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Neoliberalism

The ideology that dare not speak it's name is actually a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

Version 6.7

Skepticism and Pseudoscience > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News An introduction to Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberalism war on organized labor Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Globalization of Financial Flows
Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura Neoliberalism and Christianity Key Myths of Neoliberalism Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Anti-globalization movement
Zombie state of neoliberalism and coming collapse of neoliberalism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Definitions of neoliberalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization
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
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few YouTube on neoliberalism History of neoliberalism Humor Etc


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

- New York Times

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

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

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

The Kremlin Stooge

The terms Neoliberalism and Casino Capitalism are used interchangeably. They define the same phenomenon. The term "Casino Capitalism" stresses that neoliberalism glorifies stock market, 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." But Neoliberalism is not market-fetishism unless fetishism is understood as fake, cult-style devotion.

Like Bolshevism, Neoliberalism is a State ideology. Its central tenet is that the State must directly help the rich, the poor will be better off as a by-product. In other words, neoliberalism is welfare for the top 1%, the "free market" jungle for the rest ("socialism for rich").  And, again, like Bolshevism, it is a self-reassuring, self-gratifying and self-explanatory myth -- a deceptive rosy glasses, which create a distorted image of reality, distorted in a light favorable to neoliberal ideology.  Recent spy scandals demonstrated that neoliberal elite tends to get drawn in their own propaganda, which is amplified by deeply conformist bureaucracy and intelligence agencies (Brennan and Clapper represent the same category of people as a typical Soviet bureaucrat -- a ruthless careerist with limited intellectual capacities). 

Exaggerated threats to the USA sovereignty is a page borrowed from the Stalinist period of the USSR. In a sense Mueller looks exactly like one of Stalin intelligence officials -- he tried to justify the view that is almost totally misguided, because the demands of the defense of declining neoliberal ideology make it difficult for intelligence agencies to present the  evidence that contradicts Russian spymania vision -- that the USA is surrounded by two hostile powers (Russia and China)  hell-bent to create political crisis in the country and steal or dismantle the US global neoliberal empire. Like Soviets, neoliberal policymakers are deeply troubled by the specter of the enemy at the gate, not realizing that this is ultimately the product of a faulty, ideologically distorted system of intelligence gathering and rusless careerists at the agencies (just look at Strzok).  Another obvious motive is to cement cracks in neoliberal faced which appeared after 2008 by using external threat

While many think about neoliberalism as "Ubercapitalism" or return to "Robber Barons" era on a new level, ideologically Neoliberalism is close to Trotskyism ( and thus can be called Neo-Trotskyism ). It stresses the solidarity of neoliberal elite across the countries, with the dominant role of Anglo-Saxon elite.  In the famous slogan "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" neoliberalism substituted the word "proletarians" with the word "elites" (as in "Transnational elites, Unite!" ).

Like Trotskyism neoliberalism in the ideology of 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 and acquiring the control of mass media. 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 socialism (and 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). Essentially neoliberalism lifted intelligence services into full fledged political player (which means that later stage of neoliberal state is always a variant of the national security state) as we can see in color revolution launched by them against Trump (Trump is the proponent of a renegade version of neoliberalism, which can be called "national neoliberalism" or neoliberalism without globalization). And 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 is a "new normal".

Instead of regulating predatory tendencies of capitalism like under New Deal, state became just a corrupt policeman that serve large corporations and against the people. 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. Much like during Robber barons era, when the state helped to squash West Virginia miner upraising in 1912-21. 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 1980th.

The neoliberal state justifies its decisions, policies, and rules by deification of the markets and by perversion of the meaning of 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.)  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. 

Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms and state-sponsored religion (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 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").

The level of a 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 welfare state 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 flavour 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 exmaple). 

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.  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 ;-)

As it evolved with time, neoliberalism is a somewhat fuzzy concept ( much like Bolshevism evolved from Leninism to Stalinism, then to Brezhnev's socialism and at last to Gorbachov "perestroika" ). 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".

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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(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

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

[Nov 15, 2018] More Americans Died From Drug Overdoses In 2017 Than Guns, Car Crashes, Suicide Together

This is definitely looks like the USSR trajectory with alcoholism. When people feel that they are not needed they start to behave in self-destructive ways.
Nov 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Anna Giaritelli via The Washington Examiner,

Drug overdoses led to more deaths in the U.S. in 2017 than any year on record and were the leading cause of death in the country, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration report issued Friday .

More than 72,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2017 , according to the NIH -- about 200 per day. That number is more than four times the number who died in 1999 from drug abuse: 16,849.

The figures are up about 15 percent from 63,632 drug-related deaths in 2016.

Since 2011, more people have died from drug overdoses than by gun violence, car accidents, suicide, or homicide, the DEA report stated.

In 2017, 40,100 people died in vehicle incidents; 15,549 were fatally shot, not including suicide; 17,284 were homicide victims, though an unspecified portion of this number includes gunshot victims; and nearly 45,000 committed suicide.

The DEA attributed last year's uptick in deaths to a spike in opioid-related fatalities. The agency said 49,060 people died as a result of abusing opioids, up from 42,249 in 2016.

Of those opioid deaths, synthetic opioids were responsible for nearly 20,000. More people died from them than heroin. The DEA report said synthetic fentanyl and comparable types of drugs are cheaper than heroin , making them more attractive to buyers.

The DEA also found heroin-related drug overdoses had doubled from 2013 to 2016 because manufacturers illegally producing synthetic fentanyl have laced the heroin with opioids.

President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a "national emergency" in October 2017. Last month, he signed a comprehensive bill that included $8.5 billion in funding for related projects to reduce addiction and deaths.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions noted one positive trend in the study.

"Preliminary data from the CDC shows that drug overdose deaths actually began to decline in late 2017 and opioid prescriptions fell significantly," Sessions said in a statement.

[Nov 13, 2018] Crude Crashes As Saudi Abandons OPEC Production Curbs

Nov 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Saudi Arabia has fully complied with OPEC+ agreement in every month through May. Since then it has cut supply, but by less than it pledged to curb. October is 1st time it has increased output above the starting point.

WTI has now retraced 60% of the two-year uptrend...

WTI Crude is now down over 6% YTD to its lowest since Dec 2017.

[Nov 13, 2018] "I understand your house is on fire ."

Nov 13, 2018 | twitter.com

[Nov 12, 2018] The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation graveyard of social protest movements, and for good reason

Highly recommended!
The Democrats are politically responsible for the rise of Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump. ..."
"... The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man." ..."
"... This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers. ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Pelosi's deputy in the House, Steny Hoyer, sums up the right-wing policies of the Democrats, declaring: "His [Trump's] objectives are objectives that we share. If he really means that, then there is an opening for us to work together."

So much for the moral imperative of voting for the Democrats to stop Trump! As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump.

The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man."

This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers.

The same process is taking place internationally. While strikes and other expressions of working class opposition are growing and broad masses are moving to the left, the right-wing policies of supposedly "left" establishment parties are enabling far-right and neo-fascist forces to gain influence and power in countries ranging from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Poland to Brazil.

As for Gay's injunction to vote "pragmatically," this is a crude promotion of the bankrupt politics that are brought forward in every election to keep workers tied to the capitalist two-party system. "You have only two choices. That is the reality, whether you like it or not." And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war.

The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation "graveyard of social protest movements," and for good reason. From the Populist movement of the late 19th century, to the semi-insurrectional industrial union movement of the 1930s, to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, to the mass anti-war protest movements of the 1960s and the eruption of international protests against the Iraq War in the early 2000s -- every movement against the depredations of American capitalism has been aborted and strangled by being channeled behind the Democratic Party.

[Nov 12, 2018] DEA And ICE Hiding Secret Cameras In Streetlights

Modern technology makes many things possible, but it does not make them cheap... The camera needs to work in pretty adverse conditions (think about the temperature inside the light on a hot summer day, and temperature at winter) and transmit signal somewhere via WiFi (which has range less then 100m) , or special cable that needs to be installed for this particular pole. With wifi there should be many collection units which also cost money. So it make sense only for streetlights adjacent to building with Internet networking. And there are already cameras of the highway, so highways are basically covered. Which basically limits this technology to cities. Just recoding without transmission would be much cheaper (transmission on demand). Excessive paranoia here is not warranted.
Nov 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

According to new government procurement data, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have purchased an undisclosed number of secret surveillance cameras that are being hidden in streetlights across the country.

Quartz first reported this dystopian development of federal authorities stocking up on "covert systems" last week. The report showed how the DEA paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC. approximately $22,000 since June for "video recording and reproducing equipment." ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments during the same period.

"It's unclear where the DEA and ICE streetlight cameras have been installed, or where the next deployments will take place. ICE offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have provided funding for recent acquisitions from Cowboy Streetlight Concealments; the DEA's most recent purchases were funded by the agency's Office of Investigative Technology, which is located in Lorton, Virginia," said Quartz.

Below is the list Of contract actions for Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC. Vendor_Duns_Number: "085189089" on the Federal Procurement Database:

Christie Crawford, who co-owns Cowboy Streetlight Concealments with her husband, said she was not allowed to talk about the government contracts in detail.

"We do streetlight concealments and camera enclosures," Crawford told Quartz. "Basically, there's businesses out there that will build concealments for the government and that's what we do. They specify what's best for them, and we make it. And that's about all I can probably say."

However, she added: "I can tell you this -- things are always being watched. It doesn't matter if you're driving down the street or visiting a friend, if government or law enforcement has a reason to set up surveillance, there's great technology out there to do it."

Quartz notes that the DEA issued a solicitation for "concealments made to house network PTZ [Pan-Tilt-Zoom] camera, cellular modem, cellular compression device," last Monday. According to solicitation number D-19-ST-0037, the sole source award will go to Obsidian Integration LLC.

On November 07, the Jersey City Police Department awarded Obsidian Integration with "the purchase and delivery of a covert pole camera." Quartz said the filing did not provide much detail about the design.

It is not just streetlights the federal government wants to mount covert surveillance cameras on, it seems cameras inside traffic barrels could be heading onto America's highways in the not too distant future.

And as Quartz reported in October, the DEA operates a complex network of digital speed-display road signs that covertly scan license plates. On top of all this, Amazon has been aggressively rolling out its Rekognition facial-recognition software to law enforcement agencies and ICE, according to emails uncovered by the Project for Government Oversight.

Chad Marlow, a senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, told Quartz that cameras in street lights have been proposed before by local governments, typically under a program called "smart" LED street light system.

"It basically has the ability to turn every streetlight into a surveillance device, which is very Orwellian to say the least," Marlow told Quartz. "In most jurisdictions, the local police or department of public works are authorized to make these decisions unilaterally and in secret. There's no public debate or oversight."

And so, as the US continues to be distracted, torn amid record political, social and economic polarization, big brother has no intention of letting the current crisis go to waste, and quietly continues on its path of transforming the US into a full-blown police and surveillance state.


wuffie , 9 minutes ago link

I previously worked for one of these types of federal agencies and to be fair, $50,000 doesn't buy a lot of video surveillance equipment at government procurement costs. The contractor doesn't just drill a hole and install a camera, they provide an entirely new streetlight head with the camera installed.

SantaClaws , 36 minutes ago link

It would be nice if they put some of this technology to work for a good cause. Maybe warning you of traffic congestion ahead. Or advising you that one of your tires will soon go flat.

Obviously that won't happen, so in the meantime, I can't wait to read next how the hackers will find a way to make this government effort go completely haywire. As if the government can't do it without any help. At least when the hackers do it, it will be funny and thorough.

21st.century , 56 minutes ago link

Besides the creepy surveillance part, some of the street light tech is interesting . lights that dim like the frozen food section - when no one is in front of the case --- RGB lighting that shows the approximate location for EMS to a 911 call ( lights that EMS can follow by color)

basic neighborhood street lights are being replaced by LED -- lights in this article.

Hey, I have street lights AND cameras on the same poles at the shop/mad scientist lab/ play house.

but- surveillance -- the wall better have these lights -- light up the border !

Oldguy05 , 1 hour ago link

This is yesteryears news. Shot Spotter has microphones that can pick up whispered conversations for 300 feet for a long time now, while triangulating any gunshot in a city...

[Nov 12, 2018] Trump Or Cheney WSJ Asks Who's The Real American Psycho

Notable quotes:
"... Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? ..."
Nov 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

After a screening of "Vice" Thursday, I asked McKay which of our two right-wing Dementors was worse, Cheney or Trump.

"Here's the question," he said.

"Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? I'd rather have a maniac with a meat cleaver after me, so I think Cheney is way worse.

And also, if you look at the body count, more than 600,000 people died in Iraq. It's not even close, right? "

[Nov 11, 2018] LaRouche, Soros, and the New York Times A Strange S ance on 43rd Street LaRouchePAC

Nov 11, 2018 | larouchepac.com

The flailing New York Times attempted, frantically, to reassemble George Soros into something resembling a respectable person in its November 1st edition. The made-up claims and artifices used by the Gray Lady in this respect would tickle Edgar Allen Poe who chronicled such an effort in his short story, "The Man Who Was All Used Up." If you know Poe's story, he encounters a pile of clothing and artificial limbs lying on the floor which begins speaking to him. A man then slowly assembles himself using all artificial parts. As is typical of this newspaper, the actual George Soros is nowhere to be found in the article.

The Times describes Soros' fanatical drive to turn the United States into an opium den as "drug reform." His disgusting crusade which looted Russia and subverted its intelligentsia on behalf of the City of London is described as "service" on behalf of the United States. His currency speculations which also destroyed whole countries are described as "intriguing" investment decisions. The Times goes out of its way to mischaracterize Soros' confessed adolescent role under the Nazis, working under forged identity papers in his native Hungary, to confiscate the property of his fellow Jews. In a CBS 60 Minutes interview about this perfidy, Soros admitted it, and stated that he had no guilt or regrets. Had he not acted in this way somebody else would have, he said. The experience formed his character. The Times' only reference to this well-known but inconvenient reality is to state that Soros lived under the Nazis as a "Christian." But, what can you expect from a newspaper which openly praised Adolph Hitler in his early incarnations?

The central purpose of the Times piece is name calling: pinning an anti-Semitic label on those who think Soros is evil, particularly President Donald Trump. The fact that Soros is funding British spy Christopher Steele's post-FBI existence, and the fact of Soros' continued direction, participation, and funding of the regime change operation against the President including many of the operations of RESIST, of course, have nothing to do with Trump's dislike of George and are never mentioned to the reader. In this exercise, the Times also omits the Israeli government's recent characterization of George Soros. While condemning recent anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary, the Israeli Foreign Ministry emphasized that its statement was not "meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel's democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself." Finally, the Times asserts that all of the facts now in circulation about George Soros are attributable to Lyndon LaRouche and unnamed Eastern European tyrants. They link to the New York Times coverage of LaRouche's criminal conviction. But even the footnote to that linked article makes clear that the Grey Lady can't even do straight news coverage of a court case when it comes to their bete noire, Lyndon LaRouche. As the corrective footnote explains, LaRouche was not convicted of substantive fraud charges, like the Times article about that event asserted. Rather, the footnote explains, LaRouche was convicted of a broad conspiracy. In truth, this was exactly the same type of Klein conspiracy Robert Mueller is now using against the Russians he indicted for an alleged small bore social media campaign in 2016. Klein conspiracies are famously abusive uses of the conspiracy laws which allow prosecutors to cheat and convict people of made up crimes.

The Times' futile reconstruction effort of course fails, miserably. Soros is, simply, a man who is all used up. The stuff people recount about him is provably and devastatingly true. The only error made by his detractors is to believe he has any kind of power anymore. He only has his money and such fame as comes from being a thoroughly British project –an aging and overused hitman for the failing City of London.

[Nov 10, 2018] Burying The Other Russia Story: WSJ Editors Expose The House Democrats' Real Plan

Notable quotes:
"... Adam Schiff will shut down the probe that found FBI abuses. ..."
"... Credit for knowing anything at all goes to Intel Chairman Devin Nunes and more recently a joint investigation by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (Judiciary) and Trey Gowdy (Oversight). Over 18 months of reviewing tens of thousands of documents and interviewing every relevant witness, no Senate or House Committee has unearthed evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the presidential election. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller has found more, he hasn't made it public. ..."
"... But House investigators have uncovered details of a Democratic scheme to prod the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign. We now know that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired Fusion GPS, which hired an intelligence-gun-for-hire, Christopher Steele, to write a "dossier" on Donald Trump's supposed links to Russia. ..."
"... Mr. Steele fed that document to the FBI, even as he secretly alerted the media to the FBI probe that Team Clinton had helped to initiate. Fusion, the oppo-research firm, was also supplying its dossier info to senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion. ..."
"... This abuse of the FBI's surveillance powers took place as part of a counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign -- which the FBI also hid from Congress. Such an investigation is unprecedented in post-J. Edgar Hoover American politics, and it included running informants into the Trump campaign, obtaining surveillance warrants, and using national security letters, which are secret subpoenas to obtain phone records and documents. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via The Wall Street Journal

Adam Schiff will shut down the probe that found FBI abuses.

Arguably the most important power at stake in Tuesday's election was Congressional oversight, and the most important change may be Adam Schiff at the House Intelligence Committee. The Democrat says his top priority is re-opening the Trump-Russia collusion probe, but more important may be his intention to stop investigating how the FBI and Justice Department abused their power in 2016. So let's walk through what we've learned to date.

Credit for knowing anything at all goes to Intel Chairman Devin Nunes and more recently a joint investigation by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (Judiciary) and Trey Gowdy (Oversight). Over 18 months of reviewing tens of thousands of documents and interviewing every relevant witness, no Senate or House Committee has unearthed evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the presidential election. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller has found more, he hasn't made it public.

But House investigators have uncovered details of a Democratic scheme to prod the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign. We now know that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired Fusion GPS, which hired an intelligence-gun-for-hire, Christopher Steele, to write a "dossier" on Donald Trump's supposed links to Russia.

Mr. Steele fed that document to the FBI, even as he secretly alerted the media to the FBI probe that Team Clinton had helped to initiate. Fusion, the oppo-research firm, was also supplying its dossier info to senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion.

House investigators have also documented the FBI's lack of judgment in using the dossier to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against former Trump aide Carter Page. The four FISA warrants against Mr. Page show that the FBI relied almost exclusively on the unproven Clinton-financed accusations, as well as a news story that was also ginned up by Mr. Steele.

The FBI told the FISA court that Mr. Steele was "credible," despite Mr. Steele having admitted to Mr. Ohr that he passionately opposed a Trump Presidency. The FBI also failed to tell the FISA court about the Clinton campaign's tie to the dossier.

This abuse of the FBI's surveillance powers took place as part of a counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign -- which the FBI also hid from Congress. Such an investigation is unprecedented in post-J. Edgar Hoover American politics, and it included running informants into the Trump campaign, obtaining surveillance warrants, and using national security letters, which are secret subpoenas to obtain phone records and documents.

Mr. Nunes and his colleagues also found that officials in Barack Obama's White House "unmasked" Trump campaign officials to learn about their conversations with foreigners; that FBI officials exhibited anti-Trump bias in text messages; and that the FBI team that interviewed then Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn reported that they did not think Mr. Flynn had lied about his Russian contacts. Mr. Mueller still squeezed Mr. Flynn to cop a guilty plea.

All of this information had to be gathered despite relentless opposition from Democrats and their media contacts. Liberal groups ginned up a phony ethics complaint against Mr. Nunes, derailing his committee leadership for months. Much of the media became Mr. Schiff's scribes rather than independent reporters. Meanwhile, the FBI and Justice continue to stonewall Congress, defying subpoenas and hiding names and information behind heavy redactions.

There is still much more the public deserves to know. This includes how and when the FBI's Trump investigation began, the extent of FBI surveillance, and the role of Obama officials and foreigners such as Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who in spring 2016 supposedly told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia held damaging Clinton emails. When he takes over the committee, Mr. Schiff will stop asking these questions and bless the FBI-Justice refusal to cooperate.

Senate Republicans could continue to dig next year, but Mr. Mueller seems uninterested. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March asked Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to look into FBI misconduct, but there has been little public reporting of what he is finding, if he is even still looking. Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is investigating, though that report is likely to take many more months.

* * *

All of which puts an additional onus on Mr. Trump to declassify key FBI and Justice documents sought by Mr. Nunes and other House investigators before Mr. Schiff buries the truth. A few weeks ago Mr. Trump decided to release important documents, only to renege under pressure from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and members of the intelligence community.

Mr. Sessions resigned this week and perhaps Mr. Rosenstein will as well. Meantime, Mr. Trump should revisit his decision and help Mr. Nunes and House Republicans finish the job in the lame duck session of revealing the truth about the misuse of U.S. intelligence and the FISA court in a presidential election.

[Nov 10, 2018] Russian State-Owned Bank VTB Funded Rosneft Stake Sale To Qatari Fund

Notable quotes:
"... Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Irina Slav via Oilprice.com,

Russian VTB, a state-owned bank, funded a significant portion of the Qatar Investment Authority's acquisition of a stake in oil giant Rosneft , Reuters reports , quoting nine unnamed sources familiar with the deal.

VTB, however, has denied to Reuters taking any part in the deal.

"VTB has not issued and is not planning to issue a loan to QIA to finance the acquisition," the bank said in response for a request for comment.

The Reuters sources, however, claim VTB provided a US$6 billion loan to the Qatar sovereign wealth fund that teamed up with Swiss Glencore to acquire 19.5 percent in Rosneft last year. Reuters cites data regarding VTB's activity issued by the Russian central bank that shows VTB lent US$6.7 billion (434 billion rubles) to unnamed foreign entities and the loan followed another loan of US$5.20 billion (350 billion rubles) from the same central bank.

The news first made headlines in December, taking markets by surprise, as Rosneft's partial privatization was expected by most to be limited to Russian investors. The price tag on the stake was around US$11.57 billion (692 billion rubles), of which Glencore agreed to contribute US$324 million. The remainder was forked over by the Qatar Investment Authority, as well as non-recourse bank financing.

Russia's budget received about US$10.55 billion ( 710.8 billion rubles ) from the deal, including US$ 270 million (18 billion rubles) in extra dividends. Rosneft, for its part, got an indirect stake in Glencore of 0.54 percent.

Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing.

solidtare , 30 minutes ago link

Took z/h almost 2 years, and of course from a tertiary source - Reuters

John Helmer nailed this scam 2 years ago, and got hammered for it

[Nov 10, 2018] How Secession from the Soviet Union Created Booming Economies and Innovative Government Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... With all due cynical respect... I find it highly ironic that some of the biggest money launderers and Mafiosi are Baltic banks. The hilarity never ends. ..."
"... Full scale bull ****. No single former Soviet bloc country get into economic level of pre-Berlin wall fall. They are done. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

DoctorFix , 46 minutes ago link

With all due cynical respect... I find it highly ironic that some of the biggest money launderers and Mafiosi are Baltic banks. The hilarity never ends.

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Here is classic: GDP PPP per capita. What to pay attention.

#1, After 30 years and joining EU and NATO there is no difference in former Soviet bloc. Just looks like Russia is greatest profiteer. Now those parasites are chained to west.

#2, countries of former Soviet bloc are in better shape than countries that were in sphere of western imperialism. Especially look at countries where USA imperialism worked since 1823 Monroe's doctrine. Chart shows that in 200 years USA was not able to achieve much progress despite permanent military interventions and political influence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Latvia, a disappearing nation

https://www.politico.eu/article/latvia-a-disappearing-nation-migration-population-decline/

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Full scale bull ****. No single former Soviet bloc country get into economic level of pre-Berlin wall fall. They are done.

Europe's Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking in the Baltics

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-baltics

Cohen-cide-nce , 2 hours ago link

The balts have become them most libtarded cucks in the EU. They all need to get nuked. Bunch of atheist-feminist faggots.

Dick Buttkiss , 1 hour ago link

Due punishment, no doubt, for being on the cutting edge of technology-driven economic development and personal freedom.

From what planet/galaxy/universe does your information emanate?

Trader200K , 2 hours ago link

As much as I like the idea of taking my state to Estonia status, too many winner-take-all politicians and weak thinkers to recognize that new borders would solve lots and lots of problems.

Socialists are clearly smart, but in actuality just simple evil, immoral thieves. They will be unlikely to support any secession because they know their enemies are the source of their lucre.

Balkanization, what little there will be, will most likely come after we are drug into WWIII and we are back to a 1700's subsistence existence.

A pessimist is never disappointed, but I will happily take an optimist's surprise if people just stop and live and let live.

Flankspeed60 , 3 hours ago link

If at first you don't secede.............

Dick Buttkiss , 2 hours ago link

.............. try, try to "Unchain America" next July 4. What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a joining of hands across the land, if not to secede, then to affirm our right to, one state at a time?

Are one in 66 Americans not prepared to do so?

Salzburg1756 , 3 hours ago link

So... Diversity is their strength? Or was I misinformed?

Dick Buttkiss , 3 hours ago link

It's 2,790 miles from New York to Los Angeles, which is 14,731,200 feet. At three feet per person, it would take around 4,910,400 people -- less than 1/66th of the US population -- to make a human chain like the three Balkan states did.

Count me in.

[Nov 09, 2018] Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford

Notable quotes:
"... With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. ..."
"... that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. ..."
"... No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience. ..."
"... The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. ..."
"... The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead. ..."
"... They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist? ..."
"... Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote. ..."
"... Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for? ..."
"... Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators? ..."
"... Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture. ..."
"... Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath. ..."
"... If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy. ..."
"... Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington. ..."
"... Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201... ..."
"... A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25) ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford - posted by PL

With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. The truth about the sex-fraud, Dr. Chrissie Ford, is now exposed by the voluminous report issued by Senator Grassley's Judiciary Committee staff. Read it here . ( https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2018-11-02%20Kavanaugh%20Report.pdf ). Here are the highlights:

that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. The Judiciary Committee report also details the allegations and findings from others who alleged sexual misconduct by the Judge. It was all a pack of lies. A contrived hit job intended to destroy the man's reputation and try to cow him into backing away from the nomination. That bullying tactic failed spectacularly. It ended up rallying a broad swath of the American public, especially women, who understand fairness and justice. The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Pat Lang Mod , 21 hours ago

IMO a criminal referral on Dr. Ford would be appropriate.
Kelli K -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Absolutely agree. With Nadler now openly talking about impeaching Kavanaugh, there is no alternative. The truth must be brought out. The alternative is to leave him exposed permanently and keep this whole plan viable for use against future nominees. With RBG approaching retirement this is critical.
Fred W -> Pat Lang , 19 hours ago
Getting to the actual facts would be a great good. But we know that will not happen. The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation. That appears to be the last thing they want. If they actually believed any of what they said, they would follow your advice. We will see.

On second thought that is probably an unfair standard. Opening up discovery for a trial would have negative effects even for a very solid case.

Fred -> Fred W , 18 hours ago
"The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation."

You mean the Mueller "Russia" investigation? That is beyond a joke at this point. Dr. Ford should be charged. She's got $1 million or more from the go bribe fund me accounts. She should lawyer up. So should Ms. Mclean.

Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 19 hours ago
No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience.
Bill H -> Fred W , 3 hours ago
I think the lesson to be learned is that getting all the facts simply cannot be done, which is why we have a statute of limitations, and why Dr. Ford's accusation should not ever have seen the light of day 30 years after the purported event.

Most liberals seem to think the statute of limitations has to do with the purported offender "living with guilt," but the law does not acknowledge the "sensation of guilt." The statute is because after a period of time the offense cannot be fairly prosecuted because witnesses die or move away, memories fade, evidence degrades or disappears, and so forth, and this shoddy exhibition is proof of the validity of that principle.

Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 4 hours ago
I do not see how you can fault Grassley's efforts to get the facts. He bent over backward to accommodate the Democrats lies about Kavanaugh and the WH authorized the the additional FBI investigation.
Karl Kolchak , 19 hours ago
The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. Then if they lost, which they were likely going to do anyway, it would have at least been considered fair politics and it would have placed the spotlight on a very ugly chapter in the country's recent history that needs to be addressed.
RaisingMac -> Karl Kolchak , 7 hours ago
The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead.
Divadab Newton -> RaisingMac , 4 hours ago
They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist?
FarNorthSolitude -> Karl Kolchak , 3 hours ago
Shaming, shunning, bullying, threats of violence, and violence are all now accepted as methods by the left. They are totally consumed in a political tribalism. Rather than raising the moral standards of the group they are using the most primitive instincts and you can see this in many of the tweets from the left that use gross sexual imagery to demean their "enemies".

The more I read on group psychology such as Freud, Le Bon, etc. the more concerned I become whether the age of reason, principles, and science will survive group psychosis given the powerful tools like social media enabling it. Social media is one of the most dangerous technologies we have developed.

"In order to make a correct judgment upon the morals of groups, one must take into consideration the fact that when individuals come together in a group all their individual inhibitions fall away and all the cruel, brutal and destructive instincts, which lie dormant in individuals as relics of a primitive epoch, are stirred up to find free gratification. But under the influence of suggestion groups are also capable of high achievements in the shape of abnegation, unselfishness, and devotion to an ideal.

While with isolated individuals personal interest is almost the only motive force, with groups it is very rarely prominent.

It is possible to speak of an individual having his moral standards raised by a group. Whereas the intellectual capacity of a group is always far below that of an individual, its ethical conduct may rise as high above his as it may sink deep below it." - Gustave Le Bon

blue peacock -> Karl Kolchak , 17 hours ago
Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote.

Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for?

william mcdonald , 5 hours ago
Wily old Senator Charles(the Fox) Grassley gave the democrats sufficient rope to hang themselves with, an act they did with gusto.
PRC90 , 10 hours ago
Another amateurish mess. One effect may be that the Democrats will be more careful in their next attempt to discredit some opponent.
DianaLC -> PRC90 , 2 hours ago
The recent accident that RBG experienced has probably caused both Democrats and Republicans some concern that there may soon be another Supreme Court seat to fill under a Trump administration.
akaPatience , 15 hours ago
Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators?

Off topic: I'd love to read PT's take on the mid-term election with attention paid to the boxes of suddenly-discovered ballots in AZ that have put (wouldn't you know!) Democratic Senate candidate Sinema in the lead. And in light of the FL recount, I'd also be interested in what he has to say about the flagrant disregard for chain of custody of [the infamous] Broward Co. boxes of ballots.

Why is it that ballots discovered post-election day always seem to help Democrats? I don't recall ever reading or hearing about newly-discovered ballots that benefited Republican candidates.

Mad_Max22 -> akaPatience , 2 hours ago
In my experience lying to the FBI, 18 USC 1001, was used very, very infrequently. It was used as an add on charge in the prosecution of some of the Watergate subjects and they had been placed under oath. It was used to my knowledge to prosecute an individual who had made a false accusatory statement in the Ray Donavan investigation in the early 80's, another debacle instigated by Senate Democrats. Otherwise it was rarely used, and it shouldn't be used in my opinion unless the person has been given a separate warning and waiver, or placed under oath.

Once Big Government has opened the floodgates on prosecuting people for lying to the FBI, especially when it becomes obvious that it is being used selectively, and in isolation in order to hang a charge on somebody in pursuit of manifestly political ends, cooperation with FBI Agents trying to do their job will, and should, dry up. Who needs to take a chance on some partisan operation, such as Bob Mueller, parsing their adverbs and adjectives for signs of deceit when the option is to take advantage of your right to silence.

Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture.

Pat Lang Mod -> Mad_Max22 , an hour ago
Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath.
Bill H -> akaPatience , 3 hours ago
Why isn't the Supreme Court stepping in to stop the unseemly Florida recount as it did in 2000?
Pat Lang Mod -> Bill H , an hour ago
we're not "there" yet.
Ed Lindgren , 15 hours ago
If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy.
Greco , 17 hours ago
Now that there's a new AG in town--one who isn't either cowed, incompetent, or possibly blackmailed--Mrs.Ford may get her just deserts.

Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington.

blue peacock , 17 hours ago
"The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee."

While this may have held true for the Senate, it didn't in the House.

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 4 hours ago
IMO skillful Democrat candidate selection had a great deal to do with the result in the House.
DianaLC -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
I agree with you in the sense that many of the Democrat candidates did not take the ultra progressive (socialist?) path. Many seemed more centrist.

That was the result of state and country Democratic parties.

I think this because I definitely see a difference in the different county Republican parties in my state.

Unfortunately in my state (CO) what happens in Boulder and Denver usually carries. And as we say in CO, Boulder is about 40 square miles surrounded by reality. Denver is becoming a similar alternate reality.

Thus, I am ashamed to say, our current Governor is a person from a quite alternate reality from the one in which I live.

MP98 -> Pat Lang , 4 hours ago
And Never-Trumper RINOs who ran as Democrat-lites.
Tidewater , 18 hours ago
Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201...

A male witness "(Sept. 26): stated that when he was a 19-year-old college student, he visited D.C. over spring break and kissed a girl he believes was Dr. Ford. He said that the kiss happened in the bedroom of a house which was about a 15-to- 20 minute walk from the Van Ness Metro, that Dr. Ford was wearing a swimsuit under her clothing, and that the kissing ended when a friend jumped on them as a joke. The witness said that the woman initiated the kissing and that he did not force himself on her. "

A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25)

Keith Harbaugh , 18 hours ago
PT, thanks very much for posting this. I cannot find any mention of this Judiciary Committee report at the Washington Post web site. They had a ton of coverage of Ford's allegation before the vote, including a lengthy interview with her current husband.

It says a lot about them that they have, unless I have missed something, ignored this report. Could the reason they are ignoring it be that they don't want to publicize anything which contradicts the line that "Women tell the truth"? A line that they have used to great political effect, in particular in the sinking of the Senate candidacy of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama.

[Nov 09, 2018] >Stock Markets Do Not Create Value

Notable quotes:
"... By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an "anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert". He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics . He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK ..."
"... 'a research paper by Hendrik Bessembinder published in the September edition of the Journal of Financial Economics posed the question "Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills?" with some rather worrying conclusions for most equity investors. ..."
"... the view that stock markets themselves create value ..."
"... the view that stock markets themselves create value ..."
"... One aspect not touched upon is stocks are loans that never get repaid. If I pay $100 of a share and the company thrives. I get paid dividends in perpetuity. Plus, If I buy that share from someone who already had bought it (a trade) I am being paid when I actually provided none of the original loan (like a bank buying the "paper" from another bank). Someone calculated that the dividends paid by Apple have paid off the amount originally tendered by several hundred percent, which would make them the worst bank loans in all of creation. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 8, 2018 by Yves Smith By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an "anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert". He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics . He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK

As many readers will know, I am not the greatest fan of stock markets. I consider most activity on such markets to be exploitative because of the asymmetry of the information available to investors. Much of it, from the pay directors take to the actions of most market managers, I consider to be rent seeking. The idea that equities provide strong returns is pretty much an urban myth, in my opinion, based on selective reading of data in those periods between market crashes.

There is quite a lot of evidence to support my view in an article by long-term and highly opinionated equity investor Terry Smith in the FT this morning . As he notes he did this based on 'a research paper by Hendrik Bessembinder published in the September edition of the Journal of Financial Economics posed the question "Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills?" with some rather worrying conclusions for most equity investors. ' I should make clear that the research is US based. I have no reason to think that performance in the UK is any different.

The main conclusions is that the majority of shares do not perform nearly as well as government bonds. It is an exceptional few that make it look as though shares outperform gilts.

Since 1977 the median new shares issued on the stock exchange has delivered a negative rate of return, even with dividends reinvested.

On average, a quoted security has a life expectancy of just 7.5 years over the 90 year period studied. No wonder short-termism is rife.

And as he notes:

Just five companies out of the universe of 25,967 in the study account for 10 per cent of the total wealth creation over the 90 years, and just over 4 per cent of the companies account for all of the wealth created.

So, what is to be learned?

First, the stock exchange is not a business funding mechanism: it is a business exit strategy for most companies.

Second, most people are fools to take part in this game.

Third, if you insist on taking part only invest in the best stocks.

Fourth, since you have no way of knowing which ones they are, invest in a market tracker.

Or fifth, buy gilts.

But whatever you don't believe the story that the market deliver higher rates of return than government bonds: 96% of it does not.


Arizona Slim , November 8, 2018 at 10:07 am

So much for that "invest in the stock market for your retirement wealth" idea. Y'now, the one that justified the 401k

Enquiring Mind , November 8, 2018 at 2:21 pm

When 43 pushed the privatization of Social Security through more 401k and similar approaches my immediate thought was that he was rationalizing the transfer of wealth and increased fees to Wall Street. Someday there will be a post-mortem about Neo-Liberalism and that episode merits at least a footnote. To escape the memory hole.

Phichibe , November 8, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Don't forget that Clinton had reached a deal with Gingerich to privatize up to half of the Social Security Trust Fund in the stock market, which was only derailed by the Lewinski scandal. Clinton was scheduled to unveil this at the State of the Union address the week after the Lewinski story started to break, and pulled back because he was advised that if he were impeached he'd need the Democrats in the Senate to avoid conviction. Google "Robert Kuttner" "Clinton" and "Social Security" to get the details. There's also a book called "The Pact" by Steven Gillon that documents the back channel negotiations, which were conducted by Erskine Bowles, Clinton's last Chief of Staff.

It would have been the ultimate Neo-Liberal betrayal of the party of FDR, but we were saved by a blue dress. Amazing story, not nearly as well known as it should be. We might have been spared the Hillary Clinton phenomenon.

P

Todde , November 8, 2018 at 9:04 pm

It would work if the government guarantees a certain rate of return and guarantees your SS payment thru 0 interest loans when the market goes down.

Your tax payment goes into a market index fund and you get 8%. Govt keeps earnings.

If market goes down and youre receiving payments they are loaned to you at 0%, creating an automatic stimulus for the economy.

When Market fund goes back up, the loan is repaid from earnings.

John Zelnicker , November 9, 2018 at 2:05 am

@Todde
November 8, 2018 at 9:04 pm
-- -- -

I don't want my Social Security benefits to be any kind of loan that has to be repaid. That just gives the government another way to cut my benefits at some point.

I don't want Wall Street to get one penny of the contributions I have made to Social Security for the past 50 years. They don't deserve it!

Your proposal is no more than a neoliberal justification for subjecting the Social Security system to the depredations of the "Market", allowing the rentiers to get their cut off the top.

No thanks!

Blue Pilgrim , November 9, 2018 at 11:18 am

Remember that taxes don't really pay for government expenses in a fiat system; don't forget MMT.

Accounts are not real wealth any more than the map is the territory (CF Korzibsky and general semantics). The stock market, as well as the bond market, are accounting gizmos, and accounting is not actual wealth creation, and neither does owning stocks or binds produce anything real.

Todde , November 9, 2018 at 11:39 am

I think youre safe.

But your social security taxes are being borrowed by the general fund right now.

And their still talking about cutting your payments.

divadab , November 8, 2018 at 10:07 am

Anyone investing in bonds in the low interest rate environment that has prevailed these past ten years would disagree, I think.

I call rubbish on this article. Not my experience. My investing strategy is to follow the oligarchs. Invest in stocks that make money by destroying the planet. Take profits when things look toppy. Reinvest dividends.

Buy bonds at your own peril. Maybe when rates are in the 6% plus range but we're a long way from that.

Robert Valiant , November 8, 2018 at 10:47 am

The last 10 years (or any other small set of time) is specifically not the time scale that this article addresses.

Arizona Slim , November 8, 2018 at 11:01 am

Quoting from the article:

The main conclusions is that the majority of shares do not perform nearly as well as government bonds. It is an exceptional few that make it look as though shares outperform gilts.

Since 1977 the median new shares issued on the stock exchange has delivered a negative rate of return, even with dividends reinvested.

On average, a quoted security has a life expectancy of just 7.5 years over the 90 year period studied. No wonder short-termism is rife.

Lord Koos , November 8, 2018 at 1:29 pm

"Invest in stocks that make money by destroying the planet."

Another good reason to not participate, IMHO.

oh , November 8, 2018 at 4:26 pm

The financial advisors (phonies) would agree with you,

divadab , November 8, 2018 at 8:23 pm

@Valiant; Slim; Koos; oh:

Have it your way – be poor. I'd rather have money than snark.

I have practical experience and have done better in equities.

The time scale of the article is 40 years – in our current economy 40 years ago is ancient history. And they focus only on new issues, which represent a fraction of total market cap. And I doubt many financial advisors would agree with me as I a) don't employ any of them; and b) find them to be a repository of groupthink and always to miss inflection points.

I dismiss anyone advising bonds in the current interest rate environment. Unless you want to end up with less money than you started out with.

tegnost , November 8, 2018 at 8:54 pm

while it's great that you are succeeding in the market, remember that we have had 10 years of qe and stock buybacks. I hear student loan bonds are very lucrative if you've got enough dough to make a position

Jim A. , November 9, 2018 at 10:35 am

And yet I can reasonably anticipate being retired for 30 years. Certainly SOME of the money in my 401(k) will have been there for 50 years.

Skip Intro , November 8, 2018 at 10:19 am

Jeez, next you'll be telling us that buying Lotto tickets is not a financially sound investment strategy.

Tom Stone , November 8, 2018 at 10:52 am

Skip, dissing the lotto is uncool.
After all it's "America's Retirement Plan".

Skip Intro , November 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

Sorry Tom, I meant no disrespect on the 1st and 15th of every month it's the eternal question Alpo or Lotto.

shinola , November 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

Quote from Econ. prof. circa 1974:

"The stock market is the only form of gambling legal in all 50 states."

(I doubt he originated that statement, but that's the 1st time I heard it)

Jim A. , November 9, 2018 at 10:37 am

My favorite investing quote is:"The only number from management that I believe is the one on the dividend check."

charles , November 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

On average, a quoted security has a life expectancy of just 7.5 years over the 90 year period studied. No wonder short-termism is rife.

This does not mean the average company goes bankrupt in 7.5 years. Acquisitions also remove quoted securities. I don't see the link between how long a security is traded and whether or not the underlying assets are managed for long or short term.

jhallc , November 9, 2018 at 10:25 am

The dot com bubble sure had it's share of here today gone tomorrow stocks but, I'm also wondering if they took into account many of the mergers and aquisitions that occurred during the lead up to the bubble's popping.

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 11:26 am

Anyone know the implications for MMT?
I'm thinking, "yup, synchs with MMT "
But amiright?
Or not?

Paul O , November 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Richard Murphy is a strong advocate for MMT so it likely syncs closely. His blog is one of my go to sites.

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Thx ;-)
Good to know that – at least as of 9:30 am PST – I've not yet hit full cray-cray ;-)

However, given your confirmation, the implications of this post are . epic.

JEHR , November 8, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Where do the profits come from for buying and selling stocks: they come from the smucks who pick the wrong stocks.

Altandmain , November 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm

The issue here is that companies only get money from e events:

1. During the initial IPO
2. If they issue new shares afterwards, which dilutes existing owners

Other than that, you are not, when you buy a share, sending money to the bank account of the firm that you are investing in. What are you doing? Sending money to the person who you bought the share from. It is pretty much speculation. Capitalists hate to admit this idea.

Also, companies that buy back shares or pay dividends are taking money of their cash flows and giving money to the shareholders.

In this regard, capitalism is not a good way to allocate capital. It can be used for various types of manipulation, an example being a share buyback right before executives cash in their stock options.

The social value of this is deeply negative.

Altandmain , November 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Here is the university website

https://wpcarey.asu.edu/department-finance/faculty-research/do-stocks-outperform-treasury-bills

It should be noted that they are discussing individual stocks, as opposed to an index fund.

JCC , November 8, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Years ago I read in Marjorie Kelly's The Divine Right of Capital that 97% of all stock trades never contribute one direct penny to the Company who's shares are traded. It's purely a speculative game.

It was the book that first woke me up 15 years ago to the way our financial system really works. Needless to say, this site has become my ongoing educational resource.

Jim A. , November 9, 2018 at 10:40 am

Stock prices are a zero sum game. Every extra dollar the seller of a stock gets is an extra dollar that the purchaser has paid to secure a share of future profits.

Chauncey Gardiner , November 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm

IMO stock markets in and of themselves both create and destroy "value" in much the same way that a casino does, including largely hidden social costs. While there is little in the way of public data to support either a pro or con view and setting aside issues of manipulation of market prices, the view that stock markets themselves create value by enabling price discovery is integral to neoliberalism. I agree with the view that the related long-term "financialization" of the economy contributes to recurring speculative asset price bubbles and leads to long-term economic stagnation while enriching a few.

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 2:49 pm

the view that stock markets themselves create value by enabling price discovery is integral to neoliberalism.

Ding!
Somehow, it feels like this line badly needs my Dumpster Fire emoji .

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 2:52 pm

the view that stock markets themselves create value by enabling price discovery is integral to neoliberalism

Indeed.

animalogic , November 8, 2018 at 11:06 pm

"price discovery is integral to neoliberalism"
I would have thought it's the exact opposite ?
(Perhaps your "indeed" was ironic ?)
It's the inequality of information (ie price discovery) that makes the stock market so profitable for the "right" people.
The Fed's years of QE is another factor that has made price discovery very difficult.

Skip Intro , November 9, 2018 at 1:22 am

I believe that the concept of price 'discovery' is already an important element of neoliberal framing, and that Chauncey Gardiner has shared a profound insight. Discovery implies that there is a natural price, somehow prior to and independent of human/political intervention. The stock market is a way to embody the collective of individual 'rational actors', and give this collective transcendent power over individuals, corporations and nations. It is perhaps more clear when one looks at bond markets and the way they are used to 'discipline' nations whose fiscal policies diverge from the neoliberal consensus. The fact that the hand holding the whip is invisible is a feature, not a bug. The whipped feel the lash, les autres hear the crack and see the blood, but there is no recourse imaginable -- because Markets.
Your point about information inequality is good, but I think that would be viewed in neoliberal doctrine as a minor flaw in the market, even if, for the main actors, it is the raison d'etre .

Doug Hillman , November 9, 2018 at 6:35 am

Yup, what the author describes as a flaw -- "asymmetry of the information available to investors", isn't a bug; it's a feature. But the real elephant soiling the room is who has access to all that free debt printed by the unaccountable private cartel we refer to as the Federal Reserve. Could you benefit from a zero-interest deferred-payment mortgage?

Even better "our" millionaire legislators are exempt from insider-trading laws and they in turn have immunized their investors. Clearly the most lucrative investment by far is political bribery. The new Wall Street Socialists have redefined capitalism and democracy as Orwellian doublespeak.

Jeremy Grimm , November 8, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I agree -- I think this post plays on its words. The stock market price for a stock indicates what speculators are willing to pay and sellers are willing to accept for the stock. These need have very little to do with the 'value' of the stock other than its 'value' in the stock market. That's seldom been truer than in the current stock 'market'. I'm not a very trusting sort so I don't believe more than half the numbers in corporate reports. Many stocks stocks like Apple or Amazon tend to trade on 'value' instead of anything like what used to be called value. At a time when there seems to be no limit on the amount of money finding its way into the hands of the wealthy I'm not sure the selling of stock has anything to do with raising money for investments. Many firms can coin their own money through their many monopolies and monopsonies, and 'retained earnings' -- a category I believe often labels earnings squeezed from the small sellers, suppliers, and labor thrall to the large firms. To me, asserting "Stock markets do not create value" is shorthand for a much deeper critique of our financialized stock markets.

Westinghouse in the days of George Westinghouse, General Electric in the days of Thomas Edison, Xerox in the days shortly after Chester Carlson all created value. I like to believe that at least in some periods of the stock market their stocks represented and did not create but "shared" the value these firms invented and developed. I also like to believe at least some of the new issues these and other firms sold did indeed once help fund real investments in productive capital. But all that has become but romantic memory.

I believe the Corporate Management is busily engaged in cashing-out what real value remains within the firms they control and will continue doing so until all that's left is a hollow shell servicing the bonds and notes the firm created as part of their liquidation process. The stock market is where speculators can bet against each other on the ebb and flow of prices moving toward a great twilight of our stock markets and our gutted economy.

Ken , November 8, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Strange that value and profits are synonymous here when it's usually very helpful to differentiate between the two

Jeremy Grimm , November 9, 2018 at 12:44 pm

I think you mean value and price paid -- the idea that the Market assigns value through price paid.

Kurt Sperry , November 8, 2018 at 2:07 pm

This is like saying casinos don't create value. Crazy talk!

edit: CG beat me to it.

Oregoncharles , November 8, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Well, there's entertainment value, just like casinos and horse racing, but that isn't what they're paid for – unlike casinos or race tracks.

An Indiana paper (Indy Star? used to print the stock market numbers facing the horse race results. My father was not amused when I pointed that out, since investing in stocks was part of his job. I thought it was hilarious.

Realistically, financial "markets" are an overhead cost, part of your management system for the economy. Not saying whether it's MIS- management.

Susan the other , November 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm

They used to say you can make money if you are right 51% of the time. Such a narrow edge – because the reverse is also true. This is a good argument for not wasting time and money on the cherished institution of the market. Nancy Pelosi was blabbering on about all our sacred institutions (cows) trying to cover her fauxpaux when she tried to defuse the demand for single payer with her stumbling, tooth sucking comment that "this is a capitalist country" and therefore we simply canot have anything so cost effective as single payer. I'm convinced she doesn't know her capitalism from a hot rock. So now, armed with this simple demonstration of how wasteful the whole idea of a stock market is, I'm thinking the Market is a very questionable institution. Much better to be highly selective and deliberate about stocks and stock companies. Not just in the share-buying but in the whole company concept. If returns on government bonds are the best choice then why would anyone get upset about "the debt". It's the best investment. And I am left to assume this is true because that money is spent on valuable things in the first place. I'm also thinking how to do an end-run around Nancy's new Institution-patriotism with a movement to provide everyone with a medical credit card. Why not? Everything else, including Nancy's paycheck and percs, are on credit. What a velvet revolution, no?

Jeremy Grimm , November 8, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I went to Richard Murphy's websites and I'm not sure his new book "The Joy of Tax" will be a big winner here in the US. He may need to give it a new title.

ALSO -- the link for Cambridge Econometrics should be updated to:
https://www.camecon.com/

[I guess they got a new webserver program?]

griffen , November 8, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Interesting point. I suppose an easy proxy is using a large fund family benchmark mutual fund.

Since inception in 1976, Vanguard SP 500 had annualized return of 11.17%. Hard to beat that. Symbol is VFINX.

Or choose the Wellington fund offered by Vanguard. Balanced funds for stock & bond exposure.

divadab , November 8, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Yes. And no bond fund even comes close.

@griffen you are a voice of reason on this thread – man these communists just don't get it.

Todde , November 8, 2018 at 9:08 pm

Yws the stock market is a proven winner.for roi.

The data was pretty selective to get the result it did.

griffen , November 8, 2018 at 10:18 pm

As a wise person once put it. Facts are stubborn things. My capitalist views have taken a beating since 2008 but it's still a capitalist society.

It's amazing what is available online, for free, to seek and learn about major asset class investing over long horizons.

Bob , November 9, 2018 at 10:36 am

Your post supports the paper's conclusion. In the USA, there are about 4,000 companies listed on exchanges and another 15,000 that trade OTC. Members of the S&P 500 are in fact the "exceptional few."

John , November 8, 2018 at 8:54 pm

I think that stock markets are reflective of value, they don't in themselves create value. Certainly there is speculation and cheating, but in general, the value of a stock should increase as the value of the underlying business increases. Better to say that the price reflects the expected business in the future.

We've done fantastically well investing in stocks and mutual funds over the last 30 years. Not every fund went up. Not every stock went up. But the total gains far outpaced the losses.

Companies take money from the market by going public and by issuing new shares. They also hold some shares from some issues that are used to incentivize employees.

I think the original author sort of tilted the table by talking treating all securities the same. Likely the newcomers to the market are much smaller and have more risk of failure.

I'm also puzzled how they square this claim agains the historical value of something like he Russell 2000 index.

http://www.1stock1.com/1stock1_784.htm

"Since 1977 the median new shares issued on the stock exchange has delivered a negative rate of return, even with dividends reinvested." If this were true I'd expect to see a lot more red in the historical returns. Maybe the word "median" is doing some heavy lifting?

This data would seem to indicate that corporations have consistently earned money and these profits should be reflected in stock prices. (I don't know if these are in constant dollars).

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/corporate-profits

Todde , November 8, 2018 at 9:11 pm

Its soaks up surplus money.

If we are.going to be the reserve currenxy for the world and run trade deficits evey year, the Stock Market will give you the best roi.

We have lota of cash, if lots if cash goes intonthe bond market, rates drop.

If lots of cash goes intonthe stock market, stock prices go up.

You kust have to time the crash

animalogic , November 8, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Hopefully someone can correct me here, if necessary, but hasn't the stock market risen in a dollar amount roughly equivalent to the amount of QE pumped into the economy ?

Doug Hillman , November 9, 2018 at 7:12 am

No correction from me. The stock-casino representing "free-market capitalism" has risen in lockstep with the Central Cartel's QE. The evidence, if circumstantial, is overwhelming, with countless charts showing an almost exact correlation. Pretty hard to argue against causation.

The 1980s financial innovation of sheer unadulterated genius that enabled the cartel to buy the market -- legalizing stock buybacks -- a syringe for mainlining monetary heroin straight into market veins. This is the new efficient-markets theory called "hindsight price discovery". You will discover the true price and value after insiders dump their pumped holdings

The only "correction" coming is in the market casino.

skippy , November 9, 2018 at 2:43 am

You forget that equities are a form of money which C-corps can create at will and don't necessarily have fundamentals underpinning them e.g. Jbonds sold for stock by backs or abuse of risk tools to lower credit weighing and deals between the sell and buy side marry go round.

Don't know what to make out of the comment about communists e.g. old school classical capitalists likened the financial traders to rats in the back alleys or bars they once traded in. Not to mention the propensity for the financial traders to blow themselves and everyone up with them like clock work. It has only been during the neoliberal period that the FIRE sector gained a veneer of respectability through broad spectrum PR.

Something of a reference point to the Australian experience.

If the general managers of the 12 banks that burst in 1891 and 1893 had kept paid clowns to make fun of the valuations of city and suburban land, made by the old-established auctioneers and valuators of Melbourne in the land boom days, their banks would never have closed their doors.

Every bank should keep a laughing department where absurd valuations and ridiculous securities could be laughed off the premises. The easiest marks as borrowers were the building societies and the land and estate agents, and they had a right royal time asking for and getting advances. In those halcyon days nobody was ever refused a loan by a bank manager. So the banks opened agencies in Scotland, Ireland and England, and borrowed millions on deposit receipts for 18 months and lent them out in Victoria for 30 years, and a great deal of the money, for eternity.

It wasn't a mad or pessimistic or despondent thing to do. It was one calling for laughter, for merriment, for jocosity.

Why should the good-humoured borrower explain to the dismal bank manager, irritated and worried by Head Office letters and circulars censuring him for not lending money fast enough, that though he had paid £1 a foot for land at Coburg or Glen Iris or Mentone that it was not in his own opinion worth the £10 a foot of his own valuation.

Nobody dared to laugh at these insane transactions, nobody was brave enough to say,
" All this business is frenzied, delusive and pure buffoonery. There must be a smash.
" And there was. Prices of houses and lands jumped higher and higher, day by day, nay, hour by hour, and more and more people were drawn into the maelstrom, into a true Walpurgis ride to sudden wealth.

Rateable property in cities, towns and boroughs went up by leaps and bounds from £53 to £86 million sterling in 5 years, while the rateable property of shire councils jumped from £71 to £108 million in the 5 years 1886-1890. It was all so dashed funny, because there was no solid foundation for all this paper wealth.

Production did not increase part passu, nor overseas trade, nor exports, nor shipping, except that imports increased literally horribly. During 1886 and 1890 in Victoria, railways costing Z8 ,000,000 and 486 new churches and chapels were built. To me it was all so ridiculous and amusing, and the best of the joke was that none of the leaders of the people in Press, Parliament, Church, or on the platform, ever uttered a single word of warning about the coming debacle, The terrible catastrophe so close at hand which brought ruin to tens of thousands of decent people and nearly smashed Victoria.

Bank assets rose from £41m in 86 to £63m in 91.

Deposits grew from £31m in 86 to £40m in 91.

After that they fell away and did not reach £40m until 1907, or 28 years later. I am writing of what I know because I went through that critical period on the inside in a finance company and in a property company as an executive officer, and when the panic stopped I was a member of the Stock Exchange.

The Rev Kev , November 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

"the view that stock markets themselves create value"

Value as determined by who? In terms of which inputs to achieve what outputs? As an example, a company experiencing challenges (or as I call them – problems) may need to hire more people to achieve long-term growth. However, if they do that Wall Street will hammer their stocks which will go down. If they cut their workforce instead, Wall Street will reward them by valuing their stocks even higher though the company has effectively sabotaged their future growth plans. Thus Wall Street is not doing price discovery so much as constructing their own outputs to be achieved by individual companies along some ideological goal. Perhaps they are trying to create the 'perfect market' by warping reality which is a neoliberal trait.

Steve Ruis , November 9, 2018 at 10:04 am

One aspect not touched upon is stocks are loans that never get repaid. If I pay $100 of a share and the company thrives. I get paid dividends in perpetuity. Plus, If I buy that share from someone who already had bought it (a trade) I am being paid when I actually provided none of the original loan (like a bank buying the "paper" from another bank). Someone calculated that the dividends paid by Apple have paid off the amount originally tendered by several hundred percent, which would make them the worst bank loans in all of creation.

Would not simple loans make more sense? (Yes I am aware of the abuses of the Japanese uses of banks, but they were abuses of a system, not the system itself that resulted in their decline.)

[Nov 09, 2018] Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi possible connection to Israel

Nov 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

ardent 19 minutes ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy Report

"Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, is an Israeli Mossad-trained operative whose real name is Elliot Shimon, a *** who took courses in Islamic theology and Arabic Speech." - Snowden

Old Poor Richard 49 minutes ago remove Share link Copy

Now how would Ed Snowden know this? Is he some kind of super h4x0r tapped into the Pegasus mainframe?

ShakenNotStirred 42 minutes ago remove Share link Copy

I heard you have a bunch of Mossad agents below your bed. Check it out or you will be "Mossaded" before the morning.

passingthroughtown 2 hours ago remove Share link Copy

Proving once again that the Saudis and Israelies have been working hand in glove for a very long time. Is there any doubt about the connection between the two and what happened on 911?

But what is even more disturbing:

In recent days, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have reached out to the Trump administration to express support for the crown prince, arguing that he is an important strategic partner in the region, said people familiar with the calls.

"Strategic partner" makes it all okay. This is merely a glimpse of what is coming in the future. You ain't seen NOTHIN yet.

He–Mene Mox Mox 3 hours ago remove Share link Copy

Here is more of what Snowden was talking about: https://citizenlab.ca/2018/10/the-nso-connection-to-jamal-khashoggi/ .

Derezzed 3 hours ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy

" Israel is routinely at the top of the US' classified threat list of hackers along with Russia and China [ ] even though it is an ally "
Our best allies !
" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the United States to stand by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS) in the wake of the Khashoggi case. "
The most morale people !
I bet they are behind ISIS too with their (((allies))) and the (((deep state))).
But hey isn't it conspirationnist and antisemitic to accuse them of anything ?
Because you know as the most " kind " and " human " people there needs to be laws, censorship and repression, to protect them from being hated.
< 1% of the global population and they make the headlines 4/5 times a day.
Can only be bad luck and a cohencidence !

Dickweed Wang 3 hours ago remove Share link Copy

"Israel is routinely at the top of the US' classified threat list of hackers along with Russia and China [ ] even though it is an ally"

Sorry Ed, IsraHell isn't an ally of the USA. It's a ******* parasite and it's well on its way to killing the host.

alamac 4 hours ago remove Share link Copy

I guess Netanyahoo and KSM love each other because they have a common hobby: Killing Arabs.

RagnarRedux 4 hours ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy

ISRAEL FLAGGED AS TOP SPY THREAT TO U.S. IN NEW SNOWDEN/NSA DOCUMENT (2007)

https://www.newsweek.com/israel-flagged-top-spy-threat-us-new-snowdennsa-document-262991

Former U.S. Officials Say CIA Considers Israel To Be Mideast's Biggest Spy Threat (2012)

U.S. intelligence agents stationed in Israel report multiple cases of equipment tampering, suspected break ins in recent years; CIA officials tell the Associated Press that Israel may have leaked info that led to the capture of an agent inside Syria's chemical weapons program.

https://www.haaretz.com/for-cia-israel-is-a-spy-therat-1.5272328

He–Mene Mox Mox 4 hours ago remove Share link Copy

What Snowden says is true. Here is what the Canadians have put together about NSO: https://citizenlab.ca/2018/09/hide-and-seek-tracking-nso-groups-pegasus-spyware-to-operations-in-45-countries/

What is really troubling, is Kushner's involvement in the affair. He would have been debriefed once he returned to the U.S., not only by his father-in-law, Trump, but the intel community too. You can bet every dollar you have that both the Israelis and Saudis were using NSO surveillance on him. What is even more troubling, it appears that the action taken to "neutralize" Jamal Khashoggi, more than likely had the blessings of Washington, since Kushner met with the Saudis prior to the killing. It really makes one wonder, since Kushner declined to discuss the state of his relationship with Prince Mohammed.

GRDguy 4 hours ago remove Share link Copy

"licensed only to legitimate government agencies"

That's the problem.

There are no legitimate government agencies any more.

[Nov 09, 2018] Trump What A Stupid Question That Is. You Ask A Lot Of Stupid Questions

Notable quotes:
"... Trump wasn't finished, however, and during the same gaggle, he suggested he could pull press credentials from other reporters who don't show him "respect" two days after the president suspended the press pass of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta after a contentious exchange during a news conference. ..."
"... "I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man," Trump explained and when asked how long Acosta's credentials will be suspended, the president replied: "As far as I'm concerned, I haven't made that decision. But it could be others also." ..."
"... On this one Trump needs to take a hint from Obozo, stop doing daily press briefings... Hold them once a month ..."
"... the stooge press/talking heads have made a cottage industry off of the press conferences. the msm sends stooges to sell their product. trump is 100% correct- the msm doesn't have the guts to cull their stooge legions- oh dear- the white house will do their job for them. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Having barred his CNN arch nemesis Jim Acosta from the White House, on Friday the president lashed out at another CNN reporter at the White House over his appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting AG as well as Whitaker's views towards the special counsel investigation.

During a Friday morning gaggle with White House reporters before Trump's trip to Paris, CNN's Abby Phillip asked the president if he was hoping Whitaker, who previously criticized Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation, would "rein in" the Russia probe. " Do you want [Whitaker] to rein in Robert Mueller?" Phillip asked.

Trump's response left the stunned reported speechless. "What a stupid question that is," Trump said and, just in case it was lost, repeated "what a stupid question."

"But I watch you a lot," Trump continued. "You ask a lot of stupid questions."

Trump then demonstrably walked away, leaving the shocked reporters screaming more questions in his wake.

Earlier, Trump said he has not spoken to acting AG Matt Whitaker about the Russia investigation, which Whitaker now oversees. Trump defended Whitaker as a "very well respected man in the law enforcement community" but claimed he does not know him personally. "I didn't speak to Matt Whitaker about it. I don't know Matt Whitaker," Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a trip to Paris.

While Trump sought to place personal distance between himself and Whitaker, he made it clear he stood by his decision to place a loyalist in charge of the Justice Department, a move many see as an effort to seize control of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. The president also rejected suggestions that Whitaker is ineligible to serve as attorney general, a position held by some legal experts who say the Justice Department leader must be confirmed by the Senate.

The acting AG has raised eyebrows, and in some cases prediction of a constitutional crisis, because before joining the DOJ, Whitaker was an outspoken critic of Mueller's investigation and many Democrats and legal scholars have said he should recuse himself from leading the probe. Whitaker also claimed there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference efforts in the 2016 election, which is the central question of the Mueller probe.

Trump lamented the criticism of Whitaker's past commentary, saying "it's a shame that no matter who I put in, they go after him."

Trump then reiterated his plans to have Whitaker serve in an acting capacity, but declined to reveal who might be Sessions' permanent replacement. He said he likes Chris Christie, who is under consideration , but said he has not spoken to the former NJ governor about the post. Christie was at the White House on Thursday for an event on prison reform but Trump said he did not speak to him.

* * *

Trump wasn't finished, however, and during the same gaggle, he suggested he could pull press credentials from other reporters who don't show him "respect" two days after the president suspended the press pass of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta after a contentious exchange during a news conference.

"I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man," Trump explained and when asked how long Acosta's credentials will be suspended, the president replied: "As far as I'm concerned, I haven't made that decision. But it could be others also."

Trump also went after April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks as a "loser" who "doesn't know what the hell she is doing."

Keyser 15 minutes ago

On this one Trump needs to take a hint from Obozo, stop doing daily press briefings... Hold them once a month, then hand-pick which reporters you want in the room... And if a reporter publishes a story you don't like, prosecute them... What we have now is what happens when the lunatics are given free reign...

dcmbuffy 55 minutes ago remove

the stooge press/talking heads have made a cottage industry off of the press conferences. the msm sends stooges to sell their product. trump is 100% correct- the msm doesn't have the guts to cull their stooge legions- oh dear- the white house will do their job for them.

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

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

Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immigrant cannon fodder

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

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

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

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

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

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


PeaceForWorld , 3 minutes ago link

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

Condor_0000 , 23 minutes ago link

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

By Paul D'Amato

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden Showers , 32 minutes ago link

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

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

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

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

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 33 minutes ago link

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

Condor_0000 , 29 minutes ago link

No he's not.

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

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

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

FBaggins , 25 minutes ago link

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

ebworthen , 33 minutes ago link

Quite entertaining to be living in the modern Rome.

Condor_0000 , 28 minutes ago link

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

Condor_0000 , 34 minutes ago link

Another day and another ZeroHedge indictment of American capitalism.

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

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

Al Capone on Capitalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LetThemEatRand , 52 minutes ago link

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

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

hardmedicine , 41 minutes ago link

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

LetThemEatRand , 39 minutes ago link

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

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

HopefulCynical , 26 minutes ago link

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

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

Posa , 15 minutes ago link

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

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

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

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

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

pitz , 55 minutes ago link

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

Posa , 12 minutes ago link

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

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

[Nov 08, 2018] Imperialism and the State: Why McDonald s Needs McDonnell Douglas by Paul D'Amato

Notable quotes:
"... But the state as a bureaucratic institution had another, more fundamental function. Lenin, citing Engels, defined the essence of the state as "bodies of armed men, prisons, etc.," in short, an instrument for the maintenance of the rule of the exploiting minority over the exploited majority. ..."
"... As capitalism burst the bounds of the nation-state, the coercive military function of the state took on a new dimension -- that of protecting (and projecting) the interests of the capitalists of one country over those of another. As capitalism developed, the role of the state increased, the size of the state bureaucracy increased, and the size of its coercive apparatus increased. ..."
"... The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries ..."
"... But the way the governments propose to solve this problem of imperialism is not through the intelligent, organized cooperation of all of humanity's producers, but through the exploitation of the world's economic system by the capitalist class of the victorious country ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.isreview.org

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Nov 08, 2018] And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy?

Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

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

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

... ... ...

[Nov 07, 2018] Stuxnet 2.0? Iran claims Israel launched new cyber attacks

Nov 07, 2018 | arstechnica.com

President Rouhani's phone "bugged," attacks against network infrastructure claimed.

Sean Gallagher - 11/5/2018, 5:10 PM

reader comments

Last week, Iran's chief of civil defense claimed that the Iranian government had fought off Israeli attempts to infect computer systems with what he described as a new version of Stuxnet -- the malware reportedly developed jointly by the US and Israel that targeted Iran's uranium-enrichment program. Gholamreza Jalali, chief of the National Passive Defense Organization (NPDO), told Iran's IRNA news service, "Recently, we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts... and was trying to enter our systems."

On November 5, Iran Telecommunications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi accused Israel of being behind the attack, and he said that the malware was intended to "harm the country's communication infrastructures." Jahromi praised "technical teams" for shutting down the attack, saying that the attackers "returned empty-handed." A report from Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted Deputy Telecommunications Minister Hamid Fattahi as stating that more details of the cyber attacks would be made public soon.

Jahromi said that Iran would sue Israel over the attack through the International Court of Justice. The Iranian government has also said it would sue the US in the ICJ over the reinstatement of sanctions. Israel has remained silent regarding the accusations .

The claims come a week after the NPDO's Jalali announced that President Hassan Rouhani's cell phone had been "tapped" and was being replaced with a new, more secure device. This led to a statement by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exhorting Iran's security apparatus to "confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date action."

While Iran protests the alleged attacks -- about which the Israeli government has been silent -- Iranian hackers have continued to conduct their own cyber attacks. A recent report from security tools company Carbon Black based on data from the company's incident-response partners found that Iran had been a significant source of attacks in the third quarter of this year, with one incident-response professional noting, "We've seen a lot of destructive actions from Iran and North Korea lately, where they've effectively wiped machines they suspect of being forensically analyzed."


SymmetricChaos </> , 2018-11-05T17:16:46-05:00 I feel like governments still think of cyber warfare as something that doesn't really count and are willing to be dangerously provocative in their use of it. ihatewinter , 2018-11-05T17:27:06-05:00 Another day in international politics. Beats lobbing bombs at each other. +13 ( +16 / -3 ) fahrenheit_ak </> , 2018-11-05T17:46:44-05:00

corey_1967 wrote:
The twin pillars of Iran's foreign policy - America is evil and Wipe Israel off the map - do not appear to be serving the country very well.

They serve Iran very well, America is an easy target to gather support against, and Israel is more than willing to play the bad guy (for a bunch of reasons including Israels' policy of nuclear hegemony in the region and historical antagonism against Arab states).
revision0 , 2018-11-05T17:48:22-05:00 Israeli hackers?

Go on!

Quote:

Israeli hackers offered Cambridge Analytica, the data collection firm that worked on U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign, material on two politicians who are heads of state, the Guardian reported Wednesday, citing witnesses.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/isr ... -1.5933977

Quote:

For $20M, These Israeli Hackers Will Spy On Any Phone On The Planet

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrew ... -ulin-ss7/

Quote:

While Israelis are not necessarily number one in technical skills -- that award goes to Russian hackers -- Israelis are probably the best at thinking on their feet and adjusting to changing situations on the fly, a trait essential for success in a wide range of areas, including cyber-security, said Forzieri. "In modern attacks, the human factor -- for example, getting someone to click on a link that will install malware -- constitutes as much as 85% of a successful attack," he said.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-ha ... ty-expert/

+5 ( +9 / -4 )
ihatewinter </> , 2018-11-05T17:52:15-05:00
dramamoose wrote:
thorpe wrote:
The pro-Israel trolls out in front of this comment section...

You don't have to be pro-Israel to be anti-Iran. Far from it. I think many of Israel's actions in Palestine are reprehensible, but I also know to (rightly) fear an Islamic dictatorship who is actively funding terrorism groups and is likely a few years away from having a working nuclear bomb, should they resume research (which the US actions seem likely to cause).

The US created the Islamic Republic of Iran by holding a cruel dictator in power rather than risking a slide into communism. We should be engaging diplomatically, rather than trying sanctions which clearly don't work. But I don't think that the original Stuxnet was a bad idea, nor do I think that intense surveillance of what could be a potentially very dangerous country is a bad one either.

If the Israelis (slash US) did in fact target civilian infrastructure, that's a problem. Unless, of course, they were bugging them for espionage purposes.

Agree. While Israel is not about to win Humanitarian Nation of the year Award any time soon, I don't see it going to Iran in a close vote tally either.

[Nov 07, 2018] US Declares War On Troika Of Tyranny, Pushing Them Closer To Russia

Nov 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

US Declares War On "Troika Of Tyranny", Pushing Them Closer To Russia

by Tyler Durden Wed, 11/07/2018 - 22:45 2 SHARES Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The US is going to extend its "combat operations" - the sanctions war aimed at reshaping the world - to Latin America.

Tough new penalties are planned against the "troika of tyranny," consisting of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua "in the very near future." This announcement was made by National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton on Nov.1 -- a few days before the US mid-term elections -- in an attempt to draw more support from Hispanic voters, especially in Florida. An executive order on sanctions against Venezuela has already been signed by President Trump, but that's just the beginning.

It was rather symbolic that on the same day the NSA delivered his bellicose speech, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling for an end to the US economic embargo against Cuba. The document did not include amendments proposed by the US that would put pressure on Havana to improve its human-rights record.

This is a prelude to a massive escalation in US foreign policy, which will include the formation of alliances, in addition to the active confrontation of those who dare to pursue policies believed to be anti-US.

"Under this administration, we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores," Bolton stated, adding,

"The troika of tyranny in this hemisphere -- Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua - has finally met its match."

Sounds like a declaration of war. Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Peru are probably some of the nations the US is eyeing for a potential alliance.

Bolton's "troika" includes only countries ruled by governments that are openly "red" or Communist. The list of nations unfriendly to the US is much longer and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Grenada, Uruguay, and some other states ruled by leftist governments. Andrés Obrador , the president-elect of Mexico, takes office on Dec. 1. The Mexican leader represents the country's left wing and looks like a tough nut to crack. Outright pressure may not be helpful in this particular case.

Now that this new US policy is in place, Moscow and Washington appear to have another divisive issue clouding their relationship. The "troika of tyranny" against which Washington has declared war enjoys friendly relations with Russia.

With Cuba facing tougher restrictions, new opportunities are opening up that will encourage the Russian-Cuban relationship to thrive. The chairman of the Cuban State Council and Council of Ministers, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his official visit to Moscow Nov. 1-3. Their joint statement reaffirmed the strategic and allied relations between the two counties. Their long list of joint projects includes the deployment of a Russian GLONASS ground station in Cuba, which will give it access to a broad array of technical capabilities for satellite and telecommunications services and for taking remote readings of Earth. Russia will modernize Cuba's railways. Sixty contracts are scheduled to be signed during President Putin's visit to Cuba next year. Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant, has recently resumed fuel shipments to Cuba and is negotiating a major energy agreement.

Military cooperation is also to get a boost. The military chiefs are to meet this month to discuss the details. Moscow is considering granting Havana €38 million for Russian arms purchases.

The US-imposed restrictions are a factor spurring Russian exports to Cuba and other regional countries. When the US cut aid to Nicaragua in 2012, Russia increased its economic and military cooperation with that country. The memorandum signed between the Russian and Nicaraguan governments on May 8, 2018 states that the parties are to "mark a new step to boost political dialog" in such areas as "international security and cooperation through various international political platforms." Russia accounts for about 90% of Nicaraguan arms and munitions imports. It has far-reaching interests in building the Nicaraguan Canal in its role as a stakeholder and partner responsible for security-related missions.

President Vladimir Putin offered support for his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro after the United States rejected his reelection in May. Russian energy giant Rosneft plays an important role in that country's energy sector. It was Russia that came to Venezuela's rescue in 2017 with a debt-restructuring deal that prevented the default that was looming after the US sanctions were imposed. This was just another example of Moscow lending a helping hand to a Latin American nation that was facing difficult times.

Russia is currently pursuing a number of commercial projects in the region, in oil, mining, nuclear energy, construction, and space services. It enjoys a special relationship with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which was founded by Cuba and Venezuela and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, among other countries. This grouping is looking to create economic alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions. This cooperation with Latin American nations goes far beyond ALBA. For instance, the Peruvian air force is in the process of contracting for 24 additional Mi-171s, as well as establishing a maintenance facility for their helicopters near the La Joya base in Arequipa. A contract to upgrade its aging Mig-29 fighters is under consideration. In January 2018, Russia signed a number of economic agreements with Argentina during President Macri's visit to Moscow. All in all, trade between Russia and Latin American countries reached $14.5 bln in 2017 and is growing.

RT Spanish was launched in 2009, featuring its own news presenters and programming in addition to translated content, with bureaus operating in Buenos Aires, Caracas , Havana , Los Angeles , Madrid , Managua , and Miami. Russia's Sputnik media outlet has been broadcasting in Spanish since 2014, offering radio- and web-based news and entertainment to audiences across Latin America.

Some countries may back down under the US sanctions and threats, but many will not. There's a flip side to everything. The policy could backfire. The harder the pressure, the stronger the desire of the affected nations to diversify their international relations and resist the implementation of the Monroe doctrine that relegates them to the role of America's backyard.

[Nov 07, 2018] There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9? ..."
"... So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.) ..."
"... I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense. ..."
"... If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. ..."
"... They claim there's a difference between the two parties? ..."
"... But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general. ..."
"... Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Debsisdead | Nov 7, 2018 6:19:36 AM | 9

It's not even decent theatre. Drama is much lacking, character development zilch. The outcome that dems take congress,& rethugs improve in senate is exactly as was predicted months ago.

The dems reveal once again exactly how mendacious and uncaring of the population they are. Nothing matters other than screwing more cash outta anyone who wants anything done so that the DC trough stays full with the usual crew of 4th & 5th generation wannabe dem pols guzzling hard at the corporate funded 'dem aligned' think tanks which generate much hot air yet never deliver. Hardly suprising given that actually doing something to show they give a sh1t about the citizenry would annoy the donor who would give em all the boot, making all these no-hopers have to take up a gig actually practising law.

These are people whose presence at the best law schools in the country prevented many who wanted to be y'know lawyers from entering Harvard, Cornell etc law school. "one doesn't go to law school to become a lawyer It too hard to even pull down a mil a year as a brief, nah, I studied the law to learn how to make laws that actually do the opposite of what they seem to. That is where the real dough is."

Those who think that is being too hard on the dem slugs, should remember that the rethugs they have been indoctrinated to detest act pretty much as printed on the side of the can. They advertise a service of licking rich arseholes and that is exactly what they do. As venal and sociopathic as they are, at least they don't pretend to be something else; so while there is no way one could vote for anyone spouting republican nonsense at least they don't hide their greed & corruption under a veneer of pseudo-humanist nonsense. Dems cry for the plight of the poverty stricken then they slash welfare.

Or dems sob about the hard row african americans must hoe, then go off to the house of reps to pass laws to keep impoverished african americans slotted up in an over crowded prison for the rest of his/her life.

Not only deceitful and vicious, 100% pointless since any Joe/Jo that votes on the basis of wanting to see more blackfellas incarcerated is always gonna tick the rethug box anyhow.

Yeah- yeah we know all this so what?

This is what - the dems broke their arses getting tens of millions of young first time voters out to "exercise their democratic prerogative" for the first time. Dems did this knowing full well that there would be no effective opposition to rethug demands for more domestic oppression, that in fact it is practically guaranteed that should the trump and the rethug senate require it, in order to ensure something particularly nasty gets passed, that sufficient dem congress people will 'cross the floor' to make certain the bill does get up.

Of course the dems in question will allude to 'folks back home demanding' that the dem slug does vote with the nasties, but that is the excuse, the reality is far too many dem pols are as bigoted greedy and elitist as the worst rethugs.

Anyway the upshot of persuading so many kids to get out and vote, so the kids do but the dems are content to just do more of the same, will be another entire generation lost to elections forever.

If the DNC had been less greedy and more strategic they would have kept their powder dry and hung off press-ganging the kids until getting such a turnout could have resulted in genuine change, prez 2020' or whenever, would be actual success for pols and voters.

But they didn't and wouldn't ever, since for a dem pol, hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens living on the street isn't nearly as problematic for them, as the dem wannabe pol paying off the mortgage on his/her DC townhouse by 2020, something that would have been impossible if they hadn't taken congress as all the 'patrons' would have jerked back their cash figuring there is no gain giving dosh to losers who couldn't win a bar raffle.

As for that Sharice Davids - a total miss she needed to be either a midget or missing an arm or leg to qualify as the classic ID dem pol. Being a native american lezzo just doesn't tick enough boxes. I predict a not in the least illustrious career since she cannot even qualify as the punchline in a circa 1980's joke.

Anton Worter , Nov 7, 2018 11:13:25 AM | link

@9

As you said, nothing will get out of the House, Pelosi can't lead. They can easily swing 3 Democrats, then Mike Pence puts the hammer down. If anything manages to crawl through, it won't even be brought to a vote in the Republican Senate. Trump can still us his bully pulpit to circle the White wagons, fly in even more than his current 1,125,000 H-visa aliens, and No Taxes for the Rich is now engraved in stone for the Pharoahs.

The imminent $1,500B Omnibus Deficit Bill Three will be lauded as a 'bipartisan solution' by both houses, and 2020 looks to be a $27,000B illegal, onerous, odious National Debt open Civil War.

There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9?

Smart money is moving toward the exits. This shyte is gonna blow. Let's move to Australia, before it becomes part of Xi's PRC String of Girls.

ken | Nov 7, 2018 12:44:13 PM | 69

Reading most of the comments explaining how the D's won/lost,,, the R's won/lost,,, Trump and company won/lost,,, but couldn't find one post about how America is losing due to the two suffocating party's and a greedy, disunited, selfish, electorate that wants it all free.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the Majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury,,,,,,, After that the Majority always votes for the candidate 'promising the most' ,,,,,,,
Alex Fraser.

The US, and West in general, is proof positive.

Russ | Nov 7, 2018 7:48:10 AM | 17

So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.)

It's no big surprise. Last two years it's been the normally self-assured Republicans who, because of their ambivalence about Trump, have uncharacteristically taken on the usual Democrat role of existential confusion and doubt. Meanwhile the Democrats, in a berserk batsh$t-insane way, have been more motivated and focused.

So what are these Democrats going to do with this control now that they have it?

I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense.

If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. And as for things which are technically only in the power of the Senate such as confirming appointments, here's the chance for the House to put public moral pressure on Democrats in the Senate. And there's plenty of back-door ways an activist House can influence Senate business. Only morbid pedantry, so typical of liberal Dembots, babbles about what the technical powers of this or that body are. The real world doesn't work that way. To the extent I pay attention at all to Senate affairs it'll be to see what the House is doing about it.

They claim there's a difference between the two parties? And they claim Trump is an incipient fascist dictator? In that case there's a lot at stake, and extreme action is called for. Let's see what kind of action we get from their "different" party in control of the House.

But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general.

Nor will any of these new-fangled fake "socialist" types take any action to change things one iota. Within the House Democrats, they could take action, form any and every kind of coalition, to obstruct the corporate-Pelosi leadership faction. They will not do so. This "new" progressive bloc will be just as fake as the old one.

Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake.

[Nov 07, 2018] Divisiveness and gridlock combined with additional ratcheting of tensions combined with continued movement toward NeoFeudalism

Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Chevrus , Nov 7, 2018 9:36:25 AM | link

Observation and interpretation of external remote phenomena must pass through what I observe as 'axiomatic filters'.

These cognitive 'assembly points' can and very much are shaped and influenced by external forces such as meme promotion, social engineering and controlled narratives. Since the printing press The Map has increasingly eclipsed The Territory.

"I believe it simply because they said so..." That is the blind assumption that governs the core beliefs of most of the people I have known and am surrounded by. Very pivotal principles and assumptions that shape our entire reality are taken to be true with no investigation into available evidence whatsoever.

What have been called 'checks and balances' appear to be nothing more than a theatrical stalemate. The two party system unlike any other seems to be a duopoly designed from the outset to allow the plutocratic sliver of society to shape the course of civilization as they please. There is ample evidence of this within easy reach, and troves of documentation if one digs a bit further.

Yet somehow in the USA people cling to the belief that politicians of any stripes are working in their interest. It is as if they cannot bear the notion that it could be otherwise. When confronted with overwhelming evidence of a false flag of epic proportions an acquaintance responded "Ok, but I dont wanna live in world where that's possible..." And that sums it up, or to cite Mark Twain, It's easier to fool a man than to convince him he has been fooled (appx).

In the world of controlled narratives and directed history, there emerges a dichotomy which manifests in the individual as well as the culture at large. The more extreme the example the more clear cut this divide is. September 11 2001 is a prime example of this: has the individual questioned the official conspiracy theory (911 commission) or have they waded through the quagmire of mi-dis-info and winnowed out something more plausible. One cannot have it both ways. Apollo missions are somewhat similar, and illuminate the human need to hold onto a narrative no matter what the evidence to the contrary. Often with events such as these the knee-jerk reaction is something to the effect that such trickery would be impossible because SOMEBODY would say something! This response is symbolizes the slamming of the door: "I dont wanna hear it!" "That's just crazy!"

Thus it is with the USAn political process. A citizen has either looked behind the curtain or they are glued to the tube seeing which horse is gonna win this time. It's not as though Divide and Rule(tm) isn't in the manual! It's not as though policy hasn't essentially remained the same despite which color controls more turf. Sure, it's important to throw the masses an emotionally triggered bone. Thus Hope & Change(tm) are embodied in same gender marriage and very little else. Though I am loathe to use the expression 'studies have shown' they have revealed that a subject will continue to cling to their original imprint or belief despite evidence presented to them.
From a social engineering perspective this past few decades or so has been rather brilliant. First you have two white collar crime families swapping offices for multiple terms culminating in the latest and by far greatest paradigm shift, GWOT and all the attendant screw turning. Next we drive a wedge further into an already divided population by selecting a half white Harvard attorney with a rather curious background. One of the primary effects was to alienate the southern anglo population and anyone not living in an urban area. Then we swing the pendulum back in the other direction, enraging the other side.

The stroke of genius here is getting the so called lefties to embrace Hate. In addition they fell for the connecting of Russia with the selection of Trump and now all the hybrid warfare policies are cheered on by both sides!

So what will change as a result of this recent round of voting? Very little I would guess. Divisiveness and gridlock combined with additional ratcheting of tensions combined with continued movement toward NeoFeudalism(tm) is more likely than not.

[Nov 07, 2018] China ruled by Chinese...Russia ruled Russians...US ruled by dual citizens. See the difference

Nov 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Fu Ying, the chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's National People's Congress, said while confirming the reality that China and Russia now find themselves in the same trenches: "I just hope that if some people in the U.S. insist on dragging us down the hill into Thucydides' trap, China will be smart enough not to follow."

Indeed to step back and review the breadth of Russia-China cooperation over the past couple years alone reveals the full potential "cost" of a US-China conflict , given the ways Russia could easily be pulled in. Fu Ying articulated the increasingly common view from Beijing, that "There is no sense of threat from Russia" and that "We feel comfortable back-to-back."

And participants in a recent study by the National Bureau of Asian Research , a Seattle-based think tank, actually agree. They were asked whether American policy was at fault for pushing China and Russia into closer cooperation, and alarmingly, as Bloomberg notes: "Some among the 100-plus participants called for Washington to prepare for the worst-case scenario the realignment implies: a two-front war ."

Here's but a partial list of the way Sino-Russian relations have been transformed in recent years:


waseda-anon , 27 minutes ago link

There were moments when Putin showed support and a practical approach toward Trump (like when he schooled Fareed Zakaria). Putin even expressed that he was welcoming and respectful of Trumps proposition to restore full-fledged relations with Russia.

I blame the democrats for pointlessly antagonizing Russia for two years just to attempt to cover up the stench of their own excrement. Now it will be even more difficult to address the problem of the Chi-coms.

KTX , 37 minutes ago link

US has nothing to offer Russia as China has. Stop dreaming to befriend Russia to fight China. US had the opportunity to lead the world after the collapse of USSR but flunk it big time being the biggest bully in the history.

hoist the bs flag , 41 minutes ago link

Bilateral trading of Russian and Chinese currency continues on. As do their trade agreements, military gear and friendship.

Thank you Mr. Trump, for helping along that SDR/NWO currency inception for these countries, starting a trade war while the dollar and T Bills drop.

outstanding. Here I thought a stupid ******* Democrat would be at the helm, imploding the United States. shocking...a billionaire con man is.

steverino999 , 8 minutes ago link

Forrest Trump - "My Herpes and Genital Warts are responsible for Melania sleeping in another room, not my small uncircumcised **** and uncontrollable flatulence. Just wanted to clarify." Hum, ahhhhhhh gee thanks for info...I think. Poor Forrest...sigh

me or you , 9 minutes ago link

China ruled by Chinese...Russia ruled Russians...US ruled by traitors and dual citizens. See the difference.

Buck Shot , 1 minute ago link

You are absolutely right. Add in that they are greedy motherfuckers and pied pipers to millions of blithering idiots that can't go one day without making things worse.

g3h , 12 minutes ago link

We are in a trap set by ourselves. The neocon and the liberals want wars with both. On those front they are unuted.

That's what we get.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 14 minutes ago link

Go ahead. Merge to form Ruina, with leaders PuXi and XiPu.

InnVestuhrr , 14 minutes ago link

China and Russia make an almost perfect symbiosis:

  1. Adjacent countries, transportation costs are as low as possible
  2. Neither regime cares as much as a gnat tear about civil rights & freedoms and neither is impeded by the vagaries of elections
  3. China has a huge need for natural resources, especially oil & nat gas, but has few resources beyond coal & not-so-rare earths, while Russia has natural resources in abundance
  4. Russia manufactures almost nothing for the international goods market while China is the world's factory
  5. USA regime lords have done an excellent job of alienating and uniting both of them
Karmageddon , 17 minutes ago link

While the US tears itself apart....

The_Juggernaut , 20 minutes ago link

Wow. Putin is even shorter than Xi? No wonder he feels compelled to post the shirtless tiger-wresting pics. He's about as shrimpy as Stalin was.

waseda-anon , 27 minutes ago link

There were moments when Putin showed support and a practical approach toward Trump (like when he schooled Fareed Zakaria). Putin even expressed that he was welcoming and respectful of Trumps proposition to restore full-fledged relations with Russia.

I blame the democrats for pointlessly antagonizing Russia for two years just to attempt to cover up the stench of their own excrement. Now it will be even more difficult to address the problem of the Chi-coms.

KTX , 37 minutes ago link

US has nothing to offer Russia as China has. Stop dreaming to befriend Russia to fight China. US had the opportunity to lead the world after the collapse of USSR but flunk it big time being the biggest bully in the history.

The_Juggernaut , 18 minutes ago link

Russia and China will come to blows soon enough. China has their eyes on all of that unpopulated land in Siberia, and they won't like it too much when Russia takes advantage of the fact that China is dependent on them for energy. The idea that they'll be best buddies is laughable.

hoist the bs flag , 41 minutes ago link

Bilateral trading of Russian and Chinese currency continues on. As do their trade agreements, military gear and friendship.

Thank you Mr. Trump, for helping along that SDR/NWO currency inception for these countries, starting a trade war while the dollar and T Bills drop.

outstanding. Here I thought a stupid ******* Democrat would be at the helm, imploding the United States. shocking...a billionaire con man is.

LetThemEatRand , 57 minutes ago link

Trump's balls are so big that he ran like a bitch away from his campaign promises to normalize relations with Russia and prevent this exact scenario. Or maybe he was just lying.

Nevermind, the ZH herd is stampeding on how great Trump is for pulling some press privileges of a CNN guy.

Sinophile , 52 minutes ago link

I don't think Trump was lying. I think he is doing his best to stay alive and get done what he can. This country is more fucked up than even he realized.

LetThemEatRand , 49 minutes ago link

He's so smart he realized that almost immediately and brought in a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys to be in his cabinet.

Trump should have said "I could hire a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys, and my idiot anti-banker supporters will still shill for me."

Alternative , 42 minutes ago link

Nobody gives a **** about normalizing relations with Russia.

Sad but true. You know that.

steverino999 , 8 minutes ago link

Forrest Trump - "My Herpes and Genital Warts are responsible for Melania sleeping in another room, not my small uncircumcised **** and uncontrollable flatulence. Just wanted to clarify." Hum, ahhhhhhh gee thanks for info...I think. Poor Forrest...sigh

me or you , 9 minutes ago link

China ruled by Chinese...Russia ruled Russians...US ruled by traitors and dual citizens. See the difference.

Buck Shot , 1 minute ago link

You are absolutely right. Add in that they are greedy motherfuckers and pied pipers to millions of blithering idiots that can't go one day without making things worse.

g3h , 12 minutes ago link

We are in a trap set by ourselves. The neocon and the liberals want wars with both. On those front they are unuted.

That's what we get.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 14 minutes ago link

Go ahead. Merge to form Ruina, with leaders PuXi and XiPu.

InnVestuhrr , 14 minutes ago link

China and Russia make an almost perfect symbiosis:

  1. Adjacent countries, transportation costs are as low as possible
  2. Neither regime cares as much as a gnat tear about civil rights & freedoms and neither is impeded by the vagaries of elections
  3. China has a huge need for natural resources, especially oil & nat gas, but has few resources beyond coal & not-so-rare earths, while Russia has natural resources in abundance
  4. Russia manufactures almost nothing for the international goods market while China is the world's factory
  5. USA regime lords have done an excellent job of alienating and uniting both of them
Karmageddon , 17 minutes ago link

While the US tears itself apart....

The_Juggernaut , 20 minutes ago link

Wow. Putin is even shorter than Xi? No wonder he feels compelled to post the shirtless tiger-wresting pics. He's about as shrimpy as Stalin was.

waseda-anon , 27 minutes ago link

There were moments when Putin showed support and a practical approach toward Trump (like when he schooled Fareed Zakaria). Putin even expressed that he was welcoming and respectful of Trumps proposition to restore full-fledged relations with Russia.

I blame the democrats for pointlessly antagonizing Russia for two years just to attempt to cover up the stench of their own excrement. Now it will be even more difficult to address the problem of the Chi-coms.

KTX , 37 minutes ago link

US has nothing to offer Russia as China has. Stop dreaming to befriend Russia to fight China. US had the opportunity to lead the world after the collapse of USSR but flunk it big time being the biggest bully in the history.

The_Juggernaut , 18 minutes ago link

Russia and China will come to blows soon enough. China has their eyes on all of that unpopulated land in Siberia, and they won't like it too much when Russia takes advantage of the fact that China is dependent on them for energy. The idea that they'll be best buddies is laughable.

hoist the bs flag , 41 minutes ago link

Bilateral trading of Russian and Chinese currency continues on. As do their trade agreements, military gear and friendship.

Thank you Mr. Trump, for helping along that SDR/NWO currency inception for these countries, starting a trade war while the dollar and T Bills drop.

outstanding. Here I thought a stupid ******* Democrat would be at the helm, imploding the United States. shocking...a billionaire con man is.

LetThemEatRand , 57 minutes ago link

Trump's balls are so big that he ran like a bitch away from his campaign promises to normalize relations with Russia and prevent this exact scenario. Or maybe he was just lying.

Nevermind, the ZH herd is stampeding on how great Trump is for pulling some press privileges of a CNN guy.

Sinophile , 52 minutes ago link

I don't think Trump was lying. I think he is doing his best to stay alive and get done what he can. This country is more fucked up than even he realized.

LetThemEatRand , 49 minutes ago link

He's so smart he realized that almost immediately and brought in a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys to be in his cabinet.

Trump should have said "I could hire a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys, and my idiot anti-banker supporters will still shill for me."

Alternative , 42 minutes ago link

Nobody gives a **** about normalizing relations with Russia.

Sad but true. You know that.

[Nov 06, 2018] Democrats Win Control Of US House As Republicans Keep Senate

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Looking ahead, barring no major upsets, analysts at Deutsche Bank and other Wall Street banks see potential for the market to rally into the end of the year, with some analysts who were only recently calling for an extended losing streak now seeing potential upside of between 11% and 14%. But then again, with so much uncertainty between now and then, market returns - and analysts' expectations - could shift dramatically between now and then.

[Nov 06, 2018] The election fraud is sophisticated forms is neoliberal status quo: The 1% control the world now, and they make sure that their freedom to use their money to dominate democracy is unrestricted

It would be better to return to paper ballots to exclude the possibilities of "electronic" voting frauds.
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

a , Nov 6, 2018 1:33:39 AM | link

While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these ev
While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these events..

1. Gerrymandering.. supposedly creates about a 5% advantage to the republicans. 5% in a 2-party system is almost a landslide. even this article downplaying the role of gerrymandering includes this line,

"All that said, it's still the case that analysts estimate that Democrats will have to win the overall House vote by some 5 to 10 percentage points in order to win a House majority. "
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-07-23/gerrymandering-effects-are-probably-overrated

2. Voter-suppression. indications are that this may create and even bigger bias than gerrymandering. it includes numerous tactics, in florida the felon-dienfranchisement tactic alone suppresses 1.4 million majority black voters. it may be difficult for naive people like me to imagine the mindset of the vote-suppressors, this excellent short article by meghan tinsley, sketches the historical origins of these tactics, e.g.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/meghan-tinsley/civil-rights-and-voter-suppression-in-us
" The end of federal support for Reconstruction in 1877 ushered in the Jim Crow era, wherein southern states waged a relentless campaign of racial terror against empowered black citizens. From the outset, disenfranchising black citizens was a priority: the Black Codes enforced severe penalties for minor 'crimes', such as vagrancy, and permanently barred convicted felons from the vote. As these tactics spread, those who imposed them became increasingly brazen about their purpose: in 1884, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld felon disenfranchisement as an effective means to "preserve the purity of the ballot box".

With the entrenchment of segregation in the late nineteenth century, felon disenfranchisement, combined with poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses, effectively disenfranchised virtually all African-Americans in Southern states...

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, hailed as the single most important legislative achievement of the Civil Rights Movement...
The effects were immediate and wide-reaching: whereas only seven percent of eligible African-Americans in Mississippi were registered to vote in 1964, the number had jumped to sixty-seven percent by 1969. Ostensibly colourblind policies, including laws that would require citizens to present state-issued photo identification before voting, were blocked because they would disproportionately prevent African-Americans from voting."


3. The sheer tidal force of money. The 1% control the world now, and they make sure that their freedom to use their money to dominate democracy is unrestricted cf. 'citizens united' etc. Thomas Fergusons work indicates that the number of votes follows the amount of money spent linearly... e.g.
https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/big-money-not-political-tribalism-drives-us-elections

and other work suggests US policy reflects the interests of the 1% and not that of the people at large, when they differ,
https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

4. Electronic vote flipping. this has the least hard evidence, but there are anecdotes, even in this election, of voters in texas ticking straight democratic slate options but finding that the machine had entered their senate vote for ted cruz. There are also anecdotes in earlier elections of vote tallies flipping suddenly, of electronic data not being recorded or being erased before it could be checked and analysed etc. For those inclined to pooh-pooh such reports, here is a troubling article on the 2012 mexican elections,

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-how-to-hack-an-election/

[Nov 06, 2018] What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare Zero Hedge

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare?

by TDB Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:13 23 SHARES by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

In 1966, Gao Jianhua (who later changed his name to Gao Yuan) was 14 years old.

At the Yizhen Middle School near Beijing, China, he witnessed and participated in the birth of China's "Cultural Revolution." He later recorded his personal account in a book called Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution .

The leader of Communist China, Chairman Mao, warned the country that revisionists were threatening to erase all the progress made since the Communist Revolution which brought Mao to power.

It had been almost 20 years since the bloody revolution, and Mao wanted to reinvigorate the rebel spirit in the youth. He instructed students to root out any teachers who wove subtle anti-communist sentiments in their lessons.

Mao encouraged students to rebel against any mindless respect for entrenched authority, remnants, he said, of centuries of capitalist influence.

Students at Yizhen Middle School, like many others, quickly took up the task. They "exposed" capitalist intellectual teachers and paraded them around in dunce caps with insulting signs hung around their necks.

Teachers were beaten and harassed until they confessed to their crimes most of which were, of course, false confessions to avoid further torture.

It only escalated from there.

What ensued puts Lord of the Flies to shame.

One teacher killed himself after being taken captive by students. Most teachers fled.

Soon the students were left entirely in charge of their school. Two factions quickly emerged, one calling themselves the East is Red Corps, and the other the Red Rebels.

One student was kidnapped by the East is Red Corps, and suffocated to death on a sock stuffed in his mouth.

A girl was found to be an East is Red spy among the Red Rebels. She was later cornered with other East is Red students in a building. She shouted from a window that she would rather die than surrender. Praising Chairman Mao, she jumped to her death.

Some Red Rebels died from an accidental explosion while making bombs.

Many were tortured, and another student died from his injuries at the hands of the East is Red Corps.

A female teacher refused to sign an affidavit lying about the cause of death. She was beaten and gang-raped by a group of students.

Robert Greene explains these events, in his new book, The Laws of Human Nature . (Emphasis added.)

Although it might be tempting to see what happened at YMS as mostly relevant to group adolescent behavior what happened at the school occurred throughout China in government offices, factories, within the army, and among Chinese of all ages in an eerily similar way

The students' repressed resentment at having to be so obedient now boiled over into anger and the desire to be the ones doing the punishing and oppressing

In the power vacuum that Mao had now created, another timeless group dynamic emerged. Those who were naturally more assertive, aggressive, and even sadistic pushed their way forward and assumed power , while those who were more passive quietly receded into the background becoming followers

Once all forms of authority were removed and the students ran the school, there was nothing to stop the next and most dangerous development in group dynamics. The split into tribal factions

People may think they are joining because of the different ideas or goals of this tribe or the other, but what they want more than anything is a sense of belonging and a clear tribal identity.

Look at the actual differences between the East is Red Corps and the Red Rebels. As the battle between them intensified it was hard to say what they were fighting for, except to assume power over the other group.

One strong or vicious act of one side called for a reprisal from the other, and any type of violence seemed totally justified. There could be no middle ground, nor any questioning of the rightness of their cause.

The tribe is always right. And to say otherwise is to betray it.

I write this on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections.

And like Mao handing down his orders to dispose of capitalist sympathizers, such have the leaders of each major US political party rallied their supporters.

This is the most important election of our lifetime, they say.

No middle ground. Violence is justified to get our way. Betray the tribe, and be considered an enemy.

Just like Mao, they have manufactured a crisis that did not previously exist.

The students had no violent factions before Mao's encouragement. They had no serious problems with their teachers.

Is there any natural crisis occurring right now? Or has the political establishment whipped us into an artificial frenzy?

This isn't just another boring election, they say. This is a battle for our future.

The students battled over who were the purest revolutionaries.

The voters now battle over who has the purest intentions for America.

Do the factions even know what they are fighting for anymore?

They are simply fighting for their tribe's control over the government.

The battle of the factions at schools across China were "resolved" when Mao came to support one side or the other. In that sense, it very much did matter which side the students were on

The government came down hard against the losing faction.

They had chosen wrong and found themselves aligned against the powerful Communist Party.

It won't be a dictator that hands control to one faction or another in this election. It will be a simple majority. And those in the minority will suffer.

The winners will feel that it is their time to wield power, just as the students were happy to finally have the upper hand on their teachers.

If Mao didn't have so much power, he could have never initiated such a violent crisis.

And if our government didn't have so much power, it would hardly matter who wins the election.

Yet here we are, fighting for control of the government because each faction threatens to violently repress the other if they gain power.

It is a manufactured crisis. A crisis that only exists because political elites in the government and media have said so.

They decided that this election will spark the USA's "Cultural Revolution."

And anyone with sympathies from a bygone era will be punished.


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Totally_Disillusioned , 8 hours ago link

Tribal warfare? You clearly don't understand what's happening here. The Globalist cartel has created division between two parties to incite chaos and violence. The "warfare" you reference will be nothing but protesting ->rioting ->anarchy ->police restraint of the Democrat incited sheeple.

There's no tribalism associated with upholding and preserving the Constitution.

Semi-employed White Guy , 6 hours ago link

I think the globalists will try to cool it off before things spin out of (((their))) control. Either that or move to the next phase...world war... so they can just slaughter us and not have to bother trying to herd the increasingly "woke" goyim live stock.

MoralsAreEssential , 11 hours ago link

I have NOT heard about a SINGLE CREDIBLE violent incident where people got hurt FROM THE RIGHT. All the incidents of "White Fascist Violence" look like FALSE FLAGS and contrived incidents. The foregoing CAN NOT be said of the Leftist Antifa types including racist La Raza supporters, racist Blacks who want something for nothing, immigrants from any country who want to be fully supported because they BREATHE and the Top Group (pun intended) Whites who do not believe in boundaries, standards or quality of life UNLESS it's their lives. NOT all Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are in the Left; but most Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are on the Left and havn't a clue they are responsible for their own prisons because they cannot REASON and virtue signaling is more important so they are part of the GROUP. Misplaced EMPHASIS on what is important in creating a CIVILIZED and SAFE society.

[Nov 06, 2018] In The Greatest eCONomy Ever - Renters Are Struggle More Than Homeowners

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In The "Greatest eCONomy Ever" - Renters Are Struggle More Than Homeowners

by Tyler Durden Mon, 11/05/2018 - 23:45 3 SHARES

Here are a few quotes from President Trump's constant cheerleading of the American economy in the last several months leading up to next week's midterms.

"In many ways, this is the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America"

-- President Trump tweeted, June 04

"We have the strongest economy in the history of our nation."

-- Trump told reporters, June 15

"We have the greatest economy in the history of our country."

-- Trump said in an interview with Fox News, July 16

"We're having the best economy we've ever had in the history of our country."

-- Trump, said in a speech in Illinois, July 26

"This is the greatest economy that we've had in our history, the best."

-- Trump said at rally in Charleston, W.Va., Aug. 21

"You know, we have the best economy we've ever had, in the history of our country."

-- Trump said in an interview on "Fox and Friends," Aug. 23

"It's said now that our economy is the strongest it's ever been in the history of our country, and you just have to take a look at the numbers."

-- Trump said on a White House video log, Aug. 24

"We have the best economy the country's ever had and it's getting better."

-- Trump told the Daily Caller, Sept. 03

Democrats are anticipating a blue wave during the November midterm elections, but according to President Trump, the "strong" US economy could propel Republicans to victory next week.

"History says that whoever's president always seems to lose the midterm," Trump said on an Oct. 16 interview with FOX Business' Trish Regan.

"No one had the economy that we do. We have the greatest economy that we've ever had."

President Trump's cheerleading sounds great and certainly helps animal spirits, but a new study warns that more than 25% of American renters are not confident they could cover a $400 emergency. About 18% of homeowners report record low emergency savings. And if you thought that was bad, more than 30% of renters feel insecure about eating, as do 19% of homeowners, the Urban Institute study , a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, reported.

The main takeaway from the report: renters are struggling more than homeowners in the "greatest economy ever."

"Rental costs are rising much faster than renters' salaries. Between 1960 and 2016, the median income for a renter grew by just 5%. During the same period, the median rent ballooned by more than 60%, according to The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. (Both figures account for inflation.)

To be sure, buying a house has also become harder for many Americans -- to do so now costs four times the median household income. The homeownership rate fell to 63% in 2016 – the lowest rate in half a century," said CNBC .

Corianne Scally, a senior research analyst at the Urban Institute and a co-author of the study, told CNBC that "renters seem to be worse off." Scally said the report was derived from its 2017 well-being and basic needs survey, which received about 7,500 responses from people aged 18 to 64.

2017 living arrangements for Americans

About half of renters in the survey reported financial hardships since President Trump took office, compared with 33% of homeowners. More than 25% of renters in the survey were not confident they could cover a $400 emergency. Around 18% of homeowners reported low emergency savings. Almost 20% of renters saw large and unexpected declines in pay in the past year, compared with 14% of homeowners.

Reported problems paying family medical bills

More than 12% of renters said they could barely pay rent, compared with 9% of homeowners who warned their mortgage payments were getting too expensive. 15% of renters said they were on the brink of not being able to afford utilities during the last 12 months, while 11% of homeowners said the same.

Households unable to consistenly access or afford food

Scally made it clear to CNBC that renters are much worse off than ever before, but it is also clear that some homeowners are feeling the pain as well.

"It seems that some of them are having to make trade-offs in just meeting their basic needs," she said.

Maybe the "greatest economy ever," is not so great?

If so, then why is the Trump administration creating smoke and mirrors about the economy?

The simple answer: it is all about winning the midterms by any means necessary. As for after the midterms, then into 2019, a global slowdown lingers, that is the reason why the stock market had one of its worst months since the 2008 crash. Trouble is ahead.

[Nov 06, 2018] The specter of Marx haunts the American ruling class

This is a clear sign of the collapse of neoliberalism as an ideology
Notable quotes:
"... It identifies socialism with proposals for mild social reform such as "Medicare for all," raised and increasingly abandoned by a section of the Democratic Party. It cites Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher to promote the virtues of "economic freedom," i.e., the unrestrained operation of the capitalist market, and to denounce all social reforms, business regulations, tax increases or anything else that impinges on the oligarchy's self-enrichment. ..."
"... Last November, a poll conducted by YouGov showed that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Last month, the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency of the Trump White House, released an extraordinary report titled "The Opportunity Costs of Socialism." The report begins with the statement: "Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the younger electorate."

The very fact that the US government officially acknowledges a growth of popular support for socialism, particularly among the nation's youth, testifies to vast changes taking place in the political consciousness of the working class and the terror this is striking within the ruling elite. America is, after all, a country where anti-communism was for the greater part of a century a state-sponsored secular religion. No ruling class has so ruthlessly sought to exclude socialist politics from political discourse as the American ruling class.

The 70-page document is itself an inane right-wing screed. It seeks to discredit socialism by identifying it with capitalist countries such as Venezuela that have expanded state ownership of parts of the economy while protecting private ownership of the banks, and, with the post-2008 collapse of oil and other commodity prices, increasingly attacked the living standards of the working class.

It identifies socialism with proposals for mild social reform such as "Medicare for all," raised and increasingly abandoned by a section of the Democratic Party. It cites Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher to promote the virtues of "economic freedom," i.e., the unrestrained operation of the capitalist market, and to denounce all social reforms, business regulations, tax increases or anything else that impinges on the oligarchy's self-enrichment.

The report's arguments and themes find expression in the fascistic campaign speeches of Donald Trump, who routinely and absurdly attacks the Democrats as socialists and accuses them of seeking to turn America into another "socialist" Venezuela.

What has prompted this effort to blackguard socialism?

A series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown a sharp growth of popular disgust with capitalism and support for socialism. In May of 2017, in a survey conducted by the Union of European Broadcasters of people aged 18 to 35, more than half said they would participate in a "large-scale uprising." Nine out of 10 agreed with the statement, "Banks and money rule the world."

Last November, a poll conducted by YouGov showed that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country.

In August of this year, a Gallup poll found that for the first time since the organization began tracking the figure, fewer than half of Americans aged 18–29 had a positive view of capitalism, while more than half had a positive view of socialism. The percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively fell from 68 percent in 2010 to 45 percent this year, a 23-percentage point drop in just eight years.

[Nov 06, 2018] Haves and Have nots under US neoliberalism by Rania Khalek

Notable quotes:
"... "As the heat of packed-together bodies fogged the windows, passengers beat on the walls and clawed at the doors in a scene from a real-life horror story," ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.rt.com

Spending time in Western Europe, as I have done the last several months, provides some serious perspective on America's decline. In most European countries, like Germany for example, public transportation works efficiently and there is a social safety net. While homelessness is a problem, it's nowhere near as rampant as in the US and usually seems to be associated with addiction. People in Europe are generally much healthier and happier, housing and food and higher education are affordable and people don't spend all their time working – they are able to take vacations and enjoy life in a way the vast majority of Americans are not. Europeans are typically entitled to lengthy paid maternity leave, whereas in the US working class women are forced to return to work in as little as two weeks . Read more © Christopher Furlong / Getty 130,000 homeless children, empty food banks predicted this Christmas

Meanwhile, New York's Subway system is decaying due to disinvestment and corruption. Last summer a train stalled, leaving passengers in the dark with no air conditioning for an hour. "As the heat of packed-together bodies fogged the windows, passengers beat on the walls and clawed at the doors in a scene from a real-life horror story," reported the New York Times. In Washington DC, the nation's capital, the Metro is always late and totally unreliable, with train fires becoming a regular occurrence while Amtrak trains experience routine derailments . These are just some examples of infrastructure decay. The list goes on: bridges are crumbling, schools are shuttered. In Baltimore dozens of schools had no heat during record freezing temperatures this winter. The only thing America's leadership seems capable of investing in is prisons and war.

In America, the old devour the young. Young Americans are struggling under the weight of $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. But don't let that confuse you about the state of America's elderly. They too aren't taken care of. In many European countries people are entitled to pensions and they can retire comfortably. In the US some have to work until they die as Social Security isn't enough to live on and Medicare doesn't quite cover all of their medical needs. As for healthcare, as many as 45,000 people a year die because they cannot access it.

And then there is the issue of water. There are over 3,000 counties across America whose water supplies have lead levels higher than in Flint, Michigan, and nothing substantial is being done to address the problem.

Haves and Have nots

All this is taking place in a nation where inequality continues to climb. There are counties a few miles apart from one another where the life expectancy drops by 20 years.

Researchers say the life expectancy gap, as high as 20.1 years between rich and poor counties, resembles the gap seen between low-income countries versus rich countries. In other words, there are pockets of the US that have the characteristics of third world countries. It seems that the US in many ways, after having destroyed other parts of the world, has turned inward on itself, sacrificing its most vulnerable citizens at the altar of capitalism.

Bernie Sanders made an issue of this during his presidential bid, often noting in his stump speeches the dramatic difference in lifespan in McDowell County, West Virginia, where men live to about 64, and six hours away in Fairfax, Virginia, where the average lifespan shoots up to 82.

[Nov 06, 2018] The culprit is Neoliberal ideology that resulted in the deindustrialization and financialization of the Outlaw US Empire's domestic economy

Notable quotes:
"... So, as with Rome, Greed is Good has done more to hinder the Outlaw US Empire than anything done by the so-called Revisionist Enemies. Combined with Trump's totally unwise Trade War policy forcing all other nations to abandon US-centric financial institutions and its currency, the specter of the Outlaw US Empire being defeated by its own ideology is rather marvelous, even hilarious, although any levity must be tempered by the Empire's brutality and its massive crimes against humanity that've destroyed millions of innocents. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Nov 5, 2018 12:51:45 PM | link

Aah . the woeful state of the Outlaw US Empire's military, done in by Neoliberal ideology, the tool designed to help Wall Street being destroyed by its machinations. Yesterday, a translated Russian article based upon a Reuters report and the Department of War research paper (Large PDF) it was based upon appeared at The Saker . Instead of writing a separate comment here, what follows is the comment I made there.

"What the Reuters article makes clear but avoids mentioning is the culprit is Neoliberal ideology that resulted in the deindustrialization and financialization of the Outlaw US Empire's domestic economy all for a Few Dollars More--that such hollowing out was official Washington--and Wall Street--policy starting with Carter in 1978, greatly accelerated by Bush/Reagan during the 1980s, then finished off by Clinton/Bush from 1993-2008.

The Defense Department research paper that's linked is also a hoot as it calls for a level of performance by the procurement and manufacturing systems that's impossible to accomplish given decades of corruption that's made the MIC what it is today--a maker of overpriced junk.

Read the transcript of the latest Michael Hudson interview to discover Wall Street's policy goals and compare them to what Trump wants to accomplish via MAGA, where Hudson states banks don't lend to--help capitalize--industry because not enough profit exists there compared to other opportunities.

So, as with Rome, Greed is Good has done more to hinder the Outlaw US Empire than anything done by the so-called Revisionist Enemies. Combined with Trump's totally unwise Trade War policy forcing all other nations to abandon US-centric financial institutions and its currency, the specter of the Outlaw US Empire being defeated by its own ideology is rather marvelous, even hilarious, although any levity must be tempered by the Empire's brutality and its massive crimes against humanity that've destroyed millions of innocents.

dh-mtl , Nov 5, 2018 1:19:47 PM | link

karlof1 | Nov 5, 2018 12:51:45 PM | 48 says:

"So, as with Rome, Greed is Good has done more to hinder the Outlaw US Empire than anything done by the so-called Revisionist Enemies. Combined with Trump's totally unwise Trade War policy forcing all other nations to abandon US-centric financial institutions and its currency, the specter of the Outlaw US Empire being defeated by its own ideology is rather marvelous"

The U.S. is indeed collapsing under its own mismanagement, the result of converting its (weak) democracy into a full-fledged oligarchic dictatorship. The only solution is for the U.S. to retrench into a shell in order to re-make itself.

Intentionally or not, Trump's policies are hastening this retrenchment.

Augustin L , Nov 5, 2018 1:57:20 PM | link
So Chump is presiding over the Israelization of the American military and we should be proud about this ? ...
Grieved , Nov 5, 2018 12:56:11 PM | link
@42 Michael

Thanks for the link to that poll. Those are astonishing results, to find the mainstream population afraid of the same things we are: that the US is not being representatively governed because its government is totally corrupt, and that meanwhile the planet and country are being stripped of resources, in a vicious downward spiral of paralysis.

It's worth quoting the results in full (sorry it doesn't format well):

[begin]

Below is a list of the 10 fears for which the highest percentage of Americans reported being "Afraid" or "Very Afraid." :
Top Ten Fears of 2018 --->> % Afraid or Very Afraid

1. Corrupt government officials --->> 74%
2. Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes --->> 62%
3. Pollution of drinking water --->> 61%
4. Not having enough money for the future --->> 57%
5. People I love becoming seriously ill --->> 57%
6. People I love dying --->> 56%
7. Air pollution --->> 55%
8. Extinction of plant and animal species --->> 54%
9. Global warming and climate change --->> 53%
10. High medical bills --->> 53%

-- America's Top Fears 2018 - Chapman University Survey of American Fears

[end]

If there's any reality in these numbers it means that a politically vast majority of people in the US are focused on the right things, principal among which is that their recourse to address these things is completely broken. The obvious thought in a once famously "can-do" culture must obviously be that the government must be fixed or replaced. The tough question lingering is, How?

karlof1 , Nov 5, 2018 6:59:25 PM | link
RJPJR @87--

What you illustrate are known as Structural Adjustment Loans/Programs promoted by both IMF and World Bank as the major plank of Neoliberal ideology begun by McNamara when he was appointed to WB by Carter in 1978. This recap provided by developmental economist and critic Walden Bello details why and for whom the IMF/WB loans were designed to benefit--they differed little from the purposes of bilateral loans made by the US treasury during the Age of Dollar Diplomacy, which provided the ideological basis for robbing those nations. The point being US Imperialism atop centuries of Spanish Colonialism is why Latin America is do developmentally poor and kept that way through gross class distortions and outright Class War sponsored by CIA and Spain.

[Nov 05, 2018] New Iran Sanctions Risk Long-Term US Isolation

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Patrick Lawrence via ConsortiumNews.com,

The U.S. is going for the jugular with new Iran sanctions intended to punish those who trade with Teheran. But the U.S. may have a fight on its hands in a possible post- WWII turning-point...

The next step in the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran has begun, with the most severe sanctions being re-imposed on the Islamic Republic. Crucially, they apply not only to Iran but to anyone who continues to do business with it.

It's not yet clear how disruptive this move will be. While the U.S. intention is to isolate Iran, it is the U.S. that could wind up being more isolated. It depends on the rest of the world's reaction, and especially Europe's.

The issue is so fraught that disputes over how to apply the new sanctions have even divided Trump administration officials.

The administration is going for the jugular this time. It wants to force Iranian exports of oil and petrochemical products down to as close to zero as possible. As the measures are now written, they also exclude Iran from the global interbank system known as SWIFT.

It is hard to say which of these sanctions is more severe. Iran's oil exports have already started falling. They peaked at 2.7 million barrels a day last May -- just before Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation accord governing Iran's nuclear programs. By early September oil exports were averaging a million barrels a day less .

In August the U.S. barred Iran's purchases of U.S.-dollar denominated American and foreign company aircraft and auto parts. Since then the Iranian rial has crashed to record lows and inflation has risen above 30 percent.

Revoking Iran's SWIFT privileges will effectively cut the nation out of the dollar-denominated global economy. But there are moves afoot, especially by China and Russia, to move away from a dollar-based economy.

The SWIFT issue has caused i nfighting in the administration between Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser who is among the most vigorous Iran hawks in the White House. Mnuchin might win a temporary delay or exclusions for a few Iranian financial institutions, but probably not much more.

On Sunday, the second round of sanctions kicked in since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Obama administration-backed, nuclear agreement, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for stringent controls on its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified that the deal is working and the other signatories -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia have not pulled out and have resumed trading with Iran. China and Russia have already said they will ignore American threats to sanction it for continuing economic relations with Iran. The key question is what will America's European allies do?

Europeans React

Europe has been unsettled since Trump withdrew in May from the nuclear accord. The European Union is developing a trading mechanism to get around U.S. sanctions. Known as a Special Purpose Vehicle , it would allow European companies to use a barter system similar to how Western Europe traded with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Juncker: Wants Euro-denominated trading

EU officials have also been lobbying to preserve Iran's access to global interbank operations by excluding the revocation of SWIFT privileges from Trump's list of sanctions. They count Mnuchin,who is eager to preserve U.S. influence in the global trading system, among their allies. Some European officials, including Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, propose making the euro a global trading currency to compete with the dollar.

Except for Charles de Gaulle briefly pulling France out of NATO in 1967 and Germany and France voting on the UN Security Council against the U.S. invading Iraq in 2003, European nations have been subordinate to the U.S. since the end of the Second World War.

The big European oil companies, unwilling to risk the threat of U.S. sanctions, have already signaled they intend to ignore the EU's new trade mechanism. Total SA, the French petroleum company and one of Europe's biggest, pulled out of its Iran operations several months ago.

Earlier this month a U.S. official confidently predicted there would be little demand among European corporations for the proposed barter mechanism.

Whether Europe succeeds in efforts to defy the U.S. on Iran is nearly beside the point from a long-term perspective. Trans-Atlantic damage has already been done. A rift that began to widen during the Obama administration seems about to get wider still.

Asia Reacts

Asian nations are also exhibiting resistance to the impending U.S. sanctions. It is unlikely they could absorb all the exports Iran will lose after Nov. 4, but they could make a significant difference. China, India, and South Korea are the first, second, and third-largest importers of Iranian crude; Japan is sixth. Asian nations may also try to work around the U.S. sanctions regime after Nov. 4.

India is considering purchases of Iranian crude via a barter system or denominating transactions in rupees. China, having already said it would ignore the U.S. threat, would like nothing better than to expand yuan-denominated oil trading, and this is not a hard call: It is in a protracted trade war with the U.S., and an oil-futures market launched in Shanghai last spring already claims roughly 14 percent of the global market for "front-month" futures -- contracts covering shipments closest to delivery.

Trump: Unwittingly playing with U.S. long-term future

As with most of the Trump administration's foreign policies, we won't know how the new sanctions will work until they are introduced. There could be waivers for nations such as India; Japan is on record asking for one. The E.U.'s Special Purpose Vehicle could prove at least a modest success at best, but this remains uncertain. Nobody is sure who will win the administration's internal argument over SWIFT.

Long-term Consequences for the U.S.

The de-dollarization of the global economy is gradually gathering momentum. The orthodox wisdom in the markets has long been that competition with the dollar from other currencies will eventually prove a reality, but it will not be one to arrive in our lifetimes. But with European and Asian reactions to the imminent sanctions against Iran it could come sooner than previously thought.

The coalescing of emerging powers into a non-Western alliance -- most significantly China, Russia, India, and Iran -- starts to look like another medium-term reality. This is driven by practical rather than ideological considerations, and the U.S. could not do more to encourage this if it tried. When Washington withdrew from the Iran accord, Moscow and Beijing immediately pledged to support Tehran by staying with its terms.If the U.S. meets significant resistance, especially from its allies, it could be a turning-point in post-Word War II U.S. dominance.

Supposedly Intended for New Talks

All this is intended to force Iran back to the negotiating table for a rewrite of what Trump often calls "the worst deal ever." Tehran has made it clear countless times it has no intention of reopening the pact, given that it has consistently adhered to its terms and that the other signatories to the deal are still abiding by it.

The U.S. may be drastically overplaying its hand and could pay the price with additional international isolation that has worsened since Trump took office.

Washington has been on a sanctions binge for years. Those about to take effect seem recklessly broad. This time, the U.S. risks lasting alienation even from those allies that have traditionally been its closest.

[Nov 05, 2018] Scum vs. Scum by Chris Hedge

Hell is empty and all the devils are here. ~William Shakespeare
Notable quotes:
"... Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don't bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? ..."
"... One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week's elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats. ..."
"... "In interviews with two dozen Wall Street executives, fund-raisers, donors and those who raise money from them, Democrats described an extraordinary level of investment and excitement from the finance sector ," The New York Times reported about current campaign contributions to the Democrats from the corporate oligarchs. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.truthdig.com

There is perhaps no better illustration of the deep decay of the American political system than the Senate race in New Jersey. Sen. Bob Menendez, running for re-election, was censured by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting bribes from the Florida businessman Salomon Melgen, who was convicted in 2017 of defrauding Medicare of $73 million. The senator had flown to the Dominican Republic with Melgen on the physician's private jet and stayed in his private villa, where the men cavorted with young Dominican women who allegedly were prostitutes. Menendez performed numerous political favors for Melgen, including helping some of the Dominican women acquire visas to the United States. Menendez was indicted in a federal corruption trial but escaped sentencing because of a hung jury.

Menendez has a voting record as sordid as most Democrats'. He supported the $716 billion military spending bill, along with 85 percent of his fellow Senate Democrats. He signed a letter , along with other Democratic leaders, calling for steps to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial in the United States. The senator, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is owned by the lobby for Israel -- a country that routinely and massively interferes in our elections -- and supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He helped cause the 2008 global financial crisis by voting to revoke Glass-Steagall , the Depression-era law enacted to create a firewall between commercial and investment banks.

His Republican rival in the Senate race that will be decided Tuesday is Bob Hugin , whose reported net worth is at least $84 million. With Hugin as its CEO, the pharmaceutical firm Celgene made $200 million by conspiring to keep generic cancer drugs off the market, according to its critics. Celgene, a model of everything that is wrong with our for-profit health care system, paid $280 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower who accused the firm of improperly marketing two drugs to treat several forms of cancer without getting Federal Drug Administration approval, thereby defrauding Medicare. Celgene, over seven years, also doubled the price of the cancer drug Revlimid to some $20,000 for a supply of 28 pills.

The Senate campaign in New Jersey has seen no discussion of substantive issues. It is dominated by both candidates' nonstop personal attacks and negative ads, part of the typical burlesque of American politics.

Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don't bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother?

One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week's elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats.

The securities and finance industry has backed Democratic congressional candidates 63 percent to 37 percent over Republicans, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics . Democratic candidates and political action committees have received $56.8 million, compared with Republicans' $33.4 million, the center reported. The broader sector of finance, insurance and real estate, it found, has given $174 million to Democratic candidates, against $157 million to Republicans. And Michael Bloomberg , weighing his own presidential run, has pledged $100 million to elect a Democratic Congress.

"In interviews with two dozen Wall Street executives, fund-raisers, donors and those who raise money from them, Democrats described an extraordinary level of investment and excitement from the finance sector ," The New York Times reported about current campaign contributions to the Democrats from the corporate oligarchs.

Our system of legalized bribery is an equal-opportunity employer.

Of course, we are all supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should the white man's party of the president retain control of the House and the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us. Either way we are in for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to Trump, you shouldn't vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep and terminal.

The Democrats, who refuse to address the social inequality they helped orchestrate and that has given rise to Trump, are the party of racial and ethnic inclusivity, identity politics, Wall Street and the military. Their core battle cry is: We are not Trump! This is ultimately a losing formula. It was adopted by Hillary Clinton, who is apparently weighing another run for the presidency after we thought we had thrust a stake through her political heart. It is the agenda of the well-heeled East Coast and West Coast elites who want to instill corporate fascism with a friendly face.

... ... ...

[Nov 05, 2018] Globalists The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chosen by Pankaj Mishra as one of the Best Books of the Summer

Neoliberals hate the state. Or do they? In the first intellectual history of neoliberal globalism, Quinn Slobodian follows a group of thinkers from the ashes of the Habsburg Empire to the creation of the World Trade Organization to show that neoliberalism emerged less to shrink government and abolish regulations than to redeploy them at a global level.

Slobodian begins in Austria in the 1920s. Empires were dissolving and nationalism, socialism, and democratic self-determination threatened the stability of the global capitalist system. In response, Austrian intellectuals called for a new way of organizing the world. But they and their successors in academia and government, from such famous economists as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises to influential but lesser-known figures such as Wilhelm Röpke and Michael Heilperin, did not propose a regime of laissez-faire. Rather they used states and global institutions―the League of Nations, the European Court of Justice, the World Trade Organization, and international investment law―to insulate the markets against sovereign states, political change, and turbulent democratic demands for greater equality and social justice.

Far from discarding the regulatory state, neoliberals wanted to harness it to their grand project of protecting capitalism on a global scale. It was a project, Slobodian shows, that changed the world, but that was also undermined time and again by the inequality, relentless change, and social injustice that accompanied it.

One half of a decent book May 14, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is a rather interesting look at the political and economic ideas of a circle of important economists, including Hayek and von Mises, over the course of the last century. He shows rather convincingly that conventional narratives concerning their idea are wrong. That they didn't believe in a weak state, didn't believe in the laissez-faire capitalism or believe in the power of the market. That they saw mass democracy as a threat to vested economic interests.

The core beliefs of these people was in a world where money, labor and products could flow across borders without any limit. Their vision was to remove these subjects (tariffs, immigration and controls on the movement of money) from the control of the democracy-based nation-state and instead vesting them in international organizations. International organizations which were by their nature undemocratic and beyond the influence of democracy. That rather than rejecting government power, what they rejected was national government power. They wanted weak national governments but at the same time strong undemocratic international organizations which would gain the powers taken from the state.

The other thing that characterized many of these people was a rather general rejection of economics. While some of them are (at least in theory) economists, they rejected the basic ideas of economic analysis and economic policy. The economy, to them, was a mystical thing beyond any human understanding or ability to influence in a positive way. Their only real belief was in "bigness". The larger the market for labor and goods, the more economically prosperous everyone would become. A unregulated "global" market with specialization across borders and free migration of labor being the ultimate system.

The author shows how, over a period extending from the 1920s to the 1990s, these ideas evolved from marginal academic ideas to being dominant ideas internationally. Ideas that are reflected today in the structure of the European Union, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the policies of most national governments. These ideas, which the author calls "neoliberalism", have today become almost assumptions beyond challenge. And even more strangely, the dominating ideas of the political left in most of the west.

The author makes the point, though in a weak way, that the "fathers" of neoliberalism saw themselves as "restoring" a lost golden age. That golden age being (roughly) the age of the original industrial revolution (the second half of the 1800s). And to the extent that they have been successful they have done that. But at the same time, they have brought back all the political and economic questions of that era as well.

In reading it, I started to wonder about the differences between modern neoliberalism and the liberal political movement during the industrial revolution. I really began to wonder about the actual motives of "reform" liberals in that era. Were they genuinely interested in reforms during that era or were all the reforms just cynical politics designed to enhance business power at the expense of other vested interests. Was, in particular, the liberal interest in political reform and franchise expansion a genuine move toward political democracy or simply a temporary ploy to increase their political power. If one assumes that the true principles of classic liberalism were always free trade, free migration of labor and removing the power to governments to impact business, perhaps its collapse around the time of the first world war is easier to understand.

He also makes a good point about the EEC and the organizations that came before the EU. Those organizations were as much about protecting trade between Europe and former European colonial possessions as they were anything to do with trade within Europe.

To me at least, the analysis of the author was rather original. In particular, he did an excellent job of showing how the ideas of Hayek and von Mises have been distorted and misunderstood in the mainstream. He was able to show what their ideas were and how they relate to contemporary problems of government and democracy.

But there are some strong negatives in the book. The author offers up a complete virtue signaling chapter to prove how the neoliberals are racists. He brings up things, like the John Birch Society, that have nothing to do with the book. He unleashes a whole lot of venom directed at American conservatives and republicans mostly set against a 1960s backdrop. He does all this in a bad purpose: to claim that the Kennedy Administration was somehow a continuation of the new deal rather than a step toward neoliberalism. His blindness and modern political partisanship extended backward into history does substantial damage to his argument in the book. He also spends an inordinate amount of time on the political issues of South Africa which also adds nothing to the argument of the book. His whole chapter on racism is an elaborate strawman all held together by Ropke. He also spends a large amount of time grinding some sort of Ax with regard to the National Review and William F. Buckley.

He keeps resorting to the simple formula of finding something racist said or written by Ropke....and then inferring that anyone who quoted or had anything to do with Ropke shared his ideas and was also a racist. The whole point of the exercise seems to be to avoid any analysis of how the democratic party (and the political left) drifted over the decades from the politics of the New Deal to neoliberal Clintonism.

Then after that, he diverts further off the path by spending many pages on the greatness of the "global south", the G77 and the New International Economic Order (NIEO) promoted by the UN in the 1970s. And whatever many faults of neoliberalism, Quinn Slobodian ends up standing for a worse set of ideas: International Price controls, economic "reparations", nationalization, international trade subsidies and a five-year plan for the world (socialist style economic planning at a global level). In attaching himself to these particular ideas, he kills his own book. The premise of the book and his argument was very strong at first. But by around p. 220, its become a throwback political tract in favor of the garbage economic and political ideas of the so-called third world circa 1974 complete with 70's style extensive quotations from "Senegalese jurists"

Once the political agenda comes out, he just can't help himself. He opens the conclusion to the book taking another cheap shot for no clear reason at William F. Buckley. He spends alot of time on the Seattle anti-WTO protests from the 1990s. But he has NOTHING to say about BIll Clinton or Tony Blair or EU expansion or Obama or even the 2008 economic crisis for that matter. Inexplicably for a book written in 2018, the content of the book seems to end in the year 2000.

I'm giving it three stars for the first 150 pages which was decent work. The second half rates zero stars.

Though it could have been far better if he had written his history of neoliberalism in the context of the counter-narrative of Keynesian economics and its decline. It would have been better yet if the author had the courage to talk about the transformation of the parties of the left and their complicity in the rise of neoliberalism. The author also tends to waste lots of pages repeating himself or worse telling you what he is going to say next. One would have expected a better standard of editing by the Harvard Press.

[Nov 05, 2018] Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

By both its supporters and detractors, neoliberalism is usually considered an economic policy agenda. Neoliberalism's Demons argues that it is much more than that: a complete worldview, neoliberalism presents the competitive marketplace as the model for true human flourishing. And it has enjoyed great success: from the struggle for "global competitiveness" on the world stage down to our individual practices of self-branding and social networking, neoliberalism has transformed every aspect of our shared social life. The book explores the sources of neoliberalism's remarkable success and the roots of its current decline. Neoliberalism's appeal is its promise of freedom in the form of unfettered free choice. But that freedom is a trap: we have just enough freedom to be accountable for our failings, but not enough to create genuine change. If we choose rightly, we ratify our own exploitation. And if we choose wrongly, we are consigned to the outer darkness -- and then demonized as the cause of social ills. By tracing the political and theological roots of the neoliberal concept of freedom, Adam Kotsko offers a fresh perspective, one that emphasizes the dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality. More than that, he accounts for the rise of right-wing populism, arguing that, far from breaking with the neoliberal model, it actually doubles down on neoliberalism's most destructive features.

skeptic

This book tried to integrate the results of previous research of neoliberalism by such scholars as David Harvey, Philip Mirowski, and Wendy Brown into a more coherent framework. He has some brilliant insights about neoliberalism as secular religion scattered within the book. For example "I have claimed that the political-theological root of neoliberalism is freedom and have characterized its vision of freedom as hollow." His theological notion of "neoliberalism demons" ( the dark forces unleashed by neoliberalism) also represents a very valuable insight as neoliberalism explicitly violates Christian morality postulates ("greed is good").

"Liberal democracy under neoliberalism represents a forced choice between two fundamentally similar options, betraying its promise to provide a mechanism for rational and self-reflective human agency. The market similarly mobilizes free choice only to subdue and subvert it, "responsibilizing" every individual for the outcomes of the system while radically foreclosing any form of collective responsibility for the shape of society. And any attempt to exercise human judgment and free choice over social institutions and outcomes is rejected as a step down the slippery' slope to totalitarianism. To choose in any strong sense is always necessarily to choose wrongly, to fall into sin."
In the introduction, he correctly states that the academic workforce is now deeply affected by neoliberalization.
Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must, therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.

The author explains his use of the term "theology" instead of "ideology in such a way: " theology' has always been about much more than God. Even the simplest theological systems have a lot to say about the world we live in, how it came to be the way it is, and how it should be. Those ideals are neither true nor false in an empirical sense, nor is it fair to say that believers accept them blindly. "

He justifies the use of this term in the following way:

Here the term theology is likely to present the primary difficulty, as it seems to presuppose some reference to God. Familiarity with political theology as it has conventionally been practiced would reinforce that association. Schmitt's Political Theology and Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies both focused on the parallels between God and the earthly ruler,3 and much subsequent work in the field has concentrated on the theological roots of political concepts of state sovereignty'. Hence the reader may justly ask whether I am claiming that neoliberalism presupposes a concept of God.

The short answer is no. I am not arguing, for example, that neoliberalism "worships" the invisible hand, the market, money, wealthy entrepreneurs, or any other supposed "false idol," nor indeed that it is somehow secretly "religious" in the sense of being fanatical and unreasoning. Such claims presuppose a strong distinction between the religious and the secular, a distinction that proved foundational for the self-legitimation of the modern secular order but that has now devolved into a stale cliché. As I will discuss in the chapters that follow, one of the things that most appeals to me about political theology as a discipline is the way that it rejects the religious/secular binary.

The author correctly point s out that "Neoliberalism likes to hide", Like Philip Mirowski he views neoliberalism as a reaction on the USSR socialism which in my view integrates much of Trotskyism. Replacing the slogan "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", with the slogan "financial elites of all countries unite."

While most authors consider that neoliberalism became the dominant political force with the election of Reagan, the author argues that it happened under Nixon: " Nixon's decision in 1971 to go off the gold standard, which broke with the Bretton Woods settlement that had governed international finance throughout the postwar era and inadvertently cleared the space for the fluctuating exchange rates that proved so central to the rise of contemporary finance capitalism. "

He contrasts approaches of Harvey, Mirowski and Brown pointing out that real origin of neoliberalism and Trotskyism style "thought collective" – intellectual vanguard that drives everybody else, often using deception to final victory of neoliberalism.

It is this group that Mirowski highlights with his notion of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. One could walk away from Harvey's account viewing the major figures of neoliberalism as dispensable figureheads for impersonal political and economic forces. By contrast, the most compact possible summary of Mirowski s book would be: "It's people! Neoliberalism is made out of people!" In this reading, there was nothing inevitable about neoliberalism's rise, which depended on the vision and organization of particular nameable individuals.

Brown portrays neoliberalism as an attempt to extinguish the political -- here represented by the liberal democratic tradition of popular sovereignty and self-rule -- and consign humanity to a purely economic existence. In the end Brown calls us to take up a strange kind of metapolitical struggle against the economic enemy, in defense of politics as such. Meanwhile, Jodi Dean, who agrees that neoliberalism has a depoliticizing tendency, argues that this depoliticization actually depends on the notion of democracy and that appeals to democracy against neoliberalism arc therefore doomed in advance.9

He also points out neoliberalism tendency to create markets using the power of the state:

"Obamacare effectively created a market in individual health insurance plans, an area where the market was previously so dysfunctional as to be essentially nonexistent. The example of Obamacare also highlights the peculiar nature of neoliberal freedom. One of its most controversial provisions was a mandate that all Americans must have health insurance coverage. From a purely libertarian perspective, this is an impermissible infringement on economic freedom -- surely if i am free to make my own economic decisions, I am also free to choose not to purchase health insurance. Yet the mandate fits perfectly with the overall ethos of neoliberalism.

Overall, then, in neoliberalism an account of human nature where economic competition is the highest value leads to a political theory where the prime duty of the state is to enable, and indeed mandate, such competition, and the result is a world wherein individuals, firms, and states are all continually constrained to express themselves via economic competition. This means that neoliberalism tends to create a world in which neoliberalism is "true." A more coherent and self-reinforcing political theology can scarcely be imagined -- but that, I will argue, is precisely what any attempt to create an alternative to neoliberalism must do.

He points out on weaknesses of Marxist analysts and by Harvey's own "recognition of the fact that classes have been profoundly changed during the process of neo-liberalization" -- meaning that the beneficiaries cannot have planned the neoliberal push in any straightforward way. More than that, an economic-reductionist account ignores the decisive role of the state in the development of the neoliberal order: "To believe that 'financial markets' one fine day eluded the grasp of politics is nothing but a fairy tale. It was states, and global economic organizations, in close collusion with private actors, that fashioned rules conducive to the expansion of market finance."'' In other words, neoliberalism is an example where, contrary to Marxism, political forces directly transform economic structures.

He also points out that Polanyi views on the subject supports this thesis:

Polanyi famously characterized the interplay between market forces and society as a "double movement": when market relations threaten to undermine the basic foundations of social reproduction, society (most often represented by state institutions) intervenes to prevent or at least delay the trend set in motion by the market. Compared with Aristotle's distribution of categories between the political and economic realms, Polanyi's account is itself a "great transformation" on the conceptual level. Where Aristotle distinguished state and household and placed both legitimate economic management and unrestrained accumulation in the latter, Polanyi's "society" combines the household and the state, leaving only out-of-control acquisition in the purely economic realm. And in this schema, the society represents the spontaneous and natural, while the economic force of the market is what is constructed and deliberate.

The legacy of Polanyi should already be familiar to us in the many analyses of neoliberalism that see the state, nationalism, and other similar forces as extrinsic "leftovers" that precede or exceed neoliberal logic. Normally such interpretations first point out the supposed irony or hypocrisy that neoliberalism comes to require these exogenous elements for its functioning while claiming that those same "leftover" institutions can be sites of resistance. Hence, for instance, one often hears that the left needs to restore confidence in state power over against the market, that socialism can only be viable if a given country isolates itself from the forces of the global market, or in Wendy Brown's more abstract terms, that the left must reclaim the political to combat the hegemony of the economic.

He makes an important point that "neoliberalism does not simply destroy some preexisting entity known as "the family," but creates its own version of the family, one that fits its political-economic agenda, just as Fordism created the white suburban nuclear family that underwrote its political-economic goals."

Following Wendy Brown he views victimization of poor as an immanent feature of neoliberalism:

"The psychic life of neoliberalism, as so memorably characterized by Mark Fisher in Capitalist Realism, is shot through with anxiety and shame. We have to be in a constant state of high alert, always "hustling" for opportunities and connections, always planning for every contingency (including the inherently unpredictable vagaries of health and longevity). This dynamic of "responsibilization," as Wendy Brown calls it, requires us to fritter away our life with worry and paperwork and supplication, "pitching"ourselves over and over again, building our "personal brand" -- all for ever-lowering wages or a smattering of piece-work, which barely covers increasingly exorbitant rent, much less student loan payments."

He also points out that under neoliberalism "Under normative neoliberalism "neoclassical economics becomes a soft constitution for government or 'governance' in its devolved forms" the point that Philip Mirowski completely misses.

While correctly pointing out that neoliberalism is in decline and its ideology collapsed after 2008 (" Neoliberalism has lost its aura of inevitability"), it is unclear which forces will dismantle neoliberalism. And when it will be sent to the dustbin of the history. The chapter of the book devoted to "After Neoliberalism" theme is much weaker than the chapters devoted to its analysis.

For example, the author thinks that Trump election signifies a new stage of neoliberalism which he calls "punitive neoliberalism." I would call Trumpism instead "national neoliberalism" with all associated historical allusions.

[Nov 05, 2018] The Limits of Neoliberalism (Theory, Culture Society) by William Davies

Notable quotes:
"... In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'.

What this intends to capture is that, while neoliberal states have extended and liberated markets in certain areas (for instance, via privatisation and anti-union legislation), the neoliberal era has been marked just as much by the reform of non-market institutions, so as to render them market-like or business-like. Consider how competition is deliberately injected into socialised healthcare systems or universities. Alternatively, how protection of the environment is pursued by calculating a proxy price for natural public goods, in the expectation that businesses will then value them appropriately (Fourcade, 2011). It is economic calculation that spreads into all walks of life under neoliberalism, and not markets as such. This in turn provides the pithier version: neoliberalism is 'the disenchantment of politics by economics'.

The crisis of neoliberalism has reversed this ordering. 2008 was an implosion of technical capabilities on the part of banks and financial regulators, which was largely unaccompanied by any major political or civic eruption, at least until the consequences were felt in terms of public sector cuts that accelerated after 2010, especially in Southern Europe. The economic crisis was spookily isolated from any accompanying political crisis, at least in the beginning. The eruptions of 2016 therefore represented the long-awaited politicization and publicisation of a crisis that, until then, had been largely dealt with by the same cadre of experts whose errors had caused it in the first place.

Faced with these largely unexpected events and the threat of more, politicians and media pundits have declared that we now need to listen to those people 'left behind by globalization'. Following the Brexit referendum, in her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May made a vow to the less prosperous members of society, 'we will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful, but you.' This awakening to the demands and voices of marginalized demographics may represent a new recognition that economic policy cannot be wholly geared around the pursuit of 'national competitiveness' in the 'global race', a pursuit that in practice meant seeking to prioritise the interests of financial services and mobile capital. It signals mainstream political acceptance that inequality cannot keep rising forever. But it is still rooted in a somewhat economistic vision of politics, as if those people 'left behind by globalisation' simply want more material wealth and opportunity', plus fewer immigrants competing for jobs. What this doesn't do is engage with the distinctive political and cultural sociology of events such as Brexit and Trump, which are fuelled by a spirit of rage, punishment and self-punishment, and not simply by a desire to get a slightly larger slice of the pie.

This is where, 1 think, we need to pay close attention to a key dimension of neoliberalism, which 1 focus on at length in this book, namely competition. One of my central arguments here is that neoliberalism is not simply reducible to 'market fundamentalism', even if there are areas (such as financial markets) where markets have manifestly attained greater reach and power since the mid1970s. Instead, the neoliberal state takes the principle of competition and the ethos of competitiveness (which historically have been found in and around markets), and seeks to reorganise society around them. Quite how competition and competitiveness are defined and politically instituted is a matter for historical and theoretical exploration, which is partly what The Limits of Neoliberalism seeks to do. But at the bare minimum, organising social relations in terms of 'competition' means that individuals, organisations, cities, regions and nations are to be tested in terms of their capacity to out-do each other. Not only that, but the tests must be considered fair in some way, if the resulting inequalities are to be recognised as legitimate. When applied to individuals, this ideology is often known as 'meritocracy''.

The appeal of this as a political template for society is that, according to its advocates, it involves the discovery of brilliant ideas, more efficient business models, naturally talented individuals, new urban visions, successful national strategies, potent entrepreneurs and so on. Even if this is correct (and the work of Thomas Piketty on how wealth begets wealth is enough to cast considerable doubt on it) there is a major defect: it consigns the majority of people, places, businesses and institutions to the status of'losers'. The normative and existential conventions of a neoliberal society stipulate that success and prowess are things that are earned through desire, effort and innate ability, so long as social and economic institutions are designed in such a way as to facilitate this. But the corollary of this is that failure and weakness are also earned: when individuals and communities fail to succeed, this is a reflection of inadequate talent or energy on their part.

This has been critically noted in how 'dependency' and 'welfare' have become matters of shame since the conservative political ascendency of the 1980s. But this is just one example of how a culture of obligatory competitiveness exerts a damaging moral psychology, not only in how people look down on others, but in how they look down on themselves. A culture which valorises 'winning' and 'competitiveness' above all else provides few sources of security or comfort, even to those doing reasonably well. Everyone could be doing better, and if they're not, they have themselves to blame. The vision of society as a competitive game also suggests that anyone could very quickly be doing worse.

Under these neoliberal conditions, remorse becomes directed inwards, producing the depressive psychological effect (or what Freud termed 'melancholia') whereby people search inside themselves for the source of their own unhappiness and imperfect lives (Davies, 2015). Viewed from within the cultural logic of neoliberalism, uncompetitive regions, individuals or communities are not just 'left behind by globalisation', but are discovered to be inferior in comparison to their rivals, just like the contestants ejected from a talent show. Rising household indebtedness compounds this process for those living in financial precarity, by forcing individuals to pay for their own past errors, illness or sheer bad luck (Davies, Montgomerie & Wallin, 2015).

In order to understand political upheavals such as Brexit, we need to perform some sociological interpretation. We need to consider that our socio-economic pathologies do not simply consist in the fact that opportunity and wealth are hoarded by certain industries (such as finance) or locales (such as London) or individuals (such as the children of the wealthy), although all of these things are true. We need also to reflect on the cultural and psychological implications of how this hoarding has been represented and justified over the past four decades, namely that it reflects something about the underlying moral worth of different populations and individuals.

One psychological effect of this is authoritarian attitudes towards social deviance: Brexit and Trump supporters both have an above-average tendency to support the death penalty, combined with a belief that political authorities are too weak to enforce justice (Kaufman, 2016). However, it is also clear that psychological and physical pain have become far more widespread in neoliberal societies than has been noticed by most people. Statistical studies have shown how societies such as Britain and the United States have become afflicted by often inexplicable rising mortality rates amongst the white working class, connected partly to rising suicide rates, alcohol and drug abuse (Dorling, 2016). The Washington Post identified close geographic correlations between this trend and support for Donald Trump (Guo, 2016). In sum, a moral-economic system aimed at identifying and empowering the most competitive people, institutions and places has become targeted, rationally or otherwise, by the vast number of people, institutions and places that have suffered not only the pain of defeat but the punishment of defeat for far too long.

NEOLIBERALISM: DEAD OR ALIVE?

The question inevitably arises, is thus thing called 'neoliberalism' now over? And if not, when might it be and how would we know? In the UK, the prospect of Brexit combined with the political priority of reducing immigration means that the efficient movement of capital (together with that of labour) is being consciously impeded in a way that would have been unthinkable during the 1990s and early 2000s. 1'he re-emergence of national borders as obstacles to the flow of goods, finance, services and above all people, represents at least an interruption in the vision of globalisation that accompanied the heyday of neoliberal policy making between 1989-2008. If events such as Brexit signal the first step towards greater national mercantilism and protectionism, then we may be witnessing far more profound transformations in our model of political economy, the consequences of which could become very ugly.

Before we reach that point, it is already possible to identify a reorientation of national economic policy making away from some core tenets of neoliberal doctrine. One of the main case studies of this book is antitrust law and policy, which has been a preoccupation for neoliberal intellectuals, reformers and lawyers ever since the 1930s. The rise of the Chicago School view of competition (which effectively granted far greater legal rights to monopolists, while also being tougher on cartels) in the American legal establishment from the 1970s onwards, later repeated in the European Commission, meant that market commitments to neoliberal policy goals is still less than likely. Free trade areas such as NAETA, policies designed to attract and please mobile capital, the search for global hegemony surrounding international markets (as opposed to naked, mercantilist self-interest) may then continue for a few more years. But the collapse of legitimacy or popularity of these agendas will not be reversed.

Meanwhile, the inability of the Republican Party to defend these policies any longer signals the ultimate divorce between the political and economic wings of neoliberalism: the conservative coalition that came into being as Keynesianism declined post-1968, and which got Ronald Reagan to power, no longer functions in its role of rationalising and de-politicising economic policy making. If neoliberalism is the 'disenchantment of politics by economics', then economics is no longer performing its role in rationalising public life. Politics is being re-enchanted, by images of nationhood, of cultural tradition, of'friends' against enemies, ot race ana religion, une ot me many political miscalculations mat lea to Brexit was to under-estimate how many UK citizens would vote for the first time in their lives, enthralled by the sudden sovereign power that they had been granted in the polling booth, which was entirely unlike the ritual of representative democracy with a first-past-the-post voting system that renders most votes irrelevant. The intoxication of popular power and of demagoguery is being experienced in visceral ways for the first time since 1968, or possibly longer. Wendy Brown argues that neoliberalism is a 'political rationality'' that was born in direct response to Fascism during the 1930s and '40s (Brown, 2015). While it would be an exaggeration to say that the end of neoliberalism represents the re-birth of Fascism, clearly there were a number of existential dimensions of'the political' that the neoliberals were right to fear, and which we should now fear once more.

While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that 2016 is a historic turning point indeed as I've argued here, possibly the second 'book-mark' in the crisis of neoliberalism we need also to recognise how the seeds of this recent political rupture were sown over time. Indeed, we can learn a lot about policy paradigms from the way they' go into decline, for they always contain, tolerate and even celebrate the very activities that later overwhelm or undermine them. Clearly, the 2008 financial crisis was triggered by activities in the banking sector that were not fundamentally different from those which had been viewed as laudable for the previous 20 years. Equally, as we witness the return of mercantilism, protectionism, nationalism and charismatic populism, we need to remember the extent to which neoliberalism accommodated some of this, up to a point.

The second major case study in this book, in addition to anti-trust policy, is of strategies for 'national competitiveness'. The executive branch of government has traditionally been viewed as a problem from the perspective of economic liberalism, seeing as powerful politicians will instinctively seek to privilege their own territories vis-a-vis others. This is the threat of mercantilism, which can spin into resolutely anti-liberal policies such as trade tariffs and the subsidisation of indigenous industries and 'national champions'. These forms of mercantilism may now be returning, however, the logic of neoliberalism was never quite as antipathetic to them as orthodox market liberals might have been. Instead, I suggest in Chapter 4, rather than simply seek to thwart or transcend nationalist politics, neoliberalism seizes and reimagines the nation as one competitive actor amongst many, in a global contest for 'competitiveness', as evaluated by business gurus such as Michael Porter and think tanks such as the World Economic Eorum. To be sure, these gurus and think tanks have never been anything but hostile to protectionism; but nevertheless, they have encouraged a form of mild nationalism as the basis for strategic thinking in economic policy. As David Harvey has argued, 'the neoliberal state needs nationalism of a certain sort to survive': it draws on aspects of executive power and nationalist sentiment, in order to steer economic activity towards certain types of competitive strategies, culture and behaviours and away from others (Harvey, 2005: 85).

There is therefore a deep-lying tension within the politics of neoliberalism between a 'liberal' logic, which seeks to transcend geography, culture and political difference, and a more contingent, 'violent' logic that seeks to draw on the energies of nationhood and combat, in the hope of diverting them towards competitive, entrepreneurial production. These two logics are in conflict with each other, but the story I tell in this book is of how the latter gradually won out over the long history of neoliberal thought and policy making. Where the neoliberal intellectuals of the 1930s had a deep commitment to liberal ideals, which they believed the market could protect, the rise of the post-war Chicago School of economics and the co-option of neoliberal ideas by business lobbies and conservatives, meant that (what 1 term) the 'liberal spirit' was gradually lost. There is thus a continuity at work here, in the way that the crisis of neoliberalism has played out.

Written in 2012-13, the book suggests that neoliberalism has now entered a 'contingent' state, in which various failures of economic rationality are dealt with through incorporating an ever broader range of cultural and political resources. The rise of behavioural economics, for example, represents an attempt to preserve a form of market rationality in the face of crisis, by incorporating expertise provided by psychologists and neuroscientists. A form of 'neo-communitarianism' emerges, which takes seriously the role of relationships, environmental conditioning and empathy in the construction of independent, responsible subjects. This remains an economistic logic, inasmuch as it prepares people to live efficient, productive, competitive lives. But by bringing culture, community and contingency within the bounds of neoliberal rationality, one might see things like behavioural economics or 'social neuroscience' and so on as early symptoms of a genuinely post-liberal politics. Once governments (and publics) no longer view economics as the best test of optimal policies, then opportunities for post-liberal experimentation expand rapidly, with unpredictable and potentially frightening consequences. It was telling that, when the British Home Secretary, Amber Kudd, suggested in October 2016 that companies be compelled to publicly list their foreign workers, she defended this policy as a 'nudge'.

The Limits of Neoliberalism is a piece of interpretive sociology. It starts from the recognition that neoliberalism rests on claims to legitimacy, which it is possible to imagine as valid, even for critics of this system. Inspired by Luc Boltanski, the book assumes that political-economic systems typically need to offer certain limited forms of hope, excitement and fairness in order to survive, and cannot operate via domination and exploitation alone. For similar reasons, we might soon find that we miss some of the normative and political dimensions of neoliberalism, for example the internationalism that the IiU was founded to promote and the cosmopolitanism that competitive markets sometimes inculcate. There may be some elements of neoliberalism that critics and activists need to grasp, refashion and defend, rather than to simply denounce: this book's Afterword offers some ideas of what this might mean. But if the book is to be read in a truly post-neoliberal world, 1 hope that in its Interpretive aspirations, it helps to explain what was internally and normalively coherent about the political economy known as 'neoliberalism', but also why the system really had no account of its own preconditions or how to preserve them adequately. The attempt to reduce all of human life to economic calculation runs up against limits. A political rationality that fails to recognise politics as a distinctive sphere of human existence was always going to be dumbfounded, once that sphere took on its own extra-economic life. As Bob Dylan sang to Mr Jones, so one might now say to neoliberal intellectuals or technocrats: 'something is happening here, but you don't know what it is'.

... ... ...

Most analyses of neoliberalism have focused on its commitment to 'free markets, deregulation and trade. I shan't discuss the validity of these portrayals here, although some have undoubtedly exaggerated the similarities between 'classical' nineteenth-century liberalism and twentieth-century neoliberalism. The topic addressed here is a different one the character of neoliberal authority, on what basis does the neoliberal state demand the right to be obeyed, if not on substantive political grounds? To a large extent, it is on the basis of particular economic claims and rationalities, constructed and propagated by economic experts. The state does not necessarily (or at least, not always) cede power to markets, but comes to justify its decisions, policies and rules in terms that are commensurable with the logic of markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms (Davies, 2013: 37). The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of economics (and economists) to dictate legitimate courses of action. Understanding that authority and its present crisis requires us to look at economics, economic policy experts and advisors as critical components of state institutions.

Since the banking crisis of 2007-09, public denunciations of 'inequality' have increased markedly. These draw on a diverse range of moral, critical, theoretical, methodological and empirical resources. Marxist analyses have highlighted growing inequalities as a symptom of class conflict, which neoliberal policies have greatly exacerbated (Harvey, 2011; Therborn, 2012). Statistical analyses have highlighted correlations between different spheres of inequality', demonstrating how economic inequality influences social and psychological wellbeing (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009). Data showing extreme concentrations of wealth have led political scientists to examine the US political system, as a tool through which inequality is actively increased (Hacker & Pierson, 2010). Emergent social movements, such as Occupy, draw a political dividing line between the '99%' and the '1%' who exploit them. Political leaders and public intellectuals have adopted the language of'fairness' in their efforts to justify and criticize the various policy interventions which influence the distribution of economic goods (e.g. Hutton, 2010).

It is important to recognize that these critiques have two quite separate targets, although the distinction is often blurred. Firstly, there is inequality that exists within reasonably delineated and separate spheres of society. This means that there are multiple inequalities, with multiple, potentially incommensurable measures. The inequality that occurs within the market sphere is separate from the inequality that occurs within the cultural sphere, which is separate from the inequality' that occurs within the political sphere, and so on. Each sphere can either unwelcome politically, or impractical (Davies, 2013). Hayek's support for the welfare state, Simons' commitment to the nationalization of key industries, the ordo-liberal enthusiasm for the 'social market' demonstrate that the early neoliberals were offering a justification for what Walzer terms 'monopoly' (separate inequalities in separate spheres) and not 'dominance' (the power of one sphere over all others).

As the next chapter explores, it was Coasian economics (in tandem with the Chicago School) that altered this profoundly. The objective perspective of the economist implicitly working for a university or state regulator would provide the common standard against which activity could be judged. Of course economics does not replace the price system, indeed economics is very often entangled with the price system (Callon, 1998; Caliskan, 2010), but the a priori equality of competitors becomes presumed, as a matter of economic methodology, which stipulates that all agents are endowed with equal psychological capacities of calculation. It is because this assumption is maintained when evaluating all institutions and actions that it massively broadens the terrain of legitimate competition, and opens up vast, new possibilities for legitimate inequality and legitimate restraint. Walzerian dominance is sanctioned, and not simply monopoly. The Coasian vision of fair competition rests on an entirely unrealistic premise, namely that individuals share a common capacity' to calculate and negotiate, rendering intervention by public authorities typically unnecessary: the social reality of lawyers' fees is alone enough to undermine this fantasy. Yet in one sense, this is a mode of economic critique that is imbued with the 'liberal spirit' described earlier. It seeks to evaluate the efficiency of activities, on the basis of the assumed equal rationality of all, and the neutrality of the empirical observer.

Like Coase, Schumpeter facilitates a great expansion of the space and time in which the competitive process takes place. Various 'social' and 'cultural' resources become drawn into the domain of competition, with the goal being to define the rules that all others must play by. Monopoly is undoubtedly the goal of competitiveness. But unlike Coase's economics, Schumpeter's makes no methodological assumption regarding the common rationality' of all actors. Instead, it makes a romantic assumption regarding the inventive power of some actors (entrepreneurs), and the restrictive routines of most others. Any objective judgements regarding valid or invalid actions will be rooted in static methodologies or rules. Entrepreneurs have no rules, and respect no restraint. They seek no authority or validation for what they do, but are driven by a pure desire to dominate. In this sense their own immanent authority comes with a 'violent threat', which is endorsed by the neoliberal state as Chapter 4 discusses.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

The contingent neoliberalism that we currently live with is in a literal sense unjustified. It is propagated without the forms of justification (be they moral or empirical) that either the early neoliberals or the technical practitioners of neoliberal policy had employed, in order to produce a reality that 'holds together', as pragmatist sociologists like to say. The economized social and political reality now only just about 'holds together', because it is constantly propped up, bailed out, nudged, monitored, adjusted, data-mincd, and altered by those responsible for rescuing it. It does not survive as a consensual reality: economic judgements regarding 'what is going on' are no longer 'objective' or 'neutral', to the extent that they once were. The justice of inequality can no longer be explained with reference to a competition or to competitiveness, let alone to a market. Thus, power may be exercised along the very same tramlines that it was during the golden neoliberal years of the 1990s and early millennium, and the same experts, policies and agencies may continue to speak to the same public audiences. But the sudden reappearance of those two unruly uneconomic actors, the Hobbesian sovereign state and the psychological unconscious, suggests that that the project of disenchanting politics by economics has reached its limit. And yet crisis and critique have been strategically deferred or accommodated. What resources are there available for this to change, and to what extent are these distinguishable from neoliberalism's own critical capacities?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, as this book has sought to demonstrate, is replete with its own internal modes of criticism, judgement, measurement and evaluation, which enable actors to reach agreements about what is going on. These are especially provided by certain traditions of economics and business strategy, which privilege competitive processes, on the basis that those processes are uniquely able to preserve an element of uncertainty in social and economic life. The role of the expert be it in the state, the think tank or university within this programme is to produce quantitative facts about the current state of competitive reality, such that actors, firms or whole nations can be judged, compared and ranked. For Hayek and many of the early neoliberals, markets would do this job instead of expert authorities, with prices the only facts that were entirely necessary. But increasingly, under the influence of the later Chicago School and business strategists, the 'winners' and the 'losers' were to be judged through the evaluations of economics (and associated techniques and measures), rather than of markets as such. Certain forms of authority are therefore necessary for this game' to be playable. Economized law is used to test the validity of certain forms of competitive conduct; audits derived from business strategy are used to test and enthuse the entrepreneurial energies of rival communities. But the neoliberal programme initially operated such that these forms of authority could be exercised in a primarily technical sense, without metaphysical appeals to the common good, individual autonomy or the sovereignty of the state that employed them. As the previous chapter argued, various crises (primarily, but not exclusively, the 2007-09 financial crisis) have exposed neoliberalism's tacit dependence on both executive sovereignty and on certain moral-psychological equipment on the part of individuals. A close reading of neoliberal texts and policies would have exposed this anyway. In which case, the recent 'discovery' that neoliberalism depends on and justifies power inequalities, and not markets as such, may be superficial in nature. Witnessing the exceptional measures that states have taken to rescue the status quo simply confirms the state-centric nature of neolibcralism, as an anti-political mode of politics. As Zizek argued in relation to the Wikileaks' exposures of 2011, 'the real disturbance was at the level of appearances: we can no longer pretend we don't know what everyone knows we know' (Zizek, 2011b). Most dramatically, neoliberalism now appears naked and shorn of any pretence to liberalism, that is, it no longer operates with manifest a priori principles of equivalence, against which all contestants should be judged. Chapter 2 identified the 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism with a Rawlsian assumption that contestants are formally equal before they enter the economic 'game'. Within the Kantian or 'deontological' tradition of liberalism, this is the critical issue, and it played a part in internal debates within the early neoliberal movement. For those such as the ordoliberals, who feared the rationalizing potential of capitalist monopoly, the task was to build an economy around such an a priori liberal logic. Ensuring some equality of access to the economic game', via the active regulation of large firms and 'equality of opportunity' for individuals, is how neoliberalism's liberalism has most commonly been presented politically. As Chapter 3 discussed, the American tradition of neoliberalism as manifest in Chicago Law and Economics abandoned this sort of normative liberalism, in favour of a Benthamite utilitarianism, in which efficiency claims trumped formal arguments. The philosophical and normative elements of neoliberalism have, in truth, been in decline since the 1950s.

The 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism was kept faintly alive by the authority that was bestowed upon methodologies, audits and measures of efficiency analysis. The liberal a priori just about survived in the purported neutrality of economic method (of various forms), to judge all contestants equally, even while the empirical results of these judgements have increasingly benefited alreadydominant competitors. This notion relied on a fundamental epistemological inconsistency of neoliberalism, between the Hayekian argument that there can be no stable or objective scientific perspective on economic activity, and the more positivist argument that economics offers a final and definitive judgement. American neoliberalism broadens the 'arena' in which competition is understood to take place, beyond definable markets, and beyond the sphere of the 'economy', enabling cultural, social and political resources to be legitimately dragged into the economic 'game', and a clustering of various forms of advantage in the same hands. Monopoly, in Walter's terms, becomes translated into dominance.

The loss of neoliberalisms pretence to liberalism transforms the type of authority that can be claimed by and on behalf of power, be it business, financial or state power. It means the abandonment of the globalizing, universalizing, transcendental branch of neoliberalism, in which certain economic techniques and measures (including, but not only, prices) would provide a common framework through which all human difference could be mediated and represented. Instead, cultural and national difference potentially leading to conflict now animates neoliberalism, but without a commonly recognized principle against which to convert this into competitive inequality. What I have characterized as the 'violent threat' of neoliberalism has come to the fore, whereby authority in economic decision making is increasingly predicated upon the claim that 'we' must beat 'them'. This fracturing of universalism, in favour of political and cultural particularism, may be a symptom of how capitalist crises often play out (Gamble, 2009). One reason why neoliberalism has survived as well as it has since 2007 is that it has always managed to operate within two rhetorical registers simultaneously, satisfying both the demand for liberal universalism and that for political particularism, so when the former falls apart, a neoliberal discourse of competitive nationalism and the authority of executive decision is already present and available.

One lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for political movements which seek to challenge it, is that both individual agency and collective institutions need to be criticized and invented simultaneously. Political reform does not have to build on any 'natural' account of human beings, but can also invent new visions of individual agency. The design and transformation of institutions, such as markets, regulators and firms, do not need to take place separately from this project, but in tandem and in dialogue with it. A productive focus of critical economic enquiry would be those institutions which neolibcral thought has tended to be entirely silent on. These are the institutions and mechanisms of capitalism which coerce and coordinate individuals, thereby removing choices from economic situations. The era of applied neoliberal policy making has recently started to appear as one of rampant 'financialisation' (Krippner, 2012). So it is therefore peculiar how little attention is paid within neoliberal discourse to institutions of credit and equity, other than that they should be priced and distributed via markets. Likewise, the rising power of corporations has been sanctioned by theories that actually say very little about firms, management, work or organization, but focus all their attention on the incentives and choices confronting a few 'agents' and 'leaders' at the very top. Despite having permeated our cultural lives with visions of competition, and also permeated political institutions with certain economic rationalities, the dominant discourse of neoliberalism actually contains very little which represents the day-to-day lives and experiences of those who live with it. This represents a major empirical and analytical shortcoming of the economic theories that are at work in governing us, and ultimately a serious vulnerability.

A further lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for the purposes of a critique of neoliberalism, is that restrictive economic practices need to be strategically and inventively targeted and replaced. In the 1930s and 1940s, 'restrictive economic practices' would have implied planning, labour organization and socialism. Today our economic freedoms are restricted in very different ways, which strike at the individual in an intimate way, rather than at individuals collectively. In the twenty-first century, the experience of being an employee or a consumer or a debtor is often one of being ensnared, not one of exercising any choice or strategy. Amidst all of the uncertainty of dynamic capitalism, this sense of being trapped into certain relations seems eminently certain. Releasing individuals from these constraints is a constructive project, as much as a critical one: this is what the example of the early neoliberals demonstrates.

Lawyers willing to rewrite the rules of exchange, employment and finance (as, for instance the ordo-liberals redrafted the rules of the market) could be one of the great forces for social progress, if they were ever to mobilize in a concerted w'ay. A form of collective entrepreneurship, which like individual entrepreneurs saw' economic nonnativity as fluid and changeable, could produce new forms of political economy, with alternative valuation systems.

The reorganization of state, society, institutions and individuals in terms of competitive dynamics and rules, succeeded to the extent that it did because it offered both a vision of the collective and a vision of individual agency simultaneously. It can appear impermeable to critique or political transformation, if only challenged on one of these terms. For instance, if a different vision of collective organization is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this must involve abandoning individual 'choice' or freedom. Or if a different vision of the individual is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this is unrealistic given the competitive global context. Dispensing with competition, as the template for all politics and political metaphysics, is therefore only possible if theory proceeds anew, with a political-economic idea of individual agency and collective organization, at the same time. What this might allow is a different basis from which to speak of human beings as paradoxically the same yet different. The problem of politics is that individuals are both private, isolated actors, with tastes and choices, and part of a collectivity, with rules and authorities. An alternative answer to this riddle needs to be identified, other than simply more competition and more competitiveness, in which isolated actors take no responsibility for the collective, and the collective is immune to the protestations of those isolated actors.

[Nov 05, 2018] A superb new book on the duty of resistance

Notable quotes:
"... A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
"... The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

by Chris Bertram on October 31, 2018 Candice Delmas, A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Political obligation has always been a somewhat unsatisfactory topic in political philosophy, as has, relatedly, civil disobedience. The "standard view" of civil disobedience, to be found in Rawls, presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur and conceives of civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens. To demonstrate their fidelity to law, civil disobedients are willing to accept the consequences of their actions and to take their punishment. When Rawls first wrote about civil disobedience, in 1964, parts of the US were openly and flagrantly engaged in the violent subordination of their black population, so it was quite a stretch for him to think of that society as "nearly just". But perhaps its injustice impinged less obviously on a white professor at an elite university in Massachusetts than it did on poor blacks in the deep South.

The problems with the standard account hardly stop there. Civil disobedience thus conceived is awfully narrow. In truth, the range of actions which amount to resistance to the state and to unjust societies is extremely broad, running from ordinary political opposition, through civil disobedience to disobedience that is rather uncivil, through sabotage, hacktivism, leaking, whistle-blowing, carrying out Samaritan assistance in defiance of laws that prohibit it, striking, occupation, violent resistance, violent revolution, and, ultimately, terrorism. For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory, one which tells us whether Black Lives Matter activists are justified or whether antifa can punch Richard Spencer. Moreover, we need a theory that tells us not only what we may do but also what we are obliged to do: when is standing by in the face of injustice simply not morally permissible.

Step forward Candice Delmas with her superb and challenging book The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press). Delmas points out the manifold shortcomings of the standard account and how it is often derived from taking the particular tactics of the civil rights movement and turning pragmatic choices into moral principles. Lots of acts of resistance against unjust societies, in order to be effective, far from being communicative, need to be covert. Non-violence may be an effective strategy, but sometimes those resisting state injustice have a right to defend themselves. [click to continue ]


Hidari 10.31.18 at 3:41 pm (no link)

Strangely enough, the link I was looking at immediately before I clicked on the OP, was this:

https://www.thecanary.co/opinion/2018/10/30/our-time-is-up-weve-got-nothing-left-but-rebellion/

It would be interesting to see a philosopher's view on whether or not civil disobedience was necessary, and to what extent, to prevent actions that will lead to the end of our species.

Ebenezer Scrooge 10.31.18 at 4:52 pm (no link)
Two points:
As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.
I have no idea who Candice Delmas is, but "Delmas" is a French name. The French have a very different attitude toward civil disobedience than we do.
Moz of Yarramulla 10.31.18 at 11:23 pm (no link)

civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens.

I think that's a pretty narrow view of civil disobedience even if you just count the actions of the protesters. Often NVDA is aimed at or merely accepts that a violent response is inevitable. The resistance at Parihaka, for example, was in no doubt that the response would be military and probably lethal. And Animal Liberation are often classified as terrorists by the US and UK governments while murderers against abortion are not.

Which is to say that the definition of "nonviolent" is itself an area of conflict, with some taking the Buddhist extremist position that any harm or even inconvenience to any living thing makes an action violent, and others saying that anything short of genocide can be nonviolent (and then there are the "intention is all" clowns). Likewise terrorism, most obviously of late the Afghani mujahideen when they transitioned from being revolutionaries to terrorists when the invader changed.

In Australia we have the actual government taking the view that any action taken by a worker or protester that inconveniences a company is a criminal act and the criminal must both compensate the company (including consequential damages) as well as facing jail time. tasmania and NSW and of course the anti-union laws . The penalties suggest they're considered crimes of violence, as does the rhetoric.

Moz of Yarramulla 11.01.18 at 12:13 am (no link)
Jeff@11

one should never legitimize any means toward social change that you would not object to seeing used by your mortal enemies.

Are you using an unusual definition of "mortal enemy" here? Viz, other than "enemy that wants to kill you"? Even US law has theoretical prohibitions on expressing that intention.

It's especially odd since we're right now in the middle of a great deal of bad-faith use of protest techniques by mortal enemies. "free speech" used to protect Nazi rallies, "academic freedom" to defend anti-science activists, "non-violent protest" used to describe violent attacks, "freedom of religion" used to excuse terrorism, the list goes on.

In Australia we have a 'proud boys' leader coming to Australia who has somehow managed to pass the character test imposed by our government. He's the leader of a gang that requires an arrest for violence as a condition of membership and regularly says his goal is to incite others to commit murder. It seems odd that our immigration minister has found those things to be not disqualifying while deporting someone for merely associating with a vaguely similar gang , but we live in weird times.

J-D 11.01.18 at 12:50 am ( 18 )
Ebenezer Scrooge

As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.

I do remember that*, but it's not clear to me why you think it's important to remember it in this context. If somebody who had fatally punched a Nazi speaker were prosecuted for murder, I doubt that 'he was a Nazi speaker' would be accepted as a defence on the basis of the Streicher precedent.

*Strictly speaking, I don't remember it as something that 'we' did: I wasn't born at the time, and it's not clear to me who you mean by 'we'. (Streicher himself probably would have said that it was the Jews, or possibly the Jews and the Bolsheviks, who were hanging him, but I don't suppose that would be your view.) However, I'm aware of the events you're referring to, which is the real point.

engels 11.01.18 at 12:51 am ( 19 )
Rawls presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory
Brandon Watson 11.01.18 at 12:02 pm (no link)
People need to stop spreading this misinterpretation about Rawls on civil disobedience, which I've seen several places in the past few years. Rawls focuses on the case of a nearly just society not because he thinks it's the only case in which you can engage in civil disobedience but because he thinks it's the only case in which there are difficulties with justifying it. He states this very clearly in A Theory of Justice : in cases where the society is not nearly just, there are no difficulties in justifying civil disobedience or even sometimes armed resistance. His natural duty account is not put forward as a general theory of civil disobedience but to argue that civil disobedience can admit of justification even in the case in which it is hardest to justify.

I'm not a fan of Rawls myself, but I don't know how he could possibly have been more clear on this, since he makes all these points explicitly.

LFC 11.02.18 at 12:45 am (no link)
J-D @18

The Nuremberg tribunal was set up and staffed by the U.S., Britain, USSR, and France; so whether Ebenezer's "we" was intended to refer to the four countries collectively or just to the U.S., it's clear who hanged Streicher et al., and the tone of your comment on this point is rather odd.

anon 11.02.18 at 4:23 pm (no link)
Resisting by protesting is OK.

However, here in the USA, actual legislation creating laws is done by our elected representatives.

So if you're an Amaerican and really want Social Change and aren't just posturing or 'virtue signaling' make sure you vote in the upcoming election.

I'm afraid too many will think that their individual vote won't 'matter' or the polls show it isn't needed or some other excuse to justify not voting. Please do not be that person.

Don Berinati 11.02.18 at 5:06 pm (no link)
Recently re-reading '1968' by Kurlansky and he repeatedly made this point about protests – that to be effective they had to get on television (major networks, not like our youtube, I think, so it would be seen by the masses in order to sway them) and to do that the acts had to be outlandish because they were competing for network time. This increasingly led to violent acts, which almost always worked in getting on the news, but flew in the face of King's and others peaceful methods.
So, maybe punching out a Nazi is the way to change people's minds or at least get them to think about stuff.

[Nov 05, 2018] Vote if you want, but it's a charade in which the Duopoly will remain beholden to the same money interests who paid for both the Red and Blue campaigns

Nov 05, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

Mark from Queens

Elections USA, Inc: "Scum Vs. Scum." When I went looking for Hedges's weekly column today I rather expected him to be onto the next Bigger Picture item that he is always adroit at tackling.

So it was a little surprising that he chose instead to lead with an example of the midterm races in his state of NJ, the one between disgraced Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican Bob Hugin.

He never disappoints.

There is perhaps no better illustration of the deep decay of the American political system than the Senate race in New Jersey. Sen. Bob Menendez, running for re-election, was censured by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting bribes from the Florida businessman Salomon Melgen, who was convicted in 2017 of defrauding Medicare of $73 million. The senator had flown to the Dominican Republic with Melgen on the physician's private jet and stayed in his private villa, where the men cavorted with young Dominican women who allegedly were prostitutes. Menendez performed numerous political favors for Melgen, including helping some of the Dominican women acquire visas to the United States. Menendez was indicted in a federal corruption trial but escaped sentencing because of a hung jury.

Menendez has a voting record as sordid as most Democrats'. He supported the $716 billion military spending bill, along with 85 percent of his fellow Senate Democrats. He signed a letter, along with other Democratic leaders, calling for steps to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial in the United States. The senator, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is owned by the lobby for Israel -- a country that routinely and massively interferes in our elections -- and supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He helped cause the 2008 global financial crisis by voting to revoke Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law enacted to create a firewall between commercial and investment banks.

In what is so emblematic of how pathetic and corrupt the opposition party, their presidential candidate came out to throw her support behind such an odious criminal and corporate whore and to campaign with him. While at the same time the Dems have made no secret about their intention to crush any candidate who espouses socialist values.

Vote if you want, but it's a charade in which the Duopoly will remain beholden to the same money interests who paid for both the Red and Blue campaigns.

Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don't bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week's elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats. The securities and finance industry has backed Democratic congressional candidates 63 percent to 37 percent over Republicans, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Democratic candidates and political action committees have received $56.8 million, compared with Republicans' $33.4 million, the center reported. The broader sector of finance, insurance and real estate, it found, has given $174 million to Democratic candidates, against $157 million to Republicans. And Michael Bloomberg, weighing his own presidential run, has pledged $100 million to elect a Democratic Congress.

"In interviews with two dozen Wall Street executives, fund-raisers, donors and those who raise money from them, Democrats described an extraordinary level of investment and excitement from the finance sector ," The New York Times reported about current campaign contributions to the Democrats from the corporate oligarchs.

Our system of legalized bribery is an equal-opportunity employer.

Of course, we are all supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should the white man's party of the president retain control of the House and the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us. Either way we are in for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to Trump, you shouldn't vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep and terminal.

"Plus ça change, Plus c'est la même chose."

But it is always necessary to remind folks that the Greatest Democracy In The World is not. It is An Auction House To The Highest Bidder.

He goes on to talk about fascism, its characteristics, its incarnation today, and the elements that pave the way for, which are economic instability, concentrated wealth, monopoly, a police state, imperialism, etc. It is Neoliberalism which has ushered in fascism across the globe, plain and simple.

No totalitarian state has mastered propaganda better than the corporate state. Our press has replaced journalism with trivia, feel-good stories, jingoism and celebrity gossip. The banal and the absurd, delivered by cheery corporate courtiers, saturate the airwaves. Our emotions are skillfully manipulated around manufactured personalities and manufactured events. We are, at the same time, offered elaborate diversionary spectacles including sporting events, reality television and absurdist political campaigns. Trump is a master of this form of entertainment. Our emotional and intellectual energy is swallowed up by the modern equivalent of the Roman arena. Choreographed political vaudeville, which costs corporations billions of dollars, is called free elections. Cliché-ridden slogans, which assure us that the freedoms we cherish remain sacrosanct, dominate our national discourse as these freedoms are stripped from us by judicial and legislative fiat. It is a vast con game.

You cannot use the word "liberty" when your government, as ours does, watches you 24 hours a day and stores all of your personal information in government computers in perpetuity. You cannot use the word "liberty" when you are the most photographed and monitored population in human history. You cannot use the word "liberty" when it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics. You cannot use the word "liberty" when the state empowers militarized police to use indiscriminate lethal force against unarmed citizens in the streets of American cities. You cannot use the word "liberty" when 2.3 million citizens, mostly poor people of color, are held in the largest prison system on earth. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. The choice is between whom we want to clamp on our chains -- a jailer who mouths politically correct bromides or a racist, Christian fascist. Either way we are shackled.

American Exceptionalism reigns supreme to the Nationalist. He refuses to acknowledge that the real idea of "freedom" is not owning a munitions factory full of weaponry and putting a flag on the back of a pickup. It is instead the freedom to not have to live in the shadow of being foreclosed upon for a medical emergency, to not have to spend almost all of one's income on rent or mortgage debt, to have more time to spend with loved ones or doing what you love instead of working a dead end job just to pay the bills. In other words, a socialist economy heavily regulating the banks and corporations, in which debt peonage would largely become a thing of the past.

And then there it is. "We are being shackled incrementally," by unseen, unelected and unacknowledged vipers who use their wealth and power to also make sure we're ignorant and impotent to the real story.

Gross understood that unchecked corporate power would inevitably lead to corporate fascism. It is the natural consequence of the ruling ideology of neoliberalism that consolidates power and wealth into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs. The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin, refining Gross' thesis, would later characterize this corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as "inverted totalitarianism." It was, as Gross and Wolin pointed out, characterized by anonymity. It purported to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution and the iconography and symbols of American patriotism but internally had seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent. Gross warned that we were being shackled incrementally. Most would not notice until they were in total bondage. He wrote that "a friendly fascist power structure in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or today's Japan would be far more sophisticated than the 'caesarism' of fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan. It would need no charismatic dictator nor even a titular head it would require no one-party rule, no mass fascist party, no glorification of the State, no dissolution of legislatures, no denial of reason. Rather, it would come slowly as an outgrowth of present trends in the Establishment."

As far as I'm concerned America has been fascist for a long time, at least since 9/11 but probably longer. We've been captured by Inverted Totalitarianism. Trump just puts the ugly villainous face to that Fascism which has been rampant for a long time. Lewis Lapham had a great piece called, "Due Process: Lamenting the death of the rule of law in a country where it might have always been missing" that lays out the case for a how concentrated wealth has pretty much ruled with impunity since the beginning. (h/t to wendy davis)

How long will we continue to participate in this elaborate Lesser of Two Evil voting sham?

And these days those who do will surely let you know too. All the Good Zombies will be smiling for their selfies with their, "I Voted" stickers (now an added bonus to your "voting experience," as if it were a child's toy inside of a cereal box or something). How long will it be until we're handed little candies as a reward for voting? In step with the continuation of the infantilization of interaction in America. Civics? Nah. Stickers? Yeah.

Seems we're fucking doomed. But not unless people turn off the tv's and social media to begin talking to one another in public as fellow human beings, who as the 99% pretty much have so many of the same concerns in common.

Partisan ideology, blasted night and day on the propaganda networks, keeping us divided and conquered, with fear, manufactured distraction and celebrity gossip thrown in, to keep the lemmings hypnotized from what's really going on.

It's a damn shame.

Mark from Queens on Mon, 11/05/2018 - 7:36pm
Leave it to Hedges to exquisitley describe the darkness.

But he also pulled back from saying one shouldn't vote for the Dems to stem Trump's insanity, although he quickly added that it wouldn't stop the onslaught of corporate tyranny.

The only thing giving me hope lately is taking the longview, and the emergence of whistleblowers/journalists exposing the inner workings of the corporate coup. To what degree it matters will depend on how many people they reach.

The former,

https://www.youtube.com/embed/nXL7kO5t5NQ

and the latter (of which I've been putting together an essay on)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q6RXRKlGsV8

Bollox Ref on Mon, 11/05/2018 - 7:46pm
Americans love to quote Alexis de Tocqueville

but they rarely acknowledge Charles Dickens' impressions of the country.

[Nov 05, 2018] Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power" warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner's sadistic leer

Highly recommended!
Nov 05, 2018 | www.truthdig.com

Extracted from Scum vs. Scum by Chris Hedge

Of course, we are all supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should the white man's party of the president retain control of the House and the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us. Either way we are in for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to Trump, you shouldn't vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep and terminal.

The Democrats, who refuse to address the social inequality they helped orchestrate and that has given rise to Trump, are the party of racial and ethnic inclusivity, identity politics, Wall Street and the military. Their core battle cry is: We are not Trump! This is ultimately a losing formula. It was adopted by Hillary Clinton, who is apparently weighing another run for the presidency after we thought we had thrust a stake through her political heart. It is the agenda of the well-heeled East Coast and West Coast elites who want to instill corporate fascism with a friendly face.

Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power" warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner's sadistic leer. Janus-like, fascism seeks to present itself to a captive public as a force for good and moral renewal. It promises protection against enemies real and invented. But denounce its ideology, challenge its power, demand freedom from fascism's iron grip, and you are mercilessly crushed. Gross knew that if the United States' form of fascism, expressed through corporate tyranny, was able to effectively mask its true intentions behind its "friendly" face we would be stripped of power, shorn of our most cherished rights and impoverished. He has been proved correct.

"Looking at the present, I see a more probable future: a new despotism creeping slowly across America," Gross wrote. "Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion."

No totalitarian state has mastered propaganda better than the corporate state. Our press has replaced journalism with trivia, feel-good stories, jingoism and celebrity gossip. The banal and the absurd, delivered by cheery corporate courtiers, saturate the airwaves. Our emotions are skillfully manipulated around manufactured personalities and manufactured events. We are, at the same time, offered elaborate diversionary spectacles including sporting events, reality television and absurdist political campaigns. Trump is a master of this form of entertainment. Our emotional and intellectual energy is swallowed up by the modern equivalent of the Roman arena. Choreographed political vaudeville, which costs corporations billions of dollars, is called free elections. Cliché-ridden slogans, which assure us that the freedoms we cherish remain sacrosanct, dominate our national discourse as these freedoms are stripped from us by judicial and legislative fiat. It is a vast con game.

You cannot use the word "liberty" when your government, as ours does, watches you 24 hours a day and stores all of your personal information in government computers in perpetuity. You cannot use the word "liberty" when you are the most photographed and monitored population in human history. You cannot use the word "liberty" when it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics. You cannot use the word "liberty" when the state empowers militarized police to use indiscriminate lethal force against unarmed citizens in the streets of American cities. You cannot use the word "liberty" when 2.3 million citizens, mostly poor people of color, are held in the largest prison system on earth. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. The choice is between whom we want to clamp on our chains -- a jailer who mouths politically correct bromides or a racist, Christian fascist. Either way we are shackled.

Gross understood that unchecked corporate power would inevitably lead to corporate fascism. It is the natural consequence of the ruling ideology of neoliberalism that consolidates power and wealth into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs. The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin , refining Gross' thesis, would later characterize this corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as "inverted totalitarianism." It was, as Gross and Wolin pointed out, characterized by anonymity. It purported to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution and the iconography and symbols of American patriotism but internally had seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent. Gross warned that we were being shackled incrementally. Most would not notice until they were in total bondage. He wrote that "a friendly fascist power structure in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or today's Japan would be far more sophisticated than the 'caesarism' of fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan. It would need no charismatic dictator nor even a titular head it would require no one-party rule, no mass fascist party, no glorification of the State, no dissolution of legislatures, no denial of reason. Rather, it would come slowly as an outgrowth of present trends in the Establishment."

Gross foresaw that technological advances in the hands of corporations would be used to trap the public in what he called "cultural ghettoization" so that "almost every individual would get a personalized sequence of information injections at any time of the day -- or night." This is what, of course, television, our electronic devices and the internet have done. He warned that we would be mesmerized by the entertaining shadows on the wall of the Platonic cave as we were enslaved.

Gross knew that the most destructive force against the body politic would be the war profiteers and the militarists. He saw how they would siphon off the resources of the state to wage endless war, a sum that now accounts for half of all discretionary spending. And he grasped that warfare is the natural extension of corporatism. He wrote:

Under the militarism of German, Italian, and Japanese fascism violence was openly glorified. It was applied regionally -- by the Germans in Europe and England, the Italians in the Mediterranean, the Japanese in Asia. In battle, it was administered by professional militarists who, despite many conflicts with politicians, were guided by old-fashioned standards of duty, honor, country, and willingness to risk their own lives.

The emerging militarism of friendly fascism is somewhat different. It is global in scope. It involves weapons of doomsday proportions, something that Hitler could dream of but never achieve. It is based on an integration between industry, science, and the military that the old-fashioned fascists could never even barely approximate. It points toward equally close integration among military, paramilitary, and civilian elements. Many of the civilian leaders -- such as Zbigniew Brzezinski or Paul Nitze -- tend to be much more bloodthirsty than any top brass. In turn, the new-style military professionals tend to become corporate-style entrepreneurs who tend to operate -- as Major Richard A. Gabriel and Lieutenant Colonel Paul L. Savage have disclosed -- in accordance with the ethics of the marketplace. The old buzzwords of duty, honor, and patriotism are mainly used to justify officer subservience to the interests of transnational corporations and the continuing presentation of threats to some corporate investments as threats to the interest of the American people as a whole. Above all, in sharp contrast with classic fascism's glorification of violence, the friendly fascist orientation is to sanitize, even hide, the greater violence of modern warfare behind such "value-free" terms as "nuclear exchange," "counterforce" and "flexible response," behind the huge geographical distances between the senders and receivers of destruction through missiles or even on the "automated battlefield," and the even greater psychological distances between the First World elites and the ordinary people who might be consigned to quick or slow death.

We no longer live in a functioning democracy. Self-styled liberals and progressives, as they do in every election cycle, are urging us to vote for the Democrats, although the Democratic Party in Europe would be classified as a right-wing party, and tell us to begin to build progressive movements the day after the election. Only no one ever builds these movements. The Democratic Party knows there is no price to pay for selling us out and its abject service to corporations. It knows the left and liberals become supplicants in every election cycle. And this is why the Democratic Party drifts further and further to the right and we become more and more irrelevant. If you stand for something, you have to be willing to fight for it. But there is no fight in us.

The elites, Republican and Democrat, belong to the same club. We are not in it. Take a look at the flight roster of the billionaire Jeffrey Epstein , who was accused of prostituting dozens of underage girls and ended up spending 13 months in prison on a single count. He flew political insiders from both parties and the business world to his secluded Caribbean island, known as "Orgy Island," on his jet, which the press nicknamed "the Lolita Express." Some of the names on his flight roster, which usually included unidentified women, were Bill Clinton, who took dozens of trips, Alan Dershowitz , former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard President Larry Summers, the Candide -like Steven Pinker , whose fairy dust ensures we are getting better and better, and Britain's Prince Andrew. Epstein was also a friend of Trump, whom he visited at Mar-a-Lago.

We live on the precipice, the eve of the deluge. Past civilizations have crumbled in the same way, although as Hegel understood, the only thing we learn from history is "that people and governments never have learned anything from history." We will not arrest the decline if the Democrats regain control of the House. At best we will briefly slow it. The corporate engines of pillage, oppression, ecocide and endless war are untouchable. Corporate power will do its dirty work regardless of which face -- the friendly fascist face of the Democrats or the demented visage of the Trump Republicans -- is pushed out front. If you want real change, change that means something, then mobilize, mobilize, mobilize, not for one of the two political parties but to rise up and destroy the corporate structures that ensure our doom.

[Nov 05, 2018] Bolsonaro a monster engineered by our media by Jonathan Cook

Notable quotes:
"... Bolsonaro, like Trump, is not a disruption of the current neoliberal order; he is an intensification or escalation of its worst impulses. He is its logical conclusion. ..."
"... Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left. They prefer the social divisions fuelled by neo-fascists like Bolsonaro, divisions that protect their wealth and privilege, over the unifying message of a socialist who wants to curtail class privilege, the real basis of the elite's power. ..."
"... The true left – whether in Brazil, Venezuela, Britain or the US – does not control the police or military, the financial sector, the oil industries, the arms manufacturers, or the corporate media. It was these very industries and institutions that smoothed the path to power for Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Trump in the US. ..."
"... Former socialist leaders like Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were bound to fail not so much because of their flaws as individuals but because powerful interests rejected their right to rule. These socialists never had control over the key levers of power, the key resources. Their efforts were sabotaged – from within and without – from the moment of their election. ..."
"... The media, the financial elites, the armed forces were never servants of the socialist governments that have been struggling to reform Latin America. The corporate world has no interest either in building proper housing in place of slums or in dragging the masses out of the kind of poverty that fuels the drug gangs that Bolsonaro claims he will crush through more violence. ..."
"... As in Pinochet's Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism. ..."
"... Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net . ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

With Jair Bolsonaro's victory in Brazil's presidential election at the weekend, the doom-mongers among western elites are out in force once again. His success, like Donald Trump's, has confirmed a long-held prejudice: that the people cannot be trusted; that, when empowered, they behave like a mob driven by primitive urges; that the unwashed masses now threaten to bring down the carefully constructed walls of civilisation.

The guardians of the status quo refused to learn the lesson of Trump's election, and so it will be with Bolsonaro. Rather than engaging the intellectual faculties they claim as their exclusive preserve, western "analysts" and "experts" are again averting their gaze from anything that might help them understand what has driven our supposed democracies into the dark places inhabited by the new demagogues. Instead, as ever, the blame is being laid squarely at the door of social media.

Social media and fake news are apparently the reasons Bolsonaro won at the ballot box. Without the gatekeepers in place to limit access to the "free press" – itself the plaything of billionaires and global corporations, with brands and a bottom line to protect – the rabble has supposedly been freed to give expression to their innate bigotry.

Here is Simon Jenkins, a veteran British gatekeeper – a former editor of the Times of London who now writes a column in the Guardian – pontificating on Bolsonaro:

"The lesson for champions of open democracy is glaring. Its values cannot be taken for granted. When debate is no longer through regulated media, courts and institutions, politics will default to the mob. Social media – once hailed as an agent of global concord – has become the purveyor of falsity, anger and hatred. Its algorithms polarise opinion. Its pseudo-information drives argument to the extremes."

This is now the default consensus of the corporate media, whether in its rightwing incarnations or of the variety posing on the liberal-left end of the spectrum like the Guardian. The people are stupid, and we need to be protected from their base instincts. Social media, it is claimed, has unleashed humanity's id.

Selling plutocracy

There is a kind of truth in Jenkins' argument, even if it is not the one he intended. Social media did indeed liberate ordinary people. For the first time in modern history, they were not simply the recipients of official, sanctioned information. They were not only spoken down to by their betters, they could answer back – and not always as deferentially as the media class expected.

Clinging to their old privileges, Jenkins and his ilk are rightly unnerved. They have much to lose.

But that also means they are far from dispassionate observers of the current political scene. They are deeply invested in the status quo, in the existing power structures that have kept them well-paid courtiers of the corporations that dominate the planet.

Bolsonaro, like Trump, is not a disruption of the current neoliberal order; he is an intensification or escalation of its worst impulses. He is its logical conclusion.

The plutocrats who run our societies need figureheads, behind whom they can conceal their unaccountable power. Until now they preferred the slickest salespeople, ones who could sell wars as humanitarian intervention rather than profit-driven exercises in death and destruction; the unsustainable plunder of natural resources as economic growth; the massive accumulation of wealth, stashed in offshore tax havens, as the fair outcome of a free market; the bailouts funded by ordinary taxpayers to stem economic crises they had engineered as necessary austerity; and so on.

A smooth-tongued Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton were the favoured salespeople, especially in an age when the elites had persuaded us of a self-serving argument: that ghetto-like identities based on colour or gender mattered far more than class. It was divide-and-rule dressed up as empowerment. The polarisation now bewailed by Jenkins was in truth stoked and rationalised by the very corporate media he so faithfully serves.

Fear of the domino effect

Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left. They prefer the social divisions fuelled by neo-fascists like Bolsonaro, divisions that protect their wealth and privilege, over the unifying message of a socialist who wants to curtail class privilege, the real basis of the elite's power.

The true left – whether in Brazil, Venezuela, Britain or the US – does not control the police or military, the financial sector, the oil industries, the arms manufacturers, or the corporate media. It was these very industries and institutions that smoothed the path to power for Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Trump in the US.

Former socialist leaders like Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were bound to fail not so much because of their flaws as individuals but because powerful interests rejected their right to rule. These socialists never had control over the key levers of power, the key resources. Their efforts were sabotaged – from within and without – from the moment of their election.

Local elites in Latin America are tied umbilically to US elites, who in turn are determined to make sure any socialist experiment in their backyard fails – as a way to prevent a much-feared domino effect, one that might seed socialism closer to home.

The media, the financial elites, the armed forces were never servants of the socialist governments that have been struggling to reform Latin America. The corporate world has no interest either in building proper housing in place of slums or in dragging the masses out of the kind of poverty that fuels the drug gangs that Bolsonaro claims he will crush through more violence.

Bolsonaro will not face any of the institutional obstacles Lula da Silva or Chavez needed to overcome. No one in power will stand in his way as he institutes his "reforms". No one will stop him creaming off Brazil's wealth for his corporate friends. As in Pinochet's Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism.

Immune system

If you want to understand the depth of the self-deception of Jenkins and other media gatekeepers, contrast Bolsonaro's political ascent to that of Jeremy Corbyn, the modest social democratic leader of Britain's Labour party. Those like Jenkins who lament the role of social media – they mean you, the public – in promoting leaders like Bolsonaro are also the media chorus who have been wounding Corbyn day after day, blow by blow, for three years – since he accidentally slipped past safeguards intended by party bureacrats to keep someone like him from power.

The supposedly liberal Guardian has been leading that assault. Like the rightwing media, it has shown its absolute determination to stop Corbyn at all costs, using any pretext.

Within days of Corbyn's election to the Labour leadership, the Times newspaper – the voice of the British establishment – published an article quoting a general, whom it refused to name, warning that the British army's commanders had agreed they would sabotage a Corbyn government. The general strongly hinted that there would be a military coup first.

We are not supposed to reach the point where such threats – tearing away the façade of western democracy – ever need to be implemented. Our pretend democracies were created with immune systems whose defences are marshalled to eliminate a threat like Corbyn much earlier.

Once he moved closer to power, however, the rightwing corporate media was forced to deploy the standard tropes used against a left leader: that he was incompetent, unpatriotic, even treasonous.

But just as the human body has different immune cells to increase its chances of success, the corporate media has faux-liberal-left agents like the Guardian to complement the right's defences. The Guardian sought to wound Corbyn through identity politics, the modern left's Achille's heel. An endless stream of confected crises about anti-semitism were intended to erode the hard-earned credit Corbyn had accumulated over decades for his anti-racism work.

Slash-and-burn politics

Why is Corbyn so dangerous? Because he supports the right of workers to a dignified life, because he refuses to accept the might of the corporations, because he implies that a different way of organising our societies is possible. It is a modest, even timid programme he articulates, but even so it is far too radical either for the plutocratic class that rules over us or for the corporate media that serves as its propaganda arm.

The truth ignored by Jenkins and these corporate stenographers is that if you keep sabotaging the programmes of a Chavez, a Lula da Silva, a Corbyn or a Bernie Sanders, then you get a Bolsonaro, a Trump, an Orban.

It is not that the masses are a menace to democracy. It is rather that a growing proportion of voters understand that a global corporate elite has rigged the system to accrue for itself ever greater riches. It is not social media that is polarising our societies. It is rather that the determination of the elites to pillage the planet until it has no more assets to strip has fuelled resentment and destroyed hope. It is not fake news that is unleashing the baser instincts of the lower orders. Rather, it is the frustration of those who feel that change is impossible, that no one in power is listening or cares.

Social media has empowered ordinary people. It has shown them that they cannot trust their leaders, that power trumps justice, that the elite's enrichment requires their poverty. They have concluded that, if the rich can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the planet, our only refuge, they can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the global elite.

Are they choosing wisely in electing a Trump or Bolsonaro? No. But the liberal guardians of the status quo are in no position to judge them. For decades, all parts of the corporate media have helped to undermine a genuine left that could have offered real solutions, that could have taken on and beaten the right, that could have offered a moral compass to a confused, desperate and disillusioned public.

Jenkins wants to lecture the masses about their depraved choices while he and his paper steer them away from any politician who cares about their welfare, who fights for a fairer society, who prioritises mending what is broken.

The western elites will decry Bolsonaro in the forlorn and cynical hope of shoring up their credentials as guardians of the existing, supposedly moral order. But they engineered him. Bolsonaro is their monster.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .

[Nov 05, 2018] How neoliberals destroyed University education and then a large part of the US middle class and the US postwar social order by Edward Qualtrough

Notable quotes:
"... Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day. ..."
"... Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital. ..."
Aug 24, 2016 | www.amazon.com

From: Amazon.com Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital (9781503607125) Adam Kotsko Books

Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.

... ... ...

On a more personal level it reflects my upbringing in the suburbs of Flint, Michigan, a city that has been utterly devastated by the transition to neoliberalism. As I lived through the slow-motion disaster of the gradual withdrawal of the auto industry, I often heard Henry Ford s dictum that a company could make more money if the workers were paid enough to be customers as well, a principle that the major US automakers were inexplicably abandoning. Hence I find it [Fordism -- NNB] to be an elegant way of capturing the postwar model's promise of creating broadly shared prosperity by retooling capitalism to produce a consumer society characterized by a growing middle class -- and of emphasizing the fact that that promise was ultimately broken.

By the mid-1970s, the postwar Fordist order had begun to breakdown to varying degrees in the major Western countries. While many powerful groups advocated a response to the crisis that would strengthen the welfare state, the agenda that wound up carrying the day was neoliberalism, which was most forcefully implemented in the United Kingdom by Margaret Thatcher and in the United States by Ronald Reagan. And although this transformation was begun by the conservative part)', in both countries the left-of-centcr or (in American usage) "liberal"party wound up embracing neoliberal tenets under Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, ostensibly for the purpose of directing them toward progressive ends.

With the context of current debates within the US Democratic Party, this means that Clinton acolytes are correct to claim that "neoliberalism" just is liberalism but only to the extent that, in the contemporary United States, the term liberalism is little more than a word for whatever the policy agenda of the Democratic Party happens to be at any given time. Though politicians of all stripes at times used libertarian rhetoric to sell their policies, the most clear-eyed advocates of neoliberalism realized that there could be no simple question of a "return" to the laissez-faire model.

Rather than simply getting the state "out of the way," they both deployed and transformed state power, including the institutions of the welfare state, to reshape society in accordance with market models. In some cases creating markets where none had previously existed, as in the privatization of education and other public services. In others it took the form of a more general spread of a competitive market ethos into ever more areas of life -- so that we are encouraged to think of our reputation as a "brand," for instance, or our social contacts as fodder for "networking." Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital.

[Nov 05, 2018] Publishing and Promotion in Economics The Tyranny of the Top Five by James Heckman

Notable quotes:
"... By James Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago; Founding Director, Center for the Economics of Human Development and Sidharth Moktan, Predoctoral Fellow, Center for the Economics of Human Development, University of Chicago. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... Anecdotal evidence suggests that the 'Top Five' economics journals have a strong influence on tenure and promotion decisions, but actual evidence on their influence is sparse. This column uses data on employment and publication histories for tenure-track faculty hired by the top US economics departments between 1996 and 2010 to show that the impact of the Top Five on tenure decisions dwarfs that of non-Top Five journals. A survey of US economics department faculties confirms the Top Five's outsized influence. ..."
"... American Economic Review ..."
"... Journal of Political Economy ..."
"... Quarterly Journal of Economics ..."
"... Review of Economic Studies ..."
"... We find that the Top Five has a large impact on tenure decisions within the top 35 US departments of economics, dwarfing the impact of publications in non-Top Five journals. A survey of current tenure-track faculty hired by the top 50 US economics departments confirms the Top Five's outsize influence. ..."
"... Review of Economics and Statistics ..."
"... Journal of Political Economy ..."
"... Review of Economic Studies ..."
"... Definition of journal abbreviations ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. In case you hadn't noticed it, the economics discipline has doctrinal norms. Academics who stray too far from it find themselves welcome only at the small number of colleges and universities, such as the University of Missouri – Kansas City and the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, that embrace heterodox views.

The top five economics journals play a large role in enforcing the orthodoxy. Jamie Galbraith has described how he'd submit suitably mathed-up papers to one of the heavyweights, get an initial positive response, but when they understood where he was going, they'd alway reject the paper. The reviewers would claim that the mathematics were flawed, when that was not the case. But being published by the top five is essential to advancing in prestigious economics faculties, such as Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, and MIT.

It should be noted that no real science has a rigid hierarchy of journals like this. The article documents disfunction among the editors at these journals, such as incest and clientelism.

By James Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago; Founding Director, Center for the Economics of Human Development and Sidharth Moktan, Predoctoral Fellow, Center for the Economics of Human Development, University of Chicago. Originally published at VoxEU

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the 'Top Five' economics journals have a strong influence on tenure and promotion decisions, but actual evidence on their influence is sparse. This column uses data on employment and publication histories for tenure-track faculty hired by the top US economics departments between 1996 and 2010 to show that the impact of the Top Five on tenure decisions dwarfs that of non-Top Five journals. A survey of US economics department faculties confirms the Top Five's outsized influence.

Anyone who talks with young economists entering academia about their career prospects and those of their peers cannot fail to note the importance they place on publication in the so-called Top Five journals in economics: the American Economic Review , Econometrica ,the Journal of Political Economy ,the Quarterly Journal of Economics , and the Review of Economic Studies .The discipline's preoccupation with the Top Five is reflected in the large number of scholarly papers that study aspects of the these journals, many of which acknowledge the Top Five's de facto role as arbiter in tenure and promotion decisions (e.g. Ellison 2002, Frey 2009, Card and DellaVigna 2013, Anauti et al. 2015, Hamermesh 2013, 2018, Colussi 2018).

While anecdotal evidence suggests that the Top Five has a strong influence on tenure and promotion decisions, actual evidence on such influence is sparse. Our paper (Heckman and Moktan 2018) fills this gap in the literature. We find that the Top Five has a large impact on tenure decisions within the top 35 US departments of economics, dwarfing the impact of publications in non-Top Five journals. A survey of current tenure-track faculty hired by the top 50 US economics departments confirms the Top Five's outsize influence.

Our empirical and survey-based findings of the Top Five's influence beg the question: is the Top Five an adequate filter of quality? Extending the analysis of Hamermesh (2018), we show that appearance of an article in the Top Five is a poor predictor of quality as measured by citations. Substantial variation in the citations accrued by papers published in the Top Five and overlap in article quality across journals outside the Top Five make aggregate measures of journal quality such as the Top Five label and Impact Factors poor measures of individual article quality. This is a view expressed by many economists and non-economists alike. 1

There are many consequences of the discipline's reliance on the Top Five. It subverts the essential process of assessing and rewarding original research. Using the Top Five to screen the next generation of economists incentivises professional incest and creates clientele effects whereby career-oriented authors appeal to the tastes of editors and biases of journals. It diverts their attention away from basic research toward strategising about formats, lines of research, and favoured topics of journal editors, many with long tenures. It raises the entry costs for new ideas and persons outside the orbits of the journals and their editors. An over-emphasis on Top Five publications perversely incentivises scholars to pursue follow-up and replication work at the expense of creative pioneering research, since follow-up work is easier to judge, is more likely to result in clean publishable results, and is hence more likely to be published. 2 This behaviour is consistent with basic common sense: you get what you incentivise.

In light of the many adverse and potentially severe consequences associated with current practices, we believe that it is unwise for the discipline to continue using publication in the Top Five as a measure of research achievement and as a predictor of future scholarly potential. The call to abandon the use of measures of journal influence in career advancement decisions has already gained momentum in the sciences. As of the time of the writing of this column, 667 organisations and 13,019 individuals have signed the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment, a declaration denouncing the use of journal metrics in hiring, career advancement, and funding decisions within the sciences. 3 Economists should take heed of these actions. We provide suggestions for change in the concluding portion of this column.

Documenting the Power of the Top Five

We find strong evidence of the influence of the Top Five. Without doubt, publication in the Top Five is a powerful determinant of tenure and promotion in academic economics. We analyse longitudinal data on employment and publication histories for tenure-track faculty hired by the top 35 US economics department between 1996 and 2010. We find that Top Five publications greatly increase the probability of receiving tenure during the first spell of tenure-track employment (see Figure 1). This is true if we limit samples to the first seven years of employment. Estimates from duration analyses of time to tenure show that publishingthree Top Five articles is associated with a 370% increase in the rate of receiving tenure, compared to candidates with similar levels of publication in non-Top Five journals. The estimated effects of publication in non-Top Five journals pale in comparison.

Figure 1 Predicted probabilities for receipt of tenure in the first spell of tenure-track employment

Notes : The figures plot the predicted probabilities associated with different levels of publications by authors in different journal categories, where the predictions are obtained from a logit model. White diamonds on the bars indicate that the prediction is significantly different than zero at the 5% level.

A survey of current assistant and associate professors hired by the top 50 US economics departments corroborates these findings. On average, junior faculty rank Top Five publications as being the single most influential determinant of tenure and promotion outcomes (see Figure 2). 4

Figure 2 Ranking of performance areas based on their perceived influence on tenure and promotion decisions

Notes : The figure summarises respondents' rankings of either performance areas. Responses are summarised by type of career advancement: tenure receipt, promotion to assistant professor, and promotion to associate professor. The bars present mean responses for each performance area. Respondents were given the option to not rank any or all of the eight performance areas. As a result, the number of respondents varies across the performance areas.

Responses to our survey reveal a widespread belief among junior faculty that the effect of the Top Five on career advancement operates independently of differences in article quality. To separate quality effects from a Top Five placement effect, we ask respondents to report the probability that their department awards tenure or promotion to an individual with Top Five publications compared to an individual identical to the first individual in every way except that he/she has published the same number and quality of articles in non-Top Five journals. If the Top Five influence operates solely through differences in article impact and quality, the expected reported probability would be 0.5. The results in Figure 3 show large and statistically significant deviations from 0.5 in favour of Top Five publication. On average, respondents from top 10 departments believe that the Top Five candidate would receive tenure with a probability of 0.89. The mean probability increases slightly for lower-ranked departments.

Figure 3 Probability that a candidate with Top Five publications receives tenure or promotion instead of an identical candidate with non-Top Five publications, ceteris paribus

Notes : The figure summarises respondents' perceptions about the probability that a candidate with Top Five publications is granted tenure or promotion by the respondent's department instead of a candidate with non-Top Five publications, ceteris paribus. Responses are summarised by type of career advancement: tenure receipt, promotion to assistant professor, and promotion to associate professor. The bars present mean responses for each performance area. White diamonds indicate that the mean response is significantly different than 50% at the 10% level.

The Top Five as a Filter of Quality

The current practice of relying on the Top Five has weak empirical support if judged by its ability to produce impactful papers as measured by citation counts. Extending the citation analysis of Hamermesh (2018), we find considerable heterogeneity in citations within journals and overlap in citations across Top Five and non-Top Five journals (see Figure 4). Moreover, the overlap increases considerably when one compares non-Top Five journals to the less-cited Top Five journals. For instance, while the median Review of Economics and Statistics article ranks in the 38thpercentile of the overall Top Five citation distribution, the same article outranks the median-cited article in the combined Journal of Political Economy and Review of Economic Studies distributions.

Figure 4 Distribution of residualalog citations for articles published between 2000 and 2010 (as at July 2018)

Source : Scopus.com (accessed July 2018)
Note : a The table plots distributions of residual log citations obtained from a model that estimates log(citations+1) as a function of third-degree polynomial for years elapsed between the date of publication and 2018, the year citations were measured. This residualisation adjusts log citations for exposure effects, thereby allowing for comparison of citations received by papers from different publication cohorts.

Definition of journal abbreviations : QJE–Quarterly Journal Of Economics, JPE–Journal Of Political Economy, ECMA–Econometrica, AER–American Economic Review, ReStud–Review Of Economic Studies, JEL–Journal Of Economic Literature, JEP–Journal Of Economic Perspectives, ReStat–Review Of Economics And Statistics, JEG–Journal Of Economic Growth, JOLE–Journal Of Labor Economics, JHR–Journal Of Human Resources, EJ–Economic Journal, JHE–Journal Of Health Economics, ICC–Industrial And Corporate Change, WBER–World Bank Economic Review, RAND–Rand Journal Of Economics, JDE–Journal Of Development Economics, JPub–Journal Of Public Economics, JOE–Journal Of Econometrics, HE–Health Economics, ILR–Industrial And Labor Relations Review, JEEA–Journal Of The European Economic Association, JME–Journal Of Monetary Economics, JRU–Journal Of Risk And Uncertainty, JInE–Journal Of Industrial Economics, JOF–Journal Of Finance, JFE–Journal Of Financial Economics, ReFin–Review Of Financial Studies, JFQA–Journal Of Financial And Quantitative Analysis, and MathFin–Mathematical Finance.

Restricting the citation analysis to the top of the citation distribution produces the same conclusion. Among the top 1% most-cited articles in our citations database, 5 13.6% were published by three non-Top Five journals. 6

Low Editorial Turnover and Incest

Figure 5 Density plot of the number of years served by editors between 1996 and 2016

Source : Brogaard et al. (2014) for data up to 2011. Data for subsequent years collected from journal front pages.

Compounding the privately rational incentive to curry favour with editors is the phenomenon of longevity of editorial terms, especially at house journals (see Figure 5). Low turnover in editorial boards creates the possibility of clientele effects surrounding both journals and their editors. We corroborate the literature that documents the inbred nature of economics publishing (Laband and Piette 1994, Brogaard et al. 2014, Colussi 2018) by estimating incest coefficients that quantify the degree of inbreeding in Top Five publications. We show that network effects are empirically important – editors are likely to select the papers of those they know. 7

Table 1 Incest coefficients: Publications in Top Five between 2000 and 2016, by author affiliation listed during publication

Source : Elsevier, Scopus.com.

Notes : The table reports three columns for each Top Five journal. The left most columns report the number of articles that were affiliated to each university. The middle columns present the percentage of articles published in the journal that were affiliated to the university out of all articles affiliated to the list top universities. The right most columns present the percentage of articles published in the journal that were affiliated to the university out of all articles published in the journal. An author is defined as being affiliated with a university during a given year if he/she listed the university as an affiliation in any publication that was made during that specific year. An article is defined as being affiliated with a university during a specific year if at least one author was affiliated to the university during the year.

Discussion

Reliance on the Top Five as a screening device raises serious concerns. Our findings should spark a serious conversation in the economics profession about developing implementable alternatives for judging the quality of research. Such solutions necessarily de-emphasise the role of the Top Five in tenure and promotion decisions, and redistribute the signalling function more broadly across a range of high-quality journals.

However, a proper solution to the tyranny will likely involve more than a simple redefinition of the Top Five to include a handful of additional influential journals. A better solution will need to address the flaw that is inherent in the practice of judging a scholar's potential for innovative work based on a track record of publications in a handful of select journals. The appropriate solution requires a significant shift from the current publications-based system of deciding tenure to a system that emphasises departmental peer review of a candidate's work. Such a system would give serious consideration to unpublished working papers and to the quality and integrity of a scholar's work. By closely reading published and unpublished papers rather than counting placements of publications, departments would signal that they both acknowledge and adequately account for the greater risk associated with scholars working at the frontiers of the discipline.

A more radical proposal would be to shift publication away from the current journal system with its long delays in refereeing and publication and possibility for incest and favoritism, towards an open source arXiv or PLOS ONE format. 8 Such formats facilitate the dissemination rate of new ideas and provide online real-time peer review for them. Discussion sessions would vet criticisms and provide both authors and their readers with different perspectives within much faster time frames. Shorter, more focused papers would stimulate dialogue and break editorial and journal monopolies. Ellison (2011 )notes that online publication is already being practiced by prominent scholars. Why not broaden the practice across the profession and encourage spirited dialogue and rapid dissemination of new ideas? This evolution has begun with a recently launched economics version of arXiv .

Under any event, the profession should reduce incentives for crass careerism and promote creative activity. Short tenure clocks and reliance on the Top Five to certify quality do just the opposite. In the long run, the profession will benefit from application of more creativity-sensitive screening of its next generation.

See original post for references

[Nov 05, 2018] Papadopoulos Details Alleged Entrapment Scheme By Undercover Deep State Agents

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Papadopoulos Details Alleged Entrapment Scheme By Undercover Deep State Agents

by Tyler Durden Sun, 11/04/2018 - 20:30 96 SHARES

George Papadopoulos - a central figure and self-admitted dupe in the Obama administration's targeted spying on the Trump campaign, gave a wide-ranging interview to Dan Bongino on Friday, detailing what he claims to have been a setup by deep state operatives across the world in order to ultimately infiltrate the Trump campaign.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/45m5DP1xfRg

Reviewing events

In March 2016 , Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud told Papadopoulos - an energy consultant who had recently joined the Trump campaign - that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, a claim which Papadopoulos repeated in May 2016 to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in a London bar . Of note, former FBI Assistant Director of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, reportedly traveled to London directly before Downer met with Papadopoulos, while a few months later former FBI agent Peter Strzok met with Downer in London directly before the DOJ officially launched their investigation into the Trump campaign.

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The alleged admission about Clinton's emails officially sparked the Obama administration's counterintelligence operation on Trump on July 31, 2016 - dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane. In September 2016, the FBI would send spy Stefan Halper to further probe Papadopoulos on the Clinton email allegation, and - according to his interview with Dan Bongino, Papadoplous says Halper angrily accused him of working with Russia before storming out of a meeting.

Halper essentially began interrogating Papadopoulos, saying that it's "obviously in your interest to be working with the Russians" and to "hack emails." " You're complicit with Russia in this, isn't that right George " Halper told him. Halper also inquired about Hillary's hacked emails, insinuating that Papadopoulos possessed them. Papadopoulos denied knowing anything about this and asked to be left alone. - Bongino.com

There are two schools of thought on Papadopoulos and his relationship with Mifsud - the first link in the chain regarding the Clinton email rumor. Notably, Mifsud claimed last November to be a member of the Clinton Foundation, and has donated to the charity.

The first theory is that Mifsud and Papadopoulos are Russian agents, and that Papadopoulos was used to try and establish a backchannel to Putin. Papadopoulos admits he tried to set up a Trump-Putin meeting - which was flatly rejected by the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos, however, claims the Putin connection was a woman Mifsud introduced him to claiming to be Putin's niece, who was present at a March 24, 2016 meeting.

The second theory regarding Mifsud is that he was a deep state plant working with the FBI; convincing Papadopoulos that he could arrange a meeting with members of the Russian government and then seeding Papadopoulos with the Clinton email rumor. From there, as the theory goes, the "deep state" attempted to pump Papadopoulos for information and set up a case against him - beginning with Alexander Downer and the "drunken" confession in London.

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Papadopoulos told Bongino that he wasn't drunk during his meeting with Downer, and that he was being recorded . Papadopoulos noted during the Bongino interview that transcripts of his meetings with Mifsud and Dower reportedly exist - which he says proves that he was set up. According to Papadopoulos, Mifsud's lawyer said that he's not a Russian asset and was instead working for Western intelligence.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying the FBI about his interactions with Mifsud, and was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison and a $9,500 fine.

$10,000 cash

Papadopoulos also told Bongino about $10,000 in cash that he was given in an Israel hotel room in July 2017 - which he claims was another attempt to set him up. He says that he believes the bills were marked, and is looking for a way to bring the cash into the United States for Congressional investigators to analyze. The cash is currently with his attorney in Greece.

"I'm actually trying to bring that money back somehow so that Congress can investigate it because I am 100 percent sure those are marked bills, and to see who was actually running this operation against me," Papadopoulos gold Bongino.

"I am more than happy to deliver the $10,000 in cash I received, as part of what I believe was a sting operation to frame me in summer 2017, to your committee to examine for marked bills. This is in the interest of me being fully transparent," he wrote last week on Twitter to North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows and Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe.

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The two Republicans are members of a congressional task force investigating the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The task force interviewed Papadopoulos on Oct. 25.

Papadopoulos acknowledged in his interview with Bongino that his claims about his encounters with an Israeli-American businessman named Charles Tawil were "an incredible, insane story."

"But it's true," he asserted.

Papadopoulos told Bongino the he believes that Tawil "was working on behalf of Western intelligence to entrap me."

Papadopoulos does not have direct evidence that Tawil was working on behalf of a Western government when they met in March and July 2017. Instead, Papadopoulos is speculating based on what he says is the peculiar circumstances of his encounters with Tawil as well as his meetings with at least one known FBI informant. - Daily Caller

Afraid he might be killed if he didn't accept the money, Papadopoulos took the funds and later contacted Tawil - who allegedly told Papadopoulos he didn't want it back. From there, Papadopoulos gave the cash to his attorney in Greece. Upon his return to the United States several days later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 28, 2017 at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C., by agents who he believes were looking for the cash.

And then when Papadopoulos landed back in America, he was arrested at Dulles International Airport on July 27th. Strangely, he wasn't shown the warrant for his arrest when arrested, and didn't know the reason why until the next day. The $10,000 that Tawil paid Papadopoulos in cash is interesting in this context, as it would be the exact amount of money one would be required to declare at customs. Papadopoulos didn't recall if he was arrested before or after he filled out a customs slip (but didn't have the money on him). - Bongino.com

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At minimum, one should set aside an hour for the Bongino-Papadopoulos interview if only to hear his version of events.

Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is how George was able to end up with such a hot Italian (not Russian) wife:

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Politics