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Neoliberal war on reality

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" ~ CIA Director William Casey (attributed)

"Empire of illusions": The  triumph of entertainment and fake news under neoliberalism

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Links Media as a weapon of mass deception Lewis Powell Memo Deception as an art form
Groupthink Disciplined Minds Belief-coercion in high demand cults Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Conspiracy theory label as a subtle form of censorship Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals
Neoliberal newspeak US and British media are servants of security apparatus British elite hypocrisy Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Anti Trump Hysteria Pathological Russophobia of the US elite
Corruption of the language Doublespeak Patterns of Propaganda Diplomacy by deception War propaganda Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Patterns of Propaganda Bullshit as MSM communication method Manipulation of the term "freedom of press" Identity politics as divide and conquer The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment
Color revolutions Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources What's the Matter with Kansas Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians  
Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Manufactured consent Groupthink Big Uncle is Watching You
Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Soft propaganda Classic Papers Media Ownership Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given, rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content. If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion. Have a pleasant evening.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015


Introduction

Controlling the narrative is how  society operate -- it preserves the society cohesion. Which  is a good thing, unless price is too high. If the question of controlling the narrative arise, that means  that elite became too detached from the regular people (let then eat cakes situation), and there are cracks in the society facade, line now there are cracks in neoliberals facade today. They are patched with lies and distortions. And it work until it does not.

In such cases the elite usually resort to policies which in the USA are called McCarthyism: attempt to smear and suppress dissidents claiming that they are associated with the particular (presented as hostile like Russia today, or really hostile like the USSR was) power.

While MSM supporting the "Party line" are masquerading as impendent new outlets.

Correlation with the foreign power policies might  be actually accidental if this particular power " see future deeper" as unforgettable  Madeline "Not So Bright" Allbright quipped. For example now correlation with RT policies does undermine the US foreign policy. We need only decide whether this is a good or bad thing and whether the US imperial policies are good for American people, or only for large transnational corporations. I think Tucker Carlson also undermines the US foreign policy and as such you can find a correlation between his positions and RT position. Now what ?

In such case elite presents association with the foreign power as a "politically correct" reason for suppression. So the only new moment is blatant hypocrisy. But that's how all societies work and in this sense there is nothing special in the fact that dissident voices are suppressed. In middle ages heretics were burned at the stake.  If you are a dissident you fate in most societies  are far from rosy.

The current situation in the USA is interesting because neoliberalism is definitely on the decline and as such represent now (unlike say 10 year ago) a rich target of attacks. And as the USA acquired since WWII, expanded after collapse of the USSR and try to preserve its neoliberal empire such attacks usually attack the US foreign policy. The real question is what alternative the particular outlet proposes -- the return to the New Deal Capitalism in some form or shape, or new socialist experiment is some form of shape.

Meanwhile the US became "an empire of illusions", when both elite and common people entertain various myths, which  has nothing to do with the reality, the process that started after WWII and entered a new phase in 1962, when an important historic event (JFK assassination) became distorted by the fabricated by CIA illusion and false narrative (The United States of America’s Doll House, by Edward Curtin):

In a 1969 interview, Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans and the only person to ever bring to trial a case involving the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, said that as a result of the CIA’s murderous coup d’état on behalf of the military-industrial-financial-media-intelligence complex that rules the country to this day, the American people have been subjected to a fabricated reality that has rendered them a nation of passive Eichmanns, who sit in their living rooms, popping pills and watching television as their country’s military machine mows down people by the millions and the announcers tell them all the things they should be afraid of, such as bacteria on cutting boards and Russian spies infiltrating their hair salons. Garrison said:

The creation of such inanities as acceptable reality and unacceptable reality is necessary for the self-preservation of the super-state against its greatest danger: understanding on the part of the people as to what is really happening. All factors which contribute to its burgeoning power are exaggerated. All factors which might reveal its corrosive effect on the nation are concealed. The result is to place the populace in the position of persons living in a house whose windows no longer reveal the outside but on which murals have been painted. Some of the murals are frightening and have the effect of reminding the occupants of the outside menaces against which the paternal war machine is protecting them. Other murals are pleasant to remind them how nice things are inside the house.

But to live like this is to live in a doll’s house. If life has one lesson to teach us, it is that to live in illusion is ultimately disastrous.

In the doll’s house into which America gradually has been converted, a great many of our basic assumptions are totally illusory.[1]Interview with Jim Garrison, District Attorney of Parish of Orleans, Louisiana, May 27, 1969, kennedysandking.com

That is not the case for most Americans. When approximately 129 million people cast their votes for Donald Trump and HilIary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, you know idiocy reigns and nothing has been learned. Ditto for the votes for Obama, Bush, Clinton, et al. You can keep counting back. It is an ugly fact and sad to say. Such a repetition compulsion is a sign of a deep sickness, and it will no doubt be repeated in the 2020 election. The systemic illusion must be preserved at all costs and the warfare state supported in its killing. It is the American way.

It is true that average Americans have not built the doll’s house; that is the handiwork of the vast interconnected and far-reaching propaganda arms of the U.S. government and their media accomplices. But that does not render them innocent for accepting decades of fabricated reality for so-called peace of mind by believing that a totally corrupt system works. The will to believe is very powerful, as is the propaganda. The lesson that Garrison spoke of has been lost on far too many people, even on those who occasionally leave the doll house for a walk, but who only go slightly down the path for fear of seeing too much reality and connecting too many dots. There is plain ignorance, then there is culpable ignorance, to which I shall return.

Does the cocoon of lies spread by MSM protects the society, or undermines  it, or it does both

In many respects, the media creates reality, so perhaps the most effective route toward changing reality runs through the media.  "Controlling the narrative" is the major form of neoliberal MSM war on reality. By providing "prepackaged" narrative for a particular world event and selectively suppressing alternative information channels that contradict the official narrative, neoliberals control and channel emotions of people in the direction they want.  Often in the direction of yet another war for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led from Washington, DC.

libezkova said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...  January 29, 2017 at 08:31 AM 

Neoliberal MSM want to control the narrative. That's why "alternative facts" should be called an "alternative narrative". https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/controlling-the-narrative/?_r=0

== quote ==

Maybe this is the same kind of clinical detachment doctors have to cultivate, a way of distancing oneself from the subject, protecting yourself against a crippling empathy. I won’t say that writers or artists are more sensitive than other people, but it may be that they’re less able to handle their own emotions.

It may be that art, like drugs, is a way of dulling or controlling pain. Eloquently articulating a feeling is one way to avoid actually experiencing it.

Words are only symbols, noises or marks on paper, and turning the messy, ugly stuff of life into language renders it inert and manageable for the author, even as it intensifies it for the reader.

It’s a nerdy, sensitive kid’s way of turning suffering into something safely abstract, an object of contemplation.

I suspect most of the people who write all that furious invective on the Internet, professional polemicists and semiliterate commenters alike, are lashing out because they’ve been hurt — their sense of fairness or decency has been outraged, or they feel personally wounded or threatened.

It is hard to disagree with the notion which was put by several authors that American society is living  in a cocoon of illusion which conveniently isolates them from reality: entertainment and escapism infuse our society, economy, and political system with severe consequences. Among such authors are Aldous Huxley, C. Wright Mills, Sheldon Wolin, Ralph Nader, Karl Polanyi, Jared Diamond, Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedge and several others. If we compare dystopias of Huxley and Orwell, and it clear that Huxley in his famous  New Brave World predicted the future much better:

"Huxley feared was that would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one... the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance."

The central idea here is that we now live as a society in which citizens become so distracted (and by extension detached) from reality that they lost any ability to influence their political or economic destiny. It is the same phenomenon that is described under the label of Inverted Totalitarism

This is one of the truly malevolent aspects of today's modern neoliberal world order and we need to confront it. It allows the old game of blaming the weak and the marginal, a staple of neo-fascist and despotic regimes; this illusion empower the dark undercurrents of sadism and violence in American society and deflect attention from the neoliberal financial vampires who have drained the blood of the country

"The tragedy is that we have become a screen culture, televisions, computers, phones, tablets, etc. Our electronic hallucinations have produced a society that has little time or patience for introspection or deep thinking. It reinforced my decision to maintain a television free life. For some, what Chris has to say may cut to close to the bone. But those with the courage to do so are usually the ones that care the most."

The biggest and most invisible elephant in the American psyche is this: our government has long since abandoned the goal of managing this nation as a nation. Instead, America as a nation is managed as a means to global empire.

For example the loss of the critical skills of literacy (seven million total illiterates, another 27 million unable to read well enough to complete a job application, and still another 50 million who read at a 4th-5th-grade level)  have led large part of the US population to become incapable of thinking for ourselves.

In fact they have become as malleable as children. 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a single book in a year.  Despite technology and internet access we are becoming a society of functionally ignorant and illiterate people.

For example there is widespread illusion of inclusion. This is the illusion that we are or will be included among the fortunate few because misfortune happens only to those who deserve it. There are plenty of people who understand that the corporate model is one in which there are squeezers and those who are to be squeezed. So the illusion of inclusion provides what can be called "a plantation morality" that exalts the insiders and denigrates the outsiders. Those content with this arrangement obviously view themselves as insiders even when they work for companies that are actively shedding employees. Many of these people are happy to be making good money for digging graves for others, never stopping to wonder if maybe someday one of those graves might be their own.

One of the first recorded metaphors which explained this phenomenon of substitution of reality with  illusion was Plato's tale about cave dwellers, who thought the shadows on the wall were the actual reality. Illusion can also serve as a deliberate distraction, isolation layer that protects form unpleasant reality. The point is that now it is illusions that dominate American life; both for those that succumb to them, and for those that promote and sustains them. It is the use of illusions in the US  society that become  prevalent today, converting like into the cinema or theater, where primary goal is entertainment.

Modern MSM are driven by postmodernism which includes among other things substitution of reality with artificial reality, fragmentation of history and push for historical amnesia, substitution of the subject with emotions,  and juxtaposition of opposites. But the key feature is controlling the narrative.

Controlling the narrative means control and deliberate selection of the issues which can be discussed

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthüllungen Bücher - Kopp Verlag

Controlling the narrative means control and deliberate selection of the issues which can be discussed (and by extension which are not)  in MSM. It represents real war on reality.  Non-stop, 24 by 7 character of modern media help with this greatly (The Unending Anxiety of an ICYMI World - NYTimes.com):

We used to receive media cyclically. Newspapers were published once (or sometimes twice) a day, magazines weekly or monthly. Nightly news was broadcast, well, each night. Television programs were broadcast on one of the major networks one night a week at a specific time, never to return until a rerun or syndication. Movies were shown first in theaters and on video much later (or, before the advent of VCRs, not until a revival). There were not many interstices, just discrete units — and a smaller number of them.

Now we’re in the midst of the streaming era, when the news industry distributes material on a 24-hour cycle, entire seasons of TV shows are dumped on viewers instantaneously, most movies are available at any time and the flow of the Internet and social media is ceaseless. We are nearly all interstitial space, with comparatively few singularities.

Media became out windows to the world and this window is broken. The notion of 'controlling the narrative' points to dirty games played by PR gurus and spin merchants with event coverage (especially foreign event coverage) to ensure the rule of elite.  A good part of the White House budget and resources is spent on controlling the narrative. Creation of the narrative and "talking points" for MSM is the task of State Department. Former State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was a pretty telling "incarnation"  of the trend. 

And MSM are doing an exemplary job controlling the political narrative. This way they demonstrate their faithful service to the state and the ruling political class. Nowhere is more evident then in coverage of wars.

Only social media can smash the official version of events. And in some case that has happened. The USA MSM honchos are now scratching heads trying to understand  how to control their version of events despite Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

On Ukraine, despite the most coordinated propaganda offensive of Western MSMs, the Western elite failed to fully control the narrative:  a sizable number of Europeans are still clinging to the notion that this story had two sides. You can see this trend from analysis of Guardian comments (The Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment ). More importantly the EU political establishment has failed to maintain a central lie inside official narrative -- that the EU is benign and a force for good / peace / prosperity. EU elite has shown its ugly face supporting Ukrainian far right.

Another example were initially MSM totally controlled the narrative (the first two-three weeks) and then when the narrative start slipping away they need to silence the subject  Shooting down Malaysian flight MH17

The thing is, once you've lost control of the narrative, as happened with coverage MH17 tragedy, there's no way back. Once Western MSM lost it, no-one any longer believed  a word they said about the tragedy.

And little can be done to win back that credibility on the particular subject. Moreover, due to this Europeans are becoming more and more receptive of a drip of alternative media stories that completely destroy official EU narrative. They came from a multitude of little sources, including this site and they collectively  cements the loss of trust to the EU elite. 

More subtle nuances of controlling the narrative: the role of the scapegoat

 There also more subtle nuances of controlling the narrative. Actually controlling the narrative does not mean that you need to suppress all the negative news (like propagandists in the USSR often did -- leading to complete discreditation of official propaganda in minds of the USSR people -- it simply became the subject of jokes). As John V. Walsh noted:

There is a simple rule that is followed scrupulously by U.S. commentators of every stripe on world affairs and war – with a very few notable exceptions, Paul Craig Roberts and Pepe Escobar among them.

This rule allows strong criticism of the U.S. But major official adversaries of the U.S., Iran, Russia and China, must never, ever be presented as better than the US in any significant way. The US may be depicted as equally bad (or better) than these enemies, but never worse.

In other words, any strong criticism of the US presuppose scapegoating and vicious propaganda campaign against  major official adversaries of the US such as Russia. It  must never, ever be presented in a better light then the US in any significant way. In selected cases, the US may be depicted as equally bad, but never worse.

The most recent incarnation of this rule was during Hillary Clinton campaign for POTUS in 2016.

Chris Hedge book Empire of Illusion

 
The informational function of the media would be this to help us forget, to serve as the very agents and mechanism for our historical amnesia.

But in that cast of two features of postmodernism on which I have dwelt here -- the transformation of reality into images, the fragmentation of 'me' into a series of perpetual presents -- are bother extraordinary consolant with this process.

... We have seen that there is a way in which postmodernism replicates or reproduces -- reinforces -- the logic of consumer capitalism.

Frederic Jameson “Postmodernism and Consumer Society

Chris Hedge Empire of Illusion  is a penetrating analysis of this effort of "entertainment society" and converting everything including politics into entertainment. It was published in 2010. Hedges discuss  complex issues and a clear, succinct way. You might agree with him, you might disagree with him but you will enjoy his brilliant prose. 

Those who manipulate  from the shadows our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for the Empire of Illusion. They are the puppet masters. No one achieves celebrity status, without the approval of cultural enablers and intermediaries. The sole object is to hold attention and satisfy an audience. These techniques of theater leeched into politics, religion, education, literature, news, commerce, warfare, and even crime. It converts that society into wrestling ring mesh with the ongoing dramas on television, in movies, and in the news, where "real-life" stories, especially those involving celebrities, allow news reports to become mini-dramas complete with a star, a villain, a supporting cast, a good-looking host, and a neat, if often unexpected, conclusion (p. 15-16).

The first big achievement of Empire of Illusion was "glorification of war" after WWIII. As the veterans of WW II saw with great surprise their bitter, brutal wartime experience were skillfully transformed into an illusion, the mythic narrative of heroism and patriotic glory sold to the public by the Pentagon's public relations machine and Hollywood. The extreme brutality and meaninglessness of war could not compete against the power of the illusion, the fantasy of war as a ticket to glory, honor, and manhood. It was what the government and the military wanted to promote. It worked because it had the power to simulate experience for most viewers who were never at Iwo Jima or in a war. Few people understood that this illusion was a lie. p. 21-22.

Media evolved into branch of entertainment. He gives great insight on American society. Several chapters should be a required read for all sociology, film, journalism students, or government leaders. Much like Paul Craig Robert's How America Was Lost you might feel unplugged from the matrix after reading this book. This is the book that corporate America, as well as the neoliberal elite, do not want you to read. It's a scathing indictment against everything that's wrong with the system and those that continue to perpetuate the lie in the name of the almighty dollar. In a way the USA as the rest of the world are amusing itself into a post apocalyptic state, without an apocalypse. It is simply cannibalizing itself.

That books also contains succinct, and damning condemnation of globalization (and, specifically, the USA's role in it). You can compare it with Klein's 'Shock Doctrine', but it cuts a wider swath. 

The discussion the follows was by-and-large adapted from  D. Benor  Amazon review of the book

We consume countless lies daily, false promises that if we buy this brand or that product, if we vote for this candidate, we will be respected, envied, powerful, loved, and protected. The flamboyant lives of celebrities and the outrageous characters on television, movies,  and sensational talk shows are peddled to us, promising to fill up the emptiness in our own lives. Celebrity culture encourages everyone to think of themselves as potential celebrities, as possession unique if unacknowledged gifts. p. 26-7. Celebrity is the vehicle used by a corporate society to sell us these branded commodities, most of which we do not need. Celebrities humanize commercial commodities. They present the familiar and comforting face of the corporate state. p. 37.

Reporters, especially those on television, no longer ask whether the message is true but rather whether the pseudo-event worked or did not work as political theater for supporting particular (usually State Department in case of foreign events) talking points.  Pseudo-events are judged on how effectively we have been manipulated by illusion. Those events that appear real are relished and lauded. Those that fail to create a believable illusion are deemed failures. Truth is irrelevant. Those who succeed in politics, as in most of the culture, are those who create the most convincing fantasies. This is the real danger of pseudo-events and why pseudo-events are far more pernicious than stereotypes. They do not explain reality, as stereotypes attempt to, but replace reality. Pseudo-events redefines reality by the parameters set by their creators. These creators, who make massive profits selling illusions, have a vested interest in maintaining the power structures they control. p. 50-1.

A couple quotes: "When a nation becomes unmoored from reality, it retreats into a world of magic. Facts are accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained cosmology. The search for truth becomes irrelevant." (p. 50) "The specialized dialect and narrow education of doctors, academics, economists, social scientists, military officers, investment bankers, and government bureaucrats keeps each sector locked in its narrow role. The overarching structure of the corporate state and the idea of the common good are irrelevant to specialists. They exist to make the system work, not to examine it." (p. 98) I could go on and on citing terrific passages.

The flight into illusion sweeps away the core values of the open society. It corrodes the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense tell you something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to grasp historical facts, to advocate for change, and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways, and structures of being that are morally and socially acceptable. A populace deprived of the ability to separate lies from truth, that has become hostage to the fictional semblance of reality put forth by pseudo-events, is no longer capable of sustaining a free society.

Those who slip into this illusion ignore the signs of impending disaster. The physical degradation of the planet, the cruelty of global capitalism, the looming oil crisis, the collapse of financial markets, and the danger of overpopulation rarely impinge to prick the illusions that warp our consciousness. The words, images, stories, and phrases used to describe the world in pseudo-events have no relation to what is happening around us. The advances of technology and science, rather than obliterating the world of myth, have enhanced its power to deceive. We live in imaginary, virtual worlds created by corporations that profit from our deception. Products and experiences - indeed, experience as a product - offered up for sale, sanctified by celebrities, are mirages. They promise us a new personality. They promise us success and fame. They promise to mend our brokenness. p. 52-3.

We have all seen the growth of a culture of lies and deception in politics, banking, commerce and education. Hodges points out how this has been facilitated by our abandoning the teaching of values and analysis in our schools.

The flight from the humanities has become a flight from conscience. It has created an elite class of experts who seldom look beyond their tasks and disciplines to put what they do in a wider, social context. And by absenting themselves from the moral and social questions raised by the humanities, they have opted to serve a corporate structure that has destroyed the culture around them.

Our elites - the ones in Congress, the ones on Wall Street, and the ones being produced at prestigious universities and business schools - do not have the capacity to fix our financial mess. Indeed, they will make it worse. They have no concept, thanks to the educations they have received, of how to replace a failed system with a new one. They are petty, timid, and uncreative bureaucrats superbly trained to carry our systems management. They see only piecemeal solutions that will satisfy the corporate structure. Their entire focus is numbers, profits, and personal advancement. They lack a moral and intellectual core. They are as able to deny gravely ill people medical coverage to increase company profits as they are to use taxpayer dollars to peddle costly weapons systems to blood-soaked dictatorships. The human consequences never figure into their balance sheets. The democratic system, they believe, is a secondary product of the free market - which they slavishly serve. p. 111.

I quote Hodges at some length because of his cogent, clear summaries of the problems leading us to self-destruction and to ways we might someday restructure society to be supportive and healing to the individual - rather than exploiting people and viewing them only as valuable as they can be manipulated into being gullible consumers.

This is one of the clearest and best focused discussions I have seen on the problems of modern society that are leading us to societal suicide

Hedges points out how a cycle sustains itself between elite educational institutions (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.), the Government (think Congress in particular) and Corporations. Ivy league schools basically turn-out lackeys that do whatever is necessary to maintain their elite, self-absorbed status. The last chapter is entitled, "The Illusion of America," and this is where Hedges does a fantastic job of pulling together all the elements of this dysfunctional society. Other books touch the same themes, sometimes more forcefully but in this book most important elements of this picture put together.

Among the booksHedges cites:

Gekaufte Journalisten by Udo Ulfkotte

The book Gekaufte Journalisten by Udo Ulfkotte was a revelation. Of cause, we suspected many things he  described, but now we know detailed methods and mechanisms of suppressing alterative opinion in German society, methods that are probably more effective that anything propagandists in the DDR and the USSR ever attempted.  One of the central concept here is the concept of "Noble Lie".

Guardian became neoliberal as soon as Tony Blaire became Prime minister. As any neoliberal publication is subscribes to the notion of "noble lie". The latter actually came from neocons playbook.   No they knowingly try to dumb down their reader substituting important topic with celebrity gossip and hate speech. Even political issue now are "served" to the public as dishes under heavy sauce of personalities involved, which is a perfect way to obscure the subject and distract the readers.

geronimo -> MurkyFogsFutureLogs 14 Mar 2015 12:31

Indeed...

Under the retiring editor, all politics seems to have been reduced to 'identity' politics. Forget about class, war, class war and so on... If it can't be reduced to Hillary's gender or Putin's, er... transcendental evil... then it's barely worth a comment above the line.

As I've said before, for the Guardian 'the personal is the political' - or rather, for the Guardian as for Hillary, the political reduces to the personal.

A marriage made, not so much in heaven, but somewhere in political-fashionista North London.

In reality most prominent journalists are on tight leash of "'deep state". As Udo Ulfkotte book attests this is a rule, not an exception. While this was known since Operation Mockingbird  was revealed, nothing changed. As revealed by Senator Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. In his Congress report published in 1976 the authors stated:

"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets."

According to the "Family Jewels" report, released by the National Security Archive on June 26, 2007, during the period from March 12, 1963, and June 15, 1963, the CIA installed telephone taps on two Washington-based news reporters. Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.[20]

In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy:

"Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." He added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[21]

But at this point only handlers and methods changed, not the policy. They are still all controlled by deep state. The most recent revelations of this fact were published by Udo Ulfkotte’s in his bestseller book  Bought Journalists. Here is one Amazon review of the book: 

Unicorns & Kittenson May 1, 2015

I've managed to read a bit of the German version ...
 
I've managed to read a bit of the German version and now I think I understand why this is still not available in English although it was supposed to be released in this and other languages seven months ago. I will be very surprised if this shocking and destabilizing book (which names names) is made available to Americans ... even though it's primarily about the abusive tactics of American intelligence agencies. Please keep asking why it isn't published - despite being a best-seller in Germany -- and how we can get it here on Kindle.

As one Amazon reviewer said "This book will change for ever the way you read and watch the mainstream media! " Here is some additional information from russia-insider:

... ... ...

Ironically, however, it’s likely that one of the biggest threats (especially in Europe) to Anglo-American media credibility about Ukraine and other issues is coming from a very old-fashioned medium – a book.

Udo Ulfkotte’s bestseller Bought Journalists has been a sensation in Germany since its publication last autumn. The journalist and former editor of one of Germany’s largest newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, revealed that he was for years secretly on the payroll of the CIA and was spinning the news to favour U.S. interests. Moreover he alleges that some major media are nothing more than propaganda outlets for international think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporate high-finance.

“We’re talking about puppets on a string,” he says, “journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.” [8]

In another interview, Ulfkotte said:

“The German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say…it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe.” [9]

... ... ...

Apparently, Pomeranzev has forgotten that important October 2004 article by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times Magazine during the second war in Iraq (which, like the first, was based on a widely disseminated lie). Suskind quoted one of George W. Bush’s aides (probably Karl Rove): “The aide said that guys like me [journalists, writers, historians] were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality…That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’.” [12]

It’s a rather succinct description of Orwellian spin and secrecy in a media-saturated Empire, where discerning the truth becomes ever more difficult.

That is why people believe someone like Udo Ulfkotte, who is physically ill, says he has only a few years left to live, and told an interviewer,

 “I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too… We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war…I don’t want this anymore, I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…” [13]

Recently, as Mike Whitney has pointed out in CounterPunch (March 10), Germany’s newsmagazine Der Spiegel dared to challenge the fabrications of NATO’s top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, for spreading “dangerous propaganda” that is misleading the public about Russian “troop advances” and making “flat-out inaccurate statements” about Russian aggression.

Whitney asks, “Why this sudden willingness to share the truth? It’s because they no longer support Washington’s policy, that’s why. No one in Europe wants the US to arm and train the Ukrainian army. No wants them to deploy 600 paratroopers to Kiev and increase U.S. logistical support. No one wants further escalation, because no wants a war with Russia. It’s that simple.” [14] Whitney argued that “the real purpose of the Spiegel piece is to warn Washington that EU leaders will not support a policy of military confrontation with Moscow.”

So now we know the reason for the timing of the April 15 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information.” Literally while U.S. paratroopers were en route to Kiev, the hawks in Washington (and London) knew it was time to crank up the rhetoric. The three witnesses were most eager to oblige.


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[Mar 28, 2020] Russians again are too late

Mar 28, 2020 | www.unz.com

U.S. intelligence community, through its preferred propaganda sheet the New York Times, is now reporting that Russia is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to spread disinformation through Europe and also in the U.S. In particular, Putin has escalated a campaign-by-innuendo to reduce confidence in the outcome of the upcoming 2020 presidential election. In any event, the Russians are too late as the Democratic and Republican parties' behavior has already convinced many Americans that voting in November will be a waste of time.

[Mar 26, 2020] Why You Should Never Watch RT -- Ever!

Mar 26, 2020 | russia-insider.com

As RT UK launches, attacks on the channel in the British media have stepped up

The latest is a piece by Mr. Cyril Waugh-Monger, a very important newspaper columnist for the NeoCon Daily, a patron of the Senator Joe McCarthy Appreciation Society and author of 'Why the Iraq War was a Brilliant Idea' and 'The Humanitarian Case for Bombing Syria.'

Dear socially inferior person reading this article. My name is Cyril Waugh-Monger (I'm called 'Mr Terribly Pompous Neo-Con' by my friends) and I'm here to tell you why on no account should you watch RT and why you should be making complaints to Ofcom (a British bureacracy which regulates TV) about this dreadful channel so that in the interests of 'free speech' and 'democracy' we can get it off air.

1. RT doesn't peddle Russophobia

Outrageously, RT doesn't compare Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. It doesn't join in with the demonization of Russia and its leader. How can we have a channel which is watched by people in Britain, which doesn't do that? We neocons say that demonization of Russia and its leader is compulsory. How dare RT not do as we say!

RT is more vocally in support of Russia than western media
2. RT is sometimes rude to bankers

There's a man on RT called Max Keiser and he is often very rude to bankers. Why, he has even called for them to face the death penalty. Such disrespect to our financial elites is shocking and should not be allowed in a free society.

Former CEO of HSX Holdings/Hollywood Stock Exchange and host of RT''s 'Keiser Report' Max Keiser
3. Its coverage of the MH17 crash

Shockingly, RT commentators didn't rush to blame Vladimir Putin for the air disaster within seconds of the news breaking. Some even said that we should wait for the forensic evidence before any statements apportioning guilt were made. Others said that we couldn't rule out that the plane was downed by an another aircraft. This failure to come and say loud and clear "Putin personally shot down the plane with a missile he made and fired with his own hands" within minutes of the crash is clear evidence of RT's bias and why it must be taken off the air.

Segment of the shot down plane
4. RT's 'pundits' include people who aren't neocons and 'liberal interventionists'

This is truly scandalous: RT gives airtime to people who don't support the West's policy of endless war and who opposed airstrikes on Syria last year. Why, it's even broadcast interviews with the convener of the Stop the War coalition – and has a regular weekly show fronted by George Galloway! This is unconscionable. Only people who support Western foreign policy should be allowed to express their views on international affairs on television, not 'cranks' and 'fanatics' who oppose attacking a sovereign state in the Middle East on deceitful grounds every couple of years. Why, if RT had been around in 2003, it would no doubt have given airtime to anti-war 'conspiracy theorists' who would have told viewers that Iraq had no WMDs – and claimed, fantastically – that Bush and Blair were making it all up.

British politician, broadcaster, and writer George Galloway often speaks out against western foreign policy
5. RT provides airtime to genuine socialists and genuine conservatives

This is really terrible: RT interviews people who oppose neo-liberalism and globalization, from both the left and the right. It's given the microphone to socialists, communists, greens, and 'extremists' on the right, like Ron Paul. These people should not be allowed to express their views on television; they are 'cranks' and should be totally marginalized. Only those who support the hegemonic consensus should be allowed on TV. It's very important that in order to protect free speech and democracy, alternative opinions are not heard.

Former Republican presidential candidate, Representative Ron Paul
6. RT pundits have 'extremist' links

I monitor the people who appear on RT very, very closely and I can tell you that there was once a case of an RT interviewee who had a link on his website to another website which had a link to another website which had a link to another website – which denied the Holocaust and said that little green men from Mars were ruling the US.

After considerable research, I also found that another RT pundit once attended a conference where a fellow invitee had once sat at a restaurant table, a few days after another person who had actually praised Adolf Hitler, Chairman Mao, and Josef Stalin in a magazine article published in North Korea in 1962.

7. RT is anti-semitic

Ok, I've got no evidence of this, but I'll bung it in anyway as it sounds good.

8. RT has broadcast documentaries on the wars in Yugoslavia which don't blame the Serbs for everything

This is totally unacceptable.

An elderly woman carries her belongings November 22 in Sarajevo's war shattered airport settlement. (Reuters)
9. RT has had 'experts' on its programs who have made some very strong criticisms of Israel

This too is totally unacceptable. Anyone with a theory or definition that differs from Western minded politicians is demonized for voicing their opinion.

Israel's annexed Golan Heights is hosting pop up hospitals to tend to ISIS fighters
10. RT pundits have often ridiculed leading American policymakers

For instance, when the US Secretary of State John Kerry said that "you just don't in the 21st century" invade another country on "completely trumped up pretext," some people on RT had the audacity to say "What about Iraq?" This lack of respect towards a leading American politician is appalling, and in a free society ought not to be allowed. The correct procedure whenever a leading US political figure speaks is to tug one's forelock.

11. RT's coverage of the conflict in Syria

In 2011-13, we had so-called 'experts' on Syria telling us on RT that some of the freedom-fighting pro-democracy rebels were actually fanatical terrorists who were guilty of committing atrocities. This was obviously a clear lie. Islamist terrorists like ISIS have only been active in Syria since 2014 and of course, it's all the fault of President Assad and Russia.

Intense shelling destroys buildings in the Damascus suburb of Jobar October 28
12. RT interviews lots of people whose views I do not share

It ought not to be allowed! Aren't we supposed to live in a democracy?

13. The most important reason: RT is a threat

More and more people are watching it – which is why me and my little group of neocons and 'liberal interventionists' are so worried and stepping up our attacks on the station and denigrating those people who appear on it.

The next big war is going to be much harder for us to 'sell' to the plebs, because we are no longer in control of the narrative as we were in 2003, before the Iraq war. Oh, what happy days those were!

Don't watch RT because we really don't want you to 'question more.' We want you to question less. It's much easier for us that way.


Source: RT

[Mar 26, 2020] Times change and we change with them: DemoRats now fully support Trump administration power grab for wich they wanted him to be impereched a couple on months ago

Notable quotes:
"... ...The madness over the coronavirus is not limited to politicians and the medical community. The head of the neoconservative Atlantic Council wrote an editorial this week urging NATO to pass an Article 5 declaration of war against the COVID-19 virus! Are they going to send in tanks and drones to wipe out these microscopic enemies? ..."
Mar 18, 2020 | russia-insider.com

It is ironic to see the same Democrats who tried to impeach President Trump last month for abuse of power demanding that the Administration grab more power and authority in the name of fighting a virus that thus far has killed less than 100 Americans.

...The madness over the coronavirus is not limited to politicians and the medical community. The head of the neoconservative Atlantic Council wrote an editorial this week urging NATO to pass an Article 5 declaration of war against the COVID-19 virus! Are they going to send in tanks and drones to wipe out these microscopic enemies?

People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus "pandemic" could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic.

That is not to say the disease is harmless. Without question people will die from coronavirus. Those in vulnerable categories should take precautions to limit their risk of exposure. But we have seen this movie before. Government over-hypes a threat as an excuse to grab more of our freedoms. When the "threat" is over, however, they never give us our freedoms back.

[Mar 26, 2020] About feamongering fraud New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof: Nicholas Kristoff has the bad habit of falling for falling for frauds and making them famou

Mar 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Stephen Paul Foster , says: Website Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 11:17 am GMT

@niteranger "For example, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof on Sunday reported the disheartening analysis of Dr. Neil Ferguson of Britain, one of the world's leading epidemiologists."

Nicholas Kristoff has the bad habit of falling for falling for frauds and making them famous. "Three cups of tea" for starters. He's got a long track record of peddling fake stuff.

https://slate.com/human-interest/2014/06/nicholas-kristof-wants-to-save-the-world-with-his-new-york-times-columns-why-are-so-many-of-them-wrong.html

http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/04/hillary-clinton-nicholas-kristiof.html

[Mar 25, 2020] Analogy between coronavirus epidemic estimates and lacrosse popularity estimates

Mar 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

prime noticer says: Show Comment Next New Comment

March 25, 2020 at 5:51 pm GMT this entire thread is a false positive.

i estimate based on the rapid growth of lacrosse that in only a few years time, it will overtake football as the most popular sport in america.

see how this works?

[Mar 25, 2020] "Real power is I don't even want to use the word fear." Donald Trump, March 2016

Mar 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

Johnny Smoggins , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 4:58 pm GMT

@Marshall Lentini "Easy: people are more sensitive, egoistic, and fearful of death than ever."

In other words, western societies have become more feminine, which they have.

[Mar 25, 2020] What I have found when yesterday I ventured into Wal-Mart to shop with the other local deplorable people that the elite child molesters, sexual perverts, and sociopaths out in Hollyweird, NYC and Washington like to look down on.

Mar 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

Trinity , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 3:13 pm GMT

Yesterday I ventured into Wal-Mart to shop with the other local deplorable people that the elite child molesters, sexual perverts, and sociopaths out in Hollyweird, NYC and Washington like to look down on. Wasn't that crowded and I probably noticed about 10 customers "suited and booted" wearing various masks of different shapes and styles and latex gloves. Speaking of "suited and booted", shouldn't these people be wearing one of those full body suits and booties over their shoes as well?

[Mar 25, 2020] Is COVID-19 another Y2K hysteria

Mar 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

Realist , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 10:48 am GMT

@NPleeze

All of this apart from the issue, of how long this virus has been in the wild. It seems my mother caught this disease in early February, in a small Midwestern isolated community – she had what are given at the symptoms, but nobody was looking for it at the time, so there is no diagnosis of her illness.

This Covid-19 may well have been in the US since the latter part of 2019 just not diagnosed. It may be that the Chinese were the first to test for Covid-19, therefore it appears to have started there.
At this point the death rate is unknown but most likely overstated.

As I said weeks ago probably Y2K2020.

[Mar 25, 2020] Goldman Gives CEO 20% Raise - While Forecasting Major CoronaVirus-Caused Financial Crash for Americans

Mar 25, 2020 | www.unz.com

Boiling frogss , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 1:46 pm GMT

Goldman Gives CEO 20% Raise-

While Forecasting Major CoronaVirus-Caused Financial Crash for Americans

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MFinbvX0Jg0?feature=oembed

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IXatS9PeuCU?feature=oembed

[Mar 24, 2020] For the average American the best way to tell if you have covid-19 is to cough in a rich person's face and wait for their test results

Mar 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 24 2020 23:21 utc | 102

All too true too :

"One American's response to the continuing unavailability of coronavirus testing for most Americans:

"For the average American the best way to tell if you have covid-19 is to cough in a rich person's face and wait for their test results."

[Mar 24, 2020] Meet The 'Covidiot' A Dense Creature That Ignores Simple Instructions, Endangers Others

Mar 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
...On Saturday, a new term caught the internet by storm, that is, 'Covidiot' – and first defined on Urban Dictionary , with the top definition:

"Someone who ignores the warnings regarding public health or safety. A person who hoards goods, denying them from their neighbors."

[Mar 24, 2020] STOP PRESSES: Mike Pompeo Admits COVID-19 Is a "Live Exercise" ??? Trump Retorts "I Wish You Would Have Told Us" ??? Mike Pompeo Admits COVID-19 Is a "Live Exercise" ??? Mike Pompeo Admits COVID-19 Is a "Live Exercise" ???

Mar 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

kiwiklown , Mar 24 2020 10:55 utc | 211

Trump Retorts "I Wish You Would Have Told Us" ???

Go to: https://www.globalresearch.ca/secretary-state-mike-pompeo-admits-covid-19-live-exercise-president-trump-comments-i-wish-you-would-have-told-us/5707223

[Mar 24, 2020] Whenever these people decide on a narrative, they are loath to back down once they are proven wrong. They don't want to lose face.

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Digital Samizdat , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 1:27 pm GMT

@prime noticer What if–as seems to be happening in Italy–the journalists simply pretend that bodies are piling up, perhaps by attributing other deaths to Corona?

Beware: whenever these people decide on a narrative, they are loath to back down once they are proven wrong. They don't want to lose face.

https://off-guardian.org/2020/03/19/iss-report-99-of-covid19-deaths-already-ill/

#CoronaHoax

[Mar 24, 2020] I think we should all wear bandannas. Like desperadoes in the old wild west

Mar 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ptb , Mar 23 2020 23:03 utc | 102

@oldhippie "Lots of people seen doing something Americans never do. Walking."
So true. It is the same here. The little kids are the most cheerful, adults are all over the place in their reaction. Lady with a dog walked a 25 foot circle around me while crossing the street the other day, felt like a leper right then. Ah well. I find that getting far enough to get out of sight of buildings (lucky enough to have that option here) is just amazing now. The woods/parks never looked so nice.

@TG "I think we should all wear bandannas. Like desperadoes in the old wild west."
Love it! I'm in. Part of me wants to try this while making a deposit at a bank...

[Mar 24, 2020] Trump: Romney's in Isolation GEE That's Too Bad!

Sometimes the President hits the nail with his quips. For private equity sharks this might be a small piece of justice...
Mar 24, 2020 | independent.co.uk

Mr Trump shook his head and said: "No, no, none whatsoever."

[Mar 24, 2020] Darvin award to one Dallas pastor

Does he think that his flock deserves to be moved to Heaven prematurely with the help of coronavirus? He definitely acts as if he think so.
Mar 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

SirMagpieDeCrow1 a day ago • edited

This is someone who is dumb. If Robert Jeffress is the standard for being a faithful Christian or being a legit evangelical I want nothing to do with it. Completely vomitous. People like him put my family and community in further peril. And despite it all he still gets the ear of the president...

It's people like this that tempers my hopes.

"Thousands of people streamed through the church lobby and into the pews. Ushers at First Baptist Dallas invited members to the front rows, gesturing to the prime seats still available. Trumpets blared, bright blue and purple lights illuminated the stage, and behind the orchestra pit the 100 or so members of choir -- ranging from late teens to late 60s -- stood inches apart, ready to sing for the next 30 minutes."

"When Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor, walked onto the stage, wearing a dark suit and shiny teal tie, he thanked the musicians."

"Isn't it great to see so many of them here today?" he asked the audience.

"Jeffress' sermon that morning, presented in his usual stoic-but-chipper demeanor, was titled "The Road to Armageddon," and focused largely on biblical stories of God's punishments. "God's judgment is not always immediate," he told his congregation, and the tens of thousands of people watching online. "But it's always inevitable."

"Aside from a few empty pews in the back of the sanctuary, this seemed like any other Sunday. Except it wasn't. This was Sunday, March 15. Most of the country was already being reminded to stay at home, to practice social distancing, to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak, which President Donald Trump, the man Jeffress supports at every turn, had just declared a national emergency."

Siarlys Jenkins SirMagpieDeCrow1 21 hours ago
Next time the governor should send the National Guard to escort everyone home. Jeffress should be arrested. Incidentally, I believe that continued socializing in small groups is healthy, under 10 of course, but what Jeffers is doing borders on criminal homicide.
Ryan Booth a day ago • edited
Thanks for publishing this, Rod. I somehow neglected to mention the new test developed by Thermo Fisher, which may result in as many new tests completed as Roche and Abbott combined. It will run on over 200 machines currently in labs across the country, and they are manufacturing two million test kits per week.

https://ir.thermofisher.com...

Altogether, test manufacturers have pledged to make over 10 million tests in the next two weeks, and I cannot see any way that all the newly approved testing systems add less than 85,000 tests per day. And that's without Roche, Cepheid, Thermo Fisher, and Abbott selling any new machines, and I feel quite sure that they are going to sell some more machines. And, of course, all of the current test providers are increasing production as well. And the FDA will likely approve more Emergency Use Applications for other testing systems in the next few days -- I think that I read that they are working through 80 applications. That's why I have complete confidence that, in less than two weeks, we'll be able to test 150,000 people per day.

Cepheid's test, which I mentioned in the article, seems even more important in the wake of the report from Italy that hospitals are themselves becoming major vectors in the transmission of the virus, as it is spread from infected to uninfected patients. Because Cepheid's test can be done in 45 minutes on machines that hospitals already have, it will allow hospitals to test every admitted patient and quickly segregate those who have the virus.

Lack of testing ability is what has kept Italy and Spain "behind the curve." Two days ago, Italy tested just 17,000 people and had over 6,000 positive results. It's not all that helpful to test people that you are already confident have the virus (they have already spread it); it's much more valuable to test those who first come down with a fever and you can isolate early if they are positive.

Spain announced (I think on Friday) that the 20,000 tests per day that they were doing were completely insufficient, and they were purchasing enough machines to add an additional 80,000 tests per day (though it will take time to get those systems operational).

Read this article if you're unconvinced that mass testing has the ability to stop transmission. It about an Italian town that some of the first cases in Italy, and how they basically eliminated the virus from their town.

https://www.theguardian.com...

Ryan Booth Ryan Booth 20 hours ago
Also, I missed FDA approvals in the past week for new tests from: DiaSorin Molecular, Hologic, and GenMark -- all of which operate on their own machines. This is a key distinction, as these tests increase our total testing capacity, although I don't believe that any of these will add as much as Roche or Thermo Fisher or Abbott.

There are also companies getting approval for tests that can run on machines that are already being used, which is good because it creates price competition and enhances test kit supplies, but doesn't fundamentally add to our national processing capability.

In that latter category, Novacyt got FDA approval for their test kit this morning, which will run on a number of machines. Not all of these companies say how many test kits they are going to distribute in the US, but I did see that Novacyt currently is supplying orders of 8 billion euros for their tests in Europe (where they had gotten approval earlier), and yet their stock still went up 45% today on the news of the FDA approval (which means that they expect to distribute a lot of kits).

Grace Austin a day ago
The massive testing increase largely in the New York and California, so there is that.

Also the numbers are horrible now, the US is on track to have more cases than Italy, massive testing are going to make them much worse.

Outcomes are going to be much worse depending on where you live. States that have seen large numbers of rural hospitals close, states with large numbers of uninsured, states that were late to shut things down and states that can't compete for needed equipment on the open market are going to have worse infection and mortality rates.

Oh and a 38 year old women was found dead in her home waiting for her test results.

JonF311 Grace Austin a day ago
Re; the US is on track to have more cases than Italy

And the US also has a larger population than Italy.

anna carolina a day ago
Thank you to the author and to Rod for a ray of sunshine today!
cwk a day ago
"drive-thru testing site' – Certainly a good idea, but how many of these does the US have?
kenofken a day ago
I'm not sure an "end" is in sight. Perhaps a respite and a new phase of the battle. I too look forward to spring but I think we will not even know the full extent of our problem until the end of April. Warm weather might give us a break in the action, but we would be foolish not to anticipate another wave in the fall, winter or spring of next year. As with the flu, it's always winter someplace in the world, and viruses mutate. We wont fully be out of this until we have a vaccine or a readily accessible drug paired with testing.

It's great that testing is growing in availability, but we still have a lot of sick people who cannot access it while every politician, professional athlete and celebrity seems to be getting tested just for "peace of mind."

Matth a day ago
South Korea has closed schools.

Their ability to control the spread probably has more to do with their social and hygiene habits than widespread testing. Japan, which has barely tested anyone, has been able to control its outbreak even better than South Korea.

But again, closing schools has been an important piece in both countries. This correspondent is pushing a false image of a society magically controlling this disease without massive social disruptions.

Also, it's important to keep in mind that while Indonesia hasn't seen an outbreak yet, they have also tested almost no one. They currently have one of the highest death rates in the world, suggesting massive undercounting of cases. There's reason to believe they do actually have a major outbreak, so reduced spread in warm weather does not mean it's controlled without any restrictions. Malaysia, as a counter example, has instituted strict controls because of a growing outbreak.

Expanded rapid testing and chloroquine are reasons to be hopeful, but get the basic facts right.

Ryan Booth Matth a day ago
Closing schools likely has had little impact on the spread. The joint WHO report on Wuhan, after studying over 40,000 cases, stated:

https://www.who.int/docs/de...

The Joint Mission learned that infected children have largely been identified through contact tracing in households of adults. Of note, people interviewed by the Joint Mission Team could not recall episodes in which transmission occurred from a child to an adult.

I can't find the quote right now, but another WHO representative said recently that, in places that schools are open, they aren't seeing much transmission that way.

And if coughing is indeed the main method of transmission, it would make sense that schools would not be large transmission vectors, since the virus usually has very little impact on them and doesn't cause them to cough.

Pokey a day ago
Great rundown on some of what's going on. I was going to post the following comment in response to your post "The Present Apocalypse". 


Our current state of knowledge does not justify predictions of mass death, societal collapse, etc. If anything, what we now know leans toward a range of outcomes centered on somewhat worse than the flu. I hope it's no worse than that, and if so, it's a good wake up call after we hit snooze on SARS, MERS, and swineflu, and maybe this will even tamp down on stupid like not vaccinating children against measles. It's also a great reminder to get adequate data before acting, when action includes the evil of impoverishing and immiserating millions of people.

Worldwide, 60,000,000 people die each year. In an ordinary year in the US, about 1,500,000 people 75 and up die from heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's related disease, suicide, diabetes, and a host of other causes, including even generic lower respiratory infection. Another 500,00 of those between 65 to 75. So far (AM 23 March), COVID-19 has accounted for less than 0.03% of those deaths. 


Now, it could get a lot worse. It's still very early, this train is in motion, and we are going to see where it carries us, willing or not. The range of possible destinations still includes a nasty pandemic. It also includes the possibility that COVID-19 is the Iraq war of public health. We do not know the destination. See Ioannidis (Stanford) last week, "A fiasco in the making? we are making decisions without reliable information":

https://www.statnews.com/20...

Grace Austin Pokey a day ago
Just a note here:
". . . in the US, about 1,500,000 people 75 and up die from heart disease,
cancer, Alzheimer's related disease, suicide, diabetes, and a host of
other causes . . . "

Do these people all die within 60 to 90 days of one another? Because I am assuming that's what's making the difference.

I am also surprised that no one is taking the idea of war style triage in hospital emergency rooms all over the country seriously.

Basically you are okay with leaving anyone that's too sick to die of viral pneumonia. Which is like drowning FYI.

John Achterhof a day ago • edited
If the anti-malaria drugs don't prove to be safe and effective treatment for covid-19, it looks like a treatment made of synthetic antibodies is right around the corner. Regeneron appears to be at the cutting edge in this field, assisted in this endeavor by some specialized mice:

"Regeneron scientists have now isolated hundreds of virus-neutralizing, fully human antibodies from the company's VelocImmune mice, which have been genetically-modified to have a human immune system. Regeneron has also isolated antibodies from humans who have recovered from COVID-19, in order to maximize the pool of potentially potent antibodies. From this large pool of candidates, Regeneron will select the top two antibodies for a 'cocktail' treatment based on potency and binding ability to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, as well as other desirable qualities."

https://investor.regeneron....

Jefferson Smith John Achterhof a day ago
Uh huh, great. Are you getting paid to post this?
MarkVA a day ago
In my lay opinion this is potentially good news, especially IF this virus proves to be seasonal, or more accurately, adversely affected by higher temperatures and humidity;

However, this research needs to be duplicated and peer reviewed, and even if this hypothesis is confirmed, this current property of the virus most likely only buys us time till the fall;

Also, to reap the full benefits of its suspected high temperature/high humidity vulnerability, it stands to reason that travel restrictions must stay in place. The potentially higher number of infected people from the cooler and dryer areas should not mix with people from hot and humid places;

Also, it is in the nature of viruses to "seek" better reproduction techniques, so what if a high temperature/high humidity loving mutation pops up?

Anyway, I feel that I've piled a hypothetical upon a hypothetical, and I don't want to be a party pooper, so it's a good place to stop.

I Don't Matter a day ago
Yes, there's hope. The seasonality effect is finally finding legs in proper research papers. There's also weak evidence that zinc lozenges taken early help reduce lung invasion. The evidence is weak, but the treatment has very little downside.
The biggest threat to economy now is Senator McConnel. We need massive fiscal stimulus, a.k.a. "Helicopter Money", now. This is not the time for ideological purity, means testing, inflation worries, whatever other Republican pet causes are. Federal government with its ability to create unlimited money supply is the only force that can prevent economic collapse right now.
Given McConnel's performance to date, I despair...
Cheryl a day ago
My goodness, a little common sense and calmness in your blog after weeks and weeks of apoptotic rantings. Where was this attitude just last week??
Franklin_Evans a day ago
I call readers' attention to this paragraph:
"High temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19, respectively, even after controlling for population density and GDP per capita of cities This result is consistent with the fact that the high temperature and high humidity significantly reduce the transmission of influenza. It indicates that the arrival of summer and rainy season in the northern hemisphere can effectively reduce the transmission of the COVID-19."

The factual content is not in dispute, because of how the statement is worded. It cites statistical analysis and describes the controls used to arrive at the conclusion. This will seem almost trivial to most people, especially those who've not had detailed exposure to the disciplines used in data collection and statistical analysis, but it is the critical aspect.

When mention of controls is missing, every aspect of the statement, from factual content to conclusion, is suspect.

Modern journalism is all about the sound bite. It wants to get your attention -- and your exposure to advertising, and including you in its ratings -- as quickly and efficiently as possible. Quick and efficient is anathema to conveying the data and analysis in statistical approaches. If you don't have those, if you don't know what the controls were, you don't know even half the picture.

Tom Sadlowski a day ago
Agree with above, if some one in your home becomes sick, create a negative pressure room with: box fan exhausting to the outside, HEPA purifier circulating 15 air exchanges per hour, and a Humidifier raising to 55- 60% RH, in order to both kill and remove the virus from the room and home, and therein the sick do not pull the virus in deeper.

Scientific studies show: for people under 64, fatality rate range is 0.05% to 1%, not close to the 3.4% official rate that WHO has been reporting (seasonal influenza is 0.1%- 0.2%); although this rate is expected to narrow as more accurate data becomes available and as the virus evolves. Warm, humid conditions greatly diminish the survival, -- 27 hours at 30% relative humidity, while only 3 hours at 80%. Each case of the new Covid-19 coronavirus is estimated to cause 2 to 3 others, in line with seasonal influenza. (This means, as writer stated, we should see a seasonal drop as temperatures warm and humidity increases.)

rlranger907 a day ago
Thank you to this reader, Rod - and a hat tip to him for using 'Boudreaux' as his example. Hopefully when all this passes, Boudreaux and I could toast the occasion with an Abita.

Richard

ADCWonk a day ago
"Romney's in isolation? Gee, that's too bad."

Evil.

[Mar 24, 2020] An alien space force comes to earth and blames earthlings for spreading the virus, and Trump, being president of the most powerful nation, says to the alien commander that it is the Chinese

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

yakushimaru , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 5:18 am GMT

@AP People like you also took a decisively collective view of events. Majority of Chinese hardly ever eaten a bat. Can you see? Besides, the evidence so far does not tell that it was a bat virus jumped to humans in the food market.

One joke I read on Chinese web was like this: an alien space force comes to earth and blames earthlings for spreading the virus, and Trump, being president of the most powerful nation, says to the alien commander that it is the Chinese, but, you know.

[Mar 24, 2020] Darvin award to Phoenix-area man and his wife who survived. They ingested a form of chloroquine used as a fish tank cleaner on Monday, reportedly after hearing President Trump mention the chemical on TV

Mar 24, 2020 | www.rt.com

The Phoenix-area man and his wife – who survived – ingested a form of chloroquine used as a fish tank cleaner on Monday, reportedly after hearing President Trump mention the chemical on TV.

[Mar 24, 2020] Epidemics and deranged zealots

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

melanf , says: Show Comment March 24, 2020 at 6:01 am GMT

@Pericles There are plenty of deranged zealots everywhere. In Europe, fans of the cult of gender equality organize mass gatherings during the epidemic, in Russia, Orthodox "activists" organize religious processions during the epidemic (ironically, against the epidemic)

[Mar 24, 2020] I think I know why there are so few Corona cases in Russia.

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Cyrano , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 12:10 am GMT

I might be naïve, but I think I know why there are so few Corona cases in Russia. I think that the reason is because the virus has extreme dislike for non-democracies. After all, we are talking about the 21st century virus, who has seen the world, not some backward 14 century stupid European plague virus.

This virus knows that it will receive better treatment by the "democracies" – that's why it's headed their way. I mean look at the treatment it got in China. Is that a way to treat a modern virus? It was totally disrespectful and brutal.

I don't blame the virus for wanting to migrate to the west, if I was a virus – I would have similar urges. I think that the virus should definitely expect a better treatment in the west – they probably have already set up a multicultural milieu so the poor virus won't feel isolated, but rather establish instant camaraderie with the other multicultural viruses in the west.

[Mar 24, 2020] Western vs Russian propaganda

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Ms Karlin-Gerard , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 12:32 am GMT

@Dmitry Can you show me even ONE article or report from Izvestiya, life, kp. Vz, RBK, vesti, Channel 1 etc that is stupid about the west? I can't because most of them are extremely well written.
The inverse situation? . I have just read 3 cretinous western lie reports about Russia/coronavirus in the last half an hour! Each one born out of jealousy or CIA psyops There is no comparison to make at all. You are doing false equivalence.

Gayropa DOES exist. It is a thing, an ideology

Your premise is absurd-50 % because Russian journalists are a lot more intellectual than their western counterparts . and the other 50 % is quite naturally because millions of Russians have closely admired or studied or been influenced by western practises and popular culture in the last 30 years .. than vice versa.

Kiselyov has had an American wife, speaks English, family in Germany and has done many excellent reports on western countries.

Brilyev speaks perfect English and is a British citizen.

Solovyov knows Italy and the US very well and on his talk shows he has done many objective, constructive/positive comments about American business climate and bureaucracy, for instance.

Can you compare any of those guys to their dumb as f ** k western counterparts trying to do a report on Russia?

Different matter if you are talking about RT – that is lowest of the low, anti-russian, garbage.

who cares? Half of Russian articles are 10 times more stupid than US ones

Who cares ? Because the culmination of these deceitful idiot scumbag stories is what creates the momentum to ban Russia from the Olympics based on "collective" not individual punishment , pull Ukraine away from Russia, make a friend of mine be too scared to come to Russia on holiday because "the police will arrest you there for no reason" BS.,dissuade investors from billions in investment because of PR, not practical reasons. create the conditions so that self-discrediting freaks like Browder and Rodchenkov can say any BS as a pretext to sanction russia with zero chance of getting refuted because of the "they will get killed" by Russian agents if they go into the public (whilst going to the public) theory- a hypothesis based on other lie reporting.

Russian media will make clear that its a disgrace the number of people the US police shoot dead each year- but they won't say or imply that Russian tourists will get shot by US police or dissuade them from going on holiday there.

[Mar 24, 2020] MAN WITH CORONA VIRUS SEEKS WOMAN WITH LIME DISEASE

If true and both were bioengineered, this is a very sad joke
Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Gabacho Gris , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 3:05 pm GMT

MAN WITH CORONA VIRUS SEEKS WOMAN WITH LIME DISEASE
As a fellow expat in Mexico, I'm surprised that you, nor anyone else, is talking about how the pandemic will hit Mexico. Twice the population of Italy, and with similar cultures, I suspect Covid-19 will sweep Mexico like a prairie fire. God save us.
Mr McKenna , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 6:56 am GMT
@Gabacho Gris

I suspect Covid-19 will sweep Mexico like a prairie fire. God save us.

In Nature, prairie fires have their purpose too.

[Mar 24, 2020] Amazing that the elites who go on so about population reduction are precisely the ones have five or six children

Mar 24, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Rhys Jaggar ,

Amazing that the elites who go on so about population reduction are precisely the ones have five or six children. Johnson, Rees-Mogg, Toby Young (at only four he has seriously been priest-like), Trump, Andrew Roberts, Tony Blair (again only four, scandalous): it should be a capital crime for any Agenda 21 supporters to have more than one child.

Who thinks that Blair has 'superior genes'?

[Mar 24, 2020] Coronovirus and Yevgeny Zamyatin dystopian novel We

Mar 24, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Francis Lee ,

Sounds very much like Yevgeny Zamyatin – We . But we never thought it would happen!

[Mar 24, 2020] Scientists at Michael Bloomberg School of Multiplication at Johns Hopkins University have discovered a new and highly dangerous and contagious source of death

Mar 24, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Scientists at Michael Bloomberg School of Multiplication at Johns Hopkins University have discovered a new and highly dangerous and contagious source of death. It is called life.

The discovery was long in the making, with some great sages of Ancient world expounding it, but, it could not be scientifically proven, until the scientists zeroed in on a small mountainous region in Nepal, where people (average age 90) all of the sudden began to die. They were healthy before and then they began to drop like flies, reported local newspaper.

The team of American researchers from aforementioned university began to eliminate all the possible causes of death: these guys don't drive, they don't drink, they practice peaceful coexistence, and they eat solely vegan food.

... ... ...

[Mar 24, 2020] One interesting coronavirus symptom

Mar 24, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Skillz Set , 1 week ago

[Mar 23, 2020] No Refunds Costco Hoarders Discover They Can't Return Toilet Paper

Mar 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Those who have regrets after realizing that COVID-19 isn't a 'pooping disease' were met with signs at various Costco locations informing them that they won't be able to return all that toilet paper, paper towels, sanitizing wipes, water, rice and lysol they bought in anticipation of a societal collapse, according to brobible .

lmao Costco basically saying y'all wanted to be extra, y'all gonna deal with your millions of toilet paper all over your house #sorrytammy pic.twitter.com/eCFhoiDp33

-- m (@capricorngirlyy) March 19, 2020

Enjoy your lifetime supply of toilet paper and wipes you crazy #hoarders ! #Costco is not taking any more returns. Better start figuring out what you are gonna do with 10 bags of rice you bought! pic.twitter.com/z2U7tN7ru3

-- Xyth Lord (@Xyth_Lord) March 19, 2020

Seriously gotta calm down 😂 Costco is not accepting returns on toilet paper, bounty, sanitizers etc pic.twitter.com/KKRAg5n1B4

-- Theju 🌸 (@PinkCancerian) March 19, 202

Costco, meanwhile, may have over-bought in anticipation of sustained demand which has petered out.

It looks like "the whole toilet-paper craze has calmed down," tweeted one shopper.

Guess the whole toilet-paper craze has calmed down. Quiet morning at Costco. pic.twitter.com/tt6wtcFV5f

-- Sean Coleman (@SColemanUFA) March 22, 2020

Now what to do with all that TP?

[Mar 23, 2020] Rephasing famous quip of George W Bush

Mar 23, 2020 | www.unz.com

9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment March 23, 2020 at 12:56 pm GMT

FOOL ME ONCE (9/11 PSYOP) SHAME ON YOU, FOOL ME TWICE(COVID-19 PSYOP) SHAME ON ME

[Mar 23, 2020] It's Nature's immune system, we are the virus.

Mar 23, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Kurt D. , 8 hours ago

It's Nature's immune system, we are the virus.

[Mar 23, 2020] I've decided to take your favorite president's, or one of them's, advice and reduce my exposure to city slickers corona, politicians and people who work for a living

Mar 23, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

...As of this writing an update from the Kentucky Department of Health says there are now at least 99 cases of COVID-19 in the state. Coincidentally that's the same as the number of beers on the wall of Buddy's Man Bear Cave. But thanks to Mitch we do know that Kentucky has 4,500,000 residents and 9,000,000 barrels of Bourbon.

...Thanks to the governor the distillerys are still open, 'cept for tourists

...I know, those were better'n anything in NYC, and cheaper too; but remember what happened last time you took your old girlfriend there and they had to drive her home? That didn't work out too well.

...Now Buddy, you know our 3 letter agencies are full of career professionals who would love nothing more than to penetrate to the heart of darkness that is the Office of the President. Why look at what Comrade Brennan manged in his efforts. No, I haven't seen him or Chairman Schiff anywhere lately, I wonder where all that evidence of his went? Anybody know if he's in quarantine? He's even scarcer than RBG. I wonder why?

turcopolier , 23 March 2020 at 08:07 PM

All

Yes. I am waiting here in occupied Virginia for their next move.

[Mar 23, 2020] The Corona Waltz (sung to the tune of Tom Lehrer's "Alma")

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bigchin , Mar 22 2020 20:27 utc | 67

The Corona Waltz (sung to the tune of Tom Lehrer's "Alma")
The first one to drop out was Butti
found out voters don't vote for snooty
then stealing his thunder came Amy
who knew she'd get more press on Monday
and joining hands, speaking of unity
Tom's hammer came down with impunity
the blowout for Biden was certain
even better 'cause the commies are hurtin'!
Then came corona
Dems stuck with Joe, now it's ovah
now that we need a new biz
where are Butti and Amy and Liz?

[Mar 23, 2020] Karmic irony

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Circe , Mar 22 2020 20:31 utc | 68

But I will say this, cause I'm very much into karmic irony. Rand Paul the weasel Senator responsible for holding up the Coronavirus tax relief Bill has just tested positive for the Covid-19. Gawd, I really hope he didn't come anywhere in close contact to Bernie this past week.

Anyway, looks like Rand Paul won't be an obstacle for a while.

[Mar 23, 2020] Mnuchin says coronavirus looks like 10 to 12 week scenario

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 22 2020 17:23 utc | 35

'Nobody knew Covid-19 would take off like it did': Mnuchin says coronavirus looks like 10 to 12 week scenario

OK, therefore, it's not China's fault either. Good to know that was cleared up.

[Mar 23, 2020] Lovely! You gotta love the EU!

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mina , Mar 22 2020 17:10 utc | 34

Lovely! You gotta love the EU!
http://www.rfi.fr/en/europe/20200322-czech-republic-sends-face-masks-to-italy-after-shipment-from-china-stolen-coronavirus
https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/confusion-after-czech-officials-seize-china-donated-masks-bound-for-italy

[Mar 22, 2020] Mask piracy among neoliberal nations: Wonderful show of world-wide solidarity

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 1) Pompeo and Grenell reportedly arguing that coronavirus has created window of opportunity for a direct strike on a weak and divided Iran. ..."
"... Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisian has criticized the #UK for not delivering millions of masks #Iran bought in preparations ahead of #Covid19 outbreak. The London govt. refused to deliver them citing US sanctions! Note that Germany took supplies meant for Switzerland, The US via the Italian Mafia (I suppose) gets masks from Bergamo. etc. ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Stonebird , Mar 21 2020 21:25 utc | 31

I just think that the US "Intelligence" and most of the US Administration just haven't got it. I suppose when you are waiting for the "rapture" anything that can add to the chaos is to be included.

1) Pompeo and Grenell reportedly arguing that coronavirus has created window of opportunity for a direct strike on a weak and divided Iran. They were arguing about the severity of the strike.

2) Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisian has criticized the #UK for not delivering millions of masks #Iran bought in preparations ahead of #Covid19 outbreak. The London govt. refused to deliver them citing US sanctions! Note that Germany took supplies meant for Switzerland, The US via the Italian Mafia (I suppose) gets masks from Bergamo. etc. Wonderful show of world-wide solidarity.

Pompeo should hold his "rapture" in his hot little hand and .....

[Mar 22, 2020] What if they never come back? One can hope

Mar 22, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

+ The Senate won't take up House coronavirus bill until after its recess. "The Senate will act when we come back and we have a clearer idea of what extra steps we need to take," Sen. Lamar Alexander told reporters What if they never come back? One can hope

+ I guess Mitch McConnell, who vowed to kill the House Coronavirus bill, was serious when he called himself The Grim Reaper .

[Mar 22, 2020] CIA on Twitter Looking for kid-friendly activities while #workingfromhome Our #SpyKids page has games, CIA K9 'Spy Dog' trad

Mar 22, 2020 | twitter.com

CIA ‏ 10:20 AM - 20 Mar 2020

Looking for kid-friendly activities while # workingfromhome ?

Our # SpyKids page has games, CIA K9 'Spy Dog' trading cards, and kid-friendly videos to explore:

https://www. cia.gov/kids-page/ # WereInThisTogether

Raul Seixas - O Dia em que a Terra Parou ‏ 10:56 AM - 20 Mar 2020

Is there a torture techniques simulator?

Mike ‏ 11:05 AM - 20 Mar 2020

How to skirt the Geneva Convention using black sites and contractors, page 16.

Carl ‏ 10:23 AM - 20 Mar 2020

Hey, @ PeteButtigieg , found some fun games for you.

Shhh-Rona ‏ 11:18 AM - 20 Mar 2020

Will there be a pulling fingernails off of children handout or do I have to go to School of Americas for that?

John Ewen ‏ 11:01 AM - 20 Mar 2020

Not forgetting the old classic playground game "Regime Change War for Oil." Aaah, back when I was a wee young neoliberal child warmonger. Those were the days. pic.twitter.com/BUcF8gjU9e

BrainBytes ‏ 10:55 AM - 20 Mar 2020

pic.twitter.com/2YNRmdw574

Christian Breiding ‏ 11:16 AM - 20 Mar 2020

Black Sites R Fun!™

Mel Santos ‏ 11:45 AM - 20 Mar 2020

Is there a "Waterboarding for Tots" simulator? My 4 year old appears to be the next generation of American Imperialism but I can't be sure yet.

[Mar 22, 2020] Imperial trooper disguised as an anti-war activist: Wow, somehow she backs a warmonger and Jimmy doesn't call her a sociopath. t

From comments: "Tulsi in a nutshell. My mission is to stop these regime change wars that's why I support war criminal Joe Biden. "
Mar 22, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Could barely finish it.

Like watching a hostage video where both the questioner and subject are being held hostage - one to his heart, the other to the DNC.

Maybe I missed it, but did Jimmy ever get around to asking about the timing and why Tusli felt the need to endorse Biden right away?

Also was she threatened or coerced in any way? Because earlier in the vid she certainly implies there was no way she could fight the DNC's version of City Hall.


Daniel Valle Duarte , 43 minutes ago

How I can fight for the guy who fights for nothing but his lobbyists? -- Tulsi Gabbard

Lord Brett Sinclair , 4 hours ago

Jimmy is gutted , he is almost embarrassed to ask the question about Biden .

Augustus Johnston , 2 hours ago

The primary is still going, and however unlikely it is that Bernie wins, he still has a chance. No excuse for this.

MultiAFroDuck , 3 hours ago

she wants to fight for things she's been fighting for so long, by endorsing biden? wtf tulsi!

citris1 , 4 hours ago

When Tulsi endorsed Biden by saying he is a fine man and will make a good President she has discredited herself by showing us that she is either dishonest or has very poor judgement.

Johannes Bekker , 2 hours ago

She wants to end war and she's in the military... okay.

Pooyan Matin , 3 hours ago

She said Biden has a good heart, so we now learn that war mongers are kind people !!!! WTF

peanutgallery01 , 3 hours ago

Endorsing a war monger speaks volumes of her true position. She could have opted out!

M Moxam , 2 hours ago

Tulsi says she's proud to serve her country yet she admits that regime change wars and invading people's countries under fabricated pretext isn't serving the country. She's not making a whole lot of sense.

alexander e. fennon , 3 hours ago

Sshe says: "Now is not the time for playing politics", "not the time for half measures." & right she is, I think. What a pity she is doing just that. It is revealing ... but very disappointing.

Joseph // , 3 hours ago

I understand her dropping out, she has other roles to fulfil. I can't understand her endorsing Biden, rendering everything she stands for null and void. The corporate Dems will never adjust their policies to win votes if progressives and free clear thinkers just fall in line regardless.

SOTC , 3 hours ago (edited)

While she's at it she should endorse Hillary Clinton too.

Zach James , 1 hour ago

Wow, somehow she backs a warmonger and Jimmy doesn't call her a "sociopath."

Jay Bird , 2 hours ago

Tulsi: Wars gotta end. Also Tulsi: endorses Biden.

jrh11254 , 3 hours ago

Yeah, Tulsi, I see Biden putting a stop to all the regime-change wars. Time for you to go back to doing AIPAC's bidding. Wondering now what they have on you.

Gina Griffiths , 4 hours ago

Tulsi in a nutshell. My mission is to stop these regime change wars that's why I support war criminal Joe Biden.

David McCauley , 3 hours ago

Lie with dogs, get fleas.

Maverick D. , 2 hours ago

I couldnt bear to watch the whole interview. She was never the person we thought she was; the end...

Renewed RS , 2 hours ago

I've seen this coming for months, I didn't understand how Jimmy and his YouTube fans were so sure she was the one. Why are we shocked?

Master Lee , 3 hours ago

I trusted you Tulsi. I spent hours fighting groups for you. This hurts. I'm out of the Democratic party. I seriously can't handle this. My heart my stomach hurts

Kay Paden , 2 hours ago

I wish Jimmy would've pushed back on her statement that the voters have chosen. She's ignoring the coordinated effort of the establishment and she's ignoring the primary is not over.

Tannor Reynolds , 2 hours ago

It's nice to see Tulsi has realigned with the establishment while still calling it out. Textbook hypocrisy.

Eric Kelley , 3 hours ago

Tulsi: I am against the regime change wars, that's why I'm re-enlisting for another four years.

Ouu Baaa , 1 hour ago

Andrew Yang just admitted that he endorsed Biden cause he got offered a position in his cabinet should Biden become president. Tulsi of course would never do that XD .

Nicolas Cooper , 2 hours ago

Meryl Streep should give Tulsi an award for Best Actress.

S Tristan , 3 hours ago

Blah, blah, blah. Tulsi has sold out her followers, her honour and her soul. She's just another empty suit now.

Max Meggeneder , 2 hours ago

"Motivated by love.." wtf? Murdering is love?

Bay Work , 4 hours ago

Jimmy Dore - Tulsi is your another vanilla politician. Thank you for this session with her today, it helped clear up the air about her for many of us. She is just another opportunist.

Joanna Hampton , 3 hours ago

As soon as her term is over it will be "who's Tulsi?"

Samuel Henton , 2 hours ago

Such horrible insincerity and lying from Toolsi. Endorsing biden who is to the RIGHT of trump. Pathetic

Poblachtach Éireannach , 2 hours ago

Tulsi brought up global warming, what about the carbon footprints of Biden's foreign wars?

Barry Eden , 2 hours ago

Much luv Tulsi but the United States of israhell is so corrupt and perverted its just sad

Jesse B , 2 hours ago

Nice to finally see what she really is: a Lying dog-faced pony soldier.

depolarize , 4 hours ago

We didn't decide on Joe Biden. Tulsi didn't decide on Joe Biden. It was corruption who decided on Joe Biden.

Miki H. , 2 hours ago

Class warfare at its finest. She is with you as long as its convenient for her. Bourgeoisie democracy is a farce.

W_Sindarius , 3 hours ago

Well, at least I do not have to hear "aloha" for a while. It was really getting on my nerves.

Damian Kenner , 3 hours ago

The check must of cleared

Mike Bernard , 1 hour ago

Behold as Jimmy figures out his party is comprised of the same people who run the republican party.

randy szymkowski , 2 hours ago

Sanders destroyed his credibility with me when he endorsed Hillary. Same deal here.

[Mar 22, 2020] Tulsi on Jimmy Dore show: my mission is to stop these regime change wars that's why I support war criminal Joe Biden.

Mar 22, 2020 | www.youtube.com


MiDikGon Lapitise , 23 minutes ago

Jimmy look like a boy in middle school when his girlfriend breaks up with him but she says we can still be friends

Kay Paden , 1 hour ago

Tulsi on mask shortage-"It's hard to imagine how this could be happening in America." Really? You're surprised the corrupt two-party that you insist we choose between got us here?

Ouu Baaa , 1 hour ago

Andrew Yang just admitted that he endorsed Biden cause he got offered a position in his cabinet should Biden become president. Tulsi of course would never do that XD .

Nicolas Cooper , 2 hours ago

Meryl Streep should give Tulsi an award for Best Actress.

Kim Young , 3 hours ago

And she thinks endorsing Joe is going to help climate change?

Alpa Cino , 2 hours ago

What a fraud 😂

Citizen Harrison , 2 hours ago

20:13 "and that's a decision motivated by.." POVERTY. They use the poor to fight in these goddamn wars.

Wolfking Of SI , 3 hours ago (edited)

Tulsi just admit that "your party" is corrupt horse plop. You should have left and started a 3rd party.

Remy Williams , 2 hours ago

I wonder how strong the Progressive movement would've been if careerists like Gabbard and Warren stayed away and the front was unified from the beginning.

Guy Smiley , 1 hour ago

When Jimmy started his live video the day she announced supporting Biden, I said to myself "I bet anything he blames Bernie for her dropping out and supporting Biden." Low and behold, he did.

Alice Wonderland , 4 hours ago

"How and where my best. . . (interests lay). Freudian slip.

Leo Fain , 1 hour ago

First Yang and now Tulsi this is heartbreaking all of them are fake af

Armand Raynal , 3 hours ago

6:56 "which is something I always said I would do btw, that I would support the eventual democratic nominee" Am I living in a parallel dimension? The primary is not finished yet, you can still endorse Biden when it will be over if he wins the primary but endorse Bernie for the moment. Is it that hard? Ho right, I forgot, the primary is rigged and we all know that Biden the senile kid diddler and liar will be the nominee one way or another. Fucked up, but she's not helping. She probably knows she'll be kicked out of politics if she does not endorse biden and cares more about her career than doing the right thing.

Norris Hude , 1 hour ago

War is ingrained into US society, "Thankyou for your service" says it all. Heroes in America are obviously those who go to war at the behest of the zionists and the corporations.

David Richardson , 1 minute ago

"I don't play the political game" Next sentence "I'm pragmatic"

Amparo Zarza Cardoso , 25 minutes ago

Two words to Gabbard: incongruent and liar

Charles Wilson , 8 minutes ago (edited)

"The scope of the effects of this are difficult to comprehend at this time..." This is truly amazing that someone in the government has the audacity to blame a virus for people's inability to "make rent" when it was them that created the current hysteria and panic. There is a pandemic. I agree. But so far counting all of the cases that we know about, it is no where even close to the season flue that we see every year! And the government is shutting down businesses! It is a shame that they are using the current situation to further the idea that people are dependent on the government to survive! How far we as a nation and a people have fallen from the ideals that created this nation in the first place! I am disgusted!

Eric Zvonchenko , 2 hours ago

Biden is not the Democratic nominee. She is supporting Biden over Sanders not Biden over trump.

Hermann G Lippe , 2 hours ago

Like Bernie, Tulsi is just another TWO FACED Globalist Presstitute. Tulsi says her platform is to stop regime change and bring are troops home! Why does she then endorse Biden who supports regime change and keeping troops in the middle east? Tulsi says she does this to defeat Trump but Trump campaigned to stop regime change and bring are troops home!

[Mar 21, 2020] Trump is like the kid who played video games when he should have been doing his homework, then failed miserably on the test and tried to bullshit his way through the essay questions.

Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Trump is like the kid who played video games when he should have been doing his homework, then failed miserably on the test and tried to bullshit his way through the essay questions.

As you are probably aware, a handful of elected leaders were selling their stock while assuaging the public about the dangers of the pandemic. We've gone from incompetence, to negligence, to outright profiteering.

Last year, the Dept. of Health and Human Services ran a 7 month long exercise code named "Crimson Contagion," a dry run response to a global pandemic which started in China and expected more than 100 million Americans to become ill.

The simulation highlighted several failures in our preparedness for such a catastrophe .

DONALD TRUMP: Nobody knew there'd be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion.

[Mar 21, 2020] If Gabbard is angling for the VP position as Biden mentioned he's looking for a woman as a running mate she better hope Biden remember what he said

Mar 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ian2 , Mar 21 2020 21:26 utc | 32

Gabbard is angling for the VP position as Biden mentioned he's looking for a woman as a running mate. She better hope Biden remember what he said. I wonder what Biden's criteria for his candidates? Hmm...

[Mar 21, 2020] Boomerang can return

Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

RantingRooster on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 9:27am

...Heck, if Trump can "recognized" Juan Guaido as the "legitimate" president of Venezuela, why the fuck can't we "recognize" Bernie Sanders as our legitimate president? I mean, if all we have to do is just say it is so, like Trump and others did, why the fuck not? (yeah I know, but...I think you get my point)

[Mar 21, 2020] Patrick Armstrong

Mar 21, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

20 March 2020 at 10:30 AM

div Putin just realized that he is at the start of his career Of course there may be a simpler answer: looking across the pond, Putin sees an election between Biden (b Nov 1942) and Trump (b June 1946) and realises that he (b Oct 1952) is just at the start of his career.

[Mar 21, 2020] Tulsi's endorsement of Biden suggests that she's as keen to see the Dems eviscerated as I am.

Mar 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Mar 20 2020 13:42 utc | 2

Tulsi's endorsement of Biden suggests that she's as keen to see the Dems eviscerated as I am.

Hell hath no fury...?

[Mar 20, 2020] Such a nice Trojan Horse: How is it possible to morph from a Tulsi, to a Tulsigieg so fast??

Highly recommended!
Mar 20, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Ronald van Kemenade , 9 hours ago

After the DNC stabbing her in the back, she should have endorsed Trump.

Nate Hoffman , 11 hours ago

Great actress. Very convincing.

tim ahlf , 5 hours ago

Obama gave her a call like he did everybody else.

Rita Marie Kelley , 12 hours ago

Aloha will never be the same...

Jack Carvis , 1 hour ago

Every dem politician has a role(acting job) to play and she deserves the Oscar .

eancd , 6 hours ago

I guess they won't be calling Tulsi a Russian agent any more

State of Opportunity , 12 hours ago

She should've just endorsed Lindsey Graham.

TheNada73 , 5 hours ago

They made her an offer she can't refuse.

Bruce Liu , 3 hours ago

Tulsi is controlled opposition

[Mar 20, 2020] If the NeoConDemocrats did this in an attempt to overthrow Trump

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

A123 , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 12:44 am GMT

@Ron Unz

Suppose it did turn out that this was all unintended blowback from some "clever ploy" by the Deep State Neocons to take China (and Iran) down a notch or two. Can anyone imagine what people would do to them?

If the NeoConDemocrats did this in an attempt to overthrow the Constitution, it would guarantee GOP majority until the end of time.

The Globalist Left is certainly unhinged However risking a total forces CHINA-US nuclear war?

Hillary prefers the (im)plausible deniability of eliminating individuals a defenseless ambassador or prisoner or lawyer or reporter.

PEACE

[Mar 20, 2020] About the necessity of treating neocons with compassion

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Just another serf , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 1:04 am GMT

@Ron Unz

Suppose it did turn out that this was all unintended blowback from some "clever ploy" by the Deep State Neocons to take China (and Iran) down a notch or two. Can anyone imagine what people would do to them?

I would hope that people would treat such individuals with compassion. Recognize that we all make mistakes. Their plans for these microbes never involved the suffering and death of millions of innocent people and simply got out of control. Certainly a stern letter of admonishment should be added to their files. But their names should not be made public.

[Mar 20, 2020] I wonder if Trump would have the courage to call Covid-19 a Jewish virus, had it originated from Israel

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Justsaying , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 2:20 am GMT

@Flubber I wonder if Trump would have the courage to call Covid-19 a Jewish virus, had it originated from Israel.

[Mar 20, 2020] That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Twodees Partain , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 3:02 am GMT

@SBaker "It's beyond dispute that the novel coronavirus officially known as COVID-19originated in Wuhan, China."

No, it's being disputed every day. That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

[Mar 19, 2020] The scenario as I imagine it unfolded

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Mar 19 2020 16:02 utc | 44

The scenario as I imagine it unfolded:

Ft. Detrick egghead: "Who are you? This is a secure area! I'm calling security!"
Langley frat boy: "I'm from Langley. If I tell you more than that then I will have to kill you."
Egghead: "You guys are jerks, you know that?"
Frat Boy: "Yeah, I love you too. So what you got in this bottle?" [picks up ampule from shelf]
Egghead: "That's a novel coronavirus."
Frat Boy: "Deadly?"
Egghead: "Not particularly. So far our testing suggests that it would just be a nuisance. Maybe one or two percent fatality. It won't make a very good weapon."
Frat Boy: "Only one or two percent, huh? That's what the taxpayers are shelling out billions for?" [palms ampule while pretending to return it to a rack of dozens of identical little glass vials]
Egghead: "Hey, it's more productive than assassinating people like you guys do!"
Frat Boy: "Watch it, Giant Forehead, or I'll rendition you to Saudi Arabia." [saunters out the door]

[two days later]

CDC inspector: "OK, your records say you have 250 vials of lot BCV-731. I only count 249. Where is the missing vial?"
Egghead: "Wait, wut? One's missing? Maybe that Langley fellow took one..."
CDC inspector: "You cannot keep track of your deadly pathogens here? We're shutting this place down."
Egghead: "But it's just a novel coronavirus! It would suck as a weapon! Why would that Langley guy want it? Why are you making such a big deal about it? Waa! My life sucks!"

[two weeks later]

Frat Boy: "You guys are heading to China for the military games? You won't be seeing real American food for a while so I brought you some pizzas!"
Grunts: "Gee, you Langley fellows sure are swell!"
Frat Boy: "Hey, I'm just a patriot! Kick some slant-eyed asses for me, OK?"
Grunts: "You betcha!"

[Mar 19, 2020] I look to the narrative we get in North America, irrespective of the topic, and the pattern is the same

Highly recommended!
Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 5:40 pm GMT

@eah

I'm agnostic on the subject of COVID-19: its origin, how it first infected humans, its epidemiological spread

Perhaps agnostic is not the best choice of words, but overall, I agree.

It is not impossible that the virus did not "escape" from the Wuhan Lab, but it is unlikely.

That the Chinese have sequenced a virus to do something unexpected, then published it, is unremarkable. That others may have done the same or similar and not published it, would be remarkable. I would consider the "Five Eyes" and Israel entirely capable – and likely to do that, given they operate as one.

I look to the narrative we get in North America, irrespective of the topic, and the pattern is the same:
1- "report" the topic;
2- announce "breaking news" to establish the narrative;
3- repeat the narrative endlessly saturating the media;
4- ignore contrary evidence;
5- if #4 becomes too difficult, discredit it by a bait and switch;
6- pronounce the narrative is still solid and alternative information false;
7- rinse and repeat.
(I suppose, if all else fails, blame Russia/Putin could be added.)

In context of the above, I am leaning toward that it wasn't an accident and in all likelihood it wasn't China.

[Mar 19, 2020] I am thinking this virus was invented by a woman. And now Playboy magazine has shut down.??!!? The end is nigh..!

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Biff , says: Show Comment March 19, 2020 at 1:44 am GMT

@Biff

Well, I don't want to offend anyone, but I'm thinking this virus was invented by a woman:

No going out to bars
No hanging out with friends in groups
No Poker night
No football
No NASCAR
No basket ball
Staying home with the wife is manditory

This will not end well..

And now Playboy magazine has shut down.??!!? The end is nigh..!

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/03/18/playboy-suspends-iconic-magazine-after-66-years-over-coronavirus/2871951001/

[Mar 19, 2020] The first step required in fighting coronavirus

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Realist , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 8:56 pm GMT

Trump should reduce the war department budget to one hundred billion max.

[Mar 19, 2020] Monthly checks are nice. No more work, just spend, spend, spend ourselves into prosperity at restaurants, on vacations, on air travel, and on giant-screen TVs for every kid's room

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [325] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 5:33 pm GMT

@Old and Grumpy ... Maybe if this coronavirus turns out to be one-tenth as bad as the yearly outbreak of flu, we'll be getting monthly checks forever. No more work, just spend, spend, spend ourselves into prosperity at restaurants, on vacations, on air travel, and on giant-screen TVs for every kid's room so we stay competitive with the Israelis and Chinese. Right now I've got Fox business on and the gaslighting is no longer in the least bit subtle. It's straightforward fear mongering.

[Mar 18, 2020] Why Trump did not call the virus "Chinese influenza"

Mar 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

Cyrano , says: Show Comment March 17, 2020 at 8:10 pm GMT

The most troubling aspect about the corona virus for me has been the naming convention. At the beginning I thought that it deserved the name "Chinese influenza" – kind of paying homage to the Spanish influenza that killed 70 million people. I thought that the reason why they didn't do it – is because there are many illiterates in the west (read US), who might misunderstand it and read it as Chinese influence – and we know that US doesn't want any kind of Chinese influence at all. Now that the virus is moving to North America, I thought that they might come out clean and name it Budweiser virus instead of Corona, but I guess that would require way too much honesty.

[Mar 18, 2020] Conservatives gays and muslims dilemma

Mar 18, 2020 | caitlinjohnstone.com

~

Conservatives: We hate gays!

Fox News: Muslims Execute Gays

Conservatives: We love gays and hate Muslims!

Fox News: China Imprisons Muslims

Conservatives: We love Muslims and hate China!

[Mar 18, 2020] The same democrats that had chosen Biden are adamantly opposed to Trump

Mar 18, 2020 | caitlinjohnstone.com

Democrats: Trump is an unprecedented threat to our democracy because he's a vulgar racist jingoistic authoritarian reactionary wingnut with dementia who lies constantly.

Those same Democrats: Here vote for for Hillary light a jingoistic neocon/neolib with health problems.

[Mar 18, 2020] American preachers are telling their underinsured parishioners to come to the megachurch and shake hands with everyone

Mar 18, 2020 | caitlinjohnstone.com

This virus could change the world a lot more than we think.

[Mar 18, 2020] Biden: I have decided that I will implement progressive policies I opposed up until five minutes ago.

Mar 18, 2020 | caitlinjohnstone.com

And they used to say that leopard can't change its spots

[Mar 18, 2020] 1984 the second edition

Mar 18, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Obvious cognitive decline is a stutter.

Massive exit poll discrepancies are normal.

An ex-president installing his right-hand man as his successor is democracy.

Facts are Kremlin talking points.

Journalism is a crime.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

link

[Mar 18, 2020] All is great folks -- just improve your immune system and you are saved

The guy forgot to mention hoarding toilet rolls -- a great prophylactic measure too
Mar 18, 2020 | www.statnews.com

Social distancing is good, washing hands is awesome, drinking plenty of fresh pure water is great, walking and sunlight is incredible, bathing, washing and laundering clothes desired and needed, eating spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and adding onion, and garlic to stews and soups and taking homeopathics tinctures, and digesting foods and getting pro-tease enzymes will greatly help the host to raise their immune system

[Mar 18, 2020] The term "lockdown" smells like GULAG

Mar 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Incidentally, I really don't like the term 'lockdown' being applied to everyday life. Its a term that originated in US prisons that use centralized cell locking mechanisms as a way of controlling inmates. Its not, and should never become, a facet of ordinary life. Locking down implies that there's a control element, something is managing the population like a group of inmates. Its the wrong relationship between a government and a people.

[Mar 17, 2020] When you read that ISIS is giving out warnings about the virus you know something is VERY WRONG

Mar 17, 2020 | off-guardian.org

bob ,

When you read that ISIS is giving out warnings about the virus you know something is VERY WRONG

[Mar 17, 2020] About the " the rate of infection amongst celebrities"

Mar 17, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Willem ,

' the rate of infection amongst celebrities'

Being a celebrity is a risk factor. That is what you get with 'actors'

Willem ,

'It's cool to be nCoV-positive now. Maybe that's why such inordinate numbers of famous people are staking their claim to it.'

The way I see it, is that such people take precious time of already overburdened health care workers. These celebrities are a bunch of attention seeking wankers.

[Mar 16, 2020] Telegraph journalist says coronavirus 'cull' of elderly could benefit economy

Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tom_LX , Mar 16 2020 19:26 utc | 12

Posted by: DFC | Mar 16 2020 18:47 utc | 3

"We can call "The Etonian Experiment of the Survival of the Richest""

Well said DFC :-)

UK has the best leadership when dealing with sheep, I mean people.

Telegraph journalist says coronavirus 'cull' of elderly could benefit economy

link

After Oxford the World is Their Oyster.

It is notorious for champagne-swilling, restaurant-trashing, "pleb"-taunting elitism. Now new light has been shed on the outrageous antics of the Bullingdon Club – the Oxford University group that may be about to produce its second British prime minister – by someone intimately connected to it during Boris Johnson's membership.

A woman who acted as a scout for potential members of the Bullingdon Club in the mid-1980s has said that female prostitutes performed sex acts at its lavish dinners, women were routinely belittled, and that intimidation and vandalism were its hallmarks.


The Wanker Club

[Mar 16, 2020] The Rich Folks who own the West's politicians remind me of crocodiles.

Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Mar 16 2020 20:40 utc | 36

The Rich Folks who own the West's politicians remind me of crocodiles.

Never smile at a crocodile.
No you can't get friendly with a crocodile.
When he looks at you with his welcome grin,
He's imagining how well you'd fit within his skin.

[Mar 16, 2020] Leopard can't change its spots: nations do what they have a nature to do

Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder , Mar 16 2020 19:13 utc | 8

China had to deal with the virus without a template.

South Korea learned from China. Devised a strategy.

Italy didn't learn any lesson from China or South Korea.

UK refuses to learn the lessons.

The USA ordered more ships, planes, bombs and missiles. And enforced more sanctions against Russia, Iran and Venezuela.

Nations do what they have a nature to do.

[Mar 16, 2020] They closed churches, brothels and other entertainment outlets

Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

SysATI , Mar 16 2020 19:34 utc | 16

" churches , brothels and other entertainment outlets "

You've been living in Europe for too long B :)))

... ... ...

[Mar 16, 2020] The Coronavirus Conundrum as interpreted by Average Joe.

Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

PokeTheTruth , Mar 15 2020 17:20 utc | 3

The Coronavirus Conundrum as interpreted by Average Joe.

Reporter: "Excuse me sir, have you been tested for coronavirus yet?"
Average Joe: "No, I haven't."
Reporter: "Aren't you worried?"
Average Joe: "No."
Reporter: "Why not?"
Average Joe: "I don't have any symptoms."
Reporter: "But you could be a carrier and not know it."
Average Joe: "Uh huh. Say, can I ask you a question?"
Reporter: "Sure, go ahead."
Average Joe: "What are the symptoms of coronavirus?"
Reporter: "Well, that would be coughing, sneezing, chills, intestinal disorder and fever."
Average Joe: "And what are the symptoms of influenza?"
Reporter: " I think they are the same."
Average Joe: "Aren't there millions of cases of influenza compared to coronavirus?"
Reporter: "Well yes, that's true."
Average Joe: "And people could have influenza and not know it and spread it, too?"
Reporter: "Yes, I guess so."
Average Joe: "So why aren't you asking me if I should be tested for influenza, instead?"
Reporter: "Because coronavirus has killed about 50 people in the U.S. so far"
Average Joe: "Influenza has killed over 4,500 Americans so far."

Here we witness Average Joe thinks logically. Since there are more people infected with influenza than coronavirus and the symptoms are the same and more people have died, he should be tested for influenza before coronavirus. But the media isn't focused on influenza, they want people to be afraid of coronavirus because of the huge amount of attention it is getting in the press around the world. And that's the truth.

[Mar 16, 2020] Here's another summary

Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

michaelj72 , Mar 15 2020 19:45 utc | 11

here's another summary that I also find appalling:

U.S. hospital beds: 924,000
U.S. prison beds: 2,300,000+

[Mar 15, 2020] Quarantined, Italian-style

Mar 15, 2020 | leganerd.com

Quarantined, Italian-style: Pornhub Premium free in Italy during COVID-19 restrictions.

[Mar 15, 2020] According to Amazon's rankings, Camus' The Plague is now #7 in the Self-Help Psychology Humor category, which is an irony Camus himself probably couldn't have gotten away with

Mar 15, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

"What on earth prompted you to take a hand in this, doctor?"

"I don't know. My my code of morals, perhaps."

"Your code of morals. What code, if I may ask?"

"Comprehension."

[Mar 14, 2020] Mass panic buying of toilet paper should be positively encouraged.

Mar 14, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Stonky ,

One big learning I've taken from this.

Mass panic buying of toilet paper should be positively encouraged.

If we can cull from the human genome all the people who think they can eat toilet paper, then the world will be a happier, healthier place

[Mar 14, 2020] Whoever dies with the most bathroom tissue rolls wins

Mar 14, 2020 | www.youtube.com

xpusostomos , 4 days ago

Whoever dies with the most bog roll wins.

Carnage , 2 days ago

Dont Worry Fools Coronavirus Don't Want To Infect An Idiot

Mr2pint , 4 days ago

I use my wife's face flannel most the time - saves me heaps of money...

Winter Plover , 3 days ago

It's like Black Friday, but with just toilet paper. This kinda makes regular Christmas Black Friday look normal.🧻🎄

Roj Blake , 4 days ago

Mass hysteria over something we know nothing about. Ship of fools.

[Mar 14, 2020] They are actually not that smart.

Mar 14, 2020 | off-guardian.org

CentralScrutinizer Okay I've analysed this for days now. Nothing makes any sense from any angle. It looks like they deliberately crashing the economy but no one is dying. If you going to reset the global economy you need to lose about 70% of the world population or your situation is just worse. So either the NWO set a plan in motion and someone forgot to tell them virus is actually a joke or (as I am beginning to suspect) the entire world has become an Idiocracy led by the chief idiots. 5 -1 Reply Mar 14, 2020 8:09 PM

RobG ,

The psychopaths who rule us are actually not that smart.

[Mar 14, 2020] A little inspirational pep talk -- Coronavirus: Survival of the Richest! by Jonathan Pie

Highly recommended!
Mar 14, 2020 | off-guardian.org

George Mc This is a little inspirational pep talk about what to do with "self-isolation":


The Hurricane , 1 day ago

AS George Carlin said: It's called the American dream... because you have to be asleep to believe it.

mme.lolabelle , 1 day ago

To quote that great 21st century social commentary, ‘Shrek’, “Some of you may die, but it’s a sacrifice that I am willing to make.”

Heikki Remes , 1 day ago

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." -Agent K

S.A.k SAK , 1 day ago

Johnthan Pie as expected sharp insightful with a wicked cutting edge, but most importantly so on point with home truths. Well done good man, please keep them coming we need you more than ever 😁

A B , 1 day ago

Exactly, more bankruptcies than deaths. Zero hours contracts are terrifying. Help others. Be kind.

Rah Collier , 1 day ago

Plagues can be instigators of social change. Buckle up, everyone.

Kaya Bingham , 1 day ago

Excellent summary of the world's economical facade. All plastic and lie...

Kenny Evans , 1 day ago

"Get ill, go bankrupt" USA in a nutshell.

WeControlEverything YouSeeAndHear , 1 day ago div tabindex="0" class="comment-renderer

-text" role="article"> Well done JP, a brilliant summation as always :) Particularly poignant: "The only people we can look to for help are our leaders, who we would hope, are looking to scientists & experts to guide them."

[Mar 14, 2020] Honestly humans in the developed world are past saving

If all the food was stripped off supermarket shelves as well as the bathroom tissue then that would make some sense ;-), but these clowns are just taking the paper.
Mar 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
A User , Mar 14 2020 5:28 utc | 205
For anyone who cannot exist without buffing their arsehole to a satin sheen every morning, yet is unable to lay in the 157 rolls of toilet paper most contemporary bourgeoisie now regard as de rigeur may I suggest this this for a mere $47.99 . You should probably get in fast as the exact same thing was $27.99 5 days ago.

Or do as I used to when living in the tropics where the 'littlest room in the house' (in bourgeois speak) was like a sauna, the fix for that was to hop into the shower straight after yer daily dump.

Honestly humans in the developed word are past saving. The world has suddenly accelerated in the race to get to hell in a handbasket, and what is the first thing they do? Why try to corner the market in watchamacallit, toilet 'tissue'. Fucking crazy doesn't begin to cover it.

[Mar 14, 2020] Honest Government Ad

Highly recommended!
This is a really brilliant satire !!! Another outstanding work. "Spread the message, not the virus" and "...when they threaten the Stock Market." Priceless
What makes a nation civilized is not how it acts in times of peace but how it chooses to conduct itself in moments of crisis. Hoarding stuff for months selfishly and fighting people in markets like animals is not how civilized societies deal with crisis.
Notable quotes:
"... Toilet paper is such a weird thing to be panic-buying... ..."
"... "Global emergencies- when they threaten the stock market" So sad but true ..."
"... "When they threaten the stock market." Boom. ..."
"... I love the term "local government franchise". sounds pretty synonymous to a government run by crooks and impotent political dynasties. ..."
"... I like how this started off completely taking the mick, but then turned, depressingly, into one of the most sensible summaries of our current situation. (I mean it's depressing that comedians seem to be better at communicating than our glorious leaders). ..."
"... "Italians are freaking out the Chinese are hiding out" That was just so freaking hilarious oh my God I love this channel ..."
Mar 14, 2020 | youtu.be

Amarka

Honest Government Ad (govern/rule – ment/mind) | Coronavirus: Flatten The Curve

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Hks6Nq7g6P4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent Vote Up 1 0 Vote Down Reply Mar 14, 2020 10:05 PM


John Gardner , 23 hours ago

Toilet paper is such a weird thing to be panic-buying...

foo barf , 23 hours ago

But my sphincter is far too important to let a Murdoch publication near it

JNB Brothers , 23 hours ago

"Global emergencies- when they threaten the stock market" So sad but tru (climate change, equal rights etc)

John Gardner , 23 hours ago

Toilet paper is such a weird thing to be panic-buying...

foo barf , 23 hours ago

But my sphincter is far too important to let a Murdoch publication near it

JNB Brothers , 23 hours ago

"Global emergencies- when they threaten the stock market" So sad but true (climate change, equal rights etc)

Tommy Knocker , 23 hours ago (edited)

Now flying off the shelves near you: New Rupert Murdock toilet paper, as hard on your ass it is on the eyes!!!

Aurum TheBrave , 23 hours ago

"When they threaten the stock market." Boom.

Charliemagne Crabajales , 19 hours ago

I love the term "local government franchise". sounds pretty synonymous to a government run by crooks and impotent political dynasties.

George Caplin , 20 hours ago

I like how this started off completely taking the mick, but then turned, depressingly, into one of the most sensible summaries of our current situation. (I mean it's depressing that comedians seem to be better at communicating than our glorious leaders).

Ison Willis , 23 hours ago

If it gets not banned, its part of the sh*show.

Alexandru Popescu , 23 hours ago

Lucy's heavenly voice and impeccable pronunciation – which transform the coarse language into music to our ears – perfectly convey the urgent educational message.

Saturn666 , 23 hours ago

Kind of tragic when a comedy channel like this is more informative than governments.

denthy k , 23 hours ago

Trump: If I'm not tested, I'm not infected.

tuseroni , 20 hours ago

"i dont take responsibility at all" he did say that. not sure if he is exposed to the corona virus, but he is clearly allergic to responsibility

resourcedragon , 23 hours ago

Thank you for the "flatten the curve" message. To be honest, I had wondered whether delaying the inevitable was the way to go - especially in view of the fact that there are going to be, indeed, already have been deaths that are due to knock-on effects from the corona virus.

Avatar WarMech , 19 hours ago

"Italians are freaking out the Chinese are hiding out" That was just so freaking hilarious oh my God I love this channel

[Mar 14, 2020] Yale Psychiatrist Who Called Trump Mentally Unfit For Office Refuses To Offer Diagnosis on Joe Biden

Mar 14, 2020 | www.thegatewaypundit.com

This woman has never even met Trump, but she feels perfectly fine offering her diagnosis, in a clear ethical violation of her profession.

Now that Joe Biden has become an increasing cause for concern, due to his aging mind, Bandy Lee refuses to offer a diagnosis of Biden.

[Mar 14, 2020] Test the thee not for me

Mar 14, 2020 | www.thegatewaypundit.com

White House Doctor Statement on President Trump No Coronavirus Test or Quarantine Indicated

Trump was badgered by CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang at a press conference Friday afternoon on whether he was being "selfish" about not being tested.

SovereignWoman Old Miner 5 hours ago ,

And if he got tested, they would call him selfish for using up a valuable test as one of the "powerful and wealthy".

[Mar 14, 2020] Neoliberal civilization depends on toilet paper it seems. Toilet paper is the bellwether commodity of our age

Mar 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

UnionHorse , Mar 14 2020 2:48 utc | 189

Civilizations depend on toilet paper it seems. Toilet paper is the bellwether commodity of our age. Capacity production is called for, especially neoclassic econ 101 foolishness. Nevertheless, overtime at the paper mills is in order.

[Mar 13, 2020] H. L. Mencken: The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed

Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Greenbean950 , Mar 13 2020 14:15 utc | 5

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken

[Mar 13, 2020] Between Biden's hair plugs and the botox, he looks waxy, like grandpa putting himself out there for one last fling after Grandma Obama passed away, God rest her soul.

Mar 13, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How did the Democrats end up with Joe Biden as their presumptive nominee?

After three years of preparatory media fire about diversity and change, and chumming the electorate with promises of free college alongside all the health care-they-care-to-eat, Democrats started with six women, a couple of black people, the gay guy, and progressive ideas ranging from the necessary to the kooky. The full list included 30 players.

They ended up choosing a candidate left over from 1958. Joe Biden is old, he's tired, he lost the race for president twice already (once for plagiarism and once for lying about his education), and he appears to be in some state of cognitive decline. Between the hair plugs and the botox, he looks waxy, like grandpa putting himself out there for one last fling after Grandma Obama passed away, God rest her soul.

Nelson a day ago • edited

Status Quo Joe 2020
Better things aren't possible!
Feral Finster 10 hours ago • edited
... Biden is a 1998 democrat - says the wokey stuff in public when necessary to differentiate from Team R while equally slavish towards the MIC, banks and Wall Street at all times and in all places.

[Mar 13, 2020] US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

charliechan , Mar 13 2020 20:36 utc | 115

charlie chan wonders why entire media world fear mongering.

The CDC test kits error 49% to positive.

And charlie chan not hear of one case of flu death. Did Corona Virus cure the flu?

US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How?

[Mar 13, 2020] Who of the head of states will first be diagnosed with the coronavirus: Trudeau or Trump?

NOTE: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of @JustinTrudeau , has tested positive for coronavirus
Mar 13, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anatoly Karlin , says: Website Show Comment March 13, 2020 at 3:41 pm GMT

@sudden death Looks like Bolsonaro beat him to the punch.

Bolsonaro is 64, that's ~4% risk of death; survived a stabbing, will be fine. Trump is 73, that's ~8% risk of death. Morbidly obese, but I don't think he has any major preexisting conditions? Will almost certainly pull through as well. Both will ofc get great medical care.

-- """Апат lу Каrliп""" (@akarlin88) March 13, 2020

[Mar 13, 2020] Somethng on taking chances

Mar 13, 2020 | www.unz.com

another anon , says: Show Comment March 13, 2020 at 2:33 pm GMT

It depends. How based and redpilled you are?

I'd rather take my chances with the virus than consume an Israeli vaccine https://t.co/A3I6orCUYr

-- Roshan M Salih (@RmSalih) March 12, 2020

[Mar 13, 2020] After sober analysis, extensive reading, and careful assessment of each and every fact either directly or indirectly related to COVID19

Mar 13, 2020 | www.unz.com

Monotonous Languor , says: Show Comment March 13, 2020 at 7:03 am GMT

After sober analysis, extensive reading, and careful assessment of each and every fact either directly or indirectly related to COVID19, I am now fully convinced of the following:

– The virus was deliberately created by aliens from the Betelgeuse solar system, who have been secretly spying on our planet for the last 200 years.
– The Betelgeusians have developed a supremely accurate quantum computer model ("It's Quantum!") of our species, which predicts what various factions of humanity will do given any set of specific circumstances and inputs.
– The Betelgeusians, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to re-balance various factions of humanity here on earth, depending on their projected threat to other populations and the planet in general.
– After running various scenarios through their quantum computer ("It's Quantum!"), the results for advancing an optimal future became obvious.
– The COVID19 was created specifically to attack Italians, Iranians, and Han Chinese.
– In their computer simulation ("It's Quantum!"), those three groups were considered most egregiously able to perpetrate negative effects on the rest of humanity in the future.
– Therefore, the Betelgeusians made the onerous decision to create and release the virus.
– Various intended consequences were also the result of the simulation ("It's Quantum!"); these include vituperation and blowback on the US Deep State embedded for lo! these many years.
– A popular mass uprising will take effect against the Derp State, and leftism/progressivism will finally be tossed out on its collective ear all over Western Civilization. It will be so thoroughly maligned, that it will finally end up on the ash heap of history, never to return.
– The Betelgeusians will surreptitiously introduce an antidote into the ecosphere, thereby eradicating all further related susceptibility and deaths.
– The Betelgeusians will look down on their handiwork with benign satisfaction.
– Western Civilization will again have a chance to flourish like never before, entering a new Renaissance, and everybody will live happily ever after.

There don't you like my story much better than all the other nonsense you've been pummeled with lately? (You can thank me later.)

[Mar 13, 2020] The robbery industry can definitely benefit from this outbreak

Mar 13, 2020 | www.unz.com

Cyrano says: Show Comment March 13, 2020 at 1:39 am GMT 100 Words ... Everybody is talking about the negative sides of this corona virus outbreak. I would like to focus on one possible positive influence this virus might have.

The robbery industry can definitely benefit from this outbreak. With everybody wearing masks, the robbery employees – after conducting their operations in local corner stores, gas stations and even banks – can very successfully mingle with the general population upon exiting from the venues they like to do their business in, and avoid risky situations associated with their profession – such as being caught and/or being shot or subjected to lengthy prison sentences.

[Mar 13, 2020] Trump's Coronavirus Address, Blooper Reel Included The Daily Show - YouTube

Mar 13, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://youtu.be/BWO6i8cH8SA


Dan L , 4 hours ago (edited)

"As calming as a firecracker dropped into a bag of cocaine" lmao I lost it there.. Hilariously accurate.

berlineczka , 4 hours ago

Fun fact: the European Union actually has no authority over health issues whatsoever. This is a strict Member State prerogative. The countries can coordinate voluntarily (which is what is currently arranged by the European Commission, but since there is no precedence it takes time) - but there was no way to make any decision about that in Brussels.

KingM , 5 hours ago (edited)

Greetings from Europe. In these hard times I'd like to thank Trump for providing such gold comedy material from just being a moron and reminding us all that it could always be worse.

[Mar 13, 2020] Daffy Duck. cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. It dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | thesaker.is

Vaughan on March 12, 2020 , · at 7:43 pm EST/EDT

Recently, I was watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons with my Grandchild and we were watching, "Duck Dodges in the 21st and a Half Century"
I don't know if you've watched this cartoon starring Daffy Duck. You can view it here
https://vimeo.com/76668594

This cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. But while watching this cartoon, it dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.
I could write an article on this but I think we'll leave it as a note with a snide laugh to be had by all.

Patricia Ormsby on March 12, 2020 , · at 8:16 pm EST/EDT
Laughter is one of the best medicines. Thank you for this!

[Mar 13, 2020] Senility is becoming very Presidential

Looks like Ronald Reagan was a pioneer of the trend.
Mar 13, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Mike from Jersey , March 7, 2020 at 08:07

One should draw a distinction between demented and dementia. Joe Biden has been demented for a long time. His dementia is something new.

Either condition should disqualify him from the Presidency. But, for decades now, those characteristics seem to have become job requirements.

T , March 10, 2020 at 11:45

Reagan was clearly senile, and that was no hindrance to him becoming President -- so why should it be any different in the case of Biden?

Vera Gottlieb , March 9, 2020 at 15:28

Demented Trump and then demented Biden? Something to look forward to, eh?

Hans Suter , March 9, 2020 at 09:52

we may now adapt this old Chernenko joke: "Today, due to bad health and without regaining consciousness, Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko took up the duties of Secretary General".

MrK , March 8, 2020 at 22:07

Joe Biden many decades ago, Joe Biden already had a problem with saying what he should only be thinking.

Joe Biden: I Tried to 'Prostitute Myself'
see: youtube.com/watch?v=oysFCNPg0DA

Drew Hunkins , March 6, 2020 at 21:03

The DNC honchos and the parasitic elite who are embedded within it know fully well the degree of Biden's cognitive decline. They'd rather lose with Biden than possibly win with Bernie for obvious self-interest of course.

[Mar 13, 2020] Some freedom with facts: pease note that the current COVID-18 coronavirus was discovered in January 2020 and compare this fact with the White House statement

That might be a different coronavirus ;-)
Mar 13, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Doug Chance engineerscotty 8 hours ago

Oh, they have. This is from the email I got from the White House listserv:

"Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from 72 nations with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended or deemed inadmissible from entering the United States since November," according to officials. These apprehensions underscore the need for border security and proper vetting. Read more from Paul Bedard in the Washington Examiner.

[Mar 13, 2020] Our glorious Gerontocracy and coronavirus epidemic

From Wikipedia: A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Our neoliberal gerontocracy is hopeless ( "There are wicked people who would be much less dangerous if they were wholly without goodness") There are neoliberal fanatics without ability, and then they are really dangerous people.
Mar 13, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

none , March 12, 2020 at 2:25 pm

Joe the Biden was just on tv spouting off about Coronavirus. I didn't watch or listen. Does anyone know if he said anything sane, remembered his own name or anything like that? He looked decrepit.

Drake , March 12, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Speaking of which, Trump seemed out of breath a lot during his spiel last night, almost wheezing at times. Couple that with the fact that he's been in close contact with people who have already tested positive led me towards an obvious conclusion

He, Bernie, Joe, Hilary, Nancy, et al are all in the high-risk group. We could easily lose one or more, not that I'm trying to get anyone's hopes up.

JohnnySacks , March 12, 2020 at 2:56 pm

He's reading verbatim from a teleprompter, no surprise that it's another skill he's completely incompetent performing. Political skills 101 class, day 1 – learn how to read from a teleprompter without it looking obvious. Christ he even squints.

anon in so cal , March 12, 2020 at 7:41 pm

Back when Trump made a speech a year or so ago, he did the same sniffing and wheezing. Someone made a recording and deleted the words so the only sounds were the sniffing and wheezing. It was hilarious and got something like 100K likes on Twitter.

Billy , March 12, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Dementiacrat gives speech.

[Mar 13, 2020] Two different no fly zones: Trump's and Hillary's or how Trump fired the entire US pandemic response team

Mar 13, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

deplorado , March 12, 2020 at 2:17 pm

From Twitter:

Judd Legum @JuddLegum

WORTH REPEATING: In 2018, Trump fired the entire US pandemic response team.
These were the experts with decades of experience dealing with precisely the kind of situation we are in today.

Trump did not replace them.

He eliminated the positions.

https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1238108656950001666?s=20

allan , March 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Another fun fact from Twitter:

Michael Grunwald @MikeGrunwald
I had forgotten my own reporting that @SenatorCollins
stripped $870M for pandemic preparations out of the 2009 stimulus.

[page image from Grunwald's book, The New New Deal ]

11:30 AM · Mar 12, 2020· Twitter for iPhone

There was some discussion here the other day about who's responsible for the sorry state of the CDC
and pandemic preparation in particular. Now, the Dems controlled all the WH, Senate and House in 2009,
so obviously they share some of the blame, but if Collins hadn't demanded this,
it probably wouldn't have happened.

I'm very disappointed with Susan Collins.

Louis Fyne , March 12, 2020 at 3:26 pm

Typical modern, bipartisan American short-termism.

In my opinion, things would not have been not better under a Hillary admin. -- -but at least we'd have a no-fly zone in Syria. USA!

ambrit , March 12, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Now we have a no fly zone in Continental Europe!

polecat , March 12, 2020 at 6:41 pm

The new-n-umproved slogan .. post-Sanders rat f#cking : 'THEM!'.. not us !

[Mar 12, 2020] Panic and airline ticket prices for the fly from Europe

The U.K. was exempted, which makes the targeting of the ban seem driven by political bias more than anything else. That was not lost on European leaders :
Mar 12, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump also botched his explanation of the details of his own policy, which created panic among Americans still in Europe who thought that they might be cut off from coming home. That isn't the case, but that didn't stop a run on last-minute airline tickets because Americans thought that they had just a couple days to get out:

Just to clarify, I didn't spend $20,000 on tickets (what I DID spend was bad enough). A Delta ticket agent at CDG told me that's how much one American passenger spent online in the hours after President Trump's announcement.

-- Mike McIntire (@mmcintire) March 12, 2020

[Mar 12, 2020] Since Reagan neoliberal coup d' tat America government and society has become more and more crazy and incompetent, with that reality concealed by our ever more sweeping propaganda

Mar 12, 2020 | www.unz.com

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 12, 2020 at 11:04 am GMT

Well, I've often pointed out the negative consequences of having a country run by its Ministry of Propaganda.

For decades, America government and society has become more and more crazy and incompetent, with that reality concealed by our ever more sweeping propaganda.

But since the Coronavirus doesn't pay attention to the MSM, we'll soon find out the consequences of that strategy.

... ... ...

[Mar 12, 2020] Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake?

Mar 12, 2020 | twitter.com

. @DanaPerino I'm not quite sure why you're telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary. Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake? pic.twitter.com/VKCxy2JzFe

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 3, 2020

[Mar 12, 2020] Italy Closed; Wall Street Hosed; Trump Exposed

Mar 12, 2020 | www.medpagetoday.com

More GOP congressmen who attended the CPAC political event last month are self-isolating -- and one of them just flew on Air Force One with President Trump . Another was seen on video shaking hands and chatting face to face with the president before entering self-quarantine. ( CNBC, Reuters )

Note to Pence:

Televangelist Jim Bakker's TV show was among seven companies receiving FDA/FTC warnings about "fraudulent" sales pitches for coronavirus treatments.

[Mar 12, 2020] "Imbecilization of the West" hypothesis

Mar 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 10 2020 18:54 utc | 10

Finally found someone who agrees with my "imbecilization of the West" hypothesis:


The End of the Age of Enlightenment

The Age of Enlightenment had a pretty good run from the 17th to 19th centuries. It led to the Industrial Age and, in concurrence, the Space and Information Ages. These historical epochs advanced humanity to crowning breakthroughs in science, medicine, information exchange, and quality of life. Today, all of humankind's advancements are being threatened by those who would have society return to an age marked by superstition, belief in magic and miracles, ignorance, racial and religious intolerance, and abject sexism.

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party candidate selection process continues to roll along providing all the tension and suspense of an impending colonoscopy sans anesthetic

Mar 12, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Gary Weglarz ,

The Democratic Party candidate selection process continues to roll along providing all the tension and suspense of an impending colonoscopy – sans anesthetic.

Seamus Padraig ,

...I think our only hope now is that the Corona Virus kills all other politicians in the US, leaving only Tulsi alive. Of course, the DNC would probably still find some way to deny her the nomination somehow

Seamus Padraig ,

You can have a dogshit sandwich or a catshit sandwich, just so long as its kosher.

So true! +1000

[Mar 12, 2020] Council on Foreign Relations cancels coronavirus-themed conference in NYC because of coronavirus

Mar 12, 2020 | www.rt.com

The Council on Foreign Relations has nixed a conference on "Doing Business Under Coronavirus," apparently not wanting to risk actually doing its business under the coronavirus epidemic laying siege to New York City.

...an unknown number of attendees at both the Conservative Political Action Conference and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee were exposed to the coronavirus during both gatherings last weekend in Washington DC

[Mar 11, 2020] The toilet-paper maddened crowds will be braving coronavirus to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today

Now this became a real circus.
Notable quotes:
"... The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden. Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian . ..."
"... Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance. ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The toilet-paper maddened crowds will be braving coronavirus to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today.

There's several more rounds of voting before the convention in July, but this is the last before the next debate on March 15th.

The process is kinda moot at this point.

The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden. Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian .

Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance.

... ... ...

Whatever the plan turns out to be, progressives and leftists all over America will likely be disappointed in Bernie. If last time is anything to go by, no matter how obviously he (and more importantly his voters) get screwed over, Sanders will just let it happen.

The other Great White Hope of American leftists – or should that be "Great Native American hope"? – Elizabeth Warren, dropped out last week but is yet to endorse her fellow "progressive", Bernie Sanders. This could mean she's spiteful, or it could mean she's angling to be Biden's VP nominee. Either way, no real surprise and no real loss. Warren always talked a better game than she played and she didn't talk all that well.

Oh, and the DNC changed their debate eligibility rules to exclude Tulsi Gabbard . Something both the other candidates and the vast majority of the mainstream media have been quiet about.

Questions arise Are the democrats really rallying behind Joe Biden? why?! Are they planning to throw the race? Is Joe Biden going senile? Who will each candidate pick as a running mate? Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

[Mar 11, 2020] Weaponized coughing: The new way to argue when words fail in the coronavirus era

(VIDEOS)
Mar 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

As coronavirus tensions rise amid panic buying, event cancellations and self-isolation and quarantine, it is unsurprising that some have sought to weaponize the outbreak by deliberately coughing at others.

...Video purports to show cabin crew wrestling a frustrated but unruly airline passenger after she was filmed deliberately coughing on staff so that she would be kicked off a Thai Airways flight.

[Mar 11, 2020] That is the American hologram. That is the peculiar illusion we live within, the illusion that holds us together, makes us alike, yet tells each of us we are unique.

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 10 2020 17:41 utc | 4

Here's what journalist Joe Bageant wrote in 2007:
Much of the ongoing battle for America's soul is about healing the souls of these Americans and rousing them from the stupefying glut of commodity and spectacle. It is about making sure that they -- and we -- refuse to accept torture as the act of "heroes" and babies deformed by depleted uranium as the "price of freedom." Caught up in the great self-referential hologram of imperial America, force-fed goods and hubris like fattened steers, working people like World Championship Wrestling and Confederate flags and flat-screen televisions and the idea of an American empire. ("American Empire! I like the sound of that!" they think to themselves, without even the slightest idea what it means historically.) "The people" doing our hardest work and fighting our wars are not altruistic and probably never were. They don't give a rat's bunghole about the world's poor or the planet or animals or anything else. Not really. "The people" like cheap gas. They like chasing post-Thanksgiving Day Christmas sales. And if fascism comes, they will like that too if the cost of gas isn't too high and Comcast comes through with a twenty-four-hour NFL channel.

That is the American hologram. That is the peculiar illusion we live within, the illusion that holds us together, makes us alike, yet tells each of us we are unique. And it will remain in force until the whole shiteree comes down around our heads. Working people do not deny reality. They create it from the depths of their perverse ignorance, even as the so-called left speaks in non sequiturs and wonders why it cannot gain any political traction. Meanwhile, for the people, it is football and NASCAR and a republic free from married queers and trigger locks on guns. That's what they voted for -- an armed and moral republic. And that's what we get when we stand by and watch the humanity get hammered out of our fellow citizens, letting them be worked cheap and farmed like a human crop for profit.

Genuine moral values have jack to do with politics. But in an obsessively religious nation, values remain the most effective smoke screen for larceny by the rich and hatred and fear by the rest. What Christians and so many quiet, ordinary Americans were voting for in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 was fear of human beings culturally unlike themselves, particularly gays and lesbians and Muslims and other non-Christians. That's why in eleven states Republicans got constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage on the ballot. In nine of them the bill passed easily. It was always about fearing and, in the worst cases, hating "the other."

Being a southerner, I have hated in my lifetime. I can remember schoolyard discussions of supposed "nigger knifing" of white boys at night and such. And like most people over fifty, it shows in my face, because by that age we have the faces we deserve. Likewise I have seen hate in others and know it when I see it. And I am seeing more of it now than ever before in my lifetime, which is saying something considering that I grew up down here during the Jim Crow era. Fanned and nurtured by neoconservative elements, the hate is every bit equal to the kind I saw in my people during those violent years. Irrational. Deeply rooted. Based on inchoate fears.

The fear is particularly prevalent in the middle and upper-middle classes here, the very ones most openly vehement about being against using the words nigger and fuck. They are what passes for educated people in a place like Winchester. You can smell their fear. Fear of losing their advantages and money. Fear there won't be enough time to grab and stash enough geet to keep themselves and their offspring in Chardonnay and farting through silk for the next fifty years. So they keep the lie machinery and the smoke generators cranking full blast as long as possible, hoping to elect another one of their own kind to the White House -- Democratic or Republican, it doesn't matter so long as they keep the scam going. The Laurita Barrs speak in knowing, authoritative tones, and the inwardly fearful house painter and single-mom forklift driver listen and nod. Why take a chance on voting for a party that would let homos be scout masters?

( Dear Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War , chapter 2)

Nothing falls from the sky. It's all a dialectic process.

[Mar 11, 2020] The "imbecilization of the West" hypothesis

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 10 2020 18:54 utc | 10

Finally found someone who agrees with my "imbecilization of the West" hypothesis:


The End of the Age of Enlightenment

The Age of Enlightenment had a pretty good run from the 17th to 19th centuries. It led to the Industrial Age and, in concurrence, the Space and Information Ages. These historical epochs advanced humanity to crowning breakthroughs in science, medicine, information exchange, and quality of life. Today, all of humankind's advancements are being threatened by those who would have society return to an age marked by superstition, belief in magic and miracles, ignorance, racial and religious intolerance, and abject sexism.

And Weyne Madsen is not what you would call a Bolshevik. On the contrary, he's pretty much your pro-West, liberal, middle-of-the-road journalist.

--//--

To complete the SC's double-header, here's a cool article about the impossibility of separating capitalism from mafia-style banditism:

Sugar and Spice and Everything Vice: the Empire's Sin City of London

Extra points for the headline.

Daniel , Mar 10 2020 21:11 utc | 32

@10 vk

Finally found someone who agrees with my "imbecilization of the West" hypothesis

Thanks for the links...interesting reading.

The late comedian George Carlin dedicated the latter half of his career to skewering the many idiotic and moronic tendencies within American culture. That idiocy has spread to the entire 'Western' world and has gotten much worse now that keeping people stupid (and confused) is quasi official government/media policy. I have no doubt Carlin would today be condemned as an un-PC 'Russian asset' sowing the seeds of division etc.

[Mar 10, 2020] How US counts the sick when CDC test kits are unreliable amd by-and-large unavailble?

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tom_LX , Mar 9 2020 19:35 utc | 23

Posted by: charliechan | Mar 9 2020 19:30 utc | 20

Charli Chan ask right question.

charlie cha wonders how US counts the sick when CDC test kits are unreliable.

and unavailable in quantities necessary !!!!

[Mar 10, 2020] That is the way POTUS go down in History

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DFC , Mar 9 2020 22:17 utc | 64

"I have the hunch that this is a normal flu" (D.J.Trump, March 2020)

"I have the hunch the recovery is around the corner" (Herbert Hoover, November 1929)

That is the way POTUS go down in History

[Mar 10, 2020] Facebook and idiocy of population

Notable quotes:
"... Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard , Mar 10 2020 16:40 utc | 150

No need to worry about the corona virus - it'll all be okay as long as you buy enough toilet roll...

Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis.

You've seen it on the tele and (un)social media – supermarket shelves denuded of bog roll and fat birds beating seven shades of sh*t out of each other over the last bag of ass wipe.

I mean, what the hell!? Is this how stupid and pathetic we've become? Someone sees a post on Fakebook that says its a good idea to respond to a potentially fatal virus by buying lots of bog roll and within 5 minutes there's a massive rush on the stuff – after all, you gotta buy it, right, COS IT SAYS SO ON FAKEBOOK...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/03/10/of-coronavirus-toilet-roll-and-idiocy/

[Mar 10, 2020] For some reason I am reminded of the Jon Rappoport-Ellis Medavoy (pseudonym) interview.

Mar 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Morton's toes , says: Show Comment March 9, 2020 at 5:44 am GMT

For some reason I am reminded of the Jon Rappoport-Ellis Medavoy (pseudonym) interview.

"You
 make 
up 
something
 complicated. 

Then 
you 
insert 
it 
into 
the
 bloodstream 
of 
the 
society, 
and 
you
 watch 
it 
bloom. 

You 
make 
it 
complex 
enough 
that 
it 
will 
take 
armies 
of 
people 
to 
sort 
it 
out 
and 
argue
 about 
it, 
and 
then 
you 
have 
them. 

The 
other 
thing 
is, 
what 
you 
make 
up 
has 
to 
cost 
money. 

A 
lot 
of money."

"Why?" 
I 
said.

"Because 
people 
want 
their 
lies 
to 
have 
value, 
and
 that 
is 
judged 
by 
how
 expensive 
they 
are."

"Suppose 
the 
citizenry 
ends 
up
 paying 
for 
these 
lies," 
I 
said.

"SUPPOSE?" 
he 
said. 

"SUPPOSE? 

Of 
COURSE 
they're 
going 
to 
pay. 

They're 
going 
to
 pay 
until 
it 
hurts.

 You 
know 
the 
old 
expression, "
Seeing 
Is 
Believing?" 

That's 
bunch 
of 
crap. 

PAYING
 IS 
BELIEVING."



http://the-eye.eu/public/concen.org/Matrix%20Revealed/1_1a_ellis_medavoy.pdf

[Mar 10, 2020] We probably do not need election of Sanders to crash stock market. Coronavirus will do the job just fine

What will happen if Biden dies from Coronavirus after the convention?
Mar 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Aumua , March 9, 2020 at 4:36 am

I guess another mixed positive is that it shows you don't need Bernie Sanders to crash the stock markets. The thing is quite unstable on its own thank you very much.

Divadab , March 9, 2020 at 7:16 am

Yes- quite illuminating to see the contempt Dem party worthies hold for us and the office of President

[Mar 10, 2020] "Saving" Wall Street really amounts to "saving" the tapeworm while discarding the host.

Mar 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Parker Dooley , March 9, 2020 at 1:53 pm

"Saving" Wall Street really amounts to "saving" the tapeworm while discarding the host.

But we love love love our tapeworm -- especially our "healthcare plans" and "capitalism".

[Mar 09, 2020] The Great Chinese Bat Flu Panic of 2020 Dissident Voice

Mar 09, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org

Pray for me, my friends, because I have the flu

... ... ...

Or, I don't know, maybe it is the Bat Flu. The more I read the corporate press, the more I'm beginning to suspect it is. My suspicion isn't based on facts. I don't have any of the Bat Flu symptoms. It's just a feeling like the feelings people had that Saddam had secret WMDs, and that Trump was a Russian intelligence asset, and that the world was going to end in the year 2012.

OK, those feelings turned out to be wrong, but this one feels like an accurate feeling, and not like just the result of being relentlessly bombarded with hysterical headlines, pictures of people in hazmat suits, and obsessively researching ever-changing, wildly-varying statistics on the Internet, which I really need to stop doing that.

... ... ...

Plus, even if I just have the flu (i.e., the regular flu, not the Chinese Bat Flu), the statistics on that are pretty scary. I don't know the numbers here in Germany, but, according to the CDC , since 2010, in the United States, the regular old garden variety flu has resulted in the following, annually:

When you multiply all those numbers by 10 (because it's been 10 years since 2010), you get:

That's 450 million possible cases and over half a million deaths, and that's just in the United States! To make it concrete, if you stood all those dead people on top of each other, head to toe, so that everyone was standing on everyone's head, and used them as an enormous ladder, you could climb to the moon and back four times or once or twice at the very least.

And that's nothing compared to this Covid-19!

No, according to The Guardian , Covid-19 is "about ten times more deadly than the seasonal flu," so that's 610,000 deaths just this year, and if the CDC tracks it for a full 10 years, that's pretty close to 6 million dead people, which will make it just as bad as the Holocaust (although the Holocaust only lasted four years, so I'll have to adjust my math for that).

And, remember, that's just in the United States, which is only 4.25 percent of the total global population. So you multiply the Holocaust by 95 percent (you can round the numbers to make this easier) and you end up with 7 billion dead people, which is nearly every last person on Earth, except for 700 million people! Which, OK, that sounds like a lot of people (i.e., the 700 million, not the 7 billion), but it's fewer than there were in the 14th Century; i.e., before the "Black Death" plague killed everybody!

... ... ...

Or, I don't know, maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I just have the flu. I mean, what if this whole Corona thing is just nature doing what nature does and not the end of civilization? Look, I don't want to sound paranoid, but I can't help wondering whether this virus warrants all the mass hysteria that the corporate media have been pumping out at us, relentlessly, for the last two months, and the states of emergency that are being declared, and the quarantines that are going into effect, and the curfews, and banning of public gatherings, and whatever other "emergency measures" are going to be imposed in the coming weeks and months.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volume I of his Consent Factory Essays is published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org . Read other articles by C. J. .

[Mar 09, 2020] It is so nice to be endorsed by the rival

Trump recently mocked Biden over a mistake when Biden said he was looking forward to Super Thursday instead of Super Tuesday. any chance of medical intervention here? Hillary got some shots.
Notable quotes:
"... We cannot get reelected, we cannot win this reelection, excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump. ..."
Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
. As Newsweek reported yesterday:

"Joe Biden mistakenly endorsed President Donald Trump during a speech in St. Louis, and Donald Trump responded with 'I agree with Joe!' on Twitter. In his speech, former vice president Joe Biden said, ' We cannot get reelected, we cannot win this reelection, excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump. ' "

[Mar 09, 2020] The politically correct thing is to pretend that Joe Biden winning the Black vote isn't like the late Jeffrey Epstein being hailed as a mentor of teenage girls

Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

I suppose the politically correct thing is to pretend that Joe Biden winning the Black vote isn't like the late Jeffrey Epstein being hailed as a mentor of teenage girls.

[Mar 09, 2020] "The medium is the message" Marshall McLuhan

Video
Mar 09, 2020 | video.twimg.com

"We do have standrds"

[Mar 09, 2020] Tucker Carlson was correct when pointed out that Biden Super Tuesday victory was cruel and unusual punishment of Dem voters on the part of the DNC

DNC installing a man with obvious cognitive impairment is a staggering display of arrogance. While Bush and Obama were empty suits this is completly another level.
In way I think Stupor Tuesday was a huge win for Trump.
Mar 09, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Vegetius , 07 March 2020 at 03:48 PM

The oldest organized political party on the planet is advancing a senile globalist meatpuppet (with a son known to be a philandering crackhead) to handle nuclear launch codes.
Mathias Alexander , 08 March 2020 at 04:37 AM
Choosing Biden hands the election to Trump and that's a deal that has already been made. The DNC don't like Sanders because they are adraid he might win, not because they are afraid he might loose.
Jack , 07 March 2020 at 03:56 PM

I agree with you that it is not going to be a slam dunk for Trump. Just like Trump wasn't damaged by the Access Hollywood tapes, Biden's not going to be damaged by his senility, gaffes and his prior plagiarism, Wall St cronyism and corruption. The vote for the "lesser evil" mindset will consolidate along traditional lines. The Obama machine will run Biden's campaign and consolidate the Democrat support. The election will hinge on a few states in particular Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

.... ... ...

[Mar 09, 2020] "What's the difference between a cannibal and a neoliberal like Senator Warren?"

Mar 09, 2020 | nymag.com

"A cannibal doesn't eat his friends."

[Mar 09, 2020] Simply 17 coronavirus jokes to help take the edge off (a little bit) The Poke

Mar 09, 2020 | thepoke.co.uk

Just been sensibly stocking up on 45 packets of pasta and noticed a lot of idiots panic buying.

-- Simon Blackwell (@simonblackwell) March 6, 2020

To be honest, staff at my local Sainsburys were under the assumption that I've been panic buying alcohol for the last four and a half years. #coronavirusUK #toiletpaperpanic

(@thatjimdavis) March 6, 2020

The guy who invented hand sanitiser must be rubbing his hands together right now

-- Kate PT3 (@KateMMA3) March 5, 2020

[Mar 08, 2020] Rick Santelli who "launched the Tea Party" years ago recently suggested it would be better to infect the world population with the disease all at once to help stock prices

Mar 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

daffyDuct , Mar 6 2020 23:25 utc | 50

Speaking of CNBC, Rick Santelli who "launched the Tea Party" years ago though it prudent to

"After a volatile day of trading on Wall Street Thursday precipitated by ongoing fears of the economic effects of the global coronavirus outbreak, CNBC analyst Rick Santelli suggested it would be better to infect the world population with the disease all at once to help stock prices. "

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/06/your-brain-capitalism-cnbc-market-analyst-rick-santelli-calls-infecting-global

[Mar 08, 2020] Hope exists, but the problem is that it is different between 99% and 1%

Mar 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

MarkU , Mar 6 2020 22:24 utc | 36

@ Jen (12)

"If the White House failed to recognise a major health crisis already simmering on its own doorstep, what hope can be held for when the coronavirus epidemic starts sweeping through the inland US, taking out the elderly, the poor and the homeless?"

I doubt that our glorious leaders in the US or UK will find much they don't like in that scenario.

[Mar 07, 2020] Silver lining in the dark cloud

Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

periol , March 6, 2020 at 1:23 pm

Some of my darker thoughts on CV have noted that if this spreads through the country, Social Security and pension funds will be able to relax, homes will come on the market and prices will go down, and we could even be looking at generational political turnover.

I'm not wishing for it in the slightest, but the potential is there.

[Mar 07, 2020] Stealing sanitizer from clinics

Mar 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

matthew 15 hours ago

My best friends brother is a physician working in the midwest town in which I live. I asked him about all of these stories of people stealing things like hand sanitizer from clinics and he said nothing is any different from what it was 2-3 months month ago. Maybe this is a bad thing, but It seems that outside of the few areas right now that we are reading about in the media, most people in this country are treating it like Baton Rouge or the city in which I live. People in general just are not that worked up by it. I work in an urban school district in medium size, midwestern city and so far other than a general notice to wash our hands and not touch our face, nothing has been even talked about in regards to handling a massive outbreak. Again, in hind sight this could be a huge mistake, but until people see this touching places across the heartland and reaching into every corner of society it looks like they will assume its a mostly big city, densely populated area problem. Of course if it reaches these places it will be too late to do anything, but I guess that is how these things always work.

[Mar 07, 2020] Funny, I thought conservatives told us that empty shelves and sky-high black market prices only happen when socialists are in charge.

Mar 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

AlmostNormalTexan matthew an hour ago

I live in Houston and cannot find a single bottle of hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes on a store shelf. I have been to grocery stores, Walmart, Target, dollar stores, office supply stores, Home Depot, drug stores. Everyone is out and nobody who works there has any idea when their stock will be replenished. Meanwhile prices for the stuff on Amazon have spiked into the hundreds of dollars.

Funny, I thought conservatives told us that empty shelves and sky-high black market prices only happen when socialists are in charge.

[Mar 07, 2020] CDC Catch 22

Mar 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Jeremy Kee 14 hours ago

The following makes me want to riot:

"They said they would not test me because if I were wearing the recommended protective equipment, then I wouldn't have the coronavirus."

The CDC is blaming human error - BASED ON CDC GUIDELINES - for the contraction of the virus? Or is it more like the novel Catch 22 - if you were too mentally unwell to fly then you were excused from missions, but if you said you were too unwell to fly then you were clearly well enough to assess your mental health.

[Mar 07, 2020] At least if we're all gonna die of coronavirus, there's no point in worrying about climate change

Mar 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nick Stuart 5 hours ago

<gallows_humor>At least if we're all gonna die of coronavirus, there's no point in worrying about climate change.</gallows_humor>

[Mar 06, 2020] Warren presidential campaign postmortem

Notable quotes:
"... The Pow Wow Chow Native American Cookbook ..."
Mar 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

. In the spirit of charity, we should give credit where it's due: Warren really did become the " unity candidate " that she always proclaimed herself to be. She displayed an astounding capacity to bring together a polarized country around their shared distaste for her candidacy.

Compiling a complete discography of Warren's detractors would be an impossible feat, but for the sake of partisan schadenfreude, we should briefly revisit the greatest hits. These include the Native American tribal leaders who weren't particularly fond of a wealthy white Harvard professor claiming their ethnicity for personal gain (even co-authoring a cooking guide titled The Pow Wow Chow Native American Cookbook ), the Bernie Sanders supporters infuriated by Warren's cynical attempts to paint their candidate as a woman-hating misogynist, police unions offended by Warren's open dishonesty about violence in law enforcement, religious conservatives who found her contemptuous dismissal of anyone with traditionalist views of sexual morality to be in profoundly bad taste, and pro-lifers (who still comprise 34 percent of the Democratic electorate ) for whom Warren's radically pro-abortion policy objectives were unconscionable.

It's worth noting, of course, that this is just a small slice of the groups that found Warren enormously unlikeable. The senator's casual-at-best relationship with the truth ( listing herself as as "woman of color" in Harvard's faculty listing, claiming that she was fired from a teaching position for being pregnant, refusing to admit that her various spending plans would require raising taxes on the middle class, and so on) probably didn't help. And shockingly, her painfully contrived attempts at catering to the woke activist base (vocal support for reparations, pledging to let a transgender child pick her secretary of education, endorsing affirmative action for non-binary people) paired with her technocratically manicured professorial wonkiness -- she's got a plan for that! -- never caught fire in the blue-collar neighborhoods in the Midwest and South.

... ... ...

Senator Warren, we hardly knew ye.

Nate Hochman is an undergraduate student at Colorado College and a Young Voices contributor. You can follow him at Twitter @njhochman .

[Mar 06, 2020] Coronovirus and statistics

Mar 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

donut , says: Show Comment February 25, 2020 at 9:30 pm GMT

I call BS Corona is going to kill a few thousands at most . Every time someone catches a cold the media says the sky is falling . SARS OMG a catastrophe and what ? A thousand deaths . And what if Corona does kill millions ? With 7,000,000,000 people what are millions ? 10,000,000 <1% . Corona is clickbait that the Americans will use to advance their program of advancing chaos to make it dangerous to disobey . Personally I hope Corona kills A billion+ . Shit I'll volunteer to be one .

[Mar 06, 2020] "Bernie Sanders 2020" ad.

Mar 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

Hail , says: Website Show Comment February 26, 2020 at 12:03 am GMT

@Anatoly Karlin

-Has the flu. Not coronavirus
-Billed $3,270
-Works for medical device company that doesn't offer insurance

This is basically a "Bernie Sanders 2020" ad.

[Mar 04, 2020] Russiagate should be viewed as classic, textbook case of gaslighting and projecting election interference

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference. ..."
"... Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

MrWebster on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 1:00pm

What you describe is probably why Russiagate spread so easily to so many people. Nothing happened in previous elections? Everything you describe never happened as you point out. The American electoral system was and is pristine and virginal.

Until the Russians came and destroyed American democracy through social media themes, memes, and retweets.

The American electoral system was never brutally corrupted by rigged votes, voter suppression on the scale of hundreds of thousands, deliberately miscounted votes, voter fraud, etc. Americans never did to each other anything as bad as what the Russians did to Americans.

Of course, for me never worked as I worked in primaries of a democratic machine dominated city. I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference.

Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn.

[Mar 04, 2020] Donna Brazile who among other things gave Hillary the question for presidential debate in advance just told the @GOPChairwoman to "go to hell" for suggesting that the Democratic establishment was once again worked to manipulate a nominee into frontrunner status

Mar 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Former DNC chairman who gave Hillary Clinton debate questions in advance during the 2016 election, exclaimed on Fox News that Biden's victory was "the most impressive 72 hours I've ever seen in U.S. politics," and told another analyst to " go to hell " for suggesting that the Democratic establishment was once again working to manipulate a nominee into frontrunner status.

The Democrats are in chaos and melting down on live TV.

Donna Brazile just told the @GOPChairwoman to "go to hell" when asked about the chaos.

Best of luck, Donna! Meanwhile, Republicans are more unified than ever! pic.twitter.com/hCwotuF9tx

-- Trump War Room - Text EMPOWER to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) March 3, 2020

[Mar 04, 2020] Bloomberg spent $600 million to win as many states as every American who chose not to run: zero

Mar 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Update (1050ET): President Trump was quick to react to Bloomberg's exit:

Mini Mike Bloomberg just "quit" the race for President. I could have told him long ago that he didn't have what it takes, and he would have saved himself a billion dollars, the real cost. Now he will pour money into Sleepy Joe's campaign, hoping to save face. It won't work!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020

* * *

Never in American history has a presidential candidate spent more to get less than Mike Bloomberg, making his buy-a-nomination bid a big bust.

Bloomberg spent $600 million to win as many states as every American who chose not to run: zero. (He has American Samoa to show for it.)

[Mar 04, 2020] Who are split and who are not

Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Billosky , Mar 4 2020 11:02 utc | 160

TRUTHOUT's latest article on super Tuesday is entitled; "Centrists Will Still Be Split on Super Tuesday, Thanks to Mike Bloomberg." That strikes me as precisely the wrong lesson.

The correct one can be stated just as easily, namely: "Progressives Still Split on Super Tuesday, and thus Losing, Thanks to Elisabeth Warren."

[Mar 04, 2020] Different problems

Mar 04, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Thomas P , March 4, 2020 at 5:41 am

Different problems. China uses practices that make new diseases move from animals to humans, USA promotes antibiotic resistance in old diseases.

[Mar 03, 2020] It is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get so many working class voters to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TG , Mar 3 2020 22:02 utc | 56

Yet another circus. The proles get to scream and holler, and when all is done, the oligarchy gets the policies it wants, the public be damned. Our sham 'democracy' is a con to privatize power and socialize responsibility.

Although it is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get substantial numbers of people to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

The issue is not (for me) his creepiness (I wouldn't much mind if he was on my side), nor even his Alzheimer's, but his established track record of betrayal and corruption.

From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple.

It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. Heck, he makes Calvin Coolidge look like Trotsky.

Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:01 utc | 55

Ian56:

Joe Biden is a crook and a con man.

He has been lying his whole life.

Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class.

Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class.

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1234914227963518977

[Mar 03, 2020] Hillary Clinton regarding the primaries: "Let's follow the rules"

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Mar 3 2020 15:06 utc | 2

Quote of the Day
or
Quote of the Millennia?

Hillary Clinton regarding the primaries:

"Let's follow the rules"

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/485646-hillary-clinton-responds-to-sanders-on-delegates-lets-follow-the-rules


Trailer Trash , Mar 3 2020 15:49 utc | 6

Is there any other nation state that has 50 separate official elections, mostly run and paid for by the public, just so a private club masquerading as a political party can select its leader? To the rest of the world, this must look completely insane, but few people anywhere even seem to notice how ridiculous it all looks.
Nathan Mulcahy , Mar 3 2020 22:54 utc | 62
Stop calling it USA. It is USO (United States of Oligarchs).

[Mar 03, 2020] Correcting Marx

Mar 03, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

derstar -> AlexFishy , 3 Mar 2020 07:46

Mike Bloomberg: Trump repeated as tragedy.

[Mar 03, 2020] I'm sure Pence is giving the Coronavirus problems all his Thoughts And Prayers.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

dave6723 -> wrkerbe , 3 Mar 2020 08:39

I'm sure Pence is giving it all his Thoughts And Prayers.

[Mar 03, 2020] Last election I voted for American Pharoah. I felt that a horse would do a better job that's Hillary and Trump, and I still feel that way

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jose Garcia , Mar 3 2020 18:01 utc | 24

Last election I voted for American Pharoah. I felt that a horse would do a better job that's Hillary and Trump, and I still feel that way and will vote for American Pharoah again this cycle. But if Trump dumps Sus-Pence and takes Haley as VP, I'm voting for the other guy.

[Mar 03, 2020] We hold these truths to be self-eviden

Mar 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"We hold these truths to be self-evident.. all men and women are created by... go... you know, the thing!"

This is the candidate that the Democratic Establishment is currently rallying behind.
pic.twitter.com/GlKpblT3En

-- Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 2, 2020

[Mar 03, 2020] All politicians should serve two terms. One in office and one in prison

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: Shadow | Mar 3 2020 19:39 utc | 41

[Mar 03, 2020] Surprise Bills From Coronavirus Testing: Pennsylvania native Frank Wucinski "found a pile of medical bills" totaling $3,918 waiting for him and his three-year-old daughter after they were released from government-mandated quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

leftonadoorstep 11h

Another example of "American Exceptionalism." China doesn't charge its coronavirus patients, neither does South Korea. I guess they are simply backward countries.

[Mar 03, 2020] Semi-senile Biden is now so Presidential and is the best candidate forward

However, we do need to raise questions about election anomalies. Journalists should be focused on the DNC is cheating Bernie and, by extension, the American people. It must be recorded. It should be investigated. The first 4 primary contests account for only 4% of all allocated delegates, yet have a hugely disproportionate influence on the race. Of those 4 states, only NV is roughly in synch with the national demographic profile.
The whole primary system needs a major overhaul. It takes too long and costs too much (e.g., all the wasted $$ Steyer and Tulsi spent in SC). It's an embarrassing wasteful spectacle which only enriches the MSM and hired political consultant hacks. Most voters don't bother to tune in until 10-12 months into the marathon campaign. I would blow it all up and start over from scratch.
"They're fearful because Bernie Sanders, his political revolution, morally based, ethically based, is a fundamental challenge to their interest and their status." -- Dr. Cornel West
Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

. @DWStweets endorses @JoeBiden .
"It was a very easy decision," she said. "We need to make sure that we put the best candidate forward." https://t.co/0uIvUBxlQp

-- Anthony Man (@browardpolitics) March 1, 2020

[Mar 03, 2020] The former head of Vampire squid on 2020 elections. If Sanders win, Trump will become the establishment's reluctant least worse option. Sanders will become a leper, a new Russian stooge.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Truthdig

The quadrennial political game of least worst, or how to scare the public to vote for presidential candidates who serve corporate power, comes this season with a new twist. Donald Trump, if he faces Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Michael Bloomberg, will continue to be an amalgamation of Adolf Hitler, Al Capone and the Antichrist.

But should Bernie Sanders manage to evade the snares, traps and minefields laid for him by the Democratic Party elites, should he miraculously become the party's nominee, the game of least worst will radically change. All the terrifying demons that inhabit Trump will be instantly exorcised. But unlike in the biblical story of Jesus driving the demons into a herd of swine, they will be driven into the senator from Vermont.

Trump will become the establishment's reluctant least worse option. Sanders will become a leper. The Democratic and Republican party elites, joining forces as they did in the 1972 presidential election, will do to Sanders what they did to George McGovern, who lost in 49 of the 50 states.

"If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US. Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he'll ruin our economy and doesn't care about our military," former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (net worth $1.1 billion) tweeted. "If I'm Russian, I go with Sanders this time around."

[Mar 03, 2020] How neoliberalism in the USA might end: Possible news later this week

We can only wish ;-)
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman , Mar 2 2020 15:50 utc | 85
Possible news later this week:

Coronavirus mutated again infecting computers that execute trading programs while also affecting human traders. Stock exchanges closed after unprecedented losses. Federal Reserve lacks quorum to change interest rates or to enact other measures. Investors run away from cities to their most reclusive second homes, including Mayor Bloomberg who terminated his run for Congress.

Later: As all Democratic contenders below age of 40 withdrew due their health worries and Pete B. withdrew already, Congresswomen from Hawaii became the only candidate running. DNC lacks quorum to decide what to do about it.

[Mar 03, 2020] How neoliberalism might end: Possible news later this week

We can only wish ;-)
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman , Mar 2 2020 15:50 utc | 85
Possible news later this week:

Coronavirus mutated again infecting computers that execute trading programs while also affecting human traders. Stock exchanges closed after unprecedented losses. Federal Reserve lacks quorum to change interest rates or to enact other measures. Investors run away from cities to their most reclusive second homes, including Mayor Bloomberg who terminated his run for Congress.

Later: As all Democratic contenders below age of 40 withdrew due their health worries and Pete B. withdrew already, Congresswomen from Hawaii became the only candidate running. DNC lacks quorum to decide what to do about it.

[Mar 02, 2020] Methods of brainwashing of young people by the US neoliberal propaganda

Highly recommended!
Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

john brewster , Mar 1 2020 20:20 utc | 26

I heard this interesting piece about social media at WNYC's "On the Media" . Since the writer is deeply enmeshed in all the various Identity Politics name-calling that goes on, I never would have found this without OTM. "This" is a very lucid explanation of how "cancel culture" works. The writing is lucid because the writer has a masters degree in psychology.

First, let me say that I am just appalled that this kind of intellectual lynch mobbing is being modeled to impressionable young people as normal behavior. But, further, it seems to me that the same techniques are being applied in our politics.

I've snipped the relevant items from a 100 minute long vblog , and removed all the ridiculous IdPol nonsense about various flavors of so-called gender. Hence the "X" and "Y" substituting for convoluted arguments about essentially nothing.

Bottom line: US foreign policy is just cancel culture writ large. They're brainwashing young people to reason this way so that they will have no issue with the way the US behaves.


--------


Cancel culture trope 1: Presumption of Guilt

There's a traditional understanding of justice according to which, before you condemn or punish a person, you hear the accuser's side of the story and the accused's side of the story. You allow both sides to present evidence and only after everyone involved has had a chance to make their case do you pass judgment and punish the convict.

...We legally have the presumption of innocence. But canceling does not abide by the law. Canceling is a form of vigilante mob justice. And a lot of times, an accusation is proof enough.

Now that's basically the point of the progressive slogan "believe victims." It's a norm that was put into place in progressive spaces because out in the world at large, people generally don't believe victims.

But I think it's pretty obvious how "believe victims" is a norm that's easy to abuse.

Cancel Culture Trope Two: Abstraction

Abstraction replaces the specific, concrete details of a claim with a more generic statement. In (some example) we've lost not only the sense of this being an unverified accusation, but we've also lost all the specific details...

And I also want to point out a linguistic shift that's happening here. When the claim was X (did something bad), the verbs in the sentence were "try" and "trick"...

But once the claim morphs into "X is toxic and manipulative", the verb in the sentence is "is", or "to be". So these adjectives are characteristics of X, and it's now not his actions we're criticizing, but his personality: his toxicity, and his manipulative-ness. This is what I'll call

Cancel Culture Trope 3: Essentialism

Essentialism is when we go from criticizing a person's actions to criticizing the person themselves. We're not just saying they did bad things. We're saying they're a bad person. And we've also really escalated the accusation.

So this seems to me like a pretty nasty and dishonest twisting of the story, and it happened instantaneously on Twitter. Within a few days it totally dominated the conversation in a community of millions of people for weeks.

Cancel culture trope 4: Pseudo-Moralism or Pseudo-Intellectualism

If you look at the world we live in, would you say that people are usually motivated by a sense of moral integrity and intellectual rigor? No? Maybe not...

But moralism or intellectualism provide a phony pretext for the call-out. You can pretend you just want an apology; you can pretend you're just a "concerned citizen" who wants the person to improve. You can pretend you're simply offering up criticism, when what you're really doing is attacking a person's career and reputation out of spite, envy, revenge. It could be any motivation.

Cancel Culture trope 5: No Forgiveness

Cancelers will often dismiss an apology as insincere, no matter how convincingly written or delivered. And of course, an insincere apology is further proof of what a Machiavellian psychopath you really are.

Cancel Culture Trope 6: The Transitive Property of Cancellation

Cancellation is infectious. If you associate with a canceled person, the cancellation rubs off.

Cancel culture trope seven: Dualism

Certain ancient religions teach their followers to understand the cosmos as a struggle between light and dark, good and evil. And cancel culture does more or less the same thing. It's binary thinking. People are either good or they're bad.

And to add to that essentialism, if a person says or does a bad thing, we should interpret that as the mask slipping; as a momentary glimpse of their essential wickedness. And anyone who wants to remain good had better be willing to publicly condemn anyone the community has decided is bad.

There really is something dystopian about this. You have to be willing to accuse other people to prove your own innocence. "That's the line in the sand, folks, where do you stand?"
In the most extreme version of this, all bad people are equally bad. So collaborating with group Y means you may as well be a Y.

This implies that (ordinary) people who associate with Y, people who fail to condemn people who associate with Y, people who offer emotional support to people who fail to condemn people who associate with Y ⁠ -- all of them must be treated the same way.

I recently read a book by Sarah Schulman called Conflict is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair. Basically Schulman's argument is that, in various contexts from romantic relationships to community infighting to international politics, the overstatement of harm is used as a justification for cruelty and for escalating conflict.

Let's apply these tropes to the case of Syria.

1. Syria is presumed guilty of various (staged or fabricated) offenses.
2. This is instantly abstracted into "Syria is an evil and illegitimate regime".
3. Then Assad is an Evil Person.
4. Followed by all the R2P psuedo-moralism used to attack Syria.
5. And what are neocons about if not "no forgiveness".
6. Its not clear whether the "transitiveness" flows from Russia to Syria or vice versa; but transitivity there is.
7. And, at bottom, we have the Manichean POV of the Deep State.

[Mar 02, 2020] Truthdig

Mar 02, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

The quadrennial political game of least worst, or how to scare the public to vote for presidential candidates who serve corporate power, comes this season with a new twist. Donald Trump, if he faces Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Michael Bloomberg, will continue to be an amalgamation of Adolf Hitler, Al Capone and the Antichrist.

But should Bernie Sanders manage to evade the snares, traps and minefields laid for him by the Democratic Party elites, should he miraculously become the party's nominee, the game of least worst will radically change. All the terrifying demons that inhabit Trump will be instantly exorcised. But unlike in the biblical story of Jesus driving the demons into a herd of swine, they will be driven into the senator from Vermont.

Trump will become the establishment's reluctant least worse option. Sanders will become a leper. The Democratic and Republican party elites, joining forces as they did in the 1972 presidential election, will do to Sanders what they did to George McGovern, who lost in 49 of the 50 states.

"If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US. Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he'll ruin our economy and doesn't care about our military," former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (net worth $1.1 billion) tweeted. "If I'm Russian, I go with Sanders this time around."

[Mar 02, 2020] Semi-senile Biden is now so Presidential and is the best candidate forward

However, we do need to raise questions about election anomalies. Journalists should be focused on the DNC is cheating Bernie and, by extension, the American people. It must be recorded. It should be investigated. The first 4 primary contests account for only 4% of all allocated delegates, yet have a hugely disproportionate influence on the race. Of those 4 states, only NV is roughly in synch with the national demographic profile.
The whole primary system needs a major overhaul. It takes too long and costs too much (e.g., all the wasted $$ Steyer and Tulsi spent in SC). It's an embarrassing wasteful spectacle which only enriches the MSM and hired political consultant hacks. Most voters don't bother to tune in until 10-12 months into the marathon campaign. I would blow it all up and start over from scratch.
Mar 02, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

. @DWStweets endorses @JoeBiden .
"It was a very easy decision," she said. "We need to make sure that we put the best candidate forward." https://t.co/0uIvUBxlQp

-- Anthony Man (@browardpolitics) March 1, 2020

[Mar 02, 2020] They wish that this Commie Sanders do not exist

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good women
Mar 02, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

. @BernieSanders is trying to put @ewarren and @amyklobuchar campaigns out of their misery by beating them on #SuperTuesday in their respective home states of #Mass . and #Minn . Mistake.

He should be focusing on bigger hauls in bigger states, not trying to humiliate female rivals.

-- Howard Fineman (@howardfineman) February 28, 2020

[Feb 28, 2020] My joke packet for Mike Bloomberg by Alexandra Petri

Feb 26, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

I see that Mike Bloomberg hired a comedy writer to write jokes for him. I join the rest of the Internet in submitting a packet.

[Feb 28, 2020] One sure path for Bloomberg to winning the nomination

Feb 27, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Alexandra Petri has caught this dilemma perfectly in a satirical piece for the Washington Post. Petri imagines herself a candidate (she could be one, after all; the field contains at least one person who has yet to campaign and has amassed no delegates).

Thus "Candidate Petri" writes:

We must stop Bernie Sanders, and I see no path forward but for my opponents to drop out

Now is the time to act! It is imperative that we concentrate our efforts to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and that is why I see no path forward for my campaign but for my opponents to drop out of the race.

I am calling on all of my moderate, semi-moderate and wealthy opponents to gracefully exit the nomination contest. They are wrong when they say, "I am the only one who has a chance against him and everyone else needs to drop out." I am the only one who has a chance against him, and everyone else needs to drop out.

I call on them to stop calling on me to drop out on the grounds that I lack some combination of popular support, a staff, pledged delegates, cash on hand or a path forward. In fact, I am the only one with a path, assuming that several of them drop out, in which case I will be the clear front-runner to stop Sanders. The only reason I have not yet demonstrated my ability to beat him is because everyone else is still here.

I don't know what they think their paths are! I guess they assume I will drop out, and they will get my support, which will never happen! No, never, not while there is breath in my body or dollar in my bank account.

[Feb 28, 2020] No matter what happens with the coronavirus, I'm sure Trump has it under control by Alexandra Petri

Feb 27, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

At a news conference Wednesday, the president announced that the president was doing a wonderful job handling the coronavirus, a statement that filled me with confidence, as it came from the president himself. The vice president and HHS head also announced that the president was doing a great job, and the president, at that point, officially put the vice president in charge of coordinating the outbreak response.

...What's best is that even if he gets overwhelmed, Jared Kushner is there, a man who can be counted upon to provide a solution to any issue , no matter how complicated.

... ... ...

"I want you to understand something that shocked me when I saw it," the president said at Wednesday's news conference. " I think most people are amazed to hear it. The flu in our country kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me." This is just a sign of how the president is working carefully to understand the issue! Once his great brain is applied to it, we need fear nothing.

Also, we do not need to worry about the cuts to health programs his budget was asking for; we can always hire more doctors! Once we hire them, it will turn out that they have been working on the virus for months and developing expertise in combating it. Passionately, in their spare time, the same way the response was being coordinated.

[Feb 28, 2020] How Warren wins hearts of voters

Feb 28, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

OIFVet , , February 27, 2020 at 10:27 pm

I must admit, I was skeptical of her at first, but now that she has moved to the economically depressed part of Martha's Vineyard I have come around. Only a true woman of the people would make such a move.

[Feb 28, 2020] It has been suggested that part of Pence's job function may be to persuade the Evangelical mega-churches to suspend large meetings for a while

Feb 28, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Samuel Conner , , February 27, 2020 at 7:57 pm

It has been suggested that part of Pence's job function may be to persuade the Evangelical mega-churches to suspend large meetings for a while. That IMO is going to be a bit of a hard sell because of the economics of those enterprises.

Pence is one of them and may have more credibility with them than the President, who is basically (IMO) a sympathetic pagan (think "king Cyrus"), would.

If that's right, it's a smart move by the Administration.

[Feb 28, 2020] A phrase that made the Chinese very unhappy

Feb 28, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

urblintz , , February 27, 2020 at 4:07 pm

Is this for real?

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/02/27/invest-in-coronavirus-bonds-make-money/

"The World Bank did launch Pandemic Bonds they pay out to poorer nations in the event of a pandemic of any one of 6 virus types (including coronavirus). In fact, the World Bank is holding around $425 million dollars of Pandemic Bonds investments.

Pandemic Bonds only release finds to poorer nations if the World Health Organisation declares a pandemic (defined as a highly infectious disease simultaneously affecting more than two regions of the world).

If no pandemic is declared by the WHO before July 2020 investors get their money back plus interest plus a bonus."

And if it is for real hmmm will WHO declare a "pandemic" before 7/20?

Dan , , February 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm

For real. Not new either:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-breakingviews/breakingviews-pandemic-bonds-are-the-sick-man-of-finance-idUSKCN20K350

bassmule , , February 27, 2020 at 5:08 pm

A phrase that made the Chinese very unhappy

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/china-expels-three-wsj-reporters-over-sick-man-of-asia-column-headline/

polecat , , February 27, 2020 at 5:39 pm

Which WB financial inhouse-media Brainiac decided "Pandemic" Bonds was a selling point .. when using 'Pandora' would have had much greater cachet.

Idiots!

It's like they Haven't ever heard of Eddie Bernays

cm , , February 27, 2020 at 8:03 pm

Yves wrote about it last year. See

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/08/even-larry-summers-denounces-world-banks-pef-ebola-bonds-that-enriched-investors-at-expense-of-the-sick-in-the-congo.html

[Feb 28, 2020] Bernie Sanders' chances to win, if he survives the pandemic, might increase

Feb 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

radiator , Feb 27 2020 17:46 utc | 6

Bernie Sanders' chances to win, if he survives the pandemic , will increase

lol


Blue Dotterel , Feb 27 2020 18:14 utc | 16

Bernie is more likely to survive the virus than the Dem primary
Trailer Trash , Feb 27 2020 18:00 utc | 9
...US peons are about to find out just what it means to live in a crumbling, hollowed-out empire-shell made of corruption and incompetence. Hint: it's gonna suck.

(Here is an article that explains why I hate CDC: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the CDC: A Long, Tangled Tale )

Tick Tock 17 , Feb 27 2020 18:01 utc | 10
The Revenge of the Intelligent. That is what this is. Too bad it has backfired and seems to kill the Elderly at a much higher rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn't yet ready to detect whether the coronavirus is spreading across the country.

Just 12 of more than 100 public health labs in the U.S. are currently able to diagnose the coronavirus because of problems with a test developed by the CDC, potentially slowing the response if the virus starts taking hold here. The faulty test has also delayed a plan to widely screen people with symptoms of respiratory illness who have tested negative for influenza to detect whether the coronavirus may be stealthily spreading.
...
Only six states -- California, Nebraska, Illinois, Nevada, Tennessee, and Idaho -- are now testing for the virus, the Association of Public Health Laboratories told POLITICO.
...
Under current rules, each positive test must be confirmed by a second round of testing at the CDC. [Director Robert Redfield] told lawmakers that the agency can now screen 350-500 samples per day.
...
"I understand very much the FDA is focused on quality control, but there's also a need to have a system that can respond to their needs," [Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiology professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,] said. "China tested 320,000 people in Guangdong over a three-week period. This is the scale we need to be thinking on."

Stupid is as Stupid does. Totally inexcusable for the lack of a test, but exactly what would be the most certain outcome with the pseudo education in the US for the last 30 years.

ben , Feb 27 2020 18:04 utc | 11
B said, in part;"The Trump administration seems to be far behind them."


Gee imagine that. For DJT and his merry band of grifters, this virus is just a liberal plot to hinder their ability to make money, and disparage DJT's admin.

When asked if, and when, a counter measure is produced, would the vaccine be affordable to everyone, they replied; We'll let the "market" decide that.

Incredible, but, consistently mercenary in today's " if you can't afford die" mentality, here in the U$A..

And, last December, they cut the budget for the CDC (center for disease control)...

[Feb 26, 2020] A serious US politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal.

Highly recommended!
Feb 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Levtraro , says: Show Comment February 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm GMT

I suspect his open-borders advocacy and Russia-bashing too are lies; these are lines of defence against internal forces. It makes sense for him to take those positions while he seeks the nomination. If he gets it, he can betray those positions. A serious politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal. At the end of the day, he is a hardened politician like the rest.

[Feb 23, 2020] Looks like the USA intelligence (or, more correctly semi-intelligence) agencies work directly from KGB playbook or Bloomberg as Putin's Trojan Horse in 2020 elections

Highly recommended!
Surprising lack on intelligence in intelligence community. But after Brennan and "ruptured" Pompeo as CIA chiefs who would be surprised?" Or more correctly utter despise of ordinary Americans: 'nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people' ~ H L Mencken.
But seriously, if Putin does now have the power to decide US elections, he simply makes his preferred choice one day before the election. There is no reason to open cards right now. You could not make this up. What we have now is Government by Gossip and Innuendo with intelligence crooks on the frontline of spreading the disinformation.
Notable quotes:
"... The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity. ..."
"... The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict. ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A careful reading of the news provides that Mike Bloomberg, who had two Russian grandfathers, is Putin's asset.

Consider:

Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump - New York Times , February 20 2020

Rather than impersonating Americans as they did in 2016, Russian operatives are working to get Americans to repeat disinformation , the officials said. That strategy gets around social media companies' rules that prohibit "inauthentic speech."

It is Bloomberg, working as a Russian operative, who pays the trolls that repeat disinformation.

Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg 'spam' accounts - The Hill , February 21, 2020

The temporary employees recruited by Bloomberg's camp are given the title "deputy field organizer" and make $2,500 a month to promote his White House bid among their followers . The employees can choose to use campaign-approved language in their posts.

Twitter said the practice violated its "Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy," which was established in 2019 to respond to Russia's expansive troll network that was tapped in 2016 to meddle in the U.S. elections.

Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign - Washington Post , February 21 2020

In that closed hearing for the House Intelligence Committee, lawmakers were also told that Sanders had been informed about Russia's interference. The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections.

Here are Bloomberg's behind the scene machinations which are sowing division and uncertainty about the validity of American elections. This is exactly what Russia wants.

Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy - Politico , February 20, 2020

Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him -- and block Bernie Sanders -- in the event of a brokered national convention.
...
It's a presumptuous play for a candidate who hasn't yet won a delegate or even appeared on a ballot. And it could also bring havoc to the convention , raising the prospect of party insiders delivering the nomination to a billionaire over a progressive populist.

Lock him up!


Peter | Feb 22 2020 10:27 utc | 4

Mike Bloomberg Is Putin's Agent

This should have been obvious for some time.

The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity.

The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict.

This is why from Sanders to Warren to Gabbard to Bloomberg to Trump everyone is on the PUTIN payroll or subconsciously exposed to some mind controlling rays he sends via satellite to the USA.

The PUTIN is the invention by the Russian Federation after their successful evil attempt to evade the good intentions of the EMPIRE to embrace Russia in its sphere of peaceful tranquility.

Bad PUTIN.

Christoph , Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

"The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections" WaPo, 2/21/20.

This level if clinical delusion is reminiscent of the Führer's last days in the bunker.

How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?

Brendan , Feb 22 2020 13:10 utc | 15
I know, I know, it's a waste of time trying to ridicule the media when they're already doing that to themselves. Satire is definitely dead when the Washington Post reports about "two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow". WaPo's attempts to explain that the purpose of this bizarre behavior is "sowing division" makes it look even more incredible.
/div> The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd , Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd | Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

Trailer Trash , Feb 22 2020 13:49 utc | 23
>How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?
> Posted by: Christoph | Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

I'm thinking the Bermuda Triangle would fit right in with their magical thinking and mad delusions.

Jackrabbit , Feb 22 2020 13:58 utc | 24
Bloomberg + Trump = Checkmate?

Trump will say b writes "fake news" .

Damn you Putin!

!!

jared , Feb 22 2020 14:02 utc | 25
Perhaps the intelligence community would just tell us who we should vote for so as not to fall into Putins trap.

[Feb 21, 2020] Why Both Republicans And Democrats Want Russia To Become The Enemy Of Choice by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to "assure the integrity" of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that "The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won." Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said "As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here." ..."
"... Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that "Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power." Aaron Mate at The Nation added that "For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let's assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke." ..."
"... On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that "Russia is not a threat to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again." Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the "United States" for "Russia" and "Kremlin" and changes "Ukraine" to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible. ..."
"... Donald Trump's erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. ..."
"... It is scary, but what else can Schiff say? They have no credible arguments against Trump, or for their own party. They are a bunch of lying scumbags that will kill, cheat, steal, mislead, carpet-bag and anything else unethical to achieve their sleazy goals. ..."
"... Since the US Sociopaths In Charge have totally Effed up the nation, and a significant portion of the world, they have to have SOMEBODY to blame. They certainly won't take the blame they deserve themselves. ..."
"... What the ZOG wants the ZOG gets ..."
"... It is appropriate to recall the words of Joseph Goebbels: "Give me the media, and I will make a herd of pigs from any nation," and pigs are easy to drive to the slaughterhouse. Only Russia can really resist such a situation in the world. Therefore, she is the enemy. ..."
"... The Centrist Democrats and Republicans want to paint the old school God and Country Conservatives Equality and Justice for the USA (Nationalist) into being Russian ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

One of the more interesting aspects of the nauseating impeachment trial in the Senate was the repeated vilification of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.

To hate Russia has become dogma on both sides of the political aisle, in part because no politician has really wanted to confront the lesson of the 2016 election, which was that most Americans think that the federal government is basically incompetent and staffed by career politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell who should return back home and get real jobs .

Worse still, it is useless, and much like the one trick pony the only thing it can do is steal money from the taxpayers and waste it on various types of self-gratification that only politicians can appreciate. That means that the United States is engaged is fighting multiple wars against make-believe enemies while the country's infrastructure rots and a host of officially certified grievance groups control the public space.

It sure doesn't look like Kansas anymore.

The fact that opinion polls in Europe suggest that many Europeans would rather have Vladimir Putin than their own hopelessly corrupt leaders is suggestive. One can buy a whole range of favorable t-shirts featuring Vladimir Putin on Ebay , also suggesting that most Americans find the official Russophobia narrative both mysterious and faintly amusing. They may not really be into the expressed desire of the huddled masses in D.C. to go to war to bring true U.S. style democracy to the un-enlightened.

One also must wonder if the Democrats are reading the tea leaves correctly. If they think that a slogan like "Honest Joe Biden will keep us safe from Moscow" will be a winner in 2020 they might again be missing the bigger picture. Since the focus on Trump's decidedly erratic behavior will inevitably die down after the impeachment trial is completed, the Democrats will have to come up with something compelling if they really want to win the presidency and it sure won't be the largely fictionalized Russian threat.

Nevertheless, someone should tell Congressman Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to shut up as he is becoming an international embarrassment. His "closing arguments" speeches last week were respectively two-and-a-half hours and ninety minutes long and were inevitably praised by the mainstream media as "magisterial," "powerful," and "impressive." The Washington Post 's resident Zionist extremist Jennifer Rubin labeled it "a grand slam" while legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it "dazzling." Gail Collins of the New York Times dubbed it "a great job" and added that Schiff is now "a rock star." Daily Beast enthused that the remarks "will go down in history " and progressive activist Ryan Knight called it "a closing statement for the ages." Hollywood was also on board with actress Debra Messing tweeting "I am in tears. Thank you Chairman Schiff for fighting for our country."

Actually, a better adjective would have been "scary" and not merely due to its elaboration of the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Trump, much of which was undeniably true even if not necessarily impeachable. It was scary because it was a warmongers speech, full of allusions to Russia, to Moscow's "interference" in 2016, and to the ridiculous proposition that if Trump were to be defeated in 2020 he might not concede and Russia could even intervene militarily in the United States in support of its puppet.

Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to "assure the integrity" of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that "The president's misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won." Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said "As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here."

Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that "Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power." Aaron Mate at The Nation added that "For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let's assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke."

Over at Antiwar Daniel Lazare explains how the Wednesday speech was "a fear-mongering, sword-rattling harangue that will not only raise tensions with Russia for no good reason, but sends a chilling message to [Democratic Party] dissidents at home that if they deviate from Russiagate orthodoxy by one iota, they'll be driven from the fold."

The orthodoxy that Lazare was writing about includes the established Nancy Pelosi/Chuck Schumer narrative that Russia invaded "poor innocent Ukraine" in 2014, that it interfered in the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton, and that it is currently trying to smear Joe Biden. One might add to that the growing consensus that Russia can and will interfere again in 2020 to help Trump. Absent from the narrative is the part how the U.S. intervened in Ukraine first to remove its government and the fact that there is something very unsavory about Joe Biden's son taking a high-paying sinecure board position from a notably corrupt Ukrainian oligarch while his father was Vice President and allegedly directing U.S. assistance to a Ukrainian anti-corruption effort.

On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that "Russia is not a threat to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again." Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the "United States" for "Russia" and "Kremlin" and changes "Ukraine" to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible.

The compulsion on the part of the Democrats to bring down Trump to avoid having to deal with their own failings has brought about a shift in their established foreign policy, placing the neocons and their friends back in charge. For Schiff, who has enthusiastically supported every failed American military effort since 9/11, today's Russia is the Soviet Union reborn, and don't you forget it pardner! Newsweek is meanwhile reporting that the U.S. military is reading the tea leaves and is gearing up to fight the Russians. Per Schiff, Trump must be stopped as he is part of a grand Russian conspiracy to overthrow everything the United States stands for. If the Kremlin is not stopped now, it's first major step, per Schiff, will be to "remake the map of Europe by dint of military force."

Donald Trump's erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.


Chain Man , 10 hours ago link

If the USA doesn't have a bogey man to be afraid of, the USA might worry more and to insist on fixing the problems within the Nation.

So many of our politicians are guilty of allowing un constitutional on going act like the removal of Due Process of law for some people and the on going bailout of Global Markets with the US Dollar. The Patriot act and FISA Courts should have been gone.

J Frank Parnell , 11 hours ago link

I never saw the problem with Russians. They practice the same religion as I do and are mostly the same color...

Sid Finch , 10 hours ago link

Agreed. He seems as about as close as a leader can get to genuinely liking his country and people. It seems the ones here only give a **** about carbon, Central and South Americans, and cutting off my kids genitalia.

Archeofuturist , 11 hours ago link

Well let see.... Who has a historical beef with Russia and controls both parties. I wonder?

globalintelhub , 11 hours ago link

It is scary, but what else can Schiff say? They have no credible arguments against Trump, or for their own party. They are a bunch of lying scumbags that will kill, cheat, steal, mislead, carpet-bag and anything else unethical to achieve their sleazy goals. When Trump wins in a landslide in 2020, they will claim it's because the Russians 'fixed' the election, and the Democratic party will break into pieces arguing about how they failed and what they did wrong. See www.splittingpennies.com

Alice-the-dog , 11 hours ago link

Since the US Sociopaths In Charge have totally Effed up the nation, and a significant portion of the world, they have to have SOMEBODY to blame. They certainly won't take the blame they deserve themselves.

John Hansen , 10 hours ago link

Don't leave out Israel, they aren't the American peoples friend either.

motiveunclear , 13 hours ago link

There used to be this thing we don't hear used much anymore called "diplomacy" and another useful thing in international politics called "tact".

https://skulltripper.com/2020/01/18/statesmanship/

44magnum , 12 hours ago link

What the ZOG wants the ZOG gets

toady , 13 hours ago link

McCarthyism II. Will the US be able put down a second "red scare"? Tune in next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

sillycat , 13 hours ago link

lots of words and no answer to the title question. Giraldi does not see the deep ideological problems: Russia is not trying to diversify into a PoC country, they do not worship gays and may be the only white people nation with sustaining birth rate. The US will go to war there is no way to let this continue.

hispanicLoser , 13 hours ago link

The level of Russia hate coming out of the dems is so much greater than that coming out of repubs that one can safely ignore this retarded article.

Jeffersonian Liberal , 12 hours ago link

True. But their hatred is pretended hatred. It is a form of projection.

Dan The Man , 13 hours ago link

Its our own fault.

The smart ppl are doing a lousy job of informing the dumb ones about accepted policy like "America Always Needs An Enemy". Smart ones understand that, and see the bigger game because of it.

We fight the dumb ones who believe Russian boogeyman crap, instead of helping them understand they are being misled on who the enemy really is. The dumb ones then fight back and further entrench that brainwashing.

vasilievich , 13 hours ago link

I'm trying to imagine the Russian Army marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. But first, across the Atlantic Ocean.

ombon , 13 hours ago link

It is appropriate to recall the words of Joseph Goebbels: "Give me the media, and I will make a herd of pigs from any nation," and pigs are easy to drive to the slaughterhouse. Only Russia can really resist such a situation in the world. Therefore, she is the enemy.

Dan The Man , 13 hours ago link

Coming Soon... Why the Gullibles Will Believe Anything

south40_dreams , 14 hours ago link

....and the many thieves are gulping at the money spigot.....time to shut that sucker OFF

whatisthat , 14 hours ago link

I would observe there is evidence the corrupt establishment has done more damage to the US than any other country could ever imagine...

Chain Man , 15 hours ago link

The Centrist Democrats and Republicans want to paint the old school God and Country Conservatives Equality and Justice for the USA (Nationalist) into being Russian. How dare we expect enforcement of the Laws on the books against them. They want to be deemed Royalty with all the Elitist Rights.

The old rally call about Russia was always Communist Russia but, they don't do that anymore? Why ? They love their Communist China wage slaves. The Centrist love Communist labor in the name of profits . Human rights be damned it's all about the Global Elitist to them now.

[Feb 15, 2020] How does one say Adam Schiff without laughing? by title="View user profile." href="https://caucus99percent.com/users/alligator-ed">Alligator Ed

Highly recommended!
Feb 15, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

At the end of this essay, you may find a song which reasonably applies to Donald Trump directed to Democrats.

How does one say Adam Schiff without laughing? It's hard to continue typing while contemplating the Burbank Buffoon. Yet AS is making obscene flatus-like noises about impeachment 2.0. He and Nervous Nancy will conspire with chief strategist Gerald Nadler about extending the charges of 1.0 to 2.0.

Second verse
Same as the first

Obstructing leaking by firing leakers. That's one of the pending charges. Leutnant Oberst Vindman will be help up as the innocent victim of political retaliation. As I understand the military code of conduct, it says that the underling, Herr Oberst Vindman, went outside the chain of command and released classified information. In the military this is called insubordination, perhaps gross insubordination in view of the classified nature of the information.

Another charge to be filed on behalf of former Ambassador Yovanovich, is that her God-given Female rights were brutally violated as retaliation of advising Ukrainian officials to disregard Commander Cheeto.

There is no telling what additional non-crimes may be thrown at the feet at El Trumpo. All too horrible to contemplate--like someone throwing feces-contaminated dope needles onto Nervous Nancy's front lawn in Pacific Heights.

If this Shampeachment 2.0 (S2) occurs before November's election, Democrats will become as rare as dodo birds. If such proponents of S2 persist after the general election, they better have secure transportation to an extradition-free country.

If it gets bad enough, considering the Clinton Mafia's body count, would it be unreasonable to expect some untimely heart attacks and suicides with red scarves? On Clintonites? Soros et al.?

When the first shot and you don't kill the king, flee. But the DNC is going to attempt shot number 2. Trump WILL NEVER ALLOW A SECOND IMPEACHMENT TO OCCUR, no matter how patently worthless? Will the most powerful narcissist in the world allow the DNC / coup perpetrators to escaping Trumpian retribution?

Those doubting the Wrath of Q be prepared to be disabused of the impression that Q is pure fantasy. Fantasy--like GPS targeting a single small sniper drone to shoot someone from 3000 feet.

Sorry folks. I live in a swamp. I've stepped in shit with my eyes open. Many of you have too. Some of the excrement was of my own making.

Think about the singularly most effective and complex plot the world has ever seen, called 9/11. Think of the thousands of lives purposefully snuffed in then name of power and money. Call yourselves serfs--that's a euphemism. You--including me-- are nothing but ants. Goddam little ants that only Janes respect. There are no ascetic Janes in the penthouses of the elites.

But I digressed to the mysterious existence of morality in politics as a whole. Today's topic is more confined to the Democratic nomination.

Statement of Bias: Go Tulsi. Bravo Andy. The rest of you to the elsewhere--yeah, BS too.

The Dems are determined to grasp Defeat from the jaws of Defeat. Quite a trick. Like trying to borrow money from the Judge during a Bankruptcy trial.

I talked today with a freshman college student majoring in political science about her thought about the Shampeachment. She hadn't been paying attention. Not that I blame her. Her college freshman friend watched C-Span; wasn't impressed. We political aficionados know all about this political debauchery. If AS and NN attempt S2, expect many defections from the supporting vote.

Democrat respect has dwindled in the Independent sector. This is not to say the Repugnants are thereby more popular. They aren't. Trump is. Trump need that NH clown to challenge him in the Repugnant primary to prove exactly how powerful he is. Anybody notice who were in the audience, sitting nearby during Trump's post acquittal speech. Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham. The lamb and the lion laying together. They are both on the Trump Train. Even Richard Burr voted Trump in the impeachment. Mittens feared both his cojones would be excised if he voted against Trump on both counts. What a chickenheart.

But where are the Dems? Why, they are Here. Yes. Yes. And they are There. Yes. Yes. And they are Near. Yes. Yes. But....they are Far. Whither thou goest?

I refrain from pointed comments about AOC in further comments. The Squad is the iceberg floating away from the glacier which spawned it. Unsuitable to warm weather produced by political combat, the Squad faction will woke themselves up to dubious futures.

Establishment versus Bernie:

Not a contest. Spineless Bernie pretzelizes during first heated combat (which the Dem Debate Debacles were not). Won't take a second punch--the first during night 3 of the '16 DNC convention. Fist-shy now. Open Borders? WTF? Are you so nuts? If one offered a person the choice personal safety in their own homes and streets and free medical care for all--including the criminal aliens that A New Path Forward proposes--what do you think 85% of the public would choose?

Pandering.

The Left is also pushing strenuous avoidance of discussing issues in a platitude-depleted fashion. Yeah, Bernie's giving the same speech, with suitable modification, over 40 years. Consistency is a good thing, yeh? How about persistently beating your head with a hammer (while you still can)? Sounds like something Sun Tzu might not recommend.

Now, speaking of Las Vegas and the Nevada Primary. The culinary workers union will not endorse Bernie due to well-deserved or ill-deserved claims that M4A will abolish hard won union health benefits. And don't worry, the Shadow will be there, although Buttjiggle has now disavowed any further connection, along with David Plouffe.

Keeping the Bern off the campaign trail is going to infuriate the Woke Generation / Antifa. When--not if--the DNC cheats Bernie out of the nomination, if such proves necessary* will literally result in blood on the streets along with broken windows and flaming tires. Associate with that lot, eh? Given the choice of going into a biker bar, where brawls are always on the menu, or a discreet wine bar, which would one rather choose? Sorry, those are your only choices.

Nancy Pelosi, impressed by Arnold Schwarzenegger's former physical prowess, tears up her copy of the state of the union address. How decorous. How courteous. How polite. Seen around the world. Nigel Farage must be laughing his butt off, thinking about the shallow anti-Brexit campaigns against his were compared to our Coup. Nigel won. Trump . is. winning. Getting tired of winning yet?

I could go on for pages more of Dem stupidity, but why bother? Stupidity surrounds us.

Betting odds: DNC 1,999,999 to Bernie 1.

Place your bets.

For all the good it will do and I am sincere about this, I will vote Tulsi in the Dem primary.

Here is the song Dems need to heed. This is Donald Trump telling' y'all I'M NOT YOUR MAN

[Feb 15, 2020] One face of the US voters desprations with establishment candidates

Highly recommended!
Feb 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Antoinetta III , Feb 15 2020 21:47 utc | 55

In the past several elections, in the space for "President," I wrote in - Vladimir Putin.

Antoinetta III

[Feb 07, 2020] How They Sold the Iraq War by Jeffrey St. Clair

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon. ..."
"... This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception." ..."
"... During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted. ..."
"... When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. ..."
"... Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war." ..."
"... The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. ..."
"... Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The war on Iraq won't be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as "weapons of mass destruction" and "rogue state" were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us.

To understand the Iraq war you don't need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.

Consider the picaresque journey of Tony Blair's plagiarized dossier on Iraq, from a grad student's website to a cut-and-paste job in the prime minister's bombastic speech to the House of Commons. Blair, stubborn and verbose, paid a price for his grandiose puffery. Bush, who looted whole passages from Blair's speech for his own clumsy presentations, has skated freely through the tempest. Why?

Unlike Blair, the Bush team never wanted to present a legal case for war. They had no interest in making any of their allegations about Iraq hold up to a standard of proof. The real effort was aimed at amping up the mood for war by using the psychology of fear.

Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don't explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.

The Bush claque of neocon hawks viewed the Iraq war as a product and, just like a new pair of Nikes, it required a roll-out campaign to soften up the consumers. The same techniques (and often the same PR gurus) that have been used to hawk cigarettes, SUVs and nuclear waste dumps were deployed to retail the Iraq war. To peddle the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell and company recruited public relations gurus into top-level jobs at the Pentagon and the State Department. These spinmeisters soon had more say over how the rationale for war on Iraq should be presented than intelligence agencies and career diplomats. If the intelligence didn't fit the script, it was shaded, retooled or junked.

Take Charlotte Beers whom Powell picked as undersecretary of state in the post-9/11 world. Beers wasn't a diplomat. She wasn't even a politician. She was a grand diva of spin, known on the business and gossip pages as "the queen of Madison Avenue." On the strength of two advertising campaigns, one for Uncle Ben's Rice and another for Head and Shoulder's dandruff shampoo, Beers rocketed to the top of the heap in the PR world, heading two giant PR houses: Ogilvy and Mathers as well as J. Walter Thompson.

At the State Department Beers, who had met Powell in 1995 when they both served on the board of Gulf Airstream, worked at, in Powell's words, "the branding of U.S. foreign policy." She extracted more than $500 million from Congress for her Brand America campaign, which largely focused on beaming U.S. propaganda into the Muslim world, much of it directed at teens.

"Public diplomacy is a vital new arm in what will combat terrorism over time," said Beers. "All of a sudden we are in this position of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves, but for the outside world." Note the rapt attention Beers pays to the manipulation of perception, as opposed, say, to alterations of U.S. policy.

Old-fashioned diplomacy involves direct communication between representatives of nations, a conversational give and take, often fraught with deception (see April Glaspie), but an exchange nonetheless. Public diplomacy, as defined by Beers, is something else entirely. It's a one-way street, a unilateral broadcast of American propaganda directly to the public, domestic and international, a kind of informational carpet-bombing.

The themes of her campaigns were as simplistic and flimsy as a Bush press conference. The American incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were all about bringing the balm of "freedom" to oppressed peoples. Hence, the title of the U.S. war: Operation Iraqi Freedom, where cruise missiles were depicted as instruments of liberation. Bush himself distilled the Beers equation to its bizarre essence: "This war is about peace."

Beers quietly resigned her post a few weeks before the first volley of tomahawk missiles battered Baghdad. From her point of view, the war itself was already won, the fireworks of shock and awe were all after play.

Over at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld drafted Victoria "Torie" Clarke as his director of public affairs. Clarke knew the ropes inside the Beltway. Before becoming Rumsfeld's mouthpiece, she had commanded one of the world's great parlors for powerbrokers: Hill and Knowlton's D.C. office.

Almost immediately upon taking up her new gig, Clarke convened regular meetings with a select group of Washington's top private PR specialists and lobbyists to develop a marketing plan for the Pentagon's forthcoming terror wars. The group was filled with heavy-hitters and was strikingly bipartisan in composition. She called it the Rumsfeld Group and it included PR executive Sheila Tate, columnist Rich Lowry, and Republican political consultant Rich Galen.

The brain trust also boasted top Democratic fixer Tommy Boggs, brother of NPR's Cokie Roberts and son of the late Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana. At the very time Boggs was conferring with top Pentagon brass on how to frame the war on terror, he was also working feverishly for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. In 2002 alone, the Saudis paid his Qorvis PR firm $20.2 million to protect its interests in Washington. In the wake of hostile press coverage following the exposure of Saudi links to the 9/11 hijackers, the royal family needed all the well-placed help it could buy. They seem to have gotten their money's worth. Boggs' felicitous influence-peddling may help to explain why the references to Saudi funding of al-Qaeda were dropped from the recent congressional report on the investigation into intelligence failures and 9/11.

According to the trade publication PR Week, the Rumsfeld Group sent "messaging advice" to the Pentagon. The group told Clarke and Rumsfeld that in order to get the American public to buy into the war on terrorism, they needed to suggest a link to nation states, not just nebulous groups such as al-Qaeda. In other words, there needed to be a fixed target for the military campaigns, some distant place to drop cruise missiles and cluster bombs. They suggested the notion (already embedded in Rumsfeld's mind) of playing up the notion of so-called rogue states as the real masters of terrorism. Thus was born the Axis of Evil, which, of course, wasn't an "axis" at all, since two of the states, Iran and Iraq, hated each other, and neither had anything at all to do with the third, North Korea.

Tens of millions in federal money were poured into private public relations and media firms working to craft and broadcast the Bush dictat that Saddam had to be taken out before the Iraqi dictator blew up the world by dropping chemical and nuclear bombs from long-range drones. Many of these PR executives and image consultants were old friends of the high priests in the Bush inner sanctum. Indeed, they were veterans, like Cheney and Powell, of the previous war against Iraq, another engagement that was more spin than combat .

At the top of the list was John Rendon, head of the D.C. firm, the Rendon Group. Rendon is one of Washington's heaviest hitters, a Beltway fixer who never let political affiliation stand in the way of an assignment. Rendon served as a media consultant for Michael Dukakis and Jimmy Carter, as well as Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Whenever the Pentagon wanted to go to war, he offered his services at a price. During Desert Storm, Rendon pulled in $100,000 a month from the Kuwaiti royal family. He followed this up with a $23 million contract from the CIA to produce anti-Saddam propaganda in the region.

As part of this CIA project, Rendon created and named the Iraqi National Congress and tapped his friend Ahmed Chalabi, the shady financier, to head the organization.

Shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon handed the Rendon Group another big assignment: public relations for the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Rendon was also deeply involved in the planning and public relations for the pre-emptive war on Iraq, though both Rendon and the Pentagon refuse to disclose the details of the group's work there.

But it's not hard to detect the manipulative hand of Rendon behind many of the Iraq war's signature events, including the toppling of the Saddam statue (by U.S. troops and Chalabi associates) and videotape of jubilant Iraqis waving American flags as the Third Infantry rolled by them. Rendon had pulled off the same stunt in the first Gulf War, handing out American flags to Kuwaitis and herding the media to the orchestrated demonstration. "Where do you think they got those American flags?" clucked Rendon in 1991. "That was my assignment."

The Rendon Group may also have had played a role in pushing the phony intelligence that has now come back to haunt the Bush administration. In December of 2002, Robert Dreyfuss reported that the inner circle of the Bush White House preferred the intelligence coming from Chalabi and his associates to that being proffered by analysts at the CIA.

So Rendon and his circle represented a new kind of off-the-shelf PSYOPs , the privatization of official propaganda. "I am not a national security strategist or a military tactician," said Rendon. "I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager."

What exactly, is perception management? The Pentagon defines it this way: "actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives and objective reasoning." In other words, lying about the intentions of the U.S. government. In a rare display of public frankness, the Pentagon actually let slip its plan (developed by Rendon) to establish a high-level den inside the Department Defense for perception management. They called it the Office of Strategic Influence and among its many missions was to plant false stories in the press.

Nothing stirs the corporate media into outbursts of pious outrage like an official government memo bragging about how the media are manipulated for political objectives. So the New York Times and Washington Post threw indignant fits about the Office of Strategic Influence; the Pentagon shut down the operation, and the press gloated with satisfaction on its victory. Yet, Rumsfeld told the Pentagon press corps that while he was killing the office, the same devious work would continue. "You can have the corpse," said Rumsfeld. "You can have the name. But I'm going to keep doing every single thing that needs to be done. And I have."

At a diplomatic level, despite the hired guns and the planted stories, this image war was lost. It failed to convince even America's most fervent allies and dependent client states that Iraq posed much of a threat. It failed to win the blessing of the U.N. and even NATO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington. At the end of the day, the vaunted coalition of the willing consisted of Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia, and a cohort of former Soviet bloc nations. Even so, the citizens of the nations that cast their lot with the U.S.A. overwhelmingly opposed the war.

Domestically, it was a different story. A population traumatized by terror threats and shattered economy became easy prey for the saturation bombing of the Bush message that Iraq was a terrorist state linked to al-Qaeda that was only minutes away from launching attacks on America with weapons of mass destruction.

Americans were the victims of an elaborate con job, pelted with a daily barrage of threat inflation, distortions, deceptions and lies, not about tactics or strategy or war plans, but about justifications for war. The lies were aimed not at confusing Saddam's regime, but the American people. By the start of the war, 66 per cent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and 79 per cent thought he was close to having a nuclear weapon.

Of course, the closest Saddam came to possessing a nuke was a rusting gas centrifuge buried for 13 years in the garden of Mahdi Obeidi, a retired Iraqi scientist. Iraq didn't have any functional chemical or biological weapons. In fact, it didn't even possess any SCUD missiles, despite erroneous reports fed by Pentagon PR flacks alleging that it had fired SCUDs into Kuwait.

This charade wouldn't have worked without a gullible or a complicit press corps. Victoria Clarke, who developed the Pentagon plan for embedded reports, put it succinctly a few weeks before the war began: "Media coverage of any future operation will to a large extent shape public perception."

During the Vietnam War, TV images of maimed GIs and napalmed villages suburbanized opposition to the war and helped hasten the U.S. withdrawal. The Bush gang meant to turn the Vietnam phenomenon on its head by using TV as a force to propel the U.S.A. into a war that no one really wanted.

What the Pentagon sought was a new kind of living room war, where instead of photos of mangled soldiers and dead Iraqi kids, they could control the images Americans viewed and to a large extent the content of the stories. By embedding reporters inside selected divisions, Clarke believed the Pentagon could count on the reporters to build relationships with the troops and to feel dependent on them for their own safety. It worked, naturally. One reporter for a national network trembled on camera that the U.S. Army functioned as "our protectors." The late David Bloom of NBC confessed on the air that he was willing to do "anything and everything they can ask of us."

When the Pentagon needed a heroic story, the press obliged. Jessica Lynch became the war's first instant celebrity. Here was a neo-gothic tale of a steely young woman wounded in a fierce battle, captured and tortured by ruthless enemies, and dramatically saved from certain death by a team of selfless rescuers, knights in camo and night-vision goggles. Of course, nearly every detail of her heroic adventure proved to be as fictive and maudlin as any made-for-TV-movie. But the ordeal of Private Lynch, which dominated the news for more than a week, served its purpose: to distract attention from a stalled campaign that was beginning to look at lot riskier than the American public had been hoodwinked into believing.

The Lynch story was fed to the eager press by a Pentagon operation called Combat Camera, the Army network of photographers, videographers and editors that sends 800 photos and 25 video clips a day to the media. The editors at Combat Camera carefully culled the footage to present the Pentagon's montage of the war, eliding such unsettling images as collateral damage, cluster bombs, dead children and U.S. soldiers, napalm strikes and disgruntled troops.

"A lot of our imagery will have a big impact on world opinion," predicted Lt. Jane Larogue, director of Combat Camera in Iraq. She was right. But as the hot war turned into an even hotter occupation, the Pentagon, despite airy rhetoric from occupation supremo Paul Bremer about installing democratic institutions such as a free press, moved to tighten its monopoly on the flow images out of Iraq. First, it tried to shut down Al Jazeera, the Arab news channel. Then the Pentagon intimated that it would like to see all foreign TV news crews banished from Baghdad.

Few newspapers fanned the hysteria about the threat posed by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction as sedulously as did the Washington Post. In the months leading up to the war, the Post's pro-war op-eds outnumbered the anti-war columns by a 3-to-1 margin.

Back in 1988, the Post felt much differently about Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. When reports trickled out about the gassing of Iranian troops, the Washington Post's editorial page shrugged off the massacres, calling the mass poisonings "a quirk of war."

The Bush team displayed a similar amnesia. When Iraq used chemical weapons in grisly attacks on Iran, the U.S. government not only didn't object, it encouraged Saddam. Anything to punish Iran was the message coming from the White House. Donald Rumsfeld himself was sent as President Ronald Reagan's personal envoy to Baghdad. Rumsfeld conveyed the bold message than an Iraq defeat would be viewed as a "strategic setback for the United States." This sleazy alliance was sealed with a handshake caught on videotape. When CNN reporter Jamie McIntyre replayed the footage for Rumsfeld in the spring of 2003, the secretary of defense snapped, "Where'd you get that? Iraqi television?"

The current crop of Iraq hawks also saw Saddam much differently then. Take the writer Laura Mylroie, sometime colleague of the New York Times' Judy Miller, who persists in peddling the ludicrous conspiracy that Iraq was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

How times have changed! In 1987, Mylroie felt downright cuddly toward Saddam. She wrote an article for the New Republic titled "Back Iraq: Time for a U.S. Tilt in the Mideast," arguing that the U.S. should publicly embrace Saddam's secular regime as a bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. The co-author of this mesmerizing weave of wonkery was none other than Daniel Pipes, perhaps the nation's most bellicose Islamophobe. "The American weapons that Iraq could make good use of include remotely scatterable and anti-personnel mines and counterartillery radar," wrote Mylroie and Pipes. "The United States might also consider upgrading intelligence it is supplying Baghdad."

In the rollout for the war, Mylroie seemed to be everywhere hawking the invasion of Iraq. She would often appear on two or three different networks in the same day. How did the reporter manage this feat? She had help in the form of Eleana Benador, the media placement guru who runs Benador Associates. Born in Peru, Benador parlayed her skills as a linguist into a lucrative career as media relations whiz for the Washington foreign policy elite. She also oversees the Middle East Forum, a fanatically pro-Zionist white paper mill. Her clients include some of the nation's most fervid hawks, including Michael Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, Al Haig, Max Boot, Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, and Judy Miller. During the Iraq war, Benador's assignment was to embed this squadron of pro-war zealots into the national media, on talk shows, and op-ed pages.

Benador not only got them the gigs, she also crafted the theme and made sure they all stayed on message. "There are some things, you just have to state them in a different way, in a slightly different way," said Benador. "If not, people get scared." Scared of intentions of their own government.

It could have been different. All of the holes in the Bush administration's gossamer case for war were right there for the mainstream press to expose. Instead, the U.S. press, just like the oil companies, sought to commercialize the Iraq war and profit from the invasions. They didn't want to deal with uncomfortable facts or present voices of dissent.

Nothing sums up this unctuous approach more brazenly than MSNBC's firing of liberal talk show host Phil Donahue on the eve of the war. The network replaced the Donahue Show with a running segment called Countdown: Iraq, featuring the usual nightly coterie of retired generals, security flacks, and other cheerleaders for invasion. The network's executives blamed the cancellation on sagging ratings. In fact, during its run Donahue's show attracted more viewers than any other program on the network. The real reason for the pre-emptive strike on Donahue was spelled out in an internal memo from anxious executives at NBC. Donahue, the memo said, offered "a difficult face for NBC in a time of war. He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration's motives."

The memo warned that Donahue's show risked tarring MSNBC as an unpatriotic network, "a home for liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." So, with scarcely a second thought, the honchos at MSNBC gave Donahue the boot and hoisted the battle flag.

It's war that sells.

There's a helluva caveat, of course. Once you buy it, the merchants of war accept no returns.

This essay is adapted from Grand Theft Pentagon.

[Jan 31, 2020] Hovering in Cyberspace by Edward Curtin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In all countries, doctors work increasingly with two groups of addicts: those for whom they prescribe drugs, and those who suffer from their consequences. The richer the community, the larger the percentage of patients who belong to both In such a society, people come to believe that in health care, as in all fields of endeavor, technology can be used to change the human condition according to almost any design. ..."
"... The frustration is that there is so much information, the vast majority of which can be plain incorrect, depending on subject. For example, the information over global warming. There is clear evidence that the climate is changing – melting glaciers etc – and we can see the north pole marching into Russia at a pace not seen in recoded history, but what is very difficult to determine is the cause or the consequence: so much misinformation that the truth is buried and cannot be found by us mere mortals. ..."
"... I have been living in southern California for the last two years, yet I'm still trying to adjust to what I observe daily in terms of "screen addiction." It is a daily occurrence here to stop at red light, wait all of 30 to 40 seconds for the light to change, only to have one or more cars in line fail to move when light turns green. Why? Because they are completely glued to their cell phones either reading messages, texting, or god knows what? Inevitably one has to honk one's car-horn to get them moving. I've never observed this anywhere else I've lived, but then again the screen addiction thing is growing daily in real-time so who knows if this is just standard operating procedure around the world in all urban areas at this time? ..."
"... I was going to link to the CIA released document which is a translation of USSR studies into the effects of non-ionizing radiation. It has an eye-watering summary of the effect of milimeter waves on biological structure, a fundamental aspect of 5G. It has been pulled and I cannot find it on their website. Very interesting. Luckily the FUllerton INformer has it on his 5G Dangers website. ..."
"... I though it was China (Huawei), the nation that has its citizens even more hooked on mobile phones than the US: even opium was a less popular escape from a top down society. ..."
"... Not only do the Chinese, Americans and many others suffer from cyber addiction but also from gross materialism. Same symptoms, same cause: lack of spirituality. "Money" is just another deficient religion. ..."
www.youtube.com
Jan 26, 2020 | off-guardian.org

We live in a fabricated reality where the visible world became nearly meaningless once the screen world became people's "window on the world." An electronic nothingness replaced reality as people gleefully embraced digital wraparound apparitions. These days people still move about in the physical world but live in the electronic one. The result is mass hallucination.

This is the fundamental seismic shift of our era. There is a lot of bitching and joking about it, but when all is said and done, it is accepted as inevitable. Digital devices are embraced as phantom lovers. Technological "advances" are accepted as human destiny. We now inhabit a technological nightmare (that seems like a paradise to so many) in which technology and technique – the standardized means for realizing a predetermined end most efficiently – dominate the world.

In such a world, not only does the end justify the means, but to consider such a moral issue is beside the point. We are speeding ahead to nowhere in the most "efficient" way possible. No questioning allowed! Unless you wish to ask your phone.

These days there is much political talk and commentary about fascism, tyranny, a police state, etc., while the totalitarianism of technocracy and technology continues apace. It is not just the ecological (in the human/natural sense) impact of digital technology where one change generates many others in an endless spiral, but the fact that technical efficiency dominates all aspects of life and, as Jacques Ellul wrote long ago, "transforms everything it touches into a machine," including humans.

For every problem caused by technology, there is always a technological "solution" that creates further technological problems ad infinitum. The goal is always to find the most efficient (power) technique to apply as rapidly as possible to all human problems.

Writing nearly fifty years ago in Medical Nemesis , Ivan Illich, explained how in medical care the human touch was being replaced by this technical mindset. He said,

In all countries, doctors work increasingly with two groups of addicts: those for whom they prescribe drugs, and those who suffer from their consequences. The richer the community, the larger the percentage of patients who belong to both In such a society, people come to believe that in health care, as in all fields of endeavor, technology can be used to change the human condition according to almost any design.

We are of course living with the ongoing results of such medical technical efficiency. The U.S.A. is a country where the majority of people are drugged in one way or another, legally or illegally, since the human problems of living are considered to have only technological solutions, whether those remedies are effective or anodyne.

The "accidents" and risks built into the technological fixes are never considered since the ideological grip of the religion of technology is all-encompassing and infallible. We are caught in its web.

Marshall McLuhan, the media guru of the 1960s – whether he was applauding or bemoaning the fact – was right when he claimed that the medium is the message.

Cell phones, being the current omnipresent form of the electronification of life, are today's message, a sign that one is always in touch with the void. To be without this small machine is to be rendered an idiot in the ancient Greek sense of the word – a private person.

Translation: one who is out of it, detached, at least temporarily, from the screens that separate us from reality, from the incessant noise and pinging messages that destroy reflection and create reflex reactions.

But to be out of it is the only way to understand it. And to understand it is terrifying, for it means one knows that the religion of technology has replaced nature as the source of what for eons has been considered sacred. It means one grasps how reality is now defined by technology.

It means realizing that people are merging with the machines they are attached to by invisible manacles as they replace the human body with abstractions and interact with machines.

It means recognizing that the internet, despite its positive aspects and usage by dissenters intent on human liberation, is controlled by private corporations and government forces intent on using it as a weapon to control people.

It means seeing the truth that most people have never considered the price to be paid for the speed and efficiency of a high-tech world.

But the price is very, very high.

One price, perhaps the most important, is the fragmentation of consciousness, which prevents people from grasping the present from within – which, as Frederic Jameson has noted, is so crucial and yet one of the mind's most problematic tasks – because so many suffer from digital dementia as their attention hops from input to output in a never-ending flow of mediated, disembodied data.

As a result, a vicious circle has been created that prevents people from the crucial epistemological task of grasping the double-bind that is the ultimate propaganda.

Data is Dada by another name, and we are in Dada land, pissing, not into Marcel Duchamp's ridiculous work of Dada "art," a urinal , but into the wind. And data piled on data equals a heap of data without knowledge or understanding.

There is no time or space for grasping context or to connect the dots. It is a pointillist painting in the form of inert facts that few can understand or even realize that they don't.

I am typing these words on a Hermes 3000 manual typewriter, a beautiful piece of technology whose sound and movement creates a rhythmic sanctuary where my hands, head, and heart work in unison.

It allows me to think slowly, to make mistakes that will necessitate retyping, to do second and third rereadings and revisions, to roll the paper out of the machine and sit quietly as I review it. My eyes rest on the paper, not a blue-lit screen.

Technology as such is not the problem, for my typewriter is a very useful and endurable machine, a useful technology that has enhanced life. It does not break or need to be replaced every few years, as computers do. It does not contain coltan, tantalum, or other minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and other places by poor people working under oppressive conditions created by international consumer greed that is devouring the world. It does not allow anyone to spy on me as I type.

I am alone and unplugged, disconnected, off-line and out of line, a sine qua non for thinking, and thinking about deep matters. The typewriter is mine, and mine alone, unlike the connected digital devices that have destroyed aloneness, for to be alone is to contemplate one's fate and that of all humanity. It is to confront essential things and not feel the loneliness induced and exacerbated by the illusion of always being in touch.

But while this typing machine allows me to write in peace, I am in no way suggesting that I have escaped the technological condition that we all find ourselves in. There are little ways to step outside the closing circle, but even then, one is still in it. I will eventually have to take my paper and type it into a computer document if I wish to publish it in the form you will be reading it.

There is no other way. The technocrats have decreed it so. We are all, as George Orwell once wrote in a different context and meaning, "inside the whale," the whale, in this case, being a high-tech digital world controlled by technocrats, and we have only small ways to shield ourselves from it.

Sitting in a quiet room, working on a typewriter, taking a walk in the woods without a cell phone, or not owning a cell phone, are but small individual acts that have no effect on the structural realty of what Neil Postman calls technopoly in his masterful book, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology .

And even in the woods one may look up to admire a tree only to find that it is a cell phone tower.

Humans have always created and used technology, but for a very long time that technology was subject to cultural and religious rules that circumscribed limits to its use. Today there are no limits, no rules to constrain it. The prohibition to prohibit is our motto.

In our acceptance of technical efficiency, we have handed over our freedom and lost control of the means to ends we can't fathom but unconsciously fear. Where are we heading? many probably wonder, as they check the latest news ping, no doubt about something to fear, as a thousand pieces of "news" flash through their devices without pause, like wisps of fleeting dreams one vaguely remembers but cannot pin down or understand. Incoherence is the result. Speed is king.

Of course, this kaleidoscopic flood of data confuses people who desire some coherence and explanation. This is provided by what Jacques Ellul calls "the explanatory myth." He writes,

This brings us to the other pole of our bizarre intellectual situation today: the explanatory myth. In addition to its political and its mystical and spiritual function, the explanatory myth is the veritable spinal column of our whole intellectual system Given that appearances produce confusion and coherence is needed, a new appearance unifies them all in the viewer's mind and enables everything to be explained.

This appearance has a spiritual root and is accepted only by completely blind credulity.

It becomes the intellectual key for opening all secrets, interpreting every fact, and recognizing oneself in the whirl of phenomena this myth [is] their one stable point of thought and consciousness enables everyone to avoid the trouble of thinking for themselves, the worry of doubt, the questioning, the uncertainty of understanding, and the torture of a bad conscience.

What prodigious savings of time and means, which can be put usefully to work manufacturing some more missiles [they] have a good conscience because they have an answer for everything; and whatever happens and whatever they do, they can rely on the explanation that myth provides. This process places them within the most complete unreality possible.

They live in a permanent dream, but a realistic dream, constructed from the countless facts and theories that they believe in with all the power of 'mass persons' who cannot detach themselves from the mass without dying.

Today that myth is the religion of technology.

So if you have any questions you want answered, you can ask your phone.

Ask your phone why we are living with endless wars on the edge of using our most astounding technological invention: nuclear weapons.

Ask your computer why "nice" Americans will sit behind computer screens and send missiles to kill people half-way around the world whom they are told they are at war with.

Ask your smart device why so many have become little Eichmanns, carrying out their dutiful little tasks at Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and all the other war manufacturers, or not caring what stocks they own.

Ask your phone what really happened to the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 in Iran. See if your phone will say anything about cyber warfare, electronic jamming, or why the plane's transponder was turned off preventing a signal to be sent indicating it was a civilian aircraft.

Ask who is behind the push to deploy 5G wireless technology.

Ask that smartphone who is providing the non-answers.

Ask and it won't be given to you; seek and you will not find. The true answers to your questions will remain hidden. This is the technological society, set up and controlled by the rulers. It is a scam.

Google it!

God may respond.


aspnaz ,

The frustration is that there is so much information, the vast majority of which can be plain incorrect, depending on subject. For example, the information over global warming. There is clear evidence that the climate is changing – melting glaciers etc – and we can see the north pole marching into Russia at a pace not seen in recoded history, but what is very difficult to determine is the cause or the consequence: so much misinformation that the truth is buried and cannot be found by us mere mortals.

In the past we had an editor picking the version of the "truth" that would be exposed to us: was that "truth" also just fabrication or was it closer to the truth that what we are exposed to today? Was it more healthy to be secure in the knowledge that the BBC always told the truth, even if that truth was a lie? At least we didn't have the stress of trying to find the real truth, it was printed there on our daily.

Rhisiart Gwilym ,

Thank god for the Long Descent. This will all be a fading nightmare (though some will dream it as a lost golden age !) in a century or so; when the Limits To Growth have finally insisted that we stop expanding the Technosphere (aka 'Koyaanisqatsi') – and then go into reverse. Roll effin' on!

Richard Le Sarc ,

We cannot possibly, on the current trajectory, make another century. A few decades at most, months or years if thermo-nuclear or biological warfare is unleashed.

Gary Weglarz ,

I have been living in southern California for the last two years, yet I'm still trying to adjust to what I observe daily in terms of "screen addiction." It is a daily occurrence here to stop at red light, wait all of 30 to 40 seconds for the light to change, only to have one or more cars in line fail to move when light turns green. Why? Because they are completely glued to their cell phones either reading messages, texting, or god knows what? Inevitably one has to honk one's car-horn to get them moving. I've never observed this anywhere else I've lived, but then again the screen addiction thing is growing daily in real-time so who knows if this is just standard operating procedure around the world in all urban areas at this time?

The most frightening example of the screen addiction here is that in stop and go, bumper to bumper freeway traffic, moving from 60 miles and hour one moment to a dead stop the next, I've glanced over many times to see drivers next to me literally looking down at their cell phones instead of at the road in front of them, while driving 60 miles and hour, and when knowing that at any second they may have to slam their brakes on to avoid a collision. Two years ago I was living in rural France and I NEVER witnessed behavior like this anywhere, even when driving in Paris. Maybe things have changed there – I just don't know.

What does it say about us here in the U.S. (at least southern California) that we can't drive our car, or sit for 30 seconds at a traffic light, without pressing a screen into our face? How frightened and alienated and uncomfortable must so many of us be that we are unable to be alone with ourselves and with our own thoughts for even a few moments? I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that, though I dare say it is a rather important question. Thank you Mr. Curtain.

George Mc ,

This article made me realise how visionary the SF writer Philip K Dick was – with his spaced out psychotic "heroes", sinister shady corporations and breakdown in the whole criteria for determining what's real.

Recommended reads:

"A Scanner Darkly" where a schizophrenic main character seems to represent a schizophrenic world in which the ones fighting against drugs and the ones supplying then are two arms of the same organisation.

"Lies Inc." – A total mindfuck of a book in which psychotropic weapons have spiralled so far out of control that the whole narrative seems to break down.

Robbobbobin ,

This article made me realise how visionary the SF writer Philip K Dick was

The Machine Stops , E.M. Forster ( A Room with a View, Howards End, A Passage to India, ), Short Story, published in The Oxford and Cambridge Review ( November 1909 ).

There are other free versions of the same text as well as several free audiobook versions available online.

Norn ,

This app shows in real time which app on your Android phone is talking/connecting to the outside world. App name: 'Network Connections' or 'Network Connections for Android'. Not sure if there are other flavours.

You can get it from Google Play, and if you don't like Google, the APK (Android Package) can be found quite easily online. Full version is paid but to check it out it is free. Sometimes it says you need to pay, but then the message disappears and you can keep using it (from my experience).

Interesting to see apps, that were forced to stop, coming back to life all by themselves and talking to whatever server they are supposed to talk to. However, you cannot tell, using this app, what data is being sent to the server. It would be good fun to find out.

You can click on a connection to see the IP owner and location information which take a few seconds to show. But it is an eye-opener to see the geolocations of various servers around the world that the mobile phone connects to simultaneously. It shows clearly, there are no boundaries (and no limits perhaps) on how high-tech companies operate. For example, an app (which I don't need and could not be disabled) can activate more than one connection and each connection is made to a server in a different country.

Mucho ,

Answers to the author's questions are contained herein:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pjtyj3SdlfA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Tallis Marsh ,

Wow! I don't praise many articles nowadays but what an excellent article; one of the very few I've read in media (MSM and alternative) over the last couple of years. Thanks Mr Curtin – bravo!

Incidentally, on a more mundane level – I haven't had a mobile for quite some time now and have never had a smart-phone; corded landlines are so much better for phone calls (and freedom from stress when you are away from home/office!). Also, if you want to email, watch films, or play games PCs are infinitely better than mobile phones! Never got the thing about all-in-one devices, myself.

Mucho ,

The filth in power will use electronic warfare (5G, wifi, blue/white light LED ie cars, homes and streetlights, health harming devices like CCTV camersa which all emit microwaves at 2.4GHz same as your microwave oven, note: anyone noticed the massive uptick in radiation you are now exposed to in supermarkets with the ultra powerful new LED lights and wifi routers lining the ceilings? etc), false flag terrorism, mass poisoning of the food and water, synthetic man-made viuses, geo-engineered climate change and other methods straight out of the "how to genocide" handbook to conduct WW, reduce the population and destrot the world as we know it. Oh wait a minute, they're already doing all of those things. Do the maths people, it's pretty simple to figure it out. This is a silent war being waged against YOU and YOUR FAMILY. Who would have thought streetlights would be turned into a weapon of war? Well, they have been and with 5G, it won't just be the light they emit that is harmful. They know what all these things do, that's why they are installing them. WAKE UP!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/oY5SReQ2Kqc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Norn ,

When the space outside of jail is much smaller than the space inside the jail, those outside become prisoners by default as their freedom is curtailed by the lack of space and dearth of options.

This is the exact situation with our present Digital Prison that has been built by exploiting science and technology for nefarious and psychopathic and tyrannical aims.

Gezzah Potts ,

Another thought provoking peice Edward, thanks. And yeah, I read this while staring at my Huawei smartphone, which also contains my Email and things like Google Earth.

And, yes, I was wincing.

As someone who boycotts the mainstream presstitutes, and who hasn't bought a newspaper for over 15 years, how then do I find out what is happening in the world?

How do I find out when a protest is happening, or if a major war breaks out?

I regularly comment here (when it actually posts – major gremlins last 4-5 days) and at a few other independent sites.

It's about connecting with others who also see what is happening – the havoc and rank injustice created by the Neoliberal economic system and the Empire – epitomised by thugs like Pompeo and Esper.

Connecting with other like minded people is important.

The word to use here is balance. I check the news at a few sites, make comments, but also limit the time I spend on my phone. Balance.

I read a fair bit as well as listen to quite a lot of music, watch thought provoking films, and also connect with nature in a spiritual sense. That's an important one.

Mucho ,

Just research the radiation you are exposing your body to by using a smart phone, carrying it in your pocket is plain crazy! They have tricked you into harming your self with it. That's how they do it, it's all trickery ..illusion ..lies.

Listen to this guy, Kevin Mottus, he is ultra qualified to impart info about this. This presentation is not just about 5G it is about wireless.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Me1YfVZgHlA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Gezzah Potts ,

Thanks Mucho for the clip, just heading off to work, will watch it tonight. Hmmm, 40 years ago, we didn't even have Dvds or Cds.

And now we can watch movies on our phone and Skype people on the other side of the world.

And everyone staring at their phones

Mucho ,

I just cannot believe what is unfolding before our eyes with this technology. Meet your new streetlights:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/04/26/new-led-streetlights-may-double-cancer-risk-new-research-warns/

kevin morris ,

All of the answers to all of the problems that face us are already within us. All we need to do is to switch off from the stuff that they want us to consume.

Norn ,

"switch off"? And miss on Providential Guidance? Here is the White House Spiritual Advisor sharing their flash of enlightenment:
https://twitter.com/RightWingWatch/status/1220740601781608448

This is the providential guidance the masters of the universe receive in Washington .. Thank me for the giggle, and don't miss the comments below the (1minute 34seconds) video

kevin morris ,

not found your on/off switch yet, then?

Norn ,

Oooops ..

Gall ,

I think technology reaches an apex then it's downhill from there. The only advantage the internet has over the Gutenberg Press is that it's faster and easier to use. Both snail mail and email deliver mostly junk. Hey but it's faster and easier to get rid of and you don't have to recycle it which reminds me of the paragon of political correctness when he isn't planning mass genocide Bill Gates changing the name of what us Mac users still call trash and called it the "recycle bin". Yet his OS is still a dumpster fire with an architecture that was designed by a chimpanzee. Too funny 😂

Anyway seriously somewhat. Google is now a joke with its stupid "AI" that only hits on mainstream news and approved sites lest the holi poli find out what's really going on. Same with YouTube which has gotten as bad as watching cable TV. Like that ol Springsteen tune 55 channels and still nothing's on. Only there's a lot more of nothing thanks to the holy censors. Unless you're into soft core porn and cat vids.

Ain't technology great?

Now there's 5G that aside from being an overhyped hoax is dangerous. Hey but if you want to get irradiated in your own home or walking down the street than go fer it dude! Hope ya'll got a supply of Potassium Iodide because it'll come in handy when that goes on line but your last words will be sent faster with more ghz. What more can you ask for?

Funny you should mention the bomb Ed because with 5G coming on line we may not have to wait for that mushroom cloud.

It's probably not that bad at least that's what the experts who haven't bothered testing it say 😎👍

milosevic ,

Hope ya'll got a supply of Potassium Iodide because it'll come in handy when that goes on line

why, does 5G technology somehow produce radioactive iodine? how is that supposed to work?

Gall ,

It's possible that high concentrations of EMR can convert natural iodine in the thyroid gland to iodine 131. Just a theory but better safe than sorry. Also Vitamin K and Niacin have been shown to be somewhat effective as well.

milosevic ,

It's possible

no, it isn't.

otherwise, anybody who uses a microwave oven would have died of cancer, long ago.

take your anti-scientific disinfo someplace where it will be appreciated, like Alex Jones' psyop websites.

Gall ,

Why don't you stick your head in a microwave and turn it on? Report back when you've finished that experiment.

milosevic ,

are you a disinfo troll, or just an common moron? inquiring minds want to know.

Gall ,

No I'm just someone making a comment. If you're looking for a "disinfo troll" I suggest you look in the mirror. Now GTFO of my face moron.

milosevic ,

common moron it is, then. at least until further evidence becomes available.

Gall ,

Are you referring to yourself again? Personally I'd say that you're not just common but exceptionally moronic.

Mucho ,

I was going to link to the CIA released document which is a translation of USSR studies into the effects of non-ionizing radiation. It has an eye-watering summary of the effect of milimeter waves on biological structure, a fundamental aspect of 5G. It has been pulled and I cannot find it on their website. Very interesting. Luckily the FUllerton INformer has it on his 5G Dangers website.

https://thefullertoninformer.com/5g-dangers/

Go to page 57 of this document:

https://thefullertoninformer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/cia-millimeter-waves-1.pdf

Gall ,

Thanx Mucho. There is also another factor to consider as well and that there is a very fine line spectrally that is almost nonexistent between Ionizing and Non-ionizing Radiation.

Also as I was trying to point out. There is nothing wrong with taking supplements that may counteract the effects of either.

Just like there is nothing wrong with taking vitamin C to counteract a cold.

Anyone who would should suggest that there is is not only a "disinfo troll" or agent but also a homicidal maniac.

milosevic ,

ionizing radiation produces ionization, which is not at all the same thing as nuclear transmutation.

evidently, you don't know what you're talking about.

Capricornia Man ,

Wasn't it Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul who said that an obsession with information technology is one of the hallmarks of a corporate state?

I think it was the editor of a US record magazine who wrote that one of the sicknesses of our society is that perfectly good, tried and trusted technology is junked the minute something else is invented.

Thoughts worth considering, at least.

BigB ,

And Jacques Ellul and Marshall McLuhan made the similar observation: "First, we take control of our tools, then they take control of us".

Technology – or technique as Ellul preferred – gains an almost real time velocity, compressing time and space, making ends and means virtually synchronic but why? Does a 10 millisecond arbitrage trade vastly improve the quality of life compared to a 100 millisecond arbitrage trade or are we in the service of the machine?

Gary Wilson ,

We upset the biology but cling to the technology.

Fair dinkum ,

More bogged than 'hovering' methinks.

Norn ,

"nice" Americans: .. Here is a sample of nice Americans who want to control our breath: Pompeo , Fri 24 Jan 2020: "You Think Americans Really Give A F**k About Ukraine?"

Michael Richard Pompeo (57 y.o.) is the United States secretary of state. He is a former United States Army officer and was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018

Nuland , earlier than Feb 2014: "Fuck the EU."

Victoria Jane Nuland (59 y.o) is the former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State. She held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service. She is the former CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and is also a Member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

Jack_Garbo ,

" my typewriter is a very useful and endurable machine, a useful technology that has enhanced life. It does not break or need to be replaced every few years, as computers do. It does not contain coltan, tantalum, or other minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and other places by poor people working under oppressive conditions created by international consumer greed that is devouring the world. It does not allow anyone to spy on me as I type."

Edward, you've slipped into pseudo-Ludditism (and grammar errors). Your noisy, ribbon chewing, paper consuming (think of the trees!), typing machine is surely "durable" unless you suffer to endure it (Lying to another lover?). It may not contain "conflict coltan" and other imperial minerals but I'll bet it was produced by low wage serfs somewhere less than ritzy.

Anyone in your room can spy on your work, while my computer can be adjusted to a "narrow pixel view", blocking any spies, and if I want noise I can simulate the clack of keys hitting the carriage (I don't, can't stand the noise). I can also isolate all screen distractions in "private" mode, can choose my "paper color", usually a burnt cream mimicking early 19th C manuscripts (Ha, joke coming, my word processor is called Manuskript). Enough

I'll read the rest after coffee, proofing this electronic creation, and posting. It's all real, not totalitarian electronic post-modern fascism. Oh, my smartphone? It sits obediently silent, taking messages, reminding me of appointments, like a dutiful secretary, as I've programmed it. Ain't technology great?
PS. I write for a living and the invention of the computer saved my sanity, since I'm a "backwards" writer – end first, middle, then start. Years of real "cut & paste" drove me mad.

So, all praise the god Laptop and his children, Word Processors. Anon.

Gall ,

Personally I don't see anything "therapeutic" about staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor. I write for a living too at times and still I end up going old school and actually writing notes or doing a handwritten outline before I hit the big empty.

Writing is a personal thing. Actually I admire Ed's method. Anyone who takes the time to type out their piece on a manual typewriter is a craftsman. Makes me want to haul out my old Smith Corona and give 'er a spin.

Jack_Garbo ,

That's the difference between an amateur (lover) and a pro (expert). I don't caress the keyboard or kiss the screen, but my words sell or I don't eat. Typewritten words pay the same as electronic words. Nothing's therapeutic about about a blank screen; my job is to fill it.

I envy amateurs, who enjoy inserting the sheets, adjusting the light, polishing the keys and neatly stacking that final draft, even if it's never published. I used to do that when I worked as an engineer, when writing was a hobby.

Antonym ,

Who is behind 5G?

I though it was China (Huawei), the nation that has its citizens even more hooked on mobile phones than the US: even opium was a less popular escape from a top down society.

Not only do the Chinese, Americans and many others suffer from cyber addiction but also from gross materialism. Same symptoms, same cause: lack of spirituality. "Money" is just another deficient religion.

[Jan 29, 2020] For the last three years, all the "resistance oxygen" was sucked up by the warmongering against Russia

Highly recommended!
Jan 29, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Charlotte Russe ,

Trump doesn't have a thing to fear he's been a huge asset to the security state, whose Russiagate theatrics provided mainstream media news with just enough bullshit to distract the public, so that Trump could never be aggressively attacked from the Left. For the last three years, all the "resistance oxygen" was sucked up by the warmongering against Russia. Meanwhile, this enabled Trump to successfully pass a slew of reactionary legislation and fasttrack numerous lifetime appointments to the federal court without barely a whimper from the phony Dems. In fact, the Democrats unanimously voted for Trump's military budget. The same idiot they called unhinged was given the power to start WWIII.

No matter how much liberals complain–the wealthy are happy with the status quo and the right-wing Evangelicals are as pleased as punch. However, there's quite a large number of disaffected Trump voters looking at Tulsi, but could eventually come Bernie's way. Especially, if Tulsi endorses Bernie. This discontented bunch includes the working-poor, the indebted young, and all the folks who are not doing economically well under Trump's fabulous stock market. It especially includes the military families who were promised an end to the miserable foreign interventions. Bernie, has some appeal to these folks. His platform certainly resonates with all those who can barely pay their health insurance
premiums, and whose salary is NOT nearly considered a living wage. But Bernie could win hands-down and steal Trump's base, if he only had the courage to UNAPOLOGETICALLY speak out against US imperialism and connect all the dots explaining how the security state plundered the treasury for decades f–king over the working-class.

[Jan 21, 2020] WaPo columnist endorses all twelve candidates

Highly recommended!
Are WaPo and NYT both encouraging their readerships to split the 'Anybody But Bernie' vote six ways from Super Tuesday? Fantastic!
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:

In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.

Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:

One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.

[Jan 18, 2020] The inability of the USA elite to tell the truth about the genuine aim of policy despite is connected with the fact that the real goal is to attain Full Spectrum Dominance over the planet and its people such that neoliberal bankers can rule the world

Highly recommended!
Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 17 2020 19:24 utc | 6

Yes! The inability to tell the truth about the genuine aim of policy despite its being published because that policy goal--to attain Full Spectrum Dominance over the planet and its people such that neoliberal bankers can rule the world--is actually 100% against genuine American Values as expressed by the Four Freedoms (1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear) and the articulated goals/vision of the UN Charter--World Peace arrived at via collective security and diplomacy, not war--which are still taught in schools along with Wilson's 14 Points. Then of course, there's the war against British Tyranny known as the Spirit of '76 and the Revolutionary War for Independence and the documents that bookend that era. In 1948, Kennan stated, in an internal discussion that was never censored, the USA consumed 60% of global resources with only 5% of the population and needed to somehow come up with a policy to both continue and justify that great disparity to both the domestic and international audience. Yet, those truths were never provided in an overt manner to the American public or the international audience. The upshot being the US federal government since it dropped the bombs on Japan has been lying or misleading its people such that it's now habitual. And Trump's diatribe against the generals reflects the reality that he too was taken in by those lies.

[Jan 18, 2020] The joke is on us: Without the USSR the USA oligarchy resorted to cannibalism and devour the American people

Highly recommended!
Jan 18, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

In another sense, however, the passing of the cold war could not have been more disorienting. In 1987, Georgi Arbatov, a senior adviser to the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev , had warned: "We are going to do a terrible thing to you – we are going to deprive you of an enemy."

...Winning the cold war brought Americans face-to-face with a predicament comparable to that confronting the lucky person who wins the lottery: hidden within a windfall is the potential for monumental disaster.

[Jan 18, 2020] Putin plants to prohibit dual citizens to serve in government

Highly recommended!
Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

Peripatetic Commenter , says: Show Comment January 17, 2020 at 9:43 pm GMT

I don't think it will be long before we see Congress in the US calling for invasion of Russia on the grounds of a lack of diversity, lack of respect for LGBTP and so forth.

[Jan 11, 2020] What About "Whataboutism." by Vladimir Golstein

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions. It is fine to talk about the crimes of Genghis Khan, but there isn't much that you can do about them.' ..."
"... 'If Soviet intellectuals chose to devote their energies to crimes of the U.S., which they could do nothing about, that is their business. We honor those who recognized that the first duty is to concentrate on your own country.' ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Wikipedia – the most popular source of information for most people – boldly announces:

"Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument. It is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda Prominent usage: Soviet Union propaganda."

Perusal of recent mainstream articles adds one more dimension to the story. Not only everything negative is habitually associated with Soviets and Russians, unless of course, it is Iranians or North Koreans, when the equation has frequently been reversed.

If something negative occurs: Cherchez La Russie.

Mass media bias against President Trump has been observed on numerous occasions, but what is particularly fascinating about this negativity is a persistent desire to paint Trump with the Russian brush.

So it is hardly surprising that Trump has been turned into a practitioner of Russian "Whataboutism," allowing Washington Post to declare triumphantly: "Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump."

The article elaborates:

What about the stock market? What about those 33,000 deleted emails? What about Benghazi? .. What about what about what about. We've gotten very good at what-abouting. The president has led the way. His campaign may or may not have conspired with Moscow, but President Trump has routinely employed a durable old Soviet propaganda tactic."

The WaPo article by Dan Zak goes even further and explains the reasons behind Trump's embrace of Russian Whataboutism. It is moral relativism, you see. It is a ploy of tyrannical regimes, which intend to divert attention from their crimes:

That's exactly the kind of argument that Russian propagandists have used for years to justify some of Putin's most brutal policies," wrote Michael McFaul , former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration. .. "Moral relativism -- 'whataboutism' -- has always been a favorite weapon of illiberal regimes," Russian chessmaster and activist Garry Kasparov told the Columbia Journalism Review in March. "For a U.S. president to employ it against his own country is tragic.

Viewed from the historical perspective, all this is blatantly false.

It is the democratic systems that need propaganda, spinning, and other soft-power weapons. It is the democracies that rely on one party blaming another party for its own transgressions. It is the liberal economic structures that need to promote one brand of toothpaste by denigrating another brand.

"Whataboutism" is an integral fabric of Western society, as both its business and political models depend on comparing, contrasting, diverting attention and so on.

Soviets, who had difficulty obtaining even one kind of toilet paper, did not need the commercials that claim that the other brand leaks more. Soviet leadership that relied primarily on the power of the gun didn't need to spend time and effort and hone its skills in the art of maligning another party.

In other words, Soviets, and consequently Russians, are plain amateurs when it comes to "whataboutism." When their government felt the need to resort to it, they would do it rather sloppily and amateurishly, so that the people would just laugh it off, as the endless political jokes testify.

Soviets were forced to resort to it during the time of Cold War, however, when there was a real competition for the hearts and minds of several European countries such as France and Italy, where post-war sympathies for Communists were running strong.

Needless to say, the Soviets were beaten soundly. The arguments that American freedoms were worse than Soviets because of American racism did not really work for Europeans, who preferred their Louis Armstrong to Leonid Utesov and their Jackson Pollock to Alexander Gerasimov. In the battle between Georgy Alexandrov's Marion Dixon of Circus (1936) and Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939), Ninotchka won.

That's why I find it extremely ironic and peculiar that these methods of "whataboutism," these lines of reasoning that have pervaded the Western news coverage to the core, have been magically turned into a signature method of Soviet Propaganda.

Equally ironic is the fact that any attempt to question Western hypocrisy, spinning, and relentless brainwashing is deflected by a silly counter-attack: this criticism is nothing but "whataboutism," the favorite activity of Russians and other moral relativists and denizens of illiberal regimes.

Additional irony, of course, lies in the fact that Russians are the most self-critical people that I know. That's the one thing they truly excel at – criticizing themselves, their state, their people, their customs and their political system. It is another irony that the information the West habitually exploits in its own shameless "whataboutism" was provided to it free of charge by Russian dissidents from Herzen all the way to Solzhenitsyn and Masha Gessen.

There is rarely an article in the mass media which, while addressing some ills of modern society, doesn't refer to the evils of Gulag, Stalin, lack of democracy and other "ills" of Soviet life. How many articles in the mass media do we read where references to the extermination of the native population, of workers burning in their factories, of thugs dispersing protests or demonstrations, of brutal exploitation, mass incarceration, deportation of the Japanese, witch hunts, or cruel cynical wars – occur without simultaneous references to Stalin's Russia?

You complain about the lack of political choices during elections? What, you want Commies to run you life? You complain about economic inequality? What, you want drab socialism instead? In other words, instead of a traditionally defined "whataboutism," Western propaganda utilizes a slightly more subtle version revealing something bad about itself, but then rapidly switching to demonizing and criticizing its rivals.

The classic example of this approach was described by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their 1988 study Manufacturing Consent .

In the chapter entitled "Worthy and Unworthy Victims," the authors draw the comparison between the coverage of Polish priest, murdered by in Poland in 1984 and the media coverage of Catholic Priests assassinated in Latin America. Jerzy Popieluszko had 78 articles devoted to him, with ten articles on the front page. In the meantime, seventy-two religious victims in Latin America during the period of 1964-78 were subject of only eight articles devoted to all of them combined, with only one article making the front page (Chomsky & Herman, Manufacturing Consent , Pantheon Books, 2002, p. 40).

Presumably, Soviets become a subject of jokes when, instead of addressing the question of Stalin's victims, they embark on discussing the lynching of black Americans. What is worth pondering is why the United States hasn't become the subject of similar jokes when they write hundreds of articles on one death within the Soviet zone of influence while practically ignoring persistent right-wing violence in their own sphere.

"Whataboutism" is not just a rhetorical device invented to deflect criticism; the accusation in "whataboutism" leveled at anyone who defends himself from arbitrary or illogical charges is the accusation that reveals a particular set of power relations.

These accusations of "whataboutism" imply a certain inequality, when the accuser bullies the accused into admitting his guilt.

The accuser puts the accused on the defensive, clearly implying his moral superiority. This moral superiority, of course, is rather fictional, especially if we keep in mind that the Hebrew word "satan" means an accuser. Accusing and blaming others has a satanic ring to that, something that anyone engaged in accusations should remember.

You belched yesterday during dinner. You violated the laws of good table manners.

– But everybody belches!

It is irrelevant, please answer the charge and don't try to avoid it by resorting to 'whataboutism." Did you belch or not?

"Putin's a killer," Bill O'Reilly said to Trump in a February interview. "There are a lot of killers," Trump whatabouted . "We've got a lot of killers. What do you think -- our country's so innocent?"

Here, the media dismisses as "whataboutism" Trump's perfectly logical and correct answer – the one that Trump highlighted himself last week when he ordered the killing of the Iranian general Soleimaini.

Trump's answer, however, was interpreted as somehow outrageous. How dare he compare? As if only a Russian stooge engaged in "whataboutism" can suggest that Western murders and violence are not different from Russian ones.

Dan Zak, who invents a verb "to whatabout" in reference to Trump's exchange with O'Reilly, reveals another highly significant dimension of the term. Due to the abuse of the concept during the Cold War era, and due to the relentless propaganda of the likes of Edward Lucas or the former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, the charge of "whataboutism" began to be leveled at anyone who says anything critical about the United States.

You talk about US racism – you are carrying water for Soviet "whataboutists;" you talk about militarism, police brutality, wars and regime changes, or complain about the destruction of nature – you are a Russian stooge.

And God forbid you criticize failed policies of the Democrats, the Clintons in particular. You are worse than a stooge. You are a Soviet troll spitting "whataboutism," while interfering in the US electoral process.

Trump might have more faults than any of the recent American political leader. Yet, it is the charge of Russian connection and its merging with the charge of "Whataboutism" that began to highlight some sort of sick synergy: if Trump uses this trope of Russian propaganda, he has to be working with Putin. That's the tenor of all recent applications of the term in the mass media.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the Trump administration's murky ties to Vladimir Putin and his associates, whataboutism is viewed by many as a Russian import,"

opines Claire Fallon in her essay on the subject, while the title says it all: "Whataboutism, A Russian Propaganda Technique, Popular With Trump, His Supporters."

The list of publications with very similar titles can obviously go on and on.

And herein lies the most pernicious legacy of the term.

It subconsciously invokes the spirit of Joe McCarthy. And as such it is still very effective in stifling discourse, in dismissing criticism, while character-assassinating dissenting voices.

Never mind that the press, as in the good old days of Father Popieluszko, is still filled to the brim with endless stories of Russian discrimination of the gay community, of Chinese abuse of the Uighurs, or the absence of new and old freedoms in the countries that Pentagon classifies as adversary.

To complain about the lack of balance and the biased focus would be engaging in "Soviet Style of Whataboutism," wouldn't it be?

Vladimir Golstein, former associate professor at Yale University, is currently Chair of the Department of Slavic Studies at Brown University.


Charlotte Russe ,

US propaganda has been quite effective. After all, isn't it merely the merchandising and selling of ideas. So why wouldn't a hyper-capitalist country be extremely effective at using words and images to control behavior. That's how multibillion dollar corporations stimulate consumerism. They convince the public to buy goods and services they don't really need. So why not use those same marketing skills to impart ideological beliefs.

Essentially, isn't that how the notion of "exceptionalism" became rooted in the American psyche, establishing a rationale to pursue a slew of military misadventures. And think of the ingenious propagandist who invented the idea of "spreading democracy" via bombs, drones, and bullets. For decades this secured public consent for innumerable military escapades.

However, the arrival of Trump changed everything. He unwittingly forced the US propaganda machine to stumble and fumble with contradictory messages disassembling the control mainstream media news once happily secured over the entire population.

In desperation to avoid building political consciousness the US state-run media neglected to attack Trump exclusively over reactionary policies, but misguidedly warmongered against Russia for more than three years. Liberal media accused right-wing Trump of being a Russian asset a tactic used more than half a century ago by McCarthyite Russophobes to discredit the Left. Perhaps, the silliness of this propaganda could only produce "lackluster" results consequently never gaining substantial traction among the working-class.

The security state ultimately loses its ability to control the population with sloppy propaganda–they just tune it out. Americans are becoming similar to their Russian counterparts who just assume that all mainstream media news is contrived and not to be believed.

George Mc ,

I thought the reference to the Wiki article was a piss take until I went direct to the source. I see no logical connection between Russia or indeed any country and the rhetorical device of "whataboutism". But it seems the mighty omniscient Wiki says otherwise. Yes – and there's Trump getting a prominent place in the Wiki entry. Is every entry in Wiki geared to the current demands of propaganda? What next I wonder? How about:

Willem ,

I first read about whataboutism at Chomsky's website. I thought Chomsky made a very good definition at the time, so I looked up what he actually said and thought of quoting him here. Well his definition is typical for Chomsky where he says some truthful things, which he immediately buries under a pack of lies

Chomsky on whataboutism:

'CHOMSKY: One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions. It is fine to talk about the crimes of Genghis Khan, but there isn't much that you can do about them.'

That is correct. But unfortunately for the professor, he is not devoid of a little whataboutism himself, where he continues to say that

'If Soviet intellectuals chose to devote their energies to crimes of the U.S., which they could do nothing about, that is their business. We honor those who recognized that the first duty is to concentrate on your own country.'

Then Chomsky buries this whataboutism with another lie saying that:

'And it is interesting that no one ever asks for an explanation, because in the case of official enemies, truisms are indeed truisms.'

Which isn't a truism at all, but apparantly all official enemies of the US are, by definition enemies of Chomsky.Then Chomsky continues by saying that

'It is when truisms are applied to ourselves that they become contentious, or even outrageous. But they remain truisms.'

Not necessarily so, but it's close enough to pass for truth when discussing whataboutism. After which Chomsky adds another lie, i.e., that

'In fact, the truisms hold far more for us than they did for Soviet dissidents, for the simple reason that we are in free societies, do not face repression, and can have a substantial influence on government policy.'

I mean, that is just so much bullshit that I do not even know where to start. For instance Solzjenitsyn, SU greatest dissident, wrote his books in the SU, the Russians didn't like it, and they let Solzjenitsyn go to Switzerland where he become famous and a millionaire, a Nobel price winner, everything that money could buy. He returned to Russia in 1990 and was lauded by amongst others Putin himself and died peacefully in 2008.

'Free society', bollocks: most of us have the freedom to watch the show that others play on their behalf and toil, 'no repression': tell that to Assange, 'substantial influence on government policy': quite difficult when most of the government's decisions are faceless.

This type of lying by Chomsky just goes on and on and I am amazed that I hadn't seen through it the first time I read Chomsky.

Worst is his hypocrisy where professor Chomsky, the worlds best known 'dissident', whose books are sold at airports, who received grants from the MIC to work on linguistics, and who became a millionaire by airing his convoluted views that are not what they are supposed to be (ie dissident), dares to write in the same interview that

'Elementary honesty is often uncomfortable, in personal life as well, and there are people who make great efforts to evade it. For intellectuals, throughout history, it has often come close to being their vocation. Intellectuals are commonly integrated into dominant institutions. Their privilege and prestige derives from adapting to the interests of power concentrations, often taking a critical look but in very limited ways.'

I mean that is just Chomsky writing about himself, but pretending a whataboutism about all those other bad intellectuals.

Interview: https://chomsky.info/2003____/

Jack_Garbo ,

Chomsky's an example of the establishment "pet intellectual" who quietly rages against his master. Youthful dissidence, he found after a few police beatings, is a fool's game, noisy, bloody and futile. Better to growl from a safe distance, repeat the obvious with clear logic and wallow in unearned respect.

lundiel ,

According to a 2019 Gallop poll 40% of American women under 30 would like to leave the US.

Given the economic burden forced upon south/central american countries by the land of the free, it's understandable that America has net migration.

If you up sticks and move to another country it becomes survival at any cost. However, a lot don't make it and return home .if they can afford to.

lundiel ,

When you move to a racist, nationalist country, you have to spend every opportunity thanking them for taking you and congratulating them for allowing you to work yourself to death so you can pay the mortgage on your shed home.

Estaugh ,

Calm doctor, calm, you will wake up Napoleon in the next ward https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnzHtm1jhL4

Gall ,

Many of them are economic refugees who come here after B-52s have turned their country into a parking lot or the elite of other countries who were caught selling out their nations and enriching themselves or those that actually believed the PR that the USG actually gives a flying phuk about "freedom and democracy" propagated by the child molesting perverts in Pedo Wood.

There are also a number who have specifically come here to get even and who can blame them?

Dungroanin ,

What about the 'Russian influence' report not published by Bozo The PM?

& while I'm here

What about the Durham investigation into Russiagate which also seems to have disappeared from imminent publication over a month ago?

Hmm – wasn't it Kruschevs staffers who admired the US propaganda / Perception Management advertising/PR industry by saying in Russia nobody believed the Russian propaganda because Russians knew that's what it was; but all westerners swallowed it and rushed out to buy ever 'better' washing powders, poisonous foods and products without realising they were being lied to.

Steve Hayes ,

What about US violations of international law?
What about US wars of aggression?
What about US regime change operations?
What about US lying propaganda?
What about US murderous sanctions?
What about US funding, arming and training of jihadist terrorists?
What about US funding, arming and training of fascist terrorists?
What about US threats and intimidation of the International Criminal Court?
What about US exceptionalism, which mirrors nothing so much as the Nazi ideas of ubermensch and untermensch?

richard le sarc ,

In Trump and Pompeo you see the evolution of a new type-the Ubumensch.

Gall ,

Just like to add: What about the genocide of the Indigenous population? What about all those broken treaties? What about all the lies?

[Jan 06, 2020] How To Avoid Swallowing War Propaganda by Nathan J. Robinson

Highly recommended!
Jan 05, 2020 | www.currentaffairs.org
The Trump administration has assassinated Iran's top military leader, Qassim Suleimani, and with the possibility of a serious escalation in violent conflict, it's a good time to think about how propaganda works and train ourselves to avoid accidentally swallowing it.

The Iraq War, the bloodiest and costliest U.S. foreign policy calamity of the 21 st century, happened in part because the population of the United States was insufficiently cynical about its government and got caught up in a wave of nationalistic fervor. The same thing happened with World War I and the Vietnam War. Since a U.S./Iran war would be a disaster, it is vital that everyone make sure they do not accidentally end up repeating the kinds of talking points that make war more likely.

Let us bear in mind, then, some of the basic lessons about war propaganda.

Things are not true because a government official says them.

I do not mean to treat you as stupid by making such a basic point, but plenty of journalists and opposition party politicians do not understand this point's implications, so it needs to be said over and over. What happens in the leadup to war is that government officials make claims about the enemy, and then those claims appear in newspapers ("U.S. officials say Saddam poses an imminent threat") and then in the public consciousness, the "U.S. officials say" part disappears, so that the claim is taken for reality without ever really being scrutinized. This happens because newspapers are incredibly irresponsible and believe that so long as you attach "Experts say" or "President says" to a claim, you are off the hook when people end up believing it, because all you did was relay the fact that a person said a thing, you didn't say it was true. This is the approach the New York Times took to Bush administration allegations in the leadup to the Iraq War, and it meant that false claims could become headline news just because a high-ranking U.S. official said them. [UPDATE: here's an example from Vox, today, of a questionable government claim being magically transformed into a certain fact.]

In the context of Iran, let us consider some things Mike Pence tweeted about Qassim Suleimani:

"[Suleimani] assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. The world is a safer place today because Soleimani is gone."

It is possible, given these tweets, to publish the headline: "Suleimani plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats, says Pence." That headline is technically true. But you should not publish that headline unless Pence provides some supporting evidence, because what will happen in the discourse is that people will link to your news story to prove that Suleimani was plotting imminent attacks.

To see how unsubstantiated claims get spread, let's think about the Afghanistan hijackers bit. David Harsanyi of the National Review defends Pence's claim about Suleimani helping the hijackers. Harsanyi cites the 9/11 Commission report, saying that the 9/11 commission report concluded Iran aided the hijackers. The report does indeed say that Iran allowed free travel to some of the men who went on to carry out the 9/11 attacks. (The sentence cut off at the bottom of Harsanyi's screenshot, however, rather crucially says : "We have no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.") Harsanyi admits that the report says absolutely nothing about Suleimani. But he argues that Pence was "mostly right," pointing out that Pence did not say Iran knew these men would be the hijackers, merely that it allowed them passage.

Let's think about what is going on here. Pence is trying to convince us that Suleimani deserved to die, that it was necessary for the U.S. to kill him, which will also mean that if Iran retaliates violently, that violence will be because Iran is an aggressive power rather than because the U.S. just committed an unprovoked atrocity against one of its leaders, dropping a bomb on a popular Iranian leader. So Pence wants to link Suleimani in your mind with 9/11, in order to get you blood boiling the same way you might have felt in 2001 as you watched the Twin Towers fall.

There is no evidence that either Iran or Suleimani tried to help these men do 9/11. Harsanyi says that Pence does not technically allege this. But he doesn't have to! What impression are people going to get from helped the hijackers? Pence hopes you'll conflate Suleimani and Iran as one entity, then assume that if Iran ever aided these men in any way, it basically did 9/11 even if it didn't have any clue that was what they were going to do.

This brings us to #2:

Do not be bullied into accepting simple-minded sloganeering

Let's say that, long before Ted Kaczynski began sending bombs through the mail, you once rented him an apartment. This was pure coincidence. Back then he was just a Berkeley professor, you did not know he would turn out to be the Unabomber. It is, however, possible, for me to say, and claim I am not technically lying, that you "housed and materially aided the Unabomber." (A friend of mine once sold his house to the guy who turned out to be the Green River Killer, so this kind of situation does happen.)

Of course, it is incredibly dishonest of me to characterize what you did that way. You rented an apartment to a stranger, yet I'm implying that you intentionally helped the Unabomber knowing he was the Unabomber. In sane times, people would see me as the duplicitous one. But the leadup to war is often not a sane time, and these distinctions can get lost. In the Pence claim about Afghanistan, for it to have any relevance to Suleimani, it would be critical to know (assuming the 9/11 commission report is accurate) whether Iran actually could have known what the men it allowed to pass would ultimately do, and whether Suleimani was involved. But that would involve thinking, and War Fever thrives on emotion rather than thought.

There are all kinds of ways in which you can bully people into accepting idiocy. Consider, for example, the statement "Nathan Robinson thinks it's good to help terrorists who murder civilians." There is a way in which this is actually sort of true: I think lawyers who aid those accused of terrible crimes do important work. If we are simple-minded and manipulative, we can call that "thinking it's good to help terrorists," and during periods of War Fever, that's exactly what it will be called. There is a kind of cheap sophistry that becomes ubiquitous:

I remember all this bullshit from my high school years. Opposing the invasion of Iraq meant loving Saddam Hussein and hating America. Thinking 9/11 was the predictable consequence of U.S. actions meant believing 9/11 was justified. Of course, rational discussion can expose these as completely unfair mischaracterizations, but every time war fever whips up, rational discussion becomes almost impossible. In World War I, if you opposed the draft you were undermining your country in a time of war. During Vietnam, if you believed the North Vietnamese had the more just case, you were a Communist traitor who endorsed every atrocity committed in the name of Ho Chi Minh, and if you thought John McCain shouldn't have been bombing civilians in the first place then clearly you believed he should have been tortured and you hated America.

"If you oppose assassinating Suleimani you must love terrorists" will be repeated on Fox News (and probably even on MSNBC). Nationalism advocate Yoram Hazony says there is something wrong with those who do not "feel shame when our country is shamed" -- presumably those who do not feel wounded pride when America is emasculated by our enemies are weak and pitiful. We should refuse to put up with these kind of cheap slurs, or even to let those who deploy them place the burden of proof on us to refute them. (In 2004, Democrats worried that they did appear unpatriotic, and so they ran a decorated war veteran, John Kerry, for president. That didn't work.)

Scrutinize the arguments

Here's Mike Pence again:

"[Suleimani] provided advanced deadly explosively formed projectiles, advanced weaponry, training, and guidance to Iraqi insurgents used to conduct attacks on U.S. and coalition forces; directly responsible for the death of 603 U.S. service members, along with thousands of wounded."

I am going to say something that is going to sound controversial if you buy into the kind of simple-minded logic we just discussed: Saying that someone was "responsible for the deaths of U.S. service members" does not, in and of itself, tell us anything about whether what they did was right or wrong. In order to believe it did, we would have to believe that the United States is automatically right, and that countries opposing the United States are automatically wrong. That is indeed the logic that many nationalists in this country follow; remember that when the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner, causing hundreds of deaths, George H.W. Bush said that he would never apologize for America, no matter what the facts were. What if America did something wrong? That was irrelevant, or rather impossible, because to Bush, a thing was right because America did it, even if that thing was the mass murder of Iranian civilians.

One of the major justifications for murdering Suleimani is that he "caused the deaths of U.S. soldiers." He was thus an aggressor, and could/should have been killed. That is where people like Pence want you to end your inquiry. But let us remember where those soldiers were. Were they in Miami? No. They were in Iraq. Why were they in Iraq? Because we illegally invaded and seized a country. Now, we can debate whether (1) there is actually sufficient evidence of Suleimani's direct involvement and (2) whether these acts of violence can be justified, but to say that Suleimani has "American blood on his hands" is to say nothing at all without an examination of whether the United States was in the right.

We have to think clearly in examining the arguments that are being made. Here 's the Atlantic 's George Packer on the execution:

"There was a case for killing Major General Qassem Soleimani. For two decades, as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, he executed Iran's long game of strategic depth in the Middle East -- arming and guiding proxy militias in Lebanon and Iraq that became stronger than either state, giving Bashar al-Assad essential support to win the Syrian civil war at the cost of half a million lives, waging a proxy war in Yemen against the hated Saudis, and repeatedly testing America and its allies with military actions around the region for which Iran never seemed to pay a military price."

The article goes on to discuss whether this case is outweighed by the pragmatic case against killing him. But wait. Let's dwell on this. Does this constitute a case for killing him? He assisted Bashar al-Assad. Okay, but presumably then killing Assad would have been justified too? Is the rule here that our government is allowed unilaterally to execute the officials of other governments who are responsible for many deaths? Are we the only ones who can do this? Can any government claim the right?

He assisted Yemen in its fight against "the hated Saudis." But is Saudi Arabia being hated for good reason? It is not enough to say that someone committed violence without analyzing the underlying justice of the parties' relative claims.

Moreover, assumptions are made that if you can prove somebody committed a heinous act, what Trump did is justified. But that doesn't follow: Unless we throw all law out the window, and extrajudicial punishment is suddenly acceptable, showing that Suleimani was a war criminal doesn't prove that you can unilaterally kill him with a drone. Henry Kissinger is a war criminal. So is George W. Bush. But they should be captured and tried in a court, not bombed from the sky. The argument that Suleimani was planning imminent attacks is relevant to whether you can stop him with violence (and requires persuasive proof), but mere allegations of murderous past acts do not show that extrajudicial killings are legitimate.

It's very easy to come up with superficially persuasive arguments that can justify just about anything. The job of an intelligent populace is to see whether those arguments can actually withstand scrutiny.

Keep the focus on what matters

"The main question about the strike isn't moral or even legal -- it's strategic." -- The Atlantic

"The real question to ask about the American drone attack that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was not whether it was justified, but whether it was wise" -- The New York Times

"I think that the question that we ought to focus on is why now? Why not a month ago and why not a month from now?" -- Elizabeth Warren

They're going to try to define the debate for you. Leaving aside the moral questions, is this good strategy? And then you find yourself arguing on those terms: No, it was bad strategy, it will put "our personnel" in harms way, without noticing that you are implicitly accepting the sociopathic logic that says "America's interests" are the only ones in the world that matters. This is how debates about Vietnam went: They were rarely about whether our actions were good for Vietnamese people, but about whether they were good or bad for us , whether we were squandering U.S. resources and troops in a "fruitless" "mistake." The people of this country still do not understand the kind of carnage we inflicted on Vietnam because our debates tend to be about whether things we do are "strategically prudent" rather than whether they are just. The Atlantic calls the strike a "blunder," shifting the discussion to be about the wisdom of the killing rather than whether it is a choice our country is even permitted to make. "Blunder" essentially assumes that we are allowed to do these things and the only question is whether it's good for us.

There will be plenty of attempts to distract you with irrelevant issues. We will spent more time talking about whether Trump followed the right process for war, whether he handled the rollout correctly, and less about whether the underlying action itself is correct. People like Ben Shapiro will say things like :

"Barack Obama routinely droned terrorists abroad -- including American citizens -- who presented far less of a threat to Americans and American interests than Soleimani. So spare me the hysterics about 'assassination."

In order for this to have any bearing on anything, you have to be someone who defends what Obama did. If you are, on the other hand, someone who belives that Obama, too, assassinated people without due process (which he did), then Shapiro has proved exactly nothing about whether Trump's actions were legitimate. (Note, too, the presumption that threatening "America's interests" can get you killed, a standard we would not want any other country using but are happy to use ourselves.)

Emphasis matters

Consider three statements:

These are statements made by Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, respectively. Note that each of them is consistent with believing Trump's decision was the wrong one, but their emphasis is different. Buttigieg says Suleimani was a "threat" but that there are "questions," Warren says Suleimani was a "murderer" but that this was "reckless," and Sanders says this was a "dangerous escalation." It could be that none of these three would have done the same thing themselves, but the emphasis is vastly different. Buttigieg and Warren lead with condemnation of the dead man, in ways that imply that there was nothing that unjust about what happened. Sanders does not dwell on Suleimani but instead talks about the dangers of new wars.

We have to be clear and emphatic in our messaging, because so much effort is made to make what should be clear issues appear murky. If, for example, you gave a speech in 2002 opposing the Iraq War, but the first half was simply a discussion of what a bad and threatening person Saddam Hussein was, people might actually get the opposite of the impression you want them to get. Buttigieg and Warren, while they appear to question the president, have the effect of making his action seem reasonable. After all, they admit that he got rid of a threatening murderer! Sanders admits nothing of the kind: The only thing he says is that Trump has made the world worse. He puts the emphasis where it matters.

I do not fully like Sanders' statement, because it still talks a bit more about what war means for our people , but it does mention destabilization and the total number of lives that can be lost. It is a far more morally clear and powerful antiwar statement. Buttigieg's is exactly what you'd expect of a Consultant President and it should give us absolutely no confidence that he would be a powerful voice against a war, should one happen. Warren confirms that she is not an effective advocate for peace. In a time when there will be pressure for a violent conflict, we need to make sure that our statements are not watery and do not make needless concessions to the hawks' propaganda.

Imagine how everything would sound if the other side said it.

If you're going to understand the world clearly, you have to kill your nationalistic emotions. An excellent way to do this is to try to imagine if all the facts were reversed. If Iraq had invaded the United States, and U.S. militias violently resisted, would it constitute "aggression" for those militias to kill Iraqi soldiers? If Britain funded those U.S. militias, and Iraq killed the head of the British military with a drone strike, would this constitute "stopping a terrorist"? Of course, in that situation, the Iraqi government would certainly spin it that way, because governments call everyone who opposes them terrorists. But rationality requires us not just to examine whether violence has been committed (e.g., whether Suleimani ordered attacks) but what the full historical context of that violence is, and who truly deserves the "terrorist" label.

Is there anything Suleimani did that hasn't also been done by the CIA? Remember that we actually engineered the overthrow of the Iranian government, within living people's lifetimes . Would an Iranian have been justified in assassinating the head of the CIA? I doubt there are many Americans who think they would. I think most Americans would consider this terrorism. But this is because terrorism is a word that, by definition, cannot apply to things we do, and only applies to the things others do. When you start to actually reverse the situations in your mind, and see how things look from the other side, you start to fully grasp just how crude and irrational so much propaganda is.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hPOy-LutJQg?feature=oembed

Watch out for euphemisms

Our access to much of the world is through language alone. We only see our tiny sliver of the world with our own eyes, much of the rest of it has to be described in words or shown to us through images. That means it's very easy to manipulate our perceptions. If you control the flow of information, you can completely alter someone's understanding of the things that they can't see firsthand.

Euphemistic language is always used to cover atrocities. Even the Nazis did not say they were "mass murdering innocent civilians." They said they were defending themselves from subversive elements, guaranteeing sufficient living space for their people, purifying their culture, etc. When the United States commits murder, it does not say it is committing murder. It says it is engaging in a stabilization program and restoring democratic rule. We saw during the recent Bolivian coup how easy it is to portray the seizure of power as "democracy" and democracy as tyranny. Euphemistic language has been one of the key tools of murderous regimes. In fact, many of them probably believe their own language; their specialized vocabulary allows them to inhabit a world of their own invention where they are good people punishing evil.

Assassination sounds bad. It sounds like something illegitimate, something that would call into question the goodness of the United States, even if the person being assassinated can be argued to have "deserved it." Thus Rothman and Bloomberg will not even admit that what the U.S. did here was an assassination, even though we literally targeted a high official from a sovereign country and dropped a bomb on him. Instead, this is " neutralization ." (Read this fascinatingly feeble attempt by the Associated Press to explain why it isn't calling an obvious assassination an assassination, just as the media declined to call torture torture when Bush did it.)

Those of us who want to resist marches to war need to insist on calling things exactly what they are and refuse to allow the country to slide into the use of language that conceals the reality of our actions.

Remember what people were saying five minutes ago

Five minutes ago, hardly anybody was talking about Suleimani. Now they all speak as if he was Public Enemy #1. Remember how much you hated that guy? Remember how much damage he did? No, I do not remember, because people like Ben Shapiro only just discovered their hatred for Suleimani once they had to justify his murder.

During the buildup to a war there is a constant effort to make you forget what things were like a few minutes ago. Before World War I, Americans lived relatively harmoniously with Germans in their midst. The same thing with Japanese people before World War II. Then, immediately, they began to hate and fear people who had recently been their neighbors.

Let us say Iran responds to this extrajudicial murder with a colossal act of violent reprisal, after the killing unifies the country around a demand for vengeance. They kill a high-ranking American official, or wage an attack that kills our civilians. Perhaps it will attack some of the soldiers that are now being moved into the Middle East. The Trump administration will then want you to forget that it promised this assassination was to " stop a war ." It will then want you to focus solely on Iran's most recent act, to see that as the initial aggression. If the attack is particularly bad, with family members of victims crying on TV and begging for vengeance, you will be told to look into the face of Iranian evil, and those of us who are anti-war will be branded as not caring about the victims. Nobody wants you to remember the history of U.S./Iran relations, the civilians we killed of theirs or the time we destabilized their whole country and got rid of its democracy. They want you to have a two-second memory, to become a blind and unthinking patriot whose sole thought is the avenging of American blood. Resisting propaganda requires having a memory, looking back on how things were before and not accepting war as the "new normal."

Listen to the Chomsky on your shoulder.

"It is perfectly insane to suggest the U.S. was the aggressor here." -- Ben Shapiro

They are going to try to convince you that you are insane for asking questions, or for not accepting what the government tells you. They will put you in topsy-turvy land, where thinking that assassinating foreign officials is "aggression" is not just wrong, but sheer madness. You will have to try your best to remember what things are, because it is not easy, when everyone says the emperor has clothes, or that Line A is longer than Line B, or that shocking people to death is fine, to have confidence in your independent judgment.

This is why I keep a little imaginary Noam Chomsky sitting on my shoulder at all times. Chomsky helps keep me sane, by cutting through lies and euphemisms and showing things as they really are. I recommend reading his books, especially during times of war. He never swallowed Johnson's nonsense about Vietnam or Bush's nonsense about Iraq. And of course they called him insane, anti-American, terrorist-loving, anti-Semitic, blah blah blah.

What I really mean here though is: Listen to the dissidents. They will not appear on television. They will be smeared and treated as lunatics. But you need them if you are going to be able to resist the absolute barrage of misinformation, or to hear yourself think over the pounding war drums. Times of War Fever can be wearying, because there is just so much aggression against dissent that your resistance wears down. This is why a community is so necessary. You may watch people who previously seemed reasonable develop a pathological bloodlust (mild-mannered moderate types like Thomas Friedman and Brian Williams going suck on our missiles ). Find the people who see clearly and stick close to them.

Someday peace will prevail. If you enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to our magnificent print edition or making a donation . Current Affairs is 100% reader-supported. Nathan J. Robinson

[Jan 06, 2020] Diplomacy Trump-style. Al Capone probably would be allow himself to fall that low

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Fec , Jan 5 2020 15:23 utc | 3

"We have learned today from #Iraq Prime Minister AdilAbdl Mahdi how @realDonaldTrump uses diplomacy:
#US asked #Iraq to mediate with #Iran. Iraq PM asks #QassemSoleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer of his mediation, Trump &co assassinate an envoy at the airport."

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1213833855754485762

[Dec 28, 2019] Senior OPCW Official Busted Leaked Email Exposes Orders To Delete All Traces Of Dissent On Douma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power. ..."
"... This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids. ..."
"... Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets. ..."
"... Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. ..."
"... Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us. ..."
"... If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press. ..."
"... Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup? ..."
"... The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense. ..."
"... And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal. ..."
"... According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this." ..."
"... New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Senior OPCW Official Busted: Leaked Email Exposes Orders To "Delete All Traces" Of Dissent On Douma by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:30 0 SHARES

Via AlMasdarNews.com,

Wikileaks has released their fourth set of leaks from the OPCW's Douma investigation, revealing new details about the alleged deletion of important information regarding the fact-finding mission.

RELEASE: OPCW-Douma Docs 4. Four leaked documents from the OPCW reveal that toxicologists ruled out deaths from chlorine exposure and a senior official ordered the deletion of the dissenting engineering report from OPCW's internal repository of documents. https://t.co/ndK4sRikNk

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

"One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW , where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation," WikiLeaks writes. Included in the email is the following directive:

" Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive] And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA.'"

According to Wikileaks, the main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma, was that two of the cylinders were most likely manually placed at the site, rather than dropped.

"The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident," the Wikileaks report said.

It must be remembered that the U.S. launched an attack on Damascus, Syria on April 14, 2018 over alleged chemical weapons usage by pro-Assad forces at Douma.

AP file image.

Another document released Friday is minutes from a meeting on 6 June 2018 where four staff members of the OPCW had discussions with "three Toxicologists/Clinical pharmacologists, one bioanalytical and toxicological chemist" (all specialists in chemical weapons, according to the minutes).

Minutes from an OPCW meeting with toxicologists specialized in chemical weapons: "the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was
no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure". https://t.co/j5Jgjiz8UY pic.twitter.com/vgPaTtsdQN

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

The purpose of this meeting was two-fold. The first objective was "to solicit expert advice on the value of exhuming suspected victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018". According to the minutes, the OPCW team was advised by the experts that there would be little use in conducting exhumations. The second point was "To elicit expert opinions from the forensic toxicologists regarding the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims."

More specifically, " whether the symptoms observed in victims were consistent with exposure to chlorine or other reactive chlorine gas."

According to the minutes leaked Friday: "With respect to the consistency of the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims with possible exposure to chlorine gas or similar, the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure ."

The OPCW team members wrote that the key "take-away message" from the meeting was "that the symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified".

* * *

See full details at Wikileaks.org


JohnFrodo , 28 minutes ago link

pity the human pawns at the center of this mess.

africoman , 38 minutes ago link

There has been a Newsweek reporter who quite over editorial block of this OPCW case here also another interview by Grayzone

https://youtu.be/qqK8KgxuCPI

The isisrahell have such long hand to pull the plug any stories implicating their crime in progress otherwise they can put out some bs spins as bombshell reporting about US lies in Afghanistan war on their wapo for public for those who read it was nothing important revealed except being a misdirected na

ponyboy99 , 40 minutes ago link

If you want to pay off that student loan you're going to print what they tell you to print. You're going to inject kids with what they tell you to inject them with. You're going to think what they tell you to think or you're going to spend your days in a Prole bar drinking Blatz.

ponyboy99 , 47 minutes ago link

If you go thru life assuming every single thing is a farce and a lie (Roddy Piper) these events can not only be explained, they can be predicted.

Ace006 , 57 minutes ago link

SOMEbody's got to ensure the intergrity of the Documents Registry Archive

Weihan , 58 minutes ago link

The globalist deep-state's reach is legendary.

Nothing , 1 hour ago link

yes, an attack was launched, 50 missiles I believe, after loud warnings that it was coming, and none of them actually hit anything significant ... this is the way the game is played .... the good news is that the missiles cost $50 million, and now they will have to be replaced, by the Pentagon, first borrowing the money through the US Treasury offerings, and then paying for them from new money printed by the Federal Reserve. capische?

Greed is King , 36 minutes ago link

That`s the way it`s always been, it`s the eternal war of good against evil.

And when one evil enemy is defeated, it`s necessary to create a new evil enemy, how else can the Establishment Elite make money from war, death and destruction.

africoman , 16 minutes ago link

It's really very awkward & telling how ***** these bunch of western nations are looking tough on taking out poor defenceless country like Syria on ******** & at the satried to ease real kickass Russian as you described when they launch the attacks

I kind wish the US & their Zionist clown launch such huge attacks on Iran based on false flag

I really wanted these evil aggressive powers to taste what it is like to get bombed back even one they used to throw on multiple weaker nations freely with nothing to fear as retribution etc

Thordoom , 1 hour ago link

This organisations are all set up in Europe and US run by the filthiest filth on earth who still think they have God given right to imperial rule over the world.

British elite is the worst of all.

DCFusor , 1 hour ago link

Your military-industrial-intelligence complex at work, creating justification for more funding, like always - and who cares if people die as a result? Like Soros said, if they didn't do it, someone else would. (do I need /sarc?).

They don't like to be shown to be in charge, just to be in charge. And if you think this is a function of the current admin, you've been slow in the head and deaf and blind for quite some time.

I've watched since Eisenhower, and "it's always something". Doesn't matter what color the clown in chief's tie is.

St. TwinkleToes , 1 hour ago link

Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power.

This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids.

veritas semper vinces , 2 hours ago link

Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets.

holgerdanske , 1 hour ago link

It was May that insisted on this attack. Remember the "poison" attack and the evil Russians?

lwilland1012 , 3 hours ago link

Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. Why do we even follow the law, then? Given the precedent that is being set, we might as well not have any.

ken , 1 hour ago link

Well, they are looking forward to using all those Israeli weapons, er, uh, products, that local law enforcement has purchased...so watch out for Co-Intel Pro elicitation going forward....?

WorkingClassMan , 3 hours ago link

Everybody knows the Golem (USA) does Isn'treal's bidding in Syria and elsewhere in the Near East. Hopefully they keep hammering in the fact that this "gas attack" was an obvious set-up to use as a pretext (flimsy itself on the face of it) to brutalize Assad and Syria on behalf of Isn'treal.

The whole thing is built on ******* lies. Worst part about it is, nothing will happen.

turkey george palmer , 3 hours ago link

Only official news is to believed. You see it and it is a lie. they tell you to believe it. A lot of people casually believe whatever is spoken on TV. They become teachers and are taught in college what is right and wrong. We only have a few years before all the brain dead are in charge and robotically following the message like zombies with no brain

adonisdemilo , 3 hours ago link

Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us.

johnnycanuck , 3 hours ago link

It is difficult to underestimate the seriousness of this manipulative act by the OPCW. In a response to the conservative author Peter Hitchens, who also writes for the Mail on Sunday – he is of course the brother of the late Christopher Hitchens – the OPCW admits that its so-called technical secretariat "is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised [sic] release of the document".

Then it adds: "At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate [sic] requests for interviews". It's a tactic that until now seems to have worked: not a single news media which reported the OPCW's official conclusions has followed up the story of the report which the OPCW suppressed.

And you bet the OPCW is not going to "accommodate" interviews. For here is an institution investigating a war crime in a conflict which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives – yet its only response to an enquiry about the engineers' "secret" assessment is to concentrate on its own witch-hunt for the source of the document it wished to keep secret from the world.

If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press.

https://johnmenadue.com/robert-fisk-the-evidence-we-were-never-meant-to-see-about-the-douma-gas-attack-counterpunch-27-may-2019/

5fingerdiscount , 3 hours ago link

Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup?

Helg Saracen , 3 hours ago link

The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense.

And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal.

carbonmutant , 4 hours ago link

You gotta wonder how much the deep state has deleted about their interference in Trump's administration...

dogbert8 , 4 hours ago link

Pretty much everyone with a brain realizes this all was a lie; only the M5M and the DC swamp continue to pretend it wasn't.

Joiningupthedots , 4 hours ago link

Who really made the order though?

ClickNLook , 3 hours ago link

Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW needs to be interrogated to find out.

Condor_0000 , 4 hours ago link

Newsweek Reporter Quits After Editors Block Coverage of OPCW Syria Scandal

December 19, 2019

Aaron Mate

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/19/newsweek-reporter-quits-after-editors-block-coverage-of-opcw-syria-scandal/

According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this."

New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded.

This is, without a doubt, a major global scandal: the OPCW, under reported US pressure, suppressing vital evidence about allegations of chemical weapons. But that very fact exposes another global scandal: with the exception of small outlets like The Grayzone, the mass media has widely ignored or whitewashed this story. And this widespread censorship of the OPCW scandal has just led one journalist to resign. Up until recently, Tareq Haddad was a reporter at Newsweek. But in early December, Tareq announced that he had quit his position after Newsweek refused to publish his story about the OPCW cover up over Syria.

[Dec 20, 2019] Intelligence community has become a self licking ice cream cone

Highly recommended!
Dec 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

J_Garbo ,

I suspected that Deep State has at least two opposing factions. The Realistists want him to break up the empire, turn back into a republic; the Delusionals want to extend the empire, continue to exploit and destroy the world. If so, the contradictions, reversals, incoherence make sense. IMO as I said.

Gary Weglarz ,

I predict that all Western MSM will begin to accurately and vocally cover Mr. Binney's findings about this odious and treasonous U.S. government psyop at just about the exact time that -- "hell freezes over" -- as they say.

Jen ,

They don't need to, they have Tony Blair's fellow Brit psycho Boris Johnson to go on autopilot and blame the Russians the moment something happens and just before London Met start their investigations.

[Dec 20, 2019] The purpose of manufactured hysteria in the US is to obfuscate the issues important to the Deep State like destroying the first amendment, renewing the 'Patriot' act, extremely increasing the war/hegemony budget, etc

Highly recommended!
Dec 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Realist , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:17 pm GMT

The Year of Manufactured Hysteria

The purpose of manufactured hysteria in the US is to obfuscate the issues important to the Deep State like destroying the first amendment, renewing the 'Patriot' act, extremely increasing the war/hegemony budget, etc.

The unimportant internecine squabbles of the 'two parties' strengthens the false perception that there is a choice when voting.

[Dec 02, 2019] The Fake Myth of American Meritocracy by Barbara Boland

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As part of the scam, parents would "donate" money to a fake charity run by Singer. The funds would then be laundered to either pay off an SAT or ACT administrator to take the exams or bribe an employee in college athletics to name the rich, non-athlete children as recruits. Virtually every scenario relied on multiple layers of corruption, all of which eventually allowed wealthy students to masquerade as "deserving" of the merit-based college slots they paid up to half a million dollars to "qualify" for. ..."
"... When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it. ..."
"... The conclusion of the study? We live in an oligarchy: ..."
Mar 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The college bribery scandal reveals an ugly truth: our society is unjust, dominated by a small elite. Actress Lori Loughlin, who has been implicated in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal. Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock The most destructive and pervasive myth in America today is that we live in a meritocracy. Our elites, so the myth goes, earned their places at Yale and Harvard, on Wall Street and in Washington -- not because of the accident of their birth, but because they are better, stronger, and smarter than the rest of us. Therefore, they think, they've "earned" their places in the halls of power and "deserve" to lead.

The fervor with which so many believe this enables elites to lord over those worse off than they are. On we slumber, believing that we live in a country that values justice, instead of working towards a more equitable and authentically meritocratic society.

Take the Operation Varsity Blues scandal. On Tuesday, the FBI and federal prosecutors announced that 50 people had been charged in, as Sports Illustrated put it , "a nationwide college admissions scheme that used bribes to help potential students cheat on college entrance exams or to pose as potential athletic recruits to get admitted to high-profile universities." Thirty-three parents, nine collegiate coaches, two SAT/ACT exam administrators, an exam proctor, and a college athletics administrator were among those charged. The man who allegedly ran the scheme, William Rick Singer, pled guilty to four charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstruction of justice.

As part of the scam, parents would "donate" money to a fake charity run by Singer. The funds would then be laundered to either pay off an SAT or ACT administrator to take the exams or bribe an employee in college athletics to name the rich, non-athlete children as recruits. Virtually every scenario relied on multiple layers of corruption, all of which eventually allowed wealthy students to masquerade as "deserving" of the merit-based college slots they paid up to half a million dollars to "qualify" for.

Cheating. Bribery. Lying. The wealthy and privileged buying what was reserved for the deserving. It's all there on vivid display. Modern American society has become increasingly and banally corrupt , both in the ways in which "justice" is meted out and in who is allowed to access elite education and the power that comes with it.

The U.S. is now a country where corruption is rampant and money buys both access and outcomes. We pretend to be better than Russia and other oligarchies, but we too are dominated by a rich and powerful elite.

The average American citizen has very little power, as a 2014 study by Princeton University found. The research reviewed 1,779 public policy questions asked between 1981 and 2002 and the responses by different income levels and interest groups; then calculated the likelihood that certain policies would be adopted.

What they found came as no surprise: How to Fix College Admissions

A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favor) is adopted only about 18 percent of the time, while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favor) is adopted about 45% of the time.

That's in stark contrast with policies favored by average Americans:

When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

The conclusion of the study? We live in an oligarchy:

our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. [T]he preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.

The belief in the myth of merit hurts the smart kid with great grades who aced his SATs but was still rejected from Yale and Harvard. It hurts talented athletes who have worked their tails off for so many years. It hurts parents who have committed hundreds of school nights and weekends to their children. It hurts HR departments that believe degrees from Ivy League schools mean that graduates are qualified. It hurts all of us who buy into the great myth that America is a democratic meritocracy and that we can achieve whatever we want if only we're willing to expend blood, toil, sweat, and tears.

At least in an outright class system like the British Houses of Lords and Commons, there is not this farcical playacting of equal opportunity. The elites, with their privilege and titles, know the reason they are there and feel some sense of obligation to those less well off than they are. At the very least, they do not engage in the ritual pretense of "deserving" what they "earned" -- quite unlike those who descend on Washington, D.C. believing that they really are better than their compatriots in flyover country.

All societies engage in myth-making about themselves. But the myth of meritocracy may be our most pervasive and destructive belief -- and it mirrors the myth that anything like "justice" is served up in our courts.

Remember the Dupont heir who received no prison time after being convicted for raping his three-year-old daughter because the judge ruled that six-foot-four Robert Richards "wouldn't fare well in prison"? Or the more recent case of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who had connections to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and faced a 53-page federal indictment for sex-trafficking over two dozens underage girls ? He received instead a sweetheart deal that concealed the extent of his crimes. Rather than the federal life imprisonment term he was facing, Epstein is currently on house arrest after receiving only 13 months in county jail. The lead prosecutor in that case had previously been reprimanded by a federal judge in another underage sex crimes case for concealing victim information, the Miami Herald reports .

While the rich are able to escape consequences for even the most horrific of crimes , the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Approximately 7 million people were under some form of correctional control by the end of 2011, including 2.2 million who were detained in federal, state, and local prisons and jails. One in every 10 black men in his thirties is in prison or jail, and one out of three black men born in 2001 can expect to go to prison in their lifetimes.

While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed . There are big racial disparities in charging, sentencing, plea bargaining, and executions, Department of Justice reviews have concluded, and black and brown people are disproportionately found to be innocent after landing on death row. The poor and disadvantaged thereby become grist for a system that cares nothing for them.

Despite all this evidence, most Americans embrace a version of the Calvinist beliefs promulgated by their forebears, believing that the elect deserve their status. We remain confident that when our children apply to college or are questioned by police , they will receive just and fair outcomes. If our neighbors' and friends' kids do not, then we assure ourselves that it is they who are at fault, not the system.

The result has been a gaping chasm through our society. Lives are destroyed because, rather than working for real merit-based systems and justice, we worship at the altar of false promises offered by our institutions. Instead we should be rolling up our sleeves and seeing Operation Varsity Blues for what it is: a call to action.

Barbara Boland is the former weekend editor of the Washington Examiner . Her work has been featured on Fox News, the Drudge Report, HotAir.com, RealClearDefense, RealClearPolitics, and elsewhere. She's the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General Patton in World War II. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

The GOP's Laughable Call for a Balanced Budget Amendment Congress's "One Spending Bill to Rule Them All" is a Debt-Fueled Disgrace Hide 11 comments 11 Responses to The Myth of American Meritocracy

Collin March 15, 2019 at 1:46 pm

If conservatives are going to dance the graves of Aunt Beckie, the backlash is going to be big. Sure this is a 'scandal' but it seems these parents weren't rich enough to bribe their kids in college the right way, like Trumps and Kushner, and probably slightly duped into going along with this scheme. (It appears the government got the ring leader to call all defendants to get evidence they participated in a crime.)

Just wait until the mug shot of Aunt Beckie is on the internet and Olivia Jade does 60 minutes doing teary eyed interview of how much she loves her mother. And how many parents are stress that their kids will struggle in the global competitive economy.

Fran Macadam , , March 15, 2019 at 1:52 pm
I fully recall the days of getting government computing contracts. Once a certain threshold was reached, you discovered you had to hire a "lobbyist," and give him a significant amount of money to dole out to various gatekeepers in the bureaucracy for your contracts to be approved. That was the end of our government contracts, and the end was hastened by the reaction to trying to complain about it.
prodigalson , , March 15, 2019 at 1:56 pm
Great article, well done. More of this please TAC.
Kurt Gayle , , March 15, 2019 at 2:17 pm
Thank you, Barbara Boland, for "The Myth of American Meritocracy" and for linking ("Related Articles" box) to the 2012 "The Myth of American Meritocracy" by Ron Unz, then publisher of the American Conservative.

The 26,000-word Ron Unz research masterpiece was the opening salvo in the nation-wide discussion that ultimately led to the federal court case nearing resolution in Boston.

"The Myth of American Meritocracy -- How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?" by Ron Unz, The American Conservative, Nov 28, 2012:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/

Kurt Gayle , , March 15, 2019 at 2:18 pm
Barbara Boland "While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed."

Ms. Boland: According to the US Department of Justice, African Americans [13 per cent of the population] accounted for 52.5% of all homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008.

JeffK , , March 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm
I agree with prodigalson. This is the type of article that TAC should uphold as a 'gold standard'. One reason I read, and comment on, TAC is that it offers thought provoking, and sometimes contrarian, articles (although the constant harping on transgender BS gets annoying).

America has always been somewhat corrupt. But, to borrow a phrase, wealth corrupts, and uber wealth corrupts absolutely.

As Warren Buffet says "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning".

I have said it before, and I will say it again. During the next severe financial recession, if the rich are protected and coddled and everybody else is left to fend for themselves the ARs will come out of the closets when the sheriff comes to take the house or the pickup truck. My sense is that average Americans have had enough.

Imagine if the digital transfer of money was abolished. Imagine if everybody had to have their money in a local bank instead of on an account in one of the major banks. Imagine if Americans saw, day after day, armored vehicles showing up at local banks to offload sacks of currency that went to only a few individual accounts.

Instead, the elites get their financial statements showing an ever increasing pile of cash at their disposal. They see it, but nobody else does. But, if everybody physically saw the river of wealth flowing to the elites, I believe things would change. Fast. Right now this transfer of wealth is all digital, hidden from the view of 99.99% of Americans. And the elites, the banking industry, and the wealth management cabal prefer it that way.

Mike N in MA , , March 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm
You said it sister. Great article.

I am amazed by the media coverage of this scandal. Was anyone actually under the impression that college admissions were on the level before these Hollywood bozos were caught red handed?

BDavi52 , , March 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm
What total silliness!

No, the meritocracy is not dead; it's not even dying. It is, in fact, alive and well and the absolute best alternative to any other method used to separate wheat from chaff, cream from milk, diamonds from rust.

What else is there that is even half as good?

Are merit-based systems perfect? Heck, no. They've never been perfect; they will never be perfect. They are administered by people and people are flawed. Not just flawed in the way Singer, and Huffman are flawed (and those individuals are not simply flawed, they're corrupt) but flawed in the everyday kind of sense. Yes, we all have tendencies, biases, preferences that will -- inevitably -- leak into our selection process, no matter how objectively strict the process may be structured, no matter how rigorously fair we try to be.

So the fact that -- as with most things -- we can find a trace of corruption here that fact is meaningless. We can find evidence of human corruption, venality, greed, sloth, lust, envy (all of the 7 Deadly Sins) pretty much everywhere. But if we look at the 20M students enrolled in college, the vast majority are successfully & fairly admitted through merit-based filtering systems (which are more or less rigorous) which have been in place forever.

Ms. Boland tells us (with a straight face, no less) that "The U.S. is now a country where corruption is rampant and money buys both access and outcomes." But what does that even mean?

Certainly money can buy access and certainly money can buy outcomes. But that's what money does. She might as well assert that money can buy goods and services, and lions and tigers and bears -- oh my! Of course it can. Equally networks can 'buy' access and outcomes (if my best friend is working as the manager for Adele, I'm betting he could probably arrange my meeting Adele). Equally success & fame can buy access and outcomes. I'm betting Adele can probably arrange a meeting with Gwen Stefani .and both can arrange a meeting with Tom Brady. So what? Does the fact that money can be used to purchase goods & services mean money or the use of money is corrupt or morally degenerate? No, of course not. In truth, we all leverage what we have (whatever that may be) to get what we want. That's how life works. But the fact that we all do that does not mean we are all corrupt.

But yes, corruption does exist and can usually be found, in trace amounts -- as I said -- pretty much everywhere.

So is it rampant? Can I buy my way into the NBA or the NFL? If I go to Clark Hunt and give him $20M and tell him I want to play QB for the Chiefs, will he let me? Can I buy my way into the CEO's position at General Electric, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sprint, Verizon, General Motors, Toyota or any of the Fortune 500? Heck, can I even buy my way into the Governor's mansion? To become the Mayor of Chicago? Or the Police Commissioner? No -- these things are not possible. But what I can buy is my presence on the media stage.

What happens after cannot be purchased.

So no, by any measure, corruption is not rampant. And though many things are, in fact, for sale -- not everything is. And no matter how much money I give anyone, I'm never gonna QB the Chiefs or play for the Lakers.

She tells us, "we are dominated by a rich and powerful elite." No, we're not. Most of us live our lives making the choices we want to make, given the means that each of us has, without any interference from any so-called "elite". The "elite" didn't tell me where to go to school, or where to get a job, or how to do my job, or when to have kids, or what loaf of bread to buy, or what brand of beer tastes best, or where to go on the family vacation. No one did. The elite obviously did not tell us who to vote for in the last presidential election.

Of course one of the problems with the "it's the fault of the elite" is the weight given institutions by people like Ms.Boland. "Oh, lordy, the Elite used their dominating power to get a brainless twit of a daughter into USC". Now if my kid were cheated out of a position at USC because the Twit got in, I'd be upset but beyond that who really cares if a Twit gets an undergraduate degree from USC or Yale .or Harvard .or wherever. Some of the brightest people I've known earned their degrees at Easter PolyTechnic U (some don't even have college degrees -- oh, the horror!); some of the stupidest have Ivy League credentials. So what?

Only if you care about the exclusivity of such a relatively meaningless thing as a degree from USC, does gaming the exclusivity matter.

She ends with the exhortation: "The result has been a gaping chasm through our society. Lives are destroyed because, rather than working for real merit-based systems and justice, we worship at the altar of false promises offered by our institutions. Instead we should be rolling up our sleeves and seeing Operation Varsity Blues for what it is: a call to action."

To do what, exactly?

Toss the baby and the bathwater? Substitute lottery selection for merit? Flip a coin? What?
Again the very best method is and always will be merit-based. That is the incentive which drives all of us: the hope that if we work hard enough and do well enough, that we will succeed. Anything else is just a lie.

Yes, we can root out this piece of corruption. Yes, we can build better and more rigorously fair systems. But in the end, merit is the only game in town. Far better to roll-up our sleeves and simply buckle down, Winsocki. There isn't anything better.

Sid Finster , , March 15, 2019 at 2:52 pm
Gee, and people wonder why the rubes think that the system is gamed, why the dogs no longer want to eat the dog food.
Jim Jatras , , March 15, 2019 at 3:22 pm
"While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed. There are big racial disparities in charging, sentencing, plea bargaining, and executions, Department of Justice reviews have concluded, and black and brown people are disproportionately found to be innocent after landing on death row. The poor and disadvantaged thereby become grist for a system that cares nothing for them."

So to what degree are these "disparities" "disproportionate" in light of actual criminal behavior? To be "proportionate," would we expect criminal behavior to correlate exactly to racial, ethnic, sex, and age demographics of society as a whole?

Put another way, if you are a victim of a violent crime in America, what are the odds your assailant is, say, an elderly, Asian female? Approximately zero.

Conversely, what are the odds your assailant is a young, black male? Rather high, and if you yourself are a young, black male, approaching 100 percent.

Pam , , March 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Mostly thumbs up to this article. But why you gotta pick on Calvinism at the end? Anyway, your understanding of Calvinism is entirely upside down. Calvinists believe they are elect by divine grace, and salvation is something given by God through Jesus, which means you can't earn it and you most assuredly don't deserve it. Calvinism also teaches that all people are made in the image of God and worthy of respect, regardless of class or status. There's no "version" of Calvinism that teaches what you claim.

[Dec 01, 2019] Neoliberalism Tells Us We're Selfish Souls How Can We Promote Other Identities by Christine Berry,

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As the Gramscian theorists Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau observed, our political identities are not a 'given' – something that emerges directly from the objective facts of our situation. We all occupy a series of overlapping identities in our day-to-day lives – as workers or bosses, renters or home-owners, debtors or creditors. Which of these define our politics depends on political struggles for meaning and power. ..."
"... The architects of neoliberalism understood this process of identity creation. By treating people as selfish, rational utility maximisers, they actively encouraged them to become selfish, rational utility maximisers. As the opening article points out, this is not a side effect of neoliberal policy, but a central part of its intention. As Michael Sandel pointed out in his 2012 book 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets' , it squeezes out competing values that previously governed non-market spheres of life, such as ethics of public service in the public sector, or mutual care within local communities. But these values remain latent: neoliberalism does not have the power to erase them completely. This is where the hope for the left lies, the crack of light through the doorway that needs to be prised open. ..."
"... More generally, there is some evidence that neoliberalism didn't really succeed in making us see ourselves as selfish rational maximisers – just in making us believe that everybody else was . For example, a 2016 survey found that UK citizens are on average more oriented towards compassionate values than selfish values, but that they perceive others to be significantly more selfish (both than themselves and the actual UK average). Strikingly, those with a high 'self-society gap' were found to be less likely to vote and engage in civic activity, and highly likely to experience feelings of cultural estrangement. ..."
"... Perhaps a rational system is one that accepts selfishness but keeps it within limits. Movements like the Chicago school that pretend to reinvent the wheel with new thinking are by this view a scam. As J.K. Galbraith said: "the problem with their ideas is that they have been tried." ..."
"... They tried running an economy on debt in the 1920s. The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics. ..."
"... Keynes looked at the problems of the debt based economy and came up with redistribution through taxation to keep the system running in a sustainable way and he dealt with the inherent inequality capitalism produced. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create ('print') money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can 'afford.' Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma. ..."
"... The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place -- and with so little public accountability? ..."
Nov 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Limits of Neoliberal Consciousness

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

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

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

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

What's Our 'Right to Buy?'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 12:36 pm

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

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

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

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

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 1, 2019 at 4:55 pm

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

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

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 5:54 pm

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

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

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

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 9:05 pm

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

Carolinian , November 2, 2019 at 9:14 am

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

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

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

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

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

J4Zonian , November 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

The desire for justice is the constant.

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

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

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

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

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:09 am

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

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

The desire for justice is the constant.

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

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

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

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

Synoia , November 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

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

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

As I found out when I left University.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm

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

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

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 5:52 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Thanks very much for this comment, Historian.

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 5:22 pm

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

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

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

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

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:43 pm

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

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

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

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

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:47 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 11:17 pm

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

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

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

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

thank you, historian

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

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

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

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

Janie , November 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm

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

Grebo , November 2, 2019 at 12:25 am

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

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

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

Davenport , November 2, 2019 at 7:57 am

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

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

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

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

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

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

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

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

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

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

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:18 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jrs , November 1, 2019 at 3:11 pm

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

shtove , November 2, 2019 at 3:45 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 3:05 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 10:49 pm

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

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

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

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

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

David , November 1, 2019 at 3:07 pm

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

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

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

This. That's it.

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

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

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

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

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

No idea how to do that from the top.

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

Jeez louise-
one more attempt to get past Skynet

PKMKII , November 1, 2019 at 4:05 pm

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

Rod , November 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm

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

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

this is next gen coming up here

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:33 pm

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

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

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:35 pm

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

And that is a key point!

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 7:39 pm

>so many people believe their job is their identity

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

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

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

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

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

Where does wealth creation actually occur in the capitalist system?

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

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

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

Now, we can move on further.

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

How can banks create wealth with bank credit?
The UK used to know before 1980.
https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)
After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don't result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)
What happened in 1979?
The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some very important things got lost 100 years ago.

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

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

It's all about the economy, and UK businesses will benefit from low housing costs. High housing costs push up wages and reduce profits. Off-shore to make more profit, you can pay lower wages where the cost of living is lower, e.g. China; the US and UK are rubbish.

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

What was Keynes really doing? Creating a low cost, internationally competitive economy. Keynes's ideas were a solution to the problems of the Great Depression, but we forgot why he did, what he did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economics, the time line:

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

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

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

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

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

"Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create ('print') money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can 'afford.' Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma.

The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place -- and with so little public accountability? And if money can be created to serve the banks, why not to benefit people and the environment? "

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

The Commons should have a shot at revival as the upcoming generation's desires are outstripped by their incomes and savings. The conflict between desires and reality may give a boost to alternate notions of what's desirable. Add to this the submersion of cities under the waves of our expanding oceans, and one gets yet another concrete reason to think that individual ownership isn't up to the job of inspiring young people.

A Commons of some sort will be needed to undo the cost of generations of unpaid negative externalities. Fossil fuels, constant warfare, income inequality, stupendous idiocy of kleptocratic government these baked in qualities of neo-liberalism are creating a very large, dissatisfied, and educated population just about anywhere one looks. Suburbia will be on fire, as well as underwater. Farmlands will be parched, drenched, and exhausted. Where will Larry Summers dump the garbage?

[Nov 24, 2019] Chris Hedges on Death of the Liberal Class - YouTube

Highly recommended!
Jan 04, 2011 | www.youtube.com

riccardo estavans , 4 months ago

Colin Shaw , 5 months ago Think Mackay , 5 months ago

Bill Clinton destroyed the USA economy and middle class like no president has ever done. Bush II and Obama exacerbated the destruction by the hundred folds.

Orion's Ghost , 5 months ago

I believe Hedges statement that "the true correctives to society were social movements that never achieved formal political power" is perhaps one of the most important things for each of us to understand.

Fred Slocombe , 3 months ago (edited)
Ali Naderzad , 3 months ago (edited)

16:50 GENIUS. WELL DONE. So true.go Chris !!!

cubismo85 , 4 weeks ago

hauntingly accurate in every aspect, im speehless

Eris123451 , 3 days ago

I watched this with interest and curiosity and growing skepticism although he makes some killer points and cites some extremely disturbing facts; above all he accepts and uncritically so the American narrative of history.

Brian Valero , 4 months ago

The message from democrats is "hey we're not bigots". Most people (repubs+dems) aren't. If they keep calling on that for energy the Dems will forever continue to lose. If they don't come back to the working class they might as well just call themselves conservatives.

jimmyolsenblues , 4 months ago

he did/wrote this in 2011, he really understood then how things are in 2019.

Andy Russ , 3 years ago (edited)

Prescient 'post-mortem' of the 2016 election

2009starlite , 5 months ago (edited)

Those of us who seek the truth can't stop looking under every stone. The truth will set you free but you must share it with those who are ready to hear it and hide it from those who can hurt you for exposing it. MT

Aubrey De Bliquy , 2 days ago (edited)

"A Society that looses the capacity for the sacred cannibalizes itself until it dies because it exploits the natural world as well as human beings to the point of collapse."

Clark WARS News , 1 day ago

I learned something from watching this thank you powerful teacher love you ⭐

Rebel Scum , 5 months ago

I think he meant Washington State University which is in Pullman. The University of Washington is in Seattle. 16:43

phuturephunk , 6 years ago

Damn, he's grim...but he makes a whole lot of sense.

davekiernan1 , 2 weeks ago

Like Mr bon ribentrof said in monty Python. He's right you know...

Rich Keal , 5 months ago

Search YouTube for Dr. Antony Sutton the funding of the Bolshevik Revolution. The Act of 1871 as well. Take the Red Pill and go deeper.

kevin joseph , 5 days ago

loony republicans? did they open the borders, legalize late abortions and outright infanticide?

Michael Maya , 5 months ago

I've listened to this twice both twice it played on accident bcuz I had you tube on autoplay, it woke me up while I was sleeping but I'm glad it did.

Bryce Hallam , 1 week ago

Set the Playback Speed to: 1.25 . Great lecture.

Buddy Aces , 5 months ago

It makes sense and we can smell it! Those varmints must be shown no mercy.

VC YT , 5 months ago

To get in the mood, I watched this lecture from behind some Hedges. :-)

Orion's Ghost , 5 months ago

I believe Hedges statement that "the true correctives to society were social movements that never achieved formal political power" is perhaps one of the most important things for each of us to understand.

Fred Slocombe , 3 months ago (edited)

15:05 The subjugation of Education 21:15 Theatrical Manipulation of Expectations 24:08 U.S. Debt and Borrowing

Ali Naderzad , 3 months ago (edited)

16:50 GENIUS. WELL DONE. So true.go Chris !!!

cubismo85 , 4 weeks ago

hauntingly accurate in every aspect, im speehless

Eris123451 , 3 days ago

I watched this with interest and curiosity and growing skepticism although he makes some killer points and cites some extremely disturbing facts; above all he accepts and uncritically so the American narrative of history. The Progressive movement, for example, (written into American history as being far more important that it ever really was,) unlike Socialism or Communism was primarily just a literary and a trendy intellectually movement that attempted, (unconvincingly,) to persuade poor, exploited and abused Americans that non of those other political movements, (reactive and grass-roots,) were needed here and that capitalism could and might of itself, cure itself; it conceded little, promised much and unlike either Communism or Socialism delivered fuck all. Personally I remain unconvinced also by, "climate science," (which he takes as given,) and which seems to to me to depend far too much on faith and self important repeatedly insisting that it's true backed by lurid and hysterical propaganda and not nearly enough on rational scientific argument, personally I can't make head nor tail of the science behind it ? (it may well be true, or not; I can't tell.) But above all and stripped of it his pretensions his argument is just typical theist, (of any flavor you like,) end of times claptrap all the other systems have failed, (China for example somewhat gives the lie to death of Communism by the way and so on,) the end is neigh and all that is left to do is for people to turn to character out of first century fairly story. I wish him luck with that.

penny kannon , 5 months ago

CHRIS HEDGES YOUR BOOK MUST BE HIGH SCHOOL STUDY!!! wtkjr.!!!

Brian Valero , 4 months ago

The message from democrats is "hey we're not bigots". Most people (repubs+dems) aren't. If they keep calling on that for energy the Dems will forever continue to lose. If they don't come back to the working class they might as well just call themselves conservatives.

jimmyolsenblues , 4 months ago

he did/wrote this in 2011, he really understood then how things are in 2019.

Andy Russ , 3 years ago (edited)

Prescient 'post-mortem' of the 2016 election

Jean Lloyd Bradberry , 5 months ago

Shared! Excellent presentation!

Mike van Wijngaarden , 4 months ago

What if, to fail is the objective? That would mean they planned everything that's happened and will happen.

Michael Hutz , 1 month ago (edited)

Loved Chris in this one. First time I've heard him talking naturally instead of reading verbatim from a text which makes him sound preachy.

Bill Mccloy , 4 months ago (edited)

Chris is our canary in a coal mine! Truly a national treasure and a champion for humanity. And he's more Christian than he thinks he is.

Herr Pooper , 4 months ago

I have always loved Chris Hedges, but ever since becoming fully awake it pains me to see how he will take gigantic detours of imagination to never mention Israel, AIPAC or Zionism, and their complete takeover of the US. What a shame.

ISIS McCain , 4 months ago

Hey Chris, please look up Dr. Wolfe and have a big debate with him!!! I believe you guys would mostly hit it off, but please look him up!

UtopiaMinor666 , 8 years ago

The reality of this is enough to make you want to cry.

Terri Pebsworth , 3 months ago

Excellent! And truer today (2019) than even in 2010.

Russell Olausen , 4 months ago

Notes From the Underground,my favourite book.

John Doe , 3 weeks ago

Gosh I thought it was being broadcasted today. Then I heard it and it was really for today.

George C. May , 2 months ago

Not once did I hear the word corruption which in this speech sums up the bureaucratic control of the country !

L N , 5 months ago

I think Chris Has saved my life! ✊🏼✌️ 👍🏼🌅

Laureano Luna , 4 months ago

43:53 Cicero did not even live the imperial period of Rome...

andrew domenitz , 4 months ago

The continued growth of unproductive debt against the low or nonexistent growth of GDP is the recipe for collapse, for the whole world economic system.

Thomas Simmons , 5 months ago

I agree with Chris about the tragedy of the Liberal Church. Making good through identity politics however, is every bit as heretical and tragic as Evangelical Republican corrupted church think, in my humble, Christian opinion.

Alexandros Aiakides , 2 weeks ago (edited)

The death of the present western hemisphere governments and "democratic" institutions must die right now for humanity to be saved from the zombies that rule it. 'Cannibalization" of oikonomia was my idea, as well as of William Engdahl. l am glad hearing Hedges to adopt the expression of truth. ( November 2019. from Phthia , Hellas ).

Heathcliff Earnshaw , 4 months ago div cl

ass="comment-renderer-text-content expanded"> Gosh , especially that last conclusion ,was terrific so I want to paste the whole of that Auden poem here:- September 1, 1939 W. H. Auden - 1907-1973

... ... ...

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

[Nov 21, 2019] How Neoliberal Thinkers Spawned Monsters They Never Imagined

Highly recommended!
Nov 21, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 20, 2019 by Yves Smith By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Political theorist Wendy Brown's latest book, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West , traces the intellectual roots of neoliberalism and reveals how an anti-democratic project unleashed monsters – from plutocrats to neo-fascists – that its mid-20 th century visionaries failed to anticipate. She joins the Institute for New Economic Thinking to discuss how the flawed blueprint for markets and the less-discussed focus on morality gave rise to threats to democracy and society that are distinct from what has come before.

Lynn Parramore: To many people, neoliberalism is about economic agendas. But your book explores what you describe as the moral aspect of the neoliberal project. Why is this significant?

Wendy Brown: Most critical engagement with neoliberalism focuses on economic policy deregulation, privatization, regressive taxation, union busting and the extreme inequality and instability these generate. However, there is another aspect to neoliberalism, apparent both in its intellectual foundations and its actual roll-out, that mirrors these moves in the sphere of traditional morality. All the early schools of neoliberalism (Chicago, Austrian, Freiburg, Virginia) affirmed markets and the importance of states supporting without intervening in them.

But they also all affirmed the importance of traditional morality (centered in the patriarchal family and private property) and the importance of states supporting without intervening in it. They all supported expanding its reach from the private into the civic sphere and rolling back social justice previsions that conflict with it. Neoliberalism thus aims to de-regulate the social sphere in a way that parallels the de-regulation of markets.

Concretely this means challenging, in the name of freedom, not only regulatory and redistributive economic policy but policies aimed at gender, sexual and racial equality. It means legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates (and when corporations are identified as persons, they too are empowered to assert such freedom). Because neoliberalism has everywhere carried this moral project in addition to its economic one, and because it has everywhere opposed freedom to state imposed social justice or social protection of the vulnerable, the meaning of liberalism has been fundamentally altered in the past four decades.

That's how it is possible to be simultaneously libertarian, ethnonationalist and patriarchal today: The right's contemporary attack on "social justice warriors" is straight out of Hayek.

LP: You discuss economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek at length in your book. How would you distribute responsibility to him compared to other champions of conservative formulations for how neoliberalism has played out? What were his blind spots, which seem evidenced today in the rise of right-wing forces and angry populations around the world?

WB: Margaret Thatcher thumped Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty and declared it the bible of her project. She studied it, believed it, and sought to realize it. Reagan imbibed a lot of Thatcherism. Both aimed to implement the Hayekian view of markets, morals and undemocratic statism. Both accepted his demonization of society (Thatcher famously quotes him, "there's no such thing") and his view that state policies aimed at the good for society are already on the road to totalitarianism. Both affirmed traditional morality in combination with deregulated markets and attacks on organized labor.

I am not arguing that Hayek is the dominant influence for all times and places of neoliberalization over the past four decades -- obviously the Chicago Boys [Chilean economists of the '70s and '80s trained at the University of Chicago] were key in Latin America while Ordoliberalism [a German approach to liberalism] has been a major influence in the European Union's management of the post-2008 crises. "Progressive neoliberals" and neoliberalized institutions hauled the project in their own direction. But Hayek's influence is critical to governing rationality of neoliberalism in the North and he also happens to be a rich and complex thinker with a fairly comprehensive worldview, one comprising law, family, morality, state, economy, liberty, equality, democracy and more.

The limitations? Hayek really believed that markets and traditional morality were both spontaneous orders of action and cooperation, while political life would always overreach and thus required tight constraints to prevent its interventions in morality or markets. It also needed to be insulated from instrumentalism by concentrated economic interests, from aspiring plutocrats to the masses. The solution, for him, was de-democratizing the state itself. He was, more generally, opposed to robust democracy and indeed to a democratic state. A thriving order in his understanding would feature substantial hierarchy and inequality, and it could tolerate authoritarian uses of political power if they respected liberalism, free markets and individual freedom.

We face an ugly, bowdlerized version of this today on the right. It is not exactly what Hayek had in mind, and he would have loathed the plutocrats, demagogues and neo-fascist masses, but his fingerprints are on it.

LP: You argue that there is now arising something distinct from past forms of fascism, authoritarianism, plutocracy, and conservatism. We see things like images of Italian right groups giving Fascist salutes that have been widely published. Is that merely atavism? What is different?

WB: Of course, the hard right traffics in prior fascist and ultra-racist iconography, including Nazism and the Klan. However, the distinctiveness of the present is better read from the quotidian right than the alt-right.

We need to understand why reaction to the neoliberal economic sinking of the middle and working class has taken such a profoundly anti-democratic form. Why so much rage against democracy and in favor of authoritarian statism while continuing to demand individual freedom? What is the unique blend of ethno-nationalism and libertarianism afoot today? Why the resentment of social welfare policy but not the plutocrats? Why the uproar over [American football player and political activist] Colin Kaepernick but not the Panama Papers [a massive document leak pointing to fraud and tax evasion among the wealthy]? Why don't bankrupt workers want national healthcare or controls on the pharmaceutical industry? Why are those sickened from industrial effluent in their water and soil supporting a regime that wants to roll back environmental and health regulations?

Answers to these questions are mostly found within the frame of neoliberal reason, though they also pertain to racialized rancor (fanned by opportunistic demagogues and our mess of an unaccountable media), the dethronement of white masculinity from absolute rather than relative entitlement, and an intensification of nihilism itself amplified by neoliberal economization.

These contributing factors do not run along separate tracks. Rather, neoliberalism's aim to displace democracy with markets, morals and liberal authoritarian statism legitimates a white masculinist backlash against equality and inclusion mandates. Privatization of the nation legitimates "nativist" exclusions. Individual freedom in a world of winners and losers assaults the place of equality, access and inclusion in understandings of justice.

LP: Despite your view of democratized capitalism as an "oxymoron," you also observe that capitalism can be modulated in order to promote equality among citizens. How is this feasible given the influence of money in politics? What can we do to mitigate the corruption of wealth?

WB: Citizens United certainly set back the project of achieving the political equality required by and for democracy. I wrote about this in a previous book, Undoing the Demos , and Timothy Kuhner offers a superb account of the significance of wealth in politics in Capitalism V. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution . Both of us argue that the Citizens United decision, and the several important campaign finance and campaign speech decisions that preceded it, are themselves the result of a neoliberalized jurisprudence. That is, corporate dominance of elections becomes possible when political life as a whole is cast as a marketplace rather than a distinctive sphere in which humans attempt to set the values and possibilities of common life. Identifying elections as political marketplaces is at the heart of Citizens United.

So does a future for democracy in the United States depend on overturning that decision?

Hardly. Democracy is a practice, an ideal, an imaginary, a struggle, not an achieved state. It is always incomplete, or better, always aspirational. There is plenty of that aspiration afoot these days -- in social movements and in statehouses big and small. This doesn't make the future of democracy rosy. It is challenged from a dozen directions divestment from public higher education, the trashing of truth and facticity, the unaccountability of media platforms, both corporate and social, external influence and trolling, active voter suppression and gerrymandering, and the neoliberal assault on the very value of democracy we've been discussing. So the winds are hardly at democracy's back.


Bruce Bartlett , November 20, 2019 at 10:05 am

I think Milton Friedman was vastly more important than Hayek is shaping the worldview of American conservatives on economic policy. Until Hayek won the Nobel he was virtually forgotten in the US. Don't know about the UK, but his leaving the London School of Economics undoubtedly reduced his influence there. Hayek was very isolated at the University of Chicago even from the libertarians at the Department of Economics, largely due to methodological issues. The Chicago economists thought was really more of as philosopher, not a real economist like them.

Grebo , November 20, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Friedman was working for Hayek, in the sense that Hayek instigated the program that Friedman fronted.

I was amused by a BBC radio piece a couple of years ago in which some City economist was trying to convince us that Hayek was a forgotten genius who we ought to dig up and worship, as if he doesn't already rule the World from his seat at God's right hand.

rd , November 20, 2019 at 10:34 am

A couple of thoughts:

Citizens United: The conservative originalists keep whining about activist judges making up rights, like the "right to privacy" in Roe v. Wade. Yet they were able to come up with Citizens United that gave a whole new class of rights to corporations to effectively give them the rights of individuals (the People that show up regularly in the Constitution, including the opening phrase). If you search the Constitution, "company", "corporation" etc. don't even show up as included in the Constitution. "Commerce" shows up a couple of times, specifically as something regulated by Congress. Citizens United effectively flips the script of the Constitution in giving the companies doing Commerce the ability to regulate Congress. I think Citizen's United is the least conservative ruling that the conservative court could have come up with, bordering on fascism instead of the principles clearly enunciated throughout the Constitution. It is likely to be the "Dred Scott" decision of the 21st century.

2. Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies. This is the difference between Thaler's "econs" vs "humans". It works in theory, but not in practice because people are not purely rational and the behavioral aspects of the people and societies throw things out of kilter very quickly. That is a primary purpose of regulation, to be a rational fly-wheel keeping things from spinning out of control to the right or left. Marxism quickly turned into Stalinism in Russia while Friedman quickly turned into massive inequality and Donald Trump in the US. The word "regulate" shows up more frequently in the Constitution than "commerce", or "freedom" (only shows up in First Amendment), or "liberty" (deprivation of liberty has to follow due process of law which is a form of regulation). So the Constitution never conceived of a self-regulating society in the way Hayek and Friedman think things should naturally work – writing court rulings on the neo-liberal approach is a radical activist departure from the Constitution.

voteforno6 , November 20, 2019 at 11:50 am

The foundation was laid for Citizens United long before, I think, when the Supreme Court decided that corporations were essentially people, and that money was essentially speech. It would be nice if some justice started hacking away at those erroneous decisions (along with what they did with the 2nd Amendment in D.C. v Heller .)

BlakeFelix , November 20, 2019 at 12:46 pm

I honestly think the corporations are people was good and the money is speech is terrible. If most of the big corporations were actually treated like people those people would be in jail. They are treated better than people are now. Poor people, anyway. When your corporation is too big not to commit crimes, it's too big and should go in time out at least.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 1:37 pm

My understanding is that corporate personhood arose as a convenience to allow a corporation to be named as a single entity in legal actions, rather than having to name every last stockholder, officer, employee etc. Unfortunately the concept was gradually expanded far past its usefulness for the rest of us.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:36 pm

"If most of the big corporations were actually treated like people those people would be in jail."

Thats part of the problem: Corporations CANNOT be put in jail because they are organizations, not people, but they are given the same 'rights' as people. That is fundamentally part of the problem.

inode_buddha , November 20, 2019 at 4:16 pm

True, but corporations are directed by people who *can* be jailed. Often they are compensated as if they were taking full liability when in fact they face none. I think its long past time to revisit the concept of limited liability.

Allegorio , November 20, 2019 at 9:50 pm

"Limited Liability" is basic to the concept of the corporation. How about some "limited liability" for individuals? The whole point of neo-liberalism is "lawlessness" or the "Law of the Jungle" in unfettered markets. The idea is to rationalize raw power, both over society and the family, the last stand of male dominance, the patriarchy. The women who succeed in this eco-system, eschew the nurturing feminine and espouse the predatory masculine. "We came, we saw, he died." Psychopaths all!

Ford Prefect , November 20, 2019 at 8:11 pm

The executives need to go to jail. Until then, corporate fines are just a cost of doing business and white collar lawbreaking will continue. Blowing up the world's financial system has less legal consequence than doing 80 in a 65 mph zone. Even if they just did civil asset forfeiture on executives based on them having likely committed a crime while in their house and using their money would go along ways to cleaning things up.

The whittling away of white collar crime by need to demonstrate intent beyond reasonable doubt means the executives can just plead incompetence or inattention (while collecting their $20 million after acquittal). Meanwhile, a poor person with a baggie of marijuana in the trunk of their car goes to jail for "possession" where intent does not need to be shown, mere presence of the substance. If they used the same standard of the mere presence of a fraud to be sufficient to jail white collar criminals, there wouldn't be room in the prisons for poor people picked up for little baggies of weed.

Procopius , November 21, 2019 at 8:49 am

Actually, if you research the history, the court DID NOT decide that corporations are people. The decision was made by the secretary to the court, who included the ruling in the headnote to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886. The concept was not considered in the case itself nor in the ruling the judges made. However, it was so convenient for making money that judges and even at least one justice on the supreme court publicized the ruling as if it were an actual legal precedent and have followed it ever since. I am not a lawyer, but I think that ruling could be changed by a statute, whereas Citizens United is going to require an amendment to the constitution. On the other hand, who knows? Maybe the five old, rich, Republican, Catholic Men will rule that it is embedded in the constitution after all. I think it would be worth a try.

Patrick Thornton , November 21, 2019 at 9:11 am

Santa Clara Count v Southern Pacific RR 1886 – SCOTUS Court Reporter Bancroft Davis, a former RR executive, claimed in his headnote summary of the case that the Court had ruled that corporations are entitled to 14th Amendment protections (thus preventing their regulation by an individual state) thus establishing the legal precedent that corporations are "persons" with speech rights. In fact, the Court never made that determination. The result is a legal precedent established by a bit of legal trickery. Buckley v Valeo 1976: giving money to a political campaign=speech. Citizens 2010: no limit on "speech" (money). The 14 amendment was established to protect former slaves and was used by the court instead to protect corporations (property).

New Wafer Army , November 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

"Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies."

Marx analysed 19th Century capitalism; he wrote very little on what type of system should succeed capitalism. This is in distinct contrast to neo-liberalism which had a well plotted path to follow (Mirowski covers this very well). Marxism did not turn into Stalinism; Tsarism turned into Leninism which turned into Stalinism. Marx had an awful lot less to do with it than Tsar Nicholas II.

GramSci , November 20, 2019 at 5:17 pm

+1000. I think it was Tsar Nicholas II who said, L'etat, c'est moi"./s; Lenin just appropriated this concept to implement his idea of "the dictatorship of the proletariat."

JBird4049 , November 20, 2019 at 11:10 pm

IIRC Lenin did warn about Stalin.

J7915 , November 20, 2019 at 11:25 pm

Louis 4 of France is the state, and the state was him.
Lenin is better known, IIRC for identifying capitalists as useful idiots.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:33 pm

"Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies."

I'm sorry, but this is fundamentally intellectually lazy. Marxism isn't so much a way to structure the world, like Neoliberalism is, but a method of understanding Capitalism and class relations to capitalism.

Edit: I wrote this before I saw New Wafer Army's post since I hadnt refreshed the page since I opened it. They said pretty much what I wanted to say, so kudos to them.

salvo , November 20, 2019 at 2:51 pm

yep, Marx would never have called himself a Marxist :-)

"Marxism" is just a set of analytic tools to describe the capitalist society and power relations

those who consciously call themselves "Marxist" do it clarify their adherence to those tools not to express an ideological position

Anthony K Wikrent , November 20, 2019 at 10:41 am

These critiques of neoliberalism are always welcome, but they inevitably leave me with irritated and dissatisfied with their failure or unwillingness to mention the political philosophy of republicanism as an alternative, or even a contrast.

The key is found in Brown's statement " It also needed to be insulated from instrumentalism by concentrated economic interests, from aspiring plutocrats to the masses. The solution, for him [von Hayek], was de-democratizing the state itself. He was, more generally, opposed to robust democracy and indeed to a democratic state."

Contrast this to Federalist Paper No. 10, Madison's famous discourse on factions. Madison writes that 1) factions always arise from economic interests ["But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property."], and 2) therefore the most important function of government is to REGULATE the clash of these factions ["The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government."

In a very real sense, neoliberalism is an assault on the founding principles of the American republic.

Which should not really surprise anyone, since von Hayek was trained as a functionary of the Austro-Hungarian empire. And who was the first secretary of the Mont Pelerin Society that von Hayen founded to promote neoliberalist doctrine and propaganda? Non other than Max Thurn, of the reactionary Bavarian Thurn und Taxis royal family.

deplorado , November 20, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Thank you for illuminating a deeper viewpoint.

WJ , November 20, 2019 at 9:57 pm

Madison's Federalist 10 is much like Aristotle's Politics and the better Roman historians in correctly tracing back the fundamental tensions in any political community to questions of property and class.

And, much like Aristotle's "mixed regime," Madison proposes that the best way of overcoming these tensions is to institutionalize organs of government broadly representative of the two basic contesting political classes–democratic and oligarchic–and let them hash things out in a way that both are forced to deal with the other. This is a simplification but not a terribly inaccurate one.

The problem though so far as I can tell is that it almost always happens that the arrangement is set up in a way that structurally privileges existing property rights (oligarchy) over social freedoms (democracy) such that the oligarchic class quickly comes to dominate even those governmental organs designed to be "democratic". In other words, I have never seen a theorized republic that upon closer inspection was not an oligarchy in practice.

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 11:15 am

The Progressive Approach in a nutshell:

1) Support welfare for the banks (e.g. deposit guarantees) and the rich (e.g. non-negative yields and interest on the inherently risk-free debt of monetary sovereigns).
2) Seek to regulate the thievery inherent in 1).
3) Bemoan the inevitable rat-race to the bottom when 2) inevitably fails because of unenforceable laws, such as bans on insider trading, red-lining, etc.

Shorter: Progressives ENABLE the injustice they profess, no doubt sincerely at least in some cases, to oppose.

Rather stupid from an engineering perspective, I'd say. Or more kindly, blind.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 1:55 pm

"welfare banks deposit guarantees"

Don't know about you, but I like being protected from losing all my money if the bank goes under

Arizona Slim , November 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm

Yeah, me too!

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

I lived in Tucson for a while. Met the love of my life there.

Show some loyalty, gal!

flora , November 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm

+1

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Accounts at the Central Bank are inherently risk-free.

So why may only depository institutions have those?

Hmmm? Violation of equal protection under the law much?

Or would the TRS-80 at the Fed be overloaded otherwise?

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 2:36 pm

I'm fine with the federal government providing basic banking services (which would inherently protect depositors) but your initial post didn't say anything about that. If we continue with a private banking system I want deposit guarantees even if they somehow privilege the banks better than nothing

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:53 pm

My apologies for not detailing everything in every comment. :)

Welcome aboard or rather hello brother!

Lambert Strether , November 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm

> your initial post

No biggie, but this is not a board. It's a blog. Here, you are referring to a comment , not the original post authored by Lynn Parramore.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Point taken!

Procopius , November 21, 2019 at 8:59 am

I have read that originally conservatives (including many bankers) opposed deposit insurance because it would lead people to be less careful when they evaluated the banking institution they would entrust with their money. They did not seem to notice that however much diligence depositors used, they ended up losing their life's savings over and over. Just as they do not seem to notice that despite having employer-provided insurance tens of thousands of people every year go bankrupt because of medical bills. Funny how that works.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm

I don't understand how this is linked to progressives when most of what you describe is the neoliberal approach to banks. Could you explain?

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 3:03 pm

See Warren Mosler's Proposals for the Banking System, Treasury, Fed, and FDIC (draft)

Also, government insurance of private liabilities, including privately created liabilities, was instituted under FDR in 1932, iirc.

And I've had innumerable debates with MMT advocates who have stubbornly defended deposit guarantees and other privileges for the banks.

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Adding that rather than deposit guarantees, the US government could have expanded the Postal Savings Service to provide the population with what private banks had so miserably failed to provide – the safe storage of their fiat.

JBirc4049 , November 20, 2019 at 11:28 pm

The banking system was failing in 1932, as was the financial system in 2008, not necessarily because of any lack of solvency of an individual business although some were, but because of the lack of faith in the whole system; bank panics meant that every depositor was trying to get their money out at the same time. People lost everything. It is only the faith in the system that enables the use of bits of paper and plastic to work. So having a guarantee in big, bold letters of people's savings is a good idea.

Synoia , November 20, 2019 at 11:37 am

Personally, I see little distance between the Neo Liberal treatment of Market and Naked Greed, coupled with a complete rejection of Rule of Law for the Common Good.

Carla , November 20, 2019 at 11:47 am

I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that

A. Wendy Brown focuses on big money in politics as the biggest threat to democracy without mentioning never-intended corporate constitutional rights.

B. Lynn Parramore does not call her on it.

What a huge missed opportunity. What a fatal blind spot.

https://movetoamend.org/sites/default/files/how_corporate_constitutional_rights_harm_you_your_family_your_community_your_environment_and_your_democracy.pdf

jsn , November 20, 2019 at 1:13 pm

" It means legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates (and when corporations are identified as persons, they too are empowered to assert such freedom)."

I'm not seeing the blind spot.

Carla , November 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

The blind spot is her focus on "money as speech" to the exclusion of the constitutional nightmares created by "corporations are people."

To see why this is such an important (and common) error, please see the link I provided.

jsn , November 20, 2019 at 8:04 pm

She didn't write the article you wanted, but specifically addresses "corporations as people." That doesn't make her blind to your concern.

I share your concern, but don't criticize m I my allies for having marginally different priorities.

But that's just me.

David , November 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm

"We need to understand why reaction to the neoliberal economic sinking of the middle and working class has taken such a profoundly anti-democratic form." Really? Does anybody here believe that? This reads like another clumsy attempt to dismiss actual popular anger against neoliberalism in favour of pearl-clutching progressive angst, by associating this anger with the latest target for liberal hate, in this case blah blah patriarchy blah blah. The reality is that liberalism has always been about promoting the freedom of the rich and the strong to do whatever they feel like, whilst keeping the ordinary people divided and under control. That's why Liberals have always hated socialists, who think of the good of the community rather than of the "freedom" of the rich, powerful and well connected.
The "democracy" that is being defended here is traditional elite liberal democracy, full of abstract "rights" that only the powerful can exert, dominated by elite political parties with little to choose between them, and indifferent or hostile to actual freedoms that ordinary people want in their daily lives. Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto).
I think of this every time I wall home through the local high street, where within thirty metres I pass two elderly eastern European men aggressively begging. (It varies in France, but this is slightly closer than the average for a city). I reflect that twenty years of neoliberal policies in France have given these people freedom of movement, and the freedom to sit there in the rain with no home, no job and no prospects. Oh, and now of course they are free to marry each other.

Tangfwa , November 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Bingo

Jeremy Grimm , November 20, 2019 at 1:14 pm

I agree with your analysis and assessment of Wendy Brown, as she is portrayed in her statements in this post. However I quibble your assertion: "Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto)." The word "Neoliberalism" is indeed commonly used as a label as you assert but Neoliberalism as a philosophy is obscured in that common usage.

At its heart I believe Neoliberalism might best be characterized as an epistemology based on the Market operating as the all knowing arbiter of Truth. Hayek exercises notions of 'freedom' in his writing but I believe freedom is a secondary concern once it is defined in terms of its relation to the decisions of the Market. This notion of the Market as epistemology is completely absent from Wendy Brown's discussion of her work in this post.

Her assertion that "neoliberalism's aim [is] to displace democracy with markets, morals and liberal authoritarian statism legitimates a white masculinist backlash against equality and inclusion mandates" collapses once the Market is introduced as epistemology. Neoliberalism does not care one way or another about any of Wendy Brown's concerns. Once the Market decides -- Truth is known. As a political theorist I am surprised there is no analysis of Neoliberalism as a tool the Elite have used to work their will on society. I am surprised there is no analysis of how the Elites have allowed themselves to be controlled within and even displaced by the Corporate Entities they created and empowered using their tool. I am surprised there is no analysis of the way the Corporate Entities and their Elite have worked to use Neoliberalism to subordinate nation states under a hierarchy driven by the decisions of the World Market.

[I admit I lack the stomach to read Hayek -- so I am basing my opinions on what I understand of Phillip Mirowski's analysis of Neoliberalism.]

David , November 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm

I don't disagree with you: I suppose that having been involved in practical politics rather than being a political theorist (which I have no pretensions to being) I am more interested of the reality of some of these ideas than their theoretical underpinnings. I have managed to slog my way through Slobodian's book, and I think your presentation of Hayek's writing is quite fair: I simply wonder how far it is actually at the origin of the destruction we see around us. I would suggest in fact that, once you have a political philosophy based on the value-maximising individual, rather than traditional considerations of the good of society as a whole, you eventually wind up where we are now, once the constraints of religious belief, fear of popular uprisings , fear of Communism etc. have been progressively removed. It's for that reason that I argue that neoliberalism isn't really new: it represents the essential form of liberalism unconstrained by outside forces – almost a teleological phenomenon which, as its first critics feared, has wound up destroying community, family, industries, social bonds and even – as you suggest – entire nation states.

Jeremy Grimm , November 21, 2019 at 9:10 am

Your response to my comment, in particular your assertion "neoliberalism isn't really new" coupled with your assertion apparently equating Neoliberalism with just another general purpose label for a "political philosophy based on the value-maximizing individual, rather than traditional ", is troubling. When I put your assertions with Jerry B's assertion at 6:58 pm:
" many people over focus on a word or the use of a word and ascribe way to literal view of a word. I tend to view words more symbolically and contextually."
I am left wondering what is left to debate or discuss. If Neoliberalism has no particular meaning then perhaps we should discuss the properties of political philosophies based on the value-maximizing-individual, and even that construct only has meaning symbolically and contextually, which is somehow different than the usual notion of meaning as a denotation coupled with a connotation which is shared by those using a term in their discussion -- and there I become lost from the discussion. I suppose I am too pedantic to deviate from the common usages of words, especially technical words like Neoliberalism.

GramSci , November 20, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Yes, but what is "The Market" but yet another name for "God, Almighty"?
Plus ça change

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Considering how elites throughout history have used religion as a bulwark to guard their privileges, it should be of no surprise that they are building a new one, only this time they are building one that appeals to the religious and secular alike. Neoliberalism will be very difficult to dismantle.

Susan the Other , November 21, 2019 at 10:23 am

But what ironies we create. Citizens United effectively gave political control to the big corporations. In a time when society has already evolved lots of legislation to limit the power and control of any group and especially in commercial/monopoly cases. So that what CU created was a new kind of "means of production" because what gets "produced" these days is at least 75% imported. The means of production is coming to indicate the means of political control. And that is fitting because ordinary people have become the commodity. Like livestock. So in that sense Marx's view of power relationships is accurate although civilization has morphed. Politics is, more and more, the means of production. The means of finance. Just another reason why we would achieve nothing in this world trying to take over the factories. What society must have now is fiscal control. It will be the new means of production. I'm a dummy. I knew fiscal control was the most important thing, but I didn't quite see the twists and turns that keep the fundamental idea right where it started.

PlutoniumKun , November 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Exactly. The writer seems determined to tie in neoliberalism with a broader conservative opposition to modern social justice movements, when in reality neoliberalism (the 'neo' part anyway) was more than happy to co-opt feminism, anti-racism, etc., into its narrative. The more the merrier, as 'rights' became associated entirely with social issues, and not economic rights.

Chip Otle , November 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm

This is the best comment of this thread so far.

NancyBoyd , November 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm

The co-optation neoliberalism has exacted on rights movements has dovetailed nicely with postmodernism's social-constructivism, an anti-materialist stance that posits discourse as shaping the world and one that therefore privileges subjectivity over material reality.

What this means in practice is that "identity" is now a marketplace too, in which individuals are naming their identities as a form of personal corporate branding. That's why we have people labeling themselves like this: demisexual queer femme, on the spectrum, saying hell no to my tradcath roots, into light BDSM, pronouns they/them.

And to prove this identity, the person must purchase various consumer products to garb and decorate themselves accordingly.

So the idea of civil rights has now become utterly consumerist and about awarding those rights based on subjective feelings rather than anything to do with actual material exploitation.

The clue is in the way the words "oppression" and "privilege" are used. Under those words, exploitation, discrimination, disadvantage, and simple dislike are conflated, though they're very different and involve very different remedies.

In this way, politics is drained of politics.

Carey , November 20, 2019 at 1:38 pm

+100 Thank you.

Joe Well , November 20, 2019 at 1:48 pm

The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges and stealing bread = classical Liberalism.

The bizarre thing is to meet younger neoliberal middle class people whom neo