWII in which Viet Minh via Ho Chi Ming mutated into Viet Cong. ;)

William R. Cumming , 26 May 2015 at 02:15 PM
P.L. and ALL: It has taken sometime for me to formulate a comment to this post and thread. Why? First because it gives important insights that anyone in the US Army today of any rank might learn from. Second, while I never served in RVN by spring summer 1968 Artillery OCS at Ft. Sill was totally dedicated to furnishing officers for the war in RVN. 8 of the 110 in my graduating class did not serve in RVN. I was one of the eight.

But two things stick in my mind from OCS. The first how to help create a firebase for an artillery unit. And second how to defend an artillery firebase from ground assault.
Yes, realism had cretp into artillery by summer 1968 and no more emphasis on stopping Soviet tank armies in northern Europe. 3 members of my OCS class were in firing batteries overrun by NVA. I believe the two that survived both recieved Silver Stars. One of the survivors after spiking guns survived by E&E. The other succeeded in defending his battery.

Receiving my draft notice on June 12th, having been married June 10th [and graduated from Law School June 7th] I realized that despite two years of AFROTC and with rejections from both the Navy and Air Force in hand over winter 1966-67 for reasons of vision I realized that not being a Kennedy Father I was destined for RVN in one form or another. So I started reading: first any Bernard Fall book or article I could get my hands on. Second, because the Combat Arms were open to me through OCS [Army JAG was giving priority to those who signed up for the longest service --often up to 10 years (and they almost all served in RVN] it seemed wise to be in shape and learn how to survive. So before reporting on September 10th, 1967, to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri for Basic I read all of S.L.A Marshall's studies of combat in Viet Nam. Reading some French I stumbled through the travails of the PARA against the Viet Minh. I also read some biographies of Uncle HO!

THIS POST AND THREAD SHOULD BE POINTED OUT TO DoD leadership AS TO WHY THIS BLOG SHOULD BE AVAILABLE TO ALL THROUGH its servers.

More later!

BTW there is a move on to ban flechette arty rounds under International Law!

Peter Brownlee , 01 June 2015 at 05:04 PM
Sergeant-Major Money

By Robert Graves

It wasn't our battalion, but we lay alongside it,
So the story is as true as the telling is frank.
They hadn't one Line-officer left, after Arras,
Except a batty major and the Colonel, who drank.

'B' Company Commander was fresh from the Depot,
An expert on gas drill, otherwise a dud;
So Sergeant-Major Money carried on, as instructed,
And that's where the swaddies began to sweat blood.

His Old Army humour was so well-spiced and hearty
That one poor sod shot himself, and one lost his wits;
But discipline's maintained, and back in rest-billets
The Colonel congratulates 'B' Company on their kits.

The subalterns went easy, as was only natural
With a terror like Money driving the machine,
Till finally two Welshmen, butties from the Rhondda,
Bayoneted their bugbear in a field-canteen.

Well, we couldn't blame the officers, they relied on Money;
We couldn't blame the pitboys, their courage was grand;
Or, least of all, blame Money, an old stiff surviving
In a New (bloody) Army he couldn't understand.

(ends)

BTW (and apologies for pedantry) "Ode for the Fallen" is not Housman but (Robert) Laurence Binyon -- http://allpoetry.com/For-The-Fallen

adamski , 29 May 2017 at 11:16 AM
And now here in Bien Hoa it's all about iPhones and looking flash.
Sukhois from the San Bay an occasional treat.
rst , 29 May 2017 at 03:42 PM
Many thanks.
Account Deleted , 29 May 2017 at 06:07 PM
Col. Lang,

Thank you for sharing this riveting excerpt from your memoir. Is this body of work to be published by any chance? I for one would be grateful for the opportunity to read more of such a fascinating life.

Will.2718 , 29 May 2017 at 06:44 PM
Brings back a lot of memories. In 1968 I was a senior in high school reading about the marines at Khe Sahn. In 70-71 I was up on the DMZ with the 1st Bde, 5th Mech that had replaced the 3rd Marine Division. Spent the first six months at Con Thien, Charlie 4, Dong Ha, Quang Tri, patrols in the DMZ. Then got promoted to the General's security platoon just in time to go west when the Vietnamese went into Laos. Got to visit Lang Vei, Khe Sanh, Camp Carrol, all those places I had read about in high School.

Back in the states in 1972 in college reading again about Vietnam. How the PVA (I think they prefer that to NVA) had come across the DMZ and captured the provincial capital of Quang Tri. Went to visit the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall today. Didn't last 3 minutes.

This is how the Iraq vets must feel when they read about Ramadi, Fallujah, etc. Shades of Manstein- Lost Victories?

turcopolier , 29 May 2017 at 06:54 PM
Barbara Ann

I have an editor and literary executor for my various scribbling. It is up to him what gets published or produced pl

Account Deleted -> turcopolier ... , 30 May 2017 at 03:10 PM
In that case sir, I hope it is many long years before they see the light of day.
raven , 29 May 2017 at 07:01 PM
We had a butter bar who continuously violated procedure by going out on the road before it was swept in the morning. One day he took off with his driver and another EM, they hit a mine and all died. Years later the Lt's brother found me via an internet site. His brother's college fraternity was going to do a memorial tribute and he wanted to know what I knew. I saw no value in telling him what really happened so I didn't. Nothing like this account but it sticks with you.
turcopolier , 29 May 2017 at 08:07 PM
raven

Like you I can never forget this or the rest. I can still see the burning Slicks on the LZ at Ap Bu Nho. pl

Imagine , 29 May 2017 at 08:51 PM
I hope you continue to post these memoirs, so that they will not be forgotten.

Internet chapters probably more immortal than print (but please do both).

Warpig , 29 May 2017 at 10:17 PM
Colonel Lang,

This is a powerful and moving piece. Thank you for sharing the memories of that day and those men with us.

Seacoaster , 30 May 2017 at 08:32 AM
Sir,

Thank you. Your annual re-runs like this story are some of the best posts on SST.

Pundita , 30 May 2017 at 10:42 AM
Col. Lang,

Let me see. Bad judgment, trouble concentrating, impulsive, reckless, hot-tempered. I'd say there was no telling how many American soldiers that battalion commander would have gotten killed and maimed for no good reason on his way to the rank of colonel.

But he was stopped.

Another thought about your account: Somebody had to provide evidence that the Montagnard agent had not given deliberately misleading intelligence -- that on the contrary he'd warned that the enemy had been dug in for two weeks, a clear indication they were well-prepared for an assault. So although you were admonished by 525th MIG, your subterfuge would have allowed the operational upper echelon to include your report in their investigation. That might have been the only way they could have nailed the CO, given his blame-shifting.

From my reading of an article by Thomas Ricks ("General Failure"), by the Vietnam War the emphasis on accountability in the U.S. military was being replaced by careerism. So that CO might have gotten away with it, if you had not filed a report.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/11/general-failure/309148/

turcopolier , 30 May 2017 at 01:08 PM
OGP

In the ABN fight a cobra expended its load at the bunkers and then turned to leave. An NVA RPG team standing on a bunker roof shot it through the boom. the rocket did not arm (too close maybe?) and the Cobra staggered away heading for LZ Buttons. pl

Old Gun Pilot , 30 May 2017 at 01:38 PM
I've heard a lot of stories like that. To be made of aluminum sheeting and rivets those birds were amazingly resilient. I wasn't quite so lucky, the same thing happened to me but the shot severed the tail rotor and we came crashing down. Fortunately there was no fire and no one was seriously injured. After we were picked up a flight of F-4s naped the wreckage to prevent the NVA from salvaging anything useful.
optimax , 30 May 2017 at 03:47 PM
I've read this at least four times and still find it riveting. Think your memoirs should be published.

I worked with a locomotive engineer who took a 50 caliber in the leg as a helicopter pilot in VN. Don't know where or when. He was good natured and one of the best hogheads I worked with.

turcopolier , 04 June 2017 at 05:16 PM
All

FWIW this same Battalion (2/7 Cav) lost 155 KIA at LZ Albany in 1965. I became old at Ap Bu Nho although there were worse fights. In my second tour I was often given the additional job of recruiting NVA officers for our side from the RVN National Interrogation Center. I was quite good at this. They were old soldiers like me pl

Booby , 04 June 2017 at 06:38 PM
To the Col.
I was always amazed at the "Kit Carson Scouts with our Bn. They often walked point for us. I'll always remember a platoon passing thru our position in the northern end of the Ashau Valley. The 1st "Marine" thru the wire was a Kit Carson on point. It had been a long, hard patrol. He approached me, threw down his NVA pack, looked me in the eye & smiled before saying, "Maline Corps number 10 G**Damned Thou." A bitching Marine is a happy Marine.
catherine , 11 November 2019 at 03:08 PM

I don't even know what to say...too many emotions aroused by Col's story.
Just such a waste of life.
turcopolier , 11 November 2019 at 03:43 PM
All

The Bn CO of 2/7 Cav shot himself ten or twelve years later, Whether it was from remorse or thwarted ambition I do not know.

Turcopolier , 11 November 2019 at 06:22 PM
All

I thought I remembered for many years that the Bn involved was 2/5 Cav but a historian researching my time in VN proved to me that the unit was actually 2/7 Cav.

JohninMK , 11 November 2019 at 06:56 PM
Its a harrowing read everytime you repost it Colonel.

As a civilian I have no real conception of what you went through but I am glad you survived.

turcopolier , 11 November 2019 at 07:45 PM
JohnMK

And I was spared to tell the tale. I must honor the dead of both sides. I remember seeing a two man NVA RPG team mount the roof of a bunker to duel with a Cobra at a hundred yards or so. Bullets from the Cobra's Gatling gun kicked up dust all around them They stood solidly until they fired a round that wounded the Cobra. Foemen worthy of our steel.

Factotum , 11 November 2019 at 09:01 PM
A movie for remembrance any day - Midway - now out: https://www.redstate.com/stu-in-sd/2019/11/11/sure-see-remake-movie-"midway"/

[Nov 13, 2019] Does Schiff s Impeachment Lynch Mob Signal The End Of America s Two-Party Political System

Nov 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Does Schiff's Impeachment Lynch Mob Signal The End Of America's Two-Party Political System? by Tyler Durden Tue, 11/12/2019 - 21:45 0 SHARES

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

If anything good can come from the Democrat's incessant efforts to impeach Donald Trump it will be the outgrowth, from the nurturing 'mother of necessity,' of a more inclusive political system that acknowledges more than just a compromised duopoly as the voice of the American people.

With complete disregard for the consequences of their actions, the Democrat House Intelligence Committee under Adam Schiff has abandoned all pretense of democratic procedure in their effort to remove the 45th President of the United States from office.

Indeed, the Democrats have provided the Republicans with a Machiavellian crash course on the subtle art of decadent behavior for getting what you want , which of course is ultimate political power, and to hell in a proverbial hand basket with the consequences. The Republicans have been snoozing through a game of 2D checkers, holding out hope that Sheriff Billy Barr and his deputy John Durham will round up the real criminals, while the Democrats have been playing mortal combat.

The dark prince in this Gothic tale of diabolical, dare I say biblical, proportions is none other than Adam 'Shifty' Schiff, who, like Dracula in his castle dungeon, has contorted every House rule to fit the square peg of a Trump telephone call into the bolt hole of a full-blown impeachment proceeding. Niccolò Machiavelli would have been proud of his modern-day protégé.

As if to mock the very notion of Democratic due process, whatever that means, Schiff and his torch-carrying lynch mob took their deliberations down into the dank basement, yes, the basement, of the US Capital where they have been holding secretive depositions in an effort to get some new twist on the now famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky back in June. But why all the cloak and dagger theatrics when the transcript has long been available for public consumption?

At one point, the frazzled Republicans bared a little backbone against this bunker mentality when they crashed the basement meetings for some really outstanding optics. Schiff, betraying a lack of foresight, could not defenestrate the well-dressed hooligans since the meetings, as mentioned, are being held inside of a windowless dungeon. The Republican troublemakers were ushered back up the stairs instead.

Considering what Prince Schiff has managed to pull off over the course of this not-made for television impeachment process is astounding, and could not have happened without the drooling complicity of the lapdog media corporations. Schiff got the ball bouncing when he performed a Saturday Night Live skit of the Trump-Zelensky phone call on the hallowed floor of Congress. The imaginary voices in Schiff's head made the president sound like a mafia boss speaking to one of his lackeys.

Not only did Schiff survive that stunt, it was revealed that he blatantly lied, not once but several times, about his affiliation with the White House insider, reportedly a CIA officer, who, without ever hearing the Trump-Zelensky phone call firsthand, blew the whistle anyways. The Democrats claim Trump was looking for some 'quid pro quo' with Kiev, which would dig up the dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for the release of $400 million in military aid. The transcript, however, points to no such coercion, while Zelensky himself denies that he was pressured by Trump.

Meanwhile, Schiff has taken great efforts to keep the identity of the whistleblower a 'secret' out of "safety concerns." The Republicans in the House said they will subpoena the whistleblower for the public impeachment that starts next week, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters. Yet Schiff has awarded himself the power to reject any witnesses the Republicans may wish to grill.

"We'll see if he gives us any of our witnesses," Jordan said.

A person need not feel any particular fondness for Donald Trump to find these circumstances surrounding the impeachment show trial as disgraceful, dishonorable and beneath the dignity of the American people. And whether they want it or not, the fallout from Schiff's shenanigans will have repercussions long into the future of the US political system, which is groaning under the weight of corruption and deceit.

It is doubtful the Republicans will soon forgive and forget what the Democrats have put them through ever since Trump entered office in 2016. From Russiagate to Ukrainegate, the Trump White House has been held hostage by a non-stop, media-endorsed hate campaign to oust a democratically elected POTUS. Although it would be difficult for the Republicans, who lack the support of the media, an overwhelmingly left-leaning propaganda machine, to exact an equal amount of revenge on the Democrats when the latter have one of their own in the White House, they will certainly try. This will lead the Republic into an inescapable vortex of infighting where the sole function of the political system will be based on that of vengeance and 'pay backs' and more waste of time and money as the parties investigate the crimes of the other side.

The public, which is slowly awakening to the problem, will ultimately demand new leadership to break the current two-party internecine struggle. Thus, talk of a civil war in the United States, while possible, is being overplayed. The truth will be much simpler and far less violent.

Out of the dust and ashes of the defunct duopoly that is now at war with itself, the American people will soon demand fresh political blood in Washington and this will bring to the forefront capable political forces that are committed to the primary purpose of politics: representing the needs of the people, once again. Tags Politics

https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=4879&num_ads=18&cf=1258.5.zerohedge%20190919 Show 149 Comments


NOMO , 1 hour ago link

The Newly Awakened

As it turns out the once apathetic and flustered American woke up pissed off, in large numbers I might add. They sensed that someone was starting to mess with their happy blind relationship to the materialistic free market American dream. In other words, they are broke for the most part or are working like a beast to stay even. I get it.

"Apathy does not make us stupid. On the contrary, a great deal of energy is used to offset the world and hibernate in an apathetic state of existence. Apathy requires an acute awareness of the obvious. It is what drives some to having a broken "give a damn". Many can only cope with the influence of the pressure of reality by excusing themselves from it and gathering in flocks for comfort. They yearn for a sheep dog."

And now they are awake, angry and wanting revenge against whomever shattered their illusion of American integrity. In most respects some have herded together and really are angry political mobs.

justyouwait , 1 hour ago link

So why hasn't Graham started a senate investigation into this whole Ukrainian affair? Why hasn't he called all of Adam Schiff's witnesses into one of his own investigations of this thing and gotten the truth out of them under penalty of perjury should they not come clean?

Republicans are as usual cowering in the corner hoping this will all pass by without harming their re-election chances. There are precious few that really care and the bug eyed liar has them shut down totally. If they were playing chess, the Dems would have the Republicans in a constant state of Check (thanks to the unwavering support of their media lap dogs). The Republicans would be sitting at the table hoping time would run out while wetting their pants in fear that they would be discovered to be the weak kneed mamas boys in suits who just had their lunch money stolen AGAIN by the big bad Dem boys & girls.

DisorderlyConduct , 1 hour ago link

End of the two party system? No.

The Democratic Socialists will absorb the butthurt left, and Pelosi, Waters, Schiff and the rest will die naturally soon enough. This is a result of Democrats' identity politics, and radicalizing of the left.

The Republicans will likely move farther right. Both parties will continue to spend too much - just on different causes. But when the DS get rolling, probably with someone like AOC at the helm, it will be Kristallnacht all over again.

Except this time it will be Christians and conservatives.

NOMO , 58 minutes ago link

I would say that a 3rd and 4th party are not only inevitable but the next organic evolution of party. This will help explain why --> The Altered States of America.

66Mustanggirl , 2 hours ago link

If there is one thing that truly illustrates the psychotic break with reality the Democrats, DC Deep State Establishment, and their *useless* idiots in the MSM have suffered, it has to be the bizarre situation with the identity of the *whistleblower* that EVERYONE on the planet knows but that somehow THEY think they have kept *secret*.

Cue the Twilight Zone music, America, because THAT takes a special kind of crazy! Lol! 25th Amendment for every Democrat in the House??

On top of THAT craziness, Sen. Lindsay Graham has made it clear to Dems that if ERIC C*a*Amella (You literally cannot post comments with his name! Hysterical! lol) does not publicly testify, their show trial is DOA in the Senate. So I hope they have fun with their impeachment coup to nowhere as ERIC C*A*a*ell* sits like some bloated political elephant in the room for the next two weeks!

On the upside, it will be loads of fun watching a bunch of crazy people have their mental breakdown on national T.V. so, by all means, Dems, PLEASE carry on!

Lol.

TeraByte , 4 hours ago link

The political system is dead. You cannot run this freak show before people in the age of Internet. Most of deplorables are more online savvy than their ruling political class.

gespiri , 4 hours ago link

Schiff has connections to sex trafficking and pedophilia. He has a lot to do with well know activities in the Standard Hotel (west Pedowood) involving minors and powerful people in that filthy city which include politicians and business people. You easily start with Ed Buck which the media has buried quickly.

All Risk No Reward , 7 hours ago link

There is only one party - the Money Power Party.

What you see is a false political dichotomy.

I believe this false dichotomy is too effectual at duping the masses for the Money Power Monopolists to let it go easily.

All Risk No Reward , 6 hours ago link

This is an excellent example of Orwellian cognitive dissonance.

Everyone knows that almost all, if not all, politicians are bought off to the highest bidder.

Everyone knows that the people who control the money system have the most money.

But very few will logically assemble those two data points and conclude what exists in reality - that the Money Power Monopolists CONTROL BOTH PARTIES!

St. TwinkleToes , 7 hours ago link

Schitt and his cult of DemonRats represents the darkest elements of society. So without writing a long list you already know, here's what you should prepare yourself for.

Buy guns, ammo, cameras and survival supplies to last a few months.

Civil War 2.0 is coming.

We didn't start this war, but we sure as hell will finish it.

The time has come to take this country back from an elite permanent political class who doesn't give a damn about you, your family, your future.

Lock and load, the San Fransicko **** has already hit the fan.

Colin Kelley , 8 hours ago link

The public is in a mood to vote out RINO Republicans and most Democrats, and vote in MAGA Republicans. The Democrats will all but disappear from sight for awhile. After they reorganize and dump their radicals and after their corrupt ones go to jail, and after the MSM completely falls apart -- they will then come back, but probably not till 2024 or 2026

He–Mene Mox Mox , 9 hours ago link

The two party political system was never much of a democratic system at all. It's been with us since 1854, and has polarized the country more than once, the first time being the Civil War. In 2003, the MIT professor Noam Chomsky said, "In the US, there is basically one party - the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies".

The two party system should be ended, and the Voter Access laws be repealed, and Gerrymandering districts be prohibited. Even your own vote means nothing, since it is only designed to ratify a selection someone else made for you. The only selection you can make is choosing personalities, but never on issues or money. You are never allowed to be a participant in the American political system, but rather, just a "consumer". Why? Because the American society is ruled by an Oligarchy! Why would they want to allow you to share power with them? None of this is what is practiced in a true democracy. The entire system needs to undergo some major changes.

[Nov 13, 2019] Understanding What Sidney Powell is Doing to Kill the Case Against Michael Flynn by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Peter Strzok was interviewed on 19 July 2017 by the FBI and, according to his affidavit, pretended that he was asked on the 24th of January 2017 to interview General Flynn. He implied this was a last minute request. But as noted in the preceding paragraph, which is based on an interview of Strzok's mistress, Lisa Page, a meeting took place the day before to orchestrate the ambush of General Flynn. ..."
"... What is truly remarkable is that Peter Strzok stated the following, which exonerates Flynn of the charges in the indictment cited above: Strzok and Pientka both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying. Flynn struck Strzok as "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated." ..."
"... In fact, as noted by Sidney Powell, "the FBI and DOJ wrote an internal memo dated January 30, 2017, exonerating Mr. Flynn of acting as an "agent of Russia;" and, they all knew there was no Logan Act violation." ..."
"... The real problem for the Government's fraudulent case against Flynn are the 302s. There should only be one 302. Not at least four versions. The FBI protocol is to enter the 302 into the FBI Sentinel system within five days of the interview. In other words, the original 302 should have been put on the record on the 29th of January. But that original 302 is MISSING. The prosecutors claim they cannot find it. ..."
"... But the prosecutors finally did provide the defense, after repeated requests, multiple copies of 302s. They dated as follows--10 February 2017, 11 February 2017. 14 February 2017 and 15 February 2017. WTF??? This alone is prima facie evidence that something crooked was afoot. ..."
"... The final 302--dated 15 February 2017--painted General Flynn in the worst possible light. The "facts" of this 302 are not supported by the notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka. The conclusion is simple--the FBI fabricated a case against General Flynn. We now wait to see if Judge Sullivan will acknowledge this crooked conduct and exonerate the good General. Justice demands it. ..."
"... Poor George Popadopoulos, also "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated.", also had lawyers who rolled over to the FBI. If you read George's book, "Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump", the methods used on Flynn sound familiar. ..."
"... If the evidence provided by the defence in the Flynn case is even only a partial example of the capabilities and proclivities of the FBI, then how many other poor schmucks have been convicted and jailed unjustly at the hands of this organisation? ..."
"... The answer, given the size of the organisation must be : "thousands". The remedy is obvious and compelling if you want to remain something like a first world democracy. ..."
"... So instead of Flynn burning the agency down, they did just the opposite and got to him first. Just like Sen Schumer warned Trump: don't take on the IC, because they have six ways against Sunday to take you down. ..."
"... Maybe Flynn' s alleged post-inauguration audit plans is what triggered Brennan to get Obama to secretly keep his eyes on Flynn - maybe that was the second tier secret access they wanted, not necessarily Trump himself? ..."
"... Survival in DC is existential - my own in-house observation during the Watergate years. ..."
"... However, IMO the far more telling issue of the depths of IC's Coup effort. Are the exploits of Halper, Mifsud, MI6-CIA link. Which began back in 2015. This gives the impression, Flynn was being targeted for career destruction. Solely as retaliation for his departure from the Obama Administration, coupled with Flynn's open opposition to policies of Obama-Brennan (Iran-Syria-Libya). This took place way before he agreed to the NSA post with President Trump. ..."
"... Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs by knowing such conversations took place and knowing the contents thereof with out appropriate security clearances?? ..."
"... Many things about Spygate have puzzled me. The response by Trump after becoming POTUS to all the machinations by Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Rosenstein, et al has been baffling. It is like he does not understand the powers of his office. And after he learned about the covert action action against his campaign and him, to then staff his administration with folks who were in cahoots with the putschists is frankly bizarre. ..."
"... ........ "CrowdStrike, the cyber-security company that is involved in all this over and over again, is a an American company founded by a Ukrainian, Dmitri Alperovitch, who is extremely anti-Russia and who delights in implicating Russia in the DNC hacking event that probably did not happen......" ..."
Nov 09, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sidney Powell, General Michael Flynn's magnificent lawyer, is in the process of destroying the bogus case that Robert Mueller and his gang of legal thugs tried to sneak past appropriate judicial review. To help you understand what she is doing we must first go back and review the indictment of Flynn and then look at what Ms. Powell, aka Honey Badger, has forced the prosecutors to admit.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the indictment

On or about January 24, 2017, defendant MICHAEL T. FLYNN did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations . . . to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that:

(i) On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Government of Russia's Ambassador to the United States ("Russian Ambassador") to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and FLYNN did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.

(ii) On or about December 22, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described_to FLYNN Russia's response to his request.

Let me make a couple of observations before we dig into the notes and the 302 that FBI Agents Strzok and Pientka wrote up during and following their interview of Michael Flynn on January 24, 2017. First, Michael Flynn did nothing wrong or inappropriate in speaking to Russia's Ambassador Kislyak. He was doing his job as an incoming National Security Advisor to President Trump. Second, not "recalling" what Ambassador Kislyak said (or did not say) on 22 December is not lying. Third, even if Flynn did ask the Russian Ambassador on the 29th of December to "refrain from escalating the situation" in response to the U.S. sanctions imposed by Barack Hussein Obama, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, that is wise counsel intended to defuse a situation.

Now, here is where the FBI, especially Agents Strzok and Pientka, are in so much trouble. The day prior to the "interview" of General Flynn the FBI plotters met to discuss strategy. According to Sidney Powell:

January 23, the day before the interview, the upper echelon of the FBI met to orchestrate it all. Deputy Director McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, , Lisa Page, Strzok, David Bowdich, Trish Anderson, and Jen Boone strategized to talk with Mr. Flynn in such a way as to keep from alerting him from understanding that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target. (Ex.12). Knowing they had no basis for an investigation,6 they deliberately decided not to notify DOJ for fear DOJ officials would follow protocol and notify White House Counsel.

Peter Strzok was interviewed on 19 July 2017 by the FBI and, according to his affidavit, pretended that he was asked on the 24th of January 2017 to interview General Flynn. He implied this was a last minute request. But as noted in the preceding paragraph, which is based on an interview of Strzok's mistress, Lisa Page, a meeting took place the day before to orchestrate the ambush of General Flynn.

What is truly remarkable is that Peter Strzok stated the following, which exonerates Flynn of the charges in the indictment cited above: Strzok and Pientka both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying. Flynn struck Strzok as "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated."

The fact that the FBI Agents Strzok and Pientka did not to show General Flynn the transcript of his calls to refresh his recollection, nor did they confront him directly if he did not remember, exposes this plot as a contrived scenario to entrap Michael Flynn rather than a legitimate, legally founded investigation.

In fact, as noted by Sidney Powell, "the FBI and DOJ wrote an internal memo dated January 30, 2017, exonerating Mr. Flynn of acting as an "agent of Russia;" and, they all knew there was no Logan Act violation."

But the malfeasance and misconduct of the FBI continued with the manipulation of the 302. " A FD-302 form is used by FBI agents to "report or summarize the interviews that they conduct"[3][4] and contains information from the notes taken during the interview by the non-primary agent."

The notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka during their interview of Michael Flynn are damning for the FBI. These notes are Exhibits 9 and 10 in the sur sureply filed by Sidney Powell on 1 November 2019. (I wrote recently on the fact that the FBI/DOJ mislabeled the notes from this interview--see here). Neither Strzok nor Pientka recorded any observation that Flynn lied about his contacts with Kislyak. Neither wrote down anything supporting the indictment by the Mueller crowd that "Flynn lied." To the contrary, Strzok swore under oath that he did not believe Flynn was lying.

The real problem for the Government's fraudulent case against Flynn are the 302s. There should only be one 302. Not at least four versions. The FBI protocol is to enter the 302 into the FBI Sentinel system within five days of the interview. In other words, the original 302 should have been put on the record on the 29th of January. But that original 302 is MISSING. The prosecutors claim they cannot find it.

But the prosecutors finally did provide the defense, after repeated requests, multiple copies of 302s. They dated as follows--10 February 2017, 11 February 2017. 14 February 2017 and 15 February 2017. WTF??? This alone is prima facie evidence that something crooked was afoot.

The final 302--dated 15 February 2017--painted General Flynn in the worst possible light. The "facts" of this 302 are not supported by the notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka. The conclusion is simple--the FBI fabricated a case against General Flynn. We now wait to see if Judge Sullivan will acknowledge this crooked conduct and exonerate the good General. Justice demands it.

These are not my facts. They are the facts based on documents submitted on the record to Judge Sullivan. I find it shocking that no journalist has had the energy or interest to cover this. Just one more reminder of the putrid state of journalism and investigative reporting. The charges levied against General Flynn by the Mueller prosecutors are without foundation. That is the stark conclusion facing any honest reader of the documents/exhibits uncovered by the Honey Badger. This kind of conduct by the FBI is just one more proof to support Colonel Lang's wise observation that this institution, along with the CIA, should be burned to the ground and new institutions erected in their stead that are committed to upholding the Constitution and preserving the rights of the individual.


Flavius , 09 November 2019 at 09:26 AM

General Flynn was the National Security Advisor to the President. Among his duties he would be expected to talk with foreign officials, including Russians, perhaps especially Russians. My question is what was the predicating evidence that gave rise to opening a criminal case with Flynn as the subject at all. What was the substantive violation; and why was there a need to convene a meeting of high level Bureau official to discuss an ambush interview. What was there to talk about in this meeting? My suspicion is that they expected, or hoped, at the outset to leverage Flynn against Trump which makes the scheme worse, much worse
akaPatience -> Flavius ... , 09 November 2019 at 02:33 PM
Re: predicate - IIRC, this is where the work of the FBI/CIA "ratfucker" Stefan Halper was instrumental, having propagated the bogus claim that scholar Svetlana Lokhova was a Russian agent with whom Gen. Flynn was having a sexual relationship.
Factotum said in reply to akaPatience ... , 09 November 2019 at 06:27 PM
Dennis Prager has a taped interview with Svetlana Lokhova linked on Red State.
Flavius said in reply to akaPatience ... , 10 November 2019 at 11:29 AM
There was a simpler time when even the least accomplished FBI Agent would have known enough to ask Mr Halper for the circumstantial details as to how he acquired the news that Flynn had any relationship at all with Lokhova, let alone a sexual relationship, who told him, how did he know, why was he telling him, when, etc. The same questions should have been resolved with respect to Lokhova before entertaining a conclusion that she was a Russian Agent of some sort. Finally, even if the allegation against Flynn had been true, which had not been established, and the allegation against Lokhova had been true, which as far as I know had not been established, the Agents should have laid those cards before Flynn from the outset as the reason he was being interviewed. If during the course of the interview he became suspect of having done something illegal, he should have been told what it was and given all his rights, including the right to an attorney. If the Agents suspected he was lying in matters of such significant import that he would be charged for lying, they should have been given a specific warning that lying was a prosecutable offense. That would have been playing it down the middle. Since none of this appears to have been done, the question is why not. The leading suspicion is that the carefully considered intent was to take down Flynn by any means necessary to advance another purpose.
Hindsight Observer -> Flavius ... , 10 November 2019 at 11:18 PM
There are two separate issues: The Russian-Flynn Spying connection was established in London back in 2015. IMO using Halper as an echo-chamber for Brennan's collusion fabrications. LTG Flynn at that time was being set-up, for a retaliatory career strike(TS Clearance issues, I submit).

The Flynn Perjury case was made in Jan 17 in DC, by the Secret Society, Comey, McCabe, Yates, Strozk and the unwitting, SA Joe Pientka (hopefully). This trap was drafted by Comey, specifically to take advantage of the newly elected President's inexperienced Cabinet, the WH in-chaos. Chaos reportedly generated by a well timed Leak to the media. Which suggested that LTG Flynn had Lied to VP Pence.

This FBI leak, now had the WH in a tail spin. Given the collusion beliefs at that time, had VP Pence admitted that acting NSA Flynn, did in fact speak with the Russian Kislyak re: Sanctions. The media would've screamed, the call demonstrated Russian Collusion.

Since VP Pence stated, he did not know that NSA Flynn had discussed the Sanctions with Kislyak. The media created the image that Flynn had lied to the VP...

This was the "Pretext" which Defense Council Powell referred to. This is the opportune moment, at which Comey sprang and later bragged about. Stating publicly that he took advantage of a inexperienced Trump oval office in turmoil. Claiming he decided "Screw IT" I'll send two agents in to question Flynn.
Without going through FBI-WH protocols. Because Comey knew that protocols would alert the entire WH Staff. Making the FBI's hopes for a Perjury Trap against NSA Flynn, impossible.

Accordingly, AAG Yates and McCabe then both set the stage, with calls to WH Counsel McGahn. Where they threatened charges against Flynn under the nonexistent "1799" Logan Act. As well as suggesting that Flynn was now vulnerable to Extortion by Russian agents. Since the Russians knew he had lied to the VP.

As Powell points out, by 24JAN17, the date of the Flynn interview. The entire world, knew Flynn had Lied. Making the extortion threat rather bogus. In fact reports stated, at that time even WHC McGahn had asked either Yates or McCabe (don't recall which). Why would the FBI give a damn, what the NSA had told the VP? However the Bureau persisted and they won out. McGahn is reported to have told Flynn, that he should sit down with these two FBI agents...

Once Flynn sat down and gave a statement. FWIW, I think Andy McCabe was going to find a Flynn misstatement or create one. Sufficient to justify the 1001 charge. It appears as though McCabe took the later option and simply Created one.

Flavius said in reply to Hindsight Observer... , 11 November 2019 at 11:04 AM
Excellent summation.

My question is does some combination of incompetence and bubblethink naivete explain how at the outset they could have gone all in on the Brennan/Halper information or did they just cynically exploit the opportunity that had been manufactured in order to take it to the next level -Trump. Taking it to the next level appears to be what drove the Papadopolis case where similar procedural abuses occurred.

Don Schmeling , 09 November 2019 at 10:08 AM
Poor George Popadopoulos, also "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated.", also had lawyers who rolled over to the FBI. If you read George's book, "Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump", the methods used on Flynn sound familiar.

Since George only served two weeks, I wonder if it would be worth while for him to tackle the FBI again?

PS When the FBI says you are not "sophisticated", does that mean that they view you as easy to trick?

Thank you Mr. Johnson for your work.

Factotum , 09 November 2019 at 12:58 PM
Papadopolis signed "confession" equally odd: string of disconnected facts topped off with what appears almost to be an added "conclusion" allegedly based on these irrelevant string of factual statements that damn him into eternity as well.

Was the conclusionary" confession" added later, or was it shoved in front of him to sign as a unwitting last minute alteration to a previously agreed set of facts is pror statements he had already agreed were true? Just me, but when I read this "confession some time ago, it simply did not pass the smell test.

The signed "confession: basically appeared to be accusing Papadopolus and by extension the Trump campaign of violating the Logan Act - violating Obama's exclusive right to conduct foreign policy.

(A SCHIFF PARAPHRAse)
Yes I was in Russia
Yes, I ate pork chops for dinner
Yes. I endeavored to meet with Russian individuals
Etc - benign
Etc - benign
Confession - al of the above are true
Kicker: Final Statement I INTENTIONALLY MET WITH TOP LEVEL RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AGENTS TO DISCUSS US FOREIGN POLICY

jjc , 09 November 2019 at 02:05 PM
Papadopoulos' "lies" rest on subjective interpretation. For instance, one of the "lies" consist of a referral to Mifsud as "a nobody". A second "lie" is based on when he officially joined the Trump campaign: George P says it was when he first went to Washington and attended a campaign meeting, while the indictment says no it was when he participated in the phone call which invited him on board (a difference of a couple of weeks). It is very very thin gruel.
walrus , 09 November 2019 at 05:14 PM
I wonder if SST is missing the bigger picture. If the evidence provided by the defence in the Flynn case is even only a partial example of the capabilities and proclivities of the FBI, then how many other poor schmucks have been convicted and jailed unjustly at the hands of this organisation?

The answer, given the size of the organisation must be : "thousands". The remedy is obvious and compelling if you want to remain something like a first world democracy.

Hindsight Observer -> walrus ... , 09 November 2019 at 07:28 PM
How many others have there been? The genesis of the USA v Flynn, was a CIA-FBI hybrid. An international Co-Intel operation, aimed at targeting Donald Trump. As such "the Case" was initiated from the top down, under the secrecy of a T/S Counter-Intelligence operation.

These are not the normal beginnings of a Criminal matter. Which originates with a filed criminal Complaint, from the ground-up.

In short all of the checks and balances our federal statutes mandate. Steps where AUSA's, Bureau ASAC's and District Judges must review and approve. Even before convening a GJ. Were intentionally overridden or perjured by a select society of the highest officials inside DoJ. As such there were no higher authorities nor any of the Higher Loyalty for Jim Comey to seek his resolution from.

That is not the normal investigative process. This was a deliberate criminal act to target an innocent man (actually several innocent men). As such IMO, the associated political pressure, all of which was self-inflicted. Was the force which brought about the criminality on the part of Comey, McCabe, et al.

So, FWIW, you don't see those levels of personal involvement in criminal investigations. The classic, where the murder victim's brother is the town Sheriff. Hence you don't see cases of innocent people being dragged off to the Dungeons. Certainly not intentionally and not in the thousands, anyway.

Factotum said in reply to Hindsight Observer... , 09 November 2019 at 08:28 PM
On another blog, a commenter claimed Flynn was going to program audit the entire IC - money spent and results obtained.

So instead of Flynn burning the agency down, they did just the opposite and got to him first. Just like Sen Schumer warned Trump: don't take on the IC, because they have six ways against Sunday to take you down.

Maybe Flynn' s alleged post-inauguration audit plans is what triggered Brennan to get Obama to secretly keep his eyes on Flynn - maybe that was the second tier secret access they wanted, not necessarily Trump himself?

Survival in DC is existential - my own in-house observation during the Watergate years.

Hindsight Observer -> Factotum... , 10 November 2019 at 12:51 AM
The reports I've read tell of a long and sorted history between LTG Flynn, John Brennan, DNI Clapper and Obama. Some of the stories did remind me of the SST suggestion to, "Burn it all down". The General also supported this idea that DoD, should be the lead agency in the IC and CA. Since must of their modern day activity, does tend to be kinetic...

So LTG Flynn has made enemies in the Obama administration, CIA and DNI.

However, IMO the far more telling issue of the depths of IC's Coup effort. Are the exploits of Halper, Mifsud, MI6-CIA link. Which began back in 2015. This gives the impression, Flynn was being targeted for career destruction. Solely as retaliation for his departure from the Obama Administration, coupled with Flynn's open opposition to policies of Obama-Brennan (Iran-Syria-Libya). This took place way before he agreed to the NSA post with President Trump.

Then there's also LTG Flynn's direct rebuttal of DDFBI Andy McCabe. Seems McCabe was involved in a Bureau OPR dust-up over sexual harassment allegations. The female SA worked CT and was an acquaintance of Gen Flynn's. Flynn then made a public statement of support for the Agent. Which was reported to have angered Andy. Sydney Powell, suggests that McCabe was overhead to have said words to the effect or, First we F--- Flynn, then we F--- Trump. During one of his 7th floor, Secret Society meetings.

Again all of this happened, before General Flynn was Candidate Trump's NSA Designee. So the Six ways to Sunday, warning does resonate re: LTG Flynn as well.

Fred -> walrus ... , 09 November 2019 at 07:32 PM
Walrus,

Lots of them (not all or most politicians), which has been a generations long complaint of African Americans.

turcopolier , 09 November 2019 at 05:27 PM
walrus

I have said repeatedly that I saw both the FBI and DoJ prosecutors railroad defendants. That is why I stopped consulting for the courts.

Dr. George W Oprisko , 09 November 2019 at 05:51 PM
In my experience in the US armed forces.... having a top secret crypto clearance...

And later.... as a federal investigator...

I distinctly remember that conversations between the White house, particularly the president and his national security chief are "top secret -- eyes only for the president"

So.....

Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs by knowing such conversations took place and knowing the contents thereof with out appropriate security clearances??

And......

Why does'nt Trump have the AG charge them?

INDY

blue peacock said in reply to Dr. George W Oprisko ... , 09 November 2019 at 08:19 PM
"Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs.."

Many things about Spygate have puzzled me. The response by Trump after becoming POTUS to all the machinations by Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Rosenstein, et al has been baffling. It is like he does not understand the powers of his office. And after he learned about the covert action action against his campaign and him, to then staff his administration with folks who were in cahoots with the putschists is frankly bizarre.

Does anyone have any explanation for the actions or inactions of Trump & Flynn?

joekowalski98 -> blue peacock... , 10 November 2019 at 11:31 AM
"Does anyone have any explanation for the actions or inactions of Trump & Flynn?"

I have no comment relative to Flynn, but, in regards to Trump, IMO, Trump is stupid.

First, a little background. I did vote for Trump. I did have an hatred for national politics ever since the Cheney "presidency". In that period, I was a dissident with a very minor voice. But, I did study, as best as I could, the Bush (Cheney) and the Obama presidency. It was reasonably clear that president's. didn't count. IMO the real power lay with: a handful of Senate leaders, the CIA, the bureaucracy, and the powerful families that controlled the major multi-national corporations, such as, Exxon Mobile. The preceding constituted a powerful oligarchy that controlled the U.S. A dictatorship of sorts.

Trump had two major objectives for his presidency: MAGA and "drain the swamp". I concurred with both objectives. After six months of the Trump presidency, and after observing his choice of appointments and his actions, I concluded that he was a high school baseball player trying to compete with the major leagues. He didn't know what he was doing (and, still doesn't).

At that time, I concluded that if Trump really wanted to install MAGA and "drain the swamp" he should have concluded way before putting his hat in the ring, that the only way to accomplish his objective was to foster a coup after becoming president. Prior to his presidency, he would had to select a team which would be his appointees and develop a plan. After becoming president, he would have to ignore Congress and put his people in place including in the DOD. The team would stay in control regardless of Congress' views.

Of course, this is a dictatorship, but is this any less obnoxious to our current oligarchs dictatorship.

Does anyone have a better solution?

Larry Johnson -> joekowalski98 ... , 10 November 2019 at 12:40 PM
You're not wrong in criticizing Trump's personnel choices and inaction. When he entered office he was warned about the SES/SIS holdovers and the need to get his own people in place. He ignored that advice and is suffering the consequences. Trump played a character on TV of being a shrewd, tough judge of talent and ability. In reality, he is a bit of a goofball.

That said, his basic policy positions are solid with respect to putting America first, enforcing immigration laws, and disengaging from the foreign adventurism that has defined US foreign policy for the last 75 years.

My hope is that he now finally recognizes the threat.

SAC Brat said in reply to Larry Johnson ... , 10 November 2019 at 07:34 PM
I prefer thinking of Donald Trump as a World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer as it fits the context of what we are seeing more precise. Staged drama, personality pitted against personality, all a great spectacle.

If it makes the denizens of DC fall on their fainting couches with the image all the better.

Isn't Donald Trump suffering the same problem Jimmy Carter had that as a DC outsider he isn't able hire talent and the establishment has made it clear that a position in the Trump administration is a career killer?

Factotum said in reply to joekowalski98 ... , 10 November 2019 at 01:16 PM
Democrat's politics of personal destruction made it virtually impossible for Trump to hire or appoint the requisite people for the task you described. RINO's wouldn't touch him and Democrats were hell bent for revenge at any costs.

Amazing he did as well as he has done so far - considering his election was so toxic to any possible insiders who could have offered the necessary experience to warn him where the third rails were located.

Give him another four years and full control of GOP House and Senate back - this country needs his energy and resoluteness to finally get the real work done. Patriots at every level need to apply for appointed positions.

BTW: I was a rabid no-Trumper up to election night. Then Trump became my President. I have not looked back.

blue peacock said in reply to Factotum... , 10 November 2019 at 03:45 PM
Draining the Swamp can't be accomplished by hiring within the beltway or hiring any long-term Democrat or Republican operative including members of Congress.

Trump should have recognized when he learned that his transition team was being spied on that he had to hire people who believed in his agenda and had no ties to the Swamp.

By hiring folks like Haley, Pompeo, Bolton, Coats, Rosenstein, Wray, etc and not cleaning house by firing entire swathes of the bureaucracy and then not using the powers of his office to declassify but instead passing the buck on to Rosenstein, Sessions and Barr and only tweeting witch hunt he has enabled the Swamp to run circles around him.

IMO, he is where he is because of his inability to put together a coherent team that believes in his agenda and is willing to fight the Swamp with everything thy've got.

cali said in reply to joekowalski98 ... , 11 November 2019 at 07:42 AM
@joekovalski98: Pres. Trump came into office being very familiar with the intelligence operation against him.
Enter Admiral (ret) Mike Rogers who travelled secretly without approval by Clapper to brief the president of the spy operation.

Trump immediately move his administration to NJ.

Rogers and Flynn go back many years as Rogers was a protégé of Flynn. They both extensively informed president Trump.

"Drain the swamp" is en-route carried out partially by our military and Flynn's former DIA.

The stage was set and president Trump kept the left distracted via twitter while the operation is underway between our military, white hats and their allies abroad.

Mifsud was arrested by the Italian intelligence agents 3 days ago and brought back to Rome.

Trump is a long way from stupid - he has so far managed via twitter and his orthodox ways for the deep state to unmask themselves. Hiring enemies at times is a way to confuse those that try to destroy you.

"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu is Trump's methods.

Hindsight Observer -> cali... , 11 November 2019 at 10:30 AM
Mifsud's arrest could be key to unraveling or should I say, the Unmasking of. Rather large amounts of fraudulent intelligence that was laundered through the FISA Warrant Application process.

The AG reportedly now has Mifsud's Cellphones (2), which coupled with Mifsud's interview statements, if not his direct cooperation. Should reveal the CIA and/or SA Strozk, were responsible for providing Mifsud with the false Intelligence. Which he then fed into their Warrant Apps, through the person of George Papadopoulos.

Which in turn, could establish that Mifsud was never the alleged Russian Agent linked to Putin. But rather a western intelligence asset, linked to Brennan. Thus destroying the obvious Defensive strategy of Brennan, Comey and McCabe. Specifically the vaunted, "Hey who knew the intelligence was bad? I was just doing my JOB!

Certainly hope the reports are accurate...

Hindsight Observer -> Dr. George W Oprisko ... , 09 November 2019 at 08:54 PM
I believe it was because the FBI was intentionally lying about their authority to monitor the Flynn-Kysliak conversation. Claiming they were not monitoring the WH, rather they were monitoring the Russian Ambassador and LTG Flynn was merely, Caught-up in that conversation. Which at the time, was a good-enough-story. But recent disclosures seem to prove the 2 Agents along with Comey, McCabe as well as AAG Sally Yates. All knew at the time of their "Pretext" was establishing a Perjury Trap for the new NSA.
Factotum , 09 November 2019 at 06:25 PM
What set Brennan's hair on fire that instigated Brennan's secret memo to Obama who in turn created and authorized this multi-nation, IC secret surveillance and entrapment operation?

When will we learn why Samantha Powers demanded hundreds of FISA unmasking requests during the final hours of the Obama administration, after the election but before before the inauguration of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Why have Joseph Mifsud and Crowdstrike, yet again, disappeared from media interest.

fanto said in reply to Factotum... , 09 November 2019 at 10:05 PM
Why oh why, certain persons disappear from media interest? Why for example, did Ghislaine Maxwell disappear from media? Is she not involved in lawsuits? Do courts not know where she is now? The all-knowing Wikipedia English - does not know (as of today, I checked). The answer to all these troubling questions is in the comments to the Colonels piece on John Hannah. Am I becoming paranoid perhaps.?
Factotum said in reply to fanto... , 10 November 2019 at 12:42 AM
If the media continues endlessly about the Ukraine phone call, the quid pro quo yet fails to mention Crowdstrike "favor" in the same article, something is fishy. The phone call story did not drop out of sight; just a very salient detail. In fact the substance of the phone call is the story- and what Democrats are calling grounds for impeachment. Yet NO mention of the Crowdstrike favor. I find this odd. Don't you?
jd hawkins said in reply to fanto... , 10 November 2019 at 02:31 AM
Not paranoia if it's true!
Hindsight Observer , 09 November 2019 at 08:44 PM
Under the caption, "Nobody does it better" this explanation from Defense Counsel Powell's 04NOV19 Filing, pg 3 para 2

"The government has known since prior to January 24, 2017, that it intended to target Mr. Flynn for federal prosecution. That is why the entire investigation" of him was created at least as early as summer 2016 and pursued despite the absence of a legitimate basis. That is why Peter Strzok texted Lisa Page on January 10, 2017: "Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out. .

We're discussing whether, now that this is out, we can use it as a pretext to go interview some people." 3 The word "pretext" is key. Thinking he was communicating secretly only with his paramour before their illicit relationship and extreme bias were revealed to the world, Strzok let the cat out of the bag as to what the FBI was up to. Try as he might, Mr. Van Grack cannot stuff that cat back into that bag.4

Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as much as admitted the FBI's intent to set up Mr. Flynn on a criminal false statement charge from the get-go. On Dec. 19, 2017, McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee in sworn testimony: "[T]he conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn't detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview . . . the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador."

McCabe proceeded to admit to the Committee that "the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case." Ex. 1.
_____________
What's the saying? "Not much ambiguity there?"

Factotum , 10 November 2019 at 01:46 AM
Finally, on Nov 9, 2029 American Thinker in an article about Nancy Pelosi attempts at damage control, someone in the media actually mentions Crowdstrike and the alleged " DNChacking"

........ "CrowdStrike, the cyber-security company that is involved in all this over and over again, is a an American company founded by a Ukrainian, Dmitri Alperovitch, who is extremely anti-Russia and who delights in implicating Russia in the DNC hacking event that probably did not happen......"

Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/11/is_pelosi_finally_sick_of_the_terrible_damage_schiff_is_doing_to_her_party.html#ixzz64r2Sctrw
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

[Nov 13, 2019] Bolivia is the same scenario than in the Ukraine, where communists and other opposed factions in Rada were beaten, covered in paint and thrown in waste containers...until they left the country. Remaining to be elected only those puppets of oligarchs or the US... Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud

Nov 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 22:41 utc | 160

Are we starting to witness some state cinture in Spain?
After yesterday warning, is the socialist government of Sánchez turning, at least a bit, if only in form, socialist?

( after the advance of the "devotes of Trump´s night worship" in yesterday elections and probably progession of Spanish policy investigation on Barcelona riots, two events that reinforced each other? )

Spain condemns military intervention in the resignation of Morales

Spain criticizes the role of the Bolivian Army and Police in the resignation of President Evo Morales, after protests against his re-election.

Spain joins the avalanche of international comdenations before the proceeding of the Bolivian Army and Police at the juncture that the Latin American country is going through, since, according to a statement issued on Monday by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this regard, that proceeding reminds past times in Latin American history, even more when President Evo Morales opted for a new call for elections.

"Spain condemns that the process opened yesterday towards a new electoral call has been distorted by the intervention of the Armed Forces and the Police, suggesting to Evo Morales to submit his resignation", the note said.

Likewise, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls "all actors to avoid resorting to violence" and "to guarantee the security of all Bolivians (...) including former President Morales himself, his relatives and members of his administration".

For his part, the general secretary of the Spanish Unidas Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, has written on his Twitter account that "Coup d'etat in Bolivia. Shameful that there are media that say the army makes the president resign. In the last 14 years Bolivia has improved all its social and economic indicators. All our support to the Bolivian people and Evo Morales".



Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:31 utc | 51

The style of scaring the people is a total imitation from post-Maidan Ukraine, where communists and other opposed factions in Rada were beaten, covered in paint and thrown in waste containers...until they left the country...

Then Myrotvorets was launched and the first killings on those who dared to quition Euromaydan events... Recall Alex Buzina... Any compromised intellectual will suffer the same fate in Bolivia...

Guess who is behind this coup at the letter of the book...

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:41 utc | 52
Pillaging has already started at Evo´s home...I told you that this follow the book of Maidan verabtim...
#Breaking they ransack the house of the president @evoespueblo, persecution this is what follows with the resignation of @evoespueblo

https://twitter.com/madeleintlSUR/status/1193668989622325248

Vasco da Gama , Nov 10 2019 23:43 utc | 53
Don't get me wrong Sasha, I don't think Evo's team objective, 2 weeks after they've win them, was to repeat elections so soon. This is likely their best approach right now, for the sake of Bolivians and their supporters. Not mentioning possible reaction a la Caracas.
Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:44 utc | 54
#InfoMV Evo Morales denounced that his security personnel were offered 50 thousand dollars for him to be delivered to violent opposition groups. He held Fernando Camacho and Carlos Mesa responsible for what would happen to him or García Linera.

https://twitter.com/Mision_Verdad/status/1193667429823664128

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:49 utc | 55
@Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 10 2019 23:43 utc | 53

You seem to be unaware of the developments of events to this time, Evo called for elections BEFORE he was oblied to resign by police and military rebels, and made leave the country...
Elections now with every Evo´s supporter under menace of death would only throw a fake result favourable to the opposition who did not manage to win elections democratically...

This is the same scenario than in the Ukraine, where representatives of the working people were never more able to concur to elections and had to leave the country, remaining to be elected only those puppets of oligarchs or the US...

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:53 utc | 56
Fascist pickets taking over Venezuelan Embassy...Look what kind of people is this...
Free elections in Bolivia now? Do not make me laugh!

https://twitter.com/LaHojillaenTV/status/1193655455886827527

#NoAlGolpeEnBolivia
#EvoNoEstasSolo

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 0:23 utc | 61
Pasquinades posted by coupist opposition before Efvo´s resignation what ccan illustrate why the government has resigned so fast...
Pure fascism....
What I told you? Here you have the Bolivian Myrotvorets .....

https://twitter.com/TorresVirly/status/1193607591152308224

Translation of the pasquinade:

Traitor Tracking The population is asked to register all the social network publications of the "Cyber llunkus". Take screenshots and copy the links of the publications and profiles of the "Cyber Llunkus".

The M.A.S. ( Evo´s party ) is a criminal organization.
Once Evo Morales falls, a rake will be made to identify the traitorous of the people "Cyber Llunkus" and imprison them through the location of their mobile devices.
Fake profiles will not save them.

#Civil Resistance Bolivia

Now that the US tells us the tale of democratic elections in Bolivia now...


karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 0:47 utc | 65
pogohere @49 & arby @50--

A people's Counter-revolution that sweeps the Reactionaries down the drain once and for all.

Chavez was keen to the CIA's modus and thus reformed the military in numerous respects, particularly by making it impervious to corruption--AND--instituting the uniquely structured Bolivarian Constitution. Evo's problems stem from the lack of extensive public support as proven by the election results that kept him from instituting the sort of reforms Chavez accomplished; and the same goes for all other Latin American nations. In a nutshell, the Bolivian people squabbled too much amongst themselves and never constructed the type of Revolutionary constitution and social system required to be resilient to outside manipulation. Yes, Venezuela was very much a Bottom->Up remaking of society to the point where the Comprador upper 10% didn't matter, which is why Chavez then Maduro left them to their own devices. But elsewhere, the popular masses never generated the required solidarity to prevent losing their hard won freedoms. Sure, it's possible to regain power through the ballot box, but it can be just as easily lost as is happening now in Bolivia if preventative measures aren't taken beforehand.

Nations must have constitutions that don't allow for rich minorities to gain control or to allow them to begin in control as in the USA's case. But to institute such an instrument, the popular masses must act as one and cast their factionalisms aside until this primary aspect of consolidating power in their hands becomes the law of their land. Plus, they must again drop their in-fighting when confronted by any reactionary threat and remember what the main task is at all times--Maintenance of Freedom.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 0:52 utc | 66
Here the tweet of the Mexican Foreign Secretary announcing that 20 people have already been granted asylum and that Evo Morales is offered asylum.

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193676949450829824

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 0:58 utc | 67
Sorry to read about the military coup in Bolivia.

We all see what seems to be the demise of empire but facts on the ground tell a different story today in Bolivia. I am sorry for the pain and suffering for many caused by my country under the control of the global private finance cult. I continue to try and spread the word about the perfidy of Western empire and will keep trying but am limited in my abilities.

I hope to live to see the demise of private finance led empire all over the world. Humanity deserves a better future.

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 0:58 utc | 67
Sorry to read about the military coup in Bolivia.

We all see what seems to be the demise of empire but facts on the ground tell a different story today in Bolivia. I am sorry for the pain and suffering for many caused by my country under the control of the global private finance cult. I continue to try and spread the word about the perfidy of Western empire and will keep trying but am limited in my abilities.

I hope to live to see the demise of private finance led empire all over the world. Humanity deserves a better future.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:05 utc | 68
@Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 11 2019 0:47 utc | 65

What saved Venezuela was the huge investing in education started with Chavez, in that they counted with the help and advice of people from the Spanish left ...
Bolivian people, of the poor class, are mostly poorly educated people...and so easy to buy and fool...as this images show...
Look that this people ransacking Evo´s home, they are not white patricios ...but those who they have payed to do the dirty work...indigenous people poorly dressed...collaborating in ovrthrowing the legitimate democratically elected from their own...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193667619485818881

It was a poor peasant who sold Ché Guevara to "Pat´s unit", in gratitude for a medical officila having attended his son´s wounded foot....

The same lesson could be taken out from the events in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon...

Paul , Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 69
Wow, it seems the US went straight for the throat this time in Bolivia.
Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 70
Demonstrators supporting Evo Morales in Cochabamba...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193666222036000770

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:17 utc | 71
@Posted by: Paul | Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 69

Yeah..this time is no different from others, they always go straight to the throat of the weak and poor...Totally depsicable...
To their own, earning points in the view of the world...

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 1:34 utc | 72
@ Sasha who wrote
"
What saved Venezuela was the huge investing in education started with Chavez, in that they counted with the help and advice of people from the Spanish left ...
Bolivian people, of the poor class, are mostly poorly educated people...and so easy to buy and fool...as this images show...
"

I agree, thank you for your commenting and want to add my perspective to that.

If you read many who come and comment at MoA that supposedly are "educated" you will notice that they continue to think and write in terms of the conflict being between socialism and capitalism in spite of myself, karlof1 and others that continually point out that China is 80% capitalistic as are other "socialistic" countries but what matters is what part of the social economy is socialism versus capitalism. That is why I continue to beat my drum about the evil of global private finance that is the core problem with the social contract of the West. Look at how many in the West are brainwashed to not understand the difference between public/private finance and its effects on the whole culture and aggressive nature of the society under that meme.

That, IMO, is the core education that all those in the West and all striving to throw off the chains/economic jackboot of the West must learn and take to heart.

flankerbandit , Nov 11 2019 1:37 utc | 73
Very disappointing to hear about Evo...but this is just one round in a very long fight...

In Argentina we have a new government for the people...in Mexico also...Lula is out of jail now in Brazil so eventually that will turn also...

The empire is rotting but is very dangerous right now because they are lashing out everywhere...we see in Lebanon and Iraq they are not succeeding...

This is desperation we see folks...they are losing control quickly and are trying to forestall the inevitable collapse of their global fascist dictatorship...

I think the end will come much sooner than they expect...the house of cards is teetering badly...

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:42 utc | 74
Camacho confirms arrest warrant against Evo Morales

Maidán script all the way....They do not have enough with hi resigning, they need to wipe out such honest leader form the face of Earth, at least while the "new fake elections" to maskerade the take over by the opposition are developed...as happened with Lula....

Here, US Lawyer sees all the signature of the US around the place...as happens to me...

https://www.rt.com/news/473105-morales-resignation-us-interference/

Jen , Nov 11 2019 1:57 utc | 75
karlof1 @ 65, Sasha @ 68:

A significant factor is that the anti-Morales opposition is based mainly in Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia. This is the largest department (in territory and population) in Bolivia and has significant natural gas reserves. The indigenous people living in that department have virtually nothing in common with the highland indigenous people (Aymara and Quechua speakers) who formed Morales' base.

Morales did not have a military background as Chavez did and we can presume he was never able to cultivate a network of militias among the urban and rural working class that could support and defend his government. Significantly it was the armed forces who asked Morales to resign.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:58 utc | 76
@Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 11 2019 1:34 utc | 72

Sorry...but the conflict is between socialism and capitalism...between the rich and the working masses, especially those who work and still they remain poor....as has always been....who says otherwise is only trying to fool the masses...

Of course, you people in this forum who live over the average peer, I do not try that you understand...
You live in your world, looking your belly button, and the furthest you are willing to go is complain here about the Outlaw US Empire...

Why do you not damn go tomorrow in the streets to protest this new coup by your fascist administration?

Do not tell me, that would risk your privileged pensions...and all those expensive things you do to your bodies...

Excuse me, but today, reading the same stupid things of always make me feel like throwing up...

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 3:42 utc | 83
Pompeo tweeted:
Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people's will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.

Will he still support new elections in the morning?
Meanwhile the protesters are calling MAS a criminal organization so no doubt it'll be excluded from the new elections as happened to the Party Of The Regions in Ukraine. The wonders of American "democracy".
arby , Nov 11 2019 15:42 utc | 120
"
Scott T. Patrick
‏ @PompeiiDog

Why was Evo Morales overthrown? He was nationalizing the highly profitable lithium industry and planning to deal directly on the international market rather than exporting the commodity at bargain prices to Western corporations"


"Bolivia has %43 of World's Lithium mines. Batteries from smartphones to Electric cars are all made with Lithium. Evo Morales was investing in facilities to produce Lithium as a high end export material rather than just exporting the mine itself."

Johny Conspiranoid , Nov 11 2019 15:44 utc | 121
Peter AU1

Somewhere on his blog "Sic Semper Tyrannis", maybe earlier this year, Pat relates the tale of how when working for the US Gov. in Bolivia he gave medical help to someone and was rewarded with information which led to the capture of Che Guevara. This may be what Sasha is referring to.

Peter AU1 , Nov 11 2019 18:41 utc | 145
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Bolivia-Hydrocarbons
"Bolivia - Hydrocarbons
This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data."

"The Hydrocarbons law (Law 3058, May 2005) and a subsequent Supreme Decree (May 2006) require that companies sell all production to YPFB and that domestic market demand be met before exporting hydrocarbons. Furthermore, these laws transfer the entire transport and sales chain over to state control. After the law was enacted, hydrocarbon companies were required to sign new contracts with YPFB, agreeing to pay 50 percent of gross production in taxes and royalties."

"Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices."

karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 18:57 utc | 147
I usually try to read all the comments before making my first of the day, but I have yet to do so, although I looked to see if anyone had linked to Escobar's report on Lula and Brazil , which is an extremely important article for events within Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and the rest of the world that's resisting the Outlaw US Empire and its Neoliberal/Neofascist attack dogs.

The information Pepe provides is very important as it jibes with what Assad averred in his RT interview , for which I'm still looking for a transcript. Here's Pepe's warning about the likely future course of events, which has CIA scrawled over every act:

"With the military betting on a strategy of chaos, augmented by Lula's immense social base all over Brazil fuming about his return to prison and the financial bubble finally burst, rendering the middle classes even poorer, the stage would be set for the ultimate toxic cocktail: social 'commotion' allied with 'terrorism' associated with 'organized crime.'

"That's all the military needs to launch an extensive operation to restore "order" and finally force Congress to approve the Brazilian version of the Patriot Act (five separate bills are already making their way in Congress).

" This is no conspiracy theory. This is a measure of how incendiary Brazil is at the moment, and Western mainstream media will make no effort whatsoever to explain the nasty, convoluted plot for a global audience ." [My Emphasis]

jayc , Nov 11 2019 21:10 utc | 151
Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud. OAS report focuses on a vote-counting system called TREP, which was adopted by Bolivia and others in the region on direct advice of OAS. The TREP system is meant to provide/ publicize initial results, but it is not "official". The official results come from a slower and more thorough vote count process. The OAS claim of irregularities in the TREP count is largely irrelevant, as it was never intended to be "official" or legally reflect official results. There were no irregularities in the official count, won by Morales, and the so-called "delay" was in fact the natural process of the slower moving count to produce the official result.

See this analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research:
http://cepr.net/publications/reports/bolivia-elections-2019-11

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 21:40 utc | 154
While Trump denounced Morales, the US State Department stepped in to sanitize Washington's position, with a senior official telling Reuters that the US has "no preference" among opposition candidates. The spokesperson did say, however, that anyone who tried to "distort" last month's vote should not be allowed to participate .

That's MAS banned from the election by the cunts in the fucking State Department. Imagine if the Russian MFA announced that neither the Democratic nor Republican parties could field presidential candidates in 2020. Trump is an idiot but the State Department, DoJ, and Treasury are the real bastards. Forget the CIA, that's just a bunch of senile tossers who have wet dreams about Cold War 2.0.

Don Bacon , Nov 12 2019 0:19 utc | 166
b mentioned lithium with reference to Bolivia in his 139 above

Nov 11, 2019 -- Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal
"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people. Not to multinational corporate cabals."

The Morales move on Nov. 4 to cancel the December 2018 agreement with Germany's ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. The region has 50% to 70% of the world's lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.
Among other clients, ACISA provides batteries to Tesla; Tesla's stock rose Monday after the weekend.
As Bloomberg News noted in 2018, that has set the country up to be incredibly important in the next decade:
Demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Bolivia has plenty -- 9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world -- but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it. . . here

But Teslas catch fire....from ZPower--
Actually, lithium may be in trouble for vehicle batteries.
Just as lithium-ion (Li-ion) replaced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) before it and nickel cadmium (NiCd) before that, silver zinc (AgZn) batteries are on track to replace Li-ion too, according to a McGraw-Hill forecast as far back as 2010. Since then silver zinc has been perfected and are on the market for rechargeable hearing-aid "button" batteries by ZPower LL (Camarillo, Calif.) They are nonflammable and could provide up to 40 percent more run time than lithium-ion batteries. . . here
bevin , Nov 12 2019 0:53 utc | 168
Credit where its due: both Corbyn and Sanders have issued statements against the coup in Bolivia.
On the other hand the recently re-elected, appalling government of Canada has backed it to the hilt. Was probably involved in financing it. See yves engler
https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/11/canada-backs-coup-against-bolivias-president/

The State Department which rarely misses a chance to discredit the democracy that it so hates, is accusing Morales of 'distorting' the election result. Nobody is suggesting that he didn't win the election, at most it is being claimed that his margin of victory, more than 10%, was exaggerated.
A similar, equally spurious claim was used to justify the coup against Aristide. There it was not disputed that Lavelan candidates had won their senatorial elections but that their victories were merely pluralities not majorities.
For this offence Canada, the US and (let it be recalled) Brazil occupied the country, kidnapped Aristide and banned his party from running in future elections.

[Nov 13, 2019] Ecuador The Restoration of Neoliberalism and the Monroe Doctrine by Dr. Birsen Filip

Nov 10, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

On November 7, 2019, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ratified the preventive detention of former president Rafael Correa , along with a number of his former officials. Immediately after the court rendered its decision for pretrial detention, Correa rejected accusations of bribery, illicit association and contributions to his political campaign between 2012 and 2016, while he was the leader of Alianza Patria Altiva i Soberana (PAIS). Correa founded Alianza PAIS in 2006, as a democratic socialist political party with an objective to achieve economic and political sovereignty, and foment a social and economic revolution in the nation, which came to be known as The Citizens' Revolution (La Revolución Ciudadana).

During his presidency, which lasted from January 15, 2007 to May 24, 2017, Correa introduced a brand of 21 st century socialism to Ecuador, with a focus on improving the living standards of the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population. His presidency was part of 'the revolutionary wave' in Latin America, referred to as 'Pink tide', where a number of left-wing and socialist governments swept into power throughout the continent during the 2000s, including Cristina Néstor Kirchner and Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. All of these governments were opposed to neo-liberal economic policies and American imperialism.

While he was president, Correa raised taxes on the rich and cut down on tax evasion, and increased public investment on infrastructure and public services, including publicly-funded pensions, housing, free health care and education. His government ended up building many schools in different parts of the nation, particularly the countryside, and provided students with nearly all of the materials needed to further their studies. President Correa also more than doubled the minimum wage, which contributed to significantly reducing socioeconomic inequality. In 2018, a World Bank report explained that:

Ecuador has made notable improvements in reducing poverty over the last decade. Income poverty decreased from 36.7 percent in 2007 to 21.5 percent in 2017. In addition, the share of the population living in extreme poverty fell by more than half, from 16.5 percent in 2007 to 7.9 percent in 2017, representing an average annual drop of 0.9 percentage points. In absolute numbers, these changes represent a total of 1.6 million individuals exiting poverty, and about one million exiting extreme poverty over the last decade.[i]

Furthermore, the unemployment rate fell from an 'all time high of 11.86 percent in the first quarter of 2004' to 'a record low of 4.54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014'[ii]. The World Bank also reported that Ecuador posted annual economic growth of '4.5 percent during 2001-2014, well above the average for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region of 3.3 percent. During this period, real GDP doubled and real GDP per capita increased by 50 percent.'[iii]

On October 1, 2016, Correa announced the nomination of Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés , who served as his vice president from 2007 to 2013, as his party's candidate for the 2017 presidential election at the conference of Alianza PAIS. Moreno was elected president, and it was expected that he would continue and build on Correa's left-wing economic policies. However, within a few months of winning the election, president Moreno began to dismantle many of the social, economic and political reforms enacted by Correa during his decade as president. Contrary to Correa's government, many of the domestic policies pursued by president Moreno included reducing public spending, weakening worker rights, and providing significant tax cuts to the rich and large corporations. In other words, president Moreno has gradually shifted Ecuador's left-wing policies to the political centre-right.

Moreno's presidency also shifted Ecuador's foreign policy stance, giving it a more neo-liberal and pro-American orientation. When Correa's socialist government was in power, Ecuador enjoyed close diplomatic and economic relations with Venezuela, and was more independent of American hegemony. For example, president Correa closed a US military base in Manta, Ecuador when Washington's lease expired in 2009. Prior to that, in 2007, Correa stated:

We'll renew the [Manta air] base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base if there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely, they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.[iv]

Subsequently, on September 18, 2009, he also said:

As long as I am president, I will not allow foreign bases in our homeland, I will not allow interference in our affairs, I will not negotiate our sovereignty and I will not accept guardians of our democracy.

Contrary to Correa, the US-Ecuador military relationship has expanded under the Moreno government 'through training, assistance, and the reestablishment of an Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Quito.'[v]Ecuador and the US have also signed deals for the purchase of weapons and other military equipment, and agreed to cooperate more closely in the areas of security, intelligence, and counter-narcotics.

In 2011, president Correa expelled US ambassador Heather Hodges from Quito. Subsequently, in 2014, his government expelled the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from the country, where it had been operating since 1961 as part of John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress (AFP)[vi]. USAID regularly exercises 'soft power' in Latin American nations in order to help the US establish itself as an 'international police power'[vii]. In May 2019, Moreno's government announced that USAID would return to Ecuador.

President Correa also became renowned for providing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with political asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to prevent his arrest and possible extradition to the US. However, shortly after his election, there were indications that Moreno might be willing to hand him over to authorities in the UK. In addition to calling Assange an 'inherited problem,' a 'spoiled brat' and a 'miserable hacker', Moreno accused him of repeatedly violating his asylum conditions and of trying to use the embassy as a 'centre for spying'[viii]. Then, on April 11, Assange's political asylum was revoked, which allowed him to be forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy by British police.In response, Correa called Moreno 'the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history' for committing 'a crime humanity will never forget'[ix].

President Correa's government supported the integration of South America countries into a single economic and political bloc. However, since Moreno came to power, Ecuador has distanced itself from the Venezuelan government, and withdrew from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas[x](ALBA) in August 2018, as well as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in September 2019. UNASUR was established by 12 South American countries in 2008to address important issues in the region without the presence of the United States. Currently, only five members remain: Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The other seven members, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay, agreed to create the Forum for the Progress of South America (PROSUR) in March 2019. The goal of this alternative organization is to achieve the right-wing agenda in Latin America, as its members support neo-liberal austerity measures and closer ties with Washington. It could be said that PROSUR aligns well with the goals and objectives of the Monroe Doctrine.

Another major shift in president Moreno's political stance pertains to lawsuits brought against Texaco/Chevron by the Correa government to obtain compensation for environmental damages caused when the operations of Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in the Amazon region of Ecuador between 1964 and 1992, affecting more than 30,000 Indigenous people and Campesinos in the area. 'Chevron left 880 pits full of crude oil which are still there, the rivers are still full of hydrocarbon sediment and polluted by the crude oil spills in Amazonia, which is one of the most biodiversity rich regions in the world'[xi], and 'the damage has been left unrepaired for more than 40 years'[xii]. To raise public awareness about this environmental disaster, president Correa's government established an international campaign called the 'Dirty Hand of Chevron'. In 2011, the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion in compensation for social and environmental damages it caused.

In September 2018, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an agency of the United Nations based in the Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Ecuadorian court decision against Chevron was illegal, because it was an outcome of fraud, bribery, and corruption. The PCA 'also ruled that Ecuador will have to pay economic compensation'[xiii]to Chevron. 'The amount has not been established yet, but Chevron requested that Ecuador assume the US$9.5 billion' awarded to affected communities by the Ecuadorean court.[xiv]Following the PCA decision, the government of president Moreno announced that:

the state will sue former President Rafael Correa and his government officials if Ecuador lost the international arbitration process.[xv]

In this matter, president Moreno also accused Correa of 'failing to defend the country's interests correctly and spending money on "The Dirty Hand of Chevron" campaign, which according to the government sought to "manipulate national and international public opinion."'[xvi] In reality, president Moreno supports the PCA decision, thereby prioritizing the interest of Texaco/Chevron over those of his own citizens . In fact, his government has been attempting to nullify the Constitutional Court ruling against Chevron. In response, former president Correa has accused the Moreno government of 'doing homework ordered by (the United States Vice President Mike) Pence'. Even some of Moreno's own cabinet ministers condemned the PCA ruling and expressed their support for Ecuador's Constitutional Court for defending of the country's nationals interest and the rights of the people of the Amazon.

Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador's President Moreno to Give Up Assange

Correa exhibited a hostile attitude towards the Bretton Woods Institutions during his presidency. He sought to renegotiate Ecuador's external debt of US$10.2 billion, which he called 'illegitimate' because 'it was accrued during autocratic and corrupt regimes of the past. Correa threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and ordered the expulsion of the World Bank's country manager'[xvii], which was carried out on April 26, 2007. His government also opposed the signing of any agreements that would permit the IMF to monitor Ecuador's economic plan. As a result of such actions on the part of Correa's government, 'Ecuador was able to renegotiate its debt with its creditors and redirect public funds towards social investments.'[xviii]

To the contrary, Moreno has enthusiastically embraced the IMF during his short time as president. On March 1, 2019, Ecuador's central bank manager, Verónica Artola Jarrín, and economy and finance minister, Richard Martínez Alvarado,submitted a letter of intent to the IMF requesting a three-year $4.2 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement. An EFF allows the IMF to assist countries that are facing 'serious medium-term balance of payments problems.' More precisely, EFF is designed to:

to provide assistance to countries: (i) experiencing serious payments imbalances because of structural impediments; or (ii) characterized by slow growth and an inherently weak balance of payments position. The EFF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.[xix]

The IMF agreement signed in March allowed Ecuador to borrow $4.2 billion. However, as is always the case, the IMF agreement was not without conditionalities, as it required the Ecuadorian government to implement a series of neo-liberal economic reforms. According to IMF statements, these reforms aim to transform Ecuador's fiscal deficit into a surplus, reduce the country's debt-to-GDP ratio, and increase foreign investment. On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the IMF, claimed that:

The Ecuadorian authorities are implementing a comprehensive reform program aimed at modernizing the economy and paving the way for strong, sustained, and equitable growth.[xx]

On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde also explained that:

Achieving a robust fiscal position is at the core of the authorities' program, which will be supported by a three-year extended arrangement from the IMF. The aim is to reduce debt-to-GDP ratio through a combination of a wage bill realignment, a careful and gradual optimization of fuel subsidies, a reprioritization of capital and goods and services spending, and a tax reform. The savings generated by these measures will allow for an increase in social assistance spending over the course of the program. The authorities will continue their efforts to strengthen the medium-term fiscal policy framework, and more rigorous fiscal controls and better public financial management will help to enhance the effectiveness of fiscal policy.[xxi]

Protecting the poor and most vulnerable segments in society is a key objective of the authorities' program. In this context, the authorities plan to extend the coverage of, and increase the nominal level of benefits under the existing social protection programs. Work is also underway to improve the targeting of social programs.[xxii]

Ecuador's participation in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) represents another point of contention between Correa and the Moreno government. Ecuador was a member of OPEC from 1973 and 1992. After a period of absence, it rejoined the organization in 2007 after Correa became president of the country. However, on October 1 st , president Moreno announced that Ecuador would once again end its membership in OPEC effective January 1, 2020. Given Moreno's penchant for implementing neo-liberal economic policies, this decision was likely based on the notion that freeing the country from the burden of having to abide by quotas would bring fiscal sustainability to Ecuador. This is evidenced by the fact that Ecuador contacted OPEC to request permission to produce above its quota in February 2019, though it was never confirmed whether a response was received[xxiii]. While increasing production in its Amazonian oil fields would likely bring more foreign investment to Ecuador and open up new markets, it would also lead to serious conflicts between the Moreno government and the indigenous people living in the area, who are strongly opposed to oil extraction.

In addition to announcing Ecuador's departure from OPEC, president Moreno also selected October 1 st as the date to introduce Decree 883, a series of economic measures that included ending longstanding subsidies for fuel, the removal of some import tariffs, and cuts to the benefits and wages of public employees. In particular, the elimination of fuel subsidies, which had been in place for 40 years, was instituted in order to meet IMF requirements to keep the $4.2 billion programme on track, and to satisfy international investors. The EFF agreement between the IMF and the Ecuadorean government also called for thousands of public employees to be laid off, the privatization of public assets, the separation of the central bank from the government, cutting public expenditures, and raising taxes over the next three years. IMF representatives claim that these types of reforms bring more foreign direct investment into the economy.

In fact, a close examination of the neo-liberal economic reforms recommended by the IMF in many countries reveals that they are almost identical, meaning that they do not take the diverse needs and realities of each country into account; rather, they are driven by the interests of the countries and other stakeholders that provide the funds. Generally, the IMF's recommendations[xxiv]consist of cutting deficits, liberalizing trade, privatizing state-owned enterprises, reforming the banking and financial systems, increasing taxes, raising interest rates, and reforming key sectors. However, countless studies have revealed that these types of reforms, have raised the unemployment rate, created poverty, and have often preceded recessions. On October 2, 2019, the IMF issued a press release on Ecuador stating that:

The reforms announced yesterday by President Lenin Moreno aim to improve the resilience and sustainability of Ecuador's economy and foster strong, and inclusive growth. The announcement included important measures to protect the poor and most vulnerable, as well as to generate jobs in a more competitive economy.

The authorities are also working on important reforms aimed at supporting Ecuador's dollarization, including the reform of the central bank and the organic code of budget and planning.

IMF staff will continue to work closely with the authorities to improve the prospects for all Ecuadorians. The second review is expected to be submitted to the Executive Board in the coming weeks.[xxv]

President Moreno's decision to end the subsidies on fuel led to the prices of diesel and petroleum increasing by 100% and 30%, respectively, overnight, which directly contributed to significantly raising the costs of public transportation. In response, protests erupted against Moreno's austerity measures on October 3 rd , featuring students, unions and indigenous organizations. They declared an indefinite general strike until the government reversed its neo-liberal adjustment package. Moreno's initial response was to reject the ultimatum and state that he would 'not negotiate with criminals.'

The following day, on October 4, 2019, president Moreno declared a state of emergency under the pretext of ensuring the security of citizens and to 'avoid chaos.' Nonetheless, the protests continued and intensified to the point that the government was forced to relocate to city of Guayaquil because Quito had been overrun by anti-government protestors. However, this attempt to escape the protestors proved ineffective as taxi, bus and truck drivers blocked roads and bridges in Guayaquil, as well as in Quito, which disrupted transportation nationwide.

In the following days, thousands of demonstrators continued to demand the reversal of austerity measures, as well as the resignation of the president. However, Moreno remained defiant, refusing both demands under all circumstances. Subsequently, Ecuador's main oil pipeline ceased operations after it was seized by indigenous protesters. Petro-Ecuador was concerned that production losses could reach 165,000 barrels a day. Indigenous protesters also occupied two water treatment plants in the city of Ambato. Meanwhile, violent clashes between protesters and police resulted in seven deaths , about 2,000 injuries, and over 1,000 arrests. Eventually, Moreno's government was forced to back down and make concession with the well -organised protesters.

On October 13, president Moreno agreed to withdraw Decree 883 and replace the IMF-backed plan with a new proposal, involving negotiations with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other social groups. The following day, president Moreno signed Decree 894, which reinstated the cancelled fuel subsidies. However, on October 23, CONAIE released a statement informing the public that 'it paused talks with President Lenin Moreno because of the government's "persecution" of the group's leaders [Jaime Vargas] since a halt to violent anti-austerity protests.'[xxvi]

It is unlikely that president Moreno would be willing to give up on his austerity policies or start the process of cancelling the IMF loan, given his apparent commitment to helping the US realize the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine. Many of the reforms and policies that his government has introduced will help keep Ecuador firmly entrenched in America's backyard for years to come.

This is not a new development, as history has revealed that, for more than a century , 'in Latin America there are more than enough of the kind of rulers who are ready to use Yankee troops against their own people when they find themselves in crisis' (Fidel Castro, Havana 1962). However, the eruption of protests in response to Moreno's neo-liberal reforms suggests that he faces an uphill battle, as his fellow Ecuadorians do not appear to share his enthusiasm for selling his country to external creditors and foreign influences. Although Moreno has managed to successfully drive Rafael Correa out of Ecuador, the former president's opposition to capitalism and imperialism remain strong among the population.

*

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Global Research contributor Dr. Birsen Filip holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Ottawa.

[Nov 13, 2019] Russia and China have realised that a bifurcation of the world economy into a US sphere and a non-US sphere is now unavoidable and they are playing the long game

Nov 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kadath , Nov 11 2019 19:02 utc | 148

Re: Paul #142,


Yes, the US and the EU betrayed the Iran deal the moment the ink was on the page and Trump's actions merely formalized an open betrayal. However, with respect to Russia and China's intentions regarding Iran, I surmise that they have realised that a bifurcation of the world economy into a US sphere and a non-US sphere is now unavoidable and they are playing the long game. By allowing the US/EU to continue threaten and harass Iran, violating their own agreement, they are in effect allowing the Europeans to slit their own throats with respect to their trustworthiness and independence, after all why sign an agreement with the EU if they fold like a wet tissue the moment the Americans change their minds. Whereas the Russians and Chinese give iron-clad guarantees and are dependable allies.

Further, the Russians and Chinese are under no formal obligations to defend Iran's interest (and both states have prior, though minor, issues with Iran), so I imagine they see the American's actions as useful for indirectly pressuring the Iranians into more favorable trade and security relations. That having been said, I imagine the Chinese and Russians have jointly agreed to some non-negotiable redlines regarding US actions towards Iran that they will allow. Namely, I think if the US were to attack Iran they would start funneling arms to them immediately and turn a blind eye towards Iranian counter moves in the rest of the Middle East. Though I'm curious as to b's opinion on this matter, what does he think the Russians and Chinese would do if the US attacked Iran or were crazy enough to invade?

flankerbandit , Nov 11 2019 19:49 utc | 149

Kadath...
I imagine the Chinese and Russians have jointly agreed to some non-negotiable redlines regarding US actions towards Iran that they will allow.

I agree with that...

I imagine they [Russia and China] see the American's actions as useful for indirectly pressuring the Iranians into more favorable trade and security relations.

I don't see this at all...I don't think trade has anything to do with it...security only indirectly...

I think Russia and China would like to see Iran move toward a more mature diplomacy, that is more in alignment with the impeccably legalistic position of the two powers that are shaping the emerging new order...

The overarching aim for the duo is to restore a functioning international legal order, as embodied in the creation of the UN and its charter...as well as the supreme authority of the Security Council...

This order was the outcome of WW2 in which both China and Russia suffered greatly...and both are adamant about restoring a genuine legal order where outlaw states cannot thumb their nose with impunity...

The key here is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization...which is clearly the most important supranational 'club' in the world...and only getting stronger...

Iran has been in the SCO 'waiting room' for a long time now...even Turkey will likely get in sooner...

A couple of reasons for that, and it has to do with Iran's politics...

First, Iran is a theocracy at bottom...the state embodies many desirable aspects of socialism in its functioning, but it also views itself as the 'defender' of world Islam...anywhere, anytime...

This is not up to par to the diplomacy practiced by the likes of Putin and Xi...

For instance, the Iranians were quick to jump into the manufactured 'Rohingya crisis' in Burma...which is clearly an agitation project designed to put a stick in the spokes of the BRI...

China was surely irritated...

For Russia, another irritant coming from Iran is its maximalist approach to Israel...we note that a large population of Israel is Russian-speaking...

Israel does have the right to exist in its pre-1967 borders, as established by UNSC 242 and other subsequent resolutions...[it must also withdraw unconditionally from those occupied territories as per those resolutions, but, with the US backing, is ignoring international law]...

So Iran is not quite up to par diplomatically as far as the two big powers shaping the new world order are concerned...

However...I do not think that either Russia or China would try to exploit the pressure on Iran by steering it towards the path they would like...I don't think they would make such a linkage, as this itself is bad diplomacy...

The bottom line is that there is probably zero desire on either Russia or China's part to exploit Iran's situation...this is not how these two powers operate...

[Nov 13, 2019] HARPER NEOCONS STILL PROMOTE PERMANENT REVOLUTION

Notable quotes:
"... From the 1950s, the anti-Soviet fervor of these New York City-based intellectuals prompted support for the early United States intervention in Vietnam. In the 1970s, the Socialist Party split up as some factions aligned with the New Left. The neocons formed the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA), only later abandoning their socialist party-building in favor of penetrating both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 1970s, Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative William Hughes hired some leading second-generation neocons as foreign policy staffers, beginning a long, steady penetration of key Congressional committees. ..."
"... Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage. ..."
"... Antonio Gramsci quote" Trotskyist are the whores of the fascists". Globalist are modern day or post modern Trotskyist ..."
Nov 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

As the happy marriage of neoconservatives and Obama-era humanitarian interventionists continues to flourish in defense of American permanent war deployments around the globe, it is a worthwhile moment to recall the roots of the neocons in the old left of the 1930s. Neocon founders like Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Max Schachtman, Seymour Martin Lipset, Irving Howe, Nathan Glazer, and Gertrude Himmelfarb were all anti-Soviet socialists from the 1930s, many of whom were followers of Leon Trotsky. Trotsky broke with Stalin in the late 1930s over his emphasis on permanent world socialist revolution, as Stalin concentrated on the consolidation of "socialist in one country"--the USSR.

From the 1950s, the anti-Soviet fervor of these New York City-based intellectuals prompted support for the early United States intervention in Vietnam. In the 1970s, the Socialist Party split up as some factions aligned with the New Left. The neocons formed the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA), only later abandoning their socialist party-building in favor of penetrating both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 1970s, Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative William Hughes hired some leading second-generation neocons as foreign policy staffers, beginning a long, steady penetration of key Congressional committees.

At the Gerald Ford White House, successive chiefs of staff Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney organized a series of "intellectual seminars" by Irving Kristol, further spreading neocon ideology within the foreign policy establishment. As Defense Secretary and later as Vice President, Cheney continued to promote neocons to key posts and to advocate for neocon permanent warfare.

Early in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan launched "Project Democracy," to spread democracy around the globe through well-funded programs including the National Endowment for Democracy, led by Carl Gershman, who has headed the NED since its founding in 1984 through to the present. Gershman was previously Executive Director of Social Democrats USA. NED has been a stronghold of neocons from its inception.

While the anti-Soviet outlook of the neocons continued even after the Berlin Wall and the fall of Soviet communism, the focus increasingly was on permanent warfare to promote democracy around the globe.

Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage.

Posted at 03:24 AM | Permalink


falcemartello , 11 November 2019 at 06:28 AM

Antonio Gramsci quote" Trotskyist are the whores of the fascists". Globalist are modern day or post modern Trotskyist
JJackson , 11 November 2019 at 07:03 AM
"Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage."

I don't think the Democracy bit is much more than a fig leaf, it can quickly be discarded if votes do not go as required. The aim seems to have more to do with removing unfriendly regimes and replacing them with compliant ones. It does not work because the people/'voters' do not like the imposed elites and are inclined to vote by tribe/clan/religion, rather than any western concept of party, the biggest block wins and lords it over the minority.

David Lentini , 11 November 2019 at 08:30 AM
"Democracy-promotion" is just the ostensible reason. Socialism, controlled by the Western élites, was always the goal.
oldman22 , 11 November 2019 at 08:52 AM
It is a serious error to conflate Irving Howe with support for the Vietnam war. In fact the truth is quite opposite. Here is a reference:

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1965/11/25/the-vietnam-protest/

doug said in reply to oldman22... , 11 November 2019 at 10:40 AM
oldman22,

Irving was quite a character. A socialist who's eyes were not totally closed to the um, "contradictions" and stagnation inherent in socialist economies. He spun his wheels mightily in the pages of Dissent trying to reconcile his socialist ideals with it's fundamental conflict with human nature.

Vig , 11 November 2019 at 09:03 AM
Ok, thus the essence of neoconism is Trotzkism and not Straussianism?

In other words, concerning the neoconservatives it makes no sense to look at the (Leo) Straussian angle? Arbitarily?

Now, considering their (not so prominent???) part in the US Culture War (still ongoing???) I am admittedly puzzled. If they were leaning towards Strauss at one point in time, they may well have shifted from revolutionaries to counterevolutionaries at one point in time. No?

They never did? They weren't impressed by their heroes death, but carried his legacy on? Nevertheless?

Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:18 AM
Actually, this is a recasting of the old Muslim idea of Dar al Salam and Dar al Harb. Western Diocletian states embodying the House of Peace while the rest of mankind lives in the House of War. For Muslims, the idea was to bring the benefits of Islam to non-Muslims. Here, it is to bring the benefits of Civilization to the barbarian hordes.
Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:22 AM
Fundamentally, neocon and their fellow travellers - an assortment of Protestants, Jews, Nihilists, Democrats, and Shoah Cultists - are waging a relugious war that has failed and will fail against the particularities of mankind. Just like Islam failed to destroy either Christianity or Hinduism, this Western errand will fail too.
Eric Newhill said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 12:08 PM
What you say is true, Babak.

I think these people are the type, subset pseudointellectuals, that just enjoy power and using it to stir the pot of humanity for self-glorification.

IMO, they really believe in nothing else. They are, by nature, miserable craven control freaks that justify their activities by hijacking whatever ideology is floating around in the zeitgeist that the dupes will follow; could be Islam, could be Christianity, could be democracy, could be socialism. Makes no difference to them as long as they get to experience themselves as superior masters of the world.

Sbin , 11 November 2019 at 10:23 AM
Nice to see one of the founders of White Helmets being rehomed in the correct manner.

James le Mesurier found dead in Turkey.

Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:29 AM
Harper:

In Libya, in 2011, Democracy-promoters destroyed her so that Sarkozy and others in France, Spain, Italy, UK could steal her wealth; reminiscent of Muslim invasions of India in search of war booty, rapine, and slaves, in the name of Islam.

fredw , 11 November 2019 at 10:31 AM
So? This review of (important) history gives us no insight into why it happened or why we should care today. Yes, I agree that these were bad people in the 1930s and they remained bad people when they moved (in theory) from the left wing to the right wing. But that is all you have said. What were the motives? How was it done? Why were they able to find acceptance in both parties with such a lousy history? How are they able to continue being accepted after such a lousy continuing history.

This account is all ad hominem, all about how a certain strain of ideologue has consistently advocated for policies of world-wide control. The logical back story would be a Trotskyite coordinating presence, something I don't for a minute believe. Yet people of this description are undeniably pervasive in the councils of state.

So what is the connection between advocates of US dominion and former advocates of world wide revolution? And, if it is just a matter of attitudes toward power, why should we care? So some people 70 years ago (bad people, admittedly) had an influence of some people today (also in my mind bad people). So? Were they the only people from that era who held such attitudes? Could we not just as easily trace other genealogies for ideas of US domination? Do such ideas ever in history fail to materialize when the power balances enable them?

So you don't like these people and you don't like where you think they came from. But do you have anything to say about why they are so pervasive and what could be done about it?

Vegetius said in reply to fredw... , 11 November 2019 at 12:07 PM

> Could we not just as easily trace other genealogies

Keep it simple and start with tracing the actual genealogies of these people. If you do that, a lot of things should begin to fall into place.

If they don't, you're still operating under a century of mass media propaganda.

doug , 11 November 2019 at 10:35 AM
Harper,

Ah, the good old days. In the early 80's I would stop after work at the local newsstand and pick up Commentary, Dissent, Partisan Review, National Interest, and so on. Whatever struck my fancy and for some reason, these did even though their circulation was quite small. At the time I didn't not realize their commonality which came to me later in the 80's. The PBS movie/book, "Arguing the World," which came out about 20 years ago, has a lot of the backstory.

A common thread is the desire to change the world though they had different views of what that "change" should be.

As for me, I was an accidental entrepreneur and generally liked Hayek's economic views. I'm also highly skeptical of idealist and messianic movements like Mao's which the 60's had been rife with. But I loved readings all these rags with somewhat different perspectives but a common thread that each seemed to think their "Truth" should rule. Seems to me the greatest evil gets perpetrated by those that think they have found "The Way."

Babak Makkinejad -> doug... , 11 November 2019 at 12:31 PM
The most dangerous man is an intellectual.
doug said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 03:09 PM
Babak,

And the Alcoves at CUNY bred a bunch of 'em. Different perspectives but a fevered desire to change the World. God help us.

prawnik , 11 November 2019 at 10:38 AM
To such people, ihe ideology is unimportant. Empire is what matters.
Babak Makkinejad -> prawnik... , 11 November 2019 at 12:31 PM
Not empire, rather, power.
prawnik said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 05:21 PM
Same difference, viewed from the neocon perspective.
tjfxh , 11 November 2019 at 11:30 AM
How much of neoconservatism cum liberal internationalism (foreign policy idealism aka Wilsonianism) is "spreading freedom and democracy" and now much is neoliberal globalization as "making the world safe for capitalism"?

In either case the end in view is a Pax Americana where the US has permanent global dominance in accordance with the Wolfowitz doctrine of not permitting a challenger to arise as a competitor.

Vegetius , 11 November 2019 at 11:58 AM
If you go no further than Marxism, you will not understand what is happening. But to go further is to engage in thoughtcrime.

Fortunately, the Catholic scholar E. Michael Jones has written a great book on this. It is called The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit: And Its Impact on World History. Incredibly, it has not been banned from Amazon yet. It is exhaustive, encyclopedic and documented.

Jones has developed a following among young Catholics appalled at both the corruption in Rome and the corruption in American society. These kids are the ones digging conservatism's grave, not the left. The left needs Conservative Inc to plays its role and keep the show going for the benefit of older people who get all their information from television.

It has not been covered much by the media but TPUSA, a Trump-aligned youth organization, has been battered by audience after audience on its recent campus tour. Yesterday in Los Angeles Donald Trump Jr was booed off the stage as he tried to promote his latest book.

At first, TPUSA tried to blame campus leftwingers. This was an obvious lie, and so they began to call the audience Nazis. Then, they accused them of being virgins. They tried to vet and plant questioners but when this failed they eliminated the Q&A altogether. A similar episode happened the week before when Sebastian Gorka stupidly took on a 20 year-old Youtube personality with an audience ten times larger than his own.

Post-WW2 Conservatives failed because they never understood what they were fighting, failed to wage culture war, and fooled themselves into thinking that the fall of the Berlin Wall meant the end of struggle, when it only meant a change of theater.


Stephanie , 11 November 2019 at 12:33 PM
Not off-topic, just a footnote.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/11/british-founder-of-white-helmets-found-dead-in-istanbul-james-le-mesurier

RIP

Fred -> Stephanie... , 11 November 2019 at 06:33 PM
Stephanie,

"...appeared to have fallen from a balcony." I somehow doubt that.

"The NGO's funders currently include the British and German governments. The Trump administration froze US funding, which made up about one-third of the total, without public explanation in early 2018, but resumed giving financial aid last month amid criticism of its decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria."

I bet that pissed off the neocons to no end. He should stop it again. We can use the money at home.

Harlan Easley , 11 November 2019 at 12:51 PM
Their ideology is Anti-Christian. It's that simple. Their motive is spiritual.
Thirdeye , 11 November 2019 at 04:27 PM
"Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution?"

Yes, profoundly. For starters, Permanent Revolution and world revolution were two separate Trotskyist doctrines. Permanent Revolution was a doctrine eschewing the mainstream social-democratic strategy of supporting bourgeois-democratic revolutions until the proletariat gained sufficient strength to gain state power. Trotsky contended that socialist - capitalist alliances were inherently unstable and that bourgeois-democratic forces would inevitably align with the existing ruling order against the proletariat. World revolution was a doctrine that a socialist revolution in Russia could not survive in isolation and revolutions had to take place in more advanced countries, particularly Germany. That was given a messianic veneer of "proletarian internationalism" and "world revolution." Such maximalism was opposed to realist expedients such as the New Economic Policy and the Rapallo Treaty of 1924 that fostered economic relations between the Soviet Union and capitalist Germany.

Revolutionary movements have always drawn opportunists who saw them mainly as a shortcut to gaining power for themselves. The ur-neocons were such a group. Their loyalty to Trotskyist ideology only lasted as long as they saw it as something that could boost them into power. When better means in various apparatuses of US power presented themselves, they latched onto them under the guise of "spreading democracy." That seems a cynical formulation, since the most consistent neocon ideological theme is that the great unwashed masses are not to be trusted, so power must be arrogated to themselves.

fredw said in reply to Thirdeye... , 11 November 2019 at 09:36 PM
"... the most consistent neocon ideological theme is that the great unwashed masses are not to be trusted, so power must be arrogated to themselves." Isn't that the real ideology of all these factions? To my mind the rest is all just tactics.

I am genuinely unsure what the real distinctions are. The present American "conservative" idolizing of democracy and free market economics seems about as sincere as the Communist ideal of economic control by the working classes. Many years ago I argued with a (captured) VC political officer that the Vietnam war was just a fight between two elites over who would get to run things. He was appalled by the idea. His claim to the moral high ground was based on two factors: the personal honesty of the Viet Cong cadre and the party discipline that that guaranteed it. These seemed plausible at the time. Both went up in smoke almost as soon as the victory had been won.

How different were the results of the war from those to be expected from a Southern victory? I haven't followed the subsequent history in detail, but American Vietnamese acquaintances tell me that 40 years later everything is being run by Southerners. Not identically the same Southerners, but ... And does anyone believe that a southern government securely established would not have set about expelling the Chinese population that had accumulated during the years when the Vietnamese could not control their own borders? (American media never said much about it, but the boat people were overwhelmingly Chinese victims of longstanding hatreds.)

So how different is the neocon vision from a Trotskyist vision in a world where direct control is no longer possible?

ex PFC Chuck , 11 November 2019 at 10:16 PM
The dots I have yet to connect are those that trace the path by which the neoconservatives wandered from their socialist roots to become the enforcers of the Western world's fundamentalist neoliberal ideology of political economy. How many of the dots pertaining to the latter came to be embedded in the western industrialized world and most of the Global South were tied together for me by the recent book Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism , by Quinn Slobodian. Several points jump from the author's narrative. The neoliberal movement traces its origins to two citizens of the Austrian Empire who came of age in the decades immediately before its collapse: Ludwig von Mises* (b 1881) and Frederick Hayek (b 1899). Both were of un-landed noble families that had been promoted to that status just a generation or two before. Slobodian argues that the Empire's uniqueness as a multi-cultural, multi-national entity held together by a common market with no internal tariffs and free migration within the empire led them (and especially Hayek) to envision a similarly structured world economy. They and their disciples and successors saw the making of that structure happen as their lives' work. The goal remained constant but the means of achieving it changed with the times. First they saw the League of Nations as the potential vehicle until its collapse during the Second World War. Next was the United Nation until it was "overrun" by new nations emerging from colonialism. The goal was largely achieved in the late 20th century when General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) morphed into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994.

The most salient features of a neoliberal political economy are: free movement and safety of capital and protections for the ownership rights of investors across borders; free migration of people across those same borders; also tariff-free trade among countries; and the removal of economic policies and relationships from the purviews of sovereign countries and subordinate jurisdictions within them.

Slobodian elaborates how as the neoliberal ideology became embedded in the world economy during the 20th century it was believed by the movers and shakers (mostly implicitly but in some cases explicitly) that the lagging development status of the peoples of the recently decolonized emerging countries were the results of racial and/or cultural weaknesses. There was little recognition of the impacts of the cultural carnage and wealth extraction that were part and parcel of colonial enterprise. As a result, as the institutions of radical neoliberalism took shape they consigned a secondary economic status to the countries of what is now known as the Global South. The USA has been the leader in putting this ideology in place and has been aggressively looking out for its own interests in the process, which is understandable.* However an unintended consequence has been an economically lagging global south that has been prevented from industrializing enough to employ the millions of people whose farms have become uncompetitive with highly industrialized USA and European agribusiness. These folks move off the land either to the growing megacities of the Global South or, increasingly, into countries of the Global North by means either legal or illegal. Thus the Democratic Party establishment's Kumbaya on immigration is not all sweetness, light and harmony. They're also doing the bidding of their neoliberal masters.

https://www.greenlightbookstore.com/book/9780674979529

* Michael Hudson has written extensively on this subject, especially in Superimperalism , which was first published in 1972 and substantially updated about 2003. You can download the full text in PDF format here: https://michael-hudson.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/superimperialism.pdf