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Casino Capitalism: Neoliberalism in Western countries

"When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done" ~ John Maynard Keynes

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[Feb 19, 2020] During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d' tat) changed sides and betrayed the working class

This was an outright declaration of "class war" against working-class voters by a "university-credentialed overclass" -- "managerial elite" which changed sides and allied with financial oligrchy. See "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind
Feb 19, 2020 |

likbez , February 19, 2020 12:31 pm

Does not matter.

It looks like Bloomberg is finished. He just committed political suicide with his comments about farmers and metal workers.

BTW Bloomberg's plan is highly hypocritical -- like is Bloomberg himself.

During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d'état) changed sides and betrayed the working class.

So those neoliberal scoundrels reversed the class compromise embodied in the New Deal.

The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the neoliberal managerial class and financial oligarchy who got to power via the "Quiet Coup" was the global labor arbitrage in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations.

So all those "improving education" plans are, to a large extent, the smoke screen over the fact that the US workers now need to compete against highly qualified and lower cost immigrant and outsourced workforce.

The fact is that it is very difficult to find for US graduates in STEM disciplines a decent job, and this is by design.

Also, after the "Reagan neoliberal revolution" ( actually a coup d'état ), profits were maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of the immigrant workforce (the collapse of the USSR helped greatly ). They push down wages and compete for jobs s with their domestic counterparts, including the recent graduates. So the situation since 1991 was never too bright for STEM graduates.

By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. Many of the "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI.

See also recently published "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind.

One of his quotes:

The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.

[Feb 19, 2020] On Michael Lind's "The New Class War" by Gregor Baszak

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. ..."
"... Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt. ..."
"... Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists." ..."
"... To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration. ..."
"... Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages. ..."
"... This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up. ..."
"... But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself. ..."
"... American parties are not organized parties built around active members and policy platforms; they are shifting coalitions of entrepreneurial candidate campaign organizations. Hence, the Democratic and Republican Parties are not only capitalist ideologically; they are capitalistically run enterprises. ..."
"... In the epigraph to the book, Lind cites approvingly the 1949 treatise The Vital Center by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who wrote that "class conflict, pursued to excess, may well destroy the underlying fabric of common principle which sustains free society." Schlesinger was just one among many voices who believed that Western societies after World War II were experiencing the "end of ideology." From now on, the reasoning went, the ideological battles of yesteryear were settled in favor of a more disinterested capitalist (albeit New Deal–inflected) governance. This, in turn, gave rise to the managerial forces in government, the military, and business whose unchecked hold on power Lind laments. The midcentury social-democratic thinker Michael Harrington had it right when he wrote that "[t]he end of ideology is a shorthand way of saying the end of socialism." ..."
"... A cursory glance at the recent impeachment hearings bears witness to this, as career bureaucrats complained that President Trump unjustifiably sought to change the course of an American foreign policy that had been nobly steered by them since the onset of the Cold War. In their eyes, Trump, like the Brexiteers or the French yellow vest protesters, are vulgar usurpers who threaten the stability of the vital center from polar extremes. ..."
Jan 08, 2020 |

A FEW DAYS AFTER Donald Trump's electoral upset in 2016, Club for Growth co-founder Stephen Moore told an audience of Republican House members that the GOP was "now officially a Trump working class party." No longer the party of traditional Reaganite conservatism, the GOP had been converted instead "into a populist America First party." As he uttered these words, Moore says, "the shock was palpable" in the room.

The Club for Growth had long dominated Republican orthodoxy by promoting low tax rates and limited government. Any conservative candidate for political office wanting to reap the benefits of the Club's massive fundraising arm had to pay homage to this doctrine. For one of its formerly leading voices to pronounce the transformation of this orthodoxy toward a more populist nationalism showed just how much the ground had shifted on election night.

To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. The title of Lind's new book, The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite , leaves no doubt as to where his sympathies lie, though he's adamant that he's not some sort of guru for a " smarter Trumpism ," as some have labeled him.

Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt.

The New Class War is a breath of fresh air. Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists."

To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration.

The strategy has since been successfully repeated in the United Kingdom by Boris Johnson, and it looks, for now, like a foolproof way for conservative parties in the West to capture or defend their majorities against center-left parties that are too beholden to wealthy, metropolitan interests to seriously attract working-class support. Berating the latter as irredeemably racist certainly doesn't help either.

What happened in the preceding decades to produce this divide in Western democracies? Lind's narrative begins with the New Deal, which had brought to an end what he calls "the first class war" in favor of a class compromise between management and labor. This first class war is the one we are the most familiar with: originating in the Industrial Revolution, which had produced the wretchedly poor proletariat, it soon led to the rise of competing parties of organized workers on the one hand and the liberal bourgeoisie on the other, a clash that came to a head in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages.

This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up.

But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself.

Likewise, only it can contain this backlash by returning to the bargaining table and reestablishing the tripartite system it had walked away from. According to Lind, the new class peace can only come about on the level of the individual nation-state because transnational treaty organizations like the EU cannot allow the various national working classes to escape the curse of labor arbitrage. This will mean that unskilled immigration will necessarily have to be curbed to strengthen the bargaining power of domestic workers. The free-market orthodoxy of the Club for Growth will also have to take a backseat, to be replaced by government-promoted industrial strategies that invest in innovation to help modernize their national economies.

Under which circumstances would the managerial elites ever return to the bargaining table? "The answer is fear," Lind suggests -- fear of working-class resentment of hyper-woke, authoritarian elites. Ironically, this leaves all the agency with the ruling class, who first acceded to the class compromise, then canceled it, and is now called on to forge a new one lest its underlings revolt.

Lind rightly complains all throughout the book that the old mass-membership based organizations of the 20th century have collapsed. He's coy, however, about who would reconstitute them and how. At best, Lind argues for a return to the old system where party bosses and ward captains served their local constituencies through patronage, but once more this leaves the agency with entities like the Republicans and Democrats who have a combined zero members. As the third-party activist Howie Hawkins remarked cunningly elsewhere ,

American parties are not organized parties built around active members and policy platforms; they are shifting coalitions of entrepreneurial candidate campaign organizations. Hence, the Democratic and Republican Parties are not only capitalist ideologically; they are capitalistically run enterprises.

Thus, they would hardly be the first options one would think of to reinvigorate the forces of civil society toward self-rule from the bottom up.

The key to Lind's fraught logic lies hidden in plain sight -- in the book's title. Lind does not speak of "class struggle ," the heroic Marxist narrative in which an organized proletariat strove for global power; no, "class war " smacks of a gloomy, Hobbesian war of all against all in which no side truly stands to win.

In the epigraph to the book, Lind cites approvingly the 1949 treatise The Vital Center by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who wrote that "class conflict, pursued to excess, may well destroy the underlying fabric of common principle which sustains free society." Schlesinger was just one among many voices who believed that Western societies after World War II were experiencing the "end of ideology." From now on, the reasoning went, the ideological battles of yesteryear were settled in favor of a more disinterested capitalist (albeit New Deal–inflected) governance. This, in turn, gave rise to the managerial forces in government, the military, and business whose unchecked hold on power Lind laments. The midcentury social-democratic thinker Michael Harrington had it right when he wrote that "[t]he end of ideology is a shorthand way of saying the end of socialism."

Looked at from this perspective, the break between the postwar Fordist regime and technocratic neoliberalism isn't as massive as one would suppose. The overclass antagonists of The New Class War believe that they derive their power from the same "liberal order" of the first-class peace that Lind upholds as a positive utopia. A cursory glance at the recent impeachment hearings bears witness to this, as career bureaucrats complained that President Trump unjustifiably sought to change the course of an American foreign policy that had been nobly steered by them since the onset of the Cold War. In their eyes, Trump, like the Brexiteers or the French yellow vest protesters, are vulgar usurpers who threaten the stability of the vital center from polar extremes.

A more honest account of capitalism would also acknowledge its natural tendencies to persistently contract and to disrupt the social fabric. There is thus no reason to believe why some future class compromise would once and for all quell these tendencies -- and why nationalistically operating capitalist states would not be inclined to confront each other again in war.

Gregor Baszak is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His Twitter handle is @gregorbas1.

Stourley Kracklite 20 days ago • edited ,

Reagan was a free-trader and a union buster. Lind's people jumped the Democratic ship to vote for Reagan in (lemming-like) droves. As Republicans consolidated power over labor with cheap goods from China and the meth of deficit spending Democrats struggled with being necklaced as the party of civil rights.
The idea that people who are well-informed ought not to govern is a sad and sick cover story that the culpable are forced to chant in their caves until their days are done, the reckoning being too great.

[Feb 18, 2020] The West "Weeps" for What It Has Sowed by Stormy

Feb 16, 2020 |
At the Munich Security Conference the U.S. and its allies had no idea of how to handle China, a problem of their greed and stupidity. The West is divided, confused. What to do about Huawei? Really, what to do with China?

So when Mike Pompeo proclaimed "we are winning," the largely European audience was silent and worried in what sense "we" existed longer.
In the meantime, Europe, including the U.K, finds itself in a mincer between the U.S. and China

Unfortunately for us. China has followed the U.S. playbook and has outplayed the West, especially the U.S.

Walter Rostow of the Johnson administration, an avid anti-communist, wrote the playbook: How can an undeveloped nation take its place among the leaders of the world.

The answer : Industrialize as rapidly as possible. Do whatever it takes. China did just that.

In its five year plans, China acknowledged its debt to Rostow and started to industrialize. While I have described this process many years ago, I again outline it briefly here.

First : China entered the W.T.O. Bill Clinton and Congress were accommodating and instrumental:

Last fall, as all of you know, the United States signed an agreement to bring China into the W.T.O, on terms that will open its markets to American products and investments.
Bill Clinton speaking before Congress, March 9, 1998

Second : China offered dirt cheap labor, labor that had no effective right to bargain
Third : China did not require a company to obey any environmental regulations.
Fourth : China often offered a ten-year grace period without any taxation. If there were taxes they were less than those on its own indigenous firms.
Fifth : China manipulated its currency, making products cheaper to make but getting higher profits in the West.

The net resul t: Massive trade imbalance in favor of China. CEOs and their henchmen made enormous profits. Devastated American workers were told to go to school, to work harder, to make themselves invaluable to their companies. A cruel joke.

In droves, Western companies outsourced to China, emptying one factory after another. Anything that could be outsourced was outsourced. China, of course, was not the sole beneficiary of U.S. foolishness. India, Mexico, Vietnam wherever environmental standards were non-existent, wherever workers had no effective rights these were the third world countries the U.S. used. The health and safety of third world workers was of no concern. They were many–and they were expendable.

U.S. companies were so profitable that special arrangements were made to repatriate those profits back to the states: pennies on the dollar. Many billionaires should really be thanking China.

Americans were considered only consumers/ The more they consumed, the richer the rich became. Credit was made easy. George Bush's answer to 911 was: Go out and shop.+

Between The Financial Modernization Act of 1999 and Free trade insanity, the working class of American faced the crash of 2008.

China became the factory of the world, not through automation, but through dirt cheap labor. China poisoned its atmosphere and polluted its water. Face masks were everywhere. Nonetheless, China had become undeniable economic power, challenging the U.S.

At the same time, China educated great numbers of engineers, inventors, and scientists. Huwaii became the problem really, Huwaii is just an emblem of it.

The U.S. in its greed had became lazy. It poured money into weapons. The U.S. decided to build a space force. U.S. bullied countries with foolish sanctions if those countries did not make their billionaire class more profitable. Sanctions instead of competition became last gasp, the last grasp at profit. Flabby and greedy, the no longer competitive. It has become just a bully, a threat to everyone.

Trump, of course, played both sides of the problem. He railed against the outsourcing, but has done little to correct it, giving instead massive tax breaks to the wealthy, gutting environmental regulations laying waste to everything he touches. Pelosi and Schumer pretend to care, but they have nothing to offer. Like Trump, they worry about China. Like Trump, they have no answer, except for more wars and more sanctions.

Hillary and Bill should take a bow. They began this debacle. Once things were made in the U.S.A. Go to any Walmart store and read the label: Made in China.

Pelosi and the free trade Democrats should take a bow as should all the Republicans. All of them should hold hands, give each other a quick hug and smile. They and their friends are rich.

To China belongs the future.

Terry , February 16, 2020 8:27 pm

Economics 101 says trade benefits all participants. The problem is not China but the United States. The oligarchs have sucked up all the benefits of trade and have bought the government to keep the good times going. Obama played along unlike FDR with the result that the oligarchs came out stronger than ever while everyone else had a second rate rather than a third rate health care system which Trump and the GOP are struggling to return to a third rate system. You can blame China or the "laziness " of Americans, but the real problem is the moneyed class who do not give a crap about the country or its citizens but only how to hang onto their privileged existence. I hate to even think it but I do not see this thing ending peacefully.

MARK LOHR , February 16, 2020 8:27 pm

And in turn funding China's considerable, unabated, and ongoing military expansion.
The screws are turning; the noose tightening.
That Western governments of all leanings have not counter-vailed for many decades now is a tale of enormous short-sightedness and cultural hubris.

davebarnes , February 16, 2020 9:24 pm

Didn't I read the same thing about Japan 20+ years ago?

MARK LOHR , February 16, 2020 10:50 pm

Yes. And to be sure, China faces all the limits inherent to a totalitarian system. However, unlike Japan, they have remilitarized and have demonstrated expansionist goals – artificial island military outposts, Belt and Road, etc.
Besides stealing/extorting etc our IP.

doug higgins , February 17, 2020 1:00 am

Where do you get your information? China has one military base outside its borders. The U.S. has over 800. China does not pour its money into a military budge; the U.S. does.

Try the actual facts, for a change.

likbez , February 17, 2020 9:34 am

To China belongs the future.

I think it is too early to write down the USA. Historically the USA proved to be highly adaptable society (look at the New Deal). And I think that still there is a chance that it might be capable of jumping the sinking ship of neoliberalism. Although I have problems with Sanders's economic program, Sanders's victory might be instrumental for that change.

China adopted neoliberalism, much like the USA. It was just lucky to be on the receiving end of the outflow of the capital from the USA. It has a more competent leadership and avoided the fate of the USSR for which the attempt to the adoption of neoliberalism ( aka Perestroika ) proved to be fatal.

I suspect that the main problem for China is that Neoliberalism, as a social system, is incompatible with the rule of the Communist Party.

Fundamentally what China has now is a variation of the Soviet "New Economic Policy" (NEP) invented by Bolsheviks after the Civil War in Russia, and while providing a rapid economic development, China has all the problems that are known for this policy.

One is the endemic corruption of state officials due to the inability of capital to rise above a certain level of political influence and systematic attempts to buy this influence.

That necessitates periodic campaigns against corruption and purges/jailing of officials, which does not solve the fundamental problem which is systemic.

The other problem is that the Communist Party is such mode degrades into something like amorphous "holding company" staff for the country (managing state tier in the two tie economy -- state capitalism at the top; neoliberalism at the middle and the bottom)

Which necessitates the rule of a strong leader, the Father of the Nation, who is capable to conduct purges and hold the Party together by suppressing the appetite of local Party functionaries using brutal repressions. But the Party functionaries understand that they no longer conduct Marxist policies, and that undermines morale. That they are essentially renegades, and that creates a huge stimulus for "make money fast" behavior and illicit self-enrichment.

Which paradoxically necessitate the hostility with the USA as the mean to cement the Party and suppress the dissent. So not only the USA neocons and MIC are interested in China, China, China (and/or Russia, Russia, Russia) bogeyman.

That also creates for Chinese senior Communist Party leadership an incentive at some point to implement "Stalin-style solution" to the problems with New Economic Policy.

So it looks like Neo-McCarthyism in the USA has a long and prosperous future, as both sides are interested in its continuation 🙂

BTW another example of NEP as a policy was Tito Yugoslavia, which no longer exists.

Yet another example was Gorbachov's "Perestroika," which logically led to the dissolution of the USSR. With the subjective factor of the total incompetence of Gorbachov as a leader -- with some analogies as for this level of incompetence with Trump.

As well as general "simplification," and degeneration of Politburo similar to what we observe with the USA Congress now: the USSR in the 1980th has become a gerontocracy.

But the major factor was that the top KGB officials and several members of Politburo, including Gorbachov, became turncoats and changed sides attempting to change the system to neoliberalism, which was at the time on the assent; Russia always picks the worst possible time for the social change 😉

While neoliberalism is definitely in decline and its ideology is discredited, I still think there are fundamental problems in tis interaction with the Communist Party rule, that might eventually cause the social crisis for China.

But only time will tell

BTW Professor Stephen Cohen books contain very interesting information about NEP, Russia adoption of neoliberalism (and related dissolution of the USSR) and Russia social development in general

[Feb 18, 2020] Automation Armageddon: a Legitimate Worry? reviewed the history of automation, focused on projections of gloom-and-doom by Michael Olenick

Relatively simple automation often beat more complex system. By far.
Notable quotes:
"... My guess is we're heading for something in-between, a place where artisanal bakers use locally grown wheat, made affordable thanks to machine milling. Where small family-owned bakeries rely on automation tech to do the undifferentiated grunt-work. The robots in my future are more likely to look more like cash registers and less like Terminators. ..."
"... I gave a guest lecture to a roomful of young roboticists (largely undergrad, some first year grad engineering students) a decade ago. After discussing the economics/finance of creating and selling a burgerbot, asked about those that would be unemployed by the contraption. One student immediately snorted out, "Not my problem!" Another replied, "But what if they cannot do anything else?". Again, "Not my problem!". And that is San Josie in a nutshell. ..."
"... One counter-argument might be that while hoping for the best it might be prudent to prepare for the worst. Currently, and for a couple of decades, the efficiency gains have been left to the market to allocate. Some might argue that for the common good then the government might need to be more active. ..."
"... "Too much automation is really all about narrowing the choices in your life and making it cheaper instead of enabling a richer lifestyle." Many times the only way to automate the creation of a product is to change it to fit the machine. ..."
"... You've gotta' get out of Paris: great French bread remains awesome. I live here. I've lived here for over half a decade and know many elderly French. The bread, from the right bakeries, remains great. ..."
"... I agree with others here who distinguish between labor saving automation and labor eliminating automation, but I don't think the former per se is the problem as much as the gradual shift toward the mentality and "rightness" of mass production and globalization. ..."
"... I was exposed to that conflict, in a small way, because my father was an investment manager. He told me they were considering investing in a smallish Swiss pasta (IIRC) factory. He was frustrated with the negotiations; the owners just weren't interested in getting a lot bigger – which would be the point of the investment, from the investors' POV. ..."
"... Incidentally, this is a possible approach to a better, more sustainable economy: substitute craft for capital and resources, on as large a scale as possible. More value with less consumption. But how we get there from here is another question. ..."
"... The Ten Commandments do not apply to corporations. ..."
"... But what happens when the bread machine is connected to the internet, can't function without an active internet connection, and requires an annual subscription to use? ..."
"... Until 100 petaflops costs less than a typical human worker total automation isn't going to happen. Developments in AI software can't overcome basic hardware limits. ..."
"... When I started doing robotics, I developed a working definition of a robot as: (a.) Senses its environment; (b.) Has goals and goal-seeking logic; (c.) Has means to affect environment in order to get goal and reality (the environment) to converge. Under that definition, Amazon's Alexa and your household air conditioning and heating system both qualify as "robot". ..."
"... The addition of a computer (with a program, or even downloadable-on-the-fly programs) to a static machine, e.g. today's computer-controlled-manufacturing machines (lathes, milling, welding, plasma cutters, etc.) makes a massive change in utility. It's almost the same physically, but ever so much more flexible, useful, and more profitable to own/operate. ..."
"... And if you add massive databases, internet connectivity, the latest machine-learning, language and image processing and some nefarious intent, then you get into trouble. ..."
Oct 25, 2019 |

By Michael Olenick, a research fellow at INSEAD who writes regularly at Olen on Economics and Innowiki . Originally published at Innowiki

Part I , "Automation Armageddon: a Legitimate Worry?" reviewed the history of automation, focused on projections of gloom-and-doom.

"It smells like death," is how a friend of mine described a nearby chain grocery store. He tends to exaggerate and visiting France admittedly brings about strong feelings of passion. Anyway, the only reason we go there is for things like foil or plastic bags that aren't available at any of the smaller stores.

Before getting to why that matters – and, yes, it does matter – first a tasty digression.

I live in a French village. To the French, high-quality food is a vital component to good life.

My daughter counts eight independent bakeries on the short drive between home and school. Most are owned by a couple of people. Counting high-quality bakeries embedded in grocery stores would add a few more. Going out of our way more than a minute or two would more than double that number.

Typical Bakery: Bread is cooked at least twice daily

Despite so many, the bakeries seem to do well. In the half-decade I've been here, three new ones opened and none of the old ones closed. They all seem to be busy. Bakeries are normally owner operated. The busiest might employ a few people but many are mom-and-pop operations with him baking and her selling. To remain economically viable, they rely on a dance of people and robots. Flour arrives in sacks with high-quality grains milled by machines. People measure ingredients, with each bakery using slightly different recipes. A human-fed robot mixes and kneads the ingredients into the dough. Some kind of machine churns the lumps of dough into baguettes.

Baguette Forming Machine: This would make a good animated GIF

The baker places the formed baguettes onto baking trays then puts them in the oven. Big ovens maintain a steady temperature while timers keep track of how long various loaves of bread have been baking. Despite the sensors, bakers make the final decision when to pull the loaves out, with some preferring a bien cuit more cooked flavor and others a softer crust. Finally, a person uses a robot in the form of a cash register to ring up transactions and processes payments, either by cash or card.

Nobody -- not the owners, workers, or customers -- think twice about any of this. I doubt most people realize how much automation technology is involved or even that much of the equipment is automation tech. There would be no improvement in quality mixing and kneading the dough by hand. There would, however, be an enormous increase in cost. The baguette forming machines churn out exactly what a person would do by hand, only faster and at a far lower cost. We take the thermostatically controlled ovens for granted. However, for anybody who has tried to cook over wood controlling heat via air and fuel, thermostatically controlled ovens are clearly automation technology.

Is the cash register really a robot? James Ritty, who invented it, didn't think so; he sold the patent for cheap. The person who bought the patent built it into NCR, a seminal company laying the groundwork of the modern computer revolution.

Would these bakeries be financially viable if forced to do all this by hand? Probably not. They'd be forced to produce less output at higher cost; many would likely fail. Bread would cost more leaving less money for other purchases. Fewer jobs, less consumer spending power, and hungry bellies to boot; that doesn't sound like good public policy.

Getting back to the grocery store my friend thinks smells like death; just a few weeks ago they started using robots in a new and, to many, not especially welcome way.

As any tourist knows, most stores in France are closed on Sunday afternoons, including and especially grocery stores. That's part of French labor law: grocery stores must close Sunday afternoons. Except that the chain grocery store near me announced they are opening Sunday afternoon. How? Robots, and sleight-of-hand. Grocers may not work on Sunday afternoons but guards are allowed.

Not my store but similar.

Dimanche means Sunday. Aprés-midi means afternoon.

I stopped in to get a feel for how the system works. Instead of grocers, the store uses security guards and self-checkout kiosks.

When you step inside, a guard reminds you there are no grocers. Nobody restocks the shelves but, presumably for half a day, it doesn't matter. On Sunday afternoons, in place of a bored-looking person wearing a store uniform and overseeing the robo-checkout kiosks sits a bored-looking person wearing a security guard uniform doing the same. There are no human-assisted checkout lanes open but this store seldom has more than one operating anyway.

I have no idea how long the French government will allow this loophole to continue. I thought it might attract yellow vest protestors or at least a cranky store worker – maybe a few locals annoyed at an ancient tradition being buried – but there was nobody complaining. There were hardly any customers, either.

The use of robots to sidestep labor law and replace people, in one of the most labor-friendly countries in the world, produced a big yawn.

Paul Krugman and Matt Stoller argue convincingly that it's the bosses, not the robots, that crush the spirits and souls of workers. Krugman calls it "automation obsession" and Stoller points out predictions of robo-Armageddon have existed for decades. The well over 100+ examples I have of major automation-tech ultimately led to more jobs, not fewer.

Jerry Yang envisions some type of forthcoming automation-induced dystopia. Zuck and the tech-bros argue for a forthcoming Star Trek style robo-utopia.

My guess is we're heading for something in-between, a place where artisanal bakers use locally grown wheat, made affordable thanks to machine milling. Where small family-owned bakeries rely on automation tech to do the undifferentiated grunt-work. The robots in my future are more likely to look more like cash registers and less like Terminators.

It's an admittedly blander vision of the future; neither utopian nor dystopian, at least not one fueled by automation tech. However, it's a vision supported by the historic adoption of automation technology.

The Rev Kev , October 25, 2019 at 10:46 am

I have no real disagreement with a lot of automation. But how it is done is another matter altogether. Using the main example in this article, Australia is probably like a lot of countries with bread in that most of the loaves that you get in a supermarket are typically bland and come in plastic bags but which are cheap. You only really know what you grow up with.

When I first went to Germany I stepped into a Bakerie and it was a revelation. There were dozens of different sorts and types of bread on display with flavours that I had never experienced. I didn't know whether to order a loaf or to go for my camera instead. And that is the point. Too much automation is really all about narrowing the choices in your life and making it cheaper instead of enabling a richer lifestyle.

We are all familiar with crapification and I contend that it is automation that enables this to become a thing.

WobblyTelomeres , October 25, 2019 at 11:08 am

"I contend that it is automation that enables this to become a thing."

As does electricity. And math. Automation doesn't necessarily narrow choices; economies of scale and the profit motive do. What I find annoying (as in pollyannish) is the avoidance of the issue of those that cannot operate the machinery, those that cannot open their own store, etc.

I gave a guest lecture to a roomful of young roboticists (largely undergrad, some first year grad engineering students) a decade ago. After discussing the economics/finance of creating and selling a burgerbot, asked about those that would be unemployed by the contraption. One student immediately snorted out, "Not my problem!" Another replied, "But what if they cannot do anything else?". Again, "Not my problem!". And that is San Josie in a nutshell.

washparkhorn , October 26, 2019 at 3:25 am

A capitalist market that fails to account for the cost of a product's negative externalities is underpricing (and incentivizing more of the same). It's cheating (or sanctioned cheating due to ignorance and corruption). It is not capitalism (unless that is the only reasonable outcome of capitalism).

Tom Pfotzer , October 25, 2019 at 11:33 am

The author's vision of "appropriate tech" local enterprise supported by relatively simple automation is also my answer to the vexing question of "how do I cope with automation?"

In a recent posting here at NC, I said the way to cope with automation of your job(s) is to get good at automation. My remark caused a howl of outrage: "most people can't do automation! Your solution is unrealistic for the masses. Dismissed with prejudice!".

Thank you for that outrage, as it provides a wonder foil for this article. The article shows a small business which learned to re-design business processes, acquire machines that reduce costs. It's a good example of someone that "got good at automation". Instead of being the victim of automation, these people adapted. They bought automation, took control of it, and operated it for their own benefit.

Key point: this entrepreneur is now harvesting the benefits of automation, rather than being systematically marginalized by it. Another noteworthy aspect of this article is that local-scale "appropriate" automation serves to reduce the scale advantages of the big players. The availability of small-scale machines that enable efficiencies comparable to the big guys is a huge problem. Most of the machines made for small-scale operators like this are manufactured in China, or India or Iran or Russia, Italy where industrial consolidation (scale) hasn't squashed the little players yet.

Suppose you're a grain farmer, but only have 50 acres (not 100s or 1000s like the big guys). You need a combine – that's a big machine that cuts grain stalk and separate grain from stalk (threshing). This cut/thresh function is terribly labor intensive, the combine is a must-have. Right now, there is no small-size ($50K or less) combine manufactured in the U.S., to my knowledge. They cost upwards of $200K, and sometimes a great deal more. The 50-acre farmer can't afford $200K (plus maint costs), and therefore can't farm at that scale, and has to sell out.

So, the design, production, and sales of these sort of small-scale, high-productivity machines is what is needed to re-distribute production (organically, not by revolution, thanks) back into the hands of the middle class.

If we make possible for the middle class to capture the benefits of automation, and you solve 1) the social dilemmas of concentration of wealth, 2) the declining std of living of the mid- and lower-class, and 3) have a chance to re-design an economy (business processes and collaborating suppliers to deliver end-user product/service) that actually fixes the planet as we make our living, instead of degrading it at every ka-ching of the cash register.

Point 3 is the most important, and this isn't the time or place to expand on that, but I hope others might consider it a bit.

marcel , October 25, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Regarding the combine, I have seen them operating on small-sized lands for the last 50 years. Without exception, you have one guy (sometimes a farmer, often not) who has this kind of harvester, works 24h a day for a week or something, harvesting for all farmers in the neighborhood, and then moves to the next crop (eg corn). Wintertime is used for maintenance. So that one person/farm/company specializes in these services, and everybody gets along well.

Tom Pfotzer , October 25, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Marcel – great solution to the problem. Choosing the right supplier (using combine service instead of buying a dedicated combine) is a great skill to develop. On the flip side, the fellow that provides that combine service probably makes a decent side-income from it. Choosing the right service to provide is another good skill to develop.

Jesper , October 25, 2019 at 5:59 pm

One counter-argument might be that while hoping for the best it might be prudent to prepare for the worst. Currently, and for a couple of decades, the efficiency gains have been left to the market to allocate. Some might argue that for the common good then the government might need to be more active.

What would happen if efficiency gains continued to be distributed according to the market? According to the relative bargaining power of the market participants where one side, the public good as represented by government, is asking for and therefore getting almost nothing?

As is, I do believe that people who are concerned do have reason to be concerned.

Kent , October 25, 2019 at 11:33 am

"Too much automation is really all about narrowing the choices in your life and making it cheaper instead of enabling a richer lifestyle." Many times the only way to automate the creation of a product is to change it to fit the machine.

Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Some people make a living saying these sorts of things about automation. The quality of French bread is simply not what it used to be (at least harder to find) though that is a complicated subject having to do with flour and wheat as well as human preparation and many other things and the cost (in terms of purchasing power), in my opinion, has gone up, not down since the 70's.

As some might say, "It's complicated," but automation does (not sure about "has to") come with trade offs in quality while price remains closer to what an ever more sophisticated set of algorithms say can be "gotten away with."

This may be totally different for cars or other things, but the author chose French bread and the only overall improvement, or even non change, in quality there has come, if at all, from the dark art of marketing magicians.

Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 12:11 pm

/ from the dark art of marketing magicians, AND people's innate ability to accept/be unaware of decreases in quality/quantity if they are implemented over time in small enough steps.

Michael , October 25, 2019 at 1:47 pm

You've gotta' get out of Paris: great French bread remains awesome. I live here. I've lived here for over half a decade and know many elderly French. The bread, from the right bakeries, remains great. But you're unlikely to find it where tourists might wander: the rent is too high.

As a general rule, if the bakers have a large staff or speak English you're probably in the wrong bakery. Except for one of my favorites where she learned her English watching every episode of Friends multiple times and likes to practice with me, though that's more of a fluke.

Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

It's a difficult subject to argue. I suspect that comparatively speaking, French bread remains good and there are still bakers who make high quality bread (given what they have to work with). My experience when talking to family in France (not Paris) is that indeed, they are in general quite happy with the quality of bread and each seems to know a bakery where they can still get that "je ne sais quoi" that makes it so special.

I, on the other hand, who have only been there once every few years since the 70's, kind of like once every so many frames of the movie, see a lowering of quality in general in France and of flour and bread in particular though I'll grant it's quite gradual.

The French love food and were among the best farmers in the world in the 1930s and have made a point of resisting radical change at any given point in time when it comes to the things they love (wine, cheese, bread, etc.) , so they have a long way to fall, and are doing so slowly; but gradually, it's happening.

I agree with others here who distinguish between labor saving automation and labor eliminating automation, but I don't think the former per se is the problem as much as the gradual shift toward the mentality and "rightness" of mass production and globalization.

Oregoncharles , October 26, 2019 at 12:58 am

I was exposed to that conflict, in a small way, because my father was an investment manager. He told me they were considering investing in a smallish Swiss pasta (IIRC) factory. He was frustrated with the negotiations; the owners just weren't interested in getting a lot bigger – which would be the point of the investment, from the investors' POV.

I thought, but I don't think I said very articulately, that of course, they thought of themselves as craftspeople – making people's food, after all. It was a fundamental culture clash. All that was 50 years ago; looks like the European attitude has been receding.

Incidentally, this is a possible approach to a better, more sustainable economy: substitute craft for capital and resources, on as large a scale as possible. More value with less consumption. But how we get there from here is another question.

Carolinian , October 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm

I have been touring around by car and was surprised to see that all Oregon gas stations are full serve with no self serve allowed (I vaguely remember Oregon Charles talking about this). It applies to every station including the ones with a couple of dozen pumps like we see back east. I have since been told that this system has been in place for years.

It's hard to see how this is more efficient and in fact just the opposite as there are fewer attendants than waiting customers and at a couple of stations the action seemed chaotic. Gas is also more expensive although nothing could be more expensive than California gas (over $5/gal occasionally spotted). It's also unclear how this system was preserved–perhaps out of fire safety concerns–but it seems unlikely that any other state will want to imitate just as those bakeries aren't going to bring back their wood fired ovens.

JohnnyGL , October 25, 2019 at 1:40 pm

I think NJ is still required to do all full-serve gas stations. Most in MA have only self-serve, but there's a few towns that have by-laws requiring full-serve.

Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 2:16 pm

I'm not sure just how much I should be jumping up and down about our ability to get more gasoline into our cars quicker. But convenient for sure.

The Observer , October 25, 2019 at 4:33 pm

In the 1980s when self-serve gas started being implemented, NIOSH scientists said oh no, now 'everyone' will be increasingly exposed to benzene while filling up. Benzene is close to various radioactive elements in causing damage and cancer.

Oregoncharles , October 26, 2019 at 1:06 am

It was preserved by a series of referenda; turns out it's a 3rd rail here, like the sales tax. The motive was explicitly to preserve entry-level jobs while allowing drivers to keep the gas off their hands. And we like the more personal quality.

Also, we go to states that allow self-serve and observe that the gas isn't any cheaper. It's mainly the tax that sets the price, and location.

There are several bakeries in this area with wood-fired ovens. They charge a premium, of course. One we love is way out in the country, in Falls City. It's a reason to go there.

shinola , October 25, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Unless I misunderstood, the author of this article seems to equate mechanization/automation of nearly any type with robotics.

"Is the cash register really a robot? James Ritty, who invented it, didn't think so;" – Nor do I.

To me, "robot" implies a machine with a high degree of autonomy. Would the author consider an old fashioned manual typewriter or adding machine (remember those?) to be robotic? How about when those machines became electrified?

I think the author uses the term "robot" over broadly.

Dan , October 25, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Agree. Those are just electrified extensions of the lever or sand timer. It's the "thinking" that is A.I.

Refuse to allow destroy jobs and cheapen our standard of living. Never interact with a robo call, just hang up. Never log into a website when there is a human alternative. Refuse to do business with companies that have no human alternative. Never join a medical "portal" of any kind, demand to talk to medical personnel. Etc.

Sabotage A.I. whenever possible. The Ten Commandments do not apply to corporations.

Sancho Panza , October 25, 2019 at 1:52 pm

During a Chicago hotel stay my wife ordered an extra bath towel from the front desk. About 5 minutes later, a mini version of R2D2 rolled up to her door with towel in tow. It was really cute and interacted with her in a human-like way. Cute but really scary in the way that you indicate in your comment.

It seems many low wage activities would be in immediate risk of replacement. But sabotage? I would never encourage sabotage; in fact, when it comes to true robots like this one, I would highly discourage any of the following: yanking its recharge cord in the middle of the night, zapping it with a car battery, lift its payload and replace with something else, give it a hip high-five to help it calibrate its balance, and of course, the good old kick'm in the bolts.

Sancho Panza , October 26, 2019 at 9:53 am

Here's a clip of that robot, Leo, bringing bottled water and a bath towel to my wife.

Barbara , October 26, 2019 at 11:48 am

Stop and Shop supermarket chain now has robots in the store. According to Stop and Shop they are oh so innocent! and friendly! why don't you just go up and say hello?

All the robots do, they say, go around scanning the shelves looking for: shelf price tags that don't match the current price, merchandise in the wrong place (that cereal box you picked up in the breakfast aisle and decided, in the laundry aisle, that you didn't want and put the box on a shelf with detergent.) All the robots do is notify management of wrong prices and misplaced merchandise.

The damn robot is cute, perky lit up eyes and a smile – so why does it remind me of the Stepford Wives.

S&S is the closest supermarket near me, so I go there when I need something in a hurry, but the bulk of my shopping is now done elsewhere. Thank goodness there are some stores that are not doing this: The area Shoprites and FoodTown's don't – and they are all run by family businesses. Shoprite succeeds by have a large assortment brands in every grocery category and keeping prices really competitive. FoodTown operates at a higher price and quality level with real butcher and seafood counters as well as prepackaged assortments in open cases and a cooked food counter of the most excellent quality with the store's cooks behind the counter to serve you and answer questions. You never have to come home from work tired and hungry and know that you just don't want to cook and settle for a power bar.

Carolinian , October 25, 2019 at 1:11 pm

A robot is a machine -- especially one programmable by a computer -- capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be guided by an external control device or the control may be embedded

Those early cash registers were perhaps an early form of analog computer. But Wiki reminds that the origin of the term is a work of fiction.

The term comes from a Czech word, robota, meaning "forced labor";the word 'robot' was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti – Rossum's Universal Robots) by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek

shinola , October 25, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Perhaps I didn't qualify "autonomous" properly. I didn't mean to imply a 'Rosie the Robot' level of autonomy but the ability of a machine to perform its programmed task without human intervention (other than switching on/off or maintenance & adjustments).

If viewed this way, an adding machine or typewriter are not robots because they require constant manual input in order to function – if you don't push the keys, nothing happens. A computer printer might be considered robotic because it can be programmed to function somewhat autonomously (as in print 'x' number of copies of this document).

"Robotics" is a subset of mechanized/automated functions.

Stephen Gardner , October 25, 2019 at 4:48 pm

When I first got out of grad school I worked at United Technologies Research Center where I worked in the robotics lab. In general, at least in those days, we made a distinction between robotics and hard automation. A robot is programmable to do multiple tasks and hard automation is limited to a single task unless retooled. The machines the author is talking about are hard automation. We had ASEA robots that could be programmed to do various things. One of ours drilled, riveted and sealed the skin on the horizontal stabilators (the wing on the tail of a helicopter that controls pitch) of a Sikorsky Sea Hawk.

The same robot with just a change of the fixture on the end could be programmed to paint a car or weld a seam on equipment. The drilling and riveting robot was capable of modifying where the rivets were placed (in the robot's frame of reference) based on the location of precisely milled blocks build into the fixture that held the stabilator.

There was always some variation and it was important to precisely place the rivets because the spars were very narrow (weight at the tail is bad because of the lever arm). It was considered state of the art back in the day but now auto companies have far more sophisticated robotics.

Socal Rhino , October 25, 2019 at 1:44 pm

But what happens when the bread machine is connected to the internet, can't function without an active internet connection, and requires an annual subscription to use?

That is the issue to me: however we define the tools, who will own them?

The Rev Kev , October 25, 2019 at 6:53 pm

You know, that is quite a good point that. It is not so much the automation that is the threat as the rent-seeking that anything connected to the internet allows to be implemented.

*_* , October 25, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Until 100 petaflops costs less than a typical human worker total automation isn't going to happen. Developments in AI software can't overcome basic hardware limits.

breadbaker , October 25, 2019 at 2:29 pm

The story about automation not worsening the quality of bread is not exactly true. Bakers had to develop and incorporate a new method called autolyze ( ) in the mid-20th-century to bring back some of the flavor lost with modern baking. There is also a trend of a new generation of bakeries that use natural yeast, hand shaping and kneading to get better flavors and quality bread.

But it is certainly true that much of the automation gives almost as good quality for much lower labor costs.

Tom Pfotzer , October 25, 2019 at 3:05 pm

On the subject of the machine-robot continuum

When I started doing robotics, I developed a working definition of a robot as: (a.) Senses its environment; (b.) Has goals and goal-seeking logic; (c.) Has means to affect environment in order to get goal and reality (the environment) to converge. Under that definition, Amazon's Alexa and your household air conditioning and heating system both qualify as "robot".

How you implement a, b, and c above can have more or less sophistication, depending upon the complexity, variability, etc. of the environment, or the solutions, or the means used to affect the environment.

A machine, like a typewriter, or a lawn-mower engine has the logic expressed in metal; it's static.

The addition of a computer (with a program, or even downloadable-on-the-fly programs) to a static machine, e.g. today's computer-controlled-manufacturing machines (lathes, milling, welding, plasma cutters, etc.) makes a massive change in utility. It's almost the same physically, but ever so much more flexible, useful, and more profitable to own/operate.

And if you add massive databases, internet connectivity, the latest machine-learning, language and image processing and some nefarious intent, then you get into trouble.


Phacops , October 25, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Sometimes automation is necessary to eliminate the risks of manual processes. There are parenteral (injectable) drugs that cannot be sterilized except by filtration. Most of the work of filling, post filling processing, and sealing is done using automation in areas that make surgical suites seem filthy and people are kept from these operations.

Manual operations are only undertaken to correct issues with the automation and the procedures are tested to ensure that they do not introduce contamination, microbial or otherwise. Because even one non-sterile unit is a failure and testing is destructive process, of course any full lot of product cannot be tested to state that all units are sterile. Periodic testing of the automated process and manual intervention is done periodically and it is expensive and time consuming to test to a level of confidence that there is far less than a one in a million chance of any unit in a lot being non sterile.

In that respect, automation and the skills necessary to interface with it are fundamental to the safety of drugs frequently used on already compromised patients.

Brooklin Bridge , October 25, 2019 at 3:27 pm

Agree. Good example. Digital technology and miniaturization seem particularly well suited to many aspect of the medical world. But doubt they will eliminate the doctor or the nurse very soon. Insurance companies on the other hand

lyman alpha blob , October 25, 2019 at 8:34 pm

Bill Burr has some thoughts on self checkouts and the potential bonanza for shoppers –

TG , October 26, 2019 at 11:51 am

"There would be no improvement in quality mixing and kneading the dough by hand. There would, however, be an enormous increase in cost." WRONG! If you had an unlimited supply of 50-cents-an-hour disposable labor, mixing and kneading the dough by hand would be cheaper. It is only because labor is expensive in France that the machine saves money.

In Japan there is a lot of automation, and wages and living standards are high. In Bangladesh there is very little automation, and wages and livings standards are very low.

Are we done with the 'automation is destroying jobs' meme yet? Excessive population growth is the problem, not robots. And the root cause of excessive population growth is the corporate-sponsored virtual taboo of talking about it seriously.

[Feb 16, 2020] Trump's 2021 Budget Drowns Science Agencies in Red Ink, Again

Feb 16, 2020 |

( sea of red ink for federal research funding programs in President Donald Trump's latest budget proposal. The 2021 budget request to Congress released today calls for deep, often double-digit cuts to R&D spending at major science agencies. From a report: At the same time, the president wants to put more money into a handful of areas -- notably artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum information science (QIS) -- to create the new technology needed for what the budget request calls "industries of the future." Here is a rundown of some of the numbers from the budget request's R&D chapter. (The numbers reflect the portion of each agency's budget classified as research, which in most cases is less than its overall budget.)

1. National Institutes of Health: a cut of 7%, or $2.942 billion, to $36.965 billion.
2. National Science Foundation (NSF): a cut of 6%, or $424 million, to $6.328 billion.
3. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science: a cut of 17%, or $1.164 billion, to $5.760 billion.
4. NASA science: a cut of 11%, or $758 million, to $6.261 billion.
5. DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: a cut of 173%, which would not only eliminate the $425 million agency, but also force it to return $311 million to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
6. U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Research Service: a cut of 12%, or $190 million, to $1.435 billion.
7. National Institute of Standards and Technology: a cut of 19%, or $154 million, to $653 million.
8. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: a cut of 31%, or $300 million, to $678 million.
9. Environmental Protection Agency science and technology: a cut of 37%, or $174 million, to $318 million.
10. Department of Homeland Security science and technology: a cut of 15%, or $65 million, to $357 million.
11. U.S. Geological Survey: a cut of 30%, or $200 million, to $460 million.

[Feb 16, 2020] Imperialism and Liberation in the Middle East Feb 14, 2020 Written by P l Steigan, translated by Terje Maloy

Notable quotes:
"... Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism ..."
"... Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel. ..."
"... How ligitimate is that? ..."
Feb 16, 2020 |

At the moment, the United States has great difficulty in retaining its hegemony in the Middle East. Its troops have been declared unwanted in Iraq; and in Syria, the US and their foreign legion of terrorists lose terrain and positions every month. The US has responded to this with a significant escalation, by deploying more troops and by constant threats against Iran. At the same time, we have seen strong protest movements in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

When millions of Iraqi took to the streets recently, their main slogan was "THE UNITED STATES OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!"

How should one analyze this?

Obviously, there are a lot of social tensions in the Middle East – class based, ethnic, religious and cultural. The region is a patchwork of conflicts and tensions that not only goes back hundreds of years, but even a few thousand.

There are always many reasons to rebel against a corrupt upper class, anywhere in the world. But no rebellion can succeed if it is not based on a realistic and thorough analysis of the specific conditions in the individual country and region.

Just as in Africa, the borders in the Middle East are arbitrarily drawn. They are the product of the manipulations of imperialist powers, and only to a lesser extent products of what the peoples themselves have wanted.

During the era of decolonization, there was a strong, secular pan-Arab movement that wanted to create a unified Arab world. This movement was influenced by the nationalist and socialist ideas that had strong popular support at the time.

King Abdallah I of Jordan envisaged a kingdom that would consist of Jordan, Palestine and Syria. Egypt and Syria briefly established a union called the United Arab Republic . Gaddafi wanted to unite Libya, Syria and Egypt in a federation of Arab republics .

In 1958, a quickly dissolved confederation was established between Jordan and Iraq, called the Arab Federation . All these efforts were transient. What remains is the Arab League, which is, after all, not a state federation and not an alliance. And then of course we have the demand for a Kurdish state, or something similar consisting of one or more Kurdish mini-states.

Still, the most divisive product of the First World War was the establishment of the state of Israel on Palestinian soil. During the First World War, Britain's Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour issued what became known as the Balfour Declaration , which " view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

But what is the basis for all these attempts at creating states? What are the prerequisites for success or failure?

The imperialist powers divide the world according to the power relations between them

Lenin gave the best and most durable explanation for this, in his essay Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism . There, he explained five basic features of the era of imperialism:

The concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this "finance capital", of a financial oligarchy; The export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; The formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves; The territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

But Lenin also pointed out that capitalist countries are developing unevenly, not least because of the uneven development of productive forces in the various capitalist countries.

After a while, there arises a discrepancy between how the world is divided and the relative strength of the imperialist powers. This disparity will eventually force through a redistribution, a new division of the world based on the new relationship of strength. And, as Lenin states :

The question is: what means other than war could there be under capitalism to overcome the disparity between the development of productive forces and the accumulation of capital on the one side, and the division of colonies and spheres of influence for finance capital on the other?"

The two world wars were wars that arose because of unevenness in the power relationships between the imperialist powers. The British Empire was past its heyday and British capitalism lagged behind in the competition. The United States and Germany were the great powers that had the largest industrial and technological growth, and eventually this misalignment exploded. Not once, but twice.

Versailles and Yalta

The victors of the First World War divided the world between themselves at the expense of the losers. The main losers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia (the Soviet Union) and the Ottoman Empire. This division was drawn up in the Versailles treaty and the following minor treaties.

Europe after the Versailles Treaties (Wikipedia)

This map shows how the Ottoman Empire was partitioned:

At the end of World War II, the victorious superpowers met in the city of Yalta on the Crimean peninsula in the Soviet Union. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin made an agreement on how Europe should be divided following Germany's imminent defeat. This map shows how it was envisaged and the two blocs that emerged and became the foundation for the Cold War.

Note that Yugoslavia, created after Versailles in 1919, was maintained and consolidated as "a country between the blocs". So it is a country that carries in itself the heritage of both the Versailles- and Yalta agreements.

The fateful change of era when the Soviet Union fell

In the era of imperialism, there has always been a struggle between various great powers. The battle has been about markets, access to cheap labor, raw materials, energy, transport routes and military control. And the imperialist countries divide the world between themselves according to their strength. But the imperialist powers are developing unevenly.

If a power collapses or loses control over some areas, rivals will compete to fill the void. Imperialism follows the principle that Aristotle in his Physics called horror vacui – the fear of empty space.

And that was what happened when the Soviet Union lost the Cold War. In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and soon the Eastern bloc was also history. And thus the balance was broken, the one that had maintained the old order. And now a huge area was available for re-division. The weakened Russia barely managed to preserve its own territory, and not at all the area that just before was controlled by the Soviet Union.

Never has a so large area been open for redivision. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Pål Steigan, 1999

"Never has a so large area been open for re-division. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Map: Countries either part of the Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc or non-aligned (Yugoslavia)

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, both the Yalta and Versailles agreements in reality collapsed, and opened up the way for a fierce race to control this geopolitical empty space.

This laid the foundation for the American Geostrategy for Eurasia , which concentrated on securing control over the vast Eurasian continent. It is this struggle for redistribution in favor of the United States that has been the basis for most wars since 1990: Somalia, the Iraq wars, the Balkan wars, Libya, Ukraine, and Syria.

The United States has been aggressively spearheading this, and the process to expand NATO eastward and create regime changes in the form of so-called "color revolutions" has been part of this struggle. The coup in Kiev, the transformation of Ukraine into an American colony with Nazi elements, and the war in Donbass are also part of this picture. This war will not stop until Russia is conquered and dismembered, or Russia has put an end to the US offensive.

So, to recapitulate: Because the world is already divided between imperialist powers and there are no new colonies to conquer, the great powers can only fight for redistribution. What creates the basis and possibilities for a new division is the uneven development of capitalism. The forces that are developing faster economically and technologically will demand bigger markets, more raw materials, more strategic control.

The results of two terrible wars are again up for grabs

World War I caused perhaps 20 million deaths , as well as at least as many wounded. World War II caused around 72 million deaths . These are approximate numbers, and there is still controversy around the exact figures, but we are talking about this order of magnitude.

The two world wars that ended with the Versailles and Yalta treaties thus caused just below 100 million dead, as well as an incredible number of other suffering and losses.

Since 1991, a low-intensity "world war" has been fought, especially by the US, to conquer "the void". Donald Trump recently stated that the United States have waged wars based on lies, which have cost $ 8 trillion ($ 8,000 billion) and millions of people's lives. So the United States' new distribution of the spoils has not happened peacefully.

"The Rebellion against Sykes-Picot"

In the debate around the situation in the Middle East, certain people that would like to appear leftist, radical and anti-imperialist say that it is time to rebel against the artificial boundaries drawn by the Sykes-Picot and Versailles treaties. And certainly these borders are artificial and imperialist. But how leftist and anti-imperialist is it to fight for these boundaries to be revised now?

In reality, it is the United States and Israel that are fighting for a redistribution of the Middle East. This is the basis underlying Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century", which aims to bury Palestine forever, and it is stated outright in the new US strategy for partitioning Iraq.

Again, this is just an updated version of the Zionist Yinon plan that aimed to cantonize the entire Middle East, with the aim that Israel should have no real opponents and would be able to dominate the entire region and possibly create a Greater Israel.

It is not the anti-imperialists that are leading the way to overhaul the imperialist borders from 1919. It is the imperialists. To achieve this, they can often exploit movements that are initially popular or national, but which then only become tools and proxies in a greater game.

This has happened so many times in history that it can hardly be counted.

Hitler's Germany exploited Croatian nationalism by using the Ustaša gangs as proxies. From 1929 to 1945, they killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people. And their ideological and political descendants carried out an extremely brutal ethnic cleansing of the Krajina area and forced out more than 200,000 Serbs in their so-called Operation Storm in 1995.

Hitler also used the extreme Ukrainian nationalists of Stepan Bandera's OUN, and after Bandera's death, the CIA continued to use them as a fifth column against the Soviet Union.

The US low-intensity war against Iraq, from the Gulf War in 1991 to the Iraq War in 2003, helped divide the country into enclaves. Iraqi Kurdistan achieved autonomy in the oil-rich north with the help of a US "no-fly zone". The United States thus created a quasi-state that was their tool in Iraq.

Undoubtedly, the Kurds in Iraq had been oppressed under Saddam Hussein. But also undoubtedly, their Iraqi "Kurdistan" became a client state under the thumb of United States. And there is also no doubt that the no-fly zones were illegal, as UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali admitted in a conversation with John Pilger .

And now the United States is still using the Kurds in Northern Iraq in its plan to divide Iraq into three parts. To that end, they are building the world's largest consulate in Erbil. What they are planning to do, is simply "creating a country".

As is well known, the United States also uses the Kurds in Syria as a pretext to keep 27 percent of the country occupied. It does not help how much the Kurdish militias SDF and PYD invoke democracy, feminism and communalism; they have ended up pleading for the United States to maintain the occupation of Northeast Syria.

Preparations for a New World War

Israel and the US are preparing for war against Iran. In this fight, they will develop as much "progressive" rhetoric as is required to fool people. Real dissatisfaction in the area, which there is every reason to have, will be magnified and blown out of all proportion. "Social movements" will be equipped with the latest news in the Israeli and US "riot kits" and receive training and logistics support, in addition to plenty of cold hard cash.

There may be good reasons to revise the 1919 borders, but in today's situation, such a move will quickly trigger a major war. Some say that the Kurds are entitled to their own state, and maybe so. The question is ultimately decided by everyone else, except the Kurds themselves.

The problem is that in today's geopolitical situation, creating a unified Kurdistan will require that "one" defeats Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It's hard to see how that can happen without their allies, not least Russia and China, being drawn into the conflict.

And then we have a new world war on our hands. And in that case, we are not talking about 100 million killed, but maybe ten times as much, or the collapse of civilization as we know it. The Kurdish question is not worth that much.

This does not mean that one should not fight against oppression and injustice, be it social and national. One certainly should. But you have to realize that revising the map of the Middle East is a very dangerous plan and that you run the risk of ending up in very dangerous company. The alternative to this is to support a political struggle that undermines the hegemony of the United States and Israel and thereby creates better conditions for future struggles.

It is nothing new that small nations rely on geopolitical situations to achieve some form of national independence. This was the case, for example, for my home country Norway. It was France's defeat in the Napoleonic War that caused Denmark to lose the province of Norway to Sweden in 1814, but at the same time it created space for a separate Norwegian constitution and internal self rule.

All honor to the Norwegian founding fathers of 1814, but this was decided on the battlefields in Europe. And again, it was Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War that laid the geopolitical foundation for the dissolution of the forced union with Sweden almost a hundred years later, in 1905. (This is very schematically presented and there are many more details, but there is no doubt that Russia's loss of most of its fleet in the Far East had created a power vacuum in the west, which was exploitable.)

Therefore, the best thing to do now is not to support the fragmentation of states, but to support a united front to drive the United States out of the Middle East. The Million Man March in Baghdad got the ball rolling. There is every reason to build up even more strength behind it. Only when the United States is out, will the peoples and countries in the region be able to arrive at peaceful agreements between themselves, which will enable a better future to be developed.

And in this context, it is an advantage that China develops the "Silk Road" (aka Belt and Road Initiative), not because China is any nobler than other major powers, but because this project, at least in the current situation, is non-sectarian, non-exclusive and genuinely multilateral. The alternative to a monopolistic rule by the United States, with a world police under Washington's control, is a multipolar world. It grows as we speak.

The days of the Empire are numbered. What this will look like in 20 or 50 years, remains to be seen.

This article is Creative Commons 4.0. Pål Steigan is a Norwegian veteran journalist and activist, presently editor of the independent news site . Translated by Terje Maloy. Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp vKontakte Email Filed under: 20th Century , historical perspectives , latest Tagged with: Croatia , Egypt , historical perspectives , imperialism , Israel , Jordan , Lenin , Middle East , Pal Steigan , Palestine , russia , Saudi Arabia , Stepan Bandera , Terje Maloy , ukraine , WWII can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

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George Mc ,

Off topic – but there's nowhere else to put this at the moment:

The BBC was taken aback by leftwing attacks on its general election coverage

No idea what they are talking about. They patiently explained that Corbyn was Hitler. What more could they do?

Dungroanin ,

Ok roll up the sleeves, time to concentrate. I've had enough of being baited as a judae- phobe.

The 'Balfour Declaration' – he didn't write it and it was a contract published in the newspapers within hours of it being inveigled.


'Balfour and Lloyd George would have been happy with an unvarnished endorsement of Zionism. The text that the foreign secretary agreed in August was largely written by Weizmann and his colleagues:

"His Majesty's Government accept the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object and will be ready to consider any suggestions on the subject which the Zionist Organisation may desire to lay before them."

Got that – AUGUST?

Dungroanin ,

The leading figure in that drama was a charismatic chemistry professor from Manchester, Chaim Weizmann – with his domed head, goatee beard and fierce intellect. Weizmann had gained an entrée into political circles thanks to CP Scott, the illustrious editor of the Manchester Guardian, and had then sold his Zionist project to government leaders, including David Lloyd George when he was chancellor of the exchequer.

Dungroanin ,

Walter Rothschild, Arthur Balfour, Leo Amery, Lord Milner

Arthur James Balfour

Walter Rothschild

Dungroanin ,

'In due course the blunt phrase about Palestine being "reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people" was toned down into "the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine" – a more ambiguous formulation which sidestepped for the moment the idea of a Jewish state. '

Dungroanin ,

'Edwin Montagu, newly appointed as secretary of state for India, was only the third practising Jew to hold cabinet office. Whereas his cousin, Herbert Samuel (who in 1920 would become the first high commissioner of Palestine) was a keen supporter of Zionism, Montagu was an "assimilationist" – one who believed that being Jewish was a matter of religion not ethnicity. His position was summed up in the cabinet minutes:

Mr Montagu urged strong objections to any declaration in which it was stated that Palestine was the "national home" of the Jewish people. He regarded the Jews as a religious community and himself as a Jewish Englishman '

Dungroanin ,

'Montagu considered the proposed Declaration a blatantly anti-Semitic document and claimed that "most English-born Jews were opposed to Zionism", which he said was being pushed mainly by "foreign-born Jews" such as Weizmann, who was born in what is now Belarus.'

Dungroanin ,

The other critic of the proposed Declaration was Lord Curzon, a former viceroy of India, who therefore viewed Palestine within the geopolitics of Asia. A grandee who traced his lineage back to the Norman Conquest, Curzon loftily informed colleagues that the Promised Land was not exactly flowing with milk and honey, but nor was it an empty, uninhabited space.

According to the cabinet minutes, "Lord Curzon urged strong objections upon practical grounds. He stated, from his recollection of Palestine, that the country was, for the most part, barren and desolate a less propitious seat for the future Jewish race could not be imagined."

And, he asked, "how was it proposed to get rid of the existing majority of Mussulman [Muslim] inhabitants and to introduce the Jews in their place?"

Dungroanin ,

Sorry for the length of this bit – but it only makes sense in the whole:

'Between them, Curzon and Montagu had temporarily slowed the Zionist bandwagon. Lord Milner, another member of the war cabinet, hastily added two conditions to the proposed draft, in order to address the two men's respective concerns. The vague phrase about the rights of the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" hints at how little the government knew or cared about those who constituted roughly 90 per cent of the population of what they, too, regarded as their homeland.

After trying out the new version on a few eminent Jews, both of Zionist and accommodationist persuasions, and also securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October. By now the strident Montagu had left for India, and on this occasion Balfour, who could often be moody and detached, led from the front, brushing aside the objections that had been raised and reasserting the propaganda imperative. According to the cabinet minutes, he stated firmly: "The vast majority of Jews in Russia and America, as, indeed, all over the world, now appeared to be favourable to Zionism. If we could make a declaration favourable to such an ideal, we should be able to carry on extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and America."

This was standard cabinet tactics: a strong lead from a minister supported by the PM, daring his colleagues to argue back. And this time Curzon did not, though he did make another telling comment. He "attached great importance to the necessity of retaining the Christian and Moslem Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem". If this were done, Curzon added, he "did not see how the Jewish people could have a political capital in Palestine".'

Dungroanin ,

Dates again crucial and the smoking gun:

'securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October.'

Dungroanin ,

The two conditions had bought off the two main critics. That was all that seemed to matter, even though the reference to the "rights of the existing non-Jewish communities" stood in potential conflict with the first two clauses about the British supporting and using their "best endeavours" for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

Dungroanin ,

There is MORE but I'll pause and see how many are really interested in FACTS, as opposed to invented History, Economics and Capital instead of the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

George Mc ,

the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

If this is true then we are all doomed.

Dungroanin ,

Not if we are aware of it George.

Dungroanin ,

Ok a summary fom Brittanica:

'Balfour Declaration Quick Facts

The Balfour Declaration, issued through the continued efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, Zionist leaders in London, fell short of the expectations of the Zionists, who had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as "the" Jewish national home. The declaration specifically stipulated that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The document, however, said nothing of the political or national rights of these communities and did not refer to them by name. Nevertheless, the declaration aroused enthusiastic hopes among Zionists and seemed the fulfillment of the aims of the World Zionist Organization (see Zionism).

The British government hoped that the declaration would rally Jewish opinion, especially in the United States, to the side of the Allied powers against the Central Powers during World War I (1914–18). They hoped also that the settlement in Palestine of a pro-British Jewish population might help to protect the approaches to the Suez Canal in neighbouring Egypt and thus ensure a vital communication route to British colonial possessions in India.

The Balfour Declaration was endorsed by the principal Allied powers and was included in the British mandate over Palestine, formally approved by the newly created League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

In May 1939 the British government altered its policy in a White Paper recommending a limit of 75,000 further immigrants and an end to immigration by 1944, unless the resident Palestinian Arabs of the region consented to further immigration.

Zionists condemned the new policy, accusing Britain of favouring the Arabs. This point was made moot by the outbreak of World War II (1939–45) and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.'

Dungroanin ,

But what about the timing?

Well there are twin tracks, here is the first.

'But talking about the return of the Jews to the land of Israel was only meaningful because that land seemed up for grabs after the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany in 1914. For Britain, France and Russia – though primarily focused on Europe – war against a declining power long dubbed the "Sick Man of Europe" opened up the prospect of vast gains in the Levant and the Middle East.

The Ottoman army, however, proved no walkover. In 1915 it threatened the Suez Canal, Britain's imperial artery to India, and then repulsed landings by British empire and French forces on the Dardanelles at Gallipoli. Although Baghdad fell in March 1917, two British assaults on Gaza that spring were humiliatingly driven back, with heavy losses. Deadlock in the desert added to Whitehall's list of woes.

In this prescribed narrative of remembrance for 1914-18, what happened outside the Western Front has been almost entirely obscured. The British army's "Historical Lessons, Warfare Branch" has published in-house a fascinating volume of essays about what it tellingly entitles "The Forgotten Fronts of the First World War" – with superb maps and illustrations. The collection covers not only Palestine and Mesopotamia (roughly modern-day Iraq and Kuwait), but also Italy, Africa, Russia, Turkey and the Pacific – indeed much of the world – but sadly it is not currently available to the public. '

Dungroanin ,

The second track is the 'money' track and what everything is about and why we live in such a miasma of blatant lies.

IT can only make sense by asking questions such as :

Can we follow the money?

When was the Fed set up? Why? By whom?
How much money did it lend &
to whom?

When was the first world war started?

When did US declare war?

When did US troops arrive in numbers to enter that war?

What happened in Russia at the same time?

And in Mesopotamia?

How did it end?

How did it fail to end?

What happened to the contract?


I have attempted to research and answer some of these already above.

Next I will attempt to walk the other track but be warned that opens more ancient tracks.

Dungroanin ,

'On 2 November, Balfour sent his letter to Lord Rothschild.

7 November, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had seized power in Petrograd. ransacked the Tsarist archives, they published juicy extracts from the "secret treaties" that the Allied powers had made among themselves in 1915-16 to divide the spoils of victory.
The same day the Ottoman Seventh and Eighth Armies evacuated the town of Gaza

9 November Letter published in Times.

Mid November – The Bolsheviks did not discover that the British were also playing footsie with the Turks. In the middle of November 1917, secret meetings took place with Ottoman dissidents in Greece and Switzerland about trying to arrange an armistice in the Near East. The war cabinet recognised that, as bait, it might have to let the Ottomans keep parts of their empire in the region, or at least retain some appearance of control. When Curzon got wind of this, he was incensed: "Almost in the same week that we have pledged ourselves, if successful, to secure Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, are we to contemplate leaving the Turkish flag flying over Jerusalem?"

End November. The Manchester Guardian's correspondent in Petrograd, Morgan Philips Price, was able to examine the key documents overnight, and his scoop was published by the paper at the end of November. It revealed to the world, among other things, that the British also had an understanding with the French – the Sykes-Picot agreement of January 1916 – to carve up the Near East between them once the Ottoman empire had been defeated. In this, Palestine was slated for some kind of international condominium – not the British protectorate envisaged in the Balfour Declaration.

11 December Allenby formally entered Jerusalem. '

So just a few loose ends left to tie up anyone actually want to go there?

George Mc ,


Dungroanin ,


Dungroanin ,

Ok on the back stretch:

The paramount goal of the Fed's founders was to eliminate banking panics, but it was not the only goal. The founders also sought to increase the amount of international trade financed by US banks and to expand the use of the dollar internationally. By 1913 the United States had the world's largest economy, but only a small fraction of US exports and imports were financed by American banks. Instead, most exports and imports were financed by bankers' acceptances drawn on European banks in foreign currencies. (Bankers' acceptances are a type of financial contract used for making payments in the future, for example, upon delivery of goods or services. Bankers' acceptances are drawn on and guaranteed, i.e., "accepted," by a bank.) The Federal Reserve Act allowed national banks to issue bankers' acceptances and open foreign branches, which greatly expanded their ability to finance international transactions Further the Act authorized the Reserve Banks to purchase acceptances in the open market to ensure a liquid market for them, thereby spurring growth of that market.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act on December 23, 1913.

The task of determining the specific number of districts, district boundaries, and which cities would have Reserve Banks was assigned to a Reserve Bank Organization Committee.

On April 2, 1914, the Committee announced that twelve Federal Reserve districts would be formed, identified the boundaries of those districts, and named the cities that would have Reserve Banks.1 The Banks were quickly organized, officers and staff were hired, and boards of directors appointed. The Banks opened for business on November 16, 1914.

The Federal Reserve Act addressed perceived shortcomings by creating a new national currency -- Federal Reserve notes -- and requiring members of the Federal Reserve System to hold reserve balances with their local Federal Reserve Banks.

World War I began in Europe in August 1914, before the Federal Reserve Banks had opened for business. The war had a profound impact on the US banking system and economy, as well as on the Federal Reserve.

War disrupted European financial markets and reduced the supply of trade credit offered by European banks, providing US banks with an opening. Low US interest rates, abundant reserves, and new authority to issue trade acceptances enabled American banks to finance a growing share of world trade.

Dungroanin ,

So the denouement :

It appears that the 'first world war' was designed to diminish European banks and boost the US banks.

However the fuller history of the US bankers is worth knowing- the Jekyll Islanders story is widely publicised.

Into this time track enters the Balfour Declaration addressed to Lord Rothschild, steered by Milner (heir to Rhodes empire building and the old EIC), approved by the potus Wilson (another hireling) that finally sent US troops to overwhelm the Germans, while the great gamers took out the Romanovs and the Ottoman Empire.
-- --

When we try to understand such facts and timelines and are attacked as Judaeo-phobes, because we identify Bankers and Robber Barons, it becomes even clearer how deep and wide they have controlled history and it has NOTHING to do with RELIGION (except perhaps Ludism). Nothing to do with Judaism (except perhaps Old Jewry in the City, but Lombard Street was most powerful!) and EVERYTHING to do with POWER and it's representation MONEY. The obscuring of that through various Economic theories including Marxism is the work of the same old bastards who are responsible for all our current malaises.

Thankyou and good evening, if anyone made it this far!


George Mc ,

Well OK Dunnie, let's say I go along with you and assume that all the shit we are facing has nothing to do with religion or all that "Marxian porridge" (as Guido Giacomo Preparata called it). The question is: What do we do about it?

Speaking of GGP , it seems to me that you and him have much in common. He also goes on about "Power" but seems to be on the verge of referring this "Power" to mystical entities in a disconcertingly Ickean manoeuvre. Not that I'm attibuting such a thing to yourself. (No irony intended.)

Dungroanin ,

George – i don't want you or anyone to just go along with me.

I want everyone to make their minds up on FACTS. That is the only way humanity has actually progressed by inventing the only self correcting philosophical system and method of the ages that goes beyond 'personal responsibility teligions' – SCIENTIFIC METHOD – that takes away arbitrary power to rule, from these that inhabit the top of the human pyramid by virtue of being born there and having control over the money and so the power to remain in these positions, which does not benefit the totality of humanity or all life on Earth.

I am not a messiah, I am angry as fuck and I am not going to sit around enjoying whatever soma has been handed to us to keep compliant and leave this Planet worse than I found it. That is the scientific conclusion I have reached.

I suppose some proto buddhist / zoroastrianism / animalist / Shinto / Jain & Quakers seek religious truth in inner experience, and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality.

I suppose Ghandi's non-violence rebellion against Imperialists is a model as are various peasants revolts – the Russian / Chinese / Korean / Vietnamese couldn't have survived without the literal grassroots!

As for Guido Giacomo Preparata that you have introduced to me – i had nevet heard of him before this morning – my first take on him is that he seems to have arrived at similar conclusions by similar methodology. He seems to have a lot of formal education and a enviable career so far – i'll have to look into him further but the interview that i just read seems to indicate concurrence with what i said above. I see no Ickean references – please give a link.

-- -

As a observation do you not find it funny that there is not a single objection to the verity of the facts which I have presented above?

Good luck George if you are a real seeker of truth. If not insta-karma awaits.

George Mc ,

The Preparata statement I was referring to is in this interview:

The statement itself is this:

Power is a purely human suggestion. Suggested by whom? That is the question. The NSDAP thus appeared to have been a front for some kind of nebula of Austro-German magi, dark initiates, and troubling literati (Dietrich Eckhart comes to mind), with very plausible extra-Teutonic ramifications of which we know next to nothing. Hitler came to be inducted in a lodge of this network, endowed as he seemed with a supernatural gift of inflaming oratory.

This is a theme that I am still studying, but from what I gathered, the adepts of the Thule Gesellschaft communed around the belief of being the blood heirs of a breed that seeks redemption / salvation / metempsychosis in some kind of eighth realm away from this earth, which is the shoddy creation of a lesser God -- the archangel of the Hebrews, Jehovah. It all sounds positively insane to post-modern ears, but it should be taken very seriously, I think.

Admittedly it isn't quite interdimensional reptiles but there is a distinct metaphysical flavour there.

I wouldn't go along with everything Preparata says but he is a wonderful writer and I have bought almost everything I can find by him. His "biggie" is "Conjuring Hitler". It was Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed that brought GGP to my attention via that book.

milosevic ,

images on this website look terrible, with very little colour. the problem seems to be caused by this rule, from the file "OffGstyle.css":

.content-wrap-spp img {

filter: sepia(20%) saturate(30%);


Open ,

This sepia effect usually works well with Off-Guardian articles, but with these maps in today's article it is definitely terrible. Why have maps if they don't want to show them clearly?
(any extra steps for the user to see the pictures clearly is not the answer)

Another area neglected on this website is crediting photos. The majority of images carry no atribution/credit, despite it [crediting photos] is the best ethical practice even for public domain pictures. I wish Admin gets expert advice on this.

Open ,

Look at the language used by the americans:

On feb. 12 [2020], Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria , encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian .. forces .

So, the supremacist unites states' army has found that Syrian forces are occupying Syrian land .. wow wow wow .. according to this logic, Russian forces are occupying Russian land. Iranian forces are occupying Iranian land (how dare they?!). But american forces are not occupying any land, and Israel is not occupying Palestinian and Syrian lands.

This language needs to be known more widely.

Open ,

The americans always use the term 'Coalition forces' when they talk about their illegal presence in Syria. I tried to search online for what countries are in this coalition. I recall I was able to find that in the past, but now, it seems this information is being pushed under wrap.

What are they afraid of? What are they hiding?

Joe ,

Just bring about the end of "Israel" and there'll be peace in the Middle East, and probably in the wider world, too.

Open ,

Ending the Israeli project is certainly a step in the right direction to improve global stability. However, alone, it will not bring about peace because the British/Five-Eyes/Washington's doctrine of spreading disorder and chaos permeates (saturates) the planet.

In fact, current disorders are the results of convergence of Israeli interests with those of Western White Supremacy's* resolve to dominate, erh, eveything.

* Western White Supremacy can also be called Western White Idiocy and Bigotry.

Israel manipulates the West's political and military might. The West also uses Israel to spread Chaos and Disorder.

Antonym ,

Right, back to the good old peace of the graveyard inspired by Mohamed's male sex riot ideology and plunder legitimization before the Westerners showed up with their superior (arms) tech legitimization for their plunder.
Before Israel's 1947 creation the world was a bed of roses .

Open ,

"srael's 1947 creation"

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Ukranians and Germans, and later South Americans, found home in the Middle East.

How ligitimate is that?

Antonym ,

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel.

How ligitimate is that?

Open ,

"Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians .. etc.."

Do these comments reflect the Zionists' perspective? This is important because they prove that the whole existence of Israel is based on total fabrication and lies.

Maggie ,

Did you have to practice at being THAT stupid! Or did they lobotomise you in Langley?
Somalis, Afghans, Syrians would not have had any cause to leave their homeland had it not been for your employers the CIA/MOSSAD facilitating the raping and pillaging of their homes by the Oil Magnates, leaving them starving and desolate.
and where does our Aid money go?
But of course Antonym, if you were in their situation, you would just stick it out?
Shame on you .

To those who care, read "The confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins" to understand how this corrupt system is conducted.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Its 'creation' in blood, murder, rape and terror, in a great ethnic cleansing-the sign of things to come, ceaselessly, for seventy years and ongoing.

paul ,

Ask the people in Gaza about the Zionist "peace of the graveyard."

Antonym ,

Gaza before 2005 was relatively peaceful + prosperous. After the Israeli withdrawal the inhabitants messed up their own economy but kept on making lots of babies just like before.
Quite the opposite of a graveyard or a Warsaw ghetto or a Dachau.

George Mc ,

Despite the disengagement, the United Nations, international human rights organisations and most legal scholars regard the Gaza Strip to still be under military occupation by Israel, though this is disputed by Israel and other legal scholars. Following the withdrawal, Israel has continued to maintain direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, and six of Gaza's seven land crossings, it maintains a no-go buffer zone within the territory, and controls the Palestinian population registry, and Gaza remains dependent on Israel for its water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities.

Interesting definition of "withdrawal". It's amazing those Gazans even managed to have babies!

Richard Le Sarc ,

You would have made a grand Nazi, Antsie-cripes, you have!

paul ,

Gaza was, and is, a huge Zionist concentration camp hermetically sealed off from the outside world and blockaded just like the Warsaw Ghetto. With Zionist thugs and kiddie killers shooting hundreds of kids in the head for the fun of it with British sniper rifles and dum dum bullets, and periodically dropping 20,000 tons of bombs at a time on it, a higher explosive yield than Hiroshima. With parties of Jews going along to hold barbecues and picnics to watch all the fun. Nice people, those chosen folk.

Richard Le Sarc ,

I rather think that Epstein, Weinstein, Moonves and all those orthodox and ultra-orthodox who are such prolific patrons of the sex industry in Israel, know a bit about 'male sex riot ideology', Antsie.

Dungroanin ,

'Nandy won a major boost when members of the Labour affiliate Jewish Labour Movement gave her their backing after a hustings, saying she understood the need to change the party's culture.'
From the Groaniad

How many members? How many by denomination?

As for the Balfour Contract there were actual English Jewish establishment figures against its premise. Actual imperial servants. The declaration was a stitch up by the new banking powers in the US which then sent in the yanks to stop the Germans in 1917.

History is rewritten daily to memory hole such facts.

Capricornia Man ,

The 'Jewish Labour Movement' is so Jewish that most of its members are not Jewish. And it is so Labour-affiliated that it did not support Labour in the December general election. But it has no shortage of money. It exists solely to prosecute the interests of a foreign power. Much the same could be said for any politician who accepts its endorsement.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Given that Jews are vastly outnumbered by non Jews, the simplest way to stop Jewish manipulation of politics is to form a party from which Jews are specifically banned.

You will not propose any policies harming Jews in any way, you will just make it clear that this is a party free from any Jewish influence in its constitution.

If Jews cannot accept that, then they are utterly racist and must be dealt with without sensibility.

Maggie ,

A better solution Rhys would be to form a party that denies all and any dual citizens
That way all the Zionists would be barred.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Full public financing of political parties would end Zionist control.

paul ,

Thornberry has just thrown in the towel.
She will now have more time to "get down on her hands and knees" and "beg forgiveness" from the Board of Deputies.
Those good little Shabbos are so easily trained.

Dungroanin ,

BoD's??? Another random organisation!

Who are they? Who do they represent? How many people? Which people? How did they get elected? How can they be fired?

Richard Le Sarc ,

The next world war has already started, with the bio-warfare atttack on China aka Covid19.

lundiel ,

Why no comment on the government reshuffle? I don't agree with the Indian middle-class uplifting but totally agree with neutering the ultra-conservative treasury.

Maggie ,

I think it's a case of who gives a fck. We now know that our elections are rigged, and so there is no point in us being involved. My family and I all realised and voted for the last time.
They are all bloody crap actors reading their scripts and playing their parts, whilst the never changing suits in the background pull the strings.
I had to explain to my 10 year old Grandson how politics work, and he said "Why doesn't anyone know the names of, or see the suits?"
What I want to know is why no-one ever asks this question or demands an answer?

tonyopmoc ,

Completely Brilliant Article, but it is Valentines Day, so as I am 66 years old, and in love with my wife (nearly 40 years together = LOVE), I wrote this in response to Craig Murray, who has banned me again.

It may be off topic for him, but it ain't off topic for me. I am still in Love.

"Churchill's mental deterioration from syphilis – which the Eton and Oxford ."

Never had it, and she didn't either. We were young and in love, but we didn't know, if either of us had sex before, but I had a spotty dick, and went to the VD clinic. I had a blood test, and they gave me some zinc cream.

She also had the same thing, and showed her Mum.

We were both completely innocent, and had a sexually transmitted disease called Thrush. It is relatively harmless, but can also give you a sore throat.

We both laughed at each other, and nearly got married.

Natural Yoghurt, is completely brilliant at preventing it.

Far better than Canestan.

Happy Valentines Day, for Everyone still In Love.

Let us all look forwad to a Brighter Day for our Grandchildren.


Loverat ,

Hey Tony

Dont worry. Craig Murray might not like you but I do. Your stories, here and elsewhere have entertained me for many years.

Mind you, if I were your other half I would have chucked you years ago.

paul ,

Tell him how much you like haggis and tossing your caber.

Dungroanin ,

Without Stalins say so Poland would not have had its borders at the end of ww2.
On these maps just off the right hand edges is missing Afghanistan.. which the imperialists invaded in 2002 as the Taliban wiped out the opium crops. Back to full production immediately after invasion and 18 years later secret negotiations to hand over to Taliban while leaving 8,000 CUA troops delivering the huge cash crop.

binra ,

Seeking possession and control – in competition with those you see as seeking to dispossess and control or deny you – is the identity or belief in 'kill or be killed'.
This belief overrides and subordinates others – such as to subsume all else to such private agenda that will seek alliance against common threat but only as a shifting strategy of possession and control.

One of the things about this 'game' of power struggle, is that it loses any sense of WHY – and so it is a driven mind or dictate of power or possession for it own sake that cannot really ENJOY or HAVE and share what it Has. The image of the hungry ghost comes to mind here. It will never have enough until you are dead – and even then will offer you torment beyond the grave.

Until this mindset is recognised and released as an 'insanity' it operates as accepted currency of exchange, and maps our a world of its own conflicting and conflicted meanings.

The willingness to destroy or kill, deny or undermine and invalidate others in order to GET for a private agenda set over the whole instead of finding balance within the whole – is destructive to life, no matter how ingenious the thinking that frames it to seem to be progressive, protective, or in fact powerful.
But in our collective alignment and allegiance with such a way of thinking and identifying – we all give power to the destructive – as if to protect the life that it gives us.

The hungry ghost is also in the mass population when separated from their land and lives to seek connection or meaning in proffered 'products and services' instead of creating out of our own lives. Products and services that operate a hidden agenda of possession and control or market and mind capture under threat of fear of pain of loss in losing even the little that we have.

Having – on a spiritual level is our being – and not a matter of stuffing a hole.
Madness that can no longer mask as anything else is all about – and brings a choice to conscious awareness as to whether to persist in it or decide to find another way of seeing and being.

This is not to say there is no place to call upon or seek to limit people in positions of trust from serving an unjust outcome by calling for transparency and accountability – but not to wait on that or make that the be all and end all.

If there is another way and a better way than war masking in and misusing and thus corrupting anything and everything, then it has to be lived one to another.

Everyone seeks a better experience – but many seek it in a negative framing. Negative in the sense of self-lack seeking power in the terms of its current identity. Evils work their own destruction, but find sustainability in selling destructive agenda or toxic debt as ingeniously complex instruments of deceit – by which the targeted buyer believes they have or shall save their 'self' or add to their 'self' rather than growing hollow to a driven mindset of reactive fear-addiction.

I don't need to 'tell this to those who refuse to listen' – but I share it with any moment of a willingness to listen. In the final analysis, we are the ones who live the result of choices in our lives, whatever the times and conditions.

The 'repackaging' of reality to self-deceit, is not new but part of the human mind and experience throughout history. The evil changes forms – as if the good has and shall triumph. But truth undoes illusion by being accepted. It doesn't war on illusion and thus make it real – and remain truth.

Judgement divides to rule.
Discernment arises from the unwillingness to division.
One is set apart from and over life as the invocation of an alien will, dealing death, and the other as the will of true desire revealed.

The idea of independent autonomy is relative to a limited sphere of responsibilities in the world.
The idea of living our own life is an alignment within the same for others and the freedom to do so cannot take from others without becoming possessed by our denials, debts and transgressions – no less so in the driven mind of ingeniously repackaged and wilfully defended narrative identity.

In our own experience, this is not a matter of applied analysis, so much as awareness or space in which to seek and find truth in some willingness of recognition and acceptance or choice, while the triggering or baiting to madness is loud or compelling as the dictate of fear seeking protection and grievance seeking retribution – as if these give freedom and power rather than locking into a fear-framed limitation as substitution for life set in defiance and refusal to look on or share in truth – and so to such a one, war is truth, and love is weakness to exploit, use and weaponise for getting.

paul ,

If you look at the proposed new map of the Middle East, it mirrors Kushner's Deal Of The Century for Palestine – because it has the same Zionist authorship.
The same old dirty Zionist games of divide and rule – break up countries in the region into tiny defenceless little statelets setting different ethnic and religious groups at each others' throats, so that they can rule the roost and steal whatever they wish.
You see this in the past and the recent past. The way Lebanon was torn away from Syria. Or Kuwait from Iraq. Or the Ruritanian petty Gulf dictatorships like Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai.
Trump was being honest for the first time in his miserable life when he said none of these satellites and satraps would last a fortnight if they were not propped up by the US.

paul ,

George Galloway described the whole region as a flock of sheep surrounded by ravenous wolves.

At the same time, there is more than a grain of truth in the Zionists' contention that the people of the region are to some extent the authors of their own misfortune.

They always fall for the divide-and-rule games of outside powers, Britain, America, Israel, who invade, bomb, slaughter, humiliate and exploit them. If they had been united, Israel would not have been created. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, would not have been destroyed and bombed back to the Stone Age. These countries would be genuinely independent and at peace.

When I speak to ordinary moslems, it is surprising and depressing to see how much visceral hatred they express for Shia moslems. They seem blind to the way they are being manipulated to serve outside interests.

So we see moslem Saudi Arabia trying to incite America and Israel to destroy Iran, and offering to pay for the whole cost of the war. Or S. Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE et al, in bed with Israel, paying billions to bankroll the terrorist head choppers in Syria. Or Egypt, which does not even protest, let alone lift a finger, when Israeli aircraft use its air space to carpet bomb Gaza. Or going further back in history, when countries like Egypt and Syria sent troops to join the 1991 US invasion of Iraq. Even though Iraq had sent its forces to the Golan Heights in 1973 to fight and die to prevent Syria being overrun by Israel. How contemptible is all that? Yet those are just a few of many examples of all the backstabbing that has occurred over the years. If these people don't respect themselves, why should anybody else?

paul ,

And this has been going on for hundreds of years.
1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?
Because the Arabs were so busy fighting a civil war at the time they barely noticed the foreign invaders. The old, old story. Civil war between Sunnis and Shias.

One day, they will wake up and realise that they have to hang together, or hang separately.
But I wouldn't hold your breath.
There seems to be an endless supply of quisling stooge dictators ready to do the bidding of hostile outside powers. The Mubaraks, the Sisis, the King Abdullahs, the Sinioras, the MBS's, to name but a few.
Conforming to all the worst stereotypes about Arabs and moslems.
You could argue that they deserve all they get, when they are ever ready to bend over and drop their trousers.
Is it really any surprise that they have been invaded, slaughtered, bombed back to the Stone Age, robbed, exploited and humiliated from time immemorial.
Maybe one day they will discover an ounce of dignity and self respect. Who knows?

Maggie ,

"1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?"
Because despite the mendacious lies that are told about Muslims, they are tolerant and forgiving. They believe in one God, and live exemplary modest, generous lives in the belief that they will enter in to the kingdom of heaven.

And these are the people we are being encouraged to hate and fear? To enable the neo cons to invade and destroy everything in their path to get their oil.

Hundreds of millions of Muslims the world over 'live in democracies' of some shape or form, from Indonesia to Malaysia to Pakistan to Lebanon to Tunisia to Turkey. Tens of millions of Muslims' live in -- and participate in' -- Western democratic societies. The country that is on course to have the biggest Muslim population in the world in the next couple of decades is India, which also happens to be the world's biggest democracy. Yet a persistent pernicious narrative exists, particularly in the West, that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam is often associated with dictatorship, totalitarianism, and a lack of freedom, and many "well paid" analysts and pundits claim that Muslims are philosophically opposed to the idea of democracy .

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Democracy' as practised in the neo-liberal capitalist West, is a nullity, a fiction, a smoke-screen behind which the one and only power, that of the rich owners of the economy, acts alone.

Gall ,

I know. These Zionist morons droning on about how violent Islam is as religion yet ignoring the fact that the Bible is based on the God of Abraham granting them Canaan (like Trump giving the Israelis the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) and urging them to commit complete and utter genocidal annihilation of the inhabitants by not leaving a single living thing breathing.

No violence there folks. Nope. The book of love my ass!

paul ,

Their God was a demented estate agent, rather like Trump or Kushner.

Gall ,

Personally I believe that the chapters of the bible were written after their genocidal blood lust simply to justify their despicable acts. Claiming that God made 'em do it.

Loverat ,

My experience of muslims in the UK is many express support for the Palestinians but don't identify or understand those states which still speak up for their rights, Syria, Iran and a few others.

Sadly like the general UK population they have been exposed to propaganda which excuses evil and mass murder carried out by Saudi Arabia and their lackeys and Israel. This is changing however. People are gradually waking up. Muslims and the general UK public if they really knew the extent of this would be out demonstrating on the streets.

The realisation these policies have exposed all of us to nuclear wipe out in seconds should be enough motivation for any normal person.
The wipe out or (preferably) demonstrations will happen. Just a question of when. You can see why the establishment and people like Higgins, Lucas and York are so active recently. These idiots, blinded by their pay checks can't see the harm they are causing through their irresponsible lies even to their own families. Perhaps they all have nuclear shelters in their back garden.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Saudi Arabia is NOT 'Moslem'. It is Wahhabist, a genocide cult created by doenmeh, ie crypto-Jewish followers of the failed 17th century Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi, which is homicidally opposed to all Moslems but fellow Wahhabists.

milosevic ,

I thought it was created by the British Empire, in order to provide reliable stooges and puppet regimes.

Richard Le Sarc ,

What people must realise is that,for the Zionassty secular and Talmudic religious leaderships, by far the dominant forces in Israel and among many of the Diaspora sayanim, the drive to create 'Eretz Yisrael', '..from the Nile to the Euphrates' (and some include the Arabian Peninsula as well), is a real, religious, ambition-indeed an obligation. With the alliance with the 'Christian Zionist' lunatics in the USA, the fate of humanity is in the hands of the Evil Brain Dead.

BigB ,

I despair. This is why there is 'No Deal For Nature' because the hegemonic cultural movement is to extend cultural hegemony over nature. We cannot seem to help it or stop ourselves. Do we suppose a glossy website will change that? Or empty sloganneering subvertisements? Or waiving placards outside banks? Or some other futile conscience salving symbolic gesture?

No, we have to subvert the cultural hegemony over nature at every point at every chance. Which is thankless because cultural normativity is ubiquitous. And it's killing us. And BRI is the very antithesis of alternative an eternal return into the cultural consumerism and commodification that is the global hegemony at least at an elite level. And we are among that elite – in terms of consumption and pollution. We are the problem. If we seek to extend or preserve our own Eurocentric priviliges and consumptions we can only do so by extracting evermore global resources and maldeveloping the Rest. Which is also what Samir Amin said: following Wallerstein's World Systems Theory.

The progressive packaging of all our sins and transferring them to something called 'American Imperialism' is nothing less than mass psychological transference to a Fetish. By which we maintain autonomy from any blame in the ecological disaster we are co-creating. Which is why it is a powerful cultural narrative constructivism. 'We' do not have to reform: the scapegoated Otherised 'they' do. Whilst we all sit smugly in our inauthentic imaginary autonomy: the ecological destruction caused entirely by our collectivist consumption carries on. 'They' have to clean up 'their' act – not us. 'We' align with the 'counter-hegemonic alliance': the alternative BRI. 'We' are so bourgeois and progressive in our invented independence and totally aligned with the destructive forces of capitalist endocolonised culture because of our own internalised screening discourse. Which is why there is #NoDealForNature. 'We' don't actually give a flying fuck not beyond some hollow totemic gestures in transference of our own responsibility.

'We' are pushing for the financialisation of nature: as the teleology of our particular complicit cultural narratives. It's not just 'them'. Supply and demand are dialectically exponential. Who is demanding less, more fairly distributed North to South? Exponential expansionism via BRI is no more alternative than colonising the Moon or Mars. For nature to have a deal: we have to stop demanding growth. And in doing that: become self-responsible right through to the narratives we produce. For which every person in the global consumer bourgeoisie – that's us – will have to change their imperatives from culture to nature. Which means a new naturalised culture: not just complicitly advocating the 'same old, same old' exponential expansionism of the extractivist commodification of every last standing resource. Under the guise of new narrative constructions like this. That's not progress: it's capitalist propaganda and personal self-propaganda. We are among the consumer elite. Which is driving the financialisation and commodification of everything. For us.

#NoDealForNature until we take full and honest self-responsibility to create one with our every enaction including speech-enactivism.

Gall ,

I'm sure Thomas Robert Malthus and Charles Darwin are smiling upon you my child from their very special place in hell.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Charles Darwin? What on Earth are you on about?

Gall ,

Ever heard of social Darwinism? This is how the elite justify genocide and theft of resources. It is one of the basics of Neoliberalism.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Darwin had NOTHING to do with 'social Darwinism'. It's like blaming Jesus for the KKK.

Gall ,

Uh huh:

"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage."
― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

BigB ,

Every appraisal from a cultural POV extends the cultural hegemony over nature – with no exceptions. If we do not address the false dichotomy of culture and nature – and invert the privileged status of cultural domination over nature – this never changes. If nothing changes its going to be a very short century the last in the history of culture.

I'm expressing my own private POV with the intention of at least highlighting the issue of only ever expressing the distorted cultural-centric POV. It would be nice if we could all agree to do something other than waste our privileged status and access to resources for other than meaningless sarcasm. It's not like we'd all benefit from a change in POV and the entailed potential in a change of course that can only happen if we think of nature first, is it? 😉

Gall ,

The only thing I don't like about the environmentally "woke" is that many are easily manipulated by the neoliberal elite. Greta is a perfect example.

That is they go after the little guy while the Military and big industry continue to pollute unhampered.

George Mc ,

I despair.

Well that's what you do.

Dungroanin ,

The M5 highway is secured. Allepo access points too and Idlib is surrounded- where are the US backed /Saudi paid / Tukish passport holding Uighars and various Turkmen proxy jihadist anti Chinese / anti Russian, Central asian caliphate establishing mercenaries supposed to go now??

Pompeo is buzzing around Africa now like a blue bottomed cadaverous fly, non-stop buzzing from piles of shot, trying to find them homes – no Libya doesn't want anymore of them, nor the UAE and Saudis, or Turks maybe dump them in Canada with all these ex Ukrainian still nazis? Its a big country nobody will know!
Or bring them to the US and give them a ticker tape parade?

Or let them surrender and have them testify as to how the fuck they let themselves be bought for $$$$ maybe just fry them with the low yield nuke and blame Assad for it!

Dumbass yanks, fukus, 5+1 eyed gollum and Nutty- 'it's the Belgian airforce bombing Russian weapons in Syria' -yahoo!

Up-Pompeos farce and buzzing is about to sizzle in the blue light of death for dumbfuck poison spreading flies.

normal wisdom ,

so much disrespect here hare here.

these takfiri these giants these beards are hero

of the oded yinon plan

they raped murdered and stole
dustified atomised the syriana so
is rael can become real

the red heffers have been cloned the temple will grow

the semites must leave for norway,sweden wales scotland and detroit

the khazar ashkanazim need the land returned to it's true owners from the turkic russio steppe

tonight back to back i watch reality
fiddler on the roof and exodus and schindlers lists.
i watch bbc simon scharmas new rabbi revised history of mighty israel.
every day it grows massive every day hezbollah become weak husk

shirley you can sea more that

my life already

Francis Lee ,

Very interesting and informative article. Lenin's 5 conditions of the imperialism of his time have been matched by similar conditions in our own time, as listed by the Egyptian Marxist, Samir Amin. These conditions being as follows.

1. Control of technology.

2. Access to natural resources.

3. Finance.

4. Global media.

5. The means of mass destruction.

Only by overturning these monopolies can real progress be made. Easily said. But a life and death struggle for humanity.

The collapse of the Soviet Union opened up the space for increased penetration of Europe to the East by the US and its West European allies in NATO. At that time the subaltern US powers in Europe were the UK and West Germany, as it then was. There was a semblance of sovereignty in France under De Gaulle, but this has since disappeared. Europe as a whole is now occupied and controlled by the US which has used EU/NATO bloc to push right up to the Russian border. Most, if not all, the non-sovereign quasi states, in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, are Quisling-Petainist puppet regimes regardless of whether they are inside our outside of the EU. (I say 'states' but of course if a country is not sovereign it cannot be a 'state' in the full meaning of the word).

A political, social and economic crisis in Europe seems to be taking taking shape. Perhaps the key problem, particularly Eastern Europe, has been depopulation. There is not one European state in which fertility (replacement) rates has reached 2.1 children. Western European imperial states have to large degree been able to counter-act this tendency by immigration from their former colonies, particularly the UK and France. But this has not been possible in states such as Sweden and Germany where the migration of non-christian guest workers from Turkey to Germany and Islamic refugees
from the middle-east hot-spots have had a free passage to Sweden. This has become a serious social and economic problem; a problem resulting from a neoliberal open borders policy. The fact of the matter is that radically different cultures will tend to clash. Thank you Mr Soros.

British immigration policy was successful in so far as immigrants from the Caribbean were English speakers, they were also protestant Christians, and the culture was not very different from the UK. Later immigration from the Indian sub-continent and Indian settled East Africa were generally professional and middle-class business people. Again English speakers. Assimilation of these newcomers was not unduly difficult.

However it wouldn't be exaggerating to say that Eastern Europe is facing a demographic disaster. This particular zone is literally bleeding people. Ukraine for example has lost 10 million people since 1990. Every month it is estimated that 100,000 Ukrainians leave the country, usually for good. In terms of migration – no-one wants to go to Eastern Europe, but everyone wants to leave, asap. This process is complemented by low birth rates, and high death rates. These are un-developing states in an un-developing world. But now we have new kids on the bloc. A counter-hegemonic alliance. No guesses who.

BigB ,

Rubbish. There is no 'counter-hegemonic alliance' to humanities rapacious demand for fossil fuels and ecological resources. Where are the material consumption resources for BRI coming from – the Moon, Mars? Passing asteroids? Or from the Earth?

When its gone: its gone. Russia and China provide absolutely no alternative to this. China's consumption alone is driving us over the brink. To which the real alternative is a complicit silence. As we all align with culture-centric capitalist views: there is no naturalistic 'counter-hegemonic alliance'. Just some hunters in the Amazon we are having shot right now so we can have the privilige of extending cultural hegemony over nature.

When it's gone: it's gone. And so will we be too. Probably as we are still praising the wonders of the 'counter-hegemonic alliance' that killed us.

Gall ,

Actually there is a naturalistic alliance forming but it seems you haven't been paying attention because you seem stuck in some Malthusian mind set. In order to defeat capitalism you have to defeat Globalism so you first have to eliminate the Anglo-American Hegemony and get back to a multipolar world.

Ranting on about like Gretchen doesn't do any good.

BigB ,

Resources are finite and thermodynamics exist. These are the ineliminable, indisputable, and rock solid epistemology of the Earth System. Everything else is metaphysics – literally 'beyond nature; beyond physics'. Or, as it is more commonly known – economics. The imaginary epistemology of political economics and political theory. 'Theory' is the non-scientific sense of unfounded opinion and non-sense. A philosophical truth-theory that is not and cannot ever be true. Hypothetical non-sense.

I get my information from a wide range of sources that realise these foundational predicates. That is: a foundational set of beliefs that require no underpinning. I can only paraphrase Eddington on thermodynamics: "if your theory is found to be against the second law I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."

Which is to say all modern political theory and economics – and by extension all opinions based on its internalisation – is the product of vivid and unfounded imagination. To which a naturalised epistemology is the only remedy.

There are lots of people working on the problem: but not in the political sphere. Which is why we are stuck in a hallucinated metaphysical political-economic theatre of the absurd and absolutised cultural non-sense. Which is not beyond anyone to rectify: if and when we accept the limitations of the physical-material Earth System. And apply them to our thinking.

#NoDealForNature until we accept that the thermodynamics of depletion naturally limit growth. Anything anyone says to the contrary should be treated with scepticism and cause a collapse into deepest humiliation of any rational thinker.

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Depopulation' is only a problem if you believe in the capitalist cancer cult of infinite growth on a finite planet, ie black magic. If you value Life on Earth, and its continuance, human depopulation is necessary. Best done slowly and humanely, by redistributing the wealth stolen by the capitalist parasites. The process seen in the Baltics and Ukraine is the capitalist way, cruel and inhumane. Even worse is planned for the Africans, south Asians and Chinese etc.

Gall ,

They don't for a minute believe in "infinite growth". They believe in the "bottom line","instant gratification" and "primitive accumulation". "Infinite growth" is a sales pitch that they use to sell the unwary on their rapaciousness. That is all. If they actually believed in "infinite growth" they've be investing in renewable resources not fracking, strip mining and other environmentally unfriendly practices.

Gall ,

The problem for Imperialists is that they only know how to plunder, rape and destroy thus all their weaponry and tactics is used for aggression they know nothing about actual defense which is their weak point. General George C Custer found this out some time back and so did Trump just recently when the American were assaulted by a barrage of missiles they couldn't stop.

Iran, Russia and China have one of the most advanced arsenal of defensive weapons ever developed such as the S- series of air defense system that can turn a Tomahawk attack into a turkey shoot. What was it? I think it was 100 Tomahawks fired on Syria after that false flag chemical attack and only 15 or so got through and this was the earlier version of the S missile defense S-300. They've already developed 500 which practically makes them impervious and is a true iron dome compared the iron sieve that the Israelis got for free during GW1 and then repackaged and sold back to the US Military for 15B with very few improvements except maybe for a pretty blue bow.

Not only that but they can return fire with hypersonic weapons that are unstoppable and can turn a base or Aircraft Carrier into a floating pinnate.

lundiel ,

Very well presented. Excellent article.

Gall ,

Actually the US proudly waving the banner of the East India Company is following in the footsteps of the deceased British Empire into the boneyard of empires which is Afghanistan. Iraq, Syria and Ukraine are just side shows. America can not escape history no matter what it does now since its days of empire are now numbered. Just as they were for the late unlamented Soviet Union.

The "New American Century" is ending preemptively early like Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich" and we can all breath a sigh of relief when it does.

Frank ,

The only thing that will get the bastard yanks out of the middle east is dead Americans.

Lots and lots of dead Americans.

Enough dead Americans to make the braindead jingoistic American masses notice.

Enough dead Americans to touch every family that produces grunts that serve their criminal state by raping and pillaging foreign countries.

Enough dead Americans to make dumbfuck Americans who say, 'Thank you for your service" squirm in literal pain at the words.

Dungroanin ,

They got brain damage in their bunkers in the best US base in the ME from just a handful of Kinetic energy missiles.

Their low yield nuke is their response.

The Israelis keep prodding the Bear – they even targeted a Russian Pantir system in Syria!

I suppose only a downing or infact destroying on the ground of a squadron of useless F35's with a threat to escalate into a full blown mobilisation is ever going to stop these imperialist chancers. Or a fully coordinated assassination campaign of the leads and their heirs as they frolic on their superyachts and space stations and secret Tracey islands.

And they can pay their taxes in full.

The Third world war is already fought – this really is a world war rather than some Anglo Imperialist bankers playing king of the castle – and they have LOST – the Empire is dead.

Long live the new Empire – the first not beholden to the bankers.

wardropper ,

Even with a new empire, our godless world would soon enough breed another generation of bankers to which we would be beholden.
That's what the fundamentally dishonest people in any society do.
Something wrong? Oh, well, we'll form a committee to discuss it, and in future we will look into creating a banking system which will enable us pay ourselves high wages for our invaluable contribution to human evolution.
It's MORALITY which is lacking today, not more legislation or a new constitution.

Gall ,

All one has to do is move off the centralized banking system developed and controlled by the Rothschilds that is totally based on creating finance out of thin air and return to a commodity based currency (not gold!!) that represents actual value like scrip or wampum or barter and the bankers will eventually starve.

Actually this system is starting to take hold in the US to a small extend to avoid the depredations of the IRS since Tax is based mostly on currency.

Stop using fiat currency and the problem's solved.

After WW II the French didn't have a press to press Francs so their standard of exchange became cigarettes and chocolate. It worked quite well until the presses started churning out paper again.

wardropper ,

My fear is that without the Rothschilds, some other over-ambitious family would simply step in and fill their shoes. It's the motivation to be greedy and wicked which needs addressing. How that would be done, of course, I have no idea.

Gall ,

This is only if you embrace the concept of centralized banking and the "magic" of compound interest. Current "banking" is all smoke and mirrors that favors the parasite who lives on the production of others through what is called "unearned income".

wardropper ,

I agree. But how to stop it?

Gall ,

Ignore the bastards instead. Just go off the grid.

wardropper ,

I can't deny the wisdom in that.

Dungroanin ,

The Red Shield ancient silk road trader and slaving company employees are only a family as say the Vatican is a family

wardropper ,

I know, but "only a family" with the wealth to buy whole nations
I find that very unsettling, to say the least.

Dungroanin ,

Indeed but there is always hope as the poet saw – THEY are the few, we are many.

Gall ,

Actually the Israelis are going a little slower now that isolated reports indicate that those flying turkeys AKA F-35s are getting popped out of the skies of Syria by antiquated Soviet SAMs. Of course there is no mention of this in the Mainstream Press. Just like there wasn't a word of a IDF General and his staff taken out by a shoulder launched RPG fired by Hezbollah in retaliation for attacking their media center in Beirut.

Antonym ,

Anybody who believes that the Israeli tail wags the US mil-ind. complex dog is contributing to the Jewish superiority myth.

Ken ,

They're not superior, but they do wag the US MIC dog in and ebb-and-flow kind of way. That 9/11 thing was quite the wag. Read Christopher Bollyn and study other aspects of the event if you're not sure of this.

Antonym ,

Langley and Riyadh love you; you fell for their ploy. See: Tel Aviv is much worse them.
The CIA/FBI failure explained.

The Mossad loves you too: for keeping mum on this Entebbe Mach 2.0 on their familiar New York crap they got huge US support in the ME.
Makes them look invincible too as a bonus .

5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history.

Ken ,

"5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history"

Oh please, that was such a minor bit of evidence of any Zionist/Israeli involvement, which spanned nearly every facet of the event and its aftermath.

The list of false flagging Zionist Jews in love with you is too long to list.

Gall ,

Oh please. What about the close to 200 Israelis who were arrested that day? Not to mention the helpful warning by Odigo which was only given to citizens of Israel?

Also one has to act who benefitted? Definitely not the Saudis or the Americans leaving Sharon who was trying to suppress a Palestinian uprising that he arrogantly started.

Speaking of your friendly five doing a fiddler on the roof on top of an Urban Moving Van that just happened to owned by another Israeli who fled the country. Didn't they say something stupid when arrested like "we are not your problem. It's the Palestinians who are your problem!"?

A pathetic frame up attempt but a frame none the less. Speaking of frame ups wasn't Fat Katz at SiteIntel (propaganda) who posted some stock footage of Palestinians celebrating which has been proven to be false since the only people who seem to celebrating that day was your friends the Dancing Israelis which doesn't prove their mental superiority at all but their arrogant stupidity,

Richard Le Sarc ,

The three, the USA, Saudi Arabia and the USA, are allies in destruction-the Real Axis of Evil. The dominant force, these days, given the control of the USA by Israel First Fifth Columnists, in the MSM, political 'contributions', the financial Moloch etc, is most certainly the Zionassties. Why don't you, like so many other Zionassties, glory in your power, Antsie. Nobody believes your ritual denials.

Gall ,

They don't really wag the dog by themselves. They have a lot of help from the Stand with Israel brain dead Christian Zionists who like Israelis consider themselves the chosen ones as well.

Ken ,

@Gall Yep! I had a long time friend who went Pentecostal and we drifted apart but still kept in touch. I lost him completely just after telling him that Israelis played a big part in 9/11.

Gall ,

Chuck Baldwin and a few other it seems have seen the light and are now questioning their colleagues undying support of Israel. Maybe you could show this article to your friend who seems enthralled by the terrorist snake er I mean state:

Ken ,

Thanks for that article. Were I ever able to get it in front of my estranged friend, it would make his head explode and kill him. Baldwin does seem to nail it. Chuck for president! I came across this rather intersting piece on 9/11 while at VT for your article.

Gall ,

Yes that pretty much sums up how 9/11 was carried on. Both Heinz Pommer and VT have done some excellent research based on facts not fantasy.

As far as your friend and many Christian Zionists in general. They seem to live in some alternative universe and dislike being confused by such irrelevant things as facts.

binra ,

It is a story that can be told in some detail – but when you say myth do you actually mean fallacy – ie – are you saying that Jewish power doesn't exercise considerable influence – if not control over US social and political and corporate development across of broad spectrum of leverages?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-all those addresses of Congress, by Bibi, where the Congress critters compete to display the most extreme groveling and adulation, are just the natural expression of reverence and awe at his semi-Divine moral excellence. Denying the undeniable is SOP for Zionassties.

normal wisdom ,

what jews?
i do not see any jews
just a sea of khazar ashkanazim pirates
a kaballa talmudick race trick
a crime syndicate pretending to be semite
jew is just the cover

[Feb 16, 2020] Africa's largest oil nation could see production drop 35%

Feb 16, 2020 |

Africa's largest oil producer could see oil production fall by 35 percent as low oil prices and regulatory uncertainty threaten to prompt oil majors to postpone final investment decisions. OPEC member Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and it pumped 1.776 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in January 2020, according to OPEC's secondary sources in its monthly report published this week. Adding condensate production, Nigeria's total oil output exceeds 2 million bpd.

However, three deepwater projects offshore Nigeria, operated by oil majors Exxon, Shell, and Total, could see their start-up dates delayed by two to four years to the late 2020s, according to the research WoodMac shared with Reuters ahead of publishing it on Friday.

Also on Russia to bring back to life Nigeria's major steel plant project, abandoned for decades

The regulatory changes in Nigeria's oil industry and the still pending final approval of a petroleum bill - after two decades of delays and wrangling - act as deterrents to the oil majors' investment decisions, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Moreover, the three deepwater projects - which could add a combined 300,000 bpd to Nigeria's production - are not profitable at current oil prices with Brent Crude below $60 a barrel, the consultancy noted.

Just this week, Nigeria assured foreign oil investors that the country is open to business and can guarantee high returns on investment, the country's President Muhammadu Buhari told an energy conference on Monday.

Nigeria is set to finally pass a new bill regulating the petroleum industry by the middle of this year, after nearly two decades of delays, the country's Minister of Petroleum Timipre Sylva said at the same event.

Also on Africa to become 'land of opportunity' if US & China strike trade deal – Bank of America

Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said at the conference that "We are, more than ever before, committed to working with stakeholders to increase our crude oil production from 2.3 million bbl per day to 3 million bbl per day."

The recent amendment to the Deep Offshore Act will improve financial stability and investor confidence, NNPC's head said.

This article was originally published on

[Feb 16, 2020] Psychologist Explains Why Economists -- and Liberals -- Get Human Nature Wrong by Lynn Parramore

Feb 12, 2020 |

By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

For a fictional character, homo economicus has had a pretty good run . Since the 1950s, this mono-motivated, self-seeking figure has stalked the pages of economics textbooks, busy deciding each action according to a rational calculus of personal loss and gain. But more recently his territory has shrunk as experts on human nature have demonstrated what any decent novelist could have told them: our real selves are nothing like this.

Unfortunately, many economists still plug this flawed view of people into computer models that determine all kinds of things that impact our lives, from how much workers get paid to how we value life or common goods, such as a clean environment. The results can be disastrous.

Typically, economists aren't that keen on admitting that their work is deeply connected to morality -- never mind that Adam Smith himself was a moral philosopher. But if you ask a question as simple as how to price a used car, you quickly find that moral concerns and economic activity happen together all the time.

In his 2012 book, The Righteous Mind , New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explored why so many perfectly intelligent people have misread human nature– and not just economists, but plenty of psychologists and even (shocker!) people who identify as politically liberal. For him, the key to getting to know ourselves properly lies with moral psychology, a newish strain that pulls together evolutionary, neurological, and social-psychological research on moral emotions and intuitions.

As Haidt sees it, we are creatures driven by moral intuition and attuned to both our personal interests as well as what's good for the groups with which we identify. He points out that in order to thrive, we have to appreciate our complex, interactive natures and see each other more clearly and empathetically – an observation that may be especially useful at a time when threats like climate change and the concentration of money and power threatens all of us, no matter who we are or what groups we belong to. At the moment, we aren't doing such a good job of this.

The Rider and the Elephant

Morality, Haidt argues, doesn't arise from reason, and besides, humans aren't winning any prizes for rationality. Heaps of studies show how factors beyond conscious awareness influence how we think and act, from judges giving out more lenient sentences after lunch to bottles of hand sanitizer making people more feel more conservative .

In Haidt's view, the conscious mind is like a press secretary spewing after-the-fact justifications for decisions already made. Thinkers like David Hume and Sigmund Freud were certainly hip to this idea, but somehow a lot of economists missed the memo, as did psychologists following dominant rationalist models in the 1980s and '90s.

Haidt invites us to consider ourselves as a rider (our analytical, rational part) and an elephant (our emotional, intuitive part). The rider holds the reins, but the beast below is in charge, urged on by the complex interaction of genetic influence, neural wiring, and social conditioning. The rider can advise the elephant, but the elephant calls most of the shots.

Fortunately, the elephant is quite intelligent and equipped with all sorts of intuitions that are good for conscious reasoning. But elephants get very stubborn when threatened and like to stick to what's familiar. The rider, for her part, is not exactly a reliable character. She's not really searching for truth, but mostly for ways to justify what the elephant wants.

That's why a rebel economist challenging conventional thinking about subjects like human nature faces a heavy lift. Experts have to see a lot of evidence accumulating across many studies before they reach a point where they are finally forced to think differently. Scientific studies are even less helpful in persuading the general public.

When I asked Haidt how the mavericks could help their cause, he noted that humans are social creatures more influenced by people than by ideas. So, it matters who says something as much as what they say. It also makes a difference how they say it: elephants don't like to be insulted, and they lean towards arguments made by people they like and admire. Not very rational, perhaps, but likely true.

Homo Duplex

The notion that human beings are social creatures is another strike against homo economicus. We are selfish much of the time, but we are also "groupish," as Haidt puts it, and perhaps better described as "homo duplex" operating on two levels. Here he offers another animal analogy, suggesting that we're 90% chimp and 10% bee, meaning that from an evolutionary perspective, we are selfish primates with a more recently developed a "hivish" overlay that lets us occasionally devote ourselves to helping others, or our groups.

This helps explain why you can't predict how someone is going to vote based on their narrow self-interest. Political opinions are like badges of social membership. We don't just ask what's in it for us, but also what it means to our groups. Having a kid in public school doesn't tell you that a person will support aid to public schools, probably because there are group interests in play. What unifies us in groups, Haidt argues, are certain moral foundations that allow us to share emotionally compelling worldviews that we can easily justify and defend against any attack by outsiders who don't share them. And we can get pretty nasty about those outsiders.

This begins to sound like ugly tribalism, the kind of stuff that leads to war. But Haidt reminds us that this propensity also prepares us to get along within our groups and even to cooperate on a large scale -- our human superpower. We differ from other primates because we exhibit shared intentionality: we're able to plan things together and work together towards a common goal. You never see two chimps carrying a log – they just don't act in concert that way. We do, and in our groups we've developed mechanisms to suppress cheaters and free riders and reap the benefit of division of labor. Groups of early humans may well have triumphed over other hominids not because they smashed them with clubs , but because they out-cooperated them.

To better understand how we operate in political groups, which have lately become more antagonistic, Haidt created a map of our moral landscape called Moral Foundations Theory which delineates multiple "foundations" we presumably use when making moral decisions, including care/harm, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation, and liberty/oppression. (Some scholars have challenged his system, offering alternative maps). His research indicates that liberals and conservatives differ in the emphasis they place on each of these foundations, with conservatives tending to value all six domains equally and liberals valuing the first two much more than the other three.

Haidt argues that liberals tend to home in on care and fairness when they talk about policy issues, which can put them at a disadvantage vis-ŕ-vis conservatives, who tend to activate the whole range of foundations. Republicans are thus better able to talk to elephants than Democrats because they possess more ways to go for the gut, as it were. If Democrats want to win, Haidt warns, they need to think of morality as more than just care and fairness and to try to better understand that foundations more important to conservatives, like deference to authority or a reverence for sacredness, are not pathological, but aspects human social evolution that have helped us survive in many situations.

When he wrote The Righteous Mind , Haidt noted that Democrats had espoused a moral vision that did not resonate with many working class and rural voters. In the current presidential race, he sees some progress on economic populism from the Bernie Sanders wing, in part because Occupy Wall Street got people attuned to issues of fairness and the oppression of the 1%. When politicians talk about the abuse of political and economic power, they can activate not only care and fairness concerns, but also the liberty/oppression foundation which people respond to across the political spectrum.

But this line is also tricky because, as Haidt pointed out to me, "Americans don't really hate their rich." (One recent study suggested only 25% of Americans have a negative view of the rich, though a majority said they should be taxed more).

Haidt also worries that many Democrats, particularly elites, are currently engaging with cultural issues by embracing a what he called a "common enemy" form of identity politics which "demonizes people at the intersectional point of evil (white men)" rather than focusing on a "common humanity" story which "draws a larger circle around everyone. (Haidt plunged into controversial territory with his 2018 book, The Coddling of the American Mind , which argues that college campuses are shutting down useful debate through "safetyism" that protects students from ideas considered harmful or offensive).

He observed to me that while the polarizing Donald Trump may have turned off the younger generation "for the next few decades," Democrats may be failing "to look seriously at the ways that their social policies -- and their messengers -- alienate many moderates." Newly "woke" white elites, for example, who see racism as the driver of nearly every phenomenon, may be having an unintended negative effect in his view. When they ascribe Trump's victory to racial resentment and ignore the concerns of those who fear sliding down the economic ladder, for example, they may turn off potential allies. Call a person or a group racist and you won't be able to convince them to support your view on anything. Their elephants aren't listening.

Haidt acknowledges that our moral matrices are not written in stone; they can and do evolve, sometimes quite rapidly within a couple of generations. Economic forces surely act to shift attunement to moral foundations, making people more susceptible, for example, to anti-immigration arguments. If you fail to consider the economic influence on this kind of moral activation, you'll be less equipped to address problems like ethnic conflict. Being able to step outside our own moral matrix is essential to persuasion. We not only have to talk to the elephant, but see the beehive.

We also have to remember the truth is not likely to be something held by any one individual, but rather something that emerges as a large number of flawed and limited minds exchange views on a given subject. Our smarts and flexibility are increased by our ability to cooperate and share information. Economists, for example, improve their understanding of human nature by opening up to other social sciences and the humanities for insight.

There is evidence that economists are paying attention to moral psychology. In their book Identity Economics , Nobel laurate George Akerlof and Rachel Kranton argue that people identify with "social categories," and that each category, whether it be Christian, mother, or neighbor, has associated norms or ideals to which people want to aspire. Sam Bowles' The Moral Economy shows that monetary incentives don't work in many situations and that policies targeting our selfish instincts can actually weaken the institutions which depend on our more selfless impulses– including financial markets. At the Institute of New Economic Thinking (INET), the connection between economics and morality has been explored by INET president Rob Johnson and political philosopher Michael Sandel as well as thinkers like economic historian Robert Skidelsky and economist Darrick Hamilton .

All of this rather bad news for homo economicus. But pretty good news for humanity.

Carolinian , February 12, 2020 at 1:37 am

we're 90% chimp and 10% bee, meaning that from an evolutionary perspective, we are selfish primates with a more recently developed a "hivish" overlay that lets us occasionally devote ourselves to helping others, or our groups.

Well if one wants to take an "evolutionary perspective" (works for me) then obviously our instincts are shaped to promote survival of the species and not just the individual. And if that's true then the Randian/economics version of rational isn't rational at all. Perhaps it would be clearer to talk about this problem in terms of rational versus irrational rather than appealing to some "altruism gene" that will supposedly save us. IMO only that rational, intelligent, creative aspect of humans will save us from that irrational side that is indeed totally instinctive. Somehow we've gotten this far–despite everything–"by the skin of our teeth." Here's hoping those minds will find a path.

eg , February 12, 2020 at 2:30 pm

I believe that a huge controversy continues to rage in Biology around "group selection"

erik , February 13, 2020 at 12:53 am

Over what? Carol's point about the sociology of Ayn Rand?

In point of fact, Carol, altruism is always secondary (where it appears) in nature. Selfishness ensures the fittest genes survive to carry on the species. Only in the face of catastrophe does altruism at
the individual level become more valuable than selfishness. So, indeed it is because of our selfishness, because we've struggled by the skin of our teeth, that we as a species have survived and prospered.

Susan the other , February 13, 2020 at 2:41 pm

but, but erik, that leaves out all the energy saving advantage we get from a cohesive group which is also determined to survive and carry on centuries of knowledge on just how to do so .

H. Alexander Ivey , February 12, 2020 at 2:01 am

Just a quick jab: why does Haidt, and others, assume that feelings are inferior to logic and intellect? Seems to me they are inter-twined, separate-able, but equal in value, if not dimension.

It could be a three way set-up instead of a two way (like markets, which are commonly spoken of as two: buyer and seller, but are three: buyer, seller, and banker /money man). Man's consciousness could be 1) feelings, 2) logic /intellect, and 3) the decider (call out to ex-prez W, so got political jab in too!).

But all that rather kicks Haidt's argument

eg , February 12, 2020 at 2:34 pm

In fairness to Haidt, I think he's more nuanced than "rationality good; feelings bad"

I have encountered more of that rather rigid approach among those who have read "Thinking Fast and Slow" perhaps because that book doesn't do as good a job of outlining as crucial the capacity to recognize which situations favor System 1 thinking and those which favor System 2 -- a problem compounded by the emphasis in the book on the rather narrow range of circumstances in which System 2 is clearly superior.

vlade , February 12, 2020 at 3:00 am

Social scientists can't add:
"value all six domains equally [ ] valuing the first two much more than the other three."

More seriously, yes. Years ago, Heinlein wrote "Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal".

somecallmetim , February 12, 2020 at 8:56 pm

Jeez – I spent years getting an Econ degree in the homo economus/monetarist era (dark times), when I should've been making my way through my D&D Dungeon Master's sci fi collection!

Dell , February 13, 2020 at 2:53 pm

I always thought that the Professors who thought up homo economus never went with their wives (as it was back then) to the grocery store.

The rational choice, always, was the store brand. DelMonte and all other such brands owed their very existence to non-rational, emotional choices–by tons of people.

But the implications of that never sunk in.

erik , February 13, 2020 at 1:04 am

'Rational' just means 'consistently following an internally sound logic.' A machine does that – following the logic of its mechanics. A computer does that – following the logic of code. An animal does that – following the logic dictated by emotion. And an animal certainly does that better than we humans whose behaviors become muddled by ideas. Truly, by this measure animals are better machines than humans – more mechanical, more emotional, more logical, more rational.

Hayek's Heelbiter , February 12, 2020 at 5:28 am

That's why a rebel economist challenging conventional thinking about subjects like human nature faces a heavy lift. Experts have to see a lot of evidence accumulating across many studies before they reach a point where they are finally forced to think differently.

As an ex-organic chemist, I was astonished to find that more than a few scientists cling to outdated paradigms with a tenacity that would shame the most rigid religious fundamentalist. Cf. heliobacter, continental drift, even the heliocentric solar system.

divadab , February 12, 2020 at 11:02 am

Huh? Heliocentric solar system is an outdated paradigm? Are you talking about this planet or are you coming from another solar system?

vlade , February 12, 2020 at 11:50 am

same for continental drift – pretty much no one in geology challenges plate tectonics, as it explains way more than any other theory on offer.

Anon , February 12, 2020 at 12:06 pm

While "continental" drift was first proposed in about 1600 AD it was not completely wrong. Like many initial geologic theories it was partially correct. It is now known that it is not the "continents" that move across the earth, but tectonic plates, on which the continents are located, that is creating movement. The convection of the earths interior magma is thought to be the movement vector for the plates.

Henry Moon Pie , February 12, 2020 at 6:04 am

"this propensity also prepares us to get along within our groups and even to cooperate on a large scale -- our human superpower"

Yuval Harari's central point revolves around this. Humans, like other primates, engage in "grooming" activities to maintain group cohesion. With the development of language, this "grooming" went from picking lice out of each other's hair (fun!) to gossiping about each other. But this behavior seems to be unable to maintain a group size larger than 150 individuals, not surprising considering the person-to-person contact necessary.

To gather a larger group around common goals requires myth, Harari says. Early myths involved gods, often imagined as living in a separate world with structures parallel to our own. In a polytheistic society, the head god related to the lesser gods as a king related to his human subjects. In the henotheistic Ancient Near East, nations like Babylon, Assyria and even the southern Israelite kingdom of Judah envisioned a parallel war occurring in "heaven" between the national gods when two countries went to war. These days, there are new, completely secular myths like what Harari calls "Money" that orient our world around materialism, competition and power.

eg , February 12, 2020 at 2:46 pm

William H. McNeill also noted the almost universal human behaviours of mass marching/dancing (which requires and reinforces cooperation) as indicative of a social behaviour rooted in a biological need

We also have "mirror neurons" for a reason -- one that baffles the proponents of "homo economicus"

Eric , February 12, 2020 at 7:20 am

I was more interested in this article from the political perspective; i.e. what liberals get wrong.

Like many who read this site, I'm interested in the primary elections and want Bernie to win.

But Bernie's message could be better by being more attuned to some of the "Moral Foundation" issues Haidt raises.

Take Medicare for All which, by most accounts, is the leading issue to most voters:

Talking more about Medicare being a simple and successful 50+ year program appeals to authority. Medicare Advantage plans can be framed as subversion. Or loyalty / betrayal. Also consider sanctity / degradation.

Talking more about the 80/20 aspect of coverage addresses fairness / cheating and "free stuff"

Not talking about eliminating private insurance shows concern for liberty / oppression. I would actually make a joke about people who would still want private insurance after M4A becomes available

Just food for thought in terms of how the ideas contained in the article could be applied.

And the next time some nefarious reporter asks how we will pay for this or that; I wish someone will just say "Mexico will pay for it".

deplorado , February 13, 2020 at 1:20 am

Share it with the campaign on twitter – please!

LowellHighlander , February 12, 2020 at 7:24 am

As an economist (M.A. in Econ), I am elated to see Jonathan Haidt's work receive this kind of attention from serious thinkers. In addition to the reasons cited by Lynn Parramore, I believe Professor Haidt's work validates, by building on, the work of Humanistic Economics by Professor Mark Lutz (Ph.D. UC-Berkeley) and Dr. Kenneth Lux. Moreover, Professor Haidt's work appears, to me, to further validate the astute criticisms of Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot for neoclassical Marxists' use of "Rational Economic Man" in their paradigm's modls (no "e"). Having obtained my degree about 25 years ago, basically in humanistic economics, I am sure that adoption of such thinking by grad students in economics can help rescue humanity from its current barbaric state. I just hope there's still time left.

Jeremy Grimm , February 12, 2020 at 1:03 pm

But economics without homo economicus? Does that not mess-up a lot of beautiful economic proofs and their beautiful mathematics?

eg , February 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Let them have their toys -- just don't let them near anything like policy

Ignacio , February 12, 2020 at 7:30 am

On hate and having negative view on the rich : this article mentions that "only" 25% of Americans have a negative or very negative view of the rich". Only is the proper word? I would say that is a lot of bad feelings. Hate is not a sane feeling and we are inclined to hate in stressful situations. So, if 25% of Americans, have these negative feelings (8% very negative) about the rich this spells quite a lot of despair/stress. It would be interesting a comparison with other countries to evaluate if this is normal by international standards.

Ignacio , February 12, 2020 at 7:52 am

I mention this because stress & despair might explain, at least partially, the relative low turnout in general elections in the US compared with other OECD countries. Does anybody here know the evolution of electoral turnout in the US since 1950? Has turnout declined with time?

Dirk77 , February 12, 2020 at 5:13 pm

There is a Wikipedia article under the title Voter Turnout in the US Presidential Elections fwiw.

John Wright , February 12, 2020 at 9:46 am

I remembered an old David Brooks column mentioning that Americans vote their aspirations.

I'm not a fan of Brooks, but this 20 year old column may explain some USA citizens' current attitudes..

Here is a sample quote (about a proposed Al Gore estate tax):

"The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them."

While it has been 20 years since this was published, one might suspect American "I'll be rich" aspirations have taken a beating during this interval.

The economics profession has ridden the hydrocarbon energy spend of the last 100+ years as hydrocarbon energy has been pulled from the ground and converted into "economic growth".

It will be interesting to see how the profession responds to future events with climate change, peak human population and peak energy inexorably (in my view) arriving.

Susan the other , February 12, 2020 at 10:38 am

Yes, after all corvid-19 only has a mortality rate of 2.5% . are viruses comparable to hate?

Donald , February 12, 2020 at 7:49 am

One thing that has happened is that over the past several decades so- called liberals have agreed with conservatives that the market represents freedom and efficiency and the government represents the opposite. Some younger people are rebelling, but older voters have been hearing this their whole lives without challenge until Sanders came along.

I just read a description of a Trump rally at the NYT and I think it was accurate. The reporters just repeated what ordinary people said there. One guy claimed the Democrats have just swung so far left he can't support them anymore, yet on economics this simply isn't the case. Sanders just represents what Democrats used to be on economic issues.

gsinbe , February 12, 2020 at 7:57 am

I enjoyed the article, and agree with the main ideas, but he was a little rough on our primate cousins. Chimps may not cooperate by "carrying logs", but, like a lot of social animals, they work together when, say, hunting other primates. And most social animals have a pretty well-developed sense of fairness (watch what happens if you give one of your dogs a treat and ignore the other one).

a different chris , February 12, 2020 at 8:59 am

Yes I am trying to think about what chimps would actually need to transport a log for. That famous jocular saying by one of the researchers "we were beginning to think the difference between us was merely cultural".

Carolinian , February 12, 2020 at 9:26 am

Is that a sense of fairness or a sense of competition or perhaps a sense of both? Each dog would prefer being the favorite but will accept being the equal.

Dogs are an interesting analogy because in my observation they are, as social animals, so much like us. Perhaps the main takeaway from the above article is the belief that there is such a thing as "human nature" and that we have a kinship with the other species. Needless to say such a view was once anathema in an intellectual climate dominated by religion and a human centric world view. Even now people like Pence are "dominionists" and believe that humans have been given dominion over the planet and all its other species because of what it says in the Bible. Power always needs to justify itself–perhaps because of that innate sense of fairness/competition that you mention.

Susan the other , February 12, 2020 at 10:54 am

Haidt got me thinking about language too. His thesis could be talking about the evolution of language itself. The evolution of rationalization. Since he seems to premise his insights on human intuition and a certain bedrock of morality that all animals seem to have. Pre language. Can we attribute the morality of animals to a lack of rationalization? They do seem to lack immorality. If we were mute, but very intuitive as we are, what effect would our intuition have on our communication skills and our actions? Raising the question here, Is language the emotional middleman that is always (duplex) less than rational and causing all this confusion? Sort of thinking here about someone giving an over-the-top sermon, like an economics professor claiming that we are all homo-economicus.

Carolinian , February 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Morality traditionally implies conscious choice so I'm not sure that's relevant to the animal world. Guess what I'm saying is that we are similar to certain animals in our instincts, not our intelligence.

However the language of economic profs is deceptive since they should be saying "irrational self interest" rather than "rational self interest." Pure selfishness usually ends up being bad even for the selfish.

Susan the other , February 13, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Also on this very subject, last night on Nova, the one about dogs, their domestication (or ours?) and their amazing ability to relate – communicate. They attribute a dog's ability to communicate to oxytocin – because they thrive on love and friendship. I do believe that because I've only had one aloof dog and he was very wolf-like. A throwback. Indicating that evolution tends toward love – not to be too corny. Maybe Oxytocin will save us ;-)

Susan the other , February 12, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Maybe we could develop a more finely-tuned consciousness.

eg , February 12, 2020 at 3:07 pm

Um, pack animals have hierarchies -- period

And we are biologically pack animals, mercifully moderated by culture

Carolinian , February 12, 2020 at 4:25 pm

If by "pack animals" you mean species that live in societies I never said they didn't. But obviously there is also cooperation on some level and social bonding. I do think this is a very complicated subject and not easily reduced to simplifications by yours truly–not a biologist–or the above article. But arguably the above is correct in asserting that economists themselves are ignoring the complications.

Ignacio , February 12, 2020 at 8:16 am

And for those interested, here is a paper published in 2008 that empirically demonstrates that the "Homo economicus" approach in this case disguised in the form of "median-voter model" is bullshit regarding inequality, redistribution and public opinion, though they regard it as intelectually compelling. Economists!

John Wright , February 12, 2020 at 10:19 am

Your link did not work for me.

But this did work (after google searching for "mwm006.pdf") that was buried in your link

Ignacio , February 12, 2020 at 11:10 am

Thank you. That was the paper.

a different chris , February 12, 2020 at 8:56 am

>Experts have to see a lot of evidence accumulating across many studies before they reach a point where they are finally forced to think differently.

Ummm, the whole, underlying maybe, point of the rest of the article is that the dominant economic thought of our age has nothing to do with evidence. Yet they overthrew Keynes. "Trust us, We're Experts" or something like that right?

DJG , February 12, 2020 at 8:58 am

I just finished slogging through The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist, which harmonizes with this article. Instead of the rider on an elephant, McGilchrist writes of the functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which are significantly different. The left brain is verbal, analytical, and task oriented. It likes straight lines. (This strikes me as a description of the pseudo-accuracy and busyness of economics.) The right brain sees a larger picture, is less talky, and is generally better at perceiving the world around us. It is the hemisphere that can attain greater knowledge even if it is not as adept at expressing such knowledge in words. (The "bee" part of the brain–and more than 10 percent.)

McGilchrist's book is good, but way too long, which is an irony given that he asserts that the left brain, the emissary, is trying to subvert the master, the part of the brain less likely to go on and on and on in words.

But this era of too many easy paradigms (economics, "free markets"), too much flimsy analysis (critical studies, queer studies, economics, New York Times op-ed columnists), and too much talk (social media) is very much left-brained. I think that what is wearing all of us out is the endless tsunami of word salad. Economics, with its insistance on rationality rather than reasonableness (left brain rather than right brain), fell into the salad bowl a long time ago.

Mel , February 12, 2020 at 10:12 am

Yes. I, too, think this is a very important book. Being retired, I don't think it's too long. I revel in how much stuff I got for only thirty bucks (or whatever it was -- something like that.)
The neurological case is complete after 94 very dense pages. (535 citations. Pleasantly readable prose, though, and that bizarre experiment that "proves" that porcupines are monkeys.) After that he traces the effects and footprints of the two independent modes of thought through philosophy, art, music, and, generally, the working of our societies from ancient to post-modern.
There's a strong parallel to Daniel Kahneman's Fast and Slow thinking, the right hemisphere being the fast one. The one wrinkle is that language is the province of the left hemisphere, but Kahnemann finds that fast thinking is perfectly adept at small-talk, as long as it doesn't get too abstract.
Worst for me is that now that I've read it, I've got to go back into Heidegger, all the other modern Germans, John Dryden, classical and modern painting, religion

The Rev Kev , February 12, 2020 at 9:27 am

So how would homo economicus work out in anything other than a modern industrial system? In earlier times, I would say that at the least they would be shunned as a danger to the community or maybe even thrown out altogether as being incapable of working in a close-knit community. Want a modern example instead? How about the fact that you cannot have a military based on the idea of homo economicus unless you are talking about a band of mercenaries. This whole stupid idea is why every relationship these days whether for work, employment, government, etc is defined by contracts. In short, it is a cookie-cutter idea that come in only one shape.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 12, 2020 at 9:31 am

"Since the 1950s, this mono-motivated, self-seeking figure has stalked the pages of economics textbooks, busy deciding each action according to a rational calculus of personal loss and gain."

Advertising gave up with that sort of approach years ago.
Advertisers appeal to deep seated wants and desires and this works really well, so they haven't looked back.
Are the wealthy much more rational?
Let's have a look at adverts targeted at wealthy people.
Are they a long list of specifications and comparisons saying why these products are better?
An advert for a Sunseeker luxury yacht conveys luxury, elegance, being able to get away from it all and there is usually a young woman in the back in a bikini; the less said about that the better.

What about PR and propoganda?
How do they work?
The same as advertising really, and it's got nothing to do with appealing to rational human beings.
It works; they are not going to be doing it differently anytime soon.

Economics seems to be the odd man out.

Mel , February 12, 2020 at 11:32 am

A propos of nothing, long, long ago there was an ad during the Superbowl placed by Cadillac. It was all about authority, power, celebrity, and it hardly mentioned cars at all, if it even did. Blog commenters had to work very hard to explain how this was selling Cadillacs. IMHO, it didn't sell Cadillacs. It told the top Cadillac executives all the things about themselves that they most longed to hear. It didn't sell cars to wealthy people, it sold the ad itself to the Cadillac C-suite. It worked like a charm.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 12, 2020 at 9:56 am

Inequality exists on two axes:

Y-axis – top to bottom
X-axis – Across genders, races, etc ..

As long as the Democrats wealthy donors keep them focussed on identity politics and the X-axis, the donors should be able to keep making progress in the reverse direction on the Y-axis.

Rob Chametzky , February 12, 2020 at 11:33 am

Samuel Bowles has examined these issues recently in "The moral

and he's MUCH better than Haidt. I recommend this book and lots
of his earlier work, much of it done with Herbert Gintis.

Their 1976 "Schooling in capitalist America" is no less necessary
reading now than it was then, and their 1986 "Democracy & capitalism"
is maybe even more relevant now (Milanovic credits it as a forerunner
to his current "Capitalism, alone", which it is–and much more than that).
More recent stuff is referenced in "The moral economy" and pretty
much always worthwhile.

–Rob Chametzky

Tim , February 12, 2020 at 2:41 pm

Morality is a big part of decision making, but I'll argue that is secondary to our cognitive biases that exist at an even lower level of consciousness to enable us to retain function and decision making in the face of an overwhelming number of variables.

The opposite of cognitive bias or perhaps the antidote is critical thinking, which must be taught/learned, so yeah it is preposterous to assume people use solid reasoning that could only come about with the use of critical thinking, which vasts swaths of society almost never exercise.

flora , February 12, 2020 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for this post. Homo economicus was/is always and only about the 'one'.

Whereas the basis of moral philosophy is about 'the one and the many' in equal importance, imo.

Thanks for this post and to the commentors recommending more writings in this field.

Dirk77 , February 12, 2020 at 6:10 pm

The article to me is all over the place, which builds on Haidt's views that seem all over the place too. Interesting though. Comments too. The experimental data about Haidt's classifications of moral decision making elements, and where self-described liberals and conservatives rank them in importance was interesting. I suppose the liberals regarding only two of the six as important could be due to their college educations. As a math professor I had once observed about a smart student in his class: "he learned his subject too well". Or to paraphrase Othello: "One that learned not wisely but too well".

greensachs , February 12, 2020 at 6:26 pm

Nuff sd

"It's Armageddon Time for the Democratic Party"

TG , February 12, 2020 at 6:43 pm

Hmm yes but

Humans are rational economic agents! Therefore we must ship our industrial base to China so that the rich can make more money.

Humans are rational economic agents! Therefore we must allow big companies to merge and quash competition and raise prices.

Humans are rational economic agents! Therefore we must allow "surprise medical billing" when insured people go to the emergency room.

Humans are rational economic agents! Therefore we must do nothing to stop the use of slave labor in peeling shrimp for export in Southeast Asia.

Humans are rational economic agents! Therefore we must bail out and subsidize Wall Street and big finance with tens of trillions of taxpayer dollars.

Perhaps the "humans are rational economic agents!" argument is not really an argument, as such

deplorado , February 13, 2020 at 2:29 am

The most important takeaway from this is that we should not let economists guide the economy. Not the economists believing in homo economicus anyway (and, while we are at it, believing in equilibrium as well). The reason for existence of such a concept is clearly to replace ethics and morality as a guiding principle of human economic activity with a pseudo- "natural law" (humans by nature are "economicus" – i.e. self-interested and materialistic – phew!), which once entrenched, relieves those in power from moral obligations because it safely explains away almost any economic outcome as result of "natural" forces – i.e. no one to blame (globalization=natural force). It's a great tool for them. Down with it.

Dick Swenson , February 14, 2020 at 4:25 pm

The asumption of rationality has been defeated by many economists, as well as psychologists, sociologists, etc.. Carrying on about this is unncessary. Assuming that humans worry about "care and fairness' is true. The "12" prophets of the Tanakh (Old Testament") raised this concern numerous times, and one can find it as a major issue in the Synoptic Gospels. Smith also worried about this in his first book on economocs, "The Theory of Moral Sentiments." The only reason for any further consideration of "rationality" in economics is due to the attemprt by economists to treat economics as a "science" like physics. There are also numerous misguided attempts to mathemaize economics.

But one insidious reason to pretend that economics is a "science" is to justify the idea of a "Nobel Prize" in economics, or to give a "halo" to economists that win the "Swedish Central Bank Prize in Economic Scholarship in Memory of Alfred Nobel."

Avner Offer and Gabriel Söderberg have written a good book about the creation of this prize, "The Nobel Factor." Please note, the words "Nobel Prize" do not seem to appear on either the certificates or medal awarded.

Daniel Kahneman who won the prize (justifiably, (and John Nash a famous mathematicin who won many real prizes) notd that giving labels often transfers a false aura to those being labeled. Offer and Söderberg noted that this is true of the label "winner of the Nobel Prize." Given that there is no decent encompasssing theory of economics similar to Newton's Laws and how often the prizes are awarded to economists who don't produce anything like such a theory, we should once and for all abandone the pretense that economis is a science. It is an attempt to describe social behaviour in a very restricted context. Leaving it to psychologists, sociologists and others has produce better undertandings of human behaviour.

[Feb 15, 2020] Krystal Ball Warren's cynical attacks on Sanders are exactly why her campaign failed

Feb 15, 2020 |

Hill.TV host Krystal Ball said Sen. Elizabeth Warren 's (D-Mass.) "campaign was lost long before this election cycle."

Ball pointed to Warren's "decision not to run in 2016 - she sat out the most critical election of our lifetime even though she knew better than I did the flaws of Hillary Clinton " Ball then slammed Warren's decision to not endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016 noting "when her supposed friend and ally Bernie Sanders, who allegedly shares her politics and was fighting for the same values she had staked her career on got into the race and started sky-rocketing in the polls challenging Hillary for the lead, rather than making the movement choice and backing the progressive, she sat it out."

Ball claims Warren's "attempts to co-opt revolutionary rhetoric in service of an establishment campaign, like Disney doing socialism, satisfied no one and left her unable to win more than 1 county and Iowa and an embarrassing distant fourth behind Klobuchar in New Hampshire."

Click on the video above to catch Ball's full remarks.

[Feb 15, 2020] Trump's "Blue Collar Boom" Myth vs Reality by Tom Hall

Feb 15, 2020 |

In last week's State of the Union address, President Trump gave a rosy portrayal of the US economy. American workers, according to Trump, have never had it so good.

"Wages," he declared, "are rising fast." Household income, he claimed, "is the highest ever recorded." The results of Trump's policies, since first taking office three years ago, is a "blue-collar boom." This coincides, according to Trump, with a 70 percent run-up in the stock market, "adding more than $12 trillion to our nation's wealth." For the American ruling class, the massive profits they are making on the stock market is the real criterion of economic success, not the conditions of life for the working class.

The reality is very different than the fantasy which Trump delivered over the country's airwaves. Corporate profits, dividends and the incomes of wealthy executives are higher than ever before -- the direct result of unprecedented levels of social misery.

Trump's policies are an acceleration of those pursued under Obama and the Democrats after 2008. The deliberate aim of these policies, which included the 2009 restructuring of the auto industry, the promotion of for-profit charter schools and the pro-corporate Affordable Care Act, was to prop up the profits of American capitalism by driving millions of workers into poverty.

This is the real situation facing American workers:

The jobs bloodbath in the auto industry

US manufacturing cut 12,000 jobs in January, according to government figures. This continues a decades-long decline in manufacturing employment, from a high of nearly 20 million in 1979 to less than 13 million today. January's losses were almost entirely concentrated in the auto and auto parts industries, which shed 11,000 jobs last month alone. Over the last twelve months, 24,000 US autoworkers lost their jobs.

The betrayal of the strike by the United Auto Workers paved the way for the closure of four US plants, including the historic Lordstown plant in Ohio. New investments, including a new battery plant near Lordstown, will be based on lower wages and benefits, and will account for only a fraction of the jobs lost.

While Trump never tires of nationalist tirades against Mexican and Chinese workers stealing "American" jobs, these cuts were part of a global jobs massacre in the auto industry, which eliminated over 500,000 jobs worldwide last year. Auto companies are pursuing an international strategy to force workers in every country to bear the cost of the emerging downturn in the industry, and to prepare for the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles, which will require a vastly reduced workforce.

However, 2019 was only a down payment -- German automakers have announced tens of thousands of additional job cuts. The disruption to global supply chains caused by the coronavirus, Ford's disastrous 2019 performance and the impending merger between Fiat Chrysler and French automaker Peugeot all point to further cuts in 2020 and beyond.

Stagnating and declining wages

Under Trump, real wages have continued their post-2008 stagnation. According to The Conversation website, from December 2016 to September 2019, nominal wages rose only 6.79 percent, but even this was almost entirely wiped out by inflation. When "fringe benefits" such as health insurance, retirement packages, bonuses and other forms of non-wage compensation are included, total real compensation actually declined by 0.22 percent. In the traditionally higher-paying manufacturing sector, total real compensation plunged 4.33 percent.

This is particularly pronounced in the traditionally industrial states of the Midwest. In six of the seven heaviest manufacturing states that voted for Trump in 2016, economic growth has slowed since 2016, and in all but one, personal income growth is below the national average, according to Barron's. Trump's vaunted rise in wages for low-income workers is due in large part to local minimum wage increases -- the federal rate of $7.26 has not budged since 2009 -- which still leaves workers at or near poverty.

Part-time and "gig" work -- the "new normal"

In his speech, Trump cited the fact that 3.5 million people have joined the workforce. However, this increase is due almost entirely to a rise in part-time and casual employment, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. The US employment rate, the percentage of the working-age population with jobs, remains 3 points lower than in 2000. Full-time employment has fallen 6.8 percent since the turn of the century, while part-time employment has risen 4.1 percent.

A survey conducted last year by the Federal Reserve found that 3 in 10 American adults rely on "gig" work for at least part of their income. For half of these workers, gig work represents 10 percent or more of their total income, and 6 percent of gig workers rely on gig work for 90 percent or more of total family income.

This "new normal," together with hundreds of thousands who have given up looking for jobs altogether, has masked the actual state of the job market by keeping official unemployment figures at artificial lows. Real unemployment, once underemployed and "discouraged" workers are added, is 6.9 percent, nearly twice the official rate.

This is bound up with a significant rise in economic insecurity. Forty-four percent of the US workforce are classified by the Brookings institution as low-wage. Millions of Americans are one crisis away from destitution; nearly half the country cannot make an unexpected $400 expense without taking on debt.

Inequality at record levels

Karl Marx's observation that "accumulation of wealth at one pole" of society is "accumulation of misery [and] agony" at the other pole is being decisively confirmed. On the basis of endemic poverty in the working class, the American ruling class is accumulating historically obscene levels of wealth.

Three individuals -- Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, own more wealth than the bottom half of the US population. However, another study by inequality researchers Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found that the bottom half of the country actually has a negative combined net wealth, meaning their debts are larger than their assets.

Meanwhile, US corporations are making money hand over fist. According to the Federal Reserve, annualized after-tax profits of $1.8 trillion have increased to three times the level of 2000. This figure has stayed constant since 2012, the end of Obama's first term. The labor share of national income, meanwhile, is by far the lowest on record.

These huge profits are being made, not through investments in productive activities -- for more than a decade, US companies have sat on a $1.5 trillion cash hoard which they refuse to invest -- but through financial transactions, including stock buybacks and dividends, mergers and acquisitions and other speculative activities, propped up by Trump through massive infusions of cash from the Federal Reserve and corporate tax cuts. These irrational and essentially criminal policies, which amount to the ruling class looting society, are preparing the way for another economic crisis.

... ... ...

[Feb 15, 2020] Tucker: Fairness is the most important American idea

Feb 15, 2020 |

NOTHING BURGER - CONFIRMED. , 1 day ago (edited)


Jim , 1 day ago

Fairness is an important idea in America. Unfortunately it isn't to our "justice" system - never has been!

Bobby Hendricks , 1 day ago

No such thing as fairness when we are talking about the 2 tier justice system

Trollhaj , 1 day ago

"We're not going to let him just torch this democracy" Says, Eric "We Have Nukes" Swalwell

Douglas Tibbitts , 1 day ago (edited)

Say while we are at it wasn't this the guy who gave Jeffrey Epstein his cush deal.?

Tony Pinto , 1 day ago

Hillary was asked specifically about the movement of arms from Libya to Syria during congressional inquiry and she claimed to know nothing of such activities. Lied to congress, yet still walking around free.

Sheila hucke , 1 day ago

Swallwell is a liar just like the rest of em. He says they don't wake up in the morning wanting to Impeach him, BS they have wanted to Impeach him since before he was president....

Phillip Johnson , 1 day ago (edited)

The swamp is deeper than originally thought! Also, I am really quite surprised at the amount of RINOs in the party.

Heather Swanson , 20 hours ago

"We don't wake up in the morning, wanting to impeach the president" - Eric Swalwell 😳🤔 are we living in the same timeline bro?

Greg Olsen , 1 day ago

Judge refused excupitory evidence that would have cleared Stone! :-(

homeward bound , 1 day ago

I'm with Tucker. Let the pres pardon him and that's that.

[Feb 14, 2020] The sidelining of Elizabeth Warren by Kathleen Walsh

Feb 12, 2020 |

The 2020 presidential race was always going to be an uphill battle for Elizabeth Warren.

Almost from the get-go, political pundits fretted about Warren's electability, setting in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy now reflected in the New Hampshire primary results . Warren's disappointing showing on Tuesday comes on the heels of a stirring debate performance and a strong third place finish in the Iowa caucuses -- two wins largely ignored by mainstream media commentators, who focused almost entirely on Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, with a spare thought for Amy Klobuchar's rise and Joe Biden's descent.

Defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election is priority number one for the Democratic establishment, and a moderate candidate with the potential to sway swing voters and Republican defectors has long been billed as the wisest course. But by constructing a dichotomy between the self-described revolutionary leader Sanders and the aggressively non-threatening trifecta of moderate candidates (not to mention Bloomberg, who is suddenly the darling of cable news), the networks and pundits with the greatest persuasive power have ignored and undercut Warren's unique potential to unite the progressive left and hesitant center.

Warren seems to have unfairly inherited some of the hallmarks of Hillary Clinton's reputation. Clinton's devastating 2016 upset sparked practical questions as to whether a woman could win the presidency at all. And Warren's false claim to Native American heritage sealed a reputation for untrustworthiness that has stuck long after that conversation faded away. If Clinton, with all of her name recognition and experience, couldn't win against Trump, what hope could there be for the woman widely considered her successor?

Warren's progressive policies and folksy demeanor also framed her for many as a sort of second-tier Sanders, not far enough left for the progressives and too far left for gun-shy moderates. But it is precisely this position that makes her the most electable candidate.

Warren and Sanders are mostly aligned on their signature issues, but how they present these issues is entirely different, as are their proposed paths to achieve them. Sanders does not shy away from the word "socialist." He declares outright that his Medicare-for-All plan will raise taxes. He says billionaires should not exist. These declarations and convictions are brave and they are admirable. But they also inspire commentators like Chris Matthews to worry on-air that a Sanders administration will begin executing the wealthy in Central Park, French revolution style.

Warren takes a more measured approach in selling her policies, focusing on how she'll achieve them rather than the eventual outcome. She doesn't say billionaires should not exist, she proposes a wealth tax. Warren doesn't say "socialist," choosing instead to present the economic and social advantages to her plans without the label. The other key difference between Sanders and Warren is that, while Sanders has identified as far left for his entire political career, Warren was a committed Republican long before she became a progressive Democrat. As other commentators have noted , this history might not earn her many points with committed leftists, but it does put her in a unique position to appeal to the moderates and Republicans that candidates like Buttigieg and Klobuchar are trying to court. After all, she used to be one of them. And perhaps most importantly, polls continue to show Warren performing just as well as those candidates, if not better, in hypothetical general election matchups against Trump.

Yet the mainstream media seems determined to undermine her viability.

Sanders and Buttigieg finished neck and neck in the Iowa Caucuses (whose dubious import is a conversation for another day), with Warren close behind in third. As the dust around the disastrous vote-counting began to settle, the media centered the conversation on Sanders, Buttigieg, and Biden. For example, this headline from The Washington Post reads: "Buttigieg and Sanders take lead, Biden fades in partial results from marred Iowa caucuses," ignoring Warren's close third place finish entirely in favor of Biden's fourth.

During Friday's Democratic debate, many critics noted the relatively short speaking time given to Warren in comparison with her white male competitors. Afterwards, coverage again focused on Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Biden, and Sanders, despite Warren having the highlight of the night, when she responded to Buttigieg's embarrassing stumble on a question about race.

[Feb 14, 2020] Tucker: Biden's cool sunglasses can't save him from himself

Feb 10, 2020 |

John Chinn , 3 days ago

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake"

Zach Wilkins , 1 day ago

"They're not senile, they're just stupid" quote of the last 4 years, Democrats are losing it!

賢治 the Eagle , 3 days ago (edited)

Tucker is just hilarious! To think that an idiot like Biden was vice president is sad.

Cody Levinson , 2 days ago

"Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as White kids." -Joe Biden.

Joe McCaffery , 3 days ago

He's just a stupid old man with an entitlement arrogance, so just like Clinton but male, Pelosi and so many others being the exact same and this is on both sides of the coin.

will draper , 3 days ago

tucker is literally roasting this man

specialmitch , 2 days ago

"Turn on the record player" is just Biden flexing his hipster lifestyle.

Max Stevenson , 2 days ago (edited)

"Your a lying dog faced pony soldier" r.i.p. Bidens campaign. I bet he'll be voting for Trump.

John Boosh , 3 days ago

"Poor kids are just as talented as white kids" will always be my favorite

Taboo X , 3 days ago

Regarding 6:23 "Children of a motherless goat!"

robert McGuckin , 1 day ago

For a guy who extorted millions from Ukraine, China and Iraq, he sure seems cocky?

11DNA11 , 2 days ago

"Record player on at night" I almost thought he'd suggest we'd keep our wax cylinder players on at night.

Mattador , 3 days ago

"We choose truth over facts" - Joe Biden That's correct Joe, democrats cling to their version of the "truth" while ignoring the facts.

[Feb 14, 2020] Bullshit Earnings: Charlie Munger Slams using Adjusted EBITDA To Report Earnings

Feb 13, 2020 |

xxx 43 minutes ago

Charlie looks pretty good for a 96 year old billionaire, compare him to 89 year old George Soros who looks like a goblin from hell.

[Feb 14, 2020] Bullshit Earnings: Charlie Munger Slams Companies Who Use Ridiculous Adjusted EBITDA To Report Earnings

Comments were anonimized...
Notable quotes:
"... Anyone remember Lucent? 17 minutes ago EBITDA is an anagram for BAITED ..."
Feb 14, 2020 |
Amidst the nonsense, folly and euphoria of the last decade long bull market, a small beacon of hope shines in the form of Warren Buffett's business partner.

These days, the reporting of financial metrics has wandered so far off the path from normal GAAP earnings that's it's difficult to keep up with companies and decipher their earnings reports each quarter. The SEC has done little to create uniformity for investors in how companies disclose their financials and, through their lack of action, have created a fertile environment for companies to report what Charlie Munger calls "bullshit earnings".

And you know things have gotten bad when the mindless drones bidding up the market over the last decade were forced to call out WeWork's "community adjusted" metrics , puking the company's IPO back to its investors before ridiculing the way the company was making its pre-IPO disclosures in the weeks after.

And now, one of the most well know investors in the world, Charlie Munger, is weighing in. Yesterday, Munger slammed companies that use "adjusted EBITDA" to report their earnings, calling the metric exactly what it is: "bullshit earnings".

Munger said that the metric is "ridiculous" and isn't an accurate measure of a company's profitability, according to a report by CNBC .

He commented: " I don't like when investment bankers talk about EBITDA. It's ridiculous. Think of the basic intellectual dishonesty that comes when you start talking about adjusted EBITDA. You're almost announcing you're a flake."

The conversation came up as a response to Uber, who last week said it would be raising its "EBITDA profitability" target for the forth quarter of 2020. The stock jumped as a response. Munger made the comments as part of a broader warning on Thursday at the Daily Journal annual shareholders meeting.

He commented: "I think there are lots of troubles coming. There's too much wretched excess. In China, they love to gamble in stocks. This is really stupid. It's hard to imagine anything dumber than the way the Chinese hold stocks."

In addition, the 96 year old Munger said he believes that the innovation boom that he has experienced over the course of nearly a century could be coming to an end.

He concluded: "I do think that my generation had the best of all this technological change. I don't think we're going to get as much improvement in the future because we've gotten so much already."

3 minutes ago

I'd like to hear what Charlie thinks about buybacks, consensus estimates that are low-balled, before earnings come out. 4 minutes ago Certainly Berkshire has cash on hand to invest when the market tanks. It makes sense that Munger would try and help things along. I don't know that he has made that observation in days past. Why now? No one that smart is just now figuring these things out. 4 minutes ago (Edited) Pretty soon you'll be hearing a company reporting their net profit by saying "here is our net profit before expenses." 5 minutes ago Charlie, STFU, your're going to ruin the party. 8 minutes ago Forty thousand grandfathers agree. This is America. 11 minutes ago Trust business? Fastest way to lose your assets. 14 minutes ago I read a long essay by Munger where he extols the greatness of an investment in KO (coke). Never once did he mention any of the adverse health problems of too much sugar and caffeine in our diets. Sugar is causing an obesity epidemic and the caffeine makes us all hyper and prone to mistakes. I used to drink it as a programming fluid but I quickly got addicted. I started to notice that my typing mistakes went way up due to the caffeine. I once saw a psychology textbook where they fed caffeine to spiders to see how it affected their web building. There webs turned out a horrible dis-organized mess. I would ban coke from the workplace.

14 minutes ago

I would observe Charlie is right and the corresponding CEOs are overpaid....

17 minutes ago

When have earnings ever been real?

Anyone remember Lucent? 17 minutes ago EBITDA is an anagram for BAITED

Make sense now?

18 minutes ago

A time of fraud. Volatility will eventually reveal the truth.

25 minutes ago

for once this old turtle head said something I agree with. EBITA is for me a totally useless metric for turd polishers.

36 minutes ago

No respect for Munger.

He got into Harvard because of connections. He was denied, and then the dean got a phone call from a former dean who new Mungers family.

So Munger went to Harvard law and became lawyer, which is the most corrupt profession bar none (pun intended). Even though he didnt even have an undergraduate degree.

Then he used his Harvard law to do what they all do: start a firm, make a killing ripping people off, and then use the money to start a hedge fund.

Guys like Munger contributed exactly zero to society, and raked in billions by circumventing rules everyone else is forced to follow.

18 minutes ago

[Feb 14, 2020] The best about Trump is that it makes the US system so visibly transparent: The king and his servants (acolytes) looking for personal advantage ... Hillarious. Don't you second-rate allies/acolytes use the wrong words. We better give you talking points.

Feb 14, 2020 |

snake , Feb 13 2020 11:16 utc | 147

Pft 85 < The Constitution of the United States of America is a corporate charter. in form and substance, it redirected the distribution of profits from shareholders to feudal lords.

What it has been doing since Lincoln was shot is to develop lordships (called monopoly possessing corporations) and making sure those lordships were vested by rule of law, war in foreign land, and other measures as needed, to make sure the feudal lords and their corporations were always profitable no matter what and to be sure that any need or want the feudal lords had need for, the USA corporation would extract from those (called Americans) that it governs. ..

When the feudal lords fail, the government is made to give the feudal lord the money it needs to keep going. until the failed feudal lord can realize by its bull shit existence to be profitable again.

Vig , Feb 13 2020 12:48 utc | 152

Comment les Etats-Unis ont demandé à la communauté internationale de soutenir leur plan israélo-palestinien.or look for then international,then moyen orient.
Posted by: willie | Feb 13 2020 0:48 utc | 94

Interesting willie. Yes the best about Trump is that it makes the US system so visibly transparent: The king and his servants (acolytes) looking for personal advantage ... Hillarious. Don't you second-rate allies/acolytes use the wrong words. We better give you talking points.

[Feb 14, 2020] Now here is a good piece on Trump gangsterism by Gordon Duff

Feb 14, 2020 |

uncle tungsten , Feb 12 2020 22:34 utc | 77

Now here is a good piece on Trump gangsterism by Gordon Duff.
I guess some is Duffy but most entirely believable.
Q wont reprint this .

ben , Feb 12 2020 22:41 utc | 81

Thanks for the link ut @ 77; An excerpt;

"Those who accept the policies of the Trump administration, cancellation of the JCPOA with Iran, seizing oil fields in Syria, endless sanctions on nation after nation, Europe blackmailed, endless threats emanating almost hourly from Trump's iPhone as "national policy" or even criminally deranged is simply not paying attention."

Excellent come back for the Qanon fantasy, which, IMO, ranks right up there with Ayn Rand's fevered dreams...

Pft , Feb 12 2020 23:28 utc | 85
Ran across this quote which is more true than not.

There is no America. Everything is just one vast corporation, an association of corporations. There's no Britain. There's no America. There's no Holland. There's no China. There's no Russia. It's one conglomerate of corporations. Money runs the thing."

-- Peter Finch as character Howard Beale, in the movie "Network

Its true when you consider the interlocking ownership of the elites in the major corporations and industries, which also capture governments political parties and regulatory agencies, and in China of course these local global elites make up parts of the party elite. While money is an important attribute of power, I think its a means and not an end to them. Their motivations is an ideology based on Platos Republic where they are pholisopher kings ruling the rest, and a religious idea that they, as elites may evolve to become like God and recover what was lost after the fall - as man was originally made in Gods image. Another name for it is Transhumanism which actually is idea that came from gnostic Judeo-Christian beliefs. Religion like Eugenics has not disappeared, both have just been renamed and repurposed. The Elites are Gods chosen people and the rest exist to serve.

uncle tungsten , Feb 13 2020 1:23 utc | 96
Penelope #95

Exactly Penelope, that is precisely what the Trump and establishment oligarchy want. Red herrings to mesmerise and nimble fingers to pick pockets and all backed by their 'rule of law', their thugs, their assault on humanity.

Benign neglect of the safety of citizens as part of this strategy of creating high level terror (be it actual violence or a coronavirus)is called out in this excellent analysis .

[Feb 14, 2020] This is Jimmy Dore of Tucker Carlson show FoxTV.

Feb 14, 2020 |

uncle tungsten , Feb 13 2020 4:10 utc | 114

This is Jimmy Dore of Tucker Carlson show FoxTV.

You would not ever have seen this on Fox at the last election. Best high voltage spit by Jimmy Dore I have seen.
Tucker shows a great smirk especially when Jimmy dumps on Guaido.

five minutes of mirth

[Feb 14, 2020] The trouble with Artificial Intelligence

Feb 14, 2020 |

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 12 2020 6:36 utc | 43

Posted by: juliania | Feb 12 2020 5:15 utc | 39
(Artificial Intelligence)

The trouble with Artificial Intelligence is that it's not intelligent.
And it's not intelligent because it's got no experience, no imagination and no self-control.

[Feb 14, 2020] The power of the Fed has become so acute that it has replaced the economy as a principle influence over the stock market to the point where there is only a 7% correlation between GDP and the S P 500

Feb 14, 2020 |

financial matters , Feb 12 2020 23:56 utc | 89

AntiSpin @ 39. A couple of very good articles.

From the first:

""The power of the Fed has become so acute that it has replaced the economy as a principle influence over the stock market to the point where there is only a 7% correlation between GDP and the S&P 500. Historically, in any given cycle that relationship was anywhere between 30% and 70%."""

So eventually, there will be no goods for this money to buy. And other countries will also stop selling their goods to us.

""So even though stocks continue to steadily climb higher, the rot at the foundation of the system is becoming more and more apparent.""

Financial assets need to mirror realty.

[Feb 10, 2020] Location, location, location Why Russian LNG can beat competition from US Australia

Feb 10, 2020 |

Russia's geographical position makes its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) more profitable and competitive with American and Australian supplies, according to Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Russia ships most of its LNG (around 69 percent) to Asian markets, where the bulk of global LNG supplies are sent. The country could also export its LNG via traditional Russian pipeline gas European routes, due to low cost and short transportation distance, the minister wrote, in an article for the Energy Policy journal.

Also on Trump urges Europe to buy American natural gas to ensure their energy security

"Russia's convenient geographical position between Europe and Asia allows our LNG to be profitable at current prices and to win competition from the US and Australia," Novak said. "If necessary, we can deliver liquefied gas to any European country, and it will be faster and cheaper than many other suppliers."

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) could be a key transport link to connect massive Arctic energy projects Russia is currently developing with target markets. The route, which lies in Arctic waters and within Russia's Exclusive Economic Zone, could cut the transportation time by a third, compared to shipments via the Suez Canal.

Also on India could become first non‑Arctic state to develop Russia's Arctic resources

Russia is one of the world's leading exporters of natural gas. Last year, it produced more than 40 billion cubic meters of LNG – a nearly 50 percent increase from 27 billion cubic meters it had in 2018. By 2035, Novak expects the country to boost production to 120 million tons, amounting to around a fifth of the forecasted global LNG production.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

[Feb 09, 2020] Iowans Rage They're Dirty, Man, Matt Taibbi Warns Des Moines Debacle Was Waterloo For Democrats

Feb 09, 2020 |

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg seemed perfect, a man who defended the principle of wine-based fundraisers with military effrontery. New York magazine made his case in a cover story the magazine's Twitter account summarized as:

"Perhaps all the Democrats need to win the presidency is a Rust Belt millennial who's gay and speaks Norwegian."

(The "Here's something random the Democrats need to beat Trump" story became an important literary genre in 2019-2020, the high point being Politico's "Can the "F-bomb save Beto?").

Buttigieg had momentum. The flameout of Biden was expected to help the ex-McKinsey consultant with "moderates." Reporters dug Pete; he's been willing to be photographed holding a beer and wearing a bomber jacket, and in Iowa demonstrated what pundits call a "killer instinct," i.e. a willingness to do anything to win.

Days before the caucus, a Buttigieg supporter claimed Pete's name had not been read out in a Des Moines Register poll, leading to the pulling of what NBC called the "gold standard" survey. The irony of such a relatively minor potential error holding up a headline would soon be laid bare.

However, Pete's numbers with black voters (he polls at zero in many states) led to multiple news stories in the last weekend before the caucus about "concern" that Buttigieg would not be able to win.

Who, then? Elizabeth Warren was cratering in polls and seemed to be shifting strategy on a daily basis. In Iowa, she attacked "billionaires" in one stop, emphasized "unity" in the next, and stressed identity at other times (she came onstage variously that weekend to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" or to chants of "It's time for a woman in the White House"). Was she an outsider or an insider? A screwer, or a screwee? Whose side was she on?

A late controversy involving a story that Sanders had told Warren a woman couldn't win didn't help. Jaimee Warbasse planned to caucus with Warren, but the Warren/Sanders "hot mic" story of the two candidates arguing after a January debate was a bridge too far. She spoke of being frustrated, along with friends, at the inability to find anyone she could to trust to take on Trump.

"It's like we all have PTSD from 2016," she said. "There has to be somebody."

... ... ...

What happened over the five days after the caucus was a mind-boggling display of fecklessness and ineptitude. Delay after inexplicable delay halted the process, to the point where it began to feel like the caucus had not really taken place. Results were released in chunks, turning what should have been a single news story into many, often with Buttigieg "in the lead."

The delays and errors cut in many directions, not just against Sanders. Buttigieg, objectively, performed above poll expectations, and might have gotten more momentum even with a close, clear loss, but because of the fiasco he ended up hashtagged as #MayorCheat and lumped in headlines tied to what the Daily Beast called a "Clusterfuck."

Though Sanders won the popular vote by a fair margin, both in terms of initial preference (6,000 votes) and final preference (2,000), Mayor Pete's lead for most of the week with "state delegate equivalents" -- the number used to calculate how many national delegates are sent to the Democratic convention -- made him the technical winner in the eyes of most. By the end of the week, however, Sanders had regained so much ground, to within 1.5 state delegate equivalents, that news organizations like the AP were despairing at calling a winner.

This wasn't necessarily incorrect. The awarding of delegates in a state like Iowa is inherently somewhat random. If there's a tie in votes in a district awarding five delegates, a preposterous system of coin flips is used to break the odd number. The geographical calculation for state delegate equivalents is also uneven, weighted toward the rural. A wide popular-vote winner can surely lose.

But the storylines of caucus week sure looked terrible for the people who ran the vote. The results released early favored Buttigieg, while Sanders-heavy districts came out later. There were massive, obvious errors. Over 2,000 votes that should have gone to Sanders and Warren went to Deval Patrick and Tom Steyer in one case the Iowa Democrats termed a "minor error." In multiple other districts (Des Moines 14 for example), the "delegate equivalents" appeared to be calculated incorrectly, in ways that punished all the candidates, not just Sanders. By the end of the week, even the New York Times was saying the caucus was plagued with "inconsistencies and errors."

Emily Connor, a Sanders precinct captain in Boone County, spent much of the week checking results, waiting for her Bernie-heavy district to be recorded. It took a while. By the end of the week, she was fatalistic.

"If you're a millennial, you basically grew up in an era where popular votes are stolen," she said.

"The system is riddled with loopholes."

Others felt the party was in denial about how bad the caucus night looked.

"They're kind of brainwashed," said Joe Grabinski, who caucused in West Des Moines.

"They think they're on the side of the right they'll do anything to save their careers.

An example of how screwed up the process was from the start involved a new twist on the process, the so-called "Presidential Preference Cards."

In 2020, caucus-goers were handed index cards that seemed simple enough. On side one, marked with a big "1," caucus-goers were asked to write in their initial preference. Side 2, with a "2," was meant to be where you wrote in who you ended up supporting, if your first choice was not viable.

The "PPCs" were supposedly there to "ensure a recount is possible," as the Polk County Democrats put it. But caucus-goers didn't understand the cards.

Morgan Baethke, who volunteered at Indianola 4, watched as older caucus-goers struggled. Some began filling out both sides as soon as they were given them.

Therefore, Baethke says, if they do a recount, "the first preference should be accurate." However, "the second preference will be impossible to recreate with any certainty."

This is a problem, because by the end of the week, DNC chair Tom Perez -- a triple-talking neurotic who is fast becoming the poster child for everything progressives hate about modern Dems -- called for an "immediate recanvass." He changed his mind after ten hours and said he only wanted "surgical" reanalysis of problematic districts.

No matter what result emerges, it's likely many individual voters will not trust it. Between comical videos of apparently gamed coin-flips and the pooh-poohing reaction of party officials and pundits (a common theme was that "toxic conspiracy theories" about Iowa were the work of the Trumpian right and/or Russian bots), the overall impression was a clown show performance by a political establishment too bored to worry about the appearance of impartiality.

"Is it incompetence or corruption? That's the big question," asked Storey.

"I'm not sure it matters. It could be both."

[Feb 09, 2020] What Separates Sanders From Warren (and Everybody Else)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities. ..."
"... The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity." ..."
Jan 16, 2020 |
In America, the term "middle class" has long been used to describe the majority of wage and salary earners, from those receiving a median annual income of around $50,000 to those who earn three or four times that amount. Whether Democrat or Republican, politicians from across the political aisle claim to represent the middle class -- that vast-yet-amorphous segment of the population where the managers and the managed all seem to fit together.

The term has always been somewhat problematic when it comes to politics. As Joan C. Williams observes in her 2017 book, "White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America," a "central way we make class disappear is to describe virtually everyone as 'middle class.' " The majority of Americans see themselves as middle class, including those in the top 10% earning several times the average income. According to Williams, a close friend of hers who "undoubtedly belonged to the top 1%" once referred to herself as middle class, a perspective that the author describes as "class cluelessness."

This cluelessness was also evident in a New York Times article last summer titled "What Middle Class Families Want Politicians to Know," which included interviews with a number of purportedly middle class families with household incomes of up to $400,000 (only one of the interviewees earned less than $100,000, with the average around $200,000).

The fact that people who earn a quarter-million dollars annually place themselves in the same category as those earning $70,000 tells us just how politically useless the term "middle class" has become in contemporary America. Even when we take into account geographic factors and fluctuations in the cost of living, there is little rational justification for categorizing a $60,000-a-year blue-collar worker with a lawyer or doctor earning in excess of $200,000.

Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities.

One's class consciousness (or lack thereof) has important implications for one's political attitudes, and in America class consciousness has always been somewhat lacking compared to other countries. The United States has never had a true aristocratic class or feudal property relations like those in Europe, and in the 19th century, the "middle class" essentially stood for small capitalists and propertied farmers. Between the mid-19th century and mid-20th century, the country was transformed, in Mills' analysis, from a "nation of small capitalists into a nation of hired employees" -- a trend that sociologists call "proletarianization."

In the post-World War II era, thanks to the struggle of labor and the policies of the New Deal, which aimed to reduce inequality and mediate class tensions, many in the working class became comfortably middle class. In other words, the proletariat turned into a kind of "petty bourgeois," adopting the same values and attitudes as their employers, while accepting the status quo after a few adjustments. Ironically, this ended up undercutting more radical labor movements while preserving the economic system, which eventually came back to bite working people and their children.

The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity."

The proletarianization of the middle class over the past 50 years has had an enormously detrimental effect on communities across the country, but it has taken quite a while for many working people in America to recognize their new situation in terms of consciousness and outlook. The enduring popularity of the term "middle class" reflects this state of affairs.

In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has deliberately chosen to use "working class" over "middle class." Not surprisingly, that candidate is Sen. Bernie Sanders. "I am a candidate of the working class," Sanders recently declared on Facebook. "I come from the working class. That is my background, that's who I am. I fought for the working class as a mayor, a Congressman and a Senator. And that is the kind of president that I will be." Sanders, whose campaign is 100% grassroots-funded, wrote in a column last week for the Des Moines Register, " our campaign is focused on making sure the government stops representing billionaires and start representing us -- the working class of this country."

Though it may seem like a somewhat trivial distinction, when we look at the rest of the Democratic field, it's clear that Sanders has indeed distinguished himself from the other top candidates. For example, Sanders' opponent Joe Biden frequently speaks of the middle class but rarely the working class. "This country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers and CEOs and hedge fund managers. It was built by the American middle class," Biden declares on his campaign website, where he says that the middle class "isn't a number," but a "set of values." (In a way this is correct, but not in the sense that Biden seems to think.)

On the more progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren's website, where she lists her numerous plans, one searches in vain for any references to the working class, though there are plenty to the middle class.

How much this actually matters is, of course, debatable, but the term "working class" undoubtedly has far more implications and political significance than "middle class," which, like many overused words in the political lexicon, has lost all meaning. By using "working class" instead, Sanders appears to be trying to increase class consciousness in America, where those in the ruling class have often demonstrated the highest level of class consciousness (never failing to use their abundant resources to protect and advance their own interests).

The more young and working-class people come to recognize their own situation and place in the 21st century American economy, the more they seem to embrace "socialist" policies that are rejected by "middle class" sensibilities.

In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has made raising levels of class consciousness part of his campaign strategy, and in an election that could very well be determined by working-class voters, this may be the strategy to defeat Trump.

[Feb 09, 2020] Globalism requires rapacious capitalism.

Jan 27, 2020 |

Jake , says: Show Comment January 26, 2020 at 10:49 pm GMT

Globalism requires rapacious capitalism. Globalism is billionaires and multi-millionaires getting richer while the middle classes of the entire Western world get squeezed and then squeezed more, with once stable working classes ruined.

Liberal voters fall for it because the Globalists swear they are helping all the blacks and browns of the world. Liberal academics, journalists, artists, and 'ordinary rich' people back it because they invariably despise both the white working class and the non-Liberal white middle class. Neocons (WASPs as well as Jews) practice rapacious capitalism religiously because they worship Mammon.

[Feb 09, 2020] For me the scariest thing is not that the world is ruled by gangsters a criminal elite with the US ruling class its top mafia family.

Jan 27, 2020 |

Walter , Jan 26 2020 18:35 utc | 22

Hausmeister and I discussed rule by fear, "deimocracy".

That was off topic, and belongs more properly here.

And to that discussion I wish to proffer an interesting related essay>

@ steelcityscribblings.(uk)"Talking WW3 Blues" "...For me the scariest thing is not that the world is ruled by gangsters – a criminal elite with the US ruling class its top mafia family. It is that this particular family, and the lesser criminals who ride its coat-tails, are justifiably worried...."

They too are ruled by fear. Not logos, not knowledge, fear, and panic.

What can go wrong with that?

They conjure up these, the lesser gods of the wars they've made since name a date... And thus themselves are ruled, as they rule the people, by war and fear and panic.

[Feb 09, 2020] Pompeo and the Mafia Hit Strategy by Kurt Nimmo

Jan 21, 2020 |

For the former tank commander, murder -- not simply double-tapping the target with a firearm, but blowing him into meaty chunks with a Hellfire missile -- is "real deterrence."

Pompeo said during a speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute "there was 'a bigger strategy' behind the killing of Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, Iran's elite foreign espionage and paramilitary force.

The USG Mafia Hit Strategy on steroids is not confined to threatening Iran, however. Pompeo eluded to Russia and China's leaders being assassinated.

Pompeo didn't come out and say Trump's government will steer Hellfire missiles specifically at Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, or even Kim Jung-un . The message, however, is inescapable, especially for folks opposed to neoliberal crony capitalist domination of their national economies, industries, public services, and natural resources

Iran wants a nuke to prevent an attack by the USG in collaboration with the Zionist government in Israel. Ditto, North Korea. It remembers when the USG bombed virtually every city, town, and hamlet in the country and killed a third of the population. No doubt the mullahs in Tehran vividly recall Muammar Gaddafi's fate. They also remember how the CIA colluded with the Brits to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran and installed a monarchial tyrant.

It is entirely rational to seek the most effective deterrent to foreign invasion and mass murder campaigns waged relentlessly by the crony capitalist neolib USG and its little vicious client, Israel, the racist state where only Jews are considered first-class citizens and Arabs are tortured and killed -- or at best maimed (during anti-occupation protests, Israel snipers are instructed to aim for the eyes ).

For neocons, Trumpsters, and Fox News teleprompter readers, "taking out" Soleimani in Mafia hit fashion "was a brilliant move."

. @jockowillink says President @realDonaldTrump 's gamble ordering the strike that killed Soleimani was a brilliant move that killed an enemy of America and the Iranian people on #TheBrianKilmeadeShow @foxnation @foxnewsradio

Trump Threatens to Kill Iran's Spiritual Leader

-- Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) January 14, 2020

Yes, of course, murdering leaders of recalcitrant nations is considered a "brilliant move" by psychopaths. The Italian-Jewish Mafia killed opponents one-by-one or in small groups while the USG kills opponents in the thousands, even the millions. The Gambino family and Kosher Nostra founded by Arnold Rothstein (who was himself assassinated) would have loved to take out their opponents with Reaper drones and Hellfire missiles, courtesy of witless US taxpayers and debt-serfs.

State Department officials involved in U.S. embassy security were not made aware of imminent threats to four specific U.S. embassies, two State Department officials said, further undermining Trump's claims that Soleimani posed an imminent threat.

-- Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 13, 2020

USG embassies were not and are not under threat by Iran. In Iraq, the people protesting outside the embassy are Iraqis. They want the USG and its contractors out of their country which is still reeling from Bush the Lesser's invasion, a follow-up on more than a decade of child-killing (over 500,000) sanctions and a previous invasion by Junior's father, the former CIA boss who would become president.

Corporate war propaganda media is pushing the narrative that Trump impulsively decided to slaughter Soleimani, as if it simply came to him out of the blue.

. @douglaslondon5 , who retired from CIA at the end of 2018, writes that he and his team "often struggled in persuading the president to recognize the most important threats" because of Trump's "focus on celebrity, headlines, and immediate gratification."

-- Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 15, 2020

Hardly. This is simply another anti-Trump gimmick. If you look beyond this one-dimensional pre-election circus, you'll see Trump's orthodox Jewish son-in-law, Sheldon Adelson, and a cast of Zionist characters steering the president into war with Israel's enemies. Indeed, Trump is driven by a pathological need for attention and this has been successfully exploited by neocons in the service of a tiny nation based on racial and religious superiority.

The basic method Trump used to kill Soleimani was developed by the Israelis >30 years ago. Here's a screen shot from "Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations," by Israeli author Ronen Bergman, here describing Israeli developments in late 1980s

-- James Perloff (@jamesperloff) January 14, 2020

The neolib USG with its Israel-first neocon faction is the largest and most deadly Mafia organization in the world.

The US government has killed millions since the end of FDR's war under false pretense and has overthrown countries far and wide. It trains and enables sadistic paramilitaries, has armed crazed Wahhabi jihadists, and is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon against innocent civilians.


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this articl e was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Feb 09, 2020] The CIA drug connection is as old as the Agency

Jan 21, 2020 |

Agent76 , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:06 pm GMT

Jan 14, 2020 The Dirty American Secret You're *NOT* Supposed to Know About

December 3, 1993 The CIA Drug ConnectionIs as Old as the Agency

LONDON -- The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials – despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization responsible for enforcing U.S. drug laws.

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Agent76 Agree, the CIA and MI6 and the Mossad are the biggest drug runners in the world.

[Feb 09, 2020] Bush older acted as a gangster in Kuwait war: he was determined to "seize the unipolar moment."

Bush older was the first president from CIA. He was already a senior CIA official at the time of JFK assassination and might participate in the plot to kill JFK. At least he was in Dallas at the day of assassination. .
Jan 21, 2020 |

SolontoCroesus , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 5:20 pm GMT

That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003.

Nothing to do with 9 years of sanctions on Iraq that killed a million Iraqis, "half of them children," and US control of Iraqi air space, after having killed Iraqi military in a turkey-shoot, for no really good reason other than George H W Bush seized the "unipolar moment" to become king of the world?

Maybe it's just stubbornness: I think Papa Bush is responsible for the "imperial pivot," in the Persian Gulf war aka Operation Desert Storm, 29 years and 4 days ago -- January 17, 1991.

According to Jeffrey Engel, Bush's biographer and director of the Bush library at Southern Methodist University, Gorbachev harassed Bush with phone calls, pleading with him not to go to war over Kuwait

(It's worth noting that Dennis Ross was relatively new in his role on Jim Baker's staff when Baker, Brent Skowcroft, Larry Eagleburger & like minded urged Bush to take the Imperial Pivot.)

According to Vernon Loeb, who completed the writing of King's Counsel after Jack O'Connell died, Jordan's King Hussein, in consultation with retired CIA station chief O'Connell, parlayed with Arab leaders to resolve the conflict on their own, i.e. Arab-to-Arab terms, and also pleaded with Bush to stay out, and to let the Arabs solve their own problems. Bush refused.

See above: Bush was determined to "seize the unipolar moment."

Once again insist on entering into the record: George H Bush was present at the creation of the Global War on Terror, July 4, 1979, the Jerusalem Conference hosted by Benzion and Benjamin Netanyahu and heavily populated with Trotskyites – neocons.

International Terrorism: Challenge and Response, Benjamin Netanyahu, ed., 1981.
(Wurmser became Netanyahu's acolyte)

Z-man , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:05 pm GMT

I think Papa Bush is responsible for the "imperial pivot," in the Persian Gulf war aka Operation Desert Storm, 29 years and 4 days ago -- January 17, 1991.

Yes I remember it well. I came back from a long trip & memorable vacation, alas I was a young man, to the television drama that was unfolding with Arthur Kent 'The Scud Stud' and others reporting from the safety of their hotel balconies filming aircaft and cruise missiles. It was surreal.
You are correct of course.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 |

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump Secretly Threatened Europe With Auto Tariffs If It Didn t Declare Iran In Breach Of Nuclear Deal

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's threats of auto tariffs to gain trade concessions with the Europeans is certainly nothing new, but using the same to dictate foreign policy is, notes WaPo's diplomatic correspondent John Hudson. ..."
"... Interestingly, in Wednesday's joint statement the European signatories attempted to distance their drastic action away from Washington's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran," they said . ..."
"... The statement also underscored Europe hopes to use the mechanism "to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA" and in the words of one official quoted in The Guardian to prevent nuclear advancement to the point that the Iranians "learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn" . ..."
Jan 15, 2020 |

A bombshell revelation from The Washington Post a day after France, Britain and Germany took unprecedented action against Iran by formally triggering the dispute resolution mechanism regulating conformity to the deal, seen as the harshest measure taken by the European signatories thus far. The European powers officially see Iran as in breach of the deal which means UN and EU punitive sanctions are now on the table.

But according to The Post , how things quickly escalated to this point is real story : " Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't," says the report.

This came as a "shock" to all three countries, with one top European official calling it essentially "extortion" and a new level of hardball tactics from the Trump administration.

After the US leveraged the new tariffs threat according to the report, European capitals moved quick to trigger the mechanism, which involved the individual European states formally notifying the agreement's guarantor, the European Union, that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal.

This followed the Jan.6 declaration of Tehran's leadership to no longer be beholden to uranium enrichment limits. And that's where things got interesting as Washington's pressure campaign dramatically turned up the heat on Europe.

"Within days, the three countries would formally accuse Iran of violating the deal, triggering a recourse provision that could reimpose United Nations sanctions on Iran and unravel the last remaining vestiges of the Obama-era agreement," the report continues .

However, the report notes France, the UK, and Germany were already in deep discussion on moving forward with triggering the mechanism. "We didn't want to look weak, so we agreed to keep the existence of the threat a secret," a European official cited by WaPo claims.

Trump's threats of auto tariffs to gain trade concessions with the Europeans is certainly nothing new, but using the same to dictate foreign policy is, notes WaPo's diplomatic correspondent John Hudson.

Interestingly, in Wednesday's joint statement the European signatories attempted to distance their drastic action away from Washington's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran," they said .

The statement also underscored Europe hopes to use the mechanism "to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA" and in the words of one official quoted in The Guardian to prevent nuclear advancement to the point that the Iranians "learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn" .

Now that the mechanism has been enacted, the clock starts on 65 days of intensive negotiations before UN sanctions would be reimposed if no resolution is reached. Specifically a blanket arms embargo would be imposed among other measures, and certainly it would mark the deal's final demise, given the Europeans are Iran's last hope for being equal partners in the deal.

Also interesting is that in the hours before The Washington Post report was published, Iranian FM Zarif charged that the EU investigation into Iran's alleged non-compliance meant Europe is allowing itself to be bulled by the United States .

Indeed the new revelation of the secret threats attempting to dictate Europe's course appear to confirm precisely Zarif's words to reporters earlier on Wednesday : "They say 'We are not responsible for what the United States did.' OK, but you are independent" he began. And then added a stinging rebuke: "Europe, EU, is the largest global economy. So why do you allow the United States to bully you around?"

[Feb 09, 2020] Trumps Mercenary Foreign Policy by Daniel Larison

Jan 15, 2020 |

elley Vlahos comments on the president's willingness to send more U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia:

It is time to claw back from this toxic relationship, and the first place to start is to transform our current mission of paternalistic "power projection" to one of "national defense." Who cares what the House of Saud wants to buy -- it's not what the American taxpayer pays for, and amen to Amash for putting it in such bald terms.

Trump's statement that he will send more troops to Saudi Arabia in exchange for payment sums up his foreign policy worldview quite well. He has no objection to sending U.S. troops to other countries, and he doesn't mind putting them in harm's way, as long as he thinks someone will pay for it. Trump is not interested in whether a particular mission makes the U.S. more secure, and he certainly doesn't think strategically about what the U.S. should be trying to accomplish. He just wants to get someone to fork over some cash. The absurd thing is that the cash is never forthcoming, but Trump keeps sending the troops to these places anyway.

We saw the same mercenary attitude during the campaign when he talked about setting up a "big, beautiful safe zone" in Syria, which he assured us would be paid for by Arab client states. We have seen it several times when he talks about "taking the oil" from this or that country to compensate the U.S. for our military interventions. As long as the Saudis and Emiratis are paying customers for weapons that they use to kill Yemenis, Trump will happily put their preferences and interests first.

Oddly enough for a self-proclaimed nationalist, the president has no notion of the national interest, but sees everything in narrow terms of wealth that can be extracted from others. This is why he talks about NATO as if it were a protection racket and shakes down South Korea for more money, and it is why he thinks it is acceptable to keep U.S. forces in Syria illegally so that they can control Syrian oil fields. It is why he insists that Iraq pay us for the cost of the installations that the U.S. built during the occupation of their country. It is also one reason why he relies so heavily on economic warfare in his attempt to coerce other states to do what he wants, because he seems to think that everyone is just as preoccupied with getting money as he is.

Contrary to the common assumption that Trump espouses some sort of "Jacksonian" foreign policy, this is an approach that ignores national honor and interest and focuses solely on lucre. Trump resembles nothing so much as a minor German prince from the 17th or 18th century who hires out his soldiers to fight the wars of other countries. This is what a mercenary foreign policy looks like, and it has nothing to do with making the U.S. more secure

Barlaam of Weimerica16 hours ago

Even granted that Trump doesn't meet the low bar of Jacksonianism in foreign policy, I'm weary of even that much - all the talk of national honour seems to amount to little more than doing incredibly stupid and wicked things, and then persisting in them, because to do otherwise would cause a loss of face or credibility.
FL_Cottonmouth Barlaam of Weimerica12 hours ago
"Credibility" to the neocons is nothing more than "street cred." They're like gangsters.
David Naas15 hours ago
True believers will not be suaded by mere "facts". (When "fact" has become a synonym for "fake news".) Nor even if their little noses are rubbed in the Trumpoo. Not even when Trump's daily circus empowers the Left and discourages the old conservatives.

We are begging for a national trauma and we will get it.

Antiphon David Naas14 hours ago
lol - blow me down with that argument: Trumpoo and "old conservatives".


HenionJD15 hours ago
Hey, so long as they're not hauling our kids away to die in some forsaken "s**thole" who cares where our "killing machines" our sent?
FL_Cottonmouth HenionJD12 hours ago
The old English and American republicans were exactly right about the dangers of a "standing army" (that is, the professionionalization of the military). I'm for reinstating the draft not as a means of bolstering our ranks but as a means of mobilizing a permanent antiwar movement.
FL_Cottonmouth13 hours ago • edited
I've never liked applying the term "Jacksonian" to foreign policy because the Jackson presidency didn't have much of a foreign policy (unlike, say, his protégé James K. Polk ). Most of what gets passed off as "Jacksonian" in terms of foreign policy is really just Gen. Jackson's military policy during the Creek War, the War of 1812, and the annexation of Spanish Florida. In other words, "Jacksonian foreign policy" is just another for "militarized foreign policy."

Indeed, I can only imagine how outraged Jackson would be with the imperialism that "conservative" pundits are justifying in his name. Jackson was fiercely loyal to the ideal of the citizen-soldier/militiaman - and to the men themselves - and would have been furious if foreign influence in the government turned them into mercenaries. Knowing Jackson, the men responsible for such treachery might not have lived for very much longer.

To the extent that Jackson even addressed foreign policy, he (like John Quincy Adams) echoed the wisdom of the Founding Fathers:

If we turn to our relations with foreign powers, we find our condition equally gratifying. Actuated by the sincere desire to do justice to every nation and to preserve the blessings of peace, our intercourse with them has been conducted on the part of this Government in the spirit of frankness; and I take pleasure in saying that it has generally been met in a corresponding temper. Difficulties of old standing have been surmounted by friendly discussion and the mutual desire to be just, and the claims of our citizens, which had been long withheld, have at length been acknowledged and adjusted and satisfactory arrangements made for their final payment; and with a limited, and I trust a temporary, exception, our relations with every foreign power are now of the most friendly character, our commerce continually expanding, and our flag respected in every quarter of the world.

While I am thus endeavoring to press upon your attention the principles which I deem of vital importance in the domestic concerns of the country, I ought not to pass over without notice the important considerations which should govern your policy toward foreign powers. It is unquestionably our true interest to cultivate the most friendly understanding with every nation and to avoid by every honorable means the calamities of war, and we shall best attain this object by frankness and sincerity in our foreign intercourse, by the prompt and faithful execution of treaties, and by justice and impartiality in our conduct to all. But no nation, however desirous of peace, can hope to escape occasional collisions with other powers, and the soundest dictates of policy require that we should place ourselves in a condition to assert our rights if a resort to force should ever become necessary. Our local situation, our long line of seacoast, indented by numerous bays, with deep rivers opening into the interior, as well as our extended and still increasing commerce, point to the Navy as our natural means of defense. It will in the end be found to be the cheapest and most effectual, and now is the time, in a season of peace and with an overflowing revenue, that we can year after year add to its strength without increasing the burdens of the people. It is your true policy, for your Navy will not only protect your rich and flourishing commerce in distant seas, but will enable you to reach and annoy the enemy and will give to defense its greatest efficiency by meeting danger at a distance from home. It is impossible by any line of fortifications to guard every point from attack against a hostile force advancing from the ocean and selecting its object, but they are indispensable to protect cities from bombardment, dockyards and naval arsenals from destruction, to give shelter to merchant vessels in time of war and to single ships or weaker squadrons when pressed by superior force. Fortifications of this description can not be too soon completed and armed and placed in a condition of the most perfect preparation. The abundant means we now possess can not be applied in any manner more useful to the country, and when this is done and our naval force sufficiently strengthened and our militia armed we need not fear that any nation will wantonly insult us or needlessly provoke hostilities. We shall more certainly preserve peace when it is well understood that we are prepared for War.

To the extent that Jackson is even endorsing war rather than peace and trade, it is in the context of national defense - literally defending our national borders from attack, not defending our military bases on/within the borders of foreign countries from attack.

Taras778 hours ago • edited
To add to the many outrages of the day coming out of this admin, now sending the troops as mercenaries for hire to saudi takes it down to a new low, these lows being set almost every week.

The murder of Iranian general must put a new low on the military as well as the drone operators are now in a place not good, assassins of someone outside of a war and/or combat. It hearkens back to obama's killing program and its probable continuation by trump.

Not good programs to be affiliated with for the US military for anyone with a conscience.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Deeper Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani

Highly recommended!
Looks like the end of Full Spectrum Dominance the the USA enjoyed since 1991. Alliance of Iran, Russia and China (with Turkey and Pakistan as two possible members) is serious military competitor and while the USA has its set of trump cards, the military victory against such an alliance no longer guaranteed.
Jan 09, 2020 |

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.

Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.

Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.

But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).

Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)


Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."


The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchable

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.

Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.

Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready

[Feb 09, 2020] Iraqi Prime Minister Was Forced To Resign After Trump Threatened His Life

Jan 08, 2020 |

This is a must read This was just a rumor earlier today, but apparently enough people know about it and it's being confirmed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Was Forced To Resign After Trump Threatened His Life

On January 5th, the Iraqi parliament voted on a resolution to expel US troops from the country. In attendance was, caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who, according to reports provided insight into why specifically Iraq was in this situation, and predominantly spoke about threats that came his way from US President Donald Trump and the US policy towards the country.

The following is the summary of reports regarding Abdul-Mehdi's comments during the January 5 vote of the Iraqi Parliament. These reports have been nor officially confirmed nor denied by the Prime Minister office.

Abdul-Mehdi adressed the US hostile actions against the country. For example, the politician reportedly said that the US refused to complete the infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless it is promised 50% of oil revenues. The Prime Minister refused to make the concession.

Then, when the Prime Minister visited China and reached an important agreement to undertake construction of the projects instead of the US, President Donald Trump allegedly called him, telling him to rescind the agreement with China, otherwise there would be massive demonstrations against him, that would force him out of his seat.

HINT : A 50-person Iraqi delegation visited China in 2019 and that protests began on October 1st, observed a religious holiday, and then ramped up once again on October 25th. The flames of the protests were further fanned by mainstream media outlets.

Then, when massive demonstrations materialized against Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Trump once again allegedly called him. The US President allegedly threatened to position US marine snipers "atop the highest buildings," who will target and kill protesters and security forces alike in an attempt to pressure the Prime Minister.

Instead of complying, Adel Abdul-Mahdi refused and handed in his resignation and the US still attempt to pressure him in cancelling the supposed deal with China.

Later on, when the Iraqi Minister of Defense publicly said that a third side was targeting both protesters and security forces alike, Abdul-Mahdi allegedly received a new call from Trump who threatened to kill both him and the Minister of Defense if they kept talking about this "third side".

There is more...

Also this threadreader tweet on the same subject.

Assad said that he finds Trumps brutal honesty refreshing. Instead of hiding behind nicely worded threats Trump just comes out and tells people what he means. up 19 users have voted. --

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump is a GODFATHER and his clique is literally a gangster MAFIA using extortion and operating protection racket

Jan 07, 2020 |

Kali , Jan 7 2020 19:07 utc | 20

This is how a MAFIA BOSS operates. Trump made an offer Abdul Mahdi couldn't refuse. Trump is a GODFATHER and his clique is literally a gangster MAFIA using extortion and OPERATING A PROTECTION RACKET.

Trump had already asked Iraqi Prime Ministers -twice- if the U.S. could get Iraq's oil as reward for invading and destroying their country. The requests were rejected. Now we learn that Trump also uses gangster methods (ar) to get the oil of Iraq. The talk by the Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi happened during the recent parliament session in Iraq (machine translation):

Al-Halbousi, Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, blocked the speech of Mr. Abdul Mahdi in the scheduled session to discuss the decision to remove American forces from Iraq.

At the beginning of the session, Al-Halbousi left the presidential seat and sat next to Mr. Abdul-Mahdi, after his request to cut off the live broadcast of the session, a public conversation took place between the two parties. The voice of Adel Abdul Mahdi was raised.

Mr. Abdul Mahdi spoke with an angry tone, saying:

"The Americans are the ones who destroyed the country and wreaked havoc on it. They are those who refuse to complete building the electrical system and infrastructure projects. They have bargained for the reconstruction of Iraq in exchange for giving up 50% of Iraqi oil imports, so I refused and decided to go to China and concluded an important and strategic agreement with it, and today Trump is trying to cancel this important agreement."

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

The reliable Based Cat in Iraq seems to confirm the timeline:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat - 4:00 UTC · Jan 7, 2020
Yes a 50-person delegation visited China in 2019 and then the protests started on October 1st until the Arbaeen dates, then picked up again on Oct 25th. I'm skeptical about the 3rd party but the timing itself was interesting. The flames were fanned by Gulf media and Al-Hurra.

Tom_LX , Jan 7 2020 19:20 utc | 21

A scandal is developing as one consequence of Trump's evil deed after Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi revealed the gangster methods U.S. President Trump used in his attempts to steal Iraq's oil.

Well well well, looks like Trump has been studying Cheney's map lately now that he is not fixated on Kim and accusations of being Putin's Puddle.

What is described by the PM is typical behavior of a gangster threatening a weaker opponent. Trump had better get some LSD to get him back in touch with Reality.

AriusArmenian , Jan 7 2020 19:30 utc | 24
MoA has done great reporting but this report is astounding.
It is stunning.

But it is the standard operating procedure of US elites. Trump is nothing unusual except for his persona. He gives away the game. Clinton/Bush/Obama/Trump, they are all power mad, vindictive, and vile. The elites that run the two major parties are together in pushing forward to war behind their political posturing.

[Feb 09, 2020] OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves

Notable quotes:
"... that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves. ..."
"... The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields. ..."
"... For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller. ..."
"... Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief. ..."
"... If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 |

What is the explanation that Non-OPEC produces more than OPEC, but OPEC has 70% of world reserves?

Although this might have been the case in the early history of oil production, I would think that this should not be the case near the peak. If I recall correctly, Campbell thought that OPEC's stated reserves are actually the estimated values produced by the government for each OPEC country?

Ron Patterson 12/12/2019 at 11:08 pm

No, no, no, OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves: OPEC Share of World Oil Reserves, 2018

Well, 79.4% to be exact Some people really believe that unbelievable crap. Well hell, there are still people who believe the earth is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth. So why should we be surprised? Some people will believe anything.

I would like to think that most people on this list know that OPEC quoted reserves is pure bullshit.

Hey, we have a president who lies every time he tweets. And sometimes he tweets 200 times a day. And perhaps 45% of the nation believes him. The capacity of humans to believe the absurd is unbounded.

Anyway if IEA and EIA projections are made on the basis of OPEC claimed reserves, we have a serious problem.

Ron Patterson 12/13/2019 at 2:15 pm
Well, I have always stated, on this blog as well as The Oil Drum, that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves.

The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields.

For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller.

If a giant or supergiant field is nearing the end of its life, but infill drilling, creaming the top of the reservoir, this will throw a monkey wrench into their R/P ratio. While in its prime, the field may have had an R/P ration of 40 or even greater, its R/P ratio while being creamed will be much smaller, less than 20.

Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief.

Seppo Korpela 12/15/2019 at 5:55 pm

According to Hubbert methodology, at the peak production the number of years to exhaust the reserve is N = 2/a in which "a" is the intrinsic growth rate

dQ/dt=a Q (1-Q/Q_0)

From Laherrere's reports for world peak, this is between 0.04 and 0.05. This means that the R/P ratio is between 40 and 50 at the peak. Thus if we say that 1/2 of the reserves are left at the peak and we take Laherre's URR = 2500, this gives R/P=1250/35=36 years. These are ball park figures, but suggest that R/P ~ 20 is low. These numbers are for the entire world and for example for North Sea at its peak Hubbert's analysis gave a = 0.12, so R/P=2/0.12=16.6, and this illustrates the fact that smaller fields are closer to your number R/P=20.

If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well.

[Feb 09, 2020] How long can Haftar take the oil out of play before oil prices start to rise?

Notable quotes:
"... Haftar is a US citizen and has ties to the CIA. The USA's position on Libya is unclear to me. I am not sure the US government is supporting any side. Turkey is the only country I see providing support to Tripoli. It seems to me the usual suspects either back Haftar or are watching from the sidelines. ..."
"... W.r.t Libya, they were producing ~7% of the MENA region consumed oil in 2011, and about 3% of the total MENA production (not big, but enough income to run a country). ..."
"... Before my last post, I was thinking to myself: "Didn't Haftar secure/surround most of the oil infrastructure around 2014?" I was sure I had read it somewhere. But if memory serves he was on a major advance, and then withdrew/got pushed, and made a second comeback in the past 2 years. ..."
"... Haftar has clearly switched sides since his twenty years in Langley. Very common in the Middle East, suddenly switching sides. ..."
Jan 23, 2020 |
goldhoarder , Jan 23 2020 18:17 utc | 41

casey , Jan 23 2020 15:29 utc | 2

How long can Haftar take the oil out of play before oil prices start to rise?

c1ue , Jan 23 2020 15:36 utc | 3

@casey #2
Libya was never a major producer - and their production levels fell after "the revolution" and are still really low. Not at all clear it matters compared to say, US fracking production.
Haftar is a US citizen and has ties to the CIA. The USA's position on Libya is unclear to me. I am not sure the US government is supporting any side. Turkey is the only country I see providing support to Tripoli. It seems to me the usual suspects either back Haftar or are watching from the sidelines.

Jon_in_AU , Jan 23 2020 18:28 utc | 43


You seem to have a panache for declaring "truths" to the bar here and often seem very agenda-driven, with all due respect.

W.r.t Libya, they were producing ~7% of the MENA region consumed oil in 2011, and about 3% of the total MENA production (not big, but enough income to run a country).

They were producing in range of 800,000 - 1.2M bpd (wikiped says 1.65M) prior to the NATO/US/ZIO neo-lib/con blood-lust orgy of death unleashed since 2011.

I know that 3% is not big cookies, but it seems significant to me. When taken at 'oil production per capita, they sit in the top 10 (until Haftars' latest maneuvers) which means more ability to spend per citizen. The US sits at 23rd place on this metric. It is bang-for-your-buck that matters for the people on the ground.

They do hold sizeable reserves, and it is all on the heads of the West that they are not prospering (albeit under a dictator with a crazy taste in fashion; at least he wasn't Reagan, Bush 1&2, Clinton 1&2, Obama, or the current dumpster-fire).

If I were in the MENA axis, I would certainly have an inclination to sabotage/destroy ALL oil infrastructure globally, via whatever means possible. Because that would turn all of those happy little consumers in the "developed" world against their masters for breach of the social contract (read delusion) that we live under.

Jon_in_AU , Jan 23 2020 18:54 utc | 51

Before my last post, I was thinking to myself: "Didn't Haftar secure/surround most of the oil infrastructure around 2014?" I was sure I had read it somewhere. But if memory serves he was on a major advance, and then withdrew/got pushed, and made a second comeback in the past 2 years.

I'm going to have to go and do some more reading on Libya, once I've finished reading Super Imperialism.

My reading list seems to be growing faster than my ability to keep up of late, thanks to the collective resources of all you Barflies post. :O)

Laguerre , Jan 23 2020 18:56 utc | 52
Haftar is a US citizen and has ties to the CIA.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jan 23 2020 18:17 utc | 41

Haftar has clearly switched sides since his twenty years in Langley. Very common in the Middle East, suddenly switching sides.

goldhoarder , Jan 23 2020 19:05 utc | 53
"Haftar has clearly switched sides" Other some Western press making a bit of noise I see no evidence of this. In fact the opposite. Any drone strike attempts on Haftar you can link me to? LOL. Don't pay attention to what the press says. Pay attention to who is getting bombed and who is not. At the end of the day that is how you tell the truth.
c1ue , Jan 23 2020 19:18 utc | 59
@Jon_in_AU #51

What Libya produced before its "revolution" isn't the issue. They used to produce 1.5M bpd - they're supposedly producing over 1M bpd now. How much is actually exported vs. used internally or "lost"?

Sure, 1M bpd is significant compared to world oil production of 82M bpd, but my original point still stands: 1M bpd (a net fall of 500K bpd vs pre-revolution) is not very significant vs. the US' increase of oil production by 6M bpd in the same period (2014-2019).

... ... ...

krillchem , Jan 23 2020 20:24 utc | 83

"Sure, 1M bpd is significant compared to world oil production of 82M bpd, but my original point still stands: 1M bpd (a net fall of 500K bpd vs pre-revolution) is not very significant vs. the US' increase of oil production by 6M bpd in the same period (2014-2019)."

Three issues arise:
(1) The fracking boom generally only produces condensates NOT OIL, especially in the Permian basin (96%) which must be blended with heavy crude to process it at US refineries. Furthermore, some 90% of fracking companies or their investors are losing money and the boom appears to be short lived.

(2) Fracking has huge environmental costs that are literally dumped onto society as a whole (Tragedy of the Commons) such as the recent radioactive brine issue.

(2) The US is still a net hydrocarbon importer especially heavy crude such as the Russian Ural blend. Little wonder why Venezuela and Iran are targets for conquest by the "Masters of the Universe".

(3) The 1M bpd of petroleum from Libya is actually OIL and this cutoff has caused panic from Italy which imports most of this oil and must rapidly substitute oil from other sources:

krollchem , Jan 23 2020 23:50 utc | 121

“Yes, fracking production has heavily benefited from cheap money.”
This is a ode word for malinvestment. As a result of poor planning these wildcat fracking operations fail to properly plan the resource extraction stream leading to failures to plan for such components as roads, fracking sand inputs and pipeline capacity.

“Fracking has fundamentally changed the role of imported oil in the US.”
Fracking is just a short term stopgap as wells deplete rapidly. Once the condensate boom goes bust the US will have to invade a couple of other oil producing countries to promote democracy and the amerikan way.

“It has fundamentally changed the energy mix in electricity generation - from coal to natural gas.”

Yes, in the short term low natural gas prices have dramatically reduced the use of coal in the US (excepting metallurgical coal). Currently natural gas prices are at about $2.00/1000cuft or $71/1000m3. The price is so low that many producers are shutting down, as they cannot make money due to the massive short-term glut (malinvestment again).

In many places such as the Permian there is massive flaring to get rid of the excess gas rather than using it for the public good. This is not to say that no one is making money off this problem as gas pipeline operators are charging several dollars per 1000cuft to take it off the producer’s hands. There is a movement to use some of this gas to run well-head operations and the larger companies are better at it due to economies of scale.

As you know, Cheniere is doing well by helping Trump sell “freedom gas” to Europe at about $213 per 1000m3 on long term contracts. The US is covering this up by increasing foreign aid enough to cover the additional costs of “freedom gas”.

“And the net reserves of oil and natural gas enabled by fracking is still far above the total amount of money burned in the creation of this industry - even at the low oil and historically low natural gas prices today.”

Please elaborate on this statement as I am missing the point. Can you post a comprehensive paper on environmental costs into the fracking cost-benefit analysis.

“As for panic in Italy - Italy is the closest EU country to Libya. A cutoff will affect some people, but there seems to be plenty of other sources happy to step in.”

krollchem , Jan 23 2020 23:55 utc | 122

Here is the rest of my comment

“As for panic in Italy - Italy is the closest EU country to Libya. A cutoff will affect some people, but there seems to be plenty of other sources happy to step in.”

This is a lot of oil to substitute as indicated by the recent Trump threats to Haftar to turn on the spigot. In addition, changing the blend requires some refinery operation changes which might be expensive depending on the substituted oil composition.

[Feb 09, 2020] Michael Lind on Reviving Democracy - The American Interest

Notable quotes:
"... The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite ..."
"... The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite ..."
"... The American Interest ..."
Feb 09, 2020 |

Michael Lind on Reviving Democracy Aaron Sibarium To fix things, we must acknowledge the nature of the problem. T he Cold War may have ended, but the class war rages on -- or so Michael Lind argues in The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite . TAI assistant editor Aaron Sibarium recently sat down with Lind to discuss this argument, and what it means for democracy in our populist era. This is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.

Aaron Sibarium for TAI: You have a new book out: The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite . What is the new class war?

Michael Lind : It's the conflict that has broken out between the college-credentialed, university-educated managerial and professional class, which dominates Western democracies on both sides of the Atlantic, and the high school-educated working class of all races and national origins, which is about two-thirds of the population. I argue that there was a kind of class peace treaty, or what political scientists call a "settlement," between capitalists, managers, and the working class for a couple of decades following 1945 that broke down in the late 20 th century, largely as a result of the atrophy of the institutions that had amplified the power of less educated working-class people. The most important of these were trade unions, churches, and other religious organizations, as well as local mass membership parties -- parties of political machines at the local level.

As a result of that breakdown, there's just been a shift of power and influence in all three realms: the economy, the culture, and government. And I argue the frustration this has created on behalf of much of the population has ultimately led to a lot of the populist rebellions we're seeing: the election of Trump, the Brexit vote in Europe, the Yellow Vest revolts in France.

AS : Part of the story here is the rise of a "managerial elite," as you call it, which differs in important ways from the elite it displaced. What are the distinct features of this managerial class?

ML : I don't claim any particular originality here. I follow James Burnham, a one-time influential American Trotskyist who became one of the founders of postwar American conservatism. In his book The Managerial Revolution written during World War II, he argued that the Marxists were wrong. The two major classes in the Western world in the 1940s were not workers and capitalists, but workers and managers. Because at that point, thanks to the rise of large corporations, there was what Berle and Means in their classic study of the corporation described as separation of ownership and control. And you had this bureaucratic corporate executive class who were not necessarily the biggest shareholders. Particularly nowadays when shared ownership is widely dispersed and fluctuating, it's kind of a legal fiction to say that the shareholders are the owners of the corporation, and that the managers are merely passive agents.

So that was the argument. Burnham argued -- and I follow him -- that the managerial elite includes far more than corporate executives. It includes professionals, experts of all kinds, civil servants, and also the military, which he argued would become increasingly influential in societies. Meanwhile, only one-third of the working class was ever industrial workers -- the rest were service and clerical workers. But at present, as a result of automation and productivity growth, most new working class jobs are in hospitality and leisure, healthcare and retail. And those tend to be very poorly paid and very non-union jobs. So the migration of employment from the unionized manufacturing sector to these sectors has contributed to inequality.

AS : A common libertarian argument holds that if you look at the data, working-class living standards have improved, so everything's more or less fine. To the extent there is a crisis, it's one more of perception than fact. How do you respond to this argument?

ML : Well, it's true: As a result of technological progress poor people have access to all kinds of technology that rich people did not have a century ago. The problem with libertarians is they're like Marxists, and even some progressives: They think money is everything. The problem with libertarians is they're like Marxists, and even some progressives: They think money is everything. They ignore power. They ignore dignity. So the basic premise is, "well, you've lost your unions, which amplified your influence if you only had a high school diploma, but in return you make $500 more a year, so it's a wash."

I find it very odd because the whole basis of American republicanism, small-r republicanism, is the idea that ordinary people should have power and that there should be checks and balances. The idea is not that you can have a dictatorship or an autocracy or an aristocracy as long as it pays compensation to everyone else.

AS : Here at the magazine, we're very interested in reviving what we call the political center. In the book you note that the center of elite opinion is very different from the center of working-class opinion -- even as your emphasis on class compromise sounds, well, kind of centrist. Do you identify as a centrist? And what do you think are the biggest mistakes that self-styled centrists have made?

ML : Marx said, "I'm not a Marxist," so I like saying that I, Michael Lind, am not a Lindist. I'm less interested in sticking out a position on the political spectrum -- either the elite spectrum or the working-class spectrum, which are your two different political spectrums -- than I am in nation-building. And how do you rebuild a functioning democratic nation-state in which politics is not all about 51 percent trying to annihilate 49 percent? I think we have to be as inclusive as possible. In the book, I call this "democratic pluralism," the idea being that you have to have a government based on compromise.

But before you can have compromise, you have to acknowledge the reality of conflict. You have to admit that the conflicts are legitimate. Because if one side is simply wrong or one side is simply evil, then there's no point in compromise. So democratic pluralism is a very realistic view of politics. It's arguably the case that employers and employees have clashing interests on things like trade and immigration. There is no one objective policy, so you have to negotiate and make trade-offs. Different religious groups and secular people have equally legitimate values. They have to coexist in the same society.

And when it comes to matters of class, the vast majority of working-class people simply are going to be outweighed in politics and in the media by the minority of very well-educated and very well-financed people. So they have to have their own organizations to exercise what the economist John Kenneth Galbraith called "countervailing power." But my vision is one of compromise and negotiation. It's not that a group of experts gets together and decides what the ideal policy is and then the government just imposes this. I don't know in advance what the ideal policy is for Uber and Lyft drivers. I think that the drivers should have some kind of collective representation and should be able to negotiate with their employers. But if they can come up with a solution that's acceptable to both, that's fine with me.

AS : You say that under democratic pluralism, the state serves as a kind of brokering agent between labor and capital. Could you elaborate on the role of the state in this negotiating structure?

ML : The libertarian or classical liberal view of government is that it's an umpire. It doesn't have any commitment to one side or another, or even to one country or another, according to libertarianism; it just enforces the rules. Whoever wins, wins. But the democratic pluralist tradition sees the democratic nation-state as the coach of a team. And the team includes the national managerial elite and investors and workers, who are all competing with other nations. So democratic pluralism involves some degree of economic nationalism.

It's not necessarily leading to war or anything like that. It's just that all the different countries are trying to make their own people more prosperous. And so as a result of that, the government can step in and keep the different groups in society from ripping each other apart. But at the same time it should not just try to dictate things from above. So that's why I think the coach metaphor is better than the umpire metaphor.

AS : Would you say that this more thoroughgoing concept of democratic representation is just a means to class compromise, or is it a normative end in itself?

ML : I think it's a means to an end. The normative end is national unity. And that's why, even though some of this sounds vaguely Marxist, the premise is not that the working class is going to destroy and replace the managerial class. Every society, including communist societies, have had managerial elites in the modern world. And you have to have them. You have to have experts. You have to have managers. And in practice, they will probably pass on their advantages to their children to some degree. You even see this in communist industrial countries. So the goal is to give the working-class majority the weapons to enforce a compromise, to draw some concessions from the managerial elite.

If the working class were too strong and were threatening to cripple the managerial elite, I would be for strengthening the managers against an overly powerful working class. But the goal is national unity. It's what Henry Carey , the Whig economist in the 19 th century who was an advisor to Abraham Lincoln, called "the harmony of interests." And there's this older Hamiltonian tradition that rejected the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian idea that there's a battle to the death between capital and labor in favor of the idea that they're partners in a common project of national development and national construction. But the government is not simply a passive figure. It's actively bringing them together and regulating their partnership.

AS : You write that under democratic pluralism, "legislatures can cede large areas of policymaking to those with higher stakes and expertise." That framing sounds a bit like some defenses of the administrative state, of which you are a partial critic. What role, if any, do administrative agencies have in brokering class compromise?

ML : There have been two kinds of administrative agencies that are somewhat independent of direct presidential political control since the progressive era. One kind is the very technocratic agency where you get the experts who are insulated, they're altruistic, they're wise, they have degrees from Ivy League universities. And whatever they want is supposedly good for the public. I'm very suspicious of this for obvious reasons. The other kind is associated with a lot of the New Deal agencies that were created. And we have to remember the New Deal was a farmer-labor alliance. It was an alliance of the working class and the family farmers who had been excluded from the first stage of industrialization in the United States. They realized that Congress cannot possibly make detailed regulations for everything in an industrial economy, but at the same time they did not want to turn over vast discretionary power to a bunch of "pointy heads," as George Wallace would say, from the Ivy League universities.

So their compromise was to create sector-specific organizations: the FCC, the Agriculture Department, and various independent agencies where interest groups were represented and could influence policy, even if only informally. Now, libertarians hate this because they see it as corruption for the interest groups to influence policy. A certain kind of technocratic progressive hates it because the people who make policy are not supposed to actually be from that field -- that's their definition of corruption. But to my mind it makes sense, because if you're going to make policy for family farmers, you should probably talk to family farmers. If you're going to make policy for taxi drivers, then represent the taxi drivers and consult with them.

By the same token, I think we have a very unrealistic view of the omnicompetent legislator. We have this idea that if you're a Senator, today you're going to make policy for farming and tomorrow you're going to make it for pilots, and the day after that you're going to make it for religious liberty. Having worked in state legislatures, I can tell you that doesn't happen. What happens is that one or two members of the legislature are known as experts in a particular field. Usually they have some connection with that field, and their fellow legislators -- often across party lines -- defer to their expertise. So one of the things I argue is that we should not be afraid to delegate some policymaking authority to administrative agencies, on the condition that they represent interest groups, particularly working-class interest groups, whose views might be ignored otherwise.

AS : How much of the current working-class ferment is due to a feeling of powerlessness, and how much of it is due to the people in power making bad decisions? Put another way, if elites had taken better care of the working class without actually giving them much substantive representation, would the working class still be in revolt? To what extent is this about powerlessness qua powerlessness versus not getting some preferred policy outcome?

ML : I think you can make that distinction in theory. But in practice, you really can't, because unless there are institutions that represent the policy preferences of working-class people, those people are going to be ignored.

So in theory, yes, you could have had a bipartisan consensus that did not push elite-friendly globalization policies, that did not push elite-friendly immigration policies, that did not push elite-friendly environmental policies such as in France. But there's a reason why the elite-friendly policies always prevailed: the absence of actual checks and balances. So I simply don't believe in the possibility of a benevolent elite unless members of the working class have something beyond the vote. I simply don't believe in the possibility of a benevolent elite unless members of the working class have something beyond the vote. The vote is important, but casting a vote every couple of years for one of two candidates -- particularly when both have been chosen by donors and elite activists -- does not give you very much influence on the system. That's why, I think, you have to have free elections, but they have to be supplemented by policymaking bodies where you have additional checks and balances.

AS : You write that "even in so-called capitalist countries," partly as a result of this lack of checks and balances, property rights have been "diluted and redefined beyond recognition." How has this happened, and what are the implications for the struggle you're describing?

ML : This gets into why I don't like the term "middle class." For the majority of people in the United States, I use the term "working class." The classic word for that is "proletarian," which sounds kind of Marxist, but it comes from ancient Rome. It meant a propertyless wage worker, who has to earn a living by working for wages. Today we talk about the home-owning majority, the property-owning majority, and so on. But in practice, unless you have paid off your house mortgage loan completely, you're renting it from the bank. And the same is true of your car -- you're renting that until it's completely paid off, if it ever is. So the property-owning majority is kind of an illusion.

And I'm not criticizing the system. It's a successful system. But let's not trick ourselves into thinking that most Americans are therefore property-owners in a significant sense, or certainly that they're capitalists. The vast majority of Americans in retirement depend almost entirely on Social Security. Only the top half of the population has any kind of investments in 401(k)s or IRAs. And even that, if you look at the average 401K or IRA, is really a negligible amount of money. It doesn't last very long. So we really have a majority of people who could not live for more than a few weeks without a wage, without turning to the state for unemployment insurance. They would be destitute in old age without Social Security. And this is one of the reasons that there's a class division in attitudes toward entitlement policy. It seems insane, if you think about it, that after the economy crashed in 2008, the priority in Britain was austerity, cutting back government spending in the middle of a global depression. And in the United States, we had the bipartisan effort to cut the deficit, with President Obama offering the Republicans a cut to Social Security. That would not have happened in a truly democratic system in which ordinary people had the same clout as very well-to-do people.

AS : Implicit here is a critique of a certain kind of left-producerism, which folks like Elizabeth Warren and Matt Stoller have been pushing. That tradition imagines a world where all Americans are self-reliant property-owners, and hearkens back to the free labor movement of the 19 th century. You seem to be saying this is a pipe dream.

ML : My previous book, which I co-authored with the economist Robert D. Atkinson, was Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business . And we criticize this anachronistic, 19 th -century Jeffersonian idea of the small producer. It's just completely anachronistic. A slight majority of Americans today work for firms with 500 people or more. I love that statistic. It just shocks people.

Small businesses create most new jobs. They also destroy most new jobs because almost all small businesses fail. Small businesses create most new jobs. They also destroy most new jobs because almost all small businesses fail. So the only net job creation is by successful businesses, which if they are successful, become medium-size or large businesses. They level off at some point, of course. But that being the case, this Jeffersonian ideal is a hundred years out of date. It was clear in the early 20 th century that you could do four things to respond to the rise of large corporations. One is to break them up into little teeny-weeny firms again, mom and pop firms. That's the anti-trust agenda. That was considered anachronistic even in World War I -- Woodrow Wilson said, "this is absurd." So did Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt has this reputation as a trust buster, but if you actually read what he wrote, he thought consolidation was inevitable.

So we have these large corporations, and they should be regulated. But if you reject breaking them up into little pieces, what are the remaining three options? Well, there's nationalization. That's what the socialists wanted. Eugene Debs and the socialists thought trusts were great, because it's easier to nationalize a big firm than a small firm.

Then there's regulation, and then there's countervailing power, to use the term again from John Kenneth Galbraith. The labor movement under Samuel Gompers in the early 20 th century said, "well, we don't want socialism. We're not socialists. We want dynamic firms. We want to share their profits as workers. We don't want our own little tiny mom and pop firms. We like working for steel companies and car companies, as long as we're paid decently. We don't want the government to regulate our wages and benefits because we think that the rich lobbyists will always have more clout in Congress than representatives of working people."

So their solution, which I argue for, was countervailing power. You pool the labor power of workers, but then you negotiate with the big firms.

Now there's technically a fifth option, which is even more absurd than the anti-trust option. That's the libertarian one, where you just allow oligopolies and monopolies to grow, and they grow simply because they're dynamic and efficient. But if they abuse their power you just turn a blind eye to it. And you have to be an ideological libertarian to believe that a janitor, an individual janitor, has bargaining power in a company with 500 people. That's just pure nonsense and it's been recognized as such. Even J.S. Mill, who is cited as a classical liberal thinker, was for unions, because he saw that there was no way one individual could realistically negotiate a contract of employment with a large firm.

AS : You claim that immigration has made this kind of negotiation more difficult by creating a split labor market that ends up hurting low-wage workers. Yet several studies have suggested that it was cultural anxiety, not economic distress, that best predicted support for Trump. Would it be fair to say that immigration is primarily a cultural battleground in this new class war? Or do you think the materialist story is underrated?

ML : That's a misleading question. Most of the social science on Trump and Brexit is worthless because political scientists look for a single factor. Was it deindustrialization, was it racial views, was it age or whatever? And since you're dealing with a society that's quite stratified by class and divided by race, people have multiple characteristics that you can't catch if you're doing a regression analysis with one polling question. So I dismiss a lot of that stuff.

What I do in the book is build on Edna Bonacich's idea of the split labor market . That's when you have two populations competing for the same job. Sometimes they're of different ethnicities, they can be from different regions of the country or from different classes, but each has distinct, identifiable characteristics. Employers prefer the population that is willing to work for lower wages, whatever its defining characteristic is. For example, in the 19 th century industrial capitalists in the North brought in not just African-Americans, but also poor whites from the South to undercut unionization by mostly European immigrants in Northern industrial cities -- often Irish-Americans, German-, Polish-, Italian-Americans. That's a split labor market. Another example is employers bringing Chinese indentured servants to California to undercut unionization attempts by white labor activists. When that happens, there's inevitably racial resentment as well as economic resentment. The Irish-American labor organizers in San Francisco will denounce the Chinese for their cultural characteristics, and, at the same time, they'll denounce the capitalists for bringing in the Chinese to undercut their wages.

So you have to think about it as a three-way conflict among employers and two different groups of workers. It's not simply a racist, anti-racist paradigm. On the other hand, it's not pure economics, because there's often ethnic resentment between these different groups.

AS : Immigration is part of a larger story you tell about global labor arbitrage. Can you expand on that?

ML : Arbitrage is making a profit by exploiting jurisdictional differences in the value of the same good -- in this case, labor. It has nothing to do with productivity growth, and this is something that is confused in talks about globalization. If you shut down a factory in the Midwest and open up a new factory employing cheaper labor in South China or Mexico, using exactly the same technology, the profit of your firm goes up because the wage share of the profit has gone down. You're no more productive than you were, and you don't produce any more output because productivity is output-per-worker. The Chinese workers or the Mexican workers are producing cars and iPhones at the same rate as the American workers -- they're just paid much less. So that's labor arbitrage.

You also get labor arbitrage with immigration. When employers bring in a group from abroad to work the same jobs that natives or naturalized immigrants have been doing, but for lower wages, the new workers are not more productive, or more skilled, or more efficient. They're just cheaper.

AS : You hold up the post-World War II settlement as a model of democratic pluralism -- not just in economics but also culture. That settlement arguably rested on a shared moral consensus -- in particular a shared Christian consensus -- that's since broken down. The working class has become more diverse, not just ethnically but religiously, philosophically, morally. How do we have cultural power-sharing agreements when there's no shared culture, even among the working class?

ML : Well, I disagree with that characterization of the postwar period. Up until then you had a mainline Protestant establishment in the United States that was very anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish. And so Jewish kids and Catholic kids had to recite Protestant prayers in schools and sing Protestant hymns. Americanization was stripping them of being Jewish and Catholic. And evangelical Protestants suffered as well because these were mainline Protestants who didn't like evangelical Protestants.

But after World War II, the United States created what the sociologist Will Herberg called "the triple establishment." He wrote a book called Protestant -- Catholic -- Jew . And I'm old enough to remember that at every high school commencement, you had a priest, a minister, and a rabbi. So it was pluralistic. Now the term "Judeo-Christian" was invented around that time, to pretend these religions are all part of the same thing, which their theologians will dispute. I'm not saying we should return to that and ignore secular people, particularly with secularization increasing in the U.S. as in Europe.

But I think we've moved back toward a secularized Protestant mainline establishment. And if you look at a lot of the "wokeness" we see today, it's kind of a secularized version of New England puritanism I think we've moved back toward a secularized Protestant mainline establishment. And if you look at a lot of the "wokeness" we see today, it's kind of a secularized version of New England puritanism , at least in the United States. They go after exactly the same people that the old Northeastern mainline did: Southern evangelicals, Catholics, and traditional, non-liberal Jews. Muslims as well, although they treat Muslim as a racial category to be favored rather than a religious conservative category, although most Muslims are religiously conservative.

So I argue that we don't want a French-style anticlerical state, which wants to ban all displays of religion and be aggressively secular. That's not the American tradition. It's not the Anglo-American tradition. You also don't want the elite's religion -- which in the old days was mainline Protestantism, nowadays you'd call it mainline secularism -- to simply dominate the media and education. So I think we have to go back to some kind of institutionalized representation. Maybe it will be the priest, the minister, the rabbi, the druid, and the atheist. But I think that's a much healthier approach in a society where you have deep permanent value pluralism , as the philosopher John Gray has argued. You have to have what he calls a modus vivendi , an agreement to live and let live and co-exist.

AS : In your book, you note that there used to be religious and cultural bodies that were informally charged with oversight of education in the media. Organizations to which films were submitted for approval.

ML : Yeah, the Legion of Decency, which was originally a Catholic organization. It got to the point where Hollywood would just submit the films to them. There's this wonderful movie by the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar , about making a biblical epic in the 1950s. There's a great scene where they have a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, an Orthodox Christian priest, and a rabbi, and the poor studio guys are trying to make sure their film doesn't offend anybody.

Now, if you're a free speech zealot of the romantic libertarian bent, then the more shocking to public sensibilities, the better. And I don't want to go back to the old days where they were censoring Catcher in the Rye in the libraries. But on the other hand, come on. If you have a society that is half wiccans and half Nordic Asatru Thor worshippers, what is the goal of your policy in education and so on? Is it to constantly insult and humiliate the two groups that are the biggest groups in your society?

And what about parents? If you have compulsory public education, then the views of the parents ought to be respected by educators, right? Now again, this is not anticlerical France where the public school is a way to de-program Catholic school children and turn them into French Jacobin Republican citizens. I'm very supportive of mandatory viewpoint diversity in K-12 and higher education, and also in the media because let's face it, the mass media are a de facto public utility. It's how people communicate, it's what shapes perceptions. And to say that it's a purely private thing, so if you don't like it, go found your own radio network or your own TV network or your own social media platform . . . I don't think that's realistic.

AS : You note that in the past, Catholics played a role out of proportion to their numbers when it came to policing the culture. What sort of minority group, if any, do you think would fill that role today? Is there a particular subgroup that's well-positioned to revive these religious or cultural bodies?

ML : There is a kind of a revival of Catholic social thought on the right wing of the Republican Party, with people like Marco Rubio saying good things about unions. You see flickers there of this older Catholic influence, both in working-class economic areas but also in the culture. Like Protestants, Catholics are declining as a percentage of the population. Southern evangelicals, because of their dispensationalist ideology -- thinking the end of the world is near -- did not for obvious reasons put a whole lot of effort into thinking about the details of public policy.

We'll see what happens with American Muslims. What you saw with Catholic immigrants and Jewish immigrants was that even as they became less ethnic diasporas, they remained religious believers. There were new Jewish-American and Catholic-American establishments. I think we may see that with both Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. And to the extent that they don't accept the idea that we're just going to go along with whatever the Ivy League schools say, to the extent they reject the woke secular liberal attitude, they may play a role.

AS : You also have a very interesting passage where you say that terms like transphobia, homophobia, and Islamophobia medicalize politics, and treat different viewpoints as evidence of psychological disorder. Why has this become one of the go-to methods for invalidating dissent in the United States?

ML : Well, it has very deep roots, nearly a century old. If you go back to the 1920s and 30s, many of the intellectuals in the Western world were just completely entranced with Freudianism, and with other kinds of modern psychology. They thought that this was a science and it explained human behavior. And so the whole project of redefining morality in terms of psychology and therapy goes back to Freudianism, and then you get these increasingly dumbed down versions of it where one moral dispute after another -- over gay rights, over trans rights, over immigration -- gets medicalized so that instead of this being a dispute based on thousand-year-old religious texts, the people who hold a certain view are simply emotionally disturbed. And the cure for that is therapy.

You see this with diversity training. The premise is that if you don't agree with whatever the accepted positions are, then you need to be reprogrammed. To become a productive, normal person, you need therapy. And I think this is just very sinister and totalitarian. Obviously there are emotionally disturbed people who hate homosexuals, and there are deranged individuals with a completely insane hatred of people of another race. But as I say in the book, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who disapproves of homosexuality, but also of abortion and divorce and adultery, is just following the teachings of Judaism, right? The rabbi is a perfectly normal, well-adjusted person. That's just the theology. If you want to fight the theology, denounce the theology.

But when you have the elites in charge of education and the media essentially adopting as their working hypothesis that anyone who disagrees with them needs therapy -- this is very sinister.

AS : It seems like this medicalization of politics has coincided with the rise of outlets like Vox, which you criticize more than once in The New Class War . Is that just an accident, or have both trends been driven by the same technocratic impulse?

ML : Yes, Vox very much represents what I call technocratic progressivism -- the idea that there is one "correct" answer which is also the moral answer. And so if anyone disagrees with the Vox policy, either they're ignorant or emotionally disturbed. It's very patronizing.

Having said that, the right has its own version of this, where anyone who disagrees with the right's policies is a traitor or an instrument of Satan or morally evil or stupid. So you find it on both sides.

But the medicalization tends to be associated with the overclass center-left, not the radical left. The Marxists don't do this because they believe in class conflict. I think their theory of class and class conflict is wrong, but they're actually closer to reality than the technocratic progressives who think that if everyone were sane and smart, there would never be any conflicts at all.

AS : You've talked about technocratic progressives, and alluded to what might be called technocratic libertarians. Is there such a thing as technocratic populism, which genuinely responds to populist complaints through market-based, technical solutions? Or is technocratic populism a contradiction in terms?

ML : I think it's a contradiction in terms, because if you believe as I do that the root of populism is a power deficit, then it's not a matter of getting the right policies. You actually have to redistribute power, and redistributing power to working class people means they have the power to be wrong and support dumb things. And their representatives have the power to make bad decisions.

So I don't think you can come up with a kinder and gentler version of technocratic progressivism where you just do better polling or you're just more benevolent and more sensitive to working-class people. You have to talk to them. I spent two decades in the NGO world. Apart from receptionists and janitors, you never encounter working-class people. I spent two decades in the NGO world. Apart from receptionists and janitors, you never encounter working-class people. The idea that you would actually go out there and ask them what their problems are, that almost never happens.

To be clear, there are some good things that come out of the technocratic approach. You don't expect working-class people to tell you statistically what the best health insurance option is. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about basic preferences. The politicians do go out and supposedly hear from people at the diner when they're trying to get elected. But the experts in a think tank or university who are coming up with the plans that the politicians then sell to the people at the diner -- those experts don't have much contact with the working class.

Fifty years ago in this country it worked differently. The parties were federations of state and local parties, so word could go forth from Washington to persuade people that yes, this is the way to do it. And often that worked because the people involved in the local Democratic or Republican machine trusted the county precinct chairman. But the people in DC also heard from the grassroots. County people would talk to the state people, state people would send the message that things are going on out here. Now that the parties are just shells bought by billionaires, you don't get that.

As for unions -- they did bad things as well as good things, all human organizations have trade-offs -- but it meant that there was some kind of mechanism for working-class revolts to get somebody's ear up above. And in the absence of unions you get polls. "There's a poll that shows the working class believes X, there's a poll that shows the working class believes Y." In the old days you asked the shop steward or the foreman what the working class thought; you didn't have a telephone poll. That shows the extent to which all these connecting levels of organization have vanished, if the only way to find out what people are thinking is by calling them randomly and asking their opinion.

AS : It's ironic, isn't it, that some of the changes that hollowed out the parties were initially justified on the grounds that they weren't representative enough. Would it be fair to say that these kinds of populist reforms backfired and produced democratic deficits?

ML : Yeah, I think that's right. Now, sure, there were corrupt smoke-filled-room politicians. There were sleazy union officials who were embezzling from the union, there was sexual harassment among religious figures. These are human institutions.

But in ancient Rome, there were the tribunes, whose role was to represent the ordinary people against the senatorial class. And the moment it was reduced to one tribune -- who happened to be Caesar -- that was the end of that system. So you have to have lots of little petty tribunes, lots of petty power brokers, whom the metropolitan liberals never liked. The elite conservatives never liked them. Everybody looked down their noses at them, and at the church ladies, and at the corrupt local union boss, but they're all gone now. They're all extinct, just like the dinosaurs. So there's this huge void in between. Nothing's perfect, but I think we do have to rebuild this group of intermediate brokers so that you don't simply have a political system that consists of donors, advertising experts, and policy wonks who live in New York and Washington and maybe San Francisco.

AS : Two proposals that have been voiced by those policy wonks in recent years are universal basic income and trust-busting. In the book you reject both of these proposals. Why?

ML : Well, universal basic income has always been rejected by pro-labor people and by social democrats on the theory that if the working class has power through collective bargaining and other means to force employers to pay a living wage, then you don't need a universal basic income. If you work 40 hours a week -- and there's dignity to work -- then it's profoundly humiliating to say that a few rich CEOs are the only productive people in society, and everyone else is some kind of parasite. But to bribe them into silence, we'll just pay them off -- this is utterly abhorrent to the idea of the dignity of labor. It's abhorrent to the idea of a democratic Republic. Instead, you have an aristocracy passing out charity to people.

So that's the moral and political reason for rejecting it. The practical reason is, does anyone think that these billionaires who are hiding all of their income in the Cayman Islands are going to consent to be taxed to give everyone $12,000 a year? I don't believe that for a moment. Right now you can't even raise taxes on people making $100,000 or $200,000 a year. If the middle class is defined as anyone making less than $200,000 a year, we're not going to raise taxes on them. So where's this money coming from for the UBI?

And I've already touched briefly on the fact that trust-busting is anachronistic. What's particularly absurd is they're trying to argue that inequality has gone up, not for the real reason, which is that unions have been crushed and labor markets have been flooded by low-wage immigrants, but because of the monopsony power of big corporations. Okay. So let's say you break Facebook into five giant firms. Do we really believe that the janitor is going to have five times the bargaining power in these baby Facebooks? That's ridiculous. It's not going to happen.

AS : Five times zero is still zero.

ML : Yeah. But what you see with the Democrats is they're rapidly being taken over by formerly Republican libertarians and moderates. So as the Bush Republicans and a lot of libertarians, even the Koch brothers, are distancing themselves from the Republican Party, are moving away from the GOP because it's becoming more blue-collar -- well, when Bush country club Republicans decide, "Oh, I hate Donald Trump, I'm going to switch to the Democrats," they don't necessarily change their views about taxes or immigration or unions.

I'll give you an example I use in the book. The overwhelming majority of congressional districts in the 2016 elections that went for Clinton are among the wealthiest districts in the United States. And Trump got among the poorest districts in the United States, so the idea that the Republicans are the country club managerial capitalist party and the Democrats are the AFL-CIO steelworkers is like 20, 30 years out of date. It's all in flux.

AS : Many of the power-sharing proposals you favor work by creating veto points that let workers say no and force a compromise. Do you worry that this might make us less competitive in the international arena? China doesn't have many democratic constraints on the market, after all, because it's not a democracy. Is it possible to create veto points without sacrificing efficiency, and with it our competitive edge?

ML : Germany has had strong unions and co-determination, and its manufacturing industries are in many ways more advanced and successful than in the United States, where companies just want to crush unions and go for the cheapest possible labor. Japan is very paternalistic, but they have good labor relations as part of this kind of welfare capitalist system. So if you look at export competitiveness, the anti-labor countries like the U.S. and the UK don't do that well compared to the ones that have some kind of harmonization among their workforces and employers in manufacturing.

What dictatorships like China can do is mainly through credit, not cheap labor. They can dump products below cost on the rest of the world. And the classic dumping strategy, whether it's from a firm or a nation, is that you deliberately sell below cost long enough to drive your rivals out of business. And then at that point you have a monopoly in the market, which means you can jack up the price to recoup the losses you incurred during the dumping phase. So if you have government-owned enterprises, or nominally private enterprises that in practice have an unlimited credit line from the government or from banks the government pressures, there's no way any private enterprise can compete with a state-backed corporation.

So if you believe in industrial capitalism as I do -- I think it's the most dynamic system for increasing wealth and innovation in history -- then you have to block entry into your market by state-capitalists, otherwise they will wipe out your firms. This should not even be debated.

AS : In closing, I want to ask a couple big-picture questions. Patrick Deneen, the author of Why Liberalism Failed , recently tweeted that The New Class War is "THE essential book of the decade." Do you agree that liberalism has failed? And if not, why do you think that a lot of post-liberals have been raving about your book?

ML : Well I think there's agreement among people with very different views of history that what we call "liberalism" now -- which I would call libertarianism or neoliberalism -- has moved toward hyper-individualism in the culture and deregulation of the economy, and that this is a bad thing. It's bad for community. It's bad for the nation-state. It's bad in the long run for the capitalist economy because it undermines its foundations.

Where you get debate is on the question of when this started. To my mind, the neoliberal era started in the '70s and really got underway after the Cold War. For some of the critics of liberalism, like Deneen, it starts with the Protestant Reformation or with the Enlightenment. That's an interesting debate to have, but it's a philosophical debate. And I think that whatever your theory of the case, you can agree that the neoliberal moment is hopefully over, and that it's time to create a new system, which I for one hope will incorporate the good things about neoliberalism: emancipation of sexual minorities, a lot of the gains in civil rights and civil liberties. So you want the pendulum to swing back, but not necessarily all the way to where it was before neoliberalism. You just correct the excesses in the next stage of history.

AS : You don't seem to have much faith in either political party right now. Do you think the power-sharing you envision can plausibly arise without any help from established politicians, or are things going to get a lot worse before they get better?

ML : In the book, I argue that ruling elites generally share power only when they're forced to. And they are forced to either by fear of insurrection from below or by a fear of competition with other countries. I argue that ruling elites generally share power only when they're forced to. And they are forced to either by fear of insurrection from below or by a fear of competition with other countries. In most cases it's very difficult for weak, disorganized working-class people, or in the old days peasants, to overthrow the regime. So the elite doesn't have a whole lot to worry about from below. If you look at the creation of the mid-century class compromise I document in The New Class War , it was done largely during World War II in the United States and in Britain and in Germany. The left doesn't like to admit this. They want to pretend it was just a spontaneous upwelling from below. But in fact union membership shot up radically during World War II, because the Roosevelt Administration ordered firms to switch to war production, to make a deal with unions in the interest of defeating the Axis powers.

So at this point, I'm actually very pessimistic. I think that absent some kind of sustained international rivalry, where a section of the managerial elite comes to understand that constant labor and cultural warfare undermines us in international competition, so that they will have to broker a truce to save themselves -- I think absent that, you get a situation like a lot of South American countries. Brazil and Mexico, Central America, arguably they suffer because they never had a major war, and thus never had any incentive to extend power to ordinary people. So they're very oligarchical to this day.

AS : Do you think competition with China could potentially catalyze a class truce?

ML : It could, but I'm a realist in my foreign policy views. So I tend to see international politics as a series of either low-level or very intense competitions among different great powers. So if it's China now, it may be a rising India 50 years from now, and it may be somebody else in a hundred years. I think it just makes sense as a matter of prudence for a nation-state that's also a great power, like the United States, to have a kind of permanent low-level mobilization, which we didn't do after the Cold War.

I think future historians will be puzzled by the idea that the bipartisan establishment had that there would be no more great power conflicts -- that we could move much of our manufacturing and R&D to China, our most likely competitor, and have nothing to worry about. Sure, it lowers consumer prices. But if you think that today's trading partner may be tomorrow's military rival, it doesn't mean you're not going to engage in trade and immigration, but it does mean you're going to have some limits on those things for national security reasons. And again, for national security reasons you do not want class conflicts, racial rivalries, religious disputes to spiral out of control. It undermines the strength and harmony of your country in a dangerous world.

AS : Last question: Your theory of the case is very much a systemic one. It's a story about structures and institutions and systems, how they've changed and how they've changed for the worse. What, if anything, can individuals do to promote the kind of systemic change you want to see in the United States?

ML : Well, I think the first thing they can do is get off Twitter, and stop following national news obsessively, which is largely something the educated upper-middle class does. Working-class people are working, they don't have time, but if you're just re-tweeting angry memes about national politics, that's not politics. I don't know what it is. It's a kind of entertainment or something.

So start with your neighborhood, start with your city. It's not going to be enough -- obviously you have to have the top-down element too -- but real politics is getting the dangerous intersection fixed. It's taking part in a group. If the only thing you do is you vote and then retweet cartoons about the other party, you're not really engaged in politics, right?

So you have to be part of some kind of group. It can be a community group, it can be a religious group, it can be a party group. You've got local Democrats, local Republicans. But I think the best way to break the tendency toward increasing nationalization of everything starts with the individual. It starts locally. When I teach I'm kind of amused, if not shocked, by the tendency of young people to think that if there's any problem, Washington should fix it. If you need a bike path in your city, then Congress should allocate money for the bike path. Well, okay, but why don't you try raising money door-to-door for the bike path? And if that doesn't work, why not go to the city council? And if that doesn't work, there's the state legislature. We really are drifting toward this system where it's assumed that if you elect the right President, then all problems, state and Federal and local, social and economic, will be solved because the President has the right policies.

The Democratic primary has just seemed unreal to me for this very reason because now each candidate has his or her own party platform. They're basically one-person parties, and they're expected to have a platform for every single thing. Up until recently, the President was just the head of the party in Congress, and the party had different wings. There were the farmers and labor and African-Americans, there were consumer groups. The party platform reflected the relative power of those groups, and the President vowed to help carry out the party platform.

I think we're moving toward a nationalized plebiscitary presidential system, where the president is freely elected, but it's a kind of elective dictatorship: an all-powerful Caesarist or Bonapartist presidency will just solve all of our problems, and then if anything goes wrong in the country it's the President's fault, even though the President didn't have all that much power in reality. Real politics starts locally and consists of having groups of people working together on common projects beginning at home. Published on: January 29, 2020 Michael Lind is co-founder of New America and the author of The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite . Aaron Sibarium is assistant editor at The American Interest .

[Feb 08, 2020] Liz tried to attack Bernie that he has a pac. (and failed)

Feb 08, 2020 |

"Would you take @MikeBloomberg 's money?" @ewarren : "SURE!"

The very same night Elizabeth Warren's big message is "I don't take billionaires' money!" Liz has the political instincts of Hilary Clinton. Trump will crush her.

-- Clark Feels The Bern (@Clarknt67) February 8, 2020

up 10 users have voted.

Raggedy Ann on Sat, 02/08/2020 - 4:50pm

She is so fake.

I can hardly stand to listen to nor look at her. Sheesh!

We got this from 2 faced Liz.

"Would you take @MikeBloomberg 's money?" @ewarren : "SURE!"

The very same night Elizabeth Warren's big message is "I don't take billionaires' money!" Liz has the political instincts of Hilary Clinton. Trump will crush her.

-- Clark Feels The Bern (@Clarknt67) February 8, 2020

[Feb 08, 2020] Trump's Chumps by Brad Griffin

Notable quotes:
"... Speaking of Trump's donors, we wrote Trump a blank check in the 2016 election to deliver on the MAGA agenda that he had sold us. We voted for big ideas like "nationalism" and "populism." The reasons why I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 were immigration, trade, foreign policy, political correctness and campaign finance and furthering these big ideas of "nationalism" and "populism." He has been a disappointment on all fronts. ..."
"... Orthodox Jews hit the jackpot with the King of Israel and Zionists have been on an unprecedented winning streak. In just the last three months, Trump has issued an executive order to ban anti-Semitism on college campuses, assassinated Qasem Soleimani and has given Bibi Netanyahu the green light to annex large swathes of the West Bank. Trump is even considering allowing Jonathan Pollard to return to Israel. Is it any wonder then that a recent Gallup poll found that Israelis support his "America First" foreign policy over Americans by a whopping 18-point margin? ..."
"... Trump's Chumps have demonstrated in the last two election cycles how easy they are to manipulate. They can be relied on to vote and shill for the GOP no matter what it does. Donald Trump isn't under any pressure from these people to change. He knows his mark better than they know themselves. They are so desperate for acceptance and to participate in elections and to feel like they are "winning" that they will delude themselves like the rest of his cult into believing almost anything. Give a drowning man enough rope and he will hang himself. ..."
Feb 08, 2020 |

"This President has done more for African Americans in this Country than any President since Lincoln." @LouDobbs 

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020

I voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

I spent months making the case for Trump on this website. I will be the first to admit that I was wrong and that those who were skeptical of Trump in our community were right in 2016. In that election, I drank the koolaid and was one of Trump's Chumps. Unlike AmNats, I have tried to learn something from that experience. I hate getting fooled by Republicans.

In 2020, we have a far better sense of Donald Trump. The Trump administration has a record now. Donald Trump's first term is mostly history. We can now look back with the benefit of hindsight and evaluate our standing after the last three years without being drunk on Trump koolaid. No one drank the Trump koolaid in our community more deeply than the AmNats. Some of them remained drunk on the Trump koolaid even after the 2018 midterms. A handful of his most faithful cheerleaders have never given up faith in their GOD EMPEROR and succumbed to reality.

What is the reality of the Trump presidency?

1.) Those who feared that the Trump administration would lull the conservative base into a false sense of complacency and put all the normies back to sleep were right. Donald Trump has told his base that they are "winning." They wear Q shirts and "Trust The Plan" at his rallies. They are Making America Great Again simply by having a Republican in the White House. They are content to go on believing that even as illegal immigration DOUBLED in FY 2019 and became a far worse problem than it ever was under the Obama administration. As we saw after the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, they are also ready to swallow Trump's war propaganda against Iran and believe anything their dear leader tells them. It was Julian Assange and Roger Stone who went to prison under Trump, not Hillary Clinton. Normies are content to have conservatism in power and are less willing to give us an audience with a Republican in the White House.

2.) Those who feared that the Trump administration would suck all of the energy out of the Alt-Right were right . In the final two years of the Obama administration (2015 and 2016), the Alt-Right was thriving on social media and was brimming with energy. Four years later, the country has only gotten worse, but the brand has been destroyed and all the energy it had back then as an online subculture has been sucked out of the room by Trump and channeled into pushing the standard conservative policy agenda. The movement has been in disarray and has been divided and demoralized ever since Trump won the 2016 election. The last few years have been terrible. As soon as Trump won the 2016 election, conservatives shifted their attention back to policing their right flank. They are far more successful at policing their right flank when they are in power.

3.) Those who rationalized voting for Donald Trump on the basis of immigration and changing demographics were proven wrong about that too. He has refurbished the George W. Bush era fence. Since he has been president, Donald Trump has built all of three new miles of fence , which is actually less than W. and Obama. He didn't do anything about sanctuary cities or pass E-Verify. He has actually increased guest worker programs . There has been no cuts to legal immigration. Instead, Jared Kushner's legal immigration plan only proposes to reconfigure the composition of it for big business so that more high skilled workers and fewer peons are imported from the Third World. Illegal immigration has remained steady and has surged past the worst highs of the Obama years. It has recently fallen back to 2015 levels after peaking in FY 2019 . Trump has vowed to pass an amnesty to save DACA. The Muslim ban became an ineffective travel ban . The only area where he has had any real success is refugee resettlement, but overall the bottom line is that after four years of Trump there are millions of more illegal aliens and legal immigrants here. Donald Trump hasn't even deported as many illegal aliens as Obama .

4.) Those who voted for Donald Trump to "move the Overton Window" succeeded in making homosexuality more acceptable on the Right. This was already clear by the time of the Deploraball at Trump's inauguration. In the Trump era, homosexuals and drag queens would be accepted into the fold on the Right and White Nationalists would remain stigmatized. Congress has actually condemned White Nationalism at least two or three times since Donald Trump has been president. Far more White Nationalists have gone to prison under Donald Trump than Barack Obama. Trump has appointed "conservative judges" like Thomas Cullen who put RAM in prison . Some of Trump's Chumps point to Bernie Sanders vowing to "declare war" on White Nationalism after the El Paso shooting. They conveniently forget the fact that National Review and conservatives ALSO declared war on White Nationalism last August . We've been covering the government crackdown which has been going on since last August .

AmNats have been purged from Turning Point USA, banned from its events and reduced to haranguing Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk from the sidewalk. They have been banned from even attending CPAC. Those who thought that they could work within the system to reform conservatism were grossly mistaken. Steve King was condemned by Congress, stripped of his committee assignments and has been treated as a pariah within the Republican Party . Michelle Malkin was deplatformed by Mar-a-Lago and excommunicated from the synagogue of mainstream conservatism. Ann Coulter was marginalized in the Trump administration. Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon were both fired. Donald Trump hired conservatives and staffed his administration with his enemies. While I won't name any names, I will just point to all the people who actually worked within the conservative movement who have all been purged and fired in the Trump era by Conservatism, Inc. as proof that working within the system doesn't work and is a bad idea and those people would have had more job security doing almost anything else.

5.) What about Antifa and Big Tech censorship? Aren't those good reasons to vote for Donald Trump in 2020? Neither of these issues were on our radar screen BEFORE Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Both of those problems became dramatically worse as a result of electing the boogeyman as president . Far from being a victory for the Dissident Right, we became identified with Donald Trump and were caught in the backlash while he delivered Jeb Bush's agenda (the boogeyman wasn't real). Before Trump was elected president, Antifa was a tiny nuisance that protested Amren conferences and there was still a great deal of free speech on the internet. We could also hold rallies all over the South without serial harassment from these people. Now, everything from harassment and doxxing by "journalists" to chronic Antifa violence to police stand down orders to deplatforming to FBI counterextremism witch hunts has became part of the scenery of life under the Trump administration which is only interested in these new grievances insofar as they can be milked and exploited to elect more Republicans. In hindsight, it would have been better NOT to have identified ourselves with the boogeyman in 2016.

6.) Isn't having Donald Trump in the White House a huge victory for "identitarianism" and big ideas like "nationalism" and "populism." President Donald Trump's signature policy victories have been passing a huge corporate tax cut, criminal justice reform and renegotiating and rebranding NAFTA. Trump is a "populist" in the sense that he has DEEPENED neoliberalism. When you look at his policies, he has continued and further extended the status quo of the last forty years which has been tax cuts, deregulation, entitlement cuts, free trade agreements and huge increases in military spending. Trump's economic agenda has been no different from the last three Republican presidents. He has been all bark and no bite.

Donald Trump is pointedly NOT a nationalist, populist or identitarian. He carefully avoids ever mentioning the word "White." Instead, he talks incessantly about the black, Hispanic, Asian-American, LGBTQ and female unemployment rate. He holds events at the White House for blacks and Hispanics. He delivers policies for blacks and Hispanics too like criminal justice reform. The "forgotten man" couldn't be further from Donald Trump's mind when he is schmoozing with the likes of Steve Schwarzman and boasting about the stock market. Trump is a demagogue who recognized that nationalist and populist sentiments were growing in the American electorate and he has harnessed and manipulated and exploited those forces for his donors.

7.) Speaking of Trump's donors, we wrote Trump a blank check in the 2016 election to deliver on the MAGA agenda that he had sold us. We voted for big ideas like "nationalism" and "populism." The reasons why I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 were immigration, trade, foreign policy, political correctness and campaign finance and furthering these big ideas of "nationalism" and "populism." He has been a disappointment on all fronts.

Those of us who were duped into believing that Donald Trump had a team of Jews who were going to craft all of these policies which were going to stabilize America's demographics should reflect on what has actually happened during the Trump presidency. Orthodox Jews hit the jackpot with the King of Israel and Zionists have been on an unprecedented winning streak. In just the last three months, Trump has issued an executive order to ban anti-Semitism on college campuses, assassinated Qasem Soleimani and has given Bibi Netanyahu the green light to annex large swathes of the West Bank. Trump is even considering allowing Jonathan Pollard to return to Israel. Is it any wonder then that a recent Gallup poll found that Israelis support his "America First" foreign policy over Americans by a whopping 18-point margin?

Trump's Chumps haven't been deterred by any of this. They want us to write Donald Trump a second political blank check in 2020, which his Jewish donors intend to cash at the White House, only this time he won't be restrained by fear of losing his reelection . In light of everything he has delivered for them so far, what is Donald Trump going to do in his second term for his Jewish donors who fund the GOP? Do we trust Trump not to start a war with Iran?

8.) In the last two elections, Donald Trump has pulled a bait-and-switch and Trump's Chumps are gullible enough to fall for it a third time. While I was wrong about the 2016 election, I was one of the first voices in our community to wise up to what was going on. By the 2018 midterms, I saw the bait-and-switch coming and warned our readers about it.

As you might recall, the 2018 midterms were about tax cuts and the roaring economy, deregulation and putting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. It was also full of dire warnings about scary Antifa groups, Big Tech censorship and caravans from Central America to stir up the base. Trump vowed to issue an executive order to end birthright citizenship. The GOP knows what its base cares about and shamelessly manipulates its base during election season.

After the 2018 election was over, you might recall how Trump banned bump stocks and passed criminal justice reform for Van Jones and the Koch Brothers during the lame duck session of Congress. As we entered 2019, the Republican agenda changed to overthrowing the government of Venezuela to install Juan Guaidó in power and passing anti-BDS legislation. The GOP spent the whole year accusing the Democrats of anti-Semitism and promoting Jexodus. Virtually nothing else was talked about for a whole year in Congress but anti-Semitism until Trump issued his executive order on anti-Semitism on college campuses after the House and Senate had failed to reach agreement on anti-BDS legislation. The White House held its Social Media Summit in July and nothing came out of it . Antifa disappeared from the agenda and was replaced by a government crackdown on White Nationalists after El Paso. Ending birthright citizenship was forgotten about. Illegal immigration soared to its highest level in over a decade last May.

Don't forget how Trump's Chumps told us how "Chad" it was in 2018 to elect more Republicans to stop Antifa, the caravans and Big Tech censorship and how those same Republicans once elected to office preferred to fight anti-Semitism for AIPAC.

9.) In the last election, Trump's Chumps were manipulated into splintering their own movement by GOP operatives who divided and conquered and data mined the Dissident Right. When Ricky Vaughn was exposed as a Republican operative named Douglass Mackey who was scraping Paul Nehlen's Facebook in order to feed the information into the Smartcheckr database, Trump's Chumps loudly denounced Nehlen for doxxing Vaughn. Strangely, they had nothing to say when Smartcheckr which became Clearview AI sold that database and its facial recognition tool to the FBI and hundreds of other law enforcement agencies .

10.) Trump's Chumps have demonstrated in the last two election cycles how easy they are to manipulate. They can be relied on to vote and shill for the GOP no matter what it does. Donald Trump isn't under any pressure from these people to change. He knows his mark better than they know themselves. They are so desperate for acceptance and to participate in elections and to feel like they are "winning" that they will delude themselves like the rest of his cult into believing almost anything. Give a drowning man enough rope and he will hang himself.

Four years later, Trump's Chumps are still sitting by the phone waiting for the Donald to call back while he huddles with Steve Schwarzman and Bibi Netanyahu. They can't see what is front of their own eyes. By going ALL IN for Trump, they wrecked, divided and demoralized their own movement in order to advance the standard conservative policy agenda. They have been pushed off the internet and in some cases even to the dark web. In virtually every way, they are worse off than they were four years ago and have nothing to show for it. Insofar as they are getting more web traffic, it is because America has only continued to deteriorate under Trump, which would have happened anyway regardless who won in 2016.

It's not too late for Trump's Chumps to reclaim one thing that they have lost over the past four years. They can still reclaim their self respect. They don't have to participate in this charade a second time and mislead people who are less informed because they now know full well that Sheldon Adelson has bought Donald Trump and the lickspittle GOP Congress.

Note: Imagine thinking a New York City billionaire is a "populist." LMAO what were we thinking? He told us what we wanted to hear and we believed it.

Priss Factor , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:06 am GMT

Trump killed a true hero and man of God Soleimani.

Trump is scump.

MattinLA , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:11 am GMT
My understanding is that net foreign immigration has gone down in the last few years. Hardly a triumph, I agree. There are quite literally hordes of foreigners living here. Even a president who was a combination of Jesus and Superman would find it excrutiatingly difficult to eliminate immigration under these circumstances.

We face no good choices, unfortunately.

Peter Akuleyev , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:24 am GMT
All this seemed painfully obvious to me in 2016. We all know who Trump had been the first 70 years of his life – a braggart, a reprobate and a real estate developer who loved celebrities and organized crime figures. He is married to a high class escort from Slovenia who speaks English worse than a Mexican immigrant. This man is going to be the savior of Western Civilization? He has always been a fraud.
Peter Akuleyev , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:30 am GMT
@MattinLA Trump has not even made a sincere effort. Where is the effort to stop birth right citizenship? To punish employers who hire illegals? He doesn't try to build a coalition to stop immigration, he is clearly using it as political issue to keep his low info base revved up, but Trump doesn't actually want it resolved. It is the same with abortion, where both Parties are perfectly happy with the status quo because it allows each to fund raise by pointing at the threat coming from the other side. And at the end of the day it is all about find raising.
Gizmo880 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:54 am GMT
Pretty much an accurate article, but what Democratic Presidential Contender would have been a better choice? The answer is none. The modern day Democratic Party, and most everyone who identifies with it, is as morally disgusting and filthy of a political party as has ever existed on this planet. Whatever grievances you have with DT, wait until the next Democrat gets elected President. The trifecta of Diversity (aka hate and blame Whitey for everything), LGBTQ insanity, and Climate Change hysteria will be shoved down the throats of this country like never before. The Obama years were just a warm-up for the cultural destruction that will happen to this country when the next Dem gets elected.

Actually, just bring the Civil War on. Whites will either get some self-respect and stand up for themselves before it is too late, or surrender to living in a ghetto trash culture and being ruled over by Jews and their white hating 'POC' puppets. It's an easy choice in my book.

I started college in 1982 with nothing but high hopes for the future, by 1990 I knew something was terribly going wrong with this country, and now I know the destruction of this country is virtually guaranteed. No good choices, indeed, as stated above. WTF happened?

EliteCommInc. , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 6:16 am GMT
I voted for this executive. I am not ashamed of my vote. However, as someone who voted on agendas and policies, I disappointed with the results. I knew going in there wasn't much in store for me personally by supporting the candidate. it was a diversion at the time from the standard fare. The problem with the standard fare is that they offered more of what were the problems. candidate Trump, actually responded to the issues echoing the same concerns, even if in a less than civil tenor. He gave as good as he got or better. I would that had been more substantive, but it was what it was.

There are some things that need to be cleared up in your article, most prominant of which is the fairly loose use of straw men positions. Just a few:

–the president did not run as a conservative despite comments he made about some conservative aspects of his own views.

–he never ever abandoned his position on same sex relations and marriage -- both of which are neither conservative or something he campaigned on, so it was clear from the get go, he had no intention of changing that game. What he did contend is that religious people have the same protections and they should not be cowed

–the overton window that would permit any president to openly support a condition in which skin color is the primary or a primary point of view would violate the principles and foundation of the country. but regardless most of the country sees that as an anathema to the what they want to country to be -- even far right conservatives are not arguing a white nationalist perspective -- trying to weigh him down with an overton window position that was never in play, at least not as you suggest it. The president started with a definitive lean in that direction of sorts, but it probably did not take him, long to figure out -- he was surrounded by whites in control of the country -- whites are not being pushed around by non-whites, inspite of having elected a non-white executive. But still he has knee jerk responses to dismantle the nonwhites policies. He remains as prowhite as any candidate in office. his references to how he claims to have aided nonwhites as pushback against accusations of being "racist" makes perfect sense. That does not make him "anti-white".

–your bait and switch assail is a tad convoluted. Antifa big tech and tax cuts . . . big tech and antifa initially responded with the same shock and vitriol as all his opposition when he was elected -- but as time has worn big tech has moved on seeing the current exec as a nonthreat -- tax cuts proceed unimpeded. The president's position on Jews and Israel were clear from the start and remain as they were -- one can contend he is overboard, but there was no bait and switch. The president did not say I was not for Israel and pro limiting immigration, he made clear he opposed illegal immigration and was proIsrael they are not competing issues . He has simply abided by one and dragged his feet on the other, if not abandoned it all together.

There are some other issues that need addressing, not the least of which is that many of us who supported the current executive before and now, have done so calling him out on issues where he has failed or is failing and have done so from the start -- -

On that I think my self respect remains intact

Father O'Hara , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 6:24 am GMT
Harvey Weinstein posed a question to one of his conquests: Do you like my fat Jewish dick? Trumps answer is apparently," Hell yeah!"
anon_382 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 6:32 am GMT
@Priss Factor the scary part about that is blumpf and the (((deep state))) would do that to you or me too

it was sickening to see that he seemed to have regained his self confidence from the assassination of Soleimani and was blathering on at the SOTU as though everything was just fine, better than ever

Crazy Horse , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:04 am GMT
One good thing Trump did was save us from that shrieking Valkyrie warmongering Hildabeast. If she had been elected she would have taken it as a mandate to start a war with Russia and/or Iran. Personally I was never voting for Trump but against Hillary.

Now that the demoncrats no longer have someone like Hillary running it would be pretty safe to vote a third party which I plan to do this election. Screw King Cyr-ass and his Zionist claque of losers.

alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:04 am GMT
@MattinLA The US economy alone (not to mention the suckiness of the culture and people) has been bad enough going back to a year or so before the crash that net immigration, I believe, has been outward. Stupid Orange Man yelling at people "Get outta here! You're fired!" means less when they calmly retort, "I was leaving anyway".
nsa , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:28 am GMT

"net foreign immigration has gone down .."

Happened to be in the Emerald city on Wednesday and wandered through the Seattle Convention Center .there were so many hindoos milling about thought it was some kind of curry cooking convention.

But no .it was something called Microsoft Ready which is Microsoft's internal marketing, technical, and sales event bringing together over 21,000 Microsoft staff.

Had to be at least 75% dotheads with a sprinkling of turbanized Sikhs, and maybe 25% whites and asians. Asked one of the dotheads if Paul Allen would be attending this year, but just drew a quizzical stare.

Noted in the Mr. Softie handouts that these legions of imported cut rate code scribblers are referred to as "scientists". Trumpstein actually did something about the H1B visa program .he increased it claiming we need more of these half priced "brainiacs". Can't find enough discount American code scribblers, you know.

Gleimhart Mantooso , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:33 am GMT
Trump first got my attention when he made those initial comments against the illegal invasion. But later, when he said that Mexico was going to pay for the wall and talked about putting a "big beautiful door" in it, I figured he was probably full of it. When he attended AIPAC, I was done.
eah , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:40 am GMT

Congress has actually condemned White Nationalism at least two or three times since Donald Trump has been president. Far more White Nationalists have gone to prison under Donald Trump than Barack Obama. Trump has appointed "conservative judges" like Thomas Cullen who put RAM in prison.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:53 am GMT
After the last 3 years of seditious behavior of lying politicians like Schiff, Nadler and Pelosi and the traitorous schemes of deep state actors like Weismann, Vindman, Sondland and Yovanovitch I would still vote for Trump in the hopes that some of these traitors and others in the DOJ/FBI/CIA/NSA would be prosecuted. Hopefully, Durham will do his job before the election and we will see some of the coup plotters going to jail. Even if that doesn't happen, a final payback to the treacherous Democrats and their propagandists in the MSM will be another conservative judge on the Supreme Court; a change that will impact the next 30+ years. That alone will be enough for me.
Divine Right , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:57 am GMT
I agree with much of the analysis I've read here, but let me offer a somewhat different perspective. The author notes that, "Donald Trump is pointedly NOT a nationalist, populist or identitarian." This is probably true, but it's also not necessarily a bad thing at this point if you're a contrarian of this sort.

My read of the situation is that Donald Trump is almost certainly going to lose the general election, despite the confident predictions of an incoming Trumpslide by deluded supporters. In his defeat, he'll take the last vestiges of Reagan conservatism down with him. Even if he doesn't, Trump will almost certainly be the last republican president due to demographic change, so it doesn't matter either way. It would make sense in that light to let Mr. Trump run and lose on a platform of standard fare conservatism than have him be closely associated with populism and discredit that ideology on his way out.

People forget that Donald Trump was only made possible by Mitt Romney's failure in 2012. Romney ran a standard conservative, milquetoast campaign and lost; he was nevertheless called all manner of vile names by the left but responded like a gentlemen. His defeat came as quite a shock to many rank and file GOPers. Fox News had convinced them leading up to election day that they were going to win. How could they not? Romney said all the same things Ronald Regan did and he won; he talked up the military, he repeated economic platitudes and denounced socialism, he self-immolated over racial issues and claimed democrats were the real racists. So, obviously, Mitt Romney should – by all rights – win just as Reagan did. Lost on them was the demographic situation, among other things. 2012 America was not 1980 America. When Reagan won California in 1980, Los Angeles was majority white; California had two million more white Caucasians than it does now (Trump and Reagan received almost exactly the same number of white votes in California but with different results); the economy for blue collar voters was better, so there was less opposition to Reaganomics.

When Romney ran as a traditional, non-offensive republican and lost, he discredited that ideology and made a louder, more combative alternative possible. That was Donald Trump. In the minds of many republicans, conservatism could no longer win elections, so why not go all in with a contrarian radical? I expect that mentality to return sometime after Trump loses this November. Radical sentiment has been quieted as of late only because normies sheepishly think they are winning. That's probably why the establishment is freaking out: they know that won't last. You occasionally see moderate democrats asking for peace and quiet, perhaps realizing this, but it's unfortunately not a message well-received by the fringe left who control social media and these divisive late night network shows.

My prediction: on election night 2020, there will be a lot of shell-shocked republican normies. Either the despised socialist is elected or a man who stokes racial animus for personal gain – Pete Buttigieg – will become president-elect. In the minds of conservative Boomers, that wasn't supposed to happen; it's as if someone said they could see inside the event horizon of a black hole – total violation of established physical reality. Impossible or so they thought. Republican operatives are already trying to help Bernie Sanders in both Iowa and South Carolina. They foolishly think Sanders can't win, but that's not true. I've seen the polls. On election night, Donald Trump will have to deliver a heart-wrenching speech to his deluded followers conceding defeat to someone they thought couldn't win.

But the Trumpslide. Qanon said to trust the plan*. We're winning. The wall. MAGA.

All exposed as lies. The sort of lies a defeated people tell themselves. Cerebral comfort food for the weak-minded.

In the process, Donald Trump will discredit Conservatism Inc. just like Mitt Romney did in 2012. Contrarians will escape the judgment of history and live to fight another day. Most likely, there are yet more dissident stars on the right to be made. Some older ones may also return in the aftermath.

Considering circumstances, the best path forward (speaking as devil's advocate) is to critique the man without vocally supporting his defeat. Let him go down fair and square. Starting in November, there will many republicans in Trump's former base looking for an alternative. They will seek out dissidents they heard about but dismissed as blackpillers; MAGA supporters will be sidelined. Third Way Alternatives should consider laying out a well-reasoned, practical and achievable alternative in the present with the anticipation they will be called upon in the near future.

However, I wouldn't count on that considering the lack of organization and drive I see on the dissident right. Mr. Griffith's essay, for example, is filled with a strange defeated tone. It sounds as if he just wants to go back to business as usual before Trump: do his contrarian thing without being harassed. Certainly, life would be easier. But you would be no closer to any kind of victory, either. As the author notes, dissidents were tolerated before Trump. But why? I think laying the full blame on Trump is not warranted. Yes, he failed to protect his followers – that's one big reason why dissent is now being crushed. There is another reason, however: you were winning. You were only tolerated before because you were on the wrong side of history. The establishment didn't fear you because you couldn't challenge them. With Trump's surprise victory, the situation changed. With that in mind, what's the point of going back to business as usual while being on a certain path to defeat? unless you want to lose (or don't care), unless you simply want the freedom to be a contrarian without accomplishing anything. Sounds like a grift to me, pardon the rudeness.

If you want to ineffectually complain about the ruling class on Twitter while being free of harassment, then supporting the democrat is probably your best bet. They'll tolerate you because you don't threaten them. I think that's what a lot of guys on the right really want, which is why they went so heavily into Yang's UBI. It was a sort of early retirement option for them, regardless of how they justified it – get free money and cash out, let the world burn.

*Well, that and to drink bleach to ward off the wuhan coronavirus. Do NOT trust that plan.

Disclaimer: I'm speaking as a neutral third party who was never involved in any of this stuff.

Nonny Mouse , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:59 am GMT
But what's this "United" muck? How much better the world would be without that muck! (Says an Australian.)
Daniel Rich , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:07 am GMT
To distill the above into something simple: ' you' are what you vote .

Luckily you learned a lesson. Cherish it.

Mea Culpa , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:16 am GMT
Idiotic article. Yeah, Trump is a Trojan horse who is making. Israel great again. Yeah, he's a fragile, narcissistic buffoon. The only unabashed positive I can really offer is that he is in 2020, as he was in 2016, the least bad option.

The author doesn't seem to quite get numbers. God, as they say, tends to favor the side with the biggest battalions. Perhaps he should take a look at a demographic plot of the map of the United States circa 2020. The truth is that, if a hyper-competent, charismatic candidate had formed a consensus around Trump's 2016 platform in maybe 1975, the demographic trajectory of the country could have been changed. It's way, way too late for that.

If you were stupid enough to think in 2016 that demographic realities were going to be unwound, or even that there could consensus to address the issue in a serious unapologetic way, I really don't know what to tell you. You're probably too stupid to be operating heavy machinery, much less posting articles on Unz. Trump's election is Prop 187, circa 1980's. Far too little, far too late. But still the least bad option.

All there really is at this point is a rearguard action, and maybe win a skirmish here and there. In terms of the Long War, we don't have the numbers or the consensus. Grow the fuck up.

The Alarmist , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:27 am GMT
I'm often asked by people in the US who learn I've lived outside the US the better part of three decades when I might return to the US, to which I lightly reply, "When the Republic is restored. I guess that means never."

At the end of the day, who better than Trump can you get behind? I guess it is game over. The only problem is that the rest of the developed world is going in the same problemmatic direction, and places like Uruguay still have their occasionally lurches into insanity.

Biff , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:34 am GMT

2.) Those who feared that the Trump administration would suck all of the energy out of the Alt-Right were right.

This is very typical. In the waning days of G.W. Bush there was a very strong hard left anti-war movement in place, and doing well on the internet, and also had a home on some cable stations. Once Obama was elected it faded into obscurity with-in hours, and never resurrected even as Obama become more hawkish than Bush – both expanding the War on Terror, and codifying the Bush Doctrine.

Dupes all around.

Gleimhart Mantooso , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:37 am GMT
@Priss Factor Soleimani was no man of God. He was a muslim, which is the opposite.
Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:42 am GMT
Ok, let's see,

1. Trump was a con man as a businessman. How did anyone imagine he wouldn't be a con man as president?

2. Trump knows which side his bread is buttered. How long do you imagine he would've lasted if he actually did the things he promised, especially ending the Amerikastani Empire, before ending like Kennedy? Six weeks?

3. Whether the author of this article, with whom I sympathise, changes any minds with it is irrelevant. Trump is the Wall Street/military industrial complex/zionist candidate for re election, and his return to power is being arranged even as I write this. The shambolic Daymockratic Party impeachment circus and the bad jokes posing as candidates in their primaries have one purpose alone: to ensure a second term for Donald Trump. What any normal person votes for is irrelevant.

Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:54 am GMT
A common trope on the right is that the left gets what it wants. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just witness the shenanigans the DNC is pulling in the current primaries. When Pelosi theatrically ripped up Trump's speech in the SOTU, she shortly thereafter voted to support the efforts to destabilise Venezuela and support the CIA-handpicked Juan Guaido.

Pro-Israel PACs have flooded the primaries attacking Bernie. CIA puppet Pete Buttigieg is against medicare for all. Democrats do not get what they want. The only thing they get is woke rhetoric but the neoliberal economic system and the imperialist foreign policy remains the same.

Jimmy Dore's reference to the "uniparty" is apt here. So while Mr Griffin's catalogue of Trump's various betrayals is useful, keep in mind that the disease is bipartisan. The US is in many ways a sham democracy where the actors perform kabuki theater. You will never get an honest say on the core principles of the system. Regardless if you're coming from the right or the left. And the media is in on the charade.

freedom-cat , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:00 am GMT
Tricky Trump.

He is so duplicitous it's mind boggling. Nancy Pelosi is right when she calls him a liar, although she's no angel herself.

The Jewish Power structure is in total control. Trump WILL BE the final nail in USA coffin, because he is dictating for Israel, now. Israel will make even bigger moves after he is re-elected, for sure. No doubt to further the Yinon plan along.

I voted for him too; but will not be voting at all this year. I refuse to play into their twisted game.

They purposely caused all this Chaos to keep people distracted while Big Tech companies consolidate their power over the internet and the Military Industrial Complex plans the next false flag to kick off the next invasion (Iran & Syria).

My guess is that Jewish Democrats like Schiff, Nader, and proxy Nancy have all been part of this horrible PsyOp that has been going down the last 3 years.

It doesn't matter which "side" you are on anymore because there is really only ONE SIDE.

Nodwink , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:06 am GMT
I wouldn't feel bad about being a "Trump Chump" – there are millions of you, after all.

As someone who would be in the Bernie/Tulsi camp if I lived in the USA (but would also be furiously opposed to being swamped by Somalis), here's a little advice, free of charge:

You will never get anywhere being attached to a Party of Capital. They will always want to bring cheap labour into your country, and they don't care what those immigrants do to your family. Money rules. Forget the GOP, and start your own party.

NPleeze , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:51 am GMT

Imagine thinking a New York City billionaire is a "populist." LMAO what were we thinking? He told us what we wanted to hear and we believed it.

Not just a NY billionaire, but one who profited from (a) mega-banks, and (b) the ZioNazi media.

His first two reality TV stunts were WWE, and then The Apprentice. The third is his crown achievement.

You call them Trump's Chumps, I've called them TrumpTARDs, because they are fucking useless, mindlessly idiotic fools/rednecks/inbred losers.

Fact is the country doesn't stand a chance, the "resistance" is more pathetic than the globlalists. If the last three years has taught the world anything, it's not just how mindlessly stupid TrumpTARDs are, but how uncivil, rude, aggressive, and downright despicable.

Nobody has harmed the conservative cause more than the Orange Satan.

All, of course, by design. What still gets me is that conservatives are to utterly stupid to fall for it. At least the Liberals caught on that Obama was a fake early on – the TrumpTARDs just can't get enough of sucking that Orange ZioNazi's dick.

sally , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:51 am GMT ; < Coronavirus & Global Collapse =<pipeline

this who thing looks related to me.. .. the Cornoavirus, the pipeline, the bombings in Syria, the libya-turkey GNA thing, the recent airliner crash in Turkey, I feel something is surfacing

Trump proved that the nation state system is disastrous for those humans governed by it. The nation state system is great for those few who are the puppet governors of the few that rule the world.

The problem Mr. Griffin is that the article does not recognize that USA citizens who not part of the electoral college cannot vote for either the President or the Vice President. Amendment 12 read it.

We should Trumpet Trump because if we don't we might be next..

NPleeze , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:54 am GMT

There are quite literally hordes of foreigners living here.

Fact is none of the fake conservatives, from the Orange Satan to the Governor of Texas, is against illegal immigration. It would be easy enough to prosecute employers who hire illegals, but neither the Orange Satan, nor any State, be it Wyoming or Texas, so-called "Red" (Communist) states, does anything about it.

But yet the idiot TrumpTARDs wail on and on about how the Orange Satan is their savior and how Republicans are better than Democrats.

It's amazing how unbelievably, astoundingly stupid Americans are.

George Lincoln , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:01 am GMT
You are either stupid or lying, I believe lying. I say this because in each of your substantive attacks, you blatantly misstate facts, even obvious ones.

Personally I am honestly and eyes open clinging to the hope that Trump is sincerely doing his best for us, because the alternative is civil war, and if it comes to that, it will come to that. Trump is the last possible peaceful salvation for America.

Here are your lies, which tell me you are not genuine:
> He has refurbished the George W. Bush era fence. Since he has been president, Donald Trump has built all of three new miles of fence,

A blatant and obvious lie to anyone who is tracking the wall progress – "refurbished" means replaced completely ineffective fence, including vehicle barriers which you can literally walk around, with 18-30ft high steel fence. You may jerk off to the technicality that it isn't "new", but we all see through you. Over 100 miles so far with 350 more planned, and he has done it with congress kicking and screaming. He even diverted defense spending for this purpose, against all of Washington's whining and complaining. These are the actions of someone who is sincere.

>there have been no cuts to legal immigration

Bull shit. Blatant lie. 2017 saw a 10% decrease in net migration from 1046 million to 930 million. 2018 down another 25% to 700 million, and 2019 15% to 600 million. That's God damn good work for a man with an entire bureaucracy and 2 parties fighting him. He didn't even get a law to sign and he still cut legal immigration by almost HALF. I can hardly believe it myself it's too good to be true. Why lie?

>Donald Trump hasn't even deported as many illegal aliens as Obama.

You know as well as I do that Obama changed the reporting of deportations to include 'voluntary returns'. Obama deported virtually no one from the interior. Regardless, more importantly, we both know how aggressively both parties and the bureaucracy have fought to prevent Trump from taking action, and yet against all odds he secured agreements with Honduras El Salvador and Guatemala to deport "Asylum seekers" there, making an end run around the legal labyrinth that was keeping them here. That is HUGE and you completely omit it.

You also omitted –

Starting a trade war with China
Supporting the break up of the EU
Demanding funds from allies under our umbrella
Not starting a war in Syria or Iran, both of which they desperately tried to force him into

But most of all, you ignored the fact that the entire intelligence apparatus, the entire media, the entire establishment has sacrificed their credibility in the attack on Trump.

That is the main reason I still have hope. Your lies bald face lies are why I do not believe you are sincere.

gotmituns , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:12 am GMT
I love it that the jew and the fag won in Iowa. Of course, I don't love that Trump will probably win in Nov. but the options to him are dismal to say the least. No matter what, once he's out of office the days of this "republic"/empire are surely numbered.
Tom Welsh , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:28 am GMT
I disagree that voting for Mr Trump was a mistake. American elections are always a choice of evils, but in this case it was more a choice between rapid extinction of our species and run-of-the-mill evil, killing only the odd million people now and then.

I personally take this cartoon very seriously indeed:

If Hillary Clinton had become President, I believe she would have found a way to start a war with Russia. And that would have resulted in the death of all human beings, plus many other species.

Mr Trump is execrable, it is true. But he has one enormous virtue: for whatever reason, he is extremely open and candid. Whereas US presidents going back to the 19th century did frightful things while smiling genially and pretending to be kind, Mr Trump openly admits how frightful he and his deeds are.

That is hastening the demise of the US empire, which is in the interests of all human beings.

Tom Welsh , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:31 am GMT
@MattinLA There are certainly no easy choices. As a foreigner I am hardly in a position to criticize, let alone to encourage US citizens. But perhaps I could remind you of an early President during whose 8 years in power not a single American or foreigner was killed by the US government?

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure".

– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith (13 November 1787), quoted in Padover's Jefferson On Democracy

anonymous [245] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:36 am GMT
@MattinLA IOW, you're going to vote again? For Mr. Trump?

"In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won't fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics."

Linh Dinh, "Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President," June 12, 2016, @ The Unz Review.

All the system needs is for you to pick Red or Blue, accepting the results until the next Most Important Election Ever.

Esoteric Schuonian , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:16 am GMT
As a first time voter in 2016, Trump's relative inaction on all that he promised has made me more aware than ever of the rot that has set in our political system. I was skeptical that political change could be accomplished prior to 2016 but optimistic. Now I cannot be anymore pessimistic about the future.
anonymous [245] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:35 am GMT
@Chet Roman " another conservative judge on the Supreme Court; a change that will impact the next 30+ years. That alone will be enough for me."

Yeah, Right.

Like the impact of all the Republican appointees who issued the ruling in Roe v Wade?

Like the impact of Mr. Kennedy, a Republican choice who helped rewrite the legal definition of marriage?

Like the impact of Mr. Roberts, a Republican choice who nailed down Big Sickness for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries?

What impact do you honestly expect from Mr. Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump's choice who earned his first robe by helping President Cheney with the Patriot Act?

Like the "federal" elections held every November in even-numbered years and the 5-4 decrees of the Court, the partisan judicial nominations and nailbiting confirmation hearings are another part of the RedBlue puppet show that keeps people like Chet Roman voting in the next Most Important Election Ever.

WorkingClass , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:36 am GMT
Your disappointment is the inverse of your expectations. Perhaps you should curb your enthusiasm? So what's next? Join the Communists? Boycott the system? That will teach them! Trump is the best looking horse in the glue factory. Do you see a candidate you like better?

Speak for yourself chump.

Sunshine State , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:36 am GMT
As Ronald Reagan once noted, the public has once again come to realize there is not much difference between the Party's.
Craig Nelsen , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:49 am GMT
The effort to remove Trump from office began before he was even sworn in. In terms of intensity the effort has been unlike anything any of us have ever seen. And that effort has come relentlessly, from all sides. The media, the late night comics, the intelligence services, the kritarchy, the bureaucracy they have been united in thwarting Trump's every move, united in flogging an entirely bogus Russian collusion investigation from his first day in office. And they IMPEACHED the man over nonsense, for crying out loud.

The most powerful elements in this country have thrown, and continue to throw, everything they've got at him. They have brought this country to the brink of a cataclysm for their hatred of Donald Trump and their overriding desire to see him removed from power and his voters punished. Their hatred alone is reason enough to continue to support Trump.

It was a miracle Donald Trump won the presidency. It is a miracle he is still in office. And a miracle is the only thing that can save us.

Do you not remember how utterly hopeless things seemed in 2015? How completely we'd been beaten? There was zero chance the immigration tide could be stopped, for one thing. Do you not realize that it is a miracle that things are slightly less hopeless now? A miracle that, in 2020, we aren't beaten quite so completely? That, by some miracle, the chance of achieving an immigration time-out within the next four years is now greater than zero?

Any Trump supporter who turns on Trump because he disapproves of the job Trump has done as president just shows his own fractiousness, because, in truth, Trump has not yet had a chance to be president. And politically, turning on Trump is particularly boneheaded given there is absolutely no alternative and we are out of miracles.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:53 am GMT
@Divine Right The GOP donors would never allow a fully-fledged White populist candidate to slip through the net, Trump was never such a thing which is why he managed to win the primaries.

By the time the boomers die off, it will be too late and even a White Rights candidate would never won as the demographics will have shifted so much, and this is assuming Whites start skewing towards GOP on the same way Blacks skew towards Democrats. In reality the younger Whites still have the virus of individuality in their minds, thinking that politics is about high-minded ideas instead of group interests.

BuelahMan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:59 am GMT
Poor Brad. I spent all that same time trying desperately to show you how far off you were in the support of an obvious jew water carrier. Twitter (until they dumped me) and then even signing up for your blog.

I left comment after comment with valuable information, obvious and thorough.

You ignored it all, even in the face of its blatant OBVIOUSNESS. You were a Drumpfter and with Trump saying just the right thing, you could probably go back.

It is why I left your site and won't go back. You spent years being totally WRONG.

Reading this is like reading the words of a guilty man who was too stupid to see what was truly right in front of your face. Or one that knew all along but had a different agenda.

Either way, you have zero credibility or discernment when it comes to politics, so why don't you just keep it to yourself.

Me, a dumb ole redneck, called it in Aug 2015 and didn't stop trying to warn the world of this OBVIOUSNESS. You know it and I know it.

John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm GMT
Some strong points here, not all of them, but a number.

"He has been a disappointment on all fronts."

No statement could be more accurate.

Trump is a failure, but one with a very loud mouth and a rather twisted psychology that magically converts all failures into successes. Nothing factual ever fazes him.

And the ability to just keep going is a great asset in politics, even if it means you keep going to do destructive things. You actions communicate strength and purpose and determination to ordinary people.

After all, much of the ordinary public literally has no idea what is going on, abroad or at home, so poorly informed are they by the mainline press and the political establishment.

He does a daily war dance of self-praise, finding new phrases to whoop and chant, describing his almost complete failure in the opposite terms.

But because he is doing overall the power establishment's work – against China, against Iran, against Russia, for Israel, and in Latin America – they not only do not oppose him, they support him.

He does his work rudely and utterly without grace.

He is a man who wears his ignorance as though it were a finely-tailored suit.

But the power establishment is okay with the grotesque style, so long as they get the results they want. And they do.

The desired results are mainly negative, not positive, achievements.

But that is the essence of imperial America today, to do harm to others in order to improve its own relative standing. It does almost nothing positive anymore anywhere. It threatens friends and foes alike. It destroys international organizations and order. It supports the creation of chaos, as in Syria or Libya or Yemen.

The contrast of America's now-constant threats and hostilities with China's great Belt and Rail Initiative couldn't be starker. Or with Putin's pragmatic "live and let live" philosophy. We see destruction versus creation. Coercion versus cooperation. Ignorance versus information. Darkness versus light.

So, Trump, with all of grotesqueries and lies, provides almost the perfect President.

Sorry, America, but that is a very great, if ugly, truth.

BuelahMan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh The lesser of two evils is a sad, twisted and failed idea. Learn a new one.
BuelahMan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:03 pm GMT
@George Lincoln Let's not forget that he is totally and completely surrounded and controlled by Chabad jews.

Good thing, right?

That his every move is something for jews?

That's GOOD, right?

I despise Drumpfters.

Iraq Veteran , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:08 pm GMT
@Priss Factor You are so right!
geokat62 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:14 pm GMT

They wear Q shirts

Only until they start wearing JQ shirts will there be hope.

onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:20 pm GMT
"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy .Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies." Carroll Quigley

And so it goes least until enough people start to understand/believe that the government is their enemy, never their friend , and that a completely unlimited government [i.e. what we currently endure], regardless of who is president, will continue to take more of their money and freedom away on a daily basis because:

"Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be "reformed"or "improved",simply because of their innate criminal nature." onebornfree

Regards, onebornfree

Robert Dolan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:22 pm GMT
Sadly, it doesn't matter who we vote for as the jewing will continue unabated.

Proof of this is to always ask, "Who benefits?"

And the answer is ALWAYS the jews, and the answer is NEVER white people.

Once you understand what the jews want, what their interests are, and you see that everything that happens seems to be good for the jews, you realize that this awful system is anti-white to the core and it's been engineered by the nose for the nose. There is no other way to explain the fact that the interests of white people are NEVER honored. In fact, the interests of white people are not even given a passing thought.

It's really quite remarkable. And totally insane.

Rusty nail , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:23 pm GMT
I knew it was going south in a hurry when he moved into the white house and turned it into something resembling a synagogue.

As an outsider, watching media reporting on American politics, I find myself wondering if I'm not actually viewing Israeli political news. How do Americans not notice this?

zard , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:24 pm GMT
Trump's supposed conflict with congress to get funding for the border wall is just a kosher psyop designed to give off the illusion that he is fighting to uphold his campaign promises, when in reality he's just carrying out the jews white genocidal program. He's no different than Obama. Black or white, they take orders from the same political class: the Jews who control the money, the policies, and the media.

But what's most sickening about all this is that the same congress that unanimously votes to give untold billions to Israel in foreign military aid is now telling the American people that there is just not enough money to fund a border wall ! Israel first, America last, that's how congress works.

Why don't the Jews want a strong US border wall built ? Because the JEWS want to genocide White Christian Americans through mass illegal immigration. Why ? Because non-white third world people have lower-iq's and are easier for the Jews to control and make slaves out of.
( Destabilizing society for political gains- Offering stupid people free everything will always get votes, and they know this. )

Funding for the US border wall could be solved overnight by removing Jewish control over the monetary system and cancelling all foreign aid to Israel, but don't except that to happen anytime soon. Nothing has changed since Trump has become president and nothing will. Illegal immigration, poverty, unemployment and wars will accelerate under Trump because those are the natural consequences of following the orders of America hating Jews. Trump isn't playing some 4d chess strategy and all those who still say this are blind, deaf and dumb. The Jews are still in full control of the Federal Reserve and by extension the media, government, courts, law enforcement, education etc. Stop living in a fantasy land and face the facts.

As it was with Bush,Clinton and Obama, the United States is still a vassal state of Israel and controlled by the Jews. We cannot vote ourselves out of this situation. Democracy means Jewish control that breaks down to which political candidate gets the most jewish money and jewish media coverage. The Jews pick our presidents, it doesn't matter if a republican or democrat gets elected, each party is only concerned with advancing the Jewish world government agenda.

Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:57 pm GMT
@Priss Factor Regarding Gen. Soleimani, a true martyr, you should have seen how insultingly the moronic ABC World News anchor David Muir brought up the name of Gen. Soleimani at last night's DNC debate. And none of the candidates bothered to correct Muir.
Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:59 pm GMT
@Gleimhart Mantooso Keep wallowing in hate and ignorance. Muslims are the only people outside of Christians who revere Jesus, albeit not as god jr. but as as a mighty prophet.
Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:01 pm GMT
@Peter Akuleyev The man is lout!
I'm Not Laughing , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:09 pm GMT
For sure, Trump has been less than impressive on all fronts. At least he hasn't committed the US to an all-out war with Iran, but I strongly suspect he will do so after he is re-elected.

As far as actual unemployment, January 2020 remains at a stable 21% and all the bs about 3.5% is the usual smoke-and-mirrors:

I think the establishment is once again giving the American voter no real alternatives (but isn't that the point?). Do you want Trump or a Jewish communist, Trump or Indiana's little Peewee Buttfudge? Whatever. The final result will always be "X" is president in a White House filled with zionists. Everything American crumbles while the Israelis continue the dance they started on 9/11.

Anonymous [346] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:09 pm GMT
Machiavelli wrote that the best people to take power are not the best people to run the government. The implication is precisely that: use the chumps and then discard them.

Despite all the technology, some things haven't changed.

Sam J. , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:19 pm GMT
@Divine Right " My read of the situation is that Donald Trump is almost certainly going to lose the general election, despite the confident predictions of an incoming Trumpslide by deluded supporters. In his defeat, he'll take the last vestiges of Reagan conservatism down with him "

Your comment is very interesting. While I didn't like it emotionally. Intellectually it was excellent.

I have all of the same complaints as Brad Griffin. I have to admit my perfidy as I have at times believed in Q and other times I haven't. Right now I'm at the, we'll see, stage as I have no idea what is going to happen and if he so wished Trump could fall on the deep State like a bear trap. If he is going to do this then the delay til he can get in a more honest set of judges and push out some the worst of the actors makes sense. Even his wishy washy staffing the place to the gills with Jews and inconsistent policies. He has several times stated positions and done things that have put his enemies in very awkward positions that are difficult to weasel out of. He could still take down portions of the deep State. We'll have to see but I admit it doesn't look good.

Former CIA head William Casey once said, and it is verified, something like that when no one knows what the truth is the CIA had done it's job. I think we are at that stage now.

If Trump does not reign in the deep State, meaning the Jews for all practical purposes, or even if he loses the election I suspect strongly that a vast tsunami of Whites will instantly lose faith in government. I think it likely that if Trump loses it will be a psychic shock.

If Trump has no plan to take on the deep State and Q is just a deep State actor to delay the day of reckoning I hope Trump does lose.

There's a path, a very scary one, that may be what Q is all about if he is a deep State actor. Computer power has continued to increase combined with neural nets computing. The time line for a $1,000 computer chip with the computing power of a human is 2025. It may be off by a little but it will happen. If when this happens and the Jews are still in control they could, combined with 5G, build what ever robot army they wished for around 10 or 20 thousand dollars a piece and murder us all. Elon Musk global network in space would also allow them global dominance. I've always been suspicious of Elon being a Jew while supporting what he is doing as being good for the country. When he immigrated to Canada from South Africa he first had a job at a bank supposedly with one of this relatives. He also has been extremely capable in raising vast sums of capital. Jews are much more able to do this due to nepotism. He denies being a Jew.

Sam J. , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:32 pm GMT
@NPleeze " Nobody has harmed the conservative cause more than the Orange Satan ."

Nobody has harmed the FAKE JEW conservative cause more than the Orange Satan.

Fixed it for you.

Johnny Walker Read , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:45 pm GMT
Trump is very much a chump and a liar, as pretty much every president has been from the beginning. This will include supposed great presidents like Lincoln, Wilson, Teddy and FD Roosevelt, Reagan, Obama, and yes, even the vaunted JFK.

The problem is and always has been "Murkans" find themselves a political party and basically sign up for life. They never seem to learn no matter who is put into office, the slow slide to a full blown Marxist type Oligarchy marches on. I cannot fathom why people go to political rallies and wave and cheer for known liars and charlatans, hanging on their every promise as if it came from God himself.

Nothing is ever going to change in this country until the corporate money is eliminated from politics, until lobbying for political favors is made illegal, until BOTH corrupt political parties currently running America are shown the ash heap of history, AND until people realize there is more politics than marking a ballot.

This country will only be made well when the citizens start attending city, county, and state government meetings and demand the constitution be upheld. Without our involvement at every level of government, it is easy for the shysters and crooks to grow fat through graft and corruption.

The choice is ours and ours alone, but if history is any indicator of what will be, I say we be in deep shit.

KenH , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:47 pm GMT
@George Lincoln

Bull shit. Blatant lie. 2017 saw a 10% decrease in net migration from 1046 million to 930 million. 2018 down another 25% to 700 million, and 2019 15% to 600 million. That's God damn good work for a man with an entire bureaucracy and 2 parties fighting him

Where's the link for this claim? At the 2019 SOTU Trump bragged that immigrants would be coming to the USA in "the largest numbers ever" under his administration.

Candidate Trump vowed to end H1B visas but president Trump now supports expanding the program. Candidate Trump vowed to deport Dreamers and all other illegal aliens. Candidate Trump says he'll work with Congress to allow Dreamers to stay in the U.S. and avoid deportation.

But most of all, you ignored the fact that the entire intelligence apparatus, the entire media, the entire establishment has sacrificed their credibility in the attack on Trump.

Outside of a few of exceptions like Comey, Strzok and McCabe there's been almost no consequences for any crazy leftists or deep state operatives for attacking Trump. At most, some (((MSM))) talking heads have suffered decreased viewership, but that hasn't slowed them down one iota while the FBI has viciously retaliated against high profile Trump supporters like Mike Flynn and Roger Stone.

I thought Trump was going to go after Hillary if elected and "lock her up?" That was just one of his many lies and dog whistles.

Johnny Walker Read , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm GMT
More on "Pete the Cheat" Buttigieg, not the harmless little rump ranger mayor you have been led to believe he is.
Truth3 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:13 pm GMT
Yes, Trump is an idiot I know well. I spent a day with him.

The real problem has been, when we have a candidate that would be good for America, the Jews and the Jewish controlled media destroy him, and the people do not react appropriately.

Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader all offered their talents for the job. See what happened?

Trump is not the problem. He's the symptom.

Go after the root.

Gerhard Menuhin understood this well enough he named his book accordingly.

Because life is relatively short, the people adapt a "go along to get along" mentality. They fear losing their rice bowl (job) so they act like coolies (slaves).

People need to change the essential failing thinking only of themselves.

Better to be a martyr once than a slave 10,000 times.

fool's paradise , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:17 pm GMT
Since both parties are hopelessly corrupt enemies of the people, I vote third party if I can, so I didn't vote for Trump but I was glad he beat Hillary, because Hillary was a known evil, and Trump? I liked his campaign promises, to make friends with Russia, to get out of NATO, to stop the "stupid" Mideast wars, to echo Lindbergh by his motto "America First", which promised a kind of paleo-conservative "isolationism", i.e., stay home, mind our own business, stop policing the world with regime-change wars. I wrote off his Border Fence as unworkable. And he started off well. He called most TV news Fake News. He said Media was "the enemy of the people". Wow! What other politician told such a truth? He met with Putin in Helsinki and believed Putin's word over his own "Intelligence", and Wow!, again. But it didn't last. His enemies were after him (Russia! Russia! Russia!) from Day One, and after the Putin meeting FBI and CIA and Media all called him a TRAITOR! Media bad-mouthed him 24/7 for months, and I believe Trump finally caved, joined our enemies in the Swamp he had promised to drain, because he didn't have the balls to stand up to the constant, unrelenting pressure on him. His first choices for Secty of State,of Defense, were okay, but then he hired the awful Bolton and then the noxious Pompeo, he surrounded himself with the loyal-to-Israel Neocons, and now Netanyahu is our President, not Trump.

So he has become just another enemy of the people. If Bernie is screwed out of the Dem nomination, as he was last time, I hope he starts a Third Party, with Ron Paul as his Vice, and Tulsi Gabbard as Secty of State.

remington , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:24 pm GMT
inclined to agree. perhaps q-anon is part of this charade?
ken , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:29 pm GMT
@Gizmo880 Add to that, who would champion any of these changes in either chamber of Congress? This article perfectly reflects the adolescent whining that permeates the unz site that everything is not going exactly as I want.
bjondo , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:39 pm GMT


Really No Shit , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:40 pm GMT
You deserve to be drunk on the junk offered by the Drumpf a narcissistic hedonist from Manhattan in real estate business (where 9 out of 10 largest real estate enterprises are owned by Jews), who was desperate at times to hold on to that thing which is most dear to him, the title of unmitigated billionaire, and which could not be hold on to without the blessings of the Central Park "rabbis" and one who had married non-native white women of dubious origin (possibly Jewish), at least 2 out of 3 times and a man who wasn't known for his christian (assuming he is one) piety or charity was suddenly the savior of the White nationalists.

You're right about one thing: give a drowning (White nationalist) man enough rope and he will hang himself!

Glock45 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:49 pm GMT
@nsa Trumpstein actually did something about the H1B visa program .he increased it claiming we need more of these half priced "brainiacs". Can't find enough discount American code scribblers, you know.


BTW, back in the mid 00s when I had certifications in C# programming and SQL, my phone was literally ringing off the hook with job offers and I never went more than 1 week without a contract job. In the following years working for a large company in the industry, I gained even more experience in other things in IT that interested me such as machine learning, parallel programming and cloud computing.

When that company went south in 2016 I lost my job. Furiously searching for a job, it took NINE months before I landed another. When I talked with all the local head-hunting contractor firms and IT placement companies, they all told me the same story: all the local companies are pretty much only hiring H1B's now in their IT departments.

Absolutely disgusting.

That along with many other things that I've seen since 2016 have convinced me that my children have no future here in this shithole country.

MLK , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:51 pm GMT

In the final two years of the Obama administration (2015 and 2016), the Alt-Right was thriving on social media and was brimming with energy.

Yes, in service to Hillary and the Democrats. Not all who called themselves alt-right, but beyond question it was a "movement" that was and still is wholly compromised. I know it's hard for you to hear, and despite whatever else he peddled, Freud was on to something when it came to Projection.

It doesn't surprise me that this author has memory-holed his movement's high water mark -- Hillary's alt-right speech. Throughout the 2016 campaign, while little went Hillary's way, she consistently drew royal straight flushes, with David Duke, Richard Spencer and various other agents-provocateur, going on CNN and MSNBC declaring their support for Trump.

Here's your buddy Richard Spencer days after Trump won the election:

A word to the wise, anyone who didn't know to whom this character belongs, and long before this moment, should assiduously avoid the word 'chump.'

I won't paint with a broad brush. To the extent that anyone cares, it was and remains rather easy to figure out which in the so-called alt-right can't be trusted. Whether because the FBI or someone else has them by the short-hairs, or they're Leninist/Stalinist filth doing their part for the cause.

That includes those writing articles like this, lamenting that Trump betrayed you after you voted for him by being a great president for African Americans too.

Timing is rarely coincidental. Thus this jibber jabber comes just after Trump defeated the latest coup attempt and even Democrat allied-media is finally forced to begin to concede that he'll win reelection.

Trump will do so with historic support from blacks and Hispanics (for a Republican). Which is why Democrats and their allied-media are again feverishly pushing their "white nationalist" button again.

Glock45 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm GMT
Meh, c'mon guys.

Any day now the "GOD EMPEROR (!!!)" is going to "UNLEASH THE STORM!!!"

Oh, yeah, sure some Jews get beat up in midtown Manhattan and Trump swings into action quicker than whale shit thru an ice floe passing EOs that end up practically paving the way to make it illegal to criticize Jews

Um, OK he sure was quick and decisive for them.

But surely he will get around to doing something for the goys too!!!

Just wait and "trust the plan!"

Ragno , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm GMT

The reasons why I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 were immigration, trade, foreign policy, political correctness and campaign finance and furthering these big ideas of "nationalism" and "populism."

Well then you are a chump. The only tactical reason to have voted for Trump was to deny Hillary Clinton executive power . That was the sole reason any conservative or rightist had to participate in Our National Sham. To believe that he was going to reintroduce "nigger" to the national lexicon by 2018 was head-in-the-clouds foolishness.

Thwarting Soros/Hillary remains his major contribution* to American politics: under Trump, the masks on the other side have all come off. There is no longer any subterfuge about the Unholy Trinity of the Far Left, meaning the Democratic Party, the mainstream media and the hostage institutions such as academia and local/state government. The rabid doubling-down of the anti-white Deep State – unthinkable with a nabob like McConnell or Romney in the Oval Office – is another plus to the Trump Administration: what the talking heads all nervously refer to as the "deep divisions" in our country is one of the few signs of mental health and vitality America has experienced in a half-century's worth of decline.

Nobody was going to reverse that half-century in three or four years – it was a physical impossibility; just as no one was going to pry off Team Shmuel's death-grip without at least pretending not to. Ten years would be insufficient for such tasks. But it doesn't mean you petulantly vow to starve yourself because half a loaf is an insult.

*= it's rarely brought up but his quietly appointing centrist/conservative judges to the bench, boring as it may seem to tiki-torch revolutionaries, still represents an important step in the right direction and is probably his second major contribution to the struggle,

Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm GMT
@Father O'Hara Perfect!
MikeatMikedotMike , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT
@BuelahMan For example?
Desert Fox , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:05 pm GMT
Trump is the reincarnation of the Roman emperor Caligula and the present government of the ZUS is a reincarnation of the later days of the Roman empire, in every way!
MikeatMikedotMike , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:06 pm GMT
@I'm Not Laughing Pool's closed.
Anonymous [137] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:07 pm GMT
Great article, and the most depressing one I've read in a long time.
KA , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:17 pm GMT
@MattinLA America has faced problem like this in the past It will solve the problem in similar or identical terms . Thats what it does It provides a ruse . Now the ruse is not covering the corners of the lying lips even before next set of problems emerge straight from the solution.
Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:18 pm GMT
I agree with the Jew in hating Christ.

I am gainfully employed by the FBI.

I eat ranch dressing on every meal.


Niebelheim , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:19 pm GMT
Trump isn't a god and there's so much to criticize about his track record, all true. But at minimum, Trump did delay the socialist takeover of the federal judiciary. As disgusting as his kowtowing has been of the neocons that control the Deep State, the invasion of Iran has still yet to materialize. How would a Hillary presidency have fared with Scalia's replacement and a no-fly zone over Syria? Good bye First and Second Amendment. The alternative to Trump is grim.
KA , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:20 pm GMT
@Sam J. FAKE JEW conservative

He has not harmed the FAKE He has not harmed the JEW

He might have harmed some conservatives But they are not neoconservatives.

Trinity , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:21 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh As bad as Trumpstein is, and make no mistake, the cuckold for Coco-Zionists is bad, Clinton and company would have been even worse. In 2020 we have anti-White demsheviks like Butt-Plug, the first openly homosexual candidate for Prez, Warren, Biden and flat out commie Jew, Sanders, and Jew Bloomberg. I guess the Jew is ready to come out of the shadows and openly run for Prez just like homosexual Butt-Plug. Of course it could be said that we have a Jew as POTUS right now, President Baby Nut&Yahoo and his VP Jared Kushner.

The biggest thing Trumpstein has done as Prez is expose how fake the Jew media is, but lets not kid ourselves, with the exception of Tucker Carlson ( even Tucker doesn't tell the total truth and he won't touch the JQ) even the neocons at FOX and OAN don't tell the complete truth, and sometimes they do more harm by telling 90% truth and 10% lies than commie anti-White networks like CNN, MSNBC and all the rest.

Trumpstein is a native New Yorker, what did you really expect?? The guy has been around criminal Jews all his life, he has Jew lawyers, his daughter has converted to Judaism and she married an orthodox Jew. As bad as our past Presidents were, some claim LBJ, FDR, and even Eisenhower might have been Jews or had Jewish blood flowing through their shabbos goy veins, Trump might be the biggest cuckold yet when it comes to the biggest shabbos goy Prez of all time.


Do you think Hitler would have stood by and allowed non-Germans or traitorous Germans to flood Germany with Turks or Pakis and then went out and told throngs of people how he is keeping Germany first? Come on, man. Trump is better than the alternative, BUT the new boss isn't much different than the old boss. Just another cuckold influenced by his Jewish masters and Jewish money.

WJ , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Priss Factor It's amusing to read the rabid Trump haters on the right. They have a better option?

Some of the Trump haters say we should just let the whole thing burn down and that Trump is controlled opposition delaying the inevitable and preferred civil war. These are people that won't give up their Netflix, won't give up whatever outlet Game of Thrones is on and won't even put down their IPhone. It's absurd.

It's always about horrible vs less horrible.

Charles Pewitt , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm GMT
Trump is a fat-assed, baby boomer politician whore for the evil and immoral globalizer treasonites in the JEW/WASP ruling class of the American Empire.

Trump has been screaming like a three dollar whore politician about flooding the USA with mass legal immigration "in the largest numbers ever."

Trump has refused to deport the upwards of 30 million illegal alien invaders in the USA.

Trump has kept the American Empire garrisons and bases forward deployed and stuck in muck hole regions of the globe.

Trump has put the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the American Empire.

Trump is a bought and paid for three dollar whore politician for Jew billionaires Shelly Adelson and Paul Singer and Bernie Marcus and other billionaire bastards.

Trump has kept his fat mouth shut about the Fed-created and monetary policy induced asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate. In 2016, fat ass baby boomer bastard Trumpy was calling these same damn asset bubbles nothing but "fat, ugly bubbles." In 2016 Trump said "we are in a big, fat, ugly bubble" and the asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate are only bigger and uglier and fatter now.

I hereby challenge baby boomer fat ass Trumpy -- and Teddy Cruz, Marco Rubio, Dan Crenshaw, Tom Cotton and any other GOP puke who wants to show up -- to a debate on mass legal immigration and mass illegal immigration, tax policy, trade policy, foreign policy, monetary policy, American national identity, multicultural mayhem, White Genocide and any other damn thing.

Vote for CHARLES PEWITT as a Write-In candidate for president in New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina and every other state presidential primary.

Charles Pewitt Immigration Pledge:





Ban The Bat Soup Fever People Now!

The Charles Pewitt write-in campaign for president of the USA has called for the immediate implementation of a BAT SOUP FEVER BAN which will quarantine the rest of the world, including Canada and Mexico. All foreigners currently occupying US territory will be immediately removed and they will be put on barges with baloney sandwiches for sustenance on their long voyage back to wherever the Hell they came from. Those who have deliberately shredded their identification -- like Pelosi shredding Trumpy's speech -- shall be put in a baloney sandwich camp in sub-Saharan Africa and kept there indefinitely.

The Charles Pewitt write-in campaign for president has stated numerous times that open borders mass legal immigration and open borders mass illegal immigration brings infectious diseases to the USA and this new fangled BAT SOUP FEVER is just EBOLA with more sniffles and the walking pneumonia and the boogie woogie bat soup fever blues.

The Charles Pewitt ban on the Bat Soup Fever People, plus all the other foreigners for good measure, will bring massive benefits to the American people.

The Charles Pewitt ban on all foreigners in combination with a massive removal of all foreigners in the USA will boost wages, lower housing costs, reduce income inequality, lower class sizes, protect the environment, restore cultural cohesion, give US workers more bargaining power, reduce belly fat, reduce commuting times, provide relief for overwhelmed hospitals and be good for regular Americans and bad for globalizer banker money-grubbing nasty people.

The Charles Pewitt presidency will extinguish all student loan debt and pay back all student loan debt ever paid plus 6 percent interest accrued yearly.

The Pewitt Conjured Loot Portion will grant each American citizen with all blood ancestors born in colonial America or in the USA before 1924 the sum of ten thousand dollars a month -- tax free.

The Pewitt Tax Pledge will abolish the payroll tax and reduce federal income taxes substantially for all Americans making below 300, 000 dollars a year. Billionaires will be declared illegal and they will be financially liquidated and the federal corporate tax rate shall be 80 percent and 100 percent for all corporations that have gone offshore.

God Bless America And Ban The Bat Soup Fever People Now!

Write In CHARLES PEWITT For President On Your Ballot -- God Bless The USA!

WJ , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:24 pm GMT
@MattinLA Clinton /Kaine promised up comprehensive amnesty in the first one hundred days of their administration. Did we get that under Trump?
Turk 152 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Divine Right If the Democrats have Pete steal the nominatin, then you can be sure they want to give Trump the election. I dont think they control Bliombverg, more likely, he controls them so I would call him a wild card. Sanders would win the election, but as you can see in Iowa, the criminals running the DNC, aka Hillary, are a much bigger threat to him then Trump.
RadicalCenter , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:36 pm GMT
@Father O'Hara Proper response would have been a kick in the balls and "you ARE a Fat Jewish dick."
Trinity , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:38 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt And you actually think that guy has a legit shot at winning? And you actually think he will be able to keep all of his promises? The more I learn about what Hitler had to overcome to become Chancellor of Germany, you realize that men like Hitler are rare and only come along once every couple hundreds of years. And Germany wasn't mixed with every kind of brown and yellow race under the Sun either, America is a different animal altogether. I am not sure if even a man like Hitler could turn America around in 2020. It will take A LOT OF WORK TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, odds are unless we do a 180% turn, America is going out with a whimper and sooner rather than later.
RadicalCenter , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:41 pm GMT
@alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit Net immigration has definitely NOT been outward. Both legal and illegal migration into the USA are still massive, larger than the outflow from all appearances. The net result, and this is without reference to the race or color or religion of the wave of immigrants:

a more crowded, more polluted, more expensive, less trusting society where tens of millions of people cannot communicate effectively with each other in English and US citizens whose families have been here for generations or even a couple centuries have a harder and harder time finding full-time jobs with decent pay, benefits, and HAHA a pension.

eah , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:42 pm GMT
@Chet Roman After the last 3 years of seditious behavior of lying politicians like Schiff , Nadler and Pelosi and the traitorous schemes of deep state actors like Weismann, Vindman, Sondland and Yovanovitch

(That would be Andrew Weis s mann.)


Trump will continue to kiss Jew ass though -- and don't forget: the Democrats are the real anti-Semites.

Z-man , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:50 pm GMT
While I agree with your main point, what are you going to do? Vote for lil' Mike Bloomberg? Mayor Pete? LOL. These clowns are completely controlled. Yes this system has boxed us in but Trump at least gives the illusion of revolt, and he still isn't 100% controlled, only 99%.(Grin) Others will have to pick up the mantle of revolt against the 'Deep State' when he is gone.
For the time being thankfully Tucker Carlson, Rand Paul and other America First types will be pushing Trump to follow his campaign promises, however little he actually does. Because the alternative, Biden, Bloomberg, the mayor Pete & company, is considerably worse.

The main strikes against Trump are 1. His even more fawning than anticipated towards the Zionist beast. But most of that was predictable however regrettable. 2. His acquiescence to the Republi'tard tax cuts which has only benefited the rich. The Republicans lost big in the mid terms because of those cuts but 'lo and behold' Trump was still there. 3. All the other shit-lib policies that Trump ignored or even supported, like increases in 'legal' immigration. That's the fault of his dopey daughter and her weird Zionist/Orthodox Jew husband. With the son-in-law's one sided 'Deal of the Century' falling flat on its face, hopefully this will hasten the moving of said weird son-in-law and dopey daughter back to NYC 'one'. Then hopefully Trump will turn to advice from the likes of Carlson and Paul who will appeal to his inner America First soul.

Meena , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:51 pm GMT
@Ragno Thwarting Soros/Hillary remains his major contribution* to American politics: under Trump, the masks on the other side have all ""

How has he exactly ?
Soros and Hillary occupy certain positions . Now they are gone but taken over by some other guys and gals .
It's a job . New employees still haven't been awarded the best employee award yet . That will come at the retirement for the next set of people to carry on with the same anonymity.

We all know PNAC. How many will bother to know what the new letter head organizations the same crazy bunch are heading now with new faces ?

Trinity , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:03 pm GMT
Whether it is the openly anti-White demshevik candidate who wins or Trump, it is a win-win for the Jew. And our demshevik buddies have already hinted at locking up any White who might have the temerity to whine about his or her countries being flooded with browns, yellows and other hues of hostile third world biological weapons of mass destruction or God any White who blasphemes the self avowed "masters of the universe" who control America's media, much of our judicial system, and apparently own all of our serious candidates for POTUS should face imprisonment according to some of these certifiable cuckold nutjobs. As I commented earlier, Hitler wasn't some mentally disturbed madman who munched on carpet when enraged, he was a brilliant and brave man, but even Hitler didn't have to overcome the odds that anyone elected as the American President has to overcome. The Jewish dream of making America a polyglot of every kind of race under the sun with more colors than a rainbow has become true. Hitler only had the Jew to worry about for the most part, while the American President has to tackle not only Jewish power and influence, he has a country full of Chinese, Arabs, East Indians, Africans, Hispanics of all sorts, just your common everyday African American with a chip on his shoulder the size of a boulder, and all other assorted groups of malcontents demanding handouts while at the same time cursing our nation and thinking Whitey owes them something for nothing.
Agent76 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:05 pm GMT
Slavery is alive and well for those who cannot thier chains.

Jul 22, 2009 Speaker Pelosi on Restoring Pay-As-You-Go Budget

Discipline Today, the House passed the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act 2009 (HR 2920) by a vote of 265-166.

Jan 20, 2017 Here's how much debt the US government added under President Obama

Based on quarterly data released by the US Treasury, the debt at the end of 2008 – just before Obama took office – stood at roughly $10,699,805,000,000. As of the third quarter of 2016, the most recent data available, the debt as Obama is set to leave office stood at $19,573,445,000,000.

Charles Pewitt , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Trinity The USA will thrive like never before after doing two simple things:

3 measly little hikes to the federal funds rate and remove all the foreigners and the spawn of the foreigners.

The Pewitt presidential administration shall order the privately-controlled Federal Reserve Bank to raise the federal funds rate from the current level below 2 percent to 6 percent and then to 10 percent and then to 20 percent. This whole series of asset bubbles the last 40 years can be traced back to 1981 when the federal funds rate was 20 percent. Deliberate asset bubble implosions now!

Implode the asset bubbles and financially liquidate the greedy White nation wreckers born before 1965.

Young White Core Americans must be free of the DEBT BOMB MILLSTONE destroying their future and their country.

The Pewitt presidential administration shall order the Fed to begin contracting the Fed's balance sheet and there will be a complete halt to dollar swaps and liquidity injections and all the other monetary extremism crud that keeps the asset bubbles in stocks and bonds and real estate inflated.

The Pewitt presidential administration shall order the immediate implementation of an immigration moratorium and will begin the immediate deportation of all 30 million illegal alien invaders in the USA. All foreigners and their spawn shall be immediately removed from the USA and the members of the Deportation Force that puts this policy into action will get 1 million dollars a year for their patriotic efforts.

Politics in the USA Distilled For My Fellow Americans:


Monetary Policy

Immigration Policy

The USA must get back to a population of 220 million like it was in 1978.

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:21 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt The zionist owned FED must be abolished, this is the key to the zionist control of America and Americans.
anon_382 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:27 pm GMT
@alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit

means less when they calmly retort, "I was leaving anyway"

OMG please do

Turk 152 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:40 pm GMT
After Iowa, i'm unclear why anyone still thinks the DNC is interested in making any sort of meaningful change to our system towards socialism; rest assured they are not. They blatantly committed election fraud to support the mayor from the CIA, Pete. If he fails, they will put their full support behind Bloomberg, the very definition of a right wing candidate. The threat to our ruling class is not Trump, its Sanders.

Trump supports Israel, billionaires, Big Corporations, wars for Oil, Wall Street and so will the DNC candidates Pete and Bloomberg. The rest are just wedge issues to give the masses the illusion of choice.

Current Commenter

[Feb 08, 2020] The 2020 Democratic Candidates and Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Sanders and Warren have set themselves apart from the field in having the most credible foreign policy visions and the strongest commitments to bringing our many unnecessary wars to an end. Biden remains wedded to too many outdated and unworkable policies, and just on foreign policy alone Bloomberg is running in the wrong party's primary. Buttigieg is the least formally qualified top presidential candidate on the Democratic side, and his inability or unwillingness to answer most of these questions shows that. If the moderators bother to ask them about foreign policy, the candidates will have another opportunity to address these issues in the debate tonight, and Buttigieg won't be able to get away with saying nothing. ..."
Feb 08, 2020 |

Most of the candidates' responses were predictable. Biden's North Korea policy would be every bit as unrealistic as Trump's, but he shows even less willingness to negotiate. Bloomberg's positions were unsurprisingly the most hawkish of the bunch. If there was an option for using force, he was for it. All of the candidates were unfortunately in agreement with defining Russia as an enemy.

One of the weirder questions asked the candidates whether they would consider using force to "preempt" a nuclear or missile test by either Iran or North Korea. Only Yang and Warren said no. It isn't clear how many of them were serious and how many were just making fun of the absurdity of the question, but it is disturbing that most of the candidates asked about this would entertain taking military action against another country because of a test. Maybe it doesn't need to be said because it is so obvious, but using force to stop a nuclear or missile test is not "preemption" in any sense of the term. A test is not an attack to be preempted, and taking military action to prevent a test would be nothing less than an unprovoked, illegal act of aggression. To her credit, Warren recognizes how dangerous such an attack would be:

No. Using force against a nuclear power or high-risk adversary carries immense risk for broader conflict. Using force when not necessary can be dangerously counterproductive. Again, I will only use force if there is a vital national security interest at risk, a strategy with clear and achievable objectives, and an understanding and acceptance of the long-term costs.

In general, Warren's answers were the most substantive and careful. She not only answered the questions that were put to her, but she gave some explanation of why she took that position and why it was the appropriate thing to do. She correctly rejected Trump's regime change policy in Venezuela, and acknowledged that "Trump's reckless actions have only further worsened the suffering of the Venezuelan people." On North Korea, she remained open to continuing direct talks with Kim Jong-un, but qualified that by saying, "I would be willing to meet with Kim if it advances substantive negotiations, but not as a vanity project." Her negotiating position was similarly reasonable: "A pragmatic approach to diplomacy requires give and take on both sides, not demands that one side unilaterally disarm first." Both Warren and Sanders correctly criticized Trump for the illegal assassination of Soleimani, and they recognized that the president's escalation had put Americans at greater risk. When asked about taking military action against Iran, Warren rejected the idea of a war with Iran and said the following:

I want to end America's wars in the Middle East, not start a new one with Iran. The litmus test I will use for any military action against Iran is the same that I will use as I consider any military action anywhere in the world. I will not send our troops into harm's way unless there is a vital national security interest at risk, a strategy with clear and achievable objectives, and an understanding and acceptance of the long-term costs. We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily.

The most revealing set of responses came from Pete Buttigieg in that he gave very few responses and had remarkably little to say about his plans. He failed to answer most of the questions he was asked. Of the 36 individual questions included in the 11 sections, he answered only 17 by my count, and many of those were recycled clips from previous speeches, interviews, and debate statements. Despite leaning heavily on his military service in Afghanistan in his campaigning, he failed to answer all of the questions asked about Afghanistan and the U.S. war there. Buttigieg's failure to respond to most of these questions underscores the former mayor's lack of foreign policy experience and knowledge, and it shows that after almost a year his campaign still doesn't have their foreign policy worked out.

Sanders and Warren have set themselves apart from the field in having the most credible foreign policy visions and the strongest commitments to bringing our many unnecessary wars to an end. Biden remains wedded to too many outdated and unworkable policies, and just on foreign policy alone Bloomberg is running in the wrong party's primary. Buttigieg is the least formally qualified top presidential candidate on the Democratic side, and his inability or unwillingness to answer most of these questions shows that. If the moderators bother to ask them about foreign policy, the candidates will have another opportunity to address these issues in the debate tonight, and Buttigieg won't be able to get away with saying nothing.

MPC a day ago

I don't trust Warren on this, her flimsiness and pandering and propensity to outright lie remind me too much of Romney (who speak of the devil got a backbone for once this week!).

Bernie is definitely the best bet for a softer foreign policy.

=marco01= MPC a day ago
Warren is one of the most honest politicians. Check her Politifact file, she does far better than even Bernie. Of course neither compares to Trump, his Politifact file is a Pants on Fire dumpster fire.

The one thing, and it's only one thing, that causes you to say this is the controversy over her ancestry. But I don't believe she lied, she was raised with the family lore that she had native ancestry and she believed that family lore.

Tom Riddle =marco01= 21 hours ago
If I had a dollar for every white midwesterner who told me that they had Native ancenstry, I wouldn't be typing comments on disqus, that's for sure. My personal internet comment typer would be doing the typing for me as I dictated from my throne of mammon.
=marco01= Tom Riddle 16 hours ago
Sure, but that was her family lore. Apparently it was spoken a lot of when she was growing up.

Her DNA test puts her Native ancestor from around the time of the Revolution, it's easy to see how that could start a family legend.

Tom Riddle =marco01= 14 hours ago
Im not even really disagreeing. Even if she was wrong, I find it wild that these attacks on her are playing well in Trumpville, since white midwesterners (my people) falsely claiming Native heritage is a most common genre.
=marco01= Tom Riddle 3 hours ago
As we've seen with their support of Trump, conservatives don't seem to have much of a problem with hypocrisy.

They'll gleefully attack someone for something they are even more guilty of.

cka2nd 20 hours ago • edited
I wonder why Gabbard failed to respond to the survey (as per a note on the bottom of the Times' page). A missed chance on her part.
Wally 8 hours ago
This is why I'm voting for Warren in my states primary next month. I just hope she's still in the race!
cka2nd Wally 5 hours ago
My guess is that after South Carolina it will be Sanders vs. Bloomberg vs. one of the other more mainstream Dems, either Mayor Pete, Warren (she's been tacking to the mainstream, right on economics and "left" on wokeness) or Biden, in that order. A fall-off in funding will knock everyone else out of the race (or a failure to move the voting needle if Steyer is self-funding).

[Feb 08, 2020] Are the Bells Tolling for Amy, Liz Joe by Pat Buchanan

A Rockefeller and a Rothschild?
Feb 08, 2020 |

... Biden's fundraising has fallen off, and it is unlikely major donors are going to send cash to a candidate who just ran fourth in Iowa and could run fourth or fifth in New Hampshire.

...Klobuchar is now in the second tier in New Hampshire, behind Sanders and Buttigieg, but right alongside Biden and Warren. A third-, fourth- or fifth-place finish would be near-fatal for them all.

...As for Warren, in her battle with Sanders to emerge as the champion of the progressive wing of the party, her third-place finish in Iowa, and her expected third-place finish in New Hampshire, at best, would seem to settle that issue for this election.

Buck Ransom , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 1:38 am GMT

Uncle Joe's presidential road show may be a bore and a bust, but the upcoming expose of Biden & Son International, Inc. should provide a dumpster-load of drama and comedy all summer long. I wonder how many special guest appearances there will be by the Kerrys, the Clintons, the Obamas and other nice folks Joe knows from DC.
Prester John , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 5:29 pm GMT
@Buck Ransom That reminds me. Obama was Biden's putative "boss" during the Ukrainian transaction. What did he know and when did he know it?
follyofwar , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 5:46 pm GMT
@anon IMHO, Bloomberg is ... just one year younger than Bernie, so this is his final rodeo too.

...After the Iowa deep state operation, (it was NOT incompetence), it is clear that the PTB will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to ensure that Socialist Sanders is not the nominee. Remember, he already has a heart condition. Just sayin'.

The very part-time mayor of South Bend will soon be yesterday's news after South Carolina. Unlike suburban whites, blacks have too much common sense to vote for a homosexual.

Servant of Gla'aki , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT

Mayor Pete's their attempt to groom a new one young, but he seems just as unelectable.

Blacks, men in particular, simply won't vote for Pete Buttigieg. They'll stay home in droves, and more than a few will vote for Trump.

If Buttigieg is the nominee, Election night will look like a Republican landslide straight out of the 1980s.

anon [833] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 9:22 pm GMT
@follyofwar If it ends up Bloomberg vs Trump what we've got in this country will have transmogrified further from an oligarchy to a full blown aristocracy–certainly a plutocracy–where only billionaires can afford to play king. That race won't be Dems vs GOPers, as both gentlemen have posed as one before switching to the other for simple expedience. Who will be the veep candidates? A Rockefeller and a Rothschild?
KenH , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:31 pm GMT
Bootyjudge is just a short, gay and white version of Obama. But he typifies a government bureaucrat in that he's politically left wing, sexually deviant and hates normal, everyday Americans especially if their skin is white.

The DNC knows that if Biden were to win the nomination he'll commit so many gaffes, like burbling about corn pop, his hairy legs and enjoying kids sitting on his lap, among other things, that Trump would have a field day on Twitter and easily win a second term.

So it's shaping up to be a contest between orange Jebulus vs. anal Pete. By the time the presidential debates arrive both candidates will be vowing to crush white nationalism and improve the lives of black and brown people. White people need not apply.

Nevertheless, Trump's cult like almost all white base will cheer madly for a man who claims to represent them in words only, but almost never in deeds.

Zach , says: Show Comment Next New Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Adrian E. Everyone seems to forget that Sanders will be 79 in 2021...

[Feb 08, 2020] Beyond Ukraine America's Coming (Losing) Battle For Eurasia

Feb 08, 2020 |

Beyond Ukraine: America's Coming (Losing) Battle For Eurasia by Tyler Durden Sat, 02/08/2020 - 00:05 0 SHARES Authored by US Army Major Danny Sjursen (ret.) via,

Academic historians reject anything smacking of inevitably . Instead they emphasize the contingency of events as manifested through the inherent agency of human beings and the countless decisions they make. On the merits, such scholars are basically correct. That said, there was something – if not inevitable – highly probable, almost (forgive me) deterministic about the two cataclysmic world wars of the 20th century. Both, in retrospect, were driven, in large part, by collective – particularly Western – nations' adherence to a series of geopolitical philosophies.

The first war – which killed perhaps nine million soldiers in the sodden trench lines (among other long forgotten places) of Europe – began, in part, due to the continental, and especially maritime, competition between Imperial Great Britain, and a new, rising, and highly populous, land power, Imperial Germany. Both had pretensions to global leadership; Britain's old and long-standing, Germany's recent and aspirational – tinged with a sense of long-denied deservedness. Political and military leaders on both sides – along with other European (and the Japanese) nations – then pledged philosophical fealty to the theories of an American Navy man, Alfred Thayer Mahan. To simplify, Mahan's core postulation – published from a series of lectures as The Influence of Sea Power Upon History – was that geopolitical power in the next (20th) century would be inherently maritime. The countries that maintained large, modern navies, held strategic coaling stations, and expanded their coastal, formal empires, would dominate trade, develop the strongest economies, and, hence, were apt to global paramountcy. Conversely, traditional land power – mass armies prepared to march across vast land masses – would become increasingly irrelevant.

Mahan's inherently flawed, or at least exaggerated, conclusions – and his own clear institutional (U.S. Navy) bias – aside, key players in two of the major powers of Europe seemed to buy the philosophy hook-line-and-sinker. So, when Wilhelmine Germany took the strategic decision to rapidly expand its own colonial fiefdoms (before the last patches of brown-people-inhabited land were swallowed up) and, thereby necessarily embarked on a crash naval buildup to challenge the British Empire's maritime supremacy, the stage was set for a massive war. And, with most major European rivals – hopelessly hypnotized by nationalism – locked in a wildly byzantine, bipolar alliance system, all that was needed to turn the conflict global was a spark: enter the assassin Gavrilo Princip, a pistol, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and it was game on .

The Second World War – which caused between 50-60 million deaths – was, of course, an outgrowth of the first. It's causes were multifaceted and complicated. Nonetheless, particularly in its European theater, it, too, was driven by a geopolitical theorist and his hypotheses. This time the culprit was a Briton, Halford John Mackinder. In contrast with Mahan, Mackinder postulated a land-based, continental power theory. As such, he argued that the "pivot" of global preeminence lay in the control of Eurasia – the "World Island" – specifically Central Asia and Eastern Europe. These resource rich lands held veritable buried treasure for the hegemon, and, since they lay on historical trade routes, were strategically positioned.

Should an emergent, ambitious, and increasingly populated, power – say, Nazi Germany – need additional territory (what Hitler called " Lebensraum ") for its race, and resources (especially oil) for its budding war machine, then it needed to seize the strategic "heartland" of the World Island. In practice, that meant the Nazis theoretically should, and did, shift their gaze (and planned invasion) from their outmoded Mahanian rival across the English Channel, eastward to the Ukraine, Caucasus (with its ample oil reserves), and Central Asia. Seeing as all three regions were then – and to lesser extent, still – dominated by Russia, the then Soviet Union, the unprecedentedly bloody existential war on Europe's Eastern Front appears ever more certain and explainable.

Germany lost both those wars: the first badly, the second, disastrously. Then, in a sense, the proceeding 45-year Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union – the only two big winners in the Second World War – may be seen as an extension or sequel to Mackinder-driven rivalry. The problem is that after the end of – at least the first – Cold War, Western, especially American, strategists severely miscalculated . In their misguided triumphalism, US geopolitical theorists both provoked a weak (but not forever so) Russia by expanding the NATO alliance far eastward, but posited premature (and naive) theories that assumed global finance, free (American-skewed) trade, and digital dominance were all that mattered in a "Post" Cold War world.

No one better defined this magical thinking more than the still – after having been wrong about just about every US foreign policy decision of the last two decades – prominent New York Times columnist , Thomas Friedman. In article after article, and books with such catchy titles as The World is Flat , and The Lexus and the Olive Tree , Friedman argued, essentially, that old realist geopolitics were dead, and all that really mattered for US hegemony was the proliferation of McDonald's franchises worldwide.

Friedman was wrong; he always is (Exhibit A: the 2003 Iraq War). Today, with a surprisingly – at least with his prominent base – popular president, Donald J. Trump, impeached in the House and just acquitted by the Senate for alleged crimes misleadingly summed up as "Ukraine-gate," a look at the real issues at hand in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, demonstrate that, for better or (probably) worse, the ghost of Mackinder still haunts the scene. For today, I'd argue, the proxy battle over Ukraine between the U.S. and its allied-coup-empowered government – which includes some neo-nazi political and military elements – and Russian-backed separatists in the country's east, reflects a return to the battle for Eurasian resource and geographic predominance.

Neither Russia nor the United States is wholly innocent in fueling and escalating the ongoing Ukrainian Civil War. The difference is, that in post-Russiagate farce, chronically (especially among mainstream Democrat) alleged Russia-threat-obsessed America, reports of Moscow's ostensible guilt literally saturate the media space. The reporting from Washington? Not so much.

The truth is that a generation of prominent "liberal" American, born-again Russia-hawks – Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, the whole DNC apparatus , and the MSNBC corporate media crowd – wielded State Department, NGO, and economic pressure to help catalyze a pro-Western coup in Ukraine during and after 2014. Their opportunism seemed, to them, simple, and relatively cost-free, at the time, but has turned implacably messy in the ensuing years.

In the process, the Democrats haven't done themselves any political favors, further sullying what's left of their reputation by – in some cases – colluding with Ukrainians to undermine key Trump officials; and consorting with nefarious far-right nationalist local bigots (who may have conspired to kill protesters in the Maidan "massacre," as a means to instigate further Western support for the coup). What's more, while much of the conspiratorial Trump-team spin on direct, or illegal, Biden family criminality has proven false, neither Joe nor son Hunter, are exactly "clean." The Democratic establishment, Biden specifically, may, according to an excellent recent Guardian editorial , have a serious "corruption problem" – no least of which involves explaining exactly why a then sitting vice president's son, who had no serious diplomatic or energy sector experience, was paid $50,000 a month to serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company .

Fear not, the "Never-Trump" Republicans, and establishment Democrats seemingly intent on drumming up a new – presumably politically profitable – Cold War have already explanation. They've dug up the long ago discredited, but still publicly palatable, justification that the US must be prepared to fight Russia "over there," before it has no choice but to battle them "over here" (though its long been unclear where "here" is , or how , exactly, that fantasy comes to pass). First, there's the distance factor: though several thousands of miles away from the East Coast of North America, Ukraine is in Russia's near-abroad. After all, it was long – across many different generational political/imperial structures – part of the Soviet Union or other Russian empires. A large subsection of the populace, especially in the East, speaks, and considers itself, in part, culturally, Russian.

Furthermore, the Russian threat, in 2020, is highly exaggerated. Putin is not Stalin. The Russian Federation is not the Soviet Union; and, hell, even the Soviet (non-nuclear) military threat and geopolitical ambitions were embellished throughout Cold War "Classic." A simple comparative " tale-of-the-tape " illustrates as much. Economically and demographically, Russia is demonstrably an empirically declining power – its economy, in fact, about the size of Spain's.

Nor is the defense of an imposed, pro-Western, Ukrainian proxy state a vital American national security interest worth bleeding, or risking nuclear war, over. As MIT's Barry Posen has argued , "Vital interests affect the safety, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and power position of the United States," and, "If, in the worst case, all Ukraine were to 'fall' to Russia, it would have little impact on the security of the United States." Furthermore, as retired US Army colonel, and president of the restraint-based Quincy Institute, Andrew Bacevich, has advised , the best policy, if discomfiting, is to "tacitly acknowledge[e] the existence of a Russian sphere of influence." After all, Washington would expect, actually demand, the same acquiescence of Moscow in Mexico, Canada, or, for that matter, the entire Americas.

Unfortunately, no such restrained prudence is likely, so long as the bipartisan American national security state continues to subscribe to some vague version of the Mackinder theory. Quietly, except among wonky regional experts and investigative reporters on the scene, the US has, before, but especially since the "opportunity" of the 9/11 attacks, entered full-tilt into a competition with Russia and China for physical, economic, and resource dominance from Central Asia to the borderlands of Eastern Europe. That's why, as a student at the Army's Command and General Staff College in 2016-17, all us officers focused almost exclusively on planning fictitious, but highly realistic, combat missions in the Caucasus region. It also partly explains why the US military, after 18+ years, remains ensconced in potentially $3 trillion resource-rich Afghanistan, which, not coincidentally, is America's one serious physical foothold in land-locked Central Asia.

Anecdotally, but instructively, I remember well my four brief stops at the once ubiquitous US Air Force way-station into Afghanistan – Manas Airbase – in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Off-base "liberty" – even for permanent party airmen – was rare, in part, because the Russian military had a mirror base just across the city. What's more, the previous, earlier stopover spot for Afghanistan – Uzbekistan – kicked out the US military in 2005, in part, due to Russian political and economic pressure to do so.

Central Asia and East Europe are also contested spaces regarding the control of competing – Western vs. Russian vs. Chinese – oil and natural gas pipeline routes and trade corridors. Remember, that China's massive " One Belt – One Road " infrastructure investment program is mostly self-serving, if sometimes mutually beneficial . The plan means to link Chinese manufacturing to the vast consumerist European market mainly through transportation, pipeline, diplomatic, and military connections running through where? You guessed it: Central Asia, the Caucasus, and on through Eastern Europe.

Like it or not, America isn't poised to win this battle, and its feeble efforts to do so in these remarkably distant locales smacks of global hegemonic ambitions and foolhardy, mostly risk, nearly no reward, behavior. Russia has a solid army in close proximity, a hefty nuclear arsenal, as well as physical and historical connections to the Eurasian Heartland; China has an even better, more balanced, military, enough nukes, and boasts a far more powerful, spendthrift-capable, economy. As for the US, though still militarily and (for now) economically powerful, it lacks proximity, faces difficult logistical / expeditionary challenges, and has lost much legitimacy and squandered oodles of good will with the regional countries being vied for. Odds are, that while war may not be inevitable, Washington's weak hand and probable failure, nearly is.

Let us table, for the purposes of this article, questions regarding any environmental effects of the great powers' quest for, extraction, and use of many of these regional resources. My central points are two-fold:

As the U.S. enters an increasingly bipolar phase of world affairs, powerful national security leaders fear its diminishing power. Washington's is, like it or not, an empire in decline; and, as we know from history, such entities behave badly on the downslope of hegemony. Call me cynical, but I'm apt to believe that the United States, as perhaps the most powerful imperial body of all time, is apt, and set, to act poorest of all.

The proxy fight in Ukraine, battle for Central Asia in general – to say nothing of related American aggression and provocations in Iran and the Persian Gulf – could be the World War III catalyst that the Evangelical militarist nuts, Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, unwilling to wait on Jesus Christ's eschatological timeline, have long waited for . These characters seemingly possess the heretical temerity to believe man – white American men, to be exact – can and should incite or stimulate Armageddon and the Rapture.

If they're proved "right" or have their way – and the Mikes just might – then nuclear cataclysm will have defied the Vegas odds and beat the house on the expected human extinction timeline. Only contra to the bloody prophecy set forth in the New Testament book of Revelations, it won't be Jesus wielding his vengeful sword on the back of a white horse, but – tragic and absurdly – the perfect Antichrist stooge, pressing the red button, who does the apocalyptic deed .

* * *

Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer and regular contributor to . His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War , is available for preorder on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet . Check out his professional website for contact info, scheduling speeches, and/or access to the full corpus of his writing and media appearances.

Sparkey , 1 hour ago link

"it won't be Jesus wielding his vengeful sword on the back of a white horse, but – tragic and absurdly – the perfect Antichrist stooge, pressing the red button, who does the apocalyptic deed .'

The World is full of people who would like to be the one who pushes that button, no matter what happens!

There is an hint of Samson Option, which basically says; If I can't have it all, then none shall have anything! Don't blame anyone it is just the nature of man, probably both sides believe in this! Who will wiling submit to slavery?

PKKA , 2 hours ago link

Europe will become free when the last armed American occupier leaves the European continent. This axiom is also valid for Japan, South Korea and other countries.

Revolution_starts_now , 2 hours ago link

Ukraine only matters if you are playing a game of "risk" for world domination.

messystateofaffairs , 2 hours ago link

Space and the moon is the latest theory for how to acheive empire and defend yourself from empire.

Well defended soverignty that is helpful and useful to other sovereign trading partners in a diverse mutipolar world of sovereigns, not so much as yet. Switzerland is kind of that and Russia looks like they're working on it.

China aspires to empire and America aspires not to lose theirs and is taking instructions from Israel on how to do that.

Melchizedek gave Abraham these seven laws of how to get along. Empire ambitious nations have trouble with numbers 3, 4 and 5.

93:4.7 (1017.9) 1. You shall not serve any God but the Most High Creator of heaven and earth.

93:4.8 (1017.10) 2. You shall not doubt that faith is the only requirement for eternal salvation.

93:4.9 (1017.11) 3. You shall not bear false witness.

93:4.10 (1017.12) 4. You shall not kill.

93:4.11 (1017.13) 5. You shall not steal.

93:4.12 (1018.1) 6. You shall not commit adultery.

93:4.13 (1018.2) 7. You shall not show disrespect for your parents and elders.

PKKA , 1 hour ago link

It depends on which god to serve. They certainly do not serve Christ the Savior. By their fruits you will recognize them. Mtf. 7:20.

squid , 2 hours ago link

Why are career military officers so myopic?

Eurasia is NONE of America's business, full stop, period, paragraph finish.


It has two oceans separating itself from same.

It's NONE of America's business. end.


SittingDuck2 , 1 hour ago link

Because they are totally corrupt.

They are only interested in Money

theprofromdover , 2 hours ago link

When China and Russia abandon the dollar, all that's left for the Empire is Canada and South America, and they've never been able to stop themselves making a mess of everywhere south of the fence.

We're at the end-game now.

ArgentDawn , 2 hours ago link

What if they win?

Chief Joesph , 2 hours ago link

Pretty good article and summation of what America has become and what to expect. America has sure lost a lot of ground since the 1990's. It's really hard to see America winning at anything these days.

Justin Case , 2 hours ago link

When alternatives become available, the *** kissing ends. It's getting late in the bankruptcy

Scipio Africanuz , 3 hours ago link

Now Major, let's explore your wonderful article..

When the "strategists" were penning their hegemonic theories, they woefully failed to peruse history properly, especially that of human nature put on existential defense..

Either they were not human, or stunted development humans for were they properly developed humans, they'd have understood eventual reaction to unprovoked aggression..

Such responses often tend to be totally destructive, especially after long suffering from aggression..

Now, regarding the BRI/OBOR, we've been saying to the West, if they think it's not good enough, what inputs, devoid of coercion, rapine, aggression, or deceit, they'd suggest to improve it..

And it was crickets for a while, until Germany woke up, and decided with Europe that they'd contribute trade diplomacy..

We're still waiting for that of America under the current Admin, and all we observe is bullying, coercion, and reality denial..

Until a Bernard Sanders seized the initiative, that with a continously finessed Green New Deal, the United States of America will lead in the environmental aspect of global trade and commerce, which the EU has also committed to doing as well..

So then Major, perhaps the time has finally arrived for America to eschew aggression and imperialism, in favor of the erstwhile business of America.. Trade and Commerce..

So for those who desire swamp drained, and a fresh start for America, you might wanna go chat with, and support Bernard Sanders, the future, and Us..

Then dump the swamp critters and their current admin enabler..

But as in all things, we can only show you the way.. Traveling on it however, is your sovereign prerogative..

Good luck!...

Falcon49 , 3 hours ago link

The author still tends to think that it is all because of missteps, mistakes, ignorance, incompetence, stupidity....

If you step back from the fray.....and don't get caught up in red/blue team nonsense, it becomes apparent that there is a theme/strategy that is being played out. It appears to be conducted in evolutionary phases with Wars allowing larger and more overt advances in their agenda. Simply put order out of chaos.

We are now about to be manipulated into another major evolutionary phase to advance the globalist agenda. All the conditions are set for their next major order out of chaos...scheme. It is pretty obvious that Nationalism/Populism will be the scapegoat for the cause of the chaos to come. The US will take center stage as an example that you cannot trust a single country (uni-polar world) not to abuse its power....and history has shown a multi-polar situation leads to major wars...creating chaos around the world.

Their answer will be global governance and their dream of a global feudalistic utopia will be well on its way to being realized. Hold on, we are about to enter a global "great leap forward"...

[Feb 08, 2020] 'Gas Wars' In The Mediterranean by Mike Whitney

Feb 08, 2020 |

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

The unexpected alliance between Turkey and Libya is a geopolitical earthquake that changes the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean and across the Middle East.

Turkey's audacious move has enraged its rivals in the region and cleared the way for a dramatic escalation in the 9 year-long Libyan civil war. It has also forced leaders in Europe and Washington to decide how they will counter Turkey's plan to defend the U.N-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) , and to extend its maritime borders from Europe to Africa basically creating "a water corridor through the eastern Mediterranean linking the coasts of Turkey and Libya."

Leaders in Ankara believe that the agreement "is a major coup in energy geopolitics" that helps defend Turkey's "sovereign rights against the gatekeepers of the regional status quo." But Turkey's rivals strongly disagree. They see the deal as a naked power grab that undermines their ability to transport natural gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe without crossing Turkish waters. In any event, the Turkey-Libya agreement has set the stage for a broader conflict that will unavoidably involve Egypt, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Russia and the United States. All parties appear to have abandoned diplomatic channels altogether and are, instead, preparing for war.

On November 27, Turkey and Libya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that commits Turkey to providing military assistance to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA). The MoU also redraws Turkey's maritime boundaries in a way that dramatically impacts the transport of gas from the East Mediterranean to Europe. Israel is particularly worried that this new deal will undermine its plans for a 1,900-kilometer EastMed pipeline connecting the Leviathan gas field, off the coast of Israel, to the EU. YNET News summarized Israel's concerns in an ominously titled article: "Turkey's maneuver could block Israel's access to the sea". Here's an excerpt:

"Two of Israel's wars (1956 Sinai campaign and 1967 Six-Day War) broke out over navigation rights. Israel must take note of a new reality taking hold in the Mediterranean. It must regard Turkey's actions as a substantial strategic threat and consider what it may do to respond to it

This EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones) designation essentially carved up much of the energy-rich Eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and Libya, prompting a wave of international condemnations first and foremost from Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus, who may be directly or indirectly affected ..Turkey's disregard for the economic waters of Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt.

Ankara is in effect annexing those areas pending an appeal to international tribunals, which can take many years to resolve. In practical terms, Turkey created a sea border the width of the entire Mediterranean ." ( "Turkey's maneuver could block Israel's access to the sea" , ynet news )

The analysis from America's premier Foreign Policy magazine was no less foreboding. Check it out:

"Turkey is meshing together two Mediterranean crises in a desperate bid to reshape the region in its own favor, with potentially nasty implications both for the ongoing civil war in Libya and future energy development in the eastern Mediterranean.

This month, Turkey's unusual outreach to the internationally recognized government of Libya has resulted in a formal agreement for Ankara to provide military support, including arms and possibly troops, in its bid to hold off an offensive from Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country. The military agreement came just weeks after Turkey and that same Government of National Accord reached an unusual agreement to essentially carve up much of the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean between them -- threatening to cut out Greece and Cyprus from the coming bonanza ." ("Newly Aggressive Turkey Forges Alliance With Libya", Foreign Policy )

While these new developments are likely to intensify the fighting on the ground in Libya, they also portend a deepening of divisions within the region itself where new coalitions are forming and battle-lines are being drawn. On the one side is the Turkey-Libya Axis, while on the other is Greece, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, France, Germany, UK and probably the United States although the Trump administration has not yet clarified its position. In any event, the war between Libya's internationally-recognized government and Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) is just a small part of a much larger struggle over vital hydrocarbons in a strategically-located area of the Mediterranean. Here's a clip from an article at War On The Rocks that helps to underscore the stakes involved:

"The discovery of significant deposits of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean beginning in 2009 was a game-changer that upended regional geopolitics. It prompted new and unexpected alliances between Israel, Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt to maximize their chances of energy self-sufficiency. The bulk of the gas lies in Egypt's Zohr field, the Leviathan and Tamar fields in Israeli waters, and the Aphrodite near the island of Cyprus. With recoverable natural gas reserves in the region estimated at upward of 120 trillion cubic feet, the strategic implications could not be bigge r. This is about the same amount as the proven gas in the whole of Iraq, the 12th largest reserve globally .(Israel's gas field) Leviathan is estimated to hold 22 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and a potential half a million barrels of oil." ("Hydrocarbon Diplomacy: Turkey's Gambit Might Yet Pay a Peace Dividend",

Turkey's ambitious gambit makes it more likely that its rivals will increase their support for the Libyan warlord, Haftar, who is, by-most-accounts, a CIA asset that was sent to Libya in 2014 to topple the government in Tripoli and unify the country under a US puppet. Haftar's forces currently control more than 70% of the Libyan territory while almost 60% of the population is under the control of the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. According to Turkish news: "More than half of Haftar's troops are mercenaries from Russia and Sudan, who are mainly paid by the Gulf states."

In April, 2019, Haftar launched an offensive on the government in Tripoli but was easily repelled. In recent days, however, Haftar has resumed his attacks on the city of Misrata and on the Tripoli airport in clear violation of the Berlin ceasefire agreement. He has also received shipments of weapons from the UAE despite an arms embargo that was unanimously approved two weeks ago at the same Berlin Conference. We expect that support for Haftar will continue to grow in the months ahead as Berlin, Paris and particularly Washington settle on a plan for reinforcing proxies to prosecute the ground war and for blunting Turkey's power projection in the Mediterranean.

The Turkey-Libya agreement is a clumsy attempt to impose Turkey's preferred maritime boundaries on the other countries bordering the Mediterranean. Naturally, Washington will not allow this unilateral assertion of power to go unchallenged.

And while Washington's strategy has not yet been announced, that merely indicates that the foreign policy establishment was caught off-guard by Turkey's November 27 announcement . It does not mean that Washington will accept the status quo. To the contrary, US war-planners are undoubtedly putting the finishing touches on a new strategy aimed at achieving their objectives in Libya while at the same time dealing a stinging blow to a NATO ally that has grown closer to Russia, caused endless headaches in Syria, and is now disrupting Washington's plans for controlling vital resources in the East Mediterranean.

Washington sees Turkey's assertive foreign policy as a sign of "defiance" which requires a iron-fisted response. But any attack on Turkey or Turkish interests will only intensify the bad blood between Ankara and Washington, it will only put more pressure on the threadbare NATO alliance, and it will only push Turkish president Erdogan further into Moscow's corner. Indeed, the Trump team should realize that an overreaction on their part could trigger a fateful realignment that could reshape the region while hastening the emergence of a new order.

[Feb 07, 2020] Our Military is Clashing With Russians While Defending Syrian Oil. Why

Feb 07, 2020 |

Last month, American military forces physically blocked Russian troops from proceeding down a road near the town of Rmelan, Syria. U.S. troops were acting on orders of President Trump, who said back in October that Washington would be "protecting" oil fields currently under control of the anti-Assad, Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces.

Meanwhile, the Russians are acting on behalf of Syrian president Bashar Assad, who says the state is ultimately in control of those fields. While no shots were fired in this case, the next time Moscow's forces might not go so quietly.

U.S. officials offered few details about the January stand-off, but General Alexus Grynkewich, deputy commander of the anti-ISIS campaign, said: "We've had a number of different engagements with the Russians on the ground." Late last month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported: "Tensions have continued to increase significantly in recent days between U.S. and Russian forces in the northeastern regions of Syria."

Stationed in Syria illegally, with neither domestic nor international legal authority, American personnel risked life and limb to occupy another nation's territory and steal its resources. What is the Trump administration doing?

American policy in Syria has long been stunningly foolish, dishonest, and counterproductive. When the Arab Spring erupted in 2011, Washington first defended Assad. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even called him a "reformer." Then she decided that he should be ousted and demanded that the rest of the world follow Washington's new policy.

[Feb 07, 2020] The democratic party must be thee only political party in all world history that actively suppresses people who want to vote for them.

Feb 07, 2020 |

Erelis , Feb 6 2020 19:43 utc | 61

The democratic party must be thee only political party in all world history that actively suppresses people who want to vote for them.

Looks like the democrats are set to lose the same way they did in 2016. Basically as Matt Bruenig wrote in his article "The Boring Story of the 2016 Election

Donald Trump did not win because of a surge of white support. Indeed he got less white support than Romney got in 2012. Nor did Trump win because he got a surge from other race+gender groups. The exit polls show him doing slightly better with black men, black women, and latino women than Romney did, but basically he just hovered around Romney's numbers with every race+gender group, doing slightly worse than Romney overall.

However, support for Hillary was way below Obama's 2012 levels, with defectors turning to a third party. Clinton did worse with every single race+gender combo except white women, where she improved Obama's outcome by a single point. Clinton did not lose all this support to Donald. She lost it into the abyss. Voters didn't like her but they weren't wooed by Trump .

The Third Wave neocons pointed out an interesting fact. Clinton won bigly CA, NY, and MA which gave her something like 7 million votes. However, Trump won the remaining 47 states by four million.

Willy2 , Feb 6 2020 23:19 utc | 92

- Caitlin Johnstone: It wasn't "incompetence", it was intentionally.

[Feb 07, 2020] Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose

Notable quotes:
"... How can they change? The owners are the warmongering monopoly capitalist ruling class. Are you imagining that any decision can ever be made by the lowly peons, the rank and file? ..."
Feb 07, 2020 |

Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose Trisha , Feb 6 2020 16:12 utc | 6

The Democratic Party seems to intend to lose the 2020 elections.

The idiotic impeachment attempt against Trump ended just as we predicted at its beginning:

After two years of falsely accusing Trump of having colluded with Russia [the Democrats] now allege that he colludes with Ukraine. That will make it much more difficult for the Democrats to hide the dirty hands they had in creating Russiagate. Their currently preferred candidate Joe Biden will get damaged.
Trump should be impeached for his crimes against Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

But the Democrats will surely not touch on those issues. They are committing themselves to political theater that will end without any result. Instead of attacking Trump's policies and proposing better legislation they will pollute the airwaves with noise about 'crimes' that do not exist.

There is no case for impeachment. Even if the House would vote for one the Senate would never act on it. No one wants to see a President Pence.

The Democrats are giving Trump the best campaign aid he could have wished for. Trump will again present himself as the victim of a witch hunt. He will again argue that he is the only one on the side of the people. That he alone stands with them against the bad politicians in Washington DC. Millions will believe him and support him on this. It will motivate them to vote for him.

The Senate acquitted Trump of all the nonsense the Democrats have thrown against him.


Biden lost in Iowa and his poll numbers elsewhere are not much better. His meddling in Ukrainian politics will continue to be investigated.

Iowa caucuses count was intentionally sabotaged, first through an appn created by incompetent programmers on the payroll of a Buttigieg related company , then by a manipulated manual count by the Iowa Democratic party:

Chris Schwartz @SchwartzForIowa - 22:01 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

The state party is now being forced to walk back their error of giving @BernieSanders delegates to @DevalPatrick who received zero votes in Black Hawk County. Press can dm me.

We have known for over 24 hours as verified by our county party that @BernieSanders won the #iacaucuses in Black Hawk County with 2,149 votes, 155 County Delegates. #NotMeUs #IowaCaucuses


The whole manipulation was intended to enable Buttigieg to claim that he led in Iowa even though it is clear that Bernie Sanders won the race. It worked:

29 U.S.C. § 157 @OrganizingPower - 4:13 UTC · Feb 6, 2020

Post Iowa, Buttigieg has gotten a 9pt bounce in Emerson's tracking poll of NH. A bounce based on a caucus he didn't win.

All this is clearly following a plan:

Lee Camp [Redacted] @LeeCamp - 16:58 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

If a progressive is about to win #IowaCaucuses:
- remove final polls
- use mysterious app created by former Clinton staffers
- Funnel results thru untested app
- Claim app fails
- Hold results
- Reveal only 62% to give false impression of who won
- Refuse to reveal final results

But the cost of such open manipulations is the loss of trust in the Democratic Party and in elections in general:

In sum: We are 24 hours into the 2020 campaign, and Democrats have already humiliated their party on national television, alienated their least reliable progressive supporters, demoralized their most earnest activists, and handed Trump's campaign a variety of potent lines of attack.

This so obvious that has to wonder if these outcomes are considered to be features and not bugs .

Buttigieg is by the way a terrible candidate. His work for McKinsey, the company that destroyed the middle class , smells of work for some intelligence agency . His hiring of a Goldman Sachs executive as national policy director makes it clear what his policies will be.

The other leading candidates are not much better. Sanders might have a progressive agenda in domestic policies, but his foreign policies are fully in line with his party. Matt Duss, Sanders' foreign policy advisor, is the son of a lifelong key front man for CIA proxy organizations. He spills out mainstream imperial blabber:

Matt Duss @mattduss - 2:38 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

The only thing that Trump's Venezuela regime change policy achieved is giving Russia an opportunity to screw with the US in our own hemisphere. That's what they were applauding.

Giving a standing ovation to Trump's SOTU remarks on Venezuela were of course the Democratic "resistance" and Nancy Pelosi . That was before she theatrically ripped up her copy of Trump's speech, the show act of a 5 year old and one which she had trained for . She should be fired.

Impeachment, the Iowa disaster and petty show acts will not win an election against Donald Trump. While they do not drive away core Democratic voters, they do make it difficult to get the additional votes that are needed to win. Many on the left and the right who dislike Trump will rather abstain or vote for a third party than for a party which is indistinguishable from the currently ruling one.

Meanwhile Trump hauls in record amounts in donations and, with 49%, achieved his best personal approval rate ever .

Either the Democrats change their whole course of action or they will lose in November to an extend that will be breathtaking. It would be well deserved.

Posted by b on February 6, 2020 at 15:57 UTC | Permalink The donor class owners of the "Democratic" party have every incentive to support Trump, who has cut their taxes, hugely inflated the value of their assets, and mis-directed attention away from substantial issues that might degrade either their assets or their power, by focusing on identity politics.

SharonM , Feb 6 2020 16:15 utc | 7

It's obvious to me that the two war parties function as one. The Democrats have been winning since Trump took office--they get their money and they get their wars. If Trump wins, the Democrats win as billionaires flood more money into the DNC. If Trump loses, the Republicans win for the same reasons.
Bruce , Feb 6 2020 16:36 utc | 10
The behavior of a five year old is an appropriate reference point for most of the people working in DC, albeit engaged parents expect more of their children. This vaudeville routine is giving satisfaction to Republicans, Trump supporters, and those who have been looking for a clearer opportunity to say "I told you so" to diehard Democratic believers (who will continue to refuse to listen).
For an American, even one who has always been somewhat cynical regarding cultural notions of democracy and the "American Way," the show has become patently and abusively vulgar and revulsive. It does not appear to be anywhere near "hitting bottom." There can be no recovery without emotional maturity, and the leaders in Washington exhibit nothing of the kind. The level of maturity and wisdom of the individuals involved is determinative of the political result, not the alleged quality of the politics they purport to sell. Right now we don't have that.
Piero Colombo , Feb 6 2020 17:07 utc | 19
"Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose"

Aren't there 2 levels of "change"?

1. How can they change? The owners are the warmongering monopoly capitalist ruling class. Are you imagining that any decision can ever be made by the lowly peons, the rank and file? If you thought anything like that, you should try to find one single instance, in all history, of this "party" ever having done anything at all out of line with the express policy of the owners of the country (the high level of people-friendly noise, intended for the voting peons, never translates into any action of that sort.)

2. If you mean change the electoral policy to win this election, how could they conceivably manage to change this late? Like a supertanker launched at full speed trying to make a sharp turn a few seconds before hitting the shore, you mean?

Anyway, in both cases forget what it "deserves", it should be destroyed and buried under, not only lose.

ak74 , Feb 6 2020 17:08 utc | 21
American democracy is Kabuki Theater and Professional Wrestling.

It is the ultimate Reality TV show for the sheeple to think that they have a political voice.

Remember what Frank Zappa said: "Politics is the Entertainment Division of the Military-Industrial Complex."

jared , Feb 6 2020 17:30 utc | 26
It would take extreme mental contortions to take U.S. "democracy" seriously at this point.
I would like to believe that it makes some difference who is elected, but increasingly doubtful.
How different would it really have been had Hillary been elected (much as it pains me to consider such a scenario)?
Trump was elected (aside from interference from AIPAC) partly because he was republican candidate and for some that's all it takes but aside from that because;
- end pointless wars
- improve healthcare
- control immigration
- jobs for coal miners
- somehow address corruption and non-performance of government
- improve US competitiveness, bring back jobs, promote business, improve economy
He claims having improved the economy but more likely is done juice from the FED.
So really, what grade does he deserve?
And yet people are rallying to his side.
Personally I think that the entrenched interests have moulded Trump to meet their requirements and now it is inconvenient to have to start work on a new president, unless it would be one of their approved choices.
I voted for Trump because of Hillary.
Now I would not vote for Trump given a decent choice. Fortunately there is an excellent alternative.
Noirette , Feb 6 2020 17:37 utc | 29
All who count have known for a long time that Trump will have a second term. Baked in. (1)

The Dems agitate and raucously screech and try to impeach to distract or whatever to show da base that they hate Trump and hope to slaughter! him! a rapist! mysoginist! racist! liar ! He is horrors! in touch with the malignant criminal authoritarian ex-KGB Putin! Russia Russia Russia - and remember Stormy Daniels! ( :) ! )

The top corp. Dems prefer to lose to Trump, I have said this for years, as have many others. In rivalry of the Mafia type, it is often better to submit to have a share of the pie. Keep the plebs on board with BS etc. Victim status, underdog pretense, becomes ever more popular.

1. Trump might fall ill / dead / take Melania's advice and wishes into account, or just quit.

Jackrabbit , Feb 6 2020 17:47 utc | 31
People still talk like democracy really exists in USA.

They channel their anger toward Party and personality.

If only the democrats would ... If only Sanders would ... If only people would see that ...

A few understand the way things really are, but most are still hoping that somehow that the bed-time stories and entertaining kayfabe are a sort of democracy that they can live with.

But the is just normalcy bias. A Kool-Aid hang-over. This is not democracy. It is a soft tyranny encouraged by Empire stooges, lackeys, and enabled by ignorance.

The lies are as pervasive as they are subtle: half-truths; misdirection; omitting facts like candidate/party affiliations with the Zionist/Empire Death Cult.

The REAL divide among people in the West is who benefits from an EMPIRE/ZIONIST FIRST orientation that has polluted our politics and our culture and the rest of us.

Wake up. War is on the horizon. And Central Banks can't print money forever.

/rage, rage against the dying of the light


par4 , Feb 6 2020 17:52 utc | 34
After watching Pelosi it reminded me that during the Geo. W. Bush era the Democrats were always claiming to be the adults in the room. It's odd that Mayo Pete's 'husband' is never seen or heard from. I wonder why? Biden's toast and Epstein didn't kill himself. AND Seth Rich leaked Hillary's emails to Wikileaks.
Qparticle , Feb 6 2020 18:11 utc | 41
-- --
The Clinton-Obama administration had scores of corrupt officials and associates (the Podestas, for instance). It was necessary to create a firewall once Trump won the nomination. As so, they attacked his campaign manager, his national security adviser, his family, himself, using all the means of FISA, wire tapping done by NSA and CIA and Mi6 and probably Mossad.

Red Ryder | Feb 6 2020 16:56 utc | 14
-- --

Trump is an installment of The Mossad via blackmail and media manipulation, check "Black Cube Intelligence", a Mossad front operating from City of London. It would make sense the establishment in the US would eavesdrop on him. Mossad on the other hand would wiretap the wiretapers and give feedback on Trump. The Podesta you mentioned once threatened the factions with "disclosure" possibly to keep the runaway black projects crazies in check not that I wish to play advocate of these people.

-- --
After they lose again in November, they will unleash their street thugs, Antifa, to terrorize the winners. Meanwhile for the purists of the Liberal Cult there will be many real suicides. So, bloodshed and death will become reality.

Red Ryder | Feb 6 2020 16:56 utc | 14
-- --

Yes, what we need is just a nazi party in the US to keep communism in check, right? We are half way there with Trump already aren't we? "Black Sun" technologies (which a part off I described above) already there, leaking to anyone interested enough that would aid in the great outsourcing for the Yinon project, so why not? "Go Trump 2020"! (sarcasm)

DannyC , Feb 6 2020 18:12 utc | 42
For whatever reason the only thing the Dems seem to find more terrible than a loss to Trump is a win with Bernie. I'm no fan of Bernie but it's clear they're out to sabotage the one guy that would actually beat Trump in an election
VeraK , Feb 6 2020 18:16 utc | 43
While I have no illusions that a Sanders administration will have good foreign policy objectives, is there not something to be said for shifting money away from the military-industrial complex in the US? In general Sanders gives me the impression that he wants to reduce US intervention in foreign affairs in favor of spending more money on domestic issues. Even a slight reduction in pressure is helpful for giving other countries the ability to expand their spheres of influence and becoming more legitimate powers in opposition to the US and EU. Based on this I still see voting for Sanders as helpful even if he won't bring about any meaningful change in the US's foreign policy.
Pft , Feb 6 2020 19:10 utc | 56
it's not an actual Stalin quote, but often used as such
he did say something in the same vein, though.
it IS absolutely spot on here:

"It's not who vote that counts, it's who counts the votes"

congratulations, DNC, you're on a par with Joseph Stalin; the most ruthless chairman the Sovyets have ever had.
so here is your real Russia Gate.
oh, come and smell the Irony. In fake wrestling the producers determine the winner in advance and the wrestlers ate given their script to follow. The Dems have no intention to win this, look at the clowns they have running the show not to mention the flawed candidates . The script calls for the king of fake wrestling, Trump himself, to win yet again. Only a concerted effort by the Dems and Deep State media, along with some tech help from Bibis crew can engineer this result, but they are all on board. Dems willing to wait for 2024 when the producers will write them in for a big Win over somebody not named Trump. The world will be ready for a Green change by then, and Soros/Gates boys will have their chance to step up to the plate again.

Enjoy the show if you wish, I'm changing the channel.

[Feb 07, 2020] The Consequence Of Globalism Is World Instability by Paul Craig Roberts

Highly recommended!
Yes, more complex systems are less stable.
Notable quotes:
"... The thoughtless people who constructed " globalism " overlooked that interdependence is dangerous and can have massive unintended consequences . With or without an epidemic, supplies can be cut off for a number of reasons. For example, strikes, political instability, natural catastrophes, sanctions and other hostilities such as wars, and so forth. Clearly, these dangers to the system are not justified by the lower labor cost and consequent capital gains to shareholders and bonuses to corporate executives. Only the one percent benefits from globalism. ..."
"... Globalism was constructed by people motivated by short-term greed. None of the promises of globalism have been delivered. Globalism is a massive mistake. Yet, almost everywhere political leaders and economists are protective of globalism. So much for human intelligence. ..."
Feb 07, 2020 |

If the coronavirus proves to be serious, as it does not appear to be at the present time, many economies could be adversely affected. China is the source of many parts supplied to producers in other countries, and China is the source of the finished products of many US firms such as Apple. If shipments cannot be made, sales and production outside of China are affected. Without revenues, employees cannot be paid. Unlike the financial crisis of 2008, this would be an unemployment crisis and bankruptcy of large manufacturing and marketing corporations.

This is the danger to which globalism makes us vulnerable. If US corporations produced in the US the products that they market in the US and the world, an epidemic in China would affect only their Chinese sales, not threaten the companies' revenues.

The thoughtless people who constructed " globalism " overlooked that interdependence is dangerous and can have massive unintended consequences . With or without an epidemic, supplies can be cut off for a number of reasons. For example, strikes, political instability, natural catastrophes, sanctions and other hostilities such as wars, and so forth. Clearly, these dangers to the system are not justified by the lower labor cost and consequent capital gains to shareholders and bonuses to corporate executives. Only the one percent benefits from globalism.

Globalism was constructed by people motivated by short-term greed. None of the promises of globalism have been delivered. Globalism is a massive mistake. Yet, almost everywhere political leaders and economists are protective of globalism. So much for human intelligence.

At this point of time, it is difficult to understand the hysteria over coronavirus and predictions of global pandemic. In China there are about 24,000 infections and 500 deaths in a population of 1.3 billion people. This is an inconsequential illness. Compared to the ordinary seasonal flu that infects millions of people worldwide and kills 600,000, the coronavirus so far amounts to nothing. Infections outside of China are miniscule and appear to be limited to Chinese people. It is difficult to know for certain, because of the reluctance to identify people by race.

Yet China has huge areas in quarantine, and travel to and from the country is restricted. Nothing like these precautions are taken against seasonal flu. So far this flu season in the US alone 19 million people have been sickened, 180,000 hospitalized, and 10,000 have died. The latest report is that 16 people in the US (possibly all Chinese) have come down with coronavirus, and none have died.

Perhaps the coronavirus is just warming up and much worse is to come. If so, world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will take a hit. Quarantines prevent work. Finished products and parts cannot be made and shipped. Sales cannot take place without products to sell. Without revenues companies cannot pay employees and other expenses. Incomes decline across the world. Companies go bankrupt.

You can take it from here.

If a deadly coronavirus pandemic or some other one does erupt and there is a world depression, we should be very clear in our mind that globalism was the cause. Countries whose governments are so thoughtless or corrupt as to make their populations vulnerable to disruptive events abroad are medically, economically, socially, and politically unstable.

The consequence of globalism is world instability.

yerfej , 47 minutes ago link

It makes sense for rich countries elites to leverage poor backwards shithole countries to manufacture the things they need because the elites then don't have to worry about anyone but themselves. Globalism is wonder as it bypasses all that crazy western nonsense like jobs and wages and society and hope and such.

Coram Justice , 1 hour ago link

"Bolshevism is globalism according to Lenin."
Prof. V. G. Liulevicius, Utopia & Terror in the 20th Century

Street Chief Martin , 2 hours ago link

Globalism is nothing more than the major central banks finding ways to dump off their inflation which is the deflation of an ever increasing number countries which the major cb's used to deflate their currencies. The older the cb you are the worse off yo are. From a since A.D. perspective only the Sterling is what you have to worry. From my last fiat currency perspective its the Venisthaler that is un doing everything.

To get more zero's you have to add more nine's. They can not be added as nausem like people think zero's are. The compensation pool has been shrinking for centuries on end now. Globalism is an attempt to keep the pool growing at all cost which results relentless asset appreciation. We are out of nine's. The end result of that is hyper deflation for the man and hyper reflation for the people. Easily provable at a store named Vons owned by the treasury retired.

That ladies and gents is your simplified street fed explanation. I am not trying to even remotely write out the longer technical version.

Having said that meet me at what is known as the small walmart around here, which is the home of what does MU do, what does MU do at walmart it never gets old fame for a real life walk thru of what globalism is and looks like. We will then progress to the "Big Walmart" not even a mile away and I will show you what an out of control system looks like.

So we are clear of what I just said. I live in the only place in the world where when a tourist ask you where Wal Mart is, you get your choice of size. Whats the difference you ask??? The small Wal Mart has one main entrance, the big one has three. The lady almost smacked the **** out of the guy I got that from when she asked what the difference was. The hand came up. You really had to be there.

rtb61 , 2 hours ago link

Regional trade blocks with relatively balanced resource and production capabilities make more sense. Globalisation just lead to one country seeking to 'DOMINATE' in every sphere of global activity, raising the threats of economic and military conflict, as clearly demonstrated and this with the aim of global enslavement to multinational corporations, the aim of Globalism, really sick psychopathic stuff.

Regional trade blocks relatively balanced for resource and production, provide stability within each block and lesson competition for outside resource and commercial competitiveness, and represents a far more long term stable structure.

Within each trade block, as it is economic rather than socio-political the original identities of each distinct region can be preserved for the long term, so that future generations can enjoy and share in the different cultures. Race ******** is race ********, there is only one race and all of it's people are free to share in which ever culture they choose or combinations there of. Whether you get to move to those regions and enjoy those cultures will be done to your personal worth, character and ability to contribute to those societies, just the way it will be.

Some economic blocks will be far more preferable to others and will attract higher worth individuals (character and ability to contribute to society), the least and most desirable will become more so as higher worth individuals move to the most preferable away from the least preferable and make the most preferable more preferable by their active presence.

I would tip the Japan Australia one to be the most preferable for this century, the next hard to tell (there are real deep problems in the Americas caused by the USA, the EU had an bad immigrant problem as in they let in too many bad unvetted immigrants, Africa will be what Africa will be corrupt and Russia China it depends upon how quickly the modernise and socially advance, the middle of the middles south east to mid east it depends how long it takes them to come together and religion is a real problem for them).

free corn , 2 hours ago link

Competing MAD capable nations need communication/cooperation to keep the world somewat stable, that's one reason for Globalism. Author sucks.

headless blogger , 4 hours ago link

I've been wondering if this might be some kind of Globalist Drill. It doesn't make sense, although there is always the potential it could become worse than it is.

uhland62 , 3 hours ago link

I thought so, too. Strangely enough, Wuhan Chinese are now repatriated from Bali back to Wuhan?!

Instability is a necessary condition to get more conflicts and then wars going. Weapons production must be kept up; peace and stability would make make weapons production an expensive hobby.

Shifter_X , 4 hours ago link

Globalism is the shredding of nations, peoples, traditions, culture and religion.

It is failing and will continue to fail for two reasons:

1. Good fences make good neighbors

2. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

People are not going to stand for these destructive invasions any more. Bottom-of-the-barrel wages, crap jobs, high crime -- it's coming to a head.

I hope every nation in the EU exits.

Every idiot in Congress who supports this ridiculous bill that would make illegal immigration legal, require that the US NOT deport criminals and that we taxpayers pay to bring CRIMINALS we've deported, back to the USA, should be stripped of citizenship and kicked off the planet.

Have you SEEN this **** pending in Congress???

surf@jm , 5 hours ago link

Globalism was outlawed forever at the Tower of Babel.....

That law has never been revoked....

[Feb 07, 2020] Sanders Called JPMorgan's CEO America's 'Biggest Corporate Socialist' Here's Why He Has a Point

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It is purely extractive ..."
"... By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation ..."
Feb 07, 2020 |
Yves here. I wish Sanders would use even more pointed messaging, like "socialism for the rich". But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets, this slap back at Dimon, who criticized Sanders and socialism at Davos, shows that the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

And banks are much bigger welfare queens than the public realizes. They get all sorts of subsidies, from underpriced deposit insurance to Federal guaranteed for most home mortgages to the Fed operating and backstopping the essential Fedwire system. These subsidies are so great that banks should not be considered to be private sector entities, yet we let them privatize their profits and socialize their train wrecks. As we wrote in 2010 :

More support comes from Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England, who in a March 2010 paper compared the banking industry to the auto industry, in that they both produced pollutants: for cars, exhaust fumes; for bank, systemic risk. While economists were claiming that the losses to the US government on various rescues would be $100 billion (ahem, must have left out Freddie and Fannie in that tally), it ignores the broader costs (unemployment, business failures, reduced government services, particularly at the state and municipal level). His calculation of the world wide costs:

.these losses are multiples of the static costs, lying anywhere between one and five times annual GDP. Put in money terms, that is an output loss equivalent to between $60 trillion and $200 trillion for the world economy and between £1.8 trillion and £7.4 trillion for the UK. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers "astronomical" would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. "Economical" might be a better description.

It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite.

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive . Even though we have described its activities as looting (as in paying themselves so much that they bankrupt the business), the wider consequences are vastly worse than in textbook looting.

Back to the current post. As to JP Morgan's socialism versus the old USSR's planned economy, one recent study which I cannot readily find due to the sorry state of Google offered an important correction to conventional wisdom.

Recall that Soviet Russia initially did perform extremely well, freaking out the capitalist world by industrializing in a generation. There was ample hand-wringing as to whether a less disciplined free enterprise system could compete with a command and control economy. Economists got a seat at the policy table out of the concern that capitalist economies needed expert guidance to assure that they could produce both guns and butter.

The study concluded that central planning had worked well in Soviet Russia initially, until the lower-level apparatchiks started gaming the system by feeding bad information so as to make their performance look better (for instance, setting way too forgiving production targets, or demanding more resources than they needed). The paper contended that the increasingly poor information about what was actually happening on the ground considerably undermined the central planning process. That is not to say there weren't also likely problems with motivation and overly rigid bureaucracies. But the evolution of modern corporations, of devaluing and ignoring worker input and treating them like machines that are scored against narrow metrics, looks as demotivating as the stereotypical Soviet factory.

Finally, this post conflates socialism, which includes New Deal-ish European style social democracy, with capitalist systems alongside strong social safety nets, which the public ownership and provision of goods and services. It should be noted that public ownership has regularly provided services like utilities very effectively.

By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation

Sen. Bernie Sanders called JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon the " biggest corporate socialist in America today " in a recent ad.

He may have a point – beyond what he intended.

With his Dimon ad, Sanders is referring specifically to the bailouts JPMorgan and other banks took from the government during the 2008 financial crisis. But accepting government bailouts and corporate welfare is not the only way I believe American companies behave like closet socialists despite their professed love of free markets.

In reality, most big U.S. companies operate internally in ways Karl Marx would applaud as remarkably close to socialist-style central planning. Not only that, corporate America has arguably become a laboratory of innovation in socialist governance, as I show in my own research .

Closet Socialists

In public, CEOs like Dimon attack socialist planning while defending free markets.

But inside JPMorgan and most other big corporations, market competition is subordinated to planning. These big companies often contain dozens of business units and sometimes thousands. Instead of letting these units compete among themselves, CEOs typically direct a strategic planning process to ensure they cooperate to achieve the best outcomes for the corporation as a whole .

This is just how a socialist economy is intended to operate. The government would conduct economy-wide planning and set goals for each industry and enterprise, aiming to achieve the best outcome for society as a whole.

And just as companies rely internally on planned cooperation to meet goals and overcome challenges, the U.S. economy could use this harmony to overcome the existential crisis of our age – climate change. It's a challenge so massive and urgent that it will require every part of the economy to work together with government in order to address it.

Overcoming Socialism's Past Problems

But, of course, socialism doesn't have a good track record.

One of the reasons socialist planning failed in the old Soviet Union, for example, was that it was so top-down that it lacked the kind of popular legitimacy that democracy grants a government. As a result, bureaucrats overseeing the planning process could not get reliable information about the real opportunities and challenges experienced by enterprises or citizens.

Moreover, enterprises had little incentive to strive to meet their assigned objectives, especially when they had so little involvement in formulating them.

A second reason the USSR didn't survive was that its authoritarian system failed to motivate either workers or entrepreneurs. As a result, even though the government funded basic science generously, Soviet industry was a laggard in innovation .

Ironically, corporations – those singular products of capitalism – are showing how these and other problems of socialist planning can be surmounted.

Take the problem of democratic legitimacy. Some companies, such as General Electric , Kaiser Permanente and General Motors , have developed innovative ways to avoid the dysfunctions of autocratic planning by using techniques that enable lower-level personnel to participate actively in the strategy process.

Although profit pressures often force top managers to short-circuit the promised participation, when successfully integrated it not only provides top management with more reliable bottom-up input for strategic planning but also makes all employees more reliable partners in carrying it out.

So here we have centralization – not in the more familiar, autocratic model, but rather in a form I call "participative centralization." In a socialist system, this approach could be adopted, adapted and scaled up to support economy-wide planning, ensuring that it was both democratic and effective.

As for motivating innovation, America's big businesses face a challenge similar to that of socialism. They need employees to be collectivist, so they willingly comply with policies and procedures. But they need them to be simultaneously individualistic, to fuel divergent thinking and creativity.

One common solution in much of corporate America, as in the old Soviet Union, is to specialize those roles , with most people relegated to routine tasks while the privileged few work on innovation tasks. That approach, however, overlooks the creative capacities of the vast majority and leads to widespread employee disengagement and sub-par business performance.

Smarter businesses have found ways to overcome this dilemma by creating cultures and reward systems that support a synthesis of individualism and collectivism that I call "interdependent individualism." In my research, I have found this kind of motivation in settings as diverse as Kaiser Permanent physicians , assembly-line workers at Toyota's NUMMI plant and software developers at Computer Sciences Corp . These companies do this, in part, by rewarding both individual contributions to the organization's goals as well as collaboration in achieving them.

While socialists have often recoiled against the idea individual performance-based rewards, these more sophisticated policies could be scaled up to the entire economy to help meet socialism's innovation and motivation challenge.

Big Problems Require Big Government

The idea of such a socialist transformation in the U.S. may seem remote today.

But this can change, particularly as more Americans, especially young ones, embrace socialism . One reason they are doing so is because the current capitalist system has so manifestly failed to deal with climate change.

Looking inside these companies suggests a better way forward – and hope for society's ability to avert catastrophe.

Colonel Smithers , February 7, 2020 at 5:21 am

Thank you, Yves.

Just to add, as a former bank and buy side lobbyist, the industry is not always opposed to regulation. It's a barrier to entry.

This post is on the money. Banksters and their clients love corporate welfare and socialism for the rich, especially when so much of, for example, UK QE "leaked" into asset bubbles in emerging markets, commodities and real estate.

You are right to say that Sanders should use more pointed language. Like Nina Turner, he should call out oligarchs. That term is used for Russians and Ukrainians, but never for the likes of Zuckerberg, Musk, Dimon, Blankfein, Schmidt, Branson, Dyson, Arnault et al. The term regime should also be used. If it's good enough to delegitimise certain governments, it's good enough to describe the Trump and Johnson administrations. After all, William Hague in talks with the US government called the British government the Brown regime.

Feynman and Haldane are mentioned above. It emerged this week that Dominic Cummings, Johnson's main adviser, is an admirer of both, regarding them as free thinkers and technicians of substance, and championed Haldane's candidacy to be Bank of England governor. Johnson sided with Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Ignacio , February 7, 2020 at 6:21 am

Sanders should use more pointed language or may be not for the moment. May be after the Super Tuesday. He is being careful and that is good IMO. He doesn't want to give excuses for easy attacks. I would say, instead of "socialism for the rich", "socialism for the 1%" or the 0,1% even better. Sounds more neutral. A comment yesterday linked an article comparing Sanders with Gandhi and others and I think it was well pointed. The quiet and careful revolution!

skippy , February 7, 2020 at 6:30 am

Attack the economics and not the strawmen.

pretzelattack , February 7, 2020 at 7:02 am

what do you think of american democracy? i think it would be a good idea.

ObjectiveFunction , February 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

Sanders understands (as does Trump), that the 2020 battle is *not* for the 35-40% whose minds are basically made up at each end. Trying to win those over in any numbers (especially by shrieking invective at them) is a pathetic waste of time and effort.

The winning message must move the 20-30% of voters who either:

(a) voted Obama (hope, for something more than soothing patter) and then Trump (a giant stubby middle finger to the establishment).
(b) voted Obama in 2008 but have stayed at home since (what's the point? they're all lying scum)

Sanders simply doesn't bring socialism to America, because he doesn't have a New Deal (i.e. SocDem) party. That kind of movement will take time (and the upcoming global climatolo-economic crisis) to build up, under savage attack from the propertied unterests and continuously subverted by credentialed PMC weasels and Idpol misleadership grifters.

What Sanders the man *does* bring, today, is:

(1) unimpeachable integrity, steadfastness and sorely missed absence of smug BS and double talk;
(2) hardheaded enforcement of the existing laws of the land;
(3) delivery of universal Concrete Material Benefits© to the broad citizenry (not more 'GDP' gravy for the oligarchs) in finite time, freeing them to rejuvenate themselves, and over time, the Republic.

This last is vitally important, but must also be approached prudently lest the entire movement lose focus, overextend and fall prey to the next Trump .

IMHO, it must focus ruthlessly on delivering:

(a) single payer health care, to starve (if not incinerate) the bloated ticks gorging on the US health/elder 'care' . cesspool, I can't bring myself to call it a 'system'. This above all: without it, Americans simply can't compete in any world, walls and tariffs or not.

(b) *real* infrastructure, for the 80%. That's water and sewerage, cross-class public housing, and busways and light rail to coax Americans out of their cars and suburbs. It's not 5G, vanity EVs and high speed Acelas. And sorry Keynesians, shovel ready is a side benefit, not the primary purpose. There's a lot to do.

(c) an overhaul of American higher education (still rooted in 17th century divinity schools). Teaching (and medicine) must again become honored occupations in the country; administrators must give way to front line practitioners.

. Only then can Bernie move on to the more deeply embedded and multinational targets:

(a) big finance,
(b) extractive industries
(c) the MIC

These behemoths can really only be attacked during a time of crisis. Or they will simply crush their opponents like insects, or buy them off.

In the case of the MIC, Berniecrats will likely need to be content with strong reassertion of Federal oversight (more stick, less carrot), and disengagement from doing our 'allies' dirty work (Trump is already on that road, with one huge Ixception .)

Total dismantlement sounds very nice, but consider: whatever's left of US industrial power is concentrated in the MIC. America doesn't need to 'buy prosperity down at the armoury', but like FDR, Bernie and (Tulsi) will also need to have the keels laid down against whatever whirlwind we have reaped. Baring our breast and saying 'we deserve destruction for our sins' is a fatuous open invitation to fascism. FDR knew better.


Harry Shearer , February 7, 2020 at 11:28 am

Anybody citing Kaiser Permanente as a good example of anything has never known a person subjected to their distinctive form of "care".

David J. , February 7, 2020 at 7:32 am

Sanders was pretty direct last night at the CNN Town Hall. Flat out calls Trump a socialist. (youtube link to the question.)

Also, stick around for his answer to Cooper's followup question. Gloves are off.

LowellHighlander , February 7, 2020 at 7:43 am

Paul Adler's post here reminds me of John Kenneth Galbraith's New Industrial State, except Professor Adler was referring to the financial (i.e. parasitical) sector of the economy. Am I off the mark in thinking this?

Mel , February 7, 2020 at 11:13 am

You're right on. Galbraith showed that planning comes naturally from very large projects. Soviets went to planning because they couldn't bet the entire national economy on some gut feeling -- they needed to know what would happen. Ditto the gigantic industries in what JKG called the Planning Sector in the west. Projects spending millions or billions of dollars over many years couldn't be left to chance. Eliminating chance meant imposing control, which the gigantic industries could try to do, helped by their access to gigantic capital, and which the Soviets had done with State power.

IMHO the modern FIRE sector arose from the old Planning Sector. They eliminated the uncertainties that complicated their planning; they cut their ties with physical processes that brought those uncertainties; they dumped physical industries onto throwaway economies overseas (that could be abandoned if they failed); they finally became pure businesses that dealt only with nice, clean contracts. No muss, no fuss, no bother.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 12:41 pm

So planning is a tool of any organization, yet is required more the larger it becomes? While planning may make sense for a company with a single product such as automobiles, does it make sense for a conglomerate? I mean I think the purpose of a conglomerate is to contain many diverse product sectors to reduce risk of the conglomerate as a whole to any one sector. In that way each sector does its own planning, but the conglomerate as a whole does not, apart from choosing which companies to buy and sell, which can be considered a different type of planning? In that way are the goals of society planning are different from the goals of conglomerate planning or that of smaller single product sector companies? Yet in spite of these differences the techniques of planning are the same? Is that the main point of Alder's article? Can someone explain please.

DSB , February 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

Dimon – billionaire bank manager.

chuck roast , February 7, 2020 at 8:46 am

If you surf around a bit you can find links to Bernie's views and support of worker co-ops. There is nothing on his website. In light the burgeoning Socialist smear tsunami, it is probably not something he wants to emphasize right now. Imagine someone getting up at a CNN Town Hall and asking him about his attitude towards worker cooperatives. (corporate heads explode on golf-courses all over America)

Stadist , February 7, 2020 at 10:03 am

Modern theses about leadership, expertise and management underline agile learning and self leadership to everyone himself and within team and then within larger entities. While I'm somewhat pessimistic about these corporate trends they still look like they would work much better with worker co-ops than in traditional top down owned corporations. Basically they are asking higher dedication from workers, but this only works really well if the profits are shared with workers in somewhat equitable manner in my opinion.

Also it seems common nowadays that many coding/programming companies, especially the highly productive ones seem to act more akin to co-ops than monolithically led traditional companies. The programmers are often engaged more to the company by giving or selling them shares, and if this happens in large scale the company ownership structure can skew more towards worker owned 'co-op'-like entity than more hierarchical traditional company, where owners and workers are usually clearly separated.

The Rev Kev , February 7, 2020 at 9:57 am

Be nice if one could have posted the Forbes 400 but, listed next to each entry, is the amount of money that they receive from the Federal government both directly and indirectly.

inode_buddha , February 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

You might want to have a look at Open Secrets

They conveniently list which money went where, and how the respective legislator voted.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive. [bold in the original]

Which leads to this obvious question: Why should banks be privileged, explicitly or implicitly, in any way then?

E.g. why should we have only a SINGLE payment system (besides grubby physical fiat, paper bills and coins) that recklessly combines what should be inherently risk-free deposits with the inherently at-risk deposits the banks themselves create? I.e. why should a government privileged usury cartel hold the entire economy hostage?

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:14 pm

If you mean "why" in the moral sense, which I believe you do, there is no answer.

If you mean why in the technical sense, examine this sentence:

>why should a government privileged usury cartel

It's not "government privileged", it owns the government. Anything the government is allowed to do outside of making Jamie Dimon et al richer are considered the actual privileges by this group, and can, will and have been retracted at will.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 1:46 pm

If the banks cognitively "own" the government, it's because almost everyone believes TINA to government privileges for them.

This is disgracefully true of the big names of MMT, who should be working on HOW to abolish those privileges, not ignore or, in the case of Warren Mosler at least, INCREASE* them.

*e.g. unlimited, unsecured loans from the Central Bank to banks at ZERO percent.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 11:03 am

That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works, and that what is best for human society is some middle ground between the two is a very important message. So I'm very glad for this post. I realize that a black and white way of perceiving the world is an easy one. Yet as Alder points out, humans are both individuals and social beings. If people in this world could get back to thinking more like Ancient Greece in its appreciation for the golden mean, we would have a much better chance of surviving. Dispensing with all these useless socialism vs capitalism discussions would be a great time saver. I realize most people believe in some middle ground, yet making it explicit would simplify things quite a bit. As for the rest of the article, I need to think about it more. The corporate socialism idea does tie in with the link yesterday about limited liability.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:19 pm

>That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works,

Exactly! Because: There. Is. No. Economic. Equilibrium. Never was, never will be, anywhere and everywhere. Heck for billions of years, before humans existed let alone learned to talk, the world changed. Things developed, other things went extinct (although not in the heart-wrenching way of the Anthropocene, I personally am happy never to have met a T. Rex in truth), the way the world works even without us is continual change.

So adjust as necessary. Our healthcare system sucks, bring full bore socialism on it. Our corporate overlords suck, bring full bore free markets (kill patents to start) on them.

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm

You might want to re-think the "kill patents" idea. Our Founders liked them. I just had a patent "killed" by an examiner who "killed" 42 of 43 patents he examined. It was for a device which could be saving Corona/Flu victims Right Now. I am going to try to Donate the idea to Society, but preventing people from profiting from valid Novel ideas is not the solution. I realize Corporations abuse the Patent System, like every other thing they touch. But I am a low level individual who is trying to "innovate" and reduce illness. My main motivation was not monetary but it is always a factor.
I believe you have the wrong target on this issue.
My first rejection on a related patent was just received 2.5 years after initial filing. It took this long because the Govt. takes money from USPTO (which runs a surplus) and sends it to the General Fund. USA innovation friendly? Not the way I see it.

NoBrick , February 7, 2020 at 11:20 am

"But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets "

Consider the wisdom of Susan Webber:
"Wisdom of the CEO is comprimised work. These CEOs "know" that too much candor,
either individually or institutionally, is not a pro-survival strategy."

Diogenes , February 7, 2020 at 11:53 am

I think the comparison of banks to welfare queens is quite unfair.

To welfare queens, that is.

Assuming they exist outside of the sweaty PR fantasies of those of a certain political stripe, presumably even a welfare queen is not living 100% off of the munificence of the state, whereas the implied value of the "Too Big To Fail" guaranty subsidy was determined to be very nearly in the same amount as the annual profits of the recipient banks. In other words, they're complete wards of the state. Doesn't get much more socialistic than that.

In other words: "Socialism for me, markets for thee."

Susan the other , February 7, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Thank you, Yves for this post. Alder has very logical and accessible ideas. "Interdependent Individualism" is a good way to begin. When he says "socialists recoil against individual performance-based rewards" I can't help but think the rewards should be gifted from the workers to the bosses. Because that would be very change-promoting. Top down has a tendency to stagnate motivation – even offensively – like tossing them a few crumbs to keep them quiet. imo. This also really does sound Japanese. I'm not sure I can relate to the way they cooperate; from them there is not so much as a polite argument; certainly no sarcastic barbs. Americans are the exact opposite – we cooperate competitively in a sense. But Climate Change will dictate our direction regardless of decorum. My own sense of our dilemma is that "free market" corporations make their profits by extracting from labor and the exploitation of the environment, and by externalizing costs to society. Big disconnect. Huge, in fact. This is why "capitalism" has failed to address climate change. Anybody else notice that China has forbidden short selling as we speak? Just like the Fed did in 2009 with QE, etc. That's probably because if the economy crashes (regardless of how illogical it has become) it will take way too long to put back together. And there's work to be done. I remember Randy Wray dryly responding to Jacobin's criticism (of MMT) that the ideological socialists would rather see a bloody Marxist uprising than a peaceful evolution. I do think Wray is right on ideological blinders on both sides. One quibble I have with this very wise post is that it assumes (I think) that we cannot change our ways fast enough to mobilize adequately to address climate change. I think we've been doing it pretty aggressively since 2009. Literally a world war to control oil and maintain financial supremacy; serious consideration of our options by the political class (turning to MMT, etc.); slamming the breaks on trade and manufacturing; subsidizing essential industries. I'm sure there are other things going on under the radar. So I wouldn't discount our ability to mobilize – just our inability to admit it. Clearly we want to do things selectively.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm

>the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

Yes, as Objective Function laid out nicely (funny word for this mess, but whatever) above – this isn't gonna be easy. If you hope to beat Mike Tyson in his prime, you don't start by trading heavy blows. Defeat him with small but continuous cuts from multiple directions.

twonine , February 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Speaking of Davos and Dimon, shouldn't that be "Biggest Corporate Criminals" ?

" senior leaders of three of the largest and most elite U.S. banks were serial criminals whose frauds are (we pray) without equal." -- William K. Black

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Wallstreet on parade website does great job laying out JPM's crime spree. They (JPM) just came off parole(?) in January on some Felony charges. Someone (Eliz. Warren?) might start a movement to prohibit public pensions / State and local Govts. from conducting business with any banks convicted of felonies or entering plea agreements more than, let's say, ten per year.
A convicted felon can not get a job at a bank run by a 22 times loser- Jamie Dimon, a fellow felon who should have some empathy.
Wallstreet on parade is one of few sites who discuss Citi's crimes, and the fact that the Federal Reserve tried to cover up (and succeeded until about 2012) the secret 2.5 TRILLIION in revolving loans provided to a bankrupt Citibank around 2009. This in addition to the hundreds of billions we did know about.
I do tend to harp on this because the felon Robert Rubin cost me about 500K in expired Put options on shittybank because of his blatant, felonious (per FCIC) lies right before the implosion. His referral for prosecution by the Financial Crises Inquiry Commission mysteriously withered away

[Feb 07, 2020] The favored candidate of the DNC is clearly Trump

Trump is Hillary2020 ;-)
Feb 07, 2020 |

Bubbles , Feb 6 2020 20:57 utc | 74

Yes pft, the favored candidate of the DNC is clearly Trump.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Feb 6 2020 19:25 utc | 58

Only if the ungrateful commoners who identify as Democrats or moderates can't be brought to heel and give their full throated support for the DNC's favoured Cookie Cutter candidate who might as well be one of those dolls with a string and a recording you hear when you pull the string.

Then yes, they would prefer 'fore moar years!!' of the Ugliest American ever to be installed as President of the United States.

One of things I respect about Tulsi Gabbard is she ain't no Doll with a string attached. When she made the comment about cleaning out the rot in the Democratic Party, she left no doubt her intent and goals. And to take on hillary, the Red Queen to boot, why that was simply delicious.

Alas, the View, the DNC, it's web of evil rich and the media will never forgive her for Soldiering for her Country.

[Feb 07, 2020] It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

Feb 07, 2020 |

Ian2 , Feb 6 2020 20:02 utc | 65

It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

I honestly can't see Sanders getting the nomination with all the corruption openly being displayed. I would be pleasantly surprised if Sanders did manage to get it, but he still have to deal with the ELECTORAL COLLEGE (EC). The Electors have the final say. Yes, one can point out that some States have laws forcing Electors to vote what the populace wants, but that is being challenged in court. The debate on whether such laws are unconstitutional or not, remains to be seen. It's too late now to deal with the EC for this election, but people need to be more active in politics at the State level as that's where Electors are (s)elected.

IF Sanders is genuine then he should prepare to run as an independent just to get the EC attention.

ben , Feb 6 2020 22:01 utc | 79

RR @ 14;
Everything in the U$A today, is driven by the unofficial Party of $, and it's reach transcends both Dems & repubs. It's cadre is the majority of the D.C. "rule makers", so we get what they want, not what "we the people" want or need.

They own the banks, MSM media, and even our voting systems.

IMO, to assume one party is to blame for conditions in the U$A is a bit naive.

Question is, can anything the masses do, change the system? Or is rank and file America just along for the ride?

I'm assuming us peons will get what the party of $ wants this November also.

P.S. If any blame is given, it needs to go to the American public, because " you get the kind of Gov. you deserve" through your inactions...

It's a lot like living, death is certain, but until that occurs, I'll move forward trying to mitigate current paradigms.

[Feb 07, 2020] Pepe Escobar pointed out once that certain members of the "Masters of the Universe" (as he terms the US elites who actually run things) supported Trump in 2016, and were opposed to other "Masters" who supported Hillary Clinton.

Feb 07, 2020 |

Richard Steven Hack , Feb 7 2020 0:54 utc | 104

This is very speculative, but...

Pepe Escobar pointed out once that certain members of the "Masters of the Universe" (as he terms the US elites who actually run things) supported Trump in 2016, and were opposed to other "Masters" who supported Hillary Clinton. Given that Clinton disappointed her "Masters" by losing and damaging her credibility with the whole "Russiagate" fiasco, perhaps they switched sides to Trump - especially given that Trump can be controlled and manipulated more easily (since he is an idiot and ignoramus) to start the wars the "masters" are yearning for to improve their corporate profits (regardless of his alleged desire to avoid wars - a fanciful story also told about Barrack Obama from the beginning as well, which resulted in Obama destroying four more countries than Bush during his administration.)

So now they've decided the Dems need to be kept out of it for whatever reasons of incompetent politicking or too much socialism for the "Masters" liking, or whatever. So they're arranging for the Dems to self-destruct this year.

Just a speculative thought, and I wouldn't put any stock in it absent any real evidence.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Absent Gabbard being nominated and elected, nothing will change in US foreign policy anyway. And to quote Percival Rose from the Nikita show about Gabbard's chances, "That ain't gonna happen."

[Feb 07, 2020] The Philly Fed state-by-state diffusion index of economic expansion

Feb 07, 2020 |

The Philly Fed state-by-state diffusion index of economic expansion

NewDealdemocrat | February 7, 2020 8:55 am

Taxes/regulation US/Global Economics The Philly Fed state-by-state diffusion index of economic expansion This comes from the Philly Fed's state-by-state coincident index, via Bill McBride. The graph below shows the number of states showing increasing economic activity:

In December the number of states in expansion was 39. Historically over the past 40 years, that number dropping to 35 or below has (with the exception of one month in 1986) been the marker of the onset of a recession.

Note the number is below the lowest level from 2015-16, in which weakness was generally confined to the Oil patch. It is yet another marker of a slowdown, but not of a recession.

Later this morning we'll get the January ISM manufacturing report, and over the next 48 hours we'll get reports on January auto and truck sales. Both of these will help tell us if the weakness in the production sector has been spreading or not.

[Feb 05, 2020] Trump as a middle level gangster

There is a real danger for gangstrism mode of forign policy -- policimakers live in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs...
Feb 05, 2020 |

Diplomacy, accommodation, compromise, mutuality, the perspectives of others: It is already clear these are among the defining features of 21 st century statecraft. Jealous of its dissipating preeminence, the U.S. proves indifferent to all such considerations. There is no longer even the pretense of deriving authority by way of example, so radical is Washington's preference for coercive might alone. The paradox is not difficult to grasp: In displays of unadorned power we also find the limits of power. The Trump administration's conduct of foreign policy -- primarily but not only in the Mideast -- makes failure and an American comeuppance inevitable.

... ... ...

Many years ago, during the first term of George W. Bush, Karl Rove gave an interview in which he asserted that the U.S. was no longer bound by "discernible reality," as the White House aide put it. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," Rove explained. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."

Rove Warning Overlooked

This singularly arrogant remark was much noted at the time but was thought to reflect only the kookier extremes of the Bush II administration. What a misinterpretation that has proven to be. Rove was effectively warning us that the U.S. had already begun its fundamental shift toward sheer power as the instrument of its foreign policies. This is plain in hindsight.

... These policies share two features. They rest on power alone -- in this they are Karl Rove's dream made flesh -- and they are bound to fail, if they are not already failing.

It is evident now that the European allies will defy U.S. efforts to sabotage NordStream 2 and keep Huawei out of 5–G. London announced last week that it will allow Huawei to participate in its 5–G development program. Germany made a similar decision last autumn.

In the Middle East, it is equally clear that Iran has no intention of buckling under U.S. sanctions and military threats. U.S. influence in the region has already begun to decline since the drone assassination of a top Iranian general on Iraqi soil early last month. The Pentagon now faces popular Iraqi demands to withdraw its troops.

And now the Mideast -- Israel and Palestine. The Trump administration sacrificed all claim to "honest broker" status when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017 -- a unilateral move that prompted the Palestinians to stop talking to the U.S. about the plan Jared Kushner was by then developing. Of all that is wrong with the new Trump–Kushner plan, the absence of Palestinian input more or less assures that it will prove dead on arrival.

Power alone is power blind. Power blind is certain to fail, for it cannot see its way.

[Feb 05, 2020] Stumbling Into Catastrophe by Daniel McAdams

Feb 04, 2020 |

Authored by Daniel McAdams via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

There is a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs. Needless to say it's even worse when they believe they can create their own reality and invent outcomes out of whole cloth.

Things seldom go as planned in these circumstances.

President Trump was sold a bill of goods on the assassination of Iran's revered military leader, Qassim Soleimani, likely by a cabal around Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the long-discredited neocon David Wurmser. A former Netanyahu advisor and Iraq war