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Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Libertarian Philosophy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism
National Security State Key Myths of Neoliberalism Big Uncle is Watching You The Iron Law of Oligarchy Color revolutions Cold War II Two Party System as Polyarchy
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Predator state Corporatism Elite Theory Neo-conservatism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Demonization of Putin Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie
Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Fuck the EU Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars Neoliberalism and Christianity
Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-globalization movement Neoliberal corruption DNC emails leak Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Disaster capitalism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism American Exceptionalism The Deep State Obama: a yet another Neocon
Neoliberal war on reality In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Corruption of Regulators Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers War and Peace Quotes
Famous quotes of John Kenneth Galbraith Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15

 

This site is very skeptical as for the viability of Neoliberalism as a social system and had distinct pro "New Deal" capitalism bias. You are warned.

And yes, my friends, like Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme character, who he was surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it., you are living under neoliberal regime without knowing it.  And this regime is not the same as democracy. See Two Party System as Polyarchy

What is really interesting is that the term "neoliberalism"  has the status of a semi-taboo in the USA, and seldom can be found in articles published by the USA MSM, due to some kind of "silence" pact ;-).

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Who Rules America


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It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

Shota Rustavelli(1172–1216)

[Feb 16, 2017] Hatchet job ordered by whom? - The New York Times neocons try to destrory Flynn

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post is complicit in a treasonous betrayal of trust by unelected, arrogant and truly dangerous intelligence agents. It is long past due to have a TOTAL house cleaning of these agencies with dire penalties imposed on such malevolent enemies of democracy. If that then includes the Post itself, let the Post clean up its act. ..."
"... The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799) is a United States federal law that details the fine and/or imprisonment of unauthorized citizens who negotiate with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. ..."
"... This Russian nonsense is not going to fly. Why should anyone believe a word of this story? So what if Flynn discussed sanctions anyway! Who are these traitors in the State Department, and why are they still on the payroll? The majority of the public is not going to buy this nonsense , you are still in denial that you lost the election. ..."
"... This reminds me of Obama getting caught on a hot mic telling the Russian president, "I'll have more flexibility after the election." Signaling that the hardline against Russia would soften if he won reelection. (Clearly a national security issue.) ..."
"... But of course, it's only when the perpetually-outraged left don't like somebody holding different views than them that it becomes a 'dire constitutional crisis.' ..."
"... This is just another Left wing hit job with no real substance, that elevates innuendo and a passing brushed off question to the level of "negotiation". The article uses the requisite obscure language of "officials" who in turn offer little up. This is politics pure and simple. ..."
Feb 16, 2017 | www.nytimes.com
Note how skillfully NYT presstitutes present Russians as the next incarnation of Satan, contact with which is prohibited for Christians.
Who are those nine officials... Looks like Jeff Bezos is just a puppet. Taking on Flynn is a serious game which is far above his head. I do not remember any fuss over Bill Clinton getting Russian money (really outrageous honorarium for the speech) which if you think about it is even more clear violation of Logan act.
Didn't Obama do a similar thing before running for election?

From the start, Michael Flynn, a retired army lieutenant general, was a disturbing choice as President Trump's national security adviser. He is a hothead with extremist views in a critical job that is supposed to build consensus through thoughtful, prudent decision-making. The choice is now growing more unnerving every day.

A conspiracy theorist who has stoked dangerous fears about Islam, Mr. Flynn was fired by the Obama administration as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and led anti-Hillary Clinton chants of "lock her up" at the 2016 Republican Convention. He raised eyebrows by cultivating a mystifyingly cozy relationship with Russia, which the Pentagon considers a major threat.

Now we have learned that in the weeks before the inauguration, Mr. Flynn discussed American sanctions on Russia, and areas of possible cooperation, with Moscow's ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak. They spoke a day before President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for hacking the Democrats' computers, probably in an effort to sway the election in Mr. Trump's favor.

Mr. Flynn's underhanded, possibly illegal message was that the Obama administration was Russia's adversary, and that would change under Mr. Trump and that any sanctions could be undone. The result seems to be that Russia decided not to retaliate with its own sanctions.

We know this not from Mr. Flynn or the administration, but from accounts first provided to The Washington Post (aka CIA Pravda) by nine current and former government officials who had access to reports from American intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats. Bizarrely, Mr. Trump told reporters on Friday afternoon that he was unaware of the Post report, but would "look into that."

jburack, 6:01 AM EST

The Washington Post is complicit in a treasonous betrayal of trust by unelected, arrogant and truly dangerous intelligence agents. It is long past due to have a TOTAL house cleaning of these agencies with dire penalties imposed on such malevolent enemies of democracy. If that then includes the Post itself, let the Post clean up its act.

ausmth, 2/14/2017 8:02 PM EST

Who leaked classified telephone intercepts of a foreign diplomat to the Post? Why isn't that person in jail?

Cecile Pham, 2/14/2017 1:34 PM EST

Flynn would not dare to go ahead with telling Russia not having to worry about sanctions and that the future would be better with Trump without Trump direction.

So Flynn's resignation is just an appeasement. The real story is Trump relationship with Russia.

Mike Mitchell, 8:12 AM EST

As though Flynn is just an idiot who would have never suspected the NSA was listening in on his phone call to ... a Russian Ambassador. Yeah right.

SittingOnThePotty, 2/14/2017 12:29 AM EST

People make reference to the Logan Act and brushing it off as nothing that will be used against Flynn. But the law is on the books, regardless. So I gather now we pick and chose which laws to apply and which not to apply? Am I a bit confused? It was placed as a law for a good reason, just because no one has ever been prosecuted under this law do we dismiss it as "old" and pretend it is not there?

The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799) is a United States federal law that details the fine and/or imprisonment of unauthorized citizens who negotiate with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. It was intended to prevent the undermining of the government's position.[2]

The Act was passed following George Logan's unauthorized negotiations with France in 1798, and was signed into law by President John Adams on January 30, 1799. The Act was last amended in 1994, and violation of the Logan Act is a felony.

To date, only one person has ever been indicted for violating the act's provisions.[2] However, no person has ever been prosecuted for alleged violations of the act.[2]

Joe Smith, 2/13/2017 3:00 PM EST

Yet ANOTHER fake news story based on "anonymous sources". The media is now nothing more than a means for distributing rumors, dressed up to look like "news" by labeling the rumor mongers as "anonymous sources".

Stan Lippmann , 2/13/2017 2:27 PM EST

This Russian nonsense is not going to fly. Why should anyone believe a word of this story? So what if Flynn discussed sanctions anyway! Who are these traitors in the State Department, and why are they still on the payroll? The majority of the public is not going to buy this nonsense , you are still in denial that you lost the election.

moonshadow168, 2/13/2017 5:45 PM EST

Looks like a preemptive set up so that Obama's historic legacy-building tough-guy sanctions, in response to imaginary "election hacking", will not be touched. If anyone dares question Obama's historic legacy-building tough-guy sanctions, in response to imaginary "election hacking", then they must be "in cahoots" with those darn Russians who "hacked the election".

Meanwhile, President Trump continues to do good work for all Americans.

Scott Cog, 2/13/2017 1:30 PM EST

Americans want to know if kickbacks are/were being offered (by Russians) to Flynn and other Trump-team members in positions to push for rollback of trade sanctions against Russia.

moonshadow168, 2/13/2017 1:34 PM EST

"Americans want to know"... you mean like Bill C's "speaking fees" or "donations" (cough-cough) to the family foundation? LOL!

moonshadow168, 2/13/2017 5:52 PM EST [Edited]

Is that an attempt to get Hillary off the hook?

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-...

Sure looks like a distraction!

moonshadow168, 2/13/2017 12:16 PM EST

Funny how the words of anonymous Obama administration "current and former U.S. officials", apparently fellow Hillary supporters, are treated as unbiased, indisputable and fact.

Laugh out loud at this, it is revealing: "Those officials were already alarmed by what they saw as a Russian assault on the U.S. election." Just so so you know what planet they are coming from. Hillary lost. You can't blame it on Russia. Get over it.

In addition to not questioning the words of anonymous Obama administration "current and former U.S. officials" there appears to be obvious discrimination and bias against the Trump administration.

Typhon , 2/13/2017 3:02 AM EST

This is going to turn out to be another nothing-burger. All Trump has to do is wait it out for any proof to come up, and if it is just unsubstantiated rumors, then to just write it off as more fake news by frothy Dems ... Regarding Russian "hacking" the election, all Trump has to do is get Brennan and Clapper on the hot seat, and have them talk for hours and hours about John Podesta's Gmail password. Then ask "What else?" only to find that Big Ed at RT TV is a Russian spy!! And so is Tucker Carlson. And probably Mel Gibson too, leading to the conclusion that the Dems are a bunch of loons. Then ask "Who taught you this?" only to find out that Obama ordered an in-depth sabotage of the incoming administration

wesevans, 2/12/2017 9:33 PM EST

Didn't Obama do a similar thing before running for election?

NVCardinalfan , 2/12/2017 3:22 PM EST

Typical Washington Post, running a story without confirmed sources to back up the story. Just speculation as usual.

clewish09, 2/12/2017 11:42 AM EST

Russia hacked the DNC with Iraq's WMDs...

Tyler.Woods99, 2/11/2017 3:20 PM EST

This reminds me of Obama getting caught on a hot mic telling the Russian president, "I'll have more flexibility after the election." Signaling that the hardline against Russia would soften if he won reelection. (Clearly a national security issue.)

But of course, it's only when the perpetually-outraged left don't like somebody holding different views than them that it becomes a 'dire constitutional crisis.'

JungleTrunks, 2/11/2017 11:17 AM EST

Approach the logic of the accusation in reverse, any Russian official meeting an American official will be pressed to finding an opening to discuss sanctions. Any American official knows a Russian diplomat will bring sanctions up and have a deflection to handle it. This doesn't represent a "discussion" on a diplomatic level.

This is just another Left wing hit job with no real substance, that elevates innuendo and a passing brushed off question to the level of "negotiation". The article uses the requisite obscure language of "officials" who in turn offer little up. This is politics pure and simple.

KingMax, 2/11/2017 11:34 AM EST

He spoke with Kislyak the same day the sanctions were announced and then lied about what was discussed (oh, right, suddenly "couldn't remember" because, you know, it was over a month ago). But good job rationalizing his deceit.

JungleTrunks, 2/11/2017 11:50 AM EST

And yours is the typical cry of left wing malcontents that create as much controversy as you can from what signifies nothing. No reporter ha disclosed what actually was said. It's a virtual certainty that expected overtures were made, and typical brush off language was reciprocated. You know nothing but innuendo backed by a desire of extreme prejudice to prosecute any opportunity to defame anyone in the administration, this much is certain, the only certainty frankly.

[Feb 16, 2017] Flynn Is Said to Have Talked to Russians About Sanctions Before Trump Took Office

Feb 09, 2017 | nytimes.com

Federal officials who have read the transcript of the call were surprised by Mr. Flynn's comments, since he would have known that American eavesdroppers closely monitor such calls. They were even more surprised that Mr. Trump's team publicly denied that the topics of conversation included sanctions.

The call is the latest example of how Mr. Trump's advisers have come under scrutiny from American counterintelligence officials. The F.B.I. is also investigating Mr. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.

Prosecutions in these types of cases are rare, and the law is murky, particularly around people involved in presidential transitions. The officials who had read the transcripts acknowledged that while the conversation warranted investigation, it was unlikely, by itself, to lead to charges against a sitting national security adviser.

But, at the very least, openly engaging in policy discussions with a foreign government during a presidential transition is a remarkable breach of protocol. The norm has been for the president-elect's team to respect the sitting president, and to limit discussions with foreign governments to pleasantries. Any policy discussions, even with allies, would ordinarily be kept as vague as possible.

"It's largely shunned, period. But one cannot rule it out with an ally like the U.K.," said Derek Chollet, who was part of the Obama transition in 2008 and then served in senior roles at the State Department, White House and Pentagon.

"But it's way out of bounds when the said country is an adversary, and one that has been judged to have meddled in the election," he added. "It's just hard to imagine anyone having a substantive discussion with an adversary, particularly if it's about trying to be reassuring."

Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

[Feb 15, 2017] Flynn Resignation Is a Surveillance State Coup Nightmare

The globalist mafia is trying to destroy Trump. There might be the same part of intelligence community which is still loyal to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Still Flynn discussing sanctions, which could have been a violation of an 18th century law, the Logan Act, that bars unauthorized citizens from brokering deals with foreign governments involved in disputes with the United States.
Keith Kellogg links with Oracle my be as asset to Trump team.
Feb 15, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

As far back as the passage of the Patriot Act after 9/11, civil libertarians worried about the surveillance state, the Panopticon, the erosion of privacy rights and due process in the name of national security.

Paranoid fantasies were floated that President George W. Bush was monitoring the library cards of political dissidents. Civil libertarians hailed NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a hero, or at least accepted him as a necessary evil, for exposing the extent of Internet surveillance under President Barack Obama.

Will civil libertarians now speak up for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose career has been destroyed with a barrage of leaked wiretaps? Does anyone care if those leaks were accurate or legal?

Over the weekend, a few honest observers of the Flynn imbroglio noted that none of the strategically leaked intercepts of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak proved he actually did anything wrong .

The media fielded accusations that Flynn discussed lifting the Obama administration's sanctions on Russia – a transgression that would have been a serious violation of pre-inauguration protocol at best, and a prosecutable offense at worst. Flynn ostensibly sealed his fate by falsely assuring Vice President Mike Pence he had no such discussions with Kislyak, prompting Pence to issue a robust defense of Flynn that severely embarrassed Pence in retrospect.

On Tuesday, Eli Lake of Bloomberg News joined the chorus of skeptics who said the hive of anonymous leakers infesting the Trump administration never leaked anything that proved Flynn lied to Pence:

He says in his resignation letter that he did not deliberately leave out elements of his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak when he recounted them to Vice President Mike Pence. The New York Times and Washington Post reported that the transcript of the phone call reviewed over the weekend by the White House could be read different ways. One White House official with knowledge of the conversations told me that the Russian ambassador raised the sanctions to Flynn and that Flynn responded that the Trump team would be taking office in a few weeks and would review Russia policy and sanctions . That's neither illegal nor improper.

Lake also noted that leaks of sensitive national security information, such as the transcripts of Flynn's phone calls to Kislyak, are extremely rare. In their rush to collect a scalp from the Trump administration, the media forgot to tell its readers how unusual and alarming the Flynn-quisition was:

It's very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.

In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

While President Trump contemplated Flynn's fate on Monday evening, the Wall Street Journal suggested: "How about asking if the spooks listening to Mr. Flynn obeyed the law?" Among the questions the WSJ posed was whether intelligence agents secured proper FISA court orders for the surveillance of Flynn.

That s the sort of question that convulsed the entire political spectrum, from liberals to libertarians, after the Snowden revelations. Not long ago, both Democrats and Republicans were deeply concerned about accountability and procedural integrity for the sprawling surveillance apparatus developed by our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Those are among the most serious concerns of the Information Age, and they should not be cast aside in a mad dash to draw some partisan blood.

There are several theories as to exactly who brought Flynn down and why. Was it an internal White House power struggle, the work of Obama administration holdovers, or the alligators of the "Deep State" lunging to take a bite from the president who promised to "drain the swamp?"

The Washington Free Beacon has sources who say Flynn's resignation is "the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump's national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran."

Flynn has prominently opposed that deal. According to the Free Beacon, this "small task force of Obama loyalists" are ready to waylay anyone in the Trump administration who threatens the Iran deal, their efforts coordinated by the sleazy Obama adviser who boasted of his ability to manipulate the press by feeding them lies, Ben Rhodes.

Some observers are chucking at the folly of Michael Flynn daring to take on the intelligence community, and paying the price for his reckless impudence. That is not funny – it is terrifying. In fact, it is the nightmare of the rogue NSA come to life, the horror story that kept privacy advocates tossing in their sheets for years.

Michael Flynn was appointed by the duly elected President of the United States. He certainly should not have been insulated from criticism, but if he was brought down by entrenched, unelected agency officials, it is nearly a coup – especially if, as Eli Lake worried on Twitter, Flynn's resignation inspires further attacks with even higher-ranking targets:

This was a major error for @Reince & @mike_pence It's now open season on this administration from without and within. #FlynnResignation

- Eli Lake (@EliLake) February 14, 2017

Lake's article caught the eye of President Trump, who endorsed his point that intelligence and law enforcement agencies should not interfere in U.S. politics:

Thank you to Eli Lake of The Bloomberg View – "The NSA & FBI should not interfere in our politics and is" Very serious situation for USA

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017

On the other hand, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard openly endorsed the Deep State overthrowing the American electorate and overturning the results of the 2016 election:

Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.

- Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 14, 2017

Among the many things hideously wrong with this sentiment is that the American people know absolutely nothing about the leakers who brought Flynn down, and might be lining up their next White House targets at this very moment. We have no way to evaluate their motives or credibility. We didn't vote for them, and we will have no opportunity to vote them out of office if we dissent from their agenda. As mentioned above, we do not know if the material they are leaking is accurate .

Byron York of the Washington Examiner addressed the latter point by calling for full disclosure:

Important that entire transcript of Flynn-Kislyak conversation be released. Leakers have already cherrypicked. Public needs to see it all.

- Byron York (@ByronYork) February 14, 2017

That is no less important with Flynn's resignation in hand. We still need to know the full story of his downfall. The American people deserve to know who is assaulting the government they voted for in 2016. They deserve protection from the next attempt to manipulate our government with cherry picked leaks.

They also deserve some intellectual consistency from those who have long and loudly worried about the emergence of a surveillance state, and from conservatives who claim to value the rule of law. Unknown persons with a mysterious agenda just made strategic use of partial information from a surveillance program of uncertain legality to take out a presidential adviser.

Whether it's an Obama shadow government staging a Beltway insurrection, or Deep State officials protecting their turf, this is the nightmare scenario of the post-Snowden era or are we not having that nightmare anymore, if we take partisan pleasure in the outcome?

[Feb 15, 2017] Its Over Folks The Neocons The Deep State Have Neutered The Trump Presidency

Trump wants to tell Russia to do what? ( https://www.rt.com/usa/377346-spicer-russia-return-crimea/ ) ? To return Crimea? Is this what opposition to neocons means in Trumpspeak ???
Notable quotes:
"... "It's Over Folks" The Neocons & The "Deep State" Have Neutered The Trump Presidency ..."
"... For one thing, Flynn dared the unthinkable: he dared to declare that the bloated US intelligence community had to be reformed. Flynn also tried to subordinate the CIA and the Joint Chiefs to the President via the National Security Council. ..."
"... Put differently, Flynn tried to wrestle the ultimate power and authority from the CIA and the Pentagon and subordinate them back to the White House. ..."
"... Ever since Trump made it to the White House, he has taken blow after blow from the Neocon-run Ziomedia, from Congress, from all the Hollywood doubleplusgoodthinking "stars" and even from European politicians. And Trump took each blow without ever fighting back. Nowhere was his famous "you are fired!" to be seen. But I still had hope. I wanted to hope. I felt that it was my duty to hope. ..."
"... It's over, folks, the deep state has won. From now on, Trump will become the proverbial shabbos-goy , the errand boy of the Israel lobby. Hassan Nasrallah was right when he called him 'an idiot '. ..."
"... The Chinese and Iranian will openly laugh. The Russians won't – they will be polite, they will smile, and try to see if some common sense policies can still be salvaged from this disaster. Some might. But any dream of a partnership between Russia and the United States has died tonight. ..."
"... Trump, for all his faults, did favor the US, as a country, over the global Empire. Trump was also acutely aware that 'more of the same' was not an option. He wanted policies commensurate with the actual capabilities of the USA. With Flynn gone and the Neocons back in full control – this is over. Now we are going to be right back to ideology over reality. ..."
"... I am quite sure that nobody today is celebrating in the Kremlin. Putin, Lavrov and the others surely understand exactly what happened. It is as if Khodorkovsy would have succeeded in breaking Putin in 2003. In fact, I have to credit Russian analysts who for several weeks already have been comparing Trump to Yanukovich, who also was elected by a majority of the people and who failed to show the resolve needed to stop the 'color revolution' started against him. But if Trump is the new Yanukovich, will the US become the next Ukraine? ..."
"... Flynn was very much the cornerstone of the hoped-for Trump foreign policy. There was a real chance that he would reign in the huge, bloated and all-powerful three letter agencies and that he would focus US power against the real enemy of the West: the Wahabis. With Flynn gone, this entire conceptual edifice has now come down. We are going to be left with the likes of Mattis and his anti-Iranian statements. Clowns who only impress other clowns. ..."
Feb 14, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
"It's Over Folks" The Neocons & The "Deep State" Have Neutered The Trump Presidency

Submitted and Authored by The Saker

Less than a month ago I warned that a 'color revolution ' was taking place in the USA . My first element of proof was the so-called "investigation" which the CIA, FBI, NSA and others were conducting against President Trump's candidate to become National Security Advisor, General Flynn. Last night, the plot to get rid of Flynn has finally succeeded and General Flynn had to offer his resignation . Trump accepted it.

Now let's immediately get one thing out of the way: Flynn was hardly a saint or a perfect wise man who would single handedly saved the world. That he was not.

However, what Flynn was is the cornerstone of Trump's national security policy . For one thing, Flynn dared the unthinkable: he dared to declare that the bloated US intelligence community had to be reformed. Flynn also tried to subordinate the CIA and the Joint Chiefs to the President via the National Security Council.

Put differently, Flynn tried to wrestle the ultimate power and authority from the CIA and the Pentagon and subordinate them back to the White House. Flynn also wanted to work with Russia. Not because he was a Russia lover, the notion of a Director of the DIA as a Putin-fan is ridiculous, but Flynn was rational, he understood that Russia was no threat to the USA or to Europe and that Russia had the West had common interests. That is another absolutely unforgivable crimethink in Washington DC.

The Neocon run 'deep state' has now forced Flynn to resign under the idiotic pretext that he had a telephone conversation, on an open, insecure and clearly monitored, line with the Russian ambassador.

And Trump accepted this resignation.

Ever since Trump made it to the White House, he has taken blow after blow from the Neocon-run Ziomedia, from Congress, from all the Hollywood doubleplusgoodthinking "stars" and even from European politicians. And Trump took each blow without ever fighting back. Nowhere was his famous "you are fired!" to be seen. But I still had hope. I wanted to hope. I felt that it was my duty to hope.

But now Trump has betrayed us all.

Remember how Obama showed his true face when he hypocritically denounced his friend and pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. ? Today, Trump has shown us his true face. Instead of refusing Flynn's resignation and instead of firing those who dared cook up these ridiculous accusations against Flynn, Trump accepted the resignation. This is not only an act of abject cowardice, it is also an amazingly stupid and self-defeating betrayal because now Trump will be alone, completely alone, facing the likes of Mattis and Pence – hard Cold Warrior types, ideological to the core, folks who want war and simply don't care about reality.

Again, Flynn was not my hero. But he was, by all accounts, Trump's hero. And Trump betrayed him.

The consequences of this will be immense. For one thing, Trump is now clearly broken. It took the 'deep state' only weeks to castrate Trump and to make him bow to the powers that be . Those who would have stood behind Trump will now feel that he will not stand behind them and they will all move back away from him. The Neocons will feel elated by the elimination of their worst enemy and emboldened by this victory they will push on, doubling-down over and over and over again.

It's over, folks, the deep state has won. From now on, Trump will become the proverbial shabbos-goy , the errand boy of the Israel lobby. Hassan Nasrallah was right when he called him 'an idiot '.

The Chinese and Iranian will openly laugh. The Russians won't – they will be polite, they will smile, and try to see if some common sense policies can still be salvaged from this disaster. Some might. But any dream of a partnership between Russia and the United States has died tonight.

The EU leaders will, of course, celebrate. Trump was nowhere the scary bogeyman they feared. Turns out that he is a doormat – very good for the EU.

Where does all this leave us – the millions of anonymous 'deplorables' who try as best we can to resist imperialism, war, violence and injustice?

I think that we were right in our hopes because that is all we had – hopes. No expectations, just hopes. But now we objectively have very little reasons left to hope. For one thing, the Washington 'swamp' will not be drained. If anything, the swamp has triumphed. We can only find some degree of solace in two undeniable facts:

  1. Hillary would have been far worse than any version of a Trump Presidency.
  2. In order to defeat Trump, the US deep state has had to terribly weaken the US and the AngloZionist Empire. Just like Erdogan' purges have left the Turkish military in shambles, the anti-Trump 'color revolution' has inflicted terrible damage on the reputation, authority and even credibility of the USA.

The first one is obvious. So let me clarify the second one. In their hate-filled rage against Trump and the American people (aka "the basket of deplorables") the Neocons have had to show they true face. By their rejection of the outcome of the elections, by their riots, their demonization of Trump, the Neocons have shown two crucial things: first, that the US democracy is a sad joke and that they, the Neocons, are an occupation regime which rules against the will of the American people. In other words, just like Israel, the USA has no legitimacy left. And since, just like Israel, the USA are unable to frighten their enemies, they are basically left with nothing, no legitimacy, no ability to coerce. So yes, the Neocons have won. But their victory is removes the last chance for the US to avoid a collapse.

Trump, for all his faults, did favor the US, as a country, over the global Empire. Trump was also acutely aware that 'more of the same' was not an option. He wanted policies commensurate with the actual capabilities of the USA. With Flynn gone and the Neocons back in full control – this is over. Now we are going to be right back to ideology over reality.

Trump probably could have made America, well, maybe not "great again", but at least stronger, a major world power which could negotiate and use its leverage to get the best deal possible from the others. That's over now. With Trump broken, Russia and China will go right back to their pre-Trump stance: a firm resistance backed by a willingness and capability to confront and defeat the USA at any level.

I am quite sure that nobody today is celebrating in the Kremlin. Putin, Lavrov and the others surely understand exactly what happened. It is as if Khodorkovsy would have succeeded in breaking Putin in 2003. In fact, I have to credit Russian analysts who for several weeks already have been comparing Trump to Yanukovich, who also was elected by a majority of the people and who failed to show the resolve needed to stop the 'color revolution' started against him. But if Trump is the new Yanukovich, will the US become the next Ukraine?

Flynn was very much the cornerstone of the hoped-for Trump foreign policy. There was a real chance that he would reign in the huge, bloated and all-powerful three letter agencies and that he would focus US power against the real enemy of the West: the Wahabis. With Flynn gone, this entire conceptual edifice has now come down. We are going to be left with the likes of Mattis and his anti-Iranian statements. Clowns who only impress other clowns.

Today's Neocon victory is a huge event and it will probably be completely misrepresented by the official media. Ironically, Trump supporters will also try minimize it all. But the reality is that barring a most unlikely last-minute miracle, it's over for Trump and the hopes of millions of people in the USA and the rest of the world who had hoped that the Neocons could be booted out of power by means of a peaceful election. That is clearly not going to happen.

I see very dark clouds on the horizon.

* * *

  • UPDATE1 : Just to stress an important point: the disaster is not so much that Flynn is out but what Trump's caving in to the Neocon tells us about Trump's character (or lack thereof). Ask yourself – after what happened to Flynn, would you stick your neck out for Trump?
  • UPDATE2 : Just as predicted – the Neocons are celebrating and, of course, doubling-down:
  • Son of Captain Nemo , Feb 14, 2017 10:12 PM

    Trump wants to tell Russia to do what? ( https://www.rt.com/usa/377346-spicer-russia-return-crimea/ )

    Here is the REAL United States of America President ( https://www.israelrising.com/bibi-netanyahu-president-trump-see-eye-eye-... ) Booby!!!

    Smell the fetid gas coming out of this "Gluteal Cleft with horns" that owns the U.S. military!

    [Feb 15, 2017] Contrary to What Robert Samuelson Says We Did Bail Out the Bankers and Did Not Prevent a Second Great Depression

    Notable quotes:
    "... As far as the folks with uninsured loans that would have lost, well, many of these people were hedge-fund types and other financial institutions. They would have paid a price for not being very competent. The bailout ensured that they would not be left to suffer the consequences of their actions. ..."
    "... As far as the top executives of the banks, while some were shown the door, many of these people continue to earn paychecks in the millions or tens of millions as the financial sector remains hugely bloated. We had an opportunity to downsize the financial sector in one fell swoop, eliminating this enormous albatross which sucks money out of the economy and hands it to the very rich. ..."
    "... The narrow securities and commodities trading sector is now close to 2.5 percent of GDP ($470 billion a year). In the seventies, it was around 0.5 percent of GDP. Does anyone believe that capital is being allocated more effectively today than forty years ago or that our savings are safer? ..."
    Feb 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    RGC : February 15, 2017 at 10:04 AM

    Contrary to What Robert Samuelson Says We Did Bail Out the Bankers and Did Not Prevent a Second Great Depression

    Dean Baker
    13 February 2017

    Robert Samuelson is unhappy that people continue to believe something that is true - that we bailed out the bankers - and happy that people still believe something that is not true - that we prevented a second Great Depression. In his column Samuelson complains:

    "The real Dodd-Frank scandal is that this misinterpretation of events, widely embraced by both parties, has been allowed to stand. In many bailouts, banks' shareholders suffered huge losses or were wiped out; similarly, top managers lost their jobs. The point was not to protect them but to prevent a collapse of the financial system."

    Okay, let's imagine the counterfactual. We decide to take the free market seriously and let it work its magic on Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and the rest of the high rollers. These huge banks all go into bankruptcy with the commercial banking parts of the operations taken over by the FDIC. All insured deposits are fully protected, with the FDIC and Fed having the option to raise the limits to protect smaller savers.

    The shareholders of these banks are out of luck. They have zero. Samuelson is right that share prices were depressed during the crisis, but that is different than going to zero. Furthermore, operating with the protection of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's promise of "no more Lehmans," the share prices soon bounced back.

    As far as the folks with uninsured loans that would have lost, well, many of these people were hedge-fund types and other financial institutions. They would have paid a price for not being very competent. The bailout ensured that they would not be left to suffer the consequences of their actions.

    As far as the top executives of the banks, while some were shown the door, many of these people continue to earn paychecks in the millions or tens of millions as the financial sector remains hugely bloated. We had an opportunity to downsize the financial sector in one fell swoop, eliminating this enormous albatross which sucks money out of the economy and hands it to the very rich.

    The narrow securities and commodities trading sector is now close to 2.5 percent of GDP ($470 billion a year). In the seventies, it was around 0.5 percent of GDP. Does anyone believe that capital is being allocated more effectively today than forty years ago or that our savings are safer?

    The additional money spent operating this sector is a huge waste from an economic standpoint, which also plays a large role in the upward redistribution of the last four decades.

    In terms of preventing a second Great Depression, this is a nice children's story that the elite like to tell. (And, they get very mad and call people names if they don't agree - we are supposed to take name-calling by the elites very seriously.) We know how to get out of a depression, we learned that lesson in the last one. It's called "spending money."

    The claim that we would have suffered a decade of double-digit unemployment if we had not bailed out the banks is premised on a political claim, not an economic one, that we would never have spent the money needed to boost the economy out of a prolonged slump. This claim is not only that any initial stimulus would have been shot down, but even after two, three, or five years of double-digit unemployment the president and congress would not have agreed to a serious stimulus.

    This is a pretty strong claim since even tax cuts would serve to provide stimulus, albeit less than spending. (Anyone ever meet a Republican that didn't like tax cuts?) Remember, the first stimulus occurred with George W. Bush in the White House and a 4.7 percent unemployment rate. Those making the claim that in the counterfactual the politicians in Washington never would have done anything to boost the economy has a really low opinion of these folks intelligence and/or honesty. That would be a good topic for a column, if someone really believed it.

    http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/contrary-to-what-robert-samuelson-says-we-did-bail-out-the-bankers-and-did-not-prevent-a-second-great-depression

    [Feb 15, 2017] Google, Youtube and net neutarality

    Feb 15, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Eureka Springs , February 15, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Net neutrality has always been confined to the narrowest of meanings to a point of being self-defeating by simply self-kettling ourselves into such limited fights/expectations. I know you coastal and big city elites (that's half snark) will never understand much more empathize or rally with us flyover deplorables who are limited to 10 gigs a month no matter what provider we use, no matter how much we pay. I recently read that most homes with fiber now utilize over a thousand gigs a month that one HD movie can be much more bandwidth than my entire monthly 70 bucks can buy.

    Over twenty years ago the entire U.S. should have established high speed affordable unlimited fiber to every home on the grid and that's where the argument should be today. It covers the neutrality issue and so, so very much more. And it is far more inclusive of many more people who would benefit in so many ways. It's way past time to remove the internet highway system. Separate the content providers, the monitors, data mining, from the public highway system itself. That's where the beginning of neutrality should begin.

    So yes, point out the most egregious hypocrites in the misleadership class, but don't let them all win by keeping us divided and losing within the extremely limited confines of their argument.

    oh , February 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Among the many promises that Barry broke was the one to provide hi speed internet. One grifter follows another!
    We the people need to set some discrete goals and protest. Calling or writing to the Congress critters will not work. We need to storm their office on behalf each issue.

    Sally , February 15, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    "Separate the content providers, the monitors, data mining, from the public highway system itself. That's where the beginning of neutrality should begin."

    That is the key point.

    Trump would be an idiot if he allowed the likes of Google/UTube, Facebook, big tech boys to be able to start rigging the content because his campaign relied hugely on the Internet. A lot of his support by-passed the traditional TV/Newspaper media. I heard that Twitter are apparantly using ways and means to make his Twitter acccount only see hostile responses for the first 100 or so responses. Have no idea if that's true but some of these firms are getting very close to utility status.

    Anti trust laws should be wheeled out. They are already on the books.

    likbez , February 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Companies such as Netflix are essentially subsidized by telecom providers. So this is a model that somewhat reminds me of Uber.

    The same is true for Google (especially YouTube part of it) and Facebook. When somebody tries to download 4.7Gb movie that affects other people on the same subnet,

    On the other hand if, for example, popular blogs are forced to pay per gigabyte of consumed bandwidth, that is as close to censorship as we can get. 1000 gigabytes per month that is consumed by a medium site even at $1 per gigabyte is $1000 per month rent. And guess who will be able to afford it.

    There are a lot complex nuances here. For example, everybody who use wireless at home are not in the same group as who are using landlines (fiber or cable) even if they live in metropolitan areas. They are closer to flyover country residents.

    Also as soon as something is not metered some sophisticated forms of abuse emerge. For example, some corporations are abusing public networks by switching to "home office" model which dramatically cuts the required office and parking space. Several corporations built their new headquarters with the assumption that only half of employees are present at any given day (so called hotel model). When employees view some clueless corporate video conference via VPN that affects their neighborhood the same way as heavy Netflix users. Excessive WebEx videoconferences have a similar effect.

    Quanka , February 15, 2017 at 8:08 am

    +1 to Eureka Springs.

    Go back to Bill Clinton's administration when Verizon was a fledgling company and the government gave massive subsidies to the Telecoms to do exactly what Eureka Springs notes: bring fast, reliable internet service across the country. Fast forward to today - those companies took all the subsidies, didn't build out shit for network capacity, and now spend all their money lobbying to give themselves more power and limit net neutrality.

    If there were a microcosm for this whole problem, this is it. Dems give big subsidies to corporate players, dont track the work/take for granted that they "did something" and then get caught flat footed. Now we are all left to battle it out for the scraps. Exactly where we were 20 years ago.

    Watching the Oroville Dam, juxtaposing with all this "infrastructure spending" talk - everyone should be weary b/c we've been here before with Telecoms.

    cocomaan , February 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

    +1 to both of you!

    It reminds me of the land grant system that enabled the railroad industry to thrive.

    Guess what happened to Southern Pacific Railroad Company, who benefited greatly from this government intervention? Later, they turned into Sprint ( S outhern P acific R ailroad I nternal N etworking T elephony)!

    Scott , February 15, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I really wish I could get more worked up about Net Neutrality, but I can't. I'm deeply concerned about the high prices and lack of availability in much of the country, but I find that much of the debate boils down to conflict between Silicon Valley and the Telcos about who controls the internet. Content providers (Facebook, Google, Netflix) want to use the network effects to manipulate public opinion in their favored version of Net Neutrality, which seems to involve universal unmetered broadband, which ISPs must build out to meet demand, shifting costs from the providers to the ISPs, while profits go the other way. Meanwhile the ISPs do the tricks described in the post and overchange customers for poor service. I have little sympathy for either group.

    My general belief is that broadband should be cheap, universal, regulated, and, yes, metered. The latter would encourage high volume users and content providers to change their behavior and technology to use bandwidth more efficiently, which would reduce the size of the infrastructure needed over the long-term. I would also include search neutrality at the same time, but for some reason that doesn't have the same level of support among the technology industry.

    [Feb 15, 2017] Americans arent as attached to democracy as you might think

    Notable quotes:
    "... Statistics can be made to slant any way you intend. ..."
    "... Stupid survey leads to dumber article and fucking ridiculous headline. Standard Guardian opinion I guess. ..."
    "... Seriously can you perhaps stop being so clickbaity? I've already lost the Independent because it went full on lefty Buzzfeed listical "you won't believe what they did to Trump when the lights went out". Don't follow them downwards. ..."
    "... On both side of the Atlantic, we don't have a 'democracy', we have an elected monarchy. The trouble is, this monarchy gets itself elected on the basis of lies, money and suppression. For a few brief years after WWII, there was an attempt to hold executives to account, but neoliberals put paid to all that. Nowadays, it's just as if nothing had changed since Henry VIII's time. ..."
    "... What we gave the ordinary Russian was neo-liberalism and they got screwed by it. Capitalisms greatest trick was to convince the many that it & democracy are the same thing. When actually, on many levels, they are totally at odds with each other. ..."
    Feb 15, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
    Statistics can be made to slant any way you intend. Essentially can be be used as another form of lie and propganada

    Lawrence Douglas

    But, the result changed when the data were narrowed to those who identified themselves as Trump supporters: 51% agreed that Trump should be able to overturn court decisions. 33% disagreed. 16% were not sure.

    It is tempting to attribute this difference between Trump supporters and others simply to the fact that the president's supporters prefer a more authoritarian style of government, prioritize social order, like strong rulers, and worry about maintaining control in a world they perceive to be filled with threats and on the verge of chaos.


    As the PPP's survey reveals, Trump is appealing to a remarkably receptive audience in his attempts to rule by decree – and many are no longer attached to the rule of law and/or democracy. Other studies confirm these findings. One such study found a dramatic decline in the percentage of people who say it is "essential" to live in a democracy.

    When asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how "essential" it is for them "to live in a democracy," 72% of Americans born before World War II check "10," the highest value. But, the millennial generation (those born since 1980) "has grown much more indifferent." Less than 1 in 3 hold a similar belief about the importance of democracy.

    And, the New York Times reports that while 43% of older Americans thought it would be illegitimate for the military to take power if civilian government was incompetent, only 19% of millennials agreed.

    While millennials may be politically liberal in their policy preferences, they have come of age in a time of political paralysis in democratic institutions, declining civility in democratic dialogue, and dramatically increased anxiety about economic security.

    These findings suggest that we can no longer take for granted that our fellow citizens will stand up for the rule of law and democracy. That's why, while President Trump's behavior has riveted the media and the public, our eyes should not only be focused on him but on this larger – and troubling - trend.

    If the rule of law and democracy are to survive in America we will need to address the decline in the public's understanding of, and support for both. While we celebrate the Ninth Circuit's decision on Trump's ban, we also must initiate a national conversation about democracy and the rule of law. Civics education, long derided, needs to be revived.

    Schools, civic groups, and the media must to go back to fundamentals and explain what basic American political values entail and why they are desirable. Defenders of democracy and the rule of law must take their case to the American people and remind them of the Founders' admonition that: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

    We need to remember that our freedom from an arbitrary or intrusive government depends on the rule of law and a functioning democracy. We need to rehabilitate both – before this crisis of faith worsens.

    Austin Sarat is a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College

    , greatapedescendant , 11 Feb 2017 11:29

    "There is much to celebrate in the court decision against President Trump's immigration ban. It was a stirring victory for the rule of law and reaffirmation of the independence of the judiciary."

    A stirring victory of the rule of law? Hardly. More like an extraordinary act of politicised justice. And an orchestrated one at that. In my opinion that is, and as I see it at this point in time and from what I am able to discern.

    No. I do not see not see any stirring victories for the rule of law here here. Certainly no courage of truth or justice. Nor, as it happens, do I like this travel ban. Nevertheless, the court's ruling seems to me to be wrong since the constitution gives the president the power to enforce blanket bans against countries believed to pose a threat.

    I cannot see how the ban could justifiably be said to be aimed specifically at Muslims since it does not concern some 90 percent of the world's Muslim population. So it looks very much like a political decision from the 9th Circuit Court – and now San Francisco - in a tug of war between Democrats and Republicans.

    I am somehow reminded of the final "Yes we can" in Obama's farewell speech and of a sore loser – the vindictive Mrs Clinton. Some smooth transfer of power.

    The very fact that expert analysts are already sizing up what will be the Supreme Court's decision in terms of breaking the stalemate between 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats provides a perfect illustration of the politicisation of the judiciary at the highest level. Compatibly with this, Democrats are continuing to block Gorsuch's nomination.

    And compatibly with this the illusion of salutary Rawlsian** apolitical amnesiacs on the part of the judiciary disperses like Scotch mist.

    Somehow I have a clear mental picture of a newspaper editor, no one in particular, sitting back in his chair with a smug smile 'Look how we managed to swing that one', I hear him say. The principal protagonists here, overshadowing the US lawcourts, are the mainstream media. A power never to be underestimated, especially when the choir is singing in full maledictory and mephitic unison.

    **The reference is to A Theory of Justice, the monumental work on philosophy of law by John Rawls. It casts damning light on judicial impartiality by focusing on distorting criteria affecting juries. Worth reading in the context of attacks on the impartiality of the judiciary in US lawcourts taking place right now. And also in the wake of recent attacks on the judiciary in Britain over Brexit.

    , sam0412 imperium3 , 11 Feb 2017 11:53
    This,

    Interesting that Clinton's 52% is regarded as a God-given mandate where as the 52% for Leave is unfair as the voters were "too old/uneducated/outside London"

    In both campaigns if more people my age (26) had actually bothered to vote then the results would probably be very different.

    , Bluthner , 11 Feb 2017 11:34

    Only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States."

    But that is an utterly assinine question to ask anyone!

    "Making decisions for the United States" suggests setting policy. The judges Trump is so angry with aren't making policy decisions, they are interpreting the laws that already exist.

    Laws without and independent judiciary are not laws at all, they are just whims of whoever or whatever is in power. Might as well ask people do you prefer to live in a country that follows its laws or do you want to live at the whim of an irrational despot with irresponsible power who can do whatever the hell he pleases.

    This survey is clearly a case of garbage in garbage out. Which is a pity, because the subject is an important one.

    , LithophaneFurcifera Bluthner , 11 Feb 2017 12:03
    In a common law system, like those of Britain and the US, judges do make law. If there is no relevant legislation and no precedent, the judge is required to make new law in order to rule on the case, which will then be cited as precedent by future courts. In a civil law system, like those of continental Europe, judges merely interpret (and generalise, where necessary) the rules set out in statutes and codes, and have less scope to innovate.

    Of course, the recent case over Trump's immigration plans has been based on interpretations of the constitution though, but even interpretations are political (hence why the balance of power between liberals and conservatives on the Supreme Court is considered such a big issue).

    , Veryumble , 11 Feb 2017 11:35
    After nearly 40 years of corporate, lobbyist controlled politics, it's little surprise the younger generation have no faith in democracy. What on earth is the point in voting for two shades of the same shit?
    , YoungMrP , 11 Feb 2017 11:36
    You could argue that the US has never been a democracy. It is a strange democracy that allowed slavery, or the later segregation in the south, or that has systematically overlooked the rust belt taking all the gold for the liberal coasts.

    It seems democracy is simply a way of deciding who the dictator should be. Not unlike the U.K. Either.

    , YoungMrP therebythegrace , 11 Feb 2017 14:15
    If you were black in Alabama in the early 60s I don't think you would have enjoyed any more freedom, respect or control than your Russian counterpart at that time
    , jan oskar Hansen , 11 Feb 2017 11:38
    democracy is, of course, the best form of governance but in practice we see it benefit the wealthy who unhindered can rob
    the poor, only a socialist government can
    usher in a true government to do so it may
    be needed to have an authoritarian regime
    , Cape7441 jan oskar Hansen , 11 Feb 2017 11:55
    True socialism is a form of government which sounds wonderful in theory. In practice it has never successfully worked anywhere in the world. It does not take account of human nature.
    , Captain_Smartypants jan oskar Hansen , 11 Feb 2017 12:00
    Sorry but in the authoritarian nominatively socialist governments of the past the poor were as robbed off the fruit of their labour and their dignity as they are today.
    , BonzoFerret , 11 Feb 2017 11:39
    It's effectively a FPTP system that means you have a choice from only two parties. Even if someone could challenge they'd need to be a billionaire to do so. America is no democracy.
    , Andy Wong Ming Jun therebythegrace , 11 Feb 2017 14:22
    Germany under Adolf Hitler before he started WWII was not a zillion times worse than any of the contemporary powers in Western Europe. Neither was Franco's Spain. Looking in other areas of the globe and further away from the West, what about South Korea under Park Chung Hee? Would you call his dictatorship bad when he brought South Korea up to become one of the Asian 5 Tigers?
    , therebythegrace Andy Wong Ming Jun , 11 Feb 2017 15:14

    Germany under Adolf Hitler before he started WWII was not a zillion times worse than any of the contemporary powers in Western Europe

    Is that supposed to be a joke? If so, it's in very poor taste.

    My parents grew up in Nazi Germany. Yes, it was a zillion times worse. Political opponents were routinely murdered. There was no rule of law. Minorities, gay people etc were imprisoned, tortured, murdered, expelled.

    WTF are on you on about?

    , Metreemewall Andy Wong Ming Jun , 11 Feb 2017 15:50
    Clueless.

    Germany was broke, following their defeat in WWI; people were poor, humiliated,insecure and frightened for the future. In other words, the classic breeding ground for demagogues and extremists.

    After WWII, the Allies had learned their lesson and made sure that Germany should, for everyone's security, be helped to prosper.

    , Wehadonebutitbroke Andy Wong Ming Jun , 11 Feb 2017 16:05
    what about South Korea under Park Chung Hee? Would you call his dictatorship bad when he brought South Korea up to become one of the Asian 5 Tigers?

    The Friemanite right adored him and many of his equally repressive and dictatorial successors (just as they did Pinochet, Suharto (deemed by Transparency International to be the most corrupt leader in modern history to boot) and endless South American juntas etc).

    Every one else saw him for what he was - an authoritarian who had political opponents tortured and killed and who banned any form of protest.

    , John Favre praxismakesperfec , 11 Feb 2017 16:11

    And is it particularly surprising that Trump voters tend towards anti democratic authoritarianism?

    My dad and two of my brothers voted for Trump. Like most Americans, they detest authoritarian governments. I sincerely doubt you know any Trump voters - let alone ones who favor authoritarianism.

    , fauteuilpolitique , 11 Feb 2017 11:42
    How to misdirect readers with a BUT :

    In a cross-section of Americans, only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States." 38% said they trusted Donald Trump more than our country's judges, and 9% were undecided.

    But , the result changed when the data were narrowed to those who identified themselves as Trump supporters: 51% agreed that Trump should be able to overturn court decisions. 33% disagreed. 16% were not sure.

    The results are significantly the same, the But implies something different.

    , Paul B tenthenemy , 11 Feb 2017 13:32
    besides, the results are *not* significantly the same. Fauteuil's first sentence suggests that 53% (more than a Brexit majority, hence Will of the People) of Americans support the judiciary over the presidency. In contrast, a majority of Trump supporters, not unnaturally, take the opposite view.
    , sewollef , 11 Feb 2017 11:45
    Statistics can be made to slant any way you intend.

    So let's break this down: 51% of Trump supporters think he can do what he pleases. 51% means one quarter of those who voted in the US general election.

    If we estimate that only two-thirds of the electorate voted, that means in reality, probably less than 16% of total potential voters think this way.

    Not so dramatic now is it?

    , bananacannon , 11 Feb 2017 11:45
    Stupid survey leads to dumber article and fucking ridiculous headline. Standard Guardian opinion I guess.

    Seriously can you perhaps stop being so clickbaity? I've already lost the Independent because it went full on lefty Buzzfeed listical "you won't believe what they did to Trump when the lights went out". Don't follow them downwards.

    , Jympton , 11 Feb 2017 11:45
    On both side of the Atlantic, we don't have a 'democracy', we have an elected monarchy. The trouble is, this monarchy gets itself elected on the basis of lies, money and suppression. For a few brief years after WWII, there was an attempt to hold executives to account, but neoliberals put paid to all that. Nowadays, it's just as if nothing had changed since Henry VIII's time.
    , therebythegrace , 11 Feb 2017 11:46
    Sad that a new, stupid generation have to learn the truth of Churchill's dictum that 'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others'.

    Sincerely hope for all of us that they don't have to learn this the hard way.

    I say this speaking as someone whose parents fled Nazi Germany, and who also spent time with relatives in the former East Germany prior to the wall coming down. Life under a dictatorship, whether of the right or left, is no picnic.

    , wikiwakiwik olderiamthelessiknow , 11 Feb 2017 12:32
    'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others'.

    But is it democracy's fault when the option as to which kind of government we can choose is so narrow? Scary as it may sound, I think that the majority of young people would swap democracy just for some stability & safety. But what they fail to realize is that it's not democracy that's at the fault - but our form of capitalism. Look what happened in Russian when the wall came down & the free market rushed in & totally screwed over the ordinary Russian. Putin was, to some extent, a reaction to this. His strong man image was something they thought would help them. What we gave the ordinary Russian was neo-liberalism and they got screwed by it. Capitalisms greatest trick was to convince the many that it & democracy are the same thing. When actually, on many levels, they are totally at odds with each other.

    , NadaZero , 11 Feb 2017 11:47
    "Democracy is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten, because that history has yet to be enacted." --Walt Whitman
    , EpicHawk , 11 Feb 2017 11:47
    Laws aren't final, they evolve with the needs of society. While I support this decidion I find all of this a bit silly and typical of that strange world.. "this is the law, therefor blabla.." I don't get why people even decide to study it in university. Most law students are like : "Yeah I don't know what to pick. Lets do Law, it'll give me a good job". Empty stuff really..
    , Brexit_to_Democracy , 11 Feb 2017 11:47
    Can someone please explain how the court has over ruled the executive order? From what I understand it's because it would harm some Americans - but does that mean using the same logic courts can undo tax increases, spending cuts, changes in abortion law? Or if the travel ban was instead passed by congress it would then be beyond the remit of judges?
    , Brexit_to_Democracy Brexit_to_Democracy , 11 Feb 2017 11:51
    And guns!! Surely judges could determine the second amendment can lead to a lot of harm?!
    , referendum Brexit_to_Democracy , 11 Feb 2017 12:21
    One example given was schools. Banning students from state universities, or professors, by preventing them from entering the country, was damaging to the schools capacity to earn money ( in tuition fees) and provide state education. Then there was the example of forcibly separating families.

    But this part of the ruling does not exist on it's own, it goes together with another part of the ruling, which was that there was no good reason for this action, since the Government had failed to provide that any person from any of these countries was a threat - which was the reason given in the executive order. For this and other reasons the Executive order was deemed to be not legally enforceable.

    Another problem is that this was an executive order, just a piece of paper signed by Trump, and the President does not have sole authority to make laws, there is also the judiciary and legislative branches - the courts and congress. If the travel ban had been passed by congress then the courts would probably have not been able to overturn it. In this game of stone scissors paper, the executive doesn't beat the other two - it needs one of them to rubber-stamp the decision if challenged. The argument that a presidential order should be all powerful and must be obeyed regardless of whether it was legal or not, was deemed by the judges to be anti constutional and thrown out of court.

    The other examples you give of tax increases or spending cuts or abortion might indeed cause harm, but providing they are not anti-constitutional, and they get through congress, and are not illegal, the harm wouldn't be taken into account.

    , Treflesg , 11 Feb 2017 11:48
    I would not have voted for Trump. I would not have voted for quite a few American Presidents before him either.
    But the hyperbole about Trump is being overdone.
    The USA is one of the oldest democracies on earth, and, one of only ten nations that have lasted as democracies for more than a century.
    By overstating Trump's impact, you are not helping.
    , mondopinion Treflesg , 11 Feb 2017 12:12
    It is actually a kind of hysteria. I remember Senator McCarthy's communist hysteria, and also the marijuana hysteria which swept through schools when I was a child in the 1950s.
    , Tongariro1 , 11 Feb 2017 11:48
    I'm a little surprised that there seems to be less debate in the USA about the electoral college for the presidency than I thought likely. Of course, the electoral college is a completely redundant if it never leads to a different result from a straightforward popular vote. As I understand it, the electoral college is designed to ensure that smaller states have a voice greater than their population size alone would deliver.

    But in a nationwide poll, on a binary issue, such as the election of the president or Brexit, I would have thought that each vote should count equally. SNP supporters might differ in this view, as would presumably US Democratic Party supporters.

    , unclestinky , 11 Feb 2017 11:48
    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.- H. L. Mencken.

    Working so far.

    , MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:49

    Public support for the rule of law and democracy can no longer be taken for granted.


    "no longer"?

    There was a mysterious absence of support for the rule of law when Obama used drones to extrajudicially assassinate American citizens.

    , MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:51

    Only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States." In this cross-section of Americans, 38% said they trusted Donald Trump more than our country's judges. 9% were undecided.

    This means absolutely nothing regarding whether people support democracy and the rule of law.

    Were the results about Obama, the very same result would probably be interpreted as racism by the liberal media.

    , innnn , 11 Feb 2017 11:51
    Another poll from Public Polling Policy says that by a margin of 51/23 Trump supporters agree that the Bowling Green massacre shows that Trump's travel ban is a good idea.

    That's shows what you're up against and also why both Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer 'misspeak' so often.

    , cidcid , 11 Feb 2017 11:51

    A new national survey suggests that we can no longer take for granted that our fellow citizens will stand up for the rule of law and democracy

    Dear Austin, let me educate you a bit about the basics. The rule of law and democracy cannot both exist simultaneously in one society. The former has never been an American tradition. Read Tocqueville.

    The rule of law is characteristic of a totalitarian state where it is enforced by civil servant. The basic principle of such a state were described by Shang Yang 2400 years ago: a civil servant obeys the law, regardless of the will of his superior. Everyone obeys the law from top to bottom.

    In democracy people are judged by courts of jury. Which rule as they like, representing the public opinion, not the written law. Constitution doesn't exist either. Teddy Roosevelt explained when asked if his orders are constitutional: "The constitution was created for the people, not the people for the constitution".

    One nice example: the famous "Affirmative Action". It is obviously inconsistent with the most basic constitutional principle, that people are born equal. But it existed because the public didn't mind.

    , MathiasWeitz , 11 Feb 2017 11:52
    It makes me really wonder if americans (and other nations) are feeling something like a 'weimar' moment, when the germans in 1933 lost trust in their very young democracy after living for years under economic hardship and political pariah.
    There is so much that resembles the nazi-era, this xenophobia, that started with a slow decay of civil rights, the erosion of check and balances without the need to change the constitution.
    When we are heading for the similar kind of fascism like germany eighty years ago, at what point people should be held responsible for making a stand ?
    , MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:54

    Schools, civic groups, and the media must to go back to fundamentals and explain what basic American political values entail and why they are desirable.

    Agreed. Special emphasis should be placed on accepting the results of elections, there appears to have been a recent surge in undemocratic sentiment on that front.

    , MrHubris MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 11:57
    How about special emphasis on debunking lies from people like the cowardly, liar Trump? Share Facebook Twitter
    , therebythegrace MightyBuccaneer , 11 Feb 2017 12:48
    Are you confusing "accepting the results of elections' with 'denying people the right to peacefully protest'?

    If so, I think you are the one who could do with going back to the fundamentals and learning about what democracy entails.

    Share Facebook Twitter
    , eltonbraces MrHubris , 11 Feb 2017 12:50
    Perhaps sweet, caring, sharing Hillary could visit and put them straight.
    , CortoL , 11 Feb 2017 11:54
    Democracy? What democracy? Share Facebook Twitter
    , Streona25 , 11 Feb 2017 11:55
    Can you have a democratic plutocracy?
    , michaelmichael , 11 Feb 2017 11:56
    "Americans aren't as attached to democracy as you might think"

    you only just realised?? Wow

    'Democracy' is just a handy label for when the US wants to bomb another sovereign state

    , ErikFBerger , 11 Feb 2017 11:56
    "... trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States."

    This question is badly worded. It is not judges role to lead the country. The question should have been:

    "Should judges uphold the law to the best of their understanding, even if that means nullifying an order by president Trump?"

    , UnashamedPedant , 11 Feb 2017 11:59
    That link to the Federalist of 1788 on Checks & Balances is wrong. Here is the correct version:
    http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm
    , ayupmeduck2 , 11 Feb 2017 11:59
    I suspect that it's a change in what the word democracy means to people. Even the older generation are starting to understand that the 'democracies' that we live under in the western world are horribly distorted. Big corporations, even foreign ones, have far more access to the elected executive than the actual voters. Governments dance to the tune of powerful media. Votes don't often count for much at all.

    With this background it's no wonder that the Brexit voters feel drunk with power. For once they voted on something and believe that they will get exactly what they voted for. The final irony is that for most of them they don't realise that they were turkeys voting for Christmas. Brexit could have possibly bought them some benefits, but the Tories seem determined to deny them even that. Once the realise they have been swindled, what then for democracy?

    , sd0001 ayupmeduck2 , 11 Feb 2017 13:31
    People have lost faith in democracy, politics, the judicial system and, yes, economics.

    Voting to remain in the EU, is a vote for the status quo...if you're lucky. They want more government, not less. It is not a 20-50 year project. It is forever, and they will not stay still. It will evolve, and not regress politically.

    The UK government will have to change, and they have the chance. They may not succeed, but I believe they will try, and the pressure from the people will be more direct.

    The EU don't want to change. If it was an economic union and not a political one, then it would be a great organisation.

    Forget the garbage about wars and instability. That comes from economic success, with NATO providing any security until that comes to fruition to the developing countries.

    , FCBarca , 11 Feb 2017 12:00
    No surveys needed to arrive at these conclusions I am afraid, apathy and mistrust of govt has been eroding for decades. US government is a cesspool of corruption and in no small way is aided by the fact that its citizens have given tacit approval for the erosion of their own civil liberties and rights while celebrating the war machine that has increasingly rolled on for more than 3 decades

    The abyss looming for the US, and by extension the world, can be traced back to a populace that abandoned democracy and freely gifted the cronies the mandate to accelerate the erosion.

    Solution? Kill apathy and not only get back involved but remain vigilant to preserve checks & balances

    , Knapping , 11 Feb 2017 12:00
    Forty years ago, democracy was more or less synonymous with prosperity. Given it's now wider spread to many poorer states across the world, as well as the incredible increase in the standard of living in non-democratic countries, principally China, this is no longer the case. I suspect we have not made the case for democracy as an end in itself, nor as a route to distributing prosperity more widely, or as a corollary of 'The Free Market'.
    , J092939 Knapping , 11 Feb 2017 12:13
    This (democracy relates to prosperity) is insightful. Will we all be able to operate democratically when climate issues and exhaustion of resources vs. population force us to manage the decline?
    , timiengels , 11 Feb 2017 12:02
    A thought provoking article. Like many things it comes down to terminology .what, for example is democracy? Are the US or UK systems really democracies when it is clear that laws are enacted in the interests of a narrow group of citizens and corporations who have the power to lobby, especially in the US where bribery has been legalized with respect to lobbying.

    Beyond this, look at US attempts to come up with some sort of climate change plan. All of these flounder on the twin rocks of democracy with its lobbying (we'll never get voted in again) or economic cost to the tax payer (we'll get voted out next time).

    Democracy is always presented in our schools, TVs, books and newspapers as a universal good, when in reality there are good democracies and bad democracies with the US and UK versions actually being on the bad side what with an unelected second chamber of grandees in the UK and the US in a state of perpetual wars of choice.

    Countries are what they do. The US starts wars. The UK follows the US into wars. Most countries whether democratic or not, don't start many wars (Germany hasn't started too many wars since 1939). Many countries that don't start wars are actually controlled by non democratic governments or military juntas .and personally I would prefer non democracies that don't start wars. It's not a difficult concept to grasp.

    The main problems with all forms of government is abuse of power and it goes on in democracies as much as any other type of government. Look at Tony Blair astride the globe hoover-ing up millions instead of being sitting next the Bush in a 6X8 feet cell. When Britain and America fell asleep and accepted total state surveillance as the price they had to pay to stop a handful of terrorist deaths each year, they set themselves up for this power to be abused in the future and badly abused.
    What's the answer? Really it begins at home with lessons in honesty, modesty, selflessness and the like. The reality and the kids are plonked down in front of the TV watching the avarice of the Kardashians there is little hope.

    , uuuuuuu , 11 Feb 2017 12:02
    After the horrors of WWII most people in the developed world understood both, the dangers and merits of democracy. In fact there is a conventional wisdom that it is totalitarian regimes which start wars, never democracies. By and large that may be true, but I don't think it is true in every instance.

    But the major motivation for people is to press their own advantage, even it is to the detriment of somebody else. Even if it is quite evident that it is to the fatal detriment of somebody else. I guess religion describes this as our original sin. If that goal of personal advantage is better secured by a dictatorship then people (e.g. in 1930s Germany) will support that. Democracy is not a value in itself for the majority, but just a means to an end. After all, I suspect many would prefer to be rich in a totalitarian state, rather than poor in a democracy (especially those people who have never lived under a totalitarian regime).

    What people like Trump do is to legitimise this drive/desire/greed as something positive (greed is good, greed works), when all of our upbringing has told us otherwise. Otherwise we could just take to killing our siblings to acquire their larger bedrooms.

    I suspect the horrors of WWII have to be repeated to re-learn that lesson.

    , Peter55 , 11 Feb 2017 12:03
    oh well who cares. let the US rip itself apart from the inside, we all knew it was gonna happen sooner or later.

    there will be no need for a terrorist attack to destroy the US ,they manage that fine on their own. a 50/50 split in the population over values and believes? Regardless of who's right and who's wrong. Its so damaging that by the end of Trump Pax America will be history.

    US cant even keep control in their own backyard atm, thousands are killed within their own boarders every year by their own people, most average people will never get enough paid to sustain a adequate living condition, they struggle heavily with race and race related problems. They struggle heavily with females and female right.
    But most importantly they are not united, americans hate americans now. Many americans hate their fellow americans more than they hate outside enemies. And thats a fact. How can a society like that survive?

    The US will eat itself and Trump will probably earn a billion on it, he is after all a business man. He does what suits him best. But did anyone actually expect something els?

    , baxterb , 11 Feb 2017 12:03
    Make them afraid, then exploit that fear like there's no tomorrow. Heartening that people don't fall for it though.
    , Bluejil , 11 Feb 2017 12:04
    It does correlate with research that says one third of US residents believe you must be Christian to be American ( http://www.pewglobal.org/2017/02/01/what-it-takes-to-truly-be-one-of-us /). Jesus makes the laws.

    Take it a step further and apparently the word of Jesus is that you pull the ladder up after you and you look to the demagogue giving false praise to fantastical notions and mocking democracy.

    , Fred Ducleaux Bluejil , 11 Feb 2017 12:17
    There is much confusion between "Christian" America and America's Judeo-Christian Heritage. Books have been written.

    The heritage is what gave America, and Europe, Liberal Democracy and freedoms understood as "self-evident." That is, embedded and safe from lawyers and politicians. You do not need to be a "Christian" to enjoy the freedomos the heritage gives to all.

    , nottaken Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 15:57
    "self-evident" is a strong clue that the constitution was informed more by man-centred Enlightenment than by residual Judeo-Christian Heritage.
    The majority of the framers were Atheists or Deists; any reference to God was part of the necessary legitimizing and marketing process. Since then it has been a process of Christianity (read: Protestantism) being merged with the civic religion, to the point where they are indistinguishable. Both have been mightily degraded in the process.

    More recently, corporate America's propaganda campaign to merge Christianity with Capitalism, fronted by Rev. J Fifield, was hugely successful, and has brought us to the present pass.

    , mikedow , 11 Feb 2017 12:04
    Sitting politicians create the laws the judges interpret.

    That seems to be a necessary reminder.

    Share Facebook Twitter
    , AgainstDarkness , 11 Feb 2017 12:05
    "While millennials may be politically liberal in their policy preferences... "

    They are not politically liberal. They might be vaguely called "socially liberal", supporting the causes prescribed to them by a new "progressivism" in the name of ill-defined tolerance, diversity etc.

    None of the above implies an understanding of liberal democracy.

    There have been many strains of the "left" in the past that would be classified as "liberal" under current American terminology but were totally undemocratic. That was why the term "democratic left" was invented to separate left-wing people that really believe in democracy.

    The modern "progressive identarian" is not a liberal.

    , Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 12:08
    If you are a Green Card holder and leave the US you can incure tax liability for up to 10 years. Taxation without representation.

    But........the most flagrant departure from Democracy is giving the lawyers the final say on what is, or is not, the law. The legislature can pass whatever bills they may like but if the lawyers say it is offensive or phobic it will be struck down. The "Supreme" Court is the ultimate power in the USA and none are elected by the people and none can be removed by the people. The only way they go is in a box.

    Sad to say, Tony Blair (surprise surprise!) created the same undemocratic monster in our country and even labelled it the same way: "Supreme." Unelected, unaccountable and as politically motivated as its US counterpart.

    , Jack Taylor Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 12:20
    By lawyers I guess you mean judges?
    , snavep Fred Ducleaux , 11 Feb 2017 12:22
    No the SC in the US can decide a law is contrary to the constitution.
    Can you give a single example where the UK SC has 'struck down' any legislation? They have declared govt decisions contrary to existing law including common law. You do seem to have a habit of coming on here making stuff up.
    , lochinverboy , 11 Feb 2017 12:08
    In the context of first past the post, democracy is a total con. If you examine those democracies with FPTP you wintness the most right wing governments on the planet that use this system. PR as is used across Europe prevents these extremes and all votes count. Do you think the Tories OR Labour will rush to change to this? No chance. Lastly, here and in the US, you have a choice of two broadly similar parties who serve the rich and powerful who have engineered democracy largely by contolling the press, to suit their own ends. By definition therefore, democracy here and in the US is a caricature of what was originally intended for the people and not fit for purpose.
    , Graz100 lochinverboy , 11 Feb 2017 12:20
    I support the introduction of PR, but it is a mistake to assume that any kind of voting system or institution will stop the collapse of democracy/ democratic institutions Economic and social strife will tend to overcome all safeguards when the public starts to feel desperate. A good example and warning from history is the rise of the Nazi party in pre WW2 Germany. Trump and the republicans have yet to destroy democracy and I see no suggestion that T will refuse to stand fro reelection.
    , Zojo lochinverboy , 11 Feb 2017 12:32
    I agree that the reason democracy has lost its lustre is because both her and in the US we are offered no real choice. In terms of economic policy, the "There is No Alternative" party always wins. Unsurprisingly, people start to believe that there IS no alternative, and therefore the choice on offer is not genuine. They then either lose interest in voting altogether, or look for more extreme offerings which seem to be truly different.
    , brightheart , 11 Feb 2017 12:14
    Bringing up the 'law and order' issues combined with blaming it on immigrants is typical of far right regimes that want to undermine democratic values and move towards dictatorship.
    , IanPitch , 11 Feb 2017 12:19 Guardian Pick
    By casting aspersions on the judiciary, Trump is echoing past dictators. First, he questions their independence and then, when another terrorist incident occurs (whether white or non-white) he can say 'I told you so, this atrocity is all the judge's fault'. America has truly entered a new dark age. Let's pray that good men and women will continue to uphold and defend the Constitution and the rule of law... Share
    , politicsblogsuk IanPitch , 11 Feb 2017 12:33
    An independent judiciary and a free press are considered the pillars or cornerstones of a properly functioning democracy.

    Once you undermine them or the public's trust in them, it is much easier to move the political centre of gravity towards fascism.

    So, why is Trump attacking the judiciary and fee press?

    , mondopinion politicsblogsuk , 11 Feb 2017 13:08
    I for one no longer think the mainstream 'free press' is balanced or impartial.
    , AgeingAlbion , 11 Feb 2017 12:23
    Democracy has been in decline in the west for some time now, and it isn't just the right or the left which has abandoned it. Nearly every western country has a bill of rights (either a strong version eg the US which can strike down legislation or a weaker one eg the U.K. where the courts award damages for breaches and make declarations of incompatibility). The EU has pros and cons but no one could pretend it is democratic. The UK still has the House of Lords. The Canadian academic James Allen has written a good book on it - how elites have now decided they know best.

    We need to be wary of this endless erosion of majority rule. Tin pot dictators the world over have always had an excuse for ignoring the majority. Latin American military Juntas always explained that they had to have power to ensure security. Human rights lawyers say they are needdd to uphold the ever evolving concept of human rights. The Church used to insist it should have power to enforce God's rule. The Fijian army in 1987 made an openly racist coup (attracting minimal opprobrium and next to no action from the international community). Even those who think there are sound reasons to ignore the majority have to admit they're not in great historical company

    , Philip J Sparrow AgeingAlbion , 11 Feb 2017 12:40
    "those who think there are sound reasons to ignore the majority"

    People like Socrates/Plato, John Stuart Mill, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Alexis de Tocqueville...

    , emmasdad AgeingAlbion , 11 Feb 2017 12:49

    The EU has pros and cons but no one could pretend it is democratic.

    The EU is not a state; it is 28 member states acting collaboratively in a number of specified policy areas. As such, the appropriate comparison is not between the EU and a state but between the EU and other collective bodies through which states cooperate with one-another such as the UN or NATO. In terms of giving representation to ordinary citizens of its member states, I would say the EU compares extremely favourably.

    Moreover, the only two bodies in the EU that are able to enact legislation (and can only do so through the agreement of both bodies) are the EU Parliament, which is directly elected by the citizens of the member states and the Council, which consists of members of the Governments of the member states, which, in turn, have been put in place by the citizens of the member states through whichever electoral system is employed in each member state. We don't need to 'pretend' that the EU is democratic; it's system of governance IS democratic in the same way that the governance structures of western democracies are democratic.

    , Vintage59 emmasdad , 11 Feb 2017 15:01
    To put that more succinctly, no one can pretend the EU is democratic but many will still argue that it is if it fits their purposes.

    Amusing.

    , Gilbert3 , 11 Feb 2017 12:23
    Fewer people believe in the importance of democracy because we're several generations on from almost having lost it. In the same vein we're more likely to have a major war than we were 40/50 years ago because none of the major world leaders have experience of one. It's cyclic. We become complacent and smug until it happens again.
    , Gilbert3 , 11 Feb 2017 12:23
    Fewer people believe in the importance of democracy because we're several generations on from almost having lost it. In the same vein we're more likely to have a major war than we were 40/50 years ago because none of the major world leaders have experience of one. It's cyclic. We become complacent and smug until it happens again.
    , Andy Wong Ming Jun Gilbert3 , 11 Feb 2017 14:28
    History is a cycle. In this respect I agree with Steve Bannon. He's not nuts, he's just someone who knows how to read the winds very well like a wolf.
    , theshining , 11 Feb 2017 12:35
    "It was a stirring victory for the rule of law and reaffirmation of the independence of the judiciary."
    It most certainly was NOT anything of the kind. It was an act of judicial arrogance and a deliberate attempt to undermine the long upheld power of the President to take actions that HE considers required for the safety of the nation. What the ruling basically did was substitute judicial preferences for Presidential preferences no matter that the Constitution was clearly not supportive of this usurpation of power. you can review LOTS of legal opinions that state precisely this. An horrendously POLITICAL decision that will come back to haunt the courts.
    A defense of 'democracy' that begins with a defense of an arbitrary and demonstrably BAD court ruling is pretty much fatally flawed from the jump.
    Democracy works for as long as the fracture points in society are papered over with a commonality of basic interests. When that is not the case, democracy cannot endure. The US (and others will follow) is fracturing into pieces that simply don't like each other for VERY fundamental reasons, including the definition of a Nation State and what it means.
    Democracy works when things go well. It cannot work when it all falls apart. Oh and it also of course fails when the majority have a vested interest in getting stuff 'free', and can vote to have their demands enacted no matter the consequences.
    LOTS of places are not democracies. It really isn't the future. Too many fault lines coming up.
    , kristinezkochanski , 11 Feb 2017 12:35
    Only 53% of those surveyed said that they "trust judges more than President Trump to make the right decisions for the United States."

    One of the reasons why I am very sceptical of opinion polls or surveys is that they often ask the wrong questions. It is not for judges to make decisions about what is best for the country which this question clearly implies. Their job is to judge what complies with the law.

    Judges do not make political decisions about what is right for the United States any more than they do about what is right for the UK. It is this lack of understanding which leads to them being called enemies of the people.

    , ennCarey , 11 Feb 2017 12:38
    Here is the great George Carlin summing it all up in just 3 minutes and 14 seconds.

    It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it - George Carlin

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

    , dv420uk , 11 Feb 2017 12:38
    It all boils down to education. Democracy can't work when you have so many people prepared to believe and base their vote on 'fake news' (a nicer way to say lie).

    Governments in a democracy need to make having a well educated public a priority. Provide a high standard education for all the population up to secondary school level for free (or at a rate affordable to everyone) and you greatly diminish the chances of another Trump/Brexit.

    , therebythegrace dv420uk , 11 Feb 2017 12:52
    And that's why both the Tories and the Republicans have placed so much effort in undermining our education systems.

    They do not want an educated populace who are capable of critical thinking.

    , CyrusA dv420uk , 11 Feb 2017 12:59
    And hopefully diminish the chances of more "moderate" alternatives bringing the Population to its knees? Was Thatcher more "moderate" than Trump or did the Me Generation that she created usher in May and Trump.
    , Budanevey , 11 Feb 2017 12:39
    One person's victory is another's defeat. Politicians and voters are divided on judicial appointments to the Supreme Court, and the 4-4 split in the current court illustrates that the rule of law is simply another reflection of politics.

    I think the Ninth Court made a big mistake. Why? Because playing politics with the law can have serious unintended consequences. American Presidents have been resorting to shock and awe against Muslims because they can't use tough domestic security measures to protect Americans at home for fear of US judges taking an uncompromising view of constitutional rights. Trump's predecessors have not only resorted to foreign military action, but they have taken risks with extra-legal measures like Rendition, Secret Prisons, Torture and Drone attacks.

    The Ninth Court may uphold the constitutional rights of people coming from war zones to attend universities in Washington State, but the real world consequence of their hostility to domestic security measures will be to corner existing and future presidents in to bombing suspected terrorists abroad, making the world infinitely less safe with regime-changing wars.

    , SkiSpy Budanevey , 11 Feb 2017 12:45
    They have a hostility to unlawful, unconstitutional presidential edicts. That's a good thing. Share Facebook Twitter
    , Budanevey SkiSpy , 11 Feb 2017 12:55
    Congress gave the President the power to exclude people from the US on national security grounds. The University of Maryland maintains the Global Terrorism Database which lists more than 150,000 attacks since it began.

    96% of current terrorism killing more than 7000 people each year is claimed by jihadis. President Trump first mentioned his proposed temporary ban after the murders in San Bernardino.

    I don't think its unreasonable to restrict people coming from these war zones when they've been murdering people elsewhere, including Paris, Brussels, Berlin etc. It seems that US judges can't be persuaded that the right to life is more important than the temporary inconvenience of not being able to attend universities in Washington State unless and until such people murder Americans on American soil. I wouldn't call that 'constitutional'. It's offensive stupidity and irresponsible.

    How man

    , Joe Soap Budanevey , 11 Feb 2017 13:17
    If Americans were so concerned about the right to life they would do something about their almost non-existent gun laws. Terrorists don't have to kill Americans since Americans are doing such a good job of it on their own.
    , brap123 , 11 Feb 2017 12:40
    Americans are waking up to the fact that the elite and establishment don't care about the them. The media lies, the courts are trying to let in terrorists. TRump is the only one who is fighting for the people. Trump is fighting for truth, Trump is fighting for our safety, even though the establishment is desperate to make us less safe (my guesss do the 1% can profit somehow). Fake news by the media is only continue to push this

    Trump is fighting for Americans, we need to unite behind him. He will never let us down, and never lie to us.

    , c23e , 11 Feb 2017 12:40
    It's funny how Americans use Christianity as a weapon and are always quoting an eye for an eye etc instead of love your neighbour. If you are a Christian then surely you should realise that the old testament which is The Torah is all about revenge and anger whereas the New Testament is all about forgiveness and love and if the two come from the same God then that God has a spilt personality!

    Also looking at history if you remember that Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity ask yourself what were Christians doing 600 years ago and you will see a lot of it was the same as what Jihardis are doing today - torture, beheadings and killing of those seen as apostates in the name of religion.

    And remember American was founded by those seeking religious freedom despite the fact they oppressed the religions of the Native Americans and then went on to break more than 400 treaties with the Native Americans over the years.

    Even the declaration of independence was signed mainly by slave owners ( which is surely anti-christian) and apartheid reigned in the US until Martin Luther King.

    Land of the free and home of the brave is some king of joke played on the people but only noted by historians.

    , PureReason2017 , 11 Feb 2017 12:44
    To an important degree extensive, well-understood and articulately defended democracy only "matters" if you ascribe a large role to the [nation/federal] state - if you think it should spend very large amounts of money, address all manner of social problems, and regulate everything people do to reduce risk and enforce equality/diversity. If you believe in a minimal state (as most of the US founders did) then a much clearer and less pressing kind of democracy for national affairs is fully adequate. It is at the local level - in the states and counties, the towns and cities - that regular and engaged democracy is essential. And this report does not look at that at all. It is only bothered about who gets to drive forward the all-powerful state. If Pres Trump - and it is a very big if - wants to reduce the role of the state, then the significance of his actions through that state become clearer and more capable of control.
    , Paul B PureReason2017 , 11 Feb 2017 13:00
    surely the problem is that so much of what happens in a modern democracy cannot be carried out at a local level. You cannot have a local level internet. You cannot decide where your highways and trains are going to go purely at the local level. You cannot, in most cases, feed and clothe and support your population at the local level and any form of trade requires agreements that take place at a much higher level.
    , Junkets , 11 Feb 2017 12:46
    It's a very interesting phenomenon. The 'attraction' of Trump is that he's a loose cannon and doesn't seem to have that much control over a lot of what he says. The remarks about Putin and America's own predilection for killing people - which caused him to be called anti-American for actually speaking the truth - is a case in point. He is the precise opposite of your usual buttoned up on-message politician and that, quite frankly, is refreshing. He is precisely where our democracy itself has led to. Because of its reliance on professional politicians who say one thing and mean another, his tendency to blabber and say just what's on his mind, must be perceived as a virtue. Where this will lead, I have no idea, but he is definitely opening up new unexplored territory and what we might find in it is anyone's guess. As the old Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times."
    , Junkets Junkets , 11 Feb 2017 12:57
    For those thinking of impeaching Trump, think what the alternative will be. Pence. Now that guy really is scary - scarier even than Bannon.

    [Feb 15, 2017] The entirety of tRump's foreign policy doesn't revolve around Flynn's status

    Feb 15, 2017 | thesaker.is
    > Outlaw Historian on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:05 pm UTC
    The entirety of tRump's foreign policy doesn't revolve around Flynn's status. Has tRump decided to reinstate the TTP and TTIP as "trade" policy goals? Decided to not renegotiate/pull out of NAFTA and other so-called trade pacts? Pull back/reconsolidate the Empire of Bases? Attempt to totally disrupt China's OBOR or Russia's EEU through the use of terrorist proxies as HRC's Neocons planned? Then there's Flynn's illogical hatred of Iran and the complications that posed for reestablishing cordial relations with Russia. And those points are just a few of many.

    IMO, Saker and other commentators have reacted in knee-jerk fashion to Flynn's resignation, for he didn't represent the be-all/end-all of tRump's foreign policy agenda. I'm far more disturbed by many of tRump's cabinet choices plus the fact that they were confirmed despite their lies and criminal actions, which is what's provoked most of the resistance to the current national government–congress especially.

    [Feb 15, 2017] The Neocons and the deep state have neutered the Trump Presidency, its over folks! (UPDATED 2x) The Vineyard of the Saker

    Notable quotes:
    "... "It is difficult to avoid the impression that Flynn formed his ideas about Iran as a US intelligence officer during the George W. Bush administration's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In both of those wars Iran and the US pursued parallel but often conflicting strategies, with both countries seeking the defeat of fundamentalist Sunni Jihadis in Afghanistan and Iraq, but wanting to prevent the other country from emerging the undisputed victor. The result was what might be called 'duplicitous cooperation', with Iran and the US simultaneously working with and against each other in an often totally ruthless and treacherous way. ..."
    "... Flynn was as much a warmonger as other Neo-Cons, he was just more focused on Iran and friendlier towards Russia. The next goal in the US grand strategy in the mid-east is Iran though, and as such he was the choice Trump went for when picking him. I think the Saker is overreacting a bit here, maybe he was hoping for more of a change under D Trump, which I never expected, so this early ouster to me is not as shocking as to him. ..."
    "... To say the firing of Flynn alone was the breaking point for Trump's administration, vastly over-estimates the president's wilingness or ability to take on the US deep-state. Had he wanted to do so, why pick Pompeo as head of the CIA? Why cosy up to Saudi-Arabia? ..."
    "... Anyway, on the grand chess board of things a pawn just tumbled and fell, because the King would not protect him. But it was just a pawn and the pieces will have to keep on moving. ..."
    "... As i said it from the beginning, this so called trump hype was way over exaggerated and this wishful thinking of Trump-Putin duo saving the world was ridiculous. Putin's Russia is clearly rejecting the very foundation of what is the current USA, the petro $, so unless Putin was planning to return Russia to it's 90's era Zio-colony, there could never have been a common ground between the two. ..."
    "... Besides that there were also other signs like, an ex goldman sachs and soros fund management banker at the head of the secretary treasury, the constant hammering by the media about trump (as contrary to the complete black out on someone like Dr Ron Paul) ..."
    "... At last the truth. I was getting fed up with all the Trump fans. He never did anything to deserve the adulation. Since being in the whitehouse it has been a mess. He had not shown any foresight or strategic thinking. Whatever cards he had to play he wasted them l ..."
    "... He has employed a whole team of neocons and as for any Russian partnership with the USA this was never ever going to happen – I don't even know why anyone would think so, There are too many differences. As for Flynn he was extremely anti Iranian how is that good for Russia ..."
    "... Trump, like Nixon, has awoken the "silent majority" and has done us a great service by attacking political correctness. Trump, like Nixon, had to surround himself with members of the tribe that owns Congress, in order to have a fighting chance of success. Trump, like Nixon will not succeed, because the minefields were laid before he was sworn in. ..."
    "... The fact that outsider Trump has: exposed the internationalists, like Soros, for what they are; shown the "Antifa" hatefest to be ridiculously shallow; and, exposed the political activism of the courts; will pay long term dividends for those who oppose the current system. ..."
    "... I would not put too much significance to this - Trump was never some kind of knight in shining armor, but just the alternative to Clinton. He may still do a few good things here and there, but the general thrust of his ideology - and yes he not simply transactional, because US realism (realpolitik) in itself is an ideology (at the heart of capitalism and empire, in fact). ..."
    "... The deciding reason I voted for Trump is still holding - avoiding nuclear war, and it may yet hold for quite a while despite the neocons, since Clinton is not in the driver's seat. ..."
    "... It's a war and when you realize it really is a war, and there is no easy, quick "peace channel" to switch to, you may as well figure you more than likely won't live through this war, so you're already a dead man or woman walking.. ..."
    "... There is not a no-fly-zone in Syria, and we are not composed of radioactive ash. That's quite significant. The president is not all together but he is not the raging psychopath Clinton is. Let us be thankful for 'small blessings'. I don't recall anyone promising a rose garden. ..."
    "... For those of us with a HCIS (High Cynical Index Syndrome) Trump and his circus clowns were simply a lesser flop than Clinton and her criminal gang. ..."
    "... Flynn was already compromised by the very neocon elements of which you write: Michael Ledeen. ..."
    "... And I would add, the counter argument to your neutered Trump, although I agree reasonable, is the clear signal that "You're fired!" applies to all and everyone. I doubt Pence is 100% bullet proof, nor beyond sacrifice if needs be. ..."
    "... Nasrallah has it right. Trump is a limited character, a one term President at best. Most of us will be only too glad to be fooled again when Ms. Gabbard makes it to position 1 or 2 on the next Democratic Presidential ticket. ..."
    "... Trump is the periphery displacing the centre in a Corporate dictatorship, it is the same when the Grand Council of Fascism ousted Mussolini and arrested him, as Trump did to Hillary Clinton's turn, but the real power exerts itself to reverse the decision. ..."
    "... Trouble is when giants fight little people get squashed. The empire has been squashing people by the millions for half a century (and before that). So I have indifference as to who gets hurt, I just want it to stop. If the US people are the last victims, then so be it. ..."
    "... But we keep calm because we are sure that if amateur analysts could see through the fog of deception, the Russians saw it long before. Be sure that all counter-measures are in place. ..."
    "... Can we get some name recognition for the Russians who were comparing Trump to Yanukovich from the start? Who were they? ..."
    "... You mean Trump is "White People's Obama" ? ..."
    "... It is naive from the get go to think that Trump will undo the Neocons' agenda that started since 911! Trump from the beginning should have made sure the backings of the majority of the American people including the immigrants, remain neutral on Muslim issues, Russia, any policies that the fake liberals would have reason to antagonize him with, in order to minimize protests against him, like the fake Obama and Clintons. Once elected, he could then implement his policies. His administration and presidency campaign may have been sabotaged from the get go so that they have reason to blame him with afterwards. ..."
    "... Flynn's departure is probably a sign of things to come: more neo-conservativism, more empire building, and more neoliberalism: back to the Washington Consensus – which never really disappeared. ..."
    "... I essentially agree with the premise that the conflict between the Establishment and Trump is basically over Trump being elected as someone who didn't rise through, and was not acculturated in a conventional Establishment political milieu. I further agree that Flynn's resignation represents an important Establishment victory. However, the notion that Donald Trump represented the last chance to avert a major US meltdown, that he aspired to significantly change the path our capitalist system is pursuing, is quite frankly, hyperbole. You endow Donald Trump with undeserved importance. ..."
    "... Donald Trump does not represent now, nor did he ever, a challenge to the prevailing neo-liberal system. Even if he had parried Establishment's previous challenges, or goes to ultimately push back successfully against existing and future challenges to his policies, there will not be a historical, significant change to ruling class domestic policies. Any alteration in US foreign policies, would be selective, and would not persist in the long term. Donald Trump, for all his idiosyncrasies, is very much a ruling class individual, possessing ruling class ideology. ..."
    "... Folks, think about it, Trump's campaign had a hole in it from the beginning; the contradiction of Russia Vs Israel. The relationship between those two nations is paradox: Russia contradicts what Israel wants in the ME. Trump can't be pro Russia and pro Israel at the same time. ..."
    "... The trump regime really should be called the pence regime, since it is obvious now that pence manages it and trump is mostly the "showman" mouth and face. ..."
    "... The conversation of flynn and the Russian ambassador being the cause seems to me to be a phony reason. I speculate the real reason is something else. It could be about Russian relations, in which case, maybe flynn was actually more open to warming these, and pence/trump were not (trump having lied). They had a disagreement and flynn left. ..."
    "... It is also possible the israelis ordered flynn's resignation for reasons unknown by me. They've done this before, and this whole scenario has a strong deja vu feel. Remember Andrew Young? They got him fired in almost the exact same manner, hyping a conversation he had with a Palestinian in their zio-gay media and forcing carter to fire him. Only in Young's case, mossad spied on him and leaked info about Young's meeting with Palestinians to the zio-gay media. ..."
    "... It's just a dispute between 2 factions of the Zionist empire with Trump representing the more cautious faction. ..."
    "... I think Flynn was a Trojan horse planted by the neocons himself. His history shows a career full of anti-Iran sentiment and an excessive push for a harsher approach toward that country, I can't seem to see why his removal is necessarily a bad thing ..."
    "... What I don't understand is this. We see and read of the power exerted by the liberal/neocon "deep state" and their abilities to disrupt and damage Trump's presidency. But in order to get where he has gotten to today, Trump must have some powerful backers too. So where are these powerful Trump supporters and what are they doing if anything? ..."
    Feb 15, 2017 | thesaker.is
    bjo on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:36 am UTC
    I don't hold out much hope that enough people in this country will wake up under any circumstances. Essay by Caitlin Johnson (Feb 5) on the enjoyment of "liberals" participating in "fear porn" is interesting in this regard.

    http://www.newslogue.com/debate/323/CaitlinJohnstone

    Laika von old Monkshusen on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:33 pm UTC
    Yes well, these aren't people of course but sheeple. They do not count anyway, otherwise they wouldn't watch JM$M, nor even worry about their totally obvious pack of lies (Caitlin Johnson).

    II completely agree with Saker's point 2, which is all there is to it, anyway. I don't see what is the big deal about this Flynn. He's just a Nazi 'educated' general, not unlike all the rest of them (otherwise they wouldn't be generals). I only once saw him on RT's SophieCo and I didn't like him at all. It (the interview) was a meaningless catastrophe actually.

    As long as Trump isn't assassinated (or poisoned/disabled) things are going just fine. The Roth-child mob is certainly trying to do that. It's been these posonous rats' trademark for centuries. Givi was one of their latest victims.

    Othmar Regin on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:57 pm UTC
    Both Trump and AfD where (are, not so much anymore) possibly the last hope for a peaceful solution.. everything else means civil/war
    AriusArmenian on February 14, 2017 , · at 6:25 pm UTC
    Another round of suffering is in the near term and beyond which is a continuation of the trajectory the US has been on since the end of the Cold War. With the start of the previous three US administrations there was always hope for better but it always ended up worse.

    Why should we not expect more millions to suffer and more death and destruction? The US neocon/neolib ruled Deep State with Wall St and its intelligence agency jackals at it core want more and will kill and destroy to get it and will continue until they run up against a brick wall. It is up to the powers in the East, with Russia and China at its core, to stop the US and its Anglosphere and EU vassals.

    All my hopes for the future depend on the Eastern powers standing up to the US. There is nothing in the West to give me any hope that it can correct itself.

    T1 on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:20 am UTC
    Well said. Can anyone say "President Pence?"
    Mr Pindo on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:00 am UTC
    Indeed, If Trump did everything on Saker's list he would already be dead and Pence would be president in a manner that is more than figurative.
    nice try on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:31 pm UTC
    While the US neocon Deep State as revealed itself to intelligent observers (like Saker and his readers), the US general public is still as clueless as ever, caught in the MSM web of Bernays-ian duopoly identity politics. No, Pence is looking to be the new Dick Cheney, the power behind the buffoon. That way the US public will not see his hand manipulating the Trump-puppet.
    Veritas on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:01 pm UTC
    Dear The Saker,

    https://www.rt.com/news/377282-flynn-resignation-kremlin-usa/

    The end of this RT article states the following: "General Keith Kellogg was appointed as acting national security advisor after Flynn's resignation. "

    Who is Kellogg? Here is his background:

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201702141050662670-keith-kellogg-biography/

    Veritas on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:46 pm UTC
    Wikileaks have claimed the following:

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201702141050674796-wikileaks-flynn-resignation/

    "Former US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has made a decision to step down as a result of a destabilization campaign by the media, intelligence community and the Democratic party, WikiLeaks said on Tuesday .."

    Another article which puts some perspective:

    http://theduran.com/first-defeat-donald-trump-michael-flynn-resigns/

    Ann on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:07 pm UTC
    well. Cynthia McKinney, on her FB page commented "Good, but for different reasons than they're stating" Flynn was a jerk .good riddance.
    Uncle Bob 1 on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:43 am UTC
    It seems that VP Pence, in league with the deep-state was the driving force behind the Flynn resignation. Trump made a fatal error in picking a Russophobe neo-con for his Vice President. It will most likely end destroying him. If you are going to have a "second in command" who isn't totally loyal to you. At least you pick one you can control. He made the mistake of not doing that. And unlike others in the regime. Even if Trump wanted to, he can't fire his Vice President. He was elected to office,at the same time as Trump. So he's stuck with him.
    AlfaAlfalfa on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:08 am UTC
    Trump did not select Pence anymore than Reagan selected Bush, who later tried to kill him very early in his Presidency. Pence was appointed as an overseer and guarantor of the Necon Deep State interests. If Trump does not play ball he will be eliminated quicker than you can say JFK. The calls for his assasination in MSM, couched as 'predictions,' were too frequent to ignore.
    Frankie on February 15, 2017 , · at 4:39 am UTC
    Trump is pathetic. I never trusted much on him. He's weak and has no idea of strategic play.
    Robert HARNEIS on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:44 am UTC
    Let us hope you are wrong. Perhaps his chief of staff Kellogg and possible sucessor will fulfill the same role as Flynn with less trumpets and drums.
    Kerjean on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:54 am UTC
    CNN and Fox say that they weigh for Petraeus. Yes, it's not a joke .
    Beijing Expat on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:19 pm UTC
    Whenever there is an opening the corporate media shills for a neocon
    Mr Darcy on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:59 pm UTC
    Oddly enough, when I heard about Flynn, the first thing to pop into my head was "Petraeus!" A real snake in the grass.
    albagen on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:47 am UTC
    @ saker: Why did Flynn lie about the content of the conversation?
    The Saker on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:54 am UTC
    I don't think that he did. He had to say that to protect Trump. He "took the bullet". Why would he lie about a totally benign conversation (had it been something important, an ex-Director of the DIA and a Russian Ambassador would not have used on open, insecure, line). No – Trump sacrificed him under political pressure. Disgusting.
    The Saker
    The Kulak on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:09 am UTC
    Dear Saker,

    My friend I do think this is an overreaction. I will be watching in the next few days to see if Flynn goes away quietly. Flynn may take a vacation for a while. But when he's back, probably by the end of March, I expect him to start acting as a Trump surrogate - and going after his Deep State adversaries with both barrels. Watch for leaks of memos warning John Brennan about the rise of ISIS in 2014 or that TOW missiles and other US arms sent to 'moderate rebels' in Syria were flowing to Al Nusra/Qaeda if not ISIS. If there is no pushback or punishment of the neocons in govmt through firings of WaPost/NYT sources and further exposure of neocon complicity in the rise of Daesh, and if all the talk of detente with Russia comes to nought by summer, then I'll agree with this analyses by the Saker.

    I do concur that none of this makes much sense unless Flynn was carrying out his boss's orders to see if he could basically cool off the confrontation Obama was deliberately creating with the Russians. It is hard to be a patriot who does the right thing and has his name dragged through the mud for it, but at least Flynn is still young enough to fight back - together with his son Mike Flynn Jr. who while not the most competent guy seems fiercely loyal to his dad.

    The war to root out the neocons is a long one, and requires patience. If Trump is going to fight back, he needs ammo and allies from within the Deep State prepared to nail some of their colleagues on their soft coup actions and arming of terrorists, among other things. Putin had a critical mass of 'siloviki' who were prepared to do what needed to be done. Does Trump?

    Greg Schofield on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:58 am UTC
    Remember when Varoufakis stepped aside and then what happened to Syriza. These people take no prisoners, obey no rule they just apply pressure, there will be no respite they will pick another and then another. This is the beginning of the final showdown between the corporate powers and the people, by proxy as a factional war, but the Saker is right they lose everything in winning the first battle.
    Greg Schofield on February 14, 2017 , · at 11:51 pm UTC
    Sorry Mr. Dacy I can be cryptic.

    Read it in reverse, that is this group the core of US imperialism has had a minor setback with Trump, they are correcting it, but their blunt force way in which they rule the world is now applied to the home state (the US). It is like using a sledge hammer to crack an egg, it works but the results aren't useful.

    Trump does not have an organisation behind him, he represents a set of interests larger than his associates, but together they form a small faction that orbits the core power group. So Trump has a small tight web which is being pulled apart, and a large popular tendrils from the base up to his group there is no coordinating centre that links these two.

    So Trump is vulnerable and was always vulnerable, he may occasionally act interdependently, but he does not have a powerful base so he looses, he must lose. That part is Obama part 2. However, what is incredible is the ineptness and weakness of the 'powerful hub' that has changed since 2008.

    Excessive hegemonic force spends itself by such complete mobilisation, it looses its coordinating ability by overusing it. People wise up very fast now, illusions simply fall away, The real fight is now on the schedule, between the people's public interest and cabal of private corporate interests.

    If instead of taming or eliminating Trump they used him as a proxy to paper over the big problem,es and patch up the small ones (Obama could not they owned him too well), then the regime would last longer, internally strengthen. Some, if not most of what Trump is saying is not directed at people but at the core power group, he actually is a reformer of their more daft policies - but they are too corrupt for that they only now know the course they are on and anything that suggests change is threat to their control - that is weakness and it is showing internationally.

    The empire is starting to deteriorate internally, the client states are floating away, Australia is so 'Hillary' bound that there has been a US troop increase in Darwin (doubling thew strength) and a continued partisanship against Trump politically and in the media -- we have always been so loyal to every US president until now, and that knot has been severed. This is happening all over.

    Internal to the US the last vestige of of connection between the people, which was the presidential office, and the state has been fatally eroded. Soros has loosed the dogs, and when the participants sober up, they will not go back to their kennels to be released again - forces are being spent recklessly. The media whose standing has been low fro a long time, has become a joke that it cannot recover from, being ridiculed by the public is the last connection (the mainline media was the church of the modern world - it is no longer).

    So regardless of anyone's theory or thoughts, desires or dreams, society, world wide, has divided into two camps.

    The fighting side, the side of apparent strength - "them" - have created "us". The accord that is civil society has been destroyed by them, we are already in a period of civil war. We are many but lack coherence, all our power is potential there is nothing that realises it. Anything they comes up now is new, virginal and can concentrate a lot of latent power. But this will only come about when the old discords that kept us at each other's throats are allowed to fade away.

    The irony is that Trump was their last best chance.

    Beijing Expat on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:41 am UTC
    I agree. Flynn did what all good soldiers do and fell on his sword for the boss. You have to remember, Flynn probably represented the faction of the elite that wanted to bring back reality. That elite is still there and Flynn can work with them behind the scenes. Look at Roger Stone who left the campaign in August and has been working hard behind the scenes, mostly behind the scenes with the alternative media (infowars) to great effect.

    Flynn is a huge loss to Trump and the country. But the battle is not over yet. There were several times during the campaign when I thought it was over but Trump just kept on winning against impossible odds.

    I don't think Trump is tired of winning yet. And don't forget, his support grows a little every day.

    pogohere on February 14, 2017 , · at 6:05 pm UTC
    It's not at all clear that Flynn's fall is such a great loss: Flynn and the colonels have a thing for Iran that will do no one any good:

    The colonels shaping Trump's Middle East policy

    2-9-17

    Underneath the drama and chaos of the Donald Trump White House - the rival power centers, combative press conferences mercilessly mocked on Saturday Night Live, leaked transcripts of Trump's phone calls to allied leaders, and the often inflammatory tweeter-in-chief, fuming over the latest perceived insult while watching "Morning Joe" - a cadre of deeply serious, tested military intellectuals at the National Security Council is shaping Trump's Middle East policies.

    http://tinyurl.com/zt6k4td

    Transcript: Michael Flynn on ISIL

    Read the full transcript of our discussion about the rise of ISIL, the War on Terror, torture and how to deal with Iran.

    13 Jan 2016

    http://tinyurl.com/hww2e4x

    Mr Darcy on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:08 pm UTC
    Most interesting. Thanks for posting. I hope you're right.
    pogohere on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:57 pm UTC
    Your ideas of what constitutes the Deep State have proven to be too shallow. See: http://breskin.com/Inquiramus/2017/01/18/the-deep-state/ There's a reason for Obama to have vacationed in Bariloche, Argentina in 2016. See: http://tinyurl.com/hrd3haw and http://tinyurl.com/zds85no

    Your hopes for the Trump administration were based on sentiment, not on political calculation. Trump is over his head.

    The IMF meets April 21-23 in Wash DC. Quotas are up for review. A fall in the US quota of 16.53% ( https://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/memdir/members.aspx ) below 15% would eliminate the US veto on major actions that requires an 85% majority. The shake up in confidence in the global monetary regime should not be underestimated. April may come in like a lamb, but it may not go out as one.

    The Reshetnikov interview is a gem. Thanks for that. Russia appears to be a civilization pulling itself together and searching for its cultural metaphors, as the man said:

    "An Idea is what always wins, and if we do not offer an Idea but are offering just material values instead, we will only achieve temporary solutions that are essentially failures.
    . . .
    Attempts at resolving the conflicts among the nations or the states using exclusively economic methods are doomed, that's is why we are losing."

    http://thesaker.is/general-reshetnikov-return-to-the-empire-superbly-controversial-interview/

    Avarachan on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:58 am UTC
    Regarding Gen. Flynn and Iran, I recommended this article from "The Duran": http://theduran.com/general-flynn-hate-iran/

    "It is difficult to avoid the impression that Flynn formed his ideas about Iran as a US intelligence officer during the George W. Bush administration's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In both of those wars Iran and the US pursued parallel but often conflicting strategies, with both countries seeking the defeat of fundamentalist Sunni Jihadis in Afghanistan and Iraq, but wanting to prevent the other country from emerging the undisputed victor. The result was what might be called 'duplicitous cooperation', with Iran and the US simultaneously working with and against each other in an often totally ruthless and treacherous way.

    It is not difficult to see why against this background General Flynn as a front line intelligence officer might come to see the Iranians as deceitful and treacherous, and conclude that they can't be trusted, and why he might develop an intense loathing for them. Thus his interview with Al-Jazeera is peppered with comments like this

    'I could go on and on all day about Iran and their behaviour, you know, and their lies, flat out lies, and then their spewing of constant hatred, no matter whenever they talk.'"

    Alexander P on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:46 am UTC
    Thank you for this summary Avarachan. Flynn was as much a warmonger as other Neo-Cons, he was just more focused on Iran and friendlier towards Russia. The next goal in the US grand strategy in the mid-east is Iran though, and as such he was the choice Trump went for when picking him. I think the Saker is overreacting a bit here, maybe he was hoping for more of a change under D Trump, which I never expected, so this early ouster to me is not as shocking as to him.

    This doesn't mean there wasn't any infighting in the deep state on organizational matters and raw power, but foreign policy wise, I doubt this move will much alter the very pre-determined course of history. Iran has been singled out, Ryan used the term 'You have been put on notice', after a completely legal missile launch by Teheran and Trump's rhetoric with his Tweets towards Teheran are saying as much. I don't get why anyone can't see that. To say the firing of Flynn alone was the breaking point for Trump's administration, vastly over-estimates the president's wilingness or ability to take on the US deep-state. Had he wanted to do so, why pick Pompeo as head of the CIA? Why cosy up to Saudi-Arabia?

    Anyway, on the grand chess board of things a pawn just tumbled and fell, because the King would not protect him. But it was just a pawn and the pieces will have to keep on moving.

    Riadh on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:11 pm UTC
    As i said it from the beginning, this so called trump hype was way over exaggerated and this wishful thinking of Trump-Putin duo saving the world was ridiculous. Putin's Russia is clearly rejecting the very foundation of what is the current USA, the petro $, so unless Putin was planning to return Russia to it's 90's era Zio-colony, there could never have been a common ground between the two.

    Besides that there were also other signs like, an ex goldman sachs and soros fund management banker at the head of the secretary treasury, the constant hammering by the media about trump (as contrary to the complete black out on someone like Dr Ron Paul)

    Clearly this is a "non événement" and just another nail in the US coffin.

    James lake on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:07 am UTC
    At last the truth. I was getting fed up with all the Trump fans. He never did anything to deserve the adulation. Since being in the whitehouse it has been a mess. He had not shown any foresight or strategic thinking. Whatever cards he had to play he wasted them l

    He has employed a whole team of neocons and as for any Russian partnership with the USA this was never ever going to happen – I don't even know why anyone would think so, There are too many differences. As for Flynn he was extremely anti Iranian how is that good for Russia

    Curmudgeon on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:53 pm UTC
    Trump, like Nixon, has awoken the "silent majority" and has done us a great service by attacking political correctness. Trump, like Nixon, had to surround himself with members of the tribe that owns Congress, in order to have a fighting chance of success. Trump, like Nixon will not succeed, because the minefields were laid before he was sworn in.

    The fact that outsider Trump has: exposed the internationalists, like Soros, for what they are; shown the "Antifa" hatefest to be ridiculously shallow; and, exposed the political activism of the courts; will pay long term dividends for those who oppose the current system.

    My late Vietnam vet cousin predicted another revolution, but not in his lifetime. More of this treachery will only build the pyre waiting for a spark.

    blue on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:14 am UTC
    I would not put too much significance to this - Trump was never some kind of knight in shining armor, but just the alternative to Clinton. He may still do a few good things here and there, but the general thrust of his ideology - and yes he not simply transactional, because US realism (realpolitik) in itself is an ideology (at the heart of capitalism and empire, in fact).

    As for the neocons, one might recall the advice (Sun Tzu?) that one should never intervene when the enemy is making a mistake. The deciding reason I voted for Trump is still holding - avoiding nuclear war, and it may yet hold for quite a while despite the neocons, since Clinton is not in the driver's seat.

    As for the economy, Trump, overall, will still bring it down, if simply by not averting the previously scheduled meltdown, with further deregulation, corporate tax cuts, hand-outs to the rich, destruction of social welfare, and so on.

    It is not so much that it is over as that it was never really there, except as a very remote dream. This is just shifting another deck chair as we hit the iceberg, and all the great forces are still in play, albeit with the Clinton monster exorcised and sporting a necklace of garlic. The situation itself has improved, however, with Trump winning, and with more people more awake than ever in the last century. A lot more people can now see the iceberg.

    Bro 93 on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:45 am UTC
    Nice metaphors, blue! One after the other. And many cool under pressure comments I have read in this thread. That's comforting. I can turn in and sleep soundly. I'm not joking. It's a war and when you realize it really is a war, and there is no easy, quick "peace channel" to switch to, you may as well figure you more than likely won't live through this war, so you're already a dead man or woman walking..

    And just count your blessings if your grim assessment is wrong.

    James lake on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:16 am UTC
    Can we have some some sense analysis now based on what is happening not what people want to happen

    1. Ukraine escalation
    2. NATO on Russia's borders
    3. Exercises in the black sea
    4. Anti Iranian rhetoric and sanctions
    5. The smearing of Syrian govt by amnesty international
    6. Unrest in Iraq – what is going on geolpolitical impact
    7. Afghanistan – smearing or Russia

    There is a whole list of issues that will impact Russia now can we talk about them instead of Trump

    The environment around Russia has not improved and is set to get worse – Russia would be stupid to have relaxed its guard. They need to behave as if Hillary was elected

    blue on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:54 am UTC
    There is not a no-fly-zone in Syria, and we are not composed of radioactive ash. That's quite significant. The president is not all together but he is not the raging psychopath Clinton is. Let us be thankful for 'small blessings'. I don't recall anyone promising a rose garden.
    E on February 15, 2017 , · at 12:05 am UTC
    Trump told Erdogan and the Saudis if they can pay for it the US will back a NFZ in Syria. That's my assumption.
    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:38 am UTC
    Also add:
    8. Bling medals for the Saudi regime.
    9. Unlimited honey pot $$$ for the Israeli apartheid state.
    10. Media back out of Yemen crisis.
    Sam on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:54 pm UTC
    @ james

    Russia would be stupid to have relaxed its guard They need to behave as if Hillary was elected. Agreed, exactly right, James!

    bjo on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:45 am UTC
    So pleased to find this commentary here after having felt pretty sick about this development ever since it was reported tonight. Very grim. Have always thought that Trump did not pick the right close advisors in the beginning to protect him in what they had to know was going to get ugly. Agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. I got nowhere earlier tonight trying to explain my similar take to a few friends and family members. Nothing is going to save the US from its fate in the 11th hour. I find myself sometimes thinking that the collective psyche in this country actually years for its own destruction.
    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:47 am UTC
    Saker,

    " the real enemy of the West: the Wahabis" ? these are the creation of the west. Saker, why not Israel? why not the "zionists"?

    Ann on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:58 am UTC
    the Wahhabis are from Saudi Arabia – although that regime was set up by England, I don't think the Wahhabis were made in the West
    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:56 pm UTC
    That may be, but they were on the receiving of vast pots of excess USD courtesy of Kissingers' creation of the USD monopoly over oil pricing/sales. A cynic would suggest that the subsequent rise of extremist jihadis was forseen and deemed to be useful for the US/Anglo-Zionist Deep State.

    Just to give everyone a laugh. It seems that 250 of the most experienced Ukraine ATO forces have been sent to the Congo – to act as peacekeepers! Orwell is not only turning over in his grave, he is spinning sufficiently rapidly to give us free unlimited energy if we could only harness it.

    Rolf B on February 14, 2017 , · at 6:24 pm UTC
    "Orwell is not only turning over in his grave, he is spinning sufficiently rapidly to give us free unlimited energy if we could only harness it."
    Thank you sir, best comment of the year. :) Yes my friends, this is a war and it's gonna get ugly. Things are not moving in the right direction.
    E on February 15, 2017 , · at 12:12 am UTC
    Israel is also created by the west. The only enemy of the "west" is anybody that opposes them. See Iran, China, Russia, etc. Now enemies of the people, not crooked govs, is a different story. My enemy is NOT Russia, China, Iran but the Zionist and wahabis.
    Redford on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:56 am UTC
    From what I read Trump was mad at Flynn for two reasons. First he thinks in retrospect that the immigration ban he was pushed to sign by his advisors was a botched legal job. I guess that includes Flynn. Second it seems Flynn did lie to Trump about this, and I can't see this flyîg with Trump.

    Key Trump assets are hiring/firing and negociating. Maybe Flynn wasn't up for the job. I'll wait to see who he picks instead before making any call.

    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:46 am UTC
    "I'll wait to see who he picks instead before making any call." Exactly. The Saker is normally 'strategically' a few days/weeks late on response to tectonic shifts here he seems disappointed and early. For those of us with a HCIS (High Cynical Index Syndrome) Trump and his circus clowns were simply a lesser flop than Clinton and her criminal gang.

    Different finger puppets in the kid's burger: same business hand on the till(er), imo.

    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:04 pm UTC
    Happy to disagree with Saker this time – Trump is, thus far, a proven entity. He replaced his campaign director in his " hopeless " campaign with just 4 months left to election day with Bannon and Conway and they knocked it out of the park. Trump has a good eye for talent and I am almost sure he'll find someone like-minded as Kelly in relatively short order.

    The good captain is revealed in the storm. Trump will do what he can. It's up to us to set our jaws and move forward. OK – the deep state has declared war; Molon Labe.

    Peter AU on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:09 am UTC
    Watching the senate hearings for the Trump nominees – all nominees had to express aggression towards at least one country. The US has lived by the sword and will die by the sword.. Sooner the better.
    ioan on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:18 pm UTC
    Hi Peter, I'm glad to find you here again. Regarding the hearings, I have watched them also, my first impression was that they were like some Gestapo hearings in the Third Reich times. And as you said, everyone had to say something to satisfy the Committee in order to get their approval. Actually, all of them have been cornered.
    Cynthia McKinney on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:09 am UTC
    Flynn was already compromised by the very neocon elements of which you write: Michael Ledeen. Also, Flynn isn't the only one who can serve unflinchingly in this position. But, the Trump team will have to look beyond the tight circle of ideologues with no governance experience in order to find a suitable replacement. And yes, I do have some suggestions.
    Redford on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:23 am UTC
    If you're indeed Cynthia McKinney, it's an honor to read you here. Curious about your suggestions, although I'd probably know nothing about them initially.
    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 11:04 am UTC
    Hey Cynthia !! Great and positive comment – I hope Trump can find his way – Saker's article is pretty convincing and sad.
    sarz on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:18 pm UTC
    I have a feeling all that anti-Iran rhetoric, like the anti-Russia rhetoric by all of Trump's candidates in their hearings (that Trump claimed was just them speaking their own mind, irrespective of his expressed core views), is for getting Trump's team in place without too much resistance by his own Republicans who are, after all, sworn to the neocon/Zionist order. (Who would know that better than you, Dr McKinney?}

    That means Flynn's participation in the book coauthored with Ledeen was perhaps a ruse. Sure, he could subscribe to the theoretical part that condemns Wahhabism in support of traditional Islam (as Ledeen, the neocon, would pretend to do, to look human). But the operative part took issue with not just Iran but also with Russia for their supposed support to 'terrorism'. So it looks like the whole thing was for show. Trump could have stuck it out with support for Flynn. I think there might have been other considerations. (Flynn's son was earlier an embarrassment with his pursuit of Pizzagate.) If the Saker has privileged knowledge about the critical and indispensable role of Flynn, now is the time to come out with it.

    Crosley Bendix on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:55 am UTC
    As usual, if someone wants to understand what is going on in the world, he should look up what Nasrallah has to say. Finkelstein knows the score: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpIYHXHQOzA
    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:03 am UTC
    As I expressed under Redford (February 14, 2017 at 8:56 am UTC) I'll wait to see the next move.

    However, if as the Saker implies, Flynn was a key knight on Trump's board then perhaps he now has other 'duties' and freedoms to work across certain lines. Russians leaving the military to 'free lance' in the south east corners of the Ukraine come to mind.

    In any case, one step back is sometimes a strategic move for another day. And if such a screw up then why isn't John F. Tefft taking some heat for letting the trap be set?

    Trump is muddling along and his approach (so far) reminds me of Deng Xiaoping's "crossing the river by feeling the stones" analogy.

    The task of reforming the corrupt and evil saturated DC swamp can't be any less complicated than transforming China out of state communism.

    I suspect Putin et al are just shrugging their shoulders and knocking another green bottle of the wall.

    And I would add, the counter argument to your neutered Trump, although I agree reasonable, is the clear signal that "You're fired!" applies to all and everyone. I doubt Pence is 100% bullet proof, nor beyond sacrifice if needs be.

    juliania on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:22 pm UTC
    He can't be fired, but he can be assigned other duties. A certain vp Quail comes to mind. Agnew, anyone?
    Larchmonter445 on February 14, 2017 , · at 6:28 pm UTC
    Taking down Agnew was the beginning of the end of Nixon. That's how coups work. Carter: Hamilton Jordan. Reagan: Richard Allen

    JFK: His brother was always in the gunsights. Check your history and you'll see the Deep State patterns. Even Ike had ungodly pressure to drop Dulles.

    Then "mistakes" overseas. And "false flags" to get the wars going big time.

    Louis Robert on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:07 am UTC
    REMINDER "The dangerous deception called the Trump presidency."

    "I state clearly my conviction, and please recall this as Trump Presidency policies unfold after January 20, 2017 to see if I am correct or not: Donald Trump was put into office to prepare America for war, a war the banks of Wall Street and the US military industrial complex are not presently in a position economically or industrially or otherwise, geopolitically, to win. His job will be to reposition the United States for them to reverse the trend to disintegration of American global hegemony, to, as the Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz Project for the New American Century put it in their September, 2000 report, "rebuild America's defenses." " (F. William Engdahl)

    http://journal-neo.org/2016/11/25/the-dangerous-deception-called-the-trump-presidency/

    ***

    In less than a month

    "With Trump broken, Russia and China will go right back to their pre-Trump stance: a firm resistance backed by a willingness and capability to confront and defeat the USA at any level."

    Empire is Empire is Empire

    Robert Ferrin on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:38 pm UTC
    No all empires fall from Rome to Spain to England and we are in the final days of the empire, bankrupt with a stagnant GDP and a 100,000,000 unemployed and poverty on the rise. For the first time since 1960 I didn't bother to vote for the country is not governed by those we elect, but those in the shadows that pull the string's as Chalmers Johnson said in his last book in the series" Dismantling The Empire" that it was "Americas Last Best Hope", and I agree with the Saker that hope is gone and its going to be a very long rough ride to the bottom with wars and rumors of war
    Srbenda Legenda on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:10 am UTC
    Thanks for the great post Mr Saker, insightful as always. Being of Serbian descent I never had a real interest in US politics as nothing would change when it came to our political interests, be they historically or morally correct.

    Naturally I despised the Bushes, especially the Clintons and like many supported Trump despite never truly believing he would succeed. We truly are in a historical moment in time and I share your thoughts regarding the "Color Revolution" currently under way in the US.

    It appears the powers that be are positioning themselves to remove him from office and I sadly predict that President Trump will lose out to the establishment who are hell bent to see his agenda destroyed!

    My optimism that President Trump would bring about true change has been shattered by his somewhat reluctance to challenge those enemies within his own "party" and administration.

    Sadly I only see this going one way and that is with President Trump walking away from this position in the foreseeable future as it is obvious the enemies abroad and within are determined to see him removed. He's clearly over his head and the establishment would happily see VP Pence and the Republican trash continue the neocon agenda and ultimately draw us that step closer to war and destruction.

    I never thought I would share the sympathies with the American people but the recent elections have demonstrated clearly to the world that despite all the posturing and illusions, the US is far from being a beacon of hope, freedom and prosperity. I truly believe President Trump genuinely wishes to "MAGA" but the opposition is too strong and with Flynn's resignation it's clear his team are working covertly to sabotage his presidency.

    For the sake of world peace I pray that President Trump succeeds but my heart tells me he will falter and step aside allowing the enemy to continue to policies of death, suffering and enslavement of the American people.

    In finishing I share your views regarding the unfolding developments and wish you and your family safety and continued success with the site. My apologies for the long post

    Il Discobolo on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:12 am UTC
    All ok what written but, if the stakes are so high, why were general Flynn and the Russian ambassador so naive?
    Nathan on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:22 am UTC
    Trump was brought in to trigger the world wide financial collapse and start war. Earlier Obama was brought in to the chant Hope and Change.
    I would give it a maximum of 4 months time before the earth caves in.
    AlfaAlfalfa on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:23 am UTC
    Well you're right about almost everything here Saker.

    One slight quibble, I suggest Trump has always been setup man for a long planned US colour revolution, though I am fairly certain he was personally unaware of it, just as he was unaware he would win the election.

    Nasrallah has it right. Trump is a limited character, a one term President at best. Most of us will be only too glad to be fooled again when Ms. Gabbard makes it to position 1 or 2 on the next Democratic Presidential ticket.

    Democracy has always been a cloak for the oligarchy.

    Always.

    Suzanne Majo De Kuyper on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:30 am UTC
    I hope that you may be wrong. it feels as if you are right. USA is over then for sure.
    Stalin on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:34 am UTC
    I always knew that hopes in Trump are baseless. I am actually happy about development, we already reach point where the war is the only escape, there's no other way around. It does NOT mean we gonna have a nuclear war, Hitler could use chemical warfare during battle for Stalingrad. He didn't use it., so neocons will not dare either, and if they do, well, a new beginning.
    ioan on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:37 pm UTC
    Well, Stalin, I confess I did have hope and still have some till Trump will meet Putin personally. (a few days ago, Putin said that he would meet Trump in Slovenia – that made to have some bad feelings) . If nothing positive comes out, then the war shall solve all the problems (as continuation of policy with other means )
    Stalin on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:49 pm UTC
    I guess you heard that picture of Russian ambassador's assassination won World Press Photo award. Disgrace!, they deserve the war. They are spoil brats, they will cry like little children. After all is done we send Chechen to clean the swamps.
    Greg Schofield on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:38 am UTC
    Another astute analysis from the Saker.

    Trump is the periphery displacing the centre in a Corporate dictatorship, it is the same when the Grand Council of Fascism ousted Mussolini and arrested him, as Trump did to Hillary Clinton's turn, but the real power exerts itself to reverse the decision.

    Trump appeases because that is all that is allowed him, his victory was measured in days, and so perhaps was Obama's. Probably there have been direct threats, this is common when anybody steps out of line with the empire, blackmail (based on real or fictitious evidence is also common), and bribes - these are not alternatives they come all at once. Being threatened, blackmailed and bribed is a common enough gangster's tactic. Then of course there are the favours, the often fake evidence of misdeeds done by the closet allies, who ride to the rescue their own fifth column having prepared the way for them. None of this excuses Trump, he uses similar but milder tactics.

    The weakness is leadership, relying on it, the saviour complex, that somehow someone will blaze the way forward and change things for us, the beaten and oppressed. It is not happening, either we take the initiative or we fix up the mess once the whole thing has exploded - we get all the danger and all the work no matter what.

    I am an Australian, my country has been run by yours since 1975 after we enjoyed three years of Independence from the US and Britain, after '75 we got US gangster-ism - no velvet glove. so my point of view is so-long as the empire collapses all is well. Trump was a faction, there is civil war in the US between the big and little barons. Let both destroy each other.

    Trouble is when giants fight little people get squashed. The empire has been squashing people by the millions for half a century (and before that). So I have indifference as to who gets hurt, I just want it to stop. If the US people are the last victims, then so be it.

    The alternative is that the people of the US do everyone a favour including themselves and take these fascists out. I use the term in its exact meaning as corporatism (where corporations and the state become a joint enterprise, fostering a class of managers in its wake). I also acknowledge something very few here have heard - this includes social fascists.

    Back in the thirties there were right wing fascists and also left wing 'social' fascists, you might recognise this in George Orwell's 1984. The fact is the liberals (social fascists par excellence) have buried this, while the militant right wing fascists have been distanced from brethren by being described as Nazis. Neo-Nazis are detestable, but strangely enough are not actually fascists so much as criminal gangs (there is a difference).

    Left and right don't make much sense when the enemy has its own left and right. So there are the corporatists (fascists ) and us, the people.

    So without leaders the people need to push and push hard, otherwise the next lot of cannon fodder will be you, not the client states, but the home state of ultra-imperialism. You do the world a favour by doing yourself a favour.

    My suggestion is open rebellion means unsuccessful slaughter, guns are not going to work. The common weapon sounds like a joke, and it is a joke as it now stands - the Law. Make the corporates subject to the law. And the first effort is not the corporates, but the judges - the judicial system needs to be purged first, and from the bottom up.

    Look for corruption, look for tax evasion, conflicts of interests anything that should qualify a judgement for acting in the people's interest and get rid of them. Never mind their sex lives, or opinions, just whether they would be fit to judge cases of corporate fraud, tax fraud, misappropriations of funds, running corporations against the interests of shareholder dividend payout, corruption etc.,

    Start the pressure locally, start with the local collaborators, ignore the higher ups, get to them later. If you are right work with lefties if you're a lefty work with right-wingers, work across the spectrum, but get the judges on the people's side by getting rid of the others - not issue based politics, but on facts, those that hobnob with the local bigwigs instead of the people, of belonging to a club where where business does private deals.

    Start doing the little things that will make local self-organisation possible and the key is not the police, not the politicians, but the judiciary. Gather evidence, and when it sufficient make it public and demand legal remedies, and if none come, then some direct action.

    RMM on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:37 pm UTC
    Your recommendations in the last para are wise. Unfortunately, Trump & team lack the required skill, and they thought they should go for the CIA first. So not, there they are: le bec dans l'eau as the French say
    Greg Schofield on February 15, 2017 , · at 12:00 am UTC
    RMM thanks. Trump could never provide what is needed. My view is that getting things right comes after getting rid of what is wrong. even if Trump was perfect with the perfect team and large coordinated popular support, he could not get things right, because of the attrition of the corrupt, and if these are 'fixed' politically rather than legally society suffers. New laws are basically a political fix.

    Redeploying existing laws, applying them to corporate entities and gaoling offenders is how a civil society works. First reform the lower judiciary, they will deal with rather small corporate misdeeds, but they will arrest criminals, who will be systematically let off by higher courts, which makes them the target for coordinated reform.

    The elimination of corrupt judiciary, the promotion of honest magistrates creates a dual power in the modern world, the old way was to organise force for a showdown, I am suggesting winning a war of attrition, not movement - they are weak there, anything else will be brutally suppressed.

    Kerjean on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:53 am UTC
    Once again, Saker was right
    And I was wrong.

    I feel terribly ill this morning. It's a disaster. Especially when I read, with horror, that Trump consider . PETRAEUS(!!!!!!!!) for the job!! It's amazing.
    Why not Nuland or Kagan as State Secretary and Breedlove as Defens Secretary?

    And what's about Bannon? I can't imagine that and Trump and Bannon are both totaly stupid and unaware.
    Engdhal and Brandon Smith, for month and month warn that Trump is a fake from head to toes. Are they right.
    If it is, we'll soon see new tension with Russia and especially in Donbass. And if it's true, we'll see mainstream medias becoming very nice indulgent with Trump. Then, all the "liberals" and "progressists" who are shouting everywere again "Trump the fascist" will soon realise they're cuckold, the medias batteries will now turn against them and they will very soon test what is the true fascism. It's a tragedy.
    If Trump is sincere, without Flynn to protect him against the services, he's dead. If Trump is a fake

    Franz on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:22 pm UTC
    Trump is the perfect President for America – ignorant, arrogant and lost – but sensing that something is not right. I am at peace since my father always told me: "Remember, even the best of them are snakes."
    WizOz on February 14, 2017 , · at 11:03 am UTC
    Saker's frustration is understandable. Seeing your hopes dashed is always painful. But the few Cassandras (yours truly among them) who had no hope whatsoever that anything good can possibly come out from making "America great again" kept their calm. We took the cold shower and puked in advance. 'We told you so' and in no uncertain terms:

    William Engdahl ("The Dangerous Deception Called The Trump Presidency"):
    "The project called the Trump Presidency has just two months before its formal beginning. Yet already the hopes and fantasies of much of the world are making him into something and someone Donald Trump most definitely is not. Donald Trump is yet another project of the same boring old patriarchs who try again and again to create a one world order that they control absolutely, a New World Order that one close Trump backer once referred to as universal fascism. Ignore the sometimes fine rhetoric in some of his speeches. Talk is cheap. If we consider rather the agenda that's taking form even in these very early days of cabinet naming, we can see that Donald Trump is the same agenda of war and global empire as Obama, as Bush before him, as Bill Clinton and Clinton's "tutor", George H.W. Bush before him. There is no good side to what the world is about to experience with President Trump."

    http://journal-neo.org/2016/11/25/the-dangerous-deception-called-the-trump-presidency/

    And people refuse to see the elephant trumping through the rooms of the Trump Tower (and now of the White House), blinded by the 'glamour' of Ivanka or the 'Sois belle et tais-toi' Melanie (excuse my French).

    But we keep calm because we are sure that if amateur analysts could see through the fog of deception, the Russians saw it long before. Be sure that all counter-measures are in place.

    Olli on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:23 pm UTC
    Remember that Trump has still plenty of options left. The fate of the US or, for that matter, of the world does not depend on mr Flynn whose judgement has shown so wanting that he would not have been the person to take down the bad elements among CIA et al anyhow. I trust in Trump's fighting spirit and resilience, and I expect general Flynn's resignation just to be a jump start to take on neocon elements in US governement and intelligence community seriously and, this time, hard and harsh. With whom in the lead, I don't know, but remember that the US is a vast country with lots of folk competent and willing to accept the job of draining the intelligence part of the swamp.
    Stavros Hadjiyiannis on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:47 pm UTC
    Even though I respect The Saker's opinion to a very high degree, I will have to disagree with some of the assertions made here.

    But first of all, allow me to begin with what I agree with. This is no doubt a major victory for the neocons, the Deep State and the EU. This is a loss for Russia and the USA.

    But, I'm not sure that Trump is done and dusted. From what I realize, Flynn did in fact breach protocol and the Deep State found a perfect opportunity to go on the offensive. It's still within Trump's power to appoint one of his own to replace Flynn. We'll see.

    But my main disagreement with The Saker is this. Trump (and his backers, themselves a minority within the Deep State) is not interested in cutting a deal with Russia due to any concerns about Wahabism, the neocons or any other such. Trump's reason for wanting to withdraw the US from the NATO-GCC-ISR attack on Russia, was because he wanted to divert US power and energies against China and Iran. Trump also believes that the US is not getting anything out of its unconditional support for the EU and wanted to rearrange America's posture.

    The neocons, neoliberals and Eurocrats who oppose Trump so vehemently, believe that the EU project is sacrosanct (because it weakens and undermines Russia) that Iran should be brought on their side and used against Russia (only the most Zio-fanatics are not find of this proposition) and that China can only be faced down after Russia has been annihilated. If Russia cannot be defeated, then China must only be militarily contained (so that the PRC does not turn towards Russia in a serious way) and the "Free World" can only hope that China may collapse under its own contradictions. For the US Deep State, Russia must be fought against to the most bitter end, and on this, the Europeans are in enthusiastic agreement.

    We'll see how this turns out, but this development is nothing but deeply worrying. It would be stupid to sugarcoat this.

    Baerlas on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:47 pm UTC
    I always thought that "The Empire was, is and will be the Empire" and the president is merely the figurehead of this very Empire. That was obvious president after president, "beautifully depicted" by president Obama. To really make any changes you'd need a revolution which is totally outside the mental conceptions of Western peoples today, last not least lacking leading figures who could organize the people. Similarly, dreaming about Trump changing the world for a better one was an illusion right from the start. These who have always driven this ship along will, of course, now drive Trump. So apart from a lot of shallow noise, what has changed? Nothing. And if that is correct it is still the better solution of whatever might be in the offing.
    _smr on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:56 pm UTC
    Trump is a trickster. His job is not to make America great again – an impossible task anyway, as the Masonic project 'America as the New Atlantis' was a con job from the get go and was, like any film set, built primary as an eye candy and for temporarily use only. The ZWO needed the USA as the launch pad, staging ground and propaganda central for almost resistance-less military-industrial subjection of the vast, still virgin goy-lands sprinkled all over planet Earth.

    Who cared about the enslavement of South America, Africa, South East Asia, Bolshevik Russia, Maoist China as long Hollywood kept spinning out blockbuster after blockbuster, as long as NASA made everybody proud with their staged moon landings, as long as CIA lifetime actors like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Jack Nicholson, Ernest Hemingway, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk dazzled our eyes and minds with magic too good to be true.

    Now that the project is almost complete and the USA bankrupt beyond repair, the ZWO faces the tricky task of ushering in a rougher phase, while making sure the blame doesn't fall on them, but on conspiracy theorists!, Nazis!, White Supremacists!, Fake News bloggers!, sexists!, racists! and what not.

    That is where Trump comes in. All he has to do is to upset the apple cart. Saying some right words at wrong time. And some wrong things at the right time. Taking the wrong decisions at appropriate moments. Playing the joker not once, but again and again.

    This is the best we can hope for now. And Trump – Inshallah! – will deliver.

    Mairon on February 14, 2017 , · at 12:56 pm UTC
    I was always cautiously optimistic about Trump. My expectations of his were rather modest. Of course, the very first thing that recommended him was the simple fact he is not Hillary. The second, perhaps, was his unortodox approach and what seems (still in the present, I think) to be a genuine desire to shake the establishment currently pulling the string in Washington.
    He had some profound statements that were previously unthinkable from any US President (we'll stop toppling regimes).

    Taking all of that into consideration, and assuming that Trump has been sincere, there was always a huge problem for him: he is completely alone. He has no reliable allies to help him even start the battle with the power elite governing the US.
    From his first day in office, it was clear they were going to oppose him at every step and Trump has little or no means to fight back.

    I generally appreciate and agree with the Saker, but I think he is overly pessimistic here.
    In my view, Trump has already showed to be willing to fight, but the resistance is too great for one man to handle. And Trump is, more or less, alone.

    J.L.Seagull on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:00 pm UTC
    Can we get some name recognition for the Russians who were comparing Trump to Yanukovich from the start? Who were they?
    ALex on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:08 pm UTC
    You mean Trump is "White People's Obama" ?
    realist on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:10 pm UTC
    It is naive from the get go to think that Trump will undo the Neocons' agenda that started since 911! Trump from the beginning should have made sure the backings of the majority of the American people including the immigrants, remain neutral on Muslim issues, Russia, any policies that the fake liberals would have reason to antagonize him with, in order to minimize protests against him, like the fake Obama and Clintons. Once elected, he could then implement his policies. His administration and presidency campaign may have been sabotaged from the get go so that they have reason to blame him with afterwards.

    Flynn resigned during PM Abe's visit and when N Korea fired the missiles. Could these be the reason for his resignation instead of Russia?

    cortisol on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:31 pm UTC
    Look at the cuckold Trudeau and Trump meeting. Look at Trump when he is being forced to talk for the feminist agenda after 03:00. Just awful. This is total humiliation. He's finished.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqkb-sJ31S4

    Francisco Almeida on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:34 pm UTC
    I deeply admire and respect The Saker. But I think this time you rushed into final conclusions , while the game is just in its first few shots. Trump still has infinite ammo : he can replace the hell out of whoever he wants to. He won't behave as a loser and cower down.

    There'll be counter-attacks , plenty I believe. He's calling the shots, not the neo-cons. Mattis clearly states he hates wars, and he is not a traitor ; he was put there to shield Trump – and he obviously agreed – while "barking war" for domestic consumption towards keeping quiet the warmonger crowd. Smokes and mirrors game. I think the core plan is still in place.

    Gunnar Sivertsen on February 14, 2017 , · at 6:20 pm UTC
    I don't always agree with the Saker, but this time I do. The resignation of Flynn suggests that he was pushed out by the neocons and that Trump was unable – not unwilling – to prevent the push. Flynn's lie, or cover-up is neither here nor there; it's not the reason he had to resign. Trump has been left relatively isolated within his own administration. Unless he sacks some key figures, he will be politically vulnerable. So, Flynn's departure is probably a sign of things to come: more neo-conservativism, more empire building, and more neoliberalism: back to the Washington Consensus – which never really disappeared.
    Katherine on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:19 pm UTC
    "The resignation of Flynn suggests that he was pushed out by the neocons and that Trump was unable – not unwilling – to prevent the push. "

    I agree with this. I don't have evidence. But I think there must be more to the story. As for the telephone call, so what? What about the Iran-Contra meetings in Paris that sank Carter by getting a promise out of the Iranians not to free the hostages until Reagan was being sworn in? Same deal. Has anyone told Trump about that? Why not just say: Hey, there is no difference, guys! If that was OK, so was Flynn's call to Russia to say "hello, and we plan to be friends wijoo." What is, actually, wrong with that?

    There must be some other pressure on Trump. This is probably Trump's last chance to get a powerful loyalist near him. He has made it easy for his enemies on the left and right with the Bannon appointment, immigration ban, and wild words re Iran, etc.

    Katherine

    XL on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:46 pm UTC
    *puts on tinfoil hat

    Didnt Flynn accuse Hillary Clinton of being involved in chip trafficking around the time of the Pizzagate shooter? I've also read that the new media face of the Trump campaign, Stephen Miller is somehow involved with the nonsense going on behind the scenes in the WH. Is it possible these things are related?

    Astraea on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:49 pm UTC
    Trump's daughter Ivanka and his son in law Jared Kushner are apparently Lubavitch Jews. That seems even more relevant to Trump's weakness than Pence or anything much else. It was a group of Lubavitch rabbis who persuaded George Bush Junior to sign the so called "Noahide Laws" into American Law – which I find astounding, to put it mildly.

    These so called "laws" demand the beheading of all people who practice "idolatry" . According to them I think the only religion on Earth which does not allow any kind of idolatry is Islam (perhaps also the Jains). Christianity definitely, according to these sinister people, practices idolatry in the form of The Cross and pictures of Jesus and so forth.

    There have been rumors for years now about "fema camps", but there are also photographs and videos of long white painted trains with UN painted on the sides. They are three storied carriages or cabooses with flat beds in between every few of these. Someone got into these carriages, years ago, and said that there are metal benches in them with ankle irons fixed to the floors.

    On the flat beds guillotines were seen – "made in China".

    Which all makes my blood run cold. These Lubavitch really are as sinister as the original Levites!

    Talks-to-Cats on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:58 pm UTC
    A friend of mine who was in the Secret Service told me that, some years ago, they discovered a tank the "Jewish Defense League" had hidden in a warehouse in Philadelphia.
    WizOz on February 14, 2017 , · at 10:39 pm UTC
    @Ivanka and his son in law Jared Kushner are apparently Lubavitch Jews.

    They definitely are. That was a 'secret' only to the extent that nobody wanted to see it, although the sickening details were all over the place:

    "Trump was raised Presbyterian. Before her wedding, in July 2009, after studying for over a year with Rabbi Elie Weinstock from the Modern Orthodox Ramaz School, she converted to Orthodox Judaism and took the Hebrew name "Yael". She describes her conversion as an "amazing and beautiful journey" and that her father supported her studies from day one, due to his respect for the Jewish religion. She attests to keeping a kosher diet and observing the Jewish Sabbath, saying in 2015: "We're pretty observant It's been such a great life decision for me I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity. From Friday to Saturday we don't do anything but hang out with one another. We don't make phone calls."Trump sends her daughter to kindergarten at a Jewish school in New York City. She says that "It's such a blessing for me to have her come home every night and share with me the Hebrew that she's learned and sing songs for me around the holidays." (Wikipedia)

    "Trump vowed to be an advocate for women and Israel. Regarding her father's support for Israel, Trump said he would be "an unbelievable champion for Israel and for the Jewish people. You will not be disappointed."@http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/10/28/ivanka-trump-at-florida-synagogue-my-father-called-before-jewish-high-holidays-and-said-you-better-pray-hard-for-me/

    "The biblical story of Esther is an imperfect allegory for the Trump family, but as for Ivanka, the comparison isn't half bad. Esther is a Jewish woman who conceals her identity when she becomes the bride of a powerful king. It is only when she reveals who she is that she can save the Jewish people from an evil adviser plotting their destruction.

    Like Esther, Ivanka might appear to be nothing more than a pretty face until she shows that she's the savviest person in the room. Like Esther, Ivanka has a familial, almost accidental position of influence with a powerful gentile political figure. And like Esther, Ivanka's Jewishness is veiled: Something she describes as an important part of her identity and family life-she's an Orthodox convert, but she rarely agrees to talk about her faith-is essentially invisible to those who don't know it's there".She's the Orthodox daughter of David Duke's favorite candidate for president-and a perfect cipher for the anxiety of assimilation.@https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/what-should-american-jews-make-of-ivanka-trump/498476/ So much for David Duke!

    "Ynetnews reports: Businesswoman Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have purchased a home in Washington DC in preparation for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. As a practicing Jewish couple, their impending move also necessitated joining a local synagogue. They Chose TheSHUL, a small synagogue run by international the Chabad Jewish community and outreach organization.
    Rabbi Levi Shemtov heads TheSHUL, which has a congregation of 40 – 60 members, among them former senator Joe Lieberman, current Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew as well as several former ambassadors and Israeli dignitaries".

    It was never so 'in your face'. Other overlooked detail: 'World's Largest Jewish Center in Dnepropetrovsk', 'Dnepropetrovsk could be renamed – Jerusalem-on-the-Dnieper'
    Would Trump abandon Ukraine?

    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 11:13 pm UTC
    And why do you explain that, for example, Scott, who is always researching about Chabad Lubavitch, have overlooked this? And, has been this information just discovered today, or the so much informed people here knew it in advance and, in spite, promoted Trump as if there was not tomorrow, you included?
    eric calderone on February 14, 2017 , · at 1:53 pm UTC
    I essentially agree with the premise that the conflict between the Establishment and Trump is basically over Trump being elected as someone who didn't rise through, and was not acculturated in a conventional Establishment political milieu. I further agree that Flynn's resignation represents an important Establishment victory. However, the notion that Donald Trump represented the last chance to avert a major US meltdown, that he aspired to significantly change the path our capitalist system is pursuing, is quite frankly, hyperbole. You endow Donald Trump with undeserved importance.

    Donald Trump does not represent now, nor did he ever, a challenge to the prevailing neo-liberal system. Even if he had parried Establishment's previous challenges, or goes to ultimately push back successfully against existing and future challenges to his policies, there will not be a historical, significant change to ruling class domestic policies. Any alteration in US foreign policies, would be selective, and would not persist in the long term. Donald Trump, for all his idiosyncrasies, is very much a ruling class individual, possessing ruling class ideology.

    Reorganization of the national security agencies, relegating the power of the CIA to the Executive, bringing some measure of common sense to America's foreign policies vis a vis the Russian Federation, pulling back on America's bloated and unsustainable military engagements, while welcome, would not amount to a material and long-term change to the nature of the American system and its empire.

    Working people would have lived, and will still live, in a society with inadequate and worsening healthcare, housing, education, and public infrastructure,;and with declining unionization rates and collective bargaining power in the workplace. They would and will still pay taxes to a government which would expend those funds on a gargantuan and growing military budget; and on assistance to giant corporations. They would and will continue to be indoctrinated by a government and mass media with neo-liberal and bourgeois ideology. Nothing critical would have, or will change, under a Donald Trump administration.

    Foreign policy is shaped by the economic nature of the beast. America under Donald Trump, or any other candidate of the "two" party system, in the long-term must pursue policies which continue to inject excess revenue into the system. That revenue represents value extracted from other countries. Otherwise, the economic engine of the US will not expand, and the system will soon collapse upon itself. Inevitably, the dynamic of the system engenders conflict with any foreign power or powers which stand in its way. That is why any lessening of conflict with Russia or China or any other major actor on the world stage would be purely temporary, and selective in nature.

    Donald Trump was no one's last hope. Don't bestow upon him a significance he does not deserve.

    blue on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:04 pm UTC
    In other words, Trump is not of the crazies in the basement, but one the crazies on the main floor, as we had before GW Bush.

    The only solution looks to me to be distributed leadership (real anarchy - no chiefs) and not looking for 'leaders' and 'heroes' to save the day. It has parallels with using relational (table driven) databases instead of the older hierarchical databases - a different model of organization.

    Unfortunately, most people can't yet conceive of or understand how this works on large scale - although they use it all the time among a group of friends which do things by consensus, and some people do it in worker-run businesses (which often takes a lot of adjustment for people to get the hang of).

    Monty Pythons explains:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOTKA0aGI0
    Dennis The Constitutional Peasant

    Texac in Donbass on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:01 pm UTC
    This is an excellent article. Very realistic and precise. The thin hopes on Trump just got "wafer thin", and it looks like we will all be in for a ride. So be it. Better to face the sad truth than fool ourselves. GREAT analysis, I will share.
    Anonymous on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:42 pm UTC
    Hi, Texac
    Please deliver kindest and warmest regards to people in Donbass.
    blue on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:10 pm UTC
    Greetings, and thanks and for work,
    And perhaps it was never really about hope, but about many people just just keeping on working - and if one wants some hope one can find it in all those people who do.
    Robert Draco on February 15, 2017 , · at 1:40 am UTC
    In consolation to Mike Flynn leaving take a look at this: Why Mike Flynn leaving was actually good for Trump by ex-CIA Robert Steele ..(not just a paper pusher he was actually clandestine for 10 of his years in intelligence work) -Robert Steele: Dick Cheney, Not Donald Trump, Orchestrated Firing of Mike Flynn. Flynn Deserved to Be Fired, But Not for Talking to Russians--

    http://phibetaiota.net/2017/02/robert-steele-dick-cheney-not-donald-trump-orchestrated-firing-of-mike-flynn-flynn-deserved-to-be-fired-but-not-for-talking-to-russians/#more-123958

    apna on February 15, 2017 , · at 4:38 am UTC
    Duck Cheney is a known spy working for england. He is an English asset for serving interest of england and anglosaxon cabal of 5 evil eyes.
    Astraea on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:03 pm UTC
    I also want to mention the fantastic new book by the Legendary Dmitri Orlov – and an see why he is spoken of as legendary. It is called "Shrinking the Technocracy." Not to read this book would be a great loss.
    Il Discobolo on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:14 pm UTC
    Let me be clear. If it is true that It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy (as BBC writes), then the past December Flynn-Russia's ambassador Kislyak phone conversation should not occur anyway before he was officially appointed National Security Adviser.

    Considering the hysterical activity and agitation of the neocons/deep state and their russophobia, they would not loss any minimal pretext to attack Trump and his collaborators. The question is: was the ambassador aware of that? With no clear benefits from such early talk, it should have appeared as a possible trap, planted for a "delayed" explosion. As indeed it has been. The results is that now Flynn had to resign And Kislyak?

    Lars on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:17 pm UTC
    The problem is that Flynn lied on the highest level. It's not a problem to have a phone conversation with the Russians or be Russian friendly. The problem is when you claim it hasn't happened. Flynn should've known better. His resignation is not a sign of the deep state taking over, but a logic consequence after breaking the trust.
    blue on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:21 pm UTC
    He didn't claim it didn't happen, and he didn't break any trust. As said at the Duran, it's a concoction - a pretense. The main purpose of the call was apparently to start arrangements between Trump and Putin and get some conversation started, and there's nothing wrong with that - except for the 'neo'-crazies who insist on making Russia an enemy. This accusation is abut the same as accusing Russia of invading Crimea. There is a technical term for it in political science: horse-s**t.

    It isn't the deep state trying to take over, BTW, but one of the factions therein. The US is in a political (and cultural) civil war.

    Jeff Chiacchieri on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:20 pm UTC
    I have been saying to everyone I know and posting on FB since Hillary entered the race it looks to me like the globalists could get more of what they want faster with Trump in the Whitehouse than with Hillary because they would have a better chance at destroying/blaming the liberty movement for the fiscal/social collapse planned. The only way to prevent the new administration from avoiding its promise to return power to the people is pro-liberty Americans opposing elected officials that were never drained from the swamp when they embrace globalism for the globalist plan abandoning pro-liberty legislation. How long can President Trump, his administration and America continue to endure so much subversion? There are endless criminal corrupt globalist organizations behind endless subversion's openly against America/Trump

    • CFR & Foundations behind the U.N. Agenda's 21/2030/2050
    • EU parliament
    • Planned Parenthood
    • All population control organizations
    • George Soros and everything he funds
    • The leaders of the global warming/climate change movement
    • The mainstream media in the West that are controlled by global elites.
    • The LGBT/feminist movements backed by the U.N..
    • American public education institutions.
    • The Vatican using Pope Francis openly laying the groundwork for a moral and religious case in favor of population control, all for totalitarian world government control
    • The world's largest corporations and multi-billionaires
    • Militant Islam
    • All of Obama's Czars and thousands of other globalists like Obama working openly and not openly subverting America.

    realist on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:55 pm UTC
    Folks, think about it, Trump's campaign had a hole in it from the beginning; the contradiction of Russia Vs Israel. The relationship between those two nations is paradox: Russia contradicts what Israel wants in the ME. Trump can't be pro Russia and pro Israel at the same time. If he supports Israel fully, he has to oppose Russia's involvement in Syria and Iran. Besides, The encirclement of Russia by NATO also involves Zionists. The irony is that, most Jews in Israel come from Russia and yet, they antagonize Russia. Is being anti Russia from the beginning the work of Zionists or the West? Hope some here can answer this for me. Who benefits from being Anti Russia? I believe Zionists and the West may have huge benefit from elliminating Russia so that they can scramble Russia's resource and land.

    That being said, Trump's base is his supporters, unless they come out in full force to protect him and make neocons back off, he will further be controlled by the Neocons and Zionists. Already, Trump is backing on issues such as One China policy, not having US embassy in Jerusalem (probably a signal for Zionists to oust Trump) .

    Hmm on February 14, 2017 , · at 2:58 pm UTC
    The problem of firing/getting rid of someone for being "too pro-russian" is that this empowers anti-russian paranoia, Mccartism, and you never know who is next. This is a field day for those looking for russians under the beds.

    Trump is an idiot because he endangered himself, as he too can be seen as "too pro russian". He could be next. If Flynn lost his post for being too pro-russian, why not Trump too? He could be next.

    Bro 93 on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:17 pm UTC
    Wrong!

    The deplorables don't want war and on some level (sex, "Christian values") respect Putin as a straight shooter and despise all of our crooked arrows when they make any comparison. If Trump had not said what he said about Russia and Putin during the campaign, he never would have gotten 10% as far as he got. You can't be afraid of your shadow. If you are, you're just a dead man walking, and you may as well jump into your grave and pull the lid over your coffin.

    Keep pushing on "Russia is OK with me" the McCarthy record is already severely scratched and is even a broken record with a lot of Americans, and it's becoming a sad joke to many of them. They're sick of those pulling this mind control chain. It's ridiculous, and more and more Americans realize it every day. Escalate till the chains break on many millions more, whose minds have been weak enough to put up with this nonsense for far too many decades.

    vot tak on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:02 pm UTC
    Saker

    The trump regime really should be called the pence regime, since it is obvious now that pence manages it and trump is mostly the "showman" mouth and face.

    The conversation of flynn and the Russian ambassador being the cause seems to me to be a phony reason. I speculate the real reason is something else. It could be about Russian relations, in which case, maybe flynn was actually more open to warming these, and pence/trump were not (trump having lied). They had a disagreement and flynn left.

    It also could be about something else entirely, other policies flynn was tasked to work on, even a personality clash between flynn and pence.

    It is also possible the israelis ordered flynn's resignation for reasons unknown by me. They've done this before, and this whole scenario has a strong deja vu feel. Remember Andrew Young? They got him fired in almost the exact same manner, hyping a conversation he had with a Palestinian in their zio-gay media and forcing carter to fire him. Only in Young's case, mossad spied on him and leaked info about Young's meeting with Palestinians to the zio-gay media.

    Perhaps mossad has something on flynn, they certainly spied on him. Regardless, perhaps they found out something, not necessarily to do with Russia, they didn't like. With zionazis, pet goys have to be 100% unequivocally loyal or they're out.

    ioan on February 14, 2017 , · at 8:58 pm UTC
    You know where is Netanyahu right now ? in Washington, wanting to meet with Trump.
    Ann on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:35 pm UTC
    vt – didn't you ever see the video interviews of Kay Griggs ? Military Intelligence Wife Whistleblower – look it up –

    Flynn must be involved in some of that cult stuff – its really bad – no one wants to hear about it but there's so much pedophilia of young princes – Saudis – and then they are forever silenced – and Flynn being where he is in the Military Intelligence community – must have at least known it was going on

    He's a creep and we're fortunate he's gone.

    John on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:09 pm UTC
    It's just a dispute between 2 factions of the Zionist empire with Trump representing the more cautious faction. It is good he has been defeated this way so all the fools who think he could make any deals will have those illusions crushed. Even if his faction made deals they would be broken the second his faction is pushed out of power anyway, so such deals are worthless, just like the NATO pact not moving east.
    T.C. on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:10 pm UTC
    From Reuters:

    Michael Flynn resigned late on Monday after revelations he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

    "It's obvious that Flynn was forced to write the letter of resignation under a certain amount of pressure," Leonid Slutsky, head of the lower house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.

    Flynn was a strong advocate for the need for softer foreign policy toward Russia and his departure could slow Trump's pledge to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    "The target was Russia-U.S. relations, undermining confidence in the new U.S. administration," Slutsky said, without specifying who he thought was responsible. (MORE)

    https://goo.gl/8mJ1P0

    Peace loving Japanese on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:12 pm UTC
    With all respect, I think the Saker blogger had been little too much in his optimism for late few months. Trump is not gone tonight, but was gone when he turned his words, in admitting "Russians were meddling with the election" right after the brief conference of intelligence agency.
    That was the very moment he surrendered. Not tonight. I was giving up on him since then. Lately he did associate with our awful dictator Shinzo Abe, why? As long as he's "asked", not by Abe, but by the people who can tell what to do to Trump.
    Alan on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:15 pm UTC
    Quite opposing view to Saker at UNZ by Philip Giraldi (Article: Two Uninspiring Choices http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/two-uninspiring-choices/ ). He thinks of Flynn rather differently. He says that "Michael Flynn the National Security Advisor and Nikki Haley as U.N. Ambassador unfortunately did manage to squeak through and will presumably be well placed to wreak havoc over the next four years". Also the same day Elliott Abrams, the certified neocon is dismissed. This tells a lot. I tend to lean towards P.Giraldi. IMO it is NOT a "huge" victory for the neocon cabal but may be quite the contrary.
    juliania on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:39 pm UTC
    Yes, I agree. It is sometimes necessary to see the persons who have said they will support your policies in action. Not only shall I await further developments on the political scene, but also further analysis from Saker. He's not above correcting his assumptions when and if that is needed, and this sudden techtonic shift in the powers that be does need further analysis. The press is rushing to interpret it one way, which has me very leery of theirs. Not for the first time.
    Carmel by the Sea on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:34 pm UTC
    Alan,

    Thank you so much for link. Philip Giraldi has always been one of those I admire greatly. Again, thank you.

    Carmel by the Sea

    Mulk on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:23 pm UTC
    Good thing too. Trump is a efin' disaster. I despise a possible president Pence, but to have someone stable at the US rudder would make me feel just a bit better. Trump is a train wreck running through more and more houses. People think they can control him, but they can't. He wants to be in control, or look like he is, even though he has no idea of what he is doing. You can explain stuff to him, but he won't listen or just doesn't understand. He's no genious, not even a business one. He is heading for tragedy.
    Marek on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:26 pm UTC
    I think Flynn was a Trojan horse planted by the neocons himself. His history shows a career full of anti-Iran sentiment and an excessive push for a harsher approach toward that country, I can't seem to see why his removal is necessarily a bad thing
    Anonymous on February 15, 2017 , · at 12:46 am UTC
    All those with anti-Iran sentiment are working for Israel's interests firstly. Flynn is one of them. As soon as they start anti-Iran rhetoric, you can immediately conclude who is behind them.
    geoff on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:46 pm UTC
    Saker, I am afraid that the only way anything will change is if the PEOPLE rise up and DEMAND change, possibly in a not entirely peaceful manner.

    We cannot expect change from within the USG. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Trump is not powerful enough, he is no Putin or even a Kennedy. He is clueless and the only reason he rose to power was because he wasn't Hillary.

    Trump can still be worked with. But someone on "OUR" team must get an in with his administration.

    It is the PEOPLE who must stand and demand change, demand an end to the Neocon infestation, demand an end to Imperialism, and demand an end to all regime change wars. It is the people who must demand that all those who Betrayed Humanity in their disgusting quest for power and self-aggrandizement be Punished for their crimes.

    Do not worry. We will find a way to make it happen. And do not forget – You play a very important role in this process. Maybe you will find that one day, it was kind of like a self fulfilling prophesy.

    -geoff

    Robert Draco on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:48 pm UTC
    You are premature. It will all depend on who Trump replaces him with.

    In fact Flynn had already blundered by blaming Iran for attacking a US war ship, which they didn't and called Iran the world's biggest terror sponsor when it is Saudi Arabia. Flynn could have become a liability eventually and better for him to go now rather than later and I heard ex-CIA guy Philip Giraldi talk about this in this interesting read.
    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/iran-hawks-take-the-white-house/

    twilight on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:49 pm UTC
    Once again I'll state the biggest mistake here was Putin's. Instead of ignoring the mountain of demonising press against Russia and Putin during the election of Trump, Putin allowed it to get to him, and he backed away in the aftermath of Trump's election to 'prove' Trump was his own man.

    But Putin's decision created a vacuum (which was the entire idea behind the propaganda attacks), which Deep State agents all around Trump immediately filled. Putin should have moved heaven and Earth to craft a ***day one*** alliance to "fight ISIS to destruction". Yes I know this would have been just PR nonsense, but that was all Trump had asked for daily on his election trail. With a guy like Trump, you race toward him, grasp him firmly by the hand, and promise him whatever he wants to hear. Putin did not do this.

    Now Putin's chance is dead. Trump is actually being successfully coerced to do and say anti-Russian stuff now. Nothing major, butenough to kill any hope to Trump working with Russia. And worse, the instinct in Trump to put Humanity's greatest killing machine to immediate use is being successfully exploited.

    We know Iran is the real target- not bluster over North Korea. But the bluster sets a tone that "rogue states" should not be allowed to advance their systems of self-defense. And that, of course, is the consistant cry of America against Iran. And for those of you who claim Iran is too 'sneaky' and 'wily' to give the USA an 'excuse'- well sorry you are really clueless as to how this game is played.

    Let me explain. Saddam after Gulf War 1 got down on his knees and begged the Americans to be allowed to offer them whatever they wanted in exchange for resurrecting the alliance America had with Iraq before the 'invasion' of Kuwait. His supply of oil to the USA would have been an economic boon beyond belief, so he did not get what the actual issue was. But we now know. Even tho Iraq was the idea Empire slave state, there were bigger plans in motion. The ***secular*** sunni state had to be destroyed so the skilled civilised sunnis of Iraq could be turned into slaves of the depraved wahhabi state of Saudi Arabia, and made the commanders of SA's new extremist terror hoardes- butchers that we currently know as ISIS.

    Saddam couldn't imagine in a million years that his masters in the West wanted to Middle East to burn and fall to 'sunni' (actually wahhabi) extremist savages. After all the Deep State project, since the 19th century when Britain helped the Turkish Empire to fade away, was to encourage ***secular*** civilised Islamic rule. And those rulers of islamic heritage wanted to be as civilised as their brothers in the West- they didn't want to hark back to medieval values or encourage their people to do the same. Saddam didn't know that Tony Blair and the other demons had ripped up the rule book- and were determined to create hell on Earth within a lifetime.

    PNAC made it clear that the 9/11 false flag would be the road to Iran's ending. History shows their plans slipped- especially since the invaion of Iraq had no possible excuse, creating waves of revulsion amongst the general sheeple that became an anti-war sentiment. Obama was 'accidently' elected over Clinton slowing things down even more, and leading to the acceleration of the wahhabi terror play. Libya was taken out almost pointlessly (because Libya isn't a good source of ISIS cannon fodder) simply because old animosity between the USA and Libya made it too much of a testing ground for the latter use of the same animosity between Iran and the USA.

    For most Americans- Trump above all- Libya was the 'little brother' of Iran, and now the USA has finally 'beaten up' Libya, well it is 'obvious' it is time for Iran to go down as well.

    There is but one issue now. Those Deep State demons that really run the USA have a level of power players beneath them that mostly think attacking Iran is the stupidest move possible. They can now jerk Trump around like a perfect puppet, but anyone Trump tries to use to put together the Iran war plan will hit long standing, well argued resistance. For conventional right-wing hard men, Iran is all lose and no gain. Sure, the racist psychopaths that frequently rule the zionist terror state of Israel are all for war with Iran, but this very fact is used as evidence that such a war would be utterly moronic by the right-wing thinkers of the USA.

    Iran is the immovable object, but the demons are the irresistable force. And Iran only has to make one fatal slip- without even knowing it ***is*** a slip before successful demonising anti-Iranian propaganda takes hold. Of course, the BBC and every other zionist outlet has already tried attacking Iran every which way without success so far, but successful propaganda is as 'trendy' as a pop hit so you never know when a particular mud ball will stick.

    We have a sense of this with the foul Soros HRW attack against Syria today, stating that "Syria used chemical weapons to take Allepo". The Israeli controlled French government immediately demanded UN action against Assad. Of course, the demon play in Syria is done, but anti-Syrian rhetoric is just practise for Iran.

    HRW is Soros and the US State Dept. Amnesty International is MI6. Neither is now trusted to the slightest degree by the informed, but the actions of both show current thinking and strategy of the Deep State.

    Having lost Trump,Putin must now act ***immediately*** to save Iran. Giving weapons to Iran cannot do this. Having a public formal alliaince, with Russians working on the ground in Iran can. Of course the religious leaders who rule Iran distrust Russia, and Putin must do everything he can to point out that it is Russia protection or utter destruction for Iran- and to bluntly state the ***truth** – which is if the West does attack Iran, Russia will back off and leave Iran to its fate. It is prevention or disaster,

    Robert Draco on February 14, 2017 , · at 3:53 pm UTC
    I forgot to add this ex-CIA guy to the first. Robert David Steele ..on Mike Flynn. He thinks he deserved to be fired and he basically liked Flynn.

    http://phibetaiota.net/2017/02/robert-steele-dick-cheney-not-donald-trump-orchestrated-firing-of-mike-flynn-flynn-deserved-to-be-fired-but-not-for-talking-to-russians/#more-123958

    vot tak on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:03 pm UTC
    WikiLeaks chimes in: WikiLeaks Claims Flynn's Resignation Triggered by 'Destabilization Campaign'

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201702141050674796-wikileaks-flynn-resignation/

    "Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press https://t.co/vKlX1Tqek1
    - WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) 14 февраля 2017 г."

    Just speculation, or do they have something solid?

    vot tak on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:20 pm UTC
    A Russian take: Flynn's Resignation 'Won't Have an Impact' on Russian-US Relations

    https://sputniknews.com/politics/201702141050673917-us-russia-flynn-resignation/

    "The resignation of the US President's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn won't affect Russian-American relations because they are not shaped yet and there is, in fact, nothing to have an impact on," Fyodor Lukyanov told Sputnik.

    The political analyst further explained that it still remains unclear whether Donald Trump wanted to reset the relations with Russia with the help of either Michael Flynn or new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. However, he again reiterated that it is impossible to have an impact on something that does not yet exist.

    The expert explained that the attacks on Trump's National Security Adviser for his alleged pro-Russian position were "something made out of thin air." However he had to resign because he was not careful enough.

    He further noted that there are still chaotic developments in the Trump administration and there might be more resignations coming."

    T.C. on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:23 pm UTC
    "The White House is under attack from elements inside the intelligence community" - Dennis Kucinich

    An important interview:

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/2017/02/14/kucinich-pins-flynn-leak-on-intel-community-warns-another-cold-war.html

    erichwwk on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:42 pm UTC
    Kucinich: "Be VERY careful. That's my warning this morning. WAKE UP AMERICA "

    "This isn't about whether you're for or against Donald Trump. Hello! This is about whether the American people are bystanders in a power play inside the intelligence community . and whether we can be forced to go to war with any country. ,,,, A game is being played with the security of our country. I [Dennis Kucinich] don't often share the interviews I do, but ask that you watch and share this one because it's important.

    https://www.facebook.com/denniskucinich/posts/10154592754758218

    Greg on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:34 pm UTC
    What I don't understand is this. We see and read of the power exerted by the liberal/neocon "deep state" and their abilities to disrupt and damage Trump's presidency. But in order to get where he has gotten to today, Trump must have some powerful backers too. So where are these powerful Trump supporters and what are they doing if anything?
    JJ on February 14, 2017 , · at 6:30 pm UTC
    Yup am wondering about the 200 military people said to be having Trump any news of them? Maybe preparing a counter revolution on his behalf?
    Larchmonter445 on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:36 pm UTC
    Saker, as you know very well my warnings that Flynn was the keystone, the means through which reform could come to IC, MIC, Deep State-the wombs of Khazarian Russophobia and Hegemony-I agree with you completely that your analysis is correct. It is over.

    Trump will not be able to control Pompeo or Mattis.
    Trump will not be able to penetrate the Deep State and uproot the warmongers.
    Trump will not be able to end the Hegemony.

    What he presented as stiff opening arguments against Iran and Russia are now weaponized with his signature on them. Ukraine will be on some budget line and kept viable. Syria will be a target again per Wolfowitz-Perle and Bibi.

    Where ceasefire and peace was possible we will get more war and chaos.

    ISIS will not be defeated anywhere soon. Russia will be forced to supply regular troops soon if it intends to clean out ISIS and al Nusra while it can. Or it will be bogged down (US goal for certain.)

    Now, for what we must do: keep exposing the tools and persons who removed Flynn.
    This was all at the surface of the Deep State. Most of the players were visible. No subtle, covert operation this assassination. And from that careful documentation we can keep "outing" the enemy within.

    Trump, sadly, may have bought a one-term Presidency when he let this become a neocon issue.
    His daughter and son-in-law tamping down his instincts to fight have been a huge disservice.
    Bannon, a hegemonic ideologue in foreign policy, certainly would not protect Flynn. Bannon served the Naval Intel world in his career, and nothing good has ever come out of US Naval Intel. They plotted against their own man, JFK.

    We, have, a hard choice. Despair and gnash our teeth, or continue to expose the evil operators inside the US government. Spare the Trump-bashing. He erred hugely. But it was predictable. Flynn was a wild card warrior. He was fearless and reckless in behalf of his mission. Trump sent him to the Russians. They had to know the outcome would be intense heat.

    But what was unknown, the treachery in the inner circle. Pence is fully exposed now. Trump knows this clearly. He can't share that with anyone. His circle is filled with like-minded who would serve Pence more comfortably than Trump himself.

    Pence is Brutus. Watch him as he goes to the Munich meeting. He is pure Neo-Con and a treacherous liar himself.

    No greater threat exists to Peace than a traitor to the nation and the opportunity for Detente being thrown away.

    Trump failed to protect his warrior. But the Intel agencies were withholding approvals of deputies' clearances. They had denied Robin Townley, deputy for Africa a clearance for NSC. This signaled that they would undermine Flynn and Trump every day like the Dems have with the nominations and street riots. It was all Trump could do to try to get control of things. Messaging was scrambled, forward movement was stalled. He had to jettison Flynn. But it was all on him. He didn't control Pence and marginalize him. He faced Pence and blinked.

    Sad. Maybe Tragic. But, Trump has comeback potential. It just won't be with the Intel Community.
    He has to find leverage from elsewhere. Probably, why he's talking to Chris Christie. I suspect DOJ and Sessions is one weapon. Maybe they will bring Christie in to DOJ, if he has a huge role, and use him to prosecute the leakers in Deep State. It's only a guess.

    Listen to Pence, watch Mattis. And know that Pompeo is more of the same in CIA.

    Also, Kelly in DHS is weak and a go-along general. He'll test the wind.

    What has happened is Trump thought he had built a citadel using Flynn and the generals around him, with Mattis and Kelly. It has all been turned into a prison, and Trump is hostage.

    JJ on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:05 pm UTC
    http://theduran.com/these-8-neocons-are-gearing-up-to-destroy-president-trump-and-make-america-bomb-again/

    background to these people

    blue on February 14, 2017 , · at 9:49 pm UTC
    Ahh an article on demonology at the Duran. (Check out pictures of Abrams - clearly a creature from the netherworld.)
    Demons, vampires, goblins and orcs, the occasional ogre.
    Some crazies are made to live in the attic, while these prefer the basement and other underground abodes.
    About the same gang as always.
    (I see dead people. They are everywhere. They walk around like everyone else. They don't even know they are dead. - The living dead - all psychopaths, surviving on human blood, so to speak.)

    When Trump started loading up his cabinet with these ghouls and their associates or rivals it became obvious where it was going. As I said once before, the doctrine that states have no friends but rather interests this was saying the state is run by psychopaths, as that is precisely the mind set of psychopaths, individually or collectively.

    Traits:
    http://www.psych2go.net/10-traits-of-a-psychopath/
    http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15850/1/Characteristics-of-a-Sociopath.html

    also Forbes article
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/04/25/the-disturbing-link-between-psychopathy-and-leadership/#10c4eca52740
    The Disturbing Link Between Psychopathy And Leadership
    [but the percentages seem to be way too low, and the current system tends to weed out non-psychos: wolves like to hang out with other wolves, not with sheep, whom they munch on for snacks]

    Jean-David on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:36 pm UTC
    If Trump understands this, and its implications, I suppose he will resign in frustration. Does anyone think he will have the political and emotional stamina to persevere?
    anon21 on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:45 pm UTC
    If one follows the logic that the globalist cabal touting the female was bent to attack Russia in early 2017, then the Trump election may has interrupted the schedule, but not, evidently, the plan, the war-plan, itself. They never gave up power

    The implication is that the war was scheduled, and still is.

    Repeat. The implication is that the march to war is ongoing and deliberate.

    Ralph on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:52 pm UTC
    Well Saker, I'm going contrarian, which does not necessarily mean 180 degrees. I viewed Flynn's appointment as plus/negative, positive re Russia, negative re Iran. It's still potentially positive re Russia as Tillerson is still in. To write off Trump so early in his Presidency is really not very helpful, considering the monumental task he has of taking on the very corrupt establishment, did you think there would be no blowback? Also, clearly Trump is inexperienced politically and doesn't know all the ins and outs of the political establishment in DC, so has to find his feet.
    A big plus is that we have moved away from warfare and potentially a nuclear holocaust – if anybody thinks that mere radioactive fallout from exploding warheads is survivable hasn't taken into account something which is far more deadly, how about many more nuclear power reactor failures like Fukushima, or worse?

    Another point which has been overlooked is that he got rid of nuland – or at least she couldn't work under him – either way I see that as major (personally) together with the much less hostile if not almost indifference to the Donbass, with kiev in turmoil. It was reported that a US warship won't now visit Odessa – small but unmistakeable changes happening.

    simon wagstaff on February 14, 2017 , · at 4:54 pm UTC
    There is an old saying; "When you're up to your ass in alligators it's easy to forget your original intention was to drain the swamp."

    The single greatest lesson I learned in a decade of trying (and failing) to change national policy is that success is measured in inches, not miles. Bureaucratic inertia is a highly under-rated force in its own right. Real change can only be generational. Unless and until there is a "b" team of keenly aware and circumspect underlings who see the problems and understand the patience required to make incremental change, there will be no meaningful change.

    Success isn't home runs (although most who desire positive change would welcome the odd one). Real success is bases-on-balls, running out infield hits and bloop singles and advancing runners.

    Trump must remember business 101 under-promise and over-deliver. If he wants to keep the tens of millions who voted for him engaged and positive he must deliver on small promises. I am dismayed that so many here see the "beginning of the end" instead of "the end of the beginning".

    Flynn (more than most) knew the rules going in and he blew it. His sins are sins of over-reach and forgetting the basics of protocol. His sacrifice will encourage others to step up. The dream of untangling the web is not dead. Too many millions (arguably billions) demand meaningful, positive change those who have faith understand it will be a slow and sometimes painful process.

    Dear Saker, don't lose your faith

    Talks-to-Cats on February 14, 2017 , · at 6:22 pm UTC
    Real success is bases-on-balls, running out infield hits and bloop singles and advancing runners.

    @Simon Wagstaff -

    Allow me a moment of comedic relief in this tragic drama ?

    This is true as a general principle. But somebody PLEASE get through to Clint Hurdle (Pittsburgh Pirates Manager) that wasting outs by bunting runners from first to second predictably results in them being stranded at third.

    Small advances are potentially valuable, but when you run out of outs to achieve them they were mistakes.

    Marnie on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:03 pm UTC
    if there is any reason to save the Trump presidency, Pence needs to be isolated asap – w/removal of all Republican loyalists within WH including Priebus. More to come re Pence role on how this all unfolded. All politics is smoke and mirrors ie cabinet appointees – watch what we do; not what we say. Tillerson and Sessions esp forced to grovel by R's and Dems –

    One benefit to all this has been public revelation of Dems as partners with the Deep State parties. The true depth of their betrayal to the country is now undeniable as we already knew R's could not be trusted. ie payback coming re Lizzie Warren's vitriol on Sessions. her poll numbers for 2018 election not looking good.

    Cynthia – if those suggested names are viable, keep to yourself so as to avoid public exposure at this point perhaps best messenger may be Ivanka
    – .

    Outlaw Historian on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:05 pm UTC
    The entirety of tRump's foreign policy doesn't revolve around Flynn's status. Has tRump decided to reinstate the TTP and TTIP as "trade" policy goals? Decided to not renegotiate/pull out of NAFTA and other so-called trade pacts? Pull back/reconsolidate the Empire of Bases? Attempt to totally disrupt China's OBOR or Russia's EEU through the use of terrorist proxies as HRC's Neocons planned? Then there's Flynn's illogical hatred of Iran and the complications that posed for reestablishing cordial relations with Russia. And those points are just a few of many.

    IMO, Saker and other commentators have reacted in knee-jerk fashion to Flynn's resignation, for he didn't represent the be-all/end-all of tRump's foreign policy agenda. I'm far more disturbed by many of tRump's cabinet choices plus the fact that they were confirmed despite their lies and criminal actions, which is what's provoked most of the resistance to the current national government–congress especially.

    Dario on February 14, 2017 , · at 5:11 pm UTC
    yes, and there's more Apparently the media makes their bets on VP Mike Pence very similar to what happened in Brazil same method, anyway

    from Politico.com:

    "Pence molds the government in his own image

    Pence and his team bring an entirely different ethos and set of values to the administration."

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/how-does-mike-pence-view-government-234956

    JJ on February 14, 2017 , · at 7:35 pm UTC
    Alexander Mercouris posted article on the Duran believes Trump's nominations cabinet picks will be approved eventually

    [Feb 14, 2017] Deep state is way too strong and Trump rebellion , if such existed, can be squashed with the help of big guns of NYT, Wapo and Bloomberg charged with good old compromat

    Trump has no party behind him. And he is no FDR to hit establishment with the full force of Federal Administration
    Notable quotes:
    "... This not about "how easy to convict Trump". This is about who is the real boss in Washington, DC. ..."
    "... Today's Neocon victory might well as huge event as Trump victory. Now it is Trump defeat. I think it's over for Trump... He did not last long, did he ? From now on he might well be just "yet another puppet". Much like Obama, or Bush II, or Clinton. ..."
    "... Neocons are celebrating. That's for sure. Deep state is way too strong and "Trump rebellion", if such existed, in now squashed with the help of big guns of NYT, Wapo and Bloomberg charged with good old "compromat". ..."
    Feb 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    im1dc : February 14, 2017 at 06:56 PM

    Margaret Carlson rips Trump not for lying but for covering up Flynn

    My point confirmed!

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/14/flynn-s-the-first-casualty-of-trump-s-unsustainable-disinformation-campaign.html

    "Flynn's the First Casualty of Trump's Unsustainable Disinformation Campaign"

    'In this White House, honesty is not the best policy but one to be considered among other possibilities"

    by Margaret Carlson...02.14.17...2:06 PM ET

    "General Michael Flynn didn't resign Monday night because he lied about his calls with the Russian ambassador and was vulnerable to blackmail. He resigned because the public found out about the lie and keeping him, at long last, became "unsustainable" for the Trump administration.

    Just a few hours earlier, it was sustainable. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said so. The president, she said Monday afternoon, had "full confidence" in Flynn. Another White House official confirmed this to Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker who reported, also on Monday, that Trump, knowing what he knew, wasn't going to decide about Flynn for a few more days.

    What changed? Throw out the old saw it's the cover-up that gets you. The White House ceded Tuesday that it knew about the cover-up for weeks. It's the dribbling out of the details of Flynn's mission to coddle Russia-in keeping with Trump's policy-that presented a clear and present danger that could only be staunched if Flynn were let go.

    But they want us to believe it was about the lying. At his daily briefing Tuesday, Sean Spicer said it was "plain and simple a matter of trust." But in this whole mess, lying is a lesser included offense, one which this White House is particularly unsuited to cast stones at. Honesty is not the best policy there but one to be considered among other possibilities.

    There would have been no resignation if what Flynn said in the taped calls, and White House knowledge of it, hadn't been exposed late Monday in a Washington Post piece. The White House counsel-and likely others in the Administration-had been told by then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates that Flynn had actually made multiple calls, during the transition and going back to the campaign, to the ambassador of a sworn adversary of the United States. Flynn's message to the ambassador was that President Vladimir Putin might want to hold off on retaliating for sanctions imposed by then President Barack Obama for hacking the U.S. elections. It wouldn't be that bad under the new president.

    Yates' information was reportedly weeks late getting to the White House because FBI Director James Comey, who seems to be everywhere these days, asked her to hold off because of his ongoing investigation into contacts between Trump associates and Russia. But after they'd been told, Spicer put out the opposite of what the Justice Department knew to be true: that Flynn had discussed Christmas greetings, among other things, not sanctions in his calls. With that disinformation (Spicer likely didn't know the truth), Comey's request fell by the wayside and Yates, since fired by Trump for not backing him up on his travel ban but perhaps for this, proceeded to inform Trump White House counsel Donald McGahn. (McGhan, Spicer said Tuesday, immediately informed Trump.)

    Whatever Flynn said, we know Putin took his outreach to heart and let the sanctions pass virtually unnoticed. Since the calls, we might ask who has done more to coddle Russia, Flynn or the president. Trump has kept praising Putin to the point of accusing the country he now leads of killing its own people as Putin has done to his internal enemies. The two countries, in Trump's telling, are morally equivalent.

    To the excuses for why Flynn was let go, add "leaks" which Trump blamed in a tweet for all that's wrong in Washington.

    On TV, Trump surrogates including former military officer Carl Higbee, who's been interviewed for a high level White House job, have dressed up the resignation in the usual nothing's-been-proven talk about how Flynn had become a "distraction" and that this is a "rough town for good people." Actually, that's true but not the case here as few people not on Trump's payroll thought Flynn was the right choice.

    The only reason Flynn got appointed to the most sensitive job in the Administration is that he is a crony of Trump who stuck by him during the campaign and who could be trusted to do his bidding without asking too many questions. If National Security Adviser were a post that required Senate confirmation, Republicans, who have acquiesced to about everything else, would have balked. By a margin even wider than those who dare to question the month-old presidency-that is Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake-Flynn wouldn't have made it.

    With Flynn's ouster, the Wall Trump was actually been able to build around himself may crumble. Until now calls for an independent investigation into the Russian hacking have been rejected. Now, that investigation is likely to proceed, along with McCain's effort to codify Russian sanctions. Speaker Paul Ryan may eventually grow a spine. Amid a running joke at his Tuesday press conference wishing wives of the leadership a Happy Valentine's Day, Ryan was pinned down to admitting Flynn was rightly let go. Look for the heat to be turned up on the inquiry into the ties between Russia and Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

    Just maybe there may be less flagrant lying now from this administration. This last weekend, Trump's anointed wunderkind Stephen Miller was sent out on his first Sunday morning talk show appearances. He regurgitated Trump's insistence that there's rampant voter fraud in the country and a costly investigation should ensue. Miller brought up the fact-free claim that hordes of Massachusetts voters drove to New Hampshire to cast illegal ballots in November. Fresh denunciations of that claim came afterwards from former New Hampshire GOP chair Fergus Cullen and from current New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a scion of the multigeneration Republican loyalists, who said it was false. Don't think Miller was freelancing.

    The only praise for Miller came from Trump himself who lavished him with it. In this White House, lying is not a firing offense.

    Trump is having a hard time in his public effort to replace Spicer and perhaps his chief of staff in an effort to fine one single person with the experience and maturity to mind the store. That looks easy compared to replacing Flynn. Trump has made it clear he won't hire anyone who's criticized him. In filling the open national security adviser position, that leaves almost no one."

    ilsm -> im1dc... , February 14, 2017 at 07:12 PM
    What "public"? Not the one which elected most of the state governments. Maybe the one which pushed Bernie aside for no convictions Clinton.

    How easy to convict Trump and his while HRC was always innocent and picked upon.....

    ilsm -> im1dc... , February 14, 2017 at 07:12 PM
    What "public"? Not the one which elected most of the state governments. Maybe the one which pushed Bernie aside for no convictions Clinton.

    How easy to convict Trump and his while HRC was always innocent and picked upon.....

    libezkova said in reply to ilsm... , February 14, 2017 at 07:37 PM
    "How easy to convict Trump and his while HRC was always innocent and picked upon....."

    This not about "how easy to convict Trump". This is about who is the real boss in Washington, DC.

    Today's Neocon victory might well as huge event as Trump victory. Now it is Trump defeat. I think it's over for Trump... He did not last long, did he ? From now on he might well be just "yet another puppet". Much like Obama, or Bush II, or Clinton.

    There was a dream that with the election of Trump neocons will be booted from Washington, DC by peaceful means via electoral mechanisms or at least their influence will be cut. It was a high time to do this clean up, anyway. They outlived their usefulness long ago (if they were useful ever). This dream now is probably over. Wolfowitz, Perle, Ledeen, Robert Kagan and Co are back.

    For nationalists and "nationally oriented part of US capitalists" now the choice is very difficult.

    libezkova -> im1dc...
    Neocons are celebrating. That's for sure. Deep state is way too strong and "Trump rebellion", if such existed, in now squashed with the help of big guns of NYT, Wapo and Bloomberg charged with good old "compromat".

    After losing Flint Trump is done.

    The problem that Trump is facing is that now he does not have any viable support to counterbalance neocon dominated faction of intelligence services.

    Essentially Trump task was impossible from the very beginning. Most of the Washington DC neocon nests needed to be cleaned. And that is much more difficult than Hercules clean up of the Augean Stables

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/stables.html
    == quote ==
    For the fifth labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to clean up King Augeas' stables.

    Hercules knew this job would mean getting dirty and smelly, but sometimes even a hero has to do these things. Then Eurystheus made Hercules' task even harder: he had to clean up after the cattle of Augeas in a single day.

    Now King Augeas owned more cattle than anyone in Greece. Some say that he was a son of one of the great gods, and others that he was a son of a mortal; whosever son he was, Augeas was very rich, and he had many herds of cows, bulls, goats, sheep and horses.
    ... ... ...

    [Feb 14, 2017] Ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times!

    Notable quotes:
    "... Flynn's sin was inferring to the Russian ambassador that senselessly pushing Russia into a corner for Vicky Nuland might end. ..."
    Feb 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    There's that notorious ancient Chinese curse: 'May you live in interesting times!'

    Sadly, according to Wikipedia:

    Despite being widely attributed as a Chinese curse, there is no equivalent expression in Chinese. The nearest related Chinese expression is "寧為太平犬,莫做亂離人" (nìng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luàn lí rén), which is usually translated as "Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period."

    ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , February 14, 2017 at 07:00 PM
    It s reputed the Chinese kangji for crisis is: two words 'opportunity and danger'.
    Fred C. Dobbs -> im1dc... , February 14, 2017 at 04:41 PM
    "May you live in interesting times" is an English expression purporting to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. Despite being so common in English as to be known as "the Chinese curse", the saying is apocryphal and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced. ...

    Evidence that the phrase was in use as early as 1936 is provided in a memoir written by Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, the British Ambassador to China in 1936 and 1937, and published in 1949. He mentions that before he left England for China in 1936 a friend told him of a Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times". ...

    http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/May_you_live_in_interesting_times

    (I'm sure all remember Sir
    Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen.)

    ilsm -> im1dc... , February 14, 2017 at 07:06 PM
    There is a lot of pity party nitpicking going on.

    When Trump gets the peace prize and talks about starting wars to stop unjust peace and nation build with no success.....

    Flynn's sin was inferring to the Russian ambassador that senselessly pushing Russia into a corner for Vicky Nuland might end.

    Why the Russians are doing the new GLCMs is perfectly reasonable from their perspective. It is called looking out for your country, which US is doing with blood all over but US is the exceptional shining city on the hill.

    And if Trump is a war criminal W. and Obama better look out for the Haig coming after them.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Half of US finance is parasitic

    Approximately nine percent of U.S. GDP is finance of that probably three to five percent is useful for allocating capital and the rest is preying on asymmetric information
    Notable quotes:
    "... asymmetric information, and the recent illuminating example of Wells Fargo's excellence in pushing products that customers did not want nor need. ..."
    "... Approximately 9 percent of U.S. GDP is finance. Some economists argue that probably 3-5 percent is useful for allocating capital, storing value, smoothing consumptions, and creating competition, and the rest is preying on asymmetric information ..."
    "... When vendor expects deflation he dumps inventory, but when he expects inflation he holds on to inventory as he waits for higher profit margins to arrive. He holds onto merchandise by simply raising prices. But why do economists advertise the reverse mechanism? Why does the status quo have a need for distorting truth? ..."
    "... Inflation is offered to the proles as a substitute for tax relief to the impoverished. Do you see how it works? ..."
    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Choco Bell -> Ed Brown... February 12, 2017 at 07:50 AM , 2017 at 07:50 AM

    asymmetric information, and the recent illuminating example of Wells Fargo's excellence in pushing products that customers did not want nor need.

    BY: Some financial "innovation" is faddish. It does not create value.

    GR: Approximately 9 percent of U.S. GDP is finance. Some economists argue that probably 3-5 percent is useful for allocating capital, storing value, smoothing consumptions, and creating competition, and the rest is preying on asymmetric information
    "
    ~~Guy Roinik~

    Do you see how this asymmetric information plays out?

    It is the retail vendor who keeps better information than the retail customer. It is the vendor's expectations of disinflation vs inflation rather than the customer's expectations that control the change in M2V. Got it?

    When vendor expects deflation he dumps inventory, but when he expects inflation he holds on to inventory as he waits for higher profit margins to arrive. He holds onto merchandise by simply raising prices. But why do economists advertise the reverse mechanism? Why does the status quo have a need for distorting truth?

    Inflation is offered to the proles as a substitute for tax relief to the impoverished. Do you see how it works?

    " Tax relief for the wealthy will give you delicious inflation. Now jump for it! " ~~The Yea Sayers~

    Jump, Fools, Jump

    [Feb 12, 2017] America Versus the Deep State - KUNSTLER

    Notable quotes:
    "... Support James Howard Kunstler blog by visiting Jim's Patreon Page ! ..."
    "... The New York Times ..."
    "... Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds ..."
    "... Did the Russians make Hillary Clinton look bad? Or did Hillary Clinton manage to do that herself? The NSA propaganda was designed as a smokescreen to conceal the veracity of the Wikileaks releases. Whoever actually rooted out the DNC and Podesta emails for Wikileaks ought to get the Pulitizer Prize for the outstanding public service of disclosing exactly how dishonest the Hillary operation was. ..."
    "... The story may have climaxed with Trump's Friday NSA briefing, the heads of the various top intel agencies all assembled in one room to emphasize the solemn authority of the Deep State's power. ..."
    "... This hulking security apparatus has become a menace to the Republic. ..."
    "... Whether Trump himself is a menace to the Republic remains to be seen. Certainly he is the designated bag-holder for all the economic and financial depravity of several preceding administrations. When the markets blow, do you suppose the Russians will be blamed for that? Did Boris Yeltsin repeal the Glass-Steagall Act? Was Ben Bernanke a puppet of Putin? No, these actions and actors were homegrown American. For more than thirty years, we've been borrowing too much money so we can pretend to afford living in a blue-light-special demolition derby. And now we can't do that anymore. The physics of capital will finally assert itself. ..."
    "... perhaps it's a good thing that the American people for the moment cannot tell exactly what the fuck is going on in this country, because from that dismal place there is nowhere to go but in the direction of clarity. ..."
    Feb 12, 2017 | kunstler.com

    Support James Howard Kunstler blog by visiting Jim's Patreon Page !

    The bamboozlement of the public is nearly complete. The Deep State has persuaded 80 percent of Americans that all news is propaganda, especially the news emanating from the Deep State's own intel department. They're still shooting for 100 percent. The fakest of all "fake news" stories turns out to be "Russia Hacks Election." It was reported conclusively Saturday on the front page of The New York Times , a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Deep State:

    Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds

    WASHINGTON - President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation's top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.

    You can be sure that this is now the "official" narrative aimed at the history books, sealing the illegitimacy of Trump's election. It was served up with no direct proof, only the repeated "assertions" that it was so. In fact, it's just this repetition of assertions-without-proof that defines propaganda. It can also be interpreted as a declaration of war against an incoming president. The second civil war now takes shape: It begins inside the groaning overgrown apparatus of the government itself. Perhaps after that it spreads to the WalMart parking lots that have become America's new town square. (WalMart sells pitchforks and patio torches.)

    Did the Russians make Hillary Clinton look bad? Or did Hillary Clinton manage to do that herself? The NSA propaganda was designed as a smokescreen to conceal the veracity of the Wikileaks releases. Whoever actually rooted out the DNC and Podesta emails for Wikileaks ought to get the Pulitizer Prize for the outstanding public service of disclosing exactly how dishonest the Hillary operation was.

    The story may have climaxed with Trump's Friday NSA briefing, the heads of the various top intel agencies all assembled in one room to emphasize the solemn authority of the Deep State's power. Trump worked a nice piece of ju-jitsu afterward, pretending to accept the finding as briefly and hollowly as possible and promising to "look into the matter" after January 20 th - when he can tear a new asshole in the NSA. I hope he does. This hulking security apparatus has become a menace to the Republic.

    Whether Trump himself is a menace to the Republic remains to be seen. Certainly he is the designated bag-holder for all the economic and financial depravity of several preceding administrations. When the markets blow, do you suppose the Russians will be blamed for that? Did Boris Yeltsin repeal the Glass-Steagall Act? Was Ben Bernanke a puppet of Putin? No, these actions and actors were homegrown American. For more than thirty years, we've been borrowing too much money so we can pretend to afford living in a blue-light-special demolition derby. And now we can't do that anymore. The physics of capital will finally assert itself.

    What we're actually seeing in the current ceremonial between the incoming Trump and the outgoing Obama is the smoldering wreckage of the Democratic Party (which I'm still unhappily enrolled in), and flames spreading into the Republican party - as idiots such as Lindsey Graham and John McCain beat their war drums against Russia. The suave Mr. Obama is exiting the scene on a low wave of hysteria and the oafish Trump rolls in on the cloudscape above, tweeting his tweets from on high, and perhaps it's a good thing that the American people for the moment cannot tell exactly what the fuck is going on in this country, because from that dismal place there is nowhere to go but in the direction of clarity.

    ... ... ...

    [Feb 12, 2017] Austerity The History of a Dangerous Idea

    See also Mark Blyth--"Liberalisms' great trick has been to naturalize very difficult political contests."
    Feb 12, 2017 | www.amazon.com

    Selected as a Financial Times Best Book of 2013

    Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts--austerity--to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer.

    That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy. In the worst case, austerity policies worsened the Great Depression and created the conditions for seizures of power by the forces responsible for the Second World War: the Nazis and the Japanese military establishment. As Blyth amply demonstrates, the arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin. Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality. Austerity demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.

    Metallurgist TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 20, 2013 Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )

    An interesting Keynesian view of the current EU austerity programs

    " I found this to be a very interesting and thought provoking book. The author makes his viewpoint very clear with the book's subtitle "The History of a Dangerous Idea". The essence of the author's argument is that austerity is unfair because it makes workers pay for the mistakes of banks, and even more importantly, dangerous because it does not lead to prosperity, but only to decreased economic growth and increased unemployment. This thesis is backed up by an analysis of the banking crisis of 2008, how it spread from the US to the EU, why the single currency Euro has made the problem worse for the EU and why using austerity to solve the problems will not work. It also discusses the history of the idea of austerity, both in terms of the economic theory that promotes it and the economic history that does not. Conservatives, who find Keynesian economics to be not only wrong, but also the road to economic ruin, will likely be turned off by the book's subtitle and many of the arguments that Professor Blyth utilizes. However, there is a lot of data in this book that they should look at, if only to criticize it. I found this book very enlightening and while I do not agree with all of Professor Blyth's ideas (particularly those of the last chapter), I learned a lot, so for me it was 5-stars.

    What is in the book?
    The book is divided into 7 chapters, which cover the following:

    Chapter 1 - A Primer on Austerity. This is a short chapter that summarizes the main thesis of the book (mentioned above), and sets the stage for the more detailed discussions in subsequent chapters.

    Chapter 2 - America: To Big to Fail? This is an excellent chapter that summarizes the origins and unfolding of the 2008-banking crisis in the US. This is a very complicated story, which Professor Blyth tells in a clear manner. The story revolves around repurchase agreements (Repos), mortgage backed securities (MBS), collateralized debt obligations (CDO), credit default swaps (CDS), and how all these interacted in a climate of deregulation to produce the crisis. Professor Blyth does a good job of explaining these terms and how the interaction worked.

    Chapter 3 - Europe: Too Big to Bail? This is another very illuminating chapter. It shows how Europe, which first believed it was not going to be affected by the US banking crisis, became a major casualty of it and their own internal banking problems. All these factors were compounded by the single currency Euro, which has removed devaluation as a solution to the crisis, instead fostering the idea that governmental austerity was the only way to correct a problem produced by the private banking sector.

    Chapter 4 - Intellectual History of a Dangerous Idea 1692-1942. This chapter goes back to the writings of John Locke, David Hume and Adam Smith to see how the idea of austerity developed. It also covers the idea in the early 20th century and the development of anti-austerity Keynesian economic theory. It is a nice primer on classical economic ideas.

    Chapter 5 - Intellectual History of a Dangerous Idea 1942-2012. This chapter carries the story of the idea of austerity into the present time. It shows how the idea of austerity, discredited by the Great Depression and the success of the Keynesian solution (although conservatives would argue these successes were illusory and set the stage for future economic problems), has been resurrected by economists writing in the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st.

    Chapter 6. Austerity's Natural History 1914-2012. Blyth presents a lot of data that shows that, contrary to the theories presented in the previous chapter, austerity has not worked in practice. Much of the chapter is spent it refuting the writings of several economists that say that the recent historical data does support the idea. Blyth contends that in general it does not and if is does in a few cases it either does not when all the data is considered, or worked only marginally under a very limited set of conditions.

    Chapter 7 - The End of Banking, New Tales and a Taxing Time Ahead. This is a very short eleven-page chapter, but perhaps the most controversial on in the book. Blyth, initially a supporter of bank bailouts as absolutely necessary to prevent a complete collapse of the banking system and with it the whole capitalist economic system and with it democratic society as a whole, now questions whether in might not have been better to let the banks fail. He cites the case of Iceland where the banks were allowed to fail and society has recovered. This was done by making the bank's creditors bear the cost of failure, instead of all of Iceland's citizens. He notes that most of this loss was borne by foreign creditors of a very small country, whose banking system was an immense part of the country's economy, but was small compared to the economies of the US or the EU. Unfortunately, he fails to say how a banking collapse in the US or EU could be handled when the systems are huge compared to Iceland's and where the creditors are largely internal. He does not explain how the failure of these huge banking systems, with their internal creditors, would not result in the scenario he originally envisioned. I found this analysis to be poor and not in keeping with the thoroughness of the rest of the book. Blyth also floats the idea of huge tax increases, either through a one-time tax on assets or a very large increase in higher bracket tax rates. Conservatives, and many not quite so conservative, will likely blanch at these ideas. There is no discussion of the political difficulties of doing this or very much development of the idea, which is contained in only the last four pages of the book.

    David Lindsay on September 25, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    Brilliant Overview

    " Mark Blyth is a professor at Brown University and he explains why austerity doesn't work. He points out that whenever austerity has been tried in the past it has usually proven to be disastrous. What its supporters often seem to forget is that one person's spending is another's income and demand in the economy would collapse if everyone stopped spending. The book is a sobering read because Blyth is not optimistic about the future. However, the book is well written and is often funny.

    Blyth shows that the case for austerity does not add up. The US did not pursue austerity during the recession and its economy has been growing. US GDP is 10% higher than it was in 2007. The EU has pursued austerity with vigor, but GDP in the euro zone is still lower than it was in 2007. Blyth shows that countries that cut the most have had lower rates of growth. Blyth claims that all the countries that cut public spending in response to the financial crises had significantly more debt in 2012 than when they started. For example, Ireland's debt to GDP ratio more than quadrupled, from 24.8% in 2007 to 106.4% in 2012. The other problem is that austerity increased unemployment. Throughout southern Europe, unemployment has been at levels not seen since the Great Depression. It is still over 20% in Spain and Greece. As a result of cutting public expenditure Greece's GDP dropped by 30% in four years. There is no evidence that austerity improves growth.

    Blyth spends a lot of time trashing the pro-austerity thinking that took place in Europe. Germany is driving economic policy for the euro zone and they have never believed in Keynesian economics. Keynes advised that austerity was a bad idea during a recession. German politicians seem to believe that all nations could have trade surpluses if only they tried hard enough, despite the fact that it is impossible for all countries to have a surplus. Only one European country can be Germany. The Germans have often advocated the sort of solutions that failed in the 1930s. They argue that budget deficits and government debt have to be kept under strict control. The Maastricht Treaty, which established the EU, required that national debt should not exceed 60% of GDP and the deficit should not exceed 3.0%. Entry to the euro also requires a budget deficit of 3.0%.

    Blyth points out that when you have a deficit, you can either raise taxes or cut spending to fill the gap. The British government of David Cameron favored the latter in 2010. The British deficit had reached 10% in 2010. However, UK government debt went up, not down, despite the cuts, from 52.3% of GDP in 2009 to 90.7% in 2013. The same pattern was repeated throughout the euro zone. Cutting public expenditure shrank the underlying economy.

    The German argument is that running large deficits increases the risk of high inflation. Blyth points out that the Germans have selective amnesia about their past. It was the Wall Street Crash in 1929 not hyper-inflation in 1924 that led to Hitler. Before the crash, 1.25 million people were unemployed in Germany. Hitler was an accidental Keynesian and by 1937 German unemployment had fallen from six million to one million. Unfortunately, much of his spending involved preparing for war. Blyth argues that Germany's continuing insistence on austerity is the biggest threat to the euro zone.

    According to Blyth, the current version of the austerity argument was created by a group of Italian economists, originating from Bocconi University, in Milan. He explains why their arguments are deeply flawed. Blyth argues that, apart from Greece, public sector debt in the euro zone countries was not out of control before the financial crises. Blyth rubbishes the theory of "expansionary austerity," that cutting spending will lead to higher economic growth. The "austerians" believed that large spending cuts would be followed by expansion rather than contraction. The reason, they suggested, was that decisive fiscal austerity created confidence in the private sector. Keynesians agreed that insufficient private spending was the cause of the problem, but only governments could stimulate demand on the scale needed. Austerity failed to stimulate demand in Europe. Blyth also argues that everybody cannot cut their way to growth at the same time. The IMF once went along with austerity but it has recently concluded that austerity has had major adverse economic effects.

    Blyth is worried that inequality could become a serious problem in the US. The 400 richest Americans own more assets than the poorest 150 million. He argues that both major parties have written off the bottom 30% of society. He claims that the American working class has not had a pay rise since 1979, and globalization has failed them. He believes this explains the anger behind the Trump phenomenon. Blyth points out that rich Americans and the country's biggest companies are reluctant to pay tax, so government borrowing has had to go up. Blyth claims that he pays more tax than GE.

    Blyth is critical of Republicans who advocated austerity. Republicans in the US also favored balancing the budget and cutting taxes. Keynesians, like Paul Krugman, argued that this is what Herbert Hoover tried to do in the early 1930s and the result was a 25% unemployment rate. Obama inherited an 11.4% budget deficit in 2009. The Republicans wanted to cut government expenditure but Blyth argues the reason the US has recovered faster than Europe is because it cut less. He makes it clear that it is poorer people who usually rely on government services to make ends meet that are the hardest hit when public expenditure is cut. He believes that the rich and corporate America need to start paying more tax. He also argues that the US government should probably have let its banks go bankrupt – as the Icelandic government did – rather than bail them out.

    Blyth reminds us that 2008 was a private sector crisis. The debts of the banks landed on the balance sheet of the public sector through bank bailouts and quantitative easing. In other words, taxpayers bailed out the bankers. He calls this the "greatest bait-and-switch in modern history." The EU is imposing austerity on southern Europe and dismantling the welfare state in Greece in order to protect German banks that made stupid decisions.

    Blyth in recent interviews has argued that the EU may have a sinister agenda and it really wants to drag wages in Western Europe down to East European levels so that it can better compete with China. I assumed this must be an exaggeration but it might not be. The Guardian mapped labor costs across the euro zone from 1999 to 2013. What they found is that German workers have barely seen wages rise for that 14-year stretch, despite Germany having massive trade surpluses. We could be in for real trouble.

    Fang on September 27, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    The Richness of Austerity

    " Mark Blyth tries to convey a simple message: austerity simply does not work. Defining austerity as "voluntary deflation in which the economy adjusts through the reduction of wages, prices and public spending to restore competitiveness .best achieved by cutting the state's budget, debts and deficits" (p.2), Blyth argued that austerity's fallacies lies in the impossibility of having everybody to be thrift at the same time and the cyclical nature of debt (pp.7 and 12).

    Blyth also suggests that austerity efforts unevenly hurt the lower strata of societies (p.8), and conflates debt and financialization problems in private sector (primarily referring to bank and financial institutions) into state (sovereign) issues (p.6 and p.23). In the first three chapters, Blyth strives to demonstrate that the financial and economic turmoil since 2008 is largely a crisis of financialization, lack of regulation, slow growth and imbalance between monetary policy and final creditor of printing press (in the case of Europe), not that of austerity (save the marginal case of Greece). Blyth argues that it is a mentality of treating these crises as endogenous and private actors as "rational" that underlay the bad policy choices in America and Europe (pp.91-93).

    In chapters 4 through 6, Blyth provides an intellectual and practical history of austerity. It is suggested that a spirit of thrift and aversion towards state and state spending runs through the vein of economic liberalism, ranging from classical liberalism to neoclassical economics and to the Austrian school. In more contemporary era, it is public choice theory, neoliberalism and Milton Friedman's monetarism that carries this tradition forward to construct a pro-market and private-sector-favoring package that turns public spending into a corporate calculation of costs and benefits. Blyth goes on to illustrate the history of austerity in practice, arguing that it is usually the Keynesian expansionary policies that couple austerity that reinvigorated economy amid crises; austerity, carried out on its own, constitutes massive redistribution consequences.

    Blyth obviously attempts to engage as wide an audience as possible in the public intellectual realm. As much as he is successful in his empirical chapters, Blyth appears to fight a deflationary economic policy with his own inflationary writing strategy. From chapters 4 to 5, he constantly conflates the moral teaching of thrift and financial prudence from Adam Smith to avoidance of debt, the Ordoliberalism's quest for order and proper state function to aversion of democratic politics, the methodological insights of public choice to a general fear of bureaucracy and government, and so on. These inflations, while sometimes credited, are bound to subject to scrutiny and questions.

    Moreover, by glossing over the details of this rich intellectual history, Blyth dodges some key questions that his empirical chapters also fail to articulate: what is the distinction between private and public debt, and personal thrift and public austerity, when we talk about austerity, and how significant is it? How does this distinction play out in more classical economic philosophy?

    And amid crisis, who should be considered the "ultimate creditor" or "final guarantor" of debt (and money)? There questions certainly exceeds the scope and intention of Blyth's book, but they should be instrumental in deepening our understanding of austerity.

    [Feb 12, 2017] How to Use rsync to Synchronize Files Between Servers Linux Server Training 101

    Feb 12, 2017 | www.youtube.com
    soundtraining.net

    Keith Pawson 2 years ago

    Great demonstration and very easy to follow Don! Just a note to anyone who might come across this and start using it in production based systems is that you certainly would not want to be rsyncing with root accounts. In addition you would use key based auth with SSH as an additional layer of security. Just my 2cents ;-) curtis shaw 11 months ago Best rsync tutorial on the web. Thanks.

    [Feb 12, 2017] T he british welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the scandinavian social model are not replacements for capitalism. They are forms of capitalism

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    yuan -> Jim Harrison ... , February 10, 2017 at 12:34 PM
    "Does anybody around here have anything useful to suggest"
    both demonstration and general strikes are powerful ways to express popular outrage. one is planned on for the 17th (too soon) and another more organized one is being planned for march.

    http://f17strike.com/

    "but you have no more of an idea of a global replacement for capitalism"


    so the british welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the scandinavian social model are unpossible pipe dreams because...

    Jim Harrison -> yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 01:46 PM
    "the british welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the scandinavian social model are" not replacements for capitalism. They are forms of capitalism. And the sorts of policies that go with these versions of conventional social democracy are...pretty much the platform articles that Clinton ran on. Which is the serious reason the American right despised Hillary. They, at least, didn't have any trouble telling the candidates apart.

    There are two problems with storming the Winter Palace. First, you won't have a decisive majority of Americans behind you. Second, you have no idea what you'd do if somehow did seize the Winter Palace. You could conceivably solve the first problem by going balls out demagogue a la Hugo Chavez; but, like Chavez, you'd have to dispense with democracy to keep power because you have no solution to the second problem. For my money, a decent social democracy-universal healthy care, more progressive taxes, a higher minimum wage, more affordable college education, etc.- is plenty hard enough to secure.

    yuan -> Jim Harrison ... , February 10, 2017 at 04:50 PM
    "They are forms of capitalism."

    Before the long-decline began in the 70s, a large fraction of the UK's economic activity was chartered, regulated, and/or managed for the people. That's not capitalism, by definition. (Socialism was a market/trade-based system at its inception. The tendencies with alternative economic models came later.)

    Some history:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clause_IV

    And Corbyn has returned labor to its socialist roots: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-to-bring-back-clause-four-contender-pledges-to-bury-new-labour-with-commitment-to-10446982.html


    "And the sorts of policies that go with these versions of conventional social democracy are...pretty much the platform articles that Clinton ran on."


    I guess I missed Clinton advocating for the nationalization of health care, education, energy production, and transportation.

    And the "welfare state" has little to do with "social democracy" (whatever that recent nonsense phrase means), all of them were developed by socialist movements.

    [Feb 12, 2017] An Alleged Muslim Spy Ring - Is This Why Rex Tillerson Cleaned House

    Feb 12, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    kavlar , Feb 11, 2017 10:27 PM

    What about this SPY RING?

    "I want Netanyahu to begin telling the truth, what the involvement of Israel was in 9/11. Over 134 Mossad operatives were picked up on 9/11. The FBI picked them up [and] debriefed them." - Dr. Steve Pieczenik, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

    nmewn -> Arnold , Feb 12, 2017 6:00 AM

    As I understand it, these "IT experts" also worked on Debbie Wassername-Schultz's computers. Oh no nmewn, what the hell can you possibly be thinking?! Clearly, beyond any shadow of a doubt... The Russians did it! ;-)

    nmewn -> Arnold , Feb 12, 2017 7:00 AM

    They are definitely trying to quash this one as it goes against most (if not all) false narratives they've created for public consumption.

  • False Narrative: Hillary was the more competent candidate! - No, she purposely setup & ran an unsecured personal network and used it for government business.
  • False Narrative: The Russians hacked the DNC! - No, according to the dims own sources a phishing email was clicked on that could have been sent by anyone.
  • ... ... ...

    WeekendAtBernankes -> ThanksChump , Feb 12, 2017 10:42 AM

    Oldest brother had two years of experience getting paid 157k/yr. Median salary for IT Admin in Congress: 50k. He was highest paid person of all his (Democrat) Rep's staffers, including her Chief of Staff. The question is how and why? Were they all employed as a political favor in return for a large donation from anyone in particular? This should be investigated further.

    http://congressional-staff.insidegov.com/l/43573/Jamal-M-Awan

    Mementoil -> kavlar , Feb 12, 2017 7:07 AM

    So... an Islamic spy ring is allegedly acting at the highest echelons of the federal government, and "American" commentators on ZH are hammering about Israel??? I'm calling bluff on you guys.

    You are not American patriots, and you don't belong to the right.

    You are a bunch of paid shills, working to white wash Islamic Jihad and obfuscate the ongoing war which Islam is waging against the west:

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/132010/arab-nations-hire-10-new-pr-agenc...

    Fathead Slim -> Mementoil , Feb 12, 2017 8:07 AM

    Oy vey, Avi. You came out and blew your cover after only 9 weeks? That was really dumb of you.

    Mementoil -> Fathead Slim , Feb 12, 2017 11:03 AM

    I don't have any "cover". I have already announced openly that I'm an Israeli. So what? I still seem to care about American interests more than most people in this forum.

    Kayman -> finametrics , Feb 12, 2017 10:59 AM

    Today's Israel exists on a foundation of Western guilt about German's murdering Jews in WWII.

    As time has passed Israel has become what the Germans were. And for the most part, they are blind to that fact.

    groaner -> kavlar , Feb 12, 2017 10:04 AM

    I think a lot of stuff on 9/11 towers is misdirection.. This is the best examination of the evidence that disproves and eliminates a lot of what we think we know!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vadSaWyiozg&t=82s

    [Feb 12, 2017] US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016 are close to five trillioins

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    ken melvin : , February 10, 2017 at 07:43 AM

    The FBI overheard The over reaction to 9/11, greatly abetted by the media, marked the beginning of this slide into Stasi-land. The associated paranoia has led to the likes of Trump and this goofy arsed Congress. We now have governance based not on reality, but on paranoia; on evidence free facts, on convenient facts, on alternative facts, to each of us our own facts. I've seen no accounting of the economic and social costs of this paranoia, but am certain they exceed the damage of 9/11 by orders of many magnitude.

    Are these symptoms of America's undeniable demise? How do we turn the ship of state around? This precedent set by the election of Trump, how does the nation remove the stain? Can we avoid the continuance into despotism, authoritarianism?

    anne -> anne... , February 10, 2017 at 08:29 AM
    http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf

    September, 2016

    US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016: $4.79 Trillion and Counting
    Summary of Costs of the US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Homeland Security
    By Neta C. Crawford

    Summary

    Wars cost money before, during and after they occur - as governments prepare for, wage, and recover from them by replacing equipment, caring for the wounded and repairing the infrastructure destroyed in the fighting. Although it is rare to have a precise accounting of the costs of war - especially of long wars - one can get a sense of the rough scale of the costs by surveying the major categories of spending.

    As of August 2016, the US has already appropriated, spent, or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and on Homeland Security (2001 through fiscal year 2016). To this total should be added the approximately $65 billion in dedicated war spending the Department of Defense and State Department have requested for the next fiscal year, 2017, along with an additional nearly $32 billion requested for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, and estimated spending on veterans in future years. When those are included, the total US budgetary cost of the wars reaches $4.79 trillion....

    ilsm -> anne... , February 10, 2017 at 04:52 PM
    The pentagon and congress are spending the US to disarmament.

    While congress spent $4.8T directly on the wars they spent at least $9T more on the usual stuff for the military industry complex troughers.

    pk's observation about a shoot out with a small PLA Navy unit made me laugh.

    In one of those China would be in complete control!

    anne -> anne... , February 10, 2017 at 08:39 AM
    America has been continually at war since 2001, at war under 2 presidents, at war in a range of countries that were in no way connected to the attack on America and did not threaten America. Tensions were building even with Russia and China. We have now the possibility of ending our warring or working to mutual advantage with China and Russia, which will be to the advantage of many countries.

    China and America have just moved to the forming of a new mutually beneficial partnership. I find reason to be hopeful.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Instead of the endless perception management or strategic communication or psychological operations or whatever the new code words are, you could open up the files regarding key turning-point moments and share the facts with the citizens

    Notable quotes:
    "... This bizarre feature of Trump's executive order shows how deep Official Washington's dysfunction goes. Trump has picked a major constitutional battle over a travel ban that targets the wrong countries. ..."
    "... But there's a reason for this dysfunction: No one in Official Washington can speak the truth about terrorism without suffering severe political damage or getting blacklisted by the mainstream media. Since the truth puts Israel and especially Saudi Arabia in an uncomfortable position, the truth cannot be spoken. ..."
    "... There was some hope that President Trump – for all his irascibility and unpredictability – might break from the absurd "Iran is the principal source of terrorism" mantra. But so far he has not. Nor has Trump moved to throw open the files on the Syrian and Ukraine conflicts so Americans can assess how the Obama administration sought to manipulate them into supporting these "regime change" adventures. ..."
    "... But Trump has resisted intense pressure to again entrust U.S. foreign policy to the neoconservatives, a number of whom lost their jobs when President Obama left office, perhaps most significantly Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who helped orchestrate the violent overthrow of Ukraine's elected president and is an architect of the New Cold War with Russia. ..."
    "... Other neocons who angled for jobs in the new administration, including John Bolton and James Woolsey, have failed to land them. Currently, there is pressure to ensconce Elliott Abrams, a top neocon dating back to the Reagan administration, in the key post of Deputy Secretary of State but that idea, too, has met resistance. ..."
    "... The neocon threat to Trump's stated intent of restoring some geopolitical realism to U.S. foreign policy is that the neocons operate almost as an ideological cabal linked often in a subterranean fashion – or as I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's neocon chief of staff, once wrote in a cryptic letter to neocon journalist Judith Miller that aspen trees "turn in clusters, because their roots connect them." ..."
    "... What is less clear is whether Trump, Tillerson and his fledgling State Department team have the intellectual heft to understand why U.S. foreign policy has drifted into the chaos and conflicts that now surround it – and whether they have the skill to navigate a route toward a safe harbor. ..."
    "... My first concern, however, is the USA predilection for 'regime change" wars - and for that I blame the neocons. ..."
    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    RGC : February 10, 2017 at 06:44 AM

    If you wanted to bring sanity to a U.S. foreign policy that has spun crazily out of control, there would be some immediate steps that you – or, say, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – could take, starting with a renewed commitment to tell the truth to the American people.

    Instead of the endless "perception management" or "strategic communication" or "psychological operations" or whatever the new code words are, you could open up the files regarding key turning-point moments and share the facts with the citizens – the "We the People" – who are supposed to be America's true sovereigns.

    For instance, you could release what the U.S. government actually knows about the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria; what the files show about the origins of the Feb. 22, 2014 coup in Ukraine; what U.S. intelligence analysts have compiled about the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. And those are just three examples of cases where U.S. government propagandists have sold a dubious bill of goods to the American and world publics in the "information warfare" campaign against the Syrian and Russian governments.

    If you wanted to base U.S. foreign policy on the firm foundation of reality, you also could let the American people in on who is actually the principal sponsor of the terrorism that they're concerned about: Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Taliban – all Sunni-led outfits, none of which are backed by Shiite-ruled Iran. Yet, all we hear from Official Washington's political and media insiders is that Iran is the chief sponsor of terrorism.

    Of course, that is what Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Israel want you to believe because it serves their regional and sectarian interests, but it isn't true. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are the ones arming and financing Al Qaeda and Islamic State with Israel occasionally bombing Al Qaeda's military enemies inside Syria and providing medical support for Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate operating near the Golan Heights.

    The reason for this unsavory network of alliances is that Israel, like Saudi Arabia and the Sunni-led Gulf states, sees Iran and the so-called "Shiite crescent" – from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut – as their principal problem. And because of the oil sheiks' financial wealth and Israel's political clout, they control how pretty much everyone in Official Washington's establishment views the Middle East.

    But the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are not in line with the interests of the American people – nor the average European – who are not concerned about militant Shiites as much as militant Sunnis. After all, the worst terror attacks on Europe and the U.S. have come from Sunni extremists belonging to or inspired by Al Qaeda and Islamic State.

    This gap between the reality of Sunni-extremist terrorism and the fantasy of Official Washington's "group think" fingering Shiite-ruled Iran explains the cognitive dissonance over President Trump's travel ban on people from seven mostly Muslim countries. Beyond the offensive anti-Muslim prejudice, there is the fact that he ignored the countries that produced the terrorists who have attacked the U.S., including the 9/11 hijackers.

    This bizarre feature of Trump's executive order shows how deep Official Washington's dysfunction goes. Trump has picked a major constitutional battle over a travel ban that targets the wrong countries.

    But there's a reason for this dysfunction: No one in Official Washington can speak the truth about terrorism without suffering severe political damage or getting blacklisted by the mainstream media. Since the truth puts Israel and especially Saudi Arabia in an uncomfortable position, the truth cannot be spoken.

    There was some hope that President Trump – for all his irascibility and unpredictability – might break from the absurd "Iran is the principal source of terrorism" mantra. But so far he has not. Nor has Trump moved to throw open the files on the Syrian and Ukraine conflicts so Americans can assess how the Obama administration sought to manipulate them into supporting these "regime change" adventures.

    But Trump has resisted intense pressure to again entrust U.S. foreign policy to the neoconservatives, a number of whom lost their jobs when President Obama left office, perhaps most significantly Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who helped orchestrate the violent overthrow of Ukraine's elected president and is an architect of the New Cold War with Russia.

    Other neocons who angled for jobs in the new administration, including John Bolton and James Woolsey, have failed to land them. Currently, there is pressure to ensconce Elliott Abrams, a top neocon dating back to the Reagan administration, in the key post of Deputy Secretary of State but that idea, too, has met resistance.

    The neocon threat to Trump's stated intent of restoring some geopolitical realism to U.S. foreign policy is that the neocons operate almost as an ideological cabal linked often in a subterranean fashion – or as I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's neocon chief of staff, once wrote in a cryptic letter to neocon journalist Judith Miller that aspen trees "turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

    In other words, if one neocon is given a key job, other neocons can be expected to follow. Then, any Trump deviation from neocon orthodoxy would be undermined in the classic Washington tradition of strategic leaking to powerful media and congressional allies.

    So far, the Trump inner circle has shown the administrative savvy to avoid bringing in ideologues who would dedicate their efforts to thwarting any significant change in U.S. geopolitical directions.

    What is less clear is whether Trump, Tillerson and his fledgling State Department team have the intellectual heft to understand why U.S. foreign policy has drifted into the chaos and conflicts that now surround it – and whether they have the skill to navigate a route toward a safe harbor.

    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/09/trumps-foreign-policy-at-a-crossroads/

    Julio -> RGC... , February 10, 2017 at 09:04 AM
    Very good analysis.
    The first and obvious question about the ban is "why isn't Saudi Arabia included"? As the article shows, this question unravels this (Trump's) current version of dysfunctional foreign policy based on misleading the public.
    RGC -> Julio ... , February 10, 2017 at 09:43 AM
    Yes, Trump seems to want to act directly but he also seems to often be off-target.

    My first concern, however, is the USA predilection for 'regime change" wars - and for that I blame the neocons.

    sanjait said in reply to RGC... , February 10, 2017 at 10:56 AM
    I am all for transparency but very strongly opposed to asinine conspiracy theories.
    RGC -> sanjait... , February 10, 2017 at 11:29 AM
    Why should anyone care? Maybe you should actually learn something about a topic before you comment on it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American

    [Feb 12, 2017] The neocon godfather Leo Strauss would be proud as king of bait and switch Obama promoting lying to people telling them what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected as an official Democratic Party policy

    Notable quotes:
    "... Obama: "[O]ne of the issues that Democrats have to be clear on is that given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere." Throwing Clinton under the bus ..."
    "... I yelled at the radio after hearing this, because he means just showing up, telling people what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected. Not one word about actually meeting peoples needs. EFF OBAMA and the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!! ..."
    "... If you didn't read this (linked yesterday), you should consider both reading and sharing far and wide. The entire system is designed to be anti-representative. Don't just get/stay mad, quit expecting a bunch of gangsters to function democratically. Get out of their box. ..."
    Feb 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    mk , November 16, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Where the Democrats went wrong CNBC.

    Obama: "[O]ne of the issues that Democrats have to be clear on is that given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere." Throwing Clinton under the bus
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I yelled at the radio after hearing this, because he means just showing up, telling people what they want to hear, then doing whatever the hell you want after getting elected. Not one word about actually meeting peoples needs. EFF OBAMA and the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!!

    Eureka Springs , November 16, 2016 at 8:21 am

    If you didn't read this (linked yesterday), you should consider both reading and sharing far and wide. The entire system is designed to be anti-representative. Don't just get/stay mad, quit expecting a bunch of gangsters to function democratically. Get out of their box.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Reply

    Feb 12, 2017 | onclick="TPConnect.blogside.reply('6a00d83451b33869e201b8d25ed1c1970c'); return false;" href="javascript:void 0">
    Friday, February 10, 2017 at 11:12 AM Peter K. said in reply to sanjait... Many of us were warning that Hillary's $275 billion in infrastructure over 5 years wasn't enough.

    Now we have Trump.

    Thanks a lot.
    Reply Friday, February 10, 2017 at 12:09 PM pgl said in reply to Peter K.... I'm disappointed that you did not add your insight of the decade - calling him a stupid little troll. For the record - I don't like yuan. He actually writes reasoned comments rather calling people "stupid little trolls". Snicker. T here is no liberals in the USA per se. Most are in reality neoliberals and as such are the part of the right, if we define right as those who want to increase the power of capital vs. labor.

    Reply Friday, February 10, 2017 at 01:07 PM Yikes said in reply to Peter K.... This is actually a good point. If only Hillary had made extravagant unkeepable promises she could have duped more people like you into voting for her. Reply Friday, February 10, 2017 at 01:58 PM ilsm said in reply to Yikes... The DNC and HRC thought they had the needed number of dupes, PeterK was not needed! Reply Friday, February 10, 2017 at 04:55 PM libezkova said in reply to Yikes... No. the train left the station. Obama was a sellout who used to speak right things and did completely opposite to please his sponsors.

    Now the majority of the people do not believe anything coming from two major parties. The proper term is alienated. That's why Trump. Reply Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 06:02 AM libezkova said in reply to sanjait... Sanjait,

    The problem with your views is that there is no liberals in the USA per se. Most are in reality neoliberals and as such are the part of the right, if we define right as those who want to increase the power of capital vs. labor.

    This flavor of democracy for top 1% the they promote (one dollar one vote) should be property called "oligarchy" or at best "polyarchy" (the power of the top 10%).

    The rest (aka "Debt slaves") are second class 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"). In a way US election is the ultimate form of "bait and switch" maneuvers of 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. Reply Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 11:30 AM

    [Feb 12, 2017] Brexit and maybe even Trump's victory say something about the arrogance of the neoliberal elite.

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Ed Brown -> Jerry Brown... February 11, 2017 at 08:00 AM , 2017 at 08:00 AM
    Personally, I found the ProMarket link ( We Are Arrogant - We hold On to Our Old Beliefs on Trade"- ProMarket ) to be more interesting than the Noah Smith article ( Still Seeking Growth From Tax Cuts and Union Busting - Noah Smith ). At least the last few paragraphs of the ProMarket link were worth reading. I expected to see some good discussion on this part today:

    BY: Right. Brexit and maybe even Trump's victory say something about the arrogance of the elite.

    Bankers say that free trade should prevail. Even we, academics-how many of us are actually looking into distribution and redistribution? Few. We're still spending time on writing dynamic models to talk about the gains of trade.

    Even if old-fashioned free trade is correct, the speed of adjustment is very important. We know that rapid adjustment is no good. How many of us ask ourselves what should be the adjustment in trade? We rarely talk about that.

    The world may have changed. I gave you my conjecture. But we are also arrogant. We hold on to our old beliefs on the gains of trade.

    ----
    Very Dani Rodrick, I thought. Interesting stuff.

    Ed Brown -> Ed Brown... , February 11, 2017 at 08:12 AM
    Also, this is something that I think you'll like. I have not read all of it yet but here is the link and an excerpt: http://evonomics.com/time-new-economic-thinking-based-best-science-available-not-ideology/
    "Some will cling on to the idea that the consensus can be revived. They will say we just need to defend it more vigorously, the facts will eventually prevail, the populist wave is exaggerated, it's really just about immigration, Brexit will be a compromise, Clinton won more votes than Trump, and so on. But this is wishful thinking. Large swathes of the electorate have lost faith in the neoliberal consensus, the political parties that backed it, and the institutions that promoted it. This has created an ideological vacuum being filled by bad old ideas, most notably a revival of nationalism in the US and a number of European countries, as well as a revival of the hard socialist left in some countries."

    I think Peter K has been making similar points for a long time now. Interesting stuff.

    Chris Lowery -> Ed Brown... , February 11, 2017 at 09:02 AM
    Consensus among whom? The economic-political elite? Maybe; but certainly not among the general electorate. Most voters were voting for parties out of habit, or on cultural issues (for or against diversity and civil rights), or bread & butter economic issues ("the Republicans will cut my taxes and the regulation of my business" versus "the Democrats will preserve my Medicare and Social Security"). I don't think most voters had/have any clue of what neoliberalism is.
    Ed Brown -> Chris Lowery ... , February 11, 2017 at 09:58 AM
    Well, you raise an excellent point. I don't have a solid rejoinder but I will note that if even 5% of the electorate changes its mind an election result can flip one way or the other. But, yes, I agree with you that most voters are not selecting a candidate based on which candidate's economic philosophy is most closely aligned with theirs. Still, especially in the primaries, where the voters are a different population than the general, it could make a difference. I would argue that it was just this difference that made Sanders surprisingly popular among the Democratic primary voters.
    Chris Lowery -> Ed Brown... , February 11, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Agreed.

    Sent from my iPad

    Peter K. -> Chris Lowery ... , February 11, 2017 at 10:14 AM
    doesn't explain the primaries where Trump beat Jeb and Cruz and where Sanders, a fringe candidate did so well.

    Most people don't bother to vote.

    Chris Lowery -> Peter K.... , February 11, 2017 at 10:43 AM
    The question is to what extent people were voting FOR a candidate, as AGAINST a candidate or the status quo. That's the only point I was trying to make.

    Most voters have neither the time, energy, inclination, or knowledge base to delve into the issues to make an informed decision on which candidate/platform most reflects their values and aspirations. They subcontract out that vetting of individual candidates to parties that they believe are broadly reflective of their views.

    This past general election, and its preceding primaries, was the result of a broad revolt against the candidates anointed by the parties' elites, indicating deep dissatisfaction with the status quo.

    Just my two cents...

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Chris Lowery ... , February 11, 2017 at 01:48 PM
    Totally. And I still concur with those dissatisfied voters' sentiments, but not the veracity of their results.
    Peter K. -> Ed Brown... , February 11, 2017 at 09:23 AM
    "I think Peter K has been making similar points for a long time now. Interesting stuff."

    Yes I liked the as well.

    Luigi Zingales is a member of the editorial board for Pro Market and he had some piece published in the New York Times about economics and politics (specifically Italian I think).

    He was the first I read who compared Trump with Silvio Berlusconi. Zingales discussed how Berlusconi was brought down, by being treated as an ordinary conservative politician. Perhaps the same will work with Trump.

    Peter K. -> Peter K.... , February 11, 2017 at 09:23 AM
    "Yes I liked the link as well."
    Jerry Brown -> Ed Brown... , February 11, 2017 at 11:38 AM
    Yes, I had read the evonomics piece and thought it was good. Thanks. Eric Beinhocker makes some good points. I liked his optimism as far as some forms of populism were concerned, and had a slight hope that Donald Trump might turn into a Theodore Roosevelt type of populist. That hope has disappeared completely and now we face the realization that we are truly completely screwed.
    Peter K. -> Jerry Brown... , February 11, 2017 at 01:06 PM
    I didn't have any hope that Trump would be a good populist.
    Jerry Brown -> Peter K.... , February 11, 2017 at 01:14 PM
    Well I try to be an optimist but that has not worked out. You were correct of course.
    Choco Bell -> Ed Brown... , February 12, 2017 at 07:50 AM
    asymmetric information, and the recent illuminating example of Wells Fargo's excellence in pushing products that customers did not want nor need.

    BY: Some financial "innovation" is faddish. It does not create value.

    GR: Approximately 9 percent of U.S. GDP is finance. Some economists argue that probably 3-5 percent is useful for allocating capital, storing value, smoothing consumptions, and creating competition, and the rest is preying on asymmetric information
    "
    ~~Guy Roinik~

    Do you see how this asymmetric information plays out?

    It is the retail vendor who keeps better information than the retail customer. It is the vendor's expectations of disinflation vs inflation rather than the customer's expectations that control the change in M2V. Got it?

    When vendor expects deflation he dumps inventory, but when he expects inflation he holds on to inventory as he waits for higher profit margins to arrive. He holds onto merchandise by simply raising prices. But why do economists advertise the reverse mechanism? Why does the status quo have a need for distorting truth?

    Inflation is offered to the proles as a substitute for tax relief to the impoverished. Do you see how it works?

    "
    Tax relief for the wealthy will give you delicious inflation. Now jump for it!
    "
    ~~The Yea Sayers~

    Jump, Fools,
    Jump
    !

    Soul Super Bad -> Jerry Brown... , February 11, 2017 at 10:02 AM
    union busting, tax cutting, supply side type state policies don't result in better
    "

    unions will push a country into the "middle income trap". Is that the push we are now gettting from 45th President's administration?

    Time should soon
    tell
    !

    [Feb 12, 2017] The state of our infrastructure: Roads and bridges

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Fred C. Dobbs -> Tom aka Rusty... February 11, 2017 at 08:05 AM , 2017 at 08:05 AM
    It has been observed that the
    US needs a LOT of bridge work.

    The state of our infrastructure: Roads and bridges http://sponsored.bostonglobe.com/rocklandtrust/the-state-of-our-infrastructure-roads-and-bridges/
    Boston Globe - January 31

    ... A 2015 survey by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation found there are more than 450 structurally deficient bridges in the state, although the number is down from previous years. Every working day, nearly 10 million cars, trucks, and school buses cross these deteriorating overpasses. And then there's the nation's rail system and airports, which lag far behind other nations in speed, efficiency, and modernization. ...

    (And that's just in Massachusetts.)

    Soul Super Bad -> Fred C. Dobbs... , February 11, 2017 at 11:02 AM
    US needs a LOT of bridge work.
    "

    Bridgework and a partial plate! Should we shift gears on our interstate construction?

    By building our long haul interstates as one-way roads interleaved with roads going in other direction, we could have twice as many roads but intersections could be much simpler, efficient, and less confusing. Freeflow overpass/underpass with turning ramps will save fuel thus environment. Sure!

    We waste lot of traffic control man hours and squad cars that could be otherwise deployed towards solving crime and crushing the mob. By proper design and construction of speed bumps some of this highway patrol could be eliminated. Ceu!

    Rather that short 2 foot bumps in the road, build smooth slow and long valley and knoll that will not rattle your frame and bill you for steering realignment but instead send an 18 wheeler up into the air for a half gainer. This kind of speed trap could eliminate lot of bad

    chromosomes from the
    gene-pool
    !

    [Feb 12, 2017] Trump is more reality based than free trade enthusiast and corporate shills who helped destroy the US by cheering on free trade and de-industrialization.

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    , February 10, 2017 at 08:35 PM
    The US neoliberal society is facing a lot of serious problems, in many different domains, energy, financial, political, moral. Looks like we live in the society the is either close or is entering the stage of the "perma crises" not just "secular stagnation" as before in "golden years" of Bush II and Obama.

    But our problem is not called Donald Trump. It is much deeper. He is just a symptom, an apt manifestation of our problems, if you wish.

    That's what Professor Krugman and his neoliberal friends in NYT are missing in their jeremiad against him.

    Trump at least noticed 70,000 factories were lost; robots ate homework story total nonsense : , February 10, 2017 at 09:37 PM
    Trump is more reality based than free trade enthusiast and corporate shills who helped destroy the US by cheering on free trade de-industrialization.

    Krugman et al. not aware Africa is devoid of industry while East Asia is PACKED with manufacturing and where 90% of robots are produced and used.

    Trump is about the only sentient policymaker left in America. GOD BLESS HIM AND HIS NOBLE WORK TO RESTORE THE NATION ECONOMISTS WORKED SO HARD TO DESTROY

    libezkova -> Trump at least noticed 70,000 factories were lost; robots ate homework story total nonsense... , February 11, 2017 at 05:04 AM
    What has happened to "hope and change" is very straightforward: it buried Democratic Party with its lies and militarism and there is no way back.

    That's why Trump. Obama said all the right things and did the opposite. He has gutted the country and obliterated the middle class while continuing fighting wars of neoliberal expansion and conquest.

    Dismissing Trump and Trump's voters as "deplorables" gives Democrats like Krugman an excuse to avoid any self examination about how the neoliberal policies they advocated failed the majority of population of the country and have alienated electorate.

    The last two democrat presidents destroyed as much of the New Deal as their Republican counterparts and couldn't wait to gut the remnants such as SS. That's undeniable.

    As a result the key tenets of neoliberal ideology are now as dead as the key postulated of Bolshevism were in 1945. The rule of financial oligarchy disguised as "Liberal democracy", globalization and free trade, free markets as a substitute for government, deregulation, de-industrialization, letting market forces determine the characteristics of employment, etc.

    Does anybody here believes this sh*t? I doubt it. Even those who advocate it, have doubts.

    Still as a result of 36 years of brainwashing large swathes of US society accept without questioning the core tenets of neoliberalism much like Soviet population assepted the key postulated on Bolshevism. They believe that "the market" trumps all other forms of organization of activities of the society, that everything works better that way, that markets are virtuous. As a result, they believe in the false notion that the government is always and ever getting in the way of markets and therefore needs to be made as small and weak as possible.

    If you read Michael Mann's, The Sources of Social Power you will notice that he places Ideological Power first in his four component model of social power: ideological, economic, military, and political.

    Each of them create different but complementary sources of power within a given society:

    -- Ideological Power derives from the human need to find ultimate meaning in life, to share norms and values, and to participate in aesthetic and ritual practices with others.

    -- Economic Power derives from the human need to extract, transform, distribute, and consume the products of nature. Economic relations are powerful because they combine the intensive mobilization of labor with use of capital, trade, and production chains

    -- Military Power is based on refined, concentrated and lethal violence.

    -- Political Power is the centralized and territorial regulation of social life. The basic function of government is the provision of order using this type of power.

    The main tenets of neoliberalism are still very powerfully embedded in people minds. But ideology is dead and that spells troubles the same way as death of Bolshevism spelled troubles for the USSR.

    See also series of Mark Blyth interviews such as
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0q_Ww1q1j8

    cm -> libezkova... , February 11, 2017 at 06:30 PM
    If by bolshevism you mean Soviet communism (the party ideology), I don't know why you say it was dead in 1945. The SU had just won a major war (OK, not entirely on its own), and social development undoubtedly trended up until at least the 70's. Likewise in most other "communist" nations. It was the transition from a largely agrarian society to one based predominantly on industry and technology (powered by fossil fuels, mostly), and much expanded motor vehicle based transportation, like in the West.
    cm -> cm... , February 11, 2017 at 06:37 PM
    And the SU along with all other "communist" nations stagnated and declined in the 80's, maybe late 70's. The reasons are manifold, but part was corruption and ineffectiveness of the decision making apparatus by elites insulating themselves from problems and feedback, and self-dealing (at least the top echelons of the elites provided themselves access to Western consumer goods). At the same time they clung on to an increasingly ineffective central planning regime that probably worked better in the early stages, but was overwhelmed by complexity it couldn't handle, aside from corruption. Heavy handed oppression by a pervasive security apparatus could not compensate for nor remove the underlying issues.
    libezkova -> cm... , February 12, 2017 at 09:14 AM
    That's all true.

    What you are missing is the "fish rots from the head". After 1945 or somewhat later the ideology was discredited. The idea that Bolshevism can produce faster economic and technological growth at this time was clearly seen by both the elite and "Russian Intelligentsia" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligentsia ) as false. And that fact was intuitively felt as "something went wrong" by Soviet white-collar and blue collar workers.

    The same happens with neoliberalism in 2008. Suddenly people see that the king is naked. That redistribution of wealth up via "market mechanisms" does not bring prosperity for everybody, just to the top 10 or 20% of population. And top 1% becomes filthy rich at the expense of everybody else. That's the net result.

    Like in the USSR brainwashing is so strong that this zombie stage will last decades, but I do think neoliberalism is doomed for the same reason that Bolshevism was doomed if not in 1945, then in 70th. It failed to deliver on its promises.

    And if in the past people like Krugman were viewed as gurus and their math perversions were considered as some hidden revelation of truth about the economics of modern society, now they are viewed as corrupt academic stooges of financial oligarchy they always were.

    And their math exercises as another smoke screen of charlatans who are pretending to be scientists. Modern snake oil salesmen if you wish.

    Krugman now can print his math equations (especially differential equations, of which he was so proud of ;-) shred them and eat them with borsch to demonstrate some repentance...

    If you said nothing as the US deindustrialized and became a third world country, please be quiet now : , February 11, 2017 at 11:26 PM
    Economists who cheered on de-industrialization and the destruction of the US industrial base really don't have the moral right to say much at this point.

    You did nothing while the country burned to the ground and now half of the US is a ghetto, and the other half is not a ghetto only because of credit cards and exploding debt levels.

    Pres. Trump should invite free trade economists on a tour of the destroyed cities: Gary, Camden, E. St. Louis etc.

    [Feb 12, 2017] The neoliberal framework in antitrust is based on pecifically its pegging competition to "consumer welfare," defined as short-term price effects and as such s unequipped to capture the architecture of market power in the modern economy

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : February 11, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    , 2017 at 11:43 AM
    http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/amazons-antitrust-paradox

    January, 2017

    Amazon's Antitrust Paradox
    By Lina M. Khan

    Abstract

    Amazon is the titan of twenty-first century commerce. In addition to being a retailer, it is now a marketing platform, a delivery and logistics network, a payment service, a credit lender, an auction house, a major book publisher, a producer of television and films, a fashion designer, a hardware manufacturer, and a leading host of cloud server space. Although Amazon has clocked staggering growth, it generates meager profits, choosing to price below-cost and expand widely instead. Through this strategy, the company has positioned itself at the center of e-commerce and now serves as essential infrastructure for a host of other businesses that depend upon it. Elements of the firm's structure and conduct pose anticompetitive concerns-yet it has escaped antitrust scrutiny.

    This Note argues that the current framework in antitrust-specifically its pegging competition to "consumer welfare," defined as short-term price effects-is unequipped to capture the architecture of market power in the modern economy. We cannot cognize the potential harms to competition posed by Amazon's dominance if we measure competition primarily through price and output. Specifically, current doctrine underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms for two reasons. First, the economics of platform markets create incentives for a company to pursue growth over profits, a strategy that investors have rewarded. Under these conditions, predatory pricing becomes highly rational-even as existing doctrine treats it as irrational and therefore implausible. Second, because online platforms serve as critical intermediaries, integrating across business lines positions these platforms to control the essential infrastructure on which their rivals depend. This dual role also enables a platform to exploit information collected on companies using its services to undermine them as competitors.

    This Note maps out facets of Amazon's dominance. Doing so enables us to make sense of its business strategy, illuminates anticompetitive aspects of Amazon's structure and conduct, and underscores deficiencies in current doctrine. The Note closes by considering two potential regimes for addressing Amazon's power: restoring traditional antitrust and competition policy principles or applying common carrier obligations and duties.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Dean Baker on fakeness of neoliberal concept of labour market and NYT presstitutes which promote it

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : February 11, 2017 at 06:45 AM , 2017 at 06:45 AM
    http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/justin-wolfers-is-mistaken-restrictions-on-firing-don-t-have-to-reduce-employment

    February 10, 2017

    Justin Wolfers Is Mistaken, Restrictions on Firing Don't Have to Reduce Employment

    Donald Trump has used his podium on several occasions to harangue companies about moving jobs overseas. This is probably not an effective way to conduct economic policy, but Justin Wolfers misled * New York Times readers in claiming:

    "Research shows that efforts to boost employment by making it difficult or costly to fire workers have backfired. The prospect of a costly and lengthy legal battle for laid-off employees makes it less appealing to hire new workers. The result has been that higher firing costs have led to to weaker productivity, sclerotic labor markets and higher unemployment."

    Actually, more recent research results, ** including more recent work *** from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (the source to which he links), show that there is no necessary link between restrictions on firing and unemployment. While excessive restrictions on firing can undoubtedly hurt employment and growth, there is no reason to assume that moderate amounts of severance pay, or other disincentives to dismiss workers, will discourage investment and hiring.

    A requirement to give longer term workers severance pay when dismissed does change the incentives facing an employer. In this situation they have more incentive to retrain workers to ensure that they are as productive as possible. They may also opt to invest more in existing facilities rather than move overseas in order to avoid severance pay.

    * https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/upshot/trumps-defense-of-ivanka-reflects-approach-that-could-hurt-the-economy.html

    ** http://cepr.net/documents/publications/cepa200404.pdf

    *** http://www.oecd.org/els/emp/38569387.pdf

    -- Dean Baker

    cm -> anne... , February 11, 2017 at 11:55 AM
    The primary reason preventing hiring is lack of demand or sales prospects for additional product/services the company produces. A company that can pressure its existing workers to work more, without much risk of resistance or departure, will usually do that. Of course that works only up to a point due to negative impact on work quality etc. When there is convincing additional demand promising sufficient margin, they *will* hire. I have yet to see a company that will forgo profitable business to restrict its size (exception - small founder-owned/controlled businesses where the owner doesn't want the business to grow to the point where they can no longer themselves manage it, and have to accept outside "meddling" in business decisions, i.e. it's no longer their business; also known as "lifestyle business").

    In the latter case the reason may also be that outside funding is needed to acquire new capacity (e.g. buy or build a new location), with the risk and imposition of external control that brings. But none of those are problems hiring workers.

    cm -> anne... , February 11, 2017 at 12:01 PM
    One thing that employers will frequently do, if they can, is bring in contingent workers on time-limited contracts that are extended one period at the time, for any position where this is possible (low cost to bring somebody up to speed, no dependency on and risk of loos of institutional memory).

    State or national labor departments will often at some point react to "abuse" (e.g. perma-temps) by imposing limits on contract extensions. Then the next gambit is herding temp workers through staffing agencies, and telling them to change employer every so often to avoid the extension limit. And they will do it because they have no better options.

    And that's where it always ends up - too few better options for workers.

    anne -> cm... , February 11, 2017 at 12:12 PM
    Really nicely explained.
    cm -> anne... , February 11, 2017 at 12:32 PM
    Thanks. Of course what would be convenient for employers is to be able to just let go of people who they have to hire as "perm" and retain for a while because of high costs of acquiring in-house experience and institutional knowledge effects. But every product/technology becomes obsolete eventually, the related experience diminishes in value, or at least the volume of demand for it, and after a number of years/decades, well, the workers are also exactly that many years older.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Still Seeking Growth From Tax Cuts and Union Busting

    Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Denis Drew : February 11, 2017 at 08:29 AM , 2017 at 08:29 AM
    Re: Still Seeking Growth From Tax Cuts and Union Busting - Noah Smith


    States should feel perfectly free to rebuild labor union density -- one state at a time -- making union busting a felony. Republicans will have no place to hide.

    Suppose the 1935 Congress passed the NLRA(a) intending to leave any criminal sanctions for obstructing union organizing to the states. Might have been because NLRB(b) conducted union elections take place local by local (not nationwide) and Congress could have opined states would deal more efficiently with home conditions -- or whatever. What extra words might Congress have needed to add to today's actual bill? Actually, today's identical NLRA wording would have sufficed perfectly.

    Suppose, again, that under the RLA (Railroad Labor Act -- covers railroads and airlines, FedEx) -- wherein elections are conducted nationally -- that Congress desired to forbid states criminalizing the firing of organizers -- how could Congress have worded such a preemption (assuming it was constitutionally valid)? Shouldn't matter to us. Congress did not! :-O

    NYT's Nate Cohn reports Trump won by trading places with Obama as blue collar hero v Wall Street -- trade (unions) back. Republicans will have no place to hide.

    or more musings on what and how else to rebuild union density locally: http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

    [Feb 12, 2017] An Alleged Muslim Spy Ring - Is This Why Rex Tillerson Cleaned House Zero Hedge

    Feb 12, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    kavlar , Feb 11, 2017 10:27 PM

    What about this SPY RING?

    "I want Netanyahu to begin telling the truth, what the involvement of Israel was in 9/11. Over 134 Mossad operatives were picked up on 9/11. The FBI picked them up [and] debriefed them." - Dr. Steve Pieczenik, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

    nmewn -> Arnold , Feb 12, 2017 6:00 AM

    As I understand it, these "IT experts" also worked on Debbie Wassername-Schultz's computers.

    Oh no nmewn, what the hell can you possibly be thinking?! Clearly, beyond any shadow of a doubt...

    The Russians did it! ;-)

    nmewn -> Arnold , Feb 12, 2017 7:00 AM

    They are definitely trying to quash this one as it goes against most (if not all) false narratives they've created for public consumption.

    False Narrative: Hillary was the more competent candidate! - No, she purposely setup & ran an unsecured personal network and used it for government business.

    False Narrative: The Russians hacked the DNC! - No, according to the dims own sources a phishing email was clicked on that could have been sent by anyone.

    ... ... ...

    WeekendAtBernankes -> ThanksChump , Feb 12, 2017 10:42 AM

    Oldest brother had two years of experience getting paid 157k/yr. Median salary for IT Admin in Congress: 50k. He was highest paid person of all his (Democrat) Rep's staffers, including her Chief of Staff. The question is how and why? Were they all employed as a political favor in return for a large donation from anyone in particular? This should be investigated further.

    http://congressional-staff.insidegov.com/l/43573/Jamal-M-Awan

    [Feb 12, 2017] Russia Will Not Sell Snowden To Trump; Heres Why Zero Hedge

    Feb 12, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    Submitted by Alexander Mercouris via TheDuran.com,

    On Friday 10th February 2017 NBC circulated a report the Russian government in order to improve relations with the Trump administration was preparing to hand Edward Snowden over to the US.

    The report obviously worried Snowden himself, who tweeted that the report proved that he was not and never had been a Russian agent . That suggests that he took the report seriously.

    Snowden should not be worried, since the report is groundless and is clearly a provocation. To see why it is only necessary to look at the NBC report itself , which makes it clear who is behind it...

    U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a "gift" to President Donald Trump - who has called the NSA leaker a "spy" and a "traitor" who deserves to be executed.

    That's according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to "curry favor" with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.

    (bold italics added)

    It turns out that the story does not originate in Russia. It originates with our old friends the 'anonymous officials' of the US intelligence community.

    One of these officials claims that the story is based on "intelligence" of "Russian conversations" that the US intelligence community has 'gathered since the inauguration". We have no way of knowing at what level these "conversations" took place, assuming they took place at all, but it is inconceivable that the US intelligence community is genuinely informed of discussions within the top level of the Russian leadership – where such a question would be discussed – or if it is that it would publicise the fact by blurting the fact out to NBC.

    The reality is that there is no possibility of the Russians handing Snowden over to the US in order to please Donald Trump . Not only would doing so almost certainly breach Russian law – as Snowden's lawyer, who has denied the whole story , has pointed out – but it contradicts what I personally heard Russian President Putin say at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2014 when the subject of Snowden was brought up, which is that Russia never hands over people like Snowden once they have gained asylum in Russia. That is indeed Russian practice extending far back into the Soviet period, and I can think of no exceptions to it.

    As it happens Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova has denied the story in a Facebook post which links it to the ongoing struggle between the Trump administration and the US intelligence community (about which see more below). Here is how RT translates her post

    Today, US intelligence agencies have stepped up their work, updating two stale stories, 'Russia can gift Snowden to Trump' and 'confirmation found on the details of the scandalous dossier on Trump allegedly collected by an ex-employee of British intelligence.' But it may seem so only to those who do not understand the essence of the game. None of these statements have been made by representatives of the special services, but is information coming from NBC and CNN, citing unnamed sources. The difference is obvious, but only to experts. Yet it is useful for scandalizing the public and maintaining a degree of [public outrage] .

    It is evident that the pressure on the new administration on the part of political opponents within the United States continues, bargaining is going on. And that's why the US foreign policy doctrine has not yet been formed

    It is just possible that US intelligence overheard some gossip in Moscow about the Kremlin handing Snowden over to Donald Trump in order to curry favour with him. The various reports the US intelligence community released during the Clinton leaks hacking scandal show that the US intelligence community is not actually very well informed about what goes on in Moscow or how the Russian government works. In light of that it would not be entirely surprising if someone overheard some gossip about Snowden in Moscow which the US intelligence community is over-interpreting.

    Far more likely however is that – as Maria Zakharova says – this is a deliberate provocation, spread by someone within the US intelligence community who either wants to signal to Moscow what Moscow 'needs to do' if it wants better relations with the US, or (more probably) as a signal to Donald Trump of the minimum the US intelligence community expects of him if he wants the US intelligence community's support in seeking better relations with Russia.

    This story is interesting not because of what it says about what the Russians are going to do to Snowden – which in reality is nothing. Rather it is interesting because it shows the degree to which Snowden continues to be an object of obsession for the US intelligence community.

    The reason for that is that the US intelligence community knows that Snowden is not a Russian spy.

    As Snowden has pointed out, if he really were a Russian spy no-one in Washington would be talking about the Russians handing him over. The Russians do not hand their spies over any more than the US does, and if Snowden really were a Russian spy no-one in Washington would talking about the Russians handing him over.

    However if Snowden had been a Russian spy his actions would in that case have been simply a Russian intelligence operation of which the US intelligence community was the victim, of which there have been many since the Second World War. Espionage is what the US and Russia routinely do to each other, and there would be nothing remarkable about Snowden in that case.

    It is the fact that Snowden is on the contrary a deeply patriotic American who acted from patriotic motives that has the US intelligence community enraged and alarmed. From their point of view having a patriotic American publicly expose their practices Jason Bourne style is a far greater threat than have a Russian spy penetrate their systems, since because of the far greater publicity it is far more likely to damage them politically.

    This explains the extraordinary feud the US intelligence community has waged against Snowden, which in part explains why it has become so hostile to Russia, the country which has become his protector.

    Mr.Sono -> knukles •Feb 12, 2017 5:41 PM
    Putin is a man of his words and not a little bitch like Obama. I was suprised that fake news was all over zerohedge regarding this topic, but at the end zerohedge confirmed the fake news.
    Giant Meteor -> FreeShitter •Feb 12, 2017 5:35 PM
    One of the smartest plays the deep state could make is allowing him back, make small fuss, and issue a pardon. It would go far in deflating, diffusing the situation, de minimis so to speak. But, I suppose it is more about absolute control, control of the narrative, full spectrum dominance, cautionary tales etc. Pride goeth before the fall (destruction) I believe. Eventually this laundry is going to get sorted and cleaned, one way or the other.
    boattrash •Feb 12, 2017 5:13 PM
    " as Maria Zakharova says – this is a deliberate provocation, spread by someone within the US intelligence community who either wants to signal to Moscow what Moscow 'needs to do' if it wants better relations with the US, or (more probably) as a signal to Donald Trump of the minimum the US intelligence community expects of him if he wants the US intelligence community's support in seeking better relations with Russia."

    A full pardon from Trump would improve his standing with the American people, IMHO, on both the left and the right.

    HumanMan -> boattrash •Feb 12, 2017 5:29 PM
    This was my thought when the story broke. Putin can no longer claim to be a protector of human rights if he hands over Snowden...Unless Trump is going to pardon him. As you pointed you, that would be great (politically) for Trump too. Done this way would be a win win for the two and another win for We The People. On top of that, Putin doesn't want to babysit Snowden. I'm sure the Russians would be happy to have a politically expediant way to get the American spy out of their country.
    HRClinton •Feb 12, 2017 5:16 PM
    The Deep State rules, no matter what DJT thinks.

    The roots go deep in my fomer DOS and in the CIA. Even in the DOD and Senate. Bill and I know this better than anyone.

    FAKE NEWS:

    On Friday 10th February 2017 NBC circulated a report the Russian government in order to improve relations with the Trump administration was preparing to hand Edward Snowden over to the US.

    How many gringos were fooled???--- not many

    shovelhead •Feb 12, 2017 5:37 PM
    Pissgate II...

    Brought to you from your friends at the CIA.

    Mr. Crisp •Feb 12, 2017 5:50 PM
    Snowden showed the world that the NSA wasn't just tracking terrorists, they were tracking pretty much everyone, everywhere. He deserves a full pardon.

    [Feb 12, 2017] Washington Post Caught Spreading More Fake News About Russian Hackers Zero Hedge

    Notable quotes:
    "... Use a linux system Kirk, no need for firewalls, Firefox with duckduckgo search, set options to clear after every session, Adblocker, it's not Tor, but the best open option. ..."
    "... I am using DuckDuckGo.Com for search (and looking at YaCy) ..."
    "... I also use Firefox for my browser, with AdBlockplus, Flasblock, EFF's Privacy Badger, and a password management app called LastPass (which gives me unique, 16-character, random passwords for each of my sites). ..."
    "... Another thing to suggest is to use a private e-mail. ..."
    "... I long ago gave up yahoo and g-mail(never had one) ..."
    Dec 31, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com

    Readers of the Washington Post received some alarming news yesterday when the paper published a story alleging that those pesky "Russian hackers" were up to their no good tricks again and had managed to "penetrate the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont."

    Kirk2NCC1701, Dec 31, 2016 9:17 PM
    Not surprised. I wonder if ZH users are also under cyber attack. Today I noticed that my desktop browser (Firefox and Chrome) deny me access to any ZH link or pages. I get the "URL does not exist". Have to use Tor browser to get to ZH.

    Anyone know what's going on, and what the RX is? Thanks.

    refill6times Kirk2NCC1701 , Dec 31, 2016 9:31 PM
    Use a linux system Kirk, no need for firewalls, Firefox with duckduckgo search, set options to clear after every session, Adblocker, it's not Tor, but the best open option.

    I use cinnimon 17.3, but your flavor may vary.

    Zarbo refill6times , Dec 31, 2016 9:47 PM
    Good R x , however I would use the firewall -- best to not tempt fate. There are rootkits for Linux.

    That said, it is stable and quite usable.

    I am using DuckDuckGo.Com for search (and looking at YaCy), also using TutaNova.Com encrypted email, looking at Frendica to replace Facebook, using http://Gab.ai as a Twitter replacement, Thunderbird (replace Outlook) with Enigmail for encryption and email signing.

    I also use Firefox for my browser, with AdBlockplus, Flasblock, EFF's Privacy Badger, and a password management app called LastPass (which gives me unique, 16-character, random passwords for each of my sites).

    The open, free, reliable solutions are out there.

    Side note: Enable two-factor login for all your accounts, you won't regret it.

    peddling-fiction Zarbo , Dec 31, 2016 10:29 PM
    You always need to enable the Ubuntu uncomplicated firewall, or else. All that is needed is to type the following command:

    > sudo ufw enable

    refill6times Zarbo , Dec 31, 2016 11:36 PM
    Thank you Zarbo, any help and sugestions that don't come from Microsoft are best.

    I saw on another thread a poster who asked how to stop the annoying ads, someone replied to get firefox, and he replied " how do I get that ?"

    I feel bad as I replied to use duckduckgo, I suppose it was sarcasm.

    Another thing to suggest is to use a private e-mail.

    I long ago gave up yahoo and g-mail(never had one)

    Akzed Kirk2NCC1701 , Dec 31, 2016 9:35 PM
    No problems detected here. Over.
    rejected Kirk2NCC1701 , Dec 31, 2016 10:06 PM
    Use their IP Addr if you suspect meddling. ZH has 2:

    34.192.18.153
    52.6.109.9

    A nice site to find IP of a Host Name is: http://www.hcidata.info/host2ip.htm

    Be sure to clear history and do that twice. Clear History.... Shut down FF,,, Start FF,,, Clear History.

    Linux is a good system if your not married to MS Windows for some reason.

    Happy New Year to Everyone....

    [Feb 11, 2017] The Paradox of Financialized Industrialization

    Notable quotes:
    "... More than any other economist of his century, Marx tied together the three major kinds of crisis that were occurring. His Theories of Surplus Value explained the two main forms of crises his classical predecessors had pointed to, and which the bourgeois revolutions of 1848 were fought over. These crises were the result of survivals from Europe's feudal epoch of landed aristocracy and banking fortunes. ..."
    "... Financially, Marx pointed to the tendency of debts to grow exponentially, independently of the economy's ability to pay, and indeed faster than the economy itself. The rise in debt and accrual of interest was autonomous from the industrial capital and wage labor dynamics on which Volume I of Capital focused. Debts are self-expanding by purely mathematical rules – the "magic of compound interest." ..."
    "... Industrial companies profit from labor not only by employing it, but by lending to customers. General Motors made most of its profits for many years by its credit arm, GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corp.), as did General Electric through its financial arm. Profits made by Macy's and other retailers on their credit card lending sometimes accounted for their entire earnings. ..."
    "... This privatization of rents and their transformation into a flow of interest payments (shifting the tax burden onto wage income and corporate profits) represents a failure of industrial capitalism to free society from the legacies of feudalism. ..."
    "... Marx expected economies to act in their long-term interest to increase the means of production and avoid unproductive rentier income, underconsumption and debt deflation. Believing that every mode of production was shaped by the technological, political and social needs of economies to advance, he expected banking and finance to become subordinate to these dynamics. ..."
    "... It seemed that the banking system's role as allocator of credit would pave the way for a socialist organization of economies. Marx endorsed free trade on the ground that industrial capitalism would transform and modernize the world's backward countries. Instead, it has brought Western rentier finance and privatization of the land and natural resources, and even brought the right to use these country's currencies and financial systems as casinos. And in the advanced creditor nations, failure of the U.S. and European economies to recover from their 2008 financial crisis stems from leaving in place the reckless "junk mortgage" debts, whose carrying charges are absorbing income. Banks were saved instead of industrial economies, whose debts were left in place. ..."
    "... No observer of Marx's epoch was so pessimistic as to expect finance capital to overpower industrial capitalism, engulfing economies as the world is seeing today. Discussing the 1857 financial crisis, Marx showed how unthinkable anything like the 2008-09 Bush-Obama bailout of financial speculators seemed to be in his day. "The entire artificial system of forced expansion of the reproduction process cannot, of course, be remedied by having some bank, like the Bank of England, give to all the swindlers the deficient capital by means of its paper and having it buy up all the depreciated commodities at their old nominal values." [6] ..."
    "... Marx wrote this reductio ad absurdum not dreaming that it would become the Federal Reserve's policy in autumn 2008. The U.S. Treasury paid off all of A.I.G.'s gambles and other counterparty "casino capitalist" losses at taxpayer expense, followed by the Federal Reserve buying junk mortgage packages at par. ..."
    "... The failure to socialize banking (or even to complete its industrialization) has become the most glaring economic tragedy of Western industrial capitalism. It became the tragedy of post-Soviet Russia after 1991, letting its natural resources and industrial economy be financialized while failing to tax land and natural resource rent. The commanding heights were sold to domestic oligarchs and Western investors buying on credit with their own banks or in association with Western banks. This bank credit was simply created on computer keyboards. Such credit creation should be a public utility, but it has broken free from public regulation in the West. That credit is now reaching out to China and the post-Soviet economies as a means of appropriating their resources. ..."
    "... Note: Marx described productive capital investment by the formula M–C–M´, signifying money (M) invested to produce commodities (C) that sell for yet more money (M´). But the growth of "usury capital" – government bond financing for war deficits, and consumer lending (mortgages, personal loans and credit card debt) – consist of the disembodied M–M´, making money simply from money in a sterile operation. ..."
    Jan 26, 2017 | newscontent.cctv.com
    RGC -> RGC... January 26, 2017 at 05:44 AM

    The Paradox of Financialized Industrialization
    By Michael Friday, October 16, 2015

    These remarks were made at the World Congress on Marxism, 2015, at the School of Marxism, Peking University, October 10, 2015. The presentation was part of a debate with Bertell Ollman (NYU). I was honored to be made a permanent Guest Professor at China's most prestigious university.

    When I lectured here at the Marxist School six years ago, someone asked me whether Marx was right or wrong. I didn't know how to answer this question at the time, because the answer is so complex. But at least today I can focus on his view of crises.

    More than any other economist of his century, Marx tied together the three major kinds of crisis that were occurring. His Theories of Surplus Value explained the two main forms of crises his classical predecessors had pointed to, and which the bourgeois revolutions of 1848 were fought over. These crises were the result of survivals from Europe's feudal epoch of landed aristocracy and banking fortunes.

    Financially, Marx pointed to the tendency of debts to grow exponentially, independently of the economy's ability to pay, and indeed faster than the economy itself. The rise in debt and accrual of interest was autonomous from the industrial capital and wage labor dynamics on which Volume I of Capital focused. Debts are self-expanding by purely mathematical rules – the "magic of compound interest."

    We can see in America and Europe how interest charges, stock buybacks, debt leveraging and other financial maneuverings eat into profits, deterring investment in plant and equipment by diverting revenue to economically empty financial operations. Marx called finance capital "imaginary" or "fictitious" to the extent that it does not stem from within the industrial economy, and because – in the end – its demands for payment cannot be met. Calling this financial accrual a "void form of capital." [1] It was fictitious because it consisted of bonds, mortgages, bank loans and other rentier claims on the means of production and the flow of wages, profit and tangible capital investment.

    The second factor leading to economic crisis was more long-term: Ricardian land rent. Landlords and monopolists levied an "ownership tax" on the economy by extracting rent as a result of privileges that (like interest) were independent of the mode of production. Land rent would rise as economies became larger and more prosperous. More and more of the economic surplus (profits and surplus value) would be diverted to owners of land, natural resources and monopolies. These forms of economic rent were the result of privileges that had no intrinsic value or cost of production. Ultimately, they would push up wage levels and leave no room for profit. Marx described this as Ricardo's Armageddon.

    These two contributing forces to crisis, Marx pointed out, were legacies of Europe's feudal origins: landlords conquering the land and appropriating natural resources and infrastructure; and banks, which remained largely usurious and predatory, making war loans to governments and exploiting consumers in petty usury. Rent and interest were in large part the products of wars. As such, they were external to the means of production and its direct cost (that is, the value of products).

    Most of all, of course, Marx pointed to the form of exploitation of wage labor by its employers. That did indeed stem from the capitalist production process. Bertell Ollman has just explained that dynamic so well that I need not repeat it here.

    Today's economic crisis in the West: financial and rent extraction, leading to debt deflation Bertell Ollman has described how Marx analyzed economic crisis stemming from the inability of wage labor to buy what it produces. That is the inner contradiction specific to industrial capitalism. As described in Volume I of Capital, employers seek to maximize profits by paying workers as little as possible. This leads to excessive exploitation of wage labor, causing underconsumption and a market glut.

    I will focus here on the extent to which today's financial crisis is largely independent of the industrial mode of production. As Marx noted in Volumes II and III of Capital and Theories of Surplus Value, banking and rent extraction are in many ways adverse to industrial capitalism.

    Our debate is over how to analyze the crisis the Western economies are in today. To me, it is first and foremost a financial crisis. The banking crisis and indebtedness stems mainly from real estate mortgage loans – and also from the kind of massive fraud that Marx found characteristic of the high finance of his day, especially in canal and railroad financing.

    So to answer the question that I was asked about whether Marx was right or wrong, Marx certainly provided the tools needed to analyze the crises that the industrial capitalist economies have been suffering for the past two hundred years.

    But history has not worked out the way Marx expected. He expected every class to act in its own class interest. That is the only way to reasonably project the future. The historical task and destiny of industrial capitalism, Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto, was to free society from the "excrescences" of interest and rent (mainly land and natural resource rent, along with monopoly rent) that industrial capitalism had inherited from medieval and even ancient society. These useless rentier charges on production are faux frais, costs that slow the accumulation of industrial capital. They do not stem from the production process, but are a legacy of the feudal warlords who conquered England and other European realms to found hereditary landed aristocracies. Financial overhead in the form of usury-capital is, to Marx, a legacy of the banking families that built up fortunes by war lending and usury.

    Marx's concept of national income differs radically from today's National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA). Every Western economy measures "output" as Gross National Product (GNP). This accounting format includes the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector as part of the economy's output. It does this because it treats rent and interest as "earnings," on the same plane as wages and industrial profits – as if privatized finance, insurance and real estate are part of the production process. Marx treated them as external to it. Their income was not "earned," but was "unearned." This concept was shared by the Physiocrats, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other major classical economists. Marx was simply pressing classical economics to its logical conclusion.

    The interest of the rising class of industrial capitalists was to free economies from this legacy of feudalism, from the unnecessary faux frais of production – prices in excess of real cost-value. The destiny of industrial capitalism, Marx believed, was to rationalize economies by getting rid of the idle landlord and banking class – by socializing land, nationalizing natural resources and basic infrastructure, and industrializing the banking system – to fund industrial expansion instead of unproductive usury.

    If capitalism had achieved this destiny, it would have been left primarily with the crisis between industrial employers and workers discussed in Volume I of Capital: exploiting wage labor to a point where labor could not buy its products. But at the same time, industrial capitalism would be preparing the way for socialism, because industrialists needed to conquer the political stranglehold of the landed aristocracy and the financial power of banking. It needed to promote democratic political reform to overcome the vested interests in control of Parliaments and hence the tax system. Labor's organization and voting power would press its own self-interest and turn capitalism into socialism.

    China has indeed exemplified this path. But it has not occurred in the West.
    All three kinds of crisis that Marx described are occurring. But the West is now in a chronic depression – what has been called Debt Deflation. Instead of banking being industrialized as Marx expected, industry is being financialized. Instead of democracy freeing economies from land rent, natural resource rent and monopoly rent, the rentiers have fought back and taken control of Western governments, legal systems and tax policy. The result is that we are seeing a lapse back to the pre-capitalist problems that Marx described in Volumes II and III of Capital and Theories of Surplus Value.

    This is where the debate between Bertell Ollman and myself centers. My focus is on finance and rent overwhelming industrial capitalism to impose a depression stemming from debt deflation. This over-indebtedness is making the labor/capital problem worse, by weakening labor's political and economic position. To make matters worse, labor parties in the West no longer are fighting over economic issues, as they were prior to World War I.

    My differences with Ollman and Roemer: I focus on non-production costs
    Bertell follows Marx in focusing on the production sector: hiring labor to produce products, but trying to get as much markup as possible – while underselling rivals. This is Marx's great contribution to the analysis of capitalism and its mode of production – employing wage labor at a profit. I agree with this analysis.

    However, my focus is on the causes of today's crisis that are independent and autonomous from production: rentier claims for economic rent, for income without work – "empty" pricing without value. This focus on rent and interest is where I differ from that of Ollman, and also of course from that of Roemer. Any model of the crisis must tie together finance, real estate (and other rent-seeking) as well as industry and employment.

    The rising debt overhead can be traced mathematically, as can the symbiosis of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector. But the interactions are too complex to be made into a single economic "model." I am especially worried that Roemer's model might be followed here in China, because it overlooks the most dangerous tendencies threatening China today: Western financial practice and its pro-rentier tax policy.

    China has spent the last half-century solving Marx's "Volume I" problem: the relations between labor and its employers, recycling the economic surplus into new means of production to provide more output, higher living standards, and most obviously, more infrastructure (roads, railways, airlines) and housing.

    But right now, it is experiencing financial problems from credit creation going into the stock market instead of into tangible capital formation and rising consumption standards. And of course, China has experienced a large real estate boom. Land prices are rising in China, much as they are in the West.

    What would Marx have said about this? I think that he would have warned China not to relapse into the pre-capitalist problems of finance funding real estate – turning the rising land rent into interest – and into permitting housing prices to rise without taxing them away.

    Soviet planning failed to take the rent-of-location into account when planning where to build housing and factories. But at least the Soviet era did not force labor or industry to pay interest or for rising housing prices. Government banks simply created credit where it was needed to expand the means of production, to build factories, machinery and equipment, homes and office buildings.

    What worries me about the political consequences of Roemer's model is that it focuses only on what Marx said about the production sector and employer-labor relations. It does not ask how "endowments" come into being – or how China has changed so radically in the past generation. It therefore neglects the danger of industrial capitalism lapsing back into a rent-and-interest economy. And by the same token, it underplays the threat to China and other socialist economies of adopting the West's surviving pre-feudal practices of predatory Bubble Finance (debt leveraging to raise prices) and wealth in the form of land-rent charges.

    These two dynamics – interest and rent – represent a privatization of banking and land that rightly are public utilities. Marx expected industrial capitalism to achieve this transition. Certainly socialist economies must achieve it!

    China has no need of foreign bank credit – except to cover the cost of imports and the foreign-exchange cost of investment in other countries. But China's foreign exchange reserves already are large enough to be basically independent of the U.S. dollar and euro. Meanwhile, the American and European economies are suffering from chronic debt deflation and depression that will reduce their ability to serve as markets – for their own producers as well as for China.

    Today's debt-wracked economies throw into question just what kind of crisis the capitalist countries are experiencing. Marx's analysis provides the tools to analyze its financial, banking and rent-extraction problems. However, most Marxists still view the 2008 financial and junk mortgage crash as resulting ultimately from industrial employers squeezing wage labor. Finance capital is viewed as a derivative of this exploitation, not as the autonomous dynamic Marx described.

    The costs of carrying the rising debt burden (interest, amortization and penalties) deflate the market for commodities by absorbing a growing wedge of disposable business and personal income. This leaves less to be spent on goods and services, causing gluts that lead to crises in which businesses scramble for money. Banks fail as bankruptcy spreads. By depleting markets, finance capital is antithetical to the expansion of profits and tangible physical capital investment.

    Despite this sterility, finance capital has achieved dominance over industrial capital. Transfers of property from debtors to creditors – even privatizations of public assets and enterprises – are inevitable as the growth of financial claims surpasses the ability of productive power and earnings to keep pace. Foreclosures follow in the wake of crashes, enabling finance to take over industrial companies and even governments.

    China has largely solved the "Volume I" problem – that of expanding its internal market for labor, investing the economic surplus in capital formation and rising living standards. It is confronted by Western economies that have failed to solve this problem, and also have failed to solve the "Volumes II and III" problem: finance and land rent. Yet few Western Marxists have applied his theories to the present downturn and its rentier problem. Following Marx, they view the task of solving this problem to be solved by industrial capitalism, starting with the bourgeois revolutions of 1848.

    Already in 1847, Marx's Poverty of Philosophy described the hatred that capitalists felt for landlords, whose hereditary rents siphoned off income to an idle class. Upon being sent copies of Henry George's Progress and Poverty a generation later, in 1881, he wrote to John Swinton that taxing land rent was "a last attempt to save the capitalist regime." He dismissed the book as falling under his 1847 critique of Proudhon: "We understand such economists as Mill, Cherbuliez, Hilditch and others demanding that rent should be handed over to the state to serve in place of taxes. That is a frank expression of the hatred the industrial capitalist bears towards the landed proprietor, who seems to him a useless thing, an excrescence upon the general body of bourgeois production." [2]

    As the program of industrial capital, the land tax movement stopped short of advocating labor's rights and living standards. Marx criticized Proudhon and other critics of landlords by saying that once you get rid of rent (and usurious interest by banks), you will still have the problem of industrialists exploiting wage labor and trying to minimize their wages, drying up the market for the goods they produce. This is to be the "final" economic problem to be solved – presumably long after industrial capitalism has solved the rent and interest problems.

    Industrial capitalism has failed to free economies from rentier interest and rent extraction
    In retrospect, Marx was too optimistic about the future of industrial capitalism. As noted above, he viewed its historical mission as being to free society from rent and usurious interest. Today's financial system has generated an overgrowth of credit, while high rents are pricing American labor out of world markets. Wages are stagnating, while the One Percent have monopolized the growth in wealth and income since 1980 – and are not investing in new means of production. So we still have the Volume II and III problems, not just a Volume I problem.

    We are dealing with multiple organ failure.

    Instead of funding new industrial capital formation, the stock and bond markets to transfer ownership of companies, real estate and infrastructure already in place. About 80 percent of bank credit is lent to buyers of real estate, inflating a mortgage bubble. Instead of taxing away the land's rising rental and site value that John Stuart Mill described as what landlords make "in their sleep," today's economies leave rental income "free" to be pledged to banks. The result is that banks now play the role that landlords did in Marx's day: obtaining for themselves the land's rising rental value. This reverses the central thrust of classical political economy by keeping such rent away from government, along with natural resource and monopoly rents.

    Industrial economies are being stifled by financial and other rentier dynamics. Rising mortgage debt, student loans, credit card debt, automobile debt and payday loans have made workers afraid to go on strike or even to protest working conditions. To the extent that wages do rise, they must be paid increasingly to creditors (and now to privatized health insurance and drug monopolies), not to buy the consumer goods they produce. Labor's debt dependency thus aggravates the "Volume I" problem of labor's inability to purchase the products it produces. To top matters, when workers seek to join the middle class "homeowner society" by purchasing their homes on mortgage instead of paying rent, the price entails locking themselves into debt serfdom.

    Industrial companies profit from labor not only by employing it, but by lending to customers. General Motors made most of its profits for many years by its credit arm, GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corp.), as did General Electric through its financial arm. Profits made by Macy's and other retailers on their credit card lending sometimes accounted for their entire earnings.

    This privatization of rents and their transformation into a flow of interest payments (shifting the tax burden onto wage income and corporate profits) represents a failure of industrial capitalism to free society from the legacies of feudalism.

    Marx expected industrial capitalism to act in its own self-interest by industrializing banking, as Germany was doing along the lines that the French reformer Saint-Simon had urged. However, industrial capitalism has failed to break free of pre-industrial usurious banking practice. And in the sphere of tax policy, it has not shifted taxes away from land and natural resource rent. It has inverted the classical reformers' idea of "free markets" as being free from economic rent and predatory moneylending. The slogan now means economies free for the rentier class to extract interest and rent.

    Mode of production or mode of parasitism?

    Instead of serving industrial capitalism, today's financial sector is bleeding it to death. Instead of seeking profits by employing labor to produce goods at a markup, it doesn't even want to hire labor or engage in the process of production and develop new markets. The epitome of this postindustrial economics is Enron: its' managers wanted no capital at all – no employment, only traders at a desk (and crooked accountants).

    Today's characteristic mode of accumulating wealth is more by financial than industrial means: riding the wave of debt-financed asset-price inflation to reap "capital" gains. This seemed unlikely in Marx's era of the gold standard. Yet today, most academic Marxists still concentrate on his "Volume I" crisis, neglecting finance capitalism's failure to free economies from the rentier dynamics surviving from European feudalism and the colonial lands conquered by Europe.

    Marxists who went into Wall Street have learned their lessons from Volumes II and III. But academic Marxism has not focused on the FIRE sector – Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. It is as if interest and rent extraction are secondary problems to the dynamics of wage labor.

    The great question today is whether post-feudal rentier capitalism will stifle industrial capitalism instead of serving it. The aim of finance is not merely to exploit labor, but to conquer and appropriate industry, real estate and government. The result is a financial oligarchy, neither industrial capitalism nor a tendency to evolve into socialism.

    Marx's optimism that industrial capital would subordinate finance to serve its own needs

    Having provided a compendium of historical citations describing how parasitic "usury capital" multiplied at compound interest, Marx announced in an optimistic Darwinian tone that the destiny of industrial capitalism was to mobilize finance capital to fund its economic expansion, rendering usury an obsolete vestige of the "ancient" mode of production. It is as if "in the course of its evolution, industrial capital must therefore subjugate these forms and transform them into derived or special functions of itself." Finance capital would be subordinated to the dynamics of industrial capital rather than growing to dominate it. "Where capitalist production has developed all its manifold forms and has become the dominant mode of production," Marx concluded his draft notes for Theories of Surplus Value, "interest-bearing capital is dominated by industrial capital, and commercial capital becomes merely a form of industrial capital, derived from the circulation process." [3]

    Marx expected economies to act in their long-term interest to increase the means of production and avoid unproductive rentier income, underconsumption and debt deflation. Believing that every mode of production was shaped by the technological, political and social needs of economies to advance, he expected banking and finance to become subordinate to these dynamics. "There is no doubt," he wrote, "that the credit system will serve as a powerful lever during the transition from the capitalist mode of production to the production by means of associated labor; but only as one element in connection with other great organic revolutions of the mode of production itself." [4]

    The financial problem would take care of itself as industrial capitalism mobilized savings productively, subordinating finance capital to serve its needs. This already was happening in Germany and France.

    It seemed that the banking system's role as allocator of credit would pave the way for a socialist organization of economies. Marx endorsed free trade on the ground that industrial capitalism would transform and modernize the world's backward countries. Instead, it has brought Western rentier finance and privatization of the land and natural resources, and even brought the right to use these country's currencies and financial systems as casinos. And in the advanced creditor nations, failure of the U.S. and European economies to recover from their 2008 financial crisis stems from leaving in place the reckless "junk mortgage" debts, whose carrying charges are absorbing income. Banks were saved instead of industrial economies, whose debts were left in place.

    Irving Fisher coined the term debt deflation in 1933. He described it as occurring when debt service (interest and amortization) to pay banks and bondholders diverts income from being spent on consumer goods and new business investment. [5] Governments use their tax revenues to pay bondholders, cutting back public spending and infrastructure investment, education, health and other social welfare.

    No observer of Marx's epoch was so pessimistic as to expect finance capital to overpower industrial capitalism, engulfing economies as the world is seeing today. Discussing the 1857 financial crisis, Marx showed how unthinkable anything like the 2008-09 Bush-Obama bailout of financial speculators seemed to be in his day. "The entire artificial system of forced expansion of the reproduction process cannot, of course, be remedied by having some bank, like the Bank of England, give to all the swindlers the deficient capital by means of its paper and having it buy up all the depreciated commodities at their old nominal values." [6]

    Marx wrote this reductio ad absurdum not dreaming that it would become the Federal Reserve's policy in autumn 2008. The U.S. Treasury paid off all of A.I.G.'s gambles and other counterparty "casino capitalist" losses at taxpayer expense, followed by the Federal Reserve buying junk mortgage packages at par.

    Socialist policy regarding financial and tax reform

    Marx described the historical destiny of industrial capitalism as being to free economies from unproductive and predatory finance – from speculation, fraud and a diversion of income to pay interest without funding new means of production. On this logic, it should be the destiny of socialist economies to treat bank credit creation as a public function, to be used for public purposes – to increase prosperity and the means of production to give populations a better life. Socialist nations have freed their economies from the internal contradictions of industrial capitalism that stifle wage labor.

    China has solved the "Volume I" problem. But it still must deal with the West's unsolved "Volume II and III" problem of privatized finance, land rent and natural resource rent. Western economies seek to extend these neoliberal practices to use finance as a lever to pry away the economic surplus, to finance the transfer of property at interest, and to turn profits, rent, wages and other income into interest.

    The failure to socialize banking (or even to complete its industrialization) has become the most glaring economic tragedy of Western industrial capitalism. It became the tragedy of post-Soviet Russia after 1991, letting its natural resources and industrial economy be financialized while failing to tax land and natural resource rent. The commanding heights were sold to domestic oligarchs and Western investors buying on credit with their own banks or in association with Western banks. This bank credit was simply created on computer keyboards. Such credit creation should be a public utility, but it has broken free from public regulation in the West. That credit is now reaching out to China and the post-Soviet economies as a means of appropriating their resources.

    The eurozone seems incapable of saving itself from debt deflation, and the United States and Britain likewise are limping along as they de-industrialize. That is what leads them to hope that perhaps socialist China can save them – as long as it remains free of the financial disease. asset stripping and debt deflation. Western neoliberal economists claim that this financialization of erstwhile industrial capitalism is "progress," and even the end of history. Yet having watched China grow while their economies have remained stagnant since 2008 (except for the One Percent), their hope is that socialist China's market can save their financialized economies driven too deeply into debt to recover on their own.

    Note: Marx described productive capital investment by the formula M–C–M´, signifying money (M) invested to produce commodities (C) that sell for yet more money (M´). But the growth of "usury capital" – government bond financing for war deficits, and consumer lending (mortgages, personal loans and credit card debt) – consist of the disembodied M–M´, making money simply from money in a sterile operation.

    Footnotes

    http://michael-hudson.com/2015/10/the-paradox-of-financialized-industrialization/

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RGC... January 26, 2017 at 07:32 AM

    THANKS! It was awesome, Dude and easy enough to read.

    [Feb 11, 2017] Welfare is assumed to be based upon real income and not relative income with ones group

    Feb 01, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Robert C Shelburne : January 23, 2017 at 09:10 AM

    Another good article by Rodrik but a weakness of his analysis is that welfare is assumed to be based upon real income and not relative income with ones "group".

    Most analyses of welfare find that relative income is quite important. Obviously if one assumes that one's reference group is the world, then the problem goes away; but empirically this is not the case.

    Assuming that welfare is strongly affected by relative income with a group which is smaller than the world, then global equality is no longer welfare maximizing.

    Those interested in these issues might be interested in Robert Shelburne, A Utilitarian Welfare Analysis of Trade Liberalization , available as a UN working paper.

    [Feb 11, 2017] As a result of 36 years of brainwashing large swathes of US society accept without questioning the core tenets of neoliberalism much like Soviet population accepted the key postulates of Bolshevism

    Obama was not a progressive he was a Neo liberal puppet who just spoke the language of progressives at the same time selling out the public
    Notable quotes:
    "... Still as a result of 36 years of brainwashing large swathes of US society accept without questioning the core tenets of neoliberalism much like Soviet population accepted the key postulates of Bolshevism. They believe that "the market" trumps all other forms of organization of activities of the society, that everything works better that way, that markets are virtuous. As a result, they believe in the false notion that the government is always and ever getting in the way of markets and therefore needs to be made as small and weak as possible. ..."
    "... Ideological Power derives from the human need to find ultimate meaning in life, to share norms and values, and to participate in aesthetic and ritual practices with others. ..."
    "... The main tenets of neoliberalism are still very powerfully embedded in people minds. But ideology is dead and that spells troubles the same way as death of Bolshevism spelled troubles for the USSR. ..."
    Feb 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    libezkova -> Trump February 11, 2017 at 05:04 AM

    What has happened to "hope and change" is very straightforward: it buried Democratic Party with its lies and militarism and there is no way back.

    That's why Trump. Obama said all the right things and did the opposite. He has gutted the country and obliterated the middle class while continuing fighting wars of neoliberal expansion and conquest.

    Dismissing Trump and Trump's voters as "deplorables" gives Democrats like Krugman an excuse to avoid any self examination about how the neoliberal policies they advocated failed the majority of population of the country and have alienated electorate.

    The last two democrat presidents destroyed as much of the New Deal as their Republican counterparts and couldn't wait to gut the remnants such as SS. That's undeniable.

    As a result the key tenets of neoliberal ideology are now as dead as the key postulates of Bolshevism were in 1945. The rule of financial oligarchy disguised as "Liberal democracy", globalization and free trade, free markets as a substitute for government, deregulation, de-industrialization, letting market forces determine the characteristics of employment, etc.

    Does anybody here believes this sh*t? I doubt it. Even those who advocate it, have doubts.

    Still as a result of 36 years of brainwashing large swathes of US society accept without questioning the core tenets of neoliberalism much like Soviet population accepted the key postulates of Bolshevism. They believe that "the market" trumps all other forms of organization of activities of the society, that everything works better that way, that markets are virtuous. As a result, they believe in the false notion that the government is always and ever getting in the way of markets and therefore needs to be made as small and weak as possible.

    If you read Michael Mann's, The Sources of Social Power you will notice that he places Ideological Power first in his four component model of social power: ideological, economic, military, and political.

    Each of them create different but complementary sources of power within a given society:

    The main tenets of neoliberalism are still very powerfully embedded in people minds. But ideology is dead and that spells troubles the same way as death of Bolshevism spelled troubles for the USSR.

    See also series of Mark Blyth interviews such as

    [Feb 11, 2017] Trump is more reality based than free trade enthusiast and corporate shills who helped destroy the US by cheering on free trade de-industrialization.

    Feb 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    libezkova : , February 10, 2017 at 08:35 PM
    The US neoliberal society is facing a lot of serious problems, in many different domains, energy, financial, political, moral. Looks like we live in the society the is either close or is entering the stage of the "perma crises" not just "secular stagnation" as before in "golden years" of Bush II and Obama.

    But our problem is not called Donald Trump. It is much deeper. He is just a symptom, an apt manifestation of our problems, if you wish.

    That's what Professor Krugman and his neoliberal friends in NYT are missing in their jeremiad against him.

    Trump at least noticed 70,000 factories were lost; robots ate homework story total nonsense : , February 10, 2017 at 09:37 PM
    Trump is more reality based than free trade enthusiast and corporate shills who helped destroy the US by cheering on free trade de-industrialization.

    Krugman et al. not aware Africa is devoid of industry while East Asia is PACKED with manufacturing and where 90% of robots are produced and used.

    Trump is about the only sentient policymaker left in America. GOD BLESS HIM AND HIS NOBLE WORK TO RESTORE THE NATION ECONOMISTS WORKED SO HARD TO DESTROY

    [Feb 10, 2017] Neoliberal globalization makes it difficult to sustain the postwar social bargain of labor peace in exchange for steadily improving worker pay and benefits

    Notable quotes:
    "... And I am not sure that it was neoliberal globalization as the only factor in rasining the standards of living in case of China. They have also industrialization process going on, give or take. Chinese maquiladoras were allowed under strict conditions of transferring technology. That's what distinguishes China from India or Mexico, where neoliberal administrations were much less protective of interest of their nations and allowed Western monopolies more freedom. ..."
    "... On the basis of careful empirical work, Rodrik concluded that "globalization makes it difficult to sustain the postwar social bargain" of labor peace in exchange for "steadily improving worker pay and benefits." ..."
    "... It's not globalization, it's "neoliberal globalization" and neoliberalism in general which killed the New Deal capitalism. As soon as the US elite realized the cookies are not enough for everybody they start withdrawing them from the table. Stagnation and the subsequent collapse of the USSR also played an important role, allowing neoliberal propagandists to claim the victory. ..."
    Feb 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Gibbon1 : February 10, 2017 at 01:47 AM
    ""seem unimpressed by the fact that globalization has lifted hundreds of millions of desperately poor people in China and India into the global middle class. ""

    Ergo enabling the savaging of working class people in the US was worth it.

    libezkova -> Gibbon1... , February 10, 2017 at 02:08 AM
    And I am not sure that it was neoliberal globalization as the only factor in rasining the standards of living in case of China. They have also industrialization process going on, give or take. Chinese maquiladoras were allowed under strict conditions of transferring technology. That's what distinguishes China from India or Mexico, where neoliberal administrations were much less protective of interest of their nations and allowed Western monopolies more freedom.

    After all the Communist Party is still a ruling Party of China. With a neoliberal twist yes, but they still adhere to the ideas of Marx.

    pgl : , February 10, 2017 at 01:47 AM
    Kuttner really captures the contributions of Dani Rodrik. If I had to pick one sentence to capture this review - it would be this:

    On the basis of careful empirical work, Rodrik concluded that "globalization makes it difficult to sustain the postwar social bargain" of labor peace in exchange for "steadily improving worker pay and benefits."

    libezkova -> pgl... , -1
    It's not globalization, it's "neoliberal globalization" and neoliberalism in general which killed the New Deal capitalism. As soon as the US elite realized the cookies are not enough for everybody they start withdrawing them from the table. Stagnation and the subsequent collapse of the USSR also played an important role, allowing neoliberal propagandists to claim the victory.

    [Feb 10, 2017] Our neoliberal media and commenters would serve themselves and their Oligarch owners better, if they ignored Trumps tweets, or Ivanka fashion business and focus on what he and his Administration are doing and what consequences that would entail

    Notable quotes:
    "... We also learn from those presstitutes that O'Bomber who killed God know how many innocent brown people at God knows how many weddings, wouldn't have gone through with the raid because too risky! So Saint Obama for Times presstitutes is the good experienced killer, while Trump is the bad, inexperienced killer. The irony of their twisted logic escapes them. ..."
    Feb 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    libezkova -> Tom aka Rusty... Thursday, February 09, 2017 at 07:50 PM
    Our neoliberal media and commenters would serve themselves and their Oligarch owners better, if they ignored Trump's tweets, or Ivanka fashion business and focus on what he and his Admin are doing and what consequences that would entail.

    Take Times article about the special ops raid in Yemen. The obama team planned it, but it was Trump (or somebody from hs administration below him) who pulled the trigger.

    Now those suckers claim that Yemen government is against special ops raid. (Yemen has a government? Really ? )

    We also learn from those presstitutes that O'Bomber who killed God know how many innocent brown people at God knows how many weddings, wouldn't have gone through with the raid because too risky! So Saint Obama for Times presstitutes is the good experienced killer, while Trump is the bad, inexperienced killer. The irony of their twisted logic escapes them.

    [Feb 10, 2017] General Nicholson the commander of the American-led international military force in Afghanistan wants a few thousand more troops

    Notable quotes:
    "... Wars cost money before, during and after they occur - as governments prepare for, wage, and recover from them by replacing equipment, caring for the wounded and repairing the infrastructure destroyed in the fighting. Although it is rare to have a precise accounting of the costs of war - especially of long wars - one can get a sense of the rough scale of the costs by surveying the major categories of spending. ..."
    "... As of August 2016, the US has already appropriated, spent, or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and on Homeland Security (2001 through fiscal year 2016). To this total should be added the approximately $65 billion in dedicated war spending the Department of Defense and State Department have requested for the next fiscal year, 2017, along with an additional nearly $32 billion requested for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, and estimated spending on veterans in future years. When those are included, the total US budgetary cost of the wars reaches $4.79 trillion.... ..."
    Feb 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : , February 09, 2017 at 10:52 AM
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/us/politics/us-afghanistan-troops.html

    February 9, 2017

    U.S. General Seeks More Troops in Afghanistan
    By MICHAEL R. GORDON

    Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of the American-led international military force in Afghanistan, said "a few thousand" more troops were needed.

    anne -> anne... , February 09, 2017 at 11:00 AM
    http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf

    September, 2016

    US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016: $4.79 Trillion and Counting
    Summary of Costs of the US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Homeland Security
    By Neta C. Crawford

    Summary

    Wars cost money before, during and after they occur - as governments prepare for, wage, and recover from them by replacing equipment, caring for the wounded and repairing the infrastructure destroyed in the fighting. Although it is rare to have a precise accounting of the costs of war - especially of long wars - one can get a sense of the rough scale of the costs by surveying the major categories of spending.

    As of August 2016, the US has already appropriated, spent, or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and on Homeland Security (2001 through fiscal year 2016). To this total should be added the approximately $65 billion in dedicated war spending the Department of Defense and State Department have requested for the next fiscal year, 2017, along with an additional nearly $32 billion requested for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, and estimated spending on veterans in future years. When those are included, the total US budgetary cost of the wars reaches $4.79 trillion....

    [Feb 10, 2017] Ilargi The Media – Fake and False and Just Plain Nonsense naked capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor of Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth ..."
    "... British House of Commons Speaker John Bercow can play that game too. He has loudly advertized his refusal to let Trump address UK politicians in the House of Commons and the House of Lords: "An address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor.." It's an honor recently gifted to the likes of China President Xi Jinping and the Emir of Kuwait. Fine and upstanding gentlemen in the tradition Britain so likes, nothing like the American President whom he accuses of racism and sexism. ..."
    "... The political/media black hole exists in many other countries too; we are truly entering a whole new phase in both domestic and global affairs. That is what allows for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world to appeal to people; there is nobody else left that people can have any faith in. The system(s) are broken beyond repair, and anyone perceived as belonging to them will be cast aside. Not all at the same time, but all of them nonetheless. ..."
    "... my favorite dump on trump was the times article about the special ops raid in yemen. the obama team planned it, trump pulled the trigger. now we learn the yemen government is against special ops raid. (yemen has a government?) we also learn from the times that obama wouldn't have gone through with the raid because too risky! So saint obama is the good killer, trump the bad killer. it makes you sympathetic to trump. but i think alot of us thought trump would calm down some once in office. calling judiciary names, saying they can't even understand concepts that a "bad high school student" can, is not, what's the word, adult? and you can't ignore the sinister intent behind the muslim ban–it's based on propaganda and fear–it's provenance is neocon. ..."
    "... In complete agreement with you about the dump trump article praising saint obama to the skies because obama allegedly "refused" to OK the special ops raid on Yemen, but Trump did. LIke, THIS time obama "refused" to do it? Why? Speculation is futile, but my speculation is that Obama held off in order to have it fall on Trump. Then Obama could skippity do dah off into the sunset with his burnished halo in tact. ..."
    "... Following Disturbed Voter's comment above – we can usefully distinguish 3 different levels of dishonesty by how hard they are to detect: ..."
    "... Level 1 – the everyday liar/hypocrite whose dishonesty we notice over time by observing that what they do is not consistent with what they say, ..."
    "... Level 2- the regular criminal who hides his honesty from public view, to profit from it, but can be caught by effective law enforcement, and ..."
    "... Level 3- the State Intelligence agency with extreme levels of funding, novel tech. capabilities, secrecy, & ability to ignore or even control law enforcement and large chunks of the public mass media. ..."
    "... It's the Level 3 category that society has become relatively defenseless against. Alternative media carries report after report on how the Iraq War was phony, how the US created al Qaeda and ISIS, how Cheney planned to invade Iraq and 6 other Middle East nations on Sept. 20, 2 ..."
    "... One word that describes our precious country is incompetence. We have gone from being the 'we-can-do-it' nation that put a man on the Moon to the 'hire a Mexican to do it' nation that cannot find its ass with both hands. The fact of our dysfunction and the country's reliance on migrant labor are what gives form to the efforts of Donald Trump. Yet he acts against himself: he is the lazy-man of American politics who requires others to do his heavy lifting. This does not mean physical labor but instead the struggle to become clear in the mind, to craft out of disparate- and contradictory elements a policy outline or philosophy of governing. This is never attempted, it is too difficult, instead there is the recycling of old, bankrupt memes. The candidate's absence of effort leaves a residue of personality: Trump is a blank page upon which others paint in the sketch, an actor who aims to meet (diminished) public expectations and nothing more, sound and fury significant of nothing in particular. ..."
    "... . But our problem is not called Donald Trump. And we need to stop pretending that it is. We are the problem. We allow our governments to tell our armies to bomb and drone innocent people while we watch cooking shows. We have believed, as long as we've been alive, whatever the media feed us, without any critical thought, which we reserve for choosing our next holiday destination ..."
    Feb 10, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on February 9, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. In keeping with the spirit of this post, an Emerson College study found that the American public trusts Trump more than the media . And if I interpret him correctly, Ilargi's post has a small off-key note: a tomato is indeed a fruit.

    By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor of Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

    Two and a half weeks after the inauguration, and yes it's only been that long, the media still don't seem to have learned a single thing. They help the Trump campaign on an almost hourly basis by parroting whatever things, invariably judged as crazy, he says. One day it's that negative polls are all fake news, the next it's some list of underreported terror events. All of it gets an avalanche of attention provided by the very people who claim to be against Trump, but greatly help his cause by doing so.

    Not a single thing learned. If Trump tweets tomorrow that tomatoes are really fruits and he's going to have someone draw up a law to make them so, or that Lego should be recognized as an official building material in order to have the Danes, too, pay for the wall, it will be on the front page of every paper and the opening item for every TV news show. The crazier he makes them, the more serious they are taken. The echo chamber is so eager to incessantly repeat to itself and all its inhabitants that he's a crazy dude, it's beyond embarrassing.

    And it takes us ever further away, and rapidly too, from any serious discussion about serious issues, the one very thing that the Trump empire desperately calls for. The press should simply ignore the crazy stuff and focus on what's real, but they can't bring themselves to do so for fear of losing ratings and ad revenues. All Trump needs to do, and that's not a joke, is to fart or burp into their echo chamber and they'll all be happy and giddy and all excited and self-satisfied. A spectacle to behold if ever there was one.

    British House of Commons Speaker John Bercow can play that game too. He has loudly advertized his refusal to let Trump address UK politicians in the House of Commons and the House of Lords: "An address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor.." It's an honor recently gifted to the likes of China President Xi Jinping and the Emir of Kuwait. Fine and upstanding gentlemen in the tradition Britain so likes, nothing like the American President whom he accuses of racism and sexism.

    The racism part ostensibly is a reaction to Trump's Muslim ban, which, nutty though it is, is not a Muslim ban because most Muslims are not affected by it, and besides, 'Muslim' is not a race. So maybe Bercow would care to explain the 'racism' bit. Has anyone seen the British press pressuring him to do so? Or, alternatively, has anyone seen a thorough analysis of the British role, though its military and its weapons manufacturers, in the premature deaths in the Middle East and North Africa of many thousands of men, women and children belonging to the Muslim 'race'? Not me.

    The 'sexism' accusation refers to Trump's utterances on for instance the Billy Bush tape(s), and by all means let's get the Donald to comment on that. But this comes from a man who speaks as an official representative of the Queen of a country where child sex abuse is a national sport, from politics to churches to football, where literally thousands of children are trying to speak up and testify, after having been silenced, ignored and ridiculed for years, about the unspeakable experiences in their childhood. Surely someone who because of his job description gets to speak in the name of the Queen can be expected to address the behavior of her own subjects before that of strangers.

    Yeah, that Trump guy is a real terrible person. And he should not be allowed to speak to a chamber full of people directly responsible for the death of huge numbers of children in far away sandboxes, for or the abuse of them at home. After all, we're all good Christians and the good book teaches us about "the beam out of thine own eye". So we're good to go.

    What this really tells you is to what extent the political systems in the US and the UK, along with the media that serve them, have turned into a massive void, a vortex, a black hole from which any reflection, criticism or self-awareness can no longer escape. By endlessly and relentlessly pointing to someone, anyone, outside of their own circle of 'righteousness' and political correctness, they have all managed to implant one view of reality in their voters and viewers, while at the same time engaging in the very behavior they accuse the people of that they point to. For profit.

    Child sex abuse has been a staple of British society for a long time, we're talking at least decades. Only now is it starting, but only starting, to be recognized as the vile problem it is. But still many Britons feel entirely justified in demonizing a man who once talked about touching the genitals of grown women. If that did happen against their will, it's repulsive. But still, there's that beam, guys. Read your bible.

    The political/media black hole exists in many other countries too; we are truly entering a whole new phase in both domestic and global affairs. That is what allows for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world to appeal to people; there is nobody else left that people can have any faith in. The system(s) are broken beyond repair, and anyone perceived as belonging to them will be cast aside. Not all at the same time, but all of them nonetheless.

    Whether you call the menu the people have been fed, fake or false or just plain nonsense, it makes no difference. The British House of Commons Speaker may not be such a bad guy inside, he's probably just another victim of the falsehoods, denials and deceit spread 24/7. The difference between them and ordinary citizens is that Her Majesty's representatives in the political field MUST know. They get paid good salaries to represent the Queen's subjects, and looking the other way as children get assaulted and raped does not fit their job description.

    That goes for representatives of the church (i.e. Jesus) just as much of course, and for the execs at the BBC, but about as many of those people are behind bars as there are bankers. For anyone at all at any of these institutions to now speak with great indignation about Trump's alleged racism and sexism is the very core of all of their problems, the very reason why so many turn their backs on them. It shows that the very core or our societies is rotten, and the rot is spreading.

    We are facing a lot of problems, all of us, in many different ways, financially, politically, morally. But our problem is not called Donald Trump. And we need to stop pretending that it is. We are the problem. We allow our governments to tell our armies to bomb and drone innocent people while we watch cooking shows. We have believed, as long as we've been alive, whatever the media feed us, without any critical thought, which we reserve for choosing our next holiday destination.

    The longer this braindead attitude prevails, the worse things will get, and the more Trumps will surface as leaders of their respective countries. And the longer the attitude prevails, the more anger we will spread in those parts of the world that do not belong to our 'chosen' societies. And for that we will have only ourselves to blame. Not Trump.

    Disturbed Voter , February 9, 2017 at 3:14 am

    Citizens and politicians are in a social compact, so it is said. Both sides may have defaulted on the agreement, something the Enlightenment didn't anticipate. In the modern era of triangulation, opposition parties, that used to keep each other relatively honest, no longer do that. In the modern era of media consolidation, opposition newspapers, that used to keep each other relatively honest, no longer do that. Be are being suffocated by de facto bi-partisanship, that is just a shadow play of its former partisanship. The status quo has gone stale.

    geoffrey gray , February 9, 2017 at 3:37 am

    my favorite dump on trump was the times article about the special ops raid in yemen. the obama team planned it, trump pulled the trigger. now we learn the yemen government is against special ops raid. (yemen has a government?) we also learn from the times that obama wouldn't have gone through with the raid because too risky! So saint obama is the good killer, trump the bad killer. it makes you sympathetic to trump. but i think alot of us thought trump would calm down some once in office. calling judiciary names, saying they can't even understand concepts that a "bad high school student" can, is not, what's the word, adult? and you can't ignore the sinister intent behind the muslim ban–it's based on propaganda and fear–it's provenance is neocon.

    RUKidding , February 9, 2017 at 10:43 am

    In complete agreement with you about the dump trump article praising saint obama to the skies because obama allegedly "refused" to OK the special ops raid on Yemen, but Trump did. LIke, THIS time obama "refused" to do it? Why? Speculation is futile, but my speculation is that Obama held off in order to have it fall on Trump. Then Obama could skippity do dah off into the sunset with his burnished halo in tact.

    Gah.

    Agree with the second part of your comment, too. I wish Trump would behave differently. The comment about the judiciary was incredibly wrong and also very stupid. His fervent fans may well clap and cheer for that, but Trump is painting himself into some corners by behaving that way. The Judiciary and lawyers – a powerful group in this nation, for better or worse – simply aren't going to take that laying down. Although I'm sure the judiciary will (mostly) strive for objective impartiality.

    The stupid media would serve themselves, their Oligarch owners, and the nation better if they ignored the bulk of Trump's dumb tweets and focus more closely on what he and his Admin are doing.

    Josh Stern , February 9, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Following Disturbed Voter's comment above – we can usefully distinguish 3 different levels of dishonesty by how hard they are to detect:

    • Level 1 – the everyday liar/hypocrite whose dishonesty we notice over time by observing that what they do is not consistent with what they say,
    • Level 2- the regular criminal who hides his honesty from public view, to profit from it, but can be caught by effective law enforcement, and
    • Level 3- the State Intelligence agency with extreme levels of funding, novel tech. capabilities, secrecy, & ability to ignore or even control law enforcement and large chunks of the public mass media.

    It's the Level 3 category that society has become relatively defenseless against. Alternative media carries report after report on how the Iraq War was phony, how the US created al Qaeda and ISIS, how Cheney planned to invade Iraq and 6 other Middle East nations on Sept. 20, 2001 – not because of any links to US created al Qaeda – and a big chunk of that plan is still being carried out today, 4 Presidential terms later.

    Disturbed Voter , February 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

    While we don't know much about what the intelligence agencies do, by design, we do know a few things. That in the conditions of the early Cold War, and given the mandate against all enemies foreign and domestic (the oath the military takes) that narrative control is a vital weapon. We know that journalists, clergy and even rock stars have been actual agents, so the number of fellow travelers must be considerable. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been necessary, so it was thought by some, to manufacture new enemies on a Vietnam scale. And the exercise and paranoia against domestic enemies has returned to 1960s levels as well. For the old men nostalgic for the 60s, from the neocon side, these last few decades have been sweet.

    Moneta , February 9, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Actually it's the level 1 that leads to level 3.

    Materially, all we really need is to cover and protect our body from the elements and food. Everything else is gravy.

    Psychologically, we need a lot more than what North American society offers most of us today but for some reasons we keep on lying to ourselves thinking that if we had a little more stuff we'd be happier.

    We all have to lie to ourselves thousands of times a day to keep our routines and lifestyles and all these lies make society.

    Jos Oskam , February 9, 2017 at 3:54 am

    Hey Yves, the tomato question does seem to have something to it: "Nix v. Hedden (1893) was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that, under U.S. customs regulations, the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit". From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nix_v._Hedden .

    Note to Ilargi: re tomatoes, somebody got there before Trump :-)

    Gaylord , February 9, 2017 at 4:24 am

    I think a great number of people in the US and in Europe do not trust the MSM any more, even though they may continue to pay attention as a spectator sport (people do enjoy yelling at their TV sets). Activism is another ball game that is still being played, but in the US it has become nearly futile because of the restrictions and police tactics used to squelch them or shut them down. It can also be impossible to distinguish between genuine protesters, paid participants, and shit-disturbers or agents-provocateurs, which dilutes the message (questionable intent by those who want to promote or discredit the demonstration).

    Having read the comments here and on other independent sites for a long time, I've noticed the tremendous increase in articulate and aware commenters that can see through the tissues of lies from the MSM and take even a lot of the "serious" stuff with a grain of salt, knowing that some things don't change much and people tend to overreact based on shock-value news designed to stir resentment and "us vs. them" divisiveness. This is encouraging because it shows people are wising up, thinking more critically about who is really running the show (it is not Trump by-and-large), and not allowing their views to be manipulated.

    european , February 9, 2017 at 4:57 am

    I think Ukraine was a turning point, as the lying of the media was just way too obvious. That opened a lot of eyes. The reporting on Greece and Merkel/Schäuble's austerity terror was equally bad, but not many people understand that.

    Syria: The Media Coverage on Syria is the Biggest Media Lie of our Time

    KurtisMayfield , February 9, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I believe it was Iraq. When they named the 2003 invasion Operation Iraqi Liberation, or O.I.L. , all the pretense of it being for any legit reason was gone.

    Arizona Slim , February 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Ah, yes. The Iraq invasion. Wasn't it supposed to be about our freedom?

    RUKidding , February 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

    We citizens were also supposed to get our Iraqi oil dividend back, which allegedly would pay for that many trillion dollar exercise in futility.

    Guess that got syphoned right up into Dick Cheney's pockets. Ya snooze, ya lose.

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Huh? Iraq? Did I miss something?
    I heard about some thingy where we wasted trillions of dollars and killed millions of people. But all of the people who thought THAT was a good idea are gone now, hiding their heads in shame and hoping they don't get summoned to a war crimes tribunal. Right?

    polecat , February 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    No. They HAVE NO shame !

    BeliTsair , February 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I believe it was the Gnadenhutten massacre. The 96 Moravian Lenape, brained with mallets, by Washington's Virginia Militia were probably too busy clawing through their former frozen fields, looking for corn kernels to feed their children, to pose much of a threat as terrorists?

    VietnamVet , February 9, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Yes, what got to me was the Western instigated coup in Ukraine. I voted for Barrack Obama twice but could not vote for Hillary Clinton. I rationalized that the Iraq Invasion was an isolated crazy GOP debacle. Denial is powerful defense mechanism. If the media lies, America is a not so innocent killer, and the Cold War 2.0 with Russia has reignited; we are screwed. Austerity, scapegoating Russia and the flood of millions of refugees into Europe are proof that this is the awful truth.

    running dog lackey , February 9, 2017 at 4:31 am

    It's about ratings people. The president of NBC himself said it during the campaign when someone asked why he was televising everything the Insane Clown was saying. You all need to watch Network again. Nothing's changed. Which means they brought him up and now they will take him down.

    Tom , February 9, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Ratings are to broadcast or print media as shareholder value is to corporation - the overriding metric that blots out any reponsibility to the commons.

    Chris G , February 9, 2017 at 5:45 am

    "The Speaker may not be such a bad guy inside". Ah, not so. Check out this Pat Lang post,

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/02/the-mother-of-all-parliaments.html

    and the long trenchant comment by LondonBob including these paras:

    "The Twitter-cheering for John Bercow, the transformation of him into a Love, Actually-style hero of British middle-class probity against a gruff, migrant-banning Yank, could be the most grotesque political spectacle of the year so far. Not because it's virtue-signalling, as claimed by the handful of brave critics who've raised their heads above the online orgy of brown-nosing to wonder if Bercow is really promoting himself rather than parliamentary decency. No, it's worse than that. It's the lowest species of cant, hypocrisy of epic, eye-watering proportions, an effort to erase Bercow's and Parliament's own bloody responsibility for the calamities in the Middle East that Trump is now merely responding to, albeit very badly.

    "Bercow, you see, this supposed hero of the refugees and Middle Eastern migrants temporarily banned from the US, voted for the bombing of Iraq. He green-lighted that horror that did so much to propel the Middle East into the pit of sorrow and savagery it currently finds itself. As his profile on the They Work For You website puts it, 'John Bercow consistently voted for the Iraq War'. On 18 March 2003, he voted against a motion saying the case for war hadn't been made, even though it hadn't. On the same day he voted for the government to 'use all means necessary' to ensure the destruction of Iraq's WMD.

    "As everyone knows now, and as many of us knew back then, Iraq's WMD capacity had been vastly exaggerated by the black propaganda of the New Labour government, by myth and misinformation cynically whipped up to the end of providing Britain's leaders with the thrill of an overseas moral crusade against evil. Bercow voted in favour of these lies. And he voted for the use of 'all means necessary' to tame Saddam's regime. We know what this involved: Britain joined the bombing campaign and courtesy of an ill-thought-through war by Western allies, Iraq was ripped apart and condemned to more than a decade of bloodshed. And refugee crises. Bercow was one of the authors of this calamity, one of the signatories to the Middle East's death warrant, and now we're going to let him posture and preen against Trump's three-month ban on certain Middle Eastern migrants? What is wrong with us?"

    But kudos to kind-hearted Ilargi for willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to one of these preening monsters!

    jackiebass , February 9, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Trump loves any kind of publicity. The media is playing right into his hand by printing all of the garbage he generates.I know many Trump voters and supporters. They all complain that the media is picking on Trump. None of them look seriously at what he says or does. There universal reaction is give him a chance and quit picking on him.The media would be better off focusing on his and congreses policy decisions and how that effect the average person. Turning he's presidency into a big soap opera is actually helping Trump keep his supporters. I have not heard a single Trump voter say they regret voting for Trump.

    Eustache de Saint Pierre , February 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Good to see some focus on Britain's version of the Augean stables. In terms of the so called Westminster paedophile ring – the last I heard on this it was that, Ooops .we appear to have lost a substantial amount of vital evidence. I imagine that MI6 have on record most if not all of the disgusting details, which I also imagine are useful assets that can be used to control certain people.

    In my opinion, this is a good explanation from 2015, of the behaviour of the BBC & the Guardian, from journalist Jonathon Cook.

    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-03-03/hsbc-and-the-sham-of-guardians-scott-trust/

    The Trumpening , February 9, 2017 at 7:54 am

    So far Trump has only really accomplished two things: he shut down the TPP and he inspired Lena Dunham to lose some weight. Everything thing else has been more or less noise.

    I've always thought this first two years of Trump's reign will involve him in bringing to heal the establishment GOP (GOPe) Obviously during the confirmation process, Trump has to be on his best behavior. But I don't like the pattern of Trump issuing useless EO's, and then the Democrats going ballistic, and then Trump supporters being satiated by all the Dem whining. That's a recipe for two years of nothing.

    On the Muslim ban, there are two parts to it. The current NeoCon / NeoLib tag-team play is to kill a million Muslims in their nations and then to offer the survivors the weak reach around of letting a million Muslims emigrate to the West. Trump seems to be offering a different deal. The West stops killing Muslims in Muslim nations and in return Muslims stay in Muslim nations and stop coming to the West. We have yet to see if Trump can hold off the temptation to start slaughtering Muslims in their nations like the NeoCons do.

    I get the feeling from Trump's over-the-top reaction to the courts staying his Muslim ban that he actually doesn't want it reinstated. I read on a pro-Trump legal blog that the Justice Department lawyers were super weak in their arguments before the 9th Circuit court, in what should be a super easy case to argue. Activist judges halting the ban means when the inevitable next terrorist attack comes, Trump can blame it on the judges and make some sort of move to purge their power.

    On Iran, Trump has zero leverage and so I do not see how this is going to end well. The only thing we can hope for is this is a bit of Kabuki being regulated by Putin. In the end a US-Russian alliance, as Trump is proposing, means a closer relationship between the US and Iran. Israel will not be pleased.

    My theory on Trump's relationship to Israel is that he is giving them enough rope for them to hang themselves. In Europe particularly the Israeli brand is getting fatally interwoven with the Trump brand. So far the only thing saving Israel is diaspora Jews being able to shame their local populations away from the BDS movement. But the diaspora is 98% anti-Trump. There is currently a huge increase of oxygen being given to the BDS movement, which means it should soon spring back to life.

    Can Trump be allies with Israel and Russia (and Iran)? The only way I can see this happening is a deal where Iran gets to go nuclear and become fully integrated into the global community in exchange for allowing Hezbollah to be wiped out by Israel.

    Trump is at his anti-NeoLiberal best when he is in deep trouble. I was happy when that Access Hollywood tape came out because I knew he would have to double down on Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and go full-on butch economic nationalist. And it won him the election. Hopefully the seas will get very rough soon and we can all enjoy the spectacle of full combat between Team Trump and the GOPe.

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    I like the "offer the survivors a weak reacharound". Reminds me of Vietnam, where we would napalm a village and then fall over ourselves making sure the burn victims all got Band-Aids

    Fiver , February 9, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    The entire Trump military/security team is wildly anti-Muslim, so the thought they are not going to keep on killing Muslims all over the map is just plain silly.

    Bannon is just plain dangerous. Here's a piece on his favorite books. Not surprisingly, he hates Muslims. Also, he appears to imagine himself a brilliant strategist for the ages who just happens to be the right man for 'The Fourth Turning', one of those ideas and books that purports the existence of an historical pattern based on a cycle of generations, each generation of every group of 4 having its own 'character', taken together claiming to explain a long cycle of great crises and/or turning points of US history. He believes we are now in such a critical period. It's one of those notions that has superficial appeal but quickly falls apart when engaged critically:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/02/07/daily-202-five-books-to-understand-stephen-k-bannon/58991fd7e9b69b1406c75c93/

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_Strauss_and_Neil_Howe

    Bannon is now running stuff via Briebart's network that will make your hair stand on end:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/02/06/the-left-hates-you-act-accordingly-n2281602?utm_source=TopBreakingNewsCarousel&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=BreakingNewsCarousel

    As for Israel, there is not the remotest chance Trump will do something Israel doesn't like – even if he doesn't appoint Elliot Abrams to #2 at State.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/politics/elliott-abrams-state-department/

    Here's what Ron Paul thought of that idea:

    http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/february/07/elliott-abrams-to-state-dept-you-cant-be-serious/

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/politics/elliott-abrams-state-department/

    Abrams would be an absolute disaster.

    TPP? Globalization? I see no evidence whatever that Trump has any intention of rolling back US-dominated corporate globalization, rather, he wants to create trade flows that are even more wildly skewed in favour of US financial/corporate power internationally even while effectively transferring wealth from the periphery to core of Empire to support some minor job creation – of course in the meantime granting outlandish tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy at large.

    I'm sorry, but Trump et al have played millions and millions of well-meaning Americans like a fiddle.

    UnhingedBecauseLucid , February 9, 2017 at 8:44 am

    The best description of the "Trump Situation" ever written was penned by 'Steve from Virginia' author of the blog Economic Undertow:

    One word that describes our precious country is incompetence. We have gone from being the 'we-can-do-it' nation that put a man on the Moon to the 'hire a Mexican to do it' nation that cannot find its ass with both hands. The fact of our dysfunction and the country's reliance on migrant labor are what gives form to the efforts of Donald Trump. Yet he acts against himself: he is the lazy-man of American politics who requires others to do his heavy lifting. This does not mean physical labor but instead the struggle to become clear in the mind, to craft out of disparate- and contradictory elements a policy outline or philosophy of governing. This is never attempted, it is too difficult, instead there is the recycling of old, bankrupt memes. The candidate's absence of effort leaves a residue of personality: Trump is a blank page upon which others paint in the sketch, an actor who aims to meet (diminished) public expectations and nothing more, sound and fury significant of nothing in particular.

    bbrawley , February 9, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I'm surprised no one seems to see a serious side to the reporting of Trump's antics. Is it not important to keep hammering home that the man is unhinged and that this is something pulling at the social frabric, something crying out to be dealt with? I seriously doubt that we'll be able to address the "real issues" adequately until we find ways come to terms with him not as a buffoon but as a deeply flawed human being.

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Another false note–"Muslim is not a race." True, but being Jewish is not a racial characteristic and yet it is obvious that antisemitism is very similar to racism in its irrationality and hatred. Antisemites a hundred years ago would in some cases point to radicals who were Jewish as their excuse, just as Islamophobes would point to Islamic extremism as theirs. Racists I grew around would point to Idi Amin's Uganda ( yes, I am old) and other African countries with horrible human rights records as proof that American blacks should be grateful to be here.

    This "Islam is not a race" is mainly a tiresome distraction used by bigots and not a prelude to a deeper discussion on the wide varieties of human bigotries. Bigots can use almost any category they wish and concoct pseudo- rational propositions to buttress their hatred. We even have lefties hating blue collar white males as a group for Trump support. We don't have to join the people who use nitpicking phrases not to analyze, but to justify their hatreds. I don't think the writer intends to do this, but he is using a standard Muslim blame cannon phrase.

    After all this, I actually liked the rest of this piece, but that part was nails on a chalkboard to me. I am glad the liberal mainstream is siding with Muslims against Trump. There are some liberals ( Maher, Sam Harris etc..) who have been pushing a Muslim bashing agenda. And yes, as usual the mainstream which is so solicitous of Muslim rights cared little when Obama bombed Muslim countries. But I would rather that liberals be right if hypocritical then consistently wrong.

    Optimader , February 9, 2017 at 10:50 am

    As far as the term Racism, i think https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism oretty well captures contemporary common use.

    You forgot to mention Zionist racism directed toward Palestinians. An equally equivalent contemporary application of the term

    On the subject of Trump i believe his executive order is directed toward travelers from seven countries that the previous Potus identified in an anti-terrorist executive order.
    If I have it correctly, Neither Trump or BHO e orders are directed against muslims or any other religion for thats matter.

    Optimader , February 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

    As well do we need to take a deerpath in the woods debate about the legitimacy of the term race?

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with you on Zionist racism towards Palestinians.

    On the deep path on the definition of racism, it depends. Given the prevalence of Islamophobia in the US, some of it on the left ( including the kneejerk supporters of Israel), I don't think it is helpful to use the "Islam is not a race" phrase as some sort of rebuttal. Islamophobia is a form of bigotry– whether one wants to nitpick about exactly what form should depend on the circumstances.

    Yves Smith Post author , February 9, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I do not believe in the corruption of language. Confucius said that the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names.

    Are you by the same sloppy logic going to cal bias against women and gays "racism"?

    Islamophobia is indeed not racist. Arabs, many American and African blacks, Persians (who are not Arabians) and Indonesians among others are followers of Islam.

    We already have perfectly good works, like "bigotry," "bias," and "discrimination".

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I probably shouldn't have said anything, since the original poster clearly isn't a bigot, but it set me off because in most cases this "Islam is not a race" phrase is used by Islamophibes and they of course do not follow up by pointing out that it is a form of bigotry, like antisemitism. If the poster here only means we should call it bigotry and not racism, I agree.

    But that meme is used a lot and usually by Islamophobes who won't cop to being bigots either. They aren't trying to have a deep conversation about different forms of bigotry. They are trying to argue that it is rational to fear Muslims because Islam is, in their view, an inherently evil ideology. But in practice Islamophobes are not rational or necessarily even consistent. That's why I wrote my comment, pointing out that bigotry in any form is generally not some carefully thought out logical train of thought, but some pseudo- rational set of propositions often garbled together. This is why a Sikh can get beaten up by Islamophobes. It is also why antisemites are often so confused about whether they hate Jews as a religion, as an alleged race, or as some group of scary communist bankers. It's not like racism itself is usually based on a clear understanding of biology.

    So if we are going to push back on Islamophobia as racism, it should be so people see it as like antisemitism, which is what it most closely resembles.

    I have written enough today, so I am going to stop.

    optimader , February 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Re Confucius, George Orwell had his thoughts along those lines. re: intentional corruption of language.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language

    The reality is language evolves, often for the worse making clarity of message a casualty, unless a tedious definition of terms is invoked which can easily end up being a form of deflection from the original point.. ..
    File under :Liberal/Conservative/Neoliberal/Progressive. I find all these Identity Labels can be very loosely applied for reasons other than clarity.

    In the case of the word Race, it is, some would correctly contend, archaic terminology while simultaneously being convenient shorthand for "red meat" identity invectives.

    River , February 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Muslim isn't a race. If the ban had been about Arabs not being allowed in you'd have a point. However, a person from Indonesia is allowed in and that country is almost entirely Muslim.

    Plus, complaining about the US exercising boarder control is ridiculous. That is one the jobs of a nation. No one bat an eye when Japan stated we're not allowing anyone in wrt to any refugee problem. Yet when any Western nation does it, the sky falls and the charges of bigotry come out.

    No one has the right to move to another country.

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    People who live in countries that are bombed by the US or its close allies have the moral right to come here. Yemen, for instance, is bombed by the US and much more heavily by the Saudis with our help and keeping refugees from Yemen out is an extreme form of ugly Americanism. If we don't want the refugees, then we should stop causing or contributing to the chaos and death in the countries which produce the refugees.

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    >People who live in countries that are bombed by the US or its close allies have the moral right to come here.

    And where are these rights enumerated? I don't recognize "moral rights" beyond those associated with copyright (and I am not particularly fond of those, either).

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    So the fact that we are bombing civilians and helping the Saudis plunge Yemen into a famine is something you don't question, just the right of our victims to come here?

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Not fond of herring, either.

    "Our victims"?

    The legacy of Obama's incompetence in foreign policy does not obligate American citizens to accept - or to foist upon their posterity - changes in the demographic make-up of our populace.

    I'm still interested in learning where you discovered this moral right to move here

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Not fond of herring either?

    In other words, morality is a matter of preference and your number one moral value in this context is keeping out refugees, people who suffer precisely because of our foreign policy. Demographic balance is somewhere near the top of your own personal list of flavors. Anyway, my notion of moral right involves the crazy idea that if you help destroy a country you have moral obligations to the victims.

    And by the way, Trump is likely to escalate our support for the Saudi war on Yemen.

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    LOL it certainly was a matter of preference for our recently departed Drone-Bomber-In-Chief, and for all of the people who (thought/think) he was a really moral and upstanding kind of guy. Just like our former Secretary of State, who threatened to cut off Sweden if they didn't accept Monsanto poison.
    "You're black!" said the pot to the kettle

    Optimader , February 9, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    "People who live in countries that are bombed by the US or its close allies have the moral right to come here."

    Bullsht.
    The US does have the moral obligation not to bomb countries that have not attacked the US and in that case only in a "just war" context if at all

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Meaningless. The US frequently bombs innocent people or helps others like the Saudis or the Israelis do so. You say it is wrong, as do I, but apparently there are no consequences allowed in your moral universe which might inconvenience us. We really have no moral obligations at all– we can bomb people and if the survivors wish to come here to escape then we have the right to keep them out according to you. All this boils down to is that we have the strongest military. Your views regarding whether we should bomb someone are nothing more than your own idiosyncratic preference and that is using your own standard. The people who control the military want to use it to bomb other countries, so they do. Might makes Right.

    bob , February 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    " Your views regarding whether we should bomb someone are nothing more than your own idiosyncratic preference and that is using your own standard."

    "The US does have the moral obligation not to bomb countries that have not attacked the US and in that case only in a "just war" context if at all"

    Can't read, or don't want to?

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I read it. So what? If we go ahead and bomb countries anyway, creating refugees, we have no obligation to help them. It is like saying that it was wrong for some Wall Street guys to steal people's money, but if they do, they have no obligation to give it back.

    bob , February 9, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    "I read it. So what? If we go ahead and bomb countries anyway"

    If we go ahead and assume that the earth is flat, why shouldn't "we" all relocate another planet?

    It's just that simple, and your keyboard strawmanning is making all the difference, for "we".

    Ground rules- am I arguing with "Donald" or the Royal We, or a heap of straw that you, pardon We(?), keep producing?

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    The US does bomb countries, so your flat earth analogy doesn't really work here. We aren't discussing hypotheticals. There are real refugees from real policies and Trump is likely to continue them or make them worse. We are directly responsible for the misery of vast numbers of people and the numbers are likely to grow. Set aside the internet squabble we are having, because you are so wrapped up in it you are losing touch with what we are arguing about.

    Anyway, as I just wrote upthread, I have written enough.

    bob , February 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    "Anyway, as I just wrote upthread, I have written enough."

    That we'll agree on. Maybe another day you can elucidate on why you bother writing when you could find an airbase and stand on the runway, to stop the bombing.

    Anon , February 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    No one has the right to move to another country.

    Even after their homeland has been bombed, invaded, population tortured, social structure crushed?

    River , February 9, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    No they don't have that right. It falls under "that's your problem".

    Now, as harsh as that is I think from a humanitarian view and basic decency another nation should show some compassion and allow them succor. However, nations and the people of those nations are under no obligation to do so.

    Moral rights are meaningless. And yes, I do agree that another nation shouldn't create the refugees to begin with. As I find war to be a tool that is to be used as last resort. What has been occurring in the mid-East has been so far from a last resort that I can't even come up with a decent metaphor or simile.

    But that still doesn't change the fact that people do not have the right to enter another nation if the nation decides to say "No".

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    So if we go ahead and bomb Yemen or help the Saudis bomb Yemen, it really doesn't matter at all. We are responsible for war crimes, but we have zero obligation to help the victims.

    You switch back and forth between talk of morality and the law of the strongest. You say we shouldn't bomb other countries for no good reason, but that is as much a meaningless platitude as you say moral rights are in general. Basically you find it distasteful that we bomb other countries, but what really exercises you is the possibility that some refugees might come here. That will not stand.

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Have you ever heard of the Melian Dialogue?

    There is a nice little re-enactment of it over at the Youtubes

    Donald , February 9, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Yep. The strong do what they can and the weak do what they must. Nihilistic, but certainly a viewpoint I expect would be popular with the powerful.

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    You miss the point. Realism is not nihilism.

    The Athenians had no good reason to suppose that the Gods would not favor them.

    There was nothing in their laws or beliefs to suggest otherwise.

    Similarly, there is nothing in our laws that requires us to accept population transfers because this or that President drops bombs in a far away country on people of whom we know nothing.

    Yves Smith Post author , February 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Anon is correct. We can be obligated to bomb other countries by treaty. For instance, we bombed France to oust the Nazis as a result of treaty obligations. It is also correct to say that the US has been flagrantly ignoring what were considered to be international norms (pretty much no one notices here, but Russia has been making a stink on a regular basis in the UN).

    PKMKII , February 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Any day since 1/20, you could look at the front page of WaPo, NYT, CNN, etc., and see op-eds about how Trump is very very non-professional, sullying the good name of the office of the President. Denigrating the institution and the very very serious role it plays in American society, nay, the world! And yet the same front page will also cover, in-detail, whatever halfbaked Trump tweet or Spicer's performance-art-as-press-conference has been served up that day. They recognize that it's become a farce, but like someone who can't stop poking the tooth that hurts, they present the farce as being very very important news. The establishment press has become too enamored of the pomp and circumstance, the ceremonial of the White House media operation and their visible, although largely pointless, role in the whole thing. They're too scared of giving that up, lest they lose prominence or, le horror, have to do real reporting. So the Washington press corp prop up their end of the ceremony in the vain hopes of a return to the way things were, in denial of how their function is quickly becoming redundant. If all they're going to do is talk about Trump's latest tweet, we might as well just stop reading their sites and just read his tweets ourselves. Social media can just give us the press releases directly, we don't need the press to act as town criers, screeching out Trump's decree in the town squares.

    flora , February 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

    an aside re Yves intro:

    "Emerson College study found that the American public trusts Trump more than the media. "

    The WaPo's attempt to turn readers away from great sites like NC with their "fake news" story has backfired spectacularly. Thanks to NC and others furious initial pushback, including well crafted letters from NC's atty and the recipients responses published on NC, the term "fake news" has become a joke in the court of public opinion. It's become a subject for comedy skits. This is no small thing. Actually, it's a pretty big thing. McCarthist witch hunts live and die in the court of public opinion, imo. See: Joseph Welch, "Have you no sense of decency sir?"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1eA5bUzVjA

    And with that exchange the court of public opinion turned against McCarthy and the witch hunt. Now where was I going with this ?

    john bougearel , February 9, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Ha! How dare ya attack my favorite cooking shows! LOL

    Gorgar Laughed , February 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    >After all, we're all good Christians

    Who's "We" Paleface? Bercow's not a Christian.

    And it looks as though we may finally be seeing the worm turn on the kiddie rape: the Rochdale rape gang is now set to be deported to Pakistan.

    Local MP Simon Danczuk: "Foreign-born criminals should not be able to hide behind human rights laws to avoid deportation."

    I suspect this line of thinking is going to be picked up in other countries on the Continent, and sooner rather than later.

    Once we start seeing child sex investigations target the English ruling class, we will know that we are getting somewhere

    Blurtman , February 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Hispanic isn't a race, nor is Latino, but that has not stopped the MSM, bleeding hearts and SJW's from emoting.

    PKMKII , February 9, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I was a census worker in 2010, and the forms didn't include Hispanic/Latino as a race; rather, it was put as a separate identity category with sub-answers for specific country of ancestral origin. However, 9 times out of 10 Hispanic responds would have me put "Hispanic" in the write-in box for the "Other" race option (the other 10% would have me write-in their ancestral country). The smarties with the degrees can say it's not a race, but if the people say that's their race, who are we to say otherwise?

    Blurtman , February 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Ask Rachel Dolezal. Or perhaps Elizabeth Warren, an undocumented Native American (i.e., Indian). And yes, Pew Research would agree that folks who consider themselves to be Latino consider Latino to be a race. But most are Native American.

    But not anyone can be recognized as Native American in the USA unless they are on a tribal register, which is odd, as the USG seems to subject Native American citizens to a higher level of proof than Native Americans from south of the border.

    Anon y Mouse , February 9, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    " . But our problem is not called Donald Trump. And we need to stop pretending that it is. We are the problem. We allow our governments to tell our armies to bomb and drone innocent people while we watch cooking shows. We have believed, as long as we've been alive, whatever the media feed us, without any critical thought, which we reserve for choosing our next holiday destination." .

    Dear Raul,

    Yes, the media creates distortions in our perceptions. Yes, the orange one plays that terrain like a pro. Yes the British MP is hypocritical. I am with you there.

    "We are the problem." This kind of reasoning may be correct on a cosmic scale but it always seems to run to one of two conclusions. 1) Become a Buddhist and try to improve yourself. 2) Humans are too dumb to survive; wait until nature takes its course and humans kill themselves off playing Russian Roulette.

    I am not sure what your are recommending here. Do we let the orange sacred clown run this imperialist project into the ground? (To be replaced by what?) Or in opposing Trump do we clarify what we do want = i.e. a government that does not torture, a government that does not protect gotcha game mortgage lenders, a government that does not arm the world, a government that does not subsidize old suicidal fossil fuels, a government that is not run by a hysterical 3 AM tweeting 16 year old Marie Antoinette, your issue here .

    I don't know the answer here. The orange bull in the china shop is useful in so far as he reveals certain truths = ex: waterboarding is torture, congressmen are for sale, America has killed a lot of people, etc. If he stops the NeoCon project of invading other countries he might even be a benefit to world peace. But he's also likely to get people killed with his impulsive decisions and his ginning up the rubes.

    Irrational , February 9, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Not reporting on tweets would free up a lot of time .

    Jeff N , February 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    a tomato is a fruit, but you can't use it in "fruit salad" :D

    Waking Up , February 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    What this really tells you is to what extent the political systems in the US and the UK, along with the media that serve them, have turned into a massive void, a vortex, a black hole from which any reflection, criticism or self-awareness can no longer escape. By endlessly and relentlessly pointing to someone, anyone, outside of their own circle of 'righteousness' and political correctness, they have all managed to implant one view of reality in their voters and viewers, while at the same time engaging in the very behavior they accuse the people of that they point to. For profit.

    On a recent interview with Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly stated in regards to Vladimir Putin "But he's a killer". Donald Trump responds with a truth rarely heard in the media today, "There are a lot of killers. Do you think our country is so innocent?"

    I may not be a fan of Donald Trumps, but, how can we put down that level of honesty? Imagine if we actually had an honest nationwide discussion on what we are doing in the rest of the world .

    [Feb 09, 2017] How lies work

    Feb 09, 2017 | stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com

    Nick Cohen makes a good point : it is not congenital liars that should worry us, but congenital believers – those who fall for the lies of charlatans. We know that many do so: almost half of voters believed the lie that leaving the EU would allow us to spend an extra £350m a week on the NHS.

    This poses the question: why do people fall for lies? Here, we can learn from behavioural economics and research (pdf) into criminal fraud. I reckon there are several factors that liars exploit in politics.

    One is wishful thinking. People want to believe there's a simple solution to NHS underfunding (leave the EU!) or to low wages (cut immigration!) just as they want to believe they can get rich quick or make money by taking no risk: Ponzi schemers like Bernie Madoff play upon that last one. The wish is often the father to the belief.

    Relatedly, perhaps, there are lottery-type preferences. People like long-odds bets and pay too much for them: this is why they back longshots (pdf) too much and pay over the odds for speculative shares . To such people, the fact that an offer seems too good to be true is therefore, paradoxically, tempting. A study of fraud by the OFT found :

    Some people viewed responding to a scam as taking a long-odds gamble: they recognised that there was something wrong with the offer, but the size of the possible prize or reward (relative to the initial outlay) induced them to give it a try on the off-chance that it might be genuine.

    There's a particular type that is especially likely to take a long-odds bet: the desperate. Lonely people are vulnerable to the romance scam; gamblers who have lost take big bets to get even; losing teams try "hail Mary" tactics. In like fashion, people who feel like they have lost out in the era of globalization were tempted to vote for Trump and Brexit.

    There's another mechanism here: people are likely to turn to con-men if the alternatives have failed. Werner Troesken shows (pdf) how snake-oil sellers exploited this. They invested a lot in advertising and in product differentiation and so when other products failed they could claim that theirs would work when the others hadn't. I suspect that fund managers use a similar trick: the failure of many to beat the market leads investors simply to trust others rather than tracker funds. The fact that previous policies had failed working people thus encouraged them to try something different – be it Brexit or Trump.

    Yet another trick here is the affinity fraud. We tend to trust people like ourselves, or who at least who look like ourselves. Farage's endless posturing as a "man of the people" – fag and pint in hand, not caring about "political correctness" – laid the basis for people to trust him, just as Bernie Madoff joined all the right clubs to encourage wealthy (often Jewish) folk to trust him. By contrast, the claims from the Treasury and various think-tanks that Brexit would make us poorer came from metropolitan elites who were so different from poorer working class people that they weren't trusted. And in fact the very talk of "liberal elites" carried the subtext: "don't trust them: they're not like you".

    All of these tendencies have been reinforced by another – the fact that, as David Leiser and Zeev Kril have shown , people are bad at making connections in economics. The idea that Brexit would hurt us rested upon tricky connections: between the terms of Brexit and trade rules; from trade rules to actual trade; and from trade to productivity. By contrast, the idea that leaving the EU would save us money was simple and easy to believe.

    Now, I don't say all this merely to be a Remoaner; complaining about liars is like a fish complaining that the water is wet. Instead, I want to point out that it is not sufficient to blame the BBC for not calling out Brexiters' lies. Yes, the BBC disgraced itself during the plebiscite campaign. But we must also understand how voters fall for such mendacity. As Akerlof and Shiller write:

    Voters are phishable in two major ways. First, they are not fully informed; they are information phools. Second, voters are also psychological phools; for example, because they respond to appeals such as lawnmower ads [a candidate seen mowing his own lawn is regarded as a man of the people] ( Phishing for Phools , p 75)

    All this raises a challenge for liberals. Many used to believe the truth would win out over lies in the marketplace for ideas. This is no longer true, if it ever were. Instead, the questions now are: what can we do about this? And what should we do? The two questions might well have different answers. But we can make a start by understanding how lies are sometimes believed. Keith | February 07, 2017 at 04:47 PM

    The marketplace of ideas assumes that the consumers are able and willing to inform themselves and be rational rather than emotional. Clearly this is not true of a lot of voters when confronted by a manipulative press and Tories like Jim with their right wing agenda slyly hidden for the time being.

    Equally as in other areas such as health care shopping around is impossible to do as the consumers lack expert knowledge. Allowing the profit motive to apply to many areas is sure to be a disaster for human welfare as the profit incentive stops the experts using their knowledge for good. Finance is a classic example of the uninformed being repeatedly duped into unsound investments decade after decade. Benjamin Graham describes how in his first job selling Bonds to grannies he came to realise that he was being asked to steal the life savings of pensioners via commissions designed to get a sale of junk paper. Which is why he moved elsewhere to a more ethical line of work. But I am sure leaving the biggest most integrated market in the world where lots of foreigners have helpfully learned our language will surely increase our prosperity....Nigel says so.

    Matthew Moore | February 07, 2017 at 05:37 PM
    There will always be gullible people (/ people constrained by high opportunity cost of information search, as I prefer to think of them)

    And there will always be liars looking to take advantage of them. Like 99% of politicians ever.

    It's very Marxist to wonder how we might change this basic fact of humanity, when the real solution is clear. Don't set up powerful central institutions that rely on coercion: it attracts liars, rewards them, and makes new liars out of honest people.

    Dipper | February 07, 2017 at 07:47 PM
    Oh, we Leavers are being lectured again by our Remainer betters on our stupidity.

    If the statements of the amount we pay to the EU were lies, how come we owe them €50 billion?

    how come no-one ever asks why we have to implement the four freedoms when Germany gets a free pass on the Free market in Services?

    the government announced house building plans today, and no-one asks whether a cause of high house prices and a housing shortage is too much immigration?

    It's not the lies, it's the questions never asked that stand out.

    Dipper | February 07, 2017 at 08:09 PM
    @ Keith - "Tories like Jim"

    I don't read Jim as a Tory. I read him as someone who was a Labour supporter but now just stares in amazement at a group of people who have become EU Federalist fanatics spouting delusional slogans who can never answer a straight question and refuse to acknowledge the obvious problems of democratic accountability.

    How on earth did that happen? How did apparently intelligent people completely lose their critical faculties and join a quasi-religious cult that chants empty slogans and denounces anyone who questions them?

    But I'm sure Jim can speak for himself.

    Ralph Musgrave | February 07, 2017 at 09:45 PM
    Chris missed out the fact that people tend to give others the benefit of the doubt. I.e. if X tells a monster lie, peoples' immediate reaction is: "X is is a bastard". But then on second thoughts they feel ashamed at accusing someone else of being a bastard, and assume it's they themselves that must be wrong.

    Sotto Voce | February 07, 2017 at 10:45 PM
    There is a bit of a danger here of another comment thread being derailed with Brexit mud-slinging. Chris's post isn't really about the pros and cons of Brexit, it just offers a vivid example of the phenomenon under discussion.

    The point Chris makes in the last paragraph is more general and profound. If any and all data/information/evidence/argument is interpreted in partisan fashion and subject to massive confirmation bias so that debates increasingly polarise - or if different sides in debates proffer their own favoured but incompatible versions of the truth - then meaningful dialogue, deliberation and compromise become near impossible. All we get is intolerance, mistrust and greater partisanship. Clearly these are not entirely new issues, but it seems undeniable that there has been a qualitative shift in 'quality' of public debate.

    We appear to be witnessing the US political system at great risk of imploding, as enlightenment values are abandoned and key tenets of liberal democratic practice are wilfully rejected. This is the route to chaos.

    The questions Chris poses are, to my mind at least, the right ones. The very nature of the problem means that the old/favoured remedies are unlikely to be effective. But what can replace them? Is a violent conflagration the only way of shocking the system out of hyper-partisanship and the rejection of the foundational belief that we live in a shared reality (i.e. for people to 'come to their senses')? Or can we back out of this particular cul-de-sac peacefully? You've got to hope so. But, if so, how?

    e | February 07, 2017 at 10:57 PM
    Our upper echelon, i.e. our long-standing middle of the road Labour MPs and commentators, have long been successful in fighting off calls for left leaning policy/talk of how things work (because who knows where this will end) under a guise of fighting off racism/ a closed shop mentality; the routes of least resistance 50s – 00s which should alert us to the ability of the English working class to embrace immigration and avoid base philosophies. But it seems not. Seems to me our shared interest beyond race creed colour and gender continues to be deliberately and systematically no-platformed. What I fail to understand, given the rise of UKIP, is why this is not glaringly obvious; because if you're one of the majority who live life as best you might with as much consideration and tolerance as you can muster where does credence go when an ordinary workers tendency to sound 'populist' is marked up to racism no matter known history...

    aragon | February 07, 2017 at 11:53 PM
    Not again!
    Phishing for Phools. The Political Brain...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/books/review/Brooks-t.html

    "Serious thinkers set to work, and produced a long shelf of books answering this question. Their answers tended to rely on similar themes. First, Democrats lose because they are too intelligent. Their arguments are too complicated for American voters. Second, Democrats lose because they are too tolerant. They refuse to cater to racism and hatred. Finally, Democrats lose because they are not good at the dark art of politics. Republicans, though they are knuckle-dragging simpletons when it comes to policy, are devilishly clever when it comes to electioneering. They have brilliant political consultants like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, who frame issues so fiendishly, they can fool the American people into voting against their own best interests."

    And immigration is about economics. This is Sweden an immigration superpower.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/755997/Sweden-Malmo-military-intervention-no-go-zone-crime-surge

    "Swedish police last year issued a report where it detailed incidents from more than 55 areas which it branded as "no-go zones" as it detailed brutal attacks on police, sexual assaults, children carrying weapons and general turmoil sweeping across the country."

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/most-europeans-want-muslim-ban-immigration-control-middle-east-countries-syria-iran-iraq-poll-a7567301.html

    "A ban was supported by 71 per cent of people in Poland, 65 per cent in Austria, 53 per cent in Germany and 51 per cent in Italy.
    In the UK, 47 per cent supported a ban.
    In no country did more than 32 per cent disagree with a ban."

    aragon | February 08, 2017 at 12:29 AM
    Phishing for Phools

    "It thereby explains a paradox: why, at a time when we are better off than ever before in history, all too many of us are leading lives of quiet desperation."

    http://nfs.sparknotes.com/macbeth/page_162.html

    "Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,
    Uproar the universal peace, confound
    All unity on earth."

    Human Nature has not changed.

    Guano | February 08, 2017 at 12:42 AM
    The truth is complicated.

    The truth is challenging.

    Tony Holmes | February 08, 2017 at 09:13 AM
    Chris, a bit off the point, but if everyone followed your advice and put money in tracker funds and active funds disappeared, what would happen to the stock market ? Instinct tells me it would become extremely volatile, but instinct is a bad guide...

    gastro george | February 08, 2017 at 09:35 AM
    FFS aragon, that "report" from Sweden is from the Express quoting directly a Swedish fascist.

    reason | February 08, 2017 at 11:29 AM
    Isn't the key point here prospect theory (I've just finished reading Kahneman). People with no good options gamble.

    reason | February 08, 2017 at 11:30 AM
    P.S. The no good options bit is a very good reason for opposing first past the post and the limited options consequence.

    aragon | February 08, 2017 at 11:47 AM
    gasto george

    It is not an extreme story, I don't speak Swedish or have any contact with Sweden. I only read the main stream media which includes the Daily Express.

    As you would expect most of the media does not report on Sweden, unless it has a British angle.
    e.g. Birmingham Boy killed by a hand grenade.
    (I don't know how you can spin Hand Grenade)

    The report originates with the Swedish Police the situation in Malmo is serious and individual police officers like Peter Springare's Facebook post.

    Here is a report from the thelocal.se
    http://www.thelocal.se/20170127/malmo-police-chief-help-us

    "After a wave of violence in Sweden's third city, police boss Stefan Sintéus has appealed to residents in Malmö: "Help us. Help us to tackle the problems. Cooperate with us.""

    Dipper | February 08, 2017 at 12:03 PM
    @ gastro george

    This isn't the first time facists have made inflammatory comments about muslims. Nick Griffin did this and was prosecuted for inciting racial hatred in 2006. The summary of what he said is some way down this article.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/tougher-race-laws-likely-after-bnp-pair-cleared-423820.html

    Eleven years later we have this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-38845332

    And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with banning "fake news". You have to be really open, transparent and clear and be absolutely sure you are right, otherwise you end up making heroes of facists and stoking the notion that its all a plot to hide the truth from the people. And that is a really bad outcome.

    MPs wrestling with their consciences, loud debates, arguments about the truth ... this is the sound of a properly functioning parliamentary democracy and long may that noise continue.

    Guano | February 08, 2017 at 02:06 PM
    The first two words of the article: Nick Cohen.

    Nick Cohen does make some good points but he himself has a complicated relationship with the truth in some areas. When he isn't talking about congenital liars and congenital believers, he continues to get into a rage about people who opposed the invasion of Iraq. As far as I can see, the invasion of Iraq has been the disaster that some of us feared (because regime change involves putting in place a new regime change, which is very difficult and for which the USA and UK do not have the skills). And, as far as I can see, some of the assumptions made by Nick Cohen in 2002 and 2003 in supporting the invasion (such as the ability of the Iraqi National Congress to create a new regime) were very dubious and their weakness of these assumptions is why the invasion was a failure and has had created an array of other problems.

    In his campaign to avoid a post-truth future, Nick Cohen claims that people like him "are on their own" and he explicitly rejects working with the kind of people who opposed the invasion of Iraq. That's a pity, really, because many people appear to have started their opposition to the invasion because the information provided and the logic used appeared to be dodgy. The period from August 2002 to March 2003 prefigured the Trump/Brexit era for post-truth information and arguments. Nick Cohen would be on stronger ground if he admitted that the invasion of Iraq has not necessarily worked to anyone's advantage.

    I guess that what is going on in Nick Cohen's mind (and I can only guess) is that he has built up a negative image of the type of person who opposed the invasion of Iraq and he has difficulty getting past that image and come to terms with what those people were saying and what has actually happened in Iraq. Thus in between writing articles about the need for truth, Nick Cohen writes expressions of outrage about opponents of the invasion of Iraq as if they had been found to be wrong.

    It seems to be a very extreme example of seeing the messenger and not the message, which is one of the issues with failing to recognise lies.

    gastro george | February 08, 2017 at 02:24 PM
    @aragon

    OK, well I've worked most of my life with Swedes and Norwegians, and have regularly visited Malmo three or four times a year recently, although the last was a bit over a year ago.

    So, yes, immigration is an issue, and the Sweden Democrats (fascists) have been rising in the polls. Malmo itself has some problems in the suburbs.

    But there are no no-go areas. Armed violence has more traditionally been associated with biker-gang turf-related drug wars - otherwise with the far right (see Breivik in Norway) and then, as your last link discusses, lone serial killers.

    Reading anything the Sweden Democrats have to say is the equivalent of believing Wilders in the Netherlands - they are loons.

    Barbara Konstant | February 08, 2017 at 05:36 PM
    Despairing as it seems, our humanity has not reached the necessary level of awareness needed to function peacefully in our world.

    [Feb 08, 2017] The stunning collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989-91 has often been heralded in the West as a triumph of capitalism and democracy, as though this eventwere obviously a direct result of the policies of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. This self-congratulatory analysis has little relation to measurable facts, circumstances, and internal political dynamics that were the real historical causes of the deterioration of the Soviet empire and ultimately the Soviet state itself

    Notable quotes:
    "... Around 1975, the Soviet Union entered a period of economic stagnation from which it would never emerge. Increasingly, the USSR looked to Europe, primarily West Germany, to provide hard currency financing through massive loans, while the U.S. became a major supplier of grain.[1] Despite moments of anti-Communist grandstanding, the Americans and Western Europeans maintained trade relations with the cash-strapped Soviet Union, which dipped into its Stalin-era gold reserves to increase availability of consumer goods . ..."
    "... Soviet living standards remained poor by Western standards. By 1980, only 9 percent of Soviets had automobiles, which was actually a vast improvement under Brezhnev. Very little was computerized, due to state paranoia about the use of telecommunications for counterrevolutionary purposes. The USSR was able to endure this technological lag because its closed economy protected it from competition, but its ability to maintain military superiority increasingly depended on the ability to keep pace with Western modernization. ..."
    "... It did not need a foreign enemy to "defeat" it, for it was deteriorating from within. ..."
    "... In the Great Game of "chicken," in which we all are mostly passengers in the speeding cars with loony drivers ya-hooing out the windows, I recall the Soviets were the ones to veer off from that head-on collision that might have ended it all earlier than it seems increasingly likely to end anyway. And Russian leadership seems more concerned about the survival of the nation than our own clown-car leadership. ..."
    "... And patently the military-security monkey that's riding our backs is doing a p!ss-poor job of "defending us" in any ordinary sense of the term, and not even a vary good job of playing Imperial Forces. Though of course the net effects of military and political chaos-building and destabilization do blast out a nice open-pit mine for corporate looters to get at the extractables.. ..."
    Feb 08, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    February 7, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    An over extended Soviet Empire collapsed in no small part due to its obsession with winning a war, albeit one that thankfully remained 'cold', that it never could.

    A corrupt, nepotistic distant, paranoid elite that instead of dividing its efforts into looking after its own society's well-being, as well a apparently just defending it, opted for near as dammed bankrupting itself attempting to feed an insatiable military machine it could ill afford (and would mostly never use) at its increasingly disaffected, divided, restive people's expense.

    Mind you, they were just dumb Commies.

    JTMcPhee, February 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    First, did the Soviet state "bankrupt itself damm near" mostly by trying to feed an "insatiable military machine," or did the wealth of the Soviets get dissipated into other ratholes as well, alongside various external pressures and effects? And what scale applied to each political-decision "allocation"? One view, among a flood of intersecting and competing interpretations, of course:

    The stunning collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989-91 has often been heralded in the West as a triumph of capitalism and democracy, as though this event were obviously a direct result of the policies of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. This self-congratulatory analysis has little relation to measurable facts, circumstances, and internal political dynamics that were the real historical causes of the deterioration of the Soviet empire and ultimately the Soviet state itself. Fiery political speeches and tough diplomatic postures make good theater, but they are ineffective at forcing political transformation in totalitarian nations, as is proven by the persistence of far less powerful Communist regimes in Cuba and east Asia in the face of punishing trade embargos. The key to understanding the reasons for the demise of the Soviet Union is to be found not in the speeches or policies of Western politicians, but in internal Soviet history.

    1. Stagnation in the 1970s

    The Soviet Union was already in decline as a world power well before 1980. Any illusions of global Communist hegemony had evaporated with the collapse of Sino-Soviet relations in the 1960s. As the Nixon administration improved American relations with an increasingly independent China, the Soviets saw a strategic need to scale down the nuclear arms race, which placed enormous strains on its faltering economy. The threat of a nuclear confrontation was reduced considerably by the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) and strategic arms limitation treaties (SALT) contracted with the Nixon administration in 1972. This détente, or easing of tensions, allowed Leonid Brezhnev to focus on domestic economic and social development, while boosting his political popularity.

    Around 1975, the Soviet Union entered a period of economic stagnation from which it would never emerge. Increasingly, the USSR looked to Europe, primarily West Germany, to provide hard currency financing through massive loans, while the U.S. became a major supplier of grain.[1] Despite moments of anti-Communist grandstanding, the Americans and Western Europeans maintained trade relations with the cash-strapped Soviet Union, which dipped into its Stalin-era gold reserves to increase availability of consumer goods .

    Foreign trade and mild economic reforms were not enough to overcome the inefficiencies of the Soviet command economy, which remained technologically backward and full of corruption. Economic planners were frequently unable to diagnose and remedy problems, since they were given false reports by officials who only pretended to be productive.

    Soviet living standards remained poor by Western standards. By 1980, only 9 percent of Soviets had automobiles, which was actually a vast improvement under Brezhnev. Very little was computerized, due to state paranoia about the use of telecommunications for counterrevolutionary purposes. The USSR was able to endure this technological lag because its closed economy protected it from competition, but its ability to maintain military superiority increasingly depended on the ability to keep pace with Western modernization.

    In his radio broadcasts during the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan complained that the capitalist nations propped up the intrinsically flawed Soviet regime, instead of allowing it to naturally collapse from its own inefficiency and inhumanity.[2] In contrast to his later hagiographers, Reagan did not envision defeating the Soviet Union by forceful action, but instead he perceived that the regime would collapse from its own failings once the West removed its financial life support system. It is this early Reagan, far more thoughtful than he is generally credited, who proved to be most astute in diagnosing the state of the USSR. It did not need a foreign enemy to "defeat" it, for it was deteriorating from within.
    http://www.arcaneknowledge.org/histpoli/soviet.htm

    And I recall the Soviet military leadership was largely (no, not exclusively of course, humans being what they are) reacting to the clear and present danger that "the West" presented. Among many other considerations, of course. In the Great Game of "chicken," in which we all are mostly passengers in the speeding cars with loony drivers ya-hooing out the windows, I recall the Soviets were the ones to veer off from that head-on collision that might have ended it all earlier than it seems increasingly likely to end anyway. And Russian leadership seems more concerned about the survival of the nation than our own clown-car leadership.

    Seems to me that all of us ordinary people, many of whom would gladly take advantage of opportunities to do some looting themselves, to "get ahead" in the "rat race," if only those opportunities were presented, have insufficient collective concern about the many systems, living and political-economy, that apparently are collapsing or running out of control. And patently the military-security monkey that's riding our backs is doing a p!ss-poor job of "defending us" in any ordinary sense of the term, and not even a vary good job of playing Imperial Forces. Though of course the net effects of military and political chaos-building and destabilization do blast out a nice open-pit mine for corporate looters to get at the extractables..

    But yeah, the halls of history are full of echoes and shadows and reflections in a glass darkly And I wonder if London bookies are running a line on when history, as recorded and debated and acted out by humans, will REALLY end, thanks to our wonderful unbridled inventiveness and lack of that genetic predisposition to survive as a species that ants and termites and rats and cats and other "lesser creatures" seem to have

    Anon , February 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Commies? That last paragraph sounds like post-WWII history in the US.

    Gman , February 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    ;-)

    [Feb 08, 2017] How Universities Are Increasingly Choosing Capitalism Over Education naked capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Henry Heller, a professor of history at the University of Manitoba, Canada and the author of The Capitalist University. Cross posted from Alternet ..."
    "... The following is an excerpt from the new book ..."
    "... by Henry Heller (Pluto Press, December 2016): ..."
    "... Inside Higher Education ..."
    "... The University, State and Market: The Political Economy of Globalization in the Americas ..."
    "... New Left Review ..."
    "... The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature ..."
    "... Letters from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher ..."
    "... Anti-Communism in Twentieth-Century America ..."
    "... Marxism is still regarded with suspicion in the United States. ..."
    "... As if on cue, sociology, psychology, literature, political science, and anthropology all took sides by explicitly rejecting Marxism and putting forward viewpoints opposed to it. History itself stressed American exceptionalism, justified U.S. expansionism, minimized class conflict, and warned against revolution. ..."
    Feb 08, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    How Universities Are Increasingly Choosing Capitalism Over Education Posted on February 7, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. Some further observations. First, the author neglects to mention the role of MBAs in the reorientation of higher education institutions. When I went to school, the administrative layer of universities was lean and not all that well paid. Those roles were typically inhabited by alumni who enjoyed the prestige and being able to hang around the campus. But t he growth of MBAs has meant they've all had to find jobs, and colonizing not-for-profits like universities has helped keep them off the street.

    Second, this post focuses on non-elite universities, but the same general pattern is in play, although the specific outcomes are different. Universities with large endowments are increasingly hedge funds with an educational unit attached.

    By Henry Heller, a professor of history at the University of Manitoba, Canada and the author of The Capitalist University. Cross posted from Alternet

    The following is an excerpt from the new book The Capitalist University: The Transformations of Higher Education in the United States since 1945 by Henry Heller (Pluto Press, December 2016):

    The fact that today there are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States represents an unparalleled educational, scientific, and cultural endowment. These institutions occupy a central place in American economic and cultural life. Certification from one of them is critical to the career hopes of most young people in the United States. The research produced in these establishments is likewise crucial to the economic and political future of the American state. Institutions of higher learning are of course of varying quality, with only 600 offering master's degrees and only 260 classified as research institutions. Of these only 87 account for the majority of the 56,000 doctoral degrees granted annually. Moreover, the number of really top-notch institutions based on the quality of their faculty and the size of their endowments is no more than 20 or 30. But still, the existence of thousands of universities and colleges offering humanistic, scientific, and vocational education, to say nothing of religious training, represents a considerable achievement. Moreover, the breakthroughs in research that have taken place during the last two generations in the humanities and social sciences, not to speak of the natural sciences, have been spectacular.

    But the future of these institutions is today imperiled. Except for a relatively few well-endowed universities, most are in serious financial difficulty. A notable reason for this has been the decline in public financial support for higher education since the 1980s, a decline due to a crisis in federal and state finances but also to the triumph of right-wing politics based on continuing austerity toward public institutions. The response of most colleges and universities has been to dramatically increase tuition fees, forcing students to take on heavy debt and putting into question access to higher education for young people from low- and middle-income families. This situation casts a shadow on the implicit post-war contract between families and the state which promised upward mobility for their children based on higher education. This impasse is but part of the general predicament of the majority of the American population, which has seen its income fall and its employment opportunities shrink since the Reagan era. These problems have intensified since the financial collapse of 2008 and the onset of depression or the start of a generalized capitalist crisis.

    Mounting student debt and fading job prospects are reflected in stagnating enrollments in higher education, intensifying the financial difficulties of universities and indeed exacerbating the overall economic malaise.[1] The growing cost of universities has led recently to the emergence of Massive Online Open Courses whose upfront costs to students are nil, which further puts into doubt the future of traditional colleges and universities. These so-called MOOCs, delivered via the internet, hold out the possibility, or embody the threat, of doing away with much of the expensive labor and fixed capital costs embodied in existing university campuses. Clearly the future of higher education hangs in the balance with important implications for both American politics and economic life.

    The deteriorating situation of the universities has its own internal logic as well. In response to the decline in funding, but also to the prevalence of neoliberal ideology, universities-or rather the presidents, administrators, and boards of trustees who control them-are increasingly moving away from their ostensible mission of serving the public good to that of becoming as far as possible like private enterprises. In doing so, most of the teachers in these universities are being reduced to the status of wage labor, and indeed precarious wage labor. The wages of the non-tenured faculty who now constitute the majority of teachers in higher education are low, they have no job security and receive few benefits. Although salaried and historically enjoying a certain autonomy, tenured faculty are losing the vestiges of their independence as well. Similarly, the influence of students in university affairs-a result of concessions made by administrators during the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s-has effectively been neutered. These changes reflect a decisive shift of power toward university managers whose numbers and remuneration have expanded prodigiously. The objective of these bureaucrats is to transform universities as much as possible to approximate private and profit-making corporations, regarded as models of efficient organization based on the discipline of the market. Indeed, scores of universities, Phoenix University for example, have been created explicitly as for-profit businesses and currently enroll millions of students.

    Modern universities have always had a close relationship with private business, but whereas in the past faculty labor served capital by producing educated managers, highly skilled workers, and new knowledge as a largely free good, strenuous efforts are now underway to transform academic employment into directly productive, i.e., profitable, labor. The knowledge engendered by academic work is accordingly being privatized as a commodity through patenting, licensing, and copyrighting to the immediate benefit of universities and the private businesses to which universities are increasingly linked. Meanwhile, through the imposition of administrative standards laid down in accord with neoliberal principles, faculty are being subjected to unprecedented scrutiny through continuous quantified evaluation of teaching and research in which the ability to generate outside funding has become the ultimate measure of scholarly worth. At the same time, universities have become part of global ranking systems like the Shanghai Index or the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in which their standing in the hierarchy has become all important to their prestige and funding.

    Several intertwined questions emerge from this state of affairs. In the first place, given the rising expense and debt that attendance at university imposes and declining employment prospects especially for young people, will there continue to be a mass market for higher education? Is the model of the university or college traditionally centered on the humanities and the sciences with a commitment to the pursuit of truth compatible with the movement toward converting the universities into quasi- or fully private business corporations? Finally, what are the implications of changes in the neoliberal direction