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Slightly Skeptical View on Neoliberal Transformation of University Education

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Introduction

Previously education was mostly about "finding yourself" -- developing understanding of the world and yourself, as well as developing those set of abilities that you was gifted most. And deciding what you want to do in the future, within contins of job market and your abilities.  Neoliberalism has changed that dramatically. Education now is just in "investment" into your "entrepreneurial self" to increase your value as "human capital" holder and this your value in the "labout market." (Symptomatic Redness -Philip Mirowski - YouTube).  That's bullsh*t, but people already brainwashed by neoliberals from the middle school buy it uncritically.

Today we live in a world of predatory bankers, predatory educators, predatory health care providers, all of them out for themselves…. Neoliberalism  is the philosophy of the Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign…. They are pretend to belong to so called "creative vlass", but in reality are self-interested, parasitical, and predatory. Common people are not admissible to this new aristocracy even if they have two university educations.

In the current circumstances education is no longer the answer to rising inequality. Instead of serving as a social lift it, it designed to propagate the current status of parents and at least in some cases, became more of a social trap converting poorer or more reckless (as in specializing in areas were job market is not existent) graduates into debt slaves without chances to repay the loans. All this is connected with neoliberal transformation of education. With the collapse of post-war public funded educational model and privatization of the University education students face a pretty cruel world. World in which they are cows to milk.

Now universities became institutions very similar to McDonalds ( or, in less politically correct terms, Bordellos of Higher Learning). Like McDonalds they need to price their services so that to receive nice profit and they to make themselves more attractive to industry they intentionally feed students with overspecialized curriculum instead of concentrating on fundamentals and the developing the ability to understand the world. Which was the hallmark of university education of the past.

Since 1970th Neo-Liberal University model replaced public funded university model (Dewey model). It is now collapsing as there are not that many students, who are able (and now with lower job prospects and persistent tales of graduates working as bartenders) to pay inflated tuition fees. Foreigners somewhat compensates for this , but with current high prices Canada, UK and Europe are more attractive for all but the most rich parents.   That means that higher education again by-and-large became privilege of the rich and upper middle class.

Lower student enrollment first hit after  dot-com boom, when the number of students who want to be programmers decines several times.   Expensive private colleges start hunting for people with government support (such a former members of Arm forces).  The elite universities, which traditionally serve the top 1% and rich foreigners fared better but were also hit. As David Schultz wrote in his article (Logos, 2012):

Yet the Dewey model began to collapse in middle of the 1970s. Perhaps it was the retrenchment of the SUNY and CUNY systems in New York under Governor Hugh Carey in 1976 that began the end of the democratic university. What caused its retrenchment was the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

The fiscal crisis of the 1970s was born of numerous problems. Inflationary pressures caused by Vietnam and the energy embargoes of the 1970s, and recessionary forces from relative declines in American economic productivity produced significant economic shocks, including to the public sector where many state and local governments edged toward bankruptcy.

Efforts to relieve declining corporate profits and productivity initiated efforts to restructure the economy, including cutting back on government services. The response, first in England under Margaret Thatcher and then in the United States under Ronald Reagan, was an effort to retrench the state by a package that included decreases in government expenditures for social welfare programs, cutbacks on business regulations, resistance to labor rights, and tax cuts. Collectively these proposals are referred to as Neo-liberalism and their aim was to restore profitability and autonomy to free markets with the belief that unfettered by the government that would restore productivity.

Neo-liberalism had a major impact on higher education. First beginning under President Carter and then more so under Ronald Reagan, the federal and state governments cut taxes and public expenditures. The combination of the two meant a halt to the Dewey business model as support for public institutions decreased and federal money dried up.

From a high in the 1960s and early 70s when states and the federal government provided generous funding to expand their public systems to educate the Baby Boomers, state universities now receive only a small percentage of their money from the government. As I pointed out in my 2005 Logos “The Corporate University in American Society” article in 1991, 74% of the funding for public universities came from states, in 2004; it was down to 64%, with state systems in Illinois, Michigan and Virginia down to 25%, 18%, and 8% respectively. Since then, the percentages have shrunk even more, rendering state universities public institutions more in name than in funding.

Higher education under Neo-liberalism needed a new business model and it found it in the corporate university. The corporate university is one where colleges increasingly use corporate structures and management styles to run the university. This includes abandoning the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) shared governance model where faculty had an equal voice in the running of the school, including over curriculum, selection of department chairs, deans, and presidents, and determination of many of the other policies affecting the academy. The corporate university replaced the shared governance model with one more typical of a business corporation.

For the corporate university, many decisions, including increasingly those affecting curriculum, are determined by a top-down pyramid style of authority. University administration often composed not of typical academics but those with business or corporate backgrounds had pre-empted many of the decisions faculty used to make. Under a corporate model, the trustees, increasingly composed of more business leaders than before, select, often with minimal input from the faculty, the president who, in turn, again with minimal or no faculty voice, select the deans, department heads, and other administrative personnel.

University bureaucracy and presidents became way too greedy

Neoliberalism professes the idea the personal greed can serve positive society goals, which is reflected in famous neoliberal slogan "greed is good". And university presidents listen. Now presidents of neoliberal universities do not want to get $100K per year salary, they want one, or better several, million dollars -- the salary of the CEO of major corporation (Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid Leaders, Study Finds - NYTimes.com)

At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group.

The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.

The co-authors, Andrew Erwin and Marjorie Wood, found that administrative expenditures at the highest-paying universities outpaced spending on scholarships by more than two to one. And while adjunct faculty members became more numerous at the 25 universities, the share of permanent faculty declined drastically.

“The high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending,” Ms. Wood said. “But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending.”

... ... ...

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual survey of public university presidents’ compensation, also released Sunday, found that nine chief executives earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2012-13, up from four the previous year, and three in 2010-11. The median total compensation of the 256 presidents in the survey was $478,896, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

... ... ...

As in several past years, the highest-compensated president, at $6,057,615 in this period, was E. Gordon Gee, who resigned from Ohio State last summer amid trustee complaints about frequent gaffes. He has since become the president of West Virginia University.

This trick requires dramatic raising of tuition costs. University bureaucracy also got taste for better salaries and all those deans, etc want to be remunerated like vice presidents. So raising the tuition costs became the key existential idea of neoliberal university. Not quality of education, but tuition costs now are the key criteria of success. And if you can charge students $40K per semester it is very, very good. If does not matter that most population get less then $20 an hour.

The same is true for professors, who proved to be no less corruptible. And some of them, such as economic departments, simply serve as prostitutes for financial oligarchy. So they were corrupted even before that rat race for profit. Of course there are exceptions. But they only prove the rule.

As the result university tuition inflation outpaced inflation by leaps and bounds. At some point amount that you pay (and the level of debt after graduation) becomes an important factor in choosing the university. So children of "have" and "have nots" get into different educational institutions and do not meet each other. In a way aristocracy returned via back door.

Job market situation and hidden financial rip offs

Neoliberal university professes "deep specialization" to create "ready for the job market" graduates. And that creates another problem: education became more like stock market game and that makes more difficult for you to change your specialization late in the education cycle. But too early choice entails typical stock market problem: you might miss the peak of the market or worse get into prolonged slump, as graduates in finance learned all too well in 2008.

That's why it is important not to accumulate too much debt: large debt after graduation put you in situation like "all in" play in poker. You essentially bet that in the chosen specialty there will be open positions with high salary, when you graduate. If you lose this bet , you became a debt slave for considerable period of your life.

As a result of this "reaction to the market trends" by neoliberal universities, when universities became appendixes of HR of large corporations students need to be more aware of real university machinery, then students in 50th or 60th of the last century. And first student should not assume that the university is functioning for  their benefits.

One problem for a student is that there are now way too many variables that you do not control. Among them:

On the deep level neoliberal university is not interested to help you to find specialization and place in life where can unleash your talents. You are just a paying customers much like in McDonalds, and university interests are such they might try to push you in wrong direction or load you with too much debt.

If there is deep mismatch as was with computer science graduates after crash of dot-com boom, or simply bad job market due to economy stagnation and you can't find the job for your new specialty (or if you got "junk" specialty with inherent high level of unemployment among professionals) and you have substantial education debt, then waiting tables or having some other MacJob is a real disaster for you. As with such salaries you simply can't pay it back. So controlling the level of debt is very important and in this sense parents financial help is now necessary. In other words education became more and more "rich kids game".

That does not mean that university education should be avoided for those from families with modest means. On the contrary it provides unique experience and help a person to mature in multiple ways difficult to achieve without it. It is still one of the best ways to get vertical mobility. But unless parents can support you need to try to find the most economical way to obtain it without acquiring too much debt. This is you first university exam. And if you fail it you are in trouble.

For example, computer science education is a great way to learn quite a few things necessary for a modern life. But the price does matter and prestige of the university institution that you attend is just one of the factors you should consider in your evaluation. It should not be the major factor ("vanity fair") unless your parents are rich and can support you. If you are good you can get later a master degree in a prestigious university after graduation from a regular college. Or even Ph.D.

County colleges are greatly underappreciated and generally provide pretty high standard of education, giving ability to students to save money for the first two years before transferring to a four year college. They also smooth the transition as finding yourself among people who are only equal or superior then you (and have access to financial resource that you don't have) is a huge stress. The proverb say that it is better to be first in the village then last in the town has some truth in it. Prestigious universities might provide a career boost (high fly companies usually accept resumes only from Ivy League members), but they cost so much that you need to be a son or daughter of well-to-do parents to feel comfortably in them. Or extremely talented. Also amount of career boost that elite universities provide depends on whom your parents are and what connections they have. It does not depend solely on you and the university. Again, I would like to stress that you should resist "vanity fair" approach to your education: a much better way is to try to obtain BS in a regular university and them try to obtain MS and then, if you are good, PHD, in a prestigious university. Here is a fragment of an interesting discussion that covers this topic (Low Mobility Is Not a Social Tragedy?, Feb 13, 2013 ; I recommend you to read the whole discussion ):

kievite:

I would like to defend Greg Clack.

I think that Greg Clack point is that the number of gifted children is limited and that exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies (story of Alexander Hamilton was really fascinating for me, the story of Mikhail Lomonosov http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Lomonosov was another one -- he went from the very bottom to the top of Russian aristocracy just on the strength of his abilities as a scientist). In no way the ability to "hold its own" (typical for rich families kids) against which many here expressed some resentment represents social mobility. But the number of kids who went down is low -- that's actually proves Greg Clack point:

(1) Studies of social mobility using surnames suggest two things. Social mobility rates are much lower than conventionally estimated. And social mobility rates estimated in this way vary little across societies and time periods. Sweden is no more mobile than contemporary England and the USA, or even than medieval England. Social mobility rates seem to be independent of social institutions (see the other studies on China, India, Japan and the USA now linked here).

Francisco Ferreira rejects this interpretation, and restates the idea that there is a strong link between social mobility rates and inequality in his interesting post.

What is wrong with the data Ferreira cites? Conventional estimates of social mobility, which look at just single aspects of social status such as income, are contaminated by noise. If we measure mobility on one aspect of status such as income, it will seem rapid.

But this is because income is a very noisy measure of the underlying status of families. The status of families is a combination of their education, occupation, income, wealth, health, and residence. They will often trade off income for some other aspect of status such as occupation. A child can be as socially successful as a low paid philosophy professor as a high paid car salesman. Thus if we measure just one aspect of status such as income we are going to confuse the random fluctuations of income across generations, influenced by such things as career choices between business and philosophy, with true generalised social mobility.

If these estimates of social mobility were anywhere near correct as indicating true underlying rates of social mobility, then we would not find that the aristocrats of 1700 in Sweden are still overrepresented in all elite occupations of Sweden. Further, the more equal is income in a society, the less signal will income give of the true social status of families. In a society such as Sweden, where the difference in income between bus drivers and philosophy professors is modest, income tells us little about the social status of families. It is contaminated much more by random noise. Thus it will appear if we measure social status just by income that mobility is much greater in Sweden than in the USA, because in the USA income is a much better indicator of the true overall status of families.

The last two paragraphs of Greg Clark article cited by Mark Thoma are badly written and actually are somewhat disconnected with his line of thinking as I understand it as well as with the general line of argumentation of the paper.

Again, I would like to stress that a low intergenerational mobility includes the ability of kids with silver spoon in their mouth to keep a status close to their parent. The fact that they a have different starting point then kids from lower strata of society does not change that.

I think that the key argument that needs testing is that the number of challengers from lower strata of the society is always pretty low and is to a large extent accommodated by the societies we know (of course some societies are better then others).

Actually it would be interesting to look at the social mobility data of the USSR from this point of view.

But in no way, say, Mark Thoma was a regular kid, although circumstances for vertical mobility at this time were definitely better then now. He did possessed some qualities which made possible his upward move although his choice of economics was probably a mistake ;-).

Whether those qualities were enough in more restrictive environments we simply don't know, but circumstances for him were difficult enough as they were.

EC -> kievite...

"the number of gifted children is limited"

I stopped reading after that. I teach at a high school in a town with a real mix of highly elite families, working class families, and poor families, and I can tell you that the children of affluent parents are not obviously more gifted than the children of poor families. They do, however, have a lot more social capital, and they have vastly more success. But the limitations on being "gifted" are irrelevant.

According to an extensive study (Turkheimer et al., 2003) of 50,000 pregnant women and the children they went on to have (including enough sets of twins to be able to study the role of innate genetic differences), variation in IQ among the affluent seems to be largely genetic.

Among the poor, however, IQ has very little to do with genes -- probably because the genetic differences are swamped and suppressed by the environmental differences, as few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances.

kievite -> EC...

All you said is true. I completely agree that "...few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances." So there are losses here and we should openly talk about them.

Also it goes without saying that social capital is extremely important for a child. That's why downward mobility of children from upper classes is suppressed, despite the fact that some of them are plain vanilla stupid.

But how this disproves the point made that "exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies"? I think you just jumped the gun...

mrrunangun:

The early boomers benefitted from the happy confluence of the postwar boom, LBJ's Great Society efforts toward financial assistance for those seeking to advance their educations, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act which opened opportunities for marginalized social groups in institutions largely closed to them under the prewar social customs in the US.

The US Supreme Court is made up of only Jews and Catholics as of this writing, a circumstance inconceivable in the prewar America. Catholics were largely relegated to separate and unequal institutions. Jews' opportunities were limited by quotas and had a separate set of institutions of their own where their numbers could support such. Where their numbers were not sufficient, they were often relegated to second rate institutions.

Jewish doctors frequently became the leading men in the Catholic hospitals in Midwestern industrial towns where they were unwelcome in the towns' main hospitals. Schools, clubs, hospitals, professional and commercial organizations often had quota or exclusionary policies. Meritocracy has its drawbacks, but we've seen worse in living memory.

The really cruel world of a neoliberal university

Of course bad things that happened to you during your university years are soon forgotten and nostalgia colors everything in role tones, but the truth is that the modern university is a very cruel world. Now more then ever. Here are some random observations of the subject (See also my Diploma Mills page about high education sharks for which sucking you dry financially is the main goal ):

Lysenkoism and petty, greedy pseudo-scientific scum as professors and teachers

Most teachers and Professors in the university are good, honest people who are trying to make some contribution to science and teach students (difficult things to mix). But not all. One of the most dangerous feature of neoliberal university are influx of people who represent a toxic mix of teacher, snake oil seller, careerist and cult follower. They are not teachers but brainwashers, hired guns -- propagandists masquerading as University professors. That is why we have witnessed such a corruption and politicization of science and rising proportion of research and theories taught at the universities that are fraudulent.

Previously teacher was a person somewhat similar to a monk. A person who consciously traded the ability to work in science to the possibility of acquiring material wealth, at least excessive material wealth. As Ernest Rutherford once reminded Pyotr Kapitsa "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

But in neoliberal university way too many teachers/researchers took Faustian bargain when one trades the academic independence for above average personal wealth, influence, for the power grab. And despite popular image of scientists and university professors they proved to be as corruptible by money as Wall Street traders ;-). This is because the sponsors of their research such as big business, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government vie to publish reports and results that put the sponsors in the best light. Good example is relations of pharmaceutical industry and academia

“The answer to that question is at once both predictable and shocking: For the past two decades, medical research has been quietly corrupted by cash from private industry. Most doctors and academic researchers aren't corrupt in the sense of intending to defraud the public or harm patients, but rather, more insidiously, guilty of allowing the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to manipulate medical science through financial relationships, in effect tainting the system that is supposed to further the understanding of disease and protect patients from ineffective or dangerous drugs. More than 60 percent of clinical studies--those involving human subjects--are now funded not by the federal government, but by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. That means that the studies published in scientific journals like Nature and The New England Journal of Medicine--those critical reference points for thousands of clinicians deciding what drugs to prescribe patients, as well as for individuals trying to educate themselves about conditions and science reporters from the popular media who will publicize the findings--are increasingly likely to be designed, controlled, and sometimes even ghost-written by marketing departments, rather than academic scientists. Companies routinely delay or prevent the publication of data that show their drugs are ineffective.

...

“ Novartis, stepped in and provided additional funding for development. In 1984, private companies contributed a mere $26 million to university research budgets. By 2000, they were ponying up $2.3 billion, an increase of 9000 percent that provided much needed funds to universities at a time when the cost of doing medical research was skyrocketing.”

Historically the scientific community is held together through its joint acceptance of the same fundamental principles of conducting research (and teaching those results) and ethics. Scientific research is best practiced in a voluntary, honest and free atmosphere. But this idyllic arrangement as well as scientific ethics now belongs to the past ( The Corruption of Science )

“It’s a long-standing and crucial question that, as yet, remains unanswered: just how common is scientific misconduct? In the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh reports the first meta-analysis of surveys questioning scientists about their misbehaviours. The results suggest that altering or making up data is more frequent than previously estimated and might be particularly high in medical research.

...There is immense pressure on scientists to produce results, to publish, to seek glory, or just to get tenure. Scientists are human beings, after all, and sometimes they approach their field with preconceptions or biases. Politics certainly comes into play; consider eugenics in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, or eugenics in Nazi Germany.

Now we can talk only about the level of political and economical pressure and corresponding level of corruption on professors and scientists, not so much about presence or absence of corruption in science and education. What really matters for students is that when they feel that a professor is a scum, they nevertheless try to imitate. See for example Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia.

Historically the situation started to change even before neoliberal university became a dominant educational institution. Previously, despite the fact that money for science were in short supply, scientists maintained a self-discipline. That changed after WWII. Prior to World War II there was little government financial support for science. A graduate student working on a Ph.D. degree was expected to make a new discovery to earn that degree. And if somebody else came first he needed to find a new theme and to restart his work.

But with the advent of NSF scientists started to "propose" directions of research to get funding. And be sure this instill atmosphere of sycophantism and political correctness. This process accelerated dramatically since 1980th with the ascendance of neoliberalism as a dominant USA ideology, when greed became playing significant role in US universities. It should be understood that now the university professor is no longer is a teacher and a scientist, but predominantly "grants provider" for the university and that means that he/she is in the first place a political agent, a manipulator on a mission from the external agent (typically the state via NSF or other agency, see The Corruption of Science in America -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net)

For the unwashed masses University professor career still represents the ultimate carrier of truth for a given discipline, so his opinion have a distinct political weight. And the architects of our neoliberal world fully use this "superstition". Like we can see with neoclassical economics, economists have turned into an instrument of cognitive manipulation, when under the guise of science financial oligarchy promote beneficial to itself but false and simplistic picture of the world, using University professors to brainwash the masses into "correct" thinking.

Professors literally became a religious figures, and cult members or even cult leaders. The first sign of this dangerous disease of the modern university was probably Lysenkoism in the USSR. In this sense one can say that Lysenkoism represented a natural side effect of shrinking of freedom of the scientific community and growing influence of political power on science. As by Frederick Seitz noted in his The Present Danger To Science and Society

Everyone knows that the scientific community faces financial problems at the present time. If that were its only problem, some form of restructuring and allocation of funds, perhaps along lines well tested in Europe and modified in characteristic American ways, might provide solutions that would lead to stability and balance well into the next century. Unfortunately, the situation is more complex, made so by the fact that the scientific establishment has become the object of controversy from both outside and inside its special domain. The most important aspects of the controversy are of a new kind and direct attention away from matters that are sufficiently urgent to be the focus of a great deal of the community's attention.

The assaults on science from the outside arise from such movements as the ugly form of "political correctness" that has taken root in important portions of our academic community. There are to be found, in addition, certain tendencies toward a home-grown variant of the anti-intellectual Lysenkoism that afflicted science in the Stalinist Soviet Union. So-called fraud cases are being dealt with in new, bureaucratic ways that cut across the traditional methods of arriving at truth in science. From inside the scientific community, meanwhile, there are challenges that go far beyond those that arise from the intense competition for the limited funds that are available to nourish the country's scientific endeavor.

The critical issue of arriving at a balanced approach to funding for science is being subordinated to issues made to seem urgent by unhealthy alliances of scientists and bureaucrats. Science and the integrity of its practitioners are under attack and, increasingly, legislators and bureaucrats shape the decisions that determine which paths scientific research should take. There is, in addition, a sinister tendency, especially in environmental affairs, toward considering the undertaking of expensive projects that are proposed by some scientists to remedy worst-case formulations of problems before the radical and expensive remedies are proven to be needed. They are viewed seriously though they are based on the advice of opportunistic alarmists in science who leap ahead of what is learned from solid research to encourage support for the expensive remedies they perceive to be necessary. The potential for very great damage to science and society is real.

Textbook racket is a part of neoliberal transformation of university education

Unfortunately a large part of the textbook market in the USA has all signs of corrupted monopoly infested with cronyism and incompetence to the extent that Standard Oil practices looks pretty benign in comparison. As the site MakeTextbooksAffordable.com states on its font page:

The report found that even though students already pay $900 year for textbooks, textbook publishers artificially inflate the price of textbooks by adding bells and whistles to the current texts, and forcing cheaper used books off the market by producing expensive new editions of textbooks that are barely different from the previous edition.

And some university professors are part of these scheme. Congressmen David Wu sites the opinion of the publisher in his letter "If a student is paying hundreds of dollars for a book, it's because the professor has ordered the Cadillac edition". But that might be true only for CS where any professor can easily find a cheaper high quality substitute from publishers like O'Reilly (and students can do this too, see Softpanorama Bookshelf actually about finding the best CS book (and some other) at reasonable prices. In other disciplines like mathematics situation is a real racket: The cost of a common calculus textbook is over $100 in the USA. This is a blatant, open rip-off. Economics is probably even worse with some useless junk selling for almost $300 per book.

In the meantime, enterprising students have many ways to cut the cost of buying textbooks.

But here one needs to see a bigger picture: low quality of recommended textbooks and, especially, the quality of university instruction makes it necessary buying additional textbooks. Also the ownership of best textbooks often makes the difference between success and failure in the particular course. In this sense additional $100 spending for books for each course makes economic sense as the common alternative is to drop the course, which often means $1K of more loss.

There are several ways to save on additional textbooks that hopefully can somewhat compensate for the low quality of tuition in a typical university. With some effort a student can often save approximately 50% of the cover price. Again my Links2bookstores page contains more information.

At the same time if the instructor is weak, or, worse, belongs to "fundamentalists", a category of instructors that does not distinguish between important and unimportant things and overloads the course with "useless overcomplexity" additional books are one of few countermeasures against this typical university-style rip-off. Dropping the course is a difficult maneuver that requires perfect timing and problems with instructor and the course content usually do not surface during the first month of the study when you can still do it for free or with minimal damage.

College textbook publishing became a racket with the growth of neoliberalism. And it is pretty dirty racket with willing accomplishes in form of so called professors like Greg Mankiw. For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200. An interesting discussion of this problem can be found at Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks'

Tim Taylor on why textbooks cost so much:

Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks: High textbook prices are a pebble in the shoe of many college students. Sure, it's not the biggest financial issue they face, But it's a real and nagging annoyance that for hinders performance for many students. ...
David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein at National Public Radio took up this question recently on one of their "Planet Money" podcasts. ... For economists, a highlight is that they converse with Greg Mankiw, author of what is currently the best-selling introductory economics textbook, which as they point out is selling for $286 on Amazon. Maybe this is a good place to point out that I am not a neutral observer in this argument: The third edition of my own Principles of Economics textbook is available through Textbook Media. The pricing varies from $25 for online access to the book, up through $60 for both a paper copy (soft-cover, black and white) and online access.

Several explanations for high textbook prices are on offer. The standard arguments are that textbook companies are marketing selling to professors, not to students, and professors are not necessarily very sensitive to textbook prices. (Indeed, one can argue that before the rapid rise in textbook prices in the last couple of decades, it made sense for professors not to focus too much on textbook prices.) Competition in the textbook market is limited, and the big publishers load up their books with features that might appeal to professors: multi-colored hardcover books, with DVDs and online access, together with test banks that allow professors to give quizzes and tests that can be machine-graded. At many colleges and universities, the intro econ class is taught in a large lecture format, which can include hundreds or even several thousand students, as well as a flock of teaching assistants, so some form of computerized grading and feedback is almost a necessity. Some of the marketing by textbook companies involves paying professors for reviewing chapters--of course in the hope that such reviewers will adopt the book.

The NPR show casts much of this dynamic as a "principal-agent problem," the name for a situation in which one person (the "principal") wants another person (the "agent") to act on their behalf, but lacks the ability to observe or evaluate the actions of the agent in a complete way. Principal-agent analysis is often used, for example, to think about the problem of a manager motivating employees. But it can also be used to consider the issue of students (the "principals") wanting the professor (the "agent") to choose the book that will best suit the needs of the students, with all factors of price and quality duly taken into account. The NPR reporters quote one expert saying that the profit margin for high school textbooks is 5-10%, because those books decisions are made by school districts and states that negotiate hard. However, profit margins on college textbooks--where the textbook choice is often made by a professor who may not even know the price that students will pay--are more like 20%.

The NPR report suggests this principal-agent framework to Greg Mankiw, author of the top-selling $286 economic textbook. Mankiw points out that principal-agent problems are in no way nefarious, but come up in many contexts. For example, when you get an operation, you rely on the doctor to make choices that involve costs; when you get your car fixed, you rely on a mechanic to make choices that involve costs; when you are having home repairs done, you rely on a repair person or a contractor to make choices that involve costs. Mankiw argues that professors, acting as the agents of students, have legitimate reason to be concerned about tradeoffs of time and money. As he notes, a high quality book is more important "than saving them a few dollars"--and he suggests that saving $30 isn't worth it for a low-quality book.

But of course, in the real world there are more choices than a high-quality $286 book and a low-quality $256 book. The PIRG student surveys suggest that up to two-thirds of students are avoiding buying textbooks at all, even though they fear it will hurt their grade, or are shifting to other classes with lower textbook costs. If a student is working 10 hours a week at a part-time job, making $8/hour after taxes, then the difference between $286 book and a $60 book is 28.25 hours--nearly three weeks of part-time work. I am unaware of any evidence in which students were randomly assigned different textbooks but otherwise taught and evaluated in the same way, and kept time diaries, which would show that higher-priced books save time or improve academic performance. It is by no means obvious that a lower-cost book (yes, like my own) works less well for students than a higher-cost book from a big publisher. Some would put that point more strongly.

A final dynamic that may be contributing to higher-prices textbooks is a sort of vicious circle related to the textbook resale market. The NPR report says that when selling a textbook over a three-year edition, a typical pattern was that sales fell by half after the first year and again by half after the second year, as students who had bought the first edition resold the book to later students. Of course, this dynamic also means that many students who bought the book new are not really paying full-price, but instead paying the original price minus the resale price. The argument is that as textbooks have increased in price, the resale market has become ever-more active, so that sales of a textbook in later years have dwindled much more quickly. Textbook companies react to this process by charging more for the new textbook, which of course only spurs more activity in the resale market.

A big question for the future of textbooks is how and in what ways they migrate to electronic forms. On one side, the hope is that electronic textbooks will offer expanded functionality, as well as being cheaper. But this future is not foreordained. At least at present, my sense is that the functionality of reading and taking notes in online textbooks hasn't yet caught up to the ease of reading on paper. Technology and better screens may well shift this balance over time. But even setting aside questions of reading for long periods of time on screen, or taking notes on screen, at present it remains harder to skip around in a computerized text between what you are currently reading and the earlier text that you need to be checking, as well as skipping to various graphs, tables, and definitions. To say it more simply, in a number of subjects it may still be harder to study an on-line text than to study a paper text.

Moreover, as textbook manufacturers shift to an on-line world, they will bring with them their full bag of tricks for getting paid. The Senack report notes:

Today’s marketplace offers more digital textbook options to the student consumer than ever. “Etextbooks” are digitized texts that students read on a laptop or tablet. Similar to PDF documents, e-textbooks enable students to annotate, highlight and search. The cost may be 40-50 percent of the print retail price, and access expires after 180 days. Publishers have introduced e-textbooks for nearly all their traditional textbook offerings. In addition, the emergence of the ereader like the Kindle and iPad, as well as the emergence of many e-textbook rental programs, all seemed to indicate that the e-textbook will alter the college textbook landscape for the better.

However, despite this shift, users of e-textbooks are subject to expiration dates, on-line codes that only work once, page printing limits, and other tactics that only serve to restrict use and increase cost.

Unfortunately for students, the publishing companies’ venture into e-textbooks is a continuation of the practices they use to monopolize the print market.

JohnH:

My understanding is that there are cases where the professor requires the textbook he wrote and for which he receives royalties...

In such cases, the publisher and the professor's interests align against the student, who pays through the teeth.

djb:

good article but i have a real problem with introductory texts on economics

they are completely biased, mostly towards supply side of the debate

meaning, of course, they are wrong

if they just contained that which is undeniably true then ok, or if they presented it as this school of thought says this and that school of thought says the other, ok,

The Raven:

A general rule of thumb: half the selling price of a book is spent before the first impression is made on paper. Speaking as a very small publisher, I think the main problem is that the texts are expensive to produce.

They take a lot of editorial and design effort, so the fixed costs of textbook production are high, the production costs are often high, and textbook bestsellers are not common, so they don't usually make it up on volume.

Now, one could, for standard freshman and sophomore texts, aim at lower costs and higher volumes, but that's not academic publishing, and nothing is going to help with upper-level texts; the market is just not that big.

pgl -> to The Raven...

Excellent! With a high elasticity of demand, the increase in quantity beats the drop in price. Unless the marginal cost of printing books is higher than I suspect it is, Mankiw's publisher is not a profit maximizing monopolist. I'm telling you the best economics is right here and we don't charge $286!

The Raven -> to pgl...

Thanks.

You'd have to market a book *hard* to get that increase in demand, though. It's not a student-by-student sale decision; the professors have to be marketed. The other thing about publishing economics that people outside the industry don't realize: most books don't make much money, so publishers rely on the good-sellers and the best-sellers for much of their profits. If you've got something you're pretty sure is going to be in demand, *you mark it up,* because in William Golding's immortal phrase, "Nobody knows anything."

Over the past 25 or so years, the consolidation of publishing has put the money types more and more in control of the business. And the money types always want to only market best sellers. This is sort of like Germany saying that everyone should make money exporting. "That trick never works."

Now, if anyone wanted to bring the price of an Econ 101 book down, one could do a no-frills book, small, soft-covered, and strictly monochrome, or perhaps an ebook. (But watch out—only some ebook readers support mathematics well.) It might cost $50 or so (I'm guessing—I'm not a textbook publisher.) It would not look impressive, and this might make a problem for marketing, but students could still learn from it. And—who knows?—it might even sell.

T.J.:

The issue is that textbook publishers release new editions every couple of years. For many subjects, including economics, this is absurd. Sciences don't change that quickly.

For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200.

Has principles of microeconomics changed that much over the course of 6 years? No, but textbook companies make a few changes on the margin and charge you hundreds of dollars for a new edition. Many times, professors require online access codes to supplement their lecture. Therefore, the student is forced into the newer edition, in which often there is no substantial differences or major improvements in presenting the material.

When you have that sort of market power, it is easy to achieve economic rents.

pgl -> to T.J....

"Sciences don't change that quickly". One would hope those freshwater books changed after their utter failures to predict the most recent recession. But they likely haven't.

cm -> to T.J....

There are errata, and some content that the author has in mind doesn't make it into the first edition, or not at the intended quality/depth. Most people who have never published something substantial have no idea how much work it is to get non-fiction scientific/technical stuff publication ready. Not only on the author's part but also editing and proofreading/giving feedback at a collegial level. (Not meaning to knock down fiction, that's a different set of challenges.)

Bill Ellis:

Two Ideas I would like to see combined. A period of Universal public service that earns a free higher and or tech education. Something like the GI bill for all.

I think making universal public service a right of passage could help us be a more unified society. If we have kids from inner city Detroit, rural West Virginia, suburban San Francisco and the oil fields of Oklahoma working side by side it would open their eyes to each other in ways that are never experienced by most American kids who are living in communities of institutional self-segregation.

Having said that.. free education is a no brainer no matter what.
To cover everyone's tuition it would only cost us about forty billion more than the feds already spend on higher ed. That's a rounding error in terms of our total budget.

We subsidize big oil and gas to the tune of about 50 billion a year.

The maddening thing is that the national debate is not even close to taking Free Ed seriously. Instead Liz Warren is portrayed some kind of wild eyed radical for proposing a modest cut in interest rates on student loans and some narrow way to get some forgiveness of debt.

John Cummings:

It is part of the educational industrial complex (which include vouchers and government backed private school industrial complex)

Educational industrial complex
Military industrial complex
Medical industrial complex
Prison industrial complex

Fred C. Dobbs:

(Evidently, 'It’s Economics 101'.)

Higher education: Why textbooks cost so much http://econ.st/1yzDU5Z via @TheEconomist - Aug 16th 2014

Students can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics”—even if they don’t read it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: $292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteen fold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation (see chart, at link).

Like doctors prescribing drugs, professors assigning textbooks do not pay for the products themselves, so they have little incentive to pick cheap ones. Some assign books they have written themselves. The 20m post-secondary students in America often have little choice in the matter. Small wonder textbooks generate megabucks.

But hope is not lost for poor scholars. Foreign editions are easy to find online and often cheaper—sometimes by over 90%. Publishers can be litigious about this, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to buy and resell copyrighted material obtained legally. Many university bookstores now let students rent books and return them. Publishers have begun to offer digital textbooks, which are cheaper but can’t be resold. And if all else fails, there is always the library.

Related: How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up http://t.usnews.com/a2B567 via @usnews - Aug 28, 2012

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

(A bunch of experts discuss the matter.)

Room for Debate: The Real Cost of College Textbooks http://nyti.ms/1qEHasX - July 2010

(Including a couple of economists!)

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

How to Cut Your Textbook Costs in Half -- or More-Kiplinger http://po.st/nCZsxY - August 2014

(By renting e-books, donchaknow.)

(Turns out Mankiw's Econ textbook, which
currently costs $289 in hardcover from
Amazon, can be rented in Kindle format
for a mere $173 - for 180 days.)

(Hardcover rental is $70, however.)

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

(Wait a second. The Federales fixed
this problem back in 2008...)

Advocates say a new set of federal provisions, aimed at driving down the cost of college textbooks, should help students this fall. On July 1, (2010) these rules took effect:

Publishers must give professors detailed information about textbook prices, revision histories and a list of alternate formats.

Publishers have to sell materials typically bundled with textbooks -- such as CDs, DVDs and workbooks -- separately so students don't have to buy them.

Colleges have to include in-course schedules with required textbooks for each class, including the book's price and International Standard Book Number, an identifying tool.

The protections, included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, are an attempt to lessen student debt, said U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., on Wednesday.

"The cost of education is of concern not only to students and families but to the nation," Durbin said, explaining why the government got involved in textbook prices. "Students are emerging with more and more debt."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/07/22/97931_new-federal-rules-take-aim-at.html?rh=1

Charles Peterson:

A $289 econ text is only marked up 20% ???

I'm not sure how to account for this, but I believe a full account of markup should include royalties if they have become outrageous economic rent.

Jim Harrison:

Textbooks have been outrageously expensive for a long time, though some of the prices quoted in this article were astonishing to me and I used to be in the business. Nothing much has changed. The complaints and the defenses sound very familiar. Even in the 70s and 80s, publishers groused about how the used trade hurt their sales and the suggestion was repeatedly made that one way around the trap was to produce much cheaper texts and make up the difference on volume. Unfortunately, the numbers never add up for that business plan since the major textbook publishers have huge sunk costs in the big sales forces needed to support the current model. Anyhow, good cheap books have long been available for many big undergrad courses if profs want to assign them and don't mind producing their own tests and other teaching aids. A handful of profs do just that and were already doing it thirty years ago, but they are a distinct minority.

About the revision racket: the funny thing is that old editions of textbooks are often better than more recent editions. Market research makes good books worse in much the same way that it eventually screws up software by the relentless addition of bells and whistles. I'm a technical writer these days and keep copies of several old classics at hand when I need to brush up: Feynman's lectures on physics; the first edition of Freeman, Pisani, and Purves on Statistics; the 2nd edition of Linus Pauling's Intro Chem text; Goldstein on Thermo; and a real museum piece, Sylvaner Thomas' Calculus Made Easy. Many of these books have been reprinted by Dover and are available for peanuts.

To be fair, the high price for textbooks makes more sense in some fields than in others. The three or four year revision cycle is absurd for math books since the math remains the same decade after decade, but texts in areas like molecular biology really do have to be revised frequently and substantively, a very labor-intensive task. Which is why I give a pass to the Biology editors and the folks who struggle to update the Intermediate Accounting books with the latest FASB standards.

cm -> to Jim Harrison...

Can you elaborate on the revision "paradox"? Surely not only in very new fields, the state of the art progresses, or textbook authors see a need or opportunity to include new material (I suspect somebody setting out to write a comprehensive text has more ideas what to write about than can be finished at the required quality in the required time, for the first edition).

How would the subsequent editions be worse, if the new content is driven by the author and not by external marketing considerations, unless the new material is at the expense of older material (e.g. #pages limit)?

From my very limited experience, authors who are not in it for making a profit, and who write for a small market (selling up to a few thousand copies per year is a small market) run into substantial overhead costs for editing, marketing (i.e. making the existence of the book known to the target audience), and distribution, and basically have to do the work for free. Some, and perhaps most, certainly academic, publishers have "charity" programs where they publish small editions where they at best break even or even cross-subsidize them out of "full rate" publications. Then people complain about excessive prices for the latter.

Leading Edge Boomer:

Jeebus, $286 for a textbook, from an author who is often wrong lately? I co-authored a graduate computer science text (low volume = higher cost) that retailed in the low two digits.

cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...

I will not comment on the author's merit or lack thereof, but $286 is really in "WTF" territory, for any textbook.

cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...

I once contributed to a book, and the authors/editors decided to collectively waive their royalties to hit an affordable price (and I suspect it was still a charity deal on the part of the largely academic publisher). But I got my free copy.

Jim Harrison:

At least for big market textbooks, the motive for revisions is generally financial and that's as true for the authors as the publishers. In fact, the authors are often the ones who push for new editions as their royalty checks steadily diminish. In cases where it's the authors who are reluctant to revise for whatever reason, publishers often sweeten the deal with advances, grants, or other goodies.

I don't mean to be completely cynical. Authors and editors certainly try to produce a better product when they put out new editions, and it very often happens that the second edition is better than the first. Especially in later cycles, however, the changes are usually pretty cosmetic. The editor in charge of the project solicits advice from users and potential users and comes up with a list of "improvements" in a process not entirely different than what happens when various interests in Washington get their pet provisions put in a bill. If you think that professor X is likely to adopt the text if you go along with his ideas and plug his contributions in the acknowledgements, the idea is very likely to be irresistible.

The sales force also weighs in. They want feature they can tout; but since real improvements are hard to come by, that usually means more and more pedagogy: boxes, pictures, computer programs, and umpteen forms of emphasis. Let me assure you it takes desperate ingenuity to come up with something new to add to an Intermediate Algebra textbook. "Now with a new way to factor trinomials" isn't exactly a memorable pitch. Meanwhile, after three or four editions, the author, who presumably would be the best source of serious innovation for a new edition, is generally bored to death with the project.

As I said above, there are textbooks that really do need perpetually revision for substantive reasons; but in most fields what Freshmen and Sophomores need to learn has been known for a long time. My remarks on revisions also don't apply very well to upper level texts in smaller markets, in part because students tend to hang on to serious books in their majors so the companies have less incentive to beat the used book market with new editions.

reason:

From what I remember of my university days (in the long distant past), we didn't have text books (that was for school kids). We had lectures and lists of reading materials (that if we were lucky we could find in the library and photocopy relvant sections). I did have a copy of Samualson (relatively cheap). But the emphasis was on a reading a variety of sources. What has changed, and why?

reason:

P.S. Not have text books would have the advantage of ensuring that the students attended lectures and stayed awake during them.

Jay:

No mention of the cost for this textbook...

http://www.amazon.com/Economics-Paul-Krugman/dp/1429251638/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413545846&sr=8-2&keywords=krugman+wells

grizzled:

My own biggest peeve concerns calculus textbooks, especially introductory calculus textbooks. The material hasn't changed in at least 60 years, if not longer. If it weren't for the current ridiculously long copyright terms people could just use old ones.

The last time I took the subject our professor went to some lengths to let us use the previous edition, which was available used. The only real change in the next edition was in the problems. That is, if a student was assigned "problem 8 in section xxx" having the most recent edition was the only way to know what the problem was.

I don't see any redeeming value in this.

Bloix:

My son took an intro geology course a few years ago. The textbook price at the school bookstore was about $125. He purchased the gray market (legal) "international edition" - word for word, page for page the same, but with a different picture on the cover - over the internet for about $50.

It's my understanding that this sort of price-differential is common. Mankiw's book appears to be available in the "international edition" for $60 (soft cover).

http://www.abebooks.com/9781285165875/Principles-Economics-7th-Edition-Mankiw-128516587X/plp

Please don't tell me that publishers and authors are not making money when they sell their books for US$50 or 60 in Australia.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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[Apr 20, 2019] Neoliberal education became a tool of social control and brainwashing, not so much developing of the person and his ability of critical thinking.

Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Death Of Education In America

Authored by W.J.Astore via BracingViews.com,

Trump! Mueller! Collusion!

I know: who cares about the education of our kids as the redacted Mueller Report dominates the airwaves on CNN, MSNBC, and similar cable "news" networks?

I care. I spent fifteen years as a history professor, teaching mostly undergraduates at technically-oriented colleges (the Air Force Academy ; the Pennsylvania College of Technology). What I experienced was the slow death of education in America. The decline of the ideal of fostering creative and critical thinking ; the abandonment of the notion of developing and challenging young people to participate intelligently and passionately in the American democratic experiment. Instead, education is often a form of social control , or merely a means to an end, purely instrumental rather than inspirational. Zombie education .

Nowadays, education in America is about training for a vocation, at least for some. It's about learning for the sake of earning, i.e. developing so-called marketable skills that end (one hopes) in a respectable paycheck. At Penn College, I was encouraged to meet my students "at their point of need." I was told they were my "customers" and I was their " provider ." Education, in sum, was transactional rather than transformational. Keep students in class (and paying tuition) and pray you can inspire them to see that the humanities are something more than "filler" to their schedules -- and their lives.

As a college professor, I was lucky. I taught five classes a semester (a typical teaching load at community colleges), often in two or three subjects. Class sizes averaged 25-30 students, so I got to know some of my students; I had the equivalent of tenure, with good pay and decent benefits, unlike the adjunct professors of today who suffer from low pay and few if any benefits. I liked my students and tried to challenge and inspire them to the best of my ability.

All this is a preface to Belle Chesler's stunning article at TomDispatch.com , "Making American Schools Less Great Again: A Lesson in Educational Nihilism on a Grand Scale." A high school visual arts teacher, Chesler writes from the heart about the chronic underfunding of education and how it is constricting democracy in America. Here she talks about the frustrations of classes that are simply too big to teach:

[ Class sizes grew so large ] I couldn't remember my students' names, was unable to keep up with the usual grading and assessments we're supposed to do, and was overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. Worst of all, I was unable to provide the emotional support I normally try to give my students. I couldn't listen because there wasn't time.

On the drive to work, I was paralyzed by dread; on the drive home, cowed by feelings of failure. The experience of that year was demoralizing and humiliating. My love for my students, my passion for the subjects I teach, and ultimately my professional identity were all stripped from me. And what was lost for the students? Quality instruction and adult mentorship, as well as access to vital resources -- not to mention a loss of faith in one of America's supposedly bedrock institutions, the public school

The truth of the matter is that a society that refuses to adequately invest in the education of its children is refusing to invest in the future. Think of it as nihilism on a grand scale.

Nihilism, indeed. Why believe in anything? Talk about zombie education!

What America is witnessing, she writes, is nothing short of a national tragedy:

Public schools represent one of the bedrock institutions of American democracy. Yet as a society we've stood aside as the very institutions that actually made America great were gutted and undermined by short-term thinking, corporate greed, and unconscionable disrespect for our collective future.

The truth is that there is money for education, for schools, for teachers, and for students. We just don't choose to prioritize education spending and so send a loud-and-clear message to students that education doesn't truly matter. And when you essentially defund education for more than 40 years, you leave kids with ever less faith in American institutions, which is a genuine tragedy.

Please read all of her article here at TomDispatch.com . And ask yourself, Why are we shortchanging our children's future? Why are we graduating gormless zombies rather than mindful citizens?

Perhaps Trump does have some relevance to this article after all: "I love the poorly educated," sayeth Trump . Who says Trump always lies?

[Apr 19, 2019] Education as a scam: shadow of Trump university over the USA

Apr 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

Now if these six words "gainful employment in a recognized occupation" magically disappeared (psst and they did), what would it take for a career education program to lose its eligibility for federal student aid under DeVos? . . . a for-profit institution could not lose its financial lifeline or federal student aid no matter how poorly it performed its mission as spelled out in a statute to prepare students for "gainful employment in a recognized occupation" resulting from that education as stipulated previously.

One hundred percent of students could be dropped from their career program with all of them deeply in debt, or perhaps no single graduate landing a job in their field of training, and still . . . still the federal government would keep the pipeline of guaranteed federal student loans and Pell Grants flowing in to the school.

With DeVos's reversal, the NYT surmised: "Executives in the for-profit education industry would be sleeping better, secure in the knowledge that even the worst schools and programs were no longer at risk of "magically" being thrown off the taxpayer-backed gravy train, no matter how epically they failed and robbed their students." This AB author took liberty and added words to make his point.

Under Obama, "the Job Training industry was on its heels. Under DeVos, they had been given a magical new life, a second chance by the department," said Eileen Connor, the director of litigation at Harvard Law School's Project on Predatory Student Lending.

Ms. DeVos, who invested in companies with ties to for-profit colleges before taking office, has made it an agency priority to unfetter schools offering training in professional jobs and trades by eliminating restrictions on them and also nonprofits. She also allowed a growing number of for-profit schools to magically evade those loosened rules by converting to nonprofits.

That is what the Los Angeles Pentecostal megachurch's affiliate Dream Center wanted to do in 2017 when it asked to buy the remains of Education Management Corporation . . . change it from for-profit to nonprofit and use the profits to fund its other programs. One year after taking over a chain of for-profit schools, dozens of Dream Center schools are near bankruptcy and others have been sold with a hope they can survive.

Collectively Argosy University, South University and the Art Institutes have ~26,000 students in programs resulting in associate degrees in dental hygiene and doctoral programs in law and psychology. Fourteen campuses of mostly Art Institute schools have a new owner after an arranged transfer involving private equity. Another 40 or so others are now under the control of a court-appointed receiver who has accused school officials of trying to keep the doors open by taking millions of dollars earmarked for students to pay operating expenses.

Federal funding for Argosy ceased from the Department of Education when the court-appointed receiver discovered school officials had taken about $13 million owed to students at 22 campuses and used it for payroll expenses, etc. Lauren Jackson seeking a doctorate at Argosy's Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago did not receive the $10,000 she was due in January. She was paying expenses for herself and her 6-year-old daughter with borrowed money and GoFundMe donations.

26,000 students being defrauded by schools offering programs meant to teach them a skill leading to "gainful employment in a recognized occupation" is only a start to which DeVos has failed to account for in the Department of Education. DeVos does profit by this failure due to her own dabbling in areas feeding off of these failures. There is money to be made in preying on defrauded students, so many of them, and larger than the baby boomer generation. The most tragic consequence of conservatives' abandonment of federal accountability of career programs is just that and the devastating personal toll it will take on hundreds of thousands of hopelessly indebted students" for whom there is no relief.

[Apr 05, 2019] Belief in Meritocracy under Neoliberalism Is Not Only False, It's Bad for You by Clifton Mark

All known societies were to a certain extent meritocratic and allowed people of exceptional ability to get to higher classes (often via military commander position, or sometime via administrator or scholar position). Under neoliberalism the main problem is that criteria of success are corrupted (if we are taking about money you need to go to major investment bank do do some stupid staff for several years, if not a decede)
So morality also plays a role and neoliberal society can be called 'amoral meritocracy" which rewards people with abilities who demonstrate amoral, harmful for the society behaviour, such as loan sharks, private equity sharks, debt merchants, etc. In other words neoliberal society is favorable to psychopaths.
Notable quotes:
"... It's not just a matter of "the material status and class of your parents." What about sheer luck? Or shall we believe also that luck is distributed meritocratically? ..."
"... Meritocracy is utopian. What we currently have is a 100M race with everyone starting at different distances. That's not meritocracy by any reasonable interpretation of the word, its something else, yet we have the spectacle of ideologues who pretend its reality and in effect right now. ..."
Apr 05, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. The fact that meritocracy is a useful illusion ties into the discussion in the Michael Hudson interview today by John Siman of how in antiquity, Stoicism's emphasis on resignation helped citizens accept iniquities that they otherwise might have opposed.

By Clifton Mark. Originally published at Aeon

'We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else ' Barack Obama, inaugural address, 2013

'We must create a level playing field for American companies and workers.' Donald Trump, inaugural address, 2017

Meritocracy has become a leading social ideal. Politicians across the ideological spectrum continually return to the theme that the rewards of life – money, power, jobs, university admission – should be distributed according to skill and effort. The most common metaphor is the 'even playing field' upon which players can rise to the position that fits their merit. Conceptually and morally, meritocracy is presented as the opposite of systems such as hereditary aristocracy, in which one's social position is determined by the lottery of birth. Under meritocracy, wealth and advantage are merit's rightful compensation, not the fortuitous windfall of external events.

Most people don't just think the world should be run meritocratically, they think it is meritocratic. In the UK, 84 per cent of respondents to the 2009 British Social Attitudes survey stated that hard work is either 'essential' or 'very important' when it comes to getting ahead, and in 2016 the Brookings Institute found that 69 per cent of Americans believe that people are rewarded for intelligence and skill. Respondents in both countries believe that external factors, such as luck and coming from a wealthy family, are much less important. While these ideas are most pronounced in these two countries, they are popular across the globe .

Although widely held, the belief that merit rather than luck determines success or failure in the world is demonstrably false. This is not least because merit itself is, in large part, the result of luck. Talent and the capacity for determined effort, sometimes called ' grit ', depend a great deal on one's genetic endowments and upbringing.

This is to say nothing of the fortuitous circumstances that figure into every success story. In his book Success and Luck ( 2016), the US economist Robert Frank recounts the long-shots and coincidences that led to Bill Gates's stellar rise as Microsoft's founder, as well as to Frank's own success as an academic. Luck intervenes by granting people merit, and again by furnishing circumstances in which merit can translate into success. This is not to deny the industry and talent of successful people. However, it does demonstrate that the link between merit and outcome is tenuous and indirect at best.

According to Frank, this is especially true where the success in question is great, and where the context in which it is achieved is competitive. There are certainly programmers nearly as skilful as Gates who nonetheless failed to become the richest person on Earth. In competitive contexts, many have merit, but few succeed. What separates the two is luck.

In addition to being false, a growing body of research in psychology and neuroscience suggests that believing in meritocracy makes people more selfish, less self-critical and even more prone to acting in discriminatory ways. Meritocracy is not only wrong; it's bad.

The 'ultimatum game' is an experiment, common in psychological labs, in which one player (the proposer) is given a sum of money and told to propose a division between him and another player (the responder), who may accept the offer or reject it. If the responder rejects the offer, neither player gets anything. The experiment has been replicated thousands of times, and usually the proposer offers a relatively even split. If the amount to be shared is $100, most offers fall between $40-$50.

One variation on this game shows that believing one is more skilled leads to more selfish behaviour. In research at Beijing Normal University, participants played a fake game of skill before making offers in the ultimatum game. Players who were (falsely) led to believe they had 'won' claimed more for themselves than those who did not play the skill game. Other studies confirm this finding. The economists Aldo Rustichini at the University of Minnesota and Alexander Vostroknutov at Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that subjects who first engaged in a game of skill were much less likely to support the redistribution of prizes than those who engaged in games of chance. Just having the idea of skill in mind makes people more tolerant of unequal outcomes. While this was found to be true of all participants, the effect was much more pronounced among the 'winners'.

By contrast, research on gratitude indicates that remembering the role of luck increases generosity. Frank cites a study in which simply asking subjects to recall the external factors (luck, help from others) that had contributed to their successes in life made them much more likely to give to charity than those who were asked to remember the internal factors (effort, skill).

Perhaps more disturbing, simply holding meritocracy as a value seems to promote discriminatory behaviour. The management scholar Emilio Castilla at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the sociologist Stephen Benard at Indiana University studied attempts to implement meritocratic practices, such as performance-based compensation in private companies. They found that, in companies that explicitly held meritocracy as a core value, managers assigned greater rewards to male employees over female employees with identical performance evaluations. This preference disappeared where meritocracy was not explicitly adopted as a value.

This is surprising because impartiality is the core of meritocracy's moral appeal. The 'even playing field' is intended to avoid unfair inequalities based on gender, race and the like. Yet Castilla and Benard found that, ironically, attempts to implement meritocracy leads to just the kinds of inequalities that it aims to eliminate. They suggest that this 'paradox of meritocracy' occurs because explicitly adopting meritocracy as a value convinces subjects of their own moral bona fides . Satisfied that they are just, they become less inclined to examine their own behaviour for signs of prejudice.

Meritocracy is a false and not very salutary belief. As with any ideology, part of its draw is that it justifies the status quo , explaining why people belong where they happen to be in the social order. It is a well-established psychological principle that people prefer to believe that the world is just.

However, in addition to legitimation, meritocracy also offers flattery. Where success is determined by merit, each win can be viewed as a reflection of one's own virtue and worth. Meritocracy is the most self-congratulatory of distribution principles. Its ideological alchemy transmutes property into praise, material inequality into personal superiority. It licenses the rich and powerful to view themselves as productive geniuses. While this effect is most spectacular among the elite, nearly any accomplishment can be viewed through meritocratic eyes. Graduating from high school, artistic success or simply having money can all be seen as evidence of talent and effort. By the same token, worldly failures becomes signs of personal defects, providing a reason why those at the bottom of the social hierarchy deserve to remain there.

This is why debates over the extent to which particular individuals are 'self-made' and over the effects of various forms of 'privilege' can get so hot-tempered. These arguments are not just about who gets to have what; it's about how much 'credit' people can take for what they have, about what their successes allow them to believe about their inner qualities. That is why, under the assumption of meritocracy, the very notion that personal success is the result of 'luck' can be insulting. To acknowledge the influence of external factors seems to downplay or deny the existence of individual merit.

Despite the moral assurance and personal flattery that meritocracy offers to the successful, it ought to be abandoned both as a belief about how the world works and as a general social ideal. It's false, and believing in it encourages selfishness, discrimination and indifference to the plight of the unfortunate.


JCC , April 5, 2019 at 10:20 am

The correct link for the Aeon source article:

https://aeon.co/ideas/a-belief-in-meritocracy-is-not-only-false-its-bad-for-you

jrs , April 5, 2019 at 11:21 am

I always though the title was off, the point being made is meritocracy is bad for society and people's moral behavior, but I still think people adapt meritocracy because they think it is good for them individually, to a degree.

I think we need to differentiate between purely individual beliefs and larger social beliefs, the purely individual beliefs are way less important but are sometimes used by people a means to cope.

There's the extreme in believing that luck has no role in life, and another extreme of believing nothing one can do personally (except you know join the revolution) can have an effect on their life. And as for being psychologically harmful to the individual, they both can be.

The person just out of luck, who say can't seem to find a job, who endlessly blames themselves falls into despair. Blaming themselves less would help a little bit, however this can not be changed so easily by a change of personal beliefs, as one's feelings are a product of their society, beliefs themselves to the extent they affect feelings are NOT entirely individual. So in this case the social belief in meritocracy becomes harmful to the individual, but the individual belief frankly just doesn't matter as much.

OTOH if there is something an individual has some chance of changing then believing they can't obviously isn't helpful – so in this case some personal belief in agency may be helpful.

But is meritocracy even the right term? When we are actually talking about belief in individual agency, they may be related to a degree, but are they really the same thing? Belief in agency is more like "I may be able to have some influence on my fate", whereas meritocracy seems to posit some perfectly just world that we all know we don't live in! But yes sometimes belief in individual agency is helpful and sometimes it's not.

Adam Eran , April 5, 2019 at 1:35 pm

This is actually an ancient conversation. In those times meritocracy was called "salvation by works." That is what Jesus condemned the pharisees for promoting. Orthodox Christianity (really, of any denomination) promotes "salvation by grace " so your position is the result of a gift, not your merit. So meritocracy is heretical.

This is a consistent theme throughout the New Testament. For example, the "Prodigal Son" gets the celebration with the fatted calf, while the good son does not.

Even worse, the idea that meritocracy motivates people turns out to be false. Sticks and carrots are not effective motivators. See this TED talk for more about that.

Sol , April 5, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Synchronicity! *throws confetti*

I suspect Nietszche understood why "salvation through good works" was rejected by the Bible in favor of salvation by faith alone. The glue that would hold salvation-by-works together lies in the hands of those privileged to define good. For when "good people" get to define what they do to, or at, others as "good works", humans can tend to become blissfully self-satisfied monsters.

djrichard , April 5, 2019 at 3:53 pm

Yes, but Jesus didn't make it very far in the church hierarchy did he. Hence the take-away lesson: if you want to move up the church hierarchy, you have to demonstrate your merit to those in authority.

Amfortas the hippie , April 5, 2019 at 4:45 pm

lol.

Like reagan being chased out of the tea party as a commie. I'm not sure that the orthodoxy/orthopraxis argument is a good fit, here although i will venture that we could use a little more thought about the latter, and not just in religion.

in this as in JR's agency vs some sort of hard determinism, maybe an actual middle road (μηδὲν ἄγαν–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moderation) is something we could try.(look what they've done to my centrism, Ma )

as for meritocracy i inherited the virus from my grandad small industrial manufactor, Houston, circa mid 50's to late 90's.
good work=better pay, pride in one's work, and such. I'd still like to believe this,lol.

but i've seen little evidence to support it. system selects for psychopathy.

Summer , April 5, 2019 at 11:03 am

Like the old saying goes, "I'd rather be lucky than smart."

mle detroit , April 5, 2019 at 11:49 am

There is also the other old saying, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

GERMO , April 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm

LOL

"The harder I work, the luckier I get."

said everyone's jerk boss, ever

djrichard , April 5, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Evolution of capitalism's redeeming value:
– if you work hard, you'll do fine
– if you work hard and save, you'll do fine
– if you work hard, save and invest, you'll do fine
– if you work hard, save and invest and are lucky (to get a job, not get laid off or to lose out on your investments), you'll do fine

Eudora Welty , April 5, 2019 at 6:03 pm

& "play by the rules"

Alex , April 5, 2019 at 11:08 am

I don't think that the facts in this post support the central premise ( that it "ought to be abandoned both as a belief about how the world works and as a general social ideal"). First of all, the dichotomy between meritocracy and aristocracy is not false. The chances of someone born in a median family in modern-day Sweden to achieve success (whatever definition you use) are much higher than of one born in Victorian England. Would you argue against the meritocracy defined as having your odds of success being independent of the material status and class of your parents?

I would suspect that the belief in meritocracy would also correlate with a bunch of positive traits like honesty, creativity and industriousness, it would be interesting to test that.

Alex , April 5, 2019 at 11:38 am

I've done a quick google scholar search and apparently no one is interested whether the meritocracy belief is associated with anything positive.

So I can't cite anything as a proof but this is what I observed myself having lived most of my life in a place where the belief that hard work is rewarded by success is not very widespread, to put it mildly. By coincidence or not, there is a lot of short-termism among both businesses and people and a lot of opportunistic behaviour – think of a prisoner game where defecting makes most sense when you don't trust others and don't expect to play with them any more.

mle detroit , April 5, 2019 at 12:00 pm

And how many of those search results used subjects who were not "college white rats"?

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Depends on the value any given culture at any given time places on whatever criteria minus a system based on birth. Given where we are at now, I'm looking at several, meta studies at NIH from who gets into Medical schools, choice residencies, and all that and the data shows a little aptitude, some attitude, and mostly luck goes a long way. But, surveys 20, 30, 40 years out, 90+ seem to think they did it all themselves, unfortunately, patients are less then satisfied (49% more or less). Just saying.

diptherio , April 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

It's not just a matter of "the material status and class of your parents." What about sheer luck? Or shall we believe also that luck is distributed meritocratically?

At least in non-meritocratic societies, it was clear that someone wasn't wealthier than another because they had worked harder or were somehow a better person. It's still the case now that "it's not what you know, it's who you know," but now we can lie to ourselves that our success (or someone else's) must be due to their innate worthiness, since we have a supposedly "level playing field."

Alex , April 5, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Who said luck doesn't play a role? Especially at the very top where by definition you have very few slots and lots of people with more or less similar abilities. Definitely luck has played a lot of role in my life and I'm sure that in yours as well.

Obviously luck is not distributed meritocratically, I'd be really surprised if someone believed that. Why insist that it's either 100% luck or 100% merit?

Martin Finnucane , April 5, 2019 at 11:16 am

That Obama quote is a real gem. It's ok to have the "bleakest poverty," provided that the impoverished one – that natural born 10%er – has to the chance to be, say, Neera Tanden's secretary some day. Obama is the center-left's Reagan.

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Never hurts to have a few billionaire friends at your disposal. As Obama did.

Alex Cox , April 5, 2019 at 11:27 am

Regarding Gates, I would suggest greed is a bigger element in his success than luck. Richard Stallman and Linux Torvalds are also great programmers. But they are less focused on the bucks.

Anon , April 5, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Bill Gates was NOT a skilled programmer. He, and friends, saw an opportunity to take a basic operating system developed by others (IBM?) and meld it with a graphic user interface (first developed at Stanford University) into a marginal system that was able to survive because the personal computer revolution (inspired by Apple) was beginning its incredible rise. (He was swept along by the tide.)

Gates then used the legal skills learned from his daddy (a corporate attorney) to limit competitors by using legal threats and court actions and anti-competitive methods. Remember? He LOST the antitrust case brought against him; where he played "dumb as a rock" under cross-examination. Microsoft survived because the "remedy" instituted by the court was Pablum. To this day Microsoft products are junk, but for the average user one of only two choices; Apple is the other. (Linux desktop is still not broadly accessible to most users.)

Bill Gates is the poster boy for the "meritocracy" joke.

Arizona Slim , April 5, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Yours Truly is using Linux right now. On a made-in-the-USA System76 laptop.

Works for me

human , April 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm

GNU/Linux desktop is more broadly available than either any M$ or Apple operating system if only because of cost! Granted, one may have network and printer issues with state-of-the-art hardware, but, with with anything older than about one year, it will work better out-of-the-box than either of the big 2. Once set up, most will see little difference and setting up is easier than either with a worldwide support base of users.

It's time to post this link again: He Who Controls the Bootloader

RMO , April 5, 2019 at 3:39 pm

MS-DOS was purchased as Q-DOS from Seattle Computer Products – IBM had nothing to do with developing it. Their strategy for making the PC was to outsource everything because producing in-house as they usually did would have taken far too long (the head of their PC project said that IBM's internal approval processes meant that it would have taken at least two years to ship an empty box as a product). IBM went to Microsoft looking to buy BASIC and the CPM operating system. IBM was under the impression that Microsoft owned both. Microsoft sent them to Gary Kildall's company to get CP-M but IBM didn't make a deal at first (various reasons have been given including Kildall not showing up for the meeting as he wanted to go flying and his wife and partner not being willing to sign the onerous NDA IBM required). IBM came back to Microsoft and they scrambled to find an OS as they were terrified of losing the language business. They realized that getting in at the start with IBM would be huge. Q-DOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) was, shall we say heavily influenced by CP-M and Microsoft bought it so they could offer it to IBM.

The GUI/mouse interface was derived from the Apple Mac and Gates is on record demanding "Mac on a PC." when it was being developed. The Mac interface in turn came about directly from a system that was the product of Xerox's PARC operation after Jobs visited the facility.

Gates was a skilled programmer but nowhere near the skill level of Gary Kildall or many of the people at Xerox PARC to mention just a few. His massive success certainly isn't a result of him being a code god. He sure was ambitious, well placed to take a large part of the PC market due to his family background, could see just how big PC's would be and as greedy as hell though – none of those things support the proposition that we're in a meritocracy that's for sure.

poopinator , April 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

I completely agree. A lot of technical folk simply value the satisfaction of solving complex problems more than financial remuneration. I think the same can be said of those who work in social services, journalism and the arts as well. Unfortunately our society has always been married to the notion that financial success is equivalent to merit, and this belief is almost inextricably tied to our religion of capitalism. It's also the reason our country's best technical talents end up building gigantic ad platforms, surveillance technology, and high frequency trading systems instead of focusing on the existential issues that face humanity/nature.

Svante Arrhenius , April 5, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Effluvium floats, since it's devoid of substance?

https://foe.org/the-study/

Amfortas the hippie , April 5, 2019 at 4:59 pm

you touch on something ive thought about a lot lately defining "success".
usually while riding around in the woods and fields in a bathrobe, in a golf cart, thinking.(it's a working golf cart, with a rifle rack)
i read zarathustra when i was a kid, and ever after wanted to "live on a mountain and wear robes and be a philosopher."
am I not, therefore, a Success?
who gave "our betters" the privilege of defining such things?
and why do we continue allow it?

Carla , April 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm

I once met and got to know, in a group situation, a married couple who struck me as the stupidest people I had ever encountered. I learned that they successfully operated a highly profitable family business. It seemed to me then (and still does now) that the pure desire for money was probably the main thing required for obtaining it. OK, maybe some luck doesn't hurt, but main thing is the focus and pure desire.

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Alex Cox, greed maybe, but the massively stupid IBM sure helped. He tried ending his contracting with IBM over and over. Nope.

Marc , April 5, 2019 at 11:29 am

What exactly is the article trying to suggest? It is quite condescending to suggest that people are under the illustion that priviledge and luck doesn't exist. The surveys cited asked whether hard work, intelligence and skill contribute to success. They clearly do as reflected in the result but that doesn't exlcude also recognising that you also need luck and you can have bad luck. I'm surrounded by people who have been more lucky and less lucky than I have from a similar starting point. I'm not exactly sure what you are supposed to do with that other hope that people are self-aware enough to realise this and not be arrogant etc but humans will be humans and there are all kinds. I just tell my children, that they have had a lot of the priviledges they've had, to work as hard as they can. That won't guarantee success but at least they have made the effort and put themsleves in front of more opportunity than someone who hasn't.

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:43 pm

All my brother ever had to do was show up. And he keep falling up from there. I'm happy for him as he had no skills to speak of.

anon y'mouse , April 5, 2019 at 4:13 pm

the ability to take advantage of the luck thrown your way is a skill to exploit, but it is usually predicated on being the previous recipient of a lucky circumstance that gave you enough chances to try (and prove, or improve) your skill.

if you are never offered the chance, you cannot improve your skill. and being offered the chance is down to luck.

we are shaped so much by our experiences, that the truth is found by studies that people who are more attractive are more successful and smarter, generally, than those who are not as attractive? why? because people treated them differently from the very beginning of their lives (or their period of attractiveness started) which made them more confident and thus able to exploit these opportunities that came their way, thus more room to expand whatever skills they may have had in the first place.

this is a nature/nurture problem at the heart of it all. you want to believe that skill makes a difference, and it does. but why did that particular person develop those skills to begin with? they definitely weren't "born that way". society chooses what success means. the system determines what the grade for "failure" is. meaning it is somewhat arbitrary to begin with, and malleable (if we had a different system, with a different set of values, we would possibly choose different benchmarks).

most important of all: a mentor or some figure around you that recognizes, early on, that you are capable of learning and developing talents and invests some time and trouble into you to make sure that you do develop them. some of us were lucky enough to have parents who did this. my own parents taught me to clean beer bottles, wash dishes, do laundry, etc. that is as far as their instruction went. all of my other training i had to pick up from school, or from reading, or from observation in life. the fact that i had an employer, at one time, who alllowed me to take on a wide range of duties resulting in developing skills at her business when i knew absolutely nothing to begin with, was totally down to luck on my part at that time.

is any of that making sense? i have no idea anymore.

Temporarily Sane , April 5, 2019 at 8:44 pm

Your post makes perfect sense to me. Nobody gets to choose their parents, their personality traits, the socio-economic class they are born into etc. or the early childhood experiences that play such a major role in shaping a person's psychological core. Someone who consistently gets negative feedback from their parents or peers will be psychologically hamstrung from an early age and without a mentor figure to help guide them, or blind genetic luck gifting them with a disposition that lets them overcome negative reinforcement and land on their feet, that can really damage their future potential.

Another limiting factor is society itself. Example: A hypothetical person who spent their 20s and much of their 30s caught up in a heavy opiate addiction but manages to kick the habit before age 40. They can be smart, motivated, have a positive attitude and all that stuff, but unless that person also has resourceful family or connected friends who are willing to help them with jobs, money, references etc. and the transition into a "productive" member of society, they will likely be SOL and live on the margins for the rest of their life.

America does not do second chances. There is no structure in place to assist people who messed up their young adulthood in finding a dignified position in society. Fu*k up once and unless you're lucky and have people in your life willing and able to help, you're finished as far as sustainable employment that pays a living wage goes.

The same is true for a person who did time in jail. When they get out after serving their sentence, they have paid their debt to society and been deemed stable and rehabilitated enough to be allowed back into that society. But they will be forever stigmatized as an ex-con, a criminal, not to be trusted and, unless they have family or friends who can give them a leg up, they too are denied the opportunity to earn a dignified living and to make something of themselves.

In America and other countries with a similar social system it is blind luck that determines if a person who "made poor choices" in early adulthood or, for whatever reason, got a later start in life will have an opportunity to thrive and be accepted as a full member of their community.

People who think that luck and circumstances outside of their control have nothing to do with what they have acheived are simply wrong. It is also supremely ironic that STEM bro types who aggressively push biological determinism don't see any contradiction between that position and their waffle about the supposed fairness of meritocracy and "equality of opportunity" that is supposed to highlight their sensitive "hey I'm not a total crypto fascistic eugenicist" side. Bah. Family blog all those miserable family bloggers.

Tim , April 5, 2019 at 5:53 pm

I agree with Marc. As everybody knows on this site framing is everything in a survey, and the author takes a massive leap on the referenced surveys to reach her conclusions of how the majority of people think.

Watt4Bob , April 5, 2019 at 11:37 am

There's a subtlety to the cognitive dissonance involved in believing in the meritocracy.

That is IMO, many folks understand that 'merit' in a certain sense means being able to put up with BS, and many folks think a college diploma is actually proof of the bearers ability and willingness to swim upstream in sh*t creek.

So meritocracy means different things to different people.

Some folks even go so far as believing that a person's inability to " Go along to get along" is proof of lower intelligence, and by extension, lack of 'merit' .

So one of the wrinkles in the story, lies in two different definitions of 'merit' , one of which, though correct, is not a key to success, and believing in it is naive, and maybe a waste of time, the other though crooked and false, is actually useful to the crooked and dishonest in getting ahead under current management.

Fiery Hunt , April 5, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Ding, ding!

rd , April 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm

I think part of it is that there are different definitions of value. for some people, it is measured purely in money, for others in time, and for others in general happiness. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/10/09/can-money-buy-happiness-a-new-way-to-measure/#309bf40a4e89

In general, it is pretty clear that money is directly correlated with happiness up to something like $70k to $135k per year in the developed world. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/02/26/does-money-equal-happiness-does-until-you-earn-much/374119002/

Beyond that, extra money does not mean extra happiness. So it is very difficult to measure meritocracy past about $100k as many people make decisions where they could make more money but choose not to for a number of reasons.

On the other hand, it is clear that many people struggle to break out of poverty no matter how hard they work, so there are systemic barriers preventing them from reaching that threshold value where money doesn't buy more happiness. I think this is where the proof of US inequality and lack of meritocracy comes to the fore.

LifelongLib , April 5, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Arguably money is like air or food, you need a certain amount or you're constantly impaired by not having enough, but once you have enough more doesn't make much difference

shinola , April 5, 2019 at 11:41 am

How does meritocracy differ from social Darwinism?

diptherio , April 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

Is that a trick question? There is no difference, right?

shinola , April 5, 2019 at 12:24 pm

Oh, and there's this thing called the "Peter Principle".

Svante Arrhenius , April 5, 2019 at 1:34 pm

The harder YOU work, the luckier I get? Nudge, nudge!

http://www.csustan.edu/history/socialist-darwinism

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm

No, the harder you work the harder you work. That kind of Effort bears almost no relationship to outcome.

jrs , April 5, 2019 at 1:54 pm

One has to work just to avoid getting fired (not that it's the only reason people get fired of course). so there's your relationship to outcome right there.

But sure people work very hard at jobs that are poorly paid and others less hard at well remunerated jobs.

Svante Arrhenius , April 5, 2019 at 2:20 pm

I'm doubting I'd be doing anybody a favor by posting any of Mike Judge's movies or series here, in their entirety? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YwZ0ZUy7P3E of course, FOX cut the good parts! "Hard work.. bears no relationship" agreed!

WobblyTelomeres , April 5, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Sanxi has it right. The only thing I ever got from working 70 hour weeks was a sociopath asking for 80.

Temporarily Sane , April 5, 2019 at 8:52 pm

It doesn't. The meritocratic "if you want it badly enough you will find a way to get it" line that is pushed onto kids from an early age basically encourages them to be sociopaths. Herbert Spencer would wholeheartedly approve.

jake , April 5, 2019 at 11:43 am

This piece promotes its own myth of meritocracy when it notes "There are certainly programmers nearly as skilful as Gates who nonetheless failed to become the richest person on Earth."

Nobody actually knows how skillful a programmer Gates is, but it doesn't matter, because his programming skills have absolutely nothing to do with his wealth. Look up the history of IBM-DOS, for his pilfering of intellectual property and the colossal mistake of IBM, in allowing Microsoft, then a one-horse company, to retain rights to the operating system it didn't actually write.

Gates enjoys vast wealth thanks to incredible luck, crime and personality traits which have nothing to do with intellectual achievement.

poopinator , April 5, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Gates was a ruthless businessman. He was a monopolist. He was a bundler. He tried to rip off Paul Allen when he was stricken with cancer (Paul Allen was no sympathetic character in this either, btw). Gates was a notorious creep in the office during the early years. He would not have survived the scrutiny of a modern day internet enabled press. His philanthropy seems to serve his vanities more so than the immediate needs of the society that enabled his rise to wealth. Hell, until he was about 40 or so , he was a notorious miser when it came to charitable causes. Most of his charitable work seems to be aimed at pushing PR to rehabilitate the reputation that he so richly earned during the 80s and 90s.

Whenever I hear or read about people talking about benevolent billionaires such as him or Buffet, I immediately know that the messenger is susceptible to propaganda. When Gates announced that he was leaving MS and concentrate on giving away his mountain of money, he was worth 10-20 billion. He's now worth 100 billion, and most of that recent growth was due to rentier capitalism. Bill Gates firmly believes that he knows what society needs are better than the masses.

Arizona Slim , April 5, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Ummm, Mr. Gates, about that charitable work. Here's a local problem that could use a bit of your attention.

Here's the link to a recent documentary produced by KOMO-TV in your hometown, Seattle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpAi70WWBlw

poopinator , April 5, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Been meaning to watch that. I think that's a great example considering the topic of this thread. Society looks down on the homeless as losers in a meritocracy and deserving of their plight. Hence they are unworthy of charity from our plutocrats, despite being the product of the system they created.

Svante Arrhenius , April 5, 2019 at 12:01 pm

EWwww Marx worked FOR Greeley! AmiRIGHT, huh, huh? Who decides, what MERITS whom? Certain towns sop up slime like SpongeBob. The 1% hasn't the brains to replace their craven 9.9% churls with self-disinfecting robot whores YET? Without all these ivy league media hyenas feasting on the pyritic brains of inbred Reagan era pundits, wonks, gurus and deadeyed ofay hammerheads. What we have here is a meritocracy of mendacious moronic Munchkins? https://www.counterpunch.org/2009/06/12/elmer-fudd-nation/ https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/03/nine-reasons-why-you-should-support-joe-biden-for-president/

Sol , April 5, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Perhaps more disturbing, simply holding meritocracy as a value seems to promote discriminatory behaviour.

Well, sure. See, one of the things we know for sure is that we are the good guy. And once we – the good guys – are also convinced of our own merit, from there determining who is also meritorious and good is a simple matter of examining those not like us for the flaws that made them dysfunctional, and examining those like us for the traits that made them excellent.

Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.

:D

ape , April 5, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Yes, being delusional about reality leads to pathologies.

Very great pathologies.

In fact, there have been studies/simulations of pure meritocratic models versus partially random models -- eg, a redistribution of wealth between plays so that early winners don't get all the wealth. Unsurprisingly, a less "meritocratic" model is more meritocratic, because the problem isn't in the winning, which is a partial winnow, but in the leveraging.

You can see how deeply this bites even on this thread -- if you're a winner, and you think you're a winner, you're a loser.

Ape , April 5, 2019 at 1:49 pm

And allow me to self-comment: this ties in very strongly with Hudson's series.

JerryDenim , April 5, 2019 at 2:16 pm

As far as societal outcomes and world-views that squelch introspection I wonder how the Anglo concept of 'meritocracy' as a value system compares to other value systems that serve an entrenched elite at the top of a highly stratified society, like say, the Indian caste system? One system believes the gods and past deeds in previous lives determine your lot in this life, while the other system lays everything at the feet of each individual, in one lifespan, regardless of the hand they've been dealt, in effect elevating each man to god status deciding their own fates through sheer will. It could be argued the caste system is the more fatalist world view of the two, but it seems less psychologically corrosive for the losers. Not as much blame to internalize. Society-wide the outcome seems identical; Don't question your betters, everybody gets what they deserve.

Rosario , April 5, 2019 at 3:55 pm

An observation I have made over the years. There are people who work hard (in a material and metaphysical/emotional sense), are smart, contribute to society in positive ways, and all the while, they gain little material or social wealth from it because they shun those "rewards" out of principle. I know some of those people and admire them very much. They are often a bit neurotic but very thoughtful and empathetic.

Being successful in the sense that one is "helpful" to the world they live in is very different from being successful by typical cultural metrics. One is somewhat easy to quantify the other is not. Maybe the problem is, the way many people measure success is simplistic but easily quantifiable, and this half-picture approach to success, leads to "incompetence of morality", similar to poor performance on the job as a result of not seeing the whole picture (put bluntly, being a dumbass). Not that bad behavior should be absolved because of this, but that perspective at least offers a less abstract approach to conditioning better behavior in people. We could create a model of human value and success that acknowledges our experience on this planet as more complicated than money, views, likes, etc.

Tim , April 5, 2019 at 5:48 pm

I believe the following three things:
– I believe everybody should try as hard as they can to do their best for themselves and their loved ones in a moral/ethical way
-I believe every individual should strive for a meritocracy in their own actions, and retain humility through empathy for those that are not as successfully in life. Luck and the starting point are huge factors
– Even the most meritocractic of systems is not very meritocratic. Especially in the USA the ginni coefficient proves the american dream is dead.

Raulb , April 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Meritocracy is utopian. What we currently have is a 100M race with everyone starting at different distances. That's not meritocracy by any reasonable interpretation of the word, its something else, yet we have the spectacle of ideologues who pretend its reality and in effect right now.

Let's start every child with the exact same circumstances till 18, how many meritocrats are open to that because that's the only thing that can be called 'meritocracy'? And its at this point that the arguments starts to rapidly degenerate into things like 'parental meritocracy to pass on to children as perfectly fair' ie feudalism or odious eugenics with more value placed on puzzle solving tests that they can logically provide. So every generation is squandering time arguing in good faith with disingenuous neo-feudals and their paid ideologues who use whatever they can to perpetuate privilege and wealth.

Wealthy and able backgrounds are going to make a huge difference to children, as are connections and privilege in opportunities and perceptions. Since every society has an underclass that suffers prejudice and lack of opportunities and an upperclass that get the exact opposite meritocracy does not in fact exist.

Even more damning how exactly are you going to get a meritocracy in a capitalist system that privileges wealth and capital, and by design produces a large underclass because demand, resource shortages and resulting prices hikes will always limit access only for the top echelons. There is no way any claims of merit can be made or taken with good faith. So what we get instead is celebrating the rich and privileged and a few odd naturally gifted who can start a race with a disadvantage and still compete as examples of meritocracy when it is only be the conditions of the average and not the exception that reflects a meritocracy.

[Apr 05, 2019] "Free" Markets and the Attack on Democracy

Notable quotes:
"... Media consolidation itself has played an enormous role in driving up the cost of political campaigns. How did we get to this second Gilded Age and what lessons can we infer regarding our democratic prospects? ..."
"... Notre Dame University 's Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis G to Waste has provided a careful and detailed analysis of this neoliberal movement in American politics. ..."
"... Adam Smith and JS Mill saw markets as non-coercive means to allocate resources and produce goods and services. Neoliberals regarded markets as perfect information processing machines that could provide optimal solutions to all social problems ..."
"... Market is miraculous and a boon to many, but paradoxically only a strong state can assure its arrival and maintenance. Sometimes it may appear that the market is yielding iniquitous or unsustainable outcomes, which my lead to premature or disastrous rejection of its wisdom ..."
"... The neoliberal deification of markets has many parents. This mindset encouraged and was encouraged by a revolt against democracy. The wealthy had always been concerned that a propertyless working class might vote to expropriate them, but neoliberalism gave them further reason to bypass democracy. Markets were seen as better indicators of truth than democratic elections, though that point was seldom expressed as directly ..."
"... Here is FA Hayek's oblique expression of this concern: "if we proceed on the assumption that only the exercises of freedom that the majority will practice are important, we would be certain to create a stagnant society with all the characteristics of unfreedom." ..."
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org

Why "free" why not "fair". Neoliberals are as dangerious as Big brother in 1994. Actually neoliberal state is as close to Big Brother regine described in 1994. We have total surveillance, with technological capabiltiies which probably exceed anything rulers of 1984 world possessed, Russiagate as "hour of anger", permanent war for permanent people (and total victory of "democracy") , and of course "[neoliberal] freedom is [debt[ slavery..." in neoliberal MSM.

Fast forward from one Gilded Age to another. Citizens United, granting unions and corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for and against political candidates, is often regarded as a singularly dangerous challenge to our democratic norms, especially with its infamous assertion that money is speech. Less attention, however, is pad to the context in which this decision occurred, including corporate consolidation in most sectors of the economy, obscene levels of economic inequality, and near religious reverence for deregulated markets.

Media consolidation itself has played an enormous role in driving up the cost of political campaigns. How did we get to this second Gilded Age and what lessons can we infer regarding our democratic prospects?

The post World War II decades saw white working class gains in income made possible by unionization, the GI bill, and a federal commitment to full employment. Positive as these gains were, they carried with them unintended consequences. Workers and employers, having less fear of depression, periodically drove wages and prices up.

Bursts of inflation and an unprecedented profit squeeze led to unemployment even in the midst of inflation, an unprecedented and unexpected circumstance. Blacks had been left out of the full benefits of the New Deal welfare state and raised demands not only for political equality but also for economic opportunity, one of Reconstruction's forgotten promises.

These events provided an opening for a group of academics who had long despised the New Deal welfare state. Notre Dame University 's Philip Mirowski Never Let a Serious Crisis G to Waste has provided a careful and detailed analysis of this neoliberal movement in American politics.

These neoliberals shared with their nineteenth- century predecessors a faith in markets, but with an important difference. Adam Smith and JS Mill saw markets as non-coercive means to allocate resources and produce goods and services. Neoliberals regarded markets as perfect information processing machines that could provide optimal solutions to all social problems. Hence a commitment not only to lift rent control on housing but also to privatize prisons, water and sewer systems, and to deregulate all aspects of personal finance and treat education and health care as commodities to be pursued on unregulated markets. An essential part of this faith in markets is the post Reagan view of corporate consolidation. Combinations are to be judged only on the basis of cheap products to the consumer.

Older antitrust concerns about worker welfare or threat to democracy itself are put aside. Corporate mergers and the emergence of monopoly are seen as reflections of the omniscient market. In practice, however as we shall see, such a tolerant attitude is not applied to worker associations.

Neoliberals differ from their classical predecessors in a second important way. Market is miraculous and a boon to many, but paradoxically only a strong state can assure its arrival and maintenance. Sometimes it may appear that the market is yielding iniquitous or unsustainable outcomes, which my lead to premature or disastrous rejection of its wisdom. The answer to this anger is more markets, but that requires a strong state staffed by neoliberals. They would have the capacity and authority to enact and impose these markets and distract the electorate and divert them into more harmless pursuits. Recognition of the need for a powerful state stands in partial contradiction to the neoliberal's professed deification of pure markets and was seldom presented to public gatherings. As Mirowski put it, neoliberals operated on the basis of a dual truth, an esoteric truth for its top scholars and theorists and an exoteric version for then public. Celebration of the spontaneous market was good enough for Fox News, whereas top neoliberal scholars discussed how to reengineer government in order to recast society.

The signs of neoliberalism are all around us. Worried about student debt? There is a widely advertised financial institution that will refinance your loan. Trapped in prison with no money for bail. There are corporations and products that will take care of that. Cancer cures, money for funerals and burial expenses can all be obtained via the market. Any problem the market creates the market can solve. The implications of this view have been ominous for democracy and social justice.

The neoliberal deification of markets has many parents. This mindset encouraged and was encouraged by a revolt against democracy. The wealthy had always been concerned that a propertyless working class might vote to expropriate them, but neoliberalism gave them further reason to bypass democracy. Markets were seen as better indicators of truth than democratic elections, though that point was seldom expressed as directly.

Here is FA Hayek's oblique expression of this concern: "if we proceed on the assumption that only the exercises of freedom that the majority will practice are important, we would be certain to create a stagnant society with all the characteristics of unfreedom."

The revolt against democracy has occurred on several different levels of the political process. The question of who can vote is just as contested as during Reconstruction, and not just in the South. As during Reconstruction, it does not take the form of explicit racial appeals. The strategy includes further limiting the time polls are open, reduction in the number of polling places, voter identification cards that take time and money to obtain. Who can vote is also a function of the racist legacy of our history, with prohibitions on voting by felons serving to exclude large numbers of potential voters, disproportionately minorities. It should be mentioned more than it is that these techniques also work to the disadvantage of poor whites. Political scientists Walter Dean Burnham and Thomas Ferguson point out: "In Georgia in 1942, for example, turnout topped out at 3.4 percent (that's right, 3.4 percent; no misprint). Why is no mystery: the Jim Crow system pushed virtually all African-Americans out of the system, while the network of poll taxes, registration requirements, literacy tests and other obstacles that was part of that locked out most poor whites from voting, too. Since the civil rights revolution, turnouts in the South have risen fitfully to national levels, amid much pushback, such as the raft of new voter ID requirements (though these are not limited to the South)."

Minorities, poor, and even substantial segments of the working class are further disadvantaged by efforts to defund the labor opposition. Unions have been the one big money source that Democrats had available, but as the party from Bill Clinton on increasingly became a kind of neoliberalism light, embracing corporate trade agreements with a little bit of job training assistance thrown in, unions lost members, many corporations forced decertification elections. Democrats lost not only financial resources but also the ground troops that had mobilized their voters.

One result of and partial driving force behind these changes is that both parties become big money parties. Burnham and Ferguson-( December 2014)- The President and the Democratic Party are almost as dependent on big money – defined, for example, in terms of the percentage of contributions (over $500 or $1000) from the 1 percent as the Republicans. To expect top down money-driven political parties to make strong economic appeals to voters is idle. Instead the Golden Rule dominates: Money-driven parties emphasize appeals to particular interest groups instead of the broad interests of working Americans that would lead their donors to shut their wallets.

As David Stockman, President Reagan's Budget Director once all but confessed,

"in the modern era the party has never really pretended to have much of a mass constituency. It wins elections by rolling up huge percentages of votes in the most affluent classes while seeking to divide middle and working class voters with various special appeals and striving to hold down voting by minorities and the poor."

Challenging this bipartisan money driven establishment becomes even more difficult as state level ballot access laws are notoriously hostile to third parties. Add to this the private, deceptively named Presidential Debate Commission, which specializes in depriving even candidates about whom large segment s of the population are curious access to the widely watched debates. Unfortunately the celebrated voting reform proposal, HR1, though containing some democratic initiatives such as early voting and automatic voter registration, makes it own contribution to economic and political consolidation.

Bruce Dixon, editor of Black Agenda Report, maintains that only two provisions of this bill are likely to become law and both are destructive: "by raising the qualifying amount from its current level of $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 in 20 states. HR 1 would cut funding for a Green presidential candidate in half, and by making ballot access for a Green presidential candidate impossible in several states it would also guarantee loss of the party's ability to run for local offices." Dixon also predicts that some Democrats "will cheerfully cross the aisle to institutionalize the Pentagon, spies and cops to produce an annual report on the threat to electoral security.

Dixon maintains:

"Democrats are a capitalist party, they are a government party, and this is how they govern. HR 1 reaches back a hundred years into the Democrat playbook politicians created a foreign menace to herd the population into World War 1, which ended in the Red Scare and a couple of red summers, waves of official and unofficial violence and deportations against US leftists and against black people. The Red Scare led to the founding of the FBI, the core of the nation's permanent political police . Fifty years ago these were the same civil servants who gave us the assassinations, the disinformation and illegality of COINTELPRO, and much, much more before that and since then. HR 1 says let's go to the Pentagon and the cops, let's order them to discover threats to the electoral system posed by Americans working to save themselves and the planet."

Dixon is surely right that both parties are capitalist parties, but capitalism itself has taken different forms. New Deal and neoliberal capitalism had far different implications for working class Americans. The New Deal itself was heavily influenced by Norman Thomas and the socialist tradition. In this regard, if what Paul Wellstone used to call the democratic wing of the Democratic Party wishes to see its ideals translated into practice, it must resist efforts to exclude third parties or to deny primary opponents an even playing field.

I am not claiming that there has been a carefully coordinated conspiracy among the individuals and groups that supported these policies, but leaders did act out of a general animus toward popular movements that further reinforced their reverence for corporate markets, and the faith in markets drove the worries about popular movements.

One positive conclusion to be drawn is that if this attack on democracy exists on several levels, activism might be fruitful in many domains and may have a spillover effect. Unions are still not dead, and there is a fight now for the soul of the Democratic Party and that fight might stimulate voter access and eligibility reforms. These in turn could reshape the party's orientation and ideology. Even at the Federal level Dark money is worrisome to many voters and could be an incentive to mobilize for better disclosure laws. There are ample fronts on which to fight and good reason to keep up the struggle.

Video:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1CxOpAcViPQ

[Apr 02, 2019] From Haven To Conquest" by Walid Khalidi and The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Mar 31, 2019 9:55:06 PM | link

@ mourning dove #25

You're welcome. Two other titles I was going to recommend you watching for at your library are these:

"From Haven To Conquest" by Walid Khalidi and The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black

The former is a 900 page source book which includes 80 short pieces, one of which is from Jeffries "Palestine: The Reality". The second is about the agreement Hitler made with the Zionists to evade a world-wide Jewish boycott of Germany at a time when this would have hurt . Neither book is inexpensive, so I was surprised to see both of them at the Internet Archive available for downloading.

Tel Aviv City of the Jews 1939

This is just a short magazine article from 1939 describing life in a Jewish town in Palestine. The last two pages give a hint of the way the Zionists used violence and even terror against their fellow Jews to keep them in line.

Destiny Southern States

Another topic altogether, but this 1854 newspaper essay gives a taste of what the South planned for Central and South America. The Northern victory in the Civil War turned out to be badly flawed, but a Southern one would have brought on evils beyond imagining.

[Mar 31, 2019] The Conservation of Controversy Outraged students, helpless teachers, and the President's executive order by Joshua Blair

Notable quotes:
"... Professor Weinstein is an avowed liberal with a long history of progressive thinking. As a young man, he was the center of another controversy when he blew the whistle regarding the exploitation of black strippers by a college fraternity. Regardless, his refusal to participate in what can be described as a "no-white-people-day" ironically earned him the brand "racist" by the student body. He was essentially removed from the campus on the threat of physical harm. ..."
"... Bret Weinstein is on the left, politically, but the leftist students and administration attacked him for not being left enough . Imagine now, how the college may have treated a person who leaned right. As it turns out, there are quite a few examples. ..."
"... Dr. Peterson is a psychology professor, clinician, and best-selling author. He is also, perhaps, today's most controversial academic. He burst into the public consciousness after he opposed bill C-16 in Canada. The bill added gender expression and gender identity to the various protections covered by the Canadian Human Rights Act. ..."
"... One example comes from Queens University. While Dr. Peterson gave a lecture, student protestors broke windows, tried to drown him out with noisemakers and drums, and one protestor told others to burn down the building with Dr. Peterson and the attendees locked inside. ..."
Mar 23, 2019 | blog.usejournal.com

In March 2017, young people armed with baseball bats prowled the parking lots of Evergreen State College. They hoped to find Bret Weinstein, a biology professor, and presumably bash his brains in. Bret had caught the ire of the student body after he refused to participate in an unofficial "Day of Absence," in which white students and faculty were told to stay home, away from the campus, while teachers and students of color attended as they normally would. In prior years, people of color voluntarily absented themselves to highlight their presence and importance on campus. In 2017, the event's organizers decided to flip the event, and white people were pressured to stay away from the school.

In a letter to the school's administration, Bret explained why he opposed the idea:

There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself
On a college campus, one's right to speak  --  or to be  --  must never be based on skin color.

When word of Professor Weinstein's objection got out, enraged student activists began a hostile takeover of the school, and the college president ordered the campus police force not to intervene. Professor Weinstein was told, in essence, that nobody would protect him from young people with baseball bats. The police warned Professor Weinstein that their hands were tied and that he should stay off campus for his own safety.

Professor Weinstein is an avowed liberal with a long history of progressive thinking. As a young man, he was the center of another controversy when he blew the whistle regarding the exploitation of black strippers by a college fraternity. Regardless, his refusal to participate in what can be described as a "no-white-people-day" ironically earned him the brand "racist" by the student body. He was essentially removed from the campus on the threat of physical harm.

And its core, the story of Bret Weinstein and Evergreen State College is about a college's descent into total chaos after someone presented mild resistance to a political demonstration.

Bret Weinstein is on the left, politically, but the leftist students and administration attacked him for not being left enough . Imagine now, how the college may have treated a person who leaned right. As it turns out, there are quite a few examples.


Before discussing what the Wilfrid Laurier University did to a woman named Lindsay Shepherd, it's important to know about Jordan Peterson.


Dr. Peterson is a psychology professor, clinician, and best-selling author. He is also, perhaps, today's most controversial academic. He burst into the public consciousness after he opposed bill C-16 in Canada. The bill added gender expression and gender identity to the various protections covered by the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Dr. Peterson objected to the bill because it set a new precedent  --  requiring citizens to use certain pronouns to address people with non-traditional gender identities. Dr. Peterson calls transexual people by whatever gender they project , as long as he feels like they're asking him to do so in good faith, but he's wary of people playing power games with him, and he saw something dangerous about the government mandating which words he must use. He believed that under C-16, misgendering a person could be classified as hate speech, even it was just an accident.

Having spent much of his life considering the dangers that exist at the furthest ends of the political spectrum  --  Nazi Germany on the far right, the Soviet Union on the far left  --  Dr. Peterson has developed a tendency to see things in apocalyptic terms. In bill C-16, he saw what he considered the seeds of a serious threat to the freedom of expression  --  a list of government-approved words  --  and decided it was a hill worth dying on.

He's controversial, verbose, discursive, sometimes grouchy, and almost incapable of speaking the language of television sound-bites. He makes it easy for critics to attack and misrepresent him  --  and ever since he took a stance against C-16, he's been subjected to student protests and journalistic hit-pieces.

One example comes from Queens University. While Dr. Peterson gave a lecture, student protestors broke windows, tried to drown him out with noisemakers and drums, and one protestor told others to burn down the building with Dr. Peterson and the attendees locked inside.

Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with his opinions, Dr. Peterson should have the right to express them without other people suggesting that he be murdered with fire. Furthermore, people should be able to talk about what he says.

Enter the case of Lindsay Shepherd.


While working as a teacher's aid at Wilfrid Laurier University, Lindsay Shepherd showed students two clips from public access television featuring Jordan Peterson debating someone over bill C-16. After showing the clips, she asked her students to share their thoughts.

Days later, the school called her into a meeting with a panel of three superiors. They said that they had gotten a number of complaints from students. Lindsay asked how many complaints they had received, and was told that the number was confidential.

The panel claimed that she had created a toxic environment by showing the clips and facilitating a discussion without taking a side against Dr. Peterson's view. They said it was as if she had been completely neutral while showing one of Hitler's speeches. The panel thought the clip probably violated the Human Rights Code, and they demanded Shepherd to submit all of her future lesson plans ahead of time so that they could be vetted.

Although one student expressed some concern about the class, the number of formal complaints that the administrators had received was actually zero.

During their discussion, Lindsay said:

The thing is, can you shield people from those ideas? Am I supposed to comfort them and make sure that they are insulated away from this? Is that what the point of this is? Because to me that is against what a university is about.

Lindsay found herself at the mercy of school administrators whose brittle spirits couldn't bear to present students with opinions that they might have found offensive. She had believed that universities were places where people could explore ideas. On that day, the panel showed her just how wrong she'd been.

And she caught it all on tape.

Over the past few years, the news has become littered with stories of schools overrun by children while hand-wringing professors and administrators do everything possible to placate them. Recently, a group called "The Diaspora Coalition" staged a sit-in at Sarah Lawrence. Their demands included, among other things, that they get free fabric-softener. The origin of their grievance was an op-ed published in the New York Times about the imbalance between left-leaning and right-leaning school administrators.

Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business, sums the phenomenon up tidily :

You get kids who are much more anxious and fragile, much more depressed, coming onto campus at a time of much greater political activism  --  and now these grievance studies ideas about, 'America's a matrix of oppression,' and, 'look at the world in terms of good versus evil.' it's much more appealing to them, and it's that minority of students, they're the ones who are initiating a lot of the movements

Every day, or at least every week, I get an email from a professor saying, 'you know, I used a metaphor in class and somebody reported me.' and once this happens to you, you pull back. You change your teaching style

What we're seeing on campus is a spectacular collapse of trust between students and professors. And once we can't trust each other, we can't do our job.

We can't risk being provocative, raising uncomfortable ideas. We have to play it safe, and then everybody suffers.

To understate it, President Donald Trump is a deeply troubling human being. However, he may have done a good thing on Thursday, March 21st, when he signed an executive order that requires public schools to "foster environments that promote open, intellectually engaging, and diverse debate."

Schools that don't comply may lose government-funded research grants.

In theory, the order will compel colleges to prevent scenes like those at Evergreen State and Sarah Lawrence. Schools will have serious financial incentives to protect their professors from mobs of unruly children. If all goes well, students will learn to engage with controversial opinions without resorting to baseball bats or demanding Snuggle Plus fabric softener.

One would be remiss if they didn't consider the hidden or unintended consequences of the new policy, though. The executive order is vague, and it gives no criteria for judging whether an institution complies with its requirements. Instead, the specific implementation is left for structures lower on the hierarchy to decide. Hopefully, nobody decides that Young Earth theories must be taught alongside evolution.

The policy could very well become a tool by which the dominant political party punishes schools that lean in the opposite direction. Since there is a 12-to-1 imbalance between liberals and conservative college administrators right now, it would be a Republican administration punishing liberal colleges.

This is hardly a perfect solution  --  but at least it's an effort to address the problem. The stability of our society depends on an endless balancing act between the left and the right. The political landscape of academia has tilted too far left, and it's clearly becoming insular and unstable. Now it's necessary to push things back toward the center.

Hopefully, this recent executive order does more good than harm.

Postscript

After the events at Evergreen State College, the school was forced to settle with Bret Weinstein and his wife, who was also a professor there. The college paid the couple $500,000. Enrollment at the college is said to have dropped "catastrophically."

After the events at Wilfrid Laurier University, the school released several letters of apology. It is being sued for millions of dollars by Lindsay Shepherd and Jordan Peterson.

Forty professors endorsed the demands made by the Diaspora Coalition at Sarah Lawrence, and several others endorsed challenging Samuel Abrams's tenure  --  Abrams being the person who wrote the op-ed that appeared in the New York Times.

[Mar 28, 2019] Was MAGA is con job ?

Notable quotes:
"... Until the Crash of the Great Recession, after which we entered a "Punitive" stage, blaming "Those Others" for buying into faulty housing deals, for wanting a safety net of health care insurance, for resurgent terrorism beyond our borders, and, as the article above indicates, for having an equal citizen's voice in the electoral process. ..."
"... What needs to be restored is the purpose that "the economy works for the PEOPLE of the nation", not the other way around, as we've witnessed for the last four decades. ..."
Feb 26, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Kindle Customer, December 8, 2018

5.0 out of 5 stars How and Why the MAGA-myth Consumed Itself

Just finished reading this excellent book on how corporatist NeoLiberalism and the Xristianists merged their ideologies to form the Conservative Coalition in the 1970s, and to then hijack the RepubliCAN party of Abe, Teddy, Ike (and Poppy Bush).

The author describes three phases of the RepugliCONs' zero-sum game:

The "Combative" stage of Reagan sought to restore "family values" (aka patriarchal hierarchy) to the moral depravity of Sixties youth and the uppity claims to equal rights by blacks and feminists.

In the "Normative" stage of Gingrich and W Bush, the NeoConservatives claimed victory over Godless Communism and the NeoLibs took credit for an expanding economy (due mostly by technology, not to Fed policy). They were happy to say "Aren't you happy now?" with sole ownership of the Free World and its markets, yet ignoring various Black Swan events and global trends they actually had no control over.

Until the Crash of the Great Recession, after which we entered a "Punitive" stage, blaming "Those Others" for buying into faulty housing deals, for wanting a safety net of health care insurance, for resurgent terrorism beyond our borders, and, as the article above indicates, for having an equal citizen's voice in the electoral process.

What was unexpected was that the libertarian mutiny by the TeaParty would become so nasty and vicious, leading to the Pirate Trump to scavenge what little was left of American Democracy for his own treasure.

What needs to be restored is the purpose that "the economy works for the PEOPLE of the nation", not the other way around, as we've witnessed for the last four decades.

[Mar 27, 2019] TRUST by Francis Fukuyama Kirkus Reviews

Mar 27, 2019 | www.kirkusreviews.com

Fukuyama offers a general theory of prosperity that provides provocative answers to certain of the questions he raised in The End of History and the Last Man (1992).

While conceding that neoclassical economists have uncovered important truths about markets and money, the RAND Corp. analyst argues that they give a poor account of human behavior. In search of links missed by these practioners of the dismal science, Fukuyama probes the impact of culture (broadly speaking, any society's inherited ethical habits) on economic life.

Focusing on such factors as trust (a community's shared expectation of honest, cooperative behavior outside the family) and social capital (the values created by tradition, religion, or other means), the author examines the ability of various peoples to organize effectively for commercial purposes without relying on blood ties or government intervention. Fukuyama surveys emergent as well as established industrial powers (the US, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, et al.) to determine which might have superior reserves of social capital.

These reserves are important, he points out, because market-oriented societies in which there is a high degree of moral consensus and cooperation have lower transaction costs and hence greater competitiveness.

The author puts paid to any idea that the US is a nation of rugged individualists; indeed, Americans are joiners without peer. He warns, though, that ongoing deterioration in the ties that bind (e.g., declines in church attendance and membership in fraternal or voluntary organizations), coupled with a persistent rise in divorce rates and special-interest groups, could deplete the nation's social capital and over time levy an economic toll.

In turn, he cautions, the weakening of civil authority could strengthen the state's judiciary and executive branches, an outcome that, he says, is in nobody's best interest.

A challenging, elegant exegesis that puts intellectual meat on the bones of Benjamin Franklin's tip to his fellow revolutionaries at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

[Mar 24, 2019] The tale of 666 Fifth Avenue: If your last name is Kushner id does not matter if you have money to pay for you real estate loan or not -- missing payments never result in foreclosure

Mar 24, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Susan TOP 1000 REVIEWER

The Diabolical Duo: the Sins of the Fathers March 22, 2019

As a political wonk and news junkie, I was not surprised by KUSHNER, INC., but Vicky Ward's well-sourced book is nonetheless a fascinating and maddening read. If this were a work of fiction, I would deem it unbelievable: a grade B story of political intrigue. How can this be happening, unchecked, before my eyes? How serendipitous that the book's release coincided almost exactly with news that Congressman Elijah Cummings requested details of the Kushner Kouple's use of private email and WhatsApp. And as I sit in anticipation of what I might soon learn from Robert Mueller. And as I hope for additional criminal indictments.

I assume that the majority of Vicky Ward's audience is comprised of anti-Trumpers who will be further inflamed by the chutzpah of Javanka. The tale of 666 Fifth Avenue in itself should infuriate everyone who has a mortgage: after a few missed payments, the lender stands at the front door with a foreclosure notice. On the other hand, no penalties are incurred on a $1.2 billion loan, AND a bank will lend more money if your last name is Kushner, no matter that one of the principles has been convicted of financial crimes related to real estate deals.

My takeaway from KUSHNER, INC.: not only are the Kushners sleazy, greedy, and imperious (and more than a little creepy), but they are dangerous. Jared, in particular, will go to any length to find money, even if it means secretly negotiating with actors like Qatar, while he sits in the West Wing. The amount of money the Kushner Kouple continues to make while working for the taxpayers is staggering. They follow no rules. The irony of their use of private email and WhatsApp is not lost on me, but rather than LOCK THEM UP, their defenders see nothing amiss about their chitchat with the despotic MBS and others.

Vicky Ward does nothing in her book to assuage my distrust of the Kushners and my disgust that nothing has been done to stop them. I have no doubt that any pro-Trumper who reads KUSHNER, INC. will deem the book to be a hit job, but based on Vicky Ward's sourcing (how big a role does Steve Bannon play, as he does in Michael Wolff's FIRE AND FURY?) and news reports from reputable media, I find her account to be credible. Is it any wonder that the offspring of two corrupt real estate moguls not only found one another and married, but also followed in their fathers' footsteps?

[Mar 23, 2019] College admissions scandal Wealthy parents told to make deal or face more charges - Los Angeles Times

Mar 23, 2019 | www.latimes.com

Federal prosecutors are seeking potential deals with some of the wealthy parents charged in the sweeping college admissions scandal as investigators continue to broaden the case, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

One source said some of the parents are being given a short window to consider a deal or potentially face additional charges.

It's unclear which parents prosecutors hope to seek out for cooperation, but sources said authorities were interested in getting a better picture of how the scam worked. The sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

[Mar 20, 2019] Bad Blood - Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou - Observations by Walrus.

Notable quotes:
"... I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion. ..."
"... However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter. ..."
"... This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths...That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow–but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one." ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

I wrote in 2010 at SST on the characteristics and dangers associated with narcissistic leadership. "Bad Blood' by John Carreyrou chronicles the rise and fall of Theranos, a Silicon Valley healthcare startup founded and run by Elizabeth Holmes, a card carrying narcissist if ever I saw one.

This book, in my opinion, paints such a detailed and comprehensive picture of the way these creatures operate that I thought it worthwhile to bring it to the attention of SST members who may doubt my warnings of the dangers of allowing such folk near the levers of power in business and, worse, Government.

I read this book over two nights and it unfortunately brought back my own experiences of working for a narcissist to the point of causing sleeplessness and indigestion.

Under the direction of the charismatic Holmes, Theranos burned through some $900 million in investors funds before being found out in 2015. Their blood testing business was a sham that endangered patients. The company's key business strengths were the "reality distortion field" Elizabeth Holmes projected over investors and directors and the twin weapons of secrecy and fear they wielded over their employees.

Disbelievers my argue that start up companies sometimes require desperate measures to stay afloat and that you cannot make an omelette, etc. etc. However the pattern of behavior at Theranos was ingrained and consistent - "an orchestrated litany of lies" as a judge has said in another matter.

If you wish to perhaps be a little forearmed against the day that you perhaps must engage with one of these creatures it would be well to understand the cautionary tale of Theranos. https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Blood-Secrets-Silicon-Startup/dp/152473165X https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2010/05/walrus-on-narcissistic-leaders-.html

jnewman , 3 hours ago

This is a similar personality type with a different set of risks. These people are common in finance and medicine: https://www.theatlantic.com...
Godfree Roberts , 8 hours ago
In the absence of a moral filter, says Martha Stout[1], "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths...That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow–but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one."

My study of Chinese government revealed an important truth -- one that explains much about that country's rapid rise: they find our amateur, promise-driven, personality-based governance repulsive. They would no more vote for amateur politicians than for amateur brain surgeons. To them charm, good looks, quick wits and rhetorical skill signify shallowness, instability and glibness. Altruistic politicians have been fundamental to Chinese governance for two millennia.

Their political stars have always been experienced, scholarly, altruistic problem-solvers chosen on merit after decades of testing.

In 1000 AD, during our Dark Ages, with just one scholar-official for every eight thousand citizens, China was harmonious, technologically advanced and prosperous. Emperors and dynasties came and went while loyal, disciplined–often courageous–civil servants lived far from family, serving in remote regions under terrible conditions.

Confucius'[2] moral meritocracy and the rigors of the job discouraged sociopaths and officials integrity, efficiency and entrepreneurial energy made China the most advanced civilization on earth.

So highly do the Chinese esteem their best politicians that they deified one whose legacy, a water diversion project, has repaid its capital investment every twenty-four hours for 2,270 years. Millions visit his shrine, which is built overlooking his masterpiece, every year to offer incense and sincere thanks.

The altruistic tradition is remembered in a Singapore Government White Paper, "The concept of government by honorable men who have a duty to do right for the people and who have their trust and respect fits us better than the Western idea that government power should be as limited as possible."

And would-be members of China's Communist Party take an oath to "Bear the people's difficulties before the people and enjoy their fruits of their labors after the people". They often fail, obviously, but at least they've got something to shoot for–and a standard that the other 1.3 billion non-members can hold them to.

[1] The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout Ph.D.
[2] The Doctrine of the Mean

[Mar 20, 2019] Customer reviews The Threat How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump

First of all the modern Russian mafia was created by the USA as the result of Clinton policies of decimation Russia economically after the dissolution of the USA. In a way Bill Clinton (who is as close to Mafioso as one can get) is the godfather of Russian mafia (with CIA and FBI as instruments of the Clinton administration). The goal of the USA elite always was to weaken, and, if possible, to dismember Russia. So the rise of organized crime in Russia was the direct result of their weakening of Russian state under drunkard Yeltsin. Jewish gangster (along with Harvard mafia) were instrumental in economic rape of Russia (Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky, etc)
So McCabe (with Steele) was the guy who participated in politicizing investigation of corruption in sport investigation in order to "get Russia." So he firmly belongs to the neocon, imperial wing of the USA political establishment. So first and foremost he is a "dirty cop" himself. And later he naturally became part of intelligence serves junta which along with DemoRats (Clinton wing of the Democratic Party) and neocons run color revolution against Trump to block any changes in the USA foreign policy. Imperial policy of world domination to be more more correct.
In essence McCabe documents how FBI became political police and later Praetoria Guarl who selects the President of the USA. All in defense of Constitution and to protect every citizen ;-) Of course. But protect from whom ? From influence of people who oppose the US imperial policies ? That's what political police does.
Also ethnical composition of Russian mafia is really multinational and is dominated by with Jewish gangsters (see List of post-Soviet mobsters - Wikipedia) of the USSR origin like Semion Mogilevich. who was born in 1946 to a Jewish family in Kiev's Podol neighborhood. They are not necessary from Russia, but from Ukraine and other former USSR republics as well. Especially prominent their USA branch (so called The Odessa Mafia with headquarters in Brighton Beach) They have Israel as a cover to escape to, so they tend to be more brazen then other national groups in Russian mafia. Some Caucasian nationalities (Chechen mafia is the most brutal and Georgian mafia is regarded as one of the biggest, powerful and influential criminal networks in Europe, which has produced the biggest number of "thieves in law" in all former USSR countries. ) prominently represented as well. Russian are probably a minority in it, at least of senior level ;-)
In the past CIA and FBI infiltrated and used for their purposes Italian mafia (look at JFK assasination). It is plausible that they infiltrated and used for their purposes Russian Jewish mafia too.
Notable quotes:
"... 2.0 out of 5 stars "Oh, what a tangled web we weave...." ~ Sir Walter Scott ..."
"... I absolutely can not see any reason that a member of the FBI would be in a discussion with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concerning this amendment. None at all. Totally inappropriate. ..."
"... There is another incident about the wearing of a wire tap which I won't discuss here. ..."
"... There is a saying in the US Navy (and probably elsewhere) that 'one oh crap takes away one thousand atta boys' ..."
"... 2.0 out of 5 stars ..."
"... He tells us what we already know and can see for ourselves about Donald Trump: he disrespects and undermines the constitutional order, the rule of law, and the government institutions that are empowered to contain or investigate him. But that is virtually all he tells us. ..."
"... 3.0 out of 5 stars ..."
"... 3.0 out of 5 stars ..."
Mar 20, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Serenity

2.0 out of 5 stars "Oh, what a tangled web we weave...." ~ Sir Walter Scott

There is no doubt in my mind that the author, Andrew McCabe, had a truly outstanding career in the FBI. Otherwise, he would not have risen to the number 2 spot ...(FBI Deputy Director) . His service started in 1996 and ended less than 2 days prior to his retirement for being 'less than truthful'. Actually twenty-six hours...

Does he have an ax to grind? Absolutely, without a doubt. Who wouldn't be upset with being fired that close to retirement?

And, no, I did not listen to the interview on 60 Minutes Sunday night...I did, however hear snippets of the conversation on the major news stations. I did refresh my mind on Mr. McCabe, Mr. Rosenstein, the 25th amendment and a few other points.

In the blurb for this book it is stated 'President Trump and his administration... 'undermine the US Constitution that protects every citizen'.. It appears to me that the author has indeed stepped over that line in the discussion of this amendment with Mr. Rosenstein (if in fact this did happen) .... this is my largest problem I have with this book.. Is not the 25th Amendment part of our Constitution?

I absolutely can not see any reason that a member of the FBI would be in a discussion with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concerning this amendment. None at all. Totally inappropriate. There is no FBI listed in the Cabinet of the President of the United States. So, now the 25th amendment has been propelled into this conversation....This conversation should have been halted at the first mention of it..and I do mean a screeching halt, not a slow one, but at absolute warp speed....

And, Mr Rosenstein has denied that this discussion took place although the author insists that it did in fact occur. So, now Senator Lindsey Graham, (R -SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has said that his committee will investigate. One more time, let the subpoenas fly and two more go into the hornet's nest. There is another incident about the wearing of a wire tap which I won't discuss here.

There is a saying in the US Navy (and probably elsewhere) that 'one oh crap takes away one thousand atta boys' . So, despite an outstanding career in the FBI, if one has told an 'untruth', it is difficult to rise to the top of the heap again.

And, in Mr. McCabe's recent past there were 4 incidents and now this one with the discussion of the 25th amendment which has not been resolved yet. Up until now it is still, 'he said, he said'....

And, for anyone that may be wondering...I am neither a Democrat or a Republican. In my 50+ years of voting, I have always voted for the person I felt was most qualified for the office being sought. And, this past election for President was the only one I have not voted for either candidate.

Yes, Mr. McCabe had an outstanding career at the FBI albeit short a couple of days of his retirement.. Do I put much credence in this book? No, but I will give him an extra star for his service...

rusty day 2.0 out of 5 stars February 25, 2019

What is the Threat? McCabe does not say.

The Threat is deeply disturbing, far more for what it does not say or grasp.

In the game of chess, checkmate occurs when your opponent captures or paralyzes your king. Much evidence indicates that America's most dangerous adversary has not only captured or paralyzed our President, but much if not all of the Republican leadership and wealthy oligarchy that surrounds him. Is this "The Threat" that we confront? Andy McCabe, the former Acting Director of the FBI, does not tell us.

At the outset, McCabe does tell us that the FBI is the principal law enforcement agency in America, whose mission is "to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution." He tells us that "organized criminal networks from other countries target the United States," that "dirty money corrupts business and politics," and that "our own government officials use the power of public office to undermine legal authority and to denigrate law enforcement." He tells us what we already know and can see for ourselves about Donald Trump: he disrespects and undermines the constitutional order, the rule of law, and the government institutions that are empowered to contain or investigate him. But that is virtually all he tells us.

For 21 years, McCabe rose rapidly through the ranks of the FBI, rising ultimately to become the Bureau's Acting Director. He began his FBI career in New York, confronting the penetration and expansion of the Russian Mafia in the United States. In 2001 the shock and horror of 9/11 then redirected his career from the Russian Mafia to anti-terrorism, to which he devoted extraordinary energy and focus for the next 15 years, which he details at length.

As Deputy Director and then Acting Director, McCabe presumably had complete insight into the threats confronting our nation, as well as the responsibility to assess their relative gravity and prioritize and direct the resources needed to combat them. McCabe tells us that the Russian Mafia is particularly dangerous precisely because it works to corrupt and appropriate the organs and assets of government for its criminal benefit. Is that what is happening in this country? Has the Russian state or the Russian Mafia captured our presidency and/or part of our ruling oligarchy? Are we in checkmate? In retrospect, was that ultimately his, and our, greatest mistake: the failure to perceive and counter the threat posed by the Russian government or its criminal elements to our survival as a just, self-governing society? McCabe does not say. Is our principal law enforcement agency focused on this threat and organized to defeat it? Again, McCabe does not say. Judging by the very little we are told in this book about that threat, the answer would seem to be No. And that is truly disturbing.

Charles TOP 100 REVIEWER 3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite What I Expected February 21, 2019

The only reason anyone has ever heard of Andrew McCabe is because of James Comey. As everyone knows, Comey was fired by Donald Trump from his position as Director of the FBI. As a result, McCabe was, for three crucial months, from May 2017 to August 2017, in charge of the FBI. It is those months that are the core of this book, supplemented by the fifteen months prior in which McCabe also found himself subjected to the Trump administration, and by some thoughts on the FBI's role more generally. All of this is grouped into the sections of "How We Work" -- though all anyone cares about is what McCabe has to say about Trump and his team.

While the book is interesting, my major complaint about it is that McCabe, who by his own account had numerous opportunities to do so, never stood up to the men who he now says were destroying the Republic. Now, though, when it benefits him and they have no power over him, he is very bold. This suggests weakness of character and undercuts his claims to truth-telling. Nor is McCabe politically neutral. But neither of those things necessarily mean he's wrong, so let's examine the book itself.

It is often misunderstood that the FBI is not independent; it is an arm of the Executive Branch, that is, of the Office of the President. The FBI Director's immediate superior is the Attorney General, who is answerable to, and can be fired by, the President. Thus, McCabe's boss was Jeff Sessions -- and both Trump and Sessions are the focus of the criticism in this book, taking alternating blows from the pugilistic McCabe. In fact, it is Sessions who gets the most attacks in this book; he is mostly portrayed as a racist halfwit (and the President is portrayed as perpetually angry and thin-skinned, among other vices). That may be fair, but the odd thing about McCabe's book is that, whatever the truth of it, what he tells us ironically strengthens his most vigorous opponents -- those who claim there is a Deep State, out to get Donald Trump and his allies. You can simultaneously believe that Trump is an undisciplined buffoon and that his enemies form a vast and strong cabal out to get rid of him by any means necessary, and McCabe's book is going to be Exhibit A in support of that latter claim. I'm not sure that's what he intended.

Anyway, all that said, I was somewhat surprised that this book does not contain any of the details that McCabe has revealed in recent days in other forums. For example, McCabe claimed on "60 Minutes" that high-ranking officials, including more than one Cabinet officer, actively discussed removing Trump from office as unfit under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. They contemplated tape recording Trump, as well. You'd think McCabe would lead with his strongest and most engaging, or interesting, claims. Unfortunately, we don't get any such details in this book, which annoyed me somewhat, given that I paid good money for what I thought was a complete story. Actually, the book is quite short, and openly ghostwritten, which doubled my disappointment. The reader is, or at least this reader was, also annoyed by the vagueness and lack of detail of many of the stories told. We get sonorous pronouncements about the rule of law and its claimed erosion, but not many specifics to back that up.

And the reader is also left with the feeling that much of McCabe's account is score-settling. McCabe, who went back to being plain Deputy Director when Christopher Wray became the Director in August, 2017, was fired in March, 2018 by Sessions. (McCabe wasn't actually working -- he had stepped down in January and was scheduled to retire later in March; like a good bureaucrat he was running out his vacation pay.) McCabe was fired because he lied to the inspector general of his own FBI.

What about? Well, that depends on whom you ask, but whatever exactly it was, it was about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, two FBI employees. Strzok was McCabe's highest-ranking legal advisor. They were having an affair, and as part of that exchanged text messages that, read from a certain angle, imply that they, in combination with others, were taking illegal action to get rid of Trump. McCabe denied to the FBI's inspector general that he knew of Strzok's leaks to the press, presumably in furtherance of that program, when, in fact, he did. McCabe addresses all this with what is, basically, a vague "I forgot to mention it" excuse, which is not very convincing. Again, this undermines the points McCabe is trying to make.

The rest of the book, which as I say is short, covers a grab bag of topics, including a minor sort-of apology for the FBI's handling of the criminal allegations against Hillary Clinton. I don't think reader learns much new in any of these areas, though. So should you read it? Maybe -- but given that the reader doesn't really get a sense of confidence in McCabe, probably only if this is the sort of thing you're very interested in.

Joel Hammer , February 25, 2019

3.0 out of 5 stars Good description of government dysfunction

Just finished this book. The author had a long career in the FBI as a Special Agent. He started out investigating organized crime in NY City (Russian mobs mainly) and after 9/11 went into counter terrorism and did that mainly until he rose in the ranks and became Deputy Director and then Acting Director after Comey was fired. He himself was fired just before he reached full retirement age. The grounds for his firing were "lack of candor" during interviews with the Inspector General about the handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server when she was Sec. of State.

McCabe was a newly minted lawyer but decided he wanted to be an FBI guy. So, he became a Special Agent. He spent his entire career at the FBI. In this he was very unlike Comey, whose background was that of a lawyer, Federal prosecutor, corporate counsel, law professor, and then FBI director.

The book covers his entire career at the FBI. It is quite interesting in its description of the Russian mob in NYC. In keeping with the Russian threat we face to our democracy, he ends up saying that Russian dark money is a threat to our country and its institutions. I guess dark money from China is no problem for him, since he never discusses Chinese organized crime or political payoffs in his book.

Russia has an economy 1/15th of America's. China has a GNP which rivals ours. Who do you think has more potential to influence American institutions? Yet, not a word about China. This seems typical the Deep State. James Clapper was also obsessed with Russia but wasn't worried at all about China.

After 9/11, the FBI changed gears from organized crime to counter-terrorism. He went into counter-terrorism.

It is interesting how he describes the events of 9/11. He leaves out the FBI misses and court maneuvers which allowed the attack to take place. He talks only about his job of rounding up potential suspects in NY City. These were people reported to the FBI who looked suspicious. They were several hundred such people reported to the FBI. They were mainly Middle Eastern men working in this country illegally. McCabe felt bad for them, since their only crime was illegal residence in this country and illegally holding jobs in this country. " most of them were guilty of nothing other than violating immigration laws that typically had not been enforced. " McCabe in many parts of his book stresses how important law enforcement is and how we should respect laws, etc. Reflect.

He was Deputy Director when the Boston marathon bombing happened. He was mortified when they realized that the Russian secret service had warned the FBI that this family of immigrants were radical Muslims.

He was so relieved when they checked their records and could confirm that the lead was followed up on. They had investigated the family and found nothing wrong and the file on the family was closed. So there! Wasn't our fault. He also says that since the source of this tip was Russia, you never could really trust them. He does not give a single example of Russian misinformation on terrorism. He leaves out that the older brother later went back to Russia and spent 6 months with a violent and radical Muslim cleric and the FBI was unaware of this.

He absolves the FBI of any responsibility for this bombing. I guess going through the motions absolves you of blame in a bureaucracy. He also left out the fact the the Muslim friends of these bombers immediately after the bombing offered them help to escape. McCabe is politically correct. See below.

He despised Jeff Sessions, who he describes as an incompetent person. Once at a briefing on terrorism Session said all this was due to Islam and immigrants. McCabe took strong exception to this, saying that Islam is not violent and that immigration status was not anything the FBI worried about. Yet, with one exception, all the acts of terror he talks about his his book were Islamic inspired and most were carried out my immigrants or their children.

He hates Congress. He says he has no objection to oversight but accuses the Congress of gross politics. This means that they attack the FBI, not help it. He has no qualms about lying to Congress. I find this sort of admission surprising. But, here is what he said. After Obama became President, he directed the FBI to set up a system to interrogate high value suspects which did not involve "enhanced" techniques or Guantanamo.

They set up HIG, high value interrogation unit, under his direction. The only description of its use in this book was to interrogate the underwear bomber.

McCabe claimed it worked very well until the bomber decided to stop cooperating for unstated reasons. The bomber is now in the SuperMax prision in Utah. That is how McCabe thinks we should handle such people. I don't think he has done the math. There are thousands of terrorists who are hoping to kill Americans. They can't all be housed in the SuperMax prison after months of tender FBI interrogation.

Now, about the lying to Congress part. A high value target held by the Pakistani's was interrogated by the CIA overseas. He was not allowed to be interrogated by the FBI. Typical interagency BS. When this became known, McCabe was asked by one of those awful Republican congressmen, who opposed HIG, why the FBI didn't interrogate the target. This comes right from his book: "To expose all the details of interagency tension would have been a mistake. Frustrated as I was with my reluctant CIA partners, calling the to account in front of Congress would have only made things worse."

Recall that McCabe was fired for multiple instances of "lack of candor" to the inspector general regarding the Clinton email investigation. This is a pattern with him.

Reflect. He mislead Congress deliberately. Congress has the duty to provide oversight to the FBI and CIA. This is the Deep State in action.

This book also supports the image of Mueller as a dominating persona who impedes investigations. In the Mirage Man, the book about the anthrax letters, Mueller was demanding daily briefings about the investigation. It got to the point that the investigators were spending all their time just doing stuff to brief Mueller about, not really doing a good investigation. Only because of an internal audit by the FBI did this behavior cease, and the new investigators told Mueller not to expect briefings unless there was anything significant to report. Only then did the investigation make progress. Same thing with counter terrorism. Mueller would demand briefings 2x per day, morning and night, in detail. Mueller would tell them what to do in detail. A control freak. Again, they spent all their time getting ready to brief Mueller.

McCabe was closely involved in the Hillary email server investigation.

Here is an amazing fact that hit me hard. After the Benghazi attack (that subject again!), Republican congressmen demanded to see emails by the Sec of State regarding this matter. That was when the Dept of State "realized" for the first time it did not have a copy of even a SINGLE email sent by or sent to Hillary when she was Sec of State. Let that sink in. They claimed they didn't realize this. (Of course, that was a lie. Read the OIG report about the FBI in 2016. It was all on her private server and the Dept of State knew it.) She had 60,000 emails on that server. Hillary had her own people review them, and she deleted 30,000 emails and gave the other 30,000 to the Dept of State. She carefully bit cleaned her server after that. The FBI then had to spend months and big bucks to try to recover those 30,000 emails from other servers which had been used to transmit those emails, etc.

The take home lesson is the the Dept of State is corrupt.

During the investigation of the server, the FBI tried to do its usual thing. They usually had two FBI people interview the subject, with or without their lawyer present. In this investigation, the Dept of Justice strongly intervened, which is highly unusual. McCabe points out that there is only one political appointee in the FBI, the director. However, in the DOJ there are many political appointees. All of them owed their jobs to Obama, and all of them knew Obama was supporting Hillary for President. Not mentioned is that all of them would be out of a job if Hillary lost. McCabe thought that all the political appointees should have kept well away from the investigation, if not outright recused themselves, but they did neither.

So, during a typical interview, the DOJ would send four lawyers to observe and comment. The FBI then would send four of their lawyers. The witness had a lawyer or two. Sometimes a witness one day was a lawyer the next day. The FBI was told when they could or could not talk about sometimes. McCabe thought this was awful. He began to wonder about DOJ's motives, and certainly the optics were bad. But, in the end he says he can't believe that the DOJ was really trying to alter the outcome of the investigation, such is his faith in political appointees.

The debacle of Comey's press conference to say he would not recommend indictment is well known. McCabe says Comey did it because Lynch had ruined her credibility by meeting with Bill on the tarmac and then refusing to recuse herself. Comey felt he had to salvage the credibility of the investigation. By the time, the FBI and the DOJ were hardly talking to each other, such was the "interagency tension."

Well, that's about all I have the energy to write. Read the book. But, one caveat. I have read books by James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe, and others. If you read just one of these books, you would be highly mislead. Each author in his book crafts a narrative, and twists words to mislead the reader, or just leaves out facts that would contradict the narrative. Here are two examples from this book:

Benghazi again. We now know it was a terrorist attack carried out by a splinter militia group. The leader of that group was found guilty in Federal court and sent to jail. James Clapper insisted that based on the video footage, it was just a mob looting the place. No evidence of a planned attack. McCabe says that it was never clear if it was an attack or just mob violence, but later says that the ring leader was arrested and sent to prison. Now, when you hear the words "mob" and "ringleader", what do you conclude? Right, you conclude it was just a mob. We know that is simply a lie. And, it was the FBI who built the legal case against him.

Another example from his book. McCabe disputes that Islam and immigrants are the main source of terror in this country. So, he described the shootings in San Bernardino as carried out by "an American couple influenced by ISIS." This is what he leaves out. This American couple consisted of a son of Pakistani immigrants and his wife, who came from Pakistan. Not mentioned in the book was his accomplice who bought the guns and discussed how to carry out terror attacks, an illegal Mexican immigrant. His accomplice's two associates were illegal immigrants who had engaged in marriage fraud to get legal residency.

Read the book. Read other books. And don't trust news stories based on anonymous sources.

[Mar 19, 2019] Kushner, Inc. Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (978125018594

Notable quotes:
"... In Kushner, Inc. , investigative journalist Vicky Ward digs beneath the myth the couple has created, depicting themselves as the voices of reason in an otherwise crazy presidency, and reveals that Jared and Ivanka are not just the President's chief enablers: they, like him, appear disdainful of rules, of laws, and of ethics. ..."
"... They are entitled inheritors of the worst kind; their combination of ignorance, arrogance, and an insatiable lust for power has caused havoc all over the world ..."
"... In Kushner, Inc. , Ward holds Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump accountable: she unveils the couple's self-serving transactional motivations and how those have propelled them into the highest levels of the US government where no one, the President included, has been able to stop them. ..."
Mar 19, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are the self-styled Prince and Princess of America. Their swift, gilded rise to extraordinary power in Donald Trump's White House is unprecedented and dangerous.

In Kushner, Inc. , investigative journalist Vicky Ward digs beneath the myth the couple has created, depicting themselves as the voices of reason in an otherwise crazy presidency, and reveals that Jared and Ivanka are not just the President's chief enablers: they, like him, appear disdainful of rules, of laws, and of ethics.

They are entitled inheritors of the worst kind; their combination of ignorance, arrogance, and an insatiable lust for power has caused havoc all over the world, and may threaten the democracy of the United States.

Ward follows their trajectory from New Jersey and New York City to the White House, where the couple's many forays into policy-making and national security have mocked long-standing U.S. policy and protocol. They have pursued an agenda that could increase their wealth while their actions have mostly gone unchecked.

In Kushner, Inc. , Ward holds Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump accountable: she unveils the couple's self-serving transactional motivations and how those have propelled them into the highest levels of the US government where no one, the President included, has been able to stop them.

Natalie4211 March 19, 2019

5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the most dangerous couple in America.

To paraphrase the author, on the dangerous scale, Jared & Ivanka are #1 & #2 with Donald Trump, as terrible as he is, coming in at #3. Imagine that. While Donald Trump is acting out, getting all of the attention, these two are like sharks below the surface, making policy in the Middle East in order to make the Saudi's happy and being paid personally & handsomely for that policy". It's like Donald Trump is running cover for Jared & Ivanka. The biggest question remains. How much longer is the Republican Party going to allow this kind of nepotism and corruption to continue?

psw March 19, 2019

Pompous know nothing Kushners

Inside the Kushner pompousness. Vicky did a great job showing how dangerous these two ignorant no nothing people are ruining our democracy. A must read.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.

[Mar 18, 2019] College-entrance-exam cheating scandal exposes corrupt aristocracy (Video)

Mar 18, 2019 | theduran.com

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran's Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the college admissions scam revolving around William Rick Singer, who was running a for-profit college-counseling program, where according to federal prosecutors, has a goal focused on helping "the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school."

Arrest warrants for Hollywood stars, Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were delivered on Tuesday following their alleged involvement in a college-entrance-exam cheating scandal.

According to CNN, the women were two of around 50 people who were the subject of federal indictment following an extensive FBI investigation named "Operation Varsity Blues."

Loughlin's husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was also implicated, and was arrested early on Tuesday morning.

TMZ reported that Huffman was arrested by seven armed FBI agents. Her husband, William H. Macy, has not been charged in connection to the case. Loughlin, Giannulli, and Huffman are all facing charges of felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Huffman is accused of spending $15,000 on an organization that allegedly helped her daughter cheat on her SATs. Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team for which neither of Loughlin's daughters rowed crew.

All three were recorded by the FBI on phone calls discussing their plans to alter or lie about their children's college applications.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DCX35SWyrSU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Via Zerohedge


Is there anything left in this country that has not been deeply tainted by corruption?

By now you have probably heard that dozens of people have been arrested for participating in a multi-million dollar college admissions scam. Enormous amounts of money were paid out in order to ensure that children from very wealthy families were able to get into top schools such as Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California. And as The Economic Collapse blog's Michael Snyder writes, we should certainly be disgusted by these revelations, but we shouldn't be surprised. Such corruption happens every single day on every single level of society in America. At this point our nation is so far gone that it is shocking when you run into someone that actually still has some integrity.

The "mastermind" behind this college admissions scam was a con man named William Rick Singer. He had been successfully getting the kids of wealthy people into top colleges for years using "side doors", and he probably thought that he would never get caught.

But he did.

There were four basic methods that Singer used to get children from wealthy families into elite schools. The first two methods involved bribes

Bribing college entrance exam administrators to allow a third party to facilitate cheating on college entrance exams, in some cases by posing as actual students,' is the first.

Bribing university athletic coaches and administrators to designate applicants as purported athletic recruits – regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport,' is the second.

Because many of these kids didn't even play the sports they were being "recruited" for, in some cases Photoshop was used to paste their faces on to the bodies of real athletes

In order to get non-athletic kids admitted to college as athletes, Singer often had to create fake profiles for them. Sometimes this involved fabricating resumes that listed them having played on elite club teams, but to finish the illusion Singer and his team would also use Photoshop to combine photos of the kids with actual athletes in the sport.

A number of college coaches became exceedingly wealthy from taking bribes to "recruit" kids that would never play once they got to school, but now a lot of those same coaches are probably going to prison.

The third and fourth methods that Singer used involved more direct forms of cheating

'Having a third party take classes in place of the actual students, with the understanding that the grades earned in those classes would be submitted as part of the students' application,' is the third.

The fourth was 'submitting falsified applications for admission to universities that, among other things, included the fraudulently obtained exam scores and class grades, and often listed fake awards and athletic activities.'

Of course the main thing that the media is focusing on is the fact that some celebrities are among those being charged in this case, and that includes Lori Loughlin from "Full House"

It was important to "Full House" star Lori Loughlin that her kids have "the college experience" that she missed out on, she said back in 2016.

Loughlin, along with "Desperate Housewives" actress Felicity Huffman, is among those charged in a scheme in which parents allegedly bribed college coaches and insiders at testing centers to help get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Despite how cynical I have become lately, I never would have guessed that Lori Loughlin was capable of such corruption.

After all, she seems like such a nice lady on television.

But apparently she was extremely determined to make sure that her daughters had "the college experience", and so Loughlin and her husband shelled out half a million dollars in bribes

Loughlin and Giannulli 'agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team – despite the fact that they did not participate in crew – thereby facilitating their admission to USC,' according to the documents.

As bad as this scandal is, can we really say that it is much worse than what is going on around the rest of the country every single day?

Of course not.

We are a very sick nation, and we are getting sicker by the day.

William Rick Singer had a good con going, and he should have stopped while he was ahead

William "Rick" Singer said he had the inside scoop on getting into college, and anyone could get in on it with his book, "Getting In: Gaining Admission To Your College of Choice."

"This book is full of secrets," he said in Chapter 1 before dispensing advice on personal branding, test-taking and college essays.

But Singer had even bigger secrets, and those would cost up to $1.2 million.

But like most con men, Singer just had to keep pushing the envelope, and in the end it is going to cost him everything.

The ironic thing is that our colleges and universities are pulling an even bigger con. They have convinced all of us that a college education is the key to a bright future, but meanwhile the quality of the "education" that they are providing has deteriorated dramatically. I spent eight years in school getting three degrees, and so I know what I am talking about. For much more on all this, please see my recent article entitled "50 Actual College Course Titles That Prove That America's Universities Are Training Our College Students To Be Socialists" .

I know that it is not fashionable to talk about "morality" and "values" these days, but the truth is that history has shown us that any nation that is deeply corrupt is not likely to survive for very long.

Our founders understood this, and former president John Adams once stated that our Constitution "was made only for a moral and religious people"

Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Today, we are neither moral or religious.


What we are is deeply corrupt, and America will not survive if we keep going down this path.

[Mar 18, 2019] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 11, 2019] The university professors, who teach but do not learn: neoliberal shill DeJong tries to prolong the life of neoliberalism in the USA

Highly recommended!
DeJong is more dangerous them Malkin... It poisons students with neoliberalism more effectively.
Mar 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Kurtismayfield , , March 10, 2019 at 10:52 am

Re:Wall Street Democrats

They know, however, that they've been conned, played, and they're absolute fools in the game.

Thank you Mr. Black for the laugh this morning. They know exactly what they have been doing. Whether it was deregulating so that Hedge funds and vulture capitalism can thrive, or making sure us peons cannot discharge debts, or making everything about financalization. This was all done on purpose, without care for "winning the political game". Politics is economics, and the Wall Street Democrats have been winning.

notabanker , , March 10, 2019 at 12:26 pm

For sure. I'm quite concerned at the behavior of the DNC leadership and pundits. They are doubling down on blatant corporatist agendas. They are acting like they have this in the bag when objective evidence says they do not and are in trouble. Assuming they are out of touch is naive to me. I would assume the opposite, they know a whole lot more than what they are letting on.

urblintz , , March 10, 2019 at 12:49 pm

I think the notion that the DNC and the Democrat's ruling class would rather lose to a like-minded Republican corporatist than win with someone who stands for genuine progressive values offering "concrete material benefits." I held my nose and read comments at the kos straw polls (where Sanders consistently wins by a large margin) and it's clear to me that the Clintonista's will do everything in their power to derail Bernie.

polecat , , March 10, 2019 at 1:00 pm

"It's the Externalities, stupid economists !" *should be the new rallying cry ..

rd , , March 10, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Keynes' "animal spirits" and the "tragedy of the commons" (Lloyd, 1833 and Hardin, 1968) both implied that economics was messier than Samuelson and Friedman would have us believe because there are actual people with different short- and long-term interests.

The behavioral folks (Kahnemann, Tversky, Thaler etc.) have all shown that people are even messier than we would have thought. So most macro-economic stuff over the past half-century has been largely BS in justifying trickle-down economics, deregulation etc.

There needs to be some inequality as that provides incentives via capitalism but unfettered it turns into France 1989 or the Great Depression. It is not coincidence that the major experiment in this in the late 90s and early 2000s required massive government intervention to keep the ship from sinking less than a decade after the great unregulated creative forces were unleashed.

MMT is likely to be similar where productive uses of deficits can be beneficial, but if the money is wasted on stupid stuff like unnecessary wars, then the loss of credibility means that the fiat currency won't be quite as fiat anymore. Britain was unbelievably economically powerfully in the late 1800s but in half a century went to being an economic afterthought hamstrung by deficits after two major wars and a depression.

So it is good that people like Brad DeLong are coming to understand that the pretty economic theories have some truths but are utter BS (and dangerous) when extrapolated without accounting for how people and societies actually behave.

Chris Cosmos , , March 10, 2019 at 6:43 pm

I never understood the incentive to make more money -- that only works if money = true value and that is the implication of living in a capitalist society (not economy)–everything then becomes a commodity and alienation results and all the depression, fear, anxiety that I see around me. Whereas human happiness actually comes from helping others and finding meaning in life not money or dominating others. That's what social science seems to be telling us.

Oregoncharles , , March 10, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Quoting DeLong:

" He says we are discredited. Our policies have failed. And they've failed because we've been conned by the Republicans."

That's welcome, but it's still making excuses. Neoliberal policies have failed because the economics were wrong, not because "we've been conned by the Republicans." Furthermore, this may be important – if it isn't acknowledged, those policies are quite likely to come sneaking back, especially if Democrats are more in the ascendant., as they will be, given the seesaw built into the 2-Party.

The Rev Kev , , March 10, 2019 at 7:33 pm

Might be right there. Groups like the neocons were originally attached the the left side of politics but when the winds changed, detached themselves and went over to the Republican right. The winds are changing again so those who want power may be going over to what is called the left now to keep their grip on power. But what you say is quite true. It is not really the policies that failed but the economics themselves that were wrong and which, in an honest debate, does not make sense either.

marku52 , , March 10, 2019 at 3:39 pm

"And they've failed because we've been conned by the Republicans.""

Not at all. What about the "free trade" hokum that DeJong and his pal Krugman have been peddling since forever? History and every empirical test in the modern era shows that it fails in developing countries and only exacerbates inequality in richer ones.

That's just a failed policy.

I'm still waiting for an apology for all those years that those two insulted anyone who questioned their dogma as just "too ignorant to understand."

Glen , , March 10, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Thank you!

He created FAILED policies. He pushed policies which have harmed America, harmed Americans, and destroyed the American dream.

Kevin Carhart , , March 10, 2019 at 4:29 pm

It's intriguing, but two other voices come to mind. One is Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste by Mirowski and the other is Generation Like by Doug Rushkoff.

Neoliberalism is partially entrepreneurial self-conceptions which took a long time to promote. Rushkoff's Frontline shows the Youtube culture. There is a girl with a "leaderboard" on the wall of her suburban room, keeping track of her metrics.

There's a devastating VPRO Backlight film on the same topic. Internet-platform neoliberalism does not have much to do with the GOP.

It's going to be an odd hybrid at best – you could have deep-red communism but enacted for and by people whose self-conception is influenced by decades of Becker and Hayek? One place this question leads is to ask what's the relationship between the set of ideas and material conditions-centric philosophies? If new policies pass that create a different possibility materially, will the vise grip of the entrepreneurial self loosen?

Partially yeah, maybe, a Job Guarantee if it passes and actually works, would be an anti-neoliberal approach to jobs, which might partially loosen the regime of neoliberal advice for job candidates delivered with a smug attitude that There Is No Alternative. (Described by Gershon). We take it seriously because of a sense of dread that it might actually be powerful enough to lock us out if we don't, and an uncertainty of whether it is or not.

There has been deep damage which is now a very broad and resilient base. It is one of the prongs of why 2008 did not have the kind of discrediting effect that 1929 did. At least that's what I took away from _Never Let_.

Brad DeLong handing the baton might mean something but it is not going to ameliorate the sense-of-life that young people get from managing their channels and metrics.

Take the new 1099 platforms as another focal point. Suppose there were political measures that splice in on the platforms and take the edge off materially, such as underwritten healthcare not tied to your job. The platforms still use star ratings, make star ratings seem normal, and continually push a self-conception as a small business. If you have overt DSA plus covert Becker it is, again, a strange hybrid,

Jeremy Grimm , , March 10, 2019 at 5:13 pm

Your comment is very insightful. Neoliberalism embeds its mindset into the very fabric of our culture and self-concepts. It strangely twists many of our core myths and beliefs.

Raulb , , March 10, 2019 at 6:36 pm

This is nothing but a Trojan horse to 'co-opt' and 'subvert'. Neoliberals sense a risk to their neo feudal project and are simply attempting to infiltrate and hollow out any threats from within.

There are the same folks who have let entire economics departments becomes mouthpieces for corporate propaganda and worked with thousands of think tanks and international organizations to mislead, misinform and cause pain to millions of people.

They have seeded decontextualized words like 'wealth creators' and 'job creators' to create a halo narrative for corporate interests and undermine society, citizenship, the social good, the environment that make 'wealth creation' even possible. So all those take a backseat to 'wealth creator' interests. Since you can't create wealth without society this is some achievement.

Its because of them that we live in a world where the most important economic idea is protecting people like Kochs business and personal interests and making sure government is not 'impinging on their freedom'. And the corollary a fundamental anti-human narrative where ordinary people and workers are held in contempt for even expecting living wages and conditions and their access to basics like education, health care and living conditions is hollowed out out to promote privatization and become 'entitlements'.

Neoliberalism has left us with a decontextualized highly unstable world that exists in a collective but is forcefully detached into a context less individual existence. These are not mistakes of otherwise 'well meaning' individuals, there are the results of hard core ideologues and high priests of power.

Dan , , March 10, 2019 at 7:31 pm

Two thumbs up. This has been an ongoing agenda for decades and it has succeeded in permeating every aspect of society, which is why the United States is such a vacuous, superficial place. And it's exporting that superficiality to the rest of the world.

VietnamVet , , March 10, 2019 at 7:17 pm

I read Brad DeLong's and Paul Krugman's blogs until their contradictions became too great. If anything, we need more people seeing the truth. The Global War on Terror is into its 18th year. In October the USA will spend approximately $6 trillion and will have accomplish nothing except to create blow back. The Middle Class is disappearing. Those who remain in their homes are head over heels in debt.

The average American household carries $137,063 in debt. The wealthy are getting richer.

The Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates families together have as much wealth as the lowest half of Americans. Donald Trump's Presidency and Brexit document that neoliberal politicians have lost contact with reality. They are nightmares that there is no escaping. At best, perhaps, Roosevelt Progressives will be reborn to resurrect regulated capitalism and debt forgiveness.

But more likely is a middle-class revolt when Americans no longer can pay for water, electricity, food, medicine and are jailed for not paying a $1,500 fine for littering the Beltway.

A civil war inside a nuclear armed nation state is dangerous beyond belief. France is approaching this.

[Mar 11, 2019] SENTRY 3.1 Call Screener, smart active blocking, block all solicitor calls, election calls, robo calls. Electronic

Notable quotes:
"... Time Warner already offers Nomorobo as a free service, and the only reason I tried the Sentry was to eliminate the one ring you get for blacklisted callers when you're using Nomorobo). ..."
Mar 11, 2019 | www.amazon.com

This is the GREATEST GADGET EVER! October 22, 2016

I am an electrical engineer, and I can tell you I searched high and low for the best device to defeat robocalls. Forget the other devices like nomorobo that compare the incoming phone number to a big blacklist..... telemarketers are just faking random caller id's.

This device has a recording that immediately tells callers to hit the '0' key while a robot dialer is still searching for a telemarketer to connect the call to after it has been answered.

Since the telemarketer doesn't hear that message, they never press '0', and the call is never connected to you.

Once your friends and family press '0' and are in the system, their calls are passed through directly to you without interruption.

The device also has a huge blacklist number memory for blocking certain numbers.

The unit also has a two memory answering machine function which ONLY works after a caller has pressed '0'. Your regular answering machine will pick up all other legit calls. (The device manual does not mention this feature.)

My mother LOVES this thing!

Francis Dupre 5.0 out of 5 stars Very Effective Call Blocker, not perfect but close December 2, 2016 Verified Purchase

The Sentry-3 has been in service for one month. Black listed callers have been blocked and white listed callers have rung through normally. Callers on neither list have been greeted by a custom recorded message inviting them to press "zero" to ring my home phone. Only one caller has pressed zero, rang through, and left a desired recorded message on my home recorder. The 35 other callers who did not press "zero" were blocked, and then I added them to the black list. In short, the Sentry-3 handled all calls flawlessly.

Two items which warrant improvement are 1) the poor audio quality of the built-in incoming and outgoing voice message recorders and 2) the surprisingly scanty and inadequate unit operations documentation. Many of the needed Sentry-3 installation and operational details that are not covered clearly, or not covered at all, can be gleaned from reading and interpolating the documentation for the earlier Sentry models and by reading the reviews/questions/answers for all of the models.

Initially I installed the base station of my Panasonic cordless phone system in series with the S-3 as illustrated in the S-3 manual. With this arrangement no caller identifications or numbers were displayed on any of the phones. After noting that an optional parallel S-3 setup was mentioned in the earlier S-2 documentation I converted to a parallel setup and then the Caller ID and number data were displayed.

To minimize the inconvenience and time required for a real person, not on the white or black lists, to connect to my home phone I recorded this brief OGM: "This is (given name)" [Hopefully the party would recognize the name and voice and not hang up without listening further]; "To ring my home phone" [This is what they intended to do]; "Press zero, hang up, and redial my number. Thank you". To improve the likelihood that the caller would be able to understand my message I chose not to speak in conversational tones but instead pronounced each word as loudly and as clearly as I could without yelling. This approach in effect partially compensated for the poor quality of the voice recorder.

The two needed performance improvement items described earlier are of minor import compared with the truly impressive ability of the S3 to eliminate unwanted calls. The unit does perform as advertised. In my opinion it is fairly priced and offers a blocking capability not found in any other landline blocker of which I am aware. Based on my experience to date I do recommend it for consideration by anyone seeking an effective landline call blocker.

RogerinNYC 3.0 out of 5 stars Works Mostly as Advertised (I think), but not for me.... March 18, 2017 Verified Purchase

This is about my fourth edit of this review. Unfortunately, at this point the unit is being returned, but it shows great promise and it's possible, if not likely, that my home phone set up was the problem and others will not experience the same issues I did.

Initially, the Sentry 3 introduced significant background static when I inserted it inline between my wall jack and my base phone and I thought it would have to go back. I'm on Time Warner VOIP in NYC, and I'm using a Panasonic modular system with a base unit, so I thought that one of those might have been the problem. But, after some more trial and error, the problem appeared to have been because I introduced the Sentry Unit too far down the line, so to speak, in my interior wiring. Once I installed it directly to the cable modem, and ran my complicated internal wiring (which splits later on) directly out of the Sentry Unit at that initial point, the static was gone. So that was good.

Unfortunately, this morning, I picked up my phone line and it was full of static and clicks until I disconnected the Sentry. So then, based on someone else's review, I searched for the instructions for the Sentry 2, which shows how to set up the unit in parallel (I've uploaded a picture of it). Basically you just use a splitter to add the Sentry, but you don't run your connection through it. This cleared all the static and clicks and returned my clarity of sound.

But it comes at a cost. Because of the parallel wiring (and unlike when the unit was set up in-line), my home phone rings at least once before the Sentry unit kicks in (notwithstanding that I have the Sentry ringer setting, accessed by holding the ringer button down from the home screen, set to "allow 0 rings"). For me, but maybe not for others, this defeats the purpose of the system.

Time Warner already offers Nomorobo as a free service, and the only reason I tried the Sentry was to eliminate the one ring you get for blacklisted callers when you're using Nomorobo).

But if your system is different from mine (the Sentry, per its FAQs, seems to like AT&T and VTech phones), you might want to give it a try. In which case, a few other notes.

First, Caller ID continued to come through on my Panasonic system.

Second, notwithstanding other reviews here, I thought the Sentry instructions were straight-forward and fine. But, if you are having problems, there's a video on their web site that walks you through the basics. I easily recorded my own custom message (e.g., "we're blocking all Robocalls, but if you're a live person that we might want to talk to, please press zero, hang-up, and redial and you'll be put through. You'll only have to do this one time"), and easily entered a bunch of whitelisted numbers (without a prefix 1 in my case -- test whether you need it before you enter all your whitelisted numbers!).

My custom message requires some explanation: you don't have to tell people to hang up and redial -- if they press 0, then the Sentry unit will begin ringing -- I counted 9 very loud rings (there doesn't seem to be way to change either the number of rings or the volume), before it beeps (which the caller can hear) and its message machine kicks in -- and, if you pick up on your own phone before this point (which does NOT ring in this context), you're connected. And, regardless of whether you picked up or not, the caller is whitelisted for next time by having pressed 0.

I didn't want this sequence -- specifically, the need to work with 2 answering machines -- or the possibility of hearing the Sentry's rather obnoxious sounding ring -- hence the message to hang up and call back.

As others have said, two improvements would make this a 5 star device (assuming it works with your set-up): 1) better recording and playback quality on the OGM -- it's really a chore to get it even reasonably clear and audible, and 2) the ability to have a caller press 0 and directly ring your own phone. One star deducted for those flaws. And one star deducted for, when it's set up in parallel, not being able to keep your phone from ringing once (although I'm not sure that's technically feasible on Sentry's end given the signal is split and hitting both units at the same time).

But, all in all, if it works with your set up, and you're willing to do the whitelist set-up work and maybe have the occasional overlooked caller have to go through the 0 pressing process to be added, it's a pretty amazing device for ending the plague that our home phone lines have become thanks to all the telemarketers and scam artists. Jeff 4 months ago Report abuse Blocking the 1st ring in parallel isn't possible. Sentry uses the 1st ring to recognize that there is an incoming call, so setting it to pickup on ring 0 is like saying pick up before the call actually arrives. However, as someone else suggested, you can check your phone to see if it has the option to not ring on the first ring... or buy one that does have this feature. I think most of the current Panasonic phones do. Manufacturer Account of Tel-Sentry Inc. 1 year ago Report abuse Hi.

Thank you for your valuable feedback. Your suggestions for how we can improve are always welcomed and appreciated. We also wanted to apologize that the device could not accommodate to your preference.
We are truly grateful that you gave our product a try. Should you have any questions or would like to share some thoughts regarding your experience, please feel free to contact us. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michael
Sentry Call Screener Support
(714)-361-4615 M-Fr 9am-4pm PST
questions@plugnblock.com

[Mar 11, 2019] Tel-Sentry V2.2 Smart Automatic Blocking, Block All Spam Calls, Election Calls without Relying on Black List Elect

Version 2 added the ability for callers to add themselves to the white list by pressing zero after the warning message is played.
Mar 10, 2019 | www.amazon.com

It does effectively block both robo calls and telelmarketing calls by the use of "Accept" and "Reject" lists and an "Advanced" mode for callers not on either list. In "Advanced" mode, a pre-recording asks live telemarketers to remove your number from their list, and then leaves the option for important callers to press "0".

If a caller chooses to press "0", the first time the caller presses "0", only the Sentry device rings and the caller's number automatically gets saved to the whitelist. This is new with version 2. The reasoning for the auto save is that important calls from live people (such as family and friends) aren't totally blocked out from reaching you, but that on a second try, they will get through and not get stopped by the pre-recorded screening. Of course, this opens up the possibility that a persistent telemarketer or former friend can press "0" to automatically get on your whitelist. Yet, if they do, placing them on the reject list manually is as easy as scrolling to that number on the call list or accept list and holding down the reject button until the "done" indicator shows up on the LCD.

From an email response received from the manufacturer, according the them, live telemarketers rarely, if ever go to the effort of pressing "0" when encountering the pre-recording.

Though made in China (aren't most things today?), the call blocker is designed in the USA. The call blocker is actually quite intuitive and easy to use. The instruction sheet is only a few pages and contains instructions on how to set up and use the different features. There are easy to read lettering indicating a button's function above or below each button. The buttons on the device doesn't feel cheap as in breaking anytime soon. The buttons are responsive and don't feel like they are about to cave in when pressed.

Version 2 of the Sentry call blocker tackles many of the concerns of the earlier model.

First, now there are 3 ways to have numbers added to the whitelist. They are (a) view the call list and press the "Accept" button (this is the same method as with version 1), (b) Add whitelist numbers directly using the buttons on the device (the instructions are straight forward. I was able to add about 20 numbers in 30 minutes), and (c) in "Advanced" mode, a caller presses "0". This automatically saves the caller's number to the whitelist.

Second, by using the Down button, it's easy to toggle the Sentry ringer on or off.

Third, the screen brightness is easier to adjust. There are three levels and the LCD screen is easy to read during adjustment.

Fourth, the recorded Sentry greeting no longer uses a British sounding male voice, but instead has an authoritative sounding American male voice which clearly says to the caller that this number is screened by Sentry and only if the caller has a valid reason, then press "0".

Fifth, if receiving a call, and the caller presses "0", the alarm rings as usual. But unlike the Sentry 1 version where the alarm rings even after pick up, with Sentry 2, once the phone is picked up, the alarm stops and one can talk to the caller freely.

Sixth, to correct issues of the Sentry needing to reset due to power fluctuations (the Sentry 1 version ran strictly off the phone line's power), the Sentry 2 version, in addition to using the phone line, uses two AAA batteries as a back up power source, which should last about 6 months before needing a change. Not only does using batteries eliminate the need to unplug and plug back in occasionally with the Sentry 1 model, but this is also handy when inputting numbers on the whitelist as now one can do so without being connected to the phone line.

In summary, here is what I like and dislike about the Sentry Call Blocker version 2:

Likes
-----
- Effective call blocking, easy to use, should last, competitively priced
- a large capacity limit (9999 each) of numbers for both "Accept" and "Reject" calls
- Advanced mode blocks automated, robo calls
- (new with version 2) Battery backup eliminates freeze up and resetting issues. Can use device cord free to input whitelist numbers
- Numbers are retained even if phone line disconnected
- (new with version 2) clear, American accented greeting (though I kinda of miss the English butler's voice!)
- (new with version 2) ability to add numbers to the call blocker directly to the device
- (new with version 2) auto save to white list gives important callers not yet on the white list a
second chance to reach you
- (new with version 2) easier to use LCD setting. Even during set up, as long as three is surrounding light, the LCD isn't too dim to read. The LCD display shows a sharper contrast
- (new with version 2) ability to turn off the ringer

Dislikes
--------
- Only captures the phone number and not the name
- In darker areas, LCD may be a bit dim, would like a backlight button, especially now since there is battery backup

Overall, I really like the Sentry call blocker, version 2. It feels nice reminding myself that the phone usage belongs to me and not the telemarketers. In other words, "bring it on" robo callers and telemarketers, the sheriff is ready for you!

T. Sandy Matthews

Dual Mode Explained May 13, 2015

Verified Purchase I just got my Sentry 2 call blocker and so far I am very excited about this device. There was some confusing terminology about this device before I purchased that has become clear to me now that I own the device. To clarify the situation for others, the Sentry 2 works a couple of independent modes that make the documentation confusing. The documentation referees to dual mode. But there seems to be more then one dual mode. So which dual mode they are referring to at this point is unknown. the parallel versus series modes

The first mode pair I will talk about is the parallel versus series modes. This means there are two ways you can hook up the Sentry 2 to your home phones.

In parallel mode, the Sentry 2 acts like another handset, and you will hear the first ring of every call that comes in. That means every call. Black listed, white listed, or unknown. You plug the Sentry 2 into an unused phone jack. Or if you don't have an open phone jack, you will need to use a splitter. A splitter did not come in my box which is strange because parallel mode is probably the most common mode people will be able to hook up with. When a call comes in, all your phones in your house ring instantly just like before. Caller ID with names show up on all the phones which is a good situation.

The Sentry 2 monitors the Caller ID that comes in during the first ring and if it doesn't like the number, it will "pick up the phone" and either play it's message or (if the number is on the block list) hangs up immediately.

If the Sentry 2 is playing it's message, you still have a chance to pick up a phone elsewhere in your house. This should stop the message playback and you can immediately talk to the caller. After your call is done, you can then walk over to the Sentry 2 and accept the last call (in the call history) into your white list, or stick it in the black list.

In series mode, the Sentry 2 sits between your incoming phone line and the rest of the telephones in your house. In this mode, you will not hear the first ring of every call because it appears the Sentry 2 will block the ring of every call until it gets a chance to see the caller ID. This mode would probably make most people happy since more silence is good right? Let me say right off if you have multiple phone brands scattered throughout your house like I do chances are most likely you will not be able to use series mode. It seems if you have even one incompatible phone in your system, or perhaps just too many phones in your house, series mode probably will not work. While I would have hoped that I could have used series mode (avoiding the first ring) I am still very glad to have a well functioning parallel mode setup.

The other mode pair is the basic versus advanced modes.

The so called basic mode is like a standby mode or as it reads on the display of the device it is the "off" mode. In basic (or "off") mode, all calls are let through except for black listed numbers which still get blocked. So the part that is "off" is the white listing capability. You may want to use this mode if your white list is incomplete, or if you are expecting a call from someone who you don't know their phone number. For example, if you call a refrigerator repair man. The operator tells you the repair man will call 15 minutes before he arrives. You can then stick the Sentry 2 into basic "off" mode so that the repair man's call gets let through. Basic mode can also be used to collect phone numbers from friends and family, so you don't have to enter them in manually. Just leave Sentry 2 in basic (off) mode for a few weeks. As the Sentry 2 collects numbers in it's call history, you can scroll through the call history and add the numbers to your white (or black) list.

The other mode is called advanced mode. Advanced mode is when "off" is not displayed in the upper right hand corner of the display. Let's be honest. Advanced mode is why we all decided to purchase the Sentry 2. Advanced mode means the white list is actively checked. White listed phone numbers are allowed to ring your phones. The black list is also checked. Black listed numbers get an instant automatic good bye slam and no apology either.

Unknown numbers get a long somewhat annoying message telling them to go away, or press "0" to be added to the white list. So why is it called advance mode anyway? Well to be honest, most people will not want their friends or family members to encounter the Sentry 2's go away message.

If someone presses "0" the Sentry 2 does not hang up. It will stop playing it's message and the caller will hear silence. This will probably confuse the caller, since the Sentry 2 just told them to hang up. The Sentry 2 will then make a noise, like an alarm which the caller can't hear. If you are fortunate enough to be able to hear the alarm, then you can pick up a phone and start talking.

[Mar 04, 2019] Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime

November 16, 2008

A very timely book , November 16, 2008 Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews

What makes "Gangster Capitalism" so worthwhile is that it helps in understanding what has led us to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. As the book shows, like during the 1920's, deregulation led the way for powerful companies to allow the very wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of average people by using poor working conditions, low wages, etc, plus at the same time supporting supposedly moral movements (against gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc) which mainly served the purpose of making these trades more profitable to crooks and therefore created rampant gangsterism there. The result was such a society wracked with gangsterism at all levels, but because most people felt they were prospering, few complained.

But, then it all collapsed with the 1929 crash and resulting Depression, which led the way for FDR and the New Deal programs which increased regulation of corporations, repeal of Prohibition, etc. Though the Depression lingered until WWII, the New Deal was successful in restructuring our laws and public infrastructure to create a better footing for the prosperity which would follow.

The book effectively traces how much of this regulation was reduced piece by piece, beginning in earnest with Nixon, using Cold War fears to tilt the nation toward more corporate power and away from reform, support of right-wing dictators around the world, re-energizing a 'moral crusade' especially by beginning the War on Drugs, thereby making the illegal drug trade super profitable, etc.

The nation had shifted Right and even Democratic presidents like Carter who was instrumental in deregulating industry and Clinton who signed into law the repeal of Glass--Steagle weren't able to stop the shift. Then, the 'Gangster Capitalism" went on steroids with G. W. Bush. By 2003, corporate taxes only amounted to 7% of revenues, while payroll taxes amounted to 40%.

Of note, the book makes clear it is opportunity which leads to much crime, so the approach of massive deregulation of corporations, plus focusing on arrests and imprisonment for victimless crimes ends up with the wrong results, more entrenched crime, even allowing corporations to capitalize on a prison industry.

The book is also good at highlighting how corporations and outright gangsters were able to corrupt legal drugs (price-fixing), tobacco, asbestos, body parts, autos (Pintos), etc. Some other things in the book, of note: Hamid Karzai included drug traffickers in his Afghan administration.

And, our support of Suharto (Indonesia), Mobuto (the Congo), and Marcos (the Philippines) allowed 'looting' of these countries.

A corrupt financial infrastructure included the BCCI bank and offshore banking to evade taxes also developed. Plus, laundering money from illegal arms sales, drugs, and so many other illegal activities passed through our financial system.

The book is definitely tilted toward a liberal way of looking at things, therefore it doesn't go into the good things about capitalism, but there are disturbing patterns which are important to understand, and this book does that very well.

By James R. Maclean (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

Wasted opportunity , September 6, 2006

Despite the fact that I was predisposed to agree with many of the author's views, this book was a huge disappointment. First, the basic premises:
  1. American business enterprise is singularly corrupt;
  2. Most of the crime that Americans suffer from is corporate crime;
  3. American methods of fighting crime focus on lurid fantasies of underworld conspiracy;
  4. The USA exports criminality through its foreign & trade policies.

Each of these premises could have been, and in other venues have been, well-argued. The first three suffer from a lack of generally accepted, objective measures, but experts on criminology have overcome worse obstacles. What we get instead is an unfocused, rambling listing of claims (plausible, but very poorly documented) about the criminal underworld, anecdotes about corporate crime, and extreme statements. No doubt "legitimate" business enterprise does rip off more money from customers each year than do gangsters or mafiosi; but the latter also account for a tiny fraction of the total US labor force. And comparing deaths from industrial accidents to mob hits is just over the top.

Woodiwiss says that the book

"had its inception during a seminar series on transnational organized crime run by Adam Edwards and Peter Gill... Adam and Peter put together several of the best academic researchers from Europe and North America...."

Yet the book is exasperatingly badly substantiated. I noticed almost no original research. Woodiwiss's footnotes, which--like cops--are never around when you need them (viz., when he is actually saying something that requires documentation), are almost exclusively from articles in the *Guardian* or from other sensational exposes. Radical literature has its place, of course, but saying, "US capitalism is just like organized crime... see, it says so in 'The New Left Review'" is just a harangue, not evidence.

The back cover declaims:

"..[T]he position of large multinational corporations...actually provide the most enticing opportunities for illegal profit... Gangster Capitalism shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence that would leave the most hardened mafiosi speechless."

In fact, it's a disappointing pile of clippings. With the exception of his claims--again, plausible but unsubstantiated--you are not going to find any surprises here.

As I mentioned, he attacks conventional wisdom regarding the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover (who comes off surprisingly well); unfortunately, Woodiwiss offers almost no support for those contentions that are likely to be controversial.

For example, on p.78 he mentions President [Nixon]'s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, "Organized Crime Strike Force Report" [1969], which included a vaguely worded remark that the reliance on legal sanctions to fight drug abuse was actually causing organized crime to flourish." This is footnoted.

Then he says that Nixon was so horrified by this that he ruthlessly suppressed the report. This is not footnoted.

The next paragraph (p.49) includes a quote from a law enforcement officer claiming that gambling arrests were made just to pad the arrest numbers; this is footnoted. The next paragraph declares that gambling is no more corrupt than the rest of the economy. A surprising observation, it is predictably not footnoted.

The result: lots of footnotes documenting that water is a bit on the damp side, but nothing to support the controversial stuff. Only a small part is devoted to crime; the rest is a paste-up job from two dozen radical critiques of the USA.

Anything from the 1971 ditching of the gold exchange standard to the various covert activities of the CIA are brought up, with no more compelling a connection to Woodiwiss' original point than being bad things that Americans did.

The conclusions are so insipid (it calls for "fair trade" with no further specification of how that would be any different... capital punishment for corporations--evidently Mr. Woodiwiss has never heard of 'money laundering,' in which a vehicle corporation commits suicide), that it is pointless to spend any time on them.

Woodiwiss needs to actually learn something about economics; ironically enough, for someone who claims business is closely tied to crime, he knows almost nothing about it. He needs to know, and say what he knows, about law enforcement and business practices abroad, so he can make a comparison. And finally, he needs to actually learn how to write.

[Mar 04, 2019] Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People by Servando Gonzalez

I think the books contains some useful information about the history of Propaganda Wars and the Deep state. But also a lot of junk: Fidel Castro listed along with CIA connected neocons as Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski: Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro.
He also denigrates Marx, which sound very simplistic. While Marx was wrong about many things and first of about "the dictatorship of the proletariat". As well as the idea that proletariat is a new progressive class that will became the next dominant class on the next stage of the development of the mankind, displacing capitalists. But Marx provided an excellent framework for the analysis of capitalism. So to throw out all the Marxism is IMHO unwise.
Notable quotes:
"... The conspirators are a small group of Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations, most of them senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations. ..."
"... Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro. ..."
Mar 09, 2016 | www.amazon.com

America is at war. But this not a conventional war waged with tanks, battleships and planes in conventional battlefields -- at least not yet. It is a secret, insidious type of war whose battleground is the people's minds. Its main weapons are propaganda and mass brainwashing by disinformation, cunning, deception and lies in a large scale not used against the people of any nation since Nazi Germany. Though important, however, those elements are just part of a series of carefully planned and executed long and short-term psychological warfare operations. In synthesis, it is a psychological war -- a PSYWAR.

If an unfriendly foreign power had carried out against the American people the actions carried out by Wall Street bankers, Oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations entrenched at the Council on Foreign Relations and its parasite organizations, we might well have considered it an act of war.

Unfortunately, most Americans ignore that they are under attack. The reason is because, like Ninja assassins, the main weapon used by the conspirators who have managed to infiltrate and take control of the U.S. Government and most of American life has been their invisibility. For almost a century, these small group of conspirators have been waging a quiet, non-declared war of attrition against the American people, and it seems that they are now ready for the final, decisive battle.

Unfortunately, as the last two presidential elections showed, the brainwashed American people reacted by changing the puppets, leaving the puppet masters untouched and in control. In this book Servando Gonzalez studies in detail the origins of the conspiracy, who the conspirators are, the main elements of this PSYWAR and, what's more important, how we can fight back and win

S. Gonzalez "Conspiracy analyst" (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews

More Info About the Book , December 11, 2010

This review is from: Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People (Paperback)

About the book

America is at war. But this is not a conventional war waged with tanks, battleships and planes in conventional battlefields --at least, not yet. It is a secret, insidious type of war whose battleground is the people's minds. Its main weapons are mind viruses disseminating mass brain-washing through propaganda disinformation, cunning, deception and lies in a large scale not used against any people since Nazi Germany. Though important, these elements are just part of a series of carefully planned and executed long- and short-term psychological warfare operations. In synthesis, it is a psychological war --a PSYWAR.

If an unfriendly foreign power had carried out against the American people the actions carried out by Wall Street bankers, Oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations entrenched at the Council on Foreign Relations and its parasite organizations, we might well have considered it an act of war. Unfortunately, most Americans ignore that they are under attack. The reason is because, like Ninja assassins, the main weapon used by the conspirators who have managed to infiltrate and take control of the U.S. Government and most of American life has been their invisibility.

For almost a century, this small group of conspirators have been waging a quiet, non-declared war of attrition against the American people, and it seems that they are now ready for the final, decisive battle. Unfortunately, as the last two presidential elections showed, the brainwashed American people reacted by changing the puppets, leaving the puppet masters in control.

This book studies in detail the origins of the conspiracy, who the conspirators are, the main elements of this PSYWAR and, what's more important, how we can fight back and win.

About the Author

Cuban-born Servando Gonzalez got his training as a historian at the University of Havana. He has written books, essays and articles on Latin American history, intelligence, espionage, and semiotics.

Servando is the author of Historia herética de la revolución fidelista, The Secret Fidel Castro, The Nuclear Deception and La madre de todas las conspiraciones, all available at Amazon.com.

He also hosted the documentaries Treason in America: The Council on Foreign Relations and Partners in Treason: The CFR-CIA-Castro Connection, produced by Xzault Media Group of San Leandro, California.

What the critics are saying

Book's Content

Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People

Contents

Preface

Conspiracies and Conspiracy "Theories"
Espionage and Skepticism
Historians and Intelligence Analysts
The Art and Science of Historical Tradecraft

Introduction

A Fractured America
The Covert American Revolution
Who Are the New World Order Conspirators?
The Secret War Against the American People
Walking Back the Cat

Chapter 1. Is There an Invisible Government of the United States?

The CIA as Scapegoat
The Council on What?
The Science of Historical Forensics
U.S. Presidents on Blinders
CFR's Inside Critics
The CFR Octopus
The CIA's True Bosses

Chapter 2. Spying: The Rockefellers' True Passion

The Inquiry: First U.S. Civilian Intelligence Agency
House-Wilson: A Typical Case of Agent Recruitment
Wilson: The First Successful U.S. Puppet President
The Family that Spies Together . . .
Nelson and David Inherit Their Grandpa's Passion for Spying
The Family Tradition Continues

Chapter 3. The Council on Foreign Relations: The Conspirators' Secret Intelligence Agency

The Conspirators Create an Anti-American Monster
The CFR: Second U.S. Civilian Intelligence Agency
A Very Secretive Organization
The CFR: an Association of Criminal Traitors
The Invisible Government of the United States
The CFR Conspirators Take Early Control of the Press
The Conspirators Extend Their Control Over the Press, the Arts and the Academia
The Conspirators Infiltrate the Two Parties
The Conspirators Infiltrate the State Department

Chapter 4. The OSS: of the Bankers, by the Bankers, for the Bankers

American Intelligence Before and After WWI
Was the OSS an Intelligence Agency?
OSS: The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
OSS: The Conspirators' Fifth Column Inside the U.S. Armed Forces
The Assassination of General Patton

Chapter 5. The National Security Act, the CIA and the Creation of Artificial Insecurity

The National Security Act of 1947 and the Origins of the National Security Council
U.S. Presidents as CFR's Puppets
The National Security Council: a Key Tool of the CFR Conspirators
Why the CIA?
The CIA: The Conspirators' Secret Military Arm
The NSC Illegally Authorizes the CIA to Conduct Covert Operations
Covert Operations: The CIA's True and Only Purpose

Chapter 6. The CIA's "Failures"

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight?
The Gang That Shouldn't Shoot Straight
CIA's Failed Assassination Attempts on Fidel Castro
The CIA's True Role
Team B VS Team A
The Two CIAs
CFR Conspirators Create CIA B
American Patriots Working for CIA A
HUMINT VS TECHINT
Enemy Moles Inside the CIA
Angleton's Deep Game

Chapter 7. The Cold War PSYOP

The CFR Conspirators Use the CIA to Recruit Fidel Castro
The Bogotazo False Flag Operation and the Cold War PSYOP
The Agent Provocateurs
Planting False Clues
Was Castro a Communist?
The Bogotazo and the Assassination of Gaitán
An Intelligence Analysis of the Bogotazo
Gaitan's Assassin: A Manchurian Candidate?
An Intelligence Analysis of Gaitán's Assassination
New Pieces of the Puzzle
The Bogotazo: Still a Mystery

Chapter 8. The CFR Mole Infiltrates the Soviets

The Destruction of Russia and the Creation of the Soviet Union
Khrushchev's Peaceful Threat
A Spy is Born ... or Made?
Fidel Castro to the Rescue
The Bay of Pigs PSYOP

Chapter 9. Agent Castro Warms Up the Cold War

The Soviets Swallow the Dangling Bait
The CFR's Agent Provocateur Strikes Again
Khrushchev Tries to Get Rid of Castro, But Fails
Castro's Good Job on Behalf of His CFR Masters
The Latin American Guerrillas and Other PSYOPs
Fidel Castro and the 9/11 False Flag Operation
The Castro-Chávez PSYOP

Chapter 10. PSYOPs Against the American People I

A War in the People's Minds
PSYOPs Do Exist
The War-for-Eugenics PSYOP
The Anti-Christian PSYOP
The Gay Movement PSYOP
The Gay Marriage PSYOP

Chapter 11. PSYOPs Against the American People II

The Environmental PSYOP
Anthropogenic Global Warming?
The Two Party PSYOP
The War on Terror PSYOP
The Obama PSYOP

Chapter 12. Castro's Cuba: A Testing Ground for the New World Order?

The Cuban Economy Before Castro
Cuba as a Testing Ground
Castro's Cuba: a CFR Conspirator's Paradise

Chapter 13. The End of the CIA and the Beginning of the New World Order

The CFR Conspirators Take Control Over the U.S. Military
The CFR's Fifth Column Inside the U.S. Armed Forces
Faithful to Two Flags?
The CFR Conspirators Destroy the CIA They Don't Need Anymore
The "Support Our Army" Myth

Epilogue: What Can We Do to Win This War?

Is the U.S. Becoming a Totalitarian Dictatorship?
Ballots or Bullets?
Why They Hate Us?
The Conspirators' Final Push for the New World Order
PSYWAR and Mind Viruses

Appendixes
Appendix I. A Chronology of Treason
Appendix II. The Evaluation of Information: Intelligence, the 9/11/2001 Events, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962
Appendix III. Hegelian-type PSYOPS. False Flag Operations: Bogotazo and 9/11/2001

From the Preface

This is a book about a conspiracy. It is not, however, about the imaginary "vast right-wing conspiracy" mentioned by Hillary Clinton. Neither it is about the alleged "conspiracy of ideas" carried out by well-intentioned, honest people engaged in "an ideological battle," mentioned by Congressman Ron Paul.

It is about a real vast right- left-wing conspiracy carried out by a group of criminal psychopaths without any ideology at all except maximum power and control. To carry out their plants, the conspirators usually resort to deception, coercion, extortion, usury, racketeering, Ponzi schemes, theft, torture, assassination and large-scale mass murder.

The ultimate goal of these conspirators is the total destruction of the American republic as we knew it and the creation of a global communo-fascist feudal totalitarian society under their full control --a society they euphemistically call the New World Order.

The conspirators are a small group of Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations, most of them senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Though their push for total control of the U.S. government began in 1913 during the Wilson administration, since the end of WWII it has become a fully developed psychological war of immense proportions secretly waged against the American people. Key elements in this secret war have been the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as some of the conspirators' secret agents like Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Fidel Castro.

This conspiracy resembles a gigantic puzzle of which many pieces are missing or have been intentionally placed in the wrong place in order to mislead. This explains why most analysts who have studied the phenomenon using the analytical method have failed to find the true source of the problem.

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MANUEL ESTEVE - See all my reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a roller coaster... , September 13, 2010

This book is a roller coaster. It questions most of your accepted ideas about the Council on Foreign Relations, the OSS, the CIA, Castro, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, 9/11 and many other events we take for granted. After reading this book I agree with the author's assertion that most of what has been written about the CIA - pro and con - is simply hogwash.

Gonzalez's theory about the two CIAs after the Team A -- Team B deception is very convincing. This may explain why this is at the same time the most anti-CIA and the most pro-CIA book ever written. (The book is dedicated to Arthur B. Darling, the first CIA official historian.)

Moreover, this is the only book I have read that provides a logical explanation to the CIA's seemingly illogical abandonment of HUMINT for its current widespread use of TECHINT, and why good CIA officers have been abandoning the Agency.

Also, after reading many books about James Jesus Angleton, this books dissects his behavior and shows what he really was: a traitor and a common criminal serving not the American people but his true masters, the Wall Street bankers and oil magnates who created the CIA.

A must read for CIA former and current officers, particularly the ones in the intelligence area.

Cquevedo - See all my reviews
Believed is happening , September 14, 2010

This book reads like a spy novel. In almost every single page I found shocking assertions and theories -- supported by more than a thousand scholarly footnotes.

After enumerating the long list of CIA's failures, many books about the CIA rhetorically ask the question: "Why the CIA has been so stupid?" After reading Gonzalez' book now I ask myself, how I have been so stupid to believe the assertions that the CIA guys --or, much better, the people who control the CIA-- are stupid?

In his book Gonzalez shows how, since its very conception, the CIA has never served us, the American people, but the Wall Street bankers, oil magnates and CEOs of transnational corporations who created it. The time is ripe to get rid of the CIA and the rest of alphabet soup of intelligence organizations who use taxpayers money to protect the interest of international bankers and transnational corporations.

Ah, and before we close the CIA building and throw away the key, I would like to see destroyed the bust of William Donovan decorating its vestibule. While the traitor who ordered that assassination of General Patton got a statue, the heroic, patriotic general's memory has been covered with mud. What a shame!

Bondolfo Shamitoff (San Francisco) - See all my reviews

very interesting book , September 13, 2010

I had a chance to read and advance copy of this book and it was very interesting. I am a fan of conspiracy theory books and historical books so this was right up my alley. What I realized though, after I read more and more of the book is that this is not your typical book on this subject. It backs ideas up with facts and has lots of good footnotes which I will use for future reference. This type of subject matter may not be for everyone, but considering how things are going in this country, it might be worth the read.

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Luisa - See all my reviews

Could not put it down! , September 13, 2010

Had a chance to purchase a copy of the book this past Saturday, started reading it then and finished it this morning. Mr. Gonzalez has done such a remarkable job of analyzing historical events in detail and providing so much key evidence that his claims must be taken seriously. I'm not going to go into every detail about the book, but if you believe that everything in this country is not as it seems and that we are being lied to by our government now and have been lied to in the past, read this book.
Rose M. Aasen-rojas "rose" (atlanta) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

A Quick Up-To-Speed Study , February 15, 2011

Gonzalez in his engaging prose brings you quickly up-to-speed in the globalist plan and the players. In spite of the abundance of typos and editing errors along with some stilted English phrases, the book will be difficult to put down; and when it ends, you'll want to know more. Hopefully,the second printing will be better-edited.

boatsmac (James McDonald) (San Diego) - See all my reviews
Warning, you will not be able to go back to where you were before, after reading this book! , June 12, 2012

I am an honorably discharged Veteran with 20 years of military service and because I've questioned the actions and motivations of the CFR, Homeland security, the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building and the events of 9/11, I have been labeled by my government as a potential terrorist. I am ashamed, hurt, confused and feel alarmed.

Why and how did it get to this point?

If you want to understand, put on your seat-belt and prepare yourself when you read Servando Gonzalez's Psychological Warfare and the New World Order.

The wealth of historical, empirical proof within this work will rock your world. Just when you think that you have reached the climax of evidence, the next wave of proof makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

This book will affect you in a way that you will never be able to walk down American streets again without recognizing that you could be seen as nothing more than cannon fodder for a ruthless and cunning organization that has been working for a goal for over a hundred years.

I am not religious but what has been going on in America and the rest of the world, is truly evil. It's a force that is working to insure billions of people will suffer and who is left will serve the masters of the New World Order.

This is not science fiction, not some crazy story of some sick delusional nut, this is reality of elements within our government.

Servando Gonzalez will guide you through this strange and factual journey about what is really going on in America and elements with in our government. If you don't care about your love ones, if you don't care about your honor, if you don't care about knowing about what you can do to protect yourself against this force, don't read this master piece of factual work.

***Fair warning*** The knowledge in this capstone of work will affect you personally!

applewood (everywhere and nowhere) - See all my reviews

Literally. Servando Gonzalez's book on psychological warfare looks at the people and organizations (and their motivations) of the conspiracy behind all other conspiracies.

For decades I've read of the main conspiracy-related events of my life time, the who's and why's behind - JFK's and RFK's assassinations, the Contra/Arkansas cocaine/arms trade and Whitewater money laundering scandal, the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks - and have been fascinated, shocked, outraged, bewildered and disgusted. This book goes right to the heart of the agenda behind these various events, and shows them to be mere layers in a much larger onion. This book provides a clear overview but is also full of fascinating details, especially on how Castro was a CIA agent and how his rule of Cuba has not been what it seems, as well as providing a run down of some of the current PSYOPs being run on the American public.

Gonzalez's own review here gives an outline of the details better than I ever could so I will keep this short. I came across this book after reading a lengthy review by Gonzalez for a different book on Amazon, greatly impressed by his intellect and perspective. At first I was leery of purchasing his book because many of these reviews appear written by friends of his (single review reviewers always make me skeptical). However this book delivers, and as another reviewer commented here, it will change your understanding, views and perhaps life. It has quickly risen into the top 10 list of influential books I've read. I'd even venture say it is essential.

My main complaint is that while well informed, and intelligent Gonzalez's writing is often dense and repetitive (as well as having a fair number of typos), and so apparently rushed to press without thorough editing. Given the timely need of this book this is excusable, but hopefully will be remedied in a second edition. More importantly I was sometimes left wondering how Gonzalez knows all these (specific) people are CFR members/agents? And this uncertainty of mine, and implied dependence on him, left me in doubt about the whole thesis (are we both just paranoid delusional? lol!).... But perhaps such doubt (in the face of my own mix of information and disinformation) is a healthy thing.

Many times when talking with friends about conspiracy ideas and theories they inevitably ask two fundamental questions; 1) who is behind it all, and 2) why?

This book answers both clearly;

1) The Council of Foreign Relations (via the National Security Council, the CIA and increasingly the US military command) and various sister organizations (The Trilateral Commission and The Bilderberg Group). Many individuals are identified, most of these are familiar public figures (as most high level government appointees and elected officials are drawn from this elite group).

2) The New World Order - global domination for sustainable control and order by the super-rich elite (the .0001%, not the mere, ordinary, scape-goated/smoke-screened "1%"). The effect could well be a return to a new feudal age, with almost all of us in a "safe" but unfree and impoverished serfdom (kind of like with the Cuba "experiment"). The kicker being that to do this, "us" will probably be less than a quarter (and perhaps much less) of those now alive.

And it also answers the question of how.

"But the conspirators who planned to bring a revolutionary change of government in the United States to implement the communo-fascist regime they call the New World Order were a bunch of physical cowards, who didn't have the courage to risk their lives in a revolution by gun play. Consequently, despite the fact that the political system they wanted to implement was a mixture of communism and fascism, they neither adopted the revolutionary tactics of open insurrection favored by the Communists, nor the coup d'etat techniques of the Fascists, but the evolutionary, infiltration techniques advocated by the British Fabians." (pg. 40)

The tools to achieve this Brave New World vision include any and all available. For some it is direct warfare (the Middle East), for others, famine and eugenics (Africa), and for American's it is mainly mind control (mass hypnosis and indoctrination) and psychological warfare (destabilizing events leading to doubt, confusion, fear, depression and helplessness). Of course this plan is not a given (even though already far along in it's realization). There are other forces for change, sanity and awakening in the world today.

This is where you and I come into play....

Frances Fletcher - See all my reviews

A Must Read! , May 21, 2013

This is a well-documented expose of the puppet masters that pull the strings of the United States Government.

As a retired police officer and intelligence analyst, I read this book with validation of the ideas presented in the fore front of my mind. I used two bookmarks while reading. One bookmark kept my current place and the other marked the corresponding footnotes. The footnotes are detailed and accurate and led to even-more paths of discovering the truth.

This book is proof that the United States Government has been usurped by the Council of Foreign Relations, transnational corporations and Wall Street bankers.

Every chapter is a light bulb going off in your mind. The author has brilliantly gathered pieces of the puzzle and assembled them into a coherent picture.

This book is essential for understanding what has happened to our country and what is still happening. It is a MUST read!

[Feb 26, 2019] Corrupt and decaying neoliberal elite and Gramsci's idea of hegemony

Feb 26, 2019 | www.amazon.com

We begin our investigation with a historical account of the rise of neoliberal hegemony. Hegemony is a concept developed by Italian Marx- ist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci was keen to account for the definitive role that culture played in legitimizing and sustaining capitalism and its exploitation of the working classes. In our own context of extreme economic inequality, Gramsci's question is still pressing: How and why do ordinary working folks come to accept a system where wealth is produced by their collective labors and energies but appropriated individually by only a few at the top?

The theory of hegemony suggests that the answer to this question is not simply a matter of direct exploitation and control by the capitalist class. Rather, hegemony posits that power is maintained through ongoing, ever-shifting cultural processes of winning the consent of the governed, that is, ordinary people like you and me.

In other words, if we want to really understand why and how phenomena like inequality and exploitation exist, we have to attend to the particular, contingent, and often contradictory ways in which culture gets mobilized to forward the interests and power of the ruling classes. According to Gramsci, there was not one ruling class, but rather a historical blос. "A moving equilibrium" of class interests and values.

Hegemony names a cultural struggle for moral, social, economic, and political leadership; in this struggle, a field -- or assemblage -- of practices, discourses, values, and beliefs come to be dominant. While this field is powerful and firmly entrenched, it is also open to contestation.

In other words, hegemonic power is always on the move; it has to keep winning our consent to survive, and sometimes it fails to do so. Through the lens of hegemony, we can think about the rise of neoliberalism as an ongoing political project -- and class struggle -- to shift society's political equilibrium and create a new' dominant field.

[Feb 19, 2019] How 1984 turned into an instruction manual by Simon Black

Feb 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
By Simon Black via Sovereignman.com

"Sometimes [two and two are four], Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane."

One of the key themes from George Orwell's dystopic novel 1984 is that the Party can do and say whatever it wants.

And more importantly, you must believe it, with all your heart. No matter how absurd.

That's doublethink . It is impossible for two plus two to equal three, four, and five simultaneously. But if the Party says it is so, it is so.

If you can't make yourself believe two contradictory facts simultaneously, that makes you a thought criminal– an enemy of the Party.

Thoughtcrime is thinking any thought that contradicts the Party.

Facecrime is when you have the wrong expression on your face. For instance, if captured enemy soldiers are being paraded through the streets, looking sympathetic is a facecrime.

Newspeak is the language of the Party–one that has painstakingly been removed of unnecessary words, or words that might contradict the Party's ideals.

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."

During daily two minutes hate , citizens shout and curse whatever enemies the Party shows them.

And the face of the Party, Big Brother , is watching you. He helps you be a better citizen.

This isn't just some random literature lesson. Understanding Orwell's 1984 will help you understand 2019 America.

For instance, one California state senator is working on her own version of Newspeak.

She has banned the members of her committee from using gender pronouns, such as he, she, her, and him. Instead they must use "they and them" to respect non-binary gender choices.

So Billy Joel's famous song "She's always a woman" would become "They're always a non-binary gender. . ." Somehow that just doesn't ring with the same sweetness.

Last month a high school student famously committed a facecrime when he stood, apparently smirking, while a Native American activist beat a drum in his face.

The 16-year-old was then subjected to "two minutes hate" by the entire nation. The Party labeled him an enemy, and Twitter obliged.

Of course when I reference the 'Party', I don't mean to imply that all these Orwellian developments are coming from a single political party.

They've ALL done their parts to advance Orwellian dystopia and make it a reality.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders want to limit corporate stock buybacks and share payouts. But the tax code already has the accumulated profits tax, which punishes corporations for NOT engaging in stock buybacks and share payouts

It's like doublethink you have to simultaneously pay and not pay out dividends.

Same goes for cops will pull you over for speeding, but also for "suspicious" textbook perfect driving .

The #MeToo movement made it a thoughtcrime to not immediately believe the accuser and condemn the accused , no evidence required.

When Matt Damon pointed out that we should not conflate a pat on the butt with rape, he was met with "two minutes hate" for expressing the wrong opinion.

On college campuses, some students are upset that white students are using multicultural spaces . Apparently "multicultural" is newspeak for "no whites allowed."

And when a controversy over offensive Halloween costumes erupted at Yale a few years ago, it was a student free speech group which suppressed any debate on the topic.

It's amazing how they want you to celebrate diversity as long as its not intellectual diversity.

1984 was supposed to be a warning. Instead, it has become an instruction manual.

[Feb 17, 2019] Death of the Public University Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy (Higher Education

Notable quotes:
"... Administration bloat and academic decline is another prominent feature of the neoliberal university. University presidents now view themselves as CEO and want similar salaries. ..."
Feb 17, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Customer Review

skeptic 5.0 out of 5 stars February 11, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition

The eyes opening, very important for any student or educator book

This book is the collection of more than dozen of essays of various authors, but even the Introduction (Privatizing the Public University: Key Trends, Countertrends, and Alternatives) is worth the price of the book

Trends in neo-liberalization of university education are not new. But recently they took a more dangerous turn. And they are not easy to decipher, despite the fact that they are greatly affect the life of each student or educator. In this sense this is really an eyes-opening book.

In Europe previously higher education as assessable for free or almost free, but for talented student only. Admission criteria were strict and checked via written and oral entrance exams on key subjects. Now the tend is to view university as business that get customers, charge them exorbitant fees and those customers get diploma as hamburgers in McDonalds at the end for their money. Whether those degree are worth money charged, or not and were suitable for the particular student of not (many are "fake" degrees with little or no chances for getting employment) is not university business. On the contrary marketing is used to attract as many students as possible and many of those student now remain in debt for large part of their adult life.

In other words, the neoliberalization of the university in the USA creates new, now dominant trend -- the conversion of the university into for-profit diploma mills, which are essentially a new type of rent-seeking (and they even attract speculative financial capital and open scamsters, like was in case of "Trump University" ). Even old universities with more than a century history more and more resemble diploma mills.

This assault on academic freedom by neoliberalism justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates used utter perversion of those terms. In the Neoliberal context, they mean "total surveillance" and "rampant rent-seeking."

Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity. As this is about your future earning potential, it is logical that for a chance to increase it you need to take a loan.

Significantly, in the same period per capita, spending on prisons increased by 126 percent (Newfield 2008: 266). Between the 1970s and 1990s there was a 400 percent increase in charges in tuition, room, and board in U.S. universities and tuition costs have grown at about ten times the rate of family income (ibid.). What these instances highlight is not just the state's retreat from direct funding of higher education but also a calculated initiative to enable private companies to capture and profit from tax-funded student loans.

The other tendency is also alarming. Funds now are allocated to those institutions that performed best in what has become a fetishistic quest for ever-higher ratings. That creates the 'rankings arms-race.' It has very little or nothing to do with the quality of teaching of students in a particular university. On the contrary, the curriculums were "streamlines" and "ideologically charged courses" such as neoclassical economics are now required for graduation even in STEM specialties.

In the neoliberal university professors are now under the iron heel of management and various metrics were invented to measure the "quality of teaching." Most of them are very perverted or can be perverted as when a measurement becomes a target; teachers start to focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' rather than on their wider competencies, professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume).

Administration bloat and academic decline is another prominent feature of the neoliberal university. University presidents now view themselves as CEO and want similar salaries. The same is true for the growing staff of university administrators. The recruitment of administrators has far outpaced the growth in the number of faculty – or even students. Meanwhile, universities claim to be struggling with budget crises that force to reduce permanent academic posts, and widely use underpaid and overworked adjunct staff – the 'precariat' paid just a couple of thousand dollars per course and often existing on the edge of poverty, or in real poverty.

Money now is the key objective and the mission changed from cultural to "for profit" business including vast expenses on advancement of the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself. Ability to get grants is now an important criteria of getting the tenure.

[Feb 17, 2019] Trump is Russian asset memo is really neocon propaganda overkill

Highly recommended!
The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
In neoliberal MSM there is positive feedback loop for "Trump is a Russian agent" stories. So the meme feeds on itself.
Notable quotes:
"... And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies. ..."
"... the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience. ..."
"... Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years ..."
"... Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water ..."
"... Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community . ..."
"... The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. ..."
"... The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man. ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

<picture deleted>

And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.

Like His Predecessors

Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.

Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.

Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .

They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.

The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.

Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.

The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.

[Feb 13, 2019] Death of the Public University Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy

Notable quotes:
"... This assault on academic freedom by neoliberalism justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates used utter perversion of those terms. In the Neoliberal context, they mean "total surveillance" and "rampant rent-seeking. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.amazon.com

skeptic, February 11, 2019

The eyes opening, very important for any student or educator book

This book is the collection of more than dozen of essays of various authors, but even the Introduction (Privatizing the Public University: Key Trends, Countertrends, and Alternatives) is worth the price of the book

Trends in neo-liberalization of university education are not new. But recently they took a more dangerous turn. And they are not easy to decipher, despite the fact that they are greatly affect the life of each student or educator. In this sense this is really an eyes-opening book.

In Europe previously higher education as assessable for free or almost free, but for talented student only. Admission criteria were strict and checked via written and oral entrance exams on key subjects. Now the tend is to view university as business that get customers, charge them exorbitant fees and those customers get diploma as hamburgers in McDonalds at the end for their money. Whether those degree are worth money charged, or not and were suitable for the particular student of not (many are "fake" degrees with little or no chances for getting employment) is not university business. On the contrary, marketing is used to attract as many students as possible and many of those student now remain in debt for large part of their adult life.

In other words, the neoliberalization of the university in the USA creates new, now dominant trend -- the conversion of the university into for-profit diploma mills, which are essentially a new type of rent-seeking (and they even attract speculative financial capital and open scamsters, like was in case of "Trump University" ). Even old universities with more than a century history more and more resemble diploma mills.

This assault on academic freedom by neoliberalism justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates used utter perversion of those terms. In the Neoliberal context, they mean "total surveillance" and "rampant rent-seeking. "

Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity. As this is about your future earning potential, it is logical that for a chance to increase it you need to take a loan.

Significantly, in the same period per capita, spending on prisons increased by 126 percent (Newfield 2008: 266). Between the 1970s and 1990s there was a 400 percent increase in charges in tuition, room, and board in U.S. universities and tuition costs have grown at about ten times the rate of family income (ibid.). What these instances highlight is not just the state's retreat from direct funding of higher education but also a calculated initiative to enable private companies to capture and profit from tax-funded student loans.

The other tendency is also alarming. Funds now are allocated to those institutions that performed best in what has become a fetishistic quest for ever-higher ratings. That creates the 'rankings arms-race.' It has very little or nothing to do with the quality of teaching of students in a particular university. On the contrary, the curriculums were "streamlined" and "ideologically charged courses" such as neoclassical economics are now required for graduation even in STEM specialties.

In the neoliberal university professors are now under the iron heel of management and various metrics were invented to measure the "quality of teaching." Most of them are very perverted, or can be perverted as when a measurement becomes a target teachers start to focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' rather than on their wider competencies, professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume).

Administration bloat and academic decline is another prominent feature of the neoliberal university. University presidents now view themselves as CEO and want similar salaries. The same is true for the growing staff of university administrators. The recruitment of administrators has far outpaced the growth in the number of faculty – or even students. Meanwhile, universities claim to be struggling with budget crises that force to reduce permanent academic posts, and widely use underpaid and overworked adjunct staff – the 'precariat' paid just a couple of thousand dollars per course and often existing on the edge of poverty, or in real poverty.

Money now is the key objective and the mission changed from cultural to "for profit" business including vast expenses on advancement of the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself. Ability to get grants is now an important criteria of getting the tenure.

[Feb 12, 2019] The Neoliberal University

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism has transformed education from a social good into a production process where the final product is a reserve army of workers for the information economy. What David Harvey calls the "state-finance nexus" pushes universities to play the part by withholding state funds until they expand their enrollment and increase the number of college graduates entering the workforce.[13] In 2012, the Obama Administration identified increasing the number of undergraduate STEM degrees by one million over the next decade as a 'Cross-Agency Priority Goal' on the recommendation of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). ..."
"... The present relationship between the university and the state flows from the dynamics of financialization. As financialization transforms the role of the United States in the global economy, it appropriates higher education to suit the needs of finance capital. Compared to the ever-expanding administrative apparatus responsible for managing contracts and investments, programs outside of STEM and business fields are considered superfluous. Humanities programs are often downsized and tenure tracks closed to push professors into permanent part-time employment arrangements.[15] Meanwhile, schools like Northeastern and MIT are surrounded by high-tech and business firms that rely on students and research facilities for cheap labor and productive capital. ..."
"... The position of financial and credit institutions as the financiers of America's productive infrastructure has far-reaching consequences for social institutions like universities with the potential to absorb surplus capital in the form of credit or produce the 21st-century 'information' workforce. Students, and faculty at universities like Northeastern will struggle against market pressures on universities to attract outside investors while downsizing education for as long as the U.S. economy is dominated by finance. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.nupoliticalreview.com

Last month at Northeastern University, the adjunct union reached a tentative agreement with the university administration to avert a planned walkout after more than a year of unsuccessful negotiations. Those familiar with the adjunct campaign know that adjunct professors are contingent workers who comprise more than half of the teaching staff at Northeastern and are paid a couple thousand dollars for each class that they teach.[1] From a budgetary standpoint, contingent workers are economical because they are easily replaced and therefore can be paid less. Still, at a school like Northeastern University with an operating budget of more than $2.2 billion, it is hard to argue that more than half of all professors need to earn poverty wages for the school to remain profitable.[2]

In today's neoliberal landscape -- a term which refers to the coordinated effort by capital and financial interests after the 1980s to privatize public institutions and deregulate markets -- Northeastern is not unusual in its treatment of adjunct professors. The neoliberal university model of high tuitions, bloated administrative departments, and upscale student facilities -- along with assaults on the job security and pay of professors -- is the new norm. It is the image of a thoroughly financialized economy that has transformed the relationship between universities and the state.

From the 19th century through the 1970s, the relationship between universities and the state remained constant. There was an informal arrangement of mutual independence: Academics operated autonomously with state funding on the understanding that they were willing to pursue research in which the state had an interest, such as medicine or space exploration.[3] Underlying this arrangement was the assumption that as a social good, education should drive public research and development.

The story of how universities became neoliberalized begins with the economic crisis of the 1970s and the subsequent free-market discourse that invoked capitalism's insatiable need for economic growth in order to equate the interests of working people with the interests of financiers.

In the three decades after World War II, the U.S. established economic hegemony over the global capitalist world. The Fordist compromise between strong manufacturers and a strong, suburbanizing working class yielded unprecedented wage growth.[4] However, the Fordist model could not last forever. As a general rule, whenever compound economic growth falls below three percent, people begin to get scared . In order to sustain three percent compound growth, there must be no barriers to the continuous expansion and reinvestment of capital.

The suburbanization of postwar America did sustain high demand for American-made automobiles and home products, but reinvestment in manufacturing eventually became difficult for capital because a widely-unionized and militant working class created a labor shortage (i.e. near-full employment) which drove up wages and hurt profitability.[5][6] To the extent that productivity could be improved by technological innovations, organized labor insisted on "productivity agreements" that ensured that machines would not be used to undermine wages or benefits. To make matters worse for U.S. manufacturers, monopolies like the Big Three auto companies were broken by foreign imports from a newly rebuilt Europe and Japan.[7]

In The Grundrisse , Karl Marx remarked that "every limit [to capital accumulation] appears as a barrier to be overcome."[8] For Marx, sustained capital accumulation requires an "industrial reserve army" to keep the cost of labor (i.e. wages) from impeding profitability. To restore profits, American capital had to discipline labor by drawing from the global working population. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 addressed U.S. labor scarcity by abolishing immigration quotas based on nationality so that cheap labor would flood the market and drive down wages.[9] However, it proved more effective for manufacturing capital to simply relocate to countries with cheaper labor, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s capital did just that -- first to South Korea and Thailand, and then to China as wages in those countries became too high.[10]

"Globalization" entailed removing barriers to international capital relocation such as tariffs and quotas in order to construct a global market where liquid money capital could flow internationally to wherever it yielded the most profits. Of course, wage suppression eventually lowers consumer demand. The neoliberal solution was for financial institutions to sustain middle-class purchasing power through credit. In The Enigma of Capital , David Harvey writes that "the demand problem was temporarily bridged with respect to housing by debt-financing the developers as well as the buyers. The financial institutions collectively controlled both the supply of, and demand for, housing!"[11]

The point of this history though, is that the financialization of the American economy, through which financial markets came to dominate other forms of industrial and agricultural capital, served as the backdrop for the transformation of higher education into what it is today. Neoliberal ideology reframed the social value of higher education as a tool for building the next workforce to serve the new "information economy" -- a term that emerged in the midst of globalization to describe the role of U.S. suburban professionals in the global economy. Simultaneously, finance capital repurposed universities as points of capital accumulation and investment.

The discourse around the information economy sought to rationalize the offshoring of manufacturing from the U.S. The idea was that due to globalization, America has reached a stage of development where its participation in the global economy is as a white-collar work force, specializing in technology and the spread of information.[12] In this telling, there is nothing to critique about the deindustrialization of the American economy because it was inevitable. It was then simple to realign the social goals of universities with the economic goals of Wall Street because the state repression of radical civil rights movements on the Left and the emergent free-market discourse of the Right formed a widespread perception of the state as inherently problematic . State research and development at universities was easily dismissed as inefficient, which cleared space for a neoliberal redefinition of higher education.

Neoliberalism has transformed education from a social good into a production process where the final product is a reserve army of workers for the information economy. What David Harvey calls the "state-finance nexus" pushes universities to play the part by withholding state funds until they expand their enrollment and increase the number of college graduates entering the workforce.[13] In 2012, the Obama Administration identified increasing the number of undergraduate STEM degrees by one million over the next decade as a 'Cross-Agency Priority Goal' on the recommendation of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

At the same time that neoliberalism transforms education into a production process for high-tech workers, it transforms the university itself into a site for surplus capital absorption through the construction of new labs, facilities, and houses to draw wealthy students and faculty capable of attracting federal grants. In December 2015, Northeastern filed a letter of intent with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to propose building a residence hall for approximately 800 students. The Boston Globe reported that the project is currently under review by American Campus Communities, the largest developer of private student housing in the U.S. To an economizing university administrator, private developers are very appealing because they assume the debt generated by construction projects. The circular process whereby a large university endowment comprised of financial assets is used to contract a debt-financed independent developer reveals how neoliberalism integrates universities into the circulatory system of capital as circuits of accumulation and investment.[14]

The present relationship between the university and the state flows from the dynamics of financialization. As financialization transforms the role of the United States in the global economy, it appropriates higher education to suit the needs of finance capital. Compared to the ever-expanding administrative apparatus responsible for managing contracts and investments, programs outside of STEM and business fields are considered superfluous. Humanities programs are often downsized and tenure tracks closed to push professors into permanent part-time employment arrangements.[15] Meanwhile, schools like Northeastern and MIT are surrounded by high-tech and business firms that rely on students and research facilities for cheap labor and productive capital.

The position of financial and credit institutions as the financiers of America's productive infrastructure has far-reaching consequences for social institutions like universities with the potential to absorb surplus capital in the form of credit or produce the 21st-century 'information' workforce. Students, and faculty at universities like Northeastern will struggle against market pressures on universities to attract outside investors while downsizing education for as long as the U.S. economy is dominated by finance.

[Feb 12, 2019] Bill and Melinda Gates 2019 annual letter dedicated to Paul Allen - Business Insider

Feb 12, 2019 | www.businessinsider.com

8. Textbooks are becoming obsolete

Bill said that the thing killing off the textbook is very same invention which helped make his fortune: Software.

"When I told you about this type of software in previous letters, it was mostly speculative. But now I can report that these tools have been adopted in thousands of U.S. classrooms from kindergarten through high school. Zearn, i-Ready, and LearnZillion are examples of digital curricula used by students and teachers throughout the US," he writes.

[Feb 12, 2019] The neoliberal university is making us sick Who's to blame by Jodie-Lee Trembath

Feb 12, 2019 | thefamiliarstrange.com

June 14, 2018

Trigger warning: This post contains the discussion of depression and other mental health issues, and suicide. If you or anyone you know needs help or support for a mental health concern, please don't suffer in silence. Many countries have confidential phone helplines (in Australia you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, for example); this organisation provides worldwide support, while this website compiles a number of helpline sites from around the world.

I am writing today from a place of anger; from a rage that sits, simmering on the surface of a deep well of sadness. I didn't know Dr. Malcolm Anderson, the senior accountancy lecturer from Cardiff University whose death, after falling from the roof of his university building, was last week ruled a suicide . I obviously have no way to know the complexity of his feelings or what sequence of events led up to his decision to end his own life. However, according to the results of an inquest, we can know what Dr. Anderson wanted his university to understand about his death – that it was, at least in part, because of the pressures of his academic work.

The media reports that Dr. Anderson had recently been appointed to Deputy Head of his department, significantly increasing his administrative load. Nonetheless, he was still teaching 418 students and needed to mark their work within a 20-day turnaround. To meet that deadline, he would have needed to work approximately 9 hours a day without food or toilet breaks, for 20 days straight, and not do ANY other kind of work during that time (such as the admin that comes with being a Deputy Head). Practically impossible, given he was also a human being, with a home life, and physical needs like food, in addition to work responsibilities.

His wife, Diane, has been quoted saying that Dr. Anderson worked very long hours and often took marking to family events. She has said that although he was a passionate educator who won teaching awards every year, he had been showing signs of stress and had spoken to his managers about his difficulty meeting deadlines. A colleague told the inquest that he was given the same response each time he asked for help, and staffing cuts had continued.

A Marked Problem

... ... ...

And look, I get it. To someone outside the academy, I'm sure the perception remains that academics sit in leather armchairs, gazing out the gilded windows of our ivory towers, thinking all day.

That has not been my experience, nor that of anyone I know.

My colleagues and peers have, however , experienced levels of anxiety and depression that are six times higher than experienced in the general population (Evans et al. 2018). They report higher levels of workaholism , the kind that has a negative and unwanted effect on relationships with loved ones (Torp et al. 2018). The picture is often even bleaker for women , people of colour , and other non-White, non-middle-class, non-males. So whether you think academics are 'delicate woeful souls' or not, it's difficult to deny that there is a real problem to be tackled here.

Obviously, marking load is only one issue amongst many faced in universities the world over. But it's not bad as an illustration, partly because it's quantifiable . It's somewhat ironic that the neoliberal metrics that we rail against, the audit culture that causes these kinds of examples to happen, could also help us describe to others why they are a problem for us. So quantifiability brings us to neoliberalism. How did neoliberalism become so pervasive that it's almost impossible to imagine how the world could look different?

Neoliberalism, then and now

These last two weeks I've been working out of the Stockholm Centre for Organisational Research in Sweden, which, by coincidence, is where Professor Cris Shore , anthropologist of policy and the guest on our next podcast episode is currently based. I was chatting to him the other day about the interview we recorded last December, which centres around many of the ideas I'm discussing in this blog post. I had to admit, I hadn't realised until we did that interview how angry many people still feel towards the Thatcher government for introducing neoliberal ideologies and practices into the public sector. Despite doing a Ph.D. about modern university life, it hadn't fully registered for me that events of the past , specifically the histories of politics and economics in 'the West', were such active players in the theatre of higher education's present .

To understand today's neoliberal universities, let's explore a little history in the UK and the US, two of the biggest influencers in the global higher education sector today. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher rose to power on a platform of reviving the stagnant British economy by introducing market-style competition into the public sector. This way, she claimed, she was ensuring, that "the state's power [was] reduced and the power of the people, enhanced" (Edwards, 2017) . For universities, this meant increased "accountability" and quality assurance measures that would drag universities out of their complacency .

Meanwhile, in the US, Ronald Reagan was also arriving at neoliberalism via a different path. Americans historically don't trust central government (Roberts, 2007) , so in 1981, Reagan introduced tax cuts (especially for the rich) for the first time in American history, therefore "protecting" the American people from the rapacious spending habits of the state (Prasad, 2012) . In American universities, this manifested over the next 30 years in reduced public spending on higher education, transferring the costs for tuition to student-consumers, and encouraging partnerships with industry and endorsements from philanthropists (often with agendas) to cover research costs (Shumway, 2017) .

Then in the 90s, there was a moral panic about the public sector caused by scandals such as " the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995 , the failures of the medical profession revealed by investigations into the serial murders by Dr Harold Shipman , and the numerous cases of child abuse that have plagued the Catholic Church " (Shore, 2008) . Frankly, it seems pretty understandable that people were looking for greater transparency, a bit of accountability, and a whole lot less of, "leave it to the professionals, they seem like alright blokes, don't they?" from their public sector.

However, an ideology that had originally looked so promising to the public began, over time, to create a new set of problems. As Cris Shore points out in his seminal 2008 article, ' Audit culture and Illiberal governance: Universities and the politics of accountability ':

The official rationale for [neoliberal ideologies and actions] appears benign and incontestable: to improve efficiency and transparency and to make these institutions more accountable to the taxpayer and public (and no reasonable person could seriously challenge such commonsensical and progressive objectives). The problem, however, is that audit confuses 'accountability' with 'accountancy' so that 'being answerable to the public' is recast in terms of measures of productivity, 'economic efficiency' and delivering 'value for money' (VFM).

The trouble with neoliberalism and its offshoot, New Public Management , is that much like the Newspeak of Orwell's 1984 , the words that were used to sell it – quality, accountability, transparency etc. – in practice, mean the opposite of what they appear to mean. For example, as Chris Lorenz (2012) points out in an article that convincingly compares New Public Management in universities to the outcomes of a Communist regime , there has been no evidence, statistical or otherwise, that increasing 'quality control measures' in universities has actually improved quality in universities by any objective criteria – and often just the opposite.

What has "improved" in universities because of neoliberal practices is efficiency, often through measures like restructures and reviews. Again, taking steps to save money and time sounds like a positive. However, the problem with 'efficiency' is that, unlike its counterpart 'effectiveness' (the ability to bring about a specific effect), 'efficiency' has no end point – it is a goal unto itself. As Lorenz phrases it, "efficient, therefore, is never efficient enough," (2012, p. 607).

Bringing this back, then, to issues of mental health and increasing workloads on campus. Liz Morrish of Academic Irregularities pointed out last week that when tragedies such as the death of Malcolm Anderson occur in universities, the most common response is for said university to announce a review. As anticipated, two days after the results of Dr. Anderson's inquest were first reported in the media, Cardiff University announced that they would be reviewing the 'support, information, advice and specialist counselling' available to all staff, but also urged any academic "who has any concerns regarding workload, to raise them with their line manager, in the first instance, so all available advice and support can be offered."

This platitude has been taken by many online as exactly that – a platitude. Several commenters on Twitter have pointed out that providing more mental health support doesn't actually reduce workload, while others have noted that there has been no discussion by Cardiff U of attempting to fix the underlying cause. I agree with them, and it's part of the reason I'm so angry. Malcolm Anderson could easily be any one of us.

Yet, I have to admit, I'd also hate to be part of the executive team at Cardiff University right now. Can you imagine the anguish of knowing that someone had taken their life, and held you directly responsible? You'd have to feel so helpless, so powerless in the shadow of neoliberal forces that permeate every last aspect of the global higher education sector. I don't know, I haven't been a Vice Chancellor, maybe you wouldn't have to feel that way. But it's easy to imagine how one could.

The path to neoliberal hell is paved with good intentions

So, what's the answer? I wish I knew. What I do know is that anthropological thinking has a lot to offer in the exploration of big immutable mobiles 2 like neoliberalism. As Sherry Ortner asks in her 2016 article " Dark anthropology and its others: Theory since the eighties ", who better to question the power structures inherent in 'dark' topics such as neoliberalisation or colonialism than anthropologists? Yet, she urges an approach that also acknowledges the possibility of goodness in the world, quoting from the opening to Michael Lambek's Ordinary Ethics as rationale:

Ethnographers commonly find that the people they encounter are trying to do what they consider right or good, are being evaluated according to criteria of what is right and good, or are in some debate about what constitutes the human good. Yet anthropological theory tends to overlook all this in favor of analyses that emphasize structure, power, and interest. (Lambeck, 2010, p. 1)

And this is where I have to deviate from the majority of the neoliberal university critiques I've read. In these pieces, it's all too common to read criticisms of academic managers, or administrators, or university 'service providers' as if they are The Reason that neoliberal ideologies get enacted in university contexts. But usually, they're just human beings too, also subject to KPIs and managerial demands and neoliberal ideologies.

Having worked at different times as an educator, a researcher, and a communications manager in various universities for more than 10 years, and now having conducted fieldwork at a university for my PhD, I have had the chance to observe and conduct research on at least nine different university campuses, in at least five countries. Based on those experiences, I am in complete agreement with Lambek: the majority 3 of non-academics that I have encountered, in every type of department, and at every level of universities from Level 1 administrative officers to Presidents and Vice Chancellors, "are trying to do what they consider right or good" (2010, p. 1).

They demonstrate, both through words and their actions, their beliefs that education is valuable, and that students are important as human beings, not just as cash cows. They are often working long hours themselves, trying to keep up with the demands that neoliberal university life is placing on them. I just can't get on board with the idea that they are, universally, the villains of the neoliberal horror story.

It seems much more likely, to me, that neoliberal ideologies continue to get enacted and reinforced by academic managers because these practices have become the norm. Throughout and because of the historical growth pattern neoliberalism has experienced, these ideologies have put down roots, and these roots have become so entangled with other aspects of university life as to be inseparable. For many working-aged people, neoliberalism is the water we were born swimming in. Even presented with its inadequacies, it's difficult to imagine an alternative.

What I can agree with the critics about, however, is that non-academics often don't understand or appreciate – or perhaps remember (if they had worked in that capacity in the past) – the demands of being an academic, just like academics don't tend to understand or appreciate the demands that non-academics within the university are facing.

In their recently published book Death of the Public University (2017), Susan Wright and Cris Shore refer to the idea of 'Faculty Land' – a place synonymous with 'La La Land', where non-academic employees of universities think academics live. This really resonates with what I saw on fieldwork at an international university in Vietnam, but not only from administrators – academics too.

As I've said in a previous post , all the actors in universities are trying to abrogate responsibility sideways or upwards until they can only blame 'the neoliberal agenda', and once they get there, all they can see is a towering, monolithic idea , and it becomes like trying to have a fist fight with a cloud. Most people don't ever get to that point though, because the world feels more controllable if we believe that there is another human to blame .

The thing is though, blaming others almost never works . It doesn't make things better, it just creates a greater divide between groups, encourages isolationism and othering, and decreases the likelihood that either side will ever want to work together to fix the problem.

Dr Anderson's tragic death, and the similarly tragic statistics that tell us that the collective mental health of our academics is in crisis, should be a wake up call to all of us who work or study in universities, in any capacity. Whether it will be remains to be seen.

Again: If you or anyone you know needs help or support for a mental health concern, please don't suffer in silence . Sometimes talking about things with an objective outsider can help.

Yes, I know, this is a structural problem and we shouldn't have to take care of it as individuals (see Grace Krause's moving poem about this here ). But in the meantime, while we work on that, please seek help if you need it .

[Feb 12, 2019] Death of the Public University Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy (Higher Education

Notable quotes:
"... Series editors: ..."
"... CRIS SHORE AND SUSAN WRIGHT ..."
"... 1. State Disinvestment in Universities – or Risk-free Profits for Private Providers? ..."
"... 2. New Regimes for Promoting Competitiveness ..."
"... 3. Rise of Audit Culture: Performance and Output Measures ..."
"... When a measurement becomes a target, institutional environments are restructured so that they focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' to funders and governors rather than on their wider professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume). ..."
"... 4. Administrative Bloat, Academic Decline ..."
"... The Fall of the Faculty ..."
"... One of the weaknesses in these statistics is that they fail to distinguish between administrative staff who support the teaching and research and those who do not. ..."
"... From the perspective of many university managers and human resources (HR) departments, academics are increasingly portrayed as a reluctant, unruly and undisciplined workforce that needs to be incentivized or cajoled to meet management's targeted outputs and performance indicators. ..."
"... 5. Institutional Capture: the Power of the 'Administeriat' ..."
"... Whereas in the past the main cleavage in universities was between the arts and the sciences, or what C.P. Snow (1956) famously termed 'the two cultures', today the main division is between academics and managers. ..."
"... Professor of Critical Management Studies Rebecca Boden compares the way that university managers expand their increasingly onerous regulations to the way that 'cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and how the young cuckoos then evict the nest-builders' offspring' (cited in Havergal 2015). This cuckoo-in-the-nest metaphor might seem somewhat overblown, but it highlights the important fact that managers and administrators have usurped power in what were formerly more collegial, self-governing institutions ..."
"... Today, rather than being treated as core members of a professional community, academics are constantly being told by managers and senior administrators what 'the university' expects of them, as if they were somehow peripheral or subordinate to 'the university'. ..."
"... 6. New Income Streams and the Rise of the 'Entrepreneurial University' ..."
"... Equally important has been the raising of student tuition fees and the relentless drive to recruit more high-fee-paying international students ..."
"... The relentless pursuit of these new income streams has had a transformative effect on universities. Almost two decades ago Marginson and Considine (2000) coined the term the 'enterprise university' to describe the model in which: the economic and academic dimensions are both subordinated to something else. Money is a key objective, but it is also the means to a more fundamental mission: to advance the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself (ibid. 2000: 5). ..."
"... Times Higher Education ..."
"... 7. Higher Education as Private Investment Versus Public Good ..."
"... most students and their families can only afford to pay for the costs of their higher education through the kinds of debt-financing that governments across the world now condemn as reckless and inappropriate for themselves. ..."
"... Yet students and parents are encouraged to take out what is effectively a 'subprime loan', in the gamble that it will eventually pay off by enhancing their future job prospects and earning power: it is a 'hedge against their future security' (Vernon 2008). In other words, higher education is now being modelled on the same types of financial speculation that produced the 2010 global financial crisis. ..."
"... The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge ..."
"... The University in Ruins ..."
"... But on the other hand, universities and their staff have been subjected to an almost continuous process of reforms and restructurings designed both to recast higher education institutions as transnational business corporations and to open up the sector to more private-sector involvement. ..."
"... One of the greatest threats to the university today lies in the 'unbundling' of its various research, teaching and degree-awarding functions into separate, profit-making activities that can then be outsourced and privatized. ..."
"... Universities no longer hold a monopoly over knowledge production and distribution and face growing competition from the emergence of new universities and from 'entirely new models of university' that Pearson itself has been spearheading to exploit the new environment of globalization and the digital revolution (ibid. 2013: 9–21). ..."
"... London Metropolitan's near-bankruptcy opened the possibility of a second method of privatization; a 'fire sale' of a university and its prized degree-awarding powers, to one of the many U.S. for profit education providers that had been seeking entry into the market ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Higher Education in Critical Perspective: Practices and Policies

Series editors: Susan Wright, Aarhus University; Penny Welch, Wolverhampton University

INTRODUCTION Privatizing the Public University: Key Trends, Countertrends and Alternatives

CRIS SHORE AND SUSAN WRIGHT

Since the 1980s, public universities have undergone a seemingly unending series of reforms designed to make them more responsive both to markets and to government priorities. Initially, the aim behind these reforms was to render universities more economic, efficient and effective. However, by the 1990s, prompted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD 1998) and other international agencies, many national governments adopted the idea that the future lay in a 'global knowledge economy'. To these ends, they implemented policies to repurpose higher education as the engine for producing the knowledge, skills and graduates to generate the intellectual property and innovative products that would make their countries more globally competitive.

These reforms were premised on neoliberal ideas about turning universities into autonomous and entrepreneurial 'knowledge organizations' by promoting competition, opening them up to private investors, making educational services contribute to economic competitiveness, and enabling individuals to maximize their skills in global labour markets.

These policy narratives position universities as static entities within an all-encompassing market economy, but alternatively, the university can be seen as a dynamic and fluid set of relations within a wider 'ecology' of diverse interests and organizations (Hansen this volume; Wright 2016). The boundaries of the university are constantly being renegotiated as its core values and distinctive purpose rub up against those predatory market forces, or what Slaughter and Leslie (1997) term 'academic capitalism'. Under pressure to produce 'excellence', quality research and innovative teaching, improve world rankings, forge business links and attract elite, fee-paying students, many universities struggle to maintain their traditional mandate to be 'inclusive', foster social cohesion, improve social mobility and challenge received wisdom – let alone improve the poor records on gender, diversity and equality.

This book examines how public universities engage with these dilemmas and the implications for the future of the public university as an ideal and set of institutional practices. The book has arisen from a four-year programme of knowledge exchange between three research groups in Europe and the Asia Pacific, which focused on the future of public universities in contexts of globalization and regionalization. 1 The groups were based in the U.K. and Denmark, chosen as European countries whose public universities have quite different histories and current reform policies, and New Zealand, as a country at the forefront of developing 'entrepreneurial' public universities, and with networks to other university researchers in Australia and Asia. Through a series of six workshops, four conferences and over thirty individual exchange visits, the project developed an extended discussion between the three groups of researchers. This enabled us to generate a new approach and methodology for analysing the challenges facing public universities. As a result, this book asks:

Mapping the Major Trends

Nowhere are the above trends more evident than in the English-speaking universities, particularly in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. These countries have been a laboratory for testing out a new model of the neoliberal entrepreneurial university. At least seven key features characterize these reforms.

1. State Disinvestment in Universities – or Risk-free Profits for Private Providers?

The first feature is a progressive withdrawal of government support for higher education. In the U.K., for example, the Dearing Report (1997) showed that during the previous twenty years, a period of massive university expansion, state funding per student had declined by 40 percent. While Tony Blair's New Labour government of 1997 proclaimed 'education, education, education' as its key priority, it did so by introducing cost-sharing, in the form of student tuition fees, as a way to reduce the annual deficit in the funding of university teaching.

In 2010, the British Conservative–Liberal government under David Cameron went even further by removing all state funding for teaching except in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Instead, students were now to pay fees of £9,000 per annum (a three-fold increase) for which state-funded loans were made available. From the government's perspective, the genius of this shifting of state funding from teaching to loans was that private for-profit education providers could now access taxpayers' money – and this transfer of funds was further justified ideologically as providing competition and creating a 'level playing field' between public and private education providers.

Other countries have also decided to withdraw state funding for higher education. For example, in September 2015, Japan's education minister Hakobyan Shimomura wrote to all of the country's eighty-six national universities calling on them to 'take active steps to abolish [social science and humanities] organizations or to convert them to serve areas that better meet society's needs' (Grove 2015b).

These measures echo the wider global trend set by advocates of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School's brand of neoliberal economics. In the 1980s, the 'Chicago boys' carried out their most radical experiments in Chile, removing the state's direct grants to universities, funding teaching only through students' tuition fees, and making government loans available to students so that they could pay those fees (Bekhradnia 2015).

In the United States, the same policies have been adopted. For example, in California between 1984 and 2004, state spending per capita on higher education declined by 12 percent.

Significantly, in the same period per capita spending on prisons increased by 126 percent (Newfield 2008: 266). Between the 1970s and 1990s there was a 400 percent increase in charges in tuition, room and board in U.S. universities and tuition costs have grown at about ten times the rate of family income (ibid.). What these instances highlight is not just the state's retreat from direct

funding of higher education but also a calculated initiative to enable private companies to capture and profit from tax-funded student loans.

2. New Regimes for Promoting Competitiveness

A second major trend that has reshaped higher education has been the creation of funding and assessment regimes designed to increase productivity and competition between universities, both nationally and globally. What began in the 1980s as an exercise to assure the 'quality' of research in British universities had morphed, by the end of the 1990s, into ever-more invasive systems for ranking institutions, disciplines, departments, and even individuals.

The results were used to allocate funds to those institutions that performed best in what has become a fetishistic quest for ever-higher ratings and 'world class' status, or what Hazelkorn (2008: 209) has termed the 'rankings arms-race'.

Where some rankings are focused on research performance (such as the U.K.'s Research Excellence Framework, the Excellence in Research for Australia, and New Zealand's Performance Based Research Framework), others rank whole institutions (the Shanghai Jiao Tong Index, the QS and THE World University Rankings). Significantly, these ranking systems have especially negative impacts on minority groups and women (see Blackmore, Curtis, Grant and Lucas, this volume). This obsession with auditing and measuring performance also includes systems for evaluating teaching quality, surveying student satisfaction and measuring student engagement. 2

Even though vice chancellors and university managers ridicule ranking methodologies, they have learned to their cost to take them extremely seriously, as the financial viability of a university increasingly hinges on the reputational effects of these measures of performance (Sauder and Espeland 2009; Wright 2012).

3. Rise of Audit Culture: Performance and Output Measures

Third, running alongside the growth of these ranking systems has been the proliferation of performance and output measurements and indicators designed to foster transparency, efficiency and 'value for money'. This is part of a wider phenomenon called 'audit culture' and its growing presence throughout the public and private sectors, including higher education (Shore and Wright 2015; Strathern 2000). Driven by financial imperatives and the rhetoric of 'value for money' – and justified by a political discourse about the virtues of transparency and accountability – these technologies have been particularly instrumental

in promoting the logics of risk management, financialization and managerialism (see Dale, and Lewis and Shore, this volume). In Denmark, time has become a key metric and instrument for the efficient throughput of students and the accountability of institutions, but as Nielsen and Sarauw (this volume) show, these measures affect the very nature of education. Audits do not simply or passively measure performance; they actively reshape the institutions into which they are introduced (Power 1997; Shore and Wright 2015). When a measurement becomes a target, institutional environments are restructured so that they focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' to funders and governors rather than on their wider professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume).

4. Administrative Bloat, Academic Decline

The fourth key development during this period has been the extraordinary growth in the number and status of university managers and administrators. For the first time in history, as figures from the U.K.'s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show, support staff now outnumber academic staff at 71 percent of higher education institutions (Jump 2015). In Denmark, there has been an equally large increase in the number of administrators and the increased percentage of annual expenditure on administrators in just five years alone was equivalent to 746 new lectureships (Wright and Boden 2010). The figures from the U.S. are even more dramatic. Federal figures for the period 1987 to 2011/2012 show that the number of college and university administrators and professional employees has more than doubled in the last twenty-five years; an increase of 517,636 people – or an average of eight-seven new administrators every working day (Marcus 2014). The recruitment of administrators has far outpaced the growth in the number of faculty – or even students. Meanwhile, universities claim to be struggling with budget crises that force them to reduce permanent academic posts, and the temporarily employed teaching assistants – the 'precariat' – have undergone a massive increase in numbers.

This astonishing increase in management and administration is partly due to the pressures universities now face to produce data and statistics for harvesting by the ranking industries. Universities themselves often attribute the growth of their administrative and technical units to the enormous rise in government regulations. As the President of the American Association of University Administrators recently explained, 'there are "thousands" of regulations governing the distribution of

financial aid alone' and every university that is accredited probably has at least one person dedicated to that. However, the proliferation of administrators and managers has also been fuelled by the universities themselves, as they have taken on new functions and pursued new income streams. This is particularly evident in the U.S.:

Since 1987, universities have also started or expanded departments devoted to marketing, diversity, disability, sustainability, security, environmental health, recruiting, technology and fundraising, and added new majors and graduate and athletics programs, satellite campuses, and conference centers (Marcus 2014).

These trends are captured with exceptional clarity in Benjamin Ginsberg's book, The Fall of the Faculty (2011a). Ginsberg's thesis is that the new professional managers 'make administration their life's work', to the detriment of the universities' core functions. They have little or no faculty experience and promoting teaching and research is less important than expanding their own administrative domains: 'under their supervision, the means have become the end' (ibid.: 2). Every year, writes Ginsberg: hosts of administrators and staffers are added to college and university payrolls, even as schools claim to be battling budget crises that are forcing them to reduce the size of their full-time faculties. As a result, universities are filled with armies of functionaries -- vice presidents, associate vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, provosts, associate provosts, vice provosts, assistant provosts, deans, deanlets, deanlings, each commanding staffers and assistants -- who, more and more, direct the operations of every school. Backed by their administrative legions, university presidents and other senior administrators have been able, at most schools, to dispense with faculty involvement in campus management and, thereby to reduce the faculty's influence in university affairs (Ginsberg 2011a: 2).

One of the weaknesses in these statistics is that they fail to distinguish between administrative staff who support the teaching and research and those who do not. Support staff are crucial to enabling academics to carry out effective research, teaching and scholarship – the traditional mission of the university. Likewise, universities need managers who support academics in fulfilling these key functions of the university, but the statistics are rarely sufficiently refined to make these distinctions. Interestingly, many universities have dropped the term 'support staff' in favour of terms like 'senior administrators' and

'professional staff'. This move reflects the way that many university managers now see their role – which is no longer to provide support for academics but, rather, to manage them as 'human capital' and a resource. From the perspective of many university managers and human resources (HR) departments, academics are increasingly portrayed as a reluctant, unruly and undisciplined workforce that needs to be incentivized or cajoled to meet management's targeted outputs and performance indicators.

5. Institutional Capture: the Power of the 'Administeriat'

The budgetary reallocation from academic to administrative salaries is linked to a fifth major trend: the rise of the 'administeriat' as a new governing class and the corresponding shift in power relations within the university. Whereas in the past the main cleavage in universities was between the arts and the sciences, or what C.P. Snow (1956) famously termed 'the two cultures', today the main division is between academics and managers.

Collini (2013) attributes this shift in power to the way all university activities are now reduced to a common managerial metric. As he puts it, the 'terms that suit [managers'] activities are the terms that have triumphed'. Scholars now spend increasing amounts of their working day accounting for their activities in the 'misleading' and 'alienating' language and categories of managers. This 'squeezing out' of the true use-value of scholarly labour accounts for the 'pervasive sense of malaise, stress and disenchantment within British universities' (Collini 2013).

Professor of Critical Management Studies Rebecca Boden compares the way that university managers expand their increasingly onerous regulations to the way that 'cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and how the young cuckoos then evict the nest-builders' offspring' (cited in Havergal 2015). This cuckoo-in-the-nest metaphor might seem somewhat overblown, but it highlights the important fact that managers and administrators have usurped power in what were formerly more collegial, self-governing institutions . Yet many of these managers would not succeed as professionals in industry. Levin and Greenwood (2016) argue that, if universities were indeed business corporations, they would soon collapse, as their work organization currently violates nearly every one of the practices that characterize successful and dynamic high-tech areas and service industries. It is a short step from here to managers' appropriation of the identity of the university, with managers increasingly claiming not only to speak for the

university but to be the university (Ørberg 2007; Readings 1996; Shore and Taitz 2010). Today, rather than being treated as core members of a professional community, academics are constantly being told by managers and senior administrators what 'the university' expects of them, as if they were somehow peripheral or subordinate to 'the university'.

6. New Income Streams and the Rise of the 'Entrepreneurial University'

Faced with diminishing state funding and year-on-year cuts to national budgets for higher education, universities have been compelled to seek alternative income streams. This has entailed fostering more lucrative and entrepreneurial partnerships with industry; conducting commissioned research for businesses and government; partnering up with venture capitalists; commercializing the university's intellectual property through patents and licences; developing campus spin-out (and spin-in) companies; engaging proactively in city development programmes; and maximizing university assets including real estate, halls of residence, conference facilities and industrial parks. Equally important has been the raising of student tuition fees and the relentless drive to recruit more high-fee-paying international students . This project has given rise to the moniker 'export education', a sector of the economy and foreign-currency earner of growing importance to many countries. For example, in Canada, expenditures of international education students (tuition, accommodation, living costs and so on) infused $6.5 billion into the Canadian economy, surpassing exports of coniferous lumber (CAN$5.1 billion) and coal (CAN$6.1 billion) and gave employment to 83,00 Canadians (Roslyn Kunin and Associates, Inc 2009). Similarly, 'educational services' has become one of Australia's leading export industries such that, by 2008, it had become Australia's third-largest generator of export earnings with over AU$12.6 billion (Olds 2008). Along with Australia and Canada, the U.S.A., U.K. and New Zealand dominate the trade in international students (OECD 2011; chart 3.3) and the global demand for international student places is estimated to rise to 5.8 million by 2020 (Bohm et al. 2004).

The relentless pursuit of these new income streams has had a transformative effect on universities. Almost two decades ago Marginson and Considine (2000) coined the term the 'enterprise university' to describe the model in which: the economic and academic dimensions are both subordinated to something else. Money is a key objective, but it is also the means to a more fundamental mission: to advance the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself (ibid. 2000: 5).

However, it would be misleading to suggest that all these changes are simply a consequence of the pressures that governments have placed on universities to refashion themselves as pseudo-business corporations. Some of the more entrepreneurially hawkish university rectors, vice chancellors and presidents have enthusiastically welcomed these changes. Many have benefitted from the enormous executive salaries that have become the norm for university 'CEOs', and they undoubtedly enjoy their vaulted status and the opportunities this provides to mingle with world leaders at prestigious summits and receptions, airport VIP lounges and gala fundraising events. For example, the Times Higher Education annual review of vice chancellors' pay shows that average salary and benefits for university vice chancellors in the U.K. rose by between £8,397 and £240,794 in 2013–2014. This constituted a 3.6 percent rise, whereas in the same period, other university staff received an increase of only 1 per cent (Grove 2015a).

A study by economists Bachan and Reilly (2015), from Brighton Business School, found that in the past two decades, vice chancellors have seen their salaries soar by an eye-watering 59 percent (Henry 2015), but concluded that these increases could not be justified in terms of their university's performance criteria, such as widening participation or bringing in income such as grants for teaching and research and capital funding. Rather, the study found that the presence of other high-paid administrative staff was pushing up vice chancellors' pay. Both the U.K.'s House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee and the former Minister for Business and Employment, Vince Cable, have condemned this 'substantial upward drift' of salaries among vice chancellors. However, this annual ritual of chastisement has little perceivable impact.

7. Higher Education as Private Investment Versus Public Good

The seventh major trend is recasting university education as a private and positional investment rather than a public good. The idea that gained prominence in the post-war era was that higher education was a public investment that benefits the economy and society as well as contributing to personal growth and social mobility (Morgan this volume). In the 1990s, this idea – and the Keynesian model that sustained it – was displaced by the Chicago School's economic doctrine and the notion that individuals, not the state, should take responsibility

for repeatedly investing in their education and skills in order to sustain and improve their position in a fast-changing competitive and global labour market. This is what the OECD termed 'new human capital theory' (Henry et al. 2001), an idea that came to dominate government thinking about growth and investment. However, several recent studies challenge the premises upon which this model is based (Ashton, Lauder and Brown 2011; Wright and Ørberg this volume).

Arising from this new way of conceptualizing higher education as a private individual good and the reduction of government funding for the sector, has been the replacement of student grants with loans. This has been coupled with a massive hike in student fees – or what is euphemistically called 'cost-sharing' by ministers and World Bank experts. There are several bizarre paradoxes in this way of financing higher education. First, as McGettigan (2013) shows, government funding of student loans to pay fees is likely to cost the taxpayer more than the previous system of funding universities directly for their teaching. Second, as Vernon (2010) points out, most students and their families can only afford to pay for the costs of their higher education through the kinds of debt-financing that governments across the world now condemn as reckless and inappropriate for themselves. Third, whereas the scale of national debt in many countries has become so severe that it has required emergency austerity measures to combat, the level of household debt is even more perilously high, peaking to 110 percent of GDP in 2009 in the U.K. (Jones 2013).

This was before the government transferred even more of the costs of higher education to families and tripled university fees. These policies are justified on the grounds that degree-holders gain a lifetime premium in earning: hence the catchphrase 'learn to earn'. In New Zealand, however, which has the seventh-highest university fees among developed countries, the OECD survey found that the value of a university degree in terms of earning power is the lowest in the world. The net value of a New Zealand tertiary education for a man is just $63,000 over his working life (compared with $395,000 in the U.S.). For a woman, it is even lower: $38,000 over her working life (Edmunds 2012). As Brown and Hesketh (2004) also show for the U.S., graduates' imagined future incomes are largely illusory. Yet students and parents are encouraged to take out what is effectively a 'subprime loan', in the gamble that it will eventually pay off by enhancing their future job prospects and earning power: it is a 'hedge against their future security' (Vernon 2008). In other words, higher education is now being modelled on the same types of financial speculation that produced the 2010 global financial crisis.

The Death of the Public University?

Do the seven trends outlined above spell the end of the public university? From the earliest beginnings of these developments, there has been an extensive literature foretelling the demise of the university. According to historians Sheldon Rothblatt and Bjorn Wittrock (1993: 1), the university is the second-longest unbroken institution in Western civilization, after the Catholic Church. Today, however, the university – or what John Henry Newman termed the 'idea of a university' – does indeed look broken. Or is this an unduly pessimistic conclusion? Jean-Francoise Lyotard set the agenda with his provocative book The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge . Noting the collapse of the university's traditional authority in producing legitimate knowledge, he wrote:

The question (overt or implied) now asked by the professionalist student, the State, or institutions of higher education is no long 'Is it true?' but 'What use is it?' In the context of the mercantilization of knowledge, more often than not this question is equivalent to: 'Is it saleable?' And in the context of power-growth: 'Is it efficient?' (Lyotard 1994: 51).

Following this line of reasoning, Bill Readings' book The University in Ruins (1996), noted both the decline of the university as the cultural arm of nation building and the administrators' eclipse of the scholar-teacher as the central figure in the university story. As he gloomily argued, the grand narrative of the university 'centred on the production of a liberal reasoning subject is no longer readily available to us (1996: 9). If, for Readings, the university was in a state of 'ruin', for David Mills, writing in 2003, it is locked in a state of permanent 'scaffolding'; an ongoing and ambiguous project of both maintenance and repair, construction and demolition. Thus 'crumbling bastions of social and intellectual elitism' are combined 'with shiny new campuses espousing lifelong access to 24/7 education for all' (Mills 2003). These contradictory trends have both positive and negative dimensions for universities and the project of higher education. On the one hand, access to universities has been massively increased and technological innovations, including Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs), have allowed more distance learning. But on the other hand, universities and their staff have been subjected to an almost continuous process of reforms and restructurings designed both to recast higher education institutions as transnational business corporations and to open up the sector to more private-sector involvement.

The complaint often voiced by academics is that universities – like hospitals, libraries and other local community services – are undergoing a process of 'death by a thousand cuts'. But chronic underfunding of public institutions also reflects a wider and arguably more purposeful political agenda that aims to fundamentally transform the public sector. One of the greatest threats to the university today lies in the 'unbundling' of its various research, teaching and degree-awarding functions into separate, profit-making activities that can then be outsourced and privatized.

This agenda is articulated clearly in the recent report entitled 'An Avalanche is Coming: Higher Education and the Revolution Ahead' (Barber et al. 2013), published by the London-based think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research. Its principal authors are Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor for Pearson PLC (a British-owned multinational education provider and publisher) and two of Pearson's executive directors. The report's central argument, captured in its 'avalanche' metaphor, is that the current system of higher education is untenable and will be swept away unless bold and radical steps are taken:

The next 50 years could see a golden age for higher education, but only if all the players in the system, from students to governments, seize the initiative and act ambitiously. If not, an avalanche of change will sweep the system away. Deep, radical and urgent transformation is required in higher education. The biggest risk is that as a result of complacency, caution or anxiety the pace of change is too slow and the nature of change is too incremental. The models of higher education that marched triumphantly across the globe in the second half of the 20th century are broken (Barber, Donnelly and Rizvi 2013: 5).

A series of forces that lie 'under the surface' threatens to transform the landscape of higher education. These include: a changing world economy in which the centre of gravity is shifting towards the Asia-Pacific region; a global economy still struggling to recover from the trauma of the global financial crash of 2007–2008; and the escalating costs of higher education, which are vastly outstripping inflation and household income. These are coupled with the declining value of a degree and a technological shift that makes information ubiquitous. Universities no longer hold a monopoly over knowledge production and distribution and face growing competition from the emergence of new universities and from 'entirely new models of university' that Pearson itself has been spearheading to exploit the new environment of globalization and the digital revolution (ibid. 2013: 9–21).

The Barber report is part of a growing literature which seeks to 'remake the university' as an altogether different kind of institution (see Bokor 2012). Epochal and prophetic in tone and often claiming to be diagnostic and neutral, this literature proposes solutions that are anything but impartial or disinterested. Pearson, for example, makes no secret of its ambition to acquire a larger share of the higher education market and the rents that can be captured from its various activities. In 2015, Pearson sold off its major publishing interests to restructure the company around for-profit educational provision both in England and worldwide. Pearson also has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Writing in the preface to the Barber reports, former president of Harvard University Lawrence Summers underscores its central ambition when he writes that in this new 'phase of competitive intensity', all of the university's core functions can be 'unbundled and increasingly supplied, perhaps better, by providers that are not universities at all' (Barber 2013: 1). As John Morgan (this volume) shows, higher education has long been – and continues to be – a site of ideological struggle between competing interests and their vision of society.

Towards the Privatization of English Universities

In England, these processes have been taken to an extreme. Events since the Conservative–Liberal coalition took office in 2010 suggest a tipping point may have been reached in the transformation of the public university. Research by the legal firm Eversheds (2009) revealed that no legislation was needed for public universities to be transferred to the private for-profit sector, either by a management buyout or by outside interests buying-in (Wright 2015). London Metropolitan University was an early contender. It advertised a tender worth £74 million over five years for a partner who would create a for-profit 'special services vehicle' to deliver all the university's functions and services – everything except academic teaching and the Vice Chancellor's powers. Such 'special services vehicles' are a way for private investors to buy into the university's activities. This plan was only stymied because civil servants found major administrative failings, and the resulting fines and repayments pushed the university close to bankruptcy. But this 'special services vehicle' model has been implemented by other universities, including Falmouth and Exeter, where a private company runs not only catering, estate maintenance and services on the two campuses, but also its entire academic support services (libraries, IT, academic skills and disability support services) (University and College Union 2013).

London Metropolitan's near-bankruptcy opened the possibility of a second method of privatization; a 'fire sale' of a university and its prized degree-awarding powers, to one of the many U.S. for profit education providers that had been seeking entry into the market (Wright 2015). Privatization was only avoided thanks to the successful actions of its new Vice Chancellor. However, one university with a charter and degree-awarding powers has been transferred to the for-profit sector. In 2006, the Department of Business, Innovation and Science rushed through approval to give the College of Law in London degree-awarding powers and university status. This was just in time for its sale to finance company Montagu Private Equity. To maintain that university's charitable (tax-favourable) status and provide bursaries for students, the institution divided itself into a for-profit company with all the education and training activities, and an educational foundation. Montagu Private Equity made a leveraged buyout of the university: £177 million of the £200 million purchase price was borrowed and then put on the university's balance sheet, making it responsible for paying the debt and interest from its cash flow. A few years later, Montagu announced it was selling the university's buildings, in what was a clear case of asset stripping. The legal firm Eversheds recommended that other public universities follow this model and either sell stakes in their institution or be sold outright to financiers. As the University of Law example shows, such investors' prime interest is the short-term extraction of profit and liquidization of assets, rather the long-term future of higher education. Indeed, in June 2015, Montagu sold the University of Law to Aaron Etingen, founder and chief executive officer of Global University Systems (GUS), which owns a network of for-profit colleges worldwide (Morgan 2015).

[Feb 11, 2019] The current diploma mills are the result of the consecutive waves of university reforms since the 1990s to ground knowledge production on market principles. If university employees behave like ruthless rent-seekers, it is because they are forced to do so by the incentive structures that have been imposed on them by Johan Söderberg

Highly recommended!
IMHO there is no economics, only "political economy" and mathiness and "cult of measurement" especially with all those some fuzzy metrics currently in use, are just a part of the ideological smokescreen over "naked neoliberalism." Like shaman dances around the fire. Impressive and useless simultaneously.
In other words, many current practitioners of neoliberal economic theories (including but not limited to neoclassical economics) are practicing pseudoscience and are, directly or indirectly, bought and paid by financial oligarchy. That does not exclude possibility of some, occasional, useful insight.
Notable quotes:
"... The counterargument that I will elaborate here, is that neoliberalism and social democracy should be treated as two distinct and internally consistent thought and value systems. The integrity of the two ideologies must neither be reduced to practices/policies, which occasionally may overlap, nor to individual representatives, who, over the course of a lifetime, can move from one pole to the other. ..."
"... Robbins Report ..."
"... Underpinning this analysis is a bleak diagnosis of what purpose the university system and its employees serve. It is a diagnosis that Fuller, by his own admission, has gleaned from the Virginia-style neoliberal Gordon Tullock. ..."
"... The task assigned to the university, i.e. to certify bodies of trustworthy knowledge, is not called for by any intrinsic property of that knowledge (it being true, safe etc.), but is rather a form of rent-seeking. The rent is extracted from the university's state-induced monopoly over the access rights to future employment opportunities. Rent-seeking is the raison-d'être of the university's claim to be the royal road to knowledge. ..."
"... Granted, the cynical reading of the university system as a rent-seeking diploma-mill has a ring of truth to it when we, for instance, think of how students are asked to pay higher and higher tuition fees, while the curriculum is successively being hollowed-out. ..."
"... this is the result of the consecutive waves of university reforms since the 1990s to ground knowledge production on market principles. If university employees behave like self-interested rent-seekers, it is because they are forced to do so by the incentive structures that have been imposed on them. ..."
"... Thirty years of neoliberal politics have created the conditions under which categories such as "human capital" and "rent-seeking" start to make good sense... ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | lse.ac.uk

From: A response to Steve Fuller The differences between social democracy and neoliberalism by Johan Söderberg

... ... ...

The counterargument that I will elaborate here, is that neoliberalism and social democracy should be treated as two distinct and internally consistent thought and value systems. The integrity of the two ideologies must neither be reduced to practices/policies, which occasionally may overlap, nor to individual representatives, who, over the course of a lifetime, can move from one pole to the other.

Neoliberalism and the university system

Fuller's argument pivots on the mixed legacy of Lionel Robbins. On the one hand, Robbins' credentials as a neoliberal are firmly established by his decision to recruit Friedrich Hayek to the LSE. On the other hand, Robbins authored the government report whereby many regional universities in the UK were founded, in keeping with a classic social democratic agenda of enrolling more students from the working class. This encourages Fuller to draw an arc from the 1963 Robbins Report to university reforms of a more recent date (and with a more distinct, neoliberal flavour).

The common denominator of all the reforms, Fuller says, is the ambition to enhance human capital. Alas, the enhancement of human capital is blocked on all sides by incumbent traditions and rent-seeking monopolies. From this problem description – which Fuller attributes to the neoliberals, but which is also his own – follows the solution: to increase the competition between knowledge providers. Just as the monopoly that Oxbridge held over higher education was offset by the creation of regional universities in the 1960s, so is the current university system's monopoly over knowledge acquisition sidelined by reforms to multiply and diversify the paths to learning.

Underpinning this analysis is a bleak diagnosis of what purpose the university system and its employees serve. It is a diagnosis that Fuller, by his own admission, has gleaned from the Virginia-style neoliberal Gordon Tullock.

The task assigned to the university, i.e. to certify bodies of trustworthy knowledge, is not called for by any intrinsic property of that knowledge (it being true, safe etc.), but is rather a form of rent-seeking. The rent is extracted from the university's state-induced monopoly over the access rights to future employment opportunities. Rent-seeking is the raison-d'être of the university's claim to be the royal road to knowledge.

In this acid bath of cynicism, the notions of truth and falsehood are dissolved into the basic element that Tullock's world is made up of – self-interest. This reasoning lines up with a 19 th century, free market epistemology, according to which the evolutionary process will sift out the propositions that swim from those that sink. With a theory of knowledge like that, university-certified experts have no rationale for being. Their knowledge claims are just so many excuses for lifting a salary on the taxpayers' expense. It bears to stress that this argument can easily be given a leftist spin, by emphasising the pluralism of this epistemology. This resonates with statements that Steve Fuller has made elsewhere , concerning the claimants of alternative facts.

Granted, the cynical reading of the university system as a rent-seeking diploma-mill has a ring of truth to it when we, for instance, think of how students are asked to pay higher and higher tuition fees, while the curriculum is successively being hollowed-out. However, as was pointed out to Fuller by many in the audience in Lancaster, this is the result of the consecutive waves of university reforms since the 1990s to ground knowledge production on market principles. If university employees behave like self-interested rent-seekers, it is because they are forced to do so by the incentive structures that have been imposed on them.

Thirty years of neoliberal politics have created the conditions under which categories such as "human capital" and "rent-seeking" start to make good sense...

... ... ...

The author would like to thank Adam Netzén, Karolina Enquist Källgren and Eric Deibel for feedback given on early drafts of this blog post, and especially Steve Fuller, for having invited a response to his argument.

[Feb 11, 2019] Universities in the neoliberal age by Rafael Winkler

Notable quotes:
"... Higher education was being made to conform to the norms of efficiency, value for money, customer service, audit and performance targets. One of the consequences of this was the substitution of the authority of the academic, which is based on his or her professional knowledge of the discipline, for the authority of the line manager. ..."
"... I don't think that there has been a more sinister assault on academic freedom than this colonisation of higher education by neoliberalism. It justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates with a perverted sense of these words (since what it really means is "discipline and surveillance" and "value for money"). ..."
"... Let me explain. One of the central aspects of neoliberalism is the disappearance of the distinction between the worker and the capitalist. In the neoliberal setting, the worker is not a partner of exchange with the capitalist. She does not sell her labour-power for a wage. ..."
"... The labourer's ability to work, her skill, is an income stream. It is an investment on which she receives a return in the form of wages. The worker is capital for herself. She is a source of future earnings. In the neoliberal market, as Michel Foucault remarks, everyone is a capitalist. ..."
"... Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity. ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | mg.co.za
Many of the students I have taught in Britain and South Africa see higher education as a place where they "invest" in themselves in the financial sense of the word. "Going to university," one student said, was a way of "increasing" his "value" or employability in the labour market.

This perception of the university has not arisen by chance.

Capitalism entered a new phase with the Thatcher and Reagan governments in Britain and the United States during the 1980s. The managerial practices used to run businesses were applied to the public sector, in particular to education and healthcare.

This reform of the public sector (called "new public management") introduced a new way of thinking about the university.

Higher education was being made to conform to the norms of efficiency, value for money, customer service, audit and performance targets. One of the consequences of this was the substitution of the authority of the academic, which is based on his or her professional knowledge of the discipline, for the authority of the line manager.

Since then, everything has come to depend on audits and metric standards of so-called quality assessment (student satisfaction, pass rates, league tables, et cetera). Academics have little, if any, say on whether departments should continue to exist, what degrees and courses should be on offer and even what kind of assessment methods should be used.

I don't think that there has been a more sinister assault on academic freedom than this colonisation of higher education by neoliberalism. It justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates with a perverted sense of these words (since what it really means is "discipline and surveillance" and "value for money").

Its effect, if not its aim, has been to commodify higher education and produce a new kind of social identity. This is the identity of the self as entrepreneur.

Let me explain. One of the central aspects of neoliberalism is the disappearance of the distinction between the worker and the capitalist. In the neoliberal setting, the worker is not a partner of exchange with the capitalist. She does not sell her labour-power for a wage.

The labourer's ability to work, her skill, is an income stream. It is an investment on which she receives a return in the form of wages. The worker is capital for herself. She is a source of future earnings. In the neoliberal market, as Michel Foucault remarks, everyone is a capitalist.

Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity.

How did we get to this situation?

The modern university came into existence at the start of the 19th century as an extension of the state. The aim of the state during the colonial and imperial age was to constitute the identity of the national subject. As a public institution, the university was designed to teach students to see their life in a specific way. They would learn to see that it is only as members of a national community and culture that their individual life has a meaning and worth. This was the aim of the educational programme that German philosophers such as Wilhelm von Humboldt and Johann Gottlieb Fichte envisaged for the University of Berlin. For them, science was in the service of the moral and intellectual education of the nation.

Established in 1810, the University of Berlin was the first modern university. It was founded on the principles of academic freedom, the unity of research and teaching, and the primacy of research over vocational training. It functioned as the prototype for universities in both the United States and Europe during the second half of the 19th century.

Once transnational corporations started to control more capital than nation-states in the 1980s, the university ceased to be one of its principal organs. It lost its ideological mission and entered the market as a corporation. It started to encourage students to think of themselves as customers rather than as members of a nation. This history shows that the university is today the site of two competing social identities.

Nationalism was an emancipatory political project during the anti-colonial struggles of the second half of the 20th century. It was not tribalist or communalist.

According to Eric Hobsbawm in Nations and Nationalism since 1780, its aim was to extend the size of the social, cultural and political group. It was not to restrict it or to separate it from others. Nationalism was a political programme divorced from ethnicity.

Is this political nationalism a viable way of resisting neoliberalism today? Can it gainsay the primacy of economic rationality and the culture of narcissist consumerism, and restore meaning to the political question concerning the common good? Or has nationalism irreversibly become an ethnic, separatist project? It is not easy to say. So far, we have witnessed one kind of response to the social insecurities generated by the global spread of neoliberalism. This is a return to ethnicity and religion as havens of safety and security.

When society fails us owing to job insecurity, and, concomitantly, with regard to housing and healthcare, one tends to fall back on one's ethnicity or religious identity as an ultimate guarantee.

Moreover, nationalism as a political programme depends on the idea of the state. It holds that a group defined as a "nation" has the right to form a territorial state and exercise sovereign power over it. But given the decline of the state, there are reasons to think that political nationalism has withdrawn as a real possibility.

By the "decline of the state" I do not mean that it no longer exists. The state has never been more present in the private life of individuals. It regulates the relations between men and women. It regulates their birth and death, the rearing of children, the health of individuals and so forth. The state is, today, ubiquitous.

What some people mean by the "decline of the state" is that, with the existence of transnational corporations, it is no longer the most important site of the reproduction of capital. The state has become managerial. Its function is to manage obstacles to liberalisation and free trade.

Perhaps that is one of the challenges of the 21st century. How is a "nation" possible, a "national community" that is not defined by ethnicity, on the one hand, and, on the other, that forsakes the desire to exercise sovereign power in general and, in particular, over a territorial state?

The university is perhaps the place where such a community can begin to be thought.

Rafael Winkler is an associate professor in the philosophy department at the University of Johannesburg

[Feb 08, 2019] War, Peace, and the Social Order (review) by Morten G. Ender

Notable quotes:
"... nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | muse.jhu.edu

Project MUSE Morten G. Ender

From: Social Forces
Volume 80, Number 1, September 2001
pp. 358-359 | 10.1353/sof.2001.0064

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: PEACE AND JUSTICE - Fogarty - 2009 - Peace & Change - Wiley Online Library

Social Forces 80.1 (2001) 358-359

Book Review
War, Peace, and the Social Order

War, Peace, and the Social Order. By Brian E. Fogarty. Westview Press, 2000. 236 pp. Cloth, $65.00; paper, $23.00.

A tank could be driven through the cleft of resources available for teaching about the intersection of peace, war, and military instructions from a sociological perspective. Filling this pedagogical gap is especially important in the so-called post-Cold War era where lines between war and peace have become increasingly blurred.

War, Peace, and Social Order (WPSO) begins to fill the gap. WPSO contains a list of acronyms, two hemispheric maps of the world, six tables, 11 figures, an index, and eight chapters. Each chapter concludes with a brief chapter summary, a list of questions for review, and references for further reading.

WPSO begins by making the sociological link between war and peace with emphasis on how war and peace are created. Chapter 2 provides depth on the social definition of war contrasting it with violence. Further, peace is defined not as the absence of war, but more as intersubjective -- a social process that occurs at multiple levels of society. The next chapter explains war from numerous social and political approaches. This chapter anchors war in Functional, Marxian, Feminist, International Relations, and Internal-Control theories as well as more inductive and "human-nature" approaches. Chapter 4 discusses militarism at the intersection of social institutions including education, popular culture, mass media, sports, and economics. The relationship between the family and the military is not addressed despite the knowledge of military families providing a disproportionate number of young people for careers in military service. (Morris Janowitz [1960/71] The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait . Free Press.)

Chapter 5, "The Military Industrial Complex," is the longest and most dense chapter. Here Fogarty's six years working as an army civilian aircraft buyer and cost analyst shine through. He deftly navigates the reader through the complex maze of defense spending and acquisition. He provides simple figures and charts, focuses on the process as wasteful, exploits five complementary explanations to elucidate defense waste spending, and guides the reader home by connecting the analysis to both functional and conflict theory.

The next three chapters focus more on the peace process and include a chapter on avoiding war, promoting peace, and empowering people to make peace. Of special note in the first of these is the discussion of nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions , for example Peace Brigades International. The chapter on promoting peace is unique for couching Ghandi's nonviolent action in sociological terms and noting that a number of social movements have since used this technique successfully, including Martin Luther King Jr. Fogarty could have promoted the little-known fact that a very young King earned a B.A. in Sociology at Morehouse College in 1948. The final chapter inspires the reader with ways of becoming active through both education and experiences.

The strengths of WPSO for students are many. Foremost, he substantively links the study of war and peace. Second, the book is well organized, with tight chapters, numerous headings and subheadings, and a summary concluding each chapter. In addition, but beginning with chapter 3, key terms ( N = 37) are italicized in each of the summary sections.

Some chapters are denser than others. Fogarty also is less attentive to referencing chapters related to war than in chapters related to peace. For example, other than noting a film and novel, there are no references in the section on the social psychology of combat despite a rich research tradition dating back to and including WWII on the social psychology of war. Finally, the focus may be too American in orientation for some sociologists.

WPSO is oriented toward upper-level undergraduate students and newcomers to the peace and war literature. It is an excellent supplemental or primary reader for Peace Studies. It could make a refreshing contribution to Military Sociology courses that have traditionally focused on peacekeeping/peace enforcing from a military institution perspective (including my own). The book could be stretched to use in Organization Studies courses and...

[Feb 05, 2019] Logitech G300s Optical Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse 9 Programmable Buttons, Onboard Memory Computers Accessories

Feb 05, 2019 | www.amazon.com

skeptic

Mouse for lefties that allows to program macros in Lua. Look and feel is "cheap", thouth February 3, 2019 Verified Purchase

My G600 (which I used for the left hand although it is not ambidextrous) died (right button became "flaky" after three years of daily use; and that's typical for G600 -- it just does not last that long) and I bought this one saving ,say, $15.

But there is no free lunch and one important defect of this mouse is that the wheel does not have "clicks" for left and right tilt ) like say all expensive mice from Logitech, and thus you can't assign macros to tilts. For those who do not use them it's OO, but for m this is a big shortcoming. I deducted one star for this.

Please be aware that this mouse looks cheap in comparison wit, say $36 Logitech mice like G602 , but it does work and is more conviniet to use with the left hand.

But you simply can't compare "look and feel" quality to G600 of G602 to this "student" model. You can still use 6 macros with it and Logitech Gaming Software which allows you to program macros in Lua, which are individualized for each application you use (not just games, but any application)

As such this mouse is not only for gamers. It is perfectly suitable, for example, for Unix sysadmins as it allows execute complex macros in Windows Terminal emulator such as Teraterm.

Also helps for people with RSI who need to change hands in order give affected with RSI hand time to recover.

I wish the industry would produce more models of ambidextrous mouse, as RSI is a real epidemic among heavy computer users and professionals, but we have what we have.

[Feb 04, 2019] Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Rubicon 727 , says: February 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT

@Bill Instead of looking at this issue using a microscope, reading history about how Empires fall lends wisdom and insight. Arrighi's book, (I believe) is called "The Long Twentieth Century." He details how empires and huge trading giants rise and fall.

He details the rise of Italy's banking system during the Middle Ages as well as Spain's Empire, the Dutch trading hegemonies and most enlightening how the British Empire rose and fell.

We are seeing tell-tale symptoms of a US that's in trouble with a slow erosion of the US $$ hegemony. The financial growth of China has begun degrading the US market with hi-tech and other products. Thusly, you see Tim Cook of Apple apoplectic over China's Huwaii (sp?) flooding the European market with less expensive computers, cellulars, notebooks, etc.

We see the practical nature of Exxon Mobile that views the short geographic distance between the US (its military) to Venezuela's oil and mineral-rich soil. An easy pick, rather than becoming further embroiled in the Middle East.

Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony.

[Feb 04, 2019] Amazon.com Z83-W Fanless Mini PC, Intel Cherry Trail x5-Z8350 (up to 1.92 GHz), 2GB-32GB- 4K- 1000M LAN- 2.4+5.8GHz WiFi-BT 4.

Feb 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Support Auto Power On After Power Failure:

Restore Factory Settings:

Package Includes:

P orts & Button:

Performance

mark ganter 5.0 out of 5 stars Good Value for sub-$200 box (Ubuntu/Linux DOES WORK) December 8, 2017 Size: ... Verified Purchase

The AP34 device is an N3450 SOC system. I had some troubles with the AP34 because the video is only 1080p (and thus some older monitors and older TV's can't sync the video). I also had issues with getting Ubuntu/Linux running or installed.

The seller provided an email with instructions that helped.

BUT there is a guy who wants to run linux on every smart device (search for Ian MORRISON (Linuxium)).

Ian has Linux repacked distros that boot, work and install.

I am now running Ubuntu 17.10 with Cinnamon! It is beautiful. The AP34 hardware is a great fit for Linux. I have added an M.2 drive based on instructions found on the Kodlix website. Overall, this is a good buy for the sub $200 market.

If you are willing to spend 10-20% more, you might look at a N4200 mini-pc.

[Feb 04, 2019] Hyundai Thinnote 14 Ultrabook - 14 Full HD 1920 x 1080 Display, Intel Pentium N4200 Quad-core 1.1 GHz, 4 GB RAM 32

Cheap and as such good for personal Knowledgebase...
Feb 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

[Feb 03, 2019] Logitech G300s Optical Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse 9 Programmable Buttons

Feb 03, 2019 | www.amazon.com

S.B September 6, 2018 Verified Purchase

For lefties, this is about as good as it gets

I'm a left handed gamer and as all us lefties know, there are no gaming mice made for us. The best available are "ambidextrous" mice. Which drives me nuts since there is no reason for an ambidextrous mouse. An ambidextrous person could use either a right or left handed mouse. An ambidextrous mouse is just a poor compromise between the two, so why not just make a real left handed mouse?

I tied many and while this mouse leaves much to be desired, its probably the best that can be hoped for. At least all the buttons are accessible, if not entirely comfortable. It lacks any thumb buttons, which means all nine buttons are most easily pressed with the index and middle fingers. Some are really quite well placed and comfortable, other not so much. However, it is much faster and easier than using key binds on the keyboard, and that is what's important.

Otherwise the mouse is really nice. The software installs easily and is intuitive. The LED color on the side can be changed. Its light, moves smoothy. All buttons feel solid and have a positive response. It works great for gaming as well as les intense internet surfing and word processing.

[Feb 02, 2019] In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.
Notable quotes:
"... His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women." ..."
"... The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington. ..."
"... Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece . But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left. ..."
"... Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way. ..."
"... Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor." ..."
"... Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff." ..."
"... In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night. ..."
"... It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush. ..."
"... The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy. ..."
"... "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment." ..."
"... "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government ..."
"... "What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. ..."
Jul 11, 2015 | msn.com

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay - His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women."

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism - even as he called for a global movement against a "new colonialism" rooted in an inequitable economic order.

The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II's anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.

Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor - a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis' increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed - yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.

Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece. But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left.

Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

"I think the pope is singing to the music that's already in the air," said Robert A. Johnson, executive director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, which was financed with $50 million from Mr. Soros. "And that's a good thing. That's what artists do, and I think the pope is sensitive to the lack of legitimacy of the system."

Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor."

Mr. Schneck, of Catholic University, said it was as if Francis were saying, "We've been talking about these things for more than one hundred years, and nobody is listening."

Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff."

Francis made his speech on Wednesday night, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, before nearly 2,000 social advocates, farmers, trash workers and neighborhood activists. Even as he meets regularly with heads of state, Francis has often said that change must come from the grass roots, whether from poor people or the community organizers who work with them. To Francis, the poor have earned knowledge that is useful and redeeming, even as a "throwaway culture" tosses them aside. He sees them as being at the front edge of economic and environmental crises around the world.

In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night.

It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush.

"I wish Francis would focus on positives, on how a free-market economy guided by an ethical framework, and the rule of law, can be a part of the solution for the poor - rather than just jumping from the reality of people's misery to the analysis that a market economy is the problem," said the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which advocates free-market economics.

Francis' sharpest critics have accused him of being a Marxist or a Latin American Communist, even as he opposed communism during his time in Argentina. His tour last week of Latin America began in Ecuador and Bolivia, two countries with far-left governments. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who wore a Che Guevara patch on his jacket during Francis' speech, claimed the pope as a kindred spirit - even as Francis seemed startled and caught off guard when Mr. Morales gave him a wooden crucifix shaped like a hammer and sickle as a gift.

Francis' primary agenda last week was to begin renewing Catholicism in Latin America and reposition it as the church of the poor. His apology for the church's complicity in the colonialist era received an immediate roar from the crowd. In various parts of Latin America, the association between the church and economic power elites remains intact. In Chile, a socially conservative country, some members of the country's corporate elite are also members of Opus Dei, the traditionalist Catholic organization founded in Spain in 1928.

Inevitably, Francis' critique can be read as a broadside against Pax Americana, the period of capitalism regulated by global institutions created largely by the United States. But even pillars of that system are shifting. The World Bank, which long promoted economic growth as an end in itself, is now increasingly focused on the distribution of gains, after the Arab Spring revolts in some countries that the bank had held up as models. The latest generation of international trade agreements includes efforts to increase protections for workers and the environment.

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.

Mr. Piketty roiled the debate among mainstream economists, yet Francis' critique is more unnerving to some because he is not reframing inequality and poverty around a new economic theory but instead defining it in moral terms. "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment."

Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist, said that he saw Francis as making a nuanced point about capitalism, embodied by his coinage of a "social mortgage" on accumulated wealth - a debt to the society that made its accumulation possible. Mr. Hanauer said that economic elites should embrace the need for reforms both for moral and pragmatic reasons. "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government policies like a higher minimum wage.

Yet what remains unclear is whether Francis has a clear vision for a systemic alternative to the status quo that he and others criticize. "All these critiques point toward the incoherence of the simple idea of free market economics, but they don't prescribe a remedy," said Mr. Johnson, of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Francis acknowledged as much, conceding on Wednesday that he had no new "recipe" to quickly change the world. Instead, he spoke about a "process of change" undertaken at the grass-roots level.

"What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. "You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands."

[Feb 01, 2019] THE NEOLIBERAL MARKETIZED ECONOMY AND POLITICS

Jan 07, 2019 | cup.columbia.edu

The Origins of Neoliberalism - Modeling the Economy from Jesus to Foucault - Columbia University Press

The process of the marketization of the economy from Mill to Becker described earlier is concluded in Becker's notions of "Human Capital" and "Economics of Crime and Punishment."

Becker reformulates the ethical modes by which one governs one's self by theorizing the economic self as human capital that generates labor in return for income. Such self-government is conducted by economizing one's earning power, the form of power that one commands over one's labor. Theorizing self-government as a form of command over one's own labor, Becker inserts the power relations of the market, which Smith identified as purchasing power over other people's labor, into the ethical sphere of the relationship between a person andherself.

Becker's theory of self-government also entails a transformation of the technologies of the self into an askesis of economizing the scarce means of the marketized self that have alternative uses for the purpose ofmaximizing the earning and purchasing power one commands in the mar- ketized economy.

The marketization of the self that turned zoon oikonomikon into a power-craving homo economicus also makes him governable by the political monarch, as demonstrated in the Economic analysis of Crime and Punishment. Economic man is governed through the legal framework of the mar- ket economy. Human action is controlled by tweaking a matrix of punishments and incentives that make the governed subject, as a prudent creature who craves to maximize his economic power, freely choose the desired course of action that will ensure economic growth. At the same time that Becker's technologies of the conduct of the marketized self establish a neoliberal self-mastery, they also enable the governmental technology of conducting one self conduct in the all-encompassing and ever growing marketized economy. Although Becker seems to reverse the ageold ethical question, that is, how can a human, as a governed subject, become free in the economy, into the technological one of how one can make a free human governable, the end result is pretty much the same, as the economy is reconstituted as a sphere in which the subject is seen as free and governed.

A neoliberal interpretation of Hobbes's economic power is found in Tullock and Buchanan's use of economic theory to "deal with traditional problems of political science," that is, to trace the works of Smithian economic power that have by now been transposed onto the political sphere: Incorporat(ing) political activity as a particular form of exchange; and, as in the market relation, mutual gains to all parties are ideally expected to result from the collective relation. In a very real sense, therefore, political action is viewed essentially as a means through which the "power" of all participants may be increased, if we define "power" as the ability to command things that are desired by men. To be justified by the criteria employed here, collective action must be advantageous to all parties. (Tullock and Buchanan 1962:23)

[Jan 29, 2019] Parkinson s Law

Notable quotes:
"... The title of the book is from Parkinson's statement that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." He explains that "an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis." In contrast if all you have is five minutes to write a postcard, it takes just five minutes to write the postcard. ..."
Feb 22, 2007 | www.amazon.com

Henry Cate III 5.0 out of 5 stars February 22, 2007

Some great insights to human behavior

Parkinson's Law, written by C. Northcote Parkinson, is a wonderful book which explores the realities of human behavior within a bureaucracy. The author doesn't pay attention to theories or the idealized world, but instead writes about how people really function in organizations.

The title of the book is from Parkinson's statement that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." He explains that "an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis." In contrast if all you have is five minutes to write a postcard, it takes just five minutes to write the postcard.

At a higher level this idea applies to many situations. For example people's stuff expands to fill their house and use up their income. Or in the computer world: Data expands to fill the space available for storage

Parkinson writes that it takes great discipline to fight the tendency to use up all the time available to do some job. And likewise it takes great discipline to save some of your income, or to avoid buying stuff just because you have room for it.

Parkinson has a number of other interesting observations. For example in his Law of Triviality he explains how a group of managers might spend hours on selecting a coffeepot and minutes on deciding matters of much greater importance.

I also appreciated his explanation on the effective size of a governing group. He says that the right number of people to lead an organization, like a business or a country, is about five. As the group gets larger, it takes longer and longer to get together and to agree on matters.

There are many other insightful comments on a variety of topics related to organizations. This is a great book to have teenagers read, and then to be reread every couple years. Just over a hundred pages it is a quick read, as well as being enjoyable.

If you haven't read Parkinson's Law before, I encourage you to read it this week.

not4prophet 4.0 out of 5 stars July 25, 2007

Parkinson's Law: funny, bitter, largely accurate

I first received a copy of "Parkinson's Law" from a retired three-star general. Since that time, I've seen copies on the shelves of almost every powerful person I know, from professors and deans to lawyers and businesspeople. Based on this wide-spread popularity, I can safely conclude that C. Northcote Parkinson has written something that transcends his time and profession to become a true classic. He has written, in short, the definitive work on bureaucracy.

Chapter one contains the titular law, which is frequently misquoted. The actual law gives a mathematical formula for how fast an office will grow, simply by observing that every bureaucrat will demand two subordinates at certain times. Parkinson backs this up with analysis of various British government bodies. The Colonial Office, for instance, more than doubled in size even as the number of colonies was shrinking. This is a rock-solid rule, as far as I can tell, and particularly relevant to an America where we somehow spend $728 billion despite having fewer actual soldiers than at any time in the past sixty years.

Chapter three famously looks at budget meetings. The conclusion is that up to a certain point, committees will spend more time on items that cost less. Some trivially small item, such as coffee, is easily understood, so every committee member has an opinion about it. On the other hand, nobody really understands expensive items such as reactors, so nobody has much to say about them. This is a phenomenon which I've seen arising in real life time and time again.

Chapter four is perhaps the most fascinating and devastatingly accurate one in the book. The hypothesis is that whenever an organization builds a fancy new headquarters, its time is up. Parkinson offers mainly British examples, but we can see the truth of this in America. The Sears Tower went up at precisely the moment when the Sears Corporation went down. When construction began on the AOL Time Warner Center in 2000, that should have been our indication that the dot-com boom was on its last legs.

There are ten chapters in all, but I'll let you discover the delights of the later ones on your own. For sure, some chapters aren't quite so hard-hitting. Chapter two on the French Parliament may strike some as no longer relevant, while chapter nine on crime and economics in China contains some cringe-inducing racism. But on the whole, "Parkinson's Law" is a delightful little book (150 pages) that will explain while it amuses you. "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and "Who Moved My Cheese" may rule the bestseller lists, but C. Northcote Parkinson has the real answers for the business world.

mirasreviews HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars June 12, 2009

50-Year-Old Satire of Business and Public Administration Still Sharp and Hilarious

Cyril Northcote Parkinson was a naval historian and writer with experience in the British Civil Service in 1955, when he wrote a humorous article for the "Economist" on the idiosyncrasies of administration. Parkinson was Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya in Singapore during this time, and, two years later, he expanded on that essay with the publication of "Parkinson's Law and Other Studies in Administration". "Heaven forbid that students should cease to read books on the science of public or business administration -provided that these works are classified as fiction," he says. Parkinson's own satirical take on the subject provides, "for those interested, a glimpse of reality."

There are 10 short chapters, each dedicated to a different quirk of business or public administration, beginning with the one we all know: Parkinson's Law: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for completion." -which the author reduces to a mathematical formula. Parkinson claims, tongue in cheek, to omit the statistical proof of his laws and observations out of consideration for space, but he often provides examples from the British military and civil service that do, indeed, seem to support his analysis. That's why this book has been popular for 50 years. Like all great satire, it distills the truth rather than creating a fiction.

Some other subjects that Parkinson addresses are: the function of British Parliament dictated by the seating arrangements, the Law of Triviality ("the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved"), a committee's power diminishes as its numbers grow, a well-designed building is a sure sign of the institution's demise, "injelititis" (organizational paralysis due to "induced inferiority"), and how to force older workers to retire in time for their successors to have a career. Some of this stuff is peculiar to the time and place it was written. For example, I have no idea if comments on how wealthy Chinese vs British evade taxes had any truth to them. But most aspects of administration haven't changed in 50 years, and Parkinson's take is still laugh-out-loud funny.

J. Fristrom 4.0 out of 5 stars May 24, 2003

Parkinson Isn't The Enemy After All

I've always considered Parkinson's Law to be the chief weapon of inept managers who "schedule aggressively" in an attempt to squeeze blood from stones, and thus compromise their project's effeciency, morale, and the like. After reading this book I've discovered that Parkinson's Law is *not* the often misquoted "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" but (paraphrasing:) "the number of administrators in an organization will grow at a steady rate irrespective of the amount of work that organization needs to do." Not only does Parkinson never suggest that we should "schedule aggressively" (he never suggests that work can contract indefinitely no matter how little time is made available), he ridiculues nice offices, large meetings, top-heavy management, insecure leadership, penny-wiseness and pound-foolishness, typical hiring practices, and more.

While reading most of this book I had a wry grin on my face, and I laughed loud belly laughs at a couple of points. My only complaints stem from the last two chapters, which indulged in both racism and ageism, respectively. I only skimmed those. Still, an enjoyable and motivational read, and useful knowledge when confronted by a manager who thinks of themself as Parkinsonian but hasn't actually read (or understood) Parkinson.

Harold Hill 5.0 out of 5 stars June 11, 2009

dated but timeless

Parkinson's Law is a classic work concerning the dynamics of large administrative organizations. The vernacular of the book often felt dated to this reader, based it is on the inner workings of the British Empire, but that in no way took away from its overall impact and timeless message. This is a marvelously honest and insightful, also delightfully sardonic, look at how human nature and institutional politics really work on a grand scale.

The book starts with the most well-known of Parkinson's laws, which is, "work expands to fill the time allotted to it." But there are several other chapters in this very short book with other wonderful information as well. There's a whole chapter devoted to how to phrase a help wanted ad in order to get only one perfect candidate for the job. One chapter explains why bureaucracies grow at a standard rate of 5% a year regardless of workload. There are also wonderfully complex formulas concerning how to calculate the correct age of retirement, which has a lot to do with the age of the person who is hoping to edge you out and take your place as soon as possible. The mathematical analysis of at what time the truly powerful people arrive and leave a cocktail party was also a lot of fun.

While most books about management talk in highly idealistic utopian terms, this is one of those rare books that tells it like it is and makes you laugh at the same time. Its closest relatives are Machiavelli's Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius , Bertrand Russell's Unpopular Essays , and Justin Locke's Principles of Applied Stupidity (How to Get and Do More by Thinking and Knowing Less) .

While this is a fairly short book, my version was only 101 pages, I found I could not read it straight through because each chapter was so enlightening, I had to take a break in between. But that is hardly a complaint.

It's not so much the specific information that makes this book what it is. What makes the book is its honest appraisal of human nature. A wonderful thing to be reminded of as you go to that next meeting. A now somewhat forgotten classic, highly recommended.

Amazon Customer 3.0 out of 5 starsNovember 21, 2001

Glittering Generalities and Subtle Humor

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Another way of saying "people spend what they can afford". That statement makes certain simplifying assumptions in describing the action. Parkinson claims that Administrator A will, when overworked, call for subordinates C and D. And each of these, when overworked, call for two subordinates. Perhaps only a third subordinate E is more likely to be hired? Unless its a monopoly running on a "cost plus" economy.

The increase in Admiralty officials may be due to political decisions that reflect the feudal system and its pride in larger numbers. This increase from 1914 to 1928 may reflect the rise needed for The Great War, and a reluctance to cut back afterwards.

The author notes the growth in the Colonial Office from 1935 to 1954, while the size of the Empire decreased. But it assumes there was no longer any involvement in the colonies, and no new work assigned to them. Perhaps a need for political appointees?

In Chapter Four the author discusses the optimal number of members in a committee: somewhere between 3 and 21. Assume a committee meets to do work, not to make work. There is a limited number of hours in a day; if each member speaks for 15 minutes, then 12 will take up half a work day. Time constraints will limit the number who will speak; those who only listen can be given a printed report. Somebody must control the topics and meeting.

Chapter Five answers the question: why are students of the "Liberal Arts" generally considered for top positions? The answer is the adoption of the Chinese system for competitive examinations. Those with a Classics background were perceived as fittest to rule; those with a scientific background were perceived as followers. The author does not discuss the class differences usually covered by this distinction. His comments on advertising positions is interesting, but ignores the fact that an acceptable candidate may chose another firm. His final advice on choosing a Prime Minister is not always followed.

Chapter Six claims the health of an institution can be gauged by its buildings, and cites St. Peter's in Rome. A more modern edition might cite the former AT&T and IBM buildings in midtown Manhattan, instead of the Palace of Nations in Geneva. But office buildings are recyclable commodities. A monumental edifice can be the mausoleum of an organization. Does this apply to the Department of Agriculture building in Washington?

Chapter Seven shows his wit and powers of observation by summarizing the cocktail parties that he attended. Chapter Eight discusses the question of why organizations decline. One way to judge an organization is by the quality of their cafeteria. Chapter Ten claims the compulsory retirement age is set at 3 years past the age when people begin to decline. More simplifying assumptions and playing with numbers? If not, what objective facts were used to arrive at this conclusion?
The value of this book is its observations on the common activities that are not often studied.

Judah 2.0 out of 5 stars November 17, 2007

Outdated

Basically, this book may be distilled down into a few statements (below). The examples used are from the late 1950's, and not in touch with the culture of 2007.

**The work expands to fill the time available.
**People will attempt to hire more subordinates regardless of workload.
**Large committees will spend more time arguing over small line item expenses they understand, as opposed to huge expenditures they don't.
**Have two issue supporters sit next to and kibitz an undecided yahoo -- this will sway the yahoo into voting their way.
**Approximately five - eight people are the ideal number to run a huge endeavor.
**The best want-ad will only be answered by one (qualified) person.
**Rich men avoid taxes.
**Younger people force older conservatives to retire.

If you are interested in Parkinson's Law, I'd suggest buying a later edition with examples more in tune with modern computerized business. This older edition is for collector's and has limited business value. 6 people found this helpful

Acute Observer 4.0 out of 5 stars March 19, 2011

Analyzing Administrative Behavior

This was a popular book in the late 1950s. It is a collection of essays with a humorous look at common events. Parkinson criticizes the writers of text books who have an idealistic view about management (`Preface'). [Doesn't this fault still go on?] Chapter 1 claims "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". This is stated without supporting facts, so it just anecdotes. Does a growing number of civil servants reflect more work being done? Not if jobs are created for friends or relatives. No mention of a budget or bottom line here. Who approved this? ["Charlie Wilson's War" provides one example.] Those Admiralty Statistics suggest that some Officers in the R.N. were redeployed as Dockyard or Admiralty officials (p.8). The increase in the Colonial Office could represent more redeployment (p.11). [Statistics can't be trusted unless you understand the facts that were used or avoided.] Seating representatives in a half-circle is the rational rule used in most countries (Chapter 2). It allows better hearing, as in a theatre.

Chapter 3 discusses proposals before a Committee. The big ticket items are approved [the fix is in], the small items do not have as much support (p.29). Chapter 4 discusses the size of a Cabinet as it relates to its power; more members dilute its power. Chapter 5 discusses the best way to select candidates for a job. Parkinson recommends an advertisement phrased so only a few apply. But what if an important qualification can't be measured on paper (p.58)? There is a way to measure the status of an institution (Chapter 6). But this perfect layout is a sign of impending collapse (p.60). [Think of those Wall Street firms in 2008.] That big Department of Agriculture building in Washington DC marked the decline of family farms. One reason for this may be a perfected building no longer has the operational flexibility to expand (or contract) for current needs.

Parkinson explains how a cocktail party can reveal the real importance of the guests. The people who matter circulate with the general movement (Chapter 7), and arrive 30 minutes late. They cluster around an area at the far right, then leave. Chapter 8 discusses the "palsied paralysis" of organizations. The man at the top seeks to eliminate any possible rivals or successors. The result after about 20 years is failures when the leader grows senile or dies (p.81). That is why there are takeovers, or company subsidiaries are sold off. Can you judge an institution by its cafeteria (p.850? [If the managers have a separate dining room, beware.] Parkinson's advice on taking over an institution seems unrealistic (p.90). Corporations do buy up other businesses and integrate their buildings and personnel. This may be to eliminate competition.

Chapter 9 imagines the anthropological study of the rich. [Those who study primitive people are likely investigating mineral wealth.] He suggests a solution for lower taxes, but its only a theory. Chapter 10 discusses the mandatory retirement age. Parkinson claims that a person starts to decline three years before this age. [No proofs are given.] He suggests a method to force a retirement: nearly constant travel to foreign lands, and filling in forms like customs declaration. [This may tell you more about Parkinson than as a general statement.] This must be the least entertaining of these humorous essays.

These articles provide humor, they are not a scientific or practical guide. They should not be used for any college course. This same type of humor was found in "Freakonomics", whose essays are based on the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" logical fallacy (after this therefore because of this). They are not a reliable guide to knowledge.

TH 3.0 out of 5 stars September 13, 2004

Overly simplistic, Fun, but...

This book attempts to decrypt the enigma of hierarchies in a far too simplistic manner. One sentence to describe the whole book would be 'we keep getting promoted at work because we know how to do the job we are assigned, and stop getting promoted when we don't know how to'. The book is elaborate with supporting arguments.

One concept this book seem to assume is, all of us have a set of competencies and it is fixed. That is why we stop growing. But, in reality our skills continue to improve throughout our life time. Hence, accepting Peter Principle as a fact may be detrimental to our career, thus fulfilling his prophecy. I choose to accept his principle as a fact, only if I stop expanding my competencies (probably by freezing my brain). If I keep expanding my competencies, there is nothing but endless growth for everyone.

[Jan 29, 2019] The Language of Neoliberal Education by Henry Giroux

Highly recommended!
Interview by MITJA SARDOČ
Notable quotes:
"... This interview with Henry Giroux was conducted by Mitja Sardoč, of the Educational Research Institute, in the Faculty of the Social Sciences, at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. ..."
"... Not only does it define itself as a political and economic system whose aim was to consolidate power in the hands of a corporate and financial elite, it also wages a war over ideas. In this instance, it has defined itself as a form of commonsense and functions as a mode of public pedagogy that produces a template for structuring not just markets but all of social life. ..."
"... In this sense, it has and continues to function not only through public and higher education to produce and distribute market-based values, identities, and modes of agency, but also in wider cultural apparatuses and platforms to privatize, deregulate, economize, and subject all of the commanding institutions and relations of everyday life to the dictates of privatization, efficiency, deregulation, and commodification. ..."
"... Since the 1970s as more and more of the commanding institutions of society come under the control of neoliberal ideology, its notions of common sense – an unchecked individualism, harsh competition, an aggressive attack on the welfare state, the evisceration of public goods, and its attack on all models of sociality at odds with market values – have become the reigning hegemony of capitalist societies. ..."
"... What many on the left have failed to realize is that neoliberalism is about more than economic structures, it is also is a powerful pedagogical force – especially in the era of social media – that engages in full-spectrum dominance at every level of civil society. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's promotion of effectiveness and efficiency gives credence to its ability to willingness and success in making education central to politics ..."
"... The Crisis of Democracy, ..."
"... At the core of the neoliberal investment in education is a desire to undermine the university's commitment to the truth, critical thinking, and its obligation to stand for justice ..."
"... Neoliberalism considers such a space to be dangerous and they have done everything possible to eliminate higher education as a space where students can realize themselves as critical citizens ..."
"... It is waging a war over not just the relationship between economic structures but over memory, words, meaning, and politics. Neoliberalism takes words like freedom and limits it to the freedom to consume, spew out hate, and celebrate notions of self-interest and a rabid individualism as the new common sense. ..."
"... Equality of opportunity means engaging in ruthless forms of competition, a war of all against all ethos, and a survival of the fittest mode of behavior. ..."
"... First, higher education needs to reassert its mission as a public good in order to reclaim its egalitarian and democratic impulses. Educators need to initiate and expand a national conversation in which higher education can be defended as a democratic public sphere and the classroom as a site of deliberative inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking, a site that makes a claim on the radical imagination and a sense of civic courage. ..."
"... The ascendancy of neoliberalism in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making. ..."
"... It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing. ..."
"... First, too little is said about how neoliberalism functions not simply as an economic model for finance capital but as a public pedagogy that operates through a diverse number of sites and platforms. ..."
"... I define neoliberal fascism as both a project and a movement, which functions as an enabling force that weakens, if not destroys, the commanding institutions of a democracy while undermining its most valuable principles ..."
"... As a movement, it produces and legitimates massive economic inequality and suffering, privatizes public goods, dismantles essential government agencies, and individualizes all social problems. In addition, it transforms the political state into the corporate state, and uses the tools of surveillance, militarization, and law and order to discredit the critical press and media, undermine civil liberties while ridiculing and censoring critics. ..."
Dec 25, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

This interview with Henry Giroux was conducted by Mitja Sardoč, of the Educational Research Institute, in the Faculty of the Social Sciences, at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Mitja Sardoč: For several decades now, neoliberalism has been at the forefront of discussions not only in the economy and finance but has infiltrated our vocabulary in a number of areas as diverse as governance studies, criminology, health care, jurisprudence, education etc. What has triggered the use and application ofthis'economistic'ideologyassociatedwith the promotion of effectiveness and efficiency?

Henry Giroux: Neoliberalism has become the dominant ideology of the times and has established itself as a central feature of politics. Not only does it define itself as a political and economic system whose aim was to consolidate power in the hands of a corporate and financial elite, it also wages a war over ideas. In this instance, it has defined itself as a form of commonsense and functions as a mode of public pedagogy that produces a template for structuring not just markets but all of social life.

In this sense, it has and continues to function not only through public and higher education to produce and distribute market-based values, identities, and modes of agency, but also in wider cultural apparatuses and platforms to privatize, deregulate, economize, and subject all of the commanding institutions and relations of everyday life to the dictates of privatization, efficiency, deregulation, and commodification.

Since the 1970s as more and more of the commanding institutions of society come under the control of neoliberal ideology, its notions of common sense – an unchecked individualism, harsh competition, an aggressive attack on the welfare state, the evisceration of public goods, and its attack on all models of sociality at odds with market values – have become the reigning hegemony of capitalist societies.

What many on the left have failed to realize is that neoliberalism is about more than economic structures, it is also is a powerful pedagogical force – especially in the era of social media – that engages in full-spectrum dominance at every level of civil society. Its reach extends not only into education but also among an array of digital platforms as well as in the broader sphere of popular culture. Under neoliberal modes of governance, regardless of the institution, every social relation is reduced to an act of commerce.

Neoliberalism's promotion of effectiveness and efficiency gives credence to its ability to willingness and success in making education central to politics. It also offers a warning to progressives, as Pierre Bourdieu has insisted that the left has underestimated the symbolic and pedagogical dimensions of struggle and have not always forged appropriate weapons to fight on this front."

Mitja Sardoč: According to the advocates of neoliberalism, education represents one of the main indicators of future economic growth and individual well-being.How – and why – education became one of the central elements of the 'neoliberal revolution'?

Henry Giroux: Advocates of neoliberalism have always recognized that education is a site of struggle over which there are very high stakes regarding how young people are educated, who is to be educated, and what vision of the present and future should be most valued and privileged. Higher education in the sixties went through a revolutionary period in the United States and many other countries as students sought to both redefine education as a democratic public sphere and to open it up to a variety of groups that up to that up to that point had been excluded. Conservatives were extremely frightened over this shift and did everything they could to counter it. Evidence of this is clear in the production of the Powell Memo published in 1971 and later in The Trilateral Commission's book-length report, namely, The Crisis of Democracy, published in 1975. From the 1960s on the, conservatives, especially the neoliberal right, has waged a war on education in order to rid it of its potential role as a democratic public sphere. At the same time, they sought aggressively to restructure its modes of governance, undercut the power of faculty, privilege knowledge that was instrumental to the market, define students mainly as clients and consumers, and reduce the function of higher education largely to training students for the global workforce.

At the core of the neoliberal investment in education is a desire to undermine the university's commitment to the truth, critical thinking, and its obligation to stand for justice and assume responsibility for safeguarding the interests of young as they enter a world marked massive inequalities, exclusion, and violence at home and abroad. Higher education may be one of the few institutions left in neoliberal societies that offers a protective space to question, challenge, and think against the grain.

Neoliberalism considers such a space to be dangerous and they have done everything possible to eliminate higher education as a space where students can realize themselves as critical citizens, faculty can participate in the governing structure, and education can be define itself as a right rather than as a privilege.

Mitja Sardoč: Almost by definition, reforms and other initiatives aimed to improve educational practice have been one of the pivotal mechanisms to infiltrate the neoliberal agenda of effectiveness and efficiency. What aspect of neoliberalism and its educational agenda you find most problematic? Why?

Henry Giroux: Increasingly aligned with market forces, higher education is mostly primed for teaching business principles and corporate values, while university administrators are prized as CEOs or bureaucrats in a neoliberal-based audit culture. Many colleges and universities have been McDonalds-ized as knowledge is increasingly viewed as a commodity resulting in curricula that resemble a fast-food menu. In addition, faculty are subjected increasingly to a Wal-Mart model of labor relations designed as Noam Chomsky points out "to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility". In the age of precarity and flexibility, the majority of faculty have been reduced to part-time positions, subjected to low wages, lost control over the conditions of their labor, suffered reduced benefits, and frightened about addressing social issues critically in their classrooms for fear of losing their jobs.

The latter may be the central issue curbing free speech and academic freedom in the academy. Moreover, many of these faculty are barely able to make ends meet because of their impoverished salaries, and some are on food stamps. If faculty are treated like service workers, students fare no better and are now relegated to the status of customers and clients.

Moreover, they are not only inundated with the competitive, privatized, and market-driven values of neoliberalism, they are also punished by those values in the form of exorbitant tuition rates, astronomical debts owed to banks and other financial institutions, and in too many cases a lack of meaningful employment. As a project and movement, neoliberalism undermines the ability of educators and others to create the conditions that give students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and the civic courage necessary to make desolation and cynicism unconvincing and hope practical.

As an ideology, neoliberalism is at odds with any viable notion of democracy which it sees as the enemy of the market. Yet, Democracy cannot work if citizens are not autonomous, self-judging, curious, reflective, and independent – qualities that are indispensable for students if they are going to make vital judgments and choices about participating in and shaping decisions that affect everyday life, institutional reform, and governmental policy.

Mitja Sardoč: Why large-scale assessments and quantitative data in general are a central part of the 'neo-liberal toolkit' in educational research?

Henry Giroux: These are the tools of accountants and have nothing to do with larger visions or questions about what matters as part of a university education. The overreliance on metrics and measurement has become a tool used to remove questions of responsibility, morality, and justice from the language and policies of education. I believe the neoliberal toolkit as you put it is part of the discourse of civic illiteracy that now runs rampant in higher educational research, a kind of mind-numbing investment in a metric-based culture that kills the imagination and wages an assault on what it means to be critical, thoughtful, daring, and willing to take risks. Metrics in the service of an audit culture has become the new face of a culture of positivism, a kind of empirical-based panopticon that turns ideas into numbers and the creative impulse into ashes. Large scale assessments and quantitative data are the driving mechanisms in which everything is absorbed into the culture of business.

The distinction between information and knowledge has become irrelevant in this model and anything that cannot be captured by numbers is treated with disdain. In this new audit panopticon, the only knowledge that matters is that which can be measured. What is missed here, of course, is that measurable utility is a curse as a universal principle because it ignores any form of knowledge based on the assumption that individuals need to know more than how things work or what their practical utility might be.

This is a language that cannot answer the question of what the responsibility of the university and educators might be in a time of tyranny, in the face of the unspeakable, and the current widespread attack on immigrants, Muslims, and others considered disposable. This is a language that is both afraid and unwilling to imagine what alternative worlds inspired by the search for equality and justice might be possible in an age beset by the increasing dark forces of authoritarianism.

Mitja Sardoč: While the analysis of the neoliberal agenda in education is well documented, the analysis of the language of neoliberal education is at the fringes of scholarly interest. In particular, the expansion of the neoliberal vocabulary with egalitarian ideas such as fairness, justice, equality of opportunity, well-being etc. has received [at best]only limited attention. What factors have contributed to this shift of emphasis?

Henry Giroux: Neoliberalism has upended how language is used in both education and the wider society. It works to appropriate discourses associated with liberal democracy that have become normalized in order to both limit their meanings and use them to mean the opposite of what they have meant traditionally, especially with respect to human rights, justice, informed judgment, critical agency, and democracy itself. It is waging a war over not just the relationship between economic structures but over memory, words, meaning, and politics. Neoliberalism takes words like freedom and limits it to the freedom to consume, spew out hate, and celebrate notions of self-interest and a rabid individualism as the new common sense.

Equality of opportunity means engaging in ruthless forms of competition, a war of all against all ethos, and a survival of the fittest mode of behavior.

The vocabulary of neoliberalism operates in the service of violence in that it reduces the capacity for human fulfillment in the collective sense, diminishes a broad understanding of freedom as fundamental to expanding the capacity for human agency, and diminishes the ethical imagination by reducing it to the interest of the market and the accumulation of capital. Words, memory, language and meaning are weaponized under neoliberalism.

Certainly, neither the media nor progressives have given enough attention to how neoliberalism colonizes language because neither group has given enough attention to viewing the crisis of neoliberalism as not only an economic crisis but also a crisis of ideas. Education is not viewed as a force central to politics and as such the intersection of language, power, and politics in the neoliberal paradigm has been largely ignored. Moreover, at a time when civic culture is being eradicated, public spheres are vanishing, and notions of shared citizenship appear obsolete, words that speak to the truth, reveal injustices and provide informed critical analysis also begin to disappear.

This makes it all the more difficult to engage critically the use of neoliberalism's colonization of language. In the United States, Trump prodigious tweets signify not only a time in which governments engage in the pathology of endless fabrications, but also how they function to reinforce a pedagogy of infantilism designed to animate his base in a glut of shock while reinforcing a culture of war, fear, divisiveness, and greed in ways that disempower his critics.

Mitja Sardoč: You have written extensively on neoliberalism's exclusively instrumental view of education, its reductionist understanding of effectiveness and its distorted image of fairness. In what way should radical pedagogy fight back neoliberalism and its educational agenda?

Henry Giroux: First, higher education needs to reassert its mission as a public good in order to reclaim its egalitarian and democratic impulses. Educators need to initiate and expand a national conversation in which higher education can be defended as a democratic public sphere and the classroom as a site of deliberative inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking, a site that makes a claim on the radical imagination and a sense of civic courage. At the same time, the discourse on defining higher education as a democratic public sphere can provide the platform for a more expressive commitment in developing a social movement in defense of public goods and against neoliberalism as a threat to democracy. This also means rethinking how education can be funded as a public good and what it might mean to fight for policies that both stop the defunding of education and fight to relocate funds from the death dealing military and incarceration budgets to those supporting education at all levels of society. The challenge here is for higher education not to abandon its commitment to democracy and to recognize that neoliberalism operates in the service of the forces of economic domination and ideological repression.

Second, educators need to acknowledge and make good on the claim that a critically literate citizen is indispensable to a democracy, especially at a time when higher education is being privatized and subject to neoliberal restructuring efforts. This suggests placing ethics, civic literacy, social responsibility, and compassion at the forefront of learning so as to combine knowledge, teaching, and research with the rudiments of what might be called the grammar of an ethical and social imagination. This would imply taking seriously those values, traditions, histories, and pedagogies that would promote a sense of dignity, self-reflection, and compassion at the heart of a real democracy. Third, higher education needs to be viewed as a right, as it is in many countries such as Germany, France, Norway, Finland, and Brazil, rather than a privilege for a limited few, as it is in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Fourth, in a world driven by data, metrics, and the replacement of knowledge by the overabundance of information, educators need to enable students to engage in multiple literacies extending from print and visual culture to digital culture. They need to become border crossers who can think dialectically, and learn not only how to consume culture but also to produce it. Fifth, faculty must reclaim their right to control over the nature of their labor, shape policies of governance, and be given tenure track lines with the guarantee of secure employment and protection for academic freedom and free speech.

Mitja Sardoč: Why is it important to analyze the relationship between neoliberalism and civic literacy particularly as an educational project?

Henry Giroux: The ascendancy of neoliberalism in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making.

It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing.

As these institutions vanish – from public schools and alternative media to health care centers– there is also a serious erosion of the discourse of community, justice, equality, public values, and the common good. At the same time reason and truth are not simply contested, or the subject of informed arguments as they should be, but wrongly vilified – banished to Trump's poisonous world of fake news. For instance, under the Trump administration, language has been pillaged, truth and reason disparaged, and words and phrases emptied of any substance or turned into their opposite, all via the endless production of Trump's Twitter storms and the ongoing clown spectacle of Fox News. This grim reality points to a failure in the power of the civic imagination, political will, and open democracy. It is also part of a politics that strips the social of any democratic ideals and undermines any understanding of education as a public good. What we are witnessing under neoliberalism is not simply a political project to consolidate power in the hands of the corporate and financial elite but also a reworking of the very meaning of literacy and education as crucial to what it means to create an informed citizenry and democratic society. In an age when literacy and thinking become dangerous to the anti-democratic forces governing all the commanding economic and cultural institutions of the United States, truth is viewed as a liability, ignorance becomes a virtue, and informed judgments and critical thinking demeaned and turned into rubble and ashes. Under the reign of this normalized architecture of alleged common sense, literacy is regarded with disdain, words are reduced to data and science is confused with pseudo-science. Traces of critical thought appear more and more at the margins of the culture as ignorance becomes the primary organizing principle of American society.

Under the forty-year reign of neoliberalism, language has been militarized, handed over to advertisers, game show idiocy, and a political and culturally embarrassing anti-intellectualism sanctioned by the White House. Couple this with a celebrity culture that produces an ecosystem of babble, shock, and tawdry entertainment. Add on the cruel and clownish anti-public intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson who defend inequality, infantile forms of masculinity, and define ignorance and a warrior mentality as part of the natural order, all the while dethroning any viable sense of agency and the political.

The culture of manufactured illiteracy is also reproduced through a media apparatus that trades in illusions and the spectacle of violence. Under these circumstances, illiteracy becomes the norm and education becomes central to a version of neoliberal zombie politics that functions largely to remove democratic values, social relations, and compassion from the ideology, policies and commanding institutions that now control American society. In the age of manufactured illiteracy, there is more at work than simply an absence of learning, ideas or knowledge. Nor can the reign of manufactured illiteracy be solely attributed to the rise of the new social media, a culture of immediacy, and a society that thrives on instant gratification. On the contrary, manufactured illiteracy is political and educational project central to a right-wing corporatist ideology and set of policies that work aggressively to depoliticize people and make them complicitous with the neoliberal and racist political and economic forces that impose misery and suffering upon their lives. There is more at work here than what Ariel Dorfman calls a "felonious stupidity," there is also the workings of a deeply malicious form of 21 st century neoliberal fascism and a culture of cruelty in which language is forced into the service of violence while waging a relentless attack on the ethical imagination and the notion of the common good. In the current historical moment illiteracy and ignorance offer the pretense of a community in doing so has undermined the importance of civic literacy both in higher education and the larger society.

Mitja Sardoč: Is there any shortcoming in the analysis of such a complex (and controversial) social phenomenon as neoliberalism and its educational agenda? Put differently: is there any aspect of the neoliberal educational agenda that its critics have failed to address?

Henry Giroux: Any analysis of an ideology such as neoliberalism will always be incomplete. And the literature on neoliberalism in its different forms and diverse contexts is quite abundant. What is often underplayed in my mind are three things.

First, too little is said about how neoliberalism functions not simply as an economic model for finance capital but as a public pedagogy that operates through a diverse number of sites and platforms.

Second, not enough has been written about its war on a democratic notion of sociality and the concept of the social.

Third, at a time in which echoes of a past fascism are on the rise not enough is being said about the relationship between neoliberalism and fascism, or what I call neoliberal fascism, especially the relationship between the widespread suffering and misery caused by neoliberalism and the rise of white supremacy.

I define neoliberal fascism as both a project and a movement, which functions as an enabling force that weakens, if not destroys, the commanding institutions of a democracy while undermining its most valuable principles.

Consequently, it provides a fertile ground for the unleashing of the ideological architecture, poisonous values, and racist social relations sanctioned and produced under fascism. Neoliberalism and fascism conjoin and advance in a comfortable and mutually compatible project and movement that connects the worse excesses of capitalism with fascist ideals – the veneration of war, a hatred of reason and truth; a populist celebration of ultra-nationalism and racial purity; the suppression of freedom and dissent; a culture which promotes lies, spectacles, a demonization of the other, a discourse of decline, brutal violence, and ultimately state violence in heterogeneous forms. As a project, it destroys all the commanding institutions of democracy and consolidates power in the hands of a financial elite.

As a movement, it produces and legitimates massive economic inequality and suffering, privatizes public goods, dismantles essential government agencies, and individualizes all social problems. In addition, it transforms the political state into the corporate state, and uses the tools of surveillance, militarization, and law and order to discredit the critical press and media, undermine civil liberties while ridiculing and censoring critics.

What critics need to address is that neoliberalism is the face of a new fascism and as such it speaks to the need to repudiate the notion that capitalism and democracy are the same thing, renew faith in the promises of a democratic socialism, create new political formations around an alliance of diverse social movements, and take seriously the need to make education central to politics itself.

[Jan 22, 2019] War with Russia From Putin Ukraine to Trump Russiagate

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

P. Philips 5.0 out of 5 stars December 6, 2018

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act"

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" is a well known quotation (but probably not of George Orwell). And in telling the truth about Russia and that the current "war of nerves" is not in the interests of either the American People or national security, Professor Cohen in this book has in fact done a revolutionary act.

Like a denizen of Plato's cave, or being in the film the Matrix, most people have no idea what the truth is. And the questions raised by Professor Cohen are a great service in the cause of the truth. As Professor Cohen writes in his introduction To His Readers:

"My scholarly work -- my biography of Nikolai Bukharin and essays collected in Rethinking the Soviet Experience and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, for example -- has always been controversial because it has been what scholars term "revisionist" -- reconsiderations, based on new research and perspectives, of prevailing interpretations of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history. But the "controversy" surrounding me since 2014, mostly in reaction to the contents of this book, has been different -- inspired by usually vacuous, defamatory assaults on me as "Putin's No. 1 American Apologist," "Best Friend," and the like. I never respond specifically to these slurs because they offer no truly substantive criticism of my arguments, only ad hominem attacks. Instead, I argue, as readers will see in the first section, that I am a patriot of American national security, that the orthodox policies my assailants promote are gravely endangering our security, and that therefore we -- I and others they assail -- are patriotic heretics. Here too readers can judge."

Cohen, Stephen F.. War with Russia (Kindle Locations 131-139). Hot Books. Kindle Edition.

Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation.

Indeed, with the hysteria on "climate change" isn't it odd that other than Professor Cohen's voice, there are no prominent figures warning of the devastation that nuclear war would bring?

If you are a viewer of one of the legacy media outlets, be it Cable Television networks, with the exception of Tucker Carlson on Fox who has Professor Cohen as a frequent guest, or newspapers such as The New York Times, you have been exposed to falsehoods by remarkably ignorant individuals; ignorant of history, of the true nature of Russia (which defeated the Nazis in Europe at a loss of millions of lives) and most important, of actual military experience. America is neither an invincible or exceptional nation. And for those familiar with terminology of ancient history, it appears the so-called elites are suffering from hubris.

I cannot recommend Professor Cohen's work with sufficient superlatives; his arguments are erudite, clearly stated, supported by the facts and ultimately irrefutable. If enough people find Professor Cohen's work and raise their voices to their oblivious politicians and profiteers from war to stop further confrontation between Russia and America, then this book has served a noble purpose.

If nothing else, educate yourself by reading this work to discover what the *truth* is. And the truth is something sacred.

America and the world owe Professor Cohen a great debt. "Blessed are the peace makers..."

jn 5.0 out of 5 stars January 18, 2019

This book examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin

This is a compelling book that documents and examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin. Unfortunately, the elites in Washington and mass media are not likely to read this book. Their minds are closed. I read this book because I was hoping for an explanation about the cause of the new cold war with Russia. Although the root cause of the new cold war is beyond the scope of this book, the book documents baseless accusations that grew in frequency and intensity until all opposition was silenced. The book documents the dangerous triumph of group think.

skeptic

"On my planet, the evidence linking Putin to the assassination of Litvinecko, Nemtsov, and Politkovskaya and the attempt on the Skripals is strong and consistent with spending his formative years in the KGB. The naive view from Cohen's planet is presented on p 6 and 170."

Ukrainian history. That's evident to any attentive reader. I just want to state that Ukrainian EuroMaydan was a color revolution which exploited the anger of population against the corrupt neoliberal government of Yanukovich (with Biden as the best friend, and Paul Manafort as the election advisor) to install even more neoliberal and more corrupt government of Poroshenko and cut Ukraine from Russia. The process that was probably inevitable in the long run (so called Baltic path), but that was forcefully accelerated. Everything was taken from the Gene Sharp textbook. And Ukrainians suffered greatly as a result, with the standard of living dropping to around $2 a day level -- essentially Central Africa level.

The fact is that the EU acted as a predator trying to get into Ukraine markets and displace Russia. While the USA neocons (Nuland and Co) staged the coup using Ukrainian nationalists as a ram, ignoring the fact that Yanukovich would be voted out in six months anyway (his popularity was in single digits, like popularity of Poroshenko those days ;-). The fact that Obama administration desperately wanted to weaken Russia at the expense of Ukrainians eludes you. I would blame Nuland for the loss of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass.

Poor Ukrainians again became the victim of geopolitical games by big powers. No that they are completely blameless, but still...

It looks like you inhabit a very cold populated exclusively with neocons planet called "Russiagate." So Professor Cohen really lives on another planet. And probably you should drink less American exceptionalism Kool-Aid.

[Jan 22, 2019] The Corrosion of Conservatism Why I Left the Right

Notable quotes:
"... Max Boot saw the light when it was too late. As an advocate for America's reckless wars after 9/11, he bears moral responsibility for the degrading of conservatism into a hate-filled cult. ..."
"... Boot, and others like him, need to spend a few more years in purgatory for the mess that he put us in. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

2N2Make4 2.0 out of 5 stars November 29, 2018

Max's long overdue awakening

I wanted to like this book and Max Boot but couldn't. I'm an 'old white guy' who grew up in an Eisenhower Republican family but switched allegiance to the Democrats during the civil rights battles in the 60s. I was hoping to read about someone who went through a similar transformation but Max's journey falls short.

The book is part autobiographical: Max was born in Russia into a Jewish family in 1969. His family was allowed to leave the USSR and immigrate to the US in 1976 after pressure was placed on the Communist government by the United States. Max states that the Boots survived here in part on payments from Social Security for which Max says "Thank you, America" but ignores that this support was from a program that was developed by liberals and that has been regularly attacked by conservative Republicans.
His mother was employed by the University of California, a state university, and Max received his undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. While he notes that it "cost next to nothing" at the time, he doesn't point out that his tuition was low thanks to subsidies that were paid by the taxes of the citizens of the State of California. The UC system is also a product of progressive thinking and is partly responsible for the economic growth in California. It's paid for itself many times over by developing a highly educated work force that supports the many high paying, high skilled jobs in the state.

Max began his conversion to right wing politics at age 13 when he received a subscription to the New Republic magazine. I suppose you can't expect much critical thinking from an adolescent, but you would think that it would have taken less than 36 years to realize that conservative Republican values and policies weren't conducive to helping people who have needs similar to those of his family. Especially since Max seems certain that he is among the most intelligent people to walk among us.

He states that he now sees that the messages of conservative Republicans were often "coded racial appeals – those dog whistles" and that liberals have recognized this for decades. He just didn't believe the liberals or bother to honestly evaluate their warnings.
Max can't refrain from making the ad hominem attacks so prevalent among right wing pundits. Most of these are directed at Donald Trump, whom he describes as a "liar, an ignoramus, and a moral abomination". He also includes a chapter about the "Trump Toadies".

Max "loved the attention and notoriety" his conservative views generated in his youth. He now recognizes that he has been a part of a movement that has been "morally and intellectually bankrupt".

He also states that he no longer receives any pay from any conservative organization. Is this the reason that he is looking for another group to hook up with? Or is he worried that since he was not born in the United States his citizenship might be revoked and he might be sent back to Russia if the anti-Semitic members of the right wing get their way?

So Max comes across as quite shallow even while showing off his extravagant vocabulary. While he was quite willing to accept the offerings of a liberal society, he's been unwilling to consider any responsibility to provide similar benefits to those who came after him.

The book is well written and is a quick read. Ultimately it's one man's awakening to the awful realities of what conservative Republicanism has become. It doesn't really break any new ground for those who have been following politics for any length of time.

In the epilogue Max lists his current beliefs and many of them are liberal. He states he is pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-environment, pro-gun control, pro-immigration including offering a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and he is also in favor of free speech. He and I might disagree on the details about how to reach some of these goals but in these areas we would be pointing at similar directions.

But then Max attacks other progressive programs. For example, he states that single payer medical insurance – Medicare for all – would cost too much and cause insurance companies to go bankrupt or "find a new business model". Frankly if a company that makes its money by increasing the cost of our health care has to "find a new business model", I believe that would be a good thing for the health of our economy and of our people. As to the insurance company employees, since claims would still have to be processed I suspect that the people processing claims for the insurance companies would be able to make the switch to work for a government agency processing claims easily, so they should be ok.

I hope that Max's rejection of conservative Republicanism is actually a genuine realization that ALL people are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" including getting affordable medical care. If that's the case, I would be happy to welcome him to join those of us who vote for politicians who truly represent these values.

But I am not convinced by this book that he has truly escaped the "corrosion of conservatism". Let's see if time will prove me wrong.

skeptic

Thank you for your review. Much appreciated...

I would add that it is important to understand that Max Boot is not an intellectual, he is essentially a well-paid MIC lobbyist who pretends to be an intellectual. He does not have convictions per se, only the burning desire to belong to the winning and/or better paid party.

The fact that he realized from which side the bread is buttered at early age just confirms what he always valued money more then ideas.

Mark bennett 1.0 out of 5 stars October 25, 2018

A Lyndon Johnson Democrat goes home

The politics of the cold war created many political anomalies in the United States. One of the biggest was the migration of the cold war hawks after 1968 from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. For many of them, it was less about a broad vision of politics than narrow concerns over Vietnam and the Soviet Union. The alliance functioned up until the end of the cold war and the establishment of republican control in the Senate and House. Then it broke down completely during the Presidential Term of George W. Bush.

After a decade out of power and as a hanger-on in three failed presidential campaigns, Max Boot has written this book which is sort of a combination of angry farewell letter and maoist self-criticism covering his entire political career to 2016 or so.

The problems start at the beginning of the book. He defines "conservative" to mean to him "incremental policy making based on empirical study". His conservative beliefs, in contrast to what he considers "European" beliefs, rejects the nation-state and the idea of an American identity. The only limit to the "social safety net" in his mind is when that safety net begins to impact "individual initiative". He makes a special point of saying that what has united the country since the beginning is not belief in a nation, but rather belief in ideas or "self evident truths".

The problem with all that is that his ideas of conservatism are in fact liberalism. Incremental government policy to incrementally perfect society is not a remotely conservative concept. Further, when you conclude as he does that American Soil has no meaning and American Blood shed has no value, you have to really wonder about how exactly he justifies his belief in foreign wars. Are Americans who have served in the military just suckers? or slaves in Pharaoh's army? Where is patriotism in his vision of what "conservative" means? Did people in wars die for "self evident truths" rather than the flag?

He drifts further into liberal thought with his idea that there is more to the constitution than what is in the constitution. Rather than just the text and intent, Boot finds unwritten "norms" hidden within the constitution which he holds American Citizens should respect equally with the constitution. This is not a new idea. Its the old idea of the "living" constitution which only elite oracles can present to us its true hidden meaning.

Then, like many people, he claims that his ideas are those of Barry Goldwater in 1960. But they are absolutely not. The ideas that Max Boot stands for are the ideas of Lyndon Johnson. The ideas of using the power of government for social engineering. The idea of fighting crusades for ideas overseas in places like Vietnam. A general rejection of any sort of morality or patriotism in politics. Worst of all, the tendency to see the United States of America as an intellectual crusade for justice in the world rather than as a country.

A large portion of the book is given over to complaints about Trump. But the problem is that Max Boot's ideas and his idea of what a conservative is go far beyond just being for or against Trump. In a very real sense, he represents the discredited politics of George W. Bush who have no support among any party and only tend to have followers in places like the pages of "The Atlantic". The question isn't really what happened to the republican party, but more how someone with the outright liberal political worldview of someone like Max Boot ever thought that those ideas are what conservative meant. He tries to attach himself to men of the past like Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan. But he fails to realize that he would not fit in with the politics of any of those man. Perhaps he would have best fit with the old Rockefeller Republicans but to me even that is far from certain.

Max Boot has in the past been critical of Ronald Reagan's decision not to fight a war in Lebanon in the 1980s associating it with American "weakness" that led to 9/11. He blamed Eisenhower's decision not to support the British/French invasion of Egypt in 1956 as starting a "pattern of weakness" in America's dealing with the middle east which was not corrected until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Its equally doubtful that Max Boot would have supported the ideas of Barry Goldwater over those of Lyndon Johnson.

The bulk of the book him talking about his favorite topic: himself. He proves once again that he isn't any sort of intellectual or man of ideas. He complains about trump. He complains about various republicans who he clearly expected to follow him out of the republican party but did not.

There are some incredible claims in the book such as claiming that the welfare state is what ensures the success of free market. He just loves Black Lives Matter and suddenly after a long career, race is suddenly something he cars about while the police are now the bad guys. He also discovered after the election of Trump that sexism is a problem in America. He can't really explain why he didn't care about these issues for decades before Trump and now cares about deeply after Trump. I don't think he really cares about much of anything other than boots on the ground in the middle east or preparing for war with China.

He ends the book with a conclusion titled "the vital center". The title is of course a shout-out to old school liberal (and kennedy henchmen) Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.. In it, he tells us that he is "socially liberal", He believes in fiscal responsibility but not if it involves cutting the welfare state & along those lines supports "Simpson Bowles" which called for fixing the deficit with higher taxes and a "public option" for health insurance. He supports the welfare state because to him its the basis for the free market. He supports gun control. He wants more immigration to deal with our "labor shortage". He sees China and Russia as defense threats along with a list of other countries.

He concludes with a "moderate" (ironic of course) call for everyone to vote every single republican out of office until Trump is out of office or removed as president. And while he makes it (finally) clear at the end that he just loved Hillary Clinton and her brand of politics, he could never become a democrat because of the threat of bernie sanders. His vision is a party of what he calls "centerists" which would seemingly favor a policy of expanding the welfare state while fighting wars overseas to save the world. But Max Boot's politics don't represent the center of anything. Whatever the bad of Trump, Max Boot represents something just as bad or worse.

David L. Parnell 1.0 out of 5 stars November 17, 2018

Max Boot's recognition of racism in the GOP is late...decades late...

Corrosion is a slow process but early in the 1960's the GOP sucked almost all of the racists out of the Democratic Party right into the Republican Party just to elect Richard Nixon with the GOP "Southern Strategy." Men like the followers of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms in the rural south rushed to vote for the "Sanitary Republican Party."

Sanitary was old Jim Crow code for "whites only." If any business identified itself with "sanitary" in its name, that was a warning for "whites only."

Strom Thurmond had earlier literally executed the longest filibuster in Congressional history to oppose a vote on a civil rights legislation promoted by Democrats.

Then Ronald Reagan and the George Bush used Lee Atwater and Richard Quinn (a South Carolina leader of the neo-Confederacy movement) to craft overt racist strategies, narratives, and TV advertisements. The Southern Partisan was a publication aimed at legitimating racism and opposition to civil rights for blacks. This block of GOP consultants used the Southern Partisan publication to create a core database of neo-Confederacy racists which was so reliably Republican that both John McCain and George W. Bush used Richard Quinn's backing in their election efforts.

Around 1981 Clemson University founded the "Strom Thurmond Institute" to co-opt this public university to historically immortalize the papers and sentiments of Strom Thurmond in a revisionist manner.

Another product of Richard Quinn was young Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who grew up working in his parent's business in Central South Carolina, the "Sanitary Cafe," a bar, grill, and pool hall establishment. Lindsey Graham was mentored into South Carolina politics by Richard Quinn who supplied Graham with a heroic hard knocks narrative which never mentioned the neo-Confederacy roots of both men. Now if you review the Congressional Record you see Lindsey Graham's voting record follows a Republican Southern Strategy which Nixon, Reagan, George Bush, Strom Thurmond, and Jesse Helms would have been proud of. These racist political narratives can be mapped to every Republican strategist and their GOP candidate product. Max Boot ignores this historical behavior infused into the Republican Party since before 1963.

Donald Trump is only different in that he has Tweeted these sentiments ad nauseam and publicly voiced them expressly in his political appearances and news conferences. If you are honest, the "N" word has been "whispered" (Jim DeMint) as an "IN" word in secret congregations of Republicans for decades. Lindsey Graham has created a consistent attempt at humor where he frequently quips "white man" jokes while supporting voter suppression and gerrymandering by his party.

Max Boot is correct that this racism has moved from the backrooms under the cover of Donald Trump, but, to deny that this these sentiments have not been part of the Republican infrastructure for decades is rude hypocrisy. As you read this book, to load this burden on Donald Trump alone is to deny history and the public record. Donald Trump merely harnessed this latent DNA of the Republican party while masterfully marketing himself as a new Republican unbound by swamp politics (a political breed which does not exist in the Republican Party.) Look at Ben Sasse, he writes as a centrist yet votes as a Trump man. Look at Lindsey Graham's descriptions of Trump in 2016 and now listen to his praise of Trump today. Yet, Max Boot sees this as a recent development in the Republican Party when it has been part of the GOP DNA which has produced a racist voting record as each generation of Republicans is sworn in.

Joseph Hawkins 1.0 out of 5 stars October 25, 2018

Disingenuous

Max Boot saw the light when it was too late. As an advocate for America's reckless wars after 9/11, he bears moral responsibility for the degrading of conservatism into a hate-filled cult.

A month after 9/11, he called for the invasion of Iraq. Did he not think that almost two decades of continuous war fighting would not radicalize the American populace? He's making amends by writing a book, for which he probably received a hefty advance and will make money off of from royalties. Should donate the proceeds to charity.

Amazon Customer 1.0 out of 5 stars Marx, Lenin and Gramsci come Alive! November 7, 2018

Max Boot is another smug, arrogant, self righteous, Gramscian, ruling class communist, that's trying convince the "Base" that he knows what's best for them; all while devowing the little bit of wealth they might have left to live on. Why?

Because the "Base" are the slaves of the "Superstructure" ruling class. Remember, as Stalin put it, "the middle class is the enemy" to the socialist. America is on slow-drip to Totalitarianism. And Max Boot is just one more in the camp on the transition.

BB876 1.0 out of 5 stars October 26, 2018

Nothing New

I didn't feel this book offered anything new that nearly every other pundit on TV talks about 24/7 regarding "leaving the right"

txtxyeha 2.0 out of 5 stars November 11, 2018

Please give me a check to cash

My translation of this book, free of charge.

"Hi, I'm a bonafide conservative and here are the ways Trump has embarrassed The Cause as defined by Ronald Reagan. Since I refuse to kiss Trump's ring, I still gotta eat so I'm going to grandly announce that I have left the Republican Party in the form of this book and hope you will give me a check to cash. Thank you."

I know that's a harsh assessment of a book that I agree with 98% of what's written, Mr. Boot offers no insight. Not once did I think, "Ah, good point. I didn't think of that."

It's simply a rehashing of Mr. Trump's ridiculous gaffs (hell, I could have done that, there are sooo many to choose from) and at the very end a very lame path out of this quagmire (spoiler alert: we just need someone else as charismatic as Trump that's not [insert negative adjectives here] because the Republicans have proven they will follow ANYBODY over a cliff).

I finished this book (though skipped many chapters because it was simply rehashing Trump's train wrecks) and said, "That's all you got? [sigh of resignation]"

Jensen Cross Integrated Solutions 1.0 out of 5 stars December 22, 2018

Conflicted words by a mockingbird media asset

I never searched this book on Amazon, however, I did write a tweet about Max Boot, so I guess Twitter shares with Amazon. To the review, however -- this is written by a person who writes that Trump has failed us by leaving troops in war, and just 6 months later, writes an article that totally contradicts the earlier statement, stating that Trump can never do anything right because he is pulling troops out of war. Which is it? I would not line a birdcage with this garbage.

Strike Me Down Now! 1.0 out of 5 stars December 16, 2018

Boot helped break it and now he wants to blame Trump

Trump is just a symptom; an easy scapegoat because he's a twit. Boot helped create and perpetuate the monster that the GOP became. Boot, and others like him, need to spend a few more years in purgatory for the mess that he put us in.

james c. 2.0 out of 5 stars October 9, 2018

Self serving title

Unfortunately the author is venting his personal dislike of the current administration without addressing the previous administrations attempt to divide the country by any means possibly and subsequently putting the American people into a politically charged environment that the author is trying to capitalize on.

[Jan 21, 2019] America and the Imperialism of Ignorance How America Won the War and Lost the Peace - US Foreign Policy Since 1945 by Andrew Alexander

Very interesting and important book. Andrew Alexander was a senior journalist for the Daily Mail. He died in 2015.
"Well-written, an easy read and formidably-argued. I think it is an important subject, not just as 20th-century history, but as commentary on the modern US mindset." Matthew Parris
Notable quotes:
"... However, this orthodox view is based on the premise that the Soviet threat at the end of the Second World War was a real one. But, as one of Britain's leading military commentators, Sir Michael Howard, observed during the last days of the Soviet Union: 'No serious historian any longer argues that Stalin ever had any intention of moving his forces outside the area he occupied in Eastern Europe.' ..."
"... In allotting blame for the start of the Cold War, Churchill certainly has to bear some share. But predominantly, as the evidence shows, it was the Americans who must shoulder the main responsibility. ..."
"... Washington, under the influence of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, ignored overtures from Moscow after the death of Stalin in 1953 ..."
"... On the US side, the reign of John Foster Dulles at the State Department (1953-1959) was to see a foreign policy designed to scare the Soviet Union into submission. The death of Stalin and gestures of detente by the new leadership opened up new prospects which were promptly rebuffed. The British and French governments tried to redress the balance but, as decidedly junior partners in the alliance were unable to do so. There was also an inclination in Washington to listen to military hotheads in formulating policy. ..."
Jan 21, 2019 | www.amazon.com

American incomprehension of the outside world, combined with a determination to lead it, has been the principal problem in international affairs since the end of the Second World War. The stubbornly orthodox view remains that despite 'aberrations' ranging from Vietnam to Iraq, the balance sheet remains in the USA's favour, given the triumph of the Cold War, the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism. America thus deserves the West's gratitude for leading it to victory after forty-five years of confrontation with an aggressive Russia. It adds some logic to the view that it is essential for the Western alliance to hold firm behind Washington as it faces the newer menace of Islamic terrorism.

However, this orthodox view is based on the premise that the Soviet threat at the end of the Second World War was a real one. But, as one of Britain's leading military commentators, Sir Michael Howard, observed during the last days of the Soviet Union: 'No serious historian any longer argues that Stalin ever had any intention of moving his forces outside the area he occupied in Eastern Europe.'

Yet many historians, perhaps not serious but widely read, still argue that the Soviet leader had such aggressive ambitions. A proper military analysis of the situation in 1945 would have shown that the prospect of Russian armies invading Western Europe was a fantasy, like Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction ready for launch in forty-five minutes. Also like the domino theory' reigning in Washington during the Vietnam conflict that if the North won, the whole of South East Asia would go Communist.

The opening up of the Soviet archives underlines the fantasy of the old view of the Russian 'threat'. The USA's allies today maybe anxious to believe that such manifest follies as Vietnam and Iraq were uncharacteristic of a nation dedicated to peace. But both demonstrate an unmistakable continuity of a fiercely assertive foreign policy, flourishing under presidencies or both parties, the unwinnabie war m Vietnam started under President Kennedy, was stepped up by President Johnson and finally lost by President Nixon despite ferocious bombings of Laos and Cambodia, plus raids on Hanoi itself, in an effort to force North Vietnam to negotiate.

The first Gulf War, launched by President George H. Bush to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, achieved its UN-legitimised end. But the subsequent programme of militarily- supported sanctions produced appalling hardship and death for the ordinary people of Iraq, whom Washington was claiming to rescue. As the death toll mounted, the sanctions were notoriously dubbed 'worthwhile' during the Clinton regime. The second Gulf War launched by President George W. Bush is only defended by those hemmed in by their former enthusiasm. Its cost since 2003 has been prodigious for Iraq, supposedly being rescued from tyranny while the Middle East and the world was simultaneously saved from Saddam's WMDs.

The prolonged and unwinnabie war in Afghanistan appeared to follow the decision by the second Bush to extend the original punitive expedition launched after the 9/11 atrocity in New' York. But it transpired that an attack on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was already being planned in Washington to settle old scores with al Qaeda for previous terrorist assaults. The subsequent 'war on terror' became a general campaign against Islamic militants, extending into Pakistan and Yemen. In the case of Afghanistan it was accompanied by a high-minded claim that a Western-style democratic state w7as being created which w'ould be a barrier to Jihadists. By the time Bush left office, the conflict had lasted seven years - longer than the Second World War - and the position was deteriorating. The succeeding Obama administration's policy on Afghanistan, despite pledges of a swift removal of American forces, was to leave US policy little changed. He agreed to send more troops in the hope that - reminiscent of Vietnam - they might inflict sufficient damage on the insurgents to ease the early US withdrawal he called for during his election campaign.

Correspondingly, Washington's almost unquestioning support for Israel in its collisions with its Arab neighbours seemed to underline a US instinct for the solution of problems by force, or the support of force by a surrogate. Washington was the vital provider of military, economic and political aid. It bore a key responsibility for Israel's prolonged assault on insurgents in the Lebanon in the late 1970s, in the brief repeat of this exercise in 2006 and similarly in Gaza in 2008 - all expeditions which aroused widespread condemnation. US policy in Latin America, regularly in assistance with notoriously brutal regimes, also demonstrated the continuity of outlook in Washington, regardless of party.

Criticism of these unfortunate chapters in American foreign policy is now commonplace. However, a readiness to recognise the folly of the Cold War and how the US began it is much harder to find, despite the high quality of 'revisionist' histories by American historians in particular. There are obviously other reasons for a reluctance to face this. It rebels against sense to accept that the world came close to nuclear Armageddon on half a dozen occasions and expended so much blood and treasure for forty' years against a threat that was never real. To accept this raises serious doubt about the integrity and basic intelligence of a whole succession of Western governments and the political institutions for which they make such high claims. In mitigation of the European powers' readiness to follow' the American lead, two points might be made. The hrst is, ironically, that the launch ot the Cold War by the USA did m due course bring into existence the very danger which had been imagined. It made frantic defence measures seem sensible. Threatened by President Truman, Russia responded by a vigorous programme of rearmament and an even tighter clampdown on Eastern Europe. With the refusal of the USA to respond to peace initiatives launched by the Soviet leadership on the death of Stalin in 1953, the Kremlin fought back under the new and more assertive leadership of Nikita Khrushchev. American and Western power in general was challenged wherever it could be found. It became rational to talk of a Communist threat and of the danger of a Soviet Union with a nuclear armoury. What was inaccurate was the assumption that a new military threat had come into being when the wartime allies finally came face to face in Germany.

A second excuse may be pleaded for Western governments following American policy: the sheer power of the dollar. What Washington decreed was little challenged by its European allies. There were dangers in objecting to the foreign policy of the USA. It was like criticising the bank manager wrhen loans were desperately needed. Accepting the American view helped by the expenditure involved in US bases in Europe was the easiest route. The normal-give- and-take between allies declined into a subservient attitude. Britain was trying to rebuild a shattered economy with the assistance of an American loan. In 1948 it became further dependent on US aid under the Marshall Plan for European reconstruction. Britain was particularly reliant on US support for sterling, foolishly on a fixed exchange rate which was regularly in crisis. Ironically the instability in sterling owred much to Britain's attempts to maintain its own military' bases around the world, a policy warmly supported by the Americans. Inis economic dependence had an inevitable ettect on British policy trom the start. Clement Attlee, newly elected as Labour Prime Minister in 1945, was not by instinct a hardliner when it came to the Soviet Union, though his ebullient Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was. His outlook was coloured by his experience of Communist manoeuvrings as a trade union leader. There were strong doubts about the American attitude in the mind of Anthony Eden, Foreign Secretary during Churchill's wartime leadership and a veteran of dealings with the Kremlin. He regarded the Soviet position after the end of the war as driven by natural motives of defence. Churchill himself with his long history of hostility to everything Soviet shared none of his deputy's reservations. But hardliners and doubters had one view in common. To defy US policy w7as financially perilous. The Suez crisis was to demonstrate this dramatically a decade later.

Tire consequences of prolonged and unquestioning support for the USA have been disastrous. It has led to friends of America being dragged into the front line of a 'war on terror' which served as a recruiting sergeant for Jihadists from all parts of Islam. The world is a much more dangerous place as a result of America's determination to save it.

A wider look at history show's that a strongly interventionist US foreign policy is nothing new7 - though the current pow'er to intervene globally is. A century ago, an American incomprehension of the outside w'orld was exemplified by President Woodrow' Wilson, so determined to remake countries in the American image after the First World War. His mixture of benevolence and ruthlessness may be summed up in a dispute with Mexico in 1913, w'hen he announced 'I will teach the Latin-Americans to elect good men' followed by bombarding the town of Vera Cruz. His gunboat diplomacy intensified such feelings of nationalism and anti-Americanism that Germany hoped to make Mexico an ally in an attack on the USA in 1917 - famously exposed in the Zimmermann telegram, decoded by London. In 1945, the USA dedicated itself in Wilsonian language to bringing 'democracy and freedom' to the countries occupied by the Soviets at the end of the Second World War. The goal was high-minded. But there was a puzzling refusal to acknowledge the Soviet claim that two invasions by Germany in twenty-seven years made the firm control of Eastern Europe essential to Russian security. Truman insisted on seeing the Soviets as the determinedly expansionist enemy of the free world almost from the day he assumed office. They were, he said, 'planning world conquest'.2

Tire United States over which he presided had emerged from the Second World War with a military and economic supremacy unparalleled in history. Of the three powers which defeated the Axis alliance, the USA was unique in ending the war wealthier than when it began. By contrast, Britain's income was down by a third with much of its overseas assets sold to buy armaments from the USA. In the case of Russia, which had been responsible for destroying the vast bulk of Hitler's forces, the loss of income was immeasurable. Soviet statistics, always dubious, have never provided a wholly reliable picture of national income. But the scale of the devastation, involving at least twenty-two million and possibly7 twenty-seven million military7 and Chilian deaths, speaks for itself.

There was in fact no evidence in 1945 that the Soviet Union had a sinister plan to conquer the West. The threat perceived by Truman and others was imaginary7 - though no less powerful for that - stoked up by y7ears of fearing the deadly spread of Communism. We can gain a genuine insight into the Kremlin mood from opened Soviet archives. As the end of the war came in sight in 1944, the analyses of Moscow's senior diplomats anticipated a period of post-war East-West cooperation, if with reservations about possible future developments in American internal political rivalries. Nor did the Kremlin intend, as some feared, to mount a Communist takeover of Italy7 and France. Moscow wanted to see strong Communist parties in both countries able to influence policies in a way which would be advantageous to Russia. But having Communist governments in either country7 would have been contrary7 to the policy7 which Stalin always maintained: keeping Moscow as the absolute centre of the Communist world and thus something he alone could control. In any case, maintaining Communist governments in either country7 would have demanded the presence of Soviet troops which would have embroiled Moscow in the war which the Kremlin had every7 reason to avoid. Stalin's attitude to the so-called world proletarian revolution is essential to understanding his personal and political motivation. He was, like the despot throughout the ages, principally7 concerned with his own survival rather than with ideological issues. He abandoned the grand global ambition of the world proletarian revolution in 1924 when he proclaimed that, henceforth, the aim was to be 'socialism in one country7'. To believe that he remained at all times a devout ideologue is to misread his character.

Milovan Djilas, at one time Vice President of Yugoslavia, observed in Conversations with Stalins that it was not altogether true, as some Communists complained, that Stalin was wholly against revolutions abroad. He was only7 in favour of those which he could control. He lost control of Yugoslavia. He was later to lose it in China - insofar as he ever had it.4 Stalin's attitude to Communist parties abroad was really very7 simple. They were not there to win elections, only7 to act as his underlings, aiding Soviet foreign policy in all its shifts and changes, sometimes assisting one party7 or country7, sometimes another. The overall aim was simply to promote weakness among nations which might be rivals or opponents or otherwise unhelpful to Russia. This was dramatically7 illustrated in the role allotted to the German Communist Party7 in the early71930s. In combination with the left-wing Socialist Party7 it could have been enough to stop Hitler's rise to power.

But a Communist Party with real power in a German government, ruling an infinitely more advanced nation, was too much of a risk. The centre of gravity of Communism would shift away from Moscow, thus threatening Stalin's power and personal status. The German Communists were ordered not just to stay out of any coalition with the Socialists, but to attack them as 'social fascists'. George Kennan, who had been the State Department's leading Russian expert, wrote in 1962 (abandoning his famous analysis of a dire Soviet threat in 1946), 'From the bourgeois world as from his political entourage in the world of communism, Stalin only wanted one thing: weakness. This was not at all identified with revolution.'5 In the case of China, Stalin called on Mao to join with the Nationalists, not fight them. As the Communist forces swept south and came within sight of victory, Stalin pleaded with Mao to negotiate, not fight. The determination of the West to see every Soviet move as explicable in terms of the pursuit of the world proletarian revolution provides one of history's great ironies: the West took Communist doctrine more seriously than Stalin.

Truman claimed in his memoirs that it was at Potsdam that he finally concluded that the Soviet Union aimed at world conquest. Yet nothing that was said or done there could conceivably justify such a conclusion. The Russians were proving difficult and obstinate on certain issues but not aggressive. It was the issue of the internationalisation of waterways - a Truman obsession - which brought the President to his historically epic conclusion. The fate of the world in Truman's mind seemed to turn on, of all things, the Danube delta. If Russia was in a demanding mood at Potsdam, it was not surprising. The Red Army had borne the brunt of the war. Of all the Germans killed, nearly nine out of ten perished on the Russia front. The Wehrmacht had thrown nearly ten times as many divisions at the Red Army as it did against Britain and the USA. And while Britain had been impoverished by the war, much of Russia had been laid waste. The USA - without a single bomb dropped on its mainland - had enjoyed a remarkable prosperity.

On the east European issue, it should have been evident enough at the time how Russia was driven by a desire to seek security in depth after the two devastating German invasions in twenty-seven years.6 Moscow wanted a buffer between Russia and Germany and control over these territories. Stalin himself predicted to Djilas that the Germans would be back on their feet in twelve to fifteen years.7 Though this seemed a daring prophecy at the time, given the wretched condition of Germany in 1945, he was to be proved too cautious. The German Federal Republic was not just back on its feet by the early 1950s, it was soon being asked to join NATO, precisely the sort of development which the Kremlin feared. Given the German invasions, it would not have mattered whether the government in Moscow had been Communist, Tsarist or Social Democrat. It would still have insisted on firm control of these countries through which invasion had come; and bound to regard with deep suspicion any attempts to prevent it. In any case, Moscow could never forget that it was British and French policy in the interwar years to make Eastern Europe a barrier against the Soviet Union, even to consider - crucially - allowing Hitler a free hand against Russia. Colonel, later President, de Gaulle noted that even after the start of the Second World War: Certain circles saw the enemy in Stalin rather than Hitler. They busied themselves with finding means of striking Russia, either by aiding Finland or bombarding Baku or landing at Istanbul, much more than in coming to grips with Hitler.8

Nor could the Soviets overlook the fact that, among its new satellites, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria had fought on the Axis side. Moreover, Poland could be blamed for the Russo-Polish war in 1920 which followed the creation of the Soviet Union.

Only someone who had already made up his mind about Soviet intentions could have claimed that the aim was 'world conquest'. The suspicions which seemed to lurk constantly in Russian minds about the West were widely viewed as paranoid, given that the world was Only someone who had already made up his mind about Soviet intentions could have claimed that the aim was 'world conquest'. The suspicions which seemed to lurk constantly in Russian minds about the West were widely viewed as paranoid, given that the world was hungry for peace and cooperation. But it could be argued that the Kremlin had much to be paranoid about, given the history of the interwar years. British and French policy seemed so ready to solve the problem of Hitler by turning him eastwards. It is impossible to understand the Kremlin's fears without recounting those extraordinary manoeuvres, culminating in serious proposals in Britain and France that the two countries should be prepared to go to war against Russia - just after the war with Germany had broken out - in defence of Finland, then under attack from the Red Army. The country held a strategic key for Russia against Germany.

Tire wartime alliance of Britain, Russia and the USA certainly showed that East-West cooperation was possible. Friendly gestures by President Roosevelt made an impression on both the Kremlin and opinion at home. A friendly post-war settlement was seen as possible not just in the West but also in the extensive analyses made in the Soviet Foreign ministry by its senior diplomats. But that was while Roosevelt was alive. Once Truman took over on the President's death in 1945, it quickly became apparent that old ferocious suspicions of expanding Communism, dating back to the Bolshevik revolution, had made their return, this time with the USA indisputably the most powerful nation on earth. This made conditions all too well suited for a collision of mammoth proportions.

Yet it must be said that the great bulk of Americans, when peace broke out in 1945, were full of good intentions - though intertwined with a belief that what was good for the USA must be good for mankind, particularly where open markets and free trade were concerned. The new- found strength of the USA provided a chance to mould the post-war world, to propagate democracy, plus liberal capitalism, which, in American minds, would constitute a safeguard against future wars. This faith in democracy conveniently overlooked, among other things, the fact that Hitler had advanced to power in 1933 through a democratic vote.

The real problem at this point was not the generally benevolent intentions of the USA but its naivety about the outside world's complexities, its varied cultures, its long-standing nationalistic rivalries and in particular often strong feelings of insecurity. These were feelings hard to comprehend in a nation which could not remember any invasion and which had not suffered a single bullet or bomb fall on its mainland during the Second World War. However, it was not just the USA which insisted on misreading the post-war conditions. Some of Europe's statesmen with long histories of fearing the Communist virus also believed that the battered Soviet Union was ready to fight the West. This should have been seen as absurd. It requires no technical knowledge of military matters to appreciate the point.

Suppose, even ignoring the deterrent of the A-bomb, that the Red Army had attacked the West soon after the end of the war. It would have encountered strong resistance from the British, the Americans and hastily rearmed elements of the Wehrmacht. It would have been a hard fight but let us suppose that the Russian forces reached the Channel ports. What then? Tire invasion of Britain would have been virtually impossible. The Soviets had neither the air nor sea power to make the crossing and huge numbers of troops would have been needed as occupying forces throughout Europe. Meanwhile American troops, aircraft and war supplies would have been pouring into Britain. However, let us suppose, again for the sake of argument, and against all conceivable odds, that the Russians had succeeded in occupying Britain as well as all of Western Europe. What then? The Soviet Union would have been left facing the Americans across three thousand miles of ocean. It would be the ultimate unwinnable war, a military planners' ultimate nightmare.

In short, the threat was a hallucination. The USA's Central Intelligence Agency carried out a study in 1946 which concluded that the shattered Soviet Union would not even be in a position to wage a war for fifteen years. Yet the fear of a Russian onslaught persisted. The sheer size of the Red Army, only slowly being demobilised, was regularly advanced as evidence of malign intentions. But the desire to retain large forces against the possibility of another German revival plus the need - as Moscow saw it - to maintain a grip on Eastern Europe was logical.

We have to wonder why the West was consumed by fears of Russia when the war ended. To a considerable extent, it was inspired by a seductively simple belief that Stalin was another Hitler. The USA and Britain were emerging from a war which it was generally accepted started because Hitler had been appeased. The parallel with Stalin seemed irresistible. He was no less of a dictator than Hitler and just as brutal, certainly more whimsical in his ruthlessness. Moreover Marxist doctrine in its purer and original form proclaimed the inevitability of a Communist world. Hitler had finally revealed the full scale of the Nazi menace when he seized Czechoslovakia. Now Stalin, after the war, was refusing to give up control of Eastern Europe. The parallel seemed easy enough. In fact this was another of those historical examples of 'over-learning' the apparent lessons of the day.

This simplistic view of 1945 took no account of the differences between the two episodes. Hitler had no need of Czechoslovakia, except to continue his surge eastwards. Stalin saw control of Poland as essential to Russian security against Germany. Tire occupation of that country' and the imposition of a Communist government in Warsaw was a very' sore issue for Britain which had gone to war ostensibly to save Poland. It was seen as a mark of failure and a breach of honour that the country' should be left occupied by another dictator. The USA, for its part, had been dragged into the war but was eager to convince itself that it was embarking on a high-minded crusade to save democracy and all the values associated with it. Less high- mindedly, as President Roosevelt reminded Stalin at the Yalta conference, there were some six to seven million Polish-American voters in the USA to say nothing of others with links to the occupied east European countries - the so-called hyphenate vote (capable, he was warned, of turning a presidential election). Both Britain and the USA insisted on seeing Poland as the acid test of Moscow's goodwill and peaceful intentions. Minds refused to meet. Where Truman stood on Eastern Europe was never in much doubt. His Navy Day speech in October 1945, with its declarations about firm American resistance to tyrannies and its assistance to those opposing them, sent a plain enough message to Moscow. The fact that its belligerent tone had a limited impact in the US at that moment must be attributed to the fact that the war had finally ended only weeks before. Assertions about American righteousness were only to be expected.

There was also the history' of the Russian civil war which helped to stoke up the deep and at times apparently neurotic suspicions of the Soviet Union tow'ards the West, an instinct which was also very' Russian and existed well before the revolution. In the first three years after the 1917 revolution the new Bolshevik government faced military' help provided by the west European powers to its internal rivals in efforts to destroy the Soviet state. This wish seemed to persist even after Stalin soft-pedalled the notion of the world proletarian revolution.9 In the 1930s, the Russians had good reason to fear that at least part of British and French policy tow'ards Hitler was inspired by a desire to turn him eastwards. Both Britain and the USA, but more particularly Britain, had managed to convince themselves in the interwar years that the Red Menace remained serious. Any protestations of peaceful intentions from Moscow were seen as just a disguise for the underlying purposes of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism. Besides and perhaps even more important, playing up the Communist threat was proving a serious vote winner for the British Conservatives - as indeed it was to prove a vote winner for American politicians from the late 1940s onwards.

As a consequence, the wartime alliance of Russia and the West was a brittle affair 011 both sides. Any sign that Britain and the USA were reluctant to throw everything they had at Germany' - there were unfulfilled promises of a Second Front in 1942 and then in 1943 - fuelled Soviet suspicion. The Allies, Moscow claimed, were not seriously' drawing off German As a consequence, the wartime alliance of Russia and the West was a brittle affair on both sides. Any sign that Britain and the USA were reluctant to throw everything they had at Germany - there were unfulfilled promises of a Second Front in 1942 and then in 1943 - fuelled Soviet suspicion. The Allies, Moscow claimed, were not seriously drawing off German divisions but were leaving Russia to do the hard fighting.

There was also the problem of Churchill's own attitude to Russia. In December 1918 he had called unavailingly for an anti-Communist crusade, to include the defeated Germans, to march on Moscow. It is true that he was one of the few7 Western politicians in the late 1930s calling for an alliance with Russia to contain Hitler. But as early as 1943 his old hostility resurfaced and he was saying that it might be wrong to disarm the Germans too far since they might be needed against the Russians. He repeated it in 1944. The Kremlin knew7 of this. Russian fears that the West might sign a separate peace with Germany - at times reciprocated in the West by a fear that Russia might do the same - were regular. Churchill was also to write in a memorandum in 1944 that if the issues of Poland and, oddly, Soviet reparations from Germany were not settled, it would be hard to avoid a third world war. Churchill's argument over Poland was at least an obvious one. But treating the reparations issue as a potential casus belli wras eccentric. After victory in 1918, Lloyd George had promised to 'squeeze Germany until the pips squeak'. The reparations forced on Berlin after the First World War then were a mistake which Churchill in particular recognised. He argued that a weakened Germany7 would hinder the economic recovery of Europe as well as leave a bitter legacy7. The Russian demands for reparations from Germany after the Second World War, thought unreasonable by the USA and Britain, were no more than an echo of Lloyrd George. Russia wanted revenge for the devastation caused by the Germans.

Churchill has long been associated with the start of the Cold War because of his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 at Fulton, Missouri. But his active role in the early7 y7ears of the Cold War should not be exaggerated; he w7as only the Leader of the Opposition in the Commons. In mid-1945 he was voted out of office and replaced by7 Clement Attlee, halfway Churchill has long been associated with the start of the Cold War because of his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 at Fulton, Missouri. But his active role in the early years of the Cold War should not be exaggerated; he was only the Leader of the Opposition in the Commons. In mid-1945 he was voted out of office and replaced by Clement Attlee, halfway through the vital Potsdam conference. The new Prime Minister was far less inclined to see a great Soviet threat in the making. Churchill's prestige, 011 the other hand, even out of office, was enormous and global. He was one of history's truly great men. He had saved Britain, if not civilization, from Nazi Germany. For many his Fulton speech - though the Labour government contemplated openly disowning it - was proof to many that the West was now faced with a new version of Hitler.

In allotting blame for the start of the Cold War, Churchill certainly has to bear some share. But predominantly, as the evidence shows, it was the Americans who must shoulder the main responsibility. They were to blame too for the continuation of the struggle when detente was on the cards. Washington, under the influence of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, ignored overtures from Moscow after the death of Stalin in 1953 .

Churchill, back in power by then, was by contrast eager to follow up these offers but was firmly warned off by Dulles. Russia played a role, but a small one, in stimulating the onset of the Cold War. Soviet tactics in negotiations on matters large and small could be extremely tiresome, at times suggesting little desire for serious cooperation. And the ruthlessness which Stalin's forces displayed in the occupied and reoccupied territories as they swept westwards was bound to outrage Western feelings. But it did not in itself presage any intentions to occupy areas outside the sphere seen as essential to strategic defense.

Despots, though always repugnant, are not necessarily dangerous outside their own borders. The fact that Stalin was evil did not necessarily mean that his foreign policy was evil. And in the later stages of the Cold War, the USA itself was to back decidedly repressive and brutal regimes. These were vital tactics for defence, ran the argument. The Kremlin would not have argued with that general principle, though it was always ready during the Cold War to brutal regimes. These were vital tactics for defence, ran the argument. The Kremlin would not have argued with that general principle, though it was always ready during the Cold War to exploit the embarrassment that backing dictators was to cause within the USA.

Tire level of mutual suspicion which came to exist within months of the end of the Second World War was graphically illustrated by the two secret long telegrams of 1946 which travelled between Moscow7 and Washington as each nation's ambassador warned his government to beware of the other side's imperialist ambitions.

.... .... ...

The Americans also had their own ideas about inevitability: the eventual global triumph of democracy and liberal capitalism. Like the Soviets, they too were convinced that time and example was on their side. The immediate need was safety from another war and a world in which American prosperity could continue. That meant a world where American business could flourish on the international stage, untrammeled by the tariff wars and economic chauvinism which had impoverished everyone in the interwar years. This point was recognized in the second telegram, Novikov emphasizing American ambitions to open up markets throughout the world for the access of trade and capital. The fact that the war had left the USA with military bases all round the world which it showed no sign of vacating underlined the American desire in Novikov's analysis to encircle the Soviet Union. 12

Of the two views, Novikov's was backed up by a greater proportion of facts rather than surmise. The USA, he correctly said, was worried that the end of the war might bring a severe recession to its factories and the repetition of the trade wars of the 1930s. Fears were indeed being voiced in the administration that the impoverished post-war world might be unable to buy American goods. The need for free trade in goods and capital throughout the world was to prove a constant theme of the US government from the earliest stages of the Cold War. Whether the Americans as a whole were quite as politically and economically ambitious in 1946 as Novikov maintained is questionable. The need for action to advance American economic interests was not questioned. An active global policy for political domination and involvement on the other hand had little popular appeal at that time. But it was to grow over the next decades to the point where the affairs of any nation came to be seen as the legitimate political (and moral) interest of the USA. Seen from the standpoint of the 21st century, Novikov had the best of the argument.

Both the Kennan documents, the Long Telegram and X Article, provided authority for views which had been taking root in most parts of the administration. Yet Kennan himself was later to say that he looked back on the Long Telegram 'with a sort of horrified amusement'. It might have been written, he said in his memoirs, for the (fiercely conservative) Daughters of the American Revolution. He was to go on in the 1950s to preach the virtues of detente with the Soviets.

He also complained that his call for Russia to be 'contained' had been taken to mean militarily. He had wanted, he said, to stress 'political containment'. It was not a very convincing argument since it was hard to see, particularly for a man of his intellectual background, how an idea or an ideology could be 'contained'. The reality was that he changed his mind when he returned from Moscow to the State Department and saw at first hand the belligerent attitudes which were coming to dominate US policy. Following the lines of the two telegrams each side was to attribute aggressive motives to the other. This had inevitable consequences. Every move by either side was seen as part of a plan to weaken the other - politically, economically or strategically. The USA's diplomacy was not subtle. It was often conducted in the glare of publicity which is habitual in American politics and was in many instances driven by the urge to score points for electoral purposes. If it was not for the Presidential elections, it was for the intervening Congressional elections. The so-called hyphenate vote (Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc.) was strongly anti-Soviet and could swing a national result.

The Russians had no such electoral or publicity problems. But, suspicious by nature, they were among the most tiresome of negotiators, sometimes seeming like the Red Army itself, determined to wear down the other side by sheer stamina. Tire personality of the granite- faced Molotov as Soviet Foreign Minister played a part in this process. There was also the problem during the Cold War that no Soviet official, if he valued his position - or even his skin - would dare to take an initiative on his own. The rigidity of the system meant that clearance at the top was always necessary7 for any gesture which smacked of friendliness. Niet was always the easiest answer.

Nikita Khrushchev, who rose to the Soviet leadership in the mid-1950s, was to describe Molotov's character as showing on occasions 'unbelievable stubbornness, bordering on stupidity'. 13 Yet various issues remaining from the war were in fact eventually resolved with him through foreign ministers' conferences, such as the peace treaties with Germany's former allies. But the process was wearisome and there were rarely any displays of goodwill or friendship. The Russians, questions of defense apart, thought the USA remarkably insensitive about the huge sacrifices in men, material and infrastructure they had suffered in destroying the Wehrmacht.

The Americans found it genuinely hard to understand how Russian propaganda could ascribe imperialist ambitions to them. Had not the USA been a champion of freedom and democracy and an outspoken enemy of colonialism? The Russians, still mired in Marxism, could not understand how the USA could attribute imperialism to the Soviet Union. Was not the point of Marxism-Leninism that it liberated the proletariat? The two powers used the same word but refused to share its meaning.

The Soviets in 1945 were also convinced that they brought liberation (of another kind) to the territories they took. The governments of Poland, Hungary and Romania between the wars were hardly model democracies. The new forms of government allowed in Hungary and Romania had, at first, some elements of democracy; and Czechoslovakia returned to its fuller pre-war pattern. But after 1948 all elements of democracy were removed. The full Communist pattern was imposed which - the Soviets liked to believe - would also bring clear economic progress.

KENNAN MK II

The belief that Kennan Mk I was calling for military containment was readily accepted in Washington. Indeed that seemed to be understood by him at that time. He observed the sharp rise in the defence budget and the warlike pronouncements of the administration without immediately seeking to correct the impression that containment had to be essentially military7. He should not have been surprised either that the logic of his warning led to a high degree of interference by the USA in the affairs of countries close to the Soviet bloc. If the Russians had to be contained militarily, the effective frontiers against them had to be manned. He was remarkably slow to correct this impression. His doubts about his own 'X' article became evident when he pleaded later that it had only7 been written originally for the 'private edification' of James Forrestal, the Defense Secretary7 (later to commit suicide after a bout of persecution mania).

Tire fact that the article helped to stimulate policies of rearmament went down particularly7 well with what President Eisenhower later dubbed 'the industrial-military complex' in his departing address to the nation. Left so abruptly with redundant military plant when the war ended, the defence industries were delighted at the prospect of new orders and the military with rising budgets.

The policy of containment was taken up with enthusiasm by Clark Clifford, a White House adviser to President Truman. In September 1946, he wrote a memorandum declaring that coexistence was impossible and advocating a worldwide strategy7 based on the A-bomb to 'restrain the Soviet Union and to confine Soviet influence to its present area'.14 The language was violent. The stage seemed to be set for a military confrontation with the Soviets, despite the CIA study suggesting it would remain militarily ineffective for some years. An updated version of the memorandum, with no dilution of its extreme views, was to become NSC-68 (National Security Council) in 1950.

Kennan's disillusionment about the effect of his earlier analyses started during his brief tenure as Ambassador to Moscow from 1952-53. He wrote in his memoirs: A particularly violent jolt was received one day when one of the service attaches showed me a message he had received from Washington concerning a certain step of a military nature that the Pentagon proposed to take for the purpose of strengthening our military posture in a region not far from the Soviet frontier. I paled when I read it. It was at once apparent to me that had I been a Soviet leader and had I learned that such a step was being taken I would have concluded that the Americans were shaping their preparations towards a target of a war within six months. 15

In 1952 Kennan was to send another telegram to Washington attempting to undo the hardline attitudes he had reinforced. He called for moderation in relations with the Soviet Union. He described this later telegram at the time as: '... The strongest statement I ever made of my views on this general subject of our responsibility for the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in the late 194OS.T6

He went on to write that the USA was determined to:

Teach itself and the NATO associates never to refer to the most menacing element of our military potential otherwise than as the nuclear deterrent' - the unmistakable implication being that the Russians, longing for inauguration of World War III, would at once attack if not deterred by the agency of retribution. Year after year nothing would be omitted to move American air bases and missile sites as close as possible to Soviet frontiers. Year after year, American naval vessels would be sent on useless demonstration expeditions into the Black Sea - thus, by implication, imputing to the Russians a degree of patience which our own public and congressional opinion would be most unlikely to master had the shoe been on the other foot.

Time after time, as in Pakistan and Okinawa, the maintenance and development of military or air bases would be stubbornly pursued with no evidence of any effort to balance this against the obvious political costs. Political interests would similarly be sacrificed or put in jeopardy by the avid and greedy pursuit of military intelligence.!'' One hardliner who would not repent was Dean Acheson, Secretary7 of State from 1949 to 1953. While Under Secretary during the Truman period, he propounded his version of what was later called the domino theory, which was so effective in entangling the USA in the Vietnam war. Acheson argued that a victory7 for Communism in Greece, Turkey or Iran or any of the other countries of the Near East or the Mediterranean region would lead rapidly to the collapse of pro-Western governments throughout Europe.

Tire seeds of the Cold War which had been sown in warlike warnings to Russia by Truman were to grow thick and fast in the wake of the Long Telegram. Tire influential Senator Arthur Vandenberg spoke in the Senate of the need to stop 'appeasement' of the Soviet Union. James Byrnes, the Secretary of State, delivered a warning that no country had the right to station troops in the territories of other sovereign nations 'without their consent'. That of course sounded fine and even-handed. But the point was that other countries which agreed to American bases were so much in need of US economic assistance that they could rarely resist Washington's military planners.

Byrnes also criticized the Soviets for taking, or looting, Japanese industrial equipment in Manchuria before any formal agreement had been reached on reparations. But such an agreement, as the Russians knew, would be hard to achieve with the Americans. In any case it was easy for the USA to take this high-minded attitude on reparations. It had emerged from the war with a surplus of industrial plant.

It was also time, Washington decided, to deter suspected Russian ambitions in Turkey7 and - as they supposed - in Greece, even though the aid for rebels there came from Yugoslavia against Stalin's specific wishes. He told Djilas:

The uprising in Greece will have to fold up. Do you think that Great Britain and the USA - the USA the most powerful nation in the world - will permit you to break the line of communication in the Mediterranean? And we have no navy. The uprising in Greece must be stopped as quickly as possible. 18 But Washington's view persisted that the menace in Greece was from the Soviets. Truman agreed to a proposal from Forrestal that a task force including an aircraft carrier should be earmarked for a display7 of American power in the eastern Mediterranean. 'The Truman Doctrine' was being created.

THE CHARACTER OF AMERICAN DIPLOMACY

Given the gap between the two powers as demonstrated by the two telegrams, it would have needed the most skilful diplomacy to bring either side to an understanding of the other's position. Sadly, the quality of diplomacy during the early years of the Cold War was lamentable - and it was to get no better with the passage of time. On the US side, the reign of John Foster Dulles at the State Department (1953-1959) was to see a foreign policy designed to scare the Soviet Union into submission. The death of Stalin and gestures of detente by the new leadership opened up new prospects which were promptly rebuffed. The British and French governments tried to redress the balance but, as decidedly junior partners in the alliance were unable to do so. There was also an inclination in Washington to listen to military hotheads in formulating policy.

On the Soviet side, the interregnum of Georgiy Malenkov, Stalin's immediate successor, was followed by the reign of Nikita Khrushchev whose volatile and emotional behaviour made East -West negotiations difficult. His erratic behaviour was to upset not just Western leaders but also his colleagues - and be a key factor in his ultimate downfall

Tire problems of American diplomacy arose from certain national psychological characteristics which lent an aggressive edge to the country's foreign policy. The USA has always been a fiercely competitive society in fields ranging from business to sport and many other fields. It has long been characterized by the unmatched flow of 'how to succeed' books. It is an important cause of the country's success as a leader in those and so many other fields.

[Jan 20, 2019] Note on students debt peonage

Jan 20, 2019 | www.truthdig.com

RW: Well at this point I think it really depends on what indexes you're looking at. The biggest thing that's kept this economy going in the last few years should make everybody tremble. It's called debt, let me give you just a couple of examples. Ten years ago, at the height of the crash, the total debt carried by students in the United States was in the neighborhood of $700 billion, an enormous sum. What is it today? Over twice that, one-and-a-half trillion dollars. The reason part of our economy hasn't collapsed is that students have taken up an enormous amount of debt that they cannot afford, in order to get degrees which will let them get jobs whose incomes will not allow them to pay back the debts. And forget about getting married, forget about having a family.

We have paid an enormous price in hobbling the generation of people who would have otherwise lifted this economy and made us more productive. It is a disastrous mistake historically, and if you face that, and if you add to it the increased debt of our businesses, and the increased debt of our government, you see an economy that is held up by a monstrous increase in debt, not in underlying productivity, not in more jobs that really produce anything, but in debt.

That should frighten us because it was the debt bubble that burst in 2008 and brought us the crash. It is as if we cannot learn in our system to do other than we've always done and that's taking us into another crash coming now.

LC: Yeah. This is the land of the free, but it seems like most of us are chained down by debt peonage.

[Jan 20, 2019] Degeneration of the US neoliberal elite can be partially attributed to the conversion of neoliberal universities into indoctrination mechanism, rather then institutions for fostering critical thinking

Notable quotes:
"... An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated. ..."
"... As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Paul Reidinger, January 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm

An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated.

As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. The new dark age is no longer imminent. It is here, and it is them. I see no way to rectify the damage. When minds are ruined young, they remain ruined.

[Jan 17, 2019] Elizabeth Warren is demanding that Wells Fargo be kicked off college campuses, a market the bank has said is among its fastest-growing

Notable quotes:
"... The inquiry follows a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report said that Wells Fargo charged students the highest fees of 573 banks examined. ..."
"... "When granted the privilege of providing financial services to students through colleges, Wells Fargo used this access to charge struggling college students exorbitant fees," Warren said in a statement. "These high fees, which are an outlier within the industry, demonstrate conclusively that Wells Fargo does not belong on college campuses." ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Elizabeth Warren is demanding that Wells Fargo & Co. be kicked off college campuses, a market the bank has said is among its fastest-growing.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts and likely presidential candidate said Thursday that she requested more information from Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan and from 31 colleges where the bank does business. The inquiry follows a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report said that Wells Fargo charged students the highest fees of 573 banks examined.

"When granted the privilege of providing financial services to students through colleges, Wells Fargo used this access to charge struggling college students exorbitant fees," Warren said in a statement. "These high fees, which are an outlier within the industry, demonstrate conclusively that Wells Fargo does not belong on college campuses."

Warren has been a vocal critic of Wells Fargo -- including repeatedly calling for Sloan's ouster -- since a series of consumer issues at the company erupted more than two years ago with a phony-accounts scandal.

Wells Fargo is "continually working to improve how we serve our customers," a bank spokesman said in an emailed statement Thursday. "Before and since the CFPB's review on this topic, we have been pursuing customer-friendly actions that support students," including waiving service fees on some checking accounts offered to them.

A reputation for overcharging students could further harm Wells Fargo's consumer-banking strategy. The San Francisco-based bank has identified college-age consumers as a growth opportunity, and John Rasmussen, head of personal lending, said last year that Wells Fargo may expand into the refinancing of federal student loans.

[Jan 15, 2019] Profit Over People Neoliberalism and Global Order eBook Noam Chomsky Kindle Store

Jan 15, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Trevor Neal 4.0 out of 5 stars Opinionated November 2, 2014 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The book, Profit over People by Noam Chomsky, Linguist turned political / social critic, is an indictment against the process of globalization currently in vogue. Supporters of U.S. International policy and trade agreements beware. If you agree with present policy then this book is not for you. However, if you seek to examine your views, or if you need data to utilize as a critique of current policy then Noam Chomsky offers a strong expose of capitalism and globalization.

The book revolves around several major themes, including an examination of neoliberalism, its definition, history, and how it is utilized in current policy. Next, Mr. Chomsky turns to how consent for neoliberalism is manufactured through institutions such as the media. He ends with a critique of U.S. Foreign policy especially in Latin America, the NAFTA agreement, and insights into the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas Mexico during the 1990's.

Mr. Chomsky uses neoliberalism as a pejorative term to connote the practices of economic liberalization, privatization, free trade, open markets, and deregulation. In 'Profit over People' it is defined "as the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit." Neoliberalism is based on the economic theories of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and the policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

At the time of 'Profit Over People,' Neoliberalism had been the dominant economic paradigm for a couple decades. In his critique of this paradigm, Mr. Chomsky observed that it was being used to justify the corporate domination of the civic and public life of nations including the U.S. He also noted that through neoliberalism, capitalism was being equated with democracy and supporters were using this perspective to advocate for deregulation policies as well as international trade agreements. He insinuated that at the same time corporations were manufacturing consent for economic liberalization their real goal was to attempt to gain control of international markets. A quote from the introduction illustrates this theme;

"....as Chomsky points out, markets are almost never competitive. Most of the economy is dominated by massive corporations with tremendous control over their markets and that therefore face precarious little competition of the sort described in economic textbooks and politicians speeches. Moreover, corporations themselves are effectively totalitarian organizations, operating along nondemocratic lines."

Contemplating the issues Mr. Chomsky raises it is difficult to be objective with him because his argument is so one-sided. He does not have one good thing to say about the effects of globalization or trade agreements. There definitely are some negative effects of globalization, yet it raises red flags in the mind of a discerning reader when positive effects are overlooked. For example, he is very critical of NAFTA and provides evidence in support of his argument, yet his critique is before NAFTA even went into effect.

Still, although a little outdated, and opinionated, Profit over People provides important insights into the process of globalization, and who gains from the process. Mr. Chomsky raises legitimate concerns about current trends in global development, and the forces behind it. This is why I consider 'Profit over People' a book worth reflecting on.

[Jan 14, 2019] Happy countries don't elect Donald Trump as President - Desperate Ones Do!

People are ready to rebel... Stability of countries is underrated and it is easy to destroy it and very difficult or often impossible to rebuilt it.
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com


John McCandlish 4.0 out of 5 stars Good book - but dinging him one star for not being bold and honest with himself October 20, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition

I encourage people to read this book. My four star rating certainly does NOT reflect my agreement with all of his points and arguments. However, debate and understanding of other viewpoints is important. Compared to many other right-wing books, Tucker I think makes a lot of valid points.

However, I am dinging him one-star because I don't think he put himself really out there. I suspect he wants to protect his viewership on Fox by not calling out Trump when appropriate. Tucker never once mention Trump where Trump does not stand for what Tucker stands for. The words civility is often mentioned; yet nothing about our President outright meanness, cruelty, and lack of civility. Also, I get and agree with the subject of Free Speech and some of the extremists on the left. Yet failing to mention the attacks on the free press from Trump illustrates his weakness to be completely objective. (Yes the MSM is liberal, but free press is still part of our democracy). Probably most important is Tucker's failure to even address tax and fiscal policy in regards to the elites. Maybe Tucker thinks a ballooning debt is okay (both Obama and Trump); and the Trump tax cut is not part of the elite structure to gain even more power. Seems odd to me.

Other noteworthy items for potential readers. Be prepared for two long rants. While I lean liberal, I had no idea what Chelsea Clinton was up to. Apparently she is destroying the world. lol. It's almost like Tucker just has a personal vendetta with her. I myself don't keep up with any President's kids. ...okay, that's a little bit of a lie. I find the SNL skits on Don Jr. and Eric very funny. Tucker's other personal vendetta is with Ta-Nehisi Coates. I got in the first two minutes Tucker didn't like the book and thought it full of holes. I didn't agree with everything Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote either just like I don't agree with everything Tucker writes; but I have rated both as four stars.

Scott Z. 4.0 out of 5 stars Missing an Action Plan October 27, 2018 Format: Hardcover

T.C. - Kudos, you absolutely nailed it with title and introduction. The first paragraph exacts our situation, and lowers down your reader ever so softly, allowing us to know: You Do Get It. Perhaps best explified with this little zinger:

"Happy countries don't elect Donald Trump as President - Desperate Ones Do!"

And, please accept a Big Thank You for taking the time to narrate your own book. IT truly is the best way to consume the content.

"Nothing is really hidden - Only ignored!!" I sincerely doubt our ruling class - which reasoned away why Trump was ever elected.. Will Ever Get This Point. Today's ruling elite's are fully insulated and it is EXACTLY the way they like it. They have it Far Too Good living in a No Answer Required reality while being fed by lobbists. Heck our leadership is so far removed, they couldn't hear the ever increasing cries for Civil Revolution that have bellowed on since at least, 2010. On the other hand, Donald Trump sure did! He campaigned exactly on this. And some of us that voted for him, are willing to bet too - The Wizards of Oz [Federal Reserve] were listening as rebels yelled with question of their secret club and it's role in this funneling - decades long downward swirel. Lest anyone forget, it was they [under FDR's New Deal] who are postured with pinnicle to shield us from another Great Depression.

So What if Trump tells lies. Don't you get it? It's FREE Speech on Steroids. He's making a statement about our First Amendment.

Your next 8 chapters... profoundly filled with deep and convincing material.. albeit, sometimes shocking in perspective... clearly articulates our reality... all of which, when glued together tells us exactly what we know: The Boat has Run Amuk!

The meaty middle of your publication... filled with oceans of content - leaves this reader to wonder which think tank supported your endevour? I mean, material like this doesn't just come from perusing the Washington or New York Post. Lastly, you give thanks to your Fox Team but come on... this is far too volumous for stellar three research artists to uncover - even if given 5 years.

Notwithstanding, it was your epilog that brought my Biggest Disappointment. Any sailor knows if you want to Right a Rolled Ship, you'll first need Force - to get the thing uprighted, and a Super Slurping Sump to get it drained. Only then, can we change how it Floats.. and which way it Sails. In fairness, perhaps you are implying the ship was uprighted by such a force back in Nov. 2016, with the election of President Trump. If so, I clearly missed that one from you.

Amazingly, with just under two years in office, his administration has made tremendous headway at operating the bilge. And, I don't think there has been another president in the history of your country who has Done More of what he campaigned on, to this point in any administration. And only the next election cycle will determine if the Coast Guard has begun sailing toward us in rescue.

With our capitalistic democracy you can't just wish the boat to flip and drain. While your "Tend to the Population" idea is both eloquent and laudable - and will help change the course once the keel is down.. it does nothing to cause money to stop flowing up the hill. When 2% of the population holds 90% of the wealth, when the outdated middle class based Income Taxation System is wrapped around a middle class that is no longer in existence, then there's little hope for the lower 10% to emerge. Heck, take this to a basic conversation about our democracy. We have lost faith in the power of our vote against the lobbists. The middle and lower class population can't spare the time to handle your decentralized suggestion even if leaders did fork over some power. We fell in the ocean long ago and are doing all we can to tread water, while fending off the circling sharks.

Sir, you know full well there is no incentive in our current democracy which will change what has been 40+ years in the making.. that which your middle 8 chapters so eloquently reveal. Oh, one or two politicians with genuine heart will try. But the two party system and all it's disfunctional glory will only laugh.

You suggest our leaders should proceed slow, that they decentralize power. Again laudable in therory, but reality suggests we stand too far devided in these "United States" and far too loudly is the call for revolution. The politicians are pandering the point!

We need to break the Democratically Elected, Capitalistically Funded - Autocratcy! Short of a mutiny, I for one have lost faith to believe anything else is going to right the ship. Rather than offer a mildly soft solution, your book needed to speak to action. And how it will get done!

R. Patrick Baugh 4.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas to ponder November 6, 2018 Format: Hardcover

Love him or loathe him (I happen to know him, and I'd describe him as a "charming rogue" after sitting next to him at dinner on several occasions), the author has some very interesting things to say about why we as a nation seem to be headed in the direction we're heading. A few of his facts that he uses to back up his ideas seem a little "let me see if I can find an obscure fact or quote to back my point up" and fly in the face of reality (which is why I only gave 4 stars), but he presents some ideas that everyone should consider - you may choose not accept them, but an open-minded, independent person would take the time to actually think about what he's saying instead of dismissing it out of hand.

[Jan 14, 2019] Carlson labeled the "1% Gang" as "globalist" schemers who could care less about the folks at the bottom - or our America. He wrote that they hide their contempt for the poor and working class behind the "smokescreen of identity politics." They are leaving us with a "Them vs. Us" society, he warned - "a new class system."

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Bill Hughes 4.0 out of 5 stars I'm giving Carlson's tome three out of five stars. November 3, 2018 Format: Hardcover Let's face it, we live in trying times. Take politics for example. Donald Trump's Right-leaning Republicans (The Repugs) couldn't be more divided from Nancy Pelosi's Liberal Democrats (The Dims) on just about every serious issue. How wide? Think Atlantic Ocean wide!

We don't need any expert to tell us that either. Things are so bad, most sane people won't bring up sensitive subjects, such as government, race, immigration, the environment, and on and on, in the company of strangers. To do so is to risk starting WWIII. Under the reign of "El Presidente," aka "The Donald," it has all gotten worse.

When I was growing up in a heavily-democratic South Baltimore, a Republican was a novelty. There was only one on my block in Locust Point. She kept a low profile. This was so even during the halcyon days of Republican Theodore "Teddy" McKeldin, twice mayor of Baltimore and twice governor of Maryland.

Things have changed dramatically. Now, my old democratic political club on South Charles Street, near the Cross Street market, "The Stonewall," a once-strong bastion for the working class, is no more. Its boss, Harry J. "Soft Shoes" McGuirk, too, has passed on to his final reward. Its loyal followers, the ever faithful precinct workers, have vanished along with it. Instead, there's a booming housing market with properties, new and old, selling in Federal Hill, and Locust Point, too, for over one half million dollars.

During my salad days, you could have bought a whole block of houses in Locust Point for that kind of money. That day is over.

The Millennials, aka "Generation Y," have flooded the area. They have also found it hard to identify with either major political party, or major institutions, according to a recent Pew Study. Bottom line: The Millennials have demonstrated little or no interest in democratic machine politics. This is not a good sign for maintaining a vigorous participatory democracy at either the local or national level.

Enter Tucker Carlson and his best-selling book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution." It couldn't be more timely with divisions in the country rising daily and sometimes leading to - violence!

The author zeroed in on America's grasping ruling clique. I like to call them "The 1% Gang." The numbers keep changing for the worse. One study shows them owning about 40 percent of the country's wealth. They own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, according to a Federal Survey of Consumers Finances.

In a recent "Portside" commentary, writer Chuck Collins, pointed out that the wealth of America's three richest families has grown by 6,000 percent since 1982. Today, they owned as "much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined." (11.02.18)

Carlson labeled the "1% Gang" as "globalist" schemers who could care less about the folks at the bottom - or our America. He wrote that they hide their contempt for the poor and working class behind the "smokescreen of identity politics." They are leaving us with a "Them vs. Us" society, he warned - "a new class system."

How did Donald Trump win in 2016? Carlson gives his spin on that controversial election: He said, "desperate" countries elect candidates like Trump. The voters were, in effect, giving the "middle finger" to the ruling class, after decades of "unwise leaders." Once the voters believe that "voting is pointless," anything can happen. Wise leaders should understand this. But after listening to Hillary Clinton perpetually whine about her losing bid, "poor Hillary," in 2016, for the highest office, I'm not so sure they do.

To underscore the charge of unwise leadership, the author pointed to the stupid decisions to "invade Iraq and bail out Wall Street lowering interest rates, opening borders and letting the manufacturing sector collapse and the middle class die." The people, Carlson emphasized, sent a strong message: "Ignore voters for long enough and you get Donald Trump." To put it another way, Hillary's "Deplorables" had spoken out loud and clear.

I especially enjoyed how Carlson ripped into the Neocons' leading warmonger, Bill Kristol. He exposed the latter's secret agenda to become the "ideological gatekeeper of the Republican party." Kristol believed the U.S. should be bombing and invading countries throughout the Middle East. His main claim to infamy was his support for the illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq. When Trump critiqued the Iraq War and its promoters, Carlson wrote "Kristol erupted." That feud continues to this day. I'm sure if Trump goes along with a US invasion of Iran, they will patch things up - quickly.

Question: Shouldn't warmongering be a "Hate Crime?"

In summing up his book, Carlson said that the "1% Gang," hasn't gotten the message. They are "fools, unaware that they are captains on a sinking ship."

Let's hope the Millennials are listening. It sure is odd, however, that this book advocating "reason" in our political life, comes from a commentator associated with a television station which is known as a bastion of unreason - Fox News! The author is an anchor on the Fox News Channel.

Although, Carlson deserves credit for blasting both the Left and Right in his book, I found some of his arguments lacking substance. Nevertheless, his main point about greedy lunatics running the country into the ground, and the need for a campaign to stop them, warrants immediate attention by an informed electorate.

I'm giving Carlson's tome three out of five stars.

[Jan 14, 2019] Liars, Leakers, and Liberals The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy by Jeanine Pirro

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Kenneth LeBeau 5.0 out of 5 stars Mueller Russia Probe is a witch hunt! September 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Very accurate review of the agenda aimed at overturning the results of the Election of 2016. The Deep State is exposed. Corruption, deceit, bias at the upper levels of the FBI, CIA, Department of Justice, Clinton Foundation & how they attempted to undermine the President of the U.S.

[Jan 14, 2019] The Deep State How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama and Is Working to Destroy the Trump Agenda

OK, now Russiagate reached the level when books are written about it ;-). It is clear to any non-biased observer that a color revolution was launched against Trump by the Deep State using their stooges in Depart of Justice and FBI (Rosenstein and FBI cabal). Probably coordinated by Brennan, to who essentially McCabe and Strzok reported.
All pretention of democracy and due legal procedure were thrown into the garbage can with amazing ease. And Witch hunt was unleashed on such a scale that it would make Staling propagandists during Show Trials to blush.
It would be interesting to read a book detailing Great Britain interference and MI6 story about Steele dossier, though. See The British Role In Initiating Russiagate Shift Frequency
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Serenity... TOP 100 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars ~~ September 18, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Transparency/Checks and Balances/Civil Service Reform

First of all, I am neither a Republican or a Democrat. I have voted on the qualifications of the candidates since I was first eligible. Many years ago many. I have voted in every single election except for this last Presidential one. And, many by absentee ballot as I served 20 years in the United States Navy and am now a proud retired USN Chief Petty Officer. Notice I said except for this last election .I absolutely could not vote for either candidate.

Why? My main objection to voting for Clinton was her handling of the emails. My career in the US Navy involved handling classified material on a daily basis. And, a Top Secret clearance for the last 6 of my 20 years. And, these clearances were not given out freely. From receipt of the message to the destruction, every single step every one was recorded and upon destruction, two witnesses were required. I had more reservations about voting for her but the mishandling of the emails was the major one.

As for voting for Trump, I just could not force myself to vote for him.. Enough said.

I ordered this book to see what Jason Chaffetz , Former Congressman and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee had to say about the state of affairs in the US. To paraphrase the author the Deep State exists to control information available to the American public. They don't like exposure, accountability or responsibility in their tactics.

The Transportation Security Agency, the Secret Service, Whistle Blowers, the Veterans Administration problems including Phoenix, AZ, Fast and Furious scandal, illegal immigration (including catch and release), the Benghazi attack and many more topics are covered.

The Freedom of Information Act (1966) was detailed in depth including the 9 exceptions to this act. Requests doubled during the O'Bama Presidency and many requests were denied. It also appears that this is one area that needs to be reformed. And, along with that comes much more transparency in our government.

One thing I have never understood is the reason that it is so difficult to fire government employees. I did work for 3 agencies after I retired from the US Navy and found it mind boggling that it was nearly impossible. If one was fired, the Merit Protection Board stepped in to assist. The entire system of Federal Employees should be overhauled, in my opinion. And, the number of Federal employees not paying their taxes continues to increase...

Bottom line is that despite the checks and balances in the Congress, they are not being utilized. Our faith in government is gone and without faith, our nation is suffering.

After reading this, my eyes have been opened in many areas. Do I believe a Deep State exists in the US? Yes, I do. The author provides many, many examples which are backed up with statistics. Time to do major overhaul and put more transparency back in our government.

Wanted to edit by adding a few sentences...My AHA moment was when the author went with LCOL Wood (Utah National Guard) on 12 SEP 2012 to visit Benghazi. Jeremy Freeman was present and representing FOIA. He was denied access to a meeting due to his security clearance not being high enough. Who did he call to try and gain access in the middle of the night? Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton's assistant. . Didn't work as access was still denied. What was this about? It was explained in 'The Deep State'.

Highly recommended.

Note:

Nearly the last 20 % on my Kindle were acknowledgements and an Index. It was stated that the 'index does not match the edition from which it was created'. So, use the search tools for your E book instead.

Hawkeye 5.0 out of 5 stars September 27, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Feckless Congressional oversight!

This very well written, easy to read for all, book is a composition of several stories of what should be routine successful United States Congressional oversight over the last 10 years that has allow an administration to defaecate on the rule of law. In my six years in "The Swamp" I did not meet with Mr. Chaffetz but I appreciated his speaking, now writing style, and the wit that comes across in this publication.

I ordered this book last month to hear Jason Chaffetz's, Former Congressman and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, story regarding the state of affairs of congress during the Obama Regime. To paraphrase the author the Deep State exists to control information available to the American public. They dislike "Sunshine which is the best disinfectant", accountability or responsibility in their tactics which we are seeing exposed every night for the last 2 years!

The book confirms my impressions and experience of the existence of the deep state and the governmental groups that continue to take advantage of the American taxpayer. Chaffetz provides examples where the Deep State continues to impede progress and efficiency within the US Government. He presents congress as a "Paper Tiger" with impotent and absent oversight due to a growing government. The Obama Administration had its way with congress for eight long years probably due to the poor leadership at the top, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, which allowed and undermined the authority of congress to provide oversight (US Code 192).

Chapter eight regarding Benghazi Terrorist Attack which the president, secretary of state, and the UN ambassador outright lied is very disturbing. It is a prime example of how government agencies block and distort the truth from the American peoples' representatives. If today with almost 350 million inhabitants in the country and a government three times the size of the 1960's The Deep State can successfully manipulate the events of the last ten years and the present resist movement on the Trump agenda; with a smaller government The Deep State could have conspired to assassinate our 35th president.

In several places in the book I noticed the author's animus with government employees earning more that the legislators which was my experience and exposed to during my times in and out of government. The guide in the last chapter on how to fight the Deep State is laid out with sound logic and common sense. If congress is too small as the author states to deal with this government expansion, then allow an outside agent as Judicial Watch (who seems to be more effective) perform the oversight under contract! Thank God for Jason Chaffetz for writing this must read for every taxpayer.

Aletheuo 5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic October 3, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is a GREAT book for our times. Chaffetz did this country a GREAT service by writing about his first hand knowledge on how the Deep State is destroying the United States. The book is super easy to read and very interesting, so practically anyone can understand it and "enjoy" it. Some of the things that he shares/exposes follow (it's all in the book):
1. The unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by Elizabeth Warren and her minions was "purposely designed to bypass Congress, checks, and balances, and oversight. It is funded by the Federal Reserve," which means Congress can't cut its purse strings. What does the CFPB spend its money on? No one knows, because they aren't accountable to anyone and yet the CFPB is one of the larger government agencies. This agency needs to be shut down.
2. David Nieland (DHS inspector general's office) admitted that he and his staff were directed to delay the report of the investigation of the Secret Services trysts with prostitutes in foreign countries until after the 2012 election.
3. The DOJ refuses to accept cases of contempt of Congress unless they happen to agree with the case. Furthermore, they refuse to investigate and charge Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Lois Lerner and other corrupt individuals. These people got off scot-free with pensions and no punishments for crimes committed.
4. John Koskinen misled and lied to Congress and got off scot-free (page 90).
5. The State Department sent a "spy" to watch over and listen to former Congressman Chaffetz' overseas investigation into the Benghazi incident. This man, Jeremy Freeman, did not have the security clearance to sit in on some of the briefings, which ultimately led to a confrontation. Freeman was apparently reporting back to Clinton and her staff so that they could be aware of what information might be made public which would counter their spin (remember Rice's false claim that the Benghazi incident was entirely cause by a You Tube video).
6. The State Dept. abandoned the American heroes from Benghazi and left them overseas (page 125) and would not pay to fly them home. They had to find their own way and pay their own way. Furthermore, these men had the security clearances revoked immediately after the incident.
7. The Deep State prints thousands of pages of irrelevant material when a demand is made to turn over documents on some subject to Congress. This is a normal operational procedure for them. They only hold back the important documents that incriminate the person in question or the issue at hand. They publicly claim having turned over tens of thousands of pages of documents to Congress, but most of them are copies of websites, copies of magazine articles and other irrelevant material that has very little (or nothing) to do with the original demand.
8. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is just as reluctant to charge Hillary Clinton as was his predecessor. He has something to hide just like the rest of them (page 154). What happened to putting criminals in prison???
9. Chaffetz wrote "It's undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day." (p. 158)
10. "The Deep State benefits from illegal immigration." (page 179) This is because it requires a larger government (allowing for more Deep State cronies) to "figure" out the immigration problem and they are very good at persuading illegals to vote for socialists (Democrats).
11. G--gle, A--z-n, and the big tech firms "rent" workers from other countries and pay them very, very low salaries. These are people on H1B visas. This is all while the tech leaders are calling for higher minimum wages etc... (page 180)
12. The number one H1B visa employer in Brooklyn in 2018 is JP Morgan Chase.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The stories are compelling. The facts are there from a U.S. Congressman who served 8.5 years. It's time for all patriotic American's to make a stand and fight back against the socialist Deep State. It's time to fight their guile, their mischief, their malicious lies, and their goal of tearing down the sovereignty of the United States. I highly recommend this book. Get it. Read it. Take action now.

[Jan 14, 2019] Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Elections are just for show like many trials in the old USSR. The in power Party is the power NOT the individual voting citizens. In the end this book is about exposing the pernicious activities of those who would place themselves above the voting citizens of America. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Johnny G 5.0 out of 5 stars The Complex Made Easy! October 9, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Regardless of your politics this is a must read book. The authors do a wonderful job of peeling back the layered onion that is being referred to as "Spy Gate." The book reads like an imaginative spy thriller. Except it is as real a fist in the stomach or the death of your best friend. In this case it is our Constitution that is victimized by individuals entrusted with "protecting and defending it from all enemies DOMESTIC and foreign."

Tis is in many ways a sad tail of ambition, weak men, political operatives & hubris ridden bureaucrats. The end result IF this type of activity is not punished and roundly condemned by ALL Americans could be a descent into Solzhenitsyn's GULAG type of Deep State government run by unaccountable political appointees and bureaucrats.

Elections are just for show like many trials in the old USSR. The in power Party is the power NOT the individual voting citizens. In the end this book is about exposing the pernicious activities of those who would place themselves above the voting citizens of America. ALL Americans should be aware of those forces seen and unseen that seek to injure our Constitutional Republic. This book is footnoted extensively lest anyone believes it is a polemic political offering.

JAK 5.0 out of 5 stars The truth hurts and that's the truth October 11, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This book has content that you will not see or find anywhere else. while the topic itself is covered elsewhere in large mainstream media Outlets the truth of what is actually happening is rarely ever exposed.

If there was a six-star recommendation or anything higher because the truth is all that matters, he would receive it.

This book is put together with so many far-left (CNN, BLOOMBERG, DLSTE, YAHOO ECT) leading news stories as being able to support the fact of what happened, it's possible to say oh well that just didn't happen but it was reported by the left and when you put all of the pieces of the puzzle together it is painfully obvious to see what happened......

If these people involved don't go to jail the death of our Republic has already happened

[Jan 14, 2019] The Russia Hoax The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump Gregg Jarrett 9788925598352 Amazon.com

The books does not answer the key question: if it was not Russian influence, who of forign powers tried to influence the election: GB, Israel, Saudi, or all three. We have solid evidence of interference of British intelligence services into the election. Which means May government interference.
Also important to understand that FBI from the very beginning was apolitical tool. Nothing new here.
This dirty political witch hunt has one major goal to cement the cracks in neoliberal society that appear after 2008 Financial crash. This attempt failed and Pateigenosse Mueller is unable to change that. Confidence in the ruling neoliberal oligarchy collapsed and problem with the inequality laid now bare.
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

KB from Illinois 5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed. Raises many questions about politically motivated investigations. September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

My interest in this book occurred by chance. Over the past couple years reading news stories on sites like Yahoo News I sensed a very overt stance against President Trump. It appeared very obvious to me, but I wanted some confirmation whether these views may have validity, or perhaps not. So I started to investigate other opinions via some of the conservative talk radio shows. Up until this time, I rarely listened to them. One was the Sean Hannity Show and Gregg Jarrett was sitting in for Sean on one of the shows. He mentioned his book and I thought it sounded interesting. My basic assumption even prior to reading this book was I never felt there was any illegal Trump/Russian collusion in our recent election. I couldn't see how it would ever be done in such a way that would actually affect the voting outcome (other than if it were some kind of ballot box type fraud). So I had doubts about all the related investigations. When this book was mentioned I figured it would offer some factual information to help me understand the investigations better. It did accomplish that. And much more awareness.

One of the major items about this book is that it is well researched and documented. This made me feel somewhat comfortable about its content. There is so much misinformation making its rounds today that knowing what is truthful and what isn't can become a real guessing game. I could even ask 'Did Mr. Jarrett fabricate his sources'? At this point I will go on faith that they are real.

Based on that assumption, he presents a very hard case about the Russian collusion investigation as not being quite what the U.S.A. people are being led to believe by the media outlets. So much so, I hope this book could be a catalyst for other investigations (assuming that isn't already being planned). As summarized in this book, a major point is about federal investigative departments having integrity in performing their duties, and doing so legally and without prejudice or political partisanship. This book does raise some real concerns.

The author states at the end of the book "The people who should read this book, probably won't". Unfortunately he is probably correct. As a country we seem so divided today politically. It is my impression that anti-Trumpers will probably not want to acknowledge any conflicting thoughts or facts to their beliefs. But this book could be a great exercise in broadening one's knowledge regarding the investigations on Trump. It would show a different viewpoint than that being touted by much of the media, and has the facts backing it up. At the very least, it can provide some food for thought.

Grady T. Birdsong 5.0 out of 5 stars Tells the honest truth about corruption in our Government November 23, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

As Gregg Jarrett states in the Epilogue of this book, "The people who should read this book, probably won't... they are intellectually dishonest in believing that the president must have committed some crime in connection with Russia...There was never any plausible evidence that Trump or his campaign collaborated with Russia to win the presidency... Comey's scheme to trigger the appointment of his friend as special counsel was a devious maneuver by an unscrupulous man..."
As many of these events unfolded I have watched closely and performed my own "tests of reasonableness" from facts presented. Utilizing logic and common sense I often wondered if I was missing something? What crystal ball would have predicted that Donald Trump would run for the presidency? One example: The press told us he had been a political asset for many years and had been exchanging Intel with the Russians...
Then I heard about this book, purchased it and began reading it... I could hardly put it down... The information in it is astonishing! It is all to clear now...
Jarrett has researched, compiled and formatted an almost air-tight legal case (within this book) for prosecuting these "weasels." The astonishing levels of corruption and crimes committed by those in the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI are unprecedented. He has compiled an extraordinary amount of source information to back up his many claims throughout the book. I am totally perplexed that our so-called leaders in Congress are allowing this abuse to go unpunished... baffling? This disgraceful abuse of power documented by Jarrett will come back to haunt us! A well written expose by Mr. Jarrett!

E. Christine Hess 5.0 out of 5 stars Mueller, Rosenstein & the members of the Special Council SHOULD be on trial! November 24, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's research leaves NO DOUBT that drastic action needs to be taken to hold these people- PRETENDING to represent the law- accountable & end their "assassination" tactics on our tax dollar.
This is not Halloween, not a play. This is REALITY with our laws running amok!
And our Congress - our elected officials, supposedly servants of We, the People, - is not taking action?
How is this possible?

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The deep bias rooted in the Deep State, better known now as The Swamp October 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Incredibly well researched and well written book which explains methodically in an easy to read style the undeniable deep seated bias against President Trump at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI. They tried to first prevent him from being elected by exonerating Hillary Clinton of a long list of crimes committed during her tenure as Secretary of State and then smearing him with a politically motivated fake "Dossier". When that didn't work, they have tried to undermine his presidency from the start with an equally politically motivated Special Prosecutor investigating "Collusion with Russia" in an investigation which had no crime to investigate from the start. A must read for all Americans.

Andrew Maile 5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative, but yet digestible, read........ September 30, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This author writes with a very smooth, easy, but detailed style. The book brings in much law for the reader to digest, but, somehow, does not get a reader tangled up in the weeds. As for the thrust of the book: A detailed 'tick tock' of the day by day events that have taken America to the point we are today on this entire question of Trump, Russia, and the 2016 election.
This book really is vivid proof that the 'deep state' does emphatically exist. Not as a structure or organization with secret meetings,rituals or handshakes. But as a mentality, or common political/social view of government, stemming from the longevity of bureaucracy to feel invulnerable to popular will because of their simple edict that 'we'll still be here after you're long gone'. And from this, these bureaucrats build liaisons with favoring political elites that lead to deep, hidden, obscure --shall we say 'deep state'-- actions to pervert the popular will for the ends of a few.
This book vividly displays why bureaucrats (whose lifeblood is to promote more government) so turn their collective hand to supporting Democrats, the party of government. Yates covering for Comey and the blackmailing of Gen. Flynn, Comey leaking to a friend in Academia that provokes the appointment of his (Comey's) close associate --indeed, his mentor-- Robert Mueller. Senior bureaucrats (McCabe, Strzok) playing inside baseball to maneuver themselves for promotion in the expected new (Democratic) administration that they so much support and wish for. Indeed friendships with FISA judges to assure bogus warrants can be obtained against political enemies.
Where money and power are traded as coin of the realm in a way that is so antiseptic and hidden. Nobody says 'How much money will it take'; instead it's 'I can help you fund raise'. Rod Blagojevich was foolish enough to call a bribe a bribe...well, he's in jail, but Strzok's wife isn't.
It just goes on and on................it's simple corruption!!! And the band plays on......the human comedy continues........

JG Kuhl 5.0 out of 5 stars How about a media complicity sequel? September 3, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Excellent detailed and researched book that simply amazes me. Lynch, Comey, Clinton, Stzrok, Orr, Rosenstein, McCabe, Reid and Brennen all worked seamlessly to install Hillary and have a backup plan B to lay the groundwork to impeach Trump in case she doesn't make it. All under the oversight of Obama. Neat trick, but what follows is even more orchestrated: MEDIA COMPLICITY! You can't pull this off unless you have the full cooperation willingly or otherwise of: NBC, CBS, NPR, ABC, MSNBC, and most of all CNN, the New York Times, and Washington Post! Here's where the real story lies. The media and the Democrat party are simpatico, joint at the brain and mouth and one other orifice. This is the real story that Jarrett only pays passing attention to. Sequel maybe, I hope so. Jon Kuhl Papillion, NE & New England

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The Deep State Is Real September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This book is very thorough and completely exposes the Deep State. If there were any doubts about the conspiracy to depose President Trump before reading this book, there certainly aren't any afterwards. After reading the book, I am very disappointed and discouraged to find that our government has such liars and criminals in the FBI, the DOJ, and the Congress. I have completely lost any confidence I had in the U.S. government and will never believe in it again, unless there is a complete house-cleaning in the FBI and the DOJ.

S. Martin Shelton 4.0 out of 5 stars This attack to undermine our democracy is unparalleled in the history of our republic. October 1, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Jarrett pens a comprehensive review of the Deep State's inordinate fraud on our Constitution -- perhaps the greatest attack on our constitutional republic in the history of our country. He writes in clear and empathetic style. His narrative evolves in a coherent and logical progression that details the conspirators' skullduggery in an "ABC" type of progression. He cites exactly who violated the relevant federal statute and why and how it was violated. Unfortunately, as of 30 September 2018 -- the date I'm preparing the review -- none of the miscreants have been indicted even though the documentation of evidence is ponderous.

Larry A. Whited 4.0 out of 5 stars One Less than Five Stars August 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's study -- and that is what this book is, a study -- covers two main aspects of recent history. First and foremost it is an in-depth look at the tactics and forces arrayed against President Trump. Intertwined with this comes by necessity a parallel look at Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, her presidential run, as well as a broader look at the activities of the Clintons with the nearly full support of those same forces that are now aligned against the presidency of Donald Trump. The nature of the often overlapping issues and the personnel involved has resulted in a fair amount of repetition of key points. This was not a lazy attempt to achieve a book-length manuscript, as Jarrett's original copy by his own admission in the acknowledgments was a hefty 100,000 words before the publisher encouraged him to trim things down.

It is unfortunate that this book will be dismissed by so many who are unwilling to understand and accept that the pervasive high-level animosity against President Trump has evolved into a direct and active threat against our country -- and this threat is compounded by a complicit media that is eager to pounce. The rule of law has been twisted and contorted if not completely abandoned. Trump is the primary target, but whether by design or happenstance it is the U.S. Constitution that is being the most assaulted. The danger of this cannot be overemphasized -- we are at a critical crossroads. Gregg Jarret understands this and was motivated to bring this truth to light. He is no sycophant of President Trump. His loyalty is to the rule of law and to our Constitution rather than to political agendas on either side.

I withheld one star because a great opportunity was lost. This book will never appear in classrooms, and it will likely be stocked in few law libraries. It most certainly should be, and it needs to be read and studied. The flagrant abuses of power by the DOJ, the FBI, and others need to be brought out into a bright light and the corruption purged. As a people we need to get our head out of the sand and realize what has been going on behind closed doors -- our future is most definitely at stake. The lost opportunity that I am alluding to comes down to the expressed (albeit well deserved) disdain and disgust that Gregg Jarrett now has towards those who are participating in this hoax that he has so thoroughly revealed. I fear even the preface itself will turn away those who most need to read this book.

What will be perceived as bias before the facts are presented and developed will allow or even cause those who need to read this book to close their minds, giving them the excuse they want to dismiss the evidence. If strictly the evidence and history had alone been presented with Jarrett's (again, well-deserved) animosity being held in check and edited out, then perhaps this book could have become a classic for later generations to study assuming that we survive these perilously subversive times. I did the math, and there are 771 supporting references -- an average of 70 per chapter -- documenting Jarrett's research, plus 12 references even in the epilogue. Obviously, we are not talking about willfully blind opinion with no basis in fact.

The antagonists who post their 1-star reviews with almost all of them having obviously never read the book (Re. few verified purchases) reveal a dangerous willful ignorance that they are happy to embrace. Their mindset should concern us all.

[Jan 14, 2019] Nanci Pelosi and company at the helm of the the ship the Imperial USA

Highly recommended!
The quote below is from Tucker book... Tucker Carlson for President ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves. ..."
"... Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet. ..."
"... They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Most terrifying of all, the crew has become incompetent. They have no idea how to sail. They're spinning the ship's wheel like they're playing roulette and cackling like mental patients. The boat is listing, taking on water, about to sink. They're totally unaware that any of this is happening. As waves wash over the deck, they're awarding themselves majestic new titles and raising their own salaries. You look on in horror, helpless and desperate. You have nowhere to go. You're trapped on a ship of fools.

Plato imagined this scene in The Republic. He never mentions what happened to the ship. It would be nice to know. What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves.

The people who did it don't seem aware of what they've done. They don't want to know, and they don't want you to tell them. Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet.

They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers.

[Jan 14, 2019] Ship of Fools How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution Tucker Carlson 9781501183669 Amazon

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Don't drink and read October 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover

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

Doyle 5.0 out of 5 stars Tucker at his best October 3, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I am 73 and voted for Bill Clinton both times. Was heavily involved in local union as president of a local. I have witnessed the declining middle class. The loss of our critical steel industry and the SHAFTA deal as we termed it NAFTA was first started by Bush Senior adopted as a center piece by Bill Clinton and and supported by both party's. Then we witnessed the migration of jobs, factories and the middle class becoming food stamp recipients. I couldn't understand how our country willing destroyed our manufacturing jobs. I wondered how we could ever fight a world war with no Steel and Aluminum plants. I became very disillusioned with both political party's. I felt Neither party gave a dime about the real loss to our country.

When the Towers fell I witnessed how it must have been when Pearl Harbor was attacked. People actually came together the Recruiter offices were packed with both men and women wanting to extract revenge on the terrorist. Then the longest war in our history began. It saddens me to say that our wonderful country hasn't won a war since World War 2. But not because of our military but the politicians . Vietnam was a for profit war most that fought there didn't have a clue as to why we were bogged down there and not one of the Generals had any idea how to fight this terrible travesty that took over 58000 lives and uncounted lives of veterans since.

When Trump announced his bid for president he was ridiculed by the elite from both party's . He listened to the disillusioned to the workers that lost everything. When Trump won it was a shot across the bow of the powers that be.

Our president is far from perfect however he heard the masses and brought back some semblance of sanity. Once again President has given hope to our country that had been commandeered by an apologist President . Who was not respected on the world stage. Thank you Tucker for this book.

Alan F. Sewell 5.0 out of 5 stars Tucker Carlson in sharpest focus October 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover

If there's one word that describes Tucker Carlson, it is "sharp." He cuts to the core of each issue, explains it concisely, and shucks away the hidden agendas of those who want to manipulate the issue for their own self-serving agendas.

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