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Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy

There is no economics, only political economy, stupid

News Casino Capitalism Recommended Links Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Number racket Efficient Market Hypothesis Economism and abuse of economic theory in American politics
Supply Side or Trickle down economics Invisible Hand Hypothesys Twelve apostles of deregulation Monetarism fiasco Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Samuelson's bastard Keynesianism Greenspan as the Chairman of Financial Politburo
Libertarian Philosophy Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State
Free Market Fundamentalism Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Lawrence Summers Corruption of Regulators Glass-Steagall repeal Rational expectations scam Free Markets Newspeak
In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Mathiness GDP as a false measure of a country economic output Introduction to Lysenkoism Republican Economic Policy Think Tanks Enablers  Small government smoke screen
Hyman Minsky John Kenneth Galbraith  Bookshelf History of Casino Capitalism Casino Capitalism Dictionary :-) Humor Etc
Is it really necessary for every economist to be brain-dead apologist for the rich and powerful and predatory, in every damn breath?

Bruce Wilder in comments to Clash of Autonomy and Interdependence

Smith briskly takes a sledgehammer to any number of plaster saints cluttering up the edifice of modern economics:

"assumptions that are patently ridiculous: that individuals are rational and utility-maximizing (which has become such a slippery notion as to be meaningless), that buyers and sellers have perfect information, that there are no transaction costs, that capital flows freely"

And then...papers with cooked figures, economists oblivious to speculative factors driving oil prices, travesty versions of Keynes's ideas that airbrush out its most characteristic features in the name of mathematical tractability.

And then...any number of grand-sounding theoretical constructs: the Arrow-Debreu theorem, the Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium model, the Black-Scholes option model, Value at Risk, CAPM, the Gaussian copula, that only work under blatantly unrealistic assumptions that go by high falutin' names - equilibrium, ergodicity, and so on.

The outcome of this pseudo-scientific botching is an imposing corpus of pretentious quackery that somehow elevates unregulated "free markets" into the sole mechanism for distribution of the spoils of economic activity. We are supposed to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum indulgence of human greed results in maximum prosperity for all. That's unfair to alchemy: compared with the threadbare scientific underpinnings of this economic dogma, alchemy is a model of rigor.

How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism

How many others are being paid for punditry? Or has the culture of corruption spread so far that the question is, Who isn't?

PAUL KRUGMAN, NYT, December 19, 2005

"MIT and Wharton and University of Chicago created the financial engineering instruments which, like Samson and Delilah, blinded every CEO. They didn't realize the kind of leverage they were doing and they didn't understand when they were really creating a real profit or a fictitious one."

Paul Samuelson


When you see this "neoclassical" gallery of expensive intellectual prostitutes (sorry, respectable priests of a dominant religion) that pretend to be professors of economics in various prominent universities, it is difficult not to say "It's political economy stupid". Those lackeys of ruling elite are just handing microphone bought by financial oligarchy.  Here is am review of  ECONned How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism eBook Yves Smith that  states this position well:

Neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy

There are many good reviews of the book published already and I don't want to repeat them. But I think there is one aspect of the book that was not well covered in the published reviews and which I think is tremendously important and makes the book a class of its own: the use of neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy. I hope that the term "econned" will became a new word in English language.

Neoclassical economics has become the modern religion with its own priests, sacred texts and a scheme of salvation. It was a successful attempt to legitimize the unlimited rule of financial oligarchy by using quasi-mathematical, oversimplified and detached for reality models. The net result is a new brand of theology, which proved to be pretty powerful in influencing people and capturing governments("cognitive regulatory capture"). Like Marxism, neoclassical economics is a triumph of ideology over science. It was much more profitable though: those who were the most successful in driving this Trojan horse into the gates were remunerated on the level of Wall Street traders.

Economics is essentially a political science. And politics is about perception. Neo-classical economics is all about manipulating the perception in such a way as to untie hands of banking elite to plunder the country (and get some cramps from the table for themselves). Yves contributed to our understanding how "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, economics professors from Chicago, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton and some other places warmed by flow of money from banks for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping Wall Street to plunder the country. The rhetorical question that a special counsel to the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, asked Senator McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency?" applies.

The main effect of neoclassical economics is elevating unregulated ( "free" in neoclassic economics speak) markets into the key mechanism for distribution of the results of economic activity with banks as all-powerful middlemen and sedating any opposition with pseudo-mathematical mumbo-jumbo. Complexity was used as a powerful smoke screen to conceal greed and incompetence. As a result financial giants were able to loot almost all sectors of economics with impunity and without any remorse, not unlike the brutal conquerors in Middle Ages.

The key to the success of this nationwide looting is that people should be brainwashed/indoctrinated to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum level of greed results in maximum prosperity for all. Collapse of the USSR helped in this respect driving the message home: look how the alternative ended, when in reality the USSR was a neo-feudal society. But the exquisite irony here is that Bolsheviks-style ideological brainwashing was applied very successfully to the large part of the US population (especially student population) using neo-classical economics instead of Marxism (which by-and-large was also a pseudo-religious economic theory with slightly different priests and the plan of salvation ;-). The application of badly constructed mathematical models proved to be a powerful tool for distorting reality in a certain, desirable for financial elite direction. One of the many definitions of Ponzi Scheme is "transfer liabilities to unwilling others." The use of detached from reality mathematical models fits this definition pretty well.

The key idea here is that neoclassical economists are not and never have been scientists: much like Marxist economists they always were just high priests of a dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the benefit of the sect (and indirectly to their own benefit). All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: state support was and still is here, it is just working more subtly via ostracism, without open repressions. Look at Shiller story on p.9.

I think that one of lasting insights provided by Econned is the demonstration how the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the neoclassical economic school that has dominated the field at least for 30 or may be even 50 years. And that this ideological coup d'état was initiated and financed by banking establishment who was a puppeteer behind the curtain. This is not unlike the capture of Russia by Bolsheviks supported by German intelligence services (and Bolshevics rule lasted slightly longer -- 65 years). Bolsheviks were just adherents of similar wrapped in the mantle of economic theory religious cult, abeit more dangerous and destructive for the people of Russia then neoclassical economics is for the people of the USA. Quoting Marx we can say "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce".

That also means that there is no easy way out of the current situation. Ideologies are sticky and can lead to the collapse of society rather then peaceful evolution.

So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.

So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.

The cult which served as a Trojan horse for bankers to grab power and wealth by robbing fellow Americans. In a way this is a classic story of a parasite killing the host. The powers that be in academia put their imprimatur on economic ‘theory,’ select and indoctrinate its high priests to teach it, and with a host of media players grinding out arguments pro and con this and that, provide legitimacy sufficient for cover of bankers objectives. Which control the disposition and annuity streams of pension fund assets and related financial services. In his new documentary Inside Job, filmmaker Charles Ferguson provides strong evidence of a systematic mass corruption of economic profession (Yahoo! Finance):

Ferguson points to 20 years of deregulation, rampant greed (a la Gordon Gekko) and cronyism. This cronyism is in large part due to a revolving door between not only Wall Street and Washington, but also the incestuous relationship between Wall Street, Washington and academia.

The conflicts of interest that arise when academics take on roles outside of education are largely unspoken, but a very big problem. “The academic economics discipline has been very heavily penetrated by the financial services industry,” Ferguson tells Aaron in the accompanying clip. “Many prominent academics now actually make the majority of their money from the financial services industry, not from teaching or research. [This fact] has definitely compromised the research work and the policy advice that we get from academia.”

... ... ...

Feguson is astonished by the lack of regulation demanding financial disclosure of all academics and is now pushing for it. “At a minimum, federal law should require public disclosure of all outside income that is in any way related to professors’ publishing and policy advocacy,” he writes. “It may be desirable to go even further, and to limit the total size of outside income that potentially generates conflicts of interest.”

The dismantling of economic schools that favor financial oligarchy interests over real research (and prosecuting academic criminals -- many prominent professors in Chicago, Harvard, Columbia and other prominent members of neo-classical economic church) require a new funding model. As neoliberalism itself, the neoclassical economy is very sticky. Chances for success of any reform in the current environment are slim to non existent.

Here is one apt quote from Zero Hedge discussion of Gonzalo Lira article On The Identity Of The False Religion Behind The Mask Of Economic Science zero hedge

"They analyze data for Christ sakes"

Just like Mishkin analyzed Iceland for $120k? a huge proportion in US [are] on Fed payroll, or beneficiaries of corporate thinktank cash; they are coverup lipstick and makeup; hacks for hire.

Like truth-trashing mortgage pushers, credit raters, CDO CDS market manipulators and bribe-fueled fraud enablers of all stripes -- they do it for the dough -- and because everybody else is doing it.

It's now a common understanding that "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, professors  of neoclassical economics from Chicago, Harvard and some other places are warmed by flow of money from financial services industries for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping financial oligarchy to destroy the country. This role of neo-classical economists as the fifth column of financial oligarchy is an interesting research topic. Just don't expect any grants for it ;-).

As Reinhold Niebuhr aptly noted in his classic Moral Man and Immoral Society
Since inequalities of privilege are greater than could possibly be defended rationally, the intelligence of privileged groups is usually applied to the task of inventing specious proofs for the theory that universal values spring from, and that general interests are served by, the special privileges which they hold.

I would like to stress it again: they are not and never have been scientists: they are just high priests of dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the sect (and that means their own) benefits. Fifth column of financial oligarchy. All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: at some point state support became obvious as financial oligarchy gained significant share of government power (as Glass-Steagall repeal signified). It is just more subtle working via ostracism and flow of funding, without open repressions. See also Politicization of science and The Republican War on Science

Like Russia with Bolsheviks, the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the Chicago economic school that has dominated the field for approximately 50 years ( as minimum over 30 years). Actually the situation not unlike the situation with Lysenkoism is the USSR. It's pretty notable that the USA suffered 30 years of this farce, actually approximately the same amount of time the USSR scientific community suffered from Lysenkoism (1934-1965)

Rules of disclosure of sources of financing for economic research are non-existent

"Over the past 30 years, the economics profession—in economics departments, and in business, public policy, and law schools—has become so compromised by conflicts of interest that it now functions almost as a support group for financial services and other industries whose profits depend heavily on government policy.

The route to the 2008 financial crisis, and the economic problems that still plague us, runs straight through the economics discipline. And it's due not just to ideology; it's also about straightforward, old-fashioned money."

Peter Dormat noticed amazing similarity between medical researchers taking money from drug companies and economists. In case of medical researchers widespread corruption can at least be partially kept in check by rules of disclosure. Universities are being called out for their failure to disclose to public agencies the other, private grants researchers are pulling in. This is not perfect policing as the universities themselves get a cut of the proceeds, so that the conflict of interest exists but at least this is theirs too.

But there is no corresponding policy for economics. So for them there are not even rules to be broken. And this is not a bug, this is  feature.  In a sense corruption is officially institualized and expected in economics. Being a paid shill is the typical career of many professional economists. Some foundations require an acknowledgment in the published research they support, but that's all about “thank you”, not disclaimer about the level of influence of those who pay for the music exert on the selection of the tune. Any disclosure of other, privately-interested funding sources by economists is strictly voluntary, and in practice seldom occurs. Trade researchers can be funded by foreign governments or business associations and so on and so forth.

In this atmosphere pseudo-theories have currency and are attractive to economists who want to enrich themselves. That situation is rarely reflected in mainstream press. For example, there some superficial critiques of neo-classical economics as a new form of Lysenkoism (it enjoyed the support of the state) but MSM usually frame the meltdown of neo-classical economic theory something like "To all you corrupt jerks out there: shake off the old camouflage as it became too visible and find a new way misleading the masses...". At the same time it's a real shocker, what a bunch of toxic theories and ideologies starting from Reagan have done to the US economy.

That suggests that neo-economics such as Milton Friedman (and lower level patsies like Eugene Fama ) were just paid propagandists of a superficial, uninformed, and simplistic view of the world that was convenient to the ruling elite. While this is somewhat simplistic explanation, it's by-and-large true and that was one of the factors led the USA very close to the cliff... Most of their theories is not only just nonsense for any trained Ph.D level mathematician or computer scientist, they look like nonsense to any person with a college degree, who looks at them with a fresh, unprejudiced mind. There are several economic myths, popularized by well paid propagandists over the last thirty years, that are falling hard in the recent series of financial crises: the efficient market hypothesis, the inherent benefits of globalization from the natural equilibrium of national competitive advantages, and the infallibility of unfettered greed as a ideal method of managing and organizing human social behavior and maximizing national production.

I would suggest that and economic theory has a strong political-economic dimension. The cult of markets, ideological subservience and manipulation, etc. certainly are part of neo-classical economics that was influenced by underling political agenda this pseudo-theory promotes. As pdavidsonutk wrote: July 16, 2009 16:14

Keynes noted that "classical theorists resemble Euclidean geometers in a non Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight --as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions. Yet in truth there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels to work out a non-Euclidean geometry. SOMETHING SIMILAR IS REQUIRED IN ECONOMICS TODAY. " [Emphasis added]

As I pointed out in my 2007 book JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (Mentioned in this ECONOMIST article as a biography "of the master") Keynes threw over three classical axioms: (1) the neutral money axiom (2) the gross substitution axiom, and (3) the ergodic axiom.

The latter is most important for understanding why modern macroeconomics is dwelling in an Euclidean economics world rather than the non-Euclidean economics Keynes set forth.

The Ergodic axiom asserts that the future is merely the statistical shadow of the past so that if one develops a probability distribution using historical data, the same probability distribution will govern all future events till the end of time!! Thus in this Euclidean economics there is no uncertainty about the future only probabilistic risk that can reduce the future to actuarial certainty! In such a world rational people and firms know (with actuarial certainty) their intertemporal budget constrains and optimize -- so that there can never be an loan defaults, insolvencies, or bankruptcies.

Keynes argued that important economic decisions involved nonergodic processes, so that the future could NOT be forecasted on the basis of past statistical probability results -- and therefore certain human institutions had to be develop0ed as part of the law of contracts to permit people to make crucial decisions regarding a future that they "knew" they could not know and still sleep at night. When the future seems very uncertain, then rational people in a nonergodic world would decide not to make any decisions to commit their real resources -- but instead save via liquid assets so they could make decisions another day when the future seemed to them less uncertain.

All this is developed and the policy implications derived in my JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (2007) book. Furthermore this nonergodic model is applied to the current financial and economic crisis and its solution in my 2009 book THE KEYNES SOLUTION: THE PATH TO GLOBAL PROSPERITY (Palgrave/Macmillan) where I tell the reader what Keynes would have written regarding today's domestic crisis in each nation and its international aspects.

Paul Davidson ghaliban wrote:

July 16, 2009 15:34

I think you could have written a shorter article to make your point about the dismal state of economics theory and practice, and saved space to think more imaginatively about ways to reform.

A bit like biology, economics must become econology - a study of real economic systems. It must give up its physics-envy. This on its own will lead its practitioners closer to the truth.

Like biological systems, economic systems are complex, and often exhibit emergent properties that cannot be predicted from the analysis of component parts. The best way to deal with this is (as in biology) to start with the basic organizational unit of analysis - the individual, and then study how the individual makes economic decisions in larger and larger groups (family/community), and how groups take economic decisions within larger and larger forms of economic organization. From this, econologists should determine whether there are any enduring patterns in how aggregate economic decisions are taken. If there are no easily discernable patterns, and aggregate decisions cannot be predicted from a knowledge of individual decision-making preferences, then the theory must rely (as it does in biology) on computer simulations with the economy replicated in as much detail as possible to limit the scope for modeling error. This path will illuminate the "physiology" of different economies.

A second area of development must look into "anatomy" - the connections between actors within the financial system, the connections between economic actors within the real economy, and the connections between the real and financial economies. What are the precise links demand and supply links between these groups, and how does money really flow through the economic system? A finer knowledge of economic anatomy will make it easier to produce better computer simulations of the economy, which will make it a bit easier to study economic physiology.

"Markets uber alles" or more correctly "Financial oligarchy uber alles"

In her interview What Exactly Is Neoliberalism  Wendy Brown advanced some Professor Wolin ideas to a new level and provide explanation why "neoclassical crooks" like Professor  Frederic Mishkin (of Financial Stability in Iceland fame) still rule the economics departments of the USA. They are instrumental in giving legitimacy to the neoliberal rule favoured by the financial oligarchy:

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."

"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."

"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."

"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."

"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."

"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."

"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."


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Old News ;-)

I find an attempt to elevate academic finance and economics to sciences by using the word "scientism" to be bizarre. Finance models like CAPM, Black-Scholes and VAR all rest on assumptions that are demonstrably false, such as rational investors and continuous markets.

May 11, 2012 at 1-40 pm

[Jul 16, 2018] Five Things That Would Make The CIA-CNN Russia Narrative More Believable

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How much proof would I need to lend my voice to the escalation of tensions between two nuclear superpowers? Mountains. I personally would settle for nothing less than hard proof which can be independently verified by trusted experts like the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. ..."
"... Is that a big ask? Yes. Yes it is. That's what happens when government institutions completely discredit themselves as they did with the false narratives advanced in the manufacturing of support for the Iraq invasion. You don't get to butcher a million Iraqis in a war based on lies, turn around a few years later and say "We need new cold war escalations with a nuclear superpower but we can't prove it because the evidence is secret." That's not a thing. Copious amounts of hard, verifiable proof or GTFO. So far we have no evidence besides the confident-sounding assertions of government insiders and their mass media mouthpieces, which is the same as no evidence. ..."
Jul 15, 2018 |

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via,

As we just discussed , some major news stories have recently dropped about what a horrible horrifying menace the Russian Federation is to the world , and as always I have nothing to offer the breathless pundits on CNN and MSNBC but my completely unsatisfied skepticism. My skepticism of the official Russia narrative remains so completely unsatisfied that if mainstream media were my husband I would already be cheating on it with my yoga instructor.

I do not believe the establishment Russia narrative. I do not believe that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to rig the 2016 election. I do not believe the Russian government did any election rigging for Trump to collude with. This is not because I believe Vladimir Putin is some kind of blueberry-picking girl scout, and it certainly isn't because I think the Russian government is unwilling or incapable of meddling in the affairs of other nations to some extent when it suits them. It is simply because I am aware that the US intelligence community lies constantly as a matter of policy, and because I understand how the burden of proof works.

At this time, I see no reason to espouse any belief system which embraces as true the assertion that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections in any meaningful way, or that it presents a unique and urgent threat to the world which must be aggressively dealt with. But all the establishment mouthpieces tell me that I must necessarily embrace these assertions as known, irrefutable fact. Here are five things that would have to change in order for that to happen:

1. Proof of a hacking conspiracy to elect Trump.

The first step to getting a heretic like myself aboard the Russia hysteria train would be the existence of publicly available evidence of the claims made about election meddling in 2016, which rises to the level required in a post-Iraq invasion world. So far, that burden of proof for Russian hacking allegations has not come anywhere remotely close to being met.

How much proof would I need to lend my voice to the escalation of tensions between two nuclear superpowers? Mountains. I personally would settle for nothing less than hard proof which can be independently verified by trusted experts like the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Is that a big ask? Yes. Yes it is. That's what happens when government institutions completely discredit themselves as they did with the false narratives advanced in the manufacturing of support for the Iraq invasion. You don't get to butcher a million Iraqis in a war based on lies, turn around a few years later and say "We need new cold war escalations with a nuclear superpower but we can't prove it because the evidence is secret." That's not a thing. Copious amounts of hard, verifiable proof or GTFO. So far we have no evidence besides the confident-sounding assertions of government insiders and their mass media mouthpieces, which is the same as no evidence.

2. Proof that election meddling actually influenced the election in a meaningful way.

Even if Russian hackers did exfiltrate Democratic party emails and give them to WikiLeaks, if it didn't affect the election, who cares? That's a single-day, second-page story at best, meriting nothing beyond a "Hmm, interesting, turns out Russia tried and failed to influence the US election," followed by a shrug and moving on to something that actually matters.

After it has been thoroughly proven that Russia meddled in the elections in a meaningful way, it must then be established that that meddling had an actual impact on the election results.

3. Some reason to believe Russian election meddling was unwarranted and unacceptable.

The US government, by a very wide margin , interferes in the elections of other countries far, far more than any other government on earth does. The US government's own data shows that it has deliberately meddled in the elections of 81 foreign governments between 1946 and 2000, including Russia in the nineties. This is public knowledge. A former CIA Director cracked jokes about it on Fox News earlier this year.

If I'm going to abandon my skepticism and accept the Gospel According to Maddow, after meaningful, concrete election interference has been clearly established I'm going to need a very convincing reason to believe that it is somehow wrong or improper for a government to attempt to respond in kind to the undisputed single worst offender of this exact offense. It makes no sense for the United States to actively create an environment in which election interference is something that governments do to one another, and then cry like a spanked child when its election is interfered with by one of the very governments whose elections the US recently meddled in.

This is nonsense. America being far and away the worst election meddler on the planet makes it a fair target for election meddling by not just Russia, but every country in the world. It is very obviously moral and acceptable for any government on earth to interfere in America's elections as long as it remains the world's worst offender in that area. In order for Russia to be in the wrong if it interfered in America's elections, some very convincing argument I've not yet heard will have to be made to support that case.

4. Proof that the election meddling went beyond simply giving Americans access to information about their government.

If all the Russians did was simply show Americans emails of Democratic Party officials talking to one another and circulate some MSM articles as claimed in the ridiculous Russian troll farm allegations , that's nothing to get upset about. If anything, Americans should be upset that they had to hear about Democratic Party corruption through the grapevine instead of having light shed on it by the American officials whose job it is to do so. Complaints about election meddling is only valid if that election meddling isn't comprised of truth and facts.

5. A valid reason to believe escalated tensions between two nuclear superpowers are worthwhile.

After it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia did indeed meddle in the US elections in a meaningful way, and after it has then been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia actually influenced election results in a significant way, and after the case has been clearly made that it was bad and wrong for Russia to do this instead of fair and reasonable, and after it has been clearly proven that the election meddling went beyond simply telling Americans the truth about their government, the question then becomes what, if anything, should be done about it?

If you look at the actions that this administration has taken over the last year and a half, the answer to that question appears to be harsh sanctions, NATO expansionism, selling arms to Ukraine, throwing out diplomats, increasing military presence along Russia's border, a Nuclear Posture Review which is much more aggressive toward Russia, repeatedly bombing Syria, and just generally creating more and more opportunities for something to go catastrophically wrong with one of the two nations' aging, outdated nuclear arsenals, setting off a chain of events from which there is no turning back and no surviving.

And the pundits and politicians keep pushing for more and more escalations, at this very moment braying with one voice that Trump must aggressively confront Putin about Mueller's indictments or withdraw from the peace talks. But is it worth it? Is it worth risking the life of every terrestrial organism to, what? What specifically would be gained that makes increasing the risk of nuclear catastrophe worthwhile? Making sure nobody interferes in America's fake elections? I'd need to see a very clear and specific case made, with a 'pros' and 'cons' list and "THE POTENTIAL DEATH OF LITERALLY EVERYTHING" written in big red letters at the top of the 'cons' column.

Rallying the world to cut off Russia from the world stage and cripple its economy has been been a goal of the US power establishment since the collapse of the Soviet Union, so there's no reason to believe that even the people who are making the claims against Russia actually believe them. The goal is crippling Russia to handicap China , and ultimately to shore up global hegemony for the US-centralized empire by preventing the rise of any rival superpowers. The sociopathic alliance of plutocrats and intelligence/defense agencies who control that empire are willing to threaten nuclear confrontation in order to ensure their continued dominance. All of their actions against Russia since 2016 have had everything to do with establishing long-term planetary dominance and nothing whatsoever to do with election meddling.

Those five things would need to happen before I'd be willing to jump aboard the "Russia! Russia! Russia!" train. Until then I'll just keep pointing to the total lack of evidence and how very, very far the CIA/CNN Russia narrative is from credibility.

* * *

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[Jul 16, 2018] What Will Kill Neoliberalism

Does neoliberalism in crisis has a tendency to slide into neofascism?
Notable quotes:
"... Massive global inequality underlies our era of economic and political unrest. The rise of nationalist, populist movements, and the faltering influence of the Davos class of free-trade advocates, have rendered neoliberalism an ideology without committed ideologues. So what will bring about the end of neoliberalism -- the left? the right? the incompetence of the professional political class? -- and, when it's gone, what will replace it? We asked five of our favorite minds for their views on the direction we urgently need to go next. ..."
"... Take the State ..."
"... Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future ..."
"... The Crisis of Care ..."
"... A Revolution of Managers ..."
"... Who Needs the Negro? ..."
"... Universal Base Income ..."
"... The Guardian ..."
"... The Nation ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... With Liberty and Dividends for All: How to Save Our Middle Class When Jobs Don't Pay Enough ..."
"... All economic problems, in the neoliberal view, are attributable to sluggish growth, which is in turn the result of insufficient competition. The neoliberal agenda seeks to stimulate competition, suggesting that if countries are allowed to run deficits, the people's work ethic will suffer as a result. ..."
"... Given the neoliberal experiment we've been engaged in since the seventies, we see economic growth is still sluggish and further, global economic inequality continues to increase. Yet if I consider what's likely to prove to be the undoing of moral universe theory, it's the reality that it's very sloppy theology. ..."
"... he doesn't recognize that it is the Oligarchy that is in control and has a stranglehold on both the RNC and DNC to maintain its power. ..."
"... The Right is desperate for change but has really no place to go. Our society has been pulled so far right that there is little to nothing for them to grasp on to display possibilities of improvement for the populous. ..."
"... The Left are the ones who are poised to "Kill Neoliberalism." Joelle Gamble hides the fact that the establishment DNC is almost totally controlled by the Oligarchy and that there are already multiple organizations that are aggressively challenging them. ..."
"... The Progressive Left will be the ones to take down Neoliberalism, what comes next is the real question. Will the Oligarchy be able to implement a fascist regime to maintain its control or will they be cut off at the knees by a socialist government? ..."
Jul 06, 2018 |
Massive global inequality underlies our era of economic and political unrest. The rise of nationalist, populist movements, and the faltering influence of the Davos class of free-trade advocates, have rendered neoliberalism an ideology without committed ideologues. So what will bring about the end of neoliberalism -- the left? the right? the incompetence of the professional political class? -- and, when it's gone, what will replace it? We asked five of our favorite minds for their views on the direction we urgently need to go next.;

Joelle Gamble

The dramatic effects of deindustrialization, automation, globalization, and the growing disparities of wealth and income -- including by race and region -- are undermining political norms in much of the West. 4

Activists and academics alike have linked these trends to the neoliberal ideology that has guided policy-making over the past several decades. This ideology has resulted in pushing the widespread deregulation of key industries, attempting to solve most social and economic problems through market competition, and privatizing public functions like the operation of prisons and institutions of higher education. Neoliberal ideas were considered such common sense during the 1980s and '90s that they were simply never acknowledged as an ideology. Now, even economists at the International Monetary Fund are willing to poke holes in the ideology of neoliberalism. Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri wrote in 2016: "The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda." 5

We know that neoliberalism has now provoked populist responses on the left and the right. But are either of them sufficient to end its rule? 6

The left needs to stop playing defense. This means enacting policies like universal health care, free college, and ending the private-prison industry.

Left populism, if organized, could end the neoliberal order: As espoused by leaders like Pramila Jayapal and Keith Ellison, left populism demands public control as well as redistribution; it is pro-regulation, pro-state, and anti-privatization. These values are inherently at odds with the small-government, anti-regulatory tenets of neoliberalism. If an aggressive left-populist agenda is successfully implemented, neoliberalism would be defeated. The barrier to implementation is the left's inability to be consistent and organized. 7

Populism on both the left and right has proved difficult to organize and suffers from a lack of leadership. On the left, the struggle for organization has been playing out in the Democratic Party's leadership fights. Politicians and activists are attempting to close the ideological gap between the party's base and its leaders. Without enough trust to allow leaders to set and execute a well-resourced strategy -- to say nothing of the resources themselves -- the left faces huge obstacles to actually implementing an agenda that spells the end of neoliberal dominance, despite having an ideology that could usher in a post-neoliberal world. 8

Jimmy Tobias

Left populism can technically end neoliberalism. But can right-wing populism? 9

One should hope that right-wing populism doesn't become organized enough to end the neoliberal order. Public control is not a cogent ideology on the right. That leaves room for privatization -- a main pillar of neoliberalism -- to continue to grow. Only if right-wing nationalism turns into radical authoritarian nationalism (read: fascism) will its relationship with corporate power turn into an end to the neoliberal order. In the United States, this would mean: 1) the delegitimization of Congress and the judicial branch, 2) the increased criminalization of activists and political opponents, and 3) the nationalization of major industries. 10

Right-wing nationalism seems to be crafted to win electoral victories at the intersection of protectionist and xenophobic sentiments. Its current manifestation, designed to win over rural nativist voters, appears to be at odds with the pro-free-trade policies of neoliberalism. However, the lines between far-right nationalism and the mainstream right are blurring, especially when it comes to privatization and the role of government. In the United States, Trump's agenda looks more like crony capitalism than a consistent turn from neoliberal norms. His administration seems either unwilling or incapable of taking a heavy-handed approach to industry. 11

As with many of his business ventures, we've already seen Trump-style nationalism fail in his nascent administration. The White House caved to elite Republican interests with the attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and with Trump's decision to stack high-level economic-policy roles with members of the financial elite. Trump's proclaimed nationalist ideology seems to be a rhetorical device rather than a consistent governing principle. It's possible that the same might be true for other right-wing nationalists. France's Marine Le Pen has cozied up, though admittedly inconsistently, to business interests; she has also toned down her rhetoric, especially on immigration, over the years in order to win centrist voters. Meanwhile, Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders notably lost to a more mainstream candidate in March's general elections. Yet the radical right is more organized in Europe than in the United States. We may not see the same level of compromise and incompetence as in the Trump administration. Moves toward moderation may only be anomalous and strategic rather than a sign of a failing movement. 12

So what does all of this mean for the future of neoliberalism, particularly in the American context? I believe there are two futures in which neoliberalism's end is possible. In the first, the left decides to stop playing defense and organizes with the resources needed to build sustained power, breaking down the policies that perpetuate American neoliberalism. This means enacting policies like universal health care and free college, and ousting the private-prison industry from the justice system. In the second future, a set of political leaders who have been emboldened by Trump's campaign strategy gain office through mostly republican means. They could concentrate power in the executive in an organized manner, nationalize industries, and criminalize communities who don't support their jingoistic vision. We should hope for the first future, as unlikely as it seems in this political moment. We've already seen the second in 20th-century Europe and Latin America. We cannot live that context again. 13

Paul Mason

Take the State 14

I wrote in Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future that if we didn't ditch neoliberalism, globalization would fall apart -- but I had no idea that it would happen so quickly. In hindsight, the problem is that you can put an economy on life support, but not an ideology. 15

After the 2008 financial crisis, quantitative easing and state support for banks kept the patient alive. As the Bank of England governor Mark Carney said last year at the G20 summit in Shanghai, central banks have even more ammunition to draw on should they need it -- for example, the extreme option of "helicopter money," in which they credit every bank account with, say, $20,000. So they can stave off complete stagnation for a long time. But patchwork measures cannot kick-start a new era of dynamism for capitalism, much less faith in its goodness. 16

The human brain demands coherence -- and a certain amount of optimism. The neoliberal story became incoherent the moment the state had to take dramatic steps to support a failing financial market. The form of recovery stimulated by quantitative easing boosted the asset wealth of the rich but not the income of the average worker -- and rising costs for health care, education, and pension provision across the developed world meant that many people experienced the "recovery" as a household recession. 17

The one big cause that needs to animate us in the future is a systemic project of transition beyond capitalism.

So they began looking for answers, and the right had an easy one: Ditch globalization, free trade, and relatively free migration rules, as well as acceptance of the undocumented migrants who keep the economy working. That's how we get to Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Viktor Orbán, the Law and Justice party in Poland, and UKIP in Britain. Each of them has promised to make their country "great again" -- by diverting growth toward it and migrants and refugees away. 18

For 30 years, neoliberalism taught national elites that they were better off collaborating in the creation of a positive-sum game: Everybody wins, ultimately, even if your factory moves to China. That was the rationale. 19

Economic nationalism is logical if you believe that stagnation will last a long time, creating a zero-sum or even a negative-sum game. But the projects of economic nationalism will fail. This is not because economic nationalism has always been a losing strategy: Adolf Hitler practically abolished German unemployment within five years, and Franklin Roosevelt triggered a spectacular recovery and reindustrialization with the New Deal. But these were programs of another era, in which business models were primarily national and monopolies operated in the sphere of one big nation and its colonies; where the state was heavily enmeshed in the national economy; and where global trade was puny and economic migration low compared to now. 20

To try a repeat of autarky in the 21st century will trigger dislocation on a large scale. Some countries will win: It's even feasible that, although led by an imbecile, the United States could win. However, "winning" in this context means bankrupting other countries. Given the complexity and fragility of the globalized system, the cities of the losing nations would resemble New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. 21

In the long term, for the left, the transition to a system beyond capitalism must be based on the possibility of a low-work, high-abundance society. This is the essence of the postcapitalism project that I proposed: automate work, replace wages with a basic income and heavy state provision of services, and enforce competition among the rent-seeking monopolies in order to force the price of their goods so low that people can survive scarce and precarious work. 22

As Manuel Castells's research group in Barcelona has found, as the market staggers, more and more people actually begin to adopt nonmarket survival tactics, mechanisms, and institutions like informal lending, co-ops, time banks, and alternative currencies. And that's the basis for an economic counterpower to big capital and high finance. 23

But in the short term, a whole generation of the left that reveled in aimlessness and horizontality needs to split the difference between that and effective, organized politics. Call it "diagonality," if you want: Without ceasing to care about the 100 small causes that have animated us in the past, the one big cause that needs to animate us in the future is a systemic project of transition beyond capitalism. For now, that project has to be pursued at the level of big cities, regions, states, and alliances of states -- that is, at scale. 24

The hardest thing for the old left to accept will be that this means using the existing, oppressive, imperfect state while simultaneously trying to democratize it. Street protests, mass resistance, strikes, and the occupation of squares are great ways to assemble the forces. But the arc of the story from 2011 to 2015 -- Occupy, the Indignados, and the Arab Spring -- shows that we have to do more than simply create a counterpower: We need to take power and diffuse it at the same time. 25

Bryce Covert

The Crisis of Care 26

American parents are being crushed between trying to care for their families and working enough hours to survive financially. This problem plagues parents of both genders, up and down the income scale, and it is upending the way Americans view the capitalist system. This crisis of care is fostering solidarity among the millions of Americans who share this challenge, as well as support for solutions that will end the reign of neoliberalism. 27

Among low-income Americans, especially people of color, both parents have often worked outside the home to make ends meet. Nonetheless, the ideal has been, until very recently, a stay-at-home mother and a father working for pay outside the home. World War II undermined this idyll, pushing women into factories as men went to fight abroad. The gauzy 1950s dream of single-earner families masked the reality that women continued to pour into the workforce. 28

Today, women make up about half of the paid labor force in the United States, including more than 70 percent of women with children. This means that in about half of married heterosexual couples, both the husband and wife work. This has given women far more access to the public sphere and, with it, greater status and equality both inside and outside the home. 29

But it's also meant a crunch for families. There is no longer a designated parent to stay home with the kids or care for aging relatives, and the workplace isn't designed to help with that predicament. Instead, work is devouring people's lives. 30

You can see this problem in the rising number of Americans who worry about their work/life balance. About half of parents of both genders say they struggle to reconcile these competing demands. Fathers are particularly freaked out: More than 45 percent feel they don't spend enough time with their children, compared with less than a quarter of mothers (probably because more women reduce their paid work to care for children). As the baby-boomer generation ages, a growing elderly population threatens to trap even more working people in the predicament of caring for aging parents, raising young kids, and trying to make a living. 31

The result has been that more and more people are being forced to reckon with the fact that capitalism's unquenchable thirst for labor makes a balanced life impossible. This, in turn, is fostering a greater sense of solidarity among them as workers struggling against the demands of corporate bosses. This growing crisis has already led to some policy-making. The expansion of overtime coverage by the Obama administration means that workers will either be better compensated for putting in long hours or have their schedules pared back to a more humane 40-hour work week (though it remains to be seen what will happen to the overtime expansion under President Trump). Legislation guaranteeing paid time off has swept city and state governments. These are policies that challenge the idea that we should give everything of ourselves to our jobs. 32

The crisis of care has also revived the notion that the public should deal with these shared problems collectively. While other developed countries have spent money to create government-funded solutions for child care over the past half-century, Americans have insisted child care remain a private crisis that each family has to solve alone. The United States provides all children age 6 to 18 with a public education, but for children under the age of 6, it offers basically nothing. Head Start is available to some low-income parents, and a smattering of places have started experimenting with universal preschool for children ages 3 and 4. Outside of that, parents are left to a pitiful private system that often doesn't even offer them enough slots, let alone quality affordable care. 33

Americans have increasingly come to recognize that this situation is ridiculous and are throwing their support behind a government solution. Huge majorities support spending more money on early-childhood programs. American parents haven't yet gone on strike against capitalism's endless demands on their time or the government's failure to provide public support. But the crisis is reaching a boiling point, and it's transforming our relationship to America's neoliberal system. 34

William Darity Jr.

A Revolution of Managers 35

Marx's classic law of motion for bourgeois society -- the tendency of the rate of profit to fall -- was the foundation for his prediction that capitalism would die under the stress of its own contradictions. But even Marx's left-wing sympathizers, who see the dominant presence of corporate capital in all aspects of their lives, have argued that Marx's prediction was wrong. It has become virtually a reflex to assert that modern societies all fall under the sway of "global capitalism," and that a binary operates with two great social classes standing in fundamental opposition to each other: capital and labor. 36

Suppose, however, that Marx was correct in his expectation that capitalism, like other social modes of production before it, will wind down gradually, but wrong in his expectation that it would be succeeded by a "dictatorship of the proletariat," a civilization without class stratification. Suppose, indeed, that the age of capitalism is actually reaching its conclusion -- but one that doesn't involve the ascension of the working class. Suppose, instead, that we consider the existence of a third great social class vying with the other two for social dominance: what was seen in the work of such disparate thinkers as James Burnham, Alvin Gouldner, Barbara Ehrenreich, and John Ehrenreich as the managerial class. 37

Suppose, indeed, that the age of capitalism is reaching its conclusion -- but one that doesn't involve the ascension of the working class.

The managerial class comprises the intelligentsia and intellectuals, artists and artisans, as well as state bureaucrats -- a credentialed or portfolio-rich cultural aristocracy. While the human agents of global capital are the corporate magnates, and the working class is the productive labor -- labor that is directly utilized to generate profit -- the managerial class engages comprehensively in a social-management function. The rise of the managerial class is the rise to dominance of unproductive labor -- labor that can be socially valuable but is not a direct source of profit. 38

A surplus population under capitalism has a purpose: It exists as a reserve army of the unemployed, which can be mobilized rapidly in periods of economic expansion and as a source of downward pressure on the demands for compensation and safe work conditions made by the employed. Therefore, capital has little incentive to eliminate this surplus population. In contrast, the managerial class will view those identified as surplus people as truly superfluous. The social managers consider population generally as an object of control, reduction, and demographic administration, and whoever is assigned to the "surplus" category bears the weight of the arbitrary. 39

To the extent that identification of the surplus population is racialized, particular groups will be targets for social warehousing and extermination. The disproportionate overincarceration of black people in the United States -- a form of social warehousing -- is a direct expression of the managerial class's preferences regarding who should be deemed of low necessity. The exterminative impulse is evident in the comparative devaluation of black lives that prompted resistance efforts like the Black Lives Matter movement. The potential for black superfluity in the managerial age is evident in prescient works like Sidney Willhelm's Who Needs the Negro? (1970) and Samuel Yette's The Choice (1971), both published almost 50 years ago. 40

The assault on "big" and invasive government constitutes an attack on the managerial class by both capital and the working class. Despite endorsing military spending, receiving lucrative government contracts, and enjoying the benefits of publicly provided infrastructure like roads, highways, and railways, corporate capital calls for small government. This is a strategic route to slashing social-welfare expenditures, with the goal of reducing the wage standard and eliminating all regulations on corporate predations. Despite benefiting from social-welfare expenditures, the working class gravitates to a new brand of populism that blends anticorporatism with anti-elitism (and anti-intellectualism), xenophobia, and a demand for a smaller and less intrusive state. Since "big" government constitutes the avenue for independent action on the part of the managerial class, an offensive of this type directly undermines the "new" class's base of power. 41

Calls for smaller government are a strategic route to slashing social-welfare expenditures, wage standards, and regulations on corporate predation.

But the managerial class also possesses another attribute that is both a strength and a weakness. Unlike capital and labor, whose agendas are driven to a large degree by the struggle over the character of a society structured for the pursuit of profit, the managerial class has no anchor for its ideological stance. In fact, it's a social class that is wholly fluid ideologically. Some of its members align fully with the corporate establishment; indeed, the corporate magnates -- especially investment bankers -- look much the same as members of the managerial class in terms of educational credentials, cultural interests, and style. Other social managers take a more centrist posture harking back to their origins in the "middle class," while still others position themselves as allies of the working class. And there are many variations on these themes. 42

Depending on where the ideological weight centers most heavily, the managerial class can take many directions. During the wars in southern Africa against Portuguese rule, Amílcar Cabral once observed that for the anticolonial revolution to succeed, "the petty bourgeoisie" would need to commit suicide as a social class, ceasing their efforts to pursue their particular interests and positioning themselves fully at the service of the working class. One might anticipate that the global managerial class will one day be confronted with the choice of committing suicide, in Cabral's sense, as a class. But the question is: If such a step is taken, will they place themselves fully at the service of labor or capital? 43

Peter Barnes

Universal Base Income 44

There is no single solution to economic inequality and insecurity in America, but there's one that could go further than any other. It's a universal base income, as distinct from a universal basic income. 45

A universal base income of a few hundred dollars a month is not the same as a universal basic income of, say, $1,000 a month. The latter, at least in some places, is enough to survive on; the former decidedly is not. And while the latter is the dream of many, it is far too expensive -- and threatening to America's work ethic -- to be enacted anytime soon. If a universal basic income ever happens here, it will be because it was preceded for many years by a universal base income, gradually nudged upward like Social Security and the minimum wage. So let's take a look at that. 46

A universal base income is both a springboard and a cushion for every participant in our fast-changing market economy -- like giving everyone $200 for passing "Go" in a game of Monopoly. It supplements, but does not replace, labor income (which for the last 30 years has stagnated or declined), and it does so without judgment or stigma. It is grounded on the principle that, in a prosperous albeit volatile and increasingly unequal economy, everyone has a right to some cash flow they can count on. 47

In practical terms, a universal base income would be simple to administer. Eligible recipients (anyone with a valid Social Security number, which can include legal immigrants) would receive an equal amount of money every month, wired to their bank accounts or debit cards. The system would look and feel like Social Security, or a monthly version of the dividends that all Alaskans receive. People who don't need the extra income would be enabled by a check-off option to donate it to any IRS-approved charity. 48

A universal base income, I should note, has nothing to do with automation, robots, or artificial intelligence. It has a lot to do with enhancing every American's security, reducing their stress, and giving our poor and middle classes a leg to stand on -- the very opposite of what our economy does now. 49

A universal base income would have other benefits as well. It is an answer -- perhaps the answer -- to long-term economic stagnation, a trickle-up form of Keynesianism that would stimulate our economy through increased household spending. Moreover, if funded by fees on unproductive activities like pollution and speculation, it would help solve two other deep problems of 21st-century capitalism: climate change and financial instability. And it wouldn't need to replace or reduce spending on current programs that benefit the poor, a regressive trade-off that conservatives favor but most progressives oppose. 50

There are six large demographic groups (with some overlap) that could form the core of a movement for a universal base income: millennials (the first generation of Americans destined to earn less than their parents), low-wage and on-demand work­ers (the so-called precariat), women (who still earn less than men and aren't paid at all for much of the work they do), African Americans (who suffer from past and present injustices), retired and near-retired workers (who can't live on Social Security alone), and poor people of all colors. Environmentalists might also link arms with the cause if one of the revenue sources is a tax on pollution. It will, of course, be no simple feat to persuade these diverse groups that what they can't achieve separately they may be able to achieve together. But it has happened before, and, in the post-Sanders era, it could happen again. 51

In the political realm, a universal base income would bring our nation together by affirming that we are all in the same economic boat. It would unite our desperate poor and our anxious middle class, young and old, women and men, white people and people of color. It would make millions of Americans less stressed, healthier, and perhaps even happier. And it could make many of us proud to be American. 52

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Fourscore and two years ago, Franklin Roosevelt's Committee on Economic Security produced the classic report that led to passage of the first Social Security Act. The report itself went beyond security for the aged. It proclaimed: "The one almost all-embracing measure of security is an assured income. A program of economic security, as we vision it, must have as its primary aim the assurance of an adequate income to each human being in childhood, youth, middle age, or old age -- in sickness or in health." 53

The committee added that, for reasons of political expediency, it was proposing only an assured income for the elderly, but it hoped that the rest of its vision would be implemented in the not-too-distant future. Much of it has been, but not all. A lifelong base income, along with health insurance for all, are the next pieces. 54

See also

Steven Gurlen says: May 11, 2017 at 9:15 am

All good articles. Darity in particular on "managerial class" who I would say are oligarch wannabees not recognizing their true allegiance. Credit and leases allow this group to live the lifestyle, sold and pushed upon them 401Ks, and stock ownership completes the charade.

Walter Pewen says: May 6, 2017 at 3:22 pm

I appreciate Bryce Cover's analysis. What is happening, in the United States, is life at home is ceasing to exist. In large part due to the dual income requirement. Also a BIG issue on the coasts at least, is people building families (and everyone) simply cannot afford housing. How long can this go on? Here in California capitalism is working people to death on all levels. We used to have enviable lifestyles for the middle and working class both. Not now. It's truly evil.

Wesley Decker says: May 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Neoliberalism is Weber's Protestant Work Ethic dressed up by Milton Friedman to do battle with seventies Limits to Growth science. It argues that we inhabit a moral universe where rich and poor deserve what they have and don't have. The challenge posed by Limits to Growth, which has it that outcomes exhibit sensitive dependence to initial conditions, is a seen as a direct affront to such moral ordering.

All economic problems, in the neoliberal view, are attributable to sluggish growth, which is in turn the result of insufficient competition. The neoliberal agenda seeks to stimulate competition, suggesting that if countries are allowed to run deficits, the people's work ethic will suffer as a result.

The science instead considers what's necessary for populations of living organisms to survive and grow. It recognizes that shortages of necessary resources the result of excessive competition. In this view unconstrained competition is naturally at odds with a finite supply of resources, resulting in the economic problems we see.

Given the neoliberal experiment we've been engaged in since the seventies, we see economic growth is still sluggish and further, global economic inequality continues to increase. Yet if I consider what's likely to prove to be the undoing of moral universe theory, it's the reality that it's very sloppy theology.

Doug Barr says: May 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm

Razing our vertical economy will kill all the isms that are killing us.

Robert Andrews says: May 4, 2017 at 12:17 pm

I can see Joelle Gamble's assessment with either the left or the right taking over Neoliberalism. But he doesn't recognize that it is the Oligarchy that is in control and has a stranglehold on both the RNC and DNC to maintain its power.

The Right is desperate for change but has really no place to go. Our society has been pulled so far right that there is little to nothing for them to grasp on to display possibilities of improvement for the populous.

The Left are the ones who are poised to "Kill Neoliberalism." Joelle Gamble hides the fact that the establishment DNC is almost totally controlled by the Oligarchy and that there are already multiple organizations that are aggressively challenging them.

He also doesn't say a word about the most popular leader in country by far, Senator Sanders. Bernie Sanders' presidential primary election has provided a laser for the populous to see who the DNC really serves, by forcing them to reveal its ugly face behind their mask to maintain their power. Sanders has also provided the platform for issues that the populous has been rallying behind and has shown how the establishment squelches their needs with platitudes and deflection.

The Progressive Left will be the ones to take down Neoliberalism, what comes next is the real question. Will the Oligarchy be able to implement a fascist regime to maintain its control or will they be cut off at the knees by a socialist government?

[Jul 16, 2018] Why the Media is Desperate to Reclaim its Gatekeeper Status for News Zero Hedge Zero Hedge

Highly recommended!
Jul 16, 2018 |

Local news differs because it is mixed with first-hand experience, as well as second-hand reports from witnesses–neighbors and friends. Gossip is one way of regulating this local flow of information. It provides details about who can be believed, and who might embellish.

Locally, there is an organic structure of information flow. This alone doesn't make it accurate, but it gets closer by triangulating from where you get your information.

And the further you get from the ability to triangulate from different sources, the faker news gets. I don't mean different sources, as in, different news outlets. I mean first-hand knowledge mixed with historical context, access to first-hand accounts, information about the reliability of witnesses and experts, and so on.

The further away the news gets from you, the harder it is to mix the news with other intelligence. At that point, it is easier to manipulate the truth.

But even if a piece of news about a far-off event is not attempting to misconstrue the truth, it could do so inadvertently. Without the full context of what is happening, events across the world can give the wrong impression.

Were chemical weapons used in Syria? If so, who used them? And who exactly is fighting who ?

The conflict in Syria is the perfect example of fake news. You have a complicated event with many different sides and no clear good guys. There are few first-hand accounts from people we know personally. There are some entities who wish to purposely distort the truth and others which want to hide the full extent of their actions.

All I can do to find out is trust various news sources. And that is what I mean when I say everything is fake news. Just picking which events to report on truthfully can end up presenting a basically fake story.

The Same Old Story

Years ago it was easy to control the spread of information. There were only a handful of television networks and newspapers. All news passed through the channels of official gatekeepers before making its way to the consumer.

But already the government was creating and disseminating fake news through programs like Project Mockingbird. The CIA had thousands of journalists on its payroll to disseminate false news and bury certain real reports.

So the government's problem is not fake news. Governments are concerned that they have lost their monopoly control of fake news. They were the gatekeepers.

Social media "has made things much worse," because it "offers an easy route for non-journalists to bypass journalism's gatekeepers, so that anyone can 'publish' anything, however biased, inaccurate or fabricated," says John Huxford, an Illinois State University journalism professor.

"Journalism's role as the 'gatekeeper' of what is and isn't news has always been controversial, of course. But we're now seeing just how bad things can get when that function breaks down."

Are we seeing how bad things can get? It seems that there was always fake news, but at one time, everyone believed it. Now there is fake news, and no one trusts any news. That is a better situation to be in. It is the rejection of manipulation by the elites, the gatekeepers.

Distrust in unverifiable news is better than blind trust in government propaganda. Better to hold agnostic beliefs about certain national events, versus believing what the government feeds us.

My default position is distrust of the government. So whatever narrative they seem to be pushing, if not outright false, has a purpose behind it. They are trying to shape the behavior of the masses and very rarely is this beneficially to individuals.

Huxford said many internet users are not adept at telling fake news from the real thing, making the role of major news organizations critical.

"This is why Trump falsely labelling the mainstream media as 'fake news' is so toxic," he said.

"It means that, at a time when there is a lot of fabrication and falsehoods swirling through the system, the credibility of the most reliable sources of news is being undermined."

As someone who believes in a grassroots approach to solving problems, starting with individuals, I am naturally averse to the idea of controllers from on high making decisions for me.

And that is why I think it is beneficial to have more distrust in news the further it gets from you, and rather use what you can confirm to live personally as you see fit.

Probably the best example of this is people signing up for the military directly after 9/11 to go kick some al-Qaida ass. They trusted the national news to deliver accurate facts about what happened, and how to stop it from happening again. And they threw themselves into the fight without having an accurate picture of why, or how the war they were signing up for would help.

In the end, they may have ended up supporting a worse regime than the one they were fighting.

Never knowing what you can believe is not ideal. But it beats a false sense of security that the news you get is real. It isn't. And if people are finally waking up to that, perhaps they will stop lining up to fight other people's wars.

You don't have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

[Jul 15, 2018] If history is any precedent, empires without economic foundations, sooner or later crumble, especially when rising regional powers are capable of replacing them.

Notable quotes:
"... No doubt that the globalized elite want Friedman's "World is Flat" concept – profit maximizing world markets, world production, stateless corporations, free movement of labour and capital (without troublesome national identities) represented by an exclusive and vastly wealthy rootless elite ruling over a global worker hive. The "Empire" is only the military/enforcement side of this, with sanctions/wars against dissidents. ..."
"... Trump is in the strange situation of having been elected to fight the Empire while needing elite Imperial support to stay in his job. ..."
Jul 15, 2018 |

Miro23 , Next New Comment

July 14, 2018 at 1:04 pm GMT

If history is any precedent, empires without economic foundations, sooner or later crumble, especially when rising regional powers are capable of replacing them.

This is worth repeating. Empire and wars are expensive. For example the British world trade network was doing fine until the "Imperial" idea came along with wars and economic failure. The US is doing even worse in trying to fight its Imperial wars on credit.

The result is that Trump faces the real prospects of a decline in exports and popular electoral support – especially from those adversely affected by declining markets and deep cuts in health, education and the environment.

He may well be blindsided by a candidate who actually implements Trump's own election platform 1) no more wars 2) domestic infrastructure spending 3) stopping mass immigration 4) draining the swamp. Trumps electoral weakness is that didn't follow through on his promises.

The electoral oligarchy and the mass media will force him to retreat from the trade wars and surrender to the globalizing elites.

No doubt that the globalized elite want Friedman's "World is Flat" concept – profit maximizing world markets, world production, stateless corporations, free movement of labour and capital (without troublesome national identities) represented by an exclusive and vastly wealthy rootless elite ruling over a global worker hive. The "Empire" is only the military/enforcement side of this, with sanctions/wars against dissidents.

Trump is in the strange situation of having been elected to fight the Empire while needing elite Imperial support to stay in his job.

[Jul 15, 2018] Rod Rosenstein Impeachment Plans Drawn Up Report

Jul 14, 2018 |
House GOP members led by Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (NC) have drawn up articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to Politico .

Conservative sources say they could file the impeachment document as soon as Monday , as Meadows and Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) look to build Republican support in the House. One source cautioned, however, that the timing was still fluid. - Politico

GOP legislators could also try to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress prior to actual impeachment.

The knives have been out for Rosenstein for weeks, as Congressional investigators have repeatedly accused the DOJ of "slow walking" documents related to their investigations. Frustrated lawmakers have been given the runaround - while Rosenstein and the rest of the DOJ are hiding behind the argument that the materials requested by various Congressional oversight committees would potentially compromise ongoing investigations.

In late June, Rosenstein along with FBI Director Christopher Wray clashed with House Republicans during a fiery hearing over an internal DOJ report criticizing the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation by special agents who harbored extreme animus towards Donald Trump while expressing support for Clinton. Republicans on the panel grilled a defiant Rosenstein on the Trump-Russia investigation which has yet to prove any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

"This country is being hurt by it. We are being divided," Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said of Mueller's investigation. "Whatever you got," Gowdy added, "Finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart."

Rosenstein pushed back - dodging responsibility for decisions made by subordinates while claiming that Mueller was moving "as expeditiously as possible," and insisting that he was "not trying to hide anything."

"We are not in contempt of this Congress, and we are not going to be in contempt of this Congress," Rosenstein told lawmakers.

Republicans, meanwhile, approved a resolution on the House floor demanding that the DOJ turn over thousands of requested documents by July 6 . And while the DOJ did provide Congressional investigators with access to a trove of documents, House GOP said the document delivery was incomplete , according to Fox News .

That didn't impress Congressional GOP.

" For over eight months, they have had the opportunity to choose transparency. But they've instead chosen to withhold information and impede any effort of Congress to conduct oversight," said Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a sponsor of Thursday's House resolution who raised the possibility of impeachment this week. " If Rod Rosenstein and the Department of Justice have nothing to hide, they certainly haven't acted like it. " - New York Times (6/28/18)

Rep. Meadows, meanwhile, fully admits that the document requests are related to efforts to quash the Mueller investigation.

"Yes, when we get these documents, we believe that it will do away with this whole fiasco of what they call the Russian Trump collusion because there wasn't any ," Meadows said on the House floor.

Meanwhile, following a long day of grilling FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte blamed Rosenstein for hindering Strzok's ability to reveal the details of his work.

"Rosenstein, who has oversight over the FBI and of the Mueller investigation is where the buck stops," he said. "Congress has been blocked today from conducting its constitutional oversight duty."

While Rosenstein's appears to be close to the chopping block, whether or not he will actually be impeached is an entirely different matter.

el buitre -> Ecclesia Militans Sat, 07/14/2018 - 10:24 Permalink

I think this attempt to impeach Rosenstink is ridiculous. First of all, it is bound to failure as it would require a 2/3 majority in the Senate. Second, the impeachment clauses in the constitution were designed for a sitting president who was granted immunity from traditional prosecution for committing crimes. Rosenstink serves at the pleasure of Trump, who apparently, at least in "reality" shows, is quite adept at firing people for incompetence and malfeasance. Let Trump fire him and then impanel a grand jury to indict him. I think upon conviction he should be required to eat the 12 ham sandwiches which fellow conspirator Mueller recently indicted.

IridiumRebel -> TeamDepends Sat, 07/14/2018 - 10:48 Permalink

I love the people that say "Rosenstein is a Republican! Mueller is a Republican!"


Adolfsteinbergovitch -> JimmyJones Sat, 07/14/2018 - 11:22 Permalink

Rosenstein, seth rich murder connection?

[Jul 14, 2018] A New Problem Emerges For Tesla

Jul 14, 2018 |

Some owners are watching hundred of miles of battery range in their Model 3 simply evaporate while the car is parked.

^ Owners' Club ***e

Sunday at 6:02 PM • ©

I left our М3 parked in our driveway at the Jersey
Shore for the last 48 hours. Checked the app and had
only 62 miles of range! When I parked it Friday
afternoon it had about 180. What am I doing wrong!

It's been super hot here. Is this usual? Is there a
setting I need to look at?

©Keubiko ^0


New Jersey now drains batteries, not just souls.

9:29 AM - Jul 7, 2018

Q? 21 See Keubiko's other Tweets

[Jul 14, 2018] Cost of Tesla repars

Jul 14, 2018 |

Tom Skraby


#ElonMusk Proud owner Model 3. Unfortunately, rear ended 2 weeks after delivery, a $700 bumper repair has turned into $9k.

Why are the battery packs not better protected? Barely touched, 5 weeks later, no car still. Steel cage?? It would seem there is a better alternative

1:22 PM-Jun 20, 2018

Q 19 ^ See Tom Skraby's other Tweets

[Jul 14, 2018] The energy cliff approaches: World Oil Gas Discoveries Continue To Decline

Jul 14, 2018 |

shortonoil -> SRSrocco Sun, 07/08/2018 - 16:00 Permalink

Hi Steve, this is exactly what we have been talking about for the last 8 years. To make matters worse there seems to be a completely irrational belief that Shale will save the day. Outside of the fact that shale is not processable without heavier crude, and it is at best energy neutral, and probably negative, it is also long term unaffordable. There are 1.7 million Shale wells in the US. Over the next 5 years 1.4 million of those wells will have to be replaced to just keep production even. That will be $6.2 trillion even if done on the cheap. $6.2 trillion is equal to the total cost of all the finished product that will be consumed by the US for the next 12.8 years (@ $75/barrel). Expending 12.8 years of sales revenue to produce 5 years of oil is just not going to happen!

There seems to be a black out on this terrible situation. Some of that may be just plain ignorance, but I suspect that the main reason is that it is politically unspeakable. For that reason nothing is being spoken. As I have been saying for some time no one should expect big oil, big government, or big anything to come riding to the rescue. The individual is now completely on their own. Chose your options with discretion.


SRSrocco -> shortonoil Sun, 07/08/2018 - 16:55 Permalink


Agreed. The U.S. Shale Oil Ponzi Scheme will likely begin to disintegrate within the next 1-3 years. Already, the Permian oil productivity per well has peaked.

Then when the next Shale Oil ENRON event takes place... watch as the dominos fall.


Zen Xenu -> SRSrocco Sun, 07/08/2018 - 19:48 Permalink

@SRSrocco, U.S. Tight Oil depends on cheap credit. Regardless of oil prices.

Once cheap credit dries up and the previous debts are unable to be paid by drilling new wells, the entire scheme falls apart.

Oil prices do not drive U.S. Tight Oil as much as cheap credit from easy loans.

Eventually, U S. Tight Oil using new credit cards to pay debts on old credit cards will catch up with a vengence. Rising interest rates will be the catalyst. Rising oil prices only prolong the increasing debt.

MrNoItAll -> SRSrocco Sun, 07/08/2018 - 21:21 Permalink

Didn't the EIA publish something not long ago stating their concerns that we could see oil shortages by 2020? And around the same time, I recall that the Saudi Oil Minister came out and stated that without more investment, we would likely see oil shortages by 2020. And then at the recent OPEC meeting, I believe it was the Oil Minister from UAE who stated that we need to find a new North Seas equivalent oil field EVERY YEAR to meet projected demand, which of course is not going to happen. It has been a long slow grind since 2008 to get to this point, but from here on out I anticipate that things will start unraveling at an ever faster pace. Big changes on the way. But one thing that will NEVER happen is that the POTUS or some other world leader comes out and says we are running short on energy. Instead it will be Trade Wars, the damned Russians or some other lame propaganda -- anything but the truth.

Cloud9.5 -> Anonymous_Bene Mon, 07/09/2018 - 07:23 Permalink

This is a synopsis of the German Army study produced in 2010.

If you want the English translation of the study in its entirety, it can be found here:

The mitigation section of the study was most telling. It simply stated that local sustainable economies would replace the modern era. These economies included local food production and energy production. As this process unfolds, I simply do not see how a high rise is going to remain habitable.

EddieLomax -> JamcaicanMeAfraid Mon, 07/09/2018 - 04:33 Permalink

Zero hedge put a news story a while ago where (I think 2016) the US oil industry lost more in that it earned in the previous 7 years (mining in general), so more investment wouldn't have been coming in the US anyway - the price wasn't high enough to justify it.

Worldwide we are going to see some almightly crunch, whether it will arrive after 2020 will be seen. Ironically it might save Trump anyway if the world is seen to be beset by a oil supply crunch since its hard to blame that on him.

Chief Joesph Sun, 07/08/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

The U.S. needs to get off its dead ass and start developing better batteries, solar power, and other alternative energy sources. This was talked about in 1973, during the Oil Embargo days, and its just astonishing the U.S. has done little since to ween itself off of oil. And now we now have a tariff against Chinese made solar panels. DUH!!! How dumb can you get?

El Vaquero -> Chief Joesph Sun, 07/08/2018 - 13:31 Permalink

Look at the energy density of those power sources. You'll never run an industrial civilization off of them. Electric cars may be great for zipping a couple of people around town from day to day, but you're never going to run the large mining and shipping equipment needed for our society. If you want to do that, you're going to have to develop viable breeder reactors and the technology to manufacture liquid fuels with that energy - and this is doable.

bshirley1968 -> El Vaquero Sun, 07/08/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

Right. There is nothing.....NOTHING....that can replace oil and gas as it is used and utilized by the modern industrial society. Nothing......

What needs to happen right now is a steady rise in prices that will condition our population to start learning to do with less cheap, easy energy. We have got to curb usage to give society a chance to begin to learn another way.

The major obstacle to doing this responsible, rational action? The egregious, criminal banking system that has gotten the world awash in debt to feed their greed. Any cut back in the use of energy will destroy the economy and their gravy train.

[Jul 14, 2018] JPMorgan On The Risk Of Military Conflict With China by Michael Cembalest

Jul 14, 2018 |

Authored by Michael Cembalest, JPMorgan Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy, via, While some suggest a US-China war is inevitable , there's also enormous economic pressure on China and the US to find common ground. Compared to adversaries of the past 100 years, economic linkages between the US and China are much larger.

In a prior post, we illustrated how in-country sales of US subsidiaries operating in China are almost as large as Chinese exports to the US, leaving the US highly vulnerable to retaliation by China if trade wars escalate. These trade tensions are just one part of the broader Chinese-US relationship; some observers expect military conflict between the US and China as well :

* In a 2017 survey by C100, 50% of Chinese citizens, 33% of Chinese business leaders and 35% of Chinese policy experts responded that war with the US was "very likely" or "somewhat likely". The percentages were only slightly lower amongst US respondents to the same question

* Harvard's Thucydides's Trap Project found 16 cases over the last 500 years in which a major nation's rise disrupted the dominant state. Twelve of these rivalries ended in war and four did not. The project is directed by political scientist and Presidential advisor Graham Allison, whose recent book is entitled " Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? "

* The Chinese state-owned newspaper Global Times wrote in 2015 that "if the United States' bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea"

Perhaps, but there's also enormous economic pressure on China and the US to find common ground. Compared to adversaries of the past 100 years, economic linkages between the US and China are much larger. The chart below is something I've been working on for the last few months. The idea is to measure the economic linkages between adversaries of the past and present. To do this, we add the outstanding stock of bilateral foreign direct investment, the amount of bilateral annual trade, and the amount of government bonds owned by the other country's Central Bank. Compare China/US today to Europe and Asia in the 1930's, to US/Russia in the 1980's and to India/Pakistan.

besnook Mon, 07/09/2018 - 17:58 Permalink

the zionists will stop at nothing to save the empire. they will fail but it is your life that is at stake, not theirs.

[Jul 13, 2018] Godfather Of Payday Lending Stripped Of $64 Million, Sentenced To 14 Years

Jul 10, 2018 |

"In this industry, to build a big book, you have to run afoul of the regulators" -Charles M. Hallinan

A former Main Line investment banker known as the "Godfather of payday lending" for preying on low-income borrowers was sentenced Friday to 14 years in federal prison and stripped of over $64 million in assets, reports .

Lawyers for 77-year-old Charles M. Hallinan argued that the prison term might as well be a "death sentence" given his age and declining health, however District Judge Eduardo Robreno gave no quarter as he rendered his verdict after a jury convicted him of 17 counts, including racketeering, international money laundering and fraud.

"It would be a miscarriage of justice to impose a sentence that would not reflect the seriousness of this case," Robreno said. "The sentence here should send a message that criminal conduct like [this] will not pay."

In all, government lawyers estimate, Hallinan's dozens of companies made $492 million off an estimated 1.4 million low-income borrowers between 2007 and 2013, the period covered by the indictment.

Robreno's forfeiture order will strip Hallinan of many of the fruits of that business, including his $1.8 million Villanova mansion , multiple bank accounts, and a small fleet of luxury cars , including a $142, 000 2014 Bentley Flying Spur. In addition, the judge ordered Hallinan to pay a separate $2.5 million fine. -

When given the opportunity to address the court before his sentence was handed down, Hallinan remained silent.

Hallinan's case calls into question the legality of business tactics engaged in by predatory lenders across the country - such as Mariner Finance , a subsidiary of former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner 's private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Many of the loans Hallinan made had exorbitant interest rates which greatly exceeded rate caps mandated by the states in which the borrowers live, such as Pennsylvania's 6% annual cap.

In court Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Dubnoff argued that there was little difference between the exorbitant fees charged by money-lending mobsters and the annual interest rates approaching 800 percent that were standard on many of Hallinan's loans. -

"The only difference between Mr. Hallinan and other loan sharks is that he doesn't break the kneecaps of people who don't pay his debts," Dubnoff said. "He was charging more interest than the Mafia."

Hallinan "collect[ed] hundreds of millions of dollars in unlawful debt knowing that these businesses were unlawful, and all the while devising schemes to evade the law," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara L. Grieb and Maria M. Carrillo.

Hallinan's attorneys argued that Hallinan should receive house arrest after a recent diagnosis of two forms of aggressive cancer.

"What is just, under the circumstances?" Jacobs asked. "If there is going to be a period of incarceration, one that makes it so that Mr. Hallinan doesn't survive is not just."

Judge Robreno largely ignored the plea, though he did give Hallinan 11 days to get his medical affairs in order before he has to report to prison.

Hallinan's orbit

Many of those whose careers Hallinan helped to launch are now headed to prison alongside the "godfather" of payday lending, " a list that includes professional race car driver Scott Tucker, who was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison in January and ordered to forfeit $3.5 billion in assets," reports Philly .

Hallinan's codefendant and longtime lawyer, Wheeler K. Neff, was sentenced in May to eight years behind bars.

Hallinan got into the predatory lending business in the 1990s with $120 million after selling his landfill company to begin making payday loans over phone and fax. He rapidly grew his empire of dozens of companies which offered quick cash under such names as Instant Cash USA, Your First Payday and Tele-Ca$h.

As more than a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, effectively outlawed payday lending with laws attempting to cap the exorbitant fee rates that are standard across the industry, Hallinan continued to target low-income borrowers over the internet.

He tried to hide his involvement by instituting sham partnerships with licensed banks and American Indian tribes so he could take advantage of looser restrictions on their abilities to lend. But in practice he limited the involvement of those partners and continued to service all the loans from his offices in Bala Cynwyd. -

" He bet his lifestyle on the fact that we would not catch him. He lost that bet ," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, William M. McSwain. " Now, it's time for Hallinan to repay his debt with the only currency we will accept: his freedom and his fortune, amassed at his victims' expense ."

1982xls -> HilteryTrumpkin Tue, 07/10/2018 - 14:59 Permalink

EmmittFitzhume -> 1982xls Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

Charles Shylock Hallinan

MasterPo -> EmmittFitzhume Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:06 Permalink

Just some pond scum floating on top of the swamp.

Most people have no clue what is about to be revealed, and it will rock their world. But for those of us that were red-pilled early on, it is heartening to see.


[Just caught the picture of the mansion.

"There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;

He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,

And they all lived together in a little crooked house." - Mother Goose

That Mom Goose sure called 'em like she saw 'em...]

Mr. Universe -> Four chan Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:27 Permalink

64 million in stripped assets. I wonder how much of that is going back to those who were fleeced? How much goes to .gov? Oh and inquiring minds want to know, what happened to the other 400 million plus?

charlewar -> Mr. Universe Tue, 07/10/2018 - 15:31 Permalink

All goes to the govt. The small fish need sue what's left.

A Sentinel -> charlewar Tue, 07/10/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

This is an evil business.

finally someone got tagged for ripping off us plebs.

any_mouse -> A Sentinel Tue, 07/10/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

So you think.

Did any peons receive any restitution?

Maybe a buck each from a class action brought on by Saul's Legal Team.

Parasites. Parasites with Political, Financial, and Social control.

Think of the damage a parasite could do, if that parasite could control what the host sees, hears, thinks, feels, and even control the muscles. You would be in pain, but not feel it. You could be poisoning yourself with bitter poison, while believing it is sweet honey.

COSMOS -> CriticalUser Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:07 Permalink

In all fairness this dude is pocked change compared to the tribe bankers.

None of the schmucks pulling off trillion dollar heists went to jail.

Giant Meteor -> COSMOS Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:23 Permalink

Sure, sure, point taken. But I don't believe that is a valid defense .. I get it, believe me. But I suspect if some higher profile cases with equilvalent outcomes aren't soon undertaken, some enterprising folks may soon take matters into their own hands .. And one could not blame them really ..

MoreFreedom -> Mr. Universe Tue, 07/10/2018 - 16:27 Permalink

One thing's for sure. There won't be any payday lenders operating in Pennsylvania, and poor people who need short term loans to deal with unexpected bills won't be getting any help, and instead will be suffering from the very high interest effective interest rates of late payment penalties. In defense of Hallinan, he didn't force anyone to sign up for these loans, he didn't break any kneecaps, and I'll bet his customers default on their loans at a high rate. There is also the legal question of from where the loan is made; given he had partners on Indian reservations and operated over the internet on behalf of those partnerships. Seems to me, the government is just grabbing this dying man's money. I'll bet he appeals the conviction to a higher court.

And does anyone believe US attorney Dubnoff who claims (which begs the question how he knows) that Hallinan charges more interest than the Mafia?

My other bet: Timothy Geithner won't be prosecuted for using the same tactics. And the poor will suffer more. While the article makes hay of Hallinan's wealth, he sold a waste management company (and I wouldn't be surprised there was political corruption involved in its growth given he lived in Philly) for $120 million and was already rich.

For a perspective in support of pay-day lenders, read these two Reason articles:

Full disclosure: The only money I ever borrowed was a few thousand for a student loan, and for my home mortgage.

vato poco -> MoreFreedom Tue, 07/10/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

that's a good post on an issue that's too easy to go all knee-jerk on. +1 for you.

I've got a coupla terrific young relatives that I'm schooling in financial knowhow - because their parents are knuckleheads about money - and lesson #2 was 'payday loans are financial crack.'


but the guy's lawyer WAS right to a degree: nobody made those victims/dumbasses sign up for them, and then not pay it back, thus flinging them into the ol' vicious downward spiral. also, there's this little fact: kids, if you find yourself lacking funds for a sudden unexpected financial expense, call it $500, you can 1) bounce a check 2) take a cash advance on your credit card, assuming you have any room left on it or 3) do the payday lender thing. let's say you only need the $ for 10 days, then ... I dunno .... then your tax refund check arrives.

cost of bouncing check (fees, etc), and bear in mind the bank will clear the big check first, thus making several other small checks bounce = $100? more?

cost of credit-card cash advance = $50, plus or minus

cost of payday loan vig = $15, plus or minus

they're kinda like handguns: just a tool. whether that tool saves your butt or ruins your life is entirely up to you, the adult. (the kids do not like this lesson very much - something about trying to avoid responsibility?)

the world is not necessarily all black and white. that said, I do hope that POS dies of treatable rectal cancer botched horribly by prison docs, resulting in a long, drawn-out, horribly agonizing death in a pink diaper

Giant Meteor -> MoreFreedom Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:00 Permalink

An interesting take. A friend to the poor . Never quite looked at it that way, and now, I have a tear in my eye . The poor fellow, friend to the poor working stiff.

Fucking friends like that . But at at least he wasn't breaking their knee caps and all. A real humanitarian!

[Jul 13, 2018] America the Loser by J. Bradford DeLong

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post's ..."
"... Obama was a Manchurian Candidate for the globalist banks and corporations and their war-mongering Deep State that would like to rule the world in perpetuity. Brad, the Democratic Party committed suicide with the Clintons. Obama was a rerun of Bush Jr. Trump is actually trying to put the Deep State down, and you should be supporting that. How many Stupid Wars till you see the light? How many more countries do you want to bomb in the name of Democracy? Syria has been stabilized, Brad. Hillary would not have done that. ..."
"... Perhaps the date should mark the end of neo-classical economics. You have widespread poverty and a populace who want change. Hardly the result of success. ..."
Jul 13, 2018 |

America the Loser Jul 4, 2018 J. Bradford DeLong Donald Trump's unhinged recent attacks on the iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson distill his larger assault on American democracy. Even if Democrats do manage to retake one or both houses of Congress this November, the damage that Trump and Republican leaders have done to the country's global standing cannot be repaired.

BERKELEY – The Washington Post's Catherine Rampell recently recalled that when US President Donald Trump held a session for Harley-Davidson executives and union representatives at the White House in February 2017, he thanked them "for building things in America." Trump went on to predict that the iconic American motorcycle company would expand under his watch. "I know your business is now doing very well," he observed, "and there's a lot of spirit right now in the country that you weren't having so much in the last number of months that you have right now."

What a difference a year makes. Harley-Davidson recently announced that it would move some of its operations to jurisdictions not subject to the European Union's retaliatory measures adopted in response to Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Trump then took to Twitter to say that he was, "Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag." He then made a promise that he cannot keep: " ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the EU."

Then, in a later tweet, Trump falsely stated that, "Early this year Harley-Davidson said they would move much of their plant operations in Kansas City to Thailand," and that "they were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse." In fact, when the company announced the closure of its plant in Kansas City, Missouri, it said that it would move those operations to York, Pennsylvania. At any rate, Trump's point is nonsensical. If companies are acting in anticipation of his own announcement that he is launching a trade war, then his trade war is not just an excuse.

In yet another tweet, Trump turned to threats, warning that, "Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into U.S. without paying a big tax!" But, again, this is nonsensical: the entire point of Harley-Davidson shifting some of its production to countries not subject to EU tariffs is to sell tariff-free motorcycles to Europeans.

In a final tweet, Trump decreed that, "A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country – never!" He then went on to promise the destruction of the company, and thus the jobs of its workers: "If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end – they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!" 1

Needless to say, none of this is normal. Trump's statements are dripping with contempt for the rule of law. And none of them rises to the level of anything that could be called trade policy, let alone governance. It is as if we have returned to the days of Henry VIII, an impulsive, deranged monarch who was surrounded by a gaggle of plutocrats, lickspittles, and flatterers, all trying to advance their careers while keeping the ship of state afloat.

Trump is clearly incapable of executing the duties of his office in good faith. The US House of Representatives and Senate should have impeached him and removed him from office already – for violations of the US Constitution's emoluments clause , if nothing else. Barring that, Vice President Mike Pence should have long ago invoked the 25th Amendment, which provides for the removal of a president whom a majority of the cabinet has deemed "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

And yet, neither Speaker of the House Paul Ryan nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor Pence has dared to do anything about Trump's assault on American democracy. Republicans are paralyzed by the fear that if they turn on Trump, who is now supported by roughly 90% of their party's base, they will all suffer at the polls in the midterm congressional election this November.

It is nice to think that the election will fix everything. But, at a minimum, the Democratic Party needs a six-percentage-point edge to retake the House of Representatives, owing to Republican gerrymandering of congressional districts. Democrats also have to overcome a gerrymandering effect in the Senate. Right now, the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats represent 181 million people, whereas the 51 who caucus with the Republicans represent just 142 million people. 3

Moreover, the US is notorious for its low voter turnout during midterm elections, which tends to hurt Democratic candidates' prospects. And Trump and congressional Republicans have been presiding over a relatively strong economy, which they inherited from former President Barack Obama, but are happy to claim as their own.

Finally, one must not discount the fear factor. Countless Americans routinely fall victim to social- and cable-media advertising campaigns that play to their worst instincts. You can rest assured that in this election cycle, as in the past, elderly white voters will be fed a steady diet of bombast about the threat posed by immigrants, people of color, Muslims, and other Trump-voter bugaboos (that is, when they aren't being sold fake diabetes cures and overpriced gold funds).

Regardless of what happens this November, it is already clear that the American century ended on November 8, 2016. On that day, the United States ceased to be the world's leading superpower – the flawed but ultimately well-meaning guarantor of peace, prosperity, and human rights around the world. America's days of Kindlebergian hegemony are now behind it. The credibility that has been lost to the Trumpists – abetted by Russia and the US Electoral College – can never be regained. See also

J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America's transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

[Jul 12, 2018] Are The Russia-Gate Fanatics Crazy, Or Just Cynical by Justin Raimondo

Jul 12, 2018 |
Authored by Justin Raimondo via,

The kookification of the "mainstream" continues, with none other than Jonathan Chait – the most conventional sort of boring corporate liberal – producing an unhinged diatribe purporting to prove that Donald Trump has been a Russian agent since 1987 – and that his path to the presidency was paved by his Russian handlers, who were planning it all along. And not to be outdone, formerly rational person Marcy Wheeler, whose investigations as "emptywheel" won her some renown, is now claiming that she not only has definitive proof of Trump's collusion with the Kremlin, but that, as a result, she was forced to turn one of her sources into the FBI for some vague cloak-and-dagger-ish reason.

I looked in on the Chait production, and came upon his reiteration of the Alfa Bank computer link – this was a story, you'll recall, that claimed there was a stream of communications between this "Kremlin-connected" bank and the Trump organization. This, we were told, was almost certainly Vladimir Putin sending instructions to his zombie-agents in the Trump White House. Yes, this was actually the story, backed up by several computer "experts" – except it turned out to be advertising spam . Chait repeats this story, adding it on top of the several dozen other conspiracy factoids he throws in the mix – but without mentioning that the computer signals were simply ad-bots. On the basis of this, and a string of other "interactions" with Russians, we are supposed to believe that the omnipotent Russian intelligence agencies hatched a plot 30 years ago to put Trump into the White House. This is a conspiracy theory that's so shoddy and far-fetched that not even Alex Jones would touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Which brings us to an interesting question: do these people really believe their own craziness?

In some instances, it's pure psychopathology. That's the case, I believe, for Marcy Wheeler, Louise Mensch, and the more active online Twitter-paranoids. These people have been so shocked by the unexpected – the election of Trump – that they have been forced into a dubious mental state bordering on insanity.

However, in the case of Jonathan Chait, it's pure viciousness and cynicism. He even says of his own theory that it's "unlikely but possible." It's just a show for the suckers. The same is true for most of the other journalists who have enlisted in #TheResistance and given up any pretense at objectivity: they are simply doing what they do best, and that is taking dictation from their spookish sources. The treatment of Russia-gate in the media parallels precisely what occurred with Iraq's storied "weapons of mass destruction" – reporters are taking it all on faith, and they don't even necessarily believe it. Thus the biggest hoax since Piltdown Man is reported as "fact." And of course all this is coming to the fore as Trump takes on NATO and our European "allies."

For anti-interventionists, Trump's trip to Europe could not be more timely or enlightening. He went to the NATO meeting with a few admonitory tweets up front , complaining that America pays far more than a fair share of the alliance's monetary costs, and no sooner does he get off the plane than he notes that for all the anti-Russian rhetoric coming out of our allies, the Germans are cuddling up to the Russians on the energy front with the Nord Stream II pipeline. Merkel shot back that Germany is, after all, an independent country and can do what it likes. True, but then why the weird contradiction between claiming that Russia is a military threat and also setting up the mechanism of energy dependence?

Before getting on the plane for his European sojourn, the President reiterated his longstanding position:

"We pay far too much and they pay far too little. The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable."

And the cost is not just measured in monetary terms: there's also the incalculable cost of risking war, under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which obligates us to come to the aid of a NATO ally that's under attack, or at least that claims to be under attack. In which case, the government of tiny Montenegro, with a population of a bit over half a million, could declare that the Russians are trying to pull off a coup, and US troops would be in country "defending" it against an incursion that may not even exist.

Take a look at the Euro-weenies squirming in their seats at that "bilateral breakfast," which was turned into a lecture by the President about why the burden of empire should not fall only on our shoulders. Pompeo and Kay Bailey Hutchinson don't look happy, either, but that's just too bad, now isn't it? The President is speaking truth to the once high-and-mighty – and more power to him!

Meanwhile, the main event is going to be in Helsinki: NATO is just a sideshow. After all, militarily the alliance is really nothing but the United States and a few Brits: the Europeans carry little actual weight. The really serious business will take place with Putin, although there is a relentless propaganda campaign in progress to prevent Trump from making the Helsinki summit a success.

What must be addressed in Helsinki is the backsliding of both countries when it comes to preventing a nuclear catastrophe. The program to find and secure loose nukes, which became a problem after the breakup of the Soviet Union, needs to be renewed, in addition to the mutual disarmament agreements that have fallen by the wayside , with the US and the Russians re-arming . As tensions between Washington and Moscow rise, the possibility of a nuclear conflict increases, along with the chances of an accidenta l nuclear exchange. The nuclear death machine is on automatic, with all kinds of scenarios where it could be set off by something other than an enemy attack : a terrorist strike in Washington, D.C., or anywhere, involving nuclear material, or simply a computer software glitch. Americans would be horrified to learn just how close we are to an extinction event.

The Trump-haters would rather the President fail than give him credit for securing the peace. They would much prefer to wage a new cold war with Russia than put an end to the horrific threat of utter annihilation that's cast a dark shadow over the world for all this time. In preferring universal ruin to the vindication of their enemies, they fit the very definition of what it means to be evil.

Trump is out to transform US foreign policy by – finally! – recognizing the reality that's been in place since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The old structures that served us when Communism was thought to be a threat to Europe are no longer functional, and haven't been for quite some time. NATO today is nothing but a gigantic subsidy to two major beneficiaries: our European "allies" and the big arms manufacturers such as Boeing, Raytheon, etc. The current arrangements allow the European welfare states to huddle under the US nuclear shield while dispensing all kinds of goodies to their citizens. It's quite a racket for all concerned: as NATO countries must continually update their military equipment to meet rising standards, American taxpayers are footing most of the bill.

Whether Trump succeeds in getting the incubus of NATO off our backs, or not, this outmoded institution is bound to wither away no matter who is in the White House, for the simple reason that it no longer serves any useful purpose. Those howls of outrage you're hearing are all coming from self-interested parties being cut off from the gravy train – and, as such, all that noise should be music to our ears. Tags Politics War Conflict Commercial Banks Commercial Aircraft Manufacturing Oil Related Services and Equipment - NEC Aerospace & Defense - NEC

Comments Vote up! 27 Vote down! 3

GunnyG Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:45 Permalink

Unhinged loons all. The only collusion seems to be between the Magic Nigger and Putin along with Hellery and Mueller and Uranium One.

President Obama : "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."

President Medvedev : "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you."

jm -> GunnyG Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

We're over it.

Dickweed Wang -> jm Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

More projection from the left . . . accusing Trump of the very thing(s) they themselves are guilty of. It's really getting obvious.

Automatic Choke -> Dickweed Wang Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:53 Permalink

I have a good friend. Intelligent, usually quite well balanced, but a bad case of TDS. She keeps falling back on "where there is smoke there must be fire....we keep hearing about Russia and Trump, so it must be true."

I have yet to point out to her that is precisely what was behind Goering's philosophy of "tell a lie often enough and people will believe it to be true". After all, she is also jewish, and the Goering reference might make her head explode.

Billy the Poet -> Automatic Choke Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:55 Permalink

Have you shown her the Steele dossier which lists Kremlin agents and Russian spies as sources A, B, C and G?

DingleBarryObummer -> Billy the Poet Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:58 Permalink

let's get some Likud/Chabad Lubavitch-gate articles

Boing_Snap -> DingleBarryObummer Thu, 07/12/2018 - 17:23 Permalink

RussiaGate was spawned as Trump was calling her out for her crimes, the ties to the Uranium One scam were obvious and public. So in typical fashion she paints her opponent with the the false brush of her crimes to deflect the reality.

Besides the MI6 need to smear the Russians was first on the agenda anyway, can't have the Russians looking good on anything.

lazarusturtle -> Boing_Snap Thu, 07/12/2018 - 19:05 Permalink

Thank Q for exposing all the closet zionists. When you replace the word "Russiagate" with "Israelgate", then all the 'fire & fury' over the Trump presidency actually starts to make sense.

MillionDollarButter -> lazarusturtle Thu, 07/12/2018 - 20:25 Permalink

To the new owners of ZH. Everyone knows what's up.

TBT or not TBT -> MillionDollarButter Thu, 07/12/2018 - 20:56 Permalink

Crazy OR cynical? Embrace the healing power of and.

Rapunzal -> DingleBarryObummer Thu, 07/12/2018 - 17:23 Permalink

No it's just a hollow divide and conquer meme, to keep the sheeple arguing about nonsense and keep the flow of fake news at a high level. Don't give the sheeple a moment of a break, they might start to think for themselves.

WallHoo -> Rapunzal Thu, 07/12/2018 - 17:34 Permalink

Come on rapu dont say that,you can do better!!

Life rule number one if someone supports something beyond reason that means that they benefit from it.

Nature_Boy_Wooooo -> Automatic Choke Thu, 07/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

I think deep down these people know it's nonsense, they just hate Trump so much they feel the need to be dishonest just to try and hurt him.

It blows my mind because these are the same people who would have a meltdown if a prosecutor went after a black man with these tactics. Somehow they feel that a malicious prosecution is acceptable just this one time.

stant -> Automatic Choke Thu, 07/12/2018 - 17:00 Permalink

the tribe has a cult following. the crack pipe has second hand smoke

Consuelo -> Automatic Choke Thu, 07/12/2018 - 18:05 Permalink

Ancient hatred of ethnic Russians from the old Khazarian empire, now known as 'Ukraine'...

It is no wonder, nor surprise that