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Two Party System as Polyarchy and anti-Democratic mechanisms of "first past the post" elections

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA looks more and more like a single party state -- it is governed by  Neoliberal party with two factions
 "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals"(Republican Party)

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Demexit Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking The Deep State Donald Trump
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Bernie Sanders Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

 

 

Due to the side an introduction was moved to the separate page Polyarchy, Authoritarianism and Deep State

Summary

I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ?  Or  in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible, if elections use "the first after the post" rule?  Another important question is "democracy for whom". There are always part of society living under the dictatorship and excluded from the democratic process.

My impression is that the Communist Party of the USSR made a grave mistake by not adopting "the first after the post" election system. In reality it would just legitimize the permanent Communist Party rule, as two factions of the CPSU competing for power (let's call them "Democratic Communists" and "Republican Communists") would exclude any real challenge for the one party rule that was practiced in the USSR under so called "one party" system. Which, while providing the same results,  looks more undemocratic then "first after the post" system, and thus  less safe for the rule of oligarchy as it generates resentment of the population.  

The "first after the post" system provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  No less effective the Societ one party rule, but more subtle and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy.  The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of olgarchy was actualy discovered by observing the evolution of the party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called  "revolutionary situation". Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what was essentially an independent candidate -- Donald Trump.  It was clear that there is a widespread feeling that the current system is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wont to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings twice, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, often the ruling elite decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect  to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). The pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016 in neoliberal MSM suggest that some part of the US elite is not totally hostile to this solution even in nuclear age. As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.”

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Even by promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems. The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the level achieved by communist propagandists in best days of the USSR.  And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative", who rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire.   This heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state, and the hissy fit in neoliberal media and the just of intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" of political process (hackingate") were to be expected.

There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democratcy for who" -- it is clera tha thtis is democracy for the top 1% or at best top 20% of population.

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience. They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology)  way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem here -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist.  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.  This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a subset that felt in like with Bolshevism.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation make this propaganda less effective, much like happened with neoliberal propganda in the USA in 2016. And people were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming.  Similar things happened inthe USA after 2008. Eventhoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion, started to have doubts.  And like Soviet population resorted to the alternative sources of information (for example Guardian, RT, Asia Times, to name a few).

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is much lower then it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marxs and Lenin much like modern incarnations of Jesus Christ in Soviet state). Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

The myth about intelligent voters

That means the hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for ("informed voters" hypothesis)  is open to review (see Myth about intelligent voter).  Otherwise identity politics would not be so successful in the USA, despite being a primitive variation of classic "divide and conquer" strategy. In any democracy, how can voters make an important decision unless they are well informed?  But what percentage of US votes can be considered well informed?  And taking into account popularity of Fox News what percentage is brainwashed or do not what to think about the issues involved and operate based on emotions and prejudices? And when serious discussion of issues that nation faces are deliberately and systematically replaced by "infotainment" voters became just pawns in the game of factions of elite, which sometimes leaks information to sway public opinion, but do it very selectively. All MSM represent the views of large corporations which own them. No exception are allowed. Important information is suppressed or swiped under the carpet to fifth page in NYT to prevent any meaningful discussion. For example, ask several of your friends if they ever heard about Damascus, AR.

In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoned Democratic neoliberals and flocked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries, and then engaged in anti-Russian hysteria to hide this criminal fact).  See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.

Mr. Trump’s great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party’s leaders didn’t know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn’t happening.

The party’s leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn’t want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he’d opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn’t want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen.

The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their imperial ambitions. As in the efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieved by nomenklatura in Soviet Union outside of "Stalinism" period.  Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

The term "neoliberalism" is effectively prohibited from usage in major US MSM and all political discussion is forcefully turned into "infotainment" -- the clash of  personalizes. In other words discussion of key issues facing the country (politics in real sense of this word)  was replaced under neoliberal regime by "infotainment" with slick and often psychically beautiful "presstitutes" instead of olitical analysts.   But like was the case in the USSR neoliberal brainwashing gradually lost its effectiveness because it contradicts the reality. and neoliberalism failed to deliver promises of "rising tide lifting all board", or trickle down economy which justified tremendous enrichment of top 0.1%. 

Neoliberalism divides the society in  two classes like in old, good Marxism

Politically neoliberalism. like Marxism in the past, operates with the same two classes: "entrepreneurs" (modern name for capitalists and financial oligarchy) and debt slaves (proletarians under Marxism) who work for them. Under neoliberalism only former considered first class citizens ("one dollar -- one vote"). Debt slaves are second class of citizens and are prevented from political self-organization, which by-and-large deprives them of any form of political participation. In best Roman tradition it is substituted with the participation in political shows ("Bread and circuses") See Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges.  In this sense the role of the election is not election of the candidate of people want but legitimizing the candidate the oligarchy pre-selected. . They  helps to provide legitimacy for the ruling elite. 

The two party system invented by the elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for neoliberal regimes, which practice what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarism. The latter is the regime in which all political power belongs to the financial oligarchy which rules via the deep state mechanisms, and where traditional political institutions including POTUS are downgraded to instruments of providing political legitimacy of the ruling elite. Population is discouraged from political activity. "Go shopping" as famously recommended Bush II to US citizens after 9/11.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen. The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their pretty much imperial ambitions. The efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieve by nomenklatura in Soviet Union. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

Corporation as the role model for government under neoliberalism excludes the possibility of democracy

Everything should be organized like corporation under neoliberalism, including government, medicine, education, even military. And everybody is not a citizen but a shareholder  (or more correctly stakeholder), so any conflict should be resolved via discussion of the main stakeholders. Naturally lower 99% are not among them.

The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance is "wealth maximization". Which proved to be very seductive for society as a whole in reality is applied very selectively and never to the bottom 60% or 80%, or eve 99% of population.  In essence, it means a form of welfare economics for financial oligarchy while at the same time a useful smokescreen for keeping debt-slaves obedient by removing any remnants of job security mechanisms that were instituted during the New Deal. As the great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis once said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.”

As under neoliberalism extreme wealth is the goal of the social system, there can be no democracy under neoliberalism. And this mean that pretentions of the USA elite that the USA is a bastion of democracy is plain vanilla British ruling elite style hypocrisy.  Brutal suppression of any move to challenge dominance of financial oligarchy (even such feeble as Occupy movement)  shows that all too well.

Like in case of communist regimes before, under neoliberalism we now face a regime completely opposite to democracy: we have complete, forceful atomization of public, acute suppression of any countervailing political forces (similar to the suppression of dissidents in the USSR in its effectiveness and brutality, but done in "velvet gloves" without resort to physical violence). That includes decimation of  labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80%, or even 99% of population.  Neoliberalism tries to present any individual, any citizen, as a market actor within some abstract market (everything is the market under neoliberalism). Instead of fight for political  and economic equality neoliberalism provides a slick slogan of "wealth maximization" which is in essence a "bait and switch" for redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% (which is the stated goal of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"). It was working in tandem with "shareholder value" mantra which is a disguise of looting of the corporations to enrich its top brass via outsize bonuses (IBM is a nice example where such an approach leads) and sending thousands of white-collar workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-collar workers that were affected. Times changed. 

The difference between democrats and republicans as (at least partially) the difference in the level of authoritarianism of two factions of the same "Grand neoliberal Party of the USA"

Both Democratic Party and Republican arty in the USA are neoliberal parties. So effectively we have one-party system skillfully masked as duopoly ;-). Communists could use the same trick, by having the part Socialist internationalists worker-peasants party of the USSR and Democratic internationalists peasant-worker party of the USSR, with leaders wet kissing each other behind the curtain as is the case in the USA. In the USA we have Cola/Pepsi duopoly that is sold as the shining example of democracy, although just the rule "the first after the post" prevents democracy from functioning as it eliminates minorities from governance. 

Political atmosphere at the USA since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street really reminds me the USSR.  But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians.

If we assume that this is true, the the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and using which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, such as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics.

Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective : a large part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarianism and corresponding worldview of the party.  In other words  the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part,  voting behavior of the the USA "white block" electorate.


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[Jun 24, 2017] Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided by Todd E. Pierce

Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

[Jun 21, 2017] If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003

Jun 21, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier June 21, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

@Pissedoffalese

Disgusted "liberal". Am I even a "liberal" anymore? I loathe the I-word and the J-word now with a purple passion. If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003. What the hell AM I? I despise Republicans, but the Dems didn't oppose their wars. Now I despise the Dems, and the right-wingnuts are starting to make sense. Is this cognitive dissonance? Bizzaro-world? I am one CONFUSED puppy.

Thank you PG Thoughtful comment.

The Democrats are every bit as much on board with the wars and the destruction of the working class as are the Republicans.

Where are the respectable liberals in this country?

I despise Democrats as you despise Republicans.

Now I despise them both. I have little loyalty for my government and do not trust anything that they do.

Our Republic is on life support.

[Jun 19, 2017] Sam Adonis, El Santo and Donald Trump by Linh Dinh

Notable quotes:
"... So there you have it. Trump has a professional wrestling mindset. ..."
"... 's Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog . ..."
Jun 19, 2017 | www.unz.com

Like millions of other Americans, Sam believed Trump to be genuine and uncompromising. To the San Jose Mercury News, however, Sam hinted at a deeper insight, "He's kind of embraced his position, as you like me or you don't, but I'm not changing. It is almost a professional wrestling mentality and I have a sympathy for that." So there you have it. Trump has a professional wrestling mindset.

... ... ...

Jesse Ventura, a wrestler turned politician, has repeatedly pointed out the similarity between American politics and professional wrestling. In 2010, Ventura said, "Politics today is pro wrestling. It is pro wrestling, and you know what I mean by that? I mean by that that the Dems and Repubs in front of you [reporters] and in front of the public is going to tell you how they hate each other, and how they're different, but as soon as the camera is off, in the backroom, they're all going out together, and they're all buddies cutting deals. It's just like pro wrestling. In front of the public, we hate each other, we're going to rip our heads off, but in the locker room, we're all friends. I'm suggesting politics is fake."

In 2016, Ventura told The Atlantic, "Many of these elected officials are just like wrestlers in the public and then they're the opposite in private. Case in point, do you remember a few years ago who was some congressman from Florida who voted against every gay bill and it turned out he was gay, do you remember that? Yeah, so there's a classic example of it. This guy who was gay hid the fact that he was gay, voted like he hated gays, and so he created a personality that was completely averse to what he really was. And wrestling's the same way."

Though American politicians are phonies, and American elections are farcically rigged, Americans continue to rabidly support their favorite political puppet, whether Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Trump or whoever. Going berserk over each cartoon savior or villain, most Americans don't even know they're being force-fed lucha libre.

Linh Dinh 's Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog .

[Jun 17, 2017] Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to Medicate U.S. Crisis of Governance Black Agenda Report

Jun 17, 2017 | blackagendareport.com
Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to "Medicate" U.S. "Crisis of Governance"

Submitted by Nellie Bailey a... on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 00:10

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The U.S. is engulfed in a "crisis of governance" that has been "intentionally misunderstood" by the corporate media and the political elite, said Danny Haiphong , a contributing political analyst at BAR.

Anti-Russian hysteria has been whipped up "to medicate political consciousness." "They don't want to discuss how Russia has absolutely nothing to do with the millions of incarcerated people in the U.S., or the fact that it is the U.S. monopoly capitalist economy, not the emerging capitalist economy of Russia, which has automated many of the jobs and siphoned much of the wealth that once belonged to a privileged sector of U.S. workers," said Haiphong. "This system has run its course. War is all the system has left."

[Jun 17, 2017] Why Bernie Sanders is an Imperialist Pig by Glen Ford

Notable quotes:
"... "The United States does not have a national health care system worthy of the name, because it is in the war business, not the health business or the social equality business." ..."
"... The United States is a predator nation, conceived and settled as a thief, exterminator and enslaver of other peoples. The slave-based republic's phenomenal geographic expansion and economic growth were predicated on the super-exploitation of stolen African labor and the ruthless expropriation of native lands through genocidal wars, an uninterrupted history of plunder glorified in earlier times as "Manifest Destiny" and now exalted as "American exceptionalism," an inherently racist justification for international and domestic lawlessness. ..."
"... "The U.S. state demands fealty to its imperial project as a substitute for any genuine social contract among its inhabitants." ..."
"... "The first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama, was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history." ..."
"... in opposition to their own interests ..."
"... "Race relations in the U.S. cannot be understood outside the historical context of war, including the constant state of race war that is a central function of the U.S. State." ..."
"... "We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa." ..."
"... Sanders is a regime-changer, which means he thinks the U.S., in combination with self-selected allies, is above international law, i.e., "exceptional." ..."
"... According to Politico , "As late as 2002," Sanders' campaign website declared that "the defense budget should be cut by 50 percent over the next five years." But all the defense-cutting air went out of his chest after Bush invaded Iraq. Nowadays, Sanders limits himself to the usual noises about Pentagon "waste," but has no principled position against the imperial mission of the United States. "We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa, during the campaign. ..."
"... Like Paul Street said, he's an "imperialist...Democratic Party company man." ..."
"... "A Sanders-led Party would still be an imperialist, pro-war party." ..."
"... BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com . ..."
Jun 17, 2017 | blackagendareport.com

Leftish Democrats insist they can reform the corporate-run, Russia-obsessed Democratic Party from the inside, but most pay little attention to war. However, "War is not a side issue in the United States; it is the central political issue, on which all the others turn." Some think Bernie Sanders should run with the Peoples Party. But, "Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by

"The United States does not have a national health care system worthy of the name, because it is in the war business, not the health business or the social equality business."

The United States is a predator nation, conceived and settled as a thief, exterminator and enslaver of other peoples. The slave-based republic's phenomenal geographic expansion and economic growth were predicated on the super-exploitation of stolen African labor and the ruthless expropriation of native lands through genocidal wars, an uninterrupted history of plunder glorified in earlier times as "Manifest Destiny" and now exalted as "American exceptionalism," an inherently racist justification for international and domestic lawlessness.

Assembled, acre by bloody acre, as a metastasizing empire, the U.S. state demands fealty to its imperial project as a substitute for any genuine social contract among its inhabitants – a political culture custom-made for the rule of rich white people.

The American project has been one long war of aggression that has shaped its borders, its internal social relations, and its global outlook and ambitions. It was founded as a consciously capitalist state that competed with other European powers through direct absorption of captured lands, brutal suppression of native peoples and the fantastic accumulation of capital through a diabolically efficient system of Black chattel slavery – a 24/7 war against the slave. This system then morphed through two stages of "Jim Crow" to become a Mass Black Incarceration State – a perpetual war of political and physical containment against Black America.

"The U.S. state demands fealty to its imperial project as a substitute for any genuine social contract among its inhabitants."

Since the end of World War Two, the U.S. has assumed the role of protector of the spoils of half a millennium of European wars and occupations of the rest of the world: the organized rape of nations that we call colonialism. The first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama, was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history -- defending the accumulated advantages that colonialism provided to western European nations, settler states (like the U.S.) and citizens -- having launched an ongoing military offensive aimed at strangling the Chinese giant and preventing an effective Eurasian partnership with Russia. The first phase of the offensive, the crushing of Libya in 2011, allowed the United States to complete the effective military occupation of Africa, through AFRICOM.

The U.S. and its NATO allies already account for about 70 percent of global military spending, but Obama and his successor, Donald Trump, demand that Europeans increase the proportion of their economic output that goes to war. More than half of U.S. discretionary spending -- the tax money that is not dedicated to mandated social and development programs -- goes to what Dr. Martin Luther King 50 years ago called the "demonic, destructive suction tube" of the U.S. war machine.

"The first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama, was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history."

The United States does not have a national health care system worthy of the name, because it is in the war business, not the health business or the social equality business. The U.S. has the weakest left, by far, of any industrialized country, because it has never escaped the racist, predatory dynamic on which it was founded, which stunted and deformed any real social contract among its peoples. In the U.S., progress is defined by global dominance of the U.S. State -- chiefly in military terms -- rather than domestic social development. Americans only imagine that they are materially better off than the people of other developed nations -- a fallacy they assume to be the case because of U.S. global military dominance. More importantly, most white Americans feel racially entitled to the spoils of U.S. dominance as part of their patrimony, even if they don't actually enjoy the fruits. ("WE made this country great.") This is by no means limited to Trump voters.

Race relations in the U.S. cannot be understood outside the historical context of war, including the constant state of race war that is a central function of the U.S. State: protecting "American values," fighting "crime" and "urban disorder," and all the other euphemisms for preserving white supremacy.

War is not a side issue in the United States; it is the central political issue, on which all the others turn. War mania is the enemy of all social progress -- especially so, when it unites disparate social forces, in opposition to their own interests , in the service of an imperialist state that is the tool of a rapacious white capitalist elite. Therefore, the orchestrated propaganda blitzkrieg against Russia by the Democratic Party, in collaboration with the corporate media and other functionaries and properties of the U.S. ruling class, marks the party as, collectively, the Warmonger-in-Chief political institution in the United States at this historical juncture. The Democrats are anathema to any politics that can be described as progressive.

"Race relations in the U.S. cannot be understood outside the historical context of war, including the constant state of race war that is a central function of the U.S. State."

Bernie Sanders is a highly valued Democrat, the party's Outreach Director and therefore, as Paul Street writes , "the imperialist and sheep-dogging fake-socialist Democratic Party company man that some of us on the 'hard radical' Left said he was." Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by virtue of his own positions. He favors more sanctions against Russia, in addition to the sanctions levied against Moscow in 2014 and 2016 for its measured response to the U.S-backed fascist coup against a democratically elected government in Ukraine. Rather than surrender to U.S. bullying, Russia came to the military aid of the sovereign and internationally recognized government of Syria in 2015, upsetting the U.S. game plan for an Islamic jihadist victory.

Back in April of this year, on NBC's Meet The Press, Sanders purposely mimicked The Godfather when asked what he would do to force the Russians "to the table" in Syria:

"I think you may want to make them an offer they can't refuse. And that means tightening the screws on them, dealing with sanctions, telling them that we need their help, they have got to come to the table and not maintain this horrific dictator."

Of course, it is the United States that has sabotaged every international agreement to rein in its jihadist mercenaries in Syria.

"We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa."

Sanders is a regime-changer, which means he thinks the U.S., in combination with self-selected allies, is above international law, i.e., "exceptional."

"We've got to work with countries around the world for a political solution to get rid of this guy [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] and to finally bring peace and stability to this country, which has been so decimated."

During the 2016 campaign, Sanders urged the U.S. to stop acting unilaterally in the region, but instead to collaborate with Syria's Arab neighbors -- as if the funding and training of jihadist fighters had not been a joint effort with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, all along.

According to Politico , "As late as 2002," Sanders' campaign website declared that "the defense budget should be cut by 50 percent over the next five years." But all the defense-cutting air went out of his chest after Bush invaded Iraq. Nowadays, Sanders limits himself to the usual noises about Pentagon "waste," but has no principled position against the imperial mission of the United States. "We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa, during the campaign.

Like Paul Street said, he's an "imperialist...Democratic Party company man."

"A Sanders-led Party would still be an imperialist, pro-war party."

At last weekend's People's Summit , in Chicago, National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro endorsed Sanders for a mission he finds impossible to accept: a run for president in 2020 on the Peoples Party ticket. Sanders already had his chance to run as a Green, and refused. He is now the second most important Democrat in the country, behind the ultra-corrupt Bill-Hillary Clinton machine -- and by far the most popular. On top of that, Sanders loves being the hero of the phony left, the guy who gimmick-seeking left-liberals hope will create an instant national party for them, making it unnecessary to build a real anti-war, pro-people party from scratch to go heads up with the two corporate machines.

Sanders doesn't even have to exert himself to string the Peoples Party folks along; they eagerly delude themselves. However, a Sanders-led Party would still be an imperialist, pro-war party.

The U.S. does need a social democratic party, but it must be anti-war, otherwise it commits a fraud on social democracy. The United States is the imperial superpower, the main military aggressor on the planet. Its rulers must be deprived of the political ability to spend trillions on war, and to kill millions, or they will always use the "necessity" of war to enforce austerity. The "left" domestic project will fail.

For those of us from the Black Radical Tradition, anti-imperialism is central. Solidarity with the victims of U.S. imperialism is non-negotiable, and we can make no common cause with U.S. political actors that treat war as a political side show, an "elective" issue that is separate from domestic social justice. This is not just a matter of principle, but also of practical politics. "Left" imperialism isn't just evil, it is self-defeating and stupid.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

[Jun 17, 2017] Sanders is with neocon lobby and supports Russian sanctions

Jun 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

rickee | Jun 16, 2017 12:47:19 AM | 33

@15 You mistate/misunderstood: "There was a simultaneous vote..." There was not.

S.Amdt. 232 (increase sanctions on Russia and limit Trump) was an amendment to S. 722 (the Iranian sanctions bill).

Sanders voted for 232 because, frankly, he's all on board the Russia-Russia-Russia hysteria and demonizing Syria. He voted against 722 for the potential damage to the multi-lateral nuclear agreement with Iran. From his senate.gov website today:

" I am strongly supportive of the sanctions on Russia included in this bill. It is unacceptable for Russia to interfere in our elections here in the United States, or anywhere around the world. There must be consequences for such actions. I also have deep concerns about the policies and activities of the Iranian government, especially their support for the brutal Assad regime in Syria.

I have voted for sanctions on Iran in the past, and I believe sanctions were an important tool for bringing Iran to the negotiating table. But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015. That is not a risk worth taking, particularly at a time of heightened tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies. I think the United States must play a more even-handed role in the Middle East, and find ways to address not only Iran's activities, but also Saudi Arabia's decades-long support for radical extremism."

@10 is correct: they're all in...

[Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
"... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
"... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
"... American Psycho ..."
"... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
"... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
"... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
"... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
"... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
"... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
"... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
"... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
"... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
"... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
"... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
"... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
"... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
"... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
"... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
"... "Four Futures" ..."
"... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
"... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
-Paul Buchheit, Alternet

"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
-NBC News, June 14, 2017

"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
-ABC7News, June 14, 2017

"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
-MarianneW via Twitter

"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
-SamT via Twitter

"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
- Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

"If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

"Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

"What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

There's a social contract? Who knew?

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

" Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

[Jun 16, 2017] Political Disorder Syndrome - Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal

Notable quotes:
"... It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Endgame Napoleon - Stuck on Zero , Jun 15, 2017 10:10 PM

A lot of the debate by the MSM focuses on the careerist power struggle of elites at the top. That is not what brought Trump to power, nor is ideological purity of any kind the reason, although college students at elite universities may be motivated by ideology.

Many people who voted for Trump said they had not bothered to vote since Perot. That was the last time serious economic issues were addressed head-on. There were many cross-over voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere, voting for Trump because their party, when not focused on one more layer of welfare/taxfare for single moms, focuses on racism, sexism and xenophobia.....

....in a "racist" era with a twice-elected Black president, where many government agencies have 80% Black staff and managers

.....in a "sexist"' era where more than half of the MDs are women, as are half of the managers, in general, when wealth has never been more concentrated due to assortative mating

....in a "xenophobic" era, where even illegal immigrants are treated much better than millions of citizens, leading to $113 billion per year in welfare/taxfare expenditures for the illegal immigrants alone, not counting all of the freebies for 1 million legal immigrants admitted per year, particularly for those who reproduce

CRM114 - Killtruck , Jun 15, 2017 9:08 PM

When do you think it was crossed?

End of the Cold War, I reckon. That's the last point when politicians being vaguely competent mattered.

VWAndy - nmewn , Jun 15, 2017 8:56 PM

Its a big club. An you and me aint in it. The left vs right thing is just a trick.

Kyddyl , Jun 15, 2017 8:44 PM

As I said in response to another article I've been off on a kick of reading about the American unCivil War. The heated rhetoric led up to violence far before either "side" was ready. It proved to be a messy disaster. Very few thought ahead far enough to even have their own families survive it. Be very careful of what you wish for. John Michael Greer's "Twilight's Last Gleaming" and "Retrotopia" should give us serious pause for thought. Our just in time grocery supply system would fail, fuel delivery from the few states with refineries would crawl and with all those nuclear power plants needing constant baby sitting everybody needs to settle down and really think this mess out. Inter US civil divisions would need careful and peaceful negotiations.

Forbes , Jun 15, 2017 8:53 PM

The messaging Henninger identifies was rampant for eight years of Obama ("Get in their faces!" and the Chicago Way--"They bring a knife, you bring a gun.") Social media is/was no different. Remember the Rodeo Clown wearing an Obama mask who was summarily fired. Any critique of Obama was automatically racist. I could go on and on with examples. The Left never policed its own, was constantly on-guard against the Right, with enforcement of political correctness job #1.

The ankle-biting mainstream media is part and parcel the opposition and the resistence--and the Establishment Republicans at the WSJ are just now noticing?? Someone alert Captain Renault...

Let it Go , Jun 15, 2017 9:00 PM

In reality no intelligent plans have been written or are moving through the halls of Congress. It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets.

http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/06/polarized-america-taking-course-of.html

TeethVillage88s , Jun 15, 2017 9:05 PM

But, But, ... that sounds like RINOs, DINOs, NeoCons, Neoliberals, those that think Economics is a Hard Science... Sounds like Propaganda by the Most Powerful Corporations and Family Dynasties...

"Political Disorder Syndrome - "Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal"

PDS - won't get traction since TPTB have to approve of this kind of thing!

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/jimmy-buffett/banana-republics.html

- Borders Are Destroyed to Attack the US Labor Rate (Deserved or Undeserved) - Globalism, CAFTA, NAFTA, Fast-Track by Bill Clinton, deployed to destroy US Labor Rate & US Jobs & US Middle Class = PROOF that Democrats are Treasonous, are working against the Worker (Either Communist Worker or Other worker) - US National Security is destroyed by the cost of MIC, $1 Trillion Annually - US Constitutional Republic is Destroyed, replaced by Globalism Ideology & Propaganda Deep Program to hide this Fact from Middle Class, from Workers, from Job Losers, from Voters, from Students, from Youth who will not see the entry level jobs...

IT IS A REAL MESS, Propaganda is the name of the Problem! We all know the history of Propaganda. We know that Hillary Clinton engaged in an INFO-War long, long ago. 1971 William Renquist Memo pointed out to Republicans that they must gear up for Foundations to fight Democrats who were much stronger in Political Organizations at this time.

Makes you think.

ElTerco , Jun 15, 2017 10:26 PM

I think main street has been extremely patient. I think after three decades of being slowly and consistently shit on though, enough is enough, and they are starting to lose it.

[Jun 15, 2017] The basic thread running through all of the workshops and demagogic speeches was the fiction that the Democratic Party -- a party of Wall Street and the CIA-can be transformed into a peoples party

Jun 15, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star , June 13, 2017 at 10:51 am
"The event was a political fraud from beginning to end. The basic thread running through all of the workshops and demagogic speeches was the fiction that the Democratic Party-a party of Wall Street and the CIA-can be transformed into a "people's party."
LOL!!! Totally spot the F on!!!!!

"Sanders lent his support to the neo-McCarthyite campaign of the Democrats and the military-intelligence apparatus, which sees Russia as the chief obstacle to US imperialism's drive for regime change in Syria and Iran. "I find it strange we have a president who is more comfortable with autocrats and authoritarians than leaders of democratic nations," Sanders said. "Why is he enamored with Putin, a man who has suppressed democracy and destabilized democracies around the world, including our own?"

Sanders?? No fool like an old fool and tool of TPTB

marknesop , June 13, 2017 at 11:42 am
Oh, I doubt he's a fool; the creed of the western political class is recognition of its own and their interests over the interests of the majority. It is technically true that Putin is destabilizing governments around the world – 'democracies', if you will – but it would presuppose that western leaders are his accomplices. Because it is through them and their crackdowns and restrictions and surveillance, which they say they must introduce for our own protection (because, you know, freedom isn't free) that discontent and destabilization are born. Reply

[Jun 14, 2017] WOW: President of Russia Vladimir Putin Says US Presidents Are Puppets, Men in Dark Suits Rule Washington with The Same Orders

Jun 14, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Warren , June 13, 2017 at 3:56 am

https://twitter.com/Lukewearechange/status/874035691570835457

Luke Rudkowski ‏ Verified account @ Lukewearechange Jun 11

Luke Rudkowski @Lukewearechange

WOW: President of Russia Vladimir Putin Says US Presidents Are Puppets, 'Men in Dark Suits' Rule Washington with The Same Orders

6:48 PM - 11 Jun 2017 · Brooklyn, NY 1,370 1,370 Retweets 1,624 1,624 likes

[Jun 13, 2017] Bait and switch artist as Barack Obama authentic self

Notable quotes:
"... I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?). ..."
"... Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
clarky90 , , , June 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I believe that Hillary Clinton IS being, and broadcasting her authentic self. I support her 100% in this . I am not being snide. The curtains are being pulled aside on The Incompetent, Wizards of Oz (The Corrupt Over-class). Hillary C will be remembered as the Foolish Wizard who could not keep her curtain drawn! We got a glimpse into the innards of the Heath Robinson, Control Booth, Political Contraption. (George Soros playing with himself!)

I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?).

Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent.

References

(1) "One-third of world now overweight, with US leading the way"
?????????????????? ..
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/health/global-obesity-study/index.html

Tvc15 , , June 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Clarky90 said, " We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent." Exactly!

And the only solace I have from the Trump show is that the curtains will be pulled back completely to expose the puppeteers of this charade they call a democracy.

OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL , , June 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Which should make it much easier to generate authentic opposition, doncha think? Trump was The Great Reveal, next up is The Great Reveal for Dems: that they too love War and Billionaire Corporo-Fascism

roxy , June 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

"Everybody Needs to Stop Telling Hillary Clinton to Shut Up"

Throughout the campaign, culminating in the mindbogglingly stupid "deplorables" remark, Clinton's contempt for anyone who questioned her was clear. Her post election tour brings more of the same. So yeah, people are sick of hearing it, and have every right to say so.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 12, 2017 at 6:31 pm

She should be grateful that there are still people who bother to tell her to be quiet.

Me? I have ears but do not hear when it comes to her. Her spells can never penetrate my thick skull.

[Jun 13, 2017] Three Takeaways From Bernie Sanders Speech At The Peoples Summit

Jun 13, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

RGC June 13, 2017 at 08:31 AM

Three Takeaways From Bernie Sanders' Speech At The People's Summit

"He may not be the leader of the free world, but to the 4,000 activists gathered at The People's Summit in Chicago, Sen. Bernie Sanders reigns supreme.

The former presidential candidate and senator from Vermont headlined the progressive activist conference Saturday night, drawing whoops, hollers, and standing ovations from the crowd that fought alongside him on the road to the White House. Sanders' new calling: turning the 'resistance' movement into action in the face of a president he's called a "fraud."

Sanders took aim at President Trump, the Democratic Party, and the outsized role of corporations in American politics, hitting the major themes from his campaign stump speech and introducing some new ones.

https://www.bustle.com/p/three-takeaways-from-bernie-sanders-speech-at-the-peoples-summit-63549

[Jun 11, 2017] A new factor in US politics: the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms.

Jun 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. June 09, 2017 at 02:01 PM

No, this isn't the Onion.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/9/15768314/public-participation-cant-save-american-democracy

What if "more public participation" can't save American democracy?

It's time to make peace with reality and develop a new plan.

Updated by Lee Drutman Jun 9, 2017, 12:00pm EDT

American democracy is in a downward spiral. Well, really two downward spirals.

The first is the downward spiral of bipolar partisanship, in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy, and refuse to compromise and cooperate - an escalating arms race that is now going beyond mere gridlock and threatening basic democratic norms.

The second is the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms. The public consensus is that politicians are self-serving, not to be trusted. In this logic, only more public participation can make politicians serve the people.

...
Gibbon1 - , June 09, 2017 at 07:06 PM

> in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy

Yes but the fascist right is the enemy and the centrist right openly supports. And centrist left engages in nothing but appeasement.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 10, 2017 at 05:23 AM
The public consensus seems fairly accurate, but then so does Gibbon1.

[Jun 11, 2017] Failure as a Way of Life by William S. Lind

Notable quotes:
"... Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules ..."
Jun 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

February 15, 2016

The fault line in American politics is no longer Republican vs. Democrat nor conservative vs. liberal but establishment vs. anti-establishment. This is an inevitable result of serial failure in establishment policies. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the establishment's repeated military interventions abroad in wars against non-state opponents. When such interventions fail in one place-first Somalia, then Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Libya, now Syria-it does the same thing again somewhere else, with the same result.

Why has the establishment allowed itself to be trapped in serial failure? Once we understand how it works, the answer is plain: it cannot do otherwise. On Capitol Hill, the legalization of bribery-"campaign contributions"-means money rules. That puts business as usual in the driver's seat because that is where the money is. If a member of Congress backs, say, the F-35 fighter/bomber, he can count on campaign contributions from its manufacturers and jobs for his state or district. (The Pentagon calls that "strategic contracting.") If instead he calls for reforming our military so it can perform better in Fourth Generation wars, where fighter/bombers are useless, there's no money.

My long-time colleague Paul Weyrich and I both began our Washington careers as Senate staff, Paul in the late 1960s and me in 1973. Shortly before his death in 2008, I said to him, "When we arrived on the Hill, at least half the members of the Senate thought their job had something to do with governing the country. Now that figure is at most 10 percent. All the rest think about is having a successful career as a professional politician and retiring very, very rich." Paul agreed.

Just as money locks in current policy, so does ideology. To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image. Other peoples see this, rightly, as an attempt to ram the Brave New World down their throats. Many are willing to fight to prevent it. But if a member of the Washington establishment dares question the ideology and suggests a policy based on realism, he immediately loses his establishment membership.

Over breakfast in Denver several years ago I said to my old boss, Sen. Gary Hart, "If you are a member of the establishment and you suggest more than five degrees rudder change in anything, you cease to be a member of the establishment." He replied, "I'm exhibit A."

Below these factors lies the establishment's bedrock. It is composed overwhelmingly of people who want to be something, not people who want to do something. They have devoted their lives to becoming members of the establishment and enjoying the many privileges thereof. They are not likely to endanger club membership by breaking its rules. Beyond following money and adhering to its ideology, the rules are three.

The first is, don't worry about serial failure. Within the Beltway, the failure of national policies is not important. Career success depends on serving interests and pleasing courtiers above you, not making things work in flyover land. As in 17th-century Spain, the court is dominated by interests that prosper by feeding off the country's decay.

Second, rely on the establishment's wealth and power to insulate its members from the consequences of policy failure. The public schools are wretched, but the establishment's children go to private schools. We lose wars, but the generals who lose them get promoted. The F-35 is a horrible fighter, but no member of the establishment will have to fly it. So long as the money keeps flowing, all is well.

Third and most important, the only thing that really matters is remaining a member of the establishment. This completes the loop in what is a classic closed system, where the outside world does not matter and is not allowed to intrude. Col. John Boyd, America's greatest military theorist, said that all closed systems collapse. The Washington establishment cannot adjust, it cannot adapt, it cannot learn. It cannot escape serial failure.

The public is catching on to all this and, on both sides of the political spectrum, turning to anti-establishment candidates. If we are fortunate, some will win. If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it.

William S. Lind is the author, as "Thomas Hobbes," of Victoria: a Novel of Fourth Generation War .

  • Christopher Manion , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:02 am
    Paul Weyrich is still an inspiration, as Bill recounts here. He tried to make that ninety percent do the right thing, appealing to their better natures but threatening their heart's desires. It was, and is, a constant battle.

    As for the closed system – the only way to drain DC's Bipartisan Hot Tub is from the outside. That's where the plug is – no one on the inside can reach it, and none there really wants to.

    That's our job.

    Colorado Jack , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:11 am
    "To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image."

    They may spout it, but they don't believe it and they don't act on it. They have learned the lesson of Iraq. Here's Donald Rumsfeld in 2015, with the advantage of hindsight: "I'm not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories. The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic."

    The establishment cheerfully tolerates and supports Saudi Arabia's regime. No one in the establishment thinks it wise to press for democracy in any serious way. Ditto for Egypt, where our aid violates US law under any fair reading.

    Lind has a point but way overstates it.

    TB , says: February 15, 2016 at 9:35 am
    "If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it."
    ___________________________

    I agree but, as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet says, "I spy a kind of hope". I believe a tipping point in our political culture was reached in 2008 when the electorate chose a young and inexperienced black man with a VERY scary name over a mainstream war hero and did so by a wide margin. I expect Bernie to be nominated and then win by margins that make BHO's victory look close.

    ged2phd , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:45 am
    Great article. It's long been apparent that the "establishment" seems oblivious to the consequences of their wasteful and foolish policies, but when you point out the foolishness has no (immediate) consequences for them, and even a positive impact on their careers, it all makes sense. Long term, though, it's a sure descent into the abyss for all of us. Of course, the "little people" are falling first and faster, so the elites no doubt are calculating they'll land on top of us so we'll cushion their landing.
    Richard L Harrell , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:57 am
    The real definition of the Establishment is clear and simple. They are the scum of the Earth.
    JohnG , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:26 am
    As depressing the picture painted here may be, I actually think it's optimistic.

    To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image.

    Now, could someone explain to me how Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, or Iraq are now more conformant to some American ideal? I believe the truth is much worse than giant corporations having interest in perpetual wars: The establishment has become a vast network of private rackets that uses the American military & economic might as the ultimate extortion tool. Just ask the two worst secretaries of state in history posing (and seeking cover) as ultra-feminists.

    It was under Mad Albright's tenure that the US started to support (and bomb on behalf of) the shadiest of the terrorist figures in Kosovo, accused by several UN personnel of butchering Serbian and (traitor) Albanian prisoners to harvest organs for trade. You can't make this stuff up, it's beyond horrific. And, surprise, madam secretary leaves her post to turn into a hedge fund manager with investments and interests in the region. Payback for help, anyone? Who wouldn't want to harness the US Air force for its private goals? And would anybody be surprised if HRC took this model one step beyond to make payments to the Clinton Foundation pretty concurrent with the "services" provided by the State Department? And how is this different (other than organ trafficking) from our senators and congressmen retiring vastly richer than when they went into politics? Just where did that money come from?

    In summary, it's NOT just evil corporations, it's the vastly concentrated power of an out of control and overreaching government. Once you have that, you are bound to have individuals and networks trying to harness that power for their private purposes. So yes, let's clean up political financing, but let's also go back to the idea of limited government. And stay vigilant to keep it limited, because, you always end up in trouble otherwise.

    Fran Macadam , says: February 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm
    It couldn't have been said better or more succinctly – or more truthfully.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality. John Boyd "America's greatest military theorist"? Ok, E-M theory of aerial combat is significant, but that is mathematics-based and has to do with aircraft design (quite limited really) which is not strategic theory at all, is it? But confusion among US (a)strategic thinkers is the norm and has been for some time . . . interests cloud their little heads . . . But then Dick Cheney is Boyd's greatest follower . . . so . . . follow the leader . . .

    After reading Jeffrey Sach's blog post . . . I asked myself "why did I waste my time on this" . . .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html

    Rossbach , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm
    Given the realities of the 2-party system, with the neocons dominating GOP foreign policy and liberal interventionists controlling the Democratic side, it's not hard to see how this total lack of accountability has persisted for so long. Hopefully, the pushback that the establishment candidates of both parties are experiencing from the voters will have its effect on national policy – if not in this election cycle, perhaps in the next one.
    connecticut farmer , says: February 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm
    Well put, JohnG. The system is thoroughly corrupt and given the divisions within American society may well be beyond repair. If so, we are doomed. Maybe the HRC email controversy will expose not only her personal corruption but that of the whole system, though I wouldn't bet on it. She may only be the tip of the iceberg and as such only the worst of a bad lot whose numbers are legion.
    Fred Bowman , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:43 pm
    The LAST thing the Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex want is for ANY War to end, as it cut off their justication for a bloated military budget that continues to enriched them and their cronies for God know how long.
    Kurt Gayle , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm
    @ seydlitz89, who wrote:

    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."

    From my perspective Bill Lind's 4th Generation War explanation for the long string of US defeats by non-state opponents matches up well with the facts.

    To be sure, our taking seriously Lind's "4GW notions" would necessarily lead to (1) a different US foreign policy and (2) a radically scaled-back flow of money to the shadow military-industrial state and their hired politicians.

    So might it be, seydlitz89, that your discomfort is less with Lind's "4GW notions" than it is with (1) or (2), or both?

    Frand Liebkind , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm
    Ironic, isn't it, that many of the late Col Boyd's air combat theories have become establishment doctrine, almost half a century later. I can only assume that Boyd was sharp enough to realize that they have little application to today's fourth generation warfare. But I may be wrong.
    cdugga , says: February 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm
    Democratic government is supposed to be answerable to the people. But there are 2 big problems with that. One, the people have to stay informed and know what the issues are as well as what potential representatives believe. Is there any reason to move on to the second big problem? Okay, just for discussion, the second problem is that the first problem allows for all the following problems forever after amen. Holding our representatives accountable requires that we hold ourselves accountable for electing the correct representative. Ain't gonna happen, simply because the correct representative, the one telling us that we are the ones responsible, is never going to be elected. The one that will get elected is the one that says others, like immigrants, blacks, elites and those who are not true christians, true patriots, or core americans, are the cause of all our policy and economic problems. That's the guy we want to lead us. We may get him. And he might do what we want, but it is unlikely he will do anything we need to have done to bring back america. Bringing back america is our job after all, and who wants that responsibility. The supposed anti-establishment candidates are simply the ones that say they will take care of the problems we allowed to happen. And we already know they won't or can't because we would never demand so much from ourselves.
    Iowa Scribe , says: February 16, 2016 at 4:56 pm
    We are nearning the end of "the rule of political spoilsmen," but are we also nearing the end of the American experiment or, perhaps, even the catastrophic interruption of the progress of human civilization?

    71:3.10 The ideals of statehood must be attained by evolution, by the slow growth of civic consciousness, the recognition of the obligation and privilege of social service. At first men assume the burdens of government as a duty, following the end of the administration of political spoilsmen, but later on they seek such ministry as a privilege, as the greatest honor. The status of any level of civilization is faithfully portrayed by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer to accept the responsibilities of statehood.

    stephen laudig , says: February 18, 2016 at 1:52 am
    for the US political and military establishments . "there's no success like failure failure's no success at all". There are many, many causes, the one highlighted this year is an electoral law system that only allows for "coke and pepsi" and holds up, in effect bails out or life-supports, the two moribund parties [one may actually die this year, and the other will follow shortly thereafter, extinction of the dinosaurs] by not allowing replacements to grow. cheers.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 18, 2016 at 8:30 am
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Regarding 4GW I think you putting the wheelless cart before the dead horse. 4GW started as a list of speculations published in an article in the Marine Corps Gazette in 1989, that is there wasn't originally any "theory" at all. In 1991, Martin van Creveld published the "The Transformation of War" (TTW) since he needed to divorce war from politics for political/propaganda reasons (Israel's occupation of Palestinian land). Formerly MvC had promoted Clausewitzian strategic theory, had in fact presented a paper in 1986 entitled "The Eternal Clausewitz". TTW provided 4GW with some actual "theory", although Lind claims that 4GW actually exists (reification) and is not theory at all.
    Lind also talks about the "moral being the highest level of war" and claims that's Boyd's view, but according to Chet Richards Boyd never said anything of the kind. We had a long discussion on this back on the sonshi forum about a decade ago.

    Clausewitz became a problem for Dick Cheney and the Neocons since strategic theory links political purpose (not limited to those of "the state") with military aims achieved through military means. Too often states or other political entities wish to hide their actual involvement (not to mention their goals) in wars and thus 4GW comes in handy as a cover for that, but useless in understanding strategy . . . read the Sachs article . . .

    I would also add that 4GW became a useful excuse for US military incompetence since the generals could claim, "How could we have won, it was 4GW!".

    As to Boyd, OODA loops don't really provide anything other than a model for friction above the tactical . . .

    The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence. They understand the nature of the conflict they are involved in in Syria and are acting strategically, something the US hasn't been able to achieve since the end of the Cold War/First Gulf War . . . that is since the rise of 4GW confusion . . .

    Kurt Gayle , says: February 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm
    Thank you, seydlitz89, for taking the time to give so much background history regarding this discussion of Fourth Generation War, etc.
    For those of us who find William Lind's 4GW arguments convincing, it's very useful to read counter-positions presented so well by someone as well-versed in the subject as you obviously are. Sincerely. Thank you.
    peter connor , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm
    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."
    The reality has been hitting us in the face for more than 60 years but as Lind points out, reality means nothing to Washington insiders, or other devotees of country wrecking military-industrial profiteering.
    I will make this very simple for you, seydlitz89. If the people of a country you are trying to occupy or control don't want you there, it will be ruinously expensive for you to stay there, and eventually you will leave. Got it?
    seydlitz89 , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:44 pm
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Thank you for the kind words. Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules . . . 4GW is part of/has become a pawn of that larger phenomenon . . . the greater confusion . . .

    ObiJohn , says: February 21, 2016 at 3:05 am
    The problem here is that our political leaders, by and large, do not understand grand strategy or military strategy, and do not wish to do so and risk opprobrium from other elites. Elite culture insists acceptance to the belief that violence solves nothing, and never can. Unfortunately, our foes disagree, with the backing of history. We lost in Iraq because Obama ceded victory by abandoning the battlefield, as if saying a war was over could possibly end it on favorable terms the same mistake we made in Vietnam. Rather, the problem in the Middle East is that we haven't killed enough extremists the mistake we didn't make in WWII and so the battle-hardened jihadis that remain believe they can win if they only endure. So far, they seem to be right. The real problem here is the creation of an elite that is isolated from ordinary Americans, from the realities of the global economy, from their own failure as leaders due to their dysfunctional worldview based on a life of privilege, freedom from want, and a belief that all of that is deserved istead of the result of winning the birth lottery. Their unconscious embrace of socialist policies is more about their unease of their fortunate privilege, and it stops when the pain starts they call for the elimination of private property but insist their iPads are exempt as 'personal' property rather than private property. They call for equality of opportunity but aren't willing to give up their spot at an Ivy League university. They call for more taxes but incorporate in Ireland, or dock their yacht in Rhode Island to avoid Massachusetts taxes. They no longer support enlightened self-interest but instead push for restrictions on freedom of speech, call for more gun control, and seek to restrict political opposition all in the name of peace and freedom and happiness. They are the modern Marie Antoinettes, and the mob is sharpening the pitchforks.
    Eric , says: February 24, 2016 at 8:15 am
    seydlitz89 "The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence"

    Svechin? Really? Most of his work was borrowed from the pre 1914 Nikolai General Staff Academy. The bigger Soviet thinker at the time was Verhovsky. Someone got very excited about Svechin at Fort Leavenworth in the late 1970s/early 1980s (probably because someone decided to translate him) but in the Russian context he's a relative minor figure – no one follows him.

  • [Jun 11, 2017] Bernie would have won.

    Jun 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Christopher H., June 09, 2017 at 06:29 PM

    "Alas the pretend progressives here cannot be bothered."

    PGL you're the only "pretend progressive" here. Real leftists do well in an election and so PGL throws a little temper tantrum. You can't make him discuss it! He won't admit he was wrong! He supported Corbyn even though he didn't talk about the election once during the entire campaign. What a tedious phoney.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/09/opinion/how-jeremy-corbyn-proved-the-haters-wrong.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

    How Jeremy Corbyn Proved the Haters Wrong

    By RACHEL SHABI
    JUNE 9, 2017

    LONDON - Among the many satisfying outcomes of Britain's general election has been the roll call of pundits reeling out apologies for getting it so wrong. The Labour Party has, against all odds, surged to take a 40 percent share of the vote, more than it has won in years. And so the nation's commentariat, who had confidently thought that the party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership would be wiped off the political map, are now eating giant slices of humble pie.

    Nobody is in politics to gloat. Labour's leadership team and supporters alike want the party to win not for the sake of winning, but in order to bring Labour's economic and social agenda to Britain, to measurably improve people's lives. Still, a little schadenfreude is definitely in order.

    Mr. Corbyn, from the left of the party, unexpectedly took its helm in 2015 after a rule change allowed, for the first time, rank-and-file members to have an equal vote for their leader. And he has been ridiculed, dismissed and bemoaned ever since. Cast as an incongruous combination of incompetent beardy old man and peacenik terrorist sympathizer, Mr. Corbyn faced down a leadership challenge from his own party about a year ago and constant sniping, criticism and calls for him to quit throughout.

    The political and pundit classes, in their wisdom, thought it entirely inconceivable that someone like him - so unpolished, so left wing - could ever persuade voters. After Britain's referendum decision, last June, to leave the European Union, more scathing criticism was piled upon the Labour leader for his decision to, well, accept the democratic referendum decision, however bad it was.

    By the time Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election six weeks ago, her party ran a 20-point poll lead ahead of Labour and her personal approval ratings were sky high while Mr. Corbyn's were abysmally low. Liberal pundits were aghast at the thought of the Labour Party self-destructing under Mr. Corbyn's supposedly toxic leadership. He was once again urged to step down.

    Then the campaign started - and every prediction was turned on its head. The well-funded, hyper-efficient Conservatives and their chorus of supporters in Britain's mostly right-wing press ran a terrible campaign. Mrs. May came across as robotic and out of touch; she didn't seem to like engaging with the press, much less the public. The more people saw of her, the more her ratings sank.

    For Mr. Corbyn, the opposite was true. His detractors said his appeal was limited to a niche of radical left activists, but in reality his quiet confidence, credibility and integrity - so refreshing at a time when politicians are viewed as untrustworthy careerists - drew crowds of enthusiastic supporters to ever-growing rallies. At one point, arriving to a televised debate just over a week before the election, he was greeted with solid cheers en route to the event. That was when his leadership team sensed something significant was taking place.

    Part of this extraordinary success was a result of the party's campaign. Fun, energetic, innovative and inspiring, it created its own momentum, with organic support mushrooming out of the most unlikely places, flooding social media with viral memes and messages: Rappers and D.J.s, soccer players, economists and television personalities alike climbed aboard the Corbyn project. Momentum, a grass-roots organization of Corbyn supporters, activated the party's estimated 500,000 members - many of whom had joined because Mr. Corbyn was elected as leader - into canvassing efforts across the country, including, crucially, in up-for-grabs districts. Supporters were further encouraged by the sight of Labour candidates demolishing long-hated Conservatives on television, appearances that were swiftly turned into video clips and raced around the internet.

    But the main mobilizer of support was the party's politics. For decades, Labour has been resolutely centrist, essentially offering a slightly kinder version of neoliberal consensus politics. Those on the left had long said that this was what had caused the party's slow decline, a hemorrhaging of support from its traditional working-class voters. With Mr. Corbyn at its helm, the party tacked firmly to the left, proposing to tax the few for the benefit of the many and offering major national investment projects, funding for the welfare state, the scrapping of university tuition fees and the re-nationalization of rail and energy companies.

    It was a hopeful vision for a fairer society, offered at a time when the country is experiencing wage stagnation and spiraling living costs, with many buckling under because of the economic crash of 2008 and the Conservative Party's savage austerity cuts that followed. Given the chance for the first time in decades to vote for something else, something better, a surprising number of voters took it. Young people, in particular, seized this offer: With youth turnout unusually high at 72 percent, it's clear that Labour brought them to the ballot box in droves.

    Labour's shock comeback has tugged the party, along with Britain's political landscape, and the range of acceptable discourse back to the left. In a hung Parliament, the Conservatives still came out of the election as the main party, and now looks set to go into coalition government with the homophobic, anti-abortion Democratic Unionist Party. But the Conservatives are now a maimed party with a discredited leader - weaknesses to be seized upon and exploited by a now united and empowered Labour party.

    Christopher H. - , June 09, 2017 at 06:34 PM
    Bernie would have won.
    im1dc - , June 09, 2017 at 06:56 PM
    Bernie couldn't beat Hillary therefore Bernie would not have won b/c he DIDN'T.
    Christopher H. - , June 09, 2017 at 07:45 PM
    Bernie would have won if he had been the nominee. Not my fault the establishment Democrats wanted to lose again.
    Gibbon1 - , June 10, 2017 at 03:31 AM
    The grifters in the party didn't lose you dope. They all got paid. It's all so very much like making a movie. So what if it didn't break even at the box office, everyone involved got theirs.

    Seriously though you are correct. Sanders would have won against Trump. Everyone knows that, except the die hard centerist Democrats that are trying hard not to look in mirror.

    Sanjait - , June 10, 2017 at 08:47 AM
    You wingnuts cant seem to comprehend that the Democratic primaries
    was a series of state elections in which Hillary legitimately got more voters to vote for her. They picked Hillary, for all your bleating about "elites."
    Christopher H. - , June 10, 2017 at 09:39 AM
    Sandy, Sandy, so naive.
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 10, 2017 at 09:46 AM
    Krugman posited once that Bernie might win the nomination by beating Hillary with disaffected white voters in the red states despite being ultimately unelectable because of his radical views in the general election. Of course that is not at all what happened.
    Christopher H. - , June 10, 2017 at 10:09 AM
    This is what Krugman wrote, which turned out to be exactly wrong.

    https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/populism-and-the-politics-of-health/

    "....This ties in with an important recent piece by Zack Beauchamp on the striking degree to which left-wing economics fails, in practice, to counter right-wing populism; basically, Sandersism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Why?

    The answer, presumably, is that what we call populism is really in large degree white identity politics, which can't be addressed by promising universal benefits. Among other things, these "populist" voters now live in a media bubble, getting their news from sources that play to their identity-politics desires, which means that even if you offer them a better deal, they won't hear about it or believe it if told. For sure many if not most of those who gained health coverage thanks to Obamacare have no idea that's what happened.

    That said, taking the benefits away would probably get their attention, and maybe even open their eyes to the extent to which they are suffering to provide tax cuts to the rich.

    In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open."

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 11, 2017 at 03:55 AM
    I recall something more damning, but have not been able to find it after repeated attempts. My belief is that it was obviously so far off the mark that it has been taken down off Krugman's NYT blog and maybe any reference to it here at EV as well.

    [Jun 10, 2017] The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway

    Notable quotes:
    "... "Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security..." Sheldon Wolin, Inverted Totalitarianism ..."
    Jun 07, 2017 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
    "The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. I do not speak of your 'little men,' your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945

    ===

    "Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security..." Sheldon Wolin, Inverted Totalitarianism

    ===

    "It seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances.

    The fact that the foolish person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him.

    He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the foolish person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings."

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison

    ===

    "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

    Samuel Johnson

    [Jun 10, 2017] Democratic candidates are carefully vetted by insiders--the DNC, the DCCC, and the DSCC. Like Bernie, no one gets any party support unless they heel to the neoliberal agenda.

    Jun 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Christopher H. , June 09, 2017 at 11:13 AM

    https://newrepublic.com/minutes/143236/labours-success-shows-left-can-win

    Labour's success shows how the left can win.

    by Sarah Jones

    Jeremy Corbyn may have hung the British Parliament. In doing so, the Labour Party leader defied most expectations, but his success should not be such a shock-and provides a lesson for American progressives. Corbyn deprived Theresa May of the Conservative majority, which she had hoped to expand with Thursday's snap-election, with a vibrantly left-wing rejection of austerity.
    Labour's challenge will be to maintain its momentum. But May's earliest moves already secured the likelihood of another backlash to her government: She is attempting to form a coalition government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which once launched a campaign to "Save Ulster from Sodomy" and vigorously opposed marriage equality and abortion rights. May's catastrophic performance only left her with the option to pivot further right and away from the youth vote that supported Labour. The left should never rest too confidently in victory, but it is in a strong position to reclaim the government from Tory rule.

    This contradicts predictions from a number of liberal British commentators and from Labour's centrist faction. In April, commentator Nick Cohen warned Corbynites: "You don't have a radical programme that a 20th-century Marxist or any other serious thinker would recognise. All that's left of the far left is a babble of sneers and slogans." Former Prime Minister Tony Blair repeatedly refused to endorse Corbyn, saying in April that the Labour leader posed "zero" threat to Theresa May's government. "My view about the right-wing populism is very, very clear. It can only be defeated by progressive forces building out from the center," he told Politico. Après moi, le déluge.

    And what a flood it is! Corbyn won more seats than Ed Miliband did in 2015. The Evening Standard reports that it was the party's biggest vote share since Blair's 2001 win, and according to The Independent a larger share than the victory that put Blair in 10 Downing Street in 2005. Exit polling projects that youth turnout increased 12 points from Miliband's shambolic performance in 2015, a reaction to Brexit and to the Conservative Party's austerity kink. But Labour's success is not restricted to youth. It won gains in deeply conservative areas, unseating Conservatives in Canterbury and likely Kensington-two seats the party's never held. In Ipswich, they unseated Brian Gummer, who wrote the Conservatives' electoral manifesto.

    The parallels between British and American politics are obviously inexact, but they do exist. Like America, the U.K. is recovering from a shock victory for the populist right. It sits crushed by a conservative government unapologetically committed to a platform of austerity; Trump's infamous skinny budget is a Tory wet dream. Tories are steadily whittling the U.K. welfare state down to nothing, bleeding the poor while bloating the rich. And if Labour had adopted the tactics of the Democratic Party-if it had run a centrist candidate, if it had dismissed cries for equitable access to health care and education as the utopian ambitions of misguided youth-then Theresa May would likely have a majority government.

    There are lessons here, if Democrats wish to learn them. But they will have to radically reorient the party. Health care is their best wedge issue: Trumpcare is unpopular, and the Affordable Care Act, though inadequate, is a tangible benefit that voters are reluctant to lose. The party should similarly focus on youth turnout, and that means paying more attention to the policies of Senator Bernie Sanders: free public college tuition (not Andrew Cuomo's milquetoast alternative), and student debt forgiveness. That's how you win young voters.

    Democrats face a difficult path to victory. So did Labour, but it achieved massive gains by putting forward an authentically progressive manifesto that promised tangible improvements to people's lives. They positioned themselves unapologetically in accordance with their name: They are the party of labor, and not of capital, and so they are the party of the many and not the few. They did not shirk from utopianism, or from hope; they treated young and old alike with serious consideration, and made reasoned, convincing appeals for their votes.

    JohnH - , June 09, 2017 at 01:14 PM
    Corbyn was elected by Labour's membership.

    Democratic candidates are carefully vetted by insiders--the DNC, the DCCC, and the DSCC. Like Bernie, no one gets any party support unless they heel to the neoliberal agenda.

    [Jun 10, 2017] In Europe, right-wing parties are preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for selected groups. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats

    Jun 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Christopher H. June 09, 2017 at 11:09 AM https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/populism-and-the-politics-of-health/

    Populism and the Politics of Health
    MARCH 14, 2017 1:43 PM
    by Paul Krugman

    ...

    This ties in with an important recent piece by Zack Beauchamp on the striking degree to which left-wing economics fails, in practice, to counter right-wing populism; basically, Sandersism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Why?

    The answer, presumably, is that what we call populism is really in large degree white identity politics, which can't be addressed by promising universal benefits. Among other things, these "populist" voters now live in a media bubble, getting their news from sources that play to their identity-politics desires, which means that even if you offer them a better deal, they won't hear about it or believe it if told. For sure many if not most of those who gained health coverage thanks to Obamacare have no idea that's what happened.

    That said, taking the benefits away would probably get their attention, and maybe even open their eyes to the extent to which they are suffering to provide tax cuts to the rich.

    In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open." Reply Friday, Christopher H. - , June 09, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    There has been a silence from the center left during the Corbyn campaign and now after it is over. Luckily they have Comey to talk about. I will be curious to hear from Chris Dillow.
    libezkova - , June 09, 2017 at 10:22 PM
    "In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open"

    this is an interesting observation.

    [Jun 09, 2017] Some people were raising the question, what is genuine populism?

    This sound like neofascism, not so much as populism...
    Notable quotes:
    "... One major component is offering simplistic solutions to complex problems: remove government regulations to create more jobs, restrict foreign imports to create more jobs, ban immigration from certain countries to curtail terrorism, build a wall to prevent illegal immigration, ban teaching contraception to prevent teenagers from having sex, allow guns to let armed citizen vigilantes defend us against mass murderers, privatize education, government services and infrastructure to make them more "economical", etc... ..."
    "... And most of all: elect a strong leader who is not bound by laws to come in and kick ass and make the country great again. ..."
    Jun 09, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

    ralphieboy | Jun 9, 2017 10:55:08 AM | 7

    "Some people were raising the question, what is genuine populism?"

    One major component is offering simplistic solutions to complex problems: remove government regulations to create more jobs, restrict foreign imports to create more jobs, ban immigration from certain countries to curtail terrorism, build a wall to prevent illegal immigration, ban teaching contraception to prevent teenagers from having sex, allow guns to let armed citizen vigilantes defend us against mass murderers, privatize education, government services and infrastructure to make them more "economical", etc...

    And most of all: elect a strong leader who is not bound by laws to come in and kick ass and make the country great again.

    [Jun 08, 2017] Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us From Fake Election

    Notable quotes:
    "... There are numerous clues that point to the 2016 US Presidential Election as having been a set-up. Few seem willing to take a close look at these facts. But it is necessary for an understanding of the world we live in today. ..."
    "... Sanders as sheep-dog Black Agenda Report called Sanders a sheep-dog soon after he entered the race . ..."
    May 31, 2017 | jackrabbit.blog
    There are numerous clues that point to the 2016 US Presidential Election as having been a set-up. Few seem willing to take a close look at these facts. But it is necessary for an understanding of the world we live in today.

    Trump's first 100 days has come and gone and he has proven to be every bit the faux populist that Obama was (as I explained in a previous post). In hind-sight we can see how a new faux populist was installed.

    Evidence

    1. Sanders as sheep-dog Black Agenda Report called Sanders a sheep-dog soon after he entered the race . Sanders made it clear from the start that he ruled out the possibility of running as an independent. That was only the first of many punches that Sanders pulled as he led his 'sheep' into the Democratic fold. Others were:

      >> "Enough with the emails!"

      >> Not pursuing Hillary's 'winning' of 6 coin tosses in Iowa;

      >> Virtually conceding the black and female vote to Hillary;

      >> Not calling Hillary out about her claim to have NEVER sold her vote;

      >> Endorsing Hillary despite learning of Hillary-DNC collusion;

      >> Continuing to help the Democratic Party reach out to Bernie supports even after the election.

      As one keen observer noted: Sanders is a Company Man .

    2. Trump as Clinton protege

    [Jun 08, 2017] Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with French publication Le Figaro, has revealed that a US president is more often than not just a figurehead of government

    Jun 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

    Agent76 , June 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT

    May 31, 2017 "Men in dark suits" rule the US – Putin on Deep State

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with French publication Le Figaro, has revealed that a US president is more often than not just a figurehead of government.

    Mar 6, 2017 Zakharova warns of Orwellian US Media 2.03.17

    Have a listen to what Zakharova has to say in relation to "fake news". Is there a deliberate campaign to undermine trust in all traditional media, so that the public can no longer form an opinion?

    [Jun 04, 2017] How things work: betrayal by faux Populist leaders

    Notable quotes:
    "... Citizen's United, the 2011 law that made money speech and corporations people, means that US democracy is a sham. In our money-driven duopoly, both flavors of politician serves the money – not the people. ..."
    "... Although distrust of the political establishment is at a record high, many STILL are not cynical enough to see the games that are played. ..."
    "... (Trump supported Hillary in 2008) ..."
    "... (that is not to say that Obama wasn't keen on serving the establishment – he was) ..."
    Jun 04, 2017 | jackrabbit.blog
    In What Fascism Talk Really Accomplishes Peter Berkowitz of Stanford misses the duopoly forest for the partisan trees.

    Razzel-dazzel faux populist leaders need a reason to betray their base, excuse their caving, and otherwise toe the establishment line. I call shill opposition to a faux populist President enforcers . They are joined by apologists who try to explain away betrayals and caving on issues.

    Trump is a 'fascist' as much as Obama was a 'Muslim socialist'.

    Trump wasn't turned by the Deep State as apologists claim. He knows how faux populist politics works because he was close to the Clintons and led the 'birther movement'.

    Corruption today is as well engineered and covered-up as it was during Tamany Hall in late 1800's New York City:

    It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.

    Citizen's United, the 2011 law that made money speech and corporations people, means that US democracy is a sham. In our money-driven duopoly, both flavors of politician serves the money – not the people.

    Although distrust of the political establishment is at a record high, many STILL are not cynical enough to see the games that are played.

    Interestingly, much of the establishment games seem to center on the Clintons. The Hillary camp (Trump supported Hillary in 2008) helped to keep Obama in line, as much as the Republican opposition (that is not to say that Obama wasn't keen on serving the establishment – he was) . And Hillary's Democratic Party has been the principal force that provided Trump with excuses to betray his base.

    But here's the rub: if Bernie was a sheep-dog for Hillary and Trump's populism was sure to overcome Hillary's negatives and negativism, then what real choice did American voters have?

    Cover Photo: 1871 Cartoon by Tomas Nast depicts Tammany as a ferocious tiger killing democracy. The image of a tiger was often used to represent the Tammany Hall political movement.

    [Jun 03, 2017] Either they dont understand the damage theyre doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt

    Jun 03, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    libezkova, June 03, 2017 at 01:05 PM

    Another interesting quote from Putin speech:

    "What surprises me is that they are shaking up the domestic political situation using anti-Russian slogans,"

    "Either they don't understand the damage they're doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt."

    Putin I Can Prove Trump Did Not Pass Secrets to Russia

    [May 25, 2017] Justin Murphys The psychology of prohibiting outside thinkers

    Notable quotes:
    "... cordon sanitaire ..."
    "... cordon sanitaire ..."
    "... Human Ethology Bulletin ..."
    "... Culture of Critique ..."
    "... The Bell Curve." ..."
    "... The Culture of Critique ..."
    "... The Occidental Quarterly ..."
    May 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
    117 Comments

    Here is Justin Murphy describing his background, research, and activism:

    Why is there not more rebellion against status quo institutions? How have economic and political processes pacified our capacity for radical collective action? As a political scientist, I am interested in the roles played by information, communication, and ideology in the pacification of political resistance and conflict. Before joining the faculty of Politics and IR at the University of Southampton in the UK, I did my PhD at Temple University in the US. There I was active in Occupy Wall Street , some civil disobedience and shutting down of things , some longer-term campaigns against the big U.S. banks , and sundry other works and deeds , including a radical warehouse project where I lived for nearly three years.

    So Murphy is an academic on the left. He is therefore part of the establishment, a card-carrying member of the institutional structure that dominates intellectual discourse in the West. But, unlike the vast majority of his academic brethren, he is quite aware that the left is now the status quo and that it is doing everything it can to preserve its elite status - and that its self-preserving tactics are at base nothing more than irrational assertions of power and privilege. Murphy makes these claims in a blogpost: " The psychology of prohibiting outside thinkers . " Part of the subtitle says it all: " The real motivation of respectable progressivism is managing guilty conscience and conserving bourgeois privileges ."

    What's so refreshing about this is that instead of "exclud[ing] independent right-wing intellectual work on moral grounds," he would actually "enjoy thinking" with intellectuals on the right. Indeed, moral indictments have become the stock in trade of establishment intellectuals - as noted in my three-part " Moralism and Moral Arguments in the War for Western Survival ." Moral condemnations are easy. No intellectual heavy lifting required. All one need do is appeal to conventional moral intuitions as shaped by the the same institutions that are now the status quo - the media and academic culture.

    As I note, those who dissent from the status quo are "not only misguided, [they are] malevolent consumed by hatred, anger and fear towards non-Whites, gays, women and the entire victim class pantheon, or so goes the stereotype And that's the problem. Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There's no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society - 'a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions.'"

    Back to Murphy:

    Very simply, ["institutional intellectuals"] are imposing a cordon sanitaire that is instrumentally necessary to the continuation of their unjustified intellectual privileges in the institutional order. I am increasingly convinced there is simply no other public function to this political repetition compulsion. The reason this is important, from the left, is that this cordon sanitaire is straightforwardly a mechanism to conserve the status quo, everything progressives pretend to be interested in overthrowing. This is why neo-reactionary intellectuals speak of the status quo political order as dominated by a left-progressive "Cathedral."

    The religious analogy is quite apt. Like moral pronouncements, religious dogmas are not refutable and need not be justified empirically. They are nothing more than intellectually shoddy ex Cathedra pronouncements that take advantage of a pre-existing intellectual consensus.

    First, it seems to be a fact that the genuinely intellectual wings of the alt-right or neo-reaction (NRx) or whatever you want to call it, are probably too intelligent and sophisticated for bourgeois intellectual workers to engage with, let alone compete with. So if those essays are actually pretty smart and a legitimate challenge to your institutional authority as a credentialed intellectual-you are functionally required to close ranks, if only with a silent agreement to not engage.

    Now, as soon as anyone from this non-institutional world produces effects within the institutional orbit, it is actually a really serious survival reflex for all institutionally privileged intellectuals to play the morality card ("no platform!"). If all these strange, outside autodidacts are actually smart and independently producing high-level intellectual content you don't have the time to even understand, let alone defeat or otherwise control, this is an existential threat to your entire livelihood. Because all of your personal identity, your status, and your salary, is based directly on your credentialed, legitimated membership card giving your writings and pontifications an officially sanctioned power and authority. If that door is opened even a crack by non-credentialed outsiders, the whole jig is up for the respectable bourgeois monopoly on the official intellectual organs of society.

    This comment really strikes home with me. I wrote three books on Judaism from an evolutionary perspective, the first of which was reviewed positively in academic journals; the second was less widely reviewed , and the third was basically ignored apart from a favorable review by Frank Salter in the Human Ethology Bulletin . Instead I was subjected to a vicious witch hunt spearheaded by the SPLC, joined by a great many of the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, especially the Jewish faculty. In all of the exchanges on faculty email lists there was never any attempt to deal with the academic soundness of these books. Labels like "anti-Semitic" sufficed. So now, nearly 20 years after publication, Culture of Critique remains ignored by the academic establishment even as it gains traction on the Alt Right.

    The same can be said about Murray's The Bell Curve . It is referenced at times but almost always with the adjective 'discredited' even though the data are rock solid. I know a liberal academic who commented, "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Murphy:

    An interesting question is, because respectable intellectuals are often pretty smart and capable, why are they so fearful of outside intellectual projects, even if they are as evil as some fear? They are smart and capable intellectuals, so you'd think they would embrace some interesting challenge as an opportunity for productive contestation. Why don't they? Well, here's where the reality gets ugly. The reason respectable intellectuals so instinctively close ranks around the moral exclusion of NRx intellectuals is that currently working, respectable intellectuals privately know that the intellectual compromises they have made to secure their respectability and careers has rendered most of their life's work sadly and vulnerably low-quality.

    I suspect this is quite true. There is a replication crisis centering on psychology and particularly in social psychology , the most blatantly politicized field within psychology. This is my summary of Prof. Jonathan Haidt's comments on the topic:

    when scholarly articles that contravene the sacred values of the tribe are submitted to academic journals, reviewers and editors suddenly become super rigorous. More controls are needed, and more subjects. It's not a representative sample, and the statistical techniques are inadequate. This use of scientific rigor against theories that are disliked for deeper reasons is a theme of Chapter 2 of The Culture of Critique where it was also noted that standards were quite lax when it came to data that fit the leftist zeitgeist.

    Whole areas of education and sociology doubtless have similar problems. For example, in education, there have been decades of studies "discovering" panaceas for the Black-White academic achievement gap - without any success. But, as Prof. Ray Wolters notes ("Why Education Reform Failed," The Occidental Quarterly [Spring, 2016]) , hope springs eternal because there are always new wrinkles to try. Fundamentally the field fails to deal with IQ or with genetic influences on IQ and academic performance.

    The same is likely true of huge swaths of the humanities where verbal brilliance, post-modern lack of logic and rigor, and leftist politics have created wonderlands of inanity. All this would be swept away if the outsiders triumphed. I strongly suggest following @RealPeerReview on Twitter to get a feeling for what is now going on in academia. Remember, these people are getting jobs and students are paying exorbitant tuition to hear them lecture.

    Murphy:

    To convince status-quo cultural money dispensers to give you a grant, fourr instance, any currently "successful" academic or artist has to so extensively pepper their proposal with patently stupid words and notions that knowingly make the final result a sad, contorted piece of work 80% of which is bent to the flattery of our overlords. But we falsely rationalize this contortion as "mature discipline" which we then rationalize to be the warrant for our privileged status as legitimate intellectuals.

    And then, twisting the knife:

    Because we know deep down inside that our life's work is only half of what it could have been had we the courage to not ask for permission, if there ever arise people who are doing high-level intellectual work on the outside, exactly as they wish to without anyone's permission or money, then not only are we naturally resentful, but we secretly know that at least some of these outsiders are likely doing more interesting, more valuable, more radically incisive work than we are, because we secretly know that we earn our salary by agreeing to only say half of what we could.

    Can't think of a better way to end it. What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    (Reprinted from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT

    "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests. You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see. You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it – i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    joe webb , May 24, 2017 at 4:50 am GMT

    The left used to call the intellectual enablers of capitalism "bourgeois intellectuals." This included various professions like economics, political science, etc.

    Since Sociology was the Revolution Party led by Jews, it got a pass.

    Today, with commies like the handsome negro Van Jones, at one of the major networks, and these networks nothing more than Pravda Dem Party hackworks, we need a new term for the media-Left-Revolutionary minority-racist-jewish-liberal-anti-fa, academic , etc. cultural revolution.

    The fact that , per this article, it has become so trendy as to attract opportunists of many colors, it arguably is in danger of strident internal divisions, like the LGBTxyz, loonies that have self-destructed. Something that denotes the internal instability of the Dem coalition would be useful.

    The bizarre connection with international capital as a theoretical vehicle for inauguration of the great Age of Globalism and One World of racial group-groping should be captured in any such term of the cultural revolution II that we are experiencing.

    Dunno, but the Brave New World needs a catchy term. Liberal Opportunism also must be compassed in the term. Liberal World Equality Trashniks, etc.
    Joe Webb

    ThereisaGod , May 24, 2017 at 8:35 am GMT

    Yup. careerism is spiritual whoredom. As somebody once said, "I was only following orders".

    Randal , May 24, 2017 at 9:04 am GMT

    Excellent stuff. The hard truths that our society refuses to listen to and tries its best to suppress.

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Not hard to understand – genetic interests are not individual interests unless the individual chooses to make them so. Many of these people are childless, as a result of lifestyle choices – choosing to engage in homosexual or recreational activity instead of reproductive for hedonist reasons, postponing childbirth until too late for career materialist reasons. Such people have turned away from the instinctive objective of reproduction in the most fundamental way, and have no direct interest in the future beyond their own brief lives. No wonder they are free to engage in the profound selfishness of destructive altruism.

    Others think their children will be sheltered from the consequences by their own establishment status, or genuinely believe the dogmas they have repeated for so long.

    Robert Magill , May 24, 2017 at 9:26 am GMT

    Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There's no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society - 'a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions.'"

    Projection of such an incredible amount of animus directed at one individual must be an indicator of a huge lacking in our culture. Common decency aside, the simple repetition of such hostility must be masking other ills. S.H.I.T. Happens! Self. Haters. Impugning. Trump. Happens! Examined here:

    https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/s-h-i-t-examined/

    Anonymous , May 24, 2017 at 9:39 am GMT

    I actually bought three books by Prof. Macdonald via Amazon about 7 years ago. I read the books. IMHO, they are quite informative.
    1) https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Critique-Evolutionary-Twentieth-Century-Intellectual/dp/0759672229/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    2) https://www.amazon.com/Separation-Its-Discontents-Evolutionary-Anti-Semitism/dp/1410792617/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    3) https://www.amazon.com/People-That-Shall-Dwell-Alone/dp/0595228380/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

    jilles dykstra , May 24, 2017 at 10:15 am GMT

    One wonders if psychologists are ignorant of history.

    So there is nothing special in the christian culture about no independent thought. On top of that, as Chomsky states: in any culture there is a standard truth, if this truth is not considered, no debate is possible, but between those who know better.

    We see this right now, much wailing about the indeed horrible carnage in Manchester, that the USA, Predators with Hellfire, causes such carnage every week three or fout times, it cannot be said. Terrorism is caused by the Islam, not by the west.

    anonHUN , May 24, 2017 at 11:55 am GMT

    @AaronB "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests. You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see.
    You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it - i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    Anon , May 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm GMT

    @jilles dykstra Even more important to me seems the question 'who wanted WWII ?'.

    Charles A. Beard, 'American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932 – 1940, A study in responsibilities', New Haven, 1946

    A J P Taylor, 'The Origins of the Second World War', 1961, 1967, Londen

    Mark Green , May 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

    This is a fascinating take on the true Establishment, if not the 'counter-culture'; both of which are politically correct and engineered to be self-perpetuating.

    The progressive Trojan Horse has penetrated the kingdom's walls. Tolerance! (Do not resist.)

    These progressive movements are also censorious, authoritarian and highly exclusive.

    'We are all One'. Bigotry will not be tolerated!

    At their core, these liberal movements and their rainbow collection of accompanying values represent the subversive interests of an invasive species.

    benjaminl , May 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm GMT

    Like moral pronouncements, religious dogmas are not refutable and need not be justified empirically. They are nothing more than intellectually shoddy ex Cathedra pronouncements that take advantage of a pre-existing intellectual consensus.

    This is a bit unfair to religious dogma. From Justin Martyr and Irenaeus to Augustine and Aquinas, many theologians did their most notable work, precisely in arguing against people who did not share their views.

    Tulip , May 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm GMT

    I hope Murphy already has tenure. . .

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm GMT

    @anonHUN Can you elaborate? You mean they aspire to be saints, and sacrifice themselves or to repent for the sins of their fathers? (by going extinct?) Well true, Christianity introduced this kind of nutjobs to the world who aimed to die without resisting "evil" and expecting to win that way on the metaphysical plane. Progressives don't believe in such things though.

    Ace , May 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm GMT

    @Anon Nothing like recent, cutting-edge research to support your viewpoint.

    Agent76 , May 24, 2017 at 3:57 pm GMT

    Dec 7, 2011 Council on Foreign Relations – The Power Behind Big News

    One version says that the CFR is an organization sister to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Britain), both founded in 1921 right after World War I when the League of Nations idea failed. The sole purpose of such organizations is to condition the public to accept a Global Governance which today is the United Nations.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT

    @Santoculto I agree absolutely, no doubt it's more and more ''spiritual'' than just ''evolutionary''. Yes, existentialism is one of the ''plague'' that is destroying west BUT existentialism should be a good thing, a emancipation from childish belief systems, less for people who hasn't been selected to be mature, so instead a clear evolution of ''spirit'' be beneficial, it's become maladaptative. '''They''' create a moral game that is impossible for those who can't think in ''multiple' perspectives to win.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm GMT

    @utu I would never put Kevin MacDonald in the same bag with Derbyshire and Sailer. Unlike them MacDonald had courage to tackle the ultimate subject of the Jews. And he did it very thoroughly w/o holding any punches. He did it the way his training as a evolutionary sociologist permitted him which was by putting more emphasis on genes then cultural memes. This is unfortunate because cultural memes dominate. But writing about genes is a bit safer than about memes because one can fall on and hide behind presumably objective scientific narrative. That's why also Derbyshire and Sailer rather yap about genes than cultural memes.

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm GMT

    @Randal


    There is no instinct for reproduction.
    Seems pretty unlikely to me, based upon simple observation. The evidence for an instinct to reproduce seems to be obvious in the widespread desire for children/grandchildren of one's own. Any reason to deny the obvious presumption?
    Though of course it's not really relevant to the point I was making, since "instinct for reproduction" could as easily have been written "genetic imperative for reproduction" without affecting the point.
    MBlanc46 , May 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT

    So academic Leftists are now what pass for professional revolutionaries. V.I. Ulyanov would be appalled.

    Wizard of Oz , May 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm GMT

    @utu I would never put Kevin MacDonald in the same bag with Derbyshire and Sailer. Unlike them MacDonald had courage to tackle the ultimate subject of the Jews. And he did it very thoroughly w/o holding any punches. He did it the way his training as a evolutionary sociologist permitted him which was by putting more emphasis on genes then cultural memes. This is unfortunate because cultural memes dominate. But writing about genes is a bit safer than about memes because one can fall on and hide behind presumably objective scientific narrative. That's why also Derbyshire and Sailer rather yap about genes than cultural memes.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm GMT

    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare.

    It's not incredibly pathetic, it's just disgustingly pathetic. As you've said, they're all intellectual whores. That's what the public sector has always been comprised of. I know. I worked for three governments (briefly) and I devoted an even shorter part of my one and only life to appointments at three universities, including two of the World's top 30 (according to the Times Higher Ed) research schools.

    But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field?

    The idealism remains, but those young idealistic scholars, realizing what a degraded, sordid, bureaucratic world the university has become, went out into the real world, whether to drop out, make money, or pursue the intellectual life with real, personally paid for, freedom.

    Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes?

    They are far from the brightest of the bunch and they are, as we already said, intellectual whores.

    How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    How many kids does Frau Merkel have? How many kids does Frau Theresa May have? Why would they care about the future of their own people. Same problem with a lot of female quota academics.

    There's no solution other than to tie the feminists in bags and dump them in the Bosphorus, and the same with the academic eunochs, the scoundrel academic deans, and the slimebag university presidents and vice presidents. Screw the whole dirty lot of them.

    Trump could make a start by ending all Federal support for universities.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:44 pm GMT

    @AaronB As you probably realize, the West isn't engaged in altruistic self-sacrifice, but in suicide. There is a big difference. One is good, the other bad.

    One is based on love and compassion, the other on self-disgust. If we were capable of love we would defend our way of life, not destroy it - if we could love, our life would have some meaning, and some happiness. Love is a transcendent, non-materialist, value.

    What the West is doing is motivated by hate, not compassion.

    This isn't Christian, either. Suicide is forbidden in Christianity, nor can one force others to sacrifice themselves, as in forcing entire unwilling nations to self-destruct.

    Also, our policies are obviously increasing misery, hatred, and bloodshed, in the long run, and the short run. If we were motivated by compassion, we could send money, aid, entire teams, to other countries. But that would not serve our true purpose.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm GMT

    Meantime, if you want to take a kick at the crooks in academic administration, go over to the blog of Professor John McAdams - booted from the Marquette U, supposedly a Christian institution, for the terrible crime of standing up for a student who wished to make a case against gay marriage in a philosophy class - and give him your encouragement and support.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy Meantime, if you want to take a kick at the crooks in academic administration, go over to the blog of Professor John McAdams - booted from the Marquette U, supposedly a Christian institution, for the terrible crime of standing up for a student who wished to make a case against gay marriage in a philosophy class - and give him your encouragement and support.

    Tulip , May 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm GMT

    There is an interesting point in the life of any maturing intellect when one discovers the gap between how the Academy insists on "explaining" how the world works and how the world really works. It is very hard to resist the urge to talk about it. [Even harder to look at the raw scientific data "no platformed" out of the dialogue.]

    Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy's new enemies already know how the world works, and will only double down on their "explanation" because it serves their group interests. Further, Murphy will likely face professional backlash for discussing the Emperor's attire. This will be exciting for a young scholar, but likely will sour with time. Cordelia was the youngest of Lear's daughters, and Socrates probably got the fate he deserved.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy

    What the West is doing is motivated by hate, not compassion.
    Yeah, hate by the globalist elite for the mass of mankind (aka what Bill Clinton's history mentor, Carroll Quigley called the Money Power), which is rather different from self-hatred, although self-hatred or at least the lust for what is self-destructive is what a mass-hating elite seeks to instill in the masses.

    Societies don't live or die according to the minds of the mass, but according to the wisdom and ambitions of the leadership. So let's forget the BS about a lack of spirituality, let's recognize who are the bastards driving the West to destruction and how they and their agents are to be exposed and destroyed.

    Sean , May 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT

    I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.

    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Be that as it may, I think phrasing opposition in terms of anything pertaining to genes is disastrous . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:58 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm GMT

    @iffen There is no genetic imperative for reproduction.

    There is a genetic imperative to have sex.

    FKA Max , May 24, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm GMT

    @annamaria What the West is doing is motivated by greed (and the superiority complex).
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com

    "... Muslim fundamentalism is such a strong growth that it needed no Western provocation to set it in motion. We have not only removed or weakened the regimes that inhibited, more or less, that growth. What we have done is to encourage Jihad to flourish on an immensely greater scale. That increased scale increases its glamour and its pull for our English Muslims many times over.

    ... Western countries have been arming and training Muslim fighters knowing full well that those fighters were Jihadis, and were more than likely to join even more extreme Jihadi units. Knowing full well also that some of those Jihadis, but now trained in killing and invigorated by contact with other true believers, would return to their countries of origin and do what harm they could.

    ... We see ragged groups of thugs using, often inexpertly, the deadly equipment we give them or the supply of which we facilitate. ... For there is now no doubt that the flood of foreign Jihadis that have wreaked such havoc in Syria and neighbouring countries was released by us or with our active complicity. It could not have happened but for Western assistance. We do not acknowledge it."

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 7:52 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating – a fact ...
    Oh sure!

    Just what a globalist shill for European genocide would say.

    The truth, however, is quite the opposite.

    Thus, if in a territory of fixed carrying capacity, indigenous females are impregnated by alien settlers, then in the next generation, the proportion of indigenous genes in the gene pool will be diminished.

    Some survival strategy!

    That that is a strategy for self-genocide is why Jews won't "marry out" and insist on having a Jewish state.

    And the genocidal effect is the same if you merely have mass immigration, especially when combined with below replacement birth rates as have been engineered throughout the West by government policy on abortion, divorce, toleration of immigrant polygamy, and the promotion of sexual perversion under the guise of sex "education." Under those circumstances, it doesn't matter who the indigenous people mate with, their genes in the gene pool will be diluted, eventually to extinction.

    Even if the indigenous mate only with one another, the frequency of their genes in the gene pool will be diminished both proportionally and in total, unless the population grows without limit.

    Then there is the cultural genocide, better known as multi-culturalism. First you invite in the adherents of the religion of love, next thing you know is the bastards are yelling Europe is the Cancer, Islam is the Answer , and terror bombing indigenous kids .

    annamaria , May 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm GMT

    @Sean I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.


    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    nickels , May 24, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right, and it is the Western intellectual elite that had turned against itself by the time of the late 19th century. Precisely the ones who engage most deeply with Western ideas, and are most affected by them.

    In the 19th century, a Baudelaire and a Rimbaud may have been horrified at the banality and dreariness of life in a mechanized society, but the masses, though obscurely suffering, were not so deeply affected.

    But today, the masses have caught up - obesity, the opioid epidemic, etc.

    The "bastards" who are responsible - unfortunately, you can't hunt down materialism.

    If you don't see the significance of our lack of spirituality, you will never be able to break free.

    Santoculto - but you see, "beauty" is a metaphysical concept - it transcends mere matter. Materialism has no use for beauty. We see this today - with the loss of metaphysics, our architecture, our art, has become ugly. Beauty is "useless".

    We have some "thing" driving us forward - selfish materialism. If you don't like it, and wish to escape it, then what drives you forward cannot be a "thing".

    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right, and it is the Western intellectual elite that had turned against itself by the time of the late 19th century. Precisely the ones who engage most deeply with Western ideas, and are most affected by them.

    In the 19th century, a Baudelaire and a Rimbaud may have been horrified at the banality and dreariness of life in a mechanized society, but the masses, though obscurely suffering, were not so deeply affected.

    But today, the masses have caught up - obesity, the opioid epidemic, etc.

    The "bastards" who are responsible - unfortunately, you can't hunt down materialism.

    If you don't see the significance of our lack of spirituality, you will never be able to break free.

    Santoculto - but you see, "beauty" is a metaphysical concept - it transcends mere matter. Materialism has no use for beauty. We see this today - with the loss of metaphysics, our architecture, our art, has become ugly. Beauty is "useless".

    We have some "thing" driving us forward - selfish materialism. If you don't like it, and wish to escape it, then what drives you forward cannot be a "thing".

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 8:46 pm GMT

    @reiner Tor People love having grandkids, even feminist Hillary Clinton (who otherwise didn't care much for reproduction) begged her only daughter to produce grandkids for her. Childless spinsters are often quite bitter, and most folk psychologists give at least two reasons why, with one of them being bitter about not having children. What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 8:56 pm GMT

    @ FKA Max – thanks, that sounds interesting. I don't know if Europeans are less altruistic than others, but I do know that the Muslims whom the Crusaders came into contact with considered Europeans to be especially ethnocentric.

    In my view, genetic determinism is simply a limited view – nations change their character, often dramatically, over time. Examples are numerous – dishonest Germans, lazy Chinese, etc, etc.

    To ignore this, truly one must do violence to one's mind.

    @Nickels – yes, but that is the materialist trap. One cannot simply choose not to be a materialist for prudential reasons – as prudence itself is a materialist value. Materialism certainly undermines itself in many ways, though. It is, even, self-contradictory (if our minds are evolutionary, we can't assume it produces truth – but then our minds produced the theory of evolution, which we then have no basis to believe in, and so on. It's circular, and self-undermining.)

    – but beauty is not a physical thing – it is a relation between things, a certain proportion, an arrangement of things. Therefore, it is metaphysical – i.e above physics.

    Agree with you about the Vatican – though beautiful, it represent power and wealth, values utterly foreign to Christianity.

    utu , May 24, 2017 at 9:03 pm GMT

    @AaronB You're not thinking it through.

    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide. I am offering my analysis out of a desire to avoid just that. I just think your analysis is badly superficial.

    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group" - if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity - religion, etc - then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam - assimilate - you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam - many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically. Genetically, females will be in no way worse off.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason - our distinct identity must be felt as worth preserving. This fact is implicitly admitted by our materialist Western elites, by their behavior.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger - the optimum strategy was for tribes to merge into "hordes", which happened in many cases. A tribe that wanted to retain its distinct identity had to have a reason - it did not make genetic sense.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them, which makes no genetic sense. Take Israel - attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them. There is an interesting film on youtube called "checkpoint", where you see Israeli soldiers of Arab descent hitting on (boderline sexually harrassing), young Palestinian women crossing their military checkpoint, and talking about how attractive they find them. Yet the women scorn them.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women - both groups felt their own identity was worth preserving, for the most part.

    Yes - Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this. This is why "assimilation" is so deplored by the Rabbis, who strive to provide a metaphysical reason for avoiding it - they know no materialist explanation can suffice. It is also why the Torah makes such strict and severe rules against Jews associating with gentiles - it understands well that every genetic imperative promotes assimilation, and only metaphysical considerations have a chance of providing a countervailing tendency. And the 50% intermarriage rate of secular Jews strongly illustrates this point.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.

    And so on and so forth.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you. So much that is puzzling to people like Kevin Mcdonald slip nicely into place.

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT

    @iffen What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    No scientific evidence.

    I think it would have turned up by now.

    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 9:24 pm GMT

    @AaronB You're not thinking it through.

    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide. I am offering my analysis out of a desire to avoid just that. I just think your analysis is badly superficial.

    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group" - if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity - religion, etc - then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam - assimilate - you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam - many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically. Genetically, females will be in no way worse off.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason - our distinct identity must be felt as worth preserving. This fact is implicitly admitted by our materialist Western elites, by their behavior.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger - the optimum strategy was for tribes to merge into "hordes", which happened in many cases. A tribe that wanted to retain its distinct identity had to have a reason - it did not make genetic sense.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them, which makes no genetic sense. Take Israel - attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them. There is an interesting film on youtube called "checkpoint", where you see Israeli soldiers of Arab descent hitting on (boderline sexually harrassing), young Palestinian women crossing their military checkpoint, and talking about how attractive they find them. Yet the women scorn them.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women - both groups felt their own identity was worth preserving, for the most part.

    Yes - Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this. This is why "assimilation" is so deplored by the Rabbis, who strive to provide a metaphysical reason for avoiding it - they know no materialist explanation can suffice. It is also why the Torah makes such strict and severe rules against Jews associating with gentiles - it understands well that every genetic imperative promotes assimilation, and only metaphysical considerations have a chance of providing a countervailing tendency. And the 50% intermarriage rate of secular Jews strongly illustrates this point.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.

    And so on and so forth.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you. So much that is puzzling to people like Kevin Mcdonald slip nicely into place.

    Jason Liu , May 24, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

    This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level - the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    Anon , May 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm GMT

    @utu And who are these Jews who... Got a source for that?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFE0qAiofMQ


    I think there is a resurgence of anti-Semitism because at this point in time Europe has not yet learned how to be multicultural. And I think we are going to be part of the throes of that transformation, which must take place. Europe is not going to be the monolithic societies they once were in the last century. Jews are going to be at the centre of that. It's a huge transformation for Europe to make. They are now going into a multicultural mode and Jews will be resented because of our leading role. But without that leading role and without that transformation, Europe will not survive .
    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 10:04 pm GMT

    @AaronB @ FKA Max - thanks, that sounds interesting. I don't know if Europeans are less altruistic than others, but I do know that the Muslims whom the Crusaders came into contact with considered Europeans to be especially ethnocentric.

    In my view, genetic determinism is simply a limited view - nations change their character, often dramatically, over time. Examples are numerous - dishonest Germans, lazy Chinese, etc, etc.

    To ignore this, truly one must do violence to one's mind.

    @Nickels - yes, but that is the materialist trap. One cannot simply choose not to be a materialist for prudential reasons - as prudence itself is a materialist value. Materialism certainly undermines itself in many ways, though. It is, even, self-contradictory (if our minds are evolutionary, we can't assume it produces truth - but then our minds produced the theory of evolution, which we then have no basis to believe in, and so on. It's circular, and self-undermining.)

    @Santoculto - but beauty is not a physical thing - it is a relation between things, a certain proportion, an arrangement of things. Therefore, it is metaphysical - i.e above physics.

    Agree with you about the Vatican - though beautiful, it represent power and wealth, values utterly foreign to Christianity.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm GMT

    @utu Your genes will most certainly not perish.

    I do not like the BS about gene survival. But if you have 1 child only only 50% of your genes survive if you mate with dog. But if you mate with random person from Africa more than 50% of your genes will survive because probably you share some genes with Africans. But even more of your genes will survive if you mate with somebody from your ethnic/racial group. But if you want to really maximize your gene survival try incest.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 10:29 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide.
    I didn't say what I thought you support. I said that what you were saying was consistent with the objective of those who do seek European genocide.

    if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity – religion, etc – then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.
    That's a clever piece of bullshit. What your saying is, as long as the indigenous Europeans agree to become part of some other group then the loss of their genes does not matter because, hey, they agreed in advance to merge and be submerged and ultimately eliminated.

    As for


    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group"

    More clever bullshit, since it is you who are doing the conflating.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam – assimilate – you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.
    So you are crassly advocating conversion of Europe to Islam on the preposterous falsehood that it will increase European genes in the European gene pool, which is mathematical nonsense. If a European turns Muslim in Europe, it's most likely that he will marry a European or several, and if it is several, so much the worst for the genes of those European males who might otherwise have married but who will have to make do without a wife at all.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them
    Bollocks. Tell that to the 40 million living descendants of Ghengis Kahn.

    Take Israel
    Please do.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam – many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically.
    I've already exploded that idiotic fallacy in an earlier comment (see #52, above). I'm not engaging in a 'tis 'tisn't dispute.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason
    Any group thinking the way you want the Europeans to think will be wiped from the page of history in very short order.

    attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them.
    The Palis haven't surrendered yet. They want to kill everyone of you Jews or at least drive you back wherever the Hell you came from.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger
    You certainly pack a lot of BS into one comment. The optimum strategy depends greatly on circumstances. Genocide, as practiced by the Jews of old against the original inhabitants of Israel, involving slaughter of the males and post menopausal females, and impregnation of the females is often the optimum strategy, but circumstances alter cases in a vast number of different ways, so your comment is, frankly, fatuous.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women
    There was no European colonization of Asia, so what are you talking about?

    Yes – Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this.
    There is no such thing as the genetic survival of individual Jews or anyone else. All that counts, in the evolutionary sense, are genes, and the share of your gene in the gene pool, and what is apparently "highly obvious" to you is not the case.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.
    "Obviously"? Usually a sign of bunk to be asserted. You have no arguments at all. Mere ridiculous and uninformed comment that happens to conform exactly with the globalist project for the destruction of the independent, sovereign, democratic, and by tradition Christian, European states.

    And so on and so forth.
    Yes, very good. That typifies the deficiency in fact and logic of your entire spiel.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you.
    And once you open yourself up to unadulterated bullshit, it's amazing how quickly you can inadvertently destroy your own people and posterity.
    Agent76 , May 24, 2017 at 10:30 pm GMT

    May 22, 2017 The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

    Did you know that the Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, founded the KKK, and fought against every major civil rights act in U.S. history? Watch as Carol Swain, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, shares the inconvenient history of the Democratic Party.

    Kevin O'Keeffe , May 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm GMT

    @AaronB "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests.

    You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see.

    You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it - i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    SFG , May 24, 2017 at 10:58 pm GMT

    @Jason Liu This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level -- the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT

    @Anon So one Jew speaks for the whole group? Does Ted Bundy speak for you?

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:15 pm GMT

    @utu Your genes will most certainly not perish.

    I do not like the BS about gene survival. But if you have 1 child only only 50% of your genes survive if you mate with dog. But if you mate with random person from Africa more than 50% of your genes will survive because probably you share some genes with Africans. But even more of your genes will survive if you mate with somebody from your ethnic/racial group. But if you want to really maximize your gene survival try incest.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:18 pm GMT

    @Sean I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.


    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Be that as it may, I think phrasing opposition in terms of anything pertaining to genes is disastrous . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:34 pm GMT

    @jilles dykstra One wonders if psychologists are ignorant of history.
    Some 300 years BCE a Greek calculated the circumference of the earth at 39.000 km, the right figure is 40.000.
    Yet Columbus' sailors were afraid to fall of the earth.
    For some 1600 years the christian church prevented all independent thought, in 1600 the pope had Giordano Bruno burned alive, for heretic thoughts, about the universe, about the holy trinity.
    At about the same time Calvin burned Servetius, the man who discovered blood circulation, alive to death, also about the trinity.
    So Servetius was unable to tell the world about the blood circulation.
    Galileo got away with house arrest.
    Even around 1860 the pope declared that philosophical thinking not controlled by the church was illegal.
    So there is nothing special in the christian culture about no independent thought.
    On top of that, as Chomsky states: in any culture there is a standard truth, if this truth is not considered, no debate is possible, but between those who know better.
    We see this right now, much wailing about the indeed horrible carnage in Manchester, that the USA, Predators with Hellfire, causes such carnage every week three or fout times, it cannot be said.
    Terrorism is caused by the Islam, not by the west.

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 11:41 pm GMT

    @reiner Tor


    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    If I paid you $10,000 and gave you a day, could you come up with a rough back-of-the-envelope model where people would have a hardwired genetic predisposition to wanting to have many kids yet end up having a different number of kids under different circumstances?

    Actually, I could come up with such models for free.

    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 11:46 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.
    Except, as you forgot to mention, the survival of the European people. But liberals, of course, are always ready to sacrifice European people for whatever depraved cause they may have in mind.
    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm GMT

    @iffen What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    No scientific evidence.

    I think it would have turned up by now.

    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm GMT

    @Kevin O'Keeffe


    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.
    Seeing as how the future of Western civilization is at stake, now may not be the best time to be keeping us in suspense.
    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:58 pm GMT

    @annamaria A case in point - Libya: http://theduran.com/hillary-clinton-bears-responsibility-for-the-manchester-atrocity/
    "The illegal NATO war against Libya was Hillary Clinton's war above all others. It was her who took a stable, prosperous, secular socialist country and turned it into a failed state and a terrorist playground. Gaddafi warned that he was the rampart holding back al-Qaeda from Europe, but Hillary Clinton did not care. She even laughed about Gaddafi's inhumane, barbaric execution at the hands of terrorists.
    Had Hillary Clinton not been able to convince Barack Obama and his useful war propagandists David Cameron in Britain and Nicholas Sarkozy, the dead children in Manchester might be with us today.
    Hillary Clinton famously said of Gaddafi's illegal execution, "We came, we saw, he died". Indeed, she came, she saw, he died and now thousands of more have died in Libya, many others have died in Europe because of this, including those who recently perished in Manchester."

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 12:10 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.
    Except, as you forgot to mention, the survival of the European people. But liberals, of course, are always ready to sacrifice European people for whatever depraved cause they may have in mind.
    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 12:13 am GMT

    So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged .

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    iffen , May 25, 2017 at 12:22 am GMT

    @Alden Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT

    Classic case of how PC can make white psychology stupid and gullible.

    https://altright.com/2017/05/24/blacks-mastermind-criminal-uses-white-guilt-to-steal-iphones-from-unsuspecting-liberals/

    Fact is blacks are more likely to lie, cheat, steal, and rob.

    They have less conscience and inhibition.

    Evolution made them that way. They had to survive in a world of competition with hyenas, leopards, crocodiles, and hippos.

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT

    @Alden You're too intelligent to keep repeating Calvinist and enlightenment propaganda. Columbus and his sailors knew that the earth was round and if they just keep sailing west they would eventually run into Asia about 5,000 miles from The coast of Spain.

    What Columbus didn't know was that the Americas are between Europe and Asia.

    Why is the calendar used today called the Georgian calendar? Because the calendar needs to be adjusted every 1, 500 years. It was adjusted around 40 BC when Juluus Cesear was Emperor. By 1500AD it needed further adjustment. That adjustment was done in the best observatory in the world at the time by the beat astronomers and mathmeticians in the world. The work was done in the Vatican observatory. The astronomers and mathematicians were Vatican priests.

    I very heard of the scientific method? It was created around 1100 AD by priests and monks at the Roman Catholic University of Paris Sorbonne.

    Your own country the Netherlands was under the North Sea in 500 AD. It was Roman Catholic monks who settled on the beaches and began a thousand year process of land reclamation that literally built the land now called the Netherlands.

    Every university established in Europe before 1800 was established by the church. During those 1600 years you cite the only libraries in Europe belonged to the church

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT

    @iffen instinctive objective of reproduction

    There is no instinct for reproduction.

    There is an instinct to have sex.

    iffen , May 25, 2017 at 12:48 am GMT

    @AaronB So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged....

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 12:50 am GMT

    @AaronB You know, if we adopt the genetic perspective, then none of this matters at all.

    Behaviors get selected for in a vast impersonal process that doesn't care about the outcome.

    I do not see why the conscious *I* should give one whit about my genes.

    If someone has inherited a concern with his genetic transmission, or if someone has not, is a neutral fact with no significance from this point of view. If that person's genes don't make it to the next generation, that is a fact - it is without value. We have banished value, and created a world of impersonal facts.

    There can be no discussion, because there are no values, there are no reference points - it is all a vast impersonal process that is utterly blind.

    You cannot derive value from fact - and your attempt to do so is merely the metaphysical instinct hard at work, trying to derive meaning from the concepts available to you, even if those concepts cannot yield meaning.

    Such is the strength of man's metaphysical instinct (the search for value and meaning) - finally, after much toil and effort, we arrive at a world view which banishes all metaphysics, yet we try immediately to sneak it in through the back door.

    Tell me, why *should* I care about my genes? Ah, but with that word "should", we are back into metaphysics, and out of the genetic world-view.

    These double-binds and knots that Western thinking has finally tied itself into - if we cannot untie these knots, we are doomed to death.

    Because this talk of genetic transmission will not give us the motivation to save ourselves.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 12:56 am GMT

    @AaronB So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged....

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 12:57 am GMT

    @Alden There is a theory that Hildabeast attacked Libya on orders from the bankers because Ghaddafi took Libya out of the international monetary system.

    America needs a leader like Ghaddafi, a leader who cares about his own people and nation.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:02 am GMT

    @Jason Liu This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level -- the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:04 am GMT

    @utu The anti Catholic propaganda was particularly strong in The Netherlands: "Liever Turks dan Paaps"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liever_Turks_dan_Paaps

    dcite , May 25, 2017 at 1:04 am GMT

    "Childless spinsters are often quite bitter, and most folk psychologists give at least two reasons why, with one of them being bitter about not having children. "

    You sure understand more about the person using certain vocabulary, than the subject they are opining about. Chuckling at the images he's conjuring up. To judge from what I've seen, those "spinsters" probably got more action than most properly married and childed women.
    There are lots of other reasons to be bitter than not having kids. Like having kids you wish you'd never had. Some of the bitterest people I've ever met have been parents. Both kinds.
    It is common to overestimate the desire of women to reproduce. I was flabbergasted at the young women I met years ago who declared with absoluteness, they wanted no children. That seemed so final and I couldn't get why they didn't see the potential in raising super-kids. They said it with absolute conviction and awareness that they would probably not die young and would be old without kids. Today, most are just fine. Most do not seem bitter. Maybe they should for the good of society you want high quality people to reproduce. But these are the very types least concerned, and by and large they are just fine with the situation. What is convenient for the individual is not always good for society; but it does make for a happy individual.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:09 am GMT

    @iffen Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Why would you use birth control if you have an 'instinct" to reproduce?

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:15 am GMT

    @iffen Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Why would you use birth control if you have an 'instinct" to reproduce?

    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 1:16 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    I do not see why the conscious *I* should give one whit about my genes.
    Doesn't matter whether you see why or not. The genes of those who do care are more likely to be represented in succeeding generations than the genes of those who do not. Caring about such things is largely a cultural matter. Hence, as
    Raphael Lemkin who coined the term genocide explained, genocide can be achieved by:

    a coordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight. The end may be accomplished by the forced disintegration of political and social institutions, of the culture of the people, of their language, their national feelings and their religion. It may be accomplished by wiping out all basis of personal security, liberty, health and dignity. When these means fail the machine gun can always be utilized as a last resort.
    That is exactly what the European peoples are exposed to now. In arguing for the Islamification of Europe, through mass immigration you are promoting genocide of the Europeans, for whatever reasons, maybe hatred of Europeans, or maybe it pays - for you to raise a family and thus increase the representation of your genes in the gene pool.
    utu , May 25, 2017 at 1:18 am GMT

    @Alden Better Turks than Papists? That must be why the Netherlands revolt against the Spanish Empire occurred just in time to distract the Spanish from the very important naval war against the Turks which culminated in the Catholic victory of Lepanto which made the Mediterranean and Atlantic safer for Europeans.

    I don't know why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes against the Catholic Church. None of his allegations are true, just 400 yr old enlightenment propaganda. Columbus consulted the priests at the university of Salmonacca. The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right. That's quite an achievement for an anti science religion.

    Once Columbus realized that he could sail that distance he was able to raise funds from the Spanish crown. Of course Dysktra will heap scorn on the scientists of Salmonacca for not realizing the Americas were between Spain and Asia.

    Even American fundamentalists and Jews have ratcheted down the anti Catholic Calvinist rhetoric in the last 80 years.

    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 1:20 am GMT

    @iffen I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged .

    I love a challenge, more than most.

    Faith failed.

    Case closed.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT

    @MarkinLA I just think Hillary was looking to her Presidential run in 2016 and saw an opportunity to burnish her "foreign policy" bonafides. She thought it would be a cake walk and successful and could then brag in 2016 how she was head and shoulders above everybody else in foreign policy. Benghazi happened and everything was supposed to go down the memory hole.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT

    @Alden Better Turks than Papists? That must be why the Netherlands revolt against the Spanish Empire occurred just in time to distract the Spanish from the very important naval war against the Turks which culminated in the Catholic victory of Lepanto which made the Mediterranean and Atlantic safer for Europeans.

    I don't know why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes against the Catholic Church. None of his allegations are true, just 400 yr old enlightenment propaganda. Columbus consulted the priests at the university of Salmonacca. The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right. That's quite an achievement for an anti science religion.

    Once Columbus realized that he could sail that distance he was able to raise funds from the Spanish crown. Of course Dysktra will heap scorn on the scientists of Salmonacca for not realizing the Americas were between Spain and Asia.

    Even American fundamentalists and Jews have ratcheted down the anti Catholic Calvinist rhetoric in the last 80 years.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:35 am GMT

    @utu why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes

    I think he genuinely believes it. Several centuries of incessant propaganda and brain washing. In England it was not much better.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:52 am GMT

    @Anon So one Jew speaks for the whole group? Does Ted Bundy speak for you?

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 1:54 am GMT

    Hilarious.

    What Progs SAY is a means to cover up what they DO.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/black-farmer-calls-liberal-racism-191552524.html

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 2:02 am GMT

    @Alden I know but the English stopped the anti Catholic nonsense when they stopped attending their Protestant churches. But Dykstra just keeps posting the same old same old.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 2:11 am GMT

    @utu


    restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates
    I think it would be useful to go through all possible arguments in favor of controlling immigration. Why does it seem so that so many arguments are stigmatized and have negative connotations? Different argument will work with different people. Some arguments will fall on deaf ears in the US but might be persuasive in some European countries.

    Cultural arguments (destruction of cultures of both of the host and that of the immigrant, irreconcilable religious and cultural differences)

    Economic arguments (group and individual impact of immigration, who benefits and who does not)

    Legal arguments (sovereignty, ownership of land and country, national home, who can live in it and who can decide if every citizen is a part owner of the country, rule of reciprocity and 1st categorical imperative: what if everybody did this)

    Biological arguments (irreversibility of miscegenation, loss of natural biological diversity)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxL_wuYtSg

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 2:15 am GMT

    @MarkinLA The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right.

    Uh, no. The Atlantic is about 3000 miles, the Continental US is about 3000 miles and the Pacific is about 5000 miles.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 2:29 am GMT

    @AaronB I am not at all arguing for the Islamization of Europe - quite the opposite!

    I was merely pointing out that if we remain self-interested materialists, we will have no really compelling reason to make the necessary self-sacrifice to resist.

    "The genes of those who do care are more likely to be represented in succeeding generations than the genes of those who do not. Caring about such things is largely a cultural matter. "

    So is it genetically determined, or a cultural attitude, subject to change? Since you distinguish between the two, I assume you do not think culture is genetically determined - otherwise the two sentences are identical.

    If it is genetically determined, then the European population is clearly composed of people who do not possess the gene that makes one care about the survival of one's group - and then, what are you hoping for?

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 2:33 am GMT

    ROTFL.

    The nuttery just gets better and better.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447906/christine-fair-accosts-richard-spencer-gym

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 2:53 am GMT

    @Wizard of Oz You unfairly snipe at SS and JD for some reason. My tecollection is that Steve was brought up Catholic but his genetic father is Jewish. But i can't see in any case why he should be expected to write to your prescription.
    Also you seem to have missed the Derbyshire piece about the Jews in America who still mrntally live in 1880 Russia hiding from the Cossacks.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:13 am GMT

    @utu Various prejudices and misconceptions function in popular culture. Nobody really question them. You can find them in Monty Python.

    Arriving in England, I went from a country where religion was everywhere, but of little interest to me, to a country that had little interest in religion, but still defined me by my purported beliefs. Modern Britain is a country founded in large part on anti-Catholicism.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/aug/22/pope-visit-catholic-prejudice

    And then you have this:

    Although there is a popular perception in Scotland that Anti-Catholicism is football related (specifically directed against fans of Celtic F.C.), statistics released in 2004 by the Scottish Executive showed that 85% of sectarian attacks were not football related. Sixty-three percent of the victims of sectarian attacks are Catholics, but when adjusted for population size this makes Catholics between five and eight times more likely to be a victim of a sectarian attack than a Protestant. (wiki)

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:21 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    I am not at all arguing for the Islamization of Europe – quite the opposite!

    I was merely pointing out that if we remain self-interested materialists, we will have no really compelling reason to make the necessary self-sacrifice to resist.

    What is this self-sacrifice?

    What sacrifice is there in closing the door to rape-culture refugees?

    What sacrifice is there in closing the door to H1b visa entrants to the US who take decent jobs from Americans?

    What sacrifice is there to closing the door to people from Asia, Africa and the Middle-East - perfectly fine people for the most part, I am sure - who will take any job that a European has and do the work for a lower wage?

    The only sacrifice you are saying "we" have to make is actually the sacrifice that the greedy globalist shysters such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and all the other billionaire globalist bastards have to make. No more off-shoring of jobs to maximize profits, no more trade deals that override national law, and no more mass immigration either as a source of cheap labor or as a genocidal instrument of national destruction to make way for an undemocratic global governance regime.

    It is the greed and unconstrained ambition of the plutocracy and their paid agents, the Clintons, the Blairs, and all the other bought "representatives of the people," not the materialism of the people themselves that is driving mass immigration and the destruction of the European peoples both racially and culturally. Indeed, it is only through the exploitation of the generosity of a gullible population that the crime of national genocide by mass immigration has been taken to the point of no return in many parts of the formerly European world.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:39 am GMT

    @MarkinLA The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right.

    Uh, no. The Atlantic is about 3000 miles, the Continental US is about 3000 miles and the Pacific is about 5000 miles.

    Wizard of Oz , May 25, 2017 at 4:04 am GMT

    @Alden Here is the real reason the Jews fled Russia in the 1880s. It was draft evasion. I forget the exact date, but around 1880 Jews got their full civil rights. Unfortunately that included civil obligations such as conscription. That's why the Jews left, not programs, not affirmative action for the goyim, not crackdowns on usury.

    In the foreign affairs/ state department archives of every country in Europe and the Americas are reports from diplomats stationed in Russia that there was no persecution and that the stories about programs were just stories intended to get sympathy so as to facilitate immigration to other countries. That's why the Russian Jews swarmed England, the USA and Latin American countries that did not have the draft. They didn't go to Germany, Austria, France, Italy or Spain because all those countries had conscription.

    Russia's draft was for 25 years which is horrible to contemplate unless one is down and out and desperate for 3 hots and a cot. But the other European countries had just a few years draftee enlistment and the Jews didn't go to those countries, they went to draft free England and America.

    That's why they left.

    [May 25, 2017] The electoral college was put in place to keep the major population centers from determining the vote

    May 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

    anarchyst , May 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm GMT

    @Svigor

    I keep trying to explain this "popular vote" thing: The Electoral College system is essentially mandatory voting: every person casts a vote via the electoral college, whether they actually fill out a ballot or not. Choosing not to fill out a ballot is a vote for "I'll go with the majority's decision."

    The entire population of the United States of America is represented in this process: everyone is either a proxy (voter), or has his vote cast by a proxy.

    The "popular vote" mantra is the scuzzbucket Democrat way of dismissing the legitimacy of the people who vote by proxy. It's Democrats' way of saying these people don't matter. And this from the party that claims to support mandatory voting!

    The will of the people is expressed in the Electoral College. And in the 2016 election, that will very much favored Trump over Clinton.

    geokat62 , May 22, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT

    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 50 states

    That's the theory. The reality is more like:

    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 15 battleground states

    or better still:

    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 5 states (CO, FL, NV, OH, VA) that have been truly competitive over the last five presidential elections

    Joe Franklin , May 22, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT

    @anarchyst The electoral college was put in place to keep the major population centers from determining the vote. Without the electoral college, the prospective presidential candidates would only have to cater to the major population centers and could safely ignore "flyover country", as the east and west coasts would have enough "clout" to determine the direction of the vote.
    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 50 states...

    utu , May 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

    @anarchyst The electoral college was put in place to keep the major population centers from determining the vote. Without the electoral college, the prospective presidential candidates would only have to cater to the major population centers and could safely ignore "flyover country", as the east and west coasts would have enough "clout" to determine the direction of the vote.
    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 50 states...

    [May 24, 2017] All Power to the Banks!

    This is not a new trick, but still it was impressive. Macron played his hand well and brought extreme neoliberals to power using threat of fascism, while his neoliberal views might be even closer to neo-fascism then LePen's.
    "Divide and conquer" and "bait and switch" proved again very effective tools. In other words Macron victory is another neoliberal coup after Argentina and Brazil. Neoliberal zombies do not want to die. The power of neoliberal propaganda is still substantial -- the population can be brainwashed despite the fact that must now understand that neoliberal promised are fake and the redistribution of wealth up destroys middle class and impoverishes lower 60-80% of population
    Notable quotes:
    "... Les Républicains (LR), ..."
    "... In reality, both have adopted neoliberal economic policies, or more precisely, they have followed European Union directives requiring member states to adopt neoliberal economic policies. Especially since the adoption of the common currency, the euro, a little over fifteen years ago, those economic policies have become tangibly harmful to France, hastening its deindustrialization, the ruin of its farmers and the growing indebtedness of the State to private banks. ..."
    "... The most thoughtful reaction has been to start realizing that it is the European Union itself that imposes this unpopular economic conformism. ..."
    "... To quell growing criticism of the European Union, the well-oiled Macron machine, labeled "En Marche!" ..."
    "... The destruction of the Socialist Party was easy. Since the "Socialist" government was so unpopular that it could not hope to win, it was easy to lure prominent members of that party to jump the sinking ship and rally to Macron, who had been economics minister in that unpopular government, but who was advertised by all the media as "new" and "anti-system". ..."
    "... Fillon still cared about preserving France, and favored an independent foreign policy including good Canard Enchainé ..."
    "... These "civil society" newcomers tend to be successful individuals, winners in the game of globalized competition, who will have no trouble voting for anti-labor measures. Macron is thus confirming Marine Le Pen's longstanding assertion that the two main parties were really one big single party, whose rhetorical differences masked their political convergence. ..."
    "... Macron won in part because older voters in particular were frightened by his opponents' hints at leaving the European Union, which they have been indoctrinated to consider necessary to prevent renewal of Europe's old wars. But only the hysterical anti-fascist scare can explain why self-styled leftist "revolutionaries" such as François Ruffin, known for his successful anti-capitalist movie "Merci Patron", could join the stampede to vote for Macron – promising to "oppose him later". But how? ..."
    "... Later, after five years of Macron, opposition may be harder than ever. In recent decades, as manufacturing moves to low wage countries, including EU members such as Poland and Rumania, France has lost 40% of its industry. Loss of industry means loss of jobs and fewer workers. When industry is no longer essential, workers have lost their key power: striking to shut down industry. Currently the desperate workers in a failing auto-works factory in central France are threatening to blow it up unless the government takes measures to save their jobs. But violence is powerless when it has no price tag. ..."
    "... The Macron program amounts to a profound ideological transformation of the French ideal of égalité ..."
    "... Macron is sufficiently Americanized, or, to be more precise, globalized, to have declared that "there is no such thing as French culture". From this viewpoint, France is just a place open to diverse cultures, as well as to immigrants and of course foreign capital. He has clearly signaled his rejection of French independence in the foreign policy field. ..."
    "... Macron echoes the Russophobic line of the neocons. He broke tradition on his inauguration by riding down the Champs-Elysées in a military vehicle. A change of tone is indicated by his cabinet nominations. The title of the new foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who served as defense minister in the Hollande government, is "Minister of Europe and of Foreign Affairs", clearly giving Europe preference in the matter. Sylvie Goulard, an ardent Europeist who has remarked that "she does not feel French", has been named Minister of Armies and Minister of Defense. Clearly national defense is an afterthought, when the main idea is to deploy the armed forces in various joint Western interventions. ..."
    "... Mélenchon ran a spectacularly popular campaign, leaving the Socialist Party far behind (the party he personally left behind years ago). Initially, as he seemed to be taking votes away from Le Pen as well as from the Socialists, he got friendly media coverage, but as he came closer to making it to the decisive second round, the tone started to change. Just as Le Pen was finally knocked out as a "fascist", there is little doubt that had Mélenchon been Macron's challenger, he would have been increasingly denounced as "communist". ..."
    "... La France Insoumise ..."
    "... categories populaires ..."
    "... Marine Le Pen would have tried to enact measures to save French industry and the jobs it provides, provide various benefits for low-income people, withdraw from NATO, and even promote a peaceful world, starting with friendly relations with Russia. She would even have begun to prepare her compatriots for escape from the euro. ..."
    "... A "color revolution" was ready to be stirred up. The deep state is vigilant in NATOland. ..."
    May 24, 2017 | www.unz.com
    A ghost of the past was the real winner of the French presidential election. Emmanuel Macron won only because a majority felt they had to vote against the ghost of "fascism" allegedly embodied by his opponent, Marine Le Pen. Whether out of panic or out of the need to feel respectable, the French voted two to one in favor of a man whose program most of them either ignored or disliked. Now they are stuck with him for five years.

    If people had voted on the issues, the majority would never have elected a man representing the trans-Atlantic elite totally committed to "globalization", using whatever is left of the power of national governments to weaken them still further, turning over decision-making to "the markets" – that is, to international capital, managed by the major banks and financial institutions, notably those located in the United States, such as Goldman-Sachs.

    The significance of this election is so widely misrepresented that clarification requires a fairly thorough explanation, not only of the Macron project, but also of what the (impossible) election of Marine Le Pen would have meant.

    From a Two Party to a Single Party System

    Despite the multiparty nature of French elections, for the past generation France has been essentially ruled by a two-party system, with government power alternating between the Socialist Party, roughly the equivalent of the U.S. Democratic Party, and a party inherited from the Gaullist tradition which has gone through various name changes before recently settling on calling itself Les Républicains (LR), in obvious imitation of the United States . For decades, there has been nothing "socialist" about the Socialist Party and nothing Gaullist about The Republicans.

    In reality, both have adopted neoliberal economic policies, or more precisely, they have followed European Union directives requiring member states to adopt neoliberal economic policies. Especially since the adoption of the common currency, the euro, a little over fifteen years ago, those economic policies have become tangibly harmful to France, hastening its deindustrialization, the ruin of its farmers and the growing indebtedness of the State to private banks.

    This has had inevitable political repercussions. The simplest reaction has been widespread reaction against both parties for continuing to pursue the same unpopular policies. The most thoughtful reaction has been to start realizing that it is the European Union itself that imposes this unpopular economic conformism.

    To quell growing criticism of the European Union, the well-oiled Macron machine, labeled "En Marche!" has exploited the popular reaction against both governing parties. It has broken and absorbed large parts of both, in an obvious move to turn En Marche! into a single catch-all party loyal to Macron.

    The destruction of the Socialist Party was easy. Since the "Socialist" government was so unpopular that it could not hope to win, it was easy to lure prominent members of that party to jump the sinking ship and rally to Macron, who had been economics minister in that unpopular government, but who was advertised by all the media as "new" and "anti-system".

    Weakening the Republicans was trickier. Thanks to the deep unpopularity of the outgoing Socialist government, the Republican candidate, François Fillon, looked like a shoo-in. But despite his pro-business economic policies, Fillon still cared about preserving France, and favored an independent foreign policy including good Canard Enchainé to be revealed at a critical moment in the campaign. The uproar drowned out the issues. To an electorate already wary of "establishment politicians", these revelations were fatal. The impression that "politicians are all corrupt" played into the hands of Emmanuel Macron, too young to have done anything worse than make a few quick millions during his passage through the Rothschild Bank, and there's nothing illegal about that.

    In France, the presidential election is followed by parliamentary elections, which normally give a majority to the party of the newly elected president. But Macron had no party, so he is creating one for the occasion, made up of defectors from the major defeated parties as well as his own innovation, candidates from "civil society", with no political experience, but loyal to him personally. These "civil society" newcomers tend to be successful individuals, winners in the game of globalized competition, who will have no trouble voting for anti-labor measures. Macron is thus confirming Marine Le Pen's longstanding assertion that the two main parties were really one big single party, whose rhetorical differences masked their political convergence.

    The Macron victory demoralized Republicans. Weakening them further, Macron named a Republican, Edouard Philippe, as his Prime Minister, in a government with four Socialist and two Republican, alongside his own selections from "civil society".

    Transforming France

    Macron won in part because older voters in particular were frightened by his opponents' hints at leaving the European Union, which they have been indoctrinated to consider necessary to prevent renewal of Europe's old wars. But only the hysterical anti-fascist scare can explain why self-styled leftist "revolutionaries" such as François Ruffin, known for his successful anti-capitalist movie "Merci Patron", could join the stampede to vote for Macron – promising to "oppose him later". But how?

    Later, after five years of Macron, opposition may be harder than ever. In recent decades, as manufacturing moves to low wage countries, including EU members such as Poland and Rumania, France has lost 40% of its industry. Loss of industry means loss of jobs and fewer workers. When industry is no longer essential, workers have lost their key power: striking to shut down industry. Currently the desperate workers in a failing auto-works factory in central France are threatening to blow it up unless the government takes measures to save their jobs. But violence is powerless when it has no price tag.

    Emmanuel Macron has said that he wants to spend only a short time in political life, before getting back to business. He has a mission, and he is in a hurry. If he gains an absolute majority in the June parliamentary elections, he has a free hand to govern for five years. He means to use this period not to "reform" the country, as his predecessors put it, but to "transform" France into a different sort of country. If he has his way, in five years France will no longer be a sovereign nation, but a reliable region in a federalized European Union, following a rigorous economic policy made in Germany by bankers and a bellicose foreign policy made in Washington by neocons.

    As usual, the newly elected French president's first move was to rush to Berlin to assert loyalty to the increasingly lopsided "Franco-German partnership". He was most warmly welcomed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, thanks to his clear determination to force through the austerity measures demanded by the Frankfurt budget masters. Macron hopes that his fiscal obedience will be rewarded by German consent to a European investment fund for stimulating economic growth, but this implies a degree of federalism that the pfennig-pinching Germans show little sign of accepting.

    First of all, he has promised to complete the dismantling of the French labor code, which offers various protections to workers. This should save money for employers and the government. For Macron, the ruin of French industry and French farming seem to be welcome steps toward an economy of individual initiative, symbolized by startups.

    The Macron program amounts to a profound ideological transformation of the French ideal of égalité , equality, from a horizontal concept, meaning equal benefits for all, to the vertical ideal of "equality of opportunity", meaning the theoretical chance of every individual to rise above the others. This is an ideal easily accepted in the United States with its longstanding myth of the self-made man. The French have traditionally been logical enough to understand that everyone can't rise above the others.

    Horizontal equality in France has primarily meant institutional redistribution of wealth via universal access to benefits such as health care, pensions, communications and transportation facilities, allocations for families raising children, unemployment insurance, free education at all levels. These are the benefits that are under threat from the European Union in various ways. One way is the imposition of "competition" rules that impose privatization and favor foreign takeovers that transform public services into profit-seekers. Another is the imposition of public budget restrictions, along with the obligation of the State to seek private loans, increasing its debt, and the loss of tax revenue that all end up up making the State too poor to continue providing such services.

    Very few French people would want to give up such horizontal equality for the privilege of hoping to become a billionaire.

    Macron is sufficiently Americanized, or, to be more precise, globalized, to have declared that "there is no such thing as French culture". From this viewpoint, France is just a place open to diverse cultures, as well as to immigrants and of course foreign capital. He has clearly signaled his rejection of French independence in the foreign policy field. Unlike his leading rivals, who all called for improved relations with Russia, Macron echoes the Russophobic line of the neocons. He broke tradition on his inauguration by riding down the Champs-Elysées in a military vehicle. A change of tone is indicated by his cabinet nominations. The title of the new foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who served as defense minister in the Hollande government, is "Minister of Europe and of Foreign Affairs", clearly giving Europe preference in the matter. Sylvie Goulard, an ardent Europeist who has remarked that "she does not feel French", has been named Minister of Armies and Minister of Defense. Clearly national defense is an afterthought, when the main idea is to deploy the armed forces in various joint Western interventions.

    The Divided Opposition

    Unless the June parliamentary elections produce stunning surprises, the opposition to Macron's catch-all governance party appears weak and fatally divided. The Socialist Party is almost wiped out. The Republicans are profoundly destabilized. Genuine opposition to the Macron regime can only be based on defense of French interests against EU economic dictates, starting with the euro, which prevents the country from pursuing an independent economic and foreign policy. In short, the genuine opposition must be " souverainiste ", concerned with preserving French sovereignty.

    Two strong personalities emerged from the presidential election as potential leaders of that opposition: Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen. But they are drastically divided.

    Mélenchon ran a spectacularly popular campaign, leaving the Socialist Party far behind (the party he personally left behind years ago). Initially, as he seemed to be taking votes away from Le Pen as well as from the Socialists, he got friendly media coverage, but as he came closer to making it to the decisive second round, the tone started to change. Just as Le Pen was finally knocked out as a "fascist", there is little doubt that had Mélenchon been Macron's challenger, he would have been increasingly denounced as "communist".

    Mélenchon is intelligent enough to have realized that the social policies he advocates cannot be achieved unless France recovers control of its currency. He therefore took a stand against both NATO and the euro. So did Marine Le Pen. Mélenchon was embarrassed by the resemblance between their two programs, and contrary to other eliminated candidates, refrained from endorsing Macron, instead calling on his movement, La France Insoumise , to choose between Macron and abstention. Finally, 25% of Mélenchon voters abstained in the second round, but 62% voted for Macron – almost exclusively motivated by the alleged need to "stop fascism". That compares with the final total results of 66% for Macron and 34 % for Le Pen.

    That vote confirmed the impossibility of forming a unified souverainiste opposition and allows Marine Le Pen to strengthen her claim to be the leader of a genuine opposition to Macron. She has admitted her own mistakes in the campaign, particularly in her debate with Macron, who beat her hands down with his arrogant performance as the economic expert. But despite her mere 34%, she retains the most loyal base of supporters in a changing scene. The problem for Mélenchon is that his electorate is more versatile.

    Despite his loud appeal to "youth", Macron was elected by France's huge population of old people. Among voters over 65, he won 80% against 20% for Le Pen. Marine Le Pen did best with the youngest age group, 18 to 24, winning 44% against Macron's 56%. [1] According to poll of 7,752 representative voters by Le Figaro/LCI,

    The differences were also significant between socio-professional categories. Macron won a whopping 83% of the votes coming from the "superior socio-professional categories" – categories where the "winners" in competitive society are largely ensconced. But in what are described as " categories populaires ", a French term for ordinary folk, with less education, the vote was 53% in favor of Le Pen. And she confirmed her position as favorite candidate of the working class, winning 63% of workers' votes.

    Note that the "superior socio-professional categories" are where the significance of these results will be defined. Individuals from that category – journalists, commentators and show business personalities – are all in a position to spread the word that this vote indicates that the workers must be "racist", and therefore that we have narrowly escaped being taken over by "fascism".

    One of the many odd things about the latest French presidential election is the rejoicing among foreign "leftists" over the fact that the candidate of the rich roundly defeated the candidate of the poor. It used to be the other way around, but that was long ago. These days, the winners in the competitive game comfort themselves that they morally deserve their success, because they are in favor of diversity and against racism, whereas the less fortunate, the rural people and the working class, don't deserve much of anything, because they must be "racist" to be wary of globalization.

    The fact that Paris voted 90% for Macron is natural, considering that real estate prices have pushed the working class out of the capital, whose population is now overwhelmingly what is called "bobo" – the bohemian bourgeoisie, many of whom are employed in various branches of the dominant human rights ideology fabrication business: journalists, professors, teachers, consultants, the entertainment industry. In these milieux, hardly anyone would even dare speak a positive word about Marine Le Pen.

    What if Marine Le Pen had won?

    Since politics is largely fantasy, we may as well try to imagine the unimaginable: what if Marine Le Pen had won the election? This was never a realistic possibility, but it is worth imagining.

    It could have had one, perhaps only one, extremely positive result: it could have freed France from its paralyzing obsession with the nonexistent "fascist threat". The ghost would be exorcised. If the word has any meaning, "fascism" implies single party rule, whereas Marine Le Pen made clear her desire to govern by coalition, and selected the leader of a small Gaullist party, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, as her prospective prime minister. Poof! No fascism. That would have been an immeasurable benefit for political debate in France. At last genuine issues might matter. Real threats could be confronted.

    Another advantage would have been the demise of the National Front. Since Marine Le Pen took over the notorious party founded by her reactionary father, it has kept a precarious balance between two opposing wings. There is the right wing in the southeast, along the Riviera, the bastion of the party's founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a region represented in the outgoing parliament by his conservative granddaughter Marion Maréchal Le Pen. In the old industrial northeast region, between Arras and Lille, Marine Le Pen has built her own bastion, as champion of ordinary working people, where she won a majority of votes in the presidential election.

    This is not the only time in history when an heiress has gone away with the heritage to join someone of whom her father disapproves. All those who want to cling to their comforting hatred of the left's official Satan have trouble believing that Marine Le Pen broke with her reactionary father to go her own way (just as U.S. hawks couldn't believe in Gorbachev). This change owes everything to her encounter with Florian Philippot, an intellectual who gave up on the ability of the Socialists to face the real issues. Marine has the personal qualities of a leader, and Philippot provided the intellectual substance she needed. Marine has decisively chosen Philippot as her advisor and co-leader, despite grumblings by Jean-Marie that she has been led astray by a gay Marxist. Had Marine won, her left wing would have been strengthened enough to enable her and Philippot to scrap the National Front and found a new "Patriot Party". However, by scoring below 40%, she has weakened her authority and must try to hold the troublesome party together in order to win seats in the new parliament – which will not be easy.

    Marine Le Pen would have tried to enact measures to save French industry and the jobs it provides, provide various benefits for low-income people, withdraw from NATO, and even promote a peaceful world, starting with friendly relations with Russia. She would even have begun to prepare her compatriots for escape from the euro.

    But not to worry, none of this "fascist" program would ever have come to pass. If she had won, bands of protesting "antifascists" would have invaded the streets, smashing windows and attacking police. The outgoing Socialist government was preparing to use the resulting chaos as a pretext to stay in power long enough to manage the parliamentary elections, [2] "Si Le Pen avait été élue le plan secret pour 'protéger la République'", Le Nouvel Observateur, May 17, 2017 , ensuring that President Marine Le Pen would be held in check. A "color revolution" was ready to be stirred up. The deep state is vigilant in NATOland.

    Diana Johnstone is co-author of " From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning ", by Paul H. Johnstone, her father. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

    [May 23, 2017] Tulsi Gabbard: Citizens United worsened the crisis of dark money influencing our country. We need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics.

    May 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

    L.K , May 23, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

    Tulsi Gabbard‏ on twitter, May 19:

    Citizens United worsened the crisis of dark money influencing our country. We need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics.

    I've decided to stop accepting PAC/lobbyist $$. Bottom line: we can't allow our future to be driven and shaped by special interests.

    It always amazes me so few zamericans seem to even discuss these basic themes; with such a completely corrupt political system, there is little chance even a solid, well meaning president could accomplish much.

    In fact , such corrupt system hardly produces any good statesmen to begin with

    [May 23, 2017] Populism organizing political principle was a moral fight between the common man and a few moneyed elites who exploited the masses for personal gain

    "Universalist Democrat"="Neoliberal Democrats" or Clinton wing of the party.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Rhetorically, universalist Democrats often end up appealing for a party that offers a space for everyone to voice their concerns. Hillary Clinton is a great example of this ..."
    "... Populists, according to Gerring's categories, were the dominant force in national Democratic politics from 1896 to 1948. ..."
    "... Their organizing political principle was a moral fight between the common man and a few moneyed elites who exploited the masses for personal gain. Populists often targeted trusts. They used moral language, explicitly calling policies "right" or "wrong" and believed that the government was the only force strong enough to restrain big business, ensure that the basic needs of citizens were met and bring people into a state of true equality." ..."
    May 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    [ RealClearPolitics ] Interesting ideological formulation:

    "Gerring writes that universalism started to take hold in the Democratic Party in the postwar era as national Democrats shifted away from an anti-elitist, populist message and toward rhetoric centered on unity, peace and prosperity.

    Universalists tend to see abstract concepts rather than specific people or institutions as problems - think of the efforts to stop poverty, end racism or reduce income inequality. Universalist Democrats cast themselves as managers of the welfare state rather than crusaders against a powerful elite, and they often championed the rights and causes of a wide array of individual groups.

    Democrats' focus on LGBT rights, civil rights protections for African-Americans, comprehensive immigration reform, women's rights and more can all be thought of as part of as a universalist commitment to the particular needs of groups.

    Rhetorically, universalist Democrats often end up appealing for a party that offers a space for everyone to voice their concerns. Hillary Clinton is a great example of this" .

    "Sanders, however, doesn't ultimately trace his policy positions to a fight with poverty or for better health care, but to a fight against Wall Street bankers or pharmaceutical companies. His economic narratives have clear and present antagonists . In these ways, Sanders is more of a populist than many modern Democrats. Populists, according to Gerring's categories, were the dominant force in national Democratic politics from 1896 to 1948.

    Their organizing political principle was a moral fight between the common man and a few moneyed elites who exploited the masses for personal gain. Populists often targeted trusts. They used moral language, explicitly calling policies "right" or "wrong" and believed that the government was the only force strong enough to restrain big business, ensure that the basic needs of citizens were met and bring people into a state of true equality."

    [May 22, 2017] The current divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They dont align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, are calling the shots and operate outside election cycle.

    Notable quotes:
    "... The real relations and divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They don't align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections anymore. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence & surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, they're all playing power-circle games. ..."
    "... The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy running all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region. ..."
    "... These are the functionaries and apparatchiks of a stagnating system, which is what's been going on in the U.S. for awhile now. Trump was just too much of an outsider to be accepted by the insiders, and his threats to change the status quo led to the current situation. ..."
    "... This is exactly how leadership selection in the old Soviet Union went on, too. And Trump is no master of bureaucratic infighting, unlike say, Putin. He's just flailing at this point. ..."
    www.moonofalabama.org

    nonsense factory | May 18, 2017 4:58:30 PM | 56

    Anon

    The real relations and divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They don't align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections anymore. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence & surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, they're all playing power-circle games. This is how the system has operated - Cheney ran it under Bush, Clinton ran it under Obama, it's all bureaucractic infighting. If you read about Soviet history you see the same thing:

    The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy running all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region.

    These are the functionaries and apparatchiks of a stagnating system, which is what's been going on in the U.S. for awhile now. Trump was just too much of an outsider to be accepted by the insiders, and his threats to change the status quo led to the current situation. Pence, they figure, will be far more amenable to control. Even though Trump has been going along with the standard Republican domestic agenda, he's just viewed as too unpredictable for their tastes. This is exactly how leadership selection in the old Soviet Union went on, too. And Trump is no master of bureaucratic infighting, unlike say, Putin. He's just flailing at this point.

    I'm not concerned about it though, if the grossly corrupt federal government is locked up with this nonsense for the next four years, that's fine. Perhaps state governments can step up and work together to solve problems while Washington gnaws its own belly, that's about the best we can hope for.

    [May 22, 2017] Th>e best technique of obtaining soundbytes and posturing for neoliberal elite is based on so-called wedge issues

    Notable quotes:
    "... Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat. ..."
    www.moonofalabama.org
    Piotr Berman | May 18, 2017 10:04:50 PM | 77
    "Donald Trump used alt-right messaging to get into the White House but he and his third-rate staff haven't the slightest clue of what gave rise to the deplorables in the first place and how to address the root despair of the western working class." VietnamVet

    I do not know how highly rated the staff was, but it was sufficiently high. If the opponent has fourth-rate staff, it would be wasteful to use anything better than third-rate. Figuring what gave rise to the deplorable is a wasted effort, sociologist differ, and in politics the "root causes" matter only a little.

    And all authorities suggest to exploit the despair with soundbites and posturing. Granted, this is a platitude, but how to obtain compelling soundbites and posturing? I think that the best technique is based on so-called wedge issues.

    A good wedge issue should raise passions on "both sides" but not so much in the "center", mostly clueless undecided voters.

    Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat.

    [May 22, 2017] Faux populist model of governance

    Notable quotes:
    "... My thesis is this: both Obama and Trump are faux populists and are part and parcel of a 'faux populist model of governance'. Elements of this model are ..."
    "... A craven narcisstic egotistic Leader (Obama, Trump) that is a willing tool because he/she intends to capture a future payoff for himself. ..."
    "... Establishment-friendly VP as insurance. Both Biden and Pence are seen as 'reliable hands' by TPTB. ..."
    "... crazy opposition that is intended to weaken a faux populist leader and energize apologists. I call them "enforcers". ..."
    "... A compliant media ..."
    "... This is a toxic mix because it sends the message that neither your vote nor your opinion matters so why waste your time seeking out truth? ..."
    "... a sort of 5th column of folks working on behalf of 5th columnists, subverting government in favor of the lucrative process of policy misdirection itself. ..."
    May 22, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Jackrabbit | May 20, 2017 2:10:15 PM | 89

    Anon @83

    I think you misread or misunderstood what I wrote.

    My thesis is this: both Obama and Trump are faux populists and are part and parcel of a 'faux populist model of governance'. Elements of this model are :

    1. A craven narcisstic egotistic Leader (Obama, Trump) that is a willing tool because he/she intends to capture a future payoff for himself. They signal their willingness via:

    > forgiving past abuses ("no-drama Obama"; Trump's not prosecuting Hillary)

    > constraining their own power: Obama's bi-partisanship (termed "11-dimensional chess" by critics), Trump's brashness/recklessness that gives his opponents fodder ("tapes" on Comey, etc.)

    2. Establishment-friendly VP as insurance. Both Biden and Pence are seen as 'reliable hands' by TPTB.

    3. crazy opposition that is intended to weaken a faux populist leader and energize apologists. I call them "enforcers". By crazy opposition, I mean

    > Obama: 'birthers' and smears like "socialist muslim".

    Trump: Russia probe; smears like "the new Hitler"

    4. apologists that take as a given that the President wants to fulfill the promises, both spoken and unspoken, that he has made to the people.

    PS I wrote about this on my blog.
    Jackrabbit | May 20, 2017 2:47:50 PM | 90
    And, of course:
    5. A compliant media
    Other considerations: This is a toxic mix because it sends the message that neither your vote nor your opinion matters so why waste your time seeking out truth?
    jfl | May 20, 2017 7:04:53 PM | 92
    in what's termed the second of a series, someone named Jonathan Marshall makes the crucial point about the various 'lobbies' in the usofa ... How China Lobby Shaped America

    In 1949, two members of Congress called for an investigation of the lobby's "brazen power." Rep. Mike Mansfield, a Montana Democrat who would later become Senate majority leader, accused Nationalist Chinese officials - who had fled the mainland for Taiwan that year in the wake of the communist revolution - of diverting U.S. aid to fund political propaganda in the United States.

    Ironically, a timely dispensation of $800,000 from Nationalist Chinese officials in Taiwan to their New York office financed a successful campaign to squelch that proposed investigation.

    ... they are self-funding operations. once the money starts to flow a portion is set aside for kickbacks, bribes, and efforts to protect the mainstream funding itself. it is truly a parasitic operation that feeds on the fruits of its effort on others' behalf, and thus strengthens itself, becoming a stand-alone operation.

    there are tens of thousands of people in ac/dc working in these operations, looking out for taiwan's interests, israel's interests, making sure that russia stays demonized ... all the various corporate issues ... but at base and before all else, looking out for number one.

    a sort of 5th column of folks working on behalf of 5th columnists, subverting government in favor of the lucrative process of policy misdirection itself.

    with a gang like that at the core of our government what, as they say, could go wrong?

    [May 19, 2017] Did Seth Rich Contact WikiLeaks

    Notable quotes:
    "... The other story, however, is something our spooks don't want you to even know about. Fox News reported earlier today [Wednesday] that the private investigator hired by the family of Seth Rich – but paid for by a third party – is now saying there's solid evidence that Rich – a former DNC employee, embedded in their computer operations – was in contact with WikiLeaks. ..."
    "... Rich was murdered in the wee hours of July 10, 2016. His wallet, his watch, and valuables were still on him, despite claims it was a botched robbery. Days later, WikiLeaks published the DNC emails. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of his murderers. ..."
    "... "An FBI forensic report of Rich's computer – generated within 96 hours after Rich's murder – showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time, the federal source told Fox News. "'I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,' the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department." ..."
    "... Speaking of WikiLeaks: a largely overlooked email from John Podesta's leaked account has him saying: "I am definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker." It kind of makes you think, doesn't it? ..."
    May 16, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

    Two stories are now dominating the headlines: one is something the Establishment wants you to pay attention to, and the other is something they want to bury. First off, to the former:

    The Washington Beltway is in an uproar over the latest Deep State attempt to tar the President of the United States as a Russian agent: they're claiming Trump gave super-duper Top Secret information –provided, it turns out, by the Israelis – to the Russians during a meeting with the Kremlin's Foreign Minister and their ambassador at the White House.

    There are two problems with this story: if the anonymous former and currently serving "intelligence officials" cited by the Washington Post were really concerned about the damage done to our "sources and methods," they would never have leaked this story in the first place. Secondly, everyone in the room at the time, including National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, denies it.

    Far from proving Trump is either the Manchurian candidate and/or is playing fast and loose with our national security, it merely shows – once again – that the "intelligence community" is out to depose him by any means necessary. Add to this Israel's amen corner, which is now screeching that Trump "betrayed" Israel.

    The other story, however, is something our spooks don't want you to even know about. Fox News reported earlier today [Wednesday] that the private investigator hired by the family of Seth Rich – but paid for by a third party – is now saying there's solid evidence that Rich – a former DNC employee, embedded in their computer operations – was in contact with WikiLeaks.

    Rich was murdered in the wee hours of July 10, 2016. His wallet, his watch, and valuables were still on him, despite claims it was a botched robbery. Days later, WikiLeaks published the DNC emails. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of his murderers.

    Fox News is reporting that Rich's computer shows "44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between DNC leaders" passed between Rich and WikiLeaks. They cite not only Rod Wheeler , a former Washington DC homicide detective hired by the Rich family to solve the case, but also a "federal investigator" who corroborates Wheeler's claims:

    "An FBI forensic report of Rich's computer – generated within 96 hours after Rich's murder – showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time, the federal source told Fox News.

    "'I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,' the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department."

    Speaking of WikiLeaks: a largely overlooked email from John Podesta's leaked account has him saying: "I am definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker." It kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

    I've said from the beginning that 1) There is no convincing evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC, or fooled John Podesta into giving out his email account password, and 2) It was most likely an inside job. While it may be an overstatement to say that this latest story confirms it, it certainly calls the Russian conspiracy theory into serious question.

    Yet both the House and the Senate have launched investigations designed to prove "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin – to say nothing of the FBI probe. Will the same attention be paid to the Rich-MacFayden correspondence?

    Of course not.

    The Rich family is denying that there's any evidence their son was in contact with WikiLeaks: but their official spokesman – yes, they have one – is one Brad Bauman , a self-described " crisis consultant " for the Democrats. Which is very appropriate, since these new revelations do indeed constitute a crisis for the Democrats, who have based their entire post-election strategy on a flimsy conspiracy theory that has been debunked by cyber-security experts (the ones who aren't in the pay of the DNC, that is)..

    Wheeler says that a local police officer in Washington "looked me straight in the eye" and told him they had been ordered to "stand down" on Rich's case. As for the "mainstream" media, they don't have to be told to stand down – they're doing it instinctively.

    But no worries! Antiwar.com was founded to blast through the "mainstream" media wall of silence. That's our job, and we've been doing it for over 20 years. But we can't continue to do it without your help. This Russia conspiracy theory is just plain bonkers, and is clearly the creation of political opportunists and Deep State spooks who have a vested interest in pushing it.

    Well, we have a vested interest in the truth. And so do you. That's why supporting Antiwar.com should be near the top of your agenda right now: because a site like this has never been more necessary.

    But it doesn't come free! We depend on you, our readers, to donate the funds we need to continue. So don't let the "mainstream" media pull the wool over America's eyes – make your tax-deductible donation today.

    Postscript: By the way, the Fox News story on the Seth Rich-Wikileaks connection, by reporter Malia Zimmerman, went through several interesting iterations since its original publication. See here .

    [May 19, 2017] Centrist Macron Yes, a dead-center insider for global capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... The media says what??? Hillary Clinton complains about the media? Which media says that? Give us ONE single example Hillary! Just one where the media says you can't talk about that. Just pure hypocrisy ..."
    "... Superficially, there is a semblance of variance from the political establishment. Macron formed his En Marche (Forward) movement only a year ago. He has never held elected political office. And until three years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of him. ..."
    "... Paradoxically, Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, congratulated the French people for "choosing liberty, equality and fraternity, and saying no to fake news." Paradoxical because everything about Emmanuel Macron's "meteoric rise" through elite banking and his equally stellar crossover to politics smacks of fabrication and fakery. ..."
    "... Former banking colleagues recall that he wasn't particularly capable in his four years at Rothschild's while on a multi-million-euro income. But he "mastered the art of networking." In a Financial Times profile published before the election, a senior banker is quoted as saying: "What Mr Macron lacked in technical knowledge and jargon at first, he made up for with contacts in government." Other sources recall that "it was never quite clear who Macron worked for." ..."
    "... Macron's En Marche does not have any members in parliament. His government will thus likely be comprised of patronage and technocrats selected from years of networking in the financial and Élysée Palace establishment. ..."
    May 10, 2017 | www.eutimes.net

    Everything about France's new president Emmanuel Macron suggests a theatrical production of hype and illusion. He is being "sold" to the masses as an "outsider" and "centrist", a benign liberal.

    In reality, enter the economic hitman who will blow French society apart in the service of the oligarchy.

    At age 39, Macron has been described as a "political wonderboy" and France's "youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte." The former Rothschild banker who reportedly once had the nickname "the Mozart of Finance" is now promising to renew France and bring the nation together, where people will no longer "vote for extremes."

    Fittingly for the Mozart of Finance, the new president used the "grandest of backdrops for entrance on the world stage," when he made his victory speech on Sunday night in the courtyard of the Louvre, noted the Financial Times. His dramatic walk to the stage through the world-famous museum courtyard took a full four minutes. The night lights and shadows played with Macron's unsmiling, stoney face as he strode purposely forward amid the strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy. The choice of the European Union's national anthem, rather than France's, is a harbinger of Macron's political project and the globalist interests he serves.

    The media says what??? Hillary Clinton complains about the media? Which media says that? Give us ONE single example Hillary! Just one where the media says you can't talk about that. Just pure hypocrisy

    Geographically, the Louvre is situated midway between the traditional political venues of the Place de la Concorde for the right, and La Bastille for the left. Here was Macron intimating once again, as he did during his campaign, that he represents neither right or left. He has vowed to overturn the bipartisan structure of French politics, creating a new "centrist" movement. Just like his other moniker of being an "outsider," however, this image of Macron is a deftly manicured illusion.

    Superficially, there is a semblance of variance from the political establishment. Macron formed his En Marche (Forward) movement only a year ago. He has never held elected political office. And until three years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of him. Now he is to become the eighth president of the French Fifth Republic.

    Paradoxically, Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, congratulated the French people for "choosing liberty, equality and fraternity, and saying no to fake news." Paradoxical because everything about Emmanuel Macron's "meteoric rise" through elite banking and his equally stellar crossover to politics smacks of fabrication and fakery. With his elite education at the Ecole National Academie (ENA) where future French political leaders are groomed, to his precocious elevation in investment banking, followed by his seamless entrance into top-flight government politics, Macron is evidently a person with powerful guiding forces behind him.

    Former banking colleagues recall that he wasn't particularly capable in his four years at Rothschild's while on a multi-million-euro income. But he "mastered the art of networking." In a Financial Times profile published before the election, a senior banker is quoted as saying: "What Mr Macron lacked in technical knowledge and jargon at first, he made up for with contacts in government." Other sources recall that "it was never quite clear who Macron worked for."

    As the Financial Times noted: "At the bank, Mr Macron navigated around the numerous conflicts of interest that arise in close-knit Parisian business circles, making good use of his connections as an Inspecteur des Finances - an elite corps of the very highest-ranking graduates from ENA."

    After quitting private finance, Macron joined the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande, where he at first served as a "special advisor." In 2014, Hollande appointed him as economy minister where he drew up a draconian program to undermine French employment rights in favor of corporate profits. Macron resigned from his ministerial post only last year when he set up his own political party in anticipation of contesting the presidential election.

    Macron's En Marche does not have any members in parliament. His government will thus likely be comprised of patronage and technocrats selected from years of networking in the financial and Élysée Palace establishment. What little is known about Macron's policies is his stated commitment to more stringent economic austerity, promises to slash €60 billion in public spending over the next five years and axe up to 120,000 state sector jobs. He is also setting to drive through more "business friendly" changes in labor laws that will allow bosses to more easily hire and fire employees. He is giving companies license to negotiate increased working hours and lower salaries outside of statutory law. So, the notion that Macron is some kind of benign "centrist" is an insult to common intelligence. He is a "centrist" only in the sense of illusory corporate media branding; in objective terms, Macron is a dedicated economic hitman for global capitalism.

    Whatever one might think of his defeated rival Marine Le Pen of the Front National, she certainly had Macron accurately summed up when she referred to him as the "candidate of finance." Independent Socialist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was narrowly knocked out in the first round of the election on April 23, predicts that Macron will be a "disaster" for French society, blowing apart economic inequality and social contracts to turn the country into the kind of poverty-wage slavery seen in the US and Britain.

    There is sound reason why the French and European political establishment exulted in Macron's victory. He is no outsider, overturning the status quo for a more democratic outcome. He is in fact a consummate insider who will pursue policies pandering to elite interests, at the expense of the great majority.

    Macron's "centrist [sic] victory brought joy to Europe's political establishment," reported the New York Times, while the BBC informed of "palpable relief among European leaders." Outgoing President Francois Hollande – the most unpopular French leader ever – warmly congratulated Macron, as did incumbent prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve and other senior government figures. Macron had been endorsed by Hollande's so-called Socialist Party and the center-right Republicans. So much for his vaunted "outsider" image. Macron was also endorsed prior to the weekend vote by former US President Barack Obama and European leaders, including Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    The irony of such brazen "electoral interference" is of course that this was what such Western leaders have accused Russia of. Again, it also shows that Macron will be a "centrist" in more ways than is meant. He will serve as a "dead-center" advocate of the transatlantic politics of Washington-led neoliberal capitalism and NATO militarism. The French President-elect published a political autobiography earlier this year entitled 'Revolution'. The only thing "revolutionary" about Macron's victory is that the political establishment has invented an image for itself that upturns reality.

    The intense media marketing of Macron as a "centrist outsider" is a coup against the meaning of words and plain language. It is also worth noting that over 16 million French voters abstained or spoiled their votes against the 20 million who opted for Macron. French society, as for other Western nations, is riven by the ravages of global capitalism. And now here comes the "Mozart of Finance" to allegedly bring harmony from the appalling discord he and others like him have sown.

    Source

    [May 19, 2017] Notes From an Emergency Tech Feudalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words ..."
    "... This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin. ..."
    "... The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda. ..."
    "... Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals. ..."
    "... And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously. ..."
    "... But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it. ..."
    "... A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse. ..."
    May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on May 19, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a wide-ranging, lively, sobering talk about the implications of tech feudalism and what we can do about it.

    ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words

    This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin.

    The good part about naming a talk in 2017 'Notes from an Emergency' is that there are so many directions to take it.

    The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda.

    Depending on where you live, the rise of this new right wing might be nothing new. In the United States, our moment of shock came last November, with the election of Donald Trump. The final outcome of that election was:

    65.8 million for Clinton
    63.0 million for Trump

    This was the second time in sixteen years that the candidate with fewer votes won the American Presidency. There is a bug in the operating system of our democracy, one of the many ways that slavery still casts its shadow over American politics.

    But however tenuously elected, Trump is in the White House, and our crisis has become your crisis. Not just because America is a superpower, or because the forces that brought Trump to power are gaining ground in Europe, but because the Internet is an American Internet.

    Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals.

    In their online life, Europeans have become completely dependent on companies headquartered in the United States.

    And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously.

    But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it.

    This is an astonishing state of affairs. I can't imagine a world where Europe would let itself become reliant on American cheese, or where Germans could only drink Coors Light.

    In the past, Europe has shown that it's capable of identifying a vital interest and moving to protect it. When American aerospace companies were on the point of driving foreign rivals out of business, European governments formed the Airbus consortium , which now successfully competes with Boeing.

    A giant part of the EU budget goes to subsidize farming , not because farming is the best use of resources in a first-world economy, but because farms are important to national security, to the landscape, to national identity, social stability, and a shared sense of who we are.

    But when it comes to the Internet, Europe doesn't put up a fight. It has ceded the ground entirely to American corporations. And now those corporations have to deal with Trump. How hard do you think they'll work to defend European interests?

    The Feudal Internet

    The status quo in May 2017 looks like this:

    There are five Internet companies-Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Together they have a market capitalization just under 3 trillion dollars.

    Bruce Schneier has called this arrangement the feudal Internet . Part of this concentration is due to network effects, but a lot of it is driven by the problem of security. If you want to work online with any measure of convenience and safety, you must choose a feudal lord who is big enough to protect you.

    These five companies compete and coexist in complex ways.

    Apple and Google have a duopoly in smartphone operating systems. Android has 82% of the handset market , iOS has 18%.

    Google and Facebook are on their way to a duopoly in online advertising. Over half of the revenue in that lucrative ($70B+) industry goes to them, and the two companies between them are capturing all of the growth (16% a year).

    Apple and Microsoft have a duopoly in desktop operating systems. The balance is something like nine to one in favor of Windows , not counting the three or four people who use Linux on the desktop, all of whom are probably at this conference.

    Three companies, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, dominate cloud computing. AWS has 57% adoption , Azure has 34%. Google has 15%.

    Outside of China and Russia, Facebook and LinkedIn are the only social networks at scale. LinkedIn has been able to survive by selling itself to Microsoft.

    And outside of Russia and China, Google is the world's search engine .

    That is the state of the feudal Internet, leaving aside the court jester, Twitter, who plays an important but ancillary role as a kind of worldwide chat room.

    Google in particular has come close to realizing our nightmare scenario from 1998, a vertically integrated Internet controlled by a single monopoly player. Google runs its own physical network, builds phone handsets, develops a laptop and phone operating system, makes the world's most widely-used browser, runs a private DNS system, PKI certificate authority, has photographed nearly all the public spaces in the world, and stores much of the world's email.

    But because it is run by more sympathetic founders than Bill Gates, because it builds better software than early Microsoft did, and because it built up a lot of social capital during its early "don't be evil" period, we've given it a pass.

    Security

    It's not clear that anyone can secure large data collections over time. The asymmetry between offense and defense may be too great. If defense at scale is possible, the only way to do it is by pouring millions of dollars into hiring the best people to defend it. Data breaches at the highest levels have shown us that the threats are real and ongoing. And for every breach we know about, there are many silent ones that we won't learn about for years.

    A successful defense, however, just increases the risk. Pile up enough treasure behind the castle walls and you'll eventually attract someone who can climb them. The feudal system makes the Internet more brittle, ensuring that when a breach finally comes, it will be disastrous.

    Each of the big five companies, with the important exception of Apple, has made aggressive user surveillance central to its business model. This is a dilemma of the feudal internet. We seek protection from these companies because they can offer us security. But their business model is to make us more vulnerable, by getting us to surrender more of the details of our lives to their servers, and to put more faith in the algorithms they train on our observed behavior.

    These algorithms work well, and despite attempts to convince us otherwise, it's clear they work just as well in politics as in commerce. So in our eagerness to find safety online, we've given this feudal Internet the power to change our offline world in unanticipated and scary ways.

    Globalism

    These big five companies operate on a global scale, and partly because they created the industries they now dominate, they enjoy a very lax regulatory regime. Everywhere outside the United States and EU, they are immune to government oversight, and within the United Statesl the last two administrations have played them with a light touch. The only meaningful attempt to regulate surveillance capitalism has come out of the European Union.

    Thanks to their size and reach, the companies have become adept at stonewalling governments and evading attempts at regulation or oversight. In many cases, this evasion is noble. You don't want Bahrain or Poland to be able to subpoena Facebook and get the names of people organizing a protest rally. In other cases, it's purely self-serving. Uber has made a sport of evading all authority, foreign and domestic, in order to grow.

    Good or bad, the lesson these companies have drawn is the same: they need only be accountable to themselves.

    But their software and algorithms affect the lives of billions of people. Decisions about how this software works are not under any kind of democratic control. In the best case, they are being made by idealistic young people in California with imperfect knowledge of life in a faraway place like Germany. In the worst case, they are simply being read out of a black-box algorithm trained on God knows what data.

    This is a very colonial mentality! In fact, it's what we fought our American War of Independence over, a sense of grievance that decisions that affected us were being made by strangers across the ocean.

    Today we're returning the favor to all of Europe.

    Facebook, for example, has only one manager in Germany to deal with every publisher in the country. One! The company that is dismantling the news industry in Germany doesn't even care enough to send a proper team to manage the demolition.

    Denmark has gone so far as to appoint an ambassador to the giant tech companies, an unsettling but pragmatic acknowledgement of the power relationship that exists between the countries of Europe and Silicon Valley.

    So one question (speaking now as an EU citizen): how did we let this happen? We used to matter! We used to be the ones doing the colonizing! We used to be a contender!

    How is it that some dopey kid in Palo Alto gets to decide the political future of the European Union based on what they learned at big data boot camp? Did we lose a war?

    The lack of accountability isn't just troubling from a philosophical perspective. It's dangerous in a political climate where people are pushing back at the very idea of globalization. There's no industry more globalized than tech, and no industry more vulnerable to a potential backlash.

    China and Russia show us that the Internet need not be a world-wide web, that it can be subverted and appropriated by the state. By creating a political toolkit for authoritarian movements, the American tech giants may be putting their own future at risk.

    Irreality

    Given this scary state of the world, with ecological collapse just over the horizon, and a population sharpening its pitchforks, an important question is how this globalized, unaccountable tech industry sees its goals. What does it want? What will all the profits be invested in?

    What is the plan?

    The honest answer is: rocket ships and immortality.

    I wish I was kidding.

    The best minds in Silicon Valley are preoccupied with a science fiction future they consider it their manifest destiny to build. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing each other to Mars. Musk gets most of the press, but Bezos now sells $1B in Amazon stock a year to fund Blue Origin. Investors have put over $8 billion into space companies over the past five years, as part of a push to export our problems here on Earth into the rest of the Solar System.

    As happy as I am to see Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos fired into space, this does not seem to be worth the collapse of representative government.

    Our cohort of tech founders is feeling the chill breath of mortality as they drift into middle age. And so part of what is driving this push into space is a more general preoccupation with 'existential risk'.

    Musk is persuaded that we're living in a simulation, and he or a fellow true believer has hired programmers to try to hack it.

    Peter Thiel, our most unfortunate German import, has built a survival retreat for himself in New Zealand .

    Sam Altman hoards gold in Big Sur .

    OpenAI, a religious cult thinly disguised as a research institution, has received $1B in funding to forestall the robot rebellion.

    The biggest existential risk, of course, is death, so a lot of money is going to make sure that our big idea men don't expire before the world has been received the full measure of their genius.

    Google Ventures founded the very secretive life extension startup Calico , with $1.5B dollars in funding. Google loses $4B a year on its various "moon shots", which include life extension. They employ Ray Kurzweil, who believes we're still on track for immortality by 2045 . Larry Ellison has put $370M to anti-aging research , as anybody would want to live in a world with an immortal Larry Ellison. Our plutocrats are eager to make death an opt-out experience.

    Now, I'm no fan of death. I don't like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.

    But at the same time, I'm not convinced that a civilization that is struggling to cure male-pattern baldness is ready to take on the Grim Reaper. If we're going to worry about existential risk, I would rather we start by addressing the two existential risks that are indisputably real-nuclear war and global climate change-and working our way up from there.

    But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives.

    The tech industry enjoys tearing down flawed institutions, but refuses to put work into mending them. Their runaway apparatus of surveillance and manipulation earns them a fortune while damaging everything it touches. And all they can think about is the cool toys they'll get to spend the profits on.

    The message that's not getting through to Silicon Valley is one that your mother taught you when you were two: you don't get to play with the new toys until you clean up the mess you made.

    The circumstances that have given the tech industry all this power will not last long. There is a limited time in which our small caste of tech nerds will have the power to make decisions that shape the world. By wasting the talents and the energies of our brightest people on fantasy role play, we are ceding the future to a more practical group of successors, some truly scary people who will take our tools and use them to advance a very different agenda.

    To recap: the Internet has centralized into a very few hands. We have an extremely lucrative apparatus of social control, and it's being run by chuckleheads.

    The American government is also being run by chuckleheads.

    The question everybody worries about is, what happens when these two groups of chuckleheads join forces?

    The Winter

    For many Americans, the election was a moment of profound shock. It wasn't just Trump's policies that scared us. It was the fact that this unserious, cruel, vacant human being had been handed the power of the American presidency.

    Scariest to me was how little changed. No one in the press or in social media had the courage to say "we fucked up." Pundits who were stunned by the election result still made confident predictions about what would happen next, as if they had any claim to predictive power.

    After the election both Facebook and Google looked at the mountains of data they had collected on everyone, looked at the threats the Trump Administration was making-to deport 11 million people, to ban Muslims from entering the country-and said to themselves, "we got this."

    The people who did worry were tech workers. For a moment, we saw some political daylight appear between the hundreds of thousands of people who work in the tech sector, and the small clique of billionaires who run it. While the latter filed in to a famously awkward meeting with Trump and his children at the top of his golden tower, the former began organizing in opposition, including signing a simple but powerful pledge to resign rather than help Trump fulfill one of his key campaign promises: barring Muslims from the United States.

    This pledge was a small gesture, but it represented the first collective action by tech workers around a political agenda that went beyond technology policy, and the first time I had ever seen tech workers come out in open defiance of management.

    A forest of new organizations sprung up. I started one, too, called Tech Solidarity, and started traveling around the country and holding meetings with tech workers in big cities. I had no idea what I was doing, other than trying to use a small window of time to organize and mobilize our sleepy industry.

    That feeling of momentum continued through when Trump took office. The Women's March in January brought five million people out onto the streets. America is not used to mass protests. To see the streets of our major cities fill with families, immigrants, in many cases moms and daughters and grandmothers marching together, that was a sight to take your breath away.

    Hard on the heels of it came the travel ban, an executive order astonishing not just in its cruelty-families were split at airports; in one case a mom was not allowed to breastfeed her baby -but in its ineptitude. For a week or two lawyers were camped out at airports, working frantically, sleeping little, with spontaneous efforts to bring them supplies, get them funding, to do anything to help. We held a rally in San Francisco that raised thirty thousand dollars from a room of a hundred people. Some of the organizations we were helping couldn't even attend, they were too busy at the airport. It didn't matter.

    The tech companies did all they could to not get involved. Facebook has a special ' safety check ' feature for exactly this kind of situation, but never thought of turning it on at airports. Public statements out of Silicon Valley were so insipid as to be comical .

    Employees, however, were electrified. It looked like not only visitors but permanent residents would be barred from the United States. Google employees staged a walkout with the support of their management; Facebook (not wishing to be left behind) had its own internal protest a couple of days later, but kept it a secret. Every time the employees pushed, management relented . Suddenly top executives were going on the record against the travel ban.

    People briefly even got mad at Elon Musk , normally a darling of the tech industry, for his failure to resign from the President's advisory council. The silent majority of tech employees had begun to mobilize.

    And then nothing happened. This tech workforce, which had gotten a taste of its own power, whose smallest efforts at collective action had produced immediate results, who had seen just how much sway they held, went back to work. The worst of Trump's travel ban was blocked by the court, and we moved on. With the initial shock of Trump in office gone, we now move from crisis to crisis, but without a plan or a shared positive goal.

    The American discomfort with prolonged, open disagreement has set in.

    When I started trying to organize people in November, my theory was that tech workers were the only group that had leverage over the tech giants.

    My reasoning went like this: being monopolies or near-monopolies, these companies are impervious to public pressure. Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life.

    Several of these companies are structured (unusually for American corporations) in such a way that the board can't control the majority of votes. At Google and Facebook, for example, the ultimate say goes to the founders. And since Google and Facebook are the major online publishing outlets, it's unlikely that the press would ever criticize them, even if journalists were capable of that kind of sustained attention.

    So that leaves just one point of leverage: employees. Tech workers are hard to find, expensive to hire, take a long time to train, and can have their pick of jobs. Tech companies are small compared to other industries, relying heavily on automation. If even a few dozen workers on an ops team acted in concert, they would have the power to shut down a tech giant like Google. All they had to do was organize around a shared agenda.

    Workers seemed receptive to the argument, but confused about how they could make collective action a reality. Trade unions in the United States have been under attack for decades. There is almost no union culture in technology. Our tech workers are passive and fatalistic.

    So here I am in Europe, wondering, what on Earth can we do?

    And I keep coming back to this idea of connecting the tech industry to reality. Bringing its benefits to more people, and bringing the power to make decisions to more people.

    Closing the Loop

    After Communism collapsed in Poland, I started visiting the country every eight months or so. Even in the darkest period of the 1990's, it was striking to see people's material standard of living improve. Suddenly people had cars, phones, appliances. These gains were uneven but broad. Even farmers and retirees, though they were the hardest hit, had access to consumer goods that weren't available before. You could see the change in homes and in public spaces. It was no longer necessary for office workers in Kraków to change their shirts at lunchtime because of soot in the air. The tap water in Warsaw went from light brown to a pleasant pale yellow.

    For all the looting, corruption, and inefficiency of privatization, enough of the new wealth got through that the overall standard of living went up. Living standards in Poland in 2010 had more than doubled from 1990.

    In the same time period, in the United States, I've seen a whole lot of nothing. Despite fabulous technical progress, practically all of it pioneered in our country, there's been a singular failure to connect our fabulous prosperity with the average person.

    A study just out shows that for the median male worker in the United States, the highest lifetime wages came if you entered the workforce in 1967 . That is astonishing. People born in 1942 had better lifetime earnings prospects than people entering the workforce today.

    You can see this failure to connect with your own eyes even in a rich place like Silicon Valley. There are homeless encampments across the street from Facebook headquarters . California has a larger GDP than France , and at the same time has the highest poverty rate in America , adjusted for cost of living. Not only did the tech sector fail to build up the communities around it, but it's left people worse off than before, by pricing them out of the places they grew up.

    Walk the length of Market Street (watch your step!) in San Francisco and count the shuttered store fronts. Take Caltrain down to San Jose, and see if you can believe that it is the richest city in the United States , per capita. The massive increase in wealth has not connected with a meaningful way with average people's lives even in the heart of tech country, let alone in the forgotten corners of the country.

    The people who run Silicon Valley identify with progressive values. They're not bad people. They worry about these problems just like we do; they want to help.

    So why the failure to do anything?

    Like T.S. Eliot wrote :

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow

    As I said earlier, the tech industry hates messy problems. We'd rather dream up new problems we can solve from scratch.

    One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

    Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California . But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

    You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

    Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

    The richest 20 people in tech control a fortune of half a trillion dollars in personal wealth, more than the GDP of Sweden.

    This small subculture of wealthy technophiles promotes investment into luxury goods for rich people, or into "mom as a service" types of companies that cater to spoiled workaholics in the tech industry. And so we end up with things like a $120M juice squeezer , or three startups competing to deliver organic baby food .

    Silicon Valley brings us the worst of two economic systems: the inefficiency of a command economy coupled with the remorselessness of laissez-faire liberalism.

    One reason it's been difficult to organize workers in the tech industry is that people have a hard time separating good intentions from results. But we have to be cold-blooded about this.

    Tech companies are run by a feckless leadership accountable to no one, creating a toolkit for authoritarianism while hypnotized by science-fiction fantasy.

    There are two things we have to do immediately. The first is to stop the accelerating process of tracking and surveillance before it can do any more harm to our institutions.

    The danger facing us is not Orwell, but Huxley. The combo of data collection and machine learning is too good at catering to human nature, seducing us and appealing to our worst instincts. We have to put controls on it. The algorithms are amoral; to make them behave morally will require active intervention.

    The second thing we need is accountability. I don't mean that I want Mark Zuckerberg's head on a pike, though I certainly wouldn't throw it out of my hotel room if I found it there. I mean some mechanism for people whose lives are being brought online to have a say in that process, and an honest debate about its tradeoffs.

    I'm here today because I believe the best chance to do this is in Europe. The American government is not functional right now, and the process of regulatory capture is too far gone to expect any regulations limiting the tech giants from either party. American tech workers have the power to change things, but not the desire.

    Only Europe has the clout and the independence to regulate these companies. You can already point to regulatory successes, like forcing Facebook to implement hard delete on user accounts. That feature was added with a lot of grumbling, but because of the way Facebook organizes its data, they had to make it work the same for all users. So a European regulation led to a victory for privacy worldwide.

    We can do this again.

    Here are some specific regulations I would like to see the EU impose:

    With these rules in place, we would still have Google and Facebook, and they would still make a little bit of money. But we would gain some breathing room. These reforms would knock the legs out from underground political ad campaigns like we saw in Brexit, and in voter suppression efforts in the US election. They would give publishers relief in an advertising market that is currently siphoning all their earnings to Facebook and Google. And they would remove some of the incentive for consumer surveillance.

    The other thing I hope to see in Europe is a unionized workforce at every major tech company. Unionized workers could demand features like ephemeral group messaging at Facebook, a travel mode for social media, a truly secure Android phone, or the re-imposition of the wall between Gmail and DoubleClick data. They could demand human oversight over machine learning algorithms. They could demand non-cooperation with Trump.

    And I will say selfishly, if you can unionize here, it will help us unionize over there.

    If nothing else, we need your help and we need you to keep the pressure on the tech companies, the Trump Administration, and your own politicians and journalists, so that the disaster that happened in the United States doesn't repeat itself in Germany.

    You have elections coming soon. Please learn from what happened to us. Please stay safe.

    And please regulate, regulate, regulate this industry, while you can.

    Thank you.

    DJG , May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Definitely worth reading and reading again. What popped on first reading is the description of the rise of income in Poland and the stagnation of income in the U S of A. What pops for me on seccond reading is these paragraphs about tax evasion and income inequality: >>

    One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

    Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California. But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

    You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

    Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

    [Tax evasion isn't just a folk belief: It is taught in U.S. law schools and in business schools, along with union busting.]

    Jef , May 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

    What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game;

    It has a begining when anything is possible.
    A middle when a broad spectrum of players prosper and there is extra money for infrastructure and public amenities.
    Then an end where wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the waste stream has taken its toll.

    justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 10:23 am

    A long but brilliant article that everyone should take the time to read! I want all the techies in my family to read it because it points out some of the uneasiness even techies feel about the their industry.

    My favorite paragraph (although there were many close seconds):

    "But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives."
    Yep .

    Thomas Williams , May 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Nice piece: Two things to note

    – The Clintons, Bush & Obama presided over this mess and aided in it's creation but the albatross of abuse is being hung on Trump.

    – He shares an enormous egotistical blind spot common to tech workers. He wants unionization and strength for tech workers but seems to advocate for a globalized work force. More than anything else, foreign workers are responsible for wage suppression in the US. Is he saying 'Tech workers are special and should be pampered but others should work for $1.85 per day"?

    – The above points are not germaine to his central theme, which is important and well written. But it does raise questions about his values.

    Jacobite_In_Training , May 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    " Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life ."

    Good .Opt out of modern life. Now. Get as far away from it as you possibly can. You'll be the better person for it. There was a time I felt 'modern life' was the place to be .Now the older me realizes 'modern life' is a sham, an illusion, and a trap.

    A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse.

    Amusingly, although my younger naive and idealistic self had a significant part to play in the great tech revolutions and evolutions through the 90's and early 2000's (for which I will be eternally regretful and ashamed, given how the creations we labored on have been whored out by the pimps in the oligarchy and government) I was also incredibly lucky to have grown up on a farm and learned how to use a hoe, a hand powered washing machine, how to gather eggs and grow things.

    Real things, things that can feed people. But more importantly .how to grow things like spirit and independence that do not rely on any flow of electrons to come to glorious fruition.

    I also so much better understand what that prophet Edward Abbey was trying to warn us about all those decades ago .

    " Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell "

    Tom , May 19, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Indeed. The promise of technology has devolved into Clickbait Nation - where millions mindlessly click on endless deceptive headlines like rats pushing levers in a giant Skinner box.

    [May 19, 2017] What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game; only at the beginning anything is possible

    Notable quotes:
    "... What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game; It has a beginning when anything is possible. A middle when a broad spectrum of players prosper and there is extra money for infrastructure and public amenities. Then an end where wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the waste stream has taken its toll. ..."
    "... Tell me, when where these good old days, of "true" capitalism? Back when we were enslaving Africans? ..."
    "... workers fail to ..."
    "... Yeah, it's really a pity that author of such a well-written piece confuses GDP with living standards. If that was the case people wouldn't vote for nationalist and populists. ..."
    "... serving their own interests; ..."
    "... In our imperial system, it does not matter to the people whether they vote, or how; it matters, occasionally, to the contestants' position in the power structure, but nothing more than that. ..."
    "... there are rumors that the Federal Liberal Party in Canada is exploring this. ..."
    "... 8) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose a duty upon: (a) A provider of an electronic store, gateway, marketplace or other means of purchasing or downloading software or applications to review or enforce compliance with this section by those applications or software; or (b) A provider of an interactive computer service to review or enforce compliance with this section by third-party content providers. As used in this paragraph, "interactive computer service" means any information service, system or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such services or systems operated or offered by libraries or educational institutions. (9) This section does not apply to general audience Internet websites, general audience online services, general audience online applications or general audience mobile applications, even if login credentials created for an operator's site, service or application may be used to access those general audience sites, services or applications. ..."
    May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    DJG , May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Definitely worth reading and reading again. What popped on first reading is the description of the rise of income in Poland and the stagnation of income in the U S of A. What pops for me on seccond reading is these paragraphs about tax evasion and income inequality: >>

    One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

    Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California. But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

    You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

    Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

    [Tax evasion isn't just a folk belief: It is taught in U.S. law schools and in business schools, along with union busting.]

    Jef , May 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

    What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game; It has a beginning when anything is possible. A middle when a broad spectrum of players prosper and there is extra money for infrastructure and public amenities. Then an end where wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the waste stream has taken its toll.

    diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

    The author does not understand that capitalism creates vast wealth inequality: that's the whole point. Inequality is a feature, not a bug, and so trying to save capitalism while eliminating vast wealth inequalities is working at cross-purposes, and only one of those aims can be successful and guess which one it always is?

    justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 11:56 am

    +100

    Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    "capitalism creates vast wealth inequality: that's the whole point."

    Not in Adam Smith's world, nor Henry Ford's. True capitalists prosper by creating wealth which improves the lives of everyone around them. Crony capitalists, the ones we have now, strip wealth from others. Witness today's bubble-and-bust cycles rather than the prior widespread economic growth.

    The capitalism you see today is an abomination of the original concept, just as Mnuchin's claim to support "Glass Steagall" is an abomination. And don't get me started on the "Affordable" Care Act, or the "Patriot" act which gutted the Constitution

    P.S. The original author's article is riddled with glaring factual errors, but he has the big picture right: it's time to restore Antitrust Law and apply it to the internet monopolists. And restore privacy rights and and it's a long list. Start fighting now, if you want anything to happen in your lifetime!

    Carla , May 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    The author's central thesis strikes me as correct: that Europe provides the only hope for applying any brakes whatsoever to the American tech sector. I hope someone over there is listening, as prospects here seem utterly hopeless.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Freedom means people should have reasonable alternatives, choices on any product, service or ideology. Today's internet experience lacks that freedom aspect quite a bit.

    diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Hokum. The "theory" is that it benefits everyone, but the reality is quite different. Tell me, when where these good old days, of "true" capitalism? Back when we were enslaving Africans? Back when we were hanging Wobblies? Back when we had to put nets around our factories to keep the workers from committing suicide? Please the dictatorship of the proletariat worked out just fine in Marx's theory, too.

    clinical wasteman , May 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Another one for the gallery of glaring factual errors: "capitalists prosper by creating wealth". Unless that was an epic typo for something like: " workers fail to prosper while creating wealth".

    As for "the original concept" of "capitalism", in which district of the astral plane did you find that? Apart from his anthropological sci-fi about the origins of money in "barter", Adam Smith generally tried to write about the real world. Just like Marx, except that Smith was speaking for a different class interest, whose "moral philosopher" imagined himself to be. For that reason, "capital" and "capitalist"(n.) were important concepts for Smith and Marx alike, but "capitalism" - a sort of hybrid implying the social reality and the ideology cheerleading for it at once without ever really distinguishing between the two - is an abstraction that neither had much time for, and one that only really caught on once both were dead.

    Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Wasteman – for a start, unlike todays Cronyists, Adam Smith understood that capitalism would not function for the benefit of all unless monopolies were restrained by government:

    "The interest of the dealers [referring to stock owners, manufacturers, and merchants], however, in any particular branch of trade or manufacture, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, and absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1991), pages 219-220)"

    See here for more details:
    https://machineryofpolitics.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/adam-smith-on-the-crisis-of-capitalism-2/

    Another interesting perspective is from J. K. Galbraith (sorry I lost the source) who pointed out that in an economy with healthy competition, profit margins are lower, but employment and wage income are necessarily higher.

    diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    And pray tell, who is it who will restrain the monopolists? Our elected officials, who just so happen to be under the control of those same capitalists? Which is possible due to the vast wealth inequalities that capitalism generates .

    Capitalists, almost without exception, do everything in their power to avoid competition. The idea is to make a profit and competition is antithetical to that.

    Lots of things are good in theory, like three-way relationships. Reality, on the other hand, feels no obligation to correspond with theory.

    Vatch , May 19, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    capitalism creates vast wealth inequality

    Not exactly. Capitalism extends or expands existing inequality. It was the development of agriculture several thousand years ago that broke the approximate egalitarianism of the hunter gatherer lifestyle. Even that had some inequality, but not much. For more information, see the early chapters of The Great Leveler , by Walter Scheidel.

    diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Hence the "vast" part. I'm not so silly as to think that before capitalism there was not wealth inequality. But not the type where a few hundred people control more wealth than a few billion. It would seem to me, on just a gut level based on a little reading, that whereas systems like feudalism were unequal but relatively stable*, i.e. the level of inequality stayed the same generation to generation, capitalism's dynamics have caused inequality to skyrocket, both nationally and globally.

    *Or at least cyclically stable, as with regular debt jubilees in Sumer.

    HBE , May 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    "Living standards in Poland in 2010 had more than doubled from 1990." This sentence annoyed me to no end. Yes, the reason that is true is because every capitalist country in the world worked to smash and destroy communism without pause for its entire life and then internal and external oligarchs snatched up everything.

    Living standards increased over that period in Poland but so did inequality and poverty. So the country got some shiny new consumer goods (which the author seems enamored by) while the populations poverty rate continues to climb. Thank god for privatization ("Suddenly people had cars, phones, appliances" and suddenly poverty surged as well), and the end of those no good dirty commies, right?

    vlado , May 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Yeah, it's really a pity that author of such a well-written piece confuses GDP with living standards. If that was the case people wouldn't vote for nationalist and populists.

    In any case, despite very good performance of Polish economy, its convergence to West Europe at least in terms of GDP (PPP) is questionable as the cases of Czech Republic and Slovenia show. See the article The convergence dream 25 years on in Bruegel

    visitor , May 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    There is a reason why people voted for the populist PiS and ousted the liberals who had made such a great job at bringing Poland into the EU and its "market society".

    justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 10:23 am

    A long but brilliant article that everyone should take the time to read! I want all the techies in my family to read it because it points out some of the uneasiness even techies feel about the their industry.

    My favorite paragraph (although there were many close seconds):

    "But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives."
    Yep .

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    That popular vote comment is misleading as well.

    A previous example was given about a hypothetical House vote, where, in yes-districts, voters are split 51-49 yes (assuming that is so lots of times, congress persons vote 'their conscience') and voters in no-districts are 90-10 for no. Yes votes win by one.

    In that case, the popular vote actually is for No.

    And that has nothing to do with slavery.

    It's how the math works in a representative voting system.

    PhilM , May 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Before responding to MLTPB, I'd like to voice my opinion that the OP article is thoughtful and reflects a decent level of awareness of the reality of the world, along with positive solutions that would be achievable in a polity that had the public good as its aim.

    As for MLTPB's opinion on the vote, I beg to differ: it has everything to do with slavery. That's how the numbers work in our system, which is imperial, not representative. It's a bitch when instead of Augustus you get Caligula, but it doesn't change the basic reality of how the system works, and has worked since Ike. In our imperial system, it does not matter to the people whether they vote, or how; it matters, occasionally, to the contestants' position in the power structure, but nothing more than that.

    Here is the reality: the people in any office in our federal government-basically everyone who lives in or around Washington DC-have the same relationship to American people as they have to Russian, Chinese, or Indian people: that of serving their own interests; predation, if you will; animal husbandry, if you prefer. They will act so as to extract the maximum value consistent with not-killing-the-goose-that-lays-the-golden-eggs from every person, wherever they are located, whatever their religion, whatever their nationality, as long as they are powerless, which means everyone who is a private citizen, however rich, or a small business; everyone who is not a Forbes 500 corporation.

    The notion that the federal government is somehow tied to "Americans," or even to the geographical entity now known as the USA, much less to the values expressed in the so-called "founding documents," is a child's bedtime story.

    It's amusing that it took the election of Trump to bring this realization about; but really, that is why some of us actually voted for Trump: to rub the idiots' noses in the reality of their political environment. (Not me, mind you; because I do not bother to vote: when I want something done, I write a check, like any experienced consumer of government services.)

    There is a cure, but it is not changing the election mechanism so the choice of president results from the popular vote totals in a population of 300 million. No, it means changing it so there are 1000 presidents and 100,000 representatives and 1000 supreme courts, and 1000 republics. Those are the numbers that would achieve representative government the way it was designed to function by people who knew. Alternatively, you could reduce federal taxation to 1/10th of its current level, and assign all other taxation to the township, with a population limit of 20,000. Now you would have something that is no longer imperial.

    But since most people since the dawn of history have lived under organizations that are imperial with perfect happiness, the appropriate course of action is not to struggle in futility for change, which would almost certainly do more harm than good, and result in an outcome that would just use up the world's resources more swiftly in the chaos of consumption and war. The optimum course is to watch reruns of amusing sitcoms and eat good food; to gratify the animal pleasures and such pleasures of the mind as remain to aging bodies mistreated by pharmaceuticals; and to die as quickly and painlessly as the authorities permit.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    In our imperial system, it does not matter to the people whether they vote, or how; it matters, occasionally, to the contestants' position in the power structure, but nothing more than that.

    In that case, the popular vote question is not a question anymore (with the current 1 president, instead of 1,000 setup), as you point out here:

    There is a cure, but it is not changing the election mechanism so the choice of president results from the popular vote totals in a population of 300 million.

    I have mentioned before that Rome had, at one time, 2 or 4 co-emperors. You suggest 1,000 presidents, as a solution. That's nothing to do with slavery, except in the sense that we're all serfs or slaves. It about making one's voice heard within a smaller group, having someone representing you along with fewer constituents.

    The inherent problem of having representatives vote, versus direct voting, is still here, as in the example given above. The math scales up and down.

    Thomas Williams , May 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Nice piece: Two things to note
    – The Clintons, Bush & Obama presided over this mess and aided in it's creation but the albatross of abuse is being hung on Trump.
    – He shares an enormous egotistical blind spot common to tech workers. He wants unionization and strength for tech workers but seems to advocate for a globalized work force. More than anything else, foreign workers are responsible for wage suppression in the US. Is he saying 'Tech workers are special and should be pampered but others should work for $1.85 per day"?
    – The above points are not germaine to his central theme, which is important and well written. But it does raise questions about his values.

    Knot Galt , May 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Agreed. Trump = Chucklehead and the shadow in T.S. Eliot's poem

    Jacobite_In_Training , May 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    " Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life ."

    Good .Opt out of modern life. Now. Get as far away from it as you possibly can. You'll be the better person for it. There was a time I felt 'modern life' was the place to be .Now the older me realizes 'modern life' is a sham, an illusion, and a trap.

    A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse.

    Amusingly, although my younger naive and idealistic self had a significant part to play in the great tech revolutions and evolutions through the 90's and early 2000's (for which I will be eternally regretful and ashamed, given how the creations we labored on have been whored out by the pimps in the oligarchy and government) I was also incredibly lucky to have grown up on a farm and learned how to use a hoe, a hand powered washing machine, how to gather eggs and grow things.

    Real things, things that can feed people. But more importantly .how to grow things like spirit and independence that do not rely on any flow of electrons to come to glorious fruition.

    I also so much better understand what that prophet Edward Abbey was trying to warn us about all those decades ago .

    " Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell "

    Tom , May 19, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Indeed. The promise of technology has devolved into Clickbait Nation - where millions mindlessly click on endless deceptive headlines like rats pushing levers in a giant Skinner box.

    justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Is "opting out" really an option? Are we willing to opt out out of modern medicine too?
    Whether we like it or not, we aren't opting out of using the internet, so we aren't opting out of anything this author talked about .

    Sooooo ..wouldn't a better idea be to learn as much as we can about this technology and get involved in its decision making, so that we can control it and make it work for rather than against us?

    Jacobite_In_Training , May 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I've had that debate before, people typically starting with the 'well, you are posting using the Internet so you aren't really opting out of anything', but thats a simplistic approach, and the process of opting out is a matter of degrees – it is never a binary on/off.

    One can continue 'opting out' of aspects of society, and technology, to as extreme a position as you wish .even back to the stone age, should you choose. (sort of the ultimate boycott)

    Tradeoffs are inherent to the process, no argument there .just be aware that the experience of opting out is itself liberating. You realize all these shiny objects, and expensive things, and
    complicated processes that you have been raised to think of as critical necessities that cannot ever EVER be parted with .may not be so critical as you think.

    Sometimes the tradeoffs will be negative, more often – in my experience – (once you have solved the problems presented by improvising/adapting/overcoming) you will find the 'tradeoffs' are a net positive.

    You are, of course, a creature with free will and free to do what you choose . opt in, opt out .as you will. :)

    Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Agreed, there are several gradations to this whole opting out thing. I for one am completely absent from any social media platform and feel no loss whatsoever because of this. It takes a committed group of independent thinkers to deconstruct and debunk this whole narrative that you're either "all-in" with these internet platforms or you opt out and life passes you by as you're consigned to an existence of irrelevance and ignorance about the world around you.

    MoiAussie , May 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that you are very selective about the social media in which you participate.

    Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    If by social media we are talking facebook, instagram et al, then I have never participated in any of those. To be sure, this is not meant to sound like I take a dim view on those who do, the point is the narrative is typically framed, at least in my part of the world, as an all-in/opt-out binary in which participation in social media platforms is a prime determinant in who "remains relevant" and who doesn't

    Vatch , May 19, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I don't have a MyFace account.

    I love saying that!

    justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I'm not sure what you think you are opting out of. If you are on the internet, then you have to have a carrier – Verizon, Comcast, etc. Do you think their data collection systems are different than what Google, Facebook, or any other social media does?

    jrs , May 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    and least they aren't funding trips to mars? :)

    jrs , May 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Yea I think the truly open minded probably try many of the internet platforms just to see what they are like and then delete their accounts (this does not need to entail posting one's entire private life there needless to say). Not a lot of open mindedness out there really though, it's all extremes: rigid abstinence from it all, or hopeless addiction to it.

    I mean I understand a priori rejection of the majority of what capitalism produces (except if it's necessary to life then well), but it is a pretty uninformed position from which to criticize (as is being addicted to it really).

    PKMKII , May 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Even if you opt out personally, you're still going to be interacting with a lot of people, businesses, governments, etc., that are dependent on the Five Horsemen. Pay cash at the local business, but travel down the supply chain that brought the goods there and you'll run into someone using cloud storage, social media, consumer surveillance data, etc.

    Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Regarding "get involved in its decision making" –

    Ordinary folks have really only two ways to do this. One is in their consumer choices. Avoid or boycott companies that abuse their customers – hit them in their wallets. The other is in their voting and political participation push privacy rights, antitrust enforcement, etc. higher on the political agenda.

    It's entirely possible to be comfortably social without "social media". Personally, I boycott Facebook, Twitter, and (as much as possible) Google and Ebay. Google is tough because they have infiltrated the schools with Google Classroom (which has value, but do we really want an internet advertising company to be gathering data on our children?). Microsoft is tough because of the Office monopoly, but just because I have to use it at work doesn't mean I need to pay them any money anywhere else in my life There are also ways to buy online without using Amazon.

    lyman alpha blob , May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    There are other search engines, browsers, email services, etc. besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me.

    The problem is, if these other services ever do get popular enough, the tech giants will either block them by getting their stooges appointed to Federal agencies and regulating them out of existence, or buy them.

    I've been running from ISP acquisitions for years, as the little guys get bought out I have to find an even littler one. Luckily I've found a local ISP, GWI, that I've used for years now. They actually came out against the new regulations that would allow them to gather and sell their customers' data. Such anathema will probably wind up with their CEO publicly flayed for going against all that is good and holy according to the Five Horsemen.

    Mel , May 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    There are two sides to opting out.
    When net neutrality is gone, then capital and market concentration will transform the internet into what cable TV is now, and nobody will need it much.
    Contrariwise the big tech companies are taking over the implementation of major social functions:
    – if you can't vote without the internet
    – if you can't spend your money without the internet
    – if you can't contact your friends without the internet
    – if you can't get news without the internet - this has already happened - just look at us all here.
    – if you can't join a political party without liking it on your Facebook page and following it on Twitter - there are rumors that the Federal Liberal Party in Canada is exploring this.
    As I said somewhere else, all this would amount to an uncontracted and unspecified public/private partnership (various ones, actually) and all entered into unexamined. Time to examine them while they're still easy to change.

    HotFlash , May 19, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    there are rumors that the Federal Liberal Party in Canada is exploring this.

    Interesting. Are they going to get us all free internet? If not, I think they will find a big surprise.

    jrs , May 19, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    To assume that workers in ANY Industry (including tech where we know the big players have rigged the labor market against tech workers) have more power than consumers seems pretty unrealistic to me. Of course consumer power is one dollar one vote and hardly democratic but at least consumers do have options and some power. The employee role is a powerless one in the U.S..

    Kris Alman , May 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

    We can either continue on the knowledge economy road, where our personal data is commodified. Or we could fight for a knowledge society, where we collectively access knowledge while protecting our identity and privacy. I vote for the latter.

    Google would plant a chip in every child if they could. Short of that, they have insinuated themselves in public schools, hoping that every kid in America will consummate their relationship with this giant after they graduate from k-12. See this NY Times article from last weekend: How Google Took Over the Classroom

    It's hard to mitigate their reach. In a landmark student privacy law passed in California (with an even weaker version passed in my state of Oregon), they built in what I call a Google exemption clause.

    ( 8) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose a duty upon:
    (a) A provider of an electronic store, gateway, marketplace or other means of purchasing or downloading software or applications to review or enforce compliance with this section by those applications or software; or
    (b) A provider of an interactive computer service to review or enforce compliance with this section by third-party content providers. As used in this paragraph, "interactive computer service" means any information service, system or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such services or systems operated or offered by libraries or educational institutions.
    (9) This section does not apply to general audience Internet websites, general audience online services, general audience online applications or general audience mobile applications, even if login credentials created for an operator's site, service or application may be used to access those general audience sites, services or applications.

    The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Child and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy (a group with which I have worked) just put out a Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy .

    Patient Privacy Rights has an upcoming international summit that is free. Stream it! See: https://patientprivacyrights.org/health-privacy-summit/

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    We can either continue on the knowledge economy road, where our personal data is commodified. Or we could fight for a knowledge society, where we collectively access knowledge while protecting our identity and privacy. I vote for the latter.

    When I am not accessing knowledge, I would still prefer to remain private.

    For example, what videos I access for entertainment should private. It's not knowledge I access, just something to pass time.

    That those activities should b protected as well.

    Privacy-protected-society is probably a broader term than knowledge society.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    And the Google exemption clause reads like a Facebook exemption clause as well (or Amazon or Warner Cable exemption clause).

    [May 19, 2017] I encourage at least skim some of these documents to get a better understanding of the kinds of sickening things perpetrated by the intel community in the past and then ask yourself if the veil of secrecy that surrounds them is to keep secrets from the enemy or to keep the American public from vomiting.

    Notable quotes:
    "... I found it an odd mix of straight-talk and naivete. The NSA can't spy on Americans without a warrant? Go ahead, pull the other one. ..."
    "... This caught my eye earlier. Had to come back to it. Especially after reading Mike Whitney's latest http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/19/seth-rich-craig-murray-and-the-sinister-stewards-of-the-national-security-state/ . In it, he details how seriously Clapper, Brennan et al. take those "laws and procedures." ..."
    "... Taking a recent and relevant example, remember the ICA, the "Intelligence Community Assessment"? Whitney quotes a Fox news article detailing the many ways in which it's production varied sharply from normal procedures. And of course there was all that "stove-piping" of "intel" that helped make the bogus case for the 2003 war of aggression against Iraq ..."
    "... Glad you liked it. Lily Tomlin applies: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up." ..."
    "... Excellent post, except for the bit, as some other readers have commented, about American intelligence agencies being law abiding. Europe, and much of the world, crumbled without resistance in the face of the tech juggernauts because of the PR fetishization of anything that came out of silicon valley. ..."
    May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Huey Long , May 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    This piece is absolutely fantastic! Not to nit pick, but I do disagree with the author about the following passage:

    Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously.

    But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it.

    We know from the Church and Pike committees that this is patently false, and I highly doubt that this has changed much since then, especially in light of Iran-Contra and the made-up intel used to justify the Iraq invasion.

    I know I probably sound like a broken record as I often cite the Church and Pike reports in my NC comments, but they're just so little known and so important that I feel compelled to do so.

    I encourage the entire commenteriat to at least skim some of these documents to get a better understanding of the kinds of sickening things perpetrated by the intel community in the past and then ask yourself if the veil of secrecy that surrounds them is to keep secrets from the enemy or to keep the American public from vomiting.

    diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I found it an odd mix of straight-talk and naivete. The NSA can't spy on Americans without a warrant? Go ahead, pull the other one. Talking about the "collapse of representative government" as if we've ever had one. All very cute, and very silly.

    His suggestions for putting the brakes on are good, but insufficient. My ideas as to how to go about, "connecting the tech industry to reality. Bringing its benefits to more people, and bringing the power to make decisions to more people," is here:

    http://threadingthepearls.blogspot.com/2014/11/youre-doing-it-wrong-politics-as-if.html

    Imagine a political party with no national platform-a party where local rank-and-file members select candidates from among themselves, and dictate the policies those candidates will support. [2] Imagine a political party whose candidates are transparent; one that guarantees every member an equal voice in shaping the actual policy proposals-and the votes-of their representatives. Imagine a political party whose focus is on empowering the rank-and-file members, instead of the charismatic con-artists we call politicians. Imagine a political party that runs on direct democracy, from bottom to top: open, transparent and accountable . we'll need an app maybe two

    The app already exists, actually, and it's called Loomio. Podemos uses it, along with a lot of other people:

    https://www.loomio.org/

    JustAnObserver , May 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I had the same reaction to that passage, at least initially. However what I think the author might mean by this is that to have the means to combat this evil 2 things are necessary:

    o Laws and/or procedures that place limitations on the actions of these agencies – NSA, CIA, DHS etc.

    o and, much much more important, the means to ensure those laws/procedures are *enforced* as to both statute and intent.

    USians have at least the first part even if the second, enforcement, has rotted to the extent of being no more than a cruel joke. non-USian have neither.

    Note that the lack of enforcement thing extends far beyond the IC agencies into anti-trust, environmental regulation, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc. etc.. Even the ludicrous botch called Dodd-Frank could work marginally better if there was some attempt to actually enforce it.

    Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    "Dodd-Frank could work marginally better if there was some attempt to actually enforce it."

    Unenforceable and unenforced laws are a feature, not a bug, and demonstrate the corruption of the system.

    Bugs Bunny , May 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    The USSR had laws guaranteeing freedom of expression.

    Michael Fiorillo , May 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    It's a fine and entertaining piece, but flawed.

    That bit about tech workers defying management to protest Trump's travel ban seems demonstrably untrue, as the companies want that human capital pipeline kept open, and they can simultaneously wrap themselves in muliti-cultural virtue as they defend their employment practices.

    Also, and I know people here will disagree or think it irrelevant, but the "They're not bad people," thing is wrong; I think people such as Thiel, Kalanick, Zuckerberg, Ellison, add-your-own-candidates, seem like pretty awful people doing a lot of awful things, whatever their brilliance, business acumen, and relentlessness.

    Finally, while as a union guy I was pleased to see the importance he gave it, the idea of tech workers unionizing in this country seems like social science fiction, whatever their European counterparts might hopefully do.

    TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I, too, stumbled / choked when I read those paragraphs. They are provably false in so many dimensions I hardly know where to begin. It made it hard to read past.

    I will try again because so many commenters are so positive. But the author's credibility sinks when a piece starts with such blindness or misinformation or pandering.

    PhilM , May 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    On the one hand, it's probably some pandering, because he knows he is being watched. We all throw that same bone once in a while. From Vergil, it is called "a sop to Cerberus." On the other hand, he is correct, too: it is a "lawful evil" because it functions using tax money, which is money extorted by force with the sanction of law, rather than "chaotic evil," which is money extorted by force or fraud without that sanction. So in that positive-law-philosophy way of thinking, he has a point, even if it's a pandering point.

    knowbuddhau , May 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    >>>"They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously."

    This caught my eye earlier. Had to come back to it. Especially after reading Mike Whitney's latest http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/19/seth-rich-craig-murray-and-the-sinister-stewards-of-the-national-security-state/ . In it, he details how seriously Clapper, Brennan et al. take those "laws and procedures."

    Taking a recent and relevant example, remember the ICA, the "Intelligence Community Assessment"? Whitney quotes a Fox news article detailing the many ways in which it's production varied sharply from normal procedures. And of course there was all that "stove-piping" of "intel" that helped make the bogus case for the 2003 war of aggression against Iraq .

    I appreciate the author's point: it would be harder to surveil a particular American than a European. I'm sure rank & file people by & large respect law and procedure. But don't worry, if there's a political will to get you, there's a way. Ask Chelsea Manning.

    Whitney concludes by quoting an especially apt question posed by Michael Glennon in the May issue of Harper's: "Who would trust the authors of past episodes of repression as a reliable safeguard against future repression?"

    People who think they're immune to said repression, for one. Or who don't know or believe it happened/is happening at all. IOW political elites and most Americans, that's who. I think there's a good chance the soft coup will work, and most Americans would even accept a President-General.

    So while I see the author's point, I see it this way. They take laws and procedures seriously like I take traffic laws seriously. Only their solution is to corrupt law enforcement, not follow the law.

    "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it's just a goddamned piece of paper!" - President George W. Bush

    Silicon Valley elites apparently think the same.

    TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Mike Whitney's article you linked to was interesting. George Webb's ongoing YouTube series is going further still, as he is uncovering numerous anomalies with Seth Rich's death and the circumstances and "investigation". It turns out that nothing in this story is what it seems (the "school play" scenario).

    Disturbingly, there are similarities and patterns that connect up with numerous other patterns discussed earlier in this 208-day (so far) odyssey, which started with looking at irregularities around oil pipelines and drugs shipments, and ended up including numerous additional criminal enterprises, all with direct links to high-up government staff and political staff from both major parties, with links among key participants going back over decades in some cases.

    To return to your observation–knowing what I know now–personal as well as second-hand, I don't think it's harder to surveil an american than a european. The compromises of law enforcement, justice and intelligence and rogue contractors have no international boundaries. The way the compromises are done vary depending on local methods, and the degree of public awareness may vary, but the actuality and ease–no different overall.

    knowbuddhau , May 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Glad you liked it. Lily Tomlin applies: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up."

    TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    That says it all. The rabbit holes are many and deep. As a society we are in for many rude awakenings. I don't expect soft landings.

    mwbworld , May 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Lots of great stuff in here, but I'll raise a slight objection to:

    three or four people who use Linux on the desktop, all of whom are probably at this conference.

    We're now up to easily 5 or 6 thank you very much, and I wasn't at the conference. ;-)

    MoiAussie , May 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Make that 7.

    HotFlash , May 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Eight, nine and ten in this household. I don't use any Google-stuff and have hard-deleted my Facebook account. At least they told me had, I should ask a friend to check to see if I am still there ;)

    voislav , May 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    But we all know that a Linux user is worth only 3/5 of a regular user, so we are back to 6. Writing this from a 2003 vintage Pentium 4 machine running Linux Mint 17.

    knowbuddhau , May 19, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    8. Built this thing myself 5 years ago. It's a quad core on an MSI mobo. Or maybe I only count as a half, since it's a dual boot with Linux Mint 17.3/Win7 Pro.

    Disturbed Voter , May 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    A history lesson. The PC brought freedom from the IT department, until networking enslaved us again. The freedom was temporary, we were originally supposed to be serfs of a timeshare system connected to a mainframe. France was ahead of the US in that, they had MiniTel. But like everything French is was efficient but static. In Europe, like in the US, the PC initially liberated, and then with networking, enslaved. Arpanet was the predecessor of the Internet it was a Cold War system of survivable networking, for some people. The invention of HTTP and the browser at CERN democratized the Arpanet. But it also greatly enabled State-sponsored snooping.

    We are now moving to cloud storage and Chrome-books which will restore the original vision of a timeshare system connected to a mainframe, but at a higher technical standard. What was envisioned in 1968 will be achieved, but later than planned, and in a round about way. We are not the polity we used to be. In 1968 this would have been viewed by the public with suspicion. But after 50 years later the public will view this as progress.

    Huey Long , May 19, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    In 1968 this would have been viewed by the public with suspicion. But after 50 years later the public will view this as progress.

    50 years of being force fed Bernays Sauce will tend to do that to a people :-(.

    LT , May 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    One thing just as dangerous and limiting as the idealized past of the conservative mindset is the idealized sense of progress of the the liberal mindset.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    You have 'a little learning is a dangerous thing.'

    Then you have the Andromeda Strain that is toxic within a small PH range.

    That is to say, nothing is inherently good or bad. It depends on when, where, what and how much.

    And so the PC brought freedom and now it doesn't.

    I suspect likewise with left-wing ideas and right-wing ideas. "How much of it? When?"

    duck1 , May 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    SV tech owners (think about) . . . the cool toys they'll spend profits on . . . run by chuckle heads . . . identify with progressive values . . . they want to help . . . run by a feckless leadership accountable to no one . . .
    Can't send them to Mars quick enough, I say.

    Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    ." Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously."

    This is standup comedy?

    Huey Long , May 19, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    This is standup comedy?

    To the NCer, yes.

    To the general public who have swallowed what I like to call the "Jack Ryan Narrative" of how things are at the CIA, no.

    duck1 , May 19, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    The real kneeslapper was. . . American government (also) run by chuckle heads . . . what happens when these two groups . . . join forces?
    Knock me over with a feather, let us know when that happens. How many Friedman units will we have to wait?

    Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    "And outside of Russia and China, Google is the world's search engine."

    How can this be? I don't use it except very rarely; my wife does, but complains about it bitterly, and so do people here at NC, presumably tech-savvy. My wife is using it out of pure habit; what about the rest of them?

    Phemfrog , May 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I literally don't know anyone who doesn't use it.

    Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    "Given this scary state of the world, with ecological collapse just over the horizon, and a population sharpening its pitchforks, "
    And unfortunately, that's the likeliest solution. (The family blogging "L" on this keyboard doesn't work right, so make some allowances.)

    Despite my nitpicks above, this is a very important speech and a frightening issue. In particular, I've long been concerned that so much organizing depends on giant corporations like Faceborg and Twitter. They have no reason to be our friends, and some important reasons, like this speech, to be our enemies. Do we have a backup if FB and Google decide to censor the Internet for serious?

    Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Excellent post, except for the bit, as some other readers have commented, about American intelligence agencies being law abiding. Europe, and much of the world, crumbled without resistance in the face of the tech juggernauts because of the PR fetishization of anything that came out of silicon valley.

    The laxity of lawmakers and regulators was partly because of their unwillingness to be seen as standing in the way of "progress". A public drunk on the need to be in with the new, "disruptive" kids on the block who were "changing the world" would have teamed up with the disruptors to run rough shod over any oversight mechanisms proposed by regulators. Hence the silicon valley PR machine always prioritises the general public as the first targets of intellectual capture, because an intellectually captured public loath to give up the benefits and convenience of "progress and disruption" is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of tech giants in their global war against regulation. And the insidious nature of the damage of overreach by these tech giants isn't just limited to online interactions anymore, but the real world is also now experiencing disruption in the true sense of the word with gig economy companies reshaping the dynamics of entire markets and squeezing the most vulnerable members of society to the periphery of said markets, if not pushing them out entirely. In my own city of cape town south africa, a housing crisis is brewing as locals are being squeezed out of the housing market because landlords profit more from airbnb listings than making their properties available for long term rentals. Asset prices are being pushed up as "investors" compete to snap up available inventory to list on airbnb. And city officials seem more interested in celebrating cape town's status as "one of the top airbnb destinations" than actually protecting the interests of their own citizens. Intellectual capture, and the need to be "in with the cool disruptive kids" is infecting even public sector organizations with severe consequences for the public at large, but the public is blind to this as they've binged on the "disruption, changing the world" cool-aid

    Bill Smith , May 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    "PR fetishization of anything that came out of silicon valley"

    It had nothing to do with individuals thinking this stuff had value? Cell phones -> iPhone (smartphone) for example.

    Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    While individuals might derive value from "this stuff", the tech companies providing the stuff use said value, allied with massive amounts of PR spin to render regulators impotent in providing safe guards to stop the techies from morphing from value providers into something akin to encroachers for profit/power/control (e.g. encroaching upon our right to privacy by selling off our data). Providing value to the public shouldn't be used as a cloak under which the dagger used to erode our rights is hidden

    LT , May 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    In the links today, there is a Guardian story on Tesla workers with the quote: "Everything feels like the future but us."

    I'm reminded of another Guardian article about an ideology underpinning the grievances in Notes From An Emergency. It's imperative to understand the that the system we find ourselves in is a belief system – an ideology – and the choices to be made in regards to challenging it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/11/accelerationism-how-a-fringe-philosophy-predicted-the-future-we-live-in/
    An excerpt:
    "Accelerationists argue that technology, particularly computer technology, and capitalism, particularly the most aggressive, global variety, should be massively sped up and intensified – either because this is the best way forward for humanity, or because there is no alternative. Accelerationists favour automation. They favour the further merging of the digital and the human. They often favour the deregulation of business, and drastically scaled-back government. They believe that people should stop deluding themselves that economic and technological progress can be controlled. They often believe that social and political upheaval has a value in itself.

    Accelerationism, therefore, goes against conservatism, traditional socialism, social democracy, environmentalism, protectionism, populism, nationalism, localism and all the other ideologies that have sought to moderate or reverse the already hugely disruptive, seemingly runaway pace of change in the modern world "

    Be sure to catch such quotes as this:
    "We all live in an operating system set up by the accelerating triad of war, capitalism and emergent AI," says Steve Goodman, a British accelerationist

    That should remind one of this:
    "Musk is persuaded that we're living in a simulation, and he or a fellow true believer has hired programmers to try to hack it ."

    Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    "Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life."

    I wish he wouldn't keep dropping into openly delusional statements like that. Granted, i use Google News, but there are alternatives.

    jrs , May 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Yes I know, it's ridiculous. And we use them to "protect" us he claims. But about the only place where "protect" makes any sense in his whole argument is actually Amazon. It is pretty safe to buy from Amazon (or using Amazon-pay) if you fear a credit card being hacked from on online purchase. That much has some truth.

    But how does using Facebook protect anyone? How does Google protect anyone? Ok Android security is a different debate, but I really don't understand how issues of "security" etc. applies to using a Google search as opposed to any other.

    LT , May 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/11/accelerationism-how-a-fringe-philosophy-predicted-the-future-we-live-in

    A long read, but gives some background on the "disruptors" a rebrand of "accelerationism."

    (I thought I had accidently removed the link in the previous post)

    begob , May 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    The right wing in Britain seems to have come up with an authoritarian solution: "Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online."

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/theresa-may-internet-conservatives-government-a7744176.html

    David, by the lake , May 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Lost me right at the opening by bringing up the popular vote and the bemoaning of a "broken" system. We are a federal republic of states and I'd prefer to keep it that way. Ensuring that the executive has the support of the populations of some minimal number of states is a good thing in my view.

    craazyman , May 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    so much to read. so little time.

    that's when I bailed too. What drek. If a reader has half a mind, they slip and fall on a greasy doo doo in the first 15 seconds? No way can I stand to wade through the rest of what seems like a tortured screed (although I did speed read it). Turns out, I may agree in a minor way with some points, but I'll never know. I have time to waste in the real world, and I can't waste it if I'm reading somebody's internet screed about Donald Trump. God Good almighty. Enough.

    Authors watch your words. They matter! LOL. And always remember - sometimes less is more. Not NC's finest post evah. And post author's shouldn't refer to people's heads on pikes in their hotel room as being something they wouldn't object to. I mean really. That's not even junior high school humor. I give this post a 2.3 on a scale of 1-10. 1 is unbearable. 3 is readable. 10 is genius.

    PKMKII , May 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    The people who run Silicon Valley identify with progressive values

    Nope. There are some true progressives in the industry, yes, but they're few and far between. Understanding the dominant mindset in Silicon Valley is vital to understanding why there hasn't been pushback on all this. Sure, they like their neoliberal IdPol as it appeals to their meritocracy worship (hence the protests against the travel ban), but not with any intersectionality, especially with regards to women (the red pill/MRA mind virus infects a lot of brains in SV). Socio-economics, though, it's heavy on the libertarianism, albeit with some support for utopian government concepts like UBI, plus a futurist outlook out of that Rationality cult; Yudkowsky and his LessWrong nonsense have influence over a lot of players, big and small, in the bay area. So what you get is a bunch of people deluded into thinking they're hyperlogical while giving themselves a free pass on the begged question of where their "first principles" emerged out of. It's not just their sci-fi bubble that needs a poppin', it's their Rothbardian/Randite one as well.

    Sue , May 19, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    +1,000
    "The people who run Silicon Valley identify with progressive values"
    True! I've seen some smoking weed while talking machine language and screwing half of humanity

    Michael Fiorillo , May 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Better still, they micro-dose on psychedelics while coding our binary chains: how cool is that!

    TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    The points you raise are accurate. And even long before those things existed, Silicon Valley arose as conscious, deliberate high-level government strategy (or beyond-government deep state).

    The sources of new technology and funding have been deliberately obscured, at least as far as the general public debate goes. It has nothing to do with "innovation" and "entrepreneurship". It is amazing to see all countries around the world hop onto the innovation, let's-imitate-Silicon-Valley bandwagon, with no awareness that SV was no accident of a few smart/lucky individual entrepreneurs.

    jfleni , May 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    NOBODY has to join buttBook, review slimy effing GIGGLE, and especially use MICROSWIFT; ALTERNATIVES are easy and often more effective and especially annoying to the rich slime.

    When Balmer was Billy-Boy's Ceo he actually preached that Linux was a nefarious plot to deprive clowns like him of their well deserved "emoluments". Fortuneately, all he has to do now is sell beer and hot dogs, and make sure the cheerleaders keep their clothing on. Good job for him.

    Decide NOT to be a lemming; instead be a BOLSHIE and hit 'em hard. YOU and the whole internet will benefit.

    ginnie nyc , May 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I think some of the naivete of this talk is based on a superficial knowledge of American history. Things like his remark about the Women's DC March – "America is not used to large demonstrations " Oh really.

    The writer, though intelligent, is apparently unaware of massive demos during the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Iraq war marches, the Bonus March etc etc. Perhaps his ignorance is a function of age, and perhaps the fact he was not born here, vis a vis his name.

    different clue , May 19, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    I will reply to an almost tangential little something which Maciej Ceglowski wrote near the beginning of his piece.

    " 65.8 million for Clinton
    63.0 million for Trump

    This was the second time in sixteen years that the candidate with fewer votes won the American Presidency. There is a bug in the operating system of our democracy, one of the many ways that slavery still casts its shadow over American politics."

    Really? A bug in the operating system of our democracy? That sounds like something a Clintonite would say. It sounds like something that many millions of Clintonites DID say, over and over and over again.

    Clinton got more popular votes? She got almost all of them in California. So Mr. Ceglowski thinks Clinton should be President based on that? That means Mr. Ceglowski wants the entire rest of America to be California's colonial possession, ruled by a President that California picked. And don't think we Midwestern Deplorables don't understand exACTly how Ceglowski thinks and what Ceglowski thinks of us out here in Deploristan.

    Some Clinton supporters are smarter than that. Some were not surprised. Michael Moore was not surprised. He predicted that we Deploristani Midwesterners would make Trump President whether the digitally beautiful people liked it or not. Did Mr. Ceglowski support Clinton? Did the "tech workers in short-lived revolt" support Clinton? And did they support NAFTA back in the day? You thought you would cram Trade Treason Clinton down our throat? Well, we flung Trade Patriot Trump right back in your face.

    [May 19, 2017] The witch hunt is an order of magnitude worse than during the runup to the Iraq War by Lambert Strether

    Notable quotes:
    "... Unfortunately, while identifying this past week as the proverbial 'beginning of the end' for Herr Donald's presidency isn't all that hard, untangling precisely why the President won't be able to weather this storm and will eventually be abandoned by the Republican Party is a little more difficult; especially in light of the fact that partisan mainstream liberals are still shouting objectively insane conspiracy theories about Russiagate even though Trump's total lack of respect for his job and fat f*cking mouth have all but handed them his political a** on a platter" ..."
    "... The headline: "Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: sources" [ Reuters ]. The body: "The people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far." Ah, the sources are "people." Excellent. We're making real progress, here. I mean, at least they aren't dinosaurs or space aliens. ..."
    "... Leakers From the Deep State Need to Face Criminal Charges" ..."
    May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    Lambert Strether of Corrente

    New Cold War

    Well, this ratchets up the hysteria a notch:

    I'm genuinely amazed. The cray cray is an order of magnitude worse than the run-up to the Iraq War. Go ahead and read the article; the thesis is that Russian bots on the Twitter are a bigger threat to the United States than the fake stories the Bush White House planted in the press to start the Iraq War. As always, the scandal is what's normal. Oh, and when did James " Not Wittingly " Clapper emerge as a Hero of The Republic? Did I not get the memo? Presenting Clapper as a defender of "the very foundation of our democratic political system" (his words) is like presenting Jerry Sandusky as a defender of the value of cold showers.

    "More than 10 centrist Republicans over the past 48 hours have criticized Trump for reportedly sharing classified information with Russian officials or allegedly trying to quash an FBI investigation" [ Politico ].

    "Two moderate Senate Republicans suggest the need to consider a special prosecutor" [ WaPo ]. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). This happened well before the Rosenstein announcement; I'm guessing it was the crack in the dam.

    "4 Reasons Why Robert Mueller Is an Ideal Special Counsel" [ The Nation ]. "[Mueller] was among the individuals in the Justice Department who assembled at Attorney General John Ashcroft's hospital bedside in 2004 to block the Bush White House's attempt to renew a surveillance policy that Mueller and others, including James Comey, deemed to be illegal." That's good, but 2017 – 2004 = 13 years. That's a long time for a halo to stay buffed (as we saw with Comey).

    "Unfortunately, while identifying this past week as the proverbial 'beginning of the end' for Herr Donald's presidency isn't all that hard, untangling precisely why the President won't be able to weather this storm and will eventually be abandoned by the Republican Party is a little more difficult; especially in light of the fact that partisan mainstream liberals are still shouting objectively insane conspiracy theories about Russiagate even though Trump's total lack of respect for his job and fat f*cking mouth have all but handed them his political a** on a platter" [ Nina Illingworth ]. Maybe Nina will "untangle" this in a later post.

    The headline: "Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: sources" [ Reuters ]. The body: "The people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far." Ah, the sources are "people." Excellent. We're making real progress, here. I mean, at least they aren't dinosaurs or space aliens.

    UPDATE "The Media Elite Is Indulging Dangerous Fantasies About Removing Trump From Office"

    [ The Federalist ]. I don't often agree with the Federalist, but I think this is a good perspective. "The country is deeply divided. People have taken to attacking each other in the streets and threatening congressmen when they venture outside Washington. We're still recovering from a presidential election that actually ended marriages and tore families apart. Trump's election was, more than anything else, a giant middle finger to the political establishment, which has lost the confidence of the American people. If now seems like the right time for that establishment to launch an unconstitutional coup to remove the president through a specious application of the 25th Amendment, then I respectfully submit that you're underestimating the precariousness of national life at this moment." Another way of thinking about this: Who, exactly, makes the case to the American people? That somebody would have to be an elected official trusted by the great majority of the American people (and most definitely not a gaggle of long-faced politicians sitting at a big table). Who would that somebody be? Paul Ryan? Joe Lieberman? Jimmy Carter? Oprah? Walter Cronkite is dead. So is Mr. Rogers. So who, exactly? Some general? Which?

    "Leakers From the Deep State Need to Face Criminal Charges" [ FOX News ] and "Kucinich: 'Deep State' Trying to 'Destroy The Trump Presidency'" [ FOX News ]. I juxtapose these to show the vacuity of the term "deep state." Can you imagine FOX saying "ruling class" or "factional conflicts in the ruling class"? No?

    [May 19, 2017] We need to attack and defeat the neoliberal belief that markets are information processors that can know more than any person could ever know and solve problems no computer could ever solve

    May 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Jeremy Grimm , May 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Phillip Mirowski challenged the left to directly attack and defeat the neoliberal belief that markets are information processors that can know more than any person could ever know and solve problems no computer could ever solve. [Prof. Philip Mirowski keynote for 'Life and Debt' conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ewn29w-9I ]

    Sorry for the long quote - I am loathe to attempt to paraphrase Hayek

    "This is particularly true of our theories accounting for the determination of the systems of relative prices and wages that will form themselves on a wellfunctioning market. Into the determination of these prices and wages there will enter the effects of particular information possessed by every one of the participants in the market process – a sum of facts which in their totality cannot be known to the scientific observer, or to any other single brain. It is indeed the source of the superiority of the market order, and the reason why, when it is not suppressed by the powers of government, it regularly displaces other types of order, that in the resulting allocation of resources more of the knowledge of particular facts will be utilized which exists only dispersed among uncounted persons, than any one person can possess. But because we, the observing scientists, can thus never know all the determinants of such an order, and in consequence also cannot know at which particular structure of prices and wages demand would everywhere equal supply, we also cannot measure the deviations from that order; nor can we statistically test our theory that it is the deviations from that "equilibrium" system of prices and wages which make it impossible to sell some of the products and services at the prices at which they are offered."
    [Extract from Hayek's Nobel Lecture]

    This just hints at Hayek's market supercomputer idea - I still haven't found a particular writing which exposits the idea - so this will have to do.

    Sorry - another quote from the Hayek Nobel Lecture [I have no idea how to paraphrase stuff like this!]:

    "There may be few instances in which the superstition that only measurable magnitudes can be important has done positive harm in the economic field: but the present inflation and employment problems are a very serious one. Its effect has been that what is probably the true cause of extensive unemployment has been disregarded by the scientistically minded majority of economists, because its operation could not be confirmed by directly observable relations between measurable magnitudes, and that an almost exclusive concentration on quantitatively measurable surface phenomena has produced a policy which has made matters worse."

    I can't follow Hayek and I can't follow Jason Smith. The first quote above sounds like a "faith based" theory of economics as difficult to characterize as it is to refute. The second quote throws out Jason Smith's argument with a combination of faith based economics and a rejection of the basis for Smith's argument - as "scientistically minded."

    I prefer the much simplier answer implicit in Veblen and plain in "Industrial Prices and their Relative Inflexibility." US Senate Document no. 13, 74th Congress, 1st Session, Government Printing Office, Washington DC. Means, G. C. 1935 - Market? What Market? Can you point to one? [refer to William Waller: Thorstein Veblen, Business Enterprise, and the Financial Crisis (July 06, 2012)
    [https://archive.org/details/WilliamWallerThorsteinVeblenBusinessEnterpriseAndTheFinancialCrisis]

    It might be interesting if Jason Smith's information theory approach to the market creature could prove how the assumed properties of that mythical creature could be used to derive a proof that the mythical Market creature cannot act as an information processor as Mirowski asserts that Hayek asserts. So far as I can tell from my very little exposure to Hayek's market creature it is far too fantastical to characterize with axioms or properties amenable to making reasoned arguments or proofs as Jason Smith attempts. Worse - though I admit being totally confused by his arguments - Smith's arguments seem to slice at a strawman creature that bears little likeness to Hayek's market creature.

    The conclusion of this post adds a scary thought: "The understanding of prices and supply and demand provided by information theory and machine learning algorithms is better equipped to explain markets than arguments reducing complex distributions of possibilities to a single dimension, and hence, necessarily, requiring assumptions like rational agents and perfect foresight." It almost sounds as if Jason Smith intends to build a better Market as information processor - maybe tweak the axioms a little and bring in Shannon. Jason Smith is not our St. George.

    But making the observation that there are no markets as defined makes little dint on a faith-based theory like neoliberalism, especially a theory whose Church encompasses most university economics departments, most "working" economists, numerous well-funded think tanks, and owns much/most of our political elite and so effectively promotes the short-term interests of our Power Elite.

    [May 18, 2017] Toward a Jobs Guarantee at the Center for American Progress by Lambert Strether

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
    "... The Financial Times ..."
    "... customer ..."
    May 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on May 17, 2017 By Lambert Strether of Corrente

    I had another topic lined up today, but this ( hat tip alert reader ChrisAtRU ) is so remarkable - and so necessary to frame contextualize immediately - I thought I should bring it your attention, dear readers. The headline is "Toward a Marshall Plan for America ," the authors are a gaggle of CAP luminaries with Neera Tanden leading and Rey Teixeira trailing, and the "Marshall Plan" indeed includes something called a "Jobs Guarantee." Of course, I trust Clinton operatives like Tanden, and Third Way types like Teixeira, about as far as I can throw a concert grand piano. Nevertheless, one sign of an idea whose time has come is that sleazy opportunists and has-beens try to get out in front of it to seize credit[1] and stay relevant. So, modified rapture.

    In this brief post, I'm going to look at the political context that drove CAP - taking Tanden, Teixeira, and the gaggle as a proxy for CAP - to consider a Jobs Guarantee (JG), briefly describe the nature and purpose of a JG, and conclude with some thoughts on how Tanden, Teixeira would screw the JG up, like the good liberals they are.

    Political Context for CAP's JG

    Let's begin with the photo of Prairie du Chien, WI at the top of CAP's JG article. Here it is:

    I went to Google Maps Street View, found Stark's Sports Shop (and Liquor Store), and took a quick look round town. Things don't look too bad, which is to say things look pretty much like they do in my own home town, in the fly-over state of Maine; many local businesses. The street lamps make my back teeth itch a little, because along with bike paths to attract professionals, they're one of those panaceas to "bring back downtown," but as it turns out Prairie du Chien has marketed itself to summer tourists quite successfully as " the oldest Euro-American settlement established on the Upper Mississippi River," so those lamps are legit! (Of course, Prairie du Chien, like so much of flyover country, is fighting an opioid problem , but that doesn't show up in Street View, or affect the tourists in any way.)

    More to the point, Crawford County WI, in which Prairie du Chien is located, was one of the counties that went for Obama, twice, and then flipped to Trump ( 50.1% Trump, 44.6% Clinton ), handing Trump the election, although the CAP authors don't mention this. AP has a good round-up of interviews with Prairie du Chien residents , from which I'll extract the salient points. On "flipping," both from Obama (since he didn't deliver) and away from Trump (if he doesn't deliver):

    In 2012, [Lydia Holt] voted for Barack Obama because he promised her change, but she feels that change hasn't reached her here. So last year she chose a presidential candidate unlike any she'd ever seen, the billionaire businessman who promised to help America, and people like her, win again. Many of her neighbors did, too .

    In this corner of middle America, in this one, small slice of the nation that sent Trump to Washington, they are watching and they are waiting, their hopes pinned on his promised economic renaissance. And if four years from now the change he pledged hasn't found them here, the people of Crawford County said they might change again to someone else.

    "[T]hings aren't going the way we want them here," she said, "so we needed to go in another direction."

    And the issues:

    [Holt] tugged 13 envelopes from a cabinet above the stove, each one labeled with a different debt: the house payment, the student loans, the vacuum cleaner she bought on credit.

    Lydia Holt and her husband tuck money into these envelopes with each paycheck to whittle away at what they owe. They both earn about $10 an hour and, with two kids, there are usually some they can't fill. She did the math; at this rate, they'll be paying these same bills for 87 years.

    Kramer said she's glad the Affordable Care Act has helped millions get insurance, but it hasn't helped her he and her husband were stunned to find premiums over $1,000 a month. Her daughter recently moved into their house with her five children, so there's no money to spare. They opted to pay the penalty of $2,000, and pray they don't get sick until Trump, she hopes, keeps his promise to replace the law with something better.

    Among them is a woman who works for $10.50 an hour in a sewing factory, who still admires Obama, bristles at Trump's bluster, but can't afford health insurance. And the dairy farmer who thinks Trump is a jerk - "somebody needs to get some Gorilla Glue and glue his lips shut" - but has watched his profits plummet and was willing to take the risk.

    And of course jobs (as seen in this video, "Inside the Minds and Homes of Voters in Prairie du Chien, WI," made by students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

    So that's Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. CAP frames the electoral context this way:

    While the election was decided by a small number of votes overall, there was a significant shift of votes in counties in critical Electoral College states, including Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

    (I could have told them that. In fact, I did! ) And the reasons for the shift:

    What was going on in these heavily white working-class counties that might explain support for Trump? Without diminishing the importance of cultural and racial influences, it is clear to us that lingering [sic] economic pressures among important voting blocs helped to create a larger opening for Trump's victory.

    We do not yet know the exact reasons for the drop in turnout among young people and black voters. But with President Obama not on the ticket to drive voter enthusiasm, it is quite possible that lingering job and wage pressures in more urban areas with lots of young people, and in areas with large populations of African-Americans, yielded similar, if distinct, economic anxiety in ways that may have depressed voter turnout among base progressives. The combined effect of economic anxiety may have been to drive white noncollege voters toward Trump and to drive down voter engagement and participation among base progressives.

    Either way, issues related to lost jobs, low wages, high costs, and diminished mobility played a critical role in setting the stage for a narrow populist victory for Trump.

    (I could have told them that, too. In fact, I did! ) Note the lingering "Obama Coalition" / identity politics brain damage that casually assumes "base progressives" equate to African-Americans and youth. Nevertheless, mild kudos to CAP for fighting through to the concept that "economic pressures among important voting blocs helped to create a larger opening for Trump's victory." The CAP paper then goes on to recommend a JG as an answer to such "economic pressures."[2]

    Nature and Purpose of a JG

    Here's the how and why of a JG (though I wrote it up, I had the help of practioners):

    How would the JG work from the perspective of a working person (not an owner?) Or from the perspective of the millions of permanently disemployed? The MMT Primer :

    If you are involuntarily unemployed today (or are stuck with a part-time job when you really want to work full time) you only have three choices:

    Employ yourself (create your own business-something that usually goes up in recessions although most of these businesses fail) Convince an employer to hire you, adding to the firm's workforce Convince an employer to replace an existing worker, hiring you

    The second option requires that the firm's employment is below optimum-it must not currently have the number of workers desired to produce the amount of output the firm thinks it can sell. …

    If the firm is in equilibrium, then, producing what it believes it can sell, it will hire you only on the conditions stated in the third case-to replace an existing worker. Perhaps you promise to work harder, or better, or at a lower wage. But, obviously, that just shifts the unemployment to someone else.

    It is the "dogs and bones" problem: if you bury 9 bones and send 10 dogs out to go bone-hunting you know at least one dog will come back "empty mouthed". You can take that dog and teach her lots of new tricks in bone-finding, but if you bury only 9 bones, again, some unlucky dog comes back without a bone.

    The only solution is to provide a 10 th bone. That is what the JG does: it ensures a bone for every dog that wants to hunt.

    It expands the options to include:

      There is a "residual" employer who will always provide a job to anyone who shows up ready and willing to work.

    It expands choice. If you want to work and exhaust the first 3 alternatives listed above, there is a 4 th : the JG.

    It expands choice without reducing other choices. You can still try the first 3 alternatives. You can take advantage of all the safety net alternatives provided. Or you can choose to do nothing. It is up to you.

    If I were one of the millions of people permanently disemployed, I would welcome that additional choice. It's certainly far more humane than any policy on offer by either party. And the JG is in the great tradition of programs the New Deal sponsored, like the CCC, the WPA, Federal Writers' Project , and the Federal Art Project . So what's not to like? ( Here's a list of other JGs). Like the New Deal, but not temporary!

    Intuitively: What the JG does is set a baseline[3] for the entire package offered to workers, and employers have to offer a better package, or not get the workers they need. When I came up here to Maine I'd quit my job voluntarily and so wasn't eligible for unemployment. Then the economy crashed, and I had no work (except for blogging) for two years. There were no jobs to be had. I would have screamed with joy for a program even remotely like this, and I don't even have dependents to take care of. It may be objected that the political process won't deliver an offer as good as the Primer suggests. Well, don't mourn. Organize. It may be objected that a reform like the JG merely reinforces the power of the 0.01%. If so, I'm not sure I'm willing to throw the currently disemployed under the bus because "worse is better," regardless. Anyhow, does "democratic control over the living wage" really sound all that squillionaire-friendly to you? Aren't they doing everything in their power to fight anything that sounds like that? The JG sounds like the slogan Lincoln ran on, to me: "Vote yourself a farm!" [3]

    So, what does the JG for the economy? MMT was put together by economists; from an economists perspective, what is it good for? Why did they do that? The Primer once more:

    some supporters emphasize that a program with a uniform basic wage[4] also helps to promote economic and price stability.

    The JG/ELR program will act as an automatic stabilizer as employment in the program grows in recession and shrinks in economic expansion, counteracting private sector employment fluctuations. The federal government budget will become more counter-cyclical because its spending on the ELR program will likewise grow in recession and fall in expansion.

    Furthermore, the uniform basic wage will reduce both inflationary pressure in a boom and deflationary pressure in a bust. In a boom, private employers can recruit from the program's pool of workers, paying a mark-up over the program wage. The pool acts like a "reserve army" of the employed, dampening wage pressures as private employment grows. In recession, workers down-sized by private employers can work at the JG/ELR wage, which puts a floor to how low wages and income can fall.

    Finally, research indicates that those without work would prefer to have it :

    Research by Pavlina Tcherneva and Rania Antonopoulos indicates that when asked, most people want to work. Studying how job guarantees affect women in poor countries, they find the programs are popular largely because they recognize-and more fairly distribute and ­compensate-all the child- and elder care that is now often performed by women for free (out of love or duty), off the books, or not at all.

    Enough of this crap jobs at crap wages malarky!

    And here's the how and why of a JG, as described by CAP :

    We propose today a new jobs guarantee, and we further expect a robust[3] agenda to be developed by the commission.

    The low wages and low employment rates for those without college degrees only exist because of a failure of imagination. There is no shortage of important work that needs to be done in our country. There are not nearly enough home care workers to aid the aged and disabled. Many working families with children under the age of 5 need access to affordable child care. Schools need teachers' aides, and cities need EMTs. And there is no shortage of people who could do this work. What has been missing is policy that can mobilize people.

    To solve this problem, we propose a large-scale, permanent program of public employment and infrastructure investment-similar to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression but modernized for the 21st century. It will increase employment and wages for those without a college degree while providing needed services that are currently out of reach for lower-income households and cash-strapped state and local governments. Furthermore, some individuals may be hired into paying public jobs in which their primary duty will be to complete intensive, full-time training for high-growth, in-demand occupations. These "public apprenticeships" could include rotations with public and private entities to gain on-the-ground experience and lead to guaranteed private-sector employment upon successful completion of training.

    Such an expanded public employment program could, for example, have a target of maintaining the employment rate for prime-age workers without a bachelor's degree at the 2000 level of 79 percent. Currently, this would require the creation of 4.4 million jobs. At a living wage-which we can approximate as $15 per hour plus the cost of contributions to Social Security and Medicare via payroll taxes-the direct cost of each job would be approximately $36,000 annually. Thus, a rough estimate of the costs of this employment program would be about $158 billion in the current year. This is approximately one-quarter of Trump's proposed tax cut for the wealthy on an annual basis.

    With tis background, let's look at how liberals would screw the JG up.

    How a CAP JG Would Go Wrong

    Before getting into a little policy detail, I'll examine a few cultural/framing issues. After all, CAP does want the program's intended recipients to accept it with good grace, no? Let me introduce the over-riding concern, from Joan C. Williams in The Financial Times : "They don't want compassion. They want respect" :

    Williams warns that Republican errors alone won't give Democrats back the WWC.

    Or any part of the WC; as even CAP recognizes, although WWC disproportionately voted Trump, and non-WWC disproportionately stayed home.

    While [Williams] agrees that the Democrats have mobilised their base since Trump's election, she has "one simple message" for the party: it needs to show the WWC respect, "in a tone suitable for grown-ups". Democrats must say: "We regret that we have disrespected you, we now hear you." She asks: "Is this so hard? Although the risk is that the response will be, 'Oh, those poor little white people with their opioid epidemics, let's open our hearts in compassion to them.' That's going to infuriate them. They don't want compassion, they want respect."

    To show respect, it would really behoove liberals to deep-six the phrase "economic anxiety," along with "economic frustrations," "economic concerns," "economic grievances," and "lingering economic pressures."[4] All these phrases make successful class warfare a psychological condition, no doubt to be treated by a professional (who by definition is not anxious, not frustrated, has no grievances, and certainly no economic pressures, because of their hourly rate (or possibly their government contract).

    To show respect, it would also behoove liberals to deep-six the concept that markets come first; people who sell their labor power by the hour tend to be sensitive about such things. Take, for a tiny example, the caption beneath the image of Prairie du Chein. Let me quote it:

    A customer crosses the street while leaving a shop along the main business district in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, January 2017.

    Really? A customer ? Does the human figure have to be a customer ? Why?

    Along the same lines, drop the "affordable" crap; ObamaCare should have ruined that branding already; what seems like it's affordable to CAP writers in the Beltway probably isn't affordable at all to somebody making $10 an hour. Anyhow, if something like childcare or for that matter #MedicareForAll ought to be a universal direct material benefit, then deliver it!

    To show respect, abandon the "Marshall Plan" framing immediately. Because it means the "winners" are going to graciously help the "losers," right? And prudentially, liberals don't really want to get the working class asking themselves who conducted a war against them, and why, right?

    To show respect, make the JG a truly universal benefit, a real guarantee, and don't turn it into an ObamaCare-like Rube Goldberg device of means-testing, worthiness detection, gatekeeping, and various complex forms of insult and degradation, like narrow networks. This passage from CAP has me concerned:

    Such an expanded public employment program could, for example, have a target of maintaining the employment rate for prime-age workers without a bachelor's degree at the 2000 level of 79 percent.

    That 'target" language sounds to me very much like the "dogs and bones" problem. Suppose currently we have 6 bones and 10 dogs. The "target" is 7 bones. Suppose we meet it? There are still 3 dogs without bones! Some guarantee! The JG should be simple: A job for everyone who wants one. None of this targeting or slicing and dicing demographics. The JG isn't supposed to be an employment guarantee for macro-economists (who basically have one anyone).

    To show respect, make the JG set the baseline for wages (and working conditions). This passage from CAP has me concerned:

    Second, because it would employ people to provide services that are currently needed but unaffordable, it would not compete with existing private-sector employment.

    This language seems a bit slippery to me. If Walmart is paying $10.00 an hour, is the JG really going to pay $9.50?

    Finally, you will notice that the CAP JG is shorn of any macro-economic implications. Note, for example, that replacing our current cruel system of regulating the economy by throwing people out of work isn't mentioned. Note also that CAP also accepts the false notion that Federal taxes pay for Federal spending. That puts CAP in the austerity box, meaning that the JG might be cut back just when it is most needed, not least by working people.

    Conclusion

    I do want to congratulate CAP, and without irony, for this passage:

    [The JG] would provide the dignity of work, the value of which is significant. When useful work is not available, there are large negative consequences, ranging from depression, to a decline in family stability, to "deaths of [sic] despair."

    It's good to see the Case-Deaton study penetrating the liberal hive mind. Took long enough. Oh, and this makes the JG a moral issue, too. The pallid language of "economic anxiety" should be reformulated to reflect this, as should the program itself.

    NOTES

    [1] The JG originally comes from the MMT community; here is a high-level summary . Oddly, or not, there's no footnote crediting MMTers. Interestingly, Stephanie Kelton, who hails from the University of Missouri at Kansas City's MMT-friendly economics department, before Sanders brought her onto the staff at the Senate Budget committee, was not able to persuade Sanders of the correctness and/or political utility of MMT generally or the JG in particular.

    [2] I guess those famous Democrat 2016 post mortems will never be published, eh? This will have to do for a poor substitute. Or maybe the Democrats just want us to read Shattered .

    [3] In my view, "robust" is a bullshit tell. Back when I was a hotshot consultant, the operational definition of "robust" was "contained in a very large three-ring binder."

    [4] Dear God. Are these people demented? Nobody who is actually under "economic pressure" would use these words. And so far as I can tell, "lingering" means permanent.

    About Lambert Strether

    Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism ("Because markets"). I don't much care about the "ism" that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don't much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue - and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me - is the tens of thousands of excess "deaths from despair," as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics - even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton's wars created - bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow - currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press - a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let's call such voices "the left." Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn't allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I've been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

    ChrisAtRU , May 17, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Clive , May 17, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    No, thank you!

    Dead Dog , May 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Yes, a great essay. And thank you commentariat.
    Of course, there is a potential conflict from those who want a basic income, but don't want to work. Such a position frames such people badly, but a basic income remains an essential part of a JG world IMO.
    The JG would provide incentive if you didn't lose the safety net and could add to it by working in a JG program.
    Most here in this place accept that a sovereign government can pay for programs which are not funded by taxes (or debt) and the JG and basic income concepts could be a way to test this in a controlled way.
    The main reason I think that politicians continue to have blinkers (LA LA, CAN'T HEAR YOU) with respect to MMT is that they are scared witless of a government with unlimited spending powers. That's why we can't have nice things.

    jrs , May 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    don't want to work, hmm I don't even know if I could work in a job without a decent amount of slack (A.D.D. mind may not be capable of it or something and often not for lack of trying, though I do a decent amount of unpaid work in my precious leisure time). Or at least not the full 40 hours, so if the job guarantee bosses are slave drivers, I don't know, I'd probably be fired from my job guaranteed job period.

    But what if a job was aligned with one's interest? Don't know, never experienced that.

    But all that aside and never even mind unemployment, given how horrible the job circumstances are that I see many people caught in (and I definitely don't mean having slack – that's a good thing, I mean verbal ABUSE, I mean working endless hours of unpaid overtime etc.), any alternative would seem good.

    nycTerrierist , May 17, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    +1!

    PKMKII , May 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    The "target" language also makes me worry that they're defining optimal employment by the inflation-obsessed standards of Chicago-school economists, thus coming up short in the name of protecting the investor class.

    Minor quibble: Does Maine constitute flyover country? Usually that term means the parts of the country that the well-to-do "fly over" from east coast cities to west coast ones, with perhaps an exception for Chicago. You wouldn't fly over Maine for any of those routes. Not to mention, Maine is a popular vacationing/summer home state for rich New Englanders, so it doesn't exactly have an "other" status for them the way rural Wisconsin would.

    Huey Long , May 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I think Maine is legit flyover country as flying over Maine was once mandatory on the transatlantic route in order to Gander Airport in Newfoundland. I know, I know, it's a bit of a stretch but I'm trying here!

    As for Maine's other status, you're spot on about "down east" (coastal) Maine and some of the lakes being popular with the landed gentry, but the interior of the state is sparsely populated, poor, white, and marginalized. Many of the paper mills have gone belly-up and the economy in many places consists of picking potatoes or cutting down trees.

    Knifecatcher , May 17, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I used to do a lot of business travel to Nova Scotia. Hard to get there from the US without flying over Maine. But I think Lambert meant flyover in the pejorative "why would you live here when you could be an artisanal pickle maker in Brooklyn" sense.

    Peham , May 17, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks much! A JG as you describe plus nationalizing all our current rentier industries ought to just about do the trick.

    Sutter Cane , May 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Are you still guaranteed a job if you happen to make any negative comments about Neera Tanden? (Asking for Matt Bruenig)

    nihil obstet , May 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Matt Bruenig had other issues with the article: More Job Guarantee Muddle . While he points out that the jobs suggested in the article should be permanent rather than temporary jobs, I go on with my own little sense of discomfort that they all involve putting the otherwise jobless in charge of caring for the helpless. I don't find that a good idea. I've spent enough time both working with and volunteering in human service organizations to have observed that it's not really appropriate work for a lot of people, even for many good-hearted volunteers. It really dampens my enthusiasm for a JG that I have yet to see an argument for it that doesn't invoke child and elderly care as just great jobs that the jobless can be put to doing.

    Just another quibble with this post. I first heard of a job guarantee and heard arguments for it in the U.S. civilian society from Michael Harrington in the early 1980s (guaranteed jobs have been a feature of the state capitalist societies that call themselves socialist throughout the 20th c.), so I don't find it particularly odd when the MMT community isn't mentioned as originating the idea. In fact, I tend to respond with "Hey, MMTers, learn some history."

    jrs , May 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    good points.

    Susan the other , May 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for this article Lambert. Why should we trust CAP to handle this when they have done nothing toward this end in their entire history. In fact, in undeniable fact, if we don't do something about demand in this country we will have no economy left at all. For these guys to even approach a JG you know they are panicked. Nobody goes over this fact because it turns them all into instant hypocrites. I spent yesterday listening to some MMTers on U-Tube, Wray and some others. They all clearly and succinctly explain the systemic reasons for JG. Not nonsense. In fact, MMT approaches a JG as the opposite of nonsense on so many levels. As you have pointed out – these CAP people are a little late to reality. And their dear leader Obama is first in line for the blame, followed closely by Bill Clinton and his balance-the-budget cabal of bankster idiots. And etc. And these JG jobs could be just the jobs we need to turn global warming around. It could be the best spent money ever. It is a very straight-forward calculation.

    Sue , May 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Dispel ambiguity. Call it LWUJG, Living Wage Universal Job Guarantee

    Sandler , May 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I don't know how you even bother. America is so far away from this intellectually and culturally, there is no chance. Right now the "jobs guarantee" is get arrested for something bogus and be sentenced to prison to do forced labor for outsourcing corporations (yes this is real). Look where the GOP stands on basic issues which were settled long ago in Europe, they are in the Stone age. The Dems are right wing everywhere else.

    With US institutions usually run horribly how do you expect this to be well run? Is the VA a shining example? I certainly would not have hope for this at the federal level.

    Murph , May 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    I feel the same way often but I've got to allow myself some hope once in a while. This development is at least turn in the right direction for the moment, nothing else. There's nothing wrong with being (aprehensively) pleased about that.

    Sandler , May 17, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I'd like to get a basic unemployment welfare scheme going first. We don't even have that! We have an "insurance" program which requires you to first have held a job which paid enough for long enough, and then get fired, not quit. And it only pays for six months. Again, this was settled in other rich countries a long time ago.

    Darius , May 17, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Swing for the fences, ladies or gentlemen. Throw incremental change overboard, along with Hillary, Tim Kaine and Neera.

    Disturbed Voter , May 17, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    There is a job guarantee in Castro's Cuba. So wonderful, people are swimming from Miami to Havana ever day.

    Though you have it exactly right in the US the job guarantee is to be a felon on a privatized prison farm usually called a "plantation". I am looking forward to my neighbors finally being put to work. At least it is only building a Presidential Library for Obama, not a pyramid for Pharaoh.

    witters , May 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    "There is a job guarantee in Castro's Cuba. So wonderful, people are swimming from Miami to Havana ever day."

    That is why Cuba will never last! It will die in minutes, without any outside help!

    Mind you, here's a thought. Maybe the one's who didn't want to work, left for Florida!

    diptherio , May 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    My prediction: by the time this makes it through Congress, it will be a guarantee for no more than 15 hours per week at slightly below the minimum wage and you'll only be able to be in the program for nine months, total during your lifetime. Or am I being overly cynical?

    Maybe we need to update that old saw: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they co-opt your idea and strip the soul out of it, then you kinda win but not really, but hey that's progress, right?"

    Even though I'm cynical, I'm with Lambert in being for just about anything that makes us bottom-20%ers lives better, even if it is highly flawed. Heck, I'd even be for a BIG on that basis, even if Yves is right about the negative side-effects of that policy.

    Huey Long , May 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    they co-opt your idea and strip the soul out of it, then you kinda win but not really, but hey that's progress, right?"

    SPOT ON!!!

    This is EXACTLY what Bismark did in 1883 with his Staatssozialismus (state socialism) reforms.

    Disturbed Voter , May 17, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    In 1883, Germany still had hope it was only 12 years old!

    Jeff , May 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    If I understood correctly, Norway is running such a program since many years.
    Basically, when you are out of a job, you get unemployment benefits (a low but decent salary, health care and other modern facilities unheard of is the US) – which last forever .
    On the other hand, any public institution can call you in to help a hand: washing dishes at the school kitchen one day, waiting on the elderly the other day, helping out in the local library wherever hands are needed but not available.
    So it is not really a JG, but you are guaranteed to help out your local community, and you are guaranteed a minimal income. That seems close enough to me.

    Fred1 , May 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    This is just positioning to defend against a challenger from the left who is promoting a genuine JG.

    See we agree about a JG, I'm for it too and here is my 9 point proposal on my website.

    robnume , May 17, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks, Lambert, for a very interesting post. I combed through CAP's panel of "experts." I was not impressed.
    I'm going to start my own think tank. Gonna call it CRAP: Center for Real American Progress.

    lyle , May 17, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Of course in the north in the winter you could go back to shoveling snow with snow shovels (no machines allowed) and ban use by public employees of riding lawnmowers in the summer in favor of powered walk behind mowers. From what I have read this is what china did on the 3 gorges dam, partly making the project a jobs project by doing things in a human intensive way. (of course you could go back to the hand push non powered reel mower but then you have to worry about folks and heart attacks. (Or use those in their 20s for this. Growing up in MI and In this is how we mowed the yard. (in the 1950s and 1960) and for snow shoveling, my dad got a snow blower when I went off to college.
    Now if you really want a low productivity way of cutting grass get one of the hand grass trimmers and set to work cutting it by that, it would employ a lot of folks and not have the exertion problem of a push mower (Again I used these in the 1960s in MI before we had the string trimmers and edgers etc. (also recall the old hand powered lawn edgers.)

    craazyboy , May 17, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I'm partial to John Cleese Silly Walks. It would be creative and artistic. We need more art.

    Samuel Conner , May 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    It sounds like the CAP JG proposal is "top down" in that the "palette" of jobs to be funded is decided by the same agency (or an agency at the same level of government) as the fund disbursement authority, or is specified in the law itself.

    IIRC, the JG concept proposed in the MMT primer would devolve the decision of "how to usefully employ willing underutilized workers" to local level. Funding would still be Federal. There would be some kind of "request for proposals/peer review" process to decide which locally-wanted projects would receive JG dollars (presumably in order to be a guarantee, enough projects would be approved for every locality to employ the available under-utilized willing workforce. If a locality only proposed one project, that would be funded)

    It that right, Lambert? Is "top down" another way that centrists could screw up a JG? And might the "local devolution" aspect of the NEP/MMT Primer concept appeal to folks on the right?

    washunate , May 18, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Great write up. I obviously have a long-running disagreement on the policy prescription of JG, but I do find it interesting talking about how groups like CAP present it outside the specific confines of MMT (and, apparently, without even tipping the hat to them ?).

    One concrete bit of info I would love to know is how they estimate 4.4 million workers for take-up. First, it's a hilarious instance of false precision. Second, it's remarkably low. $15/hr is approximately the median wage. Tens of millions of workers would sign up, both from the ranks of the crap jobs and from the ranks of those out of the labor force.

    [May 18, 2017] Hayek and Neoclassicals Meet Information Theory and Fail

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Jason Smith, a physicist who messes around with economic theory. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in math and a degree in physics, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in theoretical physics. Follow him on Twitter: @infotranecon. Originally published at Evonomics ..."
    "... The New Industrial State ..."
    "... I think the tradition of economic thinking has been really influential. I think it's actually a thing that people on the left really should do - take the time to understand all of that. There is a tremendous amount of incredible insight into some of the things we're talking about, like non-zero-sum settings, and the way in which human exchange can be generative in this sort of amazing way. Understanding how capitalism works has been really, really important for me, and has been something that I feel like I'm a better thinker and an analyst because of the time and reading I put into a lot of conservative authors on that topic. ..."
    May 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on May 17, 2017 by Yves Smith By Jason Smith, a physicist who messes around with economic theory. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in math and a degree in physics, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in theoretical physics. Follow him on Twitter: @infotranecon. Originally published at Evonomics

    The inspiration for this piece came from a Vox podcast with Chris Hayes of MSNBC. One of the topics they discussed was which right-of-center ideas the left ought to engage. Hayes says:

    The entirety of the corpus of [Friedrich] Hayek, [Milton] Friedman, and neoclassical economics. I think it's an incredibly powerful intellectual tradition and a really important one to understand, these basic frameworks of neoclassical economics, the sort of ideas about market clearing prices, about the functioning of supply and demand, about thinking in marginal terms.

    I think the tradition of economic thinking has been really influential. I think it's actually a thing that people on the left really should do - take the time to understand all of that. There is a tremendous amount of incredible insight into some of the things we're talking about, like non-zero-sum settings, and the way in which human exchange can be generative in this sort of amazing way. Understanding how capitalism works has been really, really important for me, and has been something that I feel like I'm a better thinker and an analyst because of the time and reading I put into a lot of conservative authors on that topic.

    Putting aside the fact that the left has fully understood and engaged with these ideas, deeply and over decades (it may be dense writing, but it's not exactly quantum field theory), I can hear some of you asking: Do I have to?

    The answer is: No.

    Why? Because you can get the same understanding while also understanding where these ideas fall apart ‒ that is to say understanding the limited scope of market-clearing prices and supply and demand – using information theory.

    Prices and Hayek

    Friedrich Hayek did have some insight into prices having something to do with information, but he got the details wrong and vastly understated the complexity of the system. He saw market prices aggregating information from events: a blueberry crop failure, a population boom, or speculation on crop yields. Price changes purportedly communicated knowledge about the state of the world.

    However, Hayek was writing in a time before information theory. (Hayek's The Use of Knowledge in Society was written in 1945, a just few years before Claude Shannon's A Mathematical Theory of Communication in 1948.) Hayek thought a large amount of knowledge about biological or ecological systems, population, and social systems could be communicated by a single number: a price. Can you imagine the number of variables you'd need to describe crop failures, population booms, and market bubbles? Thousands? Millions? How many variables of information do you get from the price of blueberries? One. Hayek dreams of compressing a complex multidimensional space of possibilities that includes the state of the world and the states of mind of thousands or millions of agents into a single dimension (i.e. price), inevitably losing a great deal of information in the process.

    ... ... ...

    The market as an algorithm

    The picture above is of a functioning market as an algorithm matching distributions by raising and lowering a price until it reaches a stable price. In fact, this picture is of a specific machine learning algorithm called Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN, described in this Medium article or in the original paper ) that has emerged recently. Of course, the idea of the market as an algorithm to solve a problem is not new. For example one of the best blog posts of all time (in my opinion) talks about linear programming as an algorithm, giving an argument for why planned economies will likely fail, but the same argument implies we cannot check the optimality of the market allocation of resources, therefore claims of markets as optimal are entirely faith-based. The Medium article uses a good analogy using a painting, a forger, and a detective, but I will recast it in terms of the information theory description.

    Instead of the complex multidimensional distributions, here we have blueberry buyers and blueberry sellers. The "supply" ( B from above) is the generator G , the demand A is the "real data" R (the information the deep learning algorithm is trying to learn). Instead of the random initial input I - coin tosses or dice throws - we have the complex, irrational, entrepreneurial, animal spirits of people. We also have the random effects of weather on blueberry production. The detector D (which is coincidentally the terminology Fieltiz and Borchardt used) is the price p . When the detector can't tell the difference between the distribution of demand for blueberries and the distribution of the supply of blueberries (i.e. when the price reaches a relatively stable value because the distributions are the same), we've reached our solution (a market equilibrium).

    Note that the problem the GAN algorithm tackles can be represented by the two-player minimax game from game theory. The thing is that with the wrong settings, algorithms fail and you get garbage. I know this from experience in my regular job researching machine learning, sparse reconstruction, and signal processing algorithms. Therefore depending on the input data (especially data resulting from human behavior), we shouldn't expect to get good results all of the time. These failures are exactly the failure of information to flow from the real data to the generator through the detector – the failure of information from the demand to reach the supply via the price mechanism.

    When asked by Quora what the recent and upcoming breakthroughs in deep learning are, Yann LeCun, director of AI research at Facebook and a professor at NYU, said:

    The most important one, in my opinion, is adversarial training (also called GAN for Generative Adversarial Networks). This is an idea that was originally proposed by Ian Goodfellow when he was a student with Yoshua Bengio at the University of Montreal (he since moved to Google Brain and recently to OpenAI).

    This, and the variations that are now being proposed is the most interesting idea in the last 10 years in ML, in my opinion.

    Research into these deep learning algorithms and information theory may provide insight into economic systems.

    An Interpretation of Economics for the Left

    So again, Hayek had a fine intuition: prices and information have some relationship. But he didn't have the conceptual or mathematical tools of information theory to understand the mechanisms of that relationship - tools that emerged with Shannon's key paper in 1948, and that continue to be elaborated to this day to produce algorithms like generative adversarial networks.

    The understanding of prices and supply and demand provided by information theory and machine learning algorithms is better equipped to explain markets than arguments reducing complex distributions of possibilities to a single dimension, and hence, necessarily, requiring assumptions like rational agents and perfect foresight. Ideas that were posited as articles of faith or created through incomplete arguments by Hayek are not even close to the whole story, and leave you with no knowledge of the ways the price mechanism, marginalism, or supply and demand can go wrong. Those arguments assume and (hence) conclude market optimality. Leaving out the failure modes effectively declares many social concerns of the left moot by fiat. The potential and actual failures of markets are a major concern of the left, and are frequently part of discussions of inequality and social justice.

    The left doesn't need to follow Chris Hayes' advice and engage with Hayek, Friedman, and neoclassical economics. The left instead needs to engage with a real world vision of economics that recognizes the limited scope of ideal markets and begins with imperfection as the more useful default scenario. Understanding economics in terms of information flow is one way of doing that.

    JULIA WILLE , May 17, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Is this just my lack of formal education or is this article very complicated? Honestly I did not understand it at all. Is there any way to explain this different? ( a link to a different way of describing informationtheory / free market theory)
    Thanks Julia

    PKMKII , May 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

    To put it in more layman-friendly terms: price settings are based on information the suppliers gather regarding the market, both demand side and supply side (sales forecasts, commodity pricing, consumer confidence number, focus group information, etc). Demanders do the same. However, they can never have absolute, complete information for either side. So prices, and idea of what prices should be, in a free market never represent a true optimal price, but rather a best guess.

    This pokes a few holes in neoclassical economic assumptions:

    – Most obviously, prices cannot be optimal in a free market.
    – Supply and demand changes cannot account entirely for changes in price, as refinements to the information flow can affect them as well.
    – Information asymmetry corrupts prices, and can be used to exploit consumers.
    – Information is dependent on a large enough sample size, so neoclassical economics is useless in markets with limited transactions. An easy example of this are those kind of items on shows like Antique Roadshow, where there's so few of the items out there that the expert says, "This is a guess, but really it could go for almost any amount at auction."

    So the Left can use this to argue for non-market price controls (to account for the lack of free market price optimization) and for forcing corporations to have better fiscal transparency and more strict anti-trust laws (to increase information flow and to prevent information asymmetry).

    JTMcPhee , May 17, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Local prices for gasoline look a lot more like looting and chaos to me than any kind of correspondence to "markets." Yesterday at the RaceTrac at the end of my street, "regular" dropped four cents from morning to evening, reflecting the pricing at the two other "service stations" at the intersection. A month or so ago (I got tired of keeping a little record of the changes) the price jumped 25 cents overnight. None of these moves seemed to correspond with the stuff I was reading about in the market conditions around the planet and just in the US - supply and demand? More like the Useless Looters at BP and Shell and others just spin an arrow on a kid's game board to pick the day's price point (that sick phrase), or somebody in the C-Suite decided the "Bottom Line" needed a goose to pump the bonus generator up a bit.

    The fraud is everywhere, the looting and scamming too. Seems to me that searching for some "touchstone" to make sense of It All is an exercise in futility.

    PKMKII , May 17, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Gasoline runs into a different limitation with free market economics, which is that consumers need to be able to freely enter and leave the market in question in order for the free market to function (which is why privatized healthcare doesn't work). Outside of a few urban areas with robust public transportation, most Americans are immediately dependent on gasoline in order to survive. Even those who do have access to a Metro are still dependent on the shipping that uses gasoline. So they can raise prices with a greater confidence that the number of consumers will not drop off as significantly as with other industries.

    rn , May 17, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    "This pokes a few holes in neoclassical economic assumptions:"

    In neoclassical economics, these "holes" are pretty much understood as the prerequisites for "perfect competition", as opposed to imperfect competition or monopolies.

    When politics is mixed with economics, these are ignored, as they are in the interest of the ruling class.

    HBE , May 17, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you for the laymans version PKMKII. I read it twice, but it only clicked after reading your comment.

    LT , May 17, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    https://aeon.co/essays/how-the-cold-war-led-the-cia-to-promote-human-capital-theory/

    Vastydeep , May 17, 2017 at 11:00 am

    PKMKII said it very well, and here's another way to look at it: Centrally-planned economies (say, some Politburo minister in the former Soviet Union) fail because a central bureaucrat cannot possibly guess the demand and distribution for all products (say, metal bathtubs) across an economy in a given year. He guesses, poorly, and either the shortages or the oversupply make our history books.

    Market economics makes a better guess, because pricing gives a dynamic estimate of what the supply and demand really are. That this estimate is generally *better* has been (mis)represented as that this estimate is somehow PERFECT - the best estimate that can possibly exist! As the article describes, this assessment (that only a market economy can generate maximal wealth and optimal wealth distributions) is FALSE.

    The economics underlying communist central planning failed because they couldn't provide the optimization that comes from valid pricing function. With Shannon's information theory and advanced analytics, it is possible to create a more optimal economy than our current, simplistic market/pricing function provides.

    Ever since Samuelson's Economics in 1948, we've worshipped a market god based on scanty math. The first step in moving beyond Samuelson is recognizing that progress is indeed still possible, and then making the choice and determining the steps to pursue it.

    Mel , May 17, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Not just communist central planning. John Kenneth Galbraith's The New Industrial State makes a special space in society for industries in The Planning Sector. These were the very large businesses that worked with huge capital bases, long lead times, populations comparable to small nations. Planning, both input and output, was key to these businesses because there was too much at stake to risk losing it to the whims of any market. Communist societies were extreme examples, as they were betting the entire national economy, but the parallels with huge "private" firms were quite exact.
    The Planning Sector businesses failed when they had to slough off all the activities that were too hard to plan; then they morphed into the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate Sector.

    Brian G , May 17, 2017 at 11:15 am

    I don't think it is a lack of formal education. It is simply written in a way that is not easy to understand. I have my master's in engineering, and I'm still not sure exactly what this passage is trying to say:
    "If you randomly generated thousands of messages from the distribution of possible messages, the distribution of generated messages would be an approximation to the actual distribution of messages. If you sent these messages over your noisy communication channel that met the requirement for faithful transmission, it would reproduce an informationally equivalent distribution of messages on the other end."
    From that point on I simply skimmed it and, if I'm not mistaken, the author also assigns positions to Hayek that seem to be a little more extreme than the positions he actually held.

    I.D.G , May 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Will try to break that:

    If you randomly generated thousands of messages from the distribution of possible messages, the distribution of generated messages would be an approximation to the actual distribution of messages.

    You can only get to the true distribution assuming an infinite number of samples, everything else is asymptotic approximation to the true posterior distribution. This is true for any mathematical function approximated numerically were closed solutions are not possible to find (ie. not integrable). But this is relevant to the second phrase because:

    If you sent these messages over your noisy communication channel that met the requirement for faithful transmission, it would reproduce an informationally equivalent distribution of messages on the other end.

    A noisy communication channel introduces random bits of information which are not part of the original distribution, but because that noise is random, you would get a message that is an approximation of the true distribution of the original message being transmitted (is informationally equivalent) as the noise is distributed 'randomly' .

    However, this is only true when the number of information bits approach infinity (for large numbers), BE WARE! Indeed that randomness can be very skewed for small samples. this is relevant and interesting because complex systems were you have a large number of variables are not easy to converge with, even when you are aware of the whole system variables (is a mathematically intractable problem).

    You can think as market pricing (in an ideal world free of politics and power games, which is not) as a convergence to a complex multidimensional problem, and even though we know that we are NOT aware of all the variables at play for a given product, hence this supposedly God like attributes of market price discovery are unwarranted.

    Synoia , May 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Looking at the signal gives you both information and a probability of being correct. Now we get to significance, which is defined as 95% probability.

    When you get to 95% probability depends on the signal to noise ratio.

    Any guesses as to the signal to noise ratio of the News Media?

    Tim , May 17, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Actually that's just poor writing.

    Jim Haygood , May 17, 2017 at 8:49 am

    "Because the information flow from A can never be greater than A's total information, and will mostly be less than that total, the observed prices in a real economy will most likely fall below the ideal market prices."

    Surely not. Post-industrial economies feature an asymmetry: individual consumers, catered to predominantly by large nationwide publicly-traded suppliers.

    Because of the superior knowledge possessed by suppliers, further leveraged by advertising and publicity which exploits human psychological foibles such as peer pressure and herding, prices in the economy are almost certainly too high versus the ideal of complete information flow (while the price of labor is almost certainly too low).

    Nowhere are prices higher than in the nonnegotiable, monopoly services of government. Not only does it charge astronomical property taxes which mean that there's really no such thing as secure property title without income, but also it compels hapless working schmoes to "invest" 15.3% of their income for their entire working lives at approximately zero return.

    Mr Trump tear down these prices .

    Synoia , May 17, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Nowhere are prices higher than in the nonnegotiable, monopoly services of government.

    Really? Care to discuss an example?

    Such as the UK NHS v the US Health Care System? Better outcome at nearly half the cost.

    Now how is your " prices higher monopoly services of government" doing?

    Please post a counter example.

    TG , May 17, 2017 at 9:34 am

    With respect, it is not empirically incorrect that immigration lowers wages. The historical experience is quite clear, that when governments force population growth, whether through increased immigration or via incentives to increase the local fertility rate, wages for the many fall and profits for the few increase.

    Sure more workers means more competition for jobs, but can also result in an increase in the number of jobs – BUT ONLY OVER TIME AND ONLY IF NEEDED INVESTMENTS ARE MADE AND THERE IS ENOUGH MARGINAL CAPACITY TO INVEST AND TECHNOLOGY AND RESOURCES ARE NOT ENTERING THE AREA OF DIMINISHING RETURNS. Which is not guaranteed, especially if the immigration level is massive and constantly increasing.

    The United States from around 1929 to 1970 had very low immigration, and, starting from a low level, wages soared. Starting in 1970, the borders to the overpopulated third world have been progressively opened, and wages have started to diverge from productivity and are now starting to decline in absolute terms. Other nations that recently increased the rate of immigration and have seen significant falls in wages are: South Africa, the Ivory Coast, England, Australia, and Singapore – and even some provinces of India, where immigration from Bangladesh has been used to make certain that wages stay near subsistence. Yes immigration was not the only thing going on there, but when rapid forced increases in the supply of labor are always followed by falls in wages, well, the empirical evidence is hardly to be dismissed out of hand.

    Remember, no society in all of history has run out of workers. When the headlines say that immigrants are needed to end a labor 'shortage' what is really meant is a 'shortage' of workers who have no option but to accept low wages. However, the only reason that workers can get high wages is that there is a 'shortage' of workers forced to take low wages. It is thus essentially tautological that when immigration is said to eliminate a labor shortage, it is lowering wages, because a labor 'shortage' is in fact what high wages are based on.

    PKMKII , May 17, 2017 at 10:31 am

    They're arguing that you can't empirically say that immigration decreases wages, because there are simply too many variables in an economy to be able to say definitively if it's a cause or a correlation, i.e. does the immigration decrease wages, or does another socio-economic factor simultaneously decrease wages and cause an influx of immigrants? This is why economics is treated as a soft science, as you can't remove variables in a lab setting the way you can with other sciences.

    Ignacio , May 17, 2017 at 11:46 am

    "BUT ONLY OVER TIME AND ONLY IF NEEDED INVESTMENTS ARE MADE AND THERE IS ENOUGH MARGINAL CAPACITY TO INVEST AND TECHNOLOGY AND RESOURCES ARE NOT ENTERING THE AREA OF DIMINISHING RETURNS."

    Nope. Once immigrants arrive, demand increases instantly, even before they get a job.

    H. Alexander Ivey , May 17, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Wow. Just wow. A complete, through, and total BS assertion of some kind of economic theory. I am simply stunned at his verbal density of discourse, blithe refusal to explain, and simply name dropping facts, ideas, and concepts that are absolutely not related except in being part of the English language.

    I know this is close to an ad hominum attack; I haven't given any specific rebuttal. But I don't have the tools at my disposal right now to avenge what I see as an assault on my analytic abilities.

    Good night and good luck.

    Synoia , May 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Perhaps you should do some reading or studying of math?

    Vastydeep , May 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    If not a specific rebuttal, what *kinds* of things in the article do you disagree with? Perhaps this posting is just a step to some greater knowing. Neoclassical Economics has been taught as "factual and beyond dispute" my whole career - I'm sure that Alchemy and Leechbooks were taught similarly in earlier ages. How might you suggest that we move forward to something better?

    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." ~ Mark Twain

    skippy , May 17, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    "Wow. Just wow. A complete, through, and total BS assertion of some kind of economic theory. I am simply stunned at his verbal density of discourse, blithe refusal to explain, and simply name dropping facts, ideas, and concepts that are absolutely not related except in being part of the English language."

    Yeah that is a pretty good summation of my experience wrt Austrians over almost 2 decades in a nutter shell[ ] kudos.

    Now if only the neoclassicals would abandon the individual and consider vectors in distribution and how groups affect information.

    disheveled .. throws toys out of play pen and hurrumphs away . victoriously .

    Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money , May 17, 2017 at 10:39 am

    In my limited experience the prices we accept are more to do with contentment than information. We are aware that we can never have perfect information; bounded rationality being our situation*. So as buyers, we end up going with contentment or at least convenience; price too high, content to leave it on the shelf. Price too low and the reaction might be the same because it is too good to be true, or of suspect quality. You can have a bargain staring you in the face and, but you are content because of lack of interest or knowledge.

    Good luck to those who try to quantify contentment!

    .And then there is the tyranny of choice; not content!

    Pip Pip!

    * When it comes to the prices people are prepared to pay for products such as cosmetics and super-cars the rule seems to be unbounded irrationality, but hopefully contentment is achieved anyway.

    Synoia , May 17, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Please do not confuse commodity price with perceived value.

    Perceived value is clearly a signal injection into the information stream (an engineers view of marketing)

    huh? , May 17, 2017 at 10:40 am

    when it comes to the political application of this 'theoretical' argument I think it will be easily dismissed as more leftist academic pedantry, 'immanentizing the eschaton'- all the comments reflecting the advantages of imperfect information evidence.

    SouthLooper , May 17, 2017 at 10:52 am

    This is a wonderful, cogent explanation of a very mathematically complex subject, which is Information Theory, that has been used to make profound contributions well beyond telephonic communication for which Claude Shannon developed it, when he discovered it trying to code the English language, and which he failed to do.

    R.A. Fisher was also brilliant. His work has had implications in probability, and statistics, economics, and perhaps most profoundly in genetics.

    PKMKII , May 17, 2017 at 11:37 am

    The neoclassical analysis also doesn't account for single supplier, multiple demand market situations. If blueberries both have the consumer market, but also an industrial market (dye purpose, maybe), then the blueberry supplier has to balance both of those demands, which may end up favoring one or the other, or some state that isn't ideal for either demand market. The universal example is the private property of the business itself. The owner isn't just in the market of whatever service or widget they make, but also in the commercial real estate market. This is especially problematic with housing, as high rents + vacancies create the impression of scarcity and value to prospective buyers.

    Synoia , May 17, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Good work. Now add the delays in information transfer, and fear and greed buying motivations based on multiple information streams, coupled with information conflicts (injected noise), and you are getting closer to the real world.

    Information conflicts are the differing explanations of the Trump/Corey affair. There is much noise in the information stream.

    Mel , May 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    The example seems very sketchy:

    Stable prices mean a balance of crop failures and crop booms (supply), population declines and population booms (demand), speculation and risk-aversion (demand)

    This is a good example because it's easy to understand appealing, I fear, to our neoclassical prejudices.
    It's a bad example because it doesn't seem very multidimensional; appealing to our neoclassical prejudices it collapses easily into "How many blueberry buyers?" and "How many blueberries?"
    Trying to imagine something more multidimensional there might be a preference for big blueberries because they're big there might be a preference for small blueberries because people think that they're wild, so they must be tastier. If the markets were segregated, there could be a market-clearing price for big blueberries, and another for small blueberries. But the markets probably aren't segregated, and the prices would play back and forth against each other.
    Maybe good too in dealing with prices of different goods, not just The Price. Neoclassical prices are meant to be the information that tells me whether to buy dish soap or a new overcoat instead.

    Synoia , May 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Stable prices mean a balance of crop failures and crop booms (supply), population declines and population booms (demand), speculation and risk-aversion (demand)

    There are no stable prices. With this analysis, the steps to include feedback is clear, and if the feedback is non-linear, non-linear feedback is a characteristic of chaotic systems.

    Temporary stability only in a non-linear system, with tipping points etc.

    UserFriendly , May 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you for this, I found it very helpful.

    Plenue , May 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Chris Hayes is an idiot. What kind of person can repeatedly visit the post-industrial wasteland of the rust belt for town halls with Bernie Sanders and then say "what we need more of is the philosophy of free-markets"?

    But even with that being said, Hayes somehow is still by far the most worthwhile personality on MSNBC.

    Left in Wisconsin , May 17, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    I think the tradition of economic thinking has been really influential. I think it's actually a thing that people on the left really should do - take the time to understand all of that. There is a tremendous amount of incredible insight into some of the things we're talking about, like non-zero-sum settings, and the way in which human exchange can be generative in this sort of amazing way. Understanding how capitalism works has been really, really important for me, and has been something that I feel like I'm a better thinker and an analyst because of the time and reading I put into a lot of conservative authors on that topic.

    While I agree with much of the argument Hayes is making – know thy enemy, etc. – he gets one huge thing wrong here that is very troubling: equating capitalism with markets. "Understanding how capitalism works has been really, really important for me " I'm amazed at how often this trips up otherwise smart people. There is no capitalism in mainstream neoclassical economics (no government either, and you can't have capitalism without government). And get any business person talking freely and they will tell you that everyone in business hates super-competitive markets of the kind fetishized by economists, and that profitability is all about finding niches and other ways to avoid competition.

    LT , May 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    https://aeon.co/essays/how-the-cold-war-led-the-cia-to-promote-human-capital-theory
    "Friedman had discovered in human capital theory more than just a means for boosting economic growth. The very way it conceptualised human beings was an ideological weapon too "

    Ellis , May 17, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    I think it's important to recognize where information theory and the principle of maximum entropy does succeed in economics and that is as a method of doing statistical inference in economics. For those interested, I would recommend looking at the increasing amount of information theoretic research coming out of the Economics Department at the New School for Social Research and UMKC. You can find many good working papers by myself, Duncan Foley, Paulo dos Santos, Gregor Semieniuk, and others on the NSSR Repec page https://ideas.repec.org/s/new/wpaper.html .

    Larry Y , May 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    At Bell Labs, plaques and a statue of Shannon occupy places of honor, in more prominent places than the tributes to other prominent people (including 8 Nobel Prize winners in science).

    Here's a presentation by Prof. Christopher Sims of Princeton, at Bell Labs. "Information Theory in Economics" https://youtu.be/a8jt_TmwQ-U – critique of the optimizing rational behavior models, noting people are bandwidth limited ("Rational Inattention"). Non-gaussian! Brings up example of monopolist of with no high capacity limit vs. customers.

    J ,

    [May 18, 2017] We need to attack and defeat the neoliberal belief that markets are information processors that can know more than any person could ever know and solve problems no computer could ever solve

    Notable quotes:
    "... But making the observation that there are no markets as defined makes little dint on a faith-based theory like neoliberalism, especially a theory whose Church encompasses most university economics departments, most "working" economists, numerous well-funded think tanks, and owns much/most of our political elite and so effectively promotes the short-term interests of our Power Elite. ..."
    May 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Jeremy Grimm , May 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Phillip Mirowski challenged the left to directly attack and defeat the neoliberal belief that markets are information processors that can know more than any person could ever know and solve problems no computer could ever solve.

    [Prof. Philip Mirowski keynote for 'Life and Debt' conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7ewn29w-9I ]

    Sorry for the long quote - I am loathe to attempt to paraphrase Hayek

    "This is particularly true of our theories accounting for the determination of the systems of relative prices and wages that will form themselves on a well functioning market. Into the determination of these prices and wages there will enter the effects of particular information possessed by every one of the participants in the market process – a sum of facts which in their totality cannot be known to the scientific observer, or to any other single brain.

    It is indeed the source of the superiority of the market order, and the reason why, when it is not suppressed by the powers of government, it regularly displaces other types of order, that in the resulting allocation of resources more of the knowledge of particular facts will be utilized which exists only dispersed among uncounted persons, than any one person can possess.

    But because we, the observing scientists, can thus never know all the determinants of such an order, and in consequence also cannot know at which particular structure of prices and wages demand would everywhere equal supply, we also cannot measure the deviations from that order; nor can we statistically test our theory that it is the deviations from that "equilibrium" system of prices and wages which make it impossible to sell some of the products and services at the prices at which they are offered."
    [Extract from Hayek's Nobel Lecture]

    This just hints at Hayek's market supercomputer idea -- I still haven't found a particular writing which exposits the idea -- so this will have to do.

    Sorry - another quote from the Hayek Nobel Lecture [I have no idea how to paraphrase stuff like this!]:

    "There may be few instances in which the superstition that only measurable magnitudes can be important has done positive harm in the economic field: but the present inflation and employment problems are a very serious one. Its effect has been that what is probably the true cause of extensive unemployment has been disregarded by the scientistically minded majority of economists, because its operation could not be confirmed by directly observable relations between measurable magnitudes, and that an almost exclusive concentration on quantitatively measurable surface phenomena has produced a policy which has made matters worse."

    I can't follow Hayek and I can't follow Jason Smith. The first quote above sounds like a "faith based" theory of economics as difficult to characterize as it is to refute. The second quote throws out Jason Smith's argument with a combination of faith based economics and a rejection of the basis for Smith's argument - as "scientistically minded."

    I prefer the much simpler answer implicit in Veblen and plain in "Industrial Prices and their Relative Inflexibility." US Senate Document no. 13, 74th Congress, 1st Session, Government Printing Office, Washington DC. Means, G. C. 1935 - Market? What Market? Can you point to one? [refer to William Waller: Thorstein Veblen, Business Enterprise, and the Financial Crisis (July 06, 2012)

    [https://archive.org/details/WilliamWallerThorsteinVeblenBusinessEnterpriseAndTheFinancialCrisis ]

    It might be interesting if Jason Smith's information theory approach to the market creature could prove how the assumed properties of that mythical creature could be used to derive a proof that the mythical Market creature cannot act as an information processor as Mirowski asserts that Hayek asserts.

    So far as I can tell from my very little exposure to Hayek's market creature it is far too fantastical to characterize with axioms or properties amenable to making reasoned arguments or proofs as Jason Smith attempts. Worse - though I admit being totally confused by his arguments - Smith's arguments seem to slice at a strawman creature that bears little likeness to Hayek's market creature.

    The conclusion of this post adds a scary thought: "The understanding of prices and supply and demand provided by information theory and machine learning algorithms is better equipped to explain markets than arguments reducing complex distributions of possibilities to a single dimension, and hence, necessarily, requiring assumptions like rational agents and perfect foresight." It almost sounds as if Jason Smith intends to build a better Market as information processor religion -- maybe tweak the axioms a little and bring in Shannon. Jason Smith is not our St. George.

    But making the observation that there are no markets as defined makes little dint on a faith-based theory like neoliberalism, especially a theory whose Church encompasses most university economics departments, most "working" economists, numerous well-funded think tanks, and owns much/most of our political elite and so effectively promotes the short-term interests of our Power Elite.

    [May 17, 2017] Why Did the FBI Leak the Comey Memo naked capitalism

    May 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that a memo written by James Comey states that President Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation into General Flynn. Now, this was all about Flynn's contacts with the Russians. He had attended an RT � the Russian television network � dinner in Moscow, he apparently held some discussions there, he was paid for attending that dinner. He also did some lobbying on behalf of Turkey and was paid for that, and the investigation also has to do with whether Flynn has something to do with the alleged interference of the Russians in the American elections. And this is a big breach of etiquette for a president to More than etiquette, I suppose � protocol, even the law � to tell an FBI director not to investigate something. I guess that's illegal. Trump, of course, and the White House denies this.

    But underlying all of this, and all the furor, is a fundamental assumption. It's a term that's used constantly in the media and by the various political pundits on the media, which is "Russia is our adversary." You have to basically assume that the adversary, Russia, has an antagonistic relationship with the United States, and then underneath all of that, then you have Flynn and Comey investigation and so on. Because if Russia isn't the great adversary, then it's unlikely there'd be such a to-do about all of this.

    Now joining us to talk about the Comey affair, the Trump affair, and just what is the issues in terms of the US-Russia relationship, is Robert English. Robert is a professor of international relations at the University of Southern California. He specializes in Russian and post-Soviet politics, US-Russian relations, and national security policy. He formerly worked for the US Department of Defense and the Committee for National Security, and has published widely in both academic and policy journals. Thanks very much for joining us, Robert.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: Happy to be here.

    PAUL JAY: Okay, so every day another storm, another drama. First of all, what do you make of Maybe the most interesting thing in all of this Comey thing today isn't Trump asking him to stop the investigation; that's not a great shocker. The more interesting thing is somebody at the FBI who has access to the Comey memo reads it to a journalist at the New York Times. There's a lot of people out to get Trump here.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: Yeah, you're pointing to this larger problem, which is this chaos, this infighting, and not just in a sort of careerist bureaucratic way, but a kind of serious pitched battle between different factions � in this case, between those in the Trump administration who seem to want a fresh start with Russia, to try to begin cooperation on things like Syria, terrorism, and so forth, and those dead set against it, who are now using leaks and so forth to In part, to fight their battles. And so the bureaucratic, the nasty, the backstabbing, the leaking, is one area of issues, but you're pointing to this larger fundamental. Can we get along with Russia? Is it worth trying to reset relations? And even if he's not the best executor so far � and he's not � is Trump's basic idea of "We can get along with Russia, let's give it a try" a good one? And I happen to think it is; it's just being carried out awfully clumsily.

    PAUL JAY: Yeah, I think one needs to separate the intent of Trump for wanting better relation with Russia, which one can analyze, and the policy itself. The policy of having a détente, although why there even needs to be a détente is kind of a question mark But why is so much of the American foreign policy establishment, the political class, the military leadership, the vast majority of that whole stratum wants to maintain a very antagonistic position towards Russia, and why?

    ROBERT ENGLISH: You know, four or five reasons that all come together, pushing in this Russophobic direction. We've always had sort of unreconstructed Cold Warriors, people who never were easy with the new Russia, right? Zbigniew Brzezinski and people of that ilk, who wanted to just push Russia in a corner, take advantage of its weakness, never give it a chance. Then you have people in the military-industrial complex, for lack of a better term, whose vested interests lie in a continued rivalry, and continued arms-racing, and continued threat inflation. You have other people who normally would be liberal progressive, but they're so angry at Hillary Clinton's loss, they're so uncomprehending of how someone they see as vulgar and unqualified as Trump could get elected, that they're naturally unwilling to let go of this "the Russians hacked our election, the Russians got Trump elected" theme, and therefore, Russia is even bigger enemy than they would be otherwise. These and other strains all come together in a strange way. Some of this is the hard right, all right? Some of it is from the left, some is from the center. And across the board, we have ignorance. Ignorance of Russia.

    PAUL JAY: Now, in an article you wrote recently, you went through some of the history, and we're going to do another segment that digs into this history more in depth, but when you look at the history of the '90s, and Yeltsin, and the whole role of the United States in helping bring down the Soviet Union, the whole point of bringing down the Soviet Union, and standing Yeltsin up, and interfering in Russian elections to make sure Yeltsin wins, and so on, was to open Russia for privatization for American oligarchs. I don't think the idea was to do it for Russian oligarchs, but that's how it turned out. Is that part of what is making this section of the American oligarchs so angry about it all?

    ROBERT ENGLISH: You know, when people look at Russia today, they try to explain it in terms of one evil man, Putin, and that sort of conceals an assumption that if we could just get rid of Putin, everything would be better, and that Putin is the way he is � anti-American � because he's from the KGB. You don't need to go back to his youth or his time in intelligence to understand why he's very skeptical, why we have bad relations with Putin and all those around him. You don't have to go back to the '50s or '40s. You can go back just to the '90s, when we interfered in Russia, when we foisted dysfunctional economic policies on them, when we meddled in their elections repeatedly, and basically for an entire decade, we were handmaidens to a catastrophe � economic, political, social � that sowed the seeds of this resentment that continues to this day. It's a-

    PAUL JAY: Yeah, you mention in your article that the consequences of the '90s depression in Russia far surpassed anything in the '07-'08 recession in the United States.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: They far surpassed that. They even far surpassed anything in our own Great Depression of the early 1930s, of '29, '30, '31 � you know, the Great Depression, under Hoover and then Roosevelt. At that time, our economy contracted by about a quarter, and the slump lasted about three years before growth resumed. Russia's economy contracted almost by half, and the slump lasted an entire decade, and it resulted not just in widespread poverty, but millions of excess deaths, of suicides, of people dying of despair, of heart disease, of treatable illnesses caused by the strains, the This deep, unbelievable misery of that decade. It's no wonder that there is deep resentment towards the US, and this underlies a lot of the Putin elites' attitudes towards us. It's not something pathological, Putin being a bad guy. If you got rid of Putin tomorrow, the next guy who came along, the person most Russians would probably elect in democratic elections, wouldn't be so different. It wouldn't be another Yeltsin or pro-Western liberal, believe me.

    PAUL JAY: Well, even if everything they say about Putin is true, and I doubt and Quite sure not everything is true. If he is such a dictator, United States foreign policy has never had any trouble with dictators, as long as they're our dictators, so the thing drips with hypocrisy.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: Hypocrisy and double standards all around are what Russians see, okay? I mean, where do you begin? Look at the recent The vote, the referendum in Crimea to secede from Ukraine, and of course, then Russia annexed it into Russian territory, and we find that outrageous, a violation of international law, and the Russians say, "Yeah, and what did you engineer in Kosovo? You yanked Kosovo out of Serbia, you caused Kosovo to secede from Serbia with no referendum, no international law. How is that different? Right? When it's your client state it's okay, but when it's ours, it's not?" And of course the list is a long one; we could spend all afternoon going through them. So the first thing we need to do is stop the sanctimony, and deal with Russia as an equal great power.

    But, you know, can I say one more thing about the '90s that connect it with what's going on today? In 1991, we had George Herbert Walker Bush in the White House. It was still the Soviet Union, Gorbachev was still in power for the rest of the year, and a warning came from our ambassador in Moscow, Jack Matlock, which was passed on to the White House. He had inside information from sources, from confidential sources, that a coup attempt was being planned. And, by the way, of course it happened in August of that year. That information came from our Ambassador Matlock, from his sources in Moscow, to the White House. George Bush had been instructed that this was highly sensitive, do not reveal the source of the information, keep it confidential. Bush fouled up, and within hours, he got on the phone to Moscow, a line that was open, monitored by the KGB, trying to reach Gorbachev, and he revealed the information, and he revealed the source, which went straight to the KGB. This was an unbelievable breach of confidentiality, dangerous, potentially deadly results, and the greatest irony is that George Herbert Walker Bush had been Director of the CIA before.

    Now, why am I telling this story? Obviously, my first point is, presidents have fouled up, and have declassified unwittingly, or sometimes for political purposes, highly sensitive information all the time. I'm not excusing what Trump did � it looks like he was very sloppy � but the first thing to note is it's not unusual, this happens a lot. The second thing, and let's talk about this, is sharing information intelligence with the Russians. Guys, we've been doing this for nearly 20 years. After 9/11, the Russians offered us valuable intelligence on the Taliban, on Afghanistan, to help us fight back against bin Laden, and we've been exchanging intelligence on terrorists ever since. A lot of people wish we'd exchange more information; we might have prevented the Boston bombing. So this hysteria about sharing intelligence with our adversary, no, we are cooperating with Russia because we have a common enemy.

    PAUL JAY: Now, I said in the beginning that I thought we should separate Trump's intent from a policy, which seems more rational, not to treat Russia as such an adversary, and try to work both in Syria and other places, negotiate more things out. But when you do look at the side of intent, I don't think you can negate or forget about the kind of historic ties that Trump has with Russian oligarchs. Some people suggest Russian Mafia. Tillerson's energy play, they would love sanctions lifted on Russia, and I'm not suggesting they shouldn't be lifted, but the motive here is they want to do a massive play in the energy sector. So it's not I don't think we should forget about what drives Trump and his circle around him, which is they have a very big fossil fuel agenda and a money-making agenda. On the other hand, that doesn't mean the policy towards Russia isn't rational. I mean, what do you I don't know if you agree or not.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: You know, yeah, you're right, those are important points, and whether you agree or not with people ranging from Ron Wyden to Lindsey Graham, they're all saying "follow the money," and in this case, I think they're right. All these probes, and all these suspicions that the Trump team colluded with Russian intelligence to throw the election, that they were cooperating, even coordinating with the Russians on the hacking, and then the release, I don't believe it. It could be true � you know, I don't have access to the evidence � but to me, it seems much more likely that what will turn up instead are financial crimes or malfeasance. People taking speaker's fees, people consulting with oligarchs, people aiding You know, helping with the elections with shady people, and depositing the money in the Cayman Islands or in Cypriot banks, not declaring income. I think that's what we're likely to find; I think that's probably what Flynn is guilty of. But the more serious charge of collusion with an adversary, even of treason to undermine our election, I doubt it very much. You're right to look at the energy business money, and sort of big-business oligarchic efforts to just get rich together.

    PAUL JAY: Yeah, because this is so much tied up with partisan politics. The Democratic Party leadership, you know, Schumer types, they just want to wound Trump any way they can, and this is a good way to cut some knives there, to get their knives out. But the real story is the financial shenanigans, and maybe Flynn was on to that. I'm not Excuse me, not Flynn, Comey. Maybe Comey was on to that, and maybe that's where this thing will lead. That's where Trump needs to fear, not the Flynn stuff.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: I think you're probably right, and again, I can only infer what might be going on, what evidence there might be, based on the subpoenas that are going out, but what we've heard says yeah, financial records, all these documents, evidence of I mean, let's go back to this issue that was the scandal of the week about five scandals ago, which means five days ago, and that was that The reason that Flynn was fired, you'll recall that after the election but before the inauguration, he met with the Russian ambassador, and they discussed all kinds of policy issues, including the possibility of moving towards removing the sanctions. When he got back to the White House, apparently he told Pence that they talked about other things, but he didn't admit that the sanctions subject had come up. Therefore, he lied; therefore, he was fired. And Sally Yates, right, the From the Attorney General's office, has made an important point that she briefed the White House on this, she warned that Flynn had been compromised, because the Russians had something on him now.

    Okay, technically they did, but come on, guys, hold on a second. Trump was about to be inaugurated, right? It wasn't as if he somehow � Flynn � could undermine a policy of Obama's when there were about five minutes left in the Obama administration. Secondly, the Russians and the Trump administration wanted openly � it was no secret � to move towards a removal of sanctions if they could find cooperation on Ukraine, cooperation on terror in the Middle East. There's no secret here. Therefore, what did the Russians have on Flynn that they could have blackmailed him with? How was he compromised? Yeah, because they'd caught him in a fib, but big deal. You see how these things are being exaggerated. No doubt Flynn broke the rules, he told a lie, but it's not a lie It's not the kind of information in the Russians' possession that's the equivalent of catching him in bed with another woman, or [inaudible 00:16:53].

    PAUL JAY: And you have to even believe that he did tell the lie, because we're being told he didn't tell Pence. We don't know if he's falling on his sword to some extent here in order to protect Pence. I mean, who knows the truth of any of that? And the rest of what he did, as far as we know, with the Russians is all public. There's a video of him speaking at an RT interview in Moscow that took place at the same time as this dinner that he was paid to attend on the 10th anniversary of RT, where he sits near Putin. There's nothing secret about any of this; this stuff's been out on YouTube for, like, ages.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: So what you have here when you add them up is a sequence of events or small misdeeds: telling a fib about this here, Trump leaking classified information there. None of them are of the magnitude that they're being portrayed with in the media, but when you string them together, it sounds like a hysterical series of

    PAUL JAY: So I can understand the Democratic Party, but in terms of what people call the permanent state, the deep state, they're very engaged in this. The leaks from the FBI We still don't, I don't think, unless I missed something, this thing where he Trump talks to the Russian ambassador and the Foreign Minister, Lavrov, and gives this Reveals this intelligence. Well, how do we know that? I mean, who's in that room that leaked that? Or, apparently, after it took place in Washington, some White House staffers phone the NSA and the CIA. Well, you think they've got to call the heads of these organizations at this kind of level of information. So who's leaking that stuff? The state apparatus � CIA, FBI, maybe NSA � they're really antagonistic to this Trump administration. What is that about?

    ROBERT ENGLISH: Again, that's where we started, with not only the battle over "Should we try to improve relations with Russia, or are they incorrigible foes?" That's one thing, but now this sort of bureaucratic infighting, the use of leaks, of innuendo. And again, Trump gives them the fuel to do so with these continual misdeeds and misstatements. That's another whole arena of battle, and it's not healthy, right, to have And it's his fault too. He went to war with the intelligence community on day one. But this is so dysfunctional. It's causing us much more harm than the Russians ever could, and

    PAUL JAY: We're going to keep this conversation going in a future segment. I do want to add Anyone who watches The Real News knows this already. I mean, I think the Trump/Pence administration is going to prove to be more dangerous than the Bush/Cheney. I think it's extremely dangerous what they have in mind in terms of foreign policy. But all that being said, let's concentrate on the real stuff. Trump's in Saudi Arabia, and they're planning some bad stuff in the Middle East, and targeting of Iran, and back here, we're focusing on really what should be a sideline soap opera.

    ROBERT ENGLISH: Yeah. The series, the daily scandals that we're talking about � the Comey letter today, the leak to the Russians yesterday, on and on � are kind of distracting us from the bigger picture. Not only the question of, you know, what are our common interests, if any, with Russia, and can we seriously work towards them, but also, what are we going to do in the Middle East, and what are we doing in East Asia? These pivotal foreign policy strategic issues aren't getting much attention because of the daily soap opera. You're absolutely right.

    Let me just add at the end here � I know we're running out of time � I've noted the accidental clumsy careless leak that could've had tragic consequences of the first Bush president. We might also note that the second Bush presidency, that administration leaked like a sieve from, you know, exaggerated false intelligence on Iraq to the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative, when it suited their purposes. And the Obama administration wasn't a lot better. People like McCain and others were furious at some of the leaks, whether it was the Stuxnet cyber war tactic that was used against Iran, to a whole series of other military facts that were leaked selectively by the Obama administration to serve their purposes. Let's just remember this context. Mistaken leaks, strategic leaks, dishonest leaks go on all the time in Washington, and against that backdrop, let's not fall off the cliff here over Trump sharing some intel about terror attacks with the Russians, about our common enemy, the Islamic State in Syria.

    PAUL JAY: All right, thanks very much for joining us, and thank you for joining us on The Real News Network. Anonymous , May 17, 2017 at 2:09 am

    Some issues that are not mentioned. First, the 100 billion dollar a year cost of sanctions which gives Putin and the oligarchs incentive to do a lot of things. Second, the track record of journalists, human rights advocates and attorneys being killed in Russia. Third, the funds paid to Trump from oligarchs via over priced real estate deals.
    Guess they all fall into the "strategic issues aren't getting much attention".
    If the Putin administration or oligarchs are found to have acted illegally in the US it will be a different discussion.

    [May 16, 2017] Mark Ames: The FBI Has No Legal Charter But Lots of Kompromat

    Notable quotes:
    "... Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico). ..."
    "... The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005. ..."
    "... Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself. ..."
    "... Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either. ..."
    May 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here . Originally published at The Exiled

    I made the mistake of listening to NPR last week to find out what Conventional Wisdom had to say about Trump firing Comey, on the assumption that their standardized Mister-Rogers-on-Nyquil voice tones would rein in the hysteria pitch a little. And on the surface, it did-the NPR host and guests weren't directly shrieking "the world is ending! We're all gonna die SHEEPLE!" the way they were on CNN. But in a sense they were screaming "fire!", if you know how to distinguish the very minute pitch level differences in the standard NPR Nyquil voice.

    The host of the daytime NPR program asked his guests how serious, and how "unprecedented" Trump's decision to fire his FBI chief was. The guests answers were strange: they spoke about "rule of law" and "violating the Constitution" but then switched to Trump "violating norms"-and back again, interchanging "norms" and "laws" as if they're synonyms. One of the guests admitted that Trump firing Comey was 100% legal, but that didn't seem to matter in this talk about Trump having abandoned rule-of-law for a Putinist dictatorship. These guys wouldn't pass a high school civics class, but there they were, garbling it all up. What mattered was the proper sense of panic and outrage-I'm not sure anyone really cared about the actual legality of the thing, or the legal, political or "normative" history of the FBI.

    For starters, the FBI hardly belongs in the same set with concepts like "constitutional" or " rule of law." That's because the FBI was never established by a law. US Lawmakers refused to approve an FBI bureau over a century ago when it was first proposed by Teddy Roosevelt. So he ignored Congress, and went ahead and set it up by presidential fiat. That's one thing the civil liberties crowd hates discussing - how centralized US political power is in the executive branch, a feature in the constitutional system put there by the holy Founders.

    In the late 1970s, at the tail end of our brief Glasnost, there was a lot of talk in Washington about finally creating a legal charter for the FBI -70 years after its founding. A lot of serious ink was spilled trying to transform the FBI from an extralegal secret police agency to something legal and defined. If you want to play archeologist to America's recent history, you can find this in the New York Times' archives, articles with headlines like "Draft of Charter for F.B.I. Limits Inquiry Methods" :

    The Carter Administration will soon send to Congress the first governing charter for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The proposed charter imposes extensive but not absolute restrictions on the bureau's employment of controversial investigative techniques, .including the use of informers, undercover agents and covert criminal activity.

    The charter also specifies the duties and powers of the bureau, setting precise standards and procedures for the initiation ,and conduct of investigations. It specifically requires the F.B.I. to observe constitutional rights and establishes safeguards against unchecked harassment, break‐ins and other abuses.

    followed by the inevitable lament, like this editorial from the Christian Science Monitor a year later, "Don't Forget the FBI Charter". Which of course we did forget-that was Reagan's purpose and value for the post-Glasnost reaction: forgetting. As historian Athan Theoharis wrote , "After 1981, Congress never seriously considered again any of the FBI charter proposals."

    The origins of the FBI have been obscured both because of its dubious legality and because of its original political purpose-to help the president battle the all-powerful American capitalists. It wasn't that Teddy Roosevelt was a radical leftist-he was a Progressive Republican, which sounds like an oxymoron today but which was mainstream and ascendant politics in his time. Roosevelt was probably the first president since Andrew Jackson to try to smash concentrated wealth-power, or at least some of it. He could be brutally anti-labor, but so were the powerful capitalists he fought, and all the structures of government power. He met little opposition pursuing his imperial Social Darwinist ambitions outside America's borders-but he had a much harder time fighting the powerful capitalists at home against Roosevelt's most honorable political obsession: preserving forests, parks and public lands from greedy capitalists. An early FBI memo to Hoover about the FBI's origins explains,

    "Roosevelt, in his characteristic dynamic fashion, asserted that the plunderers of the public domain would be prosecuted and brought to justice."

    According to New York Times reporter Tim Wiener's Enemies: A History of the FBI , it was the Oregon land fraud scandal of 1905-6 that put the idea of an FBI in TR's hyperactive mind. The scandal involved leading Oregon politicians helping railroad tycoon Edward Harriman illegally sell off pristine Oregon forest lands to timber interests, and it ended with an Oregon senator and the state's only two House representatives criminally charged and put on trial-along with dozens of other Oregonians. Basically, they were raping the state's public lands and forests like colonists stripping a foreign country-and that stuck in TR's craw.

    TR wanted his attorney general-Charles Bonaparte (yes, he really was a descendant of that Bonaparte)-to make a full report to on the rampant land fraud scams that the robber barons were running to despoil the American West, and which threatened TR's vision of land and forest conservation and parks. Bonaparte created an investigative team from the US Secret Service, but TR thought their report was a "whitewash" and proposed a new separate federal investigative service within Bonaparte's Department of Justice that would report only to the Attorney General.

    Until then, the US government had to rely on private contractors like the notorious, dreaded Pinkerton Agency, who were great at strikebreaking, clubbing workers and shooting organizers, but not so good at taking down down robber barons, who happened to also be important clients for the private detective agencies.

    In early 1908, Attorney General Bonaparte wrote to Congress asking for the legal authority (and budget funds) to create a "permanent detective force" under the DOJ. Congress rebelled, denouncing it as a plan to create an American okhrana . Democrat Joseph Sherley wrote that "spying on men and prying into what would ordinarily be considered their private affairs" went against "American ideas of government"; Rep. George Waldo, a New York Republican, said the proposed FBI was a "great blow to freedom and to free institutions if there should arise in this country any such great central secret-service bureau as there is in Russia."

    So Congress's response was the opposite, banning Bonaparte's DOJ from spending any funds at all on a proposed FBI. Another Congressman wrote another provision into the budget bill banning the DOJ from hiring Secret Service employees for any sort of FBI type agency. So Bonaparte waited until Congress took its summer recess, set aside some DOJ funds, recruited some Secret Service agents, and created a new federal detective bureau with 34 agents. This was how the FBI was born. Congress wasn't notified until the end of 1908, in a few lines in a standard report - "oh yeah, forgot to tell you-the executive branch went ahead and created an American okhrana because, well, the ol' joke about dogs licking their balls. Happy New Year!"

    The sordid history of America's extralegal secret police-initially named the Bureau of Investigation, changed to the FBI ("Federal") in the 30's, is mostly a history of xenophobic panic-mongering, illegal domestic spying, mass roundups and plans for mass-roundups, false entrapment schemes, and planting what Russians call "kompromat"- compromising information about a target's sex life-to blackmail or destroy American political figures that the FBI didn't like.

    The first political victim of J Edgar Hoover's kompromat was Louis Post, the assistant secretary of labor under Woodrow Wilson. Post's crime was releasing over 1,000 alleged Reds from detention facilities near the end of the FBI's Red Scare crackdown, when they jailed and deported untold thousands on suspicion of being Communists. The FBI's mass purge began with popular media support in 1919, but by the middle of 1920, some (not the FBI) were starting to get a little queasy. A legal challenge to the FBI's mass purges and exiles in Boston ended with a federal judge denouncing the FBI. After that ruling, assistant secretary Louis Post, a 71-year-old well-meaning progressive, reviewed the cases against the last 1500 detainees that the FBI wanted to deport, and found that there was absolutely nothing on at least 75 percent of the cases. Post's review threatened to undo thousands more FBI persecutions of alleged Moscow-controlled radicals.

    So one of the FBI's most ambitious young agents, J Edgar Hoover, collected kompromat on Post and his alleged associations with other alleged Moscow-controlled leftists, and gave the file to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives-which promptly announced it would hold hearings to investigate Post as a left subversive. The House tried to impeach Post, but ultimately he defended himself. Post's lawyer compared his political persecutors to the okhrana (Russia, again!): "We in America have sunk to the level of the government of Russia under the Czarist regime," describing the FBI's smear campaign as "even lower in some of their methods than the old Russian officials."

    Under Harding, the FBI had a new chief, William Burns, who made headlines blaming the terror bombing attack on Wall Street of 1920 that killed 34 people on a Kremlin-run conspiracy. The FBI claimed it had a highly reliable inside source who told them that Lenin sent $30,000 to the Soviets' diplomatic mission in New York, which was distributed to four local Communist agents who arranged the Wall Street bombing. The source claimed to have personally spoken with Lenin, who boasted that the bombing was so successful he'd ordered up more.

    The only problem was that the FBI's reliable source, a Jewish-Polish petty criminal named Wolf Lindenfeld, turned out to be a bullshitter-nicknamed "Windy Linde"-who thought his fake confession about Lenin funding the bombing campaign would get him out of Poland's jails and set up in a comfortable new life in New York.

    By 1923, the FBI had thoroughly destroyed America's communist and radical labor movements-allowing it to focus on its other favorite pastime: spying on and destroying political opponents. The FBI spied on US Senators who supported opening diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union: Idaho's William Borah, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Thomas Walsh of the Judiciary Committee, and Burton K Wheeler, the prairie Populist senator from Montana, who visited the Soviet Union and pushed for diplomatic relations. Harding's corrupt Attorney General Dougherty denounced Sen. Wheeler as "the Communist leader in the Senate" and "no more a Democrat than Stalin, his comrade in Moscow." Dougherty accused Sen. Wheeler of being part of a conspiracy "to capture, by deceit and design, as many members of the Senate as possible and to spread through Washington and the cloakrooms of Congress a poison gas as deadly as that which sapped and destroyed brave soldiers in the last war."

    Hoover, now a top FBI official, quietly fed kompromat to journalists he cultivated, particularly an AP reporter named Richard Whitney, who published a popular book in 1924, "Reds In America" alleging Kremlin agents "had an all-pervasive influence over American institutions; they had infiltrated every corner of American life." Whitney named Charlie Chaplin as a Kremlin agent, along with Felix Frankfurter and members of the Senate pushing for recognition of the Soviet Union. That killed any hope for diplomatic recognition for the next decade.

    Then the first Harding scandals broke-Teapot Dome, Veterans Affairs, bribery at the highest rungs. When Senators Wheeler and Walsh opened bribery investigations, the FBI sent agents to the senators' home state to drum up false bribery charges against Sen. Wheeler. The charges were clearly fake, and a jury dismissed the charges. But Attorney General Dougherty was indicted for fraud and forced to resign, as was his FBI chief Burns-but not Burns' underling Hoover, who stayed in the shadows.

    "We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail This must stop."

    With the Cold War, the FBI became obsessed with homosexuals as America's Fifth Column under Moscow's control. Homosexuals, the FBI believed, were susceptible to Kremlin kompromat-so the FBI collected and disseminated its own kompromat on alleged American homosexuals, supposedly to protect America from the Kremlin. In the early 1950s, Hoover launched the Sex Deviates Program to spy on American homosexuals and purge them from public life. The FBI built up 300,000 pages of files on suspected homosexuals and contacted their employers, local law enforcement and universities to "to drive homosexuals from every institution of government, higher learning, and law enforcement in the nation," according to Tim Weiner's book Enemies. No one but the FBI knows exactly how many Americans' lives and careers were destroyed by the FBI's Sex Deviants Program but Hoover-who never married, lived with his mother until he was 40, and traveled everywhere with his "friend" Clyde Tolson .

    In the 1952 election, Hoover was so committed to helping the Republicans and Eisenhower win that he compiled and disseminated a 19-page kompromat file alleging that his Democratic Party rival Adlai Stevenson was gay. The FBI's file on Stevenson was kept in the Sex Deviants Program section-it included libelous gossip, claiming that Stevenson was one of Illinois' "best known homosexuals" who went by the name "Adeline" in gay cruising circles.

    In the 1960s, Hoover and his FBI chiefs collected kompromat on the sex lives of JFK and Martin Luther King. Hoover presented some of his kompromat on JFK to Bobby Kennedy, in a concern-trollish way claiming to "warn" him that the president was opening himself up to blackmail. It was really a way for Hoover to let the despised Kennedy brothers know he could destroy them, should they try to Comey him out of his FBI office. Hoover's kompromat on MLK's sex life was a particular obsession of his-he now believed that African-Americans, not homosexuals, posed the greatest threat to become a Kremlin Fifth Column. The FBI wiretapped MLK's private life, collecting tapes of his affairs with other women, which a top FBI official then mailed to Martin Luther King's wife, along with a note urging King to commit suicide.

    FBI letter anonymously mailed to Martin Luther King Jr's wife, along with kompromat sex tapes

    After JFK was murdered, when Bobby Kennedy ran for the Senate in 1964, he recounted another disturbing FBI/kompromat story that President Johnson shared with him on the campaign trail. LBJ told Bobby about a stack of kompromat files - FBI reports "detailing the sexual debauchery of members of the Senate and House who consorted with prostitutes." LBJ asked RFK if the kompromat should be leaked selectively to destroy Republicans before the 1964 elections. Kennedy recalled,

    "He told me he had spent all night sitting up and reading the files of the FBI on all these people. And Lyndon talks about that information and material so freely. Lyndon talks about everybody, you see, with everybody. And of course that's dangerous."

    Kennedy had seen some of the same FBI kompromat files as attorney general, but he was totally opposed to releasing such unsubstantiated kompromat-such as, say, the Trump piss files-because doing so would "destroy the confidence that people in the United States had in their government and really make us a laughingstock around the world."

    Imagine that.

    Which brings me to the big analogy every hack threw around last week, calling Trump firing Comey "Nixonian." Actually, what Trump did was more like the very opposite of Nixon, who badly wanted to fire Hoover in 1971-2, but was too afraid of the kompromat Hoover might've had on him to make the move. Nixon fell out with his old friend and onetime mentor J Edgar Hoover in 1971, when the ailing old FBI chief refused to get sucked in to the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers investigation, especially after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times. Part of the reason Nixon created his Plumbers team of black bag burglars was because Hoover had become a bit skittish in his last year on this planet-and that drove Nixon crazy.

    Nixon called his chief of staff Haldeman:

    Nixon: I talked to Hoover last night and Hoover is not going after this case [Ellsberg] as strong as I would like. There's something dragging him.

    Haldeman: You don't have the feeling the FBI is really pursuing this?

    Nixon: Yeah, particularly the conspiracy side. I want to go after everyone. I'm not so interested in Ellsberg, but we have to go after everybody who's a member of this conspiracy.

    Hoover's ambitious deputies in the FBI were smelling blood, angling to replace him. His number 3, Bill Sullivan (who sent MLK the sex tapes and suicide note) was especially keen to get rid of Hoover and take his place. So as J Edgar was stonewalling the Daniel Ellsberg investigation, Sullivan showed up in a Department of Justice office with two suitcases packed full of transcripts and summaries of illegal wiretaps that Kissinger and Nixon had ordered on their own staff and on American journalists. The taps were ordered in Nixon's first months in the White House in 1969, to plug up the barrage of leaks, the likes of which no one had ever seen before. Sullivan took the leaks from J Edgar's possession and told the DOJ official that they needed to be hidden from Hoover, who planned to use them as kompromat to blackmail Nixon.

    Nixon decided he was going to fire J Edgar the next day. This was in September, 1971. But the next day came, and Nixon got scared. So he tried to convince his attorney general John Mitchell to fire Hoover for him, but Mitchell said only the President could fire J Edgar Hoover. So Nixon met him for breakfast, and, well, he just didn't have the guts. Over breakfast, Hoover flattered Nixon and told him there was nothing more in the world he wanted than to see Nixon re-elected. Nixon caved; the next day, J Edgar Hoover unceremoniously fired his number 3 Bill Sullivan, locking him out of the building and out of his office so that he couldn't take anything with him. Sullivan was done.

    The lesson here, I suppose, is that if an FBI director doesn't want to be fired, it's best to keep your kompromat a little closer to your chest, as a gun to hold to your boss's head. Comey's crew already released the piss tapes kompromat on Trump-the damage was done. What was left to hold back Trump from firing Comey? "Laws"? The FBI isn't even legal. "Norms" would be the real reason. Which pretty much sums up everything Trump has been doing so far. We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"-and while those norms may mean everything to the ruling class, it's an open question how much these norms mean to a lot of Americans outside that club.

    Huey Long , May 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

    Wow, and this whole time I thought the NSA had a kompromat monopoly as they have everybody's porn site search terms and viewing habits on file.

    I had no idea the FBI practically invented it!

    3.14e-9 , May 16, 2017 at 3:04 am

    The Native tribes don't have a great history with the FBI, either.

    https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/thing-about-skins/comey-fbi-destructive-history-native-people/

    voteforno6 , May 16, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Has anyone ever used the FBI's lack of a charter as a defense in court?

    Disturbed Voter , May 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

    The USA doesn't have a legal basis either, it is a revolting crown colony of the British Empire. Treason and heresy all the way down. Maybe the British need to burn Washington DC again?

    Synoia , May 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Britain burning DC, and the so call ed "war" of 1812, got no mention in my History Books. Napoleon on the other hand, featured greatly

    In 1812 Napoleon was busy going to Russia. That went well.

    Ignim Brites , May 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Wondered how Comey thought he could get away with his conviction and pardon of Sec Clinton. Seems like part of the culture of FBI is a "above and beyond" the law mentality.

    Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Back in the early 1970s a high school friend moved to Alabama because his father was transferred by his employer.

    My friend sent a post card describing among other things the fact that Alabama had done away with the requirement of a math class to graduate high school, and substituted a required class called "The Evils of Communism" complete with a text-book written by J. Edgar Hoover; Masters of Deceit.

    JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    In Dallas,Texas my 1959 Civics class had to read the same book. We all were given paperback copies of it to take home and read. It was required reading enacted by Texas legislature.

    Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    So I'd guess you weren't fooled by any of those commie plots of the sixties, like the campaigns for civil rights or against the Vietnamese war.

    I can't really brag, I didn't stop worrying about the Red Menace until 1970 or so, that's when I started running into returning vets who mostly had no patience for that stuff.

    Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 8:35 am

    We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"

    Or as David Broder put it (re Bill Clinton): he came in and trashed the place and it wasn't his place.

    It was David Broder's place. Of course the media play a key role with all that kompromat since they are the ones needed to convey it to the public. The tragedy is that even many of the sensible in their ranks such as Bill Moyers have been sucked into the kompromat due to their hysteria over Trump. Ames is surely on point in this great article. The mistake was allowing secret police agencies like the FBI and CIA to be created in the first place.

    Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Sorry, my initial reaction was that people who don't know the difference between "rein" and "reign" are not to be trusted to provide reliable information. Recognizing that as petty, I kept reading, and presently found the statement that Congress was not informed of the founding of the FBI until a century after the fact, which seems implausible. If in fact the author meant the end of 1908 it was quite an achievement to write 2008.

    Interesting to the extent it may be true, but with few sources, no footnotes, and little evidence of critical editing who knows what that may be?

    Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Do you even know who Mark Ames is?

    Petty .yes.

    Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Who he is is irrelevant. I don't take things on faith because "the Pope said" or because Mark Ames said. People who expect their information to be taken seriously should substantiate it.

    Bill Smith , May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Yeah, in the first sentence

    Interesting article though.

    Fiery Hunt , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Yeah, Kathatine, you're right .very petty.

    And completely missed the point.

    Or worse, you got the point and your best rejection of that point was pointing out a typo.

    Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I neither missed the point nor rejected it. I reserved judgment, as I thought was apparent from my comment.

    sid_finster , May 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

    But Trump is bad. Very Bad.

    So anything the FBI does to get rid of him must by definition be ok! Besides, surely our civic-minded IC would never use their power on the Good Guys™!

    Right?

    JTMcPhee , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Ah yes, the voice of "caution." And such attention to the lack of footnotes, in this day when the curious can so easily cut and paste a bit of salient text into a search engine and pull up a feast of parse-able writings and video, from which they can "judiciously assess" claims and statements. If they care to spend the time, which is in such short supply among those who are struggling to keep up with the horrors and revelations people of good will confront every blinking day

    Classic impeachment indeed. All from the height of "academic rigor" and "caution." Especially the "apologetic" bit about "reign" vs "rein." Typos destroy credibility, don't they? And the coup de grass (sic), the unrebuttable "plausibility" claim.

    One wonders at the nature of the author's curriculum vitae. One also marvels at the yawning gulf between the Very Serious Stuff I was taught in grade and high school civics and history, back in the late '50s and the '60s, about the Fundamental Nature Of Our Great Nation and its founding fathers and the Beautiful Documents they wrote, on the one hand, and what we mopes learn, through a drip-drip-drip process punctuated occasionally by Major Revelations, about the real nature of the Empire and our fellow creatures

    PS: My earliest memory of television viewing was a day at a friend's house - his middle-class parents had the first "set" in the neighborhood, I think an RCA, in a massive sideboard cabinet where the picture tube pointed up and you viewed the "content" in a mirror mounted to the underside of the lid. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5onSwx7_Cn0 The family was watching a hearing of Joe McCarthy's kangaroo court, complete with announcements of the latest number in the "list of known Communists in the State Department" and how Commyanism was spreading like an unstoppable epidemic mortal disease through the Great US Body Politic and its Heroic Institutions of Democracy. I was maybe 6 years old, but that grainy black and white "reality TV" content had me asking "WTF?" at a very early age. And I'd say it's on the commentor to show that the "2008" claim is wrong, by something other than "implausible" as drive-by impeachment. Given the content of the original post, and what people paying attention to all this stuff have a pretty good idea is the general contours of a vast corruption and manipulation.

    "Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no."

    Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

    It is the author's job to substantiate information, not the reader's. If he thinks his work is so important, why does he not make a better job of it?

    Edward , May 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I think the MLK blackmail scheme is well-established. Much of the article seems to be based on Tim Wiener's "Enemies: A History of the FBI".

    nonsense factory , May 16, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Interesting article on the history of the FBI, although the post-Hoover era doesn't get any treatment. The Church Committee hearings on the CIA and FBI, after the exposure of notably Operation CHAOS (early 60s to early 70s) by the CIA and COINTELPRO(late 1950s to early 1970s) by the FBI, didn't really get to the bottom of the issue although some reforms were initiated.

    Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico).

    The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005.

    Maybe this is legitimate, but this only applies to their protection of the interests of large corporations – as the 2008 economic collapse and aftermath showed, they don't prosecute corporate executives who rip off poor people and middle-class homeowners. Banks who rob people, they aren't investigated or prosecuted; that's just for people who rob banks.

    When it comes to political issues and national security, however, the FBI has such a terrible record on so many issues over the years that anything they claim has to be taken with a grain or two of salt. Consider domestic political activity: from the McCarthyite 'Red Scare' of the 1950s to COINTELPRO in the 1960s and 1970s to targeting of environmental groups in the 1980s and 1990s to targeting anti-war protesters under GW Bush to their obsession with domestic mass surveillance under Obama, it's not a record that should inspire any confidence.

    Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself.

    As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences. The Saudi intelligence agency role in 9/11 was buried for over a decade, as well. Since 9/11, most of the FBI investigations seem to have involved recruiting mentally disabled young Islamic men in sting operations in which the FBI provides everything needed. You could probably get any number of mentally ill homeless people across the U.S., regardless of race or religion, to play this role.

    Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either.

    Ultimately, this is because FBI executives are paid off not to investigate Wall Street criminality, nor shady U.S. government activity, with lucrative positions as corporate board members and so on after their 'retirements'. I don't doubt that many of their junior members mean well and are dedicated to their jobs – but the fish rots from the head down.

    Andrew Watts , May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences.

    The Clinton Administration had other priorities. You know, I think I'll let ex-FBI Director Freeh explain what happened when the FBI tried to get the Saudis to cooperate with their investigation into the bombing of the Khobar Towers.

    "That September, Crown Prince Abdullah and his entourage took over the entire 143-room Hay-Adams Hotel, just across from Lafayette Park from the White House, for six days. The visit, I figured, was pretty much our last chance. Again, we prepared talking points for the president. Again, I contacted Prince Bandar and asked him to soften up the crown prince for the moment when Clinton, -- or Al Gore I didn't care who -- would raise the matter and start to exert the necessary pressure."

    "The story that came back to me, from "usually reliable sources," as they say in Washington, was that Bill Clinton briefly raised the subject only to tell the Crown Prince that he certainly understood the Saudis; reluctance to cooperate. Then, according to my sources, he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the still-to-be-built Clinton presidential library. Gore, who was supposed to press hardest of all in his meeting with the crown Prince, barely mentioned the matter, I was told." -Louis J. Freeh, My FBI (2005)

    In my defense I picked the book up to see if there was any dirt on the DNC's electoral funding scandal in 1996. I'm actually glad I did. The best part of the book is when Freeh recounts running into a veteran of the Lincoln Brigade and listens to how Hoover's FBI ruined his life despite having broken no laws. As if a little thing like laws mattered to Hoover. The commies were after our precious bodily fluids!

    verifyfirst , May 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I'm not sure there are many functioning norms left within the national political leadership. Seemed to me Gingrich started blowing those up and it just got worse from there. McConnell not allowing Garland to be considered comes to mind

    lyman alpha blob , May 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Great article – thanks for this. I had no idea the FBI never had a legal charter – very enlightening.

    JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks to Mark Ames now we know what Pres. Trump meant when he tweeted about his tapes with AG Comey. Not some taped conversation between Pres. Trump & AG Comey but bunch of kompromat tapes that AG Comey has provided Pres. Trump that might not make departing AG Comey looked so clean.

    [May 16, 2017] ITT 2016 - Kevlin Henney - Seven Ineffective Coding Habits of Many Programmers

    May 16, 2017 | www.youtube.com
    Published on Nov 16, 2016

    Habits help you manage the complexity of code. You apply existing skill and knowledge automatically to the detail while focusing on the bigger picture. But because you acquire habits largely by imitation, and rarely question them, how do you know your habits are effective? Many of the habits that programmers have for naming, formatting, commenting and unit testing do not stand up as rational and practical on closer inspection. Kevlin Henney examines seven coding habits that are not as effective as programmers believe, and to suggest alternatives. meridjal 2 months ago

    Highly subjective and somewhat opinionated, it depends on the level of abstraction at which one is looking at code, but then people like Kevlin don't live in the real world.

    Ki 2 months ago

    this guy seems arrogant imo

    Zoran Ravic 3 weeks ago

    Best talk I've heard in a while. It really changed how I think about code.

    Daniel Thomson 2 months ago

    https://www.slideshare.net/Kevlin/seven-ineffective-coding-habits-of-many-programmers-42301681

    Árpád Goretity 3 months ago (edited)

    Excellent point about getters and setters. Objective-C uses the "no get for the getter" naming convention for properties, by the way. Also, FINALLY someone dares to declare what is THE visually correct way of arranging longish argument lists.

    imAwesomeChris 2 weeks ago

    Wonderful talk.

    [May 16, 2017] The Real Meaning of Sensitive Intelligence by Philip Giraldi

    Notable quotes:
    <