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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 Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market
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.

disorderedworld , 10 Jun 2013 17:21

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" and creates powerful incentives for financial speculation and excessive risk-taking on the part of the public (mass ownership of stocks via 401K plans), financial institutions (derivatives, currency speculations, "naked" commodity futures, intentional blowing of bubbles), and even Main Street entrepreneurs (dot-com crisis on 2000).  That's why neoliberalism is also called "market fundamentalism." 

 Like feudalism neoliberalism stipulate existence of two classes: "inner party" members of whom the law protects but does not apply, and  "deplorables" to whom the law applies, but does not protect...  "Inner party" members are above the law under neoliberalism.  The elite under neoliberalism is dominated by financial oligarchs. Several new groups are added to the elite such as intelligence agencies brass (with intelligence agencies becoming the real political force, the core of the Deep State) and Silicon Valley moguls (with top firms became interconnected with surveillance apparatus of the state and Wall Street). 

The key social goal of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up at the expense of the working class and lower middle class. It is political project designed to curb the power of labor (see Neoliberalism war on labor). So stagnation of wages is not an aberration, but a key feature of neoliberalism. Suppression of wages is done under the false flag of austerity. Important for neoliberals sectors such as MIC (especially intelligence community), law enforcement,  financial firm brass bonuses, and tax cuts for rich are not affected by austerity, only worker wages and social programs are.

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 to  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.

For example, both national socialism and Bolshevism were deficient in terms of empirical evidence and had to be accepted on faith. The same is true for neoliberalism. The difference is that most of those movements generated a sense of devotion and mass mobilization with the emphasis of personal sacrifice,  reminiscent of religious zeal.  This is not the case for neoliberalism which adopted "inverted totalitarism" model

Like Stalinists which protected their narrow interpretation of Marxism from any challenges by power of the repressive apparatus of the state, neoliberals are people who believe that “the market does not and cannot take care of itself,” and indeed neoliberalism is a form of statism — one in which power of the state 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..

Neoliberals are people who believe that “the market does not and cannot take care of itself,” and indeed neoliberalism is a form of statism — one in which power of the state 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.

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.

At the center of this civic religion is the 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 neoliberalism can be called the "religion of freedom," a coercive cult 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 is far removed from what is ordinarily regarded as valid scientific procedure. It is, essentially, a pseudo theory, a 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? 

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, especially LA(Chile, Brasil, Argentina) and 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 thier "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. That 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 socitry 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. 

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.  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.

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 myth -- 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.  

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 (sexcapades , 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. 

Recent spy scandals demonstrated that neoliberal elite (like financial oligarchy in general) is afraid of losing power and 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. They gradually are switching to Bolsheviks-style repressive mechanisms relying more and more on the power of intelligence agencies as an enforcement squad of neoliberal agenda. 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. 

Exaggerating threats to the USA sovereignty to cement the cracks in the neoliberal regime is also 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 very useful for defenders of the neoliberal regime 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 henchmen -- he tried to justify the view that is almost totally misguided, for the sake of defense of declining neoliberal ideology.  Performing 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 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, ideologically Neoliberalism is 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 CommerceBusiness 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 aganst Soviets).

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). 

In labor relations neoliberal pursue a staunch anti-union stance. Labor is 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.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. that gave a rise of various (often stupid) "performance metrics" and cult of "performance reviews". It 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. Which is definitely untrue for military contractors. In a way the "market" under neoliberalism is a kind of "all powerful deity". Which makes neoliberalism a variation of a secular religion (compare with "God building" faction of Bolsheviks Party which included such prominent figures as Lynacharsky). As such 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".

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.

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.

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. That did not mean that neoliberalism became completely toothless. It managed to stage comeback in several Latin American countries (the USA backyard). 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 the absence of alternatives 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 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.

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 ;-)

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 "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" neoliberlaism) 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).

In various countries it can morph into quite different "regimes", despite the common "market fundamentalism" core. The simplest and pretty precise way to define is to view it as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich" ("Elites of all countries unite !" instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...). 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 inn the interests of top 10% of population, with the special emphasis on interests of top 1% or even 01%.  For the rest of population it serves austerity as the only available dish.

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 method 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. 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.

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.

Like Trotskyism, neoliberalism is a militaristic creed, the only different is that dream of global Communist empire led from Moscow was replaced by the dream of global neoliberal empire led by Washington. Neocons in this sense is just a specific flavor of neoliberals --" 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.

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. "

Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page -- Neoliberalism: an Introduction


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[Mar 23, 2019] College admissions scandal Wealthy parents told to make deal or face more charges - Los Angeles Times

Mar 23, 2019 | www.latimes.com

Federal prosecutors are seeking potential deals with some of the wealthy parents charged in the sweeping college admissions scandal as investigators continue to broaden the case, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

One source said some of the parents are being given a short window to consider a deal or potentially face additional charges.

It's unclear which parents prosecutors hope to seek out for cooperation, but sources said authorities were interested in getting a better picture of how the scam worked. The sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

[Mar 22, 2019] America's Apartheid of Dollars

Notable quotes:
"... The divisions can always be jacked up. "My opponent is a white nationalist!" and so he doesn't just think you're lazy, he wants to kill you. Convince average Americans to vote against their own interests by manipulating them into opposing any program that might benefit black and brown equally or more than themselves. ..."
"... Listen for what's missing in the speeches about inequality and injustice. Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support. ..."
Mar 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The birth lottery determines which of those three bands we'll sink or swim together in, because there is precious little mobility. In that bottom band, 81 percent face flat or falling net worths ( 40 percent of Americans make below $15 an hour) and so aren't going anywhere. Education, once a vehicle, is now mostly a tool for the preservation of current statuses across generations, to the point that it's worth paying bribes for. Class is sticky.

Money, not so much. Since the 9.9 percent have the most (except for the super wealthy at least), they have the most to lose. At their peak in the mid-1980s, the managers and technicians in this group held 35 percent of the nation's wealth. Three decades later, that fell 12 percent, exactly as much as the wealth of the 1 percent rose. A significant redistribution of wealth -- upwards -- took place following the 2008 market collapse, as bailouts, shorts, repossessions, and new laws helped the top end of the economy at cost to the bottom. What some label hardships are to others business opportunities.

The people at the top are throwing nails off the back of the truck to make sure no one else can catch up with them. There is a strong zero sum element to all this. The goal is to eliminate the competition . They'll have it all when society is down to two classes, the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and at that point we'll all be effectively the same color. The CEO of JP Morgan called it a bifurcated economy. Historians will recognize it as feudalism.

You'd think someone would sound a global climate change-level alarm about all this. Instead we divide people into tribes and make them afraid of each other by forcing competition for limited resources like health care. Identity politics sharpens the lines, recognizing increasingly smaller separations, like adding letters to LGBTQQIAAP.

Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, herself with presidential ambitions, is an example of the loud voices demanding more division . Contrast that with early model Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, who pleaded, "There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

The divisions can always be jacked up. "My opponent is a white nationalist!" and so he doesn't just think you're lazy, he wants to kill you. Convince average Americans to vote against their own interests by manipulating them into opposing any program that might benefit black and brown equally or more than themselves. Keep the groups fighting left and right and they'll never notice the real discrimination is up and down, even as massive economic forces consume all equally. Consumption becomes literal as Americans die from alcohol, drugs, and suicide in record numbers .

Meanwhile, no one has caught on to the fact that identity politics is a marketing tool for votes, fruit flavored vape to bring in the kiddies. Keep that in mind as you listen to the opening cries of the 2020 election. Listen for what's missing in the speeches about inequality and injustice. Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support.

** The author doesn't really drive for Uber but his conversation with the Spaniard was real.


JeffK March 22, 2019 at 7:39 am

Mr Van Buren. This piece nails it. The Democrats made a huge mistake focusing on race and LGBTQ instead of class. Their stated goal should be to replace race based affirmative action with class-based programs.

If there is serious violence coming to America it will come during the next major recession/financial crisis. The ARs will come out of the closet when, during the next financial crisis, the elites are bailed out (again), yet the riff raff lose their homes and pickups to foreclosure.

I am very pessimistic in this area. I believe the elites, in general, are agnostic to SJW issues, abortion, job loss, BLM, religious liberty, and on and on. The look at the riff raff with amusement, sparring over such trivial things. Meanwhile, the river of cash keeps flowing to their bank accounts.

Imagine if the digital transfer of money was abolished. Imagine if everybody had to have their money in a local bank instead of in an investment account of a major bank. Imagine if Americans saw, day after day, armored vehicles showing up at local banks to offload sacks of currency that went to only a few individual accounts held by the very rich.

Instead, the elites receive their financial statements showing an ever increasing hoard of cash at their disposal. They see it, but nobody else does. However, if everybody saw the river of wealth flowing to the elites, I believe things would change. Fast. Right now this transfer of wealth is all digital, hidden from the view of 99.99% of Americans and the IRS. And the elites, the banking industry, and the wealth management cabal prefer it that way.

It's easy to propose the ultimate goal of the elites is to have a utopian society to themselves, where the only interaction they have with the riff raff is with subservient technicians keeping it all running. Like the movie Elysium.

https://youtu.be/QILNSgou5BY

Oleg Gark , says: March 22, 2019 at 8:22 am
When feudalism comes to America, it will be justified by Libertarianism. With government defined as the bad guy, there's nothing to stop the 1% from organizing everything to their own benefit.

On the other side of the political spectrum, identity politics emphasizes people's differences and tribal affiliations over their shared citizenship. This prevents them from making common cause.

Fundamentally, these trends make the body politic so weak that it becomes susceptible to takeover by authoritarians that represent narrow interests.

Johann , says: March 22, 2019 at 8:31 am
"His skin was clearly a few shades darker than mine, though he pointed out that was only because my relatives came from the cold part of Europe and he came from the sunny part."

The Spanish in Europe got their color from the Moorish invasion, not the sun.

More of my annoying trivia that has little to do with the subject of an article.

John D. Thullen , says: March 22, 2019 at 9:15 am
Welp, the Democratic Party, by and large, believes all Americans regardless of class, race, religion, and gender should have guaranteed equal access to affordable healthcare, a substantial minimum wage, education and the rest.

Stacy Abrams wants these items too, along with equal access to the voting franchise.

"Until slavery was ended in the United States, human beings were legally considered capital, just like owning stocks and bonds today. But the Spaniard knew enough about history to wonder what reparations would be offered to the thousands of Chinese treated as animals to build the railroads or the 8,000 Irish who died digging the New Basin Canal or the whole families of Jews living on the Lower East Side of New York who were forced to employ their children to make clothing for uptown "white" stores. Later in the same century, wages were "voluntarily" cut to the bone at factories in Ohio to save jobs that disappeared anyway after the owners had wrung out the last profits."

That would be an excellent point if your inner Spaniard concluded reparations should be offered to the others as well, but ends up being merely tendentious if he contends that no one gets reparations.

But will you like it if the Democratic Party makes that part of their platform too?

I was born in Middletown, Ohio alongside the elegiacal hillbillies, who, by the way, didn't care for the blacks on the other side of the tracks anymore than my Armco-employed grandfather did, and certainly the business owners who disappeared the jobs and cut wages while voting for the so-called free traders were of the same ilk.

I didn't know any Democrats among any of my family's circle and, by the way, Middletown might as well have been south of the Mason Dixon anyway for all the white Democrats in town who gave not a crap about their fellow black citizens, certainly not the business owners who disappeared the jobs while voting for the so-called free traders.

It was the Republican Party (Larry Kudlow, I'm gunning for you) who championed creative destruction and the red tooth and claw of unfettered worldwide competition without asking, in fact jumping for joy, what the unintended consequences would be because the consequences were intended smash the unions for all, cut wages and benefits and hand the booty to shareholders, move operations to lower-tax, lower wage, environmentally unregulated parts of the globe to manufacture them thar high margin MAGA hats for the aggrieved.

What a beautiful grift!

Hello, Marianas.

That Democrats jumped on the bandwagon is no credit to them, especially while assuming the prone position as the republican party frayed the safety net.

True, the republicans laid off everyone, regardless of race, gender, and class and then cut everyone's benefits.

How equable of them.

TomG , says: March 22, 2019 at 9:44 am
As the Spaniard rightly understood, one can look way back into our history and see that the moneyed class has always used identity politics in economic control games to divide and conquer. That the Republicans rail on this as some evil creation of the modern Democrat is laughable at best. That the sheep who follow the party mouth pieces of the moneyed class in this media age can still be so easily manipulated is rather pitiful. Making common cause for the general welfare has never really sunk in as an American value.

Divide and conquer remains our true ethos. As the dole gets evermore paltry the only seeming options remaining are common cause for a common good or greater violence. One requires us to find a contentment beyond the delusional American dream of becoming that 1 to 10%. The other just requires continued anger, division and despair.

JoS. S. Laughon , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:12 am
Ironically the view that race/culture isn't at all important and should be disregarded in view of the class division (a "distraction"), is pretty much endorsing the classic Marxist critique.
ProletroleumCole , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:27 am
It's easy to notice divide and conquer when it's hate against those of the same class but are of a different culture/race.

But what's *difficult* to notice is identifying with the elites of your race in a positive way.
A lot of people, especially with the onset of realityTV, tend to think rich people are just like them (albeit a little smarter). The methods and systems to keep power aren't considered. They're made non-threatening. So many billionaires and politicians act effete today to stoke this image.

Lynn Robb , says: March 22, 2019 at 10:31 am
"Whichever candidate admits that we've created an apartheid of dollars for all deserves your support."

So we're supposed to vote for Bernie Sanders?

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 22, 2019 at 11:30 am
" Whether your housing is subsidized via a mortgage tax deduction "

This jumped off the screen. I wonder how many people even realize that. Probably the same number who still believe that social security is a "forced savings".

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 22, 2019 at 11:47 am
Not to put too fine a point on it but clearly we are wasting our time arguing. As long as the current system of government remains in effect it will be same old same old.

Many changes are in order–starting with this archaic remnant of a bygone era called "The Two Party System".

Lert345 , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm
Spaniards are indeed Hispanic. The definition of Hispanic relates to a linguistic grouping – that is, relating to Spain or Spanish speaking countries. Your friend would indeed qualify for all sorts of preferences according to the definition.

As to being a POC, I could not locate any definition as to what threshold of skin tone qualifies someone as a POC. I wager none yet exists but will be forthcoming.

Johann

As for the skin tone of Spaniards, many in the south have the Moorish influence,however, in the rest of the country skin tones range from light beige to very fair. Rather similar to Italians, actually.

Dave , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:18 pm
First, kudos to Van Buren for getting a Seamless delivery while driving. That's not easy to coordinate. Second, I look forward to more conservative policies addressing poverty, drug addiction and access to health care. This article adds to the 10-year rant against what Democrats have done or want to do.

Like nearly every Republican of the last 10 years, Van Buren offers none here. But I'm sure once the complaining is out of his system, they will arrive.

david , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:31 pm
" Whether your housing is subsidized via a mortgage tax deduction "

Sorry, not taking your money is NOT subsidizing!

I thought this is a "conservative" idea to begin with? Apparently, it is not true even here.

Jealousy that others can keep their money is driving the worse instinct of many republicans.

Sigh.

Vincent , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Your Spaniard friend also has it all wrong. The real division line is between those willing to initiate coercion for their own self-righteousness and those who refuse to. Anyone that supports government is one-in-the-same, regardless of color or class.
LouB , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm
Thirty years ago I'd be asking who printed the canned response pamphlet to give prepared talking points to enable anyone to provide quick sharp tongued witty criticisms of anything they may encounter that didn't tow the party line.

Now I gotta ask where do I download the Trollware to accomplish the same thing.

Sharp article, thanks.

JonF , says: March 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm
The Moors were a tiny class of invaders who left rather little imprint on the Spanish genome. That was true of the Romans and the Goths as well. Spanish genes are mostly the genes of the pre-Roman population: the Iberians in the south (who maybe migrated from North Africa), Celts in the north, and the indigenous Basques along the Pyrenees.
WorkingClass , says: March 22, 2019 at 2:27 pm
Yes. And thank you. It's a class war and the working class, divided, is a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Carolyn , says: March 22, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Outstanding piece!
Dave , says: March 22, 2019 at 3:39 pm
What happened to "a rising tide lifts all boats"? We've been promised for decades that the wealth generated by those at the very top would "trickle down." This was a cornerstone of Reaganism that has been parroted ever since.

There have been naysayers who say that that theory was fantasy and that all we would have is increased wealth disparity and greater national deficits.

How peculiar.

Peter Van Buren , says: March 22, 2019 at 4:06 pm
A rising tide lifts all yachts.
-- author Morris Berman

[Mar 22, 2019] Trump Puts America Last by Daniel Larison

Mar 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As usual, Trump made the announcement of recognizing Israel's claim to the Golan Heights without any consultation with any of the relevant administration officials:

President Donald Trump's tweet on Thursday recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory surprised members of his own Middle East peace team, the State Department, and Israeli officials.

U.S. diplomats and White House aides had believed the Golan Heights issue would be front and center at next week's meetings between Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. But they were unprepared for any presidential announcement this week.

No formal U.S. process or executive committees were initiated to review the policy before Trump's decision, and the diplomats responsible for implementing the policy were left in the dark.

Even the Israelis, who have advocated for this move for years, were stunned at the timing of Trump's message.

After more than two years of watching Trump's impulsive and reckless "governing" style, it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that he makes these decisions without advance warning. There is no evidence that Trump ever thinks anything through, and so he probably sees no reason to tell anyone in advance what he is going to do.

Trump almost never bothers consulting with the people who will be responsible for carrying out his policies and dealing with the international fallout, and that is probably why so many of his policy decisions end up being exceptionally poor ones. The substance of most of Trump's foreign policy decisions was never likely to be good, but the lack of an organized policy process on major decisions makes those decisions even more haphazard and chaotic than they would otherwise be.

There is absolutely no upside for the United States in endorsing illegal Israeli claims to the Golan Heights. It is a cynical political stunt intended to boost Netanyahu and Likud's fortunes in the upcoming election, and it is also a cynical stunt aimed at shoring up Trump's support from Republican "pro-Israel" voters and donors.

Whatever short-term benefit Israel gains from it, the U.S. gains nothing and stands to lose quite a bit in terms of our international standing.

There has been no consideration of the costs and problems this will create for the U.S. in its relations with other regional states and beyond because Trump couldn't care less about the long-term effects that his decisions have on the country.

Once again, Trump has put narrow political ambitions and the interests of a foreign government ahead of the interests of the United States. That seems to be the inevitable result of electing a narcissist who conducts foreign policy based on which leaders flatter and praise him.

Trump's bad decision can be traced back to Bolton's visit to Israel earlier this year:

Administration officials said that National Security Advisor John Bolton was instrumental to the decision, after visiting Israel in January to assure officials there that the United States would not abandon them in Syria despite Trump's sudden withdrawal of troops from the battlefield.

Nervous Israeli officials saw an opportunity. "It was an ask," one Israeli source said, "because of the timing -- it suddenly became a relevant issue about Iran."

Bolton is usually the culprit responsible any destructive and foolish policy decision over the last year, and his baleful influence continues to grow. We can also see the harmful effects of the administration's Iran obsession at work. In the end, the Syria "withdrawal" hasn't happened and apparently isn't going to, but Trump nonetheless gives Israel whatever it wants in exchange for nothing so that they will be "reassured" of our unthinking support.



SF Bay March 21, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Well, of course Trump puts America last. There is one and only one person he is interested in -- himself. As you say this is his narcissistic personality at work.

My never ending question is always, "Why does any Republican with a conscience remain silent? Are they really all this shallow and self absorbed? Is there nothing Trump does that will finally force them to put country before party and their own ambition?"

It's a really sad state of events that has put this country on the road to ruin.

Kouros , , March 21, 2019 at 11:39 pm
I wonder what Mr. Kagan has to say now about "authoritarian" regimes?!
Trump 2016 , , March 22, 2019 at 1:45 am
Trump is making one hell of a mess for the next president to clean up. Straightening out all this stupidity will take years. Here's hoping that Trump gets to watch his foreign policy decisions tossed out and reversed from federal prison.
Grumpy Old Man , , March 22, 2019 at 3:29 am
He ought to recognize Russia's seizure of Crimea. Why not? Кто кого?
Tony , , March 22, 2019 at 8:50 am
The decision to leave the INF treaty was taken in a similar way and with a total disregard for the consequences. The leaders of the European NATO countries have shown utter spinelessness in going along with it.

The administration says that a Russian missile violates the treaty but it will not tell us what the range of the missile is. Nor will it allow its weapons inspectors to go and look at it.

The reason is clear: Fear that the weapons inspectors' findings would contradict the administration's claims.

Some Perspective , , March 22, 2019 at 9:08 am
I voted Republican ever since I started voting. I voted for Bush I, Dole, Dubya, and McCain. I couldn't vote for either Obama or Romney, but I voted for Trump because of Hillary Clinton.

I am shocked and horrified by what I've seen under Trump. I am deeply disappointed that so few Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) have stood up to him on foreign policy, and I will never vote Republican again. This GOP/Israel connection stinks to high heaven. Anyone who studied or remembers our problem with Communist spies back in the '50s has got to be hearing alarm bells ringing in their ears. Worries about Soviet spying and Russian meddling pale in comparison to what's now going on in plain sight with Israel.

We're losing our country. We're losing America.

Sid Finster , , March 22, 2019 at 10:22 am
To be fair, it ain't just Team R that has the sloppy crush on Israel. Team D is just as bad, even if they don't gush quite so publicly. In fact, episodes such as this one are useful in a way, as they make it hard to pretend that this is just a one-off, a misguided decision that we have to go along with to appease a powerful friend.

Europoliticians tell that last one a lot. "We really don't want to but the Americans twisted our arms ZOMG Special Relationship so sorry ZOMG!" Only with a lot more Eurobureaucratese.

G-Pol , , March 22, 2019 at 11:15 am
I agree with the article's premise, but not because of this move regarding Israel.

Personally, I believe this move will have little impact on the outcome of the crisis in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies are too focused on containing Iran and Turkey to give a crap about what Israel does. The only Arab states that I can see objecting to this move are Syria (obviously) and the others who were already allied with Iran and/or Turkey to begin with.

Right now, the REAL center of attention in the region should be Northern Syria. THAT's where the next major war likely will begin. In that area, Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are the ones doing the major escalations, while Israel has virtually no role at all aside from sideline cheer-leading. And of course, Trump is doing nothing to stop what could become the next July Crisis. What's "America First" about that?

Nevertheless, Israel should be very concerned about Northern Syria. If war breaks out and the US is forced to go to war with its own NATO ally as a result, Israel should prepare to kiss its alliance with the US goodbye.

There is no way our international reputation will come out of this war unscathed, and odds are we'll be in a far worse position diplomatically than we were at any point in our history, even during the Iraq war. When that happens, the American people will be out to assign blame. Many (rightfully or not) will blame Israel due to its connections to neoconservatism and Saudi jingoism, and consequently we may end up seeing BOTH parties becoming unfriendly to Israel over the subsequent generation.

All of this could be prevented if President Trump would just tell Saudi Arabia to STOP the nonsense. But no. He's too focused on MIC profits. He's not America First. And quite frankly, I'm starting to think Benjamin Netanyahu is not Israel-first either, because if he were he'd be warning Trump about the mess he's going to end up getting America, Israel, and much of Europe and the Middle East into.

[Mar 22, 2019] Boeing Receives $4 Bln Military Contract Despite Global 737 MAX Grounding

Mar 22, 2019 | sputniknews.com

The American aviation company has recently been immersed in a scandal after the crash of two 737 MAX 8 airliners in a span of less than six months. An official investigation into the catastrophes is ongoing, but some reports suggest that Boeing's automatic anti-stall system and a faulty sensor could be behind them. Boeing has won a three-year contract with the US Navy according to which it will upgrade 78 F/A-18 Super Hornets from Block II modifications to Block III, a company statement reads. The upgrades will include an enhanced network capability, longer range, reduced radar signature, an advanced cockpit system, and an enhanced communication system for the bomber jets. It will also extend the jets' service life from 6,000 hours to 10,000 hours.

Canadian, European Regulators to Hold Independent Reviews of Boeing 737 MAX

The aviation company will commence work on meeting the orders in the $4 billion contract "early in the next decade". The company noted that the contract saves some $395 million in taxpayer money, as it is a multi-year contract and thus the price for the work carried out during this period is fixed and will not be determined on a year-by-year basis.

The signing of the contract comes at a difficult time for Boeing, as its popular 737 MAX planes have wound up at the centre of an investigation after two aircraft in the series crashed in a span of less than six months. The crashes led to a global grounding of the planes, with the US being one of the last countries to do so. Although a probe into the reasons behind crashes is still ongoing, investigators have said that after seeing data from the black boxes, there are certain similarities between the two cases.

READ MORE: Captain on Boeing 737 Max: Pilots Were Fighting Against Aircraft System

The crashes have also forced the US military to start reviewing the training procedures for its pilots of large cargo and transport planes, including the president's Air Force One, citing the need to make sure they can handle emergency situations.

[Mar 22, 2019] It Feels Eerily Like 2007 - DoubleLine's Gundlach Blasts Fed's Unprecedented Reversal

It does feel like in 2017. But that does not means much as economy changed substantially and probably nor in the right direction... Purchasing power of population probably was eroded despite growth of absolute numbers of customers because of decimation of well paying jobs. Also the market now is dominated by HFT which serves as an amplifier of pre-existing trend and can by itself course a crash or mini crash. Another factor is oil prices.
But the idea of disconnect if a very useful idea and many other analysts predicted negative year for S&P500. I see dot-com bubble No.2 here, not so much subprime mortgages problem of 2008. Subprime exists now in junk bond produced by shale oil players, but it is much less in size.
Mar 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

He said the stock market, for now, "likes the fact that they (the Fed) aren't going to give them any problems."

But things could change quickly and dramatically, he said, with his final comment, the most ominous:

"It feels eerily like '07," he said.

" The stock market is near its high and the economy is noticeably weaker - and yet everyone is saying 'Everything is Great! '"

And just in case you wondered how bad the underlying is - despite equity market's enthusiasm - Citi's Economic Data Change index as its worst level since 2009...

[Mar 22, 2019] Responding to some of the critiques of our paper on secular stagnation and fiscal policy

Mar 22, 2019 | larrysummers.com

My paper with Lukasz Rachel on secular stagnation and fiscal policy summarized here has attracted a number of interesting responses including from Martin Wolf , David Leonhardt , Martin Sandbu and Brad DeLong and also many participants at the Brookings conference.

I'm gratified that there seems to be general acceptance of the core secular stagnation argument. "Normal" policy settings of real interest rates in the 2 percent range, balanced primary budgets and stable financial markets are a prescription for stagnation and underemployment. Such economic success as the industrial world has enjoyed in recent decades has reflected a combination of very low real rates, big budget deficits, private leveraging up and asset bubbles.

No one from whom I have heard doubts the key conclusion that a combination of meaningfully positive real interest rates and balanced budgets would likely be a prescription for sustained recession if not depression in the industrial world.

Notice that this is a much more fundamental argument than the suggestion that the some effective lower bound on interest rates may impede stabilizing the economy. The argument is that because of chronic private sector tendency towards oversaving, economies may be prone to underemployment and financial stability absent policy responses which are themselves problematic.

This is an argument much more in the spirit of Keynes, the early Keynesians, and today's Post-Keynesians than the New Keynesians who have set the terms for much of contemporary macroeconomic discourse both in academia and in the world's central banks.

The central feature of New Keynesian models is an idea that economies have an equilibrium to which they naturally revert independent of policies pursued. Good central bank policy achieves a desired inflation target (assumed to be feasible) while minimizing the amplitude of fluctuations around that equilibrium.

In contrast contemporary experience, where inflation has been below target almost throughout the industrial world for a decade and is expected by markets to remain below target for decades, and where output is sustained only by large budget deficits or extraordinary monetary policies, suggest that central banks acting alone cannot necessarily attain inflation targets and that misguided policy could easily not just raise the volatility of output but also reduce its average level.

While there seems to be little doubt that real interest rates–short and long, ex ante and ex post -- have declined very substantially even as (other things equal) budget deficits and expanded social security programs should have increased them, there remains debate about how to analyze these trends. Lukasz and I argue that adjustment to balance saving and investment is the best way understand declining real rates. DeLong wonders about changing risk premiums and Wolf cites BIS work arguing that low rates reflect the monetary policy regime. There is no reason why there needs to be only one cause of low real rates so these factors may enter. But as I expect we will illustrate in the revised version of the paper, the largest part of the low frequency variation in ex ante real returns is accounted for by a downward trending factor common to all asset prices. This is illustrated for the US in the figure below. So risk premiums or factors specific to Treasuries are likely not high order.

Figure: Decline in US real asset returns

Granting that secular stagnation is a problem, there is the question of policy response. The right policy response will be the one that assures that full employment is maintained with a minimum of collateral problems. Sandbu argues against the notion of secular stagnation in part because he thinks it may lead in unconstructive directions like protectionism and because he believes that stagnation issues can be feasibly and relatively easily addressed by lowering rates. Wolf, relying on the BIS, is alarmed by the toxic effects of very low rates on financial stability in the short run and economic performance in the long run, and prefers fiscal stimulus. Leonhardt prefers a broad menu of measures to absorb saving and promote investment.

I am not certain of the right approach and I wish there was more evidence to bring to bear on the question. I can certain see the logic of the "zero is just another number" view, that holds that the current environment poses no new fundamental issues but just may require technical changes to make more negative interest rates possible. I am skeptical because (i) I am not sure how large the stimulus effect of rates going more negative is because of damage to banks, reduced interest income for consumers, and because capital cost is already not the barrier to investment; (ii) I wonder about the quality of any investment that was not made at a zero rate but was made at a negative rate; and (iii) I suspect that a world of significantly negative nominal rates if sustained will be a world of leveraging, risk seeking and bubbles. I have trouble thinking about behavior in situations where people and firms are paid to borrow!

I am inclined to prefer more reliance on reasonably managed fiscal policies as a response to secular stagnation: government borrowing at negative real rates and investing seems very attractive in a world where there are many projects with high social returns. Moreover, we are accustomed to thinking in terms of debt levels but it may be more appropriate to think in terms of sustained debt service levels. With near zero rates these are below average in most industrial countries. The content of fiscal policies is crucial. Measures which run up government debt without stimulating demand like large parts of the Trump tax cut are ill advised. In contrast measures which promote investment and raise the tax base down the road are much more attractive.

There are of course other measures beyond stabilization policies like fighting monopolies, promoting a more equal income distribution, and strengthening retirement security for which the desire to maintain macroeconomic stability provides an additional rationale.

[Mar 21, 2019] Pentagon to probe if Shanahan used office to help Boeing

Mar 21, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

The Pentagon's inspector general has formally opened an investigation into a watchdog group's allegations that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has used his office to promote his former employer, Boeing Co.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint with the Pentagon's inspector general a week ago, alleging that Shanahan has appeared to make statements promoting Boeing and disparaging competitors, such as Lockheed Martin.

Shanahan, who was traveling with President Donald Trump to Ohio on Wednesday, spent more than 30 years at Boeing, leading programs for commercial planes and missile defense systems. He has been serving as acting Pentagon chief since the beginning of the year, after James Mattis stepped down.

The probe comes as Boeing struggles to deal with a public firestorm over two deadly crashes of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner within the last five months. And it focuses attention on whether Trump will nominate Shanahan as his formal pick for defense chief, rather than letting him languish as an acting leader of a major federal agency.

Dwrena Allen, spokeswoman for the inspector general, said Shanahan has been informed of the investigation. And, in a statement, Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson said Shanahan welcomes the review.

"Acting Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to upholding his ethics agreement filed with the DoD," said Crosson. "This agreement ensures any matters pertaining to Boeing are handled by appropriate officials within the Pentagon to eliminate any perceived or actual conflict of interest issue(s) with Boeing."

During a Senate hearing last week, Shanahan was asked by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., about the 737 Max issue. Shanahan said he had not spoken to anyone in the administration about it and had not been briefed on it. Asked whether he favored an investigation into the matter, Shanahan said it was for regulators to investigate.

On Wednesday, Blumenthal said that scrutiny of Shanahan's Boeing ties is necessary. "In fact, it's overdue. Boeing is a behemoth 800-pound gorilla -- raising possible questions of undue influence at DOD, FAA and elsewhere," said Blumenthal.

Shanahan signed an ethics agreement in June 2017, when he was being nominated for the job of deputy defense secretary, a job he held during Mattis' tenure. It outlined the steps he would take to avoid "any actual or apparent conflict of interest," and said he would not participate in any matter involving Boeing.

The CREW ethics complaint, based to a large part on published reports, including one by Politico in January, said Shanahan has made comments praising Boeing in meetings about government contracts, raising concerns about "whether Shanahan, intentionally or not, is putting his finger on the scale when it comes to Pentagon priorities."

One example raised by the complaint is the Pentagon's decision to request funding for Boeing 15EX fighter jets in the 2020 proposed budget. The Pentagon is requesting about $1 billion to buy eight of the aircraft.

Shanahan, 56, joined Boeing in 1986, rose through its ranks and is credited with rescuing a troubled Dreamliner 787 program. He also led the company's missile defense and military helicopter programs.

Trump has seemed attracted to Shanahan partially for his work on one of the president's pet projects -- creating a Space Force. He also has publicly lauded Shanahan's former employer, Boeing, builder of many of the military's most prominent aircraft, including the Apache and Chinook helicopters, the C-17 cargo plane and the B-52 bomber, as well as the iconic presidential aircraft, Air Force One.

This is only the third time in history that the Pentagon has been led by an acting chief, and Shanahan has served in that capacity for longer than any of the others.

Presidents typically take pains to ensure the Pentagon is being run by a Senate-confirmed official, given the grave responsibilities that include sending young Americans into battle, ensuring the military is ready for extreme emergencies like nuclear war and managing overseas alliances that are central to U.S. security.


3 hours ago Why did Trump appoint a former Boeing executive and industry lobbyist to the the Secretary of Defense to replace General Mattis? What in Shananhan's background makes him qualified to lead our nation's military forces? 3 hours ago WITHOUT A DOUBT HE DID., ALSO INVESTIGATE NIKKI HALEY'S APPOINTED ON BOEING'S BOARD TO REPLACE SHANAHAN. FOLLOW THE HOEING KICKBACKS(MONEY), TO DONALD TRUMP'S FAMILY. 3 hours ago Shanahan probably helped Boeing on the promise of a later payback just like Ms. Nikki Haley did while Gov of SC where Boeing built a new plant on her watch. She helped big time to keep the Unions out of the new Boeing plant and now Boeing is going to put her on their board of directors. Nothing like a bit of an obvious payoff. 2 hours ago Reminds me of the Bush Jr days in the White House. During the Gulf War (#2) Vice President #$%$ Cheney awarded oil company Halliburton (Cheney was CEO before accepting the VP job) to deliver meals for the troops. The contract was ?No Bid.? Why was an oil company delivering food to troops with a no bid contract? After Cheney?s Job was over being VP he went back to being CEO at Halliburton and moved Halliburton?s headquarters to Dubai. What an American! 2 hours ago Now we understand why Boeing & the FAA hesitated to ground those planes for few days despite many countries who did grounded those plane which is a precedent for a country to ground & NOT wait for the manufacturer. ONLY after Canada grounded those planes Boeing & the FAA & that's because Canada IS a the #1 flight partner of the US ! 4 hours ago Years ago there was a Boeing procurement scandal and Trump does love the swamp he claims to hate.

[Mar 21, 2019] Well, if you are concerted that Pentagon is run by former Boing official, please remain silent. Trump is as far from a typical President as one can get.

Is there anyone in this administration not under investigation?
Mar 21, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Dee 3 hours ago

"President typically take pains to ensure the Pentagon is being run by Senate confirmed official" .Presidents typically don't put incompetent people in cabinet positions or give his kids top security level clearances when they have no need and no experience that requires one...well, no one has accused trump of being presidential or typical - ever

Dianna 4 hours ago

The swamp is now the " Trump Cesspool."

Nonconservative 3 hours ago

Hey deplorables....hows that swamp draining going?...ANYWORD on that great big beautiful health plan with lower premiums and keeping my own doctor?....what about infrastructure?...any idea when the roads in every city will be driveable again...or did we spend all the money from the US govt. paying Trump to stay at his own hotels?........hello?......hello deplorables?......anybody home????

Pierre Escargot 1 hour ago

Pentagon to probe if Shanahan used office to help Boeing. Why not? Robert Mueller's and James Comey turned government service into self-service.

>

[Mar 21, 2019] Boeing 737 MAX- The Latest Example of a Passive DOT - WSJ

Mar 21, 2019 | www.wsj.com

Thirty-five Congressional mandates sit unanswered, on everything from minimum seat space to secondary barriers protecting cockpits. The top job at the Federal Aviation Administration has been open for 14 months. Enforcement fines against major U.S. airlines have dropped 88% in the past two years, even as three-hour tarmac delays have more than doubled.

The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao has seemingly been delayed on a number of issues important to travelers. Even with airlines begging for rules on emotional-support animals , and both Republicans and Democrats expressing concerns about swollen fees, shrunken seating and punitive airline policies, the DOT has been loath to issue new regulations.

Airlines asked the department in late 2017 to kill a bunch of consumer-protection rules -- nothing on that so far, either.

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.287.0_en.html#goog_1907499810

Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX 8 Crash: Three Things to Know Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 737 MAX 8 Crash: Three Things to Know An investigation has been launched after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday, killing all on board. WSJ aerospace reporter Robert Wall discusses the possible focus of the investigation, and more. Photo: Getty Images

Now Ms. Chao's department, which includes the FAA, faces its toughest regulatory challenge: safety concerns on the Boeing 737 MAX. Two fatal crashes of the new airplane in the past five months have led several nations and some airlines to ground the jet.

So far, the FAA, siding with Boeing and U.S. airlines, says the plane is safe and a software fix is coming by the end of April. Sales of Boeing planes have been important to President Trump's trade and employment objectives. But pressure is mounting, and if investigators find the same system is responsible for both crashes, it will be increasingly difficult for the FAA and Ms. Chao to leave a plane with a fatal flaw in the air.

Consumer advocates say the Transportation Department has been invisible.

THE MIDDLE SEAT

"There doesn't seem to be any meaningful enforcement going on," says John Breyault, vice president at the National Consumers League. "The DOT under Sec. Chao seems to be even less willing to engage in serious consumer protection efforts than it did under President Obama's watch, which is a pretty low bar."

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The DOT declined to answer specific questions for this story. It offered a general statement saying it has improved its website in the past year and is giving consumers more information by including performance of regional partners with big-airline operating statistics. A DOT spokeswoman says it plans to issue rules on service animals later this year and plans to allow airlines to use electronic payment methods when compensating travelers for bumping them involuntarily from flights.

With its response, the department included a list of seven accomplishments under Ms. Chao, who also oversees surface transportation. None dealt with airline travel.

Airlines and many travelers applaud the Trump administration's aversion to regulation and willingness to let consumer choice discipline unpopular business decisions. Deregulating fares and schedules in 1978, after all, led to a boom in affordable, convenient travel .

In keeping with the push to reduce regulation, Ms. Chao's DOT stopped a number of rule-making efforts in progress at the end of the Obama administration. Among them: imposing requirements on disclosure of baggage and other fees at ticket purchase, as well as a review of how fees in the airline industry were affecting competition.

me title=

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao lists seven accomplishments during her administration, none of which deal with air travel. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao lists seven accomplishments during her administration, none of which deal with air travel. PHOTO: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Airlines applauded those moves. "There is a reluctance to regulate unless there's a market failure or some other type of safety or real unfair and deceptive practice that's going on," says Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president for legislative and regulatory policy at Airlines for America, the industry's Washington, D.C., lobbying group.

"We're thankful for that, frankly," she added, "that their philosophy isn't to regulate every little thing."

The Transportation Department is the only stop for passenger rights since Congress exempted air travel in 1978 from any state or local regulation.

Recent changes in air travel have led to a host of new issues:

* Airlines have repeatedly asked DOT to adopt the definition of service animals in the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires specific training for support animals. Cabins are full of untrained pets wearing service-animal vests to avoid high airline fees or shipping in crates in baggage compartments.

"We just think there should be one rule for the entire country," says Ms. Pinkerton of A4A. "There's no reason to have a more lenient approach to emotional-service animals in an environment like an airplane."

me title=

* Congress passed a law sponsored by Democrats and Republicans that requires DOT to establish minimum standards for seat size and legroom on planes and make each carrier post the amount of space available for each passenger on its website. The deadline is in October. Airlines and advocates say they've seen no action so far.

* Last year Congress also required that DOT hire a consumer advocate to help travelers resolve service complaints, report on how DOT is handling complaints and recommend improvements to enforce aviation consumer protection rules. The position remains open.

* DOT hasn't conducted compliance inspections at airline headquarters in more than two years, the Government Accountability Office reported in November . Compliance inspections, done routinely in past years, involve checking airline customer-service policies and passenger complaints received by airlines. They also make sure airlines are reporting data properly to DOT.

In its response to the GAO, the department said it has a "robust and multifaceted program" to investigate airlines and enforce consumer protection requirements.

* An aviation consumer-protection advisory committee that is supposed to have one passenger advocate among four members has no one with any consumer aviation experience. The designated consumer advocate appointed by the Trump administration comes from a think tank favoring free markets over regulation, where she works on agriculture and trade issues.

A Fine Distinction Airlines have seen far fewer Transportation Department fines in the first two years of the Trump Administration. They've also experienced more long domestic tarmac delays over that time.

DOT enforcement fines against U.S. major airlines

million

$5

4

3

2

1

$560,000

0

2017

2016

2018

Domestic three-hour tarmac delays

200

181

150

100

50

0

2018

2016

2017

*2018 tarmac delays are through November only

Sources: WSJ compilation of DOT filings (fines); Bureau of Transportation Statistics (delays)

The tarmac delay rule is an example of one public policy that actually worked. Flights stranded at airports with passengers held on board with no food, water and in some cases limited working bathrooms became a major issue. In 2007, more than 1,600 domestic U.S. flights had tarmac delays of more than three hours, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Some stretched to 10 hours or more . In 2010, the Transportation Department enacted a rule to levy heavy fines on airlines for tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and four hours on international flights.

Airlines adjusted , investing in better tracking of flights on the ground and more resources to get people off stranded planes. Though airlines warned of massive cancellations if the rule was imposed, cancellations went down. So did tarmac delays: From 2011 to 2016, there were fewer than 100 a year on domestic flights.

But 2017 and 2018 saw three-hour tarmac delays more than double. At the same time, DOT enforcement against U.S. major airlines declined sharply.

In 2016, DOT levied a total of $4.7 million in fines against U.S. major carriers for all issues, not just tarmac delays. In 2017, that number dropped to $2.7 million, then to $560,000 in 2018. Only one fine, $1.5 million against Frontier Airlines in 2017, was for domestic tarmac delays. DOT did fine several foreign airlines for delays longer than four hours. And it hit American and Delta with tarmac delay fines last month, picking up the pace a bit.

Airlines say the increase in tarmac delays in 2017 and 2018 was a result of an increase in severe weather the past two years, not lax DOT enforcement.

[Mar 20, 2019] Sitting Ambassadors Participated In Plot To 'Take Trump Down' Meadows

Notable quotes:
"... US Ambassadors = Hillary's State department. My guess is at least 80% of the State dept is still filled with filth and should be cleansed. ..."
Mar 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"Sitting Ambassadors" Participated In Plot To 'Take Trump Down': Meadows

by Tyler Durden Wed, 03/20/2019 - 14:44 422 SHARES

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) revealed that "sitting ambassadors" were involved in a plot to "take down" President Trump.

Sitting down with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Sara Carter and Gregg Jarrett, Meadows said that the release of new documents will "show" that US ambassadors conspired with the DOJ , reports the Washington Examiner .

"It's additional information that is coming out that will show not only was there no collusion, but there was a coordinated effort to take this president down ," said Meadows.

"We talk about the 'Deep State.' There are players now, even ambassadors, that are sitting ambassadors that were involved in part of this with the FBI-DOJ."

"As we look at this, it's time to show that we show the American people what's out there, declassify some of those documents," Meadows added. "I think when the American people see what I've seen, they will judge for themselves and know that this has all been a hoax. "

Watch:

https://youtu.be/l9o6yYCgLuI

HillaryOdor , 35 minutes ago link

Deep State really means Inevitable State. This is where coercion and force leads you. No state is immune. No "good" state can possibly last. The people who want to wield the power the most, they don't want to do it to help you. They want it for their own sake, and these are the kind of people that always get it.

847328_3527 , 40 minutes ago link

US Ambassadors = Hillary's State department. My guess is at least 80% of the State dept is still filled with filth and should be cleansed.

oddjob , 36 minutes ago link

No dual Citizens either.

hooligan2009 , 40 minutes ago link

BREAKING NEWS: anonymouse sauces say Pelosi has agreed to drop Trump impeachment proceedings if Trump drops all charges of treason, sedition, murder, rape, child and drug trafficking, illegal wire-taps, racketeering, voter fraud.... campaign finance violations, wire fraud, embezzlement, selling state secrets to hostile powers, lying under oath, and so on. against the DNC and its embedded cabal of witches and others working for the MSM, the alphabet soup, Hollywood and libtard entertainment hosts..

my sauces tell me Trump said "Get Fucked".

chrbur , 41 minutes ago link

We want names......

Bay of Pigs , 22 minutes ago link

Dont know the Ambassadors names.

Brennan, Clapper, Lynch, Comey, McCabe, Yates, Rice, for starters. And where is Rosenstein in all this? Not to mention Barry O, HRC and the pedophile Podesta.

Mzhen , 49 minutes ago link

Jon Huntsman, the Russian ambassador, did not always sing Trump's praises.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgT2EotydII

carbonmutant , 50 minutes ago link

What does one have to do to get arrested around here?

VideoEng_NC , 56 minutes ago link

"...that "sitting ambassadors" were involved in a plot to "take down" President Trump."

Both treason & sedition, using foreign elements to take out a standing president. Oh John Kerry, it's going to be a lot more than ketchup that's going to soil your clothes. Kamala, too bad a firing squad or black pill has nothing to do with lynching...nice try. Booms are happening but let's see some follow through.

FringeImaginigs , 56 minutes ago link

We don't want the wall. What we want are jails, hangmen, and guillotines. No wall until the priorities are completed.

[Mar 20, 2019] Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for.

Mar 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Cemi , Mar 20, 2019 8:50:23 AM | link

@17 Guy Thornton wrote:
Merkel might say: "There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."
Forget it! Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for. She is doing everything her masters in Washington ask her to do. For example the German public is awaiting a mildly entertaining show of their government on how to work around yesterdays court decision:
International law is the yardstick for international politics. This has been clarified by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster in a spectacular ruling on lethal US drone missions in Yemen. Several relatives of victims who were killed in such attacks had sued. They hold the Federal Republic of Germany jointly responsible for this because the United States allegedly also uses the US airbase in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate for these fatal attacks.

There are important indications that the drone attacks in question violate international law and the fundamental right to life. The Federal Republic of Germany must protect these rights and stand up for them. Therefore the Federal Republic must clarify now in a first step whether the attacks offend against international right.

(Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator from Urteil über US-Airbase in Ramstein: Deutsche Richter fordern Überprüfung tödlicher US-Drohneneinsätze )

NOT! Aside from the fact, that the public press largely ignores this decision, our governments have a long record of doing actually nothing when formally independent judges even from the highest courts ask them to adhere to the law.
Speaking of embarrassing lackeys, when the empire was seeking a new nodal point to more efficiently drone bomb Northern Africa the most obvious/nearby European locations like Italy, France or Greece all said "Nah, better not". But, don't you worry, Missus Merkel was of course happy to offer Stuttgard in Southern Germany as base for AFRICOM!

Always at your service!

[Mar 20, 2019] The US wants Brazil to join NATO

Mar 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Guy Thornton , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:12 PM | link

Merkel might say:

"There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."

[Mar 20, 2019] Neoliberal interpretation of Christianity

Mar 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Trick Shroade , , March 20, 2019 at 9:46 am

The modern GOP has a very brutalist interpretation of Christianity, one where the money changers bring into the church much needed liquidity.

[Mar 20, 2019] Meaning of the word "freedom" for neoliberals

Mar 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

lyman alpha blob , , March 20, 2019 at 8:00 am

They want freedom -- for the wolves to eat the sheep.

PKMKII , March 20, 2019 at 1:08 pm

And then act like it's fair because they don't have laws against the sheep eating the wolves.

jefemt , March 20, 2019 at 9:18 am

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose...

shinola , March 20, 2019 at 1:06 pm

"nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free" ;)

[Mar 20, 2019] We must stop the Russians plot to put Trump in office the second time so he can increase the US military budget and bankrupt the Republic

Notable quotes:
"... Given the results of the last 70 years of US policies I would say that quote should now be updated to "Trillions for war, but not one cent for the people." ..."
Mar 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Nature_Boy_Wooooo , 57 minutes ago link

We must stop the Russians plot to put Trump in office the second time so he can increase the US military budget.

Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 4:26:41 PM | link
@13 lgfocus - that sounds suspiciously like something a COMMUNIST would say!!!!!!! During the 1797 XYZ scandal C.C. Pinckney reportedly said "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." which has been quoted by the Military Industrial Complex ad nauseam for the last 70 years to justify massive military budgets to fight the forever wars.

Given the results of the last 70 years of US policies I would say that quote should now be updated to "Trillions for war, but not one cent for the people."

[Mar 20, 2019] Boing problems and one possible solution

Mar 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

John A , , , March 19, 2019 at 4:34 pm

Maybe they should have appointed aviation expert Nikki Haley to the Boeing board earlier.

A little bit of dignity , , , March 19, 2019 at 4:47 pm

How about seppuku for the entire top management?

Synoia , , , March 19, 2019 at 7:55 pm

Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing

Yes, after money.

drumlin woodchuckles , , , March 19, 2019 at 8:08 pm

At what point does "crapification" become insufficient to describe Boeing's product and process here? At what point do we have to speak of " ford-pintofication"?

[Mar 20, 2019] After we have legitimized transexuals, why not officially adopt transagists too: women practice this for a long time

This is compete trans..
Mar 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Not The Onion: Scholar Makes "Moral Case" For Letting People Decide Their Own Age

...Says recognition of ' trans-ageism ' would prevent 'severe discrimination'

[Mar 20, 2019] What Republicans and Billionaires Really Mean When They Talk About 'Freedom' by Thom Hartman

Mar 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. This post focuses on an important slice of history in what "freedom" has meant in political discourse in the US. But I wish it had at least mentioned how a well-funded, then extreme right wing effort launched an open-ended campaign to render US values more friendly to business. They explicitly sought to undo New Deal programs and weaken or end other social safety nets. Nixon Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell codified the strategy for this initiative in the so-called Powell Memo of 1971.

One of the most effective spokesmen for this libertarian program was Milton Friedman, whose bestseller Free to Choose became the foundation for a ten-part TV series.

By Thom Hartman, a talk-show host and author of more than 25 books in print . He is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute . Produced by the Independent Media Institute

America is having a heated debate about the meaning of the word socialism . We'd be better served if, instead, we were debating the meaning of freedom .

The Oregonian reported last week that fully 156,000 families are on the edge of homelessness in our small-population state. Every one of those households is now paying more than 50 percent of its monthly income on rent, and none of them has any savings; one medical bill, major car repair or job loss, and they're on the streets.

While socialism may or may not solve their problem, the more pressing issue we have is an entire political party and a huge sector of the billionaire class who see homelessness not as a problem, but as a symptom of a "free" society.

The words freedom and liberty are iconic in American culture -- probably more so than with any other nation because they're so intrinsic to the literature, declarations and slogans of our nation's founding.

The irony -- of the nation founded on the world's greatest known genocide (the systematic state murder of tens of millions of Native Americans) and over three centuries of legalized slavery and a century and a half of oppression and exploitation of the descendants of those slaves -- is extraordinary. It presses us all to bring true freedom and liberty to all Americans.

But what do those words mean?

If you ask the Koch brothers and their buddies -- who slap those words on pretty much everything they do -- you'd get a definition that largely has to do with being "free" from taxation and regulation. And, truth be told, if you're morbidly rich, that makes a certain amount of sense, particularly if your main goal is to get richer and richer, regardless of your behavior's impact on working-class people, the environment, or the ability of government to function.

On the other hand, the definition of freedom and liberty that's been embraced by so-called "democratic socialist" countries -- from Canada to almost all of Europe to Japan and Australia -- you'd hear a definition that's closer to that articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt when he proposed, in January 1944, a " second Bill of Rights " to be added to our Constitution.

FDR's proposed amendments included the right to a job, and the right to be paid enough to live comfortably; the right to "adequate food and clothing and recreation"; the right to start a business and run it without worrying about "unfair competition and domination by monopolies"; the right "of every family to a decent home"; the right to "adequate medical care to achieve and enjoy good health"; the right to government-based "protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment"; and the right "to a good education."

Roosevelt pointed out that, "All of these rights spell security." He added, "America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world."

The other nations mentioned earlier took President Roosevelt's advice to heart. Progressive "social democracy" has kept Europe, Canada, and the developed nations of the East and South Pacific free of war for almost a century -- a mind-boggling feat when considering the history of the developed world since the 1500s.

Just prior to FDR winning the White House in the election of 1932, the nation had been treated to 12 years of a bizarre Republican administration that was the model for today's GOP. In 1920, Warren Harding won the presidency on a campaign of "more industry in government, less government in industry" -- privatize and deregulate -- and a promise to drop the top tax rate of 91 percent down to 25 percent.

He kept both promises, putting the nation into a sugar-high spin called the Roaring '20s, where the rich got fabulously rich and working-class people were being beaten and murdered by industrialists when they tried to unionize. Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover (the three Republican presidents from 1920 to 1932) all cheered on the assaults, using phrases like "the right to work" to describe a union-free nation.

In the end, the result of the " horses and sparrows " economics advocated by Harding ("feed more oats to the horses and there'll be more oats in the horse poop to fatten the sparrows" -- that generation's version of trickle-down economics) was the Republican Great Depression (yes, they called it that until after World War II).

Even though Roosevelt was fabulously popular -- the only president to be elected four times -- the right-wingers of his day were loud and outspoken in their protests of what they called "socialist" programs like Social Security, the right to unionize, and government-guaranteed job programs including the WPA, REA, CCC, and others.

The Klan and American Nazis were assembling by the hundreds of thousands nationwide -- nearly 30,000 in Madison Square Garden alone -- encouraged by wealthy and powerful "economic royalists" preaching "freedom" and " liberty ." Like the Kochs' Freedomworks , that generation's huge and well-funded (principally by the DuPonts' chemical fortune) organization was the Liberty League .

Roosevelt's generation had seen the results of this kind of hard-right "freedom" rhetoric in Italy, Spain, Japan and Germany, the very nations with which we were then at war.

Speaking of "the grave dangers of 'rightist reaction' in this Nation," Roosevelt told America in that same speech that: "[I]f history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called 'normalcy' of the 1920s -- then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home."

Although right-wingers are still working hard to disassemble FDR's New Deal -- the GOP budget for 2019 contains massive cuts to Social Security, as well as to Medicare and Medicaid -- we got halfway toward his notion of freedom and liberty here in the United States:

You're not free if you're old and deep in poverty, so we have Social Security (although the GOP wants to gut it). You're not free if you're hungry, so we have food stamps/SNAP (although the GOP wants to gut them). You're not free if you're homeless, so we have housing assistance and homeless shelters (although the GOP fights every effort to help homeless people). You're not free if you're sick and can't get medical care, so we have Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare (although the GOP wants to gut them all). You're not free if you're working more than 40 hours a week and still can't meet basic expenses, so we have minimum wage laws and the right to unionize (although the GOP wants to gut both). You're not free if you can't read, so we have free public schools (although the GOP is actively working to gut them). You're not free if you can't vote, so we've passed numerous laws to guarantee the right to vote (although the GOP is doing everything it can to keep tens of millions of Americans from voting).

The billionaire class and their wholly owned Republican politicians keep trying to tell us that "freedom" means the government doesn't provide any of the things listed above.

Instead, they tell us (as Ron Paul famously did in a GOP primary debate years ago) that, if we're broke and sick, we're "free" to die like a feral dog in the gutter.

Freedom is homelessness, in the minds of the billionaires who own the GOP.

Poverty, lack of education, no access to health care, poor-paying jobs, and barriers to voting are all proof of a free society, they tell us, which is why America's lowest life expectancy, highest maternal and childhood death rates, lowest levels of education, and lowest pay are almost all in GOP-controlled states .

America -- particularly the Democratic Party -- is engaged in a debate right now about the meaning of socialism . It would be a big help for all of us if we were, instead, to have an honest debate about the meaning of the words freedom and liberty .



cuibono , , March 20, 2019 at 2:53 am

Know Your Rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lfInFVPkQs

WheresOurTeddy , , March 20, 2019 at 12:28 pm

I have been informed by Fox that knowing your rights is un-American

everydayjoe , , March 20, 2019 at 4:26 am

Let us not forget the other propaganda arm of Republican party and big money- Fox news. They spew the freedom nonsense while not adhering to any definition of the word.

I worked in the midwest as an Engineer in the 90s to early 2000s and saw plants being gutted/shifted overseas, Union influence curtailed and mid level and bottom pay stay flat for decades; all in the name of free market.

Sadly the same families that are the worst affected vote Republican! But we know all this and have known it for a while. What will change?

lyman alpha blob , , March 20, 2019 at 8:00 am

They want freedom -- for the wolves to eat the sheep.

PKMKII , , March 20, 2019 at 1:08 pm

And then act like it's fair because they don't have laws against the sheep eating the wolves.

Norb , , March 20, 2019 at 8:39 am

The intro to this post is spot on. The Powell memo outlined a strategy for a corporate coup d'eta. Is was completely successful. Now that the business class rules America, their only vision is to continue the quest and cannibalize the country and enslave its people by any means possible. What tools do they use to achieve these ends? -- debt, fear, violence and pandering to human vanity as a motivator. Again, very successful.

Instead of honest public debate- which is impossible when undertaken with liars and thieves, a good old manifesto or pamphlet like Common Sense is in order. Something calling out concrete action that can be taken by commoners to regain their social respect and power. That should scare the living daylights out of the complacent and smug elite.

Its that, or a lot of public infrastructure is gong to be broken up by the mob- which doesn't work out in the long run. The nations that learn to work with and inspire their populations will prosper- the rest will have a hard time of it. Look no further than America's fall.

Carla , , March 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Thank you, Norb. You've inspired me to start by reading Common Sense.

Jamie S , , March 20, 2019 at 9:13 am

This piece raises some important points, but aims too narrowly at one political party, when the D-party has also been complicit in sharing the framing of "freedom" as less government/regulation/taxation. After all, it was the Clinton administration that did welfare "reform", deregulation of finance, and declared the end of the era of "big government", and both Clinton and Obama showed willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare in a "grand bargain".

WJ , , March 20, 2019 at 12:10 pm

+100

If in place of "the GOP," the author had written, "The national Democratic and Republican parties over the past fifty years," his claim would be much more accurate. To believe what he says about "the GOP," you have to pretend that Clinton, and Obama, and Pelosi, and Schumer, and Feinstein simply don't exist and never did. The author's implicit valorization of Obamacare is even more disheartening.

But perhaps this is the *point* of the piece after all? If I were a consultant to the DNC (and I make less than $100,000/yr so I am clearly not), I would advocate that they commission, underscore, and reward pieces exactly like this one. For the smartest ones surely grasp that the rightist oligarchic policy takeover has in fact happened, and that it has left in its wake millions of disaffected, indebted, uneducated, uninsured Americans.

(Suggesting that it hadn't was the worst idiocy of Clinton's 2016 campaign. It would have been much better had she admitted it and blamed it on the Republican Senate while holding dear old Obama up as a hamstrung martyr for the cause. I mean, this is what everybody at DailyKos already believes, and the masses -- being poor and uneducated and desperate -- can be brought around to believe anything, or anyway, enough of them can be.)

I would advocate that the DNC double down on its rightful claims to Roosevelt's inheritance, embrace phrases like "social democracy" and "freedom from economic insecurity," and shift leftward in all its official rhetoric. Admit the evisceration of the Roosevelt tradition, but blame it all on the GOP. Maybe *maybe* even acknowledge that past Democratic leaders were a little naive and idealistic in their pursuit of bipartisanship, and did not understand the truly horrible intentions of the GOP. But today's Democrats are committed to wresting back the rights of the people from the evil clutches of the Koch Republicans. This sort of thing.

Would my advice be followed? Or would the *really* smart ones in the room demure? If so, why do you think they would?

In short, I read this piece as one stage in an ongoing dialectic in the Democratic Party in the run-up to the 2020 election wherein party leaders try to determine how leftward its "official" rhetoric is able to sway before becoming *so* unbelievable (in light of historical facts) that it cannot serve as effective propaganda -- even among Americans!

NotTimothyGeithner , , March 20, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Team Blue elites are the children of Bill Clinton and the Third Way, so the echo chamber was probably terrible. Was Bill Clinton a bad President? He was the greatest Republican President! The perception of this answer is a key. Who rose and joined Team Blue through this run? Many Democrats don't recognize this, or they don't want to rock the boat. This is the structural problem with Team Blue. The "generic Democrat" is AOC, Omar, Sanders, Warren, and a handful of others.

Can the Team Blue elites embrace a Roosevelt identity? The answer is no. Their ideology is so wildly divergent they can't adjust without a whole sale conversion.

More succinctly, the Third Way isn't about helping Democrats win by accepting not every battle can be won. Its about advancing right wing politics and pretending this isn't what its about. If they are too clear about good policy, they will be accused of betrayal.

jefemt , , March 20, 2019 at 9:18 am

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose Kris Kristofferson

shinola , , March 20, 2019 at 1:06 pm

"nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free"
;)

Trick Shroade , , March 20, 2019 at 9:46 am

The modern GOP has a very brutalist interpretation of Christianity, one where the money changers bring much needed liquidity to the market.

where , , March 20, 2019 at 12:30 pm

it's been 2 generations, but we assure you, the wealth will eventually trickle down

Dwight , , March 20, 2019 at 1:51 pm

Be patient, the horse has to digest your oat.

The Rev Kev , , March 20, 2019 at 10:13 am

This article makes me wonder if the GOP is still a political party anymore. I know, I know, they have the party structure, the candidates, the budget and all the rest of it but when you look at their policies and what they are trying to do, the question does arise. Are they doing it because this is what they believe is their identity as a party or is it that they are simply a vehicle with the billionaires doing the real driving and recruiting? An obvious point is that among billionaires, they see no need to form their own political party which should be telling clue. Certainly the Democrats are no better.

Maybe the question that American should ask themselves is just what does it mean to be an American in the year 2020? People like Norman Rockwell and his Four Freedoms could have said a lot of what it meant some 60 years ago and his work has been updated to reflect the modern era ( https://www.galeriemagazine.com/norman-rockwell-four-freedoms-modern/ ) but the long and the short of it is that things are no longer working for most people anymore -- and not just in America. But a powerful spring can only be pushed back and held in place for so long before there is a rebound effect and I believe that I am seeing signs of this the past few years.

GF , , March 20, 2019 at 11:06 am

And don't forget FRD's Second Bill of Rights:

" a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all -- regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security."

Frank Little , , March 20, 2019 at 10:20 am

America is having a heated debate about the meaning of the word socialism. We'd be better served if, instead, we were debating the meaning of freedom.

I agree, and we should also be having a debate about capitalism as it actually exists. In the US capitalism is always talked about in rosy non-specific terms (e.g. a preference for markets or support for entrepreneurship) while anybody who says they don't necessarily support capitalism has to answer for Stalin's gulag's or the Khmer Rouge. All the inequalities and injustices that have helped people like Howard Schultz or Jeff Bezos become billionaire capitalists somehow aren't part of capitalism, just different problems to be solved somehow but definitely not by questioning capitalism.

Last night I watched the HBO documentary on Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos and I couldn't help but laugh at all these powerful politicians, investors, and legal giants going along with someone who never once demonstrated or even explained how her groundbreaking innovation actually worked. $900 million was poured into that company before people realized something that a Stanford professor interviewed in the documentary saw when she first met Holmes. Fracking companies have been able to consistently raise funding despite consistently losing money and destroying the environment in the process. Bank balance sheets were protected while working people lost everything in the name of preserving American capitalism. I think it's good to debate socialism and capitalism, but there's not really any point if we aren't going to be talking about Actually Existing Capitalism rather than the hypothetical version that's trotted out anytime someone suggests an alternative.

Trick Shroade , , March 20, 2019 at 10:53 am

There was a great comment here on NC a little while ago, something to the effect of "capitalism has the logic of a cancer cell. It's a pile of money whose only goal is to become a bigger pile of money." Of course good things can happen as a side effect of it becoming a bigger pile of money: innovation, efficiencies, improved standard of living, etc. but we need government (not industry) regulation to keep the bad side effects of capitalism in check (like the cancer eventually killing its host).

Carey , , March 20, 2019 at 12:21 pm

"efficiency" is very often not good for the Commons, in the long term.

Frank Little , , March 20, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Shoot, must have missed that comment but it's a good metaphor. Reminds me of Capital vol. 1, which Marx starts with a long and dense treatment of the nature of commodities and commodification in order to capture this process whereby capitalists produce things people really do want or need in order to get at what they really want: return on their investment.

Jack Gavin , , March 20, 2019 at 12:36 pm

I also agree but I think we need to have a the same heated debate over what capitalism means. Over the years I have been subjected to (exposed) to more flavors of socialism than I can count. Yet, other than an introductory economics class way back when, no debatable words about what 'capitalism' is seems to get attention. Maybe it's time to do that and hope that some agreeable definition of 'freedom' falls out.

jrs , , March 20, 2019 at 12:42 pm

of course maybe socialism is the only thing that ever really could solve homelessness, given that it seems to be at this point a worldwide problem, although better some places than others (like the U.S. and UK).

Stratos , , March 20, 2019 at 11:11 am

This article lets the Dems off the hook. They have actively supported the Billionaire Agenda for decades now; sometimes actively (like when they helped gut welfare) and sometimes by enabling Repubs objectives (like voter suppression).

At this point in time, the Dem leadership is working to deep six Medicare for All.

With 'friends' like the Dems, who needs the Repubs?

WheresOurTeddy , , March 20, 2019 at 12:30 pm

our last democratic president was Carter

thump , , March 20, 2019 at 12:38 pm

1) In the history, a mention of the attempted coup against FDR would be good. See The Plot to Seize the White House by Jules Archer. ( Amazon link )

2) For the contemporary intellectual history, I really appreciated Nancy MacLean's Democracy in Chains . ( Amazon link ) Look her up on youtube or Democracy Now . Her book got a bit of press and she interviews well.

Bob of Newton , , March 20, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Please refer to these folks as 'rightwingers'. There are Democratic as well as Republicans who believe in this type of 'freedom'.

Jerry B , , March 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm

This post seems heavily slanted against the GOP and does not take into account how pro-business the Democrats have become. I tenuously agree with Yves intro that much of the current pro business value system campaign in the US was started with the political far right and the Lewis Powell Memo. And that campaign kicked into high gear during the Reagan Presidency.

But as that "pro business campaign" gained steam, the Democratic Party, IMO, realized that they could partake in the "riches" as well and sold their political soul for a piece of the action. Hartman's quote about the billionaire class should include their "wholly owned Republicans and Democrat politicians".

As Lambert mentions (paraphrasing), "The left puts the working class first. Both liberals and conservatives put markets first, liberals with many more layers of indirection (e.g., complex eligibility requirements, credentialing) because that creates niches from which their professional base benefits".

As an aside, while the pro-business/capitalism on steroids people have sought more "freedom", they have made the US and the world less free for the rest of us.

Also the over focusing on freedom is not uniquely GOP. As Hartman mentions, "the words freedom and liberty are iconic in American culture -- probably more so than with any other nation because they're so intrinsic to the literature, declarations and slogans of our nation's founding." US culture has taken the concept of freedom to an extreme version of individualism.

That is not surprising given our history.

The DRD4 gene is a dopamine receptor gene. One stretch of the gene is repeated a variable number of times, and the version with seven repeats (the "7R" form) produces a receptor protein that is relatively unresponsive to dopamine. Being unresponsive to dopamine means that people who have this gene have a host of related traits -- sensation and novelty seeking, risk taking, impulsivity, and, probably most consistently, ADHD. -- -- Seems like the type of people that would value extreme (i.e. non-collective) forms of freedom

The United States is the individualism poster child for at least two reasons. First there's immigration. Currently, 12 percent of Americans are immigrants, another 12 percent are children of immigrants, and everyone else except for the 0.9 percent pure Native Americans descend from people who emigrated within the last five hundred years.

And who were the immigrants?' Those in the settled world who were cranks, malcontents, restless, heretical, black sheep, hyperactive, hypomanic, misanthropic, itchy, unconventional, yearning to be free, yearning to be rich, yearning to be out of their, damn boring repressive little hamlet, yearning. -- -- Again seems like the type of people that would value freedom in all aspects of life and not be interested in collectivism

Couple that with the second reason -- for the majority of its colonial and independent history, America has had a moving frontier luring those whose extreme prickly optimism made merely booking passage to the New World insufficiently, novel -- and you've got America the individualistic.

The 7R variant mentioned above occurs in about 23 percent of Europeans and European Americans. And in East Asians? 1 percent. When East Asians domesticated rice and invented collectivist society, there was massive selection against the 7R variant. Regardless of the cause, East Asian cultural collectivism coevolved with selection against the 7R variant.

So which came first, 7R frequency or cultural style? The 4R and 7R variants, along with the 2R, occur worldwide, implying they already existed when humans radiated out of Africa 60,000 to 130,000 years ago. A high incidence of 7R, associated with impulsivity and novelty seeking, is the legacy of humans who made the greatest migrations in human history.

So it seems that many of the people who immigrated to the US were impulsive, novelty seeking, risk takers. As a counterpoint, many people that migrated to the US did not do so by choice but were forced from their homes and their countries by wars.

The point of this long comment is that for some people the concept of freedom can be taken to extreme -- a lack of gun control laws, financial regulation, extremes of wealth, etc. After a brief period in the 1940's, 1950's, and early 1960's when the US was more collective, we became greedy, consumerist, and consumption oriented, aided by the political and business elites as mentioned in the post.

If we want the US to be a more collective society we have to initially do so in our behaviors i.e. laws and regulations that rein in the people who would take the concept of freedom to an extreme. Then maybe over an evolutionary time period some of the move impulsive, sensation seeking, ADHDness, genes can be altered to a more balance mix of what makes the US great with more of the collective genes.

IMO, if we do not begin to work on becoming a collective culture now, then climate change, water scarcity, food scarcity, and resource scarcity will do it for us the hard way.

In these days of short attention spans I apologize for the long comment. The rest of my day is busy and I do not have more time to shorten the comment. I wanted to develop an argument for how the evolutionary and dysfunctional forms of freedom have gotten us to this point. And what we need to do to still have some freedom but also "play nice and share in the future sandbox of climate change and post fossil fuel society.

[Mar 20, 2019] Bad Blood - Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou - Observations by Walrus.

Notable quotes:
"... I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion. ..."
"... However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter. ..."
"... This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "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." ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

I wrote in 2010 at SST on the characteristics and dangers associated with narcissistic leadership. "Bad Blood' by John Carreyrou chronicles the rise and fall of Theranos, a Silicon Valley healthcare startup founded and run by Elizabeth Holmes, a card carrying narcissist if ever I saw one.

This book, in my opinion, paints such a detailed and comprehensive picture of the way these creatures operate that I thought it worthwhile to bring it to the attention of SST members who may doubt my warnings of the dangers of allowing such folk near the levers of power in business and, worse, Government.

I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion.

Under the direction of the charismatic Holmes, Theranos burned through some $900 million in investors funds before being found out in 2015. Their blood testing business was a sham that endangered patients. The company's key business strengths were the "reality distortion field" Elizabeth Holmes projected over investors and directors and the twin weapons of secrecy and fear they wielded over their employees.

Disbelievers my argue that start up companies sometimes require desperate measures to stay afloat and that you cannot make an omelette, etc. etc. However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter.

If you wish to perhaps be a little forearmed against the day that you perhaps must engage with one of these creatures it would be well to understand the cautionary tale of Theranos. https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Blood-Secrets-Silicon-Startup/dp/152473165X https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/05/walrus-on-narcissistic-leaders-.html

jnewman , 3 hours ago

This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com...
Godfree Roberts , 8 hours ago
In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "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."

My study of Chinese government revealed an important truth -- one that explains much about that country's rapid rise: they find our amateur, promise-driven, personality-based governance repulsive. They would no more vote for amateur politicians than for amateur brain surgeons. To them charm, good looks, quick wits and rhetorical skill signify shallowness, instability and glibness. Altruistic politicians have been fundamental to Chinese governance for two millennia.

Their political stars have always been experienced, scholarly, altruistic problem-solvers chosen on merit after decades of testing.

In 1000 AD, during our Dark Ages, with just one scholar-official for every eight thousand citizens, China was harmonious, technologically advanced and prosperous. Emperors and dynasties came and went while loyal, disciplined–often courageous–civil servants lived far from family, serving in remote regions under terrible conditions.

Confucius'[2] moral meritocracy and the rigors of the job discouraged sociopaths and officials integrity, efficiency and entrepreneurial energy made China the most advanced civilization on earth.

So highly do the Chinese esteem their best politicians that they deified one whose legacy, a water diversion project, has repaid its capital investment every twenty-four hours for 2,270 years. Millions visit his shrine, which is built overlooking his masterpiece, every year to offer incense and sincere thanks.

The altruistic tradition is remembered in a Singapore Government White Paper, "The concept of government by honorable men who have a duty to do right for the people and who have their trust and respect fits us better than the Western idea that government power should be as limited as possible."

And would-be members of China's Communist Party take an oath to "Bear the people's difficulties before the people and enjoy their fruits of their labors after the people". They often fail, obviously, but at least they've got something to shoot for–and a standard that the other 1.3 billion non-members can hold them to.

[1] The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout Ph.D.
[2] The Doctrine of the Mean

[Mar 20, 2019] Vladimir Putin celebrates birthday on ice in celebrity hockey match

This article was written 4 years ago, but the problem with Putin successor remains. Putin is a unique politician and his replacement might be much weaker, causing troubles for Russia. This is not new problem for Russia, but this time it will be especially acute. BTW this comment thread looks like "who is who" list for NATObots.
Notable quotes:
"... We could all use a real leader like Putin who takes no b.s. from anybody and is quick to adapt to any situation in a calm assertive way. He earns our admiration every day, the way he steers across an ever changing minefield and not because of his mucho image. We do not need leaders who deceit people by spewing relentless propaganda and no clarity. They fail as individuals and as a group because they are spineless. If multiple people repeat the same lie it does not make it true. It must be a club membership requirement to play the politics game and keep quiet about wrong things you see. ..."
"... Action man outwitting the Neocons in the international chess game. More surprises to come ..."
"... Karl Rove said "Empire creates its own reality". No wonder the mantra "Assad must go" is now enshrined in international politics by the Neocon alliance. They didnt figure on Putin obviously. ..."
"... It happens regardless, take the example in Volgograd (Vauxhall) two years ago. I am afraid that KSA and the Gulf States will be funding the usual mix of 'moderately terroristic shenanigans" in reprisal, but they did this before anyways. ..."
"... He making the US looked like whiny bitches. Good job; you alienate Russia and manage to strengthen the China-Russo relationrelationship. Sanctions that don't work, secret economic wars and multiple failed coup d'etat in Georgia and Ukraine [also do not work] ..."
"... Like US - Hospital - Afganistain. anyway ISIS are paid money by the CIA and don't care who they work for it's money that they are motivated by not ideology, that ideology stuff is made-up. Google it and dig, get yourself informed. ..."
"... Not quite sure why Mr Putin playing ice-hockey on his birthday is worthy of a story to open up for comments unless the Guardian is ' trawling ' to encourage some new anti-Putin Cold War rhetoric in the comments section. ..."
"... PS / Don't forget that nice Israeli Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu's birthday and how he celebrates it. Ensure you open it up for comment as I'm sure also that many will wish to voice an opinion. Will this now be a standard ' Birthday Feature ' for all world leaders in the Guardian, or has this newspaper just granted an exception for Mr Putin's birthday ? ..."
Oct 07, 2015 | The Guardian

goatrider 7 Oct 2015 17:12

I wonder if everyone on the Guardian staff has the same "man crush" on Putin? Could explain all these obsessive articles. I also wonder if he spent any time in the penalty box?

laticsfanfromeurope -> Extracrispy 7 Oct 2015 17:06

You prefer ISIS and Al-Nusra then the legitimate Syrian gov. and the legitimate help of Russia...not a surprise from stupid western supporters!


pfox33 7 Oct 2015 17:05

There isn't one of our western politicians that wouldn't sell his fucking mother to be getting the attention that Putin's getting. I thought he was supposed to be isolated.

So to keep the hockey thing going, Putin's stolen the puck in the neutral zone, split the Nato defensemen who were too far forward and is on a breakaway.

I feel sorry for Obama because I think he's a good leader but when it comes to trying to maneuver in a geopolitical situation like Syria he's fucked before he leaves the house. Putin can just act without trying to herd cats like Obama has to do with his Nato minions. He doesn't have a bunch of recalcitrant GOP senators calling him everything but a white man and running their mouths about what they would do.

... ... ...


filin led -> Braminski 7 Oct 2015 16:55

It's you who are a troll, sir. By what you say, anything can be dismissed as paid propaganda. That means, you are as likely to be a paid agent yourself. So, if you can't come up with a constructive argument, stop commenting please.


Mordantdude -> Poppy757 7 Oct 2015 16:40

As Russians say: "Envy silently".

giacinto101 7 Oct 2015 15:59

We could all use a real leader like Putin who takes no b.s. from anybody and is quick to adapt to any situation in a calm assertive way. He earns our admiration every day, the way he steers across an ever changing minefield and not because of his mucho image. We do not need leaders who deceit people by spewing relentless propaganda and no clarity. They fail as individuals and as a group because they are spineless. If multiple people repeat the same lie it does not make it true. It must be a club membership requirement to play the politics game and keep quiet about wrong things you see.


SilkverBlogger 7 Oct 2015 15:54

Action man outwitting the Neocons in the international chess game. More surprises to come


CIAbot007 -> Poppy757 7 Oct 2015 15:39

Most of Aussies have a bit of common sense which says that you can't blame anyone before it is prooved. With Western MSM propaganda machine blaming Russia and Putin even before anything happens you bet there's no such thing as balanced and unskewed reporting and even will for any kind of such thing. Don't get fooled, use your brain or your brain will be used by someone else.


SilkverBlogger 7 Oct 2015 14:48

Karl Rove said "Empire creates its own reality". No wonder the mantra "Assad must go" is now enshrined in international politics by the Neocon alliance. They didnt figure on Putin obviously.


PekkaRoivanen MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:30

In the West, we don't have a sycophantic press kissing the leader's backside:

Guardian: Barack Obama scores just 2 out of 22 basketball hoops - video

You wrote that Obama plays basketball and you prove it with this video where Obama wears dress shirt (tie removed :-D) and scores badly.

Are you sure Obama plays basketball? Or is it just press kissing his backside?

Kev Kev Hektor Uranga 7 Oct 2015 14:28

the USA persecutes and kills people who speak out against it. Only difference is the USA does it in ways that nobody sees.. In other words the USA is the same as Russia only they do their work in the dark. When nobody is looking.

Abiesalba MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:26

That's the guy who is wishing Putin a happy birthday.

The US/UK duo have caused with their insane illegal wars more than a million deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and counting.

I recommend you look up a little the complex history and present situation in Chechnya and the North Caucasus region.

ISIS (which the insanely aggressive US/UK duo have in effect created) is already spreading its influence INSIDE the Russian Federation. So Putin has direct interests to defeat ISIS and stabilise Syria (and Iraq). In addition, the south of the Russian Federation is on the map of territories which ISIS plans to conquer.

See for example:
-
8 ISIS supporters killed in N. Caucasus special op

(2 August 2015)

Russian security forces have foiled a terrorist group that recently pledged allegiance to ISIS in Ingushetia, in the Northern Caucasus, according to the National Anti-Terror Committee (NAC). Security forces seized explosives, weapons and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
-
How Russian Militants Declared A New ISIS 'State' In Russia's North Caucasus

(26 June 2015)

The Islamic State group announced the creation of its northernmost province this week, after accepting a formal pledge of allegiance from former al Qaeda militants in the North Caucasus region of Russia.
-
-
It is true that at present, the Chechens are begging Putin to let them strike in Syria (and this is also closely linked to the complicated history of North Caucasus), but Putin has not unleashed them. See for example here:
-
-
Kadyrov asks Putin to allow Chechen infantry to fight in Syria (RT, 2 October 2015)
-
The head of the Chechen Republic has asked the Russian president to send Chechen units to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, adding that his fighters have sworn to fight terrorists till the end.

"Being a Muslim, a Chechen and a Russian patriot I want to say that in 1999 when our republic was overrun with these devils we swore on the Koran that we would fight them wherever they are," the Chechen leader said. "But we need the Commander-in-Chief's decision to do this," he emphasized. According to the Russian Constitution, the president [Putin] is also the commander-in-chief of the military forces.


BMWAlbert clanview46 7 Oct 2015 14:26

It happens regardless, take the example in Volgograd (Vauxhall) two years ago. I am afraid that KSA and the Gulf States will be funding the usual mix of 'moderately terroristic shenanigans" in reprisal, but they did this before anyways.


Julian1972 MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:21

That was last year...also it was authored by a combination of the CIA and their right-wing 'Operation Stay Behind' cohorts...though, if you don't know that by now you doubtless never will.


Abiesalba MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:16

Murderers, thieves and embezzlers stroking each other's egos.

Putin has a long way to go to match the US/UK.
-
-
Here is a recent report about 'collateral damage' compiled by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War:
-
Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the 'War on Terror' (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan)

(March 2015)
-
This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, i.e. a total of around 1.3 million.

NOT included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen.

The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs.

And this is only a conservative estimate. The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.
-
-
For more about civilian casualties due to the US-led coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq, see the Airwars website:

584 – 1,720 civilians killed:

To date, the international coalition has only conceded two "likely" deaths, from an event in early November 2014. It is also presently investigating seven further incidents of concern; is carrying out credibility assessments on a further 13; and has concluded three more investigations – having found no 'preponderance of evidence' to support civilian casualty claims.

More Power -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:13

He making the US looked like whiny bitches. Good job; you alienate Russia and manage to strengthen the China-Russo relationrelationship. Sanctions that don't work, secret economic wars and multiple failed coup d'etat in Georgia and Ukraine [also do not work]. Just look at the World Bank, BRICS is on the door step. Happy birth day Putin. A badass mofo

blueskis -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:06

The vats majority of the 5500 killed have been civilians in East Ukraine killed by airstrikes ordered by kiev/washington, fully justifying Russian intervention.


ooTToo -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:40

Like US - Hospital - Afganistain. anyway ISIS are paid money by the CIA and don't care who they work for it's money that they are motivated by not ideology, that ideology stuff is made-up. Google it and dig, get yourself informed.


geedeesee -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:19

Russia is attacking what they said they'd attack, Tavernier. ISIS, al-Nusrah, and other terrorist organisations.

inconvenienttruth13 -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:18

No he isn't. Anybody with a functioning brain knows he had nothing to do with that. Unlike the US genocide in the Middle East - over 2 million dead and counting - not to mention the deliberate and sustained attack on a hospital. Maybe you don' get to see the news in your ward?

inconvenienttruth13 -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:13

The US created, funds, trains and arms ISIS - they are only supporting terrorists in their campaign to effect regime change. Russia is responding to a request fro the Syrian government, so its actions are entirely legal. The faces that the USA and the KSA are the biggest sponsors of terrorism in the world.

monteverdi1610 7 Oct 2015 12:22

Not quite sure why Mr Putin playing ice-hockey on his birthday is worthy of a story to open up for comments unless the Guardian is ' trawling ' to encourage some new anti-Putin Cold War rhetoric in the comments section.

PS / Don't forget that nice Israeli Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu's birthday and how he celebrates it. Ensure you open it up for comment as I'm sure also that many will wish to voice an opinion. Will this now be a standard ' Birthday Feature ' for all world leaders in the Guardian, or has this newspaper just granted an exception for Mr Putin's birthday ?

[Mar 20, 2019] The Opportunity Cost of America s Disastrous Foreign Policy by Vlad Sobell

Foreign policy is no longer controlled by the President of the USA. It is controlled by the Deep state. This article is from 2015 but can easily be written about Trump administration
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, as Putin himself had proposed in his visionary October 2011 article, the Eurasian Union could have become one of the pillars of a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok and based on the EU's single-market rules (acquis communautaire). ..."
"... First and foremost, because the self-proclaimed "exceptional" power (actually, a mere "outlying island" in the Atlantic, according to the founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder) and its dysfunctional "deep-state" officialdom did not want it to be. How could they have permitted such a thing? How could they have allowed other countries to get on with improving the lives of their citizens without being obliged to seek Washington's approval every step of the way? ..."
"... In order to make sure that they were not side-lined, the US elites had to intervene. The Western propaganda machine started churning out all sorts of nonsense that Putin is a new Hitler who is bent on restoring the Soviet empire and who is bullying Europe, while continuing to bang on about his "increasingly autocratic rule". ..."
"... Deadly attacks by chauvinistic proxies were launched on the Russophone people in South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008 and more recently in Ukraine. ..."
"... Stuck in an Orwellian nightmare, Europe has to demonstrate its unfailing loyalty to Big Brother and go along with the view that Russia, an intrinsic and valuable part of the European mainstream both historically and culturally, represents universal evil and that the Earth will not be safe until the Federation has been dismembered and Putinism wiped out once and for all. ..."
"... Having self-destructed in two world wars, it has become an easy and even willing prey to an arrogant, ignorant and power-drunk predator that has never experienced the hardships and horrors that Europe has. ..."
"... Even more terrifying, intellectually third-rate Washington viceroys such as Victoria Nuland and the freelancing armchair warrior Senator McCain are allowed to play God with our continent. ..."
"... Indeed, the damage extends beyond the economy. By aligning with the forces of chaos – such as chauvinistic extremists in Ukraine – Washington and its Euro-vassals are corrupting the moral (and intellectual) core of the West. ..."
"... 'My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: "Money, we give them money." "Foreign aid?" I asked. "No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale. We bought them. They report to us." Perhaps this explains Tony Blair's $50 million fortune one year out of office'. ..."
"... "We, the [CENSORED] people, control America and the Americans know it." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED] ..."
Mar 18, 2015 | Russia Insider

Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy... European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy

The avalanche of commentary since the Ukrainian crisis erupted a year ago has overshadowed any reflections on the immense forgone benefits (technically speaking, the "opportunity cost") of what might have been if Washington had been working for peace and stability instead of war and chaos.

Imagine the following: After the unraveling of the Communist bloc, Europe, in partnership with the US, had forged a new security system in which Russia was treated as a valued and equal partner – one whose interests were respected. Russia, decimated by a century of wars and Communist imperialism, would doubtless have eagerly reciprocated in kind. Most countries of the former Soviet Union would have then proceeded to build a new Eurasian structure of which Russia would have served as the natural umbrella, given its long-standing interaction with the region's diverse nations and cultures.

Indeed, as Putin himself had proposed in his visionary October 2011 article, the Eurasian Union could have become one of the pillars of a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok and based on the EU's single-market rules (acquis communautaire).

The rising Far Eastern economic powerhouse, with the world's most populous country, China, at its centre, would have linked up with the world's largest economy (the EU). An enormous Eurasian production and financial bloc would have been created – one that drew primarily on secure supplies of Russian energy and other natural resources. Untold investment opportunities would have opened up in Siberia and Russia's Far East as well as in Central Asia. Hundreds of millions of people in Eurasia and elsewhere would have been lifted out of poverty. And, not least, the EU would have been refashioned as an integral part of the dynamic trans-Eurasian economy (rather than as a German-centred empire, as appears to be the case today), thereby making a major contribution to overcoming the ongoing global economic depression.

All of this was not to be, however. Why not? First and foremost, because the self-proclaimed "exceptional" power (actually, a mere "outlying island" in the Atlantic, according to the founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder) and its dysfunctional "deep-state" officialdom did not want it to be. How could they have permitted such a thing? How could they have allowed other countries to get on with improving the lives of their citizens without being obliged to seek Washington's approval every step of the way?

European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy

In order to make sure that they were not side-lined, the US elites had to intervene. The Western propaganda machine started churning out all sorts of nonsense that Putin is a new Hitler who is bent on restoring the Soviet empire and who is bullying Europe, while continuing to bang on about his "increasingly autocratic rule".

Deadly attacks by chauvinistic proxies were launched on the Russophone people in South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008 and more recently in Ukraine.

And in what is eerily reminiscent of Stalinist "bloc discipline", the EU/NATO nomenclature was ordered to implement the absurd strategy of severing the Russian economy from the EU. For their part, the cowering Eurocrats willingly obliged by imposing sanctions on Russia that, perversely, have had a negative impact on their own economies (but, let it be stressed, not that of the US). No questions raised and no public debate on the wisdom of such a strategy permitted.

Stuck in an Orwellian nightmare, Europe has to demonstrate its unfailing loyalty to Big Brother and go along with the view that Russia, an intrinsic and valuable part of the European mainstream both historically and culturally, represents universal evil and that the Earth will not be safe until the Federation has been dismembered and Putinism wiped out once and for all.

This abuse and humiliation of Europe is unparalleled. The continent that gave the world the wonders of the Antiquity, modern democracy, the industrial revolution and what is arguably the greatest tradition of philosophy, fine arts and classical music is being bullied by its oversized offspring. Having self-destructed in two world wars, it has become an easy and even willing prey to an arrogant, ignorant and power-drunk predator that has never experienced the hardships and horrors that Europe has. War and extermination camps are etched into the European DNA. America "knows" about them only from afar – and, not least, from the Hollywood entertainment industry.

Even more terrifying, intellectually third-rate Washington viceroys such as Victoria Nuland and the freelancing armchair warrior Senator McCain are allowed to play God with our continent. The so-called European "leaders" are colluding with them in plunging Europe into the abyss and thereby risking nuclear confrontation.

America, too, is a loser

But this is not just a tragedy for Europe and Eurasia. We are also witnessing the wilful misrule of America and, by default, of the entire West. Indeed, Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy. The "democracy-promoters" running Washington's foreign-policy apparatus apparently do not understand that America has nothing to lose and a lot to gain from the Eurasian economic project: the rising tide of global economic welfare would lift everyone's boats, including its own. Why should it matter to Washington if the rising tide comes from other quarters beyond its control?

Indeed, the damage extends beyond the economy. By aligning with the forces of chaos – such as chauvinistic extremists in Ukraine – Washington and its Euro-vassals are corrupting the moral (and intellectual) core of the West. If it continues to support such forces against Russia, united Europe will lose not only its backbone but its very soul. The moral consequences of this loss will be enormous and could lead to the precipitous erosion of Western democracy.

The 'autocrats' want to work with the West, not against it

US and EU leaders believe that the Russian and Chinese "autocrats" are out to destroy the West because the latter hate freedom (as George W. Bush might have put it). And hence, they argue, the autocrats must be stopped in their tracks. The simple truth is that Western leaders are too blinkered to understand that far from desiring to destroy the West, Russia and China want it to prosper so that they can work with it to everyone's benefit. Having enjoyed a privileged position over several centuries and having attained unprecedented prosperity in recent decades, the West simply cannot understand that the rest of humanity has no interest in fomenting the "clash of civilizations" but rather craves peace and stability so that it can finally improve its economic lot.

Perhaps, however, all is not yet lost. It is still possible that reason – and economic forces – will prevail and force the West to correct the errors of its ways. What we need, perhaps, more than ever is the ability to step out of the box, question our fundamental assumptions (not least about Russia and China) and find the courage to change policies that have proved disastrous. After all, critical thought, dispassionate analysis and the ability to be open to new ideas is what made the West so successful in the past. If we are to thrive once again in the future, we must resurrect these most valuable and unsurpassed assets.

Vlad Sobell teaches political economy in Prague and Berlin Europeans Look On as US Sows Discord on the Continent Wed, Nov 2

Tom Welsh

What I cannot understand is the naive belief that elected politicians would act in the interests of those whom they represent. Under what other circumstances do we see human beings act with disinterested altruism? So why would a bunch of people who have been ruthlessly selected for selfishness, arrogance, and callousness - a bunch of carefully chosen psychopaths, if you will - behave in that way?

'My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: "Money, we give them money." "Foreign aid?" I asked. "No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale. We bought them. They report to us." Perhaps this explains Tony Blair's $50 million fortune one year out of office'.

- Paul Craig Roberts

jabirujoe

"Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy".

Not only it's foreign policy but it's domestic policy as well. Let's call it for what it really is. The Wall Street/Corporate policy which is the driving force behind behind everything the US does

Toddrich

"We, the [CENSORED] people, control America and the Americans know it." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]

"When we're done with the U.S. it will shrivel up and blow away." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]

The welfare or future of the American people are not part of the equation.

[Mar 20, 2019] Trump Sticks To Sanctions - U.S., North Korea Summit Fails - Updated

Incompetent, cowboy style foreign policy is the hallmark of Trump administration. they can only bully, they can't hold a constructive negotiations. As one commenter observed "American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die."
His appointment of Bolton and Pompeo means that Trump is a neocon in foreign policy and/or does not control foreign policy of his administration. .
Notable quotes:
"... This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. ..."
"... Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up. ..."
"... Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism ..."
"... Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door. ..."
"... My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols. ..."
"... The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen. ..."
"... An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/ ..."
"... American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die. ..."
"... summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean ..."
"... No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'. ..."
"... IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis] ..."
"... as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks. ..."
"... And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct. ..."
"... When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache. ..."
"... I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together." ..."
"... I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue ..."
"... Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed. ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

twhstmmwmafilwwwww , Feb 28, 2019 8:13:44 AM | link

This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. They know the DPRK wasn't gonna give up its nuclear deterrent unilaterally, so the next best thing behind a the dream of a Libya situation is to once again have an aggressive relationship with the North to be able to continue to justify all sorts of "defense" maneuvering around China now that foreign policy has now officially pivoted away from terrorism and towards China(+Russia).

Similar to AEGIS Ashore in Eastern Europe in order to "defend" Europe from "Iran".

Christian Chuba , Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | link

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing

Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up.

We talked to them giving them legitimacy, OMG, as if we have some kind of glorious halo that is worth a billions of $ or even more. This makes me want to puke when I heare this.

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.

steven t johnson , Feb 28, 2019 8:28:11 AM | link
Believing Trump is or ever was open to breaking with US imperialism is Trumpery. He wants to sweat the subordinates, wants them to spend more on the military, buy more US weapons, do more fighting. But to make things look good he will say anything, and renege.

Some people think Trump etc. are trying to detach the north from a Chinese alliance. There are two problems here. First, there's no sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north. Not wanting to squeeze hard enough to cause a total collapse is not supporting the north. Second, if that's what Trump wanted, he'd actually try offering the north concessions.

The issue in the background is whether Trump will let the south out of the US orbit. It's an easy question to answer: He won't. Empires don't give up their territory until they're made to. The Soviet withdrawal from central Europe is not an exception, as the USSR was not an empire. (Yes, everyone who says "Soviet empire" and means it is a shithead.)

Ts'yew Taw-Loh , Feb 28, 2019 8:30:46 AM | link
Formally, the Korean War was between Chosôn on the one side and The United nations and Hangok (Daehan)on the other. The UN security council is the ones to have instituted tthe sanction regime and thus in practice committed a crime against Humanity by inflictin starvation the people of the North. In practice it was a US & their allie's war against the entire population of Korea. Formally, peace must be signed by Chosôn and the UN and sanctions lifted by the latter. In Practice, the US must be made to abide with agreements.
vk , Feb 28, 2019 8:48:36 AM | link
Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism

Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door.

My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols.

David Wooten , Feb 28, 2019 8:58:41 AM | link
The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen.

Moon would probably like to unite the two Koreas and kick US out. But then, the US mil/fp would sanction him and all Korea.

donkeytale , Feb 28, 2019 9:07:21 AM | link
This was yet another photo op on the road to nowhere with our reality show presidency. As Conway Twitty sang, "it's only make believe." The path to "normalisation" with NK winds through SK.
Ant , Feb 28, 2019 9:09:01 AM | link

An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/

American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die.

Time to grow up, it's not the 1990's. You're just another country, and we're not so frightened any more.

b , Feb 28, 2019 9:34:31 AM | link
This is quite possible ...
Kevin Gray @DrKevinGray Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean
snake , Feb 28, 2019 10:06:12 AM | link
@8

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing. Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want .. follow up question {answered} as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S.[ A given up. [please note that unless you are a member of the 527 persons that make up the USA, you the " WE does not include you. Americans get to elect by a vary strained highly polarized (Republican vs Democrat) process, 525 persons under Article I, but not the two persons who are the CEOs that govern the USA ?

Americans cannot elected the CEOs that make all of the decisions. The CEOs of the USA are elected by persons who many or may not be Americans, have a look PLEASE!

... ... ...

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.<= once again I remind you that the " WE d/n include you..

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | 5

Jason , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:18 AM | link
So we give up nothing, not even a temporary ease in sanctions and they give up their nuclear weapons program in whole, what a deal.

Its obvious that even if Trump went there with the intention of making a realistic two sided deal the permanent war state would just scuttle it anyway by refusing to follow the plan or staging some new provocation like some war games or bomber fly over.

DPRK has to see that after Iran complied with the inspections regime and abandoned its civilian nuclear program the goal post was moved to not even being allowed to have ballistic missiles.

What I don't understand is how long before South Korea demands we respect its sovereignty in it's own military affairs and asks us to remove a sizable chunk of our war machine so a lasting peace can be made. Can South Korea not forge its own tit-for-tat peace plan with the North that makes sense to both sides and tell the US not to interfere, sabotage or ask it to leave? It seems the opportunity is ripe to exclude the empty suit Trump and his group of Neo-con madmen and forge ahead with opening up trade and mutual thawing of feeling in Koreas, but is there political will to do so in South Korea?

AriusArmenian , Feb 28, 2019 11:02:39 AM | link
No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'.
Jackrabbit , Feb 28, 2019 11:06:39 AM | link
fairleft @16

The link @12 is another form of apology for Trump. Essentially, an insanity defense:

All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. You can feel so much of this in Trump's confused and confusing attempts to both end American wars and ratchet them up . . .

[So] ... think of this piece as an obituary of sorts ... not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who ... was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear [but of a nation] . . . whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon.

It's not Trump's fault - it's the neocons! They constructed a system that allowed for the election of this "loopy" President and are using him for their own ends.

Sure, the neocons deserve much blame but the Deep State and their US President compatriots (Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump) are also guilty just as the driver of the getaway car is just as guilty as the bank robbers.

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 12:17:31 PM | link

IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis]

Wouldn't or couldn't? Using "couldn't" tells me that possibility was zero to begin with and Bolton's appearance had nothing to do with anything other than the fact that the impasse was pre-determined. Kim knew it would happen; I was 99% sure it would happen; and of course Trump knew. And that's where it will likely remain until 2021, although there's a slight possibility that the UNSC sanctions will be modified and lessened.

Escobar's recap of recent events seems rather bland, although between the lines I think he's saying that solving Kashmir is more important than solving Afghanistan, an important point overlooked too long.

So, Koreans are left to their own devices and will continue their unification drive, while the quadrangular relations between China, Russia, and the two Koreas will grow tighter; all of which serve to increase pressure on Abe and Japan to drop the Empire's line.

BM , Feb 28, 2019 12:24:57 PM | link
It would be easy to be put off by the failure of the summit under the Americans' blatent treachery, but it is probably better that way.

Consider what would happen if the US and NK were to have a "fantastically successful" summit with agreements signed - what are the chances that the US would subsequently honour their commitments? NILL. What would be the effect on NK if NK does not honour it's commitments? Devastating at best.

Because of the US' well-established behaviour patterns, it is hard to imagine how NK could benefit from signing an agreement with the US - any concrete agreement - the US will ignore it's commitments, while forcing NK to abide by its commitments.

Therefore a situation in which the US clearly shows itself to be the treacherous partner while the NK side is beyond reproach is the perfect outcome for NK, allowing her to establish a good reputation in world public opinion and - hopefully - together with SK find their own way to achieve peaceful reunification without the US.

Peaceful reunification with US blessing was never on the cards and never will be.

Fortunately Kim Jong-Un has thus far been truly masterful in playing his cards, getting the geostrategic benefits at each throw, while the US only succeed in clearly establishing their treachery and progressively undermining their geostrategic hand.

With support from China and Russia, may the two Koreas eventually successfully achieve their own peaceful reunification without the US!

james , Feb 28, 2019 12:31:38 PM | link
thanks b... aside from liking what @26 psychohistorian said, i wonder who really benefits from these sanctions the usa is so quick to use as a tool against others impose or maintain? the usa appears to be built on this system of financial sanctions and can't function without it.. is it that the thought of north and south korea working together means the usa gets cut out of the action? is that a big part of it?? at some point it is going to happen anyway... same deal russia and the rest of europe and same deal iran and the rest of the world... it seems to me the usa is squandering all the promise they might have had at one time by catering to whoever profits from these financial sanction routines..

so yeah.. it is back to rome didn't fall in a day, and the usa's time is coming soon enough..

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 12:35:04 PM | link
A large impediment to North Korea achieving a lifting of sanctions is the long list of UNSC resolutions establishing global unanimity for a sanctions regime.

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

The US has managed to corral China and Russia to join these sanctions.

However, a case can be made that since no nuke testing has transpired, no missile tests have continued, and the threat to neighbors and the region is now flat-lined, North Korea should be acting, not with the US alone, but with all the UNSC and other nations, in a way that demonstrates it is walking from nuclear development and ICBM achievement.

We shall see if Russia and China can press this argument in order to pursue economic development as a reward for international inspection and IAEA control of the NK nuclear program.

What the US wants is to get Moon out of the picture and retain fanatical South Korean leadership that would be against North Korea development. Trump may see the potential in North Korea, but the MIC and Deep State absolutely do not want to have to leave South Korea as a base.

arby , Feb 28, 2019 12:52:37 PM | link
To the posters who think Russia should intervene everywhere... Just reading on Orlov's blog and he pointed to an article he wrote about Russia and Putin in 2014 from a Valdai meeting---Putin--

"5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America's ever-expanding "empire of chaos," and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia's challenges lie in developing her already vast territory).

Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past."

the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:21:18 PM | link
as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks.

i know it's based in "realism" or "realpolitik" or whatever euphemism for "do what we say or be murdered" people prefer, but south korea not telling the west to kiss the tastiest part of its ass and siding with the dprk and china to settle things is just absurd. other than financial punishment, what are they afraid of? no more disgusting tainted beef? no more deliveries of WWIII-level military gear without permission? a drop in sex tourism among pasty white anglos?

at least this does away with all pretense of trump being a "peace president" in the slightest. that was always a fantasy of the MAGA/"we liek him cuz hes xtian lol" crowd to begin with but now even the suggestion of such is laughable.

b , Feb 28, 2019 1:23:41 PM | link
The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi. I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.
worldblee , Feb 28, 2019 1:28:41 PM | link
The bi-partisan War Party wins again, the world loses.
the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:29:15 PM | link
@#36

i despise trudeau and all, but this oddly timed "scandal" is based on nothing but one woman's testimony (as believable as she is) and the screeching of the scumbag conservatives along with their bootlickers in the media. global and CTV have always been conservative party infomercials but lately it's just ridiculous.

saying "a canadian politician did a corrupt thing" is like saying "we caught water being wet". odd how canada has a reputation as being "smarter" than the US yet its citizens have already forgotten the ten years of dripping, oily sleaze under harper and his coterie of fat doughy apes (the fattest and oiliest of which - jason kenney - has been oozing from the telly screen on a constant basis on said channels).

with his repulsive bootlicking on the huawei affair and venezuela, it's easy to want justin out yesterday . but any conservative taking his place will be harper 2.0 and therefore trump's maple mini-me.

apologies for off topicness.

james , Feb 28, 2019 1:52:15 PM | link
ot - @36 karlof1... next election is oct 2019... it probably doesn't matter as i doubt very much he gets elected in october.. it is kinda true what the pair is saying @40 too... we will get getting our version of trump, as we are one cycle behind the usa... some conservative jackass will be running canada towards the end of the year to make matters even worse.. canucks are not all that bright, lol..
S , Feb 28, 2019 2:04:06 PM | link
South Koreans, where are you? You should be camping 24/7 in front of the U.S. embassy, demanding the immediate removal of sanctions. The unification will never happen if you don't take a more active stance.

The international community wants it, North Koreans want it, it all comes down to you. Kick the American troops out, break up your chaebols, and start the unification process. Any sanctions the U.S might impose on you will be more than offset by cheap Russian pipeline gas, a rail link to Europe, and an economic boom due to integration with the North. What are you waiting for? You may never have another chance like this.

one off poster , Feb 28, 2019 4:04:14 PM | link
@38 b:
Thank you very much for the update, b. I am pleased that the DPRK called the press conference. It is a pity the video has been viewed only 1179 times.

Here is video footage of the DPRK news conference.

The 1st part is the prepared statement read out by foreign minister Ri Yong Ho with english translation following. The 2nd part of the interview consists of Q&A (sound quality v bad). It mainly reiterates the 1st part, but from 10:25 on, she says that (an) American Inspector(s) visited a factory called "Yun Soo" within the Yong Byon. She wanted to emphasise that that factory was put on the table for closure as well by DPRK.

Given that the sanctions the DPRK was seeking to be lifted were not US imposed sanctions, but UN sanctions, can the UN Sec Gen intervene (kind of like what happened in Yemen)?

It does make one wonder why POTUS said that DPRK was seeking the removal of ALL sanctions. Was he expecting something like this? It is so easy to refute that the fact it was said at all is intriguing.

PavewayIV , Feb 28, 2019 4:06:44 PM | link
Otto B@33 - I suppose I can't argue with your logic - especially if this was part of an 'Art of the Deal' seminar. I will simply point out that your premise completely ignores what US citizens think is in THEIR best interests.

Pulling out all of our forces from South Korea permanently and ending sanctions on North Korea would be more than enough for them to denuclearize (and probably unify with the South). THAT is in US citizens' best interests, period. Chickenhawks within the US government are the only ones demanding an eternal occupation of South Korea and an eternal standoff with North Korea. They sell this as a necessary price to pay for 'security', except we're damn tired of hearing about our psychopathic leaders' manufactured enemy and we don't need protection from it.

Same goes for Iran, despite their nuclear capabilities, or lack thereof. 'Protecting US interests' is not 'protecting the US'. No amount of marketing or propaganda is going to make Iran a credible threat to the US or its citizens EVER. We don't need protection from a manufactured enemy. Three million people (give or take a million) were slaughtered in Southeast Asia to protect us against the last manufactured enemy: those homicidal CHICOMs. I don't recall seeing any fresh, bloody human heads mounted on pikes in downtown Hanoi during the talks this weekend. How is that possible?

I don't need a better Iranian 'deal'. I need my psychopathic leaders to stop antagonizing the hell out of Iran and stop punishing the Iranian people. Israel's psychopathic obsession with destroying Iran or somehow containing its regional influence has NOTHING to do with the security of US citizens - despite the incessant narrative. Are you honestly expecting the little people in the US to believe the DC chickenhawks or the MSM again?

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 4:12:47 PM | link
RT editorial savages BigLie Media for the usual reasons--but--in choosing to highlight Susan Rice's NY Times op/ed in an attempt to discredit her, she actually suggests the very sort of incremental moves agreed to in the initial summit's Declaration:

"To move the needle, the United States and North Korea will need to agree on a series of incremental, reciprocal steps that would build mutual confidence as part of a road map to full denuclearization."

Oops!! All in all, the editorialist misrepresents Rice, which is what he accuses BigLie Media of doing--OUCH!

Rice's conclusion will surprise a few here:

"In Hanoi, Mr. Trump has an opportunity to achieve incremental progress toward denuclearization. Unfortunately, history suggests that Mr. Trump will be content with another colorful photo opportunity and more diplomatic shadow boxing that perpetuates the illusion of success, while running down the clock on a nearly intractable challenge."

And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 4:35:58 PM | link
@27 Jose Garcia: "My question. What will South Korea do now?"

Well, they only have two choices:

Option 1: Continue to be the USA's loyal lapdog, in which case several million of them are doomed to die in the (increasingly inevitable) replay of the 1950-2 war.

Option 2: Hold secret talks with North Korea that lead to the surprise signing of a peace treaty that contains a clause that says "Both Koreas agree that no foreign forces shall be stationed on the Korean Peninsular". Then brace themselves to be sanctioned within an inch of their lives.

They'll go hungry under Option 2, and it will be inevitable that they flip into the "Chinese orbit". But they'll still be alive, which is not nothin'.

They'll make a stab at Option 2, because under Option 1 they'll all end up dead.

Rob , Feb 28, 2019 5:03:57 PM | link
@fairleft (16)

When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache.

TDeL , Feb 28, 2019 5:17:43 PM | link
@6

Actually there is one sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north: a Shengyang rail link to Seoul via Pyongyang. This could be constructed in less than 3 years and will take some pressure off congestion in the Bohai Sea-Yellow Sea shipping lanes. And provide efficient transport of materials, goods & people in new & expanded markets. I'm sure there are others.

Thank you b for the timely update on the latest theatrical entertainment, Nobel Peace Prize episode

uncle tungsten , Feb 28, 2019 5:36:43 PM | link
fastfreddy # 44

Agreed ff but regarding the Trump timeline from afar he has deliberately and methodically filled the white house staff with more and more extreme people. Slowly boiling the frog comes to mind. We are supposed to be acclimatized to this huckster being surrounded by hawks whereas he and his entire family are predators more deadly than hawks.

S #42

Thank you, you nailed it. Perhaps the assembled mass of South Koreans in front of the US embassy could wear a vest symbolising healing or unity. Perhaps they could assemble around a UN flag demanding that it back off from being a USA puppet. I don't recall having seen a UN flag burned yet but it would be an appropriate symbol from South Korea, or Haiti, or Libya, or......

Thank you again b and all the comrade writers, it has been a great read.

Chas , Feb 28, 2019 5:50:42 PM | link
What I can't understand is why NK would give up its nuclear capability without requiring the empire to do the same. It isn't equitable for NK to give up its nukes for the mere promise of the empire to not place nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. The empire could still strike Nk from outside the peninsula. What's good for one country is good for the other.
karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 5:59:53 PM | link
Yeah, Right @50--

For your Option #2 to fly, the existing treaty with Outlaw US Empire must be negated along with the entire arrangement with UN that's existed since 1950. Given Imperial intransigence combined with ever escalating political will within RoK, such a happening may occur before 2020 begins.

The most recent article on reunification I was able to find in English is 3 months old and provides grounds for optimism given the concept's positive direction. IMO, Moon and Kim need to continue down the path they've made for each other,, while the diplomatic action moves into the UNSC which is where most of the sanctions were born and the only venue where they can be rescinded.

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 7:49:53 PM | link
@35, S,

I always check my comments in preview, often many times. The URL seemed to be fine. It works. However, I'll be more cognizant in the future with any long URLs.

Thanks.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 8:29:00 PM | link
S @ 42:

For South Korea to do as you suggest, Japan must do exactly the same. The South Koreans are more afraid of what Japan would do if they (SK, that is) were to throw out the Americans, downsize their own military and start a reunification or a "one-state-two-systems" process, and Japan does not follow suit with demilitarisation.

Incidentally the current Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's grandfather Nobusuke Kishi served as Munitions Minister under PM Hideki Tojo in the early 1940s. Under his watch, thousands of Chinese and Koreans were employed as slave labour in factories and mines. Kishi also ran the puppet state Manchukuo during the 1930s as his personal technocratic industrial slave state.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/east-asia-cant-escape-the-sins-of-the-father/article15987729/

Much later Kishi also got a turn as Japanese PM but his legacy as PM may have been to design a political system in which the Liberal Democratic Party (a conservative party in Japan) was always the main political party in government from 1955 to 1993.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/09/27/general/no-nos-for-noda-japans-top-10-most-useless-pms/#.XHiKklwzaUk

Needless to say, Abe hero-worships Kishi.

psychohistorian , Feb 28, 2019 9:29:16 PM | link
I want to add some more thought to those I shared with Jen. What about the Philippines? I think that at this time in history all of the outposts of empire are at risk.

I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together."

I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue

Are we going to see the dominoes of empire fall? I damn well hope so!

Kiza , Feb 28, 2019 9:31:48 PM | link
Is it not funny how the boss Bolton shows up at negotiations and El Presidente falls into (his unrealistic) line? El Presidente de la republica bananera is just a low level employee of his own staff BullbyTon and Pompous Maximus.

Nobody asked this here yet, but how did we get to US negotiating against NK on behalf of UN Security Council ?

Who did China and Russia on the Security Council serve, did they get anything for their service to the republica bananera?

One can recognise how ruthless US is, but one also has to recognise how worthless China and Russia are. US ignores UN Resolutions it does not like and uses UN Resolutions it initiated as a head-club for achieving its goals whilst China and Russia go along. This is exactly why the things are as they are - the Selfish Human Condition.

Oh, we are all so happy when someone does not do like the majority of the worthless humanity does (Russia out of own interest in Syria). Otherwise, back to being the usual shitbags.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 9:36:01 PM | link
@60 Karlof1 As ever, it is instructive to read the text of a treaty.

In this particular case the treaty between South Korea and the USA contains within it the answers to your concerns.

1) either party can end the treaty with 12 month notice.
2) the stationing of US troops is by mutual agreement I.e. if South Korea "No longer agrees" to US troops stationed on its soil then those troops have to leave.

Uncle Sam would have no grounds to refuse, as the treaty itself says that both signatories have to agree. And, no, the treaty doesn't have to be "renegotiated" to produce that outcome: the South Koreans need only say "we don't agree any more".

That's what the treaty says, so that's what the treaty means.

Sad Canuck , Feb 28, 2019 9:45:27 PM | link
@31 Red Ryder

Nothing will change until S Korea decides to be an independent country instead of a low vassal. Watching a foreign country negotiate peace in your own civil war without being at the table must be deeply humiliating to at least some S Koreans surely?

As for the sanctions, if the Koreas re-united as ROK and the DPRK disappeared as an entity, I assume the UN sanctions on extinct entity would be void.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | link
Psychohistorian @ 67:

It's significant that the current PM of Japan is a grandson of a politician with a very dark past, and moreover idolises his grandfather and believes the policies he followed were right.

"Formed in childhood, roots of Abe's conservatism go deep"
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/12/26/national/formed-in-childhood-roots-of-abes-conservatism-go-deep/#.XHirsVwzaUk

You and I live in the year 2019 but the issue is whether Shinzo Abe does.

For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.

The two countries also continue to dispute the ownership of a set of islands called the Liancourt islands in the Sea of Japan, midway between the two nations.

Uncle $cam , Feb 28, 2019 11:12:52 PM | link
https://twitter.com/DrKevinGray/status/1101089899430793221?link_id=3&can_id=6b614a325626aa55ec3e7563bb5103b1&source=email-why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available&email_referrer=email_502522&email_subject=why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available

Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief

Pft , Feb 28, 2019 11:14:31 PM | link
South Korea is a puppet government of the US. Its constitution was written by the US and its early leaders were those who worked with the Japanese during the occupation. Anyone against the government and continued occupation by foreign forces was labelled Commmunist and shot. Up until the late 80's South Korea was under martial law

While much of the population is aware of this being humiliated by foreign powers has been a way of life for over a century. Reunification is a pipe dream unless the North is under the Empires control and the US will not pull out even then because its conveniently located at Russia and Chinas borders

I can imagine Trump talking to Kim and asking him how he would like to live like him and the global elite. It worked with Gorbachev and Deng. Just need to adopt the neoliberal religion and loot the resources of your own people (bottom 95%) for eventual handover to the Empire (privatization or sending cash back to buy Treasuries and other investments).

My guess is Kim and NK elite live pretty well already, but who knows. In any event he knows he cant trust them.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 12:12:52 AM | link
Yeah, Right @70--

Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much.

PavewayIV , Mar 1, 2019 1:53:34 AM | link
Schmoe@55 -

[sigh...] Yes, you're right. I suppose I got kind of got carried away there. But I can't believe the polls '50% approval rating' for the Syrian retaliatory strike, at least in my little world.

Most people I encounter through the day, especially college kids and millennial debt slaves, don't care about Syria or Israel and never will. Zero expectations of their government and can't understand why some old people are concerned about distant wars.

They feel absolutely no responsibility for the actions of the US government any more than they feel responsible for the actions of their next door neighbors. Society is slowly devolving itself in toad freak show!

V , Mar 1, 2019 3:55:42 AM | link
Deschutes | Mar 1, 2019 2:55:06 AM | 81

I posted this over at TAE. It might resonate with some few. Any one who has held on to their sanity, surely sees the fantastical reality created by twisted people and their twisted ideals. If that accurate vision is the context from which the U.S. is framed; then its true health is obvious.

A sick society ruled by equally sick fascisti

Record numbers of U.S. citizens are leaving for distant places they view as an improvement. If in fact they find respite; it will likely not last, until and unless the U.S. is brought to ground.

uncle tungsten , Mar 1, 2019 4:16:58 AM | link
Chas # 58

May I suggest there is a small matter of war reparations owed by the USA that needs immediate resolution well prior to any yak yak about denuclear strategies. Ms Susan Rice's piece also blithely ignores that question. And so do all the yankees as they are fully liable for an unwarranted assault on Korea - both north and south - and reparations are immediately owed to the north.

Pay up yankees.

Will someone tell that to John Bolt-on. I would love see his mustache quiver.

Kiza , Mar 1, 2019 5:19:42 AM | link
One of these days I am going to write a piece on what the World would look like one month after the Second US Civil War starts.
Steve , Mar 1, 2019 6:03:28 AM | link
Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed.
Yeah, Right , Mar 1, 2019 6:49:19 AM | link
@77 Karlof1 "Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much."

It's not difficult to dig out the source text, and most international treaties relating to Int'l Humanitarian Law are not exactly dense reads.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact is a mere three articles long, with the first two being single sentences. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the USA and South Korea consists of only six articles.

The NATO Charter is but fourteen articles long. The Hague Regulations are a comparatively hefty fifty-six articles, but even the UN Charter - an outlier if ever there was one - contains only 111 Articles.

The Geneva Conventions are much longer but, boy, do the Swiss like to talk.

But none are like slogging through some Hemingway or Melville. Simple prose, as unambiguous as possible while still satisfying all the negotiators.

In fact you can find all the treaties in one place: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

A one-stop-shop for all things relating to treaties, highly recommended.

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:13:57 AM | link
I've just read two articles that in one fell swoop can explain a large part of Trump's behaviour, together with policies to eliminate nuclear arms control, first strike policies, apocalyptic policies towards Iran and North Korea, policies towards Israel, policies aimed at blowing up the Middle East, willingness and eagerness to precipitate destruction and chaos on a global scale, precipitate policies towards Russia and China, support for Islamic jihadism, anti-environmentalism, and climate denial:

The key are the so-called "Rapture Christians" nuts - of whom there are 12 in Trump's cabinet [out of how many?]. I've never looked into this obscure sect of insane nutcases before, but people urgently need to understand this phenomenon - they are an obscure sect, but they hold the keys to political power in the US, and have determined the key political events of the last several decades!

These nutters are a million times more dangerous than Islamic jihadists - they have no fear of all-out nuclear war, global destruction, climate change, environmental devastation or all the things that wise people with foresight advise against - on the contrary they are eager to bring all these things on as soon as possible, because they associate these things with the return of Jesus, and ascent to heaven for all the sect's believers.

A key fact in understanding this phenomenon is that they deny evolution, and a scientific basis for reality in its entirety, and therefore are completely closed to rational argument.

Quote from the second article: 'In an April 2 Bible study, Drollinger focused on the "huge and dire error" of "radical environmentalism". He argues that humans are incapable of destroying the earth on their own, because it is up to God to "continually renew the face of the earth until He forms a new heaven and a new earth in the end times."'

They support Trump because they believe he is the "tool of God".

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:28:23 AM | link
For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.
Posted by: Jen | Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | 74

That seems like a strange argument to me. The US is not in Korea to protect Korea from Japan, nor are they in Japan either to protect Japan from Korea nor to protect Korea from Japan. In both cases the true target is China.

If the two Korea's unite it will necessarily be under the military protection of Russia and China - there is no other possibility, because they need protection from the US. Both Koreas are obviously much safer under Russian and Chinese protection than under US "protection" - the latter being no more than mafia style "protection".

In this case Japan would clearly oppose such an arrangement - in allignment with the US - therefore the last thing [imperialist] Japan would want would be the pull-out of the US (what ordinary Japanese people might want is another matter - unfortunately they have no say).

Mig-21-Block 70-2022 , Mar 1, 2019 7:34:39 AM | link
N.K. should just ask Russia to buy 1000 warehoused MIGs 21 refurbished for year 2023 and thats it!
Kim should go for a No deal with the US.
Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.
Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.
Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations.
b real , Mar 1, 2019 7:47:45 AM | link
manufactured controversy to get the top of the news cycle and take focus off the cohen testimony so it dies quickly
rattlemullet , Mar 1, 2019 8:05:02 AM | link
The trio of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton, quite frankly spells failure. The leader has zero capacity to learn and understand the motivation behind North Korea and their very exacting understanding of the English language. Every single word written has a clear and precise meaning tied into complete sentences. The fact that is written on paper and executed by both parties memorizes the document. Trump literally has not read the first agreement as executed. To place any faith in this trio of clowns to negotiate with the North Koreas is laughable. The basic fact is that North Koreans will never trust the US as we literally tried to bomb all their cities out of existence during the Korean intervention. Trump's trio does not understand the lasting impact that those actions burned into North Korean souls. Trump is completely out his league on the world stage he has made a fool of the US.
arby , Mar 1, 2019 8:22:57 AM | link
b real @ 90--

That was my thoughts as well. The real reason Trump handlers sent him to Viet Nam was to not be around for a damning testimony.

Scotch Bingeington , Mar 1, 2019 9:42:07 AM | link
Tom Luongo claims that Bolton's spoke in Trump's wheel was to add chemical & biological weapons to US demands ( Link ). There, just like that. Pretty clever actually. Bolton may be the king of scumbags, but he sure is resourceful. The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling.
BM , Mar 1, 2019 10:20:07 AM | link
"Trudeau was detonated today by his former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first Aboriginal A-G. She just testified in Parliament, in meticulous detail, how Trudeau and his staff tried to get her to drop criminal charges against a corrupt company that he liked."
Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28, 2019 1:15:41 PM | 36

I've just finished reading the article on the testimony in the National Post, linked in Karlof1's link:

Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould's statement to the House of Commons justice committee
(That's the title of the article; actually it is not the full text it is important extracts, but generous extracts).

Wow! Everybody should read this! This lady is someone who deserves a lot of respect! This text is fascinating in how it details the arm-twisting that goes on in power - nothing that would surprise us that it happens, but here it is described in black and white by a former government witness - including even such titbits as:

"if Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write OpEds saying that what she is doing is proper."

Hey, James, you have some good Ministers over there in Canada, despite the more famous ones. Erm, well, one. Erm, well, had.

I am interested in some of the things she is declining to speak about (due to confidentiality of counsel issues), and am wondering if that might include the Huawei CFO issues, for which she was in a pertinent position. Any connections to the dates 11th February, and 19th February? (Actually I was travelling at that time so was out of the loop). Then there is the meeting with the PM on 17th September, requested 2 weeks earlier, which seems to have been intended primarily about something other than the SNC affair. The Huawei CFO was arrested in early December, I think, so that should be something else.

frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:19:47 PM | link
reply to Mig-21-Block 70-2022 89

"...Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations."

Maybe laughing but maybe not, this fellow seems to feel they are evenly matched depending on their respective upgrades and concludes by saying it comes down to pilot expertise. BTW he considers Pak as having superior pilots.


frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:25:54 PM | link
reply to Scotch Bingeington 93
"....The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling."

Yes, I am inclined to think Bolton was foisted upon him. I do think he chose Pompeo though.

Another very telling photo is that of Trump at Bush Sr.'s funeral, in the row behind him was Chaney, the look on Chaney's face as he stared at Trump's back was very interesting to me, he looked almost afraid.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 2:14:11 PM | link
President Moon's confidence remains strong despite summit outcome. He tweeted this [machine translation] earlier today:

"Independence of spirit and national integration based on the 'faith based system'considerably.
Please gather all the power of the people.
Peace on the Korean peninsula will drive new economic growth across the North and South, encompassing Northeast Asia, ASEAN and Eurasia."

Today marks then 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Korean Independence, and Moon makes clear in his speech that there was and is only one Korea and one Korean people:

"One hundred years ago today, there was no South and North Korea.

"From Seoul and Pyeongyang to Jinnampo, Anju, Seoncheon, Uiju and Wonsan, loud chants of [the masses] erupted on the same day, and these calls for independence spread like a wildfire to every corner of the country.

"For two months from March 1, [mass] protests took place in 211 out of the total 220 cities and counties across the country regardless of the region – whether they belonged to what is now a part of South or North Korea."

Gotta love Moon's optimism in his closing remarks:

"The history of the past 100 years proves that we can achieve changes and innovation if we do not lose hope no matter how difficult our present reality is.

"Over the next 100 years, the growth of the people will directly lead to the growth of the nation. When unity is achieved from within by moving beyond ideological confrontations, and when peace and prosperity are accomplished from outside, genuine independence will be completed."

I'd be very interested in discovering what Kim did today. Hopefully, he, too, gave an address similar to Moon's.

james , Mar 1, 2019 3:49:21 PM | link
@94 BM - maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould can run for the prime ministers job if she can get on the top of the heap of the liberal party.. chances of this are slim!

[Mar 20, 2019] I am now of the opinion that 2018 will be the peak in crude oil production, not 2019 as I earlier predicted. Russia is slowing down and may have peaked

If so, economics will suffer and chances for Trump for re-election are much lower, of exist at all due to all his betrayals
In the fable of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," the wolf actually arrives at the end. Never forget that. Peak oil will arrive. We don't know when, and we are not prepared for it.
Shale play without more borrowed money might be the next Venezuela. .
Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

I am now of the opinion that 2018 will be the peak in crude oil production, not 2019 as I earlier predicted. Russia is slowing down and may have peaked. Canada is slowing down and Brazil is slowing down. OPEC likely peaked in 2016. It is all up to the USA. Can shale oil save us from peak oil?

OPEC + Russia + Canada, about 57% of world oil production.

Jeff says: 03/14/2019 at 1: 50 pm

"I am now of the opinion that 2018 will be the peak in crude oil production, not 2019 as I earlier predicted. Russia is slowing down and may have peaked. Canada is slowing down and Brazil is slowing down. OPEC likely peaked in 2016. It is all up to the USA. Can shale oil save us from peak oil?"

IEA´s Oil 2019 5y forecast has global conventional oil on a plateau, i.e. declines and growth match each other perfectly and net growth will come from LTO, NGL, biofuels and a small amount of other unconventional and "process gains".

Iran is ofc a jocker, since it can quickly add supply. Will be interesting to see how Trump will proceed.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 3:23 pm

I am quite original in my opinion about Peak Oil. I think it took place in late 2015. I will explain. If we define Peak Oil as the maximum in production over a certain period of time we will not know it has taken place for a long time, until we lose the hope of going above. That is not practical, as it might take years.

I prefer to define Peak Oil as the point in time when vigorous growth in oil production ended and we entered an undulating plateau when periods of slow growth and slow decline will alternate, affected by oil price and variable demand by economy until we reach terminal decline in production permanently abandoning the plateau towards lower oil production.

The 12-year rate of growth in C+C production took a big hit in late 2015 and has not recovered. The increase in 2 Mb since is just an anemic 2.5% over 3 years or 0.8% per year, and it keeps going down. This is plateau behavior since there was no economic crisis to blame. It will become negative when the economy sours.

Peak Oil has already arrived. We are not recognizing it because production still increases a little bit, but we are in Peak Oil mode. Oil production will decrease a lot more easily that it will increase over the next decade. The economy is going to be a real bitch.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 4:57 pm
Carlos Diaz,

Interesting thesis, keep in mind that the price of oil was relatively low from 2015 to 2018 because for much of the period there was an excess of oil stocks built up over the 2013 to 2015 period when output growth outpaced demand growth due to very high oil prices. Supply has been adequate to keep oil prices relatively low through March 2019 and US sanctions on Iran, political instability in Libya and Venezuela, and action by OPEC and several non-OPEC nations to restrict supply have resulted in slower growth in oil output.

Eventually World Petroleum stocks will fall to a level that will drive oil prices higher, there is very poor visibility for World Petroleum Stocks, so there may be a 6 to 12 month lag between petroleum stocks falling to critically low levels and market realization of that fact, by Sept to Dec 2019 this may be apparent and oil prices may spike (perhaps to $90/b by May 2020).

At that point we may start to see some higher investment levels with higher output coming 12 to 60 months later (some projects such as deep water and Arctic projects take a lot of time to become operational, there may be some OPEC projects that might be developed as well, there are also Canadian Oil sands projects that might be developed in a high oil price environment.

I define the peak as the highest 12 month centered average World C+C output, but it can be define many different ways.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 7:18 pm
So Dennis,

Our capability to store oil is very limited considering the volume being moved at any time from production to consumption. I understand that it is the marginal price of the last barrel of oil that sets the price for oil, but given the relatively inexpensive oil between 2015 and now, and the fact that we have not been in an economical crisis, what is according to you the cause that world oil production has grown so anemically these past three years?

Do you think that if oil had been at 20$/b as it used to be for decades the growth in consumption/production would have been significantly higher?

I'll give you a hint, with real negative interest rates and comparatively inexpensive oil most OECD economies are unable to grow robustly.

To me Peak Oil is an economical question, not a geological one. The geology just sets the cost of production (not the price) too high, making the operation uneconomical. It is the economy that becomes unable to pump more oil. That's why the beginning of Peak Oil can be placed at late 2015.

The economic system has three legs, cheap energy, demographic growth, and debt growth. All three are failing simultaneously so we are facing the perfect storm. Social unrest is the most likely consequence almost everywhere.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 9:20 pm
Carlos,

If prices are low that means there is plenty of oil supply relative to demand. It also means that some oil cannot be produced profitably, so oil companies invest less and oil output grows more slowly.

So you seem to have the story backwards. Low oil prices means low growth in supply.

So if oil prices were $20/b, oil supply would grow more slowly, we have had an oversupply of oil that ls what led to low oil prices. When oil prices increase, supply growth will ne higher. Evause profits will be higher and there will be more investment.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 5:03 am
No Dennis,

It is you who has it backwards, as you only see the issue from an oil price point of view, and oil price responds to supply and demand, and higher prices are an estimulus to higher production.

But there is a more important point of view, because oil is one of the main inputs of the economy. If the price of oil is sufficiently low it stimulates the economy. New businesses are created, more people go farther on vacation, and so on, increasing oil demand and oil production. If the price is sufficiently high it depresses the economy. A higher percentage of wealth is transferred from consumer countries to producing countries and consumer countries require more debt. During the 2010-2014 period high oil prices were sustained by the phenomenal push of the Chinese economy, while European and Japanese economies suffered enormously and their oil consumption depressed and hasn't fully recovered since.

In the long term it is the economy that pumps the oil, and that is what you cannot understand.

Oil limits → Oil cost → Oil Price ↔ Economy → Oil demand → Oil production

The economy decides when and how Peak Oil takes place. If you knew that you wouldn't bother with all those models.

And in my opinion the economy already decided in late 2015 when the drive to increase oil production to compensate for low oil prices couldn't be sustained.

Schinzy x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 11:18 am
Carlos,

Your reasoning is close to mine. See https://www.tse-fr.eu/publications/oil-cycle-dynamics-and-future-oil-price-scenarios .

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 3:01 pm
Carlos,

Both supply and demand matter. I understand economics quite well thank you. You are correct that the economy is very important, it will determine oil prices to some degree especially on the demand side of the market. If one looks at the price of oil and economic growth or GDP, there is very little correlation.

The fact is the World economy grew quite nicely from 2011 to 2014 when oil prices averaged over $100/b.

There may be some point that high oil prices are a problem, apparently $100/b in 2014 US$ is below that price. Perhaps at $150/b your argument would be correct. Why would the economy need more oil when oil prices are low? The low price is a signal that there is too much oil being produced relative to the demand for oil.

I agree the economy will be a major factor in when peak oil occurs, but as most economists understand quite well, it is both supply and demand that will determine market prices for oil.

My models are based on the predictions of the geophysicists at the USGS (estimating TRR for tight oil) and the economists at the EIA (who attempt to predict future oil prices). Both predictions are used as inputs to the model along with past completion rates and well productivity and assumptions about potential future completion rates and future well productivity, bounded by the predictions of both the USGS and the EIA along with economic assumptions about well cost, royalties and taxes, transport costs, discount rate, and lease operating expenses.

Note that my results for economically recoverable resources are in line with the USGS TRR mean estimates and are somewhat lower when the economic assumptions are applied (ERR/TRR is roughly 0.85), the EIA AEO has economically recoverable tight oil resources at about 115% of the USGS mean TRR estimate. The main EIA estimate I use is their AEO reference oil price case (which may be too low with oil prices gradually rising to $110/b (2017$) by 2050.

Assumptions for Permian Basin are royalties and taxes 33% of wellhead revenue, transport cost $5/b, LOE=$2.3/b plus $15000/month, annual discount rate is 10%/year and well cost is $10 million, annual interest rate is 7.4%/year, annual inflation rate assumed to be 2.5%/year, income tax and revenue from natural gas and NGL are ignored all dollar costs in constant 2017 US$.

Mario C Vachon x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 6:39 pm
You do incredible work Dennis and I believe you are correct. Demand for oil is relatively inelastic which accounts for huge price swings when inventories get uncomfortably high or low. If supply doesn't keep up with our needs, price will rise to levels that will eventually create more supply and create switching into other energy sources which will reduce demand.
Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 6:57 pm

Why would the economy need more oil when oil prices are low? The low price is a signal that there is too much oil being produced relative to the demand for oil.

You don't seem to be aware of historical oil prices. For inflation adjusted oil prices since 1946 oil (WTI) spent:
27 years below $30
13 years at ~ $70
18 years at ~ $40
10 years at ~ $90
5 years at ~ $50
https://www.macrotrends.net/1369/crude-oil-price-history-chart
And the fastest growth in oil production took place precisely at the periods when oil was cheapest.

You simply cannot be more wrong about that.

And your models are based on a very big assumption, that the geology of the reserves is determinant for Peak Oil. It is not. There is plenty of oil in the world, but the extraction of most of it is unaffordable. The economy will decide (has decided) when Oil Peak takes place and what happens afterwards. Predictions/projections aren't worth a cent as usual. You could save yourself the trouble.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 7:33 am
Carlos,

I use both geophysics and economics, it is not one or the other it is both of these that will determine peak oil.

Of course oil prices have increased, the cheapest oil gets produced first and oil gradually gets more expensive as the marginal barrel produced to meet demand at the margin is more costly to produce.

Real Oil Prices do not correlate well with real economic growth and on a microeconomic level the price of oil will affect profits and willingness of oil companies to invest which in turn will affect future output. Demand will be a function of both economic output and efficiency improvements in the use of oil.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 7:34 am
Thanks Mario.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 10:49 am
Carlos,

Also keep in mind that during the 1945-1975 period economic growth rates were very high as population growth rates were very high and the World economy was expanding rapidly as population grew and the World rebuilt in the aftermath of World War 2. Oil was indeed plentiful and cheap over this period and output grew rapidly to meet expanding World demand for oil. The cheapness of the oil led to relatively inefficient use of the resource, as constraints in output became evident and more expensive offshore, Arctic oil were extracted oil prices increased and there was high volatility due to Wars in the Middle east and other political developments. Oil output (C+C) since 1982 has grown fairly steadily at about an 800 kb/d annual average each year, oil prices move up and down in response to anticipated oil stock movements and are volatile because these estimates are often incorrect (the World petroleum stock numbers are far from transparent.)

On average since the Iran/Iraq crash in output (1982-2017) World output has grown by about 1.2% per year and 800 kb/d per year on average, prices have risen or fallen when there was inadequate or excess stocks of petroleum, this pattern (prices adjusting to stock levels) is likely to continue.

There has been little change when we compare 1982 to 1999 to 1999-2017 (divide overall period of interest in half) for either percentage increase of absolute increase in output.

I would agree that severe shortages of oil supply relative to demand (likely apparent by 2030) is likely to lead to an economic crisis as oil prices rise to levels that the World economy cannot adjust to (my guess is that this level will be $165/b in 2018$). Potentially high oil prices might lead to faster adoption of alternative modes of transport that might avert a crisis, but that is too optimistic a scenario even for me. 🙂

HHH x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 9:44 pm
China will be in outright deflation soon enough. Economic stimulus is starting to fail in China. They can't fill the so called bathtub up fast enough to keep pace with the water draining out the bottom. So to speak.

Interest rates in China will soon be exactly where they are in Europe and Japan. Maybe lower.

In order to get oil to $90-$100 the value of the dollar is going to have to sink a little bit. In order to get oil to $140-$160 the dollar has to make a new all time low. Anybody predicting prices shooting up to $200 needs the dollar index to sink to 60 or below.

The reality is oil is going to $20. Because the rest of the world outside the US is failing. Dennis makes some nice graphs and charts and under his assumptions his charts and graphs are correct. But his assumptions aren't correct.

We got $20 oil and an economic depression coming.

Peak Oil is going to be deflationary as hell. Higher prices aren't in the cards even when a shortage actually shows up. We will get less supply at a lower price. Demand destruction is actually going to happen when economies and debt bubbles implode so we actually can't be totally sure we are ever going to see an actual shortage.

We could very well be producing 20-30% less oil than we do now and still not have a shortage.

Oh and EV's are going to have to compete with $20 oil not $150 oil.

Lightsout x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 6:25 am
You are assuming that the oil is priced in dollars there are moves underway that raise two fingers to that.

https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/2174453/china-and-russia-look-ditch-dollar-new-payments-system-move

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 7:41 am
HHH,

When do you expect the oil price to reach $20/b? We will have to see when this occurs.

It may come true when EVs and AVs have decimated demand for oil in 2050, but not before. EIA's oil price reference scenario from AEO 2019 below. That is a far more realistic prediction (though likely too low especially when peak oil arrives in 2025), oil prices from $100 to $160/b in 2018 US$ are more likely from 2023 to 2035 (for three year centered average Brent oil price).

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 9:56 am
HHH,

My assumptions are based on USGS mean resource estimates and EIA oil price estimates, as well as BIS estimates for the World monetary and financial system.

Your assumption that oil prices are determined by exchange rates only is not borne out by historical evidence. Exchange rates are a minor, not a major determinant of oil prices.

HHH x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 6:50 pm
Dennis,

Technically speaking. The most relevant trendline on price chart currently comes off the lows of 2016/02/08. It intersects with 2017/06/19. You draw the trendline on out to where price is currently. Currently price is trying to backtest that trendline.

On a weekly price chart i'd say it touches the underside of that trendline sometime in April in the low 60's somewhere between $62-$66 kinda depends on when it arrives there time wise. The later it takes to arrive there the higher price will be. I've been trading well over 20 years can't tell you how many times i've seen price backtest a trendline after it's been broken. It's a very common occurrence. And i wouldn't short oil until after it does.

But back to your question. $20 oil what kind of timetable. My best guess is 2021-2022. Might happen 2020 or 2023. And FED can always step in and weaken the dollar. Fundamentally the only way oil doesn't sink to $20 is the FED finds a way to weaken the dollar.

But understand the FED is the only major CB that currently doesn't have the need to open up monetary policy. It's really the rest of the worlds CB ultra loose monetary policy which is going to drive oil to $20.

[Mar 20, 2019] What will happen if no energy source can cover the decline rate

Notable quotes:
"... "If that was to happen and no energy source can cover the decline rate, wouldn't the world be pretty fucked economically thereafter? Hence one can assume or take a wild ass guess that the decline after peak would resemble something like Venezuela. So not a smooth short % decline rate." ..."
"... Realistically the global economy is already in a tight spot. It started back in 2000 when Oil prices started climbing from about $10/bbl in 1998 to about $30/bbl in 2000. Then the World Major Central banks dropped interest which ended triggering the Housing Boom\Bust and carried Oil prices to $147/bbl. Since then Interest rates have remained extremely low while World Debt has soared (expected to top $250T in 2019). ..."
"... Probably the biggest concern for me is the risking risks for another World war: The US has been targeting all of the major Oil exporters. The two remaining independent targets are Venezuela & Iran. I suspect Venzuela will be the next US take over since it will be a push over compared to Iran. ..."
Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 12:42 am

Iron Mike Asked:

"If that was to happen and no energy source can cover the decline rate, wouldn't the world be pretty fucked economically thereafter? Hence one can assume or take a wild ass guess that the decline after peak would resemble something like Venezuela. So not a smooth short % decline rate."

Energy is the economy, The economy cannot function without energy. Thus its logical that a decline in energy supply will reduce the economy. The only way for this not to apply is if there are efficiency gains that offset the decline. But at this point the majority of cost effective efficiency gains are already in place. At this point gains become increasing expensive with much smaller gains (law of diminishing returns). Major infrastructure changes like modernizing rail lines take many decades to implement and also require lots of capital. Real capital needed will be difficult to obtain do to population demographics (ie boomers dependent on massive unfunded entitlement & pensions).

Realistically the global economy is already in a tight spot. It started back in 2000 when Oil prices started climbing from about $10/bbl in 1998 to about $30/bbl in 2000. Then the World Major Central banks dropped interest which ended triggering the Housing Boom\Bust and carried Oil prices to $147/bbl. Since then Interest rates have remained extremely low while World Debt has soared (expected to top $250T in 2019).

My guess is that global economy will wipe saw in the future as demographics, resource depletion (including Oil) and Debt all merge into another crisis. Gov't will act with more cheap and easy credit (since there is no alterative TINA) as well as QE\Asset buying to avoid a global depression. This creating a wipesaw effect that has already been happening since 2000 with Boom Bust cycles. This current cycle has lasted longer because the Major central banks kept interest rates low, When The Fed started QT and raising rate it ended up triggering a major stock market correction In Dec 2018. I believe at this point the Fed will no longer seek any further credit tightening that will trip the economy back into recession. However its likely they the global economy will fall into another recession as consumers & business even without further credit tighting by CB (Central Banks) Because they've been loading up on cheap debt, which will eventually run into issues servicing their debt. For instance there are about 7M auto loans in delinquency in March of 2019. Stock valuations are largely driven by stock buybacks, which is funded by debt. I presume companies are close to debt limit which is likely going to prevent them from purchase more stock back.

Probably the biggest concern for me is the risking risks for another World war: The US has been targeting all of the major Oil exporters. The two remaining independent targets are Venezuela & Iran. I suspect Venzuela will be the next US take over since it will be a push over compared to Iran. I think once all of remaining independent Oil Exports are seized that is when the major powers start fighting each other. However is possible that some of the proxy nations (Pakastan\India),(Israel\Iran), etc trigger direct war between the US, China, and Russia at any time.

Notice that the US is now withdrawing from all its major arms treaties, and the US\China\Russia are now locked into a Arms race. Nuclear powers are now rebuilding their nuclear capacity (more Nukes) and modernizing their deployment systems (Hypersonic, Very large MIRV ICBMS, Undersea drones, Subs, Bombers, etc.

My guess is that nations like the US & China will duke it out before collapsing into the next Venezuela. If my assessment is correct, The current state of Venezuela will look like the garden of Eden compared to the aftermath of a full scale nuclear war.

Currently the Doomsday clock (2019) is tied with 1953 at 2 minutes:

https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/past-announcements/

1953 was the height of the cold war. I presume soon the Doomsday clock will be reduced to less than 2 Minutes later this year, due to recent events in the past few weeks.

https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/

"the world's nuclear nations proceeded with programs of "nuclear modernization" that are all but indistinguishable from a worldwide arms race, and the military doctrines of Russia and the United States have increasingly eroded the long-held taboo against the use of nuclear weapons."

" The current international security situation -- what we call the "new abnormal" -- has extended over two years now. It's a state as worrisome as the most dangerous times of the Cold War, a state that features an unpredictable and shifting landscape of simmering disputes that multiply the chances for major military conflict to erupt."

[Mar 20, 2019] If we consider two possibilities: GOP establishment chew up Trump and Trump chew up GOP establishment it is clear that possibility is more probable

This commenter Libezkova was right: Trump folded.
Jan 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. -> Chris G ... , January 05, 2017 at 11:59 AM
I've heard otherwise. The progressive neoliberals are just putting out disinformation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/upshot/how-the-obama-coalition-crumbled-leaving-an-opening-for-trump.html

"At every point of the race, Mr. Trump was doing better among white voters without a college degree than Mitt Romney did in 2012 - by a wide margin. Mrs. Clinton was also not matching Mr. Obama's support among black voters."

"Mrs. Clinton's gains were concentrated among the most affluent and best-educated white voters, much as Mr. Trump's gains were concentrated among the lowest-income and least-educated white voters."

Peter K. -> Chris Lowery ... , January 05, 2017 at 07:30 AM
Trump won the Republican primary and general election.

""Trump dominated - in the primary and general elections - those districts represented by Congress's most conservative members," Tim Alberta wrote in National Review (he is now at Politico):

They once believed they were elected to advance a narrowly ideological agenda, but Trump's success has given them reason to question that belief.

Among these archconservatives, who in the past had been fanatical in their pursuit of ideological purity, the realization that they can no longer depend on unfailing support from their constituents has provoked deep anxiety."

These archconservatives who say that Trump's flimsy mandate is just based on just 80,000 votes in the rustbelt are in for a rude awakening. He won the primary. In Northern States. In Southern States. Everywhere.

It's hilarious that the progressive neoliberals like DeLong, Krugman, Drum, Yglesias etc have said exactly nothing about Trump's tweets at Congressional Republicans over the independent ethics committee.

Silence.

JF -> Chris Lowery ... , January 05, 2017 at 09:02 AM
There is a propaganda technique where you describe straw-person characterizations then undermine them. When in fact the whole longwinded campaign depends on readers and listeners not bothering or too tired to focus and see the mischaracterizations in the straw.

This whole thing is an apologia, for propaganda purposes, as I see it.

We all need to take care. It takes a lot of money and effort to organize such propaganda exercises. Please take care in using and reusing these type things.

Libezkova -> Chris Lowery ... , January 05, 2017 at 09:49 AM
"Trump has converted the GOP into a populist, America First party" is an overstatement. He definitely made some efforts in this direction, but it is premature to declare this "fait accompli".

If we consider two possibilities: "GOP establishment chew up Trump" and "Trump chew up GOP establishment" it is clear that possibility is more probable.

Theoretically that might give Democrats a chance, but I think the Clintonized Party is too corrupt to take this chance. "An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought." ;-)

In any case, 2018 elections will be very interesting as I think that the process of a slow collapse of neoliberal ideology and the rise of the US nationalist movements ("far right") will continue unabated.

This is the same process that we see in full force in EU.

[Mar 20, 2019] The sex slave scandal that exposed pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein by Maureen Callahan

Notable quotes:
"... Another house manager, Alfredo Rodriguez, told Recarey that very young girls were giving Epstein massages at least twice a day, and in one instance, Epstein had Rodriguez deliver one dozen roses to Mary, at her high school. ..."
"... Palm Beach prosecutors said the evidence was weak, and after presenting the case to a grand jury, Epstein was charged with only one count of felony solicitation of prostitution. In 2008, he pleaded guilty and nominally served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a county jail: Epstein spent one day a week there, the other six out on "work release." ..."
"... Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court. As of 2015, Epstein had settled multiple such cases. ..."
Oct 09, 2016 | nypost.com
Judge gives deadline for arguments relating to unsealing Jeffrey Epstein documents Documents related to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein may be unsealed Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's deal with feds was illegal: judge Northam has only himself to blame In 2005, the world was introduced to reclusive billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, friend to princes and an American president, a power broker with the darkest of secrets: He was also a pedophile, accused of recruiting dozens of underage girls into a sex-slave network, buying their silence and moving along, although he has been convicted of only one count of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Visitors to his private Caribbean island, known as "Orgy Island," have included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Stephen Hawking.

According to a 2011 court filing by alleged Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, she saw Clinton and Prince Andrew on the island but never saw the former president do anything improper. Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was a minor, a charge Buckingham Palace denies.

"Epstein lives less than one mile away from me in Palm Beach," author James Patterson tells The Post. In the 11 years since Epstein was investigated and charged by the Palm Beach police department, ultimately copping a plea and serving 13 months on one charge of soliciting prostitution from a 14-year-old girl, Patterson has remained obsessed with the case.

"He's a fascinating character to read about," Patterson says. "What is he thinking? Who is he?"

Patterson's new book, "Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice That Money Can Buy," is an attempt to answer such questions. Co-authored with John Connolly and Tim Malloy, the book contains detailed police interviews with girls who alleged sexual abuse by Epstein and others in his circle. Giuffre alleged that Epstein's ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, abused her. Ghislaine Maxwell has denied allegations of enabling abuse.

Epstein has spent the bulk of his adult life cultivating relationships with the world's most powerful men. Flight logs show that from 2001 to 2003, Bill Clinton flew on Epstein's private plane, dubbed "The Lolita Express" by the press, 26 times. After Epstein's arrest in July 2006, federal tax records show Epstein donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation that year.

Bill Clinton in 1994. AP

Epstein was also a regular visitor to Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago, and the two were friends. According to the Daily Mail, Trump was a frequent dinner guest at Epstein's home, which was often full of barely dressed models. In 2003, New York magazine reported that Trump also attended a dinner party at Epstein's honoring Bill Clinton.

Last year, The Guardian reported that Epstein's "little black book" contained contact numbers for A-listers including Tony Blair, Naomi Campbell, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson.

In a 2006 court filing, Palm Beach police noted that a search of Epstein's home uncovered two hidden cameras. The Mirror reported that in 2015, a 6-year-old civil lawsuit filed by "Jane Doe No. 3," believed to be the now-married Giuffre, alleged that Epstein wired his mansion with hidden cameras, secretly recording orgies involving his prominent friends and underage girls. The ultimate purpose: blackmail, according to court papers.

Britain's Prince Andrew in 2012 AP

"Jane Doe No. 3" also alleged that she had been forced to have sex with "numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders."

"We uncovered a lot of details about the police investigation and a lot about the girls, what happened to them, the effect on their lives," Patterson says.

"The reader has to ask: Was justice done here or not?"

Epstein, now 63, has always been something of an international man of mystery. Born in Brooklyn, he had a middle-class upbringing: His father worked for the Parks Department, and his parents stressed hard work and education.

'We uncovered a lot of details about the police investigation and a lot about the girls, what happened to them, the effect on their lives.'

- James Patterson

Epstein was brilliant, skipping two grades and graduating Lafayette High School in 1969. He attended Cooper Union but dropped out in 1971 and by 1973 was teaching calculus and physics at Dalton, where he tutored the son of a Bear Stearns exec. Soon, Epstein applied his facility with numbers on Wall Street but left Bear Stearns under a cloud in 1981. He formed his own business, J. Epstein & Co.

The bar for entry at the new firm was high. According to a 2002 profile in New York magazine, Epstein only took on clients who turned over $1 billion, at minimum, for him to manage. Clients also had to pay a flat fee and sign power of attorney over to Epstein, allowing him to do whatever he saw fit with their money.

Still, no one knew exactly what Epstein did, or how he was able to amass a personal billion-dollar-plus fortune. In addition to a block-long, nine-story mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Epstein owns the $6.8 million mansion in Palm Beach, an $18 million property in New Mexico, the 70-acre private Caribbean island, a helicopter, a Gulfstream IV and a Boeing 727.

"My belief is that Jeff maintains some sort of money-management firm, though you won't get a straight answer from him," one high-level investor told New York magazine. "He once told me he had 300 people working for him, and I've also heard that he manages Rockefeller money. But one never knows. It's like looking at the Wizard of Oz -- there may be less there than meets the eye."

Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach home Splash News

"He's very enigmatic," Rosa Monckton told Vanity Fair in 2003. Monckton was the former British CEO of Tiffany & Co. and confidante to the late Princess Diana. She was also a close friend of Epstein's since the 1980s. "He never reveals his hand . . . He's a classic iceberg. What you see is not what you get."

Both profiles intimated that Epstein had a predilection for young women but never went further. In the New York magazine piece, Trump said Epstein's self-professed image as a loner, an egghead and a teetotaler was not wholly accurate.

Donald Trump in 1990 AP

"I've known Jeff for 15 years," Trump said. "Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it -- Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

Three years after that profile ran, Palm Beach Police Officer Michele Pagan got a disturbing message. A woman reported that her 14-year-old stepdaughter confided to a friend that she'd had sex with an older man for money. The man's name was Jeff, and he lived in a mansion on a cul-de-sac.

Pagan persuaded the woman to bring her stepdaughter down to be interviewed. In his book, Patterson calls the girl Mary. And Mary, like so many of the other girls who eventually talked, came from the little-known working-class areas surrounding Palm Beach.

A friend of a friend, Mary said, told her she could make hundreds of dollars in one hour, just for massaging some middle-aged guy's feet. Lots of other girls had been doing it, some three times a week.

Mary claimed she had been driven to the mansion on El Brillo Way, where a female staffer escorted her up a pink-carpeted staircase, then into a room with a massage table, an armoire topped with sex toys and a photo of a little girl pulling her underwear off.

Ghislaine Maxwell Getty Images

Epstein entered the room, wearing only a towel, Mary said.

"He took off the towel," Mary told Pagan. "He was a really built guy. But his wee-wee was very tiny."

Mary said Epstein got on the table and barked orders at her. She told police she was alone in the room with him, terrified.

Pagan wrote the following in her incident report:

"She removed her pants, leaving her thong panties on. She straddled his back, whereby her exposed buttocks were touching Epstein's exposed buttocks. Epstein then turned to his side and started to rub his penis in an up-and-down motion. Epstein pulled out a purple vibrator and began to massage Mary's vaginal area."

Palm Beach assigned six more detectives to the investigation. They conducted a "trash pull" of Epstein's garbage, sifting through paper with phone numbers, used condoms, toothbrushes, worn underwear. In one pull, police found a piece of paper with Mary's phone number on it, along with the number of the person who recruited her.

On Sept. 11, 2005, detectives got another break. Alison, as she's called in the book, told Detective Joe Recarey that she had been going to Epstein's house since she was 16. Alison had been working at the Wellington Green Mall, saving up for a trip to Maine, when a friend told her, "You can get a plane ticket in two hours . . . We can go give this guy a massage and he'll pay $200," according to her statement to the police.

Alison told Recarey that she visited Epstein hundreds of times. She said he had bought her a new 2005 Dodge Neon, plane tickets, and gave her spending money. Alison said he even asked her to emancipate from her parents so she could live with him full-time as his "sex slave."

She said Epstein slowly escalated his sexual requests, and despite Alison's insistence that they never have intercourse, alleged, "This one time . . . he bent me over the table and put himself in me. Without my permission."

Alison then asked if what Epstein had done to her was rape and spoke of her abject fear of him.

An abridged version of her witness statement, as recounted in the book:

Alison : Before I say anything else . . . um, is there a possibility that I'm gonna have to go to court or anything?
Recarey : I mean, what he did to you is a crime. I'm not gonna lie to you.
Alison : Would you consider it rape, what he did?
Recarey : If he put himself inside you without permission . . . That, that is a crime. That is a crime.
Alison : I don't want my family to find out about this . . . 'Cause Jeffrey's gonna get me. You guys realize that, right? . . . I'm not safe now. I'm not safe.
Recarey : Why do you say you're not safe? Has he said he's hurt people before?
Alison : Well, I've heard him make threats to people on the telephone, yeah. Of course.
Recarey : You're gonna die? You're gonna break your legs? Or  --
Alison : All of the above!

Alison also told Recarey that Epstein got so violent with her that he ripped out her hair and threw her around. "I mean," she said, "there's been nights that I walked out of there barely able to walk, um, from him being so rough."

Two months later, Recarey interviewed Epstein's former house manager of 11 years, documented in his probable-cause affidavit as Mr. Alessi. "Alessi stated Epstein receives three massages a day . . . towards the end of his employment, the masseuses . . . appeared to be 16 or 17 years of age at the most . . . [Alessi] would have to wash off a massager/vibrator and a long rubber penis, which were in the sink after the massage."

Another house manager, Alfredo Rodriguez, told Recarey that very young girls were giving Epstein massages at least twice a day, and in one instance, Epstein had Rodriguez deliver one dozen roses to Mary, at her high school.

In May 2006, the Palm Beach Police Department filed a probable-cause affidavit, asking prosecutors to charge Epstein with four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor -- a second-degree felony -- and one count of lewd and lascivious molestation of a 14-year-old minor, also a second-degree felony.

Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court.

Palm Beach prosecutors said the evidence was weak, and after presenting the case to a grand jury, Epstein was charged with only one count of felony solicitation of prostitution. In 2008, he pleaded guilty and nominally served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a county jail: Epstein spent one day a week there, the other six out on "work release."

Today, Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, albeit one who routinely settles civil lawsuits against him, brought by young women, out of court. As of 2015, Epstein had settled multiple such cases.

Giuffre has sued Ghislaine Maxwell in Manhattan federal court, charging defamation -- saying Maxwell stated Giuffre lied about Maxwell's recruitment of her and other underage girls. Epstein has been called upon to testify in court this month, on Oct. 20.

The true number of Epstein's victims may never be known.

He will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, not that it fazes him. "I'm not a sexual predator, I'm an 'offender,' " Epstein told The Post in 2011. "It's the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel."

[Mar 20, 2019] Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

NYT is pro-Hillary neocon establishment influenced rag. One apt observation from NYT comments: "Trump's assertions about sleep should be taken with the grain of salt that all his other grandiose proclamations deserve. I suspect he makes those claims just to prove what an exceptional human he is. He doesn't even need to sleep much!"
Trumps come and go, but the deluded, totally brainwashed electorate will stay. That's the real problem. Degradation of democracy into oligarchy (the iron law of oligarchy) is an objective process. Currently what we see is some kind revolt against status quo. that's why Trump and Sanders get so many supporters.
Another one from comments: "Over the years, Pew surveys show that at least 60% of those polled can't name two branches of the government. Current campaigns, including that of Sanders, imply that the POTUS has a wide range of powers that are to be found nowhere in the Constitution." So none of Repug candidates understand this document. And still I must admit that "Trump is the best in breed when it comes to this GOP dog show." I agree that "Trump punches above his weight in debates "
NYT will never tell you why Hillary will be even more dangerous president.
Only a sleep disorder physician following a full-night study could tell us whether the diagnosis is clinically sound. This guy from NYT is a regular uneducated journo, not a certified physician. Why insult people who truly suffer from sleep deprivation? So all of them are obnoxious maniacs? To me a large part of his behavior is a typical alpha-male behavior. There are, in fact, a number of brilliant, driven alpha-males who function well with a bare amount of sleep. That may be an evolutionary trait that help them to achieve dominance. For example, Napoleon rarely slept more than 2-3 hours per 24-hour period, according to several historians. Churchill stayed up several nights in a row reading Hansard in his formative years and he was a gifted orator, one of the sharpest wits. He also was an alcoholic. Several famous famous mathematicians were among sleep deprived people. Like photographic memory this is a unique idiosyncrasy that is more frequent in alpha-males, not necessary a disease. BTW Angela Merkel is noted for her ability not to sleep for several nights, wearing her opponents into shreds via sleep deprivation and enforcing her decisions over the rest. That was last demonstrated in Minsk were she managed even to get Putin to agree on her terms.
He mentions this term "alpha male" despite the fact that it provides an alternative explanation. Also as one reader commented "So please explain the positions (and behaviors ) of Ayatollah Cruz and rubber man Rubio." Those two backstabbing pseudo-religious demagog got implicit support from the article.
How about this from sleep deprived person vs one definitely non-sleep deprive person (Jeb!): "Donald Trump joins the fight to release the secret 28 Pages of the 9/11 Report."
Notable quotes:
"... This is Tim's contribution to the growing movement to discredit Trump. Every candidate can be similarly eviscerated for their weaknesses, including character flaws. The problem is that our American system of electing leadership is deeply flawed and easily manipulated by advertising. The humiliating process of campaigning drives away our best prospects, leaving the country with weak, inconsistent leadership. ..."
"... gemli, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton pursued a regime change in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. They got away with their foolish adventure by saying that Gaddafi was a bad guy, Assad is a bad guy and Putin is a bad guy. ..."
"... Mr. Trump is the sole American politician who is willing to say that we should cooperate with Putin. He is the only Republican to be open to single payer health care, the only Republican to say something good about Planned Parenthood and the only Republican to say that Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq war. ..."
"... Hillary Rodham and Marco Rubio are so awful that we would be better off with a nasty, sleep-deprived Trump. Besides, there is still a much better alternative: the irascible Bernie Sanders. He may be angry, but you would have to be crazy to not be angry with the mess we now have to live with: a rigged economy, "free trade", politics corrupted by money, and an insatiable Military Industrial Complex. ..."
"... A lot of people are angry and Trump is channeling that anger. Sanders is channeling a different anger but he is too nice, and will lose to Mrs. Clinton who is supported by the establishment. ..."
"... He, I believe is also the first American politician to say openly that we have to cooperate with Russia if we are really serious about taking on ISIS. Mr. Obama, with his Harvard education, has NO idea what to do about the ME and is floundering around. Meanwhile Russia and Assad and the Kurds are taking the lead, and our "allies" Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actually undermining the war against ISIS. ..."
"... I would not vote for Trump but if he does become president, we might actually have peace in the Middle East and we might actually have single payer health care. On the second, almost all the Democrats will support him and so will at least some Republicans. ..."
"... Trump is not a nice man but he might not be a disaster as president. ..."
"... Mr. Egan, Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has the classic symptoms which are described as follows, according to the Mayo Clinic ..."
"... Trump is right about one thing, He does make your head spin. ..."
"... I just finished reading 4 opinion columns by Bruni, Brooks, Krugman and lastly Tim Egan's, all published on Feb 26th. (May the last be first and the first last.) I hope Kasich wins to invoke a civil exchange of ideas in American politics, but I will vote for Bernie ..."
"... I imagine the Asians and/or Europe all laughing at us now, but at least the're not shouting and acting like children. Help me, I'm drowning. Give me a leader who can compromise in that great noble tradition which benefits everyone. It's called compassion for the global family. ..."
"... Ambler in "Background to Danger" has a small meditation about politics being not much of anything other than a face behind which the true story goes on, one of big business interests--or in general, economic interests. ..."
"... With Donald Trump the Republican party in the U.S. seems to have dropped the politics mask -- you have a combination of business and fascistic impulses. The question however, is why. Could it be because now all nations in the world find themselves hemmed, with a landlocked feeling like Germany had prior to outbreak of WW2? These business/authoritarian impulses today are not confined to the U.S. alone. ..."
"... how to satisfy in simple basics the restless masses of millions upon millions of people, everything else, not to mention culture, just collapsing in a crowd discussion of who gets what, when, where, why, and how. ..."
"... What's defective about Trump? He is obviously doing very well for himself - he is the likely Republican nominee and is not exactly starving despite multiple bankruptcies. ..."
"... There are real problems with politics in the US and Trump is getting support partly because he at least shows some signs, however delusionary, of addressing the concerns of the 99%. ..."
"... Why are Democrats so concerned that Donald Trump might be the Republican Party's nominee for President that the NY Times trots out editorials psychobabbling about his sleep deprivation? ..."
"... Trump may be all that the intellectual elite deride him for. Guess what? The people who support him don't care. They are tired of being told how to think by people who suppose themselves to be their betters. They will cast their votes and throw their support behind whomever they please, thank-you very much. ..."
"... And really, does Timothy Egan really believe Donald Trump doesn't know what he's doing or saying? Because of sleep deprivation? Note to Mr. Egan: Whatever is Trump's sleep schedule, it seems to be working well for him. He's winning. ..."
"... Trump functions well enough to understand this: (1) The media is deceptive with an agenda of its own. (2) Big donors and big money control the career politicians. 93) Politicians can talk talk talk and make plans and policy and get nothing done. ..."
"... Trump and his supporters are on to all this now. The corrupt media, the corrupt big money and the all talk no action politicians. That is functioning well enough. Trump does not need to function beyond that. His supporters know it and he knows it. ..."
"... So far the best and the brightest highly educated intellectuals have let the USA down . Trump has a certain kind of intelligence that might be just what we need. He effectively cut through a crowded Republican field packed with ideological purists like a knife through butter. He is a very talented New Yorker who grew up in the 60s and went to Fordham before he went to Wharton. If you want to stick your finger in the collective eye of the "elite". vote for Trump. ..."
"... The republican party is the reactionary party. They are a little like the Sicilians described in the novel "The Leopard" where it is said that" In Sicily it doesn't matter whether things are done well or done badly; the sin which we Sicilians never forgive is simply that of 'doing' at all." ..."
"... The Taibbi piece can be found here at this link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-... ..."
"... Better a sleep deprived bully than a well rested one, which what the rest of the bunch are. They clearly know exactly how to ruin the country and antagonize our allies. ..."
"... As you are reading this, recall how a stressful event in your own life interfered with your sleep. Well, given the frantic nature of the current Republican primary season, the travel, the debates, the probing press, the TV interviews, the speeches, the insults and what's at stake, all of the candidates must be sleep deprived. If they were not they wouldn't be human. Donald will do just fine once he becomes president and gets use to the job (or not). ..."
"... But what about those who hold those same obnoxious ideas arguably sans sleep deprivation? Palin, Cruz, Carson? Please do a series of columns linking the apparent absence of reason in many of the GOP candidates with the current DSM. ..."
"... I used to ridicule President Reagan's legendary afternoon naps. Now I am the age Reagan was as president, and I don't think I could function without napping when I don't get enough sleep at night. ..."
"... What is happening now is not about Trump. It's about what he represents. I don't normally read Peggy Noonan but she nails it today. "There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully. ..."
Feb 26, 2016 | The New York Times
michael kittle
vaison la romaine, france 17 hours ago

This is Tim's contribution to the growing movement to discredit Trump. Every candidate can be similarly eviscerated for their weaknesses, including character flaws. The problem is that our American system of electing leadership is deeply flawed and easily manipulated by advertising. The humiliating process of campaigning drives away our best prospects, leaving the country with weak, inconsistent leadership.

The founding fathers rejected a parliamentary system because it was like England's, but history indicates America could have avoided many political debacles if it had been easier to remove incompetent presidents when their decisions threatened the country. Modernizing our electoral system, shortening the campaign time, and raising the level of debate could improve the choices Americans are given.

Rohit
New York 8 hours ago

gemli, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton pursued a regime change in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. They got away with their foolish adventure by saying that Gaddafi was a bad guy, Assad is a bad guy and Putin is a bad guy.

And maybe they are right about these people being bad guys. But the regime change policy has been a disaster. WE did not spend a trillion dollars and no AMERICAN troops died. But hundreds of thousands of Syrians are dead, millions knocking at Germany's door and Greece is overwhelmed with refugees. This was all the doing of the "Obama team".

Mr. Trump is the sole American politician who is willing to say that we should cooperate with Putin. He is the only Republican to be open to single payer health care, the only Republican to say something good about Planned Parenthood and the only Republican to say that Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq war.

YOU just see a nasty man in the Republican debates who talks nonsense and has no trouble lying. And that nasty mean does seem to be there, although given Trump, the nasty man might well be a façade who will vanish as soon as he faces the general election.

And you need to be aware of the fact that some of his positions are actually sensible and he is the only politician who has all these positions.

Unfortunately you guys hate Republicans so much that you see red any time you see one and that red in your eyes prevents you from seeing clearly.

Timothy Bal

Central Jersey 16 hours ago
A sleep-deprived Trump is still much better than a fully rested tool of the elites from either political party.

Hillary Rodham and Marco Rubio are so awful that we would be better off with a nasty, sleep-deprived Trump. Besides, there is still a much better alternative: the irascible Bernie Sanders. He may be angry, but you would have to be crazy to not be angry with the mess we now have to live with: a rigged economy, "free trade", politics corrupted by money, and an insatiable Military Industrial Complex.

Rohit, New York 9 hours ago
A lot of people are angry and Trump is channeling that anger. Sanders is channeling a different anger but he is too nice, and will lose to Mrs. Clinton who is supported by the establishment.

Trump is mean enough to take on the establishment, and win. And he is the first Republican brave enough to say that Planned Parenthood DOES do some good work. Like him, I do NOT think they should receive federal funding but that some or most of their work is actually health related is a fact.

He, I believe is also the first American politician to say openly that we have to cooperate with Russia if we are really serious about taking on ISIS. Mr. Obama, with his Harvard education, has NO idea what to do about the ME and is floundering around. Meanwhile Russia and Assad and the Kurds are taking the lead, and our "allies" Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actually undermining the war against ISIS.

I would not vote for Trump but if he does become president, we might actually have peace in the Middle East and we might actually have single payer health care. On the second, almost all the Democrats will support him and so will at least some Republicans.

Trump is not a nice man but he might not be a disaster as president.

Bob SE PA 6 hours ago

Mr. Egan, Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has the classic symptoms which are described as follows, according to the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-d... :

"DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  1. Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  2. Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  3. Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  4. Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  5. Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  6. Requiring constant admiration
  7. Having a sense of entitlement
  8. Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  9. Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  10. Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  11. Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  12. Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner"

bill b new york 16 hours ago

Trump is right about one thing, He does make your head spin.

Paul Greensboro, NC 11 hours ago

I just finished reading 4 opinion columns by Bruni, Brooks, Krugman and lastly Tim Egan's, all published on Feb 26th. (May the last be first and the first last.) I hope Kasich wins to invoke a civil exchange of ideas in American politics, but I will vote for Bernie or Hilary assuming an asteroid does not hit the earth before then.

I imagine the Asians and/or Europe all laughing at us now, but at least the're not shouting and acting like children. Help me, I'm drowning. Give me a leader who can compromise in that great noble tradition which benefits everyone. It's called compassion for the global family.

Daniel12 Wash. D.C. 14 hours ago

Donald Trump?

I'm on a project to read four (the four I could find so far) of the six Eric Ambler novels written prior to WW2. I'm on the second, "Background to Danger", now. Ambler in "Background to Danger" has a small meditation about politics being not much of anything other than a face behind which the true story goes on, one of big business interests--or in general, economic interests.

With Donald Trump the Republican party in the U.S. seems to have dropped the politics mask -- you have a combination of business and fascistic impulses. The question however, is why. Could it be because now all nations in the world find themselves hemmed, with a landlocked feeling like Germany had prior to outbreak of WW2? These business/authoritarian impulses today are not confined to the U.S. alone.

Worse, the opposition to big business, the other big economic theory of past decades, the socialistic/communistic trend, has been seen in practice whether we speak of Cuba or the Soviet Union or Venezuela or China. It seems all the masks of politics are coming off, all the ideals such as democracy, rights, communism, what have you and instead the argument is turning to actual and naked discussion of interests pure and simple, right and left wing economics, how to satisfy in simple basics the restless masses of millions upon millions of people, everything else, not to mention culture, just collapsing in a crowd discussion of who gets what, when, where, why, and how.

The open boat.

skeptonomist is a trusted commenter Tennessee 11 hours ago

What's defective about Trump? He is obviously doing very well for himself - he is the likely Republican nominee and is not exactly starving despite multiple bankruptcies.

What needs analysis is why so many people support Trump - what's up with them? And what defects in the establishments of both parties cause so many people to reject their selected dynastic picks.

There are real problems with politics in the US and Trump is getting support partly because he at least shows some signs, however delusionary, of addressing the concerns of the 99%.

Beachbum Paris 14 hours ago

This is all thanks to Rupert Murdoch

S.D.Keith Birmigham, AL 7 hours ago

Why are Democrats so concerned that Donald Trump might be the Republican Party's nominee for President that the NY Times trots out editorials psychobabbling about his sleep deprivation?

This is hilarious stuff. Trump may be all that the intellectual elite deride him for. Guess what? The people who support him don't care. They are tired of being told how to think by people who suppose themselves to be their betters. They will cast their votes and throw their support behind whomever they please, thank-you very much. That, much to the chagrin of the Progressive idealists who always believe they know better what people should need and want, is democracy in action. It may be ugly at times, but it is much preferred over every other form of governance.

In fact, articles like this, while red meat for establishmentarian dogs, serve only to strengthen Trump's bona fides among his supporters.

And really, does Timothy Egan really believe Donald Trump doesn't know what he's doing or saying? Because of sleep deprivation? Note to Mr. Egan: Whatever is Trump's sleep schedule, it seems to be working well for him. He's winning.

J. San Ramon 9 hours ago

Trump functions well enough to understand this: (1) The media is deceptive with an agenda of its own. (2) Big donors and big money control the career politicians. 93) Politicians can talk talk talk and make plans and policy and get nothing done.

Trump and his supporters are on to all this now. The corrupt media, the corrupt big money and the all talk no action politicians. That is functioning well enough. Trump does not need to function beyond that. His supporters know it and he knows it.

Scott, NYC 7 hours ago

Another cheap hit piece by the Times. Just to fact check Mr. Egan. Trump just did very, very well with Hispanics in Nevada. So who's delusional?

AVT, Glen Cove, NY 7 hours ago

So far the best and the brightest highly educated intellectuals have let the USA down . Trump has a certain kind of intelligence that might be just what we need. He effectively cut through a crowded Republican field packed with ideological purists like a knife through butter. He is a very talented New Yorker who grew up in the 60s and went to Fordham before he went to Wharton. If you want to stick your finger in the collective eye of the "elite". vote for Trump. This message brought to you by a hugely "bigly" educated Queens lawyer. go Redmen

Excellency, is a trusted commenter Florida 9 hours ago

The republican party is the reactionary party. They are a little like the Sicilians described in the novel "The Leopard" where it is said that" In Sicily it doesn't matter whether things are done well or done badly; the sin which we Sicilians never forgive is simply that of 'doing' at all."

Imagine a man of action like Trump navigating that population, from which great jurists like Scalia emerge, and you have Trump behaving much as Egan describes and succeeding. Indeed, in that same novel it is said that "to rage and mock is gentlemanly, to grumble and whine is not."

S.R. Simon, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. 9 hours ago

Matt Taibbi's pitch-perfect HOW AMERICA MADE DONALD TRUMP UNSTOPPABLE (Rolling Stone, Feb. 24) says it all, and to perfection. The Taibbi piece can be found here at this link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-...

Nora01, New England 9 hours ago

Better a sleep deprived bully than a well rested one, which what the rest of the bunch are. They clearly know exactly how to ruin the country and antagonize our allies.

nzierler, New Hartford 9 hours ago

Ever wonder why Trump invokes the name of Carl Ihkan every chance he gets? Both engage in hostile takeovers. That's the predatory side of business. But how does that qualify Trump to be the Commander-In-Chief? I would not be surprised if a frustrated President Trump threatened to punch Vladimir Putin in the face. The very thought of President Trump is a nightmare, but no less a nightmare than President Cruz or President Rubio.

Dan Weber, Anchorage, Alaska 9 hours ago

John Kenneth Galbraith, who was in parts of his career intimate with government (including being American ambassador to India during the 1962 China-India War) said in his autobiography that sleep deprivation was the least-appreciated weakness of high-level decision makers in times of crisis.

Somewhere I've read of an experiment that concluded that someone who hasn't slept for 36 hours is as dysfunctional as if he were legally intoxicated. And I recall Colin Powell praising Ambien as the only thing that allowed him to travel as he had to. That's interesting, given Ambien's well-known potential amnesic side-effects.

Mike, San Diego 9 hours ago

As you are reading this, recall how a stressful event in your own life interfered with your sleep. Well, given the frantic nature of the current Republican primary season, the travel, the debates, the probing press, the TV interviews, the speeches, the insults and what's at stake, all of the candidates must be sleep deprived. If they were not they wouldn't be human. Donald will do just fine once he becomes president and gets use to the job (or not).

Carrollian, NY 9 hours ago

But what about those who hold those same obnoxious ideas arguably sans sleep deprivation? Palin, Cruz, Carson? Please do a series of columns linking the apparent absence of reason in many of the GOP candidates with the current DSM.

Richard Grayson, Brooklyn, NY 11 hours ago

Good call, though I suspect most presidential candidates need a lot more sleep. A friend of mine who lived near Michael Dukakis saw him a few weeks after the 1988 election, and he recounted that the Democratic presidential candidate said he was now sleeping so much better, that in the hectic pace of a campaign, he wasn't able to take the time to learn "what was really going on" and to process everything.

I used to ridicule President Reagan's legendary afternoon naps. Now I am the age Reagan was as president, and I don't think I could function without napping when I don't get enough sleep at night.

There's a campaign trope about who you want to be in the White House when an emergency call about a serious world crisis comes in at 3 a.m. I want him or her to be someone who didn't just go to sleep at 2 a.m.

CNNNNC, CT 11 hours ago

What is happening now is not about Trump. It's about what he represents. I don't normally read Peggy Noonan but she nails it today. "There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful-those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created."

http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-and-the-rise-of-the-unprotected-145644...

Making the election about Trump personally conveniently ignores this new reality.