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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


Introduction

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 Amazon.com review of  ECONned How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism eBook Yves Smith that  states this position well:

kievite:
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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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

[Sep 16, 2019] President Macron's Amazing Admission by The Saker

Sep 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Interestingly, one of the people the Ukrainians gave up in this exchange was Vladimir Tsemakh, a native of the Donbass who was kidnapped by the Ukie SBU in Novorussia (our noble "Europeans" did not object to such methods!) and declared the "star witness" against Russia in the MH-17 (pseudo-)investigation. Even more pathetic is that the Dutch apparently fully endorsed this load of crapola . Finally, and just for a good laugh, check out how the infamous' Bellingcat presented Tsemakh . And then, suddenly, everybody seem to "forget" that "star witness" and now the Ukies have sent him to Russia. Amazing how fast stuff gets lost in the collective western memory hole

Thus we see these apparently contradictory developments taking place: on on hand, the Ukraine finally agreed to a prisoner swap with Russia (a painful one for Russia as Russia mostly traded real criminals, including a least two bona fide Ukie terrorist, against what are mostly civilian hostages, but Putin decided – correctly I think – that freeing Russian nationalists from Ukie jails was more important in this case) while on the other hand, the Ukronazi armed forces increased their shelling, even with 152mm howitzers which fire 50kg high explosive fragmentation shells, against the Donbass. Whatever may be the case, this prisoner swap, no matter how one-sided and unfair, is a positive development which might mark the beginning of a pragmatic and less ideological attitude in Kiev.

Some very cautious beginnings of a little hint of optimism might be in order following that exchange, but the big stuff seems to be scheduled for the meeting of the Normandy Group (NG), probably in France. So far, the Russians have made it very clear that they will not meet just for the hell of meeting, and that the only circumstance in which the Russians will agree to a NG meeting would be if it has good chances of yielding meaningful results which, translated from Russian diplomatic language simply means "if/when Kiev stops stonewalling and sabotaging everything". Specifically, the Russians are demanding that Zelenskii commit in writing to the so-called " Steinmeier formula " and that the Ukrainian forces withdraw from the line of contact. Will that happen? Maybe. We shall soon find out.

Here is my informal translation of these words:

The international order is being shaken in an unprecedented manner, above all with, if I may say so, by the great upheaval that is undoubtedly taking place for the first time in our history , in almost every field and with a profoundly historic magnitude . The first thing we observe is a major transformation, a geopolitical and strategic re-composition. We are undoubtedly experiencing the end of Western hegemony over the world . We were accustomed to an international order which, since the 18th century, rested on a Western hegemony, mostly French in the 18th century, by the inspiration of the Enlightenment; then mostly British in the 19th century thanks to the Industrial Revolution and, finally, mostly American in the 20th century thanks to the 2 great conflicts and the economic and political domination of this power. Things change. And they are now deeply shaken by the mistakes of Westerners in certain crises, by the choices that have been made by Americans for several years which did not start with this administration, but which lead to revisiting certain implications in conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, and to rethinking a deep, diplomatic and military strategy, and sometimes elements of solidarity that we thought were intangible for eternity, even if we had constituted together in geopolitical moments that have changed. And then there is the emergence of new powers whose impact we have probably underestimated for a long time. China is at the forefront, but also the Russian strategy, which has, it must be said, been pursued more successfully in recent years . I will come back to that. India that is emerging, these new economies that are also becoming powers not only economic but political and that think themselves, as some have written, as real "civilizational states" which now come not only to shake up our international order but who also come to weigh in on the economic order and to rethink the political order and the political imagination that goes with it, with much dynamism and much more inspiration than we have. Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we've lost a little bit.

... ... ...

6) " Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we've lost a little bit."

This is the "core BRICS" challenge to the Empire: China and Russia have already established what the Chinese call a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era". If they can now extend this kind of informal but extremely profound partnership (I think of it as "symbiotic") to India next, then the BRICS will have a formidable future (especially after the Brazilian people give the boot to Bolsonaro and his US patrons). Should that fail and should India chose to remain outside this unique relationship, then the SCO will become the main game in town. And yes, Macron is spot on: China and, especially, Russia have a fundamentally different worldview and, unlike the western one, theirs does have "much stronger political" goals (Macron used the word "aspirations"), "a real philosophy and imagination" which the West has lost, and not just a "little bit" but, I would argue, completely. But one way or the other, and for the first time in 1000 years, the future of our planet will not be decided anywhere in the West, not in Europe (old or "new"), but in Asia, primarily by the Russian-Chinese alliance. As I explained here , the AngloZionist Empire is probably the last one in history, definitely the last western one.

... ... ...

PS: the latest rumor from the Ukraine: Zelenskii supporters are saying that Poroshenko is preparing a coup against Zelenskii and that he is preparing a special force of Ukronazi deathsquads to execute that coup. Dunno about a real coup, but they have already blocked the Rada . Never a dull moment indeed

[Sep 15, 2019] The USA is like the Hotel California, you can check out, but you can never leave.

Sep 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Paralentor , 40 minutes ago link

Perfect time for Texas to secede from the Union and return to being a Lone Star Nation State. Price for barrels start at $95 and that's only a former friends and family rate.

just the tip , 33 minutes ago link

why would the blue state of texas do such a thing?

Dzerzhhinsky , 33 minutes ago link

The USA is like the Hotel California, you can check out, but you can never leave.

Last time you tried to leave they gave you a warning, this time they would kill you all.

[Sep 15, 2019] Americar real Conflict in Trump era is between the two factions of neoliberal elites: financial oligarchy (and associated with them Silicon Valley Moduls) and old manufacturing elite

This is the conflict between financial elite and Silicon Valley modules against traditional manufactures and extractive industries like oil, gas, coil, iron ore, etc.
Notable quotes:
"... The First Estate, once the province of the Catholic Church, has morphed into what Samuel Coleridge in the 1830s called "the Clerisy," a group that extends beyond organized religion to the universities, media, cultural tastemakers and upper echelons of the bureaucracy. The role of the Second Estate is now being played by a rising Oligarchy, notably in tech but also Wall Street, that is consolidating control of most of the economy. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | dailycaller.com

A recent OECD report , is under assault, and shrinking in most places while prospects for upward mobility for the working class also declines.T

he anger of the Third Estate, both the growing property-less Serf class as well as the beleaguered Yeomanry, has produced the growth of populist, parties both right and left in Europe, and the election of Donald Trump in 2016. In the U.S., this includes not simply the gradual, and sometimes jarring, transformation of the GOP into a vehicle for populist rage, but also the rise on the Democratic side of politicians such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, each of whom have made class politics their signature issue.

(RELATED: Bernie Sanders Says Middle Class Will Pay More In Taxes)

The Rise of Neo-Feudalism

Today's neo-feudalism recalls the social order that existed before the democratic revolutions of the 17th and 18th Century, with our two ascendant estates filling the roles of the former dominant classes.

The First Estate, once the province of the Catholic Church, has morphed into what Samuel Coleridge in the 1830s called "the Clerisy," a group that extends beyond organized religion to the universities, media, cultural tastemakers and upper echelons of the bureaucracy. The role of the Second Estate is now being played by a rising Oligarchy, notably in tech but also Wall Street, that is consolidating control of most of the economy.

Together these two classes have waxed while the Third Estate has declined. This essentially reversed the enormous gains made by the middle and even the working class over the past 50 years. The top 1% in America captured just 4.9 percent of total U.S. income growth in 1945-1973, but since then the country's richest classes has gobbled up an astonishing 58.7% of all new wealth in the U.S., and 41.8 percent of total income growth during 2009-2015 alone.

In this period, the Oligarchy has benefited from the financialization of the economy and the refusal of the political class in both parties to maintain competitive markets. As a result, American industry has become increasingly concentrated. For example, the five largest banks now account for close to 50 percent of all banking assets, up from barely 30 percent just 20 years ago. (RELATED: The Biggest Bank You've Never Heard Of)

Warren Buffett, Jeffrey Immelt, Charles Schwab and Jamie Dimon, at Georgetown University. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Warren Buffett, Jeffrey Immelt, Charles Schwab and Jamie Dimon, at Georgetown University. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The concentration numbers in tech are even more frightening. Once a highly competitive industry, it is now among the most concentrated . Like the barbarian chieftains who seized land after the fall of Rome, a handful of companies -- Facebook , Google , Apple, Microsoft and Amazon -- have gained total control over a host of markets, from social media to search, the software operating systems, cloud computing and e-commerce. In many key markets such as search, these companies enjoy market shares reaching to eighty or ninety percent.

As they push into fields such as entertainment, space travel, finance and autonomous vehicles, they have become, as technology analyst Izabella Kaminska notes, the modern-day "free market" equivalents of the Soviet planners who operated Gosplan, allocating billions for their own subjective priorities. Libertarians might point out that these tech giants are still privately held firms but they actually represent , as one analyst put it, "a new form of monopoly power made possible by the 'network effect' of those platforms through which everyone must pass to conduct the business of life."

The role of the Clerisy

The new feudalism, like the original, is not based simply around the force of arms, or in this case what Marx called "the cash nexus." Like the church in Medieval times, the Clerisy sees itself as anointed to direct human society, a modern version of what historian Marc Bloch called the "oligarchy of priests and monks whose task it was to propitiate heaven." This modern-day version of the old First Estate sets down the ideological tone in the schools, the mass media, culture and the arts. There's also a Clerisy of sorts on the right, and what's left of the center, but this remains largely, except for Fox, an insignificant remnant.

Like their predecessors, today's Clerisy embraces an orthodoxy, albeit secular, on a host of issues from race and gender to the environment. Universities have become increasingly dogmatic in their worldview. One study of 51 top colleges found the proportion of liberals to conservatives as much as 70:1, and usually at least 8:1. At elite liberal arts schools like Wellesley, Swarthmore and Williams, the proportion reaches 120:1.

Similar attitudes can be seen in virtually all other culturally dominant institutions, starting with Hollywood. Over 99 percent of all major entertainment executives' donations went to Democrats in 2018, even though roughly half the population would prefer they keep their politics more to themselves. (RELATED: Here Are Reactions From Democrats, Liberal Celebrities To The Mueller Testimony)

The increasing concentration of media in ever fewer centers -- London, New York, Washington, San Francisco -- and the decline of the local press has accentuated the elite Clerisy's domination. With most reporters well on the left, journalism, as a 2019 Rand report reveals, is steadily moving from a fact-based model to one that is dominated by predictable opinion. This, Rand suggests has led to what they called "truth decay."

The new geography of feudalism

The new feudalism increasingly defines geography not only in America but across much of the world. The great bastion of both the Oligarchy and high reaches of the Clerisy lies in the great cities, notably New York, London, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. These are all among the most expensive places to live in the world and play a dominant role in the global media.

Yet these cities are not the progressive, egalitarian places evoked by great urbanists like the late Jane Jacobs, but more closely resemble the "gated" cities of the Middle Ages, and their equivalents in places as diverse as China and Japan. American cities now have higher levels of inequality, notes one recent study , than Mexico. In fact, the largest gaps ( between the bottom and top quintiles of median incomes are in the heartland of progressive opinion, such as in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, New York, San Jose, and Los Angeles. (RELATED: Got Income Inequality? Least Affordable Cities Are Also the Bluest)

In some of the most favored blue cities, such as Seattle , Portland and San Francisco , not only is the middle class disappearing, but there has been something equivalent of "ethnic cleansing" amidst rising high levels of inequality, homelessness and social disorder. Long-standing minority communities like the Albina neighborhood in Portland are disappearing as 10,000 of the 38,000 residents have been pushed out of the historic African-American section. In San Francisco, the black population has dropped from 18% in the 1970s to single digits and what remains, notes Harry Alford , National Black Chamber of Commerce president, "are predominantly living under the poverty level and is being pushed out to extinction."

This exclusive and exclusionary urbanity contrasts with the historic role of cities. The initial rise of the Third Estate was tied intimately to the " freedom of the city . " But with the diminishing prospects for blue-collar industries, as well as high housing costs, many minorities and immigrants are increasingly migrating away from multi-culturally correct regions like Chicago , New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco for less regulated, generally less "woke" places like Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Atlanta and Las Vegas.

Yet even as the middle-class populations flee, poverty remains deeply entrenched in our big cities, with a rate roughly twice that of the suburbs. The much-celebrated urban renaissance has been largely enjoyed by the upper echelons but not the working classes. In the city of Philadelphia , for example, the "center city" income rose, but citywide between 2000 and 2014, for every district that, like downtown, gained in income, two suffered income declines. Similarly, research shows that the number of high poverty (greater than 30 percent below the poverty line) neighborhoods in the U.S. has tripled since 1970 from 1,100 to 3,100.

Undermining the Third Estate

The impact of the rising Clerisy and Oligarchs poses a direct threat to the future of the Third Estate. On the economic side, relentless consolidation and financialization has devastated Main Street. In the great boom of the 1980s, small firms and start-ups powered the economy, but more recently the rates of entrepreneurship have dropped as mega-mergers, chains and on-line giants slowly reduced the scope of opportunities. Perhaps most disturbing of all has been the decline in new formations among younger people.

This phenomenon is most evident in the tech world. Today is not a great time to start a tech company unless you are in the charmed circle of elite firms with access to venture and private equity funds. The old garage start-up culture of Silicon Valley is slowly dying, as large firms gobble up or crush competitors. Indeed, since the rise of the tech economy in the 1990s, the overall degree of industry concentration has grown by 75 percent.

Like the peasant farmer or artisan in the feudal era, the entrepreneur not embraced by the big venture firms lives largely at the sufferance of the tech overlords. As one online publisher notes on his firm's status with Google:

If you're a Star Trek fan, you'll understand the analogy. It's a bit like being assimilated by the Borg. You get cool new powers. But having been assimilated, if your implants were ever removed, you'd certainly die. That basically captures our relationship to Google.

The Clerisy's War on the Middle Class

For generations, the Clerisy has steadfastly opposed the growth of suburbia, driven in large part by the aesthetic concerns –the conviction that single-family homes are fundamentally anti-social– and, increasingly, by often dubious assertions on their environmental toxicity. In places like California, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, government policies discourage peripheral construction where home ownership rates tend to be higher, in favor of dense, largely rental housing.

This marks a dramatic turnaround. During the middle of the 20th Century, ownership rates in the United States leaped from 44 percent in 1940 to 63 percent in the late 1970s. Yet in the new generation this prospect is fading. In the United States, home ownership among post-college millennials (aged 25-34) has dropped from 45.4 percent in 2000 to 37.0 percent in 2016, a drop of 18 percent from the 1970s, according to Census Bureau data . In contrast, their parents and grandparents witnessed a dramatic rise of homeownership from 44 percent in 1940 to 63 percent 30 years later.

But the Clerisy's war on middle- and working-class aspiration goes well beyond housing. Climate change policies already enacted in California and Germany have driven millions into "energy poverty." If adopted, many of the latest proposals for such things as the Green New Deal all but guarantee the rapid reduction of millions of highly productive and often well-paying energy, aerospace, automobile and logistics jobs.

Political implications

The war of the Estates is likely to shape our political landscape for decades to come. Parts of the Third Estate –those working with their hands or operating small businesses– increasingly flock to the GOP, according to a recent CityLab report. Trump also has a case to make with these workers, as real wages for blue-collar workers are now rising for the first time in decades. Unemployment is near record lows not only for whites but also Latinos and African-Americans. Of course, if the economy weakens, he may lose some of this support. (RELATED: Trump Blasts Media For 'Barely' Covering 'Great' Economy, Low Unemployment)

But the emergence of neo-feudalism also lays the foundation for a larger, more potent and radicalized left. As opportunities for upward mobility shrink, a new generation, indoctrinated in leftist ideology sometimes from grade school and ever more predictably in undergraduate and graduate school, tilts heavily to the left, embracing what is essentially an updated socialist program of massive redistribution, central direction of the economy and racial redress.

Antifa members in Berkeley, California. AFP/Getty/Amy Osborne.

Antifa members in Berkeley, California. AFP/Getty/Amy Osborne.

In France's most recent presidential election, the former Trotskyite Jean-Luc Melenchon won the under-24 vote, beating the "youthful" Emmanuel Macron by almost two to one. Similarly in the United Kingdom, the birthplace of modern capitalism, the Labour Party , under the neo- Marxist Jeremy Corbyn , won over 60 percent of the vote among voters under 40, compared to just 23 percent for the Conservatives. Similar trends can be seen across Europe, where the Red and Green Party enjoys wide youth support.

The shift to hard-left politics also extends to the United States– historically not a fertile area for Marxist thinking. In the 2016 primaries , the openly socialist Bernie Sanders easily outpolled Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined. A 2016 poll by the Communism Memorial Foundation found that 44 percent of American millennials favored socialism while another 14 percent chose fascism or communism. By 2024, these millennials will be by far the country's biggest voting bloc .

In the current run-up to the Democratic nomination these young voters overwhelming tilt toward Sanders and his slightly less radical colleague Warren, while former Vice President Joe Biden retains the support of older Democrats. The common themes of the "new" Left, with such things as guaranteed annual incomes, rent control, housing subsidies, and free college might prove irresistible to a generation that has little hope of owning a home, could remain childless, and might never earn enough money to invest in much of anything. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Says 'Health Care For All' Will Require Tax Increases)

At the end, the war of the estates raises the prospect of rising autocracy, even under formally democratic forms. In his assessment in "Democracy in America ," Alexis de Tocqueville suggests a new form of tyranny -- in many ways more insidious than that of the monarchical state -- that grants favors and entertainments to its citizens but expects little in obligation. Rather than expect people to become adults, he warns, a democratic state can be used to keep its members in "perpetual childhood" and "would degrade men rather than tormenting them."

With the erosion of the middle class, and with it dreams of upward mobility, we already see more extreme, less liberally minded class politics. A nation of clerics, billionaires and serfs is not conducive to the democratic experiment; only by mobilizing the Third Estate can we hope that our republican institutions will survive intact even in the near future.

Mr. Kotkin is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and the executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. His next book, "The Coming Of Neo-Feudalism," will be out this spring.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.

[Sep 15, 2019] Trump's new world disorder: competitive, chaotic, conflicted by

The key to understanding the c
The collapse of neoliberalism naturally lead to the collapse of the US influence over the globe. and to the treats to the dollar as the world reserve currency. That's why the US foreign policy became so aggressive and violent. Neocons want to fight for the world hegemony to the last American.
Notable quotes:
"... US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational ..."
"... Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel. ..."
"... Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. ..."
"... The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched. ..."
"... driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university. ..."
"... "The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy." ..."
"... This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible. ..."
"... The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along. ..."
"... With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely. ..."
"... "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

With John Bolton dismissed, Taliban peace talks a fiasco and a trade war with China, US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational

It was by all accounts, a furious row. Donald Trump was talking about relaxing sanctions on Iran and holding a summit with its president, Hassan Rouhani, at this month's UN general assembly in New York. John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, was dead against it and forcefully rejected Trump's ideas during a tense meeting in the Oval Office on Monday.

...Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel.

The US president is now saying he is also open to a repeat meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, to reboot stalled nuclear disarmament talks. On another front, he has offered an olive branch to China, delaying a planned tariff increase on $250bn of Chinese goods pending renewed trade negotiations next month. Meanwhile, he says, new tariffs on European car imports could be dropped, too.

Is a genuine dove-ish shift under way? It seems improbable. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. He has cosied up to autocrats, attacked old friends and blundered into sensitive conflicts he does not fully comprehend.

The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched.

The suggestion that Trump will make nice and back off as election time nears thus elicits considerable scepticism. US analysts and commentators say the president's erratic, impulsive and egotistic personality means any shift towards conciliation may be short-lived and could quickly be reversed, Bolton or no Bolton.

Trump wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal in Afghanistan with the Taliban, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute

Trump is notorious for blowing hot and cold, performing policy zigzags and suddenly changing his mind. "Regardless of who has advised Mr Trump on foreign affairs all have proved powerless before [his] zest for chaos," the New York Times noted last week .

Lacking experienced diplomatic and military advisers (he has sacked most of the good ones), surrounded by an inner circle of cynical sycophants such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university.

"The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy."

This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible.

As a result, the US today finds itself at odds with much of the world to an unprecedented and dangerous degree. America, the postwar global saviour, has been widely recast as villain. Nor is this a passing phase. Trump seems to have permanently changed the way the US views the world and vice versa. Whatever follows, it will never be quite the same again.

Clues as to what he does next may be found in what he has done so far. His is a truly calamitous record, as exemplified by Afghanistan. Having vowed in 2016 to end America's longest war, he began with a troop surge, lost interest and sued for peace. A withdrawal deal proved elusive. Meanwhile, US-led forces inflicted record civilian casualties .

Facebook Twitter Pinterest The US and Israeli flags are projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in May, marking the anniversary of the US embassy transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/Getty

The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along.

All sides are now vowing to step up the violence, with the insurgents aiming to disrupt this month's presidential election in Afghanistan. In short, Trump's self-glorifying Afghan reality show, of which he was the Nobel-winning star, has made matters worse. Much the same is true of his North Korea summitry, where expectations were raised, then dashed when he got cold feet in Hanoi , provoking a backlash from Pyongyang.

The current crisis over Iran's nuclear programme is almost entirely of Trump's making, sparked by his decision last year to renege on the 2015 UN-endorsed deal with Tehran. His subsequent "maximum pressure" campaign of punitive sanctions has failed to cow Iranians while alienating European allies. And it has led Iran to resume banned nuclear activities – a seriously counterproductive, entirely predictable outcome.

Trump's unconditional, unthinking support for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's aggressively rightwing prime minister – including tacit US backing for his proposed annexation of swathes of the occupied territories – is pushing the Palestinians back to the brink, energising Hamas and Hezbollah, and raising tensions across the region .

With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely.

The bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived

Stephen Wertheim, historian

Yet Trump, oblivious to the point of recklessness, remains determined to unveil his absurdly unbalanced Israel-Palestine "deal of the century" after Tuesday's Israeli elections. He and his gormless son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may be the only people who don't realise their plan has a shorter life expectancy than a snowball on a hot day in Gaza.

... ... ...

...he is consistently out of line, out on his own – and out of control. This, broadly, is Trump world as it has come to exist since January 2017. And this, in a nutshell, is the intensifying foreign policy crisis of which Professor Cohen warned. The days when responsible, trustworthy, principled US international leadership could be taken for granted are gone. No vague change of tone on North Korea or Iran will by itself halt the Trump-led slide into expanding global conflict and division.

Historians such as Stephen Wertheim say change had to come. US politicians of left and right mostly agreed that "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", Wertheim wrote earlier this year . "But agreement ends there " he continued: "One camp holds that the US erred by coddling China and Russia, and urges a new competition against these great power rivals. The other camp, which says the US has been too belligerent and ambitious around the world, counsels restraint, not another crusade against grand enemies."

This debate among grownups over America's future place in the world will form part of next year's election contest. But before any fundamental change of direction can occur, the international community – and the US itself – must first survive another 16 months of Trump world and the wayward child-president's poll-fixated, ego-driven destructive tendencies.

Survival is not guaranteed. The immediate choice facing US friends and foes alike is stark and urgent: ignore, bypass and marginalise Trump – or actively, openly, resist him.

Here are some of the key flashpoints around the globe

United Nations

Trump is deeply hostile to the UN. It embodies the multilateralist, globalist policy approaches he most abhors – because they supposedly infringe America's sovereignty and inhibit its freedom of action. Under him, self-interested US behaviour has undermined the authority of the UN security council's authority. The US has rejected a series of international treaties and agreements, including the Paris climate change accord and the Iran nuclear deal. The UN-backed international criminal court is beyond the pale. Trump's attitude fits with his "America First" isolationism, which questions traditional ideas about America's essential global leadership role.

Germany

Trump rarely misses a chance to bash Germany, perhaps because it is Europe's most successful economy and represents the EU, which he detests. He is obsessed by German car imports, on which protectionist US tariffs will be levied this autumn. He accuses Berlin – and Europe– of piggy-backing on America by failing to pay its fair share of Nato defence costs. Special venom is reserved for Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, most likely because she is a woman who stands up to him . Trump recently insulted another female European leader, Denmark's Mette Frederiksen, after she refused to sell him Greenland .

Israel

Trump has made a great show of unconditional friendship towards Israel and its rightwing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has skilfully maximised his White House influence. But by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, officially condoning Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, and withdrawing funding and other support from the Palestinians, the president has abandoned the long-standing US policy of playing honest broker in the peace process. Trump has also tried to exploit antisemitism for political advantage, accusing US Democrat Jews who oppose Netanyahu's policies of "disloyalty" to Israel.

... ... ...

[Sep 15, 2019] Wall Street Ignores Cyclical Jobs Growth Downturn As Employment Indicator Hits Great Recession Levels

Notable quotes:
"... Most of the ads for good jobs are fake. ..."
"... Instead of submitting a general application, as used to be the case in the past, and have the ability to work with the company to find the role that works best. HR has ruined a lot of good companies and their recruiting processes by going to rigid job descriptions instead of just hiring smart people and letting them work. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Economic Cycle Research Institute's (ECRI) Lakshman Achuthan recently sat down with CNBC's Michael Santoli to discuss the jobs growth downturn. Keep in mind, this conversation was held on Wednesday, several days before Friday's disappointing jobs report.

Achuthan told Santoli there's a " very clear cyclical downturn in jobs growth, there's really no debating that, and it looks set to continue ."

Achuthan said January 2019 marked the cyclical peak in jobs growth, has been moving lower ever since, and the trend is far from over. Both nonfarm payrolls and the household survey year-over-year growth are in cyclical downturns, he said. While the economic narratives via the mainstream financial press continue to cheerlead that the consumer will lift all tides thanks to the supposedly strong jobs market, Achuthan believes the downturn in jobs growth will start to "undermine consumer confidence." And it's the loss in consumer confidence that could tilt the economy into recession.

He also said when examining cyclically sensitive sectors of the economy, there are already "questionable jobs numbers," such as a significant surge in the construction unemployment rate.

Achuthan said nonfarm payroll growth has plunged to a 17-month low, and the household survey is even weaker. He said the top nonfarm payroll line would be revised down by half a million jobs in the coming months, which would underline the weakness in employment.

Achuthan emphasized to Santoli that ECRI's recession call won't be "taken off the table. We've been talking about a growth rate cycle slowdown. We're slow-walking toward -- some recessionary window of vulnerability -- we're not there today -- but this piece of the puzzle [jobs growth downturn] is looking a bit wobbly. This is the main message that Wall Street is missing."

As Wall Street bids stocks to near-record highs on "trade optimism" and the belief that the consumer will save the day, in large part because of solid jobs growth. ECRI's Leading Employment Index, which correctly anticipated this downturn in jobs growth, is at its worst reading since the Great Recession .

And Wall Street's bet today is that the Fed can achieve a soft landing – as in 1995-96 – when it started the rate cut cycle the same month the inflation downturn was signaled by the U.S. Future Inflation Gauge (USFIG) turning lower.

However, this time around, the inflation downturn signal arrived in September 2018, the moment when the Fed should have started the cut cycle. With a ten-month lag in the cut cycle, belated rate cuts have always been associated with recession.

And now it should become increasingly clear to readers why President Trump has sounded the alarm about the need for 100bps rate cuts, quantitative easing, and emergency payroll tax cuts - it's because he's been briefed about the economic downturn that has already started.


GotAFriendInBen , 15 minutes ago link

Actually, MSM cheerleads rate cuts as the cure-all, instead of throwing shoes at Powell

Keyser , 41 minutes ago link

How do you continue to have jobs growth when the country is at full employment?

Typical ******** from C-NBC...

Alex Droog , 19 minutes ago link

The network that employs dotards like Jim Cramer to cheerlead the lemmings.

Build-It-Well , 1 hour ago link

Have we learned anything?

https://soundcloud.com/daniel-sullivan-505714723/little-saigon-report-170-have-we-learned-anything

Art_Vandelay , 1 hour ago link

I don't agree with him that the Fed can do anything to correct this, nor do they have an incentive to do so. The Fed is not on the consumer's side. They will appropriate funds to whoever they want to, just like 08, and give the middle finger to everyone else.

pitz , 1 hour ago link

Job quality is horrible, particularly for US citizen STEM workers. This has been the case since the downturn that began in the late 1990s. Trump needs to fully cancel the OPT program and almost eliminate the H-1B program. Major employers don't even bother considering US citizen STEM talent before they hire foreign nationals.

pump and dump , 1 hour ago link

Most of the ads for good jobs are fake.

pitz , 1 hour ago link

Yes, but they don't bother to come out and tell you its a fake ad. One of the tragedies of the online job application process is that it forces a person, with little to no knowledge of a company and its internals, to pick, out of potentially hundreds of roles, which one would be best for them.

Instead of submitting a general application, as used to be the case in the past, and have the ability to work with the company to find the role that works best. HR has ruined a lot of good companies and their recruiting processes by going to rigid job descriptions instead of just hiring smart people and letting them work.

ZD1 , 1 hour ago link

Congress first established the H-1B program with the The Immigration Act of 1990. It was supposed to be temporary.

Congress needs to abolish it.

Future Jim , 2 hours ago link

This seems to contradict the labor participation rate.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART

J S Bach , 2 hours ago link

"Wall Street Ignores Cyclical Slave Growth Downturn As Enslavement Indicator Hits Great Recession Levels"

Ahhh... what truth a few seconds of editing can convoke.

The EveryThing Bubble , 2 hours ago link

It's all rigged folks

don't believe anything you read

[Sep 15, 2019] Thomas Piketty's New Book Brings Political Economy Back to Its Sources

Sep 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 13, 2019 at 06:38 PM

https://promarket.org/thomas-piketty-new-book-brings-political-economy-back-to-its-sources/

September 6, 2019

Thomas Piketty's New Book Brings Political Economy Back to Its Sources
In the same way that Capital in the Twenty-First Century transformed the way economists look at inequality, Piketty's new book Capital and Ideology will transform the way political scientists look at their own field.
By Branko Milanovic

Thomas Piketty's books are always monumental. Some are more monumental than others. His Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901–1998 (published in French as Les hauts revenus en France au XXe siècle) covered more than two centuries of income and wealth inequality, in addition to social and political changes in France. His international bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Le capital au XXI siècle) broadened this approach to the most important Western countries (France, the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany). His new book Capital and Ideology (to be published in English in March 2020; already published in France as Capital et idéologie) broadens the scope even further, covering the entire world and presenting a historical panorama of how ownership of assets (including people) was treated, and justified, in various historical societies, from China, Japan, and India, to the European-ruled American colonies, and feudal and capitalist societies in Europe. Just the mention of the geographical and temporal scope of the book suffices to give the reader an idea of its ambition.

Before I review Capital and Ideology, it is worth mentioning the importance of Piketty's overall approach, present in all three of his books. His approach is characterized by the methodological return of economics to its original and key functions: to be a science that illuminates the interests and explains the behaviors of individuals and social classes in their quotidian (material) life. This methodology rejects the dominant paradigm of the past half-century, which increasingly ignored the role of classes and heterogeneous individuals in the process of production and instead treated all people as abstract agents that maximize their own income under certain constraints. The dominant paradigm has emptied almost all social content from economics and presented a view of society that was as abstract as it was false.

The reintroduction of actual life into economics by Piketty and several other economists (not entirely coincidentally, most of them are economists interested in inequality) is much more than just a return to the sources of political economy and economics. This is because today, we have vastly more information (data) than was available to economists a century ago, not only about our own contemporary societies but also about past societies. This combination between political economy's original methodology and big data is what I call "turbo-Annales," after the French group of historians that pioneered the view of history as a social science focusing on the broad social, economic, and political forces that shape the world. The topics that interested classical political economy and the authors associated with the Annales School can now be studied empirically, and even econometrically and experimentally -- things which they could not do, both because of the scarcity of data and unavailability of modern methodologies.

It is within this context that, I believe, we ought to consider Piketty's Capital and Ideology. How successful was his approach, applied now to the world and over a very long time-horizon?

"The dominant paradigm has emptied almost all social content from economics and presented a view of society that was as abstract as it was false."

For the purposes of this review, I divide Piketty's book into two parts: the first, which I already mentioned, looks at ideological justifications of inequality across different societies (Parts 1 and 2 of the book, and to some extent Part 3); the second introduces an entirely new way of studying recent political cleavages in modern societies (Part 4). I am somewhat skeptical about Piketty's success in the first part, despite his enormous erudition and his skills as a raconteur, because success in discussing something so geographically and temporally immense is difficult to reach, even by the best-informed minds who have studied different societies for the majority of their careers. Analyzing each of these societies requires an extraordinarily high degree of sophisticated historical knowledge regarding religious dogmas, political organization, social stratification, and the like. To take two examples of authors who have tried to do it, one older and one more recent: Max Weber, during his entire life (and more specifically in Economy and Society), and Francis Fukuyama in his two-volume masterpiece on the origins of the political and economic order. In both cases, the results were not always unanimously approved by specialists studying individual societies and religions.

In his analysis of some of these societies, Piketty had to rely on somewhat "straightforward" or simplified discussions of their structure and evolution, discussions which at times seem plausible but superficial. In other words, each of these historical societies, many of which lasted centuries, had gone through different phases in their developments, phases which are subject to various interpretations. Treating such evolutions as if they were a simple, uncontested story is reductionist. It is a choice of one plausible historical narrative where many exist. This compares unfavorably with Piketty's own rich and nuanced narrative in Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century.

While I am somewhat skeptical about that first part of the book, I am not skeptical about the second. In this part, we find the Piketty who plays to his strength: bold and innovative use of data which produces a new way of looking at phenomena that we all observe but were unable to define so precisely. Here, Piketty is "playing" on the familiar Western economic history "terrain" that he knows well, probably better than any other economist.

This part of the book looks empirically at the reasons that left-wing, or social democratic parties have gradually transformed themselves from being the parties of the less-educated and poorer classes to become the parties of the educated and affluent middle and upper-middle classes. To a large extent, traditionally left parties have changed because their original social-democratic agenda was so successful in opening up education and high-income possibilities to the people who in the 1950s and 1960s came from modest backgrounds. These people, the "winners" of social democracy, continued voting for left-wing parties but their interests and worldview were no longer the same as that of their (less-educated) parents. The parties' internal social structure thus changed -- the product of their own political and social success. In Piketty's terms, they became the parties of the "Brahmin left" (La gauche Brahmane), as opposed to the conservative right-wing parties, which remained the parties of the "merchant right" (La droite marchande).

To simplify, the elite became divided between the educated "Brahmins" and the more commercially-minded "investors," or capitalists. This development, however, left the people who failed to experience upward educational and income mobility unrepresented, and those people are the ones that feed the current "populist" wave. Quite extraordinarily, Piketty shows the education and income shifts of left-wing parties' voters using very similar long-term data from all major developed democracies (and India). The fact that the story is so consistent across countries lends an almost uncanny plausibility to his hypothesis.

It is also striking, at least to me, that such multi-year, multi-country data were apparently never used by political scientists to study this phenomenon. This part of Piketty's book will likely transform, or at least affect, how political scientists look at new political realignments and class politics in advanced democracies in the years to come. In the same way that Capital in the Twenty-First Century has transformed how economists look at inequality, Capital and Ideology will transform the way political scientists look at their own field.


Branko Milanovic is a senior scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

[Sep 13, 2019] Me First and the Loss of Compassion by Volker Franke

Neoliberalism explicitly denies the value of compassion. It considers "wolf eats wolf" type of competition as the key component of human society that the moral value in itself.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

One of the crucial lessons we often fail to impart to our children is that life is not a zero-sum game; that is, the success of another child is not a corresponding failure for me. Children ought to learn how to help one another so they can take joy in crossing the finish line together, building closeness instead of separation, segregation and adversarialism.

And the incessant use of digital media often exacerbates this development.

In a society where we are rewarded for thinking about ourselves first, we disconnect from one another. Just go to the mall and look for shopping carts and trash strewn across the parking lot, oversized trucks and SUVs parked across multiple parking spots, non-handicap vehicles in handicap spots and cars parked in dedicated motorcycle spaces. No consideration for others.

Gone are the days of compassionate conservatism. "America first" finds a ready breeding ground in this "me first" mentality. It is finally time to catch up for those left behind by social progress made in the name of equality. After all, they too are better than others, better than those abroad and better than those from abroad. The new aMEricaFIRST echoes that sentiment, segregates American society and separates us from friends and allies around the world.

How can we get our compassion back? How can we reconnect with each other and engage with the world? At the personal level, take small steps and start a conversation with someone different from you, expose yourself to the diversity that makes this country so unique–and involve your children in that exposure to pluralism, normalizing it, modeling it. Put yourself in the shoes of someone less fortunate and find the "things that unite."

At the social level, we – including our children – must recognize that the rights and freedoms we cherish and enjoy also come with responsibilities. Success in America has focused on maximizing individual freedoms limited only when their exercise encroaches on the freedoms of others. Today, we need to reconnect and rebuild our communities by focusing on the needs of others. To achieve this, let's reconsider the idea of mandatory public service: citizens serving others in need. A public service requirement between the end of high school and the beginning of college – fulfilled in many ways, including such service opportunities as AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, Meals on Wheels or other freely helpful initiatives – brings those in service in contact with those from whom they have been disconnected, both at home and abroad. Only through connection will we regain compassion and only then will we be able to make America great again. More articles by: Volker Franke

[Sep 13, 2019] Chile's Neoliberal Flip-Flop - CounterPunch.org

Notable quotes:
"... Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com . ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

As for the gory details of CIA involvement in the Chilean coup d'état of 1973, Costa-Gavras' film "Missing" (Universal Pictures, 1982) staring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek exposes the surreptitious U.S. involvement via CIA operatives, supportive of Pinochet's cold-bloodied massacre of students and other innocent bystanders. Not surprisingly, the film was removed from the U.S. market following a lawsuit against the director and Universal Pictures by former ambassador Nathaniel Davis for defamation of character. When Davis lost his lawsuit, the film was re-released by Universal in 2006.

The face of neoliberalism in Chile today is disheartened, reflecting deep losses for the wealthy class as the people of the country reject Milton Friedman's neoliberal policies, including clever tax evasion techniques by the business class. Could this be the start of a worldwide movement against neoliberalism?

After all, Chile is the country that neoliberal advocates crowned their "newborn" in the battle against big government, "get government off our backs," according to Milton Friedman (and, Reagan picked up on the adage.) But, au contraire, according to the film "Missing," fascism took control over Chile. Is it possible that Friedman and Kissinger secretly cherished a fascist empire, where control would be complete, disguised as "the land of individual economic freedom?" Whatever their motives, that's what they got, and they never hesitated to revere Chile's remarkable economic achievements, fascism and all, which is powerfully expressed in the film "Missing," from end to end the heavy hand of fascism is ever-present.

Today is a new day as the people of Chile abandon decades of rotting neoliberal policies. They've had enough of Milton Freidman. The people have decided that the "state" is a beneficial partner for achievement of life's dreams. The "state" is not the menacing force of evil preached by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

The people of Chile are embracing an anti-neoliberalistic nation/state for the first time in over four decades. Will the world follow in their footsteps similar to the world adopting the principles of the "Miracle of Chile" these past four decades?

As for the new way forward, it's all about student debt. Yes, student debt was the catalyst behind Chile's repudiation of neoliberalism. In 2011 students in Chile made headlines by launching nationwide strikes over high tuition costs that drove their families into debt (sound familiar?) The strike lasted for eight months.

Over time, the student marches gained recognition by other like-minded organizations like trade unions and protests of environmental degradation. According to Tasha Fairfield, an assistant professor for the London School of Economics' Department of International Development, the strikes were pivotal: "The student movement played a critical role in creating political space," according to Fairfield, it "dramatically changed the political context in Chile and helped to place the issues of Chile's extreme inequalities centrally on the national agenda," Sebastian Rosemont, Chilean Activists Change the Rules of the Game, Foreign Policy In Focus, Dec. 2, 2014.

Subsequently, the national election of 2013 swept the left wing into power with a huge wave of public support, gaining strong majorities in both houses of the National Congress as well as electing Michelle Bachelet president. The big leftward sweep came as over two thirds of the population grew to support student demands for free university tuition.

Ever since the 2013 election, neoliberal policies have crumbled like a decrepit equestrian statue of Pinochet, who carried the stigma of brutal criminality to, and beyond, the grave.

In stark contrast to 40 years ago, today, when students, armed with only stones clashed with police equipped with full regalia of riot gear, tear gas, and armored vehicles, the harsh police activity drew heavy international criticism. That, combined with more than two-thirds of the population in support of the student movement, led to a new politics, Nueva Mayoria (New Majority), a center-left coalition made up of Bachelet's Socialist Party, the Christian Democratic Party, and the Party for Democracy.

Whereupon, Nueva Mayoria, turning up its nose to neoliberalism, raised corporate taxes from 20 percent to 25 percent and closed tax loopholes for companies and wealthy business owners. Those changes added $8.3 billion annually to government coffers, thus, serving as a source of funds to provide free education to all Chileans by 2020, as well as improved health care, and including a roll back of the for-profit schools that emerged under Pinochet's dictatorship, which is another neoliberal fascination, witness the U.S. for-profit schools listed on the New York Stock Exchange honestly, what's with that? In order to achieve success, the new Chilean politics astutely employed a key tactical move by applying the corporate tax hikes to only the largest corporations. As a result, nearly 95% of businesses are not be affected by higher taxation. This, in fact, served to secure a broad base of support for the new politics by having those who can afford to pay Pay.

Along those same lines, the new government removed a tax dodge employed by large business owners that allowed them to mostly escape taxes on $270 billion of profits (similar to the U.S. 15% "carried interest" for private equity entities, e.g., Mitt Romney's 15% tax rate).

Thus, it's little wonder that public backlash is challenging neoliberalism, especially considering the conditions throughout the Pinochet regime, as described in the meticulously structured documentary film, "The Pinochet Case," (Icarus Films, 2002), which opens with scenes of ordinary Chileans scouring the desert for the remains of family members who were tortured and killed decades previous.

Chile, "The Babe of Neoliberalism," came to life as an experiment for the "Chicago School" of economic thought. It worked. Today neoliberal theory rules the world, laissez-faire capitalism as practiced from China to the United States, privatization, open markets, slash government, and deregulation, in short, "whatever works best for profits works best for society." But, does it?

Forty years of neoliberal thought and practice has changed the world's socio-economic landscape, but it only really, truly works for the same class of people today as it did 800 years ago for the nobility of the Middle Ages.

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com .

[Sep 13, 2019] Does the end of neoliberalism coinside with the end of "Western hegemony"? by John Wright

Not so fast. The West still has the technological edge. And huge ultural influence. Most probably those will be two separate events, if they happen at all.
Sep 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

John Wright , September 12, 2019 at 16:43

Mr. Lawrence –

The Russia question is a very interesting and useful way to approach the much larger question which is how to manage the "end of Western hegemony".

Mackinder, Brzezinski and other geo-strategic thinkers have long posited that in order to control the world, one much control Eurasia.

The alliance between China and Russia, by definition, secures their dominance of Eurasia. Even forty years of U.S. trouble-making in Afghanistan, the geographic heart of Eurasia, has only proved to be an annoyance slowing the inevitable partnership of China and Russia, and the growing courtship of India. Recent U.S. interference in the Ukraine was a desperate, rather ham-handed attempt to deny Russia access to its historic, and only warm water, port in Crimea (and interfere with Russian gas pipelines to Europe). The Ukrainians seem to be now coming back to their senses a bit.

[ I may add a comment elucidating some of the long history of Western elite (primarily British, then U.S.) interference in the affairs of both Russia and China, but most CN readers should already be aware of the highlights.]

The EU and the euro, both created to prolong the dominance of the U.S., are now clearly faltering. The EU created a common market and allowed for the expansion of NATO eastward after the breakup of the Soviet Union and Russia's loss of the Warsaw Pact countries. The euro, directly tied to the U.S. PetroDollar at its creation, facilitated the greater transfer of U.S. debt instruments into the European banks, giving the debt addicted U.S. economy more capacity to expand its financial bubble and extend the era of U.S. dominance. The European central banks are now at their breaking point.

Thus, the era of U.S. PetroDollar supremacy, and with it U.S. dominance, is now coming to an end and the scramble for places in the new global system is heating up. The Greeks, Italians, Germans and Dutch have already signed deals with the Chinese, will the French be far behind?

Russia, the ambitious junior partner to China, can be seen to be both a cultural and geographic buffer between the Chinese juggernaut and Western Europe. The Russians have energy and consumer markets that the Western Europeans need access to if they are going to maintain any semblance of their present standard of living as U.S. economic dominance recedes. The nuclear armed U.S. presence on the continent keeps the Europeans cautious; as does their very precarious debt co-dependency with Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Treasury.

The northern Europeans don't want to freeze or go broke, so Nord Stream 2 will go ahead. Trump is truly delusional if he thinks he can keep that from happening. Trump's trade war has only accelerated the Chinese shift away from the U.S. and toward its well-planned future in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. China and Russia are both stockpiling gold in anticipation of rolling out a new global monetary system to replace the failing U.S. PetroDollar and SWIFT.

... ... ...

[Sep 13, 2019] Clowns, AI and layoffs

Sep 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bugs Bunny , September 13, 2019 at 4:25 pm

Clowns should be increasingly used in redundancy (layoff, firing) meetings until it becomes the norm and employers start to compete with each other to offer the best clown redundancy experience and promote it as a benefit.

It would also create clown jobs, which would probably require more clown schools, meaning that the tuition prices would go through the roof and young people dreaming of becoming redundancy clowns would either have to come from wealth or take out massive clown loans to fund their education for clown universities and grad schools. Shareholders can only take so much top line costs and Wall Street pressure would force corporations to improve return on investment and reduce redundancy clown labor expenses. Sadly, redundancy clowns would find themselves training their own replacements – HB1 clowns from "low cost" countries. Employers would respond to quality criticisms of the HB1 clown experience by publishing survey results showing very similar almost ex-employee satisfaction with the new clowns.

Eventually, of course, redundancy clowns will be replaced by AI and robots. It's just the future and we will need to think about how to adapt to it today by putting in place a UBI for the inevitable redundant redundancy clowns.

[Sep 11, 2019] Efforts of the conservative Catholic opposition in the US to launch a "coup d' tat" against Francis.

Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Martin , Sep 11 2019 19:18 utc | 19

The Pope didn't seem too put out when faced with a long list of accusations against him from American Catholics as he was flying from Rome to Mozambique. He said he was honored to be attacked by them.

The book 'How America Wanted to Change the Pope' explores the supposed efforts of the conservative Catholic opposition in the US to launch a "coup d'état" against Francis. A copy was given to the pontiff by the author Nicolas Seneze, a journalist from France's Catholic newspaper La Croix, who was on board the papal plane Wednesday.

"For me it is an honor that Americans attack me," the pope quipped as he received the book, which he had apparently heard about and wanted to procure.He joked that the book about his critics "will be a bombshell."

But Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni attempted to deflate tensions, clarifying that the comments were made informally. He said Francis "always considers it an honor to be criticized," especially when it comes from "authoritative voices" or, as in this case, "an important nation."

[Sep 11, 2019] The "japanification" of America begins

Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Sep 11 2019 19:18 utc | 18

US Fed 'boneheads' should cut interest rates to zero or less – Trump

The "japanification" of America begins. I've stated in this blog more than once that, if the USA falls, it certainly won't fall like the USSR. The USSR had a very peculiar economic system, where the PCSU was both the government and the economy: once Gorbachev destroyed his party, he destroyed the Soviet Union.

The USA, on the other side, is a capitalist economy, which means its "center of command" is a diffuse web of oligarchic capitalists who govern "in the shadows".

The government of a capitalist society is only one of the many institutions that, in a diffused fashion, preserves the "market anarchy" (domesticated chaos) that is indispensable for the existence of capitalism.

America, therefore, is more lika an onion than a jenga tower: if you destroy (peel) one layer, you still have many more.

Therefore, if the USA collapses, it will probably do so through a gradual descent into fragmentation and anarchy in a process that will take decades and maybe centuries, in an analogous form as the Roman Empire in the West.

... ... ...

Today, Sept. 11, is a date that marks two ends:

1) the end of any pretenstions left of a socialist wave in Latin America after the first one -- Cuba, 1959 -- was successful (so far, the first and only). The CIA masterfully learned from its mistakes in the island nation and successfully (and brutally) crushed Latin American socialism;

2) the beginning of the end of the "End of History" era. After the WTC fell, the USA would begin the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, in what would be the last time the USA acted as the "king of Nations".

What should've been -- after a wonderful victory in Iraq -- turned out to be a Pyrric endeavor, as Iran successfully resisted, the rest of the ME didn't budge, and the whole thing turned into a trillionaire black hole that drained the American coffers, spiked its debt rates and culminated with the 2008 crisis.


[Sep 10, 2019] Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End by Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik

Highly recommended!
This is a Marxist critique of neoliberalism. Not necessary right but they his some relevant points.
Notable quotes:
"... The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. ..."
"... The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. ..."
"... While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand. ..."
"... The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5 ..."
"... This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis. ..."
"... The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6 ..."
"... If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment. ..."
"... The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market ..."
"... In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people ..."
"... In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. ..."
"... The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support. ..."
"... The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism. ..."
"... And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more. ..."
"... Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
Originally from: Monthly Review printer friendly
The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop.

Harry Magdoff's The Age of Imperialism is a classic work that shows how postwar political decolonization does not negate the phenomenon of imperialism. The book has two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it follows in V. I. Lenin's footsteps in providing a comprehensive account of how capitalism at the time operated globally. On the other hand, it raises a question that is less frequently discussed in Marxist literature -- namely, the need for imperialism. Here, Magdoff not only highlighted the crucial importance, among other things, of the third world's raw materials for metropolitan capital, but also refuted the argument that the declining share of raw-material value in gross manufacturing output somehow reduced this importance, making the simple point that there can be no manufacturing at all without raw materials. 1

Magdoff's focus was on a period when imperialism was severely resisting economic decolonization in the third world, with newly independent third world countries taking control over their own resources. He highlighted the entire armory of weapons used by imperialism. But he was writing in a period that predated the onset of neoliberalism. Today, we not only have decades of neoliberalism behind us, but the neoliberal regime itself has reached a dead end. Contemporary imperialism has to be discussed within this setting.

Globalization and Economic Crisis

There are two reasons why the regime of neoliberal globalization has run into a dead end. The first is an ex ante tendency toward global overproduction; the second is that the only possible counter to this tendency within the regime is the formation of asset-price bubbles, which cannot be conjured up at will and whose collapse, if they do appear, plunges the economy back into crisis. In short, to use the words of British economic historian Samuel Berrick Saul, there are no "markets on tap" for contemporary metropolitan capitalism, such as had been provided by colonialism prior to the First World War and by state expenditure in the post-Second World War period of dirigisme . 2

The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. As Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy argued in Monopoly Capital , following the lead of Michał Kalecki and Josef Steindl, such a rise in the share of economic surplus, or a shift from wages to surplus, has the effect of reducing aggregate demand since the ratio of consumption to income is higher on average for wage earners than for those living off the surplus. 3 Therefore, assuming a given level of investment associated with any period, such a shift would tend to reduce consumption demand and hence aggregate demand, output, and capacity utilization. In turn, reduced capacity utilization would lower investment over time, further aggravating the demand-reducing effect arising from the consumption side.

While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand.

Historically, while labor has not been, and is still not, free to migrate from the third world to the metropolis, capital, though juridically free to move from the latter to the former, did not actually do so , except to sectors like mines and plantations, which only strengthened, rather than broke, the colonial pattern of the international division of labor. 4 This segmentation of the world economy meant that wages in the metropolis increased with labor productivity, unrestrained by the vast labor reserves of the third world, which themselves had been caused by the displacement of manufactures through the twin processes of deindustrialization (competition from metropolitan goods) and the drain of surplus (the siphoning off of a large part of the economic surplus, through taxes on peasants that are no longer spent on local artisan products but finance gratis primary commodity exports to the metropolis instead).

The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5

At the same time, such relocation of activities, despite causing impressive growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP) in many third world countries, does not lead to the exhaustion of the third world's labor reserves. This is because of another feature of contemporary globalization: the unleashing of a process of primitive accumulation of capital against petty producers, including peasant agriculturists in the third world, who had earlier been protected, to an extent, from the encroachment of big capital (both domestic and foreign) by the postcolonial dirigiste regimes in these countries. Under neoliberalism, such protection is withdrawn, causing an income squeeze on these producers and often their outright dispossession from their land, which is then used by big capital for its various so-called development projects. The increase in employment, even in countries with impressive GDP growth rates in the third world, falls way short of the natural growth of the workforce, let alone absorbing the additional job seekers coming from the ranks of displaced petty producers. The labor reserves therefore never get used up. Indeed, on the contrary, they are augmented further, because real wages continue to remain tied to a subsistence level, even as metropolitan wages too are restrained. The vector of real wages in the world economy as a whole therefore remains restrained.

Although contemporary globalization thus gives rise to an ex ante tendency toward overproduction, state expenditure that could provide a counter to this (and had provided a counter through military spending in the United States, according to Baran and Sweezy) can no longer do so under the current regime. Finance is usually opposed to direct state intervention through larger spending as a way of increasing employment. This opposition expresses itself through an opposition not just to larger taxes on capitalists, but also to a larger fiscal deficit for financing such spending. Obviously, if larger state spending is financed by taxes on workers, then it hardly adds to aggregate demand, for workers spend the bulk of their incomes anyway, so the state taking this income and spending it instead does not add any extra demand. Hence, larger state spending can increase employment only if it is financed either through a fiscal deficit or through taxes on capitalists who keep a part of their income unspent or saved. But these are precisely the two modes of financing state expenditure that finance capital opposes.

Its opposing larger taxes on capitalists is understandable, but why is it so opposed to a larger fiscal deficit? Even within a capitalist economy, there are no sound economic theoretical reasons that should preclude a fiscal deficit under all circumstances. The root of the opposition therefore lies in deeper social considerations: if the capitalist economic system becomes dependent on the state to promote employment directly , then this fact undermines the social legitimacy of capitalism. The need for the state to boost the animal spirits of the capitalists disappears and a perspective on the system that is epistemically exterior to it is provided to the people, making it possible for them to ask: If the state can do the job of providing employment, then why do we need the capitalists at all? It is an instinctive appreciation of this potential danger that underlies the opposition of capital, especially of finance, to any direct effort by the state to generate employment.

This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis.

The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6

It may be thought that this compulsion on the part of the state to accede to the demand of finance to eschew fiscal intervention for enlarging employment should not hold for the United States. Its currency being considered by the world's wealth holders to be "as good as gold" should make it immune to capital flight. But there is an additional factor operating in the case of the United States: that the demand generated by a bigger U.S. fiscal deficit would substantially leak abroad in a neoliberal setting, which would increase its external debt (since, unlike Britain in its heyday, it does not have access to any unrequited colonial transfers) for the sake of generating employment elsewhere. This fact deters any fiscal effort even in the United States to boost demand within a neoliberal setting. 7

Therefore, it follows that state spending cannot provide a counter to the ex ante tendency toward global overproduction within a regime of neoliberal globalization, which makes the world economy precariously dependent on occasional asset-price bubbles, primarily in the U.S. economy, for obtaining, at best, some temporary relief from the crisis. It is this fact that underlies the dead end that neoliberal capitalism has reached. Indeed, Donald Trump's resort to protectionism in the United States to alleviate unemployment is a clear recognition of the system having reached this cul-de-sac. The fact that the mightiest capitalist economy in the world has to move away from the rules of the neoliberal game in an attempt to alleviate its crisis of unemployment/underemployment -- while compensating capitalists adversely affected by this move through tax cuts, as well as carefully ensuring that no restraints are imposed on free cross-border financial flows -- shows that these rules are no longer viable in their pristine form.

Some Implications of This Dead End

There are at least four important implications of this dead end of neoliberalism. The first is that the world economy will now be afflicted by much higher levels of unemployment than it was in the last decade of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, when the dot-com and the housing bubbles in the United States had, sequentially, a pronounced impact. It is true that the U.S. unemployment rate today appears to be at a historic low, but this is misleading: the labor-force participation rate in the United States today is lower than it was in 2008, which reflects the discouraged-worker effect . Adjusting for this lower participation, the U.S. unemployment rate is considerable -- around 8 percent. Indeed, Trump would not be imposing protection in the United States if unemployment was actually as low as 4 percent, which is the official figure. Elsewhere in the world, of course, unemployment post-2008 continues to be evidently higher than before. Indeed, the severity of the current problem of below-full-employment production in the U.S. economy is best illustrated by capacity utilization figures in manufacturing. The weakness of the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession is indicated by the fact that the current extended recovery represents the first decade in the entire post-Second World War period in which capacity utilization in manufacturing has never risen as high as 80 percent in a single quarter, with the resulting stagnation of investment. 8

If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment.

There has been some discussion on how global value chains would be affected by Trump's protectionism. But the fact that global macroeconomics in the early twenty-first century will look altogether different compared to earlier has not been much discussed.

In light of the preceding discussion, one could say that if, instead of individual nation-states whose writ cannot possibly run against globalized finance capital, there was a global state or a set of major nation-states acting in unison to override the objections of globalized finance and provide a coordinated fiscal stimulus to the world economy, then perhaps there could be recovery. Such a coordinated fiscal stimulus was suggested by a group of German trade unionists, as well as by John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression in the 1930s. 9 While it was turned down then, in the present context it has not even been discussed.

The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market.

Such a transition will not be easy; it will require promoting domestic peasant agriculture, defending petty production, moving toward cooperative forms of production, and ensuring greater equality in income distribution, all of which need major structural shifts. For smaller economies, it would also require their coming together with other economies to provide a minimum size to the domestic market. In short, the dead end of neoliberalism also means the need for a shift away from the so-called neoliberal development strategy that has held sway until now.

The third implication is the imminent engulfing of a whole range of third world economies in serious balance-of-payments difficulties. This is because, while their exports will be sluggish in the new situation, this very fact will also discourage financial inflows into their economies, whose easy availability had enabled them to maintain current account deficits on their balance of payments earlier. In such a situation, within the existing neoliberal paradigm, they would be forced to adopt austerity measures that would impose income deflation on their people, make the conditions of their people significantly worse, lead to a further handing over of their national assets and resources to international capital, and prevent precisely any possible transition to an alternative strategy of home market-based growth.

In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people.

The fourth implication is the worldwide upsurge of fascism. Neoliberal capitalism even before it reached a dead end, even in the period when it achieved reasonable growth and employment rates, had pushed the world into greater hunger and poverty. For instance, the world per-capita cereal output was 355 kilograms for 1980 (triennium average for 1979–81 divided by mid–triennium population) and fell to 343 in 2000, leveling at 344.9 in 2016 -- and a substantial amount of this last figure went into ethanol production. Clearly, in a period of growth of the world economy, per-capita cereal absorption should be expanding, especially since we are talking here not just of direct absorption but of direct and indirect absorption, the latter through processed foods and feed grains in animal products. The fact that there was an absolute decline in per-capita output, which no doubt caused a decline in per-capita absorption, suggests an absolute worsening in the nutritional level of a substantial segment of the world's population.

But this growing hunger and nutritional poverty did not immediately arouse any significant resistance, both because such resistance itself becomes more difficult under neoliberalism (since the very globalization of capital makes it an elusive target) and also because higher GDP growth rates provided a hope that distress might be overcome in the course of time. Peasants in distress, for instance, entertained the hope that their children would live better in the years to come if given a modicum of education and accepted their fate.

In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. This changes the discourse away from the material conditions of people's lives to the so-called threat to the nation, placing the blame for people's distress not on the failure of the system, but on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority groups, the other that is portrayed as an enemy. It projects a so-called messiah whose sheer muscularity can somehow magically overcome all problems; it promotes a culture of unreason so that both the vilification of the other and the magical powers of the supposed leader can be placed beyond any intellectual questioning; it uses a combination of state repression and street-level vigilantism by fascist thugs to terrorize opponents; and it forges a close relationship with big business, or, in Kalecki's words, "a partnership of big business and fascist upstarts." 10

Fascist groups of one kind or another exist in all modern societies. They move center stage and even into power only on certain occasions when they get the backing of big business. And these occasions arise when three conditions are satisfied: when there is an economic crisis so the system cannot simply go on as before; when the usual liberal establishment is manifestly incapable of resolving the crisis; and when the left is not strong enough to provide an alternative to the people in order to move out of the conjuncture.

This last point may appear odd at first, since many see the big bourgeoisie's recourse to fascism as a counter to the growth of the left's strength in the context of a capitalist crisis. But when the left poses a serious threat, the response of the big bourgeoisie typically is to attempt to split it by offering concessions. It uses fascism to prop itself up only when the left is weakened. Walter Benjamin's remark that "behind every fascism there is a failed revolution" points in this direction.

Fascism Then and Now

Contemporary fascism, however, differs in crucial respects from its 1930s counterpart, which is why many are reluctant to call the current phenomenon a fascist upsurge. But historical parallels, if carefully drawn, can be useful. While in some aforementioned respects contemporary fascism does resemble the phenomenon of the 1930s, there are serious differences between the two that must also be noted.

First, we must note that while the current fascist upsurge has put fascist elements in power in many countries, there are no fascist states of the 1930s kind as of yet. Even if the fascist elements in power try to push the country toward a fascist state, it is not clear that they will succeed. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that fascists in power today cannot overcome the crisis of neoliberalism, since they accept the regime of globalization of finance. This includes Trump, despite his protectionism. In the 1930s, however, this was not the case. The horrors associated with the institution of a fascist state in the 1930s had been camouflaged to an extent by the ability of the fascists in power to overcome mass unemployment and end the Depression through larger military spending, financed by government borrowing. Contemporary fascism, by contrast, lacks the ability to overcome the opposition of international finance capital to fiscal activism on the part of the government to generate larger demand, output, and employment, even via military spending.

Such activism, as discussed earlier, required larger government spending financed either through taxes on capitalists or through a fiscal deficit. Finance capital was opposed to both of these measures and it being globalized made this opposition decisive . The decisiveness of this opposition remains even if the government happens to be one composed of fascist elements. Hence, contemporary fascism, straitjacketed by "fiscal rectitude," cannot possibly alleviate even temporarily the economic crises facing people and cannot provide any cover for a transition to a fascist state akin to the ones of the 1930s, which makes such a transition that much more unlikely.

Another difference is also related to the phenomenon of the globalization of finance. The 1930s were marked by what Lenin had earlier called "interimperialist rivalry." The military expenditures incurred by fascist governments, even though they pulled countries out of the Depression and unemployment, inevitably led to wars for "repartitioning an already partitioned world." Fascism was the progenitor of war and burned itself out through war at, needless to say, great cost to humankind.

Contemporary fascism, however, operates in a world where interimperialist rivalry is far more muted. Some have seen in this muting a vindication of Karl Kautsky's vision of an "ultraimperialism" as against Lenin's emphasis on the permanence of interimperialist rivalry, but this is wrong. Both Kautsky and Lenin were talking about a world where finance capital and the financial oligarchy were essentially national -- that is, German, French, or British. And while Kautsky talked about the possibility of truces among the rival oligarchies, Lenin saw such truces only as transient phenomena punctuating the ubiquity of rivalry.

In contrast, what we have today is not nation-based finance capitals, but international finance capital into whose corpus the finance capitals drawn from particular countries are integrated. This globalized finance capital does not want the world to be partitioned into economic territories of rival powers ; on the contrary, it wants the entire globe to be open to its own unrestricted movement. The muting of rivalry between major powers, therefore, is not because they prefer truce to war, or peaceful partitioning of the world to forcible repartitioning, but because the material conditions themselves have changed so that it is no longer a matter of such choices. The world has gone beyond both Lenin and Kautsky, as well as their debates.

Not only are we not going to have wars between major powers in this era of fascist upsurge (of course, as will be discussed, we shall have other wars), but, by the same token, this fascist upsurge will not burn out through any cataclysmic war. What we are likely to see is a lingering fascism of less murderous intensity , which, when in power, does not necessarily do away with all the forms of bourgeois democracy, does not necessarily physically annihilate the opposition, and may even allow itself to get voted out of power occasionally. But since its successor government, as long as it remains within the confines of the neoliberal strategy, will also be incapable of alleviating the crisis, the fascist elements are likely to return to power as well. And whether the fascist elements are in or out of power, they will remain a potent force working toward the fascification of the society and the polity, even while promoting corporate interests within a regime of globalization of finance, and hence permanently maintaining the "partnership between big business and fascist upstarts."

Put differently, since the contemporary fascist upsurge is not likely to burn itself out as the earlier one did, it has to be overcome by transcending the very conjuncture that produced it: neoliberal capitalism at a dead end. A class mobilization of working people around an alternative set of transitional demands that do not necessarily directly target neoliberal capitalism, but which are immanently unrealizable within the regime of neoliberal capitalism, can provide an initial way out of this conjuncture and lead to its eventual transcendence.

Such a class mobilization in the third world context would not mean making no truces with liberal bourgeois elements against the fascists. On the contrary, since the liberal bourgeois elements too are getting marginalized through a discourse of jingoistic nationalism typically manufactured by the fascists, they too would like to shift the discourse toward the material conditions of people's lives, no doubt claiming that an improvement in these conditions is possible within the neoliberal economic regime itself. Such a shift in discourse is in itself a major antifascist act . Experience will teach that the agenda advanced as part of this changed discourse is unrealizable under neoliberalism, providing the scope for dialectical intervention by the left to transcend neoliberal capitalism.

Imperialist Interventions

Even though fascism will have a lingering presence in this conjuncture of "neoliberalism at a dead end," with the backing of domestic corporate-financial interests that are themselves integrated into the corpus of international finance capital, the working people in the third world will increasingly demand better material conditions of life and thereby rupture the fascist discourse of jingoistic nationalism (that ironically in a third world context is not anti-imperialist).

In fact, neoliberalism reaching a dead end and having to rely on fascist elements revives meaningful political activity, which the heyday of neoliberalism had precluded, because most political formations then had been trapped within an identical neoliberal agenda that appeared promising. (Latin America had a somewhat different history because neoliberalism arrived in that continent through military dictatorships, not through its more or less tacit acceptance by most political formations.)

Such revived political activity will necessarily throw up challenges to neoliberal capitalism in particular countries. Imperialism, by which we mean the entire economic and political arrangement sustaining the hegemony of international finance capital, will deal with these challenges in at least four different ways.

The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support.

Even if capital controls are put in place, where there are current account deficits, financing such deficits would pose a problem, necessitating some trade controls. But this is where the second instrument of imperialism comes into play: the imposition of trade sanctions by the metropolitan states, which then cajole other countries to stop buying from the sanctioned country that is trying to break away from thralldom to globalized finance capital. Even if the latter would have otherwise succeeded in stabilizing its economy despite its attempt to break away, the imposition of sanctions becomes an additional blow.

The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism.

And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more.

Two aspects of such intervention are striking. One is the virtual unanimity among the metropolitan states, which only underscores the muting of interimperialist rivalry in the era of hegemony of global finance capital. The other is the extent of support that such intervention commands within metropolitan countries, from the right to even the liberal segments.

Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it.

Notes
  1. Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
  2. Samuel Berrick Saul, Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870–1914 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960).
  3. Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966).
  4. One of the first authors to recognize this fact and its significance was Paul Baran in The Political Economy of Growth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1957).
  5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, " Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery ," New York Times , January 19, 2013.
  6. For a discussion of how even the recent euphoria about U.S. growth is vanishing, see C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, " Vanishing Green Shoots and the Possibility of Another Crisis ," The Hindu Business Line , April 8, 2019.
  7. For the role of such colonial transfers in sustaining the British balance of payments and the long Victorian and Edwardian boom, see Utsa Patnaik, "Revisiting the 'Drain,' or Transfers from India to Britain in the Context of Global Diffusion of Capitalism," in Agrarian and Other Histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri , ed. Shubhra Chakrabarti and Utsa Patnaik (Delhi: Tulika, 2017), 277-317.
  8. Federal Reserve Board of Saint Louis Economic Research, FRED, "Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing," February 2019 (updated March 27, 2019), http://fred.stlouisfed.org .
  9. This issue is discussed by Charles P. Kindleberger in The World in Depression, 1929–1939 , 40th anniversary ed. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2013).
  10. Michał Kalecki, " Political Aspects of Full Employment ," Political Quarterly (1943), available at mronline.org.
  11. Joseph Schumpeter had seen Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace as essentially advocating such state intervention in the new situation. See his essay, "John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)," in Ten Great Economists (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1952).

Utsa Patnaik is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her books include Peasant Class Differentiation (1987), The Long Transition (1999), and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007). Prabhat Patnaik is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), The Value of Money(2009), and Re-envisioning Socialism(2011).

[Sep 10, 2019] The Sunset of Neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... By now the Republican hypocrisy on "fiscal responsibility" has become blindingly obvious: nondefense spending is always bad because it increases the national debt, tax cuts are fine even though they do the same. The political scam here may be more plain than the economic. Democrats understand that if they undertake the onerous task of closing budget deficits with unpopular tax increases and spending cuts, it only sets up the other side to make hay in the next election, then in office to blow up the deficit all over again. We've seen this three times since 1980. ..."
"... When the issues of poverty and inequality came up, a common neoliberal dodge was to invoke the Horatio Alger myth -- that in America, with hard work one can, or should be able to, raise oneself up by one' bootstraps. This switches the question from security made possible by the public sector to an individual responsibility for economic mobility. ..."
"... As it happens, mobility has declined over the long term in the United States, but that aside, it's a two-way street. The escalator of life runs in both directions. Moreover, it's a separate issue from that of poverty or inequality. One can have more mobility and the same or worse poverty or inequality. The rising tide goes out as well as in. ..."
"... The neoliberal remedy for poverty and inequality is commonly held to be education, because workers lack the requisite skills to earn a living wage. It's kind of their fault. All that's needed is some reasonable public expenditure. No deeper structural factors are at issue. This mindset is contradicted now in two ways. ..."
"... It does not require much contemplation to realize that merely splitting up the largest, most offensive corporations brings little promise of curbing their abuses. The Standard Oil monopoly was cut into pieces a century ago, and nobody has accused their spawn (Exxon, Shell, etc.) of being creditable public citizens. Three search engines that send you to the same scurrilous, paid-for content are no better than one. There is no reason to think life in a Walmart warehouse is any better than one in Amazon's. ..."
"... Postal savings banks can shield savers, home buyers, and taxpayers from the adventures of big players in the stock market. Nationalization of pharmaceutical patents could save consumers billions of dollars a year. ..."
"... Neoliberalism in foreign policy means the use of lethal force for the ostensible objectives of humanitarian intervention. This has always been the mask for US efforts to maintain its hegemonic position among world powers. Pressure on Iran or Venezuela or Iraq, for instance, was never credible as any sort of defense against existential threats to the United States, since no such threats from those nations could be demonstrated. The same can be said for the endless US presence in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Credit for the ebb of faith in the use of US military power is due to multiple sources. Foremost among these is the abject debacle of US machinations in Iraq (and Libya, if you're paying attention). These arguably contributed to caution on the part of the Obama Administration with respect to Iran and Syria. Among political figures, perhaps the strongest pressures are generated by Bernie Sanders and yes, Donald Trump. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | portside.org

Sheer up. The Left is winning the battle of ideas. Ideas are the basis for organization, and organization is prior to change. The signs are in the evolution of statements and platforms presented by Democratic presidential candidates. As the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote, eighty and some years ago:

Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.

It's our "madmen" (and women) who are more in evidence these days -- not as public personalities, but in the guise of campaign commitments offered by leading Democratic politicians. Their ascendance parallels the decline of neoliberal ideology.

In this essay, I'd like to give credit where it is due for the raising of consciousness. In the process, I would like to foster a keener appreciation for the difference between progressive and neoliberal doctrine. What does it mean to be left these days? Everybody knows the extreme point -- wholesale socialization of the commanding heights of the economy. But where is the separation between hackneyed liberalism, "woke" and otherwise, and emerging progressive platforms?

It does not always pay to highlight differences. But our ambitions go well beyond a restoration of the old order under Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. For one thing, the not unlikely shortcomings of a President Joe Biden could lead us straight back to the current dilemma, perhaps with a younger, smarter version of Trump. Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tom Cotton of Arkansas wait impatiently in the wings, tanned, rested, and ready to wreak havoc anew. We bitterly recall the triumphant victories of 1992 and 2008. Democrats won the White House and held both houses of Congress; then they stunk up the joint, leading to the midterm electoral debacles of 1994 and 2010.

The urge to paper over differences, in the interests of antifascist unity, intermingles with sympathy for the old liberal verities and a reluctance, if not an incapacity, to offer a forthright critique of progressive alternatives. Among friends, the label "neoliberal" is often taken as an insult. The desire by liberals to avoid being flanked on the Left is strong. Of course, being "more left" is not necessarily better, much less a sign of virtue. There have always been virtuous liberals and low-down radicals.

From my own policy standpoint, I would assert that the radical or progressive option is not intrinsically preferable to the neoliberal: we need to get down to cases. Here are some leading examples of the dwindling currency of neoliberal thinking.

Up From Deficit Reduction

By now the Republican hypocrisy on "fiscal responsibility" has become blindingly obvious: nondefense spending is always bad because it increases the national debt, tax cuts are fine even though they do the same. The political scam here may be more plain than the economic. Democrats understand that if they undertake the onerous task of closing budget deficits with unpopular tax increases and spending cuts, it only sets up the other side to make hay in the next election, then in office to blow up the deficit all over again. We've seen this three times since 1980.

The economic bankruptcy of deficit reduction remains elusive to many Democrats. In increasingly globalized capital markets, the impact of higher deficits on interest rates and the fabled "crowding out" of investment have failed to transpire. Neither low unemployment nor monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve set off ruinous hyperinflation, contrary to the conventional wisdom.

The growth in popularity of Modern Monetary Theory has further winnowed the ranks of liberal budget balancers. An exception is Mayor Pete, who had the fortitude to identify himself as an outlier. In this case, the exception proves the rule, which is that deficit reduction and a balanced budget have been removed from the panel of Democratic hot buttons.

The Siren Song of Economic Opportunity

When the issues of poverty and inequality came up, a common neoliberal dodge was to invoke the Horatio Alger myth -- that in America, with hard work one can, or should be able to, raise oneself up by one' bootstraps. This switches the question from security made possible by the public sector to an individual responsibility for economic mobility.

As it happens, mobility has declined over the long term in the United States, but that aside, it's a two-way street. The escalator of life runs in both directions. Moreover, it's a separate issue from that of poverty or inequality. One can have more mobility and the same or worse poverty or inequality. The rising tide goes out as well as in.

The neoliberal remedy for poverty and inequality is commonly held to be education, because workers lack the requisite skills to earn a living wage. It's kind of their fault. All that's needed is some reasonable public expenditure. No deeper structural factors are at issue. This mindset is contradicted now in two ways.

First, the idea of education as an essential, missing ingredient is being supplanted by the idea that what's at issue is power , both political and economic . The wealthy control streams of income and institutions of credentialization that could be rerouted, via taxation, to finance education ("free college") that has an equalizing effect on wealth and enhances economic security. Most candidates support ways to reduce the costs of post-secondary education.

Second, power also stems from the operations of racial and gender oppression. Nonwhites and women are held back due to institutions of racism and sexism. One such institution is the pairing of local government finance of public education with racial segregation. Segregation simultaneously stems from and reinforces housing discrimination and wealth inequality.

I would also suggest that wealth inequality and employment discrimination impair family well-being and foster single-parent, female-headed families with children, which promotes gender-based oppression in the forms of unequal pay and occupational segregation. Women with a disproportionate responsibility for the care of children have less power to command livable wages and to advance in the labor market.

Democratic candidates are aiming closer to the roots of these problems in proposals to combat institutional racism and to expand subsidized childcare. Pete Buttigieg has proposed a comprehensive program to deal with institutional racism. Cory Booker has talked of "Baby Bonds," a prominent proposal aimed at racial wealth inequality. Most candidates pledge a significant increase in resources for childcare. We are some ways beyond Bill Clinton's "Mend it, don't end it" response to the limits of affirmative action, or Barack Obama's "Beer Summit."

Medicare for Lots More People

The limits of Obamacare have become painfully obvious, even as the added benefits of the program have stoked public appetite for more serious progress. One constraint on the Affordable Care Act's design at the time was reservations about its impact on the budget deficit, a concern that looks farcical in retrospect.

The debate among Democrats now is not whether to extend public support for health care, but by how much, and how rapidly. The implication is that health insurance markets are fatally flawed, despite neoliberal attempts to improve them.

More broadly, the burgeoning critiques of monopoly, not least in the form of rapacious, privacy-destroying tech giants whose business models entail pollution of public debate, raise fundamental questions about markets and the neoliberals who "believe" in them.

It does not require much contemplation to realize that merely splitting up the largest, most offensive corporations brings little promise of curbing their abuses. The Standard Oil monopoly was cut into pieces a century ago, and nobody has accused their spawn (Exxon, Shell, etc.) of being creditable public citizens. Three search engines that send you to the same scurrilous, paid-for content are no better than one. There is no reason to think life in a Walmart warehouse is any better than one in Amazon's.

A critique of monopoly can be channeled into consideration of shifting industries into the public sector. Public broadband can diminish the power of Big Media, which relies on vertical integration of cable, broadband, and content production. The same could be said of the clawback of "intellectual property" rights in film and music. Postal savings banks can shield savers, home buyers, and taxpayers from the adventures of big players in the stock market. Nationalization of pharmaceutical patents could save consumers billions of dollars a year.

War Is a Racket

Neoliberalism in foreign policy means the use of lethal force for the ostensible objectives of humanitarian intervention. This has always been the mask for US efforts to maintain its hegemonic position among world powers. Pressure on Iran or Venezuela or Iraq, for instance, was never credible as any sort of defense against existential threats to the United States, since no such threats from those nations could be demonstrated. The same can be said for the endless US presence in Afghanistan.

Credit for the ebb of faith in the use of US military power is due to multiple sources. Foremost among these is the abject debacle of US machinations in Iraq (and Libya, if you're paying attention). These arguably contributed to caution on the part of the Obama Administration with respect to Iran and Syria. Among political figures, perhaps the strongest pressures are generated by Bernie Sanders and yes, Donald Trump.

... ... ...

As this article was being written, the Sanders campaign released additional, detailed plans pertaining to labor rights, the Green New Deal, and how law enforcement deals with race. In this respect, his opponents are invariably more fated to play catch-up than to reject his proposals. The few who tried to plant a flag on their opposition to socialism are passing from the scene. It's as if Democratic voters have been thirsting for progressive proposals for decades, and now they will drink as much as can be offered. No candidate so far has proven willing to rain on this parade.

That's why I say we are witnessing the sunset of neoliberalism.

[Sep 10, 2019] What s wrong with you people ?

Mar 11, 2014 | independentaustralia.net

[Sep 10, 2019] How Deep Is the Rot in America s Institutions by Charles Hugh Smith

Highly recommended!
The question why the USA intelligence agencies were "unaware" about Epstein activities is an interesting one. Similar question can be asked about Hillary "activities" related to "Clinton cash".
Actually the way the USA elite deal with scandals is to ostracize any whistleblower and silence any media that tryt to dig the story. Open repression including physical elimination is seldom used those days as indirect methods are quite effective.
Notable quotes:
"... Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall. ..."
"... If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken." ..."
"... America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy. ..."
"... Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.

How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America's key public and private institutions? It's difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.

If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken."

If this all strikes you as evidence that America's security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that's above reproach, then 1) you're a well-paid shill who's protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.

How deep has the rot gone in America's ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who've exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.

America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy.

Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case.

The closer wrong-doing and wrong-doers are to protected power-elites, the less attention the mass media devotes to them.

... ... ...

Here are America's media, law enforcement/security agencies and "leadership" class: they speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil, in the misguided belief that their misdirection, self-service and protection of the guilty will make us buy the narrative that America's ruling elite and all the core institutions they manage aren't rotten to the foundations.

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

[Sep 10, 2019] It s all about Gene Sharp and seeping neoliberal regime change using Western logistical support, money, NGO and intelligence agencies and MSM as the leverage

Highly recommended!
What democracy they are talking about? Democracy for whom? This Harvard political prostitutes are talking about democracy for oligarchs which was the nest result of EuroMaydan and the ability of Western companies to buy assets for pennies on the dollar without the control of national government like happen in xUSSR space after dissolution of the USSR, which in retrospect can be classified as a color revolution too, supported by financial injection, logistical support and propaganda campaign in major Western MSM.
What Harvard honchos probably does not understand or does not wish to understand is that neoliberalism as a social system lost its attraction and is in irreversible decline. The ideology of neoliberalism collapsed much like Bolsheviks' ideology. As Politician like Joe Boden which still preach neoliberalism are widely viewed as corrupt or senile (or both) hypocrites.
The "Collective West" still demonstrates formidable intelligence agencies skills (especially the USA and GB), but the key question is: "What they are fighting for?"
They are fighting for neoliberalism which is a lost case. Which looks like KGB successes after WWIII. They won many battles and lost the Cold war.
Not that Bolsheviks in the USSR was healthy or vibrant. Economics was a deep stagnation, alcoholism among working class was rampant, the standard of living of the majority of population slides each year, much like is the case with neoliberalism after, say, 1991. Hidden unemployment in the USSR was high -- at least in high teens if not higher. Like in the USA now good jobs were almost impossible to obtain without "extra help". Medical services while free were dismal, especially dental -- which were horrible. Hospitals were poor as church rats as most money went to MIC. Actually, like in the USA now, MIC helped to strangulate the economy and contributed to the collapse. It was co a corrupt and decaying , led by completely degenerated leadership. To put the person of the level of Gorbachov level of political talent lead such a huge and complex country was an obvious suicide.
But the facts speak for themselves: what people usually get as the result of any color revolution is the typical for any county which lost the war: dramatic drop of the standard of living due to economic rape of the country.
While far form being perfect the Chinese regime at least managed to lift the standard of living of the majority of the population and provide employment. After regime change China will experience the same economic rape as the USSR under Yeltsin regime. So in no way Hong Cong revolution can be viewed a progressive phenomenon despite all the warts of neoliberalism with Chenese characteristics in mainland China (actually this is a variant of NEP that Gorbachov tried to implement in the USSR, but was to politically incompetent to succeed)
Aug 31, 2019 | Chris Fraser @ChrisFraser_HKU • Aug 27 \z

Replying to @edennnnnn_ @AMFChina @lihkg_forum

A related resource that deserves wide circulation:

Why nonviolent resistance beats violent force in effecting social, political change – Harvard Gazette

CHENOWETH: I think it really boils down to four different things. The first is a large and diverse participation that's sustained.

The second thing is that [the movement] needs to elicit loyalty shifts among security forces in particular, but also other elites. Security forces are important because they ultimately are the agents of repression, and their actions largely decide how violent the confrontation with -- and reaction to -- the nonviolent campaign is going to be in the end. But there are other security elites, economic and business elites, state media. There are lots of different pillars that support the status quo, and if they can be disrupted or coerced into noncooperation, then that's a decisive factor.

The third thing is that the campaigns need to be able to have more than just protests; there needs to be a lot of variation in the methods they use.

The fourth thing is that when campaigns are repressed -- which is basically inevitable for those calling for major changes -- they don't either descend into chaos or opt for using violence themselves. If campaigns allow their repression to throw the movement into total disarray or they use it as a pretext to militarize their campaign, then they're essentially co-signing what the regime wants -- for the resisters to play on its own playing field. And they're probably going to get totally crushed.

Wai Sing-Rin @waisingrin • Aug 27

Replying to @ChrisFraser_HKU @edennnnnn_ and 2 others

Anyone who watched the lone frontliner (w translator) sees the frontliners are headed for disaster. They're fighting just to fight with no plans nor objectives.
They see themselves as heroes protecting the HK they love. No doubt their sincerity, but there are 300 of them left.

[Sep 09, 2019] Macron called for a global tax on tech giants at the G7 Summit last month, describing as "crazy" the current setup which gives multinationals "a permanent tax haven status."

Sep 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 09, 2019 at 10:31 AM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-09-09/IMF-Firms-avoiding-tax-through-phantom-FDI-worth-15-trillion-JQuLyEAlRS/index.html

September 9, 2019
IMF: Firms avoiding tax through 'phantom FDI' worth $15 trillion
By Nicholas Moore

International tax havens are being used to funnel phantom investments worth the same as the combined annual GDP of China and Germany, according to a new study published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which sheds light on how tax-dodging multinationals are skewing global foreign direct investment (FDI) data.

The research, conducted by the IMF and the University of Copenhagen using data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows that 38 percent of global FDI is "phantom in nature – investments that pass through empty corporate shells."

That 38 percent slice of FDI is worth around 15 trillion U.S. dollars. Eighty-five percent of that huge sum passes through just 10 economies, including Ireland, the Netherlands, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Singapore and Switzerland – all regions with low corporate tax rates.

Luxembourg, a country with a population of 600,000, hosts more FDI than the entire Chinese economy, according to the study. At four trillion U.S. dollars, that's 6.6 million U.S. dollars for each Luxembourger.

Of course, that money isn't going into the pockets of each and every Luxembourger, and it's not being spent on investment projects in the principality. But why is such a huge sum passing through the tiny European state?

The study found that phantom investments are a form of financial and tax engineering "to minimize multinationals' global tax bills." And while corporate shells bring in large sums to their host countries through company registration fees and providing financial services, the huge amounts of money involved mean significant tax income losses for countries around the world.

The report says the phantom FDI phenomenon affects "virtually all economies," no matter their size or level of development. Across all economies (advanced, emerging markets, low-income and developing), average outflows towards overseas shell firms represent 25 percent of total FDI.

Phantom investments are not new, and despite increasing international coordination against the phenomenon, their share of total FDI has grown by around eight percent in the past decade.

Beyond damaging the tax bases of countries around the world, phantom FDI is also heavily distorting headline data. Genuine FDI should act as an indicator of international economic integration, in terms of job creation as well as productivity. But with phantom FDI representing nearly 40 percent of all overseas investment, the data could mislead policymakers and skew economic outlooks.

For the tax havens, the huge influx of money towards shell companies also heavily skews their own data. When Ireland saw its GDP grow by 26 percent in 2015, The Irish Times said while it may be a statistical fact, the huge growth was "clearly a fiction."

Huge multinational companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have registered assets in Ireland for tax reasons. As the Irish Times reported, having such assets registered in Ireland had a limited effect on the economy, but its "impact on the different components of our economic data is explosive."

The IMF report calls for more international cooperation on "dealing with taxation in today's globalized economic environment." However, calls from leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron for stronger oversight of multinationals and their use of tax havens have mostly fallen on deaf ears.

Macron called for a global tax on tech giants at the G7 Summit last month, describing as "crazy" the current setup which gives multinationals "a permanent tax haven status." However, the U.S. President Donald Trump is firmly against such legislation, after what Macron described as "very strong lobbying" by American tech giants.

[Sep 09, 2019] About the fall of neoliberalism in Northeastern Asia

Sep 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Sep 9 2019 16:09 utc | 112

About the fall of liberalism in Northeastern Asia:

Krugman urges Korea to forestall deflation

Krugman -- the father of Abenomics -- is tactitly admitting his keynesian ideology is wrong. Now, all that is left is for him to openly defend austerity and we have a new liberal consensus for at least the next decade. Keynesianism will enjoy the glory of being the first liberal ideology to die twice -- first in 1974-5 (stagflatio) which gave birth to the neokeynesians and the post-keynesians -- and now, with the zombification of Japan and, soon, South Korea in NE Asia (the "Asian Tigers").

'3 lows' become new normal in Korean economy

South Korea has a new motto: low growth, low interest rate and low inflation.

South Korea is going the way of Japan. No wonder, since South Korea is a bad carbon copy of Japan. This explains why Moon Jae-in is trying to link his North-South peace efforts to a new boom of the South's economy. That's also why the South's reject the North's "one country, two systems" reunification proposal -- those chaebols need that cheap natural resources and workforce from the North to initiate a new accumulation cycle of South Korean capitalism.

And of course Japan continues to slowdown from its already stagnant levels . At this point, it's not even news anymore.

On the other side of the Pacific:

S&P concerned over India's weak public finances

Evidence is mounting on the hypothesis that India is quickly slowing down.

On the Indian ivory tower, reality crashes down:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02697-z

That's some hundreds of millions of USDs down the drain, which is bad for a country were one third of its population doesn't even have access to electricity.

With the economy slowing down and its Central Bank getting desperate , time is running out for the Superpower by 2020.

Better the reduction of Kashmir work out, because the neofascist government of Modi is depleting his excuses reserve.

In the West, denial is dominant:

US Treasury Secretary: 'I don't see in any way a recession'

I could quote some Marxist articles here to demonstrate Mnuchin is factually wrong. But I'll be merciful to the anti-marxists in this blog this time and quote a bourgeois economist who's at least honest in this specific issue:

Weak employment report confirms slowing US economy: Additional tariffs on Chinese imports due in October could push the country into recession

[Sep 09, 2019] What's the True Unemployment Rate in the US? by Jack Rasmus

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The real unemployment rate is probably somewhere between 10%-12%. ..."
"... The U-6 also includes what the labor dept. calls involuntary part time employed. It should include the voluntary part time as well, but doesn't (See, they're not actively looking for work even if unemployed). ..."
"... But even the involuntary part time is itself under-estimated. I believe the Labor Dept. counts only those involuntarily part time unemployed whose part time job is their primary job. It doesn't count those who have second and third involuntary part time jobs. That would raise the U-6 unemployment rate significantly. The labor Dept's estimate of the 'discouraged' and 'missing labor force' is grossly underestimated. ..."
"... The labor dept. also misses the 1-2 million workers who went on social security disability (SSDI) after 2008 because it provides better pay, for longer, than does unemployment insurance. That number rose dramatically after 2008 and hasn't come down much (although the government and courts are going after them). ..."
"... The way the government calculates unemployment is by means of 60,000 monthly household surveys but that phone survey method misses a lot of workers who are undocumented and others working in the underground economy in the inner cities (about 10-12% of the economy according to most economists and therefore potentially 10-12% of the reported labor force in size as well). ..."
"... The SSDI, undocumented, underground, underestimation of part timers, etc. are what I call the 'hidden unemployed'. And that brings the unemployed well above the 3.7%. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

The real unemployment rate is probably somewhere between 10%-12%. Here's why: the 3.7% is the U-3 rate, per the labor dept. But that's the rate only for full time employed. What the labor dept. calls the U-6 includes what it calls discouraged workers (those who haven't looked for work in the past 4 weeks). Then there's what's called the 'missing labor force'–i.e. those who haven't looked in the past year. They're not calculated in the 3.7% U-3 unemployment rate number either. Why? Because you have to be 'out of work and actively looking for work' to be counted as unemployed and therefore part of the 3.7% rate.

The U-6 also includes what the labor dept. calls involuntary part time employed. It should include the voluntary part time as well, but doesn't (See, they're not actively looking for work even if unemployed).

But even the involuntary part time is itself under-estimated. I believe the Labor Dept. counts only those involuntarily part time unemployed whose part time job is their primary job. It doesn't count those who have second and third involuntary part time jobs. That would raise the U-6 unemployment rate significantly. The labor Dept's estimate of the 'discouraged' and 'missing labor force' is grossly underestimated.

The labor dept. also misses the 1-2 million workers who went on social security disability (SSDI) after 2008 because it provides better pay, for longer, than does unemployment insurance. That number rose dramatically after 2008 and hasn't come down much (although the government and courts are going after them).

The way the government calculates unemployment is by means of 60,000 monthly household surveys but that phone survey method misses a lot of workers who are undocumented and others working in the underground economy in the inner cities (about 10-12% of the economy according to most economists and therefore potentially 10-12% of the reported labor force in size as well). The labor dept. just makes assumptions about that number (conservatively, I may add) and plugs in a number to be added to the unemployment totals. But it has no real idea of how many undocumented or underground economy workers are actually employed or unemployed since these workers do not participate in the labor dept. phone surveys, and who can blame them.

The SSDI, undocumented, underground, underestimation of part timers, etc. are what I call the 'hidden unemployed'. And that brings the unemployed well above the 3.7%.

Finally, there's the corroborating evidence about what's called the labor force participation rate. It has declined by roughly 5% since 2007. That's 6 to 9 million workers who should have entered the labor force but haven't. The labor force should be that much larger, but it isn't. Where have they gone? Did they just not enter the labor force? If not, they're likely a majority unemployed, or in the underground economy, or belong to the labor dept's 'missing labor force' which should be much greater than reported. The government has no adequate explanation why the participation rate has declined so dramatically. Or where have the workers gone. If they had entered the labor force they would have been counted. And their 6 to 9 million would result in an increase in the total labor force number and therefore raise the unemployment rate.

All these reasons–-i.e. only counting full timers in the official 3.7%; under-estimating the size of the part time workforce; under-estimating the size of the discouraged and so-called 'missing labor force'; using methodologies that don't capture the undocumented and underground unemployed accurately; not counting part of the SSI increase as unemployed; and reducing the total labor force because of the declining labor force participation-–together means the true unemployment rate is definitely over 10% and likely closer to 12%. And even that's a conservative estimate perhaps." Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jack Rasmus

Jack Rasmus is author of the recently published book, 'Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression', Clarity Press, August 2017. He blogs at jackrasmus.com and his twitter handle is @drjackrasmus. His website is http://kyklosproductions.com .

[Sep 08, 2019] The Case for Restraint Drawing the Curtain on the American Empire by Stewart M. Patrick

Notable quotes:
"... " Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Do Better) " is a scalding indictment not only of the 45th U.S. president, but also of a morally bankrupt national security establishment whose addiction to empire has embroiled the nation in misbegotten military misadventures. ..."
"... Glaser, Preble and Thrall see Trump -- the "least informed, least experienced, and least intellectually prepared U.S. president in modern memory" -- as more bark than bite. True, he has altered specific U.S. positions on trade (more protectionism), immigration (greater closure) and human rights (deafening silence). But, on balance, they perceive a depressing continuity between Trump's foreign policy and what preceded it. Abetted by an invertebrate Congress and emboldened by the military-industrial complex, Trump has doubled down on the imperial presidency, on inflated threat perceptions, on defense spending and on the pursuit of global domination. In so doing, they claim, Trump is setting a course for continued interventionism that is at odds with U.S. ideals and dangerous to American liberty. ... ..."
Aug 26, 2019 | www.worldpoliticsreview.com

In a provocative new book, three scholars from the libertarian Cato Institute -- John Glaser, Christopher A. Preble and A. Trevor Thrall -- counsel the United States to abandon the pursuit of global primacy for a policy of prudence and restraint. " Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Do Better) " is a scalding indictment not only of the 45th U.S. president, but also of a morally bankrupt national security establishment whose addiction to empire has embroiled the nation in misbegotten military misadventures. American foreign policy professionals may cast the United States as a benevolent hegemon, defending the liberal or "rules-based" international order. But this self-serving argument is hard to take seriously, they write, given the hubris, hypocrisy and coerciveness of the American imperium.

The most surprising argument in "Fuel to the Fire" is that this misguided orientation has persisted under Donald Trump. This seems counterintuitive. Washington's mandarins have recoiled in bipartisan horror as the president dismantles their handiwork and pursues his "America First" agenda. Glaser, Preble and Thrall see Trump -- the "least informed, least experienced, and least intellectually prepared U.S. president in modern memory" -- as more bark than bite. True, he has altered specific U.S. positions on trade (more protectionism), immigration (greater closure) and human rights (deafening silence). But, on balance, they perceive a depressing continuity between Trump's foreign policy and what preceded it. Abetted by an invertebrate Congress and emboldened by the military-industrial complex, Trump has doubled down on the imperial presidency, on inflated threat perceptions, on defense spending and on the pursuit of global domination. In so doing, they claim, Trump is setting a course for continued interventionism that is at odds with U.S. ideals and dangerous to American liberty. ...

[Sep 07, 2019] Thomas Piketty's New Book Brings Political Economy Back to Its Sources

Sep 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 06, 2019 at 01:10 PM

https://promarket.org/thomas-piketty-new-book-brings-political-economy-back-to-its-sources/
September 6, 2019

Thomas Piketty's New Book Brings Political Economy Back to Its Sources
By Branko Milanovic

In the same way that Capital in the Twenty-First Century transformed the way economists look at inequality, Piketty's new book Capital and Ideology will transform the way political scientists look at their own field.
Thomas Piketty's books are always monumental. Some are more monumental than others. His Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901–1998(published in French as Les hauts revenus en France au XXe siècle) covered more than two centuries of income and wealth inequality, in addition to social and political changes in France. His international bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century(Le capital au XXI siècle) broadened this approach to the most important Western countries (France, the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany). His new book Capital and Ideology (to be published in English in March 2020; already published in France as Capital et idéologie) broadens the scope even further, covering the entire world and presenting a historical panorama of how ownership of assets (including people) was treated, and justified, in various historical societies, from China, Japan, and India, to the European-ruled American colonies, and feudal and capitalist societies in Europe. Just the mention of the geographical and temporal scope of the book suffices to give the reader an idea of its ambition.

Before I review Capital and Ideology, it is worth mentioning the importance of Piketty's overall approach, present in all three of his books. His approach is characterized by the methodological return of economics to its original and key functions: to be a science that illuminates the interests and explains the behaviors of individuals and social classes in their quotidian (material) life. This methodology rejects the dominant paradigm of the past half-century, which increasingly ignored the role of classes and heterogeneous individuals in the process of production and instead treated all people as abstract agents that maximize their own income under certain constraints. The dominant paradigm has emptied almost all social content from economics and presented a view of society that was as abstract as it was false.

The reintroduction of actual life into economics by Piketty and several other economists (not entirely coincidentally, most of them are economists interested in inequality) is much more than just a return to the sources of political economy and economics. This is because today, we have vastly more information (data) than was available to economists a century ago, not only about our own contemporary societies but also about past societies. This combination between political economy's original methodology and big data is what I call "turbo-Annales," after the French group of historians that pioneered the view of history as a social science focusing on the broad social, economic, and political forces that shape the world. The topics that interested classical political economy and the authors associated with the Annales School can now be studied empirically, and even econometrically and experimentally -- things which they could not do, both because of the scarcity of data and unavailability of modern methodologies.

It is within this context that, I believe, we ought to consider Piketty's Capital and Ideology. How successful was his approach, applied now to the world and over a very long time-horizon?

"The dominant paradigm has emptied almost all social content from economics and presented a view of society that was as abstract as it was false."

For the purposes of this review, I divide Piketty's book into two parts: the first, which I already mentioned, looks at ideological justifications of inequality across different societies (Parts 1 and 2 of the book, and to some extent Part 3); the second introduces an entirely new way of studying recent political cleavages in modern societies (Part 4). I am somewhat skeptical about Piketty's success in the first part, despite his enormous erudition and his skills as a raconteur, because success in discussing something so geographically and temporally immense is difficult to reach, even by the best-informed minds who have studied different societies for the majority of their careers. Analyzing each of these societies requires an extraordinarily high degree of sophisticated historical knowledge regarding religious dogmas, political organization, social stratification, and the like. To take two examples of authors who have tried to do it, one older and one more recent: Max Weber, during his entire life (and more specifically in Economy and Society), and Francis Fukuyama in his two-volume masterpiece on the origins of the political and economic order. In both cases, the results were not always unanimously approved by specialists studying individual societies and religions.

In his analysis of some of these societies, Piketty had to rely on somewhat "straightforward" or simplified discussions of their structure and evolution, discussions which at times seem plausible but superficial. In other words, each of these historical societies, many of which lasted centuries, had gone through different phases in their developments, phases which are subject to various interpretations. Treating such evolutions as if they were a simple, uncontested story is reductionist. It is a choice of one plausible historical narrative where many exist. This compares unfavorably with Piketty's own rich and nuanced narrative in Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century.

While I am somewhat skeptical about that first part of the book, I am not skeptical about the second. In this part, we find the Piketty who plays to his strength: bold and innovative use of data which produces a new way of looking at phenomena that we all observe but were unable to define so precisely. Here, Piketty is "playing" on the familiar Western economic history "terrain" that he knows well, probably better than any other economist.

This part of the book looks empirically at the reasons that left-wing, or social democratic parties have gradually transformed themselves from being the parties of the less-educated and poorer classes to become the parties of the educated and affluent middle and upper-middle classes. To a large extent, traditionally left parties have changed because their original social-democratic agenda was so successful in opening up education and high-income possibilities to the people who in the 1950s and 1960s came from modest backgrounds. These people, the "winners" of social democracy, continued voting for left-wing parties but their interests and worldview were no longer the same as that of their (less-educated) parents. The parties' internal social structure thus changed -- the product of their own political and social success. In Piketty's terms, they became the parties of the "Brahmin left" (La gauche Brahmane), as opposed to the conservative right-wing parties, which remained the parties of the "merchant right" (La droite marchande).

To simplify, the elite became divided between the educated "Brahmins" and the more commercially-minded "investors," or capitalists. This development, however, left the people who failed to experience upward educational and income mobility unrepresented, and those people are the ones that feed the current "populist" wave. Quite extraordinarily, Piketty shows the education and income shifts of left-wing parties' voters using very similar long-term data from all major developed democracies (and India). The fact that the story is so consistent across countries lends an almost uncanny plausibility to his hypothesis.

It is also striking, at least to me, that such multi-year, multi-country data were apparently never used by political scientists to study this phenomenon. This part of Piketty's book will likely transform, or at least affect, how political scientists look at new political realignments and class politics in advanced democracies in the years to come. In the same way that Capital in the Twenty-First Century has transformed how economists look at inequality, Capital and Ideology will transform the way political scientists look at their own field.


Branko Milanovic is a senior scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

[Sep 07, 2019] New Keynesian economic theory is wrong.

Sep 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Joe , September 05, 2019 at 07:52 PM

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/central-banks-flawed-economic-theory-by-roger-farmer-2019-09

When the Fed or the ECB raises rates, New Keynesian economic theory predicts that the hike will eventually lead to a decrease in inflation, and that the path from point A to point B will inevitably be accompanied by higher unemployment. But my own research suggests that New Keynesian economic theory is wrong. After all, if the Fed were to raise the short-term rate slowly and support equity markets with a guarantee to purchase a broad-based exchange-traded fund at a fixed price, there is no reason why the rate increase should cause higher unemployment.

----

Roger Farmer dumping on the Fed. Somehow a lot of economists have figured out that 'Uncle cannot do it later'.

I have a different disagreement. First I note that the Fed always follows the One Year Treasury, it is in the charts, that chart cannot be avoided. Second, once Treasury has started the rate cycles, it is all over, we will complete the rate cycle, including a down turn. This has been the case since 1980, likely earlier.

So, why do we fake it? For what purpose, except to say something stupid like Uncle can fix it later. We always end up in the same place, imbalances that need correction, Treasury has to take its losses. All the fakery does no one any good.

[Sep 07, 2019] The end of Mankiw and his Phillips Curve

Sep 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke , September 05, 2019 at 11:34 AM

The end of Mankiw and his Phillips Curve
Comment on David Glasner on 'Mankiw's Phillips-Curve Agonistes'

Gregory Mankiw starts his history of the Phillips Curve with gossiping and name dropping: "The economist George Akerlof, a Nobel laureate and the husband of the former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, once called the Phillips curve 'probably the single most important macroeconomic relationship.' So it is worth recalling what the Phillips curve is, why it plays a central role in mainstream economics and why it has so many critics. The story begins in 1958, when the economist A. W. Phillips published an article reporting an inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation in Britain. He reasoned that when unemployment is high, workers are easy to find, so employers hardly raise wages, if they do so at all. But when unemployment is low, employers have trouble attracting workers, so they raise wages faster. Inflation in wages soon turns into inflation in the prices of goods and services."

David Glasner immediately spots the fatal mistake of Mankiw's account: "I must note parenthetically that, as I have written recently, a supply-demand framework (aka partial equilibrium analysis) is not really the appropriate way to think about unemployment, because the equilibrium level of wages and the rates of unemployment must be analyzed, as, using different terminology, Keynes argued, in a general equilibrium, not a partial equilibrium, framework." Unfortunately, David Glasner then gets lost in supply-demand-equilibrium blather.

The Phillips Curve (better: Bastard or NAIRU Phillips Curve) is the centerpiece of standard employment theory. Economists get employment theory wrong for 200+ years.#1-#5

The materially/formally inconsistent NAIRU Phillips Curve has to be replaced by the correct macroeconomic Employment Law which is shown on Wikimedia.#6

From this equation follows:
(i) An increase in the expenditure ratio ρE leads to higher employment L (the Greek letter ρ stands for ratio). An expenditure ratio ρE greater than 1 indicates a budget deficit = credit expansion, a ratio ρE less than 1 indicates credit contraction.
(ii) Increasing investment expenditures I exert a positive influence on employment.
(iii) An increase in the factor cost ratio ρF=W/PR leads to higher employment.

The complete employment equation contains in addition profit distribution, the public sector, and foreign trade.

Items (i) and (ii) cover Keynes' familiar arguments about aggregate demand. The factor cost ratio ρF as defined in (iii) embodies the macroeconomic price mechanism. The fact of the matter is that overall employment INCREASES if the AVERAGE wage rate W INCREASES relative to average price P and productivity R. Roughly speaking, price inflation is bad for employment and wage inflation is good. This is the exact OPPOSITE of what microfounded supply-demand-equilibrium economics teaches.

The testable Employment Law tells one that the best policy to stabilize employment on a high level is a price inflation of zero and a wage inflation equal to productivity increases. The 2 percent inflation target has always been political idiocy based on defective theory.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 NAIRU, wage-led growth, and Samuelson's Dyscalculia
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2015/01/nairu-wage-led-growth-and-samuelsons.html

#2 Keynes' Employment Function and the Gratuitous Phillips Curve Disaster
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2130421

#3 NAIRU and the scientific incompetence of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2017/02/nairu-and-scientific-incompetence-of.html

#4 Full employment, the Phillips Curve, and the end of Gaganomics
https://axecorg.blogspot.com/2018/04/full-employment-phillips-curve-and-end.html

#5 For more details of the big picture see cross-references Employment/Phillips Curve
http://axecorg.blogspot.com/2015/08/employmentphillips-curve-cross.html

#6 Wikimedia AXEC62 Employment Law
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AXEC62.png

[Sep 06, 2019] 9-11 and Jeffrey Epstein Media Malfeasance on Steroids by Kevin Barrett

It is not vey clear for whom Epstein used to work. Mossad connection is just one hypothesis. What sovereign state would allow compromising politician by a foreign intelligence service. This just does not compute.
But the whole tone of discussion below clearly point to the crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite. And Russiagate had shown that the elite cares about it and tried to patch the cracks.
Sep 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

As Eric Rasmusen writes: "Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it." Likewise, everybody in New York society has long known that Larry Silverstein, who bought the asbestos-riddled white elephant World Trade Center in July 2001 and immediately doubled the insurance, is a mobbed-up friend of Netanyahu and a confessed participant in the controlled demolition of Building 7 , from which he earned over 700 million insurance dollars on the pretext that al-Qaeda had somehow brought it down. But the press won't cover that either.

The New York Times , America's newspaper of record, has the investigative talent and resources to expose major corruption in New York. Why did the Times spend almost two decades ignoring the all-too-obvious antics of Epstein and Silverstein? Why is it letting the absurd tale of Epstein's alleged suicide stand? Why hasn't it used the work of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth -- including the brand-new University of Alaska study on the controlled demolition of WTC-7 -- to expose the biggest scandal of the 21 st century, if not all of American history?

The only conceivable answer is that The New York Times is somehow complicit in these monstrous crimes. It must be protecting its friends in high places. So who are those friends, and where are those high places?

One thing Epstein and Silverstein have in common, besides names ending in "-stein," is alleged involvement in the illicit sex industry. Epstein's antics, or at least some of them, are by now well-known. Not so for Silverstein, who apparently began his rags-to-9/11-riches story as a pimp supplying prostitutes and nude dancers to the shadier venues of NYC, alongside other illicit activities including "the heroin trade, money laundering and New York Police corruption." All of this was exposed in a mid-1990s lawsuit. But good luck finding any investigative reports in The New York Times .

Another Epstein-Silverstein connection is their relationships to major American Jewish organizations. Even while he was allegedly pimping girls and running heroin, Larry Silverstein served as president for United Jewish Appeal of New York. As for Epstein, he was the boy toy and protégé of Les Wexner, co-founder of the Mega Group of Jewish billionaires associated with the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, and other pro-Israel groups. Indeed, there is no evidence that "self-made billionaire" Epstein ever earned significant amounts of money; his only investment "client" was Les Wexner. Epstein, a professional sexual blackmailer, used his supposed billionaire status as a cover story. In fact, he was just an employee working for Wexner and associated criminal/intelligence networks.

Which brings us to the third and most important Epstein-Silverstein similarity: They were both close to the government of Israel. Jeffrey Epstein's handler was Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of Mossad super-spy Robert Maxwell; among his friends was Ehud Barak, who is currently challenging Netanyahu for leadership of Israel. Larry Silverstein, too, has friends in high Israeli places. According to Haaretz , Silverstein has "close ties with Netanyahu" (speaking to him on the phone every weekend) as well as with Ehud Barak, "whom Silverstein in the past offered a job as his representative in Israel" and who called Silverstein immediately after 9/11.

We may reasonably surmise that both Jeffrey Epstein and Larry Silverstein have been carrying on very important work on behalf of the state of Israel. And we may also surmise that this is the reason The New York Times has been covering up the scandals associated with both Israeli agents for almost two decades. The Times , though it pretends to be America's newspaper of record, has always been Jewish-owned-and-operated. Its coverage has always been grotesquely distorted in favor of Israel . It has no interest in exposing the way Israel controls the United States by blackmailing its leaders (Epstein) and staging a fake "Arab-Muslim attack on America" (Silverstein). The awful truth is that The New York Times is part of the same Jewish-Zionist " we control America " network as Jeffrey Epstein and Larry Silverstein.

Epstein "Suicide" Illustrates Zionist Control of USA -- and the Decadence and Depravity of Western Secularism

Since The New York Times and other mainstream media won't go there, let's reflect on the facts and lessons of the Jeffrey Epstein suicide scandal -- a national disgrace that ought to shock Americans into rethinking their worldviews in general, and their views on the official myth of 9/11 in particular.

On Saturday, August 10, 2019, convicted child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was allegedly found dead in his cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York City, one of America's most corrupt prisons. The authorities claim Epstein hanged himself. But nobody, not even the presstitutes of America's corporate propaganda media, convincingly pretends to believe the official story.

Jeffrey Epstein was a pedophile pimp to presidents and potentates. His job was recruiting young girls for sex, then offering them to powerful men -- in settings outfitted with hidden video cameras. When police raided his New York townhouse on July 6-7 2019 they found locked safes full of pornographic pictures of underage girls, along with piles of compact discs labeled "young (name of girl) + (name of VIP)." Epstein had been openly and brazenly carrying on such activities for more than two decades, as reported throughout most of that period by alternative media outlets including my own Truth Jihad Radio and False Flag Weekly News . (Even before the 2016 elections, my audience knew that both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were blackmailed clients of Jeffrey Epstein, that Clinton was a frequent flyer on Epstein's "Lolita Express" private jet, and that Trump had been credibly accused in a lawsuit of joining Epstein in the brutal rape of a 13-year-old, to whom Trump then allegedly issued death threats.) It was only in the summer of 2019 that mainstream media and New York City prosecutors started talking about what used to be consigned to the world of "conspiracy theories."

So who was Epstein working for? His primary employer was undoubtedly the Israeli Mossad and its worldwide Zionist crime network. Epstein's handler was Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of Mossad super-spy Robert Maxwell. According to sworn depositions, Ghislaine Maxwell recruited underage girls for Epstein and oversaw his sex trafficking operations. As the New Yorker reported August 16: "In court papers that were unsealed on August 9th, it was alleged that Maxwell had been Epstein's central accomplice, first as his girlfriend, and, later, as his trusted friend and procuress, grooming a steady stream of girls, some as young as fourteen, coercing them to have sex with Epstein at his various residences around the world, and occasionally participating in the sexual abuse herself." Alongside Maxwell, Epstein's other Mossad handler was Les Wexner, co-founder of the notorious Mega Group of billionaire Israeli spies , who appears to have originally recruited the penniless Epstein and handed him a phony fortune so Epstein could pose as a billionaire playboy.

Even after Epstein's shady "suicide" mega-Mossadnik Maxwell continued to flaunt her impunity from American justice. She no doubt conspired to publicize the August 15 New York Post photograph of herself smiling and looking "chillingly serene" at In-And-Out-Burger in Los Angeles, reading The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of C.I.A. Operatives . That nauseating photo inspired the New Yorker to accuse her of having "gall" -- a euphemism for the Yiddish chutzpah , a quality that flourishes in the overlapping Zionist and Kosher Nostra communities.

Maxwell and The New York Post , both Kosher Nostra/Mossad assets, were obviously sending a message to the CIA: Don't mess with us or we will expose your complicity in these scandalous crimes. That is the Mossad's standard operating procedure: Infiltrate and compromise Western intelligence services in order to prevent them from interfering with the Zionists' over-the-top atrocities. According to French historian Laurent Guyénot's hypothesis, the CIA's false flag fake assassination attempt on President John F. Kennedy, designed to be blamed on Cuba, was transformed by Mossad into a real assassination -- and the CIA couldn't expose it due to its own complicity. (The motive: Stop JFK from ending Israel's nuclear program.) The same scenario, Guyénot argues, explains the anomalies of the Mohamed Merah affair , the Charlie Hebdo killings, and the 9/11 false flag operation. It would not be surprising if Zionist-infiltrated elements of the CIA were made complicit in Jeffrey Epstein's sexual blackmail activities, in order to protect Israel in the event Epstein had to be "burned" (which is apparently what has finally occurred).

So what really happened to Epstein? Perhaps the most likely scenario is that the Kosher Nostra, which owns New York in general and the mobbed-up MCC prison in particular, allowed the Mossad to exfiltrate Epstein to Occupied Palestine, where he will be given a facelift, a pension, a luxury suite overlooking the Mediterranean, and a steady stream of young sex slaves (Israel is the world's capital of human trafficking, an honor it claimed from the Kosher Nostra enclaves of Odessa after World War II). Once the media heat wave blows over, Epstein will undoubtedly enjoy visits from his former Mossad handler Ghislaine Maxwell, his good friend Ehud Barak, and various other Zionist VIPs. He may even offer fresh sex slaves to visiting American congressmen.

This is not just a paranoid fantasy scenario. According to Eric Rasmusen : "The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy."

But didn't the alleged autopsy reportedly find broken neck bones that are more commonly associated with strangulation murders than suicides? That controversy may have been scripted to distract the public from an insider report on 4chan , first published before the news of Epstein's "suicide" broke, that Epstein had been "switched out" of MCC. If so, the body with the broken neck bones wasn't Epstein's.

The Epstein affair (like 9/11) illustrates two critically important truths about Western secularism: there is no truth, and there are no limits. A society that no longer believes in God no longer believes in truth, since God is al-haqq, THE truth, without Whom the whole notion of truth has no metaphysical basis. The postmodern philosophers understand this perfectly well. They taught a whole generation of Western humanities scholars that truth is merely a function of power: people accept something as "true" to the extent that they are forced by power to accept it. So when the most powerful people in the world insist that three enormous steel-frame skyscrapers were blown to smithereens by relatively modest office fires on 9/11, that absurd assertion becomes the official "truth" as constructed by such Western institutions as governments, courts, media, and academia. Likewise, the assertion that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide under circumstances that render that assertion absurd will probably become the official "truth" as recorded and promulgated by the West's ruling institutions, even though nobody will ever really believe it.

Epstein's career as a shameless, openly-operating Mossad sexual blackmailer -- like the in-your-face 9/11 coup -- also illustrates another core truth of Western secularism: If there is no God, there are no limits (in this case, to human depravity and what it can get away with). Or as Dostoevsky famously put it: "If God does not exist, everything is permitted." Since God alone can establish metaphysically-grounded limits between what is permitted and what is forbidden, a world without God will feature no such limits; in such a world Aleister Crowley's satanic motto "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" becomes the one and only commandment. In today's Godless West, why should men not "do what they wilt" and indulge their libidos by raping young girls if they can get away with it? After all, all the other sexual taboos are being broken, one by one. Fornication, adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism, gender-bending all of these have been transformed during my lifetime from crimes and vices to "human rights" enjoyed by the most liberal and fashionable right-thinking Western secularists. Even bestiality and necrophilia are poised to become normalized "sexual identities" whose practitioners will soon be proudly marching in "bestiality pride" and "necrophilia pride" parades. So why not normalize pedophilia and other forms of rape perpetrated by the strong against the weak? And why not add torture and murder in service to sexual gratification? After all, the secret bible of the sexual identity movement is the collected works of the Marquis de Sade, the satanic prophet of sexual liberation, with whom the liberal progressivist secular West is finally catching up. It will not be surprising if, just a few years after the Jeffrey Epstein "suicide" is consigned to the memory hole, we will be witnessing LGBTQBNPR parades, with the BNPR standing for bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia, and rape. (It would have been LGBTQBNPRG, with the final G standing for Gropers like President Trump, except that the G was already taken by the gays.) The P's, pioneers of pedophile pride parades, will undoubtedly celebrate Jeffrey Epstein as an ahead-of-his-time misunderstood hero who was unjustly persecuted on the basis of his unusual sexual orientation.

It is getting harder and harder to satirize the decadence and depravity of the secular West, which insists on parodying itself with ever-increasing outlandishness. When the book on this once-mighty civilization is written, and the ink is dry, readers will be astounded by the limitless lies of the drunk-on-chutzpah psychopaths who ran it into the ground.


NoseytheDuke , says: September 5, 2019 at 4:30 am GMT

Correct me if I am wrong but I thought Lucky Larry only leased the WTC buildings rather than actually purchased them. I think I have read that his investment was in the region of 150 mill for which he has recouped a whopping 4 bill.
Wizard of Oz , says: September 5, 2019 at 4:42 am GMT
Would you please answer a preliminary question before I put finishing this on my busy agenda? You stake a fair bit of your credit on what you say about Larry Silverstein and insurance. My present understanding is that the insurance cover for WTC 1 and 2 was increased as a routine part of the financing deal he had made for a purchase which was only months old. Not true? Not the full story? Convince us.

As to WTC 7 my understanding is that he had owned the building for some years and had not recently increased the insurance. Not true? And when did any clause get into his WTC7 insurance contract which might have had some effect on inflating the payout?

Fozzy Bear , says: September 5, 2019 at 4:55 am GMT
“Trump had been credibly accused in a lawsuit of joining Epstein in the brutal rape of a 13-year-old, to whom Trump then allegedly issued death threats.)”
The “Katie Johnson” case collapsed in 2016 when it was revealed that “she” was in fact a middle-aged man, a stringer for the Jerry Springer show. Just another Gloria Allred fraud.
nsa , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:26 am GMT
“a society that no longer believes in god no longer believes in the truth, since god is the truth….blah blah blah”
This is thin gruel indeed…..just silly platitudes from a muzzie convert. There are at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe with each galaxy containing as many as 100 billion stars. And there is no telling how many universes there are. Does anyone really believe Barrett’s preferred deity takes a time out from running this vast empire to service Barrett’s yearning for “truth”? Just goes to prove that humans will believe almost any idea as long as it’s sufficiently idiotic.
utu , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:47 am GMT
The release of Prof. J. Leroy Hulsey report on the finite element analysis of the WTC7 collapse should be a big news.

http://ine.uaf.edu/wtc7

http://ine.uaf.edu/media/222439/uaf_wtc7_draft_report_09-03-2019.pdf

Conclusion form the EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

“The principal conclusion of our study is that fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse.”

“It is our conclusion based upon these findings that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of all columns in the building and not a progressive collapse involving the sequential failure of columns throughout the building.”

WorkingClass , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:47 am GMT
Trump is Israel’s best friend. Right? So why is the Jew York Times trying to destroy him? I don’t get it.
Mark James , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:52 am GMT
Speaking of the truth v. parody I’d really rather work on the cause of Epstein’s death –yes I think he’s dead– suicide or strangulation ?
There are some things the Justice Dept. could do if they wanted to. Why they apparently didn’t want to expose the corpse in greater detail, let media view the cell, have correspondent(s) interview the ex- cellmate of Epstein, et.al just leads to suspicions. This is something they should have to answer for . That includes AG Barr. Trump could make it happen–like every thing else– if Barr says no. The President won’t.

... ... ...

utu , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:58 am GMT
Dostoyevsky with his “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” overlooked the Jewish God who permits much more when it comes to Jewish gentile relations. The Jewish God is not limited by the Kant’s First Moral Imperative. The Jewish God’s moral laws are not universal. They are context dependent according to the Leninist Who, whom rule.
utu , says: September 5, 2019 at 6:00 am GMT

Not so for Silverstein, who apparently began his rags-to-9/11-riches story as a pimp supplying prostitutes and nude dancers to the shadier venues of NYC, alongside other illicit activities including “the heroin trade, money laundering and New York Police corruption.”

I would like to see more about the beginnings of Silverstein’s career.

BlackDragon , says: September 5, 2019 at 6:19 am GMT
Good work Kevin, Irrelevant exactly what Silverstein did in way of insurance.The FACT is that WTC7 DID NOT FALL due to fires. Neither did WTC1 or 2. The 6 million dollar question is ‘WHO put the ‘bang’ in the building?’ to bring them down, by what ever means. Im in favour of nukes for 1 and 2.
Answer that! Why isnt Silverstein arrested? I think Kevin provided the answer in the article..
Antares , says: September 5, 2019 at 6:27 am GMT
I liked the article but skipped the part about some god. Nothing matches intellectual integrity.

“It is getting harder and harder to satirize the decadence and depravity of the secular West”

This is the same line of reasoning as Vltchek’s but then from a(nother) religious point of view.

The Duke of Dork , says: September 5, 2019 at 6:28 am GMT
I just stumbled onto your article from a link on reddit, r/epstein. You make some convincing arguments. I was thrilled that you brought 9/11 into this – because the Epstein “suicide” and how it is being covered reminds me so much of how I felt after 9/11 and the run-up to the war. -But you lost me at the end with the stuff about Godless secularism. I’ve read the bible and it is not the answer to what’s wrong with the world.
Sean , says: September 5, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT

Why did the Times spend almost two decades ignoring the all-too-obvious antics of Epstein and Silverstein? Why is it letting the absurd tale of Epstein’s alleged suicide stand?

One thing cannot be denied : Epstein was arrested, denied bail and jailed awaiting trail on a Federal indictment for much the same offence he had pleaded guilty to a decade ago, which did not involve even a single homicide yet made him universally reviled and in as much trouble with the legal system as a man could be (almost certain never to get out again). Epstein was in far more trouble that anyone of his financial resources has ever been, but then that was for paying for sex acts with young teen girls.

What an awesomely impressive testament to the impunity enjoyed by the Jewish elite Epstein is. It is no wonder that Larry Silverstein was insouciant about the risks of a Jewish lightning fraud controlled demolition killing thousands of people in a building he had just bought and increased the insurance coverage of. After all, it wasn’t anything serious like paying for getting hundreds of handjobs from underage girls. And it is not like someone like the Pizzagate nut that fired his AR15 into underground child molestation complex beneath the Dems restaurant/pedophile centre would take all those WTC deaths seriously enough to shoot at him just because of inevitable internet accusations of mass murder. Mr Barrett, why don’t you step up and do it, thereby proving you believe the things you say .

Macon Richardson , says: September 5, 2019 at 7:11 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke Yes, he leased the World Trade Center buildings one and two from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He built World Trade Center building seven, having acquired a ground lease from Port Authority.

I can’t imagine why you ask this question in a public venue. I found the answer in less than one minute on the internet.

I assume the insurance policies were for the present value of his net profits for the duration of the leases.

Lastoknow , says: September 5, 2019 at 7:26 am GMT
I recall reading about this guy prior to the event. I believe it was USATODAY . He and a silent partner had bought the complex with a down of 63million and had it insured for 7billion. I thought it odd that the port authority would let go of the property at the time.
As the building deficiencies became known afterwards,my thoughts were along the line of insurance fraud.
I came across a copy of the rand Corp “state of the world 2000” which accurately describes the scenario and resulting culture of terror as “one possible future “…. funny how it’s taken all these years to discover this website.
Sean , says: September 5, 2019 at 9:08 am GMT

Indeed, there is no evidence that “self-made billionaire” Epstein ever earned significant amounts of money.

Good thing that Wexner is Jewish so we can discount the possibility that he was telling the truth the other month when he said that Epstein stole vast amounts of Wexner money

his only investment “client” was Les Wexner

Clever of Wexner to give Epstein 80 million dollars to deliberately lose.
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/jeffrey-epstein-lost-usd80-million-in-hedge-fund-bet-gone-bad.html

Alongside Maxwell, Epstein’s other Mossad handler was Les Wexner, co-founder of the notorious Mega Group of billionaire Israeli spies

Wexner and his fellow Mossad spy Maxwell leaving Virginia Roberts alive to repeatedly sue them, and use the world”s media to accuse them of sexually abusing, trafficking, pimping her out to VIPs, and fiming the trysts was a brilliant way to keep everything a secret.

Mossad handler Ghislaine Maxwell, his good friend Ehud Barak, and various other Zionist VIPs.

Yes, they are the greatest covert operatives ever.

Just another serf , says: September 5, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Epstein’s crimes are simple breaches of etiquette when compared to Silverstein. I believe the term “Silverstein valleys” has been used to describe the melted granite discovered beneath the former towers, Silverstein grins widely in interviews, while so many suffered horribly.

One might even consider the 9/11 deaths to be something of a “holocaust”. Certainly one of the most evil human beings to have walked the Earth.

Whitewolf , says: September 5, 2019 at 10:11 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz Silverstein said he gave the okay for wtc 7 to be “pulled”. The building was on fire at the time. Either someone wired it to be pulled while it was on fire and already damaged or it was wired for demolition beforehand. The second scenario seems a lot more likely. In that case all the insurance contract details are largely irrelevant to the bigger picture.
Twodees Partain , says: September 5, 2019 at 10:54 am GMT
The idea that the CIA is somehow independent of Mossad and that Mossad would have to warn the CIA off of the Epstein matter is implausible to me. Guyenot’s hypothesis tends to give cover to the CIA in the assassination of JFK by claiming that the CIA plot was set in motion as some sort of attempt to control JFK and that it was hijacked into an actual assassination by Mossad. That just isn’t credible.

It’s much more accurate to observe that the CIA was erected by the same zionists who oversaw the creation of Israel and later the forming of Mossad, and that the two agencies have been joined at the hip ever since.

anon [383] • Disclaimer , says: September 5, 2019 at 11:33 am GMT
@WorkingClass Bad cop good cop. NYT is trying to destroy him . Israel says to him :” send this , do this ,allow us to do this , increase this by this amount , and we will make sure that in final analysis you don’t get hurt ”
Trump possibly knows that the only people who could hurt him is the Jewish people of power .

Has NYT ever criticized Trump for relocating embassy , recognizing Golan, for allowing Israel use Anerican resources to hit Syria or Gaza , for allowing Israel drag US into more military involvement. for allowing Israel wage war against Gaza ,? Has NYT ever explored the dynamics behind abrogation of JCPOA and application of more sanctions?

NYT has focused on Russia gate knowing in advance that it has no merit and no public traction, Is it hurting Trump or itself ?

Kevin Barrett , says: • Website September 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke It was a 100 year lease, which is better described by the word purchase .
anon [383] • Disclaimer , says: September 5, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
People with normal IQ would believe that Epstein killed himself, if the following took place –

Media day and night asking questions about him from 360 degree of inquiries

1 why the surveillance video were not functioning despite the serious nature of the charges against a man who could rat out a lot in court against powerful people
2 why the coroner initially thought that Epstein was murdered
3 how many guards and how many fell asleep?
4 who and why allowed the spin story around Epstein brilliance and high IQ build up over the years ?
5 how does Epstein come to get linked to non -Jews people who have absolute loyalty to Israel
6 how did Epstein get involved with Jewish leaders ?
7 How did Epstein continue to enjoy seat on Harvard and enjoy social celebrity status after plea deal ?
8 Why did Wexner allow this man so much control over his asset ?
9 Media felt if terrorism were unique Muslim thing , why media is not alluding to the fact that pedophilia is a unique Jewish thing ?
10 why the angle of Israel being sex slavery capital and Epstein being sex slave pimp not being connected ?
11 how death in prison in foreign unfriendly countries often become causus celebre by US media , politicians , NGO and US treasury – why not this death ?

Kevin Barrett , says: • Website September 5, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT
@Fozzy Bear Not true. A respectable civil rights attorney, Lisa Bloom, handled Katie Johnson’s case. Shortly before the scheduled press conference at which Johnson was to appear publicly, she received multiple death threats: “Bloom said that her firm’s website was hacked, that Anonymous had claimed responsibility, and that death threats and a bomb threat came in afterwards.” https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/3/13501364/trump-rape-13-year-old-lawsuit-katie-johnson-allegation Johnson folded because she was terrified (and perhaps paid off).
DaveE , says: September 5, 2019 at 12:51 pm GMT
@Twodees Partain In “Body of Secrets” by James Bamford, a newspaper article from the Truman era is referenced where the OSS, predecessor of the CIA, is described as “a converted vault in Washington used as an office space for 5 or 6 Jews working to protect our national secrets” (or similar wording).

Going from memory and gave away my copy of the book….. sorry for the vague reference, but you can look it up.

DanFromCT , says: September 5, 2019 at 1:24 pm GMT
@nsa An atheist like “nsa” must concede Dosteovsky’s point from his novel The Possessed that even for the atheist the concept of God represents the collective consciousness, highest principles, and ontological aspirations of believers. Given this sense, “nsa’s” real animus is more than likely an atavistic hatred of Christians and Muslims, probably for just being alive in his paranoid mind. What imbecility when this clown cites a multiverse of universes that has no proof and less plausibility for its existence than the tooth fairy. I’d also bet “nsa” speaks algebra, too, like the recently deceased mathematical genius, Jeffrey Epstein.

What’s Mr. Wexner’s, Mega’s, and Mossad/CIA’s involvement? That’s the real question trolls like “nsa” and the Dems and Republicans alike are crapping in their pants we’ll find out. When evidence starts to cascade out of their ability to spin or suppress it, things will get interesting. Meanwhile, Fox News is still doing its best from what I can tell to run cover for 911, now extended to the suspiciously related perps in the Epstein affair.

Patrikios Stetsonis , says: September 5, 2019 at 1:24 pm GMT
“The Epstein affair (like 9/11) illustrates two critically important truths about Western secularism: there is no truth, and there are no limits. A society that no longer believes in God no longer believes in truth…..”

You said it ALL Kevin.

... ... ...

Mulegino1 , says: September 5, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT

“While the Zionists try to make the rest of the World believe that the national consciousness of the Jew finds its satisfaction in the creation of a Palestinian state, the Jews again slyly dupe the dumb Goyim. It doesn’t even enter their heads to build up a Jewish state in Palestine for the purpose of living there; all they want is a central organisation for their international world swindler, endowed with its own sovereign rights and removed from the intervention of other states: a haven for convicted scoundrels and a university for budding crooks.
It is a sign of their rising confidence and sense of security that at a time when one section is still playing the German, French-man, or Englishman, the other with open effrontery comes out as the Jewish race.”

More prophetic words were ever spoken or written by any of the statesmen of the Twentieth Century than these, even though they themselves were insufficient to describe the horrors that the Zionist state would bring upon the world if left unchecked- and its power and influence have been unchecked since the 1960’s. The last time that the world stood up to Zionist power in an appreciable way was during the Suez Crisis.

renfro , says: September 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

Not the full story? Convince us.

Connect the dots….

DOT.. Port loses claim for asbestos removal | Business Insurance
https://www.businessinsurance.com › article › ISSUE01 › port-loses-claim-…
May 13, 2001 – The suit sought claim of the Port Authority’s huge cost of removing asbestos from hundreds of properties ranging from the enormous World Trade Center complex

DOT…Silverstein knew when he leased WTC 7 that he would have to pay out of pocket for asbestos abatement removal in WTC 7, multiple millions, which is why the Port Authority leased it so cheaply.

DOT…In May, 2000, a year before, signing the lease, he already had the design drawn for a new WTC building. Silverstein had no plans to remove the asbestos as he already had plans to replace it.

DOT… Larry Silverstein signs the lease just six weeks before the WTC’s twin towers were brought to the ground by terrorists in the September 11, 2001, attacks.

DOT….After leasing the complex, Silverstein negotiated with 24 insurance companies for a maximum coverage of $3.55 billion per catastrophic occurrence. However, the agreements had not been finalized before 9/11.

DOT…..Silverstein tries to sue insurers for double the payout claiming 2 catastrophic occurrences because of 2 planes involved.

DOT….Silver loses that lawsuit but sues the air lines and settles for almost another billion, $ 750,000,000.

Just another Jew insurance fire folks. He planned on tearing down WTC 7 to begin with. The only missing DOT is who he hired to set the demolition explosives in WTC 7. Were they imported from our ME ally?

[Sep 06, 2019] US State Dept Program Offers $15 Million to Iran Revolutionary Guards

While people do not agree of detail the main theme is common: government stories explaining both 9/11 and Epstein death are not credible. And that government tried to create an "artificial reality" to hide real events and real culprits.
Absence of credible information create fertile ground for creation of myths and rumors, sometimes absurd. But that'a well known sociaological phenomenon studies by late Tamotsu Shibutani in the context of WWII rumors ( Improvised News: A Sociological Study of Rumor (1966)).
Now we can interpret famous quote of William Casey "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false as an admission of the fact that the government can create artificial reality" much like in film Matrix and due to thick smoke of propaganda people are simply unable to discern the truth.
Sep 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro , says: September 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm GMT

A foreign policy of "maximum pressure" and swagger: tawdry bribes, heavy-handed threats, and complete failure ..now what group does this remind me of?

US State Dept Program Offers $15 Million to Iran Revolutionary Guards September 4, 2019

The US State Department has unveiled a new $15 million "reward program" for anyone who provides information on the financial inner workings of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, in an attempt to further disrupt them.
The program comes after the US declared the Revolutionary Guards "terrorists," but remains very unusual, in as much as it targets an agency of a national government instead of just some random militant group.

The Financial Times reports on the farce that is our government's Iran policy:

Four days before the US imposed sanctions on an Iranian tanker suspected of shipping oil to Syria, the vessel's Indian captain received an unusual email from the top Iran official at the Department of State.
"This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran," Mr Hook wrote to Akhilesh Kumar on August 26, according to several emails seen by the Financial Times. "I am writing with good news."
The "good news" was that the Trump administration was offering Mr Kumar several million dollars to pilot the ship -- until recently known as the Grace 1 -- to a country that would impound the vessel on behalf of the US. To make sure Mr Kumar did not mistake the email for a scam, it included an official state department phone number.
The administration's Iran obsession has reached a point where they are now trying to bribe people to act as pirates on their behalf. When the U.S. was blocked by a court in Gibraltar from taking the ship, they sought to buy the loyalty of the captain in order to steal it. Failing that, they resorted to their favorite tool of sanctions to punish the captain and his crew for ignoring their illegitimate demand. The captain didn't respond to the first message, so Hook persisted with his embarrassing scheme:
"With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age," Mr Hook wrote in a second email to Mr Kumar that also included a warning. "If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you."
Many people have already mocked Hook's message for its resemblance to a Nigerian prince e-mail scam, and I might add that he comes across here sounding like a B-movie gangster. Hook's contact was not an isolated incident, but part of a series of e-mails and texts that he has sent to various ships' captains in a vain effort to intimidate them into falling in line with the administration's economic war. This is what comes of a foreign policy of "maximum pressure" and swagger: tawdry bribes, heavy-handed threats, and complete failure.

independent109 , says: September 5, 2019 at 2:53 pm GMT
The Committee of 300 is an evolution of the British East Indies Company Council of 300. The list personally last seen included many Windsors (Prince Andrew), Rothchilds, other Royals. Some of the Americans included some now dead and other still living: George HW Bush, Bill Clinton Tom Steyer, Al Gore, John Kerry, Netanyahu, lots of bankers, Woolsey (ex CIA), journalists like Michael Bloomberg, Paul Krugman, activists and politians like Tony Blair, now dead Zbigniew Brzezinski, CEOs Charles and Edgar Bronfman. The list is long and out of date but these people control much of what goes on whether good or bad. Their hands are everywhere doing good and maybe some of this bad stuff.
Irish Savant , says: Website September 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm GMT
Given the facts a 10 year-old child could see that the official 911 explanation was totally flawed. Just three of these facts are sufficient, the 'dancing Israelis', Silverstein admitting to the 'pull (demolish) it' order and the collapse of steel-framed WTC 7 in freefall despite not being hit. It is not hyperbole to say that America is a failed state given that the known perpetrators were never even charged. ZOG indeed.
Junior , says: September 5, 2019 at 4:08 pm GMT
@Kevin Barrett

A respectable civil rights attorney, Lisa Bloom, handled Katie Johnson's case.

"Respectable"?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
You do realize that Lisa Bloom is the daughter of Glora Allred and defender of Harvey Weinstein do you not?

You people are so desperate to try to link Trump to Epstein it's pathetic.

I suggest you go back to your gatekeeping nonsense of trying to discredit the 9/11 Truth Movement by spreading misinformation about nukes in the towers.

Tony Hall , says: September 5, 2019 at 4:20 pm GMT
This article stakes out much important ground of information and interpretation Kevin Barrett. The essay resonates as a historic statement of some of our current predicaments. What about the comparisons that might be made concerning the mysteries attending the disappearing corpses of Osama bin Laden and Jeffrey Epstein. And according to Christopher Ketcham, the release of the High Fivin' Urban Movers back to Israel was partially negotiated by Alan Dershowitz who played a big role in defending Epstein over a long period.
Tony Hall , says: September 5, 2019 at 4:29 pm GMT
@anon The ultimate "nutjob quackery" of 9/11 is Phillip Zelikow's 9/11 Commission Report, a document that stands as a testimony and marker signifying the USA's descent into a mad hatter's imperium of lies. legend and illusion.
restless94110 , says: September 5, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
Has someone (hint: the author of this article) got a real bad case of TDS? Yes, someone has.

Does someone think the pedophilia means consensual relations with 17 year olds? Yes, someone does.

Ronald Thomas West , says: Website September 5, 2019 at 4:58 pm GMT

It is getting harder and harder to satirize the decadence and depravity of the secular West, which insists on parodying itself with ever-increasing outlandishness. When the book on this once-mighty civilization is written, and the ink is dry, readers will be astounded by the limitless lies of the drunk-on-chutzpah psychopaths who ran it into the ground

You might try:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2019/07/29/gina-haspel-wild-indians/

'Believers' aren't exactly innocent in the criminal history of the disintegrating Western culture

follyofwar , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:02 pm GMT
@Kevin Barrett Adding to Junior's comment, I quit reading after you wrote of "credible accusations" of Mr. Trump being involved "in the brutal rape of a 13 year old." And feminist shakedown artist Lisa Bloom, daughter of the even more infamous feminist shakedown artist G. Allred, is your "credible source?" Bloom has about as much credibility as the sicko democrat women who tried to derail Judge Kavanaugh.

Regardless of how much one might hate Trump (and I'm no Trump supporter) levelling such unfounded accusations is journalistic malfeasance. Did we elect the Devil Incarnate? Mr. Barrett, I'm done reading you.

9/11 Inside job , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:09 pm GMT
The special relationship between the CIA and the Mossad was driven partly by the efforts of CIA officer James Angleton . Philip Weiss in his article in Mondoweiss entitled "The goy and the golem: James Angleton and the rise of Israel." states that Angleton's " greatest service to Israel was his willingness no to say a word about the apparent diversion of highly enriched plutonium from a plant in Western Pennsylvania to Israel's nascent nuclear program " The same program which JFK tried to curtail which efforts may have led to his assassination .

... ... ...

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 5, 2019 at 5:22 pm GMT

a confessed participant in the controlled demolition of Building 7,

For the love of God, this is stupid. Larry Silverstein was talking about the Fire Commander , for fuck's sake. The Fire Commander made the decision to pull the firefighters out of the building because they could not put the fire out and were in unnecessary danger. That's all he meant. There is not one word in this that has anything to do with a controlled demolition whatsoever.

In order to believe what the 9/11 Douchers would have you believe about this comment, you would have to believe that 1) Building 7 was wired for demolition beforehand; 2) That the NYC Fire Commander somehow knew about this; 3) That the NYC Fire Commander was perfectly okay with allowing his men to spend hours inside a burning building in which he knew that explosive charges had already been rigged to blow; 4) That the NYC Fire Commander had the authority to decide when the charges should be blown and had access to the master switch that would blow them all; 5) That after 7 hours of attempting to fight the fire, the NYC Fire Commander (who by now can be nothing but a full-fledged member of the conspiracy) decides, after briefly consulting with Larry Silverstein, "Oh, the hell with this! Let's just blow up the building now!", to which Larry Silverstein agrees; 6) That after spending 7 hours in a burning building that had fires burning randomly throughout it and that had been struck by multiple pieces of debris, all of the explosive charges and their detonators were still in perfect working order; 7) That none of the firefighters extensively searching the building for survivors happened to notice any of the pre-placed explosive charges nor thought it necessary to report about such; 8) That the NYC Fire Commander then proceeds to "pull" the building after presumably giving some other order for the men to evacuate, which order was never recorded because the "pull" order must have meant "blow up the building"; 9) And that Larry Silverstein, after being part of a massive conspiracy involving insurance fraud, murder, and arson which, if exposed, would send him to a federal death sentence, just decides to casually mention all of this in a television interview for all and sundry to see, but it is only the 9/11 Douchers who pick up on the significance of it.

Does any of this sound remotely believable? Did anyone subscribing to this nonsense stop to think about the context in which this conversation took place? Do any of you 9/11 Douchers even care that you're being completely ridiculous and grasping at nonexistent straws in your vain attempt to establish some sort of case for controlled demolition? Do you even care that everybody can see that what you are saying makes no sense at all? It is perfectly obvious that Larry Silverstein is NOT talking about controlled demolition here. To believe otherwise would require you to literally be insane, to not understand the plain meaning of words and to have no awareness of conversational contexts; yet not only have you swallowed all of this, you have been beating the drum of this insanity for nearly 20 years.

There is no point in reasoning with an insane person. There is, however, the possibility that you don't really believe what you are saying and are just flogging a hobbyhorse, in which case it is you who are engaging in mendacious journalism and trafficking in lies. In either case, you need to be silenced. Neither lies nor insanity have any "right" to be uttered in the public square. You 9/11 Douchers are really the ones doing everything you accuse the mainstream media of doing, and worse. You have become a danger to the public weal and must be stopped. Your conspiratorial nonsense just isn't cute anymore.

Major1 , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm GMT
Let's recap:

The official stories about the Kennedy assassination, Epstein's death, and 9/11 are clearly suspect. No one with the capacity for critical thinking can seriously deny this. Which elements of these stories are true and which are false will never be resolved.

Because:
The mainstream media including Fox News have abdicated their mission as fact finders and truth tellers. They peddle entertainment and sell ad space. Rachel Maddow foaming at the mouth about Trump's pee tape and Hannity fulminating about FISA abuse are the same product, simply aimed at different demographics.

Nothing in the above two paragraphs is even remotely novel. It's all been said before twenty bazillion times.

... ... ...

Kevin Barrett , says: Website September 5, 2019 at 5:39 pm GMT
Being a feminist or Democrat (or nonfeminist or Republican) is irrelevant to a person's credibility. It's possible that Lisa Bloom was part of a conspiracy to invent a fictitious Katy Johnson story, in which case Bloom is guilty of criminal fraud as well as civil libel. That would be quite a risk for her to take, to say the least. It's also possible that she was somehow duped by others, in which case they would be running the civil and criminal liabilities, while she would just get disbarred for negligence.

The same is true of Johnson's attorney Thomas Meagher.

It is also possible that Johnson's story is at least roughly accurate. There is supporting testimony from another Epstein victim.

If you set aside your prejudices about Democrats-Republicans, feminists-antifeminists, Trump-Hillary, etc., and just look at what's been reported, you'll agree with me that the allegations are credible (but of course unproven). If you suffer emotional blocks against thinking such things about a President, as so many did when similar things were reported about Bill Clinton, I sympathize but also urge you to get psychiatric treatment so you can learn to face unpleasant facts and then get to work cleaning up this country.

CanSpeccy , says: Website September 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm GMT
@utu

The release of Prof. J. Leroy Hulsey report on the finite element analysis of the WTC7 collapse should be a big news.

But won't be.

Democracy works this way. The ruling elite, via the media, Hollywood, etc., tell the people what to think, the people then vote according to the way they think.

Ensuring such top-down control was a primary objective of the bankers, j0urnalists -- including doyen of American journalism, Walter Lippman, and politicians who established the Council on Foreign Relations , America's ruling political establishment.

So the truth of 9/11 will never be known to the majority unless we have a public statement from George W. Bush acknowledging that he personally lit the fuse that set off the explosions that brought WTC 7 down at free-fall speed .

This is fortunate for the intrepid Dr. Hulsey* who would, presumably, otherwise have had to be dispatched by a sudden heart attack, traffic accident, weight-lifting accident suicide with a bullet to the back of the head. As it is, hardly anyone will ever know what he will say or what it means.

* Fortunate also for those who so rashly advocate for truth here and elsewhere on the yet to be fully controlled Internets.

Durruti , says: September 5, 2019 at 5:45 pm GMT
Kevin Barrett

Nicely done. Article will not be featured on front page NYT & discussed on TV.

There are many highlights in your article. This is one.

Epstein's career as a shameless, openly-operating Mossad sexual blackmailer -- like the in-your-face 9/11 coup -- also illustrates another core truth of Western secularism: If there is no God, there are no limits (in this case, to human depravity and what it can get away with). Or as Dostoevsky famously put it: "If God does not exist, everything is permitted."

Morality is officially out of style.

Durruti

anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: September 5, 2019 at 6:11 pm GMT
Please consult the following papers about the CIA/Mossad crimes against humanity and their pimps who pose as 'politicians' of the fake Western 'democracy' where Epstein was their agent serving their interest as a PIMP.

{from being the work of a single political party, intelligence agency or country, the power structure revealed by the network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control.}

https://www.mintpressnews.com/genesis-jeffrey-epstein-bill-clinton-relationship/261455/

[Government by Blackmail: Jeffrey Epstein, Trump's Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era]

https://www.mintpressnews.com/blackmail-jeffrey-epstein-trump-mentor-reagan-era/260760/

Mega Group, Maxwells and Mossad: The Spy Story at the Heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

https://www.mintpressnews.com/mega-group-maxwells-mossad-spy-story-jeffrey-epstein-scandal/261172/

[Sep 04, 2019] 737 MAX - Boeing Insults International Safety Regulators As New Problems Cause Longer Grounding

The 80286 Intel processors: The Intel 80286[3] (also marketed as the iAPX 286[4] and often called Intel 286) is a 16-bit microprocessor that was introduced on February 1, 1982. The 80286 was employed for the IBM PC/AT, introduced in 1984, and then widely used in most PC/AT compatible computers until the early 1990s.
Notable quotes:
"... The fate of Boeing's civil aircraft business hangs on the re-certification of the 737 MAX. The regulators convened an international meeting to get their questions answered and Boeing arrogantly showed up without having done its homework. The regulators saw that as an insult. Boeing was sent back to do what it was supposed to do in the first place: provide details and analysis that prove the safety of its planes. ..."
"... In recent weeks, Boeing and the FAA identified another potential flight-control computer risk requiring additional software changes and testing, according to two of the government and pilot officials. ..."
"... Any additional software changes will make the issue even more complicated. The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity. All the extras procedures Boeing now will add to them may well exceed the system's capabilities. ..."
"... The old architecture was possible because the plane could still be flown without any computer. It was expected that the pilots would detect a computer error and would be able to intervene. The FAA did not require a high design assurance level (DAL) for the system. The MCAS accidents showed that a software or hardware problem can now indeed crash a 737 MAX plane. That changes the level of scrutiny the system will have to undergo. ..."
"... Flight safety regulators know of these complexities. That is why they need to take a deep look into such systems. That Boeing's management was not prepared to answer their questions shows that the company has not learned from its failure. Its culture is still one of finance orientated arrogance. ..."
"... I also want to add that Boeing's focus on profit over safety is not restricted to the 737 Max but undoubtedly permeates the manufacture of spare parts for the rest of the their plane line and all else they make.....I have no intention of ever flying in another Boeing airplane, given the attitude shown by Boeing leadership. ..."
"... So again, Boeing mgmt. mirrors its Neoliberal government officials when it comes to arrogance and impudence. ..."
"... Arrogance? When the money keeps flowing in anyway, it comes naturally. ..."
"... In the neoliberal world order governments, regulators and the public are secondary to corporate profits. ..."
"... I am surprised that none of the coverage has mentioned the fact that, if China's CAAC does not sign off on the mods, it will cripple, if not doom the MAX. ..."
"... I am equally surprised that we continue to sabotage China's export leader, as the WSJ reports today: "China's Huawei Technologies Co. accused the U.S. of "using every tool at its disposal" to disrupt its business, including launching cyberattacks on its networks and instructing law enforcement to "menace" its employees. ..."
"... Boeing is backstopped by the Murkan MIC, which is to say the US taxpayer. ..."
"... Military Industrial Complex welfare programs, including wars in Syria and Yemen, are slowly winding down. We are about to get a massive bill from the financiers who already own everything in this sector, because what they have left now is completely unsustainable, with or without a Third World War. ..."
"... In my mind, the fact that Boeing transferred its head office from Seattle (where the main manufacturing and presumable the main design and engineering functions are based) to Chicago (centre of the neoliberal economic universe with the University of Chicago being its central shrine of worship, not to mention supply of future managers and administrators) in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance. ..."
"... For many amerikans, a good "offensive" is far preferable than a good defense even if that only involves an apology. Remember what ALL US presidents say.. We will never apologize.. ..."
"... Actually can you show me a single place in the US where ethics are considered a bastion of governorship? ..."
"... You got to be daft or bribed to use intel cpu's in embedded systems. Going from a motorolla cpu, the intel chips were dinosaurs in every way. ..."
"... Initially I thought it was just the new over-sized engines they retro-fitted. A situation that would surely have been easier to get around by just going back to the original engines -- any inefficiencies being less $costly than the time the planes have been grounded. But this post makes the whole rabbit warren 10 miles deeper. ..."
"... That is because the price is propped up by $9 billion share buyback per year . Share buyback is an effective scheme to airlift all the cash out of a company towards the major shareholders. I mean, who wants to develop reliable airplanes if you can funnel the cash into your pockets? ..."
"... If Boeing had invested some of this money that it blew on share buybacks to design a new modern plane from ground up to replace the ancient 737 airframe, these tragedies could have been prevented, and Boeing wouldn't have this nightmare on its hands. But the corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers, rather than real engineers, had the final word. ..."
"... Markets don't care about any of this. They don't care about real engineers either. They love corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers. They want share buybacks, and if something bad happens, they'll overlook the $5 billion to pay for the fallout because it's just a "one-time item." ..."
"... Overall, Boeing buy-backs exceeded 40 billion dollars, one could guess that half or quarter of that would suffice to build a plane that logically combines the latest technologies. E.g. the entire frame design to fit together with engines, processors proper for the information processing load, hydraulics for steering that satisfy force requirements in almost all circumstances etc. New technologies also fail because they are not completely understood, but when the overall design is logical with margins of safety, the faults can be eliminated. ..."
"... Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics. ..."
"... The problem is not new, and it is well understood. What computer modelling is is cheap, and easy to fudge, and that is why it is popular with people who care about money a lot. Much of what is called "AI" is very similar in its limitations, a complicated way to fudge up the results you want, or something close enough for casual examination. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

United Airline and American Airlines further prolonged the grounding of their Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. They now schedule the plane's return to the flight line in December. But it is likely that the grounding will continue well into the next year.

After Boeing's shabby design and lack of safety analysis of its Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) led to the death of 347 people, the grounding of the type and billions of losses, one would expect the company to show some decency and humility. Unfortunately Boeing behavior demonstrates none.

There is still little detailed information on how Boeing will fix MCAS. Nothing was said by Boeing about the manual trim system of the 737 MAX that does not work when it is needed . The unprotected rudder cables of the plane do not meet safety guidelines but were still certified. The planes flight control computers can be overwhelmed by bad data and a fix will be difficult to implement. Boeing continues to say nothing about these issues.

International flight safety regulators no longer trust the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which failed to uncover those problems when it originally certified the new type. The FAA was also the last regulator to ground the plane after two 737 MAX had crashed. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) asked Boeing to explain and correct five major issues it identified. Other regulators asked additional questions.

Boeing needs to regain the trust of the airlines, pilots and passengers to be able to again sell those planes. Only full and detailed information can achieve that. But the company does not provide any.

As Boeing sells some 80% of its airplanes abroad it needs the good will of the international regulators to get the 737 MAX back into the air. This makes the arrogance it displayed in a meeting with those regulators inexplicable:

Friction between Boeing Co. and international air-safety authorities threatens a new delay in bringing the grounded 737 MAX fleet back into service, according to government and pilot union officials briefed on the matter.

The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers.

The fate of Boeing's civil aircraft business hangs on the re-certification of the 737 MAX. The regulators convened an international meeting to get their questions answered and Boeing arrogantly showed up without having done its homework. The regulators saw that as an insult. Boeing was sent back to do what it was supposed to do in the first place: provide details and analysis that prove the safety of its planes.

What did the Boeing managers think those regulatory agencies are? Hapless lapdogs like the FAA managers`who signed off on Boeing 'features' even after their engineers told them that these were not safe?

Buried in the Wall Street Journal piece quoted above is another little shocker:

In recent weeks, Boeing and the FAA identified another potential flight-control computer risk requiring additional software changes and testing, according to two of the government and pilot officials.

The new issue must be going beyond the flight control computer (FCC) issues the FAA identified in June .

Boeing's original plan to fix the uncontrolled activation of MCAS was to have both FCCs active at the same time and to switch MCAS off when the two computers disagree. That was already a huge change in the general architecture which so far consisted of one active and one passive FCC system that could be switched over when a failure occurred.

Any additional software changes will make the issue even more complicated. The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity. All the extras procedures Boeing now will add to them may well exceed the system's capabilities.

Changing software in a delicate environment like a flight control computer is extremely difficult. There will always be surprising side effects or regressions where already corrected errors unexpectedly reappear.

The old architecture was possible because the plane could still be flown without any computer. It was expected that the pilots would detect a computer error and would be able to intervene. The FAA did not require a high design assurance level (DAL) for the system. The MCAS accidents showed that a software or hardware problem can now indeed crash a 737 MAX plane. That changes the level of scrutiny the system will have to undergo.

All procedures and functions of the software will have to be tested in all thinkable combinations to ensure that they will not block or otherwise influence each other. This will take months and there is a high chance that new issues will appear during these tests. They will require more software changes and more testing.

Flight safety regulators know of these complexities. That is why they need to take a deep look into such systems. That Boeing's management was not prepared to answer their questions shows that the company has not learned from its failure. Its culture is still one of finance orientated arrogance.

Building safe airplanes requires engineers who know that they may make mistakes and who have the humility to allow others to check and correct their work. It requires open communication about such issues. Boeing's say-nothing strategy will prolong the grounding of its planes. It will increases the damage to Boeing's financial situation and reputation.

--- Previous Moon of Alabama posts on Boeing 737 MAX issues:

Posted by b on September 3, 2019 at 18:05 UTC | Permalink


Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 3 2019 18:15 utc | 1

"The 80286 Intel processors the FCC software is running on is limited in its capacity." You must be joking, right? If this is the case, the problem is unfixable: you can't find two competent software engineers who can program these dinosaur 16-bit processors.
b , Sep 3 2019 18:22 utc | 2
You must be joking, right? If this is the case, the problem is unfixable: you can't find two competent software engineers who can program these dinosaur 16-bit processors.

One of the two is writing this.

Half-joking aside. The 737 MAX FCC runs on 80286 processors. There are ten thousands of programmers available who can program them though not all are qualified to write real-time systems. That resource is not a problem. The processors inherent limits are one.

Meshpal , Sep 3 2019 18:24 utc | 3
Thanks b for the fine 737 max update. Others news sources seem to have dropped coverage. It is a very big deal that this grounding has lasted this long. Things are going to get real bad for Boeing if this bird does not get back in the air soon. In any case their credibility is tarnished if not down right trashed.
BraveNewWorld , Sep 3 2019 18:35 utc | 4
@1 Choderlos de Laclos

What ever software language these are programmed in (my guess is C) the compilers still exist for it and do the translation from the human readable code to the machine code for you. Of course the code could be assembler but writing assembly code for a 286 is far easier than writing it for say an i9 becuase the CPU is so much simpler and has a far smaller set of instructions to work with.

Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 3 2019 18:52 utc | 5
@b: It was a hyperbole. I might be another one, but left them behind as fast as I could. The last time I had to deal with it was an embedded system in 1998-ish. But I am also retiring, and so are thousands of others. The problems with support of a legacy system are a legend.
psychohistorian , Sep 3 2019 18:56 utc | 6
Thanks for the demise of Boeing update b

I commented when you first started writing about this that it would take Boeing down and still believe that to be true. To the extent that Boeing is stonewalling the international safety regulators says to me that upper management and big stock holders are being given time to minimize their exposure before the axe falls.

I also want to add that Boeing's focus on profit over safety is not restricted to the 737 Max but undoubtedly permeates the manufacture of spare parts for the rest of the their plane line and all else they make.....I have no intention of ever flying in another Boeing airplane, given the attitude shown by Boeing leadership.

This is how private financialization works in the Western world. Their bottom line is profit, not service to the flying public. It is in line with the recent public statement by the CEO's from the Business Roundtable that said that they were going to focus more on customer satisfaction over profit but their actions continue to say profit is their primary motive.

The God of Mammon private finance religion can not end soon enough for humanity's sake. It is not like we all have to become China but their core public finance example is well worth following.

karlof1 , Sep 3 2019 19:13 utc | 7
So again, Boeing mgmt. mirrors its Neoliberal government officials when it comes to arrogance and impudence. IMO, Boeing shareholders's hair ought to be on fire given their BoD's behavior and getting ready to litigate.

As b notes, Boeing's international credibility's hanging by a very thin thread. A year from now, Boeing could very well see its share price deeply dive into the Penny Stock category--its current P/E is 41.5:1 which is massively overpriced. Boeing Bombs might come to mean something vastly different from its initial meaning.

bjd , Sep 3 2019 19:22 utc | 8
Arrogance? When the money keeps flowing in anyway, it comes naturally.
What did I just read , Sep 3 2019 19:49 utc | 10
Such seemingly archaic processors are the norm in aerospace. If the planes flight characteristics had been properly engineered from the start the processor wouldn't be an issue. You can't just spray perfume on a garbage pile and call it a rose.
VietnamVet , Sep 3 2019 20:31 utc | 12
In the neoliberal world order governments, regulators and the public are secondary to corporate profits. This is the same belief system that is suspending the British Parliament to guarantee the chaos of a no deal Brexit. The irony is that globalist, Joe Biden's restart the Cold War and nationalist Donald Trump's Trade Wars both assure that foreign regulators will closely scrutinize the safety of the 737 Max. Even if ignored by corporate media and cleared by the FAA to fly in the USA, Boeing and Wall Street's Dow Jones average are cooked gooses with only 20% of the market. Taking the risk of flying the 737 Max on their family vacation or to their next business trip might even get the credentialed class to realize that their subservient service to corrupt Plutocrats is deadly in the long term.
jared , Sep 3 2019 20:55 utc | 14
It doesn't get any TBTF'er than Boing. Bail-out is only phone-call away. With down-turn looming, the line is forming.
Piotr Berman , Sep 3 2019 21:11 utc | 15
"The latest complication in the long-running saga, these officials said, stems from a Boeing BA, -2.66% briefing in August that was cut short by regulators from the U.S., Europe, Brazil and elsewhere, who complained that the plane maker had failed to provide technical details and answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers."

It seems to me that Boeing had no intention to insult anybody, but it has an impossible task. After decades of applying duct tape and baling wire with much success, they finally designed an unfixable plane, and they can either abandon this line of business (narrow bodied airliners) or start working on a new design grounded in 21st century technologies.

Ken Murray , Sep 3 2019 21:12 utc | 16
Boeing's military sales are so much more significant and important to them, they are just ignoring/down-playing their commercial problem with the 737 MAX. Follow the real money.
Arata , Sep 3 2019 21:57 utc | 17
That is unblievable FLight Control comptuer is based on 80286! A control system needs Real Time operation, at least some pre-emptive task operation, in terms of milisecond or microsecond. What ever way you program 80286 you can not achieve RT operation on 80286. I do not think that is the case. My be 80286 is doing some pripherial work, other than control.
Bemildred , Sep 3 2019 22:11 utc | 18
It is quite likely (IMHO) that they are no longer able to provide the requested information, but of course they cannot say that.

I once wrote a keyboard driver for an 80286, part of an editor, in assembler, on my first PC type computer, I still have it around here somewhere I think, the keyboard driver, but I would be rusty like the Titanic when it comes to writing code. I wrote some things in DEC assembler too, on VAXen.

Peter AU 1 , Sep 3 2019 22:14 utc | 19
Arata 16

The spoiler system is fly by wire.

Bemildred , Sep 3 2019 22:17 utc | 20
arata @16: 80286 does interrupts just fine, but you have to grok asynchronous operation, and most coders don't really, I see that every day in Linux and my browser. I wish I could get that box back, it had DOS, you could program on the bare wires, but God it was slow.
Tod , Sep 3 2019 22:28 utc | 21
Boeing will just need to press the TURBO button on the 286 processor. Problem solved.
karlof1 , Sep 3 2019 22:43 utc | 23
Ken Murray @15--

Boeing recently lost a $6+Billion weapons contract thanks to its similar Q&A in that realm of its business. Its annual earnings are due out in October. Plan to short-sell soon!

Godfree Roberts , Sep 3 2019 22:56 utc | 24
I am surprised that none of the coverage has mentioned the fact that, if China's CAAC does not sign off on the mods, it will cripple, if not doom the MAX.

I am equally surprised that we continue to sabotage China's export leader, as the WSJ reports today: "China's Huawei Technologies Co. accused the U.S. of "using every tool at its disposal" to disrupt its business, including launching cyberattacks on its networks and instructing law enforcement to "menace" its employees.

The telecommunications giant also said law enforcement in the U.S. have searched, detained and arrested Huawei employees and its business partners, and have sent FBI agents to the homes of its workers to pressure them to collect information on behalf of the U.S."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/huawei-accuses-the-u-s-of-cyberattacks-threatening-its-employees-11567500484?mod=hp_lead_pos2

Arioch , Sep 3 2019 23:18 utc | 25
I wonder how much blind trust in Boeing is intertwined into the fabric of civic aviation all around the world.

I mean something like this: Boeing publishes some research into failure statistics, solid materials aging or something. One that is really hard and expensive to proceed with. Everything take the results for granted without trying to independently reproduce and verify, because The Boeing!

Some later "derived" researches being made, upon the foundation of some prior works *including* that old Boeing research. Then FAA and similar company institutions around the world make some official regulations and guidelines deriving from the research which was in part derived form original Boeing work. Then insurance companies calculate their tarifs and rate plans, basing their estimation upon those "government standards", and when governments determine taxation levels they use that data too. Then airline companies and airliner leasing companies make their business plans, take huge loans in the banks (and banks do make their own plans expecting those loans to finally be paid back), and so on and so forth, building the cards-deck house, layer after layer.

And among the very many of the cornerstones - there would be dust covered and god-forgotten research made by Boeing 10 or maybe 20 years ago when no one even in drunk delirium could ever imagine questioning Boeing's verdicts upon engineering and scientific matters.

Now, the longevity of that trust is slowly unraveled. Like, the so universally trusted 737NG generation turned out to be inherently unsafe, and while only pilots knew it before, and even of them - only most curious and pedantic pilots, today it becomes public knowledge that 737NG are tainted.

Now, when did this corruption started? Wheat should be some deadline cast into the past, that since the day every other technical data coming from Boeing should be considered unreliable unless passing full-fledged independent verification? Should that day be somewhere in 2000-s? 1990-s? Maybe even 1970-s?

And ALL THE BODY of civic aviation industry knowledge that was accumulated since that date can NO MORE BE TRUSTED and should be almost scrapped and re-researched new! ALL THE tacit INPUT that can be traced back to Boeing and ALL THE DERIVED KNOWLEDGE now has to be verified in its entirety.

Miss Lacy , Sep 3 2019 23:19 utc | 26
Boeing is backstopped by the Murkan MIC, which is to say the US taxpayer. Until the lawsuits become too enormous. I wonder how much that will cost. And speaking of rigged markets - why do ya suppose that Trumpilator et al have been so keen to make huge sales to the Saudis, etc. etc. ? Ya don't suppose they had an inkling of trouble in the wind do ya? Speaking of insiders, how many million billions do ya suppose is being made in the Wall Street "trade war" roller coaster by peeps, munchkins not muppets, who have access to the Tweeter-in-Chief?
C I eh? , Sep 3 2019 23:25 utc | 27
@6 psychohistorian
I commented when you first started writing about this that it would take Boeing down and still believe that to be true. To the extent that Boeing is stonewalling the international safety regulators says to me that upper management and big stock holders are being given time to minimize their exposure before the axe falls.

Have you considered the costs of restructuring versus breaking apart Boeing and selling it into little pieces; to the owners specifically?

The MIC is restructuring itself - by first creating the political conditions to make the transformation highly profitable. It can only be made highly profitable by forcing the public to pay the associated costs of Rape and Pillage Incorporated.

Military Industrial Complex welfare programs, including wars in Syria and Yemen, are slowly winding down. We are about to get a massive bill from the financiers who already own everything in this sector, because what they have left now is completely unsustainable, with or without a Third World War.

It is fine that you won't fly Boeing but that is not the point. You may not ever fly again since air transit is subsidized at every level and the US dollar will no longer be available to fund the world's air travel infrastructure.

You will instead be paying for the replacement of Boeing and seeing what google is planning it may not be for the renewal of the airline business but rather for dedicated ground transportation, self driving cars and perhaps 'aerospace' defense forces, thank you Russia for setting the trend.

Lochearn , Sep 3 2019 23:45 utc | 30
As readers may remember I made a case study of Boeing for a fairly recent PHD. The examiners insisted that this case study be taken out because it was "speculative." I had forecast serious problems with the 787 and the 737 MAX back in 2012. I still believe the 787 is seriously flawed and will go the way of the MAX. I came to admire this once brilliant company whose work culminated in the superb 777.

America really did make some excellent products in the 20th century - with the exception of cars. Big money piled into GM from the early 1920s, especially the ultra greedy, quasi fascist Du Pont brothers, with the result that GM failed to innovate. It produced beautiful cars but technically they were almost identical to previous models.

The only real innovation over 40 years was automatic transmission. Does this sound reminiscent of the 737 MAX? What glued together GM for more than thirty years was the brilliance of CEO Alfred Sloan who managed to keep the Du Ponts (and J P Morgan) more or less happy while delegating total responsibility for production to divisional managers responsible for the different GM brands. When Sloan went the company started falling apart and the memoirs of bad boy John DeLorean testify to the complete disfunctionality of senior management.

At Ford the situation was perhaps even worse in the 1960s and 1970s. Management was at war with the workers, faulty transmissions were knowingly installed. All this is documented in an excellent book by ex-Ford supervisor Robert Dewar in his book "A Savage Factory."

dus7 , Sep 3 2019 23:53 utc | 32
Well, the first thing that came to mind upon reading about Boeing's apparent arrogance overseas - silly, I know - was that Boeing may be counting on some weird Trump sanctions for anyone not cooperating with the big important USian corporation! The U.S. has influence on European and many other countries, but it can only be stretched so far, and I would guess messing with Euro/internation airline regulators, especially in view of the very real fatal accidents with the 737MAX, would be too far.
david , Sep 4 2019 0:09 utc | 34
Please read the following article to get further info about how the 5 big Funds that hold 67% of Boeing stocks are working hard with the big banks to keep the stock high. Meanwhile Boeing is also trying its best to blackmail US taxpayers through Pentagon, for example, by pretending to walk away from a competitive bidding contract because it wants the Air Force to provide better cost formula.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/despite-devastating-737-crashes-boeing-stocks-fly-high/

So basically, Boeing is being kept afloat by US taxpayers because it is "too big to fail" and an important component of Dow. Please tell. Who is the biggest suckers here?

chu teh , Sep 4 2019 0:13 utc | 36
re Piotr Berman | Sep 3 2019 21:11 utc [I have a tiny bit of standing in this matter based on experience with an amazingly similar situation that has not heretofore been mentioned. More at end. Thus I offer my opinion.] Indeed, an impossible task to design a workable answer and still maintain the fiction that 737MAX is a hi-profit-margin upgrade requiring minimal training of already-trained 737-series pilots , either male or female. Turning-off autopilot to bypass runaway stabilizer necessitates : [1]

the earlier 737-series "rollercoaster" procedure to overcome too-high aerodynamic forces must be taught and demonstrated as a memory item to all pilots.

The procedure was designed for early Model 737-series, not the 737MAX which has uniquely different center-of-gravity and pitch-up problem requiring MCAS to auto-correct, especially on take-off. [2] but the "rollercoaster" procedure does not work at all altitudes.

It causes aircraft to lose some altitude and, therefore, requires at least [about] 7,000-feet above-ground clearance to avoid ground contact. [This altitude loss consumed by the procedure is based on alleged reports of simulator demonstrations. There seems to be no known agreement on the actual amount of loss]. [3] The physical requirements to perform the "rollercoaster" procedure were established at a time when female pilots were rare.

Any 737MAX pilots, male or female, will have to pass new physical requirements demonstrating actual conditions on newly-designed flight simulators that mimic the higher load requirements of the 737MAX . Such new standards will also have to compensate for left vs right-handed pilots because the manual-trim wheel is located between the .pilot/copilot seats.

================

Now where/when has a similar situation occurred? I.e., wherein a Federal regulator agency [FAA] allowed a vendor [Boeing] to claim that a modified product did not need full inspection/review to get agency certification of performance [airworthiness]. As you may know, 2 working, nuclear, power plants were forced to shut down and be decommissioned when, in 2011, 2 newly-installed, critical components in each plant were discovered to be defective, beyond repair and not replaceable. These power plants were each producing over 1,000 megawatts of power for over 20 years. In short, the failed components were modifications of the original, successful design that claimed to need only a low-level of Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight and approval. The mods were, in fact, new and untried and yet only tested by computer modeling and theoretical estimations based on experience with smaller/different designs.

<<< The NRC had not given full inspection/oversight to the new units because of manufacturer/operator claims that the changes were not significant. The NRC did not verify the veracity of those claims. >>>

All 4 components [2 required in each plant] were essentially heat-exchangers weighing 640 tons each, having 10,000 tubes carrying radioactive water surrounded by [transferring their heat to] a separate flow of "clean" water. The tubes were progressively damaged and began leaking. The new design failed. It can not be fixed. Thus, both plants of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station are now a complete loss and await dismantling [as the courts will decide who pays for the fiasco].

Jen , Sep 4 2019 0:20 utc | 37
In my mind, the fact that Boeing transferred its head office from Seattle (where the main manufacturing and presumable the main design and engineering functions are based) to Chicago (centre of the neoliberal economic universe with the University of Chicago being its central shrine of worship, not to mention supply of future managers and administrators) in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance.

Phew! I barely took a breath there! :-)

Lochearn , Sep 4 2019 0:22 utc | 38
@ 32 david

Good article. Boeing is, or used to be, America's biggest manufacturing export. So you are right it cannot be allowed to fail. Boeing is also a manufacturer of military aircraft. The fact that it is now in such a pitiful state is symptomatic of America's decline and decadence and its takeover by financial predators.

jo6pac , Sep 4 2019 0:39 utc | 40
Posted by: Jen | Sep 4 2019 0:20 utc | 35

Nailed, moved to city of dead but not for gotten uncle Milton Frieman friend of aynn rand.

vk , Sep 4 2019 0:53 utc | 41
I don't think Boeing was arrogant. I think the 737 is simply unfixable and that they know that -- hence they went to the meeting with empty hands.
C I eh? , Sep 4 2019 1:14 utc | 42
They did the same with Nortel, whose share value exceeded 300 billion not long before it was scrapped. Insiders took everything while pension funds were wiped out of existence.

It is so very helpful to understand everything you read is corporate/intel propaganda, and you are always being setup to pay for the next great scam. The murder of 300+ people by boeing was yet another tragedy our sadistic elites could not let go to waste.

Walter , Sep 4 2019 3:10 utc | 43

...And to the idea that Boeing is being kept afloat by financial agencies.

Willow , Sep 4 2019 3:16 utc | 44
Aljazerra has a series of excellent investigative documentaries they did on Boeing. Here is one from 2014. https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/boeing787/
Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:17 utc | 45
For many amerikans, a good "offensive" is far preferable than a good defense even if that only involves an apology. Remember what ALL US presidents say.. We will never apologize.. For the extermination of natives, for shooting down civilian airliners, for blowing up mosques full of worshipers, for bombing hospitals.. for reducing many countries to the stone age and using biological and chemical and nuclear weapons against the planet.. For supporting terrorists who plague the planet now. For basically being able to be unaccountable to anyone including themselves as a peculiar race of feces. So it is not the least surprising that amerikan corporations also follow the same bad manners as those they put into and pre-elect to rule them.
Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:26 utc | 46
People talk about Seattle as if its a bastion of integrity.. Its the same place Microsoft screwed up countless companies to become the largest OS maker? The same place where Amazon fashions how to screw its own employees to work longer and cheaper? There are enough examples that Seattle is not Toronto.. and will never be a bastion of ethics..

Actually can you show me a single place in the US where ethics are considered a bastion of governorship? Other than the libraries of content written about ethics, rarely do amerikans ever follow it. Yet expect others to do so.. This is getting so perverse that other cultures are now beginning to emulate it. Because its everywhere..

Remember Dallas? I watched people who saw in fascination how business can function like that. Well they cant in the long run but throw enough money and resources and it works wonders in the short term because it destroys the competition. But yea around 1998 when they got rid of the laws on making money by magic, most every thing has gone to hell.. because now there are no constraints but making money.. anywhich way.. Thats all that matters..

Igor Bundy , Sep 4 2019 3:54 utc | 47
You got to be daft or bribed to use intel cpu's in embedded systems. Going from a motorolla cpu, the intel chips were dinosaurs in every way. Requiring the cpu to be almost twice as fast to get the same thing done.. Also its interrupt control was not upto par. A simple example was how the commodore amiga could read from the disk and not stutter or slow down anything else you were doing. I never seen this fixed.. In fact going from 8Mhz to 4GHz seems to have fixed it by brute force. Yes the 8Mhz motorolla cpu worked wonders when you had music, video, IO all going at the same time. Its not just the CPU but the support chips which don't lock up the bus. Why would anyone use Intel? When there are so many specific embedded controllers designed for such specific things.
imo , Sep 4 2019 4:00 utc | 48
Initially I thought it was just the new over-sized engines they retro-fitted. A situation that would surely have been easier to get around by just going back to the original engines -- any inefficiencies being less $costly than the time the planes have been grounded. But this post makes the whole rabbit warren 10 miles deeper.

I do not travel much these days and find the cattle-class seating on these planes a major disincentive. Becoming aware of all these added technical issues I will now positively select for alternatives to 737 and bear the cost.

Joost , Sep 4 2019 4:25 utc | 50
I'm surprised Boeing stock still haven't taken nose dive

Posted by: Bob burger | Sep 3 2019 19:27 utc | 9

That is because the price is propped up by $9 billion share buyback per year . Share buyback is an effective scheme to airlift all the cash out of a company towards the major shareholders. I mean, who wants to develop reliable airplanes if you can funnel the cash into your pockets?

Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics.

Henkie , Sep 4 2019 7:04 utc | 53
Hi , I am new here in writing but not in reading.. About the 80286 , where is the coprocessor the 80287? How can the 80286 make IEEE math calculations? So how can it fly a controlled flight when it can not calculate its accuracy...... How is it possible that this system is certified? It should have at least a 80386 DX not SX!!!!
snake , Sep 4 2019 7:35 utc | 54
moved to Chicago in 1997 says much about the change in corporate culture and values from a culture that emphasised technical and design excellence, deliberate redundancies in essential functions (in case of emergencies or failures of core functions), consistently high standards and care for the people who adhered to these principles, to a predatory culture in which profits prevail over people and performance.

Jen @ 35 < ==

yes, the morally of the companies and their exclusive hold on a complicit or controlled government always defaults the government to support, enforce and encourage the principles of economic Zionism.

But it is more than just the corporate culture => the corporate fat cats 1. use the rule-making powers of the government to make law for them. Such laws create high valued assets from the pockets of the masses. The most well know of those corporate uses of government is involved with the intangible property laws (copyright, patent, and government franchise). The government generated copyright, franchise and Patent laws are monopolies. So when government subsidizes a successful outcome R&D project its findings are packaged up into a set of monopolies [copyrights, privatized government franchises which means instead of 50 companies or more competing for the next increment in technology, one gains the full advantage of that government research only one can use or abuse it. and the patented and copyrighted technology is used to extract untold billions, in small increments from the pockets of the public. 2. use of the judicial power of governments and their courts in both domestic and international settings, to police the use and to impose fake values in intangible property monopolies. Government-rule made privately owned monopoly rights (intangible property rights) generated from the pockets of the masses, do two things: they exclude, deny and prevent would be competition and their make value in a hidden revenue tax that passes to the privately held monopolist with each sale of a copyrighted, government franchised, or patented service or product. . Please note the one two nature of the "use of government law making powers to generate intangible private monopoly property rights"

Canthama , Sep 4 2019 10:37 utc | 56
There is no doubt Boeing has committed crimes on the 737MAX, its arrogance & greedy should be severely punished by the international commitment as an example to other global Corporations. It represents what is the worst of Corporate America that places profits in front of lives.
Christian J Chuba , Sep 4 2019 11:55 utc | 59
How the U.S. is keeping Russia out of the international market?

Iran and other sanctioned countries are a potential captive market and they have growth opportunities in what we sometimes call the non-aligned, emerging markets countries (Turkey, Africa, SE Asia, India, ...).

One thing I have learned is that the U.S. always games the system, we never play fair. So what did we do. Do their manufacturers use 1% U.S. made parts and they need that for international certification?

BM , Sep 4 2019 12:48 utc | 60
Ultimately all of the issues in the news these days are the same one and the same issue - as the US gets closer and closer to the brink of catastrophic collapse they get ever more desperate. As they get more and more desperate they descend into what comes most naturally to the US - throughout its entire history - frenzied violence, total absence of morality, war, murder, genocide, and everything else that the US is so well known for (by those who are not blinded by exceptionalist propaganda).

The Hong Kong violence is a perfect example - it is impossible that a self-respecting nation state could allow itself to be seen to degenerate into such idiotic degeneracy, and so grossly flaunt the most basic human decency. Ergo , the US is not a self-respecting nation state. It is a failed state.

I am certain the arrogance of Boeing reflects two things: (a) an assurance from the US government that the government will back them to the hilt, come what may, to make sure that the 737Max flies again; and (b) a threat that if Boeing fails to get the 737Max in the air despite that support, the entire top level management and board of directors will be jailed. Boeing know very well they cannot deliver. But just as the US government is desperate to avoid the inevitable collapse of the US, the Boeing top management are desperate to avoid jail. It is a charade.

It is time for international regulators to withdraw certification totally - after the problems are all fixed (I don't believe they ever will be), the plane needs complete new certification of every detail from the bottom up, at Boeing's expense, and with total openness from Boeing. The current Boeing management are not going to cooperate with that, therefore the international regulators need to demand a complete replacement of the management and board of directors as a condition for working with them.

Piotr Berman , Sep 4 2019 13:23 utc | 61
From ZeroHedge link:

If Boeing had invested some of this money that it blew on share buybacks to design a new modern plane from ground up to replace the ancient 737 airframe, these tragedies could have been prevented, and Boeing wouldn't have this nightmare on its hands. But the corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers, rather than real engineers, had the final word.

Markets don't care about any of this. They don't care about real engineers either. They love corporate cost-cutters and financial engineers. They want share buybacks, and if something bad happens, they'll overlook the $5 billion to pay for the fallout because it's just a "one-time item."

And now Boeing still has this plane, instead of a modern plane, and the history of this plane is now tainted, as is its brand, and by extension, that of Boeing. But markets blow that off too. Nothing matters.

Companies are getting away each with their own thing. There are companies that are losing a ton of money and are burning tons of cash, with no indications that they will ever make money. And market valuations are just ludicrous.

======

Thus Boeing issue is part of a much larger picture. Something systemic had to make "markets" less rational. And who is this "market"? In large part, fund managers wracking their brains how to create "decent return" while the cost of borrowing and returns on lending are super low. What remains are forms of real estate and stocks.

Overall, Boeing buy-backs exceeded 40 billion dollars, one could guess that half or quarter of that would suffice to build a plane that logically combines the latest technologies. E.g. the entire frame design to fit together with engines, processors proper for the information processing load, hydraulics for steering that satisfy force requirements in almost all circumstances etc. New technologies also fail because they are not completely understood, but when the overall design is logical with margins of safety, the faults can be eliminated.

Instead, 737 was slowly modified toward failure, eliminating safety margins one by one.

morongobill , Sep 4 2019 14:08 utc | 63

Regarding the 80286 and the 737, don't forget that the air traffic control system and the ICBM system uses old technology as well.

Seems our big systems have feet of old silicon.

Allan Bowman , Sep 4 2019 15:15 utc | 66
Boeing has apparently either never heard of, or ignores a procedure that is mandatory in satellite design and design reviews. This is FMEA or Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. This requires design engineers to document the impact of every potential failure and combination of failures thereby highlighting everthing from catastrophic effects to just annoyances. Clearly BOEING has done none of these and their troubles are a direct result. It can be assumed that their arrogant and incompetent management has not yet understood just how serious their behavior is to the future of the company.
fx , Sep 4 2019 16:08 utc | 69
Once the buyback ends the dive begins and just before it hits ground zero, they buy the company for pennies on the dollar, possibly with government bailout as a bonus. Then the company flies towards the next climb and subsequent dive. MCAS economics.

Posted by: Joost | Sep 4 2019 4:25 utc | 50

Well put!

Bemildred , Sep 4 2019 16:11 utc | 70
Computer modelling is what they are talking about in the cliche "Garbage in, garbage out".

The problem is not new, and it is well understood. What computer modelling is is cheap, and easy to fudge, and that is why it is popular with people who care about money a lot. Much of what is called "AI" is very similar in its limitations, a complicated way to fudge up the results you want, or something close enough for casual examination.

In particular cases where you have a well-defined and well-mathematized theory, then you can get some useful results with models. Like in Physics, Chemistry.

And they can be useful for "realistic" training situations, like aircraft simulators. The old story about wargame failures against Iran is another such situation. A lot of video games are big simulations in essence. But that is not reality, it's fake reality.

Trond , Sep 4 2019 17:01 utc | 79
@ SteveK9 71 "By the way, the problem was caused by Mitsubishi, who designed the heat exchangers."

Ahh. The furriners...

I once made the "mistake" of pointing out (in a comment under an article in Salon) that the reactors that exploded at Fukushima was made by GE and that GE people was still in charge of the reactors of American quality when they exploded. (The amerikans got out on one of the first planes out of the country).

I have never seen so many angry replies to one of my comments. I even got e-mails for several weeks from angry Americans.

c1ue , Sep 4 2019 19:44 utc | 80
@Henkie #53 You need floating point for scientific calculations, but I really doubt the 737 is doing any scientific research. Also, a regular CPU can do mathematical calculations. It just isn't as fast nor has the same capacity as a dedicated FPU. Another common use for FPUs is in live action shooter games - the neo-physics portions utilize scientific-like calculations to create lifelike actions. I sold computer systems in the 1990s while in school - Doom was a significant driver for newer systems (as well as hedge fund types). Again, don't see why an airplane needs this.

[Sep 04, 2019] Starving Seniors How America Fails To Feed Its Aging naked capitalism

Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Army veteran Eugene Milligan is 75 years old and blind. He uses a wheelchair since losing half his right leg to diabetes and gets dialysis for kidney failure.

And he has struggled to get enough to eat.

Earlier this year, he ended up in the hospital after burning himself while boiling water for oatmeal. The long stay caused the Memphis vet to fall off a charity's rolls for home-delivered Meals on Wheels , so he had to rely on others, such as his son, a generous off-duty nurse and a local church to bring him food.

"Many times, I've felt like I was starving," he said. "There's neighbors that need food too. There's people at dialysis that need food. There's hunger everywhere."

Indeed, millions of seniors across the country quietly go hungry as the safety net designed to catch them frays. Nearly 8% of Americans 60 and older were "food insecure" in 2017, according to a recent study released by the anti-hunger group Feeding America. That's 5.5 million seniors who don't have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life, a number that has more than doubled since 2001 and is only expected to grow as America grays.

While the plight of hungry children elicits support and can be tackled in schools, the plight of hungry older Americans is shrouded by isolation and a generation's pride. The problem is most acute in parts of the South and Southwest. Louisiana has the highest rate among states, with 12% of seniors facing food insecurity. Memphis fares worst among major metropolitan areas, with 17% of seniors like Milligan unsure of their next meal.

And government relief falls short. One of the main federal programs helping seniors is starved for money. The Older Americans Act -- passed more than half a century ago as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society reforms -- was amended in 1972 to provide for home-delivered and group meals, along with other services, for anyone 60 and older. But its funding has lagged far behind senior population growth, as well as economic inflation.

The biggest chunk of the act's budget, nutrition services, dropped by 8% over the past 18 years when adjusted for inflation, an AARP report found in February. Home-delivered and group meals have decreased by nearly 21 million since 2005. Only a fraction of those facing food insecurity get any meal services under the act; a U.S. Government Accountability Office report examining 2013 data found 83% got none.

With the act set to expire Sept. 30, Congress is now considering its reauthorization and how much to spend going forward.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 45% of eligible adults 60 and older have signed up for another source of federal aid: SNAP, the food stamp program for America's poorest. Those who don't are typically either unaware they could qualify, believe their benefits would be tiny or can no longer get to a grocery store to use them.

Even fewer seniors may have SNAP in the future. More than 13% of SNAP households with elderly members would lose benefits under a recent Trump administration proposal.

For now, millions of seniors -- especially low-income ones -- go without. Across the nation, waits are common to receive home-delivered meals from a crucial provider, Meals on Wheels, a network of 5,000 community-based programs. In Memphis, for example, the wait to get on the Meals on Wheels schedule is more than a year long.

"It's really sad because a meal is not an expensive thing," said Sally Jones Heinz, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association , which provides home-delivered meals in Memphis. "This shouldn't be the way things are in 2019."

Since malnutrition exacerbates diseases and prevents healing, seniors without steady, nutritious food can wind up in hospitals, which drives up Medicare and Medicaid costs, hitting taxpayers with an even bigger bill . Sometimes seniors relapse quickly after discharge -- or worse.

Widower Robert Mukes, 71, starved to death on a cold December day in 2016, alone in his Cincinnati apartment.

The Hamilton County Coroner listed the primary cause of death as "starvation of unknown etiology" and noted "possible hypothermia," pointing out that his apartment had no electricity or running water. Death records show the 5-foot-7-inch man weighed just 100.5 pounds.

A Clear Need

On a hot May morning in Memphis, seniors trickled into a food bank at the Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, 3 miles from the opulent tourist mecca of Graceland. They picked up boxes packed with canned goods, rice, vegetables and meat.

Marion Thomas, 63, placed her box in the trunk of a friend's car. She lives with chronic back pain and high blood pressure and started coming to the pantry three years ago. She's disabled, relies on Social Security and gets $42 a month from SNAP based on her income, household size and other factors. That's much less than the average $125-a-month benefit for households with seniors, but more than the $16 minimum that one in five such households get. Still, Thomas said, "I can't buy very much."

A day later, the Mid-South Food Bank brought a "mobile pantry" to Latham Terrace, a senior housing complex, where a long line of people waited. Some inched forward in wheelchairs; others leaned on canes. One by one, they collected their allotments.

The need is just as real elsewhere. In Dallas, Texas, 69-year-old China Anderson squirrels away milk, cookies and other parts of her home-delivered lunches for dinner because she can no longer stand and cook due to scoliosis and eight deteriorating vertebral discs.

As seniors ration food, programs ration services.

Although more than a third of the Meals on Wheels money comes from the Older Americans Act, even with additional public and private dollars, funds are still so limited that some programs have no choice but to triage people using score sheets that assign points based on who needs food the most. Seniors coming from the hospital and those without family usually top waiting lists.

More than 1,000 were waiting on the Memphis area's list recently. And in Dallas, $4.1 million in donations wiped out a 1,000-person waiting list in December, but within months it had crept back up to 100.

Nationally, "there are tens of thousands of seniors who are waiting," said Erika Kelly , chief membership and advocacy officer for Meals on Wheels America. "While they're waiting, their health deteriorates and, in some cases, we know seniors have died."

Edwin Walker, a deputy assistant secretary for the federal Administration on Aging, acknowledged waits are a long-standing problem, but said 2.4 million people a year benefit from the Older Americans Act's group or home-delivered meals, allowing them to stay independent and healthy.

Seniors get human connection, as well as food, from these services. Aner Lee Murphy, a 102-year-old Meals on Wheels client in Memphis, counts on the visits with volunteers Libby and Bob Anderson almost as much as the food. She calls them "my children," hugging them close and offering a prayer each time they leave.

But others miss out on such physical and psychological nourishment. A devastating phone call brought that home for Kim Daugherty, executive director of the Aging Commission of the Mid-South , which connects seniors to service providers in the region. The woman on the line told Daugherty she'd been on the waiting list for more than a year.

"Ma'am, there are several hundred people ahead of you," Daugherty reluctantly explained.

"I just need you all to remember," came the caller's haunting reply, "I'm hungry and I need food."

A Slow Killer

James Ziliak , a poverty researcher at the University of Kentucky who worked on the Feeding America study, said food insecurity shot up with the Great Recession, starting in the late 2000s, and peaked in 2014. He said it shows no signs of dropping to pre-recession levels.

While older adults of all income levels can face difficulty accessing and preparing healthy food, rates are highest among seniors in poverty. They are also high among minorities. More than 17% of black seniors and 16% of Hispanic seniors are food insecure, compared with fewer than 7% of white seniors.

A host of issues combine to set those seniors on a downward spiral, said registered dietitian Lauri Wright , who chairs the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of North Florida. Going to the grocery store gets a lot harder if they can't drive. Expensive medications leave less money for food. Chronic physical and mental health problems sap stamina and make it tough to cook. Inch by inch, hungry seniors decline.

And, even if it rarely kills directly, hunger can complicate illness and kill slowly.

Malnutrition blunts immunity, which already tends to weaken as people age. Once they start losing weight, they're more likely to grow frail and are more likely to die within a year, said Dr. John Morley, director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University.

Seniors just out of the hospital are particularly vulnerable. Many wind up getting readmitted, pushing up taxpayers' costs for Medicare and Medicaid. A recent analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that Medicare could save $1.57 for every dollar spent on home-delivered meals for chronically ill seniors after a hospitalization.

Most hospitals don't refer senior outpatients to Meals on Wheels, and advocates say too few insurance companies get involved in making sure seniors have enough to eat to keep them healthy.

When Milligan, the Memphis veteran, burned himself with boiling water last winter and had to be hospitalized for 65 days, he fell off the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association's radar. The meals he'd been getting for about a decade stopped.

Heinz, Metropolitan's CEO, said the association is usually able to start and stop meals for short hospital stays. But, Heinz said, the association didn't hear from Milligan and kept trying to deliver meals for a time while he was in the hospital, then notified the Aging Commission of the Mid-South he wasn't home. As is standard procedure, Metropolitan officials said, a staff member from the commission made three attempts to contact him and left a card at the blind man's home.

But nothing happened when he got out of the hospital this spring. In mid-May, a nurse referred him for meal delivery. Still, he didn't get meals because he faced a waitlist already more than 1,000 names long.

After questions from Kaiser Health News, Heinz looked into Milligan's case and realized that, as a former client, Milligan could get back on the delivery schedule faster.

But even then the process still has hurdles: The aging commission would need to conduct a new home assessment for meals to resume. That has yet to happen because, amid the wait, Milligan's health deteriorated.

A Murky Future

As the Older Americans Act awaits reauthorization this fall, many senior advocates worry about its funding.

In June, the U.S. House passed a $93 million increase to the Older Americans Act's nutrition programs, raising total funding by about 10% to $1 billion in the next fiscal year. In inflation-adjusted dollars, that's still less than in 2009. And it still has to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate, where the proposed increase faces long odds.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat who chairs the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee, expects the panel to tackle legislation for reauthorization of the act soon after members return from the August recess. She's now working with colleagues "to craft a strong, bipartisan update," she said, that increases investments in nutrition programs as well as other services.

"I'm confident the House will soon pass a robust bill," she said, "and I am hopeful that the Senate will also move quickly so we can better meet the needs of our seniors."

In the meantime, "the need for home-delivered meals keeps increasing every year," said Lorena Fernandez, who runs a meal delivery program in Yakima, Wash. Activists are pressing state and local governments to ensure seniors don't starve, with mixed results. In Louisiana, for example, anti-hunger advocates stood on the state Capitol steps in May and unsuccessfully called on the state to invest $1 million to buy food from Louisiana farmers to distribute to hungry residents. Elsewhere, senior activists across the nation have participated each March in "March for Meals" events such as walks, fundraisers and rallies designed to focus attention on the problem.

Private fundraising hasn't been easy everywhere, especially rural communities without much wealth. Philanthropy has instead tended to flow to hungry kids, who outnumber hungry seniors more than 2-to-1, according to Feeding America.

"Ten years ago, organizations had a goal of ending child hunger and a lot of innovation and resources went into what could be done," said Jeremy Everett, executive director of Baylor University's Texas Hunger Initiative. "The same thing has not happened in the senior adult population." And that has left people struggling for enough food to eat.

As for Milligan, he didn't get back on Meals on Wheels before suffering complications related to his dialysis in June. He ended up back in the hospital. Ironically, it was there that he finally had a steady, if temporary, source of food.

It's impossible to know if his time without steady, nutritious food made a difference. What is almost certain is that feeding him at home would have been far cheaper.

[Sep 04, 2019] Economists had 'a far greater sense of confidence in their analyses than I have found to be warranted. They were best kept down with the surplus furniture and the rats

Sep 04, 2019 | www.economist.com

"Few economists worked at the Federal Reserve in the early 1950s. Those who were on the staff of America's central bank were relegated to the basement, at a safe remove from the corridors where real decisions were made.

Economists had their uses, allowed William McChesney Martin, then the Fed's chairman. But they also had 'a far greater sense of confidence in their analyses than I have found to be warranted'. They were best kept down with the surplus furniture and the rats." • Indeed!

[Sep 04, 2019] Remember, it was the academics that got this started in the wrong direction, arguably

Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren: "Monopolist's Worst Nightmare: The Elizabeth Warren Interview" [The American Prospect].

Warren: "Remember, it was the academics that got this started in the wrong direction, arguably."

[Sep 03, 2019] RIP Immanuel Wallerstein, Sociologist and World Systems Theorist by Lambert Strether

Sep 03, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Immanuel Wallerstein, author of The Modern World-System (Volume I, 1974[1]), Historical Capitalism (1983), The Decline of American Power (2003), and 30 other books, died on August 31 of this year. He was 89 years old. Oddly, or not, although he was a Senior Research Scholar at Yale, was head of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilization at Binghamton University, and received the Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association, there has as yet been no obituary for him in any major[2] English, Five-Eyes newspaper that I can find ( France ; Spain ; Italy ; Brazil ; Romania ; Iran (English); Turkey [3]; and Turkey (English).

This will not be an obituary for Immanuel Wallerstein; I don't have time to do the reading required to summarize his personal intellectual history. (I read his short and simple World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction years ago, before going on to his associate Giovanni Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century , which is also a world systems book. I recommend both, and that's really my object in this post: Getting some of you to read up on Wallerstein. So in this post, I'm going to share some long extracts from Wallerstein, less theoretical, and more focused on current events. Use the tools that come to hand!

Wallerstein on China

From Wallerstein's site, " What About China? " (2017):

A structural crisis is chaotic. This means that instead of the normal standard set of combinations or alliances that were previously used to maintain the stability of the system, they constantly shift these alliances in search of short-term gains. This only makes the situation worse. We notice here a paradox – the certainty of the end of the existing system and the intrinsic uncertainty of what will eventually replace it and create thereby a new system (or new systems) to stabilize realities .

Now, let us look at China's role in what is going on. In terms of the present system, China seems to be gaining much advantage. To argue that this means the continuing functioning of capitalism as a system is basically to (re)assert the invalid point that systems are eternal and that China is replacing the United States in the same way as the United States replaced Great Britain as the hegemonic power. Were this true, in another 20-30 years China (or perhaps northeast Asia) would be able to set its rules for the capitalist world-system.

But is this really happening? First of all, China's economic edge, while still greater than that of the North, has been declining significantly. And this decline may well amplify soon, as political resistance to China's attempts to control neighboring countries and entice (that is, buy) the support of faraway countries grows, which seems to be occurring.

Can China then depend on widening internal demand to maintain its global edge? There are two reasons why not. The present authorities worry that a widening middle stratum could jeopardize their political control and seek to limit it.[a]

The second reason, more important, is that much of the internal demand is the result of reckless borrowing by regional banks, which are facing an inability to sustain their investments. If they collapse, even partially, this could end the entire economic edge[b] of China.

In addition, there have been, and will continue to be, wild swings in geopolitical alliances. In a sense, the key zones are not in the North, but in areas such as Russia, India, Iran, Turkey, and southeastern Europe, all of them pursuing their own roles by a game of swiftly and repeatedly changing sides. The bottom line is that, though China plays a very big role in the short run, it is not as big a role as China would wish and that some in the rest of the world-system fear. It is not possible for China to stop the disintegration of the capitalist system. It can only try to secure its place in a future world-system.

As far as Wallerstein's bottom line: The proof is in the pudding. That said, there seems to be a tendency to regard Xi as all-powerful. IMNSHO, that's by no means the case, not only because of China's middle class, but because of whatever China's equivalent of deplorables is. The "wild swings in geopolitical alliances" might play a role, too; oil, Africa's minerals.

NOTES [a] I haven't seen this point made elsewhere. [b] Crisis, certainly. "Ending the entire economic edge"? I'm not so sure.

Wallerstein on Brazil (and Lula)

From BrasilWire, " Immanuel Wallerstein On Lula's Arrest & The Coup " (2018):

On April 7, 2018 in Brazil Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva was arrested and taken to prison in Curitiba to begin a twelve-year sentence. He was Brazil's president from January 2003 to January 2011. He was so popular that when he left office in 2011, he had a 90% approval rate.

Soon afterwards, he was charged with corruption while in office. He denied the charge. He was however convicted of the charge, a conviction that was sustained by an Appeals Court. He is still appealing his conviction to the Supreme Court.

Lula was a trade-union leader who founded a workers' party, the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). It was the party of the underclass and one that stood for fundamental change both in Brazil and in Latin America as a whole.

The internal redistributions and the geopolitical realignments displeased greatly both the United States and Brazil's right-wing forces. One thing that made it difficult for them to counter Lula was the fact that the state of the world-economy in the first decade of the twenty-first century was very favorable to the so-called newly-emerging economies, also known as the BRICS (B for Brazil).

However, the winds of the world-economy turned, and suddenly revenue for the Brazilian state (and of course many other states) became scarcer.

The right found a renewed opening in the financial squeeze that ensued. They blamed economic difficulties on corruption and fostered a judicial drive called lava jato (car wash), which evoked the issue of laundering money, something that was indeed widespread .

Once Lula was threatened with immediate imprisonment, Brazil's two major popular forces expressed their strong opposition to what they asserted was a political coup d'état. One was the Central Ùnica dos Trabalhadores (CUT), which Lula had once led, and the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), Brazil's largest rural organization.

The MST and CUT organized significant mobilizations against his imprisonment. But, faced with the threat of the armed forces to intervene (and possibly restore a military regime again), Lula decided to present himself for arrest. He has now been imprisoned.

The question today is whether this right-wing coup can succeed. This no longer depends on Lula personally. History may absolve him but the current struggle in Brazil and in Latin America as a whole depends on political organization at the base .

One of the principal characteristics of the structural crisis of the modern world-system in which we find ourselves is the high volatility of the world-economy . Should it run even further downward than it is at present, there may well be an upsurge of popular sentiment against the regime. If it began to include large parts of the professional strata, an alliance with the underclasses is quite possible.

Even then it will not be easy to change the political realities of Brazil. The army stands ready probably to prevent a left government from coming to power. Nonetheless one should not despair. The army was defeated once before and evicted from power. It could be again.

In short, the outlook for Brazil and for Latin America as a whole is highly uncertain. Brazil, given its size and its history, is a key zone of the middle-run struggle for a progressive outcome of the struggle between the global left and the global right for resolving the structural crisis in their favor.

Once again, the proof is in the pudding. But volatility? Yes, indeed. And blowback, too.

Wallerstein on Racism

From the London Review of Books, " The Albatross of Racism " (2000):

Since 1989, social science has thrown very little light on [such matters as the growth of extreme right in Austria]. Indeed, its failure has been lamentable. All anyone – whatever their politics – talks about is globalisation, as though that were anything more than current rhetoric for the continuing struggle within the capitalist world-economy over the degree to which transborder flows should be unimpeded It is dust in our eyes. So, too, is the endless litany about ethnic violence, and here human rights activists, as well as social scientists, are to blame. Ethnic violence, however horrifying, is not the preserve of some less fortunate, less wise, less civilised other. It follows from the deep and growing inequalities within our world-system, and cannot be addressed by moral exhortation, or by any meddling on the part of the pure and advanced in zones controlled by the impure and backward. World social science has offered us no useful tools to analyse what has been happening in the world-system since 1989, and therefore no useful tools to understand contemporary Austrian reality.

The reason everyone was so appalled by Nazism after 1945 is obvious. While almost everyone in the pan-European world had been openly and happily racist and anti-semitic before 1945, hardly anyone had intended it to lead where it did. Hitler's Final Solution missed the entire point of racism within the capitalist world-economy. The object of racism is not to exclude people, much less exterminate them, but to keep them within the system as Untermenschen, to be exploited economically and used as political scapegoats . What happened with Nazism was what the French would call a dérapage – a blunder, a skid, a loss of control. Or perhaps it was the genie getting out of the bottle.

It was acceptable to be racist up to the point of a final solution, but no further . It had always been a delicate game, and no doubt there had been dérapages before – but never on such a large scale, never in so central an arena of the world-system, and never that visible. Collectively, the pan-European world came to terms with what had happened by banning public racism, primarily public anti-semitism. It became a taboo language .

One of the reasons the EU reacted so strongly to Haider is that Austria has refused to assume its share of guilt, insisting that it was primarily a victim. Perhaps a majority of Austrians had not wanted the Anschluss, although it is hard to believe it when you see newsreel clips of the cheering Viennese crowds. But, more to the point, no non-Jewish, non-Roma Austrian was considered anything other than German after the Anschluss, and the majority gloried in that fact.

The realisation that racism had been undone by going much too far had two major consequences in the post-1945 pan-European world. First, these countries sought to emphasise their internal virtues as integrative nations untroubled by racist oppression, 'free countries' facing an 'evil empire' whose racism, in its turn, became a regular theme of Western propaganda. All sorts of socio-political actions followed from this: the 1954 decision by the US Supreme Court to outlaw racial segregation; the philo-Israel policies of the whole pan-European world; even the new emphasis on ecumenicism within Western Christianity (as well as the invention of the idea of a joint Judaeo-Christian heritage).

Second, and just as important, there was a need to restore a sanitised racism to its original function: that of keeping people within the system, but as Untermenschen. If Jews could no longer be treated thus, or Catholics in Protestant countries, it was necessary to look further afield. In the pan-European world the post-1945 period was, at least at first, a time of incredible economic expansion accompanied by a radically reduced rate of reproduction. More workers were needed and fewer were being produced than ever before. So began the era of what the Germans gingerly called the Gastarbeiter.

Who were these Gastarbeiter? Mediterranean peoples in non-Mediterranean Europe, Latin Americans and Asians in North America, West Indians in North America and Western Europe, Black Africans and South Asians in Europe. And, since 1989, citizens of the former socialist bloc. They have come in large numbers because they wanted to come and because they could find jobs: indeed, were desperately needed to make the pan-European countries flourish. But they came, almost universally, as persons at the bottom of the heap – economically, socially and politically

The rhymes with immigration policy debates in this country are obvious. And I love the irony of dérapage .

Wallerstein on His Legacy

From commentary #500 on Wallersteins site, " This is the end; this is the beginning " (2019):

My first commentary appeared on October 1, 1998. It was published by the Fernand Braudel Center (FBC) at Binghamton University. I have produced commentaries on the first and the fifteenth of every month since then without exception. This is the 500th such commentary. This will be the last commentary ever.

I have devoted myself to writing these commentaries with complete regularity. But no one lives forever, and there is no way I can continue doing these commentaries much longer.

So, sometime ago I said to myself I will try to make it to number 500 and then call it quits. I have made it to 500 and I am calling it quits

The post is dated July 1, 2019, two months before his death. Thats the way to do it. More:

There is only one language in which all 500 commentaries have been translated. This language is Mandarin Chinese.

Oh.

It is the future that is more important and more interesting, but also inherently unknowable. Because of the structural crisis of the modern-world system, it is possible, possible but not absolutely certain, that a transformatory use of a 1968 complex will be achieved by someone or some group. It will probably take much time and will continue on past the point of the end of commentaries. What form this new activity will take is hard to predict.

So, the world might go down further by-paths. Or it may not. I have indicated in the past that I thought the crucial struggle was a class struggle, using class in a very broadly defined sense. What those who will be alive in the future can do is to struggle with themselves so this change may be a real one. I still think that and therefore I think there is a 50-50 chance that we'll make it to transformatory change, but only 50-50.

Some might find that optimistic, but personally I find it heartening.

Conclusion

I don't have much to say -- the extracts are far too long! -- but surely Wallerstein's life was a life well lived.

NOTES

[1] Review from Christopher Chase-Dunn, Sociology, University of California-Riverside, " The emergence of predominant capitalism: the long 16th century ":

The new edition of Immanuel Wallerstein's Volume 1 of The Modern World-System, originally published in 1974, is more beautiful than the original both because of its cover, and because 37 years of subsequent scholarship and world historical events have demonstrated the scientific and practical utility of the theoretical approach developed in this seminal work .

The world-systems perspective is a strategy for explaining institutional change that focuses on whole interpolity systems rather than single polities. The tendency in sociological theory has been to think of single national societies as whole systems. This has led to many errors, because the idea of a system usually implies closure and that the most important processes are endogenous. National societies (both their states and their nations) have emerged over the last few centuries to become the strongest socially constructed identities and organizations in the modern world, but they have never been whole systems. They have always existed in a larger context of important interaction networks (trade, warfare, long-distance communication) that have greatly shaped events and social change .

Wallerstein's new Prologue responds to several of the major criticisms that have been made of Volume 1. Critics said that the book was too economistic, ignoring politics and culture. Marxists said that Wallerstein ignored class relations. Wallerstein's approach to world history is evolutionary, though he does not use that word. He compares regions and national societies with each other within the same time periods, but he also compares them with earlier and later instances in order to comprehend the long-term trajectories of social change and to explain the qualitative transformation in systemic logic that began to emerge in Europe in the long 16th century (1450-1640 CE). His theoretical framework contemplates a "whole system" and how that system has changed or remained the same over time while expanding to become a single Earth-wide integrated network.

(Here, Wallerstein explains his relation to Marxism before going on to a shorter explanation of world systems: Comparative Studies in Society and History (1974), " The Rise and Future Demise of the World Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis .")

[2] The English venue hit that does come up is from ROAR , " an activist-run journal of the radical imagination ."

[3] Fascinatingly, this story is attributed to "BBC News | Türkçe," but the BBC English returns nothing in English on "Immanuel Wallerstein."

[Sep 02, 2019] A Question of [Neoliberal] Character

"It's almost as though the disreputable younger sons of the Establishment, sent off to make money in Hong Kong after some scandal, had all returned to run the country"
Notable quotes:
"... I hate to say this, as a lifelong Socialist from a very modest background, but the British system worked in the past because it was pretty homogeneous. I don't mean literally everyone came from the same background (they let me in, after all) but rather there was a cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century. (It had its analogue in the ethos of the honest tradesman, which we've lost as well). This culture was never universal , of course, but it was very powerful, and it coped quite well with the social changes after 1945, as more women and people from much more diverse backgrounds entered the public sphere. ..."
"... You can mock the old High Seriousness of the public sphere if you like (too white! too male!) but the fact is that it wouldn't have got us in the mess we are in today, because it had both the scruples and the competence to avoid it. Now, it's open season. I remember thinking how bitterly ironic it was that the government which got the country into the worst peacetime crisis in modern history was also the most inclusive, and led by a woman at that. ..."
"... The "greed is good" ethos took hold in the 1980s. I don't think Reagan was so much a cause as a symptom, but it's clearly visible in how US healthcare costs diverge from the rest of the world, as shown by Hans Rösling's famous chart . ..."
"... per Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal ascendancy: "There is no society " ..."
Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

This post is certain to do short shrift to the topic of individual character and cultural values. As you'll see in due course, a long-standing friend, Professor Amar Bhide, sent me an encomium for a mentor of his, John McArthur, who among other things, was the Dean of Harvard Business School from 1980 to 1995.

What is striking about Amar's description isn't simply how rare it is for America to produce someone who was deeply engaged with the people around him, yet was also a first-class mind with wide-ranging interest, but that we no longer seem to aspire to produce people (outside immediate families) whose attentiveness and concern can and often does have a fundamental, positive impact on those around them. Amar points out that McArthur knew the names of all of the service staff in every restaurant and club he frequented. Now that I am in the South, one thing that really is different is that most people are courteous almost out of habit. Some of it can be a bit tricky, like men who seem overly eager to behave chivalrously, particularly in public spots like restaurants. But the behavior isn't a regional variant to the grating "Have a nice day" that too many hotel and restaurant managers require employees to say (and it shows). Even if the attention is fleeting, the desire to make contact is genuine.

Admittedly, few are in the sort of career or societal role to have the impact that McArthur did. But there doesn't seem to be much societal interest in producing elder statesmen or rabbis or pastors or skilled counselors, or individuals who could sometimes play pieces of those roles in narrower circumstances. Instead, too many people simply want to get theirs and devil take the hindmost.

And the costs when this posture become acceptable, as opposed to marginal, are significant. As David put it in our latest post on Brexit :

I hate to say this, as a lifelong Socialist from a very modest background, but the British system worked in the past because it was pretty homogeneous. I don't mean literally everyone came from the same background (they let me in, after all) but rather there was a cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century. (It had its analogue in the ethos of the honest tradesman, which we've lost as well). This culture was never universal , of course, but it was very powerful, and it coped quite well with the social changes after 1945, as more women and people from much more diverse backgrounds entered the public sphere.

It changed not because the origin of its members was different (May and Johnson both came from Oxford, as did Blair, and for that matter Thatcher) but because their ethos came from elsewhere. It came from the City, from Management Consultancy, and from that part of the British Establishment which was always more interested in Making Money than in Doing Things. It's almost as though the disreputable younger sons of the Establishment, sent off to make money in Hong Kong after some scandal, had all returned to run the country. You can mock the old High Seriousness of the public sphere if you like (too white! too male!) but the fact is that it wouldn't have got us in the mess we are in today, because it had both the scruples and the competence to avoid it. Now, it's open season. I remember thinking how bitterly ironic it was that the government which got the country into the worst peacetime crisis in modern history was also the most inclusive, and led by a woman at that.

I'm not sure the end of homogeneity was the driver of diminished respect for what was once called character. In the US, I hazard that a bigger factor was the widespread acceptance of libertarian/neoliberal values. As we've documented, that world view was marketed aggressively and very successfully by a loosely coordinated but well funded right wing campaign, whose seminal document was the Powell Memo of 1971 which laid out the vision and many of the tactics for their war on the New Deal and the community values that supported it. For instance, it would have been well-nigh impossible for a Mike Milken, who'd gone to prison for securities law violations (and was widely believed to have engaged in considerably more questionable conduct) to have rehabilitated himself to the degree he did.

From Amar:

John McArthur, in memoriam

He was one of a kind -- and his kindness and empathy (a much used word I know) was unbounded. It touched all from dining and custodial staff to taxi drivers. My parents apart, few other people have had such an influence on me. (And he did me the honor of reading everything I read: every book every article, every draft, the pages a sea of yellow highlight)

He was also astute, ruthless and got things done. His mind was extraordinary and his reading voracious and eclectic -- although you would never guess it from his aw shucks manner and country bumpkin style.

I first actually talked to him in my second year as assistant professor. We had a long long lunch at his corner table in the faculty club. We talked about everything -- except why we were having lunch. At the end he said, "Perhaps you'd like to know why i asked you to lunch. Well I've been reading your stuff and I wanted to put a face to the writing, to know who this person was who was writing this stuff."

A few days later a copy of Knight's Risk Uncertainty and Profit arrived in interoffice mail with one of John's classic handwritten notes, which went something along the following lines. "I think this will suit the way you think of the world."

I had never encountered the book in my doctoral studies, and it was revelatory.

We had lunches, lasting 2-3 hours nearly every year for the last 20 years after I left HBS. Always at the Charles ("If we ate at HBS there would be someone stopping by every minute" he said. At the Charles it was only every 10 minutes. And of course he knew every single waiter and waitress by name).

The stories he told at the lunches.. Such a pity he did not put his wisdom into a memoir. But that was not his way.

John, RIP.


ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:34 am

The benefits of a "classical" education. One of the main supports of the 'civilized' social interactions that you observe here 'Down South' is a stubborn refusal to put a price on everything. It is not universal, but it lingers in pockets of calm salted among the storms of modern living. Welcome to the South.

Carolinian , August 31, 2019 at 10:04 am

I have some neighbors who are the opposite of me politically (in fact most of my neighbors) but are wonderfully nice people on a personal level. Some of us who grew up here have had the opposite experience of Yves and lived for awhile in the North where all that politeness is dismissed as a false front.

Which in many cases it is, but the usefulness of all that unthinking social glue should not be dismissed out of hand. After decades of elites in thrall to Ayn Rand the country may be in need a few of those social norms that beatnik rebels in the 1950s found so stultifying. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Epstein was how all those rich people around him thought that his three teenager a day habit was perfectly acceptable.

bassmule , August 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

I don't know anything about anything, but after living in the Northeast for my whole life I spent 10 years in North Carolina. After a decade, I realized that I was never going to stop being a Yankee, and that I detested "Southern courtesy" which mostly involved people telling me to "Have a Blessed Day!"

I take part of this back: My favorite item of Southern Courtesy is that you can slander anyone as long as you end the sentence with " bless his heart!"

Seriously, it's a different culture, and not one that I was ever comfortable with.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 11:49 am

There is a great scene in the film "Terms of Endearment" where John Lithgow's character is in a check out line at a grocery store. He encounters a rude cashier and remarks; "[She] must be from New York." The whole scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF8AZ-t2_Aw

Carolinian , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

The "blessed day" kick seems to have faded–haven't heard it in awhile. But you are certainly right about the different cultures, although lots of people from up north are moving down here so it's not as separated as it once was. Given that–per this blog–Wall Street culture is driving the country into the ground all that polite Southern conservatism may begin to seem less bad by comparison. There is certainly a religious context and a xenophobic context given Southerners' general support for the military.

Fazal Majid , August 31, 2019 at 3:33 am

The "greed is good" ethos took hold in the 1980s. I don't think Reagan was so much a cause as a symptom, but it's clearly visible in how US healthcare costs diverge from the rest of the world, as shown by Hans Rösling's famous chart .

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , August 31, 2019 at 3:59 am

Mohammed Ali wrote a poem about this that Guiness says is the world's shortest: "I; we". That civicness is what we've lost. To me the downward trajectory steepened with Reagan/ Gordon Gecko/Greed is good. Then was amplified and cemented by Bush: you're with us or against us; and the policy to fling bombs at any nation or actor "anytime we feel like it" with absolutely no regard for any notion of common (global, societal, collective) good. And thats the opposite of "civilization". Toss in a little post-meta-narcissism and the cocktail is for the law of the jungle. When JFK was killed Hunter Thompson wrote that "the scum have murdered the myth of American decency". Writ large now, across the world

Jessica , August 31, 2019 at 5:15 am

Our elites became historically obsolete around the 1960s. The counter-attack on the attempted cultural revolution that was The Sixties had no moral basis. It had and has nothing to fight for . It only had There Is No Alternative and I'm Sorry, You Must Have Mistaken Me for Someone Who Gives a Sh_t. The moral decay of such elites is unavoidable. The only solution is for them to no longer be the elites.

Further, we have reached a point in human development where no new elite of the previous type can fully unleash the capacities that we have developed. This is part of why the wannabe replacements in the top 10% themselves are so easily corrupted.

The good news is that we don't need any of them. Convincing each other of that will be quite helpful.

JOHN HACKER , August 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm

i remember reading a computer guy's victory article over the hippies. Ken Burns story of Woodstock shed some interesting perspectives on those days. It was a real crack in the American veneer of "dirty hippies". The elders of the time had bought into the military industrial complex idea that Ike had warned.

beth , August 31, 2019 at 9:53 pm

Wops. I can't let that Eisenhower quote pass uncommented on. In reading lots of history in my retirement, I have read several books on the CIA. It seems that Ike didn't like wars, so he gave Allen Dulles full rein. Iran remembers.

Mucho , August 31, 2019 at 6:33 am

Principles used be valuable. Nowadays, they are just costly.

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 7:44 am

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we seek at the first ourselves to deceive"

. "For when thou hast been false to thine own self, thou canst not be true to any man"

Principles can be valuable in that I will still do business and have a discussion with a man that I strongly disagree with, but I will have nothing to do with the unprincipled. My experience is that the unprincipled are simply animals and nothing good but aggravation can come of it.

john ashley , August 31, 2019 at 7:24 am

"The good news is that we don't need any of them. Convincing each other of that will be quite helpful."

This sums up the decay of any pretense of "common" decency in my opinion. Sadly , you have it to a science.

flora , August 31, 2019 at 8:11 am

Thanks for this post.

But there doesn't seem to be much societal interest in producing elder statesmen or rabbis or pastors or skilled counselors, or individuals who could .

per Margaret Thatcher and the neoliberal ascendancy: "There is no society "

There's active discouragement of recognizing the essential equality of people no matter what their station in life; this absolute discounting of "less important" people is a new thing in the last 20 – 30 years or so, imo. At first I though it was simple snobbery, but it's too wide spread for that to be the explanation, imo.

dearieme , August 31, 2019 at 10:27 am

It's worth googling to see what Thatcher actually said.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])
Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

New Wafer Army , August 31, 2019 at 2:26 pm

"They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours." – in an interview in Women's Own in 1987

flora , August 31, 2019 at 6:53 pm

And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first.

Oh, the subtle slyness of that formulation; it suggests first that democratic govt is the servant of the will of the whole of the people, or society, and in the next breath suggests there is no whole of the will of the people or unity or society. It suggests what is truly important are atomized individuals and 'greed is good' and 'look out for number one' – the antithesis of society and unity and democratic govt.

Hamnet , September 1, 2019 at 10:51 pm

Thanks for this quotation. It appears to me to be classic case of pretzel logic. " It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours." And who are "our neighbours"? They are society – of which there is, according to Thatcher, "no such thing".

Once again, form totally swamps substance and leaves us treading water in a sea of nonsense. Have we always allowed our leaders this much leeway with logic? Of course next to the statements of the current US President, this statement appears perfectly logical.

ewmayer , August 31, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Have you considered that perhaps the simplified "There is no society" rendering of what Ms. Thatcher said has become the de facto standard because it captures the toxic antisocial policies she actually practiced?

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 8:20 am

If someone would lie to themselves in order to be able to lie to others, then why should I respect them? There is a large difference between respect and fear, just like there is a difference between jealousy and anger. You know I have observed all of this among my C-level acquaintances ( 50 to 150 million ..)

Bob , August 31, 2019 at 8:38 am

Perhaps there is something to be said for leaving the Big Apple. And yes folks can seem to be more polite in the fly over country.

I'd guess that the real divider is that the politeness is driven in part by the realization that we need each other to a greater degree more in smaller communities.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

I disagree about small communities. Plenty are subservient to a powerful interest with no scruples. It's always been about accountability. Scale and speed have reduced the ability to hold bad actors accountableif they are elite. The homogenized British civil service would naturally hold bad actors accountable if not through legal means then exclusion.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Ostracism and other forms of social control were ruthlessly used by the in-group to keep its members' behavior within a narrow range. Is it the methods of social control that have changed or the range of behavior deemed acceptable to the dominant group?

As Lord Boothby's life illustrates, if certain behavior was deemed helpful to the state or otherwise within bounds, then all sorts of behavior offensive to a common dustman's definition of "middle class morality" would be tolerated. That suggests a parallel with the arc of Jeffrey Epstein's career.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 6:47 pm

Compare Epstein and his associate's behaviour with that of the English aristocracy during the Edwardian era. I'll posit that this range of behaviours is class mediated, not era or milieu mediated.
With this as the 'face' of the 'ruling class,' is it any wonder that movements such as Calvinism and Puritanism gained such popular support?

EoH , September 1, 2019 at 9:27 am

One suspects that Wilde's Dorian Gray struck a chord among the upper classes, the scions of which must have remembered more than bad food and cold showers at their elite boarding schools. Indoctrination always begins with the young.

KLG , August 31, 2019 at 9:49 am

I got my first full-time job in science in 1975. I was 19 and had to make a living while going to school. The head of my lab, which was a leader in our field, and his colleagues in the department were very serious about their work, but not about themselves. Most, but certainly not all, of them took their roles as exemplars of how science should be very seriously, and it showed. Their mentorship has extended into the future, which is now, but more on that later. My boss at the time is 93 and not in particularly good health. Earlier this month I sent him a video of a talk in which our work was mentioned, as the close brush with a later Nobel Prize that it was. None of that particular group is still in the field, but he was happy to see, again, how far reaching our work has been. In a subsequent email I listed the 15 or so people I overlapped with in my 15 years in that smallish lab, and the list is replete with very successful men and women. We were taught well.

My time there didn't end particularly well, though. There is one fundamental reason for that: The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. By the late-1980's our research had been completely co-opted by the desire to build a "start-up" using our science as the foundation. This quite naturally attracted a gaggle of half-assed "entrepreneurs" whose only thought was "how fast how much money?" The science suffered, those who knew how to make it work as an important technology were ignored, and the whole apparatus collapsed in a heap of squandered money taken from people who couldn't afford to lose it and recriminations that have still not abated, much. My boss retired in the aftermath. He was a good scientist and a good person, but he was unable to see where he was headed. I got axed, basically for not "liking" the lead half-assed entrepreneur, to which I responded, "I like him just fine, but I don't trust him as far as I can throw him, and you shouldn't either." Q.E.D.

Now, 40+ years later the molecular and biomedical sciences are in crisis. Discoveries that will make a difference are left undiscovered while "entrepreneurs" collect multiple research grants from NIH and NSF but never, really, seem to get anywhere. Data from NIH show that the law of diminishing returns sets in as soon as an academic scientist gets his or her second grant. There is no room for the next generation to begin, while they have energy and vision (though older scientists have as much of both, if there were a future in it, and the experience to get something done while mentoring the next generations).

Anyway, there is an important book to be written by someone who reads naked capitalism about the deleterious effects of the neoliberal infestation of basic biomedical research that began with the Bayh-Dole Act; hmm what else happened in 1980? I cannot see any prospect of recovery of the good will, good science, and ethos of discovery that existed before, but until biomedical scientists understand what has happened to their world, there is really no hope. They will continue to scrape for scraps, act in ways that should be foreign to them, and soon forget why they became scientists in the first place. It has been my experience that "scientists" as a group pay little attention to politics, and view that as a mark of distinction. Pity. It is said that Trotsky IIRC wrote (paraphrase), "You may not be interested in politics, but politics is certainly interested in you." Yes, indeed.

Wikipedia search term: "Bayh-Dole Act"

kiwi , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am

Yes, everything now is about greed and speed.

And I think the speed part of the equation may have a lot to do with the way we no longer value integrity in people or in processes.

Yves cites the Powell memo as a cause, but I have to wonder if speed is the major cause of overall decline. After all, humans were largely agrarian. One must be patient to grow things and get your reward from that process on a regular yearly basis. In your field, painstaking research was the norm.

Now, so much is instant, and I think speed has caused much breakdown in human relations.

New Wafer Army , August 31, 2019 at 2:31 pm

That is an amazing anecdote. Thank you very much for taking the time to post. Would you consider writing an article on the topic? I am sure that Naked Capitalism would publish it. It is very important to get this stuff documented for the record. Hope to hear more from you.

oaf , August 31, 2019 at 10:01 am

"I; we".

Us .!!!

them.

Lsuoma , August 31, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Everybody needs somebody

Wukchumni , August 31, 2019 at 10:10 am

Anytime i'm hit with the "have a nice day" comment, I always tell them with a cheerful smile, "thanks, but I had other plans".

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:02 pm

I will occasionally tell a cashier or greeter/security person who gives me the canned "have a blessed day" spiel that; "I'm not from around here. You can tell me to have a rotten day. I won't complain." Sadly, only about one in ten gets the joke and responds accordingly.
My best response to this gambit was from an older, "Traditionalist Evangelical" style woman at the gates of the local WalMart. "That's okay. You are leaving this store. Your bad luck for the day is now over."

The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 10:14 am

I have mentioned before how Stephen Covey – author of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" – did a study of American self-help books for his doctoral dissertation. He found that until about the 1920s, most American self-help books were about developing your character and Ben Franklin's books were typical of these. However, about the 1920s on, there was a very noticeable shift in the emphasis of these books. Now it was all about image and putting on a front. Books like "How To Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie and "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill are typical here. So if you wanted to identify an inflexion point for the importance of character in our culture, you would have to say that it started about a century ago.

Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 11:09 am

Booster, or Wise Guy, choose one.

Michael Fiorillo , August 31, 2019 at 11:37 am

Or Bruce Barton's "The Man Nobody Knows," which in the late 20's comforted the comfortable by explaining that Jesus was the first Big Businessman.

Always be Closing, baby, Always Be Closing

Fiery Hunt , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

"About a century ago".

A time we are desperately re-creating to the benefit of none but a few.

Anarcissie , August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

This seems like the contrasts noted in David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd between the 'tradition-directed', 'inner-directed', and 'other-directed' character types. But are these fashions, or a reflection of cultural needs driven by the movement from a largely agricultural society to an industrial one? Can the poor afford good character? The yeoman on his plot can perhaps defy his society for a long time, whereas the industrial worker or manager needs his job every day and must get along to keep it.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:18 pm

The rise of Madison Avenue, during and post-First World War, thanks much to Sigmund Freud's son-in-law, Edward Bernays.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , August 31, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Showtimes new show, On becoming a God in Central Florida, skewers the Self Help genre.

Kirsten Dunst is terrific!

DJG , August 31, 2019 at 11:25 am

Thank you, Yves Smith. David's comment about his own rise caught my eye the other day, and I have been thinking about it, too. I don't know David's exact circumstances in the U.K, but I was as scholarship boy in high school and college in the U S of A. So here I am, with an "influential" job in publishing, which still can be very Waspy. (And that includes the women.)

The current issue in some respects is not that the homogeneity produced such perfect results (for instance, we should not forget longstanding problems like discrimination against Jews in academia and the CIA as a kind of Waspy adventure-fantasyland). Our current moral dilemma is that no one talks about character. In that "homogeneous" time, one could get rid of a troublesome man by noting that he wasn't a serious man. Not being a "serious man" was a major impediment. Now, we think that everyone is serious, with serious opinions, which we may not judge. Marianne Moore reputedly "did not suffer fools gladly." Now she would be considered an uptight collaborator with patriarchy.

The language for assessing character is no longer used: Probity. Thrift. Reliability. Consistency. Taking the long view. Equanimity. Justice (without qualifiers like "social"). Discernment. Good judgment. Think about how little one sees these words used these days in discussing chararcter. Instead, we get hagiographies of John McCain, a spoiled child, blowhard veteran, and lousy politician. We get Madeleine Albright discoursing on special places in hell where any woman with her own point of view can be consigned.

Many of the agreements that held U.S. society together had to be dismantled: That is part of what the New Deal was for. FDR knew that the discrimination against its own citizens wasn't going to last and that the economic collapse made it all worse. And yet even he couldn't eliminate racial discrimation.

Nevertheless, we are a long way from FDR, a man of character, and Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman revered for her character, when we now pretend that celebrities like McCain and Hillary Clinton are worthy of leading us, let alone respect.

Lambert Strether , August 31, 2019 at 4:36 pm

> FDR knew that the discrimination against its own citizens wasn't going to last and that the economic collapse made it all worse. And yet even he couldn't eliminate racial discrimation.

I have read that FDR tried to break with the Southern Democrats in 1937, but I need to hunt down the reference. If so, good for him.

NotTimothyGeithner , August 31, 2019 at 9:02 pm

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9490446-roosevelt-s-purge

I can't find easy to access articles, but I seem to remember this book, "Roosevelt's Purge."

The influence of the South on the Democratic caucus was known and complained about. LBJ's pitch in the 1956 convention was that he could control the South if need be.

Joe Well , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am

Didn't that wonderfully collegial bunch include the Best and Brightest who killed over 3 million Southeast Asians and some 10000s of Americans in the 1960s-1970s? Or is this a later age cohort? New Deal/Great Society liberalism's strategic interventions killed more people than neoliberalism's endless wars, lest we forget.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Overseas, in the countries affected by both series of conflicts, the millions of dead would disagree with you.

Anon , August 31, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Not certain the purpose of the comparison, but the Colonists, the Revolutionaries, and Blue and Grey federalist armies, the MIC, etc. have been eliminating "others" since forever.

Cat Burglar , August 31, 2019 at 11:46 am

The dictionary definition of character is "the mental and moral qualities distinctive of an individual."

I associate the term with a kind of neo-Victorian anglophile section of the US political right who put it around starting in the 1980s as a kind of synonym for social conformity and obedience to authority. I hate to admit it, but I have never really been able to figure out what it means, and have regarded it as hot air.

The dictionary definition suggests it could just be equal to the word individual , since the qualities of an individual are equal to an individual. In this case, as Mark Twain put it, "Why write 'metropolis' when you get the same pay for 'city?"

If the word is meant to draw attention to the qualities of a person as separate from their individuality, then it gets a little more interesting. Then you get to identify and name the qualities and what they mean, and you get to find out who has the power to do that. I remember our neo-Victorians were big on using very conventional abstract universals to corral social behavior. One of my current favorites is "personal responsibility," which is often employed by congress persons as a rationale for policies in support of debt peonage and medical bankruptcy, but not applied to their own role in mass murders.

The colloquial meaning of character seems to be the only one that carries a meaning that goes beyond any synonym. There are plenty of real characters out there, still. (One of my favorites was the subject of the film Dirtbag .)

This article takes the word in a direction I haven't seen before: that full engagement with others is a quality necessary to full individuality. That seems like a much less dubious use of the word.

ewmayer , August 31, 2019 at 5:19 pm

"I associate the term with a kind of neo-Victorian anglophile section of the US political right who put it around starting in the 1980s as a kind of synonym for social conformity and obedience to authority."

Were he still around, the late Martin Luther King Jr. might take issue with that, pardon the pun, characterization. Which is not to say that, as with any other word, it is not subject to misuse by those of ill intent.

Cat Burglar , August 31, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Right. The "content of their character." I forgot about that one.

The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 10:03 pm

Damn. I wish that I had remembered that great MLK quote.

rob , September 2, 2019 at 7:44 am

I often think that the quote of MLK about the "content of their character" is such a good example of how we are living in a bizarro world when people talk about Obama .
Talk about a person whose only good quality is the color of his skin.
A "black" man became president. Which is a good thing that broke one tradition .. but that "man" was in no way possessing of any "good" character.
Like a carnival trick . a major schmuck was promoted in the cultural ethos as having been good, merely because he is black . but without any thought as to the POOR quality of his character.
In a reasonable world, no one would allow obama to be proclaimed in any way , as an example of MLK's vision of a man being judged by "the content of his character, and not the color of his skin."

MichaelSF , August 31, 2019 at 11:52 am

(And he did me the honor of reading everything I read: every book every article, every draft, the pages a sea of yellow highlight)

Shouldn't that be "reading everything I wrote:"?

Yves Smith Post author , August 31, 2019 at 10:44 pm

No, because Amar is an academic, so unless one said otherwise, "read everything I wrote" would mean published work only. Reading every draft is extraordinary.

EoH , August 31, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Some years ago, the president of a small liberal arts college began to get to know his new home. His predecessors normally did this at faculty teas, president's dinners for donors, the odd picnic with students, and informal gatherings among staff. In a world before deanlets, assistant assistants, and chiefs of staff, that was a small world.

But this new president inverted the pyramid. His first gathering was with the custodial and kitchen staffs, groundskeepers, and the like, whom he eventually got to know on a first name basis. They took note, as did the faculty, who still ran the place.

Fast forward a few decades. Another new president's first task – backed by a like-minded board – was to outsource all those jobs. In a small college town, losing its other large employers to shutdowns and consolidations, scores more people were thrown out of work, adding to town-and-gown tensions.

An alternative for staff tossed out of work and with few options was to become a local hire for the out-of-town outsourced employer. That meant doing the same job for less pay, without benefits, with no union or worker protections, and without a relationship with their absentee employer. Profits left the local economy as fast as those employer-employee relations at the college. But the new president checked a box on his CEO-like resume.

A modest example, it captures several of neoliberalism's core objectives: imposing business priorities and methods on cultural institutions, outsourcing, union busting, and aggregating revenue and profits in a handful of distant locations.

The same work got done, often by the same people, but the culture was irrevocably weakened. All for a few dollars more, fewer than were paid to the plethora of new staff and their myriad of business plans, intended to make faculty and students responsible for nothing but themselves.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:09 pm

And, sadly, the only people utilizing "direct action" remedies for these systemic maladies are lone nutter types.
Imagine America with a well organized and militant underground movement.
The present day 'Masters of the Universe' are building up their organs of opression to combat such an eventuality. This will end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anarcissie , August 31, 2019 at 12:49 pm

There is a sort of world underground, as noted in this very publication ('Add Oil', a few days ago). It seems to be 'open source' as 'Add Oil' says, and constantly evolving. Random other examples: Gilets Jaunes, Occupy Wall Street, Tahrir. As the system of the Ruling Class weakens and casts more people off, they become available for this sort of activity.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Agreed. As my dear old Dad was wont to say after a few beers, "The Fourth International finds work for idle hands."

KLG , September 1, 2019 at 7:10 am

Your final paragraph explains every college and university.

Barry Fay , August 31, 2019 at 12:21 pm

What character is, is wanting and trying to have character – we all know what that means and know it is a tough row to hoe! So it was gotten rid of by those unwilling to make the effort – sort of like "memorising" was gotten rid of with clever attacks on its "efficacy". Katy, bar the door!

orange cats , August 31, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Civility and character are often aligned but when civility is chiefly a cultural pose it says next to nothing about how repressed, angry, selfish or incompetent someone is. The following is a synopsis of Marilynne Robinson's remarkable book "Mother Country" published in the 1999 (Britain has a minimum wage now).

'So asks a book-within-the-book where Robinson looks to the past, even unto Poor Law of the 14th Century, for the secrets of national character. What does she find? That beneath the famous civility the British have always wasted lives and credited the idea of human surplus; that there have in the past been policies of depopulation. That there is a lack "of positive, substantive personal and political rights." That industrial illness and accident are common and customary. That there has never been a minimum wage. That many factors, including the Official Secrets Act, restrict the flow of information. That the (non-elected) Permanent Civil Service is professional and very powerful. That bumbling amateurism is still respectable, with chilling ramifications–an inability to gather meaningful statistics, for instance, or to keep track of such crucial documents as half the mortality data on workers at Windscale. That the citizenry is passive. That it is hard to locate responsibility, and that profit is motive and justification enough for almost anything.'

JEHR , August 31, 2019 at 12:57 pm

So I am here wondering where I obtained my sense of "morality" and "ethical" behaviour. My mother emphasized that truthfulness and honesty were imperative. I rarely lied to her or stole from her. My primary teachers emphasized working hard and finishing work to the point that it was the best I could do (one teacher especially said that I should work to my best abilities and I tried to do that). My secondary teachers taught me how to study for tests, how to memorize poetry and what was worth learning (via the curriculum). My university professors talked about analyzing works of literature and how such analysis helped us understand life as lived by all of us. My marriage taught me how to put others' physical and emotional needs ahead of my own. My old age revealed to me that knowing oneself was a most frightful thing to engage in.

I never thought that I would have to learn about how greed works in the banking system; how false prophets are everywhere; how great wealth pollutes the character as well as the environment; that pornography is considered entertainment; that politics has its very own pollutants that taint our shared world; and so on. I think it is well past time to leave.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 3:40 pm

I'd love to join you in exploring that 'Great Void' but I have too many responsibilities left here in the 'Realm of Maya.'
That's the lesson I did not expect to learn in my middle age; that there is always going to be some responsibility needing one's attention and effort.
I am relearning with a vengeance the marriage lesson you mention.
As for knowing myself, well, the older I get, the more I realize that I know nothing.
Keep the faith!

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 1:32 pm

Very nice eulogy. It makes me remember people with that inner strength in my life. There have been quite a few. The difference between an ordinary good character and a great one is energy, imo. People who have the energy to share their good thinking and the patience to listen are the best. They just operate on a slightly higher frequency. McArthur may have been one in a million, but he influenced millions. So it consoles me to think that there are enough people of good character in this world to turn things around. Just because I wasn't personally acquainted with them, doesn't mean I wasn't influenced by them. The very function of society.

lyman alpha blob , August 31, 2019 at 1:56 pm

When I was hired for a non-management position several years ago, the CEO of my company came up to me on my first day and addressed me by name to welcome me to the job. I was rather shocked that she even knew I'd been hired. She was a 30+ year employee of the company who had worked her way up from being a freelance writer. Many of my coworkers then had been with the company for decades too.

She retired a few years into my tenure and the place really hasn't been the same since she left – the kind of neoliberal MBA mentality well known to NC readers has come to the forefront. Pretty sure I'm not the only one who misses her leadership and character.

chuckw , August 31, 2019 at 2:12 pm

I'm all in favor of gentlemanly manners and am trying to teach them to my son. On the other hand, there have been a lot of people who could be flawed in their personal dealings but dedicated to the greatest good. And many slave owners who were courtly and thoughtful, especially regarding the opposite sex.
I'm sure that Mr. McArthur was a great guy. But what was the HBS up to while he was dean and what did that say about his deeper values? This is from a Newsweek story from a couple years ago about the evolution of shareholder primacy:

" the new belief that the shareholder was supreme, absolving managers of responsibility to any "stakeholder" -- employees, communities, society itself -- except shareholders. The bottom line was all that mattered.
John McArthur, then dean of HBS, liked Jensen's message and invited him to HBS as a visiting professor in 1984. In a 1999 vanity project about McArthur's tenure, The Intellectual Venture Capitalist, HBS trotted out a rationale for hiring him: "Jensen had been interested in testing his unorthodox ideas against the experiences of practitioners and had agreed to come to HBS on a temporary basis to get increased access to high-level decision makers in business." Hogwash. "Theory of the Firm" was testable only in the sense that Keynesian economics is testable, or a theory of whether a hurricane might sweep beachfront houses out to sea is testable -- you can debate the issues until you're blue in the face, but at some point, you just have to see what happens.A course grounded in agency theory that Jensen developed at HBS -- The Coordination and Control of Markets and Organizations -- was designed to make students more "tough-minded" and shift them from the "stakeholder model" of organizational purpose. It became one of the most popular electives at the school. Agency theory wasn't new, but Jensen's resurrected form of it provided academic justification for the takeover movement, and HBS provided its revolutionary soldiers."

David in Santa Cruz , August 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Yves, this post and Jerri-Lynn's companion post of Bill Black on corruption, are important discussions of our dishonorable libertarian zeitgeist.

Ironically, I think that the origins of modern neoliberal libertarianism can be traced back to Woodstock and its evil double Altamont. It can be no coincidence that Trump was played off the convention stage by a recording of the Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want .

I think that George Monbiot describes it well:

It is a pitiless, one-sided, mechanical view of the world, which elevates the rights of property over everything else, meaning that those who possess the most property end up with great power over others. Dressed up as freedom, it is a formula for oppression and bondage. It does nothing to address inequality, hardship or social exclusion. A transparently self-serving vision, it seeks to justify the greedy and selfish behaviour of those with wealth and power.

George Monbiot,
Why Libertarians Must Deny Climate Change
The Guardian, January 6, 2012

barry fay , September 1, 2019 at 8:14 am

Just because something is counterintuitive does not mean it´s insightful – mostly it means that it is just plain wrong! In this case, trotting out Woodstock as the root of neoliberal anything is absurd. The anti-corporation, anti-war, anti-empire feelings were palpable (I was there – you can hear them paging my twin brother "Alan Fay" on the album). The sense of community and brotherly love was REAL – as was the incipient reactionary response. Can´t have those kinds of ideas gaining traction in a capitalist society!

Bazarov , August 31, 2019 at 4:18 pm

I travel to Georgia frequently. I've seen that state's rural and urban and in between. While I did encounter some of the "southern hospitality" people so often cite, it was usually present in an upper-class milieu and did not leave much of an impression on me, as it felt "church-smile" inflected.

What did leave an impression on me was the homelessness and vagrancy, especially in Atlanta, where on my way back to the airport, I had a man practically beg me to let him carry my luggage so as to have a reason to give him alms. I had, on that same trip and on subsequent trips to the state, many similar encounters. These people were rather pushy–it was disturbing to me in that their hustle was driven by obvious desperation.

I currently live in Indiana, in a relatively affluent town, though I'm working class and reside in a modest apartment. Until recently, I did not own a car. I would walk to the grocery store a couple times a week. On one such walk, a homeless man asked if I had a light for his cigarette. I didn't, but we walked together for about twenty minutes. During our walk, I asked him about his life.

According to this man, the homeless in our town live in a tent settlement in the woods, which is the only place the police will tolerate such a gathering because it's out of sight (and therefore out of mind for the people that matter). He explained to me that, whatever the hardships for the homeless in our town, it was nothing compared to Atlanta, where he lived prior. He described the city as having the "hardest" streets he'd ever experienced. I should probably mention that this man was likely in his late 40s or early 50s, meaning he'd experienced a lot! It was so terrifying, he had to flee north.

That's what comes vividly to mind when I think of the "South". The politeness stuff hardly rates in comparison.

anon y'mouse , August 31, 2019 at 8:28 pm

as a total outsider, i feel that the veneer of the "southern hospitality" is intentionally to paper over and ignore the continuation of unjust systems.

this kind of "treating people with basic human decency" can and does very easily morph into "be quiet and say nothing while your social betters ride roughshod over everyone because you have no standing yourself to oppose them and it is considered impolite for YOU to point out these discrepancies".

i am torn between enjoying the image of sociability and detesting it. i know for a fact that most of it is a front, and that many people are talked badly about behind closed doors and over back fences, and that many people are shut out through these "kindnesses" (you can't complain as long as they didn't spit in your face). a lot of it is about maintaining pecking order. is -that- character? i think not.
but what do i know?

Yves Smith Post author , August 31, 2019 at 10:54 pm

Alabama doesn't have that many homeless because housing (particularly trailers) are cheap. Not saying those homeless are treated well, but there are shelters and services.

Atlanta is also an Old South city whereas Birmingham grew up after the Civil War.

https://abc3340.com/news/abc-3340-news-iteam/many-of-them-are-essentially-broken-homeless-population-tops-1000-in-central-al

Hayek's Heelbiter , August 31, 2019 at 4:21 pm

As a Southern exile of Faulkner's second type, now living in the UK, I respectfully disagree slightly with the statement:

.cultural homogeneity in the civil service, in politics, and even partly in the media, which had its origin in a certain upper middle class sense of duty, honesty and competence, inherited from the serious professional classes of the nineteenth century.

I think it goes much deeper than that back to a perhaps medieval sense of noblesse oblige .

You see this most starkly in the difference between Kate Middleton, who appears all over the place at the most mundane functions, allowing herself to be photographed with all and sundry, and Meghan Markle, who jets about in private planes on vacations and demands an entire section for herself at Wimbledon, asking guards to stop people photographing her.

Like so many of the 1%, I think her attitude could best be summed up as noblesse oublier .

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm

I've been under the impression that character was quite valuable to those who assume to be my superiors, particularly at work. "Builds character" they'd say. After about 30 years of that bullshit, I finally had the gall to ask the CEO about why he doesn't he build his *own* character, as opposed to building everyone elses.

They love building character, as long as it's someone elses.
Nope, don't work there anymore.

David , August 31, 2019 at 10:29 pm

I have always wondered why there are so many shootings today. The AR-15 came out in the 60s and I felt no fear going through a public high school in the late 70s. Now, it's "gun control/do something" vs improving the character of our country's citizens. Yeah, I know – trying to improve the character of our citizens is not very hash tag-able/ would be extremely difficult to do. But gun control is made for hashtags. We are doomed.

New Wafer Army , September 1, 2019 at 4:20 am

This book by Mark Ames should be elucidating:

Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond .

David , September 1, 2019 at 8:19 pm

Yep – We are doomed.

[Sep 02, 2019] Falling From Grace The Decline Of The US Empire

The USA centered global neoliberal empire falls from grace at alarming speed.
Just the discussion of this possibility would be unthinkable in 90th -- the period of triumphal advance of neoliberalism all over the globe. So thinks did change although it is unclear what is that direction of the social change -- neo-fascism or some kind of return to the New Del Capitalism (if so who will replace previous, forged by Great Depression political alignment between trade unions and management against the financial oligarchy, which financial oligarchy managed to broke using neoliberalism as the Trojan horse and bribing CEOs)
Om a was original fascist movements were also a protest against the rule of financial oligarchy. Even anti-Semitism in Germany was a kind of perverted protest against financial oligarchy as well. They were quickly subverted and in Germany anti-Semitism degenerated into irrational hatred and genocide, , but the fact remains. Just looks at NSDAP program of 1920 . Now we have somewhat similar sentiments with Wexner and Meta group in the USA. To say that they do not invoke any sympathy is an understatement.
The problem with empires that they do not only rob the "other people". They rob their own people as well, and rob them hard. The USSR people were really robbed by Soviet military industrial complex and Soviet globalist -- to the far greater extent then the USA people now. People were really as poor as church rats. Epidemic of alcoholism in the USA resembles the epidemic of narcoaddtion in the USA --- both are signs of desire then there is no jobs and now chances.
Like the collapse of the USSR was the result of the collapse of bolshevism, the collapse of the USA can be the result of the collapse of neoliberalism. Whether it will take 10 or 50 years is unclear, but the general tendency is down.
The competitors has grown much strong now and they want their place under then sub. That means squeezing the USA. Trump did agrat job in alientaing the US and that was probably the most important step is dismantling the USA empire that was taken. Add to that trade war with China and we have the situation that is not favorable to the USA politically in two important parts of the globe.
Add to this Brexit and we have clear tendency of states to reassert their sovereignty, which start hurting the USA based multinationals.
The only things that work in favor of the USA is that currently there is no clear alternative to neoliberalism other then some kind of restoration of the New Deal capitalism or neo-fasist dictatorship.
Notable quotes:
"... Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador. ..."
"... Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything. ..."
"... Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. ..."
"... You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people. ..."
"... And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward. ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Years ago, Doug Casey mentioned in a correspondence to me, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed."

Every now and then, you receive a comment that, although it may have been stated casually, has a lasting effect, as it offers uncommon insight. For me, this was one of those and it's one that I've kept handy at my desk since that time, as a reminder.

I'm from a British family, one that left the UK just as the British Empire was about to begin its decline. They expatriated to the "New World" to seek promise for the future.

As I've spent most of my life centred in a British colony – the Cayman Islands – I've had the opportunity to observe many British contract professionals who left the UK seeking advancement, which they almost invariably find in Cayman. Curiously, though, most returned to the UK after a contract or two, in the belief that the UK would bounce back from its decline, and they wanted to be on board when Britain "came back."

This, of course, never happened. The US replaced the UK as the world's foremost empire, and although the UK has had its ups and downs over the ensuing decades, it hasn't returned to its former glory.

And it never will.

If we observe the empires of the world that have existed over the millennia, we see a consistent history of collapse without renewal. Whether we're looking at the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Spanish Empire, or any other that's existed at one time, history is remarkably consistent: The decline and fall of any empire never reverses itself; nor does the empire return, once it's fallen.

But of what importance is this to us today?

Well, today, the US is the world's undisputed leading empire and most Americans would agree that, whilst it's going through a bad patch, it will bounce back and might even be better than ever.

Not so, I'm afraid. All empires follow the same cycle. They begin with a population that has a strong work ethic and is self-reliant. Those people organize to form a nation of great strength, based upon high productivity.

This leads to expansion, generally based upon world trade. At some point, this gives rise to leaders who seek, not to work in partnership with other nations, but to dominate them, and of course, this is when a great nation becomes an empire. The US began this stage under the flamboyant and aggressive Teddy Roosevelt.

The twentieth century was the American century and the US went from victory to victory, expanding its power.

But the decline began in the 1960s, when the US started to pursue unwinnable wars, began the destruction of its currency and began to expand its government into an all-powerful body.

Still, this process tends to be protracted and the overall decline often takes decades.

So, how does that square with the quote, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed"?

Well, the preparation for the fall can often be seen for a generation or more, but the actual fall tends to occur quite rapidly.

What happens is very similar to what happens with a schoolyard bully.

The bully has a slow rise, based upon his strength and aggressive tendency. After a number of successful fights, he becomes first revered, then feared. He then takes on several toadies who lack his abilities but want some of the spoils, so they do his bidding, acting in a threatening manner to other schoolboys.

The bully then becomes hated. No one tells him so, but the other kids secretly dream of his defeat, hopefully in a shameful manner.

Then, at some point, some boy who has a measure of strength and the requisite determination has had enough and takes on the bully.

If he defeats him, a curious thing happens. The toadies suddenly realise that the jig is up and they head for the hills, knowing that their source of power is gone.

Also, once the defeated bully is down, all the anger, fear and hatred that his schoolmates felt for him come out, and they take great pleasure in his defeat.

And this, in a nutshell, is what happens with empires.

A nation that comes to the rescue in times of genuine need (such as the two World Wars) is revered. But once that nation morphs into a bully that uses any excuse to invade countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria, its allies may continue to bow to it but secretly fear it and wish that it could be taken down a peg.

When the empire then starts looking around for other nations to bully, such as Iran and Venezuela, its allies again say nothing but react with fear when they see the John Boltons and Mike Pompeos beating the war drums and making reckless comments.

At present, the US is focusing primarily on economic warfare, but if this fails to get the world to bend to its dominance, the US has repeatedly warned, regarding possible military aggression, that "no option is off the table."

The US has reached the classic stage when it has become a reckless bully, and its support structure of allies has begun to de-couple as a result.

At the same time that allies begin to pull back and make other plans for their future, those citizens within the empire who tend to be the creators of prosperity also begin to seek greener pastures.

History has seen this happen countless times. The "brain drain" occurs, in which the best and most productive begin to look elsewhere for their future. Just as the most productive Europeans crossed the Pond to colonise the US when it was a new, promising country, their present-day counterparts have begun moving offshore.

The US is presently in a state of suspended animation. It still appears to be a major force, but its buttresses are quietly disappearing. At some point in the near future, it's likely that the US government will overplay its hand and aggress against a foe that either is stronger or has alliances that, collectively, make it stronger.


Basil1931 , 30 minutes ago link

The greatest (so called) threats to America- the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, ISIS, ( fill in the blank for the latest overseas bogeyman-of-the-week ) pale into a wisp beside the ongoing disintegration of American traditional family life. Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador.

Ms No , 38 minutes ago link

You also cant warn people about the collapse of empire either. People notoriously go into denial about it and it shocks the **** out of everybody. Since empires bluff and bluster at the end its all to easy for people want to believe.

Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything.

ohm , 55 minutes ago link

Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. if you think that the world would enter the age of Aquarius and peace will rule the planet you are extremely naive and stupid. If you think that the Chinese would be more benign rulers you are mistaken. The only reason China doesn't use its military to dominate other countries is because it is kept in check by the US.

HillaryOdor , 46 minutes ago link

You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people.

And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward.

In the real world, Chinese terrorists are just as bad as American terrorists. Despite the most popular hypnosis gripping the American psyche, you can't have liberty or justice as long as either one is in charge. Whether the Chinese would be worse is debatable. It's not like America has some great track record to compete against. Their reign has been a complete disaster for human rights.

ohm , 41 minutes ago link

We don't need any empire ruling the world.

Agreed. But wishing that something isn't going to happen doesn't stop it from happening.

HillaryOdor , 34 minutes ago link

Pretending you are better off under the current arrangement doesn't make it so.

Pretending you have any control over the future of world politics doesn't make it so.

simpson seers , 43 minutes ago link

'Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it '

for starters, peace would replace it, fake phoney ******.......

ohm , 42 minutes ago link

Why? Do you have a historical example?

ohm , 42 minutes ago link

Why? Do you have a historical example?

SHsparx , 37 minutes ago link

Expecting the inevitable and hoping for something are two different things.

Ms No , 29 minutes ago link

If China became the new empire we wouldnt live under it. It would be at least 100 years out. This empire will screw everybody epically first, plus we have decline weather patterns with super solar grand minimum. Also those people's who may see that next empire will deal with whatever circumstances present themselves and they wont give one **** what we think about it.

Basically power has kept moving west. Nobody will forget the depravity of this one. If written about accurately this one will be remembered most for the medical tyranny and intentional damage it did to human beings through injections and modified good supply, as well as moral depravity and proxy sadistic terrorism. Remember empire backed terrorist groups trafficked children and harvested organs. You can miss it if you want, few will.

ultramaroon , 11 minutes ago link

I do not _hope_ for an end of the American Empire, and I dread what is going to replace it. Howsoever, no empire lasts forever, and our empire is near its end. The Chinese are relentlessly cruel, and that's in their genotype. I probably won't live to see them take over the scraps and bits and pieces of our former empire. Those who are alive and in the prime of their lives when that happens will suffer unimaginably while they live, and their blood will cry out from the grave after they die. It makes me so heart-sick I can't bear to think about it for long, but our progeny will be forced to live it without let or hindrance.

Ms No , 8 minutes ago link

Lets find out the whole details of what they have done to our biology and our children's first before we say how cruel China might be. For starters look at what US and British did in Africa compared to China and Russia's involvement there. They are doing deals and not killing anybody, same with Venezuela.

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

Where else you going to go? What nation ISN'T broke? Europe is going to hell. So is South America. Africa has always been hell. Asia? Look what's going down in Hong Kong. China's broke. Make no mistake, the USA is in decline. But so is the rest of the world...

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

I'd say it's a race to the bottom but it's really that everyone is falling off the cliff at the same time...

perikleous , 1 hour ago link

regardless of what is printed China is not falling, they have a plan and have only advanced it. The debt side will not hurt them because they have been poor before and they have a route to success. They do not have resources but the industrial side is needed everywhere in the world. We are talking about a nation that literally prospered off of our garbage and resells it back to us! Think about it we use something up and pay them to take it away, they recycle it and resell it to us again and moved a nation 4x our population forward!

You really think debt will hurt them, especially the way the US determines debt! A huge portion of it is in the infrastructucture in China and along the BRI which will have returns over time, just as if we in the states rebuilt all our infrastructure by living wage employment rather than MIC investment!

Argentumentum , 1 hour ago link

Yes, all are broke. Assisted suicides of countries all over the world. Emphasise on "assisted".

Nations have been demoralized (the US most certainly, check Yuri Bezmenov) we are in destabilization phase already, collapse has to be next, it is unavoidable now. This will not end well, ignore at your own risk!

I am not talking about countries, just some Life Hedge Regions left in the world. People with brains and resources, you don need a Life Hedge Property! Away from Northern Hemisphere, away from Ring of Fire, etc... Get in touch. lifehedge(at) protonmail.com

He–Mene Mox Mox , 1 hour ago link

What got America into trouble was when Americans who thought of themselves as being "exceptional" became exceptionally stupid. The best and the brightest have already left America. Any wonder why we now depend on Russia to send our astronauts up on their rockets into space, or depend on China, South Korea, and Japan for our electronic products, or why better health care is found in other places outside the U.S., why our educational system has become poorer than what it was 60 years ago, etc.,?

perikleous , 1 hour ago link

When we decided to financialize everything and make nothing but investments we crippled our advancement.

When we decided to take the brightest minds in the world and recruit them into the US and then rather than advance the world with true science, we offer them lucrative money to enter financial markets to use their knowledge in that field.

We take the ones with morals and principles that choose to actually remain in science and then corrupt them over time with money/fame to regurgetate whatever their contractor chooses or lose funding for their projects.

We have corrupted every aspect of advancement and now just use our fake printed money to force the desperate to bend to our will.

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

Where do you see this better health care?

And you're saying the best and brightest left the USA for Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan? I don't think so...

Dump , 1 hour ago link

Good read on the subject of empires Sir John Glubb - The fate of empires and Search for survival.

We are probably near the end of the American Empire. And a fascinating by product of the HK protests is that we may well be near the end of Chinese Communism.

The Herdsman , 1 hour ago link

Nothing moves forward in a straight line. They move up and down. Empires are no exception. The Romans had their ups and downs throughout the course of their empire. You never know when a down cycle is the end but people who want it to end will always write articles like this.

American dominance might be drawing to an end....or it might be gearing up to go another 200 years. Nobody knows so it's a waste of time to speculate.

[Sep 02, 2019] Where is Margaret Thatcher now?

Highly recommended!
Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])

Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

[Sep 02, 2019] Questions Nobody Is Asking About Jeffrey Epstein by Eric Rasmusen

Highly recommended!
While details on Epstein death are not interesting (he ended like a regular pimp) the corruption of high level officials his case revealed in more troubling.
Notable quotes:
"... Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. ..."
"... What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath. ..."
"... What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney. ..."
"... Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. ..."
"... Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man. ..."
"... Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite. ..."
"... Statutory rape is not a federal crime ..."
"... At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large. ..."
"... Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations? ..."
"... Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail. ..."
"... In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days. ..."
"... Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. ..."
"... Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task. ..."
"... Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. ..."
"... "It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried. ..."
"... President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up. ..."
"... he sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper. ..."
"... Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner? ..."
"... Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them. ..."
"... What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this? ..."
"... Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them. ..."
"... "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure." ..."
"... James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them? ..."
"... There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this? ..."
"... The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was? ..."
"... Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation ..."
"... As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less. ..."
"... We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. ..."
"... One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/ ..."
"... ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat. The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened.

In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died. Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

I'm an expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking. What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath.

That's what Epstein would do. What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney.

Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. The reason people call such talk "conspiracy theories" when it comes to Epstein is that his friends are WASPs and Jews, not Italians and Mexicans. But WASPs and Jews are human too. They want to protect themselves. Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man.

In light of this, it would be very surprising if someone with a spare $50 million to spend to solve the Epstein problem didn't give it a try. A lot of people can be bribed for $50 million. Thus, we should have expected to see bribery attempts. If none were detected, it must have been because prison workers are not reporting they'd been approached.

Some people say that government incompetence is always a better explanation than government malfeasance. That's obviously wrong -- when an undeserving business gets a contract, it's not always because the government official in charge was just not paying attention. I can well believe that prisons often take prisoners off of suicide watch too soon, have guards who go to sleep and falsify records, remove cellmates from prisoners at risk of suicide or murder, let the TV cameras watching their most important prisoners go on the blink, and so forth. But that cuts both ways.

Remember, in the case of Epstein, we'd expect a murder attempt whether the warden of the most important federal jail in the country is competent or not. If the warden is incompetent, we should expect that murder attempt to succeed. Murder becomes all the more more plausible. Instead of spending $50 million to bribe 20 guards and the warden, you just pay some thug $30,000 to walk in past the snoring guards, open the cell door, and strangle the sleeping prisoner, no fancy James Bond necessary. Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite.

Now to my questions.

Why is nobody blaming the Florida and New York state prosecutors for not prosecuting Epstein and others for statutory rape?

Statutory rape is not a federal crime, so it is not something the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate or prosecute. They are going after things like interstate sex trafficking. Interstate sex trafficking is generally much harder to prove than statutory rape, which is very easy if the victims will testify.

At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large.

Note that if even if the evidence is just the girl's word against Ghislaine Maxwell's or Prince Andrew's, it's still quite possible to get a jury to convict. After all, who would you believe, in a choice between Maxwell, Andrew, and Anyone Else in the World? For an example of what can be done if the government is eager to convict, instead of eager to protect important people, see the 2019 Cardinal Pell case in Australia. He was convicted by the secret testimony of a former choirboy, the only complainant, who claimed Pell had committed indecent acts during a chance encounter after Mass before Pell had even unrobed. Naturally, the only cardinal to be convicted of anything in the Catholic Church scandals is also the one who's done the most to fight corruption. Where there's a will, there's a way to prosecute. It's even easier to convict someone if he's actually guilty.

Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations?

Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail.

In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days.

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

Not easy, I should think. It wouldn't be enough to prove that Epstein debauched teenagers. Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. The 2019 indictment is weak on this. The "interstate commerce" looks like it's limited to Epstein making phone calls between Florida and New York. This is why I am not completely skeptical when former U.S. Attorney Acosta says that the 2008 nonprosecution deal was reasonable. He had strong evidence the Epstein violated Florida state law -- but that wasn't relevant. He had to prove violations of federal law.

Why didn't Epstein ask the Court, or the Justice Dept., for permission to have an unarmed guard share his cell with him?

Epstein had no chance at bail without bribing the judge, but this request would have been reasonable. That he didn't request a guard is, I think, the strongest evidence that he wanted to die. If he didn't commit suicide himself, he was sure making it easy for someone else to kill him.

Could Epstein have used the safeguard of leaving a trove of photos with a friend or lawyer to be published if he died an unnatural death?

Well, think about it -- Epstein's lawyer was Alan Dershowitz. If he left photos with someone like Dershowitz, that someone could earn a lot more by using the photos for blackmail himself than by dutifully carrying out his perverted customer's instructions. The evidence is just too valuable, and Epstein was someone whose friends weren't the kind of people he could trust. Probably not even his brother.

Who is in danger of dying next?

Prison workers from guard to warden should be told that if they took bribes, their lives are now in danger. Prison guards may not be bright enough to realize this. Anybody who knows anything important about Epstein should be advised to publicize their information immediately. That is the best way to stay alive.

This is not like a typical case where witnesses get killed so they won't testify. It's not like with gangsters. Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task.

What happened to Epstein's body?

The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy.

Was Epstein's jail really full of mice?

The New York Times says,

"Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water -- as well as urine and fecal matter -- that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said. One lawyer said mice often eat his clients' papers."

" Often have to navigate standing water"? "Mice often eat his clients' papers?" Really? I'm skeptical. What do the vermin eat -- do inmates leave Snickers bars open in their cells? Has anyone checked on what the prison conditions really like?

Is it just a coincidence that Epstein made a new will two days before he died?

I can answer this one. Yes, it is coincidence, though it's not a coincidence that he rewrote the will shortly after being denied bail. The will leaves everything to a trust, and it is the trust document (which is confidential), not the will (which is public), that determines who gets the money. Probably the only thing that Epstein changed in his will was the listing of assets, and he probably changed that because he'd just updated his list of assets for the bail hearing anyway, so it was a convenient time to update the will.

Did Epstein's veiled threat against DOJ officials in his bail filing backfire?

Epstein's lawyers wrote in his bail request,

"If the government is correct that the NPA does not, and never did, preclude a prosecution in this district, then the government will likely have to explain why it purposefully delayed a prosecution of someone like Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender 10 years ago and was certainly no stranger to law enforcement. There is no legitimate explanation for the delay."

I see this as a veiled threat. The threat is that Epstein would subpoena people and documents from the Justice Department relevant to the question of why there was a ten-year delay before prosecution, to expose the illegitimate explanation for the delay. Somebody is to blame for that delay, and court-ordered disclosure is a bigger threat than an internal federal investigation.

Who can we trust?

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho. The FBI is untrustworthy, but Inspector-Generals are often honorable.

Someone else who may be a hero in this is Senator Ben Sasse. Vicki Ward writes in the Daily Beast :

"It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it's unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein -- basing some of their work on Brown's excellent reporting."

Will President Trump Cover Up Epstein's Death in Exchange for Political Leverage?

President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up.

Why did Judge Sweet order Epstein documents sealed in 2017. Did he die naturally in 2019?

Judge Robert Sweet in 2017 ordered all documents in an Epstein-related case sealed. He died in May 2019 at age 96, at home in Idaho. The sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper.

Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner?

Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them.

What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this?

Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them.

Acosta said that Washington Bush Administration people told him to go easy on Epstein because he was an intelligence source. That is plausible. Epstein had info and blackmailing ability with people like Ehud Barak, leader of Israel's Labor Party. But "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure."

Why did nobody pay attention to the two 2016 books on Epstein?

James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them?

Which newspapers reported Epstein's death as "suicide" and which as "apparent suicide"?

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug? There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this?

How much did Epstein corrupt the media from 2008 to 2019?

Even outlets that generally publish good articles must be suspected of corruption. Epstein made an effort to get good publicity. The New York Times wrote,

"The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost .

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times .

The National Review piece, from the same year, called him "a smart businessman" with a "passion for cutting-edge science."

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein's foundations In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having "given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children."

"We took down the piece, and regret publishing it," Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review since 1997, said in an email. He added that the publication had "had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.""

The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was?

Eric Rasmusen is an economist who has held an endowed chair at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and visiting positions at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Harvard Economics Department, Chicago's Booth School of Business, Nuffield College/Oxford, and the University of Tokyo Economics Department. He is best known for his book Games and Information. He has published extensively in law and economics, including recent articles on the burakumin outcastes in Japan, the use of game theory in jurisprudence, and quasi-concave functions. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not intended to represent the views of the Kelley School of Business or Indiana University. His vitae is at http://www.rasmusen.org/vita.htm .


Paul.Martin , says: September 2, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT

Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation

Apparently, there will always be many players on the field, and many ways to do damage control.

utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

It would be very easy for a motivated prosecutor.

Mann Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act The Mann Act was successfully used to prosecute several Christian preachers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

So the problem was finding a motivated prosecutor in case of Jewish predator with very likely links to intelligence services of several countries. The motivation was obviously lacking.

Your "expertise" in game theory would be greatly improved if you let yourself consider the Jewish factor.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less.
utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug?

Not the National Enquirer:

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Cover-up Exposed!
Death Scene Staged to Look Like Suicide
Billionaire's Screams Ignored by Guards!
Fatal Attack Caught on Jail Cameras!
Autopsy is Hiding the Truth!

National Enquirer, Sept 2. 2019
https://reader.magzter.com/preview/7l5c5vd5t28thcmigloxel3670370/367037

Mark James , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I don't hold AG Barr in the high regard this piece does. While I'm not suggesting he had anything to do with Epstein's death I do think he's corrupt. I doubt he will do anything that leads to the truth. As for him relieving the warden of his duties, I would hope that was to be expected, wasn't it? I mean he only had two attempts on Epstein's life with the second being a success. Apparently the first didn't jolt the warden into some kind of action as it appears he was guilty of a number of sins including 'Sloth.'

As for the publications that don't like conspiracy theories –like the National Review -- they are a hoot. We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. There was no camera specifically in the cell with Epstein.
In the end I think Epstein probably was allowed to kill himself but I'm not confident in that scenario at all. And yes the media should pressure Barr to hav e a look in the cell and see exactly how a suicide attempt might have succeeded or if it was a long-shot at best, given the materiel and conditions.

SafeNow , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
19. Why is the non-prosecution agreement ambiguous ("globally" binding), when it was written by the best lawyers in the country for a very wealthy client? Was the ambiguity bargained-for? If so, what are the implications?

20. With "globally" still being unresolved (to the bail judge's first-paragraph astonishment), why commit suicide now?

21. The "it was malfeasance" components are specified. For mere malfeasance to have been the cause, all of the components would have to be true; it would be a multiplicative function of the several components. Is no one sufficiently quantitative to estimate the magnitude?

22. What is the best single takeaway phrase that emerges from all of this? My nomination is: "In your face." The brazen, shameless, unprecedented, turning-point, in-your-faceness of it.

sally , says: September 2, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
ER the answer is easy to you list of questions .. there is no law in the world when violations are not prosecuted and fair open for all to see trials are not held and judges do not deliver the appropriate penalties upon convictions. .. in cases involving the CIA prosecution it is unheard of that a open for all to see trial takes place.

This is why we the governed masses need a parallel government..

such an oversight government would allow to pick out the negligent or wilful misconduct of persons in functional government and prosecute such persons in the independent people's court.. Without a second government to oversee the first government there is no democracy; democracy cannot stand and the governed masses will never see the light of a fair day .. unless the masses have oversight authority on what is to be made into law, and are given without prejudice to their standing in America the right to charge those associated to government with negligent or wilful misconduct.

mypoint

Anonymous [425] Disclaimer , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fMG8SVrqstg?feature=oembed

Brabantian , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT
There are big questions this article is not asking either

The words 'Mossad' seems not to appear above, and just a brief mention of 'Israel' with Ehud Barak

One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this
https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/

Was escape to freedom & Israe,l the ultimate payoff for Epstein's decades of work for Mossad, grooming and abusing young teens, filmed in flagrante delicto with prominent people for political blackmail?

Is it not likely this was a Mossad jailbreak covered by fake 'suicide', with Epstein alive now, with US gov now also in possession of the assumed Epstein sexual blackmail video tapes?

We have the Epstein 'death in jail' under the US Attorney General Bill Barr, a former CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him thru night law school, Bill Barr's later law firm Kirkland Ellis representing Epstein

Whose Jewish-born ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens

So would a crypto-Jewish 'former' CIA officer who is now USA Attorney General, possibly help a Mossad political blackmailer escape to Israel after a fake 'jail suicide'?

An intriguing 4chan post a few hours after Epstein's 'body was discovered', says Epstein was put in a wheelchair and driven out of the jail in a van, accompanied by a man in a green military uniform – timestamp is USA Pacific on the screencap apparently, so about 10:44 NYC time Sat.10 Aug

FWIW, drone video of Epstein's Little St James island from Friday 30 August, shows a man who could be Epstein himself, on the left by one vehicle, talking to a black man sitting on a quad all-terrain unit

Close up of Epstein-like man between vehicles, from video note 'pale finger' match-up to archive photo Epstein

Anon [261] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The thing that sticks out for me is that Epstein was caught, charged, and went to jail previously, but he didn't die . The second time, it appears he was murdered. I strongly suspect that the person who murdered Epstein was someone who only met Epstein after 2008, or was someone Epstein only procured for after 2008. Otherwise, this person would have killed Epstein back when Epstein was charged by the cops the first time.

Either that, or the killer is someone who is an opponent of Trump, and this person was genuinely terrified that Trump would pressure the Feds to avoid any deals and to squeeze all the important names out of Epstein and prosecute them, too.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am GMT
The author professes himself "expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking," but he doesn't say how his 18 questions were arrived at to the exclusion of hundreds of others. Instead, the column includes several casual assumptions and speculation. For example:

As to this last, isn't "quickly [firing] the federal prison head honcho" consistent with a failure-to-prevent-suicide deflection strategy? And has Mr. Rasmusen not "heard" of the hiring of Mr. Epstein by Mr. Barr's father? Or of the father's own Establishment background?

I hope to be wrong, but my own hunch is that these investigations, like the parallel investigations of the RussiaGate hoax, will leave the elite unscathed. I also hope that in the meantime we see more rigorous columns here than this one.

Miro23 , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

...Also, subsequently, it should have been a top priority to arrest Ghislaine Maxwell but the government, justice and media lack interest . Apparently, they don't know where she is, and they're not making any special efforts to find out.

Sick of Orcs , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Epstein had no "dead man's switch" which would release what he knew to media? C'mon! This is basic Villainy 101.

[Sep 02, 2019] A Question of Character naked capitalism

Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

I'm not sure the end of homogeneity was the driver of diminished respect for what was once called character. In the US, I hazard that a bigger factor was the widespread acceptance of libertarian/neoliberal values. As we've documented, that world view was marketed aggressively and very successfully by a loosely coordinated but well funded right wing campaign, whose seminal document was the Powell Memo of 1971 which laid out the vision and many of the tactics for their war on the New Deal and the community values that supported it. For instance, it would have been well-nigh impossible for a Mike Milken, who'd gone to prison for securities law violations (and was widely believed to have engaged in considerably more questionable conduct) to have rehabilitated himself to the degree he did.

From Amar:

John McArthur, in memoriam

He was one of a kind -- and his kindness and empathy (a much used word I know) was unbounded. It touched all from dining and custodial staff to taxi drivers. My parents apart, few other people have had such an influence on me. (And he did me the honor of reading everything I read: every book every article, every draft, the pages a sea of yellow highlight)

He was also astute, ruthless and got things done. His mind was extraordinary and his reading voracious and eclectic -- although you would never guess it from his aw shucks manner and country bumpkin style.

I first actually talked to him in my second year as assistant professor. We had a long long lunch at his corner table in the faculty club. We talked about everything -- except why we were having lunch. At the end he said, "Perhaps you'd like to know why i asked you to lunch. Well I've been reading your stuff and I wanted to put a face to the writing, to know who this person was who was writing this stuff."

A few days later a copy of Knight's Risk Uncertainty and Profit arrived in interoffice mail with one of John's classic handwritten notes, which went something along the following lines. "I think this will suit the way you think of the world."

I had never encountered the book in my doctoral studies, and it was revelatory.

We had lunches, lasting 2-3 hours nearly every year for the last 20 years after I left HBS. Always at the Charles ("If we ate at HBS there would be someone stopping by every minute" he said. At the Charles it was only every 10 minutes. And of course he knew every single waiter and waitress by name).

The stories he told at the lunches.. Such a pity he did not put his wisdom into a memoir. But that was not his way.

John, RIP.

ambrit , August 31, 2019 at 12:34 am

The benefits of a "classical" education.
One of the main supports of the 'civilized' social interactions that you observe here 'Down South' is a stubborn refusal to put a price on everything. It is not universal, but it lingers in pockets of calm salted among the storms of modern living.
Welcome to the South.

Carolinian , August 31, 2019 at 10:04 am

I have some neighbors who are the opposite of me politically (in fact most of my neighbors) but are wonderfully nice people on a personal level. Some of us who grew up here have had the opposite experience of Yves and lived for awhile in the North where all that politeness is dismissed as a false front.

Which in many cases it is, but the usefulness of all that unthinking social glue should not be dismissed out of hand. After decades of elites in thrall to Ayn Rand the country may be in need a few of those social norms that beatnik rebels in the 1950s found so stultifying. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Epstein was how all those rich people around him thought that his three teenager a day habit was perfectly acceptable.

bassmule , August 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

I don't know anything about anything, but after living in the Northeast for my whole life I spent 10 years in North Carolina. After a decade, I realized that I was never going to stop being a Yankee, and that I detested "Southern courtesy" which mostly involved people telling me to "Have a Blessed Day!"

I take part of this back: My favorite item of Southern Courtesy is that you can slander anyone as long as you end the sentence with " bless his heart!"

Seriously, it's a different culture, and not one that I was ever comfortable with.

[Sep 01, 2019] The Trump NLRB's Anti-Labor Day Capital Main

Sep 01, 2019 | capitalandmain.com

Employee rights advocates say this Labor Day's family barbecues and union solidarity picnics will take place in the shadow of a Trump administration that has quietly stacked the National Labor Relations Board with anti-labor members. The federal agency is far less well-known than the IRS or EPA, but its five presidential appointees issue rulings with often far-reaching consequences for America's working men and women. The NLRB was created in 1935 to oversee collective bargaining and protect labor standards; the majority of its current board have worked for years with pro-employer firms or on behalf of industry.

Under the Trump administration, says Henry Willis , a veteran employment rights attorney at Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers, "They are rolling back rights as fast as they can."

Even before Trump was elected president, labor advocates had long lamented an NLRB process weighted towards employers who have the power of the paycheck and an array of tactics to shut down union organizing drives. A 2009 study , published by the liberal Economic Policy Institute think tank, found that during 57 percent of union election processes, employers threatened to shut down their workplaces; and during 34 percent of those organizing drives, employers fired workers and used one-on-one meetings with employees to threaten them.

Study author Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research and a senior lecturer at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, says those numbers have remained steady since 2009.

Moreover, Bronfenbrenner adds, when an administration changes it's not uncommon for boards to reverse some preceding labor decisions, but that "there's a different tone to this board in that it is reversing long-held law. Not just changing rules but reversing decisions that had been agreed upon for a long time."

In other words, the NLRB under Trump represents a tectonic shift in the way the agency has traditionally operated.

Bronfenbrenner cites a recent decision that allows employers to stop bargaining and call for a new union election each time a contract approaches expiration -- in effect, inviting company employees to decertify their union. "[Employers] can just say, 'I no longer believe the union has support, and then there will be an election," she says. "Employers can do that every single time a contract expires."

Willis, who litigates on the front lines, ticks off a list illustrating a piece-by-piece dismantling of employee rights.

"The current board has been attacking Obama board decisions on issues such as [establishing] who's an independent contractor and who's an employee," he says, referring to a January 2019 revision of the standard used to determine whether independent contractors are covered by the National Labor Relations Act, which, the NLRB proclaims on its website , was passed by Congress in 1935 "to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, and which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy."

The January decision makes it less likely that the contractors will be given the same rights as employees.

"That's a big issue," Willis says. "Especially with the gig economy."

Another 2017 NLRB decision upended the definition of bargaining units . An employer no longer has to recognize or bargain with smaller units within a single work location, forcing a union to do large-scale organizing.

Organizing a shoe department, Willis notes, is less daunting than organizing an entire department store.

The Obama NLRB strove to proactively extend protections to unorganized shops -- where workers are less likely to know their rights. "The Trump board is taking a reactionary approach -- pulling back wherever possible," Willis says.

* * *

Currently operating with a vacant seat , the five-member board consists of three Republicans and Obama appointee Lauren McFerran, and it's set to term out in December. Conservative interests have urged President Trump to wait until McFerran leaves and then to fill the two empty seats to lock in a unanimous pro-employer majority.

Also in the works is a restructuring of the NLRB that would centralize decision-making in Washington and bring decisions now investigated and adjudicated at the regional level under scrutiny there.

Trump general counsel appointee Peter Robb issued a 2017 memo directing NLRB regional offices to submit to his Division of Advice for review cases involving "significant legal issues . " In 2018 Robb announced an intention to reorganize the agency's 26 regional offices into a smaller number of districts that report directly to Robb -- who could then present the issues to the NLRB in a way to give cover to the board to reverse local decisions and create precedent.

"The current general counsel has been trying to shift decision-making power from the regions to D.C. and creating a new layer of administration to give him more control over how the regions handle unfair labor practice charges," says Willis. "It hasn't been carried out, but the general counsel certainly has a big foot and brings it down much more frequently these days."

It's not all bleak news for labor, however. Unions are now organizing and representing contract workers, including hundreds of thousands of janitors, whether or not the NLRB designates them as employees, says Bronfenbrenner.

She sees the most vibrant aspects today's labor movement in industries where the majority are women and men and women of color -- and notes that those constituencies were largely shunned by organized labor when it was at the height of its strength.

"Organized labor only started getting a move on when their density had gone down below down to 12 percent and that's a little late. If they had done it when their density was 50 percent or 45 percent, they could have used their bargaining power."

[Aug 31, 2019] The motivator is "Gap Psychology," the human desire to distance oneself from those below (on any scale), and to come nearer to those above.

Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell , August 31, 2019 at 8:45 am

The motivator is " Gap Psychology ," the human desire to distance oneself from those below (on any scale), and to come nearer to those above.

The rich are rich because the Gap below them is wide, and the wider the Gap, the richer they are .

And here is the important point: There are two ways the rich widen the Gap: Either gain more for themselves or make sure those below have less.

That is why the rich promulgate the Big Lie that the federal government (and its agencies, Social Security and Medicare) is running short of dollars. The rich want to make sure that those below them don't gain more, as that would narrow the Gap.

Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 10:56 am

Negative sum game, where one wins but the other has to lose more so the party of the first part feels even better about winning. There is an element of sadism, sociopathy and a few other behaviors that the current systems allow to be gamed even more profitably. If you build it, or lobby to have it built, they will come multiple times.

[Aug 26, 2019] Free trade movement can be called the corporate liberation movement

Aug 26, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> Plp... , August 24, 2019 at 12:17 PM

Shibboleths falling left and right ... how soon before some 'free' trade fundamentalists like Krugman finally come around to acknowledging that it was all laissez-faire rebranded as 'free' trade? It was all about cheap labor, property rights, profits, and avoiding taxes and paying for externalities ... pure laissez-faire... stuff that Krugman and his ilk refuse to address or rectify in their corporatist columns lauding 'free' trade.
Plp -> JohnH... , August 24, 2019 at 12:17 PM
I call it the corporate liberation movement

... ... ..

JohnH -> Plp... , August 24, 2019 at 03:20 PM
Exactly, problem is that many Democrats remain totally loyal even though the party switched directions 30 years ago and these gullible folks have yet to figure out that the New Democrats incorporated the policies of Bush 41 Republicans while trying to maintain a fake veneer of FDR.

[Aug 26, 2019] The real problem is that since probably late 60th most academic economists were and still are elite prostitutes of financial oligarchy

Aug 26, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> Christopher H.... , August 25, 2019 at 09:27 AM

Blame Economists for the Mess We're In
Binyamin Appelbaum, Aug. 25, 2019
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/economics-milton-friedman.html

"In the early 1950s, a young economist named Paul Volcker worked as a human calculator in an office deep inside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He crunched numbers for the people who made decisions, and he told his wife that he saw little chance of ever moving up. The central bank's leadership included bankers, lawyers and an Iowa hog farmer, but not a single economist. The Fed's chairman, a former stockbroker named William McChesney Martin, once told a visitor that he kept a small staff of economists in the basement of the Fed's Washington headquarters. They were in the building, he said, because they asked good questions. They were in the basement because ''they don't know their own limitations.''

Martin's distaste for economists was widely shared among the midcentury American elite. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dismissed John Maynard Keynes, the most important economist of his generation, as an impractical ''mathematician.'' President Eisenhower, in his farewell address, urged Americans to keep technocrats from power. Congress rarely consulted economists; regulatory agencies were led and staffed by lawyers; courts wrote off economic evidence as irrelevant.

But a revolution was coming. As the quarter century of growth that followed World War II sputtered to a close, economists moved into the halls of power, instructing policymakers that growth could be revived by minimizing government's role in managing the economy. They also warned that a society that sought to limit inequality would pay a price in the form of less growth. In the words of a British acolyte of this new economics, the world needed ''more millionaires and more bankrupts.''
In the four decades between 1969 and 2008, economists played a leading role in slashing taxation of the wealthy and in curbing public investment. They supervised the deregulation of major sectors, including transportation and communications. They lionized big business, defending the concentration of corporate power, even as they demonized trade unions and opposed worker protections like minimum wage laws. Economists even persuaded policymakers to assign a dollar value to human life -- around $10 million in 2019 -- to assess whether regulations were worthwhile.

The revolution, like so many revolutions, went too far. Growth slowed and inequality soared, with devastating consequences. Perhaps the starkest measure of the failure of our economic policies is that the average American's life expectancy is in decline, as inequalities of wealth have become inequalities of health. Life expectancy rose for the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans between 1980 and 2010. Over the same three decades, life expectancy declined for the poorest 20 percent of Americans. Shockingly, the difference in average life expectancy between poor and wealthy women widened from 3.9 years to 13.6 years.
Rising inequality also is straining the health of liberal democracy. The idea of ''we the people'' is fading because, in this era of yawning inequality, there is less we share in common. As a result, it is harder to build support for the kinds of policies necessary to deliver broad-based prosperity in the long term, like public investment in education and infrastructure.
Economists began to enter public service in large numbers in the middle of the 20th century, as policymakers struggled to manage the rapid expansion of the federal government. The number of economists employed by the government rose from about 2,000 in the mid-1950s to more than 6,000 by the late 1970s. At first they were hired to rationalize the administration of policy, but they soon began to shape the goals of policy, too. Arthur F. Burns became the first economist to lead the Fed in 1970. Two years later, George Shultz became the first economist to serve as Treasury secretary. In 1978, Volcker completed his rise from the Fed's bowels, becoming the central bank's chairman.
The most important figure, however, was Milton Friedman, an elfin libertarian who refused to take a job in Washington, but whose writings and exhortations seized the imagination of policymakers. Friedman offered an appealingly simple answer for the nation's problems: Government should get out of the way. He joked that if bureaucrats gained control of the Sahara, there would soon be a shortage of sand.

He won his first big victory in an unlikely battle, helping to persuade President Nixon to end military conscription in 1973. Friedman and other economists showed that a military comprised solely of volunteers, recruited by offering market-rate wages, was financially viable as well as politically preferable. The Nixon administration also embraced Friedman's proposal to let markets determine the exchange rates between the dollar and foreign currencies, and it was the first to put a price tag on human life to justify limits on regulation.
But the turn toward markets was a bipartisan affair. The reduction of federal income taxation began under President Kennedy. President Carter initiated an era of deregulation in 1977 by naming an economist, Alfred Kahn, to dismantle the bureaucracy that supervised commercial aviation. President Clinton restrained federal spending in the 1990s as the economy boomed, declaring that ''the era of big government is over.''
Liberal and conservative economists conducted running battles on key questions of public policy, but their areas of agreement ultimately were more important. Although nature tends toward entropy, they shared a confidence that markets tend toward equilibrium. They agreed that the primary goal of economic policy was to increase the dollar value of the nation's output. And they had little patience for efforts to limit inequality. Charles L. Schultze, the chairman of Mr. Carter's Council of Economic Advisers, said in the early 1980s that economists should fight for efficient policies ''even when the result is significant income losses for particular groups -- which it almost always is.'' A generation later, in 2004, the Nobel laureate Robert Lucas warned against any revival of efforts to reduce inequality. ''Of the tendencies that are harmful to sound economics, the most seductive, and in my opinion the most poisonous, is to focus on questions of distribution.''

Accounts of the rise of inequality often take a fatalistic view. The problem is described as a natural consequence of capitalism, or it is blamed on forces, like globalization or technological change, that are beyond the direct control of policymakers. But much of the fault lies in ourselves, in our collective decision to embrace policies that prioritized efficiency and encouraged the concentration of wealth, and to neglect policies that equalized opportunity and distributed rewards. The rise of economics is a primary reason for the rise of inequality.

And the fact that we caused the problem means the solution is in our power, too.

Markets are constructed by people, for purposes chosen by people -- and people can change the rules. It's time to discard the judgment of economists that society should turn a blind eye to inequality. Reducing inequality should be a primary goal of public policy.

The market economy remains one of humankind's most awesome inventions, a powerful machine for the creation of wealth. But the measure of a society is the quality of life throughout the pyramid, not just at the top, and a growing body of research shows that those born at the bottom today have less chance than in earlier generations to achieve prosperity or to contribute to society's general welfare -- even if they are rich by historical standards.

This is not just bad for those who suffer, although surely that is bad enough. It is bad for affluent Americans, too. When wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, studies show, total consumption declines and investment lags. Corporations and wealthy households increasingly resemble Scrooge McDuck, sitting on piles of money they can't use productively.

Willful indifference to the distribution of prosperity over the last half century is an important reason the very survival of liberal democracy is now being tested by nationalist demagogues. I have no special insight into how long the rope can hold, or how much weight it can bear. But I know our shared bonds will last longer if we can find ways to reduce the strain."

likbez -> JohnH... , August 26, 2019 at 10:22 AM
If we discard political correctness issues, the real problem is that since probably late 60th most academic economists were and still are elite prostitutes of financial oligarchy.

The level of corruption of academic economists reached really unprecedented levels under neoliberalism. The level of remuneration (direct but mostly indirect) was raised probably ten fold.

Because one of the way neoliberals got to power is the infiltration of economic departments in universities via grants and specially created positions. As well as creating think tanks staffed with "professional neoliberal revolutionaries" as a proxy of Bolsheviks Party full time party functionaries.

[Aug 25, 2019] Thatcher's mantra TINA (There Is No Alternative)

Notable quotes:
"... The ideal modern subject is the 'consumer/spectator' who exercises their anti-capitalism by consuming a more ethical brand of product. In which way: capitalism subsumes its anti-capitalist antithesis TINA. If you have a new idealism: you have to market it and so it becomes just another brand of capitalism. It becomes a new consumerism. That's capitalist realism. TINA. ..."
"... That which we are when we turn away – and ultimately turn off – the consumer spectacle. We are not rational self-maximisers seeking maximum market access only for ourselves. Our idolatry of greed will not provide a Kantian *summum bonum* of objective market values of welfare and wellbeing for all. That is a mendacious lie only a utopian 'capitalist realist' could believe. We have to seek the alternative. Now: while we are already crossing the event horizon of yet another crisis of capitalism entering the black hole at the heart of overfinancialisation and debt deflation. We have yet to admit that it is entropy dragging us in. It's gonna have to more than a "beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending" story. It's gonna have to be real world relevant and credible too. ..."
"... Capitalism does not work as a culturally conditioned psychology; an ecology; or even as an economy. Each time it fails: it is restarted by a massive, never before known, transference of wealth from the poor to rich ..."
"... Only utopian capitalist realists can ever believe that any of this pseudo-wealth will trickle down in any meaningful way. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | off-guardian.org

BigB

... ... ..

Ed nails it: everyone gets the Debordian Spectacle angle. I, for one, need no more convincing of the true nature of capitalism. Which brings me back to Pfaller's meaningless usage of the term 'Postmodernism'. We had this discussion last week: so I will only re-iterate this. The blanket use of the term says nothing useful at all. For 'progressive neoliberalism': I propose Mark Fisher's term – "Capitalist Realism". Mainly because it does supply valuable conceptual and semantic framing of sense and meaning.

As given most succinctly in the book's (it's an essay really) subtitle and Thatcher's mantra – TINA (There Is No Alternative). Capitalism has totally colonised culture – in roughly the same timescale Pfaller is indicating (perhaps a bit earlier) – and shaped contemporary consciousness by commodifying and consumerising it.

The ideal modern subject is the 'consumer/spectator' who exercises their anti-capitalism by consuming a more ethical brand of product. In which way: capitalism subsumes its anti-capitalist antithesis TINA. If you have a new idealism: you have to market it and so it becomes just another brand of capitalism. It becomes a new consumerism. That's capitalist realism. TINA.

This double-bind situationism speaks more eloquently to me than the pseudo-label 'PoMo' – which can mean anything to anyone – and therefore means nothing to everyone. Which brings me back to the point, as I see it, that Ed is making. We need a new alternative. Bauman, Pfaller, Zizek, Giddens, etc can argue to the cows come home about when 'high modernity' became 'postmodernity' or did it just continue as 'liquid modernity' (to which I would concur) if not that these damn meaningless terms offer little of a counterculture or liberational praxis. One that defies consumerisation.

I give you us as the answer. That which we are when we turn away – and ultimately turn off – the consumer spectacle. We are not rational self-maximisers seeking maximum market access only for ourselves. Our idolatry of greed will not provide a Kantian *summum bonum* of objective market values of welfare and wellbeing for all. That is a mendacious lie only a utopian 'capitalist realist' could believe. We have to seek the alternative. Now: while we are already crossing the event horizon of yet another crisis of capitalism entering the black hole at the heart of overfinancialisation and debt deflation. We have yet to admit that it is entropy dragging us in. It's gonna have to more than a "beautiful, illuminating, and heart-rending" story. It's gonna have to be real world relevant and credible too.

Capitalism does not work as a culturally conditioned psychology; an ecology; or even as an economy. Each time it fails: it is restarted by a massive, never before known, transference of wealth from the poor to rich. These are waves and cycles of 'primitive accumulation' and 'accumulation by dispossession'.

Only utopian capitalist realists can ever believe that any of this pseudo-wealth will trickle down in any meaningful way. How can it ever be meaningful if it is essentially a meaningless inescapable void of exponential and entropic debt deflation? Capitalism is the biggest anti-utopian social engineering project in history. One that offers only a soulless, submissive Void for the consumer/spectator – TINA. That's capitalist realism.

Nothing else matters other than avoiding this Void of capitalist realist nihilisation of humanity. Nothing. Jeffrey who?

[Aug 25, 2019] Trump and the value of the 90 days probation period for any newly elected President

Aug 25, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

youshallnotkill , 2 hours ago link

The markets love nothing more than uncertainty. Anybody who says otherwise is spreading fake news. /s

Serious question: Is he shorting the market? Nobody can be this dumb or demented.

free corn , 2 hours ago link

Never underestimate a comedian!

steverino999 , 2 hours ago link

It's just too bad being elected President doesn't come with a 90-day probationary period that many employers use, because if they did Mike Pence would be considering a 2nd Term run right now.........

[Aug 24, 2019] Trump Tariff tantrums are just silly and counterproductive

During election campaign of 2016 many people though that Trump is shrewd real estate developer who can quickly learn statecraft. He proved to be a primitive emotionally unstably narcissist, a bully who spoil any negotiation he enters. And has only one tool in his arsenal -- direct threats. Looks like the highest position he is suitable for is a boss of a small NYC gang.
Notable quotes:
"... Conversely, is the goal to disrupt supply chains and re-domicile them back to the U.S.? If so, then where is his administration's support for R&D, education, and other industrial policies that could enhance national development, thereby making the U.S. a more attractive place to reclaim high valued-added supply chains? ..."
"... In fact, his secretary of education is viscerally hostile to the very concept of publicly funded education (of any kind), as well as being a shill for charter schools and privatized voucher programs (in which her family has vested economic interests ). ..."
"... As Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind argue in a recent American Affairs article, "Trump proudly touts his tax cutting and deregulation prowess, while his budgets slash support for key national investments in building blocks like research and development, manufacturing support programs, infrastructure, and education and training." This comes at a time when America's infrastructure is already one of the worst in the developed world . ..."
"... Furthermore, as recent events have illustrated, there is little Trump can do if and when China devalues its currency to offset the impact of the increased tariff charges he has introduced (or threatened to revive). ..."
"... Berle, Galbraith and others were advocates for local content requirements so as to sustain America's industrial ecosystem. And they favored buffer stocks to reduce global booms and busts. ..."
"... Enough with the "tariff tantrums." Or the silly idea that a modern economy can forfeit manufacturing to its rivals and specialize in finance, entertainment, tourism, and natural resource industries like farming, while making empty pledges about retraining and relocation to help the "losers" of global integration (promises seldom kept). ..."
"... We have a domestic crisis, and must do better than simply retreat to the delusions of neoliberalism or mindless protectionism if the American people are to come out as winners in a viable future trade framework with Beijing and the rest of the world. ..."
"... “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” ..."
"... US elites have had their snouts in the trough, and have been so busy gorging themselves they didn’t notice a new superpower rising. ..."
"... “The family which takes its mauve an cerise, air-conditioned, power-steered and power-braked automobile out for a tour passes through cities that are badly paved, made hideous by litter, lighted buildings, billboards and posts for wires that should long since have been put underground. They pass on into countryside that has been rendered largely invisible by commercial art. (The goods which the latter advertise have an absolute priority in our value system. Such aesthetic considerations as a view of the countryside accordingly come second. On such matters we are consistent.) They picnic on exquisitely packaged food from a portable icebox by a polluted stream and go on to spend the night at a park which is a menace to public health and morals. Just before dozing off on an air mattress, beneath a nylon tent, amid the stench of decaying refuse, they may reflect vaguely on the curious unevenness of their blessings. Is this, indeed, the American genius?” ..."
"... Yes. This is one of the better articles written about the absolutely insane and almost suicidal trade policy our elites have pursued and what goals we should pursue. These are key points made: ..."
"... Could be wrong, but when considering the success or failure of the China tariff initiative under some “Grand Strategy” that has been implemented to reorder US relations with China and restore a US manufacturing base, I think it might be useful to move upstream a bit and consider whether it aligns with this administration’s overall “Grand Strategy”. To distill it down to its essence, it’s “Move Fast and Break Things”. ..."
"... Trump is a shameless opportunist with a standard set of tactics, used solely for his own benefit. His only policy goal is more personal power. ..."
"... These pieces that characterize China as some sort of “evil empire” undermine their authors’ credibility. Before complaining in a self-righteous and aggrieved tone over another country’s unfair trade and “national security” practices American commentators might want to take a closer look at this country’s conduct vis a vis its international partners and competitors. (They could also benefit from reading what Michael Hudson has to say about China’s economic practices.) ..."
"... Trump Never Had a Grand Strategy for any action, Including China ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Many rationales have been deployed by the president to explain his ongoing embrace of the tariff weapon. None, however, fully stack up.

Trump has been compared to previous "tariff men," such as former Republican President William McKinley , who explicitly campaigned in the 1896 election on a protectionist platform. Like McKinley, Trump has expressed his support for tariffs in nationalistic terms. He sees them less as a tax on the domestic consumer, more a key tool to make American business great again, as well as claiming that tariffs represent a valuable source of government revenue . This appeal to historical precedent is another worn-out lie to justify a stupid policy. As the Washington Post points out , "tariffs haven't been a major source of U.S. revenue in 100 years," and Trump himself explicitly exempted certain products from tariff increases until December 15 because of his concern about the costs that they would impose on U.S. consumers as we head into the Christmas shopping season. The revenue generation argument is particularly laughable, coming from a man whose entire working life, both in the public and private sector, has been marked by a complete indifference to debt buildup, let alone fretting about paying it back . It's a true perversion of history to connect Trump's tariff legacy in any way to that of McKinley.

Conversely, is the goal to disrupt supply chains and re-domicile them back to the U.S.? If so, then where is his administration's support for R&D, education, and other industrial policies that could enhance national development, thereby making the U.S. a more attractive place to reclaim high valued-added supply chains? For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook, justifying his company's decision to manufacture iPhones in China, pointed to the abundance of skilled manufacturing labor in that country, along with Beijing's decision to emphasize vocational training at a time when the idea has been virtually abandoned in the U.S. This a problem that predates Trump, but the president has done nothing to rectify the deficiency. In fact, his secretary of education is viscerally hostile to the very concept of publicly funded education (of any kind), as well as being a shill for charter schools and privatized voucher programs (in which her family has vested economic interests ).

As Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind argue in a recent American Affairs article, "Trump proudly touts his tax cutting and deregulation prowess, while his budgets slash support for key national investments in building blocks like research and development, manufacturing support programs, infrastructure, and education and training." This comes at a time when America's infrastructure is already one of the worst in the developed world .

Does the president just want to offer American businesses a temporary respite from hostile Chinese mercantilism via tariffs? If so, his tariffs have hitherto been singularly unsuccessful in stopping Beijing's mercantilist efforts to try to maximize global market share by dumping below cost until its foreign rivals are driven out of their home markets. Furthermore, as recent events have illustrated, there is little Trump can do if and when China devalues its currency to offset the impact of the increased tariff charges he has introduced (or threatened to revive).

Is Trump concerned about national security? U.S. lawmakers and intelligence officials have claimed, for example, that both Huawei and ZTE could be exploited by the Chinese government for espionage and sanctions-busting respectively, presenting a potentially grave national security risk. Yet the president has often appeared prepared to ignore these concerns, in the interests of using these companies as trade bargaining chips , designed to secure some additional purchases of American soybeans or, more generally, as part of a bigger trade deal.

To be sure, some of the president's criticism of the historic status quo in trade is valid, as the post-industrial wastelands strewn across the country illustrate. China's entry into the World Trade Organization had a profoundly negative impact on U.S. manufacturing jobs . We therefore need a national development strategy that breaks with many of the shibboleths of the so-called " Washington Consensus ." As I've written before , the policy goal should be to "change the labor share of the production equation, so that production vastly increases general welfare and living standards for the largest possible majority of people. By conducting policy with a view toward favoring labor over capital, the aim is to produce a larger economy, and more stable (albeit restrained) profits."

Historically, America has not always approached things simplistically through the lens of the free market/market fundamentalist paradigm. After World War II, figures such as A.A. Berle and John Kenneth Galbraith advocated global cartels in commodities to raise incomes in developing countries, and thereby become additional sources of demand for American manufacturers. They also looked benignly on transnational industrial cartels at home in the U.S. Berle, Galbraith and others were advocate