Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment

Reporters without conscience: once a nominally left of centre liberal publication became firmly embedded part of the Foreign Office, MI6 and the US Department of State

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak US and British media are servants of security apparatus Do the foreign state influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier
NeoMcCartyism Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Hypocrisy of British elite Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Media as a weapon of mass deception Putin-did-it fiasco Edward Lucas as agent provocateur American Exceptionalism
The importance of controlling the narrative Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Lewis Powell Memo Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Color revolutions Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manufactured consent The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Bullshit as MSM communication method Big Uncle is Watching You
Groupthink Soft propaganda Fighting Russophobia Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

  • Lapdog is easy role, watchdog is hard.
  • Lapdogs are lazy but get fed, watchdogs stand out in the cold, and get kicked.
  • Lapdogs get rich, watchdogs remain poor.
  • Lapdogs eat shit, and watchdogs kick ass.
  • Lapdogs need many masters, watchdogs are their own master.
  • Lapdogs are part of the problem, watchdogs are part of the solution.

@RIP, lapdogs are dismissed even by the asses they kissed, while history remembers watchdogs for the asses they kicked.

Backbutton

10 October 2014 3:46pm

When Gerald Celente branded the American media “presstitutes,” he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.

by Paul Craig Roberts, June 4, 2013,

A lot of our problems come from the unwillingness of honest people to call out the liars, cranks, wh*res and hacks.

A Brief Theory of Very Serious People — Crooked Timber

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Guardian as a neoliberal propaganda mouthpeace


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012

[Jan 23, 2019] These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don't be fooled by their progressive veneer

The Democratic Party has for decades been only slightly less solicitous of the desires of America's financial elites than the fully bought-and-paid-for GOP.
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street, after all, played an important role getting the senators where they are today. During his 2014 Senate run, in which just 7% of his contributions came from small donors, Booker raised $2.2m from the securities and investment industry. Harris and Gillibrand weren't far behind in 2018, and even the progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown has solicited donations from Gallogly and other powerful executives ..."
"... When CNBC's story about Gillibrand personally working the phones to woo Wall Street executives came out, her team responded defensively, noting her support for financial regulation and promising that if she did run she would take "no corporate Pac money". ..."
"... But what's most telling isn't that Gillibrand and others want Wall Street's money, it's that they want the blessings of financial CEOs ..."
"... The American ruling class has a nice hustle going with elections. We don't have a labor-backed social democratic party that could create barriers to avoid capture by monied interests. It's telling that when asked about the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's recent chats with Wall Street political financiers, a staff member told CNBC: "We meet with a wide range of donors with shared values across sectors." ..."
"... Plenty of Democratic leaders believe in the neoliberal growth model. Many have gotten personally wealthy off of it. Others think there is no alternative to allying with finance and then trying to create progressive social policy on the margins. But with sentiments like that, it doesn't take fake news to convince working-class Americans that Democrats don't really have their interests at heart. ..."
"... Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats gaining power. It's afraid of the Democrats who will take them on -- and those, unfortunately, are few and far between. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Bhaskar Sunkara in The Guardian pointed out that most Democratic Party candidates such as Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrandare bought by Wall Street:

It's a framing that's been everywhere over the past two years: the Resistance v Donald Trump. By some definitions that "resistance" even includes people like Mitt Romney and George W Bush. By almost all definitions it encompasses mainstream Democrats, such as the likely presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand.

In their rhetoric and policy advocacy, this trio has been steadily moving to the left to keep pace with a leftward-moving Democratic party. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand know that voters demand action and are more supportive than ever of Medicare for All and universal childcare.

Gillibrand, long considered a moderate, has even gone as far as to endorse abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) and, along with Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders' single-payer healthcare bill. Harris has also backed universal healthcare and free college tuition for most Americans.

But outward appearances aren't everything. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand have been making a very different pitch of late -- on Wall Street. According to CNBC, all three potential candidates have been reaching out to financial executives lately, including Blackstone's Jonathan Gray, Robert Wolf from 32 Advisors and the Centerbridge Partners founder Mark Gallogly.

Wall Street, after all, played an important role getting the senators where they are today. During his 2014 Senate run, in which just 7% of his contributions came from small donors, Booker raised $2.2m from the securities and investment industry. Harris and Gillibrand weren't far behind in 2018, and even the progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown has solicited donations from Gallogly and other powerful executives .

When CNBC's story about Gillibrand personally working the phones to woo Wall Street executives came out, her team responded defensively, noting her support for financial regulation and promising that if she did run she would take "no corporate Pac money".

But what's most telling isn't that Gillibrand and others want Wall Street's money, it's that they want the blessings of financial CEOs . Even if she doesn't take their contributions, she's signaling that she's just playing politics with populist rhetoric. That will allow capitalists to focus their attention on candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have shown a real willingness to abandon the traditional coziness of the Democratic party with the finance, insurance and real estate industries.

Gillibrand and others are behaving perfectly rationally. The last presidential election cost $6.6bn -- advertising, staff and conventions are expensive. But even more important than that, they know that while leftwing stances might help win Democratic primaries, the path of least resistance in the general election is capitulation to the big forces of capital that run this country. Those elites might allow some progressive tinkering on the margins, but nothing that challenges the inequities that keep them wealthy and their victims weak.

Big business is likely to bet heavily on the Democratic party in 2020, maybe even more so than it did in 2016. In normal circumstances, the Democratic party is the second-favorite party of capital; with an erratic Trump around, it is often the first.

The American ruling class has a nice hustle going with elections. We don't have a labor-backed social democratic party that could create barriers to avoid capture by monied interests. It's telling that when asked about the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's recent chats with Wall Street political financiers, a staff member told CNBC: "We meet with a wide range of donors with shared values across sectors."

Plenty of Democratic leaders believe in the neoliberal growth model. Many have gotten personally wealthy off of it. Others think there is no alternative to allying with finance and then trying to create progressive social policy on the margins. But with sentiments like that, it doesn't take fake news to convince working-class Americans that Democrats don't really have their interests at heart.

Of course, the Democratic party isn't a monolith. But the insurgency waged by newly elected representatives such as the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna and others is still in its infancy. At this stage, it isn't going to scare capital away from the Democratic party, it's going to make Wall Street invest more heavily to maintain its stake in it.

Men like Mark Gallogly know who their real enemy is: more than anyone else, the establishment is wary of Bernie Sanders. It seems likely that he will run for president, but he's been dismissed as a 2020 frontrunner despite his high favorability rates, name recognition, small-donor fundraising ability, appeal to independent voters, and his team's experience running a competitive national campaign. As 2019 goes on, that dismissal will morph into all-out war.

Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats gaining power. It's afraid of the Democrats who will take them on -- and those, unfortunately, are few and far between.


Danexmachina , 15 Jan 2019 12:31

One dollar, one vote.
If you want Change, keep it in your pocket.
We can't turn this sinking ship around unless we know what direction it's going. So far, that direction is just delivering money to private islands.
Democrats have a lot of talk, but they still want to drive the nice cars and sell the same crapft that the Republicans are.
Taxing the rich only works when you worship the rich in the first place.
Tim Cahill , 15 Jan 2019 12:00
Election financing is the single root cause for our democracy's failure. Period.

I really don't care too much about the mouthing of progressive platitudes from any 2020 Dem Prez candidate. The only ones that will be worth voting for are the ones that sign onto Sanders' (or similar) legislation that calls for a Constitutional amendment that allows federal and state governments to limit campaign contributions.

And past committee votes to prevent amendment legislation from getting to a floor vote - as well as missed co-sponsorship opportunities - should be interesting history for all the candidates to explain.

Campaign financing is what keeps scum entrenched (because primary challengers can't overcome the streams of bribes from those wonderful people exercising their 'free speech' "rights" to keep their puppet in govt) and prevents any challenges to the corporate establishment who serve the same rich masters.

Lenny Dirges -> Vintage59 , 15 Jan 2019 11:55
Lol, Social Security, Medicare, unemployement protections, so many of the things you mentioned, and so much more, were from the PROGRESSIVE New Deal, which managed to implement this slew of changes in 5 years! 5 years! You can't criticize "progressives" in one sentence and then use their accomplishments to support your argument. Today, the New Deal would be considered too far left by most so called "pragmatic liberals." I assume you are getting fully behind the proposed "Green New Deal" then, right?
L C -> HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 11:15
Anti-trust would be a very good place to start with.

Universal healthcare is a lot harder than you seem to think. I'd love it, but getting there means putting so many people out of work, it'll be a massive political challenge, even if corporations have no influence. Progressives might be better off focusing on how to ensure the existing system works better and Medicaid can slowly expand to fill the universal roll in the future.

partoftheproblem -> Atlant , 15 Jan 2019 10:55

That's not what I said at all and you know it.

My point is that Trump succeeded despite all the negative coverage, much of the media were laughing at his chances of winning, right up until election night.

Which of the candidates during the last election backed down? Bernie, both in terms of stepping aside for Clinton and also when people invaded the stage and demanded a right to talk before him... and he let them! That only served to make him look weak for many people who didn't care for the issues they wanted to rant about on stage.

[Jan 22, 2019] Neoliberal Dems circled wagons and used Russiagate to avoid the necessary changes: they are now doomed

Jan 22, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

ravioliollie -> lullu616 , 15 Jan 2019 08:55

As usual, the pledge ultimately never changes, New jobs and No increase in taxes. Americans love tag lines even though our infrastructure, poor education et al is the result of fear of taxation. Both parties use the same tag line, we certainly get what we pay for.
TempsdesRoses , 15 Jan 2019 08:47
Yep,
The party has circled its wagons.
They insist that the Evil Vlad stole the last election.
Therefore, no need to examine Obama's centrist/neoliberal policies and the socio-economic conditions that fueled the rejection of Hillary.
We're doomed to repeat our errors.
The farcical DNC leadership echoes the days of Brezhnev's intransigent politburo.

[Jan 22, 2019] The neoliberalism of the Democratic Party elite (and most of the rank and file) is one big factor in our 2016 loss.

Jan 22, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Art Glick

, 15 Jan 2019 09:44
The neoliberalism of the Democratic Party elite (and most of the rank and file) is one big factor in our 2016 loss. Even voters too ignorant to see Trump for what he really was - voters that are misinformed to the point that they unwittingly and continually vote against their own best interests - realized how much the Dems have sold out to Wall Street.

HRC would have been nominated in '08 if she had kissed more Wall Street you-know-what. That's why they anointed Obama who then proceeded to squander eight years of opportunity to remove big money from politics and enact progressive reforms to health care, the environment, etc.

Bernie is a bit long in the tooth, so I am all in for Liz Warren. She's the only one with both the courage and the intelligence to take on the big money that controls our politics.

Therefore, you can expect the Russian trolls to be coming for her in force. If you read anything negative about Warren in the coming months, check the source and don't trust the accuracy.

[Jan 22, 2019] Wall Street gives money to the Dems not to help Dems win; it's to make sure Wall Street doesn't lose.

Highly recommended!
Jan 22, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 10:37

The best way to determine if one claims to be a Progressive is to fact-check the candidate's claim.

The first and foremost question that should be asked and researched: Does this candidate have as one of his or her top priorities to eliminate corporate/private/labor money in politics? This would require a major federal campaign finance reform law that would establish public funding for all campaigns, permanently bar corporate/labor union/private-entity money (including funding media-attack ads) from any political influence and require all broadcast/cable networks to allow every candidate equal air time to state his opinions, policies, promises, and to state why he believes he is the best candidate for the working class and/or corporations.

As well, such a law should permanently eliminate the revolving door through which many politicians scamper to become a lobbyist for Wall Street after he "retires" from politics and the law should block all former lobbyists from running for an office that would have a bearing on legislation that would affect the corporation for which he or she worked.

As well, such a law should bar any politicians or family members from purchasing or selling stocks in corporate entities that would be affected by the legislation on which the politician is working (insider trading).

Think about it. The lure of big bucks can, and does, corrupt politicians such that they will work mainly for the donor (corporate, labor, and/or private) and provide for just enough benefit politicians' the voters (America's working class) to make them think he cares most about them. Much of that money is hidden in super-pacs where the donor's identity is hidden. Too, super-pacs would have to be eliminated.

A Progressive should advocate for a large infrastructure project . Our bridges and highways are now in a state of disrepair. Other nations such as Japan now have high-speed bullet trains, the fastest so far is Shanghai Maglev and can travel 267.8 mph. The U.S. has none.

Poverty would be a major focus of Progressives. Corporations will pay as little as they can get by paying. So there must be a minimum wage boost to a living wage. To keep corporations from moving to a part-time labor force with less pay, part-time workers must make the same hourly wage as full time workers. As well, universal, proactive healthcare must become law (Medicare for all).

Another major way to eliminate poverty would be to reform the income tax structure such that those individuals whose income exceeds ~$10 million would be taxed at 70%. I would also suggest that every dollar exchanged on the Stock Exchange would be taxed at 3%.

Using a greater influx of money into the public coffers, education should be a top priority for lawmakers. College tuition in public schools would be no cost, thus providing completely tuition free higher education and allowing every student equal access. A major bill should be passed to provide money to modernize/upgrade all secondary schools to provide a better learning environment for study. Every primary school should have a child psychologist on staff. Every High School a psychologist as well as every public college.

There are other Progressive policies--such as reversing the conservative's trickle-down economics (also called supply-side economics) such that we return to demand-side economics--that would be highly beneficial to the working class and to the future intellectual strength of the U.S., especially by providing a course structure that equips students to face the quick shift of industry to electronics and robotics. Currently, those will little technical training are being left behind. We must end this or face a HUGE poorly educated working class that will have no place to work.

Quite likely, both the RNC and the DNC (Wall Street's favorite politicians) will be against such measures. They'd rather have more billionaires and an unfettered Wall Street than eliminate poverty. The only way, however, to have a truly just society is to push for and vote for a progressive government. But before any of the above can happen, we MUST eliminate corporate/private/labor money from our government.

BaronVonAmericano , 15 Jan 2019 10:37
The money is to ensure the rich do well whoever wins the general.

They do the same in congressional races. If the Democrats who win the primaries are in their pocket, it doesn't matter who wins the general .

Wall Street gives money to the Dems not to help Dems win; it's to make sure Wall Street doesn't lose.

ytram -> ChesBay , 15 Jan 2019 10:30
Our capitalist predators are still alive and well. The finance, insurance, and real estate
organizations are the worst predators in the USA.
They will eat your babies if you let them.
Melty Clock -> William Anthony , 15 Jan 2019 10:07
Except with voting and elections, those hallmarks of the fascist state.
ChesBay , 15 Jan 2019 10:05
I'm not fooled. These are not progressives, they are corporatists, beholden to their donors. They have no courage, no interest in serving their constituencies, but are only interested in the power and money. What our country , and the world, needs is radical change from the profit-first point of view. I won't support either one of them.

[Jan 22, 2019] Benito Mussolini defined fascism as "Barely able to slip a cigarette paper between business and government."

Jan 22, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

William Anthony -> BoneyOCoonassa , 15 Jan 2019 09:40

We've known since WW2, that fighting fascism is difficult. Benito Mussolini defined fascism as "Barely able to slip a cigarette paper between business and government." And when business runs government, we have even exceeded fascism. The new battle against fascism is not going to be easy.

[Jan 22, 2019] The Fetishization of the Corporate Media by C.J. Hopkins

Among few good things that Trump have done to the USA is that he destoryed credibility of neoliberal MSM. They all are now firmly belong to the "fake news" catagory.
Notable quotes:
"... C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org . ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

So the corporate media have gone and done it again. As they have, repeatedly, for the last two and half years, they shook the earth with a "bombshell" story proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton, or at least committed an impeachable felony in connection with something to do with the Russians, or Ukrainians, or other Slavic persons which story turned out to be inaccurate, or not entirely accurate, or a bunch of horseshit.

This time it was BuzzFeed's Jason Leopold, " a reporter with a checkered past " (i.e., a history of inventing his sources ) who broke the "bombshell" Russiagate story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit. Leopold, and his colleague Anthony Cormier, reported that Trump had directed his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about plans to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow, thus suborning perjury and obstructing justice. Their sources for this "bombshell" story were allegedly "two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter."

Approximately twenty-four hours later, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office (i.e., the office "involved in an investigation of the matter") stated that the BuzzFeed story was "not accurate," which is a legal term meaning "a bunch of horseshit." BuzzFeed is standing by its story , and is working to determine what, exactly, Mueller's office meant by "not accurate." Ben Smith, BuzzFeed's Editor-in-Chief, has called on Mueller "to make clear what he's disputing."

Liberals and other Trump-obsessives have joined in the effort to interpret the Special Counsel's office's cryptic utterance. French hermeneuticists have been reportedly called in to deconstruct the meaning of "accurate." Professional Twitter semioticians are explaining that "not accurate" doesn't mean "wrong," but, rather, refers to something that is "accurate," but which the user of the word doesn't want to disclose publicly, or that legal terms don't mean what they mean or something more or less along those lines.

Glenn Greenwald, in August 2018, reporting on another "bombshell" story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit , compiled a partial list of Russiagate stories that the corporate media had published and promoted over the course of the previous eighteen months which turned out to be a bunch of horseshit (i.e., the stories did, not Greenwald's list). In the wake of this latest horseshit story, Greenwald revised and renamed this list " The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump/Russia Story. "

But Greenwald's list is just a small sample of the Russiagate stories that have turned out to be horseshit. For the record, here are several more:

"Seventeen intelligence agencies" confirm Russia interfered in the U.S. elections ( New York Times ) Russia interfered in the Brexit referendum ( The Guardian ) Russia interfered in the German elections ( Reuters ) Russia hacked the French elections ( Politico and numerous other outlets ) Michael Cohen conspired with the Russians in Prague ( BuzzFeed )

My personal favorite remains the one about how Hillary Clinton may have been poisoned by Putinist operatives back in 2016. And then there's the pot-smoking, prostitute-banging, incompetent Novichok perfume assassins , the African American-brainwashing memes , the Putin-orchestrated Yellow Vest rebellion , the brain-eating Russian-Cubano crickets , and various other bunches of horseshit.

I am using the terms "horseshit" and "a bunch of horseshit" (as opposed to terms like "failures" and "errors"), not just to be gratuitously vulgar, but, also, to try to make a point. One is not supposed to use these terms in connection with "serious," "respected" news outlets. Which is why journalists like Greenwald and Aaron Maté (who have extensively reported on the corporate media's ongoing production and dissemination of horseshit) do not use such terms in the course of their reporting, and instead use less inflammatory terms like "false," "inaccurate," "mistake," and "error." Principled journalists like Greenwald and Maté are constrained by (a) their journalistic ethics, (b) their integrity, and (c) their belief in the idea of a "free and independent press," which is one of the pillars of Western democracy.

Being neither a respected journalist nor a believer in the existence of an "independent press," I am under no such constraints. Because I'm not trying to get or keep a job, or maintain a "respectable" reputation, I'm free to call a spade a spade and a bunch of horseshit a bunch of horseshit. I am also free to describe "journalists" like Leopold, Luke Harding , Craig Timberg , Franklin Foer , and many of their corporate media colleagues (not to mention TV clowns like Rachel Maddow ) as the liars and rank propagandists they are. I don't need to pretend their fabricated stories are simply the result of "shoddy journalism," or "over-reliance on official sources," or any other type of "error" or "failure." These people know exactly what they are doing, and are being extremely well paid to do it. They went to school to learn how to do it. Then they butt-sucked and back-stabbed their way up the ladder of establishment power to be able to do it.

Yes, of course, there are still principled journalists working for the corporate media, but they are doing so by walking a very fine line. No one has to tell them where it is. Every professional journalist knows precisely where it is, and what it is there for. Though they are permitted to walk right up to it, occasionally (to keep them from feeling like abject whores), one step over it and they will be cast into the Outer Darkness of the Blogosphere and excommunicated from the Church of Respectable Journalism. If you don't believe me, just ask Seymour Hersh, or John Pilger, or any other journalistic heretic.

If Russiagate serves no other useful purpose, it is at least exposing the corporate media as the propaganda factories that they are. Given the amount of obviously fabricated horseshit they have disseminated during the last two years, you'd have to be a total moron or a diehard neoliberal cultist not to recognize the function they perform within the global capitalist ruling establishment (which is essentially no different than the function the establishment media perform in any other society, namely, to disseminate, maintain, and reify the official narrative of its ruling classes).

Sadly, there's no shortage of morons and cultists. I don't blame the morons, because well, they're morons. The cultists are another species entirely. These are people who, no matter how often the corporate media feed them another "explosive," "bombshell" Russiagate story that turns out to be a bunch of horseshit, will defend the concept of the "independent media" like head-shaven, bug-eyed Manson followers. Confront them with facts contradicting their beliefs and they close their eyes and start chanting and humming and repetitiously babbling banishing spells. The notion that the Western corporate media may serve the interests of the ruling establishment (just like the media in every other society serve that society's ruling classes) is unimaginable and tantamount to heresy.

This fetishization of "the independent press" is a phenomenon unique to Western capitalism. Basically, it's a childish fairy tale, like believing that Santa Claus is an actual person or that voting in elections in a corporate oligarchy has anything to do with actual democracy. Think about it dispassionately for a minute. Why would any ruling establishment permit a genuinely "independent" press to disseminate ideas and information willy-nilly throughout society? If it did, it wouldn't last very long.

Most people understand this intuitively, which is why the corporate media relentlessly repeat the mantra-like phrase, "free and independent press," over, and over, and over again. Seriously, switch on NPR, or have a look at The Guardian or the Washington Post, or any of the other corporate media repeatedly reminding you how "independent," "free" and "democratic" they are. It's essentially Neuro-linguistic programming.

So let's not be shocked when the corporate media continue to bombard us with "bombshell" stories about Trump and Russia that turn out to be horseshit. Personally, I welcome these stories. The more corporate media horseshit the better! Who knows, if they dish out enough blatant horseshit, more people might lose their "trust in the media," and begin to investigate matters themselves. I know, that makes me a Nazi, right? Or at least a Russian propagandist? I mean, encouraging folks to distrust the corporate media? Isn't there some kind of law against that? Or have they not quite gotten around to that yet?

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .


Godfree Roberts , says: January 22, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT

The Associated Press (AP) reports the latest bad news for the press: " Just 6 Percent of People Say They Trust the Media ."

Carole Feldman and Emily Swanson began: Trust in the news media is being eroded by perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans' skepticism about what they read on social media. Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public's view of other institutions.

Biff , says: January 22, 2019 at 1:41 am GMT

Most people understand this intuitively, which is why the corporate media relentlessly repeat the mantra-like phrase, "free and independent press,"

People inversely brag about their short comings.
Militarized police states brag about their freedom.
A well heeled synchophant brags about his independence.
Dudes with small dicks -- big belt buckle and big hat.

Fidelios Automata , says: January 22, 2019 at 3:14 am GMT
I used to listen to the BBC and NPR until the corporo-globalist bias became unbearable. I laughed at incidents such as Marketplace mocking the public's concern about GMO's. But it went off the rails in 2016. They may have backed off from Trump Derangement Syndrome a bit since then, but I've noticed that they have to call themselves "credible." Maybe if they say that enough times we'll believe it, eh?
Bragadocious , says: January 22, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT
The Greenwald link is pretty important and I bookmarked it. These fake news outlets do everything in their power to scrub these mistakes from the Google machine once they happen. They remove stories, videos -- everything, in the hopes of shoving it all down the memory hole. And since other fake news outlets don't hold them accountable, they get away with it. This is why it's important to take screen shots of fake news and download videos if possible, to create a record that's permanent and useful when you need it.
Richard Wicks , says: January 22, 2019 at 5:48 am GMT
@Godfree Roberts 6%? I rather doubt that.

More than 6% of the population are technically, and this is the technical term, retarded -- they are mentally disabled.

I know it's obvious our media is propaganda, but I don't think it's quite so obvious such that adults watching Sesame Street who fully enjoy it (nothing wrong with that!) are aware of it.

I would like to think it's true, but I think the Associated Press article is not true, after all, can you identify their funding sources?

utu , says: January 22, 2019 at 7:22 am GMT

This fetishization of "the independent press" is a phenomenon unique to Western capitalism. Basically, it's a childish fairy tale, like believing that Santa Claus is an actual person or that voting in elections in a corporate oligarchy has anything to do with actual democracy.

Great article. Articles on this theme should be published daily. The fetish must be destroyed.

jeff stryker , says: January 22, 2019 at 10:55 am GMT
I don't think the MSM has the power and influence it had in the Big Three Networks Era before the internet.

In those days, the minds of the public were more controlled and underground newspapers were barely read.

These days, more people read websites like this than watch any particular channel.

Print journalism had a massive hold on the world up to 1997 when the internet came into the mainstream.

Not no more.

jacques sheete , says: January 22, 2019 at 12:06 pm GMT
Ah, elegant!

What a pleasure to read this article!

There is at least one other person who calls corporate media what it is, and it ain't "mainstream."

"Sparkie" ain't gonna be happy about it either."Sparky" chewed me out good for correcting the incomparable and always superb Linh Dinh for using the disgusting and inaccurate term, "mainstream" when referring to coprophilic media. Oh, and speaking of "horseshit" one wag suggested we call it main steam media, for accuracy as well as for giggles and that's fine by me.

the corporate media relentlessly repeat the mantra-like phrase, "free and independent press," over, and over, and over again. Seriously, switch on NPR, or have a look at The Guardian or the Washington Post, or any of the other corporate media repeatedly reminding you how "independent," "free" and "democratic" they are. It's essentially Neuro-linguistic programming.

It's blatantly obvious that the same can be said about the self-legitimizing term, "mainstream," too, so bless you sir, and to (bleep) with the Sparkies of the world.

Digital Samizdat , says: January 22, 2019 at 12:36 pm GMT

Confront them with facts contradicting their beliefs and they close their eyes and start chanting and humming and repetitiously babbling banishing spells.

Orange Man bad! Mueller saves! -NPC

Jake , says: January 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm GMT
Not only is Hopkins correct, but what he says about corporate media is not new. The Civil Rights movement presented by the media was false. The media promotion of the US re-engaging in Europe in the post WW1 period so we could defend dear ole England and sacred democracy. The media preparing us for our need to fight WW1 so we could end all wars was false. The media stirring us to go into Cuba and end the awfully evil Spanish Empire so we could start the process of ending all empires

Large numbers of newspapers located within the non January 22, 2019 at 3:13 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

Ah, elegant!

What a pleasure to read this article!

N o doubt it is a pleasure for you because C.J. Hopkins managed to scribble 1500 words about fake news without even once mentioning the CIA.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."

-- CIA Director, William Casey

Of course, our resident Bumpkin of Unz would have you believe that the CIA is a corporation.

"The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media."

-- former CIA Director William Colby

So you see Sheete, the term "corporate media" is entirely inaccurate -- a red herring, a misleading label, a pig in a poke -- because it entirely excludes, avoids, overlooks, and completely dismisses the role of our intelligence agencies in creating fake news , a.k.a. disinformation and propaganda.

Hail , says: Website January 22, 2019 at 3:38 pm GMT

The notion that the Western corporate media may serve the interests of the ruling establishment (just like the media in every other society serve that society's ruling classes) is unimaginable and tantamount to heresy.

This comes close to the term "regime media," which I like as a replacement for the clunky-but-common terms "Mainstream Media" or MSM. "

Hopkins uses "corporate media," which appears fifteen times here including in the title.

Several commenters have noted the problems with the term "mainstream media":

the self-legitimizing term, "mainstream,"

While better than "mainstream media," I'm not sure "corporate media" is sufficient.

"Corporate media," as a term, may wrongly convey the notion that the 'media' in question complaisantly both [1] broadcasts the ruling ideology (interventionist capitalist liberal democracy and multicultacracy) and [2] 'megaphones' (Steve Sailer's useful term) against enemies thereto, coordinating our regular Two-Minute Hates.

That characterization misses an important point, to wit:

The 'media' (in the sense of the "MSM") as we know it today, is itself consciously part of the ruling apparatus . Not complaisantly, but actively; not lackeys on the side, but right at the regime's core. A useful distinction. Hence "regime media."

Agent76 , says: January 22, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
Jun. 14, 2012 These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America

That's consolidated from *50* companies back in 1983. But the fact that a few companies own everything demonstrates "the illusion of choice," Frugal Dad says.

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

Church Committee Testimony

Tom Charles Huston testified before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee, on the 43-page plan he presented to the President Nixon and others on ways to collect information about anti-war and "radical" groups, including burglary, electronic surveillance, and opening of mail.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

Sean , says: January 22, 2019 at 4:13 pm GMT
The Basic Problem of Democracy
by Walter Lippmann
The Atlantic Monthly, November 1919, pp. 616-627

http://sonicacts.com/portal/anthropocene-objects-art-and-politics-1

Lippmann-Dewey debate, which is known to academics but not the general public in the United States, the home country of both authors. Obviously, John Dewey is famous as one of the most important American philosophers, and for his international influence in the field of education. By contrast, Walter Lippmann has been somewhat forgotten, though he was a major journalist in the 1920s and 1930s. He was a widely familiar author at the time, and wrote some cynical things about American democracy. The story America tells itself politically is that since we're a democracy in which the citizens rule themselves, there is a paramount need for an excellent public education so that the citizens can vote wisely. We ourselves are the leaders. But of course it doesn't work that way in practice. We actually have a surplus of ignorant and uninformed people who pay no attention to the nuances of policy, and who vote based on the workings of demagoguery and short-sighted self-interest. Any number of foolish decisions have been made by the American public. This leads Lippmann to take the somewhat cynical line that America is destined to be ruled by technocrats. We need experts to run things; the people are too clueless to rule themselves. We'll pretend we have a democracy, but we actually don't. Now, Dewey reads this, and he is temperamentally more optimistic, and he thinks: 'This is a really stimulating book, but Lippmann is wrong. He is setting the bar too high for the people. People were never supposed to be educated in depth about every issue, which is an impossible demand. Even Lippmann doesn't have the time to master every issue, and he covers politics for a living. Instead, Dewey says, political issues generate their own publics in each case. I might care deeply about seven political issues. I might care about national health insurance, but I don't care about gay marriage, or vice versa. So I get involved in one debate and not the other. I take the trouble of becoming informed about issues that interest me.

onebornfree , says: Website January 22, 2019 at 4:14 pm GMT
@Hail Hail says: "The 'media' (in the sense of the "MSM") as we know it today, is itself consciously part of the ruling apparatus. Not complaisantly, but actively; not lackeys on the side, but right at the regime's core ":

Exactly. The MSM is the government [CIA/NSA/ etc. etc.] grinning right at you as it continually lies , albeit behind a very thin veil of supposed integrity/respectability that the general public still refuses to see through.

By way of illustration of this "outrageous" assertion of mine, here is part of a video analysis of the original 5 channel US MSM "live" coverage of the morning of Sept. 11 2001, which clearly demonstrates that on that morning, all 5 US networks broadcast entirely fake "live" footage [ i.e. C.G.I. prefabricated imagery] for about 102 minutes :

Regards, onebornfree

jacques sheete , says: January 22, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT
@Sparkon

So you see Sheete, the term "corporate media" is entirely inaccurate

I never claimed it was perfect. I do claim that the term, "mainstream," in this context is entirely inaccurate and misleading. And you should be nice, as you admonished me, regarding the author of this article. As for your complaint that he didn't mention the CIA, may I remind you that he wrote, as you noticed, an article, not an encyclopedia.

Anyway, you have yet to establish that the CIA and our corporate masters are entirely separate entities. Even a Dumb Sheete such as myself would find it somewhat, if not entirely, incredible if they were.

But of course too everyone knows by now that Jews, Israel and Mossad did 9/11 all by their lonesomes, and the CIA and the Air Force had nothing to do with it.

Ahem, you forgot to mention big, coprophilic, media. Please try to practice the inclusiveness that you preach.

Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid , says: January 22, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT

one step over [the line] and they will be cast into the Outer Darkness of the Blogosphere and excommunicated from the Church of Respectable Journalism. If you don't believe me, just ask Seymour Hersh, or John Pilger, or any other journalistic heretic.

To this list I might also add CBS' Sharyl Attkisson, and Larry Conners of KMOV-TV, who had the big brass balls to question the $85 million the Obamas spent on vacations.

NR kicked Derb to the curb, but that gutter's littered with Internet flotsam who presumed integrity.

onebornfree , says: Website January 22, 2019 at 4:35 pm GMT
@Sean Sean says: "Lippmann-Dewey debate, which is known to academics but not the general public in the United States, the home country of both authors. "

Debate summary: 2 know-it-alls debating about how "best" to run everybody else's lives [and with straight faces, I've no doubt].

Two sides of the same [pro-statist] coin, in other words. Oh, and one minor issue one "thinks" that a ruling technocracy is "the answer".

Sean says: "Obviously, John Dewey is famous as one of the most important American philosophers, and for his international influence in the field of education."

You mean: Dewey was important in the field of "public education" , otherwise known as brainwashing.

" important American philosopher" my a$$.

Gawd help us all.

And so it goes

[Jan 21, 2019] Anti-Trump Frenzy Threatens to End Superpower Diplomacy by Stephen F. Cohen

The problem is not Russia; the problem is the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. And related legitimization of neoliberal elite, which now Deep State is trying ot patch with anti-Russian hysteria
Notable quotes:
"... That is, in the modern history of US-Russian summits, we are told by a former American ambassador who knows, the "secrecy of presidential private meetings has been the rule, not the exception." He continues, "There's nothing unusual about withholding information from the bureaucracy about the president's private meetings with foreign leaders . Sometimes they would dictate a memo afterward, sometimes not." Indeed, President Richard Nixon, distrustful of the US "bureaucracy," sometimes met privately with Kremlin leader Leonid Brezhnev while only Brezhnev's translator was present. ..."
Jan 16, 2019 | www.thenation.com

Baseless Russiagate allegations continue to risk war with Russia. Anti-Trump Frenzy Threatens to End Superpower Diplomacy | The Nation The New Year has brought a torrent of ever-more-frenzied allegations that President Donald Trump has long had a conspiratorial relationship -- why mince words and call it "collusion"? -- with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.

Why the frenzy now? Perhaps because Russiagate promoters in high places are concerned that special counsel Robert Mueller will not produce the hoped-for "bombshell" to end Trump's presidency. Certainly, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt seems worried, demanding, "The president must go," his drop line exhorting, "What are we waiting for?" (In some countries, articles like his, and there are very many, would be read as calling for a coup.) Perhaps to incite Democrats who have now taken control of House investigative committees. Perhaps simply because Russiagate has become a political-media cult that no facts, or any lack of evidence, can dissuade or diminish.

And there is no new credible evidence, preposterous claims notwithstanding. One of The New York Times ' own recent "bombshells," published on January 12, reported, for example, that in spring 2017, FBI officials "began investigating whether [President Trump] had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests." None of the three reporters bothered to point out that those "agents and officials" almost certainly included ones later reprimanded and retired by the FBI itself for their political biases. (As usual, the Times buried its self-protective disclaimer deep in the story: "No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.")

Whatever the explanation, the heightened frenzy is unmistakable, leading the "news" almost daily in the synergistic print and cable media outlets that have zealously promoted Russiagate for more than two years, in particular the Times , The Washington Post , MSNBC, CNN, and their kindred outlets. They have plenty of eager enablers, including the once-distinguished Strobe Talbott, President Bill Clinton's top adviser on Russia and until recently president of the Brookings Institution. According to Talbott , "We already know that the Kremlin helped put Trump into the White House and played him for a sucker . Trump has been colluding with a hostile Russia throughout his presidency." In fact, we do not "know" any of this. These remain merely widely disseminated suspicions and allegations.

In this cult-like commentary, the "threat" of "a hostile Russia" must be inflated along with charges against Trump. (In truth, Russia represents no threat to the United States that Washington itself did not provoke since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.) For its own threat inflation, the Times featured not an expert with any plausible credentials but Lisa Page, the former FBI lawyer with no known Russia expertise, and who was one of those reprimanded by the agency for anti-Trump political bias. Nonetheless, the Times quotes Page at length : "In the Russian Federation and in President Putin himself you have an individual whose aim is to disrupt the Western alliance and whose aim is to make Western democracy more fractious in order to weaken our ability to spread our democratic ideals." Perhaps we should have guessed that the democracy-promotion genes of J. Edgar Hoover were still alive and breeding in the FBI, though for the Times , in its exploitation of the hapless and legally endangered Page, it seems not to matter.

Which brings us, or rather Russiagate zealots, to the heightened "threat" represented by "Putin's Russia." If true, we would expect the US president to negotiate with the Kremlin leader, including at summit meetings, as every president since Dwight Eisenhower has done. But, we are told, we cannot trust Trump to do so, because, according to The Washington Post , he has repeatedly met with Putin alone, with only translators present, and concealed the records of their private talks, sure signs of "treasonous" behavior, as the Russiagate media first insisted following the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July 2018.

It's hard to know whether this is historical ignorance or Russiagate malice, though it is probably both. In any event, the truth is very different. In preparing US-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) summits since the 1950s, aides on both sides have arranged "private time" for their bosses for two essential reasons: so they can develop sufficient personal rapport to sustain any policy partnership they decide on; and so they can alert one another to constraints on their policy powers at home, to foes of such détente policies often centered in their respective intelligence agencies. (The KGB ran operations against Nikita Khrushchev's détente policies with Eisenhower, and, as is well established, US intelligence agencies have run operations against Trump's proclaimed goal of "cooperation with Russia.")

That is, in the modern history of US-Russian summits, we are told by a former American ambassador who knows, the "secrecy of presidential private meetings has been the rule, not the exception." He continues, "There's nothing unusual about withholding information from the bureaucracy about the president's private meetings with foreign leaders . Sometimes they would dictate a memo afterward, sometimes not." Indeed, President Richard Nixon, distrustful of the US "bureaucracy," sometimes met privately with Kremlin leader Leonid Brezhnev while only Brezhnev's translator was present.

Nor should we forget the national-security benefits that have come from private meetings between US and Kremlin leaders. In October 1986, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met alone with their translators and an American official who took notes -- the two leaders, despite their disagreements, agreed in principle that nuclear weapons should be abolished. The result, in 1987, was the first and still only treaty abolishing an entire category of such weapons, the exceedingly dangerous intermediate-range ones. (This is the historic treaty Trump has said he may abrogate.)

And yet, congressional zealots are now threatening to subpoena the American translator who was present during Trump's meetings with Putin. If this recklessness prevails, it will be the end of the nuclear-superpower summit diplomacy that has helped to keep America and the world safe from catastrophic war for nearly 70 years -- and as a new, more perilous nuclear arms race between the two countries is unfolding. It will amply confirm a thesis set out in my book War with Russia? -- that anti-Trump Russiagate allegations have become the gravest threat to our security.

The following correction and clarification were made to the original version of this article on January 17: Reagan and Gorbachev met privately with translators during their summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 1986, not February, and Reagan was also accompanied by an American official who took notes. And it would be more precise to say that the two leaders, despite their disagreements, agreed in principle that nuclear weapons should be abolished.

Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of politics and Russian studies at Princeton and NYU and author of the new book War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate . This commentary is based on the most recent of his weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War with the host of the John Batchelor radio show. (The podcast is here . Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com . )

[Jan 21, 2019] Beyond BuzzFeed The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing US Media Failures On The Trump-Russia Story by Glenn Greenwald

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept,

Buzzfeed was once notorious for traffic-generating "listicles" , but has since become an impressive outlet for deep investigative journalism under editor-in-chief Ben Smith. That outlet was prominently in the news this week thanks to its "bombshell" story about President Trump and Michael Cohen: a story that, like so many others of its kind, blew up in its face , this time when the typically mute Robert Mueller's office took the extremely rare step to label its key claims "inaccurate."

But in homage to BuzzFeed's past viral glory, following are the top ten worst media failures in two-plus-years of Trump/Russia reporting. They are listed in reverse order, as measured by the magnitude of the embarrassment, the hysteria they generated on social media and cable news, the level of journalistic recklessness that produced them, and the amount of damage and danger they caused. This list was extremely difficult to compile in part because news outlets (particularly CNN and MSNBC) often delete from the internet the video segments of their most embarrassing moments. Even more challenging was the fact that the number of worthy nominees is so large that highly meritorious entrees had to be excluded, but are acknowledged at the end with (dis)honorable mention status.

Note that all of these "errors" go only in one direction: namely, exaggerating the grave threat posed by Moscow and the Trump circle's connection to it. It's inevitable that media outlets will make mistakes on complex stories. If that's being done in good faith, one would expect the errors would be roughly 50/50 in terms of the agenda served by the false stories. That is most definitely not the case here. Just as was true in 2002 and 2003, when the media clearly wanted to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and thus all of its "errors" went in that direction, virtually all of its major "errors" in this story are devoted to the same agenda and script:

10. RT Hacked Into and Took Over C-SPAN (Fortune)

On June 12, 2017, Fortune claimed that RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and that C-SPAN "confirmed" it had been hacked. The whole story was false :

9. Russian Hackers Invaded the U.S. Electricity Grid to Deny Vermonters Heat During the Winter (WashPost)

On December 30, 2016, the Washington Post reported that "Russian hackers penetrated the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont," causing predictable outrage and panic, along with threats from U.S. political leaders. But then they kept diluting the story with editor's notes – to admit that the malware was found on a laptop not connected to the U.S. electric grid at all – until finally acknowledging, days later, that the whole story was false, since the malware had nothing to do with Russia or with the U.S. electric grid:

8. A New, Deranged, Anonymous Group Declares Mainstream Political Sites on the Left and Right to be Russian Propaganda Outlets and WashPost Touts its Report to Claim Massive Kremlin Infiltration of the Internet (WashPost)

On November 24, 2016, the Washington Post published one of the most inflammatory, sensationalistic stories to date about Russian infiltration into U.S. politics using social media, accusing "more than 200 websites" of being "routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans." It added: "stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign [on Facebook] were viewed more than 213 million times."

Unfortunately for the paper, those statistics were provided by a new, anonymous group that reached these conclusions by classifying long-time, well-known sites – from the Drudge Report to Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute. – as "Russian propaganda outlets," producing one of the longest Editor's Note in memory appended to the top of the article (but not until two weeks later , long after the story was mindlessly spread all throughout the media ecosystem):

7. Trump Aide Anthony Scaramucci is Involved in a Russian Hedge Fund Under Senate Investigation (CNN)

On June 22, 2017, CNN reported that Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci was involved with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, under Senate investigation. He was not. CNN retracted the story and forced the three reporters who published it to leave the network.

6. Russia Attacked U.S. "Diplomats" (i.e. Spies) at the Cuban Embassy Using a Super-Sophisticated Sonic Microwave Weapon (NBC/MSNBC/CIA)

On September 11, 2017, NBC News and MSNBC spread all over its airwaves a claim from its notorious CIA puppet Ken Dilanian that Russia was behind a series of dastardly attacks on U.S. personnel at the Embassy in Cuba using a sonic or microwave weapon so sophisticated and cunning that Pentagon and CIA scientists had no idea what to make of it.

But then teams of neurologists began calling into doubt that these personnel had suffered any brain injuries at all – that instead they appear to have experienced collective psychosomatic symptoms – and then biologists published findings that the "strange sounds" the U.S. "diplomats" reported hearing were identical to those emitted by a common Caribbean male cricket during mating season.

5. Trump Created a Secret Internet Server to Covertly Communicate with a Russian Bank (Slate)

4. Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange Three Times in the Ecuadorian Embassy and Nobody Noticed (Guardian/Luke Harding)

On November 27, 2018, the Guardian published a major "bombshell" that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had somehow managed to sneak inside one of the world's most surveilled buildings, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and visit Julian Assange on three different occasions. Cable and online commentators exploded.

Seven weeks later, no other media outlet has confirmed this ; no video or photographic evidence has emerged; the Guardian refuses to answer any questions; its leading editors have virtually gone into hiding; other media outlets have expressed serious doubts about its veracity; and an Ecuadorian official who worked at the embassy has called the story a complete fake:

3. CNN Explicitly Lied About Lanny Davis Being Its Source – For a Story Whose Substance Was Also False: Cohen Would Testify that Trump Knew in Advance About the Trump Tower Meeting (CNN)

On July 27, 2018, CNN published a blockbuster story : that Michael Cohen was prepared to tell Robert Mueller that President Trump knew in advanced about the Trump Tower meeting. There were, however, two problems with this story: first, CNN got caught blatantly lying when its reporters claimed that "contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment" (in fact, Davis was one of CNN's key sources, if not its only source, for this story), and second, numerous other outlets retracted the story after the source, Davis, admitted it was a lie. CNN, however, to this date has refused to do either:

2. Robert Mueller Possesses Internal Emails and Witness Interviews Proving Trump Directed Cohen to Lie to Congress (BuzzFeed)

1. Donald Trump Jr. Was Offered Advanced Access to the WikiLeaks Email Archive (CNN/MSNBC)

The morning of December 9, 2017, launched one of the most humiliating spectacles in the history of the U.S. media. With a tone so grave and bombastic that it is impossible to overstate, CNN went on the air and announced a major exclusive: Donald Trump, Jr. was offered by email advanced access to the trove of DNC and Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks – meaning before those emails were made public. Within an hour, MSNBC's Ken Dilanian, using a tone somehow even more unhinged, purported to have "independently confirmed" this mammoth, blockbuster scoop, which, they said, would have been the smoking gun showing collusion between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over the hacked emails (while the YouTube clips have been removed, you can still watch one of the amazing MSNBC videos here ).

There was, alas, just one small problem with this massive, blockbuster story: it was totally and completely false. The email which Trump, Jr. received that directed him to the WikiLeaks archive was sent after WikiLeaks published it online for the whole world to see, not before. Rather than some super secretive operative giving Trump, Jr. advanced access, as both CNN and MSNBC told the public for hours they had confirmed, it was instead just some totally pedestrian message from a random member of the public suggesting Trump, Jr. review documents the whole world was already talking about. All of the anonymous sources CNN and MSNBC cited somehow all got the date of the email wrong.

To date, when asked how they both could have gotten such a massive story so completely wrong in the same way, both CNN and MSNBC have adopted the posture of the CIA by maintaining complete silence and refusing to explain how it could possibly be that all of their "multiple, independent sources" got the date wrong on the email in the same way, to be as incriminating – and false – as possible. Nor, needless to say, will they identify their sources who, in concert, fed them such inflammatory and utterly false information.

Sadly, CNN and MSNBC have deleted most traces of the most humiliating videos from the internet, including demanding that YouTube remove copies. But enough survives to document just what a monumental, horrifying, and utterly inexcusable debacle this was. Particularly amazing is the clip of the CNN reporter (see below) having to admit the error for the first time, as he awkwardly struggles to pretend that it's not the massive, horrific debacle that it so obviously is:

Dishonorable Mention:

Special mention:

As I've said many times, the U.S. media has become quite adept at expressing extreme indignation when people criticize them; when politicians conclude that it is advantageous to turn the U.S. media into their main adversary; and when people turn to "fake news" sites.

If, however, they were willing to devote just a small fraction of that energy to examining their own conduct, perhaps they would develop the tools necessary to combat those problems instead of just denouncing their critics and angrily demanding that politicians and news consumers accord them the respect to which they believe they are entitled.

[Jan 19, 2019] Putin Asks And Trump Delivers - A List Of All The Good Things Trump Did For Russia

Jan 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Putin Asks And Trump Delivers - A List Of All The Good Things Trump Did For Russia

Slate's Fred Kaplan writes :

The Washington Post's Greg Miller reported Sunday that President Donald Trump's confiscation of the translator's notes from a one-on-one conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2017 was "unusual." This is incorrect. It was unprecedented. There is nothing like it in the annals of presidential history.

Not really. Other U.S. leaders held long private meetings with their counterparts without notes being taken.

When Richard Nixon met Leonid Brezhnev he did not even bring his own interpreter:

George Szamuely @GeorgeSzamuely - 20:57 utc - 14 Jan 2019

Nixon would meet Brezhnev alone, the only other person in attendance being Viktor Sukhodrev, the Soviet interpreter. "Our first meeting in the Oval Office was private, except for Viktor Sukhodrev, who, as in 1972, acted as translator." Nixon on Brezhnev's 1973 visit. RN, p.878 . Therefore, the only "notes" that would exist would be those of the Soviet interpreter. Not sure he would have time to make notes and translate and, even if he did so, whether those notes would be housed in any US archive.

Nixon's White House office was bugged. There are probably tape recordings of the talks. There might also be recordings of the Trump-Putin talks.

At their 1986 Reykjavik summit Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev talked without their notetakers :

Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev began their second day of talks with a private meeting that had been scheduled to last 15 minutes but ran for nearly 70 minutes, with only interpreters present . They met in a small room in the Soviet Mission , with the Soviet leader seated in a small armchair and Mr. Reagan on a sofa.

In the afternoon, they meet alone for a little over 20 minutes and then again for 90 minutes. All told, the two leaders have spent 4 hours and 51 minutes alone , except for interpreters, over the two days here.

The archives of the Reykjavik talks do not include any notes of those private talks.

But, who knows, maybe Nixon and Reagan where also on the Russian payroll, just like Donald Trump is today.


bigger

Only that Trump is controlled by Putin can explain why the FBI opened a counter-intelligence investigation against Trump (see section three).

That the FBI agents involved in the decision were avid haters of Russia and of Trump has surely nothing to do with it. That the opening of a counter-intelligence investigation gave them the legal ability under Obama's EO12333 to use NSA signal intelligence against Trump is surely irrelevant.

What the FBI people really were concerned about is Trump's public record of favoring Russia at each and every corner.

Trump obviously wants better diplomatic relations with Russia. He is reluctant to counter its military might. He is doing his best to make it richer. Just consider the headlines below. With all those good things Trump did for Putin, intense suspicions of Russian influence over him is surely justified.

Trump obviously wants better diplomatic relations with Russia. He is reluctant to counter its military might. He is doing his best to make it richer. Just consider the headlines below. With all those good things Trump did for Putin, intense suspicions of Russian influence over him is surely justified.

Trump deploys TANKS to Estonia as NATO builds up HUGE army on Russian border - Express, Feb 7 2017

Trump launches attack on Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles - CNBC, Apr 6 2017

U.S. Rejects Exxon Mobil Bid for Waiver on Russia Sanctions - NYT, Apr 21 2017

Trump to promote U.S. natgas exports in Russia's backyard - Reuters, Jul 3 2017

Trump Urges East Europe to Loosen Russia's Grip With U.S. Gas - Bloomberg, Jul 6 2017

Trump signs bill approving new sanctions against Russia - CNN, Aug 3, 2017

Justice Dept Asks Russia's RT to Register as Foreign Agent - Newsmax, Sep 13 2017

US 'to restrict Russian military flights over America' - Independent, Sep 26 2017

Trump signs into law U.S. government ban on Kaspersky Lab software - Reuters, Dec 12 2017

Trump gives green light to selling lethal arms to Ukraine - The Hill, Dec 20 2017

U.S. Punishes Chechen Leader in New Sanctions Against Russians - NYT, Dec 20 2017

Sputnik Partner 'Required To Register' Under U.S. Foreign-Agent Law - RFERL, Jan 10 2018

Trump says Russia is helping North Korea avoid sanctions - CBSNews, Jan 17 2018

Trump's 'energy dominance' strategy is undercutting Russia's influence and business in Europe - Reuters, Feb 9 2018

Trump looks to deter Russia, China with $686B ask for Pentagon - The Hill, Feb 12 2018

American General In Syria Confirms US Forces Killed Hundreds Of Russians In Massive Battle - The Drive, Mar 16 2018

Trump orders expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, closure of Seattle consulate - CBS, Mar 26 2018

Trump vows periodical dispatch of US troops to Baltic states, step up air defense - Lithuania Tribune, Apr 3 2018

Trump opposes Nord Stream II, questions Germany - AA, Apr 4 2018

Trump just hit Russian oligarchs with the most aggressive sanctions yet - Vice, Apr 6 2018

Trump orders missile strike on Syria military targets - CBSNews, Apr 9 2018

Aluminum Stocks Jump As Trump Sanctions Target Putin Pal - Investors, Apr 9 2018

Russia 'deeply disappointed' at Trump's withdrawal from Iran deal - Times of Israel, May 9 2018

Trump to NATO allies: Raise military spending to 4 percent of GDP - AlJazeerah, Jul 12 2018

Trump says U.S. ties to NATO 'very strong' - Politico, Jul 12 2018

U.S. to sanction Turkey for receiving S-400 missiles - Ahval, Jul 27 2018

Trump administration to hit Russia with new sanctions for Skripal poisoning - NBC News Aug 8 2018

Space Force Is Trump's Answer to New Russian and Chinese Weapons - FP, Aug 10 2018

US Sanctions Chinese Entity Over Purchase of Russian Fighters, S-400s – Treasury - Sputnik, Sep 20 2018

Trump hints at punitive action against India for buying S-400 from Russia - India Today, Oct 11 2018

Trump Agrees to Boost Pentagon's Budget to $750 Bln in 2019 - Reports - Sputnik, Oct 12 2018

Trump says US will withdraw from nuclear arms treaty with Russia - Guardian, Oct 21 2018

Haley Condemns 'Outrageous' Russian Firing on Ukrainian Ships - Bloomberg, Nov 26 2018

2 Trump Moves Cost This Russian-American CEO $2.3B - Forbes, Jan 14 2019

When one adds up all those actions one can only find that Trump cares more about Russia, than about the U.S. and its NATO allies. Only with Trump being under Putin's influence, knowingly or unwittingly, could he end up doing Russia so many favors.

Not.

Posted by b at 02:12 PM | Comments (121)

[Jan 19, 2019] Treatment of Russians in the US MSM echoes the German Nazis their treatment of Slavs in thisr media (slaves, unter menchen)

Notable quotes:
"... The current round of bullshit is not about justifying the investigation, it is about concealing MI6 taking a leading role in the attempted coup. ..."
Jan 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Jan 15, 2019 2:59:27 PM | link

As shown in this article, a recent Senate bill shows clearly how Washington has a two-faced approach when it comes to dealing with Russia and Syria:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-united-states-senate-saving-syria.html

Congress, with or without Donald Trump's influence, has proven that it simply doesn't care about the geopolitical repercussions of its actions.

Erelis , Jan 15, 2019 3:42:28 PM | link

A few more just for kicks.
AshenLight , Jan 15, 2019 3:52:13 PM | link
@ NoOneYouKnow | Jan 15, 2019 2:20:33 PM | 2

In my experience, just about everyone here, including hordes of supposedly educated people who really should know better, believe it. They really do. However, most of them don't care--it's merely something to snark about or score points in a political conversation with, not anything they perceive as an actual threat to their way of life.

William Bowles , Jan 15, 2019 4:01:45 PM | link
It's nothing more than the undying legacy of anti-communism and racism thrown in for good measure. It echoes the German Nazis and their treatment of Slavs (slaves, unter menchen). We need only look at how the US viewed the Japanese (and the Germans) during WWII, with Roosevelt calling for their extermination (I'll find the source).

And of course, there's US slavery and extermination of the original inhabitants that also feeds into the psychosis.

Peter VE , Jan 15, 2019 4:12:40 PM | link
But, Rachel Maddow told me that Trump is Putin's puppet. It was on TV, so it must be true.
ashley albanese , Jan 15, 2019 4:19:37 PM | link
William Bowles 8

London was said to be very subdued the day news came through that Sweden's Charles the twelfth had been crushed at Poltava in 1709 . North Western European economic interests have clashed with Russian across many centuries. Had Charles been successful in the Ukraine a new level of English and Swedish alliance was in the offing .

James sullivan , Jan 15, 2019 4:22:27 PM | link
I just read about Trump's AG candidate, commenting on the 'Russian interference' in US elections ....and i'm struck that these are not stupid people....they are either totally IGNORANT of the facts and analysis .....or they are good ol boys, ready to tow the deep state lie, so they too can feed at the trough. It saddens me in either case ....what hope can one entertain when such cretins and low lifes are the supposed LEADERS of the democratic west. I hold no hopes.
Jackrabbit , Jan 15, 2019 4:48:13 PM | link
Proof by absurdity. Trump and Deep State work together. MAGA is a policy choice as much as it is a campaign slogan. Everyone wants to rail against the anti-Trump forces. Oh it feels so good. That Trump has proven to be a faux populist like Obama is ignored. WTF? Welcome to the rabbit hole.
karlof1 , Jan 15, 2019 4:54:00 PM | link
I didn't live through the entire Anti-Communist Crusade, but was certainly cognitively aware of it from JFK's inauguration in 1961 until the USSR's dissolution. I very closely studied the events that led to an emergent Russian Federation and the device meant to corral the "Near-Abroad"--The Commonwealth of Independent States. Admittedly, I was somewhat horrified by Yeltsin's attack on Russia's Duma's White House in 1993 and eagerly read Kargalitsky's account as it was the only one written by a Parliamentarian in English and published in 1994. It was possible to discern the outright looting of Russia and former Soviet nations, but the depth of evil involved wasn't made clear until some publications in the late 1990s documenting the Rape of Russia; all of which made clear what the underlying intent of the Anti-Communist Crusade entailed, and that that Crusade wouldn't end until Russia was absolutely broken and enslaved by NATO/Outlaw US Empire. As many have opined, the Cold War/Anti-Communist Crusade never ended; rather, it just entered a new phase/chapter, and that's what we're living through today. But as b portrays, the level of hysterics paraded via BigLie Media go far beyond anything from the previous chapter and probably outweigh those employed during Red Scares I and II combined.

It seems fairly plain to see that delusional madness and anger have combined as the motivating factors, but why/what sparked them and when? IMO, when was during Carter's presidency with the why/what being several seemingly disparate but connected happenings: Church Committee Hearings; Stagflation; Iranian Islamic Revolution; OPEC actions; losing grip on Latin America; informal end to War on Poverty, and institution of Neoliberalism and Zerosumism; changing of Coldwarrior Guard to Israel First Coldwarrior Guard. The culmination was CIA gaining control of Executive with DCI GHW Bush becoming Veep to senile, dementia addled POTUS Reagan.

Interconnected with the above is the prepping of the World Trade Center buildings for demolition during Clinton's 2nd term, the operative question being: Would the False Flag be perpetrated by Gore/Liberman, or was Bush/Cheney deemed to do the deed by Deep State actors; or does this aspect even matter--Liberman was as much of a Neocon as Cheney, all 4 are Israel Firsters, and Gore was already a War Criminal due to his participation in Clinton's numerous illegalities. Sure, the Bush/Cheney cabal was more radical; but given what we observed during Clinton/Gore, Deep State support was quite abundant. The dismemberment of Yugoslavia was finished and Kosovo created, Afghanistan was already targeted and Joint Vision 2010 --the blueprint for the Outlaw US Empire's Full Spectrum Dominance Policy--was published in 1996. Interestingly, at no time known to me has the Policy articulated by the authors of Joint Vision 2010 or its update Joint Vision 2020 been announced by any POTUS or senior member of the Duopoly as THE #1 policy goal of the Outlaw US Empire despite both papers being available to the public. (If he were still alive, IF Stone would have written about both umpteen numbers of times; while true to form, BigLie media remains 100% mute.) Despite all the preparations and Trillions of dollars spent and looted, The failure to implement the Yinon Plan seems to be directed at Russia, although it was indigenous Iraqis who are responsible for the plan's defeat.

So, is the lying vitriol we're subjected to the result of Russian actions or the inability to attain the #1 policy goal due to mistakes made at all levels--Deep State and Federal Government? Recall that Russia/Putin didn't start to actively parry Outlaw Empire moves until 2008, well after the Yinon Plan's defeat by Iraqis.

Blooming Barricade , Jan 15, 2019 5:02:35 PM | link
This inane narrative has gone too far. It's actually threatening chances for human survival with its nationalism, poor focus, and banality:

--

"The key focus of the so-called "left" in the world's most polluting country, run by an ecocidal vandal who deserves to be in the running for most destructive rulers of all time, is whether or not that vandal is taking orders from the Russian Federation.

Let me repeat that: in the most wasteful society in human history, the forces designated to oppose the rape of the planet and corporate slavery are concerned with treason and betrayal of the "nation."

MSNBC: "The worst case scenario that we`ve all been talking about, which is the possibility that the president had somehow been co-opted and was in the pocket of the Russians."

THIS is the "worst case scenario" according to the "social justice" network of the American "left?"

If we were to step back and look at this terrible situation honestly, we could only conclude that American liberals, and the Democratic Party, are right-wing nationalist forces concerned with geopolitical gambits and preservation of military alliances.

This isn't the politics of 2019, or 1999. It's the politics of 1819 - but even then, it's the right wing politics of 1819, as there was already a left dedicated to popular solidarity and social ownership existing, clandestinely, in the shadows of European cities.

It's worth analyzing how a "Seattle" would play out if it were to occur in the context of today's US political discourse: the protestors would be seen as nationalist anti-Semites doing the bidding of Putin, and perhaps Xi Jinping. The leaking of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment would be condemned instantly as "information warfare." A focus on environmental issues would be viewed in the context of "energy geopolitics." Indymedia would be shut down by the authorities as a vehicle for "sowing discord" in Europe against NATO and liberalism."

Anon , Jan 15, 2019 5:08:17 PM | link
The current round of bullshit is not about justifying the investigation, it is about concealing MI6 taking a leading role in the attempted coup.
james , Jan 15, 2019 5:09:32 PM | link
@14 karlof1... good post.. i don't know the answer to your questions, but it seems like a bit of both but mostly the later... i am unaware of this joint vision 2010 paper..
bevin , Jan 15, 2019 5:15:14 PM | link
As b points out, and Erelis @6, among others confirms, Kaplan's article in Slate is worthless. Discredited by everything that has happened over the past two years.

The question is whether it matters. Who reads Slate? Are those who follow Kaplan anything more than partisans, far beyond the reach of logical argument, committed to the Zionist project and US hegemony, who read him for comfort and laughs rather than critically.

Kaplan, after twenty odd years of consistently being wrong and consistently impelling the United States into foreign disasters, costly in lives and treasure, is a busted flush politically. The only people his ravings effect are the true believers who are simply looking for someone to articulate their idiotic prejudices.

This, after all is a man whose wife, an Obama/ Clinton favourite, parodying Marie Antionette, midwifed the Bandera Reich in Kiev.

There is little point in arguing with him, just feed him ever more rope and he will hang himself, his spouse, his country(s) and the Ukraine and its allies too.

Jared , Jan 15, 2019 8:06:04 PM | link
Given the part we know about how self serving, corrupt and incompetent our IC is I fear it is the tip of the iceberg. So many decades they have learned they can do as they will with impunity. If I am not mistaken they are partly self financing through likely illegal and unethical activities. They have gone rogue. Currently the dems think it's fitting however they will also feel the bite. How will we ever gain control of our country.
karlof1 , Jan 15, 2019 8:29:05 PM | link
Which are more salient--domestically: The attacks on Russia or those against Trump? Lots of Trumpian, GOP and Corporate Democrat policy ploys go against the majority of the polity and the National Interest. Unfortunately, the bloc known as the Resistance includes a 5th Column consisting of most Corporate Democrats, who are essentially Republicans wearing donkey heads. BigLie Media wants to promote the GOP & Corporate Democrat policy ploys, so the anti-Russian news assault serves to cover-up popular domestic issues, like this one regarding taxation and related income disparity . (Amazing that 60 Minutes provided Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez airtime to outline her proposals--airtime that was meant to cut her down to size but backfired.)

As I outlined earlier, what I see as the struggle is for control of the Federal Government--CIA/Deep State vs the American People--with the Anti-Communist Crusade used as cover to diminish rights while enriching actors controlling government, which is exactly what we see now. Yes, Trump's a player, but with few friends and little coaching. Arguably, his only asset is the position he occupies.

slit , Jan 15, 2019 11:16:29 PM | link
Peter Ve @9

Heres another cartoon meme that was doing the rounds in 2016:

https://pics.onsizzle.com/donald-trump-is-putins-puppet-the-puppeteer-red-panels-com-5254201.png

[Jan 17, 2019] The neoliberalism of the Democratic Party elite (and most of the rank and file) is one big factor in our 2016 loss

Notable quotes:
"... Even voters too ignorant to see Trump for what he really was - voters that are misinformed to the point that they unwittingly and continually vote against their own best interests - realized how much the Dems have sold out to Wall Street. ..."
"... That's why they anointed Obama who then proceeded to squander eight years of opportunity to remove big money from politics and enact progressive reforms to health care, the environment, etc. ..."
"... Bernie is a bit long in the tooth, so I am all in for Liz Warren. She's the only one with both the courage and the intelligence to take on the big money that controls our politics. ..."
"... Sanders or Warren would mean a change from neoliberal war mongering of the Clinton/W model. If the Democrats offer up another Clintonite they will lose. They need to offer something positive to the 90% who have lost the last 40 years of class war. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Art Glick , 15 Jan 2019 09:44

The neoliberalism of the Democratic Party elite (and most of the rank and file) is one big factor in our 2016 loss. Even voters too ignorant to see Trump for what he really was - voters that are misinformed to the point that they unwittingly and continually vote against their own best interests - realized how much the Dems have sold out to Wall Street.

HRC would have been nominated in '08 if she had kissed more Wall Street you-know-what. That's why they anointed Obama who then proceeded to squander eight years of opportunity to remove big money from politics and enact progressive reforms to health care, the environment, etc.

Bernie is a bit long in the tooth, so I am all in for Liz Warren. She's the only one with both the courage and the intelligence to take on the big money that controls our politics.

Therefore, you can expect the Russian trolls to be coming for her in force. If you read anything negative about Warren in the coming months, check the source and don't trust the accuracy.

Canuckistan , 15 Jan 2019 09:30
Sanders or Warren would mean a change from neoliberal war mongering of the Clinton/W model. If the Democrats offer up another Clintonite they will lose. They need to offer something positive to the 90% who have lost the last 40 years of class war.

[Jan 17, 2019] Broadly, authoritarianism is the desire to impose one's own worldview on others in one's society by institutionalized coercion

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

JumpingSpider -> BluebellWood , 29 Nov 2018 13:34

Here are some articles about them.

Para from one of these articles:

Broadly, authoritarianism is the desire to impose one's own worldview on others in one's society by institutionalized coercion. Authoritarians, therefore, see punishment as an appropriate response when members of the group with which they identify [...] diverge too far from values that the authoritarian believes are best for society – even if the punished person has neither caused direct harm to another nor infringed another's rights.

[Jan 17, 2019] The farcical DNC leadership echoes the days of Brezhnev's intransigent politburo

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

TempsdesRoses , 15 Jan 2019 08:47

Yep,
The party has circled its wagons.
They insist that the Evil Vlad stole the last election.
Therefore, no need to examine Obama's centrist/neoliberal policies and the socio-economic conditions that fueled the rejection of Hillary.
We're doomed to repeat our errors.

The farcical DNC leadership echoes the days of Brezhnev's intransigent politburo.

Brassic , 15 Jan 2019 08:21
Excellent article. Thank you.

This is the realistic perspective we have to adopt in the US: the Democratic establishment is part of the neoliberal machinery that has generated Bush's wars, Obama's bank bailouts, deportations, and drone executions, and now Trump's anti-democratic populism.

[Jan 17, 2019] In regards to the Hillary v Bernie question, it also didn't help that the primary vote was wildly skewed by so-called 'superdelegates,' who don't actually commit their votes until the DNC convention

Notable quotes:
"... Bernie's bid was crushed by Clinton's superdelegates. No amount of throwing money against him in the direct sense was doing any good. He took popular positions on issues and stubbornly stayed on-message. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

cagnusdei -> cagnusdei , 15 Jan 2019 10:53

In regards to the Hillary v Bernie question, it also didn't help that the primary vote was wildly skewed by so-called 'superdelegates,' who don't actually commit their votes until the DNC convention, but were being counted by the media as having already voted for Hillary, which made it appear to many of the uninformed that Bernie didn't have any chance of winning, which may have been intended to keep Bernie supporters home on primary day under the assumption that Hillary was unbeatable.
ehmaybe -> HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 10:52
As sensible as your suggestions may be, what you're calling for would require at least three constitutional amendments to be practical - including scrapping the first amendment.

Maybe we should strive towards attainable goals instead?

cagnusdei -> lullu616 , 15 Jan 2019 10:50
Didn't help that the ostensibly neutral DNC was sending emails saying that they should play up Bernie Sanders' Jewish faith (among other attack strategies), fed debate questions to the Clinton campaign or tried to limit opportunities for Bernie and Hillary to share a stage together.

Bernie Sanders is widely considered by many to be one of the most popular American politicians, more than Trump and certainly more popular than Hillary. I think an interesting phenomenon to notice is the lengths the GOP, in particular, will go to in order to convince the average voter that anything that cuts taxes is inherently good for the 'little guy,' while anything that raises taxes is bad. Trump's recent tax cuts are a good example. Most of the actual cuts go toward the corporations and ultra-wealthy, which just increases the deficit while shifting the proportion of taxes paid onto the middle class. It's a con that many Americans are inexplicably susceptible to believing, for some reason.

ConBrio -> cnzewi , 15 Jan 2019 10:45

Progressive believe in inclusion and if that is "moralistic rhetoric" then so be it.

The litany goes "round and round.

Hillary Clinton:

" you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it!

"Barack Obama:

"Referring to working-class voters in old industrial towns decimated by job losses, the presidential hopeful said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion "

There's liberal "inclusion" for you!

memo10 -> GRBnative , 15 Jan 2019 10:34
Bernie's bid was crushed by Clinton's superdelegates. No amount of throwing money against him in the direct sense was doing any good. He took popular positions on issues and stubbornly stayed on-message.

[Jan 17, 2019] Managerialism is synonym for corporatism

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

JulesBywaterLees -> Zagradotryad , 29 Nov 2018 08:29

Managerialism is a state of European/Western politics, power has moved to large corporations. In 2008 the finance industry held countries to ransom...
Zagradotryad , 29 Nov 2018 08:03

power that has become too distant from the people.

That's the problem.

It's not technology, or Russians, or Trump or any other of the things you throw up to convince yourself the problem is external.

Managerialism has merely delivered gross inequality. The tools don't matter.

[Jan 17, 2019] The Coke or Pepsi and parties is a perfect corporatist arrangement, which guarantee filtering out any opposition to the oligarchy in 99 percent of elections

Only a severe political crisi can shake this "controlled duopoly" of the US coporatism.
Jan 16, 2019 | theguardian.com

William Williamson, 15 Jan 2019 10:38

Well put. All the USA has is Coke or Pepsi. With a lot of masquerading in between. A couple people who aren't on THE payroll, or wanting to be.
MyGenericUsername , 15 Jan 2019 07:38
Half of Americans don't bother voting for president. Why is the American media full only of people who insist that the country is divided in half between Democrat and Republican supporters? Where are the people of influence who think it's a problem and reflects poorly on the country that half of eligible voters don't see a reason to participate, and that it's worth changing things in order to get more people to change their minds about that?

Both parties are content with being unpopular, but with political mechanisms ensuring they stay in power anyway. The Democrats aren't concerned with being popular. They're content with being a token opposition party that every once in a while gets a few token years with power they don't put to any good anyway. It pays more, I guess.

CanSoc , 15 Jan 2019 07:34
It still looks like if Americans want to live in a progressive country, they'll have to move to one. But as it is clear that the neoliberalism of establishment Democrats has little or nothing to offer the poor and working class, or to non-wealthy millennials, the times they are a-changing.

[Jan 17, 2019] The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

RogerPalmer -> 5nufk1n4prez , 29 Nov 2018 07:30

True but incredibly naive.

The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters.

Part of the problem was undeniably the crippling reparations for WWI forced on Germany by the victorious allies.

Part of the problem was communism strengthening in Russia and a growing communist threat in Germany.

Part of the problem was a desire by the entrenched elites to use the National Socialists as a counter to challenge the populism of the communism.

There are many contributing factors and the responsibility for the Nazis reaches far beyond the German border.

[Jan 17, 2019] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That't why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resitnace more dissifult and requiring higher level of IQ

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Jan 17, 2019] Neoliberal elite which reigned disdainfully over us since the Second World War have ignored our fears over mass immigration and the changing of our established traditions and cultures.

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Selousscout1 , 29 Nov 2018 12:20

''Tis booming because the left/liberal/metropolitan muesli crunching elites (and I include the Tories in that) who have reigned disdainfully over us since the Second World War have ignored our fears over mass immigration and the changing of our established traditions and cultures. They have also connived in the insanity of insisting every hair brained liberal idea is worthy of being protected by the human rights legislative farce. Rapists being offered a say in the upbringing of their issue, school uniforms being dragged into law and a thousand and other one 'special issues' to a tiny minority being rammed down the throats of the fed up majority at every opportunity by activists.

[Jan 17, 2019] That populist has been so vaguely defined that neoliberal MSM use it as a label for anything the authors don't like. It's a straw man, a pejorative.

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

DanInTheDesert -> Tiny Toy , 29 Nov 2018 15:20

But that's the point, isn't it? That populist has been so vaguely defined that it encompasses anything the authors don't like. It's a straw man, a pejorative.

Populism is a belief in the goodness of people, a belief that masses make better decisions than elites and that the the rule of the elite come at the expense of the demos.

It's a term synonymous with grassroots, popular democracy. Proponents of elite rule with reductionistic views democracy (rule with the consent of the governed and all that trash) call their grassroots opponents 'populists' in attempt to tie them to strong men.

Signed, a left populist.

lagoalberche , 29 Nov 2018 15:00
Noam Chomsky has a view on this issue and I am inclined to think he has a better understanding of it than the author of this piece.

Chomsky rejects the term "populism" in this matter and offers, instead, the proposal that ;

"Working people are turning against elites and dominant institutions that have been punishing them for a generation"

The theory of 'cause and effect' seems eminently more sensible to me than the shrill cries of "It was the internet wot dun it"

The elites and dominant institutions that Chomsky refers to ( including mainstream media ) precipitated the current shift and would do better to acknowledge the part they played in it, rather than insult and demean the consequential reaction of people on the receiving end of it.

DanInTheDesert , 29 Nov 2018 12:06
Before people get out the pitchforks and burn the populists in effigy, perhaps we could hear from some left populists?

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/elites-no-credibility-left-interview-journalist-chris-hedges /

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA7NA2TgXBQ&feature=youtu.be

The enemy is not populism, it's the right's capture of the populist narrative. Trump is a faux populist that has nothing but disdain for the people he employs and the people rules.

AnglophileDe -> JulesBywaterLees , 29 Nov 2018 11:39
Well, here's a very apposite quote:

The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov
"A Cult of Ignorance". Newsweek, January 21, 1980.

DanInTheDesert -> JulesBywaterLees , 29 Nov 2018 11:38

the very old school Christian conservative libertarians and old skool nutty right have seized on the success populist narrative has had in recent elections and referendum.

I would argue that is is because establishment figures in the Democratic party -- the New Democrats -- decided that the days of class struggle were over, that 'we are all capitalists now' and ceded the populist narrative to the right. Yes, this a populist moment and the question is not if we can reestablish faith in the elite but whether we can ensure that the new populism goes is a left rather than right direction.

I don't agree that populism lacks depth -- probably because when I think of populism I think of left populist intellectuals like Friere, Martin-Baro and the like who thought that democracy should be built on the virtues of the people.

The occupy movement was a populist movement. It said we, the people on the ground, know better than the elites in the towers. It made decisions democratically, this in stark contrast to the hierarchical structures of decision making exercised by the financial elite. I think populism, or grassroots, popular democracy has intellectual depth and sophistication. Take a look a the writing of Sheldin Wolin, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, David Graeber . . .

I don't agree with most of the definitions of populism we've been offered -- I think they are little more that pejoratives dressed in academic language and have as much depth as the right's favored "snowflake" pejorative.

Brian_Drain -> The_Common_Potato , 29 Nov 2018 11:38
I remember watching 'Tomorrows World' ' in the 1970s and they showed us an unpuncturable cycle tyre that would last 25,000 miles.
The patent was bought by Europe's largest cycle tyre manufacturer, and AFAIK that was the last ever heard of it.
If that happened why is the water fuel idea so fanciful?
If you inject water into the inlet port or combustion chamber of a petrol engine, compression ratios, power output and efficiency can be raised dramatically, this has been known since WW1 and was employed in high altitude aero engines during WW2, yet has never been taken up by any major car manufacturer as far as I know, why?
So the notion that inventions could be suppressed for commercial reasons is really not fanciful at all, it would make less sense for such technology, if it existed, to be made altruistically available on a single purchase basis than to shitcan it.
BluebellWood -> CheshireSalt , 29 Nov 2018 11:30
But who are the 'liberal elite' exactly?

As far as I can see, our country has been ruled by a right-wing, monied elite for many years- not a 'liberal' one. Liberals at least tend to think in terms of economic equality and social freedoms, whatever their other faults might be.

But many working class and middle class people still carry on voting Tory even though it's against their own interests.

We don't have a 'liberal elite' in the UK. We still have the old-fashioned right wing Tory elite in power based on class and wealth. Why 'liberals' get all the abuse these days is beyond me.

(I'm a socialist, btw.)

JulesBywaterLees -> Albert Ravey , 29 Nov 2018 11:28
I'm researching populism on youtube - and it is seedy- and I have yet to turn on the FB news feed, but the algorithms do support populism- watch a PragerU video and the feed is full of other rightwing nonsense.
And all of it has the same empty lines.

I watched the Oxford Union Steve Bannon address- and it could have come from a left winger- the globalised corporate world has abandoned the little guy, and Trump is fixing it.
The on message is the MSM is lying
PC and activists are totalitarian = commies
either capitalism or socialism [commies] = freedom vs enslavement

and an over whelming anti intellectualism - where have we heard that before.

fredmb -> BluebellWood , 29 Nov 2018 11:25
True but there is still a case for having decent housing etc and training our own professionals as well and not hollow out professionals from less advantaged countries. When we took hundreds of nurses from the Philippines in 2000 and whole clinics there had to shut to terrible detriment of ill locals

[Jan 17, 2019] Critique or populism as providing simple solution to complex problems is deliberately overstated by political and media establishement. Lion share of the current nationalistic, anti-foreigner sentiments is due to reaction to neoliberalism in the USA

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

GBM1982 , 29 Nov 2018 08:56

"But populism has two chief characteristics. First, it offers immediate and supposedly obvious answers to complicated problems, which usually blame some other group along the way."

I think this point (simple solutions to complex problems) is often overstated. If you take the issue of immigration (an issue that has fuelled populism) , it actually shouldn't necessarily be that difficult to bring the number of new immigrants down, except that the political and media establishment pretend that it is.

Take Trump's plan to build a wall on the Mexican border. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this as it is ultimately every country's prerogative to defend its borders.

Ditto for intra-EU immigration (perhaps the main reason for Brexit): the EU acts as if this principle of free movement is sacred, but why should that be the case? Or Germany, where I live, where the constitution guarantees a right to asylum for those seeking refuge in the country. Again, this is spoken of as though it were cast in stone, when it really shouldn't be that difficult to amend. So I don't necessarily believe that solutions to problems always have to be difficult and complicated.

HippoMan -> PSmd , 29 Nov 2018 08:30
I agree that advances in people's abilities to interact with greater numbers of other people tend to usher in periods of social upheaval. A lot of the current nationalistic, anti-foreigner sentiments are the result of our initial reactions against unfamiliar influences coming from groups with whom we previously had relatively little contact.

Brexit, "Make America Great Again", and similar movements are the collective screams of resistance against dealing with unfamiliarity, learning new things, and growing. Over time, we will adapt, but this will probably require a generation or so, at minimum.


Of course, given the high pace of technological change, we are likely to be collectively bonded together even more tightly before we are able to adapt to the current state of the world. It won't be long before people will all be interconnected via implants, which means that each and every thing we do and every emotion we have will be sent out over the net.


It will be a brave new world.

[Jan 17, 2019] Populism is a range of political approaches that deliberately appeal to "the people," often juxtaposing this group against a so-called "elite."

In a way Populism is somewhat similar to Marxism: implicit message is that the class struggle in the societies is the key problem, which is completely true. American middle class was robbed from 1970th of a considerable chunk of its standard of living. So it is not surprising that the neoliberal elite ( the News Class of as they are called the US nomenklatura) now feels threatened and resorts to censorship, usage of intelligence agencies and mass surveillance, and other oppressive tactics to squash the dissent.
But in such cases the dissent grows stronger despise such an efforts and might turn, at some point, into insurrection against financial oligarchy as Marxists predicted.
The only problem is with Marxism is that they considered working class to the the next dominant class and this proved to be a false idea. That will never never happens.
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

JulesBywaterLees -> Jason1925 , 29 Nov 2018 07:50

Populism is a range of political approaches that deliberately appeal to "the people," often juxtaposing this group against a so-called "elite." There is no single definition of the term, which developed in the 19th century and has been used to mean various things since that time. Few politicians or political groups describe themselves as "populists", and in political discourse the term is often applied to others pejoratively. Within political science and other social sciences, various different definitions of populism have been used, although some scholars propose rejecting the term altogether.

the wiki page is a bit more expansive you should try reading it.

The left is also guilty of populist ideas- blaming the rich, or banking [when in the UK we get a lot of tax from international banking as a service].

The right has just seized on populism and mainly through social media- brexit and trump are proof its works- but the people behind the populist message are the same old tired neo con christian right of the Reagan era and the sad old far right conspiracy nut jobs. Their message failed in the past- but people like Rees-mogg can now seize on this technique.

Your misunderstanding of what socialism means indicates you swallow the new right wing propaganda. Poorly funded education will result in people without proper opportunity- S.Korea is not a socialist country but they spend a huge amount on education and reap the rewards. But they have a culture where children doing well academically is praised but can also have negative pressure consequences.

It is complicated and worth discussion but populism wants the easy message.

[Jan 17, 2019] No wonder the neoliberal establishment is horrified and looking for ways to censor and control content available online!'

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Writeangle , 29 Nov 2018 07:19

One of the better reports on populism I've see recently is ''European Disunion'' by Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard https://newrepublic.com/article/143604/european-disunion-rise-populist-movements-means-democracy .
A analysis by Harvard ''Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash'' found that the primary factor driving populism is a cultural backlash i.e. against [neo]liberal policies and immigration.
kbg541 , 29 Nov 2018 06:59
Populism is growing because wealth is being concentrated into the hands of the wealthy, at the expense of everyone else.

Generations, instead of doing better, through working are doing worse because governments are allowing individuals and corporations to reduce terms and conditions of the workforce.

Twenty years ago, many UK workers had company pension schemes and jobs that paid the rent & bills. Now, the pensions have largely dried up and as housing has got more expensive, and incomes have shrunk.

Those at the top are pushing those beneath them closer to a bowl of rice a day, and shrug at the social consequences as inevitable - and a necessary step to protect shareholder values and profits.

In essence, it is the same situation that gave rise to populism in the thirties.

Who do you blame for the fact that house prices have gone up?

Who do you blame for the fact that your pension is going to be smaller than your parents'?

Thing is the populist politicians are the very same people who cut your pension and made money out of it. They just want you to blame someone else.

Candidly -> 5nufk1n4prez , 29 Nov 2018 06:54
The Long Read: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/nov/29/why-we-stopped-trusting-elites-the-new-populism

[Jan 17, 2019] We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

One of the main power weapons of the elite is the control over the information flows
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Albert Ravey , 29 Nov 2018 10:45

Some highlights from this thread (no names, no pack drill):

Populism is a kickback and correction to the forty years of political correctness where the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites.

Perhaps the reason that "populism" is thriving is that the liberal elites who ruled us in the entire post war period became complacent out of touch with those they were meant to represent.

there are millions of others whose voices have been ignored or silenced by the mainstream news

We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

The MSM has always been biased-

Why is democracy booming the article asks.
Well because the lies and bullshit of the liberal elite are there for all to see.

Take a look at what the MSM refuses to report, or what it deliberately distorts,

You can see the problem. It's like they are all reading from the same limited script which has been handed to them. Given the freedom to express our opinions, we are regurgitating what someone else has told us to say.

Maybe we should not be too pessimistic. The levels of opportunity for expression that the internet and social media have given us might currently have exceeded our ability to think critically about whatever bullshit we are being fed, but future generations may be better. After all, it's only a small step from doubting whatever mainstream thought tells you, to starting to wonder who is telling you to doubt those things and why and then to actually go back and think for yourself about the issues.

TheBorderGuard -> SomlanderBrit , 29 Nov 2018 10:44

... the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves.

Lifted straight from the pages of the Völkischer Beobachter , I suspect.

TheBorderGuard , 29 Nov 2018 10:43
Some people are more attracted to certainties than subtleties -- and I suspect such people are ideologues in general and populists in particular.
DanInTheDesert , 29 Nov 2018 09:46
Sigh.

So Corbyn and Trump are the same because they both have shirts. Well, color me convinced!

Like so many of these articles -- including the long but uninformative 'long read' on the same topic -- there is no mention of the failures of the elites.

Clinton sold us a false bill of goods. The Washington Consensus on economics would make the country richer and, after some 'pain', would benefit the working class. Sure you wouldn't be making cars but after some retraining you would work in tech.

This was a broken promise -- de industrialization has devastated the upper midwest. The goods are made in China and the money goes to Bezos. People are rightly upset.

The Washington Consensus on war sold us a false bill of goods. Instead of peace through strength we have seen a century of endless conflict. We have been caught in state of constant killing since 2001 and we are no safer for it. Indeed the conflicts have created new enemies and the only solution on offer is a hair of the dog solution.

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites. Nowhere are the repeated failures of the elites, the decades of broken promises mentioned in the articles. Instead, those of us who prefer Sanders to Clinton, Corbyn to Blair are mesmerized by emotional appeals and seduced by simplistic appeals to complex problems. And they wonder why we don't accept their analyses . . .

TL;DR -- clickbait didn't get us here. The broken promises of the Washington consensus did.

[Jan 17, 2019] So why is "populist" now used as a derogatory term and populism seen as something to be feared? Part of this is that government and the MSM realise that developments brought by internet means that they have lost control of the narrative.

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

FallenApple , 29 Nov 2018 06:48

My Oxford English Dictionary defines a populist as "a member of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people."

Sounds good to me.

So why is "populist" now used as a derogatory term and populism seen as something to be feared?

Part of this is that government and the MSM realise that developments brought by internet means that they have lost control of the narrative.

Once only government pronouncements or newspaper commentary and propaganda could shape our views.

Newspapers in the UK could more or less bring down a government, such was their influence on the electorate.

Now we can search out information on the internet, fact-check for ourselves, listen to whom we want, and read a whole range of arguments and views.

No wonder the establishment is horrified and looking for ways to censor and control content available online!

samuelbear , 29 Nov 2018 06:22
Why is populism booming asks the writer - simple, because people feel that no-one's listening. Can it really be a surprise to The Guardian Opinion writers that people who have a zero hours contract, pay a high rent and have little job security won't vote for more of the same?
It's not a question as the writer suggests of 'if this wave of populism drifts into authoritarianism or worse' it's more a question of when - and when it does the liberal left will still be asking themselves - why?

[Jan 17, 2019] I've grown very sceptical over the years about the whole issue of asylum. To me, the idea that an individual can cross a border illegally without a visa, or without even a passport, and then suddenly become quasi legal be declaring that they wish to seek asylum is a bit of a farce

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

GBM1982 -> honeytree , 29 Nov 2018 10:25

I've grown very sceptical over the years about the whole issue of asylum. To me, the idea that an individual can cross a border illegally without a visa, or without even a passport, and then suddenly become quasi legal be declaring that they wish to seek asylum is a bit of a farce. The situation becomes even more farcical when failed asylum seekers still aren't deported. As for humanitarian and ethical obligations, I don't really buy into that either because the demographics of the world are such that the West is at risk of losing its very identity if it feels "obliged" to accept everyone seeking asylum and/or work from the world's more troubled regions. I see the admission of refugees as a generous gesture, not as an obligation.

[Jan 16, 2019] Corporatism is the control of government by big business. This is what we have in the USA today. The main difference between corporatism and fascism is the level of repressions against opposition. Corporatism now tales forma of inverted totalitarism and use ostracism instead of phycal repressions

Jan 16, 2019 | profile.theguardian.com

ChesBay -> KMdude 15 Jan 2019 10:07

That is why we need a Constitutional amendment to get the money OUT of politics. Make bribery illegal. THEN, we will not need Wall Street, which doesn't serve MOST of the population of this country, and is mostly responsible for the wealth gap and lack of opportunities for most of the population.
ChesBay , 15 Jan 2019 10:05
I'm not fooled. These are not progressives, they are corporatists, beholden to their donors. They have no courage, no interest in serving their constituencies, but are only interested in the power and money. What our country , and the world, needs is radical change from the profit-first point of view. I won't support either one of them.
William Anthony , 15 Jan 2019 09:28
It comes as no surprise that Wall Street runs the US Government.

Benito Mussolini defined fascism as "Barely able to slip a cigarette paper between business and government."

The US is a de-facto fascism.

[Jan 16, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard knew that Hillary Clinton was a real menace so she not only endorsed Bernie Sanders but quit her vice-chair post at the DNC in order to do so since the DNC laws insisted that the DNC stay neutral

Wall Street gives money to the Dems not to help Dems win; it's to make sure Wall Street doesn't lose.
Notable quotes:
"... I like Tulsi Gabbard a lot. She knew that Hillary Clinton was a real menace so she not only endorsed Bernie Sanders but quit her vice-chair post at the DNC in order to do so since the DNC laws insisted that the DNC stay neutral (if only she knew then what we know now). Also, it will be delicious to watch the Hillary mouthpieces and stooges - who contended that any criticism of Hillary Clinton was just down to her being female - attackdog Tulsi Gabbard, oblivious to their rancid hypocrisy. ..."
"... Warren's got many bridges and fences to mend with the US left but I think that she knows and that's why she's declared early. I think that she'll be the last progressive standing; that she should run with Sanders as her vice-president for 2020 and then with the now-of-age Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as vice-president for her second term. ..."
"... Tulsi Gabbard for president! Nobody's perfect but at least she isn't a lawyer! ..."
"... As well, such a law should permanently eliminate the revolving door through which many politicians scamper to become a lobbyist for Wall Street after he "retires" from politics and the law should block all former lobbyists from running for an office that would have a bearing on legislation that would affect the corporation for which he or she worked. ..."
"... Wall Street gives money to the Dems not to help Dems win; it's to make sure Wall Street doesn't lose. ..."
Jan 16, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Haigin88 , 15 Jan 2019 07:17

"... That will allow capitalists to focus their attention on candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have shown a real willingness to abandon the traditional coziness of the Democratic party with the finance, insurance and real estate industries ......".

Yes and who's been on the end of media hit pieces recently? Not Booker, Harris, Gillibrand and the like but Sanders, Warren and Gabbard.

I like Tulsi Gabbard a lot. She knew that Hillary Clinton was a real menace so she not only endorsed Bernie Sanders but quit her vice-chair post at the DNC in order to do so since the DNC laws insisted that the DNC stay neutral (if only she knew then what we know now). Also, it will be delicious to watch the Hillary mouthpieces and stooges - who contended that any criticism of Hillary Clinton was just down to her being female - attackdog Tulsi Gabbard, oblivious to their rancid hypocrisy.

There actually is plenty to go on - Gabbard's links to Modi; her past comments about guns, about immigration, about gay rights when she was under the wing of her Dad's jaundiced outlook and her appalling comments about torture and that fictional 'ticking time bomb' scenario - but that's as nothing (and a lot of it probably has crossover appeal and shows an independent mind) compared to Hillary's decades of moral bankruptcy. Yet critiques of Clinton were inherently sexist, apparently.

They've never forgiven Gabbard for her righteous stand against the moral hazard of the Clintons. I think, and as others have said, that she's probably running for vice-president, at best, or to lay the groundwork for future runs and/or obtain a cabinet position. For 2020, Democrats will make it their business to take her down after they've invalidated Bernie Sanders. The current trick is beautiful in its simplicity. They shriek that Sanders will be divisive and their shrieking will be proof of that contention: quod erat demonstrandum. Sanders and Gabbard would have a much, much easier time in the general election than in the 'kill switch' Democratic primaries. Those primaries will be brutal beyond belief.

Warren's got many bridges and fences to mend with the US left but I think that she knows and that's why she's declared early. I think that she'll be the last progressive standing; that she should run with Sanders as her vice-president for 2020 and then with the now-of-age Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as vice-president for her second term.

Tiny Toy , 15 Jan 2019 11:35
Tulsi Gabbard for president! Nobody's perfect but at least she isn't a lawyer!
memo10 -> TempsdesRoses , 15 Jan 2019 11:25

ID,
Could you be a conservative projecting your desire for the Dems to select a more conservative candidate?

A progressive would stomp Trump in the rust belt if they ran on the issues where the public agrees with progressives. Medicare for all. No more bullshit foreign wars. Do something about higher education cost/debt. Decriminalize low-level pot offenses. Etc.

All it takes is disobeying the laws that corporate/Wall Street write for Dem candidates.

memo10 -> BoneyOCoonassa , 15 Jan 2019 10:58

I'm sure Wall Street will be quite happy to see the Republicans face some purer-than-pure left wing candidate at the next Presidential election.

Bernie would have cleaned Trump's clock in the 2016 general election and Wall Street knows it.

Trump would get curb-stomped by a genuinely left and competent candidate. It's the standard issue GOP-Lite Democrat that will have a harder time against him (although probably still win).

HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 10:37
The best way to determine if one claims to be a Progressive is to fact-check the candidate's claim.

The first and foremost question that should be asked and researched: Does this candidate have as one of his or her top priorities to eliminate corporate/private/labor money in politics? This would require a major federal campaign finance reform law that would establish public funding for all campaigns, permanently bar corporate/labor union/private-entity money (including funding media-attack ads) from any political influence and require all broadcast/cable networks to allow every candidate equal air time to state his opinions, policies, promises, and to state why he believes he is the best candidate for the working class and/or corporations.

As well, such a law should permanently eliminate the revolving door through which many politicians scamper to become a lobbyist for Wall Street after he "retires" from politics and the law should block all former lobbyists from running for an office that would have a bearing on legislation that would affect the corporation for which he or she worked.

As well, such a law should bar any politicians or family members from purchasing or selling stocks in corporate entities that would be affected by the legislation on which the politician is working (insider trading).

Think about it. The lure of big bucks can, and does, corrupt politicians such that they will work mainly for the donor (corporate, labor, and/or private) and provide for just enough benefit politicians' the voters (America's working class) to make them think he cares most about them. Much of that money is hidden in super-pacs where the donor's identity is hidden. Too, super-pacs would have to be eliminated.

A Progressive should advocate for a large infrastructure project . Our bridges and highways are now in a state of disrepair. Other nations such as Japan now have high-speed bullet trains, the fastest so far is Shanghai Maglev and can travel 267.8 mph. The U.S. has none.

Poverty would be a major focus of Progressives. Corporations will pay as little as they can get by paying. So there must be a minimum wage boost to a living wage. To keep corporations from moving to a part-time labor force with less pay, part-time workers must make the same hourly wage as full time workers. As well, universal, proactive healthcare must become law (Medicare for all).

Another major way to eliminate poverty would be to reform the income tax structure such that those individuals whose income exceeds ~$10 million would be taxed at 70%. I would also suggest that every dollar exchanged on the Stock Exchange would be taxed at 3%.

Using a greater influx of money into the public coffers, education should be a top priority for lawmakers. College tuition in public schools would be no cost, thus providing completely tuition free higher education and allowing every student equal access. A major bill should be passed to provide money to modernize/upgrade all secondary schools to provide a better learning environment for study. Every primary school should have a child psychologist on staff. Every High School a psychologist as well as every public college.

There are other Progressive policies--such as reversing the conservative's trickle-down economics (also called supply-side economics) such that we return to demand-side economics--that would be highly beneficial to the working class and to the future intellectual strength of the U.S., especially by providing a course structure that equips students to face the quick shift of industry to electronics and robotics. Currently, those will little technical training are being left behind. We must end this or face a HUGE poorly educated working class that will have no place to work.

Quite likely, both the RNC and the DNC (Wall Street's favorite politicians) will be against such measures. They'd rather have more billionaires and an unfettered Wall Street than eliminate poverty. The only way, however, to have a truly just society is to push for and vote for a progressive government. But before any of the above can happen, we MUST eliminate corporate/private/labor money from our government.

BaronVonAmericano , 15 Jan 2019 10:37
The money is to ensure the rich do well whoever wins the general.

They do the same in congressional races. If the Democrats who win the primaries are in their pocket, it doesn't matter who wins the general .

Wall Street gives money to the Dems not to help Dems win; it's to make sure Wall Street doesn't lose.

[Jan 16, 2019] The travesty of the US elections

These corporate-Dem candidates are not being forced to sell out to win elections. Quite the opposite in fact. They are risking losing their elections for the sake of selling out.
Jan 16, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BaronVonAmericano , 15 Jan 2019 07:54

Surely, many will comment that Democrats have no choice but to take the money in order to be competitive. I have one truism for such folks to ponder: Why would you trust your allegiance to those who don't care if you win?

Basic logic: rich people win the general election either way, so long as the primary-winning Democrat is in their pocket (the GOP is always on their side). So this monetary affection is certainly more about fixing an no-lose general than it is about ousting Trump, or any Republican.

[Jan 16, 2019] Nobody's perfect but at least Tulsi Gabbard isn't a lawyer!

Jan 16, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Tiny Toy, 15 Jan 2019 11:35

Tulsi Gabbard for president! Nobody's perfect but at least she isn't a lawyer!

[Jan 15, 2019] "Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies" - Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... "Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies" - Ron Paul ..."
Jan 15, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

GuyCybershy -> -> BaronVonAmericano , 10 Dec 2016 17:0

"Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies" - Ron Paul
greyford14 -> -> GuyCybershy , 10 Dec 2016 17:1
Be careful there, Ron Paul is an FSB agent of Putin, according to the Washington Post.
elias_ , 10 Dec 2016 17:0
At least Tucker Carlson is able to see through the BS and asks searching question.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRkeGkCjdHg

[Jan 14, 2019] Ship of Fools How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution by Tucker Carlson

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars October 2, 2018

Don't drink and read

Don't drink wine and read this book, you'll get angry and make posts on social media that are completely accurate and your friends will hate you.

[Jan 13, 2019] Deep State neutered Trump: I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President

He essentially became a Republican Obama, save Nobel Peace Price. If Obama was/is a CIA-democrat, this guy is a Deep State controlled republican. In any case he betrayed his voters in a way that resembles Obama betrayal. One has a fake slogan "change we can believe in" that other equally fake "Make [middle] America Great Again" (which means restoration of well-being of middle class and working class in my book, not the continuation of Obama foreign wars, and tax cuts for for corporations and super rich.
And that means that he lost a considerable part of his electorate: the anti-war republicans and former Sanders supporters. He might do good and not to try to run in 2020. He definitely is no economic nationalist. Compare his policies with Tucker Carlson Jan 2, 2019 speech to see the difference. He is "national neoliberal" which rejects parts of neoliberal globalization based on treaties and prefer to bully nations to compliance that favor the US interests instead of treaties.
And his "fight" with the Deep State resemble so closely to complete and unconditional surrender, that you might have difficulties to distinguish between the two.
Most of his appointees would make Hillary proud. That that extends beyond rabid neocons like Haley, Mattis, Bolton and Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post is without a doubt the most pro-establishment among all large mainstream publications, not only do they defend the narratives of the Deep State but actively attacks anyone who challenges them. ..."
"... Jeff Bezos owner of the Washington Post is also a contractor with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board all part of doing everything he can to cozy up and ingratiate himself to the establishment on which his empire is built. ..."
"... It's really sad that people in the public believe this stuff. It's insane and ridiculous. We're living in an Insane Asylum and the ones who should be there for the safety of themselves and others are walking around giving orders to Media and USG, fomenting war and making a mockery of laws and "normal behaviors. ..."
"... They flooded the news with the old Helsinki/Putin stuff to hide the real news. Lisa Page's testimony revealed that John Carlin, Mueller's former chief of staff was running the Russia investigation from the DOJ end, showing another conflict of Mueller's. Now Mueller is covering for two best friends, Comey and Carlin and he has to frame Trump to save them. ..."
"... The testimony also showed FBI David Bowditch was heavily involved, and Bowditch is now 2nd in command at the FBI and blocking the public release of witness testimony, and one reason for it is it reveals his involvement. ..."
"... It is also now revealed that John Brennan CIA had the dossier before the FBI, and the dossier was likely written by Nellie Ohr, who belonged to a CIA group, and then the dossier was laundered by Steele to look like foreign intelligence to get the Crossfire Hurricane investigation started on Trump. You would think it would be big news that Russians may have had nothing to do with the dossier but the media doesn't see it that way ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Washington Post stating that he "has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details" of his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin - telling Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a phone interview that he would be willing to release the details of a private conversation in Helsinki last summer.

"I would. I don't care," Trump told Pirro, adding: "I'm not keeping anything under wraps. I couldn't care less."

"I mean, it's so ridiculous, these people making up," Trump said of the WaPo report.

The president referred to his roughly two-hour dialogue with Putin in Helsinki -- at which only the leaders and their translators were present -- as "a great conversation" that included discussions about "securing Israel and lots of other things."

"I had a conversation like every president does," Trump said Saturday. "You sit with the president of various countries. I do it with all countries." - Politico

In July an attempt by House Democrats to subpoena Trump's Helsinki interpreter was quashed by Republicans.

"The Washington Post is almost as bad, or probably as bad, as the New York Times," Trump said.

When Pirro asked Trump about a Friday night New York Times report that the FBI had opened an inquiry into whether he was working for Putin, Pirro asked Trump "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?"

"I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked," Trump responded. "I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written."

Trump went on an epic tweetstorm Saturday following the Times article, defending his 2017 firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and tweeting that he has been "FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!"

rumcho

Jeff Bezos paid $250 million for Washington Post, five years later he gets a government contract with the CIA for $600 million. Are you connecting the dots? You do the numbers. This is how fascism works. Bezos is a crony capitalist joker.

Anunnaki

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/01/the-trump-russia-scam-how-obama-enabled-the-fbi-to-spy-on-trump.html#more

is Trump waiting for Mueller to lay down his cards? Head him off at the pass and arrest Obama, Rice, Jarrett, Lynch, Comey, Rosenstein and McCabe all on day 1

best defense is a good offense. Make the narrative about Dem sedition not impending House impeachment hearings.

You are President, start acting like it. Make them fear you.

your re-election depends on Mike Obama not being your opponent.

Let it Go

WaPo, again?

The Washington Post is without a doubt the most pro-establishment among all large mainstream publications, not only do they defend the narratives of the Deep State but actively attacks anyone who challenges them.

Jeff Bezos owner of the Washington Post is also a contractor with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board all part of doing everything he can to cozy up and ingratiate himself to the establishment on which his empire is built. The article below delves into how WaPo is behind many of the big stories that manipulate America and moves the needle of public opinion in huge ways.

http://Washington-post-influence-and-power.html

MoralsAreEssential

It's really sad that people in the public believe this stuff. It's insane and ridiculous. We're living in an Insane Asylum and the ones who should be there for the safety of themselves and others are walking around giving orders to Media and USG, fomenting war and making a mockery of laws and "normal behaviors.

shadow54

They flooded the news with the old Helsinki/Putin stuff to hide the real news. Lisa Page's testimony revealed that John Carlin, Mueller's former chief of staff was running the Russia investigation from the DOJ end, showing another conflict of Mueller's. Now Mueller is covering for two best friends, Comey and Carlin and he has to frame Trump to save them.

The testimony also showed FBI David Bowditch was heavily involved, and Bowditch is now 2nd in command at the FBI and blocking the public release of witness testimony, and one reason for it is it reveals his involvement.

It is also now revealed that John Brennan CIA had the dossier before the FBI, and the dossier was likely written by Nellie Ohr, who belonged to a CIA group, and then the dossier was laundered by Steele to look like foreign intelligence to get the Crossfire Hurricane investigation started on Trump. You would think it would be big news that Russians may have had nothing to do with the dossier but the media doesn't see it that way.

Then there is the news that Fusion GPS worked with the Democracy Integrity Project and Knew Knowledge to run a fake Russian bots campaign against Roy Moore. The Democracy Integrity Project was started by Feinstein's aide and with New Knowledge wrote a report on Russian bots for the Senate Intelligence Committee. So the Senate Intelligence Committee hired creators of fake Russian bots to write a report on Russian bots.

[Jan 11, 2019] Facts does not matter in the current propoganda environment, the narrative is everything

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Look at Russiagate. An excellent recent article by Ray McGovern for Consortium News titled "A Look Back at Clapper's Jan. 2017 'Assessment' on Russia-gate" reminds us on the two-year anniversary of the infamous ODNI assessment that the entire establishment Russia narrative is built upon nothing but the say-so of a couple dozen intelligence analysts hand-picked and guided by a man who helped deceive the world into Iraq, a man who is so virulently Russophobic that he's said on more than one occasion that Russians are genetically predisposed to subversive behavior. ..."
"... That January 2017 intelligence assessment has formed the foundation underlying every breathless, conspiratorial Russia story you see in western news media to this very day, and it's completely empty. The idea that Russia interfered in the US election in any meaningful way is based on an assessment crafted by a known liar , from which countless relevant analysts were excluded, which makes no claims of certainty, and contains no publicly available evidence. It's pure narrative from top to bottom, and therefore the "collusion" story is as well since Trump could only have colluded with an actual thing that actually happened, and there's no evidence that it did. ..."
"... So now you've got Trump being painted as a Putin lackey based on a completely fabricated election interference story, despite the fact that Trump has actually been far more hawkish towards Russia than any administration since the fall of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The narrative matrix of America's political/media landscape is a confusing labyrinth of smoke and funhouse mirrors distorting and manipulating the public consciousness at every turn. It's psychologically torturous, which is largely why people who are deeply immersed in politics are so on-edge all the time regardless of where they're at on the political spectrum. The only potentially good thing I can see about this forceful brutalization of the public psyche is that it might push people over the edge and shatter the illusion altogether. ..."
"... Trust in the mass media is already at an all-time low while our ability to network and share information that casts doubt on official narratives is at an all-time high, which is why the establishment propaganda machine is acting so weird as it scrambles to control the narrative, and why efforts to censor the internet are getting more and more severe. ..."
Jan 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tweeted the following:

"Endless Wars, especially those which are fought out of judgement mistakes that were made many years ago, & those where we are getting little financial or military help from the rich countries that so greatly benefit from what we are doing, will eventually come to a glorious end!"

The tweet was warmly received and celebrated by Trump's supporters, despite the fact that it says essentially nothing since "eventually" could mean anything.

Indeed, it's looking increasingly possible that nothing will come of the president's stated agenda to withdraw troops from Syria other than a bunch of words which allow his anti-interventionist base to feel nice feelings inside. Yet everyone laps it up, on both ends of the political aisle, just like they always do:

How are such wildly different pictures being painted about the same non-event? By the fact that both sides of the Trump-Syria debate have thus far been reacting solely to narrative.

This has consistently been the story throughout Trump's presidency: a heavy emphasis on words and narratives and a disinterest in facts and actions. A rude tweet can dominate headlines for days, while the actual behaviors of this administration can go almost completely ignored. Trump continues to more or less advance the same warmongering Orwellian globalist policies and agendas as his predecessors along more or less the same trajectory, but frantic mass media narratives are churned out every day painting him as some unprecedented deviation from the norm. Trump himself, seemingly aware that he's interacting entirely with perceptions and narratives instead of facts and reality, routinely makes things up whole cloth and often claims he's "never said" things he most certainly has said. And why not? Facts don't matter in this media environment, only narrative does.

Look at Russiagate. An excellent recent article by Ray McGovern for Consortium News titled "A Look Back at Clapper's Jan. 2017 'Assessment' on Russia-gate" reminds us on the two-year anniversary of the infamous ODNI assessment that the entire establishment Russia narrative is built upon nothing but the say-so of a couple dozen intelligence analysts hand-picked and guided by a man who helped deceive the world into Iraq, a man who is so virulently Russophobic that he's said on more than one occasion that Russians are genetically predisposed to subversive behavior.

That January 2017 intelligence assessment has formed the foundation underlying every breathless, conspiratorial Russia story you see in western news media to this very day, and it's completely empty. The idea that Russia interfered in the US election in any meaningful way is based on an assessment crafted by a known liar , from which countless relevant analysts were excluded, which makes no claims of certainty, and contains no publicly available evidence. It's pure narrative from top to bottom, and therefore the "collusion" story is as well since Trump could only have colluded with an actual thing that actually happened, and there's no evidence that it did.

So now you've got Trump being painted as a Putin lackey based on a completely fabricated election interference story, despite the fact that Trump has actually been far more hawkish towards Russia than any administration since the fall of the Soviet Union. With the nuclear brinkmanship this administration has been playing with its only nuclear rival on the planet, it would be so incredibly easy for Trump's opposition to attack him on his insanely hawkish escalation of a conflict which could easily end all life on earth if any little thing goes wrong, but they don't. Because this is all about narrative and not facts, Democrats have been paced into supporting even more sanctioning, proxy conflicts and nuclear posturing while loudly objecting to any sign of communication between the two nuclear superpowers, while Republicans are happy to see Trump increase tensions with Moscow because it combats the collusion narrative. Now both parties are supporting an anti-Russia agenda which existed in secretive US government agencies long before the 2016 election .

And this to me is the most significant thing about Trump's presidency. Not any of the things people tell me I'm supposed to care about, but the fact that the age of Trump has been highlighting in a very clear way how we're all being manipulated by manufactured narratives all the time.

Humanity lives in a world of mental narrative . We have a deeply conditioned societal habit of heaping a massive overlay of mental labels and stories on top of the raw data we take in through our senses, and those labels and stories tend to consume far more interest and attention than the actual data itself. We use labels and stories for a reason: without them it would be impossible to share abstract ideas and information with each other about what's going on in our world. But those labels and stories get imbued with an intense amount of belief and identification; we form tight, rigid belief structures about our world, our society, and our very selves that can generate a lot of fear, hatred and suffering. Which is why it feels so nice to go out into nature and relax in an environment that isn't shaped by human mental narrative.

This problem is exponentially exacerbated by the fact that these stories and labels are wildly subjective and very easily manipulated. Powerful people have learned that they can control the way everyone else thinks, acts and votes by controlling the stories they tell themselves about what's going on in the world using mass media control and financial political influence, allowing ostensible democracies to be conducted in a way which serves power far more efficiently than any dictatorship.

So now America has a president who is escalating a dangerous cold war against Russia , who is working to prosecute Julian Assange and shut down WikiLeaks , who is expanding the same war on whistleblowers and Orwellian surveillance network that was expanded by Bush and Obama before him, who has expanded existing wars and made no tangible move as yet to scale them back, who is advancing the longstanding neocon agenda of regime change in Iran with starvation sanctions and CIA covert ops , and yet the two prevailing narratives about him are that he's either (A) a swamp-draining, establishment-fighting hero of peace or that he's (B) a treasonous Putin lackey who isn't nearly hawkish enough toward Russia.

See how both A and B herd the public away from opposing the dangerous pro-establishment agendas being advanced by this administration? The dominant narratives could not possibly be more different from what's actually going on, and the only reason they're the dominant narratives is because an alliance of plutocrats and secretive government agencies exerts an immense amount of influence over the stories that are told by the political/media class.

The narrative matrix of America's political/media landscape is a confusing labyrinth of smoke and funhouse mirrors distorting and manipulating the public consciousness at every turn. It's psychologically torturous, which is largely why people who are deeply immersed in politics are so on-edge all the time regardless of where they're at on the political spectrum. The only potentially good thing I can see about this forceful brutalization of the public psyche is that it might push people over the edge and shatter the illusion altogether.

Trust in the mass media is already at an all-time low while our ability to network and share information that casts doubt on official narratives is at an all-time high, which is why the establishment propaganda machine is acting so weird as it scrambles to control the narrative, and why efforts to censor the internet are getting more and more severe. It is possible that this is what it looks like when a thinking species evolves into a sane and healthy relationship with thought. Perhaps the cracks that are appearing all over official narratives today are like the first cracks appearing in an eggshell as a bird begins to hatch into the world.

* * *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet new merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .

[Jan 08, 2019] Shock Files- What Role Did Integrity Initiative Play in Sergei Skripal Affair- - Sputnik International

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How could Novichok have poisoned people four months after the Skripal attack? -- ..."
"... The Skripal Files ..."
Jan 08, 2019 | sputniknews.com

Hacking syndicate Anonymous has just released its fourth tranche of documents hacked from the internal servers of the Institute for Statecraft and its subsidiary, the Integrity Initiative. Several explosive files raise serious questions about the shadowy British state and NATO-funded 'think tank' and its connections with the Skripal affair.

The files were released just after 2:30pm GMT on January 4 -- I've barely scratched the surface of the content, but what I've seen so far contains a panoply of bombshell revelations -- to say the least, the organization(s) now have serious questions to answer about what role they played in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in March, and its aftermath both nationally and internationally.

Sinister Timeline

One file apparently dating to "early 2015" -- "Russian Federation Sanctions" -- written by the Institute's Victor Madeira outlines "potential levers" to achieve Russian "behaviour change", "peace with Ukraine", "return [of] Crimea", "regime change" or "other?". The suggested "levers" span almost every conceivable area, including "civil society", "sports", "finance" and "technology".

In the section marked "intelligence", Madeira suggests simultaneously expelling "every RF [Russian Federation] intelligence officer and air/defense/naval attache from as many countries as possible". In parentheses, it references 'Operation Foot' , the expulsion of over 1000 Soviet officials from the UK in September 1971, the largest expulsion of intelligence officials by any government in history.

The section on sports also suggests "advocating the view [Russia] is unworthy of hosting [sporting] events" -- and the section marked "information" recommends the sanctioning of 'Russian' media "in West for not complying with regulators' standards".

2015 File Written By Victor Madeira on Possible Anti-Russian Actions 2015 File Written By Victor Madeira on Possible Anti-Russian Actions

In April that year, Institute for Statecraft chief Chris Donnelly was promoted to Honorary Colonel of SGMI (Specialist Group Military Intelligence), and in October he met with General Sir Richard Barrons. Notes from the meeting don't make clear who said what, but one despaired that "if no catastrophe happens to wake people up and demand a response, then we need to find a way to get the core of government to realise the problem and take it out of the political space."

"We will need to impose changes over the heads of vested interests. We did this in the 1930s. My conclusion is it is we who must either generate the debate or wait for something dreadful to happen to shock us into action. We must generate an independent debate outside government. We need to ask when and how do we start to put all this right? Do we have the national capabilities [and/or] capacities to fix it? If so, how do we improve our harnessing of resources to do it? We need this debate now. There is not a moment to be lost," they said.

Operation IRIS Begins

On 4 March 2018, former Russian military officer and double agent for MI6 Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England.

Within days, the Institute had submitted a proposal to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, "to study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread and evaluate how the incident is being perceived" in a number of countries.

The bid was accepted, and the Initiative's 'Operation Iris' was launched. Under its auspices, the Institute employed 'global investigative solutions' firm Harod Associates to analyze social media activity related to Skripal the world over.

It also conducted media monitoring of its own, with Institute 'research fellow' Simon Bracey-Lane producing regular 'roundups' of media coverage overseas, based on insights submitted by individuals connected to the Initiative living in several countries. One submission, from an unnamed source in Moldova, says they "cannot firmly say" whether the country's media had its "own point of view" on the issue, or whether news organizations had taken "an obvious pro-Russian or pro-Western position", strongly suggesting these were key questions for the Initiative.

Integrity Initiative Seeks Intelligence On How Overseas Media Reported Skripal Incident Integrity Initiative Seeks Intelligence On How Overseas Media Reported Skripal Incident

Moreover though, there are clear indications the Institute sought to shape the news narrative on the attack -- and indeed the UK government's response. One file dated March 11 appears to be a briefing document on the affair to date, with key messages bolded throughout.

It opens by setting out "The Narrative" of the incident -- namely "Russia has carried out yet another brutal attack, this time with a deadly nerve agent, on someone living in Britain".

"Use of the nerve agent posed a threat to innocent British subjects, affecting 21 people and seriously affecting a police officer. This is not the first time such an attack has been carried out in the UK 14 deaths are believed to be attributable to the Kremlin Russia has poisoned its enemies abroad on other occasions, most notably then-candidate for the Presidency of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, in 2004. Russian political activist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been poisoned twice; and the journalist Anna Politkovskaya was also poisoned and later shot dead. Since Putin has been running Russia, the Kremlin has a history of poisoning its opponents in a gruesome way," the "narrative" reads.

The file goes on to declare the British response has been "far too weak it's essential the government makes a much stronger response this time" -- and then lists "possible, realistic, first actions", including banning RT and Sputnik from operating in the UK, boycotting the 2018 World Cup, withdrawing the UK ambassador from Moscow and expelling the Russian ambassador to the UK, and refusing/revoking visas to leading Russians within Vladimir Putin's "circle", and their families.

Post-Skripal Incident Anti-Russian Actions Recommended by Integrity Initiative Post-Skripal Incident Anti-Russian Actions Recommended by Integrity Initiative

It's not clear who the document was distributed to -- but it may have been given to journalists within the Initiative's UK 'cluster', if not others. This may explain why the Institute's "narrative", and its various recommended "responses" utterly dominated mainstream media reporting of the affair for months afterwards, despite the glaring lack of evidence of Russian state involvement in the attack.

It's extremely curious so many of the briefing document's recommendations almost exactly -- if not exactly -- echo several of the suggested "levers" outlined in the 2015 document. It's also somewhat troubling the "Global Operation Foot" spoken of in that file duly came to pass on March 28 2018, with over 20 countries expelling over 100 Russian diplomats.

Likewise, it's striking Victor Madeira, the Institute staffer who made the recommendations in 2015, made many media appearances discussing the poisoning following the incident routinely documented by the Institute. Security consultant Dan Kaszeta also wrote a number of articles for the Integrity Initiative website about chemical weapons following the attack -- including a July 14 article, How could Novichok have poisoned people four months after the Skripal attack? -- receiving 40 pence per word .

Invoice submitted to Integrity Initiative by Dan Kaszeta Invoice submitted to Integrity Initiative by Dan Kaszeta Strange Connections

The Institute's bizarrely intimate connections with the incident don't end there. Another document apparently dating to July 2018 contains the contact details of Pablo Miller, Skripal's MI6 recruiter, handler and -- unbelievably -- neighbor in Salisbury. Anonymous claims the document is an invitee list for a meeting the Institute convened between a number of individuals and Syria's highly controversial White Helmets group, but this is yet to be verified.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the latest document dump raises yet further questions about how and why it was BBC Diplomatic and Defense Editor Mark Urban -- who was in the same tank regiment as Miller after leaving University -- came to meet with Skripal in the year before his poisoning. When I attended the launch of his book on the affair in October -- The Skripal Files -- he was evasive on whether he played a role in connecting him with Skripal, and denied Miller was Skripal's recruiter.

The latest trove also raises yet further questions about the activities of the Institute for Statecraft and Integrity Initiative. In light of these revelations, reading the record of Donnelly's meeting with General Barrons takes on an acutely chilling quality. It may be that purely serendipitously the pair got their "catastrophe", their "something dreadful", which "[woke] people up" and made the government "realise the problem" posed by Russia -- or it could be they one way or another played a facilitative role of some kind.

After months of refusing to answer the vast number of questions I and thousands of others have submitted to the paired organizations, it's high time for them to break cover, and be honest with the public.

[Jan 08, 2019] Skripal spin doctors- Documents link UK govt-funded Integrity Initiative to anti-Russia narrative

Highly recommended!
Images removed. Please brose the original to view them.
Notable quotes:
"... "Russian disinformation." ..."
"... "network of networks" ..."
"... It's notable that many of the draconian anti-Russia measures that the group advocated as far back as 2015 were swiftly implemented following the Skripal affair – even as London refused to back up its finger-pointing with evidence. ..."
"... "study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread, and evaluate how the incident is being perceived" ..."
"... "global investigative solutions" ..."
"... What role did # IntegrityInitiative play in the # Skripal affair? I looked for answers from a brief look at the newly released files. More very much to follow.... ..."
"... "pro-Russia troll accounts" ..."
"... "bombarding the audience with pro-Kremlin propaganda and disinformation relevant to the Skripal case." ..."
"... Another document , dated March 11, 2018 – and titled "Sergei Skripal Affair: What if Russia is Responsible?" – contains a "narrative" ..."
"... These included boycotting the 2018 World Cup, starting campaigns to boycott the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, blocking Russian access to the SWIFT international banking system, and banning "RT TV and Sputnik from operating in the UK." ..."
"... "to publicize what has been happening with their Muslim brethren in Crimea since the Russian invasion [sic]" ..."
"... "threat Russia poses." ..."
"... This would certainly explain the evidence-deficient echo chamber that emerged in the aftermath of Skripal's poisoning ..."
"... One of the more intriguing revelations from the fresh leaks is a document from 2015, in which Victor Madeira of the Institute for Statecraft proposes a series of measures targeting Russia, including mass expulsion of diplomats along the lines of 1971's Operation Foot. ..."
"... "the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history." ..."
"... "Makes you think " ..."
"... The new trove of hacked documents also revealed an unexplained link between the II and Skripal himself – a connection made all the more noteworthy by the group's central role in coordinating an evidence-free campaign to blame and punish Moscow for the alleged nerve-agent attack. A document from July 2018 contains contact details for Pablo Miller, Skripal's MI6 recruiter, handler and (conveniently) neighbor in Salisbury. Miller, it seems, had been invited to a function hosted by the Institute. ..."
"... It was already known that Pablo Miller, the MI6 handler of Sergej Skripal, attended # IntegrityInitiative meetings. There is now more material to draw a connection. It is indeed possible that IfS/II initiated the affair. ..."
"... £2,276.80 in July 2018 during the # Skripal # Novichok affair for writing articles on the subjects of poison gas; nerve agents; treatment; nerve agent persistency & # PortonDown @ RTUKproducer 160 1:24 PM - Jan 4, 2019 ..."
"... It's not clear to what degree Miller is or was involved with the group, but his appearance on an Integrity Initiative guest list adds another layer of mystery to a coordinated campaign which sought to impose punishments on Moscow that were drawn up years in advance. ..."
Jan 05, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press

The Integrity Initiative, a UK-funded group exposed in leaked files as psyop network, played a key role in monitoring and molding media narratives after the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal, newly-dumped documents reveal. Created by the NATO-affiliated, UK-funded Institute for Statecraft in 2015, the Integrity Initiative was unmasked in November after hackers released documents detailing a web of politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics involved in purportedly fighting "Russian disinformation."

The secretive, government-bankrolled "network of networks" has found itself under scrutiny for smearing UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a Kremlin stooge – ostensibly as part of its noble crusade against anti-Russian disinformation. Now, new leaks show that the organization played a central role in shaping media narratives after Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were mysteriously poisoned in Salisbury last March.

It's notable that many of the draconian anti-Russia measures that the group advocated as far back as 2015 were swiftly implemented following the Skripal affair – even as London refused to back up its finger-pointing with evidence.

Operation Iris

Days after the Skripals were poisoned, the Institute solicited its services to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, offering to "study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread, and evaluate how the incident is being perceived" in a number of countries.

After receiving the government's blessing, the Integrity Initiative (II) launched 'Operation Iris,' enlisting "global investigative solutions" firm Harod Associates to analyze social media activity related to Skripal.

Kit Klarenberg @KitKlarenberg

What role did # IntegrityInitiative play in the # Skripal affair? I looked for answers from a brief look at the newly released files. More very much to follow....

264 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

However, Harod's confidential report did more than just parse social media reactions to the Skripal affair: It compiled a list of alleged "pro-Russia troll accounts" accused of "bombarding the audience with pro-Kremlin propaganda and disinformation relevant to the Skripal case."

Among those who found themselves listed as nefarious thought-criminals were Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, and a gentleman from Kent who goes by Ian56 on Twitter.

Ian56 @Ian56789 · Jan 4, 2019 # IntegrityInitiative "

Top Kremlin Trolls" aka Truth Tellers. Congratulations if you made the list.

https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring/appendix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring.pdf

Neocon Fascist, al-Qaeda Supporting Treasonous Scumbag @ Benimmo is having a laugh with £2m of Taxpayers money. Nimmo should be IN JAIL for Fraud & Treason

Ian56 @Ian56789 # IntegrityInitiative

examples of Logical, Critical Thinking & Objective Analysis by yours truly Ian56.

https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-r---ian56789-example-tweets/appendix-r---ian56789-example-tweets.pdf

They didn't even include my best ones and they didn't show the pic that went with each tweet. I wonder why?

# Skripal # Novichok # FalseFlag pic.twitter.com/Zq8W9iJshk 41 1:39 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

34 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA · Jan 4, 2019 @ Ian56789 @ MarkSleboda1 @ Malinka1102 @ ValLisitsa @ NinaByzantina

Folks, you are all noted as "trolls" in some of the files of the new # IntegrityInitiative release

https://www. cyberguerrilla.org/blog/operation -integrity-initiative-british-informational-war-against-all-part-4/ https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring/appendix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring.pdf https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-p---troll-accounts-mutual-connections-graph/appendix-p---troll-accounts-mutual-connections-graph.pdf https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-q---troll-geolocation-graph/appendix-q---troll-geolocation-graph.pdf

Operation 'Integrity Initiative': British informational war against all. Part 4

Greetings! We are Anonymous.We have warned the UK government that it must conduct an honest and transparent investigation into the activity of the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statec cyberguerrilla.org

Ruslana Boshirova @ValLisitsa

Wanna see something funny?

"The Insider" - the same "Insider", that was credited by Bellingcat with "outing Boshirov and Petrovas GRU agents" - has investigated and found me guilty of passing Putin orders to French yellow jackets. I kid you not.

https:// twitter.com/Antifake_Russi a/status/1073112488072437760?s=19 Antifake @Antifake_Russia СМИ выдали за манифест "желтых жилетов" твиты украинской пианистки с ником "Руслана Боширова" https:// theins.ru/antifake/131804 116 3:21 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

94 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

Pushing a narrative

Another document , dated March 11, 2018 – and titled "Sergei Skripal Affair: What if Russia is Responsible?" – contains a "narrative" of the Skripal incident, which blames Russia and President Vladimir Putin personally, as well as containing a number of recommended actions.

These included boycotting the 2018 World Cup, starting campaigns to boycott the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, blocking Russian access to the SWIFT international banking system, and banning "RT TV and Sputnik from operating in the UK."

Other suggestions included propaganda directed at British Muslims "to publicize what has been happening with their Muslim brethren in Crimea since the Russian invasion [sic]" and getting members of parliament to publicize the "threat Russia poses." It's not clear who the document was drawn up for, but it may have been provided to II-affiliated journalists in the UK and other countries.

This would certainly explain the evidence-deficient echo chamber that emerged in the aftermath of Skripal's poisoning – which the UK and its allies unanimously blamed on Moscow.

Ahead of its time?

One of the more intriguing revelations from the fresh leaks is a document from 2015, in which Victor Madeira of the Institute for Statecraft proposes a series of measures targeting Russia, including mass expulsion of diplomats along the lines of 1971's Operation Foot.

Coincidentally, more than 100 Russian diplomats were expelled from 20 Western countries in an apparently show of solidarity with the UK following the Skripal attack. At the time, UK Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed what she said was "the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history."

Former MP George Galloway noted that the documents, written long before the Salisbury events, also call for the arrest of RT and Sputnik contributors (such as himself), adding: "Makes you think "

George Galloway @georgegalloway

So: # IntegrityInitiative funded by the British Govt called for the arrest of people like me like @ afshinrattansi @ JohnWight1 @ NeilClark66 et al in the event of an "incident" like the # Skripal affair.

Written incidentally before the # Salisbury events. Makes you think...

@ RT_com 688 12:53 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

606 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

A curious connection

The new trove of hacked documents also revealed an unexplained link between the II and Skripal himself – a connection made all the more noteworthy by the group's central role in coordinating an evidence-free campaign to blame and punish Moscow for the alleged nerve-agent attack. A document from July 2018 contains contact details for Pablo Miller, Skripal's MI6 recruiter, handler and (conveniently) neighbor in Salisbury. Miller, it seems, had been invited to a function hosted by the Institute.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA

It was already known that Pablo Miller, the MI6 handler of Sergej Skripal, attended # IntegrityInitiative meetings. There is now more material to draw a connection. It is indeed possible that IfS/II initiated the affair.

# SergeiSkripal # Disinformation # Propaganda # InformationWar 283 2:38 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

241 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy
Fvnk @WhatTheFvnk

EXPLOSIVE: @ DanKaszeta of @ Strongpoint_UK invoiced @ InitIntegrity # IntegrityInitiative

£2,276.80 in July 2018 during the # Skripal # Novichok affair for writing articles on the subjects of poison gas; nerve agents; treatment; nerve agent persistency & # PortonDown @ RTUKproducer 160 1:24 PM - Jan 4, 2019

188 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

It's not clear to what degree Miller is or was involved with the group, but his appearance on an Integrity Initiative guest list adds another layer of mystery to a coordinated campaign which sought to impose punishments on Moscow that were drawn up years in advance.

Read also:

[Jan 08, 2019] No, wealth isn t created at the top. It is merely devoured there by Rutger Bregman

Highly recommended!
Financialization is a new type of racket...
Notable quotes:
"... Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook ... a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they're sucking the rest of us dry @rcbregman ..."
"... 'A big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body' ..."
"... This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state. These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have "made it". By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world. ..."
"... To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our "human capital" in economic terms) to create something new, whether that's a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth. ..."
"... But there is also a second way to make money. That's the rentier way : by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others' expense, using his power to claim economic benefit. ..."
"... For those who know their history, the term "rentier" conjures associations with heirs to estates, such as the 19th century's large class of useless rentiers, well-described by the French economist Thomas Piketty . These days, that class is making a comeback. (Ironically, however, conservative politicians adamantly defend the rentier's right to lounge around, deeming inheritance tax to be the height of unfairness.) But there are also other ways of rent-seeking. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley , from big pharma to the lobby machines in Washington and Westminster, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere. ..."
"... It may take quite a mental leap to see our economy as a system that shows solidarity with the rich rather than the poor. So I'll start with the clearest illustration of modern freeloaders at the top: bankers. Studies conducted by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements – not exactly leftist thinktanks – have revealed that much of the financial sector has become downright parasitic. How instead of creating wealth, they gobble it up whole. ..."
"... In other words, a big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body. It's not creating anything new, merely sucking others dry. Bankers have found a hundred and one ways to accomplish this. The basic mechanism, however, is always the same: offer loans like it's going out of style, which in turn inflates the price of things like houses and shares, then earn a tidy percentage off those overblown prices (in the form of interest, commissions, brokerage fees, or what have you), and if the shit hits the fan, let Uncle Sam mop it up. ..."
"... Bankers are the most obvious class of closet freeloaders, but they are certainly not alone. Many a lawyer and an accountant wields a similar revenue model. Take tax evasion . Untold hardworking, academically degreed professionals make a good living at the expense of the populations of other countries. Or take the tide of privatisations over the past three decades, which have been all but a carte blanche for rentiers. One of the richest people in the world, Carlos Slim , earned his millions by obtaining a monopoly of the Mexican telecom market and then hiking prices sky high. The same goes for the Russian oligarchs who rose after the Berlin Wall fell , who bought up valuable state-owned assets for song to live off the rent. ..."
"... Even paragons of modern progress like Apple, Amazon, Google , Facebook, Uber and Airbnb are woven from the fabric of rentierism. Firstly, because they owe their existence to government discoveries and inventions (every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll). And second, because they tie themselves into knots to avoid paying taxes, retaining countless bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists for this very purpose. ..."
"... Even more important, many of these companies function as "natural monopolies", operating in a positive feedback loop of increasing growth and value as more and more people contribute free content to their platforms. Companies like this are incredibly difficult to compete with, because as they grow bigger, they only get stronger. ..."
"... Most of Mark Zuckerberg's income is just rent collected off the millions of picture and video posts that we give away daily for free. And sure, we have fun doing it. But we also have no alternative – after all, everybody is on Facebook these days. Zuckerberg has a website that advertisers are clamouring to get onto, and that doesn't come cheap. Don't be fooled by endearing pilots with free internet in Zambia. Stripped down to essentials, it's an ordinary ad agency. In fact, in 2015 Google and Facebook pocketed an astounding 64% of all online ad revenue in the US. ..."
"... Rentierism is, in essence, a question of power. That the Sun King Louis XIV was able to exploit millions was purely because he had the biggest army in Europe. It's no different for the modern rentier. He's got the law, politicians and journalists squarely in his court. That's why bankers get fined peanuts for preposterous fraud, while a mother on government assistance gets penalised within an inch of her life if she checks the wrong box. ..."
"... The biggest tragedy of all, however, is that the rentier economy is gobbling up society's best and brightest. Where once upon a time Ivy League graduates chose careers in science, public service or education, these days they are more likely to opt for banks, law firms, or trumped up ad agencies like Google and Facebook. When you think about it, it's insane. We are forking over billions in taxes to help our brightest minds on and up the corporate ladder so they can learn how to score ever more outrageous handouts. ..."
"... One thing is certain: countries where rentiers gain the upper hand gradually fall into decline. Just look at the Roman Empire. Or Venice in the 15th century. Look at the Dutch Republic in the 18th century. Like a parasite stunts a child's growth, so the rentier drains a country of its vitality. ..."
Mar 30, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Rutger Bregman

Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook ... a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they're sucking the rest of us dry @rcbregman

Comments 890

'A big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body'.

This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state. These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have "made it". By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world.

Now, we may disagree about the extent to which success deserves to be rewarded – the philosophy of the left is that the strongest shoulders should bear the heaviest burden, while the right fears high taxes will blunt enterprise – but across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top.

So entrenched is this assumption that it's even embedded in our language. When economists talk about "productivity", what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like " welfare state ", "redistribution" and "solidarity", we're implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.

In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as "successful" and "innovative" are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it's a non-issue.

To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our "human capital" in economic terms) to create something new, whether that's a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.

But there is also a second way to make money. That's the rentier way : by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others' expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.

'From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere.'

For those who know their history, the term "rentier" conjures associations with heirs to estates, such as the 19th century's large class of useless rentiers, well-described by the French economist Thomas Piketty . These days, that class is making a comeback. (Ironically, however, conservative politicians adamantly defend the rentier's right to lounge around, deeming inheritance tax to be the height of unfairness.) But there are also other ways of rent-seeking. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley , from big pharma to the lobby machines in Washington and Westminster, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere.

There is no longer a sharp dividing line between working and rentiering. In fact, the modern-day rentier often works damn hard. Countless people in the financial sector, for example, apply great ingenuity and effort to amass "rent" on their wealth. Even the big innovations of our age – businesses like Facebook and Uber – are interested mainly in expanding the rentier economy. The problem with most rich people therefore is not that they are coach potatoes. Many a CEO toils 80 hours a week to multiply his allowance. It's hardly surprising, then, that they feel wholly entitled to their wealth.

It may take quite a mental leap to see our economy as a system that shows solidarity with the rich rather than the poor. So I'll start with the clearest illustration of modern freeloaders at the top: bankers. Studies conducted by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements – not exactly leftist thinktanks – have revealed that much of the financial sector has become downright parasitic. How instead of creating wealth, they gobble it up whole.

Don't get me wrong. Banks can help to gauge risks and get money where it is needed, both of which are vital to a well-functioning economy. But consider this: economists tell us that the optimum level of total private-sector debt is 100% of GDP. Based on this equation, if the financial sector only grows, it won't equal more wealth, but less. So here's the bad news. In the United Kingdom, private-sector debt is now at 157.5% . In the United States, the figure is 188.8% .

In other words, a big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body. It's not creating anything new, merely sucking others dry. Bankers have found a hundred and one ways to accomplish this. The basic mechanism, however, is always the same: offer loans like it's going out of style, which in turn inflates the price of things like houses and shares, then earn a tidy percentage off those overblown prices (in the form of interest, commissions, brokerage fees, or what have you), and if the shit hits the fan, let Uncle Sam mop it up.

The financial innovation concocted by all the math whizzes working in modern banking (instead of at universities or companies that contribute to real prosperity) basically boils down to maximizing the total amount of debt. And debt, of course, is a means of earning rent. So for those who believe that pay ought to be proportionate to the value of work, the conclusion we have to draw is that many bankers should be earning a negative salary; a fine, if you will, for destroying more wealth than they create.

Bankers are the most obvious class of closet freeloaders, but they are certainly not alone. Many a lawyer and an accountant wields a similar revenue model. Take tax evasion . Untold hardworking, academically degreed professionals make a good living at the expense of the populations of other countries. Or take the tide of privatisations over the past three decades, which have been all but a carte blanche for rentiers. One of the richest people in the world, Carlos Slim , earned his millions by obtaining a monopoly of the Mexican telecom market and then hiking prices sky high. The same goes for the Russian oligarchs who rose after the Berlin Wall fell , who bought up valuable state-owned assets for song to live off the rent.

But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking.

Take the pharmaceutical industry. Companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer regularly unveil new drugs, yet most real medical breakthroughs are made quietly at government-subsidised labs. Private companies mostly manufacture medications that resemble what we've already got. They get it patented and, with a hefty dose of marketing, a legion of lawyers, and a strong lobby, can live off the profits for years. In other words, the vast revenues of the pharmaceutical industry are the result of a tiny pinch of innovation and fistfuls of rent.

Even paragons of modern progress like Apple, Amazon, Google , Facebook, Uber and Airbnb are woven from the fabric of rentierism. Firstly, because they owe their existence to government discoveries and inventions (every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll). And second, because they tie themselves into knots to avoid paying taxes, retaining countless bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists for this very purpose.

Even more important, many of these companies function as "natural monopolies", operating in a positive feedback loop of increasing growth and value as more and more people contribute free content to their platforms. Companies like this are incredibly difficult to compete with, because as they grow bigger, they only get stronger.

Aptly characterising this "platform capitalism" in an article, Tom Goodwin writes : "Uber, the world's largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world's most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world's largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate."

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll.' Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

So what do these companies own? A platform. A platform that lots and lots of people want to use. Why? First and foremost, because they're cool and they're fun – and in that respect, they do offer something of value. However, the main reason why we're all happy to hand over free content to Facebook is because all of our friends are on Facebook too, because their friends are on Facebook because their friends are on Facebook.

Most of Mark Zuckerberg's income is just rent collected off the millions of picture and video posts that we give away daily for free. And sure, we have fun doing it. But we also have no alternative – after all, everybody is on Facebook these days. Zuckerberg has a website that advertisers are clamouring to get onto, and that doesn't come cheap. Don't be fooled by endearing pilots with free internet in Zambia. Stripped down to essentials, it's an ordinary ad agency. In fact, in 2015 Google and Facebook pocketed an astounding 64% of all online ad revenue in the US.

But don't Google and Facebook make anything useful at all? Sure they do. The irony, however, is that their best innovations only make the rentier economy even bigger. They employ scores of programmers to create new algorithms so that we'll all click on more and more ads. Uber has usurped the whole taxi sector just as Airbnb has upended the hotel industry and Amazon has overrun the book trade. The bigger such platforms grow the more powerful they become, enabling the lords of these digital feudalities to demand more and more rent.

Think back a minute to the definition of a rentier: someone who uses their control over something that already exists in order to increase their own wealth. The feudal lord of medieval times did that by building a tollgate along a road and making everybody who passed by pay. Today's tech giants are doing basically the same thing, but transposed to the digital highway. Using technology funded by taxpayers, they build tollgates between you and other people's free content and all the while pay almost no tax on their earnings.

This is the so-called innovation that has Silicon Valley gurus in raptures: ever bigger platforms that claim ever bigger handouts. So why do we accept this? Why does most of the population work itself to the bone to support these rentiers?

I think there are two answers. Firstly, the modern rentier knows to keep a low profile. There was a time when everybody knew who was freeloading. The king, the church, and the aristocrats controlled almost all the land and made peasants pay dearly to farm it. But in the modern economy, making rentierism work is a great deal more complicated. How many people can explain a credit default swap , or a collateralised debt obligation ? Or the revenue model behind those cute Google Doodles? And don't the folks on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley work themselves to the bone, too? Well then, they must be doing something useful, right?

Maybe not. The typical workday of Goldman Sachs' CEO may be worlds away from that of King Louis XIV, but their revenue models both essentially revolve around obtaining the biggest possible handouts. "The world's most powerful investment bank," wrote the journalist Matt Taibbi about Goldman Sachs , "is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

But far from squids and vampires, the average rich freeloader manages to masquerade quite successfully as a decent hard worker. He goes to great lengths to present himself as a "job creator" and an "investor" who "earns" his income by virtue of his high "productivity". Most economists, journalists, and politicians from left to right are quite happy to swallow this story. Time and again language is twisted around to cloak funneling and exploitation as creation and generation.

However, it would be wrong to think that all this is part of some ingenious conspiracy. Many modern rentiers have convinced even themselves that they are bona fide value creators. When current Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was asked about the purpose of his job, his straight-faced answer was that he is " doing God's work ". The Sun King would have approved.

The second thing that keeps rentiers safe is even more insidious. We're all wannabe rentiers. They have made millions of people complicit in their revenue model. Consider this: What are our financial sector's two biggest cash cows? Answer: the housing market and pensions. Both are markets in which many of us are deeply invested.

Recent decades have seen more and more people contract debts to buy a home, and naturally it's in their interest if house prices continue to scale new heights (read: burst bubble upon bubble). The same goes for pensions. Over the past few decades we've all scrimped and saved up a mountainous pension piggy bank. Now pension funds are under immense pressure to ally with the biggest exploiters in order to ensure they pay out enough to please their investors.

The fact of the matter is that feudalism has been democratised. To a lesser or greater extent, we are all depending on handouts. En masse, we have been made complicit in this exploitation by the rentier elite, resulting in a political covenant between the rich rent-seekers and the homeowners and retirees.

Don't get me wrong, most homeowners and retirees are not benefiting from this situation. On the contrary, the banks are bleeding them far beyond the extent to which they themselves profit from their houses and pensions. Still, it's hard to point fingers at a kleptomaniac when you have sticky fingers too.

So why is this happening? The answer can be summed up in three little words: Because it can.

Rentierism is, in essence, a question of power. That the Sun King Louis XIV was able to exploit millions was purely because he had the biggest army in Europe. It's no different for the modern rentier. He's got the law, politicians and journalists squarely in his court. That's why bankers get fined peanuts for preposterous fraud, while a mother on government assistance gets penalised within an inch of her life if she checks the wrong box.

The biggest tragedy of all, however, is that the rentier economy is gobbling up society's best and brightest. Where once upon a time Ivy League graduates chose careers in science, public service or education, these days they are more likely to opt for banks, law firms, or trumped up ad agencies like Google and Facebook. When you think about it, it's insane. We are forking over billions in taxes to help our brightest minds on and up the corporate ladder so they can learn how to score ever more outrageous handouts.

One thing is certain: countries where rentiers gain the upper hand gradually fall into decline. Just look at the Roman Empire. Or Venice in the 15th century. Look at the Dutch Republic in the 18th century. Like a parasite stunts a child's growth, so the rentier drains a country of its vitality.

What innovation remains in a rentier economy is mostly just concerned with further bolstering that very same economy. This may explain why the big dreams of the 1970s, like flying cars, curing cancer, and colonising Mars, have yet to be realised, while bankers and ad-makers have at their fingertips technologies a thousand times more powerful.

Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Tollgates can be torn down, financial products can be banned, tax havens dismantled, lobbies tamed, and patents rejected. Higher taxes on the ultra-rich can make rentierism less attractive, precisely because society's biggest freeloaders are at the very top of the pyramid. And we can more fairly distribute our earnings on land, oil, and innovation through a system of, say, employee shares, or a universal basic income .

But such a revolution will require a wholly different narrative about the origins of our wealth. It will require ditching the old-fashioned faith in "solidarity" with a miserable underclass that deserves to be borne aloft on the market-level salaried shoulders of society's strongest. All we need to do is to give real hard-working people what they deserve.

And, yes, by that I mean the waste collectors, the nurses, the cleaners – theirs are the shoulders that carry us all.

• Pre-order Utopia for Realists and How Can We Get There by Rutger Bregman

• Translated from the original Dutch by Elizabeth Manton

See also:

[Jan 06, 2019] British elite fantasy of again ruling the world (with American and Zionist aid) has led to a series of catastrophic blunders and overreaches in both foreign and domestic policies.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If I had the talent and energy, I might write a sequel to the 'Quiet American', to be entitled 'The Noisy Englishmen.' It would feature a series of inept conspiracies, involving ludicrous means used in support of preposterous ends, necessitating one ham-fisted cover-up after another. ..."
"... The central characters might be loosely based on Christopher Steele, Matt Tait, Eliot Higgins, and our former UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, author of the July 2002 Downing Street memorandum, in which Sir Richard Dearlove was quoted explaining how, in Washington, 'the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.' ..."
Jan 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Pat Lang Mod -> David Habakkuk , 2 months ago

After contemplating the likely intelligence and propaganda efforts of HMG over the last 15 years or so I am puzzled as to motivation. Why? Why? The UK is now a regional power for which events in places like Syria would seem to have little to do with the welfare of Britain. Why? I suppose that the same question can be asked for the US and I have. In re "Our man in Havana" I think there are many issues raised in the work that apply directly to the trade of espionage.
David Habakkuk -> Pat Lang , 2 months ago
Colonel Lang,

The question why? is a very interesting but also very dispiriting one, but also one which it is quite hard to get one's head round. I hope to have something more coherent to say about it.

Among many reasons, however, there has been a kind of intellectual disintegration.

If I had the talent and energy, I might write a sequel to the 'Quiet American', to be entitled 'The Noisy Englishmen.' It would feature a series of inept conspiracies, involving ludicrous means used in support of preposterous ends, necessitating one ham-fisted cover-up after another.

The central characters might be loosely based on Christopher Steele, Matt Tait, Eliot Higgins, and our former UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, author of the July 2002 Downing Street memorandum, in which Sir Richard Dearlove was quoted explaining how, in Washington, 'the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.'

Subsequently, of course, he set about colluding in the process. And, sixteen years later, Dearlove is still at it, with 'Russiagate' -- and the product being actually accepted much more uncritically by the MSM than it was then.

And that is one of the problems -- nobody any longer pays any penalty for failure, or indeed feels any sense of shame about it..

johnf -> David Habakkuk , 2 months ago
DH

I agree with this.

There is a 1990's British historian (whose name I've been trying to rediscover without success) who wrote a sunny book saying Britain should return to its imperialist ways to bring light to the dark and repressive world we live in. It was a great hit with Blair and his henchmen. Blair used its arguments in his notorious 1999 Chicago neo-conservative/liberal interventionist speech.

As the Colonel eloquently asks:

"I am puzzled as to motivation. Why? Why? The UK is now a regional power for which events in places like Syria would seem to have little todo with the welfare of Britain. Why?"

I'd draw attention to "The Brideshead Revisited" generation especially at Oxford in the early 80's. Unashamedly celebrating their wealth and upper middle class privately-educated backgrounds, they viewed themselves as a gilded, golden generation, preened in narcissism, adept at networking and self-promotion.

They are the generation now in power - politically, financially, in the deep state. Their fantasy of again ruling the world (with American and Zionist aid) has led to a series of catastrophic blunders and overreaches in both foreign and domestic policies. Our economic power - the base of any imperial power - is shrinking daily. All the Oxfordites (chief amongst them Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove) are still playing Oxford Union/PPE games and stabbing each other joyously in the back as though there's no tomorrow. It most ressembles the halluciogenic decadence of the court of late Imperial Rome.

(I don't include the Maurice Cowling-ites in this fandango because they strike me as more Little Englanders. Though Peterhouse is of course, shamefully, the HQ of the Henry Jackson Society).

[Dec 31, 2018] Academic bottomfeeders at service of financial oligarchy by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... By abetting the ad industry, universities are leading us into temptation, when they should be enlightening us ..."
Dec 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: Advertising and academia are controlling our thoughts. Didn't you know- - George Monbiot - Opinion - The Guardian

By abetting the ad industry, universities are leading us into temptation, when they should be enlightening us

... ... ...

I ask because, while considering the frenzy of consumerism that rises beyond its usual planet-trashing levels at this time of year, I recently stumbled across a paper that astonished me . It was written by academics at public universities in the Netherlands and the US. Their purpose seemed to me starkly at odds with the public interest. They sought to identify "the different ways in which consumers resist advertising, and the tactics that can be used to counter or avoid such resistance".

Advertisement

me title=

Among the "neutralising" techniques it highlighted were "disguising the persuasive intent of the message"; distracting our attention by using confusing phrases that make it harder to focus on the advertiser's intentions; and "using cognitive depletion as a tactic for reducing consumers' ability to contest messages". This means hitting us with enough advertisements to exhaust our mental resources, breaking down our capacity to think.

Intrigued, I started looking for other academic papers on the same theme, and found an entire literature. There were articles on every imaginable aspect of resistance, and helpful tips on overcoming it. For example, I came across a paper that counsels advertisers on how to rebuild public trust when the celebrity they work with gets into trouble. Rather than dumping this lucrative asset, the researchers advised that the best means to enhance "the authentic persuasive appeal of a celebrity endorser" whose standing has slipped is to get them to display "a Duchenne smile", otherwise known as "a genuine smile". It precisely anatomised such smiles, showed how to spot them, and discussed the "construction" of sincerity and "genuineness": a magnificent exercise in inauthentic authenticity.

ss="rich-link tone-news--item rich-link--pillar-news"> Facebook told advertisers it can identify teens feeling 'insecure' and 'worthless' Read more

Another paper considered how to persuade sceptical people to accept a company's corporate social responsibility claims, especially when these claims conflict with the company's overall objectives. (An obvious example is ExxonMobil's attempts to convince people that it is environmentally responsible, because it is researching algal fuels that could one day reduce CO2 – even as it continues to pump millions of barrels of fossil oil a day ). I hoped the paper would recommend that the best means of persuading people is for a company to change its practices. Instead, the authors' research showed how images and statements could be cleverly combined to "minimise stakeholder scepticism".

A further paper discussed advertisements that work by stimulating Fomo – fear of missing out . It noted that such ads work through "controlled motivation", which is "anathema to wellbeing". Fomo ads, the paper explained, tend to cause significant discomfort to those who notice them. It then went on to show how an improved understanding of people's responses "provides the opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of Fomo as a purchase trigger". One tactic it proposed is to keep stimulating the fear of missing out, during and after the decision to buy. This, it suggested, will make people more susceptible to further ads on the same lines.

Advertisement

me title=

Yes, I know: I work in an industry that receives most of its income from advertising, so I am complicit in this too. But so are we all. Advertising – with its destructive impacts on the living planet, our peace of mind and our free will – sits at the heart of our growth-based economy. This gives us all the more reason to challenge it. Among the places in which the challenge should begin are universities, and the academic societies that are supposed to set and uphold ethical standards. If they cannot swim against the currents of constructed desire and constructed thought, who can?

• George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

[Dec 31, 2018] Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick even the IMF says so by Aditya Chakrabortty

Looks like Guardian start turning away from neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... What price is paid when a promise is broken? Because for much of my life, and probably yours, the political class has made this pledge: that the best way to run an economy is to hack back the public realm as far as possible and let the private sector run free. That way, services operate better, businesses get the resources they need, and our national finances are healthier. ..."
"... I don't wish to write about the everyday failings of neoliberalism – that piece would be filed before you could say "east coast mainline". Instead, I want to address the most stubborn belief of all: that running a small state is the soundest financial arrangement for governments and voters alike. Because 40 years on from the Thatcher revolution, more and more evidence is coming in to the contrary. ..."
"... The other big reason for the UK's financial precarity is its privatisation programme, described by the IMF as no less than a "fiscal illusion". British governments have flogged nearly everything in the cupboard, from airports to the Royal Mail – often at giveaway prices – to friends in the City. Such privatisations, judge the fund, "increase revenues and lower deficits but also reduce the government's asset holdings". ..."
"... IMF research shows is that the Westminster classes have been asset-stripping Britain for decades – and storing up financial trouble for future generations ..."
Oct 17, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The fund reports that Britain's finances are weaker than all other nations except Portugal, and says privatisation is to blame

Columnists usually proffer answers, but today I want to ask a question, a big one. What price is paid when a promise is broken? Because for much of my life, and probably yours, the political class has made this pledge: that the best way to run an economy is to hack back the public realm as far as possible and let the private sector run free. That way, services operate better, businesses get the resources they need, and our national finances are healthier.

It's why your tax credits keep dropping , and your mum has to wait half a year to see a hospital consultant – because David Cameron slashed public spending, to stop it "crowding out" private money. It's why water bills are so high and train services can never be counted on – because both industries have been privatised.

We let finance rip and flogged our assets. Austerity was bound to follow Will Hutton

From the debacle of universal credit to the forced conversion of state schools into corporate-run academies, the ideology of the small state – defined by no less a body than the International Monetary Fund as neoliberalism – is all pervasive. It decides how much money you have left at the end of the week and what kind of future your children will enjoy, and it explains why your elderly relatives can't get a decent carer.

I don't wish to write about the everyday failings of neoliberalism – that piece would be filed before you could say "east coast mainline". Instead, I want to address the most stubborn belief of all: that running a small state is the soundest financial arrangement for governments and voters alike. Because 40 years on from the Thatcher revolution, more and more evidence is coming in to the contrary.

Let's start with the IMF itself. Last week it published a report that barely got a mention from the BBC or in Westminster, yet helps reframe the entire debate over austerity. The fund totted up both the public debt and the publicly owned assets of 31 countries, from the US to Australia, Finland to France, and found that the UK had among the weakest public finances of the lot. With less than £3 trillion of assets against £5tn in pensions and other liabilities, the UK is more than £2tn in the red . Of all the other countries examined by researchers, including the Gambia and Kenya, only Portugal's finances look worse over the long run. So much for fixing the roof.

'British governments have flogged nearly everything in the cupboard from airports to the Royal Mail – often at giveaway prices – to friends in the City.' Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Rex/Shutterstock

Almost as startling are the IMF's reasons for why Britain is in such a state: one way or another they all come back to neoliberalism. Thatcher loosed finance from its shackles and used our North Sea oil money to pay for swingeing tax cuts. The result is an overfinancialised economy and a government that is £1tn worse off since the banking crash. Norway has similar North Sea wealth and a far smaller population, but also a sovereign wealth fund. Its net worth has soared over the past decade.

The other big reason for the UK's financial precarity is its privatisation programme, described by the IMF as no less than a "fiscal illusion". British governments have flogged nearly everything in the cupboard, from airports to the Royal Mail – often at giveaway prices – to friends in the City. Such privatisations, judge the fund, "increase revenues and lower deficits but also reduce the government's asset holdings".

Throughout the austerity decade, ministers and economists have pushed for spending cuts by pointing to the size of the government's annual overdraft, or budget deficit. Yet there are two sides to a balance sheet, as all accountants know and this IMF work recognises. The same goes for our public realm: if Labour's John McDonnell gets into No 11 and renationalises the railways, that would cost tens of billions – but it would also leave the country with assets worth tens of billions that provided a regular income.

Instead, what this IMF research shows is that the Westminster classes have been asset-stripping Britain for decades – and storing up financial trouble for future generations.

Just look at housing to see the true cost of privatisation Dawn Foster

Privatisation and austerity have not only weakened the country's financial position – they have also handed unearned wealth to a select few. Just look at a new report from the University of Greenwich finding that water companies could have funded all their day-to-day running and their long-term investments out of the bills paid by customers. Instead of which, managers have lumbered the firms with £51bn of debt to pay for shareholders' dividends. Those borrowed billions, and the millions in interest, will be paid by you and me in our water bills. We might as well stuff the cash directly into the pockets of shareholders.

Instead of competitively run utilities, record investment by the private sector and sounder public finances, we have natural monopolies handed over to the wealthy, banks that can dump their liabilities on the public when things get tough, and an outsourcing industry that feasts upon the carcass of the public sector. As if all this weren't enough, neoliberal voices complain that we need to cut taxes and red tape, and further starve our public services.

This is a genuine scandal, but it requires us to recognise what neoliberalism promised and what it has failed to deliver. Some of the loudest critics of the ideology have completely misidentified it. Academics will daub the term "neoliberal" on any passing phenomenon. Fitbits are apparently neoliberal, as is Ben & Jerry's ice-cream and Kanye West. Pundits will say that neoliberalism is about markets and choice – tell that to any commuter wedged on a Southern rail train. And centrist politicians claim that the great failing of neoliberalism is its carelessness about identity and place, which is akin to complaining that the boy on a moped who snatched your smartphone is going too fast.

Let us get it straight. Neoliberalism has ripped you off and robbed you blind. The evidence of that is mounting up – in your bills, in your services and in the finances of your country.

• Aditya Chakrabortty is a Guardian columnist and senior economics commentator

[Dec 27, 2018] 'Trickle down effect' and pub test

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Phoroneus57 , 3 Jun 2018 23:03

'Trickle down effect' - the favourite buzzword of neoliberal supporters. I'd like to see trickle down effect tried at the local pub on the taps by the local mp. Imagine what would happen. Definitely doesn't pass the pub test.

[Dec 27, 2018] Dumping On The Donald

Dec 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Dumping On The Donald

by Tyler Durden Tue, 12/25/2018 - 15:00 41 SHARES Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth,

I still had some things I didn't talk about in Sunday's Trump Derangement International , about how the European press have found out that they, like the US MSM, can get lots of viewers and readers simply by publishing negative stories about Donald Trump. The US president is an attention magnet, as long as you only write things about him designed to make him look bad.

The Guardian is only too happy to comply. They ran a whole series of articles on Sunday to do juts that: try to make Trump look bad. Note that the Guardian editorial team that okayed the articles is the same as the one that allowed the fake Assange/Manafort one , so their credibility is already shot to pieces. It's the magic triangle of today's media profits: spout non-stop allegations against Russia, Trump and Julian Assange, and link them when and where you can. It doesn't matter if what you say is true or not.

Anyway, all the following is from the Guardian, all on December 23. First off, Adam Gabbatt in New York, who has painstakingly researched how Trump's businesses, like Trump Tower and the Trump store, don't appear to have sufficiently (as per him) switched from Happy Holidays to Merry Christmas. Sherlock Holmes would have been proud. A smash hit there Adam, bring out the handcuffs.

Trump's 'Merry Christmas' Pledge Fails To Manifest

During Donald Trump's presidential campaign he talked often about his determination to win one particular war. A war that had been raging for years, he said. Specifically: the war on Christmas. But despite Trump's repeated claims that "people are saying Merry Christmas again" instead of the more inclusive "happy holidays", there are several places where the Christmas greeting is absent: Trump's own businesses.

The Trump Store, for example. Instead of a Christmas gift guide – which surely would be more in keeping with the president's stated desire for the phrase to be used – the store offers a holiday gift guide. "Shop our Holiday Gift Guide and find the perfect present for the enthusiast on your list," the online store urges. "Carefully curated to celebrate the most wonderful time of year with truly unique gifts found only at Trump Store. Add a bow on top with our custom gift wrapping. Happy Holiday's!"

The use of the phrase "Happy Holiday's" [sic] in Trump marketing would seem particularly egregious. The long-standing "War-on-Christmas" complaint from the political right is that stores use the phrase "Happy Holidays", rather than specifically mentioning the Christian celebration. It is offered as both an example of political correctness gone mad, and as an effort to erase Christianity from the US.

It's just, I think that if Trump had personally interfered to make sure there were Merry Christmas messages all around, you would have remarked that as president, he's not allowed to be personally involved in his businesses. But yeah, you know, just to keep the negativity going, it works, no matter how fluffy and hollow.

Second, still on December 23, is Tom McCarthy for the Guardian in New York, who talks about Robert Mueller's phenomenal successes. Mueller charged 34 people so far. In a case that involves "this complexity which has international implications, aspects relying on the intelligence community, complicated cyber components". It really says that.

And yes, that's how many people view this. What do they care that Mueller's original mandate was to prove collusion between the Trump campaign and 'Russians', and that he has not proven any collusion at all so far, not even with 34 people charged? What do they care? It looks like Trump is guilty of something, anything, after all, and that's all the circus wants.

Robert Mueller Has Enjoyed A Year Of Successes 2019 Could Be Even Stronger

One measure of special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutorial success in 2018 is the list of former top Donald Trump aides brought to justice: Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, a jury convicted Paul Manafort, a judge berated Michael Flynn. Another measure is the tally of new defendants that Mueller's team charged (34), the number of new guilty pleas he netted (five) and the amount of money he clawed back through tax fraud cases ($48m).

Yet another measure might judge Mueller's pace compared with previous independent prosecutors. "I would refer to it as a lightning pace," said Barb McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former US attorney. "In a case of this complexity which has international implications, aspects relying on the intelligence community, complicated cyber components – to indict that many people that quickly is really impressive work."

But there's perhaps a more powerful way to measure Mueller's progress in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and links between Moscow and the Trump campaign; that's by noticing how the targets of his investigation have changed their postures over the course of 2018, from defiance to docility – or in the case of Trump himself, from defiance to extreme, hyperventilating defiance.

In reality, you would be at least as correct if you would claim that Robert Mueller's investigation has been an abject failure. Not one iota of collusion has been proven after 20 months and $20 million in funds have been used. And any serious investigation of Washington's culture of fixers and lobbyists would land at least 34 people who have committed acts that border on or over illegality. And in a matter of weeks, for a few hundred bucks.

Third, still on December 23, is Julian Borger in Washington, who's been elected to convey the image of chaos. Trump Unleashed, says our modern day Shakespeare. With Jim Mad Dog Mattis characterized as ".. the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration".. . Again, it really says that.

Because woe the man who tries to bring US troops home, or even promises to do so a few days before Christmas. For pulling out America's finest, Donald Trump is being portrayed as something eerily close to the antichrist. That truly is the world on its head. Bringing troops home to their families equals chaos.

Look, guys, if Trump has been guilty of criminal behavior, the US justice system should be able to find that out and convict him for it. But that's not what this is about anymore. A million articles have been written, like these ones in the Guardian, with the sole intention, evidence being scarce to non-existent, of smearing him to the extent that people see every subsequent article in the light of a man having previously been smeared.

Chaos At Home, Fear Abroad: Trump Unleashed Puts Western World On Edge

The US stumbled into the holiday season with a sense of unravelling, as a large chunk of the federal government ground to a halt, the stock market crashed and the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration announced he could no longer work with the president. The defense secretary, James Mattis, handed in his resignation on Thursday, over Donald Trump's abrupt decision to pull US troops out of Syria.

On Saturday another senior official joined the White House exodus. Brett McGurk, the special envoy for the global coalition to defeat Isis and the US official closest to America's Kurdish allies in the region, was reported to have handed in his resignation on Friday. That night, senators flew back to Washington from as far away as Hawaii for emergency talks aimed at finding a compromise on Trump's demand for nearly $6bn for a wall on the southern border, a campaign promise which has become an obsession.

Now look at the next headline, December 23, Graeme Wearden, Guardian, and ask yourself if it's really Trump saying he doesn't agree with the rate hikes that fuels the fears, or whether it's the hikes themselves. And also ask yourself: when Trump and Mnuchin both deny reports of Trump firing Powell, why do journalists keep saying the opposite? Because they want to fuel some fears?

From where I'm sitting, it looks perfectly logical that Trump says he doesn't think Powell's decisions are good for the US economy. And it doesn't matter which one of the two turns out to be right: Trump isn't the only person who disagrees with the Fed hikes.

The main suspect for 2019 market turmoil is the inevitable fallout from the Fed's QE under Bernanke and Yellen. And there is something to be said for Powell trying to normalize rates, but there's no doubt that may hasten, if not cause, turmoil. Blaming it on Trump not agreeing with Jay Powell is pretty much as left field as it gets.

White House Attacks On Fed Chair Fuel Fears Of Market Turmoil In 2019

Over the weekend, a flurry of reports claimed Donald Trump had discussed the possibility of firing the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell. Such an unprecedented move would trigger further instability in the markets, which have already had their worst year since the 2008 crisis. US officials scrambled to deny Trump had suggested ousting Powell, who was appointed by the president barely a year ago.

The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, tweeted that he had spoken to the president, who insisted he "never suggested firing" Powell, and did not believe he had the right to do this . However, Trump also declared – via Mnuchin – that he "totally disagrees" with the Fed's "absolutely terrible" policy of raising interest rates and unwinding its bond-buying stimulus programme, piling further pressure on the US's independent central bank.

And now, in the only article in the Guardian series that's December 24, not 23, by Victoria Bekiempis and agencies, the plunging numbers in the stock markets are Trump's fault, too.

Trump 'Plunging Us Into Chaos', Democrats Say, As Markets Tank And Shutdown Persists

Top Democrats have accused Donald Trump of "plunging the country into chaos" as top officials met to discuss a growing rout in stock markets caused in part by the president's persistent attacks on the Federal Reserve and a government shutdown. "It's Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos," the two top Democrats in Congress, House speaker nominee Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, wrote in a joint statement on Monday. "The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve – after he just fired the Secretary of Defense."

Trump criticized the Federal Reserve on Monday, describing it as the "only problem" for the US economy, even as top officials convened the "plunge protection team" forged after the 1987 crash to discuss the growing rout in stock markets. The crisis call on Monday between US financial regulators and the US treasury department failed to assure markets, and stocks fell again amid concern about slowing economic growth, the continuing government shutdown, and reports that Trump had discussed firing Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

The last one is from one Jonathan Jones, again December 23, again for the Guardian. And it takes the top award in the narrative building contest.

Again, the Guardian editorial team that okayed this article is still the same as the one that allowed the fake Assange/Manafort one, an editorial team that sees no problem in making things up in order to smear people. To portray Trump, Assange and anyone who's had the misfortune of being born in Russia as suspicious if not outright criminal.

But look at what Jones has to say, and what Guardian editor-in-chief Kathy Viner and her ilk allowed and pressured him to say. He wants to have a say in how Trump should dress (seasonal knitwear), he evokes the image of Nazi architect Albert Speer for no reason at all, and then it's a matter of mere inches until you arrive at Trump as a king, an emperor, an inner tyrant.

"He's in a tuxedo!", Like that's a bad thing for Christmas. "She's in white!". Oh dear, call the pope. If both Trumps would have put on Christmas sweaters in front of a fire, the writer would have found something negative in that.

Trump Portrait: You Couldn't Create A Creepier Yuletide Scene If You Tried

The absence of intimacy in the Trumps' official Christmas portrait freezes the heart. Can it be that hard to create a cosy image of the presidential couple, perhaps in front of a roaring hearth, maybe in seasonal knitwear? Or is this quasi-dictatorial image exactly what the president wants to project? Look on my Christmas trees, ye mighty, and despair! If so, it fuels suspicions that it is only the checks and balances of a 230-year-old constitution that are keeping America from the darkest of political fates. You couldn't create a creepier Yuletide scene if you tried. Multiple Christmas trees are currently a status symbol for the wealthy, but this picture shows the risks.

Instead of a homely symbol of midwinter cheer, these disciplined arboreal ranks with their uniform decorations are arrayed like massed soldiers or colossal columns designed by Albert Speer. The setting is the Cross Hall in the White House and, while the incumbent president cannot be held responsible for its architecture, why heighten its severity with such rigid, heartless seasonal trappings? Everything here communicates cold, empty magnificence. Tree lights that are as frigid as icicles are mirrored in a cold polished floor. Equally frosty illuminations are projected on the ceiling. Instead of twinkling fairy magic, this lifeless lighting creates a sterile, inhuman atmosphere.

You can't imagine kids playing among these trees or any conceivable fun being had by anyone. It suggests the micromanaged, corporate Christmas of a Citizen Kane who has long since lost touch with the ordinary, warm pleasures of real life. In the centre of this disturbing piece of conceptual art stand Donald and Melania Trump. He's in a tuxedo, she's wearing white – and not a woolly hat in sight. Their formal smartness adds to the emotional numbness of the scene. Trump's shark-like grin has nothing generous or friendly about it. He seems to want to show off his beautiful wife and his fantastic home rather than any of the cuddly holiday spirit a conventional politician might strive to share at this time.

It begs a question: how can a man who so glaringly lacks anything like a common touch be such a successful "populist"? What can a midwestern voter find in this image to connect with? Perhaps that's the point. After more than two centuries of democracy, Trump is offering the US people a king, or emperor. In this picture, he gives full vent to his inner tyrant. If this portrait contains any truth about the state of America and the world, may Santa help us all.

I realize that you may be tired of the whole story. I realize you may have been caught in the anti-Trump narrative. And I am by no means a Trump fan. But I will keep on dragging you back to this. Because the discussion should not be based on a handful of media moguls not liking Trump. It should not be based on innuendo and smear. If Trump is to be convicted, it must be on evidence.

And there is no such evidence. Robert Mueller has charged 34 people, but none with what his mandate was based on, none with Russia collusion. This means that the American political system, and democracy itself, is under severe threat by the very media that are supposed to be its gate keepers.

None of this is about Trump, or about whether you like him or not, or even if he's a shady character or not. Instead, it's about the influence the media have on how our opinions and ideas about people and events are being shaped on a daily basis.

And once you acknowledge that your opinions of Trump, Putin et al, even without any proof of a connection between them, are actively being molded by the press you expect to inform you about the truth behind what goes on, you will have to acknowledge, too, that you are a captive of forces that use your gullibility to make a profit off you.

If our media need to make up things all the time about who's guilty of what, because our justice systems are incapable of that, then we have a problem so enormous we may not be able to overcome it in our present settings.

Alternatively, if we trust our justice systems to deliver true justice, we don't need a hundred articles a day to tell us how Trump or Putin are such terrible threats to our world. Our judges will tell us, not our journalists or media who are only in it for a profit.

I can say: "let's start off 2019 trying to leave prejudice behind", and as much as that is needed and you may agree with me, it's no use if you don't realize to what extent your views of the world have been shaped by prejudice.

I see people reacting to the star writer at Der Spiegel who wrote a lot about Trump, being exposed as a fraud. I also see people trying to defend Julian Assange from the Guardian article about his alleged meetings with Paul Manafort, that was an obvious big fat lie (the truth is Manafort talked to Ecuador to help them 'sell' Assange to the US).

But reacting to the very obvious stuff is not enough . The echo chamber distorts the truth about Trump every single day, and at least six times on Sunda y, as this essay of mine shows. It's just that after two years of this going on 24/7, it is perceived as the normal.

Everyone makes money dumping on the Donald, it's a proven success formula, so why would the Guardian and Der Spiegel stay behind? They'd only hurt their own bottom line.

It has nothing to do with journalism, though, or news. It's smear and dirt, the business model of the National Enquirer. That's how far our once truthful media have fallen.

dcmbuffy , 18 minutes ago link

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Shakespeare Henry IV

like trump said- "no-one said it would be easy."

uhland62 , 54 minutes ago link

All these journalists are influenced and manipulated by 'Australian-American Leadership Dialogue', 'Atlantikbrücke', Open Society Foundation money etc. Wars boost the NYSE because many weapons manufacturers are listed there.

If the journalists weren't manipulated all 2018 compilations would not have omitted the World Cup in Russia.

[Dec 27, 2018] The MSM are hardly going to publish this article, nor are they going to reference it, why should they? It goes against everything they have been fighting for and the tin ear of their readership are unwilling to change teir views. The only thing that they understand is money and they work for to further the concentration of wealth.

Notable quotes:
"... Friends of mine who make a living out of dealing both in stock and wealth creating schemes have no loyalty to this country, they are self motivated and libertarian in persuasion. "Government should get out of the way!" This is nothing short of scandalous. ..."
"... Unless we stand up for our rights and a civil society that provides adequate provision for fair and balanced policy making,xwe will continue until we will see an implosion. History is littered with examples of revolution based on the kind of inequality we are seeing happen in this country. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

PossumBilly , 3 Jun 2018 23:25

This message is clear and concise. It is however never going to be heard beyond the 'Guardian'.

The MSM are hardly going to publish this article, nor are they going to reference it, why should they? It goes against everything they have been fighting for and the tin ear of their readership are unwilling to change teir views.

The only thing that they understand is money and the concentration of wealth. This misonception as Dennis So far this has been handed to them on a plate, the taxation system has enabled them to manipulate an multiply their earnings. So much of money the has nothing to do with adding value to this countries economy but is speculative in nature based on financial and overseas instruments.

No is the time for our government to take the lead and start as the Victorian ALP have done and invest in people and jobs on the back of strategic investment. It is a fallacy that governments don't create jobs they, through their policies do just that.

Friends of mine who make a living out of dealing both in stock and wealth creating schemes have no loyalty to this country, they are self motivated and libertarian in persuasion. "Government should get out of the way!" This is nothing short of scandalous.

Unless we stand up for our rights and a civil society that provides adequate provision for fair and balanced policy making,xwe will continue until we will see an implosion. History is littered with examples of revolution based on the kind of inequality we are seeing happen in this country. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

[Dec 27, 2018] All talk about "small government" and "slashing red tape" it is NeeSpeak for small government and NO red tape for the rich

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MajorMalaise , 3 Jun 2018 23:44

A couple of thoughts - in no particular order.

When governments like the LNP (driven as it is by its ideology of greed, the IPA manifesto and Gina Rinehart's idea of what Australia should look like [and how little she should pay to pillage "communally owned" assets to enrich herself beyond imagination - she has no greater claim over the Pilbara than any other Australian, but like all who live by the ethos of greed, she thinks she should get it all for nothing]).

When the LNP talk about "small government" and "slashing red tape" it is politician-speak for small government and NO red tape for the rich. What it also means is much more government and red tape for the poor and vulnerable - as we would expect, the rich and powerful, who really dictate economic and social policy in this country enlist willing governments to enact measures that suppress the lower classes. It is not quite calling out the military (as Hawke did during the pilot's strike at the insistence of the corpulent Ables - one act for which I will always despise Hawke), but it has the same result by more surreptitious, lasting and egregious means.

And one of the lasting legacies of the philosophies of neo-liberalism, from which the Hanson's of the world "suck their oxygen" is that the political and corporate dialogue of the last 30 or so years has pushed the notion of self-entitlement and vilification of the poor and vulnerable further down the economic ladder. So now, we have countless Australians on reasonable incomes who, like the rich, are convinced that all of our social and economic ills can be rectified if we stop giving handouts to the bludgers, the malingerers, the disabled and the indigenous - the neo-liberal rhetoric is now so widespread that it is easier than ever for the vulnerable to be attacked and for many, that is seen as absolutely necessary. It is the false US-sourced notion that if you are poor, it is because you deserve to be and if I am rich - it isn't luck or inheritance - it is because I deserve it. This world-view makes it so much easier to attack the vulnerable as receiving way to much to sit at home and bludge.

Want to forget the now disgraced CEO of Australia Post who bought a Sydney mansion for $22 million and now wants to sell it for $40 million - tax free I might add. He is entitled to that wealth enhancement. But someone on the dole smokes a spliff now and then and we think they should lose their entitlements to an income that doesn't even get them up to the poverty line (but they should be grateful for that pittance). Want to forget the CEO's who pretentiously do their "sleeping rough" for a night and proclaim their empathy for the homeless who would shriek at paying more tax to genuinely fund programmes to help the down and outs. No problem - just embrace the selfish and greedy neo-liberalism philosophy.

[Dec 27, 2018] Is it possible to wrench control of MSM out of hand on large corporations and intelligence agencies?

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RatioDecidend , 4 Jun 2018 01:33

This article is excellent and well overdue. All we need to do now is to wrench control of our mainstream media out of the hands of Corporate (foreign) control. We are being told to vote against ourselves in order for the few corporate elite to accrue massive wealth and power over us.

MEDIA laws need to be very strict with very, very severe financial penalties for bias and propaganda. Certainly remove this concept of self regulation whereby they sit on their own disciplinary boards. Raise the standards of our media and allow us to retrieve some semblance of our democracy.

Without media control, how would corporations be able to manipulate and propagandise the populace with their own vested interests.

That is why governments are doing corporate bidding and getting fascist style surveillance of its people, in order to counteract the ability of the people to gain knowledge through the internet and vote against corporate control of our democracy.... nothing to do with terrorism which was caused mostly by corporate foreign extraction of wealth through weapon sales; resource acquisition, etc.

Oops, got to go, hope that makes sense.

RatioDecidend -> Lawrie Griffith , 4 Jun 2018 00:51
It is back to control of our mainstream media by the very (foreign) corporations that are sucking out our wealth and putting nothing back.

Corporate media ia all powerful. They insidiously permeate the populace with corporate views of Australia's financial and economy; infrastructure and every aspect of social life from birth to euthanasia with racism and religion thrown in for good measure.

Should a politician have the audacity to act against their corporate interests, they do not last long, without exclusions - PMs Whitlam and Rudd being prime examples.

This current mob of gutless underachieving dinosaur neo con nutters in govt, are completely turning over Australia to these Corporate (foreign) parasites and our prospect is not looking good.

Within no time we will be a Corporatocracy (as is the USA) and along with that comes 1% owning 99% of the wealth; third world poverty; crime through the roof; drugs out of control; public health and education a joke; public services non existent; legal system in disarray and entrenched with bias and inequity.

[Dec 27, 2018] The big con how neoliberals convinced us there wasn't enough to go around by Richard Denniss

Notable quotes:
"... The political strategy behind these contradictions is simple: it is difficult to criticise government spending on health and education, or popular regulations like consumer protection and limits on executive pay. So why not just criticise all government spending and all ..."
Jun 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

After the mining boom and decades of economic growth, how can Australia be broke?

Gina Rinehart was becoming the world's richest woman those on the minimum wage were falling further and further behind

Australia just experienced one of the biggest mining booms in world history. But even at the peak of that boom, there was no talk of the wonderful opportunity we finally had to invest in world-class mental health or domestic violence crisis services.

Nor was there much talk from either major party about how the wealth of the mining boom gave us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in remote Indigenous communities. Nope, the peak of the mining boom was not the time to help those who had missed out in decades past, but the Howard government thought it was a great time to introduce permanent tax cuts for high-income earners. These, of course, are the tax cuts that caused the budget deficits we have today.

Millions of tonnes of explosives were used during the mining boom to build more than 100 new mines, but it wasn't just prime farmland that was blasted away in the boom, it was access to the middle class. At the same time that Gina Rinehart was becoming the world's richest woman on the back of rising iron ore prices, those on the minimum wage were falling further and further behind their fellow Australians.

https://www.theguardian.com/email/form/plaintone/4148

Like Joe Hockey, Rinehart saw the problem of inequality as having more to do with the character of the poor than with the rules of the game: "If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working."

Privatisation is deeply unpopular with voters. Here's how to end it | John Quiggin

Australia isn't poor; it is rich beyond the imagining of anyone living in the 1970s or 80s. But so much of that new wealth has been vacuumed up by a few, and so little of that new wealth has been paid in tax, that the public has been convinced that ours is a country struggling to pay its bills.

Convincing Australians that our nation is poor and that our governments "can't afford" to provide the level of services they provided in the past has not just helped to lower our expectations of our public services and infrastructure, it has helped to lower our expectations of democracy itself. A public school in Sydney has had to ban kids from running in the playground because it was so overcrowded. Trains have become so crowded at peak hours that many people, especially the frail and the disabled, are reluctant to use them. And those who have lost their jobs now wait for hours on the phone when they reach out to Centrelink for help.

Although people with low expectations are easier to con, fomenting cynicism about democracy comes at a long-term cost. Indeed, as the current crop of politicians is beginning to discover, people with low expectations feel they have nothing to lose.

As more and more people live with the poverty and job insecurity that flow directly from neoliberal welfare and industrial relations policies, the scare campaigns run so successfully by the likes of the Business Council of Australia have lost their sting. Scary stories about the economy become like car alarms: once they attracted attention, but now they simply annoy those forced to listen.

'If governments can't make a difference and all politicians are corrupt, why not vote for outsiders?

After decades of hearing conservative politicians say that government is the problem, a growing number of conservative voters no longer care which major party forms government. If governments can't make a difference and all politicians are corrupt, why not vote for outsiders like Jacqui Lambie or Clive Palmer? There is perhaps no clearer evidence of the short-termism of the Liberal and National parties today than their willingness to fan the flames of anti-politician rhetoric without considering that it is their own voters who are most likely to heed the message.

Back when he was leading the campaign against Australia becoming a republic, Tony Abbott famously argued that you couldn't trust politicians to choose our head of state. And more recently, in campaigning against marriage equality, Minister Matt Canavan was featured in a television advertisement laughing at the thought that we could trust politicians.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world

Convincing Australians that the country was broke also helped convince us that we have no choice but to sell the family silver. But of course we have a choice. Just as there is no right answer as to whether it's better to rent a home or buy one, there is no right answer to whether it's better for governments to own the electricity supply, the postal service or the water supply, or none of these things.

Different governments in different countries make different decisions at different points in time. While much of neoliberalism's rhetorical power comes from the assertion that "there is no alternative," the simple fact is that the world is full of alternatives. Indeed, even the so-called free marketeers in Australia can see alternatives.

Consider stadiums, for example. The NSW Liberal government has a long track record of being pro-privatisation. It has sold off billions of dollars' worth of electricity, water and health infrastructure. But when it comes to football stadiums, it has no ideological problem with public ownership, nor any fiscal inhibition about spending billions of taxpayers' dollars.

In 2016 the NSW Liberal government spent $220m buying back ANZ Stadium, built in the 1990s with taxpayer funds at a cost of $690m and subsequently sold to Stadium Australia Group. Having bought back the stadium, the NSW government plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars refurbishing it. That same money could build a lot of school science labs, domestic violence crisis centres or skate parks for the bored kids the shopping malls don't want scratching up their marble stairs. For the past 30 years, Australians have been told that we can't afford high-quality public services, that public ownership of assets is inefficient, and that the pursuit of free markets through deregulation would create wealth and prosperity for all. But none of this is true.

While the policy agenda of neoliberalism has never been broadly applied in Australia, for 30 years the language of neoliberalism has been applied to everything from environmental protection to care of the disabled. The result of the partial application of policy and the broad application of language is not just a yawning gap between those with the greatest wealth and those with the greatest need, but a country that is now riven by demographic, geographic and racial divides.

Cutting the budget deficit is very important – except when it isn't

Australian politics isn't about ideology, it's about interests. The clearest proof of that claim is that neoliberal ideas such as deregulation were never aimed at powerful interest groups like the pharmacists or the gambling industry. And savage spending cuts were never aimed at subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry or private health insurers.

Tony Abbott, who claimed to have a philosophical problem with carbon taxing, once proposed a 20% increase in the tobacco excise

Just as conservative Christian theology provides an excuse for sexism and homophobia, neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interests – systematically cutting spending on their enemies and giving money to their friends. Here are some examples:

John Howard said he was obsessed with deregulating the labour market, but introduced 762 pages of labour-market regulation, which he entitled WorkChoices. He didn't deregulate the labour market; he re-regulated it in his preferred form. He knew that government decisions matter. Similarly, the Abbott government declared it was waging a war on red tape, yet the Turnbull government is determined to pass new laws restricting unions and NGOs. If there is one thing that neoliberals really seem to believe, it is that reducing the budget deficit is very, very important. Except when it isn't. The political and business leaders who said we needed to slash welfare spending because we had a "budget emergency" are currently advocating a $65bn tax cut for business – even though the deficit is bigger now than it was at the time of the alleged emergency. The Productivity Commission and state treasuries spent years advocating the deregulation and privatisation of the electricity industry – and succeeded in creating a "free market" system governed by 5,000 pages of electricity market rules. Electricity is too dangerous and too important to be deregulated, and those pushing for deregulation always knew that. They didn't want a free market; they simply wanted a market, one in which the government played a smaller role and the private sector made large profits selling an essential service for much higher prices than the government ever charged. The NSW government requires NGOs and disability service providers to compete with each other but, when it sold Port Botany and the Port of Newcastle, it structured the sales to ensure that Newcastle could not compete with Port Botany for the landing of the millions of containers that arrive by ship each year. While "competition policy" is applied to the vulnerable, those buying billion-dollar assets are protected from those same forces of competition.

To be clear, there has been no obsession among the political elite with the neoliberal goals of reducing government spending, regulation or tax collection in Australia over the past three decades. None. They didn't mean a word of it. While there may have been economists, commentators and even business leaders who sincerely believed in those goals, it is clear from their actions, as distinct from their words, that John Howard, Tony Abbott and even the former head of the Business Council of Australia Tony Shepherd, the man tasked with running Abbott's National Commission of Audit, had no principled objection to spending large amounts of public money on things they liked spending large amounts of public money on. Indeed, in his speakers' agency profile, Tony Shepherd brags about his ability to get public money for private ventures:

It is no mean feat to convince governments to support private sector proposals, but as former prime minister, the honourable Paul Keating, said, "Tony managed to get more money out of my government than any other person I can recall."

Hundreds of new pages of regulation now govern the conduct of charities. Billions of taxpayers' dollars have been spent by "small government" politicians on everything from television ads for innovation to subsidies for marriage counselling. And Tony Abbott, who claimed to have a philosophical problem with carbon taxing, once proposed a 20% increase in the tobacco excise.

The political strategy behind these contradictions is simple: it is difficult to criticise government spending on health and education, or popular regulations like consumer protection and limits on executive pay. So why not just criticise all government spending and all red tape in general? Once you have convinced the public that all government spending is inefficient, you can set about cutting spending on your enemies and retaining it for your friends. And once you convince people that all regulation is bad, you can set about removing consumer protections while retaining the laws that protect the TV industry, the gambling industry, the pharmaceutical industry and all your other friends.

Cover of Dead Right by Richard Denniss, Quarterly Essay.

When powerful groups want subsidies, we are told they will create jobs. When powerless groups want better funding for domestic violence shelters or after-school reading groups, they are told of the need to reduce the budget deficit. When powerful groups demand new regulations, we are told it will provide business with certainty, but when powerless groups demand new regulations, they are told it will create sovereign risk.

Ideology has a bad name these days, but it simply means a "system of ideas and ideals." By that definition, it is possible to think of neoliberalism as an ideology focused on the idea that market forces are superior to government decision-making. But while large segments of Australian politics and business have draped themselves, and their policy preferences, in the cloak of neoliberal ideas and ideals, in reality to call them "ideologues" is to flatter them. They lack the consistency and strength of principle to warrant the title.

This is an edited extract of Richard Denniss's Quarterly Essay 70, Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next , $22.99

[Dec 27, 2018] Neoliberalism has caused 'misery and division', Bernie Fraser says

Dec 27, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Former RBA governor says Coalition pursues low-tax road to jobs and growth despite lack of evidence to support it

Paul Karp and Gareth Hutchens

Tue 16 Oct 2018 13.00 EDT Last modified on Tue 16 Oct 2018 19.11 EDT Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email This article is over 2 months old Australian economic growth has been a 'standout' says Bernie Fraser, but too many have missed the benefits. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/EPA Neoliberalism has caused "misery and social polarisation" yet remains in vogue with the Coalition government, according to the economist Bernie Fraser.

The former Treasury secretary and Reserve Bank governor has made the comments in a presentation circulated to participants of the Australia Institute's revenue summit to be held in Canberra on Wednesday.

Michael Keating, a former secretary to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, will also use the summit to raise doubts about the Morrison government's budget forecasts.

Australia's housing boom is not heading for a soft landing. How did we get here? | Greg Jericho Read more

In the background notes for Fraser's speech, seen by Guardian Australia, he says that Australia's 27 consecutive years of economic growth is a "standout", "Winx-like" performance.

But the record deserves only "qualified applause" because "too many Australians remain unemployed, under-employed, underskilled, underpaid and lack job security".

Fraser warns that society has become "less fair, less compassionate and more divided" and "more devoid of trust in almost every field of human activity" in the past 20 years.

"As a disinterested player in climate change negotiations and a miserable foreign aid donor, we have slipped well down the list of good global citizens."

Political ideologies appear to have contributed to inequality and disadvantage in Australia in that time, he argues.

Fraser in large part blames "neoliberalism" and its influence on policymaking for the "disconnect between Australia's impressive economic growth story and its failure on so many markers to show progress towards a better, fairer society".

"Favouring the market system ahead of the state system, and individual interests ahead of community interests, can lead to profoundly unfair social outcomes.

More than three million Australians living in poverty, Acoss report reveals Read more

"Those unable to afford access to decent standards of housing, healthcare, and other essential services have to settle for inferior arrangements, or go without."

Fraser says charitable organisations see the effects of "real poverty" that result in "misery, anxiety and loss of self-esteem of mothers unable to put food on the table for their kids, of old and young homeless people, and the victims of domestic violence and drug overdoses".

Fraser summarises the key thrusts of neoliberalism as "the pursuit of the lowest possible rates of income and most other taxes and the maximum restraint on government interventions and spending programs".

Evidence in Australia and overseas shows the influence of neoliberalism on fiscal policy "and the misery and social polarisation that has come with it", he says.

The global financial crisis "should have" marked a tipping point, when the "idealised view of financial markets being self-regulating" was shattered. While Australia "avoided the worst traumas of the GFC" with prompt fiscal and monetary policy responses, in Europe "taxes were increased and spending programs slashed", resulting in a further five or six years of severe recession.

Fraser says that all political ideologies – taken to extremes – can be divisive and cause damage, including an ideology "based on a state system".

But the former Reserve Bank governor focuses on neoliberalism because it "remains in vogue". The Morrison government "continues to reaffirm its over-riding commitment to lower taxation, and to assert that this is the best way to increase investment, jobs and economic growth" - despite the lack of evidence to support the theory .

Although Fraser recognises that politics never can or should be taken out of policymaking, he suggests the best course is to "hammer away" at flaws of particular approaches.

For example, Fraser praises "the avoidance of costly tax cuts accruing to large corporations" as a positive development – referring to the Turnbull government abandoning the big business component of its $50bn 10-year company tax cut plan.

He suggests the "quick done-deal" of Labor signing up to the Coalition's proposed acceleration of the cut to taxes on small and medium business was an example that "political interests are always lurking nearby".

In a separate presentation Keating – who headed PM&C from 1991 to 1996 – warns the government's promise to cap expenditure while simultaneously cutting taxes and returning the budget to surplus is based on overly optimistic assumptions of growth in GDP, wages and productivity.

Why are stock markets falling and how far will they go? Read more

According to Keating, the government must stop assuming there have been no structural changes in the relationship between unemployment and the rate of wage increases.

He notes that predictions of a tightening labour market leading to higher wages are predicated on assumptions of growth averaging 3% or as much as 3.5%.

He will also say a sustained return to past rates of economic growth will be impossible unless we can ensure a reasonably equitable distribution of income, involving a faster rate of wage increases, especially for the low-paid.

[Dec 27, 2018] Nationalism can be a good thing. We have to make the case for it Discussion The Guardian

Dec 27, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Eric Kaufmann, professor of politics at Birkbeck, has a forthcoming book, Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities . He argues that what I would call "bad nationalism" – the global surge in rightwing populism – is driven by large-scale immigration, and the threat it poses to the cultural identity of the ethnic majority. Some people fear change; they prefer the monocultural landscape in which they grew up, and visible changes to it threaten their sense of belonging and security. Certain attitudes are, if not hereditary, baked in to the point where they may as well be.

He supports this view with plentiful survey data, a favourite nugget being that the way you answer the question, "Would you prefer your children to be well-mannered, or to be considerate?" is a major predictor of whether you'd vote for or against Trump and Brexit .

The question is a proxy for what the cognitive linguist George Lakoff calls the strict father (well-mannered) versus the nurturant family (considerate) model. These frames are the timeless and elemental organising principles for our political divisions – authoritarian versus pluralist, right versus left – all the way back to Christ the Warrior versus Christ the Saviour.

I believe people respond to authoritarian and pluralist arguments according to who's making them, how trenchantly they are made, and the economic, media and political environment around them. Austerity soil has always been notoriously fertile for authoritarian ideas. Yet Kaufmann dismisses any economic factor, saying that had there been one, 2008 would have seen an upturn in rightwing nationalism, not 2017. My view is that depressions take years, not months, to grind people down.


UnstableGenius -> KingOfNothing , 9 May 2018 15:20

To me the key questions are how are the key decisions made and by whom are they made?

Globalism (not globalization, mind you) is a process whereby decisionmaking gets shifted farther and farther from the people and democratic accountability is continually weakened - ironically often with the rationale that we need this to "compete with China".

As a result, national borders (and therefore cultures) become less and less important and institutions like central banks, the EU, the WTO, etc. become ever more powerful. What you call neoliberalism is an effect - not the cause - of this phenomenon, in my opinion.

By the way, I agree with you that there is hope - in fact I am more optimistic today than I have been for many years - although probably for very different reasons than you.

DavidPavett -> formerlefty , 9 May 2018 15:16
I am quite sure that for the time being the nation state is an essential form of political and economic organisation. So I accept the necessity of nations. I reject nationalist ideologies which at best are confused, like ZW's argument, and at worst are very nasty things indeed.

I was stunned by the modernity of Renan's speech when I read it. Glad to see that it is available online. Hope you read it.

KingOfNothing -> UnstableGenius , 9 May 2018 15:01
No, thats not the case.

Globalisation is the ability to move goods/finance/ideas/culture around the global at speeds unheard of - there is no way to alter this, so your definition is inexact by quite a margin.

What is happening is neoliberalism - the economic sytem which has hijacked Globalisation - is playing havoc across the world.

These are not one and the same thing. Nationalism is a reaction to neoliberailsm, and the way it is concentrating wealth in the hands of the few.

Take a look at places like Finland, Norway and other parts of Europe, where they have restrained neoliberalism and do not have the same levels of inequality as in the USA or the UK. Japan is the most equal developed nation in the world. We need to marry strong democratic structures (at national and global level) with globalisation at the expense of neo-liberalism, not in support of it.

In short, your view is depressing and misguided. There is hope.

UnstableGenius -> KingOfNothing , 9 May 2018 14:15
Globalism is a system where a cosmopolitan class of technocratic elites makes all the decisions after talking among themselves in well-appointed conference rooms to which common people are not given access (think of what goes on in Brussels or in the ECB tower every day).
Democracy is something else.
In my opinion the two are mutually incompatible.
TheVixen -> hflashman , 9 May 2018 09:32
Yes, I'm talking about both British and non-British Muslims. Here's the clarification you're looking for: ICM Research for Channel 4 found that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts. Moreover, only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with jihadists.

In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.

On social issues, 52% of the Muslims surveyed said they believe homosexuality should be illegal, compared to 22% of non-Muslim Britons.

39% of Muslims surveyed believe women should always obey their husbands, compared to 5% for non-Muslims. One in three British Muslims refuse completely to condemn the stoning of women accused of adultery.

Admittedly, this ICM survey is from 2016 so the picture may have improved, but I think you'll agree, these attitudes are quite a long way from the enlightenment values mentioned.

DavidPavett -> brexitman , 9 May 2018 07:21
Open borders and nationalism are really different issues. One can recognise the need for borders and border controls without convincing oneself that the people within a given border line are therefore endowed with some common essence about which they can feel pride or shame.

The pity about this is that liberal writers like ZW nearly always start from zero on this issue as if there wasn't a whole mass of discussion of a very detailed kind that has already taken place. Thus I would say that Ernest Renan's speech to the Surbonne in the 1880s published as What is a Nation? (reprinted in Shloma Sand's book On the Nation and the 'Jewish People' ) is well in advance of ZW's musings.

DavidPavett , 9 May 2018 03:37
I am with Einstein on this. He was once asked if he regarded himself as a German or a Jew. He replied: "I look upon myself as a man. Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind".
DavidPavett -> DrDeYoung , 9 May 2018 03:26
I found ZW's suggestion that "you do not need to be proud of Oliver Cromwell in order to be proud of Jessica Ennis-Hill" both revealing and ridiculous. If one is going to pick a figure from English history not to be proud of why on earth would one choose Cromwell? And on what grounds exactly does ZW feel proud of JE-H?

The Cromwell reference leads to a further point. Can the English, on ZW's argument, take pride in the actions of Scots prior to the Act of Union? And can they take pride in the actions of the Irish from Northern but not Southern Ireland?

I would nuance what you say just a little. Our actions contribute to producing not only things but also people. A parent can feel justified pride in the actions of his/her children as can a teacher in the actions of his/her pupils. There can also be a justified sense of collective pride for people who have contributed to that collective. ZW is right about that. She gets into a muddle when she tries to project this collective pride backwards in time to things we could have had no part in.

ponkala , 9 May 2018 02:13
People can be proud of their country , there is nothing wrong with it ,but when a country consists of many ethnic groups and religions, identifying the country only with majority ethno linguistic or religious group can lead to discrimination , alienation and resentment . This has led to civil wars in many regions. Canada and Switzerland are some of the exceptions where federal system and equalities of ethno linguistic groups have strengthened their countries .I would call this good nationalism.
On the other hand, many countries in Asia and Africa are suffering from the conflicts due to persecution or discrimination inflicted upon minorities from the majoritarian governments.
Modi in India is using the nationalistic card, trying to give an impression that the country only belongs to Hindus and Hindi speakers. In reality, India is not even a country , it is a collection of nation states with many ethnic groups , languages and religions which were united during the British rule. It is more diverse than the whole of Europe .However Modi is keen to perpetuate the myth India is homogenous , this natinalistic ideology might risk formenting divisions and conflicts in the future.I would call it 'bad nationalism '
joylessnortherner , 9 May 2018 00:50
Aren't we looking for the word patriotism as opposed to nationalism here Mz. Williams? I've always cleaved to Orwell's definitions of patriotism and nationalism. Predictably, nationalism gets short shrift.....largely because nationalism is dim, divisive and utterly undigestible for the vast majority of a nation at ease with itself. This is why Moggo, Bojo, Foxy and Gove prefer nationalism.

[Dec 27, 2018] Spending cuts reduce demand in the economy, for every dollar spend by the govt at the lowest levels (welfare and essential services) around five to seven dollars of extra economic activity is generated.

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Paulare -> NeilofSydney , 3 Jun 2018 23:32

Spending cuts reduce demand in the economy, for every dollar spend by the govt at the lowest levels (welfare and essential services) around five to seven dollars of extra economic activity is generated.

This sustains demand in the economy, and despite what Scott Morrison thinks, demand is actually the thing that drives investment. Investment will not be made by businesses if there is no demand, no matter how low the tax on profits is.

If you continually cut govt spending you will dampen down economic activity and demand.

If you give tax breaks on profit to those who with a low propensity to spend locally (ie foreign investors and super wealthy) and then impose Austerity to "balance the books" then you will do a few things:

Profits in the short term will increase as there is a greater intensive to declare profits as the tax is lower;

The increased profit will be more than likely achieved by reducing investment and and not giving wage rises. Both are costs deducted before profit is calculated;

Investment in productive businesses will stall as demand falls as austerity measures kick in;

Investments in speculative / safe haven investments will increase (shares, Property, artworks etc); This will drive up speculative house prices and price out many ordinary people.

Wages will stagnate and start to fall in real terms; Demand will stagnate and fall.

Businesses will cut back on investment and wages.

Inequality will worsen; and

Social discontent rise.

The cut taxes and impose austerity mantra is the fatuous economic and social thinking we have come to expect from from the neo-cons.

IT MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER

It never was going to work long terms. Only the massive con job by the media and politicians made it seem even plausible.

If you want evidence of a con job by politicians you need look no further than the assumption made that "all government spending is worthless" made by scot Morrison and co. Even with this ridiculous assumption he was only able to get even one of five scenarios to give a 0.5% boost to GDP in ten years time.

If he actually subtracted any negative effect of cutting govt spending, even without any multiplier effect, then there was no scenario where the tax cuts made any sort of economic sense.

And of course the MSM which is owned by the super wealth elite, will only continue to put out pro neo-cons propaganda and ruthlessly degenerate any opposition viewpoint.

This is actually ironic as capitalism actually works best for all, including by the way the super wealthy, when governments continually redistribute wealth downwards.

Economic well-being is something that thrives very well with social well-being.

Capitalism will fail catastrophically if governments continue to redistribute wealth upwards.

Social dislocation is the probable outcome of the current ideological trajectory.

[Dec 27, 2018] Neoliberalism mantra: The dog eat dog economy simply represents our nature, it's who we are, we thrive under libertarianism.

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Jas636 -> Friarbird , 4 Jun 2018 01:38

Why would I refute points that I agree with?

I'm not the one who has a problem with neo-liberalism, it's provided for me more than adequately. Having spent a lot of time living overseas, it's provided ALL Australians with a far better deal than a few billion others.

If you are too naive to see this, then maybe you need to try an alternative for a while. It's quite ok, i'll be waiting for when the alternative fails (they always do) and I can come back and pick off the assets from the carcus of that little experiment for less than a cent in the dollar.

The dog eat dog economy simply represents our nature, it's who we are, we thrive under libertarianism.

internationalist07 07 -> Jas636 , 4 Jun 2018 01:34
I think you mean Neo liberal utopia
Friarbird -> GoronwyPrice , 4 Jun 2018 01:31
Po-faced, Libertarian BOLLOCKS.
Privatisation is sucker-farming.
Milking the punters, like ants milk aphids.
Farming them, like bellbirds do with leaf-bugs.
And even THAT is only part of the equation.
The fondest goal, the one which gives the management class hard-ons ?
Privatisation de-unionises their workforces.
GreyBags -> Shiner01 , 4 Jun 2018 01:29
It is quite strange that the biggest supporters of neo-liberal economics with its belief that giving money to the rich will solve all our problems call themselves 'Christians'.

I can't remember when Jesus preached trickle down. I don't remember the bit where Jesus said to treat those seeking asylum and fleeing violence like they are the scum of the earth. I don't remember when Jesus said the poor needed a good kick in the guts while they are down to motivate them to work harder. I don't remember when Jesus said we should cut funds from the sick to balance the budget. I don't remember Jesus saying that if you bear false witness often enough then you will fool enough of the people enough to keep power so you can look after your corporate buddy buddies.

In fact, almost all of the politicians in the Coalition who proclaim to be 'Christian' must have their own secret bible because nothing I have heard from the New Testament justifies their actions.

Me, I'm an atheist and I have more care, consideration, ethics and compassion than the entire collection of right wing bible bashers sitting in parliament today.

Friarbird -> RobertJREYNOLDS , 4 Jun 2018 01:20
"......the scam that is neo-liberalism."

No throwaway line.
A 'farming the suckers' scam is all it ever was.
With a view to massive wealth transfer.

Hasn't it worked well ?

Ozponerised , 4 Jun 2018 01:19
Thanks for this. We need more of these articles pointing out the bullshit behind this story that the Coalition has been feeding the gullible peasantry with for over 30 years, sneering, smirking and sniggering as truckloads of public money goes to private corporations. The money received from selling off public assets has been shoved into private businesses who then feel very free to charge like bulls.
It's a shame so many folk still fall for this bullshit meaning that their own families, work colleagues and community get shafted through diminishing public services.
Mal_Function , 4 Jun 2018 01:16
Brother Can You Spare a Dime

They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always there right on the job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodle de dum
Half a million boots went sloggin' through hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al
It was Al all the time
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Songwriters: E. Y. Harburg / Jay Gorney
Brother Can You Spare a Dime lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Next Decade Entertainment, Inc, Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc.

prettygoody -> GoronwyPrice , 4 Jun 2018 01:11
'This is more or less the definition of increased productivity and it is what ultimately leads to improved living standards for everyone'

Lazy, neoliberal, supply-side economic guff. Neoliberals undermine government and democracy and then scavenge on the wreckage. When does 'ultimately' begin for 'everyone'? Never.

'Private companies provide the same service with much less labour'

Firing people is the answer? What a hardened realist you are. Must be great to be so certain in your neoliberal convictions. Are you really telling us that every privatisation has been a success?

These pieces of infrastructure have been built through generations of work and wise investment - they are not any one government's to sell. It's just easier for a corrupt, rudderless, feckless neoliberal shill to sell it than it is for them to to run it.

Friarbird -> ADamnSmith2016 , 4 Jun 2018 01:05
Can't even begin to address the characteristic Libertarian slyness in all that.
But I'll try.
"What you call neoliberalism was a set of responses to the failure of socialism or as Tony Blair said 'what matters is what works'."
Incorrect.
What I--what the world--calls "Neoliberalism', is the corpse of Classical economics, resurrected post-WW2 by Friedman and Hayek's 'Mont Pelerin Society. '
Why was it buried ?
Because during the Great Depression, its dogmatic insistence on continued austerity and wage cuts only made things worse.
After all, in an economic slump, whats the worst thing you can do ?
Deprive people of whatever little purchasing power they have.
So, goodbye Classical economics.
After which, govts SPENT their societies out of slump, putting people to work.
(O, the horror ! O, the heresy !)
The public works of that era include Germany's autobahns and the US New Deal projects, including the Tennessee Valley system and similar in Western States.
( O the horror ! O the heresy !)
Friedman, Hayek and the gang looked at those and post-WW2 programs of public benefit, such as the UK's NHS and shat themselves. Typical fear-driven conservatives, they were convinced such programs represented the thin end of the wedge which MUST end in imposition of Soviet-style conditions.
What utter paranoid crap.
Their resurrected corpse of Classical economics ?.
THAT is what is 'Neoliberalism'.
Whether or not I call it so is immaterial.
Then, this lofty bit of finger-wagging assertion;
"This process of economic evolution is necessarily imperfect and incomplete...."
Your Lordship's overview is appreciated...
"....but currently leaves you free to own a computer, read news on-line, communicate using the internet (maybe using NBN?) and express your views freely. "
Sez who ?
You ?
Besides, the only one talking about that old bogey, "socialism" is you.
Because its a conveniently perjorative label, eh ?
Pretty infantile, though.

"Anybody who doesn't agree with EVERYTHING I say, must be a 'socialist.' And they can't play with my toys."

PS 'Adam', why do LIbertarians always project a Superiority Complex ?
Why are the buggers always so PLEASED WITH THEMSELVES ?

Tasmanian Cryptik -> 20thCenturyFox , 4 Jun 2018 00:58
Socialise the losses, privatise the gains.
RatioDecidend -> Elizabeth Connor , 4 Jun 2018 00:55
intelligent comment. Due to corporate media indoctrinating propaganda it will take sometime for others to understand where the problem lies.
20thCenturyFox , 4 Jun 2018 00:41
Neoliberalism = Socialism for the Rich - Capitalism for the Poor.

Politics needs reform, plain & simple. Fed ICAC and Integrity Commission is a good start but it's not enough. The rules have to change too. Major decisions like privatising services or tax handouts to the rich, shouldn't by law be allowed to get through parliament or the senate unless the claims being made to justify them are quantifiable & demonstrated to be in the National Interest. Currently politicians have no obligation to do either.

e.g. claiming that jobs will be created if Penalty rates are cut = there's no way to quantify such a BS claim and Doug Cameron got them to admit that in Senate Estimates. Even so they were allowed to lie through their teeth and impose it anyway with no requirement to prove their BS claims. This corporate tax handout = once again they claim it will lead to more wealth to average Australians and more jobs but it can't be quantified or guaranteed via regulation so it's all bullshit. The rich will hoard the wealth & kick Australians in the guts as usual. That's what they've always done and always will do. Privatisation of electricity..what a crock of shit. They claimed it would create competition and drive down prices. What's happened? The complete opposite but politicians KNOW they're not accountable and therein 'lies' the problem. The shortsheeting of the original NBN, = yet another lie. They've totally crippled Australia's ability to compete in a digital age and completely screwed regional 2nd tier cities and towns in terms of growth. As far as the National interest is concerned the shortsheeting of the NBN is the complete opposite. Even so they were allowed to bastardise that too without any accountability whatsoever. Australians need to start demanding political reform so these bastards are accountable to the people.

grumpyom -> Fred1 , 4 Jun 2018 00:28
Neoliberalism is just the academic name for the political ideology of greed, corruption, self interest, self entitlement, corporate welfare, inequality, user pays, and poverty is your fault.

George Monbiot does it well too.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

grumpyom , 4 Jun 2018 00:18
Do you see any contradiction between privatised electricity and socialised stadiums?

Neoliberalism explains it all. Corruption in politics means that only profitable assets are privatised. Stadiums lose money, so are kept in private hands as corporate welfare for the various billionaire team owners and TV networks.

Elizabeth Connor , 4 Jun 2018 00:10
I love Richard Denniss! What a brilliantly concise and yet well supported argument. Now we just need someone who can say it in terms that will persuade unwilling voters to think carefully about their vote. If they do think carefully they simply cannot return this government to power, now that they're all revealed as nothing but crony capitalists.

I must admit that like many people I also thought neoliberalism was an ideology, but then I couldn't understand why they were so inconsistent in their spending of 'tax-payers' funds'.

From now on I'll be pointing out those inconsistencies with more confidence - armed with Richard's incontrovertible points, and also by a closer reading of Canadian Kean Birch's article:

https://theconversation.com/what-exactly-is-neoliberalism-84755.

Here's Birch's definition of neoliberalism:

[The term neoliberalism ] is used to refer to an economic system in which the "free" market is extended to every part of our public and personal worlds.

And here's wikipedia's definition of crony capitalism:

Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risks they take, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class.

NB But there's a more explicit definition here, which I like much better:

Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.

https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-term-crony-capitalism-mean-What-are-the-long-term-economic-costs-of-crony-capitalism-for-a-country

And from where I sit, crony capitalism cannot be defended by anyone with any kind of integrity.

sierrasierra -> telbraithwaite , 4 Jun 2018 00:04
Yes, we have a spot of bother, and I think that their name - Institute of Public Affairs - is quite a misnomer.

The way these people operate is more akin to Opus Dei and many other 'secret societies' that have another public face altogether.

Given that IPA's agenda is a private members wish list which has a huge impact on matters of a broad public nature, it's rather akin to incest, and we know where the confusion between Church and State takes us regarding separation of powers, exactly where we are right now .two Royal Commissions that are joined at the hip, Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013 – 2017) and our current horror show Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation, and Financial Services Industry which could for all intents and purposes be as long as aforementioned.

Stay with me, as these are issues that relate to other 'energy' systems, namely money, sex and power, and if we have any doubts as to how far this cancer has spread, a quick purview of the following members ought to resolve it for you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Public_Affairs#Political_links

https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/1bz7et/ipas_75_point_list_for_abbott /

For the 70th Birthday big bash, we know that guests to the party were:
• Gina Rinehart
• Rupert Murdoch
• Tony Abbott
• George Pell - Australian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church
• Michael Kroger - President of the Victorian division of the Liberal Party of Australia and former director of the IPA
• Mitch Fifield - Communications Minister

Think horizontal and vertical industries/associations and you begin to get the picture, and that's before thinking about BCA and VECCI.

Billyswagg , 4 Jun 2018 00:03
First, elect the other mob next time around. They're in the pockets of the multinationals and the US alliance as well, but they're not quite as bad, yet. The next thing is a full-on assault on mainstream media. The frontline of the revolution, if there is to be one, is the media. No more guns or territorial claims, it's a battle for the mind. Education is the key. The "Neolibs" attack education at every opportunity - teachers, curriculum, funding etc. etc. but there's nothing wrong with education - the real problem is that the mainstream media relentlessly, all day every day works to an agenda of dis-education, deliberately undermining and destroying the work of our schools. They preach doubt and mistrust - of learning, facts, truth, intelligence, pure science, art, music, culture, thoughtfulness, forbearance, empathy and altruism. They teach us to monetise and gamble on everything. Their aim is to dumb everyone down to the point where not only can't they read an analog clock or drive their own car but become entirely dependent on the word of authority (of which they are the mouthpiece) for a continued existence. Today, with our vast social platforms we can target their lies and threats, one by one. Pick each one, attack it, viciously, loudly, risibly, with facts, comedy, derision and invitations to dance. Spread it wide. Call them out at every opportunity. Sneer them into oblivion. Mainstream media is the primary problem. That's what must be destroyed.
Dunkey2830 -> Dave Bradley , 3 Jun 2018 23:53

Maybe the ALP have learnt from their mistakes


No, regrettably they have not.
The neoliberalist 'mistake' has been going on for around 40 yrs now - it has proved a relentless descent into inequality and austerity.

Chris Bowen at the National Press Club :
"...Labor will go to the next election:
Achieving budget balance in the same year as the government;
Delivering bigger cumulative budget surpluses over forward estimates as well as substantially bigger surpluses over the ten year medium term; and
That the majority of savings raised from our revenue measures over the medium term will go towards budget repair and paying down debt...."

Pure neoliberal economic poison that will create further hardship for our citizens, worsen inequality and recess the economy yet further.

People have got to come to understand that the bigger surpluses Bowen speaks of are federal tax collection surpluses; i.e. he intends to withdraw further spending capacity from the private sector, all while the current account deficit already draws 3.5% GDP (~$30bn) a yr from that same heavily indebted private sector.

This Bowen statement report from the SMH :
"The whiff of a surplus, not reaching at least 1 per cent of GDP until 2026-27, does not adequately protect Australia against the potential roiling seas of international uncertainty," he will say.
"Australia needs bigger surpluses, sooner than the government is scheduling.
"We can't afford to let the next four years go to waste in the efforts for a healthier, safer budget surplus."

Absolute macroeconomic stupidity, arrogant, vandalous ideological madness.
When will the people come to their senses and stop supporting such socially destructive errant neoliberal economic alchemy?

BiggerPictureCait -> Stopthelibs , 3 Jun 2018 23:53
Just look at the Citizens Assembly overseeing the law change in the recent Irish referendum. Worked a treat, cause those involved wanted to find the bvest alternative, rather than feather their own nest.

[Dec 27, 2018] Neoliberal ideology is free market, neoliberal practice is crony capitalism

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

jclucas , 3 Jun 2018 23:25

It is indeed important to make the distinction between the ideology of neoliberalism - the ideology of private enterprise is good, and public spending is bad - and the operational system of crony capitalism - the game of mates played by government and the special interests.

And it is certainly equally important to call out the monumental hypocrisy involved in the government's application of the ideology's set of rules to the powerless and public and the government's application of corrupt practice rules to the special interests.

The system is destroying the egalitarian character of Australia and fanning the flames of nativist authoritarianism here.

But what's even more dangerous is the fundamental dishonesty that the system necessitates, and the alienating influence it has - on top of the growing economic inequality.

The system has destroyed the economic and environmental viability and sustainability of the planet on which human civilization depends.

What is becoming increasingly clear to more and more of the public is that - simple put- the system cannot be allowed to go on as it has been proceeding because it threatens the future of civilization on earth.

Change is imperative now. However, how that will unfold is unclear, as well as, the toll the destruc5turing system will take.

What is clear is that a great restructuring must happen - and soon.

[Dec 25, 2018] The problem with neoliberalism

Guardian readers responces
Notable quotes:
"... Winchester, Hampshire ..."
"... Wallington, Surrey ..."
Dec 25, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Michael Greenwood , Geoff Naylor and David Murray on the failures of economic policy

While agreeing with the thrust of Paul Mason's article ( A new politics of emotion is needed to beat the far right , Journal, 26 November), it is surely necessary to employ economics if we are to defeat neoliberalism. We have lived under this regime, with increasing severity, for 25 years or so. The result has been the stagnation of real incomes for the large majority, with the benefits of GDP growth accruing to those at the top of income and wealth distributions. This has suppressed growth, as those with less money tend to spend it and those with more hide it and avoid tax. Lower UK growth is clearly shown in comparative data.

So if neoliberalism is a school of economics, it is a failure if the aim of economic policy is to encourage growth and the reinvestment of the benefits. Of course, neoliberalism is not economics, it is political dogma, supported by its beneficiaries. We need economics undergraduates to demand to be taught real economics and not the propaganda of power that is neoliberalism.
Michael Greenwood
Manchester

• In his search for a political narrative of economic hope to counteract the rise of rightwing populism, Paul Mason overlooks the sense of belonging that exists in faith communities. Here, a selfless collaboration for the inclusive good of one another has never required disruption of the free-market economy. It is just that this ethos has not been introduced at the national economic and political levels.
Geoff Naylor
Winchester, Hampshire

• All suffered the same 2007-08 financial crash, but the "UK has weakest wage growth of wealthy nations" ( Report , 27 November). Anything to do with Tory-led government economic policy?
David Murray
Wallington, Surrey

[Dec 25, 2018] Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse by Van Badham

Dec 25, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

For 40 years, the ideology popularly known as "neoliberalism" has dominated political decision-making in the English-speaking west.

People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history".

... ... ...

Paul Keating's rejection

It was a year ago that a third sign first appeared, when the dark horse of Australian prime ministers, Paul Keating, made public an on-balance rejection of neoliberal economics. Although Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser instigated Australia's first neoliberal policies, it was Keating's architecture of privatisation and deregulation as a Labor treasurer and prime minister that's most well remembered.

Now, "we have a comatose world economy held together by debt and central bank money," Keating has said, "Liberal economics has run into a dead end and has had no answer to the contemporary malaise." What does the disavowal mean? In terms of his Labor heir Bill Shorten's growing appetite for redistributive taxation and close relationship to the union movement, it means "if Bill Shorten becomes PM, the rule of engagement between labour and capital will be rewritten," according to The Australian this week. Can't wait!

Tony Abbott becomes a fan of nationalising assets

Or maybe's Sukkar's right about the socialists termiting his beloved Liberal party. How else to explain the earthquake-like paradigm shift represented by the sixth sign? Since when do neoliberal conservatives argue for the renationalisation of infrastructure, as is the push of Tony Abbott's gang to nationalise the coal-fired Liddell power station? It may be a cynical stunt to take an unscientific stand against climate action, but seizing the means of production remains seizing the means of production, um, comrade. "You know, nationalising assets is what the Liberal party was founded to stop governments doing," said Turnbull, even as he hid in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains to weather – strange coincidence – yet another Newspoll loss.

• Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist


uhurhi , 27 Apr 2018 05:43

"new introduction to a re-released Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment."

Might be true. But frightening that people should naively still think that democracy is to be found in the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' [ ie those who know what's good for you even if you don't like it ] of the Communist Manifesto after the revelations of what that leads to in the Gulag Archipelago , Mao's China , Pol Pot , Kim John - un . How quickly the world forgets. - you might just as well advocate Mein Kampf it's the same thing in the end !

fleax -> internationalist07 07 , 27 Apr 2018 05:43
most "isms" kill off their rivals and the unbelievers when they usurp power
charleyb23 -> RedmondM , 27 Apr 2018 05:37
That's what you claim and it might be so but I'm not interested in keeping a score on the matter. The point you failed to get is that the people you mentioned where totalitarian thugs. They used the banner of communism to achieve their ends. They would have used what ever ideology that was in fashion to achieve the same results.
daily_phil , 27 Apr 2018 05:35
Does present day neo-liberalism actually qualify as a political movement?

Vested interests and the dollar seem to have all the power. Lies and deception are so common the truth is seen as the enemy. The voting public are merely fools for manipulation. Nah, neo-liberalism is not government, it is something far nastier, and clearly not what the public vote for, presuming a vote actually counts for anything anymore.

[Dec 24, 2018] The Guardian's Bush obituary plumbs new depths of sycophantic hypocrisy by Kit Knightly

Dec 24, 2018 | off-guardian.org

The strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge." Lord Acton

George Herbert Walker Bush died on Saturday. He was 94 years old. Thanks to decisions he made throughout his career, thousands – perhaps millions – of people never got near 94. He invaded Iraq in 1991, instituted sanctions that destroyed the country. He pardoned those involved in the Iran-Contra affair and was head of the CIA when Operation Condor launched the military coup in Argentina in 1976 .

None of that makes it into The Guardian 's obituary , of course.

Instead, Simon Tisdall – a mindless servant to the status quo, always happy to weave invective about our designated enemies – treats us to paragraph after paragraph of inane anecdotes.

Good old Georgie once gave him a lift in Air Force One.

Barbara gave him useful advice about raising Springer Spaniels.

The following words and phrases are not found anywhere in this article: CIA, Iraq, Iran-Contra, Argentinian coup, Iran Air Flight 655, NAZI, Panama.

Rather, Tisdall refers Bush's term as "before the era of fake news". Which makes him either a complete a liar or profoundly under-qualified to write on the subject – as the Bush-era spawned the original fake news: The Nayirah testimony . A pack of lies told before the Senate, and used to justify a war in the middle-east.

A Bush family tradition.

Tisdall talks of Bush's family – "he enjoyed a privileged upbringing in a monied east coast family" – but doesn't say that his father, Prescott Bush, was a known Nazi sympathiser and was even implicated in an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Franklin Delano Roosevelt .

Bush started two wars as President. Planned and enabled countless crimes as director of the CIA. pardoned all those implicated in the Iran-Contra affair. Refused to apologise when the US Navy "accidentally" shot down an Iranian airliner, killing over 200 civilians, including 60 children.

He was the original neocon – his administration brought us Cheney and Powell and Rumsfeld. Gave birth to the ideology that stage-managed 9/11, launched the "War on Terror", and cut a blood-stained swath across North Africa and the Middle East.

We don't hear about that.

What we DO hear about is Bush's "deep sense of public duty and service" and that "Bush was a patriot who did not need cheap slogans to express his belief in enduring American greatness". No space is given over to analysis, to examine the fact that "belief in enduring American greatness" is quasi-fascism, and responsible for more violent deaths this century than any other cause you can name.

In hundreds of words, a notionally left-wing paper has nothing but praise for a highly unpopular right-wing president. No space is given over even to the gentlest of rebukes.

The whole article is an exercise in talking without saying anything. Pleasantries replacing truth. Platitudes where facts should be. A nothing burger, with a void on the side and an extra order of beige.

It's an obituary of Harold Shipman that eschews murder talk and rhapsodises about his love of gardening.

A eulogy to Pinochet that praises his economic reforms but neglects all the soccer stadiums full of corpses.

An epitaph to Hitler that focuses, not on his "controversial political career", but on his painting and his vegetarianism.

Did you know Genghis Khan once lent me a pencil? He was a swell guy. The world will miss him.

We're no longer supposed to examine the lives, characters or morals of our leaders. Only "honour their memory" and be "grateful for their service". History is presented to us, not as a series of choices made by people in power, but as a collection of inevitabilities. Consequences are tragic but unavoidable. Like long-dead family squabbles – To dwell on them is unseemly, and to assign blame unfair.

Just as with John McCain, apologism and revisionism are sold to us as manners and good taste. Attempts to redress the balance and tell the truth are met with stern glares and declarations that it is "too soon".

It's never "too soon" to tell the truth.

John McCain was a dangerous war-mongering lunatic. George Bush Sr was a sociopath from a family of corrupt sociopaths. The world would be a far better, and much safer place if just one major newspaper was willing to say that.

Really, there are two obituaries to write here:

First – George HW Bush, corrupt patriarch of an old and malign family, passing out of this world to face whatever eternal punishment (hopefully) awaits those who sell their immortal soul in exchange for a brief taste of power.

Second – The Guardian, perhaps a decent newspaper once-upon-a-time, now a dried out husk. A zombified slave to the state, mindless and brainless and lifeless. No questions, no reservations, no hesitation. Obediently licking up the mess their masters leave behind.

It's sickening.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.


Michael McNulty says Dec, 9, 2018

My mother believed it was only Bush Senior's longevity that prevented some of the neo-cons from bumping off Bush Junior. He was President in name only and has long since fulfilled his usefulness in committing the US to endless war. He is prone to verbal gaffes and that must make him a liability, and when powerful evil people get nervous they often turn deadly.
vexarb says Dec, 5, 2018
Like son, like father -- Bush War Crimes in Iraq:

https://youtu.be/cqiq8P8dRtY

vexarb says Dec, 4, 2018
Cut&Pasted from Lavrov interview in today's Saker Vineyard:

Question: When the death of President George H.W. Bush was announced, President Putin expressed his condolences in a very emotional message. George Bush Sr. believed that one of the worst mistakes of his presidency was failure to prevent the Soviet Union's dissolution. Did you meet with him? What are your impressions of him?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that George Bush Sr greatly contributed to the development of the United States and ensured that his country responsibly played its role in the world, considering its weight in international affairs.

I remember very well how President George H.W. Bush visited Moscow, and then he went to Ukraine where he encouraged the Soviet republics' political forces to do their duty by preserving the country rather than create huge, tragic problems for millions of people who became citizens of different states the morning after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Mr Bush was a great politician. I believe that every word that will be said about his achievements reflect the people's true attitude to this man. However, one comment about the link between President Bush and the demise of the Soviet Union. I heard a commentator say that George Bush Sr made history by helping Mikhail Gorbachev soft-land the Soviet Union. In fact, George Bush Sr never did that; he simply wanted to protect millions of people from political games. This is what we can say confidently about him.

https://thesaker.is/lavrovs-interview-and-answers-to-questions-for-the-programme-moscow-kremlin-putin/

Loading...
different frank says Dec, 4, 2018
The Webster tarpley book about him is interesting
Also regarding the "gulf war". The then US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie gave saddam the nod to invade Kuwait.
He was set up.
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ARTICLE5/april.html
Francis Lee says Dec, 4, 2018
It was German journalist, Udo Ulfkotte actually spilled the beans regarding the western media in his best seller, Journalisten Gekaufte, (Bought Journalists). Ulfkotte described the degree to which the CIA has penetrated the western media and corrupted, or bribed ( including himself) the system which has become a PR organization for the intelligence services, and MIC. On publication it immediately sold 120,000.00 copies and then strangely became unavailable in English. He was described as a 'conspiracy theorist' (but of course) and died at the relatively young age of a heart attack at 56. There are some salient issues surrounding his death raised by Jonas Schneider in his book 'The Mysterious Death of Udo Ulfkotte: Evidence for a Murder.

[Dec 24, 2018] People like you must count as a great success for the obedience training that keeps capitalist society running smoothly, with the few dissidents casually dismissed as "a bunch of tin foil hat wearing fruitcakes".

Dec 24, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Peter Bolton says Dec, 6, 2018

You know already what I will respond to this. And I know already what you will say in return. So, instead of getting into a back and forth about it, I will simply leave you with something to consider.

The fact that each successive report that comes out that refutes the claims of the truther movement is automatically dismissed by people like you shows how conspiracy theory thinking works. The final 9/11 report comes out in 2004 and, of course, the truthers dismiss it because it was written by a branch of the federal government who you believe perpetrated 9/11 in the first place. Then Popular Mechanics publishes a 5,500 word report in 2005 extensively answering and debunking the movement claims.

Here, you people can't claim that it was a government cover-up -- at least not directly -- because Popular Mechanics is a privately owned publication. Therefore, new sub-conspiracy theories are invented to "prove" how Popular Mechanics is part of the cover-up. To give just one example Christopher Bollyn "claimed to have discovered why the 100-year-old engineering magazine would take part in a government cover-up of the crime of the century: A young researcher on the magazine's staff named Benjamin Chertoff was a cousin of then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and the magazine was seeking to whitewash the criminal conspiracy with its coverage." (Slate 2011) Here we are seeing the kind of incredible mental contortion that truthers are willing to engage in to continue believing their theories.

Then in 2008 the National Institute of Standards and Technology released the final installment of its study into the causes behind the collapse of the buildings -- $16 million was invested into the investigation. And, as I well know, you and other truthers will have a smart Alec come-back as to why the NIST report is wrong, its authors are part of the vast conspiracy and so on. On and on it goes no matter how many reports are published by however many experts.

Again, I am not interested in getting dragged into a back-and-forth about the merits and demerits of these reports. Rather, I wish to point out the flawed reasoning inherent to 9/11 trutherism: that it has its own internal mechanisms for discounting any evidence that contradicts its central tenets. It therefore constitutes a closed system of thought because there is nothing that would ever count as a refutation. In other words, for all contradictory evidence another explanation is made to retroactively fit the latest gap in the theory that is exposed.

Now, I know full well that this is probably not going to change your mind either. And I'm sure that there will be plenty of responses to this comment and thumbs down from Off-Guardian readers. But I hope that you at least consider whether you are wrong about this subject. For my part, I worry that 9/11 trutherism obscures what are indeed important subjects -- US imperialism, US govt. corruption, the nefarious influence of the CIA, the legitimate grievance that people in the Middle East have against the US, Israel, the Saudi dictatorship and so on. Above all, I worry that 9/11 trutherism makes it open season for the real enemies -- the US foreign policy establishment, et cetera -- to portray the resistance to them and their agenda as a bunch of tin foil hat wearing fruitcakes. I feel strongly that the left needs to jettison this in-group, conspiracy theory-type stuff really become a major force and overturn the status quo.

milosevic says Dec, 9, 2018
People like you must count as a great success for the obedience training that keeps capitalist society running smoothly, with the few dissidents casually dismissed as "a bunch of tin foil hat wearing fruitcakes".

Even NIST eventually admitted that WTC-7 free-fell for 2.5 seconds. That can only happen if all the support columns fail at exactly the same time; otherwise it would topple over sideways. Only controlled explosives can make that happen.

Your touching faith in the word of ruling-class "experts", over the evidence of your own eyes, and basic physics, is a credit to the Middle Ages. It would warm the hearts of the Catholic theologians who refused to look through Galileo's telescope because they knew, as a matter of revealed truth, that what he said couldn't possibly be true.

What do the claims of a bunch of tinfoil-hat-wearing fruitcakes count for, against not just ruling class dogma, but the entire weight of respectable middle-class opinion? The social status and careers of millions of right-thinking professionals, like you, depend on believing, or at least pretending to believe, not just the 9/11 Official Story, but all the other Official Stories as well. How could all those comfy middle-class people, with their comfy middle-class careers and high-status friends, be wrong? That would throw the entire plan for next weekend's dinner party into question.

Do you believe the Offical Skripal Story? The Official ISIS story? The Official Syrian Chemical Weapons Story? The Official JFK Assassination Story? The Official USS Liberty Story? The Official Tonkin Gulf Story? How do you decide which Official Stories to believe, except on the basis of careerism and status-seeking?

https://www.ae911truth.org/evidence/free-fall-acceleration

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SBmyPW6gGGI?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Peter Bolton says Dec, 16, 2018
Again, I am not interested in getting drawn into a back-and-forth about the various claims of 9/11 truthers like yourself. I would just like to make one comment and then leave two things for yourself and other truthers on here to consider.

First, I would like to comment upon the fact that I have been subjected to some rather nasty personalized abuse on this thread simply for challenging the claims of trutherism. I'm not pointing this out to feel aggrieved or to search for sympathy or to make myself out as some kind of victim. Rather I do so to illustrate how it is indicative of the negative and mind-closing effects of the group-think and the conspiracy theorist mind-set. It goes something like this: "everyone who questions the tenets of the great truther theory is the enemy, not just a skeptic but rather a collaborator in the evil system that suppresses the "truth"."

Second, I want to provide a link to an excellent article that addresses the claims of truthers head-on: https://www.skeptical-science.com/critical-thinking/911-conspiracy-theories-debunked/

The people it discusses were truthers and many of them reexamined their beliefs after being confronted by actual specialists on the subjects basing their truther beliefs on. If you are open-minded as you claim to be, then have the decency to at least read the article and consider its points, rather than just reflexively rejecting the source as part of the great cover-up.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a quote from Noam Chomsky. Now, I am well aware that you think Chomsky is a sell-out for not getting on board with trutherism and that you have all kinds of fancy come-backs as to why he is wrong. But he raises a very important issue of priorities for people on the anti-imperialist left to consider. Is this obsession with this issue really helping us to fight against imperialism and all of the other iniquities of the world? I think not:

"One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis. That is, I suspect, why the 9/11 movement is treated far more tolerantly by centers of power than is the norm for serious critical and activist work." Noam Chomsky

Makropulos says Dec, 3, 2018
Ah "truther", that neologism which serves the same purpose as the recasting of the term "conspiracy" to designate foolishness, gullibilty etc.

And as for Chomsky, well here's what he had to say about the 9/11 "inside job" theory:

"And even if it were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? It doesn't have any significance. It's a little bit like the huge energy that's put out on trying to figure out who killed John Kennedy. Who knows? Who cares? Plenty of people get killed all the time, why does it matter that one of them happened to be John F. Kennedy?"

Let's just consider that for a moment. Chomsky is considering the possibilty -- however remote in his view -- that 9/11 may indeed have been an inside job. And he's saying it doesn't have any significance that the US goverment carried out an attack on its own population! It doesn't have any significance that the "war on terror" was launched on the basis of a lie!

This is the moment when Chomsky truly stood revealed. He was like the kid with his hand in the cookie jar who instantly concocts any number of excuses all of which contradict each other. And yet even when caught out like this, he has his supporters who say he "dispels 9/11 theories with sheer logic"!

milosevic says Dec, 3, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TwZ-vIaW6Bc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Makropulos says Dec, 3, 2018
That's the one. I mean – who knows and who cares? It's not as if a terrorist attack on mainland America that altered the face of New York and launched a war across the world is actually important.
Peter Bolton says Dec, 4, 2018
Well, I think the fact that Noam Chomsky has said this demonstrates how few people accept these 9/11 truther ideas -- even amongst people who generally agree with your (and my) kind of politics. George Galloway, who like Chomsky is about as far politically from the neocons as you can get, has also spoken very eloquently against trutherism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A5ToK6g0m8

Ironically, the only remotely public figure who does that I've heard mentioned on this thread is some Reaganite crank that I had never heard of until now. That really does not bode well for you, does it?

Makropulos says Dec, 4, 2018
Au contraire Peter, it does not bode well for the entire realm of mainstream discourse. Logically what Chomsky said is simply monstrous. As is this:

"I think the fact that Noam Chomsky has said this demonstrates how few people accept these 9/11 truther ideas"

What is the hold that this man has that he only has to say something to "demonstrate" what most think?

Makropulos says Dec, 4, 2018
And having now listened to Mr Galloway and once again having to put up with his portentous stretching out ..of the ..sentence to -- quite frankly pad the time out, I see that his "points" come down to the following:

Two planes flew into the twin towers. Yes -- there's no disputing that one.

GW Bush could not possibly have planned the thing himself. Yes again -- no dispute. At this point I must express my gratitude to Reagan for finally proving that the guy in front is just a puppet.

If the US did it themselves and it "got out" it would be the end of America's credibility. Yes indeed. Which is why, all across the mainstream press, it will only ever be presented as a "nutty conspiracy theory"

milosevic says Dec, 4, 2018
Galloway: "I saw, myself, the airplanes hitting the twin towers."

-- which is supposed to constitute proof of the official Evil-Terrorists-In-A-Cave-In-Afghanistan story.

attention, "flaxgirl": your grand unified theory of 9/11 now needs to incorporate George Galloway as a fake witness for the US government, which seems strange, given his decades of opposition, both before and after, to the imperial warfare for which 9/11 served as a pretext.

The political function of the No-Planes-At-WTC claims could not be more clear; it's so that people who dispute other aspects of the Official Story can all be dismissed as deranged idiots.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
But Peter you need to look at the evidence for yourself and not take others' word for it. And be guided by those who know how buildings collapse -- Chomsky certainly doesn't.
This is a wonderful tutorial by Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

The story of 9/11 is utterly preposterous. The only reason people believe it is to do with psychology of how we relate to power nothing to do with the actuality of the story -- because it's utterly ludicrous.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
Forgot link to tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ged-FIf46dc

This is my article on Chomsky's sophistry on 9/11:
https://off-guardian.org/2016/10/11/analysis-of-the-sophistry-of-noam-chomsky-on-911/

Jay-Q says Dec, 4, 2018
Wut? " less violent ones like England, the US or France " From here on it just gets worse until Chomsky has no credible position left to argue from.

Heightened sense of cognitive dissonance by old Noam.

' even if it were true, which is extremely unlikely, then who cares? It doesn't have any significance."

Wow, for someone with such intellect this is some low-level thinking. I almost feel sorry for Chomsky for holding such an immoral position. Would he feel the same way if his wife was murdered? "Ah, there's other things to worry about, anything else is a diversion of energy." Very sad.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
Where basic physics is concerned we should not speak of theory. The only possible explanation for the collapse of the buildings is controlled demolition. There is no doubt whatsoever that 9/11 was an inside conspiracy. There is also no doubt that death and injury were staged – at least, there is zero evidence of its reality in the visual record and one would think that for the 3,000 dead and 6,000 injured claimed there would be at least one piece of evidence for their reality, rather than every piece (anomalously small in number) in the visual record perfectly fitting "staged". Not to mention other anomalies unrelated to the visual record and that actual killing and injuring of people by the perpetrators would take a highly-problematic form in the shape of a great number of loved ones (as opposed to the tiny number presented) and the injured themselves when controlled demolition was so obvious.
kevin morris says Dec, 4, 2018
When you say that there is no doubt whatsoever that 9/11 was an inside conspiracy, I feel you are being overconfident unless what you are saying is that there is some evidence that some figures at the World Trade Centres seemed to have foreknowledge.

Frankly, although we all have our theories as to who was responsible, I remain in full agreement with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth who state simply that the official account conflicts with physics. All else is suspicion and supposition. It may well be well grounded supposition, but until we discover who planned and executed the event and who definitely had foreknowledge, what we are dealing with is speculation.

The problem with that is that the great many people who refuse to believe anything other than the official account of 9/11 dismiss our views as those of cranks

milosevic says Dec, 4, 2018
there is some evidence that some figures at the World Trade Centres seemed to have foreknowledge

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wq-0JIR38V0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

flaxgirl says Dec, 7, 2018
Kevin,

The buildings came down by controlled demolition. The evidence for that is incontrovertible and the rationale presented by NIST for fire being the cause is demonstrably not based on a skerrick of evidence and is obviously fraudulent and false. There is not a single reason to suspect that the cause of collapse of all the buildings wasn't controlled demolition. If you believe there is a single reason to suspect another cause can you please provide it.

Since waking up to 9/11, I find that people either decide something is something with too little evidence or refrain from deciding on what something is when the evidence is so overwhelming you're practically drowning in it. Being conservative in judgement in the face of overwhelming evidence is no virtue in my opinion.

I have engaged in conversation with Mick West who runs the metabunk.org website that allegedly debunks all the conspiracy theories. We have gone back and forth a number of times over the cause of WTC-7's collapse and I have invited him to respond to an Occam's Razor challenge to provide 10 points that favour "fire" over "controlled demolition". He did not respond to the challenge, nor could he provide a single point that favours fire over controlled demolition. Not a single point -- didn't change his mind though.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/5000-challenge.html

Nor has anyone responded to my other Occam's Razor challenges. I judge when I see that there is a reasonable amount of evidence and that evidence points all one way and there is no evidence pointing any other way. If you disagree with this method fair enough.

flaxgirl says Dec, 7, 2018
And just to add, that, of course, it must be an inside job in the case of controlled demolition. As Graeme MacQueen says, there is no room in the official story for controlled demolition.

The big secret is though that death and injury were staged. That's the real secret.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
It was a totally excellent piece. No reservations.

"Theory"? Are you serious? If you believe that 9/11 was the work of 19 barely-trained terrorists (one of whom cried when asked to do steep turns and stalls according to his alleged flying instructor but was tasked with the most impossibly-expert manoeuvre of doing a 330 degree turn into the Pentagon), armed with boxcutters who managed to hijack 4 planes, navigate them into 3 iconic buildings without being molested by a single fighter interceptor through the most defended airspace on earth, which subsequently caused the 10-second collapses (displaying all the characteristics of controlled demolition and none of fire-caused collapses) of three high-rise steel frame buildings, here's a $5,000 challenge for you. All you have to do is provide 10 points that support the "fire" hypothesis over the "controlled demolition" hypothesis for the collapse of WTC-7 and you can choose your own structural engineer to validate your points. There's so very much material on the collapse it shouldn't be very difficult. In fact, all you have to do is come up with one point to support WTC-7's collapse by fire and I'll give you $5,000. One point -- validated by a structural engineer of your choice. https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/5000-challenge.html

9/11 is probably the biggest hoax in history and includes the very clever subhoax of 3,000 dead and 6,000 injured. Not only was it a hoax but they did not aim for realism in any shape or form and gave us extra clues in addition to their preposterous against-physical-and-administrative-reality story.

This is what Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of The Institute for Political Economy, who has had careers in scholarship and academia, journalism, public service, and business, has to say about 9/11.
https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/about-paul-craig-roberts/

According to the official story, on September 11, 2001, the vaunted National Security State of the World's Only Superpower was defeated by a few young Saudi Arabians armed only with box cutters. The American National Security State proved to be totally helpless and was dealt the greatest humiliation ever inflicted on any country claiming to be a power.

That day no aspect of the National Security State worked. Everything failed.

The US Air Force for the first time in its history could not get intercepter jet fighters into the air.

The National Security Council failed.

All sixteen US intelligence agencies failed as did those of America's NATO and Israeli allies.

Air Traffic Control failed.

Airport Security failed four times at the same moment on the same day. The probability of such a failure is zero.

If such a thing had actually happened, there would have been demands from the White House, from Congress, and from the media for an investigation. Officials would have been held accountable for their failures. Heads would have rolled.

Instead, the White House resisted for one year the 9/11 families' demands for an investigation. Finally, a collection of politicians was assembled to listen to the government's account and to write it down. The chairman, vice chairman, and legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission have said that information was withheld from the commission, lies were told to the commission, and that the commission "was set up to fail." The worst security failure in history resulted in not a single firing. No one was held responsible.

Washington concluded that 9/11 was possible because America lacked a police state.
The PATRIOT Act, which was awaiting the event was quickly passed by the congressional idiots. The Act established executive branch independence of law and the Constitution. The Act and follow-up measures have institutionalized a police state in "the land of the free."

Osama bin Laden, a CIA asset dying of renal failure, was blamed despite his explicit denial. For the next ten years Osama bin Laden was the bogyman that provided the excuse for Washington to kill countless numbers of Muslims. Then suddenly on May 2, 2011, Obama claimed that US Navy SEALs had killed bin Laden in Pakistan. Eyewitnesses on the scene contradicted the White House's story. Osama bin Laden became the only human in history to survive renal failure for ten years. There was no dialysis machine in what was said to be bin Laden's hideaway. The numerous obituaries of bin Laden's death in December 2001 went down the memory hole. And the SEAL team died a few weeks later in a mysterious helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The thousands of sailors on the aircraft carrier from which bin Laden was said to have been dumped into the Indian Ocean wrote home that no such burial took place.

The fairy tale story of bin Laden's murder by Seal Team Six served to end the challenge by disappointed Democrats to Obama's nomination for a second term. It also freed the "war on terror" from the bin Laden constraint. Washington wanted to attack Libya, Syria, and Iran, countries in which bin Laden was known not to have organizations, and the succession of faked bin Laden videos, in which bin Laden grew progressively younger as the fake bin Laden claimed credit for each successive attack, had lost credibility among experts.

Watching the twin towers and WTC 7 come down, it was obvious to me that the buildings were not falling down as a result of structural damage. When it became clear that the White House had blocked an independent investigation of the only three steel skyscrapers in world history to collapse as a result of low temperature office fires, it was apparent that there was a coverup.

After 13 years people at home and abroad find the government's story less believable.
The case made by independent experts is now so compelling that mainstream media has opened to it. Here is Richard Gage of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth on C-SPAN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zbv2SvBEec#t=23

Anticitizen one says Dec, 4, 2018
The only thing that surprises me about 9/11 these days is that new evidence linking Russia to the event hasn't been fabricated, sorry, discovered yet.

[Dec 24, 2018] Revealed: the dark past of Outcast , MI6 s top wartime double agent

Notable quotes:
"... It is also a nice illustration of how "Westminster Style" democracy works. Any chance that the electorate might elect a left wing government and you get a Zinoviev letter or a Bologna railway station bombing. ..."
"... In other words "Elect whom you like". ("Provided we like them too!") It's really a bit like herding sheep. ..."
Oct 11, 2015 | The Guardian

The documents reveal him as Alexis Bellegarde, one of four White Russian aristocrats believed to have been behind an infamous forgery 15 years before the war began. The revelations of Bellegarde's importance to MI6 will increase suspicions that British agents had a hand in the production of the "Zinoviev letter"; its leak to the Daily Mail many believe cost Labour the 1924 general election.

foolisholdman -> Brian Milne 11 Oct 2015 05:55

Brian Milne

It is also a nice illustration of how "Westminster Style" democracy works. Any chance that the electorate might elect a left wing government and you get a Zinoviev letter or a Bologna railway station bombing.

In other words "Elect whom you like". ("Provided we like them too!") It's really a bit like herding sheep.

AlbertTatlock53 -> LordUpminster 11 Oct 2015 08:35

Despite the blandness of the OH volumes on Ultra, some facts did leak out, like having a month's notice of the Italian declaration of war and useful tactical and operational details like the positions of wolf packs. It also reminded me of a couple of anecdotes about Ultra information by unwitting sources in memoirs. I wouldn't deprecate Ultra or the British war effort that far. The British army that went to Normandy was the most mechanised and armoured army in history and pulled rather more than its own weight in the coalition. The principal offensive weapon of the British empire was Bomber Command, which in the spring-summer of 1943 began to devastate the German war economy.

The Soviet and then the US contributions to the war dwarfed the British empire but only relatively, it was still a superpower in 1945, though by the Suez crime it had become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Murder Inc.

LordUpminster ID7678903 11 Oct 2015 04:04

And no doubt the establishment will continue to play such dirty tricks to undermine our so called democracy

Not the slightest: according to our friend jamesforysthe below that's essentially what they're for.

Re. the Zinoviev letter, I did see one theory many years ago that the man behind it was the then-Polish Army Minister Władysław Sikorski, the one who later headed the Polish exile government in London and was killed in an air crash. Certainly in October 1924 he was bragging to people in governmental circles in Warsaw that it was his agents who had arranged it - though why exactly is not easy to see, given that Poland had no particular political interest in Britain at the time. I suspect that it was empty boasting, and that it was Russian emigrés who were responsible.

Coming up soon: conclusive proof that Jeremy Corbyn was once an agent of the Tsarist Okhrana.

Brian Milne 11 Oct 2015 04:00

Had Labour won, thus Baldwin, MacDonald, Baldwin, Chamberlain probably not have been the course of politics, would the UK necessarily have moved further left? The question remains to be seen, but unless somebody more genuinely socialist had replaced MacDonald probably not. However, the outcome may well have been a far more amicable relationship with the Soviet Union, the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations possibly better conformed to and the rise of Hitler less likely. The Zinoviev letter may well have been as much a contributory denominator in that than is implied. Of course, we hall never know really, only historians expounding their own theories and interpretations of history.

samuel glover -> jamesforsythe 11 Oct 2015 01:43

"Some brilliant espionage across the Middle-east and Israel is precisely what's needed to bring these politically infantile areas into western like democratic administrations, this century, not next. And with fewer wars. "

First, you think western intelligence agencies **haven't** been prominent in the history of that region?!?!?

Second, you think these same agencies are capable of just whipping up entire social and political structures and cultures on demand? Do you read newspapers?

Remember that these agencies -- in America, in Britain, in every NATO country -- spent decades and billions of dollars and billions of man-hours staring obsessively at the USSR. EVERY ONE of them was completely blindsided when the Soviet Union folded up.

error418 -> jamesforsythe 10 Oct 2015 23:21

"Our" best interests or that intelligence service´s best interests? ISI in Pakistan is a good example of such a service gone rogue. Experts in election rigging.

Frisco27 10 Oct 2015 19:06

"Sexing up" documents? What a scumbag... That would never happen these days.

[Dec 24, 2018] Income inequality happens by design. We cant fix it by tweaking capitalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market. ..."
"... The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go? ..."
"... Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership. ..."
"... family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery. ..."
"... Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo. ..."
"... Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs. ..."
"... So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context. ..."
"... Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this. I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries. ..."
Dec 05, 2015 | The Guardian

The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality. They still struggle for access to the basics

... ... ...

The disparities in wealth that we term "income inequality" are no accident, and they can't be fixed by fiddling at the edges of our current economic system. These disparities happened by design, and the system structurally disadvantages those at the bottom. The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality; even their very chances for access to the most basic tools of life are almost nil.

... ... ...

Too often, the answer by those who have hoarded everything is they will choose to "give back" in a manner of their choosing – just look at Mark Zuckerberg and his much-derided plan to "give away" 99% of his Facebook stock. He is unlikely to help change inequality or poverty any more than "giving away" of $100m helped children in Newark schools.

Allowing any of the 100 richest Americans to choose how they fix "income inequality" will not make the country more equal or even guarantee more access to life. You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools, even when you're the master; but more to the point, who would tear down his own house to distribute the bricks among so very many others?

mkenney63 5 Dec 2015 20:37

Excellent article. The problems we face are structural and can only be solved by making fundamental changes. We must bring an end to "Citizens United", modern day "Jim Crow" and the military industrial complex in order to restore our democracy. Then maybe, just maybe, we can have an economic system that will treat all with fairness and respect. Crony capitalism has had its day, it has mutated into criminality.

Kencathedrus -> Marcedward 5 Dec 2015 20:23

In the pre-capitalist system people learnt crafts to keep themselves afloat. The Industrial Revolution changed all that. Now we have the church of Education promising a better life if we get into debt to buy (sorry, earn) degrees.

The whole system is messed up and now we have millions of people on this planet who can't function even those with degrees. Barbarians are howling at the gates of Europe. The USA is rotting from within. As Marx predicted the Capitalists are merely paying their own grave diggers.

mkenney63 -> Bobishere 5 Dec 2015 20:17

I would suggest you read the economic and political history of the past 30 years. To help you in your study let me recommend a couple of recent books: "Winner Take all Politics" by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson and "The Age of Acquiescence" by Steve Fraser. It always amazes me that one can be so blind the facts of recent American history; it's not just "a statistical inequality", it's been a well thought-out strategy over time to rig the system, a strategy engaged in by politicians and capitalists. Shine some light on this issue by acquainting yourself with the facts.


Maharaja Brovinda -> Singh Jill Harrison 5 Dec 2015 19:42

We play out the prisoner's dilemma in life, in general, over and over in different circumstances, every day. And we always choose the dominant - rational - solution. But the best solution is not based on rationality, but rather on trust and faith in each other - rather ironically for our current, evidence based society!


Steven Palmer 5 Dec 2015 19:19

Like crack addicts the philanthropricks only seek to extend their individual glory, social image their primary goal, and yet given the context they will burn in history. Philanthroptits should at least offset the immeasurable damage they have done through their medieval wealth accumulation. Collaborative philanthropy for basic income is a good idea, but ye, masters tools.


BlairM -> Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 19:10

Well, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, capitalism is the worst possible economic system, except for all those other economic systems that have been tried from time to time.

I'd rather just have the freedom to earn money as I please, and if that means inequality, it's a small price to pay for not having some feudal lord or some party bureaucrat stomping on my humanity.

brusuz 5 Dec 2015 18:52

As long as wealth can be created by shuffling money from one place to another in the giant crap shoot we call our economy, nothing will change. Until something takes place to make it advantageous for the investor capitalists to put that money to work doing something that actually produces some benefit to the society as a whole, they will continue their extractive machinations. I see nothing on the horizon that is going to change any of that, and to cast this as some sort of a racial issue is quite superficial. We have all gotten the shaft, since there is no upward mobility available to anyone. Since the Bush crowd of neocons took power, we have all been shackled with "individual solutions to societal created problems."

Jimi Del Duca 5 Dec 2015 18:31

Friends, Capitalism is structural exploitation of ALL WORKERS. Thinking about it as solely a race issue is divisive. What we need is CLASS SOLIDARITY and ORGANIZATION. See iww.org We are the fighting union with no use for capitalists!

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 18:04

You'd be better off reading Marx if you want to understand capitalism. I think you are ascribing the word to what you think it should be rather than what it is.

It is essentially a class structure rather than any defined economic system. Neoliberal is essentially laissez faire capitalism. It is designed to suborn nation states to corporate benefit.

AmyInNH -> tommydog

They make $40 a month. Working 7 days a week. At least 12 hour days. Who's fed you that "we're doing them a favor" BS?

And I've news for you regarding "Those whose skills are less adaptable to doing so are seeing their earnings decline." We have many people who have 3 masters degrees making less than minimum wage. We have top notch STEM students shunned so corporations can hire captive/cheaper foreign labor, called H1-Bs, who then wait 10 years working for them waiting for their employment based green card. Or "visiting" students here on J1 visas, so the employers can get out of paying: social security, federal unemployment insurance, etc.

Wake up and smell the coffee tommydog. They've more than a thumb on the scale.

seamanbodine,
I am a socialist. I decided to read this piece to see if Mr. Thrasher could write about market savagery without propounding the fiction that whites are somehow exempt from the effects of it.

No, he could not. I clicked on the link accompanying his assertion that whites who are high school dropouts earn more than blacks with college degrees, and I read the linked piece in full. The linked piece does not in fact compare income (i.e., yearly earnings) of white high school dropouts with those of black college graduates, but it does compare family wealth across racial cohorts (though not educational ones), and the gap there is indeed stark, with average white family wealth in the six figures (full disclosure, I am white, and my personal wealth is below zero, as I owe more in student loans than I own, so perhaps I am not really white, or I do not fully partake of "whiteness," or whatever), and average black family wealth in the four figures.

The reason for this likely has a lot to do with home ownership disparities, which in turn are linked in significant part to racist redlining practices. So white dropouts often live in homes their parents or grandparents bought, while many black college graduates whose parents were locked out of home ownership by institutional racism and, possibly, the withering of manufacturing jobs just as the northward migration was beginning to bear some economic fruit for black families, are still struggling to become homeowners. Thus, the higher average wealth for the dropout who lives in a family owned home.

But this is not what Mr. Thrasher wrote. He specifically used the words "earn more," creating the impression that some white ignoramus is simply going to stumble his way into a higher salary than a cultivated, college educated black person. That is simply not the case, and the difference does matter.

Why does it matter? Because I regularly see middle aged whites who are broken and homeless on the streets of the town where I live, and I know they are simply the tip of a growing mountain of privation. Yeah, go ahead, call it white tears if you want, but if you cannot see that millions (including, of course, not simply folks who are out and out homeless, but folks who are struggling to get enough to eat and routinely go without needed medication and medical care) of people who have "white privilege" are indeed oppressed by global capitalism then I would say that you are, at the end of the day, NO BETTER THAN THE WHITES YOU DISDAIN.

If you have read this far, then you realize that I am in no way denying the reality of structural racism. But an account of economic savagery that entirely subsumes it into non-economic categories (race, gender, age), that refuses to acknowledge that blacks can be exploiters and whites can be exploited, is simply conservatism by other means. One gets the sense that if we have enough black millionaires and enough whites dying of things like a lack of medical care, then this might bring just a little bit of warmth to the hearts of people like Mr. Thrasher.

Call it what you want, but don't call it progressive. Maybe it is historical karma. Which is understandable, as there is no reason why globally privileged blacks in places like the U.S. or Great Britain should bear the burden of being any more selfless or humane than globally privileged whites are or have been. The Steven Thrashers of humanity are certainly no worse than many of the whites they cannot seem to recognize as fully human are.

But nor are they any better.
JohnLG 5 Dec 2015 17:23

I agree that the term "income inequality" is so vague that falls between useless and diversionary, but so too is most use of the word "capitalism", or so it seems to me. Typically missing is a penetrating analysis of where the problem lies, a comprehensibly supported remedy, or large-scale examples of anything except what's not working. "Income inequality" is pretty abstract until we look specifically at the consequences for individuals and society, and take a comprehensive look at all that is unequal. What does "capitalism" mean? Is capitalism the root of all this? Is capitalism any activity undertaken for profit, or substantial monopolization of markets and power?

Power tends to corrupt. Money is a form of power, but there are others. The use of power to essentially cheat, oppress or kill others is corrupt, whether that power is in the form of a weapon, wealth, the powers of the state, or all of the above. Power is seductive and addictive. Even those with good intensions can be corrupted by an excess of power and insufficient accountability, while predators are drawn to power like sharks to blood. Democracy involves dispersion of power, ideally throughout a whole society. A constitutional democracy may offer protection even to minorities against a "tyranny of the majority" so long as a love of justice prevails. Selective "liberty and justice" is not liberty and justice at all, but rather a tyranny of the many against the few, as in racism, or of the few against the many, as by despots. Both forms reinforce each other in the same society, both are corrupt, and any "ism" can be corrupted by narcissism. To what degree is any society a shining example of government of, for, and by the people, and to what degree can one discover empirical evidence of corruption? What do we do about it?

AmyInNH -> CaptainGrey 5 Dec 2015 17:15

You're too funny. It's not "lifting billions out of poverty". It's moving malicious manufacturing practices to the other side of the planet. To the lands of no labor laws. To hide it from consumers. To hide profits.

And it is dying. Legislatively they choke off their natural competition, which is an essential element of capitalism. Monopoly isn't capitalism. And when they bribe legislators, we don't have democracy any more either.

Jeremiah2000 -> Teresa Trujillo 5 Dec 2015 16:53

Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market.

The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go?

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:45

Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

The words "OWN" and "ASSETS" are the key descriptors of the definition of wealth. But these words are not well understood by the vast majority of Americans or for that matter, global citizens. They are limited to the vocabulary used by the wealthy ownership class and financial publications, which are not widely read, and not even taught in our colleges and universities.

The wealthy ownership class did not become wealthy because they are "three times as smart." Still there is a valid argument that the vast majority of Americans do not pay particular attention to the financial world and educate themselves on wealth building within the current system's limited past-savings paradigm. Significantly, the wealthy OWNERSHIP class use their political power (power always follows property OWNERSHIP) to write the system rules to benefit and enhance their wealth. As such they have benefited from forging trade policy agreements which further concentrate OWNERSHIP on a global scale, military-industrial complex subsidies and government contracts, tax code provisions and loopholes and collective-bargaining rules – policy changes they've used their wealth to champion.

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:44

Unfortunately, when it comes to recommendations for solutions to economic inequality, virtually every commentator, politician and economist is stuck in viewing the world in one factor terms – human labor, in spite of their implied understanding that the rich are rich because they OWN the non-human means of production – physical capital. The proposed variety of wealth-building programs, like "universal savings accounts that might be subsidized for low-income savers," are not practical solutions because they rely on savings (a denial of consumption which lessens demand in the economy), which the vast majority of Americans do not have, and for those who can save their savings are modest and insignificant. Though, millions of Americans own diluted stock value through the "stock market exchanges," purchased with their earnings as labor workers (savings), their stock holdings are relatively minuscule, as are their dividend payments compared to the top 10 percent of capital owners. Pew Research found that 53 percent of Americans own no stock at all, and out of the 47 percent who do, the richest 5 percent own two-thirds of that stock. And only 10 percent of Americans have pensions, so stock market gains or losses don't affect the incomes of most retirees.

As for taxpayer-supported saving subsidies or other wage-boosting measures, those who have only their labor power and its precarious value held up by coercive rigging and who desperately need capital ownership to enable them to be capital workers (their productive assets applied in the economy) as well as labor workers to have a way to earn more income, cannot satisfy their unsatisfied needs and wants and sufficiently provide for themselves and their families. With only access to labor wages, the 99 percenters will continue, in desperation, to demand more and more pay for the same or less work, as their input is exponentially replaced by productive capital.

As such, the vast majority of American consumers will continue to be strapped to mounting consumer debt bills, stagnant wages and inflationary price pressures. As their ONLY source of income is through wage employment, economic insecurity for the 99 percent majority of people means they cannot survive more than a week or two without a paycheck. Thus, the production side of the economy is under-nourished and hobbled as a result, because there are fewer and fewer "customers with money." We thus need to free economic growth from the slavery of past savings.

I mentioned that political power follows property OWNERSHIP because with concentrated capital asset OWNERSHIP our elected representatives are far too often bought with the expectation that they protect and enhance the interests of the wealthiest Americans, the OWNERSHIP class they too overwhelmingly belong to.

Many, including the author of this article, have concluded that with such a concentrated OWNERSHIP stronghold the wealthy have on our politics, "it's hard to see where this cycle ends." The ONLY way to reverse this cycle and broaden capital asset OWNERSHIP universally is a political revolution. (Bernie Sanders, are you listening?)

The political revolution must address the problem of lack of demand. To create demand, the FUTURE economy must be financed in ways that create new capital OWNERS, who will benefit from the full earnings of the FUTURE productive capability of the American economy, and without taking from those who already OWN. This means significantly slowing the further concentration of capital asset wealth among those who are already wealthy and ensuring that the system is reformed to promote inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice.

yamialwaysright 5 Dec 2015 16:13

I was interested and in agreement until I read about structured racism. Many black kidsin the US grow up without a father in the house. They turn to anti-social behaviour and crime. Once you are poor it is hard to get out of being poor but Journalists are not doing justice to a critique of US Society if they ignore the fact that some people behave in a self-destructive way. I would imagine that if some black men in the US and the UK stuck with one woman and played a positive role in the life of their kids, those kids would have a better chance at life. People of different racial and ethnic origin do this also but there does seem to be a disproportionate problem with some black US men and some black UK men. Poverty is one problem but growing up in poverty and without a father figure adds to the problem.

What the author writes applies to other countries not just the US in relation to the super wealthy being a small proportion of the population yet having the same wealth as a high percentage of the population. This in not a black or latino issue but a wealth distribution issue that affects everyone irrespective of race or ethnic origin. The top 1%, 5% or 10% having most of the wealth is well-known in many countries.

nuthermerican4u 5 Dec 2015 15:59

Capitalism, especially the current vulture capitalism, is dog eat dog. Always was, always will be. My advice is that if you are a capitalist that values your heirs, invest in getting off this soon-to-be slag heap and find other planets to pillage and rape. Either go all out for capitalism or reign in this beast before it kills all of us.

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:32

Our antiquated class structure demonstrates the trickle up of Capitalism and the need to counterbalance it with progressive taxation.

In the 1960s/1970s we used high taxes on the wealthy to counter balance the trickle up of Capitalism and achieved much greater equality.

Today we have low taxes on the wealthy and Capitalism's trickle up is widening the inequality gap.

We are cutting benefits for the disabled, poor and elderly so inequality can get wider and the idle rich can remain idle.

They have issued enough propaganda to make people think it's those at the bottom that don't work.

Every society since the dawn of civilization has had a Leisure Class at the top, in the UK we call them the Aristocracy and they have been doing nothing for centuries.

The UK's aristocracy has seen social systems come and go, but they all provide a life of luxury and leisure and with someone else doing all the work.

Feudalism - exploit the masses through land ownership
Capitalism - exploit the masses through wealth (Capital)

Today this is done through the parasitic, rentier trickle up of Capitalism:

a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

The system itself provides for the idle rich and always has done from the first civilisations right up to the 21st Century.

The rich taking from the poor is always built into the system, taxes and benefits are the counterbalance that needs to be applied externally.

Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 15:31

I often chuckle when I read some of the right wing comments on articles such as this. Firstly, I question if readers actually read the article references I've highlighted, before rushing to comment.

Secondly, the comments are generated by cifers who probably haven't set the world alight, haven't made a difference in their local community, they'll have never created thousands of jobs in order to reward themselves with huge dividends having and as a consequence enjoy spectacular asset/investment growth, at best they'll be chugging along, just about keeping their shit together and yet they support a system that's broken, other than for the one percent, of the one percent.

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies issued this week analyzed the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans and found that "the wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States". That means that 100 families – most of whom are white – have as much wealth as the 41,000,000 black folks walking around the country (and the million or so locked up) combined.

Similarly, the report also stated that "the wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population" of the nation. Here again, the breakdown in actual humans is broke down: 186 overwhelmingly white folks have more money than that an astounding 55,000,000 Latino people.

family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery.

soundofthesuburbs -> soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:26

It is the 21st Century and most of the land in the UK is still owned by the descendants of feudal warlords that killed people and stole their land and wealth.

When there is no land to build houses for generation rent, land ownership becomes an issue.

David Cameron is married into the aristocracy and George Osborne is a member of the aristocracy, they must both be well acquainted with the Leisure Class.

I can't find any hard work going on looking at the Wikipedia page for David Cameron's father-in-law. His family have been on their estate since the sixteenth century and judging by today's thinking, expect to be on it until the end of time.

George Osborne's aristocratic pedigree goes back to the Tudor era:

"he is an aristocrat with a pedigree stretching back to early in the Tudor era. His father, Sir Peter Osborne, is the 17th holder of a hereditary baronetcy that has been passed from father to son for 10 generations, and of which George is next in line."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/george-osborne-a-silver-spoon-for-the-golden-boy-2004814.html

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:24

The working and middle classes toil to keep the upper class in luxury and leisure.

In the UK nothing has changed.

We call our Leisure Class the Aristocracy.

For the first time in five millennia of human civilisation some people at the bottom of society aren't working.

We can't have that; idleness is only for the rich.

It's the way it's always been and the way it must be again.

Did you think the upper; leisure class, social calendar disappeared in the 19th Century?
No it's alive and kicking in the 21st Century ....

Peer into the lives of today's Leisure Class with Tatler. http://www.tatler.com/the-season

If we have people at the bottom who are not working the whole of civilisation will be turned on its head.

"The modern industrial society developed from the barbarian tribal society, which featured a leisure class supported by subordinated working classes employed in economically productive occupations. The leisure class is composed of people exempted from manual work and from practicing economically productive occupations, because they belong to the leisure class."

The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions, by Thorstein Veblen. It was written a long time ago but much of it is as true today as it was then. The Wikipedia entry gives a good insight.

DBChas 5 Dec 2015 15:13
"income inequality" is best viewed as structural capitalism. It's not as if, did black and brown people and female people somehow (miraculously) attain the economic status of the lower-paid, white, male person, the problem would be solved--simply by adjusting pay scales. The problem is inherent to capitalism, which doesn't mean certain "types" of people aren't more disadvantaged for their "type." No one is saying that. For capitalists, it's easier to rationalize the obscene unfairness (only rich people say, "life's not fair") when their "type" is regarded as superior to a different "type," whether that be with respect to color or gender or both.

Over time--a long time--the dominant party (white males since the Dark Ages, also the life-span of capitalism coincidentally enough) came to dominance by various means, too many to try to list, or even know of. Why white males? BTW, just because most in power and in money are white males does not mean ALL white males are in positions of power and wealth. Most are not, and these facts help to fog the issue.

Indeed, "income inequality," is not an accident, nor can it be fixed, as the author notes, by tweaking (presumably he means capitalism). And he's quite right too in saying, "You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools..." I take that ALSO to mean, the problem can't be fixed by way of what Hedges has called a collapsing liberal establishment with its various institutions, officially speaking. That is, it's not institutional racism that's collapsing, but that institution is not officially recognized as such.

HOWEVER, it IS possible, even when burdened with an economics that is capitalism, to redistribute wealth, and I don't just mean Mark Zuckerberg's. I mean all wealth in whatever form can be redistributed if/when government decides it can. And THIS TIME, unlike the 1950s-60s, not only would taxes on the wealthy be the same as then but the wealth redistributed would be redistributed to ALL, not just to white families, and perhaps in particular to red families, the oft forgotten ones.

This is a matter of political will. But, of course, if that means whites as the largest voting block insist on electing to office those without the political will, nothing will change. In that case, other means have to be considered, and just a reminder: If the government fails to serve the people, the Constitution gives to the people the right to depose that government. But again, if whites as the largest voting block AND as the largest sub-group in the nation (and women are the largest part of that block, often voting as their men vote--just the facts, please, however unpleasant) have little interest in seeing to making necessary changes at least in voting booths, then...what? Bolshevism or what? No one seems to know and it's practically taboo even to talk about possibilities. Americans did it once, but not inclusively and not even paid in many instances. When it happens again, it has to happen with and for the participation of ALL. And it's worth noting that it will have to happen again, because capitalism by its very nature cannot survive itself. That is, as Marx rightly noted, capitalism will eventually collapse by dint of its internal contradictions.


mbidding Jeremiah2000 5 Dec 2015 15:08

Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo.

Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs.

Consider as well that you don't have transportation to get a job that would improve your circumstances. You earn too much to qualify for meaningful levels of food support programs and fall into the insurance gap for subsidies because you live in a state that for ideological reasons refuses to expand Medicaid coverage. Your local schools are a disgrace but you can't take advantage of so-called school choice programs (vouchers, charters, and the like) as you don't have transportation or the time (given your employer's refusal to set fixed working hours for minimum wage part time work) to get your kids to that fine choice school.

You may have a fridge and a stove, but you have no food to cook. You may have access to running water and electricity, but you can't afford to pay the bills for such on account of having to choose between putting food in that fridge or flushing that toilet. You can't be there reliably for your kids to help with school, etc, because you work constantly shifting hours for crap pay.

Get back to me after six months to a year after living in such circumstances and then tell me again how Americans don't really live in poverty simply because they have access to appliances.


Earl Shelton 5 Dec 2015 15:08

The Earned Income Tax Credit seems to me a good starting point for reform. It has been around since the 70s -- conceived by Nixon/Moynihan -- and signed by socialist (kidding) Gerald Ford -- it already *redistributes* income (don't choke on the term, O'Reilly) directly from tax revenue (which is still largely progressive) to the working poor, with kids.

That program should be massively expanded to tax the 1% -- and especially the top 1/10 of 1% (including a wealth tax) -- and distribute the money to the bottom half of society, mostly in the form of work training, child care and other things that help put them in and keep them in the middle class. It is a mechanism already in existence to correct the worst ravages of Capitalism. Use it to build shared prosperity.


oKWJNRo 5 Dec 2015 14:40

So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context.

We can probably all agree that Capitalism has brought about widespread improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions, for example, compared to the feudal system that preceded it... But it also disproportionately benefits the upper echelons of Capitalist societies and is wholly unequal by design.

Capitalism depends upon the existence of a large underclass that can be exploited. This is part of the process of how surplus value is created and wealth is extracted from labour. This much is indisputable. It is therefore obvious that capitalism isn't an ideal system for most of us living on this planet.

As for the improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions etc that Capitalism has fostered... Most of these were won through long struggles against the Capitalist hegemony by the masses. We would have certainly chosen to make these improvements to our landscape sooner if Capitalism hadn't made every effort to stop us. The problem today is that Capitalism and its powerful beneficiaries have successfully convinced us that there is no possible alternative. It won't give us the chance to try or even permit us to believe there could be another, better way.

Martin Joseph -> realdoge 5 Dec 2015 14:33

Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this.

I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries.

VWFeature 5 Dec 2015 14:29

Markets, economies and tax systems are created by people, and based on rules they agree on. Those rules can favor general prosperity or concentration of wealth. Destruction and predation are easier than creation and cooperation, so our rules have to favor cooperation if we want to avoid predation and destructive conflicts.

In the 1930's the US changed many of those rules to favor general prosperity. Since then they've been gradually changed to favor wealth concentration and predation. They can be changed back.

The trick is creating a system that encourages innovation while putting a safety net under the population so failure doesn't end in starvation.

A large part of our current problems is the natural tendency for large companies to get larger and larger until their failure would adversely affect too many others, so they're not allowed to fail. Tax law, not antitrust law, has to work against this. If a company can reduce its tax rate by breaking into 20 smaller (still huge) companies, then competition is preserved and no one company can dominate and control markets.

Robert Goldschmidt -> Jake321 5 Dec 2015 14:27

Bernie Sanders has it right on -- we can only heal our system by first having millions rise up and demand an end to the corruption of the corporations controlling our elected representatives. Corporations are not people and money is not speech.

moonwrap02 5 Dec 2015 14:26

The effects of wealth distribution has far reaching consequences. It is not just about money, but creating a fair society - one that is co-operative and cohesive. The present system has allowed an ever divide between the rich and poor, creating a two tier society where neither the twain shall meet. The rich and poor are almost different species on the planet and no longer belong to the same community. Commonality of interest is lost and so it's difficult to form community and to have good, friendly relationships across class differences that are that large.

"If capitalism is to be seen to be fair, the same rules are to apply to the big guy as to the little guy,"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/2-charts-that-show-what-the-world-really-thinks-about-capitalism-a6719851.html


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 14:17

Sorry. I get it now. You actually think that because the Washington elite has repealed Glass-Steagel that we live in a unregulated capitalistic system.

This is so far from the truth that I wasn't comprehending that anyone could think that. You can see the graph of pages published in the Federal Register here. Unregulated capitalism? Wow.

Dodd Frank was passed in 2010 (without a single Republican vote). Originally it was 2,300 pages. It is STILL being written by nameless bureaucrats and is over 20,000 pages. Unregulated capitalism? Really?

But the reality is that Goliath is conspiring with the government to regulate what size sling David can use and how many stones and how many ounces.

So we need more government regulations? They will disallow David from anything but spitwads and only two of those.


neuronmaker -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:16

Do you understand the concept of corporations which are products of capitalism?

The legal institutions within each capitalist corporations and nations are just that, they are capitalist and all about making profits.

The law is made by the rich capitalists and for the rich capitalists. Each Legislation is a link in the chain of economic slavery by capitalists.

Capitalism and the concept of money is a construction of the human mind, as it does not exist in the natural world. This construction is all about using other human beings like blood suckers to sustain a cruel and evil life style - with blood and brutality as the core ideology.


Marcedward -> MarjaE 5 Dec 2015 14:12

I would agree that our system of help for the less-well-off could be more accessible and more generous, but that doesn't negate that point that there is a lot of help out there - the most important help being that totally free educational system. Think about it, a free education, and to get the most out of it a student merely has to show up, obey the rules, do the homework and study for tests. It's all laid out there for the kids like a helicopter mom laying out her kids clothes. How much easier can we make it? If people can't be bothered to show up and put in effort, how is their failure based on racism


tommydog -> martinusher 5 Dec 2015 14:12

As you are referring to Carlos Slim, interestingly while he is Mexican by birth his parents were both Lebanese.

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:12

Why isn't that capitalism? It's raw capitalism on steroids.

Zara Von Fritz -> Toughspike 5 Dec 2015 14:12

It's an equal opportunity plantation now.

Robert Goldschmidt 5 Dec 2015 14:11

The key to repairing the system is to identify the causes of our problems.

Here is my list:

The information technology revolution which continues to destroy wages by enabling automation and outsourcing.

The reformation of monopolies which price gouge and block innovation.

Hitting ecological limits such as climate change, water shortages, unsustainable farming.

Then we can make meaningful changes such as regulation of the portion of corporate profit that are pay, enforcement of national and regional antitrust laws and an escalating carbon tax.

Zara Von Fritz -> PostCorbyn 5 Dec 2015 14:11

If you can believe these quality of life or happiness indexes they put out so often, the winners tend to be places that have nice environments and a higher socialist mix in their economy. Of course there are examples of poor countries that practice the same but its not clear that their choice is causal rather than reactive.

We created this mess and we can fix it.

Zara Von Fritz -> dig4victory 5 Dec 2015 14:03

Yes Basic Income is possibly the mythical third way. It socialises wealth to a point but at the same time frees markets from their obligation to perpetually grow and create jobs for the sake of jobs and also hereford reduces the subsequent need for governments to attempt to control them beyond maintaining their health.

Zara Von Fritz 5 Dec 2015 13:48

As I understand it, you don't just fiddle with capitalism, you counteract it, or counterweight it. A level of capitalism, or credit accumulation, and a level of socialism has always existed, including democracy which is a manifestation of socialism (1 vote each). So the project of capital accumulation seems to be out of control because larger accumulations become more powerful and meanwhile the power of labour in the marketplace has become less so due to forces driving unemployment. The danger is that capital's power to control the democratic system reaches a point of no return.


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 13:42

"I do not have the economic freedom to grow my own food because i do not have access to enough land to grow it and i do not have the economic clout to buy a piece of land."

Economic freedom does NOT mean you get money for free. It means that means that if you grow food for personal use, the federal government doesn't trash the Constitution by using the insterstate commerce clause to say that it can regulate how much you grow on your own personal land.

Economic freedom means that if you have a widget, you can choose to set the price for $10 or $100 and that a buyer is free to buy it from you or not buy it from you. It does NOT mean that you are entitled to "free" widgets.

"If capitalism has not managed to eradicate poverty in rich first world countries then just what chance if there of capitalism eradicating poverty on a global scale?"

The average person in poverty in the U.S. doesn't live in poverty:

In fact, 80.9 percent of households below the poverty level have cell phones, and a healthy majority-58.2 percent-have computers.

Fully 96.1 percent of American households in "poverty" have a television to watch, and 83.2 percent of them have a video-recording device in case they cannot get home in time to watch the football game or their favorite television show and they want to record it for watching later.

Refrigerators (97.8 percent), gas or electric stoves (96.6 percent) and microwaves (93.2 percent) are standard equipment in the homes of Americans in "poverty."

More than 83 percent have air-conditioning.

Interestingly, the appliances surveyed by the Census Bureau that households in poverty are least likely to own are dish washers (44.9 percent) and food freezers (26.2 percent).

However, most Americans in "poverty" do not need to go to a laundromat. According to the Census Bureau, 68.7 percent of households in poverty have a clothes washer and 65.3 percent have a clothes dryer.

(Data from the U.S. census.)

[Dec 24, 2018] Phone in sick: its a small act of rebellion against wage slavery

Notable quotes:
"... By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more. ..."
"... How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish. ..."
"... I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. ..."
Oct 24, 2015 | The Guardian

"Phoning in sick is a revolutionary act." I loved that slogan. It came to me, as so many good things did, from Housmans, the radical bookshop in King's Cross. There you could rummage through all sorts of anarchist pamphlets and there I discovered, in the early 80s, the wondrous little magazine Processed World. It told you basically how to screw up your workplace. It was smart and full of small acts of random subversion. In many ways it was ahead of its time as it was coming out of San Francisco and prefiguring Silicon Valley. It saw the machines coming. Jobs were increasingly boring and innately meaningless. Workers were "data slaves" working for IBM ("Intensely Boring Machines").

What Processed World was doing was trying to disrupt the identification so many office workers were meant to feel with their management, not through old-style union organising, but through small acts of subversion. The modern office, it stressed, has nothing to do with human need. Its rebellion was about working as little as possible, disinformation and sabotage. It was making alienation fun. In 1981, it could not have known that a self-service till cannot ever phone in sick.

I was thinking of this today, as I wanted to do just that. I have made myself ill with a hangover. A hangover, I always feel, is nature's way of telling you to have a day off. One can be macho about it and eat your way back to sentience via the medium of bacon sandwiches and Maltesers. At work, one is dehydrated, irritable and only semi-present. Better, surely, though to let the day fall through you and dream away.

Having worked in America, though, I can say for sure that they brook no excuses whatsoever. When I was late for work and said things like, "My alarm clock did not go off", they would say that this was not a suitable explanation, which flummoxed me. I had to make up others. This was just to work in a shop.

This model of working – long hours, very few holidays, few breaks, two incomes needed to raise kids, crazed loyalty demanded by huge corporations, the American way – is where we're heading. Except now the model is even more punishing. It is China. We are expected to compete with an economy whose workers are often closer to indentured slaves than anything else.

This is what striving is, then: dangerous, demoralising, often dirty work. Buckle down. It's the only way forward, apparently, which is why our glorious leaders are sucking up to China, which is immoral, never mind ridiculously short-term thinking.

So again I must really speak up for the skivers. What we have to understand about austerity is its psychic effects. People must have less. So they must have less leisure, too. The fact is life is about more than work and work is rapidly changing. Skiving in China may get you killed but here it may be a small act of resistance, or it may just be that skivers remind us that there is meaning outside wage-slavery.

Work is too often discussed by middle-class people in ways that are simply unrecognisable to anyone who has done crappy jobs. Much work is not interesting and never has been. Now that we have a political and media elite who go from Oxbridge to working for a newspaper or a politician, a lot of nonsense is spouted. These people have not cleaned urinals on a nightshift. They don't sit lonely in petrol stations manning the till. They don't have to ask permission for a toilet break in a call centre. Instead, their work provides their own special identity. It is very important.

Low-status jobs, like caring, are for others. The bottom-wipers of this world do it for the glory, I suppose. But when we talk of the coming automation that will reduce employment, bottom-wiping will not be mechanised. Nor will it be romanticised, as old male manual labour is. The mad idea of reopening the coal mines was part of the left's strange notion of the nobility of labour. Have these people ever been down a coal mine? Would they want that life for their children?

Instead we need to talk about the dehumanising nature of work. Bertrand Russell and Keynes thought our goal should be less work, that technology would mean fewer hours.

Far from work giving meaning to life, in some surveys 40% of us say that our jobs are meaningless. Nonetheless, the art of skiving is verboten as we cram our children with ever longer hours of school and homework. All this striving is for what exactly? A soul-destroying job?

Just as education is decided by those who loved school, discussions about work are had by those to whom it is about more than income.

The parts of our lives that are not work – the places we dream or play or care, the space we may find creative – all these are deemed outside the economy. All this time is unproductive. But who decides that?

Skiving work is bad only to those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

So go on: phone in sick. You know you want to.

friedad 23 Oct 2015 18:27

We now exist in a society in which the Fear Cloud is wrapped around each citizen. Our proud history of Union and Labor, fighting for decent wages and living conditions for all citizens, and mostly achieving these aims, a history, which should be taught to every child educated in every school in this country, now gradually but surely eroded by ruthless speculators in government, is the future generations are inheriting. The workforce in fear of taking a sick day, the young looking for work in fear of speaking out at diminishing rewards, definitely this 21st Century is the Century of Fear. And how is this fear denied, with mind blowing drugs, regardless if it is is alcohol, description drugs, illicit drugs, a society in denial. We do not require a heavenly object to destroy us, a few soulless monsters in our mist are masters of manipulators, getting closer and closer to accomplish their aim of having zombies doing their beckoning. Need a kidney, no worries, zombie dishwasher, is handy for one. Oh wait that time is already here.

Hemulen6 23 Oct 2015 15:06

Oh join the real world, Suzanne! Many companies now have a limit to how often you can be sick. In the case of the charity I work for it's 9 days a year. I overstepped it, I was genuinely sick, and was hauled up in front of Occupational Health. That will now go on my record and count against me. I work for a cancer care charity. Irony? Surely not.

AlexLeo -> rebel7 23 Oct 2015 13:34

Which is exactly my point. You compete on relevant job skills and quality of your product, not what school you have attended.

Yes, there are thousands, tens of thousands of folks here around San Jose who barely speak English, but are smart and hard working as hell and it takes them a few years to get to 150-200K per year, Many of them get to 300-400K, if they come from strong schools in their countries of origin, compared to the 10k or so where they came from, but probably more than the whining readership here.

This is really difficult to swallow for the Brits back in Britain, isn't it. Those who have moved over have experiences the type of social mobility unthinkable in Britain, but they have had to work hard and get to 300K-700K per year, much better than the 50-100K their parents used to make back in GB. These are averages based on personal interactions with say 50 Brits in the last 15 + years, all employed in the Silicon Valley in very different jobs and roles.

Todd Owens -> Scott W 23 Oct 2015 11:00

I get what you're saying and I agree with a lot of what you said. My only gripe is most employees do not see an operation from a business owner or managerial / financial perspective. They don't understand the costs associated with their performance or lack thereof. I've worked on a lot of projects that we're operating at a loss for a future payoff. When someone decides they don't want to do the work they're contracted to perform that can have a cascading effect on the entire company.

All in all what's being described is for the most part misguided because most people are not in the position or even care to evaluate the particulars. So saying you should do this to accomplish that is bullshit because it's rarely such a simple equation. If anything this type of tactic will leaf to MORE loss and less money for payroll.


weematt -> Barry1858 23 Oct 2015 09:04

Sorry you just can't have a 'nicer' capitalism.

War ( business by other means) and unemployment ( you can't buck the market), are inevitable concomitants of capitalist competition over markets, trade routes and spheres of interests. (Remember the war science of Nagasaki and Hiroshima from the 'good guys' ?)
"..capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt". (Marx)

You can't have full employment, or even the 'Right to Work'.

There is always ,even in boom times a reserve army of unemployed, to drive down wages. (If necessary they will inject inflation into the economy)
Unemployment is currently 5.5 percent or 1,860,000 people. If their "equilibrium rate" of unemployment is 4% rather than 5% this would still mean 1,352,000 "need be unemployed". The government don't want these people to find jobs as it would strengthen workers' bargaining position over wages, but that doesn't stop them harassing them with useless and petty form-filling, reporting to the so-called "job centre" just for the sake of it, calling them scroungers and now saying they are mentally defective.
Government is 'over' you not 'for' you.

Governments do not exist to ensure 'fair do's' but to manage social expectations with the minimum of dissent, commensurate with the needs of capitalism in the interests of profit.

Worker participation amounts to self managing workers self exploitation for the maximum of profit for the capitalist class.

Exploitation takes place at the point of production.

" Instead of the conservative motto, 'A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!' they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, 'Abolition of the wages system!'"

Karl Marx [Value, Price and Profit]

John Kellar 23 Oct 2015 07:19

Fortunately; as a retired veteran I don't have to worry about phoning in sick.However; during my Air Force days if you were sick, you had to get yourself to the Base Medical Section and prove to a medical officer that you were sick. If you convinced the medical officer of your sickness then you may have been luck to receive on or two days sick leave. For those who were very sick or incapable of getting themselves to Base Medical an ambulance would be sent - promptly.


Rchrd Hrrcks -> wumpysmum 23 Oct 2015 04:17

The function of civil disobedience is to cause problems for the government. Let's imagine that we could get 100,000 people to agree to phone in sick on a particular date in protest at austerity etc. Leaving aside the direct problems to the economy that this would cause. It would also demonstrate a willingness to take action. It would demonstrate a capability to organise mass direct action. It would demonstrate an ability to bring people together to fight injustice. In and of itself it might not have much impact, but as a precedent set it could be the beginning of something massive, including further acts of civil disobedience.


wumpysmum Rchrd Hrrcks 23 Oct 2015 03:51

There's already a form of civil disobedience called industrial action, which the govt are currently attacking by attempting to change statute. Random sickies as per my post above are certainly not the answer in the public sector at least, they make no coherent political point just cause problems for colleagues. Sadly too in many sectors and with the advent of zero hours contracts sickies put workers at risk of sanctions and lose them earnings.


Alyeska 22 Oct 2015 22:18

I'm American. I currently have two jobs and work about 70 hours a week, and I get no paid sick days. In fact, the last time I had a job with a paid sick day was 2001. If I could afford a day off, you think I'd be working 70 hours a week?

I barely make rent most months, and yes... I have two college degrees. When I try to organize my coworkers to unionize for decent pay and benefits, they all tell me not to bother.... they are too scared of getting on management's "bad side" and "getting in trouble" (yes, even though the law says management can't retaliate.)

Unions are different in the USA than in the UK. The workforce has to take a vote to unionize the company workers; you can't "just join" a union here. That's why our pay and working conditions have gotten worse, year after year.


rtb1961 22 Oct 2015 21:58

By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more.

Pay less attention to advertising and more attention to the enjoyable simplicity of life, of real direct human relationships, all of them, the ones in passing where you wish a stranger well, chats with service staff to make their life better as well as your own, exchange thoughts and ideas with others, be a human being and share humanity with other human beings.

Mkjaks 22 Oct 2015 20:35

How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish.

toffee1 22 Oct 2015 19:13

It is only considered productive if it feeds the beast, that is, contribute to the accumulation of capital so that the beast can have more power over us. The issue here is the wage labor. The 93 percent of the U.S. working population perform wage labor (see BLS site). It is the highest proportion in any society ever came into history. Under the wage labor (employment) contract, the worker gives up his/her decision making autonomy. The worker accepts the full command of his/her employer during the labor process. The employer directs and commands the labor process to achieve the goals set by himself. Compare this, for example, self-employed providing a service (for example, a plumber). In this case, the customer describes the problem to the service provider but the service provider makes all the decisions on how to organize and apply his labor to solve the problem. Or compare it to a democratically organized coop, where workers make all the decisions collectively, where, how and what to produce. Under the present economic system, a great majority of us are condemned to work in large corporations performing wage labor. The system of wage labor stripping us from autonomy on our own labor, creates all the misery in our present world through alienation. Men and women lose their humanity alienated from their own labor. Outside the world of wage labor, labor can be a source self-realization and true freedom. Labor can be the real fulfillment and love. Labor together our capacity to love make us human. Bourgeoisie dehumanized us steeling our humanity. Bourgeoisie, who sold her soul to the beast, attempting to turn us into ever consuming machines for the accumulation of capital.

patimac54 -> Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 17:39

Well said. Most retail employers have cut staff to the minimum possible to keep the stores open so if anyone is off sick, it's the devil's own job trying to just get customers served. Making your colleagues work even harder than they normally do because you can't be bothered to act responsibly and show up is just plain selfish.
And sorry, Suzanne, skiving work is nothing more than an act of complete disrespect for those you work with. If you don't understand that, try getting a proper job for a few months and learn how to exercise some self control.

TettyBlaBla -> FranzWilde 22 Oct 2015 17:25

It's quite the opposite in government jobs where I am in the US. As the fiscal year comes to a close, managers look at their budgets and go on huge spending sprees, particularly for temp (zero hours in some countries) help and consultants. They fear if they don't spend everything or even a bit more, their spending will be cut in the next budget. This results in people coming in to do work on projects that have no point or usefulness, that will never be completed or even presented up the food chain of management, and ends up costing taxpayers a small fortune.

I did this one year at an Air Quality Agency's IT department while the paid employees sat at their desks watching portable televisions all day. It was truly demeaning.

oommph -> Michael John Jackson 22 Oct 2015 16:59

Thing is though, children - dependents to pay for - are the easiest way to keep yourself chained to work.

The homemaker model works as long as your spouse's employer retains them (and your spouse retains you in an era of 40% divorce).

You are just as dependent on an employer and "work" but far less in control of it now.


Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 16:41

I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. If I found out one of my co-workers called in because of a hangover, I'd be pissed. You made the choice to get drunk, knowing that you had to work the following morning. Putting it into the same category of someone who is sick and may not have the luxury of taking off because of a bad employer is insulting.


[Dec 21, 2018] Looks like an o ld, sick neocon Hillarty still tries to influence events, continuing her warmongring

The trouble with CIA democrats is not that they are stupid, but that that are evil.
Hillary proved to be really destructive witch during her Obama stunt as the Secretary of State. Destroyed Libya and Ukraine, which is no small feat.
Notable quotes:
"... The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided. ..."
"... She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League. ..."
Dec 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pavel , December 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

The Grauniad just quoted a tweet from a predictably OUTRAGED @HillaryClinton:

Actions have consequences, and whether we're in Syria or not, the people who want to harm us are there & at war. Isolationism is weakness. Empowering ISIS is dangerous. Playing into Russia & Iran's hands is foolish. This President is putting our national security at grave risk.

This from the woman who almost singlehandedly (i.e. along with David Cameron and Sarkovy) destroyed Libya and allowed -- if not encouraged -- the flow of US weapons to go into the hands of ISIS allies in the US-Saudi-Israeli obsession with toppling Assad regardless of the consequences. As Justin Raimondo wrote in Antiwar.com in 2015:

The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided.

This crazy policy was an extension of our regime change operation in Libya, a.k.a. "Hillary's War," where the US – "leading from behind" – and a coalition of our Western allies and the Gulf protectorates overthrew Muammar Qaddafi. There, too, we empowered radical Islamists with links to al-Qaeda affiliates – and then used them to ship weapons to their Syrian brothers, as another document uncovered by Judicial Watch shows.

After HRC's multiple foreign policy fiascos she is the last person who should be commenting on this matter.

a different chris, December 21, 2018 at 11:50 am

> the people who want to harm us are there & at war

Sounds like then they are too busy to harm us? She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League.

[Dec 20, 2018] Manufacturing Truth by CJ Hopkins

Dec 04, 2018 | off-guardian.org
you're one of the millions of human beings who, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, still believe there is such a thing as "the truth," you might not want to read this essay. Seriously, it can be extremely upsetting when you discover that there is no "truth" or rather, that what we're all conditioned to regard as "truth" from the time we are children is just the product of a technology of power, and not an empirical state of being. Humans, upon first encountering this fact, have been known to freak completely out and start jabbering about the "Word of God," or "the immutable laws of quantum physics," and run around burning other people at the stake or locking them up and injecting them with Thorazine. I don't want to be responsible for anything like that, so consider this your trigger warning.

OK, now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at how "truth" is manufactured. It's actually not that complicated. See, the "truth" is well, it's a story, essentially. It's whatever story we are telling ourselves at any given point in history ("we" being the majority of people, those conforming to the rules of whatever system wields enough power to dictate the story it wants everyone to be telling themselves). Everyone understands this intuitively, but the majority of people pretend they don't in order to be able to get by in the system, which punishes anyone who does not conform to its rules, or who contradicts its story. So, basically, to manufacture the truth, all you really need is (a) a story, and (b) enough power to coerce a majority of people in your society to pretend to believe it.

I'll return to this point a little later. First, let's look at a concrete example of our system manufacturing "truth." I'm going to use The Guardian's most recent blatantly fabricated article ( "Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy" ) as an example, but I could just as well have chosen any of a host of other fabricated stories disseminated by "respectable" outlets over the course of the last two years. The "Russian Propaganda Peddlers" story. The "Russia Might Have Poisoned Hillary Clinton" story. The "Russians Hacked the Vermont Power Grid" story. The "Golden Showers Russian Pee-Tape" story. The "Novichok Assassins" story. The "Bana Alabed Speaks Out" story. The "Trump's Secret Russian Server" story. The "Labour Anti-Semitism Crisis" story. The "Russians Orchestrated Brexit" story. The "Russia is Going to Hack the Midterms" story. The "Twitter Bots" story. And the list goes on.

I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama, and many others). [ ed. including us ]

The short version is, The Guardian's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece (employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it.

[Dec 20, 2018] Opinion The Guardian's Desperate Attempt To Connect Assange To Russiagate Backfires

Dec 20, 2018 | disobedientmedia.com

The Guardian's latest attack on Julian Assange was not only a fallacious smear, it represented a desperate attempt on behalf of the British intelligence community to conflate the pending US charges against the journalist with Russiagate. The Guardian's article seeks to deflect from the reality that the prosecution of Assange will focus on Chelsea Manning-Era releases and Vault 7, not the DNC or Podesta emails.

We assert this claim based on the timing of the publication, the Guardian's history of subservience to British intelligence agencies, animosity between The Guardian and WikiLeaks, and the longstanding personal feud between Guardian journalist Luke Harding and Assange. This conclusion is also supported by Harding's financial and career interest in propping up the Russiagate narrative

[Dec 20, 2018] The Guardian's Reputation In Tatters After Forger Revealed To Have Co-Authored Assange Smear

Notable quotes:
"... " The information in this post alone should make everyone question why in the world the Guardian would continue to use a source like Villavicencio who is obviously tied to the U.S. government, the CIA, individuals like Thor Halvorssen and Bill Browder, and opponents of both Julian Assange and former President Rafael Correa." ..."
"... 2014 Ecuador's Foreign Ministry accused the Guardian of publishing a story based on a document it says was fabricated by Fernando Villavicencio, pictured below with the authors of the fake Manafort-Assange 'secret meeting' story, Harding and Collyns." ..."
"... "There is also evidence that the author of this falsified document is Fernando Villavicencio, a convicted slanderer and opponent of Ecuador's current government. This can be seen from the file properties of the document that the Guardian had originally posted (but which it has since taken down and replaced with a version with this evidence removed)." ..."
"... " This video from the news wire Andes alleges that Villavicencio's name appeared in the metadata of the document originally uploaded alongside The Guardian's story." ..."
"... One of my greatest journalistic experiences was working for months on Assange's research with colleagues from the British newspaper the Guardian, Luke Harding, Dan Collins and the young journalist Cristina Solórzano from @ somos_lafuente " ..."
"... The tweet suggests, but does not specifically state, that Villavicencio worked with the disastrous duo on the Assange-Manafort piece. Given the history and associations of all involved, this statement alone should cause extreme skepticism in any unsubstantiated claims, or 'anonymously sourced' claims, the Guardian makes concerning Julian Assange and Ecuador. ..."
"... The two photographs of Villavicencio with Harding and Collyns as well as the evidence showing he co-authored the piece doesn't just capture a trio of terrible journalists, it documents the involvement of multiple actors associated with intelligence agencies and fabricated stories. ..."
"... Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win." ..."
"... That Harding and Collyns worked intensively with Villavicencio for "months" on the "Assange story," the fact that Villavicencio was initially listed as a co-author on the original version of the Guardian's article, and the recent denial by Fidel Narvaez , raises the likelihood that Harding and the Guardian were not simply the victims of bad sources who duped them, as claimed by some. ..."
Dec 20, 2018 | disobedientmedia.com

Regular followers of WikiLeaks-related news are at this point familiar with the multiple serious infractions of journalistic ethics by Luke Harding and the Guardian, especially (though not exclusively) when it comes to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. However, another individual at the heart of this matter is far less familiar to the public. That man is Fernando Villavicencio, a prominent Ecuadorian political activist and journalist, director of the USAID-funded NGO Fundamedios and editor of online publication FocusEcuador .

Most readers are also aware of the Guardian's recent publication of claims that Julian Assange met with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on three occasions. This has now been definitively debunked by Fidel Narvaez, the former Consul at Ecuador's London embassy between 2010 and 2018, who says Paul Manafort has never visited the embassy during the time he was in charge there. But this was hardly the first time the outlet published a dishonest smear authored by Luke Harding against Assange. The paper is also no stranger to publishing stories based on fabricated documents.

In May, Disobedient Media reported on the Guardian's hatchet-job relating to 'Operation Hotel,' or rather, the normal security operations of the embassy under former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. That hit-piece , co-authored by Harding and Dan Collyns, asserted among other things that (according to an anonymous source) Assange hacked the embassy's security system. The allegation was promptly refuted by Correa as "absurd" in an interview with The Intercept , and also by WikiLeaks as an "anonymous libel" with which the Guardian had "gone too far this time. We're suing."

A shared element of The Guardian's 'Operation Hotel' fabrications and the latest libel attempting to link Julian Assange to Paul Manafort is none other than Fernando Villavicencio of FocusEcuador. In 2014 Villavicencio was caught passing a forged document to the Guardian , which published it without verifying it. When the forgery was revealed, the Guardian hurriedly took the document down but then tried to cover up that it had been tampered with by Villavicencio when it re-posted it a few days later.

How is Villavicencio tied to The Guardian's latest smear of Assange? Intimately, it turns out.

Who is Fernando Villavicencio?

Earlier this year, an independent journalist writing under the pseudonym Jimmyslama penned a comprehensive report detailing Villavicencio's relationships with pro-US actors within Ecuador and the US. She sums up her findings, which are worth reading in full :

" The information in this post alone should make everyone question why in the world the Guardian would continue to use a source like Villavicencio who is obviously tied to the U.S. government, the CIA, individuals like Thor Halvorssen and Bill Browder, and opponents of both Julian Assange and former President Rafael Correa."

As most readers recall, it was Correa who granted Assange asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Villavicencio was so vehemently opposed to Rafael Correa's socialist government that during the failed 2010 coup against Correa he falsely accused the President of "crimes against humanity" by ordering police to fire on the crowds (it was actually Correa who was being shot at). Correa sued him for libel, and won, but pardoned Villavicencio for the damages awarded by the court.

Assange legal analyst Hanna Jonasson recently made the link between the Ecuadorian forger Villavicencio and Luke Harding's Guardian stories based on dubious documents explicit. She Tweeted : 2014 Ecuador's Foreign Ministry accused the Guardian of publishing a story based on a document it says was fabricated by Fernando Villavicencio, pictured below with the authors of the fake Manafort-Assange 'secret meeting' story, Harding and Collyns."

Jonasson included a link to a 2014 official Ecuadorian government statement which reads in part:

"There is also evidence that the author of this falsified document is Fernando Villavicencio, a convicted slanderer and opponent of Ecuador's current government. This can be seen from the file properties of the document that the Guardian had originally posted (but which it has since taken down and replaced with a version with this evidence removed)."

The statement also notes that Villavicencio had fled the country after his conviction for libeling Correa during the 2010 coup and was at that time living as a fugitive in the United States.

It is incredibly significant, as Jonasson argues, that the authors of the Guardian's latest libelous article were photographed with Villavicencio in Ecuador shortly before publication of the Guardian's claim that Assange had conducted meetings with Manafort.

Jonasson's Twitter thread also states: " This video from the news wire Andes alleges that Villavicencio's name appeared in the metadata of the document originally uploaded alongside The Guardian's story." The 2014 Guardian piece, which aimed a falsified shot at then-President Rafael Correa, would not be the last time Villavicencio's name would appear on a controversial Guardian story before being scrubbed from existence.

Just days after the backlash against the Guardian reached fever-pitch, Villavicencio had the gall to publish another image of himself with Harding and Collyns, gloating : "

One of my greatest journalistic experiences was working for months on Assange's research with colleagues from the British newspaper the Guardian, Luke Harding, Dan Collins and the young journalist Cristina Solórzano from @ somos_lafuente " [Translated from Spanish]

The tweet suggests, but does not specifically state, that Villavicencio worked with the disastrous duo on the Assange-Manafort piece. Given the history and associations of all involved, this statement alone should cause extreme skepticism in any unsubstantiated claims, or 'anonymously sourced' claims, the Guardian makes concerning Julian Assange and Ecuador.

Astoundingly, and counter to Villavicencio's uncharacteristic coyness, a recent video posted by WikiLeaks via Twitter does show that Villavicencio was originally listed as a co-author of the Guardian's Manafort-Assange allegations, before his name was edited out of the online article. The original version can be viewed, however, thanks to archive services.

The two photographs of Villavicencio with Harding and Collyns as well as the evidence showing he co-authored the piece doesn't just capture a trio of terrible journalists, it documents the involvement of multiple actors associated with intelligence agencies and fabricated stories.

All of this provoke the question: did Villavicencio provide more bogus documents to Harding and Collyns – Harding said he'd seen a document, though he didn't publish one (or even quote from it) so readers might judge its veracity for themselves – or perhaps these three invented the accusations out of whole-cloth?

Either way, to quote WikiLeaks, the Guardian has "gone too far this time" and its already-tattered reputation is in total shambles.

Successful Propaganda, Failed Journalism

Craig Murray calls Harding an " MI6 tool ", but to this writer, Harding seems worse than an MI6 stooge: He's a wannabe-spook, hanging from the coat-tails of anonymous intelligence officers and publishing their drivel as fact without so much as a skeptical blink. His lack of self-awareness and conflation of anecdote with evidence sets him apart as either one of the most blatant, fumbling propagandists of our era, or the most hapless hack journalist to stain the pages of printed news.

To provide important context on Harding's previous journalistic irresponsibility, we again recall that he co-authored the infamous book containing the encryption password of the entire Cablegate archive, leading to a leak of the unredacted State Department Cables across the internet. Although the guilty Guardian journalists tried to blame Assange for the debacle, it was they themselves who ended up on the receiving end of some well-deserved scorn.

In addition to continuing the Guardian's and Villavicencio's vendetta against Assange and WikiLeaks, it is clearly in Harding's financial interests to conflate the pending prosecution of Assange with Russiagate. As this writer previously noted , Harding penned a book on the subject, titled: " Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win." Tying Assange to Russiagate is good for business, as it stokes public interest in the self-evidently faulty narrative his book supports.

Even more concerning is the claim amongst publishing circles, fueled by recent events, that Harding may be writing another book on Assange, with publication presumably timed for his pending arrest and extradition and designed to cash in on the trial. If that is in fact the case, the specter arises that Harding is working to push for Assange's arrest, not just on behalf of US, UK or Ecuadorian intelligence interests, but also to increase his own book sales.

That Harding and Collyns worked intensively with Villavicencio for "months" on the "Assange story," the fact that Villavicencio was initially listed as a co-author on the original version of the Guardian's article, and the recent denial by Fidel Narvaez , raises the likelihood that Harding and the Guardian were not simply the victims of bad sources who duped them, as claimed by some.

It indicates that the fake story was constructed deliberately on behalf of the very same intelligence establishment that the Guardian is nowadays only too happy to take the knee for.

In summary, one of the most visible establishment media outlets published a fake story on its front page, in an attempt to manufacture a crucial cross-over between the pending prosecution of Assange and the Russiagate saga. This represents the latest example in an onslaught of fake news directed at Julian Assange and WikiLeaks ever since they published the largest CIA leak in history in the form of Vault 7, an onslaught which appears to be building in both intensity and absurdity as time goes on.

The Guardian has destroyed its reputation, and in the process, revealed the desperation of the establishment when it comes to Assange.

[Dec 17, 2018] Withouth the USSR as a countervailing force the level of inequality in Western societies will always rise to the level on which riots will start and then will fluctuates around this level.

Dec 17, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

AmyInNH -> Riever , 23 Aug 2016 10:00

Swing between extremes, however, consistent in US history, economic predatory dependence on free/ultra cheap labor with no legal rights. Current instantiation, offshored and illegal and "temporary" immigrant labor. Note neither party in the US is proposing "immigration reform" is green card upon hire. Ds merely propose green card for time served for those over X number of years donated as captive/cheap.
The entitled to cheap/captive now want it in law, national laws and trade agreements.
All privilege/no responsibilities, including taxes.
Doesn't scale. 1929 says so, 2008 says so.
CivilDiscussion , 23 Aug 2016 10:25
Liberals, the Left, Progressives -- whatever you want to call them suffer from a basic problem. They don't work together and have no common goals. As the article stated they complain but offer no real solutions that they can agree on. Should we emphasize gay pride or should we emphasize good-paying jobs and benefits with good social welfare benefits? Until they can agree at least on priorities they will never reform the current corrupt system -- it is too entrenched. Even if the Capitalist Monstrosity we have now self-destructs as the writer indicates -- nothing good will replace it until the Left get their act together.
AmyInNH -> Juillette , 23 Aug 2016 10:16
"Lesser of two evils" needs to go on the burn pile.
Encumbent congress needs a turn over.
Not showing up to vote is not okay. If people can't think of someone they want to write-in, "none of the above" is a protest vote. Not voting is silence, which equals consent.
Local elections, beat back Koch/ALEC, hiding on ballots as "Libertarian". "Privatize everything" is their mantra, so they can further profitize via inescapeable taxes, while gutting "regulation" - safety and market integrity, with no accountability.
Corporation 101: limited liability. While means we are left holding the bag. As in bailout - $125 billion in 1990, up to $7.7 trillion in 2008.
Dave_P -> Isiodore , 23 Aug 2016 09:59
Anything the Economist presents as the overriding choice is probably best relegated to one factor among many. I respect Milanovic's work, but he's seeing things from where we are now. Remember we've seen populist surges come and go from the witch-burnings and religious panics of the 17th century to 1890s Bryanism and the 1930s far right, and each time they've yielded to a more articulate vision, though the last time it cost sixty million dead - not something we want to see repeated. This time it's hard because dissent still clings to a "post-ideological" delusion that those on top never succumbed to. But change will come as what I'd term "post-rational" alternatives fail to deliver. Let's hope it's sooner rather than later.
willpodmore , 23 Aug 2016 09:53
"Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt." Thank you Martin, at least someone writing in the Guardian has got the point!
We voted against the EU's unelected European Central Bank, its unelected Europe