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 ;-)

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

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

Part of the Series The Public Intellectual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 22:41 utc | 160

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

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

Spain condemns military intervention in the resignation of Morales

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

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

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

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

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



Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:31 utc | 51

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#NoAlGolpeEnBolivia
#EvoNoEstasSolo

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

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

Translation of the pasquinade:

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

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

#Civil Resistance Bolivia

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, you people in this forum who live over the average peer, I do not try that you understand...
You live in your world, looking your belly button, and the furthest you are willing to go is complain here about the Outlaw US Empire...

Why do you not damn go tomorrow in the streets to protest this new coup by your fascist administration?

Do not tell me, that would risk your privileged pensions...and all those expensive things you do to your bodies...

Excuse me, but today, reading the same stupid things of always make me feel like throwing up...

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 3:42 utc | 83
Pompeo tweeted:
Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people's will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.

Will he still support new elections in the morning?
Meanwhile the protesters are calling MAS a criminal organization so no doubt it'll be excluded from the new elections as happened to the Party Of The Regions in Ukraine. The wonders of American "democracy".
arby , Nov 11 2019 15:42 utc | 120
"
Scott T. Patrick
‏ @PompeiiDog

Why was Evo Morales overthrown? He was nationalizing the highly profitable lithium industry and planning to deal directly on the international market rather than exporting the commodity at bargain prices to Western corporations"


"Bolivia has %43 of World's Lithium mines. Batteries from smartphones to Electric cars are all made with Lithium. Evo Morales was investing in facilities to produce Lithium as a high end export material rather than just exporting the mine itself."

Johny Conspiranoid , Nov 11 2019 15:44 utc | 121
Peter AU1

Somewhere on his blog "Sic Semper Tyrannis", maybe earlier this year, Pat relates the tale of how when working for the US Gov. in Bolivia he gave medical help to someone and was rewarded with information which led to the capture of Che Guevara. This may be what Sasha is referring to.

Peter AU1 , Nov 11 2019 18:41 utc | 145
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Bolivia-Hydrocarbons
"Bolivia - Hydrocarbons
This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data."

"The Hydrocarbons law (Law 3058, May 2005) and a subsequent Supreme Decree (May 2006) require that companies sell all production to YPFB and that domestic market demand be met before exporting hydrocarbons. Furthermore, these laws transfer the entire transport and sales chain over to state control. After the law was enacted, hydrocarbon companies were required to sign new contracts with YPFB, agreeing to pay 50 percent of gross production in taxes and royalties."

"Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices."

karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 18:57 utc | 147
I usually try to read all the comments before making my first of the day, but I have yet to do so, although I looked to see if anyone had linked to Escobar's report on Lula and Brazil , which is an extremely important article for events within Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and the rest of the world that's resisting the Outlaw US Empire and its Neoliberal/Neofascist attack dogs.

The information Pepe provides is very important as it jibes with what Assad averred in his RT interview , for which I'm still looking for a transcript. Here's Pepe's warning about the likely future course of events, which has CIA scrawled over every act:

"With the military betting on a strategy of chaos, augmented by Lula's immense social base all over Brazil fuming about his return to prison and the financial bubble finally burst, rendering the middle classes even poorer, the stage would be set for the ultimate toxic cocktail: social 'commotion' allied with 'terrorism' associated with 'organized crime.'

"That's all the military needs to launch an extensive operation to restore "order" and finally force Congress to approve the Brazilian version of the Patriot Act (five separate bills are already making their way in Congress).

" This is no conspiracy theory. This is a measure of how incendiary Brazil is at the moment, and Western mainstream media will make no effort whatsoever to explain the nasty, convoluted plot for a global audience ." [My Emphasis]

jayc , Nov 11 2019 21:10 utc | 151
Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud. OAS report focuses on a vote-counting system called TREP, which was adopted by Bolivia and others in the region on direct advice of OAS. The TREP system is meant to provide/ publicize initial results, but it is not "official". The official results come from a slower and more thorough vote count process. The OAS claim of irregularities in the TREP count is largely irrelevant, as it was never intended to be "official" or legally reflect official results. There were no irregularities in the official count, won by Morales, and the so-called "delay" was in fact the natural process of the slower moving count to produce the official result.

See this analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research:
http://cepr.net/publications/reports/bolivia-elections-2019-11

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 21:40 utc | 154
While Trump denounced Morales, the US State Department stepped in to sanitize Washington's position, with a senior official telling Reuters that the US has "no preference" among opposition candidates. The spokesperson did say, however, that anyone who tried to "distort" last month's vote should not be allowed to participate .

That's MAS banned from the election by the cunts in the fucking State Department. Imagine if the Russian MFA announced that neither the Democratic nor Republican parties could field presidential candidates in 2020. Trump is an idiot but the State Department, DoJ, and Treasury are the real bastards. Forget the CIA, that's just a bunch of senile tossers who have wet dreams about Cold War 2.0.

Don Bacon , Nov 12 2019 0:19 utc | 166
b mentioned lithium with reference to Bolivia in his 139 above

Nov 11, 2019 -- Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal
"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people. Not to multinational corporate cabals."

The Morales move on Nov. 4 to cancel the December 2018 agreement with Germany's ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. The region has 50% to 70% of the world's lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.
Among other clients, ACISA provides batteries to Tesla; Tesla's stock rose Monday after the weekend.
As Bloomberg News noted in 2018, that has set the country up to be incredibly important in the next decade:
Demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Bolivia has plenty -- 9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world -- but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it. . . here

But Teslas catch fire....from ZPower--
Actually, lithium may be in trouble for vehicle batteries.
Just as lithium-ion (Li-ion) replaced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) before it and nickel cadmium (NiCd) before that, silver zinc (AgZn) batteries are on track to replace Li-ion too, according to a McGraw-Hill forecast as far back as 2010. Since then silver zinc has been perfected and are on the market for rechargeable hearing-aid "button" batteries by ZPower LL (Camarillo, Calif.) They are nonflammable and could provide up to 40 percent more run time than lithium-ion batteries. . . here
bevin , Nov 12 2019 0:53 utc | 168
Credit where its due: both Corbyn and Sanders have issued statements against the coup in Bolivia.
On the other hand the recently re-elected, appalling government of Canada has backed it to the hilt. Was probably involved in financing it. See yves engler
https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/11/canada-backs-coup-against-bolivias-president/

The State Department which rarely misses a chance to discredit the democracy that it so hates, is accusing Morales of 'distorting' the election result. Nobody is suggesting that he didn't win the election, at most it is being claimed that his margin of victory, more than 10%, was exaggerated.
A similar, equally spurious claim was used to justify the coup against Aristide. There it was not disputed that Lavelan candidates had won their senatorial elections but that their victories were merely pluralities not majorities.
For this offence Canada, the US and (let it be recalled) Brazil occupied the country, kidnapped Aristide and banned his party from running in future elections.

[Nov 13, 2019] Ecuador The Restoration of Neoliberalism and the Monroe Doctrine by Dr. Birsen Filip

Nov 10, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

On November 7, 2019, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ratified the preventive detention of former president Rafael Correa , along with a number of his former officials. Immediately after the court rendered its decision for pretrial detention, Correa rejected accusations of bribery, illicit association and contributions to his political campaign between 2012 and 2016, while he was the leader of Alianza Patria Altiva i Soberana (PAIS). Correa founded Alianza PAIS in 2006, as a democratic socialist political party with an objective to achieve economic and political sovereignty, and foment a social and economic revolution in the nation, which came to be known as The Citizens' Revolution (La Revolución Ciudadana).

During his presidency, which lasted from January 15, 2007 to May 24, 2017, Correa introduced a brand of 21 st century socialism to Ecuador, with a focus on improving the living standards of the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population. His presidency was part of 'the revolutionary wave' in Latin America, referred to as 'Pink tide', where a number of left-wing and socialist governments swept into power throughout the continent during the 2000s, including Cristina Néstor Kirchner and Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. All of these governments were opposed to neo-liberal economic policies and American imperialism.

While he was president, Correa raised taxes on the rich and cut down on tax evasion, and increased public investment on infrastructure and public services, including publicly-funded pensions, housing, free health care and education. His government ended up building many schools in different parts of the nation, particularly the countryside, and provided students with nearly all of the materials needed to further their studies. President Correa also more than doubled the minimum wage, which contributed to significantly reducing socioeconomic inequality. In 2018, a World Bank report explained that:

Ecuador has made notable improvements in reducing poverty over the last decade. Income poverty decreased from 36.7 percent in 2007 to 21.5 percent in 2017. In addition, the share of the population living in extreme poverty fell by more than half, from 16.5 percent in 2007 to 7.9 percent in 2017, representing an average annual drop of 0.9 percentage points. In absolute numbers, these changes represent a total of 1.6 million individuals exiting poverty, and about one million exiting extreme poverty over the last decade.[i]

Furthermore, the unemployment rate fell from an 'all time high of 11.86 percent in the first quarter of 2004' to 'a record low of 4.54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014'[ii]. The World Bank also reported that Ecuador posted annual economic growth of '4.5 percent during 2001-2014, well above the average for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region of 3.3 percent. During this period, real GDP doubled and real GDP per capita increased by 50 percent.'[iii]

On October 1, 2016, Correa announced the nomination of Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés , who served as his vice president from 2007 to 2013, as his party's candidate for the 2017 presidential election at the conference of Alianza PAIS. Moreno was elected president, and it was expected that he would continue and build on Correa's left-wing economic policies. However, within a few months of winning the election, president Moreno began to dismantle many of the social, economic and political reforms enacted by Correa during his decade as president. Contrary to Correa's government, many of the domestic policies pursued by president Moreno included reducing public spending, weakening worker rights, and providing significant tax cuts to the rich and large corporations. In other words, president Moreno has gradually shifted Ecuador's left-wing policies to the political centre-right.

Moreno's presidency also shifted Ecuador's foreign policy stance, giving it a more neo-liberal and pro-American orientation. When Correa's socialist government was in power, Ecuador enjoyed close diplomatic and economic relations with Venezuela, and was more independent of American hegemony. For example, president Correa closed a US military base in Manta, Ecuador when Washington's lease expired in 2009. Prior to that, in 2007, Correa stated:

We'll renew the [Manta air] base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base if there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely, they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.[iv]

Subsequently, on September 18, 2009, he also said:

As long as I am president, I will not allow foreign bases in our homeland, I will not allow interference in our affairs, I will not negotiate our sovereignty and I will not accept guardians of our democracy.

Contrary to Correa, the US-Ecuador military relationship has expanded under the Moreno government 'through training, assistance, and the reestablishment of an Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Quito.'[v]Ecuador and the US have also signed deals for the purchase of weapons and other military equipment, and agreed to cooperate more closely in the areas of security, intelligence, and counter-narcotics.

In 2011, president Correa expelled US ambassador Heather Hodges from Quito. Subsequently, in 2014, his government expelled the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from the country, where it had been operating since 1961 as part of John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress (AFP)[vi]. USAID regularly exercises 'soft power' in Latin American nations in order to help the US establish itself as an 'international police power'[vii]. In May 2019, Moreno's government announced that USAID would return to Ecuador.

President Correa also became renowned for providing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with political asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to prevent his arrest and possible extradition to the US. However, shortly after his election, there were indications that Moreno might be willing to hand him over to authorities in the UK. In addition to calling Assange an 'inherited problem,' a 'spoiled brat' and a 'miserable hacker', Moreno accused him of repeatedly violating his asylum conditions and of trying to use the embassy as a 'centre for spying'[viii]. Then, on April 11, Assange's political asylum was revoked, which allowed him to be forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy by British police.In response, Correa called Moreno 'the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history' for committing 'a crime humanity will never forget'[ix].

President Correa's government supported the integration of South America countries into a single economic and political bloc. However, since Moreno came to power, Ecuador has distanced itself from the Venezuelan government, and withdrew from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas[x](ALBA) in August 2018, as well as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in September 2019. UNASUR was established by 12 South American countries in 2008to address important issues in the region without the presence of the United States. Currently, only five members remain: Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The other seven members, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay, agreed to create the Forum for the Progress of South America (PROSUR) in March 2019. The goal of this alternative organization is to achieve the right-wing agenda in Latin America, as its members support neo-liberal austerity measures and closer ties with Washington. It could be said that PROSUR aligns well with the goals and objectives of the Monroe Doctrine.

Another major shift in president Moreno's political stance pertains to lawsuits brought against Texaco/Chevron by the Correa government to obtain compensation for environmental damages caused when the operations of Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in the Amazon region of Ecuador between 1964 and 1992, affecting more than 30,000 Indigenous people and Campesinos in the area. 'Chevron left 880 pits full of crude oil which are still there, the rivers are still full of hydrocarbon sediment and polluted by the crude oil spills in Amazonia, which is one of the most biodiversity rich regions in the world'[xi], and 'the damage has been left unrepaired for more than 40 years'[xii]. To raise public awareness about this environmental disaster, president Correa's government established an international campaign called the 'Dirty Hand of Chevron'. In 2011, the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion in compensation for social and environmental damages it caused.

In September 2018, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an agency of the United Nations based in the Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Ecuadorian court decision against Chevron was illegal, because it was an outcome of fraud, bribery, and corruption. The PCA 'also ruled that Ecuador will have to pay economic compensation'[xiii]to Chevron. 'The amount has not been established yet, but Chevron requested that Ecuador assume the US$9.5 billion' awarded to affected communities by the Ecuadorean court.[xiv]Following the PCA decision, the government of president Moreno announced that:

the state will sue former President Rafael Correa and his government officials if Ecuador lost the international arbitration process.[xv]

In this matter, president Moreno also accused Correa of 'failing to defend the country's interests correctly and spending money on "The Dirty Hand of Chevron" campaign, which according to the government sought to "manipulate national and international public opinion."'[xvi] In reality, president Moreno supports the PCA decision, thereby prioritizing the interest of Texaco/Chevron over those of his own citizens . In fact, his government has been attempting to nullify the Constitutional Court ruling against Chevron. In response, former president Correa has accused the Moreno government of 'doing homework ordered by (the United States Vice President Mike) Pence'. Even some of Moreno's own cabinet ministers condemned the PCA ruling and expressed their support for Ecuador's Constitutional Court for defending of the country's nationals interest and the rights of the people of the Amazon.

Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador's President Moreno to Give Up Assange

Correa exhibited a hostile attitude towards the Bretton Woods Institutions during his presidency. He sought to renegotiate Ecuador's external debt of US$10.2 billion, which he called 'illegitimate' because 'it was accrued during autocratic and corrupt regimes of the past. Correa threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and ordered the expulsion of the World Bank's country manager'[xvii], which was carried out on April 26, 2007. His government also opposed the signing of any agreements that would permit the IMF to monitor Ecuador's economic plan. As a result of such actions on the part of Correa's government, 'Ecuador was able to renegotiate its debt with its creditors and redirect public funds towards social investments.'[xviii]

To the contrary, Moreno has enthusiastically embraced the IMF during his short time as president. On March 1, 2019, Ecuador's central bank manager, Verónica Artola Jarrín, and economy and finance minister, Richard Martínez Alvarado,submitted a letter of intent to the IMF requesting a three-year $4.2 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement. An EFF allows the IMF to assist countries that are facing 'serious medium-term balance of payments problems.' More precisely, EFF is designed to:

to provide assistance to countries: (i) experiencing serious payments imbalances because of structural impediments; or (ii) characterized by slow growth and an inherently weak balance of payments position. The EFF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.[xix]

The IMF agreement signed in March allowed Ecuador to borrow $4.2 billion. However, as is always the case, the IMF agreement was not without conditionalities, as it required the Ecuadorian government to implement a series of neo-liberal economic reforms. According to IMF statements, these reforms aim to transform Ecuador's fiscal deficit into a surplus, reduce the country's debt-to-GDP ratio, and increase foreign investment. On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the IMF, claimed that:

The Ecuadorian authorities are implementing a comprehensive reform program aimed at modernizing the economy and paving the way for strong, sustained, and equitable growth.[xx]

On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde also explained that:

Achieving a robust fiscal position is at the core of the authorities' program, which will be supported by a three-year extended arrangement from the IMF. The aim is to reduce debt-to-GDP ratio through a combination of a wage bill realignment, a careful and gradual optimization of fuel subsidies, a reprioritization of capital and goods and services spending, and a tax reform. The savings generated by these measures will allow for an increase in social assistance spending over the course of the program. The authorities will continue their efforts to strengthen the medium-term fiscal policy framework, and more rigorous fiscal controls and better public financial management will help to enhance the effectiveness of fiscal policy.[xxi]

Protecting the poor and most vulnerable segments in society is a key objective of the authorities' program. In this context, the authorities plan to extend the coverage of, and increase the nominal level of benefits under the existing social protection programs. Work is also underway to improve the targeting of social programs.[xxii]

Ecuador's participation in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) represents another point of contention between Correa and the Moreno government. Ecuador was a member of OPEC from 1973 and 1992. After a period of absence, it rejoined the organization in 2007 after Correa became president of the country. However, on October 1 st , president Moreno announced that Ecuador would once again end its membership in OPEC effective January 1, 2020. Given Moreno's penchant for implementing neo-liberal economic policies, this decision was likely based on the notion that freeing the country from the burden of having to abide by quotas would bring fiscal sustainability to Ecuador. This is evidenced by the fact that Ecuador contacted OPEC to request permission to produce above its quota in February 2019, though it was never confirmed whether a response was received[xxiii]. While increasing production in its Amazonian oil fields would likely bring more foreign investment to Ecuador and open up new markets, it would also lead to serious conflicts between the Moreno government and the indigenous people living in the area, who are strongly opposed to oil extraction.

In addition to announcing Ecuador's departure from OPEC, president Moreno also selected October 1 st as the date to introduce Decree 883, a series of economic measures that included ending longstanding subsidies for fuel, the removal of some import tariffs, and cuts to the benefits and wages of public employees. In particular, the elimination of fuel subsidies, which had been in place for 40 years, was instituted in order to meet IMF requirements to keep the $4.2 billion programme on track, and to satisfy international investors. The EFF agreement between the IMF and the Ecuadorean government also called for thousands of public employees to be laid off, the privatization of public assets, the separation of the central bank from the government, cutting public expenditures, and raising taxes over the next three years. IMF representatives claim that these types of reforms bring more foreign direct investment into the economy.

In fact, a close examination of the neo-liberal economic reforms recommended by the IMF in many countries reveals that they are almost identical, meaning that they do not take the diverse needs and realities of each country into account; rather, they are driven by the interests of the countries and other stakeholders that provide the funds. Generally, the IMF's recommendations[xxiv]consist of cutting deficits, liberalizing trade, privatizing state-owned enterprises, reforming the banking and financial systems, increasing taxes, raising interest rates, and reforming key sectors. However, countless studies have revealed that these types of reforms, have raised the unemployment rate, created poverty, and have often preceded recessions. On October 2, 2019, the IMF issued a press release on Ecuador stating that:

The reforms announced yesterday by President Lenin Moreno aim to improve the resilience and sustainability of Ecuador's economy and foster strong, and inclusive growth. The announcement included important measures to protect the poor and most vulnerable, as well as to generate jobs in a more competitive economy.

The authorities are also working on important reforms aimed at supporting Ecuador's dollarization, including the reform of the central bank and the organic code of budget and planning.

IMF staff will continue to work closely with the authorities to improve the prospects for all Ecuadorians. The second review is expected to be submitted to the Executive Board in the coming weeks.[xxv]

President Moreno's decision to end the subsidies on fuel led to the prices of diesel and petroleum increasing by 100% and 30%, respectively, overnight, which directly contributed to significantly raising the costs of public transportation. In response, protests erupted against Moreno's austerity measures on October 3 rd , featuring students, unions and indigenous organizations. They declared an indefinite general strike until the government reversed its neo-liberal adjustment package. Moreno's initial response was to reject the ultimatum and state that he would 'not negotiate with criminals.'

The following day, on October 4, 2019, president Moreno declared a state of emergency under the pretext of ensuring the security of citizens and to 'avoid chaos.' Nonetheless, the protests continued and intensified to the point that the government was forced to relocate to city of Guayaquil because Quito had been overrun by anti-government protestors. However, this attempt to escape the protestors proved ineffective as taxi, bus and truck drivers blocked roads and bridges in Guayaquil, as well as in Quito, which disrupted transportation nationwide.

In the following days, thousands of demonstrators continued to demand the reversal of austerity measures, as well as the resignation of the president. However, Moreno remained defiant, refusing both demands under all circumstances. Subsequently, Ecuador's main oil pipeline ceased operations after it was seized by indigenous protesters. Petro-Ecuador was concerned that production losses could reach 165,000 barrels a day. Indigenous protesters also occupied two water treatment plants in the city of Ambato. Meanwhile, violent clashes between protesters and police resulted in seven deaths , about 2,000 injuries, and over 1,000 arrests. Eventually, Moreno's government was forced to back down and make concession with the well -organised protesters.

On October 13, president Moreno agreed to withdraw Decree 883 and replace the IMF-backed plan with a new proposal, involving negotiations with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other social groups. The following day, president Moreno signed Decree 894, which reinstated the cancelled fuel subsidies. However, on October 23, CONAIE released a statement informing the public that 'it paused talks with President Lenin Moreno because of the government's "persecution" of the group's leaders [Jaime Vargas] since a halt to violent anti-austerity protests.'[xxvi]

It is unlikely that president Moreno would be willing to give up on his austerity policies or start the process of cancelling the IMF loan, given his apparent commitment to helping the US realize the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine. Many of the reforms and policies that his government has introduced will help keep Ecuador firmly entrenched in America's backyard for years to come.

This is not a new development, as history has revealed that, for more than a century , 'in Latin America there are more than enough of the kind of rulers who are ready to use Yankee troops against their own people when they find themselves in crisis' (Fidel Castro, Havana 1962). However, the eruption of protests in response to Moreno's neo-liberal reforms suggests that he faces an uphill battle, as his fellow Ecuadorians do not appear to share his enthusiasm for selling his country to external creditors and foreign influences. Although Moreno has managed to successfully drive Rafael Correa out of Ecuador, the former president's opposition to capitalism and imperialism remain strong among the population.

*

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.

Global Research contributor Dr. Birsen Filip holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Ottawa.

[Nov 13, 2019] HARPER NEOCONS STILL PROMOTE PERMANENT REVOLUTION

Notable quotes:
"... From the 1950s, the anti-Soviet fervor of these New York City-based intellectuals prompted support for the early United States intervention in Vietnam. In the 1970s, the Socialist Party split up as some factions aligned with the New Left. The neocons formed the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA), only later abandoning their socialist party-building in favor of penetrating both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 1970s, Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative William Hughes hired some leading second-generation neocons as foreign policy staffers, beginning a long, steady penetration of key Congressional committees. ..."
"... Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage. ..."
"... Antonio Gramsci quote" Trotskyist are the whores of the fascists". Globalist are modern day or post modern Trotskyist ..."
Nov 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

As the happy marriage of neoconservatives and Obama-era humanitarian interventionists continues to flourish in defense of American permanent war deployments around the globe, it is a worthwhile moment to recall the roots of the neocons in the old left of the 1930s. Neocon founders like Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Max Schachtman, Seymour Martin Lipset, Irving Howe, Nathan Glazer, and Gertrude Himmelfarb were all anti-Soviet socialists from the 1930s, many of whom were followers of Leon Trotsky. Trotsky broke with Stalin in the late 1930s over his emphasis on permanent world socialist revolution, as Stalin concentrated on the consolidation of "socialist in one country"--the USSR.

From the 1950s, the anti-Soviet fervor of these New York City-based intellectuals prompted support for the early United States intervention in Vietnam. In the 1970s, the Socialist Party split up as some factions aligned with the New Left. The neocons formed the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA), only later abandoning their socialist party-building in favor of penetrating both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 1970s, Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative William Hughes hired some leading second-generation neocons as foreign policy staffers, beginning a long, steady penetration of key Congressional committees.

At the Gerald Ford White House, successive chiefs of staff Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney organized a series of "intellectual seminars" by Irving Kristol, further spreading neocon ideology within the foreign policy establishment. As Defense Secretary and later as Vice President, Cheney continued to promote neocons to key posts and to advocate for neocon permanent warfare.

Early in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan launched "Project Democracy," to spread democracy around the globe through well-funded programs including the National Endowment for Democracy, led by Carl Gershman, who has headed the NED since its founding in 1984 through to the present. Gershman was previously Executive Director of Social Democrats USA. NED has been a stronghold of neocons from its inception.

While the anti-Soviet outlook of the neocons continued even after the Berlin Wall and the fall of Soviet communism, the focus increasingly was on permanent warfare to promote democracy around the globe.

Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage.

Posted at 03:24 AM | Permalink


falcemartello , 11 November 2019 at 06:28 AM

Antonio Gramsci quote" Trotskyist are the whores of the fascists". Globalist are modern day or post modern Trotskyist
JJackson , 11 November 2019 at 07:03 AM
"Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage."

I don't think the Democracy bit is much more than a fig leaf, it can quickly be discarded if votes do not go as required. The aim seems to have more to do with removing unfriendly regimes and replacing them with compliant ones. It does not work because the people/'voters' do not like the imposed elites and are inclined to vote by tribe/clan/religion, rather than any western concept of party, the biggest block wins and lords it over the minority.

David Lentini , 11 November 2019 at 08:30 AM
"Democracy-promotion" is just the ostensible reason. Socialism, controlled by the Western élites, was always the goal.
oldman22 , 11 November 2019 at 08:52 AM
It is a serious error to conflate Irving Howe with support for the Vietnam war. In fact the truth is quite opposite. Here is a reference:

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1965/11/25/the-vietnam-protest/

doug said in reply to oldman22... , 11 November 2019 at 10:40 AM
oldman22,

Irving was quite a character. A socialist who's eyes were not totally closed to the um, "contradictions" and stagnation inherent in socialist economies. He spun his wheels mightily in the pages of Dissent trying to reconcile his socialist ideals with it's fundamental conflict with human nature.

Vig , 11 November 2019 at 09:03 AM
Ok, thus the essence of neoconism is Trotzkism and not Straussianism?

In other words, concerning the neoconservatives it makes no sense to look at the (Leo) Straussian angle? Arbitarily?

Now, considering their (not so prominent???) part in the US Culture War (still ongoing???) I am admittedly puzzled. If they were leaning towards Strauss at one point in time, they may well have shifted from revolutionaries to counterevolutionaries at one point in time. No?

They never did? They weren't impressed by their heroes death, but carried his legacy on? Nevertheless?

Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:18 AM
Actually, this is a recasting of the old Muslim idea of Dar al Salam and Dar al Harb. Western Diocletian states embodying the House of Peace while the rest of mankind lives in the House of War. For Muslims, the idea was to bring the benefits of Islam to non-Muslims. Here, it is to bring the benefits of Civilization to the barbarian hordes.
Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:22 AM
Fundamentally, neocon and their fellow travellers - an assortment of Protestants, Jews, Nihilists, Democrats, and Shoah Cultists - are waging a relugious war that has failed and will fail against the particularities of mankind. Just like Islam failed to destroy either Christianity or Hinduism, this Western errand will fail too.
Eric Newhill said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 12:08 PM
What you say is true, Babak.

I think these people are the type, subset pseudointellectuals, that just enjoy power and using it to stir the pot of humanity for self-glorification.

IMO, they really believe in nothing else. They are, by nature, miserable craven control freaks that justify their activities by hijacking whatever ideology is floating around in the zeitgeist that the dupes will follow; could be Islam, could be Christianity, could be democracy, could be socialism. Makes no difference to them as long as they get to experience themselves as superior masters of the world.

Sbin , 11 November 2019 at 10:23 AM
Nice to see one of the founders of White Helmets being rehomed in the correct manner.

James le Mesurier found dead in Turkey.

Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:29 AM
Harper:

In Libya, in 2011, Democracy-promoters destroyed her so that Sarkozy and others in France, Spain, Italy, UK could steal her wealth; reminiscent of Muslim invasions of India in search of war booty, rapine, and slaves, in the name of Islam.

fredw , 11 November 2019 at 10:31 AM
So? This review of (important) history gives us no insight into why it happened or why we should care today. Yes, I agree that these were bad people in the 1930s and they remained bad people when they moved (in theory) from the left wing to the right wing. But that is all you have said. What were the motives? How was it done? Why were they able to find acceptance in both parties with such a lousy history? How are they able to continue being accepted after such a lousy continuing history.

This account is all ad hominem, all about how a certain strain of ideologue has consistently advocated for policies of world-wide control. The logical back story would be a Trotskyite coordinating presence, something I don't for a minute believe. Yet people of this description are undeniably pervasive in the councils of state.

So what is the connection between advocates of US dominion and former advocates of world wide revolution? And, if it is just a matter of attitudes toward power, why should we care? So some people 70 years ago (bad people, admittedly) had an influence of some people today (also in my mind bad people). So? Were they the only people from that era who held such attitudes? Could we not just as easily trace other genealogies for ideas of US domination? Do such ideas ever in history fail to materialize when the power balances enable them?

So you don't like these people and you don't like where you think they came from. But do you have anything to say about why they are so pervasive and what could be done about it?

Vegetius said in reply to fredw... , 11 November 2019 at 12:07 PM

> Could we not just as easily trace other genealogies

Keep it simple and start with tracing the actual genealogies of these people. If you do that, a lot of things should begin to fall into place.

If they don't, you're still operating under a century of mass media propaganda.

doug , 11 November 2019 at 10:35 AM
Harper,

Ah, the good old days. In the early 80's I would stop after work at the local newsstand and pick up Commentary, Dissent, Partisan Review, National Interest, and so on. Whatever struck my fancy and for some reason, these did even though their circulation was quite small. At the time I didn't not realize their commonality which came to me later in the 80's. The PBS movie/book, "Arguing the World," which came out about 20 years ago, has a lot of the backstory.

A common thread is the desire to change the world though they had different views of what that "change" should be.

As for me, I was an accidental entrepreneur and generally liked Hayek's economic views. I'm also highly skeptical of idealist and messianic movements like Mao's which the 60's had been rife with. But I loved readings all these rags with somewhat different perspectives but a common thread that each seemed to think their "Truth" should rule. Seems to me the greatest evil gets perpetrated by those that think they have found "The Way."

Babak Makkinejad -> doug... , 11 November 2019 at 12:31 PM
The most dangerous man is an intellectual.
doug said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 03:09 PM
Babak,

And the Alcoves at CUNY bred a bunch of 'em. Different perspectives but a fevered desire to change the World. God help us.

prawnik , 11 November 2019 at 10:38 AM
To such people, ihe ideology is unimportant. Empire is what matters.
Babak Makkinejad -> prawnik... , 11 November 2019 at 12:31 PM
Not empire, rather, power.
prawnik said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 05:21 PM
Same difference, viewed from the neocon perspective.
tjfxh , 11 November 2019 at 11:30 AM
How much of neoconservatism cum liberal internationalism (foreign policy idealism aka Wilsonianism) is "spreading freedom and democracy" and now much is neoliberal globalization as "making the world safe for capitalism"?

In either case the end in view is a Pax Americana where the US has permanent global dominance in accordance with the Wolfowitz doctrine of not permitting a challenger to arise as a competitor.

Vegetius , 11 November 2019 at 11:58 AM
If you go no further than Marxism, you will not understand what is happening. But to go further is to engage in thoughtcrime.

Fortunately, the Catholic scholar E. Michael Jones has written a great book on this. It is called The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit: And Its Impact on World History. Incredibly, it has not been banned from Amazon yet. It is exhaustive, encyclopedic and documented.

Jones has developed a following among young Catholics appalled at both the corruption in Rome and the corruption in American society. These kids are the ones digging conservatism's grave, not the left. The left needs Conservative Inc to plays its role and keep the show going for the benefit of older people who get all their information from television.

It has not been covered much by the media but TPUSA, a Trump-aligned youth organization, has been battered by audience after audience on its recent campus tour. Yesterday in Los Angeles Donald Trump Jr was booed off the stage as he tried to promote his latest book.

At first, TPUSA tried to blame campus leftwingers. This was an obvious lie, and so they began to call the audience Nazis. Then, they accused them of being virgins. They tried to vet and plant questioners but when this failed they eliminated the Q&A altogether. A similar episode happened the week before when Sebastian Gorka stupidly took on a 20 year-old Youtube personality with an audience ten times larger than his own.

Post-WW2 Conservatives failed because they never understood what they were fighting, failed to wage culture war, and fooled themselves into thinking that the fall of the Berlin Wall meant the end of struggle, when it only meant a change of theater.


Stephanie , 11 November 2019 at 12:33 PM
Not off-topic, just a footnote.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/11/british-founder-of-white-helmets-found-dead-in-istanbul-james-le-mesurier

RIP

Fred -> Stephanie... , 11 November 2019 at 06:33 PM
Stephanie,

"...appeared to have fallen from a balcony." I somehow doubt that.

"The NGO's funders currently include the British and German governments. The Trump administration froze US funding, which made up about one-third of the total, without public explanation in early 2018, but resumed giving financial aid last month amid criticism of its decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria."

I bet that pissed off the neocons to no end. He should stop it again. We can use the money at home.

Harlan Easley , 11 November 2019 at 12:51 PM
Their ideology is Anti-Christian. It's that simple. Their motive is spiritual.
Thirdeye , 11 November 2019 at 04:27 PM
"Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution?"

Yes, profoundly. For starters, Permanent Revolution and world revolution were two separate Trotskyist doctrines. Permanent Revolution was a doctrine eschewing the mainstream social-democratic strategy of supporting bourgeois-democratic revolutions until the proletariat gained sufficient strength to gain state power. Trotsky contended that socialist - capitalist alliances were inherently unstable and that bourgeois-democratic forces would inevitably align with the existing ruling order against the proletariat. World revolution was a doctrine that a socialist revolution in Russia could not survive in isolation and revolutions had to take place in more advanced countries, particularly Germany. That was given a messianic veneer of "proletarian internationalism" and "world revolution." Such maximalism was opposed to realist expedients such as the New Economic Policy and the Rapallo Treaty of 1924 that fostered economic relations between the Soviet Union and capitalist Germany.

Revolutionary movements have always drawn opportunists who saw them mainly as a shortcut to gaining power for themselves. The ur-neocons were such a group. Their loyalty to Trotskyist ideology only lasted as long as they saw it as something that could boost them into power. When better means in various apparatuses of US power presented themselves, they latched onto them under the guise of "spreading democracy." That seems a cynical formulation, since the most consistent neocon ideological theme is that the great unwashed masses are not to be trusted, so power must be arrogated to themselves.

fredw said in reply to Thirdeye... , 11 November 2019 at 09:36 PM
"... the most consistent neocon ideological theme is that the great unwashed masses are not to be trusted, so power must be arrogated to themselves." Isn't that the real ideology of all these factions? To my mind the rest is all just tactics.

I am genuinely unsure what the real distinctions are. The present American "conservative" idolizing of democracy and free market economics seems about as sincere as the Communist ideal of economic control by the working classes. Many years ago I argued with a (captured) VC political officer that the Vietnam war was just a fight between two elites over who would get to run things. He was appalled by the idea. His claim to the moral high ground was based on two factors: the personal honesty of the Viet Cong cadre and the party discipline that that guaranteed it. These seemed plausible at the time. Both went up in smoke almost as soon as the victory had been won.

How different were the results of the war from those to be expected from a Southern victory? I haven't followed the subsequent history in detail, but American Vietnamese acquaintances tell me that 40 years later everything is being run by Southerners. Not identically the same Southerners, but ... And does anyone believe that a southern government securely established would not have set about expelling the Chinese population that had accumulated during the years when the Vietnamese could not control their own borders? (American media never said much about it, but the boat people were overwhelmingly Chinese victims of longstanding hatreds.)

So how different is the neocon vision from a Trotskyist vision in a world where direct control is no longer possible?

ex PFC Chuck , 11 November 2019 at 10:16 PM
The dots I have yet to connect are those that trace the path by which the neoconservatives wandered from their socialist roots to become the enforcers of the Western world's fundamentalist neoliberal ideology of political economy. How many of the dots pertaining to the latter came to be embedded in the western industrialized world and most of the Global South were tied together for me by the recent book Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism , by Quinn Slobodian. Several points jump from the author's narrative. The neoliberal movement traces its origins to two citizens of the Austrian Empire who came of age in the decades immediately before its collapse: Ludwig von Mises* (b 1881) and Frederick Hayek (b 1899). Both were of un-landed noble families that had been promoted to that status just a generation or two before. Slobodian argues that the Empire's uniqueness as a multi-cultural, multi-national entity held together by a common market with no internal tariffs and free migration within the empire led them (and especially Hayek) to envision a similarly structured world economy. They and their disciples and successors saw the making of that structure happen as their lives' work. The goal remained constant but the means of achieving it changed with the times. First they saw the League of Nations as the potential vehicle until its collapse during the Second World War. Next was the United Nation until it was "overrun" by new nations emerging from colonialism. The goal was largely achieved in the late 20th century when General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) morphed into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994.

The most salient features of a neoliberal political economy are: free movement and safety of capital and protections for the ownership rights of investors across borders; free migration of people across those same borders; also tariff-free trade among countries; and the removal of economic policies and relationships from the purviews of sovereign countries and subordinate jurisdictions within them.

Slobodian elaborates how as the neoliberal ideology became embedded in the world economy during the 20th century it was believed by the movers and shakers (mostly implicitly but in some cases explicitly) that the lagging development status of the peoples of the recently decolonized emerging countries were the results of racial and/or cultural weaknesses. There was little recognition of the impacts of the cultural carnage and wealth extraction that were part and parcel of colonial enterprise. As a result, as the institutions of radical neoliberalism took shape they consigned a secondary economic status to the countries of what is now known as the Global South. The USA has been the leader in putting this ideology in place and has been aggressively looking out for its own interests in the process, which is understandable.* However an unintended consequence has been an economically lagging global south that has been prevented from industrializing enough to employ the millions of people whose farms have become uncompetitive with highly industrialized USA and European agribusiness. These folks move off the land either to the growing megacities of the Global South or, increasingly, into countries of the Global North by means either legal or illegal. Thus the Democratic Party establishment's Kumbaya on immigration is not all sweetness, light and harmony. They're also doing the bidding of their neoliberal masters.

https://www.greenlightbookstore.com/book/9780674979529

* Michael Hudson has written extensively on this subject, especially in Superimperalism , which was first published in 1972 and substantially updated about 2003. You can download the full text in PDF format here: https://michael-hudson.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/superimperialism.pdf

[Nov 12, 2019] Ecuador The Restoration of Neoliberalism and the Monroe Doctrine - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Glo

Nov 12, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Ecuador: The Restoration of Neoliberalism and the Monroe Doctrine By Dr. Birsen Filip Global Research, November 10, 2019 Region: Latin America & Caribbean Theme: Global Economy , History

On November 7, 2019, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ratified the preventive detention of former president Rafael Correa , along with a number of his former officials. Immediately after the court rendered its decision for pretrial detention, Correa rejected accusations of bribery, illicit association and contributions to his political campaign between 2012 and 2016, while he was the leader of Alianza Patria Altiva i Soberana (PAIS). Correa founded Alianza PAIS in 2006, as a democratic socialist political party with an objective to achieve economic and political sovereignty, and foment a social and economic revolution in the nation, which came to be known as The Citizens' Revolution (La Revolución Ciudadana).

During his presidency, which lasted from January 15, 2007 to May 24, 2017, Correa introduced a brand of 21 st century socialism to Ecuador, with a focus on improving the living standards of the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population. His presidency was part of 'the revolutionary wave' in Latin America, referred to as 'Pink tide', where a number of left-wing and socialist governments swept into power throughout the continent during the 2000s, including Cristina Néstor Kirchner and Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. All of these governments were opposed to neo-liberal economic policies and American imperialism.

While he was president, Correa raised taxes on the rich and cut down on tax evasion, and increased public investment on infrastructure and public services, including publicly-funded pensions, housing, free health care and education. His government ended up building many schools in different parts of the nation, particularly the countryside, and provided students with nearly all of the materials needed to further their studies. President Correa also more than doubled the minimum wage, which contributed to significantly reducing socioeconomic inequality. In 2018, a World Bank report explained that:

Ecuador has made notable improvements in reducing poverty over the last decade. Income poverty decreased from 36.7 percent in 2007 to 21.5 percent in 2017. In addition, the share of the population living in extreme poverty fell by more than half, from 16.5 percent in 2007 to 7.9 percent in 2017, representing an average annual drop of 0.9 percentage points. In absolute numbers, these changes represent a total of 1.6 million individuals exiting poverty, and about one million exiting extreme poverty over the last decade.[i]

Furthermore, the unemployment rate fell from an 'all time high of 11.86 percent in the first quarter of 2004' to 'a record low of 4.54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014'[ii]. The World Bank also reported that Ecuador posted annual economic growth of '4.5 percent during 2001-2014, well above the average for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region of 3.3 percent. During this period, real GDP doubled and real GDP per capita increased by 50 percent.'[iii]

On October 1, 2016, Correa announced the nomination of Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés , who served as his vice president from 2007 to 2013, as his party's candidate for the 2017 presidential election at the conference of Alianza PAIS. Moreno was elected president, and it was expected that he would continue and build on Correa's left-wing economic policies. However, within a few months of winning the election, president Moreno began to dismantle many of the social, economic and political reforms enacted by Correa during his decade as president. Contrary to Correa's government, many of the domestic policies pursued by president Moreno included reducing public spending, weakening worker rights, and providing significant tax cuts to the rich and large corporations. In other words, president Moreno has gradually shifted Ecuador's left-wing policies to the political centre-right.

Moreno's presidency also shifted Ecuador's foreign policy stance, giving it a more neo-liberal and pro-American orientation. When Correa's socialist government was in power, Ecuador enjoyed close diplomatic and economic relations with Venezuela, and was more independent of American hegemony. For example, president Correa closed a US military base in Manta, Ecuador when Washington's lease expired in 2009. Prior to that, in 2007, Correa stated:

We'll renew the [Manta air] base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base if there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely, they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.[iv]

Subsequently, on September 18, 2009, he also said:

As long as I am president, I will not allow foreign bases in our homeland, I will not allow interference in our affairs, I will not negotiate our sovereignty and I will not accept guardians of our democracy.

Contrary to Correa, the US-Ecuador military relationship has expanded under the Moreno government 'through training, assistance, and the reestablishment of an Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Quito.'[v]Ecuador and the US have also signed deals for the purchase of weapons and other military equipment, and agreed to cooperate more closely in the areas of security, intelligence, and counter-narcotics.

In 2011, president Correa expelled US ambassador Heather Hodges from Quito. Subsequently, in 2014, his government expelled the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from the country, where it had been operating since 1961 as part of John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress (AFP)[vi]. USAID regularly exercises 'soft power' in Latin American nations in order to help the US establish itself as an 'international police power'[vii]. In May 2019, Moreno's government announced that USAID would return to Ecuador.

President Correa also became renowned for providing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with political asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to prevent his arrest and possible extradition to the US. However, shortly after his election, there were indications that Moreno might be willing to hand him over to authorities in the UK. In addition to calling Assange an 'inherited problem,' a 'spoiled brat' and a 'miserable hacker', Moreno accused him of repeatedly violating his asylum conditions and of trying to use the embassy as a 'centre for spying'[viii]. Then, on April 11, Assange's political asylum was revoked, which allowed him to be forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy by British police.In response, Correa called Moreno 'the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history' for committing 'a crime humanity will never forget'[ix].

President Correa's government supported the integration of South America countries into a single economic and political bloc. However, since Moreno came to power, Ecuador has distanced itself from the Venezuelan government, and withdrew from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas[x](ALBA) in August 2018, as well as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in September 2019. UNASUR was established by 12 South American countries in 2008to address important issues in the region without the presence of the United States. Currently, only five members remain: Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The other seven members, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay, agreed to create the Forum for the Progress of South America (PROSUR) in March 2019. The goal of this alternative organization is to achieve the right-wing agenda in Latin America, as its members support neo-liberal austerity measures and closer ties with Washington. It could be said that PROSUR aligns well with the goals and objectives of the Monroe Doctrine.

Another major shift in president Moreno's political stance pertains to lawsuits brought against Texaco/Chevron by the Correa government to obtain compensation for environmental damages caused when the operations of Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in the Amazon region of Ecuador between 1964 and 1992, affecting more than 30,000 Indigenous people and Campesinos in the area. 'Chevron left 880 pits full of crude oil which are still there, the rivers are still full of hydrocarbon sediment and polluted by the crude oil spills in Amazonia, which is one of the most biodiversity rich regions in the world'[xi], and 'the damage has been left unrepaired for more than 40 years'[xii]. To raise public awareness about this environmental disaster, president Correa's government established an international campaign called the 'Dirty Hand of Chevron'. In 2011, the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion in compensation for social and environmental damages it caused.

In September 2018, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an agency of the United Nations based in the Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Ecuadorian court decision against Chevron was illegal, because it was an outcome of fraud, bribery, and corruption. The PCA 'also ruled that Ecuador will have to pay economic compensation'[xiii]to Chevron. 'The amount has not been established yet, but Chevron requested that Ecuador assume the US$9.5 billion' awarded to affected communities by the Ecuadorean court.[xiv]Following the PCA decision, the government of president Moreno announced that:

the state will sue former President Rafael Correa and his government officials if Ecuador lost the international arbitration process.[xv]

In this matter, president Moreno also accused Correa of 'failing to defend the country's interests correctly and spending money on "The Dirty Hand of Chevron" campaign, which according to the government sought to "manipulate national and international public opinion."'[xvi] In reality, president Moreno supports the PCA decision, thereby prioritizing the interest of Texaco/Chevron over those of his own citizens . In fact, his government has been attempting to nullify the Constitutional Court ruling against Chevron. In response, former president Correa has accused the Moreno government of 'doing homework ordered by (the United States Vice President Mike) Pence'. Even some of Moreno's own cabinet ministers condemned the PCA ruling and expressed their support for Ecuador's Constitutional Court for defending of the country's nationals interest and the rights of the people of the Amazon.

Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador's President Moreno to Give Up Assange

Correa exhibited a hostile attitude towards the Bretton Woods Institutions during his presidency. He sought to renegotiate Ecuador's external debt of US$10.2 billion, which he called 'illegitimate' because 'it was accrued during autocratic and corrupt regimes of the past. Correa threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and ordered the expulsion of the World Bank's country manager'[xvii], which was carried out on April 26, 2007. His government also opposed the signing of any agreements that would permit the IMF to monitor Ecuador's economic plan. As a result of such actions on the part of Correa's government, 'Ecuador was able to renegotiate its debt with its creditors and redirect public funds towards social investments.'[xviii]

To the contrary, Moreno has enthusiastically embraced the IMF during his short time as president. On March 1, 2019, Ecuador's central bank manager, Verónica Artola Jarrín, and economy and finance minister, Richard Martínez Alvarado,submitted a letter of intent to the IMF requesting a three-year $4.2 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement. An EFF allows the IMF to assist countries that are facing 'serious medium-term balance of payments problems.' More precisely, EFF is designed to:

to provide assistance to countries: (i) experiencing serious payments imbalances because of structural impediments; or (ii) characterized by slow growth and an inherently weak balance of payments position. The EFF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.[xix]

The IMF agreement signed in March allowed Ecuador to borrow $4.2 billion. However, as is always the case, the IMF agreement was not without conditionalities, as it required the Ecuadorian government to implement a series of neo-liberal economic reforms. According to IMF statements, these reforms aim to transform Ecuador's fiscal deficit into a surplus, reduce the country's debt-to-GDP ratio, and increase foreign investment. On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the IMF, claimed that:

The Ecuadorian authorities are implementing a comprehensive reform program aimed at modernizing the economy and paving the way for strong, sustained, and equitable growth.[xx]

On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde also explained that:

Achieving a robust fiscal position is at the core of the authorities' program, which will be supported by a three-year extended arrangement from the IMF. The aim is to reduce debt-to-GDP ratio through a combination of a wage bill realignment, a careful and gradual optimization of fuel subsidies, a reprioritization of capital and goods and services spending, and a tax reform. The savings generated by these measures will allow for an increase in social assistance spending over the course of the program. The authorities will continue their efforts to strengthen the medium-term fiscal policy framework, and more rigorous fiscal controls and better public financial management will help to enhance the effectiveness of fiscal policy.[xxi]

Protecting the poor and most vulnerable segments in society is a key objective of the authorities' program. In this context, the authorities plan to extend the coverage of, and increase the nominal level of benefits under the existing social protection programs. Work is also underway to improve the targeting of social programs.[xxii]

Ecuador's participation in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) represents another point of contention between Correa and the Moreno government. Ecuador was a member of OPEC from 1973 and 1992. After a period of absence, it rejoined the organization in 2007 after Correa became president of the country. However, on October 1 st , president Moreno announced that Ecuador would once again end its membership in OPEC effective January 1, 2020. Given Moreno's penchant for implementing neo-liberal economic policies, this decision was likely based on the notion that freeing the country from the burden of having to abide by quotas would bring fiscal sustainability to Ecuador. This is evidenced by the fact that Ecuador contacted OPEC to request permission to produce above its quota in February 2019, though it was never confirmed whether a response was received[xxiii]. While increasing production in its Amazonian oil fields would likely bring more foreign investment to Ecuador and open up new markets, it would also lead to serious conflicts between the Moreno government and the indigenous people living in the area, who are strongly opposed to oil extraction.

In addition to announcing Ecuador's departure from OPEC, president Moreno also selected October 1 st as the date to introduce Decree 883, a series of economic measures that included ending longstanding subsidies for fuel, the removal of some import tariffs, and cuts to the benefits and wages of public employees. In particular, the elimination of fuel subsidies, which had been in place for 40 years, was instituted in order to meet IMF requirements to keep the $4.2 billion programme on track, and to satisfy international investors. The EFF agreement between the IMF and the Ecuadorean government also called for thousands of public employees to be laid off, the privatization of public assets, the separation of the central bank from the government, cutting public expenditures, and raising taxes over the next three years. IMF representatives claim that these types of reforms bring more foreign direct investment into the economy.

In fact, a close examination of the neo-liberal economic reforms recommended by the IMF in many countries reveals that they are almost identical, meaning that they do not take the diverse needs and realities of each country into account; rather, they are driven by the interests of the countries and other stakeholders that provide the funds. Generally, the IMF's recommendations[xxiv]consist of cutting deficits, liberalizing trade, privatizing state-owned enterprises, reforming the banking and financial systems, increasing taxes, raising interest rates, and reforming key sectors. However, countless studies have revealed that these types of reforms, have raised the unemployment rate, created poverty, and have often preceded recessions. On October 2, 2019, the IMF issued a press release on Ecuador stating that:

The reforms announced yesterday by President Lenin Moreno aim to improve the resilience and sustainability of Ecuador's economy and foster strong, and inclusive growth. The announcement included important measures to protect the poor and most vulnerable, as well as to generate jobs in a more competitive economy.

The authorities are also working on important reforms aimed at supporting Ecuador's dollarization, including the reform of the central bank and the organic code of budget and planning.

IMF staff will continue to work closely with the authorities to improve the prospects for all Ecuadorians. The second review is expected to be submitted to the Executive Board in the coming weeks.[xxv]

President Moreno's decision to end the subsidies on fuel led to the prices of diesel and petroleum increasing by 100% and 30%, respectively, overnight, which directly contributed to significantly raising the costs of public transportation. In response, protests erupted against Moreno's austerity measures on October 3 rd , featuring students, unions and indigenous organizations. They declared an indefinite general strike until the government reversed its neo-liberal adjustment package. Moreno's initial response was to reject the ultimatum and state that he would 'not negotiate with criminals.'

The following day, on October 4, 2019, president Moreno declared a state of emergency under the pretext of ensuring the security of citizens and to 'avoid chaos.' Nonetheless, the protests continued and intensified to the point that the government was forced to relocate to city of Guayaquil because Quito had been overrun by anti-government protestors. However, this attempt to escape the protestors proved ineffective as taxi, bus and truck drivers blocked roads and bridges in Guayaquil, as well as in Quito, which disrupted transportation nationwide.

In the following days, thousands of demonstrators continued to demand the reversal of austerity measures, as well as the resignation of the president. However, Moreno remained defiant, refusing both demands under all circumstances. Subsequently, Ecuador's main oil pipeline ceased operations after it was seized by indigenous protesters. Petro-Ecuador was concerned that production losses could reach 165,000 barrels a day. Indigenous protesters also occupied two water treatment plants in the city of Ambato. Meanwhile, violent clashes between protesters and police resulted in seven deaths , about 2,000 injuries, and over 1,000 arrests. Eventually, Moreno's government was forced to back down and make concession with the well -organised protesters.

On October 13, president Moreno agreed to withdraw Decree 883 and replace the IMF-backed plan with a new proposal, involving negotiations with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other social groups. The following day, president Moreno signed Decree 894, which reinstated the cancelled fuel subsidies. However, on October 23, CONAIE released a statement informing the public that 'it paused talks with President Lenin Moreno because of the government's "persecution" of the group's leaders [Jaime Vargas] since a halt to violent anti-austerity protests.'[xxvi]

It is unlikely that president Moreno would be willing to give up on his austerity policies or start the process of cancelling the IMF loan, given his apparent commitment to helping the US realize the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine. Many of the reforms and policies that his government has introduced will help keep Ecuador firmly entrenched in America's backyard for years to come.

This is not a new development, as history has revealed that, for more than a century , 'in Latin America there are more than enough of the kind of rulers who are ready to use Yankee troops against their own people when they find themselves in crisis' (Fidel Castro, Havana 1962). However, the eruption of protests in response to Moreno's neo-liberal reforms suggests that he faces an uphill battle, as his fellow Ecuadorians do not appear to share his enthusiasm for selling his country to external creditors and foreign influences. Although Moreno has managed to successfully drive Rafael Correa out of Ecuador, the former president's opposition to capitalism and imperialism remain strong among the population.

*

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.

Global Research contributor Dr. Birsen Filip holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Ottawa.

[Nov 11, 2019] Bolivia is the same scenario than in the Ukraine, where communists and other opposed factions in Rada were beaten, covered in paint and thrown in waste containers...until they left the country. Remaining to be elected only those puppets of oligarchs or the US... Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud

Nov 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 22:41 utc | 160

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

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

Spain condemns military intervention in the resignation of Morales

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

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

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

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

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



Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:31 utc | 51

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#NoAlGolpeEnBolivia
#EvoNoEstasSolo

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

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

Translation of the pasquinade:

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

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

#Civil Resistance Bolivia

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, you people in this forum who live over the average peer, I do not try that you understand...
You live in your world, looking your belly button, and the furthest you are willing to go is complain here about the Outlaw US Empire...

Why do you not damn go tomorrow in the streets to protest this new coup by your fascist administration?

Do not tell me, that would risk your privileged pensions...and all those expensive things you do to your bodies...

Excuse me, but today, reading the same stupid things of always make me feel like throwing up...

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 3:42 utc | 83
Pompeo tweeted:
Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people's will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.

Will he still support new elections in the morning?
Meanwhile the protesters are calling MAS a criminal organization so no doubt it'll be excluded from the new elections as happened to the Party Of The Regions in Ukraine. The wonders of American "democracy".
arby , Nov 11 2019 15:42 utc | 120
"
Scott T. Patrick
‏ @PompeiiDog

Why was Evo Morales overthrown? He was nationalizing the highly profitable lithium industry and planning to deal directly on the international market rather than exporting the commodity at bargain prices to Western corporations"


"Bolivia has %43 of World's Lithium mines. Batteries from smartphones to Electric cars are all made with Lithium. Evo Morales was investing in facilities to produce Lithium as a high end export material rather than just exporting the mine itself."

Johny Conspiranoid , Nov 11 2019 15:44 utc | 121
Peter AU1

Somewhere on his blog "Sic Semper Tyrannis", maybe earlier this year, Pat relates the tale of how when working for the US Gov. in Bolivia he gave medical help to someone and was rewarded with information which led to the capture of Che Guevara. This may be what Sasha is referring to.

Peter AU1 , Nov 11 2019 18:41 utc | 145
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Bolivia-Hydrocarbons
"Bolivia - Hydrocarbons
This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data."

"The Hydrocarbons law (Law 3058, May 2005) and a subsequent Supreme Decree (May 2006) require that companies sell all production to YPFB and that domestic market demand be met before exporting hydrocarbons. Furthermore, these laws transfer the entire transport and sales chain over to state control. After the law was enacted, hydrocarbon companies were required to sign new contracts with YPFB, agreeing to pay 50 percent of gross production in taxes and royalties."

"Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices."

karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 18:57 utc | 147
I usually try to read all the comments before making my first of the day, but I have yet to do so, although I looked to see if anyone had linked to Escobar's report on Lula and Brazil , which is an extremely important article for events within Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and the rest of the world that's resisting the Outlaw US Empire and its Neoliberal/Neofascist attack dogs.

The information Pepe provides is very important as it jibes with what Assad averred in his RT interview , for which I'm still looking for a transcript. Here's Pepe's warning about the likely future course of events, which has CIA scrawled over every act:

"With the military betting on a strategy of chaos, augmented by Lula's immense social base all over Brazil fuming about his return to prison and the financial bubble finally burst, rendering the middle classes even poorer, the stage would be set for the ultimate toxic cocktail: social 'commotion' allied with 'terrorism' associated with 'organized crime.'

"That's all the military needs to launch an extensive operation to restore "order" and finally force Congress to approve the Brazilian version of the Patriot Act (five separate bills are already making their way in Congress).

" This is no conspiracy theory. This is a measure of how incendiary Brazil is at the moment, and Western mainstream media will make no effort whatsoever to explain the nasty, convoluted plot for a global audience ." [My Emphasis]

jayc , Nov 11 2019 21:10 utc | 151
Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud. OAS report focuses on a vote-counting system called TREP, which was adopted by Bolivia and others in the region on direct advice of OAS. The TREP system is meant to provide/ publicize initial results, but it is not "official". The official results come from a slower and more thorough vote count process. The OAS claim of irregularities in the TREP count is largely irrelevant, as it was never intended to be "official" or legally reflect official results. There were no irregularities in the official count, won by Morales, and the so-called "delay" was in fact the natural process of the slower moving count to produce the official result.

See this analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research:
http://cepr.net/publications/reports/bolivia-elections-2019-11

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 21:40 utc | 154
While Trump denounced Morales, the US State Department stepped in to sanitize Washington's position, with a senior official telling Reuters that the US has "no preference" among opposition candidates. The spokesperson did say, however, that anyone who tried to "distort" last month's vote should not be allowed to participate .

That's MAS banned from the election by the cunts in the fucking State Department. Imagine if the Russian MFA announced that neither the Democratic nor Republican parties could field presidential candidates in 2020. Trump is an idiot but the State Department, DoJ, and Treasury are the real bastards. Forget the CIA, that's just a bunch of senile tossers who have wet dreams about Cold War 2.0.

Don Bacon , Nov 12 2019 0:19 utc | 166
b mentioned lithium with reference to Bolivia in his 139 above

Nov 11, 2019 -- Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal
"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people. Not to multinational corporate cabals."

The Morales move on Nov. 4 to cancel the December 2018 agreement with Germany's ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. The region has 50% to 70% of the world's lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.
Among other clients, ACISA provides batteries to Tesla; Tesla's stock rose Monday after the weekend.
As Bloomberg News noted in 2018, that has set the country up to be incredibly important in the next decade:
Demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Bolivia has plenty -- 9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world -- but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it. . . here

But Teslas catch fire....from ZPower--
Actually, lithium may be in trouble for vehicle batteries.
Just as lithium-ion (Li-ion) replaced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) before it and nickel cadmium (NiCd) before that, silver zinc (AgZn) batteries are on track to replace Li-ion too, according to a McGraw-Hill forecast as far back as 2010. Since then silver zinc has been perfected and are on the market for rechargeable hearing-aid "button" batteries by ZPower LL (Camarillo, Calif.) They are nonflammable and could provide up to 40 percent more run time than lithium-ion batteries. . . here

[Nov 09, 2019] Another humiliating blow to Latin-American neoliberalism

Nov 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Nov 8 2019 19:41 utc | 24

Another humiliating blow to Latin-American neoliberalism:

Boicote de 'supermajors' funciona, e governo vai mudar regime de leilão

Bolsonaro's government tried to auction Brazil's remaining unexplored (but already mapped, so it's certain there's oil there) presalt lots. The expectation was to raise some R$ 109 billion, but it only rose R$ 69 billion. To make things even worse, half of those came from the Brazilian State-owned oil company itself, Petrobras.

There's strong evidence this fiasco came from the international oil cartel; they think they can get the presalt oil for a (much) better price:

Chevron, Exxon, BP, Total e Repsol já tinham anunciado 'boicote' ao leilão

The pressure seems to be working. The government has already stated it will do another auction, this time with "changed rules", in order to "estimulate competition between the interested companies".

Another similar episode had already happened during usurper Brazilian president Michel Temer, when, in 2017, he tried to privatize the country's State-owned electricity company (Eletrobras). The auction was "desert" (i.e. no bids).

Why is this happening?

The problem with today's neoliberals is that the capitalist world is completely different from the one of the end of the 1980s and 1990s. In that era, there was excess liquidity from the First World countries -- specially USA and Japan pension funds -- which was purchasing fabulous profit rates in order to stay competitive in the recently-privatized world (pension funds in the USA had to profit at least 7% from each investment in their portfolio to reach ends meet in 2006, according to Dumenil & Levy).

After 2008, there was a crisis followed by a depression characterized by a credit crunch. Reverse stagflation happened (and still happens), where unemployment fell but inflation continued to fall. To put it simply, there's no more foreign money for Latin American neoliberal dictators to grab through the simple liquidation of public assets anymore -- at least not nearly enough to reach fiscal equilibrium (see Argentina for the more spectacular example).

So, yes, there was a cartel arranging for the presalt reserves failure, but this cartel only had to do what it did because -- you're already tired to read it from me -- the profit rates in the capitalist world are secularly falling . Were the profit rates high, the cartel would've already bought the presalt whatever the conditions. They are only bargaining with the already very submissive Brazilian government because they need to: presalt reserves, albeit abundant in good oil, require a unique and pretty advanced technology which was developed by Petrobras. If they invest, profit rate will fall even further, so they must get the oil, but free of investment (after the 2016 coup, they got their hands on the platforms -- but only those who were already installed by Petrobras).

That's also the reason the USA-backed New Silk Road will fail: Western capital won't invest in SE Asia because that would mean money spent to infrastructure (i.e. invesment), and that would erode their profit rates even more. And, sincerely, why would they? They had 70 years to invest there, and 100 years before that (during the colonial times), to do it. Why will they do now, when they are much weaker?


karlof1 , Nov 8 2019 20:49 utc | 30

!!Great news!!

Brazil's Supreme Court rules Lula must be released from prison ASAP. But, will this decision meet the criteria he set to accept being released? I checked Pepe Escobar's Facebook but he's not written anything there for 7 hours. I asked him the same question.

Vasco da Gama , Nov 8 2019 21:25 utc | 33
karlof1@30

Right now, Lula is speaking to the people and his supporters in the street outside Curitiba prison, and already in freedom.

To clarify on the Court's ruling: the decision says that the accused, with processes which have not exhausted all appealings, therefore have not yet been ultimately condemned, may not be kept in prison. A previous judgement allowed for this to happen if there had been a reversal of judgement along the court instances of the process ( LavaJato - corruption process ). It should be added that this is not exclusive to Lula, eight other accused, including one Lula's minister may be freed pending appropriate legal petition from defense, and any other current prisoner under similar circumstances in Brazil's justice system.

The Supreme Court only re-established the Constitutional order, following on the petitions to constitutional review by legal council association and the communist party.

Keep in mind that Lula is still under several accusations and may not while these processes are not finished to present himself for political offices.

karlof1 , Nov 8 2019 22:00 utc | 34
Vasco da Gama @33--

Thanks for your reply! I was about to answer my own question that Lula agreed to be let out. As I understand the situation, Lula still has to battle in court to keep his freedom; and he might also be targeted for elimination given the murderous nature of those associated with Bolsonaro. As Lula said upon release, they tried to imprison an idea by imprisoning a man; ideas cannot be imprisoned. For me, it's an excellent birthday gift!

Lcchearn @32--

Yes, I've contemplated starting my own blog, but most platforms are owned or affiliated in some manner with Google, so I stopped looking. I know non-affiliated hosts exist and will likely resume looking upon the turn of the year. I agree about writing longer essays as there are a few topics I'm into that demand expansion. I've been and continue to be impressed with Caitlin Johnstone's success as well as with other younger idealistic, truth-seeking journalists like those inhabiting The Grayzone . In fact, given its content, Grayzone's one site I'll ask who hosts them. Thanks very much for your interest and the support that goes with it!

Vasco da Gama , Nov 8 2019 22:23 utc | 35
karlof1, I'll drink to that too. Keep the good spirits and health. Cheers!

Bolsonaro, and their supporters are dwindling, the initial success of anti-social media platforms was only that: initial, sufficient to swindle brasilean people in the election alone. This had all the hallmarks of a Cambridge Analytica type campaign, which if not sustained serves only to expose the maracutaia (fraud) before everyone. I think the signs are getting positive, even the media, quite condescending during the campaign now take hard jabs at Bolsonaro and his quadrilha (gang).

[Nov 06, 2019] Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one

Highly recommended!
Nov 06, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.06.19 at 4:07 am 47

Z 11.05.19 at 9:23 am @45

It seems to me an important tenet of the neoliberal ideology is the arbiter (or auctioneer) role it gives the state and other political institutions with respect to markets. Markets are the locus of justice and efficiency, but political institutions have the essential task of organizing them and the competitions that takes place within them, supposedly at least.

In practice, this translated in a central role of political power not only in privatizing and breaking state monopolies, but also in the creation, sometimes ex nihilo, of markets supervised by state or quasi-state agencies (shielded of electoral choices by regulatory or ideally constitutional provisions) whose role was to organize concurrence in domains classical liberal economic theory would consider natural monopolies or natural public properties (education, health service, energy distribution, infrastructure of transportation, telecommunication, postal and banking service etc.)

What an excellent and deep observation ! Thank you ! This is the essence of the compromises with financial oligarchy made by failing social democratic parties. Neoliberalism is kind of Trotskyism for the rich in which the political power is used to shape the society "from above". As Hayek remarked on his visit to Pinochet's Chile – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism".

George Monblot observed that "Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one." ( The Guardian, Apr 15, 2016):

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

The free (as in absence of regulation for FIRE) market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers (10% vs 90%) – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Trump. Now entrenched centers of "resistance" (and first of all CIA, the Justice Department, The Department of State and a part of Pentagon) are trying to reverse the situation. Failing to understand that they created Trump and each time will reproduce it in more and more dangerous variant.

Trumpism is the inevitable result of the gap between the utopian ideal of the free (for the FIRE sector only ) market and the dystopian reality for the majority of the population ("without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape" Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium")

The situation in which the financial sector generates just 4% of employment, but accounts for more than 25% of corporate profits is unsustainable. It should be reversed and it will be reversed.

[Nov 04, 2019] Mont Pelerin Society can be renamed into "The Committee for the adaptation of Trotskyism for the needs of financial oligarchy"

Nov 04, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.04.19 at 8:33 pm

Reverting to the first point, my main problem with your explanation of how you use the term 'neoliberal' is that your definition of 'neoliberal' depends on your definition of 'classical liberal', and you haven't explained how you use the term 'classical liberal'.

IMHO, neoliberalism has probably closer connection to Trotskyism then to the classic liberalism and Mont Pelerin Society can be renamed into "The Committee for the adaptation of Trotskyism for the needs of financial oligarchy"

Some commonalities (in no particular order, or importance):
-- The brutal suppression of organized labor
-- Rampant militarism as the method of controlling of the population; outsized role on intelligence agencies in the society; the regime of total surveillance; the conversion of the state into the national security state
-- Scapegoating and victimization of Untermensch
-- The mantle of inevitability (famous TINA statement of Margaret Thatcher )
-- The concept of the "new class" as the driving force in history which is destined to guide the humanity forward ( with the replacement of "proletariat" with the "creative class".) See also Rand positivism with its cult of entrepreneurs.
-- The implicit rejection of the normal interpretation of the rule of the law for "The Masters of the Universe" and the idea of "neoliberal justice" (tough justice for Untermensch only).
-- Messianic zeal and hate for the "old order"
-- Rejection of the ideas of universal truth, adoption of variation of "a class truth" via postmodernism; neoliberals reject the idea that there are any universal and/or religious (for example Christian) moral values and the concept of truth.
-- Implicit denial of the idea of "free press". The press is converted into neoliberal propaganda machine and journalists, writers, etc are viewed as "the solders of the ideology" who should advance neoliberalism
-- The use of university economics courses for the indoctrination
-- Pervasive use of academic science and "think tanks" for brainwashing of the population.
-- The idea of the Uniparty -- a single party system, with the ruling party serves as the vanguard of the hegemonic neoliberal class (top 1%) and represents only its interests. Which was adapted in the USA to a two Party system to preserve the illusion of democracy.
-- Economic fetishism, the deliberate conversion of the ideology into a secular religion, questioning postulates of which can lead to ostracism. Neoliberals see the market as a sacred element of human civilization. Like is the case with Marxism, "Neoliberal rationality" is heavily tilted toward viewing the people as "homo economicus". (See Professor Wendy Brown discussion on the subject)
-- Cult of GDP with GDP growth as the ultimate goal of any society. Measurement of GDP became "number racket" and is distorted for political gains. Like Marxism, neoliberalism reduces individuals to statistics contained within aggregate economic performance.
-- Justification of the use of violence as the political tool. The idea of Permanent [neoliberal] revolution to bring to power the new hegemonic class in all countries of the globe despite the resistance of the population. Like Trotskyism, neoliberalism consider wars to impose a neoliberal society on weaker countries (which in modern times are countries without nuclear weapons) which cannot give a fair fight to Western armies as inherently just
-- The idea of artificial creation of the "revolutionary situation" for overthrow of "unfriendly" regimes ( via color revolution methods); assigning similar roles to students and media in such a coup d'état.
-- Reliance on international organizations to bully countries into submission (remember Communist International (aka Comintern) and its network of spies and Communist Parties all over the world).

[Nov 03, 2019] Argentine President Mauricio Macri is gone; Is Brasil Jair Bolsonaro next?

Nov 03, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Sat, 11/02/2019 - 11:42pm We all know that the millions of protesters out in the streets of Latin America couldn't possibly have legitimate grievances against neoliberalism.
Obviously it's all about Putin , but he also has evil allies .

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez denied Friday that the country is behind recent social unrest in Latin America and rejected US allegations that it is supporting Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro.

"Maliciously people are accusing Cuba of being behind what is happening in Venezuela and the recent popular protests against the pitiless neoliberalism that's advancing in this region," said Rodriguez at an event in Havana, called the Anti-imperialist Meeting.

Of course Cuba would deny it. That's the proof of their guilt.
But it's Venezuela that is most to blame.

Two of his most vocal regional critics -- Ecuadoran President Lenín Moreno and Chile's Piñera -- have seen serious threats develop against their own administrations in the form of large-scale street protests this month against price hikes for gas, transit, electricity and other services.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who had called for Maduro to step down, lost his reelection bid last week to a left-wing Peronista ticket that included former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a longtime ally of Venezuela's socialists. Bolivian President Evo Morales, a steadfast Maduro backer, has claimed victory in his country's elections.

Maduro's adversaries claim this is no coincidence.

Leftists are winning, neoliberals are losing. Obviously it must be a konspiracy.

Ecuadoran authorities have detained several leftist politicians who attended the Caracas summit. But they have yet to back up many of their allegations with proof.
...In fact, some allegations have proved to be anything but concrete. Interior Minister María Paula Romo, for instance, heralded the Oct. 10 arrest of 17 foreigners, including several Venezuelan nationals, at Quito's airport during the height of the riots in Ecuador. But all but two were later released by a judge for lack of evidence.

"Some of them were just Venezuelan Uber drivers picking people up at the airport," said Sebastián Hurtado, president of the Ecuadoran political consultancy Profitas.
...
"What is happening in Chile is happening everywhere," he said. "The system has collapsed because people aren't eating, or just pasta and rice. They have no housing, no health care."

Let's be serious for a moment.
Which is more likely?
Millions of people are protesting because they are hungry, sick, and homeless OR it's an international konspiracy to make capitalists look bad?

[Nov 02, 2019] Neoliberalism Tells Us We're Selfish Souls How Can We Promote Other Identities naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... The architects of neoliberalism understood this process of identity creation. By treating people as selfish, rational utility maximisers, they actively encouraged them to become selfish, rational utility maximisers. As the opening article points out, this is not a side effect of neoliberal policy, but a central part of its intention. As Michael Sandel pointed out in his 2012 book 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets' , it squeezes out competing values that previously governed non-market spheres of life, such as ethics of public service in the public sector, or mutual care within local communities. But these values remain latent: neoliberalism does not have the power to erase them completely. This is where the hope for the left lies, the crack of light through the doorway that needs to be prised open. ..."
"... Perhaps a rational system is one that accepts selfishness but keeps it within limits. Movements like the Chicago school that pretend to reinvent the wheel with new thinking are by this view a scam. As J.K. Galbraith said: "the problem with their ideas is that they have been tried." ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: Not sure the soul is an identity, but authors don't write the headlines. Read on!

By Christine Berry, a freelance researcher and writer and was previously Director of Policy and Government for the New Economics Foundation. She has also worked at ShareAction and in the House of Commons. Originally published at Open Democracy .

"Economics is the method: the object is to change the soul." Understanding why Thatcher said this is central to understanding the neoliberal project, and how we might move beyond it. Carys Hughes and Jim Cranshaw's opening article poses a crucial challenge to the left in this respect. It is too easy to tell ourselves a story about the long reign of neoliberalism that is peopled solely with all-powerful elites imposing their will on the oppressed masses. It is much harder to confront seriously the ways in which neoliberalism has manufactured popular consent for its policies.

The left needs to acknowledge that aspects of the neoliberal agenda have been overwhelmingly popular: it has successfully tapped into people's instincts about the kind of life they want to lead, and wrapped these instincts up in a compelling narrative about how we should see ourselves and other people. We need a coherent strategy for replacing this narrative with one that actively reconstructs our collective self-image – turning us into empowered citizens participating in communities of mutual care, rather than selfish property-owning individuals competing in markets.

As the Gramscian theorists Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau observed, our political identities are not a 'given' – something that emerges directly from the objective facts of our situation. We all occupy a series of overlapping identities in our day-to-day lives – as workers or bosses, renters or home-owners, debtors or creditors. Which of these define our politics depends on political struggles for meaning and power.

Part of the job of politics – whether within political parties or social movements – is to show how our individual problems are rooted in systemic issues that can be confronted collectively if we organise around these identities. Thus, debt becomes not a source of shame but an injustice that debtors can organise against. Struggles with childcare are not a source of individual parental guilt but a shared societal problem that we have a shared responsibility to tackle. Podemos were deeply influenced by this thinking when they sought to redefine Spanish politics as 'La Casta' ('the elite') versus the people, cutting across many of the traditional boundaries between right and left.

The architects of neoliberalism understood this process of identity creation. By treating people as selfish, rational utility maximisers, they actively encouraged them to become selfish, rational utility maximisers. As the opening article points out, this is not a side effect of neoliberal policy, but a central part of its intention. As Michael Sandel pointed out in his 2012 book 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets' , it squeezes out competing values that previously governed non-market spheres of life, such as ethics of public service in the public sector, or mutual care within local communities. But these values remain latent: neoliberalism does not have the power to erase them completely. This is where the hope for the left lies, the crack of light through the doorway that needs to be prised open.

The Limits of Neoliberal Consciousness

In thinking about how we do this, it's instructive to look at the ways in which neoliberal attempts to reshape our identities have succeeded – and the ways they have failed. While Right to Buy might have been successful in identifying people as home-owners and stigmatising social housing, this has not bled through into wider support for private ownership. Although public ownership did become taboo among the political classes for a generation – far outside the political 'common sense' – polls consistently showed that this was not matched by a fall in public support for the idea. On some level – perhaps because of the poor performance of privatised entities – people continued to identify as citizens with a right to public services, rather than as consumers of privatised services. The continued overwhelming attachment to a public NHS is the epitome of this tendency. This is partly what made it possible for Corbyn's Labour to rehabilitate the concept of public ownership, as the 2017 Labour manifesto's proposals for public ownership of railways and water – dismissed as ludicrous by the political establishment – proved overwhelmingly popular.

More generally, there is some evidence that neoliberalism didn't really succeed in making us see ourselves as selfish rational maximisers – just in making us believe that everybody else was . For example, a 2016 survey found that UK citizens are on average more oriented towards compassionate values than selfish values, but that they perceive others to be significantly more selfish (both than themselves and the actual UK average). Strikingly, those with a high 'self-society gap' were found to be less likely to vote and engage in civic activity, and highly likely to experience feelings of cultural estrangement.

This finding points towards both the great conjuring trick of neoliberal subjectivity and its Achilles heel: it has successfully popularised an idea of what human beings are like that most of us don't actually identify with ourselves. This research suggests that our political crisis is caused not only by people's material conditions of disempowerment, but by four decades of being told that we can't trust our fellow citizens. But it also suggests that deep down, we know this pessimistic account of human nature just isn't who we really are – or who we aspire to be.

An example of how this plays out can be seen in academic studies showing that, in game scenarios presenting the opportunity to free-ride on the efforts of others, only economics students behaved as economic models predicted: all other groups were much more likely to pool their resources. Having been trained to believe that others are likely to be selfish, economists believe that their best course of action is to be selfish as well. The rest of us still have the instinct to cooperate. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising: after all, as George Monbiot argues in 'Out of the Wreckage' , cooperation is our species' main survival strategy.

What's Our 'Right to Buy?'

The challenge for the left is to find policies and stories that tap into this latent sense of what makes us human – what Gramsci called 'good sense' – and use it to overturn the neoliberal 'common sense'. In doing so, we must be aware that we are competing not only with a neoliberal identity but also with a new far-right that seeks to promote a white British ethno-nationalist group identity, conflating 'elites' with outsiders. How we compete with this is the million dollar question, and it's one we have not yet answered.

Thatcher's use of flagship policies like the Right to Buy was a masterclass in this respect. Deceptively simple, tangible and easy to grasp, the Right to Buy also communicated a much deeper story about the kind of nation we wanted to be – one of private, property-owning individuals – cementing home-ownership as a cultural symbol of aspiration (the right to paint your own front door) whilst giving millions an immediate financial stake in her new order. So what might be the equivalent flagship policies for the left today?

Perhaps one of the strongest efforts to date has been the proposal for ' Inclusive Ownership Funds ', first developed by Mathew Lawrence in a report for the New Economics Foundation, and announced as Labour policy by John McDonnell in 2018. This would require companies to transfer shares into a fund giving their workers a collective stake that rises over time and pays out employee dividends. Like the Right to Buy, as well as shifting the material distribution of wealth and power, this aims to build our identity as part of a community of workers taking more collective control over our working lives.

But this idea only takes us so far. While it may tap into people's desire for more security and empowerment at work, more of a stake in what they do, it offers a fairly abstract benefit that only cashes out over time, as workers acquire enough of a stake to have a meaningful say over company strategy. It may not mean much to those at the sharpest end of our oppressive and precarious labour market, at least not unless we also tackle the more pressing concerns they face – such as the exploitative practices of behemoths like Amazon or the stress caused by zero-hours contracts. We have not yet hit on an idea that can compete with the transformative change to people's lives offered by the Right to Buy.

So what else is on the table? Perhaps, when it comes to the cutting edge of new left thinking on these issues, the workplace isn't really where the action is – at least not directly. Perhaps we need to be tapping into people's desire to escape the 'rat race' altogether and have more freedom to pursue the things that really make us happy – time with our families, access to nature, the space to look after ourselves, connection with our communities. The four day working week (crucially with no loss of pay) has real potential as a flagship policy in this respect. The Conservatives and the right-wing press may be laughing it down with jokes about Labour being lazy and feckless, but perhaps this is because they are rattled. Ultimately, they can't escape the fact that most people would like to spend less time at work.

Skilfully communicated, this has the potential to be a profoundly anti-neoliberal policy that conveys a new story about what we aspire to, individually and as a society. Where neoliberalism tapped into people's desire for more personal freedom and hooked this to the acquisition of wealth, property and consumer choice, we can refocus on the freedom to live the lives we truly want. Instead of offering freedom through the market, we can offer freedom from the market.

Proponents of Universal Basic Income often argue that it fulfils a similar function of liberating people from work and detaching our ability to provide for ourselves from the marketplace for labour. But in material terms, it's unlikely that a UBI could be set at a level that would genuinely offer people this freedom, at least in the short term. And in narrative terms, UBI is actually a highly malleable policy that is equally susceptible to being co-opted by a libertarian agenda. Even at its best, it is really a policy about redistribution of already existing wealth (albeit on a bigger scale than the welfare state as it stands). To truly overturn neoliberalism, we need to go beyond this and talk about collective ownership and creation of wealth.

Policies that focus on collective control of assets may do a better job of replacing a narrative about individual property ownership with one that highlights the actual concentration of property wealth in the hands of elites – and the need to reclaim these assets for the common good. As well as Inclusive Ownership Funds, another way of doing this is through Citizens' Wealth Funds, which socialise profitable assets (be it natural resources or intangible ones such as data) and use the proceeds to pay dividends to individuals or communities. Universal Basic Services – for instance, policies such as free publicly owned buses – may be another.

Finally, I'd like to make a plea for care work as a critical area that merits further attention to develop convincing flagship policies – be it on universal childcare, elderly care or support for unpaid carers. The instinctive attachment that many of us feel to a public NHS needs to be widened to promote a broader right to care and be cared for, whilst firmly resisting the marketisation of care. Although care is often marginalised in political debate, as a new mum, I'm acutely aware that it is fundamental to millions of people's ability to live the lives they want. In an ageing population, most people now have lived experience of the pressures of caring for someone – whether a parent or a child. By talking about these issues, we move the terrain of political contestation away from the work valued by the market and onto the work we all know really matters; away from the competition for scarce resources and onto our ability to look after each other. And surely, that's exactly where the left wants it to be.

This article forms part of the " Left governmentality" mini series for openDemocracy.

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 12:36 pm

The problem is that people are selfish–me included–and so what is needed is not better ideas about ourselves but better laws. And for that we will need a higher level of political engagement and a refusal to accept candidates who sell themselves as a "lesser evil." It's the decline of democracy that brought on the rise of Reagan and Thatcher and Neoliberalism and not some change in public consciousness (except insofar as the general public became wealthier and more complacent). In America incumbents are almost universally likely to be re-elected to Congress and so they have no reason to reject Neoliberal ideas.

So here's suggesting that a functioning political process is the key to reform and not some change in the PR.

Angie Neer , November 1, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Carolinian, like you, I try to include myself in statements about "the problem with people." I believe one of the things preventing progress is our tendency to believe it's only those people that are the problem.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 1, 2019 at 4:55 pm

Human nature people are selfish. It's like the Christian marriage vow – which I understand is a Medieval invention and not something from 2,000 years ago – for better or worse, meaning, we share (and are not to be selfish) the good and the bad.

"Not neoliberals, but all of us." "Not the right, but the left as well." "Not just Russia, but America," or "Not just America, but Russia too."

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 5:54 pm

Perhaps a rational system is one that accepts selfishness but keeps it within limits. Movements like the Chicago school that pretend to reinvent the wheel with new thinking are by this view a scam. As J.K. Galbraith said: "the problem with their ideas is that they have been tried."

The Rev Kev , November 1, 2019 at 8:06 pm

My small brain got stuck on your reference to a 'Christian marriage vow'. I was just sitting back and conceiving what a Neoliberal marriage vow would sound like. Probably a cross between a no-liabilities contract and an open-marriage agreement.

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 9:05 pm

"people are selfish"?; or "people can sometimes act selfishly"? I think the latter is the more accurate statement. Appeal to the better side, and more of it will be forthcoming.
Neolib propaganda appeals to trivial, bleak individualism..

Carolinian , November 2, 2019 at 9:14 am

I'm not sure historic left attempts to appeal to "the better angels of our nature" have really moved the ball much. It took the Great Depression to give us a New Deal and WW2 to give Britain the NHS and the India its freedom. I'd say events are in the saddle far more than ideas.

Mark Anderlik , November 2, 2019 at 10:58 am

I rather look at it as a "both and" rather than an "either or." If the political groundwork is not done beforehand and during, the opportunity events afford will more likely be squandered.

And borrowing from evolutionary science, this also holds with the "punctuated equilibrium" theory of social/political change. The strain of a changed environment (caused by both events and intentionally created political activity) for a long time creates no visible change to the system, and so appears to fail. But then some combination of events and conscious political work suddenly "punctuates the equilibrium" with the resulting significant if not radical changes.

Chile today can be seen as a great example of this: "Its not 30 Pesos, its 30 Years."

J4Zonian , November 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm

Carolinian, you provide a good illustration of the power of the dominant paradigm to make people believe exactly what the article said–something I've observed more than enough to confirm is true. People act in a wide variety of ways; but many people deny that altruism and compassion are equally "human nature". Both parts of the belief pointed out here–believing other people are selfish and that we're not–are explained by projection acting in concert with the other parts of this phenomenon. Even though it's flawed because it's only a political and not a psychological explanation, It's a good start toward understanding.

"You and I are so deeply acculturated to the idea of "self" and organization and species that it is hard to believe that man [sic] might view his [sic] relations with the environment in any other way than the way which I have rather unfairly blamed upon the nineteenth-century evolutionists."

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p 483-4
This is part of a longer quote that's been important to me my whole life. Worth looking up. Bateson called this a mistake in epistemology–also, informally, his definition of evil.
http://anomalogue.com/blog/category/systems-thinking/

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
― Frédéric Bastiat

Doesn't mean it's genetic. In fact, I'm pretty sure it means it's not.

Capital fn 4 , November 1, 2019 at 1:11 pm

The desire for justice is the constant.

The Iron Lady once proclaimed, slightly sinisterly: "Economics is the method. The object is to change the soul." She meant that British people had to rediscover the virtue of traditional values such as hard work and thrift. The "something for nothing" society was over.

But the idea that the Thatcher era re-established the link between virtuous effort and just reward has been effectively destroyed by the spectacle of bankers driving their institutions into bankruptcy while being rewarded with million-pound bonuses and munificent pensions.

The dual-truth approach of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (thanks, Mirowski) has been more adept at manipulating narratives so the masses are still outraged by individuals getting undeserved social benefits rather than elites vacuuming up common resources. Thanks to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution, we have ended up with socialism for the rich, and everyone else at the mercy of 'markets'.

Pretending that there are not problems with free riders is naive and it goes against people's concern with justice. Acknowledging free riders on all levels with institutions that can constantly pursue equity is the solution.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:09 am

At some points in life, everyone is a free rider. As for the hard workers, many of them are doing destructive things which the less hard-working people will have to suffer under and compensate for. (Neo)liberalism and capitalism are a coherent system of illusions of virtue which rest on domination, exploitation, extraction, and propaganda. Stoking of resentment (as of free riders, the poor, the losers, foreigners, and so on) is one of the ways those who enjoy it keep it going.

Capital fn. 4 , November 1, 2019 at 1:16 pm

The desire for justice is the constant.

The Iron Lady once proclaimed, slightly sinisterly: "Economics is the method. The object is to change the soul." She meant that British people had to rediscover the virtue of traditional values such as hard work and thrift. The "something for nothing" society was over.

But the idea that the Thatcher era re-established the link between virtuous effort and just reward has been effectively destroyed by the spectacle of bankers driving their institutions into bankruptcy while being rewarded with million-pound bonuses and munificent pensions.

The dual-truth approach of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (thanks, Mirowski) has been more adept at manipulating narratives so the masses are still outraged by individuals getting undeserved social benefits rather than elites vacuuming up common resources. Thanks to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution, we have ended up with socialism for the rich, and everyone else at the mercy of 'markets'.

Pretending that there are not problems with free riders is naive and it goes against people's concern with justice. Acknowledging free riders on all levels with institutions that can constantly pursue equity is the solution.

Synoia , November 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

The Iron Lady had a agenda to break the labor movement in the UK.

What she did not understand is Management gets the Union (Behavior) it deserves. If there is strife in the workplace, as there was in abundance in the UK at that time, the problem is the Management, (and the UK class structure) not the workers.

As I found out when I left University.

Thatcher set out to break the solidarity of the Labor movement, and used the neo-liberal tool of selfishness to achieve success, unfortunately,

The UK's poor management practices, (The Working Class can kiss my arse) and complete inability to form teams of "Management and Workers" was, IMHO, is the foundation of today's Brexit nightmare, a foundation based on the British Class Structure.

And exploited, as it ever was, to achieve ends which do not benefit workers in any manner.

The Historian , November 1, 2019 at 1:43 pm

The left needs to acknowledge that aspects of the neoliberal agenda have been overwhelmingly popular: it has successfully tapped into people's instincts about the kind of life they want to lead, and wrapped these instincts up in a compelling narrative about how we should see ourselves and other people.

Sigh, no this is not true. This author is making the mistake that everyone is like the top 5% and that just is not so. Perhaps she should get out of her personal echo chamber and talk to common people.

In my travels I have been to every state and every major city, and I have worked with just about every class of people, except of course the ultra wealthy and ultra powerful – they have people to protect them from the great unwashed like me – and it didn't take me long to notice that the elite are different from the rest of us but I could never explain exactly why. After I retired, I started studying and I've examined everything from Adam Smith, to Hobbes, to Kant, to Durkheim, to Marx, to Ayn Rand, to tons of histories and anthropologies of various peoples, to you name it and I've come to the conclusion that most of us are not neoliberal and do not want what the top 5% want.

Most people are not overly competitive and most do not seek self-interest only. That is what allows us to live in cities, to drive on our roadways, to form groups that seek to improve conditions for the least of us. It is what allows soldiers to protect each other on the battlefield when it would be in their self interest to protect themselves. It is what allowed people in Europe to risk their own lives to save Jews. And it is also what allows people to live under the worst dictators without rebelling. Of course we all want more but we have limits on what we will do to get that more – the wealthy and powerful seem to have no limits. For instance, most of us won't screw over our co-workers to make ourselves look better, although some will. Most of us won't turn on our best friends even when it would be to our advantage to do so, although some will. Most of us won't abandon those we care about, even when it means severe financial damage to us, although some will.

For lack of a better description, I call what the 5% have the greed gene – a gene that allows them to give up empathy and compassion and basic morality – what some of us call fairness – in the search for personal gain. I don't think it is necessarily genetic but there is something in their makeup that cause them to have more than the average self interest. And because most humans are more cooperative than they are competitive, most humans just allow these people to go after what they want and don't stand in their way, even though by stopping them, they could make their own lives better.

Most history and economics are theories and stories told by the rich and powerful to justify their behavior. I think it is a big mistake to attribute that behavior to the mass of humanity. Archeology is beginning to look more at how average people lived instead of seeking out only the riches deposited by the elite, and historians are starting to look at the other side of history – average people – to see what life was really like for them, and I think we are seeing that what the rulers wanted was never what their people wanted. It is beginning to appear obvious that 95% of the people just wanted to live in their communities safely, to have about what everyone else around them had, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of shelter, enough food, and warm companionship.

I'm also wondering why the 5% think that all of us want exactly what they want. Do they really think that they are somehow being smarter or more competent got them there while 95% of the population – the rest of us – failed?

At this point, I know my theory is half-baked – I definitely need to do more research, but nothing I have found yet convinces me that there isn't some real basic difference between those who aspire to power and wealth and the rest of us.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm

" ..and I've come to the conclusion that most of us are not neoliberal and do not want what the top 5% want. Most people are not overly competitive and most do not seek self-interest only. That is what allows us to live in cities, to drive on our roadways, to form groups that seek to improve conditions for the least of us. It is what allows soldiers to protect each other on the battlefield when it would be in their self interest to protect themselves. "

I really liked your comment Historian. Thanks for posting. That's what I've felt in my gut for a while, that the top 5% and the establishment are operating under a different mindset, that the majority of people don't want a competitive, dog eat dog, self interest world.

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 5:52 pm

me too, great observation and well put. Made me feel better too! Heartfelt thanks

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm

I agree with Foy Johnson. I've been reading up on Ancient Greece and realizing all the time that 'teh Greeks' are maybe only about thirty percent of the people in Greece. Most of that history is how Greeks were taking advantage of each other with little mention of the majority of the population. Pelasgians? Yeah, they came from serpents teeth, the end.

I think this is a problem from the Bronze Age that we have not properly addressed.

Mystery Cycles are a nice reminder that people were having fun on their own.

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Thanks very much for this comment, Historian.

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 5:22 pm

I have more or less the same view. I think the author's statement about neoliberalism tapping into what type of life people want to lead is untenable. Besides instinct (are we all 4-year olds?), what people want is also very much socially constructed. And what people do is also very much socially coerced.

One anecdote: years ago, during a volunteer drive at work, I worked side by side with the company's CEO (company was ~1200 headcount, ~.5bn revenue) sorting canned goods. The guy was doing it like he was in a competition. So much so that he often blocked me when I had to place something on the shelves, and took a lot of space in the lineup around himself while swinging his large-ish body and arms, and wouldn't stop talking. To me, this was very rude and inconsiderate, and showed a repulsive level of disregard to others. This kind of behavior at such an event, besides being unpleasant to be around, was likely also making work for the others in the lineup less efficient. Had I or anyone else behaved like him, we would have had a good amount of awkwardness or even a conflict.

What I don't get is, how does he and others get away with it? My guess is, people don't want a conflict. I didn't want a conflict and said nothing to that CEO. Not because I am not competitive, but because I didn't want an ugly social situation (we said 'excuse me' and 'sorry' enough, I just didn't think it would go over well to ask him to stop being obnoxious and dominant for no reason). He obviously didn't care or was unaware – or actually, I think he was behaving that way as a tactical habit. And I didn't feel I had the authority to impose a different order.

So, in the end, it's about power – power relations and knowing what to do about it.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Yep, I think you've nailed it there deplorado, types like your CEO don't care at all and/or are socially unaware, and is a tactical habit that they have found has worked for them in the past and is now ingrained. It is a power relation and our current world unfortunately is now designed and made to suit people like that. And each day the world incrementally moves a little bit more in their direction with inertia like a glacier. Its going to take something big to turn it around

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 6:49 pm

I too believe "most of us are not neoliberal". But if so, how did we end up with the kind of Corporate Cartels, Government Agencies and Organizations that currently prey upon Humankind? This post greatly oversimplifies the mechanisms and dynamics of Neoliberalism, and other varieties of exploitation of the many by the few. This post risks a mocking tie to Identity Politics. What traits of Humankind give truth to Goebbels' claims?

There definitely is "some real basic difference between those who aspire to power and wealth and the rest of us" -- but the question you should ask next is why the rest of us Hobbits blindly follow and help the Saurons among us. Why do so many of us do exactly what we're told? How is it that constant repetition of the Neoliberal identity concepts over our media can so effectively ensnare the thinking of so many?

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:47 pm

Maybe it's something similar to Milgram's Experiment (the movie the Experimenter about Milgram was on last night – worth watching and good acting by Peter Sarsgaard, my kind of indie film), the outcome is just not what would normally be expected, people bow to authority, against their own beliefs and interests, and others interests, even though they have choice. The Hobbits followed blindly in that experiment, the exact opposite outcome as to what was predicted by the all the psychology experts beforehand.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:12 pm

people bow to authority , against their own beliefs and interests, and others interests, even though they have choice

'Don't Make Waves' is a fundamentally useful value that lets us all swim along. This can be manipulated. If everyone is worried about Reds Under the Beds or recycling, you go along to get along.

Some people somersault to Authority is how I'd put it.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 11:17 pm

Yep, don't mind how you put that Mo, good word somersault.

One of the amusing tests Milgram did was to have people go into the lift but all face the back of the lift instead of the doors and see what happens when the next person got in. Sure enough, with the next person would get in, face the front, look around with some confusion at everyone else and then slowly turn and face the back. Don't Make Waves its instinctive to let us all swim along as you said.

And 'some people' is correct. It was actually the majority, 65%, who followed directions against their own will and preferred choice in his original experiment.

susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 8:07 pm

thank you, historian

The Rev Kev , November 1, 2019 at 8:14 pm

That's a pretty damn good comment that, Historian. Lots to unpick. It reminded me too of something that John Wyndham once said. He wrote how about 95% of us wanted to live in peace and comfort but that the other 5% were always considering their chances if they started something. He went on to say that it was the introduction of nuclear weapons that made nobody's chances of looking good which explains why the lack of a new major war since WW2.

Mr grumpy , November 1, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Good comment. My view is that it all boils down to the sociopathic personality disorder. Sociopathy runs on a continuum, and we all exhibit some of its tendencies. At the highest end you get serial killers and titans of industry, like the guy sorting cans in another comment. I believe all religions and theories of ethical behavior began as attempts to reign in the sociopaths by those of us much lower on the continuum. Neoliberalism starts by saying the sociopaths are the norm, turning the usual moral and ethical universe upside down.

Janie , November 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Your theory is not half-baked; it's spot-on. If you're not the whatever it takes, end justifies the means type, you are not likely to rise to the top in the corporate world. The cream rises to the top happens only in the dairy.

Grebo , November 2, 2019 at 12:25 am

Your 5% would correspond to Altemeyer's "social dominators". Unfortunately only 75% want a simple, peaceful life. 20% are looking for a social dominator to follow. It's psychological.

Kristin Lee , November 2, 2019 at 5:21 am

Excellent comment. Take into consideration the probability that the majority of the top 5% have come from a privileged background, ensconced in a culture of entitlement. This "greed" gene is as natural to them as breathing. Consider also that many wealthy families have maintained their status through centuries of calculated loveless marriages, empathy and other human traits gene-pooled out of existence. The cruel paradox is that for the sake of riches, they have lost their richness in character.

Davenport , November 2, 2019 at 7:57 am

This really chimes with me. Thanks so much for putting it down in words.

I often encounter people insisting humans are selfish. It is quite frustrating that this more predominant side of our human nature seems to become invisible against the propaganda.

Henry Moon Pie , November 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

I'm barely into Jeremy Lent's The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning , but he's already laid down his central thesis in fairly complete form. Humans are both competitive and cooperative, he says, which should surprise no one. What I found interesting is that the competitive side comes from primates who are more intensely competitive than humans. The cooperation developed after the human/primate split and was enabled by "mimetic culture," communication skills that importantly presuppose that the object(s) of communication are intentional creatures like oneself but with a somewhat different perspective. Example: Human #1 gestures to Human #2 to come take a closer look at whatever Human #1 is examining. This ability to cooperate even came with strategies to prevent a would-be dominant male from taking over a hunter-gatherer band:

[I]n virtually all hunter-gatherer societies, people join together to prevent powerful males from taking too much control, using collective behaviors such as ridicule, group disobedience, and, ultimately, extreme sanctions such as assassination [This kind of society is called] a "reverse dominant hierarchy because rather than being dominated, the rank and file manages to dominate.

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

yes, this chimes in with what I`ve been thinking for years after puzzling about why society everywhere ends up as it does – ie the fact that in small groups as we evolved to live in, we would keep a check on extreme selfish behaviour of dominant individuals. In complex societies (modern) most of us become "the masses" visible in some way to the system but the top echelons are not visible to us and are able to amass power and wealth out of all control by the rest of us. And yes, you do have to have a very strange drive (relatively rare, ?pathological) to want power and wealth at everyone else`s expense – to live in a cruel world many of whose problems could be solved (or not arise in the first place) by redistributing some of your wealth to little palpable cost to you

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Africa over a few million years of Ice Ages seems to have presented our ancestors with the possibility of reproducing only if you can get along in close proximity to other Hominids without killing each other. I find that a compelling explanation for our stupidly big brains; it's one thing to be a smart monkey, it's a whole different solution needed to model what is going on in the brain of another smart monkey.

And communications: How could spoken language have developed without levels of trust and interdependence that maybe we can not appreciate today? We have a word for 'Blue' nowadays, we take it for granted.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:18 am

There is a theory that language originated between mothers and their immediate progeny, between whom either trust and benevolence exist, or the weaker dies. The mother's chances for survival and reproduction are enhanced if she can get her progeny to, so to speak, help out around the house; how to do that is extended by symbolism and syntax as well as example.

chuck roast , November 1, 2019 at 2:00 pm

I recall the first day of Econ 102 when the Prof. (damned few adjuncts in those days) said, "Everything we discuss hereafter will be built on the concept of scarcity." Being a contrary buggah' I thought, "The air I'm breathing isn't scarce." I soon got with the program supply and demand upward sloping, downward sloping, horizontal, vertical and who could forget kinked. My personal favorite was the Giffen Good a high priced inferior product. Kind of like Micro Economics.

Maybe we could begin our new Neo-Economics 102 with the proviso, "Everything we discuss hereafter will be based on abundance." I'm gonna' like this class!

Off The Street , November 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Neo-lib Econ does a great job at framing issues so that people don't notice what is excluded. Think of them as proto-Dark Patternists.

If you are bored and slightly mischievous, ask an economist how theory addresses cooperation, then assume a can opener and crack open a twist-top beer.

jrs , November 1, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Isn't one of the problems that it's NOT really built on the concept of scarcity? Most natural resources run into scarcity eventually. I don't know about the air one breaths, certainly fish species are finding reduced oxygen in the oceans due to climate change.

shtove , November 2, 2019 at 3:45 am

Yes, I suppose people in cities in south-east Asia wearing soot-exclusion masks have a different take on the abundance of air.

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 6:57 pm

If you would like that class on abundance you would love the Church of Abundant Life which pushes Jesus as the way to Abundant Life and they mean that literally. Abundant as in Jesus wants you to have lots of stuff -- so believe.

I believe Neoliberalism is a much more complex animal than an economic theory. Mirowski builds a plausible argument that Neoliberalism is a theory of epistemology. The Market discovers Truth.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:53 pm

"The air I'm breathing isn't scarce."

Had a lovely Physics class where the first homework problem boiled down to "How often do you inhale a atom (O or N) from Julius Caesar's last breath". Great little introduction to the power and pratfalls of 'estimations by Physicists' that xkcd likes to poke at. Back then we used the CRC Handbook to figure it out.

Anyway, every second breath you can be sure you have shared an atom with Caesar.

Susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 2:08 pm

I don't think Maggie T. or uncle Milty were thinking about the future at all. Neither one would have openly promoted turfing quadriplegic 70-year-olds out of the rest home. That's how short sighted they both were. And stupid. We really need to call a spade a spade here. Milty doesn't even qualify as an economist – unless economics is the study of the destruction of society. But neoliberalism had been in the wings already, by the 80s, for 40 years. Nobody took into account that utility-maximizing capitalism always kills the goose (except Lenin maybe) – because it's too expensive to feed her. The neoliberals were just plain dumb. The question really is why should we stand for another day of neoliberal nonsense? Albeit Macht Frei Light? No thanks. I think they've got the question backwards – it shouldn't be how should "we" reconstruct our image now – but what is the obligation of all the failed neoliberal extractors to right society now? I'd just as soon stand back and watch the dam burst as help the neolibs out with a little here and a little there. They'll just keep taking as long as we give. This isn't as annoying as Macron's "cake" comment, but it's close. I did like the last 2 paragraphs however.

Susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Here's a sidebar. A universal one. There is an anomaly in the universe – there is not enough accumulated entropy. It screws up theoretical physics because the missing entropy needs to be accounted for for their theories to work to their satisfaction. It seems to be a phenomenon of evolution. Thus it was recently discovered by a physics grad student that entropy by heat dissipation is the "creator" of life. Life almost spontaneously erupts where it can take advantage of an energy source. And, we are assuming, life thereby slows entropy down. There has to be another similar process among the stars and the planets as well, an evolutionary conservation of energy. So evolution takes on more serious meaning. From the quantum to the infinite. And society – it's right in the middle. So it isn't too unreasonable to think that society is extremely adaptable, taking advantage of any energy input, and it seems true to think that. Which means that society can go long for its goal before it breaks down. But in the end it will be enervated by lack of "resources" unless it can self perpetuate in an evolving manner. That's one good reason to say goodbye to looney ideologies.

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 3:05 pm

For a view of humanity that is not as selfish, recommend "The Gift" by Marcel Mauss. Basically an anthropological study of reciprocal gift giving in the oceanic potlatch societies. My take is that the idea was to re-visit relationships, as giving a gift basically forces a response in the receiver, "Am I going to respond in kind, perhaps even upping what is required? Or am I going to find that this relationship simply isn't worth it and walk away?"

Kind of like being in a marriage. The idea isn't to walk away, the idea is you constantly need to re-enforce it. Except with the potlatch it was like extending that concept to the clan at large, so that all the relationships within the clan were being re-enforced.

Amfortas the hippie , November 1, 2019 at 3:26 pm

"Kind of like being in a marriage. The idea isn't to walk away, the idea is you constantly need to re-enforce it. "
amen.
we, the people, abdicated.

as for humans being selfish by default i used to believe this, due to my own experiences as an outlaw and pariah.
until wife's cancer and the overwhelming response of this little town,in the "reddest" congressional district in texas.
locally, the most selfish people i know are the one's who own everything buying up their neighbor's businesses when things get tough.
they are also the most smug and pretentious(local dems, in their hillforts come a close second in this regard) and most likely to be gop true believers.
small town and all everybody literally knows everybody, and their extended family and those connections are intertwined beyond belief.
wife's related, in some way, to maybe half the town.
that matters and explains my experience as an outcast: i never belonged to anything like that and such fellowfeeling and support is hard for people to extend to a stranger.
That's what's gonna be the hard sell, here, in undoing the hyperindividualist, "there is no such thing as society" nonsense.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 9:23 pm

I grew up until Junior High in a fishing village on the Maine coast that had been around for well over a hundred years and had a population of under 1000. By the time I was 8 I realized there was no point in being extreme with anyone, because they were likely to be around for the rest of your life.

I fell in love with sun and warmth when we moved away and unfortunately it's all gentrified now, by the 90s even a tar paper shack could be sold for a few acres up in Lamoine.

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Yep, small towns are about as close as we get to clans nowadays. And just like clans, you don't want to be on the outside. Still when you marry in, it would be nice if the town would make you feel more a member like a clan should / would. ;-)

But outside of the small town and extended families I think that's it. We've been atomized into our nuclear families. Except for the ruling class – I think they have this quid pro quo gift giving relationship building figured out quite nicely. Basically they've formed their own small town – at the top.

By the way, I understand Mauss was an influence on Baudrillard. I could almost imagine Baudrillard thinking how the reality of the potlatch societies was so different than the reality of western societies.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

That's the big problem I see in this discussion. We know, or at least think we know, what's wrong, and what would be better; but we can't get other people to want to do something about it, even those who nominally agree with us. And I sure don't have the answer.

David , November 1, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Neoliberalism, in its early guise at least, was popular because politicians like Thatcher effectively promised something for nothing. Low taxes but still decent public services. The right to buy your council house without putting your parents' council house house in jeopardy. Enjoying private medical care as a perk of your job whilst still finding the NHS there when you were old and sick. And so on. By the time the penny dropped it was too late.
If the Left is serious about challenging neoliberalism, it has to return to championing the virtues of community, which it abandoned decades ago in favour of extreme liberal individualism Unfortunately, community is an idea which has either been appropriated by various identity warriors (thus fracturing society further) or dismissed (as this author does) because it's been taken up by the Right. A Left which explained that when everybody cooperates everybody benefits, but that when everybody fights everybody loses, would sweep the board.

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

>>Neoliberalism, in its early guise at least, was popular because politicians like Thatcher effectively promised something for nothing.

This. That's it.

Thank you David, for always providing among the most grounded and illuminating comments here.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 9:54 pm

If the Left is serious about challenging neoliberalism, it has to return to championing the virtues of community

I agree. The tenuous suggestions offered by the article are top down. But top-down universal solutions can remove the impetus for local organization. Which enervates the power of communities. And then you can't do anything about austerity, because your Rep loves the PowerPoints and has so much money from the Real Estate community.

Before one experiences the virtue, or power, of a community, one has to go through the pain in the ass of contributing to a community. It has to be rewarding process or it won't happen.

No idea how to do that from the top.

Capital fn. 4 , November 1, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Jeez louise-
one more attempt to get past Skynet

PKMKII , November 1, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Anyone have a link to the studies mentioned about how Econ majors were the only ones to act selfishly in the game scenarios?

Rod , November 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm

this may not get the ECON majors specifically but this will raise your eyebrows

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/embark-essay-tragedy-of-the-commons-greed-common-good/

this is next gen coming up here

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:33 pm

"An example of how this plays out can be seen in academic studies showing that, in game scenarios presenting the opportunity to free-ride on the efforts of others, only economics students behaved as economic models predicted: all other groups were much more likely to pool their resources. Having been trained to believe that others are likely to be selfish, economists believe that their best course of action is to be selfish as well. The rest of us still have the instinct to cooperate. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising: after all, as George Monbiot argues in 'Out of the Wreckage', cooperation is our species' main survival strategy."

Since so many people believe their job is their identity, would be interssting to know what the job training or jobs were of the "others."

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:35 pm

"Ultimately, they can't escape the fact that most people would like to spend less time at work."

And that is a key point!

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 7:39 pm

>so many people believe their job is their identity

Only because the social sphere, which in the medium and long term we *all depend
on* to survive, has been debased by 24/7/365 neolib talking points, and their purposeful economic constrictions..

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 7:13 pm

How many people have spent their lives working for the "greater good"? How many work building some transcendental edifice from which the only satisfaction they could take away was knowing they performed a part of its construction? The idea that Humankind is selfish and greedy is a projection promoted by the small part of Humankind that really is selfish and greedy.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 4:59 am

Let's work out the basics, this will help.

Where does wealth creation actually occur in the capitalist system?

Nations can do well with the trade, as we have seen with China and Germany, but this comes at other nation's expense.
In a successful global economy, trade should be balanced over the long term.
Keynes was aware of this in the past, and realised surplus nations were just as much of a problem as deficit nations in a successful global economy with a long term future.

Zimababwe has lots of money and it's not doing them any favours. Too much money causes hyper-inflation.
You can just print money, the real wealth in the economy lies somewhere else.
Alan Greenspan tells Paul Ryan the Government can create all the money it wants and there is no need to save for pensions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNCZHAQnfGU
What matters is whether the goods and services are there for them to buy with that money. That's where the real wealth in the economy lies.
Money has no intrinsic value; its value comes from what it can buy.
Zimbabwe has too much money in the economy relative to the goods and services available in that economy. You need wheelbarrows full of money to buy anything.
It's that GDP thing that measures real wealth creation.

GDP does not include the transfer of existing assets like stocks and real estate.
Inflated asset prices are just inflated asset prices and this can disappear all too easily as we keep seeing in real estate.
1990s – UK, US (S&L), Canada (Toronto), Scandinavia, Japan
2000s – Iceland, Dubai, US (2008)
2010s – Ireland, Spain, Greece
Get ready to put Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Hong Kong on the list.
They invented the GDP measure in the 1930s, to track real wealth creation in the economy after they had seen all that apparent wealth in the US stock market disappear in 1929.
There was nothing really there.

Now, we can move on further.

The UK's national income accountants can't work out how finance adds any value (creates wealth).
Banks create money from bank loans, not wealth.
https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
We have mistaken inflating asset prices for creating wealth.

How can banks create wealth with bank credit?
The UK used to know before 1980.
https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.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.

Real estate does make the economy boom, but there is no real wealth creation in inflating asset prices.
What is really happening?
When you use bank credit to inflate asset prices, the debt rises much faster than GDP.
https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
The bank credit of mortgages is bringing future spending power into today.
Bank loans create money and the repayment of debt to banks destroys money.
https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
In the real estate boom, new money pours into the economy from mortgage lending, fuelling a boom in the real economy, which feeds back into the real estate boom.
The Japanese real estate boom of the 1980s was so excessive the people even commented on the "excess money", and everyone enjoyed spending that excess money in the economy.
In the real estate bust, debt repayments to banks destroy money and push the economy towards debt deflation (a shrinking money supply).
Japan has been like this for thirty years as they pay back the debts from their 1980s excesses, it's called a balance sheet recession.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk
Bank loans effectively take future spending and bring it in today.
Jam today, penury tomorrow.
Using future spending power to inflate asset prices today is a mistake that comes from thinking inflating asset prices creates real wealth.
GDP measures real wealth creation.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 5:37 am

Did you know capitalism works best with low housing costs and a low cost of living?
Probably not, you are in the parallel universe of neoliberalism.

William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iXBQ33pBo&t=2485s

He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years.

Some very important things got lost 100 years ago.

The Mont Pelerin society developed the parallel universe of neoliberalism from neoclassical economics.

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) saw the light once they discovered my equation (Michael Hudson condensed)

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

"Wait a minute, employees get their money from wages and businesses have to cover high housing costs in wages reducing profit" the CBI

It's all about the economy, and UK businesses will benefit from low housing costs.

High housing costs push up wages and reduce profits.

Off-shore to make more profit, you can pay lower wages where the cost of living is lower, e.g. China; the US and UK are rubbish.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 8:11 am

What was Keynes really doing?
Creating a low cost, internationally competitive economy.

Keynes's ideas were a solution to the problems of the Great Depression, but we forgot why he did, what he did.

They tried running an economy on debt in the 1920s.

The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.

Keynes looked at the problems of the debt based economy and came up with redistribution through taxation to keep the system running in a sustainable way and he dealt with the inherent inequality capitalism produced.

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

High progressive taxation funded a low cost economy with subsidised housing, healthcare, education and other services to give more disposable income on lower wages.

Employers and employees both win with a low cost of living.

Keynesian ideas went wrong in the 1970s and everyone had forgotten the problems of neoclassical economics that he originally solved.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 8:44 am

Economics, the time line:

Classical economics – observations and deductions from the world of small state, unregulated capitalism around them

Neoclassical economics – Where did that come from?

Keynesian economics – observations, deductions and fixes for the problems of neoclassical economics

Neoclassical economics – Why is that back?

We thought small state, unregulated capitalism was something that it wasn't as our ideas came from neoclassical economics, which has little connection with classical economics.

On bringing it back again, we had lost everything that had been learned in the 1930s, by which time it had already demonstrated its flaws.

Kristin Lee , November 2, 2019 at 5:54 am

Ultimately, neoliberalism is about privatization and ownership of everything. This is why it's so important to preserve the Common Good, the vital resources and services that support earthly existence. The past 40 years has shown what happens when this falls out of balance. Our value system turns upside down – the sick become more valuable than the healthy, a violent society provides for the prisons-for-profit system and so on. The biggest upset has been the privatization of money creation.

This latest secret bank bailout (not really secret as Dodd-Frank has allowed banks to siphon newly created money from the Fed without Congressional approval. No more public embarrassment that Hank Paulson had to endure.) They are now up to $690 billion PER WEEK while the media snoozes. PPPs enjoy the benefits of public money to seed projects for private gain. The rest of us have to rely on predatory lenders, sinking us to the point of Peak Debt, where private debt can never be paid off and must be cancelled, as it should be because it never should've happened in the first place.

"Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create ('print') money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can 'afford.' Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma. The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place -- and with so little public accountability? And if money can be created to serve the banks, why not to benefit people and the environment? "

Paul Hirshman , November 2, 2019 at 3:33 pm

The Commons should have a shot at revival as the upcoming generation's desires are outstripped by their incomes and savings. The conflict between desires and reality may give a boost to alternate notions of what's desirable. Add to this the submersion of cities under the waves of our expanding oceans, and one gets yet another concrete reason to think that individual ownership isn't up to the job of inspiring young people. A Commons of some sort will be needed to undo the cost of generations of unpaid negative externalities. Fossil fuels, constant warfare, income inequality, stupendous idiocy of kleptocratic government these baked in qualities of neo-liberalism are creating a very large, dissatisfied, and educated population just about anywhere one looks. Suburbia will be on fire, as well as underwater. Farmlands will be parched, drenched, and exhausted. Where will Larry Summers dump the garbage?

[Nov 01, 2019] Orwell on corruption of the language

Nov 01, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Hidari 11.01.19 at 11:42 am

'It will be seen that, as used, the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else .

In certain kinds of writing it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning .. When one critic writes, 'The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality', while another writes, 'The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness', the reader accepts this as a simple difference of opinion.

If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused.

The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable' .Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary .' (Orwell).

[Oct 28, 2019] Lenin 'Judas' Moreno Ecuador's Story of Betrayal and Resistance -- Strategic Culture

Oct 28, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

On October 3rd, countless tens of thousands of Ecuadorian citizens began a general strike and occupation of public spaces, throughout the country but targeting the capital of Quito. President Lenin Moreno has made himself one of the most hated men in the history of the country in the course of his rule, and was forced to flee as a consequence, and re-establish the capital in Guayaquil. In addition, facing a larger and wider revolution all together, Moreno was forced to rescind Decree 883 – the new law which appears to have been the straw that broke the camel's back in Ecuador.

But this is far from over, and Moreno's continued existence as head of government threatens to see the expansion of this newly awakened movement. Internationally too – for it is Moreno who also betrayed Julian Assange, after Raphael Correa offered him protection.

Media are accurately reporting the obvious, but in limited context: Moreno enacted Decree 883, which brought an end to the popular fuel subsidies. As the story goes, this was part of an austerity agreement made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for a loan. Decree 883 threatens the country's most vulnerable and historically marginalized cross-sections of Ecuadorian society, indigenous communities in particular. These indigenous communities, along with labor and citizen's group, were at the forefront of these protests and the general strike, leading and organizing them. Moreno accuses his popular predecessor Correa for planning and executing the protests, with assistance from Cuba and Venezuela. The 'random Soros guy' from Brazil, Juan Guaido, has echoed Moreno's accusation.

The Looming Econocide which Decree 883 Threatened

Beyond this, however, is the real story of Decree 883 and the recent history of Ecuador, and the real betrayal represented by Mr. Moreno – a visceral hatred he has earned for himself, which extends far beyond Decree 883.

Mr. Moreno baffled the public when he announced that the subsidies policy introduced in the 70's, which if accounting in a very narrow and segregated way, appear to 'cost' the government some $1.3bn annually, were no longer affordable. But what macroeconomists and the public both understood, and what was particularly outrageous, was this: these subsidies, based on Ecuador's socialized gas industry, in fact made possible all sorts of economic activity; risk taking and opportunity making, and consumption in other sectors of the economy – not possible without such a subsidy.

And so the ripple effect of Decree 883 would result in pessimism and a bearish national economy, all around. The cognitive and theoretical deficiency of believing that one can shore up nominal debts that exist under certain conditions of subsidy, by eliminating an economy enhancer like an energy subsidy, without this in turn deleteriously effecting overall GDP indices, to in turn qualify for a loan which would in all obvious reality create further balance of payment and debt problems, is itself either negligent, criminal, or both.

The real consequence would be that it would place the Ecuadorian economy further in debt, which means in further reliance on the IMF, which means further loans will be needed, which means further austerity, and ultimately privatization of the public weal. Upon such a cycle, creating permanent servitude and insolvency, the final aim on the part of the IMF cannot be simply a vicious debt cycle, (as this is ultimately unpayable) but the total private and foreign ownership of Ecuador, with some sort of mass impoverishment, even genocide of its indigenous people, as an obvious – if not wanted – consequence. At this point it becomes perhaps secondary to note that none of these 'IMF loans' will be used to develop the country's physical economy – the only real signifier of wealth building for a whole society, if viewed scientifically and rationally as an organic unit with mutually interrelated symbiotic components.

There are few words to describe such aims as Decree 883 without delving into deep, profound, philosophical and theological questions about the nature of the forces of good and evil in the world. Questions was force us to ask what universal principles give meaning to our lives as human beings, and what really and fundamentally motivates those with such a blatant misanthropic agenda.

But at any rate, it is more than obvious how this move by Moreno, in the name of Decree 883, had led to the near toppling of the Ecuadorian government – leading to Moreno declaring a state of emergency.

Moreno – from Lenin to Judas

A success so far for the people has been the apparent repeal of Decree 883, but why Moreno is so very much hated deserves our attention, as this is only the beginning. During his tenure, Moreno has gained himself the nickname among the opposition 'Judas': a name necessary as it distinguishes that he is 'no Lenin'.

What Moreno has done has resulted in the largest popular uprising the country has seen in many years. After years of working to reverse the progress and stability brought by the noble and just government of Raphael Correa, Moreno brought about a condition of instability and ignobility. Within months of assuming office, he disavowed Correa who had brought him where he had arrived, and began to work under the orders of Washington to undo Correa's social and legislative reforms that had been aimed at deepening the strength of Ecuador's civil society, labor, and justice. Under Correa, poverty would see a 30% decline.

And despite this obvious reality, this obvious truth, Moreno doubles-down on his contempt for reason and rationality, by accusing the protestors of being agents of Correa, even of Maduro (!). This affront to the wisdom of the people of Ecuador is comparable to blaming the blood for the wound, or for blaming the wound for the accident which causes these.

For the latest affront to dignity and fairness, in the form of yet another IMF sell-out from Moreno, came in the form of the elimination of gas subsidies for people most in need. And one cannot offer any real logic or reason for ending these subsidies, for the gas itself is largely owned by and for the people, through EP Petroecuador, the state oil firm.

But this deep-seated scorn is not simply related to contempt for his policies, but much more profoundly for his betrayal. Because we might expect such austerity from a centrist or right-wing candidate, given the history of politics in Latin America – there is something honest in this; they deliver what they campaign on. But given that Correa had essentially groomed Moreno, and Moreno in turn endorsed the policies of Correa – we encounter the crux of the matter, and how Moreno turned from Lenin to Judas.

To wit, it was Raphael Correa's broad plan to rescue Ecuador from the predatory claws of the IMF, by fomenting a public campaign, a brilliant simulacrum strategy of sorts, borrowed from Venezuela, that an entire program of socialist revolution was underway, such that it had the effect of lowering the value of Ecuador's bonds, owned by foreign interests. This made it so that Ecuador was able to succeed in buying back some 91% of these bonds, and made possible Ecuador's thumbing the IMF and not taking on new debt. This was done by intelligently weaponizing Ecuador's apparent weakness in not having its own real national currency, as this was dollarized by corrupt national leaders in 2000, using the excuse of the damage caused by Hurricane 'El Niño', to eliminate Ecuador's monetary sovereignty. It had been widely believed that without a national, sovereign currency, that Ecuador could have no sovereign monetary policy – Correa proved this wrong by turning expectations and dynamics on their respective heads. While this dictum is true in the long-term, Correa used the dollarized nature of Ecuador's currency values in a gambit to buy-back Ecuador's bonds.

When Correa was elected president of Ecuador, it had come as the result of years of struggle by the popular forces of resistance, against all odds, and overcoming a particularly unstable and disastrous period were Ecuador had seen come and go some ten presidents in the period of just eleven years.

Correa would go on to serve for a decade, and continued to build popular support, and this had signaled the realization of an even broader dream of social and economic justice in Ecuador, but also a visionary long-term plan to integrate the Latin American economy into a single civilization-wide economic bloc.

The history of modern Ecuador is one of tragedy, hope, and never lacking in contradictions. During the time of Correa he was faced with the strongest opposition from the most intransigent and short-term thinking, narrowest in scope and vision, of the country's billionaire class.

And it only so happened to be that this same class, who had been responsible for the years of instability and rampant poverty, were also those closest to Washington DC and New York City – placing the country at the hands of the Washington Consensus – the IMF, City Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and the rest of the "usual suspects".

Rejecting this, in February 2007 that Correa's economy minister Ricardo Patiño stated: "I have no intention [ ] of accepting what some governments in the past have accepted: that [the IMF] tell us what to do on economic policy." "That seems unacceptable to us," Patiño concluded.

The U.S and the IMF hated this, and hated Correa for this. Correa confused many –at first seeming to be a center-leaning social-democrat reformist. His biography and optics were misleading: young and well groomed, with waxed hair and Spanish features, he appeared very much like the kind of candidate historically installed by Ecuador's wealthy comprador class. His credentials in governance had come about through being Ecuador's finance minister under the prior neo-liberal government of Alfredo Palacio. And yet Correa was a man of the people and once in office quickly became allies with the Castros of Cuba and also Chavez, and then Maduro of Venezuela.

Correa understood he would be termed-out eventually, under Ecuador's constitutional provisions, and had worked early on to groom a successor.

Again, the biography and optics were misleading: this successor was Lenin Moreno, the son of a communist teacher; Moreno inspired empathy with his soulful eyes, reminiscent of Iran's Ahmadinejad, and being wheelchair-bound, he inspired sympathy.

The people had expected that a man who inspired such sympathy and empathy, would himself be capable of tremendous sympathy and empathy for the people in turn.

And yet the people were wrong. Instead, what lurked in the heart of Lenin Moreno was so dark, so depraved, so shallow and so selfish, that it exploded the left's understanding of character.

It would turn out that Nietzsche's dictum that weakness lays at the root of evil, and strength at the root of good, was true. If the apparent meekness of Moreno would allow him to inherit the world of Ecuador, then it was his cruelty and hatred, his Ressentiment born of weakness, for those healthy and happy people, even if poor, that would threaten to destroy it.

The government of Moreno has been a betrayal so monumental and significant to the living history of Ecuador, that it has indeed earned him the name 'Judas Moreno', an allusion both to Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ to the wishes of the Sanhedrin, and also to Leon 'Judas' Trotsky, who is believed by mainline communists internationally to have conspired to betray the Russian Revolution through his alleged conspiracy with the forces of Fascism in Europe.

And this leads us to the real heart of our investigation, for the apparent revolution that Judas Moreno has betrayed was the popular democratic, electoral 'revolution' of Correa. And this is why Moreno is so hated, and lacks any mandate. And this is also why his power decreases by the day, as his legitimacy in question after his first months in office, and his actions against the people – the repression, arrests, and persecutions which have heightened in the last ten days of protests against his regime, are only but the culmination of several years of the same.

Now there are dead, martyrs in this struggle, murdered by Moreno's security forces.

Decree 883 may have been repealed, but coming about on the precipice of a broader revolution, the coming weeks and months only promises more conflicts, surprises – and we should expect yet another betrayal from Judas Moreno, and another explosion in response.

[Oct 24, 2019] The argument the Bolivian right-wing is using is exactly the same the Brazilian one used after the 2014 results: election fraud.

Notable quotes:
"... The argument the Bolivian right-wing is using is exactly the same the Brazilian one used after the 2014 results: election fraud. The vice-president of the Bolivian Supreme Electoral Court has already renounced in protest after the institution caved in to the pressure and suspended the publication of the results: ..."
"... Evo Morales is much more fragile than Nicolás Maduro -- even though Bolivia's economy has been much better. The key here is that, in Latin America, every period of economic growth is destined to be followed by a period of economic crisis because it's impelled to follow the neoliberal model of development by the USA. The left-wing presidents are then forced to overcome this through straight up government spending in order to at least alleviate extreme poverty that ravages the subcontinent. ..."
"... But the hardest challenge for the socialists in Latin America are its armed forces: after the 1950s, they were turned into American subsidiaries, each one with a military doctrine that focuses on fighting the "internal enemy" (i.e. the socialists). No Latin American military is able to fight a single conventional war, they are essentially glorified militarized police forces. Maduro has the FANB; Morales doesn't have the Bolivian Armed Forces on his side. ..."
"... Meanwhile, neoliberalism rots. Bolsonaro already know his fate: ..."
"... It must be hard to realize, after years of hallucination and messianic complex, that you were just a disposable puppet of the Americans. ..."
"... A Brazilian prefers to suffer in silence than having to risk his life for a greater cause and, since the 1960s, has an inexplicable fascination with the USA and everything American (Bolsonaro ran his campaign openly as the "Brazilian Trump"). ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Oct 24 2019 1:37 utc | 29

Military coup attempt imminent in Bolivia as Evo Morales makes a desperate call for resistance to the people:

Militares que planejaram golpe tentam consumá-lo em conjunto com oposição, afirma Evo

The argument the Bolivian right-wing is using is exactly the same the Brazilian one used after the 2014 results: election fraud. The vice-president of the Bolivian Supreme Electoral Court has already renounced in protest after the institution caved in to the pressure and suspended the publication of the results:

Vice-presidente do TSE da Bolívia renuncia e diz que resultados preliminares estão corretos

Evo Morales is much more fragile than Nicolás Maduro -- even though Bolivia's economy has been much better. The key here is that, in Latin America, every period of economic growth is destined to be followed by a period of economic crisis because it's impelled to follow the neoliberal model of development by the USA. The left-wing presidents are then forced to overcome this through straight up government spending in order to at least alleviate extreme poverty that ravages the subcontinent.

But the hardest challenge for the socialists in Latin America are its armed forces: after the 1950s, they were turned into American subsidiaries, each one with a military doctrine that focuses on fighting the "internal enemy" (i.e. the socialists). No Latin American military is able to fight a single conventional war, they are essentially glorified militarized police forces. Maduro has the FANB; Morales doesn't have the Bolivian Armed Forces on his side.

Let's wait and see how it evolves.

--//--

Meanwhile, neoliberalism rots. Bolsonaro already know his fate:

Bolsonaro diz que Brasil 'não está livre de problema do Chile' e defende 'endurecimento da lei'

It must be hard to realize, after years of hallucination and messianic complex, that you were just a disposable puppet of the Americans.

However, things are not so simple in Brazil: the majority of the Left is reactionary and pacifist; the Brazilian people has a high tolerance for misery, is very docile and doesn't have a curriculum of violent uprisings or revolutions.

A Brazilian prefers to suffer in silence than having to risk his life for a greater cause and, since the 1960s, has an inexplicable fascination with the USA and everything American (Bolsonaro ran his campaign openly as the "Brazilian Trump").

[Oct 22, 2019] SJWs As Bourgeois Bolshies by Rod Dreher

Oct 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

October 22, 2019, 2:09 AM

LGBT Pride poster in Soviet Style ( Design Boom ) I'm reading one of the best books I've ever seen, historian Yuri Slezkine's The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution . It's a massive -- over 1,000 pages -- history of the Bolshevik movement, focusing on the people who lived in a vast apartment building constructed across the Moskva River from the Kremlin, for party elites. In the 1930s, during the purges, it was the most dangerous address in the country. The secret police came for people there all the time.

The book has given me a breakthrough in understanding why so many people who grew up under communism are unnerved by what's going on in the West today, even if they can't all articulate it beyond expressing intense but inchoate anxiety about political correctness. Reading Slezkine , a UC-Berkeley historian, clarifies things immensely. Let me explain as concisely as I can. All of this is going into the book I'm working on, by the way.

In my book, I identify two main factors that make the "soft totalitarianism" we're drifting into different from the hard totalitarianism of the communist years. One is the vastly greater capabilities of surveillance technology, and its penetration into daily life in this current stage of capitalism. The other is the pseudo-religion of Social Justice, the holy trinity of which is Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The mathematician James Lindsay last year wrote an insightful essay analyzing Social Justice ideology as a kind of postmodern religion ("faith system," he writes). Reading Slezkine on Bolshevism illuminates this with new depth.

To be clear, Social Justice religion is not the same thing as Bolshevism, which conquered a nation and turned it into a charnel house. But the psychological dynamics are so similar that I can understand now why Soviet-bloc emigres feel in their bones that something wicked is coming, and coming fast.

I'm going to give a brief overview of the ideas in this part of Slezkine's book. Slezkine describes the Bolsheviks as "millenarian sectarians preparing for the apocalypse." He gives a short history of apocalyptic sects, which he said began in the Axial Age , the period between the 8th and the 3rd centuries BC that saw parallel developments in civilizations -- Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Greco-Roman -- that caused a fundamental shift in human consciousness. The Axial Age introduced some concepts that are still with us today, including the idea that history is linear. Religion and philosophical systems of the Axial Age developed a sense of separation from the Real (that is, what is material), and the Ideal (what is transcendent). They also introduced the idea that time would culminate in a final battle between Good and Evil that would result in the End of History and the everlasting reign of Justice. The rich will be conquered, and the poor will triumph.

Slezkine writes at some length about these themes in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), but points out that they also existed in parallel in other religions of the era. The two Abrahamic religions that emerged from Axial Age Judaism -- Christianity and Islam -- modified these same concepts for themselves. The Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible is the standard Western account of the Apocalypse, but not the only one.

In the 16th century, the radical Protestant theologian Thomas Müntzer , leader of an apocalyptic Reformation sect, led an armed revolt against the Catholic Church, Martin Luther, and feudal authority. He and his followers believed the Last Days were upon the world, and that revolutionary violence was necessary to prepare for them.

These movements, says Slezkine, often depend on the virtuous mutually surveilling each other to keep everyone in line. Calvin's Geneva was like this, and had laws prescribing the death penalty for relatively minor violations of its purity code. In the 17th century, the English Puritan movement under Thomas Oliver [the mistake was mine -- RD] Cromwell (the "Puritan Moses") was in this same vein.

The Enlightenment birthed apocalyptic millenarianism without God. Slezkine doesn't mention him, but I want to put in a plug for the book Black Mass by the English political philosopher John Gray, which I wrote about here. Gray is an atheist, but he cannot stand the militant atheism of people like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. In the book, Gray writes about how the instinct for utopia, born out of religion, keeps surfacing in the West, even without God. Nothing is more human, he writes, than to be prepared to kill and die to secure meaning in life. More Gray:

Those who demand that religion be exorcised from politics think this can be achieved by excluding traditional faiths from public institutions; but secular creeds are formed from religious concepts, and suppressing religion does not mean it ceases to control thinking and behaviour. Like repressed sexual desire, faith returns, often in grotesque forms, to govern the lives of those who deny it.

Slezkine writes that this same apocalyptic millenarianism erupted in anti-Christian form in the French Revolution. The Jacobins were Enlightenment apocalyptics, believing in the triumph of Reason, Science, and Virtue. And they were proto-Bolsheviks. Robespierre, in a 1794 speech to the National Assembly, praised "virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. The Terror is nothing but justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is thus an emanation of virtue."

In 19th century America, millenarianism took more gentle forms, but was still popular. Baptist preacher William Miller prophesied the end of the world in 1843, and reached a national audience with his forecast of doom. It didn't happen, but his work gave rise to the Adventist movements, which are still with us today. Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter-Day Saints faith, was another millenarian -- a more successful one.

Slezkine says that apocalyptic millenarianism in 19th century Europe often took the form of nationalism. Karl Marx advocated German nationalism as the first step in the worldwide communist revolution. Following Hegel, History was Marx's god. Slezkine:

[F]aith in progress is just as basic to modernity as the Second Coming was to Christianity ('progressive' means 'virtuous' and 'change' means 'hope'). 'Totalitarianism' is not a mysterious mutation: it is a memory and a promise; an attempt to keep hope alive.

By "totalitarianism," he means the system by which apocalyptic millenarians enforce the conditions they believe will constitute the New Jerusalem -- the utopia in which their sect believes.

The Marxist faith system prophesied a worldwide conflagration -- Revolution -- that would see the saints (the Proletariat) cleanse the world of the wicked (the Bourgeoisie) and their false religion (Capitalism). The Revolution would establish Communism: a paradise in which the state would wither away, because the cause of man's alienation would have been dealt with. Marx despised religion, but he did not believe that his system was religious at all. It was, he taught, entirely scientific -- thus making Marxism entirely compatible with what Enlightenment-era elites believed was the prime source of authority.

In Russia of the late 19th century, there was a great deal of apocalyptic fervor, and, of course, a number of Marxist and other left-wing revolutionary groups. The Bolsheviks were the most ruthless and disciplined of them all. Slezkine says it doesn't matter whether the faith of the Bolsheviks was really a religion or not. The fact is, it functioned like one. If religion is a set of agreements about sacred realities, though sacred realities believed to be objectively true, and the community organized around those beliefs, then every state on earth is religious. The Bolshevik "faith" united people, focused them around what Slezkine calls "the ultimate conditions of their existence," and told them what they had to do.

For the pre-revolutionary Bolsheviks, the priests and the prophets were their intellectuals, who were "religious about being secular." Writes Slezkine: "A conversion to socialism was a conversion to the intelligentsia, to a fusion of millenarian faith and lifelong learning."

The Bolshevik faith was initially spread among the intellectuals primarily through reading groups. Once you adopted the Marxist faith, everything else in life became illuminated. The intellectuals went into the world to preach religion to the workers. These missionaries, says Slezkine, appealed to and tried to intensify hatred in the hearts of their listeners. They spoke to the moral sense within the common people, and gave them what, if taken in a strictly religious sense, would be called prophetic revelations.

The pre-revolutionary Bolsheviks denounced "Philistines" -- people who are sunk in their everydayness, and lack revolutionary consciousness. It is chilling to read the lines of description they had for people like this. Slezkine calls the Philistines the "stock antipode of the intelligent" -- that is, the kind of person that a member of the intelligentsia saw as his exact opposite. In pre-revolutionary Russia, the intelligentsia saw themselves as a kind of secular priesthood. The way they wrote about their enemies, and the way they rhapsodized about revolution, was utterly fanatical and inhuman. Slezkine:

The revolutionaries were going to prevail because of the sheer power of their hatred. It cleansed the soul and swelled like the flood of the real day.

The "real day" is the day of Apocalypse, when the truth is fully made manifest, and all evil, injustice, and lies are cleansed from the earth. It would come about through "sacred fury." Slezkine quotes Bolshevik memoirs recalling the revolutionary days of 1917-18. Pure ecstasy, like the day of Pentecost in the New Testament.

Slezkine draws this interesting distinction:

Marx and Engels were not utopians – they were prophets. They did not talk about what a perfect system of social order should be and how and why it should be adopted or tested; they knew with absolute certainty that it was coming – right now, all by itself, and thanks to their words and deeds.

The Bolsheviks, however, did have a complex plan for creating utopia. Reading Slezkine, you can't help but be impressed by the power and discipline that Lenin and his lieutenants exercised. He was one of the most evil men who ever lived, Lenin -- Slezkine's accounts of Bolshevik mass murder of class enemies on Lenin's orders make Robespierre's bloodthirstiness seem like amateur hour. But he was a true revolutionary genius.

For young people in pre-revolutionary Russia, being part of these leftist groups "gave one a great sense of purpose, power, and belonging." Note this: one reason for the advance of revolutionary consciousness is that parents, despite depending on the stability of Tsarist autocracy, would not turn away from their radicalized children. Slezkine: "The 'students' were almost always abetted at home while still in school and almost never damned when they became revolutionaries."

Bolshevism in power tried to destroy the traditional family, seeing it as an incubator of capitalism. Slezkine writes about how this form of Bolshevik radicalism had to give way to a more conservative ideology of the family, because it caused problems that Soviet society could not deal with.

In power, Bolsheviks carried out apocalyptic destruction of the old order, including the mass murder of class enemies. I have just now arrived at the point in Slezkine's narrative in which he describes the "Great Disappointment" -- a term (borrowed from the Millerites) for the experience of the New Jerusalem not having arrived as promised. As I understand it, Slezkine will describe the homicidal spasms of the 1930s, under Stalin, as the vengeful Bolshevik reaction to utopia's failure. Utopia can only have failed because its proselytes were weak in faith -- and therefore deserve to be punished for their infidelity.

So, what does this have to do with our own Social Justice Warriors? There are clear parallels. Again, I encourage you to read James Lindsay's analysis of the postmodern faith system of Social Justice for more. I believe that this is what those who lived under communism intuit from the Social Justice Warriors -- I mean, why it frightens them:

Like the early Bolsheviks, the SJWs are radically alienated from society. They regard ordinary people as the intelligents regarded the so-called Philistines: with visceral contempt.

Justice depends on group identity. For Marxists, the line between Good and Evil ran between classes: the Proletariat and the Peasants on one side, the Bourgeoisie on the other. Marxism sees justice as entirely a matter of taking power away from the Bourgeoisie, and giving it to the revolutionary classes. Some in the bourgeoisie acquired revolutionary consciousness, and aided the Revolution.

Similarly, for the SJWs, the line also passes between groups, based on group identity. The Oppressors are whites, males, capitalists, heterosexuals, and Christians. The Oppressed are ethnic minorities, women, anti-capitalists, LGBTs, atheists, and other "marginalized" people. Justice is about taking power from the Oppressors and giving it to the Oppressed. Some among the Oppressors acquire revolutionary consciousness and aid the revolution; they are called "allies," and practice "allyship."

Social Justice Warriors, like the early Bolsheviks, are intellectuals whose gospel is spread by intellectual agitation. It is a gospel that depends on awakening and inspiring hatred in the hearts of those it wishes to induce into revolutionary consciousness. This is why it matters immensely that they have established their base within universities, where they can train those who will be going out to work in society's institutions in ideologized hatred.

SJWs believe that science is on their side, even when their claims are unscientific. They are doing the old post-Enlightenment utopian trick of making essentially religious claims, but claiming that they are objectively true. Quote from a Times story: "We're all born nonbinary. We learn gender."

SJWs are utopians who believe that Progress requires smashing all the old forms for the sake of liberation. After we are freed from the chains that bind us, we will experience a new form of life. From a June 4 New York Times Magazine story on destroying gender binaries :

Our talk shifted again from the past to the future. Jacobs spoke about foreseeing a time when people passing each other on the street wouldn't immediately, unconsciously sort one another into male or female, which even Jacobs reflexively does. "I don't know what genders are going to look like four generations from now," they added, allowing that they might sound utopian, naïve. "I think we're going to perceive each other as people. The classifications we live under will fall by the wayside."

Among the voices of the young, there are echoes and amplifications of Jacobs's optimism, along with the stories of private struggle. "There are as many genders as there are people," Emmy Johnson, a nonbinary employee at Jan Tate's clinic, told me with earnest authority. Johnson was about to sign up for a new dating app that caters to the genderqueer. "Sex is different as a nonbinary person," they said. "You're free of gender roles, and the farther you can get from those scripts, the better sex is going to be." Their tone was more triumphal: the better life is going to be. "The gender boxes are exploding," they declared.

In the case of transgender SJWs, parents can become the greatest advocates for their children, as in pre-revolutionary Russia with the radical youth. A distressed parent of a female-to-male transgender told me that in her child's high school, the pressure on parents from other parents to suppress all doubts about transgenderism was intense. Here, from that same NYT Magazine piece I quote above, is another anecdote:

Kai grew up in the Maryland suburbs outside Washington; both his parents are economists. He came out to them as genderqueer a year and a half ago, and they, as he put it, were willing "to step through the door" he held wide for them, the door into his way of seeing himself. They read a piece of creative writing he gave them, a meditation using Dadaism to explicate the nonsense of either-or. His mother asked if she could buy him new clothes. "Shopping for clothes was something we'd always done," he said. "It was her way of saying, 'I want to keep being part of your life.' That was really stepping through the door. And then, all the nerve-rackingness of shopping in the men's section of a department store and trying on pants and worrying about how people are looking at you and reading your gender, it would have been really hard to do on my own. But my mother was there. Just like when we'd shopped together before. And that made it normal."

Here's an interesting difference: from what I can tell, most SJWs don't have a clearly envisioned utopia. What will the world look like when whiteness is once and for all defeated? When toxic masculinity has been fully vanquished? And so forth. They don't know; all they know is that these things must come to pass, and will come to pass. We have to first destroy the old world and its corrupt structures. From the point of view of someone who stands to be smashed by these revolutionaries, it doesn't really matter whether or not they have a plan for what to do after you're overthrown.

Here's another interesting difference, and an important one: SJWs may want to destroy the oppressive practices, but unlike the Bolsheviks, they don't want to destroy the institutions of society. Rather, they want to conquer them and administer them . The religion of Social Justice has already conquered the university, as James Lindsay points out, and is moving quickly into other institutions: media (the NYT is its Pravda ), law, tech, entertainment, and corporate America. The Social Justice faith system can be easily adapted by the institutions of bourgeois capitalism -- a fact that conceals its radicalism.

The people who have lived in societies suffused with this kind of ideology -- emigres from Soviet-bloc countries -- can see through the veil. With this new book I'm working on, I'm going to do my best to help readers see through their eyes. Meanwhile, if you are really interested in the Russian Revolution, I strongly urge you to read The House Of Government -- all 1,128 pages of it. Yuri Slezkine is a masterful storyteller. It reads like a novel.

[Sep 22, 2019] Society has been corrupted by the promotion of cost-benefit moral thinking to a point where nobody can be trusted to do their job if they think it might be better overall to act corruptly.

Sep 04, 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 .)

jack daniels , says: September 2, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT

I am shocked that nobody is asking Barr why Epstein's autopsy hasn't been made public.

Also, why is nobody asking Acosta who told him that Epstein should be treated gently because he "belongs to intelligence" and what they meant by that. Rumor is that Mueller told him. So, Mueller has been making the rounds, yet nobody asks him.

Also, Epstein's seized video collection shows various individuals committing serious crimes so why is nobody going through it and charging those individuals who can be identified? Is the DOJ now of the opinion that these crimes are not important enough to pursue? And if they should point to a blackmailing operation involving a major intelligence service, that might be worth exposing?

I feel like I am almost the only person in the world asking.

Society has been corrupted by the promotion of cost-benefit moral thinking to a point where nobody can be trusted to do their job if they think it might be 'better overall' to act corruptly.

I keep thinking of innocent Joe DiGenova assuring us that however frustrating it has been in the past, the appointment of Bob Barr will turn everything around. Nonsense. Barr is a fat man, and as James Watson reminds us, you never want to give a fat man a critical job. So far he is acting like a fat man. Firing a couple minor players is window dressing at best.

[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