|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
|News||Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||Recommended Links||Diplomacy by deception||Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative||Bait and Switch|
|Very Serious People||Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons||Mayberry Machiavellians||Machiavellism||False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy||Noble Lie|
|Pollyanna creep||Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks||Love bombing||Groupthink||Belief-coercion in high demand cults||Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair|
|"Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries||Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Corruption of Regulators||Cognitive Regulatory Capture||Revolving Doors as Corruption|
|Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA||Lesser evil trick of legitimizing a disastrous, corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections||Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite||Pluralism as a myth||Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation||Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers|
|In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment||Luke Harding: a pathetic author of book that rehash Steele Dossier||Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte||MSM as fake news industry||Bullshit as MSM communication method|
|American Exceptionalism as Civil Religion||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||New American Militarism||Humor||Etc|
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
"Hollywood no longer depicts reporters
in ruthless pursuit of criminals, high and low.
Now they are the criminals."
Frank Rich So Much for ’The Front Page’
NYT, November 2, 2003
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
--A. J. Liebling, writer (1904 - 1963)
Truth is the most precious thing. That's why we should ration it.
“Gentlemen, I am ready for the questions to my answers.”
- Charles de Gaulle,
at the beginning of the press conference,
wryly alluding to the staged nature of such events.
"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given,
rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content.
If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."
Karl Kraus, 1914
“You can fool some of the people all of the time
and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”
George W. Bush, joking at a Gridiron Club dinner,
Washington, D.C., March 2001
Lately I’ve been amazed at the extent to which our entire public discourse now rests on disinformation and lies. First of all the concept of "bread and circuses" is now used more widely then in Rome:
“What’s necessary for the state is the illusion of normality, of regularity,” America’s best-known political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, told me last week by phone from the prison where he is incarcerated in Frackville, Pa. “… In Rome, what the emperors needed was bread and circuses. In America, what we need is ‘Housewives of Atlanta.’ We need sports. The moral stories of good cops and evil people. Because you have that …. there is no critical thinking in America during this period...
... ... ...
Trump, an acute embarrassment to the corporate state and the organs of internal security, may be removed from the presidency, but such a palace coup would only further consolidate the power of the deep state and intensify internal measures of repression.
When "bread and circuses" no longer work and people start asking themselves unpleasant question like "What is the deep state?", "Why we are finding all those wars in Me?" heavy artillery of propaganda comes into play.
It starts with setting the proper narrative. The facts don't matter once the narrative is set. In typical large scale disinformation cases like "Russian hacking" story (aka Russiagate), half of the country will go on thinking there's no way the story is totally made up, if MSM report if: there is no smoke without fire. Chris Hedges assumes that this idea of "injective proper narrative" started during Nixon's presidency with his idea of silent majority (Trump Is the Symptom, Not the Disease), but in reality it predates JFK assassination:
It began when big money was employed by political operatives such as Roger Stone, a close Trump adviser, to create negative political advertisements and false narratives to deceive the public, turning political debate into burlesque.
Dialectics suggest that each notion develops into its opposite. It might already happened with the US MSM. they are now all fake news distribution ("fake news" are officially sanctioned rumors) XXI century can probably be called "the age of disinformation", although the process started long ago with the first totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy and Germany. In this sense cold war was won by the USSR, because one of the most despicable features of the regime -- totalitarian control of media -- is now almost completely replicated in western countries. As Daniel Schorr aptly observed in his csmonitor article A spin cycle out of control
Washington these days feels a little like Moscow in Soviet times when the government routinely dispensed information to the public and the public routinely didn't believe it. The two main newspapers were the Communist Party organ, Pravda, (Truth) and the Soviet government organ, Izvestiya (News). People used to say, "There is no Izvestiya in Pravda and no Pravda in Izvestiya."
Only a complete idiot now can believe mainstream press. Moreover at least Communists were honest about it and accepted it as a necessary evil, a byproduct of a one-party state surrounded by hostile capitalist states, which resort to all kind of dirty tricks to undermine it.
Under neoliberalism the net result is the same, but the dealing with media is based not of Party diktat (journalists are fighters of the Party"), but more subtle bets on greed, corruption and population stupidity and passivity. And communists view of "capitalist press" was simple, straightforward and is rather attractive, while in general being false, as many other communist ideas -- all professional journalists should be considered to be a special kind of prostitutes aka presstitutes :-). Anyway, even if you rightly think that communist's approach is too extreme or simplistic or both, it still make perfect sense always ask who stands to profit and try to find and compare information form the opposition be it internal opposition press of other states.
It is extremely naive to assume that free flow of information can exist in a any advanced Western state. But if you take several states then this assumption looks a little bit more realistic. Contradictions between state facilitates the flow of information, that would be suppressed by domestic press. that's why British press is generally preferable source of information about the US events ;-) Which they follow very closely. Of course, the level of disinformation is highly dependent on the importance of the event and generally reaches maximum in the atmosphere of McCarthyism-style witch hunt of war hysteria ("Truth is the first casualty of war"). As Stephen Gowans wrote in Media Monitors Network
Every war proceeds along this path. Those who stand to be killed, dismembered, and dispossessed, are demonized, turned into the hobgoblins the American journalist H.L. Menken accused practical politicians of using to menace the population into consenting to what would otherwise not be consented to. Few are going to consent to the killing of innocents. So you turn the innocent into the guilty. Butchers. Murderers. Genocidists. Only later are the stories revealed to be gross exaggerations, often outright fabrications.
That's why English is so important. It is the only language that has critical mass of foreign press (most countries provide English language periodicals and Web sites) and as such English (along with Internet) is the main bastion of democracy in a modern world. Of course pro-state bias is also more pronounced in coverage of international events as foreign correspondents, who while not always are on a direct payroll of three letter agencies are often directly or indirectly influenced by them. If you are already thinking along this path you might also enjoy a book by John Ralston Saul called "Unconscious Civilization." Another his book that is worth reading (and written along the same lines) is "Voltaire's Bastards" in which he examines the appropriation of our government/corporations by an unaccountable elite which has co-opted the real power in our society (skip the Canadian identity-related staff) http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/events/readings/ejohn.htm
While in most cases Canadian and UK newspapers give more truthful picture of events in the USA, this is not true for foreign policy US and the USA are often in the same bed as for foreign policy and British press repeats (often in a slightly more sophisticated form then the USA counterparts ;-) the State Department talking points. The same is true for Russian press about Ukraine.
Traditionally UK press was the standard of independent thinking. This clearly now belongs to the past (with Times controlled by Murdock family and Guardian being a neoliberal mouthpiece ) by still, in my experience, there are some remnants of this honorable tradition. You can more often to fight insightful articles in Guardian then iether in NYT or WaPo. But you need to be aware of those few brave soils, dinosaurs journalists who still try to inform public, not to misinform it. Another important factor is the level of monopolization of the press. In any case in British press discussions are always worth reading and typically this is were real information can be uncovered.
This symbiosis of press and government is nothing new. It existed in the USSR and now exists in the West. Famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith in his latest book The Economics of Innocent Fraud noted that politicians and the media moguls actually form shadow "Ministry of Truth" in best Orwellian traditions, propagating, for example myth about:
..a benign "market" that big business always knows best, that minimal intervention stimulates the economy, that obscene pay gaps and unrestrained self-enrichment are an inevitable by-product of the system.
The other typical Soviet phenomena is blatant twisting of the language. For example the word "democracy" now usually means "our bastards" (as in famous quote “he may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard" ;-). And what is really sad, is that in case of war, or major terrorist events, extreme, Soviet style disinformation is not limited to channels like Fox or Rupert Murdock controlled newspapers. It can be found all over the political spectrum. For example the level of distortion of wars in Kosovo and Beslan tragedy was actually greater in left press. BBS and NYT, Newsweek, Guardian, Independent, etc really managed to outdid Fox in the art of disinformation in those cases. After that you feel nothing but disgust reading them.
And it is so called "left press" (or more correctly soft neoliberal press) which supported and continue to mix Wahhabi fanatics with freedom fighters. Like Talleyrand used to say "It is worse than a crime, -- it is a blunder" as Wahhabism is a direct threat to the civilized world. Moreover the story of Osama Bin Laden (Osama is essentially a byproduct of the Saudi regime, in particular the hardliners in the regime, and the CIA; Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided the necessary but not sufficient condition for the creation of this movement; two other important components were Saudis and CIA) had shown quite convincingly that due to the internal logic of the movement they always turn against the very people who were providing them money and PR support. As MSNBC author By Michael Moran stated in his Aug. 24, 1998 article "Bin Laden comes home to roost":
At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term that describes an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.
In case of important events, nobody now generally expects the government to tell the truth rather than to resort to propaganda. So in a way we all live in post-USSR world. But there is some level in which quantity turns into quality. And "war time coverage" now is gradually extended to less and less important cases that should not involve "war time" restrictions and mobilization priorities. So the situation is gradually sliding to the level of Orvell's dystopian novell 1984. If powerful interests are involved, then trying to tell the truth is a direct threat to the employment of the particular journalist (and in some countries even life); in the case of the broadcasters can lead to direct or subtle forms of censorship (removal from the air) and/or economic retribution. That means that for most journalists the loyalty to one's boss (and by extension his handlers) overwhelmingly took precedent over personal honesty and integrity. Also journalists, especially in national capitals, are regularly bribed by the establishment. Some of the are connected with the establishment by family and other ties.
For that reason, we, as citizens, have to learn to recognize propaganda and media disinformation and within our limited means fight it. The ability to withstand massive "brainwashing" now become an important dimension of non-conformism. Those skills are especially important due to an extremely dangerous development in mass communication -- complete loss of independence (sovietization) of mass media, the phenomenon that is also connected with the creation of military-media-industrial complex (MMIC). Here is a relevant quote from The 50, 26, 20... Corporations That Own Our Media
Of the 1,700 daily papers, 98 percent are local monopolies and fewer than 15 corporations control most of the country's daily circulation. A handful of firms have most of the magazine business, with Time, Inc. alone accounting for about 40 percent of that industry's revenues.
Actually this kind of control of media by powerful interests (connected with the state, but necessary directly manipulated by the state) is the essence of the totalitarian state. This is a bad thing. I think, that in such circumstances anybody who has IQ to speak about, should not blindly believe any newspaper or TV station. Any news coverage should be considered more like a question than like an answer. This is especially true for international events. Only by comparing sources from different countries (for example Australian coverage, Asian coverage, GB and Canada coverage) one can get some idea about what's really is going on. In this sense Internet is really the last citadel of democracy. In addition to the internet there is still a couple of good things:
While each and every newspaper or TV channel is distorting truth, that does not mean that they are distorting truth in the same way. The level of distortion particular events depends of to what extent the truth is acceptable to a particular channel/media owners and the level of distortion, while always present, can still slightly vary between different newspapers and channels.
Sometimes truth can benefit from the sloppiness of controls that permit some brave correspondents to reveal it despite censure. So on certain issues Fox channel is be more accurate then CNN, while usually the situation is quite opposite. For example Fox was more reliable then CNN in covering Beslan tragedy.
The history the media cowardice, prejudice and gross over-simplification needs to be studied much more completely and materials presented below are far from being such a study. And while I would like to repeat it again: Internet is last bastion of democracy, media conglomerates actually controls a large part of Internet too, so crossing the national borders is extremely important. Portals like Yahoo are just puppets in a big game. Just ask yourself who provides news for Yahoo and similar portals. One should always ask the question, "Who and why put this here?".
Another problem is that it's rather difficult to counter disinformation especially if the message falls within the bounds of your cultural belief systems. That's true for both light and left propaganda. The Internet offers certain advantages in conveying false information because the well known issues of conformity, persuasion and self-justification are amplified by the Net. Here are some relevant quotes:
It's all staged, so we can all laugh at its Bush-licking rendition of the news, its ridiculous "fair and balanced" slogan and this man Bill O'Reilly, whose talk show is really more of a spitting contest gone off track. The Globe and Mail
What the mainstream media is doing with facts is often wrong. Sometimes it's plain, undisguised lie. And they don't really care if I know it, or you know it, or if millions know it. Again, they don't care -- they are doing their paid job of manipulation of public opinion in the interests of powerful groups. It is definitely not anything like what it is supposed to be, which is a reliable and independent information helping us to understand this complex world. Let's face it: political commentators are often a special kind of trained crocodiles, they are just animals trained to maim the prey. The art of disinformation now reached such level that you can suspect anything including the direct transmission from the place of the event to be staged, sanitized or outright manipulated:
If you're reading this, we trust that you're painfully aware of the stranglehold that corporations have on the flow of "news" the world over. In this self-referential hyper-aware media-saturated environment, it's hardly incendiary or revolutionary at this point to imply that most news these days is manipulative moronic crap manufactured to simultaneously subdue and incite The Masses into their ongoing cycle of complacent apathy and egomaniacal patriotism. Or is it?
We won't insult your intelligence by waxing poetic about the self-preserving, dull-witted conspiracy of fools that we conveniently categorize as The Media Elite. You know the ones we're talking about. And in case you're not familiar with exactly how influenced the information that filters down to your front door, car radio or boob tube by The Military Entertainment Complex, have a looksie at who owns what. Yeah, that's right. Show us the money.
And while Internet is the last bastion of democracy, it is extremely important to be aware of the nature of the Internet. Information exists on the Net outside of existing scholarly structures. Sometimes respectable Internet sites are using all the dirty tricks of of yellow press journalism. See Open Directory - Science Social Sciences Psychology Persuasion and Social Influence. Here is an relevant quote from the paper: In Seattle's Aftermath Linux, Independent Media, and the Survival of Democracy:
Why Mainstream Media Won't Tell You the Truth
You don't have to be a genius or a conspiracy theorist to figure this one out. A few global media giants dominate the market; they have huge and growing holdings in virtually every means by which information is disseminated--films, books, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines (Herman and McChesney, 1998). And they pressure, whether overtly or not, authors and reporters to put a slant on the news--specifically, a centrist to right-wing slant that favors the interests of the media's corporate owners. That's the reason you hear, over and over, why development matters more than preserving the environment, why free trade matters more than worker's rights, and why the U.S. has the right to impose its military power wherever it pleases.
Apart from the general pressure to slant the news to the center and right, industry associations overtly pressure media outlets to censor certain types of news reporting by threatening to withdraw advertising. For example, thanks to pressure from restaurant associations, newspapers are reluctant to specify local restaurants which violate health department regulations. Even so, overt pressure isn't often needed. When you're in the media business, you know darned well you'd better not run stories that businesses won't like. You tone it down. You run it by them. And if they're not comfortable and you're not comfortable, you don't run it.
In sum, you don't hear the truth because corporations don't want you to hear it and mainstream media are too cowardly to report it. Had you known the truth about Seattle (including substantive discussion of the specific issues concerning WTO policies), you might have thought more deeply about what's at stake. But that doesn't sell beer; why ask why, after all, when doing so is virtually unmarketable? Instead of providing the tools needed to think seriously about national policies, the media would much prefer to socialize viewers into becoming "neurotic in their need to buy advertised commodities", generating "mass spending on goods such as cosmetics, cigarettes, beer, soft drinks, and patent medicines completely out of proportion to the rational use of national income..." and diverting attention from "society's central needs, including public education, health care, [and] democratic economics" (Bagdikian, 1996:10).
At the same time for a thinking person Internet provides a unique possibility to resist this brain-washing campaign by comparing several sources. With some training you can read between the lines in mainstream media reports (people from former "socialist" countries usually have high score in those skills ;-):
The Internet is "dangerous" because it is a medium for the instantaneous and uncontrolled transmission of ideas.
We think of free speech as being a given--almost an absolute--in the United States and much of the Western world. Though everyone knows that certain kinds of speech, such as pornography, are against the law, most of us don't think about the web of social, nongovernmental constraints on legal but disfavored speech.
Unpopular ideas are marginalized in our society, restricted to the fringes of public discourse even without the need for any governmental action. Broadcast television and radio, cable, newsmagazines and book publishers all are--or are owned by--large conglomerates. Many rely on advertising, or own other businesses that do, or are simply owned or controlled by people whose personal involvement in the social web of contacts and constraints guarantees moderation in ideas. No idea sees the light of day until it has been turned over, examined from every angle, and pronounced fit for human consumption. Editors approve articles and books, and are managed by publishers who sometimes intervene in content. Committees decide what news stories to cover and which to ignore.
Let's don't miss this possibility, while it's still exists !!!
"To successfully uncover the lies of someone you first must know how to lie yourself. Now, some people just don't know how to lie because they've never been around someone who was good at it. I'm going to give you some pointers — never ever exaggerate within the lie. Details are key and remembering those details is what will keep the lie alive."
"One of the ways that deal with co-workers who I think have lied to me is to ask them the most obvious question: 'Did you lie to me when…?'"
"In a group of people, ask the person the question you need answered and when they lie to you, I just say — 'You lying &*#^, you never said that in your whole life.' Everybody breaks up laughing and the person obviously is caught. We all make a joke of it and it is much harder for them to be dishonest the next time."
"When it is obvious that someone's story has little connection to reality, I say 'Oh my gosh, almost the exact same thing happened to me.' This achieves the objective of 1) pointing out to the tall tale teller that you are on to him; and 2) makes everyone else realize how ridiculous this co-worker's stories are getting, and forces everyone to evaluate the veracity of all future tall tales.
"When trying to detect a liar, I act absent-minded and pause with unfinished sentences. The liar tends to fill these spaces. I have caught liars this way."
"I give them my biggest smile and usually say something like, 'Come on Pinocchio, your nose is growing.' Then I laugh gently. If they seem embarrassed or avoid eye contact and smile and say nothing, then I have confirmation that they have lied. They know it and I know it. Reading their body language is extremely important. Once word gets around that you are not a fool who will believe anything, most people won't try it with you."
"If you must interact with this person, try to have a third party present to be a neutral witness to any conversation that takes place. Also, if possible, interact via e-mail and be professional. We all know e-mails are a nice time-stamped paper trail of the facts."
"There are different ways to deal with lies, depending on the reason and the frequency. The solutions range from ignoring the lies, to training, to confrontation, to verbal and written warnings, and perhaps, as a last resort if the damage by the lies is substantial, termination."
"Of course he is lying. Everyone is lying. It's part of the human condition. Bosses lie all the time. Workers give them lies in reply and to each other."
This systematic distortion of information makes human societies characteristically self-deceptive, with people disposed to believe they are living up to their ideals, particularly when they are not. The existing schematic dissonance is usually subconscious, due to the misleading nature of words, so society stumbles smugly along while at odds with itself, its environment and its equally stupid neighbors. In fact, the only really effective control of development comes not from inside but from physical limitations (what cannot be done) and competition with other groups which are also out of touch with themselves.
In general, internal criticism is of limited value as a control mechanism for growth and development of a social system. There usually tend to be few, if any, effective critics within any organization. When not dismissed out of hand as a crank or an outsider, anyone with valid criticism is made an outsider, as ostracism is a common reward for honesty, accuracy and integrity. Thus, criticism without power is largely wasted, producing little but woe for the bewildered critic himself.
Perhaps there are so few effective critics because anyone with any brains at all quickly finds that most human organizations just are not set up for effective criticism. The basic working assumption is that everything is just fine. Outside criticism is deflected and internal feedback is supposed to be positive reinforcement from "Yes men" promoting their careers by corrupting the mighty. At best, criticism has a place on the fringe, where cranks and comics can be tolerated as amusing diversions.
Business marketing and politics often overlap in election campaigns. Someone vying for office is essentially trying to sell himself to voters. "When you are campaigning, you're like the businessman who has a limited responsibility, a limited set of people to whom you owe something," said Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and author of "Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice" (W. W. Norton).
But, increasingly, because of the fund-raising involved in running for national office, "you have to be in an almost permanent campaign mode," said David Gergen, now a professor of public service at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who was an adviser to four presidents. "In politics, you fall into the trap of short-termism. You do whatever it takes to keep the headlines up today." This short-term thinking is not dissimilar to what causes some businesses to make poor decisions in trying to bolster stock prices or earnings reports.
"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."
BUT it's difficult to affect the long haul if you find yourself voted out of office. For that reason, Dick Morris, a former adviser to Mr. Clinton and the author of "Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks and Obstructionists in American Politics, Media and Business" (Regan Books, 2003), said he thinks that "using polling and all of the tools of an election to help you govern is a good thing."
"It gets the president to be very aggressive in figuring out what he can do in an active way really to help the country," he added. "The motivation is to govern well so he can get elected."
Even if President Bush has to campaign constantly and, as a result, selectively uses information to sell his message, we still expect him to tell the truth. "If they decided to lie to make the case stronger that's simply unethical," said Mr. Gilman, who was a senior official at the United States Office of Government Ethics from 1988 to 2001. Mr. Gilman said he hopes that the president "got one bad piece of intelligence and the rest was correct."
Some political analysts say President Bush crossed a line in selectively using information by pointing to British intelligence to make an argument, when American intelligence doubted the claim. "As in all marketing, when you go too far, it creates a small cloud over you about credibility," Professor Gergen said.
There's more at stake when President Bush selectively uses information than when a business executive tries to move a product. The president's role clearly distinguishes his unique moral responsibility. As an executive, you don't order young men and women to give up their lives for a cause.
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section
"It tends to be all accurate,
but not in an over-all context."
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org
likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pmJohn,
I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.
You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.
See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism
To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.
When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.
Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.
The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.
Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.
Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.
Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.
Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.
They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.
If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.
Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.
So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.
The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)
That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.
Jun 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
A User , Jun 16 2020 3:36 utc | 87I'm always amused, nah that is a little harsh - dumbfounded is more reasonable, when Americans express dismay that 'their' constitution is not being adhered to by the elites.
The minutiae of American political history hasn't greatly concerned me after a superficial study at high school, when I realized that the political structure is corrupt and was designed to facilitate corruption.
The seeming caring & sharing soundbites pushed out by the 'framers' scum such as Thomas Jefferson was purely for show, an attempt to gather the cannon fodder to one side. This was simple as the colonial media had been harping on about 'taxation without representation' for decades.
It wasn't just taxes, in fact for the American based elites that was likely the least of it. The objective of the elites was to wrest control of resources eg land and/or timber plus so-called royal warrants that controlled who was allowed to produce, sell export products to who, grab allocation out of the control of the mobs of greedy royal favorites, then into the hands of the new American elites.
A well placed courtier would put a bagman into the regional center of a particular colony (each colony becoming a 'state' post revolution), so that if someone wanted to, I dunno, say export huge quantities of cotton, the courtier would charge that 'colonial' for getting the initial warrant, then take a hefty % of the return on the product - all collected by the on-site bagman then divvied up.
The bagmen & courtiers grew fat at the expense of the colonists and generally the bagman, who also spied on the locals for obvious reasons, would go back to England once he had made his stash.
The system was ponderous inaccurate & very expensive. Something had to be done, but selling revolutionary change to the masses on the basis of the need to enrich the already wealthy was not likely to be a winner. Consequently the high faulting blather.
The American elites wanted and, after the revolution got, the power to control economic development for themselves.Hence the birth of lobbyists simultaneous with the birth of the American nation state.
IMO the constitution was about as meaningful to the leaders of the revolution as campaign promises are to contemporary politicians.That is, something to be used as self protection without ever implementing.
Jun 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com
Krystal Ball calls out D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Dem establishment for surface level support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Crush Inverted Totalitarianism, 12 hours ago
Speaking of black faces in high places, the entire black caucus endorsed ELIOT ENGEL over a black educater (Jamaal Bowman)...this is aclass war, not a race war
Robert Quin, 12 hours ago (edited)
THERE IS NO DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF AMERICA! There is only Repugnican and Repugnican Lite. There is only hard right and soft right in American politics. There is no left in power.
akinbodeog , 7 hours ago
Bernard Brother , 6 hours ago
Electoralism is a scam. You're playing with an unplugged controller. Organise, unionize, protest, riot. If you want to vote, you should vote third party. The Democratic party isn't part of the solution. They are playing good cop, bad cop with republicans with both sides working for capital to impoverish the working class.
George H , 7 hours ago (edited)
Corporate Democrats would rather lose to a Republican than let a Progressive win. Their resistance is fake AF.
oopsieeee , 5 hours ago
Krystal forgot one "innovation" Biden has suggested.
When talking to black community leaders in Wilmington, Joe Biden said, "Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there's an unarmed person coming at 'em with a knife or something, shoot 'em in the leg instead of in the heart."
Joe Biden: shoot [protesters] in the leg!
Paul Rubin , 1 hour ago (edited)
It is Class Warfare. There are no "Democrats" or "Republicans" .. There are the "Rich and Powerful" and then the "Rest of Us" And when we stand up, they take aim...
Zain Were , 7 hours ago (edited)
Dr. Cornel West, "We have tried Black Faces in high places ..."
Bravo Krystall!!!!! Often disagree with you but you're a sharp mind...Nailed it this time!!!!!
Sagaar does make a point in terms of the movement being reallly sustantial though..We'll have to see abou that!
Jun 16, 2020 | chuckbaldwinlive.comCFR Members And Bilderberg Attendees Appointed By Donald Trump (Taken from the CFR membership and Bilderberg participant lists)
Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
CFR Members And Bilderberg Attendees Appointed By Donald Trump
- John P. Abizaid, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (Individual CFR member)
- Elliott Abrams, Special Envoy on Venezuela (Individual CFR member)
- James H. Baker, Director of the Office of Net Assessment (Bilderberg attendee)
- Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force (Individual CFR member, Bilderberg attendee)
- David Bohigian, Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Individual CFR member)
- John Bolton, National Security Advisor (Individual CFR member)
- Dan R. Brouillette, Secretary of Energy, Deputy Secretary of Energy (Individual CFR member)
- Elaine Chao, United States Secretary of Transportation (CFR Individual member)
- Richard Clarida, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve (CFR Individual member)
- Jay Clayton, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (CFR corporate member)
- Gary Cohn, Director of the National Economic Council (CFR corporate member)
- Paul Dabbar, Under Secretary of Energy for Science, (Individual CFR member)
- Jamie Dimon, Member of Strategic and Policy Forum (CFR corporate member)
- Jim Donovan, Deputy Treasury Secretary (CFR corporate member)
- Mark T. Esper, Acting Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Army (Individual CFR member, CFR corporate member)
- Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (CFR fellow traveler and frequent speaker)
- Larry Fink, Member of Strategic and Policy Forum (CFR corporate member)
- Christopher A. Ford, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation (Individual CFR member)
- James S. Gilmore III, United States Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Individual CFR member)
- Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, National Security Advisor (Individual CFR member, Bilderberg attendee)
- Neil M. Gorsuch, Supreme Court Justice (Individual CFR member)
- Harry B. Harris Jr., Ambassador to South Korea (Individual CFR member)
- Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward, National Security Advisor (declined appointment) (CFR corporate member)
- Kevin Hassett, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CFR fellow traveler)
- Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (Individual CFR member)
- Kenneth I. Juster, Ambassador to India (Individual CFR member)
- Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (Preparedness and Response), (Individual CFR member)
- Lawrence Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council (Individual CFR member)
- Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President (Bilderberg attendee)
- Christopher Landau, Ambassador to Mexico (Individual CFR member)
- Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative (Individual CFR member)
- David R. Malpass, World Bank (Individual CFR member)
- James Mattis, Secretary of Defense (Bilderberg attendee)
- K.T. McFarland, Deputy National Security Adviser (Individual CFR member)
- Brent McIntosh, Undersecretary for international affairs, Department of the Treasury and General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury (Individual CFR member)
- Linda McMahon, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (CFR corporate member)
- Army Lt. General Herbert Raymond "H. R." McMaster, National Security Advisor (Individual CFR member, Bilderberg attendee)
- Jim McNerney, Member of Strategic and Policy Forum (CFR corporate member)
- Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury (CFR corporate member)
- Justin G. Muzinich, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury (Individual CFR member)
- Denise Natali, Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations (Individual CFR member)
- Indra Nooyi, Member of Strategic and Policy Forum (CFR corporate member, Bilderberg attendee)
- Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy (Bilderberg attendee)
- Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (Bilderberg attendee)
- Matthew Pottinger, Senior Director of the National Security Council (Bilderberg attendee)
- Dina Powell, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy (CFR corporate member)
- Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Individual CFR member)
- Mira R. Ricardel, Deputy National Security Advisor (Individual CFR member)
- Ginni Rometty, Member of Strategic and Policy Forum (CFR corporate member)
- William B. Roper Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, Logistics (Individual CFR member)
- Jeffrey A. Rosen, Deputy Secretary of Transportation and Deputy Attorney General (Individual CFR member)
- Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce (Bilderberg attendee)
- Anthony Scaramucci, Director of Communications (Individual CFR member)
- Nadia Schadlow, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy (Bilderberg attendee)
- Stephen Schwarzman, Member of Strategic and Policy Forum (CFR corporate member)
- Patrick Shanahan, Deputy Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Defense (CFR corporate member)
- Susan A. Thornton Assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs (Individual CFR member)
- Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (CFR corporate member)
- Rick L. Waddell, National Security Advisor (Individual CFR member)
- Elizabeth E. Walsh, Director General of the United States Commercial Service and Assistant Secretary of Commerce (Global Markets) (Individual CFR member)
- Ray Washburne, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Individual CFR member)
- Jack Welch, Member of Strategic and Policy Forum (CFR corporate member)
- Owen West, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (Individual CFR member)
- Robert Wilkie, Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Individual CFR member)
- Heather Ann Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force (Individual CFR member)
Jun 16, 2020 | www.unz.com
Stogumber , says: Show Comment June 13, 2020 at 12:40 pm GMTCook here represents a tradition of progressive pseudo-democracy which contradicts liberal democracy.
In progressive pseudo-democracy, men "at the side of history" have a privilege in destroying other people's values.
In liberal democracy, the defenders of the old system are recognized as a legitimate opposition with the possibility of becoming the government again. so there are no privileges for "men at the side of history". Of course there can be changes who are, in hindsight, consensually accepted by both sides. Nearly nobody sees a reason to reestablish slavery – but the acceptance of a gollywog or the acceptance of a statue is not slavery, not even similar to it. The "pain" of people who conflate these matters is self-inflicted.
Jun 16, 2020 | www.unz.com
schnellandine , says: Show Comment June 13, 2020 at 3:16 am GMTAny article discussing 'democracy' without defining it is the work of a hack.Beavertales , says: Show Comment June 12, 2020 at 9:12 pm GMT
Oh yes, it's supposed that everyone knows 'democracy'. He doesn't. It's a bullshit word meant to gloss around the writer's refusal to reason by way of first principles. It's cowardice.
We are all supposed to accept as the major premise that democracy's good, and thus desirable. Ergo, if the writer can somehow tie his conclusion to 'democratic' roots, he's carried the day.
Shameless fraud. Thousands of words of spittle.
Interesting truth: No form of the word 'democracy' is found in the US Declaration of Independence or Constitution. To the contrary, democracy is forbidden by Constitution Article IV Section 4.The Holocaust memorial museum in Washington should be stormed by Americans outraged by Israel's theft of US resources and its corruption of US politics, and for Israel's attack on the USS Liberty.
This may or may not include the defenestration of the directors, the casting of exhibits into the street, and the bulldozing of the entire structure into a landfill.
Yes, more democratic tradition, please, until justice is done and seen to be done.
Jun 10, 2020 | consortiumnews.com
It is true that there's a difference between Democrats and Republicans, in the same sense that there's a difference between the jab and the cross in boxing. The jab is often used to keep an opponent at bay and set up the more damaging cross, but they're both wielded by the same boxer, and they're both punching you in the face.
Jun 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
ori Schake objects to Biden's foreign policy record on the grounds that he is not hawkish enough and too skeptical of military intervention. She restates a bankrupt hawkish view of U.S. military action:
This half-in-half-out approach to military intervention also strips U.S. foreign policy of its moral element of making the world a better place. It is inadequate to the cause of advancing democracy and human rights [bold mine-DL].
The belief that military intervention is an expression of the "moral element" of U.S. foreign policy is deeply wrong, but it is unfortunately just as deeply-ingrained among many foreign policy professionals. Military intervention has typically been disastrous for the cause of advancing democracy and human rights. First, by linking this cause with armed aggression, regime change, and chaos, it tends to bring discredit on that cause in the eyes of the people that suffer during the war. Military interventions have usually worsened conditions in the targeted countries, and in the upheaval and violence that result there have been many hundreds of thousands of deaths and countless other violations of human rights.
Destabilizing other countries, displacing millions of people, and wrecking their infrastructure and economy obviously do not make anything better. As a rule, our wars of choice have not been moral or just, and they have inflicted tremendous death and destruction on other nations. When we look at the wreckage created by just the last twenty years of U.S. foreign policy, we have to reject the fantasy that military action has something to do with moral leadership. Each time that the U.S. has gone to war unnecessarily, that is a moral failure. Each time that the U.S. has attacked another country when it was not threatened, that is a moral abomination.
Biden claims that the U.S. has a moral obligation to respond with military force to genocide or chemical-weapons use, but was skeptical of intervention in Syria. The former vice president's rhetoric doesn't match his policies on American values.
If Biden's rhetoric doesn't match his policies here, we should be glad that the presumptive Democratic nominee for president isn't such an ideological zealot that he would insist on waging wars that have nothing to do with the security of the United States. If there is a mismatch, the problem lies with the expansive rhetoric and not with the skepticism about intervention. That is particularly true in the Syria debate, where interventionists kept demanding more aggressive policies without even bothering to show how escalation wouldn't make things worse. Biden's skepticism about intervention in Syria of all places is supposed to be held against him as proof of his poor judgment? That criticism speaks volumes about the discredited hawkish crowd in Washington that wanted to sink the U.S. even more deeply into that morass of conflict.
One of the chief problems with U.S. foreign policy for the last several decades is that it has been far too militarized. To justify the constant resort to the threat and use of force, supporters have insisted on portraying military action as if it were beneficent. They have managed to trick a lot of Americans into thinking that "doing something" to another country is the same thing as doing good. Interventionists emphasize the goodness of their intentions while ignoring or minimizing the horrors that result from the policies they advocate, and they have been able to co-opt the rhetoric of morality to mislead the public into thinking that attacking other countries is legitimate and even obligatory. This has had the effect of degrading and distorting our foreign policy debates by framing every argument over war in terms of righteous "action" vs. squalid "inaction." This turns everything on its head. It treats aggression as virtue and violence as salutary. Even a bog-standard hawk like Biden gets criticized for lacking moral conviction if he isn't gung-ho for every unnecessary war.
Feral Finster • a day agoThat America's wars of aggression advance the cause of human rights is a hoot.Rkramden66 Feral Finster • a day ago"Ya gotta laugh to keep from cryin.'"kouroi • 17 hours agoVery strong words Mr. Larison, kudos for them.Feral Finster kouroi • 6 hours ago
As for Mr. Biden's "but was skeptical of intervention in Syria", maybe he was aware of the actual perpetrators of the gas attacks (as several OPCW whistle-blowers testified) and was maybe uncomfortable being again the spearhead for another war, like he was with Iraq as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.Biden has been out of office for four years now. If I recall correctly, he didn't say jack to support Trump's two failed attempts to pull out from Syria.Carpenter E • 7 hours ago • edited
TL;DR Don't get your hopes up.Kori Schake writes for the British neocon IISS, which has been secretly funded by the Sunni dictator in Bahrain, who holds down the Shia majority with imported Pakistanis as soldiers and police. Ordinary Bahrainis are like occupied prisoners in their own country. Everything is for the small Sunni elite. Though there are also ordinary Sunnis who oppose them.Mark Thomason • 3 hours ago
Kori Schake is simply paid to promote neocon interests, which the Bahraini dictator is closely aligned with. The Sunni king dissolved parliament and took all the power, aided by Saudi tanks crushing protesters, who were tortured and had their lives destroyed. The dictator even destroyed Bahrain's famous Pearl Monument, near which the protesters had camped out, so it wouldn't be a symbol of resistance. (Forever making it a symbol of resistance.) The tower was on all the postcards from Bahrain and it appeared on the coins. It's like destroying the Eiffel Tower. Kori's Sunni paymasters want Shia Iran destroyed as it speaks up for the oppressed Shias in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen and the UAE.Biden is and for over four decades always was an example of all that is worst in militarized US foreign policy. The idea that he isn't hawkish enough is itself crazy.
Jun 26, 2019 | www.unz.com
...If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.
Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can't possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.
Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."
Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."
May 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?
Much has been written about the disappointment of certain segments of the right in the apparent capitulation of Donald Trump to the agenda of the conservative establishment.
Instead of reining in the "globalist elites" he so vociferously ran against or those corporations "who have no loyalty to America," his one legislative achievement has been to award them a massive tax cut. Through it, he has maintained their favorite mix of low revenue intake and high deficits which gives Republicans a pretext to "starve the beast" and induce fiscal anorexia.
The president has granted them as well their ideal labor market through an ingenious formula: double down on mostly symbolic raids (as opposed to systemic solutions like Mandatory E-Verify) and ramp up the rhetoric about "shithole countries" to distract the media, but keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby.
Trump ran as a populist firebrand -- a fusion of Huey Long and Ross Perot -- and while he never abandoned that style, he has governed for the most part as a milquetoast free market Republican in perfect tandem with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, one whose solution to everything is more tax cuts and deregulation: a kind of turbo-charged "high-energy Jeb."
With the outbreak of COVID-19, many on the reformist right are hoping for the emergence of the President Trump they thought they were promised, a leader just as ready to break out of the donor-enforced "small government" straitjacket while in power as he was during the campaign.
Despite signs of progress, what's more likely is a return to business as usual. Already the GOP's impulse for austerity and parsimony is proving to be stronger than any willingness to think and act outside the box.
The heightened rhetoric against China will continue -- the one thing Trump is good at -- but it is unlikely to be matched with the required policy, such as a long-term plan to reshore U.S. industry (that doesn't just rely on blindly giving corporations the benefit of the doubt). At this point, we already know where the president's priorities lie when given a choice between the advancement of America's workers or continued labor arbitrage and carte blanche corporate handouts.
Lest they be engulfed by it like everyone else, the reformist right should ask: is there any way to stand athwart the supply-side swamp yelling Stop?
Many of these conservatives lament the Trump tax cut not just because it was a disaster that failed to spark reinvestment, left wages stagnant, needlessly blew up the deficit and served as a slush fund for stock buybacks, but more fundamentally because it betrayed the overwhelming intellectual inertia and lack of imagination that characterizes conservative policymaking.
More than in any other issue then, a distinct position on taxes would make the new conservatism truly worth distinguishing from the old: tax cuts were after all the defining policy dogma of the neoliberal Reagan era.
If neoliberalism excused inequality at home by extolling the equalization of incomes across the globe (millions of Chinese raised from poverty, while millions of American workers fall back into it!), the new position must shift emphasis back to ensuring a more equitable domestic distribution of wealth and opportunity across all classes and communities in this country.
A reformulation of fiscal policy along populist economic nationalist lines can help with that.
It is worth pondering what might have happened if the administration had gone the other way and followed the last piece of policy advice given by Steve Bannon before his ouster in August 2017. Bannon suggested raising the top marginal income tax rate to 44 percent while "arguing that it would actually hit left-wing millionaires in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and in Hollywood."
Such a move would have been nothing short of revolutionary: it would have been a faithful and full-blown expression of the populist economic nationalism Trump ran on; it would have presented a genuine material threat to the elite ruling class of both parties, and likely would have pre-empted the shock value of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposing a 70 percent top marginal rate.
It might well have put Trump on the path to becoming what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once proposed as a model for Richard Nixon when he gifted the 37th president a biography of Disraeli, namely a Tory Republican who could outsmart the left by crafting broad popular coalitions based on a blending of patriotic cultural conservatism with class-conscious economic and social policy.
Not that Trump would have needed to go back to Nixon or Disraeli for instruction on the matter. In 1999, long before Elizabeth Warren came along on the national scene, a presidential candidate eyeing the Reform Party nomination contemplated the imposition of a 14.25 percent wealth tax on America's richest citizens in order to pay off the national debt: his name was Donald Trump.
What ever happened to that guy? The Trump of 1999 was onto something. Maybe this could be a way to deal with our post-pandemic deficits.
Then and even more so now, the idea resonates: a Reuters/Ipsos poll from January found that 64 percent of Americans support a wealth tax, a majority of Republicans included. Poll after poll has reaffirmed this. It seems as if there is right-wing populist support for taxing the rich more.
To the common refrain, "the rich are just going to find ways to shelter their income or relocate it offshore," I have written elsewhere about the concrete policy measures countries can and have taken to clip the wings of mobile global capital and prevent such an outcome.
I have written as well about how taxing the rich and tightening the screws on tax enforcement have implications that go beyond the merely redistributive approach to fiscal policy conventionally favored by the left; about how it can be a form of leverage against an unaccountable investor class used to shopping at home and abroad for the most opaque assets in which to hoard vast amounts of essentially idle capital.
A deft administration would use aggressive fiscal policy as an inducement for this irresponsible class to make things right by reinvesting in such priorities as the wages and well-being of workers, the vitality of communities, the strength of strategic industries and the productivity of the real economy – or else Uncle Sam will tax their wealth and do it for them.
It would also be an assertion of national sovereignty against globalization's command for countries to stay "competitive" by immiserating their citizens with ever-lower taxes on capital holders and ever more loose and "flexible" labor markets in a never-ending race to the bottom.
Mike Lofgren has penned a marvelous essay in these pages about the virtual secession of the rich from the American nation, "with their prehensile greed, their asocial cultural values, and their absence of civic responsibility."
What better way to remind them that they are still citizens of a country and members of a society -- and not just floating streams of deracinated capital -- than by making them perform that most basic of civic duties, paying one's fair share and contributing to the commonweal? America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome.
There is one more thing to be said about the significance of taxing the rich. Up until very recently, there has been a prevailing tendency among the reformist right (with some important exceptions) to couch criticism of the elites primarily or even exclusively in cultural terms. There seems to have been a polite hesitation at taking the cultural critique to its logical economic conclusions. It is easy to excoriate the excesses of elite identity politics, the "woke" part of woke capitalism; it's something all conservatives -- and indeed growing numbers of liberals and socialists -- agree on. Fish in a barrel.
But to challenge the capitalism part, i.e. free market orthodoxy, not in a secondary or tertiary way, but head on and in specific policy terms as Lofgren and a few others have done, would involve confronting difficult truths, namely that the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts and Reaganite economic policy in general, which most conservatives enthusiastically promoted for four decades, are the selfsame decadent coastal elites they claim to oppose. It is they who more than anyone else thrive on financialized globalization, arbitrage and offshoring.
In other words, it amounts to an honest recognition of the complicity of conservatism in the mess we're in, which is perhaps a psychological bridge too far for too many on the right, reformist or not. (Trigger Warning!) This separation of culture and economics has led to the farce of a self-styled nationalist president lining the pockets of his nominal enemies, the globalist ruling class.
Already, the White House is proposing yet another gigantic corporate tax cut. Using the exact same discredited logic as the last one, senior economic advisor Larry Kudlow wants Americans to trust him when he says that halving the already lowered 2017 rate to 10.5 percent will encourage these eminently reasonable multinationals to reinvest. There he goes again.
A conservative call to tax the rich would signal that the right is ready to end this charade and chart a course toward a more patriotic, public-spirited and yes, proudly hyphenated capitalism.
Michael Cuenco is a writer on politics and policy. He has also written for American Affairs.
Kent • 3 days ago"America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome."Winston Nevis Kent • 3 days ago • edited
Those tax rates were offset by direct investment in the US economy. So if I invested in the stock market, I'd get a 90% tax rate because that doesn't produce actual wealth. On the other hand, if I invested in building factories that created thousands of jobs for American citizens, my tax rate may fall to 0%. And those policies created a fantastic economy that we oldsters remember as the golden age. That wasn't bolshevism, it was competitive capitalism. What we have today is libertarianism. And as long as conservatives are going to let the libertarian boogey-man's nose under the tent, we are going to have this ugly, bifurcated economy. Your choice. Man up.You ever tell hear of sarcasm, bud? I think that's what the author was going for. Don't think he was trying to say that Ike and Truman were Bolsheviks but was rather making fun of libertarians who hyperbolically associate high tax rates with socialism and Soviet Communism...K squared Winston Nevis • 3 days agoPlenty of goldwater's supporters in 1964 called President Eisenhower a communistGAguilar K squared • 2 days agoParticularly the John Birchers, including my parents!SKPeterson Kent • 3 days ago • editedWe absolutely do not have libertarianism operating in this country today. There is simply no evidence that there is any sort of libertarian economic or political system in place. Oh sure, you'll whine "but globalism without actually defining what globalism is, or what is wrong about precisely, but just that it's somehow wrong and that libertarians are to blame for it. There's a good word for such an argument: bullshit.marku52 SKPeterson • 3 days ago
We have an economy that is extraordinarily dominated by the state via mandates, regulations, and monetary interference that is most decidedly not libertarian in any way whatsoever. The current system though does create and perpetuate a system of rent-seeking cronies who conform rather nicely to the descriptions of said actors by Buchanan and Tullock. The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence, and Cuenco's sorry policy prescriptions do nothing to minimize the state but instead just create a different set of rent-seeking cronies for which the wealth and incomes of the nation are to be expropriated.O dear, No True Scotsman....SKPeterson marku52 • 2 days agoIf you can point to how the current situation is in any way "libertarian" without creating your own perfect little lazy straw man definition then by all means do so. Until then your retort is withoutcka2nd SKPeterson • 3 days ago
substance (you see a no true Scotsman reply doesn't work if the facts are in the favor of the person supposedly making such an argument. Here you fail to establish why what I said is such a case; saying it doesn't make it so). When Kent makes some throwaway comment that we're somehow living in some sort of libertarian era he's full of it, you know it, and all you can do is provide some weak "no true Scotsman" defense? Come on and man up, stop appealing to artificial complaints of fallacious argumentation, and give me an actual solid argument with evidence beyond "this is so libertarian" that we're living in some libertarian golden age that's driving the oppression of the masses.Busted unions, contracting out and privatization, deregulation of vast swaths of the economy since the late 1970's (Jimmy Carter has gotten kudos from libertarian writers for his de-regulatory efforts), lowered tax rates, especially on financial speculation and concentrated wealth, a blind eye or shrugged shoulder to anti-trust law and corporate consolidation. Yeah, nothing to see here, no partial victories for the libertarian wings of the ruling class or the GOP, at all. The Koch Brothers accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing, since David was the Libertarian Party's nominee for Vice President in 1980; all that money gone to waste. Sure.SKPeterson cka2nd • 2 days agoSo, now some sort of "partial victory" means we're living in some sort of libertarian era? And what exactly was so wonderful about all the things you listed being perpetuated? So, union "busting" is terrible, but union corruption was a great part of our national solidarity and should have been protected? Deregulation of vast swathes of the economy? You mean the elimination of government controlled cartels in the form of trucking and airlines? You mean the sorts of things that have enabled the working class folks you supposedly favor to travel to places that were previously out of reach for them and only accessible to the rich for their vacations? Yes, that's truly terrible. Again, you're on the side of the little guy, right? Lowered taxes? Are you seriously going to argue that the traditional conservative position has been for high tax rates? What are taxes placed upon? People and property. What do conservatives want to protect? People and property. So... arguing for higher taxes or saying that low taxes are bad or even especially, libertarian, is really going off the rails. That's just bad reasoning. And regarding financialization, those weren't especially libertarian in their enacting, but rather flow directly out of the consequences of the modern Progressive implementation of neo-Keynesian monetary and fiscal policy. Suffice it to say, I don't think you'll find too many arguments from libertarians that the policies encouraging financialization were good or followed libertarian economic policy prescriptions. Moreover, they led entirely to the repulsive "too big to fail" situation and if there's one thing that libertarians hold to is that there is no such thing (or shouldn't be) as "too big to fail." The objection to anti-trust law is that it was regularly abused and actually created government-protected firms that harmed consumers. If you think anti-trust laws are good things and should be supported by conservatives then by all means encourage Joe Biden to have Elizabeth Warren as his vice-presidential running mate and go vote Democrat this fall.Blood Alcohol SKPeterson • 3 days ago"The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence". That's because the "state interference" is working as proxy for the interests of vulture capitalist.DUNK Blood Alcohol • 2 days ago • edited
What we have today is vulture capitalism as opposed to free enterprise capitalism.You could also call it "crony capitalism" or "inverted totalitarianism".GAguilar DUNK • 2 days ago
Chris Hedges: "Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism" (November 2, 2015)Princeton professor Sheldon Wolin's excellent book is entitled, "Democracy Incorporated."SKPeterson Blood Alcohol • 2 days ago
He lays out how we're living in a totalitarian, capitalist surveillance state, as if that's not already obvious to most people around here.Exactly. The existence of a vulture capitalist or crony capitalist economy, which we have in many sectors, is evidence that "libertarianism" is nothing more than a convenient totem to invoke as a rationale for complaint against the outcomes of the existing crony capitalist state of affairs. My contention is that Cuenco, et al are simply advocating for a replacement of the cronies and vultures.1701 • 3 days agoA very similar article(but probably coming at it from a slightly different angle) wouldn't look out of place in a socialist publication.bumbershoot • 3 days ago
The culture war really is a pointless waste of time that keeps working class people from working towards a common solution to shared problems.Trump wants to "keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby."SKPeterson • 3 days ago
Well of course he does -- otherwise how would he staff Mar-A-Lago and other Trump Organization businesses?I used to think that conservatism was about protecting private property and not, like Cuenco, in coming up with ever more excuses for expropriating it.Kent SKPeterson • 3 days agoNo, that's libertarianism (or more properly propertarianism). Conservatism is first and foremost about responsibility to God, community, family and self. Property is only of value in its utility towards a means.GAguilar Kent • 2 days ago • editedAs I see it, here are examples of how "conservatives" have actually practiced their "responsibility to God, community, family and self":AdmBenson SKPeterson • 2 days ago
The genocide of Native Americans
The slavery and murder of blacks
Their opposition to child labor laws, to womens' suffrage, etc.
Their support of Jim Crow laws
Their opposition to ending slavery and opposition to desegregation
Opposition to Civil Liberties Laws
Willingness to block, or curtail, voting rights.
Hyping the "imminent threat" of an ever more powerful communist menace bearing
down on us from the late 40s to the "unanticipated" collapse of the
USSR in '91. All of which was little more than endless "threat inflation" used
by our defense industry-corporate kleptocrats to justify monstrous increases
in deficits that have been "invested" in our meddlesome, murderous militarism all around the world, with the torture and deaths of millions from S. E. Asia, to Indonesia, to Latin America, to the Middle East, to Africa, etc.
Violations of privacy rights (conservative hero J. Edgar Hoover's illegal domestic surveillance and acts of domestic terrorism, "justified" by
his loopy paranoia about commies on every corner and under every bed.)
Toppling of democracies to install totalitarian despots in Iran
("Ike" '53), Guatemala (Ike, again, '54), Chile (Nixon '73), Brazil (LBJ, '64) and many, many more countries.
Strong support of the Vietnam War, the wars in Laos and Cambodia, and the Iraq War, which, according to conservative W. Bush, God had inspired.
The myriad "dirty wars" we've fought around the world, and not only in Latin America.
With a few, notable exceptions, conservatives have routinely been on the wrong side of these issues. For the most part, it has been the left, particularly the "hard left," that has gotten it right."conservatism was about protecting private property"SKPeterson AdmBenson • 2 days ago
You're conflating conservatism and libertarianism. Conservatives realize they are citizens of a country. Libertarians wish they weren't.So conservatism should be entirely about taking people's property "for the good of the country"? That the purpose of a country is to loot the people? That the people exist for the government and not the government for the people? Seems Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk would like to have a word with you Adm.Winston Nevis SKPeterson • 2 days ago • edited
To quote Kirk as just one example of your fundamental error:Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked . [Apparently, Adm. you dispute Kirk's assertion and accuse him thereby of conflating libertarianism and conservatism. Yes, I know Kirk was a hater of the idea of patriotism, but he was such a raging libertarian what else could he do?] Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling [this is the outcome of Cuenco's policy prescriptions by the way] , conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.
So, either "Mr. Conservative" Russell Kirk wasn't really a conservative but a man who horribly conflated libertarianism and conservatism, or we can say that Kirk was a conservative and that he recognized the protection of private property as crucial in minimizing the control and reach of the Leviathan state. If the latter holds, then maybe what we've established is that AdmBenson isn't particularly conservative."The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth." This status quo has produced precisely the opposite of this. Wealth, assets, capital has been captured by the elite. The pitchforks are coming. See this CBO chart: View HideAdmBenson SKPeterson • 2 days agoConservatives accept taxes as a part of citizenship. Since taxes can't be avoided, a conservative insists on democratic representation and has a general desire to get maximum bang for their taxpayer buck.SKPeterson AdmBenson • 2 days ago
Libertarians, on the other hand, see everything through the lens of an individual's property rights. Taxes and regulation are infringements on those rights, so a libertarian is always at war with their own government. They're not interested in bang for their taxpayer buck, they just want the government to go away. I can't fault people for believing this way, but I can point out that it is severely faulty as the operating philosophy beyond anything but a small community.
As for me not being particularly conservative, ya got me. It really depends on time of day and the level of sunspot activity.Sunspots, eh? And here I thought it was your reliance on tinfoil.AdmBenson SKPeterson • 2 days agoThe tinfoil and the mask were scaring people. The tinfoil had to go, but that's had side effects.SKPeterson AdmBenson • 2 days agoI should have put the /s on my reply, but your response did give me a good chuckle. Besides, for that finger pointing at you, there were three more pointing back at me.JMWB • 3 days agoAnd somehow people continually fall for the Trickle Down economic theory. George HW Bush was correct when he called this VooDoo economics. Fiscal irresponsibility at it's finest.Victor_the_thinker JMWB • 3 days agoNah people don't fall for it, republicans do. The rest of us know this stuff doesn't work. We didn't need an additional datapoint to realize that. The Tax Cuts and Jobs act was the single most unpopular piece of legislation to ever pass since polling began. It never had support outside of the Republican Party which is why it's never had majority support.Blood Alcohol JMWB • 3 days ago
https://news.gallup.com/pol...John Kenneth Galbraith called Trickle Down "economics", "Oats and Horse Economics". If you feed the horse a lot of oats, eventually some be left on the road...Nelson • 3 days agoThe leader of Republicans isn't Trump. It's Mitch McConnell.J Villain Nelson • 3 days agoMitch is fully owned by Trump as is every republican that holds office except Romney. Mitch can't go to the bathroom with out asking Trumps permission.Nelson J Villain • 3 days agoMitch is owned by corporations and he likes it that way. He basically says as much whenever campaign finance reform pops up and he defends the status quo.aha! Nelson • 2 hours agoYep. The guy who declared war on the Tea Party. The guy who changed his tune entirely about China when he married into the family of a shipping magnate.SeekingTruth • 3 days agoI'm eagerly awaiting a GOP plan for economic restructuring. I've been waiting for decade(s). Surely there is someone in the entire body of think tanks, congressional staffers, and political class that can propose a genuine and comprehensive plan for how to rebalance production, education, and technology for the better of ALL Americans. Surely...Tradcon SeekingTruth • 3 days agoAmerican Affairs (the policy journal this author writes for) and The American Compass are both very good.cka2nd SeekingTruth • 3 days agoI honestly wonder if Jack Kemp might have had a "Road to Damascus" conversion away from his pseudo-libertarian and supply side economic convictions if he had lived through the decade after the Great Recession. Probably not, given his political and economic activity up until his death.Barry_II • 3 days ago"They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?"Name • 3 days ago
In your dreams, just like those many large projects which Trump drove into bankruptcy.
Right alongside the money owed to the many people he's stiffed.So after 30 years or more of " globalism" , the GOP is adopting Bernie Sanderism?Johnny Larue Name • 3 days agoUh, no.Name Johnny Larue • 2 days agoUh, it seems so. Did you even read?TheSnark • 3 days ago • editedTrump pushed the tax cut because it saves him at least $20 million each year in taxes, probably closer to $50 million. That's the only reason he does anything, because he benefits personally.kouroi • 3 days agoThank you very much for posting the link to the wonderful essay by Mike Lofgren. Written 8 years ago it feels even more actual than then. I have bookmarked it for future reference.Kent kouroi • 3 days ago
Looking at the US it always comes to my mind the way Rome and then Byzantium fell: a total erosion of the tax-base the rich refused to pay anything to the imperial coffers, and then some of the rich had land bigger than some modern countries... And then the barbarians came...And, by then, the population welcomed the barbarians.kouroi Kent • 3 days agoLikely true, with some exceptions... The Huns - and on that one I keep wondering if there isn't a whiff of "Yellow Peril" smell in all that outcry...Ray Woodcock kouroi • 2 days ago • editedLofgren: "What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot."kouroi Ray Woodcock • 2 days ago
That was in 2012, but that was what struck me about my well-to-do classmates when I transferred from Cal State Long Beach to Columbia University in 1977 . Suddenly I was among people who saw America, American laws, and a shared sense of civic responsibility as quaint, bothersome, rather tangential to the project of promoting oneself and/or one's special interest.Cold, eh mate? Reptiles, lizards...?Adriana Pena • 3 days agoDid you ever hope that Trump would do what you wanted? You are adorablesam • 3 days agoThe only way that factories would come back is when Americans start buying made in America. We can't wait for ANY government to bring those factories and jobs ( and technology) . Only people voting with their pocketbooks can do it.J Villain • 3 days agoStill waiting for the day the first American asks "What have WE done wrong?" Rather than just following in Trumps step and playing the victim card every step of the way and wondering why nothing gets better.Blood Alcohol J Villain • 3 days agonuffsaid. The blood is on everyone's hands.
May 24, 2020 | www.unz.com
anonymous  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm GMT
Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training
Seems rather typical of those making policy, not knowing much about the area they're assigned to. If a person did know Arabic and had an understanding of the culture they wouldn't get hired as they'd be viewed with suspicion, suspected of being sympathetic to Middle Easterners. How and why these neocons can come back into government is puzzling and one wonders who within the establishment is backing them. Judging by the quotes her father certainly seems deranged and not someone to be allowed anywhere near any policy making positions.
Flynn also seems to be a dolt what with his 'worldwide war against radical Islam'. Someone should clue him in that much of this radical Islam has been created and stoked by the US who hyped up radical Islam, recruiting and arming them to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was there, remember? Flynn, a general, is unaware of this? Islamic jihadists are America's Foreign Legion and have been used all over the Muslim world, most recently in Syria. Does this portend war with Iran? Possibly, but perhaps Trump wouldn't want to go it alone but would want the financial support of other countries. They've probably war-gamed it to death and found it to be a loser.
May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com
consumerx -> hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:57Disagree,
Under Trumps tax plan, a single mother with 2 kids working fulltime at minimum wage gets 75 dollars a YEAR in childcare, about $-1.50 per week.
While the rich, those making up to 400,000 per year get 2000.00 per year child credit off their taxes.
Name a benefit for the poor, that the recent tax bill passed by Trump and GREEDY GOP.
In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs." To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control. This same messy mix of free market fundamentalism and hyper-nationalistic populism is presently taking shape in Trump's proposed budget. But the apparent contradiction there isn't likely to slow down Trump's pro-market, pro-Wall Street, pro-wealth agenda. His supporters may soon discover that his professions of care for those left behind by globalization are -- aside from some mostly symbolic moves on trade -- empty.
Just look at what has already happened with the GOP's proposed replacement for Obamacare, which if enacted would bring increased pain and suffering to the anxious voters who put their trust in Trump's populism in the first place. While these Americans might have thought their votes would win them protection from the instabilities and austerities of market-led globalization, what they are getting is a neoliberal president in populist clothing.
May 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
BM , May 20 2020 6:17 utc | 146But with regard to anecdotal/unverified [touch'e] claims of nicotine benefits in covid, one should not reflexively ignore the evidence to the contrary that conflict with one's pro-nicotine bias/belief system:}
"Smokers more likely to express ACE2 protein that SARS-COV-2 uses to enter human cells"
"Tobacco smoking increases lung entry points for COVID-19 virus"
Posted by: gm | May 19 2020 16:13 utc | 129
Touché again gm!
It is indeed desperate grasping at straws to believe that smoking will protect against Covid-19 when far higher quality research clearly indicates increased risk from smoking that the disease will be more severe (the latter also being the more plausible result).
As I commented the last time B raised this issue, there is one genuine effect of a past history of smoking that statistically reduces risk of death from Covid-19 - namely smoking significantly reduces expected lifespan, and therefore reduces the risk of living long enough to reach the highest risk age groups for severe Covid-19. Alternatively expressed - smoking kills you off first before you get a chance to be killed by Covid, if that is what you want. Post-hoc nicotine patches at a late stage deny you even that advantage.
There are some who parrot Big Pharma vested interests in ridiculing and denigrating hydroxychloroquine, despite the very notable positive results several countries such as China, Russia, Iran and Turkey have had with it, while vainly spouting the benefits of smoking despite complete lack of quality research papers supporting it and abundant quality papers against.
At this point it is worth reminding of criticism of the untrustworthiness of modern medical science from the editors of some of the top medical journals:
Skeptical of medical science reports?
"It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as editor of The New England Journal of Medicine"
Angell M. Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption. The New York Review of Books magazine.
More recently, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, wrote that "The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness"
Horton R. Offline: What is medicine's 5 sigma? www.thelancet.com.The first of these two commentaries on clinical research publications appeared in 2009, the second in April of this year. These statements are being taken seriously, coming as they do from the experiences of editors of two of the world's most prestigious medical journals. The first article showed how the relationships between pharmaceutical companies and academic physicians at prestigious universities impacted certain drug-related publications and the marketing of prescription drugs. Potential conflicts of interest seemed to abound: millions of dollars in consulting and speaking fees to physicians who promoted specific drugs, public research dollars being used by a researcher to test a drug owned by a company in which the researcher held millions of dollars in shares, failure of university researchers to disclose income from drug companies, company subsidies to physician continuing education, publishing practice guidelines involving drugs in which the authors have a financial interest, using influential physicians to promote drugs for unapproved uses, bias in favor of a product coming from failure to publish negative results and repeated publication of positive results in different forms. The author, Marcia Angell, cited the case of a drug giant that had to agree to settle charges that it deliberately withheld evidence that its top-selling anti-depressant was ineffective and could be harmful to certain age groups. ...
Richard Horton's statement was part of his comments on a recent symposium on reliability and reproducibility of research in the biomedical sciences and addresses a broader area of concern. Some of the problems he identified are seen in the veterinary literature. They include inadequate number of subjects in the study, poor study design, and potential conflicts of interest. He notes that the quest for journal impact factor is fuelling competition for publication in a few high reputation journals. He warns that "our love of 'significance' pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale" ...
Research is not created equal. There is good research (some, not so much) and there is bad research (bundles of it), mostly funded by vested interests, who where necessary direct the desired results. In general, research from China and Russia arguably tends to be higher quality and more reliable because those countries place the emphasis on health for society, not on profits for the corporations.
@Flatulus @16 "sources"
Christian Drosten, chief virologist Charité Berlin in his podcast no 31. Available with transcript here.
Posted by: b | May 18 2020 16:42 utc | 32
B, have you looked into the Big Pharma vested interests of Drosten yet? I suggest you do so.
May 14, 2020 | www.unz.com
Ilya G Poimandres , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 5:44 am GMT@Al Lipton He strikes me as just another leader out for his own self image, and legacy. I took this opinion given his foreign policy – the shows for his isolationist base, and his continuous almost wars for the MIC. I do say almost wars, and that says something. We're I a US citizen, and one to vote for humans, I would vote for Trump this time, but he is imperfect imo, and it's only a coincidence that on some issues what benefits him, aligns with what benefits the nation.Robert Dolan , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 5:45 am GMT
The timing of ObamaGate for example – we all knew it, it would go from snail's pace to a decent speed just as the election cycle was heating up. But this is playing politics and electioneering with the most critical misdirection and criminality of US officials in a long time. A real leader who worked for the nation and its Constitution only, would bugger all that and start draining as soon as could be done.
Of course that could be coincidence, and they could have been building a strong case, but as someone else said, I will take my conspiracy theory over some coincidence theory any day.
I can't imagine that without ObamaGate, he would have even tried to drain the swamp. Made showpieces of it sure, but no thing major. But now he can do what he promised and maybe even wanted to do, without reputational damage, and he will do it.
But how he will be in his second term, through a depression that was on its way in 6 months before corona? Like FDR I'd guess – war war war.Mike Enoch calls it the "kosher sandwich" and he's right.
Trump lied his ass off, has been shabbos goy forever. He had no intention of doing anything ...
Adam Green has delved into Trump and his father. They were born shabbos goy.
The GOP says what we want to hear, then they do what the nose tells them to do.
The Dems just do whatever the nose wants without even having to ask. They anticipate what the nose wants!
... ... ...
Apr 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgPasser by , Apr 29 2020 17:32 utc | 7It is mostly, though not only, Trump related or libertarian pseudo "alt media" behind "just the flu" theories or "China unleashed virus to attack US".
There is a small military/zionist cabal at the White House that is pushing for that information war in order to prop up the dying US empire as well as US oligarhic business interests, and to secure Trump reelection prospects.
It is enough to see how Zerohedge have been turned into full blown imperialist media with many "evil China" outbursts every day.
Beware of Trumptards infiltrating alt media to prop up the dying US Empire and its business interests.
Trump is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years. He made a good job at deceiving many anti-system voices.
His WTO attacks are too part of US efforts to take over the organisation. His has no problem with international institutions as long as they are US empire controlled (such as OPCW, WADA, etc.)
Trump-tards and related libertarians (Zerohedge etc.) made their choice on the side of global US imperialism (driven by their hidden racism, hence the evil "chinks" making a good enemy) and are now the enemy of the multipolar world.
Trump is scum. He turned on Russia and Assange after he got into the White House and did far more against Russia than even Obama. I say that as someone who initially made the mistake to support him.
Apr 27, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
FDR Liberal , April 26, 2020 at 4:42 pm
Bernie was never accepted by the DNC establishment in 2016 and 2020. He was bought off by Schumer through committee assignments and threats of irrelevancy in the Senate after 2016. In short, Bernie became an insider because he thought HRC would be president.
In 2020 he doubled down bragging about his legislative accomplishments on the debate stage which is the quintessential insider's game.
You can't worry about your political career, if you are a true outsider. Bernie wanted to be a player more than a game changer and leader of a political movement.
The author consistently mentions The Green New Deal. What legislator in the House outlined the Green New Deal? What legislator in the Senate? AOC in the House and Markey in the Senate.
Where was Bernie in the photo opportunity? MIA.
likbez , April 26, 2020 at 5:21 pmFDR Liberal,
> You can't worry about your political career, if you are a true outsider. Bernie wanted to be a player more than a game changer and leader of a political movement.
As sad as it is for me to say that, Bernie was a sheepdog from the very beginning. Actually it was the second time he played this despicable role. The main clue was that he acted as a preacher, not as a candidate. Another is that he claimed Biden to be his friend. With such warmongering neoliberal friends as Biden, who needs enemies ;-). This is how "controlled opposition" typically behaves.
Personnel is policy -- looks at his presidential campaign staff and you will instantly understand who he is.
For example, Faiz Shakir, the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, previously worked as an aide to Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, was an editor-in-chief of the ThinkProgress blog. Is not Nanci Pelosi a quintessential neoliberal, a staunch supporter of Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ? And I do not want even start discussing political positions of Harry Reid.
Sanders betrayed his supporters with such ease that it is clear that was not an accident -- this was a preplanned "bait and switch" operation.
Matthew Cunningham-Cook , April 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm
To all of this, I'd really suggest reading Raising Expectations and Raising Hell by Jane McAlevey. Really good on the nuts and bolts of what it takes to organize to win. Also good is "Secrets of Successful Organizer" from Labor Notes.
Jeremy Grimm , April 26, 2020 at 5:01 pm
The memo in this post seems mistaken. Much of it worries about dealing with Warren. Warren did not take Bernie down. She did a wonderful job of shooting herself in the foot multiple times. I don't believe Biden and Obama have so much power to shift the beliefs of the US public. I have trouble believing the Obama years need to be discredited -- they discredited themselves. Item #4 not sure what to say about that. Bernie presented a strong ideological contrast with Trump. Item #5 Castro, O'Rourke, Booker, and Yang, Gabbard, Williamson, and Gillibrand are they really examples of idealistic energy? How do you "rope in" idealistic energy? Is that like herding cats?
Most of the primaries that were held impressed me as part of a remarkably hamhanded but effective effort by the Democratic Party organization to shut Bernie down. I am still unconvinced by Biden's sudden revival and jump in the polls prior to Super Tuesday and I don't understand what happened to suck all the air out of Bernie's campaign after Super Tuesday. The Corona virus didn't help but I cannot accept that the Corona virus, or Warren, or Biden or Obama took Bernie down -- it just doesn't smell right to me.
And I do not agree that the Bernie organization will carry on the fight. Where are the younger leaders who might carry on fighting for the cause? Bernie's coat tails are very short and Bernie is very old. I have read many pundits proclaiming that people put too much faith in a leader -- that a movement needs more action on the ground. I disagree. A movement needs a face, a 'brand' in Marketspeak, and actually I think a movement needs many faces and a common brand to all. [AOC and the Green New Deal don't inspire my confidence and what is left?]
I felt the Berne and now I feel Berne-t. Between dropping Medicare for All and voting for the CARES Act as part of the Senate Kabuki the nicest thing I can say about Bernie right now is that he is full of surprises. But after all is said and done I will be reluctant to send my small checks to any campaign, and after Corona I may need to keep all my small checks to buy things like food and pay rent. As Susan the other says at the beginning of her comment at 3:06 pm noting how: " absurd our politics are in light of our pending extinction" -- I am not sure there will be time for many more Presidential elections before the absurdity of our politics and economics collides with more pressing matters.
Apr 17, 2020 | www.youtube.com
Bill Edley , 2 days ago (edited)greenearth , 2 days ago
Aaron makes an Excellent point that Democrats "needed a way to resist not only Trump but Bernie Sanders appeal." Bingo!!!Matthew Sano , 2 days ago
"Bernie is the lamest revolutionary ever" - Tucker Carlson, Fox news His latest lame endorsement of sleepy joe just strengthened that statementThor Crowley , 2 days ago
"He's (Bernie) a catalyst but he's not part of the solution." ~ Economist Michael Hudson (The Jimmy Dore Show published on Feb 27, 2019.)jeff murray , 2 days ago (edited)
.. to say it with a George Carlin quote : If you still think there is a solution (within the system) you are part of the problemAr Jun , 2 days ago (edited)
Bernie didn't want a revolution. He wanted the establishment to accept his candidacy. If they didn't accept it then he was not going to fight. He wasted 3+ years of my time and energy. Not to mention betraying Waffle House waitresses across the country, who repeatedly donated money they needed to Bernie's campaign.BK , 2 days ago (edited)
The US dodged a bullet with Bernie dropping out "my friend Joe" "Joe can beat Trump" & not supporting Tulsi from being smeared & erased! Bernie has no balls - the guy endorsed Hillary & now Biden - slapping Tulsi in the face for quitting, destroying her career for him!Alex Bravo , 2 days ago
v> Aaron has made a career over all the false trump hoax's and exposing them. To bad he's blinded in other ways and is can't be objective about Bernie and the dem establishment. Unfortunately he part of the problem because at the end of the day he looks the other way. And excuses those in media who lie cuz they have kids to feed. Never gonna be change with that attitude...very Bernie like.CrackOfDoom , 2 days ago (edited)
" You Don't Need To Be a Jew To be a Zionist , I am a Zionist " , J. Biden ...Dirty Dog , 2 days ago
I realised he was a con-man after what he did in 2016. Broke my heart. He didn't even defend Tulsi!The Last And First Time , 2 days ago
Sanders was never a serious candidate. For the second time in his 40ys of public service he became sort of relevant. He was the joke of the senate all these years. A complete fraud.sarahspeaks144 , 2 days ago div cla
Hard to win a campaign when you lack the spine needed to go after your opponent.Double Doink , 1 day ago
ss="comment-renderer-text-content expanded"> "The answer is there is no point," as cogently analyzed by our ever-faithful Jimmy Dore. "The Young Turks" are not progressive and neither is Bernie. In 2016, Cenk Uygar surrendered to the Hillary-Killary inevitability faster than Bernie could say, "Just let me know when it's time to quit." Here is the master conspiracy theory that resolves all of this. Bernie is paid by the DNC, Russia, and The Clinton Foundation to excite real Progressives that "the revolution will be televised." Then he caves. How effective is that plan? It channels and harnesses a critical mass of energy and momentum in order to throw it over the cliff. In two consecutive presidential elections, Bernie Sanders led the lemmings to the Pied Piper's house. How dumb are we? The establishment has framed a political strategy whereby the hopes of the people are continually and unrelentingly crushed by the smoke-and-mirrors deceptions of their elusive "leader." Eventually, the poor deluded people simply stop believing in any of it, and the establishment wins. Can anyone prove me wrong?ppm120667 , 2 days ago
The DNC is really brilliant in the way they stomp out Progressives and still get them to vote for their corporate stooges in the end.Wells , 2 days ago (edited)
Also George Carlin said "lazy selfish people elect lazy selfish politicians" .Scara Mouche , 2 days ago
"You vote for the whoever is least worst and then you push them in the direction you can." But you give up all of your leverage to move them as soon as you vote for them...Big Deeper , 2 days ago
"Their there to destroy any threat to corporate america." And Bernie a cog in that machineTorris Bin Anunnaki , 1 day ago
Bernie sold everyone out. He's a two time loser who fleeced his dumb supporters to buy houses.Jose Penuelas , 2 days ago
Aaron on Bernie's fecklessness: credulity, cowardice and careerismdarrenandkam , 1 day ago
They're still pretending buttigieg won Iowa?Jesse Anderson , 1 day ago
Bernie Sanders was a plant, just there to mislead the working class that they have someone truly fighting for they cause. While robbing us of our money and time.compassionistheway , 1 day ago
Bernie was too old in 2016. He's way too old now. He didn't want it. He didn't have the fight or the drive. He was just going through the motions. Probably for another book deal.
Sadly it seems Bernie turned out to be representative of "not so obvious establishment." Bernie has done this to us twice now. He has funneled sincere supporters who want real change towards establishment. Earlier towards Hillary and this time towards Biden.Bernie with his endorsement has lost my respect.
Apr 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgGoDark , Apr 13 2020 19:42 utc | 21Sanders supporting Biden just as his message had relevance suggests he was a "stalking horse" from the very beginning. If the DNC replaces Biden with Governor Cuomo (New York) or Governor Newsom (California) ... in spite of the primary elections ... it will prove beyond a doubt that democracy in the USA is a sham. The evidence suggests that federal elections are decided in back rooms and then posted on the Internet with storylines that fake elections.
No wonder neoliberals (a euphemism for globalists) hate Trump. He pulled a fast one on the establishment. Hillary rolled up a few population centers ... but they forgot about the Electoral College that abrogates "one man one vote" in Presidential elections by giving the states in the Great Flyover more votes than the coasts. Trump "out scammed the scammers" ... a cardinal sin in neoliberal politics. The neoliberals desperately want revenge to ensure this never happens again.
Jackrabbit , Apr 13 2020 19:58 utc | 26Dumbass sheeple fooled again .Stonebird , Apr 13 2020 20:00 utc | 27
Bernie, Hillary, Biden, and other Duopoly asshats are LMFAO. It never grows old.
Can we now treat the dembot trolls like the cancer they are?
!!Pindos | Apr 13 2020 18:51 utc | 5Circe , Apr 13 2020 20:18 utc | 29
"Sanders - a weak commie. His jew pals are embarrassed. 🤢"
You got it the wrong way round.
On the morning after Sanders withdrew from the race DMFI** president Mark Mellman sent out an email to supporters expressing his pleasure over the result. He also took some credit for the outcome "Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign for president. That's a big victory -- one you helped bring about."
Mellman also reminded his associates that the victory was only a first step in making sure that the Democratic Party platform continues to be pro-Israel, writing that "Extreme groups aligned with Sanders, as well as some of his top surrogates -- including Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar -- have publicly declared an effort to make the platform anti-Israel. As a career political professional, I will tell you that if Democrats adopt an anti-Israel platform this year, the vocabulary, views, and votes of politicians will shift against us dramatically. We simply can't afford to lose this battle."
**Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) . The DMFI is a registered political action committee (PAC) that lobbies on behalf of the Jewish state. It was organized in 2019 by Democratic Party activists to counter what was perceived to be pro-Palestinian sentiment within the party's progressive wing.
Basically they did a "Corbyn" on a candidate who was considered a "socialist" and too pro-Palestinian.The following quote has been attributed to Lyndon B. Johnson by Ronald Kessler, journalist and historian.:Adrian E. , Apr 13 2020 20:42 utc | 32These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.
I'll have those n**gers voting Democratic for 200 years.
Looks like Johnson was right! All it took was the Civil Rights Act to get blacks to vote against their best interests for 56 years. So there's 144 years left before blacks realize they sold their soul to a blue devil that's no different from the red devil and until progressives will finally have a real democracy. Oh how I despise herd mentality.
Look, I'm not going to trash Bernie Sanders, because I know his heart, and I now see the majority of blacks will never be with him no matter what he tried to gain their confidence, so he was doomed whichever way you look at it.
That said, Biden is out of the question and I'll be damned if Democrats are going to win after what they pulled on Bernie again.
Looks like Ziofascist Trump regime is set to win again.How almost everyone dropped out after the South Carolina primary looks staged. But Sanders, the sheepdog candidate is also a part of the play, whether he is fully aware of it.Miss Lacy , Apr 13 2020 20:42 utc | 33
What reason would there be for voting for a corrupt neoliberal proponent of all illegal US wars of aggression who played a key role for mass incarceration and whose career was bankrolled by the credit card industry and other special interests? Close to none, certainly for people who are remotely progressive. There had been little reason for supporting a far-right warmonger like Biden a few years ago, and with obvious signs of mental decline, there are hardly more reasons.
But with Bernie Sanders, a center-left candidate who, in contrast to Biden, has some semblance of personal integrity, campaigning for the corrupt warmonger, there may be the hope that some people who do not share Biden's far right views will still vote for him. But I think Sanders' behavior does more for undermining his own credibility than for creating the illusion that Biden has any credibility.So there I was wreching - Bernie endorses the babbling crook Biden... and then - well full on barfing! Michelle O'Bomber!!??? What exactly is her skill set? other than the fact that she is married to the manchurian O'Bomber - who bombed at least one somebody - often without even knowing the victims name/s - Every Single Day of his Miserable Regime. Just call him Mr. Dyncorp. Really, as William Griff observed in another thread, murkans areJen , Apr 13 2020 20:47 utc | 34
completely irreparably delusional.Sad to see that whatever political legacy Bernie Sanders leaves behind, it will be tainted by his behaviour and decisions he made during his Presidential election campaigns in 2016 and 2020. Particularly inexplicable is how he failed to challenge the Super Tuesday results back in March. Surely of all people, given his career background, Sanders could have disputed the results.Covergirl , Apr 13 2020 21:12 utc | 38Makes me wonder if Bernie was an "asset" the whole time. Certain elements make more sense that way. I am both horrified and amused at the way progressives seem to be on board with the sellout. Ah well, looks like I'll actually have to vote for Trump this time. Didn't see that coming but I'll be damned if I silently consent to Biden being President.gm , Apr 13 2020 21:36 utc | 42
I'll have to start building guillotines for the spike in demand come next year.Former longtime Bernie-booster Jimmy Dore has been ripping Sanders relentlessly (and hilariously) on his YT channel for weeks, ever since Bernie rolled over and went dead during debate w/Biden.Piero Colombo , Apr 13 2020 22:59 utc | 47Sandersites here can protest all they want that they did not expect "this", it doesn't change the fact that Sanders was nothing but the sheepdog that gets out at every election season. Now that all those Sanders-supporting boobies have definitively destroyed any chance of doing anything significant in the way of third parties, it's useless to protest that they "won't vote Biden". The useless Hopium-addicted gulls already did the wrecking job, even though they had been warned. Both times. Good job... liberals.A User , Apr 14 2020 0:58 utc | 55re Josh | Apr 14 2020 0:44 utc | 54 who claimed "When he decided to run as a Democrat you have to sign a contract that you will endorse the person nominated" As you conceeded it isn't the convention yet so sanders did not have to endorse right now. That and the way it was done - not a quiet press release, he took part in creepy joe's campaign release to make his fawning pronouncement. Nowhere does that get stated in any 'contract'.
It is plain that if sanders isn't some sort of dungeon visiting masochist who enjoys the humiliation, he has to be a run of the mill greedhead prepared to do say anything that will get a cash payoff. That was probably his plan from the beginning as everything he did from the 1st caucus to the end was all about scraping and bowing to his 'betters' no mind what cheating and robbery was inflicted on his campaign.
A liar, a sellout who has created another generation of cynics - well done 'bernie'.
Jan 09, 2020 | copy-shake-paste.blogspot.comIt's 2020 and I'm still bogged down, not finished with my notes from half a year ago on the ENAI conference. What can I say? Life and all....
So let's start the new year with a discussion on predatory publishers. Deborah Poff gave a keynote speech at the ENAI conference 2019 on the topic, and as COPE chair she has now published a discussion paper on the topic. There are a number of irritating points, as Elisabeth Bik points out in a Twitter thread, but on the whole this is a good paper to get this very important discussion going in the new year.
How can we tell whether or not a journal is legitimate or not? Legitimate in the sense that rigorous peer-review is not just stated, but actually done? We are in a current world situation in which certain groups attack science because it is informing us of uncomfortable truths. Predatory publishers offer a welcome point of attack, as the weaknesses of the "science" they publish are immediately assumed for all science. The "self-regulation" of science has been shown in recent years to not actually do the work it is supposed to do, despite the efforts of so many to point out issues that need attention.
Researchers need guidance about publication venues. Beall's list was taken down for legal reasons, but there is a web site that publishes an archived copy of the list that was taken on 15 January 2017. That was soon after the 2017 list was published.
There is a checklist available at thinkchecksubmit.org that is useful, but not a list of problematic publications, probably for legal reasons.
We can't keep putting out heads in the sand about the problems of academic misconduct. If we only look away, we let people get away with bad science, and that then reflects on us all. Posted by Debora Weber-Wulff at 10:52 AM
After lunch we had the Plenary session on
Predatory publishing and other challenges of new models to share knowledge
I was really looking forward to this session and it didn't disappoint!
Deborah C. Poff , the new COPE chair and a philosopher from Ottawa titled her talk "Complexities and approaches to predatory publishing"
She spoke at lightning speed, getting faster as time began running out. It could have been at least a two-hour lecture, so jam-packed it was with really good stuff. I could barely keep up, so I hope I get the highlights right.
A definition for predatory publishing is problematic, as there is much overlap with legitimate but new or smallish publishers. She looked at necessary and sufficient conditions for a definition, but found that while deceit is necessary, sufficient conditions are vexing to try and capture.
PP cheat and deceive some authors charging publishing related fees without providing services; PP deceive academics into serving on editorial boards; PP appoint editorial board members without knowledge; no peer review; refuse to retract or withdraw problematic papers; etc.
The list goes on: Misleading reporting, language issues, lack of ethical oversight, lack of declarations of conflicts of interest, lack of corrections or retractions, lack of qualified EiC (if any), made-up rejection rates, false impact factors, false claims of being indexed in legitimate indexes, falsely claiming membership in publication ethics organization including forgery and falsifying logos of such organization. COPE apparently had to fight a forged COPE logo.
What should we call them, anyway? Arguments against the term "predatory": It is not descriptive or instructive, so some suggest using fake, rouge, questionable, parasitic, deceptive, etc.; predatory suggests victims, powerless people who are acted upon without their full knowledge, while a number of studies have shown that some scholars knowingly publish in such journals; Calling the issue "predatory" obviates or mitigates the personal responsibility for choosing where to publish.
The best argument for using the term: Since Jeffrey Beall coined the term, why not use it?
COPE is undecided on what name is best.
I particularly liked Deborah's stakeholder analysis of who or what is harmed by these publishers:
- The innocent author who is duped into paying for services without receiving them. They may lose status when peers discover that they have published in such a journal, and it can even lead to investigations. Since many such publishers refuse to retract, the damage done may be long-term.
- Legitimate Open Access Journals are easily confused with predatory Open Access Journals
- Legitimate journals which are not top ranked or may not follow best practice are also easily confused with them.
- Research and funding sources : This depends on whether the research published is legitimate or not. If the research is shoddy and gets published by a PP journal, it may be cited and thus pollutes the scholarly record. If a scandal arises, the scandal may tarnish publicly funded research.
- Universities and their role in knowledge creation.
- Citizens who pay taxes.
- She pointed out that predatory publishers make a great business ethics case. In closing, she sees only two things that can be done:
- Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware) - use Think / Check / Submit : do you read the journal yourself? Do you cite research published there? Do your colleagues? Who is the editor-in-chief?
- Addressing and pursuing predatory publishers as businesses committing criminal acts. The USA Federal Trade Commission won a court case agains the owner of OMICS and the company itself. The courts fined OMICS $50.1 million.
... ... ...
Then Matt Hodgkinson , Head of Research Integrity @ Hindawi Ltd., London, took the stage to give "A view of predatory publishing from an open access publisher". He first gave a bit of a historical overview and told us a bit about Hindawi. It was founded in Cairo in 1997, publishing the first subscription journals in 1999. In 2007 all journals were flipped to Open Access. In 2016 they created their Research Integrity team that handles all issues that arise at their journals. The headquarters of Hindawi moved to London in 2017.
He spoke of the impact that predatory journals have on legitimate, Open Access journals: they are tarred with the same brush. They also create false impressions for authors, who now expect undue speed in legitimate publishers, and out of impatience (Matt called it "gazumping") dual submissions to see which journal publishes first. They have had so many instances of this, Matt told me over coffee, that they check for text similarity online twice: once at submission, and once more just before publication. Many times they have caught double dippers this way.
He expanded the concept of predatory publishers to what he called the " Cargo cult " publishers (ones who publish unedited theses or the Wikipedia as "books"), paper mills, the selling of authorship and faked peer-review. He also noted that the subscription model is not immune to fakery - there are subscription journals that closely mirror the titles of legitimate publishers, something called hijacking.
He closed with some scandals (publications about elephant autism or space octopi) and then listed some of the newest ideas, the various pre-print server. The question arises, however, how sustainable such initiatives are.
Although I was planning on visiting another session, Jenny Byrne insisted that the session on checking data and images would be very interesting, and she was right. I had thought that Elisabeth Bik was the only person around perusing doctored images, but it turns out there are quite a number of initiatives.
Apr 10, 2020 | www.rt.com
I was there in the arena, watching him concede in 2016 – and shortly thereafter in the media tent, where a bunch of Sanders delegates had walked out in protest. A colleague of mine was outside the perimeter fence, covering the protest by tens of thousands of Democrats outraged by the party establishment's conduct. When we interviewed them, a lot of these people vowed never to vote Democrat again.
A few months earlier in Atlanta, I heard Sanders volunteers bluntly say they'd rather vote for Trump than for Clinton. When WikiLeaks published those internal emails showing the party was behind Hillary and actively sabotaging Bernie – which party chair Donna Brazile later confirmed as true – the DNC ran damage control by blaming Russia. But the voters remembered – and Trump won.
Sanders tried again in 2020, but the script began repeating itself right from the start. In Iowa, the party establishment and their media allies desperately propped up Pete Buttigieg (anyone remember him?) and others. Biden, anointed as the front-runner for the purposes of Ukrainegate, wasn't even on the map – until he won South Carolina, and everyone suddenly fell into line behind him.
Apr 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Really?? , Apr 9 2020 18:51 utc | 114Stonebird @ 30
The Cargo Cult segment of the 1963 documentary "Mondo Cane" can be viewed here (it is the last segment of the film):
Apr 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
dave , Apr 8 2020 20:18 utc | 79Bernie was the sheepdog of the DNC that kept people from organizing outside of the two party hustle(system).
People were pointing this out to his supporters very early on in this cycle using last cycle as evidence yet no one listened.
If there is a next cycle let's hope Bernie didn't ruin them for political action and they finally figure out they need to go against the entire establishment machine instead of trying to reform one half of the mafia from within.
Trailer Trash , Apr 8 2020 19:53 utc | 72>Those bashing Bernie should understand that there was no way in hellben , Apr 8 2020 19:44 utc | 70
> the establishment (party duopoly and corporate media complex) was
> going to let him win.
People here paying attention knew he wouldn't be allowed to win. So did Bernie also know this, and went along with the charade, or did he not know, thus showing that he is a complete fool and nincompoop?
Knowing he could not win, a real radical would've been building a movement, not an electoral machine. He did earn lots of delegates but threw them all away instead of taking them to the convention and cause a ruckus.
No one will be talking about Bernie's ideas by next month, but there will be plenty of US peons desperate for food and shelter. Will Bernie's movement be there to organize them and help them get the necessities of life?
The sad part is all the effort and resources wasted on Bernie the Bozo's campaign. That campaign money could've bought a lot of groceries and tents.Rob @ 48 said;"The coming general election will feature the two least qualified candidates in U.S. history. Trump is a malignant narcissist and very stupid, while Biden is a corporatist and a hawk in addition to being senile."vk , Apr 8 2020 19:43 utc | 69
Agreed, and your comment is probably too kind to both..
Bernie is like much of the so-called left, they've forgotten how to fight, by surrounding themselves with DNC hacks. Never the less, his ideas are credible, and shouldn't be forgotten.
Don't see how DJT can lose in Nov., but stranger things have happened. Regardless, I'll never vote Biden, and if DJT wins, the U$A gets what it deserves, whatever that is.
All Bernie can do is continue to collect delegates, and hope to move Biden leftward, to at least support Medicare for all, which, given the state of healthcare in our present pandemic, might gain some traction.
Still in all, very interesting times..Let the battle for America's soul begin:Kabobyak , Apr 8 2020 20:10 utc | 76
Trump blames Warren & DNC for Sanders ending campaign, INVITES 'Bernie people' to the Republican Party
'I need to earn your votes': Biden
As I've said in this blog many times, my bet is the American working classes will choose fascism. And I'll complement my thesis: the sandernistas will be the decisive factor.Can't believe we're even still speculating or fretting over Bernie's dropping out. His supporters can be oh so sad that his ideas were the best, but the dastardly "establishment" just wouldn't go along! He lost me in 2016 with his sheepdogging; he lost me in 2019 for not attacking Biden's corruption and war-mongering, but the killer for me was Bernie embracing the moronic and dangerous Russiagate narrative. The sunlight is shining onto many areas, as Caitlin Johnstone says, if we can wake up and see it and create a real movement for sane actions and policies. Bernie's "movement" was designed to be a feel-good exercise in support of empire.
Mar 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Allen , Mar 27 2020 1:57 utc | 113The money-driven institutions long ago hijacked America's health agencies–the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), FDA, Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Mental Health, and the USDA– authentic scientific inquiry of any sort is virtually impossible in this climate.
During the past two decades the lines dividing the pharmaceutical industry and the federal health agencies has become increasingly blurred to put it kindly. The revolving door between private interests and top government employees at these agencies is well documented. One example is former CDC director Julie Gerberding who left government to become president of Merck's vaccine division, a move that earned her upwards of $3 million in stock options.
Keep in mind that CDC members own more than 50 patents connected to vaccinations.
Each of the 12 members of the CDC's ACIP Committee has a significant influence on the health of nearly every member of the American population. These are the people who are responsible for adding to and/or altering the national vaccine schedule. Does anyone believe for a second that given that these CDC members have a direct financial interest in this matter that they can remain objective and unbiased in creating vaccine policy, for example.
A significant number of ACIP committee members receive direct financial returns when more vaccinations are added to the current schedule. Many own vaccination related patents.
Some examples of patents owned or shared by members of the CDC and/or ACIP committee are;
1) Nucleic acid vaccines for prevention of flavivirus infection"
2) Various vaccination testing methods
3) Adjuvant patents
4) Assays that assist vaccine development
5) Vaccine quality control
Members of the CDC also own stock shares of the pharmaceutical companies responsible for supplying new vaccines to the public. Others receive research grant money, funding for their academic departments, or payments for the oversight of vaccine safety trials.
In 2007 the WHO changed it's definition of what qualifies as a pandemic. That needs to considered in the context of how the WHO changing it's funding mechanisms in 2005- meaning they went from a member states funded entity to a "private/public" partnership (PPP's).
As you might imagine the pharmaceuticals became primary donors and began to influence and now control policy decisions that come down from the WHO. Let's also keep in mind that when a "global pandemic" (again this is now defined by a decision-making body tied to large Pharma companies) is officially declared, certain powers now become "legal" for governments.
One of THE main outcomes in these PPP's is that virtually all funding for medical research gets funneled into certain spheres- meaning towards research that is ultimately going to benefit those companies funding it- Big Pharma.
Mar 26, 2020 | www.unz.com
Kratoklastes , says: Show Comment Next New Comment March 25, 2020 at 6:16 pm GMT@thotmonger
I also remember some of early estimates of Mad Cow disease in humans in UK and they turned out to be very exaggerated.
When the political class was trying to de-gay HIV/AIDS in 1987, they had Oprah tell everyone that 20% of heterosexual people would be dead before 1990.
The first I learned of Oprah's jaw-droppingly sensationalist remarks, was in a piece a couple of days ago on AmericanThinker (which sounds like a rare bird indeed, if not an outright oxymoron – but it has good stuff from time to time).
Anyhow, it was an interesting piece – entitled " Reflections on a Century of Junk Science " by the author of " Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture ", which I will acquire today. (The book's 11 years old, but sounds like it will be along the same lines as Kendrick's " Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense ", which was excellent).
Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
denk , Mar 22 2020 16:39 utc | 23Obama the prez for 'change',
Trump the 'lesser evil',
Tulsi the 'peacenik',
SaNder the 'progressive'....
The murkkans fall for it, every single time.
Mar 22, 2020 | www.youtube.com
MiDikGon Lapitise , 23 minutes ago
Kay Paden , 1 hour ago
Jimmy look like a boy in middle school when his girlfriend breaks up with him but she says we can still be friends
Ouu Baaa , 1 hour ago
Tulsi on mask shortage-"It's hard to imagine how this could be happening in America." Really? You're surprised the corrupt two-party that you insist we choose between got us here?
Nicolas Cooper , 2 hours ago
Andrew Yang just admitted that he endorsed Biden cause he got offered a position in his cabinet should Biden become president. Tulsi of course would never do that XD .
Kim Young , 3 hours ago
Meryl Streep should give Tulsi an award for Best Actress.
Alpa Cino , 2 hours ago
And she thinks endorsing Joe is going to help climate change?
Citizen Harrison , 2 hours ago
What a fraud 😂
Wolfking Of SI , 3 hours ago (edited)
20:13 "and that's a decision motivated by.." POVERTY. They use the poor to fight in these goddamn wars.
Remy Williams , 2 hours ago
Tulsi just admit that "your party" is corrupt horse plop. You should have left and started a 3rd party.
Guy Smiley , 1 hour ago
I wonder how strong the Progressive movement would've been if careerists like Gabbard and Warren stayed away and the front was unified from the beginning.
Alice Wonderland , 4 hours ago
When Jimmy started his live video the day she announced supporting Biden, I said to myself "I bet anything he blames Bernie for her dropping out and supporting Biden." Low and behold, he did.
Leo Fain , 1 hour ago
"How and where my best. . . (interests lay). Freudian slip.
Armand Raynal , 3 hours ago
First Yang and now Tulsi this is heartbreaking all of them are fake af
Norris Hude , 1 hour ago
6:56 "which is something I always said I would do btw, that I would support the eventual democratic nominee" Am I living in a parallel dimension? The primary is not finished yet, you can still endorse Biden when it will be over if he wins the primary but endorse Bernie for the moment. Is it that hard? Ho right, I forgot, the primary is rigged and we all know that Biden the senile kid diddler and liar will be the nominee one way or another. Fucked up, but she's not helping. She probably knows she'll be kicked out of politics if she does not endorse biden and cares more about her career than doing the right thing.
David Richardson , 1 minute ago
War is ingrained into US society, "Thankyou for your service" says it all. Heroes in America are obviously those who go to war at the behest of the zionists and the corporations.
Amparo Zarza Cardoso , 25 minutes ago
"I don't play the political game" Next sentence "I'm pragmatic"
Charles Wilson , 8 minutes ago (edited)
Two words to Gabbard: incongruent and liar
Eric Zvonchenko , 2 hours ago
"The scope of the effects of this are difficult to comprehend at this time..." This is truly amazing that someone in the government has the audacity to blame a virus for people's inability to "make rent" when it was them that created the current hysteria and panic. There is a pandemic. I agree. But so far counting all of the cases that we know about, it is no where even close to the season flue that we see every year! And the government is shutting down businesses! It is a shame that they are using the current situation to further the idea that people are dependent on the government to survive! How far we as a nation and a people have fallen from the ideals that created this nation in the first place! I am disgusted!
Hermann G Lippe , 2 hours ago
Biden is not the Democratic nominee. She is supporting Biden over Sanders not Biden over trump.
Like Bernie, Tulsi is just another TWO FACED Globalist Presstitute. Tulsi says her platform is to stop regime change and bring are troops home! Why does she then endorse Biden who supports regime change and keeping troops in the middle east? Tulsi says she does this to defeat Trump but Trump campaigned to stop regime change and bring are troops home!
Mar 20, 2020 | www.youtube.comChristo Aivalis 20.3K subscribers Earlier today, Tulsi Gabbard announced she was dropping out of the presidential primary and endorsing Joe Biden for President. Many Tulsi supporters felt betrayed by this move, but it fits the ideological similarities between Tulsi and Biden. It also shows that like with Andrew Yang, Gabbard's anti-establishment image was only superficial, and it shows that Bernie Sanders is the only one meaningfully challenging the political, social, and economic status quo It also shows that those neoliberal democrats who attacked Tulsi as a Russian Asset seem fine with her now, as long as she falls in line. I wonder how Jimmy Dore is feeling?
#Bernie2020 Support me on Patreon: https://patreon.com/ChristoAivalis Support me on PayPal: https://www.payfpal.com/paypalme2/chri... For Christo Aivalis: Twitter: https://twitter.com/christoaivalis Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christoaival... Website: https://www.christoaivalis.com Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/christoaivalis1
The Militant Vegan , 23 hours ago
Open Mind , 23 hours ago
What a sellout, shameful. So much for being anti establishment anti war endorsing Biden who has voted for regime change wars
VeryUs Mumblings , 23 hours ago
sound kinda fishy as Biden was talking about a Female VP .
Robert James , 23 hours ago
I hope Benedict Gabbard will enjoy her vacation to Mt Hypocrite.
Captain Pawpaw , 23 hours ago (edited)
Tulsi is out for herself.
Ben Reilly , 23 hours ago (edited)
I thought she was anti-war, yet she supports Biden, what a shame, I can't believe it, she was so fake all along, it's like a bad movie twist... is there even one decent politician in USA, besides Bernie?
B. Greene , 23 hours ago
It's a bummer. She really had so much potential especially after she endorsed Bernie the first time. Now Idk. Williamson is the only one who genuinely went to the most progressive candidate without hesitating. #DemocracyDiesInDarkness
Endorsing an Imperialist warmonger. Seriously, WTF???
Mar 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
R ussia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.
On the surface, this conflict appears to be a fight between two of the world's largest producers of oil over market share. This may, in fact, be the motive driving Saudi Arabia, which reacted to Russia's refusal to reduce its level of oil production by slashing the price it charged per barrel of oil and threatening to increase its oil production, thereby flooding the global market with cheap oil in an effort to attract customers away from competitors.
Russia's motives appear to be far different -- its target isn't Saudi Arabia, but rather American shale oil. After absorbing American sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector, and working with global partners (including Saudi Arabia) to keep oil prices stable by reducing oil production even as the United States increased the amount of shale oil it sold on the world market, Russia had had enough. The advent of the Coronavirus global pandemic had significantly reduced the demand for oil around the world, stressing the American shale producers. Russia had been preparing for the eventuality of oil-based economic warfare with the United States. With U.S. shale producers knocked back on their heels, Russia viewed the time as being ripe to strike back. Russia's goal is simple: to make American shale oil producers " share the pain ".
The United States has been slapping sanctions on Russia for more than six years, ever since Russia took control (and later annexed) the Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The first sanctions were issued on March 6, 2014, through Executive Order 13660 , targeting "persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets."
The most recent round of sanctions was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 18, 2020, by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela's oil sector. The U.S. also recently targeted the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream gas pipeline projects.
Russia had been signaling its displeasure over U.S. sanctions from the very beginning. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. sanctions were "driving into a corner" relations between the two countries, threatening the "the long-term national interests of the U.S. government and people." Russia opted to ride out U.S. sanctions, in hopes that there might be a change of administrations following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he hoped the U.S. might elect someone whose policies would be more friendly toward Russia, and that once the field of candidates narrowed down to a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Putin favored Trump .
"Yes, I did," Putin remarked after the election, during a joint press conference with President Trump following a summit in Helsinki in July 2018. "Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal."
Putin's comments only reinforced the opinions of those who embraced allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as fact and concluded that Putin had some sort of hold over Trump. Trump's continuous praise of Putin's leadership style only reinforced these concerns.
Even before he was inaugurated, Trump singled out Putin's refusal to respond in kind to President Obama's levying of sanctions based upon the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the election. "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!" Trump Tweeted . Trump viewed the Obama sanctions as an effort to sabotage any chance of a Trump administration repairing relations with Russia, and interpreted Putin's refusal to engage, despite being pressured to do so by the Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry, as a recognition of the same.
This sense of providing political space in the face of domestic pressure worked both ways. In January 2018, Putin tried to shield his relationship with President Trump by calling the release of a list containing some 200 names of persons close to the Russian government by the U.S. Treasury Department as a hostile and "stupid" move .
"Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies," Putin remarked. "So all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list. What is the point of this? I don't understand."
From the Russian perspective, the list highlighted the reality that the U.S. viewed the entire Russian government as an enemy and is a byproduct of the "political paranoia" on the part of U.S. lawmakers. The consequences of this, senior Russian officials warned, "will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead."
While President Trump entered office fully intending to " get along with Russia ," including the possibility of relaxing the Obama-era sanctions , the reality of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as viewed from Congress, has been the strengthening of the Obama sanctions regime. These sanctions, strengthened over time by new measures signed off by Trump, have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, slowing growth and driving away foreign investment .
While Putin continued to show constraint in the face of these mounting sanctions, the recent targeting of Russia's energy sector represented a bridge too far. When Saudi pressure to cut oil production rates coincided with a global reduction in the demand for oil brought on by the Coronavirus crisis, Russia struck.
The timing of the Russian action is curious, especially given the amount of speculation that there was some sort of personal relationship between Trump and Putin that the Russian leader sought to preserve and carry over into a potential second term. But Putin had, for some time now, been signaling that his patience with Trump had run its course. When speaking to the press in June 2019 about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, Putin noted that "They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," adding that "The current [i.e., Trump] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years."
By launching an oil price war on the eve of the American Presidential campaign season, Putin has sent as strong a signal as possible that he no longer views Trump as an asset, if in fact he ever did. Putin had hoped Trump could usher in positive change in the trajectory of relations between the two nations; this clearly had not happened. Instead, in the words of close Putin ally Igor Sechin , the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the U.S. was using its considerable energy resources as a political weapon, ushering in an era of "power colonialism" that sought to expand U.S. oil production and market share at the expense of other nations.
From Russia's perspective, the growth in U.S. oil production -- which doubled in output from 2011 until 2019 -- and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil, was directly linked to the suppression of oil export capability in nations such as Venezuela and Iran through the imposition of sanctions. While this could be tolerated when the target was a third party, once the U.S. set its sanctioning practices on Russian energy, the die was cast.
If the goal of the Russian-driven price war is to make U.S. shale companies "share the pain," they have already succeeded. A similar price war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 for the express purpose of suppressing U.S. shale oil production, failed, but only because investors were willing to prop up the stricken shale producers with massive loans and infusion of capital. For shale oil producers, who use an expensive methodology of extraction known as "fracking," to be economically viable, the breakeven price of oil per barrel needs to be between $40 and $60 dollars. This was the price range the Saudi's were hoping to sustain when they proposed the cuts in oil production that Russia rejected.
The U.S. shale oil producers, saddled by massive debt and high operational expenses, will suffer greatly in any sustained oil price war. Already, with the price of oil down to below $35 per barrel, there is talk of bankruptcy and massive job layoffs -- none of which bode well for Trump in the coming election.
It's clear that Russia has no intention of backing off anytime soon. According to the Russian Finance Ministry , said on Russia could weather oil prices of $25-30 per barrel for between six and ten years. One thing is for certain -- U.S. shale oil companies cannot.
In a sign that the Trump administration might be waking up to the reality of the predicament it faces, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quietly met with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov. According to a read out from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two discussed economic sanctions, the Venezuelan economy, and the potential for "trade and investment." Mnuchin, the Russians noted, emphasized the "importance of orderly energy markets."
Russia is unlikely to fold anytime soon. As Admiral Josh Painter, a character in Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October," famously said , "Russians don't take a dump without a plan."
Russia didn't enter its current course of action on a whim. Its goals are clearly stated -- to defeat U.S. shale oil -- and the costs of this effort, both economically and politically (up to and including having Trump lose the 2020 Presidential election) have all been calculated and considered in advance. The Russian Bear can only be toyed with for so long without generating a response. We now know what that response is; when the Empire strikes back, it hits hard.
Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, including his forthcoming, Scorpion King: America's Embrace of Nuclear Weapons From FDR to Trump (2020).
Mar 10, 2020 | www.unz.com
Numerous so-called "front groups" operate in the United States. A front group is very simply an organization that pretends to have a certain program while at the same time using that identity as cover to promote a hidden agenda that is something quite different, often opposed to what is being said publicly. The Global Climate Coalition is, for example, an organization funded by fossil fuel providers that works to deny climate change and other related issues. The Groundwater Protection Council does not protect water resources at all and instead receives its money from the fracking industry, which resists any regulation of water pollution it causes. The Partnership for a New American Economy has nothing to do with protecting the U.S. economy and instead seeks to replace American workers with H1B immigrant laborers. Even the benign sounding National Sleep Foundation, is in reality a Big Pharma creation intended to convince Americans that they need to regularly use sleep inducing drugs.
Front groups in a political context can be particularly dangerous as they deceive the voter into supporting candidates or promoting policies that have a hidden agenda. The Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is, for example, uninterested in preserving democracies unless that democracy is Israel, which many observers would prefer to describe as an apartheid state. It is funded by Zionists billionaires and its leadership meets regularly with Israeli officials. The American Enterprise Institute is likewise a neocon mouthpiece for economic imperialism and regime change disguising itself as a free market advocate and the Brookings Institution is its liberal interventionist counterpart.
Front groups are sometimes largely fictional, on occasion creations of an intelligence agency to give the impression that there exists in a country a formidable opposition to policies pursued by the governing regime. Recent developments in Venezuela and Bolivia rather suggest the CIA creation of front groups in both countries while the Ukrainian regime change that took place in 2014 also benefited greatly from a U.S. created and supported opposition to the legitimate Viktor Yanukovych government.
Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
You've heard it so often that you may well believe it's true: Trump's second term would be a disaster. For the Democratic Party. For the United States. For democracy itself. "The reelection of Donald Trump," warns Nancy Pelosi, "would do irreparable damage to the United States."
But would it really?
Exceptions are a normal part of history but the record suggests that Trump would not be one of the few presidents who get much done during their second terms. There are three reasons for the sophomore slump:
By definition, political honeymoons expire (well) before the end of a president's first term. Elections have consequences in the form of policy changes that make good on campaign promises. But turning a pledge into reality comes at a cost. Capital gets spent, promises are broken, alliances shatter. Oftentimes, those changes prove disappointing. Recent example: Obamacare. Voters often express their displeasure by punishing the party that controls the White House with losses in Congress in midterm elections.
The permanent campaign fed by the 24-7 news cycle makes lame ducks gimpier than ever. Before a president gets to take his or her second oath of office, news media and future hopefuls are already looking four years ahead.
Scandals come usually home to roost during second terms. It's tough to push laws through a Congress that is dragging your top officials through one investigation after another.
I'm not suggesting that President Trump deserves a second term. He didn't deserve a first one. He's a terrible person and an awful president. What I'm saying is that it is more likely than not that he has already done most of the damage that he can do.
Pundits and Democratic politicians have been pushing a self-serving narrative that implies that everything Trump has done so far was merely a warm-up for the main event, that he would want and be able to go even further if given the chance if November 2020 goes his way.
That doesn't make sense. Who in their right mind thinks Trump has been holding anything back? Which president has failed to go big within a year or two?
An achievement-filled second term would be a major reversal of recent historical precedent. Things may get worse under four more years of this idiot, but not much worse as the Democratic doomsday cult warns.
President Obama didn't get much done during his second term, which began with the bungled rollout of the federal and state "health exchanges." He signed the Paris climate accord, renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba and negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran. But the ease with which his successor canceled those achievements showcased both the ephemerality of policies pushed through without thorough public propaganda and a general sense that second-term laws and treaties are easy to annul. I hope Obama enjoyed all those trips to Martha's Vineyard because that's pretty much all he has to show for term number two.
George W. Bush screwed up one thing after another during his second four years in office, which was bookended by his hapless non-response to the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and his role in the ineffective and wasteful bailout of Wall Street megabanks during the subprime mortgage financial crisis. What began as an illegal war of aggression against Iraq became, after reelection, a catastrophic quagmire that destroyed America's international reputation.
Whatever the merits of Bill Clinton's legislative and policy agenda -- welfare reform, NAFTA and bombing Kosovo would all have happened under a Republican president -- having anything substantial or positive to point to was well in the rearview mirror by his second term, when he found himself embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky affair and impeachment.
Reagan was both senile and bogged down in Iran Contra.
Even the most productive and prolific president of the 20th century had little to show for his second term. FDR's legacy would be nearly as impressive today if he'd only served four years.
Anything could happen. Donald Trump may use his second term to push dramatic changes. If there were another terrorist attack, for example, he would probably try to exploit national shock and fear to the political advantage of the right. Another Supreme Court justice could pass away. On the other hand, Trump is old, clinically obese and out of shape. He might die. It's doubtful that Mike Pence, a veep chosen for his lack of charisma, would be able to carry on the Trump tradition as more than the head of a caretaker government.
Analysts differ on what Trump 2.0 might look like. Regardless of their perspective, however, no one expects anything big.
"If Trump wins a second term this November," James Pethokoukis writes in The Week, Trump "might propose more tax cuts, but they are more likely to be payroll tax cuts geared toward middle-class workers instead of income tax cuts for rich people and corporations. He'll look for a new Federal Reserve chair less worried about inflation than current boss Jerome Powell, who deserves at least partial credit for the surging stock market and continuing expansion. Trump will let the national debt soar rather than trimming projected Medicare and Social Security benefits. And there will be more protectionism, although it may be called 'industrial policy.'"
"The early outlines of the [second-term] agenda are starting to emerge," Andrew Restuccia reports in The Wall Street Journal. "Among the issues under consideration: continuing the administration's efforts to lower prescription drug prices, pushing for a broad infrastructure bill and taking another crack at reforming the country's immigration system, [White House] officials said." They also want to reduce the deficit.
Under Trump, immigration reform is never a good thing. But it's hard to imagine anything major happening without Democratic cooperation.
Internationally, many observers expect Trump to continue to nurture his isolationist tendencies. But President Bernie Sanders would probably have similar impulses to focus on America First.
By all means, vote against Trump. But don't freak out at the thought of a second term.
Mourn what happened under the first one instead -- and work to reverse it.
Mar 10, 2020 | www.wsws.org
The campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is making a last-ditch stand in the Michigan primary Tuesday, amid mounting indications that the Democratic Party as a whole has moved decisively into the camp of his main rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders cancelled rallies in Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois -- all states where he trails Biden in the polls -- in order to concentrate all his efforts in Michigan, where he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris endorsed Biden, the latest of nine former presidential contenders to announce their support for their one-time rival, joining Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Beto O'Rourke, John Delaney, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Deval Patrick. Harris is to join Biden for a campaign rally in Detroit Monday.
The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a "political revolution" that will bring about fundamental social change.
Former Vice President Biden is the personification of the decrepit and right-wing character of the Democratic Party. In the past 10 days alone, Biden has declared himself a candidate for the US Senate, rather than president, confused his wife and his sister as they stood on either side of him, called himself an "Obiden Bama Democrat," and declared that 150 million Americans died in gun violence over the past decade. This is not just a matter of Biden's declining mental state: it is the Democratic Party, not just its presidential frontrunner, that is verging on political senility.
It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus.
One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump.
Even more revolting, if that is possible, is the embrace of Biden by the black Democratic politicians. The former senator from Delaware is identified with some of the most repugnant episodes in the history of race relations in America: the abusive treatment of Anita Hill, when she testified against the nomination of Clarence Thomas, before Biden's Judiciary Committee; an alliance with segregationist James Eastland on school integration in the early 1970s, highlighted at a debate by Kamala Harris, eight months before she endorsed Biden; and the passage of a series of "law-and-order" bills that disproportionately jailed hundreds of thousands of African Americans, all of them pushed through the Senate by Biden.
How did a politician who boasted of his close relationships with Eastland and Strom Thurmond become the beneficiary of a virtual racial bloc vote by African Americans in the Southern states? Because African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party.
The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post by Colbert King, a former State Department official and local banker, a prominent member of the African American elite in the nation's capital, who wrote in outrage, "America's black billionaires have no place in a Bernie Sanders world."
King denounced the suggestion that black CEOs and billionaires are "greedy, corrupt threats to America's working families or the cause of economic disparities and human misery." Voicing the fears of his class, he continued, "I know there are those out there who buy the notion that America consists of a small class of privileged, rapacious super-rich lording over throngs of oppressed, capitalist-exploited workers. You can see it in poll numbers showing the share of Americans who prefer socialism to capitalism inching upward."
What the Washington Post columnist reveals is what Bernie Sanders has done his best to cover up: the Democratic Party is a party of the capitalist class. It can no more be converted to socialism than the CIA can become an instrument of the struggle against American imperialism.
True, Sanders can dredge up Jesse Jackson for a last-minute endorsement, proof that demagogues engaged in diverting mass left-wing sentiment into the graveyard of the Democratic Party recognize and embrace each other across the decades. But with that exception, the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden -- including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris.
Harris's statement is worth quoting. "I have decided that I am with great enthusiasm going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States," she said. "I believe in Joe. I really believe in him, and I have known him for a long time." The senator was no doubt responding to the incentives dangled in front of her by Biden after she left the race last December, when he gushed, "She is solid. She can be president someday herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice. She can be an attorney general."
Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. New Sanders television ads in Michigan feature a United Auto Workers member declaring that his state "has been decimated by trade deals," while Sanders declares that Biden backed NAFTA, drawing the conclusion, "With a record like that, we can't trust him to protect American jobs or defeat Donald Trump." The Vermont senator will find that very few auto workers follow the political lead of the corrupt gangsters who head the UAW.
More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump.
Indeed, in appearances on several Sunday television interview programs, Sanders went out of his way to repeat, as he said on Fox News, "Joe Biden is a friend of mine. Joe Biden is a decent guy. What Joe has said is if I win the nomination, he'll be there for me, and I have said if he wins the nomination, I'll be there for him "
Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.orgThere was this moment during the State of the Union Address that I can't stop thinking about.
When President Trump spoke to army wife Amy Wiliams during his speech and told her he'd arranged her husband's return home from Afghanistan as a "special surprise," it was difficult to watch.
Sgt. Townsend Williams then descended the stairs to reunite with his family after seven months of deployment. Congress cheered. A military family's reunion -- with its complicated feelings that are typically handled in private or on a base -- was used for an applause line.
That gimmick was the only glimpse many Americans will get of the human reality of our wars overseas. There is no such window into the lives or suffering of people in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, or beyond.
That's unacceptable. And so is the myth that Trump is actually ending the wars.
The U.S. has reached a deal with the Taliban to remove 3,400 of the 12,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, with the pledge to withdraw more if certain conditions are met. That's a long overdue first step, as U.S. officials are finally recognizing the war is a disaster and are negotiating an exit.
But taking a step back reveals a bigger picture in which, from West Africa to Central Asia, Trump is expanding and deepening the War on Terror -- and making it deadlier.
Far from ending the wars, U.S. airstrikes in Somalia and Syria have skyrocketed under Trump, leading to more civilian casualties in both countries. In Somalia, the forces U.S. operations are supposedly targeting have not been defeated after 18 years of war. It received little coverage in the U.S., but the first week of this year saw a truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 80 people.
Everywhere, ordinary people, people just like us except they happen to live in other countries, pay the price of these wars. Last year saw over 10,000 Afghan civilian casualties -- the sixth year in a row to reach those grim heights.
And don't forget, 2020 opened with Trump bringing the U.S. to the brink of a potentially catastrophic war with Iran. And he continues to escalate punishing sanctions on the country, devastating women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people.
Trump is not ending wars, but preparing for more war. Over the past year, he has deployed 14,000 more troops in the Middle East -- beyond the tens of thousands already there.
If this seems surprising, it's in part because the problem has been bipartisan. Indeed, many congressional Democrats have actually supported these escalations.
In December, 188 House Democrats joined Republicans in passing a nearly $740 billion military budget that continues the wars. They passed the budget after abandoning anti-war measures put forward by California Representative Barbara Lee and the precious few others trying to rein in the wars.
It's worth remembering that State of the Union visual, of Congress rising in unison and joining the president in applause for his stunt with the Williams family. Because there has been nearly that level of consensus year after year in funding, and expanding, the wars.
Ending them will not be easy. Too many powerful interests -- from weapons manufacturers to politicians -- are too invested. But ending the wars begins with rejecting the idea that real opposition will come from inside the White House.
As with so many other issues -- like when Trump first enacted the Muslim Ban and people flocked to airports nationwide in protest, or the outpouring against caging children at the border -- those of us who oppose the wars need to raise our voices, and make the leaders follow. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Khury Petersen-Smith
Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 2:40 pm
I'm going to take my chance while I have it and before having to say "I hate to be that old Marxist but "
I am 36 years old and therefore the same age as most of those speaking for millenials in the DSA, writing for Jacobin, and organising for Bernie or those of his satellites on their respective fool's errands in opposition to the entrenched Democratic Party panjandrums.
Half American and half British, I have also experienced some similar issues with the Corbyn/Momentum movement and its recent car crash with ruling class reality.
Just as an intro because of course I am going to say, "I hate to say this but "
The DSA and the semi-organised American left are selling their increasingly, justifiably radical followers a pig in a poke. In a sense, I except Bernie from that condemnation – running for President, it is what it is. But those who are supposed to be to his left are performing an invidious game by preventing further political education or raising consciousness in favour of peddling the myth of reforming the Democratic Party from within that have been tried, and have failed, so many times in the last 120 years.
The fact that these same groups are doing the same thing when it comes to labour struggles, endlessly shepherding wildcat momentum behind union leadership and justifying sell-out deals instead of fostering a realistic preparation for the struggles ahead, suggests that this is not an accident.
The cognitive dissonance is almost as horrible as that on offer when technocrats like Obama and Clinton accept the facts of climate change while endlessly sandbagging real responses to it. Which shouldn't be surprising, since the American and British new left is engaged in an infernal slow dance with their liberal or corporate beefcakes.
If I sound flippant, I apologise – I don't mean to. I also don't necessarily disbelieve in the potential for at least some change within existing conditions – but historically such changes have been won because there was a more radical extra-electoral/parliamentary movement of workers leveraging their strength, not because it was all within one cosy political bubble.
And that only happens when workers and students are educated about the struggles involved in forcing changes in the teeth of ruling class interests, institutions and political heft. Peddling illusions about the all-encompassing power of the electoral process, or complaining endlessly about the the latest example of back-stabbing from whichever corporate liberal stooge last wielded the shank, is increasingly not just useless but something worse – an expected part of the system itself as it reproduces its frozen dialectics of power and exploitation.
This is not (at least not entirely) a call for revolution. But I am increasingly certain that change is impossible without first preparing a broad swathe of people to fight, fight, fight instead of entrusting the struggle to this or that figurehead (Bernie, AOC), let alone their clarion-callers in an increasingly cosy upper middle class den of pseudo-leftists.
Lambert Strether Post author , March 6, 2020 at 2:52 pm
You might read that Politico article on the DSA. I found it rather encouraging but you might differ. If so, I'd like to know your opinion of the concrete details.
> peddling the myth of reforming the Democratic Party from within
If the ultimate outcome were to split the Democrats, would you change your mind?
tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 3:20 pm
Reading the Politico article now. You're right – it is encouraging, at least in the sense that it features articulate, radicalised individuals and their early attempts to organise. It chronicles absolutely necessary early steps in the process. I am very encouraged with the justified, even pragmatic, way they look beyond presidential politics in a dialectical way – both the wider context and the more local, direct implications.
So far, so good.
But there are problems. The sudden, total collapse of the International Socialist Organization is an example of what can happen to a seemingly lively left(ish) group when it grows on shaky ground. You have chronicled some of the contortions of the DSA in their regional elections and controversies. Growing pains – or something more fundamental?
What I'm trying to say is what are they about and how do they reconcile disparate forces and interests without tearing themselves apart? The DSA has its own particular history in the wider context of the American left and its sudden expansion doesn't make that go away. Without adequate theory your praxis will tend to fall apart when it collides with reality.
To give a concrete example that is suggested in the Politico piece, I'm not sure how they are discussing and understanding the identity politics education of the (upper)middle class students drawn to the movement with the different perspectives of the labour movement or, beyond that, the exciting, potentially revolutionary hinterland of the actual working class(!!!)
Lenin didn't know what identity politics was but he described it in a different context: haggling for privileges. I don't want to make this a diatribe on one subject or to suggest that I'm not sensitive to the discrete forms of oppression facing different groups but – and I know you write about this brilliantly – without some kind of radical reckoning with these issues, groups like the DSA are liable to sectarian disasters of exactly the kind envisioned (I suspect) by those who have most insidiously articulated identity over class as the most significant feature of our social relations.
I would say similar things about Extinction Rebellion. I have friends who are deeply involved in it and they are brilliantly committed to its cause. But they struggle when it comes to connecting the realities they rightly identify with the material pathologies that produce them. They are not interested in why, for example, the ER leaders ban socialist sub-groups as "political" while welcoming those for bosses or landlords(?!)
These are, to me, fundamental problems. If you cannot identify your enemy you cannot plan your campaign. And I worry that the DSA, or ER, dine out on identifying symptoms while studiously avoiding an uncomfortable meeting with their cause. And that doesn't mean, either, a schematic link of every social ill with capitalism, nor a demand that everyone be schooled in the dialectic. Just a plan to educate, to find other forms of solidarity, and gird ourselves for the struggle to come.
But that's probably more than enough! In answer to your last question -- - I think a serious split with the Democratic Party is an absolute necessity for anything that follows. It will come one way or another – even if Bernie wins the nomination, then the presidency, I fully expect he will be sandbagged by Democrats at every turn. At some point, it will be necessary to realise that the Democratic Party is not called the graveyard of social movements for nothing – and that American duopoly is the greatest impediment to democracy, no different really from the Congress of All-Russian Soviets in its day.
Billy , March 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm
Forget splitting the Democrats. I like the idea I first saw here, of turning to and leveraging the Republicans as the party of progressive change. Let the Democrat donors hold their bag of defeated candidates while harnessing progressive populists, like Tucker Carlson, or Josh Hawley, as an example, to change the country for the better. My vote in November is for Bernie if he's on the ballot. If not, Tulsi.
Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 2:37 am
> Forget splitting the Democrats
The Democrat Establishment may not split (though as I think Taibbi pointed out, Sanders might have been able to peel off some opportunists with a Texas win).
However, the Democrat base may split. Taking "Bernie Bro" and "He's not a real Democrat" as a proxies, the Democrat gerontocracy (to use the term for the Breshnev era) is systematically and openly alienating the Latin vote, youth generally, young blacks, and younger women. As for the working class, they are not even a mental category for liberals. That reduces their base to older Blacks and the PMC, especially PMC women. As 2016 showed, and as the (PMC women) Warren campaign showed, that's barely enough to win an election, and its certainly not enough to rule.
At some point, the contradictions have to break out into the open, as it becomes obvious the Democrats have failed to represent -- indeed, have disenfranchised -- too many people. As Lincoln wrote to Lyman Trumbull in 1860..
Stand firm. The tug has to come, & better now, than any time hereafter.
The Iron Law of Institutions is looking better every day.
Left in Wisconsin , March 6, 2020 at 4:15 pm
Look, no one knows the future and everyone is always flying by the seat of their pants. This is always true, only more apparent now. I would speculate that at least half of the newly motivated DSA membership couldn't really articulate a vision of socialism if you asked them to. In the future that might be a problem but it is certainly not a problem now. I am much more skeptical of those people now claiming to have "fundamental" answers.
Most of us have a clear if general sense of the enemy (capitalists) and their henchmen (politicians, "policy advocates," etc.). On the other hand, as Stoller points out, we are really bereft of people who actually understand production. I would argue that is our biggest problem, not lack of ideological clarity. Because once we gain power we need to know how to wield it.
tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 4:29 pm
Fair enough but I'm not really talking about ideological clarity or sectarian strife. I think we agree – I also mean a thorough understanding of how the world works. But that also means rigorous critique of where things might go wrong – and, for example when it concerns identity politics (a phrase I hate and apologise for using!) I think we have a good example. That doesn't mean class above all, by the way – just not ceding intellectual ground to liberal formulations of who we are and why we are that way!
(I didn't really mean to harp on about identity stuff but I think of it when I think of, for example, the DSA, and some of the divisive disputes that have bedevilled them)
Lost in OR , March 6, 2020 at 7:34 pm
I attended one DSA meeting. The order of business was something like this:
Each person declared how they chose to be identified.
The group overruled those who didn't want to do anything until some minorities could be recruited.
Some movers and shakers volunteer to draw up the chapter charter. As they were all men, they would recuse themselves from further action so the chapter wouldn't be dominated by men. The group was about 90% men.
The Patriarchy was soundly denounced.
I haven't been back.
Carey , March 6, 2020 at 8:43 pm
Similar experience with DSA in Central CA: so much talk about preffered pronouns and the like that I felt not getting to the point *was* the point..
divide 'n' rule is working really, really well.
Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 2:42 am
> divide 'n' rule is working really, really well.
Yes. I don't see this as malevolent; the impulses are good-hearted (which is exactly what makes "intersectionality" so dangerous). Kimberle Crenshaw endorsed Warren, by the way. OTOH, one of the Combahee River Collective founders endorsed Sanders. Of course, Crenshaw's a lawyer. PMC class solidarity is an impressive thing .
dearieme , March 6, 2020 at 4:55 pm
Look, no one knows the future
Marxists always did – or so they claimed.
tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 5:30 pm
Playing the long game -- so ask me what happens to the price of nectarines next week!
Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:02 am
> Marxists always did – or so they claimed.
What with a billionaire openly purchasing a large portion of the political class, I'd say The Bearded One is looking pretty good right now.
Deplorado , March 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm
You write forcefully and lucidly; if you write or post anywhere online, please share – I want to read it and follow it!
Also if you speak as you write, you will be a formidable leader.
Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:06 am
> Lenin didn't know what identity politics was but he described it in a different context: . I don't want to make this a diatribe on one subject or to suggest that I'm not sensitive to the discrete forms of oppression facing different groups but – and I know you write about this brilliantly – without some kind of radical reckoning with these issues, groups like the DSA are liable to sectarian disasters of exactly the kind envisioned (I suspect) by those who have most insidiously articulated identity over class as the most significant feature of our social relations.
"Brilliant" [lambert blushes modestly]. Back at ya for "haggling for privileges."
> At some point, it will be necessary to realise that the Democratic Party is not called the graveyard of social movements for nothing
History is a hard teacher. And where its lesson has been sadly confined to a small group of cadres, as it were, this lesson is now going to be taught to millions by the Democrat Establishment, and with whacks to the knuckles and expulsions, too. That's why I put up that link to Mike Duncan on the Russian Revolution of 1905 the other day .
a different chris , March 6, 2020 at 3:25 pm
And when you answer that, can you make clear which context you are steeped in? I don't know which side of the pond you live on, but our hallowed Constitution, in hindsight, pretty much leads us here. It just ratchets everything rightward.
The claim is – and I am not sophisticated enough to either support or deny it, but others I respect have made it – that our political structure via said Constitution will only support more than two parties for only an election cycle or two. Lincoln introduced himself as a Whig, but had to run as a Republican.
Yes, it goes that far back. Given today's sophisticated hold on the media levers by our Elites, I think an effective third party is less likely than ever. Sure there's things called the Working Families Party and stuff here and there, but their job is basically wrenching Dem primaries.
PS: I actually am registered Green. It's my attempt to signal where my vote is. Little good that seems to have done me.
inode_buddha , March 6, 2020 at 3:12 pm
In America at least, it's easy to be leftist when your personal well-being is not at stake -- the left in the US has always had an upper-class tint and co-opted by the professional-managerial class. BUT their well being does not depend on the outcome like it does for the working classes. The UK and other countries have stronger social safety nets and that does make a difference in people's politics.
As an older worker ( I could be your father) I know how these fights go -- it takes decades of sheer intransigence to get anywhere. In a zillion little ways, every day, for years. I don't know if Millenials understand this, its not a dress rehearsal. It's real. I do believe the movement needs solid organizers and figureheads though -- most likely AOC will be next, I hope. There needs to be a clear method of succession, among people who do *not* compromise. A single stated set of goals, for a decade. And those who get out and volunteer and vote.
Titus , March 6, 2020 at 4:12 pm
tempestteacup , March 6, 2020 at 4:25 pm
I agree with some of what you write but I have yet to see any really adequate figureheads of the sort you suggest as necessary. AOC, after her praise for John McCain is not one of them.
I know this makes me sound intransigent and sectarian but it is and has always been a problem in the left to fight beyond just nation-based working class interests. I'm not saying AOC does that but she, like so many before her, have definitely sacrificed critique of imperialism for a certain amount of mainstream coverage as far as her social democratic advocacy goes.
AOC praised John McCain, Bernie has played up to Russiagate and the enduring myths about Castro's Cuba despite making an obvious, uncontroversial point in the first place. This is how it goes. And that's what I mean – it is a standard thing for Western politicians to throw foreign affairs over the side when they are pressed – especially because the Borg is most concerned with matters of Empire and therefore will attack on that above all else (knowing, too, that the voting public cares much less about such issues than, say, Medicare for All). Corbyn did the same thing when it came to Trident renewal, then Iraq, and finally Israel.
(By the way, such capitulation got him nowhere – he was still slandered as an anti-semite and I just finished an awful book about Oleg Gordievsky in which it is suggested he was a useful idiot for the Czech intelligence services, along with Michael Foot!)
Socialism does not exist without a critique of imperialist/capitalist wars is what I mean.
But I'm sorry, I know this isn't what you were talking about. The reason I brought it up, however, is to illustrate the insidious ways in which freshly elected, occasionally 'radical' politicians are institutionalised. It doesn't happen with bread and butter domestic issues but rather foreign affairs, those distant concerns of experts and spooks.
And yet bringing this up gives a kind of window of opportunity and hope. There is no group with better understanding of the real-world consequences of Empire than the urban and rural working class. They are the ones providing sons and daughters for endless wars. The overextension of empire is always going to provide its weakest points.
Sorry, I've rambled – these are just some thoughts as I try and get to grips with what is to be done!
inode_buddha , March 6, 2020 at 5:04 pm
Well, no, actually its a good thing that you rambled -- I completely agree but from a different angle perhaps.
The fact that socialism is even in contention in the US I think is a referendum on imperialism and capitalism.
And the US way has certainly opened itself to criticism.
Frankly it amazes me that it is even happening at all, being that the Overton window has been dragged so far to the Right in my lifetime.
I remember watching Nixon on TV, stating that he was not a crook. Today, he would be considered to be an unelectable liberal, too far left.
I am not completely happy with the way that AOC and Sanders have had to toe the line with the Establishment regarding foreign policy and etc. (and I don't think McCain was any kind of saint). But I do believe that AOC and Sanders are trying to please multiple Masters. If they don't do the whole "red-baiting" routine then they lose credibility with the system they are part of -- and thereby lose influence. The voters are a different issue -- foreign affairs are just not on the radar at all for most of the working class. The sole exception is those who have family in the armed services. And yet without those voters, they wouldn't have any influence to lose.
So basically, its a chess game. Washington DC has never ran on the truth. I'm pretty sure AOC was just mouthing the words so she can accomplish some of her own left-wing goals. And maybe Sanders is too --
Grachguy , March 6, 2020 at 6:49 pm
If I might inject my two cents into this very interesting discussion, I believe tempestteacup's ultimate point still stands: the Blob/industrialists/parties will suffer no contest to their claims on power. Sure, they allow the occasional voice in the wilderness – to do otherwise would lead to more radical activity I imagine – but the power structures themselves seem quite robust to disturbances from the likes of Sanders and AOC. While I agree that they are likely mouthing the words (Sanders once discussed abolishing the CIA and one does not simply reconsider that view once one has reached that point ideologically), I question whether it even matters It seems to me that a realistic vision of socialism must be brought about independently of the existing state. After all, the social groups that dominate the state also control the media, the military, the educational institutions, and just about every other organ of power. In this framework, hijacking the state as it exists is a tall order and actually reforming it within the rules of the game is even more difficult. Isn't it worth considering the idea that left energy is better devoted to forming alternative institutions and power structures?
The circle of wagons we are seeing around Biden's husk shows that they will fight tooth and nail to keep from implementing even the most benign and basic social democratic reforms. I can only see someone like Bernie or AOC winning real power in the face of a massive economic meltdown and even then, they can win the social democratic reforms (which are desirable) but why couldn't that same opportunity + working class radicalism be channeled into actual systemic change; ie destroying the state as it currently exists and replacing it with a people's democracy? (not the Chinese type please). This would require decades of hard work, but so would replacing the democratic party with our version of Labour (and look where they are).
inode_buddha , March 6, 2020 at 10:36 pm
Isn't it worth considering the idea that left energy is better devoted to forming alternative institutions and power structures?
Very much agree -- I don't think I'm disagreeing with tempestteacup so much as looking from a different angle.
For any of it to work, I think we will have to establish parallel institutions on a far greater scale than Sander's campaign. One favorite of mine is worker co-ops, particularly in the Rust Belt and Midwest.
I dream of being able to unite and organize existing co-ops and strengthen them to the point that they could replace the old Sears Roebuck. Effectively workers would have to work two jobs and participate in two different economies, to the extent that they were able -- but having a fallback via co-op would certainly give them far more autonomy and power than any existing structure.
The only reason the existing structures have any power at all, is due to their death grip on the economy, and directly on peoples lives via economic means. Breaking that grip will also require economic means I think.
Grachguy , March 7, 2020 at 1:32 pm
I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said!
Mar 07, 2020 | getpocket.com
Stories to fuel your mind. "We rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst." Brain Pickings |
- Maria Popova
Art by Shaun Tan for a special edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales .
Thoreau wrote as he contemplated how silence ennobles speech . In the century and a half since, we have created a culture that equates loudness with leadership, abrasiveness with authority. We mistake shouting for powerful speech much as we mistake force for power itself. And yet the real measure of power is more in the realm of Thoreau's "fine things."
So argues UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner in The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence ( public library ) -- the culmination of twenty years of research exploring what power is, what confers it upon an individual, and how it shapes the structure of a collective, a community, and a culture. Drawing on a wealth of social science studies and insights from successful teams ranging from companies like Pixar and Google to restorative justice programs in San Quentin State Prison, he demonstrates "the surprising and lasting influence of soft power (culture, ideas, art, and institutions) as compared to hard power (military might, invasion, and economic sanctions)."
Life is made up of patterns. Patterns of eating, thirst, sleep, and fight-or-flight are crucial to our individual survival; patterns of courtship, sex, attachment, conflict, play, creativity, family life, and collaboration are crucial to our collective survival. Wisdom is our ability to perceive these patterns and to shape them into coherent chapters within the longer narrative of our lives.
Power dynamics, Keltner notes, are among the central patterns that shape our experience of life, from our romantic relationships to the workplace. But at the heart of power is a troubling paradox -- a malignant feature of human psychology responsible for John Dalberg-Acton's oft-cited insight that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Keltner explains the psychological machinery of this malfunction and considers our recourse for resisting its workings:
The power paradox is this: we rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst. We gain a capacity to make a difference in the world by enhancing the lives of others, but the very experience of having power and privilege leads us to behave, in our worst moments, like impulsive, out-of-control sociopaths.
How we handle the power paradox guides our personal and work lives and determines, ultimately, how happy we and the people we care about will be. It determines our empathy, generosity, civility, innovation, intellectual rigor, and the collaborative strength of our communities and social networks. Its ripple effects shape the patterns that make up our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces, as well as the broader patterns of social organization that define societies and our current political struggles.
Much of what is most unsettling about human nature -- stigma, greed, arrogance, racial and sexual violence, and the nonrandom distribution of depression and bad health to the poor -- follows from how we handle the power paradox.
Art by Olivier Tallec from Louis I, King of the Sheep, an illustrated parable of how power changes us .
What causes us to mishandle the power paradox, Keltner argues, is our culture's traditional understanding of power -- a sort of time-capsule that no longer serves us. Predicated on force, ruthlessness, and strategic coercion, it was shaped by Niccolò Machiavelli's sixteenth-century book The Prince -- but it is as antiquated today as the geocentric model of the universe that dominated Machiavelli's day. What governs the modern world, Keltner demonstrates through two decades of revelatory studies, is a different kind of power -- softer, more relational, predicated on reputation rather than force, measured by one's ability to affect the lives of others positively and shift the course of the world, however slightly, toward the common good. He writes:
Perhaps most critically, thinking of power as coercive force and fraud blinds us to its pervasiveness in our daily lives and the fact that it shapes our every interaction, from those between parents and children to those between work colleagues.
Power defines the waking life of every human being. It is found not only in extraordinary acts but also in quotidian acts, indeed in every interaction and every relationship, be it an attempt to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or to inspire a stubborn colleague to do her best work. It lies in providing an opportunity to someone, or asking a friend the right question to stir creative thought, or calming a colleague's rattled nerves, or directing resources to a young person trying to make it in society. Power dynamics, patterns of mutual influence, define the ongoing interactions between fetus and mother, infant and parent, between romantic partners, childhood friends, teens, people at work, and groups in conflict. Power is the medium through which we relate to one another. Power is about making a difference in the world by influencing others.
In a sentiment that parallels Thoreau's wisdom on silence and shouting, Keltner adds:
A new wave of thinking about power reveals that it is given to us by others rather than grabbed. We gain power by acting in ways that improve the lives of other people in our social networks.
One key consequence of the fact that power is given to us by others is its reputational nature -- an insight both disquieting to the ego and comforting to the soul, for we are inescapably social creatures. Keltner observes:
Our influence, the lasting difference that we make in the world, is ultimately only as good as what others think of us. Having enduring power is a privilege that depends on other people continuing to give it to us.
"Enduring" is an operative word in Keltner's premise. The "power paradox" is paradoxical precisely because those who manage to wrest power forcibly by the Machiavellian model may have power, or perceived power, for a certain amount of time, but that amount is finite. Its finitude springs from the attrition of the person's reputation. But the most troubling aspect of the power paradox is that even if a person rises to power by counter-Machiavellian means -- kindness, generosity, concern with the common good -- power itself will eventually warp her priorities and render her less kind, less generous, less concerned with the common good, which will in turn erode her power as her reputation for these counter-qualities grows.
Keltner cites a number of studies demonstrating these tendencies empirically -- poor people give to charity a greater portion of their income than rich people, those in positions of power exhibit more entitled behaviors, people who drive expensive cars are significantly crueler to pedestrians at crosswalks, and so forth.
But in reading these alarmingly consistent studies, I had to wonder about one crucial confound that remains unaddressed: People in positions of power also tend to be busier -- that is, they tend to have greater demands on their time. We know from the now-iconic 1970s Good Samaritan study that the single greatest predictor of uncaring, unkind, and uncompassionate behavior, even among people who have devoted their lives to the welfare of others, is a perceived lack of time -- a feeling of being rushed. The sense of urgency seems to consume all of our other concerns -- it is the razor's blade that severs our connection to anything outside ourselves, anything beyond the task at hand, and turns our laser-sharp focus of concern onto the the immediacy of the self alone.
Art from Anne Sexton's little-known children's book .
We know this empirically, and we know its anecdotal truth intimately -- I doubt I'm alone in the awareness that despite a deep commitment to kindness, I find myself most likely to, say, be impatient with a fellow cyclist when I feel pressed for time, when I know I'm running late. Even Keltner's famous and tragicomical study, which found that drivers of expensive cars are most inconsiderate to pedestrians, might suffer from the same confound -- those who can afford expensive cars are typically people we would deem "successful," who also typically have far greater demands on their time. So could it be that a scarcity of time -- that inescapable hum of consciousness -- rather than an excess of power is the true corrupting agent of the psyche?
And so another paradox lives inside the power paradox -- the more powerful a person becomes, the busier and more rushed she is, which cuts her off from the very qualities that define the truly powerful. What would the studies Keltner cites look like if we controlled not only for power, but for time -- for the perception of being rushed and demand-strained beyond capacity? (Kierkegaard condemned the corrosive effect of busyness nearly two centuries ago.)
Still, Keltner's central point -- that power in the modern world is "gained and maintained through a focus on others" -- remains valid and important. He considers the conscious considerations we can make in order to bypass the perils of the power paradox:
Handling the power paradox depends on finding a balance between the gratification of your own desires and your focus on other people. As the most social of species, we evolved several other-focused, universal social practices that bring out the good in others and that make for strong social collectives. A thoughtful practitioner of these practices will not be misled by the rush of the experience of power down the path of self-gratification and abuse, but will choose instead to enjoy the deeper delights of making a lasting difference in the world. These social practices are fourfold: empathizing, giving, expressing gratitude, and telling stories. All four of these practices dignify and delight others. They constitute the basis of strong, mutually empowered ties. You can lean on them to enhance your power at any moment of the day by stirring others to effective action.
But "power" is one of those words -- like "love" and "happiness" -- to have become grab-bag terms for a constellation of behaviors, states, emotions, and phenomena. Noting that "a critical task of science is to provide clear nomenclature -- precise terms that sharpen our understanding of patterned phenomena in the outside world and inside the mind," Keltner offers elegant and necessary definitions of the distinct notions comprising the constellation of power in modern society:
POWER your capacity to make a difference in the world by influencing the states of other people.
STATUS the respect that you enjoy from other people in your social network; the esteem they direct to you. Status goes with power often but not always.
CONTROL your capacity to determine the outcomes in your life. You can have complete control over your life -- think of the reclusive hermit -- but have no power.
SOCIAL CLASS the mixture of family wealth, educational achievement, and occupational prestige that you enjoy; alternatively, the subjective sense you have of where you stand on a class ladder in society, high, middle, or low. Both forms of social class are societal forms of power.
In the remainder of The Power Paradox , Keltner goes on to examine, through a robust body of research bridged with intelligent insight, what we can do both as individuals and as a society to cultivate the qualities that empower us by empowering others and counter those that feed the most selfish and small-spirited tendencies of human nature. Complement it with Blaise Pascal's timeless 17th-century wisdom on the art of persuasion and philosopher Martha Nussbaum on human dignity and the nuanced relationship between agency and victimhood .
HT Shankar Vedantam / Hidden Brain
Mar 04, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Supporters who were expecting a more radical agenda may feel betrayed, and that could play into the hands of the Democrats.
In its ridiculous dual endorsement of Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, the New York Times Editorial Board divided the Democratic field into those candidates who "view President Trump as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible America is possible" and those who "believe that President Trump was the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced."
I've already written about how arbitrarily the Board sorted candidates into one group or another, but the dichotomy itself is useful. Recently, I've found that it helps to make a parable of it.
Some Democratic candidates think Trump has flipped over the political table. They want to set it back up, dab at the tablecloth, enforce better manners, reheat the entrées, and put a second scoop of ice cream on the pie à la mode. Biden and Bloomberg are currently the frontrunners in this category, but even the supposedly radical Elizabeth Warren, by virtue of her moderating compromises and general palatability to the party elite, deserves (at least in part) the label of table re-setter.
For others, though, Trump never actually flipped the table. Sure, he promised to, but as soon as he sat down and dug into his well-done steak, something changed. Many of his signature dishes never materialized. And although he continued to insist that the kitchen staff were defiling the food, he seemed awfully chummy with the management. The management, for their part, obligingly looked the other way while he belched, used the wrong knife, and generally flouted the edicts of Emily Post. Those at the far end of the table where pickings were slim, many of whom had played a part in elevating Trump to his lofty position, wondered what had gone wrong. Was the table bolted invisibly to the floor? Or had Trump betrayed them? Meanwhile, the food, rotten long before Trump had sat down, continued to attract flies.
Into this category, I would place Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, and perhaps Tulsi Gabbard, of whom only Bernie remains standing.
Biden thinks he can still salvage dinner; Bernie wants to go full Gordon Ramsay.
To be clear, neither of these is exactly my position. My question is how Trump will respond to the latter. Sure, Biden's guy's-guy persona might be enough to take back the Rust Belt and push him over 270. It seems to me, though, that running on little more than people's fond memories of the Obama administration won't be enough in de-industrialized, opioid-ravaged Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin (Bernie outperforms Biden in all three, according to current polls). Trump won there by a combined margin of 77,744 votes precisely because of voters who, after eight years of Obama, had nearly lost hope and were hungry for change.
This feeling of being let down by Obama's messianic promises, what Sarah Palin eloquently called his "hopey-changey thing," could cut both ways, though. Trump still hasn't built his wall. Manufacturing jobs have not returned en masse; tariffs on China have squeezed farmers and failed to produce the speedy victory he promised. The wars he promised to end still rage, and we've gone to the brink with Iran. Yes, the economy is strong, and conventional wisdom has it that the incumbent only loses if the economy tanks. But Bernie makes a strong case that the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the economy are not the same thing. Six out of 10 Americans feel they're better off than they were three years ago, but I wonder whether the frustrated Midwesterners who swung the election in 2016 have gotten what they wanted out of Trump. If not, they might be willing to try something new . The distance between left-populism and right-populism is, after all, far shorter than the distance between the center-left and the center-right. If Obama let you down and Trump let you down, why not vote Sanders? You've already switched parties once.
Trump shot to the top of the Republican primary polls because he had the energy of a disruptor. The media showered l'enfant terrible with free advertising. Since the impeachment, though, it seems like the press's white-hot Trump derangement has cooled at precisely the wrong time. These days, it's Bernie drawing all the outrage, including accusations of Russian stoogery and wild speculation about anarchic brokered conventions.
Slowly, a narrative is solidifying: if you're ready to say "the hell with it," vote Sanders; if you want more of the same, vote Trump. This perception could prove fatal to the incumbent.
Trump will give Bernie both barrels with "you're a communist" and "how are we supposed to pay for that?" But those might actually work in Bernie's favor. On the campaign trail, Trump proposed a number of fanciful policies, from punishing post-abortive women to deporting 12 million people to the possibility of nuking Europe, and all it got him was more free media. He never explained how the hell he was going to get Mexico to pay for the wall, but nobody cared. Trump was bold, brash, and unconcerned with breaking rules or offending people. Now Sanders, less crass but equally brash, has usurped that brand positioning. This move could force Trump into the role of a brake-pumping Deng Xiaoping, persecuting the authentic radicals while hollowly insisting that he remains the true custodian of the populist revolution.
Badgering Bernie about his lavish Medicare-for-All plan and his lack of clarity about how to fund it could induce sticker shock in the American electorate, but it could also solidify voters' perception that Sanders is the dynamic visionary and Trump the static naysayer. Bernie seems to actively cultivate this edgy persona. Why else would he call himself a "democratic socialist" rather than a "social democrat," a term that more accurately describes his policies and leaves out the scary S-word to boot?
On the debate stage, Bernie will almost certainly castigate Trump for exploiting the anxieties of those coveted 77,744 and delivering on little of what he promised. If Trump counters that he's been stymied by the Deep State, he loses again. His die-hard supporters will buy it, but at least some voters at the end of their rope will think, "Well, if Trump couldn't hit hard enough to shatter the ossified bureaucracy, maybe Sanders can. Or maybe he'll get it rolling in the direction he wants, transforming that bureaucratic mass from an immovable object into an unstoppable force."
I worry that our politics have entered a downward spiral. Hyperpartisan polarization has ensured that everyone feels precarious all the time, and thanks to the ever-morphing values of liquid modernity, moderate candidates can no longer run fast enough to stay in place. If America is no longer great, it must be made great again by whatever means necessary. If it was never great, it must be radically transformed. As checks, balances, bureaucrats, and practicalities frustrate the sweeping aims of each successive political messiah, they prepare the way for one even more extreme to follow. If this happens enough times, the populists of whichever stripe, thwarted again and again, will finally turn against the institutions of their own society. Enter Thomas Hobbes, stage right or left.
I recognize that, for all but the most milquetoast of centrists, the status quo has plenty of problems. I even admit that my own sympathy to populism has grown since 2016. But the trend I've described in American politics is enough to make me sympathize with C.S. Lewis, who grew fed up with an electorate that demanded "such qualities as 'vision,' 'dynamism,' [and] 'creativity'" from candidates.
Lewis longed for a political leader "who will do a day's work for a day's pay, who will refuse bribes, who will not make up his facts, and who has learned his job." He even sardonically proposed founding "a Stagnation Party -- which at General Elections would boast that during its term of office no event of the least importance had taken place."
It's enough to make me miss Jeb Bush.
Grayson Quay is a freelance writer and M.A. at Georgetown University.
kouroi Kent • 13 hours agoUS is an oligarchic republic, like the good old Venetian Republic of old. As an outsider of the US polity, I just get the popcorn and beer during US elections. While the PoTUS has not that much power in the US (albeit a savvy executive, controlling all the federal agencies and appointments in various places, and having the appeal of executive power, which is direct raw), it can be crushing for the outside world. The droned people can attest to that. The starved people due to sanctions can attest to that, the sick and un-treatable people due to sanctions can attest to that power of the PoTUS.Bg • 14 hours agoBuilding the wall is itself a lie. It would be simple to reduce immigration by a lot. use e-verifyFeral Finster • 13 hours ago • edited
The wall is an expensive distraction, that would have zero impact on immigration.
It allows Trump and other elite (who want the low wage workers) to pander. They can tell their base they are being so, so harsh on immigrants, while doing nothing.What "revolution"? Trump has governed as a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya.Doug Wallis • 12 hours agoTISO_AX2 • 12 hours ago
...Make America Great is a revolt of the poor and middle class who want their share of the economy instead of giving it away to foreign countries and foreign immigrants. That revolt is not going to go away. However if you are blindly living off the largess of our nation and its big government social welfare programs then you have no connection to education, to employment and from your point of view the government provides your living and the living for your children so as long as you get your check it doesn't matter whether there is 1 person living off that social safety net or 1 thousand or 1 million or 1 billion.It was never Trump's revolution to deliver. We the people delivered the revolution in bringing in DJT to expose and (hopefully) weaken the entrenched Establishment. The former has been accomplished exceedingly well. And there is more work toward that goal to be done. I'm more than impressed with the progress that we've made. Captains can be changed quickly but this ship does not turn easily.Watchers • 10 hours agoThis is a site for GOP establishment types. They suppressed us as deplorables and lied to us with false promises. So we gave them Trump. May the never Trumper Romney types rot in hellhooly • 8 hours agowon't be enough in de-industrialized, opioid-ravaged Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin
Is this 'opioid epidemic' for real? I keep hearing about it. Or is it just like the Global Warming Hoax and people are just exaggerating this 'epidemic', like the coronavirus nonsense??
Mar 05, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org
Season of the Switch
Revising History Before It Happens
by Mark Petrakis / March 3rd, 2020As people march off to the polls today to pick their favorite political actor of the year, I hear precious few voices openly asking what seem to me to be obvious questions, like WHO produced the movie that is their candidacy? Who directed it? Who wrote the script? Who are the investors that will be expecting to see returns on their investment, if their movie and their best actor should somehow win? And how far do the networks of wealth, influence and control extend beyond those public faces inside the campaign? None of these questions strike me as tangential; rather they are all essential.
Let's imagine for a moment that one of these actors can somehow out-thespian Trump once on stage which is HIGHLY unlikely – even for folksy Bernie – UNLESS he can somehow win himself 100% DNC buy-in and 24/7 mainstream "BLUE" media support. But assuming that he (or some "brokered" candidate) wins, it will still be their production teams (along with their extended networks) who will be making their presence felt on Day One of any new presidency. These are the people who will be calling in the favors and calling the shots.
I recall how moved I was by Obama's 2008 election. I was buoyed with hope, because I did not understand then what I understand now – that NO candidate can exist as an independent entity, disconnected from the apparatus and networks that support and produce the narratives that advance them and their agendas. I also recall the day that Obama entered the White House and instantly handed the keys to the economy (and the recovery) back to Geithner, Summers and Rubin – the same trio that had helped destroy it just a year earlier. And he did this at the same moment he was filling his cabinet with the very people "suggested" in that famous leaked letter from the CEO of Citibank. My hope departed in genie smoke at that moment, to be followed by eight years of spineless smooth talk and wobbly action, except where the agendas of Wall Street and pompous Empire were concerned.
Do you see how this works? The game is essentially rigged from the start by virtue of who is allowed to enter the race, what can and what can't be said by them and by who the media is told to shine their light on, and who to avoid. Candidates can, of course, say pretty much anything they want (short of "Building 7, WTF!!" of course) in hopes it will spark a reaction that the media can seize upon.
But just based on words, we know that NONE of these happy belief clowns will forcefully oppose existing "Regime Change" plans for Venezuela, Bolivia and Syria. We know that NONE of them will stand up to Israel – or to a Congress that is, almost to a person, in the pocket of Israel. We know too that NONE of them will bring more than an angry flyswatter to the battle with Wall Street or the corporations. We further know that NONE of them will do more than make modest cuts to military spending or god forbid, call out the secret state's fiscally unaccountable black budget operations, which by now reach into at least the 30 trillions.
Personally, I'm not FOR any candidate simply because I cannot UNSEE what it has taken me 12 years to get into focus; namely, how everyone of them are compromised by a SYSTEM that talks a lot about FIXING what's broken, but which is simply INCAPABLE of delivering anything other than what has been pre-ordained and decreed by the global order of oligarchs, which exists as the "ghost in the machine" that ultimately controls every part of the political "STATE" – at high, middle, low and especially at DEEP levels.
I will say in defense of Bernie that his production team early-on made the very unique decision to crowd-source the campaign's costs. That was a PROFOUND decision, which has paid off for him and which may well buy him a certain level of lubricated control over what is to come, even though the significance of that decision is not well appreciated because the DNC and the MSM simply refuse to discuss it in any depth.
Warren was TRYING to play the populist "people's campaign" game too, until last week when she must have been startled awake by the "Ghost of Reagan's Past" and decided to take the money and run as a Hillary proxy which (big surprise) was what she was all along anyway.
Let me just say this about Joe Biden. From his initial announcement, I never felt he was in his right mind. He seems rather to be teetering on the edge of senility and fast on his way into dementia. Also, the man has openly sold his soul so many times in his career that we shouldn't at this point expect any unbought (or even lucid) thought to ever again escape his remarkably loose lips. Joe might have run with the old skool Dems when he was a big deal on the Delaware streets, but now, like Bloomberg and Romney, he's just another Republican in a pricey blue suit.
I understand how people are feeling stressed, obsessed and desperate to get rid of Donald Trump. It's just that until we take a collective step back and see things at the level from which they actually operate and NOT at the level from which we are TOLD they operate, then we will never be successful in turning our public discourse around or in beginning to identify and eliminate the fascist and anti-human agendas that we associate with Trump, but which actually lie behind the subservient to power policies and preferences of BOTH parties.
If you are holding out hope that Bernie can slay the dragon of the existing system at its belladonna roots, then be my guest. I see too many people spending their hope on Elizabeth Warren, which will only serve to suck power away from Bernie, who is the ONLY Democratic candidate movie that has the potential to actually INSPIRE voters, just as Trump does. Bernie deserves credit too for actually CHANGING the nature of the campaign conversation and who just MIGHT even begin to change it at the national level, assuming that time, tide and tyranny allow him four years safe passage to reach his pending retirement.
In any case, after a year of endless media barrage, it is rather late now for the gods to intervene. All I would hope is that a few more of us can open our eyes to see past the silly "lesser of two evils" and "#votebluenomatterwho" memes, to the reality of how every one of these candidates serve as puppets to SOME specific mix of master control forces and thus make our choice in THAT more realistic light, rather than thinking that any of them offer "real" independent solutions or that any of their "heroic" feet are NOT already embedded knee, waist or neck-deep in the Big Muddy river of our dissolute illusions of Democracy.
– Yet Another Useful Idiot.Mark Petrakis is a long-time theater, event and media producer based in San Francisco. He first broke molds with his Cobra Lounge vaudeville shows of the 90's, hosted by his alter-ego, Spoonman. Concurrently, he took to tech when the scent was still utopian, building the first official websites for Burning Man, the Residents and multiple other local arts groups of the era. He worked as a consultant to a variety of corps and orgs, including 10 years with the Institute for the Future. He is co-founder of both long-running Anon Salon monthly gatherings and Sea of Dream NYE spectacles. Read other articles by Mark .
This article was posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 at 8:34pm and is filed under Barack Obama , Bernie Sanders , Deep State , Democrats , Donald Trump , Elections , Joe Biden , Presidential Debates , United States .
Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
ben , Mar 1 2020 20:19 utc | 24
As with any candidate, we can only know the truth about them AFTER they're elected.
DJT IMO, has been a complete failure in fulfilling his uttered promises on the campaign trail, as most of our recent POTUSes have been also.
We'll only know the truth of Bernie Sanders, IF he's "elected". Which, IMO, is looking unlikely, because, you must win the nomination first, and THAT, is looking doubtful, as the
DNC and their minions are lining up against him.
Feb 26, 2020 | www.unz.com
Levtraro , says: Show Comment February 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm GMTI suspect his open-borders advocacy and Russia-bashing too are lies; these are lines of defence against internal forces. It makes sense for him to take those positions while he seeks the nomination. If he gets it, he can betray those positions. A serious politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal. At the end of the day, he is a hardened politician like the rest.
Feb 26, 2020 | www.unz.com
Anon  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 26, 2020 at 1:05 pm GMTLmao in the end, (((Bernie))) will kneel to usury. They always do.
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
14 minutes ago
- What imperialism?
- We are spreading freedumb and dumbocracy.
- We are saving the world from socialism and communism.
- We are energy independent, with innate exceptionalism and #MAGA# will usher in a new era of American prosperity.
- Any and all accusations of USSA imperialism, are made by the "woke" and those jealous of the greatest Capitalist system in the world.
- The swamp is being drained as I speak, and therefore will continue with unwavering support for my 5x draft dodging, Zionist supporting, multiple times bankrupt, keeper of broken promises POTUS.
- Smedley Butler's book is not worthy of reading once you have the seminal work known as "The Art Of The Deal"
Feb 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Likklemore , Feb 22 2020 22:53 utc | 105it's not a lock that Trump will be re-elected. It's the great silent majority of moderates [RINOs, DINOs] and independents who fear another 4 years of Trump - The Autocratic President of the United States
a brutal assessment -
Donald Trump can be seen as some sort of a deadly "political virus", which was introduced accidently into the American body politic in 2016.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 will come to be remembered as a date of historic significance for the United States. Indeed, this is the date when a Senate majority of 52 Republican Senators (with the notable exception of Sen. Mitt Romney), voted against convicting President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice, in the impeachment trial of the latter. That is also the date when Donald Trump interpreted such exoneration as a blank check to move towards a fully autocratic presidency.
Thus, in open defiance of the American Constitution and of America's checks-and-balances system, Trump's Republican enablers have placed the American people before a fait accompli and the only question now is to see if this dangerous drift toward autocracy will be condoned or reversed in the next presidential election of November 3rd.[.]
IMHO, Sanders, accused of being a 'self-identified' socialist, should be emphasizing the U.S. is shoulder-deep in socialism for the 1% who have access to free Fed funds. Free as in ZERO interest (0%) while jim and joe mainstreet struggle to pay interest on debt.
Feb 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Norwegian , Feb 22 2020 19:12 utc | 66Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 22 2020 13:41 utc | 20The "social" is "social media" is in contrast to "professional" or "business" or "commercial" media, i.e. the MSM and other commercial media.
I understand "social media" literally in the Orwellian sense, it is "social" media just like war is peace. The true meaning is "asocial media" which prevents real interaction, and under complete control by big brother, you can become a non-person at any moment.
Feb 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
A User , Feb 21 2020 3:04 utc | 101Frankly some people here seem to be living in la-la-land where impossible dreams come true.
How about some realpolitik as practiced by both halves of the amerikan empire party when the VP decision time comes around. Does anyone imagine Kennedy wanted Johnson as VP or Bush I, Dan Quayle or Oblamblam the crookedest man in the senate, Joe Biden?
Of course not they were told to take these hacks as a way for 'the party' to keep the hairy eyeball on 'their' Prez.
Let's just pretend for a moment that Sanders came to conference with sufficient delegates that the hope of the DNC to override Sanders with superdelegates was simply too much for the dem party to achieve without alienating a sizable chunk of potential dem voters for life (the odds of that occurring are slimmer than a 2 year old Yemeni, but let's pretend).
Even if Sanders had sufficient delegates to obviate a brokered conference, it wouldn't matter, the DNC would still insist on a 'sit down' with the Sanders crew and insist he took a particular person as his VP. Sanders could refuse, in which case he could expect zero $$$'s for his campaign from the dems and worse the DNC would tell him that the party money, in many cases donated to the DNC by naifs who 'wanted to give Bernie a hand', was going to be spent 'down ticket' assisting all the dem pols up for re-election who were committed to opposing Bernie's favourite policies such as single payer healthcare.
Bernie would be screwed as even if he beat orange moron as he wouldn't stand a shitshow in hell of getting any of these "radical pinko policies" through, which would be justified by the rightist dem senators & congress-creeps saying "Democrat voters, voted for a democratic president not a Marxist president" over and over until the idiots among the public had been sufficiently indoctrinated to believe that tosh. There is no way Gabbard will be permitted as Sanders' running-mate unless she has totally sold out already.
Maybe Sanders should open the bidding with Gabbard, after which the DNC might offer up 'Pete the cheat' to ensure Bernie is defeated, or some other less power-hungry, more malleable dem lick-spittle.
If Sanders is smart enough to play this game, he will already have worded up one or two slightly conservative DC hacks on the qt, then make out he's making a huge compromise by selecting her/him.
He could conceivably get away with that as long as the DNC mobsters are blindsided - remember most of those DC lowlifes will leap at the chance of the veep's gig since it puts you in the inside running to be the prez after yer running 'mate'. And offering it quietly early on would give Sanders the right to insist on blind loyalty - which he prolly wouldn't get totally, but he would have something close to that
Trouble is I don't reckon Sanders has the smarts to pull a rort like that off - we shall see. Whatever he does do the odds are high of him being stymied every time if he does make it
Likklemore , Feb 21 2020 3:25 utc | 102Posted by: Krollchem | Feb 21 2020 1:55 utc | 92psychedelicatessen , Feb 21 2020 4:04 utc | 103
In reply to my comment on the process, you wrote
"Actually this is not technically correct
and then you quoted Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution.
You ignored the process
I wrote on the process in which jim and jane mainstreet vote [the 2nd part of the process] to select the State electors to the Electoral College: from Link (Archives.gov) provided @ 24 and fully detailed below:
November 3, 2020 -- Election Day
During the general election your vote helps determine your State's electors. When you vote for a Presidential candidate, you aren't actually voting for President. You are telling your State which candidate you want your State to vote for at the meeting of the electors. The States use these general election results (also known as the popular vote) to appoint their electors. The winning candidate's State political party selects the individuals who will be the electors.[.]
Who selects the electors?
Choosing each State's electors is a two-part process. First, the political parties in each State choose slates of potential electors sometime before the general election. Second, during the general election, the voters in each State select their State's electors by casting their ballots.
The first part of the process is controlled by the political parties in each State and varies from State to State. Generally, the parties either nominate slates of potential electors at their State party conventions or they chose them by a vote of the party's central committee. This happens in each State for each party by whatever rules the State party and (sometimes) the national party have for the process. This first part of the process results in each Presidential candidate having their own unique slate of potential electors.
Political parties often choose individuals for the slate to recognize their service and dedication to that political party. They may be State elected officials, State party leaders, or people in the State who have a personal or political affiliation with their party's Presidential candidate. (For specific information about how slates of potential electors are chosen, contact the political parties in each State.)
The second part of the process happens during the general election. When the voters in each State cast votes for the Presidential candidate of their choice they are voting to select their State's electors. The potential electors' names may or may not appear on the ballot below the name of the Presidential candidates, depending on election procedures and ballot formats in each State.
The winning Presidential candidate's slate of potential electors are appointed as the State's electors -- except in Nebraska and Maine, which have proportional distribution of the electors. In Nebraska and Maine, the State winner receives two electors and the winner of each congressional district (who may be the same as the overall winner or a different candidate) receives one elector. This system permits Nebraska and Maine to award electors to more than one candidate.[.]
Rob @ 99 - I don't think evidence of this form has been archived anywhere on the Internet. I would be particularly interested in seeing how much of a favorite Clinton was in 2016. I doubt she would have been more than 2/3, and the result not as shocking an upset were Trump actually 1/1. In any event, if the favorite an hour before the books closed always won, who then would ever consider the price on an underdog as an overlay? I'm not addressing any prediction of a winner; I'm observing the changes in public opinion as expressed through those who are willing to take a money position along the way. There would be no other prominent reason for Sanders to reclaim over Bloomberg in less than a week, the Democratic candidate top spot in betting odds, than his strong showing Wednesday night.Circe , Feb 21 2020 4:33 utc | 104
All of the legal gambling outlets will tend to keep fairly close in sync with changes in odds offered. Any one of them getting significantly out of sync is taking a position, attracting layoff action from one of the others. When someone makes an investment in this type of futures, it's with an eye toward spotting an overlay. That means a current line which is offering too strong a return on the investment. The books have several ways of adjusting. They can change the odds offered, lay off action with each other to balance their money position, or offer early resolution to certain ticket holders. For example, Trump opened at 5/2 and toward the end of 2018 had been bet down to 3/2. He is currently 8/13 which represents an extreme overlay if someone is holding a ticket with 3/2 odds. When this kind of situation occurs, all of the books are likely to sustain a loss. So, they will offer early resolution. A $2000 ticket on Trump at 3/2 will return $5000, however anyone holding this ticket may be offered $2750 today for early resolution. That's an immediate $750 profit for giving back their position.
Now to illustrate just how drastic changes in the futures betting can be, a few hours ago Sanders was 7/2, he's now 10/3. Bloomberg continues to slide, from 4/1 last week to 11/2 a few hours ago to now 7/1. Perhaps Bloomberg will be attractive enough to become an overlay at 10/1? I would consider that price might be worth taking a position on, if one thinks convention shenanigans will place him as the candidate. At that point (if correct) he'll drop to say 8/5 and will return a good profit from early resolution.
The changes in the betting lines appear more discernible to me, than a shift of a few percentage point amongst pollsters. Notice Pence is back on the board, so obviously some people think there's greater than a 300/1 chance Trump is deceased during this term.Aren't you being somewhat disingenuous by selectively nitpicking a few sentences out of Bernie's speech that merely express an opinion, not a declaration of political meddling, intervention or war, while leaving out the positive 90%, like his criticism of Bolsanaro, Netanyahu and Israel's racist unjust policies and his concern for the dire situation in Gaza?Cadence calls , Feb 21 2020 5:04 utc | 105
He rails against Saudi Arabia and MBS and the war on Yemen. He's critical of Sheldon Adelson's influence, the Koch brothers and Mercer and the corruption of goverment and the greed they represent. He's critical of the massive amounts of funding spent on the military. That's great, no?
He's sympathetic to the unjust imprisonment of Lula da Silva and talks about the necessity of addressing climate change and poverty and much more. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT??? There's a Ziofascist in the White House right now who just brought on board Richard Grenell for DNI, (ironically mentioned in Bernie's speech last October... prophetic? Yes.), yet another Iranophobe! So you can guess what direction we're headed in?
Out of all the good that Bernie spoke you gripe about that small paragraph and use it to distort as still too aggressive his entire foreign policy vision and pov on issues few in Congress have the spine to address?
You think I'm just going to let slide this perversion of his message?
Just see how so many comments reek with that same type of distortion parotting YOUR CUE. Do you not feel any responsibilty to the truth and to the power your word may have to influence others to misjudge Bernie Sanders unfairly through your distorted lens?
I am sickened reading the comments that emanated from your small paragraph and bet you NO ONE BOTHERED TO READ THE ENTIRE SPEECH IN THE LINK AND RELIED INSTEAD ON THAT DROP FROM POISON PEN TO FORM A TOTALLY IGNORANT, BIASED OPINION.
I'm glad you at least gave him credit for defending well his positions in the midst of multiple attacks in the debate.
If Bernie can withstand the onslaught of unfair, disproportionate establishment and media attacks (your's included) and win the Nomination, it won't be thanks to the majority of you, but you will all in some way benefit from an improvement in foreign policy under a Sanders administration. OR DO YOU ACTUALLY PREFER TO DISCUSS WAR AND ATROCITY AND CONSPIRACY MACHINATIONS HERE ALL DAY, EVERY DAY IN PERPETUITY? Maybe that's the problem, maybe with Bernie as President you'll be less involved as armchair generals and have to settle for criticizing boring diplomacy for a change!
I don't know about you, but I really welcome most of what Bernie talked about and his vision for the future on this planet much more than discussing war with Iran, famine and climate disaster.
Bernie will make it in spite of haters, never Sanders, maligners, and distorters of the truth.
Oh, and he'll DESTROY Trump in November.
Jared suggests Bloomberg/Gabbard.
I guess you don't really know what Bloomberg's about. And you especially don't get Gabbard! She wouldn't be caught dead working for that Neocon warmonger!
SharonM and Jackrabbit
Get a room you professional koo-koo spinbots...preferrably in another Solar System where you can't damage impressionable minds. Ugh.I feel bad for the Bernie Bros.SharonM , Feb 21 2020 5:14 utc | 106
He's gonna sell them out again.
Dude has zero pull with his "party", and is facing a steamroller in Trump.
I would be happy to have a small dinner with Circe and friends after the convention.
We can commiserate over a few wodkas and goulash.@104 CircePenelope , Feb 21 2020 5:30 utc | 107
"SharonM and Jackrabbit
Get a room you professional koo-koo spinbots...preferrably in another Solar System where you can't damage impressionable minds. Ugh."
I'm against war. You're obviously just another loser imperialist.Since medical care figures so prominently in the election, might be a good idea to know why it costs so much now:Circe , Feb 21 2020 5:45 utc | 108
The Oligarch Takeover of US Pharma and Healthcare by Jon Hellevig
"The Awara study shows https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/us-healthcare-system-in-crisis/ that in addition to the original sin of corporate greed, the exorbitant costs of the US healthcare system stem from layers upon layers of distortions with which the system is infested. Each part of the healthcare industry contributes to what is a giant monopoly scam: the pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, drug wholesalers, drug stores, group purchasing organizations, health insurance companies, doctors, clinics and hospitals, and even what should be impartial university research. And on top of that, there's the government as a giant enabler of monopolized corporations running roughshod over the American consumer and patient.
"But it is worse than that. All the monopolists (in official parlance, oligopolies) are in turn owned by the same set of investors in what is called horizontal shareholding. The same some 15-20. investors have the controlling stake in all the leading companies of the entire pharma and healthcare industry.
"That's not all. Two of the investors, BlackRock and Vanguard, are the biggest owners in almost every single one of the leading companies.
"Furthermore, BlackRock is owned by Vanguard, BlackRock's biggest owner being a mystical PNC Services, whose biggest owner in turn is Vanguard. Vanguard itself is recorded directly as BlackRock's second biggest owner. Moreover, BlackRock and Vanguard are the two biggest owners of almost all the other 15-20 biggest investors, which most are cross-owned and together own the entire US pharma and healthcare sector. Ultimately, then we might have the situation that the whole healthcare sector and Big Pharma are controlled by one giant oligarch clan (and the very real people who stand behind them), one single interest group of oligarch investors." -- http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52658.htm
PS: US is now 33d in life expectancy.Yesterday some dirty dog, Bloomberg or weasel Buttigieg, brought up the fact that Bernie has 2 million, and 3 homes, one in Washington, a house in Vermont his wife inherited from her parents and a cabin by a lake! OMG! QUICK! Call the Socialist police! He's 78, has a career in politics, wrote some bestsellers and he has to live like a monk otherwise, he's a hypocrite???Blue Dotterel , Feb 21 2020 6:19 utc | 109
The hypocrites are the ones criticizing him and not Warren who appeared in Forbes cause she has two expensive homes, and 12 MILLION. But, at the debate she was coy and uncommonly silent when they attacked Bernie for what is perfectly normal given his career, success as an author and his age!
But Lizabeth, she cares so much about poor mothers and babies, and shares Bernie's platform, and yet is too chicken to call herself a democratic socialist. Yeah, with 12 Mil in the bank and different investments she's got a big stake in Capitalism! And someone mentionned that during the commercial break she was getting quite friendly yacking it up with Bloomberg, AFTER she put on the Non-disclosure artifice (watch out for hidden mics, Mike!). And she's not big on democracy either, since she would rather go to a brokered convention, than give Bernie the nomination when he gets the majority of pledged delegates. Screw her!
Oh Lizzie, you showed all your true colors!
DONE, put a fork in it!
Against war and for Trump? 🤣🤣🤣
Trust me, Bernie's not starting any war at his age, and he's from a bucolic state. If you think Bernie's for war and I'm an imperialist, then must be a real bad judge of character.
You fool no one. You hate Bernie for some other stupid reason.Really, the Oligarch party composed of the Republican and Democrat branches will not make any significant changes to the status quo, even if Sanders is voted in to the presidency. Sanders' foreign policy is the Oligarch policy; Sanders domestic policy would never get past the Oligarch house without significant watering down to be totally irrelevant. Sanders only "threat" to the Oligarchs is that the presidency would give him a 4-year platform to continue to put forth his semi-socialist domestic views, seeding the brains of the ignorant masses with dangerous thoughts.Piotr Berman , Feb 21 2020 7:26 utc | 110
Voting for either branch of the Oligarch party is to vote for the status quo. All that is guaranteed are a few cosmetic changes of zero significance. Vote, but vote anyone but the Oligarch Party!A positive assessment of the chances of Sanders to win the nomination:YnO , Feb 21 2020 7:41 utc | 111
"Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign called on former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to drop out of the Democratic presidential primary race in a memo released on Thursday, warning that Bloomberg's presence in the race would propel Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to the Democratic nomination. "
Pete could be more incisive by pointing that unlike his much more financially successful colleague from the race of nomination, he has no track record on making unwanted passes on women, or jokes that cannot be revealed to the publics. More seriously, American establishment is so vast that it is internally divided into various groups or cliques that detest each other. Pete is a darling of CIA circles, Bloomberg is so rich that he nearly makes an influence group by himself., but he may be popular among Wall Street denizens who donate to Metropolitan Opera and snicker at Trump who could not tell Verdi from Barbie doll. On political positions, I wonder if there is an ounce of difference.There is a lot of criticism in these comments about Sanders not going all out against the Democratic Party and playing too nice, but a counterpoint to consider is that we have a perfect example to contrast his behavior with: Tulsi Gabbard. Tulsi was vice chair of the DNC and considered one of their "rising stars" in part because of the elites' insipid love of identity politics, and she is demonstrating the country what happens when you go nuclear against the establishment. She burned her political capital to back Bernie in 2016 and went on the attack during the debates she was able to get into. Would Sanders really get better results doing what Tulsi is doing, and if so, why would he going that course be different?Krollchem , Feb 21 2020 8:27 utc | 112Likklemore@102james , Feb 21 2020 8:29 utc | 113
What you describe is what is generally done. If the State legislature chooses to ignore the vote then your argument is not valid.
Please see the US Constitution that I linked...@95 sharon.. thanks.. that sounds reasonable.. however at present either one of the war parties is going to win.. i suppose some will think bernie i war party lite or something, but regardless if he gets the nod - which i highly doubt - the war party is still in control.. something bigger has to happen for this to change.. collapse is a popular fantasy for some.. i am not sure if or when that could happen too.. it is hard being reasonable in this atmosphere.. i am inclined to more radical thinking as the answer at this point..BM , Feb 21 2020 8:58 utc | 114"It's time to give the elites a bigger say in electing the President"Seer , Feb 21 2020 10:26 utc | 115
Under Trump Bezos lost highly profitable interests, and under a second Trump term he would likely lose still more. If any of the elites' choices get the Dem nomination, Trump is certain to win. Perhaps Bezos' reasoning was to try to provoke Dem supporters to reject the elites because that is the only chance of getting back the business interests he lost.
Bezos is a nasty piece of work indeed, but to his credit, maybe he at least sees the need of a more acceptable candidate."They" have thrown down everything against Sanders yet he continues to rise. His support base is HUGE. Competition can't touch him. His victories will put him up so much that the DNC is rendered powerless.Paco , Feb 21 2020 10:29 utc | 116
Of all the candidates, Tulsi Gabbard is far away the closest in ideology to Sanders. She entered the race with Bernie's approval, before Bernie announced. Bernie knows that Tulsi is the only one (other than Nina Turner) that would totally have his back. I actually believe that Gabbard is the best candidate that the US has had in a LONG time. If she were selected as VP she would get a lot more exposure; the more exposure the more support she gets. I don't believe that Bernie needs to pick a VP in order to garner more votes; that is, it's not as strategically necessary as other candidates have required: I repeat: Bernie's base is HUGE. Tulsi is a BIG insurance policy. VP isn't a do-nothing position: it can cast a tie-breaking vote in the senate; it can act as collaborator with POTUS. In a more correct positioning of talents it would be Gabbard as POTUS and Sanders as VP. I'd be happy to see Nina Turner as VP but am worried that the pairing with Sanders would create too stark of a picture, one open to really ugly attacks: it's hard to attack Tulsi given her military experience (I hate that this needs to be played, but it's the reality we face). AND there's the VP debates: Tulsi vs Pence would be one for the history books.Turkey closed its airspace to russian airplanes flying to Syria and slowed down the so called Syrian Express. The straights would be closed in case of declared war but the flow can be slowed down by other means. Hard to think that war will be officially declared with all the joint projects in energy, but logistics would be a real problem for Russia if things get uglier.jared , Feb 21 2020 11:21 utc | 117
The second question of the 20 series to Putin is about Ukraine, as usual he comes across as well informed and with ease of verve.
CirceWilly2 , Feb 21 2020 11:34 utc | 118
I guess you don't really know what Bloomberg's about. And you especially don't get Gabbard! She wouldn't be caught dead working for that Neocon warmonger!
Please advise - What is Bloomberg about.
In my experience he is a conservative moderate.
Do we just describe everyone we dont like as zionist?- The american writer Thomas Frank has put this way: The Democrats had every opportuniy to win the presidential election of 2016 by focussing on the people in "fly-over land", on the people who felt "left bhind" but instead they focussed on the "creative class" (laywers, the "professional class", hollywood and people from the tech sector (GOOGLE, Facebook, etc.).Willy2 , Feb 21 2020 11:38 utc | 119
- It was the presidential campaign of Trump who saw the chance to win over the people from "fly-over country".@Jared (#117):Willy2 , Feb 21 2020 11:47 utc | 120
- Yes, Bloomberg is a moderate republican but he is also an establishment figure/person. So, he won't be the one that will bring about MAJOR changes that are going to hurt that same establishment. Including the "zionists" (with or without quotation marks).- The people who are commenting on this topic should take into account one thing. Over the years the Republican party has purged the party of "moderate Republicans". As a result of that Republican party shifted more and more to the right side of the political spectrum.William Gruff , Feb 21 2020 12:18 utc | 121About Butt-gig...Willy2 , Feb 21 2020 12:43 utc | 122
If you were running a giant organized crime group with cash flow in the hundreds of $billions, with tentacles deeply penetrating all of the mass media, with connections at the top of all major western multinational corporations, and you wanted to "manage" the political system of the country that finances the military that you occasionally need, how would you do that?
Run you own candidates, of course!
So it is 2015. You've already gotten one of your candidates elected twice, and you are confident that mass media cultivated "identity politics" played a big part in getting him into the White House. Because of this you are now running another "identity politics" compliant candidate, but you have some tricks up your sleeve to guarantee she wins. Most importantly you have an utter heel running against her who cannot possibly win.
So you [big mafia don] are confident that you have the 2016 and 2020 elections sewn up, but even though it is only 2015, now is the time to be thinking about 2024. You've already used up the woman and Black man identity issues, so what next? The gay man "identity politics" angle, of course! So now you need to introduce to the public a gay candidate that is under your control so the public can start to get used to him and he can become widely known by the time campaigning starts in 2023.
Remind me now when it was that Butt-gig "came out" as gay? Oh, yeah, that's right! It was 2015. He then "married" in 2018.
"But Butt-gig is so young!"
Sure. Realize that he wasn't supposed to be running until 2024, when he would be in his forties. 2016 and 2020 were supposed to be Clinton's turn in the White House, but things went all sideways for some reason. Now you have to move up the timetable.
Butt-gig is CIA.- Bernie Sanders has promised FREE education/college and FREE Healthcare. Although I have SERIOUS doubts how he is going to pay for all that FREE stuff, the large support he enjoys shows very well how Joe Sixpack is thinking about his own economic situation.Piotr Berman , Feb 21 2020 12:50 utc | 123
- There were A LOT OF voters who voted first for Sanders in the primaries. When it became clear that Sanders wasn't going to be the Democratic candidate these voters votes for Trump in november 2016.Blue Dotterel is not satisfied: >>Sanders only "threat" to the Oligarchs is that the presidency would give him a 4-year platform to continue to put forth his semi-socialist domestic views, seeding the brains of the ignorant masses with dangerous thoughts.Clueless Joe , Feb 21 2020 13:04 utc | 124
Voting for either branch of the Oligarch party is to vote for the status quo. All that is guaranteed are a few cosmetic changes of zero significance. Vote, but vote anyone but the Oligarch Party! Sanders only "threat" to the Oligarchs is that the presidency would give him a 4-year platform to continue to put forth his semi-socialist domestic views, seeding the brains of the ignorant masses with dangerous thoughts.<<
But the oligarchy and sectors close to oligarchy are already worried exactly about that. For example, certain David Brook is almost morose. A nightmare that is at least 170 years old reappeared:
>>Bernie Sanders is also telling a successful myth: The corporate and Wall Street elites are rapacious monsters who hoard the nation's wealth and oppress working families. This is not an original myth, either. It's been around since the class-conflict agitators of 1848. It is also a very compelling us vs. them worldview that resonates with a lot of people.
When you're inside the Sanders myth, you see the world through the Bernie lens.
This brings memories... agitators of 1848, revolution spread around Europe, Hapsburgs quelling a revolution in Vienna only to watch Hungary, nearly half of the empire, raising in rebelion that lasted until Czar send help a year later, stimulating dense Romantic poetry that till today children in Central Europe are forced to learn. Final stanza translated into English (it has a very compelilng rhytm in the original)
[the funeral of an agitator of 1848 turns into a march of specters that disturb comfortable city dwellers]
And we shall drag on the funeral procession, saddening sleeping cities
Banging upon gates with urns, whistling into the notches of hatchets
Until the walls of Jericho fall like logs
Fainting hearts shall be revived; nations shall clear their musty eyes
Onward-OnwardWilliam Gruff:SharonM , Feb 21 2020 13:14 utc | 125
So, do you basically imply that the next run, after Black, Woman and Gay, would be Latino? In which case they actually planned well ahead and AOC could be their card for 2032? Or would that be too far-fetched? (she seems to go a bit too far into leftism for that after all)@108 CirceSharonM , Feb 21 2020 13:20 utc | 126
Against war and for Trump? 🤣🤣🤣
Trust me, Bernie's not starting any war at his age, and he's from a bucolic state. If you think Bernie's for war and I'm an imperialist, then must be a real bad judge of character. You fool no one. You hate Bernie for some other stupid reason."
Here are some relevant questions with Bernie's answers:
*Question: Would you consider military force to pre-empt an Iranian or North Korean nuclear or missile test?
*Question: Would you consider military force for a humanitarian intervention?
*Question: If Russia continues on its current course in Ukraine and other former Soviet states, should the United States regard it as an adversary, or even an enemy?
*Question: Should Russia be required to return Crimea to Ukraine before it is allowed back into the G-7?
Don't care about your dumb opinion, Circe. But I don't want anyone else here to think I'm some supporter of the U.S. regimes two war parties. Bernie is just like Trump, Obama, the Bush and Clinton families--warmongering assholes all of them.@113 JamesVictor , Feb 21 2020 13:49 utc | 127
I agree. An actual revolution here would probably require masses of people on the verge of starvation. But perhaps there's a trigger event that we can't foresee?As long as Sanders treats Latin America with respect, I will vote for him. He just said that he backs Evo Morales in Bolivia. That is a good sign.john , Feb 21 2020 13:59 utc | 128Willy2 @ 122 says:Jackrabbit , Feb 21 2020 14:10 utc | 129
Bernie Sanders has promised FREE education/college and FREE Healthcare. Although I have SERIOUS doubts how he is going to pay for all that FREE stuff,...
and there's the rub, or the common denominator between domestic policy and foreign policy...i.e. lucre (and hellfire missiles are so much sexier , right?).
if a candidate is not clamoring loudly that the defense budget must be cut by at least 50%, he or she is being disingenuous, if not downright deceptive, about enacting any kind of national healthcare, education, or whatnot.james @113:Circe , Feb 21 2020 14:25 utc | 130[If Bernie wins] the war party is still in control.. i am inclined to more radical thinking ... at this point.
When reasonable, level-headed people like james are "inclined to more radical thinking" then the establishment is really in trouble.
Will they take heed? Nah, they'll just send out more Circe dembots.
!!@125 SharonMclickkid , Feb 21 2020 14:40 utc | 131
If you were an anti-war candidate running for President of a militarized security state that is so easily brainwashed by half a billion dollars in ads run by a war-mongering Ziofascist and one of the highest-circulated Zionist-run propaganda rags asked trap questions to test their definition of patriotism on you, you too would go through the motions and give them what they wanna hear so they would leave you the fock alone for the rest of the campaign.
Now, if you're looking to blow in 15 minutes your years in the making efforts to win the Presidency and use your power to change that security state mentality, then you would stupidly answer what you're suggesting.
You're a Trumpbot. AND I COULD GIVE A SHET WHAT YOU THINK.
Bernie wants to restore the Iran deal, and do diplomacy with Iran, and substantially reduce military spending. Bernie is as anti-war a politicisn as I've seen in my lifetime. I'll bank on his wisdom over your intellectual dishonesty ANY DAY, ANY TIME, ANY WHERE. Unlike you, a lousy judge of character, or just plain demonizing Trumpbot on a fool's mission, I am an excellent judge of character who had Ziofascist Trump pegged from day one and took two years of flak for it! Today, I've been vindicated in every way. Ziofascist Trump is the agent provocateur in the Middle East unilaterally, repeatedly resorting to multiple acts of war against the Palestinians, Syria, Iraq and Iran. If he didn't trigger war yet, it's not for lack of trying! Everyone is wisely on hold prevailing on their cool-headedness hoping Americans elect a SANE, and more humane President, and that President will be Bernie Sanders.
When Bernie shuts the door on that lunatic's orange-cake face the entire planet will breathe A COLLECTIVE SIGH.
Now go bark your fake purist bullshet at someone stupid enough to fall for it. I'm a firewall for the truth and you're barking up the wrong tree and messing with someone berning for justice.
PRESIDENT BERNIE SANDERS
Get used to it; it's happening.@ Circe | Feb 21 2020 14:25 utc | 130clickkid , Feb 21 2020 14:43 utc | 132
If Sanders actually got into the Presidency and threatened established interests, then he would be given a non-refusable invitation to vist Dallas and drive past the Texas Shoolbook Depositary.Or even the:SharonM , Feb 21 2020 14:43 utc | 133
Texas schoolbook depository@130 CirceBlue Dotterel , Feb 21 2020 14:49 utc | 134
Oh sure, Bernie is just playing 4d chess, right? We've been hearing that for years about Trump as he bombs countries, assassinates people, and overthrows governments. We'll have to relive it all hearing about Bernie's grand scheme to undermine the MIC by doing exactly what the MIC wants. You're just another fake following a warmonger.Piotr Berman,Circe , Feb 21 2020 14:52 utc | 135
"But the oligarchy and sectors close to oligarchy are already worried exactly about that. For example, certain David Brook is almost morose. A nightmare that is at least 170 years old reappeared"
Well if Sanders does manages to get the Dem. nomination, then go ahead and vote for him. Just, do not expect anything to change during his administration.
Otherwise, if someone else gets it, Sanders will be put out to pasture, and no one will hear from him again. He was pretty quiet the past three years. For Sanders, and his domestic ideas to blossom, he needs to be able to win the presidency, not just run for it. This is why the Oligarchy will probably tank him. Right now, very few people in the US are politically active. It is only the primaries after all. They are mostly ignored by the vast majority of the electorate despite CNN's propaganda polls (which read only 52% interest anyway). In fact, US elections for pres are regularly ignored by almost half the population, anyway.
If anyone else gets the dem nomination, there is no point voting for the Oligarch Party.@117 jaredLikklemore , Feb 21 2020 14:57 utc | 136
Do you realize the damage you're doing to your credibility and reputation tooting Bloomberg's horn here?
Bloomberg is a rabid Zionist who defied a flight ban making a cruel, pompous spectacle of himself flying into Tel Aviv during Israel's massive criminal assault on Gaza while vociferously supporting Israel's shelling of children, schools and hospitals.
Bloomberg is a Ziofascist Israel shill Neocon BUSH jr REPUBLICAN. Complete Presidential disqualification in one sentence.
Now run along with your leaky can of Bloomberg whitewash.
Sheesh, how pathetic!Walter , Feb 21 2020 15:03 utc | 137
Posted by: Krollchem | Feb 21 2020 8:27 utc | 112
If the State legislature chooses to ignore the vote then your argument is not valid.
Please see the US Constitution that I linked...
And you continue to ignore Process. Well, in Constitutional Law courses that very scenario is addressed. In Law, Process matters.
if the State legislature choses to ignore the vote.."[..]
if not members of the Parties elected to the Legislature, pray tell how is the Legislature comprised?
You do know when (ahead of the general election) the Republicans and Democratic Parties appoint their respective representative slate of electors they take into account Party Loyalists who are pledged to vote the presidential ticket?
On pledges of the electors: 29 states have laws forbidding the electors to violate their pledges.
In recent history: December 2016, Trump had the required electoral votes and the Hillary Mob attempted a full-throated campaign to have some of the Republican electors switch their votes at the Electoral College!!
How did that work out?
There were 7 "Faithless electors" who ignored their pledges. Oeps of the 7: five defected Democratic-loser Clinton and two the Republican president- elect. [Cases are on appeal before the Supreme Court; to be heard in 2019-2020 term]
When the Electors' switchero campaign did not succeed, Russiagate was the lever to frustrate Trump's presidency. Russiagate will continue as long as the orangeman occupies the White House.WP > "...After a senior U.S. intelligence official told lawmakers last week that Russia wants to see President Trump reelected..."Jackrabbit , Feb 21 2020 15:08 utc | 138
UNZ> "...Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Vice President Biden are being told that if they do not get out of the race and clear the lane for the mayor, they will get a socialist as their nominee, and the party will deserve the fate November will bring -- a second term for Trump..."
Now then, when will the intel dudes claim Buttboi and Buyiden and Klob are commie agents? Why already Wally suspects Putin's on the secret Badenov Shoe-phone with his vast army of verraters... I mean, there must be Some Truth, right?
And if (mirabele dictu) Burner get's 'lected and avoids Dallas... if that, then how will they change the story and tell us Burner is a Putin controlled Putin versteher?
("We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." (CIA Director Casey)
Karlofi mooted Beard's "Republic"... A proud attempt by Beard, but, alas (!) it reads like a sad comic... Painful.
Perhaps one interesting point there though > Lincoln's first inaugural.
I'll leave that for K-Man to discuss, if he likes.I'm all for disrupting the Democratic Party by voting for Sanders in the Primary.Circe , Feb 21 2020 15:23 utc | 139
But anyone that thinks that Sanders will be allowed to actually win the Primary is smoking something. And anyone that thinks that Sanders isn't working with the Democratic establishment to accomplish their goals is snorting something.
Sanders is there as window-dressing and to lure young voters into the Democratic Party fold as a "Democracy Works!" ploy (a form of 'stay in school' PSA) .
The Democratic Party won't actually nominate him because Americans would vote for Bernie's anti-oligarch program in droves. Anyone with any sense knows that the oligarchs have too much money and too much power and that government services monied interests instead of the people.
<> <> <> <> <> <>
We are now in a new Cold War. And we are on the brink of ANOTHER major war in the Middle East. It's long-past time to see through the bullshit propaganda, fakery, and scheming.
!!Copy/paste Jackrabbit who hasn't hatched an original thought in quite some time tries to project his professional troll gig on me. Dembot? Is that all you could come up with?Walter , Feb 21 2020 15:23 utc | 140
As with Bernie, I might be more like, hmmm... how would I describe myself?
The Dems worst nightmare⁉️ 😜
...soon to become the Trump-era TERMINATOR.
or, better yet, Circe unleashed.Jackrabbit | Feb 21 2020 15:08 utc | 138Copeland , Feb 21 2020 15:55 utc | 141
"...This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it..."
Wally is a bit shocked...here's Lincoln saying the Revolution is a Right... And he wuz smokin...what?
But yes, context matters...read the entire document>
First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln
MONDAY, MARCH 4, 1861
Fellow-Citizens of the United States: (avalon / yale / edu an' all of that)All the slander being heaped upon Bernie is not going to drain one jot of energy from the momentum of his campaign. The trolls desire above all for a tide of chaos to wash over the country. The energy in this movement is going play out on the convention floor and beyond; and the spirit of the people is not about to be diminished or crushed.William Gruff , Feb 21 2020 16:29 utc | 142
It is best not to give up on the struggle, especially when the stakes have been made so clear as Bloomberg plants the flag of oligharchy in this election. Only Sanders and Warren had the decency to react with moral vigor to this outrage.
This is far from over. This is just getting interesting.Clueless Joe @124fnord , Feb 21 2020 16:40 utc | 143
Correct, as I see it that would be too far-fetched. I cannot see AOC being managed opposition, even if her behavior doesn't seem very leftish sometimes. The establishment's biggest concern with their management of the political process is to make sure that some of the things that AOC discusses remain outside the scope of acceptable political discourse. See Willy2 above with his "Free stuff!" narrative for how the establishment wants people to react... the establishment wants to prevent the public from even considering reallocating resources away from the military and corporate subsidies to so-called "Free stuff!" While AOC's ideology and support for Pelosi and such might leave some leftists unimpressed, the fact that she even discusses free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare and education as well as living wages strongly suggests that she is not part of the establishment's operation.
I honestly do not think the establishment has any plans for pandering very much to Latin American identity... there is far too much revolution in that identity. My guess is that the plans post-Butt-gig are to mix things up... say a Black lesbian or Black transsexual, for instance. Keep in mind this would be planned for 2028 (previously 2030) so whoever they have in mind would only be starting to get publicly groomed for the job now. The potential individuals may not have even had their debutante unveiling to the public yet.@Copeland, 141William Gruff , Feb 21 2020 17:01 utc | 144
The trolls desire above all for a tide of chaos to wash over the country.
Well, true, but we don't need much help. The Sanders campaign has been a gift to socialists who can piggy-back off of his demolition of decades of John Birch Society indoctrination against socialism. But as far as I'm concerned, that's the only good thing he's done. Him losing will be better for socialists - who can benefit from his supporters flocking to our organizations - rather than him winning and forcing us to take him in as "our guy" or us being tarred with any failures of his presidency."[Sanders] losing will be better for socialists..." --fnord @143Circe , Feb 21 2020 17:03 utc | 145
Not good strategy. People are not ready to go for real revolution yet. They need to try half measures first and see those half measures fail or be attacked and defeated by the oligarchs. Sanders losing will cause many people to either drop out of the movement or switch to the far right. Sanders victory is needed just to show the masses that victory is possible. People pursue socialist revolution out of a sense of optimism and open possibilities, not desperation. Desperation leads to fascism.Uh-Oh, Jackrabbit just got scorched by Walter's bern brilliance.Circe , Feb 21 2020 17:28 utc | 146
I'm a lover of pithy truth, and here's one to describe Bernie's movement:
The real revolution is the evolution of consciousness.
Here's one to prepare for Trump's Bernie strategy:
When a narcissist can no longer control you, they will instead try to control how others see you.
(In other words, always keep in mind; they're coming at you from a position of weakness.)
In my words:
The key to triumph over evil is to take the fight into the light and INSPIRE ALLEGIANCE.
That's Bernie's strength, and that's why Bernie Sanders will become the 46th President of the United States.
While Trump boasts he's the master of 4D chess; he will be outplayed by Bernie Sanders, the 4D Master of CHESED .
Bernie Sanders will defeat Donald J. Trump to become President of the United States.
Feb 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Likklemore , Feb 21 2020 0:02 utc | 72@ RSH 66
[If] either are nominated - or any other of the current crop of losers - the Democrats will lose against Trump, despite Trump making all kinds of incredibly stupid statements during the campaign. Because, let's face it, Trump will do stupid stuff all during the election race - and his supporters will no doubt ignore them or praise him for them. [;]
There is that Great Silent Majority made up of Independents, RINOs, DINOs, and Moderates who are embarrassed by and are tired of Trump. Also, throw in those who will refuse to participate in the rigged system. In 2020 this time it's different.
And then there is Mike Bloomberg who told the New York Times he is open to spending up to $1 billion to defeat Trump in 2020. and that he'll put the force of his operation behind the 2020 nominee whether or not it's him.
Feb 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
D. , Feb 15 2020 19:42 utc | 32@farm ecologist #29
Surely he could. But the good sheepdog he is he wont!
Feb 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgCynica , Feb 15 2020 20:03 utc | 39Much noise has been made about Trump being elected due to anti-establishment sentiment. While certainly true, Trump's election is just one in a long line of seemingly anti-establishment candidates elected, after which it's more or less "business as usual".Veritas X- , Feb 15 2020 18:58 utc | 8
Clearly the establishment has long since caught on to the fact that "the masses" dislike it, hence why they concentrate on the appearance of being anti-establishment.
Sadly, "the masses" get fooled time and time again. One can only marvel at how it keeps happening.A picture is worth a 1,000 words: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2016/01/25/opinion/RFDBloomberg/RFDBloomberg-sfSpan.jpg
It's all theater for the masses. And little Mikey is just another frontman for the redshields/epstein-barr gang:
Feb 01, 2020 | www.unz.com
I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I'm a little worried about Donald Trump. I'm worried he may be on the verge of a sudden, major heart attack, or a stroke, or a fatal golfing accident.
Food poisoning is another possibility. Or he could overdose on prescription medication. A tanning bed mishap is not out of the question.
He could accidentally hang himself during autoerotic asphyxiation, or get shot by a lone-wolf white supremacist terrorist trying to start the RaHoWa. The Russians could spray him with that Novichok perfume.
There are any number of ways he could snuff it.
I don't mean to sound alarmist, but the Resistance is running out of non-lethal options for removing Donald Trump from office. Here they are, in no particular order
TG , says: Show Comment January 27, 2020 at 6:40 pm GMTCute, but seriously: Trump has been pretty much hammered into toeing the party line. The oligarchy still doesn't like him, and it has taken a lot of effort to reign in him, but rhetoric aside he's currently governing a lot like Hilary Clinton would have. The borders are still open to illegal immigrants and the rich have their cheap labor, we're still wasting trillions on pointless winless foreign wars, our manufacturing base is pretty much hollowed out, we're still shoveling trillions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies to Wall Street, big medicine is still busy with organized looting ('surprise medical billing', anyone?), you get the idea.Ozymandias , says: Show Comment January 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm GMT
Trump fought the swamp, and the swamp won. The 2020 election looks to be yet another heads they win/tails we lose circus. Trump is in no danger, IMHO.
Unless Bernie gets the nomination. Now there's a politician that needs to worry about his healthYou're overlooking the obvious contingency plan for the Dems: Biden will recruit Terry Crews or Tiny Lister for his VP candidate. Of course the Veep will have to dress transgender and change their name to Cornpop, but that's a small price to pay. The future of the country is at stake.WorkingClass , says: Show Comment January 27, 2020 at 7:44 pm GMTIt has become clear to Bernie's supporters that they and the Deplorables have the same enemies. The more the media demonize Bernie in the same way they demonize Trump the stronger Bernie will become. Bernie doesn't need to be in Iowa. CNN and the NYT are working for him. Fake news is also stupid news.Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment January 27, 2020 at 9:00 pm GMTAnon  Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 28, 2020 at 8:03 pm GMT
the total stranglehold the Russians now have on American democracy
I'm grateful Mr. Hopkins sorted that out for us.@Nancy O'Brien SimpsonOmegabooks , says: Show Comment January 31, 2020 at 5:52 am GMT
CJ Hopkins has to be one of the best political commentators alive today. His writing is both hilarious and profound. No easy fete.
Yes, absolutely exquisite use of the language to ridicule the ridiculous "resistance."
Clearly, Andy Kaufmann (aka Latka Gravis) did not die: he slinked away to politics and took on the mantle of Schifty the Popeyed Crackpot California Congressman.Love this Hopkins dude!eah , says: Show Comment January 31, 2020 at 8:39 am GMT
Dead President Walking .or walking contradiction? Dead or notHopkins entertainingly finds the black humor in all of this -- but none of it is funny, even darkly so -- the reason it isn't funny is that millions of decent, hard-working Americans are chained to this amoral freak show via the coercive tax system.OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 31, 2020 at 3:13 pm GMTWell nothing of value would be lost Trump hasn't drained the swamp, locked her up, or built the wall. In fact the only people that have been arrested are Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. I was going to add a string of "lols" tied together, but this place is classier than that.
Honestly it might be a good thing, because then Pence would be president. Think about it, then the Evangelicals who the GoP relies on their vote, but have also been strung along for decades getting none of the social issues addressed while, and then also being blamed for everything from war in the Middle East to every social problem. I think it would be good for them to see the righteous avatar Pence ascend to the throne, and then completely shun and ignore them. Maybe that will finally wake them up.
Jan 31, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Trump excoriates Bolton in tweets this morning:
"For a guy who couldn't get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn't get approved for anything since, 'begged' me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying 'Don't do it, sir,' takes the job, mistakenly says 'Libyan Model' on T.V., and ... many more mistakes of judgement [sic], gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?"
IMO, Trump is a fantastic POTUS for this day and age, but he wasn't on his A game when he brought Bolton onboard. He should have known better and, was, apparently, warned. Maybe Trump thought he could control him and use him as a threatening pit bull. Mistake. Bolton is greedy as well as vindictive.
Posted by: Eric Newhill | 29 January 2020 at 09:30 AM
Jan 29, 2020 | off-guardian.org
Charlotte Russe ,Trump doesn't have a thing to fear he's been a huge asset to the security state, whose Russiagate theatrics provided mainstream media news with just enough bullshit to distract the public, so that Trump could never be aggressively attacked from the Left. For the last three years, all the "resistance oxygen" was sucked up by the warmongering against Russia. Meanwhile, this enabled Trump to successfully pass a slew of reactionary legislation and fasttrack numerous lifetime appointments to the federal court without barely a whimper from the phony Dems. In fact, the Democrats unanimously voted for Trump's military budget. The same idiot they called unhinged was given the power to start WWIII.
No matter how much liberals complain–the wealthy are happy with the status quo and the right-wing Evangelicals are as pleased as punch. However, there's quite a large number of disaffected Trump voters looking at Tulsi, but could eventually come Bernie's way. Especially, if Tulsi endorses Bernie. This discontented bunch includes the working-poor, the indebted young, and all the folks who are not doing economically well under Trump's fabulous stock market. It especially includes the military families who were promised an end to the miserable foreign interventions. Bernie, has some appeal to these folks. His platform certainly resonates with all those who can barely pay their health insurance
premiums, and whose salary is NOT nearly considered a living wage. But Bernie could win hands-down and steal Trump's base, if he only had the courage to UNAPOLOGETICALLY speak out against US imperialism and connect all the dots explaining how the security state plundered the treasury for decades f–king over the working-class.
Jan 27, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
EveryoneIsBiased , 26 January 2020 at 04:40 PMThank you Colonel; I have been waiting for your take on this. And thank you for opening the comments again. If there is a problem with my post, please point them out to me.
And i agree. This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years.
Still, immigration is another important issue, but besides much talk and showmastery, he has not really changed anything substantial in this regard; Nothing that could seriously change the course.
So he stripped himself of any true argument to vote for him, besides for ultra neocons and ultra fundamental evangelical Christians. And even they don't seem to trust in his intentions.
And China? He may have changed some small to medium problems for the better, but nothing is changed in the overall trend of the US continuing to loose while China emerges as the next global superpower.
It may have been slowed for some years; It may even have been accelerated, now that China has been waken up to the extend of the threat posed by the US.
North Korea? They surely will never denuclearize. Even less after how Trump showed the world how he treats international law and even allies.
With Trump its all photo ops and showmanship. And while he senses what issues are important, it is worth a damn if he butchers the execution, or values photo ops more than substantial progress.
Not that i would see a democratic alternative. No. But at least now everyone who wants to know can see, that he is neither one.
4 years ago, democracy was corrupted, but at least there was someone who presented himself as an alternative to that rotten establishment.
Now, even that small ray of light is as dark as it gets.
And that is the saddest thing. What worth is democracy, when one does not even have a true alternative, besides Tulsi on endless wars, and Bernie for the socialist ;) ?
I just have watched again the Ken Burns documentary of the civil war. I know it is not perfect (Though i love Shelby Foote's parts), but the sense of the divided 2 Americas there, is still the same today. Today, America seems to break apart culturally, socially and economically on the fault lines that have sucked it into the civil war over 150 years ago.
And just like with seeing no real way out politically, i sadly can see no way to heal and unite this country, as it never was truly united after the civil war, if not ever before. As you Colonel said some weeks ago, the US were never a nation.
And looking at other countries, only a major national crisis may change this.
A most sad realization. But this hold true also for other western countries, including my own.
An even worse decade seems to be ahead.
Jan 22, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org
Class Trumps Partisan DifferencesOn January 20, Donald G. Trump completed his third year in office. My one blog that received five-digit Facebook shares predicted Trump would lose in 2016. I was spectacularly wrong but not alone. Even the Las Vegas bookies thought Clinton was a shoo-in with her unbeatable two-punch knockout of (1) I'm not Trump and (2) World War III with the Russians would be peachy at least until the bombs start falling. What could possibly have gone wrong?
More to the point, the unexpected victory of Trump was the historical reaction to the bankruptcy of Clinton-Bush-Obama neoliberalism. Now after three years of Mr. Trump, what's left?
During the George W. Bush years – he's now viewed favorably by a majority of Democrats – Democrats could wring their tied hands to the accolades of their base. My own Democrat Representative Lynn Woolsey stood up daily in the House and denounced Bush's Iraq war. For a while there was a resurgent peace movement against US military adventures in the Middle East, which was even backed by some left-leaning liberals.
But the moment that Obama ascended to the Oval Office, the Iraq War became Obama's war, Bush's secretary of war Gates was carried over to administer it, and Woolsey forgot she was for peace. No matter, Obama, the peace candidate, would fix it. Just give him a chance. For eight years, Obama was given a chance and the peace movement went quiescent.
Trump takes office
Surely a Republican president, I thought, would harken a rebirth of the peace movement given the ever-inflated war budget and the proliferation of US wars. The US is officially at war with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger. To the official list are any number of other states subject to drone attacks such as Iran, Pakistan, and Mali. And then there are some 30 countries targeted with illegal unilateral coercive measures as form of economic warfare. Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the demonstration.
With Republicans in control of both Congress and the White House, my expectation was that Democrats would safely take a giant step to the right in accordance with their Wall Street funders, while safely keeping a baby step to the left of the Republicans appeasing their liberal-leaning base. To certain extent, this is what happened with Trump's tax cut for the wealthy. The Democrats could and did claim that their hands were once again tied wink, wink to their Wall Street handlers.
Yet on many more fundamental issues, the Democrats did not take advantage of paying lip service to their base's economic priorities by attacking the Republicans on their weak left flank. No, the Democrats mounted an assault on the Republicans from the right with what The Hill called Pelosi's "fiscally hawkish pay-as-you-go rules," increasing the war budget , and launching Russiagate . Instead of appealing to working people on bread and butter issues, the Democrats gave us turbo-charged identity politics.
Bernie Sanders had raised genuine issues regarding runaway income inequality and plutocratic politics. However, Sanders was suppressed by a hostile corporate press and an antagonistic Democratic Party establishment, which arguably preferred to risk a Republican victory in 2016 than support anyone who questioned neoliberal orthodoxy.
Sanders' issues got asphyxiated in the juggernaut of Russiagate. His legacy – so far – has been to help contain a progressive insurgency within the Democratic Party, the perennial graveyard of social movements. Had Mr. Sanders not come along, the Democrats – now the full-throated party of neoliberal austerity at home and imperial war abroad – would have needed to invent a leftish Pied Piper to keep their base in the fold.
So, after three years of Trump, the more than ever needed mass movement against militarism has yet to resurrect in force, notwithstanding promising demonstrations in immediate response to Trump's assassination of Iran's Major General Soleimani on January 3 with more demonstrations to come.
Imperialism and neoliberalism
Dubya proved his imperialist mettle with the second Iraq war; Obama with the destruction of Libya. But Trump has yet to start a war of his own. Though, in the case of Iran, it was not from lack of trying. The last US president with a similar imperialist failing was the one-term Carter. But Trump has 12 and possibly 60 more months to go.
In his short time in office, Trump has packed his administration with former war industry executives, increased troops in Afghanistan, approved selling arms to the coup government of Ukraine, made the largest arms sale in US history to Saudi Arabia, supported the Saudi's war against Yemen, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and killed more civilians in drone strikes than "Obomber." In the empire's "backyard," Trump tightened the blockade on Cuba, intensified Obama's sanctions on Venezuela to a blockade, oversaw the devastation of Puerto Rico , and backed the right wing coup in Bolivia. The Venezuelan Embassy Protectors are fighting the US government for a fair trial, while Julian Assange faces extradition to the US.
Now that Trump has declared the defeat of ISIS , the US National Defense Strategy is "interstate strategic competition" with Russia and China. This official guiding document of the US imperial state explicitly calls for "build[ing] a more lethal force" for world domination. Giving credit where it is due, back in 2011, Hillary Clinton and Obama had presciently decreed a " pivot to Asia ," targeting China.
Closer to home Trump has been busy deregulating environmental protections, dismantling the National Park system, weaponizing social media , and undoing net neutrality, while withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on global warming. What's not to despise?
Russiagate and impeachment
Russiagate – in case you have a real life and are not totally absorbed in mass media – is about a conspiracy that the Russians and not the US Electoral College are responsible for Hillary Clinton not getting her rightful turn to be President of the United States.
For the better part of the last three years under the shadow of Trump in the White House, a spook emerged from the netherworld of the deep state and has toiled mightily to expose wrongdoers. This man, former head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, we are told is only one miracle short of being canonized in blue state heaven. Yet even he failed to indict a single American for colluding with Russia, though he was able to hand out indictments to Americans for other wrongdoings not related to Russia.
Undeterred by this investigation to nowhere, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi initiated impeachment proceedings against the sitting president in the Democrat's first successful step to promote Mike Pence as the next POTUS.
When an unelected and unaccountable CIA operative in secret collusion with opposition politicians (e.g., Adam Schiff) and with backing from his agency seeks to take down a constitutionally elected president, that is cause for concern. Operating under the cloak of anonymity and with privileged access to information, national security operatives skilled in the craft of espionage have the undemocratic means to manipulate and even depose elected officials.
What has arisen is an emboldened national security state. The CIA, lest we forget, is the clandestine agency whose mission is to use any means necessary to affect "regime change" in countries that dare to buck the empire. Latin American leftists used to quip that the US has never suffered a coup because there is no US embassy in Washington. There may not be a US embassy there, but the CIA and the rest of the US security establishment are more than ever present and pose a danger to democracy.
Now Obama's former Director of National Intelligence and serial perjurer James Clapper holds the conflicted role of pundit on CNN while still retaining his top security clearance . Likewise, Obama's former CIA director, torture apologist, and fellow perjurer John Brennan holds forth on NBC News and MSNBC with his security clearance intact .
Class trumps partisan differences
The Democrats and Republicans mortally combat on the superficial, while remaining united in their bedrock class loyalty to the rule of capital and US world hegemony. The first article of the Democrat-backed impeachment is the president's "abuse of power." Yet, amidst the heat of the House impeachment hearings, the Democrats, by an overwhelming majority, helped renew the Patriot Act , which gives the president war time authority to shred the constitution.
Contrary to the utterances of the Democratic presidential candidates on the campaign trail about limiting US military spending, the latest $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is $22 billion over the last. The Democratic Progressive Caucus didn't even bother to whip members to oppose the bill. On December 11, in an orgy of bi-partisan love, the NDAA bill passed by a landslide vote of 377-48.
President Trump tweeted "Wow!" Democratic Party leader and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith called the bill "the most progressive defense bill we have passed in decades."
This bill gifts twelve more Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets than Trump had requested and green-lights funding of Trump's border wall with Mexico. Stripped from the bipartisan NDAA "compromise" bill were provisions to prohibit Trump from launching a war on Iran without Congressional authorization. Similarly dropped were limits to US participation in the genocidal war in Yemen.
A new Space Force is authorized to militarize the heavens. Meanwhile the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set the doomsday clock at 2 minutes before midnight. Unfortunately, the Democrat's concern about Trump's abuse of power does not extend to such existential matters as nuclear war.
Trump's renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (i.e., USMCA), an acknowledged disaster , was renewed with bipartisan support. On the domestic front, Trump cut food stamps, Medicaid, and reproductive health services over the barely audible demurs of the supine Democrats.
Revolt of the dispossessed
Behind the façade of the impeachment spectacle – Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz are now on Trump's legal team – is a ruling class consensus that trumps partisan differences. As political economist Rob Urie perceptively observed :
The American obsession with electoral politics is odd in that 'the people' have so little say in electoral outcomes and that the outcomes only dance around the edges of most people's lives. It isn't so much that the actions of elected leaders are inconsequential as that other factors -- economic, historical, structural and institutional, do more to determine 'politics.'
In the highly contested 2016 presidential contest, nearly half the eligible US voters opted out, not finding enough difference among the contenders to leave home. 2020 may be an opportunity; an opening for an alternative to neoliberal austerity at home and imperial wars abroad lurching to an increasingly oppressive national security state. The campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbord and before them Occupy point to a popular insurgency. Mass protests of the dispossessed are rocking France , India , Colombia , Chile , and perhaps here soon.Roger D. Harris is on the state central committee of the Peace and Freedom Party , the only ballot-qualified socialist party in California. Read other articles by Roger .
This article was posted on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020 at 9:36pm and is filed under Barack Obama , Bernie Sanders , Capitalism , CIA , Deep State , Democrats , Donald Trump , Espionage/"Intelligence" , George W. Bush , Hillary Clinton , Impeachment , Imperialism , Nancy Pelosi , Neoliberalism , Republicans , Social Movements , United States , US Foreign Policy .
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Trailer Trash , Jan 8 2020 16:32 utc | 105Trump is such a douchebag. He claims there were no lives lost due to their "early warning system" -- no mention that the "early warning system" was a phone call!
Now he's once again justifying assassination, etc.
pretzelattack , Jan 8 2020 16:39 utc | 110there was no "better choice" between trump and clinton. i still think clinton represented a greater danger than trump of getting into a war with russia, but they are both warmongers first class. for our next election, we may have a choice between ebola and flesh eating bacteria, or brain cancer and leprosy. if the game is rigged there's no winning it playing by the game's "rules".
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com
Dumbo , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm GMT
Donald Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a promise to end the useless wars in the Middle East, but he has now demonstrated very clearly that he is a liar
He also promised a wall. Maybe he meant the Israeli wall?
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com
TG , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 1:07 am GMTTo some extent it is not relevant if Trump was lying during his campaign, or has been corrupted/coopted/fooled/pressured/played for a chump by the establishment. He said one thing and is doing another: that's the bottom line.Cloak And Dagger , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 1:47 am GMT
However: I note that after Barack Obama got elected, he immediately fired all of his populist advisors and hired Wall Streeters even before being sworn in. Obama was clearly lying up front.
Trump, however, initially did start moving in the direction he said he would, he kept his populist/nationalist advisors, and really did make actual moves to carry out his campaign promises. And the establishment went total nut job, he was a Russian agent, his populist advisers were targeted for legal actions, they were replaced with establishment advisors who hate him Trump was strong on stage berating a political opponent, but against establishment pressure he has turned out to be weak, caving in to "the Blob" at every turn.
Though again, a secondary point.@Gleimhart Mantooso
Had she been elected, Hillary would already have started the neocon wet dream of a war with Iran.
While that may be true, I am tired of giving Trump a free pass, just because Hillary would have been worse. Being relatively less evil, or a different incarnation of evil, is still evil.
Frankly, impeachment was just a distraction to divert attention from the real play. The dagger at his throat is from far more malevolent foes who can wield both blackmail or death as the circumstances demand to get their way. The jewish mafia is far more dangerous than the Sicilian boys could ever hope to be. The latter learned from the former.
Dec 18, 2019 | nationalinterest.org
Trump's performance record as president is comprised of an unbroken string of broken promises, opportunities squandered, principles violated, and intentions abandoned.
North Korea may have been the one issue on which President Donald Trump apparently listened to his predecessor, Barack Obama, when he warned about the serious challenge facing the incoming occupant of the Oval Office. Nevertheless, Trump initially drove tensions between the two countries to a fever pitch, raising fears of war in the midst of proclamations of "fire and fury." Then he played statesman and turned toward diplomacy, meeting North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, in Singapore.
Today that effort looks kaput. The North has declared denuclearization to be off the table. Actually, few people other than the president apparently believed that Kim was prepared to turn over his nuclear weapons to a government predisposed toward intervention and regime change.
Now that this Trump policy is formally dead, and there is no Plan B in sight, Pyongyang has begun deploying choice terms from its fabled thesaurus of insults. Democrats are sure to denounce the administration for incompetent naivete. And the bipartisan war party soon will be beating the drums for more sanctions, more florid rhetoric, additional military deployments, new plans for war. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) already has dismissed the risks since any conflict would be "over there," on the distant Korean Peninsula. At which point Trump's heroic summitry, which offered a dramatic opportunity to break decades of deadly stalemate, will be judged a failure.
If the president had racked up several successes-wars ended, peace achieved, disputes settled, relations strengthened-then one disappointment wouldn't matter much. However, his record is an unbroken string of broken promises, opportunities squandered, principles violated, and intentions abandoned.
There is no relationship more important than that between the United States and the People's Republic of China. Despite Trump's supposed friendship with China's Xi Jinping, the trade war rages to the detriment of both countries. Americans have suffered from both the president's tariffs and China's retaliation, with no end in sight. Despite hopes for a resolution, Beijing is hanging tough and obviously doubts the president's toughness, given the rapidly approaching election.
Beyond economics, the relationship is deteriorating sharply. Disagreements and confrontations over everything from geopolitics to human rights have driven the two countries apart, with the administration lacking any effective strategy to positively influence China's behavior. The president's myopic focus on trade has left him without a coherent strategy elsewhere.
Perhaps the president's most pronounced and controversial promise of the 2016 campaign was to improve relations with Russia. However, despite another supposedly positive personal relationship, the Trump administration has applied more sanctions on Moscow, provided more anti-Russian aid to Ukraine, further increased funds and troops to NATO Europe, and sent home more Russian diplomats than the Obama administration.
Worse, Washington has made no serious effort to resolve the standoff over Ukraine. No one imagines Moscow returning Crimea to Ukraine or giving in on any other issue without meaningful concessions regarding Kiev. Instead of moderating and minimizing bilateral frictions, the administration has made Russia more likely today than before to cooperate with China against Washington and contest American objectives in the Middle East, Africa, and even Latin America.
Although Trump promised to stop America's endless wars, as many - if not more - U.S. military personnel are abroad today as when he took office. He increased the number of troops in Afghanistan and is now seeking to negotiate an exit that would force Washington to remain to enforce the agreement. This war has been burning for more than eighteen years.
The administration has maintained Washington's illegal deployment in Syria, shifting one contingent away from the Turkish-Kurdish battle while inserting new forces to confiscate Syrian oil fields-a move that lacks domestic authority and violates international law. A few hundred Americans cannot achieve their many other supposed objectives, such as eliminating Russian, Iranian, and other malign influences and forcing Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to resign or inaugurate democracy. However, their presence will ensure America's continued entanglement in a conflict of great complexity but minimal security interest.
The Saudi government remains corrupt, incompetent, repressive, reckless and dependent on the United States. Only Washington's refusal to retaliate against Iran for its presumed attack on Saudi oil facilities caused Riyadh to turn to diplomacy toward Tehran, yet the president then increased U.S. military deployments, turning American military personnel into bodyguards for the Saudi royals. The recent terrorist attack by the pilot-in-training-presumably to join his colleagues in slaughtering Yemeni civilians-added to the already high cost of the bilateral relationship.
The administration's policy of "maximum pressure" has proved to be a complete bust around the world. As noted earlier, North Korea proved unwilling to disarm despite the increased financial pressure caused by U.S. sanctions. North Koreans are hurting, but their government, like Washington, places security first.
Russia, too, is no more willing to yield Crimea, which was once part of Russia and is the Black Sea naval base of Sebastopol. Several European governments also disagree with the United States, having pressed to lighten or eliminate current sanctions. The West will have to offer more than the status quo to roll back Moscow's military advances.
Before Trump became president, Iran was well contained, despite its malign regional activities. The Islamic regime was hemmed in by Israel and the Gulf States, backed by nations as diverse as Egypt and America. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, sharply curtailed Iran's nuclear activities and placed the country under an intensive oversight regime. Now Tehran has reactivated its nuclear program, expanded its regional interventions, interfered with Gulf shipping, and demonstrated its ability to devastate Saudi oil production. To America's consternation, its Persian Gulf allies now are more willing to deal with Iran than before.
Additionally, the Trump administration has largely destroyed hope for reform in Cuba by reversing the Obama administration's progress toward normalizing relations and discouraging visits by-and trade with-Americans. The entrepreneurs I spoke to when I visited Cuba two years ago made large investments in anticipation of a steadily increasing number of U.S. visitors but were devastated when Washington shut off the flow. What had been a steadily expanding private sector was knocked back and the regime, with Raoul Castro still dominant behind the scenes, again can blame America for its own failings. There is no evidence that extending the original embargo and additional sanctions, which began in 1960, will free anyone.
For a time, Venezuela appeared to be an administration priority. As usual, Trump applied economic sanctions, this time on a people whose economy essentially had collapsed. Washington threatened more sanctions and military invasion but to no avail. Then the president and his top aides breathed fire and fury, insisting that both China and Russia stay out, again without success. Eventually, the president appeared to simply lose interest and drop any mention of the once urgent crisis. The corrupt, repressive Maduro regime remains in power.
So far, the president's criticisms of America's alliances have gone for naught. Until now, his appointees, all well-disposed toward maintaining generous subsidies for America's international fan club, have implemented his policies. More recently, the administration demanded substantial increases in "host nation" support, but in almost every negotiation so far the president has given way, accepting minor, symbolic gains. He is likely to end up like his predecessor, whining a lot but gaining very little from America's security dependents.
Beyond that, there is little positive to say. Trump and India's Narendra Modi are much alike, which is no compliment to either, but institutional relations have changed little. Turkey's incipient dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, receives a free pass from the president for the former's abuses and crimes. But even so Congress is thoroughly arrayed against Ankara for sins both domestic and foreign.
The president's aversion to genuine free trade and the curious belief that buying inexpensive, quality products from abroad is a negative has created problems with many close allies, including Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and multiple European states. Perhaps only with Israel are Washington's relations substantially improved, and that reflects the president's abandonment of any serious attempt to promote a fair and realistic peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
This is an extraordinarily bad record after almost three years in office. Something good still might happen between now and November 3, 2020. However, more issues are likely to get worse. Imagine North Korean missile and nuclear tests, renewed Russian attempts to influence Western elections, a bloody Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong, increased U.S.-European trade friction, more U.S. pressure on Iran matched by asymmetric responses, and more. At the moment, there is no reason to believe any of the resulting confrontations would turn out well.
Most Americans vote on the economy, and the president is currently riding a wave of job creation. If that ends before the November vote, then international issues might matter more. If so, then the president may regret that he failed to follow through on his criticism of endless war and irresponsible allies. Despite his very different persona, his results don't look all that different from those achieved by Barack Obama and other leading Democrats.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire.rshimizu12 • 15 hours agoPersonally I think Trumps foreign policy has had mix results. Part of the problem is that Trump has adopted a ad hoc foreign policy tactics. The US has had limited success with North Korea. While we have not seen any reductions of nuclear weapons. He probably has stopped flight testing of ICBM's. The daily back and forth threats of destroying each other countries have stopped. We should have been making more progress with N Korea, but Trump has not been firm enough. Russia on the other hand is a much tougher country to deal with. As for China we will have to keep up the pressure in trade negotiations.
Oct 27, 2019 | crookedtimber.org
...what replaces it will be even worse. That's the (slightly premature) headline for my recent article in The Conversation .
The headline will become operative in December, if as expected, the Trump Administration maintains its refusal to nominate new judges to the WTO appellate panel . That will render the WTO unable to take on new cases, and bring about an effective return to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) which preceded the WTO .
An interesting sidelight is that Brexit No-Dealers have been keen on the merits of trading "on WTO terms", but those terms will probably be unenforceable by the time No Deal happens (if it does).
likbez 10.27.19 at 11:22 pmJohn Quiggin 10.28.19 at 3:00 am ( 2 )
That's another manifestation of the ascendance of "national neoliberalism," which now is displacing "classic neoliberalism."
Attempts to remove Trump via color revolution mechanisms (Russiagate, Ukrainegate) are essentially connected with the desire of adherents of classic neoliberalism to return to the old paradigm and kick the can down the road until the cliff. I think it is impossible because the neoliberal elite lost popular support (aka support of deplorables) and now is hanging in the air. "Greed is good" mantra, and the redistribution of the wealth up at the end proved to be very destructive.
That's why probably previous attempts to remove Trump were unsuccessful. And if corrupt classic neoliberal Biden wins Neoliberal Dem Party nomination, the USA probably will get the second term of Trump. Warren might have a chance as "Better Trump then Trump" although she proved so far to be pretty inept politician, and like "original" Trump probably can be easily coerced by the establishment, if she wins.
All this weeping and gnashing of teeth by "neoliberal Intelligentsia" does not change the fact that neoliberalism entered the period of structural crisis demonstrated by "secular stagnation," and, as such, its survival is far from certain. We probably can argue only about how long it will take for the "national neoliberalism" to dismantle it and what shape or form the new social order will take.
That does not mean that replacing the classic neoliberalism the new social order will be better, or more just. Neoliberalism was actually two steps back in comparison with the New Deal Capitalism that it replaced. It clearly was a social regress.Exactly right!Matt 10.28.19 at 6:28 am ( 3 )John, I am legitimate curious what you find "exactly right" in the comment above. Other than the obvious bit in the last line about new deal vs neoliberalism, I would say it is completely wrong, band presenting an amazingly distorted view of both the last few years and recent history.reason 10.28.19 at 8:58 am ( 5 )I agree with Matt.Tim Worstall 10.28.19 at 12:39 pm (no link) 6
In fact, I see the problem as more nuanced.
Neo-liberalism is not a unified thing. Right wing parties are not following the original (the value of choice) paradigm of Milton Friedman that won the argument during the 1970s inflation panic, but have implemented a deceitful bait and switch strategy, followed by continually shifting the goalposts – claiming – it would of worked but we weren't pure enough.
But parts of what Milton Friedman said (for instance the danger of bad micro-economic design of welfare systems creating poverty traps, and the inherent problems of high tariff rates) had a kernel of truth. (Unfortunately, Friedman's macro-economics was almost all wrong and has done great damage.)Jim Harrison 10.28.19 at 5:20 pm ( 9 )
"In that context it felt free to override national governments on any issue that might affect international trade, most notably environmental policies."
Not entirely sure about that. The one case where I was informed enough to really know detail was the China and rare earths WTO case. China claimed that restrictions on exports of separated but otherwise unprocessed rare earths were being made on environmental grounds. Rare earth mining is a messy business, especially the way they do it.
Well, OK. And if such exports were being limited on environmental grounds then that would be WTO compliant. Which is why the claim presumably.
It was gently or not pointed out that exports of things made from those same rare earths were not limited in any sense. Therefore that environmental justification might not be quite the real one. Possibly, it was an attempt to suck RE using industry into China by making rare earths outside in short supply, but the availability for local processing being unrestricted? Certainly, one customer of mine at the time seriously considered packing up the US factory and moving it.
China lost the WTO case. Not because environmental reasons aren't a justification for restrictions on trade but because no one believed that was the reason, rather than the justification.
I don't know about other cases – shrimp, tuna – but there is at least the possibility that it's the argument, not the environment, which wasn't sufficient justification?Neoliberalism gets used as a generalized term of abuse these days. Not every political and institutional development of the last 40 years comes down to the worship of the free market.
In the EU, East Asia, and North America, some of what has taken place is the rationalization of bureaucratic practices and the weakening of archaic localisms. Some of these developments have been positive.
In this respect, neoliberalism in the blanket sense used by Likbez and many others is like what the the ancien regime was, a mix of regressive and progressive tendencies. In the aftermath of the on-going upheaval, it is likely that it will be reassessed and some of its features will be valued if they manage to persist.
I'm thinking of international trade agreements, transnational scientific organizations, and confederations like the European Union.
steven t johnson 10.29.19 at 12:29 amIf I may venture to translate @1?
Right-wing populism like Orban, Salvini, the Brexiteers are sweeping the globe and this is more of the same.
Trying to head off redivision of the world into nationalist trade blocks by removing Trump via dubiously democratic upheavals (like color revolutions) with more or less fictional quasi-scandals as pro-Russian treason or anti-Ukrainian treason (which is "Huh?" on the face of it,) is futile. It stems from a desire to keep on "free" trading despite the secular stagnation that has set in, hoping that the sociopolitical nowhere (major at least) doesn't collapse until God or Nature or something restores the supposedly natural order of economic growth without end/crisis.
I think efforts to keep the neoliberal international WTO/IMF/World Bank "free" trading system is futile because the lower orders are being ordered to be satisfied with a permanent, rigid class system .
If the pie is to shrink forever, all the vile masses (the deplorables) are going to hang together in their various ways, clinging to shared identity in race or religion or nationality, which will leave the international capitalists hanging, period. "Greed is good" mantra, and the redistribution of the wealth up at the end proved to be very destructive. Saying "Greed is good," then expecting selflessness from the lowers is not high-minded but self-serving. Redistribution of wealth upward has been terribly destructive to social cohesion, both domestically and in the sense of generosity towards foreigners.
The pervasive feeling that "we" are going down and drastic action has to be taken is probably why there hasn't been much traction for impeachment til now. If Biden, shown to be shady in regards to Hunter, is nominated to lead the Democratic Party into four/eight years of Obama-esque promise to continue shrinking the status quo for the lowers, Trump will probably win. Warren might have a better chance to convince voters she means to change things (despite the example of Obama,) but she's not very appealing. And she is almost certainly likely to be manipulated like Trump.
Again, despite the fury the old internationalism is collapsing under stagnation and weeping about it is irrelevant. Without any real ideas, we can only react to events as nationalist predatory capitals fight for their new world.
I'm not saying the new right wing populism is better. The New Deal/Great Society did more for America than its political successors since Nixon et al. The years since 1968 I think have been a regression and I see no reason–alas–that it can't get even worse.
I *think* that's more or less what likbez, said, though obviously it's not the way likbez wanted to express it. I disagree strenuously on some details, like Warren's problem being a schoolmarm, rather than being a believer in capitalism who shares Trump's moral values against socialism, no matter what voters say.
likbez 10.29.19 at 2:46 am 13
fausutsnotes 10.28.19 at 8:27 am @4
> What on earth is "national neoliberalism."
It is a particular mutation of the original concept similar to mutation of socialism into national socialism, when domestic policies are mostly preserved (including rampant deregulation) and supplemented by repressive measures (total surveillance) , but in foreign policy "might make right" and unilateralism with the stress on strictly bilateral regulations of trade (no WTO) somewhat modifies "Washington consensus". In other words, the foreign financial oligarchy has a demoted status under the "national neoliberalism" regime, while the national financial oligarchy and manufactures are elevated.
And the slogan of "financial oligarchy of all countries, unite" which is sine qua non of classic neoliberalism is effectively dead and is replaced by protection racket of the most political powerful players (look at Biden and Ukrainian oligarchs behavior here ;-)
> I think every sentence in that comment is either completely wrong or at least debatable. And is likbez actually John Hewson, because that comment reads like one of John Hewson's commentaries
I wish ;-). But it is true in the sense of sentiment expressed in his article A few bank scalps won't help unless they change their rotten culture That's a very similar approach to the problem.
politicalfootball 10.28.19 at 1:19 pm @8
> Most obviously, to define Warren and Trump as both being neoliberals drains the term of any meaning
You are way too fast even for a political football forward ;-).
Warren capitalizes on the same discontent and the feeling of the crisis of neoliberalism that allowed Trump to win. Yes, she is a much better candidate than Trump, and her policy proposals are better (unless she is coerced by the Deep State like Trump in the first three months of her Presidency).
Still, unlike Sanders in domestic policy and Tulsi in foreign policy, she is a neoliberal reformist at heart and a neoliberal warmonger in foreign policy. Most of her policy proposals are quite shallow, and are just a band-aid.
"Warren's "I have a plan" mantra sounds an awful lot like a dog whistle to Clinton voters" Elizabeth Warren's
Plan-itis Excessive Lobbying Case Study naked capitalism
Jim Harrison 10.28.19 at 5:20 pm @9
> Neoliberalism gets used as a generalized term of abuse these days. Not every political and institutional development of the last 40 years comes down to the worship of the free market.
This is a typical stance of neoliberal MSM, a popular line of attack on critics of neoliberalism.
Yes, of course, not everything political and institutional development of the last 40 years comes down to the worship of the "free market." But how can it be otherwise? Notions of human agency, a complex interaction of politics and economics in human affairs, technological progress since 1970th, etc., all play a role. But a historian needs to be able to somehow integrate the mass of evidence into a coherent and truthful story.
And IMHO this story for the last several decades is the ascendance and now decline of "classic neoliberalism" with its stress on the neoliberal globalization and opening of the foreign markets for transnational corporations (often via direct or indirect (financial) pressure, or subversive actions including color revolutions and military intervention) and replacement of it by "national neoliberalism" -- domestic neoliberalism without (or with a different type of) neoliberal globalization.
Defining features of national neoliberalism along with the rejection of neoliberal globalization and, in particular, multiparty treaties like WTO is massive, overwhelming propaganda including politicized witch hunts (via neoliberal MSM), total surveillance of citizens by the national security state institutions (three-letter agencies which now acquired a political role), as well as elements of classic nationalism built-in.
The dominant ideology of the last 30 years was definitely connected with "worshiping of free markets," a secular religion that displaced alternative views and, for several decades (say 1976 -2007), dominated the discourse. So worshiping (or pretense of worshiping) of "free market" (as if such market exists, and is not a theological construct -- a deity of some sort) is really defining feature here.
Dec 01, 1992 | www.moonofalabama.org
On the abandonment of Enlightenment intellectualism, and the emergence of a new form of Volksgeist.When hatred of culture becomes itself a part of culture, the life of the mind loses all meaning. -- Alain Finkielkraut, The Undoing of Thought
Today we are trying to spread knowledge everywhere. Who knows if in centuries to come there will not be universities for re-establishing our former ignorance? -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)
I n 1927, the French essayist Julien Benda published his famous attack on the intellectual corruption of the age, La Trahison des clercs. I said "famous," but perhaps "once famous" would have been more accurate. For today, in the United States anyway, only the title of the book, not its argument, enjoys much currency. "La trahison des clercs": it is one of those memorable phrases that bristles with hints and associations without stating anything definite. Benda tells us that he uses the term "clerc" in "the medieval sense," i.e., to mean "scribe," someone we would now call a member of the intelligentsia. Academics and journalists, pundits, moralists, and pontificators of all varieties are in this sense clercs . The English translation, The Treason of the Intellectuals , 1 sums it up neatly.
The "treason" in question was the betrayal by the "clerks" of their vocation as intellectuals. From the time of the pre-Socratics, intellectuals, considered in their role as intellectuals, had been a breed apart. In Benda's terms, they were understood to be "all those whose activity essentially is not the pursuit of practical aims, all those who seek their joy in the practice of an art or a science or a metaphysical speculation, in short in the possession of non-material advantages." Thanks to such men, Benda wrote, "humanity did evil for two thousand years, but honored good. This contradiction was an honor to the human species, and formed the rift whereby civilization slipped into the world."
According to Benda, however, this situation was changing. More and more, intellectuals were abandoning their attachment to the traditional panoply of philosophical and scholarly ideals. One clear sign of the change was the attack on the Enlightenment ideal of universal humanity and the concomitant glorification of various particularisms. The attack on the universal went forward in social and political life as well as in the refined precincts of epistemology and metaphysics: "Those who for centuries had exhorted men, at least theoretically, to deaden the feeling of their differences have now come to praise them, according to where the sermon is given, for their 'fidelity to the French soul,' 'the immutability of their German consciousness,' for the 'fervor of their Italian hearts.'" In short, intellectuals began to immerse themselves in the unsettlingly practical and material world of political passions: precisely those passions, Benda observed, "owing to which men rise up against other men, the chief of which are racial passions, class passions and national passions." The "rift" into which civilization had been wont to slip narrowed and threatened to close altogether.
Writing at a moment when ethnic and nationalistic hatreds were beginning to tear Europe asunder, Benda's diagnosis assumed the lineaments of a prophecy -- a prophecy that continues to have deep resonance today. "Our age is indeed the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds ," he wrote near the beginning of the book. "It will be one of its chief claims to notice in the moral history of humanity." There was no need to add that its place in moral history would be as a cautionary tale. In little more than a decade, Benda's prediction that, because of the "great betrayal" of the intellectuals, humanity was "heading for the greatest and most perfect war ever seen in the world," would achieve a terrifying corroboration.
J ulien Benda was not so naïve as to believe that intellectuals as a class had ever entirely abstained from political involvement, or, indeed, from involvement in the realm of practical affairs. Nor did he believe that intellectuals, as citizens, necessarily should abstain from political commitment or practical affairs. The "treason" or betrayal he sought to publish concerned the way that intellectuals had lately allowed political commitment to insinuate itself into their understanding of the intellectual vocation as such. Increasingly, Benda claimed, politics was "mingled with their work as artists, as men of learning, as philosophers." The ideal of disinterestedness, the universality of truth: such guiding principles were contemptuously deployed as masks when they were not jettisoned altogether. It was in this sense that he castigated the " desire to abase the values of knowledge before the values of action ."
In its crassest but perhaps also most powerful form, this desire led to that familiar phenomenon Benda dubbed "the cult of success." It is summed up, he writes, in "the teaching that says that when a will is successful that fact alone gives it a moral value, whereas the will which fails is for that reason alone deserving of contempt." In itself, this idea is hardly novel, as history from the Greek sophists on down reminds us. In Plato's Gorgias , for instance, the sophist Callicles expresses his contempt for Socrates' devotion to philosophy: "I feel toward philosophers very much as I do toward those who lisp and play the child." Callicles taunts Socrates with the idea that "the more powerful, the better, and the stronger" are simply different words for the same thing. Successfully pursued, he insists, "luxury and intemperance are virtue and happiness, and all the rest is tinsel." How contemporary Callicles sounds!
In Benda's formula, this boils down to the conviction that "politics decides morality." To be sure, the cynicism that Callicles espoused is perennial: like the poor, it will be always with us. What Benda found novel was the accreditation of such cynicism by intellectuals. "It is true indeed that these new 'clerks' declare that they do not know what is meant by justice, truth, and other 'metaphysical fogs,' that for them the true is determined by the useful, the just by circumstances," he noted. "All these things were taught by Callicles, but with this difference; he revolted all the important thinkers of his time."
In other words, the real treason of the intellectuals was not that they countenanced Callicles but that they championed him. To appreciate the force of Benda's thesis one need only think of that most influential modern Callicles, Friedrich Nietzsche. His doctrine of "the will to power," his contempt for the "slave morality" of Christianity, his plea for an ethic "beyond good and evil," his infatuation with violence -- all epitomize the disastrous "pragmatism" that marks the intellectual's "treason." The real problem was not the unattainability but the disintegration of ideals, an event that Nietzsche hailed as the "transvaluation of all values." "Formerly," Benda observed, "leaders of States practiced realism, but did not honor it; With them morality was violated but moral notions remained intact, and that is why, in spite of all their violence, they did not disturb civilization ."
Benda understood that the stakes were high: the treason of the intellectuals signaled not simply the corruption of a bunch of scribblers but a fundamental betrayal of culture. By embracing the ethic of Callicles, intellectuals had, Benda reckoned, precipitated "one of the most remarkable turning points in the moral history of the human species. It is impossible," he continued,to exaggerate the importance of a movement whereby those who for twenty centuries taught Man that the criterion of the morality of an act is its disinterestedness, that good is a decree of his reason insofar as it is universal, that his will is only moral if it seeks its law outside its objects, should begin to teach him that the moral act is the act whereby he secures his existence against an environment which disputes it, that his will is moral insofar as it is a will "to power," that the part of his soul which determines what is good is its "will to live" wherein it is most "hostile to all reason," that the morality of an act is measured by its adaptation to its end, and that the only morality is the morality of circumstances. The educators of the human mind now take sides with Callicles against Socrates, a revolution which I dare to say seems to me more important than all political upheavals.
T he Treason of the Intellectuals is an energetic hodgepodge of a book. The philosopher Jean-François Revel recently described it as "one of the fussiest pleas on behalf of the necessary independence of intellectuals." Certainly it is rich, quirky, erudite, digressive, and polemical: more an exclamation than an analysis. Partisan in its claims for disinterestedness, it is ruthless in its defense of intellectual high-mindedness. Yet given the horrific events that unfolded in the decades following its publication, Benda's unremitting attack on the politicization of the intellect and ethnic separatism cannot but strike us as prescient. And given the continuing echo in our own time of the problems he anatomized, the relevance of his observations to our situation can hardly be doubted. From the savage flowering of ethnic hatreds in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to the mendacious demands for political correctness and multiculturalism on college campuses across America and Europe, the treason of the intellectuals continues to play out its unedifying drama. Benda spoke of "a cataclysm in the moral notions of those who educate the world." That cataclysm is erupting in every corner of cultural life today.
In 1988, the young French philosopher and cultural critic Alain Finkielkraut took up where Benda left off, producing a brief but searching inventory of our contemporary cataclysms. Entitled La Défaite de la pensée 2 ("The 'Defeat' or 'Undoing' of Thought"), his essay is in part an updated taxonomy of intellectual betrayals. In this sense, the book is a trahison des clercs for the post-Communist world, a world dominated as much by the leveling imperatives of pop culture as by resurgent nationalism and ethnic separatism. Beginning with Benda, Finkielkraut catalogues several prominent strategies that contemporary intellectuals have employed to retreat from the universal. A frequent point of reference is the eighteenth-century German Romantic philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder. "From the beginning, or to be more precise, from the time of Plato until that of Voltaire," he writes, "human diversity had come before the tribunal of universal values; with Herder the eternal values were condemned by the court of diversity."
Finkielkraut focuses especially on Herder's definitively anti-Enlightenment idea of the Volksgeist or "national spirit." Quoting the French historian Joseph Renan, he describes the idea as "the most dangerous explosive of modern times." "Nothing," he writes, "can stop a state that has become prey to the Volksgeist ." It is one of Finkielkraut's leitmotifs that today's multiculturalists are in many respects Herder's (generally unwitting) heirs.
True, Herder's emphasis on history and language did much to temper the tendency to abstraction that one finds in some expressions of the Enlightenment. Ernst Cassirer even remarked that "Herder's achievement is one of the greatest intellectual triumphs of the philosophy of the Enlightenment."
Nevertheless, the multiculturalists' obsession with "diversity" and ethnic origins is in many ways a contemporary redaction of Herder's elevation of racial particularism over the universalizing mandate of reason. Finkielkraut opposes this just as the mature Goethe once took issue with Herder's adoration of the Volksgeist. Finkielkraut concedes that we all "relate to a particular tradition" and are "shaped by our national identity." But, unlike the multiculturalists, he soberly insists that "this reality merit[s] some recognition, not idolatry."
In Goethe's words, "A generalized tolerance will be best achieved if we leave undisturbed whatever it is which constitutes the special character of particular individuals and peoples, whilst at the same time we retain the conviction that the distinctive worth of anything with true merit lies in its belonging to all humanity."
The Undoing of Thought resembles The Treason of the Intellectuals stylistically as well as thematically. Both books are sometimes breathless congeries of sources and aperçus. And Finkielkraut, like Benda (and, indeed, like Montaigne), tends to proceed more by collage than by demonstration. But he does not simply recapitulate Benda's argument.
The geography of intellectual betrayal has changed dramatically in the last sixty-odd years. In 1927, intellectuals still had something definite to betray. In today's "postmodernist" world, the terrain is far mushier: the claims of tradition are much attenuated and betrayal is often only a matter of acquiescence. Finkielkraut's distinctive contribution is to have taken the measure of the cultural swamp that surrounds us, to have delineated the links joining the politicization of the intellect and its current forms of debasement.
In the broadest terms, The Undoing of Thought is a brief for the principles of the Enlightenment. Among other things, this means that it is a brief for the idea that mankind is united by a common humanity that transcends ethnic, racial, and sexual divisions.
The humanizing "reason" that Enlightenment champions is a universal reason, sharable, in principle, by all. Such ideals have not fared well in the twentieth century: Herder's progeny have labored hard to discredit them. Granted, the belief that there is "Jewish thinking" or "Soviet science" or "Aryan art" is no longer as widespread as it once was. But the dispersal of these particular chimeras has provided no inoculation against kindred fabrications: "African knowledge," "female language," "Eurocentric science": these are among today's talismanic fetishes.
Then, too, one finds a stunning array of anti-Enlightenment phantasmagoria congregated under the banner of "anti-positivism." The idea that history is a "myth," that the truths of science are merely "fictions" dressed up in forbidding clothes, that reason and language are powerless to discover the truth -- more, that truth itself is a deceitful ideological construct: these and other absurdities are now part of the standard intellectual diet of Western intellectuals. The Frankfurt School Marxists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno gave an exemplary but by no means uncharacteristic demonstration of one strain of this brand of anti-rational animus in the mid-1940s.
Safely ensconced in Los Angeles, these refugees from Hitler's Reich published an influential essay on the concept of Enlightenment. Among much else, they assured readers that "Enlightenment is totalitarian." Never mind that at that very moment the Nazi war machine -- what one might be forgiven for calling real totalitarianism -- was busy liquidating millions of people in order to fulfill another set of anti-Enlightenment fantasies inspired by devotion to the Volksgeist .
The diatribe that Horkheimer and Adorno mounted against the concept of Enlightenment reminds us of an important peculiarity about the history of Enlightenment: namely, that it is a movement of thought that began as a reaction against tradition and has now emerged as one of tradition's most important safeguards. Historically, the Enlightenment arose as a deeply anti-clerical and, perforce, anti-traditional movement. Its goal, in Kant's famous phrase, was to release man from his "self-imposed immaturity."
The chief enemy of Enlightenment was "superstition," an omnibus term that included all manner of religious, philosophical, and moral ideas. But as the sociologist Edward Shils has noted, although the Enlightenment was in important respects "antithetical to tradition" in its origins, its success was due in large part "to the fact that it was promulgated and pursued in a society in which substantive traditions were rather strong." "It was successful against its enemies," Shils notes in his book Tradition (1981),because the enemies were strong enough to resist its complete victory over them. Living on a soil of substantive traditionality, the ideas of the Enlightenment advanced without undoing themselves. As long as respect for authority on the one side and self-confidence in those exercising authority on the other persisted, the Enlightenment's ideal of emancipation through the exercise of reason went forward. It did not ravage society as it would have done had society lost all legitimacy.
It is this mature form of Enlightenment, championing reason but respectful of tradition, that Finkielkraut holds up as an ideal.
W hat Finkielkraut calls "the undoing of thought" flows from the widespread disintegration of a faith. At the center of that faith is the assumption that the life of thought is "the higher life" and that culture -- what the Germans call Bildung -- is its end or goal.
The process of disintegration has lately become an explicit attack on culture. This is not simply to say that there are many anti-intellectual elements in society: that has always been the case. "Non-thought," in Finkielkraut's phrase, has always co-existed with the life of the mind. The innovation of contemporary culture is to have obliterated the distinction between the two. "It is," he writes, "the first time in European history that non-thought has donned the same label and enjoyed the same status as thought itself, and the first time that those who, in the name of 'high culture,' dare to call this non-thought by its name, are dismissed as racists and reactionaries." The attack is perpetrated not from outside, by uncomprehending barbarians, but chiefly from inside, by a new class of barbarians, the self-made barbarians of the intelligentsia. This is the undoing of thought. This is the new "treason of the intellectuals."
There are many sides to this phenomenon. What Finkielkraut has given us is not a systematic dissection but a kind of pathologist's scrapbook. He reminds us, for example, that the multiculturalists' demand for "diversity" requires the eclipse of the individual in favor of the group . "Their most extraordinary feat," he observes, "is to have put forward as the ultimate individual liberty the unconditional primacy of the collective." Western rationalism and individualism are rejected in the name of a more "authentic" cult.
One example: Finkielkraut quotes a champion of multiculturalism who maintains that "to help immigrants means first of all respecting them for what they are, respecting whatever they aspire to in their national life, in their distinctive culture and in their attachment to their spiritual and religious roots." Would this, Finkielkraut asks, include "respecting" those religious codes which demanded that the barren woman be cast out and the adulteress be punished with death?
What about those cultures in which the testimony of one man counts for that of two women? In which female circumcision is practiced? In which slavery flourishes? In which mixed marriages are forbidden and polygamy encouraged? Multiculturalism, as Finkielkraut points out, requires that we respect such practices. To criticize them is to be dismissed as "racist" and "ethnocentric." In this secular age, "cultural identity" steps in where the transcendent once was: "Fanaticism is indefensible when it appeals to heaven, but beyond reproach when it is grounded in antiquity and cultural distinctiveness."
To a large extent, the abdication of reason demanded by multiculturalism has been the result of what we might call the subjection of culture to anthropology. Finkielkraut speaks in this context of a "cheerful confusion which raises everyday anthropological practices to the pinnacle of the human race's greatest achievements." This process began in the nineteenth century, but it has been greatly accelerated in our own age. One thinks, for example, of the tireless campaigning of that great anthropological leveler, Claude Lévi-Strauss. Lévi-Strauss is assuredly a brilliant writer, but he has also been an extraordinarily baneful influence. Already in the early 1950s, when he was pontificating for UNESCO , he was urging all and sundry to "fight against ranking cultural differences hierarchically." In La Pensée sauvage (1961), he warned against the "false antinomy between logical and prelogical mentality" and was careful in his descriptions of natives to refer to "so-called primitive thought." "So-called" indeed. In a famous article on race and history, Lévi-Strauss maintained that the barbarian was not the opposite of the civilized man but "first of all the man who believes there is such a thing as barbarism." That of course is good to know. It helps one to appreciate Lévi-Strauss's claim, in Tristes Tropiques (1955), that the "true purpose of civilization" is to produce "inertia." As one ruminates on the proposition that cultures should not be ranked hierarchically, it is also well to consider what Lévi-Strauss coyly refers to as "the positive forms of cannibalism." For Lévi-Strauss, cannibalism has been unfairly stigmatized in the "so-called" civilized West. In fact, he explains, cannibalism was "often observed with great discretion, the vital mouthful being made up of a small quantity of organic matter mixed, on occasion, with other forms of food." What, merely a "vital mouthful"? Not to worry! Only an ignoramus who believed that there were important distinctions, qualitative distinctions, between the barbarian and the civilized man could possibly think of objecting.
Of course, the attack on distinctions that Finkielkraut castigates takes place not only among cultures but also within a given culture. Here again, the anthropological imperative has played a major role. "Under the equalizing eye of social science," he writes,hierarchies are abolished, and all the criteria of taste are exposed as arbitrary. From now on no rigid division separates masterpieces from run-of-the mill works. The same fundamental structure, the same general and elemental traits are common to the "great" novels (whose excellence will henceforth be demystified by the accompanying quotation marks) and plebian types of narrative activity.
F or confirmation of this, one need only glance at the pronouncements of our critics. Whether working in the academy or other cultural institutions, they bring us the same news: there is "no such thing" as intrinsic merit, "quality" is an only ideological construction, aesthetic value is a distillation of social power, etc., etc.
In describing this process of leveling, Finkielkraut distinguishes between those who wish to obliterate distinctions in the name of politics and those who do so out of a kind of narcissism. The multiculturalists wave the standard of radical politics and say (in the words of a nineteenth-century Russian populist slogan that Finkielkraut quotes): "A pair of boots is worth more than Shakespeare."
Those whom Finkielkraut calls "postmodernists," waving the standard of radical chic, declare that Shakespeare is no better than the latest fashion -- no better, say, than the newest item offered by Calvin Klein. The litany that Finkielkraut recites is familiar:A comic which combines exciting intrigue and some pretty pictures is just as good as a Nabokov novel. What little Lolitas read is as good as Lolita . An effective publicity slogan counts for as much as a poem by Apollinaire or Francis Ponge . The footballer and the choreographer, the painter and the couturier, the writer and the ad-man, the musician and the rock-and-roller, are all the same: creators. We must scrap the prejudice which restricts that title to certain people and regards others as sub-cultural.
The upshot is not only that Shakespeare is downgraded, but also that the bootmaker is elevated. "It is not just that high culture must be demystified; sport, fashion and leisure now lay claim to high cultural status." A grotesque fantasy? Anyone who thinks so should take a moment to recall the major exhibition called "High & Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture" that the Museum of Modern Art mounted a few years ago: it might have been called "Krazy Kat Meets Picasso." Few events can have so consummately summed up the corrosive trivialization of culture now perpetrated by those entrusted with preserving it. Among other things, that exhibition demonstrated the extent to which the apotheosis of popular culture undermines the very possibility of appreciating high art on its own terms.
When the distinction between culture and entertainment is obliterated, high art is orphaned, exiled from the only context in which its distinctive meaning can manifest itself: Picasso becomes a kind of cartoon. This, more than any elitism or obscurity, is the real threat to culture today. As Hannah Arendt once observed, "there are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect, but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say."
And this brings us to the question of freedom. Finkielkraut notes that the rhetoric of postmodernism is in some ways similar to the rhetoric of Enlightenment. Both look forward to releasing man from his "self-imposed immaturity." But there is this difference: Enlightenment looks to culture as a repository of values that transcend the self, postmodernism looks to the fleeting desires of the isolated self as the only legitimate source of value.
For the postmodernist, then, "culture is no longer seen as a means of emancipation, but as one of the élitist obstacles to this." The products of culture are valuable only as a source of amusement or distraction. In order to realize the freedom that postmodernism promises, culture must be transformed into a field of arbitrary "options." "The post-modern individual," Finkielkraut writes, "is a free and easy bundle of fleeting and contingent appetites. He has forgotten that liberty involves more than the ability to change one's chains, and that culture itself is more than a satiated whim."
What Finkielkraut has understood with admirable clarity is that modern attacks on elitism represent not the extension but the destruction of culture. "Democracy," he writes, "once implied access to culture for everybody. From now on it is going to mean everyone's right to the culture of his choice." This may sound marvelous -- it is after all the slogan one hears shouted in academic and cultural institutions across the country -- but the result is precisely the opposite of what was intended.
"'All cultures are equally legitimate and everything is cultural,' is the common cry of affluent society's spoiled children and of the detractors of the West." The irony, alas, is that by removing standards and declaring that "anything goes," one does not get more culture, one gets more and more debased imitations of culture. This fraud is the dirty secret that our cultural commissars refuse to acknowledge.
There is another, perhaps even darker, result of the undoing of thought. The disintegration of faith in reason and common humanity leads not only to a destruction of standards, but also involves a crisis of courage. "A careless indifference to grand causes," Finkielkraut warns, "has its counterpart in abdication in the face of force." As the impassioned proponents of "diversity" meet the postmodern apostles of acquiescence, fanaticism mixes with apathy to challenge the commitment required to preserve freedom.
Communism may have been effectively discredited. But "what is dying along with it is not the totalitarian cast of mind, but the idea of a world common to all men."
Julien Benda took his epigraph for La Trahison des clercs from the nineteenth-century French philosopher Charles Renouvier: Le monde souffre du manque de foi en une vérité transcendante : "The world suffers from lack of faith in a transcendent truth." Without some such faith, we are powerless against the depredations of intellectuals who have embraced the nihilism of Callicles as their truth.
1 The Treason of the Intellectuals, by Julien Benda, translated by Richard Aldington, was first published in 1928. This translation is still in print from Norton.
2 La Défaite de la pensée , by Alain Finkielkraut; Gallimard, 162 pages, 72 FF . It is available in English, in a translation by Dennis O'Keeffe, as The Undoing of Thought (The Claridge Press [London], 133 pages, £6.95 paper).Roger Kimball is Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion and President and Publisher of Encounter Books. His latest book is The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine's Press)
Jul 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. In a bit of synchronicity, when a reader was graciously driving me to the Department of Motor Vehicles (a schlepp in the wilds of Shelby County), she mentioned she'd heard local media reports that trucks had had their weight limits lowered due to concern that some overpasses might not be able to handle the loads. Of course, a big reason infrastructure spending has plunged in the US is that it's become an excuse for "public-private partnerships," aka looting, when those deals take longer to get done and produce bad results so often that locals can sometimes block them.
By Tom Conway, the international president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW) . Produced by the Independent Media Institute
Bad news about infrastructure is as ubiquitous as potholes. Failures in a 108-year-old railroad bridge and tunnel cost New York commuters thousands of hours in delays. Illinois doesn't regularly inspect , let alone fix, decaying bridges. Flooding in Nebraska caused nearly half a billion dollars in road and bridge damage -- just this year.
No problem, though. President Donald Trump promised to fix all this. The great dealmaker, the builder of eponymous buildings, the star of "The Apprentice," Donald Trump, during his campaign, urged Americans to bet on him because he'd double what his opponent would spend on infrastructure. Double, he pledged!
So far, that wager has netted Americans nothing. No money. No deal. No bridges, roads or leadless water pipes. And there's nothing on the horizon since Trump stormed out of the most recent meeting. That was a three-minute session in May with Democratic leaders at which Trump was supposed to discuss the $2 trillion he had proposed earlier to spend on infrastructure. In a press conference immediately afterward, Trump said if the Democrats continued to investigate him, he would refuse to keep his promises to the American people to repair the nation's infrastructure.
The comedian Stephen Colbert described the situation best, saying Trump told the Democrats: "It's my way or no highways."
The situation, however, is no joke. Just ask the New York rail commuters held up for more than 2,000 hours over the past four years by bridge and tunnel breakdowns. Just ask the American Society of Civil Engineers , which gave the nation a D+ grade for infrastructure and estimated that if more than $1 trillion is not added to currently anticipated spending on infrastructure, "the economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP , resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025."
Candidate Donald Trump knew it was no joke. On the campaign trail, he said U.S. infrastructure was "a mess" and no better than that of a "third-world country. " When an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia in 2015, killing eight and injuring about 200 , he tweeted , "Our roads, airports, tunnels, bridges, electric grid -- all falling apart." Later, he tweeted , "The only one to fix the infrastructure of our country is me."
Donald Trump promised to make America great again. And that wouldn't be possible if America's rail system, locks, dams and pipelines -- that is, its vital organs -- were "a mess." Trump signed what he described as a contract with American voters to deliver an infrastructure plan within the first 100 days of his administration.
He mocked his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's proposal to spend $275 billion. "Her number is a fraction of what we're talking about. We need much more money to rebuild our infrastructure," he told Fox News in 2016 . "I would say at least double her numbers, and you're going to really need a lot more than that."
In August of 2016, he promised , "We will build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, seaports and airports that our country deserves. American cars will travel the roads, American planes will connect our cities, and American ships will patrol the seas. American steel will send new skyscrapers soaring. We will put new American metal into the spine of this nation."
In his victory speech and both of his State of the Union addresses, he pledged again to be the master of infrastructure. "We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, school, hospitals. And we will put millions of our people to work," he said the night he won.
That sounds excellent. That's exactly what 75 percent of respondents to a Gallup poll said they wanted. That would create millions of family-supporting jobs making the steel, aluminum, concrete, pipes and construction vehicles necessary to accomplish infrastructure repair. That would stimulate the economy in ways that benefit the middle class and those who are struggling.
That contract Trump signed with American voters to produce an infrastructure plan in the first 100 days: worthless. It never happened. He gave Americans an Infrastructure Week in June of 2017, though, and at just about the 100-day mark, predicted infrastructure spending would "take off like a rocket ship." Two more Infrastructure Weeks followed in the next two years, but no money.
Trump finally announced a plan in February of 2018 , at a little over the 365-day mark, to spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure. It went nowhere because it managed to annoy both Democrats and Republicans.
It was to be funded by only $200 billion in federal dollars -- less than what Hillary Clinton proposed. The rest was to come from state and local governments and from foreign money interests and the private sector. Basically, the idea was to hand over to hedge fund managers the roads and bridges and pipelines originally built, owned and maintained by Americans. The fat cats at the hedge funds would pay for repairs but then toll the assets in perpetuity. Nobody liked it.
That was last year. This year, by which time the words Infrastructure Week had become a synonym for promises not kept, Trump met on April 30 with top Democratic leaders and recommended a $2 trillion infrastructure investment. Democrats praised Trump afterward for taking the challenge seriously and for agreeing to find the money.
"It couldn't have gone any better," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal , D-Mass., told the Washington Post, even though Neal was investigating Trump for possible tax fraud.
Almost immediately, Trump began complaining that Democrats were trying to hoodwink him into raising taxes to pay for the $2 trillion he had offered to spend.
Trump and the Republicans relinquished one way to pay for infrastructure when they passed a tax cut for the rich and corporations in December of 2017. As a result, the rich and corporations pocketed hundreds of billions -- $1 trillion over 10 years -- and Trump doesn't have that money to invest in infrastructure. Corporations spent their tax break money on stock buybacks, further enriching the already rich. They didn't invest in American manufacturing or worker training or wage increases.
Three weeks after the April 30 meeting, Trump snubbed Democrats who returned to the White House hoping the president had found a way to keep his promise to raise $2 trillion for infrastructure. Trump dismissed them like naughty schoolchildren. He told them he wouldn't countenance Democrats simultaneously investigating him and bargaining with him -- even though Democrats were investigating him at the time of the April meeting and one of the investigators -- Neal -- had attended.
Promise not kept again.
Trump's reelection motto, Keep America Great, doesn't work for infrastructure. It's still a mess. It's the third year of his presidency, and he has done nothing about it. Apparently, he's saving this pledge for his next term.
In May, he promised Louisianans a new bridge over Interstate 10 -- only if he is reelected. He said the administration would have it ready to go on "day one, right after the election." Just like he said he'd produce an infrastructure plan within the first 100 days of his first term.
He's doubling down on the infrastructure promises. His win would mean Americans get nothing again.
Arizona Slim , July 26, 2019 at 6:26 am
Paging Bernie Sanders: You need to be all over this Trump-fail. And sooner, rather than later.
The Rev Kev , July 26, 2019 at 6:40 am
The whole thing seems so stupid. The desperate need is there, the people are there to do the work, the money spent into the infrastructure would give a major boost to the real economy, the completed infrastructure would give the real economy a boost for years & decades to come – it is win-win right across the board. But the whole thing is stalled because the whole deal can't be rigged to give a bunch of hedge fund managers control of that infrastructure afterwards. If it did, the constant rents that Americans would have to pay to use this infrastructure would bleed the economy for decades to come.
I have seen this movie before. A State builds a highway, it then leases that highway to a corporation for a bucket of cash which it uses to bribe the electorate to win the next election or two. The corporation shoves brand new toll booths on the highway charging sky high rates which puts a crimp in local economic activity. After the lease is up after twenty years, the State gets to take over the highway again to find that the corporation cut back on maintenance so that the whole highway has to be rebuilt again. Rinse and repeat.
When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act in 1956, can you imagine how history would have gone if they had been handed over to a bunch of corporations who would have built toll booths over the whole network? Would have done wonders for the American economy I bet.
Wukchumni , July 26, 2019 at 6:48 am
One of the things discussed at our town hall meeting the other night, was a much needed $481k public bathroom, and that was the low bid.
It has to be ADA compliant with ramps, etc.
$48,100 seems like it'd be plenty to get 'r done, as you can build a house with a couple of bathrooms, and a few bedrooms, a kitchen and living room for maybe $200k.
Ignacio , July 26, 2019 at 8:58 am
And if toll revenues don't come as high as expected, mother state will come to the rescue of those poor fund managers. I find it amazing that Trump uses the stupid Russia, Russia, Russia! fixation of democrats as an excuse to do nothing about infrastructure. Does this work with his electorate?
cnchal , July 26, 2019 at 7:09 am
Tom, grow up.
Promises by any narcissist mean nothing. You cannot hang your hat on any word that Trump speaks, because it's not about you or anyone else, but about him and only him.
Here is a heads up. If any infrastructure is done it will be airports. The elite fly and couldn't give a crap about the suspension and wheel destroying potholes we have to slalom around every day. They also don't care that the great unwashed waste thousands of hours stuck in traffic when a bridge is closed or collapses.
Carla , July 26, 2019 at 7:47 am
Well, fix the airports and you've still got Boeing, self-destructing as fast as it can. And Airbus can't fill all the orders no matter how hard it tries. Guess everybody will just have to . stay home.
WheresOurTeddy , July 26, 2019 at 7:16 am
Are all the coal jobs back? How about the manufacturing? NAFTA been repealed and replaced with something better yet? How's the wall coming and has Mexico sent the check yet? Soldiers back from Afghanistan/Iraq/Syria yet?
Got that tax cut for rich people and a ton of conservative judges through though, didn't he?
Katniss Everdeen , July 26, 2019 at 8:17 am
"It couldn't have gone any better," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., told the Washington Post, even though Neal was investigating Trump for possible tax fraud.
What a surprise. It's simply "amazing" that the insane status quo jihad that has been waged against Trump since he announced his candidacy had real consequences for the country. Who would have thought that calling ANY president ignorant, ugly, fat, a liar, a traitor, a cheater, an agent of Putin, a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, a bigot, an isolationist and an illegitimate occupant of the White House 24/7 since he or she won the election would make actual accomplishment nearly impossible.
The mere mention of his name on college campuses has even been legitimized as a fear-inducing, "safety"-threatening "microagression."
It's just so rich that having determined to prevent Trump from doing absolutely anything he promised during the campaign by any and all means, regardless of what the promise was or how beneficial it may have been, his numerous, bilious "critics" now have the gonads to accuse him of not getting anything done.
With all due respect to the author of this piece, the result he laments was exactly the point of this relentless nightmare of Trump derangement to which the nation has been subjected for three years. I tend to think that the specific promise most targeted for destruction was his criticism of NATO and "infrastructure" was collateral damage, but that's neither here nor there.
The washington status quo has succeeded in its mission to cripple a president it could not defeat electorally, and now tries to blame him for their success. Cutting off your nose to spite your face has always been a counterproductive strategy.
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens JOHN CHUCKMAN , Jun 26, 2019 2:10:12 PM | 23
Yesterday the news agencies Associated Press and Reuters mistranslated a speech by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. They made it sound as if Rouhani insulted U.S. President Donald Trump as 'mentally retarded'. Rouhani never said that.
The agencies previously made a similar 'mistake'.
A 2005 speech by then President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was famously misquoted. Israel should be wiped off map, says Iran's president headlined the Guardian at that time. Others used similar headlines. The New York Times wrote :Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
The statement was used by the G.W. Bush administration and others to whip up hostility against Iran :Ever since he spoke at an anti-Zionism conference in Tehran last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been known for one statement above all. As translated by news agencies at the time, it was that Israel "should be wiped off the map." Iran's nuclear program and sponsorship of militant Muslim groups are rarely mentioned without reference to the infamous map remark.
Here, for example, is R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, recently: "Given the radical nature of Iran under Ahmadinejad and its stated wish to wipe Israel off the map of the world, it is entirely unconvincing that we could or should live with a nuclear Iran."
However Ahmedinejad never used those words :"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse." Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."
Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the Shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."
Despite the above and other explanations the false "wipe Israel off the map" translation never died. Years later it still reappeared in Guardian pieces which required it to issue multiple corrections and clarifications.
Now, as the Trump administration is pushing for war on Iran, a similar mistranslation miraculously happened. It were again 'western' news agencies who lightened the fire:The Associated Press @AP - 7:52 utc - 25 Jun 2019
BREAKING: Iran's President Rouhani mocks President Trump, says the White House is "afflicted by mental retardation."
Farsi speakers pointed out that the Rouhani never used the Farsi word for "retarded":Sina Toossi @SinaToossi - 13:49 utc - 25 Jun 2019
A lot of Western media is reporting that Iranian President Rouhani called Trump "mentally retarded." This is inaccurate.
Regarding Trump, he just said "no wise person would take such an action [the new sanctions imposed]."Reza H. Akbari @rezahakbari - 15:58 utc - 25 Jun 2019
Absolutely incorrect. There is a word for "retarded" in Persian & Rouhani didn't use it. Prior to him saying "mental disability" he even prefaced his comment by saying "mental weakness." Those who speak Persian can listen & judge for themselves. Here is a video clip of Rouhani's comment: link
But the damage was already done:Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 14:42 utc - 25 Jun 2019
Iran leadership doesn't understand the words "nice" or "compassion," they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone..
....The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of IED's & EFP's (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more...
.... Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement , put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!
Reuters , which also peddled the mistranslation, gleefully connected the dots :
Cont. reading: Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' HappensExcellent summary of how malevolence works in many subtle ways.
Jonathan Gillispie , Jun 26, 2019 1:11:48 PM | 4Don Wiscacho , Jun 26, 2019 1:32:54 PM | 13
Trump was right more than he realizes that the press is the enemy of the people. They goad nations into unnecessary and bloody war.This follows in the footsteps of a rich history of mistranslating and obfuscating which is rarely, if ever, corrected by our Guardians of Truth. I will not hold my breath for AP to pull its tweet out issue any sort of correction. The war machine is revving up, truth be damned.Uncle Jon , Jun 26, 2019 1:36:27 PM | 14
To add a few obfuscations to the list of mistranslations: the Palestinian intifada. Sounds scary, no? Violence against the benevolent Israelis. Because what does intifada actually mean? Uprising, which by its nature suggests oppression, something which just 'can't' be happening in Palestine, hence the need for intifada.
Or take jihad, 'a pillor' of Islam. Again, very scary, as jihad 'means' suicide bombs and killing infidels. What the Guardians of Truth never mention is that jihad in Islam is a very, very broad term that includes such things as helping the poor or less fortunate, educating oneself, quiet reflection, and prayer. Jihad as meaning 'holy war' was a sense meaning derived much later than the founding of the religion, as a reaction to very real threats to believers of the time, the Crusades and Mongol invasions. That this specific sense meaning was essentially confined to history afterward, only to be revived by Wahhabists and takfiris, and one not believed in by the vast majority of Muslims, is never explained. 'Cause all them crazy Muslims believe in jihad!
In all cases where the boogeyman of the day needs concocting, rest assured the 'mainstream' press, with AP in the lead, will be there to build a gleaming edifice mistruths, omissions, and lies.Ahmadinejad's true and correct translation reads: "Zionism should be wiped from the pages of history."jared , Jun 26, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 17
Now who can argue with that.In approximately 17 months, the american public can make strides to fix this mess.dh , Jun 26, 2019 1:51:03 PM | 18
I guess that is a long time for the iranians, but still maybe best option.Just in case there is any doubt in American minds here is the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. He thinks the sanctions are working well. Iran is panicking.wagelaborer , Jun 26, 2019 2:43:01 PM | 31
Good job guys. Keep squeezing.
https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-ambassador-iran-panicking-increased-us-sanctionsThey mistranslate Trump all the time, or they spin what he says. It is amazing to watch.michaelj72 , Jun 26, 2019 4:02:36 PM | 40
For instance, at the Helsinki meeting, where he met with Putin and they discussed multiple topics, but the press ignored any topic but demanding that Trump denounce Putin and "admit" that Putin helped him steal the election, and that he was therefore not the legitimate president.
Obviously, Trump was not going to say that, so he said that he was the legitimate president, and the mockingbird media spun that into "the president is a traitor to America because he said that 17 national intelligence agencies are lying"......The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television lies,Virgile , Jun 26, 2019 5:10:59 PM | 48
the priests lie .
These lies mean that the country wants to die.
Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass,
like enormous caravans of Conestoga wagons .
And a long desire for death flows out, guiding the
enormous caravans from beneath,
stringing together the vague and foolish words.
It is a desire to eat death,
to gobble it down,
to rush on it like a cobra with mouth open
It's a desire to take death inside,
to feel it burning inside, pushing out velvety hairs,
like a clothes brush in the intestines --
This is the thrill that leads the President on to lie....
Robert Bly, The Teeth Mother Naked at Last, originally published by City Lights books 1970Maybe the translation is inacurate but the message had the expected reaction from Trump: Tweet furor.Abx , Jun 26, 2019 5:20:42 PM | 49
It is good that Trump realizes that he does not have the monopole of insulting leaders.
The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war. How could it give a lesson to Iran who won a 8 years war against Iraq despite the support that the USA, the Gulf countries and Western countries gave to Iraq.
Loud noise and indecisive actions: The disaster of the USA foreign policyI remember watching CNN translate Khamenei's "Nuclear Power" to "Nuclear Weapons" right on live TV in 2013. This is not new./div> Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.
Posted by: Harry Law , Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.Kooshy , Jun 26, 2019 5:45:20 PM | 53
Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50b-0use4msm , Jun 26, 2019 6:24:08 PM | 57
I am a Persian speaker and is true that president Rouhani never said Trump is retarded, we now have way passed the point that insults can matte. Nevertheless it was better if President Rouhani would have called Trump and the rest of the ruling US regime like what the whole world has now come to understand, a true and unique collection of retards on a shining hill.Reminds me of when Nikita Khruschev attempted to explain in 1956 his view that that capitalism would destroy itself from within by quoting Marx: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." This was notoriously mistranslated into English as "We will bury you", as if the Soviets were out to kill all westerners themselves. Of course this mistranslated was quoted time and time again in western media, fueling Cold War paranoia for years to come.juandonjuan , Jun 26, 2019 6:31:20 PM | 59blue @ 19 The news media are wedded to the state which is wedded to the banking system which are all subsidiaries of global capitalism. They don't need to correct themselves. They may have the occasional family feud, but they're all on the same team. They will admit to "mistakes" being made, but only long after it makes no difference.ADKC , Jun 26, 2019 7:00:39 PM | 63
We have a FREE PRESS in America-Pravda on the Potomac, Izvestia on the Hudson.
Have a look sometime at the Venn Diagrams that portray the overlapping/interlocking memberships of the regulatory/financial/corporate leadership class.
But more than that, whatever the idea of a free press once meant, with the rise of digital corporate networking "platforms", not subject to any accountability, the barriers to entry of any competing narratives to the mainstream discourse are nearly insurmountable. Except maybe through subversion?
What is missing is a true public 'Marketplace of Ideas'The deliberate mis-translations of non-english speaking "adversaries" of the US is common in the msm. Putin is frequently and deliberately mis-translated to make him appear dictatorial and aggressive.pj , Jun 26, 2019 7:11:03 PM | 65I listened to Rohani's speech. He said that if JCPOA is bad, it is bad for all parties; and if it is good, it is good for all parties. They cannot expect for JCPOA to be bad for them and good for us. They withdrew from the JCPOA and expect us to stay with the agreement. This is what he meant when he said: White house has been affected by mental inability and mental disability.Peter AU 1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:26:38 PM | 72ADKCkarlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:39:51 PM | 75
Iran is at war. US and gang are trying to destroy Iran as a nation. The biggest asset in times of war is deception. Used by both the attacker and the attacked.Khamenei has Tweeted a series of tweets, and his scribe has posted what he tweeted along with other words at his website in English so there's no mistranslation. Here's one of the series of 6:goldhoarder , Jun 26, 2019 8:39:33 PM | 80
"The graceful Iranian nation has been accused & insulted by world's most vicious regime, the U.S., which is a source of wars, conflicts & plunder. Iranian nation won't give up over such insults. Iranians have been wronged by oppressive sanctions but not weakened & remain powerful."
They were made 14+ hours ago, yet I'm the first to post notice of them here?!The USA government excels at propaganda. It always has. Doesn't matter if it babies and incubators, mistranslated leaders of targeted countries, or supposed mass graves. BTW... what ever happened to all those mass graves in Iraq? HRW was going to dig them all up and document them. Hundreds of thousands. Most Americans I talk to still believe in this. Was it true? Saddam himself had claimed it wasn't true. That it was Kurdish propaganda to gain sympathy. He claimed the Anfal campaign was only to push the Kurds off the border so he could control arms smuggling and that casualties were minimal. Looking into the search. They are graves with a few hundred here and there but where are the rest of the bodies? If you google Iraq mass graves there are more articles about ISIS mass graves than the Anfal campaign. There were people killed in the South during the Shia uprising after the first gulf war than there was for the Anfal campaign. Was that a lie too? Nearly every American believes it still.Arata , Jun 26, 2019 10:40:53 PM | 98
PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor
Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT First published on Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT
Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.
In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'Anyone who can undestand Farsi ( Persian language) can litsen Rouhani's speech. He did not name "Trump", he said " White House".Paora , Jun 26, 2019 11:18:41 PM | 101
I have been watching CNN news channel who said that Rouhani made a personal attack on Trump! That was not true.
There was no personal attack on Rouhani's speech.
Importantly, the context of the speech and conclusion is diffent from western media reports and western translations.
I would like give few links of some Iranian news agencies, reporting Rouhani's speech for International use, as reference here:
1) FrasNews Agency
"These days, we see the White House in confusion and we are witnessing undue and ridiculous words and adoption of a scandalous policy,"
..."The US sanctions are crime against humanity. The US recent measures indicate their ultimate failure. The new US measures are the result of their frustration and confusion over Iran. The White House has mental disability,"
2) ISNA English
"They are having mental problems and today, the White House has become mentally paralysed and don't know what to do".
Le président iranien, affirmant que les États-Unis, malgré de nombreuses tentatives de pression exercées par divers leviers sur l'Iran, ont échoué dans leurs objectifs, a poursuivi : "Une étrange frustration et une grande confusion règnent au sein du Corps dirigeant de la Maison Blanche. Ils se sentent déçus car ils n'ont obtenu aucun résultat, ils s'attendaient à voir l'Iran brisé dans l'espace de quelques mois, mais ils ont fini par constater que les Iraniens agissent de plus en plus fermement, de manière plus créative que jamais ".
The president also decried the new US sanctions against Iran, saying the White House has been thrown into confusion as its officials are making "inappropriate and ridiculous" comments and adopting the policy of disgrace.
https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/06/26/2041386/iran-urges-us-europe-to-return-to-jcpoa0use4msm @54Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 26, 2019 11:23:51 PM | 102
Wow that's amazing! Probably the best known Khrushchev 'quote', presented as evidence of his boorish nature, is an intentional mistranslation. And the Marx quote is not exactly obscure, it's from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto for eff sake! At least it makes a change from the 'lets just make things up' cottage industry of Lenin & Stalin 'quotes'."A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."Circe , Jun 27, 2019 10:19:52 AM | 136 Noirette , Jun 27, 2019 10:50:17 AM | 137
Mark Twain (or some other student of wisdom)
Apr 26, 2017 - Mark Twain is one of many who gets credit for famous quotations he never wrote or said. ... credited with saying "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes" ... Proverbial wisdom, in which a quotation is elevated to the status of a proverb because its source is unknown;.Mistranslations are a classical cheap n easy way to sway opinion.
Interesting that the examples b quotes, and most of those promoted currently by the US-uk-eu, afaik, understand, are intended to project into the voice of Iranians, Russians, Syrians, utterances, declarations, to be labelled insults, slander, threats, impropriety, even rage, coming from these parties, as
there is nothing much else to display!
(Spanish is too comprehensible > does not apply to Mexico, Cuba, S. America.)
Often cultural matters play a role, but are ignored. Ahmadinejad was endlessly vilified and mocked by the W-MSM for saying what was translated as there are no homosexuals in Iran (no idea what the original formulation was) - which 'obviously' can't be 'true.'
Besides homosexuality being unacceptable in conservative rule-books, Iran is, or was (to 2010) above (or with) Thailand the no. 1. practitioner / destination for sex change operations. Iran had super educated docs, great hospitals, etc.
Ahmadinejad was relying on a kind of fundamentalist principle where the 'soul' or the 'essential quality' of a person is what is tantamount, what counts above all. The physical manifestation, here the human body, can be transformed to be in harmony with the deep-felt or 'innately' ascribed orientation or 'spirit.' So, no homosexuals in Iran, or only a few who are in 'transition.' (Not denying real suffering of gays in Iran, other story.)
The W, in first place the US, is doing precisely the same with its 'gender change' promotion, as applied to children and young teens. Here too, 'feelings' and 'identity' override 'nature' : the physical can be overturned, overcome, fixed.
Such cultural issues play a role in mis-translations, deliberate or not. It may appear that I wandered far off topic, I just picked a topical comprehensible ex. Sharia law is more complex..
Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The evidence suggests that foreign policymakers do not seek insight from scholars, but rather support for what they already want to do.
As Desch quotes a World War II U.S. Navy anthropologist, "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance.
May 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,
"I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking." "Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!"" – Bill Hicks
Anyone who frequents Twitter, Facebook, political blogs, economic blogs, or fake-news mainstream media channels knows our world is driven by the "Us versus Them" narrative. It's almost as if "they" are forcing us to choose sides and believe the other side is evil. Bill Hicks died in 1994, but his above quote is truer today then it was then. As the American Empire continues its long-term decline, the proles are manipulated through Bernaysian propaganda techniques, honed over the course of decades by the ruling oligarchs, to root for their assigned puppets.
Most people can't discern they are being manipulated and duped by the Deep State controllers. The most terrifying outcome for these Deep State controllers would be for the masses to realize it is us versus them. But they don't believe there is a chance in hell of this happening. Their arrogance is palatable.
Their hubris has reached astronomical levels as they blew up the world economy in 2008 and successfully managed to have the innocent victims bail them out to the tune of $700 billion, pillaged the wealth of the nation through their capture of the Federal Reserve (QE, ZIRP), rigged the financial markets in their favor through collusion, used the hundreds of billions in corporate tax cuts to buy back their stock and further pump the stock market, all while their corporate media mouthpieces mislead and misinform the proles.
There are differences between the parties, but they are mainly centered around social issues and disputes with little or no consequence to the long-term path of the country. The real ruling oligarchs essentially allow controlled opposition within each party to make it appear you have a legitimate choice at the ballot box. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There has been an unwritten agreement between the parties for decades where the Democrats pretend to be against war and the Republicans pretend to be against welfare. Meanwhile, spending on war and welfare relentlessly grows into the trillions, with no effort whatsoever from either party to even slow the rate of growth, let alone cut spending. The proliferation of the military industrial complex like a poisonous weed has been inexorable, as the corporate arms dealers place their facilities of death in the congressional districts of Democrats and Republicans. In addition, these corporate manufacturers of murder dole out "legal" payoffs to corrupt politicians of both parties in the form of political contributions. The Deep State knows bribes and well-paying jobs ensure no spineless congressman will ever vote against a defense spending increase.
Of course, the warfare/welfare state couldn't grow to its immense size without financing from the Wall Street cabal and their feckless academic puppets at the Federal Reserve. The Too Big to Trust Wall Street banks, whose willful control fraud nearly wrecked the global economy in 2008, were rewarded by their Deep State patrons by getting bigger and more powerful as people on Main Street and senior citizen savers were thrown under the bus.
When these criminal bankers have their reckless bets blow up in their faces they are bailed out by the American taxpayers, but when the Fed rigs the system so they are guaranteed billions in risk free profits, they reward themselves with massive bonuses and lobby for a huge tax cut used to buy back their stock. With bank branches in every congressional district in every state, and bankers spreading protection money to greedy politicians across the land, no legislation damaging to the banking cartel is ever passed.
I've never been big on joining a group. I tend to believe Groucho Marx and his cynical line, "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member". The "Us vs. Them" narrative doesn't connect with my view of the world. As a realistic libertarian I know libertarian ideals will never proliferate in a society of government dependency, willful ignorance of the masses, thousands of laws, and a weak-kneed populace afraid of freedom and liberty. The only true libertarian politician, Ron Paul, was only able to connect with about 5% of the voting public. There is no chance a candidate with a libertarian platform will ever win a national election. This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Bill Hicks somewhat foreshadowed the last election by referencing another famous cynic.
"I ascribe to Mark Twain's theory that the last person who should be President is the one who wants it the most. The one who should be picked is the one who should be dragged kicking and screaming into the White House." ― Bill Hicks
Hillary Clinton wanted to be president so badly, she colluded with Barack Obama, Jim Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, Loretta Lynch and numerous other Deep State sycophants to ensure her victory, by attempting to entrap Donald Trump in a concocted Russian collusion plot and subsequent post-election coup to cover for their traitorous plot. I wouldn't say Donald Trump was dragged kicking and screaming into the White House, but when he ascended on the escalator at Trump Tower in June of 2015, I'm not convinced he believed he could win the presidency.
As the greatest self-promoter of our time, I think he believed a presidential run would be good for his brand, more revenue for his properties and more interest in his reality TV ventures. He was despised by the establishment within the Republican and Democrat parties. The vested interests controlling the media and levers of power in society scorned and ridiculed this brash uncouth outsider. In an upset for the ages, Trump tapped into a vein of rage and disgruntlement in flyover country and pockets within swing states, to win the presidency over Crooked Hillary and her Deep State backers.
I voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary. I hadn't voted for a Republican since 2000, casting protest votes for Libertarian and Constitutional Party candidates along the way. I despise the establishment, so their hatred of Trump made me vote for him. His campaign stances against foreign wars and Federal Reserve reckless bubble blowing appealed to me. I don't worship at the altar of the cult of personality. I judge men by their actions and not their words.
Trump's first two years have been endlessly entertaining as he waged war against fake news CNN, establishment Republicans, the Deep State coup attempt, and Obama loving globalists. The Twitter in Chief has bypassed the fake news media and tweets relentlessly to his followers. He provokes outrage in his enemies and enthralls his worshipers. With millions in each camp it is difficult to find an unbiased assessment of narrative versus real accomplishments.
I'm happy he has been able to stop the relentless leftward progression of our Federal judiciary. Cutting regulations and rolling back environmental mandates has been a positive. Exiting the Paris Climate Agreement and TPP, forcing NATO members to pay their fair share, and renegotiating NAFTA were all needed. Ending the war on coal and approving pipelines will keep energy costs lower. His attempts to vet Muslims entering the country have been the right thing to do. Building a wall on our southern border is the right thing to do, but he should have gotten it done when he controlled both houses.
The use of tariffs to force China to renegotiate one sided trade deals as a negotiating tactic is a high-risk, high reward gamble. If his game of chicken is successful and he gets better terms from the Chicoms, while reversing the tariffs, it would be a huge win. If the Chinese refuse to yield for fear of losing face, and the tariff war accelerates, a global recession is a certainty. Who has the upper hand? Xi is essentially a dictator for life and doesn't have to worry about elections or popularity polls. Dissent is crushed. A global recession and stock market crash would make Trump's re-election in 2020 problematic.
I'm a big supporter of lower taxes. The Trump tax cuts were sold as beneficial to the middle class. That is a false narrative. The vast majority of the tax cut benefits went to mega-corporations and rich people. Middle class home owning families with children received little or no tax relief, as exemptions were eliminated and tax deductions capped. In many cases, taxes rose for working class Americans.
With corporate profits at all time highs, massive tax cuts put billions more into their coffers. They didn't repatriate their overseas profits to a great extent. They didn't go on a massive hiring spree. They didn't invest in new facilities. They did buy back their own stock to help drive the stock market to stratospheric heights. So corporate executives gave themselves billions in bonuses, which were taxed at a much lower rate. This is considered winning in present day America.
The "Us vs. Them" issue rears its ugly head whenever Trump is held accountable for promises unkept, blatant failures, and his own version of fake news. Holding Trump to the same standards as Obama is considered traitorous by those who only root for their home team. Their standard response is that you are a Hillary sycophant or a turncoat to the home team. If you agree with a particular viewpoint or position of a liberal then you are a bad person and accused of being a lefty by Trump fanboys. Facts don't matter to cheerleaders. Competing narratives rule the day. Truthfulness not required.
The refusal to distinguish between positive actions and negative actions when assessing the performance of what passes for our political leadership by the masses is why cynicism has become my standard response to everything I see, hear or he read. The incessant level of lies permeating our society and its acceptance as the norm has led to moral decay and rampant criminality from the White House, to the halls of Congress, to corporate boardrooms, to corporate newsrooms, to government run classrooms, to the Vatican, and to households across the land. It's interesting that one of our founding fathers reflected upon this detestable human trait over two hundred years ago.
"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime." – Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine's description of how moral mischief can ruin a society was written when less than 3 million people inhabited America. Consider his accurate assessment of humanity when over 300 million occupy these lands. The staggering number of corrupt prostituted sociopaths occupying positions of power within the government, corporations, media, military, churches, and academia has created a morally bankrupt empire of debt.
These sociopaths are not liberal or conservative. They are not Democrats or Republicans. They are not beholden to a country or community. They care not for their fellow man. They don't care about future generations. They care about their own power, wealth and control over others. They have no conscience. They have no empathy. Right and wrong are meaningless in their unquenchable thirst for more. They will lie, steal and kill to achieve their goal of controlling everything and everyone in this world. This precisely describes virtually every politician in Washington DC, Wall Street banker, mega-corporation CEO, government agency head, MSM talking head, church leader, billionaire activist, and blood sucking advisor to the president.
The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them. The answer to that question will strongly impact the direction and intensity of the climactic years of this Fourth Turning. What I've noticed is the shunning of those who don't take an all or nothing position regarding Trump. If you disagree with a decision, policy, or hiring decision by the man, you are accused by the pro-Trump team of being one of them (aka liberals, lefties, Hillary lovers).
If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers. I don't want to be Us or Them. I just want to be me. I will judge everyone by their actions and their results. I can agree with Trump on many issues, while also agreeing with Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi on other issues. I don't prescribe to the cult of personality school of thought. I didn't believe the false narratives during the Bush or Obama years, and I won't worship at the altar of the Trump narrative now.
In Part II of this article I'll assess Trump's progress thus far and try to determine whether he can defeat the Deep State.
TerryThomas , 32 minutes ago link
"The scientific and industrial revolution of modern times represents the next giant step in the mastery over nature; and here, too, an enormous increase in man's power over nature is followed by an apocalyptic drive to subjugate man and reduce human nature to the status of nature. Even where enslavement is employed in a mighty effort to tame nature, one has the feeling that the effort is but a tactic to legitimize total subjugation. Thus, despite its spectacular achievements in science and technology, the twentieth century will probably be seen in retrospect as a century mainly preoccupied with the mastery and manipulation of men. Nationalism, socialism, communism, fascism, and militarism, cartelization and unionization, propaganda and advertising are all aspects of a general relentless drive to manipulate men and neutralize the unpredictability of human nature. Here, too, the atmosphere is heavy-laden with coercion and magic." --Eric Hoffer
666D Chess , 11 minutes ago linkKafir Goyim , 32 minutes ago link
Divide and conquer, not a very novel idea... but very effective.Rich Monk , 33 minutes ago link
If you don't agree with everything Trump does or says, you are dead to the Trumpeteers
That's not true. When Trump kisses Israeli ***, most "Trumpeteers" are outraged. That does not mean they're going to vote for Joe "I'm a Zionist" Biden, or Honest Hillary because of it, but they're still pissed.yellowsub , 42 minutes ago link
These predators (((them))) need to fear the Victims, us! That is what the 2ND Amendment is for. It's coming, slowly for now, but eventually it speeds up.legalize , 46 minutes ago link
Ya'll a dumb fool if you think gov't as your best interests first.bshirley1968 , 51 minutes ago link
Any piece like this better be littered with footnotes and cited sources before I'm swallowing it.
I'll say it again: this is the internet, people. There's no "shortage of column space" to include links back to primary sources for your assertions. Otherwise, how am I supposed to distinguish you from another "psy op" or "paid opposition hit piece"?Fish Gone Bad , 37 minutes ago link
"The question pondered every day on blogs, social media, news channels, and in households around the country is whether Trump is one of Us or one of Them."
If you still ponder this question, then you are pretty frickin' thick. It is obvious at this point, that he betrayed everything he campaigned on. You don't do that and call yourself one of "us".......damn sure aren't one of "me".
If I couldn't keep my word and wouldn't do what it takes to do what is right.....then I would resign. But I would not go on playing politics in a world that needs some real leadership and not another political hack.
The real battle is between Truth and Lie. No matter the name of your "team" or the "side" you support. Truth is truth and lies are lies. We don't stand for political parties, we stand for truth. We don't stand for national pride, we take pride in a nation that is truthful and trustworthy. The minute a "side" or "team" starts lying.....and justifying it.....that is the minute they become them and not one of us.
Any thinking person in this country today knows we are being lied to by the entire complex. Until someone starts telling the truth.....we are on our own. But I be damned before I am going to support any of these lying sons of bitches......and that includes Trump.bshirley1968 , 31 minutes ago link
Dark comedy. All the elections have been **** choices until the last one. Take a look at Arkancide.com and start counting the bodies.
Anyone remember the news telling us how North Korea promised to turn the US into a sea of fire?? Trump absolutely went to bat for every single American to de-escalate that situation.Kafir Goyim , 28 minutes ago link
Don't tell me about Arkancide or the Clintons. I grew up in Arkansas with that sack of **** as my governor for 12 years.
NK was never a real threat to anyone. Trump didn't do ****. NK is back to building and shooting off missiles and will be teaming up with the Russians and Chinese. You are a duped bafoon.Giant Meteor , 9 minutes ago link
I don't think anybody thought NK was an existential threat to the US. It has still been nice making progress on bringing them back into the world and making them less of a threat to Japan and S. Korea. Trump did that.666D Chess , 15 minutes ago link
Dennis Rodman did that, or that is to say, Trump an extension thereof ..
Look, i thought it was great that Trump went Kim Unning. I mean after all, i had talked with a few elderly folks that get their news directly from the mainstream of mainstream, vanilla news reportage. Propaganda central casting. I remember them being extremely concerned, outright petrified about that evil menace, kim gonna launch nukes any minute now. If the news would have been announced a major troop mobilization, bombing campaigns, to begin immediately they would have been completely onboard, waving the flag.
Frankly, it is only a matter of time, and folks can speculate on the country of interest, but it is coming soon to a theater near you. So many being in the crosshairs. Iran i suspect .. that's the big prize, that makes these sociopaths cream in their panties.
Probably. In the second term .. and so far, if ones honestly evaluates the "brain trust" / current crop of dimwit opposition, and in light of their past 2 plus years of moronic posturing with their hair on fire, trump will get his second term ..HoodRatKing , 55 minutes ago link
Until the last one? You are retarded, the last election was a masterpiece of Rothschilds Productions. The Illuminati was watching you at their private cinema when you were voting for Trump and they were laughing their asses off.bshirley1968 , 39 minutes ago link
The author does not realize that everyone in America, except Native American Indians, were immigrants drawn towards the false promise of hope that is the American Dream, turned nightmare..
Owning your own home, car, & raising a family in this country is so damn expensive & risky, that you'd have be on drugs or an idiot to even fall for the lies.
I don't see an us vs them, I see the #FakeMoney printers monetized every facet of life, own everything, & it truly is RENT-A-LIFE USSA, complete with bills galore, taxes galore, laws galore, jails & prisons galore, & the worst fkn country anyone would want to live in poverty & homelessness in.
At least in many 3rd world nations there is land to live off of & joblessness does not = a financial death sentence.911bodysnatchers322 , 56 minutes ago link
Sure. Lets all go back to living in huts.....off the land....no cars.....no electricity.....no running water......no roads....
There is a price to pay for things and it is not always in the form of money. We have given up some of our freedom for the ease and conveniences we want.
The problem is we have gone too far. The "American Dream" has become a grotesque nightmare because people by the millions sit around and dream about being a Kardashian. Makes me want to puke.
There is a balance. Don't take the other extreme or we never find balance.Giant Meteor , 25 minutes ago link
This article is moronic. One can easily prove that Trump is not like all the others in the poster. Has this author been living under a rock for the last 2.5 yrs? The past 5 presidents represent a group that has been literally trying to assassinate Trump, ruin his family, his reputation, his buisness and his future, for the audacity to be an ousider to the power network and steal (win) the presidency from under their noses. He's kept us OUT of war. He's dissolved the treachery that was keeping us in the middle east through gaslighitng and a proxy fake war that is ISIS, the globalists' / nato / fiveys / uk's fake mercenary armyExPat2018 , 1 hour ago link
And yet, I'll never forget all the smiling faces at the gala wedding affair.
Happier times ..
And yes, thanks in advance for noting the link is from New York slime, but i believe the picture in this case anyway, was not photo shopped.
She is, (hillary) after all, good people, a real fighter ..
**** .. mission accomplished ..JuliaS , 1 hour ago link
The greatest threat to the USA is its own dumbed down drugged up citizens who cannot compete with anyone. America is a big military powerhouse but that doens't make successful countries
You must have intelligent people
America doesn't have that anymore.911bodysnatchers322 , 54 minutes ago link
Notice how modern narrative is getting manipulated. What is being reported and referenced is completely different from how things are. And knowing that we can assume that the entire history is a fabricated lie, written by the ruling class to support its status in the minds of obedient citizens.istt , 1 hour ago link
This article is garbage propaganda that proves that they think we aren't keeping score or paying attention. The gaslighting won't work when it relies on so much counterthink, willful ignorance, counterfacts and weaponized omissionsfersur , 1 hour ago link
The reality is the de-escalation of wars, the stability of our currency and our economy, and the moral re-grounding of our culture does not occur until we do what over 100 countries have done over the centuries, beginning in Carthage in 250AD.SHsparx , 1 hour ago link
There's an old saying; "Congress does 2 things well Nothing and Protest" said by Pence Live-Streamed 4 hours ago at USMCA America First speech !
Good, Bad and Ugly
The Good is President Trump works extreme daily hours trying his best !
The Bad is Haters miss every bit of whatever their President Trump does that is good !
The Ugly is Hater Reporters ignoring World events, scared of possibly shining President Trump fairly !911bodysnatchers322 , 52 minutes ago link
You really are making it a bit too obvious, bro.SHsparx , 1 hour ago link
The congress are statusquotarians. If they solved the problems they say they would,they'd be out of a job. and that job is sitting there acting like a naddler or toxic post turtle leprechaun with a charisma and skill level of zero. Their staff do all the work, half of them barely read, though they probably canZeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link
I still think 1st and 2nd ammedment is predicated on which party rules the house. If a Dem gets into the WH, we're fucked. Kiss those Iast two dying amendments goodbye for good.Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link
If we rely on any party to preserve the 1st or 2nd Amendments, we are already fucked. What should preserve the 1st and 2nd Amendments is the absolute fear of anyone in government even mentioning suppressing or removing them. When the very thought of doing anything to lessen the rights advocated in these two amendments, causes a politician to piss in their pants, liberty will be preserved. As it is now citizens fear the government, and as a result tyranny continues to grow and fester as a cancer.Zeusky Babarusky , 1 hour ago link
In other words, those amendments are already lost... we're just waiting for the final dictate to come down.SHsparx , 49 minutes ago link
You may very well be right. I still hold out hope, but upon seeing what our society is quickly morphing into, that hope seems to fade more each and every day.bshirley1968 , 1 hour ago link
@ Zeusky Babarusky
I couldn't agree with you more.
Unfortunately, it is what it is, which is why I used the word "dying."
Those two amendments are on their deathbed, and if a Dem gets in the house, that'll be the nail in the coffin.Nephilim , 1 hour ago link
If you think the 1st and 2nd amendments are reliant on who is in office, then you are already done. Why don't you try growing a pair and being an American for once in your life.
I will always have a 1st and 2nd "amendment" for as long as I live. Life is meaningless without them.....as far as I am concerned. Good thing the founders didn't wait for king George to give them what they "felt" was theirs.....by the laws of Nature and Nature's God.
I hope the democrats get the power......and I hope they come for the guns......maybe then pussies like you will finally have to **** or get off the pot......for once in your life. There are worse things than dying.Zoomorph , 1 hour ago link
caveofgoldcaveofolddelta0ne , 1 hour ago link
"Why do we have wars?"
"Because life is war: fighting for survival, resources, and what is best in the world."
"Why do people say war is bad?"
"Because they are useful idiots who have been tricked by religion and/or weak degenerates who are too weary to participate."blind_understanding , 1 hour ago link
This country cannot be fixed through the ballot box. Unless we get rid of *** influencing from abroad and domestically. Getting rid of English King few hundred years ago was a joke! this would be a challenge because dual-citizens masquerading as locals.djrichard , 1 hour ago link
Last revolution (1776) we targeted the WRONG ENEMY.
We targeted King George III instead of the private bankers who owned of the Bank of England and the issued of the British-pound currency.
George III was himself up to his ears in debt to them by 1776, when the bankers installed George Washington to replace George III as their middleman in the American colonies, by way of the phony revolution.
Phony because ownership of the central bank and currency (Federal-Reserve Banks, Federal-Reserve notes) we use, remains in the same banking families' hands to this day. The same parasite remains within our government.
It is this strangely incomplete calculus that creates the shifting Loser world of rifts and alliances. By operating with a more complete calculus, Sociopaths are able to manipulate this world through the divide-and-conquer mechanisms. The result is that the Losers end up blaming each other for their losses, seek collective emotional resolution, and fail to adequately address the balance sheet of material rewards and losses.
To succeed, this strategy requires that Losers not look too closely at the non-emotional books. This is why, as we saw last time, divide-and-conquer is the most effective means for dealing with them, since it naturally creates emotional drama that keeps them busy while they are being manipulated.
Aug 16, 2017 | www.mintpressnews.com
... ... ...
In 2014, lawyers for Kamala Harris argued in court that if minimum-custody inmates were released early, the state of California would "lose an important labor pool." These inmates included firefighters, who are paid $1 an hour to confront some of the deadliest blazes in California history. Harris later argued that she was unaware her own office argued in favor of keeping parolees in jail so they could serve as the state's on-call cheap labor.
A breakthrough profile in the New York Times referred to Harris as a "top cop" prosecutor who, according to critics, "failed to take on prosecutorial misconduct." The profile noted in 2015 her office was called out for "defending convictions obtained by local prosecutors who inserted a false confession into the transcript of a police interrogation, lied under oath, and withheld crucial evidence from the defense."
Police crimes were largely ignored by Harris. Oakland police officer Miguel Masso shot and killed Alan Blueford in 2012. Multiple witnesses said Blueford had no weapon, did not pose a threat to the officer, and was running away from the officer.
The Justice For Alan Blueford Coalition wrote a letter to Harris and demanded she do her job by bringing charges against Masso. Supporters engaged in civil disobedience in 2014, after she refused to meet with them. They were arrested (and police even swept up their legal observer in the arrests).
Harris' book "Smart On Crime," published in 2009, was a testament to a deeply capitalist, dystopian political ideology shared by even the most "progressive" Democrats.
The public is often referred to as "consumers" (examples: "consumers of safety," "consumer education"). They are urged to support a crime policy which relentlessly focuses on violent crime, "and the prosecution of violent criminals."
"The opportunity before us encourages transformation and empowerment of communities: rather than people feeling like helpless victims of crimes, they can become educated consumers of safety."
Harris characterizes policing as a "service" and suggests:
[W]e can find and are finding more effective ways to reduce the sheer volume of nonviolent crime and recidivism, so that those nonviolent offenders don't escalate their behavior and become so enmeshed in the crime cycle that we end up having to pay attention to them -- and frankly pay for them -- for the rest of their lives. The money we save can be used to put more police officers on the street, solve more crimes, attack more high-tech and identity-theft crimes with better technology, and provide services to victims. [emphasis added]
In 2010, Harris pushed a heavy-handed truancy initiative that went into effect in 2011. This anti-truancy bill -- SB 1317 -- made it so that parents of truant children who miss more than 10 percent of their classes can be charged with a misdemeanor and given a $2,000 fine or a year in prison "if, after being offered state support and counseling, their kids still fail to improve their attendance."
This wasn't Harris' first dance with anti-truancy measures, by any means. In 2009, Harris wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that she had already prosecuted 20 parents for truancy, thereby introducing, or reintroducing, children and their families to a criminal justice system that is already stacked against them.
During her 2010 campaign, Harris touted a record of what she described as tough, affirmative crime prevention. Her official campaign page bragged that her felony conviction rate surpassed the years before -- "from 52 percent in 2003 to 67 percent in 2006, the highest in a decade."
Harris played a role in the wider United States drug war, increasing convictions for drug dealers from 56 percent to 74 percent in just three years.
Despite forming the first Mortgage and Investment Fraud Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, Harris refused to go after "foreclosure king" Steven Mnuchin, a decision she defended as recently as January. Mnuchin, who oversaw some 36,000 foreclosures between 2009 to 2015, violated numerous state foreclosure laws, and yet Harris refused to concede that his record should keep him from serving as President Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary.
Harris' record with police departments and the California prison industry is not simply a result of her job as attorney general. She played a key role in expanding the horizon of state violence.
Now, rather than diversifying the ranks of state actors responsible for oppression, it is critical to force Senator Kamala Harris to reckon with her neoliberal record, regardless of how her "K-Hive" may respond to such efforts.
Published in partnership with Shadowproof .
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
blue peacock -> turcopolier ... , 21 April 2019 at 12:36 PMCol. Lang,
In a recent call from Trump requesting his opinion on China, Jimmy Carter noted that China has not spent a dime on war since 1979, whereas we've spent trillions & continue to spend even more.
China invested trillions in their infrastructure while ours crumbles. They've invested in building the world's manufacturing capacity while we dismantled ours. We spend twice per capita on healthcare compared to any other western country, yet chronic diseases like diabetes keeps growing. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined yet how superior is our weaponry compared to the Russians who spend one-tenth of what we spend? We've financialized our economy and socialized speculative losses of Wall St mavens but when some politicians talk about spending on the commons then socialism is labeled bad.
The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?
Oct 22, 2017 | www.unz.com
Fran Macadam , October 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMTA credible reading of the diverse facts, Mike.Kirk Elarbee , October 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMTSadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers.utu , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/everyone-hacked-everyone-hacked-everyone-spy-spin-fuels-anti-kaspersky-campaign.htmlAgain Mike Whitney does not get it. Though in the first part of the article I thought he would. He was almost getting there. The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.anon , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:54 am GMT
Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope.
Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer.
Pamela Geller: Thank You, Larry David
http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/10/19/pamela-geller-thank-larry-david/OK.ThereisaGod , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT
The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway.
No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way
The one thing I am not positive about. If the elite really believe that Russia is a threat, then Americans have done psych ops on themselves.
The US was only interested in Ukraine because it was there. Next in line on a map. The rather shocking disinterest in investing money -- on both sides -- is inexplicable if it was really important. Most of it would be a waste -- but still. The US stupidly spent $5 billion on something -- getting duped by politicians and got theoretical regime change, but it was hell to pry even $1 billion for real economic aid.jilles dykstra , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:46 am GMT" ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people."
All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests.I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA, 1492 to the Present. A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops.Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT@jilles dykstraDESERT FOX , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT
You should be aware that Zinn's book is not, IMO, an honest attempt at writing history. It is conscious propaganda intended to make Americans believe exactly what you are taking from it.The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter.TG , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm GMT
Until that fact changes Americans will continue to fight and die for Israel.Anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT"The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result "
But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world.
I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter!
Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them.Whitney is another author who declares the "Russians did it" narrative a psyop. He then devotes entire columns to the psyop, "naww Russia didn't do it". There could be plenty to write about – recent laws that do undercut liberty, but no, the Washington Post needs fake opposition to its fake news so you have guys like Whitney in the less-mainstream fake news media.Jake , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
So Brennan wanted revenge? Well that's simple enough to understand, without being too stupid. But Whitney's whopper of a lie is what you're supposed to unquestionably believe. The US has "rival political parties". Did you miss it?The US is doing nothing more than acting as the British Empire 2.0. WASP culture was born of a Judaizing heresy: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. That meant that the WASP Elites of every are pro-Jewish, especially in order to wage war, physical and/or cultural, against the vast majority of white Christians they rule.Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
By the early 19th century, The Brit Empire's Elites also had a strong, and growing, dose of pro-Arabic/pro-Islamic philoSemitism. Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.
So, by the time of Victoria's high reign, the Brit WASP Elites were a strange brew of hardcoree pro-Jewish and hardcore pro-Arabic/islamic. The US foreign policy of today is an attempt to put those two together and force it on everyone and make it work.
The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself.@Grandpa CharlieWally , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
Fair enough. I didn't know that about the foreword. If accurate, that's a reasonable approach for a book.
Here's the problem.
Back when O. Cromwell was the dictator of England, he retained an artist to paint him. The custom of the time was for artists to "clean up" their subjects, in a primitive form of photoshopping.
OC being a religious fanatic, he informed the artist he wished to be portrayed as God had made him, "warts and all." (Ollie had a bunch of unattractive facial warts.) Or the artist wouldn't be paid.
Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so.
All I am asking is that American (and other) history be written "warts and all." The triumphalist version is true, largely, and so is the Zinn version. Gone With the Wind and Roots both portray certain aspects of the pre-war south fairly accurately..
America has been, and is, both evil and good. As is/was true of every human institution and government in history. Personally, I believe America, net/net, has been one of the greatest forces for human good ever. But nobody will realize that if only the negative side of American history is taught.@Michael KennyLogan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
Hasbarist 'Kenny', you said:
"There must be something really dirty in Russigate that hasn't yet come out to generate this level of panic."
You continue to claim what you cannot prove.
But then you are a Jews First Zionist.
Russia-Gate Jumps the Shark
Russia-gate has jumped the shark with laughable new claims about a tiny number of "Russia-linked" social media ads, but the US mainstream media is determined to keep a straight face
Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?
+ review of other frauds@JakeGrandpa Charlie , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.
Thanks for the laugh. During the 19th century, the Sauds were toothless, dirt-poor hicks from the deep desert of zero importance on the world stage.
The Brits were not Saudi proponents, in fact promoting the Husseins of Hejaz, the guys Lawrence of Arabia worked with. The Husseins, the Sharifs of Mecca and rulers of Hejaz, were the hereditary enemies of the Sauds of Nejd.
After WWI, the Brits installed Husseins as rulers of both Transjordan and Iraq, which with the Hejaz meant the Sauds were pretty much surrounded. The Sauds conquered the Hejaz in 1924, despite lukewarm British support for the Hejaz.
Nobody in the world cared much about the Saudis one way or another until massive oil fields were discovered, by Americans not Brits, starting in 1938. There was no reason they should. Prior to that Saudi prominence in world affairs was about equal to that of Chad today, and for much the same reason. Chad (and Saudi Arabia) had nothing anybody else wanted.@Michael KennySeamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm GMT
'Putin stopped talking about the "Lisbon to Vladivostok" free trade area long ago" -- Michael Kenney
Putin was simply trying to sell Russia's application for EU membership with the catch-phrase "Lisbon to Vladivostok". He continued that until the issue was triply mooted (1) by implosion of EU growth and boosterism, (2) by NATO's aggressive stance, in effect taken by NATO in Ukraine events and in the Baltics, and, (3) Russia's alliance with China.
It is surely still true that Russians think of themselves, categorically, as Europeans. OTOH, we can easily imagine that Russians in Vladivostok look at things differently than do Russians in St. Petersburg. Then again, Vladivostok only goes back about a century and a half.@utuSeamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration.
I generally agree with your comment, but that part strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. While relations with Russia certainly haven't improved, how have they really worsened? The second round of sanctions that Trump reluctantly approved have yet to be implemented by Europe, which was the goal. And apart from that, what of substance has changed?@Grandpa CharlieLudwig Watzal , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT
That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era.It's not surprising that 57 percent of the American people believe in Russian meddling. Didn't two-thirds of the same crowd believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, too? The American public is being brainwashed 24 hours a day all year long.anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT
The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it.
This disinformation campaign might be the prelude to an upcoming war.
Right now, the US is run by jerks and idiots. Watch the video.Only dumb people does not know that TRUMP IS NETANYAHU'S PUPPET.Miro23 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
The fifth column zionist jews are running the albino stooge and foreign policy in the Middle East to expand Israel's interest against American interest that is TREASON. One of these FIFTH COLUMNISTS is Jared Kushner. He should be arrested.
[The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.
Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran.
Bolton spoke with Trump by phone on Thursday about the paragraph in the deal that vowed it would be "terminated" if there was any renegotiation, according to Politico. He was calling Trump from Las Vegas, where he'd been meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the third major figure behind Trump's shift towards Israeli issues. Adelson is a Likud supporter who has long been a close friend of Netanyahu's and has used his Israeli tabloid newspaper Israel Hayomto support Netanyahu's campaigns. He was Trump's main campaign contributor in 2016, donating $100 million. Adelson's real interest has been in supporting Israel's interests in Washington -- especially with regard to Iran.]A great article with some excellent points:CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT
Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington.
American dominance is very much tied to the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency, and the rest of the world no longer want to fund this bankrupt, warlike state – particularly the Chinese.
First, it confirms that the US did not want to see the jihadist extremists defeated by Russia. These mainly-Sunni militias served as Washington's proxy-army conducting an ambitious regime change operation which coincided with US strategic ambitions.
The CIA run US/Israeli/ISIS alliance.
Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say.
They are given the political line and they broadcast it.
The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda coupled with the extraordinary advances in surveillance technology, create the perfect conditions for the full implementation of an American police state. But what is more concerning, is that the primary levers of state power are no longer controlled by elected officials but by factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people. That can only lead to trouble.
At some point Americans are going to get a "War on Domestic Terror" cheered along by the media. More or less the arrest and incarceration of any opposition following the Soviet Bolshevik model.@utuThales the Milesian , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm GMT
On the plus side, everyone now knows that the Anglo-US media from the NY Times to the Economist, from WaPo to the Gruniard, and from the BBC to CNN, the CBC and Weinstein's Hollywood are a worthless bunch of depraved lying bastards.Brennan did this, CIA did that .AB_Anonymous , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
So what are you going to do about all this?
Continue to whine?
Continue to keep your head stuck in your ass?
So then continue with your blah, blah, blah, and eat sh*t.
You, disgusting self-elected democratic people/institutions!!!Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse.Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
The thing is, no matter how thick the mental cages are, and how carefully they are maintained by the daily massive injections of "certified" truth (via MSM), along with neutralizing or compromising of "troublemakers", the presence of multiple alternative sources in the age of Internet makes people to slip out of these cages one by one, and as the last events show – with acceleration.
It means that there's a fast approaching tipping point after which it'd be impossible for those in power both to keep a nice "civilized" face and to control the "cage-free" population. So, no matter how the next war will be called, it will be the war against the free Internet and free people. That's probably why N. Korean leader has no fear to start one.An aside:Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT
All government secrecy is a curse on mankind. Trump is releasing the JFK murder files to the public. Kudos! Let us hope he will follow up with a full 9/11 investigation.
Think Peace -- Art@utuArt , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm GMT
The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.
Good point. That was probably one of the objectives (and from the point of view of the deep-state, perhaps the most important objective) of the "Russia hacked our democracy" narrative, in addition to the general deligitimization of the Trump administration.And, keep in mind, Washington's Sunni proxies were not a division of the Pentagon; they were entirely a CIA confection: CIA recruited, CIA-armed, CIA-funded and CIA-trained.Rurik , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm GMT
Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.)
Are committees of six congressman and six senators, who meet in secret, just avoiding the grave constitutional questions of war? We the People cannot even interrogate these politicians. (These politicians make big money in the secrecy swamp when they leave office.)
Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress?
Spying is one thing – covert action is another – covert is wrong – it goes against world order. Every year after 9/11 they say things are worse – give them more money more power and they will make things safe. That is BS!
9/11 has opened the flood gates to the US government attacking at will, the various peoples of this Earth. That is NOT our prerogative.
We are being exceptionally arrogant.
Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies.
Think Peace -- Art@Ben10Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT
right at 1:47
when he says 'we can't move on as a country'
his butt hurt is so ruefully obvious, that I couldn't help notice a wry smile on my face
that bitch spent millions on the war sow, and now all that mullah won't even wipe his butt hurt
when I see ((guys)) like this raging their inner crybaby angst, I feel really, really good about President Trump
MAGA bitches!@jilles dykstraTradecraft46 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA
A Peoples History of the USA? Which Peoples?I am SAIS 70 so know the drill and the article is on point.
Here is the dealio. Most reporters are dim and have no experience, and it is real easy to lead them by the nose with promises of better in the future.
Apr 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
False Solace , April 19, 2019 at 12:36 pm
Yet another delusional remark at odds with reality. Haven't these people learned anything from the implosion of their pathetic Russiagate hysteria? The Russophobes won't be happy until we're at war with a nuclear power and the nukes are about to land.
Here are things Trump has actually done, as opposed to red-limned fantasies drawn from the fever-dreams of Putin haters:
- Unilaterally abandoned 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty
- Expelled 60 diplomats and closed 3 Russian diplomatic annexes
- Bombed Syria, a Russian ally, with Russian troops in country
- Sold arms to Ukraine, which is actively at war with Russia
- Threatened Germany to cancel a new Russian pipeline through the Baltic (effort failed)
- Even more sanctions against Russia and Russian nationals
- Stationed missile defense systems on the Russian border in violation of arms treaties
- Massive military exercises in Europe on the Russian border
- Stationed troops in Poland
- Negotiating with Poland to build a permanent US military base in Poland
All this has certainly made the world safer. /s
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:25
Thank you Max, it's a great summary of what is wrong with the foreign policy and why racism is so rampant.
There are candidates for 2020, who understand and probably share your views. Take for example Tulsi Gabbard in her recent twonhall meeting video:
Quote from her replies
"People get into a lot of conversations about political strategies I might get in trouble for saying this, but what does it matter if we beat Donald Trump, if we end up with someone who will perpetuate the very same crony capitalist policies, corporate policies, and waging more of these costly wars?"
And just to drive home this point, quote:
"This is not a joke. This is not about me. This about all of us. This is about our future. About making sure we have one."
Tulsi did get in to trouble. A day after the video posted on Twitter, it had been deleted by Twitter without explanation
Mark Dierking , April 18, 2019 at 15:53
Thanks to you any everyone that has responded for the thoughtful comments. If you are able to edit yours, a more accessible link for the Safari browser is:
Apr 15, 2019 | www.unz.com
neutral , says: April 11, 2019 at 11:37 am GMTThis will at least wake up those morons at places like Breitbart that Trump is nothing more than a neocon swine. I mean how much more evidence do they need to see that he is invite the world, invade the world.Colin Wright , says: Website April 13, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him.@neutral 'On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him 'Liberty Mike , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
We'll be 'conned' the same way as always; what's the alternative?@Colin Wright For one, its not reposing any confidence, faith, and trust in DJT. He is a charlatan who appeals to low IQ whites.Cagey Beast , says: April 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm GMT
Why do so many intelligent people delude themselves into rationalizing their support and vote for Trump upon the basis of the lesser of two evils loser mindset?
- Look at the labor participation numbers. Worse under Trump than under the Kenyan mulatto.
- Look at the rate the debt is increasing. Look at the total increase in the debt since the serial adulterer took office.
- Look at the surge in immigration under this congenital prevaricator.
- Look at the failure to build a wall.
- Look at his Hebrew obsequiousness.@Liberty MikeLiberty Mike , says: April 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
One doesn't have to be stupid to support Trump but it helps. The same can be said for his prominent enemies though. To unconditionally and faithfully support Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi, one would have to be stupid or totally controlled by one's emotions.
That being said, a smart person could still support Trump. A smart person could recognize Trump finishing his term as the least bad option. In 2020, this same smart person might recognize that, amazingly, a Trump second term had become the least bad option. People can scream and throw around insults or they can present an alternative to Trump.@Cagey Beast
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that Stalin's maxim, "its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes" controls?
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?
Cagey Beast , says: April 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm GMT@Liberty Mike Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?
You and I are voting right now just by publicly engaging in politics. Voting on election day is worth it in the same way posting comments online is worth it.
Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?
Yes. But during the election, Trump was the least bad option who sometimes seemed like a good option. That's still true today.
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com
Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: April 10, 2019 at 8:55 am GMTI'm not sure why the author of this article seems to be surprised by the actions of Trump and his administration. The collective image of him as a blood-thirsty racist whose hatred of all peoples queer 'n' colored runs marrow and generations-deep -- think of a cross between a street corner John Galt and Ian Smith, daubed with vague overtones of Archie Bunker mingling with Clint Eastwood -- is purely an invention of the media, the left as well as that of the right.
Why or how he became the impromptu pope of white nationalism escapes me. Anyone with ears to listen and eyes to see could find for themselves that he never so much as intimated even muted sympathy for that movement, not during his campaign and certainly not as head of state, media accusations of "dog whistles" and the like notwithstanding.
But a demoralized white working and middle class were willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, "hope and change" for the OxyContin and Breitbart set. Like his predecessor, Trump never really says anything at all. There are grand pronouncements, bilious screeds targeting perceived enemies, glib generalities, but rarely are any concrete, definitive ideas and policies ever articulated. Trump, like Obama, is merely a cipher, an empty suit upon which the dreams (or nightmares) of the beholder can effortlessly be projected, a polarizing figurehead who wields mostly ceremonial powers while others ostensibly beneath him busy themselves with the actual running of the republic.
To observe this requires no great research or expenditure of effort -- he lays it all out there for anybody to hear or read. Unfortunately, the near totality of this country's populace is effectively illiterate and poorly equipped to think critically and independently, preferring to accept the verdicts of their oleaginous talking heads at face value without ever troubling themselves to examine why. (The dubious products of the glorified diploma mills we call "higher education" are often the most gullible and dim-witted.) Trump is the dark magus of racism and bigotry -- boo! Trump is the man of sorrows who will carry aloft Western Civilization resurgent -- yay!
Just as the hysterical left was quickly shattered by the mediocrity that was Barack Obama, so too does the hysterical right now ululate the sting of Donald Trump's supposed betrayal. As with their ideological antipodes, they got what they deserved. Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.
Amerimutt Golem , says: April 10, 2019 at 9:39 am GMTTrump is just a golem -- a creature made by you know who to destroy their enemies like Iran etc, no different from GW or FDR.anonymous  • Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:01 am GMTPolitics, at least at the national level, is a puppet show to channel and periodically blow off dissent.
“In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.
A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.”
Linh Dinh, “Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President,” published at The Unz Review, June 12, 2016.
jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT@Hank
We were “Trumped”. Hard to believe.
What’s so hard to believe? Many of us predicted as much.
PS: It would be more accurate to admit that his supporters have been t Rumped . He stuck it to ya and you enjoyed it. Believe it and remember it.
Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya?
Mar 22, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr
Donald Trump is about to break the record of withdrawing his promises faster than any other US president in history. It's not only the fact that his administration has been literally taken over by Goldman Sachs, the top vampire-bank of the Wall Street mafia.
Recently, Trump announced another big alliance with the vulture billionaire, Paul Singer, who, initially, was supposedly against him. It looks like the Trump big show continues.
The 'anti-establishment Trump' joke has already collapsed and the US middle class is about be eliminated by the syndicate of the united billionaires under Trump administration.
As Greg Palast told to Thom Hartmann:
Paul Singer whose nickname is "the vulture", he didn't get that nickname because he is a sweet an honest businessman. This is the guy who closed the Delphi auto plants in Ohio and sent them to China and also to Monterrey-Mexico. Donald Trump as a candidate, excoriated the billionaires who sent Delphi auto parts company down to Mexico.
Paul Singer has two concerns: one of them is that we eliminate the banking regulations known as Dodd–Frank. He is called 'the vulture' cause he eats companies that died. He has invested heavily in banks that died. He makes his billions from government bail-outs, he has never made a product in his life, it's all money and billions made from your money, out of the US treasury.
He is against what Obama created, which is a system under Dodd–Frank, called 'living wills', where if a bank starts going bankrupt, they don't call the US treasury for bail-out. These banks go out of business and they are broken up so we don't have to pay for the bail-out. Singer wants to restore the system of bailouts because that's where he makes his money.
The Mercers are the real big money behind Donald Trump. When Trump was in trouble in the general election he was out of money and he was out of ideas and he was losing. It was the Mercers, Robert, who is the principal at the Renaissance Technologies, basically investment banking sharks, that's all they are. They are market gamblers and banking sharks, and that's how he made his billions, he hasn't created a single job as Donald Trump himself like to mention.
Both the vulture and the Mercers, they don't pay the same taxes as the rest. They don't pay regular income taxes. They have a special billionaires loophole called 'carried interest'.
They were two candidates who said that they would close that loophole: one was Bernie Sanders and the other, believe it or not, was Donald Trump, it was part of his populist movie, he said ' These Wall Street sharks, they don't build anything, they don't create a single job, when they lose we pay, when they win, they get a tax-break called carried interest. I will close that loophole. ' Has he said a word about that loophole? It passed away.
Take a taste of Paul Singer from Wikipedia :
His political activities include funding the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and he has written against raising taxes for the 1% and aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act. Singer is active in Republican Party politics and collectively, Singer and others affiliated with Elliott Management are "the top source of contributions" to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
A number of sources have branded him a "vulture capitalist", largely on account of his role at EMC, which has been called a vulture fund. Elliott was termed by The Independent as "a pioneer in the business of buying up sovereign bonds on the cheap, and then going after countries for unpaid debts", and in 1996, Singer began using the strategy of purchasing sovereign debt from nations in or near default-such as Argentina, ]- through his NML Capital Limited and Congo-Brazzaville through Kensington International Inc. Singer's business model of purchasing distressed debt from companies and sovereign states and pursuing full payment through the courts has led to criticism, while Singer and EMC defend their model as "a fight against charlatans who refuse to play by the market's rules."
In 1996, Elliott bought defaulted Peruvian debt for $11.4 million. Elliott won a $58 million judgment when the ruling was overturned in 2000, and Peru had to repay the sum in full under the pari passu rule. When former president of Peru Alberto Fujimori was attempting to flee the country due to facing legal proceedings over human rights abuses and corruption, Singer ordered the confiscation of his jet and offered to let him leave the country in exchange for the $58 million payment from the treasury, an offer which Fujimori accepted. A subsequent 2002 investigation by the Government of Peru into the incident and subsequent congressional report, uncovered instances of corruption since Elliott was not legally authorized to purchase the Peruvian debt from Swiss Bank Corporation without the prior approval of the Peruvian government, and thus the purchase had occurred in breach of contract. At the same time, Elliott's representative, Jaime Pinto, had been formerly employed by the Peruvian Ministry of Economy and Finance and had contact with senior officials. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Peruvian government paid Elliott $56 million to settle the case.
After Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2002, the Elliott-owned company NML Capital Limited refused to accept the Argentine offer to pay less than 30 cents per dollar of debt. With a face value of $630 million, the bonds were reportedly bought by NML for $48 million, with Elliott assessing the bonds as worth $2.3 billion with accrued interest. Elliott sued Argentina for the debt's value, and the lower UK courts found that Argentina had state immunity. Elliott successfully appealed the case to the UK Supreme Court, which ruled that Elliott had the right to attempt to seize Argentine property in the United Kingdom. Alternatively, before 2011, US courts ruled against allowing creditors to seize Argentine state assets in the United States. On October 2, 2012 Singer arranged for a Ghanaian Court order to detain the Argentine naval training vessel ARA Libertad in a Ghanaian port, with the vessel to be used as collateral in an effort to force Argentina to pay the debt. Refusing to pay, Argentina shortly thereafter regained control of the ship after its seizure was deemed illegal by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Alleging the incident lost Tema Harbour $7.6 million in lost revenue and unpaid docking fees, Ghana in 2012 was reportedly considering legal action against NML for the amount.
His firm... is so influential that fear of its tactics helped shape the current 2012 Greek debt restructuring." Elliott was termed by The Independent as "a pioneer in the business of buying up sovereign bonds on the cheap, and then going after countries for unpaid debts", and in 1996, Singer began using the strategy of purchasing sovereign debt from nations in or near default-such as Argentina, Peru-through his NML Capital Limited and Congo-Brazzaville through Kensington International Inc. In 2004, then first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund Anne Osborn Krueger denounced the strategy, alleging that it has "undermined the entire structure of sovereign finance."
we wrote that " Trump's rhetoric is concentrated around a racist delirium. He avoids to take direct position on social matters, issues about inequality, etc. Of course he does, he is a billionaire! Trump will follow the pro-establishment agenda of protecting Wall Street and big businesses. And here is the fundamental difference with Bernie Sanders. Bernie says no more war and he means it. He says more taxes for the super-rich and he means it. Free healthcare and education for all the Americans, and he means it. In case that Bernie manage to beat Hillary, the establishment will definitely turn to Trump who will be supported by all means until the US presidency. "
Yet, we would never expect that Trump would verify us, that fast.
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens
HACKS AND SPOOKS
By Professor Richard Keeble
And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...
I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.
As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:
"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."
Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.
And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.
In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.
As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".
Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.
A brief history
Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.
Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.
The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.
According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.
And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.
In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.
And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.
David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"
And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".
Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".
Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.
Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.
David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Maxwell and Mossad
According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.
In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.
Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.
For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."
The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."
And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.
Lawson strongly denied the allegations.
Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)
Growing power of secret state
Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.
But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.
Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.
According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.
A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.
Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.
Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.
Sexed up – and missed out
During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.
The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.
Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.
Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.
Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."
Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.
Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.caRegion: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights
More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.
On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.
The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.
Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.
Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.
The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.
In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.
Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.
In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."
Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.
Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.
Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.
Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.
When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.
As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.
In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.
Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.
In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.
So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?
It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.
Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.
Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.
... ... ...
Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.
This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .
Oct 10, 2014 | The GuardianBradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pmThe American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.
There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.
General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.
Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".
Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.
The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.
Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.
So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.
IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm
The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.
In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.
I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.
Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pmID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.
Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".
But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.
Feb 04, 2019 | www.antiwar.com
supremeborg • 19 days ago ,Thomas L. Knapp Mod supremeborg • 19 days ago ,
David Stockman was one of my conservative heroes during the Reagan years. He was the one person in the Administration who seemed to have an honest understanding of economics. It's nice to see that his experiences with the reality of the DC swamp have made him go all the way to describing himself as a libertarian, rather than a conservative.
He could have sold out, given up any modicum of principle, and simply become a multi-millionaire Republican Party establishment hack.
I would venture to say he and I have some policy differences, but it's always nice to see when someone embraces their best, rather than their worst, instincts.supremeborg Thomas L. Knapp • 19 days ago ,
My recollection of Stockman's economics from those years (based on e.g. The Triumph of Politics) was that he was all-in on "supply side" economics, which is twaddle. He was smart enough to understand that the commonplace observation codified as the Laffer Curve, while true, didn't mean that DC could just go on an endless spending spree and expect increased tax revenues to exceed the avarice of politicians, though.Thomas L. Knapp Mod supremeborg • 18 days ago ,
Yes, supply side is bogus, but my observations were that Stockman was quite critical of the spending increases that the Administration put forth. He approved of the so called tax-cuts, but he did so with the understanding that there would be spending cuts along with them.
My own recollections (I was alive back then, but not as politically conscious as I am now) were that Stockman was not endorsing the supply side theory so much as his own idea that cuts in government spending were necessary, and that tax cuts would put pressure on Congress and the administration to cut spending. The irony is that, for whatever reason, tax revenues overall increased by 60% in Reagan's two terms, yet spending increased almost 100%. This certainly disproves the idea that there was ever a revenue problem, and that it has always been a spending problem.
In any event, Stockman was just about the only person with an official capacity in DC, who actually worked toward spending cuts. Unless you are saying that his rhetoric was a lie, and he was just like all the others. If that is the case then, of course, you could always be right.supremeborg Thomas L. Knapp • 18 days ago ,
No, I don't think Stockman's rhetoric was a lie. He did end up getting shoved out of the Reagan regime, after all, precisely because he resisted giving every cabinet secretary all the money they wanted and, as you say, insisted that the tax cuts needed to be accompanied by spending cuts.
But supply-side economics is, perversely, a departure from sound economic policy in the direction of central planning . Its premise is that instead of production being driven by diffuse demand, money should be concentrated in the hands of a few who "know better" what should be produced.
True, the central planning class in question was, broadly and not very honestly defined, "entrepreneurs" rather than government bureaucrats, but the principle was the same. And in practice, the "entrepreneurs" intended to benefit were the businesses who already had the clout to make themselves part of the political class, not the guy in his garage designing a better mousetrap.Thomas L. Knapp Mod supremeborg • 18 days ago ,
"But supply-side economics is, perversely, a departure from sound economic policy"
Perhaps the most damning thing about it was that the stated goal was to increase the federal government's revenue. What person in their right mind would wish to give even more money and power to the federal government?
I think you're mixing up two different things.
The Laffer Curve is an interesting but much over-used (and badly used) observation: There is a tax revenue curve with a top to it. That is, as you raise taxes, revenues go up ... until the taxation gets onerous enough that additional earnings beyond bare subsistence strike people as not worth the input, beyond which point tax INcreases produce revenue DEcreases.
Aug 09, 2017 | zeroanthropology.net
Trump could have kept quiet, and lost nothing. Instead what he was attacking -- and the irony was missed on his fervently right wing supporters -- was someone who was a leader in the anti-globalist movement, from long before it was ever called that. Fidel Castro was a radical pioneer of independence, self-reliance, and self-determination.
Castro turned Cuba from an American-owned sugar plantation and brothel, a lurid backwater in the Caribbean, into a serious international actor opposed to globalizing capitalism. There was no sign of any acknowledgment of this by Trump, who instead chose to parrot the same people who would vilify him using similar terms (evil, authoritarian, etc.). Of course, Trump respects only corporate executives and billionaires, not what he would see as some rag-tag Third World revolutionary. Here Trump's supporters generally failed, using Castro's death as an opportunity for tribal partisanship, another opportunity to attack "weak liberals" like Obama who made minor overtures to Cuba (too little, too late).
Their distrust of "the establishment" was nowhere to be found this time: their ignorance of Cuba and their resort to stock clichés and slogans had all been furnished to them by the same establishment they otherwise claimed to oppose.
Just to be clear, the above is not meant to indicate any reversal on Trump's part regarding Cuba. He has been consistently anti-communist, and fairly consistent in his denunciations of Fidel Castro. What is significant is that -- far from overcoming the left-right divide -- Trump shores up the barriers, even at the cost of denouncing others who have a proven track record of fighting against neoliberal globalization and US interventionism. In these regards, Trump has no track record. Even among his rivals in the Republican primaries, senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul had more of an anti-interventionist track record.
However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first".Russia
Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat.
Instead, Trump continued the sanctions, as if out of meek deference to Obama's policy, one founded on lies and antagonism toward Trump himself. Rather than repair the foul attempt to sabotage the US-Russian relationship in preparation for his presidency, Trump simply abided and thus became an accomplice. To be clear, Trump has done precisely nothing to dampen the near mass hysteria that has been manufactured in the US about alleged -- indeed imaginary -- "Russian intervention".
His comments, both during the electoral campaign and even early into his presidency, about wanting good relations with Russia, have been replaced by Trump's admissions that US relations with Russia are at a low point (Putin agreed: "I would say the level of trust [between Russia and the US] is at a workable level, especially in the military dimension, but it hasn't improved. On the contrary, it has degraded " and his spokesman called the relations " deplorable ".)
Rather than use the power of his office to calm fears, to build better ties with Russia, and to make meeting with Vladimir Putin a top priority, Trump has again done nothing , except escalating tensions. The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. Russia had actively facilitated the US' war in Afghanistan for over a decade, and was a consistent collaborator on numerous levels. It is up to thinking American officials to honestly explain what motivated them to tilt relations with Russia, because it is certainly not Russia's doing. The only explanation that makes any sense is that the US leadership grew concerned that Russia was no longer teetering on the edge of total socio-economic breakdown, as it was under the neoliberal Boris Yeltsin, but has instead resurfaced as a major actor in international affairs, and one that champions anti-neoliberal objectives of enhanced state sovereignty and self-determination.WikiLeaks
Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding.
After finding so much use for WikiLeaks' publication of the Podesta emails, which became incorporated into his campaign speeches, and which fuelled the writing and speaking of journalists and bloggers sympathetic to Trump -- he was now effectively declaring WikiLeaks to be both an enemy and a likely target of US government action, in even more blunt terms than we heard during the past eight years under Obama. This is not mere continuity with the past, but a dramatic escalation. Rather than praise Julian Assange for his work, call for an end to the illegal impediments to his seeking asylum, swear off any US calls for extraditing and prosecuting Assange, and perhaps meeting with him in person, Trump has done all of the opposite. Instead we learn that Trump's administration may file arrest charges against Assange . Mike Pompeo , chosen by Trump to head the CIA, who had himself cited WikiLeaks as a reliable source of proof about how the Democratic National Committee had rigged its campaign, now declared WikiLeaks to be a " non-state hostile intelligence service ," along with vicious personal slander against Assange.
Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks was one that he defended in terms that were not just a deceptive rewriting of history, but one that was also fearful -- "I don't support or unsupport" WikiLeaks, was what Trump was now saying in his dash for the nearest exit. The backtracking is so obvious in this interview Trump gave to the AP , that his shoes must have left skid marks on the floor:
AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States?
TRUMP: When Wikileaks came out never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it. When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, "Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff." You know, they tried to hack the Republican, the RNC, but we had good defenses. They didn't have defenses, which is pretty bad management. But we had good defenses, they tried to hack both of them. They weren't able to get through to Republicans. No, I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, "Wow." It was just a figure of speech. I said, "Well, look at this. It's good reading."
AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing?
TRUMP: No, I don't support or unsupport. It was just information .
AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?
TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it's OK with me. I didn't know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it's OK with me.
First, Trump invents the fictitious claim that WikiLeaks was responsible for hacking the DNC, and that WikiLeaks also tried to hack the Republicans. Second, he pretends to be an innocent bystander, a spectator, in his own administration -- whatever others decide, is "OK" with him, not that he knows about their decisions, but it's all up to others. He has no power, all of a sudden.
Again, what Trump is displaying in this episode is his ultimate attachment to his class, with all of its anxieties and its contempt for rebellious, marginal upstarts. Trump shuns any sort of "loyalty" to WikiLeaks (not that they ever had a working relationship) or any form of gratitude, because then that would imply a debt and therefore a transfer of value -- whereas Trump's core ethics are those of expedience and greed (he admits that much). This move has come with a cost , with members of Trump's support base openly denouncing the betrayal. 6NAFTA
On NAFTA , Trump claims he has not changed his position -- yet, from openly denouncing the free trade agreement and promising to terminate it, he now vows only to seek modifications and amendments, which means supporting NAFTA. He appeared to be awfully quick to obey the diplomatic pressure of Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Mexico's President, Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump's entire position on NAFTA now comes into question.
While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them.
This really deserves to be treated at length, separately from this article. However, for now, let's keep in mind that when Trump complains about Canadian softwood lumber and dairy exports to the US, his argument about NAFTA is without merit. Neither commodity is part of the NAFTA agreement.
Moreover, where dairy is concerned, the problem is US overproduction. Wisconsin alone has more dairy cows than all of Canada . There is a net surplus , in the US' favour, with respect to US dairy exports to Canada. Overall, the US has a net surplus in the trade in goods and services with Canada. Regarding Mexico, the irony of Trump's denunciations of imaginary Mexican victories is that he weakens his own criticisms of immigration.
Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture.
As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world .
To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits.
His arguments with respect to Canada are akin to those of a looter or raider. He wants to block lumber imports from Canada, at the same time as he wants to break the Canadian dairy market wide open to absorb US excess production. That approach is at the core of what defined the US as a "new empire" in the 1800s. In addition, while Trump was quick to tear up the TPP, he has said nothing about TISA and TTIP.Mexico
Trump's argument with Mexico is also disturbing for what it implies. It would seem that any evidence of production in Mexico causes Trump concern. Mexico should not only keep its people -- however many are displaced by US imports -- but it should also be as dependent as possible on the US for everything except oil. Since Trump has consistently declared his antagonism to OPEC, ideally Mexico's oil would be sold for a few dollars per barrel.China
Trump's turn on China almost provoked laughter from his many domestic critics. Absurdly, what figures prominently in most renditions of the story of Trump's change on China (including his own), is a big piece of chocolate cake. The missile strike on Syria was, according to Wilbur Ross, the " after-dinner entertainment ". Here, Trump's loud condemnations of China on trade issues were suddenly quelled -- and it is not because chocolate has magical properties. Instead it seems Trump has been willing to settle on selling out citizens' interests , and particularly those who voted for him, in return for China's assistance on North Korea. Let's be clear: countering and dominating North Korea is an established favourite among neoconservatives. Trump's priority here is fully "neocon," and the submergence of trade issues in favour of militaristic preferences is the one case where neoconservatives might be distinguished from the otherwise identical neoliberals.North Korea
Where North Korea is concerned, Trump chose to manufacture a " crisis ". North Korea has actually done nothing to warrant a sudden outbreak of panic over it being supposedly aggressive and threatening. North Korea is no more aggressive than any person defending their survival can be called belligerent. The constant series of US military exercises in South Korea, or near North Korean waters, is instead a deliberate provocation to a state whose existence the US nearly extinguished. Even last year the US Air Force publicly boasted of having "nearly destroyed" North Korea -- language one would have expected from the Luftwaffe in WWII. The US continues to maintain roughly 60,000 troops on the border between North and South Korea, and continues to refuse to formally declare an end to the Korean War and sign a peace treaty . Trump then announced he was sending an "armada" to the Korean peninsula, and boasted of how "very powerful" it was. This was in addition to the US deploying the THAAD missile system in South Korea. Several of his messages in Twitter were written using highly provocative and threatening language. When asked if he would start a war, Trump glibly replied: " I don't know. I mean, we'll see ". On another occasion Trump stated, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely". When the world's leading military superpower declares its intention to destroy you, then there is nothing you can do in your defense which anyone could justly label as "over the top". Otherwise, once again Trump posed as a parental figure, the world's chief babysitter -- picture Trump, surrounded by children taking part in the "Easter egg roll" at the White House, being asked about North Korea and responding "they gotta behave". Trump would presume to teach manners to North Korea, using the only tools of instruction that seem to be the first and last resort of US foreign policy (and the "defense" industry): bombs.Syria
Attacking Syria , on purportedly humanitarian grounds, is for many (including vocal supporters) one of the most glaring contradictions of Trump's campaign statements about not embroiling the US in failed wars of regime change and world policing. During the campaign, he was in favour of Russia's collaboration with Syria in the fight against ISIS. For years he had condemned Obama for involving the US in Syria, and consistently opposed military intervention there. All that was consigned to the archive of positions Trump declared to now be worthless. That there had been a change in Trump's position is not a matter of dispute -- Trump made the point himself :
"I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don't change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I'm proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me -- big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I've been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn't get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility, and it's very, very possible -- and I will tell you, it's already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas. You're now talking about a whole different level".
Bending to the will of the prevailing Cold War and neo-McCarthyist atmosphere in the US, rife with anti-Russian conspiracy theories, Trump found an easy opportunity to score points with the hostile media, ever so mindful as he is about approval ratings, polls, and media coverage. Some explain Trump's reversals as arising from his pursuit of public adulation -- and while the media play the key role in purveying celebrity status, they are also a stiff bastion of imperialist culture. Given his many years as a the host of a popular TV show, and as the owner of the Miss Universe Pageant, there is some logical merit to the argument. But I think even more is at work, as explained in paragraphs above. According to Eric Trump it was at the urging of Ivanka that Donald Trump decided to strike a humanitarian-militarist pose. He would play the part of the Victorian parent, only he would use missiles to teach unruly children lessons about violence. Using language typically used against him by the mainstream media, Trump now felt entitled to pontificate that Assad is "evil," an " animal ," who would have to go . When did he supposedly come to this realization? Did Assad become evil at the same time Trump was inaugurated? Why would Trump have kept so silent about "evil" on the campaign trail? Trump of course is wrong: it's not that the world changed and he changed with it; rather, he invented a new fiction to suit his masked intentions. Trump's supposed opponents and critics, like the Soros-funded organizer of the women's march Linda Sarsour, showed her approval of even more drastic action by endorsing messages by what sounded like a stern school mistress who thought that 59 cruise missiles were just a mere "slap on the wrist". Virtually every neocon who is publicly active applauded Trump, as did most senior Democrats. The loudest opposition , however, came from Trump's own base , with a number of articles featuring criticism from Trump's supporters , and one conservative publication calling him outright a " weakling and a political ingrate ".
Members of the Trump administration have played various word games with the public on intervention in Syria. From unnamed officials saying the missile strike was a "one off," to named officials promising more if there were any other suspected chemical attacks (or use of barrel bombs -- and this while the US dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan); some said that regime change was not the goal, and then others made it clear that was the ultimate goal ; and then Trump saying, "Our policy is the same, it hasn't changed. We're not going into Syria " -- even though Trump himself greatly increased the number of US troops he deployed to Syria , illegally, in an escalation of the least protested invasion in recent history. Now we should know enough not to count this as mere ambiguity, but as deliberate obfuscation that offers momentary (thinly veiled) cover for a renewal of neocon policy .
We can draw an outline of Trump's liberal imperialism when it comes to Syria, which is likely to be applied elsewhere. First, Trump's interventionist policy regarding Syria is one that continues to treat that country as if it were terra nullius , a mere playground for superpower politics. Second, Trump is clearly continuing with the neoconservative agenda and its hit list of states to be terminated by US military action, as famously confirmed by Gen. Wesley Clark. Even Trump's strategy for justifying the attack on Syria echoed the two prior Bush presidential administrations -- selling war with the infamous "incubator babies" myth and the myth of "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). In many ways, Trump's presidency is thus shaping up to be either the seventh term of the George H.W. Bush regime, or the fifth straight term of the George W. Bush regime. Third, Trump is taking ownership of an extremely dangerous conflict, with costs that could surpass anything witnessed by the war on Iraq (which also continues). Fourth, by highlighting the importance of photographs in allegedly changing his mind, Trump has placed a high market value on propaganda featuring dead babies. His actions in Syria will now create an effective demand for the pornographic trade in pictures of atrocities. These are matters of great importance to the transnational capitalist class, which demands full global penetrability, diminished state power (unless in the service of this class' goals), a uniformity of expectations and conformity in behaviour, and an emphasis on individual civil liberties which are the basis for defending private property and consumerism.Venezuela
It is very disturbing to see how Venezuela is being framed as ripe for US intervention, in ways that distinctly echo the lead up to the US war on Libya. Just as disturbing is that Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has a clear conflict of interest regarding Venezuela, from his recent role as CEO of Exxon and its conflict with the government of Venezuela over its nationalization of oil. Tillerson is, by any definition, a clear-cut member of the transnational capitalist class. The Twitter account of the State Department has a battery of messages sternly lecturing Venezuela about the treatment of protesters, while also pontificating on the Venezuelan Constitution as if the US State Department had become a global supreme court. What is impressive is the seamless continuity in the nature of the messages on Venezuela from that account, as if no change of government happened between Obama's time and Trump's. Nikki Haley, Trump's neocon ambassador to the UN, issued a statement that read like it had been written by her predecessors, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, a statement which in itself is an unacceptable intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs. For Trump's part, from just days before the election, to a couple of weeks after his inauguration, he has sent explicit messages of support for anti-government forces in Venezuela. In February, Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela's Vice President. After Syria and North Korea, Venezuela is seeming the likely focus of US interventionism under Trump.NATO
Rounding out the picture, at least for now (this was just the first hundred days of Trump's presidency), was Trump's outstanding reversal on NATO -- in fact, once again he stated the reversal himself, and without explanation either: " I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete ". This came just days after the US missile strike against Syria, and just as Ivanka Trump was about to represent his government at a meeting of globalist women, the W20 . NATO has served as the transnational military alliance at the service of the transnational capitalist class, and particularly the military and political members of the TCC. 7Saving Neoliberalism?
Has Trump saved neoliberal capitalism from its ongoing demise? Has he sustained popular faith in liberal political ideals? Are we still in the dying days of liberalism ? If there had been a centrally coordinated plan to plant an operative among the ranks of populist conservatives and independents, to channel their support for nationalism into support for the persona of the plant, and to then have that plant steer a course straight back to shoring up neoliberal globalism -- then we might have had a wonderful story of a masterful conspiracy, the biggest heist in the history of elections anywhere. A truly "rigged system" could be expected to behave that way. Was Trump designated to take the fall in a rigged game, only his huge ego got in the way when he realized he could realistically win the election and he decided to really tilt hard against his partner, Hillary Clinton? It could be the basis for a novel, or a Hollywood political comedy. I have no way of knowing if it could be true.
Framed within the terms of what we do know, there was relief by the ousted group of political elites and the liberal globalist media at the sight of Trump's reversals, and a sense that their vision had been vindicated. However, if they are hoping that the likes of Trump will serve as a reliable flag bearer, then theirs is a misguided wishful thinking. If someone so demonized and ridiculed, tarnished as an evil thug and racist fascist, the subject of mass demonstrations in the US and abroad, is the latest champion of (neo)liberalism, then we are certainly witnessing its dying days.Is Trump Beneficial for Anti-Imperialism?
Once one is informed enough and thus prepared to understand that anti-imperialism is not the exclusive preserve of the left (a left which anyway has mostly shunned it over the last two decades), that it did not originate with the left , and that it has a long and distinguished history in the US itself , then we can move toward some interesting realizations. The facts, borne out by surveys and my own online immersion among pro-Trump social media users, is that one of the significant reasons why Trump won is due to the growth in popularity of basic anti-imperialist principles (even if not recognized under that name): for example, no more world policing, no transnational militarization, no more interventions abroad, no more regime change, no war, and no globalism. Nationalists in Europe, as in Russia, have also pushed forward a basic anti-imperialist vision. Whereas in Latin America anti-imperialism is largely still leftist, in Europe and North America the left-right divide has become blurred, but the crucial thing is that at least now we can speak of anti-imperialism gaining strength in these three major continents. Resistance against globalization has been the primary objective, along with strengthening national sovereignty, protecting local cultural identity, and opposing free trade and transnational capital. Unfortunately, some anti-imperialist writers (on the left in fact) have tended to restrict their field of vision to military matters primarily, while almost completely neglecting the economic and cultural, and especially domestic dimensions of imperialism. (I am grossly generalizing of course, but I think it is largely accurate.) Where structures such as NAFTA are concerned, many of these same leftist anti-imperialists, few as they are, have had virtually nothing to say. It could be that they have yet to fully recognize that the transnational capitalist class has, gradually over the last seven decades, essentially purchased the power of US imperialism. Therefore the TCC's imperialism includes NAFTA, just as it includes open borders, neoliberal identity politics, and drone strikes. They are all different parts of the same whole.
As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is. 8
On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. In addition to that, given that his candidacy aggravated internal divisions in the US, which have not subsided with his assumption of office, these domestic social and cultural conflicts cause a serious deficit of legitimacy, a loss of political capital. A declining economy will also deprive him of capital in the strict sense. Moreover, given the kind of persona the media have crafted, the daily caricaturing of Trump will significantly spur anti-Americanism around the world. If suddenly even Canadian academics are talking about boycotting the US, then the worm has truly turned. Trump can only rely on "hard power" (military violence), because "soft power" is almost out of the question now that Trump has been constructed as a barbarian. Incompetent and/or undermined governance will also render Trump a deficient upholder of the status quo. The fact that nationalist movements around the world are not centrally coordinated, and their fortunes are not pinned to those of Trump, establishes a well-defined limit to his influence. Trump's antagonism toward various countries -- as wholes -- has already helped to stir up a deep sediment of anti-Americanism. If Americanism is at the heart of Trump's nationalist globalism, then it is doing all the things that are needed to induce a major heart attack.
As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics.
As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition.
Jan 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comschroedingersrat, 5 hours ago
Trump is a psychopath and he loves to hire even bigger psychopaths. Your whole admin is a swamp of sociopaths, psychopaths and other sick deranged people.
TGF Texas, 5 hours ago linkschroedingersrat, 38 minutes ago link
When did he hire Hillary?
There is not much difference between Hillary and Pompeo. Pompeo is basically Hillary with a **** and a religious twist
bshirley1968, 2 hours ago
Thinking? Well that's a stretch of the imagination, but let me suggest this......
- The opposition hates me. I can do no right.
- The Trumptards blindly support me. I can do no wrong.
- There are not enough independent thinkers to make a difference as the two main sides bitterly fight eachother over every minute, meaningless issue.
- I can pretty much do as I please without consequence.....like pay off all my buddies and pander to the jews/globalist/elites.
That could be what he is thinking. But I can bet you anything that there isn't a Trumptard out there that can comment here and give us a rational reason for this appointment. Oh, they can down vote because they don't like being called Trumptards. .....but they don't mind being one.
NAV, 2 hours ago
Who knew that in electing Trump we were electing the ultimate politician? His "art of the deal" is nothing but politics 101: Blame both sides, apologize for your side, and immediately surrender your stronger points while praising the weak points of your opponent. And when you have a chance, give up; sacrifice your friends and appoint their enemies, and, last but not least, look everybody in the eye and say, "I didn't steal the money, "mistakes were made."
williambanzai7, 4 hours ago
Wondering who is getting fucked?
Jan 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
It's fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump's foreign policy.
A couple of months back, Bloomberg's Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana:
" for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. 'The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,' Trump said. 'We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.'"
"For a moment," swooned Lake , "I closed my eyes and thought I was listening to a Weekly Standard editorial meeting."
Onward to Venezuela! Mr. Lake, a neoconservative, was loving every moment. In error, he and his kind confuse an expansionist foreign policy with "American exceptionalism." It's not.
As it happens, neocons are in luck. Most Americans know little of the ideas that animated their country's founding. They're more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical-liberal philosophy of the Founders, and, hence, wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive, colossal, Warfare State. That's just the way things are.
So, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have enlisted the West in "a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war," Riyadh's ultimate aim. Donald Trump has been perfectly willing to partake. After a campaign of "America First," the president sided with Sunni Islam while demonizing Iran. Iranians have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks in the US between 1975-2015; Saudi Arabians murdered 2369 !
Iranians recently reelected a reformer. Pray tell who elected the Gulf petrostate sheiks?
Moderates danced in the streets of Tehran when President Hassan Rouhani was reelected. Curiously, they're currently rioting.
If past is prologue, Ron Paul is probably right when he says the CIA is likely meddling in Iranian politics. For the Left and the pseudo-Right, this is a look-away issue. As the left-liberal establishment lectures daily, to question the Central Intelligence Agency -- its spooks are also agitating against all vestiges of President Trump's original "America First" plank -- is to "undermine American democracy."
Besides, "good" Americans know that only the Russians "meddle."
In Saudi Arabia, a new, more-dangerous regime is consolidating regional power. Almost overnight has the kingdom shifted from rule by family dynasty (like that of the Clintons and the Bushes), to a more authoritarian style of one-man rule .
When it comes to the Saudi-Israeli-American-Axis-of-Angels, the Kushner-Trump Administration -- is that another bloodline in-the-making? -- has not broken with America's ruling dynastic families (the Clintons and the Bushes, aforementioned).
It's comforting to know Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in the UN's human rights affairs. In January of last year, the Kingdom executed 47 people in one day, including a rather benign Shiite cleric. Fear not, they went quickly, beheaded with a sword .
Then US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, a woman as dumb and dangerous as Nikki Haley, was cool with the carnage. (One almost misses Henry Kissinger's realpolitik . At least the man was highly educated and deeply knowledgeable about history and world affairs. Second only to Jared Kushner, of course.)
Our bosom buddies, the Saudi's, are currently barricading Yemeni ports. No aid gets through her hermetically sealed ports. Yemenis are dying. Some Twitter followers twittered with joy at the sight of starving Yemeni babies, like this one . Oh well, Yemeni babies can be sinister.
No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump's National Security Strategy . Tucked in there somewhere is the Trumpian theme of "sovereignty," but in watered-down words. The promised Wall has given way to "multilayered technology"; to the "deployment of additional personnel," and to the tried-and-tested (not!) "vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors."
These are mouthfuls Barack Obama and Genghis Bush would hardly oppose.
"It's often said that the Trump administration is 'isolationist,'" wrote historian Andrew J. Bacevich, in the UK Spectator. Untrue. "In fact, we are now witnessing a dramatic escalation in the militarization of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. This has not been announced, but it is happening, and much of it without any debate in Congress or the media."
Indeed, while outlining his "new" Afghanistan plan, POTUS had conceded that "the American people are weary of war without victory." (Make that war, full-stop.) Depressingly, the president went on to promise an increase in American presence in Afghanistan. By sending 4000 additional soldiers there, President Trump alleged he was fighting terrorism, yet not undertaking nation building.
This is tantamount to talking out of both sides of one's mouth.
Teasing apart these two elements is near-impossible. Send "4,000 additional soldiers to add to the 8,400 now deployed in Afghanistan," and you've done what Obama and Bush before you did in that blighted and benighted region: muddle along; kill some civilians mixed in with some bad guys; break bread with tribal leaders (who hate your guts); mediate and bribe.
Above all, spend billions not your own to perfect the credo of a global fighting force that doesn't know Shiite from Shinola .
The upshot? It's quite acceptable, on the Left and the pseudo-Right, to casually quip about troops in Niger and Norway . "We have soldiers in Niger and Norway? Of course we do. We need them."
With neoconservatism normalized, there is no debate, disagreement or daylight between our dangerously united political factions.
This is the gift President Trump has given mainstream neoconservatives -- who now comfortably include neoliberals and all Conservatism Inc., with the exceptions of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson.
How exactly did the president normalize neoconservatism: In 2016, liberals accused candidate Trump of isolationism. Neoconservatives -- aka Conservatism Inc. -- did the same.
Having consistently complained of his isolationism , the Left and the phony Right cannot but sanction President Trump's interventionism . The other option is to admit that we of the callused Old Right, who rejoiced at the prospects and promise of non-interventionism, were always right.
Not going to happen.
To some, the normalizing of neoconservatism by a president who ran against it is a stroke of genius; of a piece with Bill Clinton's triangulation tactics. To others, it's a cynical sleight of hand.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of " The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Deconstructed " (June, 2016) & " Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa " (2011). Follow her on Twitter , Facebook , Gab & YouTube . How President Trump Normalized Neoconservatism, by Ilana Mercer - The Unz Review
utu , says: January 5, 2018 at 5:57 am GMTBiff , says: January 5, 2018 at 9:02 am GMT
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
But you can fool the whole country all the time in American bi-partisan system. Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump each were brought to power by fooling their electorate.So Trump did morph into Hillary. Actually, it was something I was afraid of once I got the good news of Hillary losing, but expected, considering that I view presidents as empty suits, and the National Security State calling the shots.EliteCommInc. , says: January 5, 2018 at 9:11 am GMT
I'm waiting for another one of those "Trump's Truth in Action" moments when describes the real political atmosphere in Washington. Trump was asked about something he said in a previous interview: "When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do." "You'd better believe it," Trump said. "If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I've given to, just so you understand, a lot of money."I think its time to dump the label "neoconservative". The appropriate term is "interventionists without a cause" (IWAC or IWC) or some other descriptor.Lincoln Blockface Squarebeard III , says: January 5, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
The real problem that Pres Trump has and I remain a Pres Trump supporter is two fold:
1. He seems to have forgotten he won the election.
2. He seems to have forgotten what he was elected to do.
And nearly everyone of these issues on foreign policy the answer rests in respecting sovereignty – that of others and our own.
I didn't need to read,"Adios, America" to comprehend the deep state damage our careless immigration policy has on the country. I don't need to reread, "Adios, America" to grasp that our policies of intervening in the affairs of other states undermines our own ability to make the same case at home.
If I weren't already trying to plow my way through several other books, documentaries and relapsing to old school programming such as The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and now the Dick Van Dyke show, i would reread,
"Adios , America."
In Col. Bacevich's book,
Washington Rules, he posits a distressing scenario that the foreign policy web is so tangled and entrenched, the executive branch is simply out his league. The expectation was that Pres trump had the will to turn the matter. I hold out hope, but maybe not. There's time.
I agree, at least build the darn wall.@J.Ross The Trump holdouts that maintain his turncoat buffoonery is actually 5d chess are the 2018 equivalent of the 2009 hopey changey Obots and can't accept their big daddy is a liar and a spineless turncoat. The system is broken and cannot be fixed from within.anonymous Disclaimer , says: January 5, 2018 at 11:03 am GMTTold you so. Cf., "The Winning Trump Ticket & Cabinet (Part I)," published here February 6, 2016. (Ms. Mercer never got to Part II.)The Alarmist , says: January 5, 2018 at 11:39 am GMT
Elections at the USG level allow the ruled to harmlessly let off steam.It's life imitating art: Trump reprises the role of Professor/Führer John Gill in Star Trek episode 50, Patterns of Force.neutral , says: January 5, 2018 at 11:56 am GMTThe signs were already there before the election, too many people were hoping that this time it will be different (it never is) and ignored them. He has jewish children and did say how he was anti Iran, he was always a neo cohen servative.Anonymous Disclaimer , says: January 5, 2018 at 1:17 pm GMT
I have a question for all the Trump supporters still in denial, what will it take to break your delusions? He is not going to build a wall, mass immigration is up, the left wing are mass censoring and essentially running everything now, his foreign policy is now endorsed by the all the never Trumpers – so what is your limit, is there anything he must do to lose your support?@Anonymousanonymous Disclaimer , says: January 5, 2018 at 1:42 pm GMT
Jews and the Jewish Media normalized Jewish NeoCons by guaranteeing that they always have a voice and airtime in American culture and media. Never called out by the WashingtonPost and NY Times for their previous blunders, they continue to shape American foreign policy. And, of course, the end game here is Israel and the Israeli agenda at all costs, you Jews are one issue folk. And You definitely do your part, with the subtle subterfuge at work in the articles that you write.
No one should be surprised by Trump promoting Israeli interests über alles. For decades he was so involved in Israel events in New York I debated whether he was actually Jewish or not. Bannon said the embassy move to Jerusalem was at the behest of Adelson, Trump's old casino buddy. In the campaign Trump got a lot of support from NY Jewish billionaires (Icahn, Feinberg, Paulson, et al.). They know him and how he operates.
But being pro-Israel doesn't necessarily equate to neocon. The neocons are the dumb Jews with serious inadequacy issues who could never make it in business and instead went into politics and journalism. The latter are still staunchly opposed to Trump even after a lot of pro-Israel moves. They might warm up to Trump's bellicosity towards a lot of Israel's enemies (a long list with degrees of separation), but so far they've simply moved left.
I'm a little more sanguine about a Zionist President who approaches problems from a business and deal-making position than from one who comes a neocon political position (e.g., Hillary, every other GOP candidate except Rand Paul). The former are pragmatic and will avoid conflict, especially stupid conflict, at all costs. While the latter believe they are virtuous in going to war and/or attacking countries. Did you hear Hillary threaten to shoot down Russian planes in Syria during the campaign (WTF??!).
Lastly, I like to think Trump surrounded himself with neocons (McMaster, Haley, et al.) to placate the GOP establishment because he knows he has to play the game.@Lincoln Blockface Squarebeard III Very well put.DESERT FOX , says: January 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
People are inclined to believe that any activity -- in this instance, voting for the red/blue puppets in Washington -- in which their participation is patronized must be legitimate and effectual. Many duped in November 2016, even those who now feel betrayed by that farce, were still around here a few weeks ago acting like a Senator Moore in Alabama would be pivotal to reform, his defeat devastating.
That's how Ms. Mercer and her pundit ilk (Buchanan, Napolitano, etc.) thrive -- supporting the Empire by never questioning its legitimacy, just taking sides within the Establishment. And they'll be buying into the 2018 congressional contests, ad nauseum.
Of course, what is done to us, and to others in our name and with our money, never changes to any meaningful degree. Americans might realize this if they thought critically about it, so they don't. Instead, they lap up the BS and vote for who tells them the lie they like to hear. When there are identity politics involved, the delusion seems even deeper. There are self-styled "progressives" who used to advocate single-payer, nationalized health care who are elated over the retention of so-called "Obamacare," the legislation for which was written by and for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
Me? I cope by boycotting national elections and mass media, participating in forums like this, and hoping that when the tottering tower of debt and gore tips over, as few innocents and as many guilty as practicable are among those crushed.The Zionist neocons and Israel did 911 and got away with it and everyone in the U.S. gov knows it and they tried to sink the USS LIBERTY and got away with it and so normal is an Orwellian society where Zionists can kill Americans and destroy the Mideast and nobody does jack shit about it.WorkingClass , says: Website January 5, 2018 at 1:51 pm GMT
The neocons are Satanists warmongers and will destroy America.Neocons are Zionists. Trump, Bannon and Kushner are Zionists. Israel continues to wag the dog.Jake , says: January 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm GMTNeocons are about as evil as proudly proclaimed Leftists, and they are obviously more duplicitous.Jake , says: January 5, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT
Either Neocons will be refuted and publicly rebuked and rejected, or Neocons will eventually destroy the country. Their long term fruits are destruction of that which they have used to destroy so many others.@anonymous Far from all Neocons are Jews. However, virtually all Neocons are militantly pro-Israel to the point of making Israel's foreign policy desires central to their assessment of what America needs in foreign policy.ElitecommInc. , says: January 5, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
And the source is Anglo-Saxon Puritanism, which was a Judaizing heresy. Judaizing heresy necessarily produces pro-Jewish culture. WASP culture is inherently pro-Jewish, as much as it is anti-Catholic and anti-French and and anti-Spanish and anti-Irish, etc.
And all that means that WASP is opposed to the nest interests of the vast majority of white Christians while being pro-Jewish.
Jews did not cause any of that. Anglo-Saxon Puritan heretics did.@neutral Pres Trump is a situational leader. It's a rare style, for good reason. However, he is openly situational. That was clear during the campaign season. however,Alden , says: January 5, 2018 at 7:09 pm GMT
I thought his positions were sincere. I don't think that this was any kind of slight of hand, "watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat". His positions on Israel, same sex behavior, marijuana, healthcare remain what they were going in. His foreign policy and immigration positions have been buffered and he seems incapable of standing where he came in.
It was no secret he intended an assertive military. However, he seems easily convinced that strong means aggressive, and that needlessly aggressive policy is a substitute for a strong US -- that is a mistake. Syria cruise strike was the first sign that he was giving in to the men whom he chose as advisers. As it it turns out winning the election has been easier than governing. I assumed he had a much stronger backbone, than he has been willing to exhibit in office.@Jake The Israeli/AIPAC bribery of American bible thumper preachers, especially in the fundamentalist southern American states has more to do with it than the reformation.renfro , says: January 6, 2018 at 2:13 am GMT
The preachers get huge donations to pay for their churches and TV shows. They get free trips to Israel for themselves and their families all the time.
On their Israel trips they pay more attention to the OT Jewish and holocaust sites than the Christian ones
It's true that the reformation was a return to Judaism and a rejection of Christianity, but that was 500 years ago.
What's important now is the vast amounts of money the Israeli government and the lobby funnels into those fundamentalist churches.
If the southern fundamentalists only knew what Jews think of them. I really got an earful of Jewish scorn and hate for southerners and fundamentalists during the recent Roy Moore election.
Read Jewish publications if you want to learn what they think of southern fundamentalists@Twodees Partain Trump appointed Haley because Sheldon Adelson told him to.renfro , says: January 6, 2018 at 2:18 am GMT
And contrary to the myth of trump funding his own campaign he did not the only money he put in his campaign was a 1o million loan to it. Adelson was his biggest contributor just like Saban was Hillary's.
Nikki Haley: Neocon Heartthrob
Not coincidentally, however, neocon hopes may lie as well with the generous political funding provided to Haley by Sheldon Adelson, the GOP's and Trump's single biggest donor.
Between May and June, 2016, Sheldon Adelson contributed $250,000 to Haley's 527 political organization, A Great Day, funds that she used to target four Republican state senate rivals in primaries. (Only one was successfully defeated.) Adelson was the largest contributor to her group,
which raised a total of $915,000.
This powerful Adelson-funded Israel lobby could soon rival AIPAC's
https://www.haaretz.com › U.S. News
Oct 31, 2017 – Sheldon Adelson(L), The 3rd annual IAC National Conference, in September, 2016, and Nikki Haley. . will feature, for the first time ever, a prominent speaker from the ranks of the U.S. government: U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who is a favorite among the right-leaning "pro-Israel" crowd.
The Jews have bought this government and trump and Haley are nothing but junk yard dogs.
Not that there are good alternatives but anyone who stills supports trump is as crazy as he is.@AldenGrandpa Charlie , says: January 6, 2018 at 3:58 am GMT
What's important now is the vast amounts of money the Israeli government and the lobby funnels into those fundamentalist churches.
You have it completely backwards .the evangelicals, particularly Roberson donate money for Israeli settlements.@AldenAlden , says: January 6, 2018 at 4:45 am GMT
The title is ridiculous. Neo conservatives have been normal for decades.
The neocon movement was normalized in 2001 by the PATRIOT Act. The domestic side of the neocon worldview -- or world-system -- was joined with the international or interventionist side, just as anti-Palestinian actions by Israel were joined by way of repression of free speech with the Charlottesville protest by conservatives of the desecration of monuments.@renfro I'm sure the evangelical preachers con their followers into donating money to Israel. I've seen those late night ads begging for donations to feed ancient old holocaust survivors in Israel.polskijoe , says: January 6, 2018 at 3:15 pm GMT
But the Israelis pay for all those luxury trips to Israel And a lot of the money to start those TV shows and for the big salaries come from Israel and AIPAC so does the money to set up those big churches that just appear from nowhere@Grandpa Charlie I have always wondered why its okay to say WASP but not Jew in public.TT , says: January 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm GMT
One is more pc, the other is not allowed.
I have seen some articles about Jews replacing wasp, even from Jewish authors.
As for Neoconservatives. It depends how we define it.
I see it as a case of American imperialism fused with pro Israel sentiment. Large overlap, but not always.
From what I know modern Neoconservativism started somewhere around the 70s,80s? Became dominant around the Bush years. (during Reagan years they got rid of many Paleocons).@Twodees Partain Not only Nikki is a prank, she is also a godsend. Now the world get to see USG naked without usual pretension.TT , says: January 6, 2018 at 10:26 pm GMT
Trumps is probably the most honest Potus with highest integrity & bravery in American history(stupid aside). He means what he said without mind boggling hypocrite lies, he tried fulfilling all his election promises, fighting bravely with his only little weapon tweeter besiege by entire states organs, CIA/FBI, both parties, MSM, world allies,
He put US Embassy in Jerusalem that all other Potus promised but never keep, he tried to revise immigration policy that people blocked, building prototype wall now, try befriend Russia become a treason act, reneged nuclear agreement with Iran, make US military great(of course need hyper tension like nuclear NK), scraped Obacare, TTP, Climate deal, try to grab Killary, bring back jobs with tax heaven .
Mann, this is really a man of his word. Didn't these are what you people voted him for, to drain the swamp? He gotta shock the entire MSM brainwashed nation up to see the deeply corrupted USG, collapse it quickly for a new one to move in(by whoever after his prank). As Trumps had asked:"what you got to lose to vote me?"@Twodees Partain Yes..ues i admit, don't shoot. Im just been sarcastic, USG is in such a laughing stock to the world now, many americans probably are exasperated if not yet numb. I am not judging he is good, DT is just less evil typical business man..imoErebus , says: January 7, 2018 at 9:51 am GMT
But frankly, i do see why people are voting DT now. He is at least more entertaining and blunt to screw up WH deep states show. Per msm (fake news), he is honouring all his campaign promises rt? So that make him above hypocrite liar Obama who speak on peace(Nobel prize), but drenched in Libyan and Syrians blood.
US msm brainwashed people need lot of shock & awe to wake up to reality, then they might have hope to drain the swamp in unity or just await to implode and suck down whole world.Steve Gittelson , says: January 8, 2018 at 6:32 pm GMT
No one would deny the largely neoconservative nature of Trump's National Security Strategy.
Well, some better minds than mine do deny that very thing. Three of them follow below.
Gilbert Doctorow at: http://usforeignpolicy.blogs.lalibre.be/archive/2017/12/20/kissinger-s-fingerprints-on-the-trump-security-doctrine-2017-1161961.html
What we see in the NSS is prioritization and true strategic vision as opposed to ideological cant and ad hoc responses to global developments
Patrick Armstrong at: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/01/02/trump-cuts-gordian-knot-foreign-entanglements.html
Trump has little interest in the obsessions of the neocon and humanitarian intervention crowd.
Finally, Andrew Korybko puts it all together at: https://orientalreview.org/2017/12/27/trump-agent-chaos-k-kraken/
Believing that the current world system no longer sufficiently advances American interests ever since Washington lost control of its institutional tools, and that the eventual outcome of this increasingly multipolar state of affairs is that the US will in turn lose its global empire, Trump has decided to become the Agent of Chaos in bringing about its destruction.@Ilyana_RozumovaILANA MERCER , says: Website January 9, 2018 at 6:15 am GMT
I know with certainty that Hillary is a beast from depth of hell.
Hillary is no different from most politicians. She's in it for the wealth and power. She got herself a real smart, duplicitous, pussy-chasing beast of a husband, and made the most of the opportunity.
People -- the American people -- should be able to see this rather-evident characteristic of politicians. They should be adequately educated, at least to the extent of being able to detect the base chicanery and corruption that radiates from political personalities.
But, they don't. They don't see the evil. The media deftly conceals it, because the beasts of the media, like jackals, feed on the morsels of wealth that fall to the ground as the politicians devour the carcass of well, hell, freedom and democracy is as useful a metaphor as any.@anonymous Thank you for the opportunity to share, once again, a magnificent column, published on the Unz Review and elsewhere.dfordoom , says: Website January 10, 2018 at 12:07 am GMT
"The Curious Case Of WND's Vanishing, Veteran Paleolibertarian" ( http://www.unz.com/imercer/the-curious-case-of-wnds-vanishing-veteran-paleolibertarian/ ) addressed, for once and for all, a small, shrinking community's stunning and consistent displays of intellectual dishonesty, over the years.
In this context, I am reminded of British comedian Alexei Sayle. When asked what he does when he watches a really talented satirist performing, Sayle replied: "I go back stage and tell him he'll never make it."
Indeed, the attitude to my work over 20 years has been the best proof of its quality.
If the Comments threads about "ilana mercer," on the Unz Review, prove anything (other than that anti-Semitism lives), it is that mediocre "men" (for the most) hate a woman who can out-think them. As a defender of men, this saddens me, but it is, nevertheless, true.
So here is the link to "The Curious Case Of WND's Vanishing, Veteran Paleolibertarian," which the venomous mediocrity commenting here so rudely derided, but refrained from linking, for obvious reasons: http://www.unz.com/imercer/the-curious-case-of-wnds-vanishing-veteran-paleolibertarian/
Ron Unz, our wonderful editor, chose the image appended to the column. (The brilliant Mr. Unz is one of the few intellectually honest individuals I know in this biz. He, columnist Jack Kerwick, and a handful of others.)
In reply to kunckle-dragger's sniveling: I'll continue to refrain from interacting with his ilk ("fanboys") on my column's thread. But this particular dreadful cur (with apologies to dogs, which I love) further embarrasses himself when he offers up the non sequitur that engaging him is the litmus test for being a "good writer."@polskijoedfordoom , says: Website January 10, 2018 at 12:11 am GMT
I see it as a case of American imperialism fused with pro Israel sentiment. Large overlap, but not always.
Agreed. American imperialism has a long long history (going back to at least the mid-19th century). That's why the neocons were able to gain so much influence. They were appealing to a pre-existing imperialist sentiment.@Ilyana_Rozumovadfordoom , says: Website January 10, 2018 at 12:14 am GMT
There is a large group of US politician non Jews
who also are pushing this policies. So these two groups together would be called Neocons.
There is a large group in US population, that find this idea very appealing.
That's why Make America Great Again was such a popular slogan. It appeals to mindless American jingoism and imperialism.@Twodees PartainTalha , says: January 10, 2018 at 4:18 am GMT
There are people who claim to have high IQs who are totally stupid in practical matters.
I'd almost go so far as to suggest that there's a direct correlation between high IQ and stupidity in practical matters.@dfordoom Edward Dutton stated that it was a trade-off between intelligence on one side and instinct on another – both are necessary for survival. For me, intelligence does not seem to correlate directly to wisdom.renfro , says: January 10, 2018 at 6:13 pm GMT
Peace.@Twodees Partaindfordoom , says: Website January 11, 2018 at 1:59 am GMT
If so, that reinforces my view that Trump doesn't know anybody in the Swamp
You are exactly right.
Trump really knew no one to hire or appoint to anything except his NY cronies , mainly his Jewish lawyers and Kushner contacts.
So he appointed anyone they and his biggest donors recommended to him.
His ego and insecurity demanded he surround himself with his NY cohorts and close family.@AuthenticjazzmanHogHappenin , says: January 11, 2018 at 4:32 am GMT
" It appeals to mindless American jingoism and imperialism" = "Make America great again"
So you would prefer : "Make America powerless and insignificant again"
How about "Make America a normal nation that respects other nations' sovereignty, that doesn't plant military bases on foreign soil, that doesn't bomb other people's countries, doesn't try to impose its views and its culture on the rest of the world, doesn't undermine the governments of other countries and doesn't threaten any country that dares to disagree with it." Would that be too much to ask?
I would have thought that someone "Mensa" qualified since 1973 could understand that greatness should not be equated with behaving like a thug or a schoolyard bully. America's aggression does tend to look like the manifestation of a massive inferiority complex.I commend Ms. Mercer for publishing this which will no doubt bring to light an ugly truth about many of her own tribesmen since there many of her other views which I wholly or partially disagree with
And as was said sometime before, the thought process of earlier elites (the banking, Hollywood and the neo-con, neo-lib crowd which was almost exclusively Zio-Jewish and is disproportionately still is) has creeped into the very being of what constitutes to be an "elite" in the west these days. Unlimited warfare and welfare using fraudulent money, disturbing the social and sexual fabric of a society! Satan would be quite proud of this scum bunch
So the zionist cabal still calls the shots and the slavish goyim second tier elites now willingly go along and in fact share the same mentality
Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com
It has become all too easy for democracy to be turned on its head and popular nationalist mandates, referenda and elections negated via instant political hypocrisy by leaders who show their true colours only after the public vote. So it has been within the two-and-a-half year unraveling of the UK Brexit referendum of 2016 that saw the subsequent negotiations now provide the Brexit voter with only three possibilities. All are a loss for Britain.
One possibility, Brexit, is the result of Prime Minister, Theresa May's negotiations- the "deal"- and currently exists in name only. Like the PM herself, the original concept of Brexit may soon lie in the dust of an upcoming UK Parliament floor vote in exactly the same manner as the failed attempt by the Greeks barely three years ago. One must remember that Greece on June 27, 2015 once voted to leave the EU as well and to renegotiate its EU existence as well in their own "Grexit" referendum. Thanks to their own set of underhanded and treasonous politicians, this did not go well for Greece. Looking at the Greek result, and understanding divisive UK Conservative Party control that exists in the hearts of PMs on both sides of the House of Commons, this new parliamentary vote is not looking good for Britain. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek! "deal" -- would thus reveal the life-long scars of their true national allegiance gnawed into their backs by the lust of their masters in Brussels. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review
Ironically, like a cluster bomb of white phosphorous over a Syrian village, Cameron's Brexit vote blew up spectacularly in his face. Two decades of ongoing political submission to the EU by the Cons and "new" labour had them arrogantly misreading the minds of the UK voter.
So on that incredible night, it happened. Prime Minister David Cameron the Cons New Labour The Lib- Dems and even the UK Labour Party itself, were shocked to their core when the unthinkable nightmare that could never happen, did happen . Brexit had passed by popular vote!
David Cameron has been in hiding ever since.
After Brexit passed the same set of naïve UK voters assumed, strangely, that Brexit would be finalized in their national interest as advertised. This belief had failed to read Article 50 - the provisos for leaving the EU- since, as much as it was mentioned, it was very rarely linked or referenced by a quotation in any of the media punditry. However, an article published four days after the night Brexit passed, " A Brexit Lesson In Greek: Hopes and Votes Dashed on Parliamentary Floors," provided anyone thus reading Article 50, which is only eight pages long and double-spaced, the info to see clearly that this never before used EU by-law would be the only route to a UK exit. Further, Article 50 showed that Brussels would control the outcome of exit negotiations along with the other twenty-seven member nations and that effectively Ms May and her Tories would be playing this game using the EU's ball and rules, while going one-on-twenty-seven during the negotiations.
In the aftermath of Brexit, the real game began in earnest. The stakes: bigger than ever.
Forgotten are the hypocritical defections of political expediency that saw Boris Johnson and then Home Secretary Theresa May who were, until that very moment, both vociferously and very publicly against the intent of Brexit. Suddenly they claimed to be pro- Brexit in their quest to sleep in Cameron's now vacant bed at No. 10 Downing Street. Boris strategically dropped out to hopefully see, Ms May, fall on her sword- a bit sooner. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review
So, the plucky PM was left to convince the UK public, daily, as the negotiations moved on, that "Brexit means Brexit!" A UK media that is as pro-EU as their PM chimed in to help her sell distortions of proffered success at the negotiating table, while the rise of "old" Labour, directed by Jeremy Corbyn, exposed her "soft" Brexit negotiations for the litany of failures that ultimately equaled the "deal" that was strangely still called "Brexit."
Too few, however, examined this reality once these political Chameleons changed their colours just as soon as the very first results shockingly came in from Manchester in the wee hours of the morning on that seemingly hopeful night so long ago: June 23, 2016. For thus would begin a quiet, years-long defection of many more MPs than merely these two opportunists.
What the British people also failed to realize was that they and their Brexit victory would also be faced with additional adversaries beyond the EU members: those from within their own government. From newly appointed PM May to Boris Johnson, from the Conservative Party to the New Labour sellouts within the Labour Party and the Friends of Israel , the quiet internal political movement against Brexit began. As the House of Lords picked up their phones, too, for very quiet private chats within House of Commons, their minions in the British press began their work as well.Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review
jim jones , says: December 5, 2018 at 4:55 am GMTGovernment found guilty of Contempt of Parliament:Brabantian , says: December 5, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT
https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/12/04/uk-govt-forced-to-publish-full-brexit-legal-documents-after-losing-key-vote/This article by Brett Redmayne is certainly right re the horrific sell-out by the Greek government of Tsipras the other year, that has left the Greek citizenry in enduring political despair the betrayal of Greek voters indeed a model for UK betrayal of Brexit votersniceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 9:13 am GMT
But Redmayne is likely very mistaken in the adulation of Jeremy Corbyn as the 'genuine real deal' for British people
Ample evidence points to Corbyn as Trojan horse sell-out, as covered by UK researcher Aangirfan on her blogs, the most recent of which was just vapourised by Google in their censorship insanity
Jeremy Corbyn was a childhood neighbour of the Rothschilds in Wiltshire; with Jeremy's father David Corbyn working for ultra-powerful Victor Rothschild on secret UK gov scientific projects during World War 2
Jeremy Corbyn is tied to child violation scandals & child-crime convicted individuals including Corbyn's Constituency Agent; Corbyn tragically ignoring multiple earnest complaints from child abuse victims & whistleblowers over years, whilst "child abuse rings were operating within all 12 of the borough's children's homes" in Corbyn's district not very decent of him
And of course Corbyn significantly cucked to the Israel lobby in their demands for purge of the Labour party alleged 'anti-semites'
The Trojan Horse 'fake opposition', or fake 'advocate for the people', is a very classic game of the Powers That Be, and sadly Corbyn is likely yet one more fake 'hero'My theory is, give "capitalism" and financial interests enough time, they will consume any democracy. Meaning: the wealth flows upwards, giving the top class opportunity to influence politics and the media, further improving their situation v.s. the rest, resulting in ever stronger position – until they hold all the power. Controlling the media and therefore the narrative, capable to destroy any and all opposition. Ministers and members of parliaments, most bought and paid for one way or the other. Thankfully, the 1% or rather the 0.1% don't always agree so the picture can be a bit blurred.
You can guess what country inspired this "theory" of mine. The second on the list is actually the U.K. If a real socialist becomes the prime minister of the U.K. I will be very surprised. But Brexit is a black swan like they say in the financial sector, and they tend to disrupt even the best of theories. Perhaps Corbin is genuine and will become prime minister! I am not holding my breath.
However, if he is a real socialist like the article claims. And he becomes prime minister of the U.K the situation will get really interesting. Not only from the EU side but more importantly from U.K. best friend – the U.S. Uncle Sam will not be happy about this development and doesn't hesitate to crush "bad ideas" he doesn't like.
Case in point – Ireland's financial crisis in 2009;
After massive expansion and spectacular housing bubble the Irish banks were in deep trouble early into the crisis. The EU, ECB and the IMF (troika?) met with the Irish government to discuss solutions. From memory – the question was how to save the Irish banks? They were close to agreement that bondholders and even lenders to the Irish banks should take a "haircut" and the debt load should be cut down to manageable levels so the banks could survive (perhaps Michael Hudson style if you will). One short phone call from the U.S Secretary of the