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The more things change in the USA casino capitalism the more they stay the same

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“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product
of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

John Maynard Keynes

"Life is a school of probabilities."

Walter Bagehot

Note: Some thoughts  on 2019  added on Jan 3, 2019.

Neoliberal economics (aka casino capitalism) function from one crash to another. Risk is pervasively underpriced under neoliberal system, resulting in bubbles small and large which hit the economy periodically. The problem are not strictly economical or political. They are ideological. Like a country which adopted a certain religion follows a certain path, The USA behaviour after adoption of neoliberalism somewhat correlate with the behaviour of alcoholic who decided to booze himself to death. The difference is that debt is used instead of booze.

Hypertrophied role of financial sector under neoliberalism introduces strong positive feedback look into the economic system making the whole system unstable. Any attempts to put some sand into the wheels in the form of increasing transaction costs or jailing some overzealous bankers or hedge fund managers are blocked by political power of financial oligarchy, which is the actual ruling class under neoliberalism for ordinary investor (who are dragged into stock market by his/her 401K) this in for a very bumpy ride. I managed to observe just two two financial crashed under liberalism (in 2000 and 2008) out of probably four (Savings and loan crisis was probably the first neoliberal crisis). The next crash is given, taking into account that hypertrophied role of financial sector did not changes neither after dot-com crisis of 200-2002 not after 2008 crisis (it is unclear when and if it ended; in any case it was long getting the name of "Great Recession").

Timing of the next crisis is anybody's guess but it might well be closer then we assume. As Mark Twain aptly observed: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes" ;-):

This morning that meant a stream of thoughts triggered by Paul Krugman’s most recent op-ed, particularly this:

Most of all, the vast riches being earned — or maybe that should be “earned” — in our bloated financial industry undermined our sense of reality and degraded our judgment.

Think of the way almost everyone important missed the warning signs of an impending crisis. How was that possible? How, for example, could Alan Greenspan have declared, just a few years ago, that “the financial system as a whole has become more resilient” — thanks to derivatives, no less? The answer, I believe, is that there’s an innate tendency on the part of even the elite to idolize men who are making a lot of money, and assume that they know what they’re doing.

As most 401K investors are brainwashing into being "over bullish", this page is strongly bearish in "perma-bear" fashion in order to serve as an antidote to "Barrons" style cheerleading. Funny, but this page is accessed mostly during periods of economic uncertainty. At least this was the case during the last two financial crisis(2000 and 2008). No so much during good times: the number of visits drops to below 1K a month.

Some thoughts  on 2019

It was clear that 2017 stock market run was detached from fundamentals. Mostly speculative run. And the current stock market decline could well happen three months aerler or three month later but it was in the cards. It is difficult to estimate the power of inertia in such speculative runs. Also layoffs and decline of the standard liming of workers and lower middle class still can continue to improve the balance sheet until "Yellow Vests" moment stops them.

Jobs created now are mostly "inferior" low paid or temp/contractor jobs and the numbers just mask the cruel reality of the USA job market.

Which in reality is dismal, especially for young and old workers. several more or less paid specialties disappeared in 2018 due to automation (cash office worker is one). automatic cashier is supermarkets are also now more visible.  So spontaneous cases of vandalism, killings of coworkers and other form of "action of desperation" (as well as the rate of death from opioids -- which is yet another form of the same) would not be too surprising in such an atmosphere. Even with the power of the current national security state. Trump is playing with fire trying to cut on food stamps and implementing some other action in this program of "national neoliberalism" which is in internal policy is almost undistinguishable from neofascism.  He risk facing "Macron situation" sooner or later.

In any case at some point Minsky moment should arrive for the stock market. I am not sure that the current decline is that start of such an event. It might be postponed further down the line for a year or two.  But it will eventually come.  We can only guess what form it might take, but with the current Apple troubles and valuations of tech sector I think it might take the form of something similar to dot-com bubble deflation No.2

I do not see Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft and other tech high flyers completely immune to the stock crash of 50% magnitude or more. For example, Google is overly dependent on advertising revenue which can grow only by strangulating small sites owners which use it as the advertizing platform (which it successfully implements fro several years now). But at some point owners might revolt and start dropping it for Microsoft or other platform.  Facebook might face a backlash, if people understand that selling data about them in the part of the business model, not an aberration.

One of the most unexplainable things that happened in 2018 was dramatic fall of oil prices in the Q4. This was quite surprising (and destructive) after the period of little or no capital investment in the new fields for three years or so.  Shale oil production increases in the USA are only possible if junk bonds can be produced along with it. Junks bonds that will never be paid. With the current debt load and prices below $50 most of the USA shale oil companies are zombies. Most if not all of thenm are losing money.  Only return of ~$70 oil prices can save them, if anything at all. WSJ touched this topic recently.

So this surprising fall of oil prices (from around $70 to around $43 WTI) looks connected to the speculations in the "paper oil" market.

Financialization allows for oil price to be completely detached from fundamentals for a year or even two (Saudis need over $80 I think to balance the budget, I think; this represents "fair price" as they are one of the three largest producers).

But you will never know this unless there are shortages at gas stations. The difference is covered by inflated statistics from IEA and similar agencies as well as "paper oil" -- future contracts which are settled in dollars.

This is the reality of "casino capitalism" ( aka neoliberalism ) with its rampant and destructive financialization.


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[Apr 22, 2019] Mueller Report Brings Into Focus Obama s Attempted Coup Against Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Americans should be marching in the streets at this attempted coup but we are so doped with mindless entertainment that we no longer care. We are becoming a system where as long as you don't challenge the 2 party system you are allowed your freedom to make money and to say whatever you want so long as it doesn't have consequences. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | community.oilprice.com

shadowkin , 04/10/2019 01:49 AM

The irony of the Mueller investigation that was demanded by Democrats because they thought it would show Trump colluded with Russia to win the Presidency is that it has blown up in their faces by exposing in greater detail how Obama and the Deep State attempted first, to throw an election in favor of one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and second, attempted a coup once Trump was elected via investigations and false claims.

Once Trump won the election, the Deep State used their accomplices in the msm to convince the American public that Donald J Trump stole the election with the collaboration of the Russians. In this way they sought to remove him by impeachment.

It turns out the Deep State were the ones who were acting as agents of Russia seeking to tear America apart.

Consider:

Americans should be marching in the streets at this attempted coup but we are so doped with mindless entertainment that we no longer care. We are becoming a system where as long as you don't challenge the 2 party system you are allowed your freedom to make money and to say whatever you want so long as it doesn't have consequences.

Any more details of Mueller's report due to be released by AG Barr are likely to reveal more of the rotted core of the Deep State and their machinations and not, as Democrats think, damaging info about Trump.

[Apr 22, 2019] Our Iran Policy Is Run By Fanatics

Apr 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Trump administration won't be issuing any more waivers to importers of Iranian oil:

The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran.

U.S. officials say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will not renew sanctions waivers for the five countries when they expire on May 2.

Refusing to offer new sanctions waivers is the latest sign that Trump is once again giving in to the most extreme Iran hawks. When sanctions on Iran's oil sector went into effect last November, the administration initially granted waivers to the top importers of Iranian oil to avoid a spike in the price of oil, but that is now coming to an end. The economic war that the U.S. has been waging against Iran over the last year is about to expand to include some of the world's biggest economies and some of America's leading trading partners. It is certain to inflict more hardship on the Iranian people, and it will damage relations between the U.S. and other major economic powers, including China and India, but it will have no discernible effect on the Iranian government's behavior and policies. India, China, and Turkey are practically guaranteed to ignore U.S. demands that they eliminate all Iranian oil imports.

Josh Rogin reported on the same story:

The decision to end waivers has implications for world oil markets, which have been eagerly anticipating President Trump's decision on whether to extend waivers. The officials said market disruption should be minimal for two reasons: supply is now greater than demand and Pompeo is also set to announce offsets through commitments from other suppliers such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Trump spoke about the issue Thursday with the UAE's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Between the administration's Venezuela and Iran oil sanctions and increased instability in Libya (also supported by the Trump administration), oil prices are nonetheless likely to rise. Even if they don't, Trump's Iran obsession is causing significant economic dislocation for no good reason as part of a regime change policy that can't and won't succeed. It cannot be emphasized enough that the reimposition of sanctions on Iran is completely unwarranted and represents a betrayal of previous U.S. commitments to Iran and our allies under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The decision to refuse any new sanctions waivers is a clear sign that the most fanatical members of the Trump administration have prevailed in internal debates and U.S. Iran policy is held hostage to their whims.


liberal, says: April 21, 2019 at 11:44 pm

Maybe Trump will reap the benefits of this if oil prices go up a lot and it torpedos his reelection in 2020.

One thing I'm really not clear on how are these proposed sanctions against third parties (e.g. Japan, etc etc) not a violation of trade agreements? Are there escape clauses in those agreements that allow the US to do these things, or is it merely that these other countries are (usually) not willing to rely on the trade agreements' protections because, at the end of the day, it would mean a trade war with the US, which they're not willing to countenance?

JR , says: April 22, 2019 at 6:27 am
One would be naive to expect any truth from Pompeo. Self satisfied creature considers this funny too. How deep can one sink..

https://www.youtube.com/embed/tsnAR3yqfQ0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

cosmo , says: April 22, 2019 at 7:19 am
Iran policy ??? What about foreign policy in general ?? Interventionism is NOT what Americans want, or can afford! No more lives & limbs (and dollars) for foreign countries!!
Dry Dock , says: April 22, 2019 at 8:34 am
"Between the administration's Venezuela and Iran oil sanctions and increased instability in Libya (also supported by the Trump administration), oil prices are nonetheless likely to rise. Even if they don't, Trump's Iran obsession is causing significant economic dislocation for no good reason "

But there is a good reason. Forcing up oil prices is a shot in the arm for the Saudi economy. Remember "Israel first, and Saudi Arabia second". That formula explains most of Trump's foreign policy, the rest being a jumble of random impulses and the consequences of infighting among his advisors.

KXB , says: April 22, 2019 at 10:24 am
Gas is already $3.20 in the Chicago suburbs, and we are not into the summer driving season yet. Overseas – India is going to the poll. India imports most of its oil, and Iran is a major supplier. Yes, the Saudis have been trying to get India to switch over to more Saudi imports – but it would look like "strong" Modi is giving in to Trump and MBS.
TheSnark , says: April 22, 2019 at 10:59 am
We are going to sanction China for buying Iranian oil? Does anyone seriously think they are going to submit to that gracefully? Japan and Korea might, they are much smaller and stuck with us. But China?

And I seriously doubt that sanctioning India for buying Iranian oil will advance our strategic alliance with them, either.

[Apr 22, 2019] World Economic Outlook: Growth Slowdown, Precarious Recovery

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , April 19, 2019 at 03:48 PM

https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2019/03/28/world-economic-outlook-april-2019

April, 2019

World Economic Outlook: Growth Slowdown, Precarious Recovery

After strong growth in 2017 and early 2018, global economic activity slowed notably in the second half of last year, reflecting a confluence of factors affecting major economies. China's growth declined following a combination of needed regulatory tightening to rein in shadow banking and an increase in trade tensions with the United States. The euro area economy lost more momentum than expected as consumer and business confidence weakened and car production in Germany was disrupted by the introduction of new emission standards; investment dropped in Italy as sovereign spreads widened; and external demand, especially from emerging Asia, softened. Elsewhere, natural disasters hurt activity in Japan. Trade tensions increasingly took a toll on business confidence and, so, financial market sentiment worsened, with financial conditions tightening for vulnerable emerging markets in the spring of 2018 and then in advanced economies later in the year, weighing on global demand. Conditions have eased in 2019 as the US Federal Reserve signaled a more accommodative monetary policy stance and markets became more optimistic about a US–China trade deal, but they remain slightly more restrictive than in the fall.

[Apr 22, 2019] Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , April 20, 2019 at 03:03 PM

https://cepr.shorthandstories.com/private-equity-pillage/index.html

April, 2019

Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk
By Eileen Appelbaum & Rosemary Batt

The private equity business model is to strip assets from companies that they acquire. The latest victims: retail grocery chains.

Since 2015 seven major grocery chains, employing more than 125,000 workers, have filed for bankruptcy. The media has blamed "disruptors" -- low-cost competitors like Walmart and high-end markets like Whole Foods, now owned by Amazon. But the real disruptors in this industry are the private equity (PE) owners who were behind all seven bankruptcies. They have extracted millions from grocery stores in the last five years -- funds that could have been used to upgrade stores, enhance products and services, and invest in employee training and higher wages. As with the bankruptcies of common household names like Toys "R" Us, PE owners throw companies they own into unsustainable debt in order to capture high returns for themselves and their investors. If the company they have starved of resources goes broke, they've already made their bundle.

This is all perfectly legal. It should not be.

The media has blamed "disruptors" like Walmart, Whole Foods, and Amazon for grocery store bankruptcies. But the real disruptors in this industry are the private equity owners.

The bankrupted PE-owned grocery chains include East Coast chains A&P/Pathmark, Fairway, and Tops; West Coast chains Fresh & Easy and Haggen; the Southeastern Grocers chains (BI-LO, Bruno's, Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más, and Harveys); and in the Midwest, Marsh Supermarkets. We could find no comparable publicly traded grocery chains that went bankrupt during this period....

[ This report is excellent, important but complex and long. A careful reading is warranted for those interested. ]

anne -> anne... , April 20, 2019 at 03:08 PM
https://twitter.com/EileenAppelbaum/status/1119307516792512512

Eileen Appelbaum‏ @EileenAppelbaum

THREAD: The retail apocalypse in full swing: Gymboree closes 800 stores, Shopko 105, Payless 2300, Charlotte Russe 400. What's behind it? Some blame Amazon or changing taste, but the real culprit is private equity. We'll explain how PE makes money as these businesses fail. 1/12

11:31 AM - 19 Apr 2019

point -> anne... , April 21, 2019 at 04:23 AM
While grocery is outside my area, the story sure sounds like strategic use of the bankruptcy code for profit:

http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~promer/Looting.pdf

George A. Akerlof and Pauil M. Romer

anne -> point... , April 21, 2019 at 04:48 AM
http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~promer/Looting.pdf

April, 1994

Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit
By George A. Akerlof and Paul M. Romer

DURING THE 1980s, a number of unusual financial crises occurred. In Chile, for example, the financial sector collapsed, leaving the government with responsibility for extensive foreign debts. In the United States, large numbers of government-insured savings and loans became insolvent-and the government picked up the tab. In Dallas, Texas, real estate prices and construction continued to boom even after vacancies had skyrocketed, and then suffered a dramatic collapse. Also in the United States, the junk bond market, which fueled the takeover wave, had a similar boom and bust.

In this paper, we use simple theory and direct evidence to highlight a common thread that runs through these four episodes. The theory suggests that this common thread may be relevant to other cases in which countries took on excessive foreign debt, governments had to bail out insolvent financial institutions, real estate prices increased dramatically and then fell, or new financial markets experienced a boom and bust. We describe the evidence, however, only for the cases of financial crisis in Chile, the thrift crisis in the United States, Dallas real estate and thrifts, and junk bonds.

Our theoretical analysis shows that an economic underground can come to life if firms have an incentive to go broke for profit at society's expense (to loot) instead of to go for broke (to gamble on success). Bankruptcy for profit will occur if poor accounting, lax regulation, or low penalties for abuse give owners an incentive to pay themselves more than their firms are worth and then default on their debt obligations....

Plp -> anne... , April 21, 2019 at 11:38 AM
Once again akerloff is part
of a paradigm exploration

A great thinker

Plp -> Plp... , April 21, 2019 at 11:39 AM
Not enough follow up

Looting fraud etc
Firm failure

anne -> Plp... , April 21, 2019 at 12:20 PM
Here is the follow-up:

https://twitter.com/EileenAppelbaum/status/1119307516792512512

Eileen Appelbaum‏ @EileenAppelbaum

THREAD: The retail apocalypse in full swing: Gymboree closes 800 stores, Shopko 105, Payless 2300, Charlotte Russe 400. What's behind it? Some blame Amazon or changing taste, but the real culprit is private equity. We'll explain how PE makes money as these businesses fail. 1/12

11:31 AM - 19 Apr 2019

Private Equity Pillage details the business model that allows private equity firms to bankrupt chains, throw workers out of jobs, stiff vendors and still make a profit, in the context of grocery stores. 2/12

https://cepr.shorthandstories.com/private-equity-pillage/index.html

Here's an overview of the business model. Private equity firms have rigged the process so they can extract profits not only from their investors (often public pension funds) but also from the companies that it "invests" in. Here's how: 3/12

Investors, using money from public employees' pensions for example, put their $$$ in a particular private equity fund. Right off the bat, the private equity firm makes a profit because they collect management fees for just accepting the money. 4/12

The traditional story is that private equity firms invest in already distressed companies. Yet more and more they are healthy, proven companies that the PE firm then forces to take on debt (which the company now pays interest on). This erodes its ability to stay competitive. 5/12

On top of the new financial pressures a company faces from this debt, it *also* pays monitoring fees to the PE firm. It may need to sell assets too, like real estate, and then pay rent to occupy the buildings it once owned. Where do the proceeds go? Usually, the PE firm. 6/12

With all this money being siphoned off from the company, it is in a much more difficult position to compete. 7/12

Case in point: Albertsons, the 2nd largest grocer, struggles to compete, unlike Kroger's (the largest). The difference? Albertsons is owned by PE firm Cerberus and lacks $$$ to invest in multi-modal retailing. Kroger's can do all that Amazon-owned Whole Foods does & more. 8/12

Now in a precarious situation, the company might liquidate, restructure, or be sold. None might be the PE firm's most desirable outcome, but financial engineering usually ensures that it comes out on top (and it might be first in line to divvy up assets). 9/12

Even if the PE firm doesn't make money from the bankruptcy, it has made money throughout the entire process via fees on its investors and the company it acquired, as well as from the assets the company sold off. The losers? Workers, investors like pension funds, vendors. 10/12

But common sense reforms can help. These could be limiting the debt an acquired company can take on, being transparent about fees, limiting payments to PE firms in the aftermath of a buyout, making PE firms joint employers, and protecting workers if a company goes bust. 11/12

Private equity gets away with all of this because of loopholes in current law. But that doesn't mean what they are doing makes sense for either workers or the economy. We need reforms that center workers and others taken advantage of in the current PE model. 12/12

anne -> Plp... , April 21, 2019 at 12:22 PM
An easier to read follow-up:

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/private-equity-pillage-grocery-stores-and-workers-at-risk

October 26, 2018

Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk
By Rosemary Batt and Eileen Appelbaum

anne -> Plp... , April 21, 2019 at 12:30 PM
The work by Rosemary Batt and Eileen Appelbaum is thorough and important, explaining an institutionally provoked struggle of traditional retailers to survive that is misunderstood by economics reporters and seldom understood by economists. That Amazon is not a treat to traditional retailers needs to be realized. Traditional retailers in China by contrast are faring well, with Alibaba.

[Apr 22, 2019] the United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries and one of the lowest levels of opportunity -- with the fortunes of young Americans more dependent on the income and education of their parents than elsewhere.

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , April 20, 2019 at 04:20 AM

Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron
https://nyti.ms/2GpsQoQ
NYT - Joseph E. Stiglitz - April 19, 2019

We can save our broken economic system from itself.


Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:23 AM
Despite the lowest unemployment rates since the late 1960s, the American economy is failing its citizens. Some 90 percent have seen their incomes stagnate or decline in the past 30 years. This is not surprising, given that the United States has the highest level of inequality among the advanced countries and one of the lowest levels of opportunity -- with the fortunes of young Americans more dependent on the income and education of their parents than elsewhere.

But things don't have to be that way. There is an alternative: progressive capitalism. Progressive capitalism is not an oxymoron; we can indeed channel the power of the market to serve society.

In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's regulatory "reforms," which reduced the ability of government to curb the excesses of the market, were sold as great energizers of the economy. But just the opposite happened: Growth slowed, and weirder still, this happened in the innovation capital of the world.

The sugar rush produced by President Trump's largess to corporations in the 2017 tax law didn't deal with any of these long-run problems, and is already fading. Growth is expected to be a little under 2 percent next year.

This is where we've descended to, but not where we have to stay. A progressive capitalism based on an understanding of what gives rise to growth and societal well-being gives us a way out of this quagmire and a way up for our living standards.

Standards of living began to improve in the late 18th century for two reasons: the development of science (we learned how to learn about nature and used that knowledge to increase productivity and longevity) and developments in social organization (as a society, we learned how to work together, through institutions like the rule of law, and democracies with checks and balances).

Key to both were systems of assessing and verifying the truth. The real and long-lasting danger of the Trump presidency is the risk it poses to these pillars of our economy and society, its attack on the very idea of knowledge and expertise, and its hostility to institutions that help us discover and assess the truth.

There is a broader social compact that allows a society to work and prosper together, and that, too, has been fraying. America created the first truly middle-class society; now, a middle-class life is increasingly out of reach for its citizens.

America arrived at this sorry state of affairs because we forgot that the true source of the wealth of a nation is the creativity and innovation of its people. One can get rich either by adding to the nation's economic pie or by grabbing a larger share of the pie by exploiting others -- abusing, for instance, market power or informational advantages. We confused the hard work of wealth creation with wealth-grabbing (or, as economists call it, rent-seeking), and too many of our talented young people followed the siren call of getting rich quickly.

Beginning with the Reagan era, economic policy played a key role in this dystopia: Just as forces of globalization and technological change were contributing to growing inequality, we adopted policies that worsened societal inequities. Even as economic theories like information economics (dealing with the ever-present situation where information is imperfect), behavioral economics and game theory arose to explain why markets on their own are often not efficient, fair, stable or seemingly rational, we relied more on markets and scaled back social protections.

The result is an economy with more exploitation -- whether it's abusive practices in the financial sector or the technology sector using our own data to take advantage of us at the cost of our privacy. The weakening of antitrust enforcement, and the failure of regulation to keep up with changes in our economy and the innovations in creating and leveraging market power, meant that markets became more concentrated and less competitive.

Politics has played a big role in the increase in corporate rent-seeking and the accompanying inequality. Markets don't exist in a vacuum; they have to be structured by rules and regulations, and those rules and regulations must be enforced. Deregulation of the financial sector allowed bankers to engage in both excessively risky activities and more exploitive ones. Many economists understood that trade with developing countries would drive down American wages, especially for those with limited skills, and destroy jobs. We could and should have provided more assistance to affected workers (just as we should provide assistance to workers who lose their jobs as a result of technological change), but corporate interests opposed it. A weaker labor market conveniently meant lower labor costs at home to complement the cheap labor businesses employed abroad.

We are now in a vicious cycle: Greater economic inequality is leading, in our money-driven political system, to more political inequality, with weaker rules and deregulation causing still more economic inequality.

If we don't change course matters will likely grow worse, as machines (artificial intelligence and robots) replace an increasing fraction of routine labor, including many of the jobs of the several million Americans making their living by driving.

The prescription follows from the diagnosis: It begins by recognizing the vital role that the state plays in making markets serve society. We need regulations that ensure strong competition without abusive exploitation, realigning the relationship between corporations and the workers they employ and the customers they are supposed to serve. We must be as resolute in combating market power as the corporate sector is in increasing it.

If we had curbed exploitation in all of its forms and encouraged wealth creation, we would have had a more dynamic economy with less inequality. We might have curbed the opioid crisis and avoided the 2008 financial crisis. If we had done more to blunt the power of oligopolies and strengthen the power of workers, and if we had held our banks accountable, the sense of powerlessness might not be so pervasive and Americans might have greater trust in our institutions.

There are many other areas in which government action is required. Markets on their own won't provide insurance against some of the most important risks we face, such as unemployment and disability. They won't efficiently provide pensions with low administrative costs and insurance against inflation. And they won't provide an adequate infrastructure or a decent education for everyone or engage in sufficient basic research.

Progressive capitalism is based on a new social contract between voters and elected officials, between workers and corporations, between rich and poor, and between those with jobs and those who are un- or underemployed.

Part of this new social contract is an expanded public option for many programs now provided by private entities or not at all. It was a mistake not to include the public option in Obamacare: It would have enriched choice and enhanced competition, lowering prices. But one can design public options in other arenas as well, for instance for retirement and mortgages. This new social contract will enable most Americans to once again have a middle-class life.

As an economist, I am always asked: Can we afford to provide this middle-class life for most, let alone all, Americans? Somehow, we did when we were a much poorer country in the years after World War II. In our politics, in our labor-market participation, and in our health we are already paying the price for our failures.

The neoliberal fantasy that unfettered markets will deliver prosperity to everyone should be put to rest. It is as fatally flawed as the notion after the fall of the Iron Curtain that we were seeing "the end of history" and that we would all soon be liberal democracies with capitalist economies.

Most important, our exploitive capitalism has shaped who we are as individuals and as a society. The rampant dishonesty we've seen from Wells Fargo and Volkswagen or from members of the Sackler family as they promoted drugs they knew were addictive -- this is what is to be expected in a society that lauds the pursuit of profits as leading, to quote Adam Smith, "as if by an invisible hand," to the well-being of society, with no regard to whether those profits derive from exploitation or wealth creation.

ken melvin -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:07 AM
https://www.cbpp.org/research/poverty-and-inequality/a-guide-to-statistics-on-historical-trends-in-income-inequality

Check out the inequality curves about half way thru the article

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:19 AM
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's regulatory "reforms," which reduced the ability of government to curb the excesses of the market, were sold as great energizers of the economy. But just the opposite happened: Growth slowed, and weirder still, this happened in the innovation capital of the world....

-- Joseph Stiglitz

[ Really important. ]

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 06:41 AM
Part of this new social contract is an expanded public option for many programs now provided by private entities or not at all. It was a mistake not to include the public option in Obamacare: It would have enriched choice and enhanced competition, lowering prices. But one can design public options in other arenas as well, for instance for retirement and mortgages. This new social contract will enable most Americans to once again have a middle-class life....

-- Joseph Stiglitz

[ What a splendid essay. ]

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 07:21 AM
https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1119592496173129728

Paul Krugman‏ @paulkrugman

Very good and smart from one of our greatest economists. (I don't think laypeople fully appreciate Joe Stiglitz's greatness as a theorist) "Progressive capitalism" is a good phrase, in part because it does involve reviving a lot of the original progressive agenda

6:23 AM - 20 Apr 2019

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 08:28 AM
Good choice. THANKS!
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:28 AM
Socialist! Capitalist! Economic Systems as Weapons
in a War of Words https://nyti.ms/2ZncMwz
NYT - Andrew Ross Sorkin - April 19, 2019

The economist Joseph Stiglitz discusses Bernie Sanders, social policy and how we define ourselves -- and one another.

Joseph Stiglitz settled into a booth at his favorite diner on the Upper West Side last week with a curious, almost satisfied smile on his face.

He won a Nobel Prize nearly two decades ago for identifying the inequities and imperfections in market economies and has spent a career warning of the perils of wealth concentration, railing against monopoly power and championing higher taxes.

At last, a lot of people seem to be listening.

"It's been a long fight," he said.

The cause has been taken up by the new stars of the left, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and can trace much of its current momentum to the rumpled rabble-rousing of Senator Bernie Sanders. The policy points Mr. Stiglitz talks about -- a higher minimum wage, a public option for health insurance and more -- could just as easily come from the mouths of any of those seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020.

And yet they demonstrate how the words we choose to talk about our economic priorities are almost as important as the priorities themselves.

Last year, for the first time in a decade, a Gallup poll showed that Democrats had a more positive view of socialism than they did of capitalism. Those two words may play a pivotal role in our next election: Some Democrats have embraced the label of socialist, one long attacked by Republicans. And even some of those who have profited most from American-style free markets have worried about their sustainability, with the billionaire investor Ray Dalio going so far as to say that "capitalism is broken."

Mr. Stiglitz, stabbing his fork into his salad, said he believed there had been a critical misunderstanding of the terms themselves -- and the economic theories behind them -- that had allowed for their weaponization.

"The meanings of the words have changed over time," said Mr. Stiglitz, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton and a former chief economist of the World Bank. And the words have become the subject of a branding battle crossing political and generational divides.

The professor in Mr. Stiglitz shared a history lesson that reached back to the early 20th century, about how socialism and communism became linked. And he made the case that Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, wasn't actually a socialist -- at least as the identity has long been defined.

Mr. Sanders's agenda -- which drew a fair share of cheers during a Fox News town-hall-style meeting this week -- is not focused on "ownership of the means of production" or a statist system, Mr. Stiglitz said. "He's really concerned about the social contract of health, education," he added.

It is not surprising that Mr. Sanders's supporters trend young, a group for which the word "socialism" holds no fears of conflict with the Soviets or baggage associated with the Berlin Wall.

"Some people are trying to attach more emotions to the historical legacy of socialism
, which was never the same as communism, but in the United States those distinctions have gotten blurred," Mr. Stiglitz said.

The attacks from the right have been anything but subtle. Just this month, Mr. Trump declared, "We're going into the war with some socialists." And Republicans have posited that Venezuela's challenged economy is the inevitable result of any movement in the policy directions embraced by the left.

The word leaves a bad taste even in the mouths of many on the left, including Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, who lived through the height of the Cold War. "I do reject socialism as an economic system," she said on "60 Minutes" last weekend. "If people have that view, that's their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party."

(In Europe, Mr. Stiglitz said, similarly minded politicians might rightly be called social democrats. A simple switch in word order emphasizes the "social" instead of "socialist.")

It all comes back to semantics, Mr. Stiglitz said. And perception was on his mind when titling his new book, "People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent," which is to be published next week.

In it, he maps out a plan that he calls a "social contract" to improve jobs, health, education, housing and retirement. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if it turned into the economic platform for a presidential candidate.

Mr. Stiglitz proposes using a combination of market forces and government nudges -- a higher minimum wage and an expanded earned-income tax credit, for example -- to help the poorest among us. He also supports a "public option" to improve competition in the private sector in areas like health care and even retirement savings.

That's not to say he views government as a panacea. For example, he wants to see the mortgage industry privatized. "In a private-sector economy, to have this huge piece of the economy that's not run by the private sector is odd," he said. Still, he also recommends a public option so that the government could support the mortgage market in certain cases.

Mr. Stiglitz said he had chosen "progressive capitalism" for his book's title because he worried about triggering a visceral reaction to the word "socialism."

"I'm trying to avoid some of the emotions that are still attached," he said. "I try in my title to use progressive capitalism to try to say I believe in a market economy, but I also believe in government regulation."

Even as popular figures on the left have embraced the label of socialist -- Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America -- others have sought, like Mr. Stiglitz, to underscore their capitalist views. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who formally announced his candidacy for president this week, calls himself a proponent of "democratic capitalism."

If the evolving meaning of socialism strikes you as an inventive bit of rebranding, Mr. Stiglitz believes the conservative idea of American capitalism as an unfettered free-market system is itself a myth.

"There is no Darwinian capitalism," he said. "Everybody would say you need some degree of regulation of banks. I mean, no one is talking about real laissez-faire banking."

Even the word "capitalist" has evolved, Mr. Stiglitz said. It is only since the late 20th century and the rise of the economist Milton Friedman, he contends, that "capitalist" stopped being a dirty word. It was once used in what he called "a pejorative way."

Capitalists were "people who were exploiting workers," he said.

That is an opinion, of course. And it is a view that is not hard to come by in some circles now, either.

Language changes, and as convenient as it can be to use linguistic shorthand, it's important to remember that beneath the words are ideas -- the things we should be talking about.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 04:34 AM
Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz on "People,
Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism
for an Age of Discontent"
https://www.moaf.org/events/general/2019-04-24-nobel-laureate-joseph-stiglitz-on-people-power-and-profits-progressive-capitalism-for-an-age-of-discontent

Evening Lecture Series

Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Event Location:
Fordham University – Lincoln Center Campus
140 West 62 Street, McNally Amphitheatre | Ground Floor

... Stiglitz has long sounded the alarm about growing economic inequality in the United States. As chief economist of the World Bank and Chairman of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors, he saw first-hand the toll that financial deregulation, globalization and government inaction can take on a community. This has played out over and over again in cities and towns across the United States, feeding into the resentment that fueled Donald Trump's election in 2016. The question we should ask ourselves today, Stiglitz says, is "What can we do about it?"

In his new book, People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent, Stiglitz answers that question by laying out a 21st Century Social Contract to rebuild the American middle class and reinvigorate the American economy. Many candidates will likely use Stiglitz's timely advice in their 2020 presidential campaigns.

Prof. Stiglitz will be interviewed by Bruce Greenwald, the Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia Business School and the academic co-director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. Described by The New York Times as "a guru to Wall Street's gurus," Greenwald is an authority on value investing with additional expertise in productivity and the economics of information.

[Apr 21, 2019] John Brennan's Police State USA

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers. ..."
"... Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer. ..."
"... The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway. ..."
"... No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way ..."
"... " ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people." ..."
"... All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests. ..."
"... A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops. ..."
"... The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter. ..."
"... "The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result " ..."
"... But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world. ..."
"... I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter! ..."
"... Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them. ..."
"... The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself. ..."
"... Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. ..."
"... That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era. ..."
"... The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it. ..."
"... [The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. ..."
"... Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran. ..."
"... Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington. ..."
"... Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say. ..."
"... Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse. ..."
"... Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.) ..."
"... Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress? ..."
"... Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies. ..."
Oct 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Fran Macadam , October 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

A credible reading of the diverse facts, Mike.
Kirk Elarbee , October 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT
Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/everyone-hacked-everyone-hacked-everyone-spy-spin-fuels-anti-kaspersky-campaign.html

utu , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT
Again Mike Whitney does not get it. Though in the first part of the article I thought he would. He was almost getting there. The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope.

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer.

Pamela Geller: Thank You, Larry David

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/10/19/pamela-geller-thank-larry-david/

anon , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:54 am GMT
OK.

The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway.

No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way

The one thing I am not positive about. If the elite really believe that Russia is a threat, then Americans have done psych ops on themselves.

The US was only interested in Ukraine because it was there. Next in line on a map. The rather shocking disinterest in investing money -- on both sides -- is inexplicable if it was really important. Most of it would be a waste -- but still. The US stupidly spent $5 billion on something -- getting duped by politicians and got theoretical regime change, but it was hell to pry even $1 billion for real economic aid.

ThereisaGod , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT
" ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people."

All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests.

jilles dykstra , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:46 am GMT
I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA, 1492 to the Present. A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops.
Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT
@jilles dykstra

You should be aware that Zinn's book is not, IMO, an honest attempt at writing history. It is conscious propaganda intended to make Americans believe exactly what you are taking from it.

DESERT FOX , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT
The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter.

Until that fact changes Americans will continue to fight and die for Israel.

TG , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm GMT
"The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result "

But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world.

I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter!

Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them.

Anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT
Whitney is another author who declares the "Russians did it" narrative a psyop. He then devotes entire columns to the psyop, "naww Russia didn't do it". There could be plenty to write about – recent laws that do undercut liberty, but no, the Washington Post needs fake opposition to its fake news so you have guys like Whitney in the less-mainstream fake news media.

So Brennan wanted revenge? Well that's simple enough to understand, without being too stupid. But Whitney's whopper of a lie is what you're supposed to unquestionably believe. The US has "rival political parties". Did you miss it?

Jake , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
The US is doing nothing more than acting as the British Empire 2.0. WASP culture was born of a Judaizing heresy: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. That meant that the WASP Elites of every are pro-Jewish, especially in order to wage war, physical and/or cultural, against the vast majority of white Christians they rule.

By the early 19th century, The Brit Empire's Elites also had a strong, and growing, dose of pro-Arabic/pro-Islamic philoSemitism. Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

So, by the time of Victoria's high reign, the Brit WASP Elites were a strange brew of hardcoree pro-Jewish and hardcore pro-Arabic/islamic. The US foreign policy of today is an attempt to put those two together and force it on everyone and make it work.

The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself.

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

Fair enough. I didn't know that about the foreword. If accurate, that's a reasonable approach for a book.

Here's the problem.

Back when O. Cromwell was the dictator of England, he retained an artist to paint him. The custom of the time was for artists to "clean up" their subjects, in a primitive form of photoshopping.

OC being a religious fanatic, he informed the artist he wished to be portrayed as God had made him, "warts and all." (Ollie had a bunch of unattractive facial warts.) Or the artist wouldn't be paid.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/08/cromwell-portraitist-samuel-cooper-exhibition

Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so.

All I am asking is that American (and other) history be written "warts and all." The triumphalist version is true, largely, and so is the Zinn version. Gone With the Wind and Roots both portray certain aspects of the pre-war south fairly accurately..

America has been, and is, both evil and good. As is/was true of every human institution and government in history. Personally, I believe America, net/net, has been one of the greatest forces for human good ever. But nobody will realize that if only the negative side of American history is taught.

Wally , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Hasbarist 'Kenny', you said:

"There must be something really dirty in Russigate that hasn't yet come out to generate this level of panic."

You continue to claim what you cannot prove.

But then you are a Jews First Zionist.

Russia-Gate Jumps the Shark
Russia-gate has jumped the shark with laughable new claims about a tiny number of "Russia-linked" social media ads, but the US mainstream media is determined to keep a straight face

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/10/robert-parry/jumping-the-shark/

Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

+ review of other frauds

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
@Jake

Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

Thanks for the laugh. During the 19th century, the Sauds were toothless, dirt-poor hicks from the deep desert of zero importance on the world stage.

The Brits were not Saudi proponents, in fact promoting the Husseins of Hejaz, the guys Lawrence of Arabia worked with. The Husseins, the Sharifs of Mecca and rulers of Hejaz, were the hereditary enemies of the Sauds of Nejd.

After WWI, the Brits installed Husseins as rulers of both Transjordan and Iraq, which with the Hejaz meant the Sauds were pretty much surrounded. The Sauds conquered the Hejaz in 1924, despite lukewarm British support for the Hejaz.

Nobody in the world cared much about the Saudis one way or another until massive oil fields were discovered, by Americans not Brits, starting in 1938. There was no reason they should. Prior to that Saudi prominence in world affairs was about equal to that of Chad today, and for much the same reason. Chad (and Saudi Arabia) had nothing anybody else wanted.

Grandpa Charlie , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

'Putin stopped talking about the "Lisbon to Vladivostok" free trade area long ago" -- Michael Kenney

Putin was simply trying to sell Russia's application for EU membership with the catch-phrase "Lisbon to Vladivostok". He continued that until the issue was triply mooted (1) by implosion of EU growth and boosterism, (2) by NATO's aggressive stance, in effect taken by NATO in Ukraine events and in the Baltics, and, (3) Russia's alliance with China.

It is surely still true that Russians think of themselves, categorically, as Europeans. OTOH, we can easily imagine that Russians in Vladivostok look at things differently than do Russians in St. Petersburg. Then again, Vladivostok only goes back about a century and a half.

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm GMT
@utu

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration.

I generally agree with your comment, but that part strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. While relations with Russia certainly haven't improved, how have they really worsened? The second round of sanctions that Trump reluctantly approved have yet to be implemented by Europe, which was the goal. And apart from that, what of substance has changed?

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era.

Ludwig Watzal , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT
It's not surprising that 57 percent of the American people believe in Russian meddling. Didn't two-thirds of the same crowd believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, too? The American public is being brainwashed 24 hours a day all year long.

The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it.

This disinformation campaign might be the prelude to an upcoming war.
Right now, the US is run by jerks and idiots. Watch the video.

anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT
Only dumb people does not know that TRUMP IS NETANYAHU'S PUPPET.

The fifth column zionist jews are running the albino stooge and foreign policy in the Middle East to expand Israel's interest against American interest that is TREASON. One of these FIFTH COLUMNISTS is Jared Kushner. He should be arrested.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/donald-trumps-likudist-campaign-against-iran/5614264

[The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.

Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran.

Bolton spoke with Trump by phone on Thursday about the paragraph in the deal that vowed it would be "terminated" if there was any renegotiation, according to Politico. He was calling Trump from Las Vegas, where he'd been meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the third major figure behind Trump's shift towards Israeli issues. Adelson is a Likud supporter who has long been a close friend of Netanyahu's and has used his Israeli tabloid newspaper Israel Hayomto support Netanyahu's campaigns. He was Trump's main campaign contributor in 2016, donating $100 million. Adelson's real interest has been in supporting Israel's interests in Washington -- especially with regard to Iran.]

Miro23 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
A great article with some excellent points:

Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington.

American dominance is very much tied to the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency, and the rest of the world no longer want to fund this bankrupt, warlike state – particularly the Chinese.

First, it confirms that the US did not want to see the jihadist extremists defeated by Russia. These mainly-Sunni militias served as Washington's proxy-army conducting an ambitious regime change operation which coincided with US strategic ambitions.

The CIA run US/Israeli/ISIS alliance.

Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say.

They are given the political line and they broadcast it.

The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda coupled with the extraordinary advances in surveillance technology, create the perfect conditions for the full implementation of an American police state. But what is more concerning, is that the primary levers of state power are no longer controlled by elected officials but by factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people. That can only lead to trouble.

At some point Americans are going to get a "War on Domestic Terror" cheered along by the media. More or less the arrest and incarceration of any opposition following the Soviet Bolshevik model.

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT
@utu

On the plus side, everyone now knows that the Anglo-US media from the NY Times to the Economist, from WaPo to the Gruniard, and from the BBC to CNN, the CBC and Weinstein's Hollywood are a worthless bunch of depraved lying bastards.

Thales the Milesian , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm GMT
Brennan did this, CIA did that .

So what are you going to do about all this?

Continue to whine?

Continue to keep your head stuck in your ass?

So then continue with your blah, blah, blah, and eat sh*t.

You, disgusting self-elected democratic people/institutions!!!

AB_Anonymous , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse.

The thing is, no matter how thick the mental cages are, and how carefully they are maintained by the daily massive injections of "certified" truth (via MSM), along with neutralizing or compromising of "troublemakers", the presence of multiple alternative sources in the age of Internet makes people to slip out of these cages one by one, and as the last events show – with acceleration.

It means that there's a fast approaching tipping point after which it'd be impossible for those in power both to keep a nice "civilized" face and to control the "cage-free" population. So, no matter how the next war will be called, it will be the war against the free Internet and free people. That's probably why N. Korean leader has no fear to start one.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
An aside:

All government secrecy is a curse on mankind. Trump is releasing the JFK murder files to the public. Kudos! Let us hope he will follow up with a full 9/11 investigation.

Think Peace -- Art

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT
@utu

The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Good point. That was probably one of the objectives (and from the point of view of the deep-state, perhaps the most important objective) of the "Russia hacked our democracy" narrative, in addition to the general deligitimization of the Trump administration.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm GMT
And, keep in mind, Washington's Sunni proxies were not a division of the Pentagon; they were entirely a CIA confection: CIA recruited, CIA-armed, CIA-funded and CIA-trained.

Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.)

Are committees of six congressman and six senators, who meet in secret, just avoiding the grave constitutional questions of war? We the People cannot even interrogate these politicians. (These politicians make big money in the secrecy swamp when they leave office.)

Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress?

Spying is one thing – covert action is another – covert is wrong – it goes against world order. Every year after 9/11 they say things are worse – give them more money more power and they will make things safe. That is BS!

9/11 has opened the flood gates to the US government attacking at will, the various peoples of this Earth. That is NOT our prerogative.

We are being exceptionally arrogant.

Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies.

Think Peace -- Art

Rurik , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm GMT
@Ben10

right at 1:47

when he says 'we can't move on as a country'

his butt hurt is so ruefully obvious, that I couldn't help notice a wry smile on my face

that bitch spent millions on the war sow, and now all that mullah won't even wipe his butt hurt

when I see ((guys)) like this raging their inner crybaby angst, I feel really, really good about President Trump

MAGA bitches!

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA

A Peoples History of the USA? Which Peoples?

Tradecraft46 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
I am SAIS 70 so know the drill and the article is on point.

Here is the dealio. Most reporters are dim and have no experience, and it is real easy to lead them by the nose with promises of better in the future.

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

Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Death Of Education In America

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

Trump! Mueller! Collusion!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Apr 19, 2019] The USSR was a kind of guarantor of sanity of the USA elite, supressing built-in suisidal tendences. With it gove they went off the rail

For Western world, especially people of the USA, the collapse of the USSR was really geopolitical catastrophe, as Putin once put it. It unleaseshed cannibalistic instincts of neoliberal elite.
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Drew Hunkins , April 18, 2019 at 12:39

" "Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski "

Yeah, I can.

There never would have been a war on Iraq in 1991 nor an obliteration of Iraq in 2003, which has lasted until the present day. The destruction of Yugoslavia never would have taken place and the wars and proxy wars on Syria and Libya would have only existed in the twisted and depraved imaginations of the Zionist and militarist psychos in our midst.

TINA never would have been an imperative and the working people of the Western world (primarily the U.S.) wouldn't be in a race to the bottom as it comes to wages, healthcare insurance, poverty levels, infant mortality, life-expectancy, union power in the workplace, secure retirements, and outlandish housing costs. With the demise of the USSR the millionaire capitalist-investor class really took the gloves off and saw no reason to provide the working masses with certain life-affirming policies, it was time to really sock it to the bottom 90%.

Despite some its faults, the world's people have been paying dearly for the demise of the USSR.

For further reading on what I've outlined above:
"Blood Lies" by Grover Furr
"Blackshirts and Reds" by Michael Parenti
"Fool's Crusade" by Diana Johnstone
"Against Empire" by Michael Parenti
essays and articles by Paul Craig Roberts
essays and articles by Andre Vltchek

Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:31

In short, without an antidote, the US does what the neocons and Israel decide to do. Welcome to the world of "my way, or the highway" cowboy mentality

Rob Roy , April 18, 2019 at 20:26

Actually, people in the USSR lived lives of constant fear (they call it the “Time of Terror”) that their friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers, even their children, would “tattle” on them and they would wind up in the torture chambers. They lived in stark, nearly unbearable poverty; the only comfort was that they all were in the same godforsaken boat. Communism might be a good idea on paper, but in reality, because of the ignorance of the bureaucratic leadership, it was a dismal failure.

The demise of the USSR would have no effect whatsoever on the hegemonic madness of the US which, under the guiding light of the Monroe Doctrine (established way before the USSR), carries on destroying one country after another. I would ask, “What would the world do without the USA?” Live in a much more peaceful world for sure. As for Omar, I wish her the fortitude to continue telling the truth. Again, Max Blumenthal proves himself one of the world’s best reporters.

OlyaPola , April 19, 2019 at 05:33

“constant fear”

The years of 1928 to 1953 were not constant since there were the years 1954 and subsequent.

Drew Hunkins , April 19, 2019 at 10:22

That’s not true Rob Roy. You’re parroting Western capitalist talking points. A whole host of brand new scholarly literature has hit the shelves in just the last few years proving the USSR was nowhere near as horrible as the Washington imperialist media made it out to be. In fact, under Stalin the Soviet Union made substantial gains in women’s rights, literacy, healthcare and industrial wages. Also, had it not been for Stalin’s agrarian plan there would have been more famines and more severe famines.

And as everyone knows, if Stalin never crash course industrialized the country they never would have defeated Nazi Germany.

Far from the USSR being a police-state it was often seen as a giant trough in which, for example, rent wouldn’t be paid and no one would come around to collect it.

Please see the following books for a truth trip: “Blood Lies” by Grover Furr and “Stalin, Waiting for the Truth” by Grover Furr. Also, Michael Parenti’s “Blackshirts and Reds is excellent.

Dump Pelousy , April 18, 2019 at 20:52

Micheal Perenti is the best. He was the Truth To Power voice before 9/11, before all the yuppie reporters sold their souls for “access” and a talking heads show. I watched it happen in slow motion with great dismay.

mp66 , April 18, 2019 at 22:23

Spot on. The western owner class was forced to share at least one plate with the rest of the population to make the west appear superior in material terms, and with that incentive or threat gone, there is no more need for a plate, few crumbs under the table should be sufficient. But as usual, greed goes along with stupidity, they forgot that doing so for decades undermines the stability of the system. Trump, Brexit, trade wars, abrogations of treaties, blatant disregard for bare basics of international law etc. are just symptoms of deeper discontent across the globe.

[Apr 19, 2019] The USSR was a kind of garantor of sanity of the USA elite, suppressing built-in suicidal tendences. With it gone they went off the rail

For Western world, especially people of the USA, the collapse of the USSR was really geopolitical catastrophe, as Putin once put it. It unleashed cannibalistic instincts of neoliberal elite.
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Drew Hunkins , April 18, 2019 at 12:39

" "Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski "

Yeah, I can.

There never would have been a war on Iraq in 1991 nor an obliteration of Iraq in 2003, which has lasted until the present day. The destruction of Yugoslavia never would have taken place and the wars and proxy wars on Syria and Libya would have only existed in the twisted and depraved imaginations of the Zionist and militarist psychos in our midst.

TINA never would have been an imperative and the working people of the Western world (primarily the U.S.) wouldn't be in a race to the bottom as it comes to wages, healthcare insurance, poverty levels, infant mortality, life-expectancy, union power in the workplace, secure retirements, and outlandish housing costs. With the demise of the USSR the millionaire capitalist-investor class really took the gloves off and saw no reason to provide the working masses with certain life-affirming policies, it was time to really sock it to the bottom 90%.

Despite some its faults, the world's people have been paying dearly for the demise of the USSR.

For further reading on what I've outlined above:
"Blood Lies" by Grover Furr
"Blackshirts and Reds" by Michael Parenti
"Fool's Crusade" by Diana Johnstone
"Against Empire" by Michael Parenti
essays and articles by Paul Craig Roberts
essays and articles by Andre Vltchek

Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:31

In short, without an antidote, the US does what the neocons and Israel decide to do. Welcome to the world of "my way, or the highway" cowboy mentality

Rob Roy , April 18, 2019 at 20:26

Actually, people in the USSR lived lives of constant fear (they call it the “Time of Terror”) that their friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers, even their children, would “tattle” on them and they would wind up in the torture chambers. They lived in stark, nearly unbearable poverty; the only comfort was that they all were in the same godforsaken boat. Communism might be a good idea on paper, but in reality, because of the ignorance of the bureaucratic leadership, it was a dismal failure.

The demise of the USSR would have no effect whatsoever on the hegemonic madness of the US which, under the guiding light of the Monroe Doctrine (established way before the USSR), carries on destroying one country after another. I would ask, “What would the world do without the USA?” Live in a much more peaceful world for sure. As for Omar, I wish her the fortitude to continue telling the truth. Again, Max Blumenthal proves himself one of the world’s best reporters.

OlyaPola , April 19, 2019 at 05:33

“constant fear”

The years of 1928 to 1953 were not constant since there were the years 1954 and subsequent.

Drew Hunkins , April 19, 2019 at 10:22

That’s not true Rob Roy. You’re parroting Western capitalist talking points. A whole host of brand new scholarly literature has hit the shelves in just the last few years proving the USSR was nowhere near as horrible as the Washington imperialist media made it out to be. In fact, under Stalin the Soviet Union made substantial gains in women’s rights, literacy, healthcare and industrial wages. Also, had it not been for Stalin’s agrarian plan there would have been more famines and more severe famines.

And as everyone knows, if Stalin never crash course industrialized the country they never would have defeated Nazi Germany.

Far from the USSR being a police-state it was often seen as a giant trough in which, for example, rent wouldn’t be paid and no one would come around to collect it.

Please see the following books for a truth trip: “Blood Lies” by Grover Furr and “Stalin, Waiting for the Truth” by Grover Furr. Also, Michael Parenti’s “Blackshirts and Reds is excellent.

Dump Pelousy , April 18, 2019 at 20:52

Micheal Perenti is the best. He was the Truth To Power voice before 9/11, before all the yuppie reporters sold their souls for “access” and a talking heads show. I watched it happen in slow motion with great dismay.

mp66 , April 18, 2019 at 22:23

Spot on. The western owner class was forced to share at least one plate with the rest of the population to make the west appear superior in material terms, and with that incentive or threat gone, there is no more need for a plate, few crumbs under the table should be sufficient. But as usual, greed goes along with stupidity, they forgot that doing so for decades undermines the stability of the system. Trump, Brexit, trade wars, abrogations of treaties, blatant disregard for bare basics of international law etc. are just symptoms of deeper discontent across the globe.

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

Apr 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Apr 19, 2019] The Fat Lady Is Clearing Her Throat - Dancing Towards the Abyss

Apr 19, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

Jesse's Café Américain

"Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. Federal policy is increasingly dictated by the wealthy, by the financial sector, and by powerful (though sometimes badly mismanaged) industries such as telecommunications, health care, automobiles, and energy.

These policies are implemented and praised by these groups' willing servants, namely the increasingly bought-and-paid-for leadership of America's political parties, academia, and lobbying industry.

If allowed to continue, this process will turn the United States into a declining, unfair society with an impoverished, angry, uneducated population under the control of a small, ultrawealthy elite. Such a society would be not only immoral but also eventually unstable, dangerously ripe for religious and political extremism."

Charles Ferguson, Predator Nation , 2012

"For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, but lose their life?"

Mark 8:36


Poverty wants -- but greed wants everything, and more. They can never have enough, because their acquisition is driven by an overpowering lust for more, and not by need.

This is why our financial and political system can never be effectively self-regulated or even reformed from within...

...We are building a blow off top. There is not much doubt in my mind. Don't get in front of this, however, since as long as the Fed keeps providing hot money the wiseguys will keep dancing.

Are we not exceptional? Are you not entertained?

[Apr 19, 2019] Five Companies Represent 35% Of All The S P 500's Value Creation Over The Last 5 Years

Apr 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Five Companies Represent 35% Of All The S&P 500's Value Creation Over The Last 5 Years

by Tyler Durden Thu, 04/18/2019 - 21:45 2 SHARES

Submitted by Nicholas Colas of DataTrek

Six companies represent 37% of all the S&P 500's value creation over the last 5 years: Amazon (10.1%), Apple (6.5%), Facebook (4.7%), Google (6.4%), Microsoft (7.8%), and Netflix (1.8%). And even though NFLX may look small, its increase in market value over the last 5 years is essentially the same as JP Morgan's. US equity valuations reflect present and future Tech disruption. No other narrative need apply.

* * *

In our Markets section 2 nights ago we mentioned that Amazon is responsible for 6.7% of the S&P 500's market value gain since November 2005. Amazon was added to the index in the that month, and since then:

That got us to thinking: how much have large Tech companies influenced the S&P 500 over just the last 5 years? Here are a few baseline numbers to start the analysis:

So how much of that $7.6 trillion comes from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Netflix? Here are the numbers:

Amazon: 10.1% of the market's value gain over the last 5 years:

Apple: 6.5% of the market's gains over the last 5 years:

Facebook: 4.7% of the market's gains over the past 5 years:

Google: 6.4% of the market's gains over the last 5 years:

Microsoft: 7.8% of the market's gains over the last 5 years:

Netflix: 1.8% of the market's total gains over the last 5 years:

[Apr 19, 2019] US Is Japan On A Larger Scale

Apr 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

In my 2014 book, The Death of Money , I wrote, "The United States is Japan on a larger scale." That was five years ago.

Last week, prominent economist Mohamed A. El-Erian, formerly CEO of PIMCO and now with Allianz, wrote, "With the return of Europe's economic doldrums and signs of a coming growth slowdown in the United States, advanced economies could be at risk of falling into the same kind of long-term rut that has captured Japan."

Better late than never! Welcome to the club, Mohamed.

[Apr 18, 2019] My advice is to drop the idea of acquiring gold. There are just too many issues for the small buyer to safely overcome.

Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Apr 17, 2019 7:30:29 PM | link

@ christian - find a place like this in some city close by to where you live - it will be easier in person and avoid shipping and insurance costs..

https://www.jandm.com/systemhome.htm


Zachary Smith , Apr 17, 2019 9:11:34 PM | link

@ Christian J Chuba #37

My advice is to drop the idea of acquiring gold. There are just too many issues for the small buyer to safely overcome.

1) If gold prices ever shoot through the roof (as the seller sites keep hinting at) I'd expect the US government to politely invite you to sell them your stocks. This happened in the Thirties, and can certainly happen again. It is probably impossible to accumulate anything more than a few pieces of jewelry without being put on somebody's list. The Feds closely monitor virtually every financial transaction made in this country.

2) How will you know you're getting pure 24k gold vs 23 or 18k stuff? Worse than that, the Chinese have become VERY good at gilding Tungsten bars or disks. Even central Banks have been taken in by this scam, and what do you suppose your chances are? The 19.25 gm/cubic cm. density of Tungsten is very, very close to the 19.3 density of Gold. I'd imagine with a bit of powder metallurgy work involving a speck of 22.5 Osmium, the numbers could be exactly matched. There are a few other tests, but nobody outside of the huge dealers or central banks can afford to do them.

3) come the financial disaster, how will you "spend" your gold? Even if you're certain you have the genuine product, how will you convince me? Or anybody else, for that matter. It'll come down to what the guy at the pawn shop will give you for it, and that'll probably be on the order of 1/3 the value. (there is always the Official Government purchasers, and at their price and their penalties for holding out)

I'd suggest you buy US "junk silver" in small cash deals - the old silver coins minted up to 1964. The odds are much higher somebody will understand these have a superior value, and they're in sizes suitable for small purchases. Even so, would you reasonably expect anybody to accept a couple Ben Franklin half dollars in exchange for a sack of food - especially if there is a severe food shortage going on? If your kids know about this acquisition, you'd better prepare for the burglars - they talk about everything to everybody. Come to think of it, I know of an adult who lost tens of thousands worth of silver because he was motor mouth about it. Total loss. BTW, telling your insurance guy is the same as putting it on a billboard - this information gets shared!

Hmpf , Apr 17, 2019 10:29:49 PM | link
@ Christian J Chuba | Apr 17, 2019 7:22:58 PM | 37

Do as Karlof1 suggested - find a reputable coin dealer in your vicinity. Don't buy at Amazon, Ebay et al..

Also, if manageable buy 1 ounce coins only as this will save you surcharge that always comes with the smaller ones. Stick with well known brands - Canadian Maple Leaf, Austrian Philharmonics, Australian Kangaroo, Britannia, American Eagle - and stay away from collector items.
Notional value of the coins:
Britannia 100 GBP, Philharmonics 100 Euro, Maple Leaf 50 CAD, American Eagle 50 US, Kangaroo 50 AUS.

Watch Gold spot price prior to any purchase at barchart.com (ticker ^XAUUSD - ^XAUCAD), stockcharts.com (ticker $Gold), investing.com etc (ticker XAU/CAD - XAU/US).

[Apr 16, 2019] Putin, Xi, Assad, Maduro vs. the American Hegemon

This is an interesting but probably way too simplistic view. The USA as a neoliberal superpower can't change its course. It now depends and it turn needs to support all the neoliberal empire superstructure no matter what. Or vanish as en empire. Which is not in Washington and MIC or Wall Street interests.
So "Empire Uber Alles" is the current policy which will remain in place. Even a slight deviation triggers the reaction of the imperial caste (Mueller witch hunt is one example, although I do not understand why it lasted so long, as Trump folded almost instantly and became just Bush III with the same set of neocons driving the USA foreign policy )
The internal logic of neoliberal empire is globalization -- enforcing opening of internal markets of other countries for the US multinationals and banks. So the conflict with the "nationalist" (as as neocon slur them "autocratic") states, which does not want to became the USA vassals ( like the Russia and China ) is not the anomaly, but the logical consequence of the USA status and pretenses as imperial center. Putin tried to establish some kind of détente several time. He failed: "Carnage needs to be destroyed" is the only possible attitude and it naturally created strong defensive reaction which in turn strains the USA resources.
Meantime the standard of living of workers and middle class dropped. While most of the drop is attributable to neoliberalism redistribution of wealth up, part of it is probably is attributable to the imperial status of the USA.
The USA neoliberal elite after 1991 became completely detached from reality (aka infected with imperil hubris) and we have what we have.
Those 700 billions that went to Pentagon speak for themselves.
And in turn create the caste of imperial servants that are strongly interested in maintaining the status quo and quite capable to cut short any attempts to change it. The dominance of neocons (who are essentially lobbyists of MIC) in the Department of State is a nice illustration of this mouse trap.
So the core reason of the USA current neocon foreign policy is demands and internal dynamics of neoliberal globalization and MIC.
In other words, as Dani Rodik said "...today's Sino-American impasse is rooted in "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The American foreign policy Blob's latest worry is that Venezuela's radical leftist government is reaching out to the Middle East for support against growing pressure from Washington.

Specifically, President Nicolás Maduro is reportedly trying to establish extensive political and financial links with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah . The latter has repeatedly condemned U.S. policy towards Maduro , and already appears to have shadowy economic ties to Caracas. There are indications that Maduro's regime may be utilizing Hezbollah to launder funds from the illegal drug trade.

Washington's fear is that lurking behind an Assad-Hezbollah-Maduro alliance is America's arch-nemesis, Iran, which has close relations with both Assad and Hezbollah. Tehran's apparent objective would be to strengthen the Venezuelan regime, boost anti-U.S. sentiment in the Western Hemisphere, and perhaps acquire some laundered money from a joint Maduro-Hezbollah operation to ease the pain of U.S. economic sanctions re-imposed following the Trump administration's repudiation of the nuclear deal.

Although Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah remain primarily concerned with developments in their own region, the fear that they want to undermine Washington's power in its own backyard is not unfounded. But U.S. leaders should ask themselves why such diverse factions would coalesce behind that objective.

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It is hardly the only example of this to emerge in recent years, and the principal cause appears to be Washington's own excessively belligerent policies. That approach is driving together regimes that have little in common except the need to resist U.S. pressure. Washington's menacing posture undermines rather than enhances American security, and especially in one case -- provoking an expanding entente between Russia and China -- it poses a grave danger.

The current flirtation between Caracas and anti-American factions in the Middle East is not the first time that American leaders have worried about collaboration among heterogeneous adversaries. U.S. intelligence agencies and much of the foreign policy community warned for years about cooperation between Iran and North Korea over both nuclear and ballistic missile technology . During the Cold War, a succession of U.S. administrations expressed frustration and anger at the de facto alliance between the totalitarian Soviet Union and democratic India. Yet the underlying cause for that association was not hard to fathom. Both countries opposed U.S. global primacy. India was especially uneasy about Washington's knee-jerk diplomatic and military support for Pakistan , despite that country's history of dictatorial rule and aggression.

Alienating India was a profoundly unwise policy. So, too, has been Washington's longstanding obsession with weakening and isolating Iran and North Korea. Those two countries have almost nothing in common, ideologically, politically, geographically, or economically. One is a weird East Asian regime based on dynastic Stalinism, while the other is a reactionary Middle East Muslim theocracy. Without the incentive that unrelenting U.S. hostility provides, there is little reason to believe that Tehran and Pyongyang would be allies. But Washington's vehemently anti-nuclear policy towards both regimes, and the brutal economic sanctions that followed, have helped cement a de facto alliance between two very strange bedfellows.

Iranian and North Korean leaders have apparently reached the logical conclusion that the best way to discourage U.S. leaders from considering forcible regime change towards either of their countries was to cooperate in strengthening their respective nuclear and missile programs. Washington's regime change wars , which ousted Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Moammar Gaddafi -- and the unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Syria's Assad -- reinforced such fears.

Nicaragua: Washington's Other Hemispheric Nemesis Washington's Incoherent Policy Towards Dictators

The most worrisome and potentially deadly case in which abrasive U.S. behavior has driven together two unlikely allies is the deepening relationship between Russia and China. Washington's "freedom of navigation" patrols in the South China Sea have antagonized Beijing, which has extensive territorial claims in and around that body of water. Chinese protests have grown in both number and intensity. Bilateral relations have also deteriorated because of Beijing's increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan and Washington's growing support for the island's de facto independence. The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has only added to the animosity. Chinese leaders see American policy as evidence of Washington's determination to continue its status of primacy in East Asia, and they seek ways to undermine it.

Russia's grievances against the United States are even more pronounced. The expansion of NATO to the borders of the Russian Federation, Washington's repeated trampling of Russian interests in the Balkans and the Middle East, the imposition of economic sanctions in response to the Crimea incident, the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, U.S. arms sales to Ukraine , and other provocations have led to a new cold war . Russia has moved to increase diplomatic, economic, and even military cooperation with China. Beijing and Moscow appear to be coordinating policies on an array of issues, complicating Washington's options .

Close cooperation between Russia and China is all the more remarkable given the extent of their bitterly competing interests in Central Asia and elsewhere. A mutual fear of and anger toward the United States, however, seems to have overshadowed such potential quarrels -- at least for now.

There even appears to be a "grand collusion" of multiple U.S. adversaries forming. Both Russia and China are increasing their economic links with Venezuela , and Russia's military involvement with the Maduro regime is also on the rise. Last month, Moscow dispatched two nuclear-capable bombers to Caracas along with approximately 100 military personnel. The latter contingent's mission was to repair and refurbish Venezuela's air defense system in light of Washington's menacing rhetoric. That move drew a sharp response from President Trump.

Moscow's policy toward the Assad government, Tehran, and Hezbollah has also become more active and supportive. Indeed, Russia's military intervention in Syria, beginning in 2015, was a crucial factor in tilting the war in favor of Assad's forces, which have now regained control over most of Syria. Washington is thus witnessing Russia getting behind two of its major adversaries: Venezuela and an Iran-led coalition in the Middle East.

This is a classic example of balancing behavior on the part of countries worried about a stronger power that pursues aggression. Historically, weaker competitors face a choice when confronting such a power: bandwagon or attempt to balance against that would-be hegemon. Some very weak nations may have little choice but to cower and accept dependent status, but most midsize powers (and even some small ones) will choose the path of defiance. As part of that balancing strategy, they tend to seek any allies that might prove useful, regardless of differences. When the perceived threat is great enough, such factors are ignored or submerged. The United States and Britain did so when they formed the Grand Alliance with the totalitarian Soviet Union in World War II to defeat Nazi Germany. Indeed, the American revolutionaries made common cause with two reactionary autocracies, France and Spain, to win independence from Britain.

The current U.S. policy has produced an array of unpleasant results, and cries out for reassessment. Washington has created needless grief for itself. It entails considerable ineptitude to foster collaboration between Iran and North Korea, to say nothing of adding Assad's secular government and Maduro's quasi-communist regime to the mix. Even worse are the policy blunders that have driven Russia to support such motley clients and forge ever-closer economic and military links with a natural rival like China. It is extremely unwise for any country, even a superpower, to multiply the number of its adversaries needlessly and drive them together into a common front. Yet that is the blunder the United States is busily committing.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at , is the author of 12 books and more than 800 articles. His latest book is Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements (2019).



Higdon Kirt April 14, 2019 at 9:15 pm

"I never thought I'd be saying this, but if the Soviet Union still existed, the United States would not dare to do what it is doing now" – said to me by an anti-Communist Romanian who had fled Romania when it was still Communist ruled. We were attending a demonstration against the Clinton air war which was the final death blow to Yugoslavia.

The emergence of a powerful anti-American world coalition is a good thing; US world hegemony has been good neither for the US nor for the world. The main danger is that the US, seeing its power slip away, will resort to all out war, even nuclear war. I pray that the US rulers are at least sane even if they are quite evil and over-bearing.

Whine Merchant , , April 14, 2019 at 9:16 pm
Current US foreign policy, set by the White House and Commander-in-Chief, reflects the beliefs of the Deplorables who put Trump into office: sadly, most of these dupes believe the myth of American Exceptionalism [copyright Sarah Palin]. The nexus of confusing social media and reality TV with genuine reality, and 1950s Hollywood jingoism, has them waiting for a crisis [possibly a gay Star Wars/Kardashian-type monster] that can only be saved before the final commercial by their 'Hero'.
Fayez Abedaziz , , April 15, 2019 at 12:10 am
Hello,
Let's see here.
It's gotten to the point where the great United States is ruled by Trump and the strangest of people, like freak Bolton and Pompeo and the Presidents son in law?
Are the voters nuts? The lousy choices of war mongers Hillary and Trump?
Look at the foreign leaders in the pictures.
Then look at the nasty hate filled, historically ignorant bums I named above.
The difference?
They, the leaders of those four nations threaten no one and no other nation, but clown Trump and his advisers do every day.
Take away any power from Trump and his advisers, yeah, wishful thinking, I know, and read a book by Noam Chomsky or an article or three by Bernie Sanders and maybe you will see what a circus the white house is, of this nation. Ironically, America has never been LESS great. What a damn crying shame, know what I mean?
Christian J Chuba , , April 15, 2019 at 7:20 am
There is a diverse coalition of weaker countries opposing the U.S. because
A. Each have been the target of regime change and figure they they better pool their resources and help each other when they can 'the axis of resistance'.
or
B. The wolves are waiting at the wood's edge just waiting to humiliate the United States, the last flickering light of all that is good.

Well since we are a nation of narcissists we believe B because we cannot fathom that other countries act in their own interests.

[Apr 16, 2019] The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they re angling for war with Iran.

Highly recommended!
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Return of the Just April 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

You're right. I see people like Robert Kagan's opinions being respectfully asked on foreign affairs, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams being hired to direct our foreign policy.

The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they're angling for war with Iran.

It's preposterous and sickening. And it can't be allowed to stand, so you can't just stand off and say you're "wrecked". Keep fighting, as you're doing. I will fight it until I can't fight anymore.

Ken Zaretzke , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Fact-bedeviled JohnT: “McCain was a problem for this nation? Sweet Jesus! There quite simply is no rational adult on the planet who buys that nonsense.”

McCain had close ties to the military-industrial complex. He was a backer of post-Cold War NATO. He was a neoconservative darling. He never heard of a dictator that he didn’t want to depose with boots on the ground, with the possible exception of various Saudi dictators (the oil-weaponry-torture nexus). He promoted pseudo-accountability of government in campaign finance but blocked accountability for the Pentagon and State Department when he co-chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs with John Kerry.

And, perhaps partly because of the head trauma and/or emotional wounds he suffered at the hands of Chinese-backed Commies, it’s plausible to think he was regarded by the willy-nilly plotters of the deep state as a manipulable, and thus useful, conduit of domestic subversion via the bogus Steele dossier.

Unfortunately, the episode that most defines McCain’s life is the very last one–his being a pawn of M-16 in the the deep state’s years-long attempt to derail the presidency of Donald Trump.

Joe Dokes , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:55 pm
Measuring success means determining goals. The goals of most wars is to enrich the people in charge. So, by this metric, the war was a success. The rest of it is just props and propaganda.
Andrew Stergiou , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:11 am
“Pyrrhic Victory” look it up the Roman Empire Won but lost if the US is invaded and the government does not defend it I would like to start my own defense: But the knee jerk politics that stirs America’s cannon fodder citizens is a painful reminder of a history of jingoist lies where at times some left and right agree at least for a short moment before the rich and powerful push their weight to have their way.

If All politics is relative Right wingers are the the left of what? Nuclear destruction? or Slavery?

Peter Smith , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:13 am
My goodness! I am also a veteran, but of the Vietnam war, and my father was a career officer from 1939-1961 as a paratrooper first, and later as an intelligence officer. He argued vigorously against our Vietnam involvement, and was cashiered for his intellectual honesty. A combat veteran’s views are meaningless when the political winds are blowing.

Simply put, we have killed thousands of our kids in service of the colonial empires left to us by the British and the French after WWII. More practice at incompetent strategies and tactics does not make us more competent–it merely extends the blunders and pain; viz the French for two CENTURIES against the Britsh during the battles over Normandy while the Planagenet kings worked to hold their viking-won inheritance.

At least then, kings risked their own lives. Generals fight because the LIKE it…a lot. Prior failures are only practice to the, regardless of the cost in lives of the kids we tried to raise well, and who were slaughtered for no gain.

We don’t need the empire, and we certainly shouldn’t fight for the corrupt businessmen who have profited from the never-ending conflicts. Let’s spend those trillions at home, so long as we also police our government to keep both Democrat and Republican politicians from feathering their own nests. Term limits and prosecutions will help us, but only if we are vigilant. Wars distract our attention while corruption is rampant at home.

Fayez Abedaziz , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:25 am
Thanks, I appreciate this article.
I’ll make two points, my own opinion:
it’s the same story as Vietnam, the bull about how the politicians or anti-war demonstrators tied the military ‘hand,’ blah, blah.
Nonsense. Invading a nation and slaughtering people in their towns, houses…gee…what’s wrong with that, eh?
The average American has a primitive mind when it comes to such matters.
Second point I have, is that both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, Hillary and Trump should be dragged to a world court, given a fair trial and locked up for life with hard labor… oh, and Cheney too,for all those families, in half a dozen nations, especially the children overseas that suffered/died from these creeps.
And, the families of dead or maimed American troops should be apologized to and compensation paid by several million dollars to each.
The people I named above make me sick, because I have feelings and a conscience. Can you dig?
kingdomofgodflag.info , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am
Though there is a worldly justification for killing to obtain or maintain freedoms, there is no Christian justification for it. Which suggests that Christians who die while doing it, die in vain.

America’s wars are prosecuted by a military that includes Christians. They seldom question the killing their country orders them to do, as though the will of the government is that of the will of God. Is that a safe assumption for them to make? German Christian soldiers made that assumption regarding their government in 1939. Who was there to tell them otherwise? The Church failed, including the chaplains. (The Southern Baptist Convention declared the invasion of Iraq a just war in 2003.) These wars need to be assessed by Just War criteria. Christian soldiers need to know when to exercise selective conscientious objection, for it is better to go to prison than to kill without God’s approval. If Just War theory is irrelevant, the default response is Christian Pacifism.

Mark Thomason , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
“has gone un-investigated, unheard of, or unpunished.”

The one guy who did tell us has just been arrested for doing exactly that.

The arrest is cheered by those who fantasize about Russiagate, but it is expressly FOR telling us about these things.

Stephen J. , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:51 am
“Iraq Wrecked” a lot of innocent people. Millions are dead, cities reduced to rubble, homes and businesses destroyed and it was all a damned lie. And the perpetrators are Free.
Now there is sectarian violence too, where once there was a semblance of harmony amongst various denominations. See article link below.

“Are The Christians Slaughtered in The Middle East Victims of the Actions of Western War Criminals and Their Terrorist Supporting NATO ‘Allies’”?

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/are-christians-slaughtered-in-middle.html

the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:53 am
We are a globalist open borders and mass immigration nation. We stand for nothing. To serve in this nation’s military is very stupid. You aren’t defending anything. You are just a tool of globalism. Again, we don’t secure our borders. That’s a very big give away to what’s going on.
the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:57 am
If our nation’s military really was an American military concerned with our security we would have secured our border after 9/11, reduced all immigration, deported ALL muslims, and that’s it. Just secure the borders and expel Muslims! That’s all we needed to do.

Instead we killed so many people and imported many many more Muslims! And we call this compassion. Its insane.

Kouros , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Maybe if Talibans get back in power they will destroy the opium. You know, like they did when they were first in power…. It seems that wherever Americans get involved, drugs follow…
JohnT , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm
“Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” In Eisenhower’s televised farewell address January 17, 1961.
Rational thought would lead one to believe such words from a fellow with his credentials would have had a useful effect. But it didn’t. In point of fact, in the likes of Eric Prince and his supporters the notion of war as a profit center is quite literally a family affair.
Ken Zaretzke , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:10 pm
The military-industrial complex couldn’t accomplish this all by its lonesome self. The deep state was doing its thing. The two things overlap but aren’t the same. The deep state is not only or mainly about business profits, but about power. Power in the world means empire, which requires a military-industrial complex but is not reducible to it.

We now have a rare opportunity to unveil the workings of the deep state, but it will require a special counsel, and a lengthy written report, on the doings in the 2016 election of the FBI (Comey, Strzok, et. al.), and collaterally the CIA and DIA (Brennan and Clapper). Also the British government (M-16), John McCain, and maybe Bush and Obama judges on the FISA courts.

[Apr 16, 2019] In terms of banking, here is a great explanation, including The City of London that owns UK:

Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mark Bruzonsky , says: Website April 16, 2019 at 5:22 am GMT

To understand how such total control is done, one has to look at the role of banking serfdom, led by the FED and the central bankers, and media brainwash, run by Hollywood and mainstream media.

In terms of banking, here is a great explanation, including The City of London that owns UK:

Prof. Werner brilliantly explains how the banking system and financial sector really work.
402,668 views

https://www.youtube.com/embed/EC0G7pY4wRE?feature=oembed

Batman11:

The workings of the monetary system have been a mystery throughout globalisation, which is why we have had so many financial crises.

The central banks were charged with bringing financial stability, but they didn't understand it either, so they didn't stand a chance.

The BIS is just as bad and Richard Werner points out the Basel regulations are based on the assumption that banks are financial intermediaries, but they are not.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/EC0G7pY4wRE?start=3&feature=oembed

This is RT, but this is the most concise explanation available on YouTube.

Professor Werner, DPhil (Oxon) has been Professor of International Banking at the University of Southampton for a decade.

The central banks even know banks are not financial intermediaries.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

The central banks know a bit, but obviously not enough.

Financial stability is a lot easier than it looks when you know what you are doing.

Richard Werner was in Japan in the 1980s when it went from a very stable economy and turned into a debt fuelled monster. He worked out what happened and had all the clues necessary to point him in the right direction.

The three types of bank lending:

1) Into business and industry – gives a good return in GDP and doesn't lead to inflation

2) To consumers – leads to consumer price inflation

3) Into real estate and financial speculation – leads to asset price inflation and gives a poor return in GDP and shows up in the graph of debt-to-GDP

Bank credit has been used for all the wrong things during globalisation and the bankers have just been inflating asset prices, not creating real wealth as measured by GDP and this has caused nearly all the financial crises.

1929 and 2008 stick out like sore thumbs when you know where to look, but the FED didn't.

[Apr 16, 2019] Why tiny groups are able to control large mass of population

Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

jacques sheete , says: April 16, 2019 at 12:22 pm GMT

@Thomm

i) If gentiles are so smart, why are Jews, whom gentiles outnumber 40:1 across the combined Western World, able to control everything?

If you're so smart, then what makes you think it has much to do with smarts? Violence may trump intelligence in the likely event you haven't figured that out.

Carroll Price , says: April 16, 2019 at 12:24 pm GMT
@Thomm

If gentiles are so smart, why are Jews, whom gentiles outnumber 40:1 across the combined Western World, able to control everything?

It's the Benjamins baby.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: April 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm GMT
@jacques sheete Please do not try to teach dishonest person about honesty. Dishonest person know about honesty. He only did figure out that being dishonest is more rewarding than being honest.
Justsaying , says: April 16, 2019 at 1:19 pm GMT
@Thomm Posing a question without giving it a thought first will backfire. The same question could be asked of Whites in the Western world: if they are so smart, why are >99% of them totally controlled by <1%? It is that <1% that is the dog wagged by the Zio-tail.

[Apr 15, 2019] The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf

Notable quotes:
"... In SUPERCLASS we learn that this class of people actually own and control the three largest Western religions and many of the secondary ones - they all preach obedience to authority as paramount. They also own the drugs trade around the world. 95% of the world supply of opium comes out of Afghanistan under the watchful eye of the Elite through use of the US military. ..."
"... And just as an aside to any historians out there, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-first Century shows how a critical mass of capital was had formed 500 years ago and has grown consistently at a rate greater than the general economy ever sense. He showed that before, during and after the French Revolution and later the US "revolution" the core capital of the west made profits. These revolutions, like government today, were pantomimes whilew the real power profited from the slaughter. The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf sinse August 6, 1945. The nuclear weapons belong to them. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul Damascene , Apr 14, 2019 10:19:30 AM | link

You ask a question about European political class's perception and defence of European interests that is as perplexing here as it is in regard to Libya and Syria, to name just these. There was at least some coherent defence of international law and principle during Bush II's lead up to the Iraq war, but Europe's defence of law and Europe's common interests seem to have ceased at some point since then.

pretzelattack , Apr 14, 2019 10:31:57 AM | link

so many poodles, but there can only be one alpha poodle and that's the uk so far.
Babyl-on , Apr 14, 2019 10:43:53 AM | link
"Why are they playing this game?"

Because, like the US European government is a tool of the Global Power Elite, it is nothing more than pantomime. The West is fully owned and operated by the global elite.

In books going back to C Wright Mills' The Power Elite in 1956 to SUPERCLASS by David Rothkopf, and GIANTS: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips clearly outline just how powerful the Global Elites really are.

In SUPERCLASS we learn that this class of people actually own and control the three largest Western religions and many of the secondary ones - they all preach obedience to authority as paramount. They also own the drugs trade around the world. 95% of the world supply of opium comes out of Afghanistan under the watchful eye of the Elite through use of the US military.

There is one and only one Western empire - that of the Global Elites.

85% of the valuable assets in the world are controlled by the Global Elites.

There is no offsetting force against them, there simply does not exist today a force capable of challenging their ownership of the world.

And just as an aside to any historians out there, Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-first Century shows how a critical mass of capital was had formed 500 years ago and has grown consistently at a rate greater than the general economy ever sense. He showed that before, during and after the French Revolution and later the US "revolution" the core capital of the west made profits. These revolutions, like government today, were pantomimes whilew the real power profited from the slaughter. The Elite prosper from war that is why there has been continual war and slaughter on their behalf sinse August 6, 1945. The nuclear weapons belong to them.

[Apr 15, 2019] Neoliberal globalization is under sieve, countries that refuse to unconditionally open markts to transnationals and be vassal of Washington are now labeled as authoritarian

This slur "authoritarian state" is now peddled by neocons as synonym for the "countries we do not like"
This neocons in not very inventive... We already saw this line from Robert Kagan, who actually is a better writer. This neocon/neolib pressitute can't even use proper terms such as "neoliberalism" and "Washington consensus"
And slide to far-right nationalism and neo-fascism is direct result of neoliberalism dominance for the last 40 years (since Carter) and sliding of the standard of living of workers and the middle class.
Notable quotes:
"... Both countries have touted the virtues of their systems, while arguing that Western values are a source of decadence, amorality and disorder in the Western world. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Liberalism Is Under Siege. Conservatives Can Save It. - Bloomberg By Hal Brands

As international rivalry intensifies, the core strategic task for the U.S.-led democratic community is to contain the geopolitical influence and political disruption caused by authoritarian great powers, namely China and Russia. Yet that task is made all the harder because illiberalism -- and sympathy for those illiberal powers -- is simultaneously surging among key actors on the political right. If the U.S. and its allies are to succeed in the great global rivalry of the 21st century, the right must confront the threat of illiberalism within its ranks -- just as the left did during a previous twilight struggle in the 20th century.

... ... ...

This time, the threat is not expansionist communism, but a combination of autocracy and geopolitical revisionism. China has been moving toward a dystopian future of high-tech authoritarianism, as it pushes for greater power and influence overseas. Putin's Russia has consolidated an illiberal oligarchy, while using information warfare, political meddling and other tools to subvert liberal democracies in Europe, the U.S. and beyond.

Both countries have touted the virtues of their systems, while arguing that Western values are a source of decadence, amorality and disorder in the Western world.

... ... ...

It is not for nothing that the political scientist Marc Plattner has written that the gravest threat to liberal democracy today is “that it will end up being abandoned by substantial segments of the right.” And even in the U.S., there are alarming signs that conservative commitment to the norms of liberal democracy is under strain.

Hal Brands at Hal.Brands@jhu.edu

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Che Guevara10 hours ago ,

Communism was not a threat, but actually benefited the world in many ways.
It was communism that put pressure on capitalism to provide labor a fair share of wealth and income. As soon as Soviet communism collapsed, capitalism returned to its avaricious roots, resulting in stagnant wages for the working class. And the pauperization of the working class in recent decades is the cause for the current revolt against liberal capitalism.
So it was the competition from communism that was helping capitalism to stay healthy. Without it capitalism has degenerated into a Dickensian dystopia. We should therefore welcome any alternative socio-economic models to liberal capitalism.

EmilyEnso Che Guevara7 hours ago ,

It was communism that put pressure on capitalism to provide labor a fair
share of wealth and income. As soon as Soviet communism collapsed,
capitalism returned to

Thats a great point Che.
I have never ever looked at it from that angle.
Interesting.

EeeYepBlowing Whistles EmilyEnso7 hours ago ,

The odd thing is that both communism and capitalism are both controlled from the same evil hidden hand!!!

George Evans Che Guevara8 hours ago ,

the success of the Chinese efforts may just be the spur needed...

brad_sk13 hours ago ,

Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, who has long been a leading conservative intellectual, warns that this disillusion with liberal democracy “is clearly present among American conservatives, and not just among the ‘alt-right.’

Honest and real conservatives are far and fewer in today's MAGA/tea party infested GOP. Forget career politicians like Ted Cruz or McConnell, even the previously decent conservative think tanks/pundits like from NR or Erik Erickson or others have all given up on any principles and just bow at the altar of Trump now.

Sebastian Cremmington brad_sk29 minutes ago ,

No they haven’t, Trump decided to put McConnell in charge so of course the #neverTrumpers like the McConnell presidency...which consists of appointing Republican judges at record pace and little else.

johnny sunshine brad_sk4 hours ago ,

Or they've become the right wing of the Democratic party.

dnjake12 hours ago ,

The biggest need is to resist holy warriors like Hal Brands who want to destroy the world if it resists their version of revealed truth. They are the biggest threat to the human future. The United States has to learn to live in a world that it cannot control. The American goal should be to work towards a constructive human future not some kind of holy war to impose American control on the rest of the world. The United States is the biggest military spender. In recent history, It has been the world's global aggressor.

It has an history of wars that have made little difference whether America won or lost them. Perhaps the United States could succeed with some kind of genocide that wiped out all of the parts of the world that refuse to accept American supremacy. But, short of that kind of disgrace, the United States is not going to succeed in achieving any meaningful goal through war. As long as America does not destroy the world, the future is going to be determined by economic competition and the destinies that the people of different parts of the world choose for themselves.

dav123411 hours ago ,

The author needs a reality check. Much of what he says is in his imagination.

emno33 hours ago ,

I had wondered if it was noticed the Liberalism was dying. The world has turned hard right, with all the anger, nationalism, do-as-I-say, and social intolerance. I don't even the children of today.

Camus534 hours ago ,

I might suggest that liberals themselves are destroying their freedoms with illogical illiberal liberalism.

YOU can't do that, say that, act like that, think like that...no no no...we must act and be correct, nice, polite, all forgiving and never critical.

Huh?

The freedoms that so many of us marched for, fought for, voted for, sang about (thank gawd the music still lives), got bloody for, even died for, are slipping away quicker than you can say me, me, me...it's all about me.

Maybe...small maybe...our youth can once again awaken America and the world's conscience. Maybe? Maybe not!

Mark Miller9 hours ago ,

"Just as the Cold War left broke with communism"

Wha? It seems our LIttle Cultural Revolution is just warming up. Wait till AOC et al are all growed up.

"This is a moment when the “free world” needs to be strong and united."

Is this the same "free" world that jails grandmothers over contested historical views? That has reneged on free speech?

Thanks to a truly ethnomasochistic immigration policy, I assure you that this will not happen. The West will be lucky if squeaks through this period without a civil war.

[Apr 15, 2019] Peaceful Coexistence 2.0 by Dani Rodrik

Notable quotes:
"... Today's Sino-American impasse is rooted in "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. But a global trade regime that cannot accommodate the world's largest trading economy is a regime in urgent need of repair. ..."
"... Today's impasse between the US and China is rooted in the faulty economic paradigm I have called "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies maximally, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. This requires that national economic models – the domestic rules governing markets –converge considerably. Without such convergence, national regulations and standards will appear to impede market access. They are treated as "non-tariff trade barriers" in the language of trade economists and lawyers. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

Peaceful Coexistence 2.0 Apr 10, 2019 Dani Rodrik

Today's Sino-American impasse is rooted in "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. But a global trade regime that cannot accommodate the world's largest trading economy is a regime in urgent need of repair.

CAMBRIDGE – The world economy desperately needs a plan for "peaceful coexistence" between the United States and China. Both sides need to accept the other's right to develop under its own terms. The US must not try to reshape the Chinese economy in its image of a capitalist market economy, and China must recognize America's concerns regarding employment and technology leakages, and accept the occasional limits on access to US markets implied by these concerns.

The term "peaceful coexistence" evokes the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev understood that the communist doctrine of eternal conflict between socialist and capitalist systems had outlived its usefulness. The US and other Western countries would not be ripe for communist revolutions anytime soon, and they were unlikely to dislodge the Communist regimes in the Soviet bloc. Communist and capitalist regimes had to live side by side.

Peaceful coexistence during the Cold War may not have looked pretty; there was plenty of friction, with each side sponsoring its own set of proxies in a battle for global influence. But it was successful in preventing direct military conflict between two superpowers armed to the hilt with nuclear weapons. Similarly, peaceful economic coexistence between the US and China is the only way to prevent costly trade wars between the world's two economic giants

Today's impasse between the US and China is rooted in the faulty economic paradigm I have called "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies maximally, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. This requires that national economic models – the domestic rules governing markets –converge considerably. Without such convergence, national regulations and standards will appear to impede market access. They are treated as "non-tariff trade barriers" in the language of trade economists and lawyers.

Thus, the main US complaint against China is that Chinese industrial policies make it difficult for US companies to do business there. Credit subsidies keep state companies afloat and allow them to overproduce. Intellectual property rules make it easier for copyrights and patents to be overridden and new technologies to be copied by competitors. Technology-transfer requirements force foreign investors into joint ventures with domestic firms. Restrictive regulations prevent US financial firms from serving Chinese customers. President Donald Trump is apparently ready to carry out his threat of slapping additional punitive tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese exports if China does not yield to US demands in these areas.

For its part, China has little patience for arguments that its exports have been responsible for significant whiplash in US labor markets or that some of its firms are stealing technological secrets. It would like the US to remain open to Chinese exports and investment. Yet China's own opening to world trade was carefully managed and sequenced, to avoid adverse impacts on employment and technological progress.

Peaceful coexistence would require that US and China allow each other greater policy space, with international economic integration yielding priority to domestic economic and social objectives in both countries (as well as in others). China would have a free hand to conduct its industrial policies and financial regulations, in order to build a market economy with distinctive Chinese characteristics. The US would be free to protect its labor markets from social dumping and to exercise greater oversight over Chinese investments that threaten technological or national security objectives.

The objection that such an approach would open the floodgates of protectionism, bringing world trade to a halt, is based on a misunderstanding of what drives open trade policies. As the principle of comparative advantage indicates, countries trade because it is in their own interest. When they undertake policies that restrict trade, it is either because they reap compensating benefits elsewhere or because of domestic political failures (for example, an inability to compensate the losers).

In the first instance, freer trade is not warranted because it would leave society worse off. In the second case, freer trade may be warranted, but only to the extent that the political failure is addressed (and compensation is provided). International agreements and trade partners cannot reliably discriminate between these two cases. And even if they could, it is not clear they can provide the adequate remedy (enable compensation, to continue the example) or avoid additional political problems (capture by other special interests such as big banks or multinational firms).

Consider China in this light. Many analysts believe that China's industrial policies have played a key role in its transformation into an economic powerhouse. If so, it would be neither in China's interests, nor in the interest of the world economy, to curb such practices. Alternatively, it could be that these policies are economically harmful on balance, as others have argued. Even in that case, however, the bulk of the costs are borne by the Chinese themselves. Either way, it makes little sense to empower trade negotiators – and the special interests lurking behind them – to resolve fundamental questions of economic policy on which there is little agreement even among economists.

Those who worry about the slippery slope of protectionism should take heart from the experience under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade prior to the establishment of the World Trade Organization. Under the GATT regime, countries had much greater freedom to pursue their own economic strategies. Trade rules were both weaker and less encompassing. Yet world trade expanded (relative to global output) at a more rapid clip in the three and a half decades after World War II than it has under the post-1990 hyper-globalist regime. Similarly, one can make a convincing case that, thanks to its unorthodox growth policies, China today is a larger market for foreign exporters and investors than if it had stuck to WTO-compliant policies.

Finally, some may say that these considerations are irrelevant, because China has acceded to the WTO and must play by its rules. But China's entry into the WTO was predicated on the idea that it had become a Western-style market economy, or would become one soon. This has not happened, and there is no good reason to expect that it will (or should). A mistake cannot be fixed by compounding it.

A global trade regime that cannot accommodate the world's largest trading economy – China – is a regime in urgent need of repair.

[Apr 14, 2019] The FBI/CIA gang is also very stupid. From Halper-the-spy and his incompetent handler Brennan to the obnoxious Zionists of Ledeen kind they, the members of the "gang", show incompetence and the self-endangering and stupid amorality.

Apr 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:19 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer 'This gang is so powerful "

-- The gang is also very stupid. From Halper-the-spy and his incompetent handler Brennan to the obnoxious zionists of Ledeen kind they, the members of the "gang", show incompetence and the self-endangering and stupid amorality.

By destroying whatever decent has been in the western civilization so far, and by spreading the rot around, the gangsters have been destroying their children's & grandchildren's future.

[Apr 14, 2019] It has since been revealed that Epstein had 21 different phone numbers for contacting his friend Bill Clinton, who, court records allege, "frequently flew" on Epstein's private jet between 2002 and 2005.

Apr 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

Si1ver1ock says: April 13, 2019 at 12:01 pm GMT

It's interesting the Media has brought back the Sweden rape charge, but they are avoiding this rape story like the pest.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1jDPzW9COsU?feature=oembed

Read More

annamaria , says: April 13, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT

"Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time – a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books "

-- The presstituting crowd of stenographers (MSM) and the zionized X-tian war profiteers have made everything in their power (inadvertently) to ensure that Assange is and will be a towering figure of our time.

Even in distress, Assange has been fighting for truth and dignity; the ongoing show of lawlessness exposes the rot. The moral and creative midgets constituting the core of MSM and the satanic deciders are upset. Good!

The idiotic Senior District "Judge" Emma Arbuthnot (a wife and beneficiary of a mega-war profiteer Lord Arbuthnot -- Arbuthnot served as Chairman of the Defence Select Committee from 2005 to 2014) and the no less idiotic District "Judge" Michael Snow have entered the history books as well. As scoundrels: http://members5.boardhost.com/xxxxx/msg/1555064882.html

Snow does his best to bring the Judiciary into disrepute by playing to the gallery. He comments on the extradition in the same vein in a totally unprofessional manner. He is of course in a long line of disreputable members of the judiciary Snow's place in history is now secured – he chose to abuse the defendant rather than perform his role which was really quite straightforward. He is the narcissist and guilty of self interest not Julian Assange.

annamaria , says: April 13, 2019 at 12:33 pm GMT
@Si1ver1ock For every pronouncement against Assange by the US/UK government and judiciary, there should be an immediate question about the leniency shown towards the pedophiles and rapists in the UK (see Savile and the sudden "disappearance" of files re the high-placed pedophiles) and the story of Lolita Island and Lolita Express in the US.

Theresa May as the protector of pedophiles and rapists in the UK: https://www.corbettreport.com/pedophiles-in-politics-an-open-source-investigation/

One of the hurdles in investigating the claims is the Official Secrets Act, which prevents the disclosure of state secrets and "sensitive" information. "It is clear there are a lot of people who could provide a lot of information to support ongoing criminal investigations But they are not doing so because of the Official Secrets Act. They are fearful of not only breaking the law but the potential effect on their pension. This is absolutely crucial if we are to get some of these ex-officers coming forward and to get prosecutions of some of the former MPs." He has asked Home Secretary Theresa May to lift the restrictions, allowing former officials to speak up about what they know about the case, but so far there is no indication that this has been done.

The protection of the high-placed pedophiles and rapists in the US:

In the Epstein case, as well, there are numerous questions surrounding the possibility of high-level cover up. In recent weeks it has emerged that Epstein struck a remarkable secret deal with the US Attorney's Office that barred more than 500 pages of documents detailing negotiations of the deal and a staggering 13,000 documents from the investigation into Epstein's activities that were shelved as a result of the bargain.

Let the scoundrels talk about Assange to see how the concocted fraud is backfired.

Mrs. Clinton in particular should have been more circumspect:

It has since been revealed that Epstein had 21 different phone numbers for contacting his friend Bill Clinton, who, court records allege, "frequently flew" on Epstein's private jet between 2002 and 2005.

annamaria , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:28 pm GMT
@Ronald Thomas West And why are you spreading the MSM disinformation on the Unz forum? -- Just to satisfy your desire to litter the forum?

Read and learn: https://www.corbettreport.com/pedophiles-in-politics-an-open-source-investigation/

Also, perhaps you need to ponder why you are not treated the same way as the courageous, talented, principled, and dignified Assange is treated. Perhaps, something is missing in your character.

annamaria , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:44 pm GMT
@Art Theresa May has been the main protector of the high-placed British pedophiles

"Theresa May and the 'missing' child sex abuse files" https://www.reknr.com/uk/theresa-may-and-the-missing-child-sex-abuse-files/

"British PM Blocks Elite Pedophile Enquiry On Grounds Of 'National Security'" https://newspunch.com/british-pm-blocks-pedophile-enquiry/

The documents are thought to shed light on the years of ongoing pedophilia and child abuse within Westminster and contained names of "several" high-level politicians in the UK and US who are connected to an elite pedophile ring.

The followup: "Theresa May accused of cover-up over child abuse inquiry concerns," https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-child-abuse-inquiry-cover-up-concerns-dame-lowell-goddard-stories-a7369976.html

"England: Land of Royals, Tea and Horrific Pedophilia Coverups" http://time.com/2974381/england-land-of-royals-tea-and-horrific-pedophilia-coverups/

In the case of the Westminster "pedophile ring," the mounting sentiment that Britain's establishment serves its own interests and conceals its wrongdoing may be well founded. Until recently only seven police officers were working on Operation Fernbridge; Scotland Yard announced today the figure is now 22.

By fraudulently accusing Assange, Theresa May reminds the world about her role in the protection of the wealthy and influential Westminster pedophiles (the real rapists).

[Apr 13, 2019] How about a paedophile UK Prime Minister never investigated ?

Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Iris , says: April 13, 2019 at 8:11 pm GMT

@The Alarmist

Not to mention more than a few paedo-grooming ring members who are still awaiting deportation

How convenient these immigrants are when a good smokescreen is needed.
And how about a paedophile UK Prime Minister never investigated ?

"Sir Edward Heath WAS a paedophile, says police chief: Astonishing claim is made that the former PM is guilty of vile crimes 'covered up by the Establishment'"

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4238188/Sir-Edward-Heath-paedophile-says-police-chief.html

[Apr 13, 2019] Russia Warns New World Order Being Formed

Notable quotes:
"... "The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization – is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all. Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said. ..."
"... "The US and its allies are trying to impose their approaches on others," Lavrov noted. ..."
"... "They are guided by a clear desire to preserve their centuries-long dominance in global affairs although from the economic and financial standpoint, the US – alone or with its allies – can no longer resolve all global economic and political issues," he said. ..."
"... "In order to preserve their dominance and recover their indisputable authority, they use blackmail and pressure. They don't hesitate to blatantly interfere in the affairs of sovereign states." ..."
"... Agree with the assessment other than the claim the US has had centuries long global dominance, or even influence. ..."
Apr 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared today that the Western, liberal model of society is dying, and a new world order is taking its place.

Lavrov made the comments at his annual meeting with students and professors at the Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

"The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization – is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all. Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said.

According to him, global development is guided "by processes aimed at boosting multipolarity and what we call a polycentric world order."

"Clearly, multipolarity and the emergence of new centers of power in every way requires efforts to maintain global stability and search for a balance of interests and compromises, so diplomacy should play a leading role here," Lavrov went on to say.

"Particularly because there are a lot of issues that require generally acceptable solutions."

These include regional conflicts, international terrorism, food security and environmental protection. This is why we believe that only diplomacy can help make agreements and reach sustainable decisions that will be accepted by all.

"The US and its allies are trying to impose their approaches on others," Lavrov noted.

"They are guided by a clear desire to preserve their centuries-long dominance in global affairs although from the economic and financial standpoint, the US – alone or with its allies – can no longer resolve all global economic and political issues," he said.

"In order to preserve their dominance and recover their indisputable authority, they use blackmail and pressure. They don't hesitate to blatantly interfere in the affairs of sovereign states."

Perry Colace

When I was a kid, the Soviet Union was the enemy. Now Russia (with an economy, population, military and world influence the fraction of the United States) seems to be one of the few places in the world that makes any bit of sense and ACTUALLY cares a little bit about its culture and people.

Fluff The Cat

"The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization – is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all.Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said.

A Judaic-Masonic world order is the end goal. It entails the complete loss of sovereignty for all Western nations and the slow genocide of white Christians via miscegnation and displacement by third-worlders.

lnardozi

I can't think of a man more American than Putin.

Sell the bases, come home, stop bothering others and trying to run world affairs.

Then we can spend a nice nice century or so rebuilding our infrastructure and trimming our out-of-control federal government.

The clue is right there in the name - the united STATES of America. A state is a sovereign country with its own laws - except for those powers enumerated in the Constitution which the federal government should have.

That's the whole point - competition in government. You don't like the state you're in - you're guaranteed the choice of 49 others, along with all your possessions.

notfeelinthebern

Agree with the assessment other than the claim the US has had centuries long global dominance, or even influence.

johnnycanuck

Western global dominance, US took over from the British Empire with the assistance of the banksters class. It's all there in the history books, you just need to spend time

consider me gone

As much as I hate to say it, this was Winston Churchill's idea. Even as the war was just starting, he was a major advocate for the West controlling the globe after WWII.

But I'll bet he had no idea that the West would abandon traditional Western values in the process. He wouldn't watch TV and predicted it would turn society into unthinking idiots. He nailed that one anyhow.

The Alliance

"...many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said.

Skeptical?

I, for one, would show up early and highly motivated to march against, and to destroy, these treasonous, malevolent, collectivist Globalists.

The Globalists within the United States government are traitors--traitors, by definition. They have declared war on our republic.

CDN_Rebel

Russia works because they have a ruthless tyrant who happens to be incredibly competent. That same system with a weak ruler will collapse entirely in a matter of months. I like Putin, but he needs to groom an ironfisted successor pronto.

As for the chows - they need to print half a trillion a month to stay afloat and that's your model?

The west is only fucked because the sleeping masses refuse to acknowledge that Marxists have undermined our institutions... It would take only a few years to scrub these subversive ***** from our society if we had the balls to do it

johnnycanuck

yadda yadda yadda.. marxists, subversives, commies, all the catch phrases of ye old Joe McCarthy. Russia works because Russians have a history of enduring adversity. Unlike Americans.

Moribundus

It is eventually end of era of western imperialism, era that lasted 900 years. Game is over

[Apr 12, 2019] Trump s Betrayal of White America by Alex Graham

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's failure here is his alone. Closing the border could be accomplished with a simple executive order. It has happened before: Reagan ordered the closing of the border when DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was murdered on assignment in Mexico in 1985, for instance. ..."
"... Trump's empty threats over the past two years have had real-world consequences, prompting waves of migrants trying to sneak into the country while they still have the chance. His recent move to cut all foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is another empty gesture that will probably have similar consequences. The funds directed to those countries were used for programs that provided citizens with incentives not to migrate elsewhere. (The situation was not ideal from an isolationist point of view, but a wiser man would have built the wall before cutting off the aid.) ..."
"... Trump's betrayal of American workers is perhaps best encapsulated by the fact that one of the members of the advisory board of his National Council for the American Worker (which claims to "enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages") is the CEO of IBM, a company that has expressed a preference for F-1 and H-1B visa holders in its job postings. ..."
"... There are more former Goldman Sachs employees in the Trump White House than in the Obama and Bush administrations combined. ..."
"... It is hard to escape the conclusion that Trump is not actually interested in curbing immigration and reversing America's demographic decline. He is a con artist and a coward who is willing to betray millions of white Americans so that he can remain in the good graces of establishment neoconservatives ..."
"... As Ann Coulter has put it, "He's like a waiter who compliments us for ordering the hamburger, but keeps bringing us fish. The hamburger is our signature dish, juicy and grilled to perfection, you've made a brilliant choice . . . now here's your salmon. " ..."
"... Third, he put an end to American funding for Palestinians. This coincided with the passing of a bill that codified a $38 billion, ten-year foreign aid package for Israel. Trump also authorized an act allocating an additional $550 million toward US-Israel missile and tunnel defense cooperation. ..."
"... Trump's track record on Israel shows that he is capable of exercising agency and getting things done. But he has failed to address the most pressing issue that America currently faces: mass immigration and the displacement of white Americans. The most credible explanation for his incompetence is that he has no intention of delivering on his promises. There is no "Plan," no 4-D chess game. The sooner white Americans realize this, the better. ..."
"... We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more" ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | www.unz.com
"Unlike other presidents, I keep my promises," Trump boasted in a speech delivered on Saturday to the Republican Jewish Congress at a luxury hotel in Las Vegas. Many in the audience wore red yarmulkes emblazoned with his name. In his speech, Trump condemned Democrats for allowing "the terrible scourge of anti-Semitism to take root in their party" and emphasized his loyalty to Israel.

Trump has kept some of his promises. So far, he has kept every promise that he made to the Jewish community. Yet he has reneged on his promises to white America – the promises that got him elected in the first place. It is a betrayal of the highest order: millions of white Americans placed their hopes in Trump and wholeheartedly believed that he would be the one to make America great again. They were willing to endure social ostracism and imperil their livelihoods by supporting him. In return, Trump has turned his back on them and rendered his promises void.

The most recent example of this is Trump's failure to keep his promise to close the border. On March 29, Trump threatened to close the border if Mexico did not stop all illegal immigration into the US. This would likely have been a highly effective measure given Mexico's dependence on cross-border trade. Five days later, he suddenly retracted this threat and said that he would give Mexico a " one-year warning " before taking drastic action. He further claimed that closing the border would not be necessary and that he planned to establish a twenty-five percent tariff on cars entering the US instead.

Trump's failure here is his alone. Closing the border could be accomplished with a simple executive order. It has happened before: Reagan ordered the closing of the border when DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was murdered on assignment in Mexico in 1985, for instance.

Trump's empty threats over the past two years have had real-world consequences, prompting waves of migrants trying to sneak into the country while they still have the chance. His recent move to cut all foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is another empty gesture that will probably have similar consequences. The funds directed to those countries were used for programs that provided citizens with incentives not to migrate elsewhere. (The situation was not ideal from an isolationist point of view, but a wiser man would have built the wall before cutting off the aid.)

The past two years have seen a surge in illegal immigration without precedent in the past decade. Since late December, the Department of Homeland Security has released 125,565 illegal aliens into the country. In the past two weeks alone, 6,000 have been admitted. According to current projections, 2019 will witness around 500,000 to 775,000 border crossings. Additionally, about 630,000 illegal aliens will be added to the population after having overstayed their visas. By the end of the year, more than one million illegal aliens will have been added to the population:

These projections put the number of illegal aliens added to the U.S. population at around one to 1.5 million, on top of the 11 to 22 million illegal aliens who are already living across the country. This finding does not factor in the illegal aliens who will be deported, die over the next year, or leave the U.S. of their own will. As DHS data has revealed, once border crossers and illegal aliens are released into the country, the overwhelming majority are never deported.

In February, Trump signed a bill allowing the DHS secretary to add another 69,320 spots to the current H-2B cap of 66,000. On March 29, DHS began this process by announcing that it would issue an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this year. The H-2B visa program allows foreign workers to come to the US and work in non-agricultural occupations. Unlike the H-1B program, a Bachelor's degree is not required; most H-2B workers are employed in construction, maintenance, landscaping, and so on. The demographic most affected by the expansion of the H-2B program will be unemployed working-class Americans. This flies in the face of Trump's promise to protect American workers and stop importing foreigners.

Trump has indicated that he has plans to expand the H-1B visa program as well. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.," he said in a tweet in January.

Trump's betrayal of American workers is perhaps best encapsulated by the fact that one of the members of the advisory board of his National Council for the American Worker (which claims to "enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages") is the CEO of IBM, a company that has expressed a preference for F-1 and H-1B visa holders in its job postings.

Trump has been working on legal immigration with Jared Kushner, who has quietly been crafting a plan to grant citizenship to more "low- and high-skilled workers, as well as permanent and temporary workers" (so, just about everyone). Kushner's plan proves the folly of the typical Republican line that legal immigration is fine and that only illegal immigration should be opposed. Under his plan, thousands of illegal aliens will become "legal" with the stroke of a pen.

There is a paucity of anti-immigration hardliners in Trump's inner circle (though Stephen Miller is a notable exception). Trump has surrounded himself with moderates: the Kushners, Mick Mulvaney, Alex Acosta, and others. There are more former Goldman Sachs employees in the Trump White House than in the Obama and Bush administrations combined.

The new DHS secretary, Kevin McAleenan, who was appointed yesterday following Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation, is a middle-of-the-road law enforcement official who served under Obama and Bush and is responsible for the revival of the " catch-and-release " policy, whereby illegal aliens are released upon being apprehended. It was reported last week that Trump was thinking of appointing either Kris Kobach or Ken Cuccinelli to a position of prominence (as an " immigration czar "), but this appears to have been another lie.

Trump's failure to deliver on his promises cannot be chalked up to congressional obstruction. Congress. As Kobach said in a recent interview , "It's not like we're powerless and it's not like we have to wait for Congress to do something. . . . No, we can actually solve the immediate crisis without Congress acting." Solving the border crisis would simply demand "leadership in the executive branch willing to act decisively." Kobach recently outlined an intelligent three-point plan that Trump could implement:

Publish the final version of the regulation that would supersede the Flores Settlement. The initial regulation was published by the Department of Homeland Security in September 2018. DHS could have published the final regulation in December. Inexplicably, DHS has dragged its feet. Finalizing that regulation would allow the United States to detain entire families together, and it would stop illegal aliens from exploiting children as get-out-of-jail free cards. Set up processing centers at the border to house the migrants and hold the hearings in one place. The Department of Justice should deploy dozens of immigration judges to hear the asylum claims at the border without releasing the migrants into the country. FEMA already owns thousands of travel trailers and mobile homes that it has used to address past hurricane disasters. Instead of selling them (which FEMA is currently doing), FEMA should ship them to the processing centers to provide comfortable housing for the migrants. In addition, a fleet of passenger planes should deployed to the processing centers. Anyone who fails in his or her asylum claim, or who is not seeking asylum and is inadmissible, should be flown home immediately. It would be possible to fly most migrants home within a few weeks of their arrival. Word would get out quickly in their home countries that entry into the United States is not as easy as advertised. The incentive to join future caravans would dissipate quickly. Publish a proposed Treasury regulation that prohibits the sending home of remittances by people who cannot document lawful presence in the United States. This will hit Mexico in the pocketbook: Mexico typically brings in well over $20 billion a year in remittances , raking in more than $26 billion in 2017. Then, tell the government of Mexico that we will finalize the Treasury regulation unless they do two things to help us address the border crisis: (1) Mexico immediately signs a "safe third country agreement" similar to our agreement with Canada. This would require asylum applicants to file their asylum application in the first safe country they set foot in (so applicants in the caravans from Central America would have to seek asylum in Mexico, rather than Canada); and (2) Mexico chips in $5 billion to help us build the wall. The threat of ending remittances from illegal aliens is a far more powerful one than threatening to close the border. Ending such remittances doesn't hurt the U.S. economy; indeed, it helps the economy by making it more likely that such capital will be spent and circulate in our own country. We can follow through easily if Mexico doesn't cooperate.

It would not be all that difficult for Trump to implement these proposals. Kobach still has faith in Trump, but his assessment of him appears increasingly to be too generous. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Trump is not actually interested in curbing immigration and reversing America's demographic decline. He is a con artist and a coward who is willing to betray millions of white Americans so that he can remain in the good graces of establishment neoconservatives . At the same time, he wants to maintain the illusion that he cares about his base.

As Ann Coulter has put it, "He's like a waiter who compliments us for ordering the hamburger, but keeps bringing us fish. The hamburger is our signature dish, juicy and grilled to perfection, you've made a brilliant choice . . . now here's your salmon. "

Nearly everything Trump has done in the name of restricting immigration has turned out to be an empty gesture and mere theatrics: threatening to close the border, offering protections to "Dreamers" in exchange for funding for the ever-elusive wall, threatening to end the "anchor baby" phenomenon with an executive order (which never came to pass), cutting off aid to Central American countries, claiming that he will appoint an "immigration czar" (and then proceeding to appoint McAleenan instead of Kobach as DHS secretary), and on and on.

While Trump has failed to keep the promises that got him elected, he has fulfilled a number of major promises that he made to Israel and the Jewish community.

First, he moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump claimed that the move would only cost $200,000, but in reality it will end up being more than $20 million . The construction of the embassy also led to a series of bloody protests; it is located in East Jerusalem, which is generally acknowledged to be Palestinian territory.

Second, he pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu claimed on Israeli TV that Israel was responsible for convincing him to exit the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. (Both Trump and Netanyahu falsely alleged that Iran lied about the extent of its nuclear program; meanwhile, Israel's large arsenal of chemical and biological weapons has escaped mention.) Third, he put an end to American funding for Palestinians. This coincided with the passing of a bill that codified a $38 billion, ten-year foreign aid package for Israel. Trump also authorized an act allocating an additional $550 million toward US-Israel missile and tunnel defense cooperation.

Fourth, he recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights (in defiance of the rest of the world, which recognizes the Golan Heights as Syrian territory under Israeli occupation). Trump's Golan Heights proclamation was issued on March 21 and was celebrated by Israel. Trump's track record on Israel shows that he is capable of exercising agency and getting things done. But he has failed to address the most pressing issue that America currently faces: mass immigration and the displacement of white Americans. The most credible explanation for his incompetence is that he has no intention of delivering on his promises. There is no "Plan," no 4-D chess game. The sooner white Americans realize this, the better.


aandrews , says: April 10, 2019 at 3:17 am GMT

Kushner, Inc. Book Review Part I: The Rise of The Kushner Crime Family

Kushner, Inc. Book Review Part II: The Fall of The Kushner Crime Family

If you haven't picked up a copy of Vicky Ward's book, Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump , you really should.

I haven't read Mr. Graham's essay yet, but I thought those two links would fit in nicely. I stay in a low boil, like it is, and having plodded through both those reviews, I can't stand reading too much on this topic at once.

Something's gotta give. Or are the brainless goy just going to let themselves be led off a cliff?

Oh, yes. There's an interview with Ward on BookTV .

Thinker , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:16 am GMT
Yep. Trump's a lying POS pond scum like the rest of the DC swamp that he said he was going to drain, turns out he is one of them all along. We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more. He needs to change his campaign slogan to MIGA, Make Israel Great Again, that was the plan of his handlers all along.

What I want to know is, who are those idiots who still keep showing up at his rallies? Are they really that dumb?

Even Sanders came out and said we can't have open borders. I've also heard him said back in 2015 that the H1b visa program is a replacement program for American workers. If he grows a pair and reverts back to that stance, teams up with Tulsi Gabbard, I'll vote for them 2020. Fuck Trump! Time for him and his whole treasonous rat family to move to Israel where they belong.

jbwilson24 , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:51 am GMT
@Thinker " We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more"

Afraid not, there's plenty of reason to believe that the Roosevelt family and Lyndon Johnson were Jewish.

Your major point stands, though. He's basically a shabbesgoy.

peterAUS , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:05 am GMT
@Dr. Robert Morgan

His "implicitly white" supporters would have abandoned him in droves, not wanting to be associated with a racist, thus pointing up the weakness of implicit whiteness as a survival strategy. And is it actually a survival strategy? A closer look at it makes me think it's more of a racial self-extermination strategy. After all, what kind of a survival strategy is it that can't even admit its goals to itself? And it's exactly this refusal of whites to explicitly state that they collectively want to continue to exist as a race that is the greatest impediment to their doing so. It's an interesting problem with no easy solution. How do you restore the will to live to a race that seems to have lost it? And not only lost its will to live, but actually prides itself on doing so? Accordingly, this "betrayal" isn't a betrayal at all. It's what American whites voted for and want. Giving their country away and accepting their own demographic demise is proof of their virtue; proof of their Christian love for all mankind.

You are definitely onto something here.

Still, I feel it's not that deep and complicated. It could be that they simply don't believe that the danger is closing in.

Boils down to wrong judgment. People who haven't had the need to think hard about serious things tend to develop that weakness.
I guess that boils down to "good times make weak men."

Hard times are coming and they'll make hard men. The catch is simple: will be enough of them in time ?

Real Buddy Ray , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
@Thomm https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/trumps-proposal-for-legal-immigration/499061/
JNDillard , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:20 am GMT
Switching to the Democrats is no solution. The DNC has proven itself to be a criminal organization through sabotaging Sander's campaign and then being instrumental in creating Russophobia, in collusion with Obama, the CIA, the FBI, and the DoJ. The DNC has rules in place stating that super delegates – elitists aligned with the DNC – can vote if one nominee does not win on the first ballot at the National Convention.

Because we have a HUGE number of hats in the Democratic ring, the chances that the nomination will not be decided on a first vote are extremely high, with the result being that the Democratic nominee is not going to be decided by voters in the primaries but by super delegates, i.e., the elitists and plutocrats.

Democracy exists when we vote to support candidates chosen by the elites for the elites; when we stop doing that, the elites turn on democracy. It is a sham; we will have a choice in 2020: between Pepsi and Coke. You are free to choose which one you prefer, because you live in a democracy. For more on the rigging of the democratic primaries for 2020, see

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/09/packed-primary-may-let-superdelegates-screw-progressives-again/

[Apr 12, 2019] If my guess is correct, we will see KSA production declining on a accelerating rate within a few years. Kuwait will not be far behind. North American shale will likely be topped out by then. Gee, that might be post peak.

Notable quotes:
"... We can, however, demand reserve transparency in our own country and that we are NOT getting. In essence the lies being said about "economically" recoverable shale oil reserves in America are way bigger whoppers than any lies the Middle East has ever told. ..."
"... U.S. shale drillers have run into a series of problems that have resulted in increased scrutiny on their operations. The difficulties span their operations – production issues, poor financials and less love from Wall Street. ..."
"... Even as WTI has moved solidly above $60 per barrel, the U.S. shale industry is trying to find ways to right the ship. As Reuters reports, a series of drillers, even prominent ones, are laying off workers. Pioneer Natural Resources – often held up as one of the better of the bunch – and Laredo Petroleum announced just this week that they will be cutting staff. As Jennifer Hiller of Reuters points out, Pioneer has not laid off workers since 1998. ..."
"... In March, Devon Energy eliminated 200 jobs. ..."
"... According to a report from Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., the recent layoffs may not be the end of the story. Everyone should expect more job cuts "over the coming quarters as companies address right-sizing the corporate cost structures," the firm said in its report. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com
xxx: 04/10/2019 at 10:56 pm

Hello Dennis. Have you ever really thought about why the Saudi's would keep their production info as a state secret? I think it has much less to do about quotas than maintaining the status quo of a country and society much different than our western norms.

I have guessed their remaining reserves around 80 gb before, and still believe its in that area. Of course ANYONE without actual production and reservoir info is also guessing whether they are economists, engineers, geologists, or whoever.

If my guess is correct, we will see KSA production declining on a accelerating rate within a few years. Kuwait will not be far behind. North American shale will likely be topped out by then. Gee, that might be post peak.

I hope they have more recoverable oil than my guess, because its going to be a difficult transition.

Mike Shellman : 04/11/2019 at 6:39 am

Mr. Patterson, thanks for the article. You have defended it quite well, this in spite of Dennis Coyne's constant interjections.

Estimating remaining reserves from mature fields is not difficult from an engineering standpoint and how one tinkers with known reservoirs in that field (stuffing gas back into them, HZ laterals above O/W contacts, etc.) does not magically create "new" reserves, it simply speeds up the rate of extraction (arrests natural decline rates). The Saudis lie about their sovereign wealth and it's their right to lie, I suppose; all we can do is try to outsmart them, as you have. America cannot control the Saudi's, regardless of tweets.

We can, however, demand reserve transparency in our own country and that we are NOT getting. In essence the lies being said about "economically" recoverable shale oil reserves in America are way bigger whoppers than any lies the Middle East has ever told.

Ron Patterson : 04/11/2019 at 7:26 am
Mike, thanks for the kind words. I am quite used to Dennis' interjections. They don't bother me. In fact, I enjoy the dialogue with him. It keeps me on my toes.

I can feel the tide turning concerning peak oil. I think OPEC peaked in 2016, politically suppressed production notwithstanding. However, the bigger surprise may be right here in the good old USA. The shale bubble could be bursting a lot sooner than a lot of people think.

Shale Jobs In Jeopardy Despite Oil Price Rally

U.S. shale drillers have run into a series of problems that have resulted in increased scrutiny on their operations. The difficulties span their operations – production issues, poor financials and less love from Wall Street.

Even as WTI has moved solidly above $60 per barrel, the U.S. shale industry is trying to find ways to right the ship. As Reuters reports, a series of drillers, even prominent ones, are laying off workers. Pioneer Natural Resources – often held up as one of the better of the bunch – and Laredo Petroleum announced just this week that they will be cutting staff. As Jennifer Hiller of Reuters points out, Pioneer has not laid off workers since 1998.

In March, Devon Energy eliminated 200 jobs.

According to a report from Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., the recent layoffs may not be the end of the story. Everyone should expect more job cuts "over the coming quarters as companies address right-sizing the corporate cost structures," the firm said in its report.

Nevertheless, the EIA still expects the boom to continue for years and years. We shall see.

[Apr 12, 2019] It looks to me like the global economy may be in for at least one serious oil shock in the 2020s. Yet another titanic wave on the Peak Oil ocean.

Apr 12, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Graywulffe x Ignored says: 04/10/2019 at 5:55 pm

Nice summary, Ron. Brought to mind the old Oil Drum days. Thanks for taking the time to provide this information. Given the admittedly not high-confidence prognostications in Saudi/world oil production, it looks to me like the global economy may be in for at least one serious oil shock in the 2020s.

Yet another titanic wave on the Peak Oil ocean.

[Apr 12, 2019] It is very obvious that what Saudi will have difficulties to maintain the current level of production as giant fields will experience a more rapid decline in the future.

Notable quotes:
"... add to that the usual woes of increasing internal oil consumption (3 mbd and rising fast) and the need to try and build their way out of their demise (requiring more oil and money), and the usual predictions of the 'export land model' look very reasonable, and disastrous for the House of Saud. There will be a tapered end, but the potential for acute instability in production and the in political and social environments of the country within the next decade is real. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Carlos Diaz : 04/10/2019 at 1:44 pm

It's "coup de grâce."

A great article that offers a more realistic view of the very old giant oil fields. It is very obvious that what they are doing to maintain production will result in a more rapid decline in the future. When that happens KSA will be in a lot of hurt, and the world will have an abrupt awakening.

Adam Ash : 04/10/2019 at 5:27 pm
So my simple math says: 256 URR was to last 53 years, 74 URR at the same production rate will last 15 years. Seneca with a vengeance! Rite? EOLAWKI here we come!

add to that the usual woes of increasing internal oil consumption (3 mbd and rising fast) and the need to try and build their way out of their demise (requiring more oil and money), and the usual predictions of the 'export land model' look very reasonable, and disastrous for the House of Saud. There will be a tapered end, but the potential for acute instability in production and the in political and social environments of the country within the next decade is real.

[Apr 12, 2019] At some point Saudi will hit the Seneca Cliff. If they are doing all this advanced recovery to to keep flow rates up then fields will probably hit a wall and crash rather than slow decline.

Notable quotes:
"... Oil consumption has been increasing in all sectors and the growing global economy will require more oil in industry. You seem to think oil is just used in transportation. NOT true. ..."
"... Imagine oil production peaked today. In order for aviation to continue to grow, along with other industries that use oil. How many of the 98 million vehicles sold this year would need to be electric cars? How many electric motorcycles would have to be sold? ..."
"... I believe a Seneca cliff scenario would be a catastrophic one hence the reaction to such a scenario would also be catastrophic. ..."
"... World demand is currently over 100 mb/day, while production is at about 99 mb/day. Does that mean we are using up the already produced reserves? ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Karen Fremerman : 04/10/2019 at 12:17 pm

At some point the Seneca Cliff will be hit. If they are doing all this advanced recovery to to keep flow rates up then fields will probably hit a wall and crash rather than slow decline. Is my thinking correct on that? Karen
Hugo : 04/11/2019 at 2:20 am
Dennis

Oil consumption has been increasing in all sectors and the growing global economy will require more oil in industry. You seem to think oil is just used in transportation. NOT true.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/307194/top-oil-consuming-sectors-worldwide/

Imagine oil production peaked today. In order for aviation to continue to grow, along with other industries that use oil. How many of the 98 million vehicles sold this year would need to be electric cars? How many electric motorcycles would have to be sold?

https://motorcyclesdata.com/2019/03/25/world-motorcycles-market/

Knowing these answers gives us a real understanding of what needs to happen.

Schinzy : 04/11/2019 at 3:42 am

The Seneca cliff for World output requires heroic assumptions which are unlikely to be true in practice.

I strongly disagree with that assessment. I believe the probability of a Seneca cliff is increasing. I think oil extraction is an economic phenomena, not a geological phenomena. During economic expansion, a positive feedback loop is in place: oil extraction produces economic growth which encourages investment in oil extraction producing more economic growth. Once peak oil occurs, I anticipate that this feedback loop will go into reverse: decreased oil production will produce economic contraction which will discourage investment in oil extraction reducing extraction rates leading to economic collapse.

Without investment the IEA estimates that production would fall by 50% in 2025 and by 80% in 2040.

I actually think economic collapse is a great opportunity to introduce a new economic system. The one we have is not only unfair, it encourages environmental devastation.

David Graebner asks rhetorically how a theory such as neoclassic economics based on false hypotheses perdures. His answer is that you teach the biggest lies in the first year. That's why false preconceptions about the economy are so common. I think neoclassical economics chose the wrong mathematical tool to analyse the economy, they chose optimisation. I don't see anything optimal in the economy, I think differential systems would be a much more appropriate mathematical tool with which to analyse the economy, keeping track of money flows.

Our assessment of how the oil cycle will play out can be found here: https://www.tse-fr.eu/publications/oil-cycle-dynamics-and-future-oil-price-scenarios .

Iron Mike : 04/11/2019 at 6:05 am
Hi Ron,

I assume a Seneca cliff scenario would imply rapid economic collapse, as a result i think there will be war over resources. Between which countries i don't know, but i assume U.S will go to war with Russia and or China, via direct war or proxy wars in regions were the countries national security depends on specific resources. So the middle east would as usual be a key area of conflict.

I believe a Seneca cliff scenario would be a catastrophic one hence the reaction to such a scenario would also be catastrophic.

Fred Magyar : 04/11/2019 at 8:30 am
U.S will go to war with Russia and or China, via direct war or proxy wars in regions were the countries national security depends on specific resources.

Perhaps! However modern warfare tends to be very energy intensive. It seems to me a rather safe bet that in a post peak oil world, mostly running on renewables, it might be more likely that societies will be trying to conserve their energy resources and not waste it on war.

But the verdict is not yet in, on whether or not humans are smarter than yeast!

German Guy : 04/10/2019 at 12:53 pm
World demand is currently over 100 mb/day, while production is at about 99 mb/day. Does that mean we are using up the already produced reserves?
Dennis Coyne : 04/10/2019 at 3:03 pm
German Guy,

It simply means we are using oil that is being stored, the so-called oil stocks, eventually as these are reduced, oil prices start to rise and demand (consumption) decreases while supply (production) increases in response to the change in oil price.

[Apr 12, 2019] The northern three Saudi fields reached their Seneca Cliff somewhere around 2010 and began declining at several times 2%. They will decline to near nothing in the next few years

Apr 12, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson : 04/10/2019 at 4:06 pm

Well, no, Ghawar is not declining at 2% per year. Ghawar did not start declining in 2004. And the southern two fields are not declining at all. The northern three fields reached their Seneca Cliff somewhere around 2010 and began declining at several times 2%. They will decline to near nothing in the next few years. Then Ghawar will have level production at somewhere around 2 million barrels per day and hold that level for a decade or two.

Ghawar cannot possibly be adequately described as one field. It is five different fields with five different decline and depletion rates.

When Saudi said, in 2006, that their average decline rate was down to almost 2%, that was the average for all their fields. Some fields were declining at a much faster rate and some fields were not declining at all. Khurais and Manifa were still to be ramped up. Those fields had been in mothballs and would be brought back on line. Now they are likely not declining at all but other fields are declining at a much faster rate than 2%.

But here is the important point. The depletion rate is another matter altogether. That figure is likely above 8% per year.

Ron Patterson : 04/10/2019 at 7:08 pm
Do you have production data for the various fields from 2006 to 2018?

Dennis, you know better than ask such a silly question. Saudi production of individual fields is a closely guarded secret.

Dennis, have you ever wondered why the Saudis keep all this data such a secret? Why don't they just let the actual data known to the world? What was the production data from Safaniya in 2018? Or what was the production data from Manifa in 2018? Or what was the production data from Khurais in 2018, or from Berri, or from all their other fields? And how did that compare to the production in 2017, or 2016?

Dennis, we don't know shit about any of this. We don't know because it is a closely guarded secret. Why, Dennis, Why?

They know Dennis, they know and they don't want you to know. Why?

I know why Dennis. Because what they actually report, which is almost nothing, is a lie. You simply choose to believe it. I do not. I choose to believe the analysis who try to figure out why they are lying. You choose to simply believe the Saudis.

Dennis, the idea that Saudi Arabia has 266 billion barrels of reserves is preposterous beyond belief. Even the Saudis realize that now are trying to slowly reduce that figure. Yet some people, like you, Robert Rapier and Michael Lynch, seemed perfectly ready to believe such an absurd figure. That just floored me. Goddammit, have some people gone insane?

Okay, I have said my peace here and showed my ignorance as to what Saudi Arabia actually can produce for the next 50 years. But you know, it is what they say they can produce.

You believe them. I don't. And neither of us can prove our case. And there it must rest until the actual production data comes in next year and next year and ..

Eulenspiegel : 04/10/2019 at 10:41 am
Good work Ron.

When this is true, that's the reason China is pushing electric travel as hard as they can.

They have more possibilites to know the truth (secret service) than we reading reports. And with SA and Russia having only round about 80 GB left, and producing each round about 10 mbpd, there are not many years left before a major oil incident.

I wonder why oil prices are that stable at the moment. Oil production fell hard this year so far, down everywhere except USA. And there the growth is decelerated.
And demand is still climbing, it will use up all the US growth projected by the optimistic EIA.
A 500 kbpd decline from OPEC is not included here, they still calculate with an increase from opec.

Last question: Where is Russia standing at the moment?

[Apr 12, 2019] Looks like Saudi Arabia counts internal consumption as revenue

Notable quotes:
"... Saudi Arabia, in 2018 produced approximately 3.76 billion barrels of crude only. Their BOE produced was approximately 4.75 billion barrels. That would account for the revenue is they sold every barrel of it. But they consumed a lot themselves. So other than that I have no explanation. Do they count their own consumption as revenue? ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Chris Martensonx : 04/10/2019 at 11:05 am

Ron,

I'm wondering if you can help solve a mystery.

In the bond prospectus SA revealed their financials. Puzzling to me was the claim of revenue of $356 billion.

Why puzzling?

Because Brent averaged ~$75/bbl in 2018. Divide $356 by $75 and you come up with 4.75 Gbbl, which when we divide by 365 days in a year, we get 13 million barrels per day production.

???

I can't get their numbers to work. Even with a 10% premium on their grades of crude (generous), that leaves 11.7 mbd of production . I can't get anything to line up here.

Any ideas?

Dennis Coyne : 04/10/2019 at 11:15 am
Chris,

They also produce NGL and natural gas, in 2016 it was about 1.94 Mb/d or 708 MMb of NGL, I have no idea what the average selling price is for NGL on World markets, it would depend on the mix of NGL of course.

Ron Patterson : 04/10/2019 at 11:31 am
Saudi Arabia, in 2018 produced approximately 3.76 billion barrels of crude only. Their BOE produced was approximately 4.75 billion barrels. That would account for the revenue is they sold every barrel of it. But they consumed a lot themselves. So other than that I have no explanation. Do they count their own consumption as revenue?
Dennis Coyne : 04/10/2019 at 11:54 am
EIA has about 4.5 Gb of total liquids produced by KSA in 2018, that would imply $79/boe average selling price.

I suppose in accounting terms the Saudi Government could pay Aramco for the subsidized oil and the 4.75 Gbo would give us the $75/boe selling price.

[Apr 12, 2019] There is little chance that Western elites will behave any differently than a street corner drug dealer

Notable quotes:
"... Now people might say "see the elites succeeded, they crushed the democratic will, got their policies enacted and successfully replaced Democracy with Oligarchism while the sheep did nothing". But this is actually where the elites (Political, Economic and Technical) show their utter incompetency in understanding statecraft and governance. ..."
"... The greatest danger to any state is NOT foreign invasion or even a rebellion by the peasants. Rather it is internal conflict between the elites within the society. ..."
"... If the elites sabotage the legitimacy of the vote by propagandized the masses so that they can't make informed decisions or become to apathetic to vote, then the entire process by which Western Elites resolve internal conflicts in irrevocably tainted and delegitimized, what will happen next time the elites have an major internal dispute? The losing side will simply see the failure of their political position as the result of them not being corrupt and dishonest enough to beat the other side so they will response by trying to subvert the other side's policies through even more corrupt and dishonest actions. ..."
"... Hilary vs Trump is a good example of where the US (and the west in general) is heading, there's scarcely a hair's difference between the policies these two advocated and the terrible consequences that the commoners will be subjected to regardless of who ended up winning the presidency. However, that hair's difference, while having no real impact of the massive majority of the world's population, it still meant tens of BILLIONS of dollars going to one group of elites vs another group of elites. ..."
"... Linking this back to Assange, he campaigned against the Western Elites control of the narrative and for that "crime" they will destroy him whatever the cost to the Empire's prestige, reputation, trust and self-worth. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kadath , Apr 11, 2019 9:56:58 AM | link

@Cynica #30,

oh, I quite agree that the UK government is deliberately torpedoing Brexit through a deliberate campaign of profound incompetence in the hopes that this will allow them to prevent Brexit without outraging the voting public. However, my assertion is that the US & UK elites while think this campaign is oh so clever and will allow them to subvert the will of the people, they are in fact showing their true incompetence by choosing this method of Publicly campaigning on one policy to get elected, then deliberately and obviously sabotaging it.

in civics 101 we are taught that the advantage of a Democracy is that an "informed populous, making informed decisions will enact informed policies that accurately represent the will of the people (and hopefully be the best policies overall). of course, we all know in reality that the political & economic (and now the technical elites) have always despised the whole concept of Democracy because it restricts their power. Their current vision for subverting the will of the people is through total information control or the "control of the narrative" as they call it. But at the end of the day all this really means is a massive domestic propaganda campaign aimed at the seething masses of plebeians aimed that tricking the masses into voting as the elite require. However, a Democracy is still a Democracy so deliberately mis-informing the populous into voting for policies that are bad for the people, but good for the elite will create a dispirited, apathetic population that isn't politically invested in the government.

Now people might say "see the elites succeeded, they crushed the democratic will, got their policies enacted and successfully replaced Democracy with Oligarchism while the sheep did nothing". But this is actually where the elites (Political, Economic and Technical) show their utter incompetency in understanding statecraft and governance.

The greatest danger to any state is NOT foreign invasion or even a rebellion by the peasants. Rather it is internal conflict between the elites within the society. When civics 101 teachers say that "informed populous, making informed decisions will enact informed policies that accurately represent the will of the people", what they really mean (without being able to forthrightly state) is that through the mandate of the vote the populous will resolve specific conflicts between the elites and that the legitimacy resolution of the dispute is intrinsically & inseparably tied to the legitimacy of the vote.

If the elites sabotage the legitimacy of the vote by propagandized the masses so that they can't make informed decisions or become to apathetic to vote, then the entire process by which Western Elites resolve internal conflicts in irrevocably tainted and delegitimized, what will happen next time the elites have an major internal dispute? The losing side will simply see the failure of their political position as the result of them not being corrupt and dishonest enough to beat the other side so they will response by trying to subvert the other side's policies through even more corrupt and dishonest actions.

Hilary vs Trump is a good example of where the US (and the west in general) is heading, there's scarcely a hair's difference between the policies these two advocated and the terrible consequences that the commoners will be subjected to regardless of who ended up winning the presidency. However, that hair's difference, while having no real impact of the massive majority of the world's population, it still meant tens of BILLIONS of dollars going to one group of elites vs another group of elites.

Everyday, throughout the world, people are killed over essentially trivial amounts of money ($20 drug deals gone bad, $10,000 life insurance schemes), does anyone really think that in a conflict over billions of dollars, Western elites will behave any differently than a street corner drug dealer. Bear in mind, that we have overwhelming evidence that the Iraq War, the Libyan war and the Syrian "civil" war were about Western interest's desire to loot these countries natural resource (and the Western tax payer to boot!).

Linking this back to Assange, he campaigned against the Western Elites control of the narrative and for that "crime" they will destroy him whatever the cost to the Empire's prestige, reputation, trust and self-worth. But as I said, their too greedy to see the bigger picture and how their actions against truth, justice, and democracy will place the dagger in the hand that slits their own throats. What group (the public at large, the military, a subgroup of the elite, etc...) specifically does the deed is irrelevant, without a legitimate way to resolve the inevitable internal conflicts between the elites, the end result is clear, societal collapse.

[Apr 12, 2019] John Bolton Took Money From Clinton Foundation Donor, Banks Tied To Cartels, Terrorists, Iran by William Craddick

Notable quotes:
"... On June 12, 2018 The Washington Post ran an overlooked story where they disclosed that National Security Advisor John Bolton had accepted money from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Deutsche Bank and HSBC to return for his participation in speeches and panel discussions ..."
"... John Bolton accepted $115,000 from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation to speak at multiple events hosted by the Foundation including one in September 2017 where Bolton assured his audience that President Donald Trump would not radically change US foreign policy despite his explicit campaign promises to do so. ..."
"... More broadly, John Bolton's work for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, HSBC and Deutsche Bank shows that while he preaches hardline foreign policy approaches towards nations such as Iran and North Korea he has no issue tying himself to those who openly flaunt American sanctions and diplomatic attempts to pressure these states. For an individual who is the President's National Security Advisor to have taken money from banks who provide financial services to terror groups who have murdered thousands of Americans is totally unacceptable. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Disobedient Media

On June 12, 2018 The Washington Post ran an overlooked story where they disclosed that National Security Advisor John Bolton had accepted money from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Deutsche Bank and HSBC to return for his participation in speeches and panel discussions. These three entities have been linked to various kinds of corruption including sanctions evasion for Iran, money laundering on behalf of drug cartels, provision of banking services to backers of Islamic terror organizations and controversial donations to the Clinton Foundation.

The financial ties between Bolton and these institutions highlight serious ethical concerns about his suitability for the position of National Security Advisor.

I. Victor Pinchuk Foundation

John Bolton accepted $115,000 from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation to speak at multiple events hosted by the Foundation including one in September 2017 where Bolton assured his audience that President Donald Trump would not radically change US foreign policy despite his explicit campaign promises to do so.

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation was blasted in 2016 over their donation of $10 to $25 million to the Clinton Foundation between 1994 and 2005. The donations lead to accusations of influence peddling after it emerged that Victor Pinchuk had been invited to Hillary Clinton's home during the final year of her tenure as Secretary of State.

Even more damning was Victor Pinchuk's participation in activities that constituted evasions of sanctions levied against Iran by the American government. A 2015 exposé by Newsweek highlighted the fact that Pinchuk owned Interpipe Group, a Cyprus-incorporated manufacturer of seamless pipes used in oil and gas sectors. A now-removed statement on Interpipe's website showed that they were doing business in Iran despite US sanctions aimed to prevent this kind of activity.

Why John Bolton, a notorious war hawk who has called for a hardline approach to Iran, would take money from an entity who was evading sanctions against the country is not clear. It does however, raise serious questions about whether or not Bolton should be employed by Donald Trump, who made attacks on the Clinton Foundation's questionable donations a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign.

II. HSBC Group

British bank HSBC paid Bolton $46,500 in June and August 2017 to speak at two gatherings of hedge fund managers and investors.

HSBC is notorious for its extensive ties to criminal and terror organizations for whom it has provided illegal financial services. Clients that HSBC have laundered money for include Colombian drug traffickers and Mexican cartels who have terrorized the country and recently raised murder rates to the highest levels in Mexico's history . They have also offered banking services to Chinese individuals who sourced chemicals and other materials used by cartels to produce methamphetamine and heroin that is then sold in the United States. China's Triads have helped open financial markets in Asia to cartels seeking to launder their profits derived from the drug trade.

In 2012, HSBC was blasted by the US Senate for for allowing money from Russian and Latin American criminal networks as well as Middle Eastern terror groups to enter the US. The banking group ultimately agreed to pay a $1.9 billion fine for this misconduct as well as their involvement in processing sanctions-prohibited transactions on behalf of Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma.

Some of the terror groups assisted by HSBC include the notorious Al Qaeda. During the 2012 scrutiny of HSBC, outlets such as Le Monde , Business Insider and the New York Times revealed that HSBC had maintained ties to Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank. Al Rajhi Bank was one of Osama Bin Ladin's "Golden Chain" of Al Qaeda's most important financiers. Even though HSBC's own internal compliance offices asked for the bank to terminate their relationship with Al Rajhi Bank, it continued until 2010.

More recently in 2018, reports have claimed that HSBC was used for illicit transactions between Iran and Chinese technology conglomerate Huawei. The US is currently seeking to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou after bringing charges against Huawei related to sanctions evasion and theft of intellectual property. The company has been described as a "backdoor" for elements of the Chinese government by certain US authorities.

Bolton's decision to accept money from HSBC given their well-known reputation is deeply hypocritical. HSBC's connection to terror organizations such as Al Qaeda in particular is damning for Bolton due to the fact that he formerly served as the chairman of the Gatestone Institute , a New York-based advocacy group that purports to oppose terrorism. These financial ties are absolutely improper for an individual acting as National Security Advisor.

III. Deutsche Bank

John Bolton accepted $72,000 from German Deutsche Bank to speak at an event in May 2017.

Deutsche Bank has for decades engaged in questionable behavior. During World War II, they provided financial services to the Nazi Gestapo and financed construction of the infamous Auschwitz as well as an adjacent plant for chemical company IG Farben.

Like HSBC, Deutsche Bank has provided illicit services to international criminal organizations. In 2014 court filings showed that Deutsche Bank, Citi and Bank of America had all acted as channels for drug money sent to Colombian security currency brokerages suspected of acting on behalf of traffickers. In 2017, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a $630 million fine after working with a Danish bank in Estonia to launder over $10 billion through London and Moscow on behalf of Russian entities. The UK's financial regulatory watchdog has said that Deutsche Bank is failing to prevent its accounts from being used to launder money, circumvent sanctions and finance terrorism. In November 2018, Deutsche Bank's headquarters was raided by German authorities as part of an investigation sparked by 2016 revelations in the "Panama Papers" leak from Panama's Mossack Fonseca.

Two weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Bush administration signed an executive order linking a company owned by German national Mamoun Darkazanli to Al Qaeda. In 1995, Darkazanli co-signed the opening of a Deutsche Bank account for Mamdouh Mahmud Salim. Salim was identified by the CIA as the chief of bin Laden's computer operations and weapons procurement. He was ultimately arrested in Munich, extradited to the United States and charged with participation in the 1998 US embassy bombings.

In 2017, the Office of the New York State Comptroller opened an investigation into accounts that Deutsche Bank was operating on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is defined by both the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organization. It is ironic that Bolton, who is a past recipient of the "Guardian of Zion Award" would accept money from an entity who provided services to Palestinian groups that Israel considers to be terror related.

IV. Clinton-esque Financial Ties Unbecoming To Trump Administration

Bolton's engagement in paid speeches, in some cases with well-known donors to the Clinton Foundation, paints the Trump administration in a very bad light. Donald Trump criticized Hillary Clinton during his 2016 Presidential campaign for speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs that were labeled by her detractors as "pay to play" behavior. John Bolton's acceptance of money from similar entities, especially the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, are exactly the same kind of activity and are an embarrassment for a President who claims to be against corruption.

More broadly, John Bolton's work for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, HSBC and Deutsche Bank shows that while he preaches hardline foreign policy approaches towards nations such as Iran and North Korea he has no issue tying himself to those who openly flaunt American sanctions and diplomatic attempts to pressure these states. For an individual who is the President's National Security Advisor to have taken money from banks who provide financial services to terror groups who have murdered thousands of Americans is totally unacceptable.

It is embarrassing enough that Donald Trump hired Bolton in the first place. The next best remedy is to let him go as soon as possible.

[Apr 11, 2019] EIA's projections can be taken with a grain of salt

Apr 11, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

GuyM: 04/11/2019 at 8:44 am

EIA's projections can be taken with a grain of salt. What is happening in the US shale is becoming more apparent. Exxon and Chevron plan to gear up to supply the new additions that they will supply to their new refinery additions that will accept LTO. However, I do not see them in a massive growth campaign that will increase exports.

That leaves the independents who are very much under the gun to fix financials per investors, investments firms, and the press.

I read EOG's fourth quarter discussion with the public, which was cut short due to repetitive questions on whether EOG will increase dividends.

Prices will probably rise, but I don't expect much growth, this year, from the majority of the producers, which are the independents.

At least, for this year. As the years go by, more will be gobbled up by the majors, thus providing more limits in growth.

[Apr 10, 2019] Habakkuk on cockroaches and the New York Times

Highly recommended!
Money quote: "The Russian collusion investigation was based solely on the dodgy Steele Dossier that was discredited here from the get-go. This was a product of British Intelligence Community. The intent was to keep and then to get Donald Trump out of the White House. It failed but they did succeed in turning him into a neo-lib-con fellow traveler. There are clear parallels between the end stages of the Soviet Union and the American Empire. My take since the Iraq Invasion is that they are insane. The ruling elite is detached from reality, incompetent and arrogant. Sooner or later someone with their facilities still intact will lead a middle-class revolt against the global plutocracy to restore democracy and reverse the rising inequality. We were lucky that the fall of the Soviet Union did not lead to a nuclear war. The next time a nuclear armed Empire crashes we may not be so fortunate."
Notable quotes:
"... Among interesting dates, it appears that Stefan Halper was already trying to reach out to Lokhova in January-February 2016 – a lot earlier than his approaches to Papadopoulo s and Page. This was done through Professor Christopher Andrew, co-convenor with Halper and the former MI6 had Sir Richard Dearlove of the ‘Cambridge Intelligence Seminar.’ ..."
"... Meanwhile, Lokhova has set up a blog on which she has posted a some interesting relevant material, with perhaps more to come. It is very well worth a look.(See https://www.russiagate.co.uk .) ..."
"... Of particular interest, to my mind, is the full text of her – unpublished – May 2017 interview with the ‘New York Times.’ This points us back to is the fact – of which Lokhova shows no signs of awareness – that the idea that the Western powers and the Russians might have a common interest in fighting jihadist terrorism has been absolute anathema to many key figures on both sides of the Atlantic, with Dearlove certainly among them. ..."
"... ‘AN APOLOGY: Yesterday, I compared @nytimes journalists, who smeared @GenFlynn and accused me of being a Russian spy, to cockroaches. In good conscience, I must apologize to the cockroaches for the distress caused to them for being compared to @nytimes #Russiagate hoaxers. Sorry!’ ..."
"... The centerpiece of this is a proposal submitted to the FCO in August last year by what seems to be essentially the same consortium whose existence as a government contractor has now been made public. The ‘Institute for Statecraft’ has vanished, and one consortium member, ‘Aktis Strategy’, has gone into liquidation. But other key members are the same. ..."
"... A central underlying premise is that if anyone has any doubts as to whether the ‘White Helmets’ are a benevolent humanitarian organisation, or the Russians were responsible for the poisoning of the Skripals or the shooting down of MH17, the only possible explanation is that their minds have been poisoned by disinformation. ..."
"... In fact, what is at issue an ambitious project to co-ordinate and strengthen a very large number of organisations in different countries which are committed to a relentlessly Russophobic line on everything. (The possibility that it might not be very bright to push Russia into the arms of China, the obviously rising power, does not seem to have occurred to these people – perhaps they need less ons from Sir Halford Mackinder, or indeed Niccolò Machiavelli, on ‘statecraft.’) ..."
"... The clear close integration of other cyber people from the ‘Atlantic Council’ into Orwellian ‘information operations’ sponsored by the British Government simply puts these facts into sharp relief. ..."
"... There has to be a strong possible ‘prima facie’ case that anyone in authority prepared to accept the ‘digital forensics’ from ‘CrowdStrike’ is complicit in the conspiracy against the constitution, and/or the conspiracy to cover-up that conspiracy. This certainly goes for Comey, and I think it also goes for Mueller." ..."
"... I'd recommend for reading Alexei Yurchak's "Everything Was Forever, Until It was No More: The Last Soviet Generation." Its about a class of apparatchiks and bureaucrats and hangers on who spoke this arcane, abstract dogmatic language that anyone normal had long since given up trying to understand. It had long ceased to have any relevance or attachment to the lives lived by ordinary, increasingly suffering people, who started talking to each other in practical and direct language. ..."
"... The Russian collusion investigation was based solely on the dodgy Steele Dossier that was discredited here from the get-go. This was a product of British Intelligence Community. The intent was to keep and then to get Donald Trump out of the White House. It failed but they did succeed in turning him into a neo-lib-con fellow traveler. ..."
"... There are clear parallels between the end stages of the Soviet Union and the American Empire. My take since the Iraq Invasion is that they are insane. The ruling elite is detached from reality, incompetent and arrogant. Sooner or later someone with their facilities still intact will lead a middle-class revolt against the global plutocracy to restore democracy and reverse the rising inequality. We were lucky that the fall of the Soviet Union did not lead to a nuclear war. The next time a nuclear armed Empire crashes we may not be so fortunate. ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | www.wsws.org

Habakkuk on cockroaches and the New York Times

"Dan, Thanks for the reference, which I will follow up. Unfortunately, although Bongino has produced a lot of extremely valuable material, a lot of it is buried in the 'postcasts', searching through which is harder than with printed materials. It would greatly help if there were transcripts, but of course those cost money.

I am still trying to fit the exploding mass of information which has been coming out into a coherent timeline. Part of the problem is that there is so much appearing in so many different places. In addition to trying to think through the implications of the information in this post and the subsequent exchanges of comments, I have been trying to make sense of evidence coming out about the British end of the conspiracy.

An important development here has been rather well covered by Chuck Ross, in a recent ‘Daily Caller’ piece headlined ‘Cambridge Academic Reflects On Interactions With 'Spygate’ Figure’ and one on ‘Fox’ by Catherine Herridge and Cyd Upson, entitled ‘Russian academic linked to Flynn denies being spy, says her past contact was “used” to smear him.’ However, the evidence involved has ramifications which they cannot be expected to understand, as yet at least.

(See https://dailycaller.com/201... ; https://www.foxnews.com/pol... .)

At issue is the attempt to use the – apparently casual – encounter between Lieutenant-General Flynn and Svetlana Lokhova at a dinner in Cambridge (U.K.) in February 2016 to smear him by, among other things, portraying her as some kind of ‘Mata Hari’ figure.

Among interesting dates, it appears that Stefan Halper was already trying to reach out to Lokhova in January-February 2016 – a lot earlier than his approaches to Papadopoulo s and Page. This was done through Professor Christopher Andrew, co-convenor with Halper and the former MI6 had Sir Richard Dearlove of the ‘Cambridge Intelligence Seminar.’

This suggests that this was not simply a case Halper acting on his own. It also I think brings us back to the central importance of Flynn’s visit to Moscow in December 2015.

Meanwhile, Lokhova has set up a blog on which she has posted a some interesting relevant material, with perhaps more to come. It is very well worth a look.(See https://www.russiagate.co.uk .)

Of particular interest, to my mind, is the full text of her – unpublished – May 2017 interview with the ‘New York Times.’ This points us back to is the fact – of which Lokhova shows no signs of awareness – that the idea that the Western powers and the Russians might have a common interest in fighting jihadist terrorism has been absolute anathema to many key figures on both sides of the Atlantic, with Dearlove certainly among them.

Some of Lokhova’s comments on ‘twitter’ are extremely entertaining. An example, with which I have much sympathy:

‘AN APOLOGY: Yesterday, I compared @nytimes journalists, who smeared @GenFlynn and accused me of being a Russian spy, to cockroaches. In good conscience, I must apologize to the cockroaches for the distress caused to them for being compared to @nytimes #Russiagate hoaxers. Sorry!’

(See https://twitter.com/RealSLo... .)

Meanwhile, another interesting recent ‘tweet’ comes from Eliot Higgins, of ‘Bellingcat’ fame. He is known to some skeptics as ‘the couch potato’ – perhaps he should be rechristened ‘king cockroach.’ It reads:

‘Looking forward to gettin g things rolling with the Open Information Partnership, with @bellingcat, @MDI_UK, @DFRLab, and @This_Is_Zinc https://www.openinformation...

(See https://twitter.com/EliotHi... )

There is an interesting ‘backstory’ to this. The announcement of an FCO-supported ‘Open Information Partnership of European Non-Governmental Organisations, charities, academics, think-tanks and journalists’, supposedly to counter ‘disinformation’ from Russia, came in a written answer from the Minister of State, Sir Alan Duncan, on 3 April.

(See https://www.theyworkforyou.... )

In turn this followed the latest in a series of releases of material either leaked or hacked from the organisations calling themselves ‘Institute for Statecraft’ and ‘Integrity Initiative’ by the group calling themselves ‘Anonymous’ on 25 March.

(See https://www.cyberguerrilla .... )

The centerpiece of this is a proposal submitted to the FCO in August last year by what seems to be essentially the same consortium whose existence as a government contractor has now been made public. The ‘Institute for Statecraft’ has vanished, and one consortium member, ‘Aktis Strategy’, has gone into liquidation. But other key members are the same.

A central underlying premise is that if anyone has any doubts as to whether the ‘White Helmets’ are a benevolent humanitarian organisation, or the Russians were responsible for the poisoning of the Skripals or the shooting down of MH17, the only possible explanation is that their minds have been poisoned by disinformation.

An interesting paragraph reads as follows:

‘An expanded research component could generate better understanding of the drivers (psychological, sociopolitical, cultural and environmental) of those who are susceptible to disinformation. This will allow us to map vulnerable audiences, and build scenario planning models to test the efficiency of different activities to build resilience of those populations over time.’

They have not yet got to the point of recommending psychiatic treatment for ‘dissidents’, but these are still early days. The ‘Sovietisation’ of Western life proceeds apace.

In fact, what is at issue an ambitious project to co-ordinate and strengthen a very large number of organisations in different countries which are committed to a relentlessly Russophobic line on everything. (The possibility that it might not be very bright to push Russia into the arms of China, the obviously rising power, does not seem to have occurred to these people – perhaps they need less ons from Sir Halford Mackinder, or indeed Niccolò Machiavelli, on ‘statecraft.’)

Study of the proposal hacked/leaked by ‘Anonymous’ bring out both the ‘boondoggle’ element – there is a lot of state funding available for people happy to play these games – and also the strong transatlantic links.

A particularly significant presence, here, is the ‘DFRLab’. This is the ‘Digital Forensic Research Lab’ at the ‘Atlantic Council’, where Eliot Higgins is a ‘nonresident senior fellow.’ The same organisation has a ‘Cyber Statecraft Initiative’ where Dmitri Alperovitch is a ‘nonresident senior fellow.’

It cannot be repeated often enough that it is difficult to see any conceivable excuse for the FBI to fail to secure access to the DNC servers. One would normally moreover expect that, on an issue of this sensitivity, they would have the ‘digital forensics’ done by their own people.

There can be no conceivable excuse for relying on a contractor selected by the organisation which is claiming that there has been a hack, when an alternative possibility is a leak: and the implications of the alternative possibility could be devastating for that organisation.

To rely on a contractor linked to the notoriously Russophobic ‘Atlantic Council’ is even more preposterous.

The clear close integration of other cyber people from the ‘Atlantic Council’ into Orwellian ‘information operations’ sponsored by the British Government simply puts these facts into sharp relief.

There has to be a strong possible ‘prima facie’ case that anyone in authority prepared to accept the ‘digital forensics’ from ‘CrowdStrike’ is complicit in the conspiracy against the constitution, and/or the conspiracy to cover-up that conspiracy. This certainly goes for Comey, and I think it also goes for Mueller."


chris chuba , a day ago

OT but related, just watched a former naval Intelligence officer, now working for the Hoover Institute interviewed on FOX about the Rooshins in Venezuela. Said, the 100 Russians are there to protect Maduro because he cannot trust his own army. Maduro's days are numbered because he is toxically unpopular.

Got me thinking, our Intelligence services are good at psy-ops and keeping our gullible MSM in line but God help us if we ever actually needed real Intelligence about a country. I remember about a month ago how all of these 'Think Tank Guys' were predicting how the only people loyal to Maduro were a few of his crony Generals, that the rank and file military hated him and there were going to be mass defections.

It didn't happen and we are all just supposed to forget that.
[not a socialist, don't have any love for Maduro, I just know that I will never learn anything of about Venezuela from these think tank dudes, we are just getting groomed]

Karl Kolchak -> chris chuba , a day ago
Venezuela isn't about "socialism," or even Maduro--it's about the oil. They have the largest proven reserves in the world, though much of it is non-conventional and would need a ton of investment to exploit. But it's their oil, not ours, and we have no right to meddle in their internal affairs.
Jack -> Karl Kolchak , 15 hours ago
Venezuela is neither about socialism nor oil in my opinion. It is everything to do with the neocons. And Trump buying into their hegemonic dreams. Notice the resurrection of Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame as the man spearheading this in a triumvirate with Bolton & Pompeo. IMO, a perfect foil for Putin & Xi to embroil the US in another regime change quagmire that further weakens the US.
Mad_Max22 , 17 hours ago
"There can be no conceivable excuse for relying on a contractor selected by the organisation which is claiming that there has been a hack, when an alternative possibility is a leak: and the implications of the alternative possibility could be devastating for that organisation.
To rely on a contractor linked to the notoriously Russophobic 'Atlantic Council' is even more preposterous."

True; and true. It is also true that the Clinton e-mail investigation was faux, a limp caricature of what an investigation would look like when it is designed to uncover the truth. Allowing a subject's law firm to review the subject's e-mails from when she was in government for relevancy is beyond preposterous. An investigation conducted in the normal way by apolitical Agents in a field office would not walk away from a trove of evidence empty handed.
The inter-relatedness and overlapping of DoJ, CIA, and FBI personnel assigned to the Clinton e-mail case, the Russophobic nightmare of a 'case' targeting Carter Page, and by extension, the Trump presidential campaign, and yes, the Mueller political op, all reek of political bias and ineptitude followed by more political bias; and then culmination in a scorched earth investigation more characteristic of something the STASI might have undertaken than American justice.
Early morning raids, gag orders, solitary confinements, show indictments that will never see adjudication in a court room - truly unbelievable.

Jack , 15 hours ago
David

In your opinion was this surveillance, criminal & counter-intelligence investigation as well as information operations against Trump centrally orchestrated or was it more reactive & decentralized?

There are so many facets. Fusion GPS & Nellie Ohr with her previous CIA connection. Her husband Bruce at the DOJ stovepiping the dossier to the FBI. Brennan and his EC. Clapper and his intelligence assessment. Halper, Mifsud, Steele along with Hannigan and the MI6 + GCHQ connection. Downer and the Aussies. FISA warrants on Page & Papadopolous. The whole Strzok & Page texting. Comey, Lynch & the Hillary exoneration. McCabe. Then all the Russians. And the media leaks to generate hysteria.

john fletcher , a day ago

I'd recommend for reading Alexei Yurchak's "Everything Was Forever, Until It was No More: The Last Soviet Generation." Its about a class of apparatchiks and bureaucrats and hangers on who spoke this arcane, abstract dogmatic language that anyone normal had long since given up trying to understand. It had long ceased to have any relevance or attachment to the lives lived by ordinary, increasingly suffering people, who started talking to each other in practical and direct language.

And yet the chatterati continued to chatter and invent ludicrously unreal worlds and analyses of the actual world they lived in until... bang... it was no more.

I'd skip the first few chapters which are full of impenetrable marxist jargon.

VietnamVet , 12 hours ago
The Russian collusion investigation was based solely on the dodgy Steele Dossier that was discredited here from the get-go. This was a product of British Intelligence Community. The intent was to keep and then to get Donald Trump out of the White House. It failed but they did succeed in turning him into a neo-lib-con fellow traveler.

There are clear parallels between the end stages of the Soviet Union and the American Empire. My take since the Iraq Invasion is that they are insane. The ruling elite is detached from reality, incompetent and arrogant. Sooner or later someone with their facilities still intact will lead a middle-class revolt against the global plutocracy to restore democracy and reverse the rising inequality. We were lucky that the fall of the Soviet Union did not lead to a nuclear war. The next time a nuclear armed Empire crashes we may not be so fortunate.

[Apr 09, 2019] Rate of decline of production of shale wells is simply unsane up to 60% a year

Apr 09, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News says: 04/08/2019 at 9:26 am

Ron Patterson: 04/08/2019 at 10:26 am
An annual decline rate of 57.5 percent is insane. Yet 3,541,921 bo/day from 2018 wells is even more insane. Shale oil is a phenomenon no one would have believed just a few years ago.

But now it is obvious that this juggernaut called shale oil is slowing down. And its crash will likely be more shocking than its rise.

[Apr 09, 2019] The danger of Seneca cliff on oil production is growing

Apr 09, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Carlos Diaz: 04/08/2019 at 8:07 pm

The decline is likely to be less steep than the increase

Have you heard about a Seneca cliff? It is called that way because Seneca in his letter number 91 to Lucillius (Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium), written towards the end of the year AD 64, a year before he died, refers to the fire that destroyed Lugdunum (Lyon) the summer of that year in the following terms:

It would be some consolation for the feebleness of our selves and our works, if all things should perish as slowly as they come into being; but as it is, increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid.

It appears he knew almost two thousand years ago what you don't.

Hickory: 04/09/2019 at 10:12 am
I expect that a long slow declining tail of production will have some abrupt jolts downward along the way, and end up lower quicker as a result.

The jolts downward will come as producing countries become failed states and the chaos disrupts operations.

For examples of how this comes to be, just look at the past 5 yrs of Venez and Libya as examples. Sure they may pick back up at some point, but overall effect is diminished global production, well below a theoretically well managed industry.

Secondly, (and likely a smaller effect) some deposits will likely be kept in the ground because of choices some cultures make. For example, I could see the USA deciding to keep its large remaining coal deposits largely in the ground after 2030. Canada could decide to put a big constraint on oil sand production, keeping just enough for domestic use, if they so desired.

Carlos Diaz: 04/09/2019 at 7:12 pm
Why you think such scenario is so improbable? Venezuela is living a Seneca cliff in its oil production right now. Did anybody predicted it before it took place?

We have no idea of what will happen after Peak Oil. Some people assume nothing, while others think it will be the end of our civilization. Somewhere in between probably. But I fail to see how the economy can take it well if for most applications we can't substitute oil. The globalization is run on oil and its derivatives.

Your assumptions can only be valid at this side of the peak. If you think otherwise you fool yourself.

[Apr 09, 2019] Puerto Rico's governor warns Trump: 'If the bully gets close, I'll punch the bully in the mouth' by David Knowles

March 28, 2019
Notable quotes:
"... "If the bully gets close, I'll punch the bully in the mouth," Rosselló said when asked about a tense meeting Wednesday between members of the Trump administration and Puerto Rican officials. "It would be a mistake to confuse courtesy with [lack of] courage." ..."
Apr 09, 2019 | www.yahoo.com

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is through playing nice with President Trump.

After months of soft-pedaling his criticism of the president as Puerto Rico struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017, Rosselló voiced his frustration with the White House in a Thursday interview with CNN .

"If the bully gets close, I'll punch the bully in the mouth," Rosselló said when asked about a tense meeting Wednesday between members of the Trump administration and Puerto Rican officials. "It would be a mistake to confuse courtesy with [lack of] courage."

[Apr 09, 2019] Part of the problem may be that the American oligarchy is now believing its own bullshit, or put another way, has descended into decadence.

Apr 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Apr 9, 2019 2:31:57 PM | link

Part of the problem may be that the American oligarchy is now believing its own bullshit, or put another way, has descended into decadence.
The United States has morphed stories many times - from a land of opportunity via theft from Natives/occupying new land, to jobs and growth opportunities via the Industrial Revolution, to economic prosperity through rebuilding other nations torn apart by war.
Under these lenses - particularly the last one - the Ukraine, Libya, Syria and other "freedom and nation building" exercises make sense.
The problem is that it is still unclear that the other major nations are willing to get themselves into another major war with each other - from which the US can sell into, both during and after.
Another way to look at it is the Dr. Michael Hudson model: that any economy which permits interest bearing debt to, by natural law, greatly exceed organic economic capability to repay and is thus doomed to cataclysm - the increase of the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) from 12% in the 80s to well over 40%, maybe 50% or 60% today, would be a good indicator.
Under the Dr. Michael Hudson model - the "western" tradition is the abolishing of the debt jubilee, replaced by the Roman looting of foreign lands model.
Note that the debt jubilee model can still work: a 100% or 150% inflation over a 1-3 year period would do it, accompanied and followed by policies which restrain FIRE going forward. However, the unwillingness of the oligarchy to accept/understand/implement is very clear.
Interesting times.

[Apr 08, 2019] Why has the West destroyed its own Industrial Base

Apr 08, 2019 | theduran.com

Since the 1971 floating of the US dollar onto the global markets, and 1973 creation of the Petro dollar, the world has experienced a consistent collapse of productive manufacturing jobs, infrastructure investment, long term planning on the one hand and a simultaneous increase of de-regulation, short term speculation, financial services, and low wage retail jobs. During this post 1971 process of decline, debt slavery became a norm both in developed countries and developing sector nations alike, while outsourcing caused the castration of national sovereignty and an ever greater reliance on "cheap labor" and "cheap resources" from abroad. It was even called the "controlled disintegration" policy of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in 1978 as he was preparing to raise interest rates to levels that made it impossible for a majority of small and medium agro-industrial enterprises to compete against corporate monoliths. The most concrete model of this collapse was unveiled to the world in 1996 by the late American economist Lyndon LaRouche known as the Triple Curve Collapse Function.

Some have called this collapse "a failure of globalization". Executive Intelligence Review's Dennis Small has repeatedly stated over many years that this is characterization is false. Globalization should rather be seen as a complete success- in that when looked at from a top down perspective, it becomes increasingly clear that the architects of this policy achieved exactly what they set out to do. That intention was to impose an artificial closed/zero-sum game paradigm upon a species whose distinguishing characteristic is its creative reason and capacity constantly grow and self-perfect both on the surface of the earth and beyond. A primary figure in the oligarchy's tool box of sociopathic agents who shaped this program for depopulation and zero sum thinking over the years is a Canadian-born operative by the name of Maurice Strong. Although having died in 2015, Strong's life and legacy are worth revisiting as it provides the modern reader a powerful, albeit ugly insight into the methods and actions of the British-Deep State agenda that so mis-shaped world history through the latter half of the 20 th century.

While this exercise will have value for all truth seekers, this story should carry additional weight for Canadians currently witnessing their own government collapsing under the weight of the contradictions built into a system which Strong led in shaping (i.e.: the need for nuclear and industrial productive potential embodied by SNC Lavalin and the obedience to a "green" post-industrial paradigm antagonistic to such productive capacity).

Journalist Elaine Dewar's groundbreaking 1994 book "Cloak of Green" which every truth-seeker should read, dealt rigorously with Strong's role as a recruit of Rockefeller assets in the 1950s, an oil baron, vice president of Power Corporation by 30, Liberal Party controller, Privy Councilor, and founder of Canada's neo-colonial external aid policy towards Africa which tied Africa into IMF debt slaves, we will focus here on the role Strong has played since 1968 in subverting the anti-entropic potential of both his native Canada and the world at large. It was through this post-1968 role that Strong performed his most valued work for the genocidal agenda of his British masters who seek to reduce the world population to a "carrying capacity" of less than a billion .

RIO and Global Governance

In 1992, Maurice Strong had been assigned to head the second Earth Summit (the first having been the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment also chaired by Strong). The Rio Summit had established a new era in the consolidation of NGOs and corporations under the genocidal green agenda of controlled starvation masquerading behind the dogma of "sustainability'. This doctrine was formalized with Agenda 21 and the Earth Charter , which Strong co-authored with his collaborated Jim Macneil during the 1990s. At the opening of the Rio Summit, Strong announced that industrialized countries had "developed and benefited from the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption which have produced our present dilemma. It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class, involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work-place air-conditioning, and suburban housing- are not sustainable. A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns."

In a 1992 essay entitled From Stockholm to Rio: A Journey Down a Generation , published by the UN Conference on Environment and Development, Strong wrote:

"The concept of national sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation. What is needed is recognition of the reality that in so many fields, and this is particularly true of environmental issues, it is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful. The global community must be assured of environmental security."

Two years earlier, Strong gave an interview wherein he described a "fiction book" he was fantasizing about writing which he described in the following manner:

" What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of the rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The group's conclusion is 'no'. The rich countries won't do it. They won't change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?"

When this statement is held up parallel to this man's peculiar life, we quickly come to see that the barrier between reality and fiction is more than a little blurry.

The Destruction of Nuclear Power

It is vital to examine Strong's role in crippling Canada's potential to make use of nuclear power, one of the greatest beacons of hope mankind has ever had to break out of the current "fixed" boundaries to humanity's development. Indeed, the controlled use of the atom, along with the necessary discovery of new universal principles associated with this endeavor, have always represented one of the greatest strategic threats to the oligarchic system, which depends on a closed system of fixed resources in order to both manage current populations and justify global governance under "objective" frameworks of logic. Fission and fusion processes exist on a level far beyond those fixed parameters that assume the earth's "carrying capacity" is no greater than the 2 billion souls envisioned by today's London-centered oligarchy. If mankind were to recognize his unique creative potential to continuously transcend his limitations by discovering and creating new resources, no empire could long exist. With Canada as the second nation to have civilian nuclear power, and a frontier science culture in physics and chemistry, the need to destroy this potential in the mind of the British Deep State of Canada was great indeed.

To get a better sense of the anti-nuclear role Strong has played in Canadian science policy, we must actually go back once again to Strong's reign at the Department of External Aid in 1966.

Humanity's trend towards utilizing ever more dense forms of fire was always driven by a commitment to scientific and technological progress. The realization that this process drives the increase of human potential population density (both in quantity and quality of life) was recognized at the turn of the 20th century and serves as the foundation for American economist Lyndon LaRouche's method of economic forecasting. The graph above features American per capita access to energy and the post-1975 sabotage of the expected transition to nuclear fission and fusion

Technological Apartheid for Africa

A key reason that Strong had been brought into Canada's Civil Service to head up the External Aid office in 1966 was to sabotage the international efforts leading scientists and statesmen had achieved in making Canada an exporter of its original CANDU reactors. Since 1955, leading patriots within Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL) and the National Research Council such as C.D. Howe and his collaborator C.W. Mackenzie, ensured that the export of advanced nuclear technology was made available to developing countries such as India and Pakistan. In Canada this policy was advanced vigorously by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who also saw atomic power as the key to world peace.

The banners under which this advanced technology transfer occurred were both the Columbo Plan and President Dwight Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace . This progressive approach to international development defined "external aid" not around IMF conditionalities, or simply money for its own sake, but rather as the transfer of the most advanced science and technology to poor countries with the explicit intention that all nations would attain true sovereignty. This is the model that China has adopted today under the Belt and Road Initiative.

When Strong got to work in External Aid, and later formed the Canadian International Development Agency, Canada's relationship to "LDCs" (lesser developed countries) became reduced to advancing "appropriate technologies" under the framework of monetarism and a perverse form of systems analysis. After JFK's assassination, a parallel operation was conducted in America's USAid. No technology or advanced infrastructure policy necessary for the independence of former colonies were permitted under this precursor to what later became known as "sustainability" and "zero growth". Under Strong's influence, Canada's role became perverted into inducing LDCs to become obedient to IMF/World Bank "conditionalities" and the reforms of their bureaucracies demanded by the OECD in order to receive money. Both in Canada and in developing countries, Strong was among the key agents who oversaw the implementation of the OECD's strategy of "closed systems analysis" for national policy management.

Petrol and Pandas

In his role as President of Petro Canada (1976-78), Strong endorsed the national call to create a nuclear moratorium for Canada which had been carried out by the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility in 1977. This document not only demanded an immediate halt to the continuation of all reactors then under construction, but also made the sophistical argument that more jobs could be created if "ecologically friendly" energy sources and conservation methods were developed instead of nuclear and fossil fuels. Strange desires coming from an oil executive, but not so strange considering Strong's 1978-1981 role as Vice-President of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an organization founded by the British and Dutch monarchies as a Royal Dutch Shell initiative in 1963. Strong was Vice President during the same interval that WWF co-founder Prince Philip was its President.

In 1971, while still heading up the External Aid Department, Strong was a founding member of the 1001 Club, which was an elite international organization created by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands created to finance the emerging green agenda for world governance. The 1001 Club worked in tandem with Prince Bernhard's other secretive club known as the "Bilderberg Group" which he founded in 1954. In this position, Strong helped to recruit 80 Canadian "initiates" to this elite society otherwise known as "Strong's Kindergarten", the most prominent being Lord Conrad Black, Barrick Gold's Peter Munk (1927-2018) and Permindex's late Sir Louis Mortimer Bloomfield (1906-1984). As documented elsewhere, the latter was discovered to be at the heart of the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.

Strong Decapitates Ontario Nuclear Energy

By 1992, Strong had completed his role heading the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil and had returned to his native land to attempt to finalize the dismantling of Canada's nuclear program in his new assignment as President of Ontario Hydro, a position he held from 1992 to 1995 under the formal invitation of Bob Rae, then-NDP Premier of Ontario and brother of Power Corp.'s John Rae. Bob Rae later served as the leader of the Liberal Party from 2011-2013 in preparation for Justin Trudeau's appointment to become the party's new figurehead in April of 2013.

Strong was brought in to this position at the time that Ontario had the most ambitious nuclear program in North America and was proving to be a thorn in the side of the zero-growth agenda demanded by the British Empire. The completion of the massive Darlington system in Ontario had demonstrated what successful long-term science planning could accomplish, although the utility found itself running far over budget. The budgetary problems (which occurred during a deep recession in 1992) were used by Strong to "restructure" the provincial energy utility.

The "remedies" chosen by Strong to solve Ontario Hydro's financial woes involved immediately canceling all new planned nuclear energy development, firing 8 of the 14 directors, and downsizing the utility by laying off 14 000 employees, many of whom were the most specialized and experienced nuclear technicians in Canada.

Before leaving his post in 1995 with the fall of Bob Rae's government, Strong ensured that his work would continue with his replacement Jim MacNeill who headed Ontario Hydro from 1994 to 1997. MacNeill was co-architect of both the Earth Charter and the genocidal Agenda 21 during the Rio Summit and a long time Deep State agent. Under MacNeill, Strong's mandate to unnecessarily shut down eight reactors for refurbishment and one permanently was effected in 1997, while Ontario Hydro itself was broken up into three separate entities. With the irreparable loss of specialized manpower and skills Strong and MacNeill left Ontario Hydro and AECL mortally wounded for years to come.

Surprising all observers, AECL and the Ontario utilities were able to remobilize their remaining forces to pull together the successful refurbishment of all reactors– the last of which came back online in October 2012. While Canada's moratorium on nuclear power continued, with SNC Lavelin's 2011 takeover, an approach for cooperation on international nuclear construction in partnership with China began in July 2014, much to Strong's chagrin.

Strong's Failed Attempt to Infiltrate China

For much of the 21 st century, Strong's talents were put to use in an attempt to subvert the aspirations of Asian development, and of a Eurasian alliance formed around the driving economic grand design of the emerging Belt and Road Initiative. Strong was deployed to Beijing University where he acted as Honorary Professor and Chairman of its Environmental Foundation and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Research on Security and Sustainability for Northwest Asia.

In the face of the meltdown of the Trans-Atlantic economy, the Chinese have successfully resisted the Green New Deal agenda that demanded the submission of their national sovereignty to the "New World Order" of zero-growth and depopulation. In spite of this pressure, a powerful tradition of Confucianism and its commitment to progress has demonstrated its powerful influence in the various branches of the Chinese establishment who see China's only hope for survival located in its strategic partnership with Russia and long term mega projects to lift its people out of poverty and into the 22nd Century. This was made fully clear when China rejected the "special relationship" with Canada in December 2017 .

Speaking of the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative which had combined with the Eurasian Economic Union and BRICS, President Xi Jinping stated in 2017: "We should foster a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation; and we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance. All countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other's development paths and social systems, and each other's core interests and major concerns In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we will not resort to outdated geopolitical maneuvering. What we hope to achieve is a new model of win-win cooperation. We have no intention to form a small group detrimental to stability, what we hope to create is a big family of harmonious co-existence."

The Belt and Road Initiative has arisen as a true opposition to the bipolar insanity of western right wing militarism/monetarism on the one side and left wing depopulation under " Green New Deals " on the other. Trillions of dollars of credit in great infrastructure projects across Eurasia, Africa and Latin America have resulted in the greatest burst of cultural optimism, productivity and if the population and leadership of the west act with the proper passion and wisdom, there is a very good opportunity to rid humanity of the legacy of Maurice Strong.


BIO: Matthew J.L. Ehret is a journalist, lecturer and founder of the Canadian Patriot Review. His works have been published in Executive Intelligence Review, Global Research, Global Times, The Duran, Nexus Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Veterans Today and Sott.net. Matthew has also published the book "The Time has Come for Canada to Join the New Silk Road " and three volumes of the Untold History of Canada (available on untoldhistory.canadianpatriot. org ). He can be reached at [email protected]

[Apr 08, 2019] Trump's Kakistocracy Is Also a Hackistocracy: The invasion of hucksters has reached the Federal Reserve.

Apr 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , March 25, 2019 at 04:25 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/opinion/stephen-moore-federal-reserve.html

March 25, 2019

Trump's Kakistocracy Is Also a Hackistocracy: The invasion of hucksters has reached the Federal Reserve.
By Paul Krugman

It's no secret that Donald Trump has appointed a lot of partisan, unqualified hacks to key policy positions. A few months ago my colleague Gail Collins asked readers to help her select Trump's worst cabinet member. It was a hard choice, because there were so many qualified applicants.

The winner, by the way, was Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. That looks like an even better call now: Ross's department has reportedly prepared a report declaring that imports of European cars threaten U.S. national security. This is both ludicrous and dangerous. It gives Trump the right to start a new phase in his trade war that would inflict severe economic damage while alienating our allies -- and, as a result, undermine national security.

Until recently, however, one agency had seemed immune to the continuing hack invasion: the Federal Reserve, the single institution most crucial to economic policymaking. Trump's Fed nominees, have, by and large, been sensible, respected economists. But that all changed last week, when Trump said he planned to nominate Stephen Moore for the Fed's Board of Governors.

Moore is manifestly, flamboyantly unqualified for the position. But there's a story here that goes deeper than Moore, or even Trump; it's about the whole G.O.P.'s preference for hucksters over experts, even partisan experts.

About Moore: It goes almost without saying that he has been wrong about everything. I don't mean the occasional bad call, which all of us make. I mean a track record that includes predicting that George W. Bush's policies would produce a magnificent boom, Barack Obama's policies would lead to runaway inflation, tax cuts in Kansas would produce a "near immediate" boost to the state's economy, and much more. And, of course, never an acknowledgment of error or reflection on why he got it wrong.

Beyond that, Moore has a problem with facts. After printing a Moore op-ed in which all the key numbers were wrong, one editor vowed never to publish the man's work again. And a blizzard of factual errors is standard practice in his writing and speaking. It's actually hard to find cases where Moore got a fact right.

Yet Moore isn't some random guy who caught Trump's eye. He has long been a prominent figure in the conservative movement: a writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page, chief economist of the Heritage Foundation, a fixture on the right-wing lecture circuit. Why?

You might say that the G.O.P. values partisan loyalty above professional competence. But that's only a partial explanation, because there are plenty of conservative economists with solid professional credentials -- and some of them are pretty naked in their partisanship, too. Thus, a who's who of well-known conservative economists rushed to endorse the Trump administration's outlandish claims about the benefits from its tax cut, claims they knew full well were unreasonable.

Nor has their partisanship been restrained and polite. Many of us are still mourning the death of Alan Krueger, the Princeton economist best known for research -- since vindicated by many other studies -- showing that increases in the minimum wage don't usually seem to reduce employment. Well, the Nobel-winning conservative economist James Buchanan denounced those pursuing that line of research as "a bevy of camp-following whores."

So conservatives could, if they wanted, turn for advice to highly partisan economists with at least some idea of what they're doing. Yet these economists, despite what often seem like pathetic attempts to curry favor with politicians, are routinely passed over for key positions, which go to almost surreally unqualified figures like Moore or Larry Kudlow, the Trump administration's chief economist.

Many people have described the Trump administration as a kakistocracy -- rule by the worst -- which it is. But it's also a hackistocracy -- rule by the ignorant and incompetent. And in this Trump is just following standard G.O.P. practice.

Why do hacks rule on the right? It may simply be that a party of apparatchiks feels uncomfortable with people who have any real expertise or independent reputation, no matter how loyal they may seem. After all, you never know when they might take a stand on principle.

In any case, there will eventually be a price to pay. True, there is, wrote Adam Smith, "a great deal of ruin in a nation." America isn't just an immensely powerful, wealthy, technologically advanced, peaceful country. We're also a nation with a long tradition of dedicated public service.

Even now -- as I can attest from personal interactions -- a great majority of those working for the Treasury Department, the State Department and so on are competent, hard-working people trying to do the best they can for their country.

But as top jobs systematically go to hacks, there is an inevitable process of corrosion. We're already seeing a degradation of the way our government responds to things like natural disasters. Well, there will be more and bigger disasters ahead. And the people in charge of dealing with those disasters will be the worst of the worst.

[Apr 08, 2019] Simon Kuznets famously argued that inequality is beneficial for economic growth at an early stage of development... but is harmful at a later stage

Apr 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Arthurian , April 07, 2019 at 06:52 AM

Inequality of opportunity, income inequality, and economic growth - VoxEU: "Simon Kuznets famously argued that inequality is beneficial for economic growth at an early stage of development... but is harmful at a later stage."

Where did Kuznets say this? I find him saying inequality varies. I find other people saying the benefit or harm from inequality varies.

Anybody got a link to Kuznets saying the benefit or harm varies?

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Arthurian ... , April 07, 2019 at 07:29 AM
(Possibly.)

Just Right Inequality https://nyti.ms/1fFLGqx
NYT - Thomas B. Edsall - March 4, 2014

If we can't have (and don't actually want) total equality or total inequality, what is the right amount of inequality?

Anemic economic growth and the gutting of middle class jobs have given new impetus to a debate over "optimal inequality," a concept dating back at least six decades to a legendary speech given in 1954 at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association by Simon Kuznets, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, who asked, "Does inequality in the distribution of income increase or decrease in the course of a country's economic growth?"

( http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/teaching/Kuznets55.pdf )

Kuznets's research into the relationship between inequality and growth laid the foundation for modern thinking about what has become a critical question: Has inequality in this country reached a tipping point at which it no longer provides an incentive to strive and to innovate, but has instead created a permanently disadvantaged class, as well as a continuing threat of social instability? ...

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 07, 2019 at 05:31 PM
I too appreciate the reference:

http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/teaching/Kuznets55.pdf

March, 1955

Economic Growth and Income Inequality
By SIMON KUZNETS

The central theme of this paper is the character and causes of long-term changes in the personal distribution of income. Does inequality in the distribution of income increase or decrease in the course of a country's economic growth? What factors determine the secular level and trends of income inequalities?

These are broad questions in a field of study that has been plagued by looseness in definitions, unusual scarcity of data, and pressures of strongly held opinions. While we cannot completely avoid the resulting difficulties, it may help to specify the characteristics of the size-of-income distributions that we want to examine and the movements of which we want to explain.

Five specifications may be listed. First, the units for which incomes are recorded and grouped should be family-expenditure units, properly adjusted for the number of persons in each-rather than income recipients for whom the relations between receipt and use of income can be widely diverse. Second, the distribution should be complete, i.e., should cover all units in a country rather than a segment either at the upper or lower tail. Third, if possible we should segregate the units whose main income earners are either still in the learning or already in the retired stages of their life cycle-to avoid complicating the picture by including incomes not associated with full-time, full-fledged participation in economic activity. Fourth, income should be defined as it is now for national income in this country, i.e., received by individuals, including income in kind, before and after direct taxes, excluding capital gains. Fifth, the units should be grouped by secular levels of income, free of cyclical and other transient disturbances.

For such a distribution of mature expenditure units by secular levels of income per capita, we should measure shares of some fixed ordinal groups-percentiles, deciles, quintiles, etc. In the underlying array the units should be classified by average income levels for a sufficiently long span so that they form income-status groups-say a generation or about 25 years. Within such a period, even when classified by secular income levels, units may shift from one ordinal group to another. It would, therefore, be necessary and useful to study separately the relative share of units that, throughout the generation period of reference, were continuously within a specific ordinal group, and the share of the units that moved into that specific group; and this should be done for the shares of "residents" and "migrants" within all ordinal groups. Without such a long period of reference and the resulting separation between "resident" and "migrant" units at different relative income levels, the very distinction between "low" and "high" income classes loses its meaning, particularly in a study of long-term changes in shares and in inequalities in the distribution. To say, for example, that the "lower" income classes gained or lost during the last twenty years in that their share of total income increased or decreased has meaning only if the units have been classified as members of the "lower" classes throughout those 20 years-and for those who have moved into or out of those classes recently such a statement has no significance.

Furthermore, if one may add a final touch to what is beginning to look like a statistical economist's pipe dream, we should be able to trace secular income levels not only through a single generation but at least through two-connecting the incomes of a given generation with those of its immediate descendants. We could then distinguish units that. throughout a given generation, remain within one ordinal group and whose children-through their generation-are also within that group, from units that remain within a group through their generation but whose children move up or down on the relative economic scale in their time. The number of possible combinations and permutations becomes large; but it should not obscure the main design of the income structure called for-the classification by long-term income status of a given generation and of its immediate descendants. If living members of society-as producers, consumers, savers, decision-makers on secular problems-react to long-term changes in income levels and shares, data on such an income structure are essential. An economic society can then be judged by the secular level of the income share that it provides for a given generation and for its children. The important corollary is that the study of long-term changes in the income distribution must distinguish between changes in the shares of resident groups-resident within either one or two generations-and changes in the income shares of groups that, judged by their secular levels, migrate upward or downward on the income scale.

Even if we had data to approximate the income structure just outlined, the broad question posed at the start-how income inequality changes in the process of a country's economic growth-could be answered only for growth under defined economic and social conditions. And, in fact, we shall deal with this question in terms of the experience of the now developed countries which grew under the aegis of the business enterprise. But even with this limitation, there are no statistics that can be used directly for the purpose of measuring the secular income structure. Indeed, I have difficulty in visualizing how such information could practicably be collected-a difficulty that may be due to lack of familiarity with the studies of our colleagues in demography and sociology who have concerned themselves with problems of generation or intergeneration mobility and status. But although we now lack data directly relevant to the secular income structure, the setting up of reasonably clear and yet difficult specifications is not merely an exercise in perfectionism. For if these specifications do approximate, and I trust that they do, the real core of our interest when we talk about shares of economic classes or long-term changes in these shares, then proper disclosure of our meaning and intentions is vitally useful. It forces us to examine and evaluate critically the data that are available; it prevents us from jumping to conclusions based on these inadequate data; it reduces the loss and waste of time involved in mechanical manipulations of the type represented by Pareto-curve-fitting to groups of data whose meaning, in terms of income concept, unit of observation, and proportion of the total universe covered, remains distressingly vague; and most important of all, it propels us toward a deliberate construction of testable bridges between the available data and the income structure that is the real focus of our interest.

ken melvin said in reply to Arthurian ... , April 07, 2019 at 08:46 AM
The working class' struggle to just survive while the very wealthy splurged on glitter during the 'Gilded Age' brought Brandies to speak of 'involuntary servitude' and lead to Teddy Roosevelt's 'trust busting' else there be 'a revolution'. During the Gilded, capitalism, a creation of the capitalist, was touted by the capitalist gilded as essential to growth giving them an excuse to use armies to bust anti-capitalist unions.

Teddy may have prevented a revolution, saved democracy, and capitalism; and Franklin may have saved democracy and capitalism; both using most non-capitalistic means.

anne -> Arthurian ... , April 07, 2019 at 08:51 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuznets_curve

In economics, a Kuznets curve represents graphically the hypothesis advanced by Simon Kuznets in the 1950s and 1960s that as an economy develops, a natural cycle of economic inequality occurs, driven by market forces which at first increase inequality, and then decrease it after a certain average income is attained.

anne -> anne... , April 07, 2019 at 08:52 AM
http://econ.worldbank.org/external/default/main?pagePK=64210502&theSitePK=469372&piPK=64210520&menuPK=64166093&entityID=000009265_3961005200139

January, 1994

Determinants of cross-country income inequality: an augmented Kuznets hypothesis
By Branko Milanovic

Summary

Why does income inequality differ among countries? Using a sample of 80 countries from the 1980s, the author shows that two types of factors explain variations in income inequality. The first are factors that are, in the short term, independent of economic policies and are included in the standard formulation of the Kuznets' curve: * the level of per capita income and the country's regional heterogeneity. From the viewpoint of economic policy, these are "given" factors, resulting in a "given inequality." The second group of factors are the social-choice factors reflected in the size of social transfers and of state sector employment, both of which reduce inequality. For this sample, the reduction amounts to about a quarter of "given" inequality. The importance of social-choice factors rises as the level of income rises. The divergence between actual inequality and the inequality predicted by the standard Kuznets' curve therefore systematically widens as a society develops. This discrepancy is systematic, the author contends. Inequality in richer societies decreases not only because of economic factors but also because societies choose less inequalities as they grow richer.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuznets_curve

In economics, a Kuznets curve graphs the hypothesis that as an economy develops, market forces first increase and then decrease economic inequality. The hypothesis was first advanced by economist Simon Kuznets in the 1950s and '60s.

anne -> anne... , April 07, 2019 at 08:56 AM
Correcting link:


http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/407801468764743215/Determinants-of-cross-country-income-inequality-an-augmented-Kuznets-hypothesis

anne -> anne... , April 07, 2019 at 05:16 PM
Here are the 2 specific Kuznets references as used by Branko Milanovic:

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/407801468764743215/Determinants-of-cross-country-income-inequality-an-augmented-Kuznets-hypothesis

Kuznets, Simon (1955), "Economic Growth and Income Inequality", American Economic Review,
45:March, pp. 1-28.

Kuznets, Simon (1966), Modern Economic Growth: Rate, Structure and Speed, New Haven: Yale
University Press.

anne -> anne... , April 07, 2019 at 03:06 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuznets_curve

The East Asian miracle has been used to criticize the validity of the Kuznets curve theory. The rapid economic growth of eight East Asian countries -- Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore (Four Asian Tigers), Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia -- between 1965 and 1990, was called the East Asian miracle (EAM). Manufacturing and export grew quickly and powerfully. Yet simultaneously, life expectancy was found to increase and population levels living in absolute poverty decreased. This development process was contrary to the Kuznets curve theory. Many studies have been done to identify how the EAM was able to ensure that the benefits of rapid economic growth were distributed broadly among the population, because Kuznets' theory stated that rapid capital accumulation would lead to an initial increase in inequality. Joseph Stiglitz argues the East Asian experience of an intensive and successful economic development process along with an immediate decrease in population inequality can be explained by the immediate re-investment of initial benefits into land reform (increasing rural productivity, income, and savings), universal education (providing greater equality and what Stiglitz calls an "intellectual infrastructure" for productivity), and industrial policies that distributed income more equally through high and increasing wages and limited the price increases of commodities. These factors increased the average citizen's ability to consume and invest within the economy, further contributing to economic growth. Stiglitz highlights that the high rates of growth provided the resources to promote equality, which acted as a positive-feedback loop to support the high rates of growth. The EAM defies the Kuznets curve, which insists growth produces inequality, and that inequality is a necessity for overall growth.

[Apr 08, 2019] Economists are ideologically biased

Sometime neoliberal economics act as the Thought Police. Peddling neoclassic economy bullshit create a dreadful environments of a cult and there are enforces on each corner to ensure students indoctrination.
Apr 08, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Apr 7, 2019 5:50:27 PM | 55 ">link

From Michael Roberts' facebook:

Economists are ideologically biased - finds a survey of their views on modern economies conducted by Mark Horowitz, Associate Professor of Sociology at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, entitled Political Identity and Economists' Perceptions of Capitalist Crises.

Economists' Politics Loom Large in their Views of Capitalist Crises

"Surveying academic economists in the United States, we find the field quite skeptical of the prospects of capitalist crises. Despite considerable consensus, political orientation is a highly significant predictor of respondents' outlooks."

"economists are generally skeptical of the prospects of capitalist crises. Very few see mass structural unemployment on the horizon due to automation (Q2) or incompatibility between capitalism and secure or meaningful employment (Q4, Q5). Only a third or so anticipates global financial contagion (Q1), while even fewer affirm a systemic tendency toward monopoly (Q11). Finally, at least two-thirds believe the global economy will likely be capitalist in 200 years (Q8)".

Marx on 'vulgar political economy': "It was henceforth no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. In place of disinterested enquirers, there were hired prize-fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and the evil intent of apologetic"

[Apr 07, 2019] The Most Least 'Stressed-Out' States Zero Hedge

Apr 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Across the US, suicide rates, drug overdoses and other "deaths of despair" are soaring - and recently contributed to the third-straight year of life-expectancy decline. Meanwhile, millennials, saddled with debt and suffering with a paucity of marketable skills, are putting off parenthood and homeownership as they toil away in expensive urban centers, surrendering more than half of their monthly income to rent and debt service.

With the outlook on the future of American society as grim as it has ever been (thanks to widening economic inequality, the dire warnings of climate alarmists, and the erosion of confidence in American institutions, among other reasons), it shouldn't come as a surprise that Americans - particularly young Americans - are extremely stressed out.

Though stress can be an amorphous concept, researchers at WalletHub have tried to quantify stress-level trends across the US, incorporating data from average hours worked per week to personal bankruptcy rate to share of adults getting adequate sleep and using these data to assign a score to individual states.

Their study turned up an interesting result: It showed that states in the Deep South tended to be the most stressed, followed by expensive coastal states like New York and California, with the sleepy Midwest and plain states bringing up the rear.

[Apr 07, 2019] There is no doubt the tight rock structures which are much more difficult to extract oil from than sandstone reservoir can be stimulated in different ways with good result. But that costs a lot of money.

Highly recommended!
Edited for clatiry
Notable quotes:
"... Better propant , longer laterals , some improvement of fluid , improved rigs and pads enable to drill several laterals simultaneously have made the improvement they call shale revolution. ..."
Apr 07, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Freddy says: 04/06/2019 at 5:26 pm

There is no doubt the tight rock structures which are much more difficult to extract oil from than sandstone reservoir can be stimulated in different ways with good result. But that costs a lot of money.

As I read fracking uses a very high hydraulic pressure open up the tight rock layers and until a few years ago the oil flow dropped at a very early stage because the overlaying weight and beacuse the oil flow carries with with itself particles that block the fraction.

Later it followed a propant research that was done before but again this gave improvement and could hold the fracs open for longer.

Than there was research on chemical injected that should reduce friction between oil flow and rock. There is also lots of other factores like gazes, metal that in certain pressures, temperatures might react and create pollutant as happened lately when oil cargo was sent back from Asia.

Better propant , longer laterals , some improvement of fluid , improved rigs and pads enable to drill several laterals simultaneously have made the improvement they call shale revolution.

Still very few are able to earn money to pay dividend, loan, interest and finance expansion with WTI 60 USD.

Now number of rigs increasing again, but why when there are so many DUCS? Probably because investors tells the business shall be cash neutral. Could it be the DUCS are so closely spaced that using along with the existing wells might be not profitable because of interference with nearby wells.

[Apr 06, 2019] Of course the Saudis are laughing at Trump. The world is laughing at Trump. He is an ignorant baffoon.

Apr 06, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

vonfleck, 04/05/2019 at 4:53 pm

All quiet on the saudian front…

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/energy/416992-saudi-aramco-reveals-sharp-output-drop-at-worlds-largest-oil-field

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 04/06/2019 at 12:24 pm

Trump Declares War on OPEC, Saudis Laugh as Oil Price Surges

Donald Trump is ramping up his attack on oil prices as US crude hit a 5-month high today. While up to now the US president has been focused on denouncing high energy costs via Twitter, it appears he now is looking to do more than merely bash OPEC online. As CNBC reported, the US wants to ensure "dominance" in this sector through a blockbuster executive order designed to boost pipeline infrastructure. In reality, Trump walks a dangerous tightrope when it comes to crude.

Of course the Saudis are laughing at Trump. The world is laughing at Trump. He is an ignorant baffoon.

likbez says: 04/06/2019 at 7:59 pm

Of course the Saudis are laughing at Trump. The world is laughing at Trump. He is an ignorant baffoon.

May be ignorant bully, not only (or so much) baffoon ? He practices what is called “gangster capitalism” on international arena for some time. Totally ignores international law. Does not even use a fig leaf as previous administrations. Trump is “Full Spectrum Dominance” in action 😉

In view of the Saudi role of the guarantor of the “dollar as the reserve currency” system his behavior might well be a reckless move, which totally contradicts Trump’s behavior in Khashoggi case. Kind of direct pressure is Soprano style: “Do what I want, or…”

If Saudi stop selling oil for dollars that will be a very bad news for the USA. Hopefully they can’t do this being a Washington vassal, but to insult a vassal is not the best diplomacy, anyway.

Why Trump can’t understand that oil is limited and higher prices might well be the best strategy as they helps to find alternatives, develop infrastructure (for example for EV passenger cars) and prepare to inevitable shortages, or even the Seneca Cliff in oil supply.

Why he wants to propel/sustain the US stock market at any cost?

Low oil prices can help to kick the neoliberal can down the road, but they can’t save the USA from the “secular stagnation” and might not be able to save the USA from the recession too because consumption is low: credit card debt reached 0.87 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018 On other words the bottom 80% of the USA population might well be debt slaves of the US banks.

On March 25, 2019 yields curve inverted the first time since mid 2007: The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note dipped below the yield on the 3-month paper.

In other words secular stagnation is the result of the crisis of neoliberalism both as the ideology and as the social system dominant in the world. Neoliberalism entered “zombie” stage in 2008 and it continues to exist (and even counterattack, as in Argentina and Brazil) only due to the fact that there is no acceptable alternative and the return to the New Deal capitalism (which many wish) is difficult or impossible because management now is allied with the capital owners, not with workers (as was temporary the case after the Great Depression; that alliance ended in 70th).

I just do not understand if Trump is on drags such as amphetamine, see rumors at https://heavy.com/news/2016/10/donald-trump-drugs-drug-use-sniffing-sniffles-cocaine-clinton-debate-test ; BTW captagon was/is a favorite drag of ISIS headchoppers which allowed them to demonstrate the level of toughness in fight and self-sacrifice they did, as it switches off the instinct of self-preservation enhancing the person’s ability to do dangerous things. ( https://www.vox.com/world/2015/11/20/9769264/captagon-isis-drug ).

Or he is a “naturally stupid” bully, who does not care to learn diplomatic etiquette and some elements of diplomacy, while on the job.

In both cases he is a real embarrassment for the nation, is not he?

While I do not support Russiagate witch hunt, his behavior really raises questions about fitness for the office.

Also Bush II style (as in Iraq WDM fiasco ) bunch of crazy warmongers, neocons that control Trump administration foreign policy (Haley in the past, Pompeo, Bolton now ) is not what his voters expected based on his election promises.

In a sense, he proved to be Republican Obama, another master of “bait and switch” maneuver.

Looks like we are living during what Chinese call “interesting times”, aren’t we ?

[Apr 06, 2019] Remember Peak Oil? It's back!

Notable quotes:
"... Hubbert wrote in 1948: "How soon the decline may set in is not possible to say, Nevertheless the higher the peak to which the production curve rises, the sooner and sharper will be the decline." ..."
"... In fact, Ghawar is not as resilient as we were led to believe. We just found out that its output has fallen substantially since Aramco previously came clean on its reserves and production. If Ghawar is losing momentum fast, peak oil – remember that theory? – might be closer than we had thought. And Ghawar is just one of dozens of enormous conventional-oil reservoirs scattered around the planet that are in various stages of decline. ..."
"... Those include the North Sea, Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, and Reguly reminds us that Mexico's Cantarell reservoir used to supply 2.1 million barrels a day and is now down to 135,000. ..."
Apr 06, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson 04/06/2019 at 12:05 pm

Remember Peak Oil? It's back!

It seems that the biggest Saudi field is losing its punch.

Years ago we used to talk a lot about peak oil, the prediction made by M. King Hubbert that the easy oil was going to run out, that it was going to get harder and harder to find the stuff, and it was going to get more and more expensive to get out of the ground.

Hubbert wrote in 1948: "How soon the decline may set in is not possible to say, Nevertheless the higher the peak to which the production curve rises, the sooner and sharper will be the decline."

According to the predictions made back in 2005, right about now the Saudis are running out and we are smack in the middle of confusion, heading for chaos. Of course we are not, we are flooded with fossil fuels, thanks to the fracking boom.

But according to Eric Reguly, writing in the Globe and Mail, there is trouble ahead, because that prediction about Saudi oil may not be that far off. He writes that the giant Ghawar field used to produce ten percent of the world's oil, five million barrels a day.

The US Permian shale basin now supplies 4.1 million barrels a day, but fracked wells run out pretty quickly, and the fracking companies are all losing money. Better sell that pickup truck; it may well cost a lot more to fill it. As Reguly concludes, the Ghawar field is indeed in trouble,"and if it does collapse, peak oil will come a bit sooner."

In fact, Ghawar is not as resilient as we were led to believe. We just found out that its output has fallen substantially since Aramco previously came clean on its reserves and production. If Ghawar is losing momentum fast, peak oil – remember that theory? – might be closer than we had thought. And Ghawar is just one of dozens of enormous conventional-oil reservoirs scattered around the planet that are in various stages of decline.

Those include the North Sea, Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, and Reguly reminds us that Mexico's Cantarell reservoir used to supply 2.1 million barrels a day and is now down to 135,000.

[Apr 06, 2019] The MC-21 will safely handle passengers in the 140 to 160 passengers and is a mid range plane that can go as far as 4,000 miles.

Apr 06, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 04/06/2019 at 9:27 am

If markets were truly free and there was real capitalism then airlines would be looking at the new and excellent Russian MC-21 which does what Boeing was trying to do with the 737 Max. The MC-21 will safely handle passengers in the 140 to 160 passengers and is a mid range plane that can go as far as 4,000 miles.

Instead – Boeing lobbies the corrupt U.S. AIPAC Congress to keep a Boeing monopoly of death traps like the 737 Max allowing some Airbus sales. They also blocked a nice Bombardier mid range jet from Canada.

I've flown in the Bombardier in South America– it is a fine aircraft.

[Apr 06, 2019] According to Art Bergman the Permian is flattening/rolling over.

Apr 06, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Karen E Fremerman x Ignored says: 04/05/2019 at 6:40 am

Maybe I missed something and you guys have already talked about this but have you guys listened to Art Berman's Macrovoices podcast?

https://www.macrovoices.com/podcasts/MacroVoices-2019-03-14-Art-Berman.mp3

He is basically showing that the Permian is flattening/rolling over. See slide 11:

https://www.macrovoices.com/guest-content/list-guest-publications/2598-art-berman-slide-deck-march14-2019/file

If you listen to the interview he has lined up the 7 month lag time with Rig Count and Lagged Production. If this ends up sticking then the production flattening should show up in July. Just wanted to hear what you guys have to say about it.
Thanks! Karen

[Apr 06, 2019] Canada: January production is lower but exports increased on year-to-year basic

Apr 06, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News x Ignored says: 04/05/2019 at 11:19 am

Canada produced 4,524 kb/day of crude oil & equivalent products in January down -278 m/m
Exports of crude oil & equivalent products totaled a record 3,860 kb/day in January, up 9.1% from January 2018
Chart for production: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D3ZukJvX4AASI8p.png
Chart for crude oil inventory https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D3ZuEauWsAIsGcD.png

2019-04-05 Statistics Canada, press release https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190405/dq190405b-eng.htm

[Apr 05, 2019] 1% Politics and the Scandals of a New Gilded Age by Rajan Menon

Apr 04, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
Despair about the state of our politics pervades the political spectrum, from left to right. One source of it, the narrative of fairness offered in basic civics textbooks -- we all have an equal opportunity to succeed if we work hard and play by the rules; citizens can truly shape our politics -- no longer rings true to most Americans. Recent surveys indicate that substantial numbers of them believe that the economy and political system are both rigged. They also think that money has an outsized influence on politics. Ninety percent of Democrats hold this view, but so do 80% of Republicans. And careful studies confirm what the public believes.

None of this should be surprising given the stark economic inequality that now marks our society. The richest 1% of American households currently account for 40% of the country's wealth, more than the bottom 90% of families possess. Worse yet, the top 0.1% has cornered about 20% of it, up from 7% in the mid-1970s. By contrast, the share of the bottom 90% has since then fallen from 35% to 25%. To put such figures in a personal light, in 2017, three men -- Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates -- possessed more wealth ($248.5 billion) than the bottom 50% of Americans.

Over the last four decades, economic disparities in the U.S. increased substantially and are now greater than those in other wealthy democracies. The political consequence has been that a tiny minority of extremely wealthy Americans wields disproportionate influence, leaving so many others feeling disempowered.

What Money Sounds Like

Two recent headline-producing scandals highlight money's power in society and politics.

The first involved super-affluent parents who used their wealth to get their manifestly unqualified children into highly selective colleges and universities that previously had reputations (whatever the reality) for weighing the merits of applicants above their parents' wealth or influence.

The second concerned Texas Senator Ted Cruz's reported failure to reveal, as election laws require, more than $1 million in low-interest loans that he received for his 2012 Senate campaign. (For that lapse, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined Senator Cruz a modest $35,000.) The funds came from Citibank and Goldman Sachs, the latter his wife's longtime employer. News of those undisclosed loans, which also cast doubt on Cruz's claim that he had funded his campaign in part by liquidating the couple's assets, only added to the sense that favoritism now suffuses the politics of a country that once prided itself on being the world's model democracy. (Journalists covering the story couldn't resist pointing out that the senator had often lambasted Wall Street's " crony capitalism " and excessive political influence.)

The Cruz controversy is just one reflection of the coming of 1% politics and 1% elections to America at a moment when the first billionaire has been ensconced in the Oval Office for more than two years, posing as a populist no less.

Since the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission , money has poured into politics as never before. That's because the Court ruled that no limits could be placed on corporate and union spending aimed at boosting or attacking candidates running for political office. Doing so, the justices determined in a 5-4 vote, would be tantamount to restricting individuals' right to free speech, protected by the First Amendment . Then came the Court's 2014 McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision (again 5-4), which only increased money's influence in politics by removing the aggregate limit on an individual's contribution to candidates and to national party committees.

In an age when money drives politics, even ex-presidents are cashing in. Fifteen years after Bill Clinton departed the White House, he and Hillary had amassed a net worth of $75 million -- a 6,150% increase in their wealth. Barack and Michelle Obama's similarly soared from $1.3 million in 2000 to $40 million last year -- and they're just warming up. Key sources of these staggering increases include sky-high speaking fees (often paid by large corporations), including $153 million for the Clintons between February 2001 and May 2016. George W. Bush also made tens of millions of dollars in this fashion and, in 2017, Obama received $400,000 for a single speech to a Wall Street firm.

No wonder average Americans believe that the political class is disconnected from their day-to-day lives and that ours is, in practice, a democracy of the rich in which money counts (and counts and counts).

Cash for College

Now let's turn to what those two recent scandals tell us about the nexus between wealth and power in America.

First, the school scam. Parents have long hired pricey tutors to coach their children for the college admissions tests, sometimes paying them hundreds of dollars an hour, even $1,500 for 90 minutes of high-class prep. They've also long tapped their exclusive social and political connections to gin up razzle-dazzle internships to embellish those college applications. Anyone who has spent as much time in academia as I have knows that this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. So has the practice of " legacy admissions " -- access to elite schools especially for the kids of alumni of substantial means who are, or might prove to be, donors . The same is true of privileged access to elite schools for the kids of mega-donors. Consider, for instance, that $2.5 million donation Charles Kushner made to Harvard in 1998, not long before his son Jared applied. Some of the folks who ran Jared's high school noted that he wasn't exactly a whiz-bang student or someone with sky-high SAT scores, but -- surprise! -- he was accepted anyway.

What's new about the recent revelations is that they show the extent to which today's deep-pocketed helicopter parents have gone into overdrive, using brazen schemes to corrupt the college admissions process yet more. One unnamed parent spent a cool $6.5 million to ensure the right college admitted his or her child. Others paid hefty amounts to get their kids' college admissions test scores falsified or even hired proxies to take the tests for them. Famous actors and financial titans made huge payments to university sports coaches, who then lied to admissions officers, claiming that the young applicants were champions they had recruited in sports like water polo, crew, or tennis. (The kids may have known how to swim, row, or play tennis, but star athletes they were not .)

Of course, as figures on the growing economic inequality in this country since the 1970s indicate, the overwhelming majority of Americans lack the connections or the cash to stack the deck in such ways, even assuming they would do so. Hence, the public outrage, even though parents generally understand that not every aspirant can get into a top school -- there aren't enough spots -- just as many know that their childrens' future happiness and sense of fulfillment won't depend on whether they attend a prestigious college or university.

Still, the unfairness and chicanery highlighted by the admissions scandal proved galling, the more so as the growing crew of fat cats corrupting the admissions process doubtless also preach the gospel of American meritocracy. Worse, most of their kids will undoubtedly present their fancy degrees as proof that quality wins out in our society, never mind that their starting blocks were placed so far ahead of the competition.

To add insult to injury, the same parents and children may even portray admissions policies designed to help students who lack wealth or come from underrepresented communities as violations of the principles of equal opportunity and fairness, democracy's bedrock. In reality, students from low-income families, or even those of modest means, are startlingly less likely to be admitted to top private universities than those from households in the top 10%. In fact, applicants from families in the top 1% are now 77 times more likely than in the bottom 20% to land in an elite college, and 38 of those schools admit more kids from families in that top percentage than from the bottom 60%.

Buying Politics (and Politicians), American-Style

Now, let's return to the political version of the same -- the world in which Ted Cruz swims so comfortably. There, too, money talks, which means that those wealthy enough to gain access to, and the attention of, lawmakers have huge advantages over others. If you want political influence, whether as a person or a corporation, having the wealth needed to make big campaign contributions -- to individuals or groups -- and to hire top-drawer lobbyists makes a world of difference.

Official data on the distribution of family income in the United States show that the overwhelming majority of Americans can't play that game, which remains the preserve of a tiny super-rich minority. In 2015, even with taxes and government-provided benefits included, households in the lowest 20% accounted for only about 5% of total income. Their average income -- not counting taxes and government-provided assistance -- was only $20,000. The share of the bottom 50% -- families making $61,372 or less -- dropped from 20% to 12% between 1978 and 2015. By contrast, families in the top 1% earned nearly 50% of total income, averaging $215,000 a year -- and that's only income, not wealth. The super-rich have plenty of the latter, those in the bottom 20% next to none.

Before we proceed, a couple of caveats about money and political clout. Money doesn't always prevail. Candidates with more campaign funds aren't guaranteed victory, though the time politicians spend raising cash leaves no doubt that they believe it makes a striking difference. In addition, money in politics doesn't operate the way simple bribery does. The use of it in pursuit of political influence works more subtly, and often -- in the new era opened by the Supreme Court -- without the slightest need to violate the law.

Still, in Donald Trump's America, who would claim that money doesn't talk? If nothing else, from inaugural events -- for Trump's inaugural $107 million was raised from a host of wealthy donors with no limits on individual payments, 30 of which totaled $1 million or more -- to gala fundraisers, big donors get numerous opportunities to schmooze with those whose campaigns they've helped bankroll. Yes, there's a limit -- currently $5,600 -- on how much any individual can officially give to a single election campaign, but the ultra-wealthy can simply put their money into organizations formed solely to influence elections as well as into various party committees.

Individuals, companies, and organizations can, for instance, give money to political action committees (PACs) and Super PACs. Though bound by rules , both entities still have lots of leeway. PACs face no monetary limits on their independent efforts to shape elections, though they can't accept corporate or union money or take more than $5,000 from individuals. They can provide up to $5,000 to individual election campaigns and $15,000 per party committee, but there's no limit on what they can contribute in the aggregate. Super PACs have far more running room. They can rake in unlimited amounts from a variety of sources (as long as they're not foreign) and, like PACs, can spend limitless sums to shape elections, providing they don't give money directly to candidates' campaigns.

Then there are the dark money groups, which can receive financial contributions from any source, American or foreign. Though their primary purpose is to push policies, not individual campaigns, they can engage in election-related work, provided that no more than half their funds are devoted to it. Though barred from donating to individual campaigns, they can pour unlimited money into Super PACs and, unlike PACs and Super PACs, don't have to disclose who gave them the money or how much. Between 2008 and 2018, dark money groups spent $1 billion to influence elections.

In 2018 , 2,395 Super PACs were working their magic in this country. They raised $1.6 billion and spent nearly $809 million. Nearly 78% of the money they received came from 100 donors . They, in turn, belonged to the wealthiest 1%, who provided 95% of what those Super PACs took in.

As the 2018 congressional elections kicked off, the four wealthiest Super PACs alone had $113.4 million on hand to support candidates they favored, thanks in substantial measure to business world donors. In that election cycle, 31 individuals ponied up more than $5 million apiece, while contributions from the top four among them ranged from almost $40 million to $123 million.

The upshot: if you're running for office and advocate policies disliked by wealthy individuals or by companies and organizations with lots of cash to drop into politics, you know from the get-go that you now have a problem.

Wealth also influences political outcomes through the lobbying industry. Here again, there are rules, but even so, vast numbers of lobbyists and eye-popping amounts of lobbying money now are at the heart of the American political system. In 2018 alone , the 50 biggest lobbying outfits, largely representing big companies, business associations, and banks, spent $540 million, and the grand total for lobbying that year alone was $3.4 billion.

Nearly 350 of those lobbyists were former legislators from Congress. Officials departing from senior positions in the executive branch have also found artful ways to circumvent presidential directives that prohibit them from working as lobbyists for a certain number of years.

Do unions and public interest groups also lobby? Sure, but there's no contest between them and corporations. Lee Drutman of the New America think tank notes that, for every dollar the former spent in 2015, corporate donors spent $34. Unsurprisingly, only one of the top 20 spenders on lobbying last year was a union or a public-interest organization.

The sums spent by individual companies to gain political influence can be breathtaking. Take now-embattled Boeing . It devoted $15 million to lobbying in 2018 -- and that's not counting its campaign contributions, using various channels. Those added another $8.4 million in the last two-and-a-half years. Yet Boeing only placed 11th among the top 20 corporate spenders on lobbying last year. Leading the pack: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at $94.8 million.

Defenders of the status quo will warn that substantially reducing money's role in American politics is sure to threaten democracy and civil liberties by ceding undue power to the state and, horror of horrors, putting us on the road to "socialism," the right wing's bogeyman du jour . This is ludicrous. Other democracies have taken strong steps to prevent economic inequality from subverting their politics and haven't become less free as a result. Even those democracies that don't limit political contributions have adopted measures to curb the power of money, including bans on television ads (a huge expense for candidates in American elections: $3 billion in 2018 alone just for access to local stations), free airtime to allow competitors to disseminate their messages, and public funds to ease the financial burden of election campaigns. Compared to other democracies, the United States appears to be in a league of its own when it comes to money's prominence in politics.

Those who favor continuing business as usual like to point out that federal "matching funds" exist to help presidential candidates not be steamrolled by competitors who've raised mounds of money. Those funds, however, do no such thing because they come with stringent limits on total spending. Candidates who accept matching funds for a general election cannot accept contributions from individuals. Moreover, matching funds are capped at $20 million, which is a joke considering that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $1.2 billion in individual contributions alone during the 2012 presidential election. ( Super PACs spent another $350 million to help Romney and $100 million to back Obama.)

A New American Tradition?

Rising income inequality , wage stagnation , and slowing social mobility hurt ordinary Americans economically, even as they confer massive social and political advantages on the mega-rich -- and not just when it comes to college admissions and politics either.

Even the Economist , a publication that can't be charged with sympathy for left-wing ideas, warned recently of the threat economic inequality poses to the political agency of American citizens. The magazine cited studies showing that, despite everything you've heard about the power of small donations in recent political campaigns, 1% of the population actually provides a quarter of all the money spent on politics by individuals and 80% of what the two major political parties raise. Thanks to their wealth, a minuscule economic elite as well as big corporations now shape policies, notably on taxation and expenditure, to their advantage on an unprecedented scale. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support stricter laws to prevent wealth from hijacking politics and want the Citizens United ruling overturned . But then just how much does the voice of the majority matter? Judging from the many failed efforts to pass such laws, not much.

This article originally appeared on TomDispatch .

[Apr 05, 2019] Pushing Towards a New High

Apr 05, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"Lying, deceiving, and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths. When caught in a lie or challenged with the truth, they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed -- they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie. The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener.

Psychopaths have a grandiose self-structure which demands a scornful and detached devaluation of others, in order to ward off their envy toward the good perceived in other people.

Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience

Stocks closed within 'spitting distance' of a new high today. At least that is what the spokesmodels said. Let's see if they can make it, and stick a close for a new high. And how long after that it takes to set up and initiate a fourth 'blow off top.'

[Apr 05, 2019] A broader tax base that closes loopholes would raise more money than plans by Ocasio-Cortez and Warren by Natasha Sarin and Lawrence H. Summers

Apr 05, 2019 | larrysummers.com

March 28, 2019

Tax reform debates have been transformed in recent weeks by a shift in emphasis from revenue raising and progressivity to an emphasis on going after the rich for the sake of equality and justice. Bold proposals from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on top earners, and from Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts -- a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate -- for a wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million have attracted widespread attention.

Warren's proposal aspires to raise roughly 1 percent of GDP ($2.75 trillion in the next decade). Ocasio-Cortez's proposal is estimated to generate around one-third of 1 percent ($720 billion in the next decade). By way of comparison, the Trump tax cuts will cost the federal government about $2 trillion over the next decade. We agree with Ocasio-Cortez and Warren that increases in tax revenue of at least this magnitude are necessary. We also agree that the way forward is by generating more revenue from the most affluent Americans. Indeed, it may well be necessary and appropriate to raise more than Warren's targeted 1 percent of GDP from those at the top.

Where we differ from Warren and Ocasio-Cortez is in our belief that the best way to begin raising additional revenue from highest income tax payers is with a traditional tax reform approach of base broadening and loophole closing, improved compliance, and closing of shelters. We show that these measures, along with partial repeal of the Trump tax cut, can raise far more than recent proposals. These measures will increase economic efficiency, make our tax system more fair, and are perhaps more politically feasible than a wealth tax or large hikes of top rates. It may be that measures beyond base-broadening are appropriate and desirable given the magnitude of the revenue challenge we face. But base-broadening is the right place to begin.

Below we outline proposals for broadening the tax base that meet a stringent test: These are measures that would be desirable even if we did not have revenue needs. They are progressive and attack those who have received special breaks for too long. And together, the revenue-raising potential of these measures exceeds that of the 70 percent top rate or the wealth tax. We believe this is where the progressive tax policy debate should begin.

Emphasis on compliance and auditing of the rich. In 2017, the IRS had only 9,510 auditors -- down from over 14,000 in 2010. The last time the IRS had fewer than 10,000 auditors was in the mid-1950s. Since 2010, the IRS budget has decreased by over 20 percent in real terms. The result is that individuals and corporations are shirking their responsibilities: The most recent estimate by the IRS suggests that taxpayers paid only around 82 percent of owed taxes, losing the IRS over $400 billion a year.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that spending an additional $20 billion on enforcement in the next decade could bring in $55 billion in additional tax revenues. This excludes the indirect deterrent effects of greater enforcement, which the Treasury Department has estimated are three times higher. Outlays at this level would still leave the IRS operating with budgets in real terms that were nearly 10 percent below peak levels, which themselves were leaving large amounts of revenue on the table.

In addition to the level of investment in enforcement, there is the question of the allocation of enforcement resources. It has been estimated that an extra hour spent auditing someone who earns more than $1 million a year generates an extra $1,000 in revenue. And yet in 2017 the IRS audited only 4.4 percent of returns with income of $1 million or higher, less than half the audit rate a decade prior. Remarkably, recipients of the earned income tax credit, who never have incomes above $50,000, are twice as likely to be audited as those who make $500,000 annually.

No one can know exactly the potential for increased enforcement to raise revenue. Suppose instead of investing an extra $20 billion over the next decade, we invested $40 billion and focused on wealthy taxpayers, perhaps taking the audit rate for million-dollar earners up to 25 percent. Considering the direct benefits and the multiplier from deterrence, it is not unreasonable to suppose that over a decade $300 billion to $400 billion could be raised.

This revenue increase -- unlike a revenue increase from new taxes or higher rates -- will have favorable incentive effects. It will encourage people to participate in the above-ground economy. And what could be more of a step toward fairness than collecting from wealthy scofflaws?

Closing corporate tax shelters. All too often, corporations are able to make use of tax havens, differences in accounting treatment across jurisdictions, and other devices to reduce tax liabilities. Economist Kimberly Clausing estimates that profit-shifting to tax havens costs the United States more than $100 billion a year. Although the Trump tax plan sought to reduce the incentives for profit-shifting, various exemptions and design flaws mean that the new system does little to deter shifting revenues to tax havens. Fairly incremental changes will have a large impact: For example, a per-country corporate minimum tax rather than a global minimum tax will increase tax revenues by nearly $170 billion in a decade.

But there is much more to be done. A robust attack on tax shelters -- that included, for example, tariffs or penalties on tax havens as well as stricter penalties for lawyers and accountants who sign off on dubious shelters -- could raise twice the revenue attainable from a per-country minimum tax, or about 30 billion annually. It would also encourage the location of economic activity in the United States and discourage the vast intellectual ingenuity that currently goes into tax avoidance.

Closing individual tax shelters. Like the corporations they own, wealthy individuals make use of myriad loopholes in the tax code to shelter their personal income from taxation. Most high-income taxpayers pay a 3.8 percent tax that pays into entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. However, some avoid these payroll taxes by setting up pass-through businesses and re-characterizing large shares of their income as profits from business ownership, rather than wage income. The Obama administration's proposals to close payroll tax loopholes were estimated to generate $300 billion over a decade.

Another egregious loophole is 1031 exchanges, which allow real estate investors to sell property, take a profit, and defer paying taxes on those profits so long as they reinvest them in similar investments. There is no limit on the number of these exchanges that investors can make. Consequently, the wealthy use 1031 exchanges to build up long-term tax-deferred wealth that can eventually be passed down to their heirs without taxes ever being paid. Outright repeal of 1031 exchanges were estimated in 2014 to raise around $40 billion in a decade and would raise almost $50 billion today.

Another tool used to shelter individual income from taxation is carried interest. Income that flows to partners of investment funds is often treated as capital gains and taxed at lower rates than ordinary income. This creates a tax-planning opportunity for investors to convert ordinary income into long-term capital gains that receive much more generous tax treatment. President Trump repeatedly vowed that his signature tax cuts would eliminate the carried-interest loophole, saying it was unfair that the ultra-wealthy were "getting away with murder." However, in the face of significant lobbying pressure, the administration abandoned these plans. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that taxing carried profits as ordinary income would generate over $20 billion in a decade.

Other ways in which individuals can shelter income include misvaluing interests such as shares in investment partnerships when putting them in retirement accounts as well as schemes involving nonrecourse lending.

Closing tax shelters would level the playing field in favor of investments by companies that create jobs and to the detriment of various kinds of financial operators. This would raise employment and incomes as well as contributing to fairness.

Eliminating "stepped-up basis." Wealth tax advocates rightly point to an important gap in our current system. An entrepreneur starts a company that turns out to be highly successful. She pays herself only a small salary, and shares in the company do not pay dividends, so the company can invest in growth. The entrepreneur becomes very wealthy without ever having paid appreciable tax, as the income that made the wealth possible represents unrealized capital gains.

Unrealized capital gains explain how Warren Buffett can pay only a few million dollars in taxes in a year when his wealth goes up by billions. Astoundingly, no capital gains tax is ever collected on appreciation of capital assets if they are passed on to heirs. Specifically: When an investor buys a stock, the cost of that purchase is the tax basis. If the stock rises in value and is then sold, the investor pays taxes on the gains. If an investor dies and leaves stock to her heir, that cost basis is "stepped up" to its price at the time the stock is inherited. The gain in value during the investor's life is never taxed.

Implementing the Obama administration's proposals for constructive realization of capital gains at death would raise $250 billion in the next decade. This is a progressive change that would impact only the very wealthy: Ninety-nine percent of the revenue from ending stepped-up basis will be collected from the top 1 percent of filers.

Eliminating stepped-up basis will also make the economy function better and so would be desirable even if it did not raise revenue. The fact that capital gains passed on to children entirely escape taxation provides aging small-business owners or real estate owners a strong incentive not to sell them to those who could operate them better while they are alive. It also makes it much more expensive to realize capital gains and use the proceeds to make new investments than it would be if the capital gains tax was inescapable.

Capping tax deductions for the wealthy. Today, a homeowner in the top tax bracket (post-Trump tax cuts, 37 percent) who makes a $1,000 mortgage payment saves $370 on her tax bill. Under an Obama administration proposal to limit the value of itemized deductions to 28 percent for all earners, that same write-off would save this wealthy taxpayer just $280. Importantly, such a cap would raise tax burdens only for the rich: Those with marginal rates under the cap would still be able to claim the full value of their itemized deductions. The plan to cap top-earners' itemized deductions was estimated to raise nearly $650 billion in a decade. Recognizing that the Trump tax plan scaled back the mortgage interest deduction and state and local tax deductions, we estimate that additional limits on top-earner deductions could generate around $250 billion in a decade.

As with the elimination of stepped-up basis, the distributional case for capping tax deductions is strong. The mortgage interest deduction provides a tax advantage to homeowners; promoting homeownership is a worthy goal. But there is little rationale for subsidizing home ownership at higher rates for richer rather than poorer taxpayers.

End the 20 percent pass-through deduction. Perhaps the most notorious of the Trump tax changes, the pass-through deduction provides a 20 percent deduction for certain qualified business income. This exacerbated the tax code's existing bias in favor of noncorporate business income and so reduces economic efficiency. And the complex maze of eligibility is arbitrary, foolish, and a drain on government resources: The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this provision will reduce federal revenues by $430 billion in the next decade. Eliminating the pass-through deduction will reduce incentives for tax gaming and raise revenue primarily from taxpayers making more than $1 million annually.

Broaden the estate tax base. Prior to the Trump tax reform, only 5,000 Americans were liable for estate taxes. The recent changes more than halved that small share by doubling the estate tax exemption to $22.4 million per couple. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this change costs around $85 billion, with the benefits accruing entirely to 3,200 of the wealthiest American households. Repealing the Trump administration's changes and applying estate taxes even more broadly -- for example, as the Obama administration proposed, by lowering the threshold to $7 million for couples -- would raise around $320 billion in a decade. The estate tax would still only impact 0.3 percent of decedents.

In addition to the question of the appropriate floor on estates, there is also ample room to attack the many loopholes that enable wealthy families to largely avoid paying taxes when transferring wealth to their progeny during their lifetimes. This happens through a mix of trust arrangements, intra-family loans, and dubious valuation practices to evade gift-tax liability. Strengthening the taxation of estates would raise revenue and be efficient, diverting resources from tax planning and increasing work incentives for the children of the wealthy. We are enthusiastic about proposals, notably by Lily Batchelder, that call for the conversion of the estate tax into an inheritance tax, to appropriately tax inherited privilege and discourage large concentrations of wealth.

Increasing the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. When corporations began lobbying efforts on corporate tax reform, their stated objective was a 25 percent corporate rate. Business leaders produced estimates showing how this 25 percent rate would have prevented foreign purchases of thousands of companies and shifted billions in corporate taxable income to the United States. The Trump tax cuts delivered more than the business community asked, slashing the corporate rate to 21 percent. The CBO estimates that a 1 percentage point increase in the corporate tax rate will generate $100 billion in the next decade. Based on this estimate, a 4 percentage point increase to 25 percent will generate an additional $400 billion in revenue.

Raising the corporate tax rate would not increase the tax burden on most new investment, because it would raise in equal measure the value of the depreciation deductions that corporations could take when they undertook investments. The principle losers from an increase in the rate would be those earning economic rents in the form of monopoly profits and those who had received enormous windfalls from the Trump tax cut.

Closing tax shelters used by the wealthy alone raises more revenue than Ocasio-Cortez's proposal. And together, the reforms we propose raise far more than a 70 percent top tax rate, and more too than Warren claims her wealth tax will generate. These base-broadening, efficiency-enhancing reforms are the best way to start raising revenue as progressively and efficiently as possible. To be sure, it may well be that wealth taxation or large increases in top rates are necessary to adequately fund government activities. But we advocate these approaches only after the revenue-raising potential of base-broadening is exhausted.

Tomorrow: The challenges in the rate hike and wealth tax proposals.

[Apr 05, 2019] Inequality of opportunity, income inequality, and economic growth

Inequality of means leads to inequality of opportunity and further stratification of the society.
Apr 05, 2019 | voxeu.org

The empirical evidence is similarly mixed. Barro (2000) finds that for developed economies income inequality raises growth. On the other hand, Berg et al. (2012, 2018) find that income inequality tends to reduce the duration of growth spells. Forbes (2000) and Panizza (2002) find no systematic effect.

The missing link: Inequality of opportunity

In recent work (Aiyar and Ebeke 2018), we point to the neglected role of equality of opportunity in mediating this relationship. Our hypothesis is simple. In societies where opportunities are unequally distributed – where the material circumstances of parents act as binding constraints on the opportunities available to their children – income inequality exerts a greater drag on growth. Any increase in income inequality tends to become entrenched, limiting the investment opportunities – broadly defined to include investment in children – available to low-income earners, thereby retarding long-term aggregate growth. On the other hand, in societies with a more equal distribution of opportunities, an increase in income inequality can be more easily reversed and need not constrain investment opportunities and growth. To the extent that inequality of opportunity matters in this way, its omission from standard regressions of growth on income inequality leads to misspecification, which can help explain the inconclusive nature of the empirical literature to date.

... ... ...

...we can think of at least three lines of enquiry for future research, which our results suggest might be of first order importance.

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

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

By Clifton Mark. Originally published at Aeon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


JCC , April 5, 2019 at 10:20 am

The correct link for the Aeon source article:

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

jrs , April 5, 2019 at 11:21 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sol , April 5, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Synchronicity! *throws confetti*

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

djrichard , April 5, 2019 at 3:53 pm

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

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

lol.

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

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

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

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

Summer , April 5, 2019 at 11:03 am

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

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

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

GERMO , April 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm

LOL

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

said everyone's jerk boss, ever

djrichard , April 5, 2019 at 3:56 pm

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

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

& "play by the rules"

Alex , April 5, 2019 at 11:08 am

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

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

Alex , April 5, 2019 at 11:38 am

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

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

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

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

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:37 pm

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

diptherio , April 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

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

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

Alex , April 5, 2019 at 1:28 pm

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

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

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

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

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm

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

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

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

Anon , April 5, 2019 at 12:24 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Works for me

human , April 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm

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

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

RMO , April 5, 2019 at 3:39 pm

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

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

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

poopinator , April 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

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

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

Effluvium floats, since it's devoid of substance?

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

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

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

Carla , April 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm

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

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

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

Marc , April 5, 2019 at 11:29 am

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

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:43 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim , April 5, 2019 at 5:53 pm

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

Watt4Bob , April 5, 2019 at 11:37 am

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

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

So meritocracy means different things to different people.

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

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

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

Ding, ding!

rd , April 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm

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

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

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

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

LifelongLib , April 5, 2019 at 4:23 pm

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

shinola , April 5, 2019 at 11:41 am

How does meritocracy differ from social Darwinism?

diptherio , April 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

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

shinola , April 5, 2019 at 12:24 pm

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

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

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

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

Sanxi , April 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm

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

jrs , April 5, 2019 at 1:54 pm

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

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

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

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

WobblyTelomeres , April 5, 2019 at 6:37 pm

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

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

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

jake , April 5, 2019 at 11:43 am

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

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

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

poopinator , April 5, 2019 at 12:48 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

poopinator , April 5, 2019 at 2:52 pm

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

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

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

Sol , April 5, 2019 at 12:23 pm

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

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

Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy.

:D

ape , April 5, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Yes, being delusional about reality leads to pathologies.

Very great pathologies.

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

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

Ape , April 5, 2019 at 1:49 pm

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

JerryDenim , April 5, 2019 at 2:16 pm

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

Rosario , April 5, 2019 at 3:55 pm

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

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

Tim , April 5, 2019 at 5:48 pm

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

Raulb , April 5, 2019 at 6:33 pm

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

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

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

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

[Apr 05, 2019] Tesla's disastrous first quarter hints its car may not be the future of driving

Apr 05, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Are Tesla's cars overpriced?

Citigroup researchers point out Tesla's stock has long been valued as if it's selling a look into the future of driving. Hence, investors have usually been willing to overlook Tesla's sales stumbles as it works to ramp production and stoke demand.

But Tesla's disastrous first quarter (which includes mixed messages around store closures and profitability) suggests consumers think Tesla's electric cars are overpriced versus their utility. In other words, they are more carefully weighing the options of going fully electric via Tesla versus a range of more affordable options in the category (including hybrids).

While there are some Tesla specific factors in play here such as its ongoing production problems, the steep fall-off in demand to kick off 2019 is likely to be a greater weight to Tesla's stock near-term. Without steady demand for Tesla's cars, it could set off a host of negatives for Tesla such as debt raises and more price cuts on its cars.

Not a good bullish setup for a cult favorite.

[Apr 05, 2019] The next stage in the War On The Working Class to begin soon caucus99percent

Apr 05, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

The next stage in the War On The Working Class to begin soon

span y gjohnsit on Wed, 04/03/2019 - 5:50pm In recent years our financial leaders have admitted that a) deregulation of financial markets was a mistake , b) neoliberal austerity policies do more harm than good , c) inequality leads to slower economic growth , and d) central bank easy money policies worsened inequality .

Essentially the central banks admitted that virtually every policy that they've forced on societies has been destructive, self-defeating, and the harm was primarily directed at the poor and working class. Since the 2008 crash, the harm that the bankers are inflicting on society has been magnified through Quantitative Easing (QE).

Indeed, it is time to start calling QE what it is: a hidden tax on the wealth of middle-class savers and pensioners which, on the one hand, the government can use to finance the deficits associated with a large, modern welfare state and, on the other, redistribute wealth to the top 5% of households.

"It is hardly a stretch to conclude that QE exacerbated America's already severe income disparities."
- economist Stephen Roach

However, if you thought these multiple mea culpa's would change central bank policies, think again. A better way to think of it is a banker telling you that they had to "destroy an economy in order to save it." It's unfortunate, but necessary to enrich the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Just like when we bailed out the crooked bankers in 2008-2009 after they robbed the working class blind. We couldn't make the rich people responsible for the disaster suffer. The consequence of that decision is a massive increase in inequality .

if you really want to grasp what's been happening, consider that, between 2009 and 2017, the number of billionaires whose combined wealth was greater than that of the world's poorest 50 percent fell from 380 to just eight. And by the way, despite claims by the president that every other country is screwing America, the US leads the pack when it comes to the growth of inequality. As Inequality.org notes, it has "much greater shares of national wealth and income going to the richest 1 percent than any other country."

That, in part, is due to an institution many in the United States normally pay little attention to: the US central bank, the Federal Reserve.

We are now arriving at the end of another business/credit cycle. Translation: a recession is near . In a healthy and somewhat fair economy, a recession works to cleans the economy of inefficient businesses and bad debts. Those that made bad decisions would suffer. We don't have a healthy and fair economy, and those that made bad decisions will be protected.

You see, the Federal Reserve is going to combat the effects of too much accumulated debt caused by too many years of artificially low interest rates, that the Federal Reserve intentionally made happen, which encouraged companies and wealthy people to borrow too much money .

The real reason the world is in this predicament is the failure to deal with unsustainable debt levels.

Debt can only be reduced in one of four ways: through strong growth, inflation, currency devaluation (where the borrowing is from foreigners) or default....

Growth and inflation are weak. Devaluation is difficult if every nation tries to reduce the value of its currency at the same time.

Debt defaults on the scale required would destroy a large portion of the world's savings, not to mention affect the solvency of the financial system, triggering a collapse of economic activity. That's why policymakers resist write-downs of trillions of dollars' worth of debt that cannot be paid back.

All of these decisions are hard because someone must lose.

... ... ...

[Apr 04, 2019] How Brzezinski's Chessboard degenerated into Brennan's Russophobia by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This entire article fleshes out one central truth – capitalism as practiced by the US Government inevitably involves war by any and all means, seeking total domination of every human being on the planet, foriegn or native to the US Hegemon. It seeks total rule of the rich and powerful over everyone else. ..."
Apr 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

"Russia is an inalienable and organic part of Greater Europe and European civilization. Our citizens think of themselves as European. That's why Russia proposes moving towards the creation of a common economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, a community referred to by Russian experts as 'the Union of Europe' which will strengthen Russia's potential in its economic pivot toward the 'New Asia.'" Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, February 2012

The allegations of 'Russian meddling' only make sense if they're put into a broader geopolitical context. Once we realize that Washington is implementing an aggressive "containment" strategy to militarily encircle Russia and China in order to spread its tentacles across Central Asian, then we begin to understand that Russia is not the perpetrator of the hostilities and propaganda, but the victim. The Russia hacking allegations are part of a larger asymmetrical-information war that has been joined by the entire Washington political establishment. The objective is to methodically weaken an emerging rival while reinforcing US global hegemony.

Try to imagine for a minute, that the hacking claims were not part of a sinister plan by Vladimir Putin "to sow discord and division" in the United States, but were conjured up to create an external threat that would justify an aggressive response from Washington. That's what Russiagate is really all about.

US policymakers and their allies in the military and Intelligence agencies, know that relations with Russia are bound to get increasingly confrontational, mainly because Washington is determined to pursue its ambitious "pivot" to Asia plan. This new regional strategy focuses on "strengthening bilateral security alliances, expanding trade and investment, and forging a broad-based military presence." In short, the US is determined to maintain its global supremacy by establishing military outposts across Eurasia, continuing to tighten the noose around Russia and China, and reinforcing its position as the dominant player in the most populous and prosperous region in the world. The plan was first presented in its skeletal form by the architect of Washington's plan to rule the world, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Here's how Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor summed it up in his 1997 magnum opus, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives:

"For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia (p.30) .. Eurasia is the globe's largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. . About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources." ("The Grand Chessboard:American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives", Zbigniew Brzezinski, Basic Books, page 31, 1997)

14 years after those words were written, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took up the banner of imperial expansion and demanded a dramatic shift in US foreign policy that would focus primarily on increasing America's military footprint in Asia. It was Clinton who first coined the term "pivot" in a speech she delivered in 2010 titled "America's Pacific Century". Here's an excerpt from the speech:

"As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment -- diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise -- in the Asia-Pacific region

Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology ..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama's goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia and our investment opportunities in Asia's dynamic markets."

("America's Pacific Century", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton", Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011)

The pivot strategy is not some trifling rehash of the 19th century "Great Game" promoted by think-tank fantasists and conspiracy theorists. It is Washington's premier foreign policy doctrine, a 'rebalancing' theory that focuses on increasing US military and diplomatic presence across the Asian landmass. Naturally, NATO's ominous troop movements on Russia's western flank and Washington's provocative naval operations in the South China Sea have sent up red flags in Moscow and Beijing. Former Chinese President Hu Jintao summed it up like this:

"The United States has strengthened its military deployments in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthened the US-Japan military alliance, strengthened strategic cooperation with India, improved relations with Vietnam, inveigled Pakistan, established a pro-American government in Afghanistan, increased arms sales to Taiwan, and so on. They have extended outposts and placed pressure points on us from the east, south, and west."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been equally critical of Washington's erratic behavior. NATO's eastward expansion has convinced Putin that the US will continue to be a disruptive force on the continent for the foreseeable future. Both leaders worry that Washington's relentless provocations will lead to an unexpected clash that will end in war.

Even so, the political class has fully embraced the pivot strategy as a last-gasp attempt to roll back the clock to the post war era when the world's industrial centers were in ruins and America was the only game in town. Now the center of gravity has shifted from west to east, leaving Washington with just two options: Allow the emerging giants in Asia to connect their high-speed rail and gas pipelines to Europe creating the world's biggest free trade zone, or try to overturn the applecart by bullying allies and threatening rivals, by implementing sanctions that slow growth and send currencies plunging, and by arming jihadist proxies to fuel ethnic hatred and foment political unrest. Clearly, the choice has already been made. Uncle Sam has decided to fight til the bitter end.

Washington has many ways of dealing with its enemies, but none of these strategies have dampened the growth of its competitors in the east. China is poised to overtake the US as the world's biggest economy sometime in the next 2 decades while Russia's intervention in Syria has rolled back Washington's plan to topple Bashar al Assad and consolidate its grip on the resource-rich Middle East. That plan has now collapsed forcing US policymakers to scrap the War on Terror altogether and switch to a "great power competition" which acknowledges that the US can no longer unilaterally impose its will wherever it goes. Challenges to America's dominance are emerging everywhere particularly in the region where the US hopes to reign supreme, Asia.

This is why the entire national security state now stands foursquare behind the improbable pivot plan. It's a desperate "Hail Mary" attempt to preserve the decaying unipolar world order.

What does that mean in practical terms?

It means that the White House (the National Security Strategy) the Pentagon (National Defense Strategy) and the Intelligence Community (The Worldwide Threat Assessment) have all drawn up their own respective analyses of the biggest threats the US currently faces. Naturally, Russia is at the very top of those lists. Russia has derailed Washington's proxy war in Syria, frustrated US attempts to establish itself across Central Asia, and strengthened ties with the EU hoping to "create a harmonious community of economies from Lisbon to Vladivostok." (Putin)

Keep in mind, the US does not feel threatened by the possibility of a Russian attack, but by Russia's ability to thwart Washington's grandiose imperial ambitions in Asia.

As we noted, the National Security Strategy (NSS) is a statutorily mandated document produced by the White House that explains how the President intends to implement his national security vision. Not surprisingly, the document's main focus is Russia and China. Here's an excerpt:

"China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence." (Neither Russia nor China are attempting to erode American security and prosperity." They are merely growing their economies and expanding their markets. If US corporations reinvested their capital into factories, employee training and R and D instead of stock buybacks and executive compensation, then they would be better able to complete globally.)

Here's more: "Through modernized forms of subversive tactics, Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world." (This is a case of the 'pot calling the kettle black.')

"Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data." (The western media behemoth is the biggest disinformation bullhorn the world has ever seen. RT and Sputnik don't hold a candle to the ginormous MSM 'Wurlitzer' that controls the cable news stations, the newspapers and most of the print media. The Mueller Report proves beyond a doubt that the politically-motivated nonsense one reads in the media is neither reliably sourced nor trustworthy.)

The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community is even more explicit in its attacks on Russia. Check it out:

"Threats to US national security will expand and diversify in the coming year, driven in part by China and Russia as they respectively compete more intensely with the United States and its traditional allies and partners . We assess that Moscow will continue pursuing a range of objectives to expand its reach, including undermining the US-led liberal international order, dividing Western political and security institutions, demonstrating Russia's ability to shape global issues, and bolstering Putin's domestic legitimacy.

We assess that Moscow has heightened confidence, based on its success in helping restore the Asad regime's territorial control in Syria, ·Russia seeks to boost its military presence and political influence in the Mediterranean and Red Seas mediate conflicts, including engaging in the Middle East Peace Process and Afghanistan reconciliation .

Russia will continue pressing Central Asia's leaders to support Russian-led economic and security initiatives and reduce engagement with Washington. Russia and China are likely to intensify efforts to build influence in Europe at the expense of US interests " ("The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community", USG )

Notice how the Intelligence Community summary does not suggest that Russia poses an imminent military threat to the US, only that Russia has restored order in Syria, strengthened ties with China, emerged as an "honest broker" among countries in the Middle East, and used the free market system to improve relations with its trading partners and grow its economy. The IC appears to find fault with Russia because it is using the system the US created to better advantage than the US. This is entirely understandable given Putin's determination to draw Europe and Asia closer together through a region-wide economic integration plan. Here's Putin:

"We must consider more extensive cooperation in the energy sphere, up to and including the formation of a common European energy complex. The Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea and the South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea are important steps in that direction. These projects have the support of many governments and involve major European energy companies. Once the pipelines start operating at full capacity, Europe will have a reliable and flexible gas-supply system that does not depend on the political whims of any nation. This will strengthen the continent's energy security not only in form but in substance. This is particularly relevant in the light of the decision of some European states to reduce or renounce nuclear energy."

The gas pipelines and high-speed rail are the arteries that will bind the continents together and strengthen the new EU-Asia superstate. This is Washington's greatest nightmare, a massive, thriving free trade zone beyond its reach and not subject to its rules. In 2012, Hillary Clinton acknowledged this new threat and promised to do everything in her power to destroy it. Check out this excerpt:

"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described efforts to promote greater economic integration in Eurasia as "a move to re-Sovietize the region." . "We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it," she said at an international conference in Dublin on December 6, 2012, Radio Free Europe."

"Slow down or prevent it"?

Why? Because EU-Asia growth and prosperity will put pressure on US debt markets, US corporate interests, US (ballooning) national debt, and the US Dollar? Is that why Hillary is so committed to sabotaging Putin's economic integration plan?

Indeed, it is. Washington wants to block progress and prosperity in the east in order to extend the lifespan of a doddering and thoroughly-bankrupt state that is presently $22 trillion in the red but continues to write checks on an overdrawn account.

But Russia shouldn't be blamed for Washington's profligate behavior, that's not Putin's fault. Moscow is merely using the free market system more effectively that the US.

Now consider the Pentagon's 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) which reiterates many of the same themes as the other two documents.

"Today, we are emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our competitive military advantage has been eroding. We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order -- creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security."

(Naturally, the "security environment" is going to be more challenging when 'regime change' is the cornerstone of one's foreign policy. Of course, the NDS glosses over that sad fact. Here's more:)

"Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors ..(Baloney. Russia has been a force for stability in Syria and Ukraine. If Obama had his way, Syria would have wound up like Iraq, a hellish wastelands occupied by foreign mercenaries. Is that how the Pentagon measures success?) Here's more:

"China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model

"China and Russia are now undermining the international order from within the system .

"China and Russia are the principal priorities for the Department because of the magnitude of the threats they pose to U.S. security." ( National Defense Strategy of the United States of America )

Get the picture? China and Russia, China and Russia, China and Russia. Bad, bad, bad.

Why? Because they are successfully implementing their own development model which is NOT programed to favor US financial institutions and corporations. That's the whole thing in a nutshell. The only reason Russia and China are a threat to the "rules-based system", is because Washington insists on being the only one who makes the rules. That's why foreign leaders are no longer falling in line, because it's not a fair system.

These assessments represent the prevailing opinion of senior-level policymakers across the spectrum. (The White House, the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community) The USG is unanimous in its judgement that a harsher more combative approach is needed to deal with Russia and China. Foreign policy elites want to put the nation on the path to more confrontation, more conflict and more war. At the same time, none of these three documents suggest that Russia has any intention of launching an attack on the United States. The greatest concern is the effect that emerging competitors will have on Washington's provocative plan for military and economic expansion, the threat that Russia and China pose to America's tenuous grip on global power. It is that fear that drives US foreign policy.

And this is broader context into which we must fit the Russia investigation. The reason the Russia hacking furor has been allowed to flourish and spread despite the obvious lack of any supporting evidence, is because the vilifying of Russia segues perfectly with the geopolitical interests of elites in the government. The USG now works collaboratively with the media to influence public attitudes on issues that are important to the powerful foreign policy establishment. The ostensible goal of these psychological operations (PSYOP) is to selectively use information on "audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of organizations, groups, and individuals."

The USG now sees the minds of ordinary Americans as a legitimate target for their influence campaigns. They regard attitudes and perceptions as "the cognitive domain of the


Beckow , says: April 4, 2019 at 1:02 am GMT

The emerging Euro-Asian power block is very heterogeneous. Russia, China, and the smaller affiliated players like Central Asia, Iran, Syria, Turkey don't agree on almost anything. They have different cultures, religions, economies, demographic profiles, even writing systems. The most rational strategy to prevent the Euro-Asian block from consolidating would be to get them to fight each other. Alternatively, find the weakest link and attack it in an area where its reluctant allies don't share its interests.

Exactly the opposite has happened in the last 5-10 years: US has seemingly worked overtime to get China-Russia alliance of the ground. They used to distrust each other, today, after Ukraine, South China See, etc they have become close allies. Same with Iran and Syria: instead of letting them stew in their own internal problems – mostly religious and having a nepotistic elite – US has managed to turn the fight into an external geo-political struggle, literally invited Russia to join in, and ended up losing.

Bush turned Iraq from a fanatically anti-Iran bastion to a reliable ally of Iran and started an un-winnable land war in Afghanistan (incredible!). Obama turned Libya, the richest and most stable African country that threatened no-one and kept African migrants far away, into a chaotic hellhole where slave trade flourishes and millions of Sub-Saharan Africans can use it to move on to Europe.

Then Obama tried to coup-de-etat Erdogan in Turkey, and – even worse – failed miserably. This gang can't shoot straight – whatever they put in their position papers is meaningless drivel because they are too stupid to think. They have no patience to wait for the right time to move, no ability to manage on the ground allies, and an aversion to casualties that makes winning a war impossible. Today Trump threatens Germany over its energy security (pipelines), further antagonises Turkey and Erdogan, watches helplessly as EU becomes the next UN (lame and irrelevant), and bets everything on a few small allies like Saudi Arabia and Izrael that are of almost no use in Euro-Asia.

A guy who says about the Russia-gate collusion fiasco that ' maybe I had bad information ' is no master of the universe. And he run the joint under Obama. Complaining about Russia saying bad stuff about you – or ' information warfare ' – is a pathetic sign of weakness. Maybe the testosterone levels have dropped more than we have been told.

anon [338] Disclaimer , says: April 4, 2019 at 4:07 am GMT
the russophobia is just drama to keep the MIC spending at $700+ billion per year

there is no way to justify that level of spending and pretend they don't have $25 billion one time to actually help solve the real problem for the U.S.

Krollchem , says: April 4, 2019 at 5:38 am GMT
"The USG now sees the minds of ordinary Americans as a legitimate target for their influence campaigns. They regard attitudes and perceptions as "the cognitive domain of the battlespace" which they must exploit in order to build public support for their vastly unpopular wars and interventions. "

Here is a short guide on how to detect subversion of the mind by the media and their handlers by a former military intelligence officer.

JR , says: April 4, 2019 at 6:00 am GMT
If one recognizes that Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy & Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997)" in replacing "Lebensraum" with "control over Eurasia", "Tausendjähriges Reich" with "American Primacy" and providing our 'elite' with an "realist" and "amoral" excuse to act completely and consistently immoral one has to recognize too that this "Grand Chessboard" is an amalgamation of 'Mein Kampf' and 'Il Principe".

Reluctant to use that Hitler comparison one ought to read the Introduction of the "Grand Chessboard" in which Brzezinki himself proudly refers to both Hitler and Stalin sharing his ideas about control over Eurasia as a prerequisite for that "American Primacy".

Recognizing this however one can't escape the conclusion that this "Grand Chessboard" with its consistent 'amoral realist imperatives' is serving up inherently immoral 'imperatives' as inescapable options dressed up in academic language and with absolutely abhorrent arrogance.

Stating that Brennan's Russophobia is somehow a degeneration of Brzezinki's "Grand Chessboard" is completely overlooking how difficult it would be to outdo Brzezinki's own total moral degeneration.

One has to recognize that by now the only bipartisan aspect of US policy can be found in sharing these despicable and immoral 'imperatives' to maintain that "American Primacy" at all cost (of course to the rest of the world).

Jake , says: April 4, 2019 at 12:01 pm GMT
"The allegations of 'Russian meddling' only make sense if they're put into a broader geopolitical context. Once we realize that Washington is implementing an aggressive "containment" strategy to militarily encircle Russia and China in order to spread its tentacles across Central Asian, then we begin to understand that Russia is not the perpetrator of the hostilities and propaganda, but the victim. The Russia hacking allegations are part of a larger asymmetrical-information war that has been joined by the entire Washington political establishment. The objective is to methodically weaken an emerging rival while reinforcing US global hegemony."

TRUE!

I would suggest that the initials 'US' in the final sentence be changed to: Anglo-Zionist Empire.

Jake , says: April 4, 2019 at 12:12 pm GMT
"Now the center of gravity has shifted from west to east, leaving Washington with just two options: Allow the emerging giants in Asia to connect their high-speed rail and gas pipelines to Europe creating the world's biggest free trade zone, or try to overturn the applecart by bullying allies and threatening rivals, by implementing sanctions that slow growth and send currencies plunging, and by arming jihadist proxies to fuel ethnic hatred and foment political unrest. Clearly, the choice has already been made. Uncle Sam has decided to fight til the bitter end."

Just like the Brit Empire – of which the Yank Empire is merely Part 2, the part where it becomes obvious that it is the Anglo-Zionist Empire, which, like a band of screeching Pharisees standing on the walls of Jerusalem hurling curses at the Romans they inform that Jehovah will soon wipe out all Romans to save His Chosen Race, would choose utter destruction for all over any common sense backing down to prevent mass slaughter.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: April 4, 2019 at 12:43 pm GMT
Nothing harmed US more than Brzezinski's ideology. US did build up far east with their investments, while neglecting their own backyard. US should have build up rather North and South America and make it the envy of the world. Neglecting particularly South America now created Desperate south American people, who have no jobs and no future and these people are now invading US.
Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 4, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT
@Beckow

A guy who says about the Russia-gate collusion fiasco that 'maybe I had bad information' is no master of the universe. And he run the joint under Obama. Complaining about Russia saying bad stuff about you – or 'information warfare' – is a pathetic sign of weakness. Maybe the testosterone levels have dropped more than we have been told.

Testosterone plus steady, unrelenting decline and corruption of American "elites" most of who have no background in any fields related to actual effective governance especially in national security (military) and diplomatic fields. Zbig's book is also nothing more than doctrine-mongering based on complete lack of understanding of Russian history.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 4, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
@JR

Reluctant to use that Hitler comparison one ought to read the Introduction of the "Grand Chessboard" in which Brzezinki himself proudly refers to both Hitler and Stalin sharing his ideas about control over Eurasia as a prerequisite for that "American Primacy".

Zbig was a political "scientist" (which is not a science) by education, fact aggravated by his Russophobia, and thus inability to grasp fundamentals of military power and warfare–a defining characteristic of American "elites". He, obviously, missed on the military-technological development of 1970s through 1990s, to arrive to the inevitable conclusion that classic "geopolitics" doesn't apply anymore. Today we all can observe how it doesn't apply and is made obsolete.

Agent76 , says: April 4, 2019 at 2:45 pm GMT
(Jan.1998) US history – "How Jimmy Carter I Started the Mujahideen" – Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor 1977-1981

"Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a13_1240427874

Zbigniew Brzezinski Taliban Pakistan Afghanistan pep talk 1979

In 1979 Carters National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski went into Pakistans border regions with Afghanistan to give a little pep talk to some prospective majehadeen (Holy Warriors). In a 1997 interview for CNN's Cold War Series, Brzezinski hinted about the Carter Administration's proactive Afghanistan policy before the Soviet invasion in 1979, that he had conceived.

flashlight joe , says: April 4, 2019 at 2:55 pm GMT
@Jake @Jake

"Just like the Brit Empire – of which the Yank Empire is merely Part 2,"

I call it the Western British Empire.

Jake , says: April 4, 2019 at 3:14 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX Why was it that the Brit Empire kept acting throughout the later 18th, the 19th and early 20th centuries to harm Russia, even when it technically was allied with Russia? Why the Crimean War, for example?

Why, for example, was Brit secret service all over the assassination of Rasputin and tied in multiple ways to most non-Marxist revolutionary groups?

mike k , says: April 4, 2019 at 3:18 pm GMT
This entire article fleshes out one central truth – capitalism as practiced by the US Government inevitably involves war by any and all means, seeking total domination of every human being on the planet, foriegn or native to the US Hegemon. It seeks total rule of the rich and powerful over everyone else.
Jake , says: April 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm GMT
@anon Like the Ukranians, the 'Balts' virtually always are controlled by somebody else. When Russia does not control the Baltic states, they are controlled by either Poles or Germans. Russians know what that means: the Baltic states are then used as weapons to attack Russia.

The region is much calmer when Russia controls the Baltic states, and that is before taking into consideration how the Polish-Lithuanian Empire turned its Jews lose to terrorize all Orthodox Christians and how Germanic states later used Lutheranism as a force in the Baltics to ignite war with Russia and, under the queer Frederick the Great also used Jewish bankers to finance wars against Russia.

[Apr 04, 2019] If one recognizes that Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997)" in replacing "Lebensraum" with "control over Eurasia", "Tausendj hriges Reich" with "American Primacy"

Apr 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Wally , says: April 4, 2019 at 4:43 pm GMT

@JR ssaid:
If one recognizes that Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy & Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997)" in replacing "Lebensraum" with "control over Eurasia", "Tausendjähriges Reich" with "American Primacy" and providing our 'elite' with an "realist" and "amoral" excuse to act completely and consistently immoral one has to recognize too that this "Grand Chessboard" is an amalgamation of 'Mein Kampf' and 'Il Principe".

Except that Germany did not send Germans into the conquered territories during WWII, though they wanted to do so.

[Apr 04, 2019] But current American elites have no concept of own actions having consequences

Notable quotes:
"... I believe that the current GLOBAL elites do understand exactly what they are doing and the potential consequences to the ongoing existence of private finance. ..."
"... The war that is being waged is an attempt to keep private finance in charge of our world ..."
Apr 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Apr 4, 2019 12:11:22 PM | link

The posting ended with

"But current American elites have no concept of own actions having consequences."

I believe that the current GLOBAL elites do understand exactly what they are doing and the potential consequences to the ongoing existence of private finance.

The war that is being waged is an attempt to keep private finance in charge of our world and they are losing I am pleased to report

[Apr 03, 2019] The software's reengagement is what doomed everybody aboard Boeing Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

Apr 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Flankspeed60 , 2 hours ago link

Never thought Boeing would make Tesla look like a bunch of geniuses...

[Apr 03, 2019] The political genius of supply-side economics by Martin Wolf&

Jul 25, 2010 | blogs.ft.com

The future of fiscal policy was intensely debated in the FT last week. In this Exchange, I want to examine what is going on in the US and, in particular, what is going on inside the Republican party. This matters for the US and, because the US remains the world's most important economy, it also matters greatly for the world.

My reading of contemporary Republican thinking is that there is no chance of any attempt to arrest adverse long-term fiscal trends should they return to power. Moreover, since the Republicans have no interest in doing anything sensible, the Democrats will gain nothing from trying to do much either. That is the lesson Democrats have to draw from the Clinton era's successful frugality, which merely gave George W. Bush the opportunity to make massive (irresponsible and unsustainable) tax cuts. In practice, then, nothing will be done.

Indeed, nothing may be done even if a genuine fiscal crisis were to emerge. According to my friend, Bruce Bartlett , a highly informed, if jaundiced, observer, some "conservatives" (in truth, extreme radicals) think a federal default would be an effective way to bring public spending they detest under control. It should be noted, in passing, that a federal default would surely create the biggest financial crisis in world economic history.

To understand modern Republican thinking on fiscal policy, we need to go back to perhaps the most politically brilliant (albeit economically unconvincing) idea in the history of fiscal policy: "supply-side economics". Supply-side economics liberated conservatives from any need to insist on fiscal rectitude and balanced budgets. Supply-side economics said that one could cut taxes and balance budgets, because incentive effects would generate new activity and so higher revenue.

The political genius of this idea is evident. Supply-side economics transformed Republicans from a minority party into a majority party. It allowed them to promise lower taxes, lower deficits and, in effect, unchanged spending. Why should people not like this combination? Who does not like a free lunch?

How did supply-side economics bring these benefits? First, it allowed conservatives to ignore deficits. They could argue that, whatever the impact of the tax cuts in the short run, they would bring the budget back into balance, in the longer run. Second, the theory gave an economic justification – the argument from incentives - for lowering taxes on politically important supporters. Finally, if deficits did not, in fact, disappear, conservatives could fall back on the "starve the beast" theory: deficits would create a fiscal crisis that would force the government to cut spending and even destroy the hated welfare state.

In this way, the Republicans were transformed from a balanced-budget party to a tax-cutting party. This innovative stance proved highly politically effective, consistently putting the Democrats at a political disadvantage. It also made the Republicans de facto Keynesians in a de facto Keynesian nation. Whatever the rhetoric, I have long considered the US the advanced world's most Keynesian nation – the one in which government (including the Federal Reserve) is most expected to generate healthy demand at all times, largely because jobs are, in the US, the only safety net for those of working age.

True, the theory that cuts would pay for themselves has proved altogether wrong. That this might well be the case was evident: cutting tax rates from, say, 30 per cent to zero would unambiguously reduce revenue to zero. This is not to argue there were no incentive effects. But they were not large enough to offset the fiscal impact of the cuts (see, on this, Wikipedia and a nice chart from Paul Krugman).

Indeed, Greg Mankiw, no less, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, has responded to the view that broad-based tax cuts would pay for themselves, as follows: "I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don't." Indeed, he has referred to those who believe this as " charlatans and cranks ". Those are his words, not mine, though I agree. They apply, in force, to contemporary Republicans, alas,

Since the fiscal theory of supply-side economics did not work, the tax-cutting eras of Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush and again of George W. Bush saw very substantial rises in ratios of federal debt to gross domestic product. Under Reagan and the first Bush, the ratio of public debt to GDP went from 33 per cent to 64 per cent. It fell to 57 per cent under Bill Clinton. It then rose to 69 per cent under the second George Bush . Equally, tax cuts in the era of George W. Bush, wars and the economic crisis account for almost all the dire fiscal outlook for the next ten years ( see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ).

Today's extremely high deficits are also an inheritance from Bush-era tax-and-spending policies and the financial crisis, also, of course, inherited by the present administration. Thus, according to the International Monetary Fund, the impact of discretionary stimulus on the US fiscal deficit amounts to a cumulative total of 4.7 per cent of GDP in 2009 and 2010, while the cumulative deficit over these years is forecast at 23.5 per cent of GDP . In any case, the stimulus was certainly too small, not too large.

The evidence shows, then, that contemporary conservatives (unlike those of old) simply do not think deficits matter, as former vice-president Richard Cheney is reported to have told former treasury secretary Paul O'Neill . But this is not because the supply-side theory of self-financing tax cuts, on which Reagan era tax cuts were justified, has worked, but despite the fact it has not. The faith has outlived its economic (though not its political) rationale.

So, when Republicans assail the deficits under President Obama , are they to be taken seriously? Yes and no. Yes, they are politically interested in blaming Mr Obama for deficits, since all is viewed fair in love and partisan politics. And yes, they are, indeed, rhetorically opposed to deficits created by extra spending (although that did not prevent them from enacting the unfunded prescription drug benefit, under President Bush). But no, it is not deficits themselves that worry Republicans, but rather how they are caused: deficits caused by tax cuts are fine; but spending increases brought in by Democrats are diabolical, unless on the military.

Indeed, this is precisely what John Kyl (Arizona), a senior Republican senator, has just said:

"[Y]ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes. Surely Congress has the authority, and it would be right to -- if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending, and that's what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans"

What conclusions should outsiders draw about the likely future of US fiscal policy?

First, if Republicans win the mid-terms in November, as seems likely, they are surely going to come up with huge tax cut proposals (probably well beyond extending the already unaffordable Bush-era tax cuts).

Second, the White House will probably veto these cuts, making itself even more politically unpopular.

Third, some additional fiscal stimulus is, in fact, what the US needs, in the short term, even though across-the-board tax cuts are an extremely inefficient way of providing it.

Fourth, the Republican proposals would not, alas, be short term, but dangerously long term, in their impact.

Finally, with one party indifferent to deficits, provided they are brought about by tax cuts, and the other party relatively fiscally responsible (well, everything is relative, after all), but opposed to spending cuts on core programmes, US fiscal policy is paralysed. I may think the policies of the UK government dangerously austere, but at least it can act.

This is extraordinarily dangerous. The danger does not arise from the fiscal deficits of today, but the attitudes to fiscal policy, over the long run, of one of the two main parties. Those radical conservatives (a small minority, I hope) who want to destroy the credit of the US federal government may succeed. If so, that would be the end of the US era of global dominance. The destruction of fiscal credibility could be the outcome of the policies of the party that considers itself the most patriotic.

In sum, a great deal of trouble lies ahead, for the US and the world.

Where am I wrong, if at all?

July 25, 2010 4:18pm in Financial crisis , Supply-side economics | 10 comments

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  1. Report Martin Wolf | July 25 5:04pm | Permalink

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    Bruce Bartlett writes "I think my friend Martin is a bit too hard on Reagan, who did try to cut spending and signed 11 major tax increases into law to bring down the deficit. And Bush 41 initiated a budget deal in 1990 that eventually led to budget surpluses. It was Bush 43 and his willing accomplices among the Republicans who controlled Congress that deserve the vast bulk of the blame."

    This is my response: "Fair comment. But, as you have often noted, his followers have repudiated president Reagan's willingness to raise taxes. Nor are they making any credible commitments to large-scale cuts in public spending. It is also the case that, despite a boom in the 1980s, the end of the Reagan and George H. Bush era saw much higher public debt ratios than the beginning. I think you have to recognise that today's Republicans are Reagan's children and, as is often the case, are more uncompromising than their parents."

  2. Report ralbin | July 25 6:59pm | Permalink

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    Mr. Wolf - Your comment is entirely correct though perhaps incomplete. Implicit, and sometimes explicit, in the supply-side argument was that low taxes wouldn't involve any public sacrifices. The Republicans promised the benefits of the liberal state while arguing that the needed tax revenues wouldn't be needed. This is what made it and continues to make it a successful political strategy. This is an actual Big Lie.

    Its worth delineating the other Big Lie of Republican political strategy, the the USA is so powerful that it can do anything it wants on the international stage. Add in consistent appeals to racial and religious bigotry (from which the personally decent Mr. Reagan was not immune) and you have almost the whole Republican political strategy of the last 30 years. Very successful and almost all of it based on deception and appeals to the electorate's worst tendencies.

  3. Report Kent Willard | July 25 7:06pm | Permalink

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    Running up the debt in order to default and cut spending is like having a heart attack in order to get serious about diet and exercise. It is crazy, but they will do it, and then blame it on someone else.

    Any bets on a gov't shutdown attempt next year?

  4. Report Dana Houle | July 25 7:09pm | Permalink

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    I think you're assuming a lot about the results of the November elections that are far from certain. In fact, it's highly, highly unlikely that the Republicans will win the Senate, and not particularly likely they'll win the House. They will certainly pick up seats in the House, maybe a lot, but there are only a handful of Dem-held Senate seats that I would say today are pretty much lost for the Democrats (North Dakota, Arkansas), while there are also up to 8 Republican-held seats that could be in play. Democrats would have to lose 10 seats that they currently hold and not win any seats currently held by Republicans (even though 5 of those are open and Vitter in Louisiana is so scandal-plagued he may not survive). It's just about implausible the Democrats will lose a net of 10 or more seats.

    Even in the House, Democrats will have to lose almost all the contested seats, at a time when the most recent generic ballot from Gallup shows Democrats nationally with an 8 point advantage and most of the vulnerable Democratic incumbents have huge cash advantages over their Republican challengers.

    I agree with your interpretation of the political appeal of supply side economics, but I think you're greatly overestimating the ability of the Republicans to win enough seats in November to fully enact their fiscal will on the White House.

  5. Report toweypat | July 25 7:42pm | Permalink

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    "Second, the White House will probably veto these cuts"

    I wish I could agree. Given what we have seem from President Obama this past year and a half, I think he is just as likely to go along with them as part of some nebulous plan to angle for concessions from the other side, or simply to burnish his bipartisan credentials.

  6. Report JoelS | July 25 8:24pm | Permalink

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    Thanks for saying out loud what has been apparent: that Republicanism has become fundamentally destructive. I don't think there's any doubt that the empire is coming to an end, as all empires do, with the unwillingness of the populace to bear the costs and burdens. The tax revolt is, at its heart, a cancer destroying American power and prosperity.

    This is doubly unhealthy because the United States needs a healthy opposition. In its absence, the Democrats are also becoming corrupt. Their electoral appeal has increasingly become: "Vote for us. We're not insane." That's necessary, of course, but hardly sufficient. So we end up with a health care bill with no cost containment, a financial regulatory bill that does not address the speculation and institutional giantism that was at the heart of the collapse, and a stimulus bill half the size that it should have been and heavily tilted against hiring the unemployed in favor of tax cuts. The Republicans would have done worse, but that is small comfort.

    Where are you wrong? If anywhere, in having any doubts that we are on the path to destruction, will no reason to think that we will turn back.

  7. Report Till Schreiber | July 25 9:02pm | Permalink

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    A wild card in the events you outline could be the report of the bipartisan commission on reducing the long-term budget deficit. Larry Summers mentioned it in his contribution to the austerity debate. If, and it's a big if, this report is substantive enough, it might provide cover for Republicans, Democrats, and the White House to tackle long-term deficits.

    In addition, I also feel you are a bit generous in labeling the Democrats relatively fiscally responsible. Certainly, the president's budget had rather high projected deficits over the next decade (and beyond).

    Ultimately, according to the CBO a lot comes down to health care costs, particularly Medicare. Reforming Medicare and controlling the explosion of costs currently projected for it is the key. Everything else is secondary.

  8. Report Edward Hatfield | July 25 9:22pm | Permalink

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    At last you have it spot on. There will have to be a crisis because Weston democracies will not vote for wage cuts. May be it could be done if the elite took a big cut first but that will not happen as most of the elite do not see the problem as their fault.

    You recently replied to one of my emails about thestateBritainis in with the words

    "I also don't understand this masochism" Well you surely must now

  9. Report Barry Thompson | July 25 9:24pm | Permalink

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    James Galbraith says you are wrong:

    "So long as U.S. banks are required to accept U.S. government checks -- which is to say so long as the Republic exists -- then the government can and does spend without borrowing, if it chooses to do so Insolvency, bankruptcy, or even higher real interest rates are not among the actual risks to this system."

    The only real risk to the system is inflation. The need for any sovereign government that can issue its own currency to balance its budget is merely a useful fiction, of political importance but not a real economic constraint.

    Otherwise, keep up the great work!

  10. Report Richard W | July 25 9:25pm | Permalink

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    ' Those radical conservatives (a small minority, I hope) who want to destroy the credit of the US federal government may succeed. If so, that would be the end of the US era of global dominance. The destruction of fiscal credibility could be the outcome of the policies of the party that considers itself the most patriotic. '

    That prospect holds no fear for the majority of contemporary Republican thinking in the party and throughout the conservative base. Withdrawal from NATO, UN and the global stage is precisely the plan. The contemporary Republican party is now more than ever aligned with the populist, reactionary and isolationist sentiments of conservative small town America. It will take many years, but I suspect America is on a long slide to an ungovernable failed state and eventual break-up of the union.

[Apr 03, 2019] Krugman is irrelevant and his promotion of Hillary is disingenuous

This is from 2015 and it certainly characterize Krugman as a despicable political hack...
Notable quotes:
"... The big story he won't write about is that the Republicans wouldn't be such a threat if Team D was worth a damn. ..."
"... The spectacle of 2009-2010 cured me of any lingering desire to vote Democrat ever again – or to waste my time reading Krugman. ..."
"... Krugman is a collaborator. His wealth and prestige is built on his capacity for perpetuating falsehoods that have had vast and deadly consequences (Obama care, for instance). ..."
"... Not to mention he was a huge advocate of NAFTA. Something he never mentions. ..."
"... Krugman's defense of Obama care either indicates a lack of intellect, or in my view the more probable possibility, the inability to accept that the system is thoroughly corrupt, including most dems and economists ..."
"... It's no excuse for someone who actually thinks and writes about public policy, but could it be that Krugman is like my fellow guests and just never had to think about the cost of his health insurance simply because he could always afford it. So, I mean, he's never done the math. He's just done the "responsible thing" and carried insurance his whole life. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

Steven D.

Used to be an avid Krugman reader. But I get bored reading about how bad the Republicans are. Tell me something I don't know. The big story he won't write about is that the Republicans wouldn't be such a threat if Team D was worth a damn.

It's like they got the ball in 2009 with the field wide open for a touchdown. But since the game was fixed Team D just danced around their own 20-yard line looking for the feeble Republican defense to block them. Every time they have an opening for a good play they panic over the prospect of scoring big and contrive to fumble the ball. The most they ever want is field goals and to prevent the Republicans from running away with the game too much.

That's why Krugman can write about how scary the Republicans are. But so what? Everyone knows that. Why are they in such a position? That's the interesting story.

Barmitt O'Bamney

Indeed, and seconded: Kruggers is irrelevant. However correct his critique may be, as far as it goes, it never goes far enough since he has chosen to mutilate himself into playing the role of partisan hack. There is a beam in the Republicans' eye? Well, there is a beam in his eye, too.

The spectacle of 2009-2010 cured me of any lingering desire to vote Democrat ever again – or to waste my time reading Krugman. If my choice is between voting against my own interests on the one hand, and voting against my interests on the other, I'll just stay home or else make my vote a protest against the party that assumes it has an unconditional right to my vote. Reading about how the Republicans are always wrong, with nary a mention of how Democrats are right there with them in the latrine of wrongness isn't worth a minute more of my time – and my time isn't even very valuable.

Benedict@Large

The problem (that leads to the boredom) with reading Krugman is not that he's always talking about how bad the Republicans are. That after all is true. The problem with reading Krugman is that he's always picking on the lowest hanging fruit; the easy cases that require no special nuance or understanding. Krugman is a smart man, and he is better than this. We have all too many of us capable of picking apart the 4th grade thinking and analysis that is so common in the GOP. To add Krugman to that list is a waste of (his and our) time.

tongorad

Krugman is a smart man, and he is better than this.

Evidence, please.

Krugman is a collaborator. His wealth and prestige is built on his capacity for perpetuating falsehoods that have had vast and deadly consequences (Obama care, for instance).

hidflect

Not to mention he was a huge advocate of NAFTA. Something he never mentions.

fresno dan

Krugman's defense of Obama care either indicates a lack of intellect, or in my view the more probable possibility, the inability to accept that the system is thoroughly corrupt, including most dems and economists

Ulysses

I think the most serious problem that Paul Krugman has, in accepting that the system is thoroughly corrupt, is his internalization of the meritocratic myth. The syllogism runs as follows:

1) I have "merit"

2)The system has lavished wealth and renown on me

3)Therefore, those who claim that our system "isn't really meritocratic" must themselves lack "merit," or be deluded from too much sentimentality, or too much attention to "exceptions that prove the rule."

Tom Allen

He's also prone to defending politicians and economists with whom he's personal friends - and there are a lot of them. That's human nature, but it tends to make one skeptical of his objectivity when, for example, Larry Summers or Ben Bernanke is involved.

NotTimothyGeithner

He's also preaching to the choir. Who is Krugthullu's audience? Outside of New Yorkers, it's largely people who fantasize about finishing the Sunday crossword despite not actually trying and love to have a simplified "liberal" world view reinforced. Given how Obots use to swarm, would he have survived not towing the company line? Without his column, Krugthullu is just another economics professor without the backing of a billionaire who keeps him around as a pet. Maybe Warren Buffet would put up a nice fence to keep Krugthullu in his yard, but he would likely have to spend time in Omaha.

The flip side is Krugthullu has likely burned too many bridges to regain his 2009 status. The Obots can't handle criticism, and it's rather late to join the Obama anonymous support group.

jrs

I mostly think they keep Krug around to justify "trade" agreements. That the little battles don't matter so much compared to "trade" agreements (and in fact they don't, on the issue of healthcare, "trade" agreements are a serious threat to even those countries with better medical systems. "Trade" agreements can override other political battles, even those where Krugs position might be decent).

jo6pac

Thanks for LOL, so true.

GlobalMisanthrope

Yeah, I am completely mystified by his defense of the ACA. My employers think of themselves as good liberals (although they do not provide health insurance but rather a health stipend to a handful of top managers that we can apply toward our purchase of insurance on the exchange) and have trotted out Krugman on occasion when I have argued against the Act.

I was at a dinner party before Christmas with a diverse group of professionals hosted by a friend who is a wine maker. There were several people from the food and beverage industry, a university professor and her law school administrator spouse, an obstetrical surgeon, a rancher and three others I never got a chance to learn anything about. The subject of "Obamacare" came up. I was truly astonished by the completely fact-free conversation that ensued. So much so that I stayed silent for a long time, really not knowing what to say.

My friend, the host, noticed my expression and asked me what I thought about Obamacare. So I described it as the boondoggle that it is and went into some detail debunking many of the claims made by the other guests. Honestly, I mean they were more or less polite, but they didn't think I knew what I was talking about. What can account for this?

Well, one of the things that came out was that I was, by some distance, the lowest paid person at the table.

It's no excuse for someone who actually thinks and writes about public policy, but could it be that Krugman is like my fellow guests and just never had to think about the cost of his health insurance simply because he could always afford it. So, I mean, he's never done the math. He's just done the "responsible thing" and carried insurance his whole life.

Anyway, it was a cold shower to realize how intractable their belief in the system is. As I find myself saying a lot lately, I was not heartened.

flora

The whole ACA thing reminds me of the urban renewal projects of the 50s and 60s. Those were supposedly progressive projects to replace blighted areas with modern housing. In fact it was political snake oil that didn't help the poor so much as help large cities fill their coffers. It replaced poor dwellings with middle class dwellings that increased the cities' tax revenues. The poor were left to fend for themselves as their poor but stable neighborhoods were destroyed. The designers of the projects thought they were doing good.

I wonder how many people sitting around the table with you tried to buy their mandated insurance on the ACA web portal or on the open market? ACA sounds good in theory.

Lexington

It's no excuse for someone who actually thinks and writes about public policy, but could it be that Krugman is like my fellow guests and just never had to think about the cost of his health insurance simply because he could always afford it. So, I mean, he's never done the math. He's just done the "responsible thing" and carried insurance his whole life.

Yup.

I have my frustrations with Krugman too, but I think progressives need to cut the guy some slack: he's a professor at Princeton, a Nobel laureate, and has a trophy case full of professional honours and twenty books plus a couple of hundred articles under his belt. He's in the sanctum sanctorum of the elite.

If he never penned another op ed or blog post or participated in another public debate it wouldn't make the slightest difference to his legacy. Yet there he is, the very model of a public intellectual, actually inviting non specialists to engage in a discussion about economics and public policy, and fighting the good fight for liberalism. You can be sure he isn't doing it to win plaudits from his peers. ...

[Apr 02, 2019] The Incredible Shrinking Trump Boom by Paul Krugman

Notable quotes:
"... The Trumpist theory -- which was, I'm sorry to say, endorsed by conservative economists who should have known better -- was that there was a huge pile of money sitting outside the U.S. that companies would bring back and invest productively if given the incentive of lower tax rates. But that pile of money was an accounting fiction. And the tax cut didn't give corporations an incentive to build new factories and so on; all it did was induce them to shift their tax-avoidance strategies. ..."
"... As Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations points out , a casual glance at the data seems to suggest that American companies earn a lot of their profits at their overseas subsidiaries. But a closer look shows that the bulk of these reported profits are in a handful of small countries with low or zero tax rates, like Bermuda, Luxembourg and Ireland. The companies obviously aren't earning huge profits in these tiny economies; they're just using accounting gimmicks to assign profits earned elsewhere to subsidiaries that may have a few factories, but sometimes consist of little more than a small office, or even just a post-office box. ..."
"... These basically phony profits then accumulate on the books of the overseas subsidiaries, rather than the home company. But this doesn't affect their ability to invest in America: if Apple wants to spend a billion dollars here, it can always borrow the money using the assets of its Irish subsidiary as collateral. In other words, U.S. taxes weren't having any significant effect in deterring real investment in the U.S. economy. ..."
"... So the theory supposedly behind the Trump tax cut has turned out to be a complete bust. Corporate accountants got to have some fun exploring new frontiers in tax avoidance; the rest of us just ended up saddled with an extra $2 trillion or so in debt. ..."
"... Now, I'm not deeply worried about that debt. Given low borrowing costs , the costs and risks of federal debt are far less than the usual suspects -- again, the same people who cheered on the Trump tax cut -- have claimed. But think of all the other things we could have done with $2 trillion -- all the infrastructure we could have built and repaired, all the people who could have been given essential health care. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

... ... ...

So far, Donald Trump has passed only one significant piece of legislation: the 2017 tax cut. It was, to be fair, a pretty big deal: corporations, the principal beneficiaries, have already saved more than $150 billion, and over the course of a decade the tax cut will probably increase the budget deficit by more than $2 trillion.

But the tax cut was supposed to do more than just give stockholders more money -- or at least that's what its proponents claimed. It was also supposed to lead to many years of high economic growth, 3 percent or more at an annual rate.

Independent observers were skeptical, to say the least. They conceded that the tax cut might lead to a brief sugar high, because that's what big deficits do. But any favorable effects on growth, they argued, would soon fade out. And they always insisted that it would take some time to assess the tax cut's actual effects.

Nonetheless, when the economy grew pretty fast in the second quarter of last year, Trump and his supporters cried vindication, and ridiculed the critics.

But a bit of time has passed since then. The chart shows the U.S. economy's growth rate by quarter since the beginning of 2018. The last number isn't official; but there are a number of independent observers, including both Federal Reserve banks and private financial institutions, who produce "nowcasts" that estimate growth based on early data. At this point all of these nowcasts show slowing growth, and most put the first quarter at around 1.5 percent.

So do the results so far look like the huge, sustained boom the Trump camp promised, or the brief sugar high predicted by the critics?

But Donald Trump is a special kind of leader. When things don't go his way, when events fail to turn out as he planned and promised, he always knows exactly what to do: Blame someone else . Sure enough, he's now asserting that we'd be having a yuge economic boom, 3 percent growth, all that, if only the Federal Reserve hadn't raised interest rates.

O. K., this is where you need to be able to hold two ideas in your head at the same time. Was the Fed wrong to raise rates? Probably yes. Does this account for the failure of the Trump tax cut? No.

The Fed was clearly overoptimistic about the economy's prospects, as it has pretty consistently been for the past decade. It's worth noting that throughout that whole period conservative critics of the Fed -- the same people now backing Trump -- attacked the institution for keeping interest rates too low, not too high. Still, it's now clear that the attempt to normalize monetary policy was premature.

But the Fed's premature rate hikes aren't why the Trump tax cut is failing. How do we know that? Because all those boasts about why the tax cut would work miracles were based on a specific story about what is holding the U.S. economy back. And that story was and is all wrong.

The Trumpist theory -- which was, I'm sorry to say, endorsed by conservative economists who should have known better -- was that there was a huge pile of money sitting outside the U.S. that companies would bring back and invest productively if given the incentive of lower tax rates. But that pile of money was an accounting fiction. And the tax cut didn't give corporations an incentive to build new factories and so on; all it did was induce them to shift their tax-avoidance strategies.

As Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations points out , a casual glance at the data seems to suggest that American companies earn a lot of their profits at their overseas subsidiaries. But a closer look shows that the bulk of these reported profits are in a handful of small countries with low or zero tax rates, like Bermuda, Luxembourg and Ireland. The companies obviously aren't earning huge profits in these tiny economies; they're just using accounting gimmicks to assign profits earned elsewhere to subsidiaries that may have a few factories, but sometimes consist of little more than a small office, or even just a post-office box.

These basically phony profits then accumulate on the books of the overseas subsidiaries, rather than the home company. But this doesn't affect their ability to invest in America: if Apple wants to spend a billion dollars here, it can always borrow the money using the assets of its Irish subsidiary as collateral. In other words, U.S. taxes weren't having any significant effect in deterring real investment in the U.S. economy.

When Trump cut the tax rate, some companies "brought money home." But for the most part this had no economic significance. Here's how it works: Apple Ireland transfers some of its assets to Apple U.S.A. Officially, Apple Ireland has reduced its investment spending, while paying a dividend to U.S. investors. In reality, Apple as an entity has the same total profits and the same total assets it did before; it hasn't devoted a single additional dollar to purchases of equipment, R&D, or anything else for its U.S. operations.

Not surprisingly, then, the investment boom Trump economists promised has never materialized . Companies didn't use their tax breaks to invest more; mainly they used them to buy back their own stock. This in turn, put more money in the hands of investors, which gave the economy a temporary boost -- although for 2018 as a whole, one of the biggest drivers of faster growth was, believe it or not, higher government spending .

So the theory supposedly behind the Trump tax cut has turned out to be a complete bust. Corporate accountants got to have some fun exploring new frontiers in tax avoidance; the rest of us just ended up saddled with an extra $2 trillion or so in debt.

Now, I'm not deeply worried about that debt. Given low borrowing costs , the costs and risks of federal debt are far less than the usual suspects -- again, the same people who cheered on the Trump tax cut -- have claimed. But think of all the other things we could have done with $2 trillion -- all the infrastructure we could have built and repaired, all the people who could have been given essential health care.

What a colossal, corrupt waste.

Paul Krugman has been an Opinion columnist since 2000 and is also a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade and economic geography. @ PaulKrugman


Grennan Green Bay April 2

The GOP has announced a comprehensive bipartisan effort to reform our tax code, promote fairness, and provide health coverage. APRIL FOOLS! The U.S. has put a tax evader in charge, who has in turn named Sen. Scott, the former CEO who steered the largest Medicare fraud in our history, to develop a health coverage plan. No, that's not April Fools, but reality.
Working Mama New York City April 1
I resent the Trump tax travesty being referred to as a "tax cut". For many middle class homeowners, it was anything but. Just the elimination of personal exemptions for my family of four cost us more in increased tax liability than the increase in the standard deduction. Then there were tens of thousands of dollars' worth of deductions that we didn't get to take under the new rules. Our tax liability went up by thousands.
Stephen Saint Louis, MO April 1
I have not had any fun as corporate tax accountant from Trump's giveaway to the rich. Firstly, the law was not planned out, so there is no guidance for any of the new laws. The IRS is scrambling just to get new instructions and forms out. I'd bet that the confusion is creating more opportunities to avoid taxes than there were before. Secondly, I get to deal with the whining of the beneficiaries of the tax cut. Somehow they aren't satisfied with paying 40% less. Corporations and the 1% have a criminally high sense of entitlement.
Bill NYC, NY April 1
Supply side economics was, is, and always will be, almost a complete lie. Put simply, if consumer spending doesn't increase, why would a company spend money to produce more products? It is demand, not supply, that drives economic growth. And it should not come as a surprise that government spending creates economic growth when so much of the economy is tied to government spending. If you cut government spending, as Republicans wish, other than the government employees suddenly out of work, there are all the private businesses that depend on government contracts that will be laying off workers. So the economy contracts, other businesses become pessimistic and the economy contracts even further. Where I disagree with Paul is that we need the Fed to raise interest rates before the next recession hits. The economy has been strong for a decade but when a recession comes around, we need the Fed's ability to reduce rates and encourage borrowing.
Barry Williams NY April 1
@Bill The effects of government spending (or lack thereof) should be obvious to the economics-challenged just by looking at what happened during Trump's government shutdown. Hint: it wasn't just bad for the people who were directly not being paid for their government jobs. And that was only a brief microcosm of the effect. What I don't get is why people thought this time would be different, when it has never worked as advertised before. Did they think Trump would make it work this time?
Martha Stephens Cincinnati April 1
Krugman shows little caring about common people -- taxes or otherwise. He wants people to have "healthcare," but what does he mean by that? He doesn't support Medicare for All he has said. He doesn't seem to know that it would be paid for by US, not the government -- along with our taxes, in the way that makes the most sense everywhere. We'd pay according to our incomes; if you had NO income, you'd still have healthcare, birth to grave. Especially in times of recession, let Krugman put that in his pipe and smoke it!

Medicare for All would not break the government; private insurance would still be allowed, but more and more people would like a universal plan with the low rates it would bring --as we get out from under the high prices we're paying for private health insurance, even the Medicare Advantage run by companies like Aetna. Mine costs nearly $400 a month!

Joe Maliga San Francisco April 1
Money, power and greed is what the whole Trump presidency is about. A few people are getting very rich. In the meantime, his base is fueled by diversionary red meat. I think every American should get a cut of the ill-gotten gains. A monthly check for enduring this presidency, and the stupid people who support him.
Dangoodbar Chicago April 1
There is one point in Professor Krugman's article that needs to be highlighted; "although for 2018 as a whole, one of the biggest drivers of faster growth was, believe it or not, higher government spending." Government spending, not tax cuts has fueled recoveries from recessions caused by their policies from Reagan to Bush Jr. That is, if you look at what happened when both Reagan and Bush Jr. first took office and began their policies those policies resulted in recessions. Both Reagan and Bush Jr. got out of those recessions by going on huge spending binges. The point being that well Republicans do cut taxes for the super rich and powerful, the disguise the fact that those policies do not benefit America by going on huge deficit spending binges that, to quote Lloyd Benson, "Create an illusion of prosperity". The fact that Republicans use large increases in deficit Government spending for all of their economic success is the most unreported fact in American politics.
R. Littlejohn Texas 10h ago
@Dangoodbar The military industrial complex must be doing well, great for shareholders.
Randy North Carolina April 1
I am not sure why I should put any stock in any of your opinions/predictions when you have been so colossally wrong (e.g. "the stock market will crash if Trump gets elected") so often. Nobel Laureate? You and Yasser Arafat - The Nobel Prize committee doesn't always get it right
music observer nj April 1
@Randy Well, let's compare Dr. Krugman to the GOP: 1)Since the 1970's, they have claimed that supply side economics ie cutting taxes, will 'float all boats', and since the 1980's the tax rate on the most well off has plummeted..and since then? The top .5% have seen huge gains, while the bottom 90% of Americans have seen their incomes and wealth fall. 2)The GOP under Obama said the budget deficits caused by government spending were going to cause hyperinflation and cause the dollar to become valueless, they screamed with the economic bailouts and so forth. Yet the world didn't end, and now the GOP just added 2 trillion to our debt, and saying "it is no big deal"..so who was right 3)Trump claimed the tax cut was going to make the economy sing, that it was going to grow at 5% a year and that ordinary people were going to see their decline in wages end.......fast forward 2 years, and wages have not grown faster than inflation, and despite a supposedly tight labor market, wages are still not growing...and the only people seeing increases in wealth and income are the top .5%, they saw a huge increase last year thanks to the corporate tax cut. So whose predictions were wrong?
R. Littlejohn Texas 9h ago
@music observer The working middle class has been shrinking since the supply side Reaganomics started and it has never stopped since. There is not much of the Great Society left, the Republicans are still cutting the benefits for Medicare and Medicaid and food stamps, Head Start disappeared too as far as I can tell. The Republican party is morally and intellectually bankrupt.
JPH USA April 1
Americans comment about tax or not tax. Free market. But there is absolutely no precise conscience of the numbers nor how the American economy works. Where the US corporations are domiciliated . In Europe ? We don't care. No comment. We cheat ? we don't care. No comment . Who are these people ?

[Apr 02, 2019] Poroshenko was just a US marionette which helped to loot the country and impoverish Ukrainian people

Under neoliberalism any regime change is necessary followed by an economic rape. That was the case with the USSR in 1991, that was the case in Ukraine in 2014. Only the size and length of the looting varies depending of the strength of new government. Both the size and the length is maximal if in power are marionette like Yeltsin or Yatsenyuk/Poroshenko.
Saying "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" now should sound as "Beware of Americans who bring you color revolutions." They bring the economic rape (aka "Disaster capitalism") as the second phase. That's the nature of neocolonialism -- now you do not need to occupy the country. It's enough to make it a debt slave using IMF and install compradors to endure the low of money and continuing impoverishment of the population.
With such crooked and greedy friends as Biden and Kerry and their narcoaddicts sons you do not need enemies. But the main danger are not individual sharks but Western financial institutions like IMF and World bank. Those convert countries into debt slaves and that means permanently low standard (Central African in case of Ukraine, something like $2 a day) of living for generations to come.
What is interesting is that unlike say German nationalists in 30th, the Ukrainian nationalists proved to be completly useless in defending the Ukraine from looting. They actually serves as supplementary tool of the same looting.
The standard of living of Ukrainians dropped 2-3 times since 2014. How pensioners survive, on $50 a month pension I simply do not understand. In any case Neoliberalism proved to be very effecting is keeping "developing" nations economic growth down and converting them into debt slaves. The fact that Biden use loans as a tool of extortion (as in threat to cancel one billion loan) to close criminal investigation of his sons company is just an icing on the cake. Poroshenko and his camarilla should be tried in the court of law for his corruption and pandering to the Western sharks, who were happy to steal from Ukraine as much as then can.
To pay $166K a month for Biden's son cocaine is way too much to such impoverished country as Ukraine.
Notable quotes:
"... "I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko. ..."
"... " Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time," Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event - while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat. ..."
"... The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden's younger son, Hunter, as a board member. ..."
"... U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden's American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts -- usually more than $166,000 a month -- from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia. - The Hill ..."
"... And before he was fired, Shokin says he had made "specific plans" for the investigation - including "interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden." "I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine," added Shokin. Joe Biden "clearly had to know" about the probe before he insisted on Shokin's ouster . Via The Hill: ..."
"... The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden's work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor's case against Burisma; ..."
"... President Obama named Biden the administration's point man on Ukraine in February 2014 ..."
"... Remember Victoria Nuland's famous phone recording of "**** the EU?" This was nothing more than another CIA destabilization campaign carried out of another Sovereign Country. With the goal of breaking the Bush Senior & Jim Baker agreement of not surrounding Russia with NATO countries after their Collapse. ..."
"... Let's face it. If Ukrainians loved it's Country, Joey, Hunter and the Choco-**** would have wound up like Mikhail Lesin during an all night party in an upscale grotto in Kiev by now! ..."
"... At last some questions for this dirt ball-burisma is tied in with one of the most if not the most corrupt oligarch, Koloimiski. Biden is up to his eyeballs in some dodgy deals in china as well-this guy and his son are walking corruption personified. ..."
"... Didn't Hillary teach Joe that a tax free foundation is better than using your son's LLC for laundering the bribes... This is basic stuff. ..."
"... Joe "the Conqueror" "Caesar Magnus" Biden. Joe of Ukraine, the best bud of $oro$. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Originally from: Forget 'Creepy' - Biden Has A Major Ukraine Problem Joe Biden appears to have made a major tactical error last year when he bragged to an audience of foreign policy experts how he threatened to hurl Ukraine into bankruptcy if their top prosecutor, General Viktor Shokin, wasn't immediately fired, according to The Hill 's John Solomon.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees , sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn't immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. - The Hill

"I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko.

" Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time," Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event - while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q0_AqpdwqK4?start=3128

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden's account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day . Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine's parliament obliged by ending Shokin's tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired. - The Hill

And why would Biden want the "son of a bitch" fired?

In what must be an amazing coincidence, the prosecutor was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into a natural gas firm - which Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board of directors.

The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden's younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden's American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts -- usually more than $166,000 a month -- from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia. - The Hill

The Hill 's Solomon reviewed the general prosecutor's file for the Burisma probe - which he reports shows Hunter Biden, his business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

And before he was fired, Shokin says he had made "specific plans" for the investigation - including "interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden." "I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine," added Shokin. Joe Biden "clearly had to know" about the probe before he insisted on Shokin's ouster . Via The Hill:

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor's probe of Burisma and his son's role. They noted that:

President Obama named Biden the administration's point man on Ukraine in February 2014 , after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine's Crimea territory.

***

Key questions for 'ol Joe:

Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden's firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

Read the rest of Solomon's report here .

Chupacabra-322 , 58 minutes ago link

Remember Victoria Nuland's famous phone recording of "**** the EU?" This was nothing more than another CIA destabilization campaign carried out of another Sovereign Country. With the goal of breaking the Bush Senior & Jim Baker agreement of not surrounding Russia with NATO countries after their Collapse.

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Let's face it. If Ukrainians loved it's Country, Joey, Hunter and the Choco-**** would have wound up like Mikhail Lesin during an all night party in an upscale grotto in Kiev by now!

Amazing that all 3 of them are still alive and that "Song Bird" McCain (#4) was allowed to die from his brain cancer instead of joining them or being dismembered and put on display when he made these visit(s) ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbfsTcJCKDE ) along with General Vallely (#5)!!!

Taras Bulba , 1 hour ago

At last some questions for this dirt ball-burisma is tied in with one of the most if not the most corrupt oligarch, Koloimiski. Biden is up to his eyeballs in some dodgy deals in china as well-this guy and his son are walking corruption personified.

CarifonianSeven, 2 hours ago

Didn't Hillary teach Joe that a tax free foundation is better than using your son's LLC for laundering the bribes... This is basic stuff.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy, 1 hour ago

Joe cheated his way through undergrad and law school. He would be unable to understand any of that.

whittler, 1 hour ago

What? You mean folks will finally care about little Hunter hiring Azov neo-Nazi fighters (oops! security I mean) to protect his fracking site just north of the 'troubles' in the eastern Ukraine? I'm sure they were working for free and that no Biden money was ever used to payoff (oops again! I mean pay the wages of) a bunch of Nazis (dang it again, I mean neo-Nazis, it sounds so much warmer and fuzzier when you add 'neo').

Creepy Joe and all D's agree, 'Nazi' = bad, neo-Nazi = warm, fuzzy and good; heck, they even like to kill Russians Russians Russians!!!

Cracker 16 , 1 hour ago

Joe "the Conqueror" "Caesar Magnus" Biden. Joe of Ukraine, the best bud of $oro$.

[Apr 02, 2019] Low rate money is the stuff of shale oil. Not profits.

Apr 02, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Freddy

x Ignored says: 04/01/2019 at 2:58 pm
Seems US oil production from shale now are declining, seems the growth based on lended money now will stop. https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/US-Oil-Production-Dips-For-First-Time-In-Nearly-Six-Months.html
From the Rig Count we know this decrease will be strengthening the comming months until the oil price increase to a level profit will be possible that can pay dividend and growth. This might take time as soon Trump will tweet again as oil is to expensive and OPEC will be forced to take action.
Watcher x Ignored says: 04/01/2019 at 6:00 pm
The 10 yr bond is down at 2.5% today, and with the Fed's overt announcement 6 weeks ago, clearly the Fed isn't pushing its upward bias.

Low rate money is the stuff of shale oil. Not profits.

[Apr 02, 2019] As long as the world wide economy remains on its feet that there will be huge increases in demand for oil for transportation.

Apr 02, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

OFM x Ignored says: 03/30/2019 at 7:51 am

I'm sure that so long as the world wide economy remains on its feet that there will be huge increases in demand for oil for transportation.

But nobody seems to give any thought here to things that will reduce demand. Cars will be driving themselves soon. Think about trains. Before too much longer, railroaders will be able to move stuff on trains almost as nimbly as truckers do today, at least on city to city basis when the cities are at least a couple of hundred miles apart. Long distance trucking may be a thing of the past within, like camera film and typewriters, within a couple of decades. These possibilities are worthy of thought if you are in the oil biz for the long haul.

Every country that imports oil is going to have a powerful incentive to reduce demand for it to the extent it can as depletion sooner or later pushes one exporting country after another into the importer category. Countries in the Middle East with oil and gas to export are going to find it so profitable to build wind and solar farms that they will be building them like mushrooms popping up after a spring rain, because they can sell some or maybe even most of the oil and gas they are burning now to generate electricity, thereby earning a big profit on their solar and wind farm investment.

My thinking is that these changes will actually PROLONG our dependence on oil, taken all around, by helping hold the price down so we can afford to run existing legacy equipment, and have affordable petrol based chemicals, etc. I don't think anybody currently in the biz needs to worry about selling out anytime soon, lol. But considerations such as these may have a huge impact on exploration and development starting within a decade or so.

Times change. Doom doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it.

[Apr 02, 2019] Brazil's oil production is down

Apr 02, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News x Ignored says: 04/01/2019 at 1:52 pm

Brazil's oil production at 2,489 kb/day during February, which is down -142 from January
2018 average 2,587 kb/day
No press release yet, waiting to see if they mention the new FPSOs ANP -> http://www.anp.gov.br/
Chart: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D3FsLyMW0AANPL4.png

[Apr 02, 2019] Russiagate as a smoke screen for the struggle between two powerful groups of the US elite

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 1, 2019 5:14:39 PM | 93 ">link

@ bevin #90

But that doesn't bother Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and their mob. They think quarter by quarter. Immediate gratification is the name of their game. They know that "in the long run we are all dead". And they don't care what happens then.

Your viewpoint is the same as that of Jonathon Cook. He says "Russiagate" was a faction fight between two groups of the Power Elites.

One wanted to keep 'putting the lipstick on the pig' which is predatory Capitalism, and the other wants to let it all hang out and rape the planet NOW.

Just as there was a clueless "liberal" cheering group for Mueller, the Looters have a fan club among the "right". Both sets of the applauding groups are just puppets. And of course neither has recognized their true role in the unfolding dramas.

[Apr 02, 2019] Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Notable quotes:
"... When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Apr 1, 2019 1:27:52 PM | link

mourning dove

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.

[Apr 01, 2019] Retail Layoffs Are 92% Higher In 2019, And Now Even Wal-Mart Is Quietly Closing Stores by Michael Snyder

Notable quotes:
"... "The decision to close our local stores is a difficult one," said Lifeway Chief Executive Officer Brad Waggoner. "While we had hoped to keep some stores open, current market projections show this is no longer a viable option." ..."
"... And yes, Internet retailing has been growing, but it still accounts for less than 10 percent of all U.S. retail sales. In addition, it is important to point out that Internet retailers had a very disappointing holiday season just like brick and mortar retailers did. ..."
"... Ultimately, the truth is that the U.S. economy has been steadily slowing down in recent months. During the months of December, January and February, the amount of stuff being moved around the country by truck, rail and air was lower than during all of those same months a year earlier. The following comes from Wolf Richter ..."
"... Unfortunately, it appears that things are only going to get rougher for the U.S. economy in the months ahead. So more retail workers are going to get laid off, more stores are going to close, and there are going to be a lot more stories about our ongoing "retail apocalypse" in the mainstream media. ..."
Apr 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Just like we witnessed during the last recession, major retailers are laying off tens of thousands of workers, and it looks like this will be the worst year for store closings in all of U.S. history. Many are referring to this as "the retail apocalypse" , and without a doubt this is one of the toughest stretches for retailers that we have ever seen. But many believe that what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning . After all, if retailers are struggling this much now, how bad will things be once the next recession really gets rolling? Of course the truth is that things have been rocky for the retail industry for quite a few years, but the numbers are telling us that this crisis is really starting to accelerate.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, retail layoffs were up a whopping 92 percent in January and February compared to the same period a year ago. The following comes from NBC News

More than 41,000 people have lost their jobs in the retail industry so far this year -- a 92 percent spike in layoffs since the same time last year, according to a new report.

And the layoffs continue to mount, with JCPenney announcing this week it would be closing 18 stores in addition to three previously announced closures, as part of a "standard annual review."

Yes, competition from Internet commerce is hurting the traditional retail industry, but it certainly doesn't explain a 92 percent increase.

And very few retailers have been able to avoid this downsizing trend. At this point, even the largest retailer in the entire country has begun "quietly closing stores"

Walmart is closing at least 11 US stores across eight states.

The stores include one Walmart Supercenter in Lafayette, Louisiana, and Walmart Neighborhood Market stores in Arizona, California, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

For decades, Wal-Mart has been expanding extremely aggressively.

They have plenty of cash, and so the only way that it would make sense for them to close stores is if they anticipated that we are heading into a recession.

Here is a list of the addresses where Wal-Mart stores are closing

Of course Wal-Mart is in far better shape than almost everyone else in the industry.

One of Wal-Mart's key competitors, Shopko, has just announced that they will be shutting down all of their stores

Shopko will liquidate its assets and close all of its remaining locations by mid-June.

The company was unable to find a buyer for the retail business and will begin winding down its operations beginning this week, the company said in statement released Monday. The decision to liquidate will bring an end to the brick-and-mortar business that began in 1962 with one location in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

And personally I was very saddened to learn that Lifeway Christian Bookstores has also decided to close all their brick and mortar stores

Lifeway Christian Bookstores announced last week it would be closing the doors of all 170 brick and mortar stores, in a pivot to focusing on digital and e-commerce.

"The decision to close our local stores is a difficult one," said Lifeway Chief Executive Officer Brad Waggoner. "While we had hoped to keep some stores open, current market projections show this is no longer a viable option."

Whenever I do an article like this, I always have some readers that try to convince me that this is only happening because of the growth of Internet retailing.

And yes, Internet retailing has been growing, but it still accounts for less than 10 percent of all U.S. retail sales. In addition, it is important to point out that Internet retailers had a very disappointing holiday season just like brick and mortar retailers did.

Ultimately, the truth is that the U.S. economy has been steadily slowing down in recent months. During the months of December, January and February, the amount of stuff being moved around the country by truck, rail and air was lower than during all of those same months a year earlier. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Now it's the third month in a row, and the red flag is getting more visible and a little harder to ignore about the goods-based economy: Freight shipment volume in the US across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – in February fell 2.1% from February a year ago, according to the Cass Freight Index , released today. The three months in a row of year-over-year declines are the first such declines since the transportation recession of 2015 and 2016.

I have a feeling that when we get the final numbers for March that they will show that this streak has now extended to four months.

Right now, unsold goods are starting to pile up in U.S. warehouses at a rate that we haven't seen since the last recession. Many retailers that are barely clinging to life will simply not survive if economic conditions continue to deteriorate.

Unfortunately, it appears that things are only going to get rougher for the U.S. economy in the months ahead. So more retail workers are going to get laid off, more stores are going to close, and there are going to be a lot more stories about our ongoing "retail apocalypse" in the mainstream media.

[Mar 31, 2019] The Bond Market Shadow Over Donald Trump's Re-Election

Mar 31, 2019 | medium.com

While the president celebrated the end of the Mueller inquiry this week, the risk of a recession is rising