Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

Socialism for corporations and financial oligarchy (The New Nomenklatura)

Version 2.1, Jan 2, 2018

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura The Iron Law of Oligarchy Noble Lie American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism
Hypernormalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberalism war on labor Inverted Totalitarism The Deep State Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
 Audacious Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Neoliberal debt slavery Doublespeak Animal Farm Anti-globalization movement Neoliberalism and Christianity
Quite coup Destruction of the New Deal Glass-Steagall repeal Think Tanks as Enabler of Neoliberal Coup d'état  Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Identity politics as divide and conquer The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Propaganda Neoliberal rationality Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Neoliberal newspeak Predator state Lewis Powell Memo The Essential Rules for Dominating Population
New American Militarism Neoconservatism Neo-fascism National Security State Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism US and British media are servants of security apparatus  Totalitarian Decisionism
The Great Betrayal: "Soft" neoliberals as Vichy Left Crowd manipulation Agenda-setting theory Manufacturing Consent Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Media-Military-Industrial Complex War is Racket
Small government smoke screen "Starving the beast" bait and switch Bill Clinton Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Two Party System American Imperialism The Grand Chessboard
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
  "Neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of  economic determinism, one even more ambitious than that of Marx."

-- Logos


Introduction

“What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.”
Joseph Goebbels

There were two major favors of Bolshevism -- Trotskyism and Stalinism. Them main different is in the attitude to exporting revolution to other countries. Trotsky preached so called permanent revolution -- forceful regime changes in other countries, while Stalin adhered to more isolationist worldview ("Socialism in a single country").  In a way the whole Mont Pelerin Society can be renamed into "The Committee for the adaptation of Trotskyism for the needs of financial oligarchy"

Neoliberalism is essentially Trotskyism refashioned for the needs of the global financial elite.  That's probably why the first substantial support Mont Perelin Society got in England.

This "socialism for corporations, feudalism for everybody" adapted a large part of Trotskyism ideology and, especially, political instruments, carefully hiding the origins.   Instead of "proletarians of all countries unite" we have the slogan "neoliberal elites of all countries unite". Like Communism is supposed to be the result of revolt of proletariat against its oppressions, Neoliberalism can be considered to be the revolt of the elite (and first of all financial elite) against excessive level of equality that characterized the world after WWII.  They key goal of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up at the expense of working class and lower middle class.  Like Trotskyism in the past, it is a militant and dogmatic faith that ostracizes heretics and utilizes the full power of propaganda to brainwash the population. Like Bolsheviks' Communist International this virtual "Union of Neoliberal States" have zero  tolerance for other social system or deviations from so called Washington consensus -- the dogmatic statement of main goal of neoliberalism in weaker countries. Like was the case with Bolshevism media dogs and intelligence  agencies are unleashed on dissenters.  Universities were refashioned into neoliberalism indoctrination camp by making neoclassical economics the obligatory discipline, without taking a course in neo-classical economy the student can't graduate.  Much like Marxism-Leninism philosophy course and Marxist political economy course were obligatory in the USSR universities.

Permanent revolution was refashioned into regime change efforts with "color revolution" as the major instrument of such a change. If color revolution mechanisms fail, the direct military invasion is always an option ("export of neoliberal democracy of the tips of bayonets", so to speak).  Subversive methods like color revolutions are polished to perfection. Recently they were used inside the USA as Clinton  wing of Democratic Party (aka "soft neoliberalism")  against Trump, who was elected on the platform of "anti-globalization", anti-outsourcing/offshoring", and ending foreign wars.  See NeoMcCartyism

The key idea here is that "free market" in neoliberalism replaces the notion of "dictatorship of proletariat".  The notion of the "world revolution" is preserved. Neoliberals  do not want to wait until "free market" wins in the society on its own merits. They do not believe in Laissez-faire. Like Leninists they want to use state to build the society in which "dictatorship of market" happens.  To enforce this society on people. This is not about libertarian dream of the state as "night watchman", on the contrary state in neoliberal doctrine state of "neoliberal dictatorship" which is active in enforcing "free market" mechanisms, despite possible resistance of the society.

Neoliberals like Trotskyites are globalists par excellence and dream about world neoliberal revolution. Like Bolsheviks with communism, they reject any other forms of social organization other then neoliberalism. And want to export neoliberalism to all countries of the world. If necessary using US bombers and tanks.

In other words while idea of the state under neoliberalism is identical to Bolsheviks view of state (and is very similar to the views of the Islamic state, if you wish ;-), the foreign policy under neoliberalism is the neoliberal empire expansion policy similar to idea of "World Revolution" which is the central postulate of Trotskyism.  In other words neoliberals strongly believe in "Export of revolution", it is just disguised for unwashed masses as export of democracy.  Kind of neoliberal jihad (The Totalitarian Nature of Islam)

"Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam." "Marx has taught that Communism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Mahommet." Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world.
Russell [114]

Perhaps it was Charles Watson who first described Islam as totalitarian in 1937, and proceeded to show how: "By a million roots, penetrating every phase of life, all of them with religious significance, it is able to maintain its hold upon the life of Moslem peoples. "Bousquet, one of the foremost authorities on Islamic Law, distinguishes two aspects of Islam which he considers totalitarian: Islamic Law, and the Islamic notion of Jihad which has for its ultimate aim the conquest of the entire world, in order to submit it to one single authority. We shall consider jihad in the next chapter, here we shall confine ourselves to Islamic Law.

Mont Perelin society  which developed the neoliberal doctrine and served like Communist International for neoliberalism, was deliberately structured like a congress of pre-selected and pre-approved thinkers, allowing no dissent, and  working in secrecy. Much like the new incarnation of Bolsheviks party. They explicitly rework the key methods of social struggle invented by Bolsheviks and Trotskyites to the their own ends.  Many subversive method used by neoliberal state to enforce the rule of neoliberalism in other countries were first invented and tried by Communist International.  Marx is probably now spinning in his grave seeing how his teaching and methods adapted by social-democratic parties were subverted and bastardized to serve the rich.

According to neoliberal doctrine, free market like socialist social system just do not happen naturally: they should be built and enforced by the "Party" despite all the resistance. and the Party in this case was artificially constructed of bribed intellectuals and (what is even more important) of the network of  neoliberal think tanks. this idea to use "think tank" as the major weapon if the unleashing neoliberal revolution was also a direct (but creative)  borrowing from Bolsheviks practice.

And as we all know tanks is formidable weapon on a modern battlefields. The same is true with think tanks in social battlefields.  So like Trotskyites they are constructivists long before the term became popular (emergence of neoliberalism as a movement belong to early 30th). Nothing is left to the chance. 

In other words this like Trotskyism neoliberalism is practically undistinguished from a secular religion. That's why  some researchers call it  a market uber alles religion.  The key dogma is "There is no God other then the Market... " In other words, Market under neoliberal doctrine does not need any justification. It is the ultimate deity that judges the mere mortals, which needs to be imposed on the people by the power of the state,  and requires absolute compliance, achieved by spilling blood, if necessary.  Much like the idea of communism is a deity for Bolsheviks, which requires no justification and needs to be imposed on the people by whatever means necessary.

In both cases they are sold as kind of heaven on the earth. In this sense this is market fundamentalism which is a lot in common with Islamic Fundamentalism. Market is the heaven on earth for neoliberals and neoliberal priests (which are pretty well paid folk, look at Summers or Rubin ;-) have the same promise of twenty virgins to the followers. In they case virgins can be simply bought on money that the neoliberalism will bestow on the individual who will follow the teaching making him rich ;-).  The actual reality is somewhat different. It is impossible to make rich everybody; this is reserved to the top 1% or 0.01%, while "shmucks" standard  of living tend to deteriorate.  But this is a hidden "esoteric" truth the neoliberalism does not advertise. In any case you see the analogy. 

Like Trotskyites they were militant faction which wanted to seize the power but whatever means possible. And they want to forcefully destroy all alternatives including first of all socialism. Their attitude toward socialism is the exact morrow of Trotskyites view about capitalism -- they believe that socialism belong to the dustbin of history, and if it does not want to die "naturally" it is OK to help him to go to the grave. 1973 Chilean coup d'état against  President Salvador Allende,  is a perfect example of their ideology in action. color revolution are another. This is how Lenin would force the revolution. They just uses CIA instead of terrorist underground forces used by Bolsheviks (in case of Bolsheviks often cooperating with anarchist military faction -- so called 'boeviks").  There is even some uneasy alliance of islamist radicals Western intelligence agencies and neoliberal NGO  in which neoliberal try to use islamist to achieve their goals.  The same lack of principles and amorality was typical for Bolsheviks.  In is important to understand that  despite scholarly camouflage key neoliberal figures such as Milton Friedman were actually criminals. Minton Friedman hands were  up to the elbow in blood of innocent victims due to  killing many Chileans during Pinochet coup (objective view is our view of people which we do not like, so communists probably provided the most biting critique of neoliberalism and neoliberals ;-) :  

In 1975, the New York Times accurately labeled him “the guiding light of the junta’s economic policy” (21 September 1975). The CIA funded a 300-page Friedmanite blueprint given to the leaders of the junta in preparation for the coup. In March 1975 Friedman himself, accompanied by his U of C cohort Arnold Harberger, flew to Chile for high-level talks with the regime to outline the economic “shock treatment” that led to the mass starvation of those who had survived the initial phase of bloodletting.

So the world revolution in Trotskyite doctrine is simply replaced by "world neoliberal revolution by what ever means possible". Criminal actions are OK.  Like with Trotskyism "the goal justifies the means".

Another interesting question is why those people were help-bent of anti-communism, were so adamantly against socialism? One explanation is that most of them were from Austrian aristocracy circles. Another is that in their view (and first of all Hayek) market is a kind of natural "supercomputer" that can provide solutions to all world problems that no government can do. But, at the same time being closet  neo-Trotskyites they advocate military coups and killing of dissenters to achieve their goals.

Their "utilitarian view" of the legitimacy of government, also extents to science. Like for Trotskyites with their bogus concept of "proletarian science", the science in their worldview is useful only to the extent it help to built neoliberalism. So there is scientific theories and scientists which  needs to be financially supported and promoted and the scientific theories and scientists  that needs to be suppressed and ostracized.  Kind of new Lysenkoism.

That sound profoundly anti-democratic and that's completely true. Neoliberals do not care about democracy. They care only about "free market" -- their deity like communists cared only about Communism -- their deity. And both are ready to commit any crimes to achieve their goals.  In other words they are a new type of a dangerous totalitarian sect. and the brand of Totalitarism they promote was called by Wolin "Inverted Totalitarism". Their approach smells with Lysenkoism. And that' true -- neoliberal practice is very close to practice of Lysenkoism, especially in the field of economics: they occupied all commanding positions in economic departments of universities and forcefully suppress any dissent. The only difference is that they use the power of state just for ostracism and isolation. They do not send "non-conforming" scientists to GULAG like Bolsheviks did.  But they introduce a new interesting nuance: as the science became a "marketplace of ideas", under neoliberalism you can just buy the scientist you like on the market.  Education also needs to be restructured as market. Which already happened in the USA.

So we really are talking about neoliberal revolution in the USA, which destroyed the New Deal capitalism by mercilessly destroying all the relevant law. You are liming in new brave neoliberal world now.

We can think about neoliberalism employing typical Trotskyite methods of "gain power first" implement neoliberal policies later. In a way, neoliberalism is the second after Bolshevism social model that is totally artificially constructed and explicitly planned to be enforced on unsuspecting people via subversive actions of a totalitarian sect.   Like Bolshevism was dictatorship of the Communist Party nomenklatura, neoliberalism is dictatorship of financial oligarchy. Both neoliberalism and Bolshevism despise democracy and need a strong state which implements neoliberal policies "from above" -- reforming the society despite the wishes of population (exactly like bolshevism did it in the USSR space and later in Eastern Europe). 

This symbiosis of strong state (in a form of "national security state" and super powerful intelligence agencies -- often called "the deep state")  and corporation via the rule of financial oligarchy  makes neoliberalism a modern flavor of corporatism. Inverted totalitarism as Sheldon Wolin called it. Like bolshevism neoliberalism relies of power of propaganda (first of all via think tanks -- its ingenious invention) as well as classic methods used by Bolsheviks such as  indoctrination via economics courses at university economics departments and constant pro-neoliberal propaganda in major MSM owned and operated by large corporations.

Up to 2000 in the USA standard of living and employment level was maintained  (partially via computer revolution, partially  via "expropriation" of resources and capital at xUSSR space), although there are limits to that and at some point self-destruction process inevitably starts  and the neoliberal society gradually slips into secular stagnation, somewhat similar to Brezhnev's stagnation period in the USSR.  In the USA is characterized by the loss of jobs and manufacturing to outsourcing, as well as degeneration of neoliberal elite (matching if not exceeding the degeneration of neoliberal elite).   Which at the end created conditions for the rise to power of Trump and his team of "bastard neoliberals" (neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization, somewhat similar to Stalin's idea of 'socialism ins single country").

Like Trotskyism in the past (with their slogan of "World revolution" borrowed by neoliberalism) neoliberals in general and neocons in particular (as "neoliberals with the gun") are hell-bent of creating Global Neoliberal empire. Killing millions people in the process. And destroying the well-being of the majorly of people in their host country (the USA in case of neoliberals, the Russian empire -- USSR --  in case of Trotskyites  and later Bolsheviks ).

For them  ‘We Think the Price Is Worth It’"  as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright put it.  This Nietzschean-style complete disregard of common people is probably the most common feature between those two "man-eater" class ideologies. Those Nietzschean Ubermensch like classic psychopaths just do not have compassion for other people. They are objects, tools for them.   Actually you learn a lot about neoliberals by studying psychopath and sociopath behaviour, especially female sociopath.  The percent of sociopaths in the society is by various estimate is over 5% which considerably exceeds the number of people required for forming the elite or the top 1%  of neoliberal society.

Like Marxism before, neoliberalism provides its own ethics and its own rationality.   It enforces a new encompassing "economic rationalism" (aka economism) , which should displace old, "outdated" and more humane rationality of New Deal capitalism.

The ethics of neoliberalism, or "Neoliberal rationality",  is heavily tilted toward viewing people as "homo economicus".  Like Marxism (and, by extension, Trotskyism and Bolshevism/Stalinism ) it "articulates crucial elements of  the language, practice and subjectivity according to a specific image of the economics." Like Trotskyism before it directly assaults the idea of democratic governance and the rule of the law proving perverted rationality,  elements of which are erringly similar to the ideas of "vanguard",  "proletarian justice",  " journalists as solders of the Party"  and, especially, "Permanent Revolution". 

It rejects the idea of social solidarity (emphasizing it for Undermensch "individual responsibility" including "who does not work, should not eat")   replacing it, like Marxism before, with the idea of class solidarity (The members of transnational financial elite unite"). They also pervert the idea of the rule of the law, which animated so much of modernity, hollowing out democratic practices and institutions while at the same time catalyzing radical, brutal (as in neo-feudal) forms of the elite dominance, promoting Nietzsche separation of mankind into two caste: Undermensch ("despicables" in Hillary Clinton words) and Ubermensch  ("creative class").  In a way neoliberalism is socialism for rich and feudalism for poor.

Like Marxism before it, neoliberalism wear the mantle of inevitability. As Bruce Wilder noted in his post on Crooked Timber blog (11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30): 

It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability.

Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics.

For example, instead of permanent revolution we have permanent democratization via color revolutions and military invasions for the expansion of neoliberal empire..  With the same fake idea of creating a global neoliberal empire which will make everybody happy and prosperous.

While this is never advertized (and actually the whole term "neoliberalism" is kind of  "hidden" from the population and its discussion is a taboo in neoliberal MSM), implicitly Neoliberalism adopted a considerable part of Trotskyism doctrine and even bigger part of its practice, especially foreign policy practice. Like KGB in the USSR, CIA became presidents praetorian guard (which occasionally revolts, see JFK assassination).  

Like Logos noted this is yet another stunning "economic-political" utopia with the level of economic determinism even more ambitious than that of Marx... But what is important to understand is that this doctrine incorporates significant parts of Trotskyism  in pretty innovating, unobvious way. Thus, Marx famous quote "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce" is fully applicable here: instead of revolt of proletariat which Marxists expected we got the revolt of financial oligarchy. And this revolt led to the formation of the powerful Transnational Elite International (with Congresses in Basel) instead of Communist International (with Congresses in Moscow). Both Trotsky and Marx are probably rolling in their graves seeing such a wicked mutation of their beloved political ideology.

Neoliberalism is also an example of emergence of ideologies, not from their persuasive power or inner logic, but from the private interests of the ruling elite.  Political pressure and money created the situation in which intellectually bankrupt ideas could prevail much like Catholicism prevailed during Dark Ages in Europe. In a way, this is return to Dark Ages on a new level. Hopefully this period will not last as long. But as there is no countervailing force on the horizon, only the major change in economic conditions, such as end of cheap oil can lead to demise of neoliberalism. 

 Neoliberalism consists of the same three components as in Marxism: philosophy, political economy and neoliberal ethics (aka neoliberal rationality).

 The ideas that neoliberalism borrowed from Trotskyism

Among the ideas that neoliberalism borrowed from Trotskyism via renegades Trotskyites turned neoconservatives (and for all practical purposes Neoconservatism is just neoliberalism with a gun) such as James Burnham we can mention the following:

  1. The mantle of inevitability (famous TINA statement of Margaret Thatcher is an apt demonstration of this) Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, as weather "happens" in meteorology.  As Bruce Wilder noted in his post on Crooked Timber blog (11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30): 

    It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. 

  2. The concept of the  "new class" which is destined to guide the humanity with the replacement of "proletariat" with the "creative class".  The latter is a rehash of the Nietzschean concept of Ubermensch. This creating/managerial/entrepreneur  class which is similar to Soviet nomenklatura.  Rejection of  Christianity and the idea of human solidarity. Like was the case in the USSR, it places the control of the society in comparatively few hands; in this sense Neoliberal nomenklatura is very similar to Soviet nomenklatura. In both cases their position in social hierarchy by-and-large is determined by the position the individual has in government, military, or private industry.  Loss of the position means substantial downgrade in neoliberal social hierarchy, much like in the USSR. In other words wealth is not enough for high social status.  This leads to the similar adverse effects (Ivy League universities as the membership card to the elite and corresponding  degradation of the level of education (Bush II managed to graduate as many other "not so talented" sons and daughters of the elite). Suppression of dissent created promotion of "yes-men" resulting in gradual degeneration of the elite, as happened with Soviet nomenklatura.  Huge discrepancy in the wealth of the top 1% and the rest of population might be neoliberalism's Achilles heel which we saw in action in 2016 elections and Brexit vote.
    1. Rejection of the normal interpretation of the rule of the law and the idea of "neoliberal justice" (tough justice for Untermensch only). See, for example a Crooked timber comment:
      Neoliberals destroy the notion of social justice and pervert the notion of the “rule of the law”. See, for example, The Neo-Liberal State by Raymond Plant

      …social justice is incompatible with the rule of law because its demands cannot be embodied in general and impartial rules; and rights have to be the rights to non-interference rather than understood in terms of claims to resources because rules against interference can be understood in general terms whereas rights to resources cannot. There is no such thing as a substantive common good for the state to pursue and for the law to embody and thus the political pursuit of something like social justice or a greater sense of solidarity and community lies outside the rule of law.

      … … …

      …But surely, it might be argued, a nomocratic state and its laws have to acknowledge some set of goals. It cannot be impartial or indifferent to all goals. Law cannot be pointless. It cannot be totally non-instrumental. It has to facilitate the achievement of some goals. If this is recognized, it might be argued, it will modify the sharpness of the distinction between a nomocratic and telocratic state, between a civil association and an enterprise association.

      The last paragraph essentially defines “neoliberal justice” which to me looks somewhat similar to the concept of “proletarian justice” (see Bukharin’s views https://www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1920/abc/09.htm; compare with Vyshinskii views http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1924-2/socialist-legality/socialist-legality-texts/vyshinskii-on-proletarian-justice/).

      ... ... ...

      IMHO for neoliberals social justice and the rule of law is applicable only to Untermensch. For Ubermensch (aka “creative class”) it undermines their individual freedom and thus they need to be above the law.

      To ensure their freedom and cut “unnecessary and undesirable interference” of the society in their creative activities the role of the state should be limited to safeguarding the free market as the playground for their “creativity” (note “free” as in “free ride”, not “fair”).

  3. Neoliberalism like Stalinism is a "civil religion". The methods of enforcement of this region on the population  by neoliberalism are quite similar to Stalinism, with the only main difference --the rejection of violence against population as the main method of entrenching the ideology:
  4. Use of violence for the spread of the ideology. The idea of Permanent revolution to bring to power the new hegemonic class in all countries of the globe and create a new global neoliberal empire is direct borrowing from Trotskyism and was promoted by Jewish neocons, who were former Trotskyites.  In neoliberalism this takes that form of "export of democracy" as the method of achieving and maintaining world dominance of globalist elite (which in its role of hegemonic class replaces "proletariat" used in Trotskyism):
  5. Social Darwinism
  6. Finally, neoliberalism like Marxism in the past has become strongly associated with a specific culture (the US culture, or Anglo-Saxon culture in more general terms) and a specific language (English). Like Marxism, as an ideology, Neoliberalism  became tied to specific culture and language (both became  king of global standard de-facto). Theoretically any global language would suit, and it can be Esperanto.  But in reality the English language, Hollywood culture, neoliberal economic policies (aka  Washington consensus), and pro-American foreign policy is a "package deal" for fifth column supporters outside G7; this was especially true in Central and Eastern Europe. Kind of second class citizens of Neoliberal International (Skeptical Eastern Europeans, who still remember the days of USSR-led "Socialist Camp" now call it diktat of "Washington Obcom" ;-).  That does not exclude jingoism, chauvinism, flag-waving and foreigner-bashing in the USA (aka American exceptionalism) and other G7 countries. Tony Blair is probably the best example of this political mentality:

    Don't tell me that a country with our history and heritage, that today boasts six of the top ten businesses in the whole of Europe, with London the top business city in Europe, that is a world leader in technology and communication and the businesses of the future, that under us has overtaken France and Italy to become the fourth largest economy in the world, that has the language of the new economy, more brilliant artists, actors and directors than any comparable country in the world, some of the best scientists and inventors in the world, the best armed forces in the world, the best teachers and doctors and nurses, the best people any nation could wish for.

    Don't tell me with all that going for us that we do not have the spirit to meet all the challenges before us.

    Blair conference speech, 26 September 2000

The "capitalists counteroffensive" or "revolt of the elite"

This "capitalists counteroffensive" or "revolt of the elite" was pioneered in Britain, where Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the Tory Party in 1975 and put into real shape by Ronald Reagan in 1981-1989 (Reaganomics). Margaret Thatcher victory was the first election of neoliberal ideologue (Pinochet came to power via supported by the USA military coupe de tat). Both Thatcher and Reagan mounted a full-scale counterattack against the (already weakened and fossilized) unions. In GB the miners were the most important target. In USA traffic controllers. In both cases they managed to broke the back of trade unions. Since 1985 union membership in the USA has halved.

Privatizing nationalized industries and public services fragments large bargaining units formed of well organized public-sector workers, creating conditions in which wages can be driven down in the competition for franchises and contracts. This most important side effect of privatization was dramatic redistribution of wealth to the top layer of financial and managerial elite (corporate rich).

Neoliberalism gradually gained strength since probably late 50th with free-market theorists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman as influential ideologues. Ann Rand also made an important contribution with her "greed is good" philosophy of positivism. Still many economists and policy-makers favored a ‘mixed economy’ with high levels of state intervention and public spending. That changed in the 1970s when the state capitalism run into rocks. In a way rise of Neoliberalism was the elite response to the Long Recession of 1973-1992: they launched a class war of the global rich against the rest. Shrinking markets dictated the necessity of cutting costs by sacking workers and driving down wages. So the key program was to reverse the gains made by the US lower and middle class since 1945 and it needed an ideological justification. Neoliberalism neatly fitted the bill. With outsourcing, the global ‘race to the bottom’ became a permanent feature of a new economic order.

At 1980th it became clear that the age of national economies and ‘autarkic’ (self-contained) blocs like the USSR block ended as they will never be able to overcome the technological and standard of living gap with the major Western economies. This inability to match the level of standard of living of western countries doomed communist ideology, as it has in the center the thesis that as a superior economic system it should match and exceed the economic level achieved by capitalist countries. Collapse of the USSR in 1991 (in which KGB elite played the role of Trojan horse of the West) was a real triumph of neoliberalism and signified a beginning of a new age in which the global economy was dominated by international banks and multinational corporations operating with little or sometimes completely outside the control of nation-states.

The rise of neoliberalism can be measured by the rise of the financial and industrial mega-corporations. For example, US direct investment overseas rose from $11 billion in 1950 to $133 billion in 1976. The long-term borrowing of US corporations increased from 87% of their share value in 1955 to 181% in 1970. The foreign currency operations of West European banks, to take another example, increased from $25 billion in 1968 to $200 billion in 1974. The combined debt of the 74 less-developed countries jumped from $39 billion in 1965 to $119 billion in 1974. These quantitative changes during the "Great Boom" reached a tipping point in the 1970s. Global corporations by then had come to overshadow the nation-states. The effect was to impose a relentless pressure on national elites to increase the exploitation of ‘their own’ working class. High wages became a facto that deters new investment and labor arbitrage jumped in full swing. Taxes on business to pay for public services or welfare payments became undesirable. As well as laws designed to make workplaces safe, limit working hours, or guarantee maternity leave. While from purely theoretic perspective the ‘free-market’ theory espoused by neoliberal academics, journalists, politicians, bankers, and ‘entrepreneurs’ is compete pseudoscientific Lysenkoism-style doctrine, it became very popular, dominant ideology of the last decade of XX century. It provides a pseudo-scientific justification for the greed, poverty, as well as economic crisis endemic to the system. It also justified high level if inequality of the political and business elite an a normal state of human society. In this sense, neoliberalism became an official ideology of the modern ruling elite.

Undoing the demos: Neoliberalism’s stealth destruction of liberal democracy

Like Marxism before neoliberalism provides its own ethics and its own rationality.   It enforces a new encompassing "economic rationalism", which should displace old, "outdated" and more humane rationality of liberal capitalism.

"Neoliberal rationality" is heavily tilted toward viewing the people as "homo economicus".  This new neoliberal rationality  " articulates crucial elements of  the language, practice and subjectivity ‘according to a specific image of the economic" In so doing neo-liberalism like Marxism before it directly assaults the democratic imaginary that animated so much of modernity, hollowing out liberal democratic practices and institutions while at the same time catalyzing radical, brutal forces of the political spectrum.

In the book Undoing the Demos Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution   Professor Wendy Brown described this  "neoliberal rationality" phenomenon and actually shows how close it is to the rationality which governed   communism parties of the USSR and Eastern Block.

Here are some quotes from Wendy Brown interview What Exactly Is Neoliberalism  to  Dissent Magazine (Nov 03, 2015):

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."
"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."
"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."
"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."
"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."
"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."
"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."

Like Marxism in the USSR neoliberalism is state religion of the USA which displaced Christianity

Pope Francis aptly called neoliberalism as "idolatry of money".  In other words a cult. Here is a direct quote:

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. 

Like any religion it has its set of myth:


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Sep 17, 2019] Now and again, both in professional political writings and here as I read, the term Trotskyism is used but though I have looked up the term a few times I have no real idea what it is supposed to mean.

Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , September 15, 2019 at 02:32 PM

Correcting my punctuation:

Now and again, both in professional political writings and here as I read, the term Trotskyism is used but though I have looked up the term a few times I have no real idea what it is supposed to mean. Possibly a reader could explain. After all, the term tankie was explained by a prominent economist at the University of California only a few days ago and I realized the term was absurd, simply an empty personal insult. Possibly Trotskyism is as empty.

likbez -> anne... , September 16, 2019 at 09:32 PM
Hi Anne,

You are in a bad position. Generally this needs some acquaintance with Marxism as Trotskyism is one of the most influential "deviation" from Classic Marxism (Bolshevism was yet another).

Both used to believe in the special role of "proletariat" as the new class that will depose older ruling classes all over the globe. Both believed in "class struggle" as the main force of historical development of humanity. One of the key ideas of Trotskyism was the idea of Permanent revolution -- forceful introduction of socialist regimes using subversion, external financial injections, and armed struggle (kind of "regime change" strategy that the USA practices now for introduction of neoliberal regimes.)

The idea of class struggle transposed as the struggle within the elite and between states for supremacy was borrowed by the US turncoats from Trotskyism (see for example -- renegade Trotskyite James Burnham book THE MACHIAVELLIANS: THE DEFENDERS OF FREEDOM ) who later formed the core of the neocon movement.

Still you might try to read some sources on the WEB like:

http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/neoliberalism_as_trotskyism_for_the_rich.shtml

Or something from one of the few remaining Forth International (Trotskyite) sites like wsws.org:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/13/lec6-s13.html

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/23/rowe-a23.html

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/10/mdbv-m10.html

[Sep 13, 2019] Me First and the Loss of Compassion by Volker Franke

Neoliberalism explicitly denies the value of compassion. It considers "wolf eats wolf" type of competition as the key component of human society that the moral value in itself.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

One of the crucial lessons we often fail to impart to our children is that life is not a zero-sum game; that is, the success of another child is not a corresponding failure for me. Children ought to learn how to help one another so they can take joy in crossing the finish line together, building closeness instead of separation, segregation and adversarialism.

And the incessant use of digital media often exacerbates this development.

In a society where we are rewarded for thinking about ourselves first, we disconnect from one another. Just go to the mall and look for shopping carts and trash strewn across the parking lot, oversized trucks and SUVs parked across multiple parking spots, non-handicap vehicles in handicap spots and cars parked in dedicated motorcycle spaces. No consideration for others.

Gone are the days of compassionate conservatism. "America first" finds a ready breeding ground in this "me first" mentality. It is finally time to catch up for those left behind by social progress made in the name of equality. After all, they too are better than others, better than those abroad and better than those from abroad. The new aMEricaFIRST echoes that sentiment, segregates American society and separates us from friends and allies around the world.

How can we get our compassion back? How can we reconnect with each other and engage with the world? At the personal level, take small steps and start a conversation with someone different from you, expose yourself to the diversity that makes this country so unique–and involve your children in that exposure to pluralism, normalizing it, modeling it. Put yourself in the shoes of someone less fortunate and find the "things that unite."

At the social level, we – including our children – must recognize that the rights and freedoms we cherish and enjoy also come with responsibilities. Success in America has focused on maximizing individual freedoms limited only when their exercise encroaches on the freedoms of others. Today, we need to reconnect and rebuild our communities by focusing on the needs of others. To achieve this, let's reconsider the idea of mandatory public service: citizens serving others in need. A public service requirement between the end of high school and the beginning of college – fulfilled in many ways, including such service opportunities as AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, Meals on Wheels or other freely helpful initiatives – brings those in service in contact with those from whom they have been disconnected, both at home and abroad. Only through connection will we regain compassion and only then will we be able to make America great again. More articles by: Volker Franke

[Sep 10, 2019] How Deep Is the Rot in America s Institutions by Charles Hugh Smith

Highly recommended!
The question why the USA intelligence agencies were "unaware" about Epstein activities is an interesting one. Similar question can be asked about Hillary "activities" related to "Clinton cash".
Actually the way the USA elite deal with scandals is to ostracize any whistleblower and silence any media that tryt to dig the story. Open repression including physical elimination is seldom used those days as indirect methods are quite effective.
Notable quotes:
"... Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall. ..."
"... If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken." ..."
"... America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy. ..."
"... Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.

How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America's key public and private institutions? It's difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.

If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken."

If this all strikes you as evidence that America's security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that's above reproach, then 1) you're a well-paid shill who's protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.

How deep has the rot gone in America's ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who've exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.

America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy.

Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case.

The closer wrong-doing and wrong-doers are to protected power-elites, the less attention the mass media devotes to them.

... ... ...

Here are America's media, law enforcement/security agencies and "leadership" class: they speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil, in the misguided belief that their misdirection, self-service and protection of the guilty will make us buy the narrative that America's ruling elite and all the core institutions they manage aren't rotten to the foundations.

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

[Sep 09, 2019] I think the Car Wash conspiracy against Lula is a bombshell, and Pepe Escobar's prison interviews with Lula provide insight to the larger global Borgist conspiracy

Sep 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Roy G , Sep 8 2019 16:34 utc | 22

I think the Car Wash conspiracy against Lula is a bombshell, and Pepe Escobar's prison interviews with Lula provide insight to the larger global Borgist conspiracy. Check out what Lula had to say about the JCPOA. Be sure to read partsI I and II as well.

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/09/article/inside-story-of-the-first-iran-nuclear-deal/

[Sep 04, 2019] 737 MAX - Boeing Insults International Safety Regulators As New Problems Cause Longer Grounding

The 80286 Intel processors: The Intel 80286[3] (also marketed as the iAPX 286[4] and often called Intel 286) is a 16-bit microprocessor that was introduced on February 1, 1982. The 80286 was employed for the IBM PC/AT, introduced in 1984, and then widely used in most PC/AT compatible computers until the early 1990s.
Notable quotes:
"... The fate of Boeing's civil aircraft business hangs on the re-certification of the 737 MAX. The regulators convened an international meeting to get their questions answered and Boeing arrogantly showed up without having done its homework. The regulators saw that as an insult. Boeing was sent back to do what it was supposed to do in the first place: provide details and analysis that prove the safety of its planes. ..."
"... In recent weeks, Boeing and the FAA identified another potential flight-control computer risk requiring additional software changes and testing, according to two of the government and pilot officials. ..."
"... Any additional software changes will make the issue even more complicated. The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity. All the extras procedures Boeing now will add to them may well exceed the system's capabilities. ..."
"... The old architecture was possible because the plane could still be flown without any computer. It was expected that the pilots would detect a computer error and would be able to intervene. The FAA did not require a high design assurance level (DAL) for the system. The MCAS accidents showed that a software or hardware problem can now indeed crash a 737 MAX plane. That changes the level of scrutiny the system will have to undergo. ..."
"... Flight safety regulators know of these complexities. That is why they need to take a deep look into such systems. That Boeing's management was not prepared to answer their questions shows that the company has not learned from its failure. Its culture is still one of finance orientated arrogance. ..."
"... I also want to add that Boeing's focus on profit over safety is not restricted to the 737 Max but undoubtedly permeates the manufacture of spare parts for the rest of the their plane line and all else they make.....I have no intention of ever flying in another Boeing airplane, given the attitude shown by Boeing leadership. ..."
"... So again, Boeing mgmt. mirrors its Neoliberal government officials when it comes to arrogance and impudence. ..."
"... Arrogance? When the money keeps flowing in anyway, it comes naturally. ..."
"... In the neoliberal world order governments, regulators and the public are secondary to corporate profits. ..."
"... I am surprised that none of the coverage has mentioned the fact that, if China's CAAC does not sign off on the mods, it will cripple, if not doom the MAX. ..."
"... I am equally surprised that we continue to sabotage China's export leader, as the WSJ reports today: "China's Huawei Technologies Co. accused the U.S. of "using every tool at its disposal" to disrupt its business, including launching cyberattacks on its networks and instructing law enforcement to "menace" its employees. ..."
"... Boeing is backstopped by the Murkan MIC, which is to say the US taxpayer. ..."
"... Military Industrial Complex welfare programs, including wars in Syria and Yemen, are slowly winding down. We are about to get a massive bill from the financiers who already own everything in this sector, because what they have left now is completely unsustainable, with or without a Third World War. ..."
"... In my mind, the fact that Boeing transferred its head office from Seattle (where the main manufacturing and presumable the main design and engineering functions are based) to Chicago (centre of the neoliberal economic universe with the University of Chicago being its central shrine of worship, not to mention supply of future managers and administrators) in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance. ..."
"... For many amerikans, a good "offensive" is far preferable than a good defense even if that only involves an apology. Remember what ALL US presidents say.. We will never apologize.. ..."
"... Actually can you show me a single place in the US where ethics are considered a bastion of governorship? ..."
"... You got to be daft or bribed to use intel cpu's in embedded systems. Going from a motorolla cpu, the intel chips were dinosaurs in every way. ..."
"... Initially I thought it was just the new over-sized engines they retro-fitted. A situation that would surely have been easier to get around by just going back to the original engines -- any inefficiencies being less $costly than the time the planes have been grounded. But this post makes the whole rabbit warren 10 miles deeper. ..."
"... That is because the price is propped up by $9 billion share buyback per year . Share buyback is an effective scheme to airlift all the cash out of a company towards the major shareholders. I mean, who wants to develop reliable airplanes if you can funnel the cash into your pockets? ..."
"... If Boeing had invested some of this money that it blew on share buybacks to design a new modern plane from ground up to replace the ancient 737 airframe, these tragedies could have been prevented, and Boeing wouldn't have this nightmare on its hands. But the corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers, rather than real engineers, had the final word. ..."
"... Markets don't care about any of this. They don't care about real engineers either. They love corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers. They want share buybacks, and if something bad happens, they'll overlook the $5 billion to pay for the fallout because it's just a "one-time item." ..."
"... Overall, Boeing buy-backs exceeded 40 billion dollars, one could guess that half or quarter of that would suffice to build a plane that logically combines the latest technologies. E.g. the entire frame design to fit together with engines, processors proper for the information processing load, hydraulics for steering that satisfy force requirements in almost all circumstances etc. New technologies also fail because they are not completely understood, but when the overall design is logical with margins of safety, the faults can be eliminated. ..."
"... Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics. ..."
"... The problem is not new, and it is well understood. What computer modelling is is cheap, and easy to fudge, and that is why it is popular with people who care about money a lot. Much of what is called "AI" is very similar in its limitations, a complicated way to fudge up the results you want, or something close enough for casual examination. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

United Airline and American Airlines further prolonged the grounding of their Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. They now schedule the plane's return to the flight line in December. But it is likely that the grounding will continue well into the next year.

After Boeing's shabby design and lack of safety analysis of its Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) led to the death of 347 people, the grounding of the type and billions of losses, one would expect the company to show some decency and humility. Unfortunately Boeing behavior demonstrates none.

There is still little detailed information on how Boeing will fix MCAS. Nothing was said by Boeing about the manual trim system of the 737 MAX that does not work when it is needed . The unprotected rudder cables of the plane do not meet safety guidelines but were still certified. The planes flight control computers can be overwhelmed by bad data and a fix will be difficult to implement. Boeing continues to say nothing about these issues.

International flight safety regulators no longer trust the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which failed to uncover those problems when it originally certified the new type. The FAA was also the last regulator to ground the plane after two 737 MAX had crashed. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) asked Boeing to explain and correct five major issues it identified. Other regulators asked additional questions.

Boeing needs to regain the trust of the airlines, pilots and passengers to be able to again sell those planes. Only full and detailed information can achieve that. But the company does not provide any.

As Boeing sells some 80% of its airplanes abroad it needs the good will of the international regulators to get the 737 MAX back into the air. This makes the arrogance it displayed in a meeting with those regulators inexplicable:

Friction between Boeing Co. and international air-safety authorities threatens a new delay in bringing the grounded 737 MAX fleet back into service, according to government and pilot union officials briefed on the matter.

The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers.

The fate of Boeing's civil aircraft business hangs on the re-certification of the 737 MAX. The regulators convened an international meeting to get their questions answered and Boeing arrogantly showed up without having done its homework. The regulators saw that as an insult. Boeing was sent back to do what it was supposed to do in the first place: provide details and analysis that prove the safety of its planes.

What did the Boeing managers think those regulatory agencies are? Hapless lapdogs like the FAA managers`who signed off on Boeing 'features' even after their engineers told them that these were not safe?

Buried in the Wall Street Journal piece quoted above is another little shocker:

In recent weeks, Boeing and the FAA identified another potential flight-control computer risk requiring additional software changes and testing, according to two of the government and pilot officials.

The new issue must be going beyond the flight control computer (FCC) issues the FAA identified in June .

Boeing's original plan to fix the uncontrolled activation of MCAS was to have both FCCs active at the same time and to switch MCAS off when the two computers disagree. That was already a huge change in the general architecture which so far consisted of one active and one passive FCC system that could be switched over when a failure occurred.

Any additional software changes will make the issue even more complicated. The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity. All the extras procedures Boeing now will add to them may well exceed the system's capabilities.

Changing software in a delicate environment like a flight control computer is extremely difficult. There will always be surprising side effects or regressions where already corrected errors unexpectedly reappear.

The old architecture was possible because the plane could still be flown without any computer. It was expected that the pilots would detect a computer error and would be able to intervene. The FAA did not require a high design assurance level (DAL) for the system. The MCAS accidents showed that a software or hardware problem can now indeed crash a 737 MAX plane. That changes the level of scrutiny the system will have to undergo.

All procedures and functions of the software will have to be tested in all thinkable combinations to ensure that they will not block or otherwise influence each other. This will take months and there is a high chance that new issues will appear during these tests. They will require more software changes and more testing.

Flight safety regulators know of these complexities. That is why they need to take a deep look into such systems. That Boeing's management was not prepared to answer their questions shows that the company has not learned from its failure. Its culture is still one of finance orientated arrogance.

Building safe airplanes requires engineers who know that they may make mistakes and who have the humility to allow others to check and correct their work. It requires open communication about such issues. Boeing's say-nothing strategy will prolong the grounding of its planes. It will increases the damage to Boeing's financial situation and reputation.

--- Previous Moon of Alabama posts on Boeing 737 MAX issues:

Posted by b on September 3, 2019 at 18:05 UTC | Permalink


Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 3 2019 18:15 utc | 1

"The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity." You must be joking, right? If this is the case, the problem is unfixable: you can't find two competent software engineers who can program these dinosaur 16-bit processors.
b , Sep 3 2019 18:22 utc | 2
You must be joking, right? If this is the case, the problem is unfixable: you can't find two competent software engineers who can program these dinosaur 16-bit processors.

One of the two is writing this.

Half-joking aside. The 737 MAX FCC runs on 80286 processors. There are ten thousands of programmers available who can program them though not all are qualified to write real-time systems. That resource is not a problem. The processors inherent limits are one.

Meshpal , Sep 3 2019 18:24 utc | 3
Thanks b for the fine 737 max update. Others news sources seem to have dropped coverage. It is a very big deal that this grounding has lasted this long. Things are going to get real bad for Boeing if this bird does not get back in the air soon. In any case their credibility is tarnished if not down right trashed.
BraveNewWorld , Sep 3 2019 18:35 utc | 4
@1 Choderlos de Laclos

What ever software language these are programmed in (my guess is C) the compilers still exist for it and do the translation from the human readable code to the machine code for you. Of course the code could be assembler but writing assembly code for a 286 is far easier than writing it for say an i9 becuase the CPU is so much simpler and has a far smaller set of instructions to work with.

Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 3 2019 18:52 utc | 5
@b: It was a hyperbole. I might be another one, but left them behind as fast as I could. The last time I had to deal with it was an embedded system in 1998-ish. But I am also retiring, and so are thousands of others. The problems with support of a legacy system are a legend.
psychohistorian , Sep 3 2019 18:56 utc | 6
Thanks for the demise of Boeing update b

I commented when you first started writing about this that it would take Boeing down and still believe that to be true. To the extent that Boeing is stonewalling the international safety regulators says to me that upper management and big stock holders are being given time to minimize their exposure before the axe falls.

I also want to add that Boeing's focus on profit over safety is not restricted to the 737 Max but undoubtedly permeates the manufacture of spare parts for the rest of the their plane line and all else they make.....I have no intention of ever flying in another Boeing airplane, given the attitude shown by Boeing leadership.

This is how private financialization works in the Western world. Their bottom line is profit, not service to the flying public. It is in line with the recent public statement by the CEO's from the Business Roundtable that said that they were going to focus more on customer satisfaction over profit but their actions continue to say profit is their primary motive.

The God of Mammon private finance religion can not end soon enough for humanity's sake. It is not like we all have to become China but their core public finance example is well worth following.

karlof1 , Sep 3 2019 19:13 utc | 7
So again, Boeing mgmt. mirrors its Neoliberal government officials when it comes to arrogance and impudence. IMO, Boeing shareholders's hair ought to be on fire given their BoD's behavior and getting ready to litigate.

As b notes, Boeing's international credibility's hanging by a very thin thread. A year from now, Boeing could very well see its share price deeply dive into the Penny Stock category--its current P/E is 41.5:1 which is massively overpriced. Boeing Bombs might come to mean something vastly different from its initial meaning.

bjd , Sep 3 2019 19:22 utc | 8
Arrogance? When the money keeps flowing in anyway, it comes naturally.
What did I just read , Sep 3 2019 19:49 utc | 10
Such seemingly archaic processors are the norm in aerospace. If the planes flight characteristics had been properly engineered from the start the processor wouldn't be an issue. You can't just spray perfume on a garbage pile and call it a rose.
VietnamVet , Sep 3 2019 20:31 utc | 12
In the neoliberal world order governments, regulators and the public are secondary to corporate profits. This is the same belief system that is suspending the British Parliament to guarantee the chaos of a no deal Brexit. The irony is that globalist, Joe Biden's restart the Cold War and nationalist Donald Trump's Trade Wars both assure that foreign regulators will closely scrutinize the safety of the 737 Max. Even if ignored by corporate media and cleared by the FAA to fly in the USA, Boeing and Wall Street's Dow Jones average are cooked gooses with only 20% of the market. Taking the risk of flying the 737 Max on their family vacation or to their next business trip might even get the credentialed class to realize that their subservient service to corrupt Plutocrats is deadly in the long term.
jared , Sep 3 2019 20:55 utc | 14
It doesn't get any TBTF'er than Boing. Bail-out is only phone-call away. With down-turn looming, the line is forming.
Piotr Berman , Sep 3 2019 21:11 utc | 15
"The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing BA, -2.66% briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers."

It seems to me that Boeing had no intention to insult anybody, but it has an impossible task. After decades of applying duct tape and baling wire with much success, they finally designed an unfixable plane, and they can either abandon this line of business (narrow bodied airliners) or start working on a new design grounded in 21st century technologies.

Ken Murray , Sep 3 2019 21:12 utc | 16
Boeing's military sales are so much more significant and important to them, they are just ignoring/down-playing their commercial problem with the 737 MAX. Follow the real money.
Arata , Sep 3 2019 21:57 utc | 17
That is unblievable FLight Control comptuer is based on 80286! A control system needs Real Time operation, at least some pre-emptive task operation, in terms of milisecond or microsecond. What ever way you program 80286 you can not achieve RT operation on 80286. I do not think that is the case. My be 80286 is doing some pripherial work, other than control.
Bemildred , Sep 3 2019 22:11 utc | 18
It is quite likely (IMHO) that they are no longer able to provide the requested information, but of course they cannot say that.

I once wrote a keyboard driver for an 80286, part of an editor, in assembler, on my first PC type computer, I still have it around here somewhere I think, the keyboard driver, but I would be rusty like the Titanic when it comes to writing code. I wrote some things in DEC assembler too, on VAXen.

Peter AU 1 , Sep 3 2019 22:14 utc | 19
Arata 16

The spoiler system is fly by wire.

Bemildred , Sep 3 2019 22:17 utc | 20
arata @16: 80286 does interrupts just fine, but you have to grok asynchronous operation, and most coders don't really, I see that every day in Linux and my browser. I wish I could get that box back, it had DOS, you could program on the bare wires, but God it was slow.
Tod , Sep 3 2019 22:28 utc | 21
Boeing will just need to press the TURBO button on the 286 processor. Problem solved.
karlof1 , Sep 3 2019 22:43 utc | 23
Ken Murray @15--

Boeing recently lost a $6+Billion weapons contract thanks to its similar Q&A in that realm of its business. Its annual earnings are due out in October. Plan to short-sell soon!

Godfree Roberts , Sep 3 2019 22:56 utc | 24
I am surprised that none of the coverage has mentioned the fact that, if China's CAAC does not sign off on the mods, it will cripple, if not doom the MAX.

I am equally surprised that we continue to sabotage China's export leader, as the WSJ reports today: "China's Huawei Technologies Co. accused the U.S. of "using every tool at its disposal" to disrupt its business, including launching cyberattacks on its networks and instructing law enforcement to "menace" its employees.

The telecommunications giant also said law enforcement in the U.S. have searched, detained and arrested Huawei employees and its business partners, and have sent FBI agents to the homes of its workers to pressure them to collect information on behalf of the U.S."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/huawei-accuses-the-u-s-of-cyberattacks-threatening-its-employees-11567500484?mod=hp_lead_pos2

Arioch , Sep 3 2019 23:18 utc | 25
I wonder how much blind trust in Boeing is intertwined into the fabric of civic aviation all around the world.

I mean something like this: Boeing publishes some research into failure statistics, solid materials aging or something. One that is really hard and expensive to proceed with. Everything take the results for granted without trying to independently reproduce and verify, because The Boeing!

Some later "derived" researches being made, upon the foundation of some prior works *including* that old Boeing research. Then FAA and similar company institutions around the world make some official regulations and guidelines deriving from the research which was in part derived form original Boeing work. Then insurance companies calculate their tarifs and rate plans, basing their estimation upon those "government standards", and when governments determine taxation levels they use that data too. Then airline companies and airliner leasing companies make their business plans, take huge loans in the banks (and banks do make their own plans expecting those loans to finally be paid back), and so on and so forth, building the cards-deck house, layer after layer.

And among the very many of the cornerstones - there would be dust covered and god-forgotten research made by Boeing 10 or maybe 20 years ago when no one even in drunk delirium could ever imagine questioning Boeing's verdicts upon engineering and scientific matters.

Now, the longevity of that trust is slowly unraveled. Like, the so universally trusted 737NG generation turned out to be inherently unsafe, and while only pilots knew it before, and even of them - only most curious and pedantic pilots, today it becomes public knowledge that 737NG are tainted.

Now, when did this corruption started? Wheat should be some deadline cast into the past, that since the day every other technical data coming from Boeing should be considered unreliable unless passing full-fledged independent verification? Should that day be somewhere in 2000-s? 1990-s? Maybe even 1970-s?

And ALL THE BODY of civic aviation industry knowledge that was accumulated since that date can NO MORE BE TRUSTED and should be almost scrapped and re-researched new! ALL THE tacit INPUT that can be traced back to Boeing and ALL THE DERIVED KNOWLEDGE now has to be verified in its entirety.

Miss Lacy , Sep 3 2019 23:19 utc | 26
Boeing is backstopped by the Murkan MIC, which is to say the US taxpayer. Until the lawsuits become too enormous. I wonder how much that will cost. And speaking of rigged markets - why do ya suppose that Trumpilator et al have been so keen to make huge sales to the Saudis, etc. etc. ? Ya don't suppose they had an inkling of trouble in the wind do ya? Speaking of insiders, how many million billions do ya suppose is being made in the Wall Street "trade war" roller coaster by peeps, munchkins not muppets, who have access to the Tweeter-in-Chief?
C I eh? , Sep 3 2019 23:25 utc | 27
@6 psychohistorian
I commented when you first started writing about this that it would take Boeing down and still believe that to be true. To the extent that Boeing is stonewalling the international safety regulators says to me that upper management and big stock holders are being given time to minimize their exposure before the axe falls.

Have you considered the costs of restructuring versus breaking apart Boeing and selling it into little pieces; to the owners specifically?

The MIC is restructuring itself - by first creating the political conditions to make the transformation highly profitable. It can only be made highly profitable by forcing the public to pay the associated costs of Rape and Pillage Incorporated.

Military Industrial Complex welfare programs, including wars in Syria and Yemen, are slowly winding down. We are about to get a massive bill from the financiers who already own everything in this sector, because what they have left now is completely unsustainable, with or without a Third World War.

It is fine that you won't fly Boeing but that is not the point. You may not ever fly again since air transit is subsidized at every level and the US dollar will no longer be available to fund the world's air travel infrastructure.

You will instead be paying for the replacement of Boeing and seeing what google is planning it may not be for the renewal of the airline business but rather for dedicated ground transportation, self driving cars and perhaps 'aerospace' defense forces, thank you Russia for setting the trend.

Lochearn , Sep 3 2019 23:45 utc | 30
As readers may remember I made a case study of Boeing for a fairly recent PHD. The examiners insisted that this case study be taken out because it was "speculative." I had forecast serious problems with the 787 and the 737 MAX back in 2012. I still believe the 787 is seriously flawed and will go the way of the MAX. I came to admire this once brilliant company whose work culminated in the superb 777.

America really did make some excellent products in the 20th century - with the exception of cars. Big money piled into GM from the early 1920s, especially the ultra greedy, quasi fascist Du Pont brothers, with the result that GM failed to innovate. It produced beautiful cars but technically they were almost identical to previous models.

The only real innovation over 40 years was automatic transmission. Does this sound reminiscent of the 737 MAX? What glued together GM for more than thirty years was the brilliance of CEO Alfred Sloan who managed to keep the Du Ponts (and J P Morgan) more or less happy while delegating total responsibility for production to divisional managers responsible for the different GM brands. When Sloan went the company started falling apart and the memoirs of bad boy John DeLorean testify to the complete disfunctionality of senior management.

At Ford the situation was perhaps even worse in the 1960s and 1970s. Management was at war with the workers, faulty transmissions were knowingly installed. All this is documented in an excellent book by ex-Ford supervisor Robert Dewar in his book "A Savage Factory."

dus7 , Sep 3 2019 23:53 utc | 32
Well, the first thing that came to mind upon reading about Boeing's apparent arrogance overseas - silly, I know - was that Boeing may be counting on some weird Trump sanctions for anyone not cooperating with the big important USian corporation! The U.S. has influence on European and many other countries, but it can only be stretched so far, and I would guess messing with Euro/internation airline regulators, especially in view of the very real fatal accidents with the 737MAX, would be too far.
david , Sep 4 2019 0:09 utc | 34
Please read the following article to get further info about how the 5 big Funds that hold 67% of Boeing stocks are working hard with the big banks to keep the stock high. Meanwhile Boeing is also trying its best to blackmail US taxpayers through Pentagon, for example, by pretending to walk away from a competitive bidding contract because it wants the Air Force to provide better cost formula.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/despite-devastating-737-crashes-boeing-stocks-fly-high/

So basically, Boeing is being kept afloat by US taxpayers because it is "too big to fail" and an important component of Dow. Please tell. Who is the biggest suckers here?

chu teh , Sep 4 2019 0:13 utc | 36
re Piotr Berman | Sep 3 2019 21:11 utc [I have a tiny bit of standing in this matter based on experience with an amazingly similar situation that has not heretofore been mentioned. More at end. Thus I offer my opinion.] Indeed, an impossible task to design a workable answer and still maintain the fiction that 737MAX is a hi-profit-margin upgrade requiring minimal training of already-trained 737-series pilots , either male or female. Turning-off autopilot to bypass runaway stabilizer necessitates : [1]

the earlier 737-series "rollercoaster" procedure to overcome too-high aerodynamic forces must be taught and demonstrated as a memory item to all pilots.

The procedure was designed for early Model 737-series, not the 737MAX which has uniquely different center-of-gravity and pitch-up problem requiring MCAS to auto-correct, especially on take-off. [2] but the "rollercoaster" procedure does not work at all altitudes.

It causes aircraft to lose some altitude and, therefore, requires at least [about] 7,000-feet above-ground clearance to avoid ground contact. [This altitude loss consumed by the procedure is based on alleged reports of simulator demonstrations. There seems to be no known agreement on the actual amount of loss]. [3] The physical requirements to perform the "rollercoaster" procedure were established at a time when female pilots were rare.

Any 737MAX pilots, male or female, will have to pass new physical requirements demonstrating actual conditions on newly-designed flight simulators that mimic the higher load requirements of the 737MAX . Such new standards will also have to compensate for left vs right-handed pilots because the manual-trim wheel is located between the .pilot/copilot seats.

================

Now where/when has a similar situation occurred? I.e., wherein a Federal regulator agency [FAA] allowed a vendor [Boeing] to claim that a modified product did not need full inspection/review to get agency certification of performance [airworthiness]. As you may know, 2 working, nuclear, power plants were forced to shut down and be decommissioned when, in 2011, 2 newly-installed, critical components in each plant were discovered to be defective, beyond repair and not replaceable. These power plants were each producing over 1,000 megawatts of power for over 20 years. In short, the failed components were modifications of the original, successful design that claimed to need only a low-level of Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight and approval. The mods were, in fact, new and untried and yet only tested by computer modeling and theoretical estimations based on experience with smaller/different designs.

<<< The NRC had not given full inspection/oversight to the new units because of manufacturer/operator claims that the changes were not significant. The NRC did not verify the veracity of those claims. >>>

All 4 components [2 required in each plant] were essentially heat-exchangers weighing 640 tons each, having 10,000 tubes carrying radioactive water surrounded by [transferring their heat to] a separate flow of "clean" water. The tubes were progressively damaged and began leaking. The new design failed. It can not be fixed. Thus, both plants of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station are now a complete loss and await dismantling [as the courts will decide who pays for the fiasco].

Jen , Sep 4 2019 0:20 utc | 37
In my mind, the fact that Boeing transferred its head office from Seattle (where the main manufacturing and presumable the main design and engineering functions are based) to Chicago (centre of the neoliberal economic universe with the University of Chicago being its central shrine of worship, not to mention supply of future managers and administrators) in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance.

Phew! I barely took a breath there! :-)

Lochearn , Sep 4 2019 0:22 utc | 38
@ 32 david

Good article. Boeing is, or used to be, America's biggest manufacturing export. So you are right it cannot be allowed to fail. Boeing is also a manufacturer of military aircraft. The fact that it is now in such a pitiful state is symptomatic of America's decline and decadence and its takeover by financial predators.

jo6pac , Sep 4 2019 0:39 utc | 40
Posted by: Jen | Sep 4 2019 0:20 utc | 35

Nailed, moved to city of dead but not for gotten uncle Milton Frieman friend of aynn rand.

vk , Sep 4 2019 0:53 utc | 41
I don't think Boeing was arrogant. I think the 737 is simply unfixable and that they know that -- hence they went to the meeting with empty hands.
C I eh? , Sep 4 2019 1:14 utc | 42
They did the same with Nortel, whose share value exceeded 300 billion not long before it was scrapped. Insiders took everything while pension funds were wiped out of existence.

It is so very helpful to understand everything you read is corporate/intel propaganda, and you are always being setup to pay for the next great scam. The murder of 300+ people by boeing was yet another tragedy our sadistic elites could not let go to waste.

Walter , Sep 4 2019 3:10 utc | 43

...And to the idea that Boeing is being kept afloat by financial agencies.

Willow , Sep 4 2019 3:16 utc | 44
Aljazerra has a series of excellent investigative documentaries they did on Boeing. Here is one from 2014. https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/boeing787/
Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:17 utc | 45
For many amerikans, a good "offensive" is far preferable than a good defense even if that only involves an apology. Remember what ALL US presidents say.. We will never apologize.. For the extermination of natives, for shooting down civilian airliners, for blowing up mosques full of worshipers, for bombing hospitals.. for reducing many countries to the stone age and using biological and chemical and nuclear weapons against the planet.. For supporting terrorists who plague the planet now. For basically being able to be unaccountable to anyone including themselves as a peculiar race of feces. So it is not the least surprising that amerikan corporations also follow the same bad manners as those they put into and pre-elect to rule them.
Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:26 utc | 46
People talk about Seattle as if its a bastion of integrity.. Its the same place Microsoft screwed up countless companies to become the largest OS maker? The same place where Amazon fashions how to screw its own employees to work longer and cheaper? There are enough examples that Seattle is not Toronto.. and will never be a bastion of ethics..

Actually can you show me a single place in the US where ethics are considered a bastion of governorship? Other than the libraries of content written about ethics, rarely do amerikans ever follow it. Yet expect others to do so.. This is getting so perverse that other cultures are now beginning to emulate it. Because its everywhere..

Remember Dallas? I watched people who saw in fascination how business can function like that. Well they cant in the long run but throw enough money and resources and it works wonders in the short term because it destroys the competition. But yea around 1998 when they got rid of the laws on making money by magic, most every thing has gone to hell.. because now there are no constraints but making money.. anywhich way.. Thats all that matters..

Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:54 utc | 47
You got to be daft or bribed to use intel cpu's in embedded systems. Going from a motorolla cpu, the intel chips were dinosaurs in every way. Requiring the cpu to be almost twice as fast to get the same thing done.. Also its interrupt control was not upto par. A simple example was how the commodore amiga could read from the disk and not stutter or slow down anything else you were doing. I never seen this fixed.. In fact going from 8Mhz to 4GHz seems to have fixed it by brute force. Yes the 8Mhz motorolla cpu worked wonders when you had music, video, IO all going at the same time. Its not just the CPU but the support chips which don't lock up the bus. Why would anyone use Intel? When there are so many specific embedded controllers designed for such specific things.
imo , Sep 4 2019 4:00 utc | 48
Initially I thought it was just the new over-sized engines they retro-fitted. A situation that would surely have been easier to get around by just going back to the original engines -- any inefficiencies being less $costly than the time the planes have been grounded. But this post makes the whole rabbit warren 10 miles deeper.

I do not travel much these days and find the cattle-class seating on these planes a major disincentive. Becoming aware of all these added technical issues I will now positively select for alternatives to 737 and bear the cost.

Joost , Sep 4 2019 4:25 utc | 50
I'm surprised Boeing stock still haven't taken nose dive

Posted by: Bob burger | Sep 3 2019 19:27 utc | 9

That is because the price is propped up by $9 billion share buyback per year . Share buyback is an effective scheme to airlift all the cash out of a company towards the major shareholders. I mean, who wants to develop reliable airplanes if you can funnel the cash into your pockets?

Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics.

Henkie , Sep 4 2019 7:04 utc | 53
Hi , I am new here in writing but not in reading.. About the 80286 , where is the coprocessor the 80287? How can the 80286 make IEEE math calculations? So how can it fly a controlled flight when it can not calculate its accuracy...... How is it possible that this system is certified? It should have at least a 80386 DX not SX!!!!
snake , Sep 4 2019 7:35 utc | 54
moved to Chicago in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance.

Jen @ 35 < ==

yes, the morally of the companies and their exclusive hold on a complicit or controlled government always defaults the government to support, enforce and encourage the principles of economic Zionism.

But it is more than just the corporate culture => the corporate fat cats 1. use the rule-making powers of the government to make law for them. Such laws create high valued assets from the pockets of the masses. The most well know of those corporate uses of government is involved with the intangible property laws (copyright, patent, and government franchise). The government generated copyright, franchise and Patent laws are monopolies. So when government subsidizes a successful outcome R&D project its findings are packaged up into a set of monopolies [copyrights, privatized government franchises which means instead of 50 companies or more competing for the next increment in technology, one gains the full advantage of that government research only one can use or abuse it. and the patented and copyrighted technology is used to extract untold billions, in small increments from the pockets of the public. 2. use of the judicial power of governments and their courts in both domestic and international settings, to police the use and to impose fake values in intangible property monopolies. Government-rule made privately owned monopoly rights (intangible property rights) generated from the pockets of the masses, do two things: they exclude, deny and prevent would be competition and their make value in a hidden revenue tax that passes to the privately held monopolist with each sale of a copyrighted, government franchised, or patented service or product. . Please note the one two nature of the "use of government law making powers to generate intangible private monopoly property rights"

Canthama , Sep 4 2019 10:37 utc | 56
There is no doubt Boeing has committed crimes on the 737MAX, its arrogance & greedy should be severely punished by the international commitment as an example to other global Corporations. It represents what is the worst of Corporate America that places profits in front of lives.
Christian J Chuba , Sep 4 2019 11:55 utc | 59
How the U.S. is keeping Russia out of the international market?

Iran and other sanctioned countries are a potential captive market and they have growth opportunities in what we sometimes call the non-aligned, emerging markets countries (Turkey, Africa, SE Asia, India, ...).

One thing I have learned is that the U.S. always games the system, we never play fair. So what did we do. Do their manufacturers use 1% U.S. made parts and they need that for international certification?

BM , Sep 4 2019 12:48 utc | 60
Ultimately all of the issues in the news these days are the same one and the same issue - as the US gets closer and closer to the brink of catastrophic collapse they get ever more desperate. As they get more and more desperate they descend into what comes most naturally to the US - throughout its entire history - frenzied violence, total absence of morality, war, murder, genocide, and everything else that the US is so well known for (by those who are not blinded by exceptionalist propaganda).

The Hong Kong violence is a perfect example - it is impossible that a self-respecting nation state could allow itself to be seen to degenerate into such idiotic degeneracy, and so grossly flaunt the most basic human decency. Ergo , the US is not a self-respecting nation state. It is a failed state.

I am certain the arrogance of Boeing reflects two things: (a) an assurance from the US government that the government will back them to the hilt, come what may, to make sure that the 737Max flies again; and (b) a threat that if Boeing fails to get the 737Max in the air despite that support, the entire top level management and board of directors will be jailed. Boeing know very well they cannot deliver. But just as the US government is desperate to avoid the inevitable collapse of the US, the Boeing top management are desperate to avoid jail. It is a charade.

It is time for international regulators to withdraw certification totally - after the problems are all fixed (I don't believe they ever will be), the plane needs complete new certification of every detail from the bottom up, at Boeing's expense, and with total openness from Boeing. The current Boeing management are not going to cooperate with that, therefore the international regulators need to demand a complete replacement of the management and board of directors as a condition for working with them.

Piotr Berman , Sep 4 2019 13:23 utc | 61
From ZeroHedge link:

If Boeing had invested some of this money that it blew on share buybacks to design a new modern plane from ground up to replace the ancient 737 airframe, these tragedies could have been prevented, and Boeing wouldn't have this nightmare on its hands. But the corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers, rather than real engineers, had the final word.

Markets don't care about any of this. They don't care about real engineers either. They love corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers. They want share buybacks, and if something bad happens, they'll overlook the $5 billion to pay for the fallout because it's just a "one-time item."

And now Boeing still has this plane, instead of a modern plane, and the history of this plane is now tainted, as is its brand, and by extension, that of Boeing. But markets blow that off too. Nothing matters.

Companies are getting away each with their own thing. There are companies that are losing a ton of money and are burning tons of cash, with no indications that they will ever make money. And market valuations are just ludicrous.

======

Thus Boeing issue is part of a much larger picture. Something systemic had to make "markets" less rational. And who is this "market"? In large part, fund managers wracking their brains how to create "decent return" while the cost of borrowing and returns on lending are super low. What remains are forms of real estate and stocks.

Overall, Boeing buy-backs exceeded 40 billion dollars, one could guess that half or quarter of that would suffice to build a plane that logically combines the latest technologies. E.g. the entire frame design to fit together with engines, processors proper for the information processing load, hydraulics for steering that satisfy force requirements in almost all circumstances etc. New technologies also fail because they are not completely understood, but when the overall design is logical with margins of safety, the faults can be eliminated.

Instead, 737 was slowly modified toward failure, eliminating safety margins one by one.

morongobill , Sep 4 2019 14:08 utc | 63

Regarding the 80286 and the 737, don't forget that the air traffic control system and the ICBM system uses old technology as well.

Seems our big systems have feet of old silicon.

Allan Bowman , Sep 4 2019 15:15 utc | 66
Boeing has apparently either never heard of, or ignores a procedure that is mandatory in satellite design and design reviews. This is FMEA or Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. This requires design engineers to document the impact of every potential failure and combination of failures thereby highlighting everthing from catastrophic effects to just annoyances. Clearly BOEING has done none of these and their troubles are a direct result. It can be assumed that their arrogant and incompetent management has not yet understood just how serious their behavior is to the future of the company.
fx , Sep 4 2019 16:08 utc | 69
Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics.

Posted by: Joost | Sep 4 2019 4:25 utc | 50

Well put!

Bemildred , Sep 4 2019 16:11 utc | 70
Computer modelling is what they are talking about in the cliche "Garbage in, garbage out".

The problem is not new, and it is well understood. What computer modelling is is cheap, and easy to fudge, and that is why it is popular with people who care about money a lot. Much of what is called "AI" is very similar in its limitations, a complicated way to fudge up the results you want, or something close enough for casual examination.

In particular cases where you have a well-defined and well-mathematized theory, then you can get some useful results with models. Like in Physics, Chemistry.

And they can be useful for "realistic" training situations, like aircraft simulators. The old story about wargame failures against Iran is another such situation. A lot of video games are big simulations in essence. But that is not reality, it's fake reality.

Trond , Sep 4 2019 17:01 utc | 79
@ SteveK9 71 "By the way, the problem was caused by Mitsubishi, who designed the heat exchangers."

Ahh. The furriners...

I once made the "mistake" of pointing out (in a comment under an article in Salon) that the reactors that exploded at Fukushima was made by GE and that GE people was still in charge of the reactors of American quality when they exploded. (The amerikans got out on one of the first planes out of the country).

I have never seen so many angry replies to one of my comments. I even got e-mails for several weeks from angry Americans.

c1ue , Sep 4 2019 19:44 utc | 80
@Henkie #53 You need floating point for scientific calculations, but I really doubt the 737 is doing any scientific research. Also, a regular CPU can do mathematical calculations. It just isn't as fast nor has the same capacity as a dedicated FPU. Another common use for FPUs is in live action shooter games - the neo-physics portions utilize scientific-like calculations to create lifelike actions. I sold computer systems in the 1990s while in school - Doom was a significant driver for newer systems (as well as hedge fund types). Again, don't see why an airplane needs this.

[Sep 04, 2019] Starving Seniors How America Fails To Feed Its Aging naked capitalism

Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F09%2Fstarving-seniors-how-america-fails-to-feed-its-aging.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" /> By Laura Ungar, who health issues out of Kaiser Health News' St. Louis office, and Trudy Lieberman, a journalist for more than 45 years, and a past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Originally published by Kaiser Health News .

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Army veteran Eugene Milligan is 75 years old and blind. He uses a wheelchair since losing half his right leg to diabetes and gets dialysis for kidney failure.

And he has struggled to get enough to eat.

Earlier this year, he ended up in the hospital after burning himself while boiling water for oatmeal. The long stay caused the Memphis vet to fall off a charity's rolls for home-delivered Meals on Wheels , so he had to rely on others, such as his son, a generous off-duty nurse and a local church to bring him food.

"Many times, I've felt like I was starving," he said. "There's neighbors that need food too. There's people at dialysis that need food. There's hunger everywhere."

Indeed, millions of seniors across the country quietly go hungry as the safety net designed to catch them frays. Nearly 8% of Americans 60 and older were "food insecure" in 2017, according to a recent study released by the anti-hunger group Feeding America. That's 5.5 million seniors who don't have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life, a number that has more than doubled since 2001 and is only expected to grow as America grays.

While the plight of hungry children elicits support and can be tackled in schools, the plight of hungry older Americans is shrouded by isolation and a generation's pride. The problem is most acute in parts of the South and Southwest. Louisiana has the highest rate among states, with 12% of seniors facing food insecurity. Memphis fares worst among major metropolitan areas, with 17% of seniors like Milligan unsure of their next meal.

And government relief falls short. One of the main federal programs helping seniors is starved for money. The Older Americans Act -- passed more than half a century ago as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society reforms -- was amended in 1972 to provide for home-delivered and group meals, along with other services, for anyone 60 and older. But its funding has lagged far behind senior population growth, as well as economic inflation.

The biggest chunk of the act's budget, nutrition services, dropped by 8% over the past 18 years when adjusted for inflation, an AARP report found in February. Home-delivered and group meals have decreased by nearly 21 million since 2005. Only a fraction of those facing food insecurity get any meal services under the act; a U.S. Government Accountability Office report examining 2013 data found 83% got none.

With the act set to expire Sept. 30, Congress is now considering its reauthorization and how much to spend going forward.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 45% of eligible adults 60 and older have signed up for another source of federal aid: SNAP, the food stamp program for America's poorest. Those who don't are typically either unaware they could qualify, believe their benefits would be tiny or can no longer get to a grocery store to use them.

Even fewer seniors may have SNAP in the future. More than 13% of SNAP households with elderly members would lose benefits under a recent Trump administration proposal.

For now, millions of seniors -- especially low-income ones -- go without. Across the nation, waits are common to receive home-delivered meals from a crucial provider, Meals on Wheels, a network of 5,000 community-based programs. In Memphis, for example, the wait to get on the Meals on Wheels schedule is more than a year long.

"It's really sad because a meal is not an expensive thing," said Sally Jones Heinz, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association , which provides home-delivered meals in Memphis. "This shouldn't be the way things are in 2019."

Since malnutrition exacerbates diseases and prevents healing, seniors without steady, nutritious food can wind up in hospitals, which drives up Medicare and Medicaid costs, hitting taxpayers with an even bigger bill . Sometimes seniors relapse quickly after discharge -- or worse.

Widower Robert Mukes, 71, starved to death on a cold December day in 2016, alone in his Cincinnati apartment.

The Hamilton County Coroner listed the primary cause of death as "starvation of unknown etiology" and noted "possible hypothermia," pointing out that his apartment had no electricity or running water. Death records show the 5-foot-7-inch man weighed just 100.5 pounds.

A Clear Need

On a hot May morning in Memphis, seniors trickled into a food bank at the Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, 3 miles from the opulent tourist mecca of Graceland. They picked up boxes packed with canned goods, rice, vegetables and meat.

Marion Thomas, 63, placed her box in the trunk of a friend's car. She lives with chronic back pain and high blood pressure and started coming to the pantry three years ago. She's disabled, relies on Social Security and gets $42 a month from SNAP based on her income, household size and other factors. That's much less than the average $125-a-month benefit for households with seniors, but more than the $16 minimum that one in five such households get. Still, Thomas said, "I can't buy very much."

A day later, the Mid-South Food Bank brought a "mobile pantry" to Latham Terrace, a senior housing complex, where a long line of people waited. Some inched forward in wheelchairs; others leaned on canes. One by one, they collected their allotments.

The need is just as real elsewhere. In Dallas, Texas, 69-year-old China Anderson squirrels away milk, cookies and other parts of her home-delivered lunches for dinner because she can no longer stand and cook due to scoliosis and eight deteriorating vertebral discs.

As seniors ration food, programs ration services.

Although more than a third of the Meals on Wheels money comes from the Older Americans Act, even with additional public and private dollars, funds are still so limited that some programs have no choice but to triage people using score sheets that assign points based on who needs food the most. Seniors coming from the hospital and those without family usually top waiting lists.

More than 1,000 were waiting on the Memphis area's list recently. And in Dallas, $4.1 million in donations wiped out a 1,000-person waiting list in December, but within months it had crept back up to 100.

Nationally, "there are tens of thousands of seniors who are waiting," said Erika Kelly , chief membership and advocacy officer for Meals on Wheels America. "While they're waiting, their health deteriorates and, in some cases, we know seniors have died."

Edwin Walker, a deputy assistant secretary for the federal Administration on Aging, acknowledged waits are a long-standing problem, but said 2.4 million people a year benefit from the Older Americans Act's group or home-delivered meals, allowing them to stay independent and healthy.

Seniors get human connection, as well as food, from these services. Aner Lee Murphy, a 102-year-old Meals on Wheels client in Memphis, counts on the visits with volunteers Libby and Bob Anderson almost as much as the food. She calls them "my children," hugging them close and offering a prayer each time they leave.

But others miss out on such physical and psychological nourishment. A devastating phone call brought that home for Kim Daugherty, executive director of the Aging Commission of the Mid-South , which connects seniors to service providers in the region. The woman on the line told Daugherty she'd been on the waiting list for more than a year.

"Ma'am, there are several hundred people ahead of you," Daugherty reluctantly explained.

"I just need you all to remember," came the caller's haunting reply, "I'm hungry and I need food."

A Slow Killer

James Ziliak , a poverty researcher at the University of Kentucky who worked on the Feeding America study, said food insecurity shot up with the Great Recession, starting in the late 2000s, and peaked in 2014. He said it shows no signs of dropping to pre-recession levels.

While older adults of all income levels can face difficulty accessing and preparing healthy food, rates are highest among seniors in poverty. They are also high among minorities. More than 17% of black seniors and 16% of Hispanic seniors are food insecure, compared with fewer than 7% of white seniors.

A host of issues combine to set those seniors on a downward spiral, said registered dietitian Lauri Wright , who chairs the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of North Florida. Going to the grocery store gets a lot harder if they can't drive. Expensive medications leave less money for food. Chronic physical and mental health problems sap stamina and make it tough to cook. Inch by inch, hungry seniors decline.

And, even if it rarely kills directly, hunger can complicate illness and kill slowly.

Malnutrition blunts immunity, which already tends to weaken as people age. Once they start losing weight, they're more likely to grow frail and are more likely to die within a year, said Dr. John Morley, director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University.

Seniors just out of the hospital are particularly vulnerable. Many wind up getting readmitted, pushing up taxpayers' costs for Medicare and Medicaid. A recent analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that Medicare could save $1.57 for every dollar spent on home-delivered meals for chronically ill seniors after a hospitalization.

Most hospitals don't refer senior outpatients to Meals on Wheels, and advocates say too few insurance companies get involved in making sure seniors have enough to eat to keep them healthy.

When Milligan, the Memphis veteran, burned himself with boiling water last winter and had to be hospitalized for 65 days, he fell off the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association's radar. The meals he'd been getting for about a decade stopped.

Heinz, Metropolitan's CEO, said the association is usually able to start and stop meals for short hospital stays. But, Heinz said, the association didn't hear from Milligan and kept trying to deliver meals for a time while he was in the hospital, then notified the Aging Commission of the Mid-South he wasn't home. As is standard procedure, Metropolitan officials said, a staff member from the commission made three attempts to contact him and left a card at the blind man's home.

But nothing happened when he got out of the hospital this spring. In mid-May, a nurse referred him for meal delivery. Still, he didn't get meals because he faced a waitlist already more than 1,000 names long.

After questions from Kaiser Health News, Heinz looked into Milligan's case and realized that, as a former client, Milligan could get back on the delivery schedule faster.

But even then the process still has hurdles: The aging commission would need to conduct a new home assessment for meals to resume. That has yet to happen because, amid the wait, Milligan's health deteriorated.

A Murky Future

As the Older Americans Act awaits reauthorization this fall, many senior advocates worry about its funding.

In June, the U.S. House passed a $93 million increase to the Older Americans Act's nutrition programs, raising total funding by about 10% to $1 billion in the next fiscal year. In inflation-adjusted dollars, that's still less than in 2009. And it still has to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate, where the proposed increase faces long odds.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat who chairs the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee, expects the panel to tackle legislation for reauthorization of the act soon after members return from the August recess. She's now working with colleagues "to craft a strong, bipartisan update," she said, that increases investments in nutrition programs as well as other services.

"I'm confident the House will soon pass a robust bill," she said, "and I am hopeful that the Senate will also move quickly so we can better meet the needs of our seniors."

In the meantime, "the need for home-delivered meals keeps increasing every year," said Lorena Fernandez, who runs a meal delivery program in Yakima, Wash. Activists are pressing state and local governments to ensure seniors don't starve, with mixed results. In Louisiana, for example, anti-hunger advocates stood on the state Capitol steps in May and unsuccessfully called on the state to invest $1 million to buy food from Louisiana farmers to distribute to hungry residents. Elsewhere, senior activists across the nation have participated each March in "March for Meals" events such as walks, fundraisers and rallies designed to focus attention on the problem.

Private fundraising hasn't been easy everywhere, especially rural communities without much wealth. Philanthropy has instead tended to flow to hungry kids, who outnumber hungry seniors more than 2-to-1, according to Feeding America.

"Ten years ago, organizations had a goal of ending child hunger and a lot of innovation and resources went into what could be done," said Jeremy Everett, executive director of Baylor University's Texas Hunger Initiative. "The same thing has not happened in the senior adult population." And that has left people struggling for enough food to eat.

As for Milligan, he didn't get back on Meals on Wheels before suffering complications related to his dialysis in June. He ended up back in the hospital. Ironically, it was there that he finally had a steady, if temporary, source of food.

It's impossible to know if his time without steady, nutritious food made a difference. What is almost certain is that feeding him at home would have been far cheaper.

[Sep 03, 2019] An interesting analysis of Brazil right wing coup that restored neoliberals in power.

Essentially it was a threat of military dictatorship that allow right wing forces to neutralise Brazilian left; in reality national neoliberalism regime that was installed was very close to the prototypical military dictatorships.
Notable quotes:
"... The internal redistributions and the geopolitical realignments displeased greatly both the United States and Brazil's right-wing forces. One thing that made it difficult for them to counter Lula was the fact that the state of the world-economy in the first decade of the twenty-first century was very favorable to the so-called newly-emerging economies, also known as the BRICS (B for Brazil). ..."
"... The right found a renewed opening in the financial squeeze that ensued. They blamed economic difficulties on corruption and fostered a judicial drive called lava jato (car wash), which evoked the issue of laundering money, something that was indeed widespread . ..."
"... Once Lula was threatened with immediate imprisonment, Brazil's two major popular forces expressed their strong opposition to what they asserted was a political coup d'état. One was the Central Ùnica dos Trabalhadores (CUT), which Lula had once led, and the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), Brazil's largest rural organization. ..."
"... The MST and CUT organized significant mobilizations against his imprisonment. But, faced with the threat of the armed forces to intervene (and possibly restore a military regime again), Lula decided to present himself for arrest. He has now been imprisoned. ..."
"... The question today is whether this right-wing coup can succeed. This no longer depends on Lula personally. History may absolve him but the current struggle in Brazil and in Latin America as a whole depends on political organization at the base . ..."
"... In short, the outlook for Brazil and for Latin America as a whole is highly uncertain. Brazil, given its size and its history, is a key zone of the middle-run struggle for a progressive outcome of the struggle between the global left and the global right for resolving the structural crisis in their favor. ..."
Sep 03, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

From BrasilWire, " Immanuel Wallerstein On Lula's Arrest & The Coup " (2018):

On April 7, 2018 in Brazil Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva was arrested and taken to prison in Curitiba to begin a twelve-year sentence. He was Brazil's president from January 2003 to January 2011. He was so popular that when he left office in 2011, he had a 90% approval rate.

Soon afterwards, he was charged with corruption while in office. He denied the charge. He was however convicted of the charge, a conviction that was sustained by an Appeals Court. He is still appealing his conviction to the Supreme Court.

Lula was a trade-union leader who founded a workers' party, the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). It was the party of the underclass and one that stood for fundamental change both in Brazil and in Latin America as a whole.

The internal redistributions and the geopolitical realignments displeased greatly both the United States and Brazil's right-wing forces. One thing that made it difficult for them to counter Lula was the fact that the state of the world-economy in the first decade of the twenty-first century was very favorable to the so-called newly-emerging economies, also known as the BRICS (B for Brazil).

However, the winds of the world-economy turned, and suddenly revenue for the Brazilian state (and of course many other states) became scarcer.

The right found a renewed opening in the financial squeeze that ensued. They blamed economic difficulties on corruption and fostered a judicial drive called lava jato (car wash), which evoked the issue of laundering money, something that was indeed widespread .

Once Lula was threatened with immediate imprisonment, Brazil's two major popular forces expressed their strong opposition to what they asserted was a political coup d'état. One was the Central Ùnica dos Trabalhadores (CUT), which Lula had once led, and the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), Brazil's largest rural organization.

The MST and CUT organized significant mobilizations against his imprisonment. But, faced with the threat of the armed forces to intervene (and possibly restore a military regime again), Lula decided to present himself for arrest. He has now been imprisoned.

The question today is whether this right-wing coup can succeed. This no longer depends on Lula personally. History may absolve him but the current struggle in Brazil and in Latin America as a whole depends on political organization at the base .

One of the principal characteristics of the structural crisis of the modern world-system in which we find ourselves is the high volatility of the world-economy . Should it run even further downward than it is at present, there may well be an upsurge of popular sentiment against the regime. If it began to include large parts of the professional strata, an alliance with the underclasses is quite possible.

Even then it will not be easy to change the political realities of Brazil. The army stands ready probably to prevent a left government from coming to power. Nonetheless one should not despair. The army was defeated once before and evicted from power. It could be again.

In short, the outlook for Brazil and for Latin America as a whole is highly uncertain. Brazil, given its size and its history, is a key zone of the middle-run struggle for a progressive outcome of the struggle between the global left and the global right for resolving the structural crisis in their favor.

Once again, the proof is in the pudding. But volatility? Yes, indeed. And blowback, too.

[Sep 02, 2019] A Question of [Neoliberal] Character

"It's almost as though the disreputable younger sons of the Establishment, sent off to make money in Hong Kong after some scandal, had all returned to run the country"
Notable quotes:
"... I hate to say this, as a lifelong Socialist from a very modest background, but the British system worked in the past because it was pretty homogeneous. I don't mean literally everyone came from the same background (they let me in, after all) but rather there was a cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century. (It had its analogue in the ethos of the honest tradesman, which we've lost as well). This culture was never universal , of course, but it was very powerful, and it coped quite well with the social changes after 1945, as more women and people from much more diverse backgrounds entered the public sphere. ..."
"... You can mock the old High Seriousness of the public sphere if you like (too white! too male!) but the fact is that it wouldn't have got us in the mess we are in today, because it had both the scruples and the competence to avoid it. Now, it's open season. I remember thinking how bitterly ironic it was that the government which got the country into the worst peacetime crisis in modern history was also the most inclusive, and led by a woman at that. ..."
"... The "greed is good" ethos took hold in the 1980s. I don't think Reagan was so much a cause as a symptom, but it's clearly visible in how US healthcare costs diverge from the rest of the world, as shown by Hans Rösling's famous chart . ..."
"... per Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal ascendancy: "There is no society " ..."
Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

This post is certain to do short shrift to the topic of individual character and cultural values. As you'll see in due course, a long-standing friend, Professor Amar Bhide, sent me an encomium for a mentor of his, John McArthur, who among other things, was the Dean of Harvard Business School from 1980 to 1995.

What is striking about Amar's description isn't simply how rare it is for America to produce someone who was deeply engaged with the people around him, yet was also a first-class mind with wide-ranging interest, but that we no longer seem to aspire to produce people (outside immediate families) whose attentiveness and concern can and often does have a fundamental, positive impact on those around them. Amar points out that McArthur knew the names of all of the service staff in every restaurant and club he frequented. Now that I am in the South, one thing that really is different is that most people are courteous almost out of habit. Some of it can be a bit tricky, like men who seem overly eager to behave chivalrously, particularly in public spots like restaurants. But the behavior isn't a regional variant to the grating "Have a nice day" that too many hotel and restaurant managers require employees to say (and it shows). Even if the attention is fleeting, the desire to make contact is genuine.

Admittedly, few are in the sort of career or societal role to have the impact that McArthur did. But there doesn't seem to be much societal interest in producing elder statesmen or rabbis or pastors or skilled counselors, or individuals who could sometimes play pieces of those roles in narrower circumstances. Instead, too many people simply want to get theirs and devil take the hindmost.

And the costs when this posture become acceptable, as opposed to marginal, are significant. As David put it in our latest post on Brexit :

I hate to say this, as a lifelong Socialist from a very modest background, but the British system worked in the past because it was pretty homogeneous. I don't mean literally everyone came from the same background (they let me in, after all) but rather there was a cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century. (It had its analogue in the ethos of the honest tradesman, which we've lost as well). This culture was never universal , of course, but it was very powerful, and it coped quite well with the social changes after 1945, as more women and people from much more diverse backgrounds entered the public sphere.

It changed not because the origin of its members was different (May and Johnson both came from Oxford, as did Blair, and for that matter Thatcher) but because their ethos came from elsewhere. It came from the City, from Management Consultancy, and from that part of the British Establishment which was always more interested in Making Money than in Doing Things. It's almost as though the disreputable younger sons of the Establishment, sent off to make money in Hong Kong after some scandal, had all returned to run the country. You can mock the old High Seriousness of the public sphere if you like (too white! too male!) but the fact is that it wouldn't have got us in the mess we are in today, because it had both the scruples and the competence to avoid it. Now, it's open season. I remember thinking how bitterly ironic it was that the government which got the country into the worst peacetime crisis in modern history was also the most inclusive, and led by a woman at that.

I'm not sure the end of homogeneity was the driver of diminished respect for what was once called character. In the US, I hazard that a bigger factor was the widespread acceptance of libertarian/neoliberal values. As we've documented, that world view was marketed aggressively and very successfully by a loosely coordinated but well funded right wing campaign, whose seminal document was the Powell Memo of 1971 which laid out the vision and many of the tactics for their war on the New Deal and the community values that supported it. For instance, it would have been well-nigh impossible for a Mike Milken, who'd gone to prison for securities law violations (and was widely believed to have engaged in considerably more questionable conduct) to have rehabilitated himself to the degree he did.

From Amar:

John McArthur, in memoriam

He was one of a kind -- and his kindness and empathy (a much used word I know) was unbounded. It touched all from dining and custodial staff to taxi drivers. My parents apart, few other people have had such an influence on me. (And he did me the honor of reading everything I read: every book every article, every draft, the pages a sea of yellow highlight)

He was also astute, ruthless and got things done. His mind was extraordinary and his reading voracious and eclectic -- although you would never guess it from his aw shucks manner and country bumpkin style.

I first actually talked to him in my second year as assistant professor. We had a long long lunch at his corner table in the faculty club. We talked about everything -- except why we were having lunch. At the end he said, "Perhaps you'd like to know why i asked you to lunch. Well I've been reading your stuff and I wanted to put a face to the writing, to know who this person was who was writing this stuff."

A few days later a copy of Knight's Risk Uncertainty and Profit arrived in interoffice mail with one of John's classic handwritten notes, which went something along the following lines. "I think this will suit the way you think of the world."

I had never encountered the book in my doctoral studies, and it was revelatory.

We had lunches, lasting 2-3 hours nearly every year for the last 20 years after I left HBS. Always at the Charles ("If we ate at HBS there would be someone stopping by every minute" he said. At the Charles it was only every 10 minutes. And of course he knew every single waiter and waitress by name).

The stories he told at the lunches.. Such a pity he did not put his wisdom into a memoir. But that was not his way.

John, RIP.


ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:34 am

The benefits of a "classical" education. One of the main supports of the 'civilized' social interactions that you observe here 'Down South' is a stubborn refusal to put a price on everything. It is not universal, but it lingers in pockets of calm salted among the storms of modern living. Welcome to the South.

Carolinian , August 31, 2019 at 10:04 am

I have some neighbors who are the opposite of me politically (in fact most of my neighbors) but are wonderfully nice people on a personal level. Some of us who grew up here have had the opposite experience of Yves and lived for awhile in the North where all that politeness is dismissed as a false front.

Which in many cases it is, but the usefulness of all that unthinking social glue should not be dismissed out of hand. After decades of elites in thrall to Ayn Rand the country may be in need a few of those social norms that beatnik rebels in the 1950s found so stultifying. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Epstein was how all those rich people around him thought that his three teenager a day habit was perfectly acceptable.

bassmule , August 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

I don't know anything about anything, but after living in the Northeast for my whole life I spent 10 years in North Carolina. After a decade, I realized that I was never going to stop being a Yankee, and that I detested "Southern courtesy" which mostly involved people telling me to "Have a Blessed Day!"

I take part of this back: My favorite item of Southern Courtesy is that you can slander anyone as long as you end the sentence with " bless his heart!"

Seriously, it's a different culture, and not one that I was ever comfortable with.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 11:49 am

There is a great scene in the film "Terms of Endearment" where John Lithgow's character is in a check out line at a grocery store. He encounters a rude cashier and remarks; "[She] must be from New York." The whole scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF8AZ-t2_Aw

Carolinian , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

The "blessed day" kick seems to have faded–haven't heard it in awhile. But you are certainly right about the different cultures, although lots of people from up north are moving down here so it's not as separated as it once was. Given that–per this blog–Wall Street culture is driving the country into the ground all that polite Southern conservatism may begin to seem less bad by comparison. There is certainly a religious context and a xenophobic context given Southerners' general support for the military.

Fazal Majid , August 31, 2019 at 3:33 am

The "greed is good" ethos took hold in the 1980s. I don't think Reagan was so much a cause as a symptom, but it's clearly visible in how US healthcare costs diverge from the rest of the world, as shown by Hans Rösling's famous chart .

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , August 31, 2019 at 3:59 am

Mohammed Ali wrote a poem about this that Guiness says is the world's shortest: "I; we". That civicness is what we've lost. To me the downward trajectory steepened with Reagan/ Gordon Gecko/Greed is good. Then was amplified and cemented by Bush: you're with us or against us; and the policy to fling bombs at any nation or actor "anytime we feel like it" with absolutely no regard for any notion of common (global, societal, collective) good. And thats the opposite of "civilization". Toss in a little post-meta-narcissism and the cocktail is for the law of the jungle. When JFK was killed Hunter Thompson wrote that "the scum have murdered the myth of American decency". Writ large now, across the world

Jessica , August 31, 2019 at 5:15 am

Our elites became historically obsolete around the 1960s. The counter-attack on the attempted cultural revolution that was The Sixties had no moral basis. It had and has nothing to fight for . It only had There Is No Alternative and I'm Sorry, You Must Have Mistaken Me for Someone Who Gives a Sh_t. The moral decay of such elites is unavoidable. The only solution is for them to no longer be the elites.

Further, we have reached a point in human development where no new elite of the previous type can fully unleash the capacities that we have developed. This is part of why the wannabe replacements in the top 10% themselves are so easily corrupted.

The good news is that we don't need any of them. Convincing each other of that will be quite helpful.

JOHN HACKER , August 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm

i remember reading a computer guy's victory article over the hippies. Ken Burns story of Woodstock shed some interesting perspectives on those days. It was a real crack in the American veneer of "dirty hippies". The elders of the time had bought into the military industrial complex idea that Ike had warned.

beth , August 31, 2019 at 9:53 pm

Wops. I can't let that Eisenhower quote pass uncommented on. In reading lots of history in my retirement, I have read several books on the CIA. It seems that Ike didn't like wars, so he gave Allen Dulles full rein. Iran remembers.

Mucho , August 31, 2019 at 6:33 am

Principles used be valuable. Nowadays, they are just costly.

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 7:44 am

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we seek at the first ourselves to deceive"

. "For when thou hast been false to thine own self, thou canst not be true to any man"

Principles can be valuable in that I will still do business and have a discussion with a man that I strongly disagree with, but I will have nothing to do with the unprincipled. My experience is that the unprincipled are simply animals and nothing good but aggravation can come of it.

john ashley , August 31, 2019 at 7:24 am

"The good news is that we don't need any of them. Convincing each other of that will be quite helpful."

This sums up the decay of any pretense of "common" decency in my opinion. Sadly , you have it to a science.

flora , August 31, 2019 at 8:11 am

Thanks for this post.

But there doesn't seem to be much societal interest in producing elder statesmen or rabbis or pastors or skilled counselors, or individuals who could .

per Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal ascendancy: "There is no society "

There's active discouragement of recognizing the essential equality of people no matter what their station in life; this absolute discounting of "less important" people is a new thing in the last 20 – 30 years or so, imo. At first I though it was simple snobbery, but it's too wide spread for that to be the explanation, imo.

dearieme , August 31, 2019 at 10:27 am

It's worth googling to see what Thatcher actually said.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])
Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

New Wafer Army , August 31, 2019 at 2:26 pm

"They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours." – in an interview in Women's Own in 1987

flora , August 31, 2019 at 6:53 pm

And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first.

Oh, the subtle slyness of that formulation; it suggests first that democratic govt is the servant of the will of the whole of the people, or society, and in the next breath suggests there is no whole of the will of the people or unity or society. It suggests what is truly important are atomized individuals and 'greed is good' and 'look out for number one' – the antithesis of society and unity and democratic govt.

Hamnet , September 1, 2019 at 10:51 pm

Thanks for this quotation. It appears to me to be classic case of pretzel logic. " It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours." And who are "our neighbours"? They are society – of which there is, according to Thatcher, "no such thing".

Once again, form totally swamps substance and leaves us treading water in a sea of nonsense. Have we always allowed our leaders this much leeway with logic? Of course next to the statements of the current US President, this statement appears perfectly logical.

ewmayer , August 31, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Have you considered that perhaps the simplified "There is no society" rendering of what Ms. Thatcher said has become the de facto standard because it captures the toxic antisocial policies she actually practiced?

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 8:20 am

If someone would lie to themselves in order to be able to lie to others, then why should I respect them? There is a large difference between respect and fear, just like there is a difference between jealousy and anger. You know I have observed all of this among my C-level acquaintances ( 50 to 150 million ..)

Bob , August 31, 2019 at 8:38 am

Perhaps there is something to be said for leaving the Big Apple. And yes folks can seem to be more polite in the fly over country.

I'd guess that the real divider is that the politeness is driven in part by the realization that we need each other to a greater degree more in smaller communities.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

I disagree about small communities. Plenty are subservient to a powerful interest with no scruples. It's always been about accountability. Scale and speed have reduced the ability to hold bad actors accountableif they are elite. The homogenized British civil service would naturally hold bad actors accountable if not through legal means then exclusion.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Ostracism and other forms of social control were ruthlessly used by the in-group to keep its members' behavior within a narrow range. Is it the methods of social control that have changed or the range of behavior deemed acceptable to the dominant group?

As Lord Boothby's life illustrates, if certain behavior was deemed helpful to the state or otherwise within bounds, then all sorts of behavior offensive to a common dustman's definition of "middle class morality" would be tolerated. That suggests a parallel with the arc of Jeffrey Epstein's career.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Compare Epstein and his associate's behaviour with that of the English aristocracy during the Edwardian era. I'll posit that this range of behaviours is class mediated, not era or milieu mediated.
With this as the 'face' of the 'ruling class,' is it any wonder that movements such as Calvinism and Puritanism gained such popular support?

EoH , September 1, 2019 at 9:27 am

One suspects that Wilde's Dorian Gray struck a chord among the upper classes, the scions of which must have remembered more than bad food and cold showers at their elite boarding schools. Indoctrination always begins with the young.

KLG , August 31, 2019 at 9:49 am

I got my first full-time job in science in 1975. I was 19 and had to make a living while going to school. The head of my lab, which was a leader in our field, and his colleagues in the department were very serious about their work, but not about themselves. Most, but certainly not all, of them took their roles as exemplars of how science should be very seriously, and it showed. Their mentorship has extended into the future, which is now, but more on that later. My boss at the time is 93 and not in particularly good health. Earlier this month I sent him a video of a talk in which our work was mentioned, as the close brush with a later Nobel Prize that it was. None of that particular group is still in the field, but he was happy to see, again, how far reaching our work has been. In a subsequent email I listed the 15 or so people I overlapped with in my 15 years in that smallish lab, and the list is replete with very successful men and women. We were taught well.

My time there didn't end particularly well, though. There is one fundamental reason for that: The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. By the late-1980's our research had been completely co-opted by the desire to build a "start-up" using our science as the foundation. This quite naturally attracted a gaggle of half-assed "entrepreneurs" whose only thought was "how fast how much money?" The science suffered, those who knew how to make it work as an important technology were ignored, and the whole apparatus collapsed in a heap of squandered money taken from people who couldn't afford to lose it and recriminations that have still not abated, much. My boss retired in the aftermath. He was a good scientist and a good person, but he was unable to see where he was headed. I got axed, basically for not "liking" the lead half-assed entrepreneur, to which I responded, "I like him just fine, but I don't trust him as far as I can throw him, and you shouldn't either." Q.E.D.

Now, 40+ years later the molecular and biomedical sciences are in crisis. Discoveries that will make a difference are left undiscovered while "entrepreneurs" collect multiple research grants from NIH and NSF but never, really, seem to get anywhere. Data from NIH show that the law of diminishing returns sets in as soon as an academic scientist gets his or her second grant. There is no room for the next generation to begin, while they have energy and vision (though older scientists have as much of both, if there were a future in it, and the experience to get something done while mentoring the next generations).

Anyway, there is an important book to be written by someone who reads naked capitalism about the deleterious effects of the neoliberal infestation of basic biomedical research that began with the Bayh-Dole Act; hmm what else happened in 1980? I cannot see any prospect of recovery of the good will, good science, and ethos of discovery that existed before, but until biomedical scientists understand what has happened to their world, there is really no hope. They will continue to scrape for scraps, act in ways that should be foreign to them, and soon forget why they became scientists in the first place. It has been my experience that "scientists" as a group pay little attention to politics, and view that as a mark of distinction. Pity. It is said that Trotsky IIRC wrote (paraphrase), "You may not be interested in politics, but politics is certainly interested in you." Yes, indeed.

Wikipedia search term: "Bayh-Dole Act"

kiwi , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am

Yes, everything now is about greed and speed.

And I think the speed part of the equation may have a lot to do with the way we no longer value integrity in people or in processes.

Yves cites the Powell memo as a cause, but I have to wonder if speed is the major cause of overall decline. After all, humans were largely agrarian. One must be patient to grow things and get your reward from that process on a regular yearly basis. In your field, painstaking research was the norm.

Now, so much is instant, and I think speed has caused much breakdown in human relations.

New Wafer Army , August 31, 2019 at 2:31 pm

That is an amazing anecdote. Thank you very much for taking the time to post. Would you consider writing an article on the topic? I am sure that Naked Capitalism would publish it. It is very important to get this stuff documented for the record. Hope to hear more from you.

oaf , August 31, 2019 at 10:01 am

"I; we".

Us .!!!

them.

Lsuoma , August 31, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Everybody needs somebody

Wukchumni , August 31, 2019 at 10:10 am

Anytime i'm hit with the "have a nice day" comment, I always tell them with a cheerful smile, "thanks, but I had other plans".

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:02 pm

I will occasionally tell a cashier or greeter/security person who gives me the canned "have a blessed day" spiel that; "I'm not from around here. You can tell me to have a rotten day. I won't complain." Sadly, only about one in ten gets the joke and responds accordingly.
My best response to this gambit was from an older, "Traditionalist Evangelical" style woman at the gates of the local WalMart. "That's okay. You are leaving this store. Your bad luck for the day is now over."

The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 10:14 am

I have mentioned before how Stephen Covey – author of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" – did a study of American self-help books for his doctoral dissertation. He found that until about the 1920s, most American self-help books were about developing your character and Ben Franklin's books were typical of these. However, about the 1920s on, there was a very noticeable shift in the emphasis of these books. Now it was all about image and putting on a front. Books like "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie and "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill are typical here. So if you wanted to identify an inflexion point for the importance of character in our culture, you would have to say that it started about a century ago.

Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 11:09 am

Booster, or Wise Guy, choose one.

Michael Fiorillo , August 31, 2019 at 11:37 am

Or Bruce Barton's "The Man Nobody Knows," which in the late 20's comforted the comfortable by explaining that Jesus was the first Big Businessman.

Always be Closing, baby, Always Be Closing

Fiery Hunt , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

"About a century ago".

A time we are desperately re-creating to the benefit of none but a few.

Anarcissie , August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

This seems like the contrasts noted in David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd between the 'tradition-directed', 'inner-directed', and 'other-directed' character types. But are these fashions, or a reflection of cultural needs driven by the movement from a largely agricultural society to an industrial one? Can the poor afford good character? The yeoman on his plot can perhaps defy his society for a long time, whereas the industrial worker or manager needs his job every day and must get along to keep it.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

The rise of Madison Avenue, during and post-First World War, thanks much to Sigmund Freud's son-in-law, Edward Bernays.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , August 31, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Showtimes new show, On becoming a God in Central Florida, skewers the Self Help genre.

Kirsten Dunst is terrific!

DJG , August 31, 2019 at 11:25 am

Thank you, Yves Smith. David's comment about his own rise caught my eye the other day, and I have been thinking about it, too. I don't know David's exact circumstances in the U.K, but I was as scholarship boy in high school and college in the U S of A. So here I am, with an "influential" job in publishing, which still can be very Waspy. (And that includes the women.)

The current issue in some respects is not that the homogeneity produced such perfect results (for instance, we should not forget longstanding problems like discrimination against Jews in academia and the CIA as a kind of Waspy adventure-fantasyland). Our current moral dilemma is that no one talks about character. In that "homogeneous" time, one could get rid of a troublesome man by noting that he wasn't a serious man. Not being a "serious man" was a major impediment. Now, we think that everyone is serious, with serious opinions, which we may not judge. Marianne Moore reputedly "did not suffer fools gladly." Now she would be considered an uptight collaborator with patriarchy.

The language for assessing character is no longer used: Probity. Thrift. Reliability. Consistency. Taking the long view. Equanimity. Justice (without qualifiers like "social"). Discernment. Good judgment. Think about how little one sees these words used these days in discussing chararcter. Instead, we get hagiographies of John McCain, a spoiled child, blowhard veteran, and lousy politician. We get Madeleine Albright discoursing on special places in hell where any woman with her own point of view can be consigned.

Many of the agreements that held U.S. society together had to be dismantled: That is part of what the New Deal was for. FDR knew that the discrimination against its own citizens wasn't going to last and that the economic collapse made it all worse. And yet even he couldn't eliminate racial discrimation.

Nevertheless, we are a long way from FDR, a man of character, and Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman revered for her character, when we now pretend that celebrities like McCain and Hillary Clinton are worthy of leading us, let alone respect.

Lambert Strether , August 31, 2019 at 4:36 pm

> FDR knew that the discrimination against its own citizens wasn't going to last and that the economic collapse made it all worse. And yet even he couldn't eliminate racial discrimation.

I have read that FDR tried to break with the Southern Democrats in 1937, but I need to hunt down the reference. If so, good for him.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 31, 2019 at 9:02 pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9490446-roosevelt-s-purge

I can't find easy to access articles, but I seem to remember this book, "Roosevelt's Purge."

The influence of the South on the Democratic caucus was known and complained about. LBJ's pitch in the 1956 convention was that he could control the South if need be.

Joe Well , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am

Didn't that wonderfully collegial bunch include the Best and Brightest who killed over 3 million Southeast Asians and some 10000s of Americans in the 1960s-1970s? Or is this a later age cohort? New Deal/Great Society liberalism's strategic interventions killed more people than neoliberalism's endless wars, lest we forget.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Overseas, in the countries affected by both series of conflicts, the millions of dead would disagree with you.

Anon , August 31, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Not certain the purpose of the comparison, but the Colonists, the Revolutionaries, and Blue and Grey federalist armies, the MIC, etc. have been eliminating "others" since forever.

Cat Burglar , August 31, 2019 at 11:46 am

The dictionary definition of character is "the mental and moral qualities distinctive of an individual."

I associate the term with a kind of neo-Victorian anglophile section of the US political right who put it around starting in the 1980s as a kind of synonym for social conformity and obedience to authority. I hate to admit it, but I have never really been able to figure out what it means, and have regarded it as hot air.

The dictionary definition suggests it could just be equal to the word individual , since the qualities of an individual are equal to an individual. In this case, as Mark Twain put it, "Why write 'metropolis' when you get the same pay for 'city?"

If the word is meant to draw attention to the qualities of a person as separate from their individuality, then it gets a little more interesting. Then you get to identify and name the qualities and what they mean, and you get to find out who has the power to do that. I remember our neo-Victorians were big on using very conventional abstract universals to corral social behavior. One of my current favorites is "personal responsibility," which is often employed by congress persons as a rationale for policies in support of debt peonage and medical bankruptcy, but not applied to their own role in mass murders.

The colloquial meaning of character seems to be the only one that carries a meaning that goes beyond any synonym. There are plenty of real characters out there, still. (One of my favorites was the subject of the film Dirtbag .)

This article takes the word in a direction I haven't seen before: that full engagement with others is a quality necessary to full individuality. That seems like a much less dubious use of the word.

ewmayer , August 31, 2019 at 5:19 pm

"I associate the term with a kind of neo-Victorian anglophile section of the US political right who put it around starting in the 1980s as a kind of synonym for social conformity and obedience to authority."

Were he still around, the late Martin Luther King Jr. might take issue with that, pardon the pun, characterization. Which is not to say that, as with any other word, it is not subject to misuse by those of ill intent.

Cat Burglar , August 31, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Right. The "content of their character." I forgot about that one.

The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 10:03 pm

Damn. I wish that I had remembered that great MLK quote.

rob , September 2, 2019 at 7:44 am

I often think that the quote of MLK about the "content of their character" is such a good example of how we are living in a bizarro world when people talk about Obama .
Talk about a person whose only good quality is the color of his skin.
A "black" man became president. Which is a good thing that broke one tradition .. but that "man" was in no way possessing of any "good" character.
Like a carnival trick . a major schmuck was promoted in the cultural ethos as having been good, merely because he is black . but without any thought as to the POOR quality of his character.
In a reasonable world, no one would allow obama to be proclaimed in any way , as an example of MLK's vision of a man being judged by "the content of his character, and not the color of his skin."

MichaelSF , August 31, 2019 at 11:52 am

(And he did me the honor of reading everything I read: every book every article, every draft, the pages a sea of yellow highlight)

Shouldn't that be "reading everything I wrote:"?

Yves Smith Post author , August 31, 2019 at 10:44 pm

No, because Amar is an academic, so unless one said otherwise, "read everything I wrote" would mean published work only. Reading every draft is extraordinary.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Some years ago, the president of a small liberal arts college began to get to know his new home. His predecessors normally did this at faculty teas, president's dinners for donors, the odd picnic with students, and informal gatherings among staff. In a world before deanlets, assistant assistants, and chiefs of staff, that was a small world.

But this new president inverted the pyramid. His first gathering was with the custodial and kitchen staffs, groundskeepers, and the like, whom he eventually got to know on a first name basis. They took note, as did the faculty, who still ran the place.

Fast forward a few decades. Another new president's first task – backed by a like-minded board – was to outsource all those jobs. In a small college town, losing its other large employers to shutdowns and consolidations, scores more people were thrown out of work, adding to town-and-gown tensions.

An alternative for staff tossed out of work and with few options was to become a local hire for the out-of-town outsourced employer. That meant doing the same job for less pay, without benefits, with no union or worker protections, and without a relationship with their absentee employer. Profits left the local economy as fast as those employer-employee relations at the college. But the new president checked a box on his CEO-like resume.

A modest example, it captures several of neoliberalism's core objectives: imposing business priorities and methods on cultural institutions, outsourcing, union busting, and aggregating revenue and profits in a handful of distant locations.

The same work got done, often by the same people, but the culture was irrevocably weakened. All for a few dollars more, fewer than were paid to the plethora of new staff and their myriad of business plans, intended to make faculty and students responsible for nothing but themselves.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:09 pm

And, sadly, the only people utilizing "direct action" remedies for these systemic maladies are lone nutter types.
Imagine America with a well organized and militant underground movement.
The present day 'Masters of the Universe' are building up their organs of opression to combat such an eventuality. This will end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anarcissie , August 31, 2019 at 12:49 pm

There is a sort of world underground, as noted in this very publication ('Add Oil', a few days ago). It seems to be 'open source' as 'Add Oil' says, and constantly evolving. Random other examples: Gilets Jaunes, Occupy Wall Street, Tahrir. As the system of the Ruling Class weakens and casts more people off, they become available for this sort of activity.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Agreed. As my dear old Dad was wont to say after a few beers, "The Fourth International finds work for idle hands."

KLG , September 1, 2019 at 7:10 am

Your final paragraph explains every college and university.

Barry Fay , August 31, 2019 at 12:21 pm

What character is, is wanting and trying to have character – we all know what that means and know it is a tough row to hoe! So it was gotten rid of by those unwilling to make the effort – sort of like "memorising" was gotten rid of with clever attacks on its "efficacy". Katy, bar the door!

orange cats , August 31, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Civility and character are often aligned but when civility is chiefly a cultural pose it says next to nothing about how repressed, angry, selfish or incompetent someone is. The following is a synopsis of Marilynne Robinson's remarkable book "Mother Country" published in the 1999 (Britain has a minimum wage now).

'So asks a book-within-the-book where Robinson looks to the past, even unto Poor Law of the 14th Century, for the secrets of national character. What does she find? That beneath the famous civility the British have always wasted lives and credited the idea of human surplus; that there have in the past been policies of depopulation. That there is a lack "of positive, substantive personal and political rights." That industrial illness and accident are common and customary. That there has never been a minimum wage. That many factors, including the Official Secrets Act, restrict the flow of information. That the (non-elected) Permanent Civil Service is professional and very powerful. That bumbling amateurism is still respectable, with chilling ramifications–an inability to gather meaningful statistics, for instance, or to keep track of such crucial documents as half the mortality data on workers at Windscale. That the citizenry is passive. That it is hard to locate responsibility, and that profit is motive and justification enough for almost anything.'

JEHR , August 31, 2019 at 12:57 pm

So I am here wondering where I obtained my sense of "morality" and "ethical" behaviour. My mother emphasized that truthfulness and honesty were imperative. I rarely lied to her or stole from her. My primary teachers emphasized working hard and finishing work to the point that it was the best I could do (one teacher especially said that I should work to my best abilities and I tried to do that). My secondary teachers taught me how to study for tests, how to memorize poetry and what was worth learning (via the curriculum). My university professors talked about analyzing works of literature and how such analysis helped us understand life as lived by all of us. My marriage taught me how to put others' physical and emotional needs ahead of my own. My old age revealed to me that knowing oneself was a most frightful thing to engage in.

I never thought that I would have to learn about how greed works in the banking system; how false prophets are everywhere; how great wealth pollutes the character as well as the environment; that pornography is considered entertainment; that politics has its very own pollutants that taint our shared world; and so on. I think it is well past time to leave.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 3:40 pm

I'd love to join you in exploring that 'Great Void' but I have too many responsibilities left here in the 'Realm of Maya.'
That's the lesson I did not expect to learn in my middle age; that there is always going to be some responsibility needing one's attention and effort.
I am relearning with a vengeance the marriage lesson you mention.
As for knowing myself, well, the older I get, the more I realize that I know nothing.
Keep the faith!

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Very nice eulogy. It makes me remember people with that inner strength in my life. There have been quite a few. The difference between an ordinary good character and a great one is energy, imo. People who have the energy to share their good thinking and the patience to listen are the best. They just operate on a slightly higher frequency. McArthur may have been one in a million, but he influenced millions. So it consoles me to think that there are enough people of good character in this world to turn things around. Just because I wasn't personally acquainted with them, doesn't mean I wasn't influenced by them. The very function of society.

lyman alpha blob , August 31, 2019 at 1:56 pm

When I was hired for a non-management position several years ago, the CEO of my company came up to me on my first day and addressed me by name to welcome me to the job. I was rather shocked that she even knew I'd been hired. She was a 30+ year employee of the company who had worked her way up from being a freelance writer. Many of my coworkers then had been with the company for decades too.

She retired a few years into my tenure and the place really hasn't been the same since she left – the kind of neoliberal MBA mentality well known to NC readers has come to the forefront. Pretty sure I'm not the only one who misses her leadership and character.

chuckw , August 31, 2019 at 2:12 pm

I'm all in favor of gentlemanly manners and am trying to teach them to my son. On the other hand, there have been a lot of people who could be flawed in their personal dealings but dedicated to the greatest good. And many slave owners who were courtly and thoughtful, especially regarding the opposite sex.
I'm sure that Mr. McArthur was a great guy. But what was the HBS up to while he was dean and what did that say about his deeper values? This is from a Newsweek story from a couple years ago about the evolution of shareholder primacy:

" the new belief that the shareholder was supreme, absolving managers of responsibility to any "stakeholder" -- employees, communities, society itself -- except shareholders. The bottom line was all that mattered.
John McArthur, then dean of HBS, liked Jensen's message and invited him to HBS as a visiting professor in 1984. In a 1999 vanity project about McArthur's tenure, The Intellectual Venture Capitalist, HBS trotted out a rationale for hiring him: "Jensen had been interested in testing his unorthodox ideas against the experiences of practitioners and had agreed to come to HBS on a temporary basis to get increased access to high-level decision makers in business." Hogwash. "Theory of the Firm" was testable only in the sense that Keynesian economics is testable, or a theory of whether a hurricane might sweep beachfront houses out to sea is testable -- you can debate the issues until you're blue in the face, but at some point, you just have to see what happens.A course grounded in agency theory that Jensen developed at HBS -- The Coordination and Control of Markets and Organizations -- was designed to make students more "tough-minded" and shift them from the "stakeholder model" of organizational purpose. It became one of the most popular electives at the school. Agency theory wasn't new, but Jensen's resurrected form of it provided academic justification for the takeover movement, and HBS provided its revolutionary soldiers."

David in Santa Cruz , August 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Yves, this post and Jerri-Lynn's companion post of Bill Black on corruption, are important discussions of our dishonorable libertarian zeitgeist.

Ironically, I think that the origins of modern neoliberal libertarianism can be traced back to Woodstock and its evil double Altamont. It can be no coincidence that Trump was played off the convention stage by a recording of the Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want .

I think that George Monbiot describes it well:

It is a pitiless, one-sided, mechanical view of the world, which elevates the rights of property over everything else, meaning that those who possess the most property end up with great power over others. Dressed up as freedom, it is a formula for oppression and bondage. It does nothing to address inequality, hardship or social exclusion. A transparently self-serving vision, it seeks to justify the greedy and selfish behaviour of those with wealth and power.

George Monbiot,
Why Libertarians Must Deny Climate Change
The Guardian, January 6, 2012

barry fay , September 1, 2019 at 8:14 am

Just because something is counterintuitive does not mean it´s insightful – mostly it means that it is just plain wrong! In this case, trotting out Woodstock as the root of neoliberal anything is absurd. The anti-corporation, anti-war, anti-empire feelings were palpable (I was there – you can hear them paging my twin brother "Alan Fay" on the album). The sense of community and brotherly love was REAL – as was the incipient reactionary response. Can´t have those kinds of ideas gaining traction in a capitalist society!

Bazarov , August 31, 2019 at 4:18 pm

I travel to Georgia frequently. I've seen that state's rural and urban and in between. While I did encounter some of the "southern hospitality" people so often cite, it was usually present in an upper-class milieu and did not leave much of an impression on me, as it felt "church-smile" inflected.

What did leave an impression on me was the homelessness and vagrancy, especially in Atlanta, where on my way back to the airport, I had a man practically beg me to let him carry my luggage so as to have a reason to give him alms. I had, on that same trip and on subsequent trips to the state, many similar encounters. These people were rather pushy–it was disturbing to me in that their hustle was driven by obvious desperation.

I currently live in Indiana, in a relatively affluent town, though I'm working class and reside in a modest apartment. Until recently, I did not own a car. I would walk to the grocery store a couple times a week. On one such walk, a homeless man asked if I had a light for his cigarette. I didn't, but we walked together for about twenty minutes. During our walk, I asked him about his life.

According to this man, the homeless in our town live in a tent settlement in the woods, which is the only place the police will tolerate such a gathering because it's out of sight (and therefore out of mind for the people that matter). He explained to me that, whatever the hardships for the homeless in our town, it was nothing compared to Atlanta, where he lived prior. He described the city as having the "hardest" streets he'd ever experienced. I should probably mention that this man was likely in his late 40s or early 50s, meaning he'd experienced a lot! It was so terrifying, he had to flee north.

That's what comes vividly to mind when I think of the "South". The politeness stuff hardly rates in comparison.

anon y'mouse , August 31, 2019 at 8:28 pm

as a total outsider, i feel that the veneer of the "southern hospitality" is intentionally to paper over and ignore the continuation of unjust systems.

this kind of "treating people with basic human decency" can and does very easily morph into "be quiet and say nothing while your social betters ride roughshod over everyone because you have no standing yourself to oppose them and it is considered impolite for YOU to point out these discrepancies".

i am torn between enjoying the image of sociability and detesting it. i know for a fact that most of it is a front, and that many people are talked badly about behind closed doors and over back fences, and that many people are shut out through these "kindnesses" (you can't complain as long as they didn't spit in your face). a lot of it is about maintaining pecking order. is -that- character? i think not.
but what do i know?

Yves Smith Post author , August 31, 2019 at 10:54 pm

Alabama doesn't have that many homeless because housing (particularly trailers) are cheap. Not saying those homeless are treated well, but there are shelters and services.

Atlanta is also an Old South city whereas Birmingham grew up after the Civil War.

https://abc3340.com/news/abc-3340-news-iteam/many-of-them-are-essentially-broken-homeless-population-tops-1000-in-central-al

Hayek's Heelbiter , August 31, 2019 at 4:21 pm

As a Southern exile of Faulkner's second type, now living in the UK, I respectfully disagree slightly with the statement:

.cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century.

I think it goes much deeper than that back to a perhaps medieval sense of noblesse oblige .

You see this most starkly in the difference between Kate Middleton, who appears all over the place at the most mundane functions, allowing herself to be photographed with all and sundry, and Meghan Markle, who jets about in private planes on vacations and demands an entire section for herself at Wimbledon, asking guards to stop people photographing her.

Like so many of the 1%, I think her attitude could best be summed up as noblesse oublier .

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm

I've been under the impression that character was quite valuable to those who assume to be my superiors, particularly at work. "Builds character" they'd say. After about 30 years of that bullshit, I finally had the gall to ask the CEO about why he doesn't he build his *own* character, as opposed to building everyone elses.

They love building character, as long as it's someone elses.
Nope, don't work there anymore.

David , August 31, 2019 at 10:29 pm

I have always wondered why there are so many shootings today. The AR-15 came out in the 60s and I felt no fear going through a public high school in the late 70s. Now, it's "gun control/do something" vs improving the character of our country's citizens. Yeah, I know – trying to improve the character of our citizens is not very hash tag-able/ would be extremely difficult to do. But gun control is made for hashtags. We are doomed.

New Wafer Army , September 1, 2019 at 4:20 am

This book by Mark Ames should be elucidating:

Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond .

David , September 1, 2019 at 8:19 pm

Yep – We are doomed.

[Sep 02, 2019] Where is Margaret Thatcher now?

Highly recommended!
Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])

Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

[Sep 02, 2019] Questions Nobody Is Asking About Jeffrey Epstein by Eric Rasmusen

Highly recommended!
While details on Epstein death are not interesting (he ended like a regular pimp) the corruption of high level officials his case revealed in more troubling.
Notable quotes:
"... Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. ..."
"... What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath. ..."
"... What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney. ..."
"... Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. ..."
"... Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man. ..."
"... Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite. ..."
"... Statutory rape is not a federal crime ..."
"... At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large. ..."
"... Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations? ..."
"... Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail. ..."
"... In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days. ..."
"... Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. ..."
"... Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task. ..."
"... Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. ..."
"... "It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried. ..."
"... President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up. ..."
"... he sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper. ..."
"... Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner? ..."
"... Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them. ..."
"... What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this? ..."
"... Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them. ..."
"... "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure." ..."
"... James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them? ..."
"... There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this? ..."
"... The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was? ..."
"... Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation ..."
"... As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less. ..."
"... We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. ..."
"... One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/ ..."
"... ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat. The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened.

In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died. Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

I'm an expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking. What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath.

That's what Epstein would do. What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney.

Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. The reason people call such talk "conspiracy theories" when it comes to Epstein is that his friends are WASPs and Jews, not Italians and Mexicans. But WASPs and Jews are human too. They want to protect themselves. Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man.

In light of this, it would be very surprising if someone with a spare $50 million to spend to solve the Epstein problem didn't give it a try. A lot of people can be bribed for $50 million. Thus, we should have expected to see bribery attempts. If none were detected, it must have been because prison workers are not reporting they'd been approached.

Some people say that government incompetence is always a better explanation than government malfeasance. That's obviously wrong -- when an undeserving business gets a contract, it's not always because the government official in charge was just not paying attention. I can well believe that prisons often take prisoners off of suicide watch too soon, have guards who go to sleep and falsify records, remove cellmates from prisoners at risk of suicide or murder, let the TV cameras watching their most important prisoners go on the blink, and so forth. But that cuts both ways.

Remember, in the case of Epstein, we'd expect a murder attempt whether the warden of the most important federal jail in the country is competent or not. If the warden is incompetent, we should expect that murder attempt to succeed. Murder becomes all the more more plausible. Instead of spending $50 million to bribe 20 guards and the warden, you just pay some thug $30,000 to walk in past the snoring guards, open the cell door, and strangle the sleeping prisoner, no fancy James Bond necessary. Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite.

Now to my questions.

Why is nobody blaming the Florida and New York state prosecutors for not prosecuting Epstein and others for statutory rape?

Statutory rape is not a federal crime, so it is not something the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate or prosecute. They are going after things like interstate sex trafficking. Interstate sex trafficking is generally much harder to prove than statutory rape, which is very easy if the victims will testify.

At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large.

Note that if even if the evidence is just the girl's word against Ghislaine Maxwell's or Prince Andrew's, it's still quite possible to get a jury to convict. After all, who would you believe, in a choice between Maxwell, Andrew, and Anyone Else in the World? For an example of what can be done if the government is eager to convict, instead of eager to protect important people, see the 2019 Cardinal Pell case in Australia. He was convicted by the secret testimony of a former choirboy, the only complainant, who claimed Pell had committed indecent acts during a chance encounter after Mass before Pell had even unrobed. Naturally, the only cardinal to be convicted of anything in the Catholic Church scandals is also the one who's done the most to fight corruption. Where there's a will, there's a way to prosecute. It's even easier to convict someone if he's actually guilty.

Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations?

Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail.

In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days.

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

Not easy, I should think. It wouldn't be enough to prove that Epstein debauched teenagers. Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. The 2019 indictment is weak on this. The "interstate commerce" looks like it's limited to Epstein making phone calls between Florida and New York. This is why I am not completely skeptical when former U.S. Attorney Acosta says that the 2008 nonprosecution deal was reasonable. He had strong evidence the Epstein violated Florida state law -- but that wasn't relevant. He had to prove violations of federal law.

Why didn't Epstein ask the Court, or the Justice Dept., for permission to have an unarmed guard share his cell with him?

Epstein had no chance at bail without bribing the judge, but this request would have been reasonable. That he didn't request a guard is, I think, the strongest evidence that he wanted to die. If he didn't commit suicide himself, he was sure making it easy for someone else to kill him.

Could Epstein have used the safeguard of leaving a trove of photos with a friend or lawyer to be published if he died an unnatural death?

Well, think about it -- Epstein's lawyer was Alan Dershowitz. If he left photos with someone like Dershowitz, that someone could earn a lot more by using the photos for blackmail himself than by dutifully carrying out his perverted customer's instructions. The evidence is just too valuable, and Epstein was someone whose friends weren't the kind of people he could trust. Probably not even his brother.

Who is in danger of dying next?

Prison workers from guard to warden should be told that if they took bribes, their lives are now in danger. Prison guards may not be bright enough to realize this. Anybody who knows anything important about Epstein should be advised to publicize their information immediately. That is the best way to stay alive.

This is not like a typical case where witnesses get killed so they won't testify. It's not like with gangsters. Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task.

What happened to Epstein's body?

The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy.

Was Epstein's jail really full of mice?

The New York Times says,

"Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water -- as well as urine and fecal matter -- that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said. One lawyer said mice often eat his clients' papers."

" Often have to navigate standing water"? "Mice often eat his clients' papers?" Really? I'm skeptical. What do the vermin eat -- do inmates leave Snickers bars open in their cells? Has anyone checked on what the prison conditions really like?

Is it just a coincidence that Epstein made a new will two days before he died?

I can answer this one. Yes, it is coincidence, though it's not a coincidence that he rewrote the will shortly after being denied bail. The will leaves everything to a trust, and it is the trust document (which is confidential), not the will (which is public), that determines who gets the money. Probably the only thing that Epstein changed in his will was the listing of assets, and he probably changed that because he'd just updated his list of assets for the bail hearing anyway, so it was a convenient time to update the will.

Did Epstein's veiled threat against DOJ officials in his bail filing backfire?

Epstein's lawyers wrote in his bail request,

"If the government is correct that the NPA does not, and never did, preclude a prosecution in this district, then the government will likely have to explain why it purposefully delayed a prosecution of someone like Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender 10 years ago and was certainly no stranger to law enforcement. There is no legitimate explanation for the delay."

I see this as a veiled threat. The threat is that Epstein would subpoena people and documents from the Justice Department relevant to the question of why there was a ten-year delay before prosecution, to expose the illegitimate explanation for the delay. Somebody is to blame for that delay, and court-ordered disclosure is a bigger threat than an internal federal investigation.

Who can we trust?

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho. The FBI is untrustworthy, but Inspector-Generals are often honorable.

Someone else who may be a hero in this is Senator Ben Sasse. Vicki Ward writes in the Daily Beast :

"It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it's unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein -- basing some of their work on Brown's excellent reporting."

Will President Trump Cover Up Epstein's Death in Exchange for Political Leverage?

President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up.

Why did Judge Sweet order Epstein documents sealed in 2017. Did he die naturally in 2019?

Judge Robert Sweet in 2017 ordered all documents in an Epstein-related case sealed. He died in May 2019 at age 96, at home in Idaho. The sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper.

Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner?

Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them.

What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this?

Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them.

Acosta said that Washington Bush Administration people told him to go easy on Epstein because he was an intelligence source. That is plausible. Epstein had info and blackmailing ability with people like Ehud Barak, leader of Israel's Labor Party. But "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure."

Why did nobody pay attention to the two 2016 books on Epstein?

James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them?

Which newspapers reported Epstein's death as "suicide" and which as "apparent suicide"?

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug? There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this?

How much did Epstein corrupt the media from 2008 to 2019?

Even outlets that generally publish good articles must be suspected of corruption. Epstein made an effort to get good publicity. The New York Times wrote,

"The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost .

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times .

The National Review piece, from the same year, called him "a smart businessman" with a "passion for cutting-edge science."

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein's foundations In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having "given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children."

"We took down the piece, and regret publishing it," Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review since 1997, said in an email. He added that the publication had "had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.""

The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was?

Eric Rasmusen is an economist who has held an endowed chair at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and visiting positions at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Harvard Economics Department, Chicago's Booth School of Business, Nuffield College/Oxford, and the University of Tokyo Economics Department. He is best known for his book Games and Information. He has published extensively in law and economics, including recent articles on the burakumin outcastes in Japan, the use of game theory in jurisprudence, and quasi-concave functions. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not intended to represent the views of the Kelley School of Business or Indiana University. His vitae is at http://www.rasmusen.org/vita.htm .


Paul.Martin , says: September 2, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT

Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation

Apparently, there will always be many players on the field, and many ways to do damage control.

utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

It would be very easy for a motivated prosecutor.

Mann Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act The Mann Act was successfully used to prosecute several Christian preachers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

So the problem was finding a motivated prosecutor in case of Jewish predator with very likely links to intelligence services of several countries. The motivation was obviously lacking.

Your "expertise" in game theory would be greatly improved if you let yourself consider the Jewish factor.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less.
utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug?

Not the National Enquirer:

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Cover-up Exposed!
Death Scene Staged to Look Like Suicide
Billionaire's Screams Ignored by Guards!
Fatal Attack Caught on Jail Cameras!
Autopsy is Hiding the Truth!

National Enquirer, Sept 2. 2019
https://reader.magzter.com/preview/7l5c5vd5t28thcmigloxel3670370/367037

Mark James , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I don't hold AG Barr in the high regard this piece does. While I'm not suggesting he had anything to do with Epstein's death I do think he's corrupt. I doubt he will do anything that leads to the truth. As for him relieving the warden of his duties, I would hope that was to be expected, wasn't it? I mean he only had two attempts on Epstein's life with the second being a success. Apparently the first didn't jolt the warden into some kind of action as it appears he was guilty of a number of sins including 'Sloth.'

As for the publications that don't like conspiracy theories –like the National Review -- they are a hoot. We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. There was no camera specifically in the cell with Epstein.
In the end I think Epstein probably was allowed to kill himself but I'm not confident in that scenario at all. And yes the media should pressure Barr to hav e a look in the cell and see exactly how a suicide attempt might have succeeded or if it was a long-shot at best, given the materiel and conditions.

SafeNow , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
19. Why is the non-prosecution agreement ambiguous ("globally" binding), when it was written by the best lawyers in the country for a very wealthy client? Was the ambiguity bargained-for? If so, what are the implications?

20. With "globally" still being unresolved (to the bail judge's first-paragraph astonishment), why commit suicide now?

21. The "it was malfeasance" components are specified. For mere malfeasance to have been the cause, all of the components would have to be true; it would be a multiplicative function of the several components. Is no one sufficiently quantitative to estimate the magnitude?

22. What is the best single takeaway phrase that emerges from all of this? My nomination is: "In your face." The brazen, shameless, unprecedented, turning-point, in-your-faceness of it.

sally , says: September 2, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
ER the answer is easy to you list of questions .. there is no law in the world when violations are not prosecuted and fair open for all to see trials are not held and judges do not deliver the appropriate penalties upon convictions. .. in cases involving the CIA prosecution it is unheard of that a open for all to see trial takes place.

This is why we the governed masses need a parallel government..

such an oversight government would allow to pick out the negligent or wilful misconduct of persons in functional government and prosecute such persons in the independent people's court.. Without a second government to oversee the first government there is no democracy; democracy cannot stand and the governed masses will never see the light of a fair day .. unless the masses have oversight authority on what is to be made into law, and are given without prejudice to their standing in America the right to charge those associated to government with negligent or wilful misconduct.

mypoint

Anonymous [425] Disclaimer , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fMG8SVrqstg?feature=oembed

Brabantian , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT
There are big questions this article is not asking either

The words 'Mossad' seems not to appear above, and just a brief mention of 'Israel' with Ehud Barak

One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this
https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/

Was escape to freedom & Israe,l the ultimate payoff for Epstein's decades of work for Mossad, grooming and abusing young teens, filmed in flagrante delicto with prominent people for political blackmail?

Is it not likely this was a Mossad jailbreak covered by fake 'suicide', with Epstein alive now, with US gov now also in possession of the assumed Epstein sexual blackmail video tapes?

We have the Epstein 'death in jail' under the US Attorney General Bill Barr, a former CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him thru night law school, Bill Barr's later law firm Kirkland Ellis representing Epstein

Whose Jewish-born ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens

So would a crypto-Jewish 'former' CIA officer who is now USA Attorney General, possibly help a Mossad political blackmailer escape to Israel after a fake 'jail suicide'?

An intriguing 4chan post a few hours after Epstein's 'body was discovered', says Epstein was put in a wheelchair and driven out of the jail in a van, accompanied by a man in a green military uniform – timestamp is USA Pacific on the screencap apparently, so about 10:44 NYC time Sat.10 Aug

FWIW, drone video of Epstein's Little St James island from Friday 30 August, shows a man who could be Epstein himself, on the left by one vehicle, talking to a black man sitting on a quad all-terrain unit

Close up of Epstein-like man between vehicles, from video note 'pale finger' match-up to archive photo Epstein

Anon [261] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The thing that sticks out for me is that Epstein was caught, charged, and went to jail previously, but he didn't die . The second time, it appears he was murdered. I strongly suspect that the person who murdered Epstein was someone who only met Epstein after 2008, or was someone Epstein only procured for after 2008. Otherwise, this person would have killed Epstein back when Epstein was charged by the cops the first time.

Either that, or the killer is someone who is an opponent of Trump, and this person was genuinely terrified that Trump would pressure the Feds to avoid any deals and to squeeze all the important names out of Epstein and prosecute them, too.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am GMT
The author professes himself "expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking," but he doesn't say how his 18 questions were arrived at to the exclusion of hundreds of others. Instead, the column includes several casual assumptions and speculation. For example:

As to this last, isn't "quickly [firing] the federal prison head honcho" consistent with a failure-to-prevent-suicide deflection strategy? And has Mr. Rasmusen not "heard" of the hiring of Mr. Epstein by Mr. Barr's father? Or of the father's own Establishment background?

I hope to be wrong, but my own hunch is that these investigations, like the parallel investigations of the RussiaGate hoax, will leave the elite unscathed. I also hope that in the meantime we see more rigorous columns here than this one.

Miro23 , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

...Also, subsequently, it should have been a top priority to arrest Ghislaine Maxwell but the government, justice and media lack interest . Apparently, they don't know where she is, and they're not making any special efforts to find out.

Sick of Orcs , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Epstein had no "dead man's switch" which would release what he knew to media? C'mon! This is basic Villainy 101.

[Aug 26, 2019] Neoliberal stooge Macri is out in Argentina a but the damage is done

The IMF loan seems designed to get Macri past the election. It has been used to support capital flight: to support the peso, the Central Bank sells dollars to "importers" that then stash the money abroad. This is illegal according to IMF loan terms but the IMF is looking the other way. It has been granted unprecedented authority to oversee and overrule the Central Bank, so its failure to act is really suspicious, and reeks of political pressure to crush the left in Latin America.
Notable quotes:
"... The government also wasted more than $16 billion in unsuccessful attempts to keep the peso from falling, and greatly increased the more problematic foreign component of the public debt. The result has been near-constant recession and high inflation, enormous interest rates, peso depreciation, financial instability, and the huge run-up in public debt. The debt increase is particularly noteworthy because Mr. Macri inherited a low level of public debt. ..."
"... Ironically, the IMF is well-known in Argentina for promoting similarly unworkable policies during the deep depression of 1998 to 2002 -- comparable to America's Great Depression of the 1930s. Yes, history is repeating itself, although in this case the IMF has a stronger partnership with the government than it had 20 years ago. ..."
"... Millions of Argentines remember the last depression and the role the IMF played. Many also remember the rapid improvement in people's lives over the ensuing decade. This collective memory and consciousness may now determine the outcome of this recurring debate over the economy, and with it, the October election, and possibly much of Argentina's future. ..."
"... The IMF loan seems designed to get Macri past the election. It has been used to support capital flight: to support the peso, the Central Bank sells dollars to "importers" that then stash the money abroad. This is illegal according to IMF loan terms but the IMF is looking the other way. It has been granted unprecedented authority to oversee and overrule the Central Bank, so its failure to act is really suspicious, and reeks of political pressure to crush the left in Latin America. ..."
Aug 26, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , August 23, 2019 at 04:43 PM

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/who-is-to-blame-for-argentina-s-economic-crisis

August 19, 2019

Who is to Blame for Argentina's Economic Crisis?
By Mark Weisbrot - New York Times

What are we to make of Argentina's surprise election results on Monday, which jolted pollsters and analysts alike, and roiled the country's financial markets? In the presidential primary for the country's October election, the opposition ticket of Alberto Fernández trounced the incumbent president Mauricio Macri by an unexpected margin of 47.7 to 32.1 percent.

The Fernández coalition attributes their victory to Mr. Macri's failed economic policies, blaming him for the current economic crisis, recession, and high inflation. Mr. Macri, by contrast, blames the fear of a future government of Kirchnerism -- his label for the opposition -- for both the postelection financial turbulence and also the problems of the economy since he took office more than three and a half years ago. He argues that both the markets and the people have everything to fear from such an outcome.

This disagreement is not just an academic argument, nor one specific to Argentina. It is a recurring, almost archetypical debate during economic crises that spill over into political contests. In recent years -- in the UK, Spain, France, Greece, and other countries where failed economic policies faced left-of-center challengers -- Macri's refrain was a frequent line of attack by incumbents.

Financial markets can move for many reasons, which can be unclear or even based on misperceptions of reality. In the case of this week's news, we have electoral losses by a government whose economic policies have clearly failed; and gains by challengers who hail from a period of strong and widely shared economic growth. This is not something that is inherently bad for the economy.

With Kirchnerism, Mr. Macri refers to the policies, followers, and presidential administrations of the Kirchner family, which held office from 2003 to 2015 -- first Néstor Kirchner, and then Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The latter is running as vice-presidential candidate of Alberto Fernández, and is a prominent leader of the opposition coalition -- although this coalition is much larger and broader than the "kirchnerista" base.

From the point of view of an economist or social scientist, it's not clear why Kirchnerism should inspire fear. Looking at the most important economic and social indicators, the government of the Kirchner presidencies was one of the most successful in the Western Hemisphere during this period.

Independent estimates show a decline of 71 percent in poverty, and an 81 percent decline in extreme poverty. The government instituted one of the biggest conditional cash transfer programs for the poor in Latin America. According to the International Monetary Fund, gross domestic product per person grew by 42 percent, almost three times the rate of Mexico. Unemployment fell by more than half, and inequality also fell considerably.

Although economic growth waned in the last few years, and the government made some mistakes, the result of these two administrations delivered large increases in living standards for the vast majority of Argentines, by any reasonable comparison.

Economic growth waned in the last few years of her presidency and her government was dealt an external economic blow. A 2012 ruling of a federal appeals court in New York, widely regarded dubious and political, took more than 90 percent of Argentina's creditors hostage in order to force payment to a small group of "vulture funds," who refused to join the debt restructuring of the early 2000s. The United States government blocked loans from international lenders such as the Inter-American Development Bank, at a time when the economy needed the foreign exchange.

By comparison, poverty has increased significantly, income per person has fallen, and unemployment has increased during Mr. Macri's term, which began in December 2015. Short-term interest rates, have shot up from 32 percent to 75 percent today; inflation has risen from 18 percent to 56 percent. The public debt has grown from 53 percent of GDP to more than 86 percent last year.

How much of this economic crisis and poor performance is his predecessor's fault?

In 2018 Mr. Macri signed an agreement for a $57 billion loan -- the largest bailout in history. The loan agreement, along with the reviews since, spell out the government's economic goals, strategy, and implementation. There is a lot of information publicly available that details what went wrong.

The main strategy of the program was to restore investor confidence through tighter fiscal and monetary policy. But, as has often happened, these measures slowed the economy and undermined investor confidence. By October, the results were vastly worse than the IMF had projected. The government and IMF doubled down by increasing both fiscal and monetary tightening, but this did not help.

The government also wasted more than $16 billion in unsuccessful attempts to keep the peso from falling, and greatly increased the more problematic foreign component of the public debt. The result has been near-constant recession and high inflation, enormous interest rates, peso depreciation, financial instability, and the huge run-up in public debt. The debt increase is particularly noteworthy because Mr. Macri inherited a low level of public debt.

Ironically, the IMF is well-known in Argentina for promoting similarly unworkable policies during the deep depression of 1998 to 2002 -- comparable to America's Great Depression of the 1930s. Yes, history is repeating itself, although in this case the IMF has a stronger partnership with the government than it had 20 years ago.

The Fernández candidates will have to outline how they would get out of this mess. They can explain how Argentina exited from a much more severe economic crisis, with an unemployment more than twice as high, and millions of previously middle class people having fallen into poverty. They can assure creditors that there is no need for default on the public debt today, as there was then, because it was completely unpayable. But, as in 2003, the economy cannot recover under the conditions agreed upon with the IMF, and these will have to be renegotiated.

Millions of Argentines remember the last depression and the role the IMF played. Many also remember the rapid improvement in people's lives over the ensuing decade. This collective memory and consciousness may now determine the outcome of this recurring debate over the economy, and with it, the October election, and possibly much of Argentina's future.

JohnH -> anne... , August 23, 2019 at 05:11 PM
The IMF has learned nothing since the Washington Consensus started being implemented in the 1980s but at least Argentines are quickly repudiating the neoliberals and their savage policies, until they forget again in a generation.
Julio -> anne... , August 25, 2019 at 09:45 AM
The IMF loan seems designed to get Macri past the election. It has been used to support capital flight: to support the peso, the Central Bank sells dollars to "importers" that then stash the money abroad. This is illegal according to IMF loan terms but the IMF is looking the other way. It has been granted unprecedented authority to oversee and overrule the Central Bank, so its failure to act is really suspicious, and reeks of political pressure to crush the left in Latin America.

Fernandez has already stated that under current terms the loan is unpayable and the terms will have to be renegotiated.

The situation is similar to Greece and shows that, absent capital controls and decreased dependency on imports, having your own currency is not enough protection against bondage to multinational banks.

anne -> Julio ... , August 25, 2019 at 10:40 AM
The situation is similar to Greece and shows that, absent capital controls and decreased dependency on imports, having your own currency is not enough protection against bondage to multinational banks....

[ This was the lesson taught and learned by a few countries in the wake of the Asian currency crises that developed from 1996-1997. These were really Asian, Latin American currency crises, but the lesson was indelibly learned in Asia.

There is a reason China and Japan and Korea increased foreign currency reserves from 1997-1998.

[Aug 25, 2019] Brazil: From Global Leader to US Lapdog

Aug 25, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Brazil recently gained the vaunted status of "Major Non-NATO Ally."

This title symbolizes the new, preferential relationship that Brazil has been pursuing with the U.S. as a result of the continued efforts by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to inaugurate a new phase in Brazil's global role.

Bolsonaro's presidency has initiated deep changes in Brazilian foreign policy, which was traditionally based on multilateralism, non-interventionism, and a commitment to universal human rights. Bolsonaro's abandonment of that traditional foreign policy is driven by his belief that despite changes in the world order, the future will remain U.S.-led -- and, as such, a partnership with Washington is essential.

With this partnership, however, Brazil is relinquishing its position as a global leader to become a junior follower of Donald Trump's foreign policy.

Ideological affinity is a major component of Bolsonaro's foreign policy, which has had practical and immediate consequences for Brazil. For example, due to Trump's trade war with China, Beijing has been downgraded in the priorities of Bolsonaro's government despite being Brazil's main trading partner, and opportunities to increase trade in Asia are now willfully overlooked.

Brazil's prominent leadership role in Latin America is also being sacrificed as a result of its enthusiastic promotion of U.S. interests in the region.

Ideological Crusade and the U.S.

The new vision guiding Brazilian foreign policy is centered around anti-globalism and presumptions of Western cultural superiority.

According to this worldview, Bolsonaro's rise to power represents a unique opportunity to restore traditional moral values that will somehow help Brazil in its mission to save "Western Civilization" from decline. As such, a partnership with the like-minded Trump is imagined as a means by which to reaffirm the supremacy of the West.

These ideas form part of the broader ideological agenda which the current Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, has put forward in various articles. In one of his most notorious pieces, a journal article entitled "Trump and the West," Araújo lays bare the version of Brazilian nationalism he aims to pursue: a national mission to, in essence, recover Brazil's "Western soul."

The traditional nuclear family and Christian values -- perceived as the hallmarks of "Western civilization" -- are the central pillars of Araújo's moral nationalism and, as such, should be seen as the foundation of Brazil's new foreign policy orientation.

Consequences of Brazil's Foreign Policy Shift

If Brazil's new ideological position represents a stark renunciation of its previously active role in the building of a liberal world order, it is also becoming increasingly clear that the country will now abandon its previoously progressive contributions to solving major global problems.

As a consequence, Brazil will no longer be seen as a leader among developing countries -- a widely-respected role that the country has played since 2003, when Brazilian governments prioritized South-South cooperation.

Brazil's radical shift in foreign policy orientation is already causing shockwaves at home and abroad. Bolsonaro often flirts with the idea of potentially withdrawing from the Paris Environmental Accord , having already abandoned the Marrakesh Migration Pact . Additional uproar emerged in Brazil due to Bolsonaro's close ties to Israel and his promise to recognize Jerusalem as its capital and to close Brazil's embassy in Palestine . In the past, Brazil has systematically defended the creation of a Palestinian state, and was among the first countries to open an embassy in Palestine.

Being averse to both multilateralism and cooperation with developing countries, Bolsonaro seeks to keep his distance from the United Nations and the BRICS. More concretely, Bolsonaro considers the deepening or even the maintenance of established diplomatic ties with the BRICS group as detrimental to the new Brazil's alliance with the U.S. Indeed, under Brazil's new foreign policy priorities, China and Russia are now perceived as potential adversaries .

In attempting to recover Brazil's "Western soul," Bolsonaro's government hopes to receive U.S. support in its efforts to become a permanent member of the OECD. The Trump administration has indicated that the U.S. will support Brazil's bid to gain admission to the OECD .

In Bolsonaro's evolving geopolitical map, Brazil is slowly abandoning its regional leadership to align with the U.S.'s interests in Latin America. In this context, Brazil's engagement with other Latin American countries is mainly based on ideological affinity. Hence Brazil is showing interest in strengthening bilateral relations with Chile, a country that Bolsonaro admires principally due to his admiration for Pinochet's brutal dictatorship (1973-1989) , and with Argentina, with which bilateral relations remain warm as long as the conservative-minded President Macri remains in power .

Venezuela is, for quite different reasons, another important country for Bolsonaro. He uses Venezuela's unrest to escalate the intensity of his rhetorical confrontation against the Venezuelan regime , which resonates powerfully with Bolsonaro's supporters at home and abroad.

Opposition from within

The rationale for and discourse surrounding Brazil's blind alignment to the U.S. is facing heavy criticism from parts of Bolsonaro's own government. These dissident voices can be heard in the agribusiness sector, the military, and the Brazilian diplomatic corps.

Operating as they do within a clear set of international interests, agribusiness is a pragmatic group of actors who understand that Bolsonaro's rhetorical tactics are harming their international interests. Those who consider China a pivotal player in the expansion of Brazilian agricultural exports are understandably disturbed by Brazil's increasing distance from the BRICS.

Parts of the Brazilian military also appear skeptical about Brazil actively positioning itself within the U.S. sphere of influence, believing this to be a blind alignment that could easily compromise the image of Brazil as a strong, autonomous country.

Bolsonaro's foreign policy also faces opposition from within Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where career diplomats are increasingly voicing their concerns over the president's wanton abandonment of the multilateralism that Brazil has historically and effectively used to engage with the rest of the world.

In an increasingly dog-eat-dog world, Bolsonaro hopes that Brazil can establish itself as a privileged U.S. partner. However, given the waning support for Bolsonaro's foreign policy at home, as well as its fundamental lack of pragmatism, these radical shifts in Brazil's international affairs may ultimately prove to be ephemeral.

Helder F. do Vale is an Associate Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea.

This column first appeared on Foreign Policy in Focus . Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Helder F. do Vale

[Aug 25, 2019] Thatcher's mantra TINA (There Is No Alternative)

Notable quotes:
"... The ideal modern subject is the 'consumer/spectator' who exercises their anti-capitalism by consuming a more ethical brand of product. In which way: capitalism subsumes its anti-capitalist antithesis TINA. If you have a new idealism: you have to market it and so it becomes just another brand of capitalism. It becomes a new consumerism. That's capitalist realism. TINA. ..."
"... That which we are when we turn away – and ultimately turn off – the consumer spectacle. We are not rational self-maximisers seeking maximum market access only for ourselves. Our idolatry of greed will not provide a Kantian *summum bonum* of objective market values of welfare and wellbeing for all. That is a mendacious lie only a utopian 'capitalist realist' could believe. We have to seek the alternative. Now: while we are already crossing the event horizon of yet another crisis of capitalism entering the black hole at the heart of overfinancialisation and debt deflation. We have yet to admit that it is entropy dragging us in. It's gonna have to more than a "beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending" story. It's gonna have to be real world relevant and credible too. ..."
"... Capitalism does not work as a culturally conditioned psychology; an ecology; or even as an economy. Each time it fails: it is restarted by a massive, never before known, transference of wealth from the poor to rich ..."
"... Only utopian capitalist realists can ever believe that any of this pseudo-wealth will trickle down in any meaningful way. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | off-guardian.org

BigB

... ... ..

Ed nails it: everyone gets the Debordian Spectacle angle. I, for one, need no more convincing of the true nature of capitalism. Which brings me back to Pfaller's meaningless usage of the term 'Postmodernism'. We had this discussion last week: so I will only re-iterate this. The blanket use of the term says nothing useful at all. For 'progressive neoliberalism': I propose Mark Fisher's term – "Capitalist Realism". Mainly because it does supply valuable conceptual and semantic framing of sense and meaning.

As given most succinctly in the book's (it's an essay really) subtitle and Thatcher's mantra – TINA (There Is No Alternative). Capitalism has totally colonised culture – in roughly the same timescale Pfaller is indicating (perhaps a bit earlier) – and shaped contemporary consciousness by commodifying and consumerising it.

The ideal modern subject is the 'consumer/spectator' who exercises their anti-capitalism by consuming a more ethical brand of product. In which way: capitalism subsumes its anti-capitalist antithesis TINA. If you have a new idealism: you have to market it and so it becomes just another brand of capitalism. It becomes a new consumerism. That's capitalist realism. TINA.

This double-bind situationism speaks more eloquently to me than the pseudo-label 'PoMo' – which can mean anything to anyone – and therefore means nothing to everyone. Which brings me back to the point, as I see it, that Ed is making. We need a new alternative. Bauman, Pfaller, Zizek, Giddens, etc can argue to the cows come home about when 'high modernity' became 'postmodernity' or did it just continue as 'liquid modernity' (to which I would concur) if not that these damn meaningless terms offer little of a counterculture or liberational praxis. One that defies consumerisation.

I give you us as the answer. That which we are when we turn away – and ultimately turn off – the consumer spectacle. We are not rational self-maximisers seeking maximum market access only for ourselves. Our idolatry of greed will not provide a Kantian *summum bonum* of objective market values of welfare and wellbeing for all. That is a mendacious lie only a utopian 'capitalist realist' could believe. We have to seek the alternative. Now: while we are already crossing the event horizon of yet another crisis of capitalism entering the black hole at the heart of overfinancialisation and debt deflation. We have yet to admit that it is entropy dragging us in. It's gonna have to more than a "beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending" story. It's gonna have to be real world relevant and credible too.

Capitalism does not work as a culturally conditioned psychology; an ecology; or even as an economy. Each time it fails: it is restarted by a massive, never before known, transference of wealth from the poor to rich. These are waves and cycles of 'primitive accumulation' and 'accumulation by dispossession'.

Only utopian capitalist realists can ever believe that any of this pseudo-wealth will trickle down in any meaningful way. How can it ever be meaningful if it is essentially a meaningless inescapable void of exponential and entropic debt deflation? Capitalism is the biggest anti-utopian social engineering project in history. One that offers only a soulless, submissive Void for the consumer/spectator – TINA. That's capitalist realism.

Nothing else matters other than avoiding this Void of capitalist realist nihilisation of humanity. Nothing. Jeffrey who?

[Aug 24, 2019] Russian trolls exiled from Guardian find home for their hate

Aug 24, 2019 | off-guardian.org

George The use of the word "hate" has become another thought-stopper. It's like calling something "Evil" without further explanation. I first realised this when I found the following article which is specifically about Off-Guardian:

https://www.stopfake.org/en/russian-trolls-exiled-from-guardian-find-home-for-their-hate/

The title is in the URL itself but it's worth emphasising since it headlines the article:
"Russian trolls exiled from Guardian find home for their hate"

And there it is – the simple assertion "hate". It's so crass. It's like cartoon propaganda – which may well be the most effective kind. And it echoes that old staple, "They just hate us!", "They are haters!" and, best of all, "Hatred of the good for being good." That last one is a masterstroke since it absolves one side of investigation while shoving all blame onto the other side. Best of all, the more "they" hate us, the more "good" we must be! 19 0 Reply Aug 22, 2019 5:25 PM Reader


Ramdan

F*** . am I russian now? ..and where can we pick our passports??
Capricornia Man
The article you provide a link to offers the following wisdom:
'In line with the Kremlin's goals, OffGuardian seeks to undermine trust in the "mainstream media".'
Capricornia Man
Wanted to finish my above post by observing that, for anyone capable of a moderate level of independent thought, the "mainstream media" have done a brilliant job of forfeiting trust all by themselves.
Elementor
LOL – my favorite bit of that article is where they cite Kit's use of the internet-4Chan meme "accidentally the " as evidence English isn't his first language!!!!

ROFL I literally nearly fell of my chair laughing.

This lady is revealed as either truly ancient, a cultural hermit or or herself a non-native English speaker.

Also she lies her ancient ass off about Ukraine.

Roland Spansky
That is fricken priceless
Rhys Jaggar
The real difficulty with all 'hate crime' stuff is proving that a hating state of mind exists. The key point here is that those offended by statements or those victimised may assume hate to be present when it may be hatred of an individual, not their sex, religion, sexual orientation etc.

Here are few hard questions:

1. If I state, correctly, that several leaders of Russian mob families are- or have been Jewish, does that make me antisemitic?

I say absolutely it does not. I would back that up by saying that several other crime overlords profess to have Christian ancestry. So not all mob capos are Jewish ..and being Jewish does not make you more likely to lead a life of crime .

2. So what about if I killed a Jewish mobster because his hoods sexually abused my daughter? Does that make me antisemitic??

Absolutely not. I would kill any mob capo whose vermin attacked my daughter. Jewishness does not come into it. I certainly hated the mobster, but I did not hate his Jewishness .

3. What about if I say that the Israeli Secret Service, the Mossad, is a terrorist organisation?

Here we are talking about the official Intelligence Service of the Jewish State. Those folks are going to be Jews, representing Jewry. Is that anti-semitic?

Why?? Being a terrorist basically means you have either a very violent religion or you do not uphold the principles of a less violent one. I would point to the known terrorism in the histories of MI6, the CIA, the OSS and several others to prove that it is not Jewishness that drives the terror, rather the precepts under which Intelligence agencies are run.

4. What if I say that Jews are over-represented amongst the Western media and banking elites? Is that anti-semitic??

Well, firstly the data suggests I am being factual, namely that the actual number of Jews in such positions is far higher than might be expected on a population-based pro rata outcome. Secondly, have I said it is either good or bad? I think I am suggesting that society might discuss why that has come about, whether any consequences have ensued and whether the majority in a society consider those consequences to be appropriate. It is not anti-semitic to ask if a small minority holding inordinate influence/power is aggreable to the majority of the citizenry. After all, we are continually suggesting that white, public-school-educated male graduates of Oxbridge should not dominate UK society in this day and age .

5. What if I say that a small minority of Jews proclaim the Jewish people to be superior to all goyim? Is that factual or anti-semitic??

What if I say to hold such a view makes that subset of Jews to be racist?

My view again is that that is factually accurate. It does not imply all Jews think like that, does it? It is like saying in the 1970s that the National Front was racist: said nothing about the majority of British people, did I?

I would really dare some Jewish people to challenge those arguments.

Not by smearing, scaremongering, bursting into tears or any other melodrama.

Nor by power plays, threats, blackmail or libel.

By cool, reasoned argument .

OffG
Can we try to keep at least one thread free from discussing the antisemitism issue.

If you want to debate that subject there is an ongoing and currently civilised discussion between Mark and Mandy Miller on one of the Epstein threads. Feel free to re-post this comment there.

This article is about the media manipulation of the concept of 'hate'.

wardropper
I share Norman Finkelstein's view that the appropriate response, both by us and by the Labour Party, for example, is to funnel any such accusations to a small unit which will answer any serious charges in detail, leaving the rest of us to state quite clearly, "It's over. We're not having our wide political and global interests forced into an endless, energy-sapping and time-wasting series of protests against ridiculous charges. We are not answering them any more. Take them to the relevant unit, and leave our free speech alone."
That said, Rhys does a great job of making his point, and perhaps the concept of "hate" is not so irrelevant to that point.
Martin Usher
Antisemitism is not what's being discussed, its just a well known example of 'hate' that we can all more or less agree on. Its a tricky subject to discuss because its the closest thing that we have to Thoughtcrime in contemporary society so we need some sort of ground state we can work from.

The example of Jewish mob bosses is useful but we could have chosen American ones rather than Russian ones -- the Jewish 'mob' was preeminent in US cities before being displaced by the Italians/Sicilians. What I think is important, though, isn't stated and that's the idea that tribal identity has gradually been made important with our identity is inextricably bound up with our tribe, a tribe differentiated by religion, race or orientation but not notably by our economic class. The question shouldn't be to argue among ourselves about details and crumbs but to ask why allowing ourselves to sliced and diced into potentially warring groups. The media is full of it (literally and metaphorically) -- if its not race or gender then its the latest millennial versus baby boomer BS. To me the answer is obvious -- you don't want people uniting around common goals and expectations, you need to have them at each other's throats, fighting for those crumbs.

Incidentally, having to put up with racist jerks is the unfortunate side effect of espousing free speech. There's no easy way to winnow the good from the bad and you just know that if you let Big Brother decide for you then sooner rather than later it will be *you* that they'll be coming for.

flaxgirl
Oh for goodness sake. It's all faked and they tell us it's faked loud and clear. I have a webpage on how they tell us clearly.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/they-tell-us-clearly.html

Obviously, it must be a legality because these events are so full of obvious holes they have to be deliberate and in some cases what happens is virtually impossible such as in the event that happened in my own city last week. Mert Ney brandishes a knife in the middle of an amazingly empty Clarence St with BROWN EYES but when we see him pinned ludicrously under the milk crate he has BLUE EYES, a change in eye-colour obviously effected with blue-tinted contact lenses. Does anyone seriously believe that a dextrous Mert pulled out and inserted these contact lenses between his knife-brandishing and being pinned?

Brown eyes
https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/accused-sydney-stabber-mert-ney-suffering-in-jail-after-leg-surgery/news-story/e522f3ce939d1af835c8301897e55b8e

Blue eyes
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/loners-ideology-of-death-revealed/news-story/2be3afe37ee71f54d48e4ea701855ad4#&gid=null&pid=1

Scrutinise the media stories. Notice all the contradictions in the various versions of the story. Notice all the misspellings, the inappropriate tone and register of language. The phony loved ones and witnesses. The nauseating heroes pimping their employer on morning TV. The complete absence of any sense of reality to these highly improbable crimes. What will it take for the recognition of these events to catch on? I simply do not understand.

Here is the word "Staged" inserted incongruously into this text. "Must have been a hell of a drug bender "?????? How much clearer do they have to make it?
Sydney stabbing LIVE: NSW Police confirm body found in Clarence Street unit linked to attack
BREAKING: We can confirm the death of the woman in the Clarence Street unit in Sydney's CBD is linked to the stabbing on the street below. Staged Must have been a hell of a drug bender

https://headtopics.com/au/highest-order-heroes-the-men-who-took-down-an-alleged-sydney-knifeman-7520445?fbclid=IwAR0leTJjIpqgFp1VtFTGwJ5_z0qNJCLrKEuYW6tlKDD9m-Kl71h7-AHanys

And then we have the Philly cops spraying blood.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/AcGRq80InQU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

OffG
The blue/brown eyes thing is a non-issue, it can be created simply by changes in lighting levels or resolution. We pointed this out to you once already.

If you genuinely want to engage people and are not – as many claim – a troll please take some advice:

Add the words 'I think' or 'could be' occasionally.

Don't comport like a missionary trying to convert unbelievers.

Put forward suggestions rather than pronouncements of dogma.

That way your posts might provoke some genuine discussion. If you ignore these suggestions and continue with these repeat-posted manifestos of certitude it's going to start looking as if the claims of trollery are not misplaced.

PS – this commenter below is inviting discussion of potential hoax shootings – why not engage with him ?

PPS – The link you added to the alleged contact lenses is broken, so we're removing it. Add another below and we'll add it to this post of yours

flaxgirl

The blue/brown eyes thing is a non-issue, it can be created simply by changes in lighting levels or resolution. We pointed this out to you once already.

Apologies, I do not remember seeing that, however, I'm not sure your assertion is valid – you'd have to show an example that matches mine. When you say the link didn't work I wonder if you copied the entire link or just clicked because obviously the link wasn't underlined for its entirety and for it to work you needed to copy and paste it. In any case I found a better link – see below.

If you scroll down on this page you will see a ring around Ney's eyes which clearly indicates a contact lens.
https://pressfrom.info/au/news/australia/-141427-sydney-stabbing-accused-mert-ney-reportedly-saw-michaela-dunn-and-other-sex-workers-before-alleged-attacks.html

In this photo of a tinted contact lens you will see a similar-looking ring.
https://eyecandys.com/collections/colored-contacts/products/eyecandys-opal-grey-colour-contacts

As usual, OffG, you select one item only – which you don't manage to debunk in any case. There are so very many things wrong with the stabbing incident story. Unsurprisingly, you fail to make a comment on the word "Staged" appearing incongruously for example. Please, I beg you, OffG, what is your explanation for the word "Staged" appearing incongruously in the middle of a paragraph on this story and are you going to tell me that it is just sloppy journalism to say " must have been a hell of a drug-bender" when a woman has just been knifed to death and another woman injured? Are you going to tell me, "sloppy journalism"?

You seem unable to confront evidence, OffG. I have the feeling that you believe it is more scientific to reserve judgement, that one must always sit on the fence about evidence. This is a fallacy. When all the evidence points in a certain direction and none points in any other direction, the scientific thing to do is to call it. It is sitting on the fence that is unscientific.

I wonder what you actually call. Do you think that it might have been 19 terrorists armed with boxcutters responsible for 9/11 after all? Perhaps you do.

INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT
No one, despite the offer to choose your own judge, has responded to my 10-point Occam's Razor challenge for 5 separate events nor has anyone come up with even a single point. The fact that that to you is insignificant means you do not know how to judge logic and evidence. I have put my money where my mouth is but, OffG, you never, ever do that.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/5000-challenge.html

different frank
Just because there are uniforms, it does not mean they are cops.
flaxgirl
No, but I think they often are because these events are really drills pushed out as real and response agencies are key players. In this video, the very observant Woodrow Wobbles identifies training going on. He notices one guy hanging around the milk crate who looks like a guy at an event in Melbourne and he identifies the words, "Lock it, lock it, lock it Let go," suggesting the police are being trained.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/82YmcYaaU-k?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Maggie
I am in agreement with you Flax. Definitely looks like a training drill.
Doctortrinate
Flaxgirl: I looked at the Philly cop video you posted – very interesting, as am also unsure of it's authenticity – though perhaps not for the same reason as yourself .as to myself , the drops/drips and dribbles themselves seem to be counterfeit, possibly edited into the film – and detectable by slowly (frame by frame) playing through it revealing some unusual and seemingly unfeasible characteristics ..of couse, would still be fakery , but with a twist – Media created even.
Elementor
Agree. It looks at first glance as if those dots just appear, which leads to thinking the cop "sprays" them or something similar, but on close analysis it looks wrong. I suspect it's been faked, a honeypot for the unwary hoax-buff.
Doctortrinate
precisely Elementor – well seen and put " a honeypot for the unwary hoax-buff"

quite possibly.

Cheers.

Seamus Padraig
'Hate crimes' are just thought-crimes , pure and simple. They are now criminalizing political points of view. The Constitution is dead.

even though the once-revered ACLU does not oppose the Second Amendment.

Of course the American Civil Liberties Union doesn't oppose the Second Amendment–it's a civil liberty! That being said, with things going the way they're going, I wouldn't be at all surprised in the ACLU eventually does turn against the Second Amendment. Once upon a time, not so many years ago, they were free speech absolutists as well–does anyone else here remember the infamous Skokie Nazis? The ACLU actually argued their case pro bono! But in more recent times, they have succumbed to the logic of the campus 'hate speech' craze.

Many legal scholars would respond that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment already provides all American citizens with the guaranteed right to equal protection under the law

And they would, too, if only the US government still followed its own constitution.

Harry Stotle
"Today, I am also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay" – unless they are neocons in which case they can kill with impunity under the usual rubrics – 'liberal intervention', 'bringing democracy' or 'humanitarian aid'.

Hell, we can even stage pop-festivals and invite grotesque figures like Sir Richard to belt out 'Imagine' while the local militia tool up with CIA hardware before wreaking havoc on unarmed civilians.

If western audiences become slightly sceptical the MSM will do its usual job of reassuring them that mass murder is an inconvenient externality when it comes to building a brighter future.

Elementor

Why should the American public trust the MSM for what may have already been determined to be a 'hate' crime without providing evidence of the hate

Terrific point. Where do we draw the line on skepticism about official narratives? How much do we really know about these shootings, the identities of the shooters, even the reality of the crimes?

I don't want to get into full "it's a hoax" mode, but surely it's only intelligent to recall there are documented cases of fake events and therefore being prepared to allow the possibility any event may be fake is objectively the only rational response. What stops us? Nothing more than the same kneejerk rejection that makes other people refuse to consider 9/11 may have been an inside job or JFK may not have been shot by LHO.

It's not per se crazy to entertain the possibility, or per se offensive either. Fakery happens, we are constantly being manipulated, being aware of all possibilities is our only defense.

The same intelligence entities that coined the phrase "conspiracy theory" have also closed down any Youtube channels that dare to question, even in the most restrained and respectful way, the reality of any mass shooting. But sites like this condone that censorship, not seeing the connection.

Is it possible to have a non-binary, rational, fact-based discussion about the possibility some mass shootings may be fake?

I invite thoughts

John Thatcher
The old adage,"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" comes immediately to mind,and that particularly applies to government and government action.As you rightly point out,there have been too many examples of fake events and official lies for anybody to be complacent.Treat all with caution and judge on the weight and quality of the evidence.If the evidence is not conclusive in any direction maintain a sceptical state of mind.
Elementor
So very true. And yet so many of the enlightened are unwilling to assimilate this into their thinking. You can call it laziness maybe. It's tempting to simply replace the received wisdom of the mainstream media with the received wisdoms of the alternative media. But in this case what are we doing? More is needed of us, as you so rightly say.

How many are prepared for the continuous effort of questioning and skepticism required in order to be a truly independent and responsible human being?

The lack of responses so far here is not a good sign.

Hey there OffG columnists Phil Roddis, Ed Curtin, CJ Hopkins, Eric Zuesse, Renee Parsons, and hey there BigB, Jen, Maggie, Antonym, Mark, and other "stars" of this forum. People actually come here to read what you guys have to say. This question of fakery is a major subject impinging on our future freedom.

Who of you dares to address it?

edited by Admin at author's request to correct typo

Elementor
So no one wants to have a serious non-kerazee debate about the potential for fake shootings? Too far outside the Overton Window? How disappointing. It's bizarre, even flaxgirl would rather troll the admins that just have a sensible debate with someone who'd like to talk to her.
Anna
Very good and valid question Elementor.

Not so very long ago, I happily dismissed most 'fake shooting' narratives as either merely far-right/lumpen (sorry for such a crass term)-baiting/monetising, conspiracy theories – of the Alex Jones variety.

However, after about two-three years of observing media biases, I find it so much easier to spot where the overriding narratives appear to reside. However the actual events unfold is often less important than their ultimate goal, which is of course mass censorship and getting round that terribly inconvenient Second Amendment. This is I believe, the main agenda of the so-called Hate Crime. Yes, I am aware that this makes me appear to some rather Info-Wars but that's the joy of shedding my own confirmation bias!

I do now assume that there is state or states involvement in all these terror events. They are manipulated/controlled (of sorts), whether the perpetrator knows of it or not. Some may indeed be fake from the onset.

Empty vessels make the most noise and that is I'm afraid the state of corporate 'journalism', who mostly whore themselves for the state/oligarchy narrative. Be very aware of ANY story that is shilled verboten by these hacks, as they are awfully telling in the identification of agendas and the direction of our further enslavement.

axisofoil
Remember this?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/wipVDW3Vc4A?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

MLS
Another level of fakery altogether, faking mind-control!

[Aug 24, 2019] Hate crime, like thought crime, is double-plus ungood

Notable quotes:
"... What term from Orwells dystopia will be popularised next, 'crimethink'? ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Yonatan Hate crime, like thought crime, is double-plus ungood. 4 0 Reply Aug 23, 2019 2:45 PM Reader

Harry Stotle

Yes, irony upon irony – the MSM, presumably inspired by PC now actually communicates in 'newspeak'.

What term from Orwells dystopia will be popularised next, 'crimethink'?

It may sound hyperbolic but are thoughts being restructured to comply with the principles of Ingsoc?
https://33hpwq10j9luq8gl43e62q4e-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/1984_-_newspeak_dictionary.pdf

[Aug 23, 2019] The Bolsano led Brazilian government, a govt elected by a collective hallunation might soon be defeated like in Argentina due to collapsing economics

Notable quotes:
"... nearly all of Brazilian agricultural exports are easily subject to substitution. ..."
Aug 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

augusto , Aug 23 2019 1:25 utc | 63

The world all over is beginning to stand up in unison against the extreme right and enemy of environment which is the Brazilian government. a govt elected by a collective hallunation we can t conceive or explain.

Their greedy farmers won a big congressual mass of support.

However nearly all of Brazilian agricultural exports are easily subject to substitution.

There s simply no time left for organizing economic sanctions: the forest cannot wait. It s time simply for European, Japanese consumers to boycott everything Brazilian.

Their supermarket chains should at once give the first shot in the battle to eliminate this threat called Bolsonaro.

[Aug 20, 2019] Marci government was a tool of global investment banks, global money and the supranationals. And sure rgt devoure Argentina and pushed it again into debt slavery

Notable quotes:
"... Ex-IMF president, and soon to be head of the ECB, Christine Lagarde personally staked her support for President Mauricio Macri's pro-market government when she steamrollered through the IMF's biggest ever bailout of $56 billion for Argentina last year ..."
"... In return for the 2018 Bailout, the IMF demanded its usual pound of flesh policies: Austerity, Austerity and Austerity, spiced with inflation-targeted monetary policy, fiscal tightening, currency controls, and the keys to the Peso printing presses. Give Lagarde some credit -- she did give lip service to the people with a smattering of minor austerity mitigants in terms of gender equality and social provision. But, essentially the IMF's answer to yet another predictable Argentinian crisis was more of the same programme. You know the definition of madness ..."
"... While the new Macri government was welcomed by markets in 2015 -- it was immediately clear it didn't have widespread and deep-rooted political support. His government was perceived as a tool of global investment banks, global money and the supranationals. The electorate went along with it for a while, but the results of "neo-liberalising" the economy were disastrous; killing jobs, creating a balance of payments crisis, devaluation, driving inflation, and yet another flirtation with default -- hence the new IMF bailout. ..."
"... Macri failed to deliver on his promises to the electorate: inflation wasn't reined in, but soared to 60-70. Instead of growth the economy tumbled into recession. And more and more people fell into extreme poverty. Compare and contrast with the experience of Argentina under the populist Peronistas, the Kirchners, who drove recovery in the early 2000s via easy monetary and a massive fiscal spending initiatives. These didn't work so well when commodities declined, recession struck the currency sagged and massive monetary corruption followed. Argentina came close to default in 2012, and a naval vessel was actually seized by one creditor! ..."
"... The answer is not Austerity, Austerity, Austerity -- but that's her most likely only weapon in the ECB's armoury. There are clear parallels between Argentina and Europe -- much to be learnt in how not to handle recovery in the face of populism and undeliverable political promises. ..."
Aug 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

This morning's headlines are screaming how Argentina and President Mauricio Macri have precipitated yet another crisis on the stressed geopolitical battlefront Relax. We are more than used to dealing with Argentina defaults But, its far more complex than that. The latest Argentina Dance Macabre is all about Global Credibility. It's another Massive Fail!

What does it say about the credibility of Global Institutions and Policy when Argentina's whole market collapsed following a primary for an election in December? Ex-IMF president, and soon to be head of the ECB, Christine Lagarde personally staked her support for President Mauricio Macri's pro-market government when she steamrollered through the IMF's biggest ever bailout of $56 billion for Argentina last year .

It now looks an extremely poor call on Lagarde's part. Macri won a mere 32% of the vote, while former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner won 47%. Don't Cry for Me Argentina indeed Domestic Argentine Politics have left the IMF looking stupid.

There are three major issues to consider here:

First there is the absolute predictability of what's just happened in Argentina:

In return for the 2018 Bailout, the IMF demanded its usual pound of flesh policies: Austerity, Austerity and Austerity, spiced with inflation-targeted monetary policy, fiscal tightening, currency controls, and the keys to the Peso printing presses. Give Lagarde some credit -- she did give lip service to the people with a smattering of minor austerity mitigants in terms of gender equality and social provision. But, essentially the IMF's answer to yet another predictable Argentinian crisis was more of the same programme. You know the definition of madness

The programme did achieve some minor success: bringing down Argentina's primary deficit and putting the trade balance in to surplus -- but only because they spent IMF money supporting the peso. "Surprisingly" Austerity wasn't to the electorate's taste -- inflation remains out of control and poverty is rising allowing politicians to exploit the widening income-gap divide. What a complete shock! Who could have possibly predicted an unhappy electorate would damn Macri at the polls and favour former Peronista's from the last century instead? (US Readers -- Massive Sarcasm Alert.)

While the new Macri government was welcomed by markets in 2015 -- it was immediately clear it didn't have widespread and deep-rooted political support. His government was perceived as a tool of global investment banks, global money and the supranationals. The electorate went along with it for a while, but the results of "neo-liberalising" the economy were disastrous; killing jobs, creating a balance of payments crisis, devaluation, driving inflation, and yet another flirtation with default -- hence the new IMF bailout.

Macri failed to deliver on his promises to the electorate: inflation wasn't reined in, but soared to 60-70. Instead of growth the economy tumbled into recession. And more and more people fell into extreme poverty. Compare and contrast with the experience of Argentina under the populist Peronistas, the Kirchners, who drove recovery in the early 2000s via easy monetary and a massive fiscal spending initiatives. These didn't work so well when commodities declined, recession struck the currency sagged and massive monetary corruption followed. Argentina came close to default in 2012, and a naval vessel was actually seized by one creditor!

The Macri programme effectively went to the dogs y'day. The laughable Argie Century Bond crashed as low as 60 y'day. Default swaps are 40 cents upfront (pay $40mm to insure $100mm). Short-term debt is yielding near 40%. Argentinians voted for former leftist politician Kirchner instead, despite the widespread accusations of corruption, and the likelihood her election will simply deepen ongoing crisis.

The second point to this on-going Argentine Crisis is what does it say about Lagarde?

She is a gifted politician, a former French finance and apparently very efficient. She is not a trained central banker, but give her credit for being self-aware. She recently admitted : "The Argentine economic situation has proved incredibly complicated and I dare say that many of those involved, including us, underestimated a bit, when we started with the Argentine authorities building the programme."

Her new job at the ECB is going to be a political minefield. She will need to draw Europe into agreement on fiscal policy support for Southern European Economies -- which is a massive political issue when she's seen as Macron's candidate, Merkel is about to exit the stage, and the next crop of German Leader's look crushingly incompetent in the leadership department. The Italian League has already thrown down it's gauntlet -- if they don't get permission to start spending their way out of recession, they are going to do it anyway.

Lagarde has to balance the economic conservatism of Europe's strongest economy, Germany, against the risks of "free-spending" other European's creating further debt crisis. And she has to do it while holding the Euro together, dealing with consequences of Brexit, and being a distinct number 2 on the priority list for national governments. Is she up to it?

If Lagarde thinks Argentina's economic situation is complex, wait till she tries to balance the ECB. Her job is not to simply continue the "do-what-ever-it-takes" Mario Draghi "keep-the-Euro-going" mantras, but to actually move the European economy forward in a political vacuum. The answer is not Austerity, Austerity, Austerity -- but that's her most likely only weapon in the ECB's armoury. There are clear parallels between Argentina and Europe -- much to be learnt in how not to handle recovery in the face of populism and undeliverable political promises.

The third point to learnt from the new Argentina crisis is who leads the IMF now that Legarde is off to Frankfurt?

The European's have decided they want their compromise candidate, Kristalina Georgieva, to lead the institution. Its always been led by a European. Rest of world don't like that. While I'm sure Ms. Georgieva of the World Bank is an excellent candidate I am sure there are better. Mark Carney -- Canadian and Irish. Why Not. He's a proper banker..

What a complete ClusterF**k.


JPHR , 20 minutes ago link

Empire always gets QE, but indentured client states austerity and liberal reform facilitating a fire sale of their assets.

US has been exploiting IMF for this scam for years now. EU/Germany is copying that on Greece, Ukraine but not yet fully on Spain and Italy.

Don't expect Lagarde imposing austerity on either Germany or France, but she will try to impose that on Italy.

spanish inquisition , 23 minutes ago link

Bravo Argentina! They know how to play the game. He who defaults first can default the most. Get money, pass it around the corrupt establishment, default again, get mo money!

Batman11 , 1 hour ago link

Richard Koo explained the problem with austerity to the IMF after Greece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

[Aug 16, 2019] Ministry of truth materialized in XXI century in a neoliberal way by Kit Knightly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name. ..."
"... In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO. ..."
"... "The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK's Media Freedom Conference , was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually creepy. Let's just look back at one of the four "main themes" of this conference:

Building trust in media and countering disinformation
"Countering disinformation"? Well, that's just another word for censorship. This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT "spreads disinformation" and they "countered" that by barring them from attending. "Building trust"? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, "building trust" is just another way of saying "making people believe us" (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust). The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels off. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour :
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence."
Being "truthful not neutral" is one of Amanpour's personal sayings , she obviously thinks it's clever. Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for "bias". Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish "the truth", to get around impartiality and then set about making up whatever "truth" is convenient. Oh, and if you don't know what "creating a false moral quivalence is", here I'll demonstrate: MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media. OffG: But you're supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down. BBC: No. That's not the same. OffG: It seems the same. BBC: It's not. You're creating a false moral equivalence . Understand now? You "create a false moral equivalence" by pointing out mainstream media's double standards. Other ways you could mistakenly create a "false moral equivalence": Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights. Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia's "interference in our democracy" Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever. OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT. These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media's double standards, and if you say they are , you're "creating a false moral equivalence" and the media won't have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree. Because they don't have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell "the truth" as soon as the government has told them what that is. Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and the Huffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how "fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality" by "being even handed between liars the truth tellers". (I've been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).

Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda. "Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments" , this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our "enemies" in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means. I said in my earlier article I don't know what "media sustainability" even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means "save the government mouthpieces". The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. "Building media sustainability" is code for "pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government" or maybe "getting people to like our propaganda". But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt "Navigating Disinformation"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vbSj1WQqUw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

"Navigating Disinformation" was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don't have to. The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information

Have you guessed what "disinformation" they're going to be talking about? I'll give you a clue: It begins with R. Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that "disinformation isn't for any particular aim" . This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought. The reason they have to claim that "disinformation" doesn't have a "specific aim" is very simple: They don't know what they're going to call "disinformation" yet. They can't afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as "disinformation." Left or right. Foreign or domestic. "Disinformation" is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague. So, we're one minute in, and all "navigating disinformation" has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start. Interestingly, no one has actually said the word "Russia" at this point. They have talked about "malign actors" and "threats to democracy", but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that "propaganda"= " Russian propaganda" that they don't need to say it.

The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use "disinformation" has not just been dismissed it was literally never even contemplated. Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know "more than most" about disinformation, she says. Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing then immediately calls for regulation of social media. Nobody disagrees. Then he talks about the "illegal annexation of Crimea", and claims the West should outlaw "paid propaganda" like RT and Sputnik. Nobody disagrees. Then he says that Latvia "protected" their elections from "interference" by "close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies". Everyone nods along. If you don't find this terrifying, you're not paying attention. They don't say it, they probably don't even realise they mean it, but when they talk about "close cooperation with social media networks", they mean government censorship of social media. When they say "protecting" their elections they're talking about rigging them. It only gets worse. The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster "traditional media".

The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren't paid enough, and don't keep up to date with all the "new tricks". His solution is to "promote financing" for traditional media, and to open more schools like the "Baltic Centre of Media Excellence", which is apparently a totally real thing .

It's a training centre which teaches young journalists about "media literacy" and "critical thinking". You can read their depressingly predictable list of "donors" here . I truly wish I was joking. Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally "protect journalists", but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to "defend" RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible).

She talks for a long time without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring. Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse "propaganda" platforms. She shares an anecdote about "a prominent Slovakian politician" who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is "dubiously financed, we assume from Russia". They assume from Russia. Everyone nods.

It's like they don't even hear themselves.

Then she moves on to Hungary. Apparently, Orban has "created a propaganda machine" and produced "antisemitic George Soros posters". No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to "fake news sites". She calls for "international pressure", but never explains exactly what that means. The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to "counter lies about Ukraine". Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)

She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through "disinformation" and becomes "incoherent rambling". She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you'll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian "cognitive influence" is "toxic like radiation." Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle. On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again. She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars "just for being muslims", nobody questions her. She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn't mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.

She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were "forced". A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It's simply a lie. Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution . Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the "Ministry of Information". Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the "countering disinformation" panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.

When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this "threat" – here's the list:

  1. Work to distinguish "free speech" from "propaganda", when you find propaganda there must be a "strong reaction".
  2. Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
  3. Regulate social media.
  4. Educate journalists at special schools.
  5. Start up a "Ministry of Information" and have state run media that isn't controlled, like in Ukraine.

This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it. They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia .and Russia takes up easily 90% of that. They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik. This wasn't a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month's worth of 2 minutes of hate. These aren't just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion.

They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality. They don't know, they don't care. They're true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says "Freedom". And that's just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority. Truly, perfectly Orwellian.


Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/countering-russian-disinformation-or-new-wave-of-freedom-of-speech-suppression/

Read and be appalled at what America is up to .keep for further reference. We are in danger.

Tim Jenkins
It would serve Ms. Amanpour well, to relax, rewind & review her own interview with Sergei Lavrov:-

Then she might see why Larry King could stomach the appalling corporate dictatorship, even to the core of False & Fake recording of 'our' "History of the National Security State" , No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7aKGOpSwE

Amanpour was forced to laugh uncontrollably, when confronted with Lavrov's humorous interpretations of various legal aspects of decency & his Judgement of others' politicians and 'Pussy Riots' >>> if you haven't seen it, it is to be recommended, the whole interview, if nothing else but to study the body language and micro-facial expressions, coz' a belly up laugh is not something anybody can easily control or even feign that first spark of cognition in her mind, as she digests Lavrov's response :- hilarious

Einstein
A GE won't solve matters since we have a Government of Occupation behind a parliament of puppets.

Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name.

In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO.

Pryce's ventriloquist's dummy in parliament, the pompous Alan Duncan, announced another £10 million of public money for this odious brainwashing programme.

Tim Jenkins
That panel should be nailed & plastered over, permanently:-

and as wall paper, 'Abstracts of New Law' should be pasted onto a collage of historic extracts from the Guardian, in offices that issue journalistic licenses, comprised of 'Untouchables' :-

A professional habitat, to damp any further 'Freeland' amplification & resonance,

of negative energy from professional incompetence.

Francis Lee
Apropos of the redoubtable Ms Freeland, Canada's Foreign Secretary.

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland's maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army's winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht's "success" at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Those Ukrainian 'Refugees' admitted to Canada in 1945 were almost certainly members of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizia 1. These Ukie collaboraters – not to be confused with the other Ukie Nazi outfit – Stepan Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army -were held responsible for the massacre of many Poles in the Lviv area the most infamous being carried out in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka. In the massacre, the village was destroyed and between 500] and 1,000 of the inhabitants were killed. According to Polish accounts, civilians were locked in barns that were set on fire while those attempting to flee were killed. That's about par for the course.
Canada's response was as follows:

The Canadian Deschênes Commission was set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the collaborators

Memorial to SS-Galizien division in Chervone, Lviv Oblast, western Ukraine

The Canadian "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschênesconcluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

''The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal.1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.''

However, the Commission's conclusion failed to acknowledge or heed the International Military Tribunal's verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, in which the entire Waffen-SSorganisation was declared a "criminal organization" guilty of war crimes. Also, the Deschênes Commission in its conclusion only referenced the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), thus in legal terms, only acknowledging the formation's activity after its name change in August 1944, while the massacre of Poles in Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy occurred when the division was called SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien". Nevertheless, a subsequent review by Canada's Minister of Justice again confirmed that members of the Division were not implicated in war crimes.

Yes, the west looks after its Nazis and even makes them and their descendants political figureheads.

mark
Most of these people are so smugly and complacently convinced of their own moral superiority that they just can't see the hypocrisy and doublethink involved in the event.
Mikalina
Eva Bartlett gives a wider perspective:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/londons-media-freedom-conference-smacks-irony-critics-barred-no-mention-jailed-assange/5683808
Harry Stotle
Freedom-lover, Cunt, will be furious when he hears about this!

Apparently Steve Bell is doubleplusbad for alluding to the fact Netanyahu has got his hand shoved deep into Tom Watson's arse – the Guardian pulled Bell's most recent ouvre which suggests the media's antisemitism trope might not be quite as politically untainted as the likes of Freedland, Cohen and Viner would have you believe.
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-specious-charge-of-antisemitism-in-email-to-all-paper-1.486570

Meanwhile Owen Jones has taken to Twitter to rubbish allegations that a reign of terror exists at Guardian Towers – the socialist firebrand is quoted as saying 'journalists are free to say whatever they like, so long as it doesn't stray too far from Guardian-groupthink'.

Tutisicecream
Good analysis Kit, of the cognitive dissonant ping pong being played out by Nazi sympathisers such as Hunt and Freeland.

The echo chamber of deceit is amplified again by the selective use of information and the ignoring of relevant facts, such as the miss reporting yesterday by Reuters of the Italian Neo-Nazi haul of weapons by the police, having not Russian but Ukrainian links.

Not a word in the WMSM about this devious miss-reporting as the creation of fake news in action. But what would you expect?

Living as I do in Russia I can assure anyone reading this that the media freedom here is on a par with the West and somewhat better as there is no paranoia about a fictitious enemy – Russians understand that the West is going through an existential crisis (Brexit in the UK, Trump and the Clinton war of sameness in the US and Macron and Merkel in the EU). A crisis of Liberalism as the failed life-support of capitalism. But hey, why worry about the politics when there is bigger fish to fry. Such as who will pay me to dance?

The answer is clear from what Kit has writ. The government will pay the piper. How sweet.

I'd like to thank Kit for sitting through such a turgid masquerade and as I'm rather long in the tooth I do remember the old BBC schools of journalism in Yelsin's Russia. What I remember is that old devious Auntie Beeb was busy training would be hopefuls in the art of discretion regarding how the news is formed, or formulated.

In other words your audience. And it ain't the public

Steve Hayes
The British government's "Online Harms" White Paper has a whole section devoted to "disinformation" (ie, any facts, opinions, analyses, evaluations, critiques that are critical of the elite's actual disinformation). If these proposals become law, the government will have effective control over the Internet and we will be allowed access to their disinformation, shop and watch cute cat videos.
Question This
The liberal news media & hypocrisy, who would have ever thought you'd see those words in the same sentence. But what do you expect from professional liars, politicians & 'their' free press?

Can this shit show get any worse? Yes, The other day I wrote to my MP regards the SNP legislating against the truth, effectively making it compulsory to lie! Mr Blackford as much as called me a transphobic & seemed to go to great length publishing his neo-liberal ideological views in some scottish rag, on how right is wrong & fact is turned into fiction & asked only those that agreed with him contact him.

Tim Jenkins
"The science or logical consistency of true premise, cannot take place or bear fruit, when all communication and information is 'marketised and weaponised' to a mindset of possession and control." B.Steere
Mikalina
I saw, somewhere (but can't find it now) a law or a prospective law which goes under the guise of harassment of MPs to include action against constituents who 'pester' them.

I've found a link for the Jo Cox gang discussing it, though.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/new-research-on-the-intimidation-and-harassment-of-mps-featured-in-inaugural-conference

Question This
I only emailed him once! That's hardly harassment. Anyway I sent it with proton-mail via vpn & used a false postcode using only my first name so unlikely my civil & sincere correspondence will see me locked up for insisting my inalienable rights of freedom of speech & beliefs are protected. But there again the state we live in, i may well be incarcerated for life, for such an outrageous expectation.
Where to?
"The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets.
Harry Stotle
Its the brazen nature of the conference that is especially galling, but what do you expect when crooks and liars no longer feel they even have to pretend?

Nothing will change so long as politicians (or their shady backers) are never held to account for public assets diverted toward a rapacious off-shore economic system, or the fact millions of lives have been shattered by the 'war on terror' and its evil twin, 'humanatarian regime change' (while disingenuous Labour MPs wail about the 'horrors' of antisemitism rather than the fact their former leader is a key architect of the killings).

Kit remains a go-to voice when deconstructing claims made by political figures who clearly regard the MSM as a propaganda vehicle for promoting western imperialism – the self-satisfied smugness of cunts like Jeremy Cunt stand in stark contrast to a real journalist being tortured by the British authorities just a few short miles away.

It's a sligtly depressing thought but somebody has the unenviable task of monitoring just how far our politicians have drifted from the everyday concerns of the 'just about managing' and as I say Mr Knightly does a fine job in informing readers what the real of agenda of these media love-ins are actually about – it goes without saying a very lengthy barge pole is required when the Saudis are invited but not Russia.

Where to?
This Media Freedom Conference is surely a creepy theatre of the absurd.

It is a test of what they can get away with.

Mikalina
Yep. Any soviet TV watcher would recognise this immediately. Message? THIS is the reality – and you are powerless.
mark
When are they going to give us the Ministry of Truth we so desperately need?

[Aug 16, 2019] An interesting take on American Society today by Chris Hedges .

Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

J. Gutierrez , says: August 15, 2019 at 7:05 pm GMT

An interesting take on American Society today by Chris Hedges .

[Aug 12, 2019] Argentine president suffers crushing defeat in key primaries ahead of general election

Is this the end of the neoliberal counterrevolution in Argentina ? Moor did its duty moor has to go -- Macri converted Argentina into the Debt slave again and now to get out of this situation is nest to impossible.
Aug 12, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , August 12, 2019 at 05:52 AM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-08-12/Argentine-president-suffers-crushing-defeat-in-key-primaries--J5Ov4caLvi/index.html

August 12, 2019

Argentine president suffers crushing defeat in key primaries ahead of general election

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri suffered a crushing defeat as people voted in party primaries on Sunday ahead of October's general election.

Given that all of the recession-hit South American country's major parties have already chosen their presidential candidates, the primaries effectively served as a nationwide pre-election opinion poll.

Center-left nominee Alberto Fernandez led by around 15 points after partial results were revealed. Center-right Pro-business Macri admitted it had been "a bad election."
The first round of the presidential election will be held on October 27, with a run-off – if needed – set for November 24.

With 87 percent of polling station results counted, Fernandez had polled 47.5 percent with Macri on a little more than 32 percent and centrist former finance minister Roberto Lavagna a distant third on just 8.3 percent.

Macri had been hoping to earn a second mandate, but his chances appear all but over.

If Fernandez was to register the same result in October, he would be president as Argentina's electoral law requires a candidate to gain 45 percent for outright victory, or 40 percent and a lead of at least 10 points over the nearest challenger.

Inflation and poverty

"We've had a bad election and that forces us to redouble our efforts from tomorrow," said Macri, whose popularity has plunged since last year's currency crisis and the much-criticized 56 billion U.S.-dollar bail-out loan he secured from the International Monetary Fund.

"It hurts that we haven't had the support we'd hoped for," he added.

Argentina is currently in a recession and posted 22 percent inflation for the first half of the year – one of the highest rates in the world. Poverty now affects 32 percent of the population.

Backed by the IMF, Macri has initiated an austerity plan that is deeply unpopular among ordinary Argentines, who have seen their spending power plummet.

The peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year. The Buenos Aires stock exchange actually shot up eight percent on Friday amid expectation that Macri would do well in Sunday's vote.

anne -> anne... , August 12, 2019 at 06:22 AM
IMF loan of $56 billion:

Then;

Austerity,

Inflation rate 22% from January to June 2019,

Poverty rate 32%,

Peso lost 50% in value in 2018.

anne -> anne... , August 12, 2019 at 07:03 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=onpw

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico, 1992-2018

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=onpx

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico, 1992-2018

(Indexed to 1992)

anne , August 12, 2019 at 04:01 PM
An important task now is to understand why the IMF assistance to Argentina proved damaging to the economy from the beginning; the data showed the damage being done. However, there was almost no mention of the problems that developed outside Argentina and there was surprise when the failure of the economy was reflected in the serious vote against the current president.

Of course, Joseph Stiglitz watched the same sort of problems unfold in Argentina almost 20 years ago and was severely criticized for discussing them. How did the problems recur so readily now? Why is IMF national assistance seemingly so dangerous economically?

[Aug 05, 2019] Something about Department of Homeland Security

Actually KGB is an abbreviation for the "Committee for State Security" --
Aug 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Viral Architect , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:51 am GMT

[Aug 04, 2019] We see that the neoliberal utopia tends imposes itself even upon the rulers.

Highly recommended!
Aug 04, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"Thus we see how the neoliberal utopia tends to embody itself in the reality of a kind of infernal machine, whose necessity imposes itself even upon the rulers. Like the Marxism of an earlier time, with which, in this regard, it has much in common, this utopia evokes powerful belief - the free trade faith - not only among those who live off it, such as financiers, the owners and managers of large corporations, etc., but also among those, such as high-level government officials and politicians, who derive their justification for existing from it.

For they sanctify the power of markets in the name of economic efficiency, which requires the elimination of administrative or political barriers capable of inconveniencing the owners of capital in their individual quest for the maximisation of individual profit, which has been turned into a model of rationality. They want independent central banks.

And they preach the subordination of nation-states to the requirements of economic freedom for the masters of the economy, with the suppression of any regulation of any market, beginning with the labour market, the prohibition of deficits and inflation, the general privatisation of public services, and the reduction of public and social expenses."

Pierre Bourdieu, L'essence du néolibéralisme

[Jul 30, 2019] Bolsonaro has announced he essentially sold the Amazon rainforest to the Americans

Jul 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jul 28 2019 20:36 utc | 4

Bolsonaro has announced he essentially sold the Amazon rainforest to the Americans:

Bolsonaro anuncia entrega da Amazônia aos Estados Unidos

What's interesting is his speech:

Estou procurando o primeiro mundo para explorar essas áreas em parceria e agregando valor. Por isso, a minha aproximação com os Estados Unidos

[ I'm asking the First World to exploit these areas in partnership and aggregating value. Hence my approximation with the USA ]

This makes it very clear Bolsonaro is not choosing his economic partners on the basis of what is better for Brazil, but for what is better to the (neo)liberal order (i.e. the West). His usage of Cold War propaganda terminology ("First World" as a synonym to "USA") gives him up.

The Brazilian government knows there's a massive mineral reserve in Amazon territory (Serra dos Carajás, eastern Amazon rainforest) since the times of the military dictatorship (1964-1985); however, the importance of the rainforest in the ecological regulation of the world kept them from fully exploiting them -- until now.

There are plenty of minerals the Americans can get their hands at in the Serra dos Carajás (mainly iron, but also rare metals and uranium), but Pepe Escobar rose an interesting hypothesis in a recent article for the Asia Times , where he stated that:

And then there's the crucial – for the industrialized West – niobium angle (a metal known for its hardness). Roughly 78% of Brazilian niobium reserves are located in the southeast, not in the Amazon, which accounts at best for 18%. The abundance of niobium in Brazil will last all the way to 2200 – even taking into consideration non-stop, exponential Chinese GDP growth. But the Amazon is not about niobium. It's about gold – to be duly shipped to the West.

We already know Russia and China have been stocking up gold to their reserves in order to prepare a dedollarization process. Gold is the shortest path to dedollarize a national and/or regional financial system because, traditionally, it served as universal money until the fiat currency era (1971-). It's a universal language in the financial world to tell another country that you ultimately have the leverage to do finance outside the American system (i.e. that you're not bullshitting).

With this seemingly rushed decision to seize Amazonic gold from the Brazilians -- and right after the last disappointing 2.1% GDP growth in this last quarter -- it looks like the dedollarization enforced by China and Russia is finally beginning to bite in the USA.

But we must not get to the illusion the gold standard will come back: if this is the beginning of a new Gold Rush, then it will not last for much, since most geologists agree the world reserves of gold are almost all exploited (they can do a good extrapolation to the gold available in the Earth thanks to some cosmologogical science about the origins of the planet that I don't understand very well, so this diagnosis is -- contrary to the infamous oil predictions -- pretty much definitive). The gold standard, by the way, was terrible: it was a deflationary system that led to periodical famine in Europe during the Industrial Revolutions (gold could not be produced, so production stopped when prices went down too much) and probably was the main factor that triggered the French Revolution of 1789.


Ort , Jul 28 2019 20:59 utc | 5

@ vk | Jul 28 2019 20:36 utc | 4

Bolsonaro has announced he essentially sold the Amazon rainforest to the Americans...

I believe that Bolsonaro has insisted on retaining ownership of at least one tree, in case he gets a chance to hang Glenn Greenwald from it.

See: "Greenwald calls Brazil's Bolsonaro a 'wannabe dictator' after threats of 'jail' for explosive leaks" [RT]

psychohistorian , Jul 28 2019 22:27 utc | 7
@ vk with the report on the empire rape of Brazil and words about gold as a value attached to "money"

Sorry about what is slated to happen to the Amazon region.

Gold has been historically attached to the "value" of money and silver as well to a lesser degree. That said, they represent physical value to the specie of exchange, if attached.

Specie with physical value is one step removed from barter. If/when the specie becomes fiat, meaning no more connection to physical value then it becomes debt at its core unless you and others have faith that it has more than the "paper printed on".

And that is where we are at today. In 1971, gold was removed from connection to the global Reserve Currency which then made "money" fiat and it has been that way until the present.

But that debt laden fiat money system is a cancer on the lifeblood of human interactions and China and other countries are saying to the elite that own global Western private finance that they want to return to value associated money AND the controls over the manipulation/elimination of that value.

Socialism or barbarism is the question on the table.

[Jul 27, 2019] The Greeks have just committed suicide by electing the most fanatically neoliberal government ever

Notable quotes:
"... The nationalist faction of the party played a critical role. The Greek media begun a new round of propaganda against Tsipras administration. They managed to persuade many Greeks that the agreement for the name of North Macedonia was an act of treason against Greece's national interest. And that, New Democracy, the traditional right, is still patriotic and would had never sign such an agreement. This was actually the epicenter of propaganda. Of course, the truth is that the neoliberal New Democracy would had sign whatever the Western imperialists wanted. It's ideologically identical with them, after all. ..."
Jul 27, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

The result of the recent Greek national elections will puzzle future historians for decades. The Greek voters gave a clear victory to the conservative right party, New Democracy, which will govern with 158 seats, without the need to make any coalitions.

It could be characterized a "paradoxical" result mainly for two reasons:

First, the voters gave a clear governmental order to one of the traditional powers of the old political system, which are highly responsible for the Greek crisis that erupted in 2010. Several top names of the new government, and even New Democracy leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, have been accused of being involved in various corruption scandals, in the not so distant past.

Second, the fact that the voters elected perhaps the most fanatically neoliberal government ever. This means that Mitsotakis administration is expected to implement the brutal neoliberal policies imposed by Greece's creditors to the letter. Recall that those policies deepened the recession and made things worse for the economy.

It is now well-known that Greece's creditors sacrificed the country to save the banks. Yet, after nine years of brutal austerity measures, the economy is not looking good at all. Debt has reached 180% of GDP from 120% when Greece entered the bailout program. Banks have been bailed-out with billions and still are not lending money to real economy and especially the small-medium business sector.

Yet, right before the election day, a New Democracy member (Babis Papadimitriou) who got elected, suggested that the 'safety pillow' of 37 billion - which the Greek government managed to collect through the brutal implementation of insane surpluses - should be given to the banks!

Note that Babis Papadimitriou is a former journalist worked for the Skai TV station. The station openly supported New Democracy, and its owners are part of the oligarchy that was very displeased with the SYRIZA administration. That's because Tsipras was not willing to succumb to oligarchy's interests.

The current New Democracy party is a product of the Greek oligarchy establishment. The party - especially after the eruption of the Greek crisis in 2010 - has been transformed into an unprecedented and peculiar mixture of some of the most fanatic neoliberals and some of the most fanatic nationalists.

The nationalist faction of the party played a critical role. The Greek media begun a new round of propaganda against Tsipras administration. They managed to persuade many Greeks that the agreement for the name of North Macedonia was an act of treason against Greece's national interest. And that, New Democracy, the traditional right, is still patriotic and would had never sign such an agreement. This was actually the epicenter of propaganda. Of course, the truth is that the neoliberal New Democracy would had sign whatever the Western imperialists wanted. It's ideologically identical with them, after all.

The bad news for the neoliberal establishment is that SYRIZA managed to maintain a significant portion of its power (31.53%). This has brought a kind of embarrassment to the establishment because SYRIZA is still not under full control. It is not accidental that various circles close to New Democracy were implying that apart from a clear victory, another target would be the strategic defeat of SYRIZA. Meaning, the return of SYRIZA to its pre-crisis 3% level.

So, the establishment sense that there is a 'danger' that the party could slip again away from the neoliberal order imposed by the power centers inside and outside Greece. Maintaining such a power, it may become a real threat to the neoliberal order again.

However, many of these things probably won't matter because now New Democracy has four years to implement the most devastating neoliberal program, without any significant resistance. This is its sole mission. To transform the country into a neoliberal paradise for the oligarchs and the foreign investment 'predators'. And this 'brilliant' plan will be paid one more time by the Greeks, who will see the destruction of public health and education. The destruction of social state. The complete looting of public property. The destruction of whatever has left from labor rights and social security.

The Greeks have just committed suicide by electing the most fanatically neoliberal government ever.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/soOLD31EtLw

Share

[Jul 26, 2019] Is the Left now ready for a counterattack in order to exterminate the neoliberal-far-right authoritarian beast

Notable quotes:
"... There's a curious alliance occurring between right-wing authoritarianism and neoliberalism, which is very very troubling. ..."
"... When the neoliberal ethic was first being proposed, it was very much being proposed to the generation of 68 and saying to that generation, 'Look, you want individual liberty and freedom. OK, we'll give it to you in this neoliberal form, which is a very political, economic form, and you have to forget other issues, like social justice and the like.' So, it seeped its way into the discourse of much of the Left and this creates a sort of tolerance for some neoliberal practices. ..."
"... The first revolt against the neoliberal order was Seattle, which was the anti-globalization movement and then all of the picketing of the IMF and G20's meetings. At that point, the ruling class has started to say 'well this could get out of hand, we need a government structure that's gonna sit on these people and do it really, really hard.' ..."
"... So, when Occupy Wall Street came along, which was a fairly small and fairly innocent kind of movement, Wall Street got paranoid. And basically summoned the New York mayor at the time - who was the Wall Street character Bloomberg - to say 'squash these people.' And so, at this point, the perpetuation of the neoliberal order starts to become more and more guaranteed by state authoritarianism and neoconservatism. Which now, has morphed a little bit into this kind of right-wing populism. ..."
"... Indeed, in the early 70s, right after the 1968 movement and when neoliberalism starts to become the dominant ideology, the Left retreated and retired from the idea of a collective struggle. ..."
Jul 25, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

David Harvey speaks with Greg Wilpert and describes how neoliberalism neutralized the Left in the early 70s and why now there is a peculiar alliance between neoliberalism and right-wing authoritarianism.

As Harvey points out:

There's a curious alliance occurring between right-wing authoritarianism and neoliberalism, which is very very troubling.

When the neoliberal ethic was first being proposed, it was very much being proposed to the generation of 68 and saying to that generation, 'Look, you want individual liberty and freedom. OK, we'll give it to you in this neoliberal form, which is a very political, economic form, and you have to forget other issues, like social justice and the like.' So, it seeped its way into the discourse of much of the Left and this creates a sort of tolerance for some neoliberal practices.

Neoliberalism has a very clever way of turning things around and blaming the victim. And we saw that in the foreclosures of the housing and all this kind of stuff. Many people who were foreclosed upon, didn't blame the system. What they blamed was themselves.

When Clinton came in promising all kinds of benefits and gave us all these neoliberal reforms, at that point, people kind of said 'you know, this is not really working for me, and what's more, there's something going on here which is not right.'

The first revolt against the neoliberal order was Seattle, which was the anti-globalization movement and then all of the picketing of the IMF and G20's meetings. At that point, the ruling class has started to say 'well this could get out of hand, we need a government structure that's gonna sit on these people and do it really, really hard.'

So, when Occupy Wall Street came along, which was a fairly small and fairly innocent kind of movement, Wall Street got paranoid. And basically summoned the New York mayor at the time - who was the Wall Street character Bloomberg - to say 'squash these people.' And so, at this point, the perpetuation of the neoliberal order starts to become more and more guaranteed by state authoritarianism and neoconservatism. Which now, has morphed a little bit into this kind of right-wing populism.

So, in a sense the neoliberal order is being perpetuated by this authoritarian shift. And that should give the Left a good possibility to mount a counter-attack in certain parts of the world.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KvPNOp97x-k

Indeed, in the early 70s, right after the 1968 movement and when neoliberalism starts to become the dominant ideology, the Left retreated and retired from the idea of a collective struggle.

As Adam Curtis describes in his film, HyperNormalisation :

The extraordinary thing was that no one opposed the bankers. The radicals and the Left wingers who, ten years before, had dreamed of changing America through revolution, did nothing. They had retreated and were living in abandoned buildings in Manhattan. The singer Patti Smith later described the mood of disillusion that had come over them. "I could not identify with the political movements any longer," she said. "All the manic activity in the streets. In trying to join them, I felt overwhelmed by yet another form of bureaucracy." What she was describing was a rise of a new, powerful individualism that could not fit with the idea of collective political action. Instead, Patti Smith and many others became a new kind of individual radical, who watched the decaying city with a cool detachment. They didn't try to change it. They just experienced it.

So, the critical question today is whether the time has come for the Left to revive and exterminate the neoliberal/far-right authoritarian beast.

[Jul 17, 2019] It is neoliberalism since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks

Notable quotes:
"... The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss. ..."
Dec 17, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

msTOmsTO -> AsDusty 23 Aug 2016 00:43

Marx, Engels and Gramsci all died before the second world war began. I doubt they had much to say about what caused it.

Regarding the posited failure of "neoliberalism", if you want to know what real failure of a political and economic system looks like, have a look at the consequences of Marxism for every country where it held sway in the 20th century.

A recession followed by a few years of sluggish growth is hardly catastrophic

ShaunNewman -> Ohcolowisc , 23 Aug 2016 00:25
Democratic socialism must take the place of this capitalist system where 50% of the global economy is owned by just 1% of the population, patently unfair for billions of people. To have 1% having more than they could possibly spend in a lifetime is ludicrous while we have others starving and millions of "people" living below the poverty line.
ShaunNewman -> RobertKlahn , 23 Aug 2016 00:21
RobertKlahn

The capitalist (USA) system diverts huge amounts of money via corporations 50% of the global economy to just 1% of the global population, which is patently unfair. The 1% ownership grows every day because these 1% people have a mental illness called insatiable greed, where enough is never enough. Yes 'fair trade' would help, but what must be broken is the compliance of conservative governments around the world who fail to tax these corporations a 'fair share' of taxation to help "the people" to raise their living standards. We must adopt democratic socialism with million of USA citizens voted for with Bernie Sanders, and as is practiced in the Nordic countries, who tax corporations fairly and obtain a good standard of living for "their people."

Matthew Kilburn , 23 Aug 2016 00:03
What comes next? Hopefully some kind of neo-nationalistic Westernism in which the societies that, up until the turmoil of the 60s and 70s shaped the course of global affairs, rediscover their roots and identifies.

If "neoliberalism" seems to be in retreat, perhaps the simplest explanation is that the cultures that gave rise to it - western, Christian, often English-speaking cultures - most certainly ARE in retreat.

How can we answer questions like "what is happening to us?" or "How should we react?" When we can't even identify the "us" or the "we"?

ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:58
We need government that will restrain capitalism and use the system for the benefit of "the people" not the corporations. Which in practice means "don't vote conservative."
ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:56
martinusher

Yes, the point is that unrestrained capitalism does wreck lives, but continues to feed the 1% with mare more than they could ever spend. This is precisely why we need a system of democratic socialism as practiced on the Nordic countries, where "the people" come first and the corporations run a distant second.

However if the UK continues to elect conservative governments the reverse will always be the case, with "the people" running a distant second.

ShaunNewman -> Roger Elliott , 22 Aug 2016 23:47
Globalization, capitalist society in the 70s quickly became ownership of 50% (and continuing to grow) of the global economy by just 1% of the population. We need to change to democratic socialism as practiced by the Nordic countries.
ShaunNewman -> CopBase , 22 Aug 2016 23:43
The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss.
ShaunNewman -> tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 23:31
How we got here was via the capitalist system whereby 50% of the global economy is now owned bt just 1% of the global population. A collection of individuals who are filthy rich but who also have the mental illness of insatiable greed, and who won't be satisfied until they own 60% and so on. They avoid paying tax, and conservative governments help them by providing loop holes in taxation legislation so their corporations can avoid paying tax or pay up to 5% of their huge incomes in a token gesture. In Australia out of 1,500 corporations surveyed 579 have not paid a cent since at least 2013. The Australian people should be marching in the streets for a 'fair go' but the apathy prevents that. They probably won't get angry until such time as they realize that the 1% own 70% of the global economy and they are being squeezed even harder into 14 hour days without a break, only then will they crack, if at all.
ciaofornow -> Citizen0 , 22 Aug 2016 22:58
Quantitative easing first upped the stock market and therefore the retirement portfolios of the US middle class as well as the portfolios of the wealthy, and now the US economy is finally producing middle class jobs (recent report, NY Times) and not just the upper middle class.
------------------
Rubbish!
QE is just the creation of trillions more in debt. Artificially raising asset prices is not a free market. A free market depends on people being able to pay the prices. But today in the UK, people require three loans to buy a house the price of which has been artificially raised by QE. That enriches the homeowner, the bank, and estate agent. but in equal measure, it impoverishes the house buyer.

the blowing up of asset prices will have to go on forever (still, not one penny of QE has been repaid), or the system will collapse. But that is impossible. It will destroy the value of money. See what happens to stock prices each time the US "threatens" to raise interest rates and stop QE programmes. And just check out personal debt levels in the UK and US. It is unsustainable.

The basic problem of neoliberalism is that it demands low pay as a competitive measure. But that means people have less money to spend in the consumer economy. So neoliberalism requires deregulated banking, pushing up asset prices, so people feel wealthy and take on more debt with which to compensate their low pay, and so they can shop. But that in turn leads to higher debts until the debts are not likely to be repaid. Banks collapse.

The bailouts and money printing has raised asset prices as you say. So now they are at record highs. And if the system demands they go higher while keeping down pay. Who the Fuck is going to pay?

The system is designed to collapse. It only exists today thanks to the creation of money that does not really exist. We may as well adopt grass as money as keep this system going.
The flipside of artificial growth in asset prices is the falling value of earnings.

in 1996, UK average pay equalled 30-35% of a typical house. Today, it is only 10% of a house, and in London, 7%. And for the system to function, that percentage must fall.

AsDusty -> msTOmsTO , 22 Aug 2016 22:41
No, quite a lot of people have been writing about it. Marx, Engels and Gramski all discussed the tendency of free market economics to lead to conflict. More recently you could look at the work of Galbraith, Sachs and Frank Stilwell, just off the top of my head.
ciaofornow -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:35
You failed to understand the article. It says the post war period (1945-70s) was the longest and most successful economic run, especially for working classes, in history.

It is "neoliberalism" since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks. And ever since the whole economic show has only been kept alive with life-saving drugs (QE which is basically pretending there is a cash flow rather than reality of a solvency crisis, govt set zero interest rates, bailouts). But we have merely got stagnation.

And your last point is a straw man. Hardly anyone wants to replace this failing system with Stalinism.

We have had two contrasting economic systems in the West since the War. The one had far more regulation, and stronger wage growth for workers, the latter since 1979 has been neoliberalism.

The first collapsed in the stagnation of the 70s. The latter died in 2008, and has been kept going through state support and printing trillions more in debt. But the bailouts are failing. They are failing because it was never a cash flow crisis. It was a solvency crisis. Now the debts are even greater.

tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 22:34
Selective description posing as analysis and allowing the emotional triggers of a couple of key phrases to justify the selectiveness. It sounds magisterial but it ain't and, as others have pointed out, it gives us little on where do we go from here. This is precisely because he has really not told us what he thinks here is, how we got here, and why we got here.
Ohcolowisc -> RobertKlahn , 22 Aug 2016 22:25
The last thing a capitalist corporation wants is to compete (i.e. having actual competition). What they want is monopoly. That's why they "rig" the markets - among others by merging with and acquiring their competitors until they reach near monopoly in their industry (or industries).

That's the essence of the statement that "there never have been free markets, only rigged markets". And there never will be. "Free markets" are transient phenomena that exist only for relatively short time periods during which the leading players do the rigging. The only factor that could keep free markets "free" is government - and that's why it is hated so much by corporations and is rendered practically toothless in the US. It limits their ability to rig and to loot.

The only form the phrase "free markets" exist for prolonged periods of time is when it is used as a propaganda slogan by neoliberal ideologues (even though it is the exact opposite of what really happens).

ciaofornow , 22 Aug 2016 22:20
And why has it taken so long for such an article to be published? Many of the points in this article should have been apparent to intelligent commentators right after the 2008 crisis.

Why has it taken so long for political fallout?

The major reason is cited: Parties such as New Labour, supposedly of the Left that continued to support this failing system. Gordon Brown bailed out the banks, claimed to save the world, and then let it all go on as before. A Disgrace of a leader that history will condemn as a fool. And how many commentators of the time lauded him for it? Far too many. And many of them still in the jobs. Jesus Wept!

What the writer understands and too many are in denial about is this. New Labour is dead. It died in 2007-8 with the collapse of the banks.

Then the amazing coincidence that the third party (the Lib Dems) was taken over by the neoliberals just before the Financial Crisis brought the neoliberal age to an end, and which went onto support the True Neoliberal party (the Tories). In the US, a man who ran on a candidacy of Change only for the world to find out it was bluster and rhetoric! Obama will not go down as a Great President at all. He tried to bail out a failing system. He will be a footnote in history.

Then those bloody bailouts. They not only bailed out the bankers and the rich. They bailed out millions of largely older voters, artificially pumping up house prices. The old vote. And they voted to back this grand theft against Reason, and the younger generations. The result of the bailouts will be a far greater Financial Crisis than 2008. The disconnect between people's debts and wages is worse today than in 2006. That can mean only one thing. Collapse is coming. And now the debts are even bigger. Bailouts are wrong, have failed, and will not be politically acceptable again.

Conservative parties will be repositories for those afraid of change, and those happy to be bailed out until the crisis explodes again. On the change side, if we do not have Left Populism, we will get nationalism.

AsDusty -> candeesays , 22 Aug 2016 22:16
In terms of stronger border controls there is no doubt this is happening. The US, Europe and here in Australia the governments grip on border entries has only got tighter. As for international labour migration, Trump, Brexit and the European refugee crisis will see increasing pressure on lowering the numbers of migrant workers.
Increasing labour migration has been a ploy by government to try and make globalisation work, as globalisation requires the free flow of labour across international borders. The political pressure to reduce migrant numbers will be too much to resist, and greater controls will be put in place.
CivilityPlease -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:07
This is not a choice between A or B. Stop fighting yesterday's battles. Its over, just as the article declares. What is developing as we speak will steer tomorrow's civilization and it will be neither of the old paradigms. We have to come to a consensus about where we want to go. What principles do we have faith in to inform our assessments of what we keep or alter? What roles will we play? What will our purpose(s) be? That is the business we need to be about to arrive at an orderly, deliberate future, prepared for a long journey to a better world. Or we push and pull in all different directions and go round and round the same old ground making the same old mistakes until the world moves on and leaves us behind. We will need to work together or fail each alone. Are you ready?
candeesays -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:02
It is theory without politics or economics.

The period from GATT was predicated on strong welfare states and national industries trading. Not privatising societies and globalising capital.

[Jul 06, 2019] It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.

Notable quotes:
"... The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs. ..."
"... It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying. ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

zephirine -> josephinireland

The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs.

This view has taken hold in the UK too, where the tabloids peddle the view that anyone who claims state benefits must be a fraud. But at least, people here and in mainland Europe have the direct experience of war within living memory and we understand that you can lose everything through no fault of your own. In the US, even when there's a natural disaster like Katrina it seems to be the poor people's fault for not having their own transport and money to go and stay somewhere else.

It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.

[Jul 02, 2019] Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have superiority complex>

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good. ..."
"... Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable. ..."
"... At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes. ..."
"... The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around. ..."
Apr 10, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse - Van Badham - Opinion - The Guardian

slorter, 27 Apr 2018 01:37

Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good.

Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable.

At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes.

The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around.

Once you understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labour conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits those who work for an hourly wage.

You also need to remember that voting the coalition out, which you need to do, will not necessarily give you a neoliberal free zone; Labor needs to shed some the dogma as well.

bryonyed -> slorter , 27 Apr 2018 01:41

Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have complexes of deservedness.

[Jun 29, 2019] The Forever War Is So Normalized That Opposing It Is Isolationism by Caitlin Johnstone

Notable quotes:
"... More importantly, Ryan's campaign using the word "isolationism" to describe the simple common sense impulse to withdraw from a costly, deadly military occupation which isn't accomplishing anything highlights an increasingly common tactic of tarring anything other than endless military expansionism as strange and aberrant instead of normal and good. ..."
"... Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. This removal of a desirable opposite of war from the establishment-authorised lexicon causes war to always be the desirable option. ..."
"... A few months after Bush's address, Antiwar 's Rich Rubino wrote an article titled " Non-Interventionism is Not Isolationism ", explaining the difference between a nation which withdraws entirely from the world and a nation which simply resists the temptation to use military aggression except in self defense. ..."
"... "Isolationism dictates that a country should have no relations with the rest of the world," Rubino explained. "In its purest form this would mean that ambassadors would not be shared with other nations, communications with foreign governments would be mainly perfunctory, and commercial relations would be non-existent." ..."
"... "A non-interventionist supports commercial relations," Rubino contrasted. "In fact, in terms of trade, many non-interventionists share libertarian proclivities and would unilaterally obliterate all tariffs and custom duties, and would be open to trade with all willing nations. In addition, non-interventionists welcome cultural exchanges and the exchange of ambassadors with all willing nations." ..."
"... "A non-interventionist believes that the U.S. should not intercede in conflicts between other nations or conflicts within nations," wrote Rubino. "In recent history, non-interventionists have proved prophetic in warning of the dangers of the U.S. entangling itself in alliances. The U.S. has suffered deleterious effects and effectuated enmity among other governments, citizenries, and non-state actors as a result of its overseas interventions. The U.S. interventions in both Iran and Iraq have led to cataclysmic consequences." ..."
"... Calling an aversion to endless military violence "isolationism" is the same as calling an aversion to mugging people "agoraphobia". ..."
"... Another dishonest label you'll get thrown at you when debating the forever war is "pacifism". "Some wars are bad, but I'm not a pacifist; sometimes war is necessary," supporters of a given interventionist military action will tell you. They'll say this while defending Trump's potentially catastrophic Iran warmongering or promoting a moronic regime change invasion of Syria, or defending disastrous US military interventions in the past like Iraq. ..."
"... All Wars Are Evil. Period. "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." – Henry Kissinger ..."
"... Can you imagine Jesus firing a machine gun at a group of people? Can you picture Jesus in an F-16 lobbing missiles at innocents? ..."
"... instead of getting us out of Syria, Trump got us further in. Trump is driving us to ww3. ..."
"... funny how people, fresh from the broken promises "build that wall" etc, quickly forget all that and begin IMMEDIATELY projecting trustworthiness on yet ANOTHER candidate. I'Il vote for Tulsi when she says no more Israeli wars for America. ..."
"... if there's even a small chance Tulsi can get us out of the forever wars i will be compelled to vote for her, as Trump clearly has no intention on doing so. yes, it is that important ..."
"... As for this next election? Is Ron Paul running as an independent? No? Well then, 'fool me once...' Don't get me wrong: I hope Gabbard is genuine and she's absolutely right to push non-interventionism...but the rest of her platform sucks. There's also the fact that she's a CFR member ..."
"... Just as they did with Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Pat Buchanan, the MSM and the swamp have already effectively buried Gabbard. It's unlikely that she'll make the next debate cut as the DNC and MSM will toss her out. ..."
"... All the MSM is talking about post-debates, even on Faux Noise, is Harris's race-baiting of old senile Biden. ..."
Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

After getting curb stomped on the debate stage by Tulsi Gabbard, the campaign for Tim "Who the fuck is Tim Ryan?" Ryan posted a statement decrying the Hawaii congresswoman's desire to end a pointless 18-year military occupation as "isolationism".

"While making a point as to why America can't cede its international leadership and retreat from around the world, Tim was interrupted by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard," the statement reads.

"When he tried to answer her, she contorted a factual point Tim was making  --  about the Taliban being complicit in the 9/11 attacks by providing training, bases and refuge for Al Qaeda and its leaders. The characterization that Tim Ryan doesn't know who is responsible for the attacks on 9/11 is simply unfair reporting. Further, we continue to reject Gabbard's isolationism and her misguided beliefs on foreign policy . We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it's ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria's Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people."

Ryan's campaign is lying. During an exchange that was explicitly about the Taliban in Afghanistan, Ryan plainly said "When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings." At best, Ryan can argue that when he said "they" he had suddenly shifted from talking about the Taliban to talking about Al Qaeda without bothering to say so, in which case he obviously can't legitimately claim that Gabbard "contorted" anything he had said. At worst, he was simply unaware at the time of the very clear distinction between the Afghan military and political body called the Taliban and the multinational extremist organization called Al Qaeda.

More importantly, Ryan's campaign using the word "isolationism" to describe the simple common sense impulse to withdraw from a costly, deadly military occupation which isn't accomplishing anything highlights an increasingly common tactic of tarring anything other than endless military expansionism as strange and aberrant instead of normal and good.

Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. This removal of a desirable opposite of war from the establishment-authorised lexicon causes war to always be the desirable option.

This is entirely by design. This bit of word magic has been employed for a long time to tar any idea which deviates from the neoconservative agenda of total global unipolarity via violent imperialism as something freakish and dangerous. In his farewell address to the nation , war criminal George W Bush said the following:

"In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led."

A few months after Bush's address, Antiwar 's Rich Rubino wrote an article titled " Non-Interventionism is Not Isolationism ", explaining the difference between a nation which withdraws entirely from the world and a nation which simply resists the temptation to use military aggression except in self defense.

"Isolationism dictates that a country should have no relations with the rest of the world," Rubino explained. "In its purest form this would mean that ambassadors would not be shared with other nations, communications with foreign governments would be mainly perfunctory, and commercial relations would be non-existent."

"A non-interventionist supports commercial relations," Rubino contrasted. "In fact, in terms of trade, many non-interventionists share libertarian proclivities and would unilaterally obliterate all tariffs and custom duties, and would be open to trade with all willing nations. In addition, non-interventionists welcome cultural exchanges and the exchange of ambassadors with all willing nations."

"A non-interventionist believes that the U.S. should not intercede in conflicts between other nations or conflicts within nations," wrote Rubino. "In recent history, non-interventionists have proved prophetic in warning of the dangers of the U.S. entangling itself in alliances. The U.S. has suffered deleterious effects and effectuated enmity among other governments, citizenries, and non-state actors as a result of its overseas interventions. The U.S. interventions in both Iran and Iraq have led to cataclysmic consequences."

Calling an aversion to endless military violence "isolationism" is the same as calling an aversion to mugging people "agoraphobia". Yet you'll see this ridiculous label applied to both Gabbard and Trump, neither of whom are isolationists by any stretch of the imagination, or even proper non-interventionists. Gabbard supports most US military alliances and continues to voice full support for the bogus "war on terror" implemented by the Bush administration which serves no purpose other than to facilitate endless military expansionism; Trump is openly pushing regime change interventionism in both Venezuela and Iran while declining to make good on his promises to withdraw the US military from Syria and Afghanistan.

Another dishonest label you'll get thrown at you when debating the forever war is "pacifism". "Some wars are bad, but I'm not a pacifist; sometimes war is necessary," supporters of a given interventionist military action will tell you. They'll say this while defending Trump's potentially catastrophic Iran warmongering or promoting a moronic regime change invasion of Syria, or defending disastrous US military interventions in the past like Iraq.

This is bullshit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, virtually no one is a pure pacifist who opposes war under any and all possible circumstances; anyone who claims that they can't imagine any possible scenario in which they'd support using some kind of coordinated violence either hasn't imagined very hard or is fooling themselves. If your loved ones were going to be raped, tortured and killed by hostile forces unless an opposing group took up arms to defend them, for example, you would support that. Hell, you would probably join in. Secondly, equating opposition to US-led regime change interventionism, which is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful, is not even a tiny bit remotely like opposing all war under any possible circumstance.

Another common distortion you'll see is the specious argument that a given opponent of US interventionism "isn't anti-war" because they don't oppose all war under any and all circumstances. This tweet by The Intercept 's Mehdi Hasan is a perfect example, claiming that Gabbard is not anti-war because she supports Syria's sovereign right to defend itself with the help of its allies from the violent extremist factions which overran the country with western backing. Again, virtually no one is opposed to all war under any and all circumstances; if a coalition of foreign governments had helped flood Hasan's own country of Britain with extremist militias who'd been murdering their way across the UK with the ultimate goal of toppling London, both Tulsi Gabbard and Hasan would support fighting back against those militias.

The label "anti-war" can for these reasons be a little misleading. The term anti-interventionist or non-interventionist comes closest to describing the value system of most people who oppose the warmongering of the western empire, because they understand that calls for military interventionism which go mainstream in today's environment are almost universally based on imperialist agendas grabbing at power, profit, and global hegemony. The label "isolationist" comes nowhere close.

It all comes down to sovereignty. An anti-interventionist believes that a country has the right to defend itself, but it doesn't have the right to conquer, capture, infiltrate or overthrow other nations whether covertly or overtly. At the "end" of colonialism we all agreed we were done with that, except that the nationless manipulators have found far trickier ways to seize a country's will and resources without actually planting a flag there. We need to get clearer on these distinctions and get louder about defending them as the only sane, coherent way to run foreign policy.

* * *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here . Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Vitor , 31 minutes ago link

It's like someone being labeled anti-social for stopping to bully and pick up fights.

Aussiekiwi , 49 minutes ago link

"If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led."

Fascinating belief, has he been to Libya lately, perhaps attended an open air slave Market in a country that was very developed before the US decided to 'free' it.

Quivering Lip , 57 minutes ago link

Until Tulsi pimp slapped that Ryan guy I never heard of him. I would imagine I'll never here about him in another 2 months.

Toshie , 1 hour ago link

yeah , keep at it US Govt ;- keep fighting those wars overseas on behalf the 5th foreign column.

Keep wasting precious lives ,and the country's wealth while foreign rising powers like China are laughing all the way to the bank.

may you live in interesting times !

onasip123 , 1 hour ago link

War forever and ever, Amen.

Dr Anon , 1 hour ago link

When we weren't there, they flew planes into our buildings?

Excuse me mutant, but I believe we paid Israel our jewtax that year like all the others and they still flew planes into our buildings. And then danced in the streets about it. Sick people.

thisguyoverhere , 1 hour ago link

All Wars Are Evil. Period. "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." – Henry Kissinger

Picture if you will Jesus. Seriously? Can you imagine Jesus firing a machine gun at a group of people? Can you picture Jesus in an F-16 lobbing missiles at innocents?

Do you see Jesus piloting a drone and killing Muslims, other non-believers, or anyone for that matter? Can you picture Jesus as a sniper?

Impossible.

Dougs Decks , 2 hours ago link

Soooo,,, If my favorite evening activity, is to sit on the front porch steps, while the dog and the cats run around, with my shotgun leaning up next to me,,, Is that Isolationist, or Protectionist,,,

Brazen Heist II , 2 hours ago link

You know the system is completely broken when they want to silence/kill/smear anybody talking sense and peace.

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

and isis are referred to as freedom fighters

Herdee , 2 hours ago link

The CIA and MI6 staged all the fake chemical incidents in Syria as well as the recent one in England. False Flags.

ardent , 2 hours ago link

What America needs is to get rid of all those Jewish Zionist Neocons leading us into those forever wars.

ALL MidEast terrorism and warmongering are for APARTHEID Israhell.

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

instead of getting us out of Syria, Trump got us further in. Trump is driving us to ww3. we can't do **** if we're glazed over in a nuclear holocaust. maybe Tulsi is lying through her teeth, but i am so pissed Trump went full neocon

Wild Bill Steamcock , 2 hours ago link

"Won't Get Fooled Again"- The Who

JD Rock , 2 hours ago link

funny how people, fresh from the broken promises "build that wall" etc, quickly forget all that and begin IMMEDIATELY projecting trustworthiness on yet ANOTHER candidate. I'Il vote for Tulsi when she says no more Israeli wars for America.

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

she did slam Netanyahu

WillyGroper , 2 hours ago link

saying & doing are different animals. she's powerless. more hope n chains.

KnightsofNee , 2 hours ago link

www.tulsigabbard.org

If you read her positions on various issues, a quick survey shows that she supports the New Green Deal, more gun control (ban on assault rifles, etc.), Medicare for all. Stopped reading at that point.

White Nat , 2 hours ago link

We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it's ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria's Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. ~ Joseph Goebbels

New_Meat , 2 hours ago link

- Edward Bernays, relative of Sigmund Fraud, propagandist for Woodrow Wilson.

Back then, being a "propagandist" held no stigma nor antipathy.

fify

Debt Slave , 1 hour ago link

The better educated among us know exactly as to who Goebblels was referring to. Even a dullard should be able to figure out who benefits from all of our Middle East adventures.

LOL123 , 3 hours ago link

"Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. "

Under military might WAS the old world order... Under the new world order the strength is in cyber warfare .

If under technology the profiteers can control the masses through crowd control ( which they can-" Department of Defense has developed a non-lethal crowd control device called the Active Denial System (ADS) . The ADS works by firing a high-powered beam of 95 GHz waves at a target that is, millimeter wavelengths. Anyone caught in the beam will feel like their skin is burning.) your spending power ( they can through e- commetce and digital banking) and isolation cells called homes ( they can through directed microwaves from GWEN stations).... We already are isolated and exposed at the same time.

That war is an exceptable means of engagement as a solution to world power is a confirmation of the psychological warfare imposed on us since the creation of our Nation.

Either we reel it in and back now or we destroy ourselves from within.

"

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

if there's even a small chance Tulsi can get us out of the forever wars i will be compelled to vote for her, as Trump clearly has no intention on doing so. yes, it is that important

metachron , 2 hours ago link

Idiot, Tulsi is a sovereign nationalist on the left. You have just never seen one before. If you were truly anti-globalist you'd would realize left and right are invented to divide us. The politics are global and national, so wake the **** up

Hurricane Baby , 3 hours ago link

Actually, I don't see where a few decades of US isolationism would be all that bad.

Fred box , 3 hours ago link

""War Is the U.S. Racket!"" They are not good at it, there "great at it". My entire life 63yrs,they been fighting someone or something. When times where rough in the 1800s,Hell! they fought themselves(Civil War. As I said b4 No one seems to ask, Where does the gold go of the vanquished foe? Truly Is A Well Practiced Racket.

Malleus Maleficarum , 3 hours ago link

Good article with several salient points, thought I would ask "what's wrong with a little isolationism?" Peace through internal strength is desirable, but good fences make good neighbors and charity begins at home!

The gradual twisting of language really is one of most insidious tactics employed by the NWO Luciferians. I think we'd all like to see the traitorous Neocons gone for good. Better yet, strip them of their American citizenship and ill-gotten wealth and banish them to Israel. Let them earn their citizenship serving in a front-line IDF rifle company.

As for this next election? Is Ron Paul running as an independent? No? Well then, 'fool me once...' Don't get me wrong: I hope Gabbard is genuine and she's absolutely right to push non-interventionism...but the rest of her platform sucks. There's also the fact that she's a CFR member and avowed gun-grabber, to boot. Two HUGE red flags!

She almost strikes me as a half-assed 'Manchurian Candidate.' So, if she's elected (a big 'if' at this point) I ask myself 'what happens after the next (probably nuclear) false flag?' How quickly will she disavow her present stance on non-interventionism? How quickly and viciously will the 2nd Amendment be raped? Besides, I'm not foolish enough to believe that one person can turn the SS Deep State away from it's final disastrous course.

dunlin , 2 hours ago link

What's cfr? Duck duck gives lots of law firms.

tardpill , 2 hours ago link

council on foreign relations

tardpill , 2 hours ago link

the whos who of globalist satanists..

Sinophile , 32 minutes ago link

Mal, she is NOT a CFR member. You are misinformed.

Justapleb , 3 hours ago link

These word games were already in use looong ago. Tulsi Gabbard is using Obama's line about fighting the wrong war. She would have taken out Al Qaeda, captured Bin Laden, and put a dog leash on him. So that she could make a green economy, a new century of virtue signalling tyranny. No thanks.

Smi1ey , 3 hours ago link

Great article.

Go Tusli!

Go Caitlin!

I am Groot , 3 hours ago link

You beat me to that. Thanks for saving my breath.

Rule #1 All politcians lie

Rule #2 See Rule #1

Boogity , 3 hours ago link

Just as they did with Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Pat Buchanan, the MSM and the swamp have already effectively buried Gabbard. It's unlikely that she'll make the next debate cut as the DNC and MSM will toss her out.

All the MSM is talking about post-debates, even on Faux Noise, is Harris's race-baiting of old senile Biden.

I went to some of the so-called liberal websites and blogs and the only mention of Gabbard is in the context of her being a Putin stooge. This combined with the fact that virtually all establishment Republicans are eager to fight any war for Israel clearly shows that it will take something other than the ballot box to end Uncle Scam's endless wars.

[Jun 27, 2019] 300,000 demonstrate in Prague against right-wing Czech government by Markus Salzmann

Jun 26, 2019 | www.wsws.org

300,000 demonstrate in Prague against right-wing Czech government

An estimated 300,000 people protested in the Czech capital of Prague last Sunday against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Andrei Babiš. At what was the biggest demonstration in the Czech Republic since the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989, protesters demanded the resignation of the billionaire founder of the right-wing neo-liberal party ANO.

After the approximately 750-meter-long Wenceslas Square was determined to be too small to hold the protest, the demonstration was moved to the Letná Plateau on the banks of the Vltava, the site of the mass protests against the Stalinist regime 30 years ago. Three decades later it has become clear that the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe has not brought the promised prosperity and freedom. Instead, unprecedented levels of social inequality are being overseen by a thoroughly corrupt, authoritarian elite.

For seven weeks, thousands of Czechs have protested against Babiš, who is accused of corruption and of using his political power for private, business purposes. The protests are also directed against Czech Justice Minister Marie Benešova, who is accused of obstructing investigations against Babiš. According to Forbes magazine, the assets of the Czech Prime Minister are estimated at around 3.3 billion euros, making him the second richest man in the country.

The participants in Sunday's demonstration were overwhelmingly workers, youth and pensioners, the majority of whom have suffered from the incessant attacks on social rights and benefits carried out by successive Czech governments. Posters at the demo read "Disappear" and "Babiš resign." Further protests have been announced for August, and could continue up to the date planned to celebrate the toppling of the former Stalinist regime in 1989.

The mass protests in the Czech Republic are yet another indication of the international resurgence of the class struggle. Particularly in Eastern Europe, more and more people have taken to the streets or gone on strike in recent months to protest against catastrophic living conditions, poor wages and corrupt governments. The recent strike by Polish teachers was the largest in Poland in 30 years, and a strike by Hungarian auto workers nearly paralysed European production at Volkswagen. In Serbia and Albania thousands have taken to the streets to vent their opposition to their corrupt right-wing governments.

While the Czech and European press crows about continuing economic growth and low unemployment, the reality for ordinary people is very different. Rapidly rising rents in the cities and price increases for food, electricity and gasoline are driving many families to desperation. Prague is already one of the most expensive cities in Europe. In 2018, around 17 percent of Czechs lived in poverty.

The precarious economic reality becomes clear once one examines the increase in private indebtedness. As Radio Praha reported, around ten percent of the population can no longer pay their debts and must forfeit their property and possessions. This total includes around 10,000 persons aged between 18 and 29, and around 400 debtors under 18. Against such a background of social misery the Babiš government has pledged to implement further social cuts.

A number of right-wing, pro-European Union forces are seeking to exploit the legitimate protests against the hated billionaire for their own purposes. These forces are opposed to toppling the government and any expansion of the protests. Several representatives of these organisations have openly declared they do not seek to reverse the outcome of the 2017 election, which resulted in Babiš's party as frontrunner. Instead they would be satisfied instead with his removal as head of government.

In particular, the organizers of "One Million Moments for Democracy," who are close to social-democratic and conservative pro-EU forces, want to force the government to adopt a stronger pro-European policy. "We are not making a revolution, but rather returning to the legacy and values of 1989," said one of the initiators, Benjamin Roll.

These forces base themselves entirely on the criticism of Babiš made by Brussels. A recent European Commission audit report concluded that Babiš exerted huge influence over his holding, Agrofert, which he officially outsourced to two trust funds. On the basis of numerous examples, the 71-page report explained how EU subsidies finished up in the coffers of Babis' company. A demand has been raised for the return of over 17 million euros.

Babiš responded by calling the Brussels report an "attack on the Czech Republic," raising the prospect that the Czech Republic may prove to be as difficult for the EU as Hungary under its right-wing Prime Minister Victor Orban.

The Babiš government typifies all those forces that committed themselves to capitalism thirty years ago and shamelessly plundered the economy at the expense of the people. The son of a functionary of the Communist Party, Babiš studied in Paris and Geneva. From 1985 to 1991 he was head of the Czechoslovak commercial agency in Morocco.

During this time, he is said to have worked under the code name "Bures" for the Stalinist secret service, a claim Babiš denies. The files kept in the Slovakian capital Bratislava have been falsified, he argues. What is clear is that he had close contacts to the former state leadership and in the early 1990s used his links to consolidate Agrofert into a billion-dollar company.

Babiš entered politics in 2011 with the ANO party, which is completely geared to his person and interests. Babiš founded the party after both the social-democratic and conservative parties had become increasingly discredited. He won the 2017 general election with a clear majority but less than two years later he faces the protest of hundreds of thousands.


basilisk10 hours ago

Sorry, but this is very inaccurate. The government is not right-wing, but sort of a weird centrist muddle. CSSD is by no means a "successor to the Stalinist state party" – in fact, it was banned under the previous regime and its members exiled or imprisoned. And the protests, most importantly, are not against the government as such, but specifically against the prime minister and the minister of justice. The organisers keep repeating they consider the government to be legitimate but that these two people specifically should resign.

Source: I am Czech.

Kalena day ago
I see those developments in Czech Republic along lines of that of Hungary, Romania or Poland where right wing nationalist parties are forming some sort of united front of anti EU block against policies of more EU independence from US spreading broadly in western EU.

Such anti EU submission to US politics is publicly peddled mostly under anti-Russian political stand of national security, that still resonate strongly on Eastern Europe while old existential imperative of accommodation with Russia is still entrenched within western establishment.

All that is a part of US meddling into EU to assert direct and overwhelming control over EU in sociopolitical and financial realm and weaken orbcutting them from economic relations with Russia and China, both targets of US frontal imperial assault for the same reason of direct subjugation to US dictate.

But all that is not as much aimed at removal of local oligarchic elites but to demand class discipline, to make them realize that close coordination and integration of global counterrevolutionary offensive led by US is critical to suppressing of exploding global class struggle worldwide that severely threatens them all.

Make no mistake. The revealed supposed acute conflicts among global elites are solely based on mistrust of how to deal with exploding class struggle best, in most effective ways while assuring that their power and position among global ruling elite is enhanced or remain unchanged while they are all solidly united against international working class.

This time is no different than in last millennium when despite seemingly mortal conflicts among ruling elites they always united and supported each other in one united political/economic/military block to defeat working class revolution.

лидияa day ago
By the way, so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989 was for capitalism. They got it.

[Jun 26, 2019] Book Review John Patrick Leary's Keywords The New Language of Capitalism

Jun 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Late last year, I linked to a review of John Patrick Leary's Keywords: The New Language of Capitalism (Haymarket Books), and put it on my list of "one more book to read." And now I've finally gotten around to it! Which is no reflection on the book, or its cover; merely on my own scattered-brained schedule.

Leary describes (page 180) the genesis of Keywords as follows:

The project began when I was walking through a downtown Chicago food court with Lara Cohen and Christine Evans, complaining at length about how the word "innovation" seemed to be everywhere.

Who among us! More:

Christine suggested that instead of just getting mad, I make some small effort at getting even by writing up my criticisms this turned into a blog chronicling the other terms that celebrated profit and the rule of the market with guileless enthusiasm. This book is the product of her suggestion. Lara has been the first reader of virtually everything in book and its most important critic.

"Getting even" is certainly a strange motivation for starting a blog! MR SUBLIMINAL [snort!] And, after the usual list of thank-yous that befit an Acknowledgements section, this:

Thank you to my Wayne State students for your hopeful example of a generation unimpressed by the promises of an innovation economy.

Let us, indeed, hope! Here is the list of terms that Leary, er, curated; I am sure, readers, that many will provoke a thrill -- or shudder -- of recognition in you all:

Table 1: Leary's Word List

Accountability Grit
Artisanal Hack
Best practices Human capital
Brand Innovation
Choice Leadership
Coach Lean
Collaboration Maker
Competency Market
Conversation Meritocracy
Content Nimble
Creative Outcome
Curator Passion
Data Pivot
Design Resilience
Disruption Robust
DIY Share
Ecosystem Smart
Empowerment Solution
Engagement Stakeholder
Entrepreneur Sustainable
Excellence Synergy
Fail Thought leader
Flexible Wellness
Free

Continuing along with those who have not run screaming from the room: From Leary's list, I have picked three words: Our favorite, innovation , and then market , and smart . I'll provide an extract of the definition of each term, followed by a brief comment. I'll conclude with some remarks on the book as a whole.

Innovation

From page 114 et seq.:

For most of its early life, "innovation" was a pejorative, used to denounce false prophets and political dissidents. Thomas Hobbes used innovator in the seventeenth century as a synonym for a vain conspirator [Joseph Schumpeter], in his 1911 book The Theory of Economic Development used "innovation" to describe capitalism's tendnecy toward tumult and and transformation. He understood innovation historically, as a process of economic transformation, but for him this historical process relied upon a creative, private agent to carry it out [T]he entrepreneur. s

Other than mystifying creativity [another term] itself -- which now looks like an intuitive blast of inspiration, like a epiphany, and less like work -- "innovation" gives creativity a specific professional, class dimension. It almost always applies to white-collar and profit-seeking activities Rarely do we hear of the innovative carpenter, plumber, or homemaker .

The innovator is a model capitalist citizen for our times. But the object of most innovations today is more elusive [than in the days of Bell and Edison]: you can touch a telephone or a phonograh, but who can lay hands on an Amazon algorithm, a credit default swap, a piece of proprietary Uber code, or an international free trade agreement? As an intangible, individualistic, yet strictly white-collar trait, innovation reframes the cruel fortunes of an unequal global economy as the logical products of a creative, visionary brilliance. In this new guise, the innovator retains both a touch of the prophet and the hint of the confidence man.

That's the stuff to give the troops! I especially like the part about innovative plumbing; after all, potable water and indoor plumbing have probably saved more lives than all the Lords of Silicon Valley combined! However, I could wish for the class analysis to be sharpened with respect to finance: For credit default swaps, to the executives (not just "white collar" workers) who committed accounting control fraud; for Uber, the executive crooks and liars who run the never-to-be profitable business. The intangibles are listed without being categorized in terms of political economy.

Market

From page 132 et seq.:

The market is both a widely dispersed metaphor of exchange and an economic term often used a a shorthand for capitalist forms of exchange, especially when modified by the word free [another term].

The word's oldest meaning is its simplest: "A place where trade is conducted," a meaning that appears in Old English as far back as the twelfth century. This spatial menaing of the market place obviously persists in farmer's markets, stock markets, and supermarkets, but today the market is something more abstract. The most recent definition given by the OED is "the competive free market; the operation of supply and demand." Its first example of this usage comes from 1970, at the rough beginning of the neoliberal era .

When politicians speak of "market forces" they presume their autonomy; we are creatures of the market rather than the other way around. [But] in key moments of recent economic history -- the United States Troubled Asset Relief Program, the European austerity measures to enforce "market discipline" on Greece -- market autonomy is nowhere to be seen

A synonym for exchange, whether intellectual or economic, an ontological feature of human social, an implacable natural force, or a cybernetic network reliant on a strong state: The market can be whatever you need it to be.

Once again, I would quarrel with the financial detail of the glossary item; the Treasury's TARP, at $700 billion, was dwarfed by the real bailout outlay from the Fed , which has been estimated at $7.7 (Bloomberg) to $29 trillion (Levy Institute). Further, European austerity measures damaged not only Greece, but the EU's entire southern tier, most definitely including Italy and Spain. Finally -- although this may seem like a debater's point -- if "market" can be "whatever you need it to be," then why can't the left repurpose it? Leary himself instances the Communist Party of the USA's ludicrous coinage of "the marketplace of ideas"; on the editorial pages of the New York Times, no less!) So "market" may be malleable, but it's not that malleable. Why?

Smart

Finally, from page 158 et seq.:

Smart, used as an adjective modifying a technology, connotes an efficeint, clean, orderly pragmatism . Smartness just works . Smart technologies, from munitions to ID cards to refrigerators to mattresses, usually do one of three related things, and often all three: they allow (or require) a user to remotely access a computer-linked network, they generate data [a term] about that user, and they act autonomously, or seem to do so . In addition, smart means moderr. The six thousand dollar smart refrigerator that tells you when you're out of milk shows that the key to a smart technology isn't whether it is, in fact, a wise idea. To be smart is simply to belong ti the new age, . Smart therefore presumes the political neutrality of the technologies we use.

I think Leary could have leaned a little harder on how crapified most "smart" technology is; readers will be familiar with the material we periodically post on the Internet of Sh*t. More centrally, I'm a bit stunned that Leary has limited smart to technology, foregoing the opportunity to perform a class analysis, as Thomas Frank did in Listen, Liberal! . From page 22:

Professionals are a high-status group, but what gives them their lofty position is learning, not income. They rule because they are talented, because they are smart . A good sociological definition of professionalism is "a second hierarchy" -- second to the main hierarchy of money, that is -- "based on credentialed expertise

presumed to be politically neutral, exactly as smart technology is. I think expanding the glossary to "smart" in Frank's sense would have enriched the book. (Frank goes on to use "smart" throughout the book, with varying degrees of scorn and derision; used without irony, it's a veritable tocsin of bad faith.)

Conclusion

Leary's Keywords is definitely stimulating and well worth a read (and at $16.00, within reach for most). At the very least, you should run a mile from any public figure -- whether executive or politician -- who takes the words listed in Leary's keywords (see Table 1) seriously.

My criticism takes the form of Table 2, which is the list of terms from the great Raymond Williams, whose book, also entitled Keywords ( PDF ), was published in 1977, in the Eoneoliberal Period, and which Leary describes as a "classic". Here are the terms defined by Williams:

Table 2: Williams' Word List

Aesthetic Exploitation Originality
Alienation Family Peasant
Anarchism Fiction Personality
Anthropology Folk Philosophy
Art Formalist Popular
Behaviour Generation Positivist
Bibliography Genetic Pragmatic
Bourgeois Genius Private
Bureaucracy Hegemony Progressive
Capitalism History Psychologica
Career Humanity Racial
Charity Idealism Radical
City Ideology Rational
Civilization Image Reactionary
Class Imperialism Reader's
Collective Improve Realism
Commercialism Individual References
Common Industry Reform
Communication Institution Regional
Communism Intellectual Representative
Community Interest Revolution
Consensus Isms Romantic
Consumer Jargon Science
Conventional Labour Select
Country Liberal Sensibility
Creative Liberation Sex
Criticism Literaturw Socialist
Culture Man Society
Democracy Management Sociology
Determine Masses Standards
Development Materialism Status
Dialect Mechanical Structural
Dialectic Media Subjective
Doctrinaire Mediation Taste
Dramatic Medieval Technology
Ecology Modern Theory
Educated Monopoly Tradition
Elite Myth Unconscious
Empirical Nationalist Underprivileged
Equality Native Unemployment
Ethnic Naturalism Utilitarian
Evolution Nature Violence
Existential Notes Wealth
Experience Ordinary Welfare
Expert Organic Western
Work

If you compare the tables, you will see that Williams' list of keywords is both more abstract and more powerful, although some that we would expect to see today ("identity," "rentier") are missing. Of course, it's extremely unfair of me to make compare Leary's and Williams' lists in this way; in fact, I admonish others not to complain that the author did not write a book about penguins, when the author plainly intended to write a book about crows. Leary promised a "field guide to the capitalist present, and he has delivered. Nevertheless, it would be nice to have a second edition of Keywords , written with Leary's clarity, knowledgeability, and verve, and containing more powerful terms[1], most of which have been erased. Starting, perhaps, with "class."

NOTES

[1] To be fair, Leary writes (page 5): "The words in my collection are generally more specific to the contemporary moment. They can also be understood as blockages -- that is, they are the words we use when we aren't calling things by their proper name. William's collection has "management" and "labor"; this one has "leadership" and "human capital." Tacklage is, I suppose, what happens, in addition to blockage, if some prole of an analyst uses the wrong (that is, the right) words. That said, can the truth be reverse engineered out of bullshit? One for the judges.


Tom , June 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm

What happened to " vibrant "? Did it go out of fashion?

Plenue , June 25, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Have you considered audio books? We already know you listen to podcasts.

Carolinian , June 25, 2019 at 8:02 pm

What, no "muscular"? Hillary probably like muscular because it made her sound more threatening. Nikki Haley took up the same gig with her stilletto heels.

flora , June 25, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Thanks for this post. Leary's list looks like TED talk word cloud, imo. Ad speak. ha.

I don't know if Williams' word list was based on ad speak of the 1970s. Maybe not.

Many of Williams' words place people in relation to each other or to the society, within society. Not getting that same larger society idea from the words in Leary's ad speak list; it's more 'rational man' alone against the world. Maybe that's the essence of ad speak. "Army of one." "Be all YOU can be." etc.

Or now: Be all the smart, innovative, creative, nimble, passionate leader YOU can be." ;)

a different chris , June 25, 2019 at 9:25 pm

>Continuing along with those who have not run screaming from the room

After the first couple words I averted my eyes and scrolled madly. So I'm still here!

Socal Rhino , June 25, 2019 at 9:30 pm

I think I've seen powerpoint presentations composed of just those words, almost.

"Cadence" is one i do not see here.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 12:46 am

Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.

Steve Ruis , June 26, 2019 at 8:35 am

If you just coined this phrase, you are brilliant, sir! If not thanks for passing it along.

hunkerdown , June 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

Edward Tufte, 2003. Still brilliant.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:33 am

I am not 100% certain of this; everybody should read Tufte's ESSAY:
THE COGNITIVE STYLE OF POWERPOINT: PITCHING OUT CORRUPTS WITHIN
, but the exact quote does not appear in there. The quote does occur in Tufte's 2003 Wired essay , but as a deck beneath the headline, and not in the body of the article. Therefore, I am not sure whether Tufte coined the phrase, or some anonymous editor. Can any readers clarify?

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:28 am

I should have added the cite, but I was in a rush. However, this quote should be propagated as widely as possible.

JEHR , June 26, 2019 at 10:51 am

+1

ShamanicFallout , June 25, 2019 at 10:23 pm

I like 'leverage' and 'drive'. I hear that a lot. Like 'leveraging innovation to drive sales'. So smart!

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 12:42 am

Man, I hate that usage of "drive." To be fair, the nice thing is that you can leverage sales to drive innovation, too.

Tom , June 26, 2019 at 9:49 am

To leverage sth. means to use it, afaict.

There's something taboo about use . Even reasonable people will prefer usage over use .

Amfortas the hippie , June 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm

please include in yer Language things like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbWRfBZY-ng

for those who need it spelled out:
https://www.thenation.com/article/we-cant-make-it-here/

"And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why"

read the whole fucking thing.
https://genius.com/James-mcmurtry-we-cant-make-it-here-anymore-lyrics

more than ten years ago.
things are much worse, now
LISTEN

Hopelb , June 26, 2019 at 12:10 am

They play this on wyep quite often and I am always thankful that my daughter is familiar with it because of that.

Susan the other` , June 25, 2019 at 10:34 pm

Thank you Lambert. You manage to keep me sane. This exposure to and of nonsense is very timely now. In the end all we have is a set of words which allow us to trust each other. We need to find them.

LifelongLib , June 25, 2019 at 10:58 pm

Most of Leary's list is familiar from events I occasionally attended as a government IT specialist. "Wellness" overlaps with what I call the language of therapy (don't know the "correct" term) e.g. "conversation", "healing" which if anything is even more grating

The Rev Kev , June 25, 2019 at 11:00 pm

Never thought about it before but in the use of the word 'market' today, it is like it is trying to replace the word 'society' and how it was used before. Is that what Thatcher meant? That there was no society but a 'market' instead?

Alfred , June 25, 2019 at 11:43 pm

I'd say yes, exactly.

ShamanicFallout , June 25, 2019 at 11:22 pm

I was just thinking that maybe we need rehabilitate the phrase (which appears in some famous document which we in theory revere) 'promote the general welfare'. This connotes of course citizenship, commons, community. Everything that we desperately need.

Arizona Slim , June 26, 2019 at 9:02 am

Nowadays, "community" really means something that you pay for. Or, if you're not paying for it, well, you're the product.

Take, for example, online groups. They're often called communities. You may have to pay to belong, but if you don't, the data that you and your fellow "members" produce is being sold and resold.

In the offline world, there are businesses that refer to their customers as members. And what are they members of? Well, my dear, that is a community.

So, add these two words to the list of words that need to be taken outside and shot:

Community
Member

Alfred , June 25, 2019 at 11:40 pm

Sounds like a great book; anyhow a superb post. I'd have liked to see what Mr Leary has to say about 'associate' (noun; see also employee [archaic]) and service (noun; as in "software as a service"). Perhaps also "industry" (as in "the payday loans industry") – which now I think has senses that Williams could not have imagined. Oh, and why not "Crapification?" On a more serious note, there is "Inequality." (Hat tip to Tom, above, for the peerless "Vibrant.")

Hopelb , June 26, 2019 at 12:05 am

I love you Lambert. Thanks for always sharing your unearthed treasures.

dbk , June 26, 2019 at 4:27 am

Perhaps worth adding: "gig economy," "[education/health care, etc.] reform."

Yesterday I read a story in the NYT ["Love" section, formerly "Weddings"] about an Instagram "Influencer couple."

Some terms are euphemisms; others are buzzwords for the increasing privatization / shrinking of public space/services/goods (what was once known in some circles as the "theft of the commons," but hey, I'm old).

Such terms deserve to be called out repeatedly, with their actual meaning helpfully provided in (). Thus "ed reformers" (i.e. privatizers through various means such as ESAs, ETCs, vouchers) or "right to work," which I finally decided to define as "right to fire at will." Far-right think tanks are great sources of such terms; the bills ALEC writes for state legislatures are, too.

My own special bugbear is "grit" (someone who still demonstrates faith in the system which has betrayed them).

OTOH, such words are helpful in identifying the ideological perspective an author is coming from.

Jack Lifton , June 26, 2019 at 4:54 am

I was wondering where the use of the phrase, "We need to have a conversation about " In place of " we should discuss" or "let's talk about" came from. I find it " to be a given" that anything that Kamala Harris says is meaningless noise these days. She seems to have acquired this mea!y mouth way of avoiding taking a position after only a short time in the Senate. She's well on her way to being permanently inconsequential.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

"We need to" or "you need to" is one of my pet peeves, because of the power-tripping assumption that my interlocutor gets to determine my needs (all for the greater good , of course! Always for the good!)

herman_sampson , June 26, 2019 at 6:54 am

Need to add "competition": the competitors implied are other businesses but what management means are their own employees.

La Peruse , June 26, 2019 at 6:56 am

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was both pilloried and held in uncertain awe for his contribution to the English lexicon of 'incentivising', as in 'incentivising and rewarding hard work'.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:07 am

Or "prioritize." By which I mean "center." (A supplementary glossary for the non-profit industrial complex would be welcome.)

Steve H. , June 26, 2019 at 7:18 am

Etymology shows that word meanings can change and even invert over time. Floyd Merrell looked at the poetics of ambiguity, where 1:1 is unambiguous, 1:2 can have two meanings (a dog growling may be warning or playing), to n:n where meaning is entirely contextual.

There are people, and places, and objects which have changed in affect for me, usually through an aversive experience. We see this with words; for example, 'socialist' will always carry resonances of fascism since Adolph called his thing 'National Socialism'. As useful as 'class' is it, carries Marxist overtones, which causes reflexive affect for some. 'Well' carries positive connotation in some evangelical circles.

Words can get stink on them from dogwhistles. Will you argue about old words, or avoid quagmires with Smart Innovative people by creating clever and fresh new words with less historical accretion? That's what Shakespeare did and we're still looking at him four hundred years later. As a friend said to me in a conversation about demented mothers, "You've got to let'em go." You can still love them, but if they control the conversation, there madness lies.

Svante , June 26, 2019 at 8:04 am

All the BEST werds?

I'm guessing: aside from acceptance, involvement & touch from loving, comforting, equanamous parents (community integration amongst disparate peers), the sociopathic/ somatic neuroses evinced in this addiction to euphamism, platitude and obfuscatory pleonasm as glib, off-handed, day-to-day BS subterfuge, reflects cytokine imbalances, resulting from unresolved childhood trauma and fast-food diets, deficient in pre-biotics? Not enough roughage, huh?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507254/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7b7xz9/the-unbearable-neurosis-of-the-modern-eater

Alexandra , June 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

The ones that turn my stomach the most are "influencer," "maker," and "ask" as a noun (as in, "Hey, I know it's a big ask, but I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday "). Oh! And also "content" used to mean information. A friend who is a university professor said the administration are now referring to faculty as "content distributors." Barf.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:05 am

> A friend who is a university professor said the administration are now referring to faculty as "content distributors."

First thing we do, let's kill all the college administrators. Or take away their titles, perks, and money, which will do worse than kill them.

bob , June 26, 2019 at 10:11 am

Take away their drivers, leave them stranded and entitled.

https://www.syracuse.com/syracuse-university/2019/06/ex-su-chancellor-sorry-after-yelling-im-the-chancellor-at-cops-video.html

Mael Colium , June 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

Ever had a conversation with a Teacher? Oh excuse me; an "educator" LOL. They use so many sucky phrases and words that you can't even remember what the discussions were about in the first place. It's bad enough in secondary schools but now in pre-school (early learning centres) you need an interpretation booklet to make any sense of what your child is up to in the damn place. I must confess that my MBA taught me a whole bunch of weasel words and obscure terminology so that my management reports were rarely tested for veracity. And therein lies the issue. Words were once used to impart knowledge, whereas now, as the article alludes to, words and phrases are redesigned and reoriented to avoid, obfuscate, marginalise, confuse etc you get the picture.. Look no further than your local politician for tricky word speak – it makes Trump's burbling seem almost sensible by contrast. At least we know what a pussy is now!

JCC , June 26, 2019 at 8:42 am

Here is one left off the list: handcrafted

I took a trip last weekend to Palm Springs, CA. and Laughlin, NV. and everywhere I went I was inundated with offers for "handcrafted" margaritas and coffees and various food stuffs.

It is right up there with artisanal.

Arizona Slim , June 26, 2019 at 9:07 am

No need to order this book from the Evil River, aka Amazon. Here's the publisher's page:

https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1227-keywords

HomoSapiensWannaBe , June 26, 2019 at 9:09 am

They left out "sound", as in "sound science," which is, of course, "science" which supports profit seeking.

For example, "Pesky environmental regulations are an undue, unfair burden on business, and aren't backed by sound science."

Ka-Ching!

Barry Fay , June 26, 2019 at 9:13 am

I´m thinking "going forward" belongs in this discussion as well!

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:10 am

Thanks for being part of our team.

Wukchumni , June 26, 2019 at 9:54 am

Words are what you make of them.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:03 am

"Men make their own history vocabulary, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living."

Mike Mc , June 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

21st century version(s) of this classic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Dictionary

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.

The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.

Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.

Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.

By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.

His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.

If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.

The Amazon warehouse in Swansea – the company has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements.

Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."

"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.

Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.

Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.

Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.

As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.

New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."

The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.

Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

[Jun 23, 2019] Is Democratic system theoretically sustainable?

Notable quotes:
"... "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

bonefisher -> Livemike , 6 Mar 2012 06:52

Great post

The problem is that as De Toqueville realises (his quote below) most of the people commenting here are simply living a parasitic existence benefiting from state largesse - sucking the teat of a bloated and overburdened state caring not whether their sustenance is remotely sustainable and just voting for ever more

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville

[Jun 23, 2019] Theory and practice of neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:40

Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare.

Love it. When push comes to shove all those ideologies and beliefs crumble into the dust of practical needs. Another individual who cloaked the self-interest of the rich and powerful into some kind of spurious ideology.

George wrote a rather good article about Von Hayek a few years ago I seem to remember.

[Jun 23, 2019] Argentina s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country by Peter S. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets. ..."
"... "It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people." ..."
"... The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain. ..."
"... But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent ..."
"... Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing. ..."
"... Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs. ..."
"... In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember. ..."
"... "We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'" ..."
"... "When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned." ..."
May 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

On the ragged streets of the shantytown across the road, where stinking outhouses sit alongside shacks fashioned from rusted sheets of tin, families have surrendered hopes that sewage lines will ever reach them.

They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes: Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that has dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.

Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets.

"It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people."

The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain.

Mr. Macri's supporters heralded his 2015 election as a miraculous outbreak of normalcy in a country with a well-earned reputation for histrionics. He would cease the reckless spending that had brought Argentina infamy for defaulting on its debts eight times. Sober-minded austerity would win the trust of international financiers, bringing investment that would yield jobs and fresh opportunities.

But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent.

Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing.

Far beyond this country of 44 million people, Mr. Macri's tenure is testing ideas that will shape economic policy in an age of recrimination over widening inequality. His presidency was supposed to offer an escape from the wreckage of profligate spending while laying down an alternative path for countries grappling with the worldwide rise of populism. Now, his presidency threatens to become a gateway back to populism. The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

Image
The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

As the October election approaches, Mr. Macri is contending with the growing prospect of a challenge from the president he succeeded, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who faces a series of criminal indictments for corruption . Her unbridled spending helped deliver the crisis that Mr. Macri inherited. Her return would resonate as a rebuke of his market-oriented reforms while potentially yanking Argentina back to its accustomed preserve: left-wing populism, in uncomfortable proximity to insolvency.

The Argentine peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year, prompting the central bank to lift interest rates to a commerce-suffocating level above 60 percent. Argentina was forced to secure a $57 billion rescue from the International Monetary Fund , a profound indignity given that the fund is widely despised here for the austerity it imposed in the late 1990s, turning an economic downturn into a depression.

For Mr. Macri, time does not appear to be in abundant supply. The spending cuts he delivered hit the populace immediately. The promised benefits of his reforms -- a stable currency, tamer inflation, fresh investment and jobs -- could take years to materialize, leaving Argentines angry and yearning for the past.

In much of South America, left-wing governments have taken power in recent decades as an angry corrective to dogmatic prescriptions from Washington, where the Treasury and the I.M.F. have focused on the confidence of global investors as the key to development.

Left-wing populism has aimed to redistribute the gains from the wealthy to everyone else. It has aided the poor, while generating its own woes -- corruption and depression in Brazil , runaway inflation and financial ruin in Argentina. In Venezuela, uninhibited spending has turned the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves into a land where children starve .

Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs.

In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember.

"We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'"

Cultivating wealth

... ... ...

In the beginning, there was Juan Domingo Perón, the charismatic Army general who was president from 1946 to 1955, and then again from 1973 to 1974. He employed an authoritarian hand and muscular state power to champion the poor. He and his wife, Eva Duarte -- widely known by her nickname, Evita -- would dominate political life long after they died, inspiring politicians across the ideological spectrum to claim their mantle.

Among the most ardent Peronists were Néstor Kirchner, the president from 2003 to 2007, and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office in 2007, remaining until Mr. Macri was elected in 2015.

Their version of Peronism -- what became known as Kirchnerism -- was decidedly left-wing, disdaining global trade as a malevolent force. They expanded cash grants to the poor and imposed taxes on farm exports in a bid to keep Argentine food prices low.

As the country's farmers tell it, Kirchnerism is just a fancy term for the confiscation of their wealth and the scattering of the spoils to the unproductive masses. They point to Ms. Kirchner's 35 percent tax on soybean exports.

"We had a saying," Mr. Tropini says. "'For every three trucks that went to the port, one was for Cristina Kirchner.'"

reduction in export taxes.

"You could breathe finally," Mr. Tropini, the farmer, says.

He was free of the Kirchners, yet stuck with nature. Floods in 2016 wiped out more than half of his crops. A drought last year wreaked even more havoc.

"This harvest, this year," he says, "is a gift from God."

But if the heavens are now cooperating, and if the people running Buenos Aires represent change, Mr. Tropini is critical of Mr. Macri's failure to overcome the economic crisis.

A weaker currency makes Argentine soybeans more competitive, but it also increases the cost of the diesel fuel Mr. Tropini needs to run his machinery. High interest rates make it impossible for him to buy another combine, which would allow him to expand his farm.

In September, faced with a plunge in government revenues, Mr. Macri reinstated some export taxes .

... ... ...

What went wrong?

... ... ...

In the first years of Mr. Macri's administration, the government lifted controls on the value of the peso while relaxing export taxes. The masters of international finance delivered a surge of investment. The economy expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2017, and then accelerated in the first months of last year.

But as investors grew wary of Argentina's deficits, they fled, sending the peso plunging and inflation soaring. As the rout continued last year, the central bank mounted a futile effort to support the currency, selling its stash of dollars to try to halt the peso's descent. As the reserves dwindled, investors absorbed the spectacle of a government failing to restore order. The exodus of money intensified, and another potential default loomed, leading a chastened Mr. Macri to accept a rescue from the dreaded IMF.

Administration officials described the unraveling as akin to a natural disaster: unforeseeable and unavoidable. The drought hurt agriculture. Money was flowing out of developing countries as the Federal Reserve continued to lift interest rates in the United States, making the American dollar a more attractive investment.

But the impact of the Fed's tightening had been widely anticipated. Economists fault the government for mishaps and complacency that left the country especially vulnerable.

.... ... ...

Among the most consequential errors was the government's decision to include Argentina's central bank in a December 2017 announcement that it was raising its inflation target. The markets took that as a signal that the government was surrendering its war on inflation while opting for a traditional gambit: printing money rather than cutting spending.

... ... ...

The government insists that better days are ahead. The spending cuts have dropped the budget deficit to a manageable 3 percent of annual economic output. Argentina is again integrated into the global economy.

"We haven't improved, but the foundations of the economy and society are much healthier," said Miguel Braun, secretary of economic policy at the Treasury Ministry. "Argentina is in a better place to generate a couple of decades of growth."

... ... ...

Their television flashes dire warnings, like "Danger of Hyper Inflation." Throughout the neighborhood, people decry the sense that they have been forsaken by the government.

Trucks used to come to castrate male dogs to control the packs of feral animals running loose. Not anymore. Health programs for children are less accessible than they were before, they said.

Daisy Quiroz, 71, a retired maid, lives in a house that regularly floods in the rainy season.

"When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned."

... ... ...

Daniel Politi contributed reporting from Buenos Aires. Peter S. Goodman is a London-based European economics correspondent. He was previously a national economic correspondent in New York. He has also worked at The Washington Post as a China correspondent, and was global editor in chief of the International Business Times. @ petersgoodman

[Jun 23, 2019] Communism and neoliberalism were never as far apart as people imagined. Two sides of a coin. A theological dispute.

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

twiglette , 11 Apr 2019 05:13

Communism and neoliberalism were never as far apart as people imagined. Two sides of a coin. A theological dispute.

[Jun 23, 2019] The Right have been absolutely brilliant at media control and obfuscation.

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

macfeegal , 6 Mar 2012 03:56

Another very informative article from one of the few writers with any sense of having a 'finger on the pulse.'

It's sad that it's taken over 30 years for the real shaping influences behind the current system to be identified and discussed outside the boundaries of a few university conferences.

The Right have been absolutely brilliant at media control and obfuscation. Their gurus have been camouflaged and the whole process of influencing Reagan and Thatcher's governments from the late 1970's has escaped exactly the kind of scrutiny that George gives Rand.

We might also investigate the influence of John Nash's (A Beautiful Mind) 'Gameplay' experiments in a similar fashion along with the economic gurus who followed Hayek so slavishly.

It has been known for years that the neo liberal project was designed not just to under mine democracy and convert people into passive cloned market junkies, but to put an end to the whole of the Enlightenment Project, which perhaps naively saw human development,. growth and other human qualities totally savaged and defeated by this poisonous evil, which emulates all the worst aspects of Fascism without the flags and theatre.

Sadly, this is not a 'this is happening' phenomenon; it's a 'this has happened phenomenon.' The taint and viral effect of its impact on uk and usa political structures has already caused major damage. All three major political parties in the uk have for 30 years subscribed to its tenets though they were no doubt not presented in such a flagrant form as Rand's writing.

How problematic is it to now look at the polity and rescue it from such a major ideological shift? Certainly, the major parties cannot shuck off the cape of their key beliefs after promoting Right wing ideologies for so long, and the traditional Left is no more.

However, it is good to see some pithy journalism that goes to the heart of the matter - those of us who have been pleading for less x factor celebrity worshipping of politicians can at least feel as though this shifts the spectrum to real and significant issues that have affected the lives of everyone for so long.

Spot on George; one of your best.

[Jun 23, 2019] These submerged policies obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry.

Highly recommended!
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Kikinaskald , 6 Mar 2012 14:14

I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security.

In case nobody mentioned this book before, which is relevant to the theme:

The Submerged State by Suzanne Mettler

From the Amazon book description:

These submerged policies, Mettler shows, obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry. Neither do they realize that the policies of the submerged state shower their largest benefits on the most affluent Americans, exacerbating inequality.

[Jun 23, 2019] The return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. ..."
"... Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. ..."
"... Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. ..."
"... This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. ..."
"... It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal. ..."
"... However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism.

In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue.

Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy.

The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

Pinkie123 -> economicalternative , 12 Apr 2019 02:57

Yes, the EU is an ordoliberal institution - the state imposing rules on the market from without. Thus, it is not the chief danger. The takeover of 5G, and therefore our entire economy and industry, by Huawei - now that would be a loss of state sovereignty. But because Huawei is nominally a corporation, people do not think about is a form of governmental bureaucracy, but if powerful enough that is exactly what it is.
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
subtropics , 11 Apr 2019 13:51
Neoliberalism allows with impunity pesticide businesses to apply high risk toxic pesticides everywhere seriously affecting the health of children, everyone as well as poisoning the biosphere and all its biodiversity. This freedom has gone far too far and is totally unacceptable and these chemicals should be banished immediately.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives.

Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.

Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'.

Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism.

This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism.

Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

[Jun 23, 2019] "Escobar: Brazilgate Is Turning Into Russiagate 2.0"

Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

arby , Jun 21, 2019 10:03:38 AM | 55

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-20/escobar-brazilgate-turning-russiagate-20

Sorghum , Jun 21, 2019 10:15:17 AM | 56

@ arby 55

It looks like Bolonosario really is the SA Trump: installed by the bankers to loot the system even more in their favor.

[Jun 20, 2019] Using Democratic Institutions to Smash Democratic Aspirations (the Brazil Model) by Vijay Prashad

Notable quotes:
"... The second narrative -- further substantiated by recent reporting from The Intercept of collusion between the main judges in the case against Lula -- shows evidence of political persecution and a coordinated attempt to stop Lula from winning the presidential election and put a halt to the country's progressive social agenda. In this narrative, the corruption charges against Lula were manufactured in order to recover the right-wing's control of the government, despite a lack of evidence against him. ..."
"... Judge Sérgio Moro convicted Lula. He became a celebrity and is now the minister of justice in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is clear that Bolsonaro won the election because Lula was not permitted to run. Moro's conviction delivered the presidency to Bolsonaro, who then rewarded Moro with the ministry appointment. ..."
"... Messages seemed to constantly be exchanged between the Moro and the Lava Jato team led by Dallagnol. These have now been revealed by The Intercept and scrutinized by a range of forensic and political analysts. It is clear that the judge and the prosecutor colluded to find Lula guilty and lock him away. ..."
"... The persecution of Lula is a story that is not merely about Lula, nor solely about Brazil. This is a test case for the way oligarchies and imperialism have sought to use the shell of democracy to undermine the democratic aspirations of the people. It is the methodology of democracy without democracy, a Potemkin Village of liberalism. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Clarity emerges around the political persecution of Lula, Brazil's former president. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him, writes Vijay Prashad.

Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has now been in prison since April 2018. More than 400 Brazilian lawyers have signed a statement that expresses alarm at what they see as procedural irregularities in the case against him. They call for the immediate release of Lula. The Asociación Americana de Juristas – a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations – has called Lula a political prisoner. Lula was convicted of corruption and money-laundering, despite a lack of solid evidence. Two lawsuits against him remain unfinished.

Now, more evidence emerges about the collusion of the lead judge and the lead investigator in the prosecution of Lula thanks to excellent reporting from The Intercept . The political motivations are now on the record: they, on behalf of the oligarchy, did not want Lula – who remains hugely popular – to be the 2018 presidential candidate of the Workers' Party (PT). Brazil's right-wing has begun a horrible campaign to malign the journalists of The Intercept , notably its editor Glenn Greenwald. Using the same tactics of hate, misogyny, and homophobia to defame their journalists, they hope, will distract from and delegitimise the damning evidence of their corrupt tactics.

Clarity now emerges around the political persecution of Lula. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him. The details of his case remain murky, with many who sympathise with Lula unsure of how to understand the corruption charges and his apparent conviction. This newsletter is dedicated to providing a primer on Lula and the case against him.

Who is Lula?

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (73 years old), a metalworker and trade union leader, helped found the PT, Brazil's main left party. He won two consecutive elections to govern Brazil from 2003 to 2010. At the close of his second term, Lula had an approval rating of 86 percent – the highest in the country's history. His poverty reduction programs – particularly his hunger alleviation schemes – earned his government praise from around the world, which is why some are calling for him to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Income redistribution through social programs such as Bolsa Família, Brasil sem Miseria, the expansion of credit, the increase in decent work, and the increase in the minimum wage lifted almost 30 million (out of 209 million) Brazilians out of poverty. The number of public university campuses more than doubled, leading to a 285 percent increase in Afro-Brazilians attending institutes of higher education. Brazil paid off its debts to the IMF and the government discovered a massive new oil reserve in the Santos Basin, off the coast of São Paulo. This oil will eventually change Brazil's strategic position in the world.

Why was Lula arrested?

There are two narratives that exist to answer this question. The first -- the official narrative, propagated by the bourgeoise -- is that Lula is in prison on charges of corruption and money laundering. His cases remain pending before the courts. Curitiba's Public Prosecutor's Office – led by Deltan Dallagnol – was in charge of an investigation around corruption allegations at Brazil's state energy firm, Petrobras. Because a car wash became part of the money laundering investigation, the Task Force was known as Lava Jato (Car Wash). The Task Force uncovered activity by contractors such as OAS and Odebrecht, who had – it turns out – remodelled an apartment on the coast and a farm in the interior that were supposedly owned by Lula. These firms, it was said by the Task Force, had gained concessions from Petrobras. The Task Force argued that Lula benefited from the contractors, who in turn benefitted from state largess. This was the allegation.

The second narrative -- further substantiated by recent reporting from The Intercept of collusion between the main judges in the case against Lula -- shows evidence of political persecution and a coordinated attempt to stop Lula from winning the presidential election and put a halt to the country's progressive social agenda. In this narrative, the corruption charges against Lula were manufactured in order to recover the right-wing's control of the government, despite a lack of evidence against him.

Lola Alvarez Bravo, "Unos Suben y Otros Bajan," 1940.

Is there evidence against Lula?

Actually, no. The prosecutors could not prove that Lula had ever owned the apartment or the farm. Nor could they prove any benefit to the contractors. Lula was convicted – bizarrely – of unspecified acts . Former OAS director Léo Pinheiro, who had been convicted of money laundering and corruption in 2014 and was to serve 16 years, gave evidence against Lula; for this evidence, his sentence was reduced. There was no material evidence against Lula.

Who convicted Lula?

Judge Sérgio Moro convicted Lula. He became a celebrity and is now the minister of justice in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is clear that Bolsonaro won the election because Lula was not permitted to run. Moro's conviction delivered the presidency to Bolsonaro, who then rewarded Moro with the ministry appointment.

Moro not only tried Lula in his court, but also in the court of public opinion. The corporate media was on the side of the prosecution, and leaks from the court created an image of Lula as the enemy of the people. Bizarrely, the press often seemed to have information from the court before Lula's defence attorneys. When Lula's lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition to get him out of jail, the army's commander-in-chief sent the Supreme Court a message on Twitter to instructing them not to grant the petition. The petition was denied.

Should Lula have been allowed to run for president?

The Brazilian Code of Criminal Procedure says that one can only go to prison when their appeals run out. Article 5 of the Constitution notes,"No one shall be considered guilty before the issuance of a final and unappealable prison sentence." Why Lula went to jail in the first place requires an investigation. Judge Moro argued that it was because he was found guilty in the Appeal Court based on a plea bargain. This is murky. The UN's Human Rights Committee said that Lula should have been allowed to run for president last year because his appeals had not been exhausted. Not only did the judiciary and the prosecutors not allow Lula to run, but they also did not allow him to meet the press and so influence the election.

What has been the role of the United States in the Lava Jato investigation?

Odd how the US Department of Justice officials visited Judge Moro during the investigation, and how US Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in 2017 that the U.S. justice officials had "informal communications" about the removal of Lula from the presidential race. On 6 March 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice said that it would transfer 80 percent of the fines it received from Petrobras to the Public Prosecutor's Office to set up an "anti-corruption investment fund." It is fair to say that this is a payment to the Lava Jato team for its work on removing Lula from the presidential race.

What was the real corruption in this case?

Messages seemed to constantly be exchanged between the Moro and the Lava Jato team led by Dallagnol. These have now been revealed by The Intercept and scrutinized by a range of forensic and political analysts. It is clear that the judge and the prosecutor colluded to find Lula guilty and lock him away. The first instance of corruption is this brazen collusion between two parts of the government. The second instance of corruption is the role of the United States in this case, and the pay-out to Dallagnol's department for services rendered.

The persecution of Lula is a story that is not merely about Lula, nor solely about Brazil. This is a test case for the way oligarchies and imperialism have sought to use the shell of democracy to undermine the democratic aspirations of the people. It is the methodology of democracy without democracy, a Potemkin Village of liberalism.

At Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, we are studying this phenomenon closely. You have already seen our dossier on the hybrid war against Venezuela and our dossier on lawfare in Brazil. The arrest of human rights defenders from Julian Assange to Ola Bini as well as the arrest of whistle-blowers from Chelsea Manning to David McBridge are part of this chilling effect against the sentinels of democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/aoS_OWxpqa8?feature=oembed

We are taking seriously this evisceration of democracy. We are going to look at the role of money in elections (test case: India) and voter suppression, as well as the reduction of 'politics' to the festival of elections, the allowance of states to crush the basic institutions of civil society, and the role of immiseration in the defeat of the democratic spirit. We need a new theory of actually-existing democracy.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist intellectual. He is the executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the chief editor of LeftWord Books.

This article is from Tricontinental .

[Jun 20, 2019] Brazil under Bolsonaro A Different Form of Hybrid War

Notable quotes:
"... In layman's terms, American intelligence agencies meddled in Brazil's democracy by selectively leaking purported evidence of serious corruption by the then-ruling party, which predictably set into motion a self-sustaining inquisitional cycle that led to Rousseff's impeachment, Lula's imprisonment, and ultimately Bolsonaro's "dark horse" victory after he was presented to the people as the only non-corrupt candidate capable of restoring order out of the chaos that the socialists were blamed for causing. ..."
"... This externally triggered regime change was intended to create the domestic political conditions that were thought to make a Leftist revival impossible in the future and thereby indefinitely perpetuate the restoration of US influence in Brazil, with the Right's victory legitimized at the ballot after the majority of the population was successfully led by these foreign-manufactured events to conclude that Bolsonaro was the only person capable of changing the system. Upon entering office, he did exactly as he promised and began to push forward his controversial neoliberal reforms that provoked the latest strike. ..."
"... Bolsonaro and his US buddies obviously underestimated the Left's resilience and therefore weren't prepared for the massive pushback that this move provoked, but the public's anger last weekend was also fueled by The Intercept's leaked revelations that "Operation Car Wash's" top judge and the country's current Justice Minister colluded with prosecutors to convict Lula and therefore prevent him from running for President (which in turn greatly facilitated Bolsonaro's rise to power). ..."
"... It's important to point out that the conversation was leaked and not hacked, strongly suggesting dissident within the deepest ranks of the regime change movement for reasons that can only be speculated upon at this time but which nevertheless motivated the whistleblower to share the evidence in their possession with society in order to catalyze grassroots pressure against the government. ..."
"... It's therefore not an exaggeration to say that Brazil's long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora's Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US' behest. Bolsonaro's rise to power was shady from the get-go and only made possibly by Lula's conviction and the consequent banning of the country's most popular political candidate from the presidential race ..."
"... Although some of the protesters are employing classic Color Revolution tactics during their anti-government demonstrations, this political technology isn't black and white because it could conceivably be used by anyone in pursuit of any end. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Brazil's long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora's Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US' behest.

The Bolsonaro government is coming under intense grassroots pressure as two crises continue to converge within the country and threaten to spiral out of the authorities' control. An estimated 45 million people just participated in a massive strike over the weekend against the proposed neoliberal pension reforms that would increase both the age of retirement and contributions for ordinary workers, which tens of millions of people feel is unfair but which the state says is needed in order to fix the failing system that it inherited as a result of its predecessors' corrupt mismanagement. Brazil has a history of seemingly irreconcilable political polarization between the Left and Right like all Latin American countries do, but this fault line was exacerbated to the fullest extent throughout the course of the long-running Hybrid War on Brazil , which was waged via the NSA-facilitated "Operation Car Wash" that served as a pretext for carrying out a preplanned pro-American regime change that represented the crowning achievement of Obama's " Operation Condor 2.0 " and made Trump's " Fortress America " hemispheric vision possible.

In layman's terms, American intelligence agencies meddled in Brazil's democracy by selectively leaking purported evidence of serious corruption by the then-ruling party, which predictably set into motion a self-sustaining inquisitional cycle that led to Rousseff's impeachment, Lula's imprisonment, and ultimately Bolsonaro's "dark horse" victory after he was presented to the people as the only non-corrupt candidate capable of restoring order out of the chaos that the socialists were blamed for causing.

This externally triggered regime change was intended to create the domestic political conditions that were thought to make a Leftist revival impossible in the future and thereby indefinitely perpetuate the restoration of US influence in Brazil, with the Right's victory legitimized at the ballot after the majority of the population was successfully led by these foreign-manufactured events to conclude that Bolsonaro was the only person capable of changing the system. Upon entering office, he did exactly as he promised and began to push forward his controversial neoliberal reforms that provoked the latest strike.

Venezuela: Preplanned Provocation by Washington,"The Indirect Adaptive Approach" to Regime Change

Bolsonaro and his US buddies obviously underestimated the Left's resilience and therefore weren't prepared for the massive pushback that this move provoked, but the public's anger last weekend was also fueled by The Intercept's leaked revelations that "Operation Car Wash's" top judge and the country's current Justice Minister colluded with prosecutors to convict Lula and therefore prevent him from running for President (which in turn greatly facilitated Bolsonaro's rise to power).

Many Brazilians had long suspected as much, but this was the first time that messages from a private Telegram group consisting of the regime change collaborators were made public to corroborate this theory. It's important to point out that the conversation was leaked and not hacked, strongly suggesting dissident within the deepest ranks of the regime change movement for reasons that can only be speculated upon at this time but which nevertheless motivated the whistleblower to share the evidence in their possession with society in order to catalyze grassroots pressure against the government.

It's therefore not an exaggeration to say that Brazil's long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora's Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US' behest. Bolsonaro's rise to power was shady from the get-go and only made possibly by Lula's conviction and the consequent banning of the country's most popular political candidate from the presidential race, which has now been proven without any reasonable doubt to have been part of an actual conspiracy by some members of the permanent bureaucracy ("deep state") against him.

This throws into question the electoral legitimacy of Brazil's latest leader and therefore sets up the scenario of having every one of his political moves invalidated if he's ever removed from office on this pretext, including the controversial pension reform that he's trying to push through. Naturally, the labor crisis is merging with the political one and creating a critical mass of regime change unrest.

Although some of the protesters are employing classic Color Revolution tactics during their anti-government demonstrations, this political technology isn't black and white because it could conceivably be used by anyone in pursuit of any end. In this case, the nascent movement has the same regime change objective as its pro-American antecedent and is similarly relying on overwhelming popular support to legitimize its goals, albeit the defining difference in this Hybrid War is that it isn't tied to any foreign power (both in terms of its inception and development unlike "Operation Car Wash") except if one cynically traces its origin to the US' NSA meddling many years ago. In fact, what's happening in Brazil right now is nothing less than blowback against Bolsonaro after his conspiratorial US-backed rise to power and the consequent pension controversy that he's since caused. The protest organizers want to return the country to the pre-crisis status quo of being led by Lula and the Left, though they might also embrace some mild reforms to appeal to the moderate Right that arose in recent years if they ever end up succeeding in reversing the effects of the US' Hybrid War on Brazil.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China's One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Jun 16, 2019] The Neoliberal Rearguard: The potshot intelligentsia take aim at the far left

Jun 16, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

by Jason Hirthler / June 14th, 2019

Once declared by The New York Times to be, "the most important intellectual alive," a quote it surely regrets, prolific gadfly Noam Chomsky has said that, "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." How true. However, the same dictator might find the sloppy, often incoherent work of that uniform press to be a problem in need of a solution, especially at a time when it finds itself assaulted on all sides by alternative media. The mainstream finds itself desperately waging rearguard actions as it stumbles beyond the shadow of respectability. As it retreats into a shell of reactionary conformity, the mainstream has become a parody of itself. Once, its propaganda was well-crafted and replete with nuance and high-quality dissimulation, such that the average American reader could be duped regardless of his or her preconceived notions.

That is no longer the case. The demise of authority in the mainstream is thanks largely to the relentless round-the-clock news cycle and a deep bias in favor of sound bytes and sensationalism. How ironic that the collapse of faith in western media is caused by its own relentless fealty to profitability. The corporate press has now become, for vast segments of the population, a transparently deceitful congeries of second-rate pseudo-journalists who traffic in base fictions at the behest of elite capital. Meanwhile, ranks of first-rate independent journalists now dot the coarse hide of the staggering beast of the mainstream, more woodpeckers than parasites, slowly penetrating the dense carapace of falsehood that coarsens the consciousness of western citizenry. Only relentless infusions of capital are keeping the beast alive. Quantitative easing for the propaganda class.

If you want a nice index of the abysmal depths to which modern political discourse has sunk, there are dozens of pristine examples on YouTube. In fact, the site is in some sense a junk-strewn wasteland of western cultural debris, each piece of trash boasting thousands of views. I recently watched an episode of the BBC's, "The Daily Politics", now mercifully discontinued after 15 years of spreading disinformation disguised as "in depth" coverage of political events. Last July, just before being shuttered for good,, the show hosted the communist Aaron Bastani. (Perhaps this was another effort to align Labour's Jeremy Corbyn with the fraudulent effigies of Stalin and Mao.)

This show is a particularly good example of what happens when a freethinker is for some reason permitted time on a mainstream network and utters viewpoints that are well outside the Overton Window of acceptable opinion. The airing of such thinkers is not, as most suspect, an example of an open press, but rather a calculated effort to censor unacceptable ideas. On a psychological level, it serves the same purpose of unifying the herd as burning witches did in the medieval epoch. There is some sort of malign catharsis in communal attacks on ideological enemies. Just look at the vicious historical Hindu violence against minority Muslims in India. Communalism, they call it. In any event, this collection of pseudo-journalists, arrayed around a table in comfortable chairs, was an especially nice representation of the idiocy of our current political dialogue. Four neoliberals had to be brought on to collectively mock, browbeat, and quiz the good-natured YouTube host of "The Bastani Factor" on his bizarre communist politics.

Theater of the Absurd

The stage is set by show producers when they cast a giant image of a yellow hammer and sickle against a vast background of red (gulag blood, no doubt). This farcical backdrop covers half the set. The "guest" Bastani is first mocked for handing out a t-shirt that says, "I'm literally a communist." Then he is asked by moderator Jo Coburn, a haughty establishment tool with a penchant for constant interruptions, whether or not Bastani is simply whitewashing "a murderous ideology."

After Bastani finishes describing communism for the panel, Laura Hughes of the highly esteemed Financial Times declares that she felt like she'd just sat through her high school history class all over again, and that what was really needed was, "a new word" other than communism, since the latter was obviously so freighted with capitalist propaganda (she didn't exactly say that). Political pundit and Tory Matthew Parris then jumps in to say he's perfectly comfortable with the current word, and that Marx was perfectly clear about what he meant by it. Hughes gazes at Parris, nodding with a condescending smile, before Coburn leaps in to ask again about the supposedly nine million slaughtered at the hands of Stalin's purges, gulags, and induced famines. Parris laughs uncomfortably and defensively remarks, "Well, I'm not a communist!" But the bloodthirsty Coburn isn't satisfied. Is understanding communism not, in effect, trivializing its crimes? Parris then confirms for all and sundry that the practice of communism will most certainly require mass slaughter.

Coburn jumps back to Bastani, asking whether it requires violence. Rather than say it requires the seizure of property from the ruling class, and that this act might inspire violent resistance, as it did from the kulaks following the Bolshevik revolution, Bastani attempts to smooth it all over with an anecdote from the 14th century, which appeases no one and distracts everyone. Here another conservative journalist, Suzanne Evans, declares, in reference to the disturbing t-shirt, to say, "I'm literally a communist" is tantamount to saying, "I'm literally a fascist." Hughes bounces up and down in her chair and reminds the panel that communism "didn't work!" She then reiterates her call for "a new word." Someone then asks whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would wear Bastani's communist t-shirt, prompting Bastani to point out that Corbyn isn't actually a communist. Evans smugly replies, "He's 90 percent a communist" (to guffaws in the gallery).

Parris has by this point recovered from the dreadful insinuation that he was a tankie. He then announces that one of the main problems with communism, aside from the mass slaughter, is that it still has a "student Che Guevara mystique about it." This insight is met with knowing nods and throaty growls from the panel. He then bafflingly adds that free marketers (like himself) "haven't been robust enough in defending what we believe in." Bastani might have noted that a century of nonstop laissez faire propaganda from the business press should surely have squelched a few noisy gangs of undergrads in Che t-shirts. Alas, the show then dribbled to a close, everyone declining the offer of the t-shirt as though it were smallpox-infested blanket from colonial times.

The comments section beneath the YouTube video was largely sympathetic to Bastani, but in places typically descended into an intra-communist debate about what communism actually is, with one ideologue insisting that, "The USSR was not remotely Marxist!" Several naysayers chimed in with the usual boilerplate about how everything we enjoy today is a product of capitalism and how capitalism is "by far" the best system ever conceived for human prosperity, etc. As usual, the capitalists take credit for everything except the death toll.

Punching Back

Unfortunately, this is garden variety stuff on mainstream television. One hardly utters a non-mainstream perspective before opposition pundits have their hackles up and are firing off stock phrases about the glories of the free market. There are numberless responses to this kind of commercial pablum, of which a handful come to mind.

First, no one is saying capitalism isn't a great engine of material production. Even Marx praised it on that count. But we should never tire of pointing out that capitalism isn't about markets; it's the division of resources between capital and labor, the latter of which get brutally exploited by the former. As for markets, there were plenty of slave markets in the ancient world, and plenty of markets under feudalism, and there have been plenty of markets in socialist economies. Second, the numerous social advances made in the US were made in spite of capitalism, not because of it. It's not as though the franchise, the eight-hour work day, or the social safety net were commodities distributed by profit-seeking capitalists in some magically humane laissez faire agora.

Third, the Soviet Union was a demonstrable success, achieving some remarkable industrial gains during just the Thirties alone, before western jackals watched while the Nazi Wehrmacht rolled into Russia, and was finally unraveled by pro-western factions within the Soviet state. The German Democratic Republic is another example of a profoundly different, and generally more humane, kind of social organization, that is continuously given the short shrift by ideologues hurling their "Stasi state" jibes into the bristling ether of social media. Fourth, we'd have never even begun to exit the Great Recession of 2008 without China's command economy, with its various socialist aims and government controlled production.

Fifth, no one bothers to investigate the propaganda surrounding communism, referred to in this awful BBC show as a "murderous ideology". The purge and gulag and famine death figures were popularly disseminated largely by Robert Conquest, a British propagandist, and are suspect at best, and at worst fraudulent. The majority of the left won't even go there for fear of crossing the threshold into pariah status, and being thrust into that burgeoning cultural pen of actual socialists and communists. Sixth, there are thought to be some 20 million people since the end of WWII who have died at the hands of imperial capitalism, and its unquenchable thirst for new markets. Those figures are not likely to be falsified, at least partially because they are not the product of a ferociously anti-Communist propaganda system, but rather independent alternative journalists without a bourgeois mandate to romanticize neoliberalism and demonize communism. Nor are those numbers likely to stall; the implacable drive for hegemony promises much more slaughter, with many more million brown men, women, and children adding to the figures, plenty of them doubtless LGBTQ+ and trans. Seventh, India, for instance, is hardly better off than it was before the capitalist invasion by Britain. Same goes for the Congo or anyplace else capital has reached for market access. Life in the metropole is considerably different than life in the ransacked provinces.

Eighth, when you argue for the current system, you're arguing for a capitalist oligarchy in which 1 percent of humanity controls more than half the world's wealth, and 30 percent control 95 percent of the wealth, leaving 70 percent of the world's population to support itself on 5 percent of the world's resources, access to which are nevertheless being hotly contested by capital. Ninth, recent studies have shown marked rises in suicides as neoliberal austerity takes hold in the metropole itself, while hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have taken their own lives thanks to neoliberal structural reforms in a story that provoked meager interest in western capitals. Tenth, it's been conclusively shown that we are heading into the sixth mass extinction event in history, produced by capitalist industrialization. Yet almost all of us are in denial, either as Republicans hastily summoning their liberal conspiracy talking points, or as neoliberal Democrats who still cling to the meager thread of the Obama era and the Paris Accords, as if Obama and Paris were really going to address climate change the way it needs to be addressed.

Alas, these responses might have short-circuited the hive mind of the BBC panel. Facts, hurled into a pandemonium of deceits, can have that effect. Of course, Bastani was shuttled away before any of these considerations were tabled, the benighted doxies of imperialism happy to have had another go at the far left before decamping for their next bourgeois dinner party, anxious to don their own 'most important intellectual' attire and regale placid peers of the intelligentsia with tales of ideology run amuck.

Jason Hirthler is a writer, political commentator, and veteran of the communications industry. He has written for many political communities. He is the recent author of Imperial Fictions , a collection of essays from between 2015-2017. He lives in New York City and can be reached at jasonhirthler@gmail.com . Read other articles by Jason .

This article was posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019 at 8:23pm and is filed under Capitalism , Communism/Marxism/Maoism , Corporate media , Media , Media Bias , Social media .

[Jun 13, 2019] Leaked Messages Confirm Imprisonment of Brazil's Lula da Silva was Politically Motivated naked capitalism

So it was coup detat after all, like many expected...
Jun 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Leaked Messages Confirm: Imprisonment of Brazil's Lula da Silva was Politically Motivated Posted on June 13, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield This week Glenn Greenwald and colleagues published in The Intercept articles based on initial analysis of a massive trove of internal communications between prosecutors and judges involved in Brazil's corruption cases. An anonymous source had provided the material. To no one's great surprise, these documents revealed that former president Lula da Silva's prosecution and conviction were politically motivated ( part one ; part two ; part three , with more to follow).

Political and social leaders, including Bernie Sanders, have called for Lula to be released and his conviction annulled (see this Common Dreams account, Bernie Sanders Says Former Brazilian President Lula Should Be Freed After Leaked Documents Expose 'Politicized Prosecution' )

In this Real News Network interview, Mike Fox discusses the ramifications of these explosive revelations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PW_2-BS0_q0

GREG WILPERT: It's The Real News Network. And I'm Greg Wilpert in Baltimore.

The website The Intercept released a series of articles last Sunday which provides strong evidence that last year's conviction and imprisonment of Brazil's former president Lula da Silva was politically motivated. The articles are based on an enormous archive of internal communications conducted by prosecutors and judges that The Intercept received from an anonymous source. The Intercept says that they will be publishing many more articles as they proceed to analyze the archive.

Lula da Silva has been in prison for just over a year now, serving a 24-year prison sentence on corruption charges relating to the so-called Lava Jato, or Car Wash, corruption investigation, in which the construction companies Grupo OAS and Odebrecht were at the center. Lula was convicted shortly before last year's presidential campaign, in which he was the leading candidate. It is generally believed that Lula's disqualification from the race is what enabled far right politician Jair Bolsonaro to win Brazil's presidency.

Joining me now from Florianapolis, Brazil to discuss the latest revelations contained in The Intercept's reporting is Mike Fox. Mike is a freelance reporter for The Real News Network, and for many other media outlets. Thanks for joining us today, Mike.

MICHAEL FOX: Thanks for having me, Greg.

GREG WILPERT: So, the articles that were published in The Intercept raise two main issues with regard to Lula's conviction and his presidential run last year. Let's take them one at a time. Now, first there is the issue of how prosecutors tried to prevent Lula from giving an interview to Brazil's largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paolo. What is the revelation here, and what is the significance of what prosecutors did?

MICHAEL FOX: Right. So, in September 28 of last year the Supreme Court ruled that Lula would be allowed to give this interview. Almost immediately thereafter, what we've seen from these telegram messages is that prosecutors in the Lava Jato task force kind of blew up, scheming for the next 24 hours about how they could possibly stop this. They called this mafioso, they called this ridiculous, insane. It was very clear about their political identification and what they were trying to do to in order to move to block this interview, for their fear that the Workers Party, this could kind of lift the Workers Party forward into the first round and into the second round elections to potentially win the election.

In the end the interview itself was blocked by an appeal from Novo, one of the right-wing political parties. So they–and they were, again, they expressed that they were relieved in these, these telegram messages. So this is a very clear, one clear example, of a situation where these prosecutors were actively plotting to try and block as much as possible the Workers Party from potentially returning to power.

GREG WILPERT: So, the second issue that The Intercept articles highlight has to do with the evidence against Lula, and how the judge in Lula's case, Sergio Moro, and the main prosecutor, Deltan Dallagnol, communicated with each other to make a case against Lula. Now, what did The Intercept find here?

MICHAEL FOX: Right, so this is–this is potentially even more damning. It's important to remember that the Brazilian justice system is very similar to the United States. A judge is supposed to be impartial. He accepts the information from the prosecution, and then from the defense, and makes his decision. But what's clear from these telegram messages is that he was actually working hand in hand with the prosecutors in the case against Lula. What came out from here is he was, he was helping to collaborate. He was kind of making recommendations that Delton and his team should maybe reinvert the direction of the investigations that they were going onto. At one point in the messages he says, you know, nothing's happened for a month. You guys need to get moving. You guys need to get out in the street and continue these investigations. And so he was actually collaborating with the prosecution. There's even one point which he says "we." You know, we need to work harder. I don't remember the exact quote that he used. But using the 'we' means that he is actually in collaboration with the prosecution's case.

And he is himself supposed to be an independent judge. That's what he always said. He always called himself impartial. And in fact, there was an interview that was tweeted out by Glenn Greenwald yesterday or today in which–it was a piece of a speech that he gave in which he said, listen, I'm completely impartial. I'm completely impartial in this situation. But here from these messages it becomes very clear that that is not the case. And this is not something that's absolutely new. I mean, we've known around this in Brazil. Many people have known this for a very long time. But what's so clear about this is it's on paper. We now see the messages and we see the collaboration. What you also have is a situation where Deltan Dallagnol, who's the lead prosecutor with the task force, actually came out at one point in messaging with Sergio Moro, saying, listen, I don't think there's there's enough evidence to convict Lula. And he was also concerned about the location, why Lula would be tried within the larger Lava Jato investigation; so why would it be Sergio Moro that would be trying him?

So this is another thing that became very clear within these messages, that even the lead prosecutor didn't think they had enough evidence in order to be able to convict.

GREG WILPERT: And I think it's also important to note that Sergio Moro himself, then, after prosecuting Lula–I mean, not prosecuting. Convicting Lula. He then went on to become a justice minister for Jair Bolsonaro. Which also, again, would not have been possible if Lula hadn't been convicted. Or presumably wouldn't, because Lula might have won the presidential election.

MICHAEL FOX: Absolutely. And there's a very–I think we're going to see more about that specific point in the coming weeks. I mean, we know that The Intercept has only gone through roughly 1 percent of the total messages that they've received. So this is the tip of the iceberg. And Glenn Greenwald has alluded to the fact that they may have some information that even before the elections Sergio Moro had already spoken with Bolsonaro about this potential Minister of Justice position, and that he may have already accepted.

GREG WILPERT: Now, what have been the reactions to this in Brazil? No doubt, of course, Lula's supporters feel vindicated. But what are his opponents saying about the revelations, and what has been the media's reaction to it?

MICHAEL FOX: Well, Sergio Moro obviously has come out defending himself. He said that A, on one hand, the leaks were made illegally; so they were acquired illegally, and that The Intercept should not have published it without naming who actually acquired the documents, the messages. And that has been kind of overall they've been talking about how since these leaks, since we don't know who gave them, they've been really focusing on kind of the illegality of acquiring the leaks. Many other people; for instance, Bolsonaro's own son Eduardo has come out and basically called them fake news. He's been talking about how he believes they may be manipulated, or just a move in order to try and taint the Bolsonaro government at a moment in which it's fairly weak. Obviously there have been the very large protests that have been growing against the education cuts. We've got a general strike planned for this Friday. And so they kind of see within that context.

In that same–in the same interview, Eduardo Bolsonaro also admitted that he hadn't read these leaks. And that's been one of the things that's come out. For the very first day, these were released on Sunday, and that very same day the Lava Jato prosecution team came out and basically confirmed that these were legitimate messages. They denied that they were scathing. They deny that they were in any, in way show that there was collusion between the prosecution and the judge in this case. But they–but they admitted that they were legitimate. And that's one thing that a lot of people who are kind of Bolsonaro supporters, supporters of Judge Sergio Moro, have not been talking about.

And obviously the Bolsonaro supporters have been very, very vocal on on social media, defending the Lava Jato, defending the investigations, defending Sergio Moro, and defending Bolsonaro. It's important to put into context how important Sergio Moro is for recent years in Brazil. This is the man who led the largest corruption investigation in the history of Brazil. And for the right he was very much seen as kind of a superhero. I mean, he was expected to be the man who would get the next post on the Supreme Court. And his name has even been floated for potential presidency for the 2022 elections. Obviously in this case right now, as many analysts have been talking about, those chances are becoming extremely decreased, because Moro is–and this is what analysts are saying–is that he of everyone, of all kind of the scandal, the leaks that have come out of this, he's the one who's really become most wrapped up in this. And that means that they're questioning his agenda as minister of justice. And I mean, even questions about the decisions he made while he was a judge at the head of this investigation. So this is really huge. And it goes across the board going back years.

GREG WILPERT: And so, finally, how do you think this might–is there any indication how this might influence Lula's case, and possibly his appeals?

MICHAEL FOX: It's a great question. We have–just this morning one of the Supreme Court justices said that the evidence released in these leaks could potentially be used in order to question or overturn decisions by Judge Sergio Moro when he was a judge at the head of the Lava Jato investigation. So that is one very important detail. The Supreme Court is literally this afternoon supposed to be hearing a case, an appeal, over freeing Lula, over Lula's case. So that's something that's coming up. We're going to be watching very closely.

It's really hard to say where things go from here. Overall, obviously, like I mentioned, only 1 percent of the messages have been–not the messages have been released, but only 1 percent of the messages have been gone through. So there's a lot of information. We know that five different political parties, the major left parties, the PP, the PSOL, have already said that they're not going to–they're going to block anything they possibly can in Congress until steps have been taken against prosecutors in the Lava Jato team that had been doing the investigations here. We know that the Public Prosecutor's Office, the National Council for Public Prosecutor's Office, has already moved to sanction some of those prosecutors. That was as of this morning. They began the investigations yesterday. They said that five people have been temporarily suspended. So we know that that is happening. The bar association, the Brazilian bar association, has called for both Moro and Deltan Dallagnol to step down because of their implications within all this. And like I said, this is just the beginning. It is the major news. And we believe it's going to continue to grow in the coming days and coming weeks.

GREG WILPERT: And we'll definitely come back to you as this case develops and as it explodes in Brazil. We're going to leave it there for now. I was speaking to Mike Fox, freelance reporter based in Florianopolis, Brazil. Thanks again, Mike, for having joined us today.

MICHAEL FOX: Thanks, Greg.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining The Real News Network.

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F06%2Fleaked-messages-confirm-imprisonment-of-brazils-lula-da-silva-was-politically-motivated.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" />


Ignacio , June 13, 2019 at 5:58 am

Not surprisingly, on tuesday, Bolsonaro publicly supported Sergio Moro.

Ignacio , June 13, 2019 at 6:10 am

This won`t be the first, the second, 3rd example on how the rigth/conservatives use illegal/corrupt methods to prevent access of progressives to power. In a few particular cases I know, when the illegal practice was uncovered, this didn't have any consequence because the conservatives are already in power and block any initiative except, perhaps, blaming it all on a single person that will therefore be pardoned with gratitude. Will this case be different?

Jon Cloke , June 13, 2019 at 8:18 am

Taking out 'left' leaders in Latin America judicially is a real thing, funded amongst others by Koch brothers subsidiaries.

My guess is that the new phase of savage neoliberalism is going to roll this anti-progressive PR-judicial weaponry out on a vast scale everywhere in future, particularly as climate change activism and progressive leadership attached to that movement comes more and more to the fore..

My guess is also that people like Jeremy Corbyn are going to fall foul of this industrial-intelligence complex weaponry using a range of apparently unrelated 'moral' issues, viz the recent 'Labour antisemitism' bullshit and the revelations in Haaretz about the activities of Mossad on social media against the BDS movement.

1 Kings , June 13, 2019 at 8:23 am

Good ol' James Monroe. Longest running doctrine, um..still running.

Wukchumni , June 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

Los Angeles had nothing to do with the Monroe Doctrine, but about a century ago, Hollywood was feeling teething pains

I always liked the reverse (the back) of this coin, with stylized women representing North America & South America touching, ala the Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel.

In 1922, the motion picture industry was faced with a number of scandals, including manslaughter charges against star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Although Arbuckle was eventually acquitted, motion picture executives sought ways of getting good publicity for Hollywood. One means was an exposition, to be held in Los Angeles in mid-1923. To induce Congress to issue a commemorative coin as a fundraiser for the fair, organizers associated the exposition with the 100th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, and legislation for a commemorative half dollar for the centennial was passed.

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

Joe Well , June 13, 2019 at 10:50 am

Wow, thank you for sharing that.

Mattski , June 13, 2019 at 8:51 am

Perry Anderson has published several quite masterful pieces in the LRB with the necessary longer perspectives on this matter:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n07/perry-anderson/lulas-brazil

Anyone interested in the background is urged to read this.

Norb , June 13, 2019 at 9:27 am

Bending the arch of human destructiveness must be a common goal moving forward. Doing good works not dedicated to achieving profit being the guiding principle. This sorts people out fairly clearly.

To drive this point home, I can't help but think that Greenwald's really important work is his current project with dogs and the poor. That work has a direct effect on making a better future. His other work exposing corruption, while important, only serves to drive social evolution to greater complexity.

One cannot fight corruption. One succumbs to it or not. Corruption eventually burns itself out.

If more people figure out for themselves that good works are most important in life, then the flames of corruption won't burn the entire world.

TimH , June 13, 2019 at 10:09 am

Why bother with RN when GG was interviewed by the inestimable AG and JG on DN?

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/6/12/secret_files_show_how_brazils_elites

Joe Well , June 13, 2019 at 10:53 am

Glenn Greenwald is one my personal heroes, even if he does not-so-occasionally tweet stupid things.

Has there been a greater journalistic hero in the 21st century?

The fact that he came around from being some libertarian conservative crank blogger in the early years of the century only gives me hope for humanity.

The fact that the Dem establishment types despise him makes me love him even more.

Synoia , June 13, 2019 at 11:25 am

It would be very interesting to discover the sources of Money underlying this affair.

Joe Well , June 13, 2019 at 11:55 am

I think MMT makes understanding major government corruption much easier.

If they were filching pens from the office cupboard they could be caught easily, but since they're stealing something that can be made out of thin air for a long time without anyone noticing

Efmo , June 13, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Like the C.I.A. or Koch brother foundations, to name 2 possible sources among many? ;)

Spring Texan , June 13, 2019 at 12:05 pm

tweet from Bernie Sanders about Lula da Silva: https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/1138808234645626880

I like Warren, BUT you will not catch her tweeting something like that – nor supporting real Medicare for All which is why Sanders is my #1 for sure.

Harry , June 13, 2019 at 12:39 pm

The general term for this is "un coup d'etat"

Harry , June 13, 2019 at 12:43 pm

My other observation is the NSA, like God, moves in mysterious ways.

[Jun 11, 2019] Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism by Quinn Slobodian

The author is a very fuzzy way comes to the idea that neoliberalism is in essence a Trotskyism for the rich and that neoliberals want to use strong state to enforce the type of markets they want from above. That included free movement of capital goods and people across national borders. All this talk about "small government" is just a smoke screen for naive fools.
Similar to 1930th contemporary right-wing populism in Germany and Austria emerged from within neoliberalism, not in opposition to it. They essentially convert neoliberalism in "national liberalism": Yes to free trade by only on bilateral basis with a strict control of trade deficits. No to free migration, multilateralism
Notable quotes:
"... The second explanation was that neoliberal globalization made a small number of people very rich, and it was in the interest of those people to promote a self-serving ideology using their substantial means by funding think tanks and academic departments, lobbying congress, fighting what the Heritage Foundation calls "the war of ideas." Neoliberalism, then, was a restoration of class power after the odd, anomalous interval of the mid-century welfare state. ..."
"... Neoliberal globalism can be thought of in its own terms as a negative theology, contending that the world economy is sublime and ineffable with a small number of people having special insight and ability to craft institutions that will, as I put it, encase the sublime world economy. ..."
"... One of the big goals of my book is to show neoliberalism is one form of regulation among many rather than the big Other of regulation as such. ..."
"... I build here on the work of other historians and show how the demands in the United Nations by African, Asian, and Latin American nations for things like the Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, i.e. the right to nationalize foreign-owned companies, often dismissed as merely rhetorical, were actually existentially frightening to global businesspeople. ..."
"... They drafted neoliberal intellectuals to do things like craft agreements that gave foreign corporations more rights than domestic actors and tried to figure out how to lock in what I call the "human right of capital flight" into binding international codes. I show how we can see the development of the WTO as largely a response to the fear of a planned -- and equal -- planet that many saw in the aspirations of the decolonizing world. ..."
"... The neoliberal insight of the 1930s was that the market would not take care of itself: what Wilhelm Röpke called a market police was an ongoing need in a world where people, whether out of atavistic drives or admirable humanitarian motives, kept trying to make the earth a more equal and just place. ..."
"... The culmination of these processes by the 1990s is a world economy that is less like a laissez-faire marketplace and more like a fortress, as ever more of the world's resources and ideas are regulated through transnational legal instruments. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 16, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0674979524
ISBN-13: 978-0674979529

From introduction

...The second explanation was that neoliberal globalization made a small number of people very rich, and it was in the interest of those people to promote a self-serving ideology using their substantial means by funding think tanks and academic departments, lobbying congress, fighting what the Heritage Foundation calls "the war of ideas." Neoliberalism, then, was a restoration of class power after the odd, anomalous interval of the mid-century welfare state.

There is truth to both of these explanations. Both presuppose a kind of materialist explanation of history with which I have no problem. In my book, though, I take another approach. What I found is that we could not understand the inner logic of something like the WTO without considering the whole history of the twentieth century. What I also discovered is that some of the members of the neoliberal movement from the 1930s onward, including Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, did not use either of the explanations I just mentioned. They actually didn't say that economic growth excuses everything. One of the peculiar things about Hayek, in particular, is that he didn't believe in using aggregates like GDP -- the very measurements that we need to even say what growth is.

What I found is that neoliberalism as a philosophy is less a doctrine of economics than a doctrine of ordering -- of creating the institutions that provide for the reproduction of the totality [of financial elite control of the state]. At the core of the strain I describe is not the idea that we can quantify, count, price, buy and sell every last aspect of human existence. Actually, here it gets quite mystical. The Austrian and German School of neoliberals in particular believe in a kind of invisible world economy that cannot be captured in numbers and figures but always escapes human comprehension.

After all, if you can see something, you can plan it. Because of the very limits to our knowledge, we have to default to ironclad rules and not try to pursue something as radical as social justice, redistribution, or collective transformation. In a globalized world, we must give ourselves over to the forces of the market, or the whole thing will stop working.

So this is quite a different version of neoliberal thought than the one we usually have, premised on the abstract of individual liberty or the freedom to choose. Here one is free to choose but only within a limited range of options left after responding to the global forces of the market.

One of the core arguments of my book is that we can only understand the internal coherence of neoliberalism if we see it as a doctrine as concerned with the whole as the individual. Neoliberal globalism can be thought of in its own terms as a negative theology, contending that the world economy is sublime and ineffable with a small number of people having special insight and ability to craft institutions that will, as I put it, encase the sublime world economy.

To me, the metaphor of encasement makes much more sense than the usual idea of markets set free, liberated or unfettered. How can it be that in an era of proliferating third party arbitration courts, international investment law, trade treaties and regulation that we talk about "unfettered markets"? One of the big goals of my book is to show neoliberalism is one form of regulation among many rather than the big Other of regulation as such.

What I explore in Globalists is how we can think of the WTO as the latest in a long series of institutional fixes proposed for the problem of emergent nationalism and what neoliberals see as the confusion between sovereignty -- ruling a country -- and ownership -- owning the property within it.

I build here on the work of other historians and show how the demands in the United Nations by African, Asian, and Latin American nations for things like the Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, i.e. the right to nationalize foreign-owned companies, often dismissed as merely rhetorical, were actually existentially frightening to global businesspeople.

They drafted neoliberal intellectuals to do things like craft agreements that gave foreign corporations more rights than domestic actors and tried to figure out how to lock in what I call the "human right of capital flight" into binding international codes. I show how we can see the development of the WTO as largely a response to the fear of a planned -- and equal -- planet that many saw in the aspirations of the decolonizing world.

Perhaps the lasting image of globalization that the book leaves is that world capitalism has produced a doubled world -- a world of imperium (the world of states) and a world of dominium (the world of property). The best way to understand neoliberal globalism as a project is that it sees its task as the never-ending maintenance of this division. The neoliberal insight of the 1930s was that the market would not take care of itself: what Wilhelm Röpke called a market police was an ongoing need in a world where people, whether out of atavistic drives or admirable humanitarian motives, kept trying to make the earth a more equal and just place.

The culmination of these processes by the 1990s is a world economy that is less like a laissez-faire marketplace and more like a fortress, as ever more of the world's resources and ideas are regulated through transnational legal instruments. The book acts as a kind of field guide to these institutions and, in the process, hopefully recasts the 20th century that produced them.


Mark bennett

One half of a decent book

3.0 out of 5 stars 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. Read less 69 people found this helpful Helpful Comment Report abuse

Jesper Doepping
A concise definition of neoliberalism and its historical influence

5.0 out of 5 stars A concise definition of neoliberalism and its historical influence November 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase Anybody interested in global trade, business, human rights or democracy today should read this book.

The book follow the Austrians from the beginning in the Habsburgischer empire to the beginning rebellion against the WTO. However, most importantly it follows the thinking and the thoughts behind the building of a global empire of capitalism with free trade, capital and rights. All the way to the new "human right" to trade. It narrows down what neoliberal thought really consist of and indirectly make a differentiation to the neoclassical economic tradition.

What I found most interesting is the turn from economics to law - and the conceptual distinctions between the genes, tradition, reason, which are translated into a quest for a rational and reason based protection of dominium (the rule of property) against the overreach of imperium (the rule of states/people). This distinction speaks directly to the issues that EU is currently facing.

Jackal
A historian with an agenda

3.0 out of 5 stars A historian with an agenda October 22, 2018 Format: Hardcover Author is covering Mises, Hayek, Machlup in Vienna. How to produce order once the Habsburg empire had been broken after 1918? They pioneered data gathering about the economy. However, such data came to be used by the left as well. This forced the people mentioned to become intellectual thinkers as opposed to something else(??). I like how the author is situating the people in a specific era, but he is reading history backwards. The book moves on, but stays in Central Europe. Ordocapitalism followed after Hitler. It was a German attempt to have a both strong state and strong by market, which given Europe's fragmentation required international treaties. This was seen as a way to avoid another Hitler. Later, international organisations like IMF and TWO became the new institutions that embedded the global markets. The book ends in the 90s. So in reading history backwards, the author finds quotations of Mises and Hayek that "prove" that they were aiming to create intellectual cover for the global financial elite of the 2010s.

Nevertheless, the book is interesting if you like the history of ideas. He frames the questions intelligently in the historical context at the time. However a huge question-mark for objectivity. The book is full of lefty dog whistles: the war making state, regulation of capitalism, reproducing the power of elites, the problem [singular] of capitalism. In a podcast the author states point blank "I wanted the left to see what the enemy was up too". I find it pathetic that authors are so blatantly partisan. How can we know whether he is objective when he doesn't even try? He dismissively claims that the neoliberal thinkers gave cover to what has become the globalist world order. So why should we not consider the current book as intellectual cover for some "new left" that is about to materialise? Maybe the book is just intellectual cover for the globalist elite being educated in left-wing private colleges.

[Jun 05, 2019] Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Highly recommended!
Jun 05, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Francis Lee says May 5, 2019

Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Thus:

Capital controls = fuddy duddy Capital Account liberalisation = cool Worker's Rights = fuddy duddy Flexible Labour markets = cool World Peace -- fuddy duddy War = Cool National Sovereignty = fuddy duddy Globalization = Cool Social Mobility = fuddy duddy Inequality = cool Respect for elections/referenda = fuddy-duddy Flexible referenda/elections = cool Social solidarity = fuddy-duddy Rampant nihilistic invidualism = cool Respect for human rights and the UN International Law = fuddy-duddy Blatant Imperialism = cool

And so the agenda goes on. Counter-revolution qua revolution

[May 27, 2019] To deny debate.. they simply engineer language

Notable quotes:
"... put some trigger words than inhibit zombies brains: racist, antisemite, populist, fascist, white, sexist, ..."
"... There can be no debates without first pointing out objective reality (factual observations). Long logical expositions often turn out to be dissimulation.. ..."
"... Objective reality, based on history, suggests that human beings are irrational at best, and depraved at worst. The issue is not one of swaying folks, it's one of asking them to place themselves in the shoes of their opponents. ..."
May 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Julot_Fr , 10 hours ago link

To deny debate.. they simply engineer language.. and put some trigger words than inhibit zombies brains: racist, antisemite, populist, fascist, white, sexist, ...

Scipio Africanuz , 10 hours ago link

There can be no debates without first pointing out objective reality (factual observations). Long logical expositions often turn out to be dissimulation..

Objective reality, based on history, suggests that human beings are irrational at best, and depraved at worst. The issue is not one of swaying folks, it's one of asking them to place themselves in the shoes of their opponents.

It's not about religion either, but about what's been proven to work, and what's not worked. Neither is it about winning arguments, that's just ego stroking.

What it's about, is how to get along even when there's disagreement on issues, and that requires the maturity to first, acknowledge when one may be wrong, questioning one's assumptions, and allowing others their beliefs provided it reduces or prevents harm to others.

Concisely, the core issue is about the minimization of harm to others, especially conscious harm. Everything else is just details. Expositions that rely extensively on theory are dissimulations, stories, short stories, are way more effective especially when they're relatable.

Technical expositions are for professional debaters (academics), stories are for people, those who truly wish to get along..

Assumptions exist to be questioned, cheers...

[May 18, 2019] Americans are good at Doublethink.

Notable quotes:
"... You point out that our entertainment industry focuses its plots on strong leaders, and Good Guys vs Bad Guys, and we definitely internalize that, especially when our overlords want to demonize another country, and use our entertainment-induced perspective as a shortcut. ..."
"... But, at the same time, on another level, Americans understand that the president is a puppet and must obey orders, or have his brains blown out in bright daylight, in the town square. ..."
"... We hold both these views simultaneously, hence, as Orwell called it, Doublethink. ..."
May 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

wagelaborer , May 17, 2019 6:33:45 PM | link

Jen @25. Americans are good at Doublethink.

You point out that our entertainment industry focuses its plots on strong leaders, and Good Guys vs Bad Guys, and we definitely internalize that, especially when our overlords want to demonize another country, and use our entertainment-induced perspective as a shortcut.

They tell us that the leader of the targeted country is a Bad Guy and we must kill the people in order to save them. And Americans nod and comply. Except for the 5% that prefers peace, and they argue that the leader is not a Bad Guy, so we shouldn't kill the people to save them.
No American ever thinks to argue international law or basic morality, we just argue about the plot lines.

But, at the same time, on another level, Americans understand that the president is a puppet and must obey orders, or have his brains blown out in bright daylight, in the town square.

We hold both these views simultaneously, hence, as Orwell called it, Doublethink.

[Apr 27, 2019] Hate speach and neoliberal concept of utility

The concept of hate speech is a form of censorship, but censorship is not 'one size fit all" phenomenon. Something is is justified and even necessary. Sometimes it is just a demonstration of raw political power ("Might makes right") and suppressing of the dissent.
In any case the neoliberal interpretation of "hurt feelings" as justification for censorship is open to review.
Notable quotes:
"... It’s the greatest power of an ideology that it can seep into the worldview of those who claim to oppose it. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

I’m reading another article about debates over free speech on campus, this time at Williams College, an elite school in the northwestern corner of Massachusetts. A faculty petition asks to formalize and tighten the college’s policy on free speech by adopting the Chicago Principles, which state that “concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.” Over three hundred students, however, have signed a counterpetition arguing that speech which harms minorities should not be allowed.

... ... ...


Peter Dorman

I fear my post was overly subtle. Let me be more explicit and see if that helps. My argument was not about “free speech versus social justice warriors” or anything of the sort. It was about a relatively new response to politics I saw first hand at Evergreen and have read about at other institutions.

I lived through the experience of hearing activists protesting against emails and statements at public meetings on the grounds they (the activists) were being subjected to emotional distress. Even more remarkably, no one else openly questioned the basis on which this argument rested. The whole tenor of discussion had shifted, and the line between public and private had apparently been redrawn such that the private criterion of “how does this make me feel” could be employed as a reason to suppress, or at least discourage, political action.

It struck me that this was the characteristic shift of neoliberalism, reinterpreting the public sphere as simply another venue for applying the hedonic calculus of individual pleasure/pain. (Virginia-style public choice theory does something similar but in a very different way.) I grant that much more was entailed at Evergreen, just as neoliberalism entails far more than this one characteristic; nevertheless, the it-makes-me-feel-bad argument for narrowing the public sphere is historically new—yes?—and coincides with the more general neoliberal view that “the political is personal”.

Our feelings of personal well-being become political criteria of what is right and wrong for the community, just as our political agency is reduced to personal choice. (What am I not supposed to buy? What is the right language for me to use when talking to someone of identity X?)

I don’t want to add more to the stew, but one further point is relevant. The stories, all of them, that have been disseminated about what happened at Evergreen during 2017 and the runup to those events are incomplete if not simply false. This includes the testimony of Bret Weinstein, who is factually correct about the direct experiences he underwent but has no clue about the forces and interests that instigated them. Suffice it to say that the faculty and perhaps students of the political left were mostly bystanders in this imbroglio. (Anecdotal evidence: my radical students were not involved, and my students who were involved were not the radicals.)

They may have taken sides after the event, but the conflict was not about leftism, Marxism, radicalism or even social justice in any substantive sense. That’s worth pointing out because it provides a further dimension to the argument I made in my post. No significant political change was either proposed during or eventuated from the 2017 protests, except the ongoing dismantling of some of the college’s more experimental features in the face of a devastating budget crisis.

I am trying to understand how an ostensibly political event could be so deeply anti-political. There are structural aspects I haven’t brought up and don’t have time or space for: who did what and through what institutional mechanisms, etc. In this post I am simply trying to identify some of the underlying assumptions behind the rhetoric.

Jeremy Grimm , April 26, 2019 at 3:50 pm

This post makes an interesting encapsulation of Neoliberalism: “life is an accumulation of moments of utility and disutility”. I am not convinced this formulation is sufficient to characterize Neoliberalism. How well would this formulation distinguish between Neoliberals and Epicures?

“Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism insofar as it declares pleasure to be its sole intrinsic goal, the concept that the absence of pain and fear constitutes the greatest pleasure, and its advocacy of a simple life, make it very different from “hedonism” as colloquially understood.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicureanism]

Is ‘utility’ greatly different than ‘pleasure’ as Epicures frame that word?

I do like the last sentence of the post: “It’s the greatest power of an ideology that it can seep into the worldview of those who claim to oppose it.”...

Jeremy Grimm , April 26, 2019 at 4:57 pm

The topic of free speech per se free speech was excellently covered by Howard Zinn in his talk “Second Thoughts on the First Amendment”. [I received a copy of the mp3 of this speech as a premium from my contribution to Pacifica Radio WBAI. The lowest price mp3 or written transcript for the speech was at https://www.alternativeradio.org/products/zinh006/ transcript for $3 or mp3 download for $5.]

Zinn’s speech made it clear that free speech was no simple matter contained within the meaning of the words ‘free speech’. There are questions of the intent of speech — the effects of a speech … bad feelings? … inciting a riot — capacity for speech that spreads fear … spreading unwarranted panic the classic yelling “Fire” in a crowded building — questions of the forum? There is free speech on a street corner and free speech on television, and they differ greatly in kind, and there is defamatory and slanderous speech.

...The equation between speech and money our ‘Supremes’ made is little short of the complete debasement of the Supreme Court as a forum of jurisprudence. The ‘prudence’ must be expunges from any characterizations of their judgements FAVORABLE or otherwise. The Supreme Court does not interpret the laws of the land. Like our Legislatures they are ‘bought’ and ‘bot’ to the whims of money.


Adam Eran April 26, 2019 at 7:06 pm

I’d suggest the dispute is theological. Everyone wants a “higher power” to bless their particular approach. The neoliberal preference for comparing measurable effects, scoring them as costs or benefits, is the standard MBA religion. Why if you can’t measure it, it mustn’t exist!

The whole approach doesn’t require too much thinking, and has the imprimatur of “science” and “reason” both… Excellent gods, all. Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years makes a good case for the way our confusion of monetary with ethical comparisons has managed to bamboozle humanity for literally thousands of years. You see rich people deserve their wealth. They are good, and you can tell by the amount of money they have. See!

Code Name D, April 26, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Some speech has as its primary purpose making others suffer, through insult or instigating fear, and has little or no persuasive intent. That’s hate speech, and I don’t see a problem with curtailing it.

The problem is just about anything “becomes” “hate speach” as a means of censorship. Calling out Isrial’s influence on US politics becomes antisimitism. Being critical of Hillary is misogany. Hell, not liking Campain Marvel is an example of hate speach. Recently negative reviews of the movie were removed from Rotten Tomatos as an example.

You might imagin that a line could be drawn some where. But when ever you draw that line, it always migrates over time.

Sound of the Suburbs , April 27, 2019 at 6:58 am

Neoliberalism destroys itself, don't panic. A ridiculous economic model was rolled out globally that had no long term future. The standard debt fuelled growth model of neoliberalism. The UK:

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

Japan, UK, US, Euro-zone and China: At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

China has seen their Minsky Moment coming and the debt fuelled growth model can no longer be used. Adair Turner took over at the FSA when Lehman Brothers collapsed and this gave him the incentive to find out what was going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCX3qPq0JDA

Adair Turner has looked at the situation prior to the crisis where advanced economies were growing by 4 – 5%, but the debt was rising at 10 – 15%. This always was an unsustainable growth model; it had no long term future.

After 2008, the emerging markets adopted the unsustainable growth model and they too have now reached the end of the line. We are trying to maintain an economic model that never had a long term future as it only worked by adding more and more debt in an unsustainable way. The debt didn't grow with GDP. How can banks grow GDP with bank credit?

The UK: https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)

After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don't result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)

What happened in 1979?

The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.

This is the key to a sustainable economic model that has a long term future as debt and GDP rise together.

Steve Ruis , April 27, 2019 at 8:57 am

I have a problem with any argument based upon hurt feelings. Just what the heck are "hurt feelings?" How do we tell when someone is sincere or faking said? How do we tell when someone is emotionally fragile? How do we tell when someone has distorted values (But Hitler is my hero!)? How do we shock college students out of their complacency? How do we challenge them with new ideas? Are we to stop talking about the theory of evolution because someone's religious sensibilities are offended?

Having said that it is my generation that jettisoned good manners and we are now suffering the affects of that. The foundation of communication is knowing your audience and how much information that can receive at a time and some forgoe any consideration of that effect to make a controversy where there is none. And political free speech is absolutely necessary if we are to be a country that governs ourselves.

The Heretic , April 27, 2019 at 2:41 pm

The free exchange of ideas, and the evolution of ideas via exposure of new facts and interpretations and disagreements is vitally important; all progress comes from this. However fake news, bullshit arguments, and its long lasting effects cannot be underestimated. An easy example of is the 'the measles vaccine causes autism' bullshit debacle, which both caused numerous children and adults to now needlessly contract measles and more importantly, caused ordinary people to doubt the integrity of the medical professionals, and even science in general.. the discussion needs to expand from between speaker and the hurt listener, to third parties who are listening, who may or may not have their agendas, but whose opinion can be shifted based on the debate.

Btw, tobacco industry bullshit, climate change denial bullshit, are other huge sources of untruth which has polluted the discussions of today

We need to have a discussion/teaching on how we can again have truthful debate, however painful, and be able to distinguish from bald lies , false narratives or bullshit which unfortunately clouds many debates.

We need to accept that the truth exists and that we must seek to discern it. We need a deep discussion on what is truth and how to search for it and understand it, realizing that although the truth exists, that one person's perception and experience of it may differ from that of Another persons. And we need this discussion and skill set to be widely distributed, in a sense like a mental vaccine to help combat against the Bullshit virus that pervades the discussion today.

martell , April 27, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I too have noticed a shift in rhetoric. A recent incident at my own institution comes to mind. A letter appeared in the student newspaper complaining about an awards ceremony for university athletes. Apparently, a male tennis player of color had given a speech in which he thanked the university for having provided him with the opportunity to sleep with lots of white women. The author of the letter of complaint, a female student-athlete of color who'd attended the ceremony, claimed that this made her feel "unsafe," and wondered why the university president, who was in attendance, had not put a stop to the offending speech. In the course of the discussion which followed publication of the letter, no university official publicly questioned whether the complaining student should have felt afraid in that setting (an awards ceremony on a university campus with hundreds of people, including the university president, in attendance). No university official publicly questioned whether feelings of fear, reasonable or not, are grounds for stopping a speech. Some faculty members did however create a circular letter supporting the complaining student and at least strongly suggesting official punitive actions against the offending student and his coaches. Debate then focused on whether his coaches should be fired.

Note that in this case the feelings in question are not just any unpleasant feelings. The problem with the offending speech was not that it provoked anger or sorrow. The problem was that it made her afraid. So, I'm skeptical of the explanation for the shift in rhetoric offered above, the one having to do with neoliberal habits of thought. Its not specific enough.

Peter Dorman , April 27, 2019 at 5:36 pm

Thanks for giving me a chance to take up a tangent I left out of the post in the interest of curtailing sprawl. The safety version of the I-feel-bad argument is interesting.

Here is one interpretation, very provisional. Despite its increasing popularity, the general claim that certain types of political debate or social expression should be off limits because it makes me feel uncomfortable has an uncertain status. Institutions don't have an explicit obligation to promote the moment-to-moment subjective well-being of participants. (Even neoliberal approaches to governance, like cost-benefit analysis, avoid this by basing their justification on postulates that identify current and prospective "utility", however dicey they may be in practice.)

Into the breach jumps the safety trope. Institutions do have an obligation to protect the safety of those they include and touch. Movements against rape and domestic violence as well as pathological police violence have invoked this responsibility, and rightly so. And student movements, in an apparent effort to establish a parallel, have expressed the feeling-bad argument as feeling-unsafe.

The problem, as you point out, is the difference between feeling and being unsafe. I'm not in a position to question whether you feel bad (I'm sure I would have felt furious if I had been in the awards ceremony you describe and heard a predatory remark like the athlete's), but I can question whether you really are as unsafe as you claim. (I agree with your point about the objective safety of being in the awards audience.) The catch, however, is that there is another cultural trope at work, the conflation of belief and knowledge. This is now firmly ensconced in the worldview of much of the left, or "left" as I would put it. It underlies the doctrine of positionality, transforming it from a version of ideology theory (which I respect) to an epistemology (which is preposterous). Come to think of it, its failure to admit the enormous sphere of intersubjectivity, the portion of reality we share and is subject to the rules of evidence, has a sort of neoliberal (specifically Hayekian) tinge to it.

So no, you don't get to say, "Actually, you are quite safe here." There is no shared reality to examine that could possibly overrule someone's feeling that they are unsafe. I have had this exact conversation with several students, but I also see versions of it in the popular media and even in a lot of "scholarly" work. The mantra of those faculty and administrators supporting (or in some cases collaborating with) protesters at Evergreen was "listen to the students", as if what we hear -- and yes, of course we should listen to them -- was thereby the factual state of the college we had to respond to. It's also a reason why about a tenth of the student body, which excluded many or most of the radicals (see above), had to be referred to as "the students". The "subjective perception = reality" formulation is incoherent in the face of competing, incompatible subjective perceptions.

There's always more, but I should stop here.

[Apr 27, 2019] Why despite widespread criticism, neoliberalism remains the dominant politico-economic theory amongst policy-makers both in the USA and internationally

Highly recommended!
Apr 27, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

My reading is that the core psychological principle of neoliberalism, that life is an accumulation of moments of utility and disutility, is alive and well within certain sectors of the "left". A speech (or email or comment at a meeting) should be evaluated by how it makes us feel, and no one should have the right to make us feel bad.

Not sure about this "utility/disutility" dichotomy (probably you mean market fundamentalism -- belief that market ( and market mechanisms) is a self regulating, supernaturally predictive force that will guide human beings to the neoliberal Heavens), but, yes, neoliberalism infected the "left" and, especially, Democratic Party which was converted by Clinton into greedy and corrupt "DemoRats' subservient to Wall Street and antagonistic to the trade unions. And into the second War Party, which in certain areas is even more jingoistic and aggressive then Republicans (Obama color revolution in Ukraine is one example; Hillary Libya destruction is another; both were instrumental in unleashing the civil war on Syria and importing and arming Muslim fundamentalists to fight it).

It might make sense to view neoliberalism as a new secular religion which displaced Marxism on the world arena (and collapse of the USSR was in part the result of the collapse of Marxism as an ideology under onslaught of neoliberalism; although bribes of USSR functionaries and mismanagement of the economy due to over centralization -- country as a single gigantic corporation -- also greatly helped) .

Neoliberalism demonstrates the same level of intolerance (and actually series of wars somewhat similar to Crusades) as any monotheistic religion in early stages of its development. Because at this stage any adept knows the truth and to believe in this truth is to be saved; everything else is eternal damnation (aka living under "authoritarian regime" ;-) .

And so far there is nothing that will force the neoliberal/neocon Torquemadas to abandon their loaded with bombs jets as the tool of enlightenment of pagan states ;-)

Simplifying, neoliberalism can be viewed an a masterfully crafted, internally consistent amalgam of myths and pseudo theories (partially borrowed from Trotskyism) that justifies the rule of financial oligarchy and high level inequality in the society (redistribution of the wealth up). Kind of Trotskyism for the rich with the same idea of Permanent Revolution until global victory of neoliberalism.

That's why neoliberals charlatans like Hayek and Friedman were dusted off, given Nobel Prizes and promoted to the top in economics: they were very helpful and pretty skillful in forging neoliberal myths. Especially Hayek. A second rate economist who proved to be the first class theologian .

Promoting "neoliberal salvation" was critical for the achieving the political victory of neoliberalism in late 1979th and discrediting and destroying the remnants of the New Deal capitalism (already undermined at this time by the oil crisis)

Neoliberalism has led to the rise of corporate (especially financial oligarchy) power and an open war on labor. New Deal policies aimed at full employment and job security have been replaced with ones that aim at flexibility in the form of unstable employment, job loss and rising inequality.

This hypotheses helps to explain why neoliberalism as a social system survived after its ideology collapsed in 2008 -- it just entered zombie stage like Bolshevism after WWII when it became clear that it can't achieve higher standard of living for the population then capitalism.

Latest mutation of classic neoliberalism into "national neoliberalism" under Trump shows that it has great ability to adapt to the changing conditions. And neoliberalism survived in Russia under Putin and Medvedev as well, despite economic rape that Western neoliberals performed on Russia under Yeltsin with the help of Harvard mafia.

That's why despite widespread criticism, neoliberalism remains the dominant politico-economic theory amongst policy-makers both in the USA and internationally. All key global neoliberal global institutions, such as the G20, European Union, IMF, World bank, and WTO still survived intact and subscribe to neoliberalism. .

Neoliberalism has led to the rise of corporate (especially financial oligarchy) power and an open war on labor. New Deal policies aimed at full employment and job security have been replaced with ones that aim at flexibility in the form of unstable employment, job loss and rising inequality.

This hypotheses helps to explain why neoliberalism as a social system survived after its ideology collapsed in 2008 -- it just entered zombie stage like Bolshevism after WWII when it became clear that it can't achieve higher standard of living for the population then capitalism.

Latest mutation of classic neoliberalism into "national neoliberalism" under Trump shows that it has great ability to adapt to the changing conditions.

that's why despite widespread criticism, neoliberalism remains the dominant politico-economic theory amongst policy-makers both in the USA and internationally. All key global neoliberal global institutions, such as the G20, European Union, IMF, World bank, and WTO still survived intact and subscribe to neoliberalism. .

[Apr 25, 2019] Multipolarity has taken a back seat. Europe remains a vassal. There are no prospects for european independence from the looks of it.

Apr 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , Apr 24, 2019 11:44:20 AM | link

Multipolarity has taken a back seat. Iranian economy is bad, turkish economy is bad, India stopped buying iranian oil, Brazil got taken over via Bolsonaro, China was intimidated to give better trade conditions, Russian growth rate is weak. Even Khamenei admits that Europe has left the JCPOA in practice.

Europe remains a vassal. There are no prospects for european independence from the looks of it.

The growth rates of those who oppose the US have been hit.

Active measures are being taken to oppose multipolarity on all fronts.

The truth is that you guys underestimate the US. They fight good.

Underlying issues though, such as changing demographics and inreasing debt levels are still weakening the US in the long run.

But they are not out of the game and they won't be for at least another 20 years. The US decline is going to be slower that you thought.

[Apr 02, 2019] There will be backlash against the fascists in Brazil, and the right wing leaderships in governments elsewhere in Latin America that the US has maneuvered into place as these leaders fail to deliver material gains to their populations. And fail they will considering we are in late-stage neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Writing off Brazil (and India and South Africa for that matter) just because the empire has succeeded in swinging an election or two in those places, or because the empire's lawfare scams seem to be working at the moment, is a mistake. ..."
"... These conspicuous successes of the Empire of Chaos , as Escobar calls America, do not significantly change the anti-imperialist attitudes of the populations in these countries. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Apr 1, 2019 3:29:05 PM | link

Karlof1 @82

Agreed.

Writing off Brazil (and India and South Africa for that matter) just because the empire has succeeded in swinging an election or two in those places, or because the empire's lawfare scams seem to be working at the moment, is a mistake.

These conspicuous successes of the Empire of Chaos , as Escobar calls America, do not significantly change the anti-imperialist attitudes of the populations in these countries.

There will be backlash against the fascists in Brazil, and the right wing leaderships in governments elsewhere in Latin America that the US has maneuvered into place as these leaders fail to deliver material gains to their populations. And fail they will considering we are in late-stage capitalism.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.