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US Presidential Elections of 2016:

Transitional period as a fight between Trump and the attempts of Deep State to enslave him (and remind him about JFK destiny)  

Neocons counterattacked using "Russian spy scandal and neo-McCarthyism witch hunt " as a ruse
 and  managed to enslave and emasculate Trump by promoting birds of a feather for key Trump administration positions

Version 5.2 (Nov 25, 2016)

See also

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links Trump vs. Deep State The Deep State New American Militarism Anti-Russian hysteria Anti Trump Hysteria Trump post-election transformation into neocon
Trump's bustard neoliberalism and his betrayal of his voters Trump turns to neocon unilateralism in foreign policy DNC emails leak Two Party System as Polyarchy US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections: from primaries to election day Reversal of planned detente with Russia Trump after his Colin Powell moment Korea saber-rattling
Donald Trump Trump foreign policy platform Personnel is Policy Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary role in Libya disaster Bernie Sanders: A turncoat socialist, who betrayed his voters Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary health issues
Monday morning quarterbacking Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal  "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place  Hillary wet kiss with neocons Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Non-Interventionism Is Hillary Clinton a toxic manager? Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Trump economic platform
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism Demonization of Putin  American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Perjury Investigation of Hillary Clinton
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter Pluralism as a myth Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme   Trump on immigration
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Predator state Machiavellism Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few
Betrayal by Bernie Sanders of his supporters Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Note: due to the size introduction was moved to a separate page November 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization

This election is about the backlash against neoliberalism that became the dominant ideology of the ruling elite in the USA since 1980th. At this point blue color workers became sick of Demorats (aka Neoliberal Democrats) who are betraying them after each elections ("Change we can believe in" in worlds of the king of "bait and switch" Obama) and expecting still they will vote for Democratic as they have nowhere to go (Clinton strategy). They want to show middle finger to Clinton and other neoliberal criminals who deprived them of work, of dignity, of health (heroine epidemic is hitting the USA really hard). It's a class war all over again. Note how neoliberal media tried to misrepresent it accusing Trump supporters of racism, bigotry, and all other sins to mask anti-neoliberal backlash of the US population, and the revolutionary situation in the county, when the elite lost the control of the population. Which really somewhat reminds me the last days of the USSR when communist propaganda stopped working and people start seeing the "Politburo" as "naked king" -- a bunch of corrupt priests of obscure religion, who do not believe in the ideology they promote for "shmucks", only with their own and their families well-being. that their sons and daughters attend Western universities and their wives are shopping in Paris.

It is not an exaggeration to see in 2016 Presidential election as a referendum on neoliberal globalization. But the political power still belongs to  Neoliberals, which dominates both the government and the economy (transnationals are the cornerstone of neoliberal world order). It's a big question if the American people will be able to change neoliberal dogma, the official civil religion of the USA without a violent revolution...

The great Trump political breakthrough was consolidating the white working class and white middle class vote. At last "clintonization" (sellout of the Party to Wall Street whichwas initialed by Bill Clinton, converting it into the party of "soft neoliberalism" which at times was undistinguishable from "hard neoliberalism" )  of Democratic Party backfired.  Demexit -- abandoning of Demorats by white working and middle class is now a reality.

Writing in Politico, Georgetown political scientist Joshua Mitchell has a long, important take on the deep meaning of Trump — and it’s probably not what you think:

If you listen closely to Trump, you’ll hear a direct repudiation of the system of globalization and identity politics that has defined the world order since the Cold War. There are, in fact, six specific ideas that he has either blurted out or thinly buried in his rhetoric: (1) borders matter; (2) immigration policy matters; (3) national interests, not so-called universal interests, matter; (4) entrepreneurship matters; (5) decentralization matters; (6) PC speech—without which identity politics is inconceivable—must be repudiated.

These six ideas together point to an end to the unstable experiment with supra- and sub-national sovereignty that many of our elites have guided us toward, siren-like, since 1989.

 That is what the Trump campaign, ghastly though it may at times be, leads us toward: A future where states matter. A future where people are citizens, working together toward (bourgeois) improvement of their lot. His ideas do not yet fully cohere. They are a bit too much like mental dust that has yet to come together. But they can come together. And Trump is the first American candidate to bring some coherence to them, however raucous his formulations have been.

This is a clear repudiation of neoliberalism (aka "casino capitalism" or  Trotskyism for the rich) -- the secular religion to both Republican and Democratic parties adhere (while the term is prohibited from mass media -- can you imagine the Communist Party of the USSR would prohibit its members under the threat of purge to utter the word "communism" or call themselves "communists").  And that means that Trump is a threat to Washington neoliberal elite, the threat to neoliberal  Washington_Consensus, which  since 1980 (or even earlier) rules the place. That's why they fight and demonization of Trump is conducted by neoliberal media with such a fierce determination. That's why such a tremendous efforts and money are spend on propelling sick and unprincipled establishment candidate -- Hillary Clinton. A warmonger neoconservative, who is a staunch neoliberal (like her husband Bill Clinton).

The US neoliberal elite ("creator class" or "Masters of the Universe" in neoliberal jargon) have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power put by "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal, and for 36 years managed to redistribute wealth up to the level that has no historical presidents. As a result social stability is in danger and "the rest" (or Untermensch, or "takers"/"welfare queen" in neoliberal jargon) are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be an outsider. (Romney-Ryan 'makers vs. takers' rhetoric helped spawn Donald Trump Washington Examiner)

This idea of low-income "takers" lay beneath Mitt Romney's view that the 47 percent of adults in the U.S. who owed no federal income tax were therefore "dependent upon government" and "who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them…."

...

But "taker" is a slur also when aimed at recipients of government benefits. Millions of "takers" are people who work 40 hours, but at low wages, and thus receive the earned-income tax credit. Will you blame their low wages on them? Perhaps they got horrible education thanks to incompetent government, or were just never blessed with marketable skills.

Some percentage of the 47 percent are World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans, who after serving their country, put in decades of work, and now live off the Social Security they paid into, without earning enough to owe federal income tax.

The "takers" include widows receiving food stamps, the ill being kept alive by Medicaid, and people drawing on unemployment because their employer got up and moved to Mexico.

More importantly, many of those on welfare or disability hate that they are dependent. They want to be working.

Are there "welfare queens," lazy able-bodied moochers, and people scamming disability? Yes. But lumping in 47 percent of the country with these scoundrels is as illegitimate lumping all businessmen in with the failed bankers who depend on bailouts.

This wasn't just Ryan's mistake. Conservatives broadly have equated low income with dependency. The conservative belief that the market tends to reward skill and diligence often mutates into a belief that poverty reflects some sort of turpitude.

That view helped give birth to Donald Trump, who has tapped into the working class that Ryan and Romney had pushed away.

Globalization and free trade are fast becoming dirty words. That’s because they were  culprits for major  shocks — like the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States alone, median household income has been practically stagnant for about three decades, the labor market continues to be anemic, manufacturing jobs have been lost, and many have experienced a significant deterioration in living standards.

Much of the post-Brexit and primary election conventional wisdom seems to be stuck in a political narrative in which the Brexit vote and the rise of Trump_vs_deep_state in the United States are seen as symbols of the populist revolution. These symbols are combined with a nationalist tide has been sweeping not only the United Kingdom and the United States, but also many other parts of Europe, including Poland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, not to mention, Russia, Turkey, India and Israel.

According to this narrative, economic insecurity and cultural anxiety that reflect sociodemographic trends have given momentum to ethnonationalism and religious separatism in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The Rust Belt is pitted against New York City, and the Midlands against London.

All this means that the crisis of neoliberalism, which started in 2008 now obtained political dimension, when the institutions created by neoliberalism are under attacks from the disgruntled population. The power of neoliberal propaganda, the power of brainwashing and indoctrination of population via MSM, schools and universities to push forward neoliberal globalization started to evaporate. And the fight against neoliberal globalization is not easy and it is not accidentally Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee and neoliberal MSM unlashed unprecedented campaign of blackmail against Trump.  The fact is, Sheldon Wolin not accidentally calls neoliberalism "inverted totalitarianism" . It's a system where corporate power has seized all of political  levers of control. In fact, under neoliberalism, there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We also have lost our privacy. And under Obama, an assault against civil liberties has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out.

This is about the crisis of neoliberal ideology and especially Trotskyism part of it (neoliberalism can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich). The following integral elements of this ideology no longer work well and are starting to cause the backlash:

  1. High level of inequality as the explicit, desirable goal (which raises the productivity). "Greed is good" or "Trickle down economics" -- redistribution of wealth up will create (via higher productivity) enough scrapes for the lower classes, lifting all boats.
  2. "Neoliberal rationality" when everything is a commodity that should be traded at specific market. Human beings also are viewed as market actors with every field of activity seen as a specialized market. Every entity (public or private, person, business, state) should be governed as a firm. "Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices." People are just " human capital" who must constantly tend to their own present and future market value.
  3. Extreme financialization or converting the economy into "casino capitalism" (under neoliberalism everything is a marketable good, that is traded on explicit or implicit exchanges.)
  4. The idea of the global, USA dominated neoliberal empire and related "Permanent war for permanent peace" -- wars for enlarging global neoliberal empire via crushing non-compliant regimes either via color revolutions or via open military intervention.
  5. Downgrading ordinary people to the role of commodity and creating three classes of citizens (moochers, or Untermensch, "creative class" and top 0.1%), with the upper class (0.1% or "Masters of the Universe") being above the law like the top level of "nomenklatura" was in the USSR.
  6. "Downsizing" sovereignty of nations via international treaties like TPP, and making transnational corporations the key political players, "the deciders" as W aptly said. Who decide about the level of immigration flows, minimal wages, tariffs, and other matters that previously were prerogative of the state.

So after 36 (or more) years of dominance (which started with triumphal march of neoliberalism in early 90th) the ideology entered "zombie state". That does not make it less dangerous but its power over minds of the population started to evaporate. Far right ideologies now are filling the vacuum, as ith the discreditation of socialist ideology and decimation of "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal in the USA there is no other viable alternatives.

The same happened in late 1960th with the Communist ideology. It took 20 years for the USSR to crash after that with the resulting splash of nationalism (which was the force that blow up the USSR) and far right ideologies.

It remains to be seen whether the neoliberal US elite will fare better then Soviet nomenklatura as challenges facing the USA are now far greater then challenges which the USSR faced at the time. Among them is oil depletion which might be the final nail into the coffin of neoliberalism and, specifically, the neoliberal globalization.

This has been a bipartisan effort, because they've both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d'état in slow motion, and it's over.

Neoliberal poison destroys a society and lifts the politicians with nationalistic bend like Trump. First, neoliberalism dislocated the working class, de-industrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system.

I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind Trump. But the point is, we've got to break away from-which is exactly the narrative neoliberal MSM want us to focus on.

 We've got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party.

We need to be aware of neoliberal brainwashing. I mean, this whole debate over the DNC WikiLeaks emails disclosure is insane. The key question here is not who leaked emails, but whether they are authentic or not. They are. As well as DNC dirty laundry exposed those long emails -- you should read them. They're really appalling, and exposes the way the Democratic primaries were rigged. Tricks used included the mechanism of the superdelegates (which unlawfully declared their allegiance very early creating pro-Clinton pressure of voters) , the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, and the huge amounts of corporate money and money of super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign. This faux feminism on which Hillary Clinton based her campaign is another propaganda trick. She si hostile to both women and children. Cold like any sociopath.  The fact is, Clinton has a track record of hurting US children: she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70% of the original recipients were children.

If is important to understand that the rise of nationalism, the phenomenal success of Trump is just a form of backlash against neoliberalism. 

Continued...


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Old News ;-)

Post election events (the first half of 2017) US Presidential Elections of 2016 from primaries to election day US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections of 2016: 2015 part of the campaign US Presidential Elections of 2012

[Aug 15, 2018] Some suggestions about contra sanctions that Russia can implement

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes says: August 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm

...Call a presser at the UN and have the Ambassador confirm that Obama and HRC are wholly paid-up RF assets and watch Civil War II unfold.

[Aug 14, 2018] The demise of another Bernie Sanders fraud - World Socialist Web Site

By Patrick Martin 9 August 2018
Notable quotes:
"... Thus ends another episode in the seemingly interminable serial, "Bernie Sanders Tries, and Fails, to Put a Progressive Coat of Paint on the Democratic Party." Since he rocketed to political prominence in 2016 in his challenge to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Sanders has played this role again and again. ..."
"... First, he appeals to the idealism of young people and the economic grievances of working people, claiming to represent a genuine alternative to the domination of American politics by the oligarchy of "millionaires and billionaires." Then he diverts those who have responded to his campaign back into the existing political framework, endorsing whatever right-wing hack emerges from the Democratic wing of the corporate-controlled two-party system. ..."
"... In the 2018 campaign, where he is not a candidate except for reelection in Vermont, Sanders has endorsed and campaigned for a number of supposedly left-wing candidates in the Democratic primaries, always based on the same pretense, that the Democratic Party can be reformed and pushed to the left, that this party of corporate America can be transformed into an instrument of social reform and popular politics. ..."
"... The requirements for receiving Sanders' support and that of "Our Revolution," the political operation formed by many of his 2016 campaign staffers, are not very demanding. The self-proclaimed socialist does not demand that his favored candidates oppose capitalism or pay lip service to socialism -- and almost none of them do. ..."
"... In other words, Sanders uses the image of radicalism and opposition to the status quo that surrounded his 2016 campaign to lend support to very conventional, pro-capitalist candidates, whose policies are well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party -- a party whose leadership has embraced most of the measures cited above, secure in the knowledge that it will not keep a single one of these promises and can always blame the Republicans for blocking them. ..."
"... In Michigan, Sanders spoke at rallies for El-Sayed, and his supporters were quite active on college campuses and on social media, mobilizing support among young people. But as in 2016, there was little effort to reach the working class, particularly minority workers in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and other devastated industrial cities. ..."
"... Sanders and the supposedly "left" Democrats he promotes all fervently support the trade union bureaucracy, which is working overtime this year to prevent strikes by angry and militant workers -- as at United Parcel Service -- and to isolate, terminate and betray them where they break out -- as with the state-wide teachers' strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona earlier this year. ..."
"... Under these conditions, the Democratic Party is not a party that can or will can carry out social reforms in order to save capitalism, as in Roosevelt's day. It is a party that will carry out the dictates of the ruling class for war and austerity while using the services of "left" politicians like Sanders to confuse and disorient working people and youth. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed went down to a double-digit defeat Tuesday in the Democratic primary, overwhelmed by the near-unanimous support of the Democratic Party establishment for former state senator Gretchen Whitmer. The daughter of former Blue Cross/Blue Shield CEO Richard Whitmer won every county in the state and will go on to face Republican State Attorney General Bill Schuette in the November general election.

In a tweet to his supporters, El-Sayed declared: "The victory was not ours today, but the work continues. Congratulations to @gretchenwhitmer on her primary win. Tomorrow we continue the path toward justice, equity and sustainability."

When tomorrow came, however, that "path" led to a unity luncheon at which El-Sayed and the third candidate in the race, self-funding millionaire Shri Thanedar, pledged their full support to Whitmer. "Today we all retool and figure out how we make sure that Bill Schuette does not become governor. I'm super committed to that," El-Sayed said. "Never has it been more important to have a Democrat lead state government."

Thus ends another episode in the seemingly interminable serial, "Bernie Sanders Tries, and Fails, to Put a Progressive Coat of Paint on the Democratic Party." Since he rocketed to political prominence in 2016 in his challenge to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Sanders has played this role again and again.

First, he appeals to the idealism of young people and the economic grievances of working people, claiming to represent a genuine alternative to the domination of American politics by the oligarchy of "millionaires and billionaires." Then he diverts those who have responded to his campaign back into the existing political framework, endorsing whatever right-wing hack emerges from the Democratic wing of the corporate-controlled two-party system.

In 2016, this involved appealing to his supporters to back Hillary Clinton, the candidate of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus. The Clinton campaign refused to make the slightest appeal to the working class in order to preserve its support within corporate America and, in the process, drove millions of desperate workers to stay home on Election Day or vote for Trump, allowing the billionaire demagogue to eke out an Electoral College victory.

In the 2018 campaign, where he is not a candidate except for reelection in Vermont, Sanders has endorsed and campaigned for a number of supposedly left-wing candidates in the Democratic primaries, always based on the same pretense, that the Democratic Party can be reformed and pushed to the left, that this party of corporate America can be transformed into an instrument of social reform and popular politics.

The requirements for receiving Sanders' support and that of "Our Revolution," the political operation formed by many of his 2016 campaign staffers, are not very demanding. The self-proclaimed socialist does not demand that his favored candidates oppose capitalism or pay lip service to socialism -- and almost none of them do.

Their platforms usually include such demands as raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, implementing "Medicare for all," interpreted in various fashions, establishing free public college education for families earning less than $150,000 a year, and enacting universal pre-K education. They usually promise not to accept corporate money and to support campaign finance reform.

These Sanders-backed candidates, like Sanders himself in 2016, have very little to say about foreign policy and make no appeal whatsoever to the deep anti-war sentiment among American youth and workers. There is no discussion of Trump's threats of nuclear war. As for trade war, most, like Sanders himself, embrace the economic nationalism that is the foundation of Trump's trade policy.

In other words, Sanders uses the image of radicalism and opposition to the status quo that surrounded his 2016 campaign to lend support to very conventional, pro-capitalist candidates, whose policies are well within the mainstream of the Democratic Party -- a party whose leadership has embraced most of the measures cited above, secure in the knowledge that it will not keep a single one of these promises and can always blame the Republicans for blocking them.

In Michigan, Sanders spoke at rallies for El-Sayed, and his supporters were quite active on college campuses and on social media, mobilizing support among young people. But as in 2016, there was little effort to reach the working class, particularly minority workers in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and other devastated industrial cities.

Sanders and the supposedly "left" Democrats he promotes all fervently support the trade union bureaucracy, which is working overtime this year to prevent strikes by angry and militant workers -- as at United Parcel Service -- and to isolate, terminate and betray them where they break out -- as with the state-wide teachers' strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona earlier this year.

The real attitude of Sanders and El-Sayed to genuine socialism was made clear when they sought to ban supporters of the Socialist Equality Party and SEP candidate for Congress Niles Niemuth from distributing leaflets and holding discussions outside campaign rallies for El-Sayed.

This year, Sanders has been campaigning with a sidekick, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America who won the Democratic congressional nomination in the 12th District of New York, defeating incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley, the fourth-ranking member of the Democratic leadership in the House.

Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for El-Sayed in Michigan and also for several congressional candidates, including Brent Welder in Kansas and Cori Bush in Missouri, who also went down to defeat on August 7. Like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez claims that the Democratic Party can be transformed into a genuinely progressive "party of the people" that will implement social reforms.

But at age 28, Ocasio-Cortez has less practice in performing the song-and-dance of pretending to be independent of the Democratic Party establishment while working to give it a left cover and prop it up. She was clumsier in her execution, attracting notice as she walked back a campaign demand to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and sought to downplay her previous criticism of Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.

After her campaign swing through the Midwest, Ocasio-Cortez traveled to the Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans, an annual assemblage of the left flank of the Democratic Party. She told her adoring audience that her policies were not radical at all, but firmly in the Democratic mainstream. "It's time for us to remember that universal college education, trade school, a federal jobs guarantee, a universal basic income were not all proposed in 2016," she said. "They were proposed in 1940, by the Democratic president of the United States."

The reference to Franklin D. Roosevelt was inadvertently revealing. Roosevelt adopted reform policies, including many of those suggested by the social democrats of his day such as Norman Thomas. He was no socialist, but rather a clever and conscious bourgeois politician who enacted limited reforms in a deliberate effort to save the capitalist system.

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez likewise seek to save the capitalist system, but under conditions where no such reforms are possible. The American ruling class no longer dominates the world economy, but is beset by powerful rivals in both Europe and Asia. It is pouring resources into the military to prepare for world war. And at home, even the most modest measures run up against the intransigent opposition of the super-rich, who control both parties and demand even greater wealth for themselves at the expense of working people.

Under these conditions, the Democratic Party is not a party that can or will can carry out social reforms in order to save capitalism, as in Roosevelt's day. It is a party that will carry out the dictates of the ruling class for war and austerity while using the services of "left" politicians like Sanders to confuse and disorient working people and youth.

Thus, at Netroots Nation, the assembled "left" Democrats gave a loud ovation to Ocasio-Cortez, but also to Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democratic nominee in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas, also young, nonwhite and female. Ortiz Jones has another characteristic, however. She is a career Air Force intelligence officer who was deployed to Iraq, South Sudan and Libya -- all the scenes of US-instigated bloodbaths.

Ortiz Jones is one of nearly three dozen such candidates chosen to represent the Democratic Party in contested congressional districts around the country. Another such candidate is Elissa Slotkin, who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday in Michigan's Eighth Congressional District. Slotkin served three tours with the CIA in Baghdad before being promoted to high-level positions in the Pentagon and the Obama-era National Security Council.

The fake leftism of Bernie Sanders in alliance with the CIA: That is the formula for the Democratic Party in 2018.

[Aug 14, 2018] Technocrats Rule Democracy Is 'OK' As Long As The People Rubberstamp Our Leadership

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike.

We are in a very peculiar ideological and political place in which Democracy (oh sainted Democracy) is a very good thing, unless the voters reject the technocrat class's leadership. Then the velvet gloves come off. From the perspective of the elites and their technocrat apparatchiks, elections have only one purpose: to rubberstamp their leadership.

As a general rule, this is easily managed by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and bribes to the cartels and insider fiefdoms who pony up most of the cash.

This is why incumbents win the vast majority of elections. Once in power, they issue the bribes and payoffs needed to guarantee funding next election cycle.

The occasional incumbent who is voted out of office made one of two mistakes:

1. He/she showed a very troubling bit of independence from the technocrat status quo, so a more orthodox candidate is selected to eliminate him/her.

2. The incumbent forgot to put on a charade of "listening to my constituency" etc.

If restive voters can't be bamboozled into passively supporting the technocrat status quo with the usual propaganda, divide and conquer is the preferred strategy. Only voting for the technocrat class (of any party, it doesn't really matter) will save us from the evil Other : Deplorables, socialists, commies, fascists, etc.

In extreme cases where the masses confound the status quo by voting against the technocrat class (i.e. against globalization, financialization, Empire), then the elites/technocrats will punish them with austerity or a managed recession. The technocrat's core ideology boils down to this:

1. The masses are dangerously incapable of making wise decisions about anything, so we have to persuade them to do our bidding. Any dissent will be punished, marginalized, censored or shut down under some pretext of "protecting the public" or violation of some open-ended statute.

2. To insure this happy outcome, we must use all the powers of propaganda, up to and including rigged statistics, bogus "facts" (official fake news can't be fake news, etc.), divide and conquer, fear-mongering, misdirection and so on.

3. We must relentlessly centralize all power, wealth and authority so the masses have no escape or independence left to threaten us. We must control everything, for their own good of course.

4. Globalization must be presented not as a gargantuan fraud that has stripmined the planet and its inhabitants, but as the sole wellspring of endless, permanent prosperity.

5. If the masses refuse to rubberstamp our leadership, they will be punished and told the source of their punishment is their rejection of globalization, financialization and Empire.

Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike. My two favorite charts of the outcome of technocrats running things to suit their elite masters are:

The state-cartel-crony-capitalist version: the top .1% skim the vast majority of the gains in income and wealth. Globalization, financialization and Empire sure do rack up impressive gains. Too bad they're concentrated in the top 1.%.

The state-crony-socialist version: the currency is destroyed, impoverishing everyone but the top .1% who transferred their wealth to Miami, London and Zurich long ago. Hmm, do you discern a pattern here in the elite-technocrat regime?

Ideology is just a cover you slip over the machine to mask what's really going on.

* * *

My new book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com .

[Aug 11, 2018] The case of HRC's successor server

The successor server was the server operated by Platte River Networks. What happened with the hardware of the original server which was installed in Clinton house basement, we can only guess. Was it shipped to Platter River Network, was it destroyed, or is it still sitting in the basement all those years?
Notable quotes:
"... a "convenient" hardware device . . . by which she transmitted government secrets and pay-for-play missives. ..."
"... I've watched literally hundreds of George Webb's videos, and the impression I've gotten from them is that there was an unsecured (or almost unsecured) server that was in effect a "shipping dock" for data that had been paid for through pay-to-play. I assume they thought this would provide some sort of plausible deniability in case the scheme was discovered. ("We're innocent -- evil hacker Putin is the guilty party here!") ..."
"... The big question in my mind is: Why are they revealing this now? Did somebody in the Crime Family suddenly figure out that the NSA would have known about this server almost from the minute it went online? Do they think that their Russia-Russia-Russia idiocy is losing steam, so they need to reveal this server while the media is still distracted distracting? ..."
"... "Everything I did was permitted. There was no law, there was no regulations, there was nothing that did not give me the full authority to how I was going to communicate ..."
"... The NYC FBI discovered that Weiner's laptop had 650,000 emails from Hillary that Huma sent to his laptop. There were some very juicy information on it that should have seen Hillary, Huma and many, many other people arrested and charged for not only what Hillary did during her tenure as SOS, but some other things that were very horrible. When they wanted to go public with it Loretta Lynch threatened that if they did then her office would prosecute the cop who murdered Eric Garner. They folded. ..."
"... The IG report was full of damning information on how far people went to protect her. The media covered it for one day. The next day the story about how the Trump administration was separating children from their parents broke even though they had been doing it for 6 weeks. Now that too has almost disappeared from the airwaves and they are now focusing on the Manafort trial. Quell surprise. ..."
"... That Huber hasn't acted yet is why I'm thinking that Q is a hoax. Why is Q doing what he is? It keeps many of Trump's supporters from focusing on the things he is doing that is harming his base. ..."
Aug 11, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
In the beginning, Hillary created the server. Then Her saw that it was good, so she created a second server.

Forget Justin Cooper. Forget Brian Pagliano. Folks, this is a new game, at least in terms of public knowledge. The above one page letter is to David the Fixer Kendall responding to his prior (not cited) information to the DOJ that Zero 2 did indeed exist. Note the admonition to preserve not only the server but to maintain power to the server until retrieved by the Feebs. (Oh yeah, sure!)

Notice Kendall's last sentence, deliberately calling the mid year event (MYE) a "security investigation". It was allegedly a criminal investigation, which Lying Loretta preferred to call a "matter", even though Jimmy C. exonerated Her before the first witness was called (May 2017).

So why does this matter? First, it tightens the nooses on Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and likely others for a three year evidence suppression. If those guys thought they had problems, how do they justify suppression of such information?

Secondly, if Zero 1 and Zero 2 are now admitted to exist, is there not a possibility that Zero 3, 4, etc. also exist?

If criminal referrals don't emanate from Horowitz's IG department, we should be most surprised.


Alligator Ed on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 10:48pm

Not getting much play in the Mostly Shit Media is the tale of the server that nobody ever knew about except the Clintons, David Kendall, Jim the Weasel Comey, Andy McCabe and Peter "the Insurance Policy" Strzok et al.

Surprisingly, this issue has not ruffled the feathers of c99ers. (Do we have feathers at all?) Now, should we be surprised? Only if "woke" yesterday--or oblivious to Clintonian caca de vaca .

First, we should consider (because I say so) the case of Zero 1 -- the basement server which was installed in a basement in Chappaqua (which is in fact where basement servers belong). After being harassed by Trey Gowdy and finally cornered by Judicial Watch, did Madame Secretary admit to having a "convenient" hardware device, next to the porcelain throne, by which she transmitted government secrets and pay-for-play missives. Naturally she did not acknowledge the fact that her eminently hackable hardware served either purpose.

Let us review, with full retrospective insight, the beginnings in the straw that breaks HRC's back:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/J1wNO8Ifgv8?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Eagles92 on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 11:11pm
Yes.

We do have feathers.

(Will now commence reading the rest of your post).

Alligator Ed on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:08am
Pardon

@Eagles92 No slight intended to avian members of the c99 swamp. Fly high, feathered friend.

We do have feathers.

(Will now commence reading the rest of your post).

Wink on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 8:32am
But does any of this

nail Hillary's ass? Can we soon expect her sporting a new jumpsuit?

The Aspie Corner on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 9:53am
Nope.

@Wink And the far-right pigs wouldn't want their center-right masquerading as left cover gone.

nail Hillary's ass? Can we soon expect her sporting a new jumpsuit?

Pluto's Republic on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 9:26am
AsI recall, Guccifer I broke into Hillary's

...unsecured email servers. I believe he got the addy from Blumenthal's emails, which he hacked. He also hacked Colin Powell, and both Bush Presidents. That was all exposed in the Globe in the UK because I think he snagged Tony Blair, too. That was a separate suppressed exposure to the international war crimes that were committed by Bush, Blair, and Powell to launch the Iraq war.

That's when Trey Gowdy found out about Hillary's secret servers. They were at the very tail end of the Benghazi hearings.

PhilK on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 9:55am
I'm pretty sure this is the key right here:

a "convenient" hardware device . . . by which she transmitted government secrets and pay-for-play missives.

I've watched literally hundreds of George Webb's videos, and the impression I've gotten from them is that there was an unsecured (or almost unsecured) server that was in effect a "shipping dock" for data that had been paid for through pay-to-play. I assume they thought this would provide some sort of plausible deniability in case the scheme was discovered. ("We're innocent -- evil hacker Putin is the guilty party here!")

The big question in my mind is: Why are they revealing this now? Did somebody in the Crime Family suddenly figure out that the NSA would have known about this server almost from the minute it went online? Do they think that their Russia-Russia-Russia idiocy is losing steam, so they need to reveal this server while the media is still distracted distracting?

'Tis a puzzlement.

EdMass on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 2:11pm
She was certainly guilty

of transgressions and "gross negligence" for the whole server/unsecured devices thing. (I thought the server was in the bathroom not the basement?) changed by Stokey to "confused by technology".

There was the Uranium 1 thing. There was all the $$$ pouring into the Foundation with absolutely "no" relationship to buying influence. There was Billy's speech in Moscow for $500 large. There was that Karmac thing with Lynch. There was Susan Rice telling Intel to "stand down" on investigating Russian cyber meddling. There was, Cheryl and Huma and others given immunity prior to the Clinton Creatures "testimony" (a record number of "I don't recalls" if I recall) Even though Cheryl was not her attorney at State she was given "client privilege" exemptions. there was, there was, there was...

The press is not the enemy of the people. It's stupidity for christ's sake.

Did I mention RUSSIA!

snoopydawg on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 4:06pm
Wow! What a liar she is

The video transcript.

"Everything I did was permitted. There was no law, there was no regulations, there was nothing that did not give me the full authority to how I was going to communicate ."

Wrong Hillary! There were rules and regulations in place for everyone who wasn't you on how classified information was to be handled. Then you broke the rules again when your tenure was done. You were supposed to turn all of your emails over to have been secured. You did not do that.

The NYC FBI discovered that Weiner's laptop had 650,000 emails from Hillary that Huma sent to his laptop. There were some very juicy information on it that should have seen Hillary, Huma and many, many other people arrested and charged for not only what Hillary did during her tenure as SOS, but some other things that were very horrible. When they wanted to go public with it Loretta Lynch threatened that if they did then her office would prosecute the cop who murdered Eric Garner. They folded.

I've been meaning to essay these articles, but you can read them if interested. Bottom line is that Hillary should be sitting in prison for the things she did with her use of her private email server. That she isn't show how she was protected by the Obama justice department and Obama himself.

The IG report was full of damning information on how far people went to protect her. The media covered it for one day. The next day the story about how the Trump administration was separating children from their parents broke even though they had been doing it for 6 weeks. Now that too has almost disappeared from the airwaves and they are now focusing on the Manafort trial. Quell surprise.

gulfgal98 on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 5:26pm
The Zero Hedge article

@snoopydawg about how the majority of her emails were funneled to a foreign authority should have been enough to prosecute her under the espionage act. It turns out that Horowitz does not have clean hands either.

We all know she was funneling top secret information to the highest bidder. For me the issue is not that top secret government documents were sent to her private server. The bigger issue for me is why ANY government business would be allowed to be sent to her private server.

snoopydawg on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 5:50pm
I agree

@gulfgal98

That her emails not only went to foreign entity, but that her server had also been hacked at least twice is why she should have been charged. And yes under the espionage act.

All 4 of the articles have shown that she was protected by Obama and his justice department. Horowitz doesn't have the power to prosecute her. Huber does. And she isn't the only one who should be charged. Every person involved with the investigation into her server that didn't do their jobs should also be charged. There's enough information on Lynch's threatening the NYC FBI to charge her for obstruction of justice. Plus there is the other things she told Comey to do or not do. Plus the NYC FBI is sitting on tons of evidence of the Clinton's criminal activities and they have been for over two years. Why? It's Trump's justice department now.

Strzok too did many nefarious things, but changing the wording in Comey's report is obstructing the investigation too.

That Huber hasn't acted yet is why I'm thinking that Q is a hoax. Why is Q doing what he is? It keeps many of Trump's supporters from focusing on the things he is doing that is harming his base.

Then there's Trump's persecution of Assange. Q keeps saying that Trump is in his court and yet his administration is pressuring Ecuador to kick him out.

Did you read the others?

#9 about how the majority of her emails were funneled to a foreign authority should have been enough to prosecute her under the espionage act. It turns out that Horowitz does not have clean hands either.

We all know she was funneling top secret information to the highest bidder. For me the issue is not that top secret government documents were sent to her private server. The bigger issue for me is why ANY government business would be allowed to be sent to her private server.

gulfgal98 on Fri, 08/10/2018 - 12:18am
Yes, I did

@snoopydawg There is so much "there" there in everything associated with Clinton. And yet we have not seen any remote amount of effort and scrutiny, not to mention tax dollars, spent on investigating her treasonous activities and serial lying that has been spent by the Mueller investigation into Trump. As one article said, Trump posed a threat to the status quo.

The Voice In th... on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 10:33pm
But why doesn't Trump prosecute her?

@snoopydawg
Or will it be an October Surprise? Or does he hope to run against her again in 2020? Re the last, Biden and McAuliffe should be as easy to beat.

ESKOS on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 8:19pm
Actually, the FOREIGN ENTITY could have been

her Clinton Foundation or any of the CF subsidiaries. "Definition of "Foreign entity" means an organization formed under, and the internal affairs of which are governed by, the laws of a jurisdiction other than this state." It did not make sense to me that she would arbitrarily copy some foreign government on all her emails but copying Clinton Foundation or Clinton Global Initiatives makes a lot of sense.

jim p on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 11:15pm
We eagerly await Putin's

release of what's on this second server.

[Aug 10, 2018] Dozens of Yemeni Children Killed in Saudi Coalition Airstrike by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Coalition attacks on Yemeni markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never call them out for what they do. ..."
Aug 09, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
There was another Saudi coalition airstrike on a crowded market in northern Yemen today. Dozens of civilians have been killed and dozens more injured. Many of the dead and injured were children whose school bus was hit in the attack:

Coalition attacks on Yemeni markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never call them out for what they do. The U.S. continues to arm and refuel coalition planes despite ample evidence that the coalition has been deliberately attacking civilian targets. At the very least, the coalition hits civilian targets with such regularity that they are ignoring whatever procedures they are supposed to be following to prevent that. The weapons that the U.S., Britain, and other arms suppliers provide them are being used to slaughter wedding-goers, hospital patients, and schoolchildren, and U.S. refueling of coalition planes allows them to carry out more of these attacks than they otherwise could. Today's attack ranks as one of the worst.

Saada has come under some of the most intense attacks from the coalition bombing campaign. The coalition illegally declared the entire area a military target three years ago, and ever since they have been blowing up homes , markets , schools , water treatment systems, and hospitals without any regard for the innocent civilians that are killed and injured.

The official U.S. line on support for the war is that even more civilians would be killed if the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition. Our government has never provided any evidence to support this, and the record shows that civilian casualties from Saudi coalition airstrikes have increased over the last year. The Saudis and their allies either don't listen to any of the advice they're receiving, or they know they won't pay any price for ignoring it. As long as the U.S. arms and refuels coalition planes while they slaughter Yemeni civilians in attacks like this one, our government is implicated in the war crimes enabled by our unstinting military assistance. Congress can and must halt that assistance immediately.

Update: CNN reports on the aftermath of the airstrike:

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a hospital it supports in Saada had received 29 dead bodies of "mainly children" under 15 years of age, and 40 injured, including 30 children.

"(The hospital) is very busy. They've been receiving wounded and dead since the morning and it is non-stop ," ICRC head of communications and spokesperson Mirella Hodeib told CNN.

Second Update: The Associated Press reports that the death toll stands at 43 with another 63 injured.

Third Update: The death toll has reportedly risen to 50 . 77 were injured.


an older america weeps August 9, 2018 at 11:30 am

School buses?

Good Lord above. School buses.

Of course I have no right to surprise or shock. They've already targeted hospitals, foreign doctors and nurses, first responders, wedding parties, and funerals.

School buses.

We used to make movies about killing people who do things like this. Now we help them do it.

Daniel O'Connor , says: August 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm
The repetitive frequency and intensity of these attacks on hospitals, schools, markets and other civilian gatherings, coupled with the indifference of the guilty national governments and their international enablers, signals that the world and human species is passing through a mass psychosis. This psychosis is playing itself out at all levels. Fascism, which is very current as a national psychology, is generally speaking, a coping strategy for dealing with nasty chaos. This coping strategy is designed around generating even more chaos, since that is a familiar and therefore more comfortable pattern of behavior; and that does provide a delusion of stability. A good example would be the sanctions just declared by the Trump Administration on Iranian commerce. In an intrinsically connected global market, these sanctions are so thorough that they qualify as a blockade, within a contingency plan for greater global conflict. But those who destroy hospitals, schools, school buses and public celebrations are not, otherwise, forward looking nice people. We are descending into a nasty fascist war psychosis. Just shake it. Live. Long and well.
b. , says: August 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm
"even more civilians would be killed if the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition"

If we did not hand them satellite images, did not service, repair and refuel their planes, and did not sell them the bombs, then they would . kill more civilians how? They could not even reach their targets, let alone drop explosives they do not have.

What Would Mohammad Do? Buy bombs from the Russians? Who have better quality control and fewer duds, hence more victims?

What Would Mohammad Do? Get the UAE to hire Blackwater to poison the wells across Yemen?

How exactly do the profiteers in our country, that get counted out blood money for every single Yemeni killed, propose that the Saudis and Emiratis would make this worse?

But, good to know that our "smart" and "precise" munitions can still hit a school bus. Made In America!

Great.

Hunter C , says: August 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm
The coverage in the media has been predictably cowardly and contemptible in the aftermath of this story. I read articles from CNN and MSNBC and they were variations on "school bus bombed", in the passive tense – with no mention of who did it or who is supporting them in the headline, ad if the bombings were natural disasters.

Fox, predictably, was even worse and led with "Biblical relics endangered by war", which speaks volumes about the presumed priorities of their viewership.

This, and not anything to do with red meat domestic politics, is the worst media malpractice of our time. "Stop directly helping the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks drop bombs on school children" should be the absolute easiest possible moral issue for our media to take a stand on and yet they treat it like it's radioactive.

Speaking as someone who considers themselves a liberal I am infuriated by the Democrats response. How can the party leadership not see that if they keep flogging the horse of Russian trolls and shrugging their shoulders over American given (not sold – *given*) bombs being dropped on schools and hospitals, no one is ever going to take the supposed Democratic anti-war platform seriously again. The Republicans can afford to be tarde by association with these atrocities. The Democrats can't.

I wonder how many Democrats are in the same boat as me right now: I may not like Trump or the Christian conservatives but fights over the Supreme Court or coal plants or a healthcare law look terribly petty compared to the apparent decision by Saudi Arabia to kill literally millions. For the first time in my life I'm seriously wishing there was a third-party candidate I could support and the congressional elections just so I could send a message on this.

Erik , says: August 9, 2018 at 10:13 pm
@Hunter C
Vote Libertarian Party. You won't agree with a lot of their domestic agenda, but they're not going to win, so it doesn't matter. The noninterventionist foreign policy is your message.

[Aug 10, 2018] Hitler Trump The Great Man Theory Debunked by Gerold

Notable quotes:
"... Although he was a brilliant orator, Hitler's failures are too innumerable to list. [Link] He was certainly a failure as a painter and his General staff considered him an incompetent military strategist (fortunately for the Allies.) However, Hitler was merely the right man at the right time and place to achieve power. As Ross explains, Hitler was , "the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality." That sounds all too close to home, doesn't it? ..."
"... Enter Donald Trump; the right man at the right time and place. He's a brute, a bully, and a demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message to appeal to his base. ..."
"... I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump. ..."
"... After his first meeting with Trump, he wrote that Trump "saw every unknown person as a threat and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. 'He's like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don't show him deference he kills you.'" ..."
"... If everything is so awesome, why are Americans drinking themselves to death in record numbers?" [Link] ..."
Aug 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Gerold via GeroldBlog.com,

We're told that great leaders make history. Like so much of what we are taught, that's a load of bunk. Yes, great leaders make it into the history books, but they do not make history. You make history. I make history. All we dirt people together make history. Government-run schools don't teach us this because it makes us easier to control.

The "Great Man Theory" [Link] tells us that history can be largely explained by the impact of great leaders. This theory was popularized in the 1800's by the historian and social commentator Thomas Carlyle [Link] The Great Man Theory downplays the importance of economic and practical explanations. It is an appealing theory because its simplicity offers the path of least resistance. That should ring an alarm.

Herbert Spencer [Link] forcefully disagreed with the "Great Man Theory." He believed that great leaders were merely products of their social environment. "Before he can remake his society, his society must make him." Tolstoy went so far as to call great leaders "history's slaves." However, this middle ground still misses the mark.

At the other extreme is "history from below" [Link] aka 'the people's history.' "History from below" takes the perspective of common people rather than leaders. It emphasizes the daily life of ordinary people that develop opinions and trends " as opposed to great people introducing ideas or initiating events." Unfortunately, this too is only half the equation, and it is no surprise that it appeals to Leftist and Marxist agendas.

Having studied politics and history ever since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, I determined that although history is partly the environments and individuals shaping each other reciprocally, it is more than that. It is you and I who make history with every decision we make, every dollar we spend, everything we learn, every vote we cast and every opinion we voice. It's even what we don't do. It is mostly organic and cannot easily be explained in a simple, linear fashion the way the aforementioned political philosophers tried.

Great leaders are merely the right person at the right time and place. However, they do not lead so much as follow from the front. They stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind blows. They may be brutes, bullies or demagogues, but they are sensitive enough to understand the zeitgeist , the spirit of the times and so, they adjust their message accordingly.

That is one reason Jimmy Carter was a failed President. He was a nice guy, but he did not get an accurate reading of the times. Instead, he acted on the wishful thinking that is characteristic of liberals.

One of the significant shortcomings of many political philosophers is their ignorance of human nature. That is why Collectivism in all its forms appeals to the downtrodden. "Share and share alike" is a beautiful ideal so long as you get other people's stuff, but the flip side of the coin is not quite so appealing.

I heard a radio interview with a self-avowed Communist:

"So do you believe in 'share and share alike?"

"Yes, I do."

"And, if you had more than one house, you'd give them away and keep just one for yourself?"

"Yes. I would."

"And, if you had more than one vehicle, you'd give them away and keep just one for yourself?"

"Yes, I would."

"And, if you had more than one shirt "

"Whoa, wait a minute! I have more than one shirt."

I can't remember the rest of the interview as I was laughing too hard.

The Great Man Theory is one extreme, its critics are somewhere in the middle and 'the history of the people' is at the other end of the spectrum. Despite this, we are still fascinated by great leaders. That is human nature. Whether we are slaves at heart, or lack self-confidence or some other explanation is endlessly debatable. However, the fact remains that we are fascinated by great leaders and our inability to understand them further disproves the accepted theories.

Adolph Hitler is the ultimate example of our fascination with a great man. According to Alex Ross's "The Hitler Vortex," [Link] tens of thousands of books have been written about Hitler. "Books have been written about Hitler's youth, his years in Vienna and Munich, his service in the First World War, his assumption of power, his library, his taste in art, his love of film, his relations with women, and his predilections in interior design ('Hitler at Home')."

Tens of thousands of books failed to explain Hitler. Ross, too, does no better when he writes, "What set Hitler apart from most authoritarian figures in history was his conception of himself as an artist-genius who used politics as his métier. It is a mistake to call him a failed artist; for him, politics and war were a continuation of art by other means." WTF? Are we to believe Hitler was simply an artist who used the world as his canvas? Equally pointless is the notion that, "Hitler debased the Romantic cult of genius to incarnate himself as a transcendent leader hovering above the fray."

Although he was a brilliant orator, Hitler's failures are too innumerable to list. [Link] He was certainly a failure as a painter and his General staff considered him an incompetent military strategist (fortunately for the Allies.) However, Hitler was merely the right man at the right time and place to achieve power. As Ross explains, Hitler was , "the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality." That sounds all too close to home, doesn't it?

Enter Donald Trump; the right man at the right time and place. He's a brute, a bully, and a demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message to appeal to his base.

I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump.

John Feeley is the former U.S. Ambassador to Panama portrayed in The New Yorker magazine article "The Diplomat Who Quit the Trump Administration." [Link] After his first meeting with Trump, he wrote that Trump "saw every unknown person as a threat and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. 'He's like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don't show him deference he kills you.'"

Feeley fears that "the country was embracing an attitude that was profoundly inimical to diplomacy 'If we do that we will become weaker and less prosperous.'" He is correct in that regard. China is building a large, new embassy at the mouth of the Panama Canal visible to every ship "as they enter a waterway that once symbolized the global influence of the United States."

Feeley is also correct in warning that the Trump administration's gutting the diplomatic corps will have negative repercussions. Throughout Latin America, leftist leaders are in retreat, and popular movements reject corrupt governance. Yet, America is losing "the greatest opportunity to recoup the moral high ground that we have had in decades." Instead, the U.S. is abandoning the region to China. Feeley calls it "a self-inflicted Pearl Harbor."

China is replacing U.S. influence in Latin America and Chinese banks "provided more than a hundred and fifty billion dollars in loan commitments to the region In less than two decades, trade between China and Latin America has increased twenty-seven-fold." Although that began long before Trump, "We're not just walking off the field. We're taking the ball and throwing a finger at the rest of the world."

Feeley says that he felt betrayed by what he regarded as "the traditional core values of the United States." Sorry, Feeley, but America lost its core values long before Trump was elected. Trump is not the cause; he is the symptom, the result of the declining American Empire.

Hunters know that one of the most dangerous animals is a wounded one. The same is correct about failing empires because they are a danger not only to others but to their own citizens as well. The elites are running out the clock in order to loot as much as they can before it hits the fan.

We dirt people will continue to suffer from stagnant wage growth while the so-called increase in national wealth goes to a tiny minority. [link]

Moreover, nobody wins a trade war that raises consumer prices even if Trump eventually triumphs.

The economy staggers under the weight of phony wars, fake finances, fake GDP, fake CPI, fake employment, fake pensions and fake everything. [Link] The national debt increases $1 trillion every year, consumer debt is at an all-time high [Link] while the tax cuts benefit only the ultra-wealthy. Also, the fake news tells us everything is wonderful. Don't believe it. "If everything is so awesome, why are Americans drinking themselves to death in record numbers?" [Link]

It is said that every few generations, money returns to its rightful owners. That is what's happening now.

America emerged relatively unscathed from the Second World War whereas many other countries were bombed back into the Stone Age. The Marshal Plan helped rebuild countries that were to become both America's future customers and its competitors. America's busy factories transformed from war production to consumer goods, the demand for which was created by "the Father of Spin" Edward Bernays' marketing propaganda. [Link]

As well, the U.S. stole the gold that the Nazis had stolen from others, [Link] and that wealth in addition to robust, productive capacity temporarily propelled the U.S. far ahead of other nations. However, it would not last. Eventually, the undeserved prosperity of the 1950's and '60's began to run out of steam as other nations rebuilt and competed with the U.S. President Nixon defaulting on the dollar in 1971 by "closing the gold window" signaled the end of America's good times . The subsequent debt creation now unconstricted by a gold basis helped to cushion the blow for several decades, but wealth was now flowing to Asia along with factory jobs.

For 5,000 years, China was a world superpower with only a short, two-century hiatus that is now ending as China again emerges as an economic superpower. Such a massive shift in wealth cannot be attributed to either leadership or the people below. It is a painful reversion to the mean. All the finger-pointing and wailing and gnashing of teeth not even bombastic Trump and his tariffs can stem the tide and make America great again as money continues to flow back to its rightful owners.

The USA is a declining, bankrupt, warmongering police state and most of its indoctrinated citizens think they live in a free, peaceful country.

China is a corrupt police state, but most of its citizens know it.

We have met the enemy, and he is us. The future awaits.

[Aug 08, 2018] In many ways, the Democratic elite are small "c"onservatives. New ideas and such are frightening to them.

Notable quotes:
"... In many ways, the Democratic elite are small "c"onservatives. New ideas and such are frightening to them. ..."
"... the energy of the political left is not with the Democrats ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

NotTimothyGeithner , August 7, 2018 at 8:29 pm

The by product of small minds and limited options. The collapse of the Democratic Party also represented a failure to create a bench. AOC is a person who should have been identified and pushed to run for local or even state government by a healthy political party.

In many ways, the Democratic elite are small "c"onservatives. New ideas and such are frightening to them.

Donna Brazille knocked the Clinton Headquarters staff for not having sex, but the pictures of the Clinton staffers looked like a particularly boring group of College Republicans. Wow, the President listens to Jay-Z. He's really popular with kids from the suburbs!

This morning I was reminded that Sam Power apologized for calling Hillary a monster in 2013 probably because it seemed inevitable HRC would be President, but now I see it as a lack of creative thinking where these boring people (they are boring) couldn't envision an alternative.

As far as the options, the energy of the political left is not with the Democrats hence why they have to pimp Biden every few months.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 7, 2018 at 10:27 pm

HRC use to pay DavidHow much went to MSNBC to be in ads for the choir? What good was an HRC ad during a network dedicated to "Her"?

As far as her staff, she use to pay Mark Penn. Its reasonable to expect the Clinton campaign would simply light money on fire, but I was always puzzled by the ads on MSNBC. What good were they beyond preaching Hillary was running for President?

We know from the DNC emails Podesta said he needed to talk to HRC about promising the VP to everyone after she had picked Kaine long before the announcement. I'm wondering what kinds of ad buys she promised. When Obama got to the end, he just randomly ran an infomercial and gave the field staff a fairly decent bonus. With all her money in a slam dunk election, I think the story is more than a campaign of would be Mark Penns.

DonCoyote , August 7, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Joan Didion's Insider Baseball , written 30 years ago, is still probably my favorite political piece of writing.

Thank you, Lambert, for going beyond the facile "horserace" and "blue wave" tropes and assembling enough data for us non-insiders to be able to gain some understanding of the game the insiders are playing.

These are people who speak of the process as an end in itself, connected only nominally, and vestigially, to the electorate and its possible concerns "Anything that brings the process closer to the people is all to the good," George Bush declared in his 1987 autobiography, Looking Forward, accepting as given this relatively recent notion that the people and the process need not automatically be on convergent tracks.

When we talk about the process, then, we are talking, increasingly, not about "the democratic process," or the general mechanism affording the citizens of a state a voice in its affairs, but the reverse: a mechanism seen as so specialized that access to it is correctly limited to its own professionals, to those who manage policy and those who report on it, to those who run the polls and those who quote them, to those who ask and those who answer the questions on the Sunday shows, to the media consultants, to the columnists, to the issues advisers, to those who give the off-the-record breakfasts and to those who attend them; to that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life.

Tony of CA , August 7, 2018 at 7:08 pm

I have a simple question: Why vote? Both parties are largely control by the same donors. It strikes me as a waste of energy. When someone such a Sanders comes around who actually slightly challenges the status quo, the powers to be actively collude to disenfranchise the movement.

flora , August 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm

"I have a simple question: Why vote?"

Simple answer: It's the only thing we have that scares them. Why else would they spend so much effort trying to suppress the vote, or not fighting voter suppression? And who knows, some candidates you vote for might win.

Tony of CA , August 7, 2018 at 11:20 pm

I don't think it actually scares them. It's more important for them to keep the showing going. By voting, we are actively buying into the political theatre. It's a sham. Really democracy simply can't coexist in a Capitalistic system.

Altandmain , August 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Hard question, but how much is an Obama or Clinton endorsement really worth?

They are not going to be very appealing to swing voters, independents, etc. They have limited to appeal to getting young people and supporters of Bernie Sanders to vote.

Seems like they are most useful for just motivating Establishment Democratic voters.

Second, the Democrat Party really is split. As you can see, Obama, Clinton, and the DCCC's endorsements overlap in only a single case (again, CA-50) with "insurgent" backers like Justice Democrats (JD) and Our Revolution (OR). Negative confirmation: Obama did not endorse Ocasio-Cortez ("Party Unity is for Rubes"). Her district is a safe Democrat seat (unless Crowley, running as a straw on the Working Families line, somehow takes it away from her), so perhaps that doesn't matter: Positive confirmation: Obama and Clinton didn't endorse Bryce in WI-01, although -- because? -- Sanders did, even though the DCCC did, and the seat used to be Paul Ryan's![1]

It has been split between those who got rich by neoliberalism (the 10%er base) and the rest of us.

That's the really brutal reality.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 7, 2018 at 9:47 pm

Probably none.

My sense is the importance of the Oprah endorsement of Obama wasn't the endorsement as much as the spectacle and crowds. 10,000 people at a campaign event in New Hampshire is huge. At that point, Obama didn't have to face the usual primary audience much like HRC where candidates do get fairly difficult questions in comparison to the msm garbage questions cookie recipes.

Yellow dog types who might vote for AOC over say Crowley on their own might be swayed, but I suspect "DNC" letter head would have the same effect.

Lambert Strether Post author , August 7, 2018 at 11:34 pm

> how much is an Obama or Clinton endorsement really worth?

It's a signal about where to send money.

[Aug 08, 2018] National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; it's content was determined by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings of the masses was it clear and consistent.

Aug 08, 2018 | www.goodreads.com

"It did not take National Socialism long to rally workers, most of whom were either unemployed or still very young, into the SA [Sturmangriff, Stormtroopers, "brown shirts"]. To a large extent, however, these workers were revolutionary in a dull sort of way and still maintained an authoritarian attitude. For this reason National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; it's content was determined by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings of the masses was it clear and consistent.

In talks with followers of the National Socialist party and especially with members of the SA, it was clearly brought out that the revolutionary phraseology of National Socialism was the decisive factor in the winning over of these masses. One heard National Socialists deny that Hitler represented capital. One heard SA men warn Hitler that he must not betray the cause of the "revolution." One heard SA men say that Hitler was the German Lenin . Those who went over to National Socialism from Social Democracy and the liberal central parties were, without exception, revolutionary minded masses who were either nonpolitical or politically undecided prior to this. Those who went over from the Communist party were often revolutionary elements who simply could not make any sense of many of the German Communist party's contradictory political slogans. In part they were men upon whom the external features of Hitler's party, it's military character, its assertiveness, etc., made a big impression.

To begin with, it is the symbol of the flag that stands out among the symbols used for purposes of propaganda."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

[Aug 08, 2018] Wilhelm Reich Quotes

Aug 08, 2018 | www.goodreads.com

"Mistaking insolence for freedom has always been the hallmark of the slave."
Wilhelm Reich , Listen, Little Man!

"Open avowal of dictatorship is much less dangerous than sham democracy. The first one can fight; sham democracy is insidious."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Even more essential, however, is the identification of the individuals in the masses with the "führer." The more helpless the "mass-individual" has become, owing to his upbringing, the more pronounced is his identification with the führer, and the more the childish need for protection is disguised in the form of a feeling at one with the führer. This inclination to identify is the psychological basis of national narcissism, i.e., of the self-confidence that individual man derives from the "greatness of the nation."

The reactionary lower middle-class man perceives himself in the führer, in the authoritarian state. On the basis of this identification he feels himself to be a defender of the "national heritage," of the "nation," which does not prevent him, likewise on the basis of this identification, from simultaneously despising "the masses" and confronting them as an individual. The wretchedness of his material and sexual situation is so overshadowed by the exalting idea of belonging to a master race and having a brilliant führer that, as time goes on, he ceases to realize how completely he has sunk to a position of insignificant, blind allegiance.

The worker who is conscious of his skills -- he, in short, who has rid himself of his submissive structure, who identifies with his work and not with the führer, with the international working masses and not with the national homeland -- represents the opposite of this. He feels himself to be a leader , not on the basis of his identification with the führer, but on the basis of his consciousness of performing work that is vitally necessary for society's existence."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"It was one of the greatest errors in evaluating dictatorship to say that the dictator forces himself on society against its own will. In reality, every dictator in history was nothing but the accentuation of already existing state ideas which he had only to exaggerate in order to gain power"
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Race theorists, who are as old as imperialism itself, want to achieve racial purity in peoples whose interbreeding, as a result of the expansion of world economy, is so far advanced that racial purity can have meaning only to a numbskull." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"One cannot equate "capitalism" and "democracy." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man's fear of the social responsibility and personal burden that "freedom" entails." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"The word fascism is not a word of abuse any more than the word capitalism is. It is a concept denoting a very definite kind of mass leadership and mass influence: authoritarian, one-party system, hence totalitarian, a system in which power takes priority over objective interests, and facts are distorted for political purposes. Hence, there are "fascist Jews," just as there are "fascist Democrats." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Finally, we arrive at the question of the so-called nonpolitical man. Hitler not only established his power from the very beginning with masses of people who were until then essentially nonpolitical; he also accomplished his last step to victory in March of 1933 in a "legal" manner, by mobilizing no less than five million nonvoters, that is to say, nonpolitical people. The Left parties had made every effort to win over the indifferent masses, without posing the question as to what it means "to be indifferent or nonpolitical."

If an industrialist and large estate owner champions a rightist party, this is easily understood in terms of his immediate economic interests. In his case a leftist orientation would be at variance with his social situation and would, for that reason, point to irrational motives. If an industrial worker has a leftist orientation, this too is by all mean rationally consistent -- it derives from his economic and social position in industry. If, however, a worker, an employee, or an official has a rightist orientation, this must be ascribed to a lack of political clarity, i.e., he is ignorant of his social position. The more a man who belongs to the broad working masses is nonpolitical, the more susceptible he is to the ideology of political reaction. To be nonpolitical is not, as one might suppose, evidence of a passive psychic condition, but of a highly active attitude, a defense against the awareness of social responsibility. The analysis of this defense against consciousness of one's social responsibility yields clear insights into a number of dark questions concerning the behavior of the broad nonpolitical strata. In the case of the average intellectual "who wants nothing to do with politics," it can easily be shown that immediate economic interests and fears related to his social position, which is dependent upon public opinion, lie at the basis of his noninvolvement. These fears cause him to make the most grotesque sacrifices with respect to his knowledge and convictions. Those people who are engaged in the production process in one way or another and are nonetheless socially irresponsible can be divided into two major groups. In the case of the one group the concept of politics is unconsciously associated with the idea of violence and physical danger, i.e., with an intense fear, which prevents them from facing life realistically. In the case of the other group, which undoubtedly constitutes the majority, social irresponsibility is based on personal conflicts and anxieties, of which the sexual anxiety is the predominant one. [ ] Until now the revolutionary movement has misunderstood this situation. It attempted to awaken the "nonpolitical" man by making him conscious solely of his unfulfilled economic interests. Experience teaches that the majority of these "nonpolitical" people can hardly be made to listen to anything about their socio-economic situation, whereas they are very accessible to the mystical claptrap of a National Socialist, despite the fact that the latter makes very little mention of economic interests. [This] is explained by the fact that severe sexual conflicts (in the broadest sense of the word), whether conscious or unconscious, inhibit rational thinking and the development of social responsibility. They make a person afraid and force him into a shell. If, now, such a self-encapsulated person meets a propagandist who works with faith and mysticism, meets, in other words, a fascist who works with sexual, libidinous methods, he turns his complete attention to him. This is not because the fascist program makes a greater impression on him than the liberal program, but because in his devotion to the führer and the führer's ideology, he experiences a momentary release from his unrelenting inner tension. Unconsciously, he is able to give his conflicts a different form and in this way to "solve" them." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"When, then, the Social Democrat worker found himself in the economic crisis which degraded him to the status of a coolie, the development of his revolutionary sentiments was severely retarded by the conservative structuralization that had been taking shape in him for decades. Either he remained in the camp of the Social Democrats, notwithstanding his criticism and rejection of their policies, or he went over to the NSDAP [Nazi party] in search of a better replacement. Irresolute and indecisive, owing to the deep contradiction between revolutionary and conservative sentiments, disappointed by his own leadership, he followed the line of least resistance. Whether he would give up his conservative tendencies and arrive at a complete consciousness of his actual responsibility in the production process, i.e., at a revolutionary consciousness, depended solely on the correct or incorrect leadership of the revolutionary party. Thus the communist assertion that it was the Social Democrat policies that put fascism in the saddle was correct from a psychological viewpoint. Disappointment in Social Democracy, accompanied by the contradiction between wretchedness and conservative thinking, must lead to fascism if there are no revolutionary organizations. For example, following the fiasco of the Labor party's policies in England, in 1930–31, fascism began to infiltrate the workers who, then, in the election of 1931, cut away to the Right, instead of going over to communism." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Hence, what he wants -- and it is openly admitted -- is to implement nationalistic imperialism with methods he has borrowed from Marxism , including its technique of mass organization. But the success of this mass organization is to be ascribed to the masses and not to Hitler . It was man's authoritarian freedom-fearing structure that enabled his propaganda to take root. Hence, what is important about Hitler sociologically does not issue from his personality but from the importance attached to him by the masses. And what makes the problem all the more complex is the fact that Hitler held the masses, with whose help he wanted to carry out his imperialism, in complete contempt." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"As bitter as it may be, the fact remains: It is the irresponsibleness of masses of people that lies at the basis of fascism of all countries, nations, and races, etc. Fascism is the result of man's distortion over thousands of years. It could have developed in any country or nation. It is not a character trait that is confined specifically to the Germans or Italians. It is manifest in every single individual of the world. The Austrian saying "Da kann man halt nix machen" expresses this fact just as the American saying "Let George do it." That this situation was brought about by a social development which goes back thousands of years does not alter the fact itself. It is man himself who is responsible and not "historical developments." It was the shifting of the responsibility from living man to "historical developments" that caused the downfall of the socialist freedom movements. However, the events of the past twenty years demand the responsibility of the working masses of people.

If we take "freedom" to mean first and foremost the responsibility of each individual to shape personal, occupational, and social existence in a rational way, then it can be said that there is no greater fear than the fear of the creation of general freedom. Unless this basic problem is given complete priority and solved, there will never be a freedom capable of lasting more than one or two generations."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"It did not take National Socialism long to rally workers, most of whom were either unemployed or still very young, into the SA [Sturmangriff, Stormtroopers, "brown shirts"]. To a large extent, however, these workers were revolutionary in a dull sort of way and still maintained an authoritarian attitude. For this reason National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; it's content was determined by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings of the masses was it clear and consistent.

In talks with followers of the National Socialist party and especially with members of the SA, it was clearly brought out that the revolutionary phraseology of National Socialism was the decisive factor in the winning over of these masses. One heard National Socialists deny that Hitler represented capital. One heard SA men warn Hitler that he must not betray the cause of the "revolution." One heard SA men say that Hitler was the German Lenin . Those who went over to National Socialism from Social Democracy and the liberal central parties were, without exception, revolutionary minded masses who were either nonpolitical or politically undecided prior to this. Those who went over from the Communist party were often revolutionary elements who simply could not make any sense of many of the German Communist party's contradictory political slogans. In part they were men upon whom the external features of Hitler's party, it's military character, its assertiveness, etc., made a big impression.

To begin with, it is the symbol of the flag that stands out among the symbols used for purposes of propaganda." ― Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"National Socialism made use of various means in dealing with various classes, and made various promises depending upon the social class it needed at a particular time. In the spring of 1933, for example, it was the revolutionary character of the Nazi movement that was given particular emphasis in Nazi propaganda in an effort to win over the industrial workers, and the first of May was "celebrated," but only after the aristocracy had been appeased in Potsdam. To ascribe the success solely to political swindle, however, would be to become entangled in a contradiction with the basic idea of freedom, and would practically exclude the possibility of a social revolution. What must be answered is: Why do the masses allow themselves to be politically swindled? The masses had every possibility of evaluating the propaganda of the various parties. Why didn't they see that, while promising the workers that the owners of the means of production would be disappropriated, Hitler promised the capitalists that their rights would be protected?"
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"Yet, it was precisely our failure to differentiate between work and politics, between reality and illusion; it was precisely our mistake of conceiving of politics as a rational human activity comparable to the sowing of seeds or the construction of buildings that was responsible for the fact that a painter who failed to make the grade was able to plunge the whole world into misery. And I have stressed again and again that the main purpose of this book -- which, after all, was not written merely for the fun of it -- was to demonstrate these catastrophic errors in human thinking and to eliminate irrationalism from politics. It is an essential part of our social tragedy that the farmer, the industrial worker, the physician, etc., do not influence social existence solely through their social activities, but also and even predominantly through their political ideologies. For political activity hinders objective and professional activity; it splits every profession into inimical ideologic groups; creates a dichotomy in the body of industrial workers; limits the activity of the medical profession and harms the patients. In short, it is precisely political activity that prevents the realization of that which it pretends to fight for: peace, work, security, international cooperation, free objective speech, freedom of religion, etc."
Wilhelm Reich , The Mass Psychology of Fascism

[Aug 08, 2018] America the Unexceptional by William S. Smith

Notable quotes:
"... National Review ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In the wake of President Trump's Helsinki press conference, National Review declared itself "Against Moral Equivalence." The magazine claimed that there could be no equating American meddling in foreign elections with Russian interference in our election because the goal of the U.S. is to "promote democracy and political liberty and human rights." Though while America's actions might be noble and have the sanction of heaven, National Review did concede that its efforts to promote democracy have often been "messy" -- an adjective that the people of Iraq might find understated.

Like many of Trump's critics, National Review 's embrace of American exceptionalism, of exempting the United States from the moral laws of the universe because of its commitment to democracy, is of a type the West has seen before. Swept up in their revolutionary enthusiasm, the French Jacobins made similar claims. In late 1791, a member of the Assembly, while agitating for war with Austria, declared that France "had become the foremost people of the universe, so their conduct must now correspond to their new destiny. As slaves they were bold and great; are they to be timid and feeble now that they are free?"

Robespierre himself was taken aback by the turn of a domestic revolution into a call for military adventurism. Of plans to invade Austria and to overthrow "enemies" of liberty in other nations, he famously remarked, "No one loves armed missionaries." (Robespierre's advice might have also benefited the American occupiers of Iraq.) The Jacobins' moral preening led France to declare war on Austria in 1792 and set in motion years of French military adventurism that devastated much of central Europe. Military imperialism abroad and guillotines at home became the legacy of self-declared French exceptionalism.

Hubristic nations that claim a unique place for themselves high atop the moral universe tend to be imperialistic. This is because claims of national exceptionalism, whether of the French or American variety, are antinomian, even nihilistic. The "exceptional" ones carve out for themselves an exemption from the moral law. And prideful claims of moral purity are the inevitable predicate to imposing one's will upon another. Once leaders assert that their national soul is of a special kind -- indispensable and not subject to the same rules -- the road to hell has been paved.

The Immorality of American Exceptionalism A Jacobin-in-Chief

While supporters of American exceptionalism are careful to claim the mantle of Western civilization, their philosophical orientation in fact amounts to a repudiation of the central principles of the West and the Constitution.

Arguably, the tradition of the Judeo-Christian West has been special because it has asserted that human nature is not particularly special. And the Constitution has been exceptional because it's warned Americans that we are not particularly exceptional.

For example, the legacy of Pauline Christianity, Irving Babbitt tells us, is "the haunting sense of sin and the stress it lays upon the struggle between the higher and lower self, between the law of the flesh and the law of the spirit." No person or nation is above this moral challenge. The uniquely American repudiation of exceptionalism shines brightly in The Federalist , where no angels can be found among men, and, because no one's behavior enjoys the sanction of heaven, extensive checks are placed upon people's ability to impose their wills upon others. The foreign policy that flowed out of the worldview of the Framers was that of George Washington, a strong recommendation against hubris and foreign meddling.

These historical and cultural warnings about human nature have since been swept away by acolytes of American exceptionalism. Our moral superiority, they claim, makes us Masters of the Universe, not careful and mindful custodians of our own fallen nature. We have been put on earth to judge other nations, not to be judged. Tossing the legacy of the Framers onto the ash heap of history, George W. Bush declared in his Second Inaugural Address that our exceptionalism creates an obligation to promote democracy "in every nation and culture." In this endeavor, Bush pronounced, the United States enjoys the sanction of heaven, as "history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the author of liberty." Bush's Second Inaugural was probably better in the original French.

Now, the puffed-up American establishment, many of whom supported the bloody Iraq war, drip with moral condescension as they brand Vladimir Putin an existential outlaw and the enemy of democracy, foreclosing the possibility of common ground with Russia on nuclear weapons, China, terrorism, and other issues that matter to the national security of the United States. That Washington has meddled in countless nations' affairs from Iraq to Russia -- and caused untold damage -- is of no account to the establishment. Rules do not apply to democracy promoters.

After the Iraq war, we should have reconsidered our hubristic American exceptionalism. One can take pride in the American tradition without laying claim to a uniquely beautiful national soul that is exempt from the laws of nature and of nature's God. The hysterical reaction to Trump's truthful admission that the United States too has made mistakes in its relationship with Russia is a sign that American exceptionalism is still in full flower among elites. Without the return of a certain humility, there will be more military adventures abroad and political strife at home.

William S. Smith is research fellow and managing director at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. 11 Responses to America the Unexceptional



Nelson August 7, 2018 at 11:32 pm

I agree with the sentiment but the facts show we've always been this way. Historically speaking our hubris didn't start with George W. Bush. We had quite the exceptionalist spirt with "Manifest Destiny" back in the 19th century. And indeed it took a bit of hubris to declare independence from Britain.
charles cosimano , , August 8, 2018 at 2:44 am
All great powers are exempt from any moral law, not merely because it does not exist, but because even if it did, who could enforce it?
paradoctor , , August 8, 2018 at 2:44 am
Exceptionalism is the sin of pride.
Wayne Lusvardi , , August 8, 2018 at 2:58 am
Dr. Smith wrote his PhD dissertation in political philosophy on a critique of romanticism in political thinking. However, in the above article he somehow believes America is unexceptional for having exempted itself from God's laws and natural law. But what if American policy makers acted out of political necessity and realism, not "hubris" or un-humility? I might agree with Smith about using "democracy building" as a pretense for military intervention. But does Smith take what US presidents and congressmen say at face value? What if US intervention in Iraq had to do with trying to balance power between Iraq and Iran, or stop Islamic expansionism from pushing into Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states? Moralism can be just as dangerous as democracy building in foreign affairs.
polistra , , August 8, 2018 at 3:21 am
We did renounce exceptionalism and imperialism after WW1. Wilson's pet agencies faded out and we focused internally. We remained non-interventionist until 1946 when the Wilsonians snatched power again.

We should figure out why and how the bureaucracy and media gave up Empire in the early '20s. Obviously the people were tired, just as they are now, but the people are irrelevant.

Something changed in the power structure. What was it? Can we help it to happen again?

Robert , , August 8, 2018 at 4:19 am
A very fine article, one of the best that TAC has published.
Andrew , , August 8, 2018 at 6:07 am
The writer in question of the referenced piece at National Review, Jimmy Quinn, is a 20something college intern, proving they aren't even interested in hiring newer young conservatives at NRO who don't just mindlessly repeat the neoconservative line on "American exceptionalism". They are long past their days as a serious magazine. If not by ideology, just by having a more interesting collection of writers, I'd say even the Weekly Standard is now a better magazine than National Review. It's become like the boring Pravda rulebook for Official Conservatism™ in America.
TomG , , August 8, 2018 at 8:29 am
Well done, Mr. Smith. Our hubris blinds this nation to the pain it inflicts in other lands. I reflect again and again on these words from the hymn (tune Finlandia):

This is my song, oh God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
This is my song, thou God of all the nations;
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

When nations rage, and fears erupt coercive,
The drumbeats sound, invoking pious cause.
My neighbors rise, their stalwart hearts they offer,
The gavels drop, suspending rights and laws.
While others wield their swords with blind devotion;
For peace I'll stand, my true and steadfast cause.

We would be one as now we join in singing,
Our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew.
To that high cause of greater understanding
Of who we are, and what in us is true.
We would be one in loving and forgiving,
with hopes and dreams as true and high as thine.

Roberto , , August 8, 2018 at 9:29 am
C'mon people, it's right to separate yourselves from the bombast and violent meddling we've done all over the world, but let's not get carried away with this ridiculous "we're just like any other bully" mentality.

The exceptionalism is in the elevation of individual human freedom as a foundational principle. We declared it, the French declared it, and it remains a beacon for many others, no matter how poorly we've observed it from time to time.

"Military imperialism abroad and guillotines at home became the legacy of self-declared French exceptionalism." No, that was the paroxysm of revolution, one that the U,S. fortunately avoided.
The real legacy was the sweeping away of monarchy across the continent, despite the irony of Napoleon making himself emperor.

For all our imperialism, did we treat western Europe the same as Stalin treated eastern Europe?
Is it just an accident of history that the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, former British colonies all, lead the world in the protection of individual human rights? You can draw a line, crooked though it may be, from those countries right back to the Magna Carta.

Yes, we had slavery, a legacy of our status as an agricultural colony, but the British, French, and Americans all abolished it because it couldn't square with our declared principles.

We may forget why we are exceptional but our immigration pressure shows that the the rest of the world hasn't.

JonF , , August 8, 2018 at 9:38 am
Re: The Jacobins' moral preening led France to declare war on Austria in 1792

It wasn't just the Jacobins: pretty much everyone wanted war. The royalists hoped that foreign intervention would restore Louis XVI as an absolute monarch. The moderates wanted to consolidate the gains of the Revolution and deflect public anger at its economic failings. The radicals, as noted, looked to evangelize Europe with the Rights of Man. And the foreign powers wanted to crush the Revolution lest its ideals take root in their own country -- and help themselves to this or that bit of France's empire.

john35 , , August 8, 2018 at 9:40 am
Thanks for reading "National Review" to bring us this hilarious declaration.

[Aug 08, 2018] American Pravda Jews and Nazis by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
"... Zionism in the Age of the Dictators ..."
"... 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis ..."
"... Jewish Frontier ..."
"... Times of London ..."
"... Life Magazine ..."
"... Times of London ..."
"... The Transfer Agreement ..."
"... The New Republic ..."
"... Hitler's Jewish Soldiers ..."
"... The American Historical Review ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Around 35 years ago, I was sitting in my college dorm-room closely reading the New York Times as I did each and every morning when I noticed an astonishing article about the controversial new Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir.

Back in those long-gone days, the Gray Lady was strictly a black-and-white print publication, lacking the large color photographs of rap stars and long stories about dieting techniques that fill so much of today's news coverage, and it also seemed to have a far harder edge in its Middle East reporting. A year or so earlier, Shamir's predecessor Menacham Begin had allowed his Defense Minister Ariel Sharon to talk him into invading Lebanon and besieging Beirut, and the subsequent massacre of Palestinian women and children in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps had outraged the world and angered America's government. This eventually led to Begin's resignation, with Shamir, his Foreign Minister, taking his place.

Prior to his surprising 1977 election victory, Begin had spent decades in the political wilderness as an unacceptable right-winger, and Shamir had an even more extreme background, with the American mainstream media freely reporting his long involvement in all sorts of high-profile assassinations and terrorist attacks during the 1940s, painting him as a very bad man indeed.

Given Shamir's notorious activities, few revelations would have shocked me, but this one did. Apparently, during the late 1930s, Shamir and his small Zionist faction had become great admirers of the Italian Fascists and German Nazis, and after World War II broke out, they had made repeated attempts to contact Mussolini and the German leadership in 1940 and 1941, hoping to enlist in the Axis Powers as their Palestine affiliate, and undertake a campaign of attacks and espionage against the local British forces, then share in the political booty after Hitler's inevitable triumph.

Now the Times clearly viewed Shamir in a very negative light, but it seemed extremely unlikely to me that they would have published such a remarkable story without being absolutely sure of their facts. Among other things, there were long excerpts from the official letters sent to Mussolini ferociously denouncing the "decadent" democratic systems of Britain and France that he was opposing, and assuring Il Duce that such ridiculous political notions would have no future place in the totalitarian Jewish client state they hoped to establish under his auspices in Palestine.

As it happens, both Germany and Italy were preoccupied with larger geopolitical issues at the time, and given the small size of Shamir's Zionist faction, not much seems to have ever come of those efforts. But the idea of the sitting Prime Minister of the Jewish State having spent his early wartime years as an unrequited Nazi ally was certainly something that sticks in one's mind, not quite conforming to the traditional narrative of that era which I had always accepted.

Most remarkably, the revelation of Shamir's pro-Axis past seems to have had only a relatively minor impact upon his political standing within Israeli society. I would think that any American political figure found to have supported a military alliance with Nazi Germany during the Second World War would have had a very difficult time surviving the resulting political scandal, and the same would surely be true for politicians in Britain, France, or most other western nations. But although there was certainly some embarrassment in the Israeli press, especially after the shocking story reached the international headlines, apparently most Israelis took the whole matter in stride, and Shamir stayed in office for another year, then later served a second, much longer term as Prime Minister during 1986-1992. The Jews of Israel apparently regarded Nazi Germany quite differently than did most Americans, let alone most American Jews.

... ... ...

Over the years I've occasionally made half-hearted attempts to locate the Times article about Shamir that had long stuck in my memory, but have had no success, either because it was removed from the Times archives or more likely because my mediocre search skills proved inadequate. But I'm almost certain that the piece had been prompted by the 1983 publication of Zionism in the Age of the Dictators by Lenni Brenner, an anti-Zionist of the Trotskyite persuasion and Jewish origins. I only very recently discovered that book, which really tells an extremely interesting story.

Brenner, born in 1937, has spent his entire life as an unreconstructed hard-core leftist, with his enthusiasms ranging from Marxist revolution to the Black Panthers, and he is obviously a captive of his views and his ideology. At times, this background impairs the flow of his text, and the periodic allusions to "proletarian," "bourgeoisie," and "capitalist classes" sometimes grow a little wearisome, as does his unthinking acceptance of all the shared beliefs common to his political circle. But surely only someone with that sort of fervent ideological commitment would have been willing to devote so much time and effort to investigating that controversial subject and ignoring the endless denunciations that resulted, which even included physical assaults by Zionist partisans.

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In any event, his documentation seems completely airtight, and some years after the original appearance of his book, he published a companion volume entitled 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis , which simply provides English translations of all the raw evidence behind his analytical framework, allowing interested parties to read the material and draw their own conclusions.

Among other things, Brenner provides considerable evidence that the larger and somewhat more mainstream right-wing Zionist faction later led by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was almost invariably regarded as a Fascist movement during the 1930s, even apart from its warm admiration for Mussolini's Italian regime. This was hardly such a dark secret in that period given that its main Palestine newspaper carried a regular column by a top ideological leader entitled "Diary of a Fascist." During one of the major international Zionist conferences, factional leader Vladimir Zabotinsky entered the hall with his brown-shirted followers in full military formation, leading the chair to ban the wearing of uniforms in order to avoid a riot, and his faction was soon defeated politically and eventually expelled from the Zionist umbrella organization. This major setback was largely due to the widespread hostility the group had aroused after two of its members were arrested by British police for the recent assassination of Chaim Arlosoroff, one of the highest-ranking Zionist officials based in Palestine.

Indeed, the inclination of the more right-wing Zionist factions toward assassination, terrorism, and other forms of essentially criminal behavior was really quite remarkable. For example, in 1943 Shamir had arranged the assassination of his factional rival , a year after the two men had escaped together from imprisonment for a bank robbery in which bystanders had been killed, and he claimed he had acted to avert the planned assassination of David Ben-Gurion, the top Zionist leader and Israel's future founding-premier. Shamir and his faction certainly continued this sort of behavior into the 1940s, successfully assassinating Lord Moyne, the British Minister for the Middle East, and Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN Peace Negotiator, though they failed in their other attempts to kill American President Harry Truman and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin , and their plans to assassinate Winston Churchill apparently never moved past the discussion stage. His group also pioneered the use of terrorist car-bombs and other explosive attacks against innocent civilian targets, all long before any Arabs or Muslims had ever thought of using similar tactics ; and Begin's larger and more "moderate" Zionist faction did much the same. Given that background, it was hardly surprising that Shamir later served as director of assassinations at the Israeli Mossad during 1955-1965, so if the Mossad did indeed play a major role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy , he was very likely involved.

The cover of the 2014 paperback edition of Brenner's book displays the commemorative medal struck by Nazi Germany to mark its Zionist alliance, with a Star-of-David on the front face and a Swastika on the obverse. But oddly enough, this symbolic medallion actually had absolutely no connection with the unsuccessful attempts by Shamir's small faction to arrange a Nazi military alliance during World War II.

Although the Germans paid little attention to the entreaties of that minor organization, the far larger and more influential mainstream Zionist movement of Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion was something else entirely. And during most of the 1930s, these other Zionists had formed an important economic partnership with Nazi Germany, based upon an obvious commonality of interests. After all, Hitler regarded Germany's one percent Jewish population as a disruptive and potentially dangerous element which he wanted gone, and the Middle East seemed as good a destination for them as any other. Meanwhile, the Zionists had very similar objectives, and the creation of their new national homeland in Palestine obviously required both Jewish immigrants and Jewish financial investment.

... ... ...

The importance of the Nazi-Zionist pact for Israel's establishment is difficult to overstate. According to a 1974 analysis in Jewish Frontier cited by Brenner, between 1933 and 1939 over 60% of all the investment in Jewish Palestine came from Nazi Germany. The worldwide impoverishment of the Great Depression had drastically reduced ongoing Jewish financial support from all other sources, and Brenner reasonably suggests that without Hitler's financial backing, the nascent Jewish colony, so tiny and fragile, might easily have shriveled up and died during that difficult period.

Such a conclusion leads to fascinating hypotheticals. When I first stumbled across references to the Ha'avara Agreement on websites here and there, one of the commenters mentioning the issue half-jokingly suggested that if Hitler had won the war, statues would surely have been built to him throughout Israel and he would today be recognized by Jews everywhere as the heroic Gentile leader who had played the central role in reestablishing a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine after almost 2000 years of bitter exile.

This sort of astonishing counter-factual possibility is not nearly as totally absurd as it might sound to our present-day ears. We must recognize that our historical understanding of reality is shaped by the media, and media organs are controlled by the winners of major wars and their allies, with inconvenient details often excluded to avoid confusing the public. It is undeniably true that in his 1924 book Mein Kampf , Hitler had written all sorts of hostile and nasty things about Jews, especially those who were recent immigrants from Eastern Europe, but when I read the book back in high school, I was a little surprised to discover that these anti-Jewish sentiments hardly seemed central to his text. Furthermore, just a couple of years earlier, a vastly more prominent public figure such as British Minister Winston Churchill had published sentiments nearly as hostile and nasty , focusing on the monstrous crimes being committed by Bolshevik Jews. In Albert Lindemann's Esau's Tears , I was surprised to discover that the author of the famous Balfour Declaration, the foundation of the Zionist project, was apparently also quite hostile to Jews, with an element of his motivation probably being his desire to exclude them from Britain.

Once Hitler consolidated power in Germany, he quickly outlawed all other political organizations for the German people, with only the Nazi Party and Nazi political symbols being legally permitted. But a special exception was made for German Jews, and Germany's local Zionist Party was accorded complete legal status, with Zionist marches, Zionist uniforms, and Zionist flags all fully permitted. Under Hitler, there was strict censorship of all German publications, but the weekly Zionist newspaper was freely sold at all newsstands and street corners. The clear notion seemed to be that a German National Socialist Party was the proper political home for the country's 99% German majority, while Zionist National Socialism would fill the same role for the tiny Jewish minority.

In 1934, Zionist leaders invited an important SS official to spend six months visiting the Jewish settlement in Palestine, and upon his return, his very favorable impressions of the growing Zionist enterprise were published as a massive 12-part-series in Joseph Goebbel's Der Angriff , the flagship media organ of the Nazi Party, bearing the descriptive title "A Nazi Goes to Palestine." In his very angry 1920 critique of Jewish Bolshevik activity, Churchill had argued that Zionism was locked in a fierce battle with Bolshevism for the soul of European Jewry, and only its victory might ensure amicable future relations between Jew and Gentile. Based on available evidence, Hitler and many of the other Nazi leaders seemed to have reached a somewhat similar conclusion by the mid-1930s.

During that era extremely harsh sentiments regarding Diaspora Jewry were sometimes found in rather surprising quarters. After the controversy surrounding Shamir's Nazi ties erupted into the headlines, Brenner's material became the grist for an important article by Edward Mortimer, the longtime Middle East expert at the august Times of London , and the 2014 edition of the book includes some choice extracts from Mortimer's February 11, 1984 Times piece:

Who told a Berlin audience in March 1912 that "each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn't want disorders in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews"?

No, not Adolf Hitler but Chaim Weizmann, later president of the World Zionist Organization and later still the first president of the state of Israel.

And where might you find the following assertion, originally composed in 1917 but republished as late as 1936: "The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligation, knows no order nor discipline"?

Not in Der Sturmer but in the organ of the Zionist youth organization, Hashomer Hatzair.

As the above quoted statement reveals, Zionism itself encouraged and exploited self-hatred in the Diaspora. It started from the assumption that anti-Semitism was inevitable and even in a sense justified so long as Jews were outside the land of Israel.

It is true that only an extreme lunatic fringe of Zionism went so far as to offer to join the war on Germany's side in 1941, in the hope of establishing "the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich." Unfortunately this was the group which the present Prime Minister of Israel chose to join.

The very uncomfortable truth is that the harsh characterizations of Diaspora Jewry found in the pages of Mein Kampf were not all that different from what was voiced by Zionism's founding fathers and its subsequent leaders, so the cooperation of those two ideological movements was not really so totally surprising.

However, uncomfortable truths do remain uncomfortable. Mortimer had spent nineteen years at the Times , the last dozen of them as the foreign specialist and leader-writer on Middle Eastern affairs. But the year after he wrote that article including those controversial quotations, his career at that newspaper ended , leading to an unusual gap in his employment history, and that development may or may not be purely coincidental.

Also quite ironic was the role of Adolf Eichmann, whose name today probably ranks as one of the most famous half-dozen Nazis in history, due to his postwar 1960 kidnapping by Israeli agents, followed by his public show-trial and execution as a war-criminal. As it happens, Eichmann had been a central Nazi figure in the Zionist alliance, even studying Hebrew and apparently becoming something of a philo-Semite during the years of his close collaboration with top Zionist leaders.

Brenner is a captive of his ideology and his beliefs, accepting without question the historical narrative with which he was raised. He seems to find nothing so strange about Eichmann being a philo-Semitic partner of the Jewish Zionists during the late 1930s and then suddenly being transformed into a mass-murderer of the European Jews in the early 1940s, willingly committing the monstrous crimes for which the Israelis later justly put him to death.

This is certainly possible, but I really wonder. A more cynical observer might find it a very odd coincidence that the first prominent Nazi the Israelis made such an effort to track down and kill had been their closest former political ally and collaborator. After Germany's defeat, Eichmann had fled to Argentina and lived there quietly for a number of years until his name resurfaced in a celebrated mid-1950s controversy surrounding one of his leading Zionist partners, then living in Israel as a respected government official, who was denounced as a Nazi collaborator, eventually ruled innocent after a celebrated trial, but later assassinated by former members of Shamir's faction.

Following that controversy in Israel, Eichmann supposedly gave a long personal interview to a Dutch Nazi journalist, and although it wasn't published at the time, perhaps word of its existence may have gotten into circulation. The new state of Israel was just a few years old at that time, and very politically and economically fragile, desperately dependent upon the goodwill and support of America and Jewish donors worldwide. Their remarkable former Nazi alliance was a deeply-suppressed secret, whose public release might have had absolutely disastrous consequences.

According to the version of the interview later published as a two-part story in Life Magazine , Eichmann's statements seemingly did not touch on the deadly topic of the 1930s Nazi-Zionist partnership. But surely Israeli leaders must have been terrified that they might not be so lucky the next time, so we may speculate that Eichmann's elimination suddenly became a top national priority, and he was tracked down and captured in 1960. Presumably, harsh means were employed to persuade him not to reveal any of these dangerous pre-war secrets at his Jerusalem trial, and one might wonder if the reason he was famously kept in an enclosed glass booth was to ensure that the sound could quickly be cut off if he started to stray from the agreed upon script. All of this analysis is totally speculative, but Eichmann's role as a central figure in the 1930s Nazi-Zionist partnership is undeniable historical fact.

Just as we might imagine, America's overwhelmingly pro-Israel publishing industry was hardly eager to serve as a public conduit for Brenner's shocking revelations of a close Nazi-Zionist economic partnership, and he mentions that his book agent uniformly received rejections from each firm he approached, based on a wide variety of different excuses. However, he finally managed to locate an extremely obscure publisher in Britain willing to take on the project, and his book was released in 1983, initially receiving no reviews other than a couple of harsh and perfunctory denunciations, though Soviet Izvestia took some interest in his findings until they discovered that he was a hated Trotskyite.

His big break came when Shamir suddenly became Israel's Prime Minister, and he brought his evidence of former Nazi ties to the English-language Palestinian press, which put it into general circulation. Various British Marxists, including the notorious "Red Ken" Livingstone of London, organized a speaking tour for him, and when a group of right-wing Zionist militants attacked one of the events and inflicted injuries, the story of the brawl caught the attention of the mainstream newspapers. Soon afterward the discussion of Brenner's astonishing discoveries appeared in the Times of London and entered the international media. Presumably, the New York Times article that had originally caught my eye ran sometime during this period.

Public relations professionals are quite skilled at minimizing the impact of damaging revelations, and pro-Israel organizations have no shortage of such individuals. Just before the 1983 release of his remarkable book, Brenner suddenly discovered that a young pro-Zionist author named Edwin Black was furiously working on a similar project, apparently backed by sufficient financial resources that he was employing an army of fifty researchers to allow him to complete his project in record time.

Since the entire embarrassing subject of a Nazi-Zionist partnership had been kept away from the public eye for almost five decades, this timing surely seems more than merely coincidental. Presumably word of Brenner's numerous unsuccessful efforts at securing a mainstream publisher during 1982 had gotten around, as had as his eventual success in locating a tiny one in Britain. Having failed to prevent publication of such explosive material, pro-Israel groups quietly decided that their next best option was trying to seize control of the topic themselves, allowing disclosure of those parts of the story that could not be concealed but excluding items of greatest danger, while portraying the sordid history in the best possible light.

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Black's book, The Transfer Agreement , may have arrived a year later than Brenner's but was clearly backed by vastly greater publicity and resources. It was released by Macmillan, a leading publisher, ran nearly twice the length of Brenner's short book, and carried powerful endorsements by leading figures from the firmament of Jewish activism, including the Simon Weisenthal Center, the Israel Holocaust Memorial, and the American Jewish Archives. As a consequence, it received long if not necessarily favorable reviews in influential publications such as The New Republic and Commentary .

In all fairness, I should mention that in the Foreword to his book, Black claims that his research efforts had been totally discouraged by nearly everyone he approached, and as a consequence, he had been working on the project with solitary intensity for many years. This implies the near-simultaneous release of the two books was purely due to chance. But such a picture is hardly consistent with his glowing testimonials from so many prominent Jewish leaders, and personally I find Brenner's claim that Black was assisted by fifty researchers far more convincing.

Since both Black and Brenner were describing the same basic reality and relying upon many of the same documents, in most respects the stories they tell are generally similar. But Black carefully excludes any mention of offers of Zionist military cooperation with the Nazis, let alone the repeated attempts by Shamir's Zionist faction to officially join the Axis Powers after the war had broken out, as well as numerous other details of a particularly embarrassing nature.

Assuming Black's book was published for the reasons I suggested, I think that the strategy of the pro-Israel groups largely succeeded, with his version of the history seeming to have quickly supplanted Brenner's except perhaps in strongly leftist or anti-Zionist circles. Googling each combination of the title and author, Black's book gets eight times as many hits, and his Amazon sales ranks and numbers of reviews are also larger by roughly that same factor. Most notably, neither the Wikipedia articles on "The Transfer Agreement" and "The Ha'avara Agreement" contain any mention of Brenner's research whatsoever, even though his book was published earlier, was far broader, and only he provided the underlying documentary evidence. As a personal example of the current situation, I was quite unaware of the entire Ha'avara history until just a few years ago when I encountered some website comments mentioning Black's book, leading me to purchase and read it. But even then, Brenner's far more wide-ranging and explosive volume remained totally unknown to me until very recently.

Once World War II began, this Nazi-Zionist partnership quickly lapsed for obvious reasons. Germany was now at war with the British Empire, and financial transfers to British-run Palestine were no longer possible. Furthermore, the Arab Palestinians had grown quite hostile to the Jewish immigrants whom they rightfully feared might eventually displace them, and once the Germans were forced to choose between maintaining their relationship with a relatively small Zionist movement or winning the political sympathy of a vast sea of Middle Eastern Arabs and Muslims, their decision was a natural one. The Zionists faced a similar choice, and especially once wartime propaganda began so heavily blackening the German and Italian governments, their long previous partnership was not something they wanted widely known.

However, at exactly this same moment a somewhat different and equally long-forgotten connection between Jews and Nazi Germany suddenly moved to the fore.

Like most people everywhere, the average German, whether Jewish or Gentile, was probably not all that political, and although Zionism had for years been accorded a privileged place in German society, it is not entirely clear how many ordinary German Jews paid much attention to it. The tens of thousands who emigrated to Palestine during that period were probably motivated as much by economic pressures as by ideological commitment. But wartime changed matters in other ways.

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This was even more true for the German government. The outbreak of a world war against a powerful coalition of the British and French empires, later augmented by both Soviet Russia and the United States, imposed the sorts of enormous pressures that could often overcome ideological scruples. A few years ago, I discovered a fascinating 2002 book by Bryan Mark Rigg, Hitler's Jewish Soldiers , a scholarly treatment of exactly what the title implies. The quality of this controversial historical analysis is indicated by the glowing jacket-blurbs from numerous academic experts and an extremely favorable treatment by an eminent scholar in The American Historical Review .

Obviously, Nazi ideology was overwhelmingly centered upon race and considered racial purity a crucial factor in national cohesion. Individuals possessing substantial non-German ancestry were regarded with considerable suspicion, and this concern was greatly amplified if that admixture was Jewish. But in a military struggle against an opposing coalition possessing many times Germany's population and industrial resources, such ideological factors might be overcome by practical considerations, and Rigg persuasively argues that some 150,000 half-Jews or quarter-Jews served in the armed forces of the Third Reich, a percentage probably not much different than their share of the general military-age population.

Germany's long-integrated and assimilated Jewish population had always been disproportionately urban, affluent, and well-educated. As a consequence it is not entirely surprising that a large proportion of these part-Jewish soldiers who served Hitler were actually combat officers rather than merely rank-and-file conscripts, and they included at least 15 half-Jewish generals and admirals, and another dozen quarter-Jews holding those same high ranks. The most notable example was Field Marshal Erhard Milch, Hermann Goering's powerful second-in-command, who played such an important operational role in creating the Luftwaffe. Milch certainly had a Jewish father, and according to some much less substantiated claims, perhaps even a Jewish mother as well, while his sister was married to an SS general.

Admittedly, the racially-elite SS itself generally had far stricter ancestry standards, with even a trace of non-Aryan parentage normally seen as disqualifying an individual from membership. But even here, the situation was sometimes complicated, since there were widespread rumors that Reinhard Heydrich, the second-ranking figure in that very powerful organization, actually had considerable Jewish ancestry. Rigg investigates that claim without coming to any clear conclusions, though he does seem to think that the circumstantial evidence involved may have been used by other high-ranking Nazi figures as a point of leverage or blackmail against Heydrich, who stood as one of the most important figures in the Third Reich.

As a further irony, most of these individuals traced their Jewish ancestry through their father rather than their mother, so although they were not Jewish according to rabbinical law, their family names often reflected their partly Semitic origins, though in many cases Nazi authorities attempted to studiously overlook this glaringly obvious situation. As an extreme example noted by an academic reviewer of the book, a half-Jew bearing the distinctly non-Aryan name of Werner Goldberg actually had his photograph prominently featured in a 1939 Nazi propaganda newspaper, with the caption describing him as the "The Ideal German Soldier."

The author conducted more than 400 personal interviews of the surviving part-Jews and their relatives, and these painted a very mixed picture of the difficulties they had encountered under the Nazi regime, which varied enormously depending upon particular circumstances and the personalities of those in authority over them. One important source of complaint was that because of their status, part-Jews were often denied the military honors or promotions they had rightfully earned. However, under especially favorable conditions, they might also be legally reclassified as being of "German Blood," which officially eliminated any taint on their status.

Even official policy seems to have been quite contradictory and vacillating. For example, when the civilian humiliations sometimes inflicted upon the fully Jewish parents of serving half-Jews were brought to Hitler's attention, he regarded that situation as intolerable, declaring that either such parents must be fully protected against such indignities or all the half-Jews must be discharged, and eventually in April 1940 he issued a decree requiring the latter. However, this order was largely ignored by many commanders, or implemented through a honor-system that almost amounted to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," so a considerable fraction of half-Jews remained in the military if they so wished. And then in July 1941, Hitler somewhat reversed himself, issuing a new decree that allowed "worthy" half-Jews who had been discharged to return to the military as officers, while also announcing that after the war, all quarter-Jews would be reclassified as fully "German Blood" Aryan citizens.

It has been said that after questions were raised about the Jewish ancestry of some of his subordinates, Goring once angrily responded "I will decide who is a Jew!" and that attitude seems to reasonably capture some of the complexity and subjective nature of the social situation.

Interestingly enough, many of part-Jews interviewed by Rigg recalled that prior to Hitler's rise to power, the intermarriage of their parents had often provoked much greater hostility from the Jewish rather than the Gentile side of their families, suggesting that even in heavily-assimilated Germany, the traditional Jewish tendency toward ethnic exclusivity had still remained a powerful factor in that community.

Although the part-Jews in German military service were certainly subject to various forms of mistreatment and discrimination, perhaps we should compare this against the analogous situation in our own military in those same years with regard to America's Japanese or black minorities. During that era, racial intermarriage was legally prohibited across a large portion of the US, so the mixed-race population of those groups was either almost non-existent or very different in origin. But when Japanese-Americans were allowed to leave their wartime concentration camps and enlist in the military, they were entirely restricted to segregated all-Japanese units, but with the officers generally being white. Meanwhile, blacks were almost entirely barred from combat service, though they sometimes served in strictly-segregated support roles. The notion that an American with any appreciable trace of African, Japanese, or for that matter Chinese ancestry might serve as a general or even an officer in the U.S. military and thereby exercise command authority over white American troops would have been almost unthinkable. The contrast with the practice in Hitler's own military is quite different than what Americans might naively assume.

This paradox is not nearly as surprising as one might assume. The non-economic divisions in European societies had almost always been along lines of religion, language, and culture rather than racial ancestry, and the social tradition of more than a millennium could not easily be swept away by merely a half-dozen years of National Socialist ideology. During all those earlier centuries, a sincerely-baptized Jew, whether in Germany or elsewhere, was usually considered just as good a Christian as any other. For example, Tomas de Torquemada, the most fearsome figure of the dreaded Spanish Inquisition, actually came from a family of Jewish converts.

Even wider racial differences were hardly considered of crucial importance. Some of the greatest heroes of particular national cultures, such as Russia's Alexander Pushkin and France's Alexandre Dumas, had been individuals with significant black African ancestry, and this was certainly not considered any sort of disqualifying characteristic.

By contrast, American society from its inception had always been sharply divided by race, with other differences generally constituting far smaller impediments to intermarriage and amalgamation. I've seen widespread claims that when the Third Reich devised its 1935 Nuremberg Laws restricting marriage and other social arrangements between Aryans, non-Aryans, and part-Aryans, its experts drew upon some of America's long legal experience in similar matters, and this seems quite plausible. Under that new Nazi statute, pre-existing mixed-marriages received some legal protection, but henceforth Jews and half-Jews could only marry each other, while quarter-Jews could only marry regular Aryans. The obvious intent was to absorb that latter group into mainstream German society, while isolating the more heavily-Jewish population.

Ironically enough, Israel today is one of very few countries with a similar sort of strictly racially-based criteria for citizenship status and other privileges, with the Jewish-only immigration policy now often determined by DNA testing , and marriages between Jews and non-Jews legally prohibited. A few years ago, the world media also carried the remarkable story of a Palestinian Arab sentenced to prison for rape because he had consensual sexual relations with a Jewish woman by passing himself off as a fellow Jew.

Since Orthodox Judaism is strictly matrilineal and controls Israeli law, even Jews of other branches can experience unexpected difficulties due to conflicts between personal ethnic identity and official legal status. The vast majority of the wealthier and more influential Jewish families worldwide do not follow Orthodox religious traditions, and over the generations, they have often taken Gentile wives. However, even if the latter had converted to Judaism, their conversions are considered invalid by the Orthodox Rabbinate, and none of their resulting descendants are considered Jewish. So if some members of these families later develop a deep commitment to their Jewish heritage and immigrate to Israel, they are sometimes outraged to discover that they are officially classified as "goyim" under Orthodox law and legally prohibited from marrying Jews. These major political controversies periodically erupt and sometimes reach the international medi a.

Now it seems to me that any American official who proposed racial DNA tests to decide upon the admission or exclusion of prospective immigrants would have a very difficult time remaining in office, with the Jewish-activists of organizations like the ADL probably leading the attack. And the same would surely be true for any prosecutor or judge who non-whites to prison for the crime of "passing" as whites and thereby managing to seduce women from that latter group. A similar fate would befall advocates of such policies in Britain, France, or most other Western nations, with the local ADL-type organization certainly playing an important role. Yet in Israel, such existing laws merely occasion a little temporary embarrassment when they are covered in the international media, and then invariably remain in place after the commotion has died down and been forgotten. These sorts of issues are considered of little more importance than were the past wartime Nazi ties of the Israeli prime minister throughout most of the 1980s.

But perhaps the solution to this puzzling difference in public reaction lies in an old joke. A leftist wit once claimed that the reason America has never had a military coup is that it is the only country in the world that lacks an American embassy to organize such activities. And unlike the U.S., Britain, France, and many other predominately-white countries, Israel has no domestic Jewish-activist organization filling the powerful role of the ADL.

Over the last few years, many outside observers have noted a seemingly very odd political situation in Ukraine. That unfortunate country possesses powerful militant groups, whose public symbols, stated ideology, and political ancestry all unmistakably mark them as Neo-Nazis. Yet those violent Neo-Nazi elements are all being bankrolled and controlled by a Jewish Oligarch who holds dual Israeli citizenship. Furthermore, that peculiar alliance had been mid-wifed and blessed by some of America's leading Jewish Neocon figures, such as Victoria Nuland, who have successfully used their media influence to keep such explosive facts away from the American public.

At first glance, a close relationship between Jewish Israelis and European Neo-Nazis seems as grotesque and bizarre a misalliance as one could imagine, but after recently reading Brenner's fascinating book, my perspective quickly shifted. Indeed, the main difference between then and now is that during the 1930s, Zionist factions represented a very insignificant junior partner to a powerful Third Reich, while these days it is the Nazis who occupy the role of eager suppliants to the formidable power of International Zionism, which now so heavily dominates the American political system and through it, much of the world.

Related Reading:

Zionism in the Age of the Dictators by Lenni Brenner Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler American Pravda: The Nature of Anti-Semitism American Pravda: Oddities of the Jewish Religion American Pravda: The JFK Assassination, Part II – Who Did It?

[Aug 07, 2018] Once the Democratic Party has burned the people who fall under the marketing term "Millennials" enough times, they'll move on to the new "hope" of Gen Z who won't have multiple memories of lie after lie

Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Summer , August 3, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Once the Democratic Party has burned the people who fall under the marketing term "Millennials" enough times, they'll move on to the new "hope" of Gen Z who won't have multiple memories of lie after lie.

Wash.Rinse.Repeat.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 3, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Something about being young and having never been fooled too many times (yet).

And Sanders' wait, he's an exception. Though I'd still like free organic foods for all all ages before, or at the same time as free college.

(One can't march one's neuron soldiers on an empty stomach).

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , August 3, 2018 at 5:20 pm

Some people have told me they could think better when hungry.

Still, let's not let that be an excuse to starve anyone of any age.

JBird , August 6, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Some people have told me they could think better when hungry.

After the initial pangs go away, and one can think clearly, one is incentivized to really find solutions, but thinking as in learning? They have different brains then me, let's just say.

Summer , August 3, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Marketing and advertising thrive on the same concept.
Exalting youth to exploit it.
When that doesn't work, use fear (of not being wealthy enough, attractive enough, etc,). That base emotion gets played on throughout people's lives.

That is why those marketing terms found a comfy fit with political narratives and polling (which is done to fit a narrative).

[Aug 07, 2018] Trump Politics Power, Powerlessness and the Perfect Target by David Rosen

Notable quotes:
"... Escape from Freedom ..."
"... The peculiar dialectic between power and powerlessness is shadowed by a necessary third component, the perfect target. These are the people who are identified as the threat that the powerful and the powerless must come together to defeat. ..."
"... The U.S. is not in a pre-fascist period. Globalization is forcing fundamental structural changes on American society, affecting the economy as well as personal life. One key question involves a president's vision and the practices of his administration. Do fundamental social changes foster greater efforts to protect (and increase) the wealth and social power of the privileged or does it signal a sea change -- like the post-WW-II consumer revolution -- that enhances the quality and longevity of the lives of the many? ..."
"... With hollow bravado, one with apparently little thought about consequences, Trump Tweets new federal policies, offers false apologies and ceaselessly attacks on the media. For Trump and his administration, all information questioning a Trump Team statement suggests possible treason. ..."
"... For two-plus centuries, the U.S. has been a battleground between power and powerlessness. Through each era of contestation, a perfect target has been identified and exploited to help assure the position of those contesting for power. Four of the most revealing "perfect targets" are the Native People, African-American slaves and free people, Catholics and Communists. Each illuminates the social struggle between the powerful and powerless, thus providing a valuable snapshot into America's evolving culture. ..."
"... The Know Nothing movement grew out of the Second Great Awakening or the Great Revival of the 1830s and became the American Party that flourished during the late-40s and early-50s. It got its name when members where asked the party's positions and simply said, "I know nothing." It drew together Protestants who felt threatened by the rapid increase in European immigrants and, most especially, Catholics, flooding the cities. Catholics became the perfect target. ..."
"... The post-WW-II period was the age of Sen. Joe McCarthy, of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and New York's Archbishop Francis Spellman -- and Roy Cohn, Trump's consigliere ..."
"... The dance of power/powerlessness shadowed by the perfect target is being exploited by Trump and his followers. Trump knows how to play this dialect given his narcissistic personality and likely compensation for learning disabilities. ..."
"... David Rosen is the author of Sex, Sin & Subversion: The Transformation of 1950s New York's Forbidden into America's New Normal (Skyhorse, 2015). He can be reached at drosennyc@verizon.net ; check out www.DavidRosenWrites.com . ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Now a year-and-a-half into the Trump presidency, it's become a truism that the president's support is anchored in a deep sense of social and political powerlessness felt by many Americans, especially older, white men. An early 2016 Rand poll comparing Donald Trump and Ted Cruz supporters found that those who agreed with the statement "people like me don't have any say about what the government does" preferred Trump -- and by a whopping 86.5 percent majority.

This sense of powerlessness turned out to be a more reliable predictor of Trump support than all the other issues that dogged the 2016 campaign, including immigration, income, education, the economy and his abusive sexual exploits. And it still does.

In 1941, the then-radical psycho-theorist, Erich Fromm, published Escape from Freedom . In it, he warned:

The annihilation of the individual self and the attempt to overcome thereby the unbearable feeling of powerlessness are only one side of the masochistic strivings. The other side is the attempt to become part of a bigger and more powerful whole outside of oneself, to submerge and participate in it. This power can be a person, an institution, God, the nation, conscience, or a psychic compulsion.

Like Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse, Fromm was then worried about the growing threat of totalitarianism. In particular, these thinkers, among others, were concerned about how the deepening sense of powerlessness among what was then referred to as "the masses" had contributed to the enormous increase in the power of the leader, whether Hitler, Mussolini, Franco or Stalin.

The peculiar dialectic between power and powerlessness is shadowed by a necessary third component, the perfect target. These are the people who are identified as the threat that the powerful and the powerless must come together to defeat. In pre-WW-II Germany, the perfect target were the Jews, communists, homosexuals and gypsies, people that Nazi's claimed were different, thus threatening the purity of ordinary Germans' "Saxon heritage." The threat can come in any form, be it class, race, nationality, religion or political ideology -- or whatever is a distinguishing characteristic of those targeted.

Pres. Trump has up to now played the perfect-target dance with great success. As a candidate and now in the Oval Office, he's ranted successfully against "illegal" immigrants, whether long-time residents, married to a citizen and with American children, have a criminal record, served in the military or recent arrivals. In one Tweet, he opined: "They [Democrats] don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can't win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!"

Democrats are the problem. They don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can't win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2018

The Trump administration may have recently overplayed its perfect-target hand with the forceful separation of seized immigrant parents from their children, no matter at what age. From purely bureaucratic and media-relations perspectives, it's been a mess. No matter whether the immigrants might be "illegal," they are still people, parent and child, and -- in Christian America -- family still matters. Equally revealing, the Congress has yet to underwrite building a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico.

The U.S. is not in a pre-fascist period. Globalization is forcing fundamental structural changes on American society, affecting the economy as well as personal life. One key question involves a president's vision and the practices of his administration. Do fundamental social changes foster greater efforts to protect (and increase) the wealth and social power of the privileged or does it signal a sea change -- like the post-WW-II consumer revolution -- that enhances the quality and longevity of the lives of the many?

Trump is effectively exploiting the power/powerless minuet to maximize his own wealth and that among others of the 1 percent. His -- and his administration's -- efforts are designed to (moderately) upset the post-WW-II alliance between the federal government and private corporate interests. The alliance has long been a revolving door for both Democrats and Republicans -- and the Trump Team is spinning the door.

The Trump apparatus is pushing the revolving door further to the right. Every federal department and agency, including the Supreme Court, appears to include, if not run by, someone drawn from the military, a corporation or bank, an industry association, a lobbying firm, a religious group or a conservative thinktank.

Trump and his administration, ably assisted by a get-what-you-can Republican-controlled Congress and Senate, seem more like that of Herbert Hoover and the great denial of what everyone knew was coming rather than that of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the making of a modern super-state. With hollow bravado, one with apparently little thought about consequences, Trump Tweets new federal policies, offers false apologies and ceaselessly attacks on the media. For Trump and his administration, all information questioning a Trump Team statement suggests possible treason.

***

For two-plus centuries, the U.S. has been a battleground between power and powerlessness. Through each era of contestation, a perfect target has been identified and exploited to help assure the position of those contesting for power. Four of the most revealing "perfect targets" are the Native People, African-American slaves and free people, Catholics and Communists. Each illuminates the social struggle between the powerful and powerless, thus providing a valuable snapshot into America's evolving culture.

No clearer or more honest statement as to the social role of the perfect target was made by Pres. Andrew Jackson on December 6, 1830, in his Message to Congress, "On Indian Removal." It was issued seven months after he signed the removal law that authorized to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi to Anglos or white people in exchange for Indian lands within existing state borders. He stated, in part :

It [the act] will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.

Four European states -- Netherlands, Great Britain and France as well Spain -- invaded and conquered parts of what was once the vast North America territory and was then home to innumerable tribes of Native Peoples.

The first African slaves arrived in North America in 1619 in Jamestown. Over the following four centuries many Americans believed that Africans -- and their descendants, African-Americans -- were not fully human, but rather subhuman. It was long an essential belief among colonial revolutionaries like Thomas Jefferson as well as Confederate secessionists and those of the today's alt-right. As Jefferson wrote :

I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind. This unfortunate difference of colour, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people.

The U.S. Constitution embodied this racism in granting African and African-American males 3/5 th voting rights compared to white citizens.

The Know Nothing movement grew out of the Second Great Awakening or the Great Revival of the 1830s and became the American Party that flourished during the late-40s and early-50s. It got its name when members where asked the party's positions and simply said, "I know nothing." It drew together Protestants who felt threatened by the rapid increase in European immigrants and, most especially, Catholics, flooding the cities. Catholics became the perfect target.

Know-Nothing adherents felt that Catholics, as followers of the Pope, were not loyal Americans and were going to take over the country. It had strong support in the North that witnessed large-scale Irish immigration after 1848. The American Party captured the Massachusetts legislature in 1854 and, in 1856, backed Millard Fillmore for president, who secured nearly 1 million votes, a quarter of all votes cast.

And then there were communists . It's nearly impossible to image just how awful it was for those who challenged the nation's official belief system during the post-WW-II era of 1945 to 1960. Alleged "communists" included Soviet Union agents, non-party trade unionists as well as professors, teachers, publishers and nonviolent civil-rights activists. And then there were the pornographers, homosexual and other alleged deviants who challenged the status quo.

The post-WW-II period was the age of Sen. Joe McCarthy, of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and New York's Archbishop Francis Spellman -- and Roy Cohn, Trump's consigliere . It saw hundreds lose their jobs, dozens arrested and jailed. And the powerful found their perfect target in two innocent New Yorkers, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who they arrested, convicted and executed -- they were prosecuted by Cohn.

***

The dance of power/powerlessness shadowed by the perfect target is being exploited by Trump and his followers. Trump knows how to play this dialect given his narcissistic personality and likely compensation for learning disabilities. Since the campaign, his perfect perfect target has been non-documented immigrants. He's also targeted Democrats, the news media and NATO.

Trump needs a perfect enemy. In this way he is very much like other authoritarian leaders, whether all-powerful rulers like Hitler, Stalin or Mao or merely a failed petty tyrant like Nixon or -- pick your favorite Latin American, African or Asian dictator.

So, keep your eyes on Trump's ever-changing perfect target for it signals where the pin-ball bouncing around in his brain lands. And where it lands sets national policy by targeting those he thinks can distract Americans from understanding his profound failings. Who's next? Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: David Rosen

David Rosen is the author of Sex, Sin & Subversion: The Transformation of 1950s New York's Forbidden into America's New Normal (Skyhorse, 2015). He can be reached at drosennyc@verizon.net ; check out www.DavidRosenWrites.com .

[Aug 07, 2018] Iranians Not Pining for American Intervention The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Akhilesh "Akhi" Pillalamarri is a fellow at Defense Priorities. An international relations analyst, editor, and writer, he studied international security at Georgetown University. Find him on Twitter ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Iranians: Not Pining for American Intervention Some seem to think they can't wait for us to overthrow their government. Nothing could be further from the truth. By Akhilesh Pillalamarri August 6, 2018

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Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock Defense hawks in Washington think the people of Iran are waiting with bated breath for the regime in Tehran to collapse and wouldn't mind a little American help along the way -- whether through direct military intervention, or "naturally" as the result of grassroots protests , "with Washington backing," of course.

There is no greater fallacy. While the people of Iran are undoubtedly frustrated with their government, they are not on the cusp of changing it, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to believe . In fact, any attempt by outside actors to change the regime would cause the people of Iran to unify around the clerics. We would end up deflating the reformist party and enabling the hardliners who have consistently warned their people that we can't be trusted.

This ongoing mind reading of the Iranian people is pure Washington hokum with no basis in reality.

After witnessing the debacles of our interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, who can blame the people of Iran for not wanting direct American military aid? As Damon Linker points out in The Week , our attitude towards unsavory regimes in other nations is all too often informed by "an incorrigible optimism about the benefits of change and consequent refusal to entertain the possibility that a bad situation might be made even worse by overturning it."

Trump Will Never Get a Better Deal With Iran Is Washington Playing Iran's Useful Idiot in Syria?

Almost nobody in Iran supports the main group pushing for Western-backed regime change, the National Council for the Resistance of Iran (NCRI). That organization is widely seen as a front for the despised Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), an Iranian Marxist group that fought against the late Shah, was virulently anti-American, and worked with Saddam Hussein to invade Iran during the Iran-Iraq War before rebranding itself as a democratic opposition group.

Despite this being common knowledge among unbiased observers, figures like National Security Advisor John Bolton continue to promote it as an alternative for Iran.

In actuality, despite the desire among a sizable segment of Iranians -- especially young people in Tehran and other large cities -- for a pro-Western government, there is no well-organized, secular, democratic alternative waiting to take charge. Any organization that bills itself as such is following in the deceitful footsteps of Ahmed Chalabi , the Iraqi leader-in-exile who sold himself in the United States as the Iraqi George Washington, but failed to garner any political support after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

History shows us that there is no quicker way for a leader or group to lose legitimacy than by seeking the aid of a foreign power. King Louis XVI of France managed to hold on to his throne for a few years after the storming of the Bastille, but was deposed after fleeing Paris and seeking the aid of France's enemies. Iranians, like Americans, value liberty in the sense of national self-determination: they would rather be under-served by their own leaders than by well-meaning foreigners or those perceived to be puppets.

After wasting almost two decades of blood and treasure trying to rebuild countries with weaker national identities than Iran -- like Iraq -- U.S. policymakers would have to be detached from reality to believe that anything good could come of intervention in Iranian affairs.

The people of Iran have a long historical memory: those who sold out their nation to foreign powers, even in opposition to tyranny, have garnered not thanks but the collective hatred of the Iranian people. From the actions of the satrap Bessus who killed the last Achaemenid Persian king Darius III to curry favor with Alexander the Great, to the slaying of the last pre-Islamic Persian ruler Yazdegerd III by a local ruler to appease the invading Arabs, Iranians have long looked askance at collaboration with foreigners. Numerous 19th-century Qajar rulers failed to implement their policies because they were thought to be too close to the goals of the imperial powers of Russia or Britain. And the last Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, never escaped the perception that his ascent to power in 1953 was enabled by British and American intelligence agencies, regardless of his own self-portrayal as a nationalist.

Most Iranians, no matter how much they oppose their current government and politics, would not support an invasion of their own country, let alone the peaceful ascendancy of groups believed to serve interests other than theirs: it is a matter of pride and honor.

It is true that Iran has been racked by protests throughout the past year, such as January's multi-city demonstrations and the closure of the Grand Bazaar in Tehran in June. But those were spontaneous actions resulting from blue-collar frustrations with the economy and are unlikely to lead to an outcome favorable to American interests.

If our pressure on Iran leads to regime change, the most likely alternative is probably a military junta led by members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a shift away from the semi-civilian government that Iran now enjoys. The IRGC has been infringing on our geopolitical interests throughout the Middle East for decades and could take an even harder anti-American line than the current government. When confronted with invaders and foreign pressure, Iranians have always rallied around military strongmen, such as Nader Shah in the early 18th century, who threw out the invading Afghans, and Reza Shah in the early 20th century, who saved Iran from disintegration after World War I.

Washington should be careful what it wishes for. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that the people of Iran are waiting for our support and intervention. The truth is much darker.

Akhilesh "Akhi" Pillalamarri is a fellow at Defense Priorities. An international relations analyst, editor, and writer, he studied international security at Georgetown University. Find him on Twitter @akhipill .


Christian Chuba August 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm

The people of Iran instinctively love America because everyone in the world loves America.

This is true regardless of the fact that we have never done anything whatsoever to merit their love. We have never given them assistance when they had an earthquake, we won't let them get spare parts for passenger airlines causing air travel to be unsafe. We hinder civilian projects but since we are narcissists, we simply believe that everyone loves us because of our intrinsically great qualities.

Clyde Schechter , says: August 6, 2018 at 1:51 pm
Really, what if the shoe were on the other foot? Trump is very unpopular as our own President. But if a foreign power were to attempt to depose him and install a new government, there would be massive popular resistance to that here. Why the neocons think it would be different in any other country eludes me.

Nothing can unite even a fractiously divided nation more readily than foreign interference.

HenionJD , says: August 6, 2018 at 2:10 pm
>>But if a foreign power were to attempt to depose him and install a new government, there would be massive popular resistance to that here.((

A foreign power attempted to put him IN office and lots of folks are just fine with that.

b. , says: August 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm
US policy since Libya and Syria has been "regime destruction", with not even token commitments to pretend "nation building". The miscalculation continues: if the US manages to turn Iran into a "failed to comply" state without effective governance, there will be several factions with professional military capabilities – especially given the IRGC "deterrent" of connections and alliances throughout the Middle East – that can continue where our pathological US "maglinity" plans to stop.

There are no "wars of choice". The only choice the US gets is whether to start an unnecessary war, from then on our victims get a say, eventually. We are still trapped in Eisenhower's grandstanding "meddling" in Iranian elections, after all .

Sid Finster , says: August 6, 2018 at 3:27 pm
O please!

Everyone knows that Iranians are not begging for "liberation", just as everyone with the brains God gave my youngest cat knew damn well that American boots would not transform Iraq into a western democracy, that American bombs would ruin Libya and American bombs are used for genocide in Yemen.

The Trump Administration is looking for an excuse to attack. Just as the Bush Administration shed crocodile tears over the poor Iraqis, and Obama cynically exploited the fate of Libyans.

[Aug 06, 2018] LeBron Shows Trump What Winning Really Looks Like

Notable quotes:
"... If, on average, just seven Republicans are moderates, and Democrats need 15 additional votes, Democrats will obviously fall short. Where else then could and should Democrats look? The more promising pools of people are actually Democratic voters -- many of whom face greater economic obstacles in finding the time and transportation to get to the polls. ..."
"... In the quest for those necessary 15 votes, the number-one place Democrats should look is among the 19 percent of Democrats who voted in 2016, but are unlikely to cast ballots this year. ..."
"... In fact, the largest pool of people Democrats should be trying to tap is actually nonvoters -- the 200,000 people per district who were eligible but didn't cast ballots in 2016. It is in these sectors of society where Democrats will find the source of success and the path to winning back the House and taking back our country and winning elections for years to come. ..."
Aug 06, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Democratic leaders have gone to great lengths, for example, to encourage military veterans to run for Congress this year. Veterans can be great progressive leaders (my father and uncle served in the military, and I was born on a military base), but if the strategic objective is to appeal to swing voters drawn to Trump's posture and positions, the math doesn't add up. The painful truth is that there just aren't that many swing voters.

Doing a deep data dive on the districts reveals that the number of swing voters is far smaller than many people realize, especially when you factor in the drop-off in voter turnout in midterm elections. In the most competitive Republican-held congressional districts, Clinton won by an average of 17,000 votes, but the incumbent GOP congressperson beat his or her Democratic foe by an average of 34,000 votes.

This reality is particularly problematic when you factor in the smaller electorate during midterms, when fewer turn out to vote than in a presidential year. This diagram shows the total voter pool in an average competitive district, how many people voted, and how many voted for Clinton, Trump, and the Republican member of the House. For illustration purposes, if 100 people voted in one of these Clinton-Republican representative-won districts in 2016, the incumbent House Republican received 54 votes, and his or her Democratic opponent received 43 votes. Of those 54 people who voted for the incumbent Republican, seven (out of 100 votes) voted for Clinton. That's seven moderate Republicans out of 100 voters. Historically, in midterm elections, Republicans are more likely to come back out and vote than are Democrats, and as a result, that 54-43 Republican advantage from the higher-turnout presidential year will be about 39-25 this midterm year (based on historical turnout data). This means Democrats need to find 15 votes in every 100 in order to flip those 23 seats. Looking at the possible sources of an additional 15 percent highlights how few moderate Republicans there are.

If, on average, just seven Republicans are moderates, and Democrats need 15 additional votes, Democrats will obviously fall short. Where else then could and should Democrats look? The more promising pools of people are actually Democratic voters -- many of whom face greater economic obstacles in finding the time and transportation to get to the polls.

In the quest for those necessary 15 votes, the number-one place Democrats should look is among the 19 percent of Democrats who voted in 2016, but are unlikely to cast ballots this year.

In races that may well be decided by a few thousand votes (for example, Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb won his special US House election earlier this year by a mere 627 votes ), it makes sense to also target the 20,000 young people in each congressional district who were not old enough to vote in 2016, but are now eligible.

In fact, the largest pool of people Democrats should be trying to tap is actually nonvoters -- the 200,000 people per district who were eligible but didn't cast ballots in 2016. It is in these sectors of society where Democrats will find the source of success and the path to winning back the House and taking back our country and winning elections for years to come.

It is hard work to get all of these voters out, but that is the work that will determine success or failure this fall.

[Aug 05, 2018] Bernie Sanders did everything he was told he should do. He supported the Democratic establishment candidate, and now he believes the Russiagate story.

Notable quotes:
"... While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than " a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. ..."
"... So you plan to continue this McCarthy Russian BS? You didn't speak out when you got cheated in the primaries, and you didn't seem to care that Hillary was using her own paid troll army. Integrity matters Bernie and you are losing yours. ..."
"... You stopped speaking for me and millions of others when you caved to crooked HRC. No it was NOT clear that Russia was "deeply involved in the election. What is CLEAR is your betrayal of your followers and cover up of the election fraud perpetrated by DNC! Everybody knows... ..."
"... Bernie, that's MIC propaganda. Stop helping it. There are millions of reasons Trump should not be president. We don't need a hyped up corporate fairytale to make that point https://t.co/7FAwb47LtB ..."
"... Democratic party jingoism in 2020 will be extra-ordinary with candidates each trying to out do each other how they will fuck over Putin and the Russian nation. There will be a shit load of public loyalty testing against any third party candidate by the democrats. ..."
Aug 05, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

It has been clear to everyone (except Donald Trump) that Russia was deeply involved in the 2016 election and intends to be involved in 2018. It is the American people who should be deciding the political future of our country, not Mr. Putin and the Russian oligarchs.

-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 16, 2018

However, Sanders had already committed the unforgivable sin of criticizing the Democratic establishment candidate from the left. There is simply no way of coming back from that treason.

Despite his stance, Sanders has also been constantly presented as another Russian agent, with the Washington Post (11/12/17) asking its readers, "When Russia interferes with the 2020 election on behalf of Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders, how will liberals respond?" The message is clear: The progressive wave rising across America is and will be a consequence of Russia, not of the failures of the system, nor of the Democrats.

It isn't just progressive politicians that are all traitors. Movements like Black Lives Matter are also traitors for Russia.

Slate: Russian Trolls Were Obsessed With Black Lives Matter
CNN: Her son was killed -- then came the Russian trolls
NY Times: The Propaganda Tools Used by Russians to Influence the 2016 Election

snoopydawg on Sat, 08/04/2018 - 6:32pm
Bernie's tweet is hysterical
It is the American people who should be deciding the political future of our country, not Mr. Putin and the Russian oligarchs.

Hey, Bernie. The American people were the ones who should have decided who won the primary, not Hillary, the DNC and the delegates. That you are blaming Her loss on Russia instead of admitting that the American people rejected her makes you nothing more than a democratic puppet. How embarrassing for you.

Every Black voter should abandon the DP until they apologize for their disrespect for the BLM and saying that they only started protesting cops killing Blacks because Russia manipulated them into doing so.

Eichenwald thinks that our intelligence agencies are patriots who have spent their lives working on keeping us safe does he? I agree with Dmitry Orlov's take on them.

US Intelligence Community is Tearing the Country Apart from the

The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on.

....

the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself.

While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than " a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. "

And let's not forget how many coups and false flag events they had a hand in creating that have cost so much misery and death.

One major advancement in their state of the art has been in moving from real false flag operations, à la 9/11, to fake false flag operations, à la fake East Gouta chemical attack in Syria (since fully discredited). The Russian election meddling story is perhaps the final step in this evolution: no New York skyscrapers or Syrian children were harmed in the process of concocting this fake narrative, and it can be kept alive seemingly forever purely through the furious effort of numerous flapping lips.

It is now a pure confidence scam. If you are less then impressed with their invented narratives, then you are a conspiracy theorist or, in the latest revision, a traitor.

The real puppets are the ones who believe in this silly story that Russia is pulling Trump's strings and that the GOP are also Russian puppets. Good grief!

snoopydawg on Sat, 08/04/2018 - 6:55pm
The first tweet shows how people twist events

The others show that there are others out there that have seen through this propaganda crap. I'd like to see the breakdown of Hillary supporters that believe Russia Gate and the Bernie supporters that don't. Most of the Trump supporters think it's phony so what made Hillary's believe in something that everyone should be laughing at?

You deserve a lot of credit. Russia interfered in your favor, yet you are man enough to admit that they interfered. Thank you Bernie!

-- Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) February 16, 2018

So you plan to continue this McCarthy Russian BS? You didn't speak out when you got cheated in the primaries, and you didn't seem to care that Hillary was using her own paid troll army. Integrity matters Bernie and you are losing yours.

-- Underdawg47 (@Underdawg47) February 17, 2018

You stopped speaking for me and millions of others when you caved to crooked HRC. No it was NOT clear that Russia was "deeply involved in the election. What is CLEAR is your betrayal of your followers and cover up of the election fraud perpetrated by DNC! Everybody knows...

-- Logan (@KOMBUCHABABY) February 17, 2018

Bernie, that's MIC propaganda. Stop helping it. There are millions of reasons Trump should not be president. We don't need a hyped up corporate fairytale to make that point https://t.co/7FAwb47LtB

-- SanBernieDingDong (@noreallyhowcome) February 17, 2018

MrWebster on Sat, 08/04/2018 - 7:19pm
2020 dem candidates will try to out do each other on Russia

Democratic party jingoism in 2020 will be extra-ordinary with candidates each trying to out do each other how they will fuck over Putin and the Russian nation. There will be a shit load of public loyalty testing against any third party candidate by the democrats.

The democrats (and media cohorts) have become an apocolyptic death cult. The language that comes from them is infused with the language of conspiracies, violence, treason, aggression and demonization.

And here is the thing, Bernie to survive electorally will have to become a cult member. Effectively he will have to be pro-war with Russia. He will be giving from the the Left supposed support for aggressive action andmilitarism toward Russia.

I fear that if a democrat becomes president in 2020 (it won't be Bernie), is elected president that in the year of the midterms in 2022, the US will start a real war with Russia which has a highly likehood of going nuclear.

[Aug 03, 2018] Donald Trump might be a symptom that neoliberal system is about to collapse

Amazing interview.
We are in the point when capitalist system (which presented itself as asocial system that created a large middle class) converted into it opposite: it is social system that could not deliver that it promised and now want to distract people from this sad fact.
The Trump adopted tax code is a huge excess: we have 40 year when corporation paid less taxes. This is last moment when they need another gift. To give them tax is crazy excess that reminding Louis XV of France. Those gains are going in buying of socks. And real growth is happening elsewhere in the world.
After WW2 there were a couple of decades of "golden age" of US capitalism when in the USA middle class increased considerably. That was result of pressure of working class devastated by Great Depression. Roosevelt decided that risk is too great and he introduced social security net. But capitalist class was so enraged that they started fighting it almost immediately after the New Deal was introduced. Business class was enrages with the level of taxes and counterattacked. Tarp act and McCarthyism were two successful counterattacks. McCarthyism converting communists and socialists into agents of foreign power.
The quality of jobs are going down. That's why Trump was elected... Which is sad. Giving your finger to the neoliberal elite does not solve their problem
Notable quotes:
"... Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction. ..."
"... When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. ..."
"... Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade. ..."
"... The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears. ..."
Jul 10, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

In another interesting interview with Chris Hedges, Richard Wolff explains why the Trump presidency is the last resort of a system that is about to collapse:

Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction.

So, absent that counter force we are going to see this system spinning out of control and destroying itself in the very way its critics have for so long foreseen it well might.

When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. If we hadn't been a country with two or three decades of a middle class - working class paid really well - maybe we could have gotten away with this. But in a society that has celebrated its capacity to do what it now fails to do, you have an explosive situation.

Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade.

The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears.

In France, it was said 'Après moi, le déluge' (after me the catastrophe). The storm will break.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/60FrsWm9OAc

[Aug 03, 2018] The Little Known Black Hole in the Pentagon Budget by By Ross Marchand

Aug 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

In February, the Pentagon announced a $950 million no-bid contract to REAN Cloud, LLC for the migration of legacy systems to the cloud. As an Amazon Web Services consulting partner and reseller, REAN Cloud was likely favored due to Amazon's recent $600 million cloud project for the Central Intelligence Agency. Creating an unusually large contract with little oversight or competition led to ample criticism of the Pentagon, as lawmakers demanded an explanation from DoD. In response to the brouhaha, the Pentagon announced in early March that the maximum value of the contract would be reduced from $950 million to $65 million.

As it turned out, though, even the Pentagon wasn't exactly sure how to apply the murky requirements of OTA. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled in May that the REAN contract did not accord with federal law, in that REAN was granted an award without even really considering going through a competitive bidding process. "Vague and attenuated" statements from the Pentagon to potential bidders in the beginning of the process ensured that the process would not be an open one. After the cancellation of the REAN deal, the Pentagon finally seems open to competitive bidding for cloud migration.

Unfortunately, OTA is still alive and well across the DoD procurement process. In June, the Defense Information Systems Agency joined the growing list of agencies dabbling in OTA, noting that "many of the companies we're dealing with are small start-ups." But as the REAN Cloud case shows, many companies appear "small" but have far larger partners. According to statistics in the Federal News Radio report , "Only $7.4 billion of the nearly $21 billion went to nontraditional companies." The problem is created in part by the use of consortiums, which are comprised of multiple companies, which vary in size. The consortium can decide how money is allocated for an award, allowing larger businesses to benefit disproportionately out of sight of the DoD and taxpayers.

Congress has finally started to demand more accountability for OTAs. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress requires more data reporting and analysis by acquisition officials. But far more work remains.

Lawmakers should set stricter limits on when it's okay to eschew competitive bidding, and lower the threshold for requiring congressional notification (currently set at $500 million). Allowing tens of billions of dollars to be spent behind the backs of taxpayers without a bidding process cannot continue.

Ross Marchand is the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

[Aug 03, 2018] Trumpism and the Politics of Distrust

Aug 03, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We have lost some of our democratic habits -- indeed, in many ways we are losing our very cohesion as a society. But I frame the question very differently.

I know a bunch of Trump supporters. Some of them are intellectuals who write for places like TAC . But most are not. Neither are any of them raving bigots or knuckle-dragging neanderthals, and all of them read the news, though with vastly less obsessiveness than people who work in the business.

None of them "like" things like "unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure" or collusion with foreign governments. Some of them minimize some of these things at least some of the time -- and I myself have been known to derive a kind of pleasure from the absurdity of a figure like Mooch. But this isn't what the people who I know who voted Trump voted for , nor is it why they continue to be happy with their vote -- which, however unhappy they are with how the administration is conducting itself, most of them still are.

Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party's leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn't changed one iota since the election.


SDS August 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm

"They are, however, people who have lost trust in the individuals and institutions who are most alarmed about Trump: the political establishment, the press, etc. And so, on a relative basis, they'd rather continue to put their trust in Trump."

That last line does not follow .We have lost trust in all of the others; so would rather see what Trump does; not that we have any trust in him to do the right thing

THAT would be ridiculous; especially after the last six months.

Will Harrington , says: August 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm
Hmmm. Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can't help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing. As for the American people taking a turn to authoritarianism. This is possible, after all, our Federal government has spent most of the last century increasing their control over many of the aspects of our lives and stretching the limits of the Constitution beyond any recognition. We have been prepared to accept authoritarianism. Increasingly we have had an authoritarian presidency that surveils its own people and has usurped regulatory and warmaking authority from the Congress. The Federal government has created, out of whole cloth, a role for itself in public education. Do not blame the populace for being what the elite has spent a century shaping them to be.
I am convinced that the saber rattling and fear-mongering concerning Korea, Iran, and Russia are not happening because we have any reason to be particularly concerned about these countries or because they threaten our interests. No, this is the way a corrupt and ineffective regime distracts its citizens from its own failings. Lets be clear, this would be happening even if She-who-shall-not-be-named had one the Presidency.
JonF , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm
Whatever happened to "trust but verify"?
OK, a bunch of people did the political equivalent of a Hail Mary play in voting for Trump. But now that the ball has not only fallen short but gone way out of bounds and beaned some spectators in the stands shouldn't they be revoking that trust and casting around for someone else to represent them? Why stick with a sinking ship?
JessicaR , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2016/11/11/why-veterans-voted-donald-trump-swing-states/21603486/

There is strong evidence to suggest that one factor in Trump's victory was distrust of US foreign policy. The link above is to an article about exit polls showing Trump won the veteran's vote 2:1 over Hillary Clinton.

Not long ago, a study by two academicians found that Trump carried counties with high casualties in the Iraq war: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2989040

People don't regret their votes for Trump because if they had voted for Clinton, they or their loved ones would be coming home in body bags–or minus body parts.

As bad as Trump is, his foreign policy instincts are less hawkish than Clinton's–witness his decision to end the CIA funding of Syrian insurgents.

Trump's behavior is certainly "unpresidential" and chaotic. It is also less horrible than war by many orders of magnitude.

Kevin , says: August 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm
"The politically relevant, and profoundly disturbing, fact is precisely the opposite of the conventional wisdom: After six months of unremitting chaos, lies, ignorance, trash-talking vulgarity, legislative failure, and credible evidence of a desire to collude with a hostile foreign government to subvert an American election, President Trump's approval rating is astonishingly high -- with something between one-third and two-fifths of the American people apparently liking what they see and hear from the White House"

But George W Bush at his nadir averaged 26% approval, and that's seven years in, during an epic economic collapse, a catastrophic war, and a host of other disasters. Trump is not THAT far away from that average.

There is simply a line beyond which a president can't decline unless he murders and eats a puppy in public, and I see no reason to presume that we can judge that Trump hit his bottom six months in, when the economy is decent and no non-self inflicted crisis looming.

I'd also add that while all your friends have different reasons to stay aboard the Trump train, all of them sound like high information, fairly ideological voters. This is probably not the profile of Trump voters set to vote for The Rock in 2020

c matt , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Well, when a building is rotten to the core, the only thing you can do is raze it to the ground to start rebuilding. Our government has long passed its sell-by date. Really, expecting a political solution to arise from a government controlled system such as ours does not border on insanity – it completely crosses that border in leaves it miles in the dust. Witness our insane Congress voting by a 98% margin to inflict sanctions based upon absolute crock. But then the US has never let reality get in the way of statesmenshowmanship. We get what we deserve, good and hard.
polistra , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm
You're OK until the last line. "And populism by its very nature cannot build institutions, cannot govern "

You're still using the Deepstate definition of populism. In fact populists want only one thing: We think the government of THIS country should serve the interests of the people of THIS country.

It's perfectly possible to govern by this rule. FDR did it magnificently.

Why did it work for FDR? Because he was determined to BREAK the monopolies and forces that acted contrary to the interests of the people, and because governments BELOW the Federal level were still strong. When he closed the banks for several months, cities and Chambers of Commerce jumped in immediately to develop scrip systems.

Thanks to an unbroken series of evil judges and presidents after WW2, local governments and institutions are dead or dying. Even if a competent and determined populist tried to close down banks or Amazon or the "health" insurance system, there would be no organized way to replace them.

Jones , says: August 1, 2017 at 2:59 pm
What exactly did these people think a Clinton administration would do? What nightmarish dystopia did they see coming around the bend? And what do you think -- were their perceptions of America's future under a Clinton administration accurate, or at least close to the mark? And if so, why?
Jones , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm
Also, I get that people have lost trust in mainstream institutions. What makes them think that Trump is trustworthy in comparison? Why do they have more trust in Trump than in the institutions? And does that seem reasonable?
Heyseed , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm
I didn't vote for Trump: His rhetorical style turns me cold; I don't like his position on many issues, or his general governing philosophy, to the extent he can be said to have one. But, BUT, I sure as Hell did not vote for Hilary Clinton(I voted for Johnson and Weld, who were obvious non-starters from the word Go. I might possibly have voted for Trump if it had looked like the election might be close in Illinois, but since the Chicago Machine had already stolen it for HRC, I could salve my conscience and vote for Johnson.

Clinton was the status quo candidate, and since I did not desire "more of the same", governmentally, Trump and his circus are preferable to Clinton and whatever cabal she would have assembled to run the country.

You claim that the elite "inevitably" run the machinery of government, but it's worth noting that once upon a time in America, most of the people in government were political appointees who could be sent packing(along with their bosses) by the voters. Nowadays, the 'elite' which runs government is dug in pretty much permanently, and the same people will be, in practice, running the government no matter who wins the next election, or the one after that

Hilary Clinton was forthrightly the candidate of the permanent, un-elected bureaucracy, and Trump, well, didn't seem to be. The choice was between Trump, whose actual position on the size of government was not clear, and Hilary Clinton who was actually promising to make government bigger, more centralized, more expensive and less responsive. I'm not sorry Trump won however distasteful he and his henchmen are to me.

Michael R Honohan , says: August 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm
I too had a friend who was a huge Ron Paul supporter who not only backed Trump, but became a major apologist for him ever since. The man ran two back to back campaigns in Georgia for US Senate, the Ron Paul mold. Now, no on his original team will give him the time of day. Those who tried to get some sense into him, have been closed off.

As a libertarian, I am no more afraid of the left or the right. In fact, listening to the right rant about the left yields a lot of ignorance, disinformation and paranoia: stock in trade for right wing propaganda. But I am disturbed when people spend years fighting for liberty suddenly joined Cult 45 that has no sense of liberty Ron Paul or his followers would recognize.

But Trump fit the bankrupt GOP. Lest we forget, those 49 GOP Senators who voted for "skinny repeal" (even the name is joke!) never gave a moment's consideration to the bill written by Rand Paul that covers the conservative attributes of free markets and self-determination. Lest we also forget that Rand is not only one of the few legit conservatives, but a doctor and the son of doctor or former Congressman. Those credentials alone would have been enough if GOP was actually interested being conservative. Apparently, Trumpism is what the GOP is about and 49 of them proved it.

ojc , says: August 1, 2017 at 4:43 pm
I think that you have identified a problem that transcends Trump and his opponents. Vitriolic partisanship is one thing. At various points in our history, we have had some nasty spells of polarization. The deeper problem that the institutions of public life are now losing their very legitimacy.

Legitimacy is something deeper than mere approval. It relies upon the unspoken acceptance of political and institutional norms.

We are clearly in the process of publicly reevaluating and even rejecting these norms. The birthers questioning Obama's background and "not my president" folks do not view their oppponents as legitimate, if mistaken. In the case of Trump and the radical left, they contest the legitimacy of the other side even participating in the process, a process by the way to which they owe no fealty.

Whine Merchant , says: August 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm
"We had to destroy the village to save it."

Where have we heard that line before??

Cash , says: August 1, 2017 at 5:58 pm
Nothing wrong with America that couldn't be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory, and two, by having top two vote getters in primary face each other in the general.

We'd have a moderate politics with elected officials clustering slightly right and left of the center.

cka2nd , says: August 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm
Speaking as a Commie Pinko Red, I still prefer Trump as President over Clinton, precisely because he is doing so much to undermine America's "leadership" in world affairs. He's still a murderous imperialist, maybe even just as much as she would have been, but there's just so much more damage that she could have done making bi-partisan deals with the GOP for the benefit of Wall Street and the insurance industry.

The movement against GOPcare – Trumpcare wasn't really a fair name for the wet dreams of Paul Ryan and Conservative, Inc. – probably couldn't have been so effective or flew under the radar of the establishment tools running the Democratic Party and its media mouthpieces if a Democrat was in the White House and the various beltway "movement" honchos had had their precious seat at the table where they could have rolled over for the Democratic president of the moment.

bt , says: August 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm
The biggest problem is what comes after Trump for the GOP?

He's kicked off a process for the GOP that will be very difficult to manage going forward. He showed that outright racism, sexism, continuous lying, even treasonous collusion with Russia to subvert our election is just fine with the Republican Party. How does the GOP sell family values to their 'base' after they all lined up with Donald j Trump, serial wife-cheater and money-launderer?

It will be hard for anyone to forget that any of this happened.

Consider this: 8 years of W Bush yielded the first black President – It really could not have happened if W hadn't burned the house down. What comes after Trump?

FiveString , says: August 1, 2017 at 7:52 pm
I'm a very middle-class worker in the IT sector where most of my coworkers have been sensible, but my weekend hobby of playing music has put me in contact (largely via Facebook) with many Trump supporters who do happen to be knuckle-dragging neanderthals. They generally don't read; their "news" comes from partisan demagogues on the radio or TV. If I give one the benefit of the doubt and share an article from, say, The American Conservative -- "The Madness of King Donald" was a favorite -- it's been all too common to receive a childish/hate-filled meme in response. Bigots are legion: I've unfriended the raving variety, and unfollowed the milder dog-whistlers. These deplorables have in fact been emboldened by the current POTUS.

But I get your point. I abhor the current duopoly, but it could be fixed if thinking citizens wanted to put in some effort. So, it's depressing in a different kind of way that so many thoughtful and well-read Americans are so cynical about state of US politics that they are fine with Trump wrecking it.

Barry , says: August 1, 2017 at 8:23 pm
"Rather, the commonality among those who voted for Trump is their conviction that the Democratic party's leadership is utterly bankrupt, and, to one degree or another, so is the Republican leadership. And that assessment hasn't changed one iota since the election."

They are people who were full of it beforehand, and as the evidence rolls in, they just sink deeper into lies.

MarkW , says: August 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm
Linker's quote "a desire to collude" you reference later as "collusion". The first instance is an attempt to broaden the charge from collusion, the second instance is a (sloppy?) change in language.
Mdet , says: August 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm
@Will Harrington, "Populism can not govern or build institutions by its very nature? I can't help but read that as saying the plebeians are so incompetent and stupid that only the elites are capable of governing."

I read that statement as "Once you are governing, once you are the one(s) in a position of power, then by definition you have become 'the elite' and are no longer 'a plebeian'". Populists, by definition, are the people who call for the tearing down of institutions that make up the status-quo, and elites, by definition, are the people who build and maintain status-quo institutions. At least in my eyes, "being a populist" and "governing institutions" are mutually exclusive.

Frank Lettucebee , says: August 2, 2017 at 12:46 am
Since the conservative party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower was invaded by the right wingers and became the party of Jefferson Davis and John Wilkes Booth, the goal has been to tarnish all concept of a functioning a democracy and a government is built to work for the people, of the people, and by the people. The right wing main tactic is lies and just get people riled up so that they don't realize and oblivious to the fact that America has slipped from capitalism to corporatism; from a capitalist democracy to a caste based plutocracy run for the sole benefit of the oligarchs who bought this country.

Don Trump is the embodiment and distillation of the right winger and their economic and social cultural policies. He is not an alternative or antidote to the Republicans or Democrats.

Cal , says: August 2, 2017 at 2:04 am
" Is he happy with Trump? No -- he's especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government is in chaos and that Trump is not bringing the change he hoped for. But he doesn't regret his vote, and he prefers the chaos of Trump to business-as-usual under either the Democrats or the Republicans. And if Trump winds up discrediting the Federal government generally, that's fine with him."

I didn't vote this election because I didn't like either candidate. I had been promoting 'America First' as a rallying cry for a candidate for years but Trump wasnt exactly the kind of leader I had in mind for it.
But I'm with the guy above -- if chaos will bust up the musical chair dual monarchies of the dems and repubs and the corrupt status quo government bring it on.

Pear Conference , says: August 2, 2017 at 6:23 am
I think the Democratic nominee in 2020 should be O.J. Simpson.

The reason is that I have lost trust in the media and the elites that are most alarmed about O.J. Simpson.

Kurt Gayle , says: August 2, 2017 at 8:37 am
A somewhat related question, Noah: If you had been a young man living in China on August 1, 1927, do you think you would have joined the People's Liberation Army?
connecticut farmer , says: August 2, 2017 at 9:50 am
Originally I wanted to sit out this past election but gave in to peer pressure. And I regret this. Trump? Clinton? Johnson? Stein? All were mediocre. Clinton/Trump were the two worst candidates that the "major" parties have ever produced in my lifetime. It was with fear and trepidation that I voted for Trump, notwithstanding that I fundamentally agreed with him on the issues of immigration and the need for a reduced American role in global affairs. In the end, I rationalized this (wasted) vote based upon the notion that not only had his opponent committed a felony (detouring government emails) but also because (as others have pointed out) she was the candidate of the status quo, the "permanent bureaucracy", Big Finance etc. etc. The fact that Trump actually won surprised me, but only moderately, because as terrible a candidate as he was, his opponent was even worse.

What has transpired since his election comes as no surprise. Had Clinton been elected conditions would have only been mirror imaged, such being the state of things in this once-great republic. I continue to maintain that the two-party system is archaic and has to go. Whether a multi-party system would be better, I don't know. Perhaps we have reached a point where the country is simply ungovernable. Perhaps more responsibility should be returned to state and local government (Jefferson would have approved). Again, I don't know.

What I do know is that the current system is dysfunctional.

And that, my friends, is why we have a real estate/TV personality as President.

wallysdaughter , says: August 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm
i am neither an establishment voter, or a member of the media/press. i am deeply worried where the man (trump) is taking this nation. the gop is complicit in this chaos as they see trump as a rubber stamp for their plutocratic agenda. i don't know what it will take to right the ship of state
EliteCommInc. , says: August 3, 2017 at 7:49 am
I don't regret my vote. And I ave had issues with my choice before and after the election. The sky is not even close to falling as predicted. And the democracy you claim is at threat may very well be, but it's from the current executive. And nothing thus far suggests that it will.

I m not going to dismiss the caterwauling liberals have been making since the campaign or the election as major distraction to governance.

And by the way there remain not a twiddle's evidence that the WH prior to the election colluded to undermine the US in any manner. It's time to cease throwing that out as sauce for the goose.

I think I agree with all four of your "freinds". I am very fond of the establishment, they have their place. What they provide in cohesion, stability and continuity is valuable to the state. But they appear to be want for any level of substance, depth thereof or moral consistency (if any at all). The double standards they hold themselves, their donors and connections on issues and accountability is unsustainable in a democracy as I think you understand it.

When I was laid out in the ER, I found myself wrestling with my own position on healthcare. The temptations are great to bend the guide as to my own conditions -- but I don't think I could so with a clear conscience. I am nor sot sure that what we haven't lost is a sense of conscience -- that sense that truth overrides immediate gain. I don't think the US can survive as the US if the leadership is bent on holding themselves to a standard not available to the country's citizens.

"Is he happy with Trump? No -- he's especially unhappy with the number of Goldman bankers Trump appointed to senior economic posts, but more generally he acknowledges that the government . . ."

And the discredited notions that

1. the rich know how to run an economy effectively and

2. that a rise in the market is a sign of economic health.

Brendan Sexton , says: August 3, 2017 at 10:48 am
Pear Conference captures perfectly the 'thinking' i have heard from more than one Trump voter. This is 'reasoning'?
If there is one system in America that needs blowing up to start over it might be our education system. I am generally supportive of public ed, and i am impressed by some of the commitment and inventiveness i see among the proposers of various alternatives to public ed. So, some folks are trying, even sometimes succeeding, but we have managed to arrive at a point in our culture where we have elected a President whose election success depended more than anything else on a public who have lost the ability to think critically. (if they ever had it, of course)
Yes I know the other one got more votes, by a lot. And i know that this other candidate was oddly not at all an attractive alternative. I know all that, but still, a huge fraction of the voting population–a fraction large enough to make themselves now THE base the government is playing to–is a group who could not/would not see this con-job coming? There was every opportunity to use actual logic and facts to reach a voting decision, but these millions of voters chose instead to go with various variations on the theme of 'they all stink, so i'm using my vote to poke a stick in their eyes." Or, as Pear satirized, "I hate/mistrust the elites and they like almost anybody else other than my guy, so I'm gonna turn my country over to the most vulgar non-elite pig the system can come up with."
There is talk now about the damage he can do to American politics and sense of community, but I think he may be more symptom than cause. We don't value the things we thought were a standard part of the American process: truthfulness, kindness, authenticity, devotion to the common good. We value, it turns out, showmanship, machismo, crass shows of wealth and power, and ..I can't go on.
I'm not sure how we got here, but I know the institutions held in high regard on this site, such as church, and some factors we all put our faith in such as increasing levels of education, turn out not to matter so much as we had thought. It is going to take some hard work and more than a little time to recover from this sickness in the country's soul.
Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:43 am
"Trump supporters are just like people who are outraged by something and show it by rioting and burning down their own neighborhoods." – Greg in PDX

The antifas rioting and destroying in Portland also got very violent when some old folks held a peaceful rally for Trump there.

Oh, sorry. I forgot that when "progressives" disagree with someone, they consider that merely disagreeing with them constitutes "violence" against their "safe space" and they are compelled to go out and punch or shoot people.

Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:47 am
"Nothing wrong with America that couldn't be fixed, one, by making voting mandatory"

Right, and by making public disclosure of who you voted for mandatory as well!

Just don't be the first to stop clapping.

Fran Macadam , says: August 3, 2017 at 11:50 am
Those calling for a soft coup to reinstate elite status quo leaders against the election results are the ones who are profoundly anti-democratic.
Grumpy Old Man , says: September 5, 2017 at 8:33 pm
No reason why populism couldn't govern. Huey Long was a damn effective governor of Louisiana. Send the whole Acela Corridor élite to Saddam's woodchipper and the country would noodle along just fine. I'm not for state violence, and yet the fantasy gives me a frisson. Forgive me, a sinner.

[Aug 03, 2018] The elites "have no credibility left by David North and Chris Hedges

Notable quotes:
"... War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class ..."
"... Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt ..."
"... Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt ..."
"... Do not significantly alienate those upon whom we depend for money and access! ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
Oct 06, 2017 | www.unz.com

On Monday, WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North interviewed Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, lecturer and former New York Times correspondent. Among Hedges' best-known books are War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class , Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt , which he co-wrote with the cartoonist Joe Sacco, and Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt .

In an article published in Truthdig September 17 , titled "The Silencing of Dissent," Hedges referenced the WSWS coverage of Google's censorship of left-wing sites and warned about the growth of "blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of 'fake news.'"

Hedges wrote that "the Department of Justice called on RT America and its 'associates' -- which may mean people like me -- to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. No doubt, the corporate state knows that most of us will not register as foreign agents, meaning we will be banished from the airwaves. This, I expect, is the intent."

North's interview with Hedges began with a discussion of the significance of the anti-Russia campaign in the media.

David North: How do you interpret the fixation on Russia and the entire interpretation of the election within the framework of Putin's manipulation?

Chris Hedges: It's as ridiculous as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation -- critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.

I have no doubt that the Russians invested time, energy and money into attempting to influence events in the United States in ways that would serve their interests, in the same way that we have done and do in Russia and all sorts of other countries throughout the world. So I'm not saying there was no influence, or an attempt to influence events.

But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It's really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn't make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.

This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.

Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.

The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.

Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.

DN: Chris, you worked for the New York Times . When was that, exactly?

CH: From 1990 to 2005.

DN: Since you have some experience with that institution, what changes do you see? We've stressed that it has cultivated a constituency among the affluent upper-middle class.

CH: The New York Times consciously targets 30 million upper-middle class and affluent Americans. It is a national newspaper; only about 11 percent of its readership is in New York. It is very easy to see who the Times seeks to reach by looking at its special sections on Home, Style, Business or Travel. Here, articles explain the difficulty of maintaining, for example, a second house in the Hamptons. It can do good investigative work, although not often. It covers foreign affairs. But it reflects the thinking of the elites. I read the Times every day, maybe to balance it out with your web site.

DN: Well, I hope more than balance it.

CH: Yes, more than balance it. The Times was always an elitist publication, but it wholly embraced the ideology of neo-conservatism and neoliberalism at a time of financial distress, when Abe Rosenthal was editor. He was the one who instituted the special sections that catered to the elite. And he imposed a de facto censorship to shut out critics of unfettered capitalism and imperialism, such as Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn. He hounded out reporters like Sydney Schanberg, who challenged the real estate developers in New York, or Raymond Bonner, who reported the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador.

He had lunch every week, along with his publisher, with William F. Buckley. This pivot into the arms of the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism and proponents of American imperialism, for a time, made the paper very profitable. Eventually, of course, the rise of the internet, the loss of classified ads, which accounted for about 40 percent of all newspaper revenue, crippled the Times as it has crippled all newspapers. Newsprint has lost the monopoly that once connected sellers with buyers. Newspapers are trapped in an old system of information they call "objectivity" and "balance," formulae designed to cater to the powerful and the wealthy and obscure the truth. But like all Byzantine courts, the Times will go down clinging to its holy grail.

The intellectual gravitas of the paper -- in particular the Book Review and the Week in Review -- was obliterated by Bill Keller, himself a neocon, who, as a columnist, had been a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. He brought in figures like Sam Tanenhaus. At that point the paper embraced, without any dissent, the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and the primacy of corporate power as an inevitable form of human progress. The Times , along with business schools, economics departments at universities, and the pundits promoted by the corporate state, propagated the absurd idea that we would all be better off if we prostrated every sector of society before the dictates of the marketplace. It takes a unique kind of stupidity to believe this. You had students at Harvard Business School doing case studies of Enron and its brilliant business model, that is, until Enron collapsed and was exposed as a gigantic scam. This was never, really, in the end, about ideas. It was about unadulterated greed. It was pushed by the supposedly best educated among us, like Larry Summers, which exposes the lie that somehow our decline is due to deficient levels of education. It was due to a bankrupt and amoral elite, and the criminal financial institutions that make them rich.

Critical thinking on the op-ed page, the Week in Review or the Book Review, never very strong to begin with, evaporated under Keller. Globalization was beyond questioning. Since the Times , like all elite institutions, is a hermetically sealed echo chamber, they do not realize how irrelevant they are becoming, or how ridiculous they look. Thomas Friedman and David Brooks might as well write for the Onion .

I worked overseas. I wasn't in the newsroom very much, but the paper is a very anxiety-ridden place. The rules aren't written on the walls, but everyone knows, even if they do not articulate it, the paper's unofficial motto: Do not significantly alienate those upon whom we depend for money and access! You can push against them some of the time. But if you are a serious reporter, like Charlie Leduff, or Sydney Schanberg, who wants to give a voice to people who don't have a voice, to address issues of race, class, capitalist exploitation or the crimes of empire, you very swiftly become a management problem and get pushed out. Those who rise in the organization and hold power are consummate careerists. Their loyalty is to their advancement and the stature and profitability of the institution, which is why the hierarchy of the paper is filled with such mediocrities. Careerism is the paper's biggest Achilles heel. It does not lack for talent. But it does lack for intellectual independence and moral courage. It reminds me of Harvard.

DN: Let's come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?

CH: The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice," has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.

I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can't go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.

The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.

DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.

CH: It's not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA. The CIA wasn't buying the "weapons of mass destruction" hysteria.

DN: It goes the other way too?

CH: Sure. Because if you're trying to have access to a senior official, you'll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it's usually because they have something to sell you.

DN: The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left."

CH: Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.

If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.

The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.

I've battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they're kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

So Trump's not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. The New York Times , if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it -- as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

DN: What about the impact that you've seen of identity politics in America?

CH: Well, identity politics defines the immaturity of the left. The corporate state embraced identity politics. We saw where identity politics got us with Barack Obama, which is worse than nowhere. He was, as Cornel West said, a black mascot for Wall Street, and now he is going around to collect his fees for selling us out.

My favorite kind of anecdotal story about identity politics: Cornel West and I, along with others, led a march of homeless people on the Democratic National Convention session in Philadelphia. There was an event that night. It was packed with hundreds of people, mostly angry Bernie Sanders supporters. I had been asked to come speak. And in the back room, there was a group of younger activists, one who said, "We're not letting the white guy go first." Then he got up and gave a speech about how everybody now had to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's kind of where identity politics gets you. There is a big difference between shills for corporate capitalism and imperialism, like Corey Booker and Van Jones, and true radicals like Glen Ford and Ajamu Baraka. The corporate state carefully selects and promotes women, or people of color, to be masks for its cruelty and exploitation.

It is extremely important, obviously, that those voices are heard, but not those voices that have sold out to the power elite. The feminist movement is a perfect example of this. The old feminism, which I admire, the Andrea Dworkin kind of feminism, was about empowering oppressed women. This form of feminism did not try to justify prostitution as sex work. It knew that it is just as wrong to abuse a woman in a sweatshop as it is in the sex trade. The new form of feminism is an example of the poison of neoliberalism. It is about having a woman CEO or woman president, who will, like Hillary Clinton, serve the systems of oppression. It posits that prostitution is about choice. What woman, given a stable income and security, would choose to be raped for a living? Identity politics is anti-politics.

DN: I believe you spoke at a Socialist Convergence conference where you criticized Obama and Sanders, and you were shouted down.

CH: Yes, I don't even remember. I've been shouted down criticizing Obama in many places, including Berkeley. I have had to endure this for a long time as a supporter and speech writer for Ralph Nader. People don't want the illusion of their manufactured personalities, their political saviors, shattered; personalities created by public relations industries. They don't want to do the hard work of truly understanding how power works and organizing to bring it down.

DN: You mentioned that you have been reading the World Socialist Web Site for some time. You know we are quite outside of that framework.

CH: I'm not a Marxist. I'm not a Trotskyist. But I like the site. You report on important issues seriously and in a way a lot of other sites don't. You care about things that are important to me -- mass incarceration, the rights and struggles of the working class and the crimes of empire. I have read the site for a long time.

DN: Much of what claims to be left -- that is, the pseudo-left -- reflects the interests of the affluent middle class.

CH: Precisely. When everybody was, you know, pushing for multiculturalism in lead institutions, it really meant filtering a few people of color or women into university departments or newsrooms, while carrying out this savage economic assault against the working poor and, in particular, poor people of color in deindustrialized pockets of the United States. Very few of these multiculturalists even noticed. I am all for diversity, but not when it is devoid of economic justice. Cornel West has been one of the great champions, not only of the black prophetic tradition, the most important intellectual tradition in our history, but the clarion call for justice in all its forms. There is no racial justice without economic justice. And while these elite institutions sprinkled a few token faces into their hierarchy, they savaged the working class and the poor, especially poor people of color.

Much of the left was fooled by the identity politics trick. It was a boutique activism. It kept the corporate system, the one we must destroy, intact. It gave it a friendly face.

DN: The World Socialist Web Site has made the issue of inequality a central focus of its coverage.

CH: That's why I read it and like it.

DN: Returning to the Russia issue, where do you see this going? How seriously do you see this assault on democratic rights? We call this the new McCarthyism. Is that, in your view, a legitimate analogy?

CH: Yes, of course it's the new McCarthyism. But let's acknowledge how almost irrelevant our voices are.

DN: I don't agree with you on that.

CH: Well, irrelevant in the sense that we're not heard within the mainstream. When I go to Canada I am on the CBC on prime time. The same is true in France. That never happens here. PBS and NPR are never going to do that. Nor are they going to do that for any other serious critic of capitalism or imperialism.

If there is a debate about attacking Syria, for example, it comes down to bombing Syria or bombing Syria and sending in troops, as if these are the only two options. Same with health care. Do we have Obamacare, a creation of the Heritage Foundation and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, or no care? Universal health care for all is not discussed. So we are on the margins. But that does not mean we are not dangerous. Neoliberalism and globalization are zombie ideologies. They have no credibility left. The scam has been found out. The global oligarchs are hated and reviled. The elite has no counterargument to our critique. So they can't afford to have us around. As the power elite becomes more frightened, they're going to use harsher forms of control, including the blunt instrument of censorship and violence.

DN: I think it can be a big mistake to be focused on the sense of isolation or marginalization. I'll make a prediction. You will have, probably sooner than you think, more requests for interviews and television time. We are in a period of colossal political breakdown. We are going to see, more and more, the emergence of the working class as a powerful political force.

CH: That's why we are a target. With the bankruptcy of the ruling ideology, and the bankruptcy of the American liberal class and the American left, those who hold fast to intellectual depth and an examination of systems of power, including economics, culture and politics, have to be silenced. (Republished from World Socialist Web Site by permission of author or representative)


JackOH , October 9, 2017 at 11:08 am GMT

I'm a moderate admirer of Chris Hedges, but he is really cooking in this interview. Too much to praise here, but his thinking that corporations, the mainstream media, and the academy can and do successfully "game" dissent by suppression, divide and conquer, co-optation, and so on, is spot on.
Albertde , October 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
Good but not great interview with Chris Hodges: he manages to talk about an amorphous elite without identifying any of them and not a word about Israel. So pseudo-good roally
alexander , October 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT
I think this was an excellent discussion, and I would like to thank you both for having it, and sharing it.

Among the crises effecting the United States, the one effecting us most profoundly is the absence of any accountability for the crimes committed by our oligarchic class.

Addressing this issue is ground zero for any meaningful change.

If there is no accountability for their crimes , there will be no change.

Certainly the greatest among these crimes was(is) defrauding the nation into " a war of aggression". which, being the supreme international crime, should be met with harsh prison sentences for all who promoted it.

It is important for everyone to recognize just how much damage these policies have done to the country, not just in terms of our collective morale or our constitutional mandates,not just in terms of our international standing on universal principles of legality and justice, but our long term economic solvency as a nation.

The "exceptionalism" of our "war of aggression" elites has completely devastated our nation's balance sheet.

Since 9-11, our national debt has grown by a mind numbing "fourteen and a half trillion dollars".. nearly quadrupling since 1999.

This unconscionable level of "overspending" is unprecedented in human history.

Not one lawmaker, not one primetime pundit, nor one editorialist (of any major newspaper), has a CLUE how to deal with it.

Aside from the root atrocity in visiting mass murder on millions of innocents who never attacked us (and never intended to) which is a horrible crime in and of itself,

There is the profound crisis , in situ , of potentially demanding that 320 million Americans PAY FOR THE WARS OUR ELITES LIED US INTO .

This is where the rubber meets the road for our "war of aggression-ists ", gentlemen.

This is the "unanimous space" of our entire country's population on the issue of "no taxation without representation".

WHOSE assets should be made forfeit to pay for these wars .The DECEIVERS or the DECEIVED ?

Ask "The People" ..and you will find your answer .very fast.

No wonder our "elites" are terrified to discuss this .

Absolutely terrified.

exiled off mainstreet , October 10, 2017 at 1:27 am GMT
I agree with the general tenor of this article and would further state that in addition to the Iraq thing which was a war crime and eliminated any shreds of legitimacy retained by the yankee regime that the Libya overthrow and destruction, a war crime of historic proportions, and the use of that overthrow to provide major support to the barbaric element in Syria expose the yankee regime as an enemy of civilization with all that entails, including questions of whether, absent any legitimacy, the regime's continued existence itself does not constitute a major threat.
The elements in the article discussing and exposing the New York Times and its role as an integral part of the power structure should be read and remembered by all.
Grandpa Charlie , October 10, 2017 at 6:10 am GMT

How do you interpret the fixation on Russia and the entire interpretation of the election within the framework of Putin's manipulation?

Chris Hedges: It's as ridiculous as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation -- critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.

With all due respect for Chris Hedges, who is doubtless a courageous journalist and an intelligent commentator, I would suggest that what is also and most ridiculous is the thought that it is only agents of Israel that have suborned the neocon faction within USA's government and 'Deep State' (controllers of MSM). Or is this OT? I don't think so, because if we are to discuss the anti-Russia campaign realistically, as baseless in fact, and as contrived for an effect and to further/protect some particular interests, we can hardly avoid the question: Who or what interest is served by the anti-Russia campaign?

Who or what interest is served by anti-Russia propaganda other than, or in addition to, just the usual MIC suspects, profiteering corporations who want to keep a supposed need for nuclear weapons front and center in the minds of Congress? Cui bono?

To be clear: I suggest that neocon office-holders within USA's government or within the Deep State (controllers of MSM) are foreign agents for at least three nations: the People's Republic of China,the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel.

(I would compare USA now with Imperial China in its declining years when it was being sold piecemeal to all the great powers of Europe.)

Who benefits from this situation and how do they benefit? All three of these countries are deeply involved in suborning members of Congress and others within the government of the USA, yet none of the three is mentioned in such a connection by the MSM or by officials of the Executive. Thus, it is beneficial to them to have suspicion thrown onto Russia and thus investigative attention deflected from themselves. A few public figures (e.g., Philip Giraldi) have made such allegations respecting Israel, more public figures have made such suggestions respecting Saudi Arabia, but very few have made the allegations in the case of the PRC.

Let's think about this in the context of history, beginning with the Vietnam War. When USA got involved in Vietnam -- which involvement began during the days of Eisenhower/Dulles -- probably the primary interest groups that swayed USA global/foreign policy were the Vatican and the China Lobby. The interests of these two lobbies converged in Vietnam. From the RC side, consider an historical event that is unknown practically to any Americans under the age of 60 or 70, namely, Operation Passage to Freedom, 1954-55.

"The period was marked by a CIA-backed propaganda campaign on behalf of South Vietnam's Roman Catholic Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem. The campaign exhorted Catholics to flee impending religious persecution under communism, and around 60% of the north's 1 million Catholics obliged." (Wikipedia: Operation Passage to Freedom )

From the side of the China Lobby – avoiding the matter of JFK's planning to dump USA involvement in Vietnam after the 1964 election – what we saw in the early years of USA's involvement, 1965-1969, was a period in which the China Lobby could push an agenda that included widening the Vietnam campaign into southern China, particularly to include the tungsten mining operations supposedly owned by K.C. Wu. Tungsten at that time was considered as having tremendous strategic value, centering on, but not limited to, its essential use in the filaments of incandescent light-bulbs. It became clear after the Tet Offensive that the entire strategy of reopening the Chinese civil war, capturing the tungsten, etc, could make sense only if Chang Kai Shek's KMT would commit its troops in huge numbers, virtually all of its troops, on the ground in Vietnam (which would have brought in huge numbers of PRC troops on the other side) -- it became, to borrow one of Nixon's favorite phrases, "perfectly clear" that expansion into southern China and capture of the tungsten operations there were not in the cards. When Kissinger talked up his 'realpolitik', what he really meant was the politics of surrendering to Beijing. So, Nixon in July 1969, recognizing that there was nothing to be gained by the loss of life and expenditure of every form of capital, ordered first of many troop withdrawals from Vietnam. It was all a done deal as of Kissinger taking over as National Security Adviser, January 1969 -- everything but the tears.

Now, patience, dear reader, this is all leading up to a certain crucial event that took place in 1971 -- namely, Kissinger's secret trip to Beijing in July (1971) to arrange for everything regarding what amounted to a surrender to the PRC, except the end of the Vietnam War. The documents are still unavailable as classified Top Secret or whatever, but clearly, China had no interest in seeing an end to the Vietnam War, because both parties – Vietnam and USA – were adversaries of China. (Let them knock each other out!) Most likely, Zhou talked Henry into doing what he could to prolong USA's involvement in the Vietnam War, not to shorten it. See, including between the lines, National Security Archives:

http://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB66/

As noted, this stuff is mostly unavailable to us, the public, but it is clear that USA's 'leaders' (Nixon and Kissinger) wanted to make kissy-kissy with Zhou Enlai, and it was all arranged including George H. W. Bush's appointment as USA's first 'Ambassador' (in all but name) to Beijing, and including giving China's permanent seat on the UNSC to Beijing and otherwise selling out the old China Lobby. I call it the 'old China Lobby' because part of what was arranged was that the old China Lobby would be taken over by the New China lobby, complete with all the payola channels into Congress and the Deep State.

Now, I think, we arrive at today, 2017, and the failure of Trump to act on his campaign promises to oppose China in any way. Maybe he thought about it for a minute, but he was surrounded by neocons, who were already on the payroll of the PRC -- if not taking direct orders from the Standing Committee of the CCP, then at least promised to avoid offending the interests of the PRC -- on pain of losing regular paychecks from Beijing into their secret Grand Cayman accounts.

What I would like to say to Hedges. and others like him, is just this:

THEY say that you are foreign agents for Russia? Time to use a little judo on them: time for YOU to speak truth that THEY are foreign agents for the People's Republic of China.

And don't forget this potent phrase: YET NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON!

AB_Anonymous , October 11, 2017 at 5:24 am GMT

"The elite has no counterargument to our critique. So they can't afford to have us around. As the power elite becomes more frightened, they're going to use harsher forms of control, including the blunt instrument of censorship and violence."

Precisely! What makes it even worse, they will be pushing this new pretexts for control sloppy (as in Vegas) and in a hurry. Which will make them look even more ridiculous and due to the lack of time will force to act even more stupid, resulting in an exponential curve of censorship, oppression and insanity. And that's there the maniacal dreams of certain forces to start a really big war in the Middle East (with or without attacking North Korea first) may come true.

Anonymous Disclaimer , October 11, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

"avoiding the matter of JFK's planning to dump USA involvement in Vietnam after the 1964 election – "

Now that's a lie. This part is a lie. Or it is carefully crafted ex post hoc mythology a la Camelot, the Kennedy Mystique.

FACT: JFK was a Cold War Hawk and during his administration increased nuclear arms higher than Ike and until Reagan.

JFK during his administration increased the number of "advisers" to a higher number than Ike.

William F. Buckley pointedly asked Senator Robert Kennedy in the mid. '60′s "So, was there any thought of the White House pulling out [of Vietnam]?

RFK: No. There never was.

If anything, had he lived to see a second term, most likely US involvement in Vietnam would have escalated as much as under LBJ, perhaps with the same disastrous results, perhaps not. But JFK was no peacenik dove.

Mr. Hedges comes across as a total whackjob, and makes Bill Moyers appear to be a gentle moderate in comparison. That he thinks so highly of race man BLM supporter Cornell West speaks volumes of naivety to the nth degree. A total cuck without even knowing it, nay, totally appreciative of being a cuck and it appears to be his hope that one day his cardinal sin of being white will be purged by peoples of color, who are his true moral and intellectual betters in every step of the way.

OilcanFloyd , October 11, 2017 at 10:45 am GMT
I agree that the Russia fixation is garbage, but explaining the populist revolt without touching on the major issue of forced demographic and cultural change through legal and illegal immigration is dishonest. Almost everyone who isn't an immigrant or the descendant or relative of a post-65 immigrant is pissed off beyond words about this! How did you miss the popular response to Trump's promises to "deport them all," end birthright citizenship and chain migration, build a wall etc.? Without those promises, he wouldn't have made it to the debates.

I'm also not sure how welfare has been stripped. What programs aren't available?

I'm not sure how to lower black incarceration rates. Having taught in inner-city schools and worked in the same environment in other jobs, I know that crime and dysfunction are through the roof. I can only imagine what those communities would be like if the predators and crooks that are incarcerated were allowed to roam free.

Greg Bacon , Website October 11, 2017 at 11:13 am GMT

Chris Hedges: It's as ridiculous as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation -- critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.

Is this the same Chris Hedges that wrote those articles in November 2001 that Saddam and al Qaeda were in cahoots, which led to the illegal 2003 invasion?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/part1/wmd.html

Tell me Chris, did you know about the CIA pollution then or just find out lately? And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you also write NYT articles in the Fall of 2002 saying that Saddam had WMD's?

Again, getting your tips from the CIA? Ever hear of 'Operation Mockingbird?"

jacques sheete , October 11, 2017 at 11:20 am GMT

It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy.

That's cringe-worthy.

Transformation into an oligarchy? Transformation ??? I like Hedges' work, but such fundamental errors really taint what he sez.

The country was never transformed into an oligarchy; it began as one.

In fact, it was organized and functioned as a pluto-oligarchy right out of the box. In case anyone has the dimness to argue with me about it, all that shows is that you don't know JS about how the cornstitution was foisted on the rest of us by the plutoligarchs.

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for "

-Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIII, 1782 . ME 2:163

The Elites "Have No Credibility Left"

Guess what, boys and girls Why did they have any to begin with?

Where do people get their faith? WakeTF up, already!! (Yes, I'm losing it. Because even a duumbshit goy like myself can see it. Where are all you bright bulb know-it-alls with all the flippin answers???)

jacques sheete , October 11, 2017 at 11:35 am GMT

Newspapers are trapped in an old system of information they call "objectivity" and "balance," formulae designed to cater to the powerful and the wealthy and obscure the truth.

It's amazing that here we are, self-anointed geniuses and dumbos alike, puttering around in the 21st century, and someone feels the necessity to point that out. And he's right; it needs to be pointed out. Drummed into our skulls in fact.

Arrrgggghhhh!!! Jefferson again.:

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.

Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 14 June 1807

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_speechs29.html

More deja vu all over again and again. Note the date.:

"This is a story of a powerful and wealthy newspaper having enormous influence And never a day out of more than ten thousand days that this newspaper has not subtly and cunningly distort the news of the world in the interest of special privilege. "

Upton Sinclair, "The crimes of the "Times" : a test of newspaper decency," pamphlet, 1921

https://archive.org/stream/crimesofthetimes00sincrich/crimesofthetimes00sincrich_djvu.txt

Stephen Paul Foster , Website October 11, 2017 at 12:01 pm GMT
"The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace."

Look what they did to Henry Wallace -- Are you kidding me? Wallace was a Stalinist stooge, too treasonous even for his boss, FDR, although the bird brain Eleanor loved him. The guy was so out of touch with reality that after the Potemkin tour of the Gulag that Stalin gave him during WWII he came back raving about how swell it was for the lunch-bucket gang in Siberia. He also encouraged FDR to sell out the Poles to Stalin

jacques sheete , October 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm GMT
I find it most fascinating that none of what Hedges says is news, but even UR readers probably think it is. Here's an antidote to that idea.

The following quote is from Eugene Kelly who's excoriating government press releases but the criticism applies as well to the resulting press reports. I found the whole article striking.:

Any boob can deduce, a priori, what type of "news" is contained in this rubbish.

-Eugene A. Kelly, Distorting the News, The American Mercury, March 1935 , pp. 307-318

http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury/

I'd like good evidence that the situation has improved since then. Good luck.

polistra , Website October 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm GMT
Hedges doesn't seem to understand that the "Resistance" is openly and obviously working FOR Deepstate. They do not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Nothing mysterious or hidden about this, no ulterior motive or bankshot. It's explicitly stated in every poster and shout and beating.